The Short Story

Our earlier blog posts are available on our Frisco Websites blog.
Lots of useful tips over there!

Delayed response often means "No Sale!"

You saw reviews on what a business has to offer, and that's exactly what you want. 

You find directions and go there.

The business looks nice - you have come to the right place! 


  • No one offers to seat or serve you,
  • You look around and find someone to ask for service,
  • You are told that someone will get back to you in a few hours, or maybe a few days.

Isn't that pretty much the way your website treats its visitors?

It's no wonder that the great majority of people who go into restaurants or most stores will buy, while owners of small business websites would be thrilled to get even a tiny fraction of their visitors to convert to customers!

You can fix this!  Here's how:

Be available! Imagine if at the very moment that a visitor is reading a page describing one of your offerings, you could answer any questions ON THE SPOT for them... rather than making them go find your contact page, for a response long after they had moved on to other interests?

Be aware and proactive! What if, when someone is on a particular page your site, you could see that, and perhaps initiate a discussion of that product or service, or maybe a promotion that they may have missed?

Not surprisingly, sites with instant availability and proactive engagement convert visitors into customers at a much higher rate. Read on to see how it works for a few sites we have helped with.

How can this work for you?

First - instant availability! 

We inserted a snippet of code on the site, and now, when someone visits a page on the site, a "chat" option appears at the bottom of the page, giving the visitor the chance to engage with the site owner.  A visitor can begin a live dialog with just a click!

Next - awareness!

The website owner can monitor activity on the site as it happens. Here they see that a visitor has been on the site for 8 minutes, and this is their third visit to this page!

Might this be a person who, with a slight bit of encouragement, could become a customer?

Finally - be proactive!

The website owner has the option to "say hello" to the website visitor, while they are there.

The owner could always initiate a dialog when noticing someone looking at a particular page on the site, just as a store owner can engage with a retail customer that is showing a lot of interest in a particular product.

But since the owner is not likely to be watching site activity all the time, they can set their site so that, for example, if someone is on the site a while, a welcoming message can pop up. If the visitor responds, the owner's computer or phone signals that a visitor needs attention.

These sorts of actions can be set to only occur if the owner or a staff member is available, and the owner can  show a "leave a message" option in place of the "chat" at other times, if desired.

There are other options, for such things as "click and we will call you within a minute", for example.

Want something like this on your site?

We are using JivoChat ourselves and for our clients. Let us know if you want to try it out.

Not our client? You can try it out yourself - get a free trial using this link.

Bar the doors! Anti-Spam Feature Changing

If you thought that most of the "spam" you get on your website contact forms is coming from some bored pimply-faced adolescent with nothing better to do, well, that's not the case.

The spammers use a computer program to scour the Internet and find forms, ideally ones that that can be computer-completed with a set of answers to the likely questions.

A typical case: Unscrupulous "search engine consultants" (or whatever name they may be using) offer to get a lot of visits to a website for a price. If even a tiny percentage of a huge number of these result in "clicks", the "consultant" has delivered a surge in website visits.  (The fact that none of these "leads" are likely to be potential customers is not part of the sales pitch from the "consultant", of course.)

To deal with this, for years, websites have employed various tools on their contact forms to try and keep down the spam submissions. These tools are known generically as "CAPTCHA" tools, and are generally easy for humans to handle, but difficult for malicious spamming software.

Going awayOne of the most popular such tools came from Google, and it has been widely used.

But Google has announced that this version of their anti-spam tool is going away, and will not work after March 31, 2018. 

You should check the "contact me" or any other forms on your website for the now-obsolete version, which will look something like the image shown on the right (but can be in different colors).

Chances are, you have already seen the replacement for the that tool on websites you have visited:

The new version

In most cases it's even simpler for people, and is more effective than the one being discontinued.

If you have the obsolete version (shown at the top) on your website forms, contact your website developer right away, and get it updated.

Lock the doors! Nothing inside!

In the history of the Internet, encrypting what you send and receive on typical business websites was deemed necessary only when sending credit card information, to prevent leaking that information to someone who was, essentially, "tapping" your Internet line.

Google is changing that, though. They have announced that "Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a "NOT SECURE" warning when users enter text in a form" on an unencrypted page -- meaning that even just asking for name and phone number on your contact page will trigger that warning."

Firefox and the other browsers seem to be following suit.

They are warning the public that if someone is tapping their Internet line, that scoundrel can learn their name and phone number when they fill out your contact page.

