Whether it’s for business or personal use, consumers are buying online now more than ever before. Today though, we will specifically discuss key differentiators between Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) e-commerce.
B2B e-commerce operates by selling products and services to other businesses, manufacturers and wholesalers on the internet. An example is the Caterpillar® brand. Caterpillar® serves the needs of the construction industry with their equipment by selling to other businesses and manufacturing companies.
Alternatively, B2C companies sell their products and services directly to consumers. Take a fast food company, such as Burger King, for example. Someone drives to their nearby Burger King and orders a cheeseburger and fries. The fast food chain is selling directly to consumers.
Continue reading along as we discuss 5 major differences between B2B and B2C e-commerce.
Buying on a B2B platform is designed for business needs, and it is self-driven. B2B buyers often have various responsibilities and want less hassle and more of a faster and intuitive buying experience. Frankly, B2B customers are on a website to buy, not browse. They are buying for business based on logic and efficiency, not on emotion. That said, implementing a B2B e-commerce site that is streamlined and affective is crucial for these time-constraint buyers.
On the opposite side of the coin are B2C buyers. B2C buyers tend to make more emotional and impulse purchases. B2C e-commerce platforms are designed to generate purchases based off of wants and emotions. Someone sees a pair of shoes on sale on their favorite runners website, or an advertisement pops up for convenient meal delivery kits. In these two instances the buyer is making a purchase based on the desire to save money (shoes) and the convenience factor (meal delivery kit). These two examples would both be considered as more “emotional purchases.”
B2B companies work hard to develop long-lasting business relationships with clients. It’s not unusual for a B2B supplier to have repeat, loyal buyers due to investing time in relationship building. B2B businesses need e-commerce platforms that can be customized to fit their customers’ unique needs, varying by industry, product type, company size and business operation.
B2C websites typically offer a more mass communicated approach, where the customer experience is one to many. Often times B2C sites do not take a personalized approach.
B2B buying is generally less price sensitive than B2C consumers. Most corporations have budgets set aside for business purchases. B2B e-commerce websites allow for sellers to offer specific discounts based on quantities ordered, loyalty, referrals and many other factors.
B2C buyers can be very price sensitive. Plus, unlike B2B, B2C pricing is usually fixed. Previous purchases among B2C consumers do not influence the price of their next purchase. Of course, there might be discount codes or special offers, but those are typically applied to all buyers equally.
B2B buyers are often buying in bulk, with quantities reaching several thousand or more. A restaurant owner could place an order through a B2B company for 3,000 take-out containers. B2C consumers buy much fewer of one item. For example, a consumer will walk into Best Buy and purchase one television.
Due to the high volume associated with B2B orders, it is crucial for B2B e-commerce sites to be built in a way that it can handle those large orders. Custom SKU’s and viewing and managing inventory are just two aspect in which a business can benefit from a B2B e-commerce site.
The B2C world spends millions of dollars to optimize conversions, and that typically becomes a top focus for product/service owners. Marketing plays a vital role and extensive marketing dollars are spent on advertising, shopping analytics, upselling and more. All of these tactics are conducted to motive the individual buyer.
However, that’s not the case in the B2B world because it’s just not necessary. B2B buyers don’t need that extra “fluff”. B2B buyers log into their corporate account to buy the items they need and quickly move on to the checkout process.
WebRevelation has extensive experience working with B2B e-commerce. By choosing to work with WebRevelation your B2B e-commerce website will deliver the efficiency buyers desire. Contact us here or call 817-283-3324 to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Although each industry is unique in their objectives, products and sales approach, today we will discuss general features for successful B2B e-commerce websites. Consider these six aspects as you begin to brainstorm a new e-commerce site in 2020.
#1 Corporate Log-ins
Time is money. Clients seek ease and convenience while buying online, and one of the most common ways to do that is to create log-ins for each corporate account. Once logged in to their personal account, buyers will have the ability to view previous purchases, securely store credit card information, set preferences and restrictions, buy in bulk, view invoices, and so much more.
E-catalogs allow you to present relevant products to your repeat customers all while not having to log-in to an account.
If you serve multiple industries, not every customer should see your entire product line. With a well-designed, segmented e-commerce solution, you can determine the products that clients see.
Utilizing high quality product images, while listing product description, pricing, and quantities are all ways to help sell your products on the internet. Business owners can also create and set custom filters to allow buyers to sort products by type, color, size, price, and more to make the selection process easier on your customer.
#3 Customer Specific Pricing
Customization can also be found in pricing. B2B organizations can sell at different prices based on the customer type. The ability to set different base prices for any product in your catalog and assign these to specific customer groups is a major factor of a B2B e-commerce website. In the same way, if you have a highly segmented customer base, or an unusual pricing structure, you might want custom controls to ensure that buyers are being charged the right amount.
The vast majority of B2B shoppers buy products in bulk. Therefore, you may want to consider offering discounted price tiers based on the total amount of cases, packs or pallets buyers purchase. Targeted pricing is fully customizable and can help leverage sales.
#4 Advanced Search Bar
As a business owner, you want users to find their sought-out item quickly to secure the online purchase before then abandon the website altogether. Because many B2B e-commerce websites contain extensive product offerings, it is essential that your site features advanced search functionality. That means adding functionality on the back end of your website so users can utilize the search bar easily with a variety of keywords, pricing, and product details. Adding an advanced search bar to your e-commerce site adds ease and simplicity for your buyers, resulting in increased satisfaction and ultimately a higher conversion rate.
#5 Targeted Shipping
Similarly to offering customized pricing discounts on products, some business owners also choose to offer shipping discounts for top-tier bulk purchase buyers or for promotional purposes. Whatever the reason, B2B e-commerce sites should offer this type of customized shipping features. However, it doesn’t have to be disorganized and confusing. With a custom B2B e-commerce website business owners can take advantage of advanced, custom shipping features and discounts.
#6 Flexible Payments Options
Across all industries, nearly 70% of shopping carts are abandoned by users, some of which has to do with payment limitations. Don’t assume everyone has Visa or Mastercard. While many businesses have a dedicated credit card for online purchases, not all do, or they could be maxed out. To accommodate the needs of your clients, you can also integrate offline payment methods, such as purchase orders, PayPal, checks, and Net 30. Allowing various payment options will certainly increase your chance of securing a sale.
Kick off the new year with a new B2B e-commerce site and see your sales skyrocket. Contact WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 or complete this contact form so we can discuss your specific business needs and create a custom e-commerce plan.
It's the middle of December. Where did 2019 go? As a small business owner you're all too familiar with the fact that there's no time to sit and wait. There's still a little bit of time left in the year for you to wrap up loose ends and get a jump start on 2020.
Below are some tips in getting your business prepared for a successful new year.
1. Go Mobile
If you haven't already, it is imperative that consumers can access your website on their smartphone device. Approximately 80% of Americans use a smartphone. Your business is at a significant disadvantage if users are unable to browse your website and make online purchases from the palm of their hand.
As an e-commerce site, whether it's a B2B or B2C e-commerce company, your priority should be in making certain that online purchases can be made easily. Everything from pricing and product images to e-catalogs should all be showcased from a mobile device. You certainly don't want to lose out to your competition because your customers were unable to place an order from their smartphone.
Stay ahead of your competition by ensuring that SEO is a large part of your online strategy. Once you understand your business’ financial picture, it’s time to get honest about how things are going. Is your business model sustainable or do you feel like you’re working as hard as you can, but still treading water?
3. Update Your Website
Is your business website up-to-date? Are users able to make online purchases easily? Is your website clutter free or so full of content and images that it gives people a headache?
Often times consumers will first lay eyes on your website before they have an in-person or over-the-phone conversation with you or a member of your company. If their first impression of your company is based off your website, what is that telling them?
If done correctly, revamping your online presence takes time and a lot of effort. Hiring a full-service website development company can speed the process along, and highly trained computer programmers can incorporate aspects that your yourself are likely not aware to include. Don't let that website you created a decade ago be what your clients see.
Thanksgiving is a special time to count our blessings. All year long, but especially during this season, we are grateful for wonderful customers like you! Thank you for your business and for believing in our website and application services.
We wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
The WebRevelation office will be closed on Thursday, November 28th & Friday, November 29th.
As competition slowly increases, customers are looking for companies to go above and beyond their expectations. B2B buyers want more of a B2C type of customer experience when they purchase from a vendor. If your business is lacking the motivation to implement and maintain a B2B website, you are at risk of losing a great amount of business.
Keep reading to learn more about three ways in which you can improve upon your B2B E-commerce website. Don’t delay, the time is now.
When users are browsing websites via their mobile device, they expect fast speed, font to be displayed clearly, product details, pricing, videos to function properly, an easy to use checkout process, client dashboard, and more. If users experience hiccups with their mobile experience then they are likely to abandon the site, which ultimately leads to loss of sales and a negative impact on your bottom line.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process by which people take to make sure that the websites are appealing to the search engines. You’ll want buyers to be able to search for the product they need and have your website come up at the top of their search.
Like any website, whether intended for e-commerce or not, a strong SEO strategy is imperative. Since people often search online using generic terms or keywords, so unless you implement an SEO strategy the likelihood of showing up in a search is very slim. Don’t let that happen to you.
An eCommerce SEO strategy is essential for any business, no matter where or how you sell your product. Most people begin their searches with generic terms and not branded terms. If you do not correctly implement an SEO strategy, you may never show up in a search query, and you could lose your customers to more optimized competitors.
B2B companies have a long history of building business relationships via in-person salespeople. When the human interaction is removed, you’re sometimes left with an impersonal experience. As B2B E-commerce grows, businesses must bring a personalized experience to its customers online if they want to retain their clients and remain competitive.
It might help to ask yourself what you would want your online shopping experience to be like if you were a customer. It doesn’t have to be a difficult task to implement. Often times implementing a corporate dashboard, targeted pricing, e-catalogs, discounted shipping and more leads to buyer satisfaction.
WebRevelation has over a decade of experience helping clients build websites and custom applications. B2B E-commerce is an area in which we specialize, so you can rest easy knowing your B2B E-commerce site will be created with your specific needs in mind. Feel free to contact us today for a complimentary consultation. Call us at 817-283-3324.
Earlier this month we discussed the subject of B2B E-commerce implementation and discussed a few roadblocks you may face in implementing an e-commerce website for your business. You can read that blog post here.
Since B2B E-commerce requires a very different approach than B2C E-commerce, business leaders are often left feeling confused and overwhelmed. Keep reading as we review three more challenges business owners face in establishing a business to business e-commerce website. Also, ask yourself if these situations apply to you and if so, what steps will you take to overcome those obstacles?
Fear of the Unknown
Did you know that 74% of small business websites do not have e-commerce solutions? That’s a very high percentage of business owners who could potentially be holding back on implementing a B2B E-commerce website due to a fear of the unknown. Questions have likely danced in your head...How will important data be integrated with an online solution? What if my clients reject the lack of in-person salespeople? How will financial transactions take place? What happens when my competition finds out about my pricing?
Each one of your corporate buyers has a unique set of rules and needs, so a one-size-fits-all approach is out of the question. Digital integration, maintaining a high level of customer service, authorizing online payments, and pricing transparency can all be conducted and perfected in the world of e-commerce.
Overwhelming Shipping Solutions
Are you used to manual order taking and manual shipping? You’re not alone. However, it’s 2019 and the time to automate your processes is now. Your clients expect their orders delivered on time and the use of technology allows this to be very feasible. Each one of your corporate buyers has a unique set of rules and needs, so a one-size-fits-all approach is out of the question. An e-commerce platform will be integrated with shipping software and your buyers will receive tracking and delivery information, just as you do when you shop from online retailers, such as Amazon.com. This streamlined process provides even better customer service. The shipping process is smart and intuitive, making it easier for both you as the business owner, and for your clients.
Lack of Human Resources
Sure, you have a great team of people under you in each department at your company. They often wear multiple hats, typically doing more and more of what’s asked of them. So, how can you possibly ask your staff to learn a new task of designing and building a new website, complete with e-commerce solutions? It will take a great deal of time and money to properly train them, then have them turn around and create something new. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep your staff doing what they do best and what you originally hired them to do. Instead, hire a full-service website development company that specializes in the field. Working with a full-service website design company allows you to still tend to your other responsibilities.
While personal online shopping can be a weekly or monthly occurrence for many people, business owners often hesitate to take their products online to sell to other businesses. A vast majority of entrepreneurs still consider a physical store, print catalogs and sales reps as best practices. However, this thought process is limiting to both their business exposure and selling potential.
Wikipedia defines Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce as “the sale of goods or services between businesses via an online sales portal. In general, it is used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a company's sales efforts.”
As you continue reading you will learn more about certain roadblocks that hinder some businesses from establishing a B2B e-commerce website. Today, we’ll take a look at three main factors.
Lack of Reliable Knowledge
If the technical aspect of establishing a B2B e-commerce site leaves your head spinning, you’re not alone. Unclear expectations of the revenue potential, spinning your wheels trying to improve processes, and not knowing how to build custom websites are all common challenges many business owners face.
However, with a B2B E-commerce website your company will be able to increase sales, improve efficiencies, lower overhead costs, obtain new customers, improve customer service, and so much more. As a supplier, don’t lose out to your competitors by not implementing an e-commerce site; your competition hasn’t let their lack of knowledge slow them down in this area.
Concern Over the Cost
Like most new processes, there’s a financial investment associated with setting up a B2B e-commerce website. There are of course free sites available on the internet, but those definitely come with risk. To build a fully customizable B2B e-commerce website, you need to work with a company that has experience in this area.
Business owners are juggling hundreds of tasks simultaneously and the thought of adding one more element can be overwhelming. Even more, you don’t have time in your day to dedicate to developing a software solution. It’s true, creating an e-commerce site doesn’t happen overnight, and there will be some time required if you want it done correctly. However, working with a full-service website design company allows you to still tend to your other responsibilities. Plus, once your website is up and running you will be making sales 24/7 as opposed to a physical store which has 9-5 hours.
The benefits of implementing a B2B E-commerce site far outweigh the challenges. WebRevelation is a full-service website design and application company with a great deal of experience in e-commerce. We have over a decade helping businesses create a custom online presence with features such as e-catalogs, billing and invoicing, automated ordering, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and so much more. Call WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 to learn more or contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Be sure to check back on Thursday, October 31st for the second part of this article.
In a perfect world, retailers would be able to quickly gauge their inventory and make adjustments based on sales forecasts. Unfortunately, though, e-commerce entrepreneurs often piecemeal their tools for orders, inventory, and sales projections. Even when the information is available across platforms, it’s often difficult to come to useful conclusions about what to stock.
Too often, B2B companies focus solely on the relationships they’re building with their clients. While it’s true that your clients are indeed signing the checks, it’s foolish to ignore the elephant in the room. Buyer relationships need to be nurtured, even from a distance. While your staff may or may not have direct conversations with the end consumer, you’ll want to ultimately focus your efforts on establishing better buyer relationships.
Let’s consider the ways in which the average warehouse inventory tracking system could benefit buyer relationships. With a custom app, you can quickly and easily facilitate the automation of regular purchases. Because a custom app can also replace much of the existing CRM solutions in place, it’s also easier than ever to entice customers into buying larger orders more frequently.
Ultimately, all we have are our relationships with others. Finding tools to help strengthen those bonds is critical for ongoing success. Anyone can build a business and find initial success, but in order to sustain relationships with customers, you’ll need a custom CRM app.
Put Custom Programming to Work for Your B2B E-Commerce Business
Custom programming offers a wealth of exciting possibilities for busy business owners. We know you’ll be thrilled to see how much a custom app can change your daily operations for the better. WebRevelation has over a decade of experience creating custom applications and website development for the manufacturing, home builder, schools, and e-commerce industries, just to name a few. That’s why WebRevelation offers no-obligation consultations for new clients hoping to harness the power of custom programming for their business. Get started now to see just how much of an impact we can have on your B2B business!
The market for B2B e-commerce is booming. Regardless of industry, companies rely on other organizations to provide the services and products to their customers. This relationship between businesses is ripe with opportunity – after all, e-commerce sales can be made more efficiently and more profitably when a custom app is used. The added convenience of placing orders online is the icing on top for busy entrepreneurs.
Of course, there are challenges to face when marketing to businesses instead of the end consumer. Business owners think differently when making decisions for their organizations, which requires a more complex sales approach. With stiff competition waiting in the wings, relationships with prospective clients become more important than ever before.
In order to nurture those relationships and stay a step ahead of your competitors, you’ll want to invest in a custom application for your B2B e-commerce business. Here’s why:
Unique Challenges Demand Unique Solutions
The beauty of a custom app is that it’s designed with the exact needs of the client in mind. Say you’re supplying customer support services for online clothing boutiques. While a store could select an off-the-shelf style package that solves some of their challenges, they’re more likely to go with the company that offers specific solutions to their specific issues. Designing a custom app that features both front and back-end support for business owners as well as their customers is sure to put you ahead of your competition.
Streamline the Orders, Streamline the Business
In order to stay competitive, online retailers demand fast shipping and constant restocks. Lost shipments and delayed orders are a recipe for disaster for any business, but when an online boutique is operating on the thinnest margins possible, the impact is even greater. Custom app development is the solution. Automated tools help busy entrepreneurs track warehouse inventory, make purchases from production facilities, and ensure deliveries are made on time. The oversight of the process is second to none.
Order fulfillment challenges occur in virtually every industry, but the pressure is felt even more intensely by online retailers. Save your customers time, money and stress by offering a custom app to track every step in the supply chain. It’s never been easier to streamline the process or to stay abreast of progress.
It’s All In The Details
When a customer orders a t-shirt from an online boutique, they expect a quality piece of clothing delivered on time. Simply delivering on this expectation, however, won’t earn much repeat business. In order to win the business of brand-loyal customers, you’ll need to gather as much information about them – and the process they go through when shopping – to entice them back to the site.
