Site chat apps do generate leads which do turn into sales. I am a living testimony to that. Since I have installed the Drift app, which is an online chat app, I have had about 20 chats, some just about questions but four about services. One moved into contract and will spend about $2,500 for my services.
I’d say that having the chat function on my website has been good for business. What’s even better is that I am always on, but do not always enter a response immediately to a chat. Even with a live chat function, you can have weekends and a real life. Your business does not need to own you.
I do feel that my prospects do like the friendliness and immediacy of live chat. The paid version of Drift, which I am using as a free version, does has an automated bot that fills in the gaps with responses which is nice and I may upgrade to it if I get more big sales.
I find that the really serious clients start out on the chat app but then move readily to email and then to phone calls. The client that found me via my online site chat closed in less than one week.
So, if you are looking for more sales, I do recommend installing on your website an online chat function. Drift is just one of them to consider, but there are others.
I’ve saved the best and most important metric for the last post this week. Lead conversions or requests for information coming from your website (from organic search placement) are typically the top metric that top level executives watch to determine if their website is successful. Website design is important but what really drives lead conversions is the content, communicated transparency, and culture of the business.
What you say, how you say it, and the depth of experience in your field that you show on your website works to communicate that you care about your potential customers and effectively explains how you can help them. By communicating your business culture in your content, you differentiate yourself from others in your industry and create a position of authority that search engines typically will reward with organic placement.
It’s great to have a pretty website, but if that website does not make your phone ring and you don’t get regular information requests from your contact form, it is key to take a very close look at your website content.
It may be that you simply do not have enough content to make an impact on your potential customers.
Your content may be too technical or too simplistic to resonate with your audience.
There may be no call to action to encourage a reader to take further action.
You may communicate too many specifics that really should be detailed later in a contract and not in the initial interaction.
Your message may not be clear as to what you offer and can do.
Features and benefits may not be clearly detailed setting your product or service apart from similar offerings.
Periodic review should additionally be done on your website content. What was great and resonated with your audience five years ago may need updating to reflect new services, interests, and trends. There is simply no reason why your website should not be working hard for you. If your’s is not, it may be time to check with us for a website review.
In my series on website metrics, today I want to talk about website activity. The tool I like to use to measure website activity is Google Analytics. By installing a small snippet of code on your website you can track visitor traffic. Although you will only be able to see aggregate information, the data can be used to revise your website to generate strong returns.
I will typically monitor where traffic comes from (paid versus organic), the keywords used in search engine search queries that drive traffic to a website, the location including country and state for traffic, and even popular pages. In the new version of Google Analytics you can even monitor visitor traffic in real time on your website. I particularly like the page funnel views that show navigation paths from and to popular pages.
I feel that by analyzing your website traffic you can identify whether your website is working as a lead generation engine for you. By carefully monitoring your bounce rate, page traffic, and keywords and then revising your website to cater to your desired visitor you can improve your reader’s online experience plus drive sales.
If you are not using Google Analytics and believe it or not there are still some websites out there with no analytics tracking installed, it is time to quickly implement the code. Accounts and tracking are free.
You can’t find out if your website is working for you if you never take a look at your website statistics! It is great to have a website and every business should have one, but sometimes just having one is not enough. Sometimes you need to “nurture” and “feed” your website to help it be the best promotion vehicle in your advertising arsenal.
When I say “nurture” and “feed” your website I mean specifically know what your website visitors are looking for when they come to visit, how long they stay, and what they do when they get there. I have found in many cases by a careful analysis of website statistics will allow us to recommend new pages, optimization, and areas for enhanced engagement with readers. Here’s just one example: from the integrated web search report we get for a client we found over and over that users were searching for a specific product. Based on this information, to make it easy for them to find it and to feed sales, we created new content on the home page to speak to this need and point readers to the shopping and more information sections on the product. In other cases, reviewing Google Analytics, we have found new search terms to use for optimization of content, new terms for AdWords programs, and services that readers are looking for and possibly not finding.
