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Posted on May 17, 2018 by Julie Short

One of the things that makes search engine optimization (SEO) difficult for a busy marketer is that it takes a consistent amount of time and effort to earn a top Google ranking. 

To understand why, think about it like exercise. You can’t simply toy with SEO when you feel motivated to do so. Unless you work at it every month (and preferably every week) you will struggle to make lasting improvements over time.

Of course, for a business owner with lots of other roles and responsibilities, being consistent with search engine optimization and content marketing can be difficult. It’s not impossible, though, especially if you follow these proven tips…

Work from an Editorial Calendar

The professionals who write your favorite blogs and television shows don’t get writers block because they plan themes and episodes well in advance. In other words, they never find themselves facing an empty screen or a blank piece of paper. You don’t have to, either. Work from a calendar of upcoming posts and you’ll never be out of inspiration.

Develop a Writing Habit

Writing isn’t really an activity; it’s more of a habit. By that, we mean it gets easier if you do it frequently. It’s difficult to stay on top of your content marketing if you’re constantly setting aside hours at a time to compose new ideas. See if you can commit to writing for 10 minutes a day instead. You’ll be amazed at how many more pages you can finish that way over a few months.

Mix in New Forms of Content

While succeeding in search engine optimization has traditionally been dependent on writing web pages, articles, and blog posts, those aren't your only choices. If you’re better working with images, video, or even audio clips, try promoting your company with those. Google uses advanced software that can “read” and “hear” non-text content that customers might like.

Get Help from Creative Professionals

If you find that you really don’t enjoy producing content, or simply can’t make the time, then you don’t have to let your search engine optimization campaigns wither and die. Instead, find a creative team who will take the time to learn about your business and let them take over your editorial calendar. You might not like paying for content, but it will be worth it over the long run when you start attracting more search visitors from Google.

Review Your Progress and Adjust

The most efficient and effective search engine optimization campaigns are constantly being tweaked and improved over time. Work with your creative team to review your web analytics and assess your progress. When it’s time to focus on new topics, markets, or keywords, don’t be afraid to experiment. Search habits change all the time, and your marketing plan should be adjusted accordingly.

Ready to Kick Off Your SEO Campaign?

If you’ve been following along in our search engine optimization series and want to start bringing more customers from Google to your business, this is your chance. Contact WebRevelation today at our offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City to set up a free consultation.

We will be happy to review your website and online marketing goals with you to find an affordable and effective path forward. Contact us now!

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Posted on May 15, 2018 by Julie Short

Do you want to generate more content for your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns, but struggle to write regularly? Or, have you tried to produce regular articles and blog posts but found it’s a challenge to actually get attention from Google and real-world readers?

In either case, the answer might be to follow some professional-grade tips on creating online content. Having a process to guide you makes it easier than it would be to start writing from scratch, and knowing how you should arrange and format your articles increases the odds they’ll show up in Google’s search engine listings.

Let’s look at what you need to do to create the content you need for your website…

#1 Put Topics Before Keywords

The classic mistake business owners and marketers make is trying to write pages or articles structured around keywords. It’s tough to form big ideas from single (sometimes awkward) phrases. A better approach is to simply think about an interesting topic within your business or industry and start your article there. It’s easier to add in keywords later, as needed, than to begin by making them the centerpiece of your content.

#2 Write for Readability

It should go without saying that you don’t want to sacrifice the informational or marketing tone of your article just to fit in one more exact-match keyword phrase. Neither should you weigh your posts down with lots of jargon or acronyms. Think about your average reader or customer. Consider what they know, and which topics or concerns matter to them. Then, set up your content in a way that’s easy for that target market to digest and understand.

#3 Come Up With Sizzling Titles

The standard advice in SEO is that you want your targeted keyword phrase to appear in the title of anything you post online. That’s not bad advice, but we recommend going a little farther. Make sure your titles are interesting to readers. In fact, try to put them together in a way that makes your content seem irresistible. If you need inspiration, check out a few of the websites or blogs you like to read. Then, see if you can tweak the titles or topics to fit your industry.

#4 Select the Right Images and Optimize Them

With a strong title you are essentially “selling” the reader on giving their attention to you. Once they click through to your content, their eyes are going to be naturally drawn to the images or photographs you use to accompany your articles. Make sure you choose something that’s relevant, vivid, and interesting. And, don’t forget to add “alt image text,” as these tags are scanned by Google’s spiders.

#5 Use Internal Links Carefully 

Internal links are important to your SEO and content marketing strategy for a couple of reasons. First, the text you use in your link can help make a page more visible to Google. And second, readers who like your ideas may follow links from one article to the next. Knowing that, you might want to include a couple of links in each post that move readers onto a related subject. You’ll definitely want to end each post with a call to action, too, that invites a searcher to become a customer.

Good SEO Requires Lots of Great Content

If you want to make the most of search engine marketing, you’re either going to have to become proficient at writing content or work with a creative team that will do it for you. Either way, we hope you’ll follow the five tips we’ve outlined in this post. Then, check the WebRevelation blog again soon because we are going to give you more great advice on achieving consistency in your SEO campaigns.

Or, for the very best in web design and search engine optimization advice, contact the WebRevelation offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City today!

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Posted on May 10, 2018 by Julie Short

Most business owners wouldn’t launch a new product, open a new office, or hire a new employee without doing some planning and investigative work. When it comes to search engine optimization, though, many of the entrepreneurs we meet seem anxious to start “doing” things without any strong or firm strategy in place.

That’s understandable. Every day you’re not working on your Google visibility is a day when your competitors are theoretically pulling farther ahead. At the same time, though, it’s difficult to succeed in any aspect of online marketing without the right strategy. Fail to plan enough in putting your SEO campaigns together and you could end up right back where you started – only with less money or patience to show for your effort.

With that in mind, how do you plan for a successful search engine optimization campaign? We are glad you asked, because today we’re going to lay out the basic steps you need to follow…

Know Your Target Market

Good search engine optimization campaigns aren’t really about keywords or links; they are about the customers you want to bring to your website. The more you know about your market, and the motivations of your buyers, the easier it is to find them and appeal to their needs.

Look Into Search Trends

Once you know who your customers are, you have to consider what it is they are searching on Google, Bing, and other web portals. That means assessing recent search activity and trends so you can optimize your pages and content for the right keywords and search strings.

Study the Competition

Unfortunately, you won’t have Google’s attention all to yourself. You have competitors who also want to attract search visits to their websites, too. By working with a web design team who will study the competition, you can get a sense of which terms or buyers to target and how you can make your website stand out.

Audit Your Own Website

Is your website well-constructed to attract search visits? Do you have technical issues (like slow page loading, outdated plug-ins, or duplicate content) that will make your content invisible to search spiders? These are the kinds of answers you get from a comprehensive audit of your website, which is an important step in the SEO process. 

Develop a Sales Funnel

Bringing a potential customer to your website is just the first step. Once they arrive on your pages, you want to make a sale, capture a lead, or convince them to return in the future. To help you accomplish those goals you should have an established sales funnel in place that guides a prospect from their first visit to a completed sale.

Need Help Turning Your SEO Plan Into Real-World Results?

Every good search engine optimization campaign starts with the right plan and preparation. Without that, marketers are just checking items off of to-do lists that may or may not lead to any real revenue growth.

When you’re ready to use SEO profitably effectively – or just to get more from your business website – turn to the experienced team at WebRevelation. In one short consultation, we can help you to see what’s working with your website, where your biggest challenges and opportunities lie, and your best steps forward.

Contact us today! Or, stop back for the next article in our series on generating search-friendly content.

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Posted on May 8, 2018 by Julie Short

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t nearly as complicated as some web designers and business owners make it out to be. To be sure, there is a lot of technical know-how involved, and Google’s algorithms are always changing. However, when you stop and take a look at the business owners who are successful and attracting customers through search, there are always three important factors involved.

Today, we want to take a quick look at each of the three. Then, we’ll break them down in more detail in a set of subsequent following posts. For the moment, though, let’s start at the top with the first ingredient of a profitable SEO campaign…

#1 Good SEO Planning and Auditing

It’s easy to jump straight into search engine optimization with a desire to improve your Google rankings, but if you don’t have a short and long-term plan in place, you’ll eventually end up wasting time and money. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you aren’t going to get the kind of results that move your business forward.

Good SEO planning involves keyword research, competitive analysis, and a study of your competitors. It also means putting a good conversion strategy into place so you know how you’ll turn search visitors into new revenue. Without these pieces, your SEO plan will feel like busywork.

#2 Strong Search-Friendly Content

There are a lot of complexities involved with search visibility, but one constant is easy to understand: the more topical content you have on your pages, the more search visits are going to come your way.

This is true to the point that you would almost be better off producing lots of unique, high-quality content and ignoring search optimization altogether, than you would to focus on search algorithms and no content creation plan in place. Google and real-life searchers both want to find lots of information that’s deep and up-to-date. Providing that on your website gives you a huge advantage.

#3 Patience and Consistency

Although you can improve your search engine position very quickly, holding on to those top positions and turning visitors into buyers takes time, effort, and patience. In other words, a successful search engine optimization campaign isn’t going to be created overnight, and you’ll have to do some work to maintain it.

This is an area where a lot of marketers come up short, but it also represents a point of opportunity. If you’re willing to do what some of your competitors won’t and keep growing and adjusting your website, then you will be able to win customers who wouldn’t have come your way otherwise.

Want Help With Web Design and Search Engine Optimization?

There are a lot of places you can turn for online marketing services, but not many creative teams with the track record of WebRevelation in San Antonio and Oklahoma City. If you’re tired of spending money without getting the results you are expecting – or worse, watching your competitors pass you by on the internet – now is the time to speak with our team and see how we can help!

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Posted on May 3, 2018 by Julie Short

In our experience, there are really two types of companies when it comes to search engine optimization: those getting lots of traffic (and sales) from Google, and those who have tried and failed.

If you’re amongst that second group, you might not even know why things didn’t work out. We talk with a lot of business owners who feel like they did all the right things to make SEO work, but didn’t see their efforts and expenses turn into any real results. So, they end up confused, frustrated, and feeling like search marketing is a waste of time.

What went wrong? Naturally, we would have to take a close look at your website to know for sure. However, when an SEO campaign flat-out fails, it can almost always be traced back to one or more of these five issues…

#1 It Was Based on Old Tactics and Ideas

Often, when a business owner tells us they have “tried” SEO, what we find is they hired a consultant who used outdated tactics that were based on gimmicks. These might include keyword stuffing and link farming, which were in vogue years ago but don’t help you improve your visibility on Google now. 

You can’t compete in today’s search environment by sticking to tactics that only half-worked in the past. Instead, you have to stay up with the best practices around organic search trends in 2018 and beyond.

#2 You Didn’t Commit To it Long Enough

The problem with following good SEO advice that actually works over the long term is that it can take weeks or months for the campaign to really make an impact on your bottom line. Real solutions aren’t quick fixes, even though that’s exactly what a lot of business owners want from an online marketing company.

If you decide to improve your search positioning but give up after a few weeks – because you aren’t seeing results yet, or hate producing new content – you can’t be surprised when your campaigns fail to produce anything.

#3 Your Website Wasn’t Ready for SEO

A good web design team will audit your website and make any needed improvements or revisions before putting a search engine optimization plan in place. However, if you went with a vendor who wasn’t so thorough, they could have missed details that stopped Google’s spiders from crawling your pages.

Issues like broken links, duplicated content, and slow page loading speeds can all kill your SEO campaigns. Before you can get attention from searchers, your website has to be ready.

#4 You Only Paid Attention to Half the Results

Believe it or not, you can achieve a top ranking on Google and still fail at SEO. That’s because traffic doesn’t equate directly to sales; just because someone visits your website doesn’t mean they’ll visit your shop, make a purchase, or call to set an appointment.

To make SEO profitable, you need to generate conversions (and ultimately revenue) from your pages. That’s a lot easier when you have a plan in place to persuade visitors to contact you or complete a sale.

#5 You Didn’t Make Any Course Corrections

Search engine optimization, like all forms of marketing, is about making plans, executing them, and then finding adjustments to improve. Somewhere along the way you have to evaluate the keywords and search terms you’re targeting and tweak your landing pages to increase your response rates.

You can’t afford to sit still with SEO for very long. When you stop getting better, you practically guarantee your campaigns won’t be as successful as you’d hoped.

Looking for SEO and Internet Marketing That Works?

If you’re tired of chasing gimmicks and fads and feel ready to use the internet to attract customers to your company, now is the time to get the expert advice you need. Contact WebRevelation today and we’ll be happy to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. In just one hour, we’ll review your website with you, give you some recommendations to reach more customers, and show you how easy and affordable it is to start getting better results online!

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Posted on May 1, 2018 by Julie Short

There are several huge benefits that come with making the switch to agile marketing. However, the biggest one of all tends to get lost in the mix.

Before we explain that benefit, though, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page. Agile marketing, in a nutshell, is a philosophy where a web design firm works with the client to find out what sort of needs they have and pairs them against a realistic budget. Then, we focus on a set of deliverables for a set period of time (like three or six months) before we come back and re-evaluate. At that point, we find new areas to focus on for the next block of time.

In this way, agile marketing stops business owners and being locked into one set of rigid online marketing activities that may or may not be successful over time – or that may show big returns at first and then dwindle over time. 

The Big Benefit of Agile Marketing

With that explanation out of the way, let’s get to the part of agile marketing that makes it so special: it allows you to see the results and then use your time and money in the most effective way.

This is precisely the opposite of the way a lot of online marketing campaigns work. That’s because most are backward-looking; they are configured for search engine algorithms that have already changed, or ideas that used to be current but no longer pay off the way they used to. 

By seeing what works and then adjusting your spending as you go, you can always be in a position to maximize your returns based on what’s happening now. In fact, you and your web designer can look forward to changes in your industry or shifts in the way companies like Google or Facebook are operating.

At the same time, an agile marketing campaign leaves you the room and flexibility to switch up your approach to finding customers on a regular basis. So, if you’ve been curious about some aspect of search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, or reputation management you can try it without committing your entire budget to a strategy that’s not proven. Likewise, you can experiment with new apps, websites, or types of content you think might be a good fit for your market and customers.

One of the biggest risks associated with using the web to attract customers is that you’ll find yourself relying on strategies that are out of date, or simply plugging forward with existing campaigns because you aren’t getting more current advice. With agile marketing, you’re always looking ahead and basing your next move off of real-world results.

Ready to Try Agile Marketing?

When it comes down to it, agile marketing is all about getting the best of what works and optimizing your campaigns using up-to-date information and insights. If you think that’s something that could benefit your business, now is a great time to schedule a consultation with our creative team to talk specifics.

Contact WebRevelation in San Antonio and Oklahoma City today. We’ll answer any questions you might have and then set your business off in a whole new direction!

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Posted on April 26, 2018 by Julie Short

Since we started moving our clients to agile marketing campaigns, the responses been overwhelmingly positive. A lot of the business owners we deal with just wish they’d heard of the concept years ago. 

For those who might not be familiar, agile marketing involves changing your approach and deliverables as needed. So, a plan for a small business might start with search engine optimization and reputation management, but move on to social media as results or best practices dictate. It’s “agile” in the sense that future plans are never set in stone.

As it turns out, it’s a much better way to work – both for us and our clients. Today, we want to share with you some of the reasons agile marketing is so popular and profitable.

#1 Agile Marketing is Responsive

If you’ve been promoting your business over the internet for a while, then you already know how quickly things can change. The rules for reaching customers through Google and Facebook seem to shift every few months, for instance, while the best practices around social media, online reviews, and even email newsletters are always shifting. With an agile marketing campaign, you can stay ahead of the curve by shifting tactics whenever it makes sense.

#2 Agile Marketing Leads to Less Waste

Without agile marketing, it’s incredibly easy to just keep approving the same expenses or activities again and again… even if you aren’t sure whether your existing campaigns are profitable. That leads to wasted time, effort, and money. With an agile mindset, though, you’re always devoting your resources to the channels or activities that are showing the highest returns. That means a lot less waste in your marketing budget.

#3 Agile Marketing Compounds Your Gains

Suppose you notice that one part of your website (like a particular blog, or pay-per-click ad group) is generating the biggest share of your sales and profits. Wouldn’t it make sense to devote a bigger portion of your budget and attention in that direction? That’s exactly how agile marketing works, and it can help you to compound and multiply your bottom line gains over time.

#4 Agile Marketing Leaves Room to Try New Tactics

Another great feature of agile marketing is that it encourages business owners to experiment with new ideas. So, if you’ve been hesitant to try something like online video in the past, for example, you could devote a small portion of your budget in that direction without sacrificing the returns you see in other areas. In that way, your agile campaigns leave you room to experiment and find out what works for your business.

#5 Agile Marketing Plans Don’t Get Stale

This sense of continual change and improvement is at the heart of the agile marketing philosophy. You never want your website or content generation routines to get stale. With a plan in place that encourages you to think critically about the results and try out new ideas, you’re far less likely to get stuck or see your new sales dwindle over time.

Want to Learn More about Agile Marketing?

At WebRevelation, we have always been focused on using the internet to help our clients get more profitable and more efficient. If you’d like to learn more about our work, or the specifics of agile marketing, we encourage you to contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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Posted on April 24, 2018 by Julie Short

Agile vs. Traditional Online Marketing CampaignsAs we talk with our clients about agile marketing, many of the most astute come back with a simple question: how will it help us to save or make more money?

We love these kinds of exchanges, because they give us a chance to show off what we do best – take common-sense ideas and put them to work for the companies we serve. That’s because years of experience in this industry have taught us that new websites, search engine optimization plans, and social media marketing campaigns are all exciting, but they only have value if they lead to more sales or decreased expenses when it’s all said and done.

So, will you get better value from an agile marketing plan or a more traditional approach to finding customers over the internet? To help you find the answer, let’s look at what you need to know…

How a Traditional Online Marketing Campaign Works

When we refer to a “traditional” internet marketing campaign, we mean the kind of setup you're probably used too. That’s where you hire a web design company to give you a specific type of deliverable, like a site with so many new pages, or a fixed number of blog posts. After you receive those, you’re back to the drawing board when it comes to future lead generation ideas.

This type of arrangement can work, of course, but only if you have a good idea of where you’re headed, know which marketing channels will be successful, and have a good creative team you can count on.

The Differences With an Agile Marketing Campaign

With an agile marketing scheme, you swap one-off transactions for a regular online marketing budget. Then, that budget gets devoted to a set number of deliverable items that will be completed within a short timeframe (like three or six months). After that, you meet with your creative team again to see what’s working and what isn’t. Then, you decide on a new direction going forward.

Obviously, the big difference here is that you’re never locked into one strategy. In fact, it’s assumed that your plan for attracting customers to your website will change over time as your business grows and you watch the results you get from each activity. Also, agile marketing makes it possible for you to switch tactics as dictated by new information or online marketing trends.

Why Agile Marketing Provides More Bottom Line Value

Agile marketing helps your bottom line in a couple of ways. For one thing, it makes your yearly budget more predictable than it would be if you were simply investing in activities or campaigns one at a time. More importantly, it allows you to maximize the return you get from every dollar by shifting your budget to the areas where you get the biggest results.

In other words, agile marketing lets you keep expanding your wins while cutting off losses or dead ends. Billions are wasted every year by marketers who don’t take the time to study the competitive landscape or shutting down campaigns that are failing. In an agile system, that never happens.

How To Learn More About Agile Online Marketing

If you want to know more about agile marketing you could stop by our blog again soon to read more content. Or, you could get specific answers about your business and challenges by scheduling a free consultation with a member of the WebRevelation team.

With offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we have coverage throughout the Midwest and 
Southeast. Even better, we have decades of experience with web design, programming, online marketing, and so much more. Call us today to set up a free consultation and see how we can help!

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Posted on April 19, 2018 by Julie Short

It’s easy to get excited about a custom software development project, and even to hire a programming team and get started. When it comes to ending up with a finished product that everyone is pleased with – from management to the end-user – though, things get a little harder.

That’s because custom software programming, like everything else in the world of business, is all about results. In particular, there are certain key results that matter more than others. Manage and plan with those in mind and you’ll be on the right track. Lose sight of them and you can easily find yourself sliding backwards with delays, cost overruns, and ultimately failure.

To help illustrate this point, and keep you from falling into common custom software development traps, let’s look at the five kinds of results that will ultimately make or break your project…

#1 Goal Fulfillment

If your software doesn’t do what you need it to, then it doesn’t really matter how it looks, when it’s delivered, or how much it costs. The project will be a failure if it doesn’t serve some kind of business purpose. That’s important to keep in mind because it’s easy for custom development to move off track if you don’t have a very strong sense of what you want to accomplish.

#2 Interface and Aesthetics

Functionality is almost all-important, but usability and visual appearance also have to factor in. If your app is difficult to use, then all the features in the world probably won’t save it. Likewise, users expect a certain kind of cleanliness in software design. They want clean menus and interfaces. If your software looks clunky or low-budget, that can affect its perceived value.

#3 Software Stability

This is an easy aspect of your custom software development project to overlook, but it’s incredibly crucial. The release version of your software doesn’t just have to be stable enough to work consistently on a variety of platforms without any problems; it also has to operate without conflicts resulting from other applications or operating systems. Otherwise, it won’t be usable by you and your team.

#4 Budget

Even the most useful, stable, and elegantly-designed piece of software can turn into a bad bargain if your project runs over the established budget. At some point its value is exceeded by its cost. That’s why you should only work with experienced development teams that have a reputation for being efficient and dependable. And, it’s a good reminder to keep one eye on the bottom line as the programming process moves along.


#5 Calendar

In the same way, your custom software development needs might be tied into some sort of specific event or deadline. In that case, the ROI you see from your investment could be dependent on getting a usable app by a specific date. If that’s the case, make sure your programming team knows about this hard calendar target and why it’s so important.

Need Expert Custom Software Development?

When you need a new piece of software developed to meet the needs of your business or organization, you want an experienced team with a track record of success. Why not contact WebRevelation? We’ll be happy to set up a free consultation so you can get answers to your most pressing questions.

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Posted on April 17, 2018 by Julie Short

Many of the new clients who come to us have horror stories about custom software development projects that went way over their original and intended budgets. Nearly all of them have at least heard about these kinds of nightmares. As a result, they come to us feeling understandably worried about the costs associated with programming something new.

In order to help calm their fears, we typically do offer two things. First, we show them our long track record of success with delivering new pieces of software on time and under budget. Second, we explain the biggest reasons why so many custom software development projects end up costing more than they should.

Today, we want to lay out a few of those issues here…

Insufficient Understanding of the Project

The most common reason it’s difficult to complete a custom software development project for the right fee is the programmers really didn’t understand the scope of the job to begin with. In other words, they heard what the client asked for, but didn’t necessarily understand all the various features and functions that had to be incorporated. They didn’t ask enough questions (or not enough information was provided), so the project just seems to get bigger and bigger with each passing week.

Project Creep and Scope Changes

Project creep – the phenomenon where clients and/or their programming teams keep adding new features to the list of deliverables – can be a real issue, too. This occurs when a management team asks for one thing, but then treats the resulting software project like a Christmas tree, adding one new idea to the list after another until the whole thing falls down. An experienced programming partner can help keep this from happening, but the best way to prevent project creep is by simply being aware of it.

Bad or Deceptive Software Development Quotes

It’s unfortunate, but some custom software development companies will knowingly under-quote a project to get a client’s business. Then, they’ll add to the costs as work moves along, knowing that a business owner or executive is unlikely to find a new vendor once the job is underway. Obviously, you can mitigate this somewhat by being careful about agreements and invoices, but it’s better to simply avoid firms that don’t have a great reputation in the programming industry.

New Ideas or Inspirations from Programming Clients

This is somewhat less common but can actually be a good thing. If, in the middle of your custom software development project, you spot an opportunity to spend a little more and make the resulting product even better or more profitable, then why not go for it? If you come up with an idea that’s a winner and fits into the framework of what you are already planning, adding something a little extra to your contract – and getting a better business tool as a result – can be a good value.

Need a Custom Software Development Team You Can Count On?

At WebRevelation, we have decades of combined experience in planning, designing, and programming new pieces of software. If you want to work with a vendor that will take the time to understand your project, and then deliver just what you need at the right price, contact us today so we can get to work for you!

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Posted on April 12, 2018 by Julie Short

It would be a very unusual day if a business owner were call us out of the blue and want to talk about API integration. Most decision-makers outside the IT realm aren’t really sure what the term means, and only tend to think about it when they’re experiencing problems they don’t understand.

And yet, API integration can actually have a big effect on your company’s bottom line.

Don’t worry: we aren’t going to try to make you an expert in software programming or web development. What we do want, though, is to share a few simple ideas about API integration custom app development that can help you to meet your business goals.

An Introduction to Application Program Interfaces (or APIs)

APIs might sound complicated, but they aren’t. Basically, they allow your website to interface with other tools. For instance, when you go to set an appointment online, and are taken to someone’s Google calendar, there is an API making the connection between two different pieces of software.

APIs can be used in a lot of different ways. You probably encounter them all the time without knowing it. For example, many widgets that supply information on weather, sports scores, stock prices, or currency exchange rates all use APIs. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter rely on several of them.

You might be thinking that is interesting but doesn’t seem relevant to your business. That brings us to the next point.

You Probably Use (or Will Use) APIs On Your Website

At some point, it’s likely you’ll want specific data (possibly from a third-party or off-line source) to be displayed in your website. That might be to help with sales, to give some useful context, or just as a useful plug-in for guests. So, there’s a good chance you’ll be using an API to bring your website together with some other social or informational tool.

However, most web developers aren’t going to build APIs from scratch. That can be problematic because every piece of code you add to your website can slow it down, conflict with other instructions, or even lead to security vulnerabilities. Choosing the right APIs, and having them properly integrated, can be crucial even (or especially) because it happens behind the scenes.

That’s where a good web development partner comes into play.

What We Want You to Remember About API Integration

Unless you happen to be very technically-minded, or get into the details of web program on a regular basis, you probably won’t think of API integration again after you finish this article. However, hopefully you understand by this point that it’s about bringing different pieces of web-based software together. And, we hope you’ll come away with the knowledge that it's something your development team shouldn’t rush through.

When API integration isn’t handled carefully, and tested thoroughly, you can end up with problems on your website that are difficult to diagnose and fix. Pages can crash, your content can load slowly, or visitors might have the impression that things “just don’t work.”

Obviously, that’s not going to help your online strategy or your bottom line. So, while you don’t have to be an expert in API integration, you do have to hire the kind of web development company that pays attention to the details if you want to stay out of trouble.

Looking for Advanced Website Application Development?

At WebRevelation, with offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we can program web applications other companies can’t. Better yet, we can finish our work on time and within budget.

To learn more about our capabilities, and what we can do to help your business grow, contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

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Posted on April 10, 2018 by Julie Short

How do you get a custom web application development company to do their best work?

This is a question you might not have ever considered, but it’s one you should think about if you’re building a website that will have advanced features. After all, good programming isn’t cheap or fast; you should do everything you can to get the most from your effort and investment.

It goes without saying that the first step is to work with a quality creative team in the first place. A company with lots of experience, strong technical skills, and a track record of success is much more likely to deliver the results you want than a vendor who is advertising themselves as the cheapest or fastest in the business.

Beyond that, though, there are certain things you can do as a business owner or executive to inspire a custom web application development company to produce work that’s award-worthy. Here are a few ideas to help you get started…

Make Sure Your Web Development Partner Understands the Project

This sounds so simple, but it’s crucial to the success of any project. If your custom web application development company fails to understand the details or minor points of your project, or misses a major need, then it’s going to slow things down. Or worse, it could lead to a situation where you get a finished website that doesn’t exactly do what you hoped it would. You don’t want to waste your time or money because of a simple misunderstanding.

Answer Questions With as Much Depth and Detail as Possible

You can be sure that, during the coding and design process, your web development partner is going to have a few questions. When possible, give depth and detail within your answers. Even yes and no queries can be given some context if it’s important for your team to know why you feel a certain way. This is one of those situations in life where more information is better than less. The better your development team understands your needs, the easier it will be for them to give you what you want.

Don’t Rush the Creative or Technical Process

Some business owners and executives get anxious to launch their new websites and will try to rush the process along. A good custom web application development company is going to resist efforts to speed through any step. That’s because we know how important it is to make sure all the bases have been covered, and that your web application has been thoroughly tested, before it goes live. That way you won’t have to deal with errors or unexpected downtime later.

Remember What You’re Trying to Build or Accomplish

The great thing about the digital age is the feeling that we have endless opportunities to connect and promote in innovative ways. The drawback is that the possibilities can quickly become overwhelming. If you want your custom web application development company to do their best work, remember what you’re trying to accomplish and don’t distract them with new ideas or priorities if they aren’t important. Then they can stay on task and focus on the outcomes that matter.

Need a Custom Web Application Development Company That Puts You First?

At WebRevelation, we have built our business up over 20+ years on client successes. When you come to us, you get real answers, real service, and the knowledge that meeting your business goals will be our top priority.

Contact us today to get answers to your questions or a quote on your web development project.

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Posted on April 5, 2018 by Julie Short

There are a lot of custom web application development companies out there. We should know – we keep tabs on our industry and colleagues all the time, and find ourselves amazed at how many firms pitch their ability to generate new software.

Of course, some teams earn better reviews than others. Even though business owners and executives ultimately find us because they want a completed website with special functionality, there is a lot that goes into the process of generating a new web application. 

To help bring you closer to the tools you need, let’s look at some of the things you should look for in a web application development company…

The Patience to Learn and Research

In some ways, coding and new business app is the easy part. It’s learning about our clients, along with their ideas and challenges, that takes a special touch. We have learned over the years to be patient and let business owners and executives explain to us exactly what they need. Don’t settle for a development partner who won’t take plenty of time in the discovery phase of your project.

The Discipline to Meet Deadlines

It’s easy, if you aren’t careful, for a web application development project to go many weeks or months past a stated deadline. While some delays might be introduced by clients as they refine their ideas, it’s important to find a team you can count on to stick to a firm schedule.

A Good Eye for Design

Although your custom web application development company should be more concerned about the functionality of your website than pure aesthetics, we aren’t going to pretend looks don’t matter. Make sure you hire a team whose creative instincts are as strong as their programming chops.

An Emphasis on Usability

Usability could be considered part of design, but it’s so much bigger. Your website doesn’t just have to be powerful and beautiful, it has to be easy to use and interact with. Otherwise, no one is going to care about the unique features you're offering them.

The Ability to Take and Implement Feedback

Web programmers might be experts on coding, but they aren’t the ultimate authorities on your business. For that reason, they should be willing to take your feedback and make necessary edits or revisions quickly. If you find you’re working with a custom web application development company that thinks they always know better than you do, it might be time to shop around.

A Focus on Testing and Stability

Your website, and the underlying plug-ins, are only valuable so long as they can be used by your customers, employees, or vendors. That usually means ensuring compatibility across a wide range of devices and browsers. In order to be sure everything functions exactly as it should, your programmer should test extensively.

An Awareness of Security Standards

The last thing you want, when you’re adding new business features your website, is to introduce security issues that can be exploited by hackers. That’s why you need your team to not only prioritize online security, but to update and patch your web apps as needed to keep your company safe.

We Speak Business and Custom Web Applications

If you want to make your business website bigger, stronger, and faster, you need a programming team that can translate business opportunities into code that works flawlessly. That’s where the creative minds at WebRevelation come in.

Why not call us today and see how we take your inspiration and turn it into something that you can use to grow your company in revenue month after month?

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Posted on April 3, 2018 by Julie Short

Is data integration just a buzzword, or a luxury for Fortune 500 firms with massive IT budgets? We don’t think so. In fact, experience has taught us that smaller and medium-sized organizations sometimes have the most to gain from organizing information more carefully.

To show you why, and get you thinking about the many ways you can use smarter technology and communications to reach your bottom-line goals, let’s look at five ways you can use data integration to grow your business…

#1 A Customer-Focused Sales Approach

Whether you realize it or not, your customers are constantly giving you new data about their needs, demographics, and preferences. They’re telling you exactly how you can sell more products and services to them. And, they’re telling you what other buyers who are in their shoes want as well.

With a smart data integration strategy, you can focus your sales and marketing on individual buyers or those who share specific traits. That’s a great way to boost revenue now and over the long run.

#2 Supply Chain and Logistics Management

The era of large warehouses filled with unsold inventory is quickly coming to an end. Today’s manufacturers and suppliers are using integrated data to track shipments, inputs, and orders in real time. They’re revolutionizing our understanding of the supply chain to maximize profitability.

This kind of coordinated production effort is virtually impossible without the right custom software. How can we help your company to get smarter about manufacturing, shipping, and storage?

#3 Auditing and Reporting Solutions

It’s much easier to have faith in the accuracy of your data when it’s coming from several sources and updated on a continual basis. That’s why automated data collection is so important to the integration process.

You can use the information you get from many different sources to generate customized reports or audit your own performance at the micro or macro level. Everything starts with having the right information. From there, drawing good conclusions is easy.

#4 Real-Time Forecasting

It’s difficult to look into the future when you can’t see the present clearly. This is another area where accurate reporting and data integration can be an enormous boost to your bottom line. When you have a firm handle on things like costs, sales, and inventory, you can move more confidently towards scheduled promotions or investments.

Forecasting and planning are crucial to the success of any business owner or executive. Those jobs are simplified with advanced data integration.

#5 Scheduling and Resource Management

You only have so many hours and employees to go around. And, your company might have shared resources like automobiles, meeting rooms, or specialized equipment. Cloud technology combined with smart data systems remove the headaches that come with overbooking or/and shortages.

With advanced data integration, you can schedule these for maximum usage and efficiency.

Want to Get Smarter About Data Integration?

You don’t have to become an IT expert to make use of data integration in your company or nonprofit. You just have to have the right tools (and creative minds) helping you to move in the right direction.

Contact the team at WebRevelation today so we can show you how we’ve helped other clients to collect, manage, and profit from data integration. It’s easier than you might think, and it could be the step that makes it easier for you to reach your other goals!
 

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Posted on March 29, 2018

One of the most important assets in your business? Most of the owners and executives we talk to will come up with answers like real estate, patents, or even employees. A few forward-thinkers might name their brand or experience.

One answer that hardly ever comes up, however, is the data a company owns.

While data might not be the most valuable part of your business on paper, it can be worth a lot more than you might imagine. That’s because you can use data to sort customers into groups, market to a tightly-defined segment of buyers, spot industry trends, and a lot more.

In fact, many companies are sitting on goldmines they don’t even know exist. That’s because they aren’t paying any attention to data integration – the process of making information more accessible to users and decision-makers.

Here are a few ways you can avoid making the same mistake…

Data Integration Starts With Automated Capturing

It’s nearly impossible to get anything for your company’s data if you’re manually entering by hand. That’s not just because the costs will be high and duplication mistakes are going to occur, but also because there will always be a lag time between the moment when information is received and when it’s accessible.

Using specialized software, you can automate data collection through your website, incoming documents, and even printed mail. Given that computerized capturing systems are fast and inexpensive, why would you want to pay someone to type day after day… or worse yet, do it yourself?

Data Needs to Be Accessible in Real Time

It’s not exactly a secret that today’s business world moves at a faster-than-ever pace. In order to make good decisions, you have to have updated information. Old data isn’t just useless, it can actually cause you to make poor decisions that move your company backwards.

With smart software and automated data collection, though, you can maintain up-to-date records on customers, finances, inventory, personnel, and other parts of your company. Then, you can get real-time feedback on both what is and isn’t working.

Profitable Data Integration Requires Detailed Reporting

As we have noted in the past, data doesn’t have much value in and of itself. To profit from it, you have to parse it, understand it, and decipher trends. This brings us to another aspect of data integration, which revolves around detailed reporting.

