Online appointment booking is a great way to automate the entire booking process and in turn, increase the number of booked appointments. But, before you start accepting online bookings, it’s imperative that you optimize your site.
While attractive design matters, there are a few other factors to consider if you want to optimize your site to increase appointment bookings. In this article, we will share 9 ways to help you get your site ready for online booking so you can finally fill up your calendar and reduce the chance of losing revenue as a result of missed appointments and no-shows.
1. Use Responsive Design
The first tip on our list is to make sure your website is responsive. You can use a tool such as Google Mobile-Friendly Test or MobileTest.me to determine if your site is responsive and mobile-friendly.
According to StatCounter, more than half of all global traffic comes from mobile devices which means you cannot afford to have an unresponsive website.
Responsive design will help your website adapt to various screen sizes which in turn means visitors on mobile devices as well as those using the standard desktop and laptop computers will have no issues in navigating your site.
Once they find your site easy to use and navigate they will be more inclined to book an appointment, no matter which device they’re using.
2. Improve Your Site Load Times
How fast or how slow your site loads has a direct impact on your conversion rate. Research shows that visitors nowadays expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less and a 1-second delay results in a 7% reduction in conversion rates.
Test how fast your site loads using a tool like Pingdom Tools or Google Page Speed Insights. The results of the test will tell you how fast your site loads as well as give you recommendations on what you can do to improve your site speed.
3. Simplify Your Booking Form
Another way to increase the number of bookings on your site is to make sure your booking form is simple and easy to use. A long form asking for more than what is necessary might have the opposite effect and scare away your visitors so they never finish the booking process.
First, evaluate what information is absolutely necessary for a successful appointment booking. Obviously, you’ll want to include fields for a name, email address, and a date picker so they can choose the time and date that works for them.
You might consider including a form for a brief message but anything else can be discussed during the appointment.
Once you know what information you need, eliminate all the other questions from your form to make your booking process as easy as possible.
4. Make Sure Your Booking Form Is Easily Noticeable
You’ll also want to make sure your booking form is easy to notice. A great way to achieve this is to add a link to it in the header area of your site.
If you use a booking form on a separate page on your site, link to it in your main navigation and make sure your calls to action on other areas of your site point to the booking form.
You can also include an image of the form or a direct link to it in the sidebar of your blog or below each blog post.
5. Remove Potential Distractions
Take cues from e-commerce websites and their checkout process. If you’ve ever bought something online, you’ve probably noticed that the checkout page looks quite plain. Consider the checkout page from Amazon.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the only option is to proceed with your purchase or close the tab to abandon it. By removing navigation and other distracting elements, you allow clients to focus on completing the booking form which contributes to the increase in booked appointments.
6. Use a Reliable Booking System
Your booking system should allow clients not only to book an appointment but also allow them to see all the details about the appointment during the process, send them a confirmation email, and make it easy on them to sync the appointment with their preferred calendar.
If your booking system often fails to sync the information or doesn’t send an automatic confirmation message, you run the risk of clients forgetting their appointment or booking several clients at the same time.
7. Experiment With Payment Options
If you collect payments in advance, consider adding new payment options to your site. While credit cards are the most reliable way to get paid, many online users are leery of giving away their sensitive financial information over the Internet.
Consider allowing them to pay with PayPal, Apple Pay, Bitcoin and other alternative payment methods that don’t require sharing their card number and other personal information.
8. Consider Setting Up a Deposit Option
Another objection to booking appointments may be the requirement to pay upfront. After all, if your clients can’t see what they are paying for, they might be reluctant to even initiate the booking process.
Instead of asking for the full amount, consider setting up the ability to accept deposits and allow for partial payments. With Deposits for WooCommerce, you can easily set up a percentage or a flat amount that needs to be paid upfront and collect the rest during your appointment.
The latest release of the Deposits for WooCommerce plugin also allows you to disable specific payment gateways for deposit products, so you can hide a “Cash On Delivery” payment method when deposit payments are required.
9. Test Your Booking Process
Lastly, test your entire booking process as if you are the potential client. You can do this yourself or ask your employees or friends to give you a hand.
Once they are on your site, ask them to consider the following:
- Can they easily tell you offer appointment booking online
- Is the form easy to access
- Is your booking form easy to fill out
- Did they encounter any obstacles or difficulties
You can then take notes on their answers and use their experience to improve not only your website but also your booking process.
Increase the Number of Booked Appointments With These Tips
Increasing the number of bookings on your site is not as hard as it seems. Use the tips in this article to not only prepare your site for online booking but also to implement a reliable booking system.
Once you’ve implemented all the tips included above, you’ll be ready to convert more visitors into clients and wind up booked out in no time.