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Why Images Make Or Break Your Marketing

Posted Mon, October 17, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

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

Your Brain On Pictures

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

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

Choosing The Right Images For The Job

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

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

Giving Yourself A Picture Perfect Advantage

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Online Marketing , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : N/A

What Google’s SSL Preference Means For You

Posted Thu, October 6, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

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

What Is SSL?

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

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

Why Does Google Want Your Site To Have SSL?

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

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

Should You Upgrade?

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

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

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

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

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : google , ssl

5 Steps to Search-Optimized Blog Posts

Posted Mon, September 5, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Marketing , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : SEO for blogs , blogging , SEO

4 Ways to Brand Yourself Online

Posted Fri, August 5, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

Here are 4 tips to improve your branding online. 

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Online Profile Management | 
Tags : branding , marketing strategy

8 Great Ways to Increase Visits to Your Website

Posted Mon, July 4, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Business Strategy | 
Tags : website traffic , increase traffic , website visits

7 Things That Are Easier With a Custom Content Management System

Posted Mon, June 6, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

#1 Online Registration

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

#2 Event Management

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

#3 Recruiting

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

#4 Polls and Surveys

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

#5 Document Management

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

#6 Staff and Membership Tools

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

#7 Blogging

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

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

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

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Business Strategy | 
Tags : CMS , Custom CMS , easier content management

How to Get Your Employees Involved in Your LinkedIn Strategy

Posted Mon, May 2, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

Get Your Employees to Fill in Their LinkedIn Profiles

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

Encourage Your Team to Network for New Sales Opportunities

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

Offer Recruiting Opportunities to Your Staff

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

Show Your Employees How to Use LinkedIn to Grow as Professionals

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

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

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

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Profile Management , Business Strategy | 
Tags : LinkedIn , LinkedIn for your employees

What Posting New Content Regularly Does For Your Business

Posted Mon, April 4, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Blogging | 
Tags : Content is King

Inbound Marketing Part 2: The Ingredients of an Inbound Marketing Campaign

Posted Mon, March 7, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

Several Pathways to Attract Visitors to Your Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Email Marketing , Business Strategy | 
Tags : inbound marketing , online marketing

Inbound Marketing Part 1: What It Is and Why You Need It

Posted Mon, February 8, 2016 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

Why You’ll Love Inbound Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Email Marketing , Business Strategy | 
Tags : inbound marketing , marketing , blogs , social media

Why Email Marketing Works (and Why So Many Businesses Struggle With It)

Posted Mon, January 4, 2016 by Julie Short

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

Why Email Marketing Is Profitable

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

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

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

How can that be?

Why Businesses Struggle With Email

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

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

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Email Marketing | 
Tags : email marketing

7 Good Rules for Mobile Marketing

Posted Thu, November 5, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Mobile Apps , Mobile Websites , Online Marketing , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : mobile , marketing , tips

Web Design Has Come a Long Way… Has Your Website?

Posted Thu, October 15, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Tips and Tricks , Websites | 
Tags : website , website tips

How to Profit From a Healthy Blog

Posted Thu, October 1, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Online Marketing , Blogging | 
Tags : blog , content , blogging tips

Blogging for Home Builders

Posted Thu, September 10, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

Here are some topic ideas to get you started:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Tips and Tricks , SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Marketing , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : Blogging Tips , Blogging for Home Builders

How to Make the Most of Your Business Blog

Posted Thu, September 3, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : blogging , effective blogging , blogging tips

Visit the Park & Palate Fall Food Festival at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas!

Posted Thu, August 20, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : FYI , Announcements | 
Tags : Klyde Warren Park , Dallas food festival ,

Why Blogging Still Matters

Posted Thu, August 13, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

Your Blog is a Newsletter, Spreading Company and Industry Information

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

Your Blog is the Centerpiece of a Strong Search Marketing Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Blogging | 
Tags : blogging , search engine optimization , blogging matters

Why You Should Build an Online Community

Posted Thu, August 6, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

First: There are the Business Benefits

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

Then: There is the Potential for New Partnerships and Relationships

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

Finally: You Might Start Something Very Big

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

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

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

Posted in : Online Marketing , FYI , Business Strategy | 
Tags : marketing strategy , online marketing , build community , build online community , relationship marketing

Is Texas the Perfect Place to Start a New Company?

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

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

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

Having a Great Business Idea Is Only Half the Battle

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

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

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

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

There’s Nothing Quite Like Advice From an Experienced Team

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

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

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

Posted in : FYI , Business Strategy | 
Tags : business in Texas , Texas opportunities

3 Things to Know About Website Banners

Posted Thu, July 16, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

#1 High Quality Images are a Must

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

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

#2 Your Banners Should be Up-to-Date

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Websites , SEO/SMO/SMM , Mobile Websites | 
Tags : website banners , web design , banners

Do You Need Advanced Custom CMS Applications?

Posted Thu, July 2, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

Back-End Functionality

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

Advanced Marketing

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

Design Integration

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

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

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

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Business Strategy | 
Tags : CMS , custom content management system

3 Benefits of Using a Custom CMS

Posted Thu, June 25, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

#1 It Can Be Tailored to Fit Your Needs

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

#2 There are Fewer Online Security Concerns

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

#3 It Makes it Easier to Update Your Website

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

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

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

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Business Strategy | 
Tags : CMS , custom CMS , content management

7 Simple Online Security Tips

Posted Thu, June 18, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

#1: Use Strong Passwords

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

#2: Change Your Passwords Regularly

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

#3: Be Stingy With Sensitive Data

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

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

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

#5: Take Advantage of Security Patches

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

#6: Keep the Right Company

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

#7: Keep a Close Eye on Websites and Accounts

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

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

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

Posted in : Websites , Online Profile Management , FYI | 
Tags : online security , security

Why Video is so Valuable in Online Marketing

Posted Thu, June 11, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

Video Creates a Stronger Connection to the Viewer

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

Video Gives You More Time

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

Video Creates a Powerful Sense of Proof

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

Online Video Is More Cost-Effective Than Ever

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

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

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

Posted in : Blogging , SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content | 
Tags : video , video marketing , online video

4 Ways to Integrate Social Media Within Your Business Website

Posted Thu, June 4, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

#1: By Posting Links to Your Profiles

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

#2: Through Real-Time Tweet and Comment Sharing

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

#3: With Social Sharing Buttons on Your Blog

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

#4: By Combining Social Sharing With Email Newsletters

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

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

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

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : social media , websites

3 Lessons You Can Take From Blue Bell’s Troubles

Posted Thu, May 28, 2015 by Julie Short

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

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

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

Here are three in particular you should pay attention to:

#1: Trouble Always Comes From Unexpected Places

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

#2: Cash Reserves Mean Everything in Times of Trouble

Once it became clear that Blue Bell couldn’t keep producing or selling ice cream, executives had to make some quick and difficult decisions about how they would survive without any new revenue coming in. Most small and medium-sized companies will face that kind of challenge eventually. When these troubles hit, having cash reserves you can turn to and stay afloat for a few months or quarters at a time can make all the difference.

#3: The Right Messaging Can Make or Break You in a Crisis

One thing Blue Bell definitely did right was to follow their instincts and communicate with customers, health inspectors, and the public at large. By immediately ceasing deliveries and letting buyers know that they were serious about protecting everyone’s health (and not in ducking responsibility) they paved the way for those customers to come back when the time is right. The simple decision to follow the correct path with their messaging might be the one that ultimately ends up restoring the company back to profitability.

There’s never a good time to have things go wrong with your company, but looking for issues ahead of time, preparing for rough patches, and having the right marketing and messaging can mean the difference between enduring a tough time and going out of business altogether. Are you ready to deal with the unexpected?

If you don’t have the kind of marketing and design team that can help you build and re-build your brand when you need it most, maybe it’s time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team.

Posted in : FYI , Business Strategy | 
Tags : Dallas , bluebell , lessons

4 Ways to Go Mobile-Friendly

Posted Thu, May 21, 2015 by Julie Short

In a recent post, we looked at what it is that actually makes your website “mobile-friendly.” Having that understanding is important, especially since mobile users now make up a majority on the Internet, outnumbering “traditional” laptop and desktop computer users online.

Today, we want to go a bit further and look at the different options you have for adding mobile functionality to your business website…

By Building a Mobile Version of Your Website

Mobile-specific websites are just what they sound like: versions of your web presence that are built, designed, and encoded specifically for mobile devices. These work and display best on small screens, of course, since they are optimized for that purpose. However, they bring the additional expense of creating an entirely new website, not to mention keeping it up-to-date, along with your existing web presence.

With an Adaptive Web Design

With an adaptive web design, you have one website that actually has several different versions. When a visitor comes to your pages, the coding within the side “decides” which version to show based on the available browser and screen size. While this does give you mobile functionality, it can lead to small errors when a mobile web browser and your website platform communicate incorrectly, causing the wrong layout to be displayed.

Through Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design works in a similar way, except that the adaptations are more fluid because of back-end coding. In other words, your website “responds” to the visitor’s device and browser, but can also change appearance if they resize their screen or change options. Because responsive web designs are more flexible, they tend to make fewer mistakes, and are also more likely to be compatible with future mobile devices, and screen sizes, that may not be popular yet.

By Developing a Custom App

As an alternative to mobile compatibility in your website, or an additional option, you could have a custom app developed that either serves as a replica of your website or adds more features. For example, your custom app might let mobile users log into their accounts, place new orders, or get specific updates (like package tracking) in one secure and convenient place. The downside to developing an app is that you’ll generally need lots of people to use it before you can justify the cost.

So, with all these options out there, which one makes the most sense for your company?

To explore the choices a bit further, and to decide which one might be right for you, contact a member of the WebRevelation team today and ask for a free website evaluation.

Posted in : Websites , SEO/SMO/SMM , Mobile Websites , Business Strategy | 
Tags : ways to go mobile friendly

What Does “Mobile-Friendly” Really Mean?

Posted Thu, May 14, 2015 by Julie Short

When Google announced that it would start factoring mobile compatibility into its search engine rankings beginning on April 21, business owners and web designers were sent into a flurry. Suddenly, thousands and thousands of new companies decided it was the perfect time to adopt a “mobile-friendly” web platform.

Lost in this sudden surge of mobile programming, however, was the fact that a lot of marketers don’t fully understand what “mobile-friendly” really means. To help shed some light on the situation, here is what you need to know about that term, and the underlying functionality it adds to your website:

The Basics of Mobile Compatibility

The essence of a mobile-friendly website is that it can display cleanly on a small screen, and adapt to a mobile browser that may have limitations a traditional web browser wouldn’t. The most obvious of these has to do with page and image widths, which need to be restricted on mobile devices. Without that, mobile users will be forced to scroll from left to right while trying to read text, for example, or view an image.

In addition, mobile browsers work better with standard fonts than they do exotic ones, so that should be a consideration. It’s also a good idea to limit image sizes and animations, since these can load slowly or use up too much space on a user’s data plan.

Generally Speaking, Mobile = Simple

What these basics amount to is often a simpler version of your standard website, or at least a version that displays more cleanly and simply for mobile users. As an example, if your website has a dozen links across the top of your main navigation bar, these may need to be moved, abbreviated, or otherwise altered to make them usable on a smart phone. Additionally, content can be rearranged so that it’s easier to scroll from top to bottom instead of left to right.

Buttons and Action Items Need Tweaking, Too

The third factor in mobile compatibility is the availability of radio buttons, click-to-call response forms, and other simple calls to action. Few mobile visitors will want to type long strings of text to get more information from your business, or fill out complicated forms on tiny screens.

Part of mobile functionality is ensuring that it’s is easy for customers to do what you want them to do – especially if that’s to make a purchase or get in touch with you for more information – than it is for them to see and read your content.

Although Google’s new mobile-friendly stance may seem like it’s driving the trend towards smart phone and tablet compatibility forward, the reality is that mobile web users already make up more than half of all Internet traffic. So, adopting a mobile-friendly attitude is a good idea, regardless of whether you rely on search engines or not.

In the next post, we are going to outline a few of the different ways you can bring mobile compatibility to your business website. If you can’t wait that long, or have more specific questions, feel free to contact WebRevelation today and ask for a free consultation.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Mobile Websites | 
Tags : mobile friendly

When to Hire a Content Writer

Posted Thu, May 7, 2015 by Julie Short

When it’s time to build and launch a new website, web content is (ironically) the last thing a business owner or marketer will think of. They’ll pay close attention to the design, give feedback on color schemes, and obsess over the conversion opportunities… but not give much thought to the actual writing that they’ll need to convince customers to buy.

As a result, a lot of clients are at a loss when it comes to deciding whether they should generate their own web content in-house or work with a professional writer.

There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether you should hire a content writer to work with. It really comes down to your own needs, budget, and preferences. To help you make the best decision, however, here are four times when we definitely advise you to hire a writer to help finish your website:

1. When you just can’t find the time yourself.

A lot of our clients intend to write their own pages, but never seem to find the time. That’s understandable – coming up with great web content usually isn’t on the top list of “urgent” items that a business owner or manager has to face… at least until the rest of the website is ready. And at that point, they may be overwhelmed with other tasks and projects. A good web content writer can finish an entire set of pages within days, so consider hiring one if you’re out of time.

2. When you’ve got content, but you don’t like it.

In the same way, a lot of clients develop their own web content only to find that it doesn’t have a polished, professional edge.
At that point, they usually have one of two choices: hire a professional content writer, or start over with a blank screen. If you or someone on your team has tried writing your web content but you aren’t blown away by the results, think about bringing a professional in to finish the job.

3. When conversions are a top priority.

We alluded to this earlier, but it’s a very important point to make: Web content isn’t just about explaining what you do; it’s about persuading buyers to take a chance and do business with your company. That’s a lot easier when you have professionally written web content. So if conversions are a top priority for you, let us help you find someone who can sell with words so you can increase your long-term ROI.

4. When you’re trying to make an impact with SEO and social media.

As you probably know already, search engine optimization and social media are both dependent on having a fresh stream of creative, compelling, and optimized content. The challenge of creating articles and posts week after week often proves to be too much for immature writers. If you are going to face a need for ongoing content, bringing in a professional writer can be the key to moving your campaigns forward.

The right web content writer can add a lot to your website’s messaging and persuasive power. More than that, they can help you finish the project in a reasonable amount of time. So if you’re facing one of these four situations, talk to us about getting a web content writer started on your pages.

Posted in : Website Content , Blogging | 
Tags : content , content writer

5 Tips for Managing Your Passwords

Posted Thu, April 30, 2015 by Julie Short

You only have to watch the news, or hear a horror story from a friend or family member, to realize how important online security has become. That’s even more true for business owners and managers, who may worry about risking sensitive company and customer information along with their own private data.

The first step to staying safe online isn’t necessarily investing in an expensive encryption package, or paying an IT team to lock down your businesses computers. Those might not be bad ideas, depending on your circumstances, but they aren’t as easy or effective as simply choosing and using the right passwords.

Most online thieves are looking for easy targets. More often than not, that amounts to someone who doesn’t update or patch their software as often as they should, and a business that has weak passwords. With that in mind, here are five tips for managing yours:

1. Don’t go for the obvious.
A recent survey found that an incredibly high percentage of people use passwords like “password,” or a name and birthday. Using anything like this, or even a recognizable word, is an incredibly bad idea. Instead, opt for a random string of numbers, symbols, and letters (both capitalized and lowercase). Automated software can crack an easy password in tenths of a second. A harder one would take months or years, which is why thieves are likely to move on.

2. Use more than one password.
Yes, using one password for every website is convenient… but it’s also convenient for thieves who want to break into your accounts and find things to steal. Set up different passwords (using the guidelines above) for the different websites and services you use. Even though it might mean a little more hassle, your online security is worth it.

3. Change your passwords regularly.
This is probably not new advice for you. “Change your online passwords regularly” ranks right up there with “eat your vegetables at dinner.” We’ve all heard it, but few of us actually do it. But in both cases, a little bit of preventative maintenance can stave off much larger problems later.

4. Keep your passwords written down somewhere secure.
Ideally, you’ll have a hard copy of your passwords somewhere secure, like in an office safe. However you keep them, be sure they are somewhere that you (and only you or authorized members of your team) can quickly find them and use them if needed. Keeping them on a text file on your computer could be risky, since it’s the first place thieves are going to look.

5. Be careful about sharing your passwords.
Remember, most thieves aren’t doing anything complicated – they’re looking for an easy way to steal your money. With that in mind, use common sense and don’t email your password to anyone or provide it to someone who doesn’t have any good reason to use it. And, if you suspect that an employee, vendor, or stranger has accessed your passwords, change them immediately.

Being careful with passwords is the simplest, cheapest, and easiest way to keep yourself and your business protected online. Why not take a bit of time today and ensure you’re not making it easy for cyber criminals to steal from your company?

