Ten of the franchise industry’s top technology and consulting experts evaluated more than 175 franchise development websites to determine the best of the best.
After a year hiatus, 1851 Franchise’s Franchise Development Website Awards have returned to determine the most effective and engaging development sites in franchising. Over 175 websites were submitted and reviewed by a panel of 10 industry experts to determine which franchise brands rose above the rest as it relates to the overall look and feel of their development website.
“We created the Franchise Development Website Awards because the website plays such a critical part of the lead process, and there is no single source that aggregates the thinking of the best in the business to provide an educated glimpse into what success looks like,” said 1851 Franchise publisher Nick Powills.
1851’s panel of judges was comprised of 10 of the franchise industry’s top technology and consulting experts, including:
- Kay Ainsley, Managing Director at franchise advisory firm MSA Worldwide, spent more than two decades as a director of franchise development for several franchisors including Domino’s, and as an advisor to companies across the retail, restaurant and services industries, among others.
- Rick Batchelor is the CEO of Qiigo, an internet marketing company that develops customer lead generation programs for franchised and multi-location brands. He has an extensive background in technology, both inside and outside of the franchise industry.
- Steve Beagelman, president and CEO of franchise consultancy SMB Franchise Advisors, has worked in franchising for more than 30 years. Beagelman has been both an entrepreneur and a senior-level executive, giving him unique insight into growing, operating and building brands.
- Brent Dowling is the CEO of Raintree, a franchise sales solution specializing in lead generation and recruitment that offers a full suite of digital services for brands.
- Sean Fitzgerald, Chief Development Strategist at 1851 Franchise and No Limit Agency, has 25 years of experience as a franchisor and currently works with franchise brands on their sales and development strategies, digital and content marketing, lead flow management, candidate journey mapping and web design, among other things.
- Jamshaid Hashmi is the CEO of web marketing hub ClickTecs. Hashmi’s team works with businesses across the globe to build optimized websites and effectively manage their social media footprints and mobile accessibility.
- Joe Mathews is CEO of Franchise Performance Group, a franchise consulting and development firm that helps brands achieve market dominance through effective recruitment and marketing systems. Mathews has authored four books on franchising.
- Jack Monson is Chief Revenue Officer at Social Joey, a social media marketing company that works with brands to establish and grow their social footprints for improved customer retention and franchise recruitment.
- Michelle Rowan is the president and COO of Franchise Business Review, a franchise industry market research company specializing in franchisee satisfaction and validation as well as sales and validation process auditing.
- Thomas Scott is the CEO of Brand Journalists, a franchise lead generation company that develops custom websites and provides content marketing, video production, sales consulting and paid search and SEO services.
Judges evaluated each franchise development site according to three criteria: quality of site, quality of content and quality of form. Sites were scored on a five-point scale in accordance with these three criteria for a maximum score of 15 total points; the overall website rankings are based on a composite average of these scores.
The quality of site score for each franchise development site was determined in consideration of five subfactors: usability, UI/UX design, site performance, SEO and mobile accessibility. High scores indicated easily accessible, user-friendly sites from a design and technical standpoint.
The quality of content score was determined by the presence and strength of three subfactors: motivating content, calls to action and testimonials. Franchise sites that excelled according to this criterion told compelling stories that are specifically designed to drive action.
Because inquiry forms are the vehicle by which franchise brands receive relevant information from prospective franchisees, their presence and quality are critical. The quality of form score was determined in relation to location, depth and ease of application.
To highlight the best the industry has to offer, the top 20 brands with the best and most effective franchise development sites as determined by the judges will be recognized one by one over the course of the month.
What these 20 franchise development sites have in common, Powills noted, is that they recognize the ever-increasing level of sophistication of franchise candidates and effectively provide a detailed snapshot into the strength of the opportunity and brand behind them.
“The reality of it is that a website cannot put lipstick on a pig,” Powills said. “Brands still need great unit-level economics and a compelling case as to why them and why now for a franchise development website to really work. A strong site should guide the prospect toward making a decision on whether to inquire or not. Without a strong site, prospects won’t be as motivated to move through the process."