Soon, and more significantly, they will show "not secure" on ALL web pages that are not being encrypted, even if you do not ask your visitors to submit anything. (Read Google's announcement here.)

It's your choice.

Many would say that a security "threat" such as this is negligible, but "perception is reality", so while some business owners might just ignore the warning and trust that their visitors will do so also, you might want to consider adding encryption to your site, so as not to deter any visitors due to Google's dire warning message.

Talk to your web team about enabling encryption on your website.


Tired of missing the target?

Missing the target with your online ads? Imagine you see an ad on TV, and call to place an order... and you then get a recording about the history of the company, how great the team is, that they are members of the association of blah blah blah blah blah blah

Are you doing the same thing with the most promising visitors to your website?

Someone looking for exactly what you offer sees a link to your site.

Maybe it is on Facebook, a professional association website, a Google ad, or the website of a related business.

They click on the link, go to the home page on your website... and get blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Result: They go away.

Instead, use Landing Pages

Set every external link to your website to point to a custom page that specifically addresses the topic of the link, and perhaps its source.

  • If the link is on the site talking about a product, the page should talk about that specific product, and why and how to buy.
  • If the link is about a consulting service you provide, have it go to a page about the specific service, how it will benefit the reader, and how to get started.
  • If it is a link from the Chamber of Commerce, let the page talk about how to get specials you provide for Chamber members.

You get the idea. When someone clicks on a link and goes to your website, their first reaction should be, "This is exactly what I was looking for!"

And it's really easy...

If you are using our Online Business Partner® service, just log in and find a page on your site that somewhat matches the interests of those prospects who would likely click to get more information, then select "Copy This Web Page".  On the copy, revise the content to focus precisely on the topic.

Use the link to this new page for your Google ad, Facebook post, or association directory. Repeat as necessary for other topics and link sources.

If you can't update your site easily, then a "standalone" landing page might be best. See for an example!

Writing Tips for Email Marketing

If you have their email addresses, email marketing can generate perhaps the highest return on investment (ROI) you can get. 1000% to 5000% returns are achieved by some clients!

Here are some tips for what to say and how to say it:

  1. Make it interesting, useful, and attention-getting. Your readers will unsubscribe if it seems pushy.
  2. Remember, "short is sweet". Compared to printed newsletters, write about half as much.
  3. People read email using their mobile devices.Expect that 60% or more of your readers will be looking at your newsletter on their mobile device. This pie chart shows the results of the most recent newsletter for one of our clients with 61.3% read on mobile.
  4. Bullet points and lists, not paragraphs.
  5. It's going to be viewed on a screen, not on paper. Your readers cannot read down one column, then easily jump back up to the top of the next column. Fancy formtting is your enemy... make it simple.
  6. Regular contact is important, if you want to take advantage of one of today's most economical and successful marketing tools.

Coming soon: How to reach out to your website visitors, when you don't have their email address.

Why email marketing?

Sometimes it is procrastination. (Like, this article was planned for weeks ago!)

Other times, the decision was made, but for a future date, and a timely reminder is all it takes.

Hirsch's newsletterMore often, whether it is a vacation destination, a home improvement project, or what to serve when some friends come for dinner this weekend, people turn to Google when they start thinking about it, possibly weeks or months in advance.

That's great for getting people to your website. But will they come back when it's time to buy, or will they go back to Google, and find another source for what they were seeking?

The best ROI, by far

If you offer your visitors a compelling reason to give you their email address when they visit your site, you can stay in touch with them, with a friendly and helpful newsletter.

One of our long-time clients, Hirsch's Meats, sends their customers a weekly newsletter, with a few weekly specials and a mouth-watering recipe that uses one of the featured products.

What happens? Those who hadn't thought about it are now exposed to a tasty option for a special meal. Anyone already planning such a meal are reminded to stop by the shop. Either way, the customers win, and so does the shop.

No one gets the newsletter unless they have expressed an interest. The business owner can easily track the redemptions of the "specials" at the shop, and also monitor how many of his customers open the newsletter.

Open rate for Hirsch's newsletterIt's effective and measurable.

The cost is just a penny or two per customer who actually opened the newsletter.

The ROI can be easily monitored.

Customers can unsubscribe with just a click.

Talk to us if you would like to incorporate this tool in your business.

Coming soon: Tips for writing an email newsletter.


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