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Streamline Your E-commerce Solutions for Customers

Posted Wed, March 12, 2014 by Julie Short

Taking payments over your website should be a painless experience for both your company and your customers. Finding the best solutions to streamline your e-commerce operations will depend on what you are selling, what payment options you want to offer, and how much control you want over the purchasing aspects of the website.
Never forget that when you plan to streamline e-commerce operations, it should be an easy process for you to manage. Look for the most efficient methods that fit into your budget while at the same time pleasing your customers.


Decide which payment methods you want to offer.
While offering only one payment method makes it easier for you to process payments, it limits customers’ payment options to the point where people may seek other companies who offer their purchasing preferences. Try to feature the basic payment features such as PayPal, credit card ACH and electronic funds transfer (EFT) with easy-to-use ordering tools and payment fields.


Decide how much control you want over your purchasing features.
You have several options on how to set up your e-commerce solutions. If you are tech-savvy, you might want to develop and set up your own payment methods using available e-commerce software. If you don't know much about e-commerce, it might make more sense for you to have an e-commerce service provider handle all the backend features and manage your purchasing system. Decide on all the features you want to provide for your payment methods and then pick the solution that best fits into your company's operations.


Promote repeat business with payment profiles.
Repeat customers don't want to have to fill in their information for every purchase they make. Allowing people to store their private payment information on a secure server makes the process easier, as customers can complete transactions in minutes through a one-click method. Stored information also gives mobile users an easier way to make payments on their cell phones or tablet devices, as they don't have to worry about filling in tons of required billing and shipping field boxes. Speaking of mobile users…


Don't leave out mobile users.
Mobile technology is on the rise, and more and more people are making their purchases on the go. Optimize your e-commerce site for mobile users by offering larger payment buttons that are easier to click on using small touch screens. Limit the number of field boxes that need to be typed in and sync specials between your online website and your mobile marketing campaign so mobile customers aren’t left out.


Take advantage of the abundance of available e-commerce solutions.
The most exciting realities of e-commerce operations are the limitless options available in payment companies and the ways in which you can customize their presence on your website. Decide on the purchasing features that will work best with the products and services you provide, then, create an efficient payment process that you can easily manage and change; one that will seamlessly evolve with the growth of your business. Your customers will thank you.

 

Posted in : e-commerce | 
Tags : e-commerce , webpayments


How Cloud-Based HR Solutions Offer Advantages throughout Your Company

Posted Wed, March 5, 2014 by Julie Short

CIO reports that 900 of the companies named on the Fortune 1000 list will soon be moving to cloud-based systems to take care of their HR needs.


What’s driving this move to host HR systems in the cloud? In some instances, it’s the simple fact that in-house legacy systems have become obsolete. In other cases, it’s the desire to eliminate the significant hardware costs associated with an in-house system.


For many companies, moving HR to the cloud also provides a wealth of advantages that can be leveraged throughout all levels of management within the organization—and on the front lines.


The IT Case for Cloud-Based HR Systems
From an IT perspective, one of the most appealing features of a cloud-based HR system is the freedom provided by being bound only by a licensing agreement instead of a capital-intensive equipment purchase. If the cloud-based system selected doesn’t meet your company’s needs, your IT department doesn’t have to worry about finding a new system that’s compatible with existing hardware. Instead, it only needs to investigate how to migrate to a new remote provider smoothly.


Housing the HR system off-site also moves the burden of data backup and equipment upkeep to the cloud provider.


Finally, through cloud computing, IT departments are able to offer HR staff throughout the company a familiar, modern user interface. On the surface, that may not seem like a compelling reason to migrate HR to the cloud, but as Josh Bersin of Forbes points out, the interface issue is actually “the number one driver of change” in this arena. It makes a lot of sense: a familiar interface not only increases the chances that HR pros will utilize the system; it also makes it easier for IT to train users and communicate about how the system operates.


Advantages within the HR Department
One of the major advantages of a cloud-based system within the HR department is data standardization. That was certainly the case for HB Fuller, a company that employed over 4000 people but couldn’t gather company-wide data about them in a single, usable form until it began to migrate away from its legacy HR system in 2008.


Rather than relying on disparate systems to gather HR data and make decisions, a pervasive, cloud-based system allows HR staff to get the answers they need from a single online portal. Such a system makes it easy for HR team members to centrally track and process requests for time off, make policy manual changes visible throughout the organization, administer payroll, schedule training, and analyze data.


Mobile access is another advantage for HR staff. Since a cloud-based system is accessible from any device that can access the Internet, HR pros armed with smartphones or tablets can solve problems outside the office or offer instant feedback to other staff in the field.


