Monthly Archives: May 2012

What makes a good contact page?

One of the most important pieces of ‘real estate’ on your website is your contact page. After all, that’s how your customers will find you so it needs to be easy to find and easy to use.

The best contact page includes a contact form, which allows people to put in their name, email address and a little note about what information they are seeking. But as a back-up, you should also have an email and phone number listed in case the form is not working for one reason or another (or if people want to take down your details and contact you later).

Here are five keys to unlock the secrets of a good contact page:

Simplicity: Keep things simple. A basic contact form which allows the user to put in their name,  email address and a note is all you need. Sure it may be tempting to get a phone number, street address and the name of their first pet. But the more details you ask for, the more likely people are to shy away. People like their privacy and are afraid that if they give you a phone number you’ll be ringing them at 6pm on a Friday just like every other outbound telemarketer in the world.

Mind your manners: Don’t demand that people fill in the form. Be polite, – say please and thank you and let them know how much you appreciate each and every customer contact.

Respond as soon as possible: Even if it’s just an autoresponder that lets people know their email has reached its intended destination. And make sure that the response includes a timeframe for you to get back to them personally. Most people understand that you can’t always respond immediately, but like to have an idea of when to expect a call or email.

Oops: As well as a response to say the email has been received, you should have one that shows there has been an error. If it is in the way the form was filled in, then be precise about what happened. There’s nothing worse than a message that says “you missed a bit” but doesn’t say what the bit is! And if the error is technical, then make sure the customer has an alternative means to contact you

Call to action: If you want people to contact you through the form, have a call to action on every page which redirects them to the contact form. That way it is front on mind at all times.

Direct Sites Online can develop contact forms for your website to ensure no potential customer goes unnoticed. Contact us today on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.

 

5 ways to increase online sales

If you run an online shop, chances are you’d like to see more sales (even Amazon probably wants more sales!). Here are a few ideas to increase you conversion rates.

Track visitors: Use a tool such as Google Analytics to find out where your customers are from, how long they are staying on your site, how many pages they visit and how they are finding you. Then use that information to your advantage. For example, if you find people are leaving before they create an account, maybe your sign-up process is too cumbersome.

Social media: I bet you’re sick to death of us continually bringing up Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but, honestly, the benefits of social media are vast – particularly for online stores. You can use Twitter or Facebook to create a buzz about an upcoming sale, to post images of newly-arrived products and to do some basic market research into what makes your customers tick.

Promotions: Heavily discounting on a sale can be counter-productive as people might just wait for sales before putchasing, but offering something like free shipping for orders over a certain amount might encourage a customer to buy extra products to get the bonus. And they will remember your offer and probably return time and time again.

Google: Make sure your developer has submitted your site to Google’s shopping search, that way your products will be on show when someone specifically searches to buy them. And don’t forget to track the conversions.

Various payment options: Some people don’t have a credit card, some don’t like using direct bank transfers, while still others wouldn’t know what Paypal was. So make sure you offer plenty of payment options that are readily obvious on your site – the more options, the more conversions.

Direct Sites Online can turn your site visitors into customers. Contact us now on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.

 

Why your website needs testimonials

There are several must-haves on any business website – an optimised landing page, information about the business and the people behind it, clear and easily-found contact details and testimonials (or reviews).

Here’s why testimonials or reviews are important.

Trust

Testimonials can improve your brand’s trustworthiness. If someone has landed on your website via Google and knows nothing about you, the fact that you gave a satisfied customer excellent service and an outstanding product will help build trust in your product or service. Testimonials are almost as good as a recommendation from a friend. And on the flip-side, if you open yourself up to reviews, customers feel you have nothing to hide and have confidence in your brand.

Market research

Reviews and testimonials should be able to tell you at a glance which of your products and services are popular and which ones can be withdrawn. Yes, sales will do this as well, but all they show is what sold – not whether the customer was happy with the purchase (unless, of course, you happen to be on the receiving end of a vicious complaint). Testimonials and reviews also allow you to place well-liked products or service in a prominent position on your site, hopefully leading to more sales.

Quality improvement

While negative reviews are never good news, they can help you fix a situation in which the customer was not entirely happy. It may be that the product or service needs to be improved, or that the customer had a lousy experience with your sales staff. By dealing with complaints swiftly and effectively, you can turn disgruntled customers into local brand ambassadors

Great content

Reviews and testimonials are often keyword rich, user generated content – and there’s nothing Google loves more! So they can improve your search engine optimisation, thus driving more traffic to your site. You don’t even have to lift a finger or pay a cent!