Want to know more about smart, cost-effective online security and Internet marketing? Contact WebRevelation now and ask for a free consultation.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks , FYI , Business Strategy | 
Tags : password safety , passwords

What Every Business Owner and Marketer Needs to Know About Web Browsers

Posted Thu, April 23, 2015 by Julie Short

Most Internet users are aware of web browsers, but aren’t really attuned to the differences between them beyond the aesthetics. We all have our preferences (Chrome over Firefox, or Safari versus Internet Explorer, as examples), but these are usually based on the way they look, or where menus are displayed, rather than the underlying variations in programming.

As a business owner or marketer, however, it’s important to note that individual web browsers actually do function differently… and that those differences can actually impact your company.

To give you a sense of why, here are a few things every business owner or marketer needs to know about the web browsers their customers use:

Web Browsers Have a Bigger Job Than You Probably Realize

If you’re like most people, you probably open your favorite web browser, click on a bookmarked website, and then wait for it to load. What you don’t pay attention to is everything going on behind the scenes. Your web browser doesn’t just display a page, though; it actually translates it from HTML (or at the website’s core, ones and zeros) to turn it into something you can understand. Because of programmer preferences and relative strengths, every web browser does this a little bit differently.

The Right (or Wrong) Web Browser Can Change Your Website

Because of the differences in the way web browsers “translate” code into something visual, some of your content may not display correctly – or even at all – if your customer is using a certain browser. Things like images, fonts, videos, animation, and more will display more cleanly and accurately on some browsers but not others. In addition, some browsers utilize system resources differently, meaning they may load pages at a faster or slower rate.

There Are Lots of Web Browsers Out There

As if these weren’t enough challenges to deal with, it’s important to realize that there are a lot of web browsers out there. In addition to the most popular browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera – there are dozens of other smaller and specialty browsers (some of which exist to block ads and tracking, or to operate on Linux and other operating systems). On top of that, there are several mobile browsers in use, and usually several versions of each browser being used by the public at any given time.

Your Website Had Better Work Well on Every Web Browser (Especially Mobile Browsers)

Put all of these factors together, and you have an environment where your website is being asked to convey a lot of important things to users on very different platforms. How can it do this? In the last few years, savvy web designers have started using standardized HTML5 and other best practices to ensure that websites display correctly regardless of how they are being viewed. Without those kinds of safeguards in place, you could be missing out on new customers – including some of your most important potential buyers.

You can’t control which web browsers your customers are going to come to your website through, so it’s important that your pages and content display correctly across all of them. Otherwise, you could miss out on winning a new set of loyal buyers just because you don’t have compatible HTML code.

Worried that your website isn’t up to date when it comes to displaying on different web browsers or mobile devices? Get in touch with WebRevelation today for a free account review!

Posted in : Websites , FYI | 
Tags : web browswers ,

How to Use Your Company’s LinkedIn Page Effectively

Posted Thu, April 9, 2015 by Julie Short

As we detailed in a recent post about LinkedIn company profiles, there’s just no reason to ignore the most important aspect of your social media marketing plan. Once you have a strong LinkedIn profile for your business in place, however, how do you make the most of it?

Here at WebRevelation, we help our clients to connect with customers, colleagues, and vendors to grow their companies through social media. Here are a few quick ideas to help you get started with your own LinkedIn strategy:

Recruit Team Members

This is probably the most prevalent use of LinkedIn for companies, and the most obvious. Even so, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we neglected to tell you that there are literally millions of professionals out there just waiting to help your business – as full- or part-time employees, contractors, or even interns. If you need help with recruiting, LinkedIn makes a great first stop online.

Collect Endorsements

Word-of-mouth advertising is always more effective than your own marketing, and it doesn’t get any easier than grabbing endorsements and recommendations through LinkedIn. These online testimonials are great for showing new potential clients or customers what you can do, and they can be shared among contacts with a single mouse click.

Form Partnerships

Are there other professionals in businesses and industries related to yours that you can partner up with for the purposes of marketing, referrals, or just brainstorming? If so, LinkedIn might be the perfect forum for establishing, growing, and profiting from those kinds of relationships. You can think of LinkedIn as a giant networking event… and one that’s being attended by thousands of people who have specialties and connections that can benefit you.

Share (and See) New Thoughts and Ideas

Although many new users don’t realize it, LinkedIn has a number of forums and messaging groups where professionals and business owners can share thoughts with one another. This can be particularly valuable when you need to learn about a new aspect of your company, or when you want advice from someone who is seasoned in your industry but isn’t a direct competitor.

Build Brand Awareness

By making connections, gathering endorsements, and even publishing to LinkedIn’s newsletter – LinkedIn Pulse – you can build an online brand and reputation that prospects will recognize and respond to instantly. When it comes to generating referrals, and having them form the right impression of your business, LinkedIn can take you much farther than Facebook or Twitter.

These are great first steps, but they really just represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to growing your business through LinkedIn. With a little practice, and the right advice, you might find that it opens up a whole new world of social media marketing to you and your team.

Need help making the most of your company’s LinkedIn page? Get in touch with WebRevelation today and let us show you how easy and affordable it is to get started!

Posted in : Business Strategy , Online Profile Management , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : LinkedIn , making LinkedIn count

Why Your Business Needs a Strong LinkedIn Page.

Posted Thu, April 2, 2015 by Julie Short

A few years ago, business owners, managers, and executives all collectively realized that social media marketing was an actual thing… and a thing that could lead to big rewards for the companies that embraced it and took the time to build a loyal following.

Not long after, they realized that LinkedIn could be the most important of all the social media sites.

In terms of pure, raw numbers, LinkedIn can’t compare with Facebook, Twitter, or the quickly growing Google+. But the roughly 350 million people who use LinkedIn are nothing to sneeze at. And more importantly, it’s the only social platform that’s devoted strictly to business and networking. So while there might not be 1 billion people on LinkedIn yet, the ones who are using it are there to do business, not trade family vacation photos.

That makes LinkedIn an extraordinarily valuable resource for companies of all sizes. To help you further understand what’s at stake, here are a few of the best reasons your business needs a strong LinkedIn page:

LinkedIn Profiles Are Highly Visible

Because it’s so popular, LinkedIn has a very high page rank with Google. That means, among other things, that it’s entirely possible your business’s LinkedIn profile will come up in searches for your company’s name before your actual website, or immediately after. Fill yours in with the right kind of info, and you give yourself an extra search engine optimization advantage at virtually no cost.

Your Best Prospects Are Using LinkedIn

We mentioned earlier that business people and professionals like using LinkedIn. What’s also important to note is that many of the people who use LinkedIn might ignore other social profiles. For example, many C-level executives are active on LinkedIn even though they don’t have the time to participate in Facebook or Twitter. So if you want to reach some of your best prospects through social media, this might be your only chance.

LinkedIn Is a Hub for New Connections and Ideas

LinkedIn has a number of features that make it useful for networking, finding new customers, and even sharing industry ideas. We’ll go into more depth in the coming articles, but the bottom line is that if you aren’t using LinkedIn, you’re putting yourself and your company at a disadvantage.

In the next two posts, we’ll show you how to make the most of your company’s LinkedIn page to network and generate new sales opportunities. In the meantime, though, if you haven’t been making the most of LinkedIn already, now is the perfect time to talk with a member of the WebRevelation team and let us show you how we can get you up and running on this crucial social network.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Profile Management , Business Strategy | 
Tags : LinkedIn , networking , social media

3 Things You Need to Know About Google’s April 21 Mobile Deadline

Posted Thu, March 26, 2015 by Julie Short

One of the things that tends to frustrate business owners and marketers most about search engine optimization is that Google – which controls the lion’s share of search traffic in North America – tends to only hint at small changes before unleashing them onto the world. In other words, you rarely ever get word of the storm before it hits.

With that in mind, web designers and marketers have to be at least a little bit grateful that they’ve been given advance warning this time. On April 21, Google will roll out a huge algorithm update that’s aimed at giving a higher search priority to mobile-friendly websites (and by extension, pushing websites that aren’t mobile compatible farther down the listings).

You can read more about this algorithm shift in Google’s own words here, but we are going to save you some time and give you three details every business owner or manager needs to be aware of:

#1 April 21 Could Bring a Huge Shift in Search Engine Positioning

Experts think this won’t just be a minor change in the way Google processes and displays search results. In fact, most are predicting that it will eclipse both Penguin and Panda (which were huge in their impact on SEO in their own right) in terms of the way it will change the landscape.

That means there are going to be winners and losers – websites that suddenly start getting lots more search traffic, and others that see their search volume dry up overnight. Which category will your business website fall into?

#2 Google Isn’t Leaving You Any Wiggle Room

One interesting thing we know about the coming April 21 algorithm shift is that Google either considers your site to be mobile-friendly or not mobile-friendly. That is, there isn’t any wiggle room, and they aren’t taking into account the degree to which you’ve made your website compatible with smartphones and tablets.

There are still plenty of reasons to incorporate as many mobile features as you can, but for now the world’s largest search engine is going to give you a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

#3 If You Aren’t Ready, Take Action Now

If you have any questions about whether or not your business website is mobile-friendly, or suspect you aren’t ready for the April 21 algorithm change, we strongly advise you to speak with a WebRevelation team member today. Over the years, we’ve learned two important things about getting customers from Google: first, that it can be highly profitable and cost-effective; and second, that it can take a long time to catch up if you fall behind or run afoul of Google’s requirements.

A major change to the way search engine positions are calculated is coming quickly, and it’s coming regardless of whether you’re ready or not. If you need to make some changes or upgrades to your business website before it’s too late, call WebRevelation now at 817-283-3324 or 405-607-0349 to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Mobile Websites , Announcements | 
Tags : mobile friendly , google change

Are You Playing Hide and Seek With Your Customers?

Posted Thu, February 19, 2015 by Julie Short

As the web has gotten bigger and bigger, the need for targeted, focused, and (sometimes) geographic-specific communities has increased.

There is an almost infinite amount of information online, but the majority isn’t always relevant. That’s especially true when it comes to the search for local businesses and vendors – you don’t want to find everyone, just the matches that make sense for your need and area.

For customers, the easy answer is to turn to websites like Yelp, YP (formerly yellow pages), and Foursquare, which sort profiles by interest and geography. For marketers, however, things get a little tougher. Businesses desperately need to be represented on these websites, but don’t always have the time and expertise to properly upload a profile, much less keep it current.

So how do you bridge that gap and keep your business visible without spending all your time entering information and looking for reviews? We might just have the perfect answer for you…

Introducing Your Business Listing Management Solution

At WebRevelation, we’ve been encouraging our clients to find and use every business listing outlet they can, knowing that maintaining the effort was a big challenge for business owners and managers.

In an effort to alleviate that challenge, we’ve partnered with Yext, a service that allows us to upload, update, and maintain your current local listing with dozens of powerful, high-profile listing publishers, nationally and internationally. Whether you have one location or dozens, it’s the perfect way to make your business easy to find while saving you lots of time and money.

It’s hard to overstate what kind of marketing effect the right exposure can have on a business that relies on local companies. Even if you were able to maintain a handful of profiles on your own, there’s no guarantee that the sites you choose would match up to the ones your next great customer wants to use. By making sure your business is easy to find in all the major apps and directories, you’re ensuring that your company will be hard for anyone who’s interested to miss.

Get Started With Business Listing Management Today

There are thousands and thousands of buyers out there waiting to find you, and lots of business that’s ready to be won. Now we are making it easier and more affordable than ever for you to ensure your business information stays current, correct, and visible. You could play hide and seek with your customers, but why not have them coming to you instead?

Contact WebRevelation today to learn more about our partnership with Yext and what it means for your business listings and online reviews.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Profile Management , Business Strategy | 
Tags : business listings , online profile

Why Customers Want ERP-Ready Manufacturers

Posted Thu, February 12, 2015 by Julie Short

Usually, when manufacturing clients come to us wanting to explore ERP packages, it's because they are interested in cutting costs, or want to keep a closer eye on supply chains and other details. But what about the other side of the bottom-line equation? Did you know that investing in the right ERP can help you gain more customers, too?

Although buyers might not ask your company for or about an ERP directly, that doesn't mean they don't want you to have one. That's because manufacturers that are taking advantage of enterprise resource planning can do more, do it more quickly, and at better prices. In other words, they become the kinds of businesses your best customers want to work with and order from.

To see why that might be, consider three important advantages from your customer’s point of view:

Speed is critical in choosing a manufacturer. In today's market, speed is every bit as important as price and quality. Margins might be tighter, but so are schedules. If you can reliably deliver products based on aggressive schedules, you become virtually priceless to buyers. That means they'll come back to you time and time again, and may even pay a premium to do so.

Cost competitiveness is changing everything. Of course, margins are getting tighter across every type of manufacturing market. By having more control over your supply chain, and real-time information about input prices, you can produce better, more accurate quotes for your customers. Staying competitive and profitable at the same time is always a winning strategy.

They want a manufacturer who can adjust to new conditions quickly. When delivery dates, quantities, and locations change, it's the manufacturer that is equipped with a strong ERP that's ready to step in and meet buyer needs. Your customers want a manufacturer they can count on… when you're taking advantage of the right ERP, it's easy to be the supplier of choice.

You already know that success in manufacturing is all about delivering the right product and service at the right price, and on the customer's schedule. A strong ERP platform helps you achieve all of those, which leads to increased customer loyalty and helps your profitability on every account.

To learn more about our ERP systems – and to see case studies that show how we have helped manufacturing companies just like yours – call or e-mail a member of our team and request a free consultation. It won't take long for us to show you why you shouldn't ignore this technology.

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : erp , manufacturer

Effective Tips for Improving Site Navigation

Posted Wed, February 4, 2015 by Julie Short

Navigation is at the core of every website. Visitors click links that lead them to new pages with more links. A site’s universal navigation is the doorway to its most important content. 

Page names actually drive quite a bit of traffic to your website from search engines. A User Interface Engineering study found that over 50 percent of search traffic on a major commerce site was generated from the department, gallery and product pages deep inside the site.

Having a dysfunctional website navigation is like driving around without street signs. If you don’t know where to go, you won’t find what you’re looking for. If visitors have a tough time navigating your website, they won’t want to return and you can actually drive away business. 

A recurring inability to find information, products or services is one of the biggest challenges any website faces. Every web designer has to understand a user’s goal and what they need to accomplish when they visit the site. Here are some compelling statistics about how poor website navigation affects users and sales. 

  • Research by User Interface Engineering, Inc., shows that people cannot find the information they seek on a Web site about 60 percent of the time.
  • Studies by Forrester Research estimate that approximately 50 percent of potential sales are lost because users can’t find information and that 40 percent of users do not return to a site when their first visit is a negative experience.
  • A study by Zona Research found that 62 percent of Web shoppers give up looking for the item they want to buy online.

If visitors can’t find information on your website, it doesn’t exist. Below are some practical tips to improving a website’s navigation. 

Review Navigation Menu Wording
Phrasing in navigation menus must be deliberate. Don’t focus on fancy wording. Describe the page or content as boring and straightforward as possible. Make it obvious to the visitor what they’re getting when they click a link. Don’t use jargon on a navigation menu. Stay on the safe side and assume your visitor knows nothing about your industry. 

Review Analytics for Clues
Your site’s analytics will point out things that need improvement. If important pages aren’t being viewed, something might be wrong. The page could be mislabeled or poorly described and be confusing visitors. If a lot of your visitors reach your website and are quickly clicking on multiple different links without landing on a page, they probably couldn’t find what they needed. 

Incorporate Drop Down Menus
Drop down menus help users explore all your site has to offer quickly without having to click on anything. Most designers prefer vertical drop down menus because they usually won’t cover page content. 

Incorporate Subcategories 
This tip is essential for online stores. Allow visitors to sort items by price, color, brand, available sizes and top sellers. Give them the option to narrow what they see by giving subcategories within broad topics.  

Include an Internal Site Search
If a visitor can’t find what they’re looking for in your menu, give them a last option. Often, this will prevent them from leaving and trying a competitor's site. 

Identify Frequently Searched Terms
If your visitors are regularly searching within your site for something specific, that topic should have its own page and link in the navigation menu. 

Usability and functionality are just a few of the many factors of website design. If you take away one thing from this blog, don’t overlook your website’s navigation. If it’s not easy to use, you’re losing business. If you’re having this problem with your website, contact us at 972-478-7127 for more information on how a professional web design can benefit your business.  

Posted in : Websites , Website Content | 
Tags : navigation

What Manufacturers Love About Web-Based Software

Posted Wed, January 28, 2015 by Julie Short

Once you get past the initial creativity needed to imagine a new product, manufacturing tends to be an almost scientific process – find a way to produce more quickly, affordably, and reliably than the other guy, and you’ll see your profits go up. Fail to pay enough attention to your margins, and your business will be bleeding cash in no time.

It’s that fact – that manufacturers are always walking a tight rope of efficiency – that makes web-based software options so important to staying in the black over the long term. In fact, at WebRevelation we’ve helped several different firms to update their manufacturing processes, eliminating waste and lowering costs at the same time.