This is where a custom B2B e-commerce app can come into play. Such a tool can collect valuable data on the customers ordering from the boutique. Stakeholders can then use these insights to make marketing decisions and develop more informed sales strategies. Generic software doesn’t typically offer such tools.
If you’re hoping to make your e-commerce business more efficient, WebRevelation can help. We pride ourselves on taking your company to the next level – find out how we can support your goals by contacting us now at 817-283-3324 or fill out a form online.
In our previous blog post, we discussed a few strategies to convince management that a software upgrade is a worthwhile endeavor. Read about a few more tips below.
Demonstrate the Impact of a Software Upgrade
Even after seeing evidence that software is not working as intended, managers may not see the urgency of the issue. To get the results you want, you’ll need to show the long-term impact of maintaining the status quo versus upgrading.
By focusing on bottom-line benefits in your demonstration, you’ll easily snag the attention of busy supervisors. Is your payroll software taking twice as long as it used to when calculating tax deductions? How much time is it wasting each month? Is the problem getting worse? How much time could be saved with an upgrade? Compare the cost of the software upgrade to the costs associated with malfunctioning tools. So long as the benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks, it’ll be easy to convince management of your argument.
Communicate in Layman’s Terms
Business owners hire employees to support their goals, but they also build a staff to make up for what they potentially lack. Chances are good that you were brought in for your years of experience and technical know-how. When listening to your proposition about why a software upgrade is necessary, your supervisor may feel out of their depth. Some may admit they don’t understand the inner workings of software applications. This is the perfect opportunity to educate them with easy-to-understand terminology.
If you’re hoping to convince your boss to make upgrades, communicate your needs in layman’s terms. Executives won’t necessarily grasp the technical shortcomings of a given application. Rather than speak techno-babble they barely understand, explain in plain terms why you need an upgrade. Leave the details to your data presentation and your plans for implementation.
Get the Government to Pay for Upgrades
It’s hard to say no to a software upgrade when it costs you nothing. Businesses large and small can take advantage of federal grants for software upgrades. With a little research, you can likely find a grant specific to your industry in which your business is eligible.
Use public money to develop your next software upgrade. Stakeholders will love that you’ve taken initiative, and it’s hard to resist free money!
Call in Reinforcements
If you’re having trouble making a compelling argument for an upgrade, reach out to the WebRevelation team today. Making the case for an investment like this isn’t always easy, but our staff of programmers can help guide the fact-finding mission required to convince your supervisor. Allow us to help you understand the stakes, risks and rewards before you present your case to management. Call us at 817-283-3324 for a complimentary consultation or complete this form.
There are a few tell-tale signs that you need a software upgrade. That report you ran before leaving the office last night? It doesn’t have the most recent data included. Apps that crash when you need them most? They won’t cut it long-term. Neither will any application that creates more problems than it solves.
Even when the signs are clear, management is often hesitant to make upgrades. Sometimes, convincing your supervisor to invest in a new software development program is an uphill battle. It happens frequently when stakeholders prioritize other needs while shifting the outdated software challenges to the back burner. Those tough decisions are management’s responsibility to make, and there are ways frontline employees can help ease the headache from their management team.
The impact of these broken, outdated tools can be felt throughout your organization. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Use these tips to squeak a little more eloquently the next time you’re in need of an upgrade:
Let the Data Speak For Itself
Managers everywhere love data. No matter your industry, you’ll need hard numbers to support your request for a software upgrade. When weighing the pros and cons of such an ask, management will be more likely to respond positively if you have evidence of current issues.
When possible, try to link the malfunctioning software to hidden expenses. If productivity is down and billable hours are being wasted because of the outdated apps, it’s easy to justify an upgrade. By outlining the ways in which your business is being held back by old software, you’ll bolster your argument in the most logical way possible.
Find Your Allies
Your boss has a lot on his/her plate. It comes naturally with leading a team. When you come to them with a request to bring your software into this century, they may deny your proposal due to budgetary restraints or for reasons you’re not privy to know.
It’s easy, after all, to say no to one person or development team. It’s much more difficult to shoot down a request for updated software when it comes from multiple parties. This is why it’s so important to educate your colleagues about the impact an app is having on their workload. Requests seem more credible when they’re coming from multiple people, and your co-workers may actually have an argument to employ that you hadn’t considered.
Map Out Your Plan
The phrase “new software development plan” can send shivers down a manager’s spine. Depending on how familiar they are with the intricacies of technology your suggestion to upgrade software could inspire a gut reaction. Visions of vendor research and number crunching might dance through their head. It’s enough to scare off even the most easy-going manager.
If you’re serious about getting the upgrades you want, develop a thorough plan that answers questions before they’re asked. By taking the guesswork out of next steps, you’ll be on the road to yes.
Contact WebRevelation to help your business with custom software solutions. WebRevelation has more than a decade of experience helping businesses just like yours with custom designed software. Call us today at 817-283-3324 or fill out this form and we will get back to you within one business day.
Part 2 of this article will be posted on Thursday, September 5th, 2019. Check back then!
In part one of this series, we outlined the reasons for upgrading off-the-shelf software to custom versions. In this second piece, we’ll be exploring a few more ways custom software can your team create the future you imagine. There are very few occasions in life where you’ll need to order a bespoke suit or customized gown. Aside from your wedding day, there just aren’t many occasions where you’d need an outfit so tailored to your body. For many consumers, buying off the shelf is more practical and more affordable. While the off-the-rack version might not be as perfectly fitted as a bespoke alternative, it’ll get the job done.
This mindset bleeds over from our personal lives into our professional attitudes. We shrug off options for customized tools and resources, opting instead for the next best version – something designed for the masses, not for our personal use. Many wrongly assume that custom software is expensive and unnecessary, blindly accepting the most popular one-size-fits-all option on the market.
Instead of accepting the status quo, create the future you’ve always imagined with the help of custom software solutions. Here are a handful of
ways to do just that:
Scale Your Business, Scale Your Software
An unpredictable economy can make it difficult to know whether your business will grow or shrink in the next five years. Flexibility is key, but off-the-shelf software has limits on just how much it can bend. If you’re hoping to scale your business, you’re going to want custom software that can meet the demands of a constantly evolving industry. With custom solutions, you’ll be able to create tools that meet current standards while staying on the cutting edge of future technology.
Analyze Patterns and Prepare for Anything
The flexibility of custom software also allows entrepreneurs to analyze data for a big picture perspective on what lies ahead. By using patterns, trends and information about their customers, companies can plan for the unexpected. Custom software can take this information and help you envision all possible outcomes. Even in the most uncertain of times, a well-written piece of software can help organizations prepare. We may not be able to predict the future, but our software can come close!
Marketing Management for the 21st Century
The one-size-fits-all approach no longer applies to marketing any more than it does to software. In order to attract new customers to your brand, you’ve got to edge out the competition and target specific groups. By leveraging consumer data, it’s easy to hone in on the ideal buyer and chart their journey from initial engagement to satisfied customer. Of course, tracking this kind of information on a grand scale requires custom software. While you might be tempted to rely on old, outdated platforms to accomplish this goal, you’ll streamline your process by creating efficient software designed with your needs in mind.
No matter your goals, Web Revelation can help your team develop the kinds of revolutionary custom software necessary for success. The future is yours for the taking – design the tools to help get you there faster. Contact WebRevelation online or at 817-283-3324 and we can step you through the details of creating custom software based on your business needs.
If you’re looking forward to a future that leverages new technology to produce better results, there’s no better option than custom software. Consider using such tools in the following ways:
Streamline Processes by Eliminating Multiple Pieces of Software
If you’re in sales, you may have one program to handle lead tracking, another to monitor shipping, and another to invoice customers. The man-hours spent simply clicking between these different programs can add up fast, and the learning curve for employees to become fully trained and comfortable with the technology may be steep. By creating custom software for your precise needs, you can eliminate the multi-step process. Design custom software that follows the entire sales journey and keeps all the moving pieces in one place. You’ll see the financial impact of such an investment right away.
Make Daily Operations a Breeze
There is some degree of grunt work in any line of business. Taking inventory, calculating payroll, and invoicing clients isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. These tasks are vital to the success of your business, though, and can’t be avoided altogether. They can, however, be simplified with a piece of custom software. Rather than do menial, repetitive tasks manually, create custom software to make these chores a breeze. With such a tool in place, you’ll have more free time to dedicate to the projects you care most about.
Get Employees On the Same Page
When you’ve got employees spread out around the country, it can be challenging to have them all adhere to the same policies, procedures, and workflows. Since employees from different offices will likely need to access and update information to the benefit of workers in each location, communication is key. Custom software can help keep everyone on the same page. Off-the-shelf software can accomplish some of these goals, but only a custom application can meet all of your communication needs.
Like any tool, software works best when it was specifically designed for the way you’re using it. When every lead needs to be tracked, every contact needs to be monitored, and every employee needs to be looped in, custom software is crucial. Create the future you envision for your company with the help of WebRevelation. Call us at 817-283-3324 to set up a complimentary consultation.
Check out the second part of this blog post on Thursday, August 8th to learn about even more ways to create the future with custom software.
But what kind of problems can custom apps solve? How are they different from the apps already found on our phones or computers? Why should anyone bother investing time or money in custom app development? Isn’t custom app creation expensive?
The answers may surprise – and even delight – skeptical entrepreneurs.
If You Can Dream It...
Imagine you’re a gardener hoping to transform your backyard into a wonderland. Maybe you’re envisioning gorgeous flowers, old oak trees, or a flashy water feature to delight your guests. Whatever your goal, the hardware store down the street may disappoint you. When it comes to creating something unique and wonderful, the options on the shelf are often underwhelming.
Similarly, anyone hoping to solve a problem or build something unique may find off the shelf solutions unpalatable. The good news? With the right collaborators, you can bring your custom app development dreams to life. Custom apps can help with retail sales, customer relationship management, request for quotes or proposals, human resources and more. No matter your goals, we can help you fill in the technological gaps and bring a custom solution to life.
...You Can Build It
Take a hands-on approach with WebRevelation. Our custom-built applications are developed with your specific requirements in mind. We work with the systems you’re already using to integrate new technology with tried and true methods. Not only will this process help bridge old and new tech, but it can also help you align your goals for the future with current initiatives. As you grow, so can your app – scalable solutions are key to any successful custom application.
Perhaps you don’t know where to begin. That’s okay, too. The WebRevelation team can guide you through the process, helping you determine which challenges to tackle first and how best to integrate new technology with old standbys. The custom approach we take to application development can be found in the relationships we build with our clientele, too. Just like our easy-to-use custom apps, the services offered by WebRevelation are affordable and convenient.
Whether you’re a digital native or a begrudging adapter, the difference between native and custom apps is obvious. The only question remains: when will you put custom technology to work for your organization? Learn more about WebRevelation services by calling 817-823-3324 and get started today.
When you think of the word "application", what comes to mind? For most of us, apps are the tools we use daily to connect with friends, colleagues and loved ones. Social media, news, and email apps are incredibly popular for these reasons. They’re also popular because they’re considered to be “native” apps – they come pre-installed on our devices, or are quickly downloaded from an app store. These apps are designed with a general user experience in mind.
Both custom and native apps have their uses, but deciding which one to use can be tricky. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each:
Pros and Cons
Because native apps are created with a specific platform in mind, they look slick and perform well. Unfortunately, though, native apps don’t translate across different platforms. If you want to offer tools to both Android and Apple users, for example, you’ll have to design two separate apps from the ground up. However, inconvenient for developers, this process makes native apps ideal for the general public. They know when they download or use a native app for the first time that it’s been optimized for use on their device.
On the other hand, native apps can be limited in scope. Though they may offer the kind of user experience you’d want the general public to have, they may not be able to deliver the precise results you’d hope for when running a business. For this reason, many companies opt to use custom apps internally. Tailored to the precise needs of our clients, these custom apps can help streamline the daily operations of their businesses.
Custom Solutions for Unique Challenges
For most organizations, an off-the-shelf approach to unique challenges simply won’t do – in order to deliver on promises and delight customers, you’re going to need a custom solution. With a custom-built app from WebRevelation, you’ll get exactly what you need, when you need it. We can help bridge gaps between the technology you’re already using and the tools you dream of creating. Scalable and innately maintenance free, our custom apps are database-driven and easy to use.
Top level executives love the idea of custom software development because of its many appealing components. What's not to like about an online tool that helps save you and your employees time and money, all while automating repetitive and expensive tasks? However, with those benefits also comes planning and implementation. How will you take those great ideas and put them into action? Of course, it's not a one-size-fits-all type of project, but today we want to give some basic examples of custom software development in action. Below are five ways you can apply custom software to your business or online presence.
#1 B2B Account Management
In the world of B2B sales and customer service, it often makes sense to let buyers handle details such as memberships, recurring purchases, and shipping instructions on their own. With custom software, you can let customers manage their own accounts (and save yourself time and money in the process).
#2 Web and E-mail platforms 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 custom software. Schools will benefit from a professional website, e-mail marketing, custom business software development, communication and PR services, and so much more.
Lots of managers use custom software 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. If you're not already taking advantage of scheduling tools, now is the time to start.
There’s no organization, big or small, that can't benefit from the smart use of online tools. The most important thing to remember about the examples we’ve outlined above is that they are just generalized descriptions of bigger possibilities.
Could Your Business or Nonprofit Benefit From Custom Software Development?
The best way to determine what you could do with a web development project is to speak with a team of specialists who have helped dozens of companies just like yours. Reach out to WebRevelation today so we can talk about the challenges you’re facing and generate a custom proposal for you today.
Stop for a moment and think about the last time your made an online purchase, whether it was for business or personal reasons. Did you have to call a number in order to order the item? Were you forced to fill out a lengthy form? Was the business out of the item you wanted to buy?
These days individuals placing online orders are accustomed to being able to shop easily online. They feel that they shouldn’t have to pick up a phone or use an antiquated fax machine simply to make a purchase. Instead, they expect to have a modern, user-friendly experience that's quick, easy, and intuitive. Organizations that want to become a preferred vendor would do well to explore an updated web-based ordering system.
Here are some ways that your business can benefit from an online ordering system.
Quicker and Better Service
At the most basic level, an online ordering system is used to streamline the entire ordering process from initial order placement to delivery while reducing human errors. By offering online ordering, your business is catering to the convenience factor that so many people seek and it is also deepening customer relationships. You will 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. All of this doesn’t mean that the human touch is removed from the equation. A modern system can incorporate live chat so that those customers who do have questions or challenges can get immediate assistance. Freeing up your inbound sales team from answering phones as order takers allows them the opportunity to be more available to improve the service experience for customers who need help.
Targeted Product Catalogues
In many situations businesses will serve multiple industries. If that's the case, not every customer should see your entire product line. Users will appreciate being presented only with relevant items when they go online to search for what they need. The same holds true for you as a consumer, whether it's a business or personal purchase, you want relevancy. 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. An online ordering system also allows for you to set up special pricing for your top customers as well.
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 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 to your bottom line.
Interested in learning more about how a well-designed online ordering system can maximize valuable business deals? We have over a decade of experience working with numerous e-commerce, manufacturing, home builder companies, and more, so you're in good hands with WebRevelation. We will work with you to design an online ordering system for ultimate impact. Contact WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 for a free consultation.
From a business perspective, what do the words "optimizing content" mean to you? Your answer may very well be "keywords" or "adding links". It’s almost always implied that the goal is to improve your search rankings and visibility on Google, which is accurate, but it goes much further.
Optimization isn’t just only about drawing in visitors from search engines. You want all of your content, including news articles, videos, product descriptions, and testimonials, to be easy to find on every major portal, hub and platform. That's why companies should take advantage of secondary search engines while their larger competitors are busy vying for the #1 Google spot. So, rather than limiting your business growth by using only one platform, let's take a look at three other sites to consider investing your time and energy.
People often dismiss this search engine, but they're doing their business a disservice. With Bing users can add various business locations, pictures and video, and more for free. Also, because Bing is the default search engine for many desktop and tablet owners they automatically opt for Bing over Google due to the convenience.
As of 2018, YouTube had approximately 1.8 users each month. YouTube has been referred to as “the world’s second-largest search engine,” so if your business isn't already taking advantage of YouTube then now is a good time to begin. 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.
Chances are you've made a purchase on Amazon.com either for personal or business reasons. However, have you given much thought to utilizing Amazon for your e-commerce business? Amazon has its own internal search engine and in 2018 the online Goliath captured approximately half of the U.S. e-commerce market. Those are just some of the numerous reasons why it's beneficial to list your products and services on Amazon. 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.
Ready to get started on your corporate marketing campaign? Call WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 or complete this form to see how we can help you achieve big results!
Marketing has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last few decades. More recently, digital and social media have propelled into a whole new world of how we view marketing campaigns. Gone are the days of solely words on a page. Let's be honest - which do you prefer? Looking at a wall of text or seeing a beautiful image to tell a story? Most people will choose the latter.
Of course, simply having more images in your marketing isn’t going to automatically result in new clients. Below we've outlined 3 reasons why pictures are such an important part of connecting with buyers and how to implement them into your marketing strategy.
The Truth Is In The Numbers
Psychologists and medical researchers estimate that the human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than text. If that isn't impressive enough, one website tells us that almost 70% of e-commerce website shoppers say the product image is very important when making their purchase decision. People notice and remember pictures easier than seeing words because images activate an emotional response in our mind. Let's go back to the basics from marketing 101, buying decisions are almost always emotional. It’s only after the fact that we justify them with facts and reasons.
Taking Or Selecting Quality Images
You want to communicate your value to your customers, so don't rely on dull or blurry images shot with your old cell phone. In most instances you should value quality over quantity. Use a DSLR or similar type of camera to capture products, people and services. Also, Utilize natural light which often makes for better photographs. If taking your own photos isn't feasible, hire an experienced professional photographer. Don't have the resources to hire a professional photographer? No problem, there are other resources available to you, such as online stock photos. Be sure to choose stock images that convey your message.
