The websites has to be interactive to keep the end user engaged and should lure the users to come back again. If you want to improve your website and make it more customer friendly and interactive, some widgets and tools can be added like blogs, discussion forums, chat engines, feedback module etc. However, if it seems like you do not have any idea how to improve the listing and where to do tweaks and changes, here are some things that might help in adding up sparks on your website.
Blogs - Blogs are a great source of information which attracts the readers to your website
Blogs are the detailed informational posts in reverse chronological order i.e; the recent post will appear on the top. It is better to hire a professional to write your blogs or someone who knows your line of work very well. Always prefer to write a blog on topics related to your line of business.
Tools - Some great free tools are available for blogging in the market like WordPress, Google Blogger, Tumblr etc.
Mobile-friendly - Almost everyone has a smart-phone in today’s world. Being a handy smart device, a mobile phone is prone to being accessed more frequently. With the changing trend, it is important to be adaptive to the changing technologies. The websites are becoming mobile-friendly. Being mobile-friendly means ‘ease of access’ and ‘faster to load’ websites for the mobile browsers.
Tools - You need the good knowledge of HTML5 for creating a mobile-friendly website. However, there are few frameworks and templates available, which can help you in designing the responsive websites. Few popular frameworks for creating Responsive websites are Twitter Bootstrap, Foundation, Skeleton, HTML5 Boilerplate, HTML KickStart etc.
Web Gallery - The quote,‘If you have it, then flaunt it’ is apt on this component. So why not have a web gallery. A gallery which can showcase your products, or top customer, or can display your creative work, or the photographs of yours of an event. This gallery can highlight the way you do
your work or the products you develop. This gives confidence to your prospective customers.
Tools - For creating a web gallery, you can opt between paid and free tool, few of which are jAlbum, Juicebox, VisualLightBox, TinyWebGallery and FlexSlider.
Testimonials - The testimonials gives a sense of confidence to the prospective clients. It is a good idea to have a small section on the home page, which can display the testimonials by your existing customers along with their name, designation and company name. This shows your commitment to your existing clientele.
Tools - Usually the testimonials are created with basic coding but you can always use SurveyMonkey, Bravo, Nimbb etc.
Feedback form - A feedback form is a great tool to connect with the people who are accessing your webpages. Make sure collecting the contact information of these users. The users who are visiting your website must be interested in your products/ services and collecting their contact information might help you in pitching them for new business opportunities.
Key Tools - There are multiple widgets and tools available for collecting, collating feedbacks, but some popular ones are WebEngage, UserSnap, SurveyMonkey, UserEcho, Opinion Lab and more.
Guest Book - The guest book is a good medium to get some testimonials/suggestions from the visitors visiting your website. It is a bit risky if not handled correctly. There are high chances of getting spam and viruses via guest books if not coded and secured properly.
Tools - Various scripts are available on hotscripts.com for creating Guest Books. There are multiple tools and widgets which are also available on net which can help in managing the guest book like BellaBook, PHPKode, Bravenet, Lazarus etc.
Discussion Forums - Discussion Forums are the best place to collaborate and discuss. The discussion forums opens a gate of belongingness with the websites. The users can register to post and can discuss on various queries related to product/service. This is a very helpful tool and can add up to the after-delivery service.
Other Tools - PHPBB and Discourse tops the list, but apart from these, there are more tools available for incorporating discussion forum functionality in your website like Vanilla Forums, miniBB, FluxBB, forums etc.
Chat - ‘Who does not like an instant response’. There is no better way to interact with your existing and prospective customers than a one to one chat. It is also a great tool for providing after sales service. A small box in the bottom corner to tell the user that ‘I am here to help!’ is quite appealing.
Tools - PHPonline, osTicket, Capterra, LiveChat, LiveHelpNow, Zopim, Netop and the list is endless. Choose whichever tool fits in your budget and meets your need.
The blogs, feedback forms, guest-books and discussion forums are great medium to interact and increase the popularity of the website but they are equally harmful if accessed by a malicious user. These allow the end user to get an access into the webserver and database using form fields. There are multiple techniques used by hackers to intrude into the system, like, SQL injections, spamming, cross-site scripting (XSS), Denial of Service (DoS) attack and many more.
A very common attack on blogs and discussion forums is by the spammers who spam until a limit that the web space starts filling up. This eventually leads a webmaster to either fix the issue or bar the entry via form fields.
Hence, it is always better to secure the form fields and use the POST method at the time of form submission. A good website developer can be hired who can do a quick check of the website from security perspective to ensure no open gates are left for hackers/ spammers.
There are multiple other ways as well to make your website more interactive and to get more hits. But whatever method you use, do ensure the validation and security of the inputs you might get from the end users. In case of any doubt, do not hesitate to invest in a good web developer.