Driving instructors tend to deal with younger people. Where are younger people these days? Actually, where is almost everyone these days? They’re looking for things online. Let’s assume you already have a website because, if you don’t, well, you’re probably not super serious about marketing your driving school. We’re going to look at a number of tips and tricks you can use to boost your driving school website’s performance and profile. There will be some technical stuff, but you can search Google to find the answers and there are plenty of links below.
If your website doesn’t work on mobile, make it work on mobile. Google treats the mobile version of a website as the most important version. You need your website to be ‘responsive’ – this means that it changes its look and orientation in response to someone using it on a device other than a computer. If you go to our website on a smart phone it looks different than if it’s on a computer. In fact, you can drag the window smaller on a computer and you’ll see how it changes.
Get some user testing done. You can find any number of experts on Fiverr who will do this for between US$5-20. You need to give them an objective, e.g. book a lesson, and ask them to give you feedback on overall ease of use understanding where you are and what services you offer.
These are the products you should be using on your website. They are all free, but you might need to sign up and/or add code into your website:
- Google Analytics – it tells you what people do when they are on your site. Do they bounce away from a page without taking any action
- Google Webmaster Tools – it tells you how people find your website, such as the keywords that you appeared for.
- Google PageSpeed Insights – it tells you whether your website is slow. Google penalises slow websites.
- Google My Business – get yourself listed locally.
Clearly define what you do and who you are aiming at on the first page. Make it easy for people to contact you and book your services. Don’t make your site visitors hunt for your phone and email (or contact page). If you don’t need to say much then you might be able to have a site which is just one long page rather than forcing people to click to other pages; people prefer to scroll than click.
Your clients will want to know:
- Where you operate (geographical regions)
- What sort of vehicle(s) you have
- What times you operate
- The types of people you teach
- Your lesson price (there are arguments for and against including this on your website)
- Any discounts for purchasing in bulk
- Any bonuses clients get from being with you
- Testimonials from other clients (simply ask your existing students for one, don’t make them up)
- How to get in touch with you and book a lesson
- Why you are different (this means they won’t pick on price alone)
- What you look like so that they know who you are when you turn up for the lesson (at minimum you should have your signwritten car on the site)
Clients don’t want to be misled about your driving school. You can only say you are Hawera’s best driving school if:
a) You are the only one, or
b) You have substantial proof to back it up.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
This section could warrant 10,000 words and this article covers it better than we could, so we’re just going to give you some basic advice.
When you are researching SEO look at the article date. If it’s any older than a couple of years it’s undoubtedly out-of-date as techniques and advice change rapidly.
Never, never, never respond to those spam messages that say they will get you to the first place in Google for $1000. They will be using shonky techniques that will get you banned. Coming back from a ban is difficult.
Optimise your website for voice search. Voice search (where people ask a question verbally rather than type it) represents upwards of 40% of all searches so think about the content on your website as the answers to a series of questions that almost always begin with where, who, how, when and what. Consider the growth of products like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and so on.
Create content that is meaningful and answers a question.
Make your site load as fast as possible. Images should be optimised. Don’t use cheap hosting based in America as it will be slow. See the technical section below.
Ask Wayne to add your website to the NZIDE site – this creates a backlink to your site which is good for search engine optimisation.
Unless you are going to advertise on Facebook, using Facebook is probably useless for your business. The organic reach (the number of people that will see your posts without you boosting them) is extremely low now. Bear in mind we have over 4000 followers and our average post might be seen by around 200 people. The other thing is that if your driving school has just 50-100 followers, it doesn’t look impressive. You’re better off channelling your efforts somewhere else.
If you do corporate work, LinkedIn is a good place to be so you can make connections and post useful information.
Google+ is not useful as a social network but is good for search engine optimisation as stories posted there get into Google’s index very quickly.
YouTube is excellent and there are any number of places you can make a video for free or cheap, such as Lumen5.
If you are using WordPress (recommended) then ensure you have a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache enabled. If possible, use Cloudflare to speed it up. W3TC and Cloudflare work together and both are free.
Check your page performance on Web Page Test. If you are using shared hosting, then it will be impossible to fix everything. The report will tell you where you need to optimise your images to speed up downloads. You can end up spending a lot of money doing this so try picking off the low-hanging fruit first.