Authenticating Your Brand
One of the reasons images are so important is that they make your brand come to life and give it a realness. As humans, we want to connect with brands that tell a story visually. If you're not already utilizing Facebook, Instagram, blog posts, and other social media platforms, then you need to highly consider it. Those platforms don't consist of just a bunch of Millennials surfing the internet. Adults of all ages with buying power utilize these tools and a picture is worth a thousand words. Generate interest and loyalty through colorful images. 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.
When was the last time you evaluated the images you use for your business? If you’ve been throwing stock photos online without giving much thought to their relevance, now is the perfect time to take a step back and look at your processes and implementation. It may take some serious reflection, but once you realize how using images can benefit your marketing campaign, you’ll wish you would have considered these things sooner!
For the best in web design and creative services, contact WebRevelation at 817-283-3324! WebRevelation has over a decade of experience helping businesses like yours.
A website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you will have for your business. If you haven't put much thought into the plan or execution of your site then there's a high chance it could be missing many key aspects. Don't be discouraged, there's time to improve your efforts. We've outlined an additional 5 things your website might be lacking.
#1 Quality Content
Is the content on your website beneficial to viewers? Writing comes easy for some people but for others it does not. If you're unable to draft engaging content that's easy to understand then consider hiring a content writer. Just like you're an expert at your job, professional content writers create fresh copy for your website in a way that makes sense to a variety of viewers.
#2 A Mobile App
There's no denying that we live in a mobile friendly society, so make certain your website is easily viewed on mobile devices. If text is spilling off your page, users can't contact you easily, or shoppers are not able to make purchases on your e-commerce page then your mobile site has major room for improvement.
#3 Customer Testimonials
What better way to tell people how wonderful your company is than through the words of a repeat customer. Whether through text or video, testimonials create a vivid picture for potential customers and also help make your product or service more compelling. Not all websites contain testimonials, but don't underestimate their value.
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at the amount of websites that don't contain phone numbers, contact forms, addresses, maps, and other forms of contact. It's best to have your phone number on the upper fold or top of your page and make certain it's clickable from a mobile device. Build dynamic forms so current and future clients can submit inquiries straight from your website. Also, having a listed address and/or map is very beneficial for people to locate you easily.
This is a 2-part series, the second half of this article will be posted on Thursday, April 25th.
Do you ever wonder why your website isn't bringing in new business? You have the staff, vision and determination, but you're hitting a wall. Sound familiar? That could be due to key aspects that your website is potentially missing, 5 of which are outlined below.
#1 Security...It's A Must
If you accept online payment on your website then you need to offer your clients a secure portal and abide by certain requirements. One fast way to lose business is jeopardizing your credibility by compromising your customs confidential information. Ensure you are a trusted business by setting up strong security.
#2 Private Domain Name
You might think this goes without saying, but that's not necessarily true. Often times we find that business owners don't understand the value in establishing a private domain. However, investing in a professional web design partner is money well spent and tells website visitors that you're serious about your business.
#3 Simple And Straightforward Navigation
Does your website require users to click on 10 different tabs in order to get to their desired destination? Some research indicates that users will abandon a site within a few seconds if they are not getting what they need out of a site. With all the strong competition out there, make sure you're giving your users a user-friendly experience.
#4 Clear And Concise Details
Sure, beautiful images and descriptive text is important on a website to get viewers engaged, but if you include a 200+ word description about your services then you could very well lose viewers immediately. Don't confuse people with your robust descriptions. Instead, be describe what your business does at a glance by providing key details, but omit the minute and inconsequential verbiage. Don't overcomplicate things, sometimes less is more.
#5 SEO (search engine optimization)
Lastly, though certainly one of the most important aspects of a strong website, is search engine optimization. In case you're not already familiar with the term, simply put, SEO helps your business with page ranking on search engines, such as Google. This is essential in getting new visitors to your website and ultimately helps with making more leads and sales.
Ready For A New Website To Boost Your Business?
The concepts stated above might sound daunting to do on your own, so let WebRevelation help. WebRevelation has more than a decade of experience assisting businesses of all types improve their website. Don't wait until your sales plummet! Contact WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 to set up a free consultation. You'll be glad you did.
Would it be easy or difficult for a hacker to break into your business website? If you don’t know, or suspect that your data isn’t as secure as you might like, then you aren’t alone. We talk with dozens of clients every year who admit they haven’t paid as much attention to online security as they should have in the past.
If you are in the same boat, it’s time to make a change. Most business owners and administrators aren’t aware how serious a hack to their website can be until the worst happens. Then they discover that the damages can cost them tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly even more.
Let’s look at a few obvious symptoms of a website that’s at serious risk for being hacked…
Simple Usernames and Passwords
Let's start with the most obvious risk. As we have noted in the past, many hackers use software downloaded from the dark web to “guess” simple passwords. If yours is a fairly common word or name that process could take less than a second. Then, they’ll be into your website’s control panel and free to do or download whatever they want.
If you haven’t taken the time to set complex and unique passwords already, do so now. Passwords should have numbers and/or special symbols, and be about 10 characters long. Then, set yourself a reminder to change them again in six months.
Outdated CMS or Plug-in Software
Thieves are constantly looking for ways to get into websites through WordPress and other content management systems, not to mention the plug-ins that run with them. Developers, on the other hand, keep updating their products to stay one step ahead of the hackers.
If you don’t install these updates promptly, you are essentially leaving the doors and windows to your website wide open. Either check for new versions frequently or make sure your web design provider is doing it on your behalf.
Analytics That Aren’t Checked
You can often spot the signs of a hacking attempt by looking at the dashboard of your web analytics package. You may see a strange spike in traffic, or referrals from your website to another destination. If you catch them soon enough the problem can be easy to fix.
Not only is keeping an eye on your analytics important from an online security perspective, but it’s the best way to make sure your internet marketing campaigns are moving in the right direction. So, this is one activity you definitely don’t want to skip.
Pages That are Ignored for Weeks
If no one is keeping an eye on your website then it will be impossible to tell when hackers start changing your content or injecting malicious code into attachments. The signs might be subtle at first, but they are usually there.
Either make a commitment to reviewing your website for any obvious errors or changes once in a while or make sure the web design team you pay has you covered with 24/7 monitoring.
In the crowded SaaS marketplace, branding is everything. When it comes to web-based proprietary software, the competition for market share is fierce. As a result, marketing teams have to build out comprehensive B2B strategies that target and nurture leads, raise brand visibility and drive sales.
This post takes a closer look at some of the ways savvy marketers position their product to sell in the B2B market, as well as some key metrics to track.
How is this different than other SaaS marketing models?
Different buyer personas mean a different marketing strategy. Although traditional forms of media like content marketing, SEO and Google Adwords campaigns still impact brand awareness and help generate leads, the marketing material is largely more informational. Because the product is being marketed to other businesses, marketers can leverage industry vocabulary that would be lost on a consumer audience.
Additionally, brand loyalty among B2B clients is surprisingly high versus B2C consumers. According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board, B2B purchases make up more of a personal risk for stakeholders, who feel that job security, credibility, and time and energy depend upon choosing a software provider who eliminates risk and provides obvious value. Thus, a stakeholder is more likely to choose a branded platform they closely correlate with positive results. It can be difficult to break that emotional tie, so it’s important for challenger brands to seed positive sentiment for their proprietary platforms, and focus on revenue-driving metrics that put them in a position to compete with the Oracles and Ciscos of the world.
What should the KPIs be for a B2B software marketing campaign? Let’s take a look at some metrics to measure.
That said, normal website conversion rates for SaaS companies can range between 5 to 10 percent, with 7 being the widely agreed upon average. Designing a website to help steer visitors towards these desired conversion activities is key, alongside making them the targets for paid keyword and ad campaigns.
Churn is the amount of business a company loses over time. It’s one of the most integral metrics to the SaaS business model. Poor or misdirected marketing efforts have a direct impact on churn, because, as Hubspot puts it, “there is not a more sure-fire way to increase your churn rate than to market and sell your product to people who don’t truly need it.”
Focus on developing an airtight buyer persona that directs marketing strategy. Additionally, keeping an eye on the churn rate on a monthly basis will ensure all stakeholders are informed and can adjust as necessary.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost, or CAC, divides the total sales and marketing spend by the number of new customers added in a given time period. In addition to paid marketing, media, and event costs, the figure also accounts for associated payroll expenses like salary and benefits for sales and marketing staff.
Hubspot recommends newer companies fold all marketing costs into this calculation since scaling for growth requires a hefty investment in branding, marketing and sales strategy. It’s normal for the CAC to be considerably higher during this period, with more established companies filtering out extraneous marketing costs during the growth period.
One major revenue outlet for B2B companies is via events such as webinars, trade shows, and keynote speaking events. It’s a valuable opportunity to network, generate leads, and garner earned publicity for a product. Marketers can use overall attendance, engagement surveys and total qualified leads as indicators of an event’s success.
It’s also important to focus the content of an event through a problem-solution lens, given the B2B audience. Research, testimonials and sales figures that can address the emotional barrier to entry mentioned earlier are all vital components of event presentations that can win over stakeholders.
Most B2B software companies spend years on customer acquisition and marketing in order to reach a period of sustained growth, so it’s normal to see some fluctuation in ROI. If negative patterns start to emerge; however, it’s a sign that the core marketing strategy needs to change.
Marketing and sales metrics provide the roadmap for SaaS success. In order to remain competitive, software brands have to take a critical look at their marketing strategies and adjust accordingly. It’s a crowded market out there for software vendors, and standing out requires a commitment to analyzing hard data for smarter, swifter decision-making.
Given that hacks and data breaches seem to be in the news virtually every month, it’s not surprising that one of the biggest questions we hear from clients is: “how do I keep my website and data safe?”
There are many answers to this question, of course, and some of them involve technical details, encryption, and specialized software. However, the best way to start protecting your website is to simply understand the basics of online security.
With that in mind, today we want to give you a few tips you can use to keep hackers away…
Use Strong Passwords
Did you know that hackers can use automated software that can crack a simple password (like a person’s name) in tenths of a second? In contrast, a complex password – one with numbers and symbols – can take months for the same software to figure out.
Most thieves don’t have that kind patients. Use strong passwords and you can keep them away from your website.
Practice Safe Credential Handling
Of course, it doesn’t matter how strong your password is if you routinely give it away to anyone who asks. Smart companies are very cautious about sharing their credentials. They don’t give them to employees who don’t need website access, and won’t share them with vendors without the right safeguards in place.
Keep your password safe and they’ll keep you protected.
Allow Website Software Updates
Ever wonder why WordPress requires so many frequent updates? Does it seem like your plug-ins constantly send notifications about fresh versions? It isn’t just that the developers are adding new features – often these updates close known security loopholes.
If you fail to make timely updates you’re essentially leaving the front door open for cyber criminals.
Perform Regular Analytics Reviews
It’s sometimes the case that the first sign of a security issue with your website isn’t a huge theft of money or changed content on your pages. Instead, it’s unusual traffic patterns on your website. These are easy to spot if you or your web design partner are checking your analytics frequently.
A little attention goes a long way, so make sure someone is keeping an eye on your website’s dashboard.
Generate Automatic Website Backups
If the worst were to happen and your website was hacked, what would it take for your company to get back online quickly? If you have current and secure backups to draw from, you’ll have a lot fewer headaches.
Most business owners and administrators don’t backup their websites regularly, but you can work with a creative team who will handle these tasks on your behalf.
Is Your Website Truly Secure?
The amazing thing about following the basic advice we have laid out in this post is that it will probably prevent 90% of your website security troubles. That’s because most hackers aren’t using sophisticated tools – they are using simple software programs to find businesses with known vulnerabilities.
Don't assume your website is secure. Instead, leave it to the experts to ensure your corporate website is safe from hackers. We have helped numerous businesses with their online security needs and we'd be happy to help you too, so reach out to WebRevelation for a complimentary consultation. In just an hour will be able to show you how to protect your data and improve your online marketing results! Call us today at 817-283-3324.
Overseeing technology for a rural hospital can be a daunting task. In some ways, smaller medical centers have more significant and pressing needs than larger urban care facilities. At the same time, they typically have tighter budgets to contend with.
The key to saving costs and providing services to a community is in prioritizing and following a common sense approach. Over the years, we have learned that there are four specific things every rural hospital needs from an IT plan. Let’s look at them one-by-one…
#1 24/7 Website Protection
Website security is a bigger concern than ever before in 2019. And unfortunately, hospitals aren’t exempt from hackers or cyber security threats. In fact, several facilities have been targeted by ransomware developers in the last few years.
Having access to 24/7 monitoring and help desk support should be a top priority for any rural hospital administrator. The right web developer can keep an eye on the website, look for signs of intrusion, and even generate secure backups that can be used to restore pages quickly if the need arises.
#2 Credit Card Processing
In today’s digital world it’s imperative that any healthcare provider have the ability to accept credit and debit card payments seamlessly. This is an area where some rural hospitals aren’t doing enough, however.
Having access to secure and reliable payment processing lets you get paid faster, improve your cash flow, and lower collection costs. It’s also convenient for patients and their families. The right website developer can help you find a plan and processing system that makes sense for your hospital.
#3 Online Employment Applications
Although there are always new graduates and job-seekers moving into the healthcare field, it can be difficult to identify and hire the best candidates if you are located in a rural area. That’s why using an online application process can streamline the job and decrease turnover.
When you have postings and applications running through your website, you can find better employees and fill openings quickly. That can help you save on salaries, decrease onboarding expenses, and make your hospital run more smoothly.
#4 Patient Health Portals
Can your patients make appointments, see current statements, or update their health and medication history online? If not, then you’re missing out on one of the most valuable tools for efficiency at your disposal.
Integrating patient health portals is easy and inexpensive, but it takes the right programming expertise. That’s because you want everything to work seamlessly on a variety of devices and browsers, and without any risk that you’ll inadvertently share sensitive health records with the wrong people.
Unfortunately, there are numerous instances where rural hospital websites are missing a crucial piece in the area of security… their websites’ SSL certificate. Simply put, this certificate is designed to keep confidential information, such as social security number and credit card information, safe from hackers. This is another area where a good website developer can quickly set you on the right course.
Does Your Hospital Need a Smarter IT Strategy?
If you feel like you aren’t getting enough from technology, need to improve your efficiency, or want to look for ways to cut your IT costs, WebRevelation can help. Contact the WebRevelation team today to see what we’ve been able to do for other organizations just like yours!
If you ask a business owner whether or not they would like more traffic to their website, most often times the answer will be an enthusiastic “yes”. So, how is that accomplished? How do you get people to notice your website and generate purchase intent? Well, it surely won’t happen on its own. There’s plenty of competition out there on the world wide web, but with some creativity you can attract more viewers, leads and ultimately more buyers.
If drawing in potential customers to your website is a challenge for you, then you’ll want to hone in on these seven proven ways to increase traffic to your site.
If you haven’t already, you’re going to want to join social media. Proactively posting on social media forums creates links back to your website and exposes you to a new audience of potential website visitors. It goes without saying that those visitors are your potential customers, so be sure to engage with them and answer any of their questions they post. With a little research, find the social media platforms that’s best for your business. Don’t forget to be creative and use of mix of words, videos and pictures to tell your story.
#3: Design Video Clips for YouTube
Since the first YouTube video was posted in 2005, the website now has over one billion users. Tap into those viewers by posting video to YouTube, which is a great way for them to experience your brand. Definitely put some resources into those videos, both visually and auditory, as they could be the viewers first impression of your company. Viewers can watch and share those videos, leading to people visiting your website.
#4: Create and Maintain a Corporate Blog
Do you have a corporate blog? If not, you should highly consider starting one. A blog is an additional communication channel for potential and current clients, it helps build authority, and it personalizes your brand. Once you start a corporate blog, it’s important to properly maintain it. Regularly 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.
#5: Promote Your Posts More Effectively
Now that your blog is created, ensure you’re getting the most from every blog post by using interesting, search-optimized titles, including attention-grabbing feature images, and announcing new articles with tweets and social updates.
#6: Seek out Linking Opportunities
Do you have friends or colleagues in similar industries? If so, reach out to them and ask if you can have them link from their website to yours. Both of you will benefit from fresh visits to your pages, and they get another helpful resource to share with their own customers. It’s a win-win for both parties.
#7: Give Viewers a Free eBook or Guide
People love free information, so provide them with a free e-book or special report full of details, insights, tips and tricks, and more. Link the content on your website and you’ll have new, knowledgeable visitors thanks to your informative content.
Ready to Bring in More Website Traffic?
As you can tell, these ideas are not tied to big costs. In fact, they’re simply free or affordable and organic ways to generate more visitors to your website. So, what are you waiting for? Jump onboard and start executing these strategies; you’ll be glad you did.
WebRevelation is a full-service custom web design and web application development firm specializing in creating websites that fulfill any specific functionality. We offer strategic SEO marketing services, as well as content management systems for small and medium-size businesses. We create custom web applications and dynamic customer update-able websites. Get in touch with WebRevelation today and see how we can help your business.
All over the internet are companies who advertise their low-cost website development, and some companies even offer free web design services. Stop and think about that though… Are you going to get a professional, high quality product for absolutely no cost? Clearly, there's going to be a catch in the end. Unfortunately, you'll likely end up with a haphazard and incomplete project or a website that is full of bugs and glitches. So, in the end, no matter how little money you spend you're still faced with lost time and costs.
Let’s take a look at the many ways that cheap or free websites can backfire…
First Impressions Are Critical
According to several studies, a first-time website visitor will browse for about 5 to 10 seconds before they decide whether or not to stay. Is your site user-friendly, modern and mobile friendly? If your website was built in a few hours then the answer to that question is very likely a solid "no". That's unfortunate and there's a good chance those first-time users will turn to your competition. Your website should be informative, visually appealing and mobile friendly. Too many colors, pictures and fonts create clutter and often leave users less likely to remain on your page.
Shortcuts Can Hurt Your Reputation
What's the benefit of hiring a cheap web design company if they leave you with a site that's constantly crashing or the programming was done incorrectly? If you hire a bargain provider, chances are the site will include lots of unnecessary code. That’s because the website was originally built for different uses, not your business in particular. Essentially, you're left with problems when you add plug-ins, update hosting software or attempt to gain mobile visitors to your website.
