Businesses could be missing out on sales simply because their website contact details are letting them down.
That’s the verdict of website developer Martin Jarvis, who heads up Swindon-based DMJ Computer Services.
His company specialises in Wordpress website design, hosting and aftercare.
Martin and his team recently visited dozens of websites as part of a marketing exercise, and were struck by the very high number of issues they faced in making contact with the websites’ owners.
This, according to Martin, was simply because contact details were either incorrect or not fit for purpose.
Problems included contact forms which failed to submit, Captchas which were impossible to complete and email addresses which bounced or had been mistyped.
Some of the contact forms demanded so much information for an initial inquiry that the process was off-putting.
Martin said: “It’s hard enough for website owners to encourage visitors to get in touch with them at the best of times, let alone during periods of great economic disruption, as we are in now.
“A primary goal of most websites is to persuade potential clients to make contact. This would typically be through a combination of contact forms, comment forms, email addresses and telephone numbers.
"If it’s not clear how to make contact, or if the methods don’t work, then these websites may be largely ineffective.
“By making it difficult for site visitors to make contact, businesses are missing valuable leads and discouraging ecommerce purchasers.
"It might even lead to negative publicity, bearing in mind how easy it is for the disgruntled to take to social media to complain.”
Martin’s advice for improving contact details includes simple steps such as regularly checking that contact forms submit properly and arrive at their destinations, and that email addresses are correct.
Other measures include having clickable email addresses and telephone numbers (so they don’t need to be copied and pasted), installing invisible Captcha (which does everything in the background to avoid website visitors being inconvenienced) and using other anti-spam measures for contact forms.
Martin said: “We are also regularly installing live chat on websites. They are a really good way to allow visitors to engage in conversation whilst browsing. The chat box sits quietly in the bottom corner of the web browser, and can be clicked by a visitor to start a conversation.
"Of course, a live chat is only of benefit if it is properly monitored and any queries are quickly responded to. Having an unmonitored chat box may well annoy site visitors.”
DMJ is offering free short reviews of website contact details. For more information about this and other DMJ services, including a chat box installation and monitoring service, visit https://dmjcomputerservices.com/, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01793 740964.