Along the way, we’ve learned there are a few important things manufacturers love about specialized software:

No more data errors. Ordering the wrong materials, scheduling the wrong employees, or miscalculating a customer order are just a few of the ways businesses can accidentally squander huge amounts of time and money. With web-based software, you can turn data input errors into a thing of the past.

Getting rid of ill-fitting software packages. Often, an audit of a manufacturer’s software processes shows they’re using extensive workarounds in the form of add-ons and endless spreadsheet pages that amount to dozens of hours of “busywork” for their employees, just because they don’t have the applications they really need for things like payroll and inventory.

Improved customer order flow. By letting customers place their own orders and set things like shipping locations on their own, you improve accuracy and free up time for your sales and customer service teams.

Better order delivery times. More and more companies are going to a just-in-time inventory system; that requires a software platform that can feed you up-to-date information across your company so you can meet tough deadlines when needed.

Less time and money being wasted. What all of this amounts to is more efficiency in every part of the manufacturing process. When you aren’t wasting time and money, you can lower prices, enjoy higher margins, or both.

When it comes down to it, manufacturers taking advantage of web-based software have a huge advantage over their competitors. The only question is: Are you one of the businesses that’s benefiting, or one of the others who are lagging behind?

Looking for ways to improve the margins in your manufacturing business? Talk to WebRevelation today and let us share some of our case studies and success stories with you.

Posted in : Business Strategy , ERP , THE HVAC GIRL | 
Tags : manufacturing , websites , manufacturing software

Has Your Website Gone Out of Style?

Posted Wed, January 21, 2015 by Julie Short

Has your website fallen behind the times? Usually, when new clients talk to us about an “out-of-style” or “not-up-to-date” website, they’re thinking in terms of looks and layouts. What they may not realize is that the more important problems are behind the scenes – and that even a great-looking website may be missing a few key upgrades.

That might not sound like a big problem, but it’s important to remember that thousands of visitors will see your pages each and every year. If your website isn’t attracting as many of them as it could be or converting them into buyers, that’s a huge missed opportunity.

To give you a sense of what kinds of upgrades and improvements we are referring to, here are just a few of the trends that have become incredibly important over the last few years:

Responsive web designs. Responsive web designs change their alignment and appearance to fit laptop and desktop computers, as well as tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. If you want your website to be accessible by the tens of millions of mobile users, and don’t want to launch a separate website, responsive designs are the way to go.

Social media links and apps. Social media is no longer just about checking out vacation photos and cat memes. Buying recommendations, customer service, and a lot more can all be handled through social profiles. That’s why your site should be tied directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ at a minimum.

Conversion rate optimization. This is the art and science of squeezing the maximum number of conversions out of the visits you get to your website. If you aren’t turning enough readers into buyers, then your bottom line is going to suffer (and your competitors will benefit).

Online video. Numerous studies have confirmed that online videos get more attention than text and static images do, and help convert visitors into leads and customers at a much higher rate. Plus, it’s easier and more affordable than ever before to add video clips to your website.

E-commerce and secure account maintenance. Letting buyers place orders and update their account details online doesn’t just make your website more convenient for them – it also helps you save time and money by freeing your staff up to do other things.

If your website is missing one or more of these features, it could be time for an update – regardless of how good you think it looks. Remember that it only takes a couple of years for your web presence to fall behind newer competitors. Luckily, fixing that is just a matter of calling WebRevelation in Dallas, San Antonio or Oklahoma City and letting us do the rest!

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : updated website , website trends , improved websites

Why All New WebRevelation Websites Are Responsive

Posted Wed, January 14, 2015 by Julie Short

For a long time, Internet marketing experts have been talking about the coming mobile web revolution. They’re not talking about it anymore, though, because it’s already here.

Industry observers expect mobile web users – those browsing through smartphones and tablets – to become the majority at some point in 2015. That means smart marketers have had to adapt their approach to account for lots of small screens, something we’ve been working on here at WebRevelation.

These days, we’re providing our new clients with current and responsive web designs. In the mobile-ready world, they offer the perfect mix of functionality and long-term value.

Why Responsive Design Is Critical

If you aren’t completely familiar with the concept already, a responsive website is one that shifts and changes with different browsers and window sizes. With just a little bit of behind-the-scenes coding, it can arrange things like text and images differently depending on what kind of configuration a visitor is using. Someone viewing your pages in full screen gets one version, while someone else working with a smaller space gets another.

This matters a great deal because industry experts now think more than half of all web traffic is composed of users who are accessing websites via mobile devices. And what’s more, they aren’t all iPhones and Kindles – there are iPads, Androids, and Samsung Galaxy devices, not to mention a dozen others.

Each of these can have a different size, resolution, and underlying platform… and as time marches on, there won’t just be more and more of these devices, but more types of them and different generations in use (i.e., original iPads versus second-generation and iPad Mini devices).

The Bottom-Line Benefits of a Responsive Website

What this all means to you, as a business owner or marketer, is that a website that isn’t responsive may not look the way it was meant to for all of your visitors, especially going forward. Every time text and images show up where they shouldn’t, or aren’t arranged in a way that puts your products and services in the best light, you are likely to miss out on a chance to win a new customer.

WebRevelation has chosen to build responsive websites for our clients to enable them to market more effectively and keep their businesses growing.

Responsive functionality makes great business sense in an online world that’s dominated by mobile devices. Why not speak to a member of the WebRevelation team today and see how easy it is to add mobile compatibility to a new or existing web presence?

Posted in : Websites , FYI , Announcements | 
Tags : responsive , websites

3 Reasons to Look More Closely at Web App Development

Posted Wed, January 7, 2015 by Julie Short

For the average business owner or marketer, “custom app development” seems like something for only Fortune 500 companies and high-volume e-commerce sites. Simply put, they tend to think of it as something they don’t need and couldn’t afford.

However, we frequently come across new clients who could profit or benefit from web app development and just don’t know it yet.

Could you be one of them? It’s possible. Here are three reasons to look a little more closely at web app development this year:

1. Web apps increase the power, functionality, and usefulness of your website. While there are more apps and plug-ins available to web designers and developers than ever before, sometimes you just can’t get something that does what you need – or the way you need it – from an existing product. When that happens, modifying an existing app, or having one developed from scratch, can be the perfect answer.

Custom web apps can help with things like databases, polls, inventory, marketing, transaction security and encryption, and so much more. Each of these increases the functionality and value of your website.

2. Having a custom web app developed can often help you earn or save money in other areas. Business owners are often turned off by what they imagine the costs of web app development to be. That’s easy to understand, but it can hide the potential for bigger opportunities.

As with any investment, web app development can be well worth the small hit to your budget if it helps your company reach more customers, get real-time updates from suppliers, streamline financial transactions, or improve your bottom line in any one of dozens of ways.

3. Web app development is more affordable than a lot of business people would imagine. Speaking of budgets, it’s worth pointing out that custom web app development doesn’t cost nearly as much as business owners and executives tend to imagine it might. Even having a new piece of software written from scratch doesn’t need to be a major expense, or something that holds up the development of your website.

Five or ten years ago, web app development and custom programming were expensive, technical, and time-consuming projects that really weren’t worth the trouble unless you had a huge website that needed dozens of complex or industry-specific features. Now, though, businesses of all sizes are getting in on the act… and they’re finding that it’s a lot easier and more effective than they ever imagined.

How can WebRevelation help you improve your business through Internet marketing and technology services? Call or email our team today to find out.

Posted in : Websites , Business Strategy | 
Tags : webapps , affordable , custom

Why a New Website Can Give You So Much More Than a New Online Look (and What the Difference Can Mean for Your Bottom Line)

Posted Wed, December 31, 2014 by Julie Short

For a lot of companies, the time for a new business website comes around at the exact moment that management decides the old site "looks old." While that's not a bad way to judge the aesthetics of your web presence, it's not a great measuring stick for trying to decide whether a new site can help your company be more profitable and efficient, either.

That's because a new business website can give you so much more than a fresh online look… and the difference in functionality can actually make a huge bottom-line difference in your company's future.

To give you a sense of why this is, and why the real value of the new site is in programming and business power, here are a few things a modern web presence can help you with:

Improve your marketing (even if it's business-to-business). Although Internet marketing is something nearly every business owner or executive already knows a bit about, most don't realize how effective it can be in building business-to-business relationships. At the very least, your site should add to your company's credibility and support your other offline sales and marketing efforts.

Make inventory control and logistics more accurate and efficient. With customized databases, real-time information entry, and even the integration of mobile devices, you can keep better track of what's going on at your production facilities and warehouses through your business website.

Help with routine customer service and account management tasks. Why make customers call you on the phone when they could place recurring orders or update their account information online, or through a mobile app? That reduces the burden of time and expense for you and your clients or customers. 

Move potential buyers along with lead automation. Do you or your sales teams spend a lot of time following up with individual leads? An automated response system can distribute marketing literature, steer them towards answers to common questions, and even perform lead nurturing tasks on your behalf, so your time is freed up to finalize concrete sales opportunities.

Help you manage employees, vendors, and projects. There are a variety of tools you can use and install to make your business website support collaborative, real-time project management, even if you have employees or vendors in other locations around the world.

If your business website isn't doing all for your company that it could be, we encourage you to get in touch with the WebRevelation team today and let us show you how we've been able to help other businesses accomplish more online.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : web applications , websites

SEO 101: Semantic Search and the Evolution of SEO

Posted Wed, December 24, 2014 by Julie Short

The deeper you get into search engine optimization, the harder it is to speak about specifics. This is partly because Google keeps its exact formulas and algorithms secret – we know that things like keywords and links are important to search engine rankings, for example, but don’t know exactly how they factor into the rankings at a mathematical level.

Another important reason, however, is that search engine optimization is always evolving. Google is always tweaking its approach to stay one step ahead of its competitors, and that means there are always going to be new wrinkles or ideas to consider.

Here at WebRevelation, we work hard to stay on top of these trends and best practices so our clients will always be prepared. The more competitive a search market is, the more fine-tuning and refinement is needed on a continual basis. If you want to bury your competitors and get the most traffic, you can’t let your website and search engine optimization plan become stagnant.

To give you an idea of why continual SEO refinement is so important, here are just a few of the most important search trends we’ve noticed in the past year or two:

Semantic search. Contextual search is getting to be an even bigger and more important part of Google’s algorithm. In a few years, individual keywords may not matter much at all; instead, search results will be based on a user’s preference and a host of other factors like location, visit history, and the overall depth and topic of a website. In other words, Google is getting better at figuring out what people really want when they search, and recognizing that the keywords they use might not be the clearest form of the question.

Local SEO. Now that Internet searches have effectively replaced the Yellow Pages and local print advertising in a lot of areas, local search engine optimization – based on geographic search terms – is more important than ever. If you don’t have text on your website that identifies your city, state, or area, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.

Social inputs. More and more, Google and the other search engines are using social popularity and activity as a means for determining credibility. So having lots of followers, and comments on your social profiles, could conceivably help you achieve a higher search engine ranking. That’s especially true in the case of Google+, which is owned by the search giant itself.

Harsher penalties for bad SEO. Once upon a time, you could rank very well for lots of search terms by simply listing keywords over and over, “borrowing” content from your competitors, or having lots of low-quality links point at your website. Those days are over, however, and engaging in these kinds of tricks will likely get you penalized by Google and the other search engines to the point where they may not list your website in the search results at all.

Staying on top of search engine optimization takes a lot of work, but it also brings big rewards. If you can win visitors your competitors don’t have access to, you’ll enjoy a steady flow of buyers coming to your website each and every day.

How can we help you with your search engine optimization and Internet marketing campaigns? Call WebRevelation today to let us know, and we’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation for you and your team.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : semantic , search , google , SEO

SEO 101: Context and Authority

Posted Wed, December 17, 2014

We’ve already covered a lot of ground in our SEO 101 series, explaining how Google uses small bits of automated software to scan and analyze websites, as well as what you can do to make your own pages easier to find and understand.

When it comes to the reasons search engines have to prefer one website over another, however, not everything comes down to the text that’s on your page. That’s still the biggest factor, but it’s not the only one. After all, Google has to have a way of separating two websites with similar content and keywords. Just think of all the different pizza places or accountants, for example, that could have websites in a given area. How do search engines decide which ones are given a priority?

Beyond the content on the websites themselves, it often comes down to context and authority. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Context in Search Engine Results

Psychologists will tell you that context and nonverbal communication are actually key to the way humans interact with and understand one another. Google can’t read your facial expressions or tone of voice (yet), but it can use context to try to figure out what you’re actually looking for, even if the piece of information you want doesn’t exactly match your search string.

For example, if you type in a question about a baseball player, it may steer you to a site with a matching keyword and a lot of other baseball-related facts and articles. Additionally, it may consider other websites you’ve recently searched, or topics you’ve been looking for more information on, along with your geographic location, preferred language, and other demographic data to try to sort out a set of results that are most meaningful to you.

This is incredibly helpful as a searcher, but it has important implications for marketers, too. The more useful your website is as a whole – meaning the more pieces of interesting and unique content it has – the more potential it has to answer questions. So in that sense, context is all about identifying your location and having lots of great content.

How Authority Factors Into SEO

If context is all about delivering the best match, authority is about finding the most trustworthy answers. To help searchers get the right answers to their questions, and not just the best keyword matches, Google has to consider the authority of your website.

Authority is built and demonstrated in a few ways: by having other respected websites link to yours, with lots of social activity, and by having an abundance of recent, unique, and in-depth articles (usually in the form of a blog).

With all of these factors in place, Google can feel confident that you know what you’re talking about and are a relevant source of information on your topic or industry. Then, it can begin to favor your website over the competition.

Context and authority aren’t quite as straightforward as things like keyword placement are, but they are important to understand and take advantage of if you want to rank highly in a market with lots of different competitors. In the final installment of our SEO 101 series, we’ll take things further and look at some of the newer trends in search engine optimization.

Check back next week for the conclusion of our SEO 101 series. Or, for customized advice on web design and Internet marketing, call or email the WebRevelation team today to arrange for a free consultation.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , context , authority , google

SEO 101: Making Your Pages More Visible to Search Engines

Posted Wed, December 10, 2014 by Julie Short

In the first part of our SEO 101 series, we looked at the way Google uses automated “spiders” to go through your site and decide what your content is actually about. That’s actually a fairly simple process, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

After all, there could be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of webpages out there relating to your topic or industry. Search for “San Antonio web design” and you’ll see exactly what we mean. We know how tough the competition is out there because we deal with it every day.

It’s one thing to have Google be aware of your website, and another thing for the world’s largest search engine to be sending you visitors every day. So making your pages more visible, in a search engine optimization sense, is an incredibly important topic.

Here are a few things you can do to make your pages stand out, and the reasons why:

Pay attention to page titles and meta descriptions. The title of your page is important because it tells Google what a specific piece of content should be about. You want yours to be short, but also to contain important search keywords.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, don’t have any search engine optimization value but are displayed in search listings. That means they can be helpful in getting visitors to click through to your website.

Add more in-depth, keyword-rich content. All other things being equal, Google likes longer pages with important keywords used more than once. It’s not hard to understand why – a more comprehensive search result, and one that’s narrowly devoted to a certain topic, is more likely to give a searcher the answer he or she is looking for than a small blurb of generic text.

Be careful, though, that you don’t go overboard with either of these concepts. Having too many keywords, or too much content, can be worse than having none at all. If Google feels like you’re building pages for the sole purpose of SEO, it will ignore them (and the rest of your website) altogether.

Create lots of pages on similar topics. In the same way that a longer page with lots of information is usually more valuable than a shorter one, Google knows that a comprehensive website with many related posts or articles is probably more helpful to a searcher than one with just a few offerings. That’s why building lots of pages that relate to each other is important for SEO.

Keep your content fresh and up to date. We live in an age where millions and millions of pages are being added to the Internet every day. That means Google can afford to be picky and look for more current search results for its users. The more often you update your pages, the more relevant your website will seem and the more search engine traffic you’ll be rewarded with.

There are other, more advanced techniques you can use to make your pages stand out to search engines, but just paying attention to the basics is often enough to separate you from your competitors – or at least make a good start at a more comprehensive search engine optimization campaign.

In the next post, we’re going to go a bit deeper into the concept of linking, relevancy, and currency as we look at the broader SEO meaning of context and authority.

Be sure to stop back and check out that post, or contact a member of the WebRevelation team to get a free consultation today.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , google , keywords , content

SEO 101: How Google “Sees” Your Website

Posted Wed, December 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Every business owner or marketing manager knows it’s important to rank well on Google. By processing more than 2 billion search queries every day, it’s the one Internet marketing portal that can literally make or break your business overnight.

Google’s importance is well understood, however, the way it “sees” and ranks different websites isn’t. We regularly meet with new clients who either have mistaken ideas about what it takes to improve their search engine optimization campaigns or literally have no idea how Google and its competitors process searches at all.