Annoying Third-Party Ads
Have you ever visited a website and within seconds pop-up ads are appearing? However, many low-cost web design services are actually advertising platforms in disguise. That might not sound like a bad thing until you stop and think about the message it sends to your prospective customers. It sure makes for a bad user experience when they are constantly having to click out of third-party ads. What's worse is when they land on your website just to find advertisements for an entirely different company or industry). It's not helping your business grow if your site is possibly promoting your competition.
Don’t Forget About Back-end Functionality
These cheap and free website design companies are good at making their product appear attractive at first glance, which is why businesses get leered into signing a contract. However, beautiful aesthetics are only one aspect of web design. More important than a sleek, modern look is what’s happening in the background. Websites can’t function efficiently without proper back-end functionality in the forms of databases, tools and automated features, all of which are not free to accomplish.
Take time to research the website design company you select and don’t be tempted to go the cheap or route. Treating your website as an investment will benefit you in the long-run, even if you pay for quality upfront.
Are you ready to take your website to the next level? WebRevelation can design a new, professional website for your growing business. Call WebRevelation at 817-283-3324 and schedule a free consultation!
When it comes to custom software 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 custom software, 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 custom software 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.
We'll cover the following 3 points in this video:
#1 What’s The Difference Between A Website And Custom Software?
#2 Why Would My Organization Want Or Need Custom Software?
#3 How Can We Get Quality Custom Software Development?
Contact the WebRevelation design and development team today and we'll be happy to schedule a complimentary 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!
As 2018 comes to a close, the Team at WebRevelation wants to thank our clients and blog readers for another successful year! We are blessed to have new and existing customers who believe in the work we do. We’re excited about all that 2019 has in store for our company as we continue to grow our business.
It’s clients of ours like Ground Zero Storm Shelters that we were able to help transform their e-commerce business through both a new website and custom web-based application development. Based in Oklahoma, Ground Zero is a multi-generation, family owned and operated business that focuses on providing personal security and natural disaster protection. They prebuild high-end shelters such as outdoor storm cellars, safe rooms, and underground garage storm shelters for customers throughout the country.
Intuitive and Efficient Changes
Ground Zero previously faced numerous challenges with managing their complex pricing structure in the area of tracking and reporting. Like many other companies, they were using spreadsheets to conduct their business rather than relying on easy-to-use, intelligent custom web-based applications. Also, their previous website did not allow the ability for customers to make online deposits, yet those deposits were required for order placement. Overall, there were numerous areas of opportunity for greater efficiency both in technology and a variety of business practices.
Unfinished Project Challenges
Ground Zero had actually been working with a different developer to make some much-needed changes to their website and ordering processes prior to engaging with WebRevelation. However, as the project evolved and became more complex, the developer couldn’t handle the demand and Ground Zero was left with unanswered questions and an entirely unfinished project. Unfortunately, we have heard of that type of situation happening all too often with other web companies.
WebRevelation Overhauls Website and Ordering
WebRevelation sprang into action and immediately began working on planning and executing the overhaul of Ground Zero’s website and ordering systems. Streamlining processes and improving efficiency were crucial aspects that WebRevelation made possible. Functionality was added to automatically perform down payment percentage calculations and complicated, zip code pricing. Ground Zero’s site was also integrated with QuickBooks to support more efficient business practices. Additional backend upgrades linked each customer’s notes with their account information for easy reference and implemented reminders to collect any additional information needed to proceed with production and installation. Automated systems were also added for workforce management of installation and warranty teams, allowing work assignments to be made based on availability and worker skill sets.
Interested in learning more about other companies we have helped? Read more here.
WebRevelation provides complimentary consultations. Whether it’s creating a new website, mobile app, or a web-based custom application, WebRevelation is here to help your business succeed. Contact us today by calling 817-283-3324 or online here.
At the time, Choice Partners was limited with their website functionality in a variety of facets. To begin with, the login process was disorganized and complicated. Most attempted users had difficulty when it came time to submitting questions and receiving answers. By law, Choice Partners was required to make questions and answers public, yet it was not being done successfully. Vendors struggled to sell to government entities via the out-of-date online store.
Even though Choice Partners faced numerous challenges, the agency had the foundation of a solid website and did not need to completely reinvent the wheel. Instead, WebRevelation was able to build upon their current site with custom solutions and improvements. Integrating a new, custom system with the existing one is one way in which WebRevelation was able to save Choice Partners on expenses. A fresh website was designed, which now integrates seamlessly into the coop’s existing RFP system. On the front end, users now experience a unified system. The amount of user headaches decreased drastically thanks to gaining access through a single login to various resource areas. Coop members and vendors can now complete applications online in a simplified manner. Also, the updated portal allows government entities to easily shop approved vendors. That’s not all though. As far as the administrative functionality, Choice Partners has gained the ability to handle bidding questions through a built-in database and to manage, assign, and publish contracts online. Today, Choice Partners is attracting bids from a larger number of experienced vendors.
WebRevelation is dedicated to building modern, user-friendly websites and intelligent application symptoms. We want to help your company thrive, just like we helped Choice Partners. We would enjoy the opportunity to discuss your business needs with you. Call us today at 817-283-3324 to set up a complimentary consultation or complete this form.
It’s December. Although I see the words on the computer screen, I am in absolute disbelief. It feels like yesterday that we were discussing our 2018 goals and vision for WebRevelation during our January staff meetings. Now, as we sit here on a cold winter day in December, we find ourselves thinking back on how much WebRevelation has grown over the last 14 years. Not only that, but we also can’t help reminisce on how we have been an integral part in helping numerous businesses with their own growth and development.
It’s clients of ours such as Gellco, where we utilized our knowledge and expertise to solve their online problems. Based in Oklahoma, Gellco is an outdoor clothing and footwear supplier for the manufacturing and oil and gas industries, as well as construction businesses. Gellco provides these businesses with durable apparel sold all throughout the United States via the internet.
Imagine the headache of contract pricing, handling mass quantities of products, and tracking employee spending with each client organization... all on an antiquated spreadsheet. As you can imagine, it was a tedious process. Gellco also lacked a dynamic website, often leaving businesses frustrated and confused during their attempt at online ordering. This is where WebRevelation stepped in. We were able to meet with Gellco to further understand their challenges, which allowed us to create a new, modern e-commerce website capable of handling all aspects of Gellco’s business. Old-fashioned spreadsheets were removed and replaced with an online application. Business intelligence functionality was added to help with sales and marketing, virtual wallets started tracking individual employee spending, and an upgraded system now allows Gellco to set individual pricing for each client. Where they once struggled to keep up with customer demand, Gellco is now thriving in both handling orders and with client retention.
We’re proud to work with Gellco and many other companies to make their business run smoothly because it’s clear that custom application development can save time and effort for employees, customers and business owners alike. Do you have an e-commerce business that could use our help? Are you ending 2018 feeling like your company website needs a new look and feel? Do you have a need to streamline processes with an intelligent application system? We helped Gellco with numerous aspects of their online business and we can help your company thrive as well. Connect with us to take your business to the next level in 2019.
This is part 2 of the article, Do Small Businesses Need Custom App Development? You can read it here.
The first section of this blog post discussed how running a small business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you take advantage of the latest technology trends you can find simple and cost-effective ways to operate your company and stay ahead of the competition. Below are some additional challenges and solutions we work with on a regular basis…
Document storage isn’t the only major headache for those who work in very specialized industries. For instance, financial companies also have stringent reporting requirements and confidentiality guidelines they have to follow.
When we work with these types of companies, we develop custom software that meets these challenges and presents them with all-in-one solutions. That way they can meet their needs for security and oversight, and do so without having to learn or maintain several different apps.
Advanced E-commerce Tools
Do you sell products or services online? If so then you already know how difficult it can be to find apps that tie together inventory, marketing, and fulfillment. Add in the tools you might need for your specific business (like a real-time currency converter or shipping tracker) and just managing your software can become overwhelming.
We know that our e-commerce clients need to keep their focus on other areas, which is why we develop inclusive apps that combine all these different features into a single affordable solution. That lets a retailer keep growing without spending more than they should on software.
Employee Scheduling and Training
Even in our digital age, managing employees is often the hardest part of running any business. However, that challenge can get a lot easier when you have the right tools for the job.
With custom software that is designed specifically for your company, you can manage things like schedules, payrolls, and even training modules, or benefits. And, with web-enabled apps, you and your team can manage the details from anywhere. That’s a great way to save time and money while keeping your employees on track and working productively.
Business owners are often surprised at how easy and affordable it is to develop a custom mobile app that works on a number of devices and platforms. You probably can’t spend your day fixed to one spot, so why should your software?
Custom Programming Starts With Your Needs
It’s possible that you see one or more possibilities for your small business on the short list of uses for custom software development we have outlined here. Or, it might be that what you really need to help your business move forward is something altogether different. Either way, what’s important to know about our work is that it’s driven by your goals and challenges. Everything we do starts with the discovery process that focuses on what you’re facing and the specific outcomes you hope to achieve.
To learn a bit more, and see what kinds of cost-effective solutions the WebRevelation software development team could come up with for you, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
This is part 1 of a 2-part article. Part 2 is now available to be read here.
Small business owners have a lot to think and worry about. Usually, they need to fulfill many roles, chief salesperson, marketer, and manager amongst them. On top of that, they may have to keep an eye on industry trends, customer behavior, and numerous competitors – including other small businesses and national chains.
We know this because we have been helping other business owners just like you to develop and implement custom apps and software for just over two decades. During that time the possibilities have only grown. We can help entrepreneurs do things that would have felt impossible just a decade ago. Even better, we can build custom solutions for much less than our clients tend to expect.
Does this mean your small business could benefit from custom software? It's a question more and more owners are asking themselves, and the answer will depend a great deal on your own needs. To help you find the right answer, today we want to present some of the challenges and solutions we work with on a regular basis…
Specialized Apps and Plug-ins
Sometimes, business owners fret because the software they really need to solve a specific problem simply doesn’t exist. It might be that they have a desire for an unusual application, or that they need a plug-in to add extra features or functions to an existing product.
In either case, custom development can be the perfect answer. A good programming team will help you add on to the apps you’re already using, or if that’s not possible, to design what you need from scratch.
Data Monitoring and Reporting
It’s no secret that better data reporting – a.k.a. business intelligence – can give you a real competitive edge. The more you know about customers, expenses, and market trends, the easier it is for you to make the right plans and investments.
Unfortunately, while it’s easier than ever to gather data, aggregating it and deciphering thousands of points of information can be difficult. That’s where a custom app can make an enormous difference and lead to better decision-making at every level of your company.
Any business owner will agree that keeping one eye on the bottom line is an important part of the job. But, how do you keep track of things like inventory, employee hours, and energy costs… not to mention hundreds or thousands of small customer transactions?
The answer for many of our clients is to use specialized financial reporting apps that work as standalone solutions or extensions of existing software products. They let business owners get the detailed financial insights they need, updated continuously in real-time.
Document Storage and Delivery
In certain types of businesses and industries, document storage and retrieval can be an enormous challenge. For instance, some of the medical care providers we work with don’t just have to store charts, prescriptions, and insurance records, but also have to do so in a way that complies with HIPAA guidelines.
Luckily, we can build custom software solutions that don’t just make it easy to save, store, and back up important documents, but also to retrieve them by searching criteria like dates and keywords. That can be a huge time-saver for a busy professional.
Contact our team today to let us create custom solutions that are tailored to your small business.
Eager to read more? WebRevelation will take a break from blogging on November 22nd as we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, but the continuation of this article can be viewed on Thursday, November 29th.
This is a continuation from the blog article posted on Thursday, November 1, which discussed the need for custom software development and programming to streamline the order and fulfillment process. You can read it here.
You’ll Get Tighter Inventory Control
With custom programming, you can more accurately forecast future sales and keep better track of what you have in your inventory. That means fewer lost items and orders, better order fulfillment (see above), and even fewer products lost to theft or breakage.
Depending on what you sell, inventory control can be an enormously pressing challenge. Many of the business owners who initially come to us admit they don’t actually know exactly how much product they have on hand to sell or how quickly they could replenish their inventory if needed. In those situations, developing custom apps that yield the proper insights can become a huge priority.
In today’s B2B e-commerce world it pays to automate inventory. You want figures adjusted automatically after purchases, returns, and deliveries. Most of all, you want to save money on orders for manufacturers by knowing what’s sitting in your warehouse at any given moment.
CRM Apps Build Better Buyer Relationships
Although we have focused on the technical and back-end aspects of custom app development so far, some of your biggest gains could be realized through more efficient marketing, increased repeat orders, and stronger customer service. That’s because you can use programming to improve or replace existing CRM solutions and build better buyer relationships in the process.
Some businesses are really embracing the overlap between artificial intelligence and buyer engagement. It’s not hard to see how software that allows you to track customer interactions, tailor your marketing, or zero in on smarter pricing strategies could boost sales. And, when you’re able to automate things like regular purchases and returns you can entice customers to place bigger and more frequent orders.
CRM apps can take many different shapes and forms and can be integrated with other pieces of software you already use. You can even use them in tandem with mobile devices to make purchasing your products convenient for your best customers.
Better Info Means More Detailed Reporting
One side effect of getting the custom app you need to run your B2B e-commerce company is that you’ll get immediate access to more (and more accurate) information. You’ll have a better idea of where orders are coming in from, what you have in inventory, which buyers have the most valuable accounts, and how much time and money you're spending on fulfillment. Those are just obvious examples; you could get all kinds of insights in other areas of your business, too.
These are the nuts and bolts benefits that allow you to grow your bottom line for years to come. However, you can’t realize them until you stop relying on the generic software your competitors use and give custom programming a try.
Ready to Put Custom Programming to Use in Your B2B E-commerce Business?
We have seen time and time again that the owners of B2B e-commerce businesses tend to get very excited when they understand the possibilities presented by custom app programming. However, we can’t give you personalized recommendations through an article. To see what kinds of benefits and possibilities are out there, you have to take the first step to learn more.
Contact the WebRevelation team today so we can schedule a no-obligation consultation and talk about the goals you would like to meet. You might just come away from our meeting amazed at what we can do to help your company make the next leap forward.
This is part 1 of a 2-part article highlighting the cohesiveness of custom app development and B2B e-commerce and the role they play in your business. Part 2 can be found here.
It takes a lot to build a successful e-commerce business in any market or environment. However, B2B e-commerce offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
On the one hand, the market for B2B e-commerce is enormous and growing. Virtually any kind of company is going to have to rely on other companies to provide important products and services. Like anything else, these can be sold more profitably and efficiently via the web. Additionally, having the ability to place orders online adds a layer of convenience for business owners that might be pressed for time.
On the other hand, though, marketing and selling to businesses is a different proposition than providing products to consumers. People think differently when they are making purchases for a business. The sales tend to be more significant and complex, leading to more research and a higher number of interactions needed to close a deal. And, let’s not forget that virtually all B2B e-commerce markets are flooded with competitors.
Smart business owners don’t worry about these challenges. Instead, they use innovative tools like custom app development to innovate and stay one step ahead of their colleagues. In today’s article, we want to look at some of the reasons you might work with a company like ours to develop specialized apps for your B2B e-commerce business.
B2B E-commerce Demands Custom Solutions
When you’re selling directly to consumers you only have to meet a demand or solve a problem with your products. In a B2B setting, though, there aren’t just buyer needs and budget factors to consider – there are also a number of logistical terms that have to be met.
For example, what you sell might have a direct impact on your customer’s supply chain, their ability to operate effectively, or even whether they can deliver what’s needed to their customers. In that case, speed, efficiency, and cost controls might take on new importance. Or, there could be stringent industry and regulatory guidelines that have to be met for your products to work as intended.
Because of the complexities involved, B2B e-commerce demands custom solutions. Why sell your products using off-the-shelf software when your buyers need something more specific?
With Programming You Can Streamline Orders and Fulfillment
Fast fulfillment and delivery are crucial for the success of any online retailer, but it takes on a different level of importance when you’re dealing with B2B e-commerce. For all of the reasons we’ve already given, you simply can’t afford to lose track of shipments or have orders delayed.
Custom app development can be used to streamline the fulfillment process, saving you time and money with every order that comes through the pipeline. Using automated tools, you can move every purchase from a warehouse or production facility to a wholesaler and buyer in less time than ever before. And, you can track that movement with live updates so the progress can be monitored by both you and your customers.
Many B2B e-commerce companies suffer from fulfillment problems that cost them tens of thousands of dollars per year. That wouldn’t happen nearly as often if they were aware of how easy it is to get the smarter tools they need.
The continuation of this article will be posted on Thursday, November 8th.
Are you looking to streamline your E-commerce business? WebRevelation can help take your business to the next level. Contact us today so we can discuss your needs.
Below is the continuation of last week's blog post, which can be read here. Read below as we lay out the final steps of Creating the Future with Custom Software.
Do Away With Repetitive Data Entry
If you or one of your employees is in the habit of routinely entering large amounts of data into a spreadsheet or database then you have a striking need for software development whether you realize it or not. Custom apps can do many things, perhaps none so important as automating the task of data entry.
Not only will using specialized software to collect data or integrate different tools together save you lots of time (or employee hours), but it can also greatly improve your accuracy. That’s because a stable app isn’t going to make mistakes, whereas a human would. Additionally, you can get access to more data than you had before if you’re collecting it in a way that doesn’t require your time.
Find Improvement at the Margins
If you like the idea of having more data with custom software, then you’ll love the possibilities that present themselves when you can take advantage of advanced reporting in real-time. This is one of the areas where our clients typically find they can make huge bottom-line improvements.
There are likely to be many different areas of your company where you could save a lot of money if you only had better information. Imagine what you could do with inventory, scheduling, pricing, and marketing if you always knew where your time and money was going, or which activities were generating the highest ROI. That’s an underrated component of having a software solution that’s designed specifically for your company.
