Website Tips for your Appointment-Based Business

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Time management should be a key ingredient in any business’s recipe for success. But for appointment-based businesses, it’s essential. Customer experience means everything, so managing your time efficiently and assuring appointments run smoothly is key to getting ahead of the competition.

Fortunately, the days of relying on pen and paper and hastily scribbling down appointments are over. A scheduling website is the way forward. In this guide, we’ll explain why your business needs an optimised website and how to create one. We’ll also show you how to set up an appointments-based model and share some tips for succeeding with one.

Why you need an optimised website

If your company relies on appointment scheduling, you need an optimised website. Businesses in the health and beauty, consultancy and personal trainer sectors all require websites that run quickly and smoothly and make the appointment-booking process as painless as possible.

Before you look at automating your entire booking process with self-scheduling software that integrates directly with your website, make sure your site is as good as it can be.

This means much more than an attractive, modern design. You need a site that’s fast, that works great on either smartphones or desktops, that’s intuitive and makes people want to book an appointment with your business.

If you’re starting a site from scratch, consider software that gives you all the tools you need to build a cool, fast website. Square Online’s store builder is easy to use, with no coding required and no monthly fees.

It enables you to integrate with Google and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to promote your service. You’ll have an optimised site from day one, ready to integrate with appointments-based software.

Creating an optimised website

Think about user intent and flow

To get the right customers flocking to your site to book appointments, consider user (or search) intent. Centre your site around the questions people ask when searching for your type of business, usually via Google.

There are a number of tools available to help you better understand your potential customers, including Google Search Console.

User flow represents the path a person takes to complete a task through your website or app. Think about how easy it is for someone to access your site and book an appointment. Consider potential pain points and try to avoid them on your web pages.

Make sure every element is serving a purpose

The purpose of an appointments website is different to a product-based ecommerce site. You don’t want users to be distracted by elements on your site that could send them away from making appointments. The most successful ecommerce sites, such as Amazon, present users with a basic page design for checking out. You need something similar when creating a booking system, so remove unnecessary distractions and use a clean, sparse design.

Page-loading speed

With a simple, clean design, your pages will load quicker, which is always important for any site. Make sure your pages load in no more than a couple of seconds on both mobile and desktop. More than half of global traffic comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. If a potential client is sitting waiting for a form to load, they might get frustrated and go to your competitors.

Is your booking page visible?

Make sure your site is easy to navigate. A link to making appointments in the header area should do the trick.

Test, test and test again

Once your site is ready, optimised and integrated with appointments software, run through making an appointment as if you are a potential customer. Then, ask friends and/or employees to do the same, and ask them to answer these questions:

  • Is it easy to see you offer online appointment bookings?
  • Is the booking form easy to access?
  • Is the form easy to fill out?
  • Were there any problems during the process?
  • Were you confused at any point?

How to set up an appointments-based model

It’s not only services such as personal training that require appointment-based models these days. Since the pandemic, offering bookings has become essential in the restaurant industry, for example, to adapt to safety measures introduced by the government. It’s just one of the changes 98% of restaurants have had to make since the start of COVID-19.

  • Square Appointments offers three options for setting up online booking:
  • Set up a free scheduling website for clients to access.
  • Create a full-service website with Square Online that includes the ability to book appointments.
  • Embed a booking button or widget to your existing site or emails.

Setting up a free scheduling website

Create from your online Square Dashboard.

Share the URL in the Online Booking tab of your Square Appointments Dashboard.

Or invite clients via social media and email to give immediate access.
If you manage multiple locations, each one will have a unique booking URL and setup page. To view, simply switch locations in the Online Booking tab.

Creating a site with Square Online

  • Log in to your Square Appointments dashboard.
  • Select Online Booking, then Channels.
  • Under Square Online Website, select Preview & Edit and open the Square Online Site Editor

Embed a booking button

  • Log in to your Square Appointments dashboard.
  • Select Online Booking, then Channels.
  • Under Add your booking flow to an existing site, select Get Started
  • You’ll then be given several options, including adding a booking button to your website or to an email signature. Select the one that works best for your needs.

Tips for success

So, now you have an online appointments-based system in place, how can you ensure you get the best out of it?

Check it works – regularly

You’ve tested the system over and over before going live. But continue to do so regularly or ask your staff to. Even the best automated technology may occasionally have issues. You don’t want any downtime because you were unaware of it.

Give a back-up option

If you do encounter difficulties with the system, don’t forget other methods of making appointments. Make sure customers and clients can get in touch via phone, and that your site displays your number. Also, links to your social media presence – Facebook Messenger could be an alternative option for booking until you find a fix.

Automated emails and text reminders

The best appointments software lets you set up automatic reminders via SMS and/or email. The former could be useful if it’s your customer having internet connection issues. Reminders prevent missed appointments – a bugbear for any professional.

Download software updates

Many appointment software programs update automatically to give you the most current features and protection against security risks. Make sure yours is set to do so or set up scheduled updates so you don’t have to worry about forgetting.

Use Google Calendar Sync

Square Appointments lets you sync with Google Calendar, which means you can automatically block personal events and prevent double bookings.

Put time in your hands

Square’s software allows you to automate and simplify many business tasks, freeing up your valuable time to concentrate on other areas of business. Setting up online booking with Square Appointments means you no longer have to remember to send emails and reminders about appointment times.

A free online booking website means customers can find and book your services 24/7, at any time of day, without your help. It empowers everyone. You can accept various payment methods, including contactless. If you already have a database of existing customers, it’s easy to import them into Square Appointments. With so many tasks looked after, watch how quickly your business can grow.