That’s understandable, if you’ve been outsourcing your SEO activity for a long time. Still, by understanding what Google actually looks for, and how the different pieces work together, you can go a long way toward building a website that attracts more traffic and turns those visitors into customers.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to produce a short series of articles we’re calling SEO 101. In this post, and the three that follow, we’re going to give you a quick bit of insight into the world of search marketing and offer some easy-to-follow tips you can use to make your web content stand out.

How Google Views and Analyzes Websites

Before you can give Google what it wants to find, you have to know what that is in the first place. That starts with the understanding that the engineers at Google don’t usually consider individual websites at all; instead, they generate pieces of code – called search spiders – that crawl all over the Internet constantly, cataloguing and evaluating everything they find.

As you might imagine, search engine spiders look at websites a bit differently than an actual human viewer would. Here are a few of the most important differences:

  • Search engine spiders generally follow links, both within websites and throughout them. So if a part of your website doesn’t have any links pointing at it from your other pages, it may be “invisible” to Google.
  • Search spiders understand text but not images. So, unless you have given your pictures or video files a written title and description, they aren’t going to count for anything as far as SEO goes.
  • Once a search engine spider has viewed, or “crawled,” through your website, it will catalog what it has found in terms of content and then return later. If it finds more fresh and unique content along the same topics or themes, that’s a good sign your website is relevant and up to date.

The net of all of this, of course, is that Google can know what your website is “about” in the form of search terms (keywords) it finds on your pages. Later, when human searchers enter those keywords into Google, it can match that request against what’s found on your website.

There’s a little more to it than that, of course, especially when it comes to deciding which websites should be shown first in Google’s search listings. For now, though, you know how Google actually sees your website, and why the text on your pages is more important to search engines than anything else.

Check out the next article in our SEO 101 series, or contact WebRevelation today to see how we can help with business web design and Internet marketing.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , websites , marketing , google

How to Claim Your Google Maps Location (and Why You Definitely Need to)

Posted Wed, November 26, 2014 by Julie Short

If you’re over the age of 20, you can undoubtedly remember a time when looking for a business in your area meant turning to your local Yellow Pages directory or seeking the advice of a neighbor.

In the past few years, Google Maps (along with the spread of web-ready smartphones and tablets) has changed all of that drastically. Most of us wouldn’t dream of turning to an out-of-date print directory anymore: We simply go to the world’s largest – and smartest – search engine to find what we’re looking for, whether it’s down the street or across the globe.

That’s incredibly convenient for users and shoppers, but it also underscores just how important Google maps is for businesses. After all, if you aren’t visible on the most popular referral network of all time, then you’re probably missing out on a big chunk of business that’s there to be won.

So, having told you exactly why it’s so important to be represented on Google Maps, let’s take a look at what you have to do to claim your location:

The first thing you have to do is create a Google account for your business. This can literally be done in seconds by going here, but we encourage you to pair your listing with a Google+ profile complete with a logo, photos, a link to your website, and anything else you can add. That way, interested customers can see additional information, such as photos and star ratings, that can go a long way toward convincing them to try you out.

In many cases, you’ll find Google already has a listing for your business because it’s gotten your address, phone number, and other information from elsewhere on the web. Either way, it’s critically important that you enter in an accurate street address.

Add any details that are missing. Your Google business account works, in many ways, like those old Yellow Page ads did. That means you can add a company description, link to your website, videos, hours of operation, and other details. These will all become part of your listing and will be displayed when searchers click on your location to find more information.

Photos of your location are especially helpful, particularly if you have other buildings and businesses around you, since they can assist people who are trying to find you from the street.

Submit your listing for review. In most cases, your Google business listing should go live within a couple of days at most. However, you may have to clarify details or add more information if you have multiple locations, another nearby business with similar name, or other issues that might cause confusion.

Because it’s so easy to add your Google business listing and claim your location on Google Maps – and because the marketing impact can be so powerful – it’s something you should do right now if you haven’t already. There aren’t many better, faster, or more cost-effective ways to win new customers in your area.

Looking for a web design and Internet marketing team that wants to help your business grow and not just pad their own bottom line? Call WebRevelation in San Antonio, Dallas and Oklahoma City today.

Posted in : Business Strategy , Online Profile Management , Website Content | 
Tags : googlemaps , business listings

What Is an Online Merchant Account for?

Posted Wed, November 19, 2014 by Julie Short

If you have an online store – or are considering adding e-commerce functionality to your business website – there’s a good chance you’ve been hearing about online merchant accounts. But, if you haven’t used them in the past, you might be wondering what they actually are, and what they’re good for.

In this quick post we’re going to answer that for you, along with providing you with a few quick tips for choosing the right one for your business.

First things first: A merchant account is simply a different type of bank account that allows you to receive and deposit lots of different kinds of payments, such as credit cards and ACH bank transfers. Any retailer or business that accepts plastic, online or off, has a merchant account.

Another related term you might hear often is a payment processor (or payment gateway). While this is often packaged along with an online merchant account, they’re technically separate things. The payment processor is just a piece of software that works with your merchant account and allows you to accept credit cards and other payments over the web.

You can think of a payment gateway as the virtual version of that credit card machine that retailers swipe your card with at an actual store. Instead of being a physical piece of hardware, it’s just located online.

So, now that you know a merchant account is what you need to accept credit cards, let’s get to a few quick points about choosing the right one for your business. Although there are lots and lots of different vendors and choices to consider, your selection should probably come down to a handful of critical details:

Processing fees and transfer policies. Although the percentage rates for credit card processing are fairly uniform, fees for certain services (like foreign transactions, for example) can vary quite a bit. Also, you want to choose a vendor that will give you access to your money quickly.

Versatility. It’s always annoying for customers when you don’t accept their favorite credit card or payment type, so choose a merchant account that’s flexible.

Convenience. Some combination merchant accounts and payment processors have very extensive technical and programming requirements you should be aware of, since the extra work could mean more billable hours from your web development team.

Safety and security. Good security should be a top concern since it protects your business and your customers. Plus, having bank-level encryption for your transactions makes it easier for new buyers to trust you.

Good reporting. As with anything to do with e-commerce, good reporting is essential to maximizing conversions and profits, so make sure your credit card processor has tools to help you take a detailed look at sales and trends.

Choosing the right merchant account can be very important to your e-commerce success, especially if you’re launching an Internet store for the first time. Why not let the experienced team at WebRevelation help you choose the right options and get your business up and running quickly?

Posted in : Websites , e-commerce | 
Tags : merchant account , ecommerce

What Is a Network Gateway?

Posted Wed, November 12, 2014 by Julie Short

This month, we are taking a slight turn away from our normal run of web design and Internet marketing topics to tell you a little bit about what happens behind the scenes as you connect to the Internet… or get Internet users to connect with your company.

Today, we’re going to take a look at network gateways and where they fit into this process.

Unlike a lot of other more technical terms, a network gateway is essentially what it sounds like: a node that allows you to gain entrance to a network or vice versa. In some cases, a computer serving as a node may also work as a firewall, preventing unauthorized access and automatic submissions.

In a practical sense, a gateway is often associated with a networking device (usually a router), although it can be made up entirely of software. Since the point of the gateway is to interchange two different systems using separate protocols – you can think of a gateway as being the last point on one end of an incoming or outgoing network – it usually makes sense to embed security features within it, regardless of how it’s constructed.

Here are a few things that you, as an Internet user or online marketer, might want to know about network gateways:

The function of gateways has changed slightly over time. Before default modes of transmission were established, one big role of a network gateway was to essentially “translate” from one platform or protocol to another. Now, gateways are tasked with making connections, and rarely have to change formatting within the transmission of data.

They are technically separate from firewalls. While the network gateway is tasked with interchanging different networks, the firewall (even if it’s integrated) is really designed to let some packets of information in while keeping others out. So, the gateway is about connecting, while the firewall deals with issues of security.

Gateways are normally integrated with devices. Because your router is the designated router to take information from other networks and direct it to the right places, it’s a natural fit to go along with the network gateway. That’s why the two devices, with an integrated firewall, are normally built and packaged together.

Although a normal computer user wouldn’t have much of a reason to worry about their gateway unless they’re facing a connection problem (be it incoming or outgoing), having a little basic knowledge can make it easier for you to understand how your networks function and explain problems and error messages to IT professionals.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : gateways , firewalls

All You Need to Know About IPs

Posted Wed, November 5, 2014 by Julie Short

While we normally use the blog to address web design and Internet marketing topics, we’re going to take a different track in the coming weeks and fill you in on a few IT subjects and “behind-the-scenes” ideas that relate to the web. The idea is to not just give you a better sense of how things like websites and email work, but also to clear up a bit of confusion and share a clearer understanding of the kinds of issues we and our clients deal with on a regular basis.

That being said, a common question we hear is: “What is an IP?”

The abbreviation itself stands for Internet protocol, which is basically a formula for how information can be sent back and forth over the Internet. An IP address, which you’ve probably also heard of, simply refers to the numerical “name” and location of any device connected to a network (or the Internet itself).

In other words, the IP address of your machine (which could consist of 32 digits or more) is akin to the mailing address of your home or office – it tells other machines where to look for the specific device and destination.

With those quick definitions out of the way, here are a few things you should know about IPs:

There are billions and billions of possible IP combinations. With homes and businesses running more and more devices than ever, you might be worried we’ll run out soon. But with the recent expansion of digits, there are several billion possible combinations, meaning that we still have plenty of room to grow.

They can be permanent or temporary. IPs can be static or dynamic, with dynamic being more common. That means the IP address for a specific device or machine is often issued temporarily. If it expires, or another machine attempts to use the same IP, your router or network will normally assign a new one without you ever knowing.

Some IPs are reserved and serve special functions. In the same way that phone numbers like “0” and “911” are reserved for special uses, so are certain IP addresses. As an example, is set aside for network broadcast messages, and is usually used by a computer to identify itself.

Most IPs are actually on a subnet. In most cases, the IP you receive is assigned to you by your Internet service provider. From there, the router in your home or office puts each device on a subnet, assigning it another number that falls under the address assigned for the location.

There’s a lot more you could know about IPs, but advanced technical knowledge is usually only relevant to IT professionals and network administrators. Besides, you now know more about Internet protocol and IP addresses than most of your non-IT coworkers!

Do you need a web design and online marketing partner who can help you make the most of opportunities on the web? Now is a great time to talk with WebRevelation and see how we can help your company grow.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : what is an IP address

4 Ways You Profit From Stronger CRM Capability

Posted Wed, October 29, 2014 by Julie Short

Too many businesses look to sales and marketing when searching for revenue growth. Or, they look to sales and marketing without going further (or shall we say deeper) to find new profit opportunities. That's a shame, because retaining current customers and expanding those accounts is often a much better, more-efficient strategy.

Let's be clear: there is nothing wrong with trying to break into new markets, and reach new people. Still, studies have shown time and time again that the biggest and most frequent orders (or the most profitable accounts, if you sell services) tend to come from repeat buyers.

Of course, the best way to encourage customers to stay with you is through robust CRM. The better job you're doing of getting to know your customers, keeping in touch with them, and maintaining things like account details and points of contact, the easier it's going to be to grow those accounts. 

In fact, here are four ways you profit from stronger CRM:

1. Fewer accounts that slip away or are lost to competitors. Marketing experts will tell you that most sales are made, and most accounts are won, on a "top of mind" basis. In other words, the more intentional you are about contacting important customers regularly, the more you just happen to be "at the right place at the right time."

2. Better follow-up on sales opportunities. A good CRM package doesn't just keep account details, but can help you track new opportunities. That's important, because without these kinds of tools, it's easy to lose track of possible sales, especially when they don't finalize immediately. Few businesses can afford to let potential customers slip through the cracks, and CRM functionality can make all the difference.

3. More targeted marketing opportunities. In a perfect world, you could match a personalized sales message to each single client or opportunity. Since that's not normally possible, however, your best option is to use strong CRM systems that differentiate your customers and prospects into groups, allowing you to send timely, targeted offers to different buyers in each major category.

4. Less time wasted for your sales and customer service teams. One of the "soft costs" associated with poor CRM is the waste of time shared by business owners, managers, and employees. Your team has better things to do, so why not let your CRM system take care of routine tracking and account maintenance activities?

For most businesses, there is more revenue growth to be found within current accounts then there is in new ones, at least in the short term. Are you making the most of CRM and sales opportunities within your roster of existing buyers? If not, let the WebRevelation team show you how easy it is to enhance those relationships with streamlined CRM solutions.

Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM

5 Easy Ways to Enhance Your SEO Campaigns

Posted Wed, October 22, 2014 by Julie Short

Here at WebRevelation, we are big fans of search engine optimization. Google currently processes billions of searches every single day – having more of them end at your website is a great way to draw in targeted buyers.

But, doing well in search takes more than simply putting together a few pages, researching a handful of keywords, and optimizing your meta tags. In fact, it’s becoming more and more of an art and science with each passing month, as an increasing number of companies go online and try to steal the search traffic you’d like to see arriving on your landing pages.

And so, in an effort to help you not only compete but stand out on Google’s search listings, here are five easy ways to enhance your SEO campaigns:

  1. Concentrate your firepower. It’s easy to fall into the temptation of choosing dozens and dozens of keywords to concentrate on when you start putting together your search engine optimization campaigns. But it’s usually smarter to begin with a handful and grow from there, especially if your business or website is relatively new.
  2. Use more than text. Although Google and other search engines understand text best, they show results in several different formats, including images and video. So the more types of content you have (with search optimized titles and descriptions, of course), the easier it’s going to be for people to discover your website and brand.
  3. Integrate search with social and email. Your search engine optimization campaign shouldn’t be working all on its own. Integrating it with social media is a good way to multiply your visitors and raise your search profile at the same time (if people share your content), while email can be the perfect tool for following up with new visitors and potential customers.
  4. Consider automating lead generation. Once your search engine optimization campaign starts to pick up some momentum, you might feel overwhelmed with the number of requests and inquiries you receive (especially if not all of them are from high-quality prospects). Putting an automated lead-generation campaign into place can make your business more scalable while reducing your time burden.
  5. Know where to stop. Getting search engine traffic is fantastic, but being too obvious about your keyword placement – or putting too fine a point on your marketing message – can turn off searchers and search engine spiders alike. For the best results, post lots of content but use search keywords and calls to action sparingly.

Could you be getting more from search engine optimization? Why not schedule a free consultation with the creative team at WebRevelation and find out? Call us anytime at 817-283-3324 to find a time that works for you.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO

How to Guarantee Your Social Media Marketing Won’t Work

Posted Wed, October 15, 2014 by Julie Short

Lots of online marketers like to argue about whether social media works or not. It’s an interesting discussion, but it misses the point – with hundreds of millions of people using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ every day, the question isn’t whether social media marketing works but how.

In fact, the only reason there is any debate at all on this topic is because so many organizations are handling social media so badly. If you want to follow in their example, and spend lots of time and money on social accounts that aren’t going to earn you any return, then you just need to follow a few easy steps.

Here is what you can do to guarantee your social media marketing absolutely won’t work:

  1. Invest time and money into social media without a goal. Just deciding to “try social media” without any defined goal is a perfect way to flush your time and money down the drain. Without a specific target audience, or conversion goal, you’re basically hoping you’ll get results by accident.
  2. Post material you wouldn’t read. There are tons of low-quality content being posted to social sites every day, with no one bothering to read the updates or pay any attention. Dumping more into the world is like the Internet marketing equivalent of littering, but lots of companies still do it.
  3. Go dark for long periods of time. When you stop posting to your social accounts, your fans and customers don’t assume you’ve gotten really busy, they tend to think you don’t have anything interesting to say (or possibly that you’ve gone out of business altogether). That’s a good way to lose subscribers and get people to stop paying attention.
  4. Use your soapbox for sales pitches. You’ve probably never met anyone who watches television for the commercials, but lots of marketers can’t seem to get past the idea that thousands of users are going to flock to their blatant marketing messages disguised as social posts.
  5. Only use one channel or content type. All the social channels and websites have value, but you can feel free to limit yourself to one or two favorites if you don’t care about reaching as many potential customers as possible.
  6. Keep using the same tactics again and again. Even though we all know things constantly change on the Internet, and especially in the exploding field of social media marketing, lots of businesses like to stick with what they’ve always done, get declining results, and then wonder what happened.

Although we are being a little tongue-in-cheek with this post, it underscores a few important details. Social media marketing is valuable, but only if you commit to doing things the right way and stay involved through a consistent series of campaigns. Are you ready to start getting bigger results from social?

The team at WebRevelation can help you get more from social media, Internet advertising, and business web design. Call our San Antonio office today at 817-283-3324 to request a free consultation.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : social media , marketing

7 Ways to Make CRM Effective

Posted Wed, October 8, 2014 by Julie Short

With the right customer relationship management (CRM) platform, your business can stay in touch with buyers and meet their needs more effectively, paving the way for happier customers and lots of future sales.