When you have the right data systems in place, the metrics you need are available with the push of a button. Even better, reports can be customized for various date ranges, regions, customer types, etc. That’s everything you need to run your company in an easy-to-understand format. And, it’s insight you wouldn’t get from a spreadsheet or stack of papers on your desk.

Is It Time to Start Getting More from Data and Technology?

If you suspect your company could be doing more with technology than it is right now, take this chance to get the expert advice you need. The WebRevelation team is here to answer your questions and find cost-friendly solutions to your biggest challenges. Contact us today so we can set up a time to talk!

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Posted on March 27, 2018 by Julie Short

Microsoft Excel is great for a lot of things, but it shouldn’t be your data entry and management solution. That’s the business equivalent of using a small hatchback to move your belongings from one house to another – you can probably get the job done with enough time and patience, but you’re better off using the tool that suits the purpose.

This isn’t exactly advanced thinking in the world of software and application design, but it’s something business leaders need to remember. That’s because we regularly come across companies stuck in what we call “Excel Hell.” They’re using numerous spreadsheets to try to manage data with opportunities and insights slipping through the cracks every day.

What It’s Like in Excel Hell

Are you in Excel Hell? Here are some of the signs…

The spreadsheets you use to manage your business span many different worksheets, often with overlapping names, date ranges, or purposes.

You do a great deal of data entry directly into your Excel spreadsheets, and continually find yourself worrying that individual entries are going to be inaccurate.

Speaking of your data, you aren’t all that confident about the accuracy of your customer records, bookkeeping, or sales forecasts.

You have numerous pieces of data that are repeated, duplicated, or just listed in multiple formats.

Your team struggles to import and export data between different spreadsheets, or into and out of Excel when using other pieces of software.

The spreadsheets you rely on frequently display error messages or broken functions resulting from missing links, incomplete sums, or equations that don’t make sense.

These are just some of the problems you find in Excel Hell, but there are indicative of bigger data management problems. And more importantly, they can cripple your business.

A Better Solution to Data Management

None of this is meant to pick on Microsoft or Excel. What we are getting at are the perils of using tools for jobs for which they weren’t designed. It’s not the way to get the business results you need. Rather than rely on an endless number of spreadsheets to record, tabulate, and view data, why not use a different piece of software designed specifically for the tasks you’re trying to complete?

Often, business owners and executives will tell us that the applications they need don’t exist. That’s actually good news!

Why do you want to hear that the software you need hasn’t been invented yet? Because when you hire a programming team to turn it into a reality, you either get a huge advantage over your competitors or a product you can sell on your own.

In other words, the answer to your data management problems isn’t to rely on spreadsheets that will eventually drive you crazy, but to develop the custom software needed for accurate data collection and reporting. It’s your cue to build a better mousetrap.

Data management is always going to be a headache if you’re trying to keep track of thousands of pieces of information in a piece of software that wasn’t designed for the job. Why not build a better tool and improve your company at the same time?

Custom Software Programming Made Easy

Have a need for software that’s developed specifically for your business? Want to solve your toughest data management problems permanently?

Contact the experienced programming team at WebRevelation today to see how we can help!
 

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Posted on March 22, 2018 by Julie Short

The digital age is here, but some companies and organizations aren’t. In fact, a lot of the business leaders who come to us admit they are still largely (or even completely) dependent on manual processes to execute everyday operations. In a world where computers and software are teaming up to do more and more, they are still pushing papers, filling out forms, and updating records by hand.

It goes without saying, that falling behind in this way puts you at an enormous disadvantage. Even if your company or department is profitable, why wouldn’t you make it more profitable by using the proper tools for each job?

Automation is more than a business buzzword – it’s a way to cut costs and do away with your biggest hassles. Today, we want to shed light on a few areas of your business that can be greatly improved with custom programming. Let’s look at some of the areas where companies tend to waste more time and money than they should…

Data Entry

Most data entry tasks can be automated quickly and affordably. That means paying for fewer staff for temp hours, but it also means getting higher-quality data into your records more quickly. As any experienced business person can tell you, the toughest part about managing information is having it entered cleanly and rapidly in the first place. Why not let your website, or piece of custom software, handle the job without errors?

Report Generation

Data is only valuable when you can use it to improve your business. Unfortunately, contact details, marketing touch points, and other pieces of information are routinely lost or missed because decision-makers don’t have a good way to spot big-picture trends. With custom software and automation, though, you can get all the data you need at your fingertips, and present it in a way that’s easy to browse and understand.

Document Management

Many businesses struggle with document management and its various forms. Manufacturers have to pass along manuals, rebate cards and sales materials. Physicians have to keep hundreds of thousands of patient records together. Accountants can find themselves drowning in a sea of invoices, receipts, and statements. With custom software, you can store, catalog, and deliver documents securely in real-time. How much money and aggravation would that save your company?

Scheduling

Getting employees, volunteers, or vendors to the correct places at the correct times can be a logistical nightmare if you’re working through phones, emails, or even faxes. However, savvy companies are integrating online tools, mobile apps, and other resources to automate scheduling processes. The result is a system where these issues can be managed in real-time without gaps or duplications.

Could Your Business Be More Efficient?

If your company is still dependent on manual processes, or if you simply aren’t getting all the gains from automation you should be, then it’s time to talk to the experts in the field. Contact the experienced minds at WebRevelation today. We have locations in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, not to mention decades of experience helping companies and organizations of all sizes to get more from technology.

Contact us today to set up your free initial consultation!
 

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Posted on March 20, 2018 by Julie Short

Outside of our industry, it’s a commonly held belief that new business software development is driven by tech-minded people who write code for fun. That occasionally happens, but what occurs far more often is that an aspiring entrepreneur or executive sees a need and decides to have a programming team fill it.

In other words, most custom business software creation is driven by inspiration or necessity.

Typically, business leaders fall on one end of the change curve or another. On one side, you have thinkers who see the possibility to create a ride-sharing app, for example, or an idea to deliver books in digital content to small screens. On the other side, you have taxi business owners to fight the tide of change, or physical retailers who cling to printed books and DVDs.

We all know that innovation tends to win out in the end. Knowing that, one of the most important things you can do is “See” into the future by creating. Today, then, we want to give you a series of questions you can use to start your brainstorming. Answer the following, and see if it leads you towards the inspiration for a new custom business software project…

What Can’t You Do That You Wish You Could?

In most businesses, there is a desire to meet some need that has felt just out of reach. However, technology and perspectives are changing all the time. Something that would have been impossible just a few years ago might now be feasible through mobile technology, cloud computing, or automation. Think about the ways you’d like to expand and then see how you can turn them into reality.

What Do Customers Want From You?

If you have something buyers have been asking you for, now might be the time to give it to them. Custom business software creation is inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special technical knowledge from a client or entrepreneur. You simply have to tell your programming team what it is you’d like customers to be able to do and we can help you take care of the rest.

Which Tools Would Improve Life for Employees or Managers?

Perhaps the people you have working for you are holding on to some really great ideas that would either increase their productivity or make it easier for them to service customers. By getting a sense of what they need to better do their jobs, you could find the basis for a great software development project.

What Do You Wish You Could Spend Less Time or Money On?

Sometimes, software development is about doing less instead of more. You can automate tasks like data entry, reporting, and even certain bookkeeping functions so you can spend less time doing things that are unenjoyable or unprofitable. If there are parts of your business you would like to spend less money or effort on, look for ways to let software take over the job.

What’s Missing From Your Market?

This falls into the area of pure inspiration. The big thinkers of our time sometimes seem to pull great ideas out of nowhere. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what possibilities are on the horizon. Where could the next big business idea or life-changing application come from? Spend enough time brainstorming and you just might hit on a game-changing concept.

How to Turn Your Vision Into a Business

Whether you have an idea for a new business, or just an aspect of your existing companies you’d like to explore, the expert programming team at WebRevelation can help. For years, we’ve been helping our clients around San Antonio and Oklahoma City to develop and market custom business software. Why not schedule a consultation to see what we can do for you?
 

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Posted on March 15, 2018 by Julie Short

If you’re busy running a business or department, web development software probably is a topic that rises to your mind on a lot of different occasions. However, you may start thinking about it when you meet with a team like ours, or simply begin exploring the different ways you could gain revenue or cut costs through your website.

Most of the clients we meet with will admit they don’t know a lot about web development and software. That’s perfectly fine. We don’t need them to be experts in our field. Instead, we just have to help them understand what we do and why it matters to their plans.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what business owners actually need to know about web development software…

Web Development Software Packages are Just Tools

There are a lot of web development software systems out there, and a lot of different firms claiming that the ones they use (or have developed) are the best around. However, it’s important to remember these are all just tools. A hammer or a saw is only as good as the person using it. The same goes for programming. It doesn’t really matter all that much what your web developers use as long as they have the right skills, experience, and mindset.

Different Web Development Software Programs Have Different Benefits

With the point about web development software being dependent on skills and talents out of the way, it’s not a bad idea to ask your designers or programmers which software solutions they prefer. You may even want to find out why they like one product or another. That isn’t because there is a “right” or “wrong” answer, but because you want to have an idea about their thinking and expertise. In other words, you want to be sure they are using the right tools for the job, not just the ones that happen to be closest or easiest to master.

You Don’t Need to Know Much About Web Development Software

In the end, you really don’t have to know a lot about web development software to get custom programming as a client. You simply have to be sure you know what your website will do, and that the final applications are going to be stable and secure. We always encourage the business owners and executives we work with to ask plenty of questions, but don’t worry if you aren’t all that comfortable with, or interested in, the technical details.

Need More Clarity on Custom Web Development?

Custom web development can be a complicated and technical topic. However, your creative team shouldn’t use jargon or acronyms that go over your head – they should help you to understand exactly what you’re going to get for your time and money.

If you’re tired of being confused about custom programming and want to learn about the bottom line business possibilities, now is a great time to talk with the WebRevelation team. Initial consultations are free, and we'll be happy to answer all your questions. Reach out to us today!
 

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Posted on March 13, 2018 by Julie Short

Once you understand the power of custom web development– the potential to cut costs and boost profits by adding new features to your business website – it’s easy to make the decision to move forward. After all, what owner or executive doesn’t want to gain an edge over the competition?

The harder part is figuring out who you should turn to for web development services. It’s a big decision, and one that’s easy to get wrong.

That’s because most businesspeople have good ideas about what they want from their websites, but don’t understand the technical details of the work enough to evaluate different firms or vendors. In other words, they know what kind of functionality they need online, but may not be sure how to get it.

Finding a web programming partner doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to know what to look for. Let’s look at the traits that matter most when selecting a web development services partner…

Web Development Experience

Custom programming experience matters for a couple of reasons. First, there are technical challenges involved in putting together any app or plug-in, particularly if you want your website to do something innovative or unusual. At the same time, an experienced team of programming and creative professionals can help you flush out the details of your project and finish it on-time and within budget.

The Size of Your Programming Team

Unless you have a massive budget or an infinite deadline for the completion of your custom web development project, the size of your programming team matters. You want a company with enough technical minds on staff to get your job done quickly. At the same time, though, you’ll generally get better value from a smaller firm that doesn’t have huge overhead expenses that need to be built into your invoices.

A Service-Oriented Mindset

Programming custom web applications isn’t the biggest or most important part of our work – getting to know our clients and their needs or challenges is. You should remember that and prioritize fast, personal service when evaluating different vendors. They’re going to be a lot of questions and conversations that come up while you’re building or improving your website. That will be a lot easier to deal with if you work with a firm that puts your needs first.

A Track Record of Successful Projects

Clients tend to look at samples and portfolios when choosing vendors for web development services, but we encourage you to go a little bit deeper. Talk to former clients, check out case studies, and try to find out if a team’s past work has been profitable for the businesses that hire them. All of these tell you something about a programming partner’s working style, along with the outcomes you can expect on your own projects.

Want Help With Custom Web Development Services?

The WebRevelation team has many years of experience with web design, development, and custom programming. Contact one of our offices in San Antonio or Oklahoma City today to learn more about our work and see how we can help you take your website to the next level!

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Posted on March 8, 2018 by Julie Short

For people who run companies, it can be difficult to separate facts from myths about web application development. 

On the one hand, nearly all business owners and executives are excited about the possibilities that come with having websites that can do more. Most realize they can reduce expenses, automate repetitive tasks, and kick their marketing into a higher gear with custom apps and plug-ins. On the other hand, many have to get past empty hype they’ve heard from web programming companies, or are carrying around misconceptions that web development has to be expensive, risky, or complicated.

To be sure you have the right ideas about web application development – and that you can take steps to put it to work in your business – let’s look at five real facts to keep in mind…

#1 You Use Custom Web Apps Every Day

Many of our new clients will tell us they aren’t that familiar with web application development, but most use custom online programming every day. That’s because almost all major websites use bits of code that been developed for specific purposes (shopping carts, marketing offers, detailed searches, etc.). Whenever you come across a website that does something besides displaying text and images, there’s a chance you’re interacting with a custom web app.

#2 Web Application Development Is a Business Issue

Although web application development might seem like a technical topic from the outside, it’s really more of a business issue. That’s because clients seek it out to add new features and functions to their websites. They want to collect more leads, streamline customer service, or simplify repeat orders. In other words, you work with the development team because you want to make your business more functional and profitable, not because you have an interest in seeing lines of code.

#3 Most Websites Aren’t as Functional as They Could Be

The idea that web application development has to be complicated often keeps businesspeople from pursuing profitable ideas and projects. Most websites simply aren’t as functional as they could be; they don’t have all the tools and resources needed to help customers, vendors, or employees get the information they need. If you ever get the feeling you want your website to do more than it is, you’re probably expressing a desire for web application development.

#4 Custom Web Programming Has Three Components

There are really three aspects that separate great web applications from the rest. The first has to do with design and visuals. You want your website to look great so you can impress customers. The second aspect is functionality. It’s obviously important that your application does what it’s supposed to. The third piece of the puzzle comes down to stability and security. That means your custom application should not only work, but be responsive without giving hackers an opening into your website. Don’t settle for any vendor who can’t work with all three of these priorities.

#5 We Can Help With Web Application Development

If you want to know more about web application development you could check back to our blog soon for more informative articles. Or, you could reach out to the WebRevelation team to schedule a free consultation. It won’t cost you anything, and we'll be happy to answer your questions and show you what it means for your business.
 

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Posted on March 6, 2018 by Julie Short

It used to be expected that visiting a doctor, dentist, or the medical practice meant arriving very early to an appointment and filling out endless forms before you could be seen. Now, most physicians are rapidly moving to online medical intake forms. The best are setting them up in a way that doesn’t just save time, but also impresses patients.

With that in mind, our question today is this: is your practice making the most of online medical intake forms?

If you aren’t, or don’t feel sure your forms are as effective as they could be, then let’s take a look at a few of the relevant details and benefits you should consider…

Online Medical Intake Forms are Convenient

This is true for physicians, support staff, and patients. The people coming to your practice don’t want to take the time to fill out forms by hand, and it doesn’t help your schedule to wait for them to complete paperwork before they can be seen. Additionally, newer online medical intake forms can be completed using smart phones and tablets, meaning patients can fill them out whenever or wherever it’s convenient for them.

They Allow for More Accurate Information

Another problem with the old paperwork system was that it could lead to inaccuracies and errors. Few good things happen when people are scribbling down notes about their medical history, allergies, or insurance information by hand while they are in a hurry. These kinds of situations can lead to billing errors or even mistakes in treatment. Why take those chances when you could solve the problem with online medical intake forms?

Great Online Medical Intake Forms Impress Patients

Not all online medical intake forms are created equal. Some are clunky, confusing, and badly-designed. When yours are clear and interactive, though, it impresses new patients. Also, existing patients can save some pieces of information, making it easier for them to schedule appointments and complete their check-ins. That makes it more likely they’ll continue to return to your practice and refer others) for years to come.

HIPAA Compliance

In this day and age, HIPAA and patient confidentiality are more important topics than ever before. Using secure online medical intake forms, you can help control the flow of information through your practice and keep records safe and secure. That’s a good way to put patients at ease, and to protect your company from fines, lawsuits, and other damages.

Get Help with Online Medical Intake Forms

If you feel like you aren’t getting as much as you could be from your online medical intake forms, or you just want to look at more ways you can use the web to run a smarter practice, now is a great time to schedule an appointment with the WebRevelation creative team. We have the skills and experience needed to help doctors, specialists, dentists, and other professionals to make the most of the internet.

Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!
 

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Posted on March 1, 2018 by Julie Short

A lot of web designers would like you to believe that ecommerce is all about shopping carts and simple plug-ins. To their thinking, every online store is the same, and generating profits from internet sales is as simple as pairing a few product pages with search engine ads and social reviews.

They might be right, when it comes to small businesses that just sell a few simple products to consumers. When we look at ecommerce for companies that sell B2B services and solutions, though, it’s an entirely different story.

Let’s look at some of the things that make B2B ecommerce a little bit different…

B2B Purchases are Bigger

A recent Forrester survey showed that 30% of all B2B buyers made online purchases, and that almost twice as many were planning to in the next few years. That makes B2B ecommerce one of the fastest-growing parts of the industry. Almost everyone with an internet connection has bought something from Amazon.com or iTunes; however, much of the B2B market remains untapped.

It isn’t just that B2B internet purchases are growing as a percentage, though. Online or off, business buyers tend to spend quite a bit more than their personal consumer counterparts. So, there are many more dollars at stake for each potential order or account.

B2B Buyers Want Content

Although customers buy all kinds of products and services over the web now, many consumer purchases still amount to “impulse buys.” People see products they like, check out the price (and maybe a few reviews), and then complete the sale.

That doesn’t happen as often in B2B ecommerce. Because more money is at stake, and because buying decisions are often made by groups, prospects tend to research their decisions a little bit more. Additionally, the extra money means extra competition in a lot of markets. As a result, B2B businesses often need more content – in the form of blog posts, videos, buying guides, etc. – both to remain at the top of the search engine listings and convince prospects to keep moving forward.

It’s Not Just About Price

Some B2B marketers might grumble about the need for additional content and reputation building, but there is a silver lining to all of this buyer research: most people who are spending money for the business organization aren’t as sensitive to price. Unless it’s something as simple as printer paper, they want service, speed, and reliability.

That means you can get profits from B2B ecommerce even if you aren’t the cheapest supplier in your industry. As long as you can explain to customers why they have to spend a little bit more to get the best, you may be able to generate big sales directly from your website.

Want Help With B2B Ecommerce?

If you sell to other businesses and want to add online ordering on your website – or simply want to get better results from your existing B2B ecommerce offerings – now is the time to get expert advice from a proven creative team. Talk to the experienced minds at WebRevelation today and see why so many B2B marketers refuse to work with anyone else!

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Posted on February 27, 2018 by Julie Short

As we have noted on our blog in the past, custom software development can sometimes go horribly wrong. Some projects start out as great ideas, but end up being expensive, time-consuming, or ultimately a huge waste of effort and money.

There are a lot of reasons a custom software project might go wrong, of course, but one frequent cause of failure has to do with shifting focus. That is, a client sets out to accomplish one thing, and then lets their attention drift to other (sometimes competing) ideas and priorities as development moves on.

It shouldn’t be surprising that a programming job can go off the rails under those circumstances. If you set out to bake a cake and then ended up craving tacos, the end result wouldn’t be pretty. The same thing happens when you’re trying to code a new application. If you change course in the middle of the job, you’ll either have to start over or end up with something that doesn’t really fit any specific purpose.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways you can maintain your focus during the software development process…

Start With a Big Idea

Ideally, you should be able to explain the core idea behind your custom software project in a single phrase. If you can’t boil your inspiration down to a simple thought, there’s a much higher chance your idea will move in a lot of different directions. To avoid project drift, try to narrow your thinking to saving money, reducing paperwork, increasing sales, or some other tangible task from the start.

Focus on What’s Important

After you have a firm idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, you should be able to decide which aspects or features of the project will have the biggest impact. Even if it’s just a bulleted list, see if you can come up with a few thoughts on critical features that need to be implemented. Then, you can share the benefits or functions that will make or break your application with your development partner.

Don’t Make Sudden Changes

At some point in the programming process, it’s likely you’ll hear a recommendation, or see something you like, that will get you thinking about instituting new ideas or directions. Ask yourself whether these changes are really necessary, and how much they’ll add to the finished product. If you decide they’re worth the additional time and money you can move ahead, but you shouldn’t make these decisions lightly.

Follow a Proven Model for Success

The initial version of your custom application doesn’t have to be the final one. In fact, you might want to meet with your custom software programming partner at set intervals after its release to make revisions or improvements. Knowing that, you shouldn’t feel as if everything has to be perfect from the start. Focus on getting a core version of your software that does what you want to and then add to that as you go.

The First Step Towards Successful Custom Software Development

If you’re serious about saving money, increasing sales, or hitting another hard goal with your custom software development project, you need the right vendor on your side. Call the expert team at WebRevelation – based in San Antonio and Oklahoma City – today to see exactly what we’ve been able to accomplish for other businesses just like yours!

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Posted on February 22, 2018 by Julie Short

Most of us can remember playing the “telephone game” at some point as children. If you never did, or don’t recall the experience, it usually looks something like this: one student is given a phrase on a slip of paper, which they have to recite from memory to the next person. That person passes the message along to another student, and so on.

What makes this game a fun tool for educators is the fact that the ending phrase hardly ever comes close to the statement that was originally written down. The lesson is that gossip, hearsay, and third-party impressions aren’t as reliable as we tend to treat them.

Why bring this up today? Because the biggest mistake made in custom software development usually doesn’t have to do with execution. If you hire an experienced team to program your next application, they aren’t likely to do a bad job. Instead, what causes so many delays, busted budgets, and project failures is a misunderstanding of a client’s actual needs. If your software developer thinks they’re making one thing, and you think they're programming another, the results are never going to be great.

Because this is so often an issue within our industry, today we want to give you a handful of tips you can use to ensure your programming team knows exactly what you want them to build…

Choose the Right Vendor

The longer you work in this business, the more you realize it’s important to listen and take notes. If you hire a software development firm that’s new to the business or charging rock-bottom rates, there’s a good chance they’ll rush through your project. Work with an experienced team, though, and the chances they’ll miss important details are slim.

Talk With Everyday Users

It’s a good idea to make sure that your idea of the perfect custom application matches up to what your customers, employees, or other everyday users expect. Otherwise, you could give your development team a list of features that means nothing to the people who will actually have to use your software. Get input early on the process so you can avoid setbacks later.

Focus on the Details

Once you have a firm concept for your software development project, start to fill in the details. What should the interface look like? Which features are most important? How could you expand your custom software in the future? By having written notes and the details in place, you can be sure you and your programming team are on the same page.

Provide Regular Feedback

Don’t just sit back and assume you’ll get the finished piece of software you need. As your vendor supplies you with designs, mockups, and test versions, give fast and thorough feedback. Don’t force them to guess about whether their impressions of your needs are correct or not. Give them revisions or a green light to move ahead if they’re doing a good job of turning your concept into a usable application.

Looking for the Right Software Development Firm?

If you can spend the time and money needed to have a custom application created for your company, then why not turn to a team of experienced professionals with a proven track record of success? Call the software development pros at WebRevelation today to learn more about our work to get a project quote!

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Posted on February 20, 2018 by Julie Short

An experienced custom software programming team can create applications that automate tasks, improve your marketing, and grow your bottom line. Before any of that can happen, though, they have to understand what your needs for the project look like in the first place. 

In other words, you have to help them understand what you do, so they can help. That can be a little more complicated than it sounds, since you are an expert in your business but not software development, and your programming team knows coding but might not have a firm grasp on your strengths and challenges.

Today, we want to share four of our favorite tools you can use to help a custom software development team to understand your project needs…

#1 Notes or Questionnaires

By putting together a set of written notes and observations, you can gather your thoughts, put them in order of importance, and make sure you don’t miss anything that’s crucial to the success of your software development project. Additionally, some clients like to work from notes because it relieves the pressure of having to list off their needs or ideas on the spot.

Also know that your software development partner might have a questionnaire they’ll ask you to complete. This can be a great way to get your thoughts moving and clarify your priorities.

#2 Interviews

Regardless of whether you put anything in writing or not, you can be sure your development team will want to interview you so they can get depth, context, and the answers to follow-up questions. Try not to rush this process. It can be difficult to take time out of your busy schedule to answer basic questions about your company, but the more your programming team knows, the easier it will be for them to meet your needs.

Expect your interview to last at least an hour or two, with additional questions likely to follow.

#3 Software Examples

Sometimes, new clients will come to us with examples of other software packages they like to point at. Usually, they want something that’s a little bit different than the application they are showing us, but it’s always helpful to have a starting point, if one exists. In fact, your example software doesn’t even have to be from the same business or industry.

If you do provide your team with an example, be prepared to point to a few specific features or visuals you like. Additionally, think ahead of time about the different ways you’ll want your custom software to be different.


#4 Observation

If you really want a software developer to understand what you do and why it’s important, you might invite them to watch you and your team work. That way, they can see how users or customers are interacting with your existing software, what your current workflow looks like, and how things can be improved in the future.

The advantage of this approach is that it can yield insights or ideas you might not have thought of on your own.

Need a Great Software Development Partner?

Whether you already have an idea for the custom software application you need to have built, or simply want to talk with an experienced team who can help you find profit and savings opportunities, now is the perfect time to take the next step. Call the programming experts at WebRevelation today. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and show you exactly how you can use our work to improve your business!

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Posted on February 15, 2018 by Julie Short

Software development can transform an organization and help a company to save huge amounts of money over time. Or, it can be a never-ending process that results in wasted time and money.

Some of the world’s biggest organizations have seen major losses when it comes to custom software programming. Let’s look at just a few of the headline examples from recent history:

  • The Canadian government set out to consolidate 17 million webpages into a single system. After more than $35 million spent, less than 1% have been integrated.
  • The UK grocery chain Sainsbury’s wrote off roughly $300 million after its inventory automation platform was determined to be unusable.
  • Ford Motor Company scrapped its new purchasing system after investing $400 million in its development.

These are just a few examples, and they involve big organizations with enormous IT budgets. However, there are likely hundreds of smaller examples for each of these that never see the light of day. Because small and medium-sized companies don’t have as many shareholders or outside observers, their losses go unreported.

The point we want to make is that it’s easier than you might think to lose a lot of money on a software development project. Here’s how you can stop that from happening in your business

Be Clear on What You Want and Need

In many cases, the biggest software development blunders occur because the decision-makers involved didn’t have a clear picture of what they were trying to accomplish. And so, it was left to their development teams to try to sort through conflicting ideas and priorities. That’s never easy, and it can lead to delays, cost overruns, and incomplete work.

Commit Enough Time and Resources to the Project

As with most things in life, software gets a lot easier when you don’t try to cut corners. If you don’t devote enough time or money to your application, then you can’t be surprised when the finished project comes up short. You can save money by scaling back your needs and working with a smaller team that doesn’t have huge overhead expenses, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you get quality work for nothing.

Be Actively Involved in Testing and Development

Your software development team should engage you at several different points in the process, ensuring that their work meets your vision and expectations. Don’t simply rubberstamp approvals on what you see – be actively involved in the testing and development. It’s better to work out any kinks or issues early than it is to ask your vendor to re-encode big sections of your project later.

Hire a Software Programming Vendor You Can Trust

Developing a new piece of software is a lot easier, and more likely to succeed, when you have an experienced team on your side. Only hire a firm you can trust to meet their deadlines and stay true to their word. Your programming partner should be able to ask good questions and guide your thinking, not leave you with big invoices and unfulfilled promises.

We Know Custom Software Development

At WebRevelation we have 20+ years developing custom software solutions for businesses and organizations of all sizes. With offices in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, we are your affordable, dependable, and experienced programming team.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation and see what our team of experts can do for you!

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Posted on February 13, 2018 by Julie Short

In a perfect world, an entrepreneur or executive could think of an idea for a new software application, send a few notes to a talented programming team, and get a finished product they could use in just a few weeks.

That would be great, but it isn’t the world we live in. Instead, software developers and their clients need to be in continual contact, asking and answering questions on an ongoing basis until the project has been completed perfectly. When clients simply want to write a check and “have the job finished,” there are inevitable setbacks and delays that pop up along the way.

To help you avoid these kinds of difficulties, and to make it easier for ourselves and all the other experienced software programming teams out there, let’s take a look at the role clients play in the custom software development process…

You Provide the Inspiration

It goes without saying, but we need our clients to tell us what kinds of software packages they want to see built. The more specific your idea and inspiration is, the easier it will be for us to turn that vision into a reality.

We can certainly help you to flush out your thoughts and make them more concrete, but it’s a good idea to get together with some members of your team – and even a few of your customers or vendors, if they’ll be affected – to think about the different ways you can use software to improve your business. Then, we can help you put all of those needs or concepts together in a way that works.

It’s Your Job to Approve Work or Request Changes

Many new clients are very excited about the process of brainstorming new applications, but aren’t as enthusiastic (or prompt) when it comes to providing feedback. That can leave a software development team guessing about the best direction to take when moving forward.

Because it’s ultimately your money (and your business) that’s on the line, you should be as detailed and thorough as you can when reviewing design layouts, feature lists, and beta versions of your software. The more you have to say during the development process, the fewer revisions and delays you will have left to deal with when you get closer to the release of your software.

You Keep the Project on Track

Developing a new piece of software is a little bit like writing a novel. You don’t always know what twists and turns are going to be waiting for you until they arrive.

When it comes to making tough decisions that involve deadlines, budgets, or core features, it’s your job as the client to decide what best fits the vision you have in your mind. Additionally, it helps if you can stay consistent with regards to your needs, so your development team isn’t chasing a target that is constantly moving.

We Can Bring Your Ideas to Life

Have an idea for a piece of software that could make a huge impact in your business or industry? Or, do you just want to find out how a strong programming team can help you to cut costs and solve problems?

In either case, your next step is clear – contact the WebRevelation team in Oklahoma City today to learn more about our work and see how we can help. Your initial consultation is free, and it could change your business forever!

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Posted on February 8, 2018 by Julie Short

Want to ensure your software development project goes as smoothly as possible? Want to avoid the delays, cost overruns, and late-stage changes that can make programming a new application such a hassle? 

A lot of clients think the software development process is out of their hands the minute they hire a programming team to get to work, but there are a number of ways business owners, managers, and executives can stay involved. By remaining engaged, they can help to ensure the end product is exactly what is needed and expected.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to learn how to code or use technical software. In fact, your contributions are as simple as they are important. Here are a few ways clients can help their programming teams of custom software development…

Take Time With Discovery Meetings

The most important thing you can do to ensure your software development project is a success is to make sure your development team understands exactly what you’re looking for. Explain your business, your customers, and the challenges you’re facing. Take the time to spell out any complex requirements, and point to examples of what you do and don’t like if possible.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Often, the biggest misunderstandings that come up when programming a new piece of software lie in the assumptions that either the client or developer make. Don’t simply take it for granted that your team knows exactly what you mean when you give them a direction to work from. Be as specific as you can with your feedback and examples, since this will help to prevent key ideas from being lost in translation when they are being brought to life.

Keep Focused On Your Goal

Programming a new piece of software is more of a creative endeavor than a lot of businesspeople realize. It’s easy for clients and developers alike to follow twists, turns, and inspirations at various points. As a business owner or executive, you need to keep your ultimate goal in mind. Know what you want your software to do, and how it should look. If you waver in your intentions, it will be hard for your programmer to deliver the finished product you need.

Give Sharp Design Feedback

The look and feel of your finished application is just as important as its functionality. Additionally, the design elements of your custom software project need to match your existing branding. For that reason, it’s always helpful if clients can give sharp feedback on visual elements and interfaces. These parts of your software project are easy to change in the beginning, but can require lots of work to alter when the job is nearly done.

Let Your Software Development Team Test Their Work

Any good custom software development team is going to want to test what they’ve built, extensively. Sometimes, business owners and executives will be so excited with what they see during the beta version rollout that they try to push deadlines ahead or skip testing. That’s a mistake. You want your software to be as safe, stable, and as functional as possible, so give your development team the time they need to test their work and wrap things up properly.

How to Get Started with Custom Software Development

Have an idea for a piece of custom software that could help your business grow, or just want answers to your most pressing questions about application development? Talk to the friendly and experienced team at WebRevelation. We’ll be happy to set a time to speak with you, and there’s no obligation.

Reach out to us today to set a time for your initial consultation!

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Posted on February 6, 2018 by Julie Short

Talk to the average business owner or executive about enterprise system development and what they’ll hear is “expensive software programming that only huge companies can use.” What they should be thinking, though, is big savings with custom apps.

That’s because enterprise system development is really about using software that’s tailored to your needs in order to cut your business expenses. While there are up-front investments involved in programming, they tend to be a lot smaller than most businesspeople think. And, they are nothing compared to what you get in return.

To help you understand why, let’s take a look at a few of the ways your business could save money with enterprise system development…

Enterprise Software Can Replace Many Different Tools

In our experience, most companies have software packages and subscriptions they don’t really need. That’s because they rely on individual tools to perform very small tasks, and then keep paying for them out of habit. Or worse, they hire extra IT personnel to make all these different tools work together.

With the right enterprise software solution, you can trade multiple different software suites for one interactive program that covers everything you need. Then, you can either own it outright or license it at a discounted rate.

You Can Save Employee Hours With Enterprise Systems

If paying for many different software packages that do the same thing is a waste, then having temps, vendors, or employees handle data entry again and again is an even bigger anchor on your quarterly expenses. That’s because human data entry costs a great deal, while introducing errors into the process.

You can use enterprise systems to scan, organize, and automate virtually any task that involves storing or retrieving information. For a small investment, you can say goodbye to annoying data entry costs forever.

Enterprise Software Can Give You IT Stability

Another by-product of having many different software solutions working together in a makeshift way is that it can cause problems related to compatibility and updates. In other words, most off-the-shelf software solutions are built to be standalone; they may not play well with other applications.

By swapping out several different software tools for one solution, you can avoid these kinds of conflicts, making your networks run faster and preventing outages. That equates to higher productivity and more money in your pocket.

You Have Fewer Security Issues With an Enterprise Solution

If some of the information your business handles is sensitive, you might want to look into enterprise software development simply because it can be more secure. You can set up your application to restrict access, store data locally, or require extra passwords and controls before certain actions are performed.

Each of these makes your business just a little bit more secure, protecting you both from online thieves and everyday employee errors. The last thing any business can afford is the unexpected expense of an IT security problem.

Want to Learn More About Enterprise System Development?

You can save big by getting the right tools for your company – and you can probably do it while spending a lot less time and money on programming than you might imagine. To learn more, or to get a free quote for your enterprise system development project, contact the friendly team at WebRevelation in San Antonio today.

We’ll be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction!

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Posted on February 1, 2018 by Julie Short

We like to remind our clients and prospects that enterprise systems are all about increased efficiency and savings. You can use custom applications and solutions to give yourself more time, automate repetitive tasks, and cut costs in several different areas of your company organization.

Entrepreneurs and CEOs often tell us the benefits of enterprise development sound great, but they have trouble placing them in a real-world context. So today, we want to spell out five ways you could use software solutions to take away your biggest headaches. These may or may not match your needs, but they should help you to get started in thinking about the different ways enterprise systems can work for you…

#1 Customer Service Interaction Tracking

What happens when a customer contacts you with a question or request? Imagine what it would be like to be able to track the source of the inquiry, and then follow its resolution from the first step to the conclusion. Now think of what it would be like to be able to follow up with that customer based on that information, or even market to them again in the future. What would that do for your revenue? That’s how smart companies are managing buyer interactions, and it’s one of the most obvious uses of a custom enterprise system.

