5 Tips to a Rockin’ Vendor Page
I recently helped a friend put together a new website for his DJ business and I knew, as we upgraded from a pretty dated design, that we needed to really spend some time making his vendor referral page more powerful. For as long as I’ve been involved in our catering website, I’ve always insisted on a robust wedding vendor page, especially one that promoted venues. My underlying thought has always been that if I help someone find their venue, maybe they’ll think of me for their catering. I wasn’t overly concerned with the SEO benefits of linking to related businesses or the referrals I would get in return…I just wanted to create a little goodwill that would hopefully turn into increases sales. Here are a few tips to make your vendor page great.
Make it Beautiful
I believe that spending time to make the page more than just a list of names and links shows your partners that you really care about promoting their service. Take the time to include the logos and/or images of your vendors or their businesses to personalize the listing and make it more visually appealing. Click here to see what we did on my friend’s preferred vendor page. You also want to make sure the layout of your pictures is consistent and easy to navigate. On Robin’s page, we created square tiles to provide a consistent look for each listing.
Include Your Partners in the Content
As you’re putting the page together, send a note to the folks you’re listing on your site to let them know what you’re up to. Ask them to provide you with the correct contact information but also be sure to email them afterwards and ask them to double check their listing to make sure there are no errors.
For some of my vendors, I’ve asked them to contribute to the content of the page by providing images of their work. This allows them to decide what they would like to use to best promote their business. This also sends the message that you care about their brand consistency and that you respect their input. Venues can showcase photographers but creating individual galleries with images from each photographer. This is a win-win because you get to use a lot of great photos to show off your space while they get to showcase their work.
Expand the Listing with Your Blog
One strategy that I’ve been working on is expanding the information provided on my vendor pages through my blog. I’ve created a Venue Spotlight category on my blog with the idea that I will go and report on the various venues in town in individual blog posts and then include that information in my listings. The venues love it because it provides them with additional exposure. It works for me because it creates more goodwill (the venues know that I’m committed to supporting their business) and it gives me great content on my website which helps me stay relevant and at the top of search engines.
Optimize for Search Engines
Some people have a separate page for each vendor type (like I do at here) while some put everyone on one page. Regardless of how you do this, take the time to think about optimizing the page for search engines. Change page titles and meta information to let search engines know that these are resource pages. This will help your site show up under additional key word searches. For example, my venues page comes up on the first page of Google for several venue-related key word searches.
Reciprocal links (linking back and forth) definitely have powerful SEO implications. The key here is that they need to be links to related, relevant websites. In the wedding world, we have a core group of interrelated businesses that enables us to get a lot of reciprocal links without worrying about search engines seeing it as spam. Take the time to ask vendors to link to your site. Link to them first to show you’re committed to the relationship. Realize that not everyone will take the time to do this for you. They may not understand the value of these links or they simply may not know how to do it. Link to them anyways and hopefully they’ll come around.
Keep the Page Up-To-Date
As a user, it can be frustrating to click on a link or call a number just to have it not work. Sometimes businesses change their info or simply go out of business. To remain relevant and useful, make sure you check on these pages every so often to make sure they are up-to-date. Send out an email quarterly or every 6 months asking the vendors to double check their listings. Get rid of the ones that are no longer around. We had a cake designer in our industry pass away recently. Everyone knows here and everyone was aware of her passing. However, I’ve seen quite a few pages with her business still listed.
I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you have any other ideas or tips.