Use CRM ineffectively, though, and you don’t just waste time and money – you miss opportunities and could even harm the relationships you have with your most important buyers. Because there’s so much at stake, it’s critical businesses of all sizes get CRM right. Here are seven ways you can make yours more effective:

  1. Choose the right CRM package. It goes without saying that you need the correct CRM platform if you’re going to use it to your advantage. Unfortunately, there are lots of choices… not to mention several different options and configurations. This is where a company like ours can be an invaluable asset in helping you find the right fit between needs and products.
  2. Get the proper training. Unfortunately, having the right CRM package won’t improve your customer service and customer retention automatically – you and your staff need to know how to use the tools at your disposal. Usually, a bit of upfront training, along with a few subsequent sessions, is all that’s needed to get your organization up to speed. Don’t skip out on this vital step, however, because it’s the key to getting the ROI you need from your CRM investment.
  3. Make constant updates. In order for your CRM package to have any value, it needs to be updated continually. In fact, the ideal way to work is to have your team update your CRM platform with every customer interaction. That way, anyone in your organization can see what contact you’ve had with the customer, what the current challenges and expectations are, and what the expected next steps might be.
  4. Use CRM data in customer interactions. The flipside of that coin is that CRM data needs to be instantly available. For example, if someone calls your company or stops by in person, it’s crucial that employees be able to see account history and details about recent requests or inquiries. That way, they aren’t “starting from scratch,” which can lead to an incredibly frustrating experience for buyers (and serve as a motivator for them to take their business elsewhere).
  5. Review accounts regularly. The larger an account is, the more important it is you use your CRM package to review it regularly. In this way, CRM can help you “play defense” and stop important buyers from defecting to competitors. Knowing when you have problems with an account, and what they are, is crucial to client retention.
  6. Study CRM metrics. In the same way that you want to look through individual accounts on a regular basis, you should also make a point of studying overall CRM metrics to get a sense of how your business is performing and how satisfied buyers appear to be. Sometimes, a simple “top-down” view of your accounts can show some revealing trends, so make the time to study and review the available data on a set schedule.
  7. Let CRM lead to marketing and sales opportunities. CRM isn’t just about keeping customers happy and putting out fires. In fact, by studying a pattern of customer interactions – and especially their requests – you might be able to identify new sales and marketing opportunities that were previously undetected.

That’s just one of the many ways CRM packages, when chosen and implemented in the right way, can help your company be more profitable.
Is your company getting the most from customer relationship management, web marketing, and other business technologies? If not, right now is the perfect time to call WebRevelation at 817-283-3324 and see how we can help.

Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM

How to Break Free of Search Marketing and Get to Search Results

Posted Wed, October 1, 2014 by Julie Short

Search engine optimization and search marketing are so ubiquitous these days they almost feel like our national sport. Visit a conference of business owners or marketers, for example, and you’ll hear every bit as much talk about Google, algorithms, and search engine rankings as you would football at a bar.

That fascination can actually be a mixed bag. That’s because, for as much as the details of SEO matter, what matters more is being able to attract customers and help them when they find your website. After all, buyers are the ones who buy; search engines can only refer them.

For that reason, there is some value in breaking free of the cycle of search marketing and concentrating on search results instead. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

Go Back to Psych 101

Search engine optimization is all about how potential customers can find you. One thing that often gets overlooked throughout that process, though, is thinking about why they would buy from you.

For all the attention being paid to analytics and demographics, many marketers overlook basic motivations. What do you have to offer your target audience, and why should they want it? The more of these answers you have, the easier it is to build offers and campaigns that appeal to the customers you really need.

Concentrate on UX

UX (or user experience) is all about making it easy for your customers to find whatever it is they want on your website – whether it’s answers, products, or something else.

Often, someone searching for a solution or vendor will look through several – and maybe even dozens – of different search engine results trying to find the right fit. For that reason, having a user-friendly site with lots of searchable content, easy-to-scan text blocks, and straightforward navigation structure can be more valuable than simply adding keywords because it keeps the visitors you do get on your pages.

Gear Everything Toward Action

Content is great, but the text on your website needs to lead somewhere beyond a simple search result. You have to have a goal, something you want new visitors to do.

This isn’t just about calls to action, although these are important. You also want to add a persuasive element to the copywriting on your website, along with social proof (usually in the form of testimonials and reviews) that show people your business is worth working with. Otherwise, you can’t generate any action, and all the search traffic in the world is useless without results.

If you’re looking for the very best in search marketing and web design in Dallas or Oklahoma City, call WebRevelation at 405-607-0349 or 817-283-3324 today and ask for a free consultation. You might be amazed at what we can do for your company!

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : attracting customers

Why ERP Packages Have Gotten Even Better Lately

Posted Wed, September 24, 2014 by Julie Short

While ERP packages that help manufacturers get better information at every step in the design and production process aren't new, their capabilities have grown significantly in recent years. In fact, any manufacturer that isn't using a strong ERP in 2013 is facing a serious competitive disadvantage.

There are a number of reasons that statement is true, but one change has significantly affected the way that ERP platforms operate: cloud computing.

Why is cloud computing such an important addition to ERP development? It allows for true, real-time communication and collaboration not just between departments, but even between vendors and entire companies. Because any part of an order can be updated instantaneously, different groups can adapt to one another seamlessly. And they can do it without long meetings, telephone calls, reports, and other bottlenecks.

What kinds of information might you want real-time? Here are just a few of the best examples:

  • The number (and contents) of current estimates and proposals that could be accepted at any time
  • Raw material prices for key inputs into your products, including quotes from suppliers
  • Delivery schedules for secondary components that you need to receive for product delivery
  • Transportation and logistical schedules and updates from trucking companies
  • Employee availability and current labor costs per-project

The list could go on and on, but the point is that you want to keep tabs on every factor that could affect the delivery scheduler bottom-line, and you want to know what's happening now, without having to make phone calls or bring managers into your office for continual updates. That's especially true if you're facing a situation where needs and priorities are changing quickly.

Real-time information – combined with industrial-grade efficiency – is always going to give a manufacturer an important competitive advantage. The more you know about your business, changing customer needs, supplier activities and timelines, current material costs and estimates, etc., the easier it is to maximize your profitability in any situation. That's why the ERP/cloud computing combination is one that can literally transform the way manufacturing companies operate.

Want to learn more about ERP solutions and how they offer real-time insight into your business? Contact us today and ask for a free demonstration so you can see the possibilities for yourself.

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : erp

How to Find and Approach New Clients on LinkedIn

Posted Wed, September 17, 2014 by Julie Short

When it comes to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, most of us revert back to being like grade school children – first we seek out people we know, and then let things branch out naturally to make new friends and contacts. When it comes to LinkedIn, however, things can be a little tougher. 

For one thing, the site has a professional focus, which makes it feel more like a professional networking event than a cocktail party. And for another, the stakes can be higher. Although a lot of CEOs, executives, and other VIPs don't have time to use other social sites, most of them are on LinkedIn and involved in company or industry-related discussions.

So, how do you find and approach new prospects on LinkedIn? Here are a handful of steps to help you get started:

Begin with the familiar. As with most parts of social media, and your business life in general, it's a good idea to begin by thinking about who you already know that's on LinkedIn, and who they might know in return. In other words, see if you have contacts who can make introductions on your behalf.

Be visible in the right places. Your LinkedIn profile is important, but industry-related discussion groups can be your greatest sources of information. That's because you won't just be able to see who is posting and getting involved, but also what kinds of topics are on their minds.

Ask, listen, and learn. The more you ask questions and pay attention to others, the easier it will be to grow your network. Try not to dominate every discussion, or give endless sales pitches at every opportunity – others on LinkedIn will tune you out, or ban you from their groups altogether.

Introduce yourself carefully. When the time is right (which means you know who you want to approach, what company they are with, and how you can help them), try to add them to your connections and send a simple, benefit-centered note. Explain why you want to add them, and then what you hope to do for them or their company.

Take the next logical step. This could be a phone call, an online presentation, a face-to-face meeting, or something else altogether. The point is to take the relationship beyond LinkedIn if possible, so you can turn the contact into a genuine sales opportunity.

Networking and finding new prospects through LinkedIn isn't an instant process, but it's one that can be very important to you as a salesperson, executive, or business owner. Learn to make smart connections through the site and you just might be able to open accounts and create relationships that you wouldn't have been able to build anywhere else.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : linkedin

Is Your Oil and Gas Operation as Efficient as it Could be

Posted Wed, September 10, 2014 by Julie Short

In today's ultra-competitive energy market, success in the oil and gas industry often comes down to efficiency. You don't just need to have the right team, the best locations, and a good plan, but to execute each step in a timely and effective way.

At the same time, though, cost controls and an unpredictable economy have driven a lot of oil and gas operators to put off important technology investments – leading to a "forest for the trees" situation in which efficiency is being sacrificed for small, short-term savings.

In other words, if you don't have the right technology team on your side, your oil and gas operations could be suffering. In fact, you might be "leaking" small amounts of money in virtually every part of your business.

We help our clients to avoid these issues by assisting them in a number of key areas, including:

Oil and gas web design. Obviously, having a strong website is important for marketing your business to other companies and investors. But, with the right web presence, you could use your site as a hub for project management, a tool for recruiting, and even a source of industry information.

Inventory and workflow management. These are the types of issues that fall under the broad umbrella of "logistics," and that can make or break the profitability of your oil and gas operation. Knowing what you have to work on – and then scheduling and managing those projects and locations – is critical to your success. Each of those tasks is a lot easier when you have the right technology on your side.

CRM and contact management. When you have customers, vendors, suppliers, and distributors to manage, keeping track of contacts, responsibilities, and personal details can become a daunting challenge. With effective CRM solutions in place, you can be sure that nothing slips through the cracks, especially your most important sales opportunities.

Could these kinds of systems help your business to be more profitable? There is an easy way to find out. Call or email WebRevelation today and let us give you a free, no-obligation consultation. After a quick technology review, we'll show you whether there are any parts of your business that can be improved in a cost-effective way using better hardware, software, or systems.

You've got nothing to lose, so why not get in touch with WebRevelation now and see why we are San Antonio's oil and gas technology experts?

Posted in : Business Strategy | 
Tags : Oil and gas

Are Old Ideas Holding You Back From a New Level of Efficiency?

Posted Wed, September 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Despite the fact that we live in a so-called "digital age," there are a surprising number of companies holding on to very old ideas and ways of doing things. In fact, some are even using newer technologies without truly taking advantage of them – something akin to using your laptop computer as a paperweight.

Obviously, we're exaggerating just a little bit, but it isn't unusual for otherwise successful businesses to be using backward processes, especially in the field of manufacturing, where many of our best clients do their work. Instead of embracing tools like CRM software, inventory control packages, logistics platforms, and custom mobile apps, they are clinging to spreadsheets, telephone calls, and other similarly outdated processes.

Why is it that they are fighting change, when they could be enjoying benefits like bigger sales, lower costs, and faster delivery times?

Although many companies would say they aren't ready to make changes, the answers often lie in the psychology of an organization, or the mindset of its executive team, rather than any true limitations of the hardware or software they could be using. That's understandable, but it's also something that's easy to fix. 

Here are a few of the common issues we help companies with, along with a couple quick thoughts on each:

Clinging to old habits. When it comes down to it, a lot of people don't like learning to do new things, or dealing with change at all. What usually happens, though, once we show them how much time and money can be saved by doing things a smarter way, is that our clients can't remember how they ever got along without the new tools and ideas.

A general resistance to change. This involves the same kind of thinking, but in an organizational sense. If things have always been relatively successful working a certain way, why change? The answer is that doing something successfully doesn't mean you can't do it better, or with less time, expense, and stress.

Personnel bottlenecks. Occasionally, we have clients who would like to try to do things differently, but can't get permission from a key executive or decision-maker. Again, the reasons for putting off change are usually valid, but a thoughtful proposal and demonstration are usually enough to let them give our way a try.

The blame game. Conversely, change is sometimes slowed by the worry that, if the new methods don't work out, the person responsible for bringing the idea up (or making the final decision) are going to be blamed. But, that ignores the reality that they can also receive credit for taking the initiative, and could receive even more blame later if they didn't take advantage of an opportunity to help the organization.

If your company isn’t getting enough from technology, right now is the perfect time to decide to change things, become more efficient, and move forward. Call or email the WebRevelation team today and let us show you how a few simple cost-effective shifts in the way you do business can make all the difference.

Posted in : Business Strategy | 
Tags : business strategy

Logo Design: Don’t Underestimate Your Visual Identity

Posted Wed, August 27, 2014 by Julie Short

Any college student that's been through Marketing 101 can tell you that logos are massively important to branding and marketing. And yet, we regularly meet with new clients who either don't have a great logo, or have been putting off the process of updating the one they have had for years.

Why is that? Certainly these men and women know how much logos mean, so why don't they invest in one?

The short answer, in most cases, is that they simply haven't gotten around to it, don't realize just how much the logo affects their marketing, or don't know where to turn for help. Despite the specific reason, it almost always comes down to a matter of momentum.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes, here are a handful of things you should know about logo design with WebRevelation:

Logos are powerful. In half a second or less, your logo tells a potential customer (or vendor/employee) what your company does, what its "personality" is like, and how you want them to feel about your business. And, because they're seen again and again, that impression is likely to be reinforced hundreds or thousands of times.

Sometimes it’s best to start over. If you have a terrible or outdated logo, the best strategy is sometimes to start over from scratch as part of a bigger marketing or branding push. Beginning again with something new is better than trying to polish an idea that just doesn't work.

Logos don’t have to be complicated. Most of the very best logos are simple. They convey a message and tone without over complicating it, and make themselves more memorable at the same time.

Logo design doesn’t have to be a long (or expensive) process. By working with the right creative team, you can get a fantastic logo in just a couple of weeks. And, updating your visual identity will probably cost you a lot less than you might think.

Choosing the right logo design team is important. Because of the power your logo could have, and the missed opportunities that arise when it doesn't, it's important to choose the right design team. But then again, you probably already knew that if you found your way to this blog.

When it comes down to it, a good logo works a lot harder – and is worth a lot more – and a lot of marketers realize this. Is it time you got a visual identity that makes the right impression on your buyers?

WebRevelation is a leader in web design, logo creation, and Internet marketing; with locations in Oklahoma City, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Call us now at 817-283-3324 or 405-607-0349, request a quote, or see what we can do to help your business grow.

Posted in : Websites , Tips and Tricks , Business Strategy | 
Tags : logo design

One Thing That Never Changes in Online Marketing

Posted Wed, August 20, 2014 by Julie Short

The rate of change in Internet marketing has always been extremely quick, and the process only seems to be accelerating. For instance, a lot of tactics that would have been considered "best practices" search engine optimization just a couple of years ago can actually harm your search engine positioning now. The same is true for a lot of notions we only recently held about web design, e-mail, and social media.

All of that continuous change can make things difficult for business owners and executives. Amidst all of this turmoil, however, it's important to remember that one thing about online marketing never changes; it's still just a form of marketing. Marketing by its very nature tends to be uncomplicated – you just meet new people and tell them about your company or products. The rest, as they say, is window dressing.

When you keep that perspective in mind, it's easier to roll and adapt with the changes as they come. Because your goal is consistent, it's only the specific tools and activities that have to be shifted from time to time. To help you understand why that principle is so important, here are a few good pieces of advice to follow in your online marketing… regardless of what the current trends or fads might be:

Know your market. Before you can meet your most important prospects and customers, you have to know who they are and what they want. Luckily, this is getting to be easier than ever with social media. Just get in touch with a few of your most important buyers and see what they have in common. Then, you can use that information to find others like them.

Have a great website and bring people to it. In this context, a "great website" doesn't necessarily mean any particular programming platform or layout feature – it just means that your website is easy to read, use, and understand. Clarity is a vastly underrated marketing skill.

Don’t be generic. Even before the Internet you had competitors all around you; the web has just brought them closer. The key isn't to run from all the other businesses who want to steal your customers, but to distinguish yourself from them. In other words, don't be generic in your marketing. Embrace your business’s personality and set yourself apart from the crowd.

Keep trying new things. As we hope you understand by now, marketing principles are fairly constant while tactics are changing all the time. Keep in mind what it is you want to accomplish, but don't be afraid to experiment with different methods. You never know when you'll stumble on something new and exciting.

Be the best. It's almost cliché, but the most reliable way to market your business is to be the best at what you do. When you're at the top of your game, others will seek you out and give you referrals. Aim for the leadership role in your industry or market and the process of finding customers always gets easier.

Marketing might not be easy, but it isn't rocket science, either. The more things change in our industry, the more you realize that reaching out in getting to know buyers is all about understanding what they want and giving it to them. Keep that idea front and center and you're always likely to do well, regardless of which specific marketing tools you use.

Looking for top-tier Internet marketing help in Oklahoma City? Call WebRevelation now at 405-607-0349 and ask for a free consultation.