#2 Data Entry and Information Recording

In the digital age getting information isn’t a problem. You could measure every marketing and buyer interaction if you wanted to, and then use what you’ve learned to generate detailed reports about trends, inventory, etc. However, most businesses struggle to properly record and utilize all the data out there. With a custom enterprise system, you could automate these processes to make information faster, more accessible, and more accurate.

#3 File Sharing and Project Management

Do you have several people, departments, or teams working together on big projects? Need to combine the efforts of in-house employees and managers with outside vendors or support personnel? If so, you could use custom enterprise software share files, to keep everyone on same page, and manage task completion in real-time. This is especially valuable if you have certain types of jobs that need to be duplicated again and again.

#4 Manufacturing and Supply Chains

It’s never easy managing resources, employee schedules, and inventory. Add those together with the difficulties associated with wholesaler or retailer orders, fluid cost concerns, and supply chain logistics and your business can become unmanageable very quickly. However, with the right enterprise software solution in place, you can enjoy better information, improved forecasting, and faster communication at every level. That’s a good way to make your manufacturing business more profitable and responsive.


#5 Cloud-Based Document Delivery

Manufacturers, professional service providers, and many other types of businesses have a need to deliver thousands of documents – including product manuals, client or patient records, etc. – that are continually being revised and updated. Additionally, they need those records to be accurate, secure, and available on a number of devices or workstations. In many cases, an enterprise software platform is the answer, giving you stability, security, and low-cost reliable performance.

Ready to See What Enterprise Systems Could Do for Your Company?

Want to move past these general examples and get a sense of what enterprise systems might be able to do for your company  or organization? Taking the next step is easy – just contact the San Antonio-based team at WebRevelation so we can discuss your business. In one short consultation, we can tell you how you can use software to save time and money every quarter.

Contact us today to get started!
 

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Posted on January 30, 2018 by Julie Short

Many of the business owners and executives who come to us think the idea of developing or implementing enterprise systems into their companies sounds exciting. However, they also tend to think it sounds complicated and expensive.

Fortunately, using enterprise systems – large-scale software solutions that can be put to work across an organization – is more about possibilities than it is costs and technical know-how. That’s particularly true in small and medium-size companies, which can often take advantage of streamlined answers to the challenges they face.

In fact, while some businesses tend to worry about the details involved with enterprise systems, they should be thinking about the opportunities. To ensure you’re seeing the bigger picture, today we want to take a quick look at three huge business problems you can solve quickly and affordably with enterprise systems

#1 Data Entry and Automation

Most organizations don’t struggle with getting detailed information so much as they do managing it. When things like names, addresses, and customer specifics are outdated or incorrectly added to a system, chaos ensues. The same thing goes for employee and vendor records or information about ongoing projects.

With the right enterprise system in place, you can gather large amounts of data into a single source. Better yet, you can streamline the process of entering that data or even automate it altogether. That way, you and your team can stop wasting time on “busywork” and eliminate typos and other manual data entry issues from your business.

#2 Process Compatibility

In a lot of companies – and yours might be one of them – managers and employees use a combination of mismatched tools to accomplish what should be simple tasks. For instance, they might be using spreadsheets to organize customer contact details, a cloud application for documents, and a separate CRM for sales opportunities.

In this kind of configuration, problems can creep in the process when you try to take information from one tool or resource to another. With the right enterprise system in place, though, you can achieve process compatibility and move data from one place to another without losing time or accuracy.

#3 Customized Reporting

It’s one thing to have lots of data, and another thing to be able to use it effectively. With the right enterprise solution in place, you can sort thousands or millions of different data points together, sorting entries by time, location, user, or any number of custom markers you designate.

This is how you bring information to life, spot inefficiencies, and take advantage of opportunities as they develop. Whether you need instant access to specific information or customized reports that can be generated automatically at regular intervals, an enterprise solution can make it easier to get what you need.

Enterprise Systems Are About Efficiency

The first point we made to you is so important we want to restate it again here: using enterprise systems isn’t about adding huge sums of money to your IT budget or hiring dozens of coders. Instead, it’s about using software and smart ways to solve everyday problems that have been costing you time and money.

To learn more, or see how you can use enterprise systems to make your business run more smoothly, contact the WebRevelation team in San Antonio today for a free consultation!

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Posted on January 25, 2018 by Julie Short

When it comes to web portal development, business owners and executives usually have a lot of questions. That’s because they might be somewhat familiar with the topic, but they tend to not know much about the details.

In other words, they want the savings of time and money that come with having a well-programmed web portal, but they aren’t always sure what to ask for. Or, they may not even know where to begin the process in the first place.

Our team has taken on dozens of web portal development projects over the years, so today we thought we’d pitch in by answering a few of the most commonly asked questions that tend to come our way.

#1 What’s the Difference Between a Website and a Web Portal?

A website can really consist of anything you want to put online, and might typically be filled with information about your company, your team, and your products. A web portal, and the other hand, is a specific type of site (or could be made up of pages within the site).

A web portal combines different pieces of data or information to make them usable. For instance, you could use a web portal for account logins, scheduling, online training, and other features. The main distinction is that a web portal is interactive and draws inputs from a lot of different sources.

#2 Why Would My Organization Want or Need a Web Portal?

Usually, businesses and nonprofits invest in web portal development because they want to make gains in efficiency. For example, they may desire a convenient platform customers can use to place repeat orders, or so managers can schedule specific types of work from anywhere in real-time.

Additionally, web portals can be used to eliminate or automate repetitive tasks like data entry, or to manage thousands of members or subscribers all at once. Regardless of the specific use, web portals are all about efficiency, better communication, and faster work.

#3 How Can We Get Quality Web Portal Development?

We could pass along a lot of knowledge when it comes to web portal development, but a lot of it really comes down to a pair of critical directives. The first is to know what you’re trying to build or accomplish. You should never lose sight of that in the design process. The second is to only work with experts who know what they’re doing. Web portal development is complicated, but it gets a lot easier when you’ve built dozens of them.

As long as you don’t lose sight of these two points, you’ll always be moving in the direction of getting a finished product that can help your business or organization grow. No matter what your specific challenges or needs might be like, that’s always the real goal in the end.

Ready to Learn More About Web Portal Development?

Of course, answering these three frequently asked questions about web portal development probably won’t tell you everything you need to know, particularly when it comes to your own specific business situation. However, there is a fast, easy, and free way to get the information you need.

Contact the WebRevelation design and development team today and we'll be happy to schedule a complementary consultation for you. During that time, we'll find out about your project, let you know how we can help, and even give you some advice to use right away.

Don’t let the opportunity to save time and money pass you by. Contact our team now to set up a time to talk!

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Posted on January 23, 2018 by Julie Short

Conceptually, business owners and executives love the idea of web portal development. Who wouldn’t want an online tool that helps them save time and money while automating certain repetitive and expensive tasks?

Sometimes, though, they don’t know how to take those great ideas and put them into action. More specifically, even though they like the idea of web portal development, they aren’t sure how it can work for them.

There isn’t one answer that applies to every organization or situation, of course, but today we want to give some generalized examples of web portal development in action. Here are seven ways you can use a team like ours to add something special to your business or online presence…

#1 B2B Account Management

In the world of B2B sales and customer service, it often make sense to let buyers handle details like memberships, recurring purchases, and shipping instructions on their own. With a custom web portal, you can let customers manage their own accounts (and save yourself time and money in the process).

#2 Online Medical Patient Interfaces

Most of us have used an online portal of some kind to schedule a doctor’s appointment, update a medical history, or otherwise interact with a healthcare provider. These tools provide convenience, time savings, and confidentiality that wouldn’t be possible in person or over the phone.

#3 Student Portals for Schools and Universities

At most learning institutions, students can sign up for classes, download learning materials, and check on things like grades or schedules all from a simple web portal. Are there similar features you could use in your business or nonprofit?

#4 Customized Ecommerce Solutions

No two stores are the same, whether they are online or off. Web portal development can be used to tailor the shopping experience, provide personalized marketing, or simply automate things like shipping and returns. Given that margins are so tight in ecommerce, this kind of programming can be a real money saver.

#5 Management and Scheduling Tools

Lots of managers use web portals to schedule employees, set up training sessions, and handle day-to-day documentation. That functionality can be convenient in any setting, but it’s especially valuable as a company or department grows and turnover increases.


#6 Financial Website Account Logins

Whether you realize it or not, you probably use secure web portals every day to interact with your financial institutions. These allow for the safe transfer of information, real-time updates, and the ability to do things like view and download statements.

#7 Volunteer Coordination Pages

Charitable groups and community associations use web portal development, too. That’s because specialized websites can help with scheduling and group activities, not to mention fundraising and management functions. There’s no organization, big or small, that can't benefit from the smart use of online tools.

Could Your Business or Nonprofit Benefit From Web Portal Development?

The most important thing to remember about the examples we’ve outlined above is that they are just generalized descriptions of bigger possibilities. In other words, what you need might fit one of these profiles, combine a few of them, or be completely different.

The best way to determine what you could do with a web development project, of course, is to speak with a team of specialists who have helped dozens of companies just like yours. Why not reach out to WebRevelation today so we can talk about the challenges you’re facing and generate a custom proposal for you today?

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Posted on January 18, 2018 by Julie Short

Have you decided to pursue a web portal development project, but don’t know where to look for help?

If so, we can understand the challenges and dilemmas you are facing. We often work with business leaders who see the value of bringing scheduling, marketing, and automation tools online, but don’t know enough about the specifics of web programming to evaluate different firms and proposals.

Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert in web portal development to hire one. Instead, you just have to know what matters when you check out potential candidates. Here is the process we would advise any business owner, entrepreneur, or executive to follow…

Talk Features First

The start of your web portal development project isn’t finding the right company to work with, it’s deciding what it is you want your vendor to create for you. Make a list of features and functions that can help your business, and work from there.

This part of the process might involve brainstorming, and even checking out some colleagues or competitors. To be sure, your creative team might have additional input or suggestions later. However, things work best if you go into your search with a rough sense of what you want to get from the finished project.

Examine Samples and Case Studies

Once you have a good idea of what you would like a creative team to code for you, it’s time to check out different firms and their capabilities. The best way to do that is by examining samples and case studies.

When you’re looking at examples of a creative team’s work, it’s natural to focus on visuals and design elements. Make sure you get past the obvious, though, and see whether the web portals they’ve built in the past are functional, stable, and profitable. You aren’t just looking for the right artistic designs, but a track record of success.

Prioritize Experience and Reputation Over Sticker Price

Every web portal development project is different, but one thing we can safely say is that there are always hiccups and unexpected turns along the way. When the unknown jumps in out of nowhere, an experienced web programming team can help you stay on track and within budget.

Naturally, a creative team with many years of experience isn’t going to be the lowest cost option. They are going to be known for helping companies to solve problems, and that means higher project fees. However, this is an area of your technology budget where you probably don’t want to sacrifice quality of work to save a little bit of money.

Want to Work With the Best Web Portal Development Team?

We firmly believe that anyone who’s looking into web portal development should follow the steps we have outlined in this article. We also believe that any serious business person who does so is going to end up seeking out a creative team like the one you would find at WebRevelation.

With dozens of successful web portal projects under our belt, and offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we have the skills and tools needed to complete projects large and small. Why not contact our team today to see how easy it is to get the best minds in the business working for you?

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Posted on January 16, 2018 by Julie Short

Hiring a creative team to develop a web portal for your company almost always seems like a great idea, and in truth it usually is. However, it’s important to have a clear vision – not to mention some experienced programming minds – or the project can quickly become expensive, time-consuming, and underwhelming.

To help make sure your web portal development job goes as expected, and you end up with a finished product that helps your business grow, today we want to take a look at four all-too-common mistakes you should avoid along the way…

#1 Prioritizing Aesthetics Over Functionality

It goes without saying that anything you publish to the web has to be attractive. Visitors make split-second decisions about credibility, and where to spend their time, so visuals matter. However, a web portal that just looks good won’t be enough to help your business.

To really be of any use – to your business or its customers – your web portal has to have a strong design and great functionality. In fact, if your site doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, then it won’t matter how well-presented it is.

#2 Not Paying Enough Attention to Web Traffic Flow

It would be hard to overstate just how important it is to manage the flow of traffic through a new website. That’s especially true when it comes to web portal development, which can feature lots of interactive tools and menus. Usability should be just as big of a priority as functionality, since you want it to be easy for employees, customers, or vendors to make the most of what you've developed.

Work with a team that will plan ahead to ensure users can easily get from one core feature or function to the next. It will make your web portal all the more valuable to real-life users.

#3 Rushing a Web Portal Online

As with anything in the world of business or technology, it can be easy to rush things along in order to hit the ground running with a new idea. Web portal development doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it does need to be a well thought-out process.
Some creative teams (or their clients) will rush through things like discovery, usability testing, and coding. That might speed up the launch of their new web portal, but also leaves them with big gaps in security, website crashes, and other issues that are harder and more expensive to fix later.

#4 Forgetting to Grow or Update Your Web Portal

Your web portal development project isn’t really “finished” until people stop using it. Until then, you should constantly look for ways to grow, add new features, and streamline the interface.

That doesn’t mean you have to continually spend more and more money on your website, of course, just that you should always be on the lookout for ways to upgrade or improve the user experience. Small additions and edits here and there can keep your web portal fresh and useful for years to come.

Want Expert Help With Web Portal Development?

The easiest way to get the web portal development work you need is to simply hire a team of professionals who can not only guide you step-by-step through the process, but also ensure the resulting site is stable, fast, and functional.

If you want to work with the best, contact the team at WebRevelation today to set up a free consultation. We’ll be happy to learn more about your project, explain your options, and submit a customized proposal. It won’t take long for you to learn what’s possible with the right tools and expertise on your side!

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Posted on January 11, 2018 by Julie Short

Sometimes, we take meetings with business owners and executives who have heard about web portal development but don’t know exactly what it means, or how it can help. They are aware that creating a stronger online resource brings bottom-line benefits, but might not know exactly what those benefits look like.

With that in mind, we want to devote today’s post to a few of the biggest reasons that web portal development matters to businesses of all sizes. Let’s start with the biggest question of all, and then move on to a few details you may or may not have already considered…

What is Web Portal Development All About?

When we talk about web portal development, as opposed to related terms like “web design” or “web programming,” what we’re really referring to is the art and science of building pages and tools that bring various data points together. For instance, you could have a web portal that allows for scheduling different groups in an event space. Or, you could have a web portal that takes customers to their accounts, or one that allows managers to schedule training for employees.

Once you look at web portal development in this light, the big reasons it matters so much to businesses come clearly into focus.

Web Portals Can Transform Everyday Business Tasks

In the early days of the internet, it was easy to marvel at the availability of information that was springing up everywhere. Now, though, business leaders are a little more savvy about the possibilities. It’s not just about what you can share online, but also what you can do.

A properly imagined, designed, and implemented web portal can automate repetitive tasks, cut costs associated with jobs like data entry and customer service, and slash the amount of time and money departments spend, virtually overnight. Additionally, they can add new customers, managers, vendors and front-line employees.

In other words, they can help you to make so much more from the internet than simple marketing tasks.

Web Portal Development Isn’t a Self-Guided Solution

It’s one thing to grasp the concepts behind web portal development, and to see their potential utility. It’s another thing to put that power to use in a way that expands your business or helps you to meet existing goals.

Like web design, some business leaders treat web portal development as a self-guided solution. That is, they think that simply getting some form of programming is going to magically lead to gains in sales, efficiency, and savings. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t work that way.

For one thing, you have to have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish with your web portal development project. Even the best programming team can’t provide a solution to a problem they don’t know exists. Also, it goes without saying that the firm you work with needs to be experienced, with the right tools and focus. Otherwise, you could end up with a very expensive piece of software that doesn’t really deliver on its potential.

How to Learn More About Web Portal Development

Want to know more about web portal development, and the ways you can use parts of your site to provide cutting-edge tools to your customers or employees? Schedule a meeting with the WebRevelation design and programming team today. We’ll be happy to answer questions and provide a custom proposal for your project.

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Posted on January 9, 2018 by Julie Short

Web portal development is one of those IT topics like cloud computing or backup and disaster recovery. Business owners and executives might not completely understand all of the details and implications, but they tend to get excited when they hear about the potential applications and business benefits.

As with backup planning and cloud computing, the magic of a great web portal – an online resource that connects many inputs or points of information into a single usable tool – can lead to big savings of time and money. But, as with these other technologies, the key is getting the finished product that actually accomplishes what it’s supposed to.

As a veteran web programming team, we’ve seen the ins and outs of this process. In order to help ensure your next web portal development project is a success (especially if it’s your first one), today we are going to give you a few tips on what to look out for. Here are a few things that make for a great web portal …

A Clear Business Purpose

You aren’t going to create a web portal for fun, and developing any online application or resources is a big project. So, it’s very important you begin with the right purpose in mind. Have a clear sense of what you and your team hope to accomplish and your programming partner will have a much easier time delivering on your needs.

Full App or Information Compatibility

It’s always a tragedy when a great idea for a web portal can’t be brought to fruition. However, it’s easy to have that happen, particularly if you don’t have compatibility between the various tools (like email, forms, online databases, plug-ins, etc.) and the custom software itself. That’s why your choice of programming vendors is so important.

An Easy-to-Use Interface

In the same way that your web portal has to work well to serve its purpose, it also needs an easy-to-use interface. Your employees and/or customers shouldn’t feel like it takes them a long time to figure out your web portal, or like they need extensive workarounds. Blending usability with high performance can be a bit of a balancing act, but it’s crucial to the success of your project.

Strong Programming

It goes without saying that your web portal need strong programming. If your development team rushes, or isn't thorough enough, you won’t just end up with a product that is bad or works slowly – you could cause crashes and online security headaches for anyone who uses your site.

Want to Know More about Web Portal Development?

You don’t have to be an expert in web programming to get the online portal you need to take your business to the next level. In fact, all you really need is a sense of where you want to take your organization, and an experienced technical team who can translate that into a workable internet app.

If you’re ready to move forward with your web portal development project – or just want some clear answers from a team you can trust – now is a great time to schedule a complementary consultation with WebRevelation. Contact us today. We’ll be happy to give you the information you’re looking for and help take your ideas to the next level!

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Posted on November 30, 2017 by Julie Short

5 Best Places Besides Google to Optimize Your ContentTypically, when web designers and online marketing gurus talk about “optimizing content,” it’s in the context of adding keywords and links to a page, or perhaps pursing up a blog post. It’s almost always implied that the goal is to improve your search rankings and visibility on Google.

However, optimization isn’t just about drawing in visitors from search engines. You want your content – whether it be articles, videos, product descriptions, or something else – to be easy to find on every major portal, hub, and platform. Why not use every avenue at your disposal to reach out to customers?

To give you a sense of why optimization is important around the web, and not just on Google, let’s look at five other places you want your content to stand out…


#1 Bing

Alright, we’ll admit that this first one is a little bit of a cheat. After all, Bing might be controlled by Microsoft instead of Google, but it is still a search engine. The point here, though, is that you shouldn’t ignore your Bing positioning. It might only make up 10 to 15% of the search market, but that’s nothing to sneeze at. Often, smaller companies can make fast gains on secondary search engines because their competitors aren’t paying attention.

#2 YouTube

YouTube has occasionally been referred to as “the world’s second-largest search engine,” and not just because it’s owned by Google. The site displays billions of video clips a day, and yours can help you attract leads and sales if you take the time to optimize titles, descriptions, and outbound links. You want your videos to be easy to find and act upon. That means using carefully-researched terms and phrases whenever you can.

#3 Amazon

If you sell any kinds of products or services, then you probably have listings on Amazon – both for your company and whatever merchandise you are offering. Although a lot of marketers don’t realize it, Amazon has its own internal search engine. While the search term shoppers use their might not be the same ones they would prioritize on Google, it’s important to feature them in your content.

#4 Twitter

Hashtags are often thought of as being ironic, or a cultural phenomenon that’s synonymous with the digital age. However, it’s important to remember that they are also critical search and newsfeed identifiers on Twitter (and to a lesser extent on Google + and other social platforms). So, if you want to join in on a topic that’s already trending, or see your content go viral, link to it through a tweet using the right hashtag for the job.

#5 Yelp

If you have a retail business, Yelp could be every bit as important to your marketing success as Google or Facebook. In fact, you could also include TripAdvisor if you operate in an area with lots of tourists or business travelers. Either way, your profiles and posts on these platforms should be optimized for location and business type, while also featuring plenty of helpful reviews.

Achieving a strong search position on Google is always going to be valuable, but that doesn’t mean it should be your only goal. Pay attention to these other important corners of the internet, too, and you could see your sales and branding efforts get stronger every day.

Need help bringing together all the different pieces of your online marketing campaigns? Call our team today to see how we can help you get organized and achieve bigger bottom-line results!

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Posted on November 9, 2017 by Julie Short

Internet Marketing Are You Using the Right Tools for the JobAre you making internet marketing harder than it has to be? Experience has taught us that a lot of business owners are, even if they don’t realize it.

In any job or discipline, having the right tools makes a huge difference. If you doubt this, try to put together a coffee table using a butter knife instead of a screwdriver. Or, substitute a large rock for a hammer. You might get the job done eventually, but it’s going to be a frustrating experience.

The same thing happens with websites and online promotion. Often, business owners and executives feel overwhelmed by the ongoing tasks needed to generate sales and leads from the web. However, these jobs get much, much easier when you have the right tools and know how to use them.

To give you a sense of the kinds of tools we are talking about, and how they can save you time and stress every week, let’s look at seven that are often overlooked, even though they’re indispensable to those of us who work within the web design industry…

#1 SEO Evaluation Software

Are you focusing your pages and blog posts on the right keywords, and putting them in the right places? You don’t have to guess. With SEO software (like Yoast or Moz) you can get real-time guidance on crafting search-friendly content.

#2 Social Management Apps

There’s no need to log into Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other social media platforms individually, or to post material at the exact moment you want to release. With software like Hootesuite and Tweetdeck, you can schedule content and direct all your profiles from one convenient hub.

#3 Web Analytics Packages

Need to know how many people are coming to your website, where they are arriving from, or how they behave once they land on your pages? Google Analytics is available for free use and can be customized for numerous different reports to help you keep an eye on your progress.

#4 Website Error Reports

There are a number of online tools that can help you track the speed and performance of your website, scan your content for duplication, and check for issues like broken links. Then, you’ll have an easy-to-follow report that shows you exactly what needs to be fixed.

#5 Reputation Management Services

Customers are probably leaving reviews for your products and services all over the internet. By using reputation management tools, you can track their feedback, verify that the opinions shared are legitimate, and know what buyers are saying about your business.

#6 Directory Submission Plans

Local business directories and industry websites are important hubs of information, both for buyers and for Google’s search engine spiders. But, submitting your data to them one at a time, and then keeping it updated, would be a tedious exercise. Luckily, you can use automated tools to submit profiles on your behalf.

#7 Email Optimization Guides

If you use a reputable email delivery service, you can use automated tools to figure out when you should send messages, how to segment your lists, and which topics are driving clicks and conversions. That’s a great way to make every campaign more profitable.

Could you manage your online marketing without some or all of these tools? Absolutely, but why would you want to take more time and get diminished results? Each of these is simple, cost-effective, and can help make you more efficient right away.

Whether you are guiding your own online marketing or working with a team of creative professionals, it’s critical that you have someone using the right tools for the job. Otherwise, you’re going to waste a lot of time and miss out on big opportunities to gain new customers.

Contact our creative team today for personalized advice to optimize your website or meet your online marketing goals.

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Posted on October 26, 2017 by Julie Short

What Information Should Be on a B2B HomepageWhether you are building a new B2B website or updating your current site, figuring out what should go on the home page is often the hardest part. The days of keyword stuffing the home page to get it ranked by Google are long gone. Today’s home page should be all about connecting with your audience and enabling them to find what they want as quickly as possible.

Sadly, according to the Nielsen Norman Group, this is the exception rather than the rule. “Most B2B sites emphasize internally focused design, fail to answer customers' main questions or concerns, and block prospects' paths as they search for companies to place on their shortlists.” On a happier note, this dearth of good B2B home page content means that, with a few best practices, you can easily outdo competitors.

With that in mind, here’s the information you may wish to feature on your home page.

Your brand message: This can include a memorable, relevant tagline as well as a summary of your value proposition or USP. Remember, this is not the “About Us” page! Keep this summary focused on what matters to the customer—their pain points or opportunities.

A brief welcome message: One of the best ways to do this is with a video clip. It should NOT start playing automatically, but it should be easy to find. Keep it simple, tell visitors why you’re glad they are here, how you hope to help them, and end with an invitation to learn more.

Social proof: Testimonials are some of the most powerful content you can have on your site. Don’t hide it away on a separate page. Feature it prominently on the home page. Capterra offers tips on doing testimonials the right way here.

Informative, authentic pictures: Photos provide information to your site visitors as well. People pick up on a lot about your business when you feature a photo of employees at your facility or a real customer using your products/services. Stock photography only tells them you know how to buy an image license.

Recent content: Don’t overwhelm your homepage with a newsfeed, but do make it possible for visitors to see what’s going on with your blog. It makes them feel that you’re taking care of your site—and that you’ll take care of them as a customer.

A call to action: What’s the next thing you want the web visitor to do? More important, what did they come to your site to do? When people land on the home page, they may not know where to go next. Provide direction in the form of a call to action that helps move prospects farther into the funnel.

Contact information: Put an email address, phone number, and physical address for corporate headquarters on the home page (in the footer section) so that visitors can find it immediately. Don’t hide this info in a contact form!

Bonus Tip #1

Besides making your site easy to navigate, include a search box so visitors can find what they want without having to click through multiple pages.

Bonus Tip #2

Don’t link out to your social media accounts from the home page unless you have a GOOD reason to do so. Remember, once visitors leave your site and hit LinkedIn or Facebook, they will be exposed to distractions and even ads from your direct competitors.

Business users are on your website to learn more about your company, evaluate your credibility, understand more about your brand, or find a specific piece of information to help them make a decision. Increase your chances of getting a seat at the bidding table by making your home page remarkable! For more insights and a web review, contact Web Revelation today.

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Posted on October 12, 2017 by Julie Short

Five Ways To Keep Your Website Fresh and Current - Without a Marketing TeamIf you don’t have a full-scale marketing team to manage your online presence, it’s very tempting to simply let your website remain static. After all, it looked pretty good and seemed to function well when it was first built. And if it’s not broken, why fix it?

The fact is that your website has a lot of potential to help move your business toward its goals. You can use it to engage, entertain, educate, persuade, and connect with your ideal target market. But it won’t do any of those things well if you let it sit around collecting dust. Allocating even modest resources to keeping your site looking fresh and inviting for your web visitors can make a big difference. Here are a few places to start.

#1 Audit Your Links

Nothing makes a website look defunct faster than broken links. Check not only for internal links that aren’t working but for links out to other sites and from websites that are referring traffic to you. Target Internet recommends looking in the Crawl Errors section in Google’s Search Console. “It shows you URL’s where Google have found errors like broken links (“404 errors”). This is a really useful report as it doesn’t only show you the broken links but also the pages which they’re linked to from.” This tool is free to use, and you should make it part of your monthly routine web maintenance.

#2 Shoot a Short Video

Especially in the B2B sector, few companies have taken the time to add video to their site. Your website will immediately appear more fresh and modern when you add a short video clip. It can be just thirty seconds featuring a welcome message from the CEO, an overview of a cool project, or a customer testimonial. The production quality doesn’t have to be stellar. It’s more important for the content to be authentic.

Tip: Don’t use a whiteboard “Explainer” video unless you have something to explain. It’s no substitute for putting a human face on your company.

#3 Keep Your Blog Current

Whether you hire an outside writer or rely on internal contributors, a regularly updated blog is one of the best ways to keep new traffic coming in and to show Google that your website is well-maintained. Aim for one or two new posts per month. To avoid falling behind, plan content in advance and create an editorial calendar. If coming up with new topics is a challenge, try this tip from Amanda Rodgers at Brand Wagon Agency. “One great way to get out of your blogging rut is to take a topic, and make a ‘mind map.’ Take a post idea, and brainstorm ways that that topic can be expanded into new topics.”

#4 Check and Update Your Images  

Whether you have new team members, a new facility, new products, or other changes, these should be communicated visually on your site. Replacing stock images with professionally shot original images is an excellent way to make over a site. And don’t forget to update tags on older photos. SLR Lounge explains why here.

#5 Create a Helpful Giveaway

A full scale white paper is nice to have, but a checklist, report, or list of tips can be just as helpful for engaging visitors with fresh content. It gives repeat visitors another reason to stop by, and offers plenty of opportunities to drive new traffic through your social media accounts. Focus on creating something small but helpful—a bite-sized piece of content that business users can consume quickly.

Those are just a few of the ways you can update your content. But here’s one more that’s even more critical. If you haven’t mobilized your site to make it responsive, that’s the first thing you should address! Nothing looks more outdated than a site that can’t be viewed properly on a mobile device. For more advice and a review of your site, contact our team at Web Revelation today.

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Posted on September 28, 2017 by Julie Short

Earlier this month, we discovered some of the many ways bad processes can hold your business back from reaching its goals—and how to catch the signs that a process needs to be improved. This time, let’s unpack what a good process looks like and how to improve your existing processes.

Five Characteristics of an Excellent Business Process

If you want to make your business processes better, you need to have a clear idea of the standard you’re trying to achieve. Here are five ways you know a process is well-designed:

  1. It has a point. If there is no real purpose to an activity in terms of furthering the organization’s goals, it may be better to outsource or even eliminate the activity rather than try to improve the way it’s performed.
  2. It gets the job done. A process must be effective and serve its intended purpose.
  3. It reduces or eliminates waste. That means no redundancy, no unnecessary steps, and no needless back and forth.
  4. It cultivates buy-in. A process must have high usability and those using it must be willing to follow the process. Processes that are easy to understand and follow and that promote good work performance are less likely to meet with resistance.
  5. It can be monitored and its effects can be measured. Accountability and quality assurance should be built into the process.

Breaking Down a Process and Making It Better

Once you’ve identified a process to improve, here are your next steps:

  • Define what the process is supposed to accomplish.
  • Define how the process is currently done (map out the steps or elements).
  • Identify why it isn’t working (seek out the bottlenecks, redundant activities, and areas where errors are most likely to be introduced).
  • Consider alternate ways of accomplishing the task or provide more resources to overcome bottlenecks.
  • Remove unnecessary or redundant steps.
  • Add quality control monitoring to steps that are error-prone and to the process as a whole.
  • Automate some or all steps in the process using appropriate technology.
  • Communicate changes to all those who will be using the process.
  • Review the process on a regular basis to continually improve it.

Input and feedback from those in your organization who are using the current processes is essential for success when you start making improvements. Leverage their knowledge to help you understand all the elements of the process, the areas of greatest frustration, and creative ways to solve these problems. You can get more details on process improvement with this excellent article at MindTools.

What Role Should Technology and Automation Play in Process Improvement?

Sadly, automating a poorly designed process is NOT an improvement. In the same way, throwing technology at the problem will not solve it. You must go through the steps to fully understand the shortcomings of your current process before you try to apply a high-tech solution. (Laserfiche has an article on business process automation here that makes that point well).

As a quick example, if your organization has a challenge with properly handling customer inquiries due to lack of adequate training for customer service personnel, installing an online chat application on your website won’t fix the issue. It just gives customers a new way to reach your company and have a frustrating experience. On the other hand, let’s say the bottleneck in increasing customer satisfaction is due to delays in shipping or errors in order fulfilment. In this situation, automating the transfer of data from your sales portal to your backend order processing and logistics systems would make a lot of sense to reduce these problems.

Here are just a few signs that technology might be the answer to your process problem:

  • You have a process that’s common across your industry and there are out-of- the-box solutions for it.
  • There is very little variance in how the process is accomplished—human judgement calls and intervention are rarely, if ever, required.
  • The process requires input from many different people, making virtualization and automation of the workflow an obvious choice for moving things along faster.
  • Your process involves multiple databases or “silos” of information and systems that aren’t currently integrated.
  • Your competitors are using out-of- date processes and you have the opportunity to outpace them by automating your own processes with custom applications.

Do you suspect that custom web and software development might be the secret to solving your business process woes? Contact our team at Web Revelation for a consultation. We specialize in using technology to make your business faster, more efficient, and more profitable.

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Posted on September 14, 2017 by Julie Short

Processes are supposed to make things work more efficiently. But there’s a downside to doing things the same way every time. If you’re doing it wrong, that process is ensuring you’re doing things wrong on a large scale and for a long time. And if you don’t have a good handle on what your processes are and how they work, you might not even realize there’s an issue. This is not an uncommon problem. According to the 2015 BPT Survey Report, 50% of businesses participating in the survey admitted that they only “occasionally” document their processes or keep them up to date. It’s no surprise that businesses that fail to document, adapt, and improve their processes often fall short of their growth objectives.



What’s the Impact of Poor Processes?

  • Bad business processes can hurt your organization by:
  • Contributing to errors or inaccuracies that require time and money to correct
  • Delaying the completion of downstream tasks due to bottlenecks
  • Taking up valuable labor hours with redundant activities
  • Hindering the timely completion of projects
  • Creating “blind spots” in your ability to monitor and improve quality
  • Increasing customer dissatisfaction
  • Preventing your organization from implementing best practices and new technologies

Time Can Turn a Good Process Bad

No company is perfect, and every organization has some flawed processes, but where did these poorly-designed and inefficient procedures come from? Sometimes, a process is flawed from the start because it was thrown together in a hurry without a lot of thought. Even more often, a process made sense at the time, but simply didn’t scale as the business grew or the marketplace changed. The bad news is, the longer a bad process has been in place, the more challenging it can be to change it. The good news is, it’s never too late for a positive transformation. First, you need to identify processes that are ripe for a makeover.

When Should You Suspect a Process Needs to Be Overhauled?

There are a number of warning signs that a process might need an in-depth review.

  1. A process is informal (not written down) or it is difficult to teach to new staff members. A well-designed process should make logical sense and not require intuition or years of on-the-job experience to perform correctly. (BPM Leader offers insights into creating good process documentation here).
  2. An issue is mentioned often in complaints, either directly or in online reviews. For example, customers might make negative comments about the way invoicing, service requests, product shipping time, or returns and refunds are handled.
  3. Everyone in your company tries to avoid being responsible for a particular task, a common sign that it is tedious and redundant. Smart employees also avoid being associated with flawed processes because whoever is put in charge of those process-related tasks ends up in trouble for making mistakes or falling behind schedule.
  4. There is a frequently performed task that has no associated KPIs or there is no way to track whether the process is resulting in the desired outcome. In some cases, there are processes that are necessary even though they don’t directly improve the bottom line. This is commonly the case with administrative and compliance-related processes. It’s even more imperative to make these processes more efficient, since they will always be a resource drain and a liability.
  5. Employees complain that they can’t do their jobs well because of frequent miscommunication or delays in getting what they need. For example, if communication for a large-scale project is done via email, this can lead to confusion with constant back and forth and email threads that are incredibly lengthy. Too much time is being spent searching for the relevant information rather than performing work.

What Can You Do to Improve Processes?

Just from reading this far, you probably already have a few processes come to mind that need to be addressed. In the next article in this series, we’ll explore the steps for improving a process. We’ll also look at the role of automation and technology in making your business processes work better.

Do you have a business process you want to start improving right now? Contact Web Revelation for more insights.

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Posted on August 31, 2017 by Julie Short

How well is your website performing in terms of bringing in new leads, boosting sales, and helping your business grow? If it’s not having as much of an impact as you would like, it’s time to look at your inbound marketing. Making improvements in this area can have a dramatic effect on how well your website serves your business needs.

