Phone 0488 406 050
Tropical Coast Web Design

Be there for customers 24/7 (even when you’re asleep)

Sit back for a moment and think of a business that you deal with regularly – one that you enjoy returning to time after time. Now, delving a little deeper, why do you go back to that particular business each time? Is it just for the price of the goods and services?

Chances are (with the exception of the big chain stores), it’s not – you go back for their customer service.

At the end of the day, businesses are often not remembered by the goods and services they provide. They are remembered for the helpfulness of their customer service and the promptness with which it is given.

To the small business owner, time is always valuable and providing a customer service that is high quality, helpful and prompt can take a fair chunk of this time. Fortunately, with the right systems in place, you can provide this level of service through your website.


Here’s five website-based systems that could work for your business:

The Helpdesk

Easy to install on most content management systems, a helpdesk provides a simple form for customers to complete which is sent directly via email to the business. With this system, unless you have staff available 24/7, be sure to indicate on your site the hours that the form will be supported. Outside of these hours, link the Helpdesk straight to the FAQ (see below).

LiveChat

A very popular option, this system incorporates a small pop-up chat window (usually in the lower right of the website screen) that is answered by the business’ staff. When staff are not available (i.e. serving customers in a physical store), most live-chat systems will display a message asking the visitor to leave a question that will be answered ASAP.

Troubleshooting Guides

These guides can come in a variety of forms, the most popular being factsheets and tutorial videos. Without taking valuable time to answer the same question from a multitude of customers, a guide can help the customer work through the problem themselves. A great example of troubleshooting guides can be found at the front counter of any Bunnings store with their variety of how-to pamphlets.

FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions)

Similar to the troubleshooting guides above, the FAQ of a website can be built over time to answer those questions that pop-up repeatedly. With a FAQ, you only have to answer it once and that answer is then available to anyone with the same question in the future. An additional part of an FAQ can include a “smart” form that starts looking for an answer as you begin to type – like Google does when you start to search.

Community Forum

Provided you can generate a “following” for your products and services, a forum is great for customers to start helping each other. Users can post questions and they can be answered by either other forum members or members of staff that are available. Once a forum starts “rolling” along, they can be very effective in generating a “tribe” of followers for a business.


Start small and build your support system over time using the questions that you hear every day. By using actual customer enquiries, you can answer exactly what your cliental needs to know without having to re-invent the content yourself. And by simply setting aside a small amount of time each day/week, you can build a resource that will not only save you time and money but can help your customers even while you sleep.

Note: If you opt to use the non-automated systems such as LiveChat and Helpdesk, your staff must ensure that answers are provided as soon as humanly possible, especially with LiveChat where a customer may be waiting for the answer.

Is your small business website becoming a DINOSAUR?

The internet is getting older (29 years old now!) and accordingly, some of the sites online are starting to show their age.

As I have blogged in previous posts, the look of your site (and how it works) can often determine whether a site visitor converts into a customer. It’s time to take a good hard at your site and determine whether it needs a makeover!

Can you maintain your own site?

Fresh content on your site is still the king when it comes to engaging your customers if not attracting the attention of Google (not quite as important as it used to be). To allow easy updating and contributions to your site, do you have a CMS (content management system) installed? Joomla and WordPress are two of the most popular options at the moment allowing site managers to add information and expand their sites without involving a web designer/programmer. If you can’t do this to your own site, maybe it is time for an upgrade.

Does Your Site Still Work?

Some site owners may not even know the answer to this question because their websites have been neglected for so long. Jump online, load up your site on your favourite browser and pretend to be a customer for a while. Do all the navigation links still function? Is the site content relevant to today’s target market? Can you purchase items successfully via your online store? Haven’t been getting much business via your site? This might be the reason!

Do You Have a Frankensite?

If a site has been online for several years and you (and your employees) have continued to add content/imagery/pages to it, the site may have become what is known a Frankensite. A Frankensite is a website that has lost its direction and now looks like a freakshow of links, scattered text, and irrelevant images. The pages have plenty of information to sift through but no real goal or call to action. Site visitors may even get a little lost in there. It’s time to sort out the garbage with an online purge or maybe a full re-design.

Got a Flash website?

Are parts of your old site utilising Flash? You have probably already noticed this but chances are your site is no longer visible on many people’s smart phones. Apple and Android do not natively support Flash (Apple never did) and, as a result, if your site is written is coded in Flash, visitors won’t see a thing. If only small components of the site are, those won’t appear either. With the advent of CSS3, PHP and HTML3, Flash is a dinosaur that is fast becoming extinct.

Is Your Site Social?

No need to explain the benefits of Social Media here but if your site does not incorporate feeds from your Social Media channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc), then you are not utilising your site to its maximum benefit. With modern day CMS’, you can quite easily add the platforms into your website and drag customers through that online door. In addition to attracting potential customers, every time you update your Social Media with a post or tweet, your site will automatically display that as fresh content.

If you own or manage a site, take the time to divert from your day-to-day business and log onto your website. Considering the points above, check what you have online and see if work needs to be done to enable your website to become the effective marketing tool it should be.

How to Revive your Website – with a formula used by Gordon Ramsey!

In the television show “Kitchen Nightmares”, celebrity chef and businessman, Gordon Ramsey, visits a different struggling restaurant each episode and spends a week there trying to turn their fortunes around. Always very clever in his methods and very VOCAL in his actions, Ramsey seems to have the magic “formula” that can take even the direst restaurant and turn it around in a number of days.