Posted in : Email Marketing , SEO/SMO/SMM , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : internet marketing

How to Stop Social Media Trends from Passing You By

Posted Wed, August 13, 2014 by Julie Short

For the past few years, business owners and marketers have known that social media is a game-changer when it comes to reaching out to new clients and establishing brand loyalty. But, the opportunities that social networking sites present come with a cost that's hard to ignore: not only does your social activity itself take a bit of time, but keeping up with the latest trends and ideas feels like a part-time job all on its own.

In other words, you can't make the most of social media marketing if you don't stay on top of the latest trends, but you can't spend all of your time figuring out what's going on with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn either.

To help you stay tuned into the social world, and especially the best practices in the industry, here are seven quick tips you can use to stop social media trends from passing you by:

1. Listen and learn. You can learn a lot just by hanging out with other business owners (or tech-savvy teenagers) and learning about what they're doing.

2. Track the most popular hashtags on Twitter. The biggest and most important trends will almost always have an accompanying storm of hashtagged tweets announcing and following them.

3. Get to know the G+ influencers in your industry. Likewise, the biggest news on social media is going to be discussed by industry experts. You can often learn more on Google +, which allows for more substantial content than Twitter, so follow a few people you can learn from.

4. Get plugged in to LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn discussion groups are a largely-untapped gold mine of information and advice. It only takes a moment to join one, and the benefits could last for years.

5. Play with your apps and toys. There is no teacher like experience, and simply experimenting with social websites (and the accompanying apps) can be a great way to get to know them.

6. Attend a conference or training event. If you can devote a few hours to social media marketing, consider attending an event or workshop. You'll learn expert tips in a condensed format.

7. Subscribe to blogs like this one. An informative blog post is also a great way to absorb a lot of information in a quick, easy-to-understand format. Subscribe to a few (like ours) and you'll have a head start on learning everything you need to know.

While it is true that social media changes quickly, it's a myth that you have to spend all of your time on social sites to use them effectively. Instead, you just have to know where to look to find the highlights. Spend a few minutes a day following these tips and you'll be up to speed in no time.

Looking for a business web design and Internet marketing partner that understands what it takes to get results? Call WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 and find out what we can do for your bottom line.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : social media

How to Organize Your Website for Better Search Effectiveness

Posted Wed, August 6, 2014 by Julie Short

For all the discussion that revolves around search engine optimization, many business owners (and more than a couple of web designers) tend to focus on the wrong things, or miss the obvious. That's often the case when it comes to website structure (how your pages and links are organized), which can have a surprisingly-large effect on how easy your content is to find.

That effect comes in two ways: how your pages are displayed in search results, and how well Google and the other search engines are able to understand what lives where on your business website.

In the first case, a website with an easy-to-use site structure can be displayed multiple ways in Google search engine listings, and even have "sub-results" for individual pages. And to the second point, search engines can't necessarily find or crawl your content without the right webmaster tools. Even when they can, they may not understand how pages work in relation to one another, which in turn means they don't know how they should be displayed, either.

Luckily, it's not that difficult to organize your website for search effectiveness. Here are a few basic ideas we always keep in mind when working with our clients:

Draw a flowchart before you begin. This will allow you to envision the way your website pages should be set up. It also gives you the chance to ensure that everything follows a logical flow from one topic to another.

Make it easy to get from A to B. Try not to "bury" anything on your business website, particularly if it's an important topic or product. A good rule of thumb is that it shouldn't take more than two or three clicks to reach any part of your website from anywhere else.

Stick to languages Google understands. Lots of designers love flash and animation, but these are hard for search engine spiders to crawl. Code your site in HTML or CSS whenever possible to make it more searchable.

Don’t draw visitors too deeply into the rabbit hole. If your website goes more than three or four layers deep (something you can see from your flowchart), find out if you can simplify it. The deeper you go with individual layers, the harder it is for users to find what they're looking for.

Make sure your navigation menu is easy to see and use. It should be visible from every page, of course, and with main topics and subcategories that are easy to understand.

One thing you might notice about these tips is that they aren't just good for search engine optimization; they also make your site easier for actual customers to use. That's the whole point. Search engines just want what people do, and that's a website that's clear, intuitive, and full of great content.

Are you getting all you can from search engines and social media? Talk to the San Antonio web design team at WebRevelation today to see how we can help take your Internet marketing to the next level.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content , Websites | 
Tags : websites , organization , effective

5 Web Design Blunders Visitors Hate

Posted Wed, July 30, 2014 by Julie Short

If you are like most of the business owners and marketing executives we work with, you probably don't want to unintentionally drive new customers away from your website. In fact, the thought of watching that revenue slip away probably makes you queasy.

Even so, we see websites every single day that have fatal flaws. Despite their best intentions, the owners of these sites are doing their very best to scare buyers into clicking in another direction.

Are you making the same mistakes? We hope not, but now is a good time to check and be sure. Here are five web design blunders visitors absolutely hate:

1. Unconventional or sloppy designs. Although it might seem unfair to lump "unconventional" and "sloppy" web designs together, to your customers they are one and the same problem. That's because all of us use dozens of websites every day. We know what they're supposed to look like, and how they should work. When you deviate too far from that, you make it difficult for people to actually use your site, which makes them want to look for answers elsewhere.

2. Hidden content. When you have content on your website that isn't crawled by search engines, or can't be found within your internal link structure, you have a problem. That's because it's going to essentially be invisible for most customers. In that case, you can’t get the sales you want because they can't find the information they need.

3. Huge blocks of text. Have you ever come across a web page that has lots and lots of information, but in long, imposing paragraphs without any subheadings? If so, then you already know how easy it is to just take your attention elsewhere. Having big blocks of uninterrupted text is like inviting visitors to take their time and attention to one of your competitors.

4. Pop-ups and obtrusive ads. Although some marketers swear by on-page pop-ups, blinking ads, and other forms of Internet obnoxiousness, the reality is that readers will usually tolerate them, but almost never like them. There are plenty of ways to make your most important offers stand out without driving visitors aggressively from your website. Why shout when a whisper will do just as well?

5. Unanswered questions. There are probably a lot of basic questions you're used to hearing about your products or services: how much they cost, how long they take to get, what "fine print" comes along with the purchase, and so on. If these aren't answered on your website, it makes it seem as if you have something to hide.

Making your business stand out, online or off, is hard enough without shooting yourself in the foot. So, if you notice one of these five blunders on your own website, take care of it now before it can impact your business even more.

Is your website suffering from a fatal flaw? Talk to the creative team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Business Strategy | 
Tags : websites , effective design

Do You Know What Unforgettable Content Looks Like?

Posted Wed, July 23, 2014 by Julie Short

Most marketers don't necessarily know what unforgettable content looks like, or how it’s created, but they definitely know what it feels like. We've all come across an article, picture, video, or even an email that changed our perspective, moved us to action, or inspired us to forward what we have seen to a dozen other people.

So, why is it so hard to create that in our own marketing?

From our experience, there are really two issues. The first is that any piece of content can be hit or miss. What seems like a sure thing to you might not be well received by your customer base, and something you've come up with off the cuff could end up being wildly popular. The second issue is that most people aren't really sure what the ingredients for unforgettable content are.

We can’t necessarily help you in the first case. If you want to create great content, you'll probably have to experiment with lots of it. We can tell you what great content is made of, though. Here are a few things you need to consider:

Truly great content has to center on a popular topic. Popular simply means that the readers that matter to you care about it. In other words, all of your content doesn't have to center on pop culture or front-page news, but it does have to involve something that your buyers will read or think about.

It's important to create an emotional response with readers or viewers. Most effective content isn't strictly informational in nature; it also has an emotional edge or appeal to it. Get people to laugh, cry, or just take notice, and chances are you're off to a very good start.

Most great pieces of content have some entertainment value. While entertaining readers, viewers, or customers might not be the point of your content, it's not a bad idea to keep the entertainment value of your articles and posts in mind. Think of it this way: Jokes, drama, and visuals are like the sugar coating that helps your marketing medicine go down easier.

Some content is perfect just because it's timely. One easy way to make your content popular – and thereby more effective – is to tie it to something timely. Whether you look to the calendar or the news, you can probably search out something that can serve as a "hook" to tie your content to.

Every great piece of content needs a strong title and searchable keywords. No matter how great your articles and social posts are, it won't matter if readers and potential customers can’t find them, or if they aren't interested enough to check them out. You can't ignore titles and keywords, so work with them as long as you need to in order to get things right.

The great thing about these ingredients is that they give you a blueprint for creating lots of fantastic content again and again. That way, even the pieces that don't seem like big winners still end up contributing to the overall effectiveness of your Internet marketing plan and search engine optimization platform.

Most of us know great content when we see it… now you have a good plan to help you create it, too.

For help with business web design, search engine optimization, e-commerce, and so much more, contact the team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content , Websites | 
Tags : website , great content , marketing

The Catch-22 of Small Business Web Design

Posted Wed, July 16, 2014 by Julie Short

Small businesses often face an interesting marketing dilemma: Customers really like working with them on the one hand, but love the convenience and low prices that big, well-known chains and corporations can offer on the other.

The Internet can balance things out a little bit, but there's no question that the larger players in any industry almost always have a distinct advantage when it comes to marketing themselves. How can you, as a small business owner or manager, take advantage of the fact that the public is on your side and attract new customers in a cost-effective way?

Here are a handful of easy-to-follow web design tips that can help you do just that:

Simplify everything. For all of their great design features and functionalities, buyers don't necessarily love the complexity of big websites. If you can keep your web presence simple and straightforward – showing visitors what you do and why they should work with you – you'll be more likely to get new buyers to give you a try.

Allow for easy ordering and inquiries. The more hoops someone has to jump through to do business with your company, the easier it is for them to decide to just stick with their existing source or vendor (often a bigger business). Make it as easy as possible to open an account, place an order, or contact your company directly if needed.

Provide lots of info. Don't make visitors guess about what they're in for if they place an order with your company. Give them lots of information that tells them what will happen, how much they'll be charged and when, what sort of questions they'll have to answer, and so on. This is another way to reduce the barriers (real or imagined) that could stop someone from working with you.

Give rock-solid guarantees. With offers like a "money-back guarantee," customers have little to risk when it comes to deciding whether or not to give you a try. As a smaller business, you should know exactly how good your products and services are. Advertise that, and then don't be afraid to stand behind what you sell.

Be friendly and personal. Lots of small business owners like to hide the fact that they’re small. While that's sometimes wise, you can sometimes make a better impression by highlighting your personal touch. The most obvious way to do this is by including a little bit of personal or biographical information on your website. When people know and like you, they want to help you succeed – something few people will ever say or feel about a bigger business.

Having a small business might not always seem like an advantage, but it certainly can be. The fact that so many people like to root for the "little guy," especially when it comes to spending their money, is a powerful factor in your favor. Set up your small business website in the right way, and you can tilt the odds of winning new customers into your favor.

Need help with a new website for your business? Contact the team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : small business , websites , tips

4 Things to Know Before You Launch an Online Store

Posted Wed, July 9, 2014 by Julie Short

Even the prospect of launching your first e-commerce site can be exciting. There are so many choices and opportunities in front of you, not to mention the possibility of finding a new revenue stream that can continue for years without forcing you to spend long hours at the desk.

There is more to building a profitable online store, though, than simply choosing an e-commerce template and watching the profits roll in. To help you get a sense of what the most successful Internet entrepreneurs know, here are four things to keep in mind before you launch your first (or next) online store:

1. Most products really don’t sell themselves. Occasionally, we meet with would-be entrepreneurs and e-commerce site owners who think they’ve stumbled upon the one product that's virtually guaranteed to go viral and bring them huge profits in a short amount of time. Even if that were possible, it's likely you'd be facing some pretty stiff competition in no time at all. The reality is that it is relatively easy to spread the word about great products and services online, but you still need a strong Internet marketing plan to get the ball rolling.

2. Trust matters. Trust is incredibly important to e-commerce for a couple of reasons. First, if searchers and shoppers don't trust you or your site, they aren't going to enter in their credit card information and complete a purchase. And second, if you don't build trust over time by following through on your promises and guarantees, then no one is going to trust you going forward.

With that in mind, it's important to build trust by putting visible reminders of your business associations, e-commerce verifications, and other credentials on your e-commerce site. Then, make service and transparency a top priority to get the reviews and reputation you need.

3. You’ll have to work to get (and keep) customers. One of the reasons that e-commerce is getting tougher is that search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are more competitive than ever. That means you're going to have to work hard or spend money (and possibly both) to win your first few customers. After that, you'll have to keep them coming for great products, top service, fast shipping, or low prices… and possibly a combination of a few of those factors.

4. E-commerce is all about efficiency. The most successful online stores aren't always the flashiest or most popular. Instead, they are the ones that continually refine their marketing and budgeting approaches, working one percentage at a time, slowly but gradually improving their financial picture. Whether your store is a hit from the day it launches or takes a while to gain momentum, never fall into the trap of being satisfied with what you have.

Make no mistake: You can grow a popular and profitable online store, often in less time than you would think. But, it's going to take a little bit of imagination, a lot of hard work, and the right e-commerce design team on your side.

Posted in : Business Strategy , e-commerce , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : ecommerce , marketing , tips

How to Attract the Best New Talent to Your Company this Hiring Season

Posted Wed, July 2, 2014 by Julie Short

To attract the best employees, you need to capture the attention of this year's most talented college graduates. Job boards and campus recruiting are two great ways to spread information. But to reach the widest pool of job seekers, you also need to maximize the one resource that every company has at its disposal: your company website. A website that is coherently branded, contains solid information, and is easy to navigate gives young job seekers a good first impression and can even predispose them to want to work for you.

Use your website to promote your brand

If producers decided to make a film about your company, what Hollywood actor would play your CEO? What genre would the film be? Would it be a romantic comedy or a period drama? What’s the soundtrack like?

You get the idea. According to talent maximization expert Roberta Matuson, "attraction trumps recruitment time and time again". HBR's poll of 15,000 millennials supports this idea: the number one thing young people look for in a company is "people and culture fit" – much more so than salary.

Related post: Does Your Website Effectively Reflect Your Brand?

Think of your website as projecting your company's identity and telling its story. Images, color, layout and font need to be consistent so that your brand is both recognizable and stays with your viewer. Create personable, engaging profiles of your employees – or, if you’re a larger organization, your leaders – so that the culture and work environment are part of the primary focus.

Make sure the site is easy to navigate

A few years ago, it was popular to construct websites that held their viewers hostage with disabled back buttons and large popup windows. Now these features are understood to be cardinal sins of web design. All features like this do is irritate the viewer, who will simply close the browser and start all over again, making a mental note not to return to your site. Ouch.

Keep distractions to a minimum. You want to construct an appealing website that prospective job seekers not only want to explore but also immediately know how to explore. You can accomplish this goal in the following ways:

  • Make your company information easy to access by adding a professional-looking "contact us" form or button on every page.
  • Streamline the content on your site so that viewers can load it in under four seconds.
  • Include a clear navigation map on your header or footer. Visitors should never have to click at random to find their way around the site.

Don't forget the bells and whistles

We said to streamline, we know – but there are a couple extras that aren’t actually extras at this point. If you’re going to attract young talent to your company, you must have these two things:

  • Mobile-ready design
  • Strong social media presence

Related post: 4 common pitfalls of mobile web design

A report by beyond.com states that 77 percent of job seekers are using mobile apps to locate jobs. Not having a mobile-ready site is almost as big a mistake as not utilizing social media to advertise and promote your company brand. The number one way that millennials learn about great companies to work for is recommendations from friends; and social media is one of the main ways that friends stay in touch. A mobile-optimized site and a solid social media presence will drive the traffic you want straight to your website.

When you’re trying to attract new grads to your company, remember that making yourself visible is half the battle – so use your website wisely, and you’ll be receiving applications in no time.  


Posted in : Websites , Business Strategy | 
Tags : attracting , hiring , college , graduates

What to Do When Google Treats You like a Russian Gymnastics Judge

Posted Wed, June 25, 2014 by Julie Short

Most business owners and Internet marketers are already at least somewhat familiar with the concept of the Google AdWords Quality Score. It basically amounts to a numerical evaluation of how relevant and effective your pay-per-click ads are, which in turn affects how often they are shown and the prices you need to pay to maintain a certain ad position.

The basic idea is that, when your Quality Scores are high, Google will allow you to bid very little for a prime advertising position; with low Quality Scores, though, you'll pay through the teeth to even show up for your most important keywords (because your Quality Scores vary from one keyword to the next, the best way to check them is by logging in to your AdWords account).

The net of all of this is that it's impossible to run an efficient and effective paid search campaign with low Quality Scores. Getting clicks and conversions will just cost too much, especially if you want to maintain a high bid position.

So, what can you do when Google's Quality Score evaluation process treats you like a Russian gymnastics judge at the Olympics and marks you with a lower number than you expected?

The first step is to understand where your score actually comes from. Here are a few of the ingredients that are known to be important:

Click-through rate. Google runs ads to make money, but also to help searchers find what they're looking for. Running ads with lots of click-throughs helps them do both, since it's a sign that searchers find the offer to be relevant.