Advantages for Frontline Staff
For frontline staff, the advantages of a HR system sitting in the cloud are both immediate and practical. Staff members can easily access policies, update forms, request to use vacation time, and track their working hours.


If you’re interested in switching over to an accessible, intuitive HR system, contact the experts at Web Revelation today. We’ll set you up with a system that lets you do your job more efficiently – no frustration or complicated training necessary.

 

Posted in : Business Strategy , ERP | 
Tags : ERP , HR


Does Your Website Effectively Reflect Your Brand?

Posted Wed, February 26, 2014 by Julie Short


If you’re a business owner who wants your organization to move to the top of search results, you’ve heard this recommendation too many times to count: brand yourself in every way possible. It’s good advice, and it still holds true.


Companies have heeded this advice – they’ve taken to paid ad space, social networks, and professional networking sites. But some of them are still missing one crucial piece of the branding pie: their website.


Having your brand plastered onto high-traffic sites is great – but it won’t necessarily convert website traffic into sales if your customers aren’t impressed by your website.  In order to convert traffic to conversions, you’ll need a site that has solid functionality, ease-of-use, and ways to build customer loyalty. Contemporary branding begins and ends with a company website that leaves a favorable lasting impression on every person who visits it.


Is Your Website Reflecting Your Brand?
When customers visit your website, there should be no confusion about what your brand and company is. If you’re promoting athletic shoes, for example, then your website should feature some of your best or latest products and feature your name prominently. That way, people will associate your brand with that kind of footwear.


By the same token, a public relations company should focus its website on differentiating their business from other PR professionals in the region or niche.

Eliminate brand confusion with consistency.
As a company grows and develops, it undergoes several metamorphoses. It changes names. It changes product lines. It changes ownership and brings other businesses into its fold. During any sort of development, it’s crucial to keep your organization’s website up to date to prevent muddling your branding efforts. Make sure that any old websites redirect web traffic to your current site, and always build sites with URLs that are relevant to your business.


Consistency is vital to branding: customers need to know who they’re doing business with and what products they’re spending money on. Have a clear idea about your company’s product and services – and focus on marketing that single identity.


Have quality website integration.
Well-built, thoughtfully designed websites tend to be better for users than sites that revolve around one flashy, visual element. People enjoy entertainment and visual stimulation, but they really value information. Quality website integration involves the following factors:

  • regularly posting relevant content
  • proper placement of cross-links
  • utilizing efficient SEO and SEM website strategies with strategic keywords and analytical tools
  • sharing content on various social media platforms

Show what other people think about your brand.
Happy customers who have worked with your company in the past can be hugely influential in promoting your brand. Testimonials posted on your website can inform visitors about the positive experiences other people have had when working with your company.
For one thing, these testimonials build up trust and brand loyalty. And for another, your customers’ words and faces will contribute to your overall branding efforts: potential customers and website visitors will see these happy clients and associate them with your brand.
Pay attention to the placement of your testimonials: your customers should be able to see them while still being able to read about your company’s products – and also able, as always, to navigate through your site efficiently.


Get Your Website on Board with Your Branding Efforts
Your website is the hub of your branding efforts: it’s one of the main places that people will find information about your company, and it’s where people will turn to find out how to buy your products or request your services.  Make sure your site is doing a good job of reflecting your brand – you’ll get your message across to visitors, and you’ll eventually convert visitors to customers.  

 

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : branding , websites


The Best Free Apps for Small Businesses

Posted Wed, February 19, 2014 by Julie Short

Do you ever find yourself wondering, “What if there were free apps that could help my small business thrive?” Running a small business, especially for first time business owners, can be ridiculously stressful. But thanks to plenty of wonderful advancements in the world of technology, you now have a plethora of helpful apps at your disposal.

We at WebRevelation have been scrounging the depths of all things iOS to pull together a small but important list of the best free apps for small businesses. Let us help lift some weight off of your (probably tired) shoulders.

HootSuite

HootSuite has been a solid service for business owners on both PC and Mac for years, but now you can get it on your iPhone or iPad in a handy app form as well. Having HootSuite is like staying at an all-inclusive resort: not only can you manage your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare) for your business; you can also share and store important files, schedule messages to be sent out and track your click-through stat reports. (You’ll have to take care of the paper umbrella drinks and palm trees on your own.)

Social media is a great way to drive traffic to your small business, so HootSuite is a must have for all small business owners.

