Perhaps it’s a pet peeve. Perhaps I just know what I am looking for when visiting a small business’ website for the first time. But, it never ceases to amaze me how many websites are out there with their business’ contact and location information not readily available when first entering the site.
It’s not uncommon at all that people ask me, “How do I get more business from my site.” And usually, that person has the idea that more traffic automatically means more business. Or they expect me to answer with “SEO, Adwords, or just redesign the entire thing.”
Usually, the first thing I observe from their site is that their contact information only resides on the contact page or if it is on the home page, it’s very small and out of focus. So, if you’re a pizza place, I can’t help to scratch my head and ask the obvious and say, “Why don’t you have your phone number real big on every page so that people can immediately make the call easily so that they can order food.” Or, if you’re a real estate agent, “Why don’t you have your e-mail address dominant or an enticing contact button linking to a form so that people can make an enquiry about a property easily.” Or finally, if you own an art gallery, “Why isn’t your address, hours, and perhaps even a Google map available so that people can come in.”
It may seem almost silly to think that if a person really wants something they wouldn’t spend the extra 10-15 seconds to visit your contact page or to look your business up in Yahoo Yellow Pages. But the reality is, you only have a few seconds to grab a person’s interest on a website or to deliver them the content that matters to them before they make the decision to stay on your site or to go somewhere else.
So, ask yourself, “What is the goal of my website.”
If your goal is to have a person call or e-mail your business then your site should have the phone number and/or e-mail address dominant on every page. It should nearly equal the weight of your business’ logo. Our own website is an example of this in good use. Look at the upper right corner.
If your goal is to have a person fill out an inquiry form, have unique buttons in key locations of the site to draw them to that form. Also, if it’s possible to have a short-form, why not have it present on every page so that the user doesn’t have to go to a whole other page to get in touch with you. A great example of this is visiting DermaCenter. The footer of every page has a simple appointment form as well as other important contact information.
If your goal is to have a people actually come to your business, have the address present and bold. Include your hours of operation. Even go as far as to have a link to Google Maps to get directions or actually integrate a map onto your pages. Take a look at the Knapp Gallery. Every page has a box in the left column which contains the address, hours, and a direction link.
So going back to the original question of, “How do I get more business from my site;” there are tons of ways to optimize a site but it’s about getting the most bang for your buck. People are often surprised by the simple solution. Making your contact information and location information of greater availability to your user will significantly increase your conversion rate. It’s also an enhancement that can be made to your site, in most instances, for very cheap. This is an example of a simple solution that in fact, is more important than just bringing more traffic to your site. After all, what’s the point of having a site if it isn’t bringing the business?