by Imogen Ragone
Many thanks to Kit Racette for allowing us to evaluate her site publicly. Both Robert Rickover and I hope this will be helpful not only to Kit, but to other teachers as well, and to that end we will be completely honest in our assessment. Using my general tips as a broad guide, I will take the points in order (any additional comments from Robert are included in red italics).
The lack of location information is a big problem for this site. I could not find it on any pages – not even hidden on the page about Kit. If she wants to get students and clients locally (which I believe she is) this is tremendously important. I was able to discover that Kit is based in Montreal only because we are Facebook friends and it is listed on her profile! Of course, when I googled “Alexander Technique in Montreal” Kit’s site did not come up (and I’m guessing this is the same for the other techniques/programs she offers). The only way I was able to find her site on Google was by entering “Kit Racette” and the description there was no more enlightening. My advice – Kit should add her location/s prominently – on the home page, on the contact page, and maybe also somewhere else in the framework of her site (for instance in a sidebar or footer). It could also be included naturally in her biographical information and possibly other places within the text too as appropriate.
Robert: Absolutely. I also noticed there is no mention of Montreal on the source page (the one Google and other search engines actually see) either. “Montreal” should be added there as well, along with “Alexander Technique” and the other processes Kit offers.
Imogen: I agree. There’s a very easy way to do this with WordPress (which Kit’s site uses) by adding a “tag line” in the site settings (see my suggestion in point #8).
2. Contact Information
Kit has a Contact page, so finding out how to contact her should be easy. Unfortunately the contact form on her contact page is not working and there is no other information given there on how to contact her. This is a BIG problem if she wants people to contact her to inquire or to book an appointment. Her phone number is listed at the bottom of a couple of pages, so you can find it if you really want to. It’s very important that Kit gets her contact page up and running as soon as possible. If you use a form, rather than listing an email address, be sure that it is working. Also include phone number and location information. She could also add this contact information (or a link to a working contact page) to a footer or sidebar of her site so it would be visible on every page. Don’t make visitors hunt for information – make it easy for them!
Robert: That is a huge problem indeed!
Kit uses nice, jargon-free language in her site!
I also think Kit has a nice selection of photos. On her Alexander Technique page (“Move with Ease”) the photographs of her working with students are helpful and appropriate – and look inviting. I also think she makes good use of photographs on other pages on the site.
5. Overall Simplicity
The site is nice and simple, while looking professional and up to date. It’s modern and easy to navigate from one page to the other.
One important thing, however, is unclear to me, and likely to other visitors to her site. It’s not clear what services Kit is offering, or if they are in-person or could be long-distance counseling (by phone for instance). A clear statement of what she is offering (and in what form/s, e.g. in person, by phone…), for whom and where would be extremely helpful.
Robert: I had that same question. Also, I think Kit is trying to something pretty tricky with this site which is, in effect, to offer 3 different services. While they may be related to each other, the choice of three presents a confusing array to the first time visitor. It would be a lot cleaner to have 3 separate sites, but of course that would involve spending more website design money (although not necessarily more for hosting as most hosting companies allow for unlimited domains). Short of that, I would suggest expanding the text of the link buttons to add phrases like “Alexander Technique” “Body Psychotherapy” etc. and mention these specific methods in the boxes at the bottom of the homepage. Or perhaps use Imogen’s suggestion in point #8 below.
The length of her text and pages is good – none of the pages are overly long, and the text is nicely broken up into short paragraphs with headings, bullet points and bold text which makes it easy to scan for information.
7. Ease of Navigation
It’s very easy to move around this site.
8. Key Words and Phrases
Kit’s website, while doing a great job in steering clear of jargon-free language, goes so far as to hardly mention the Alexander Technique and the other techniques/programs she offers her clients. While I understand many of her clients may not be specifically looking for Alexander Technique, I’m sure she would like to be found if someone in her area is looking for a teacher. I therefore think it would be really useful to mention Alexander Technique and the other things she offers in name at least somewhere on the home page. It would also be useful to include them in the “tagline” or description for her site – along with her location – which is very easy to do in WordPress. Her site title is “Take a Mindful Moment.” A useful “tagline” might be something like “Alexander Technique, Body Psychotherapy (?) and Grief Edu-Therapy with Kit Racette in Montreal.” The tagline need not be visible for everyone to see, although it would, very importantly, be detectable by the search engines.
9. Use of Links
This is another thing that could be greatly improved on this site and would make it more “visible” to search engines, especially if the links are attached to key words (e.g. Alexander Technique or other things that people might be searching for). I could find only one outside link on this site (apart from the “follow” buttons) – to www.alexandertechnique.com. It would be useful for Kit to include links to all the methods and programs Kit is trained in.
It would also be useful for Kit to encourage as many inbound links (i.e. links from other websites to her website) as possible. This also boosts visibility to the search engines. I believe her site is listed on www.alexandertechnique.com, but, although Kit does have a listing on the ATI website, her website is not included (I would contact them to update this as soon as possible). Maybe her site is listed in other places, but I would encourage her to include it in as many professional directories as possible. Also, always list your website on any social media profiles you have. Kit is active on Facebook and Twitter, so she should make sure her profiles have a link back to site (I believe her Twitter profile does, but am not sure about Facebook) and also any other social media site to which she might belong (e.g. LinkedIn, Pinterest…).
10. Something Free
Kit offers a free guide via email, which is also a good way to build a list of people interested in what you have to say.
Kit includes a video front and center on her home page, so visitors get to see her and hear her speak.
Robert: Every time I tried to view the video, it stopped and started repeatedly. I notice it’s being hosted by Vimeo and I’d suggest uploading it to YouTube and embedding that version. I’m pretty sure it would play better and there would be the added benefit of potentially reaching a much wider audience on YouTube if appropriate key words (like “Alexander Technique”) were added there.
Imogen: I had no problems viewing the video, but I agree that YouTube would be a better option (or addition) to get Kit more visibility. YouTube offers the opportunity to add a description to the video where you can use key words (as Robert suggests) and also a link back to the website.
Kit has an attractive and modern website, that could easily be vastly more effective by a few simple, but key, changes – in particular adding location and working contact information. In addition, using more targeted key words and links, and making it very clear what is being offered would be extremely helpful. Kit has a WordPress site so it should be easy for her to make these simple edits herself.
Robert: I agree the site is attractive and that it wouldn’t take a lot of changes to make it much more effective – however I would also suggest Kit consider having 3 sites as I suggested in #5 above. Also, it doesn’t appear Kit has added the free WordPress plug-in that would make her site show up more effectively on smart phones. I strongly suggest doing that.
Thank you both for all the comments. Just what I needed. We get too invested in our creative products so it is really useful to have some one else critique them objectively. I am going to work on the suggestions.