Mynd

Trust me – we know how busy you are and how stressful running a business can be. That’s why an app like Mynd Calendar was made to help you power through the day. Mynd isn’t just a calendar – it’s the calendar. Mynd works with all existing calendars on your smart device and puts the most important and relevant information on Mynd’s Home screen.

Mynd is aptly named because it happens to know all. Have a meeting to get to across town and need an alert to remind you? That’s no problem. In fact, Mynd will send you that alert based on current traffic conditions AND it will launch a navigation app to give you precise directions.

Still not convinced? Mynd has the ability to pull clients’ information from websites like LinkedIn and put them into your calendar so you have all the information you need before going to that aforementioned meeting. There’s a reason Mynd was named one of the “Ten Best iOS Calendar Apps” by The Next Web. Try it for yourself!

Evernote

Evernote is the ultra-popular app that keeps all of your thoughts in line. If you’re anything like us, you know that a random thought can pop up at any time. Maybe you’re doing paperwork and don’t want to scribble something down on the same notepad you’re already using – Evernote is there. Maybe you’re in the middle of washing your hair during your (hopefully) daily shower and suddenly have the best idea ever – no worries, Evernote is there.

Evernote not only allows you to save your thoughts, it also lets you pull relevant information from around the web and store it for later use. This will come in handy when you need to share your notes and thoughts with friends and colleagues. Evernote also keeps everything you store in sync with every smart device and computer you use.

Going on a business trip and want to keep track of everything? Evernote even has a function that allows you to store itineraries, confirmations, maps and scanned travel documents so you’ll always have them when you need them. Small business owners – assemble!

Wave Accounting

If we told you that an accountant-approved app that produced professional balance sheets and sales tax reports was absolutely free, would you believe me? Obviously, we can’t hear you say yes, nor can we see you nodding your head in confirmation, but trust us – it’s not too good to be true. Wave Accounting has been featured in the New York Times and Forbes for its groundbreaking functionality.

Wave’s accounting tools come with no limits – you can use it as much as you want, with as many customers, invoices, expenses and reports as you need. Small business owners never have to worry about arduous invoicing and payroll ever again. With Wave, your data is instantly synchronized everywhere. Stop trying to over-complicate the back-end of your business and make your life easier with Wave today.

 

Have any of these apps worked for your small business?

Feel free to let us know which app works best for you!

 

Posted in : Business Strategy | 
Tags : small business , apps


Should you be doing Email marketing in 2014?

Posted Wed, February 12, 2014 by Julie Short


With the rise of social media and mobile marketing, email marketing can often times be forgotten. Does that mean this strategy is dying? No way. In fact, if you haven’t been doing email marketing before 2014, you have definitely lost out on some prime business opportunities.

Don’t you worry, 2014 is here and you still have time to hop on the nostalgia-ridden bandwagon that is email marketing.


Still feeling skeptical? Here’s some information that should help ease you into the idea that email marketing still exists: According to last year’s Econsultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Census, 55% of all company respondents attributed more than 10% of their total sales to email marketing, while 18% of respondents attributed over 30% of their total sales to email marketing! Those stats show the value and importance that still exists in email marketing.


The problem that most people run into when it comes to email marketing is figuring out the ins and outs that really make this strategy successful, such as: Choosing the best subject line, picking what types of offers to send and learning when the best time of day to send emails is. Did you know that the most active period for email opening is between 2pm and 5pm? Were you aware that Tuesday and Thursday are the busiest days in terms of email volume? These are facts that Mail Chimp discovered after analyzing more than a billion emails to identify trends to benefit email marketing. So, like any other marketing strategy, you really need to know your audience before you can achieve optimal success.

Here are a couple of things to remember not to do:  

  • Do not send important emails between the hours of 10pm and 8am. This should be self-explanatory, but just to clarify: People are less likely to open emails when it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. Most people begin their work day at either 8am or 9am, so the likelihood of somebody opening an important email before 8am decreases significantly.
     
  • Do not send important emails on the weekend if you’re looking for an immediate response. Around 85% of all emails are sent and opened between Monday and Friday. The weekends are supposed to be stress free and relaxing! Even though checking email is becoming more and more of a mobile activity, the weekdays are still the best time to reach your audience.
     
  • Do not seem needy in your subject line. Mail Chimp analyzed the open rates for over 200 million emails and found that there were three phrases to absolutely avoid: Help, percent off, and reminder. These phrases have negative connotations that are associated with begging or offering something that might be too good to be true.


These are just a few standard rules to help you better understand what makes email marketing successful. At WebRevelation, we stay current on all studies and trends that are beneficial to our clients. Email marketing isn’t dead yet. Let us show you what you’ve been missing!