Planning ahead is all about envisioning certain outcomes and then making sure you can achieve them. However, things often seem “cloudy” when you’re dealing with an incomplete picture or several different unknowns. By using custom software you can help firm up plans and ideas even if you don’t know exactly what the future will hold.
Integrate New or Existing Technology
New technology is coming out all the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your various apps and devices are going to play well together. Or, for that matter, that they are going to work with the hardware and software you have relied upon to run your business in the past.
What’s the point of spending money on servers, mobile devices, or new apps if they are going to create more headaches than they take away? Custom programming can be an important bridge that brings together existing technology, new products you want to invest in, and your business goals. It can help you get more from every dollar you spend while improving productivity and can even make your data more secure.
Want More Information Tailored to Your Situation?
You don’t have to guess or wonder how custom software development could help you run a sharper business. At WebRevelation, we offer all new prospective clients a free consultation. That’s your chance to get expert advice on exactly how an experienced programming team can save you money, along with what it will take to bring your project to life.
If you want real answers to the questions you have about making technology work for your company, contact us today!
This is part 1 of a 2-part series. The first part of this article can now be viewed here.
It has often been said that in the world of business, the best way to predict the future is to simply create it. In other words, if you set a tone and generate a solid plan, you are much more likely to get the outcomes you’re looking for, or at the very least, not be surprised by changes that are building on the horizon.
We think this is a good philosophy and one that applies especially well to the world of custom software designed for businesses. That’s because our best clients look ahead and think about the kinds of situations they want to enjoy rather than simply reacting to what might be happening around them.
Wondering how this works in the real world, or how it could benefit your business? Let’s look at a handful of common uses for software development.
In the same way, smart business owners and executives can also use custom software to make their businesses more scalable on the other end of the spectrum. That is, they can maintain the same kinds of processes when things are booming and when they have the need to scale back. That’s a good way to control costs and ensure the business is always profitable.
Get Industry or Business-Specific Solutions
Often, we meet with business leaders who rely on generic software solutions – like CRM’s, accounting tools, and project management applications, for instance – simply because they don’t know they have other choices. However, your industry and business might not be like others, so why not use something that’s designed specifically for what you need?
More and more, managing a smart marketing strategy means zeroing in on specific groups of buyers, controlling costs, and keeping close track of customer and prospect interactions. These are tasks that are best handled by custom software applications.
As we’ve already mentioned, software works best when it has been tailored to a specific company, situation, and use. That’s especially true with regards to marketing, where every contact, expense, and campaign need to be watched closely. That makes custom software the perfect solution.
The continuation of this article will be available on Thursday, October 25th.
WebRevelation has over a decade of experience with building custom software to help business excel. Contact WebRevelation today for a free quote.
This is a continuation of last week's article, Could Custom Manufacturing Software Development Make Your Business Run More Smoothly?, which can be found here.
Below we highlight a few of the ways you can use the power of programming to give your bottom line a push in the right direction.
Find Hidden Cost Savings
If there is one thing virtually every manufacturer on the planet has in common, it’s that they are all trying to identify and cut out unnecessary costs. Once the most obvious expenses have been eliminated, though, you need the kind of insights you can’t get from simply taking a walk across a factory floor.
In the past, our clients have used specialized software to optimize employee schedules, save money on shipments, reduce fuel and energy costs, identify cost savings with raw materials, and even find better pricing margins when dealing with retailers. Are there parts of your manufacturing business that are costing you more money than they should?
Bring Customers, Suppliers, and Departments Together
No matter how much you automate your manufacturing business you’ll still have to stay in constant contact with employees, vendors, and even customers. With the right custom software solution, you can integrate numerous different apps and devices together into a seamless network that takes many of your most pressing headaches away.
Imagine being able to reach out to a company that provides key inputs and tracking of incoming shipments. Or, think about what it would be like to be able to communicate directly with a driver or warehouse manager. Imagine being able to send a signal down to the factory floor at a moment's notice, or to reach out to an employee to let them know about an impending schedule shift. Now imagine being able to do all of these things from one single platform and interface.
Communications tools are everywhere, but manufacturers need solutions that work inside the framework of proprietary applications. With custom software you can watch inventory, finances, and a lot more, all while having the option of managing communications from one hub.
It’s easy to forget that communication is a two-way street. Just as you need to be able to reach everyone involved in your supply chain, it’s just as crucial that certain people – like supervisors, sales reps, and wholesalers – have the ability to stay in touch with you, as well.
By developing custom apps that tie into mobile devices and workstations, you can make it more convenient for others to keep you in the loop. That can translate directly into more sales, fewer returns, and better service. It also helps you to develop and maintain strong relationships with the people you depend on.
Manufacturers can use mobile apps for inventory, reporting, CRM's and marketing, or even pricing and presentations. Doesn’t it make sense to give your employees, vendors, and customers the tools and data they need to work with you right at their fingertips?
Want to Learn More About Custom Manufacturing Software?
At WebRevelation, we combine decades of programming experience and business know-how to help our clients achieve the extraordinary. If your manufacturing business could be using technology to get ahead, rather than just keeping up, you should schedule a free consultation with our team today.
Why not reach out so we can show you how custom software development can make an immediate and measurable difference in your manufacturing business? It only takes a moment to contact us, and it could turn out to be the best decision you ever make for your company.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series. The second part of this article can now be viewed here.
Running a successful manufacturing business isn’t just about having the right products or a steady supply chain, it’s also about ensuring you are as lean, mean, and efficient as you possibly can be. In a world where automation, instant price adjustments, and overseas competition are all factors to consider, no manufacturer can afford to have waste in their budget or production strategy.
As good as you and your team might be at sniffing out extra dollars and hours, though, you can’t spot every problem area on your own. And, you certainly can’t pour through endless reams of data in real time without help. That’s where custom manufacturing software comes into play.
Across the country, and the world, manufacturers are turning to custom design firms like ours for solutions that can help them organize data and get an edge on the competition. Today, we want to highlight just a few of the ways you can use the power of programming to give your bottom line a push in the right direction.
Monitor Your Machines
Does your production line depend on the use of complex machinery? If so, you should have custom maps and software that monitor things like heat, wear, and maintenance. Additionally, you might want to analyze environmental factors such as humidity or electrical output.
Having these kinds of computerized solutions in place can speed up production. Perhaps more importantly, they can help you identify any pressing issues that might lead to bigger problems (like breakdowns or broken parts). You can use automated systems to monitor every aspect of your machinery while getting more precise readings than you would from a human operator.
Given the high costs associated with a halt in production – not to mention the large expenses that come with replacing manufacturing machinery or opting for emergency repairs – using special software tools to keep an eye on your most valuable physical assets could be considered common sense.
Get Insights with Smart Data
Manufacturers rely on all kinds of data to keep their businesses running. In addition to available inventory and supply inputs, you probably track things like currency exchange rates, delivery times, fuel prices, employee schedules, machine maintenance costs, and so much more.
The problem with all of this data is that it comes to you continuously, and often in formats that are difficult to digest and interpret. With the right custom software package in place, however, you can automate data collection and reporting so you always know what’s happening in real-time. You can also eliminate the kinds of inaccuracies that are bound to pop up when you have employees entering data manually into spreadsheets and databases.
Read more in next week's continuation of this custom manufacturing software development article.
Are you looking for someone to help take your manufacturing business to the next level? You've come to the right place! WebRevelation is happy to discuss your needs with you. Contact us today!
Mental health is a hot topic in our society. While once considered a taboo subject, physicians, lawmakers, and even journalists are all stressing the fact that cognitive and emotional health are just as important as physical well-being.
As awareness around the various aspects of mental health has improved, so too have the capabilities of software developers serving hospitals and care facilities. Companies like ours are coming up with tailored applications that can help our clients provide a higher standard of care, streamline tasks like billing and scheduling, and even monitor patient beds, pharmaceutical inventory levels, and so much more.
More and more administrators are looking for custom software development that can help them work and compete in this growing field. Today, we want to point out some of the ways you can use software programming to improve your mental health care practice.
Identifying Mental Health Needs
Nearly any form of mental illness is easier to treat if it is diagnosed in the early stages. Unfortunately, most patients don’t seek help until their symptoms become severe enough to affect their lives in important ways. Additionally, primary care providers might not always connect physical symptoms to mental illness or may fail to report them consistently from one visit to the next. Each of these makes it less likely that a person suffering from a psychological disorder will get the care and assistance they need.
With the appropriate software solutions in place, however, physicians can use keywords, symptom searches, and notes from nurses, physician's assistants, and even primary care doctors to better assess the likelihood of mental illness. That means increased chances to catch problems before they've progressed to the point where they could be more difficult to treat. In that way, custom programming can lead to better outcomes for patients and mental health care providers alike.
Providing a Higher Standard of Care
Even when mental illnesses are properly detected and diagnosed, problems of data collection and aggregation may contribute to lapses and mistakes. For example, two physicians might observe similar symptoms and complaints, but if their reports are worded differently, there is a chance the correlation could be missed. Additionally, it can be difficult for those who suffer from mental disorders to properly self-report what they are feeling, or to ignore thoughts or symptoms that don’t seem to be connected to their mental illness.
By giving mental health care providers more in-depth tools and smarter record-keeping solutions, these kinds of errors and oversights can be made far less common. Additionally, they can take away the challenges that might exist when staff exhibit a bias against certain individuals and illnesses, or have trouble communicating with a patient who may speak a foreign language.
Maintaining a high and consistent level of care is always a priority in the world of mental health, and that mission is immeasurably simpler when you and your team have the right diagnostic and reporting tools to work with.
Reducing Delays in Treatment
Speed and efficiency are important aspects of caring for the mentally ill, particularly when an individual may be experiencing extreme stress, delusions, or even suicidal ideations. In those instances, having access to rapid answers for testing, reporting and diagnosis can literally save lives.
Custom apps can help mental health providers meet all of these challenges. With the right software qualified professionals can expedite evaluations so challenges can be assessed quickly. They can also use integrated tools to record observations or look into a patient’s medical history without delay. And of course, better data collection can make it easier to focus on a treatment plan that mitigates symptoms and reduces the danger to a patient, the staff members caring for them, and others in or around the facility.
Following the Latest Mental Health Care Standards
The science of medicine is constantly moving forward, particularly when it comes to the evolving field of mental health. It’s up to professionals to maintain a working knowledge of the latest studies and methods and to check up on patients who may experience intermittent issues or require follow-up observation.
Using the right software, a mental health facility can integrate things like ongoing training and document delivery for continued learning. These tools can make the otherwise-overwhelming task of researching pharmaceuticals or journal articles much simpler.
Additionally, physicians and staff can use custom apps to interact with those they care for even while they are away from the office or facility. For example, they could let patients or their caregivers submit regular assessments, assess themselves with cognitive tests, monitor side effects, and even rate their own progress while using specific medications and treatments.
Manage Prescriptions and Treatments
It can be difficult for mental health care providers to issue prescriptions and therapies while at the same time watching for harmful interactions and unwanted side effects. With the right custom maps in place, however, they can use updated software to double check for errors and inconsistencies.
This reduces the time burden placed on a physician or caregiver, of course, and leads to a higher standard of care while taking away obvious risks. This is especially pertinent in situations where a patient might have a need for multiple medications, some of which may be unrelated to the mental illness they are seeking treatment for.
In the same way, integrated software solutions can help with insurance, billing, and paperwork like discharge reports. In other words, you could get everything you need to run your practice more smoothly, deliver better care to the people you see, and maintain a healthier bottom line. Why not let technology take over some of the hard work that is needed in today’s mental health field?
Looking for Custom Mental Health Software Solutions?
At WebRevelation, we believe a piece of custom software is only as valuable as the outcomes it produces for our clients. With many years of experience in institutional programming – including medical services projects and HIPAA compliant applications – we know what it takes to find stable, efficient, and cost-effective solutions to the challenges you face.
WebRevelation can help you with your custom software development needs. Give us a call at 817-283-3324 today or complete a contact form and we will be happy to discuss and create a plan of action that's right for your business.
This is a continuation of the blog post "Bringing Management On Board With Your Software Upgrade". You can read part 1 here.
Use Apples-to-Apples Comparisons
If the executive or business owner you are working with isn’t a technical person or someone who uses the software in question every day, they may not understand the real-world benefits of what you’re proposing. You can help them by showing off a few apples-to-apples comparisons that focus on bottom-line benefits.
For example, software development can seem expensive until you relate it to the expense of buying a new vehicle, upgrading HVAC in a building, or writing off unsalable inventory. If you get a manager thinking in those terms, and comparing the benefits they would get from a similar expense in another department, they may begin to view your request in a new light.
Point Towards Outcomes
As we have already noted, the need for an upgraded software package isn’t always obvious to someone who isn’t using the application themselves. So, rather than pointing out all of the things that are wrong with your current solution, look for ways that you and your coworkers can improve your performance by making an improvement.
In many cases, explaining the benefits of a software upgrade means talking about time – time that is spent doing manual data entry or generating reports, time wasted while waiting for tasks to complete, and so on. The more time you’re spending, the more money you’re burning. Make that case to your manager so they can sense an opportunity to generate a profit rather than an expense.
Find the Free Money
Although many of our new clients don’t realize it, there are situations where businesses of all sizes can take advantage of federal grants to invest in software upgrades. In fact, the U.S. government has a special incentive fund, dubbed the Small Business Innovation Research Program, set aside specifically for this purpose.
Depending on what industry you work in, there is a chance you could use public money to upgrade your software and compete with bigger businesses domestically and abroad. Naturally, the availability of open grants can make it much easier to win approval for your project from a business owner or executive.
Appeal to Common Sense
In many situations, software is the biggest and most important tool the team will use in their daily work. It’s the computerized version of hammers and nails. While a business owner or executive might not grasp the exact shortcomings of the solutions already in place, they may understand if you simply explain that you need to modernize an application because it’s slowing you down or stopping you from meeting other objectives.
Often, the costs associated with software development are small compared to what it would take to improve a company in other areas. So, by appealing to basic business sense you might be able to nudge a reluctant decision-maker forward.
Want Help Understanding the Software Development Process?
You don’t have to make the case for upgrading your company’s software on your own. In fact, our team of experienced programmers can help you find the numbers, benefits, and fine print details you’re looking for.
If you feel like your business might be able to benefit from a software upgrade in the near future, contact WebRevelation today. We will make sure you understand everything you need to know to explain your idea to management or take the first steps forward.
This is part 1 of a 2-part blog post. The continuation of this article can now be viewed here.
Get the feeling you need to upgrade or replace the software your team uses to complete important tasks? You know the signs: the applications don’t do everything they’re supposed to, look outdated, crash frequently, or fail to generate the data and reports you need. You may even suspect your current software package creates more work than it eliminates.
When you’re facing those kinds of frustrations it might be obvious to everyone that your software needs to be upgraded. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your management team is going to see it similarly or that they’ll approve the investment in a new software development project. So, how can you get them to see the light?
The first step is to realize the situation we’re describing isn’t unusual. We have seen it play out again and again over many years of working with custom software development. The people you work for may or may not be aware of the issues you are facing. Even if they are, it may not be enough for them to take action. After all, they have other priorities (like the expense of an upgrade vs. dozens of other bottom-line considerations) that have to be factored. Maybe that’s why so many frontline employees and managers are afraid to even broach the topic of software upgrades and development with business owners and executives.
However, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away, and your odds of getting the tools you need to do your job might be better than you think, provided you follow the right approach. In this article, we’re going to show you exactly how you can persuade management to invest in custom software for your company. Let’s start with making sure you’re speaking the right language.
Explain the Problem in Numbers
Managers and business owners know they can’t afford to invest in everything they would want for themselves, their companies, or their employees. They constantly have to weigh the costs and benefits of each buying decision to see how it might pay off in the long run.
You can help them to come to the right conclusions by attaching specific numbers to the “hidden” expenses associated with using an outdated software package. Perhaps productivity is down, billable hours are being wasted, or sales opportunities are being missed. If so, spell out these considerations – along with firm figures or estimates relating to their cost – so a decision-maker can see exactly how the business is being held back by the old software.
Don’t Ask For Software Upgrades Alone
It’s easy for someone in upper management to dismiss a loan request for an investment into the company, but much harder for them to ignore the issue if it comes from several individuals (or even entire governments). If others on your team or in your company are affected by software that needs to be modernized, get their help in asking for an upgrade.
Not only will the request seem more credible coming from several different people, but your colleagues might be able to offer their perspectives for a software upgrade that you hadn’t already considered.
Make a Plan Full of Details
To a busy executive or business owner, the request to undertake a new software development project can seem like something that will require a great deal of money and time. They’ll have to research vendors, find solutions, and make lots of hard choices along the way. They may have to do all of this while facing several different unknowns.
You can smooth the path to a “yes” by taking some of the legwork (and guesswork) out of the process. Find out exactly what’s involved in creating and implementing an updated application, along with concrete steps and schedules. You could even volunteer to spearhead the project so it doesn’t end up as another item on the manager’s desk.
As mentioned above, next week we will share the final steps in bringing management on board with your software upgrade. Contact us to discuss your needs.
If you have done research on Search Engine Optimization, then you’ve probably come across mentions of Google’s elusive algorithm. You won’t find a ton of detailed information about it, however, because Google keeps the specifics of their algorithm a secret and uses pretty vague language when they release updates.
PageRank contributes to the algorithm and it is one of the processes for how Google sorts the pages on their SERPs. This article will cover the recent changes made to PageRank and how to utilize it.
How PageRank Works
Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created PageRank at Stanford University. PageRank gives websites a score that measures their quality in relation to other websites. Spam-free and high-quality websites receive a higher score on PageRank. PageRank used to be widely accessible through Google’s Toolbar. After 2013, however, the metric was no longer updated. This is because the system was too easily manipulated. Since the old page ranking system was based off of the sheer quantity of outbound links to any given website, spam systems would generate fake links to boost their PageRank by forming “link farms.”