Content on your site. If relevance didn't matter, people would simply choose the keywords and search phrases with the highest traffic and put unrelated ads with them. That would lead to a lower-quality experience for end users, so Google evaluates the content on your site to make sure it matches up with your keywords and ad copy.

How focused your campaigns and groups are. Google likes to see campaigns and ad groups that are tightly focused. If you have too many keywords stuffed together, your Quality Score will suffer.

Account history. Google factors your account history (and even other accounts for the same keyword or search term) into your Quality Score, so it pays to be an excellent advertiser over time.

There are other things that factor in, but these are the most important and easiest to change. So, if you find your Quality Scores are suffering, your best course of action is to first reevaluate your ad groups and keyword combinations, and then start testing new versions of your ads to increase your click-through rates.

The important takeaway here is that bad Quality Scores can be overcome, but it's always going to be easier – and less expensive – the sooner you start.

Need help getting your AdWords account in order? Let the team at WebRevelation help.


Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content | 
Tags : google , quality , scores

Three Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back Time and Time Again

Posted Wed, June 18, 2014 by Julie Short

Getting new customers is great, but unless your business is starting from scratch, keeping your existing ones is more important.

It's not difficult to see why: Repeat customers tend to place the biggest orders and buy the most services, are the ones who refer you to other customers just like them (shortening the sales process at the same time), and cost you the least to market to.

When you can keep them happy, you'll have a stable source of revenue that you can count on from one month to the next. When you can't, you'll always find yourself churning through marketing campaigns and digging around for new business.

So, how do you keep hold of your best customers and make sure they come back time and time again? Obviously, having great products or services, pricing fairly, and being known for customer service are good first steps. Beyond that, here are a few things you can do to tilt the odds in your favor:

1. Know, understand, and anticipate their needs. In most markets and industries, people can turn lots of places to get what they want or need. If you can save them time and energy, though, by understanding their buying motivations and anticipating their needs even before they realize them, you'll be rewarded with lots of repeat business.

2. Show them that working with you is safe. Adding things like online transaction verification, good customer reviews, and a number of different local and industry association memberships is a good way to build trust. And of course, being known for providing five-star customer service helps, too. What you really want is for buyers to know that working with you is as safe as it possibly could be.

3. Use the power of extras and freebies. There are hundreds of ways to reward loyal customers – from birthday cards to coupons and freebies for big purchases – and each of them has value. The idea is to find something that's convenient and meaningful to your buyers and then make sure they get enrolled. Remember, these people are the best friend your business can have, so make sure to treat them appropriately.

As you probably noticed, the most important point about keeping existing customers is simply putting their needs and concerns first. That's a simple idea, but one that's likely to pay dividends again and again.

Looking for creative ways to improve your bottom line with stronger marketing? Contact WebRevelation today and ask for a free consultation.


Posted in : Business Strategy , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : customer , loyalty

Using Social Proof to Convert More Web Visitors Into Leads (or Even Buyers)

Posted Wed, June 11, 2014 by Julie Short

Social proof – a huge topic in the world of Internet marketing – is a technical-sounding term for a very simple concept: Most of us are more likely to do something if we know other people are doing it, too. That's especially true if the "other people" are ones we respect and admire.

In fact, if the perception of social proof is strong enough, we might even feel like we should be doing something that we aren't already. It's a kind of subtle peer pressure we tend to put on ourselves.

The effects of social proof are everywhere. It's the reason we're more likely to try an exotic new food or workout style if we've read about it in a magazine. It's how fads and trends pick up steam, and the reason that advertisers will pay celebrities huge amounts of money to use and endorse their products.

As you've probably guessed already, there are a few things you can do to take advantage of the power of social proof and put it to work on your business website. You don't even have to have celebrity endorsements, just a few selected numbers or statistics shared or posted in strategic places.

Here are a few good examples:

Displaying the statistics for downloads or registrations. No matter how strong your offer is, there's going to be a natural tendency for potential customers to put off taking the next step, even if it's a minor one, because it involves risk. The more they can see that hundreds or thousands of other people have already taken that step, the more comfortable they’re going to be doing it themselves.

Showing how many people have "liked" your content on social media. Most of us like to be associated with winning ideas and points of view. That's why it's easier to take a social post from 1,000 views to 10,000 views, for example, than it is to get the first 100 from nothing. If your content is popular, build on that and make it more popular.

Letting customers give feedback and reviews. This is a powerful form of social proof, so long as your reviews are positive and credible. People don't have to hear from big names or experts if they think they're getting fair and honest opinions from others who are just like them.

In practice, the uses for social proof on your website could be virtually endless. What makes it powerful, though, is the fact that you're showing that other people already know, like, and trust your company… which implies that your prospect should, too.

One word of caution, though: You only want to activate or share these figures after you've already generated some traction. Seeing that "zero people" have downloaded your report, for example, is essentially the opposite of social proof. So, don't put up anything that's going to hurt your marketing efforts.

Looking for innovative ways to get more from all of your online and offline marketing? Contact WebRevelation today and let us show you what we've been able to do for other businesses just like yours.


Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Websites | 
Tags : social , proof , marketing

Why Aren't Your Landing Pages Converting Visitors Into Leads?

Posted Wed, June 4, 2014 by Julie Short

From a distance, the process of creating effective landing pages should be pretty simple: After you've attracted visitors from search engines, blogs, and social media profiles, you just put together some copy and images that show off the benefits of what you're offering and watch the conversions roll in.

However, any experienced marketer can tell you that crafting good landing pages isn't nearly that simple. That's because there are lots of small problems that can creep in and affect your results (and more than a couple big ones, too).

The list of issues and fixes for landing pages could be virtually endless, and the best way to fix them is usually with extensive testing and support from a creative team that understands online marketing. If you're looking for some quick guidance, however, here are a few common landing page problems you might have to deal with:

You don't have any visitors to your landing pages (or you aren’t getting the right visitors). You can't turn visitors into leads if you don't have any visitors to begin with. Organic search engine optimization is often your best option, but can take some time. Consider supplementing SEO with pay-per-click ads, blogging, and links to your social media profiles. Just remember that you need the right match between the visitors you get and the offers on your landing pages.

Visitors are spending very little time on your landing pages. This is an issue that could have a very simple fix, or a more complex one. Your first move should be to double-check your landing page’s compatibility across different browsers and devices, and to ensure that it loads quickly (maybe people are leaving because they can’t view your content). If that's not the problem, then it's time to tune up your message. Fast exits are a sign that your headlines and offers aren't compelling enough.

Prospects leave without registering. If lots of visitors see your landing pages and spend time on them, but don't actually register or take the next step, then your issue is probably more subtle. Perhaps your page is too long (searchers don't want to read it), doesn't have enough information for them to make a decision, or has a call to action that isn't clear. This also sometimes happens when your landing page doesn't "speak" to your target audience strongly enough, meaning that it doesn't elicit an emotional reaction.

The leads you get from your landing page aren't turning into sales. In this case, your problem isn't usually with the landing page at all, but your process for following up later. Maybe you're waiting too long to contact prospects, or the subsequent offers you're making just aren't strong enough. If you have lots of leads with no new revenue, concentrate on things that happen after your customer has registered instead of making changes to an already-effective landing page.

Need help tuning up your landing pages, or your Internet marketing plans as a whole? Get in touch with WebRevelation today and see why so many businesses throughout Oklahoma, Texas, and the entire Southwest turn to us for expert help.

Posted in : Websites , Tips and Tricks , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : landing , pages , problems

Perfect Harmony: How a Designated Conflict Management System Makes Your Business Better

Posted Wed, May 28, 2014 by Julie Short

No matter what kind of business you run, there's bound to be conflict. If you allow conflict to go unresolved, it has the potential to lead to unhappy employees, employee turnover, lackluster production and even expensive lawsuits. You may be surprised to know that studies indicate that up to 40 percent of a manager’s day is spent managing conflict. It’s easy to see then, how important it is to do it well.  Your ability to create a healthy environment for your employees and avoid the issues stated above, is what affirms your business as a good place to work.

You may recall an episode from NBC’s “The Office” in which two employees were engrossed in a dispute. Oscar didn’t like looking at his coworker Angela’s cat posters. To resolve the situation, World’s Best Boss, Michael Scott, ordered Oscar to wear a shirt featuring cats, which he wouldn’t be able to see, yet Angela would be able to look at and enjoy. Michael dubbed it a “win-win-win” solution, but of course nobody really won and nothing was really resolved.

While the above example comes from a sitcom, it gives a good picture of what not to do to resolve conflict in the workplace. Nothing was truly resolved, leading to unhappy employees, a drained workforce, and workers that had lost their last ounce of respect for their boss. Resolving conflict in a timely, amicable matter keeps issues from draining the energy of your workforce.

So just how do you manage conflict? That’s a loaded question, the answer to which is arguably easier said than done – but a good start is to implement a conflict management system into the human resources department of your company.

Creating a conflict management system that actually helps

What’s a conflict management system? It’s a customized solution designed to manage and support an organization when it incurs conflict, whether that conflict is internal (wrongful termination, sexual harassment, employee resistance, etc.) or external (disputes with suppliers). With a good system, conflict cases are streamlined in a manageable, web-based format so that each particular case can be easily accessed and processed by the human resources manager in order to analyze the details and more quickly come up with a resolution.

Here are some other features of a good management system:

  • Cases can be automatically routed to the appropriate parties following the start of a new case.
  • Customized workflow to determine next steps in the process.
  • Enhanced collaboration, as conflict cases are streamlined so that the appropriate people can act on them.
  • Secure: Cases are only available to the appropriate people, not to everyone.
  • Efficiency: Remember that 40 percent number from the beginning? A more efficient conflict management system will ideally reduce that time allotment and allow managers to focus on more important things – like running their business.

Ideally, the end goal of a successful conflict management system is to resolve issues efficiently and amicably, so that employees can continue to do their jobs and so that production doesn’t suffer.

Like we said at the beginning, conflict is unavoidable wherever you are and especially at work. As a business manager, make sure to implement a strategy that will address it in the best possible way.


Posted in : Business Strategy | 
Tags : conflict , management

4 common pitfalls of mobile web design

Posted Wed, May 21, 2014 by Julie Short

Welcome to 2014 – the future we all dreamed of years ago. You might even be reading this post on your space-age smartphone or tablet. Just like you, your website's visitors might be doing a lot of their internet browsing on mobile devices. So - is your site truly mobile-friendly or is it actually costing you money and conversions due to poor design?

Here are a few problems we see come up again and again in our clients’ mobile design.

1. Ignoring mobile users

All of the other issues on this list pale in comparison to not catering to mobile users at all. This is especially true if you're using your website to sell products directly to consumers. Danyl Bosomworth of Smart Insights reported that 35% of all web traffic occurs on mobile devices; companies like Amazon have seen an 87% growth in mobile visitors since 2012. Further, buyers prefer to shop on a mobile app over a mobile site, therefore, not having an app through which consumers can purchase goods or services may be actively hurting your company.

2. Using a separate mobile site

For a while, all mobile web design relied upon separate sites. However, this created more hassles than problems solved. For users, mobile-only sites often meant outdated design and limited functionality. On your end, do you really want to update two websites every time something on your site changes? This is why the move to responsive design makes so much sense. Create one design – but create rules that will make it transform appropriately when someone views it on a mobile device. Building your layout on a fluid grid is the key to responsive web design.

3. Basing design on user agents

You're all ready to create a mobile-friendly, responsive website. You want to ensure that your website responds correctly based on the user's device. You might think you can easily do it by detecting iOS, Android or other mobile operating systems – but you'd be wrong. In 2014, the line between mobile operating systems is almost nonexistent. Just look at Windows 8. However, the method you would need to display properly according to a specific operating system -- user agent detection -- is incredibly inconsistent. There are dozens of user agents that Android devices alone might use. The better (and easier) method is to detect screen size and resize your layout accordingly.

4. Making your website difficult to use for mobile visitors

Even if you have a responsive website, you might not be doing enough to streamline the checkout and shopping process. This could be costing you real conversions. (And you know how much we like to talk about conversions !) The following are several examples of problematic website behavior and how you can fix them to increase mobile conversions.

  • Your address and phone number aren't links. Turn them into anchors to allow people to call you or load your business in their GPS app.
  • Your forms are too small. Increase form size on mobile resolutions. Make sure that you're using labels for text so users can select the text and not just the small box or radio circle.
  • Your website requires login to check out. Groan! Don’t make your almost-customers angry at the very end of a potential buy. Enable guest checkout and/or account creation as the shopper goes through a transaction.
  • Users have to click too many times to shop and checkout. Allow users to view more items per page rather than clicking through many pages. Allow users to add items to their shopping carts from the category page in addition to the product listing. Add a "Cart" button in multiple locations so that you’re making it easier for customers to convert.

Just as Kevin Costner learned, if you build it, they will come. Of course, your field of dreams may be your small business – so building it correctly is even more important!

If you need to consult the professionals on your mobile web design, contact the experts at Web Revelation. We’ll show you how to keep your site up-to-date – and your customers happy.

Posted in : Mobile Websites , Mobile Apps | 
Tags : mobile websites

How can customer reviews help your e-commerce site?

Posted Wed, May 14, 2014 by Julie Short

Nobody’s surprised at how quickly e-commerce sites have grown in popularity: today’s consumers want access to things from all over the world, and they want to research their investments before buying. With the rise in ecommerce, the competition between different sites has grown increasingly intense. One thing that makes a big difference in sales and can set an ecommerce site above its competition is the presence of customer reviews. Even for small businesses with brand-new ecommerce options, customer reviews can make a world of difference in sales and subscribers. Here’s how.

Reviews inform potential customers.

The modern consumer wants to be informed before she invests her hard-earned money in a product or service. In fact, 61 percent of customers want to read online reviews before they make a decision about purchasing a product.

Reviews give buyers a real-world opinion of a product, both good and bad.

Some business owners worry about allowing online reviews on their site. After all, what would happen if some customer left a negative opinion? As it turns out, even negative reviews do their part in increasing sales. In fact, potential customers suspect something is not quite right if all the reviews are positive. No business can be that perfect. An estimated 30 percent of customers believe all positive, glowing reviews are phony. A recent study found that even bad reviews help improve conversion rates by 67 percent, meaning that it is ideal to a have a mix of both positive and negative reviews.

Not only does the presence of negative reviews make the site’s customer review aspect seem genuine, it also helps customers know what the worst aspect of a product is, according to an MIT technology review. In other words, if a customer is reading a review for a phone, and a negative review states that the phone’s battery life begins to dwindle after a year of use, the customer can then decide if that is a big enough issue to prevent them from buying the product in question. Many times, complaints about color options or superfluous issues like those are not a big enough problem to prohibit a sale.

Customers have a chance to share their thoughts.

Aside from helping potential customers decide if a product is right for them, having customer reviews on an ecommerce site also gives previous customers the chance to express their feelings. Many times, happy customers want a way to share their positive experience with a product or service, and a customer review section is the ideal location for them to do so.

They’re easy to create.

If you’re an ecommerce site owner, you should utilize customer reviews if only for fact that reviews increase conversion rates – and adding them is a simple process. You could encourage customer feedback by offering a reward (like a freebie or a discount on a product) for opinions, or you could just provide past customers with an easy way to leave feedback. Regardless of how you go about garnering reviews, it is important that you understand the many benefits of customer reviews on your ecommerce site.

Ecommerce site owners should always be looking for ways to increase their conversion rates and overall customer satisfaction. Adding a customer review option to a site is an easy way to do just that – and it’s all-natural advertising.


Posted in : Websites , e-commerce | 
Tags : e-commerce , reviews

Button, button: creating call-to-action buttons that work!

Posted Wed, May 7, 2014 by Julie Short

Having a social media campaign is a huge step forward for any business – but social media marketing doesn’t stop at just maintaining a website, your Facebook page, and your Twitter account. To develop loyal followers who can eventually be converted to customers, you need to go one step further and entice your viewers to become involved by using a call-to-action.

Even if you don’t know it by name, you’d recognize a call-to-action (often abbreviated CTA) even if you were blindfolded. It’s your kid following up a surprisingly practical list of reasons for owning a dog with a less practical plea to get the puppy. It’s getting “The Look” as you drop your date off at her door. There’s a reason for you to go through with something – you just have to agree to do it.

On a website, a traditional call-to-action might be a reminder at the bottom of the page for customers to call your company today. But in today’s market, you are more likely to ask the potential customer to click on the call-to-action button to connect via social media. A few factors can help you make your call-to-action buttons more successful.

What is the purpose of your call-to-action button?

Your call-to-action buttons should be geared toward a specific purpose – not just be on your web page or blog simply because you think they should be there. If your goal is to increase likes or followers on Facebook, include a button linking to your Facebook account. If you want to encourage visitors to download an informational pamphlet, the pamphlet could be the focus of your main CTA button.
Determining the purpose(s) of your CTA buttons can help you prioritize which ones you want to display. One or two buttons are typically sufficient; having more than that can confuse customers and distract attention and energy from your main goals. If you are unsure about which actions have the highest priorities, list out the result of each (revenue generated, technical complication). Then decide which buttons deserve the prominent space on your page.

