This article first appeared in the December 2010 edition of the Bam Ballyhoo, our semi-regular email newsletter jam-packed with tips and hints, and news from Bam Creative. You can subscribe to this great resource over on the Bam Ballyhoo page.

The goal for most websites (besides e-commerce and some not-for-profit ones) is to generate business leads. How many times have you visited a website, and found it difficult to get in touch? Often, I'd say. So doesn't it make sense that a website designed to generate business leads should do just that? Here's where many organisations get it wrong.

When we're reviewing other websites, we see the same classic mistakes over and over again. The secret to website success is encouraging contact, and lowering barriers to communication. Here are five mistakes we see regularly - how many mistakes is your website making?

Hiding your contact details
If your website is in the job of generating leads, shouldn't you be shouting your contact details from the rooftops? Don't hide your contact details on just the contact page - make sure they are prominent on your homepage and many other pages. Take a look at the Albany Holiday Park website as an example.Their contact details (Telephone, Fax, Address and a map) are on just about every page; making it easy for visitors to find them.

No calls to action
Too many websites have text that doesn't encourage contact. Take a look at successful online advertising - they typically use the words 'click here' on their banners. There's a reason for this: visitors respond well to calls to action. You should include the 'next step' copy on all sales pages of your website. For example, most pages of the Bam Creative website state 'To find out more about us, we encourage you to contact us' with a link direct to our contact page.

Not encouraging contact with friendly and informative text
Your website should have a contact page. It's standard practice, and users expect to find one linked in the navigation. Here's a secret though; many contact pages literally just list contact details. Websites that actually have introductory text above the details encouraging visitors to get in contact typically have better conversion rates than ones that just list the facts. A great example of this can be seen on the Social Business Australia website.

Difficult contact forms
Nobody likes filling in complex paper forms, and the same applies online. You should only ask the bare amount of information you need to, in order to respond to that enquiry. Avoid asking for physical address, ABN, position and other fields unless you really need them. For example, Ships of the Desert ask only for name, email, phone and your comments on their contact form.

Alternate contact methods
Despite the massive growth of email in the last decade, we find that people still like using other methods too. Don't simply have a form or an email address; list your telephone (with area code!), fax, postal and any other contact means (confusing with the others 'forms') as well. Take a look at the Bridal Creations website - they even include their showroom hours.

Now take a look at your own website. Spot any of the issues mentioned above? Most of them can easily be remedied using your content management system yourself, without our involvement. Don't have the time? Get in touch with us and we can lend a hand (see point two above!).