The new PageRank, whose patent was released in April 2018, bases their ranking score on a different foundation. PageRank takes trusted websites, also called seed websites, and tracks how far away other websites are from the trusted one. Trusted sites are authoritative and spam-free web sites that serve as the starting point. The shortest length from a trusted website to your website determines what your PageRank score is. Ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? The concept is the same but with websites.
Increasing Your PageRank
PageRank doesn’t have as much weight in Google’s algorithm as it used to, but that doesn’t mean the principles of PageRank are irrelevant. One of the reasons why Google keeps their algorithm a secret is to guard against manipulation. If Google’s methods for bringing up websites on their SERPs were public, then they would be taken advantage of more often.
At the end of the day, focus on good and ethical brand building, which is the goal of all of Google’s efforts anyway. Google pays attention to who the trusted and legitimate websites are. Those websites earned their status by investing time, energy, and monetary resources into their online presence.
Want to increase your PageRank? Don’t try to cheat the system. Produce quality content on a regular basis in order to help those in your niche market. This will get you noticed and people will start linking to you. That is ethical link building. That is how to become an authoritative site. Once you become a trusted site the honest way, then you’ll stay on top despite any changes to the algorithm.
WebRevelation is here to help you and your business. Contact us today.
by Chris Leone This article by Chris Leone, from WebStrategies has been reposted with permission. As President, Chris is responsible for leading all the day-to-day operations of WebStrategies. His work has been featured on the Google Analytics and Hubspot blogs, and he’s a regular columnist for the Richmond Times Dispatch.
This article provides information that can guide you about how to budget for marketing and where to invest your marketing dollars.
Included in this article are:
How much are companies spending on marketing?
Where are marketing dollars invested offline and online?
What marketing strategies and tactics are getting results?
The answers to these questions come from a few reliable sources:
an annual survey of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) from a variety of industry sectors and firm sizes
a leading research group report about interactive (digital/online) marketing trends and predictions
First, a look at how marketing budgets are changing.
For eight consecutive years, top marketers were asked how their marketing spend was expected to change in the upcoming year.
Since 2009, marketing budgets remained relatively consistent or increased compared to the previous year for the majority of participants.
With no evidence to suggest this trend will change, 2018 marketing budgets are expected to remain consistent with 2017 levels or increase.
The report above from cmosurvey.org shows a slight slow-down in the rate of increase in marketing spend after a large jump in early 2017. The largest increase in projected marketing spend occurred shortly after the recession of the late 2000’s, but continues to fluctuate between 4 and 10%.
Marketing budgets as a percent of the overall firm budget has remained even more consistent, as shown in the chart below. On average, marketing budgets make up 11.4% of total company budgets, with some variation depending on the industry and who they're marketing to. Not surprisingly, those companies in the B2C product space allocate the largest portion of their total budget to marketing, averaging 13.4%.
Marketing spending as a percentage of revenue tends to fluctuate, but has trended down slightly in the past few years, with the highest percentage again coming from B2C product companies followed by B2C services.
The chart below shows the wide variation by industry in marketing budget as a percent of total revenue.
One of the difficulties in providing a general budget recommendation is that not all companies are consistent with what they include in their marketing budget. While some companies include any marketing, and even sales related expenses, others would categorize some of those expenses separately as a part of their total budget. The chart below illustrates these inconsistencies, and shows the marketing expenses most commonly included.
How To Allocate Marketing Budgets Across Channels
The next question to answer is how to allocate marketing budgets across channels – offline and online - and how to spread the online investment across the various online/digital channels.
Reports from Forrester Research and eMarketer show the estimated allocation of marketing funds offline vs. online and across the digital channels.
Here are some conclusions from that report:
In 2018, the average firm was expected to allocate 41% of their marketing budget to online, and this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020
Search engine marketing will capture the largest share of online spend with online display (banner ads, online video, etc.) taking the second largest share
Online video will represent the highest growth category, with the anticipated investment more than doubling 2016 numbers by 2021.
Social media advertising investments will continue to grow, with a 17% compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2021, and is expected to represent 25% of total online spending in 2018.
Mobile marketing has grown to a point that it’s no longer tracked in the forecast and it’s presumed to be considered across all channels
Digital marketing is pacing at an 11% compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 2021 with the biggest growth occurring in online video.
Investment in paid search, display advertising, social media advertising, online video advertising and email marketing is predicted to account for 46% of all advertising by 2021.
Conclusions from the 2014 report (for comparison):
29% of a marketing budget was allocated to online/digital channels
Search engine marketing (SEO & SEM) captured the largest share of online spend at 47% or about 14% of the firm’s total marketing budget
Online display advertising (banner ads, remarketing & retargeting) captured the next biggest share of the online spend at about 34% of total online spend and about 10% of the total marketing budget
Social media investments were estimated at 6% of total online spend and a bit less than 2% of the total marketing budget
Mobile garnered about 10% of the total digital marketing budget and slightly less than 3% of the total marketing budget.
The chart below shows strong increases in digital channel investment. At least half of all respondents planned to increase spending on social media marketing, content marketing, personalization, video advertising, and online lead generation.
Traditional channels did not fare nearly as well. Print, radio, and television were expected to see a net decrease in total marketing investments.
Once again, these are averages.
How marketing funds are ultimately allocated is driven by the nature of the business, the competitive marketplace, and how target customers behave through the buying funnel.
Which Marketing Strategies & Tactics Are Getting The Best Results?
In a recent survey of 2,500 digital marketers, respondents reported on what marketing activities generated the best ROI.
Email marketing still leads the way with the highest percentage of Excellent and Good ROI results reported, with social media marketing following closely behind.
Marketing technologies and automation are proving effective at bringing together the most effective marketing tactics (email marketing, organic search, social media marketing and content marketing) to achieve better results.
Which Social Media Channels Should I Invest In?
An August 2016 report from eMarketer attempts to project social media penetration by social platform through 2020.
While there are no direct investment assessments associated with this particular study, it does show noteworthy trends among the major social channels.
Facebook is expected to remain king, with 90% of social media users utilizing the platform. Instagram is expected to grow, from 32% penetration to 47% by 2020.
Other social channels with baked in advertising features, such as Pinterest and Twitter, will continue to have relatively low penetration, peeking around 33% of users by 2020.
This data suggests an emphasis should be made on Facebook and Instagram channels for social advertising.
Expected Changes In Digital Platform Investments
In a 2017 report from Hanapin Marketing, 75% of respondents expect to increase their Google Adwords investments in the next 12 months (more than any other digital channel). Facebook, which has become a respectable competitor to paid search, expects to see increased investments by 71% of respondents.
Instagram and Twitter, by comparison, expect to see increased investments from less than half of respondents (46% and 21% respectfully). Snapchat, which has a greener ad platform, was at the bottom of the list, with only 15% of respondents expecting to increase investments into 2018.
This report bodes well for "digital traditionalists," who continue advocating the importance of search over social channels.
Changes in Traditional Versus Digital Marketing Spend
This chart, also from cmosurvey.org, shows the sharp contrast between digital growth and offline decline.
For a half decade, investments in traditional advertising have consistently dropped by single digit percentages each year.
Digital marketing spend, by comparison, has consistently grown by double digit increments year after year.
This means businesses are shifting their marketing spend.
What used to be spent on radio, television, and newspaper is now being spent on search, email, and social.
This trend is expected to continue for the next several years.
The chart below from eMarketer projects the following: “In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media ad spending in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending in 2017 will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending.”
This marks the first time in history digital spend surpassed TV ad spend in the US.
And the gap will only widen—by 2020, digital spend will surpass television by 36%.
Percentage Of Marketing Budget Spent On Digital
Digital spend is only a portion of total marketing spend for most businesses. For 50% of businesses surveyed, digital represents less than 40% of total marketing spend.
Businesses who rely more heavily on the internet to generate sales (e.g. an ecommerce business), invest a greater percentage of their marketing budget towards digital.
For more traditional businesses, which rely on offline AND online activity to fill the sales funnel, a healthy mix of marketing investment is to be expected.
"Jack of all trades, master of none" is a figure of speech used when people try to do everything and end up spreading themselves thin so they are not actually an expert on anything. A common temptation for website owners is to appeal to the masses and appear on as many SERPs as possible. Keyword stuffing is a SEO campaign mistake and has the goal of being listed in the most number of searches as possible. Relevance is important to search engines, but a significant contributor that is often forgotten about is authority.
What is Authority?
Authority is the level of trust search engines attribute to websites. We’re not talking trust in the sense of avoiding fraudulent websites and boosting security, but trust in the sense of community-approved brands. There are two types of authority: domain authority and page authority. Domain authority refers to the trust granted to an entire website, and page authority is reserved for individual pages within the websites.
Authority is different from relevance. Relevance asks the question, “Does this site’s content match the user’s query?” Authority asks the question, “Is this site well-known enough to send the user to it?” Sometimes it seems like authority is just a popularity contest. While that is certainly true to some extent, search engines determine authority in many different avenues.
How is Authority Determined?
In the past, links were the main variable in authority. To put it plainly, authority is the fruit of link building. While link building is still vital, links are no longer the only determining factor in a site’s authority. Search engines take the content of a website into account when scanning for trustworthiness. The quality of your content is also important for generating more buzz about your brand.
Instead of being an expert in everything, the emerging idea of topical authority refers to the practice of working toward the goal of being the absolute best in your particular niche. Take Walmart and Tiffany & Co. for example. Walmart sells just about any type of product you could need on a regular basis. Tiffany and Co. is just known for their luxury jewelry. While Walmart offers a variety of items that people like to buy, they don’t offer the absolute best in anything. When someone wants to buy a piece of fine jewelry for someone special they don’t think, “I have to go to Walmart for this!” It’s nothing against Walmart, it’s just the fact that smaller and more niche-focused shops are able to specialize in particular products and excel in them.
Prioritizing topical authority and social media go hand-in-hand in playing a huge role in who is talking about your brand. People are more likely to mention an article or a website that offers a fresh and new perspective or insight into the market they care about compared to a generalized statement that isn’t specific enough to relate to.
Another factor in authority exists in the genetics of your website. You will have greater authority if your website has better optimization. If your website caters to mobile devices, if it loads quickly, has an organized structure to it, and does not host broken links to name a few. Your website’s SEO authority might be suffering if it does not meet this standards. Be sure that you are aware of how to know that you need a new website.
While SEO relevance will get you on the SERPs, it only goes so far. You need to be an authoritative and trusted brand to rise to the top. WebRevelation wants to help you be a trusted and authoritative voice in your niche. We can help you optimize your website so that search engines will will send the ideal client your way. Give us a call today or fill out a contact form and we will be happy to discuss your options and a game plan.
Search Engine Optimization is not just about strategic practices within the coding of your Web page, it’s about how your page interacts with other Web pages on the Internet. The two most important ranking factors for Google are links and content. Therefore, you could say that your Web page is only as good as the sites that link to it.
Link building is the practice of boosting credibility and trust by linking within your site internally and to other sites externally. There are many shady practices that revolve around link building, which is why many website owners shy away from links altogether. This is a detrimental move for their SEO because Google values links. Link building can be done both externally and internally.
External linking happens when a website that is not part of your domain links a portion of their content to one of your Web pages. When it comes to external links, you have to earn your links over time. The desire to have numerous outside Web pages linking to your site is a big temptation on SEO campaigns. Some people attempt to buy links or generate fake Web pages to increase the amount of links they have. These tactics are highly discouraged and can result in page ranking punishments.
Before we cover a few ideas on how to generate external links, know that excellent content is at the core of link building. The biggest question for every blog post, product demonstration, and ebook should be, “Is this content the absolute best it can be?” In order for other websites to link to yours, you have to offer unique content that is trustworthy. Don’t neglect other SEO efforts for the sake of creating as many links as possible. Users must be able to find your Web page on the SERP before they can even link to it.
After you are satisfied with the quality of your content, consider being a guest blogger. If you have an established brand and have knowledge of a particular subject, write about it for a credible website. Guest blogging should never be done just to gain links to your website (don’t forget that content comes first!). Instead, write because you have knowledge to share and treat the links as the cherry on top.
Infographics are another great way to boost external links. Since it’s easier to copy an infographic and cite its source within the article than to create one on their own, website owners commonly share infographics around the Web. This is why you should create an infographic and make it accessible for others to use.
While there fewer options when it comes to linking from one page on your website to another page, internal linking helps users navigate your website and contributes to page ranking. There are right ways and wrong ways to link internally.
As a general rule, don’t go overboard with your internal links. If every other word in your article is a link to a different page on your website, then you are abusing the internal link method. In the same way, don’t add an internal link in places that are unnatural for the reader, such as links on conjunctions or on only part of the word.
Pay attention to the literal words you select to contain the link. These words are known as your anchor text, and their relevance to the page it links to can actually increase or decrease its credibility. You should also link to more than just your homepage. Since it’s generally harder for the deeper pages of your websites to earn links, share the spotlight and link to the lesser-known pages, as long as they are still relevant to the content.
Here’s a WebRevelation practice that we’ve adopted in our link building endeavors. When you link to an external Web page, be sure to adjust the link’s target in your settings so that the link opens up in a new window. When you link to an internal Web page, the link can open up in the same window. The reasoning behind this is so those who explore external links on different websites can easily return to your page in order to finish reading or shopping.
Do you ever search for something on Google and click the “Images” tab to see what might pop up? Chances are you do, and so do lots of other people. In fact, one study shows that over 26% of searches are done with Google Images. If you own an ecommerce website or visually display your services on the Web, you should enhance your photos with an SEO tool called alt attributes.
What are alt attributes?
Alt attributes are also known as alt text, alt tags, or alt descriptions. They are simply an alternate way of describing an image by showing text in the image’s place. Since search engines cannot interpret images except with what they find in the Web page’s content, alt attributes are written in the coding and give search engines a clear description of the image.
What are they used for?
You’ll also notice that when you hover your mouse over certain images (usually buttons or product images), a description of the image will appear. This is an alt attribute. The main purpose of alt attributes are for screen readers to “read” images when assisting the visually impaired. It should be every website owner’s responsibility to make sure that their content can be enjoyed by the most amount of people as possible.
Additionally, if for some reason an image cannot be displayed properly on a browser, its alt attribute will appear instead. Because search engines can better understand your Web page when they interpret its images correctly, properly formatted alt attributes boost your SEO and page ranking.
How do I use them?
Start by focusing on your Web pages that are dense with images, such as portfolios, galleries, and product pages. These pages will be harder for search engines to interpret on their own since there is less content to work with. Include keywords in your alt attributes, but don’t keyword stuff and only use them if you would actually use that word to describe the image. Keep the tag short, but include an honest description of the image.
Let’s take a look at a few examples. The “img src” is the name of the picture’s file and the text that follows “alt” is the alt attribute.
Do: img src="Crayola.jpg" alt="Crayola markers and paper on top of table"
Don’t: img src="Nature.jpg" alt="Trees and water"
Do: img src="Nature.jpg" alt="Lake water reflecting trees and cloudy skies"
Don’t: img src="Dog.jpg" alt="Cute dog"
Do: img src="Dog.jpg" alt="Yorkshire Terrier resting on carpet"
If you are unsure about alt attributes ask yourself this question, “If I read the alt attribute out loud to someone who wasn’t looking at the picture, would they be able to visualize the image and be relatively accurate?” When you can confidently answer in the positive, you have a great alt attribute.
Alt attributes are easy write and quick to incorporate into your website. For more ways to boost your SEO, check out the rest of our Understanding SEO blog series. If you’re ready to optimize your own website, WebRevelation offers professional marketing tactics to increase traffic and boost sales. Give us a call at 817-283-3324 today for a free consultation!
The next step in getting more traffic to your site is by creating meta descriptions. They are a lot like stretching before you workout: some people skip it altogether, but it actually makes a world of difference in seeing great results! In the same way that title tags are only visible on a Search Engines Result Page (SERP), meta descriptions are also written into the coding and located under the title tags.
In all ways except in length, you want your meta description to be like the introduction or prelude to a really good book: catchy, pithy, and informative but without giving away any big spoilers. Meta descriptions don’t directly impact your Web page’s rank on SERPs, but they can be the difference between someone clicking on your website or your competitor’s.
Writing Meta Descriptions
If you look around online, you’ll see that most people recommend meta descriptions no longer than 155 characters. The fear is that Google will cut off your meta descriptions if they are too long. Other websites suggest 320 characters for your meta descriptions to ensure that Google doesn’t change or edit yours for being too short (Google might also edit your description if they find a duplicate on your website, or they don’t believe it to be descriptive enough).
Whatever route you choose to take in terms of character count, verify that the first 130-150 characters of your meta description are your absolute best. Mobile users might not be able to see past that count and desktop users might not even read past that number anyway. As far as the literary mechanics go, here are some basic tips to strengthen your meta descriptions:
Focus on the buyer in terms of content and wording. If your ideal client is looking to buy a technical product, craft your words technically and give the details that cater to their interests.
Highlight what makes your product stand out from the rest. Why does the searcher need to have your product?
Match the tone of the article. Users expect to find in the Web page what they see in the meta description. False advertising, even in literary style, makes for unhappy customers.
Implementing Meta Descriptions
If the thought of adding meta descriptions to your website makes you want to curl up into a ball and cry, please don’t. Meta descriptions are not as difficult to implement for your Web pages as they may seem. Simply take a look at your Google Analytics, determine what your most popular pages are, and start adding their meta descriptions first.
Don’t send yourself into a frenzied scramble trying to add descriptions to everything. Google actually creates their own meta descriptions for pages that don’t have any. While they might not be ideal, they can cover you in the time being. This is another reason why keywords are so important. Google scans your page and pulls content from it to create the description, so having relevant keywords will benefit that process.
Your most visited Web pages and your top-selling product pages should be your first priority for crafting succinct and inviting meta descriptions. Always stretch before you workout and don’t neglect those valuable meta descriptions.
We all know how important first impressions are when meeting someone new. The same is true for first impressions on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Title tags, also known as meta tags, are what users see as the title of your page in search results. They are located within the coding and are not the same as h1 and h2 headings, as users can’t actually see title tags when they reach your website.
