Creating a new website isn’t quite as simple as selecting a single piece of software anymore. Many websites are the combination of several different pieces of software. These different plugins work together to provide the functionality and features on the website. Your website works best with a combination of carefully selected web apps and plugins.
A website platform provides the basic ability to edit the look of your website and update pages. But, if you want to add the ability to book appointments on your website you will need extra software. Web apps and plugins are the pieces of software that add more functionality to your website.
Web functionality usually accomplished through web apps include:
- Email collection pop ups
- Subscription ordering
- Custom transactional emails
- Product upsell suggestions
The most popular website platforms will have the best selection of quality web apps. Third party companies build web apps for platforms. Therefore, web apps usually cost extra. We’ll take a look at the most common app driven website functionality.
Email Capture Apps
Email capture apps help you collect email addresses when people visit your website. Most people who visit your website never come back again. At least, they don’t come back for a very long time. For most retailers, it is startling to realize that. If you want to confirm this open your Google Analytics account. Take a look at the new vs. returning visitors report. Often, retailers are surprised to learn that 75% or more of their traffic is from first time visitors to their site!
If you don’t capture your visitor’s contact information you may lose them as a lead forever. This is where email capture apps enter the equation.
The most common form of email capture is a fixed text field below a message encouraging people to sign up. This text field is usually accompanied by a message like, “Sign up for our mailing list.” The text field is included in the footer of the website or on a sidebar.
Many websites also use pop ups. These pop ups ask visitors to trade their email addresses for a discount code or coupon.
Another option is to create a dedicated page on your website for email collection. This dedicated page offers valuable information in exchange for an email address. When a visitor provides their email you give them access to a video, blog or white paper on a specific topic.
Why do websites do this? Because it works!
Case Study – Power of Email Capture
Take Taylor Rental of Tampa for instance. This company added a pop up to their website and offered customers 10% off their next rental. It was a simple and a smashing success! Within a month they had collected nearly 1,200 email addresses.
What can they do with those email addresses? Email blasts, Facebook Ads and more! We’ll cover some that more in future sections. But once you have the information, you can retarget these customers who likely would never have returned to your website. The important first step is capturing the customer information.
The way you implement this on your website depends on your Email Service Provider or ESP and your website platform. Some of the most popular ESPs are MailChimp and Constant Contact. These platforms have their own functionality for adding email capture to websites. For example, if you use MailChimp and your website is on WordPress there is a plugin. You can install this plugin on your WordPress website to add email capture features.
If your ESP doesn’t have a plugin or app for your website platform don’t worry! There are also a number of third party companies like MailMunch that build integrations between ESPs and website platforms. They may have an app available to connect your platforms.
Finally, if you cannot find a plugin or connector you can contact your developer. Email capture functionality can be hard coded into your website’s code. Expect to cover the hourly cost of your web developer’s labor to complete the project.
Ecommerce Related Apps
Ecommerce platforms have apps too. For example, most ecommerce platforms do not have the ability to allow subscription orders. If you want customers to be able to buy something on a set subscription you will need an app for that. On Shopify, the most popular apps for subscriptions are the Bold Recurring Orders App, and the Recharge App.
The Shopify App Store has over 1,000 apps. So the possibilities are somewhat limitless.
Social Media Apps
Some stores display their Instagram feed on the homepage of their website. How do they do that? You’ve guessed it. Using an app!
Do you want to list your products on your Facebook page? There’s an app for that!
Do you want to put, “Share on Twitter” buttons on your blog posts? There’s an app for that.
Quality retailers are putting more investment into social media integration with their business. Apps allow stores to make the most of their social media investments. Stores use apps to connect their website, product information and social presence.
Retailers are familiar with the power of positive and negative reviews.
You can’t control the negative reviews on Google and Facebook, but you can control the reviews on your own website!
There are apps available for displaying positive reviews on your website.
Furthermore, online reviews on your products can have a big impact on sales. There are apps for product reviews. These apps display a star rating for each of your products. Customers trust online reviews and star rating. Positive reviews on your product pages can help turn website visitors into customers.
Do you want your website to have better SEO? If you’re on WordPress you can download the Yoast plugin to find out the areas you can improve your website’s SEO.
If you’re selling online there are apps like Bold Brain for Shopify. This app helps you improve sales on your ecommerce website.
Final Thoughts on Web Apps and Plugins
Websites aren’t static. Your website will need to change year over year. However, you don’t want to upgrade platforms every year. This is where apps come in.
Apps provide you with the flexibility to improve your website over time.
When you have an idea for your website your first thought should be, “I wonder if there is an app for that?” Then check your website platform’s app or plugin store.
Remember to budget for apps. They aren’t all free. Most apps range in price from Free to $100 per month. Even adding a few different low priced apps can add up in a hurry.
The quality of your website platform’s app store shouldn’t be an afterthought. It is an important criteria for determining where to park your site. Research, budget and add apps to your website to achieve peak performance. With the right combination of web apps and plugins you can create a dynamic website for your business.