Five Biggest Website Mistakes

Over the years, I have reviewed thousands of funeral home websites.  Some are excellent, but most leave a lot of room for improvement.

In this newsletter, I’ll outline the five biggest mistakes funeral home owners make with their websites.

Mistake #1 – Home page pictures

I once had a new client ask me to review their website and suggest some improvements. The overall design was good, and the developer had provided some stock images that they felt were appropriate for the client’s rural farming community.

Me to the client: What crops do they grow in your area?

Client: Corn, as far as the eye can see.

Me: Then why is there a picture of a wheat field on your homepage?

Client: Oops.

Stock images are an excellent resource, but the images you place on your website should always reflect your local community. The image sends a subconscious message to the website visitor that they are connecting with a local person, maybe even a neighbor.

My recommendation is to review the images on your website. Do they reflect your local community? If not, get rid of them.

Mistake #2 – Emphasizing the past over the present

Many owners are proud of their firm’s history. With that in mind, they’ll fill the About Us page with a history lesson about their great grandfather, who started with a cabinet shop and expanded into undertaking.

That type of historical perspective was the right thing to do when you were primarily serving the Silent Generation, who placed a lot of value on family roots.

But now you’re dealing with Baby Boomers who typically don’t care about what you did 100 years ago. Instead, they care about what you have done for them lately.

Reorient your content to present who you are today and how you can help, then show your history, never vice versa!

Mistake #3 – Generic Content

The website vendors generally have a standard set of generic content for the website. Some of them just use merge fields so that you only have to enter your funeral home name in one place, and it’s automatically spread throughout the site.

99% of funeral home websites are filled with generic content that does nothing to convince someone to do business with your firm. That’s a huge problem.

When working with clients, replacing the generic content is one of the first things on our task list. Instead, we create customized content that gives people a reason to choose you.

Write it yourself, hire us, or hire someone else. But never accept the generic content.

Mistake #4 – Obituary page customization

The vast majority of your website visitors are there to find an obituary. Many of those visitors go directly to the obituary they want because someone shared the link with them.

That means they don’t see your homepage, or your local pictures, or read your custom content. The only thing they see is the obit page.

Yet, many of the website vendors refuse to allow any customization of the obit page. I find that unacceptable and have recommended changing vendors when they limit us in this way.

For example, every obituary page should include some “Call to Action” buttons that allow you to promote things like pre-need, or monuments, or even cemetery space if you own a combo.

Too many website vendors make their money from flower sales and don’t want you to do anything that gets in the way of their next order. My clients would give up a flower sale any day if it meant landing a new preneed contract.

Mistake #5 – Failing to treat the website as an investment

Here’s a simple test….

Where is your website expense on your Profit & Loss statement? Is it

A – part of Cost of Goods Sold and therefore subtracted out before Gross Profit? Or,

B – part of your overhead and subtracted out before Net Profit?

My recommendation is always A. It should be part of the Cost of Goods Sold because there should also be a revenue line item associated with your website.

Hopefully, your website makes you money. Flower commissions, if nothing else! When you treat your website as an investment, you start to expect a return (ROI).

There are website vendors who will give you a new site for free, and you will make a few hundred dollars in flower commissions. That’s a great deal if you think of your website as overhead.

But if you think of your website as an investment, you quickly realize that you’re better off paying more money and getting an ROI that adds something significant to your Gross Profits and your bottom line.

Those are the five biggest mistakes I’ve seen funeral home owners make with their websites. Contact me if you want to turn your website into an investment rather than overhead.

Until next time,



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