What Is Inbound Marketing?
It’s easiest to define inbound marketing by contrasting it with outbound marketing. Let’s say you want to get an up-close look at some birds. If you go hunting for birds with a shotgun, that’s outbound marketing. It’s a scattershot approach and may scare off far more birds than it takes down. Inbound marketing is like putting a bird feeder in your front yard and letting the birds come to you. Cold calling, email blasts, and paid ads are all examples of outbound marketing while blogging, social media engagement, and content marketing in general are inbound. Let’s look at what happens with your website when inbound marketing is on target.

Benefit #1: More Inbound Traffic from Organic Searches
Inbound marketing and SEO are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact, they can and should work hand in hand. Whether you are publishing blog posts, podcasts, infographics, white papers, or videos on your site, some of the most effective inbound marketing content is designed around targeted keywords. Prospective buyers may feel like they have stumbled across this content by accident while searching for an answer to a specific question or problem. However, behind the scenes this content has been carefully optimized to rank well for your target audience. For example, a consulting company in the workplace safety and health sector might post an informational report with the keyword “cost of forklift accidents”. It’s a safe bet that some of the people searching for info on this topic are doing so because their company has experienced a recent safety incident—and these readers would make excellent prospects.

Benefit #2: Higher Brand Awareness and Inbound Links
While outbound marketing is often used to build brand awareness, inbound marketing also plays an important role in this area. Creating highly sharable content (even when it’s not specifically focused on your products or services) boosts exposure for your brand and can increase the number of reputable sites and platforms that link back to your site. Guest blogging and writing educational content for industry publications can provide valuable inbound links to your website from highly relevant sources. But social media is often the easiest place to start in terms of building brand awareness. Now that search engines are taking “social signals” such as likes, comments, and shares into account in terms of ranking, the more engagement you can inspire, the better.

Benefit #3: Increased Conversions on Your Site
This is the most critical metric for any business website. It’s far more important than the number of visitors you receive. If you offer free educational resources on your site, visitors stay longer. That’s great for reducing your bounce rate (another factor search engines weigh in determining the relevance of your site). But inbound marketing should do more than that. Most B2B websites convert only a tiny percentage of visitors into leads. Your inbound marketing should establish trust so that it attracts visitors who are ready to make a next step—even if it’s a small one. Consider distributing an educational blog post or podcast that links back to a landing page where visitors can download a helpful white paper, report, or checklist in exchange for their email address. That’s a fresh lead your marketing and sales people can cultivate, and a perfect example of how your website can deliver value for your business.

Benefit #4: Continuous Improvement for Your Site
What about performance over the long term? In some ways, a higher volume of traffic can be beneficial even if people aren’t doing what you want when they are on the site right now. Because at least you will have enough data to analyze. Inbound marketing gives you many streams of inbound traffic to mine for insights, determining what works and doesn’t work on your website. Be sure to use a customized link for each piece of inbound content (free link shortening services like bit.ly can help). That way, you don’t just see an increase in hits and wonder where they are coming from. Once these visitors are on your site, you can also see how they interact with various pages and identify areas for improvement in the text, layout, page load times, and more.
Are you ready to improve your inbound marketing and enjoy better performance on your website? Contact the team at Web Revelation for a consultation today.

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Posted on August 17, 2017 by Julie Short


Are you paying attention to the relationship between your email campaigns and your web traffic? Done right, email marketing can be a highly effective tool to cultivate leads and keep long-term clients engaged with your website. Here are several ways that this kind of marketing might be impacting your website performance—for good or bad!

#1 Getting More Clicks to Your Site
Each email you send provides an opportunity for you to engage readers and invite them to visit your website. It’s important to be consistent about including a call to action in each email, because it’s going to take a lot of emails for the results to add up. Click through rates from email marketing have declined in the past decade. According to Campaigner.com, email marketers could count on about a 3.5% click rate in 2011. By 2015, that rate fell to less than 2%. That doesn't mean you should stop bothering with email (because the folks who do click through are prime candidates for conversion). It does mean that it’s going to take more ingenuity on your part to improve those click through numbers.

What can you do to boost your click rates and drive more traffic with your email marketing? Obviously, delivering relevant and engaging content via email is the foundation. But there are other tactics that might help as well. Campaigner.com also shared this interesting fact: email marketing campaigns with a high number of links deliver the best click through rates. According to their data, campaigns with 1-10 links have a click rate of about 1%. That rate jumps to 2.6% for campaigns with more than 20 links. Build a robust campaign with a series of emails that let you experiment with linking to a wide variety of pages on your site. Segment the emails so that each campaign includes the links that are relevant to each target audience or buyer persona.

#2 Increasing Your Rate of Repeat Traffic
RVR or Return Visitor Rate is an important measure of the health of your website. Email marketing encourages prospects and current customers to visit your website frequently to learn, explore, or shop. In general, the more times a user visits your website, the higher the acquisition rate.

What’s a good RVR? Opinions vary, but thirty percent is a healthy return visitor rate according to sources like Contently. Less than ten percent indicates that you aren’t giving people sufficient reason to come back for more. On the other hand, if RVR is very high (especially if overall traffic to your site isn’t high) you probably need to focus more on obtaining new visitors. One way to do this with email marketing is to include content that’s shareable. Recipients can forward this content to people in their network and drive those new viewers to your site.

#3 Ruining Your Website Reputation!
That’s right, this can happen if you aren’t conscientious about how you curate your email marketing list. If you get it wrong, you may impair your ability to run any email campaigns associated with your website at all. When enough people mark your messages as spam—or if you send out bulk emails that look suspicious to mail delivery services, your email server’s IP address or even your web domain name may be blacklisted.
This can happen due to circumstances outside your control (even MailChimp got their URL blocked by mistake in their early days). But it’s usually the result of mistakes like the following:

  • Adding people to your list without obtaining their permission
  • Sending too many emails in a short time period
  • Emailing content that is irrelevant or overly “salesy”
  • Waiting so long between emails that recipients forget they signed up for your email list

Using a double opt-in process, sending content that’s highly targeted to interest your recipients, and keeping in touch regularly are good ways to reduce your chances of being considered a spammer.
You should also avoid the types of actions that make email delivery services mark your messages as spam or block you entirely. FulcrumTech has a good article about best practices to avoid the dreaded spam filter. Remember, if your emails aren’t getting through at all, then your website performance will suffer from the loss of all those clicks from people who really want to engage with you!

Do you need a trusted partner to walk you through your website analytics and improve performance? Contact Web Revelation today.

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Posted on July 27, 2017 by Julie Short

Omni-channel Marketing and Customer Care (How to Be Everywhere)
Is your organization keeping up with the expectations of today’s B2B buyers? You probably know that key decision-makers are disqualifying vendors through online research before ever engaging with a salesperson, and they have higher expectations for good post-sale interaction as well. There’s never been a time when providing an outstanding experience has mattered more. From advertising to marketing, sales, and customer service, every aspect of a brand must make your company approachable in unprecedented ways.
Can Customers Reach You When and How They Wish?
In the past, that might have meant picking up the phone or faxing an order form. Today, B2B buyers expect much more:
  • Rapid replies to email (within hours, not days)
  • Live chat with reps consistently available during business hours
  • Responses to messaging through FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—anywhere a company maintains a profile
And don’t forget mobile texting and video chat. These more personal, familiar modes of communication can really help a B2B company stand out from the crowd.
Omni-channel Is Not Multi-Channel
Multichannel marketing is a tactical approach to reaching prospects and customers through a specific set of technologies. It is traditionally focused on what works best for the company doing the marketing. Omni-channel is about shifting the conversation away from platforms, technologies, and devices. It’s about focusing on availability and personalization. Customers want to interact with a vendor on their own terms using the technology of their choice. Even more, they want their interaction history to be available to any agent they speak with so that they don’t have to repeat themselves. They expect a seamless, consistent brand experience that takes their preferences into account. Three Tips for Delivering an Omni-Channel Experience
#1: Deliver mobile-friendly web design
This is at the top of the list not only because it’s the simplest fix but because it is so essential. Even business buyers are using a variety of devices besides their desktop to interact with your brand. They might see your tweets on their phone, read a thought leadership article on their tablet, and place an order on their laptop. Besides having a responsive website that automatically detects the parameters of the user’s device, be sure you actually are delivering great content on all the platforms they might use to research your brand.
#2: Provide continuity for e-commerce
Abandoned shopping carts can represent a huge missed opportunity for companies. When a prospect switches from one device to the next, their e-commerce selections should travel with them. Imagine if your business buyer is browsing your online catalogue on their phone and drops some items in the cart for later review. When they login to their desktop later, they receive a reminder that they have items still pending checkout. You’ve just made it that much easier for them to move from consideration to purchase. The ability to synchronize across devices is essential for omni-channel!
#3: Stop Keeping Data Siloed
Every interaction your customer or prospect has with your company is part of the total picture they build about your brand. That means the questions they ask via email or even social media should be available to your agents if the customer decides to follow up via phone or live chat. That may mean implementing more than just a traditional ticket management system. You want all the data on your customers so you get a 360 view of them as well. Not only does this approach boost satisfaction, it will help you market more effectively to your customer base on an ongoing basis.
How do you plan to use technology to make your marketing and custom care more personal, more available, and more consistently excellent for every user? If you want more ideas for strategy and implementation designed for your sector and customized for your brand, contact Web Revelation today. Our team can help.
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Posted on July 13, 2017 by Julie Short

Does Your Business Website Have Great UX? Understanding User Experience


What is User Experience (UX), and why does it matter whether your website has a good one? This design concept is about far more than just visuals or content. It’s the confluence of all the elements on-page and behind the scenes that add up to the total functionality of a site. When a web visitor has an experience filled with friction and frustration, your UX needs some work. As the folks at Moz point out, Google and other search engines are already taking User Experience into account in their search ranking algorithms. Whether people are bouncing off your site because it hurts their eyes to look at, your content is useless, or the page load time is driving them nuts, at the end of the day a lack of attention to UX is hurting your web presence. Here are some common mistakes you’ll want to be sure to avoid.

Seek and Not Find

Users should never have to navigate through a complex or poorly labeled site to find the information they need. Keep your top tier navigation menu short (five options is about the max). Today’s users typically know they can click the logo at the top of your site to access the home page, so save your top level menu for essentials other than “home”. You can add more pages as drop downs but don’t go crazy there either. Also avoid using page designs that force users to click on tab after tab within a single page to reveal all the content.

Mystery Content

If there are hyperlinks to click on, make sure they come with a clear description so users know where they are being directed. That goes double for files like PDFs that will automatically download to their device. When you have lovely images to click for users to travel deeper into the site, be sure they are also labelled with text. That’s not just good SEO, it’s functional. For example, even if an image is linking to a portfolio piece, it should state what the user can expect to learn (e.g., Brickyard Museum Restoration Project or “Master Brake Center Case Study”). Don’t make users hover over an image to find out what it is for. They may miss that subtle cue.

Forms Done Wrong

Long forms can help you collect necessary information for your lead generation initiative. But a poor design can hurt more than it helps. Forms that ask for a lot of information that seems extraneous to the user will annoy them (especially if you make those fields mandatory). Never use a template that erases all information if an incomplete form is submitted—or one with the reset button too close to the submit button. You won’t get a second chance to capture leads from ticked off prospects. If you are asking for lots of info, give a reason. For example, a site providing vehicle wraps might ask for the make and model of a visitor’s vehicle in addition to contact info so that they can provide an accurate quote.

Excessive Animation

Sure, special effects are…special. But they can also add a lot of time to simple actions. Users have little tolerance for buffering—even when the fault is with their internet carrier and not with your website. But when you make them sit through a cute animation just to get to the content they are interested in? They know exactly who to blame. And it’s you. Using sliders, fade ins, and other effects is fine, but keep them limited to areas where it adds value (such as drawing attention to critical information) rather than just because it looks cool. For mobile, stick with interaction methods that users know well, like tapping and swiping.

Five Good UX Principles

Focus on designing your website with your typical user in mind—not your typical technology buff.

1. Navigation should be clear and easy to follow and the layout should direct the eye to important information.
2. Images should be relevant to the page topic and design elements and colors should not overshadow content.
3. Content should be written at an appropriate level and geared toward providing the information your audience needs.
4. Page load times should be kept to a minimum (image file sizes, scripting, and other behind the scenes factors can have a real impact here).
5. Users should be able to get to what they are looking for with a minimum number of actions.

Most important, you should get feedback from trusted experts and actual end users so that you can improve your UX. At the end of the day, it’s about delivering what your customers want.

Looking for a professional assessment of the UX on your website? Contact Web Revelation today for a consultation.
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Posted on May 25, 2017 by Julie Short


With so much jargon to sort through, it’s easy to get confused about where to spend your time and effort in online marketing. If you’ve ever wondered what a landing page is and why it matters for your business, now you can find out!

The basics: A landing page is a static page on your website that’s built for a specific purpose, usually as part of a campaign, promotion, or other marketing effort. In the B2B space, landing pages are often used for lead generation. For example, a company may develop a white paper and make it available for download if a web visitor fills out a short form on the landing page with their name, company, position, email, and phone number. Assuming the white paper is still relevant five years down the road, it can still be collecting qualified leads for your sales team if you’ve got a landing page that converts well. Here are four quick tips for how to get it right.

Keep It Short and Sweet
In the B2C world landing pages are often long form sales letters. In B2B, that type of landing page simply isn’t appropriate (although if you can figure out how to write a landing page with a “buy now” button that convinces a buyer to place a $120,000 purchase order, we’d love to see it!) For a B2B landing page, most of the content should be viewable without significant scrolling.
The visitor should know from the link that directed them to the page what to expect. And that’s what they should find, presented as succinctly as possible. Never do a bait and switch! Don’t be afraid to use video to make landing pages more engaging. But keep these short as well. Thirty seconds is a fine length if you want visitors to actually watch the whole thing.

Match the Offer to the Buyer
A digital resource that can be delivered immediately is a great offer. But you should tailor the type of resource to the stage the buyer is in along their journey. They might be just learning about the brand or seeking information to solve a specific problem. Often, a landing page is used at the beginning of the journey or closer to the top of the funnel, when buyers are marginally aware of your company, looking for answers to specific questions, and potentially open to engaging and learning more.

A whitepaper is best for people doing initial research to make a better purchasing decision down the road while a checklist is a great idea for people who are trying to solve an immediate problem. The type of offer visitors respond to can tell you whether a lead is just warm enough to start a drip campaign or if they are ready for a call from a sales person.

Ensure Your Call to Action Counts
Always start with the call to action in mind and design every element of your page from the visuals to the text with that final step as the focus. Otherwise, you may create interesting content but deploy it ineffectively. Also remember that a call to action shouldn’t be a demand. It should be an invitation. For example, it’s appropriate to use words like “discover” and “explore” when buyers are in the information gathering stage and you are offering a resource that helps them in their quest. That type of terminology is in alignment with what they are already in the mood to do.
It’s a best practice to have only one call to action on your landing page, even if visitors could conceivably take more than one action. Don’t ask the prospect to call, email, text, sign up for a newsletter, share your content, connect with you on social media, and enter to win. Pick the action that matters most and make that the focus.

Make It Easy to Get Results
User experience is critical for a landing page to convert well. Design the page so the user can get what they want and you can get what YOU want with the least effort. For example, determine the best number/type of fields for your form so you don’t scare people away by asking for too much information. A form with more than five fields is usually a deal killer.
Ensure that the buttons or other elements that give direction on what to do next are easy to locate. Remember, people scan content online rather than reading it word for word. You may have some great copy on your landing page, but visitors must be able to jump immediately into taking the desired action if that’s what they want.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Landing pages are a great place to do A/B split testing or multivariate testing. You know exactly what you want visitors to do and can track which version of a page delivers the best results.

Need to add landing pages to your website to help you achieve your marketing goals this quarter? Web Revelation can help you develop and launch your next campaign.
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Posted on May 11, 2017 by Julie Short

Does it seem like B2B companies are always playing catchup when it comes to online marketing? That’s probably because they are. The process of marketing in the digital age has become increasingly complex. Many B2B organizations are still using outdated tools, struggling with inadequate resources, or getting so caught up in the latest tech that they forget the basics. Here are five common mistakes we see B2B companies making when they market online.


#1 Creating Boring Advertising
Why is it so hard to connect with fresh prospects online when you are selling a technical, engineering, manufacturing, or industrial product? Because you think that they are already prepped to hear about the specs when their minds and hearts are still far away. B2B companies often rush to talk about the benefits (or even the features) of their product before establishing emotional rapport. That’s an understandable mistake since the target audience is often knowledgeable and educated. But generating excitement and connecting on a personal level is a step that can’t be skipped. This is particularly important for online ads, when buyers are first being introduced to a brand. Intrigue is the name of the game at this stage. Be human, be compelling, grab attention and don’t let go.

#2 Missing Out on Automation
According to a 2015 study by Autopilot, “Marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads than those using blast email software.” Replacing manual processes with automated systems is about more than saving labor hours. Leveraging automation tools opens your eyes to a whole new set of strategies and tactics for creating successful campaigns. It’s also beneficial for lead nurturing and boosting revenue from existing clients with cross-selling and upselling as new products and services become available.

#3 Failing to Align Marketing with Sales
This is probably the biggest challenge that B2B companies face. Sales knows it. Marketing knows it. They just haven’t figured out what to do about it. Sales and Marketing must collaborate to create a set of buyer personas, agree on what a qualified lead looks like, and decide what analytics tools and metrics will be used to track results over time. In combination with automation, this targeted approach delivers better quality leads to Sales and allows Marketing to demonstrate its true value as a partner in improving the company’s bottom line.

#4 Not Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
The Content Marketing Institute revealed in 2015 that “55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like.” Obviously, that goes back to the discussion that Marketing and Sales should be having about lead generation and cultivation. But there is no question that content marketing does get eyeballs on your brand. According to Hubspot, B2B companies that publish 11+ blogs a month received almost 3 times the traffic of those blogging 0-1 times per month. Of course, you can also see a benefit with a modest amount of blogging—particularly if you take the time to create real thought leadership pieces. Finding the right balance of volume, consistency, distribution platforms, and content types (video, podcasts, blogs, etc.) will take some time. Don’t be afraid to start small and build your strategy along the way as you see what types of content get the best response.

#5 Thinking the Current Website Is “Good Enough”
The 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report discovered that B2B buyers are 60% of the way through their decision-making process before they engage a sales rep. They are judging the quality and credibility of your brand right now based on the look and feel, navigation, eye-catching design, and content on your company website. If they don’t like what they see, your business may be eliminated in the early rounds before your sales team even gets the chance to make a pitch. That doesn’t mean you need to add a bunch of bells and whistles to your website. Often, it means streamlining the functionality, ensuring mobile compatibility, revamping the messaging to put the focus on the customer and their concerns, and delivering a visually compelling experience that draws people in. Visit your competitors’ websites and do a side-by-side comparison. If you aren’t blowing them out of the water, it’s time to step up your game.

For more ideas on ways to improve your online marketing, contact Web Revelation today. We’re happy to help!

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Posted on January 26, 2017 by Julie Short

Wholesalers and manufacturers may be buying in bulk for business purposes, but these days the individuals actually placing the orders are accustomed to being able to shop easily online. They rightly feel that they shouldn’t have to pick up a phone, fill out a tedious order form, or even use an antiquated fax machine simply to do their job as a purchasing agent. Instead, they expect to have a modern e-commerce experience whether they are buying for business or personal use. Organizations that want to become a preferred vendor for these customers would do well to explore an updated web-based ordering system.

Here are some key features that make online ordering simple and attractive for bulk buyers.

Faster, Better Service

At the most basic level, an online ordering system should eliminate duplicate data entry efforts, reduce errors, and process orders immediately. Less frustration leads to more brand loyalty and repeat business. You will also find that most customers enjoy a self-service experience even after the order is placed. They want to be able to track shipments and view their order history easily online. If they can repeat a previous order with just a couple of clicks, that’s even better!
That doesn’t mean the human touch is taken out of the equation. Instead, a modern system can incorporate live chat so that those customers who do have questions or challenges can get immediate assistance. When inbound sales teams are freed up from answering phones as order takers, they are more available to improve the service experience for customers who need help.

Targeted Product Catalogues

If you serve multiple industries, not every customer should see your entire product line. In fact, users will appreciate being presented only with relevant items when they go online to search for what they need. With a well-designed, segmented e-commerce solution, you can determine the items clients see when they log in to their account. For example, bulk packaged quantities can be presented to wholesale clients and hidden from retail clients. Of course, this means you can also set up special pricing and other private “eyes only” information for your top tier customers as well. When you are in charge of the online ordering experience, you can design it for maximum impact.

Accurate, Visible Inventory Numbers

This is a critical aspect of a good online ordering system. Lead time is one of the most common factors that determines who gets an order from a major customer. A wholesaler may need to deliver to retailers right away to capture seasonal sales. Or, a manufacturer might have to shut down a production line if they can’t get a part in a timely fashion. Providing information about which items are in stock (along with the quantity available) helps procurement specialists make a quick decision.
Be warned, this data has to be very accurate! Just one bad experience with finding out an item is on backorder when your website indicated it was in stock can turn off a customer. This means you need to integrate in real time with your existing ERP or inventory management system to ensure that your website never makes promises your warehouse can’t fulfill. As a bonus, implementing an integrated online ordering system may actually serve as an opportunity to help you scale to handle higher volume clients.

Multiple Payment Options

While some businesses have a dedicated credit card for online purchases, many still use a purchase order system. In fact, these Net 30 clients could be some of your largest accounts. You’ll want to be sure to accommodate them by accepting PO#s from your customers.

More Incentives to Buy

When you know which items your customers are buying, you can predict what they will want to try in the future. This means you can actually leverage the information captured by your online ordering system to promote new products as they become available. Rather than sending out a costly paper catalogue that will probably end up in the trash, you can present relevant items to your repeat customers using a variety of digital marketing methods. That might be as simple as featuring a new product with a special introductory price when they log in to their customized ordering portal on your website. This streamlined approach is less annoying for customers and more beneficial for your business.
Want to learn more about how a well-designed online ordering system can maximize high-dollar customer relationships with wholesalers and manufacturers? Contact WebRevelation today.

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Posted on January 12, 2017 by Julie Short
When is off-the-shelf software or a typical SaaS app going to do the trick and when do you need a custom online application? It might seem that there’s a simple answer—you only build what you can’t buy. But the reality is much more complex. In fact, even with a huge array of ready-made solutions, many businesses are still spending money regularly on custom development. In 2013 (according to a survey from Forrester), enterprise class organizations spent roughly the same amount on bespoke solutions as they did on packaged applications. Of course, having a big budget in the first place makes it easier to justify investing in a custom app. For small to mid-sized businesses, it can be a little more difficult to define when there’s a need that can be most effectively met by a tailor-made piece of software.

Here are five ways to know when a custom application can be a wise investment:

#1 You Only Need a Limited Scope to Accomplish Your Goal

Maybe you need a specific piece of “Best of Breed” functionality to make your business run better—but you don’t want to buy an entire suite of software from a major vendor just to get that one bit you need. The big names in the industry are well known for piling up the licensing and maintenance fees, locking in customers with long-term contracts, and forcing upgrades for their products. With a custom made product, you build only what is required to solve your actual business problem, your costs are limited, and you maintain control over the software.

#2 You Want Added Functionality for Competitive Advantage

At the other end of the scale, you might need an application with rich capabilities that simply aren’t provided by the SaaS vendors or traditional software suppliers serving your sector. Being the first in your industry to build a better application can put you ahead of the pack in productivity, innovation, and market share. These are especially exciting projects, and it makes sense to invest in a solution that your competitors can’t access.

#3 You Require Smarter BI for a Brighter Future

Business Intelligence is one of the most rapidly growing areas for custom development. Depending on your business model, you might be pulling data from a variety of sources from ERP to CRM, E-commerce, customer facing apps, and more. Being able to create a strong self-service dashboard and reporting system that compiles, displays, and interprets data from your unique data sources can be a powerful tool for predictive analytics. The more niche your industry is, the greater the chances that you’ll want a custom BI application.

#4 You Deserve Software That Truly Promotes Efficiency

Workflow automation is a prime example of when a custom online application can beat the socks off of an out-of-the-box application. The inner workings of your business will never map exactly onto a generic piece of software. Rather than adjusting your workflow to meet the capabilities of an application, it makes more sense to build an application that suits the way you do business.

#5 You Can Link the Custom App Directly to Revenue

Sometimes, the ROI on building a custom online application is obvious. If your existing software is causing you to miss out on opportunities, it makes a lot of sense to upgrade with a custom app that helps you capture more revenue. That could be one that adds functionality requested by customers, ensures repeat business, helps you cross-sell or upsell high dollar products/services, or attracts more of the ideal clients your company needs to be more profitable year over year.
Whether it’s an internal business application or a consumer-facing portal, a data-base driven app or a mobile solution, WebRevelation is ready to help grow your business with customized solutions. Learn how we can integrate with your legacy systems, build out new capabilities, and drive more value for your business. Contact us for a consultation today.
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Posted on November 28, 2016 by Julie Short

To hear some marketers talk about it, you would think that email had been around for half a century or more. In the age of social media, many talk about marketing through email newsletters as if they were passé and outdated. In fact, we regularly talk with business owners who think email no longer works, or at the very least, that it has stopped working the way it used to.

But is that idea accurate? Could it be that email marketing is still tremendously effective if you use it the right way? Based on our experiences working with clients, we certainly think so. To see how we reach that conclusion, though, we should step back a couple of steps and walk you through both sides of the issue…

Why Marketers Are Giving Up On Email

It’s easy to come to the conclusion that email doesn’t work the way it used to. In virtually every industry, subscribers are opening fewer messages, clicking on fewer links, and hitting the “unsubscribe” button more often. While it’s true that most adults carry around a smart phone or tablet that leaves them connected with their email almost continuously, it’s also true that they get far too many messages to read, and only scan through a handful of them.

When you look at things from that point of view, it’s easy to decide to give up on email and try more exciting channels like social media and video marketing. But, writing off email altogether overlooks a couple of important details.

The Power Of The Inbox

We suspect many marketers fail to appreciate the potential of email newsletters simply because they’ve been around for a relatively long time (in digital marketing terms). They aren’t exciting anymore, so business owners stop paying attention.

However, unlike some other forms of marketing, email is incredibly fast and inexpensive. Plus, it allows you to control your messaging in a very precise way, especially if you segment your lists and customize your content for readers. If you want to save money and get an instant response, it’s hard to beat email.

How To Make Email Marketing Work

Once you realize there is still a lot of potential in email, then the issue is not whether to use it, but how to use it. Here are a few of the best practices we use to achieve stellar results for our clients:

  • Use irresistible subject lines that draw our readers in
  • Include a short, informative article in every email newsletter
  • Divide your list of subscribers into specific groups and target your messages specifically to niche audiences
  • Make sure your email newsletters are mobile-friendly, with text and images that display cleanly on small screens
  • Wrap up every email with a simple call to action that invites subscribers to take the next step

Email is like any other tool you can use to reach out to customers – when you use it correctly, it’s going to be profitable and effective; when you don’t, it’s going to be a waste of time and money. If you aren’t getting the kinds of results you expected for your campaigns, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your approach and see whether you could be doing more to get subscribers to open your emails and act upon them.

When you need a creative team that understands how to get real-world results, make WebRevelation your first call. And it only takes a moment to get in touch with our team and set up a free consultation, so don’t delay any longer!

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Posted on November 14, 2016 by Julie Short

There are a lot of places to get a “deal” on a small business website… so long as you’re looking for a low price and not necessarily a bigger value. No matter where you turn, there is another overseas company offering what they promise are custom websites, online templates that can supposedly be tailored to meet the needs of your company, and even free DIY websites offered by companies that advertise on TV.

In each case, though, you are very likely to get what you pay for. There’s a reason professional web designers charge professional fees, and a reason that these other services are willing to give you what they have for nothing, or next to it.

To understand why this is, let’s look at a few of the hidden costs associated with cheap and DIY websites…

Your Credibility Is On The Line

According to some studies, a first-time visitor to your website will browse for about 5 to 10 seconds before they decide whether to stay, or look for what they need elsewhere. That means first impressions are absolutely critical. Unfortunately, you’re not going to stand out in the crowd – at least not in a favorable way – by having a website that looks like it was thrown together a couple of hours.

Third Party Ads Ruin Your Website

Many free and low-cost web design services are really advertising platforms for the companies that host them. That might sound like a good deal until you stop and think about the message it sends to your potential customers when they arrive on your pages and find ads for an entirely different company (and possibly ads that aren’t even relevant to your industry). That destroys your credibility in a second, and virtually assures you won’t get the business.

A Website That Doesn’t Work Is Always Expensive

Whether you’re getting an ad from a template or a bargain-basement provider, there’s a good chance it’s going to include lots of unnecessary code. That’s because the website was originally built for dozens of different uses, and not your business in particular. That can slow down your website, and cause problems when you add plug-ins, update your hosting software, or attract mobile visitors to your website. Then, your pages can freeze or crash, ensuring the visitor won’t be buying from you anytime soon.

The Web Is About Layouts And Functionality

The one consistent thing about templates and low-cost websites is that they always look good at first glance. That’s how business owners get suckered into paying for them. Interesting aesthetics are only one facet of web design, though. If you really want to bring in buyers and add to your bottom line, your website also has to have back-end functionality, in the form of tools, databases, and automated features. You aren’t going to get that on the cheap.

Online Marketing Is Half The Battle

Ultimately, the success or failure of your website is all about the number of customers you can attract, and the quality of the sales opportunities that are generated. A great custom website is going to be built with future online marketing campaigns in mind. A template or DIY website is like a stand-alone brochure that’s never going to be seen by actual customers.

There’s never a good time to take a chunk of cash out of your business. But, if you’re treating your business website as an investment that’s going to pay you back, then it makes sense to pay for quality. It’s one thing to try to save money on a line item expense for paper and pens, and another thing altogether to hurt your own marketing because you don’t have a professional web presence that appeals to customers.

To get a new website is affordable and effective, reach out to the WebRevelation team today to schedule a free consultation!

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Posted on October 17, 2016 by Julie Short

For many years, marketing has been moving farther and farther into the digital space. As that has happened, business owners and design teams have begun paying lots of attention to text, copy, and keywords. You need words to generate search engine traffic, not to mention conversions, so other elements of creative campaigns were pushed to the back seat.

With the rise of social media and the reemergence of print marketing, however, companies are discovering something they should’ve remembered all along – that images can make or break a campaign. That’s true online or off, and that applies to virtually every business and industry.

Let’s look at why pictures are such an important part of what you do to connect with buyers…

Your Brain On Pictures

Psychologists and medical researchers estimate that the human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than text. That’s a pretty amazing statistic, and reason enough to use sharper images within your marketing content. People notice them faster, to the point that they literally jump off the page and catch our eyes.

At the same time, numerous studies have shown that images tend to be more memorable, and to activate emotional parts of our minds. In case you forgot your lessons from marketing 101, buying decisions are almost always emotional. It’s only after the fact that we justify them with facts and  reasons.

Choosing The Right Images For The Job

Of course, simply having more images in your marketing isn’t going to do much for you. You have to choose the right pictures for the job.

While any pictures are going to be processed by the mind faster than text, human faces, vivid colors, and shots of animals tend to be the most compelling. You probably noticed that these are also the kinds of images you tend to see being liked, shared, and commented on throughout social media sites. That’s because they’re the easiest for us to notice, and they make the strongest impression.

Giving Yourself A Picture Perfect Advantage

The best way to use the power of images to your advantage is to generate your own. Hire a photographer to take some custom shots of your team and products, or set the right lighting and snap a few with your iPhone.

If that’s not possible, then make a concerted effort to choose stock photos that represent the idea or mood you’re trying to convey with each post or idea you put forward. Modify them if necessary and add your own branding. Just because you didn’t take a picture doesn’t mean you can’t make it unique and tie it back to your messaging in a way that feels compelling to fans and customers.

Are you looking closely enough at the images you are using in your marketing campaigns? If you’ve been throwing stock photos online without giving much thought to their power or relevance, now is the perfect time to look a bit closer at the possibilities in front of you. Once you see what you can do with the right pictures, you’ll never view the visuals in your marketing the same way again!

For the best in web design, print media, and creative services, contact WebRevelation and let us get to work for you!

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Posted on October 6, 2016 by Julie Short

A few weeks ago, a spokesperson for Google made waves by confirming an idea web designers and SEO experts had begun to suspect: that the world’s most popular search engine will be using SSL connections as a search signal. In other words, websites with SSL will now be more visible to searchers than sites without them.

This mirrors Google’s recent decision to incorporate mobile compatibility into search results, a move that put small businesses and their marketing teams into a minor sort of meltdown. If you’re at a company that’s still recovering from “Mobilegeddon,” not to mention Penguin and Panda, what should you make of this revelation?

To get to the bottom of the issue, there are a few questions that need to be answered…

What Is SSL?

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layers,” which specifies a certain type of connection between your hosting server and the visitor’s computer. SSL connections are encrypted, making them virtually impossible for hackers to view from the outside.

You’ve probably used SSL connections a dozen times already today. You often find them attached to banks, online merchants, and other websites that have the ability to conduct transactions. Often, SSL connections are indicated through an “https” designation, a different color on your Internet browser, or a small icon indicating that the connection is secure.

Why Does Google Want Your Site To Have SSL?

It’s important to remember that Google engineers don’t necessarily want anything in particular, except for searchers and users to be happy. In this case, it’s easier for searchers to be happy when they know they are getting safer connections to trusted websites, and that there is little chance for online thieves to snoop in on their transactions.

Additionally, SSL is a feature that’s usually offered with premium web hosting. So, a site with SSL capability is also likely to have a faster connection speed, more uptime, and a smaller chance of being infected with spam or viruses.

Should You Upgrade?

At first glance, upgrading to SSL capability might seem like a big burden for a small business that doesn’t conduct transactions online. However, when you look a little bit closer, you’ll find that improving your hosting package to allow for SSL isn’t likely to cost you more than a couple of dollars per day.

For that fee, you could get a search engine positioning advantage over your closest rivals and competitors. And, you’ll get all the benefits associated with premium hosting (like faster page loading times, a more reliable website, and better backup and features benefits) that are ultimately good for your business anyway.

When you look closely, Google’s preference for SSL-enabled websites isn’t all that big of a deal for most smaller companies. In fact, it’s probably just the encouragement they need to take a commonsense step in the right direction and upgrade their hosting plans to keep up with the times.

To find out more about this trend – or see what your business can do to improve its search engine rankings overall – get in touch with the WebRevelation team today and see how we can help!

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Posted on September 5, 2016 by Julie Short

Web designers and Internet marketing experts like to remind you (as we often do) that having fresh content on your website – usually in the form of search-optimized blog posts – is the best way to attract attention from Google and its millions of users.

But what often goes unexplained is exactly how you make your posts visible to search engines. Today, we want to give you the basics of SEO for blog posts, in five steps:

#1: Know Which Keywords You’re Targeting – just as every blog post should have a single topic, it should also have one or two search phrases that it’s built and constructed around. Ideally, these will be used once in the title, once in a subheading (if it feels natural) and once or twice throughout the main content.

#2: Begin With the Right Title – your blog title should contain the search phrase you’re targeting, of course, but also something that’s catchy, descriptive, and inviting. In other words, make sure your title has a search visibility element, but do your best to appeal to actual readers and grab their attention. Make them feel like they just have to take a look before clicking somewhere else.

#3: Use Search-Friendly Subheadings – subheadings on a page give you two important benefits. First, they break up long blocks of text that would otherwise seem boring and/or overwhelming. Plus, they give you another chance to highlight important search phrases in a way that’s meaningful to Google’s spiders.

