Thank you again to all those who submitted their sites for review in the clinic. Last month we looked at the importance of communicating a clear message to your customers about your business service. This month we look at a website that has a strong grasp of how to communicate with customers, and wants to look at spreading that message to new audiences.
www.GoLearnTo.com is a travel experience company offering learning courses abroad. GoLearnTo has already been featured in The Daily Mail and the Independent and founder Vanessa Lenssen got in touch with for a little feedback from the Web Therapy Clinic.
The site has a clean and clear design complimented by relevant and high quality images to illustrate the courses on offer. High quality images make a notable difference and can give even the most simple of sites a professional edge. From the home page it is clear that I can use the search function, or the menu buttons to navigate my way around the site and find a course I am interested in.
The light grey background keeps the site neutral in its design and makes it easier to find images of any colour that will look good throughout the site. A strongly coloured background can make a bigger impact and is effective if you have strong branded colours, but if your business needs to use a lot of images like GoLearnTo, it can be tricky to find suitable pictures to complement a bolder design. The layout of the homepage is logical and its format is mirrored throughout, giving the customer a sense of consistency and familiarity. I think a few easy tweaks however could help streamline the first impression of the site.
On the home page, the “Recommended Holidays” are listed with each course title written in thin blue text on a dark grey block background. The title could be better emphasised by making the font thicker and perhaps a lighter colour to contrast with the grey. Because the recommended holidays are grouped together, there are many dark grey blocks together. I would be tempted to choose a lighter colour for this background to make it more in keeping with the neutral design of the site.
Spacing or reducing the list of the “Popular Courses” on the left hand side will make it more attention grabbing to a visitor. Displaying a range of the most popular products on a website is a great way to point customers towards to items they might otherwise not have seen. The site currently lists seventeen courses and the typeface is small making the individual titles difficult to distinguish at first glance.
GoLearnTo is a good example of a site that understands their customer’s needs. Someone considering booking a learning course abroad will want a lot of information and GoLearnTo provides this in a clear and easy to find fashion. There is an extensive FAQ section, live chat support as well as information on the individual courses. These details are essential in providing the customer with the confidence that they will need to book and pay the deposit online.
I would consider reducing content only on 2 pages: the main “Activities” and “Destinations” pages. The reason for this is that the choice of destinations and courses are currently at the bottom of the page and rewriting the content at the top to make it more succinct will bring these further up the page and make them easier to spot to potential customers, particularly those viewing the site on a smaller computer screen.
There is an informative travel blog on the site with regular updates about current travel news and course information. As well as providing information to potential customers, this will also enhance the site in search engines such as Google by having regular and relevant content posted on the GoLearnTo website.
Spreading the word
Vanessa is looking at increasing the viral marketing and word of mouth recommendations for her products and site. The key here is to let visitors to the site know about other ways to keep in touch and up to date with offers, and to give customers and potential customers reason to keep coming back to the site even if they have booked or taken their holiday. GoLearnTo currently uses social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook to promote the products and services. I would consider adding to the homepage icons which let people know they can find out about course updates through these popular networking sites.
Contributions from customers through videos, photos and reviews can also be a great way to spread the message of the products as well as increasing the content on the site. Building this community aspect gives customers reasons to return to the site in addition to booking a holiday. In addition to including more customer photos and media on the website, GoLearnTo could use external photo and video sharing sites like Flickr and YouTube to publish photos and videos about the course they offer, increasing the number of sites the business is featured on. I know that Vanessa plans further developments to the site throughout the year and I would love to see more customer interaction and community aspects helping to promote the business this way.
If you would like to submit your site to the clinic send your website address with some brief details about your business and what you would like to improve most on your site to: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author: Amy Harrison. After training as a screenwriter, Amy moved into the world of online business and since 2004 has worked on small to large enterprises both here in the UK and Canada. Amy left her job in online business development in 2008 to go it alone and now offers a copywriting and project management service. Amy will be offering practical hints and tips about maintaining and promoting your business website in our series of articles: “Web Therapy”. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing about your own website experiences! www.harrisonamy.com