When you have a business with multiple locations, running that business becomes more of a challenge. However, creating a multiple-location business website isn’t as difficult as you might think and you gain the advantage of customers seeing you’re located nearby.
There are nearly 4.4 billion internet users around the globe and 1.7 billion websites. While only a portion of those people will be interested in what your business offers and be located near you, knowing the numbers shows you the possibility of growth with a strong business site.
There are some specific things you should consider if your business has multiple locations that will allow users to find you easily and interact with you, both online and in person.
1. Choose an Overall Theme
Even though you have multiple locations, you still have a single business model under which they all fall. Your website must show off the personality of your brand and clearly define how you solve a problem for your customers. Every page of your website should reflect the same theme. It might be tempting to use a different color palette for each location’s page, but this only confuses users and makes them wonder if they’ve left your website for another.
EY offers a number of services to businesses around the world, including tax advising and advice on how to fulfill regulatory requirements. They have more than 700 offices in 150 countries. To highlight their locations, they use a map with markers. This shows that there is an office nearby in many different locations and shows the scope of their availability. Yet, the site is still a cohesive whole rather than 700 miniature websites.
2. List Your Business With Google
In the past, ranking high in the search engines was a must. While it’s still important if you want people to find you, it isn’t nearly as important as being in Google’s business listings. More and more people do what is called a “zero-click” search. This means they search for a local business and phone or go to the business based on the results on the search page without ever visiting the website. List your full details in Google My Business and use Google Service Ads if you offer home services.
Your footer is one of those spaces you tend to create once and then forget, but it’s actually a great place to add location information. If you have just a few locations, you can simply list them in the footer. If you have more than a few, you can add a link to search for locations, a map with pins or a link to a separate page.
Users often scroll to the bottom of the page when looking for contact info, so adding location info and the contact info for each at the bottom of your page makes perfect sense and matches the behaviors of users.
McCall Handling uses their footer to show their five locations. They line the locations up horizontally across the page using similar information for each listing. The city and state are bolded and underneath is the street address, toll-free number and fax number. This gives the user multiple ways of contacting different branches of McCall Handling.
4. Use Relevant Information
As you create information pages about each location, think about what makes that location unique. Don’t just add a bunch of keywords because you want to rank. Google has caught onto tricks like that and is consistently changing its algorithms to combat such tactics.
Instead, think about what is truly helpful to the user. For example, if you have local products in each store, highlight what the unique products are that each location carries. Or, show off staff members for each store and share why they help make the branch unique from the others.
5. Create a Site Hierarchy
Your multiple-location website should have an overall hierarchy that looks something like a pyramid. On the top level is the home page, “about” info and a locations page. Under the locations page are separate listings for each location. To get to the locations, the user must dig down into the website. They will only go to the info they want and ignore the other listings. Make navigation as simple as possible for your users.
The UPS Store is a good example of a business with many different locations but a single purpose — helping people ship packages. Note how the common things people do at a UPS store are listed in the top navigation, such as Print, Pack & Ship, Mailboxes, and Store Services. However, if you click on Quick Start, you’ll see that you can find a store or schedule an appointment. Once you punch in your location, you’ll get a list of stores near you and can visit the local store’s page.
6. Create Landing Pages Based on Need
If your different locations serve different needs, such as a restaurant franchise with different types of cuisines, you should create landing pages based on each need served. The landing page then lists or links to the locations that fulfill that specific need for the user. Even if all your locations are similar, you can still create a page based on the problem you solve for the consumer and then link to a list of locations from that page.
7. Think About Presentation
Have you ever visited a site with multiple locations and they’re all just listed down the page? If there are more than a handful of locations, it becomes impossible to find the one you’re looking for without doing a search. Instead, think about how you can offset the different locations so they’re easier to read. For example, use a grid system, add some typography for the title, or use icons to set off each individual location.
Sysco uses a grid system on their locations page, putting each location into its own box. In addition, they use a larger typeface for the title of the office and icons to set off the phone number and location on the map. The end result is visually pleasing and easy to navigate.
8. Make Your Site Responsive
Following the laws of hierarchy and creating a visually pleasing representation of your locations is important. But if mobile users can’t see your maps or navigation, you risk losing them to a competitor. People accessing the internet via their smartphones stands at around 63.4 percent globally. If your site isn’t ready for mobile, you risk losing a big chunk of your traffic and your leads.
If your site responds to different screen sizes, then you may pick up local people searching for “near me” locations. It makes sense to ensure features such as location search work with any device your site visitor utilizes.
Growth Equals Complication
As your business expands, everything becomes interlaced and you must figure out how to fit the pieces together like a puzzle but still be able to separate the different locations. Using the tips above, your multiple-location website should meet the needs of users and check one more thing off your to-do list. Site visitors will barely notice the difference between your multiple-location website and one with a single location.