Chamber monthly luncheon focuses on Websites
On Oct. 7, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce hosted its October virtual business luncheon featuring Grow with Google trainer Pamela Starr, a leading authority on building customer loyalty. She addressed the topic “Making Your Website Work for You,” sponsored by SCORE, a volunteer business mentoring organization funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
President John Lai explained the relevance of getting Websites ship-shape now, as the chamber sets up a Holiday Luminary page to spotlight local businesses and link to their sites for the Dec. 4-11 event.
“We know this is going to be one of the more unusual holiday seasons we’ve seen,” he said. “With Luminary evolving to a week-long event and a much more robust virtual presence, it’s important to be set up for online visits and ordering. Our dedicated Webpage will give visitors an opportunity to visit your businesses online.”
Starr, a popular speaker for the chamber, applauded this year’s “Coastal Distancing Edition” of Luminary for driving traffic to member sites during the busiest buying season of the year.
“This is a great opportunity to take another look at your Website,” she said, noting that many businesses pay little attention to theirs once the site is built. “We live in a world today where people are obviously spending more time at home, which means they’re actually spending more time shopping at home.”
Those not quite ready to launch a full-blown e-commerce site can still make better interactive use of their Websites with tactics such as video appointments, fundraisers and contact-free payment options, Starr said. Businesses should assess their sites to determine if they are goal-oriented, well-organized, useful, functional, intuitive and search-friendly.
“You absolutely want to make strangers find your Website,” she said. Starr advised looking at one’s Website like a random stranger would in terms of navigation and usefulness. “You want it to be more than just an online brochure,” she said. “It should build a brand, generate leads, make sales, re-engage customers, find employees and provide support to customers.”
Starr emphasized the importance of making a Website fully functional on smartphones, from which 50 percent of searches originate. To improve search engine optimization success, she recommended a search bar at the top of each smartphone Webpage, restricting each page to one topic, and functional page titles and descriptions that are likely to appear in searches. Searches, Starr explained, are rarely one word, but more likely a phrase or even a sentence.