#4: Include 1-3 Internal Links – the same kind of thinking applies to internal links (hyperlinks from within your blog content to other pages on your website). These have important SEO value, especially if you use linking terms that apply to the content on the destination page. At the same time, they stop your blog post from being a “dead-end,” and give readers a chance to learn more while staying on your website.

#5: Mind the Details – lots of marketers choose to focus on search engine optimization details. These won’t necessarily make or break your campaigns, but adding alt image tags, descriptive and search-friendly descriptions, and search-optimized filenames can all give you that “extra push” needed to help climb up Google’s search rankings.

One quick word of caution: as effective as each of these five steps is in making your blog post more visible to search engines, you definitely don’t want to go overboard with any of these tactics. Google and the other engines want quality content that’s easy to crawl, not pages with so many keywords that they are hard for actual readers to understand.

In other words, go too far and your content is likely to disappear from Google altogether, so follow these tips but don’t try to force the issue.

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Posted on August 5, 2016 by Julie Short

The Business Dictionary defines branding as “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.” 

Your company’s online presence has got to be an effective extension of the branding you’ve already created.

Here are 4 tips to improve your branding online. 

Decide on a handle and stick with it. 
People shouldn’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to find your Facebook page because you named it differently than your website. For example, if your business is called Okie-Built New Homes and your website references this exact name, all of your profiles won’t be able to match this phrasing. The name is too long for it to be your handle on some social media platforms. Your brand name is usually set in stone, so you’ll have to choose the next closest thing and make sure your brand’s full name is still located on the page. Your Twitter name might have to be @okiehomes, if that’s not already taken, then your name and about us section should contain your company’s full name so your profile easily appears when searched for. 

Be active as much as possible online. 
The more daily content you produce, the more visible your company will be digitally. This could be blogs, quick blurbs about things going on internally or directing people pertinent news going on in your field. This will help you spread your brand further and establish it as an authority in your field. One of the biggest components of branding is getting inside people’s minds. The more exposure you give your brand in front of web users, it increases the likelihood your brand will stick with them. 

Match the design and marketing strategy with the content.
The overall look and feel of your design should match the content you’re putting out there. If you’re a home builder, it would be strange to feature pictures of puppies on in your marketing material. Choose a color palette and stick to it. Colors, moods and images are easily remembered. 

Be deliberate and consistent with your phrasing. 
Make sure your content is designed around your core audience’s perceptions of your field. If you’re blogging for older professionals, newspaper-style blogs might fit for that audience. If you’re writing for people under middle age, try writing more informal, concise messages. Taglines aren’t mandatory for every business, but if you decide to introduce a tagline, don’t change it every other month. Your tagline should reinforce the message you want others to know about your company. 

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Posted on July 4, 2016 by Julie Short

Increasing visits to your website isn’t the only way to improve Internet marketing results, but it’s almost always a good start. Without sufficient traffic to your website, you can’t generate leads or sales.

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners and marketers struggle to attract new searchers and visitors on a regular basis. If that has been a challenge for you, you’ll love these eight proven ways to increase visits to your website:

#1: Post to Your Blog More Often – adding new articles to your blog gives you more content for Google to index, especially when it comes to long-tell search terms. It also gives visitors a reason to come back to your site and check out future articles.

#2: Promote Your Posts More Effectively – make sure you’re getting the most from every blog post by using interesting, search-optimized titles, including feature images that attract attention, and announcing new articles with tweets and social updates.

#3: Update Your On-Site SEO – new clients are often amazed to find out what some fresh keyword research, new meta descriptions, and internal links can do for their search visibility. That translates into fresh web visits pretty quickly.

#4: Participate in Social Media Groups – joining and posting on social media forums creates links back to your website and exposes you to a new audience of potential website visitors and (eventually) customers.

#5: Look for Linking Opportunities – if you have friends or colleagues in related industries, see if you can have them link from their website to yours. You get fresh visits to your pages, and they get another helpful resource to share with their own customers and contacts.

#6: Create Video Clips for YouTube – often called the world’s “second-largest search engine,” YouTube gets hundreds of millions of hits per day. Posting a video online could be a great way to get people coming to your website.

#7: Try Guest Posting – if you don’t already have lots of web traffic, why not post your content to a website that does? If people like your guest posts, they may follow a link to your website or look you up on Google.

#8: Give Away a Free eBook or Guide – searchers love free information, and offering a free e-book or special report on your website is a great way to bring fresh visitors to your virtual doorstep.

When you increase traffic to your website, new people are finding out about your company and lots of great things can happen. Give these eight strategies a try and see how well they can work for you!

Looking for great web design in Dallas or Oklahoma City? Get in touch with WebRevelation today and see how we can help.

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Posted on June 6, 2016 by Julie Short

Lately, we’ve been sharing some of the benefits of custom content management systems. First, we looked at three specific functionalities that are easier to achieve with the CMS than they are with WordPress and similar platforms; then, we looked at advanced programming, marketing, and design features that are easier to achieve with custom programming.

Today, we want to take a look at some specifics. Here are seven things that are easier to accomplish on your website when you’re using a custom content management system:

#1 Online Registration

Want to bring attendees to an event and have their registration information automatically added to an off-line database? A custom content management system that integrates with existing software might be the perfect answer.

#2 Event Management

Even beyond registration, other parts of event management – like equipment inventory, scheduling, and session capacity – can all be effectively overseen with the right content management system in place.

#3 Recruiting

Sometimes, bringing the right people into your organization is every bit as important as gaining new customers is. But, the recruiting process can be time and paperwork-intensive. With a custom content management system, you can automate many hiring tasks, saving yourself time and money.

#4 Polls and Surveys

When you’re looking to get beyond simple polls and surveys and trying to glean real information from customers and visitors, a custom content management system could be the answer. That’s because the coding is easier to work into your website and update, and the results can be automatically downloaded and real-time.

#5 Document Management

If you have thousands of online and off-line documents to keep track of – along with ongoing updates and revisions – using a CMS that’s “off-the-shelf” might not be your best choice. A custom CMS can help you keep track of these files and allow you to share access with visitors when needed.

#6 Staff and Membership Tools

Because a custom CMS can take advantage of integrated encryption and membership areas, it can be a great way to control the flow of access from one part of your website to another. That can be perfect for offering special features to staff and membership.

#7 Blogging

Although WordPress was practically built for blogging, the interface it uses for adding new content isn’t always easy or intuitive for its users. With a custom CMS, you can make it easier to publish text and images in a way that’s easy for readers to see and search engines to find.

Most of these functions can be achieved with a WordPress-based website, or one built with another common CMS. If you’re looking for lots of power with a minimum of coding and alterations, though, working with a custom platform might be your best choice.

Talk to the WebRevelation team today to see how we can help with custom content management systems and other advanced design and marketing features.

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Posted on May 2, 2016 by Julie Short

In the past few posts, we’ve been showing you how smart companies take advantage of their LinkedIn pages to promote themselves to prospects, recruit employees and vendors, and even stay in touch with the latest industry news and ideas.

To help round out the series, we’re going to show you one more way you can make the most of LinkedIn as a business owner or executive: by getting your employees involved.

A lot of people tend to think of LinkedIn as a pair of one-way streets, where companies are looking for new employees and individuals are trying to be hired. The reality, though, is that there are a number of things your employees can do that can help them grow your company’s social presence and enhance their own careers at the same time.

Here are just a few of the things you can encourage employees to do to help get the most from LinkedIn:

Get Your Employees to Fill in Their LinkedIn Profiles

Even though customers do business with your company, they probably interact with your employees. That means they’ll often enter their names in Google and check their credentials… sometimes before they ever decide to do business with you in the first place. When your employees have LinkedIn profiles that have been filled in, with the appropriate photos and endorsements, it makes your business seem more professional and increases your odds of winning new customers.

Encourage Your Team to Network for New Sales Opportunities

Although business owners, executives, and sales professionals tend to be the biggest “networkers” on LinkedIn, with the largest circles, you can encourage everyone on your team to meet potential clients online. In fact, this can often be a very effective strategy over the long run, since many decision-makers are leery of adding salespeople into their networks, but will readily accept invitations from employees in other parts of the company. Just be sure you don’t go with an approach that’s too sales-heavy, especially in the beginning of the relationship.

Offer Recruiting Opportunities to Your Staff

In the same way, you’ll probably be in charge of recruiting for your company, but there’s no reason your staff can’t help out and search through their own networks, too. In some areas or departments, they may actually be a better judge of new candidates than you are, and might relish the opportunity to do someone else a favor and bring in colleagues, classmates, and others that they’ve met through their professional life. If you have great employees, they probably know other people who would be a good fit for your team, too.

Show Your Employees How to Use LinkedIn to Grow as Professionals

In the last post in the series, we mentioned that not enough people take advantage of the forums and newsletter options found on LinkedIn. Be sure to show them to your employees. Doing so gives them fast, easy, and convenient access to new ideas. And of course, the more informed your team members are, the better they can do their jobs and the more positively they’ll feel about their career arc with your company.

Social media is largely driven by individual, person-to-person interactions. That includes you as a business owner or executive, of course, but it also means your campaigns will be more effective when all your employees are involved.

Thinking about expanding your social media marketing strategy and getting more from LinkedIn? Talk to the team at WebRevelation today and let us show you how we can help you make the most of this important platform.

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Posted on April 4, 2016 by Julie Short

Your website should never be a finished product. Your business is constantly changing and evolving and so should the content on your website. The entire site design doesn’t need to change regularly, but it’s necessary to regularly update the meat of your site for three main reasons we’ll give you in this blog.

Fresh Content Can Influence Rankings
Search engines value new content over old. Google measures your web content for freshness. It tries to judge if your content is applicable now or outdated?  To remain ahead of competitors, Google only wants to answer searches with the best possible options for the searcher. In a search engines view, fresh content includes recent events, hot topics, regularly occurring events or frequently changing details (technology, laws, etc.). Old posts aren’t completely worthless. In some searches, your older post may still be one of the best matches available no matter its inception date. With the vast amount of Internet content, your business can’t rely on old content to stay relevant. It’s much more uncertain when and if it will come up in a search. 

Give Visitors a Reason to Return
Having the same old information and visuals on your site will only encourage one time visits. That shouldn’t be one of your marketing goals. Use your site as a communication tool. If someone wants to know something about your company or field, people should know they’ll probably be able to find the answer on your sight. If you don’t have it, your competitor might. You’ve got expertise and knowledge in your area. Share it and in return your site will receive more views and leads. Your product might never change, but the world does. You can update people on new insights to your field or even just unknown inner workings of your business. 

Blogs are Critical to SEO. 
By posting diverse blogs pertaining to your field, it’s more likely for unique visitors to find your company. People search for a whole range topics and keywords on search engines. When they search, if you’ve got a blog pertaining to the topic it’s likely to land in the search. Content on your site should anticipate what people need to know about facets of the business you are in and approach those topics as an authority. If your blog posts are interesting, readers might return to read the next one. 

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Posted on March 7, 2016 by Julie Short

In the first post in this series, we explained the concept behind inbound marketing and showed why it’s becoming so prevalent in the digital age. Today, we want to follow up on that idea and give you a quick overview of what an actual working campaign might look like.

If you want to attract new leads, and have them contact you when they’re ready to take the next step, there are a few things you have to have in place:

Several Pathways to Attract Visitors to Your Website

Before your website can generate leads, it has to have traffic. In most cases, an inbound marketing campaign will begin with search engine optimization, or perhaps pay-per-click ads. However, you can also leverage social media networks, a blog, referrals, and even email marketing to drive visitors to your website.

If possible, you’ll want to have several sources of new visitors. That will ensure you’re not only getting a mix of visitors, but also that you don’t become too dependent on any one particular source.

A Sales Funnel That Converts Visitors into Leads and Leads into Customers

Once you have visitors coming to your website, you need a way to turn them into leads. The specific process will probably depend a lot on your business, the industry, and customer preferences. However, it’s very common to offer premiums and extras in exchange for contact information. For example, you might give out an e-book, DVD set, or free consultation through your website to anyone who is willing to sign up for your newsletter or attend an event.

What matters here is that you give people who are coming to your website a very good reason to learn more and take the next step. Eventually, that “next step” will involve making a purchase or meeting with a member of your team.

A Way to Nurture Contacts and Encourage Them to Keep Moving Forward

One great thing about inbound marketing is that it allows customers to move the process along at their own pace. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to be ready to take action and meet with you or complete a purchase right away. For that reason, you need to have some sort of follow-up system in place, such as an email newsletter or autoresponder for “cold” leads. Eventually, these contacts may come around and decide to work with you.

There is a lot more that goes into inbound marketing, of course, but you can’t design or implement a successful lead generation campaign without these ingredients. Are you ready to put them to work on your website?

Think inbound marketing could work for your business, or want to ask questions? Contact WebRevelation today and let us show you why so many companies turn to us when they need to see bottom-line improvements in sales and marketing.

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Posted on February 8, 2016 by Julie Short

“If you need customers, go out and find them!”

This piece of general business advice has been given out – at various times, and in various ways – for decades, and maybe even centuries. The whole history of sales and marketing is essentially founded on the concept that it’s a company’s job to go out there and “beat the bushes” for new business as often as is necessary to stay in the black.

A funny thing has happened over the past couple of decades, though. This idea of going out and selling to people has begun to quietly fade away. With so much information and so many resources available on the Internet at all times, people have figured out how to get the products, services, and information they need all on their own.

They’ve become wary of being sold to. Instead they want to buy, based on their own research, when they feel ready to take the first step.

The job of the marketer, then, isn’t to go out and find customers, but to be easy for customers to find. That’s the essence of inbound marketing, and why it works so well over the Internet.

Why You’ll Love Inbound Marketing

The switch from traditional (or “outbound”) marketing to inbound marketing isn’t just a slight twist in wording – it’s a complete change in philosophy.

A lot of companies have trouble embracing it at first, but then they discover there are some powerful advantages:

  • First, that marketing to new customers (and the sales process in general) is much easier because you have interested clients or customers coming to you instead of the other way around.
  • That a lot of prospects will self-select, meaning they’ll have found the right product or service, and in the right price range, on their own before they contact your company. That means less time spent educating customers or haggling over prices.
  • Inbound marketing systems are more easily scalable. You can increase or decrease your efforts without having to hire and fire lots of new employees or spend non-refundable deposits on new advice.
  • And most importantly, inbound marketing is much more effective than outbound marketing in the digital age. It’s not just about improving your bottom line, but also keeping up with your competitors and your own business goals.


Inbound marketing isn’t so much a trend as it is a new way of doing business, and one that’s probably here to stay for companies and most industries. In part two, we’ll look at the essentials of an inbound marketing campaign.

To find out more, click through to the second post in the inbound marketing series or contact WebRevelation today and let us show you how we’ve been able to help businesses like yours to attract customers using cost-effective tactics and strategies.

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Posted on January 4, 2016 by Julie Short

Even in this age of social media, mobile marketing, and search engine optimization, reaching your best customer through his or her inbox – in the form of a targeted and well-crafted email newsletter – is still the fastest and most reliable way to grow your sales over time.

Why Email Marketing Is Profitable

Email newsletters might not be flashy, but they just work. Here are just a few of the best reasons why:

  • If you have a properly identified and segmented list, your email newsletter can be incredibly targeted. Pair the right message with the right audience, and you’ll achieve high click-through rates.
  • Email newsletters can be combined with high-impact offers and landing pages for time-sensitive campaigns. That means you can take advantage of a trend or event your customer’s already thinking about, and then track the results in real time.
  • Email marketing is incredibly cost-effective. For a fraction of what you’d spend on PPC ads or organic search engine optimization, you can reach thousands of potential buyers in an instant.
  • Sending strong email letters reinforces your sales and branding messages over time as recipients become more and more familiar with your business.

In truth, we could go on and on and give you even more benefits of email marketing. But despite the fact that it works, and works well, there are lots of businesses who are seeing declining returns or have given up on their email newsletters altogether.

How can that be?

Why Businesses Struggle With Email

The answer almost always comes down to one of two things: Either their email marketing campaigns are poorly executed or they aren’t sending targeted messages often enough to stay on top of their customers’ minds. In other words, good email marketing works even when you aren’t sending messages because buyers are aware of you; that can’t happen, though, if you aren’t contacting them regularly.

If you haven’t been getting the kind of impact from your email newsletter that you are expecting, we might have the answer you’ve been waiting for – WebRevelation email marketing management.

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Posted on November 5, 2015 by Julie Short

Marketing has been around since the invention of money, and probably for a while before that. But, while some principles and ideas stay constant from one eon and era to the next, there are times when technology can be game-changing and new rules need to be written.

That’s been true throughout history, as things like billboards, television ads, and even web banners all revolutionized the advertising and marketing industry. It’s even truer today, with the proliferation of mobile marketing.

What we’re getting at here is that you have to understand what works, and what doesn’t, with respect to mobile marketing if you’re going to get results and avoid angering customers. To that end, here are seven good rules to follow:

#1: Respect Privacy – mobile phones and tablets are very personal things. That makes an intrusion of privacy (usually in the form of an unwanted tag or push notification) seem all the more threatening. Be very sensitive with what you share, and know that buyers will back away quickly if they feel like their privacy is being threatened.

#2: Don’t Discriminate Between Platforms – there’s a good chance that sizable portions of your customer base use at least two different mobile platforms (iPhone and Android), and possibly several more. Knowing that, make your marketing easily accessible across all major devices.

#3: Think on Your Feet – mobile marketing lets you reach out to customers quickly, even more quickly than you could with email. That means that if you aren’t contacting them with timely offers, you can bet one of your competitors will be.

#4: React Instead of Predicting – although it’s good to put mobile campaigns into action quickly, you shouldn’t make long-term plans or predictions about the future. After all, buyers can surprise you, and the key to high-ROI mobile marketing over time is to study trends and react to them, not to make your own predictions.

#5: Be Direct, But Not Pushy – your customers know that you’re after their business, and may even appreciate the occasional targeted offer or discount. However, if you bother them too often, you can bet the relationship and subscription will be ended very quickly.

#6: Aim for Simple and Realistic – the best mobile marketing campaigns are structured around quick, impulsive actions. Ask buyers to do something that’s simple, straightforward, and realistic. Shoot for more than that and response rates will suffer.

#7: Save the Relationship, Not the Sale – believe it or not, your first priority should be to make a sale; it should be to preserve and enhance the relationship you have with the customer. You can always ask them to buy again later, but only if they are still willing to look at messages from your company.
Make no mistake: mobile marketing is a whole different animal. Have you been following the rules, and getting the results you are hoping for?

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Posted on October 15, 2015 by Julie Short

We are currently closing in on three decades of history for the Internet, and boy have things changed over the years.

Not only were the first websites incredibly simple, but many of them would be considered positively garish by today’s standards. Huge fonts, flashing banners, and endless animations were once considered standard online. On the one hand, it’s funny to think about… but on the other hand, we are just glad that part of web design history is over.

But, while web design has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, we do still find companies sticking to old tactics and outdated ideas on the Internet. In the same way that no executive should be wearing a bell bottom suit in 2015, neither should your website be displaying any of these old-school defects:

Complicated layouts and pages – once upon time, websites were a novelty (and they took a long time to load). That meant users would spend a while looking at them in trying to understand what they were all about. Now, however, you have a few seconds, at most, to get to the point. Make sure your website is easy to understand at first glance.

One-dimensional design – there aren’t just more websites than ever, there are more devices to access them with. Surveys show that the majority of web surfers are using phones and tablets, so put a responsive web design in place that makes it easy for them to find and use your content.

Slow-loading websites – when dial-up connections went away, so did our patience for websites that load slowly. Get a web presence that is properly coded, and invest in quality hosting, so that visitors won’t get bored while they are waiting for your pages to load.

Long blocks of text – surfing the web isn’t just a leisure activity anymore, which is why nobody wants to read a huge block of uninterrupted text. Break new ideas into separate pages, and get into the habit of using subheadings, bulleted list, and other separators to make it easier to scan.

Stale content – you aren’t just trying to get people to notice your shiny new website, you’re competing for attention. Visitors to your website like to see current, up-to-date thoughts. For that matter, so does Google. Make sure you edit and refresh your content – including photos – on a regular basis.

Missing links – social media isn’t just the fastest-growing area of the web, it’s practically a way of life for many people. If users can’t find links to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google + accounts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for customer engagement.

Complicated forms and calls to action – in the old days, a customer might call a phone number to place an order, or be willing to fill out page after page of information (like shoppers used to do on the backs of catalogs). Now, if someone is interested in what you have to offer, you have to make it easy for them to follow up and respond. Even an e-commerce site doesn’t need endless forms, so streamline your user experience to make it simple for first-time visitors to do business with you or find out more.

If your website seems like a relic from the past, know that nostalgia probably isn’t going to help your sales. Call or email us today to see how we can bring your business into the 21st century (and improve your bottom line at the same time).

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Posted on October 1, 2015 by Julie Short

In the third post of our blog marketing series, we want to show you what happens when you continually add fresh content to your blog, make sure it’s search-optimized, and start to develop a following.

Many marketers tend to (mistakenly) assume that attracting lots of traffic will automatically increase their revenue. It’s a good start, but bringing visitors to your website alone won’t do much to grow sales. If you truly want to profit from a healthy blog, you have to know how to monetize the interest you’re getting.

Today, we’re going to give you a handful of proven tips for doing exactly that:

End Each Post With an Offer – the easiest way to generate revenue from your blog is to simply ask visitors to take the next step while they’re already reading your content. That could be downloading a white paper, scheduling a free consultation, or even making a purchase. What matters is that your offer is compelling, and that it lines up well with the content you are providing in your blog.

Use Your Blog to Grow Social and Email Lists – alternatively, you could ask readers to sign up for a newsletter or follow you on social media sites. This might not generate the quick profits that a more straightforward call-to-action would, but it’s an easier conversion (meaning that first-time visitors are more likely to do it), and could make sense if you have a longer, more complex sales cycle.

Advertise on Your Own Blog – while some marketers like to add outside advertising to their blogs, that isn’t likely to generate much money for you unless you have a very popular blog in a very targeted niche. Instead, we recommend that you add your own advertising messages to your blog’s sidebar, with the intention of getting visitors to click through to product pages, discount codes, and other offers.

Package Your Content Into Something Valuable – over time, you’ll likely develop lots of great content for your blog, and on topics that are all closely related to one another. If you find that your posts start to be popular, and generate lots of comments, you may consider turning that content into something bigger (like an e-book, or a video) that can either be sold or used for future lead generation efforts.

Position Yourself as an Expert – the biggest benefit to successful blogging is also the least obvious. The more insightful content you add to your website, the more you position yourself as the expert in your field and industry. Over time, this can lead to more leads, more referral opportunities, and even higher fees and revenues. Don’t discount the value of being a recognized authority based on an informative blog.

Remember, your blog is only useful if it helps your company to grow. By bringing in visitors from search engines and social media campaigns, you’re on the way to improving your bottom line. Then, it’s just a matter of using one or two of these techniques to monetize your blog in a way that makes a difference.

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Posted on September 10, 2015 by Julie Short

To be successful, every business needs to have the mindset to do whatever it takes to connect with your consumer online. In the case of home builders, you’ve got to have an impressive site to showcase your art. An accompanying mobile or a responsive site will help land customers that check out your company on a mobile device. Once you’ve got an attractive site, it’s important to focus on other ways to draw people into your brand.

Blogging is an important component of any brand’s online presence. With fresh, relevant content on your site, essentially, Google will see you as more authoritative and that will increase your online reach potential. Beyond the Google math and more importantly, blogging is a personal, immediate way to communicate with potential home buyers online. Your consumer can get information and news without any added pressure to purchase.

Here are some topic ideas to get you started:

Behind the Scenes:
Potential home buyers are interested in your company and how you do your work. Update them on upcoming developments, the building process and the design process. Are you involved in a lot of green building with high energy efficiency standards? Do you know specifics on how much manpower and material goes into a specific home? This is a good opportunity to go into detail on topics that you wouldn’t have time for otherwise.

Showcase Finished Products:
Taking the time to feature a location you’ve just finished is both an easy topic (you already have all that data at your fingertips), but also a great way to bring attention in.

Special Events:
Do you have a new community you’re opening? What about a sale or event at a model home? This is a great way to get the news out – and if you’re the only one talking about new homes in that community, you’re sure to get noticed.

Local Events:
What’s going on around your communities? You have an ear to the ground in the places home buyers are looking, so share what attracts you to the area and post news! It creates a real sense of community for your readers already moved in and others following you as well.

Homeowner Tips:
What if there’s no news to share? As a builder, you have an internal database of information first time homebuyers need. Whether it's a brief explanation of mortgage terminology or, suggestions on preparing a home for winter, your insider information is perfect for the slow times.

We hope these ideas help jumpstart your blog. Home buying is one of the largest financial decisions a person can make. The more information you put out, the better chance you have to earn the buyers trust and secure the sale.

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Posted on September 3, 2015 by Julie Short

In a recent post, we reminded readers and clients that blogging isn’t dead… if anything, it’s more important than ever to your search engine optimization and Internet marketing efforts.

However, a lot of businesses aren’t using their blogs as effectively as they could be. Part of the reason might be because blogging isn’t a cutting-edge topic anymore, the way social media and mobile marketing is. That’s true, but it doesn’t take away from the importance of a healthy blog.

The other reason probably has to do with the fact that a lot of companies simply don’t know how to make the most of their blogs. That’s understandable, but it’s not enough reason to give up. Today, we are going to give you some easy tips that can help you get the biggest marketing impact from your company’s blog…

Post Regularly – having a blog won’t do anything for you if you don’t regularly post new content. At a minimum, you should be adding new articles once or twice a week; even more often is preferable. That signals to readers – and search engines – that you are an ongoing and current source of new ideas.

Sell Ideas, Not Products – speaking of ideas, the focus of your blog should be on advice, insights, and concepts. Once you have someone’s attention, you can get them interested in what you have to offer. Begin your posts with a marketing pitch, however, and you’ll quickly lose the attention of readers.

Share More Than Text – most of your blog posts will probably be written, of course, but don’t forget that you can use images, video, and even audio or custom graphics to explain or accompany an idea. Visual content is great because it’s easy to understand, not to mention share over social networks.

Promote Your Blog Via Social Media – social media and blogging go hand-in-hand. When you add a new post to your website, make sure you’re promoting it via Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. That helps drive traffic to your blog and provide value to those who are following you on social channels.

Invite Feedback – posting to your blog isn’t just about spreading your thoughts, it’s also about getting feedback from readers. So, make sure to enable comments and invite visitors to submit their own thoughts. If you get lots of lively discussion moving back and forth, you’ll have the basis for plenty of future topics.

Learn From Your Best Posts and Ideas – like most things in life, 80% of your blog comments and traffic will come from 20% of your posts. So, if you hit on a winning idea or concept, feel free to revisit it, update the thought, or generate a related post. The spin-off article you come up with might be even more popular.

Your blog can be a source of new information, a hub of social activity, and the centerpiece of your search engine optimization plan. Are you getting the right kinds of results from your posts? If not, it’s time to put these tips to work on your website.

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Posted on August 20, 2015 by Julie Short

Good news for people who like to eat, or just have a good time at the park!

On September 25th and 26th (that’s a Friday and Saturday), Klyde Warren Park in Dallas will hold a two-day food festival.

Named Park & Palate, the 2015 festival is meant to be the first in an annual series.

It also looks to be a milestone event for the community, and one that is sure to draw big crowds for years to come.

So far, there has been a lot of interest in the event, both in the media and amongst food lovers in the greater Dallas area. Promoters note that Park & Palate isn’t just a cookout in the park – in addition to food stalls from dozens of local eateries, the event will feature live music, cooking lessons, and appearances by celebrity chefs.

Here are a few other highlights you might want to know about:

  • A dozen Texas chefs will get the event started with a “Down to Roots” competition to see who can create the best combination of comfort food with a modern twist. Judging the results will be none other than Amanda Frietag from Food Network’s Chopped. Ticketholders will get to try the creations themselves, tasting the dishes with a selection of fine wine and beers.
  • On Saturday, there will be a Grand Tasting with more than 30 different Texas restaurants and wineries, not to mention an open bar. Culinary minds from across the state have been invited, with some of the area’s hottest chefs getting in on the action.
  • Along with live musical performances from local acts like the Paul Thorn Band and Lucy Wrubel, Park & Palate will feature kid-friendly entertainment options, so you don’t have to feel like you’re dragging the little ones along for an event. Younger guests will have a great time, too, even if they can’t enjoy some of the adult beverages.

Registration is already open at www.parkandpalete.org. Tickets aren’t cheap at $150 each, but the proceeds support the park, which is already a popular attraction in the neighborhood. So, make a little room in your budget – and your weekly calorie count – and join us for Park and Palate next month!

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Posted on August 13, 2015 by Julie Short

As far as Internet marketing advice goes, “develop and use a company blog” is right up there with “eat five servings of vegetables per day.” That is, just about everyone agrees that it’s a good piece of advice, even if very few people actually follow it.

In September, we’re going to take a closer look at the benefits and best practices around blogging. Today, however, we want to give you a quick preview and reminder of why blogs are such an important part of your website. Here are just a few of the biggest reasons that blogging still matters:

Your Blog is a Newsletter, Spreading Company and Industry Information

Potential customers want to know what’s going on with your business and industry. And they want to know that you’re aware of what’s going on in your business and industry. For that reason, it’s important to update your blog so that you can both spread information about news or events and boost your own credibility as a marketer at the same time.

Your Blog is the Centerpiece of a Strong Search Marketing Strategy

Every blog post you create counts as a new page on your website in Google’s eyes. The more pages you have, focused around a particular topic and/or keyword phrase, the more relevant and authoritative you seem on a given subject. When you have dozens, or even hundreds of blog posts centered around a general topic, it’s only natural that you’re going to start receiving more search traffic as a result.

An Active Blog Supports Your Social Media Campaigns (and Vice Versa)

When you post something new to your blog, it gives you a topic to bring up on your social media profiles. And your blog posts can serve as a conversation-starter with followers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +. Things can go the other way, too, where your social profiles can guide people to your articles, moving them onto your website when they might have otherwise taken their attention (and business) elsewhere.

One Great Blog Post Can Have a Huge Effect on Your Business

Create one good blog post, complete with a flashy title and attention-grabbing image, and it might get you tens of thousands of views as a result. That kind of attention can help promote your brand, create new opportunities for writing and speaking, and even provide a short-term sales boost… not to mention motivate you to write more blog posts in the future.

If you aren’t making the most of your blog, now is the perfect time to generate a few new posts, promote them on social media, and see what happens. It’s never too late to start using your blog as it was intended and getting better results in the process.

Did you know that WebRevelation can handle things like business website design, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and so much more? Contact one of our offices in San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Dallas to see how we can help!

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Posted on August 6, 2015 by Julie Short

When business owners start out with blogging, email newsletters, and social media, it’s usually because they want to market their companies and products or services.

But by thinking a little bit bigger and incorporating things like online forums, hangouts, discussion groups, and active common threads into these activities, you could do something even more powerful: build an online community.

Building an online community takes more time and work than simple marketing does, of course, but there are a number of reasons any business owner or executive should consider making the effort…

First: There are the Business Benefits

A popular website can be a great thing for your business, but building an online community – one that’s a hub of new posts and ideas, is even more powerful. That’s because all of that content draws in colleagues and new potential customers, and catapults your website to the top of Google’s search engine rankings. Plus, being at the front of a popular and growing online community naturally positions you as an expert in your field.

Then: There is the Potential for New Partnerships and Relationships

Sometimes, the best part about founding an online community isn’t the new sales it brings, but the partnerships and collaborations it inspires. That’s because you could suddenly find yourself meeting others in your industry, or in related fields, who can share ideas with you on growing your company or providing better service. These ideas can help your business grow in dozens of different ways, even if they don’t lead to a direct and immediate improvement in sales.

Finally: You Might Start Something Very Big

Like your business itself, the online community that you build could begin to pick up some momentum and grow into something spectacular. Remember that every major industry forum or social media group you’ve ever come across, even the biggest ones, were begun by someone who saw a need or opportunity. Why couldn’t your online community – built around your original vision – be the next big thing?

Just like any community, your online community could grow, take on a life of its own, and turn into something that’s bigger than you ever imagined. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll get a lot of marketing benefits from posting new content, finding others who can contribute smart ideas to your website, and becoming a source of information and advice.

When you’re looking for help with web design and Internet marketing, turn to WebRevelation in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston. We have the skills and expertise you need to help your business grow!

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Posted on July 23, 2015 by Julie Short
According to economists and business experts, it just might be. Texas was recently awarded the Golden Shovel Award for 2015, following billions of new investment into the state. It was also named the number one spot for business by Chief Executive Magazine last year, so the award certainly isn’t a fluke.

In numerous surveys, the state has been shown to be amongst the best for having an educated workforce, business-friendly laws and tax statutes, and a variety of different industries that keep the economy humming on all cylinders.

Knowing that, you might be tempted to run out and get your brand-new business off the ground today. We hope you do, but let us give you a few words of wisdom (and decades of combined experience) that can help you make the most of your opportunity, in Texas or anywhere else:

Having a Great Business Idea Is Only Half the Battle

Having a great concept or product is crucial, but so is getting the word out. It doesn’t matter how strong or innovative your idea is – without impactful marketing and public relations, you’ll never get in touch with enough customers to generate revenue and stay afloat. Far too many entrepreneurs ignore the marketing side of things. Don’t mimic their mistake.

A Great Business Environment Means Lots of Customers… and Lots of Competition

Having a great environment for business can be a double-edge sword. On the one hand, you have a great economy, favorable tax laws, and lots of customers. On the other hand, though, you have other business owners and entrepreneurs who also know Texas is a great place to start a business. And, some of them might have a head start on you.

Have a plan for making your business different, and for explaining those differences to customers in a meaningful way.

There’s Nothing Quite Like Advice From an Experienced Team

Sometimes, we are able to help clients avoid making common and classic mistakes simply because we’ve been around the business world for a couple of decades. If you’re brand-new, and looking to get your venture off the ground, make sure you surround yourself with a few people who know the ropes. They can help you spot errors that would otherwise sink your business and keep you from moving on the right track.

Texas might be the closest thing to “perfect” when it comes to the right place for starting or growing a business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be a little bit careful when investing your time and money. We hope you’ll decide to get out there and make your fortune… but not without the knowledge and advice you’ll need to flourish in the years ahead.

When it comes to web design, Internet marketing, and business automation, you won’t find a better partner than WebRevelation in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Talk to our team today and see how we can help your business grow!

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Posted on July 16, 2015 by Julie Short

Although everything seems to change in web design in the span of a few years, there is one layout trend that never seems to fade – the popularity of banners and sliders that run across the top of websites.


It’s easy to see why so many web designers, marketers, and visitors love banners: pictures are understood more quickly than text is, and they make a memorable and emotional impression.

In other words, it’s simply more powerful to see a photo than it is to read words on a page.

But, while the website banners remain popular, they are also commonly misused. To understand why that is – and to stop you from making the same mistakes that your peers and competitors might be – here are three things you should know about website banners:

#1 High Quality Images are a Must

It goes without saying that website banners should be created from very high-resolution images. If they aren’t, they can look stretched, pixelated, or just amateurish. Any of these is the absolute wrong first impression to make when someone visits your website for the first time.

Beyond simple resolution, using high-quality photos also means that your images should tell the story you want them to in a way that is easy for a potential customer to understand. That takes a surprisingly nuanced approach, so don’t be afraid to experiment with many choices until you get right.