Posted in : Email Marketing | 
Tags : email marketing


Beyond the Black Hat: Contemporary and Common SEO Strategy Mistakes

Posted Wed, February 5, 2014 by Julie Short

If you’ve been working on updating your business’s website, you’ve definitely come across the ubiquitous concept of SEO – and have probably been confused about how to effectively implement it.


And SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. For one, SEO best practices change every few months – these are collectively referred to as “white hat” SEO. And if your site doesn’t already drive a large amount of traffic, you have to execute an elegant SEO strategy to stay on the search engines’ good sides. Here are a few bad moves to avoid when you’re starting in on your SEO campaign.


White Hat SEO No-No’s

  1. Linking like it’s 2010. If anyone tries to sell you hundreds of links for a small price, or an SEO “blast”/“quick SEO” – run, don’t walk. Today’s SEO is all about directing authority and relevance to a site for legitimate reasons – not paying a less-than-reputable article directory to house some shady links to your pages. Links are essential and beneficial – but they do not grow on outsourced trees.
     
  2. Not paying attention to links at all. On the flip side, your site won’t gain much traction if nobody is linking to it once you launch. The concept of “link building” is dramatically different than the outsourced link farm bonanza you might have heard about in earlier years. But off-page links remain one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site going forward. Getting links that point to your site is time-consuming, to be sure, but well worth your effort – as long as you’re employing a decidedly white hat SEO strategy. Point Blank SEO has a useful (and affordable) tutorial here.
     
  3. Weak title tags and meta descriptions. Google pays a lot of attention to your titles – H1s – and also to your subheadings (H2s) and meta descriptions. While there’s no need to splash “BEST SANDWICHES INDIANAPOLIS” on your site like lamb’s blood on the front door, some strategic word smith-ing can boost your visibility to search engines and local searchers alike.  
     
  4. All images, no text. Your website should be visually striking, yes – but that doesn’t mean it needs to be completely Flash-based or full of in-your-face sliders. For one thing, these sites can confuse your readers; and from an SEO perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. Search engines “read” the text on your site, but they can’t read images – which means you’ll have a tough time getting your site optimized and ranking.   
     
  5. Duplicated text. More is not more when it comes to white hat SEO – especially when it comes to the text content on your site. Avoid using the same title tags and body text on different pages, as you’ll miss out on the opportunity to inform your readers (and the search engines, of course) about what you actually do.
     
  6. Not using free, white hat SEO tips and tools. SEO firms might act like search engines are the enemy – but really, they’re some of the most helpful (and accessible) SEO resources out there. Google’s webmaster blogs and videos cater to both industry insiders and business owners. And then there are sites like Moz, Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Land that offer super-informative blog posts, free tools, and up-to-the-minute industry news so you can be knowledgeable about – and learn, hands-on – SEO best practices. And when you’re just starting out with a new website or SEO campaign, you’ll probably find that free tools are sufficient!  
     
  7. Being antisocial….media. We’re not saying you must have a personal Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Google+ account, but social media is extremely important to your business’s visibility. A regularly updated social media account also shows your customers that you’re interested in their community – not just their business.
     
  8. Not having a blog. No need to post a daily, crazy-involved piece. But a blog that’s updated regularly – even monthly – can help you build authority to your site and credibility in your brand. Share your blog posts via email newsletters and social media – places you know you’ll have an audience.
     
  9. Using a third-party site to host your blog. There is one caveat to having your own blog. Repeat after us: I will not blog on someone else’s domain. Buying your own domain or adding a page to your site might cost more and take a bit of your time, but think of it as an investment that quickly pays for itself. If you create informative content about your business’s specialty and your area of expertise, you’re making yourself an authority in the field. If your blog lives on a different domain, your authority goes to that business – not to you. So – have your blog-cake and eat it, too.
     
  10. Neglecting local SEO strategy. Local SEO is a bit different than your typical SEO strategy. Instead of driving traffic to your site with high-quality links and social mentions, it focuses on assuring that your contact information is the same across multiple sites, directories, and platforms. (In the eyes of search engines, inconsistency reads as fraudulent practices.) Local SEO also allows you to establish a business page on Google+. Your position on Google Maps also plays a big role. If you’re a local business, local SEO is crucial to a successful SEO strategy.   

A high quality SEO campaign takes a bit of time and practice. And if your business is expanding, you might want to let the pros take care of it. Contact Web Revelation about a simple, effective SEO strategy for your company – your site will thank you.

white hat SEO - 880, med comp.
SEO strategy - 1600, med-high comp.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : websites , SEO


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