One key indicator to review in Google Analytics is a page’s bounce rate. Over 75% and you have some challenges that you need to address as your readers are not finding what they want or you are directing untargeted traffic to the page with pay per click programs and may need to add negative keywords to your program to cut costs and be more targeted.
A careful review of your website statistics can be used to really review your online health. It is more than a gage of how many visitors you have a day, the wealth of information can help you develop new services, cater to an audience, and more carefully target pay per click advertising. As Google Analytics is free, there is simply no reason you should not be tracking and reviewing what is going online with your website.
That’s the question everyone wants to know… is my website traffic high, low or in between. For small businesses that are not start ups and have been on the web for over a year, I feel that traffic under 50 unique visitors a day is low.
If your website figures aren’t even in the double digits on the average in a 30 day period, you really need to start working to build your website traffic. Why have a website if no one visits it and if it does not generate leads for you?
Here’s another benchmark if you have over 100 unique visits a day and you are a small business your traffic is definitely in the normal to good zone. Higher than that around 200 visitors a day and you are doing great. If you have 30,000 unique visitors a day, you’d better be on a dedicated server before you give yourself a big pat on the back.
So if your numbers are low what should you and what can you do to boost them. Here are just a few suggestions to consider:
Start blogging but only if you can install a blog under your own domain name on your parent website’s server. That is really key! Offsite blogging won’t help you in this area.
Think about writing and syndicating articles at Google Knol, Go e-articles, ezine.com and other sites. The key here to your traffic will simply be the quality of your writing and the timeliness of your content.
The easy path is to drive traffic to your website with Google AdWords or MSN adCenter (for Yahoo and Bing). When you don’t have time to do the other things this is very workable. Pay per click costs but the traffic you can generate immediately to expose the world to your services and products is well worth the investment. Just make sure you are targeted and don’t create a branding campaign that just brings your impressions and clicks.
Work all your angles! Do you have friends with websites on the Web? Get links back from them to your site. Consider doing guest blog writing. Tap into your network. If you are a member of a national or regional association ask if you can guest write for their online archived newsletter or blog. You want links and exposure.
These are just a few ideas to consider. Typically pay per click as it is the easiest is the route most people will pursue when they have little web traffic. Take some time to make sure your website is generating the traffic you need to feed your business.
When it comes to your website you don’t want to be going “viral” by spewing malware. In the last month, I have helped two website owners whose blogs and websites were infected and had been banned by Google get back in business. It can happen to the best business really.
In fact, in the last two months two of the problems have been clients who have been hosted on Network Solutions. That’s a big firm and you would think that your website would be safe there, but in one case we found that the infection and re-infection was not coming from the outside but rather from Network Solutions internally. It appears that their systems had been compromised and the source of intrusions were coming from their own servers. That’s really a terrible situation and devastating to their own web hosting business.
One of the other sites was hosted at a small webmaster either in a privately branded enterprise or on a server in his own office. We’ve also seen sites on GoDaddy be compromised as well recently.
So what’s the best solution? I tell my clients that really any host could have this problem, but you have a better chance of being malware and hack-attack free when you use a mainstream host. Personally, I like Hostway. My own website has been hosted at Hostway since 2001 and many of my own clients. I have not had a single incident on my own site or on my Hostway hosted client sites. Yes, you will pay for improved security when you work with a quality mainstream webhost, but ask any of the victims I have worked with recently and they would have paid it willingly if they could have only known what problems being infected would cause as well as the expense to repair the damage.
In some cases Google will tag a site in the search index if it spiders malware spewing code on a website page. There is nothing more devastating than seeing your site with a warning on Google. You literally will be shut down and may even take a “black eye” with customers when this happens to you.
One of the best ways you can make sure you aren’t spewing malware is to list your site in the Google Webmaster control panel and keep an eye on your own organic search placement. In the cases I have worked on, two had the warning notice on Google.com and only one had a notice in the webmaster control panel. But there were other signs such as funny keywords appearing as queries in your Google Webmaster results, and funny code appearing as your meta description in search results.
You’ve just got to keep an eye on your own web presence and use any tools you can to make sure you don’t become the next victim for the criminals that want to use your site to spew their malware. Be vigilant to be safe!