The five following tips are vital for enhancing your SEO. All five are easy to implement, and you can even get started today! How many are you currently putting into practice?
1. Title tags are important.
The first tip for optimizing your title tags is to make sure you’re always working to refine and improve them. While it may seem basic, you would be surprised by how many website users do not adjust their title tags. Where your page shows up on the SERPs won’t matter if the searcher doesn’t even want to click on your title tag. Where else will you also see your title tags? They appear on social media posts that link to your page. You definitely won’t get clicks from social media if your title tag isn’t appealing. Google checks to see if your title tag actually describes your page and if it’s relevant to what people are searching for. If it’s not, Google might edit your title tag to better describe your website.
2. Use keywords.
After you find the perfect keywords for your Web page, you should include them within your title tags. Because search engines value keywords, failing to incorporate them in your title tags can be harmful to your SEO efforts. If you researched successfully for valuable keywords, then you will reap the benefit of that by placing them in your title tags.
3. Intrigue but don’t reveal.
Your title tag needs to entice the user to click on your post, but don’t give everything away. If you reveal the main point of your article in the title tag, then there is no reason for your audience to read it. There are many ways to craft catchy titles. Use strong and descriptive words and focus on your audience.
4. Avoid the click bait temptation.
While it is easy to cut corners and do whatever you can to boost your clicks, just don’t do it. You’ll only increase your bounce rate if users land on your page expecting what the title promised and getting something entirely different. Sending out click bait also hurts your image as a company. Once you’ve wronged a user once, they’ll have a hard time ever trusting you again. Keep it honest and your reputable reputation will reward you later down the road.
5. Keep it short and sweet.
Google technically determines its prime length of title tags based off of pixels, but a general rule is that they start cutting off title tags on their SERPs around 50-60 characters. Even if they didn’t cut off title tags, it’s best to keep titles short. Users won’t want to read the lengthy title of something that they aren’t already invested in. Only keep the best and most incisive words in your title tags.
Title tags, though they are often overlooked, are pivotal pieces of SEO and generating more traffic. Remember the importance of first impressions and don’t neglect your title tags!
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, keywords can either make or break your marketing efforts. Keywords are defined as the words and phrases people use to search on web browsers. Of the many factors that go into where your website ranks on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), keywords are a significant contributor. Before we cover how to use keywords, let’s discuss which words are the best to use.
The Best Keywords
Do you want to improve your company’s marketing efforts? Invest in keyword research. There are many keyword research tools available, so be prepared to be patient and utilize the trial-and-error method. While it might be tempting to use generic keywords, that is not always a great move for your SEO.
Long-tailed keywords are usually longer, more specific, and generally catered to particular niches. For example, if someone is needing a late night cup of coffee, instead of searching “coffee shop,” they will probably search “coffee shop open late near me.” Research shows that 70% of the searches performed on the web use long-tailed keywords. Not only are long-tailed keywords less competitive, they also lead to more conversions. The more specific the search, the more serious the person is about buying and not simply browsing.
How to Use Keywords
Once you have done your research on which keywords to use, now it is time to figure out how to manage them strategically. Most search engines use computer programs to crawl through the Web and analyze pages. For best results, be intentional about positioning keywords in the right places and do not overuse them.
Definitely include keywords in the title of your Web page. Do note that your page title is different from your title tag, but you should use keywords in both. A title tag is the name of a page that SERPs display to the searcher. SERPs also display meta descriptions (or “snippets” as Google calls them) that are another great spot for keywords.
When it comes to the content of your page, include keywords, but be careful not to overuse them. A recommended rule of thumb is to write for people and not for the search engines. Long-tailed keywords are great for diversifying your content, and they make it easy to use synonyms. If you use a keyword too much, then you might get marked for spam. This is known as keyword stuffing, and you want to avoid it as much as possible. If you are unsure about whether or not you have used a keyword too much, try reading your content out loud a few times. If any of it sounds awkward or forced, then you should consider switching up the content.
Keywords are a wonderful and manageable step toward improving your SEO. At WebRevelation, we know that, when using long-tailed keywords, the higher position you maintain on the SERPs means the more traffic you will receive, which ultimately lead to more conversions. If you need help honing in your niche and attracting the right kind of traffic give us a call at 817-283-3324 or contact us here and we will be happy to help your business.
As previously defined, Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines measure your page’s worth in order to determine where your page ranks on their results page. Search engines use algorithms, which are predetermined mathematical equations, to crawl through the web and scan pages. Different search engines use different algorithms, and Google alone updates their algorithm around 500-600 times a year. This is why, when it comes to SEO, there is a lot of trial and error involved.
While this makes SEO seem like a moving target, you can keep three important categories in mind in order to optimize your website for search engines: quality, trust, and authority.
Quality refers to giving Google substantial content, and content that is unique. Google won’t be able to distinguish between your website and another website if you don’t clearly show how your product is unique. Stay away from copied text, automatically generated content, and lookout for user-generated spam or hacking as these decrease your quality content. Take a look at the full list of Google’s Quality Guidelines. You’ll notice that most of these guidelines are simply best practices that are easy to implement.
To increase trust, you have to prove to Google that your website is trustworthy. For example, if you have received many poor reviews about your website, then Google won’t want to show your site to their users. Your website’s trust increases when credible websites are linking to you. Additionally, make sure payments made on your website are secure. Search engines don’t want to send their searchers to a fraudulent website, so take the extra measures to display your company’s legitimacy.
For search engines to recognize your authority, you have to prove to Google that you are popular. Create published content that people want to link to. This indicates your website as an authoritative figure in your niche. Social media presence also factors into your authority, so get people talking about you. Even featuring testimonials on your website shows that you have a fanbase.
As a side note, don’t even think about trying to trick the algorithms. Cloaking refers to the malicious practice of presenting different information to users and search engines in attempts to boost SEO. Along with other practices such as link scheming and automated queries, Google penalizes websites that partake in cloaking.
It is important to remember that SEO wants to work with you and not against you. Just as you want to keep your customers happy, search engines want to keep their customers, the searchers, happy. In order to please the searchers, search engines want to provide the best results possible. This is why it is your job to show search engines that your company is what the searcher is looking for. SEO can seem overwhelming, you will know you’re heading in the right directions as long as you keep quality, trust, and authority in mind.
Have you ever been disappointed by SEO analysis tools that promised great results but didn’t deliver? If you have ever searched for ways to help your website’s SEO, then you know there are many devices that claim to offer proven results but don’t follow through. Here are five tools that you might have overlooked and that could help you in your SEO journey. The best part about these tools: they’re all free! Before you jump right into the best SEO analysis tools, make sure you understand the definitions of SEO jargon.
Even though people think they should use sources other than Google for analysis help, Google actually has a plethora of great resources to boost your SEO. Before you dig into the myriad of devices that Google offers, the best place to start is always with Google Analytics. It’s good to know the numbers of where your website is at before you make any changes. This way, you’ll be able to tangibly see if the tools you’re implementing are working. Once you’ve explored your analytics, Webmaster Tools is basically your homebase for website support and learning resources. Speed is an important factor for SEO, and PageSpeed Insights is a wonderful tool that will analyze how fast the pages on your website are loading.
2. HubSpot’s Website Grader
One of the great things about this tool is how easy and quick it is to use. HubSpot’s Website Grader literally examines your website and gives it a score. While no one likes to be graded, the mindset for using this tool is similar to why you should use Google Analytics: know where your website is at so you can track its progress.
3. Link Checking
One of the hardest parts of website maintenance is keeping track of your links. Not only is it embarrassing when you find a link on your website that is corrupted, it’s bad for your SEO. There are many free resources available that will scan your website and check for broken links. Dead link checker and W3C Validators are fast, free and easy to use.
An infographic is probably the most overlooked SEO tool that is popular and easily accessible. Because they make information easy to comprehend and appealing to look at, infographics work great for boosting your SEO. Infographics are sharable and linkable, which help with SEO. They are also great for easily bringing information about your company to smart phones. If you don’t naturally have a knack for creativity or design, not to worry! Infogram and Canva have many layouts to choose from and they make it very easy to customize.
Nothing is better than getting advice personalized to you and your website. WebRevelation offers a full range of digital marketing optimization, and your over-the-phone consultation is totally free! When creating new websites, WebRevelation ensures that your online presence will make search engines happy. If you’re in the need for a brand new website that will increase your SEO, or if you simply need advice on your current website, contact us today.
There’s nothing more frustrating than launching your new SEO campaign and seeing little to no results. If you are trying to navigate SEO on your own, or even if you hired professionals to help you out, it’s easy to get lost in the great wide web of Search Engine Optimization. Wherever you’re at on your SEO journey, it’s good to define your terms and understand what all of the jargon means. Take a look at this list of SEO-related words and their definitions so that you can stay informed in your search.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization is all about helping search engines understand what your page is about so they can better determine where the website ranks on their SERPs (which is short for Search Engine Result Page). The general goal of this process is to increase traffic to your website by utilizing different practices and making sure your website doesn’t get buried deep in the SERPs.
Keywords - The terms people use to search on web browsers. It’s important to identify these words in order to make sure SEO campaigns align with the popular keyword trends.
Title Tags - Also known as meta tags, these are what users see as the title of the search results that they click on to get to a site. They also determine the name of the tab in their window. Title tags are not necessarily located on the page itself but within the coding, and they are not to be confused with h1 and h2 headings.
Meta Descriptions - Just like title tags, meta descriptions are sentences within the coding that describe the page. Users see this description underneath the title tag when they see a website on their Google search.
Alt Attributes - Also known as alt text, alt attributes are descriptions of images and graphics to be displayed to the user when the image cannot be properly delivered in the case of an error. Alt attributes are also shown to search engines so they can differentiate between images.
Link Building - The practice of one domain linking within their site internally and externally to another domain in order to boost credibility and trust. The anchor text are the words the user can see that contain the link within them.
Authority - The level of trust search engines grant a website for each user search that depend on other credible pages linking to them.
Pagerank - This is a value between 0 and 1 given to web pages by Google’s algorithm based off of several different factors, such as authority and link building, that determines where web pages appear on the SERP. This is different from toolbar pageranks that are values between 0 and 10 and are given only during certain times throughout the year.
If you didn’t find the word you were looking for, here is an extensive glossary of SEO terms that you can peruse. While SEO may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! At WebRevelation, we will improve your SEO to ultimately increase your traffic and your company’s profits. If you want to see results by using our unique approach to SEO, contact us today.
Are your web pages not loading correctly? Are some of your websites not loading at all? While you might be in need of a more advanced network solution, a great way to troubleshoot your problems is by clearing your browser’s cache. If you have no idea what a cache is, not to worry! Keep reading to understand your browser’s cache, the importance of clearing it, and a step-by-step cache cleaning guide.
What is your browser's cache?
Each browser you use stores images and files that are used periodically in order to help load pages faster. For example, that WebRevelation logo you see at the top of the screen can be found on other pages of this website. Instead of having to download that image with each new page you click on, your browser probably has the image saved in its cache to be quickly retrieved as you explore the website. This tool is great for quick searching, but your browser’s cache might be harboring unnecessary files.
Caches are different from cookies. A cookie is a file that the web browser creates and stores on the computer, such as usernames and passwords. These are usually user-specific information that you probably use on a semi-regular basis. Caches are also different from your browser’s history which is a record of the websites that you have been to and the order that you visited them.
Why do you need to clear your cache?
While the cache can speed up the time it takes for a website to load, it’s a good idea to clear it regularly. Old cached files might prevent you from viewing the most recent version of a web page. Cookies typically expire after a certain amount of time, or when you log out of a website, but the cache only clears out its data when it gets full. This means that you could have unwanted images and files from websites you visited once and might never visit again.
How do you clear your cache?
Here is a step-by-step guide for clearing the caches on Chrome and Safari browsers. If you use a different browser, or if you’re reading from your mobile device, click here to learn how to clear your browser.
1. Click on the three vertical dots to the right of the search bar.
2. Click More Tools.
3. Click Clear Browser Data.
(For a shortcut: Hold down Shift, Command, Delete)
4. A window will pop up where you can select your desired time range and select Cached Images and Files.
5. Click Clear Data.
1. Click the Develop tab in the menu bar.
2. If you don’t see this tab, click Safari, Preferences, Advanced and make sure “Show Develop menu in menu bar” button is checked.
See, that wasn’t so bad! If you are still experiencing trouble with your website, give us a call today. WebRevelation offers free consultations for your website problems and offers solutions catered just to you.
Freedom, fireworks, and hotdogs all come to mind when thinking about the 4th of July. Each year, 80% of United States citizens attend a BBQ, picnic, or cookout to celebrate Independence Day, and almost just as many gather together with their family. With this festive holiday right around the corner, be sure to educate yourself and impress your friends with some facts you might not have known about the 4th of July.
To start off, let’s get something straight with this holiday’s origin. When you ask someone why the 4th of July is celebrated, they might describe it as the birth of the United States’ freedom which is signified by the signing of the Declaration of Independence. While this is a commonly accepted notion, it is actually false. In a letter to his wife on July 3, 1776, John Adams revealed that he wished for America’s independence to be celebrated on the 2nd of July. Here’s why:
The 4th of July actually denotes the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress and not the signing of it. Congress declared freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. They debated for the next two days over the wording, revisions, and edits to the Declaration of Independence. The main author of this document, which was intended to be the proclamation of freedom to the public, was Thomas Jefferson. It was not until August 2, 1776 that most of the delegates signed the document, and two delegates never signed at all.
You won’t be the only one grilling hot dogs this year, on the 4th of July alone, it has been reported that Americans eat 150 million hot dogs. That is enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times. Hamburgers, watermelons, and pies are also popular (and delicious!) food items that are found on the dinner table during the holiday. Food isn’t the only way to celebrate: more than 14,000 firework displays occur across the nation every year. Once the sun goes down, Americans like to light up the sky with colorful and loud explosions.
While there’s no celebrations quite like ones you will find in the U.S., there are other countries around the world that celebrate the United States’ Independence Day. From Norway to China and France to Australia, tourists and residents can be sure to find parties equipped with BBQ and the Red, White, and Blue.
No matter where in the world you might be celebrating from this 4th of July, you now have some festive trivia to share with your loved ones. Be sure to stay safe, have fun, and make sure to grab a hot dog. Although, at the rate they are being consumed in the United States, you might want to act fast!
For some business owners, establishing a consistent social media presence seems like an impossible task. How do social-media savvy companies stay up-to-date on all of their posts, while still running their business? The answer: they don’t. Well, not all on their own, at least. Hootsuiteis a social media management tool that keeps track of your social media platforms, what you want to post, and will post it for you whenever you want. If you’re brand new to Hootsuite, or if you’ve had it for years but feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth, here are five basic steps to use this platform for its maximum potential.
Step #1: Organize yourDashboard.
If your dashboard gives you anxiety when you look at it, then it’s probably because you aren’t organizing your streams in a sensible way. Hootsuite provides totally customizable dashboards, so set up for what works best for you. For a clean look, order the tabs according to your social media platforms. Instead of trying to keep all of your networks on one tab, make multiple tabs for your accounts. Just click on Streams in the navigation menu and click the add tab button in the tabs row at the top. Once you have your new tab, you can add the respective social network.
Step #2: Set up Bulk Message Uploads.
Depending on your plan, you may qualify for Bulk Message Scheduling. This feature, located in the Publisher tab, allows you to upload a file from your computer with all of theposts youwant to make, their captions, and when you want them posted. Doing this will save you a lot of time because, instead of having to compose each post individually, you can use just one file to schedule and upload them all at once.
Step #3: Try AutoSchedule.
Do you find yourself searching for something to post and choosing a random time to post it? AutoSchedule is another helpful feature that schedules posts for your account based on your settings, currently existing content, and the ideal timing for your audience. When you compose a message and click on Scheduling, you’ll see the option to turn on AutoSchedule. Adjust the settings to your preferences and prepare for automatic posts customized to you.
Step #4: Take a Course at Hootsuite Academy.
As a resource for Hootsuite users, Hootsuite Academy offers training courses for those looking to develop themselves personally and professionally. There are free and paid courses available. You can learn more about how to use the Hootsuite platform itself, or you could grow your knowledge of social media marketing. They’ve even partnered with Syracuse University to offer Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification.
Step #5: Download the Hootsuite Mobile App.
Already headed home from work and you can’t remember if you scheduled tomorrow’s posts? For iOS and Android devices, Hootsuite has an app that can do almost everything your desktop can: add new streams, post on multiple platforms at once, schedule posts for later, manage settings, respond to direct messages, and more. If you add a new item in the mobile app, it will automatically sync onto your desktop’s Hootsuite dashboard.
Always remember: there’s no point in attracting customers through social media only to have your website turn them away. Here at WebRevelation, we recognize that social media is simply a means to get potential clients to your website and your product. If your social media game is strong but your website is suffering, or you need help with online marketing, contact us today for a free consultation.
Every business owner knows that trends, products, clients, and styles are always changing. To keep up with the times, your website should adapt to these changes. While websites constantly require minor upkeep, how do you know if your website needs a total makeover? Ask yourself the following five questions. If you answer “no” to any of them, then you probably need to revamp your website.
Is your website is mobile friendly?
Just because your site looks fabulous on the desktop does not automatically mean users can painlessly maneuver it on their smartphones. Websites that haven’t joined the mobile-friendly movement are hurting themselves. The number of mobile users has been on a steady incline over the years. How do you know if your website is responsive to mobile devices? The test is simple: pull out your phone and explore your site. If images or information are squished together, or certain features don’t even work, then your site is not mobile friendly.
Is your website traffic growing?
When it comes to your website, it should help build your clientele, not harm it. Consistently check your website traffic analytics. If the growth of your company has plateaued, or worse, declined, then your website needs to be revitalized. Every feature on your website should be intentional. If it’s not, that means you’re wasting precious space that could be used to expand your reach.