#2 Your Banners Should be Up-to-Date

The banner images on your website won’t just be the first things visitors will see, they’ll also be the first elements they’ll actually notice (consciously or subconsciously). It’s important that they be up-to-date, showing off your very best products, people, or ideas. Otherwise, they could get potential customers thinking about things that aren’t relevant to what you’re trying to offer at the time.

#3 It’s Not Usually a Great Idea to Create Your Own Web Banners

Web banners don’t just need to look great and be current, they also have to integrate well with the other elements on your webpages (like text, logos, and other graphic ingredients). Because making the right fit is so important, it’s usually a bad idea to create your own banners, or to update them yourself. Getting your web design team to change them shouldn’t be a big job, but it can make a lot of difference in the perceived quality of your website.

When they are used correctly, web banners are extraordinarily powerful visual marketing elements. When they aren’t, they can distract visitors and take away from your company’s credibility. Are your web banners adding enough to your online presence? And if not, what are you going to do about it?

If you need a web design team that understands how great layouts and proven Internet marketing techniques go together, it’s time to talk to WebRevelation. Get in touch with us today to request a free consultation and account review.

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Posted on July 2, 2015 by Julie Short

In an earlier post, we looked at some of the top-level advantages of using a custom content management system instead of WordPress or the other more popular options. To be sure, custom CMS setups aren’t for everyone, but for companies that can use them they are invaluable.

Today, we want to go a little bit deeper and explore the way a custom CMS can work with a few advanced website applications. In other words, we want to take a look at the way the right programming can help you accomplish more with your web presence.

Here are a few ways that a custom CMS might add more power, and profitability, to your business website:

Back-End Functionality

If you need your website to perform advanced functions behind the scenes, or to integrate with off-line databases, scheduling apps, or other business tools, a custom CMS might be the answer. That’s because your content management system can be programmed with advanced encryption, file-sharing, and other features that make it easy for you to integrate different pieces of existing software (including custom applications that have been developed specifically for your company) in a way that makes them easy to use together.

Advanced Marketing

In the same way, a custom CMS may be able to power advanced marketing tools that allow you to segment customers, dynamically control advertising budgets, or draw contact names from online sources and use them in print marketing campaigns. Certain types of functionality are easier to build into a custom content management system, especially if they are imagined from the outset. If you’re looking to unlock the power of advanced Internet marketing, consider starting with the way your website is organized.

Design Integration

Although WordPress and the other popular content management systems are a lot more versatile than they used to be, there are occasions where companies want to use design features that are better-suited to a custom CMS. If you are wanting to achieve an unconventional aesthetic with your new website, or want to experiment with different layout types, using a custom CMS might be a good way to implement these ideas without having to sacrifice functionality in different parts of your website.

Sometimes, the decision to choose a custom CMS isn’t about aesthetics or the user interface – it’s about getting all the backend and marketing power you can from your new website. Have you looked at your options for creating a new website that makes your business more profitable?

If you have questions about content management systems – or web design and Internet marketing in general – why not speak to the WebRevelation team in Oklahoma City? In just a few minutes, you can set up a free consultation where we’ll be happy to review your current website and answer any questions you might have.

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Posted on June 25, 2015 by Julie Short

Deciding to implement a content management system into your new website is an easy call – doing so makes it easy for you to add and update pages while maintaining a consistent look throughout every part of the site. Figuring out which content management system to use, however, can be a little tougher.

Obviously, there are a lot of popular options, such as WordPress and Drupal. But, lots of business owners overlook the advantages of a custom CMS, usually because they are working with a web design team that isn’t familiar enough with them to spell out the benefits.

That’s too bad, because having the right CMS can make a huge difference on the usability and profitability of your website. And, getting one that’s publicly available isn’t always the best choice.

To help you understand why, here are three benefits of using a custom CMS that you might not have known about:

#1 It Can Be Tailored to Fit Your Needs

As the word “custom” implies, this type of content management system can be shaped, designed, and programmed to meet the needs of your company. That means you don’t have to worry about a “one-size-fits-all” approach to web design, but instead can take advantage of the features that matter to your organization (and ignore the ones that don’t). The result isn’t just better functionality, but often cleaner code that isn’t cluttered by things you don’t need. Doing away with extra chunks of code could make your website run faster and more smoothly.

#2 There are Fewer Online Security Concerns

Hackers and cyber criminals love common content management systems, like WordPress, because so many millions of people use them. They only have to find one weak point in the content management systems security and they can suddenly access millions upon millions of different websites at once. On the other hand, with a custom CMS, there isn’t nearly as much incentive for thieves to spend time breaking in. That makes them more likely to move on than bother trying to crack the security on your website.

#3 It Makes it Easier to Update Your Website

One of the biggest advantages of having a custom CMS is that the interface can be designed for simplicity. In other words, we can make it so that adding new pages, or updating your content, is as simple as using a program much like Microsoft Word. That might not seem like a huge deal, but if you’ve ever struggled to keep your website up-to-date, you know how important it is to have a system that’s easy to use and master. What’s the point of having a CMS if updating your website is a chore?

If you’ve never considered using a custom content management system, now might be the perfect time to take a closer look and see if it’s right for you.

Looking for the very best in business web design and Internet marketing? Talk to the team at WebRevelation in San Antonio, Houston or Dallas today!

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Posted on June 18, 2015 by Julie Short

Online security is a bigger topic than ever these days. Individuals and businesses alike are learning that they better go out of their way to protect things like passwords and financial records if they don’t want to fall prey to hackers. And at the same time, the consequences of theft and data breaches are more severe than ever.

What gets lost in all the concern about online security, however, is that the best pieces of advice tend to be the simplest. Most cyber crimes don’t happen because cyber criminals are using sophisticated technology or expertise, but instead because we tend to leave the front doors to our websites and financial accounts wide-open.

To help keep you better protected, here are seven simple online security tips you can start using immediately:

#1: Use Strong Passwords

One survey suggested that more than 10% % of Americans use “1234” as their ATM pin numbers, and that a similar number use passwords like “password.” Changing yours to a complicated mix of upper and lower case letters, with some numbers and special characters thrown in, makes it almost impossible for automated hacking tools to gain access to your accounts.

#2: Change Your Passwords Regularly

While we’re on the subject of passwords, be sure you change yours every 3 to 6 months. And, if you have to ask, it’s a good idea to have different passwords for all the major websites and services you use.

#3: Be Stingy With Sensitive Data

A password is only a password if some people don’t know it. It’s amazing how many offices we’ve seen where everyone has permission to log into the company server, or charge items to the owner’s credit card. Think carefully about who needs access to which pieces of information in your business, and then seal off any loose ends.

#4: Back Up Everything, and Back it Up Often

Whether you lose data because of a problem with technology or a lack of security, having extensive, validated, and up-to-date backups is extraordinarily important. Make sure you aren’t just keeping a copy of critical files, but that they are somewhere safe and password-protected.

#5: Take Advantage of Security Patches

When it comes to things like web hosting packages and financial software, it’s critical that you install patches and updates as they come out. Often, these contain the fixes to security breaches that have been discovered, to someone else’s misfortune. Software providers are constantly closing the door on hackers, so take the protection offered by ongoing updates.

#6: Keep the Right Company

This is good advice for life, of course, but especially applies to your online relationships. Don’t visit websites that you can’t trust (especially online casinos and other adult-themed destinations), and certainly don’t respond to messages, click on links, or download attachments from others you don’t know. This applies for social media, as well – just because someone looks friendly doesn’t mean they just want to be your friend.

#7: Keep a Close Eye on Websites and Accounts

Once a week or so, take a quick look through your business website and financial accounts. Often, the easiest way to tell you’ve been a victim of cyber crime is with a simple eye test. Discovering that something is wrong might not be pleasant, but it can keep the issue from getting worse (as it would if it were undiscovered).

None of these tips is sophisticated, but they all work. Start using them today, and you’ll greatly decrease the risks associated with hacking, identity theft, and other Internet crimes.

Is your web design and Internet marketing firm looking out for you the way they should be? If not, now is the perfect time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team.

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Posted on June 11, 2015 by Julie Short

One by one, marketers are starting to recognize just what kind of difference adding online video to their websites can make. In particular, landing pages, product pages, and even blogs can all be enhanced with good video clips that move viewers to action.

You’ve probably gotten the advice to add online video to your Internet marketing mix already. So what is it that makes video so powerful?

We’re glad you asked, because we want to share with you a few of video’s biggest benefits:

Video Creates a Stronger Connection to the Viewer

Sales and marketing are all about making an emotional connection, and that’s much easier with video than it is images or plain text on a website. Researchers have also pointed out that video tends to be more memorable to viewers. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that adding video to landing pages can boost response rates by as much as 100%.

Video Gives You More Time

The average website visitor will scan a page of text if they are interested in the topic, but will actually watch the video on the same subject. That’s because the added dimension of motion, detail, and even human facial cues causes us to subconsciously dial in. The net result is that you can get more of your customers time by showing them video than you would with a written marketing message.

Video Creates a Powerful Sense of Proof

Seeing is believing, and it’s a lot easier to make buyers “see” with video than it is with words or still photos. That’s especially true when you’re showing the faces of happy customers, or the details of a product and how it works. If you want to show off the finer points of your marketing message, and really demonstrate value, then online video is a great choice.

Online Video Is More Cost-Effective Than Ever

Even a decade ago, shooting a high-quality video might mean booking time with a studio, arranging props, and spending a small fortune on audio and editing. These days, virtually any business can afford to produce video clips that look expensive but aren’t. The lowered cost of producing online videos means the returns for using them have gotten much greater at the same time.

It’s no secret that customers tend to be more engaged with video than they do plain text or images. Until recently however, producing videos – even online – was too expensive for a lot of companies to consider. With prices coming down and production standards climbing, there’s no reason to miss out on the returns you could get from adding clips to your website. So what are you waiting for?

Attracting customers over the Internet starts with having the right online marketing team on your side. Contact WebRevelation in Dallas, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio today to schedule a free consultation and see exactly how we can help your business grow.

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Posted on June 4, 2015 by Julie Short

A lot of businesses treat social media as if it were entirely separate from their websites. The reality, though, is that both your website and your social profiles work better when they are connected and customers can move back and forth easily between them.

Luckily, integrating your social presence into your website doesn’t have to be difficult. To help you get started, here are four easy ways you can tie your social profiles to your other web content:

#1: By Posting Links to Your Profiles

There are numerous places on your website where you can include links to your social profiles. For instance, the homepage is a good place to link to your company profiles, About pages can link to individual team members, and job openings can go alongside URLs that lead to LinkedIn.

#2: Through Real-Time Tweet and Comment Sharing

If you want people to connect with your business socially, show them that other customers are doing the same thing. With real-time tweets, posts, and other updates, visitors to your website can see that you are active on social media (and that other people are active with you in turn).

#3: With Social Sharing Buttons on Your Blog

Your blog is a great place for social links. With just a few buttons, you can make it a snap for readers to share their favorite articles, add comments to your post, or even suggest future topics. Each of these gives you valuable feedback, but even more importantly, they allow readers to share your posts and ideas with their contacts who might not be subscribers yet.

#4: By Combining Social Sharing With Email Newsletters

In the same way, great email newsletter articles can be shared through social networking by you or your customers. And there’s no faster way to grow your social network than by including email subscribers who already know and like your business and its people. Best of all, it will probably cost you no more than a couple minutes of time to include the links you want in your email messages.

Your website will probably always be your hub for Internet marketing activity, but don’t discount the power of your social profiles. By encouraging prospects and existing customers to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, you make it easier for them to interact with your company and become bigger fans of your business and brand.

Need an online marketing team that can help you put different strategies and campaigns together in a way that makes sense? Contact WebRevelation today and schedule a free consultation.

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Posted on May 28, 2015 by Julie Short

A Dallas company made national headlines for all the wrong reasons this spring when Blue Bell – which produces tens of millions of gallons of ice cream sold in grocery stores around the country – was found to be responsible for a Listeria outbreak.

The company has since taken the kinds of steps you would expect, furloughing plants, laying off employees, and working with state and federal health inspectors to show there won’t be any future issues.

Although many expected Blue Bell to disappear altogether, it seems as if the company is on the road to recovery, both financially and in terms of rebuilding their reputation. Clawing their way back into business has been no easy task, of course, and there were lessons business owners and executives can take from these events to help them avoid trouble in their own organizations.

Here are three in particular you should pay attention to:

#1: Trouble Always Comes From Unexpected Places

Before news of the Listeria outbreak hit, you can bet Blue Bell’s management team was focused on things like pricing, competitors, and market share… just as most of us are every day. But even though dealing with these challenges is important, it’s critical that we never take our eye off the bigger picture. Things like safety, customer satisfaction, and even employee management deserve our attention even when they don’t seem pressing.

#2: Cash Reserves Mean Everything in Times of Trouble

Once it became clear that Blue Bell couldn’t keep producing or selling ice cream, executives had to make some quick and difficult decisions about how they would survive without any new revenue coming in. Most small and medium-sized companies will face that kind of challenge eventually. When these troubles hit, having cash reserves you can turn to and stay afloat for a few months or quarters at a time can make all the difference.

#3: The Right Messaging Can Make or Break You in a Crisis

One thing Blue Bell definitely did right was to follow their instincts and communicate with customers, health inspectors, and the public at large. By immediately ceasing deliveries and letting buyers know that they were serious about protecting everyone’s health (and not in ducking responsibility) they paved the way for those customers to come back when the time is right. The simple decision to follow the correct path with their messaging might be the one that ultimately ends up restoring the company back to profitability.

There’s never a good time to have things go wrong with your company, but looking for issues ahead of time, preparing for rough patches, and having the right marketing and messaging can mean the difference between enduring a tough time and going out of business altogether. Are you ready to deal with the unexpected?

If you don’t have the kind of marketing and design team that can help you build and re-build your brand when you need it most, maybe it’s time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team.

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Posted on May 21, 2015 by Julie Short

In a recent post, we looked at what it is that actually makes your website “mobile-friendly.” Having that understanding is important, especially since mobile users now make up a majority on the Internet, outnumbering “traditional” laptop and desktop computer users online.

Today, we want to go a bit further and look at the different options you have for adding mobile functionality to your business website…

By Building a Mobile Version of Your Website

Mobile-specific websites are just what they sound like: versions of your web presence that are built, designed, and encoded specifically for mobile devices. These work and display best on small screens, of course, since they are optimized for that purpose. However, they bring the additional expense of creating an entirely new website, not to mention keeping it up-to-date, along with your existing web presence.

With an Adaptive Web Design

With an adaptive web design, you have one website that actually has several different versions. When a visitor comes to your pages, the coding within the side “decides” which version to show based on the available browser and screen size. While this does give you mobile functionality, it can lead to small errors when a mobile web browser and your website platform communicate incorrectly, causing the wrong layout to be displayed.

Through Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design works in a similar way, except that the adaptations are more fluid because of back-end coding. In other words, your website “responds” to the visitor’s device and browser, but can also change appearance if they resize their screen or change options. Because responsive web designs are more flexible, they tend to make fewer mistakes, and are also more likely to be compatible with future mobile devices, and screen sizes, that may not be popular yet.

By Developing a Custom App

As an alternative to mobile compatibility in your website, or an additional option, you could have a custom app developed that either serves as a replica of your website or adds more features. For example, your custom app might let mobile users log into their accounts, place new orders, or get specific updates (like package tracking) in one secure and convenient place. The downside to developing an app is that you’ll generally need lots of people to use it before you can justify the cost.

So, with all these options out there, which one makes the most sense for your company?

To explore the choices a bit further, and to decide which one might be right for you, contact a member of the WebRevelation team today and ask for a free website evaluation.

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Posted on May 14, 2015 by Julie Short

When Google announced that it would start factoring mobile compatibility into its search engine rankings beginning on April 21, business owners and web designers were sent into a flurry. Suddenly, thousands and thousands of new companies decided it was the perfect time to adopt a “mobile-friendly” web platform.

Lost in this sudden surge of mobile programming, however, was the fact that a lot of marketers don’t fully understand what “mobile-friendly” really means. To help shed some light on the situation, here is what you need to know about that term, and the underlying functionality it adds to your website:

The Basics of Mobile Compatibility

The essence of a mobile-friendly website is that it can display cleanly on a small screen, and adapt to a mobile browser that may have limitations a traditional web browser wouldn’t. The most obvious of these has to do with page and image widths, which need to be restricted on mobile devices. Without that, mobile users will be forced to scroll from left to right while trying to read text, for example, or view an image.

In addition, mobile browsers work better with standard fonts than they do exotic ones, so that should be a consideration. It’s also a good idea to limit image sizes and animations, since these can load slowly or use up too much space on a user’s data plan.

Generally Speaking, Mobile = Simple

What these basics amount to is often a simpler version of your standard website, or at least a version that displays more cleanly and simply for mobile users. As an example, if your website has a dozen links across the top of your main navigation bar, these may need to be moved, abbreviated, or otherwise altered to make them usable on a smart phone. Additionally, content can be rearranged so that it’s easier to scroll from top to bottom instead of left to right.

Buttons and Action Items Need Tweaking, Too

The third factor in mobile compatibility is the availability of radio buttons, click-to-call response forms, and other simple calls to action. Few mobile visitors will want to type long strings of text to get more information from your business, or fill out complicated forms on tiny screens.

Part of mobile functionality is ensuring that it’s is easy for customers to do what you want them to do – especially if that’s to make a purchase or get in touch with you for more information – than it is for them to see and read your content.

Although Google’s new mobile-friendly stance may seem like it’s driving the trend towards smart phone and tablet compatibility forward, the reality is that mobile web users already make up more than half of all Internet traffic. So, adopting a mobile-friendly attitude is a good idea, regardless of whether you rely on search engines or not.

In the next post, we are going to outline a few of the different ways you can bring mobile compatibility to your business website. If you can’t wait that long, or have more specific questions, feel free to contact WebRevelation today and ask for a free consultation.

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Posted on May 7, 2015 by Julie Short

When it’s time to build and launch a new website, web content is (ironically) the last thing a business owner or marketer will think of. They’ll pay close attention to the design, give feedback on color schemes, and obsess over the conversion opportunities… but not give much thought to the actual writing that they’ll need to convince customers to buy.

As a result, a lot of clients are at a loss when it comes to deciding whether they should generate their own web content in-house or work with a professional writer.

There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether you should hire a content writer to work with. It really comes down to your own needs, budget, and preferences. To help you make the best decision, however, here are four times when we definitely advise you to hire a writer to help finish your website:

1. When you just can’t find the time yourself.

A lot of our clients intend to write their own pages, but never seem to find the time. That’s understandable – coming up with great web content usually isn’t on the top list of “urgent” items that a business owner or manager has to face… at least until the rest of the website is ready. And at that point, they may be overwhelmed with other tasks and projects. A good web content writer can finish an entire set of pages within days, so consider hiring one if you’re out of time.

2. When you’ve got content, but you don’t like it.

In the same way, a lot of clients develop their own web content only to find that it doesn’t have a polished, professional edge.
At that point, they usually have one of two choices: hire a professional content writer, or start over with a blank screen. If you or someone on your team has tried writing your web content but you aren’t blown away by the results, think about bringing a professional in to finish the job.

3. When conversions are a top priority.

We alluded to this earlier, but it’s a very important point to make: Web content isn’t just about explaining what you do; it’s about persuading buyers to take a chance and do business with your company. That’s a lot easier when you have professionally written web content. So if conversions are a top priority for you, let us help you find someone who can sell with words so you can increase your long-term ROI.

4. When you’re trying to make an impact with SEO and social media.

As you probably know already, search engine optimization and social media are both dependent on having a fresh stream of creative, compelling, and optimized content. The challenge of creating articles and posts week after week often proves to be too much for immature writers. If you are going to face a need for ongoing content, bringing in a professional writer can be the key to moving your campaigns forward.

The right web content writer can add a lot to your website’s messaging and persuasive power. More than that, they can help you finish the project in a reasonable amount of time. So if you’re facing one of these four situations, talk to us about getting a web content writer started on your pages.

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Posted on April 30, 2015 by Julie Short

You only have to watch the news, or hear a horror story from a friend or family member, to realize how important online security has become. That’s even more true for business owners and managers, who may worry about risking sensitive company and customer information along with their own private data.

The first step to staying safe online isn’t necessarily investing in an expensive encryption package, or paying an IT team to lock down your businesses computers. Those might not be bad ideas, depending on your circumstances, but they aren’t as easy or effective as simply choosing and using the right passwords.

Most online thieves are looking for easy targets. More often than not, that amounts to someone who doesn’t update or patch their software as often as they should, and a business that has weak passwords. With that in mind, here are five tips for managing yours:

1. Don’t go for the obvious.
A recent survey found that an incredibly high percentage of people use passwords like “password,” or a name and birthday. Using anything like this, or even a recognizable word, is an incredibly bad idea. Instead, opt for a random string of numbers, symbols, and letters (both capitalized and lowercase). Automated software can crack an easy password in tenths of a second. A harder one would take months or years, which is why thieves are likely to move on.

2. Use more than one password.
Yes, using one password for every website is convenient… but it’s also convenient for thieves who want to break into your accounts and find things to steal. Set up different passwords (using the guidelines above) for the different websites and services you use. Even though it might mean a little more hassle, your online security is worth it.

3. Change your passwords regularly.
This is probably not new advice for you. “Change your online passwords regularly” ranks right up there with “eat your vegetables at dinner.” We’ve all heard it, but few of us actually do it. But in both cases, a little bit of preventative maintenance can stave off much larger problems later.

4. Keep your passwords written down somewhere secure.
Ideally, you’ll have a hard copy of your passwords somewhere secure, like in an office safe. However you keep them, be sure they are somewhere that you (and only you or authorized members of your team) can quickly find them and use them if needed. Keeping them on a text file on your computer could be risky, since it’s the first place thieves are going to look.

5. Be careful about sharing your passwords.
Remember, most thieves aren’t doing anything complicated – they’re looking for an easy way to steal your money. With that in mind, use common sense and don’t email your password to anyone or provide it to someone who doesn’t have any good reason to use it. And, if you suspect that an employee, vendor, or stranger has accessed your passwords, change them immediately.

Being careful with passwords is the simplest, cheapest, and easiest way to keep yourself and your business protected online. Why not take a bit of time today and ensure you’re not making it easy for cyber criminals to steal from your company?

Want to know more about smart, cost-effective online security and Internet marketing? Contact WebRevelation now and ask for a free consultation.

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Posted on April 23, 2015 by Julie Short

Most Internet users are aware of web browsers, but aren’t really attuned to the differences between them beyond the aesthetics. We all have our preferences (Chrome over Firefox, or Safari versus Internet Explorer, as examples), but these are usually based on the way they look, or where menus are displayed, rather than the underlying variations in programming.

As a business owner or marketer, however, it’s important to note that individual web browsers actually do function differently… and that those differences can actually impact your company.

To give you a sense of why, here are a few things every business owner or marketer needs to know about the web browsers their customers use:

Web Browsers Have a Bigger Job Than You Probably Realize

If you’re like most people, you probably open your favorite web browser, click on a bookmarked website, and then wait for it to load. What you don’t pay attention to is everything going on behind the scenes. Your web browser doesn’t just display a page, though; it actually translates it from HTML (or at the website’s core, ones and zeros) to turn it into something you can understand. Because of programmer preferences and relative strengths, every web browser does this a little bit differently.

The Right (or Wrong) Web Browser Can Change Your Website

Because of the differences in the way web browsers “translate” code into something visual, some of your content may not display correctly – or even at all – if your customer is using a certain browser. Things like images, fonts, videos, animation, and more will display more cleanly and accurately on some browsers but not others. In addition, some browsers utilize system resources differently, meaning they may load pages at a faster or slower rate.

There Are Lots of Web Browsers Out There

As if these weren’t enough challenges to deal with, it’s important to realize that there are a lot of web browsers out there. In addition to the most popular browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera – there are dozens of other smaller and specialty browsers (some of which exist to block ads and tracking, or to operate on Linux and other operating systems). On top of that, there are several mobile browsers in use, and usually several versions of each browser being used by the public at any given time.

Your Website Had Better Work Well on Every Web Browser (Especially Mobile Browsers)

Put all of these factors together, and you have an environment where your website is being asked to convey a lot of important things to users on very different platforms. How can it do this? In the last few years, savvy web designers have started using standardized HTML5 and other best practices to ensure that websites display correctly regardless of how they are being viewed. Without those kinds of safeguards in place, you could be missing out on new customers – including some of your most important potential buyers.

You can’t control which web browsers your customers are going to come to your website through, so it’s important that your pages and content display correctly across all of them. Otherwise, you could miss out on winning a new set of loyal buyers just because you don’t have compatible HTML code.

Worried that your website isn’t up to date when it comes to displaying on different web browsers or mobile devices? Get in touch with WebRevelation today for a free account review!

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Posted on April 9, 2015 by Julie Short

As we detailed in a recent post about LinkedIn company profiles, there’s just no reason to ignore the most important aspect of your social media marketing plan. Once you have a strong LinkedIn profile for your business in place, however, how do you make the most of it?

Here at WebRevelation, we help our clients to connect with customers, colleagues, and vendors to grow their companies through social media. Here are a few quick ideas to help you get started with your own LinkedIn strategy:

Recruit Team Members

This is probably the most prevalent use of LinkedIn for companies, and the most obvious. Even so, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we neglected to tell you that there are literally millions of professionals out there just waiting to help your business – as full- or part-time employees, contractors, or even interns. If you need help with recruiting, LinkedIn makes a great first stop online.

Collect Endorsements

Word-of-mouth advertising is always more effective than your own marketing, and it doesn’t get any easier than grabbing endorsements and recommendations through LinkedIn. These online testimonials are great for showing new potential clients or customers what you can do, and they can be shared among contacts with a single mouse click.

Form Partnerships

Are there other professionals in businesses and industries related to yours that you can partner up with for the purposes of marketing, referrals, or just brainstorming? If so, LinkedIn might be the perfect forum for establishing, growing, and profiting from those kinds of relationships. You can think of LinkedIn as a giant networking event… and one that’s being attended by thousands of people who have specialties and connections that can benefit you.

Share (and See) New Thoughts and Ideas

Although many new users don’t realize it, LinkedIn has a number of forums and messaging groups where professionals and business owners can share thoughts with one another. This can be particularly valuable when you need to learn about a new aspect of your company, or when you want advice from someone who is seasoned in your industry but isn’t a direct competitor.

Build Brand Awareness

By making connections, gathering endorsements, and even publishing to LinkedIn’s newsletter – LinkedIn Pulse – you can build an online brand and reputation that prospects will recognize and respond to instantly. When it comes to generating referrals, and having them form the right impression of your business, LinkedIn can take you much farther than Facebook or Twitter.

These are great first steps, but they really just represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to growing your business through LinkedIn. With a little practice, and the right advice, you might find that it opens up a whole new world of social media marketing to you and your team.

Need help making the most of your company’s LinkedIn page? Get in touch with WebRevelation today and let us show you how easy and affordable it is to get started!

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Posted on April 2, 2015 by Julie Short

A few years ago, business owners, managers, and executives all collectively realized that social media marketing was an actual thing… and a thing that could lead to big rewards for the companies that embraced it and took the time to build a loyal following.

Not long after, they realized that LinkedIn could be the most important of all the social media sites.

In terms of pure, raw numbers, LinkedIn can’t compare with Facebook, Twitter, or the quickly growing Google+. But the roughly 350 million people who use LinkedIn are nothing to sneeze at. And more importantly, it’s the only social platform that’s devoted strictly to business and networking. So while there might not be 1 billion people on LinkedIn yet, the ones who are using it are there to do business, not trade family vacation photos.

That makes LinkedIn an extraordinarily valuable resource for companies of all sizes. To help you further understand what’s at stake, here are a few of the best reasons your business needs a strong LinkedIn page:

LinkedIn Profiles Are Highly Visible

Because it’s so popular, LinkedIn has a very high page rank with Google. That means, among other things, that it’s entirely possible your business’s LinkedIn profile will come up in searches for your company’s name before your actual website, or immediately after. Fill yours in with the right kind of info, and you give yourself an extra search engine optimization advantage at virtually no cost.

Your Best Prospects Are Using LinkedIn

We mentioned earlier that business people and professionals like using LinkedIn. What’s also important to note is that many of the people who use LinkedIn might ignore other social profiles. For example, many C-level executives are active on LinkedIn even though they don’t have the time to participate in Facebook or Twitter. So if you want to reach some of your best prospects through social media, this might be your only chance.

LinkedIn Is a Hub for New Connections and Ideas

LinkedIn has a number of features that make it useful for networking, finding new customers, and even sharing industry ideas. We’ll go into more depth in the coming articles, but the bottom line is that if you aren’t using LinkedIn, you’re putting yourself and your company at a disadvantage.

In the next two posts, we’ll show you how to make the most of your company’s LinkedIn page to network and generate new sales opportunities. In the meantime, though, if you haven’t been making the most of LinkedIn already, now is the perfect time to talk with a member of the WebRevelation team and let us show you how we can get you up and running on this crucial social network.

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Posted on March 26, 2015 by Julie Short

One of the things that tends to frustrate business owners and marketers most about search engine optimization is that Google – which controls the lion’s share of search traffic in North America – tends to only hint at small changes before unleashing them onto the world. In other words, you rarely ever get word of the storm before it hits.

With that in mind, web designers and marketers have to be at least a little bit grateful that they’ve been given advance warning this time. On April 21, Google will roll out a huge algorithm update that’s aimed at giving a higher search priority to mobile-friendly websites (and by extension, pushing websites that aren’t mobile compatible farther down the listings).

You can read more about this algorithm shift in Google’s own words here, but we are going to save you some time and give you three details every business owner or manager needs to be aware of:

#1 April 21 Could Bring a Huge Shift in Search Engine Positioning

Experts think this won’t just be a minor change in the way Google processes and displays search results. In fact, most are predicting that it will eclipse both Penguin and Panda (which were huge in their impact on SEO in their own right) in terms of the way it will change the landscape.

That means there are going to be winners and losers – websites that suddenly start getting lots more search traffic, and others that see their search volume dry up overnight. Which category will your business website fall into?

#2 Google Isn’t Leaving You Any Wiggle Room

One interesting thing we know about the coming April 21 algorithm shift is that Google either considers your site to be mobile-friendly or not mobile-friendly. That is, there isn’t any wiggle room, and they aren’t taking into account the degree to which you’ve made your website compatible with smartphones and tablets.

There are still plenty of reasons to incorporate as many mobile features as you can, but for now the world’s largest search engine is going to give you a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

#3 If You Aren’t Ready, Take Action Now

If you have any questions about whether or not your business website is mobile-friendly, or suspect you aren’t ready for the April 21 algorithm change, we strongly advise you to speak with a WebRevelation team member today. Over the years, we’ve learned two important things about getting customers from Google: first, that it can be highly profitable and cost-effective; and second, that it can take a long time to catch up if you fall behind or run afoul of Google’s requirements.

A major change to the way search engine positions are calculated is coming quickly, and it’s coming regardless of whether you’re ready or not. If you need to make some changes or upgrades to your business website before it’s too late, call WebRevelation now at 817-283-3324 or 405-607-0349 to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help.

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Posted on February 19, 2015 by Julie Short

As the web has gotten bigger and bigger, the need for targeted, focused, and (sometimes) geographic-specific communities has increased.

There is an almost infinite amount of information online, but the majority isn’t always relevant. That’s especially true when it comes to the search for local businesses and vendors – you don’t want to find everyone, just the matches that make sense for your need and area.

For customers, the easy answer is to turn to websites like Yelp, YP (formerly yellow pages), and Foursquare, which sort profiles by interest and geography. For marketers, however, things get a little tougher. Businesses desperately need to be represented on these websites, but don’t always have the time and expertise to properly upload a profile, much less keep it current.

So how do you bridge that gap and keep your business visible without spending all your time entering information and looking for reviews? We might just have the perfect answer for you…

Introducing Your Business Listing Management Solution

At WebRevelation, we’ve been encouraging our clients to find and use every business listing outlet they can, knowing that maintaining the effort was a big challenge for business owners and managers.

In an effort to alleviate that challenge, we’ve partnered with Yext, a service that allows us to upload, update, and maintain your current local listing with dozens of powerful, high-profile listing publishers, nationally and internationally. Whether you have one location or dozens, it’s the perfect way to make your business easy to find while saving you lots of time and money.

It’s hard to overstate what kind of marketing effect the right exposure can have on a business that relies on local companies. Even if you were able to maintain a handful of profiles on your own, there’s no guarantee that the sites you choose would match up to the ones your next great customer wants to use. By making sure your business is easy to find in all the major apps and directories, you’re ensuring that your company will be hard for anyone who’s interested to miss.

Get Started With Business Listing Management Today

There are thousands and thousands of buyers out there waiting to find you, and lots of business that’s ready to be won. Now we are making it easier and more affordable than ever for you to ensure your business information stays current, correct, and visible. You could play hide and seek with your customers, but why not have them coming to you instead?

Contact WebRevelation today to learn more about our partnership with Yext and what it means for your business listings and online reviews.

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Posted on February 12, 2015 by Julie Short

Usually, when manufacturing clients come to us wanting to explore ERP packages, it's because they are interested in cutting costs, or want to keep a closer eye on supply chains and other details. But what about the other side of the bottom-line equation? Did you know that investing in the right ERP can help you gain more customers, too?

Although buyers might not ask your company for or about an ERP directly, that doesn't mean they don't want you to have one. That's because manufacturers that are taking advantage of enterprise resource planning can do more, do it more quickly, and at better prices. In other words, they become the kinds of businesses your best customers want to work with and order from.

To see why that might be, consider three important advantages from your customer’s point of view:

Speed is critical in choosing a manufacturer. In today's market, speed is every bit as important as price and quality. Margins might be tighter, but so are schedules. If you can reliably deliver products based on aggressive schedules, you become virtually priceless to buyers. That means they'll come back to you time and time again, and may even pay a premium to do so.

Cost competitiveness is changing everything. Of course, margins are getting tighter across every type of manufacturing market. By having more control over your supply chain, and real-time information about input prices, you can produce better, more accurate quotes for your customers. Staying competitive and profitable at the same time is always a winning strategy.

They want a manufacturer who can adjust to new conditions quickly. When delivery dates, quantities, and locations change, it's the manufacturer that is equipped with a strong ERP that's ready to step in and meet buyer needs. Your customers want a manufacturer they can count on… when you're taking advantage of the right ERP, it's easy to be the supplier of choice.

You already know that success in manufacturing is all about delivering the right product and service at the right price, and on the customer's schedule. A strong ERP platform helps you achieve all of those, which leads to increased customer loyalty and helps your profitability on every account.

To learn more about our ERP systems – and to see case studies that show how we have helped manufacturing companies just like yours – call or e-mail a member of our team and request a free consultation. It won't take long for us to show you why you shouldn't ignore this technology.

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Posted on February 4, 2015 by Julie Short

Navigation is at the core of every website. Visitors click links that lead them to new pages with more links. A site’s universal navigation is the doorway to its most important content. 

Page names actually drive quite a bit of traffic to your website from search engines. A User Interface Engineering study found that over 50 percent of search traffic on a major commerce site was generated from the department, gallery and product pages deep inside the site.

Having a dysfunctional website navigation is like driving around without street signs. If you don’t know where to go, you won’t find what you’re looking for. If visitors have a tough time navigating your website, they won’t want to return and you can actually drive away business. 

A recurring inability to find information, products or services is one of the biggest challenges any website faces. Every web designer has to understand a user’s goal and what they need to accomplish when they visit the site. Here are some compelling statistics about how poor website navigation affects users and sales. 