And now here’s a useful tip: you can draw attention to your reviews and testimonials by adding a rating system to allow people to quickly see how each product or service measures up.

If you want more conversions through your website, then call Direct Sites Online today on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com and we can help turn your customers into your best marketing tool

 

Choosing a font for your website

Here at Direct Sites Online, we have blogged about the importance of good design, good content and the right colours for your website. There is another area to consider – fonts.

Obviously, you want people to be able to read your site when they arrive, so the importance of a clear font cannot be overstated.

So what options do you have?

Serif v Sans Serif

Serif fonts have those little dangly bits at the end of the stroke, whereas sans serif fonts don’t (from the French sans = without) Sometimes personal preference comes into play – some readers naturally prefer one or the other – but here are a couple of things to consider.

Serif fonts tend to convey the following qualities: artistic, stately, traditional, conservative or intellectual.

Sans-serif fonts, on the other hand, feel technical, cool, clean, crisp, youthful, modern and uncluttered.

PC v Mac?

Some fonts look different depending on the operating platform. Arial, for example, looks better on a PC, while Helvetic is great for Mac users. Since you don’t know what type of computer your customers are using to browse, you are best to stick to a typeface such as Verdana – which was only invented in 1996 particularly for the Web. It’s a sans-serif font but does have a traditional “feel”. It’s also best to use a font that is pre-installed on both PCs and Macs – if you use an unusual font, and the computer that is browsing your site does not have that font installed, it will settle for a near-enough-is-good-enough option.

Standard serif fonts include Times New Roman or Georgia; standard sans-serif fonts are Arial and Verdana.

Font size

Again, you want people to be able to read the text on your website, so keep your body font size above 10pt, your subhead size about 12pt and your main head above 14 pt. Captions can be as small as 8pt.

Style

Use normal text throughout, with bold or italic for emphasis. But use both of these sparingly, and decide which one – don’t bold some words and italicise others.

It’s OK to use colour to get attention (for example, a red “call now”), but again use it sparingly.

Follow basic rules of grammar, capitalising when needed, but don’t use all caps – which is considered akin to shouting at your reader.

If you want your website to attract attention through good design, including fonts, or you just want advice, call Direct Sites Online now on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.

 

6 online marketing strategies that work

By now, we hope you realise the importance of every business including a website in their budget. But if you don’t also include marketing, your capital outlay is pretty much wasted.

There are approximately 400 million websites out there in cyberspace, growing every day. And many of them are probably your competitors. So if you don’t have a marketing strategy, your online presence will be ignored.

Here are six simple, yet effective, online marketing strategies that every business should  have.

  1. A professional website: Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But you wouldn’t believe the number of businesses that have a dodgy website, with links that don’t work, poor grammar and spelling, no call-to-action, unattractive design, non-intuitive structure. The list goes on. And, unfortunately, with all the do-it-yourself options out there, more and more people are trying to design their own website, only to find that it is not generating leads.
  2. Search engine optimisation: This goes hand in hand with a professional website. What it does is ensure Google and other search engines can “see” your site. There are several ways to do this, including meta-data, keywords, article marketing and genuine backlinks.
  3. A blog: Search engines don’t really like stagnant websites, and a blog that is regularly updated is a great way to keep your content fresh. As an added bonus, if you do it well, you could set yourself up as a subject matter expert, creating opportunities for further marketing (ie guest posting, media interviews and so on)
  4. Email Marketing: This is a great way to stay front-of-mind with current and potential customers. You can offer an incentive for them to sign up to a newsletter and voila – you start to build a valuable email database of people interested in your product or service.
  5. Social Media: I know we’ve gone on about this a lot,  but we can’t stress enough how vital it is to have a social media presence – at the very least Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s a great way to engage customers and drive them to your website.
  6. PPC: Pay per click advertising means you only pay when people click through to your website. Things such as Google Adwords and Facebook advertising is PPC, and are reasonably priced options for online advertising. A word of warning though – you need to choose your keywords carefully, otherwise your target audience won’t necessarily be clicking through.

Direct Sites Online has more than 10 years’ experience in online marketing, so if you want more traffic to your website, call us now on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com