Is your website easy to use?
This question is for both you and your users. Can your users seamlessly navigate your site? Can you customize your website without having to spend hours watching video demonstrations just to reformat an image? The bottom line: if your website is difficult to use, then people won’t spend time on it. If your website is difficult to edit, then you won’t want to improve it.
Does your website accurately represent your brand?
It’s important for every business to maintain consistency, even on their websites. If you are even slightly embarrassed by your out-of-date website, you need a new one. You wouldn’t let your employees misrepresent the values of your company, so why would you permit your website to do so? Innovative and forward-thinking brands should not associate with websites that look like they are from the prehistoric era.
Are you completely happy with your website?
The thing is, there is no excuse to not be totally proud of your website. If you don’t feel comfortable showing your site to friends and family, that’s a red flag. Do you sometimes cringe when you compare your website to your competitors? Do you secretly hope that your site doesn’t steer customers away from your product? If so, you absolutely need a new website.
If you know that your website needs a transformation or some minor tweaks, contact WebRevelation today for a free consultation. We offer and a variety of services to make your website mobile friendly, to increase traffic, to make it easy for you and your clients to use, and to represent your mission. You deserve to be proud of your website, so contact us today.
One of the most exciting things about launching a new business is putting your brand-new website online. However, one of the most frustrating things about putting a fresh web presence on the internet is that it can take a while for customers to notice.
Attracting web visits can be a challenge for any business. For one with no history or name recognition, though, it can seem impossible to get buyers to find the site and refer their friends.
Today, we want to share a handful of quick and easy tips you can use to get your brand-new website off to a flying start. Here is how you can get the traffic you need, and more importantly, keep it coming…
Start With an Email Blast
Your first source of website traffic will probably come from people who already know you and are excited for the launch of your new business. Chances are you won’t have to send these folks an email to alert them about your new venture, but you should do so anyway (assuming you have their opt-in permission). Not only will it remind them that you're open for customers, but they may forward your message and generate referrals from their friends and colleagues.
Run a Few Paid Ads
Some entrepreneurs dislike the idea of using paid search and social media ads, particularly at a time when marketing budgets might be low. However, you can use advertising on Facebook and Google to narrow in on your perfect customers – whether you want to sort them by location, interest, demographics, or other factors – greatly increasing your odds of making those all-important first few sales. Online advertising can be a great way to kickstart your sales and brand recognition efforts.
Boost Your Content on Social Media
It’s not a bad idea to spend a few dollars boosting your content updates and email newsletters on Facebook, given that you can often reach thousands of buyers for less than you would spend on a cup of coffee. That’s a particularly attractive proposition for new businesses that don’t have much in the way of existing web traffic or awareness within a target market. Consider boosting your content with existing fans and others who are interested in the same types of products and services.
Borrow a Targeted List
You might not have any existing web traffic, but others in your industry probably do. It goes without saying that your competitors are going to send people your way, but what about colleagues in related fields? By guest posting to their blogs, or providing some kind of special offer they can promote through their email newsletter and social media profiles, you might be able to reach thousands of potential customers or clients who might not have otherwise heard of you.
Create Repeat Visits
You can use the tips we have given you so far to bring first-time visitors to your website. Don’t forget, though, that one of your important goals is to keep them coming back again and again. You can do that by having them sign up for an email newsletter, receive coupons through social media, or giving them some sort of instant and downloadable offer. Whatever method you choose, try to give them a reason to not only return to your website soon, but to tell their friends and contacts to do the same.
Any major purchase you make for your business is going to require a bit of ongoing maintenance. You wouldn’t invest in a building or vehicle with the expectation that you could simply forget about it, so why do so many business owners overlook their websites?
Luckily, it doesn’t take a lot to keep your web presence running smoothly. However, there are a few things you’ll have to do if you want to get the most from the investment of time and money you put into getting it online the first place.
Here are five important ways you can maintain your business website and improve your return on investment…
#1 Review and Update Your Content Periodically
You should make a point of reading through your website once in a while and ensuring the content on your pages is still accurate. It’s surprisingly easy to let things like calendars, employee profiles, and product pages become outdated. When that happens, customers aren’t getting accurate information about your company, which can lead to misunderstandings and lost sales later.
#2 Make Additions to Your Business Website
As your business grows, your website should grow right along with it. You might add new pages for new locations or product groups. Or, you could put in additional employee bios as your team grows. You could also grow your site with new articles and reports that improve your credibility and bring fresh search traffic. You could even consider adding plugins that give customers and vendors the features they’ve been asking for. The important thing is that your website keeps growing month after month.
#3 Update Your Plug-ins and CMS
Most businesses rely on a content management system and a series of plug-ins to not only build a profitable business website, but keep adding new features over time. It’s important that these be updated frequently so they remain stable and secure. Additionally, you might think about replacing old plug-ins with newer ones, which can have the effect of speeding up your website while making it more valuable to users.
#4 Review Your Web Analytics Monthly
When you dig into your web analytics package it’s like you’re checking the gauges and indicators on your business website. If there is anything that might disrupt the flow of traffic to your pages, or your ability to generate conversions, it’s better to know about that sooner rather than later. Additionally, you can use the statistics from your website to optimize your marketing campaigns in addition to troubleshooting any underlying problems.
#5 Get Regular Website Audits
A website audit is simply a deep dive into the HTML beneath your layout. A web designer can use the number of tools to test things like speed, content strength, link quality, and other factors to see whether your website is visible and usable to customers. These kinds of checkups should be performed regularly (at least once a year) so you can stop any minor issues from becoming costly problems later.
Need Better Web Design or Online Marketing Advice?
Business owners and executives throughout San Antonio and Oklahoma City know the WebRevelation team because we deliver quality, service, and results. If you are thinking about taking your business to the next level, now might be the perfect time to contact us for a free consultation!
There is a common misconception within the business world that web programming – also known as custom web development – is only for huge businesses with enormous budgets. However, that’s far from the truth. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses often have the most to gain from working with a talented programming team.
In order to explain why this is the case, we usually give some concrete examples relating to e-commerce, data automation, etc. In today’s post, though, we want to take things in another direction. To show you why smart web programming helps the bottom line, let’s look at three different sides of your business that can be improved with the right custom software…
Web Programming Helps With Sales and Marketing
There are dozens of ways you can increase your revenue using custom web applications. You could automate data collection from prospects, customize your marketing campaigns at a regional or individual level, and even create add-on e-commerce opportunities with apps that upsell.
Whether you serve customers in a retail, wholesale, or business-to-business setting, there are probably parts of your website that could be improved with custom functionality. It’s amazing what a small investment of time and money in web development can bring you in terms of new sales opportunities.
You Can Use Web Programming to Keep and Serve Customers
It’s almost always more cost-effective to keep your current customers, or sell more to them, than it is to spend money finding new buyers. Luckily, this is another area where you can get more from web programming.
Imagine being able to automate things like repeat orders, shipment tracking, and customer returns. Or, think about what it would be like to have detailed information on every interaction with a buyer at your fingertips, and to be able to make decisions based on those insights. That’s the power of smart web programming, and how you can use it to improve customer retention and repeat sales.
Custom Web Development Helps You Manage Employees and Vendors
This is an area of web development a lot of business owners and executives tend to overlook. That’s because most of them are focused on adding new features that increase sales, even though they could save time and cut costs by managing employees and vendors more efficiently.
Using the right custom software you can schedule teams, manage large projects, and even allow for real-time collaboration between different groups or locations. You can also store documents, manage payroll and benefits, and identify work that is being duplicated. Those are all great ways to trim a bit of fat from your bottom line and make your business run leaner and meaner.
Want to Learn More About Web Programming?
It’s one thing to learn about the benefits of web programming, and another to realize it could help you reach the business goals you have in place. Why not contact the development team at WebRevelation today and let us show you how we can use the right tools and expertise to boost sales, lower customer service costs, and make it easier to manage your team?
You can use the internet to attract customers to your business from around the globe. As more and more marketers are discovering, however, the most cost-effective way to use your website and social media accounts is to target buyers within your own city or neighborhood.
Local online marketing is inexpensive, works quickly, and helps you build a base of customers who are likely to stay with you for years to come. Best of all, it’s easy to find local buyers if you simply follow a set of proven tips and best practices.
Let’s look at a few things you can do to boost your local online marketing starting today…
Use Local Keywords on Your Website
You probably already know that Google uses automated spiders to crawl your website and identify certain terms that match up with search queries. What you may not realize is that it will do the same thing to identify geography. So, if you use certain city or state names, neighborhoods, landmarks, or other terms related to a specific location, that makes it easier for search engines to determine where your business is located in the real world. Then, that information can be passed on to searchers.
Integrate Maps, Phone Numbers, and Driving Directions
In addition to general location-specific keywords, you’ll want to have maps, phone numbers, and driving directions on your website. If you have multiple locations, you could create separate pages with information for each store, facility, or office. That gives you more geographic content for Google to read, while at the same time increasing the odds that someone who is interested in the products or services you sell will be able to find their way to your front door.
Update Your Local Online Business Listings
Google doesn’t only rely on the information it finds on your website to determine location. That’s because it knows websites get out of date all the time. So, it pulls corroborating data from other sources like business directories, Yelp profiles, and even social media accounts. You should ensure these stay up-to-date at all times, since you’ll get a local search engine visibility boost if your contact details (like address, phone number, etc.) are consistent through each listing.
Try to Attract Positive Local Reviews
When local buyers say good things about your business on Facebook, Yelp, or Google Business, that creates more content and engagement that can lead to search traffic. It also generates a sense of positive “buzz” that encourages buyers who might have been skeptical about your company to go ahead and either buy from you or make an appointment. In that way, positive reviews both enhance your local online visibility and help you to make the most of it.
Need Help With Local Online Marketing?
At WebRevelation in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we have a team of experienced designers, marketers, and programmers who are ready to help you take your business to the next level. Whether you need help with local online marketing or large-scale web development projects, we are ready to step in. Contact us today to set up a free consultation!
If you’re a business owner or executive who cares about online marketing, you’ve undoubtedly come across some of the eye-popping statistics around mobile web usage. Smartphone and tablet users now make up the clear majority of all internet users. Google estimates that 25% of its searches originate from mobile devices. Mobile ecommerce is poised to overtake purchases from laptop and desktop computers in the near future.
These realities about the changing online landscape show up again and again. What’s missing, for a lot of decision-makers, is a sense of what to actually do about it. It’s one thing to know there are lots of customers and prospects using mobile devices, and another thing to figure out what they want from you.
So, how can you keep mobile website visitors happy? Let’s take a look at a few things we’ve learned designing websites for businesses and nonprofits over the last few years…
Your Website Needs Mobile Compatibility
This might seem like a basic and obvious point, but it’s one that a lot of business people seem to miss. If the majority of your customers (or even just a large percentage of them) are arriving through phones and tablets, then it only makes sense that your website should be accessible through these devices.
Note that you don’t have to lose your existing layout or features to be mobile-compatible. In fact, most of our clients opt for responsive web design that changes its appearance and display based on different screen sizes and platforms. With just a little bit of coding, you can create a web presence that’s accessible to all your customers.
Mobile Web Users Like Speed
It’s a known fact that today’s internet searchers and customers are a lot less patient than they used to be. That’s especially true when they are viewing your site on a small screen or a connection that isn’t coming through a cable.
If you want to hold the attention of your mobile customers then you should do everything you can to speed up the delivery of your pages. That could mean opting for faster web hosting, or it might involve optimizing images, layouts, content blocks and even plug-ins. There are a lot of ways you can speed up your site, and they’ll all help you to win more business from customers using phones and tablets.
Mobile Customers Want Interactivity
It goes without saying that your website needs to act as a sales funnel, guiding searchers through multiple questions or pieces of information until they are ready to complete a purchase, make a call, or perform some other action.
However, when it gets to that all-important conversion step, you don’t want mobile users to feel like it’s a hassle to work with you. So, you should consider replacing long forms or complicated menus with simple buying prompts or click-to-call buttons. You’ll increase your response rates with all types of buyers, and especially mobile users.
Does Your Online Marketing Strategy Work?
If you don’t have an online marketing strategy, or if you aren’t convinced the one you have is leading you in the right direction, now is a great time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team. Contact us at our offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City today. We will be happy to review your current website with you and show you how you can start getting more from the internet.
Business web design is often thought of as a wholly creative endeavor, but creating the perfect web presence isn’t just a matter of sketching out ideas until they come together. There are some fundamentals that creative teams need to pay attention to – and clients should look for – to produce a professional result.
In other words, despite what you may have heard from a freelancer or artist, a good web designer doesn’t simply “wing it” and wait for inspiration to arrive. Instead, they count on these five solid foundations of a profitable web design…
#1 The Design Reflects the Company
The first thing a good web designer will do is consider their client and project. What looks perfect for one business or situation might not be appropriate or impactful for another. No two businesses are the same, so their websites shouldn’t be identical, either. Things like customer type, location, and even marketing tone all have to factor in if you want to create the perfect design.
#2 The Layout is Easy to Understand
Today’s searchers and online customers are moving faster than ever. Studies and surveys show you have less than three seconds to impress a first-time visitor to your website before they’ll click away to one of your competitors. Knowing that, it’s crucial that a web design be easy to understand. That is, someone who is looking for answers should be able to understand who you are and what you do in the blink of an eye.
#3 There is Plenty of White Space on Each Page
Did you skip over this article and check out the bullet points before digging into the text? That’s exactly what most of your customers will do when they arrive on your website. When you have lots of white space separating blocks of content, images, and video from one another, it makes it easier for them to instantly grasp your most important selling points. It also encourages them to find the information they want as quickly as possible.
#4 Website Navigation is Simple and Straightforward
Most of the time, a visitor to your website isn’t going to start at your home page and make their way through to the topic or section they want in a straight line. In fact, some may become “lost” either because they hit the wrong link or arrived on a sub-page from a search engine or social link. If you have a clear navigation structure in place, you won’t lose those sales opportunities because it will be easy for searchers to get where they are going on your pages.
#5 The Web Design Leads to an Actionable Step
The reality is you have a website because you have business needs. That is, you’re trying to generate online sales, phone calls, in-person meetings, or other forms of activity. Your web designer needs to know what a perfect visit looks like and then structure your pages to encourage that result again and again.
Do You Need a Better Website?
If you feel like you aren’t getting the kinds of results you deserve from your existing business website, maybe now is the perfect time to talk to the experts at WebRevelation in San Antonio in Oklahoma City today. Contact us now to set up a free consultation and see how we can help!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Since we started moving our clients to agile marketing campaigns, the responses have 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.
As 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!
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…
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?
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.
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?
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!
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?
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!
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 an 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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 in 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 today.
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 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.
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.
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 today for a free consultation!
When it comes to custom software 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 custom software, 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 custom software 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 Custom Software?
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. Custom software, on the other hand, is a specific type of site (or could be made up of pages within the site).
Custom software combines different pieces of data or information to make them usable. For instance, you could use custom software for account logins, scheduling, online training, and other features. The main distinction is that custom software is interactive and draws inputs from a lot of different sources.
#2 Why Would My Organization Want or Need Custom Software?
Additionally, custom software 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, custom software is all about efficiency, better communication, and faster work.
#3 How Can We Get Quality Custom Software Development?
We could pass along a lot of knowledge when it comes to custom software 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. Custom software 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 Custom Software Development?
Of course, answering these three frequently asked questions about custom software 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 complimentary 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!
Conceptually, business owners and executives love the idea of custom software development. Who wouldn’t want an online tool that helps them save time and money while automating certain repetitive and expensive tasks?
There isn’t one answer that applies to every organization or situation, of course, but today we want to give some generalized examples of custom software 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 makes sense to let buyers handle details like memberships, recurring purchases, and shipping instructions on their own. With custom software, 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 custom software. Are there similar features you could use in your business or nonprofit?
#4 Customized E-commerce Solutions
No two stores are the same, whether they are online or off. Custom software 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 e-commerce, this kind of programming can be a real money saver.
#5 Management and Scheduling Tools
Lots of managers use custom software 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 custom software 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 custom software 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 Custom Software 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?
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.
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 custom software 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 custom software 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 Custom Software Development Team?
We firmly believe that anyone who’s looking into custom software 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 custom software 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?
Hiring a creative team to develop a custom software 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.
It goes without saying that anything you publish on the web has to be attractive. Visitors make split-second decisions about credibility, and where to spend their time, so visuals matter. However, custom software 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 custom software 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 custom software 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 custom software all the more valuable to real-life users.
#3 Rushing Custom Software 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. Custom software 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 custom software, 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 Custom Software
Your custom software 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.
Want Expert Help With Custom Software Development?
The easiest way to get the custom software 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!
Sometimes, we take meetings with business owners and executives who have heard about custom software 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 custom software 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 Custom Software Development All About?
When we talk about custom software 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 custom software that allows for scheduling different groups in an event space. Or, you could have custom software that takes customers to their accounts, or one that allows managers to schedule training for employees.
Once you look at custom software development in this light, the big reasons it matters so much to businesses come clearly into focus.
Custom Software 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 custom software 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.
Custom Software Development Isn’t a Self-Guided Solution
It’s one thing to grasp the concepts behind custom software 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 custom software 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.
How to Learn More About Custom Software Development
Want to know more about custom software 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.
As with backup planning and cloud computing, the magic of great custom software – 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 custom software 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 great custom software …
A Clear Business Purpose
You aren’t going to create custom software for fun, and developing an 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 custom software 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 custom software 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 custom software, 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.
It goes without saying that your custom software needs 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 Custom Software Development?
Below are additional, helpful articles on the subject of custom software development. We encourage you to read through the vast amount of information you can find on the WebRevelation blog.
If you’re ready to move forward with your custom software development project – or just want some clear answers from a team you can trust – now is a great time to schedule a complimentary 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!
Whether 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.
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:
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.
It gets the job done. A process must be effective and serve its intended purpose.
It reduces or eliminates waste. That means no redundancy, no unnecessary steps, and no needless back and forth.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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