That formula can be easily adapted to any kind of industry, not just into hospitality. If you are willing to apply honesty and commitment to the process, the “Ramsey Formula” can also be used to revive an underperforming website and turn it into the customer conversion machine that it needs to be.

After watching (too) many episodes of “Kitchen Nightmares”, here’s the formula for reviving a website as I see it:

Get PASSIONATE about your Website

The commitment and passion that you (hopefully) feel for your actual business needs to be reflected on the pages of your website. After all, it is the online extension of your business.

Your website can be so much more to your customers than just an online brochure – but only if you COMMIT to making it so. The site’s appearance and its content should reflect the passion that got you into your business in the first place. It should also reflect your personality – you are a real person and need to come across as such. Customers will respond better.

Who are your CUSTOMERS and what do they WANT?

There’s no point examining your current website and its strengths and weakness unless you have a clear snapshot of who you target audience is. Anyone who has undertaken a Facebook Ad will have used the “wizard” for determining your target audience according to age, gender, location, etc.

Tailor-make all of the content so it is directed straight at your desired audience. If you can identify who they are, it makes the process easier to identify what they are looking for and give it to them.

Ramsey demonstrates this in one episode where he visits an old English pub and finds them cooking fancy al-la-carte meals. He quickly identifies this as one of the business’ problem and switches them back to what the pub-going public want – pub food!

Time to get BRUTAL

Chef Ramsey is good at this bit – he calls it “finding your bollocks”…

Stand back. Take a good look at your current online offering from the eyes of your target audience. Can they get exactly what they are looking for? Is it easy to access? Can they make a purchase quickly and simply? Is there fresh content that helps them do what they want to do? And most importantly, can they engage with the business through the site?

And remember, be honest. You might be in love with your site but is your customer?

Once you have identified the site’s “failings”, it might be time to trim the fat.

Whatever you have to do – embrace the change and make it work!

Is your site good at ANYTHING?

On “Kitchen Nightmares”, Chef Ramsey encourages restaurant owners to find a niche and use it as the drawcard to the business.
As the business owner, get in contact with your customers and use their feedback to identify the key item that your website does very well. This item (depending on what it is) could become the main drawcard of your website and draw potential customers into the site. Once they’re “hooked”, use your marketing skills to on-sell the other products and services that you offer.

Just remember to not offer so much that you can’t deliver (another lesson from Chef Ramsey).

I’m sure I’m not the only fan of the abrasive but clever Gordon Ramsay and his methods – so please leave a comment below on how you have used a “Ramsey” method in your own business. My comment area looks a little sad and neglected at the moment (one area I intend to work on), so I’d love to hear from you.

Five rules for effective use of fonts on your website.

One of the key features of a visually engaging website is the typeface – the fonts used to present the text information of a page.

Not restricted to the screen, fonts are used everywhere we look – advertisements, newspapers and magazines to name a few – and if they aren’t used correctly, textual information may be overlooked or an entire site could dismissed as visually uninteresting and deemed not worth viewing.

To avoid this, it is vitally important to understand the five key rules below for using fonts on your website.

Rule #1: Choose your fonts wisely.

Don’t select fonts to use on your site at random. Examine what you are already using in your business – on your business cards, stationery, advertising and even in the actual business logo. A typeface can say a lot about a business so choose those fonts that reflect the professionalism or general “feel” of your company. For example, if you are a solicitor, don’t use a font which would be more suited to a day care centre.

Rule #2: Pay close attention to font size.

Font sizes on a webpage should generally be limited to the three main areas where you will use them – in the main heading, subheadings and in the body text.

Choose the three sizes for these areas and stick to them, making sure that your web developer uses sizes that are responsive to screen size (i.e. mobile, tablets and desktops).

Rule #3: Don’t use a wide variety of fonts on one page.

As with the rule above, there are only three main areas where you should use a different font – main heading, subheadings, and body text. Even on these three, you may choose to use one font for headings (of any type) and a plain style font for body text.

Try to stick to a maximum of three fonts. You will also need to ensure that these fonts complement each other like colours do on a colour wheel. No need to be an expert in typology – your eyes will tell you which font’s work with each other.

Rule #4: Spacing is key to font legibility.

This rule has nothing to do with the fonts themselves but more about how those fonts are spaced. White space is essential on a website to ensure that the content does feel cluttered to the viewer and all content is legible and easy to read.

Allow larger spacers above/below headings and ensure that your body text has a line height of at least 1.5 (similar to what would be used in a Word document). Once again, check all versions of your website for spacing on desktop, mobile and tablets.

Rule #5: Colours can kill a font.

In the early days of the internet, webpages were mostly text on a dark background. To emphasise various elements, web designers used a variety of colours to grab attention and the results were horrendous.

In the modern of the ‘net, we have a variety of tools at our disposal to grab attention so try to limit the use of multiple text colours in your website. My advice would be to stick to your brand colours for headings and use a plain colour for body text.

Final note: When choosing fonts to use on your website, be sure to check the copyright usage of each. Some fonts are free to use across the internet and others need to be purchased. Some fonts are licensed for desktop use only and are not permitted for use on websites. If you are not sure about a font you are using, search the name of the font on Google to avoid any potential copyright issues you might have.

Tropical Coast Web Design