Hat Trick Blog

Getting the most out of your website

added on Thursday 19th May 2016 at 11:22am


Tagged: Advice, Budget, Email Marketing, Geoff, Websites



Getting the most out of your website
Over the last 10 years, websites and what we think about them have changed dramatically. A website is no longer just a collection of informative pages (well it can be if you want!), it can be a complex web application such as Google or Facebook.

Many small businesses do not need a 'complex' web application but your website can still work for you and even help you while you sleep. We are going to look at 6 items that you can integrate into your website or use along side with your website with increase your efficiency and business potential.

1. Online Chat

A trend that seems to be getting more popular is the 'online chat' feature that you often see popping up in corner of a website. 

Advantages

  • The website visitor / potential customer can get in touch with you instantly and effortlessly to ask you a question or query.
  • People are used to online chat and are essentially leaving email and telephone calls behind. I know that I actually expect online chat on many websites I visit.
  • Many online chat service providers offer a great price and a selection of apps (iPhone, Android, iPad etc) so you can always be available when your website visitor needs you.

Disadvantages

  • Many online chat services offer a free service but this comes with limited features and options - meaning that you would have to pay to get the most of it (often it is not expensive though).
  • Your website is 24/7 but you are not. When you sleep people may try and contact you via the online chat feature but if you are not 'available' then it will give them some automated message so essentially they are not getting the instant answer they want - meaning they could leave and visit your competitor.

2. User Tracking

The idea behind user tracking is that you can see what your users are doing while on your website. We don't mean 'tracking' in a bad way but essentially you can see what is and isn't working for your website design.

Advantages

  • Tracking how your users interact with your website allows you to make intelligent changes to design and layout to optimise the conversion of your visitors to customers
  • The software is often easy to install onto your website

Disadvantages

  • This is not a new idea but you'll often find that is has not yet been perfected. Every stat that you look at or number you compare may not be 100% accurate
  • There is often a free version for you to try but this wont give you all of the information which is not really useful. Essentially you will have to pay for a service.



3. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to keep your customers / website visitors up to date when they are not actually on your website. You can share new product launches, company news, website updates etc. 

Advantages

  • Email marketing can be very simple, all you have to do is collect email addresses (with your users consent), create a campaign and send it when you are happy with it.
  • Everyone seems to have an email address these days and if they give you it then its obvious that they are interested and are more likely to pay attention to your marketing emails and click on any links you provide.

Disadvantages

  • There are many strict laws around email marketing / email collection / spam etc so you really need to use a service that follows them. This could be difficult to find if you are not sure what you are looking for.
  • Email marketing is essentially a service so it will cost you money but often marketing is an investment so although there may be a pay out initially, you can recoup the costs once you start sending out campaigns.

4. Social Integration

Having a website is such a fantastic way to get your business found online and to allow users to find out more information about you, your company, your products / services etc. You can add for example, a link to your Facebook or even a social feed showing your latest posts and pictures.

Advantages

  • Most (if not all) of the social networks have some sort of feed or card that you can add into your website to show your latest news and updates.
  • It's often very easy to add in a social media feed into your website - just copy the code and paste.
  • It's a great way to make users aware of your social media accounts. They might be on your website but not actually know you have Facebook. This can increase your social presence (more likes, followers etc) and let's you build up your social media empire.

Disadvantages

  • To benefit from this, you obviously have to have a social media account of some sort.
  • Adding these social feeds to your website means that when a user loads the page, more information has to be loaded. This could cause the website to slow down.
  • If for example Twitter has an issue with their social feed and they have to take it offline for a few hours then if a user visits your website - they are going to see a broken feed and may be put off if they don't understand what is happening.

5. Advanced Functionality

This is certainly a broad area but just imagine if your website could automate a process that currently takes you hours to complete? Advanced functionality brings new and exciting features to your website such as user login, file editing, chat rooms and other features that users have now come to expect.

6. Adverts

If you run some sort of website that offers content such as a forum or a news website then adding adverts could be something to think about.

Advantages

  • You can make money from the Adverts day or night.
  • All you have to do is add in the code for the Adverts on your website and let the provider do the rest (showing appropriate and relevant adverts).
  • You can choose what style of advert you want (a small text one up to a large popup video).

Disadvantages

  • Adding adverts could put some visitors off.
  • Although you don't control what adverts are shown, if something inappropriate displays to your users then they might complain to you or leave your website / service.
  • Because you don't control the adverts, it could show a similar product to yours and potentially get people to click away from you website and loose you a sale or a new sign up.