  • Research by User Interface Engineering, Inc., shows that people cannot find the information they seek on a Web site about 60 percent of the time.
  • Studies by Forrester Research estimate that approximately 50 percent of potential sales are lost because users can’t find information and that 40 percent of users do not return to a site when their first visit is a negative experience.
  • A study by Zona Research found that 62 percent of Web shoppers give up looking for the item they want to buy online.

If visitors can’t find information on your website, it doesn’t exist. Below are some practical tips to improving a website’s navigation. 

Review Navigation Menu Wording
Phrasing in navigation menus must be deliberate. Don’t focus on fancy wording. Describe the page or content as boring and straightforward as possible. Make it obvious to the visitor what they’re getting when they click a link. Don’t use jargon on a navigation menu. Stay on the safe side and assume your visitor knows nothing about your industry. 

Review Analytics for Clues
Your site’s analytics will point out things that need improvement. If important pages aren’t being viewed, something might be wrong. The page could be mislabeled or poorly described and be confusing visitors. If a lot of your visitors reach your website and are quickly clicking on multiple different links without landing on a page, they probably couldn’t find what they needed. 

Incorporate Drop Down Menus
Drop down menus help users explore all your site has to offer quickly without having to click on anything. Most designers prefer vertical drop down menus because they usually won’t cover page content. 

Incorporate Subcategories 
This tip is essential for online stores. Allow visitors to sort items by price, color, brand, available sizes and top sellers. Give them the option to narrow what they see by giving subcategories within broad topics.  

Include an Internal Site Search
If a visitor can’t find what they’re looking for in your menu, give them a last option. Often, this will prevent them from leaving and trying a competitor's site. 

Identify Frequently Searched Terms
If your visitors are regularly searching within your site for something specific, that topic should have its own page and link in the navigation menu. 

Usability and functionality are just a few of the many factors of website design. If you take away one thing from this blog, don’t overlook your website’s navigation. If it’s not easy to use, you’re losing business. If you’re having this problem with your website, contact us at 972-478-7127 for more information on how a professional web design can benefit your business.  

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Posted on January 28, 2015 by Julie Short

Once you get past the initial creativity needed to imagine a new product, manufacturing tends to be an almost scientific process – find a way to produce more quickly, affordably, and reliably than the other guy, and you’ll see your profits go up. Fail to pay enough attention to your margins, and your business will be bleeding cash in no time.

It’s that fact – that manufacturers are always walking a tight rope of efficiency – that makes web-based software options so important to staying in the black over the long term. In fact, at WebRevelation we’ve helped several different firms to update their manufacturing processes, eliminating waste and lowering costs at the same time.

Along the way, we’ve learned there are a few important things manufacturers love about specialized software:

No more data errors. Ordering the wrong materials, scheduling the wrong employees, or miscalculating a customer order are just a few of the ways businesses can accidentally squander huge amounts of time and money. With web-based software, you can turn data input errors into a thing of the past.

Getting rid of ill-fitting software packages. Often, an audit of a manufacturer’s software processes shows they’re using extensive workarounds in the form of add-ons and endless spreadsheet pages that amount to dozens of hours of “busywork” for their employees, just because they don’t have the applications they really need for things like payroll and inventory.

Improved customer order flow. By letting customers place their own orders and set things like shipping locations on their own, you improve accuracy and free up time for your sales and customer service teams.

Better order delivery times. More and more companies are going to a just-in-time inventory system; that requires a software platform that can feed you up-to-date information across your company so you can meet tough deadlines when needed.

Less time and money being wasted. What all of this amounts to is more efficiency in every part of the manufacturing process. When you aren’t wasting time and money, you can lower prices, enjoy higher margins, or both.

When it comes down to it, manufacturers taking advantage of web-based software have a huge advantage over their competitors. The only question is: Are you one of the businesses that’s benefiting, or one of the others who are lagging behind?

Looking for ways to improve the margins in your manufacturing business? Talk to WebRevelation today and let us share some of our case studies and success stories with you.

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Posted on January 21, 2015 by Julie Short

Has your website fallen behind the times? Usually, when new clients talk to us about an “out-of-style” or “not-up-to-date” website, they’re thinking in terms of looks and layouts. What they may not realize is that the more important problems are behind the scenes – and that even a great-looking website may be missing a few key upgrades.

That might not sound like a big problem, but it’s important to remember that thousands of visitors will see your pages each and every year. If your website isn’t attracting as many of them as it could be or converting them into buyers, that’s a huge missed opportunity.

To give you a sense of what kinds of upgrades and improvements we are referring to, here are just a few of the trends that have become incredibly important over the last few years:

Responsive web designs. Responsive web designs change their alignment and appearance to fit laptop and desktop computers, as well as tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. If you want your website to be accessible by the tens of millions of mobile users, and don’t want to launch a separate website, responsive designs are the way to go.

Social media links and apps. Social media is no longer just about checking out vacation photos and cat memes. Buying recommendations, customer service, and a lot more can all be handled through social profiles. That’s why your site should be tied directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ at a minimum.

Conversion rate optimization. This is the art and science of squeezing the maximum number of conversions out of the visits you get to your website. If you aren’t turning enough readers into buyers, then your bottom line is going to suffer (and your competitors will benefit).

Online video. Numerous studies have confirmed that online videos get more attention than text and static images do, and help convert visitors into leads and customers at a much higher rate. Plus, it’s easier and more affordable than ever before to add video clips to your website.

E-commerce and secure account maintenance. Letting buyers place orders and update their account details online doesn’t just make your website more convenient for them – it also helps you save time and money by freeing your staff up to do other things.

If your website is missing one or more of these features, it could be time for an update – regardless of how good you think it looks. Remember that it only takes a couple of years for your web presence to fall behind newer competitors. Luckily, fixing that is just a matter of calling WebRevelation in Dallas, San Antonio or Oklahoma City and letting us do the rest!

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Posted on January 14, 2015 by Julie Short

For a long time, Internet marketing experts have been talking about the coming mobile web revolution. They’re not talking about it anymore, though, because it’s already here.

Industry observers expect mobile web users – those browsing through smartphones and tablets – to become the majority at some point in 2015. That means smart marketers have had to adapt their approach to account for lots of small screens, something we’ve been working on here at WebRevelation.

These days, we’re providing our new clients with current and responsive web designs. In the mobile-ready world, they offer the perfect mix of functionality and long-term value.

Why Responsive Design Is Critical

If you aren’t completely familiar with the concept already, a responsive website is one that shifts and changes with different browsers and window sizes. With just a little bit of behind-the-scenes coding, it can arrange things like text and images differently depending on what kind of configuration a visitor is using. Someone viewing your pages in full screen gets one version, while someone else working with a smaller space gets another.

This matters a great deal because industry experts now think more than half of all web traffic is composed of users who are accessing websites via mobile devices. And what’s more, they aren’t all iPhones and Kindles – there are iPads, Androids, and Samsung Galaxy devices, not to mention a dozen others.

Each of these can have a different size, resolution, and underlying platform… and as time marches on, there won’t just be more and more of these devices, but more types of them and different generations in use (i.e., original iPads versus second-generation and iPad Mini devices).

The Bottom-Line Benefits of a Responsive Website

What this all means to you, as a business owner or marketer, is that a website that isn’t responsive may not look the way it was meant to for all of your visitors, especially going forward. Every time text and images show up where they shouldn’t, or aren’t arranged in a way that puts your products and services in the best light, you are likely to miss out on a chance to win a new customer.

WebRevelation has chosen to build responsive websites for our clients to enable them to market more effectively and keep their businesses growing.

Responsive functionality makes great business sense in an online world that’s dominated by mobile devices. Why not speak to a member of the WebRevelation team today and see how easy it is to add mobile compatibility to a new or existing web presence?

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Posted on January 7, 2015 by Julie Short

For the average business owner or marketer, “custom app development” seems like something for only Fortune 500 companies and high-volume e-commerce sites. Simply put, they tend to think of it as something they don’t need and couldn’t afford.

However, we frequently come across new clients who could profit or benefit from web app development and just don’t know it yet.

Could you be one of them? It’s possible. Here are three reasons to look a little more closely at web app development this year:

1. Web apps increase the power, functionality, and usefulness of your website. While there are more apps and plug-ins available to web designers and developers than ever before, sometimes you just can’t get something that does what you need – or the way you need it – from an existing product. When that happens, modifying an existing app, or having one developed from scratch, can be the perfect answer.

Custom web apps can help with things like databases, polls, inventory, marketing, transaction security and encryption, and so much more. Each of these increases the functionality and value of your website.

2. Having a custom web app developed can often help you earn or save money in other areas. Business owners are often turned off by what they imagine the costs of web app development to be. That’s easy to understand, but it can hide the potential for bigger opportunities.

As with any investment, web app development can be well worth the small hit to your budget if it helps your company reach more customers, get real-time updates from suppliers, streamline financial transactions, or improve your bottom line in any one of dozens of ways.

3. Web app development is more affordable than a lot of business people would imagine. Speaking of budgets, it’s worth pointing out that custom web app development doesn’t cost nearly as much as business owners and executives tend to imagine it might. Even having a new piece of software written from scratch doesn’t need to be a major expense, or something that holds up the development of your website.

Five or ten years ago, web app development and custom programming were expensive, technical, and time-consuming projects that really weren’t worth the trouble unless you had a huge website that needed dozens of complex or industry-specific features. Now, though, businesses of all sizes are getting in on the act… and they’re finding that it’s a lot easier and more effective than they ever imagined.

How can WebRevelation help you improve your business through Internet marketing and technology services? Call or email our team today to find out.

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Posted on December 31, 2014 by Julie Short

For a lot of companies, the time for a new business website comes around at the exact moment that management decides the old site "looks old." While that's not a bad way to judge the aesthetics of your web presence, it's not a great measuring stick for trying to decide whether a new site can help your company be more profitable and efficient, either.

That's because a new business website can give you so much more than a fresh online look… and the difference in functionality can actually make a huge bottom-line difference in your company's future.

To give you a sense of why this is, and why the real value of the new site is in programming and business power, here are a few things a modern web presence can help you with:

Improve your marketing (even if it's business-to-business). Although Internet marketing is something nearly every business owner or executive already knows a bit about, most don't realize how effective it can be in building business-to-business relationships. At the very least, your site should add to your company's credibility and support your other offline sales and marketing efforts.

Make inventory control and logistics more accurate and efficient. With customized databases, real-time information entry, and even the integration of mobile devices, you can keep better track of what's going on at your production facilities and warehouses through your business website.

Help with routine customer service and account management tasks. Why make customers call you on the phone when they could place recurring orders or update their account information online, or through a mobile app? That reduces the burden of time and expense for you and your clients or customers. 

Move potential buyers along with lead automation. Do you or your sales teams spend a lot of time following up with individual leads? An automated response system can distribute marketing literature, steer them towards answers to common questions, and even perform lead nurturing tasks on your behalf, so your time is freed up to finalize concrete sales opportunities.

Help you manage employees, vendors, and projects. There are a variety of tools you can use and install to make your business website support collaborative, real-time project management, even if you have employees or vendors in other locations around the world.

If your business website isn't doing all for your company that it could be, we encourage you to get in touch with the WebRevelation team today and let us show you how we've been able to help other businesses accomplish more online.

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Posted on December 24, 2014 by Julie Short

The deeper you get into search engine optimization, the harder it is to speak about specifics. This is partly because Google keeps its exact formulas and algorithms secret – we know that things like keywords and links are important to search engine rankings, for example, but don’t know exactly how they factor into the rankings at a mathematical level.

Another important reason, however, is that search engine optimization is always evolving. Google is always tweaking its approach to stay one step ahead of its competitors, and that means there are always going to be new wrinkles or ideas to consider.

Here at WebRevelation, we work hard to stay on top of these trends and best practices so our clients will always be prepared. The more competitive a search market is, the more fine-tuning and refinement is needed on a continual basis. If you want to bury your competitors and get the most traffic, you can’t let your website and search engine optimization plan become stagnant.

To give you an idea of why continual SEO refinement is so important, here are just a few of the most important search trends we’ve noticed in the past year or two:

Semantic search. Contextual search is getting to be an even bigger and more important part of Google’s algorithm. In a few years, individual keywords may not matter much at all; instead, search results will be based on a user’s preference and a host of other factors like location, visit history, and the overall depth and topic of a website. In other words, Google is getting better at figuring out what people really want when they search, and recognizing that the keywords they use might not be the clearest form of the question.

Local SEO. Now that Internet searches have effectively replaced the Yellow Pages and local print advertising in a lot of areas, local search engine optimization – based on geographic search terms – is more important than ever. If you don’t have text on your website that identifies your city, state, or area, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.

Social inputs. More and more, Google and the other search engines are using social popularity and activity as a means for determining credibility. So having lots of followers, and comments on your social profiles, could conceivably help you achieve a higher search engine ranking. That’s especially true in the case of Google+, which is owned by the search giant itself.

Harsher penalties for bad SEO. Once upon a time, you could rank very well for lots of search terms by simply listing keywords over and over, “borrowing” content from your competitors, or having lots of low-quality links point at your website. Those days are over, however, and engaging in these kinds of tricks will likely get you penalized by Google and the other search engines to the point where they may not list your website in the search results at all.

Staying on top of search engine optimization takes a lot of work, but it also brings big rewards. If you can win visitors your competitors don’t have access to, you’ll enjoy a steady flow of buyers coming to your website each and every day.

How can we help you with your search engine optimization and Internet marketing campaigns? Call WebRevelation today to let us know, and we’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation for you and your team.

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Posted on December 17, 2014

We’ve already covered a lot of ground in our SEO 101 series, explaining how Google uses small bits of automated software to scan and analyze websites, as well as what you can do to make your own pages easier to find and understand.

When it comes to the reasons search engines have to prefer one website over another, however, not everything comes down to the text that’s on your page. That’s still the biggest factor, but it’s not the only one. After all, Google has to have a way of separating two websites with similar content and keywords. Just think of all the different pizza places or accountants, for example, that could have websites in a given area. How do search engines decide which ones are given a priority?

Beyond the content on the websites themselves, it often comes down to context and authority. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Context in Search Engine Results

Psychologists will tell you that context and nonverbal communication are actually key to the way humans interact with and understand one another. Google can’t read your facial expressions or tone of voice (yet), but it can use context to try to figure out what you’re actually looking for, even if the piece of information you want doesn’t exactly match your search string.

For example, if you type in a question about a baseball player, it may steer you to a site with a matching keyword and a lot of other baseball-related facts and articles. Additionally, it may consider other websites you’ve recently searched, or topics you’ve been looking for more information on, along with your geographic location, preferred language, and other demographic data to try to sort out a set of results that are most meaningful to you.

This is incredibly helpful as a searcher, but it has important implications for marketers, too. The more useful your website is as a whole – meaning the more pieces of interesting and unique content it has – the more potential it has to answer questions. So in that sense, context is all about identifying your location and having lots of great content.

How Authority Factors Into SEO

If context is all about delivering the best match, authority is about finding the most trustworthy answers. To help searchers get the right answers to their questions, and not just the best keyword matches, Google has to consider the authority of your website.

Authority is built and demonstrated in a few ways: by having other respected websites link to yours, with lots of social activity, and by having an abundance of recent, unique, and in-depth articles (usually in the form of a blog).

With all of these factors in place, Google can feel confident that you know what you’re talking about and are a relevant source of information on your topic or industry. Then, it can begin to favor your website over the competition.

Context and authority aren’t quite as straightforward as things like keyword placement are, but they are important to understand and take advantage of if you want to rank highly in a market with lots of different competitors. In the final installment of our SEO 101 series, we’ll take things further and look at some of the newer trends in search engine optimization.

Check back next week for the conclusion of our SEO 101 series. Or, for customized advice on web design and Internet marketing, call or email the WebRevelation team today to arrange for a free consultation.

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Posted on December 10, 2014 by Julie Short

In the first part of our SEO 101 series, we looked at the way Google uses automated “spiders” to go through your site and decide what your content is actually about. That’s actually a fairly simple process, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

After all, there could be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of webpages out there relating to your topic or industry. Search for “San Antonio web design” and you’ll see exactly what we mean. We know how tough the competition is out there because we deal with it every day.

It’s one thing to have Google be aware of your website, and another thing for the world’s largest search engine to be sending you visitors every day. So making your pages more visible, in a search engine optimization sense, is an incredibly important topic.

Here are a few things you can do to make your pages stand out, and the reasons why:

Pay attention to page titles and meta descriptions. The title of your page is important because it tells Google what a specific piece of content should be about. You want yours to be short, but also to contain important search keywords.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, don’t have any search engine optimization value but are displayed in search listings. That means they can be helpful in getting visitors to click through to your website.

Add more in-depth, keyword-rich content. All other things being equal, Google likes longer pages with important keywords used more than once. It’s not hard to understand why – a more comprehensive search result, and one that’s narrowly devoted to a certain topic, is more likely to give a searcher the answer he or she is looking for than a small blurb of generic text.

Be careful, though, that you don’t go overboard with either of these concepts. Having too many keywords, or too much content, can be worse than having none at all. If Google feels like you’re building pages for the sole purpose of SEO, it will ignore them (and the rest of your website) altogether.

Create lots of pages on similar topics. In the same way that a longer page with lots of information is usually more valuable than a shorter one, Google knows that a comprehensive website with many related posts or articles is probably more helpful to a searcher than one with just a few offerings. That’s why building lots of pages that relate to each other is important for SEO.

Keep your content fresh and up to date. We live in an age where millions and millions of pages are being added to the Internet every day. That means Google can afford to be picky and look for more current search results for its users. The more often you update your pages, the more relevant your website will seem and the more search engine traffic you’ll be rewarded with.

There are other, more advanced techniques you can use to make your pages stand out to search engines, but just paying attention to the basics is often enough to separate you from your competitors – or at least make a good start at a more comprehensive search engine optimization campaign.

In the next post, we’re going to go a bit deeper into the concept of linking, relevancy, and currency as we look at the broader SEO meaning of context and authority.

Be sure to stop back and check out that post, or contact a member of the WebRevelation team to get a free consultation today.

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Posted on December 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Every business owner or marketing manager knows it’s important to rank well on Google. By processing more than 2 billion search queries every day, it’s the one Internet marketing portal that can literally make or break your business overnight.

Google’s importance is well understood, however, the way it “sees” and ranks different websites isn’t. We regularly meet with new clients who either have mistaken ideas about what it takes to improve their search engine optimization campaigns or literally have no idea how Google and its competitors process searches at all.

That’s understandable, if you’ve been outsourcing your SEO activity for a long time. Still, by understanding what Google actually looks for, and how the different pieces work together, you can go a long way toward building a website that attracts more traffic and turns those visitors into customers.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to produce a short series of articles we’re calling SEO 101. In this post, and the three that follow, we’re going to give you a quick bit of insight into the world of search marketing and offer some easy-to-follow tips you can use to make your web content stand out.

How Google Views and Analyzes Websites

Before you can give Google what it wants to find, you have to know what that is in the first place. That starts with the understanding that the engineers at Google don’t usually consider individual websites at all; instead, they generate pieces of code – called search spiders – that crawl all over the Internet constantly, cataloguing and evaluating everything they find.

As you might imagine, search engine spiders look at websites a bit differently than an actual human viewer would. Here are a few of the most important differences:

  • Search engine spiders generally follow links, both within websites and throughout them. So if a part of your website doesn’t have any links pointing at it from your other pages, it may be “invisible” to Google.
  • Search spiders understand text but not images. So, unless you have given your pictures or video files a written title and description, they aren’t going to count for anything as far as SEO goes.
  • Once a search engine spider has viewed, or “crawled,” through your website, it will catalog what it has found in terms of content and then return later. If it finds more fresh and unique content along the same topics or themes, that’s a good sign your website is relevant and up to date.


The net of all of this, of course, is that Google can know what your website is “about” in the form of search terms (keywords) it finds on your pages. Later, when human searchers enter those keywords into Google, it can match that request against what’s found on your website.

There’s a little more to it than that, of course, especially when it comes to deciding which websites should be shown first in Google’s search listings. For now, though, you know how Google actually sees your website, and why the text on your pages is more important to search engines than anything else.

Check out the next article in our SEO 101 series, or contact WebRevelation today to see how we can help with business web design and Internet marketing.

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Posted on November 26, 2014 by Julie Short

If you’re over the age of 20, you can undoubtedly remember a time when looking for a business in your area meant turning to your local Yellow Pages directory or seeking the advice of a neighbor.

In the past few years, Google Maps (along with the spread of web-ready smartphones and tablets) has changed all of that drastically. Most of us wouldn’t dream of turning to an out-of-date print directory anymore: We simply go to the world’s largest – and smartest – search engine to find what we’re looking for, whether it’s down the street or across the globe.

That’s incredibly convenient for users and shoppers, but it also underscores just how important Google maps is for businesses. After all, if you aren’t visible on the most popular referral network of all time, then you’re probably missing out on a big chunk of business that’s there to be won.

So, having told you exactly why it’s so important to be represented on Google Maps, let’s take a look at what you have to do to claim your location:

The first thing you have to do is create a Google account for your business. This can literally be done in seconds by going here, but we encourage you to pair your listing with a Google+ profile complete with a logo, photos, a link to your website, and anything else you can add. That way, interested customers can see additional information, such as photos and star ratings, that can go a long way toward convincing them to try you out.

In many cases, you’ll find Google already has a listing for your business because it’s gotten your address, phone number, and other information from elsewhere on the web. Either way, it’s critically important that you enter in an accurate street address.

Add any details that are missing. Your Google business account works, in many ways, like those old Yellow Page ads did. That means you can add a company description, link to your website, videos, hours of operation, and other details. These will all become part of your listing and will be displayed when searchers click on your location to find more information.

Photos of your location are especially helpful, particularly if you have other buildings and businesses around you, since they can assist people who are trying to find you from the street.

Submit your listing for review. In most cases, your Google business listing should go live within a couple of days at most. However, you may have to clarify details or add more information if you have multiple locations, another nearby business with similar name, or other issues that might cause confusion.

Because it’s so easy to add your Google business listing and claim your location on Google Maps – and because the marketing impact can be so powerful – it’s something you should do right now if you haven’t already. There aren’t many better, faster, or more cost-effective ways to win new customers in your area.

Looking for a web design and Internet marketing team that wants to help your business grow and not just pad their own bottom line? Call WebRevelation in San Antonio, Dallas and Oklahoma City today.

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Posted on November 19, 2014 by Julie Short

If you have an online store – or are considering adding e-commerce functionality to your business website – there’s a good chance you’ve been hearing about online merchant accounts. But, if you haven’t used them in the past, you might be wondering what they actually are, and what they’re good for.

In this quick post we’re going to answer that for you, along with providing you with a few quick tips for choosing the right one for your business.

First things first: A merchant account is simply a different type of bank account that allows you to receive and deposit lots of different kinds of payments, such as credit cards and ACH bank transfers. Any retailer or business that accepts plastic, online or off, has a merchant account.

Another related term you might hear often is a payment processor (or payment gateway). While this is often packaged along with an online merchant account, they’re technically separate things. The payment processor is just a piece of software that works with your merchant account and allows you to accept credit cards and other payments over the web.

You can think of a payment gateway as the virtual version of that credit card machine that retailers swipe your card with at an actual store. Instead of being a physical piece of hardware, it’s just located online.

So, now that you know a merchant account is what you need to accept credit cards, let’s get to a few quick points about choosing the right one for your business. Although there are lots and lots of different vendors and choices to consider, your selection should probably come down to a handful of critical details:

Processing fees and transfer policies. Although the percentage rates for credit card processing are fairly uniform, fees for certain services (like foreign transactions, for example) can vary quite a bit. Also, you want to choose a vendor that will give you access to your money quickly.

Versatility. It’s always annoying for customers when you don’t accept their favorite credit card or payment type, so choose a merchant account that’s flexible.

Convenience. Some combination merchant accounts and payment processors have very extensive technical and programming requirements you should be aware of, since the extra work could mean more billable hours from your web development team.

Safety and security. Good security should be a top concern since it protects your business and your customers. Plus, having bank-level encryption for your transactions makes it easier for new buyers to trust you.

Good reporting. As with anything to do with e-commerce, good reporting is essential to maximizing conversions and profits, so make sure your credit card processor has tools to help you take a detailed look at sales and trends.

Choosing the right merchant account can be very important to your e-commerce success, especially if you’re launching an Internet store for the first time. Why not let the experienced team at WebRevelation help you choose the right options and get your business up and running quickly?

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Posted on November 12, 2014 by Julie Short

This month, we are taking a slight turn away from our normal run of web design and Internet marketing topics to tell you a little bit about what happens behind the scenes as you connect to the Internet… or get Internet users to connect with your company.

Today, we’re going to take a look at network gateways and where they fit into this process.

Unlike a lot of other more technical terms, a network gateway is essentially what it sounds like: a node that allows you to gain entrance to a network or vice versa. In some cases, a computer serving as a node may also work as a firewall, preventing unauthorized access and automatic submissions.

In a practical sense, a gateway is often associated with a networking device (usually a router), although it can be made up entirely of software. Since the point of the gateway is to interchange two different systems using separate protocols – you can think of a gateway as being the last point on one end of an incoming or outgoing network – it usually makes sense to embed security features within it, regardless of how it’s constructed.

Here are a few things that you, as an Internet user or online marketer, might want to know about network gateways:

The function of gateways has changed slightly over time. Before default modes of transmission were established, one big role of a network gateway was to essentially “translate” from one platform or protocol to another. Now, gateways are tasked with making connections, and rarely have to change formatting within the transmission of data.

They are technically separate from firewalls. While the network gateway is tasked with interchanging different networks, the firewall (even if it’s integrated) is really designed to let some packets of information in while keeping others out. So, the gateway is about connecting, while the firewall deals with issues of security.

Gateways are normally integrated with devices. Because your router is the designated router to take information from other networks and direct it to the right places, it’s a natural fit to go along with the network gateway. That’s why the two devices, with an integrated firewall, are normally built and packaged together.

Although a normal computer user wouldn’t have much of a reason to worry about their gateway unless they’re facing a connection problem (be it incoming or outgoing), having a little basic knowledge can make it easier for you to understand how your networks function and explain problems and error messages to IT professionals.

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Posted on November 5, 2014 by Julie Short

While we normally use the blog to address web design and Internet marketing topics, we’re going to take a different track in the coming weeks and fill you in on a few IT subjects and “behind-the-scenes” ideas that relate to the web. The idea is to not just give you a better sense of how things like websites and email work, but also to clear up a bit of confusion and share a clearer understanding of the kinds of issues we and our clients deal with on a regular basis.

That being said, a common question we hear is: “What is an IP?”

The abbreviation itself stands for Internet protocol, which is basically a formula for how information can be sent back and forth over the Internet. An IP address, which you’ve probably also heard of, simply refers to the numerical “name” and location of any device connected to a network (or the Internet itself).

In other words, the IP address of your machine (which could consist of 32 digits or more) is akin to the mailing address of your home or office – it tells other machines where to look for the specific device and destination.

With those quick definitions out of the way, here are a few things you should know about IPs:

There are billions and billions of possible IP combinations. With homes and businesses running more and more devices than ever, you might be worried we’ll run out soon. But with the recent expansion of digits, there are several billion possible combinations, meaning that we still have plenty of room to grow.

They can be permanent or temporary. IPs can be static or dynamic, with dynamic being more common. That means the IP address for a specific device or machine is often issued temporarily. If it expires, or another machine attempts to use the same IP, your router or network will normally assign a new one without you ever knowing.

Some IPs are reserved and serve special functions. In the same way that phone numbers like “0” and “911” are reserved for special uses, so are certain IP addresses. As an example, 255.255.255.255 is set aside for network broadcast messages, and 127.0.0.1 is usually used by a computer to identify itself.

Most IPs are actually on a subnet. In most cases, the IP you receive is assigned to you by your Internet service provider. From there, the router in your home or office puts each device on a subnet, assigning it another number that falls under the address assigned for the location.

There’s a lot more you could know about IPs, but advanced technical knowledge is usually only relevant to IT professionals and network administrators. Besides, you now know more about Internet protocol and IP addresses than most of your non-IT coworkers!

Do you need a web design and online marketing partner who can help you make the most of opportunities on the web? Now is a great time to talk with WebRevelation and see how we can help your company grow.






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Posted on October 29, 2014 by Julie Short

Too many businesses look to sales and marketing when searching for revenue growth. Or, they look to sales and marketing without going further (or shall we say deeper) to find new profit opportunities. That's a shame, because retaining current customers and expanding those accounts is often a much better, more-efficient strategy.

Let's be clear: there is nothing wrong with trying to break into new markets, and reach new people. Still, studies have shown time and time again that the biggest and most frequent orders (or the most profitable accounts, if you sell services) tend to come from repeat buyers.

Of course, the best way to encourage customers to stay with you is through robust CRM. The better job you're doing of getting to know your customers, keeping in touch with them, and maintaining things like account details and points of contact, the easier it's going to be to grow those accounts. 

In fact, here are four ways you profit from stronger CRM:

1. Fewer accounts that slip away or are lost to competitors. Marketing experts will tell you that most sales are made, and most accounts are won, on a "top of mind" basis. In other words, the more intentional you are about contacting important customers regularly, the more you just happen to be "at the right place at the right time."

2. Better follow-up on sales opportunities. A good CRM package doesn't just keep account details, but can help you track new opportunities. That's important, because without these kinds of tools, it's easy to lose track of possible sales, especially when they don't finalize immediately. Few businesses can afford to let potential customers slip through the cracks, and CRM functionality can make all the difference.

3. More targeted marketing opportunities. In a perfect world, you could match a personalized sales message to each single client or opportunity. Since that's not normally possible, however, your best option is to use strong CRM systems that differentiate your customers and prospects into groups, allowing you to send timely, targeted offers to different buyers in each major category.

4. Less time wasted for your sales and customer service teams. One of the "soft costs" associated with poor CRM is the waste of time shared by business owners, managers, and employees. Your team has better things to do, so why not let your CRM system take care of routine tracking and account maintenance activities?

For most businesses, there is more revenue growth to be found within current accounts then there is in new ones, at least in the short term. Are you making the most of CRM and sales opportunities within your roster of existing buyers? If not, let the WebRevelation team show you how easy it is to enhance those relationships with streamlined CRM solutions.

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Posted on October 22, 2014 by Julie Short

Here at WebRevelation, we are big fans of search engine optimization. Google currently processes billions of searches every single day – having more of them end at your website is a great way to draw in targeted buyers.


But, doing well in search takes more than simply putting together a few pages, researching a handful of keywords, and optimizing your meta tags. In fact, it’s becoming more and more of an art and science with each passing month, as an increasing number of companies go online and try to steal the search traffic you’d like to see arriving on your landing pages.


And so, in an effort to help you not only compete but stand out on Google’s search listings, here are five easy ways to enhance your SEO campaigns:

  1. Concentrate your firepower. It’s easy to fall into the temptation of choosing dozens and dozens of keywords to concentrate on when you start putting together your search engine optimization campaigns. But it’s usually smarter to begin with a handful and grow from there, especially if your business or website is relatively new.
  2. Use more than text. Although Google and other search engines understand text best, they show results in several different formats, including images and video. So the more types of content you have (with search optimized titles and descriptions, of course), the easier it’s going to be for people to discover your website and brand.
  3. Integrate search with social and email. Your search engine optimization campaign shouldn’t be working all on its own. Integrating it with social media is a good way to multiply your visitors and raise your search profile at the same time (if people share your content), while email can be the perfect tool for following up with new visitors and potential customers.
  4. Consider automating lead generation. Once your search engine optimization campaign starts to pick up some momentum, you might feel overwhelmed with the number of requests and inquiries you receive (especially if not all of them are from high-quality prospects). Putting an automated lead-generation campaign into place can make your business more scalable while reducing your time burden.
  5. Know where to stop. Getting search engine traffic is fantastic, but being too obvious about your keyword placement – or putting too fine a point on your marketing message – can turn off searchers and search engine spiders alike. For the best results, post lots of content but use search keywords and calls to action sparingly.

Could you be getting more from search engine optimization? Why not schedule a free consultation with the creative team at WebRevelation and find out? Call us anytime at 817-283-3324 to find a time that works for you.

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Posted on October 15, 2014 by Julie Short

Lots of online marketers like to argue about whether social media works or not. It’s an interesting discussion, but it misses the point – with hundreds of millions of people using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ every day, the question isn’t whether social media marketing works but how.


In fact, the only reason there is any debate at all on this topic is because so many organizations are handling social media so badly. If you want to follow in their example, and spend lots of time and money on social accounts that aren’t going to earn you any return, then you just need to follow a few easy steps.


Here is what you can do to guarantee your social media marketing absolutely won’t work:

  1. Invest time and money into social media without a goal. Just deciding to “try social media” without any defined goal is a perfect way to flush your time and money down the drain. Without a specific target audience, or conversion goal, you’re basically hoping you’ll get results by accident.
  2. Post material you wouldn’t read. There are tons of low-quality content being posted to social sites every day, with no one bothering to read the updates or pay any attention. Dumping more into the world is like the Internet marketing equivalent of littering, but lots of companies still do it.
  3. Go dark for long periods of time. When you stop posting to your social accounts, your fans and customers don’t assume you’ve gotten really busy, they tend to think you don’t have anything interesting to say (or possibly that you’ve gone out of business altogether). That’s a good way to lose subscribers and get people to stop paying attention.
  4. Use your soapbox for sales pitches. You’ve probably never met anyone who watches television for the commercials, but lots of marketers can’t seem to get past the idea that thousands of users are going to flock to their blatant marketing messages disguised as social posts.
  5. Only use one channel or content type. All the social channels and websites have value, but you can feel free to limit yourself to one or two favorites if you don’t care about reaching as many potential customers as possible.
  6. Keep using the same tactics again and again. Even though we all know things constantly change on the Internet, and especially in the exploding field of social media marketing, lots of businesses like to stick with what they’ve always done, get declining results, and then wonder what happened.


Although we are being a little tongue-in-cheek with this post, it underscores a few important details. Social media marketing is valuable, but only if you commit to doing things the right way and stay involved through a consistent series of campaigns. Are you ready to start getting bigger results from social?


The team at WebRevelation can help you get more from social media, Internet advertising, and business web design. Call our San Antonio office today at 817-283-3324 to request a free consultation.

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Posted on October 8, 2014 by Julie Short

With the right customer relationship management (CRM) platform, your business can stay in touch with buyers and meet their needs more effectively, paving the way for happier customers and lots of future sales.


Use CRM ineffectively, though, and you don’t just waste time and money – you miss opportunities and could even harm the relationships you have with your most important buyers. Because there’s so much at stake, it’s critical businesses of all sizes get CRM right. Here are seven ways you can make yours more effective:

  1. Choose the right CRM package. It goes without saying that you need the correct CRM platform if you’re going to use it to your advantage. Unfortunately, there are lots of choices… not to mention several different options and configurations. This is where a company like ours can be an invaluable asset in helping you find the right fit between needs and products.
  2. Get the proper training. Unfortunately, having the right CRM package won’t improve your customer service and customer retention automatically – you and your staff need to know how to use the tools at your disposal. Usually, a bit of upfront training, along with a few subsequent sessions, is all that’s needed to get your organization up to speed. Don’t skip out on this vital step, however, because it’s the key to getting the ROI you need from your CRM investment.
  3. Make constant updates. In order for your CRM package to have any value, it needs to be updated continually. In fact, the ideal way to work is to have your team update your CRM platform with every customer interaction. That way, anyone in your organization can see what contact you’ve had with the customer, what the current challenges and expectations are, and what the expected next steps might be.
  4. Use CRM data in customer interactions. The flipside of that coin is that CRM data needs to be instantly available. For example, if someone calls your company or stops by in person, it’s crucial that employees be able to see account history and details about recent requests or inquiries. That way, they aren’t “starting from scratch,” which can lead to an incredibly frustrating experience for buyers (and serve as a motivator for them to take their business elsewhere).
  5. Review accounts regularly. The larger an account is, the more important it is you use your CRM package to review it regularly. In this way, CRM can help you “play defense” and stop important buyers from defecting to competitors. Knowing when you have problems with an account, and what they are, is crucial to client retention.
  6. Study CRM metrics. In the same way that you want to look through individual accounts on a regular basis, you should also make a point of studying overall CRM metrics to get a sense of how your business is performing and how satisfied buyers appear to be. Sometimes, a simple “top-down” view of your accounts can show some revealing trends, so make the time to study and review the available data on a set schedule.
  7. Let CRM lead to marketing and sales opportunities. CRM isn’t just about keeping customers happy and putting out fires. In fact, by studying a pattern of customer interactions – and especially their requests – you might be able to identify new sales and marketing opportunities that were previously undetected.

