Checklist for Dispensary Website: 30 Tips for Success

Posted on April 12th, 2023 to Dispensary Marketing

New dispensaries are popping up at a rapid rate, and many markets around the country are facing intense price compression and competition. In this environment, a less-than-stellar website can seriously impede your brand’s success and profitability. Here are the most important factors to consider for your dispensary website:

  • Exceptional user experience
  • Flawless website performance
  • Optimized Google business listing
  • SEO strategy with content production plan
  • Integrated marketing tools

Before you settle with a cannabis dispensary website you assume is as effective as it should be, there are certain things to evaluate. Check out this comprehensive checklist for dispensary websites to make sure your efforts garner the traction you need as a cannabis retailer.

1. Exceptional UX

Did you know that 88 percent of customers are less likely to revisit a website if they had a bad user experience (UX)? How about the fact that 79 percent of website visitors say they will look for another site if the first one they visit does not meet their expectations?

UX is king if you want your cannabis dispensary website to keep traffic on your site and not bouncing in search of another place to spend their money. Here are five criteria to evaluate the experience visitors will have when they land on your site: 

2. High-Res Photos and Video

Make sure you give a clear portrayal of your brand’s identity with high-quality photos and videos (and yes, that includes your logo!). It’s often better to use stock images than to use a grainy iPhone picture!

3. Well-worded, easily digestible copy

No walls of text! Keep your website to the point, particularly on the homepage, with short written copy and the use of icons, imagery, and video to help tell your story.

4. Clear calls to action

Make sure visitors can easily find the information they are looking for by including buttons ‘above the fold’ to direct users when they first land on your site.  This includes making sure that your store location is clearly stated!

5. Responsive design for mobile devices and tablets

Make sure users get the possible experience on your website, no matter how they find you or what device they are using.

6. Straight-forward site framework and navigation

Make it easy for users to get around your website, with clear menu navigation and minimal clicks to get where they want to go. 

7. Flawless Website Performance

Cannabis is a new experience for many customers. Why does this matter with website design? An ill-functioning website can turn off buyers who may already be a bit nervous or apprehensive. A smoothly functioning website will improve your chances of converting traffic into sales. Make sure your website checks the following boxes:  

8. All links work and lead where expected

Nothing is worse than hitting a menu button that doesn’t work or repeatedly having to click through the age verification step. 

9. Your website loads quickly

Have you tried to load your website on mobile? If it’s taking longer than the average Millenial’s attention span, chances are you’ll be losing some sales.  

10. Properly sized images and graphics

Compressed images load faster and function more efficiently on mobile devices. Make sure you are using image files like .JPG or .PNG that are meant for websites.

11. No unnecessary plugins

Plugins are a great way to customize your website to your needs. But many web builders come with a bunch of plugins built in that you may not need, slowing down your site and causing potential security vulnerabilities.

12. Site is ADA compliant

The American with Disabilities Act has Standards for Accessible Design that make sure your website is compatible with assistive technology like screen readers. This is key to making sure visitors have the best possible experience on your website, but also is a factor in Google’s Search algorithm.

13. Optimized Google Business Listing

Google Business may not be your website per se, but it has everything to do with making sure your website gets noticed. Make sure your Google Business profile is filled out completely, right down to including pictures of your storefront and embedding a link to your website. Otherwise, your dispensary may never show up in local search results. Some things to make sure you’re doing: 

14. Input your business name, address, phone number and hours

This should be a no-brainer, but including this basic information helps Google display your business to the right people and then helps those people choose to shop with you! 

15. Use all available fields – including the order link!

Google gives you a number of fields including Q&A sections and the ability to link directly to your ordering page. Taking advantage of these fields give more information to both Google and your customers that can help win you more traffic. 

16. Upload photos

Add photos to your listing that highlight all your business has to offer! Professional photos work best, but as you continue to add photos over time (which is also important!) user-generated content can work as well! 

17. Link to the right page

The website button on the main listing should link through to the appropriate page on your site. Particularly if you have multiple locations, you want to drive users to the page for the location they are searching.

18. Avoid keyword stuffing

It can be tempting to add valuable keywords to your Google Business name like “dispensary” or “adult-use” but unless they are part of your legal business name or DBA, it’s best avoided. Read more about Google’s guidelines here.

19. Content-driven SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about optimizing traffic flow to your dispensary website by making key changes to enhance organic visibility. Organic online searching accounts for over half of all website traffic. SEO can get pretty deep and technical, but there are so many surface-level objectives that can be completed to make a huge difference. A few important elements of a good SEO strategy include:

20. Making proper use of meta title tags and descriptions

Using effective meta data is integral to Google understanding the content your page offers. Be succinct while including your top keywords to let Google further understand what your page is offering.

21. Weaving on-site content with keyword-enriched phrases

Does the content on your site have targeted keywords? Site content should have a purpose and creating rich, engaging content with target keywords is a great way to help your pages rank.

22. Implementing an internal linking strategy

How a user is able to navigate through your site is important. Make sure they (and Google!) are able to logically get to all of the pages you want them to see with a great internal linking strategy.

23. Generating backlinks

Other websites and businesses referring to your website/content tells Google that you are a trustworthy source of information. Building out great content will help to generate backlinks, which in turn will help to increase your website’s rankings.

24. Create a Great User Experience

Google rewards a great user experience on your website with higher rankings. Make sure your site speed is healthy and that you are presenting content in an engaging way.

25. Integrated Marketing tools 

Cannabis dispensaries can be rather limited in terms of direct advertising.Therefore, it’s important to take advantage of the tools we do have! And tying them into your website is a key part of that. Here are some things to consider:

26. Embedded (or native!) dispensary menu

You don’t want customers clicking on a link on your website that leads them somewhere else. It’s great to have your menu included on sites like Weedmaps or Leafly, but if they’ve already come to your website, it’s best to keep them where you have control over the customer journey!

27. Setup with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is perhaps the most important tool on your website for understanding your audience. It can help you understand who they are, where they come from, how they find your website and what they do once they’re there. Here are some tips to set up the new Google Analytics 4.

28. Capturing emails

Email marketing is one of the few channels that cannabis companies can truly say what they mean and own their outreach. No shadow bans here! Make sure you’re doing your best to capture emails from your web traffic so that you can market to them later.

29. Embedded social media feeds

While social media is far less reliable for cannabis companies, it’s still an important part of your brand! Connect these channels to your website to get your customers engaged with more of your marketing channels and reinforce your brand.

30. Loyalty software

Customers on loyalty programs are more likely to be return customers and tend to have larger basket sizes when they do. Make sure to promote your loyalty program on your website and encourage sign ups!

How many boxes does your website check?

The bottom line is, your dispensary website establishes your cannabis brand in the modern world, sets you apart, gets you noticed. If your website’s not reaping you recognizable returns, something is likely off-kilter. If you’re having problems getting your website to work for your brand, we should talk! Reach out to the team at CannaPlanners to find out how we can help.

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Business Development Manager

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