Who Visits My Site? Website Traffic

Every single time a computer visits your site, that visit is tracked in your site logs. But site logs are awful to look at; the log is a list of IP addresses and, if you have a busy site, that list can be incredibly long. So your logs are painful to read but they also only give you a recent portrait – you can’t look at your traffic over the course of the last year, or what have you, unless you’ve saved them all. And you certainly can’t segment your traffic in any way that lets you analyze it. So you need a program to do that. Fortunately, there’s Google Analytics.

There are multiple website traffic programs, but the gold standard and the one that the vast, vast majority of site owners use is Google Analytics. I have written a post about Google Analytics. Also, I have given presentations about Google Analytics specifically geared to small business owners and solopreneurs. If you do not put Google Analytics or an equivalent program on your site, you will never know who visits your site. And therefore you will not be able to effectively market your business online.

Contacts from Clients

A lot of small business owners still imagine that if they get a website online that their phone will start ringing. Though that may have been true in certain niche industries 15 years ago, it’s not longer true. Getting the traffic can be really difficult.

But in addition to getting the traffic, you need to make sure you make it easy for your visitors to contact you. So, you need to decide how you want to be contacted.  You should have all your contact information on your Contact page and in your header or your footer. But you should try to emphasize the cway you prefer to be contacted on your page. So if you want people to call you, the emphasis should be on your phone number, not your email address.

 

Email

Your business email should be on your contact page and your header or your footer. You should only make your email the primary point of contact on your landing pages if it’s an email that is checked all the time. Email is certainly the easiest way of of contacting a website, but you should be aware that you will get some spam emails once you put your email address up online.

 

Fax

Do people still use faxes? This is a good question.

If you have a business fax line, you should include your fax line on your contact page. But don’t emphasize your fax number elsewhere unless you need people to fax in something to you. (Then you need to make it clear to them that they need this.)

 

Phone

Though a lot of younger people prefer using email to contact you, many older people still prefer the phone. You should always have your phone number available to people on your contact page and your header or footer. But you should not emphasize your phone number on your landing page unless you have the ability to answer it. If you do not have the staff to answer your phone during your hours of operation, it’s best to emphasize email.

 

Webforms

Every website should have a contact form on their contact page. But you can have these webforms on any page you want visitors to contact you. There are a number of advantages of webforms over email:

  • filter out spam
  • control the information your visitor is providing you.

With a webform, you can get your visitor’s phone number and email address and other relevant information the visitor may omit from an email. Here’s mine:

 

Chat App

There are now many chat applications available where a user can chat with your staff directly when they land on your website.

The advantage is that a user is prompted to communicate with you and you can attempt to convert them immediately. But there are a number of potential disadvantages:

  • You need to staff your chat app, which may not be possible if you are a solopreneur
  • Chat bots (automate chat apps) are still easily identifiable as robots, which can be off-putting
  • If you hire a service to run your chat app, chances are they will not know your business
  • If you do have a real person (staff or service) monitoring your chat app, you should be aware that they will have to deal with spam bots and, unfortunately, the same types of people you find in internet comments sections: they’re not serious about your business and they are crass.

Do I Need a Webmaster

Or: How to Perform Maintenance on Your Website

There was a time when every person or business with a website needed a webmaster, unless you built that website yourself (i.e. you knew what you were doing).

But times have changed. You do not need a webmaster who works for you full time or even part time. Depending upon your website, you either do not need a webmaster or just need someone you can call periodically.

 

Do I Need a Webmaster?

Type of SiteDo I Need a Webmaster?
Out-of-the-box site creator (Jimdo, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, etc)No
WordpressDepends upon your time level and expertise level
Drupal or JoomlaDepends upon your time level and expertise level
Custom built site without CMSYes

If you use an out-of-the-box site creator, you should never need to employ a webmaster. If you have trouble, these companies provide support.

If you use WordPress, you can learn the basics and rarely or never need a webmaster. (I can teach you how to use wordpress.) However, if you have custom code on your site, or if you do not have the time, it is useful to have someone you can call.

The same is true if you use a more complex CMS like Drupal or Joomla: anyone can learn how to run these sites but the most custom code you have, the more likely you need someone you can call.

Finally, if you have a site without a CMS – i.e. you live in the internet dark ages – you need a webmaster unless you yourself built that site.