That’s just one of the many ways CRM packages, when chosen and implemented in the right way, can help your company be more profitable.
Is your company getting the most from customer relationship management, web marketing, and other business technologies? If not, right now is the perfect time to call WebRevelation at 817-283-3324 and see how we can help.

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Posted on October 1, 2014 by Julie Short

Search engine optimization and search marketing are so ubiquitous these days they almost feel like our national sport. Visit a conference of business owners or marketers, for example, and you’ll hear every bit as much talk about Google, algorithms, and search engine rankings as you would football at a bar.

That fascination can actually be a mixed bag. That’s because, for as much as the details of SEO matter, what matters more is being able to attract customers and help them when they find your website. After all, buyers are the ones who buy; search engines can only refer them.

For that reason, there is some value in breaking free of the cycle of search marketing and concentrating on search results instead. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

Go Back to Psych 101

Search engine optimization is all about how potential customers can find you. One thing that often gets overlooked throughout that process, though, is thinking about why they would buy from you.

For all the attention being paid to analytics and demographics, many marketers overlook basic motivations. What do you have to offer your target audience, and why should they want it? The more of these answers you have, the easier it is to build offers and campaigns that appeal to the customers you really need.

Concentrate on UX

UX (or user experience) is all about making it easy for your customers to find whatever it is they want on your website – whether it’s answers, products, or something else.

Often, someone searching for a solution or vendor will look through several – and maybe even dozens – of different search engine results trying to find the right fit. For that reason, having a user-friendly site with lots of searchable content, easy-to-scan text blocks, and straightforward navigation structure can be more valuable than simply adding keywords because it keeps the visitors you do get on your pages.

Gear Everything Toward Action

Content is great, but the text on your website needs to lead somewhere beyond a simple search result. You have to have a goal, something you want new visitors to do.

This isn’t just about calls to action, although these are important. You also want to add a persuasive element to the copywriting on your website, along with social proof (usually in the form of testimonials and reviews) that show people your business is worth working with. Otherwise, you can’t generate any action, and all the search traffic in the world is useless without results.

If you’re looking for the very best in search marketing and web design in Dallas or Oklahoma City, call WebRevelation at 405-607-0349 or 817-283-3324 today and ask for a free consultation. You might be amazed at what we can do for your company!

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Posted on September 24, 2014 by Julie Short

While ERP packages that help manufacturers get better information at every step in the design and production process aren't new, their capabilities have grown significantly in recent years. In fact, any manufacturer that isn't using a strong ERP in 2013 is facing a serious competitive disadvantage.

There are a number of reasons that statement is true, but one change has significantly affected the way that ERP platforms operate: cloud computing.

Why is cloud computing such an important addition to ERP development? It allows for true, real-time communication and collaboration not just between departments, but even between vendors and entire companies. Because any part of an order can be updated instantaneously, different groups can adapt to one another seamlessly. And they can do it without long meetings, telephone calls, reports, and other bottlenecks.

What kinds of information might you want real-time? Here are just a few of the best examples:

  • The number (and contents) of current estimates and proposals that could be accepted at any time
  • Raw material prices for key inputs into your products, including quotes from suppliers
  • Delivery schedules for secondary components that you need to receive for product delivery
  • Transportation and logistical schedules and updates from trucking companies
  • Employee availability and current labor costs per-project

The list could go on and on, but the point is that you want to keep tabs on every factor that could affect the delivery scheduler bottom-line, and you want to know what's happening now, without having to make phone calls or bring managers into your office for continual updates. That's especially true if you're facing a situation where needs and priorities are changing quickly.

Real-time information – combined with industrial-grade efficiency – is always going to give a manufacturer an important competitive advantage. The more you know about your business, changing customer needs, supplier activities and timelines, current material costs and estimates, etc., the easier it is to maximize your profitability in any situation. That's why the ERP/cloud computing combination is one that can literally transform the way manufacturing companies operate.

Want to learn more about ERP solutions and how they offer real-time insight into your business? Contact us today and ask for a free demonstration so you can see the possibilities for yourself.

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Posted on September 17, 2014 by Julie Short

When it comes to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, most of us revert back to being like grade school children – first we seek out people we know, and then let things branch out naturally to make new friends and contacts. When it comes to LinkedIn, however, things can be a little tougher. 

For one thing, the site has a professional focus, which makes it feel more like a professional networking event than a cocktail party. And for another, the stakes can be higher. Although a lot of CEOs, executives, and other VIPs don't have time to use other social sites, most of them are on LinkedIn and involved in company or industry-related discussions.

So, how do you find and approach new prospects on LinkedIn? Here are a handful of steps to help you get started:

Begin with the familiar. As with most parts of social media, and your business life in general, it's a good idea to begin by thinking about who you already know that's on LinkedIn, and who they might know in return. In other words, see if you have contacts who can make introductions on your behalf.

Be visible in the right places. Your LinkedIn profile is important, but industry-related discussion groups can be your greatest sources of information. That's because you won't just be able to see who is posting and getting involved, but also what kinds of topics are on their minds.

Ask, listen, and learn. The more you ask questions and pay attention to others, the easier it will be to grow your network. Try not to dominate every discussion, or give endless sales pitches at every opportunity – others on LinkedIn will tune you out, or ban you from their groups altogether.

Introduce yourself carefully. When the time is right (which means you know who you want to approach, what company they are with, and how you can help them), try to add them to your connections and send a simple, benefit-centered note. Explain why you want to add them, and then what you hope to do for them or their company.

Take the next logical step. This could be a phone call, an online presentation, a face-to-face meeting, or something else altogether. The point is to take the relationship beyond LinkedIn if possible, so you can turn the contact into a genuine sales opportunity.

Networking and finding new prospects through LinkedIn isn't an instant process, but it's one that can be very important to you as a salesperson, executive, or business owner. Learn to make smart connections through the site and you just might be able to open accounts and create relationships that you wouldn't have been able to build anywhere else.

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Posted on September 10, 2014 by Julie Short

In today's ultra-competitive energy market, success in the oil and gas industry often comes down to efficiency. You don't just need to have the right team, the best locations, and a good plan, but to execute each step in a timely and effective way.

At the same time, though, cost controls and an unpredictable economy have driven a lot of oil and gas operators to put off important technology investments – leading to a "forest for the trees" situation in which efficiency is being sacrificed for small, short-term savings.

In other words, if you don't have the right technology team on your side, your oil and gas operations could be suffering. In fact, you might be "leaking" small amounts of money in virtually every part of your business.

We help our clients to avoid these issues by assisting them in a number of key areas, including:

Oil and gas web design. Obviously, having a strong website is important for marketing your business to other companies and investors. But, with the right web presence, you could use your site as a hub for project management, a tool for recruiting, and even a source of industry information.

Inventory and workflow management. These are the types of issues that fall under the broad umbrella of "logistics," and that can make or break the profitability of your oil and gas operation. Knowing what you have to work on – and then scheduling and managing those projects and locations – is critical to your success. Each of those tasks is a lot easier when you have the right technology on your side.

CRM and contact management. When you have customers, vendors, suppliers, and distributors to manage, keeping track of contacts, responsibilities, and personal details can become a daunting challenge. With effective CRM solutions in place, you can be sure that nothing slips through the cracks, especially your most important sales opportunities.

Could these kinds of systems help your business to be more profitable? There is an easy way to find out. Call or email WebRevelation today and let us give you a free, no-obligation consultation. After a quick technology review, we'll show you whether there are any parts of your business that can be improved in a cost-effective way using better hardware, software, or systems.

You've got nothing to lose, so why not get in touch with WebRevelation now and see why we are San Antonio's oil and gas technology experts?

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Posted on September 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Despite the fact that we live in a so-called "digital age," there are a surprising number of companies holding on to very old ideas and ways of doing things. In fact, some are even using newer technologies without truly taking advantage of them – something akin to using your laptop computer as a paperweight.

Obviously, we're exaggerating just a little bit, but it isn't unusual for otherwise successful businesses to be using backward processes, especially in the field of manufacturing, where many of our best clients do their work. Instead of embracing tools like CRM software, inventory control packages, logistics platforms, and custom mobile apps, they are clinging to spreadsheets, telephone calls, and other similarly outdated processes.

Why is it that they are fighting change, when they could be enjoying benefits like bigger sales, lower costs, and faster delivery times?

Although many companies would say they aren't ready to make changes, the answers often lie in the psychology of an organization, or the mindset of its executive team, rather than any true limitations of the hardware or software they could be using. That's understandable, but it's also something that's easy to fix. 

Here are a few of the common issues we help companies with, along with a couple quick thoughts on each:

Clinging to old habits. When it comes down to it, a lot of people don't like learning to do new things, or dealing with change at all. What usually happens, though, once we show them how much time and money can be saved by doing things a smarter way, is that our clients can't remember how they ever got along without the new tools and ideas.

A general resistance to change. This involves the same kind of thinking, but in an organizational sense. If things have always been relatively successful working a certain way, why change? The answer is that doing something successfully doesn't mean you can't do it better, or with less time, expense, and stress.

Personnel bottlenecks. Occasionally, we have clients who would like to try to do things differently, but can't get permission from a key executive or decision-maker. Again, the reasons for putting off change are usually valid, but a thoughtful proposal and demonstration are usually enough to let them give our way a try.

The blame game. Conversely, change is sometimes slowed by the worry that, if the new methods don't work out, the person responsible for bringing the idea up (or making the final decision) are going to be blamed. But, that ignores the reality that they can also receive credit for taking the initiative, and could receive even more blame later if they didn't take advantage of an opportunity to help the organization.

If your company isn’t getting enough from technology, right now is the perfect time to decide to change things, become more efficient, and move forward. Call or email the WebRevelation team today and let us show you how a few simple cost-effective shifts in the way you do business can make all the difference.

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Posted on August 27, 2014 by Julie Short

Any college student that's been through Marketing 101 can tell you that logos are massively important to branding and marketing. And yet, we regularly meet with new clients who either don't have a great logo, or have been putting off the process of updating the one they have had for years.

Why is that? Certainly these men and women know how much logos mean, so why don't they invest in one?

The short answer, in most cases, is that they simply haven't gotten around to it, don't realize just how much the logo affects their marketing, or don't know where to turn for help. Despite the specific reason, it almost always comes down to a matter of momentum.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes, here are a handful of things you should know about logo design with WebRevelation:

Logos are powerful. In half a second or less, your logo tells a potential customer (or vendor/employee) what your company does, what its "personality" is like, and how you want them to feel about your business. And, because they're seen again and again, that impression is likely to be reinforced hundreds or thousands of times.

Sometimes it’s best to start over. If you have a terrible or outdated logo, the best strategy is sometimes to start over from scratch as part of a bigger marketing or branding push. Beginning again with something new is better than trying to polish an idea that just doesn't work.

Logos don’t have to be complicated. Most of the very best logos are simple. They convey a message and tone without over complicating it, and make themselves more memorable at the same time.

Logo design doesn’t have to be a long (or expensive) process. By working with the right creative team, you can get a fantastic logo in just a couple of weeks. And, updating your visual identity will probably cost you a lot less than you might think.

Choosing the right logo design team is important. Because of the power your logo could have, and the missed opportunities that arise when it doesn't, it's important to choose the right design team. But then again, you probably already knew that if you found your way to this blog.

When it comes down to it, a good logo works a lot harder – and is worth a lot more – and a lot of marketers realize this. Is it time you got a visual identity that makes the right impression on your buyers?

WebRevelation is a leader in web design, logo creation, and Internet marketing; with locations in Oklahoma City, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Call us now at 817-283-3324 or 405-607-0349, request a quote, or see what we can do to help your business grow.

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Posted on August 20, 2014 by Julie Short

The rate of change in Internet marketing has always been extremely quick, and the process only seems to be accelerating. For instance, a lot of tactics that would have been considered "best practices" search engine optimization just a couple of years ago can actually harm your search engine positioning now. The same is true for a lot of notions we only recently held about web design, e-mail, and social media.

All of that continuous change can make things difficult for business owners and executives. Amidst all of this turmoil, however, it's important to remember that one thing about online marketing never changes; it's still just a form of marketing. Marketing by its very nature tends to be uncomplicated – you just meet new people and tell them about your company or products. The rest, as they say, is window dressing.

When you keep that perspective in mind, it's easier to roll and adapt with the changes as they come. Because your goal is consistent, it's only the specific tools and activities that have to be shifted from time to time. To help you understand why that principle is so important, here are a few good pieces of advice to follow in your online marketing… regardless of what the current trends or fads might be:

Know your market. Before you can meet your most important prospects and customers, you have to know who they are and what they want. Luckily, this is getting to be easier than ever with social media. Just get in touch with a few of your most important buyers and see what they have in common. Then, you can use that information to find others like them.

Have a great website and bring people to it. In this context, a "great website" doesn't necessarily mean any particular programming platform or layout feature – it just means that your website is easy to read, use, and understand. Clarity is a vastly underrated marketing skill.

Don’t be generic. Even before the Internet you had competitors all around you; the web has just brought them closer. The key isn't to run from all the other businesses who want to steal your customers, but to distinguish yourself from them. In other words, don't be generic in your marketing. Embrace your business’s personality and set yourself apart from the crowd.

Keep trying new things. As we hope you understand by now, marketing principles are fairly constant while tactics are changing all the time. Keep in mind what it is you want to accomplish, but don't be afraid to experiment with different methods. You never know when you'll stumble on something new and exciting.

Be the best. It's almost cliché, but the most reliable way to market your business is to be the best at what you do. When you're at the top of your game, others will seek you out and give you referrals. Aim for the leadership role in your industry or market and the process of finding customers always gets easier.

Marketing might not be easy, but it isn't rocket science, either. The more things change in our industry, the more you realize that reaching out in getting to know buyers is all about understanding what they want and giving it to them. Keep that idea front and center and you're always likely to do well, regardless of which specific marketing tools you use.

Looking for top-tier Internet marketing help in Oklahoma City? Call WebRevelation now at 405-607-0349 and ask for a free consultation.


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Posted on August 13, 2014 by Julie Short

For the past few years, business owners and marketers have known that social media is a game-changer when it comes to reaching out to new clients and establishing brand loyalty. But, the opportunities that social networking sites present come with a cost that's hard to ignore: not only does your social activity itself take a bit of time, but keeping up with the latest trends and ideas feels like a part-time job all on its own.

In other words, you can't make the most of social media marketing if you don't stay on top of the latest trends, but you can't spend all of your time figuring out what's going on with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn either.

To help you stay tuned into the social world, and especially the best practices in the industry, here are seven quick tips you can use to stop social media trends from passing you by:

1. Listen and learn. You can learn a lot just by hanging out with other business owners (or tech-savvy teenagers) and learning about what they're doing.

2. Track the most popular hashtags on Twitter. The biggest and most important trends will almost always have an accompanying storm of hashtagged tweets announcing and following them.

3. Get to know the G+ influencers in your industry. Likewise, the biggest news on social media is going to be discussed by industry experts. You can often learn more on Google +, which allows for more substantial content than Twitter, so follow a few people you can learn from.

4. Get plugged in to LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn discussion groups are a largely-untapped gold mine of information and advice. It only takes a moment to join one, and the benefits could last for years.

5. Play with your apps and toys. There is no teacher like experience, and simply experimenting with social websites (and the accompanying apps) can be a great way to get to know them.

6. Attend a conference or training event. If you can devote a few hours to social media marketing, consider attending an event or workshop. You'll learn expert tips in a condensed format.

7. Subscribe to blogs like this one. An informative blog post is also a great way to absorb a lot of information in a quick, easy-to-understand format. Subscribe to a few (like ours) and you'll have a head start on learning everything you need to know.



While it is true that social media changes quickly, it's a myth that you have to spend all of your time on social sites to use them effectively. Instead, you just have to know where to look to find the highlights. Spend a few minutes a day following these tips and you'll be up to speed in no time.

Looking for a business web design and Internet marketing partner that understands what it takes to get results? Call WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 and find out what we can do for your bottom line.

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Posted on August 6, 2014 by Julie Short

For all the discussion that revolves around search engine optimization, many business owners (and more than a couple of web designers) tend to focus on the wrong things, or miss the obvious. That's often the case when it comes to website structure (how your pages and links are organized), which can have a surprisingly-large effect on how easy your content is to find.

That effect comes in two ways: how your pages are displayed in search results, and how well Google and the other search engines are able to understand what lives where on your business website.

In the first case, a website with an easy-to-use site structure can be displayed multiple ways in Google search engine listings, and even have "sub-results" for individual pages. And to the second point, search engines can't necessarily find or crawl your content without the right webmaster tools. Even when they can, they may not understand how pages work in relation to one another, which in turn means they don't know how they should be displayed, either.

Luckily, it's not that difficult to organize your website for search effectiveness. Here are a few basic ideas we always keep in mind when working with our clients:

Draw a flowchart before you begin. This will allow you to envision the way your website pages should be set up. It also gives you the chance to ensure that everything follows a logical flow from one topic to another.

Make it easy to get from A to B. Try not to "bury" anything on your business website, particularly if it's an important topic or product. A good rule of thumb is that it shouldn't take more than two or three clicks to reach any part of your website from anywhere else.

Stick to languages Google understands. Lots of designers love flash and animation, but these are hard for search engine spiders to crawl. Code your site in HTML or CSS whenever possible to make it more searchable.

Don’t draw visitors too deeply into the rabbit hole. If your website goes more than three or four layers deep (something you can see from your flowchart), find out if you can simplify it. The deeper you go with individual layers, the harder it is for users to find what they're looking for.

Make sure your navigation menu is easy to see and use. It should be visible from every page, of course, and with main topics and subcategories that are easy to understand.

One thing you might notice about these tips is that they aren't just good for search engine optimization; they also make your site easier for actual customers to use. That's the whole point. Search engines just want what people do, and that's a website that's clear, intuitive, and full of great content.

Are you getting all you can from search engines and social media? Talk to the San Antonio web design team at WebRevelation today to see how we can help take your Internet marketing to the next level.

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Posted on July 30, 2014 by Julie Short

If you are like most of the business owners and marketing executives we work with, you probably don't want to unintentionally drive new customers away from your website. In fact, the thought of watching that revenue slip away probably makes you queasy.

Even so, we see websites every single day that have fatal flaws. Despite their best intentions, the owners of these sites are doing their very best to scare buyers into clicking in another direction.

Are you making the same mistakes? We hope not, but now is a good time to check and be sure. Here are five web design blunders visitors absolutely hate:

1. Unconventional or sloppy designs. Although it might seem unfair to lump "unconventional" and "sloppy" web designs together, to your customers they are one and the same problem. That's because all of us use dozens of websites every day. We know what they're supposed to look like, and how they should work. When you deviate too far from that, you make it difficult for people to actually use your site, which makes them want to look for answers elsewhere.

2. Hidden content. When you have content on your website that isn't crawled by search engines, or can't be found within your internal link structure, you have a problem. That's because it's going to essentially be invisible for most customers. In that case, you can’t get the sales you want because they can't find the information they need.

3. Huge blocks of text. Have you ever come across a web page that has lots and lots of information, but in long, imposing paragraphs without any subheadings? If so, then you already know how easy it is to just take your attention elsewhere. Having big blocks of uninterrupted text is like inviting visitors to take their time and attention to one of your competitors.

4. Pop-ups and obtrusive ads. Although some marketers swear by on-page pop-ups, blinking ads, and other forms of Internet obnoxiousness, the reality is that readers will usually tolerate them, but almost never like them. There are plenty of ways to make your most important offers stand out without driving visitors aggressively from your website. Why shout when a whisper will do just as well?

5. Unanswered questions. There are probably a lot of basic questions you're used to hearing about your products or services: how much they cost, how long they take to get, what "fine print" comes along with the purchase, and so on. If these aren't answered on your website, it makes it seem as if you have something to hide.

Making your business stand out, online or off, is hard enough without shooting yourself in the foot. So, if you notice one of these five blunders on your own website, take care of it now before it can impact your business even more.

Is your website suffering from a fatal flaw? Talk to the creative team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

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Posted on July 23, 2014 by Julie Short

Most marketers don't necessarily know what unforgettable content looks like, or how it’s created, but they definitely know what it feels like. We've all come across an article, picture, video, or even an email that changed our perspective, moved us to action, or inspired us to forward what we have seen to a dozen other people.

So, why is it so hard to create that in our own marketing?

From our experience, there are really two issues. The first is that any piece of content can be hit or miss. What seems like a sure thing to you might not be well received by your customer base, and something you've come up with off the cuff could end up being wildly popular. The second issue is that most people aren't really sure what the ingredients for unforgettable content are.

We can’t necessarily help you in the first case. If you want to create great content, you'll probably have to experiment with lots of it. We can tell you what great content is made of, though. Here are a few things you need to consider:

Truly great content has to center on a popular topic. Popular simply means that the readers that matter to you care about it. In other words, all of your content doesn't have to center on pop culture or front-page news, but it does have to involve something that your buyers will read or think about.

It's important to create an emotional response with readers or viewers. Most effective content isn't strictly informational in nature; it also has an emotional edge or appeal to it. Get people to laugh, cry, or just take notice, and chances are you're off to a very good start.

Most great pieces of content have some entertainment value. While entertaining readers, viewers, or customers might not be the point of your content, it's not a bad idea to keep the entertainment value of your articles and posts in mind. Think of it this way: Jokes, drama, and visuals are like the sugar coating that helps your marketing medicine go down easier.

Some content is perfect just because it's timely. One easy way to make your content popular – and thereby more effective – is to tie it to something timely. Whether you look to the calendar or the news, you can probably search out something that can serve as a "hook" to tie your content to.

Every great piece of content needs a strong title and searchable keywords. No matter how great your articles and social posts are, it won't matter if readers and potential customers can’t find them, or if they aren't interested enough to check them out. You can't ignore titles and keywords, so work with them as long as you need to in order to get things right.

The great thing about these ingredients is that they give you a blueprint for creating lots of fantastic content again and again. That way, even the pieces that don't seem like big winners still end up contributing to the overall effectiveness of your Internet marketing plan and search engine optimization platform.

Most of us know great content when we see it… now you have a good plan to help you create it, too.

For help with business web design, search engine optimization, e-commerce, and so much more, contact the team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

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Posted on July 16, 2014 by Julie Short

Small businesses often face an interesting marketing dilemma: Customers really like working with them on the one hand, but love the convenience and low prices that big, well-known chains and corporations can offer on the other.

The Internet can balance things out a little bit, but there's no question that the larger players in any industry almost always have a distinct advantage when it comes to marketing themselves. How can you, as a small business owner or manager, take advantage of the fact that the public is on your side and attract new customers in a cost-effective way?

Here are a handful of easy-to-follow web design tips that can help you do just that:

Simplify everything. For all of their great design features and functionalities, buyers don't necessarily love the complexity of big websites. If you can keep your web presence simple and straightforward – showing visitors what you do and why they should work with you – you'll be more likely to get new buyers to give you a try.

Allow for easy ordering and inquiries. The more hoops someone has to jump through to do business with your company, the easier it is for them to decide to just stick with their existing source or vendor (often a bigger business). Make it as easy as possible to open an account, place an order, or contact your company directly if needed.

Provide lots of info. Don't make visitors guess about what they're in for if they place an order with your company. Give them lots of information that tells them what will happen, how much they'll be charged and when, what sort of questions they'll have to answer, and so on. This is another way to reduce the barriers (real or imagined) that could stop someone from working with you.

Give rock-solid guarantees. With offers like a "money-back guarantee," customers have little to risk when it comes to deciding whether or not to give you a try. As a smaller business, you should know exactly how good your products and services are. Advertise that, and then don't be afraid to stand behind what you sell.

Be friendly and personal. Lots of small business owners like to hide the fact that they’re small. While that's sometimes wise, you can sometimes make a better impression by highlighting your personal touch. The most obvious way to do this is by including a little bit of personal or biographical information on your website. When people know and like you, they want to help you succeed – something few people will ever say or feel about a bigger business.

Having a small business might not always seem like an advantage, but it certainly can be. The fact that so many people like to root for the "little guy," especially when it comes to spending their money, is a powerful factor in your favor. Set up your small business website in the right way, and you can tilt the odds of winning new customers into your favor.

Need help with a new website for your business? Contact the team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

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Posted on July 9, 2014 by Julie Short

Even the prospect of launching your first e-commerce site can be exciting. There are so many choices and opportunities in front of you, not to mention the possibility of finding a new revenue stream that can continue for years without forcing you to spend long hours at the desk.

There is more to building a profitable online store, though, than simply choosing an e-commerce template and watching the profits roll in. To help you get a sense of what the most successful Internet entrepreneurs know, here are four things to keep in mind before you launch your first (or next) online store:

1. Most products really don’t sell themselves. Occasionally, we meet with would-be entrepreneurs and e-commerce site owners who think they’ve stumbled upon the one product that's virtually guaranteed to go viral and bring them huge profits in a short amount of time. Even if that were possible, it's likely you'd be facing some pretty stiff competition in no time at all. The reality is that it is relatively easy to spread the word about great products and services online, but you still need a strong Internet marketing plan to get the ball rolling.

2. Trust matters. Trust is incredibly important to e-commerce for a couple of reasons. First, if searchers and shoppers don't trust you or your site, they aren't going to enter in their credit card information and complete a purchase. And second, if you don't build trust over time by following through on your promises and guarantees, then no one is going to trust you going forward.

With that in mind, it's important to build trust by putting visible reminders of your business associations, e-commerce verifications, and other credentials on your e-commerce site. Then, make service and transparency a top priority to get the reviews and reputation you need.

3. You’ll have to work to get (and keep) customers. One of the reasons that e-commerce is getting tougher is that search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are more competitive than ever. That means you're going to have to work hard or spend money (and possibly both) to win your first few customers. After that, you'll have to keep them coming for great products, top service, fast shipping, or low prices… and possibly a combination of a few of those factors.

4. E-commerce is all about efficiency. The most successful online stores aren't always the flashiest or most popular. Instead, they are the ones that continually refine their marketing and budgeting approaches, working one percentage at a time, slowly but gradually improving their financial picture. Whether your store is a hit from the day it launches or takes a while to gain momentum, never fall into the trap of being satisfied with what you have.

Make no mistake: You can grow a popular and profitable online store, often in less time than you would think. But, it's going to take a little bit of imagination, a lot of hard work, and the right e-commerce design team on your side.

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Posted on July 3, 2014 by Julie Short

To attract the best employees, you need to capture the attention of this year's most talented college graduates. Job boards and campus recruiting are two great ways to spread information. But to reach the widest pool of job seekers, you also need to maximize the one resource that every company has at its disposal: your company website. A website that is coherently branded, contains solid information, and is easy to navigate gives young job seekers a good first impression and can even predispose them to want to work for you.

Use your website to promote your brand

If producers decided to make a film about your company, what Hollywood actor would play your CEO? What genre would the film be? Would it be a romantic comedy or a period drama? What’s the soundtrack like?

You get the idea. According to talent maximization expert Roberta Matuson, "attraction trumps recruitment time and time again". HBR's poll of 15,000 millennials supports this idea: the number one thing young people look for in a company is "people and culture fit" – much more so than salary.

Related post: Does Your Website Effectively Reflect Your Brand?

Think of your website as projecting your company's identity and telling its story. Images, color, layout and font need to be consistent so that your brand is both recognizable and stays with your viewer. Create personable, engaging profiles of your employees – or, if you’re a larger organization, your leaders – so that the culture and work environment are part of the primary focus.


Make sure the site is easy to navigate

A few years ago, it was popular to construct websites that held their viewers hostage with disabled back buttons and large popup windows. Now these features are understood to be cardinal sins of web design. All features like this do is irritate the viewer, who will simply close the browser and start all over again, making a mental note not to return to your site. Ouch.

Keep distractions to a minimum. You want to construct an appealing website that prospective job seekers not only want to explore but also immediately know how to explore. You can accomplish this goal in the following ways:

  • Make your company information easy to access by adding a professional-looking "contact us" form or button on every page.
  • Streamline the content on your site so that viewers can load it in under four seconds.
  • Include a clear navigation map on your header or footer. Visitors should never have to click at random to find their way around the site.

Don't forget the bells and whistles

We said to streamline, we know – but there are a couple extras that aren’t actually extras at this point. If you’re going to attract young talent to your company, you must have these two things:

  • Mobile-ready design
  • Strong social media presence

Related post: 4 common pitfalls of mobile web design


A report by beyond.com states that 77 percent of job seekers are using mobile apps to locate jobs. Not having a mobile-ready site is almost as big a mistake as not utilizing social media to advertise and promote your company brand. The number one way that millennials learn about great companies to work for is recommendations from friends; and social media is one of the main ways that friends stay in touch. A mobile-optimized site and a solid social media presence will drive the traffic you want straight to your website.

When you’re trying to attract new grads to your company, remember that making yourself visible is half the battle – so use your website wisely, and you’ll be receiving applications in no time.  

 

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Posted on June 26, 2014 by Julie Short

Most business owners and Internet marketers are already at least somewhat familiar with the concept of the Google AdWords Quality Score. It basically amounts to a numerical evaluation of how relevant and effective your pay-per-click ads are, which in turn affects how often they are shown and the prices you need to pay to maintain a certain ad position.

The basic idea is that, when your Quality Scores are high, Google will allow you to bid very little for a prime advertising position; with low Quality Scores, though, you'll pay through the teeth to even show up for your most important keywords (because your Quality Scores vary from one keyword to the next, the best way to check them is by logging in to your AdWords account).

The net of all of this is that it's impossible to run an efficient and effective paid search campaign with low Quality Scores. Getting clicks and conversions will just cost too much, especially if you want to maintain a high bid position.

So, what can you do when Google's Quality Score evaluation process treats you like a Russian gymnastics judge at the Olympics and marks you with a lower number than you expected?

The first step is to understand where your score actually comes from. Here are a few of the ingredients that are known to be important:

Click-through rate. Google runs ads to make money, but also to help searchers find what they're looking for. Running ads with lots of click-throughs helps them do both, since it's a sign that searchers find the offer to be relevant.

Content on your site. If relevance didn't matter, people would simply choose the keywords and search phrases with the highest traffic and put unrelated ads with them. That would lead to a lower-quality experience for end users, so Google evaluates the content on your site to make sure it matches up with your keywords and ad copy.

How focused your campaigns and groups are. Google likes to see campaigns and ad groups that are tightly focused. If you have too many keywords stuffed together, your Quality Score will suffer.

Account history. Google factors your account history (and even other accounts for the same keyword or search term) into your Quality Score, so it pays to be an excellent advertiser over time.

There are other things that factor in, but these are the most important and easiest to change. So, if you find your Quality Scores are suffering, your best course of action is to first reevaluate your ad groups and keyword combinations, and then start testing new versions of your ads to increase your click-through rates.

The important takeaway here is that bad Quality Scores can be overcome, but it's always going to be easier – and less expensive – the sooner you start.

Need help getting your AdWords account in order? Let the team at WebRevelation help.

 

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Posted on June 19, 2014 by Julie Short

Getting new customers is great, but unless your business is starting from scratch, keeping your existing ones is more important.

It's not difficult to see why: Repeat customers tend to place the biggest orders and buy the most services, are the ones who refer you to other customers just like them (shortening the sales process at the same time), and cost you the least to market to.

When you can keep them happy, you'll have a stable source of revenue that you can count on from one month to the next. When you can't, you'll always find yourself churning through marketing campaigns and digging around for new business.

So, how do you keep hold of your best customers and make sure they come back time and time again? Obviously, having great products or services, pricing fairly, and being known for customer service are good first steps. Beyond that, here are a few things you can do to tilt the odds in your favor:

1. Know, understand, and anticipate their needs. In most markets and industries, people can turn lots of places to get what they want or need. If you can save them time and energy, though, by understanding their buying motivations and anticipating their needs even before they realize them, you'll be rewarded with lots of repeat business.

2. Show them that working with you is safe. Adding things like online transaction verification, good customer reviews, and a number of different local and industry association memberships is a good way to build trust. And of course, being known for providing five-star customer service helps, too. What you really want is for buyers to know that working with you is as safe as it possibly could be.

3. Use the power of extras and freebies. There are hundreds of ways to reward loyal customers – from birthday cards to coupons and freebies for big purchases – and each of them has value. The idea is to find something that's convenient and meaningful to your buyers and then make sure they get enrolled. Remember, these people are the best friend your business can have, so make sure to treat them appropriately.

As you probably noticed, the most important point about keeping existing customers is simply putting their needs and concerns first. That's a simple idea, but one that's likely to pay dividends again and again.

Looking for creative ways to improve your bottom line with stronger marketing? Contact WebRevelation today and ask for a free consultation.

 

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Posted on June 12, 2014 by Julie Short

Social proof – a huge topic in the world of Internet marketing – is a technical-sounding term for a very simple concept: Most of us are more likely to do something if we know other people are doing it, too. That's especially true if the "other people" are ones we respect and admire.

In fact, if the perception of social proof is strong enough, we might even feel like we should be doing something that we aren't already. It's a kind of subtle peer pressure we tend to put on ourselves.

The effects of social proof are everywhere. It's the reason we're more likely to try an exotic new food or workout style if we've read about it in a magazine. It's how fads and trends pick up steam, and the reason that advertisers will pay celebrities huge amounts of money to use and endorse their products.

As you've probably guessed already, there are a few things you can do to take advantage of the power of social proof and put it to work on your business website. You don't even have to have celebrity endorsements, just a few selected numbers or statistics shared or posted in strategic places.

Here are a few good examples:

Displaying the statistics for downloads or registrations. No matter how strong your offer is, there's going to be a natural tendency for potential customers to put off taking the next step, even if it's a minor one, because it involves risk. The more they can see that hundreds or thousands of other people have already taken that step, the more comfortable they’re going to be doing it themselves.

Showing how many people have "liked" your content on social media. Most of us like to be associated with winning ideas and points of view. That's why it's easier to take a social post from 1,000 views to 10,000 views, for example, than it is to get the first 100 from nothing. If your content is popular, build on that and make it more popular.

Letting customers give feedback and reviews. This is a powerful form of social proof, so long as your reviews are positive and credible. People don't have to hear from big names or experts if they think they're getting fair and honest opinions from others who are just like them.

In practice, the uses for social proof on your website could be virtually endless. What makes it powerful, though, is the fact that you're showing that other people already know, like, and trust your company… which implies that your prospect should, too.

One word of caution, though: You only want to activate or share these figures after you've already generated some traction. Seeing that "zero people" have downloaded your report, for example, is essentially the opposite of social proof. So, don't put up anything that's going to hurt your marketing efforts.

Looking for innovative ways to get more from all of your online and offline marketing? Contact WebRevelation today and let us show you what we've been able to do for other businesses just like yours.

 

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Posted on June 4, 2014 by Julie Short

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