Make your buttons informative

People tend to skim, not carefully read. They may be unlikely to read the entire web page to find out why they should click on the call-to-action and what the results will be. A more successful approach is to develop a button that includes text stating exactly what the button does or why visitors should click on it. Here are some generic examples:

  • “Click here to like us on Facebook.”
  • “Limited time offer - get your free download now!”
  • “Take our survey and enter to win a prize.”
  • “Click here to follow us on Twitter and reveal the rest of this article!”

The call-to-action can be more effective if you create a sense of urgency by placing a time limit on an offer or offering to reveal interesting information once the viewer clicks the button.

Consider other details of your call-to-action buttons

Your call-to-action buttons need to be visible but not overwhelming, easy to use, and represent your business as credibility and trustworthy.

  • Be sure that the color of the call-to-action button contrasts with the background color of your website so that it is easy to see.
  • Make the call-to-action button big enough to see, but not so big that it appears to be a paid advertisement from a third party.
  • Consider a floating button or set of buttons so that the reader can click on the call-to-action button from any point on the web page without needing to scroll up or down to find it.
  • Include your privacy policy near the buttons to increase user trust.

You can increase conversions by making your call-to-action buttons easy to use and encouraging for readers. Track your button conversions and see whether you can make them more effective for your business. (We bet you can now!)


Posted in : Website Content , Tips and Tricks , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : call to action buttons

Contact forms not working? Here's how to fix it

Posted Wed, April 30, 2014 by Julie Short

It seems like every single website has a contact form these days – but does that mean these forms are effective at generating more leads? As it turns out, success takes more than simply sticking a form online and hoping people fill it out. Use the following tips to make your contact form an effective way of attracting interest and leads.

1.    Keep your number of fields to a minimum. A HubSpot study showed that lowering the number of contact form fields from four to three raised response by almost 50 percent. Think about it: the more fields someone has to fill in, the more opportunities they’ll have to get bored, rethink giving out their information, and develop carpal tunnel.

2.    Don’t be nosy. To build on the minimum number of fields, avoid asking for any info that’s not totally necessary. In most cases, you can get what you need with a person’s name and some form of contact. Wait to get the more personal stuff until after you’ve already communicated with them and established trust.

3.    Loosen your grip on formatting. Don’t make your visitors angry because your form requires specific formatting. Remember that any information submitted via forms can be automatically standardized using specific coding on your back end. You can also guide users to use correct formatting in the first place by using ghost text – that light-colored suggest text that’s in the fields of some forms.

4.    Emphasize user-friendly formats. Highlight the field that the user's cursor is on; make it easy for them to debug things like incorrectly formatted email addresses; and set up all of the fields and buttons in a predictable sequence. Pay special attention to the "submit" and "cancel" buttons. Make sure that the submit button is the first thing after the last form field so that people who have been tabbing through the form don't accidentally hit cancel instead. (That’s the worst.)

5.    Let users know that you aren't a spammer. We come in peace! Tell visitors exactly what you'll do with their contact information. Assuming you don't intend to sell a list of email addresses, let people know that you won't sell, rent, or otherwise share their contact information.

6.    Make your drop-downs smarter. If you use a drop-down list for the country field, put the ones that your targeted audience comes from at the top. This is especially true if your would-be customers come from the USA or the UK. The letter "U" is a long way down from "A," and it's annoying to have to scroll so far to get to it. First world problems, right?

7.    Encourage browsing. Let people see your site before you ask them to fill out a contact form. A trend has emerged where sites will pop a newsletter signup window up right on top of the content when a visitor first arrives. While this guerilla tactic can work fine for newsletters, it's not so great for contact forms. In fact, it probably hurts your conversion rate. It makes more sense to give people a chance to see why you're worth communicating with before you ask them to do so.

If your contact forms haven't been bringing in the number of leads you're looking for, implement a few of these tips. By keeping things simple, you'll make it easy for people to fill out the form on a whim. Once they do so, your sales team can eventually turn these contacts into more customers.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content | 
Tags : contact forms , websites

5 Ways for Small Businesses to Streamline Inventory Management

Posted Wed, April 23, 2014 by Julie Short

Staying buttoned up and accountable with your business is crucial – and especially so in regards to your inventory. Inefficiencies or inaccuracies in inventory management can waste money for your company and lead to unsatisfactory customer experiences. We’ve rounded up five of our most effective ways to streamline your inventory management system – all of which are straightforward to implement and will work in the long-term.

1. Accept and utilize new technology.

Inventory management software can help you – you guessed it – streamline your inventory management system. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, for example, can successfully take charge of planning and tracking inventory – almost as well as (or even better than) a new employee could. This type of software can be customized to your business to handle sales tracking, purchasing, and the myriad other aspects of inventory.

2. Focus your energy.

Inventory itself is hard to get a handle on – so focus your energy on the following categories in order to keep track of it. Replenishment; safety; and prevention and anticipation of extra or obsolete stock.

3. Use a cross-functional team.

Most of the time, many different departments within an organization will be involved with inventory.  It makes sense then, to use a cross-functional team to plan out your inventory: everyone will be on the same page, and you might hear from departments that aren’t getting their needs met.  Plus, you’ll be able to ensure that the stock you order coordinates with a given marketing campaign or smaller team’s efforts.

4. Focus on the supply chain.

We said earlier to focus on replenishment, safety, and avoiding obsolete stock – but you should also be paying close attention to your supply chain. Review all the different parts in your supply chain and make sure they are all working efficiently... one cog can throw off the whole inventory wheel. If you don’t already have one, implement a distribution strategy to improve customer service and delivery time. Don’t forget to keep track of the location of your inventory - everything from raw materials to finished goods. You can use spreadsheets to keep tabs on this, but customized inventory management or ERP software will take the headache – and a lot of wasted time – out of the equation.

5. Reduce inventory.

You can also streamline your inventory system by carrying fewer items. Reduction might not be right for everyone, but there’s something to be said for curation over just collection. When you have larger numbers of fewer items overall, you’ll find that it’s easier to predict quantities and to lower your amount of safety stock. If you want to offload some of your existing stock without just waiting to use or sell it, you can try returning it; reselling to other companies; giving it to your employees; or selling to customers at a reduced price.

Your inventory might be considerable in volume, but there’s no need for it to be more of a burden than it’s worth. Get in touch with us to learn more about the crazy-good things a solid inventory management system can do for your company.


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

Is your accounting software system costing you money?

Posted Wed, April 16, 2014 by Julie Short

Computerized accounting isn’t inherently efficient.

At this point, nearly every business uses computers for its accounting. Software for the everyman – like Excel – makes the process extremely accessible to organizations of all sizes. So, as long as you are more advanced than pen and paper scribbling, you’re up to date – right? Everything seems to be running smoothly so, if it's not broken, why fix it? We have some answers to that question : some businesses have broken accounting systems and they don't even know it. Worse still, it's costing them time, money and customers.

Is it time to customize your accounting?

Every business is unique and has different needs and goals. Even two businesses in the same field offering the same products and services will each have their own set of priorities. Maybe it's customer retention, or maybe it’s market expansion. Perhaps cutting costs is a crucial goal; maybe you want to focus on adding new product lines. Whatever priorities a business sets for itself, accurate accounting systems are crucial to reaching those goals successfully.

Consider a recent article by Forbes writer Bill Conerly. Conerly posits that a business can be hemorrhaging cash, but without a clear, succinct vision of its cash flow, there is no way to correct the problem. Almost any accounting system can tell whether a business is generally profitable from month to month, but what happens when it shows a loss? Does the system show exactly where that loss has occurred? Without knowing precisely what's going on, Conerly explains, and being able to identify the exact dollar amount a project is costing or making your company, there is no way for a business to choose a clear solution to the problem.

This is where a customized accounting software system or custom-built application becomes invaluable. To succeed, every business needs an accounting system that can help it accurately track its income streams, overhead and costs. With that information in hand, all of those crucial business decisions about marketing, expansion, investments and project bids can be made with confidence and accuracy.

These signs point to an outdated accounting system!

Still on the fence? Not sure you need a new accounting software system? There are other telltale signs that it's time to give your accounting system an overhaul. Here are a few of them.

  • It's hard to find the data you need in time to make important, time-sensitive business decisions.
  • The data bases crucial to the running of your business have outdated or inaccurate information.
  • You've outgrown your data storage capacity.
  • An unexplained expense creep is cutting into your profit margins.
  • Security breaches are a growing concern -- for either you or your customers.
  • It's become difficult to anticipate cash-flow needs.
  • Reports and records have mathematical errors.
  • Your sales staff can't close deals because they can’t access necessary data.
  • Sloppy record keeping has triggered financial audits.
  • You need to do extensive research to find out if a given project, employee or department is showing a profit.

If any of these sound familiar, it may be time to look at your accounting system. After all, it's not just a record of your business activities – it's a vital business tool driving growth, sales and profits. Don't let an antiquated -- or nonexistent -- accounting software system keep your business in the Stone Age.


Posted in : e-commerce , CRM | 
Tags : accounting , web applications

6 Ways to Generate Leads with Social Media

Posted Wed, April 9, 2014 by Julie Short

We’ve discussed the benefits of claiming social media accounts for small businesses – and now we’re back on it to get into the specifics.

When it’s used effectively, social media has the potential to take your business to the next level. While the ultimate goal of social engagement and sharing is to convert leads into paying customers, the initial goal is to generate more leads to give your company a wide base of potential clients. If you’re an old pro at social media, you already know that having a meaningful network is much more useful than having thousands of followers or likes that you pay for. Before you can focus on conversion, you have to focus on establishing a solid following.

The good news: social media platforms are so wide-ranging and extensively used that they provide businesses with unprecedented opportunities to attract a broad consumer base. Below are some of our best tips for generating leads via social media platforms.

1. Build relationships.
Consumers tend to patronize businesses with which they feel a personal connection. Consumers want to know that you listen to them and will respond to their needs. Along that line of thinking, an easy way to build relationships using social media is to be responsive. Always respond to customer comments on your Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog – even if (especially if) they’re not flattering. Courteous, helpful responses from you will encourage people to keep coming back to your feed – and they often attract your followers’ friends as well. On the other hand, neglecting your pages makes you seem cold or unconcerned about your customers’ needs.

2. Cultivate your presence.
When you’re able to get someone’s contact information, be proactive about generating leads with it. Send out regular emails or even text messages with updates and deals to entice people to visit your web page or social media accounts. Millennials in particular tend to appreciate being recruited. They are aware that they have multiple options for goods and services, and a large part of their decisions rests upon how earnestly you try to connect with them.

3. Offer incentives.
All consumers like to find good deals, and you can generate leads by offering incentives in exchange for interest in your company. Offer coupons for discounted, upgraded, or free services to those who become your Facebook friend or refer other leads. Buying followers won’t do you any good in the long run – but drawing in followers with discounted products is an effective way to create new customers.

4. Keep your social media platforms current.
An outdated site or social media account is unlikely to draw much (positive) attention; visitors who do happen upon a neglected web page or Facebook account probably won’t return because your business doesn’t seem worth patronizing. If your website needs an update, call in the pros – they’ll know how to give your site a fresh look without disrupting your functionality (in fact, they’ll probably improve it).

Keep your social accounts current by making sure that any special deals are posted and by removing information about events and specials that have ended. To keep your website humming with activity, post regularly on your blog and participate frequently on Facebook and Twitter. You can share helpful industry-related information – for example, how to choose an event-appropriate dress if you’re in the fashion industry – or company-specific updates – like the flavor of the day if you are the owner of an ice cream shop.

And lest we forget: regularly updated websites, blogs, and social media accounts perform better in search engine rankings, which usually translates to better leads and conversion rates.

5. Ask for reviews.
Strong reviews can generate more leads. Ask current or past customers if they’d be willing to write a testimonial or reviews of your company for your website or online directories. To encourage them, send out text message or email reminders after they use your services – whether they are in your brick-and-mortar store or office or made an online purchase.

Another way to get people to write reviews for you: offer discounts or incentives on your social media accounts for everyone that fills out a survey or review for you. As much as positive feedback is a good thing, you don’t want a ton of canned reviews – readers appreciate honest, authentic feedback.

6. Stay relevant.
Focus on keeping your brand consistent and unified. Be sure that your website links to each of your social media accounts, and vice versa. You don’t want to deter any potential visitors with inconsistencies. Your social media accounts can serve as a place for your business to be more personable and transparent with customers – and to reinforce your existing branding. Some potential customers might find you via social media instead of your site, so remember to feature information about your company and who to contact on your social media profiles.


Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : leads , social media

Can These Under-Utilized Social Media Platforms Boost Your Business?

Posted Wed, April 2, 2014 by Julie Short

Almost every small business owner is probably aware that Facebook and Twitter can have a positive impact on their business. Maybe you have invested some time in creating profiles on those social media sites. What you may not know is that there are a number of other, lesser-known (or simply under-utilized) social media sites that are proving to be enormously effective and could be sending new eyes to your website and bringing new business to your company. The following five "underdog" sites are on the rise in popularity, and small business owners are finding that they can be just as effective as Facebook and Twitter campaigns - maybe even more so!

As a small business owner, you may not initially consider Pinterest  as a beneficial platform due to its heavy focus on images rather than text. However, in many cases, those images can capture the imagination and interest of potential clients far better than words.

Pinterest can be utilized in several ways, but the regular creation of new boards, with images related to your business, tends to be what captures interest.

Even better, add a board with coupons or discounts for your business. Depending on your niche, this could generate a lot of traffic – after all, everyone loves a deal. Be sure to include your website link in your Pinterest profile, and pin images directly from your site as often as possible. These things make it easy for people to click on your links.

Instagram is extremely popular, and its easy-to-use interface makes it a snap for the small business owner. Your smart phone is all you need to upload images to this platform. You can caption your images with a variety of hashtags related to your business. People searching for those hashtags can easily scroll through various pictures and land on your images.

You can post all kinds of images on Instagram, including product photos, ads, and coupons. Be sure to "follow" back people who "follow" you, and you'll find that your Instagram network will build itself organically and steadily. To be even more proactive, find people in your community or niche and follow them to get your business’s name out there.

If you don’t explore the possibilities of YouTube for your business, you could be leaving out a major stream of revenue and clients. Your YouTube videos need not be long or even professionally produced commercials. Think about showcasing a few of your products or services in a video. Having a special? Make a quick video in which you detail the special and how viewers can get in on the deal.

YouTube is also a place where people search extensively for “how-to” -   if you have some shareable expertise, by all means, share it!

YouTube allows you to add links to your site, providing plenty of opportunities for new visitors and conversions. Once you’ve built up a nice following, you may want to begin placing some short ads on YouTube for a chance at an even broader revenue stream.

Foursquare is a tool that many small business owners are still neglecting - and it could be costing you a lot of new business. Foursquare was essentially created to tell people about local businesses, much like Yelp! and the old-school Yellow Pages. Your business is probably already on it, however, you can really flesh out the listing with lots of details – and pictures – and make it more enticing to people browsing for your product or service.

Foursquare makes it easy to place ads that draw in customers. Be sure to update the site with current info on deals and specials that potential customers will become aware of. You can even offer special deals just for Foursquare users, which will increase your reputation on the app.

Klout isn’t so much under-exposed as it is under-utilized. Klout creates a profile for you or your business and gives you a Klout score – a sort of grade for the quality and quantity of your social media engagement across multiple platforms; the more good content that you create and share, the higher your Klout score. The higher your score, the more you'll be seen, and the more new visitors you'll have.

Creating unique and engaging content for your business may not always be an easy job (one of many reasons for hiring a professional firm to do your strategic SEO marketing and content management!). However, if you put some time into placing great content on Klout – and really, almost any social media platform – you'll eventually notice some appreciable rewards.


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

Social Media Marketing: Essential and Within Reach for Small Business

Posted Wed, March 26, 2014 by Julie Short

Social media is here to stay, and thinking that it is just for making social connections may be a big mistake if you are a small business owner. A 2011 Nielsen report states that, “70% of active online adult social networkers shop online…12% more likely than the average adult internet user”.  The importance of social media for small business owners seems clear, so why might they shy away from being intentional regarding the use of social media? More importantly, as a small business owner, is there something more you should be doing?

Reason #1: Not Having a Plan
Many small business owners have gone at it haphazardly. They have tried to target everyone indiscriminately and ended up recruiting nobody, or they may not have known the most effective approaches, such as optimizing SEO strategies and selecting one or more platforms for their campaigns.

Solution: Hire a marketing firm to implement a social media campaign that can give the best results for the amount of money and effort invested.

Reason #2: Not Having the Time
Small business owners are working long hours already, and they may feel that they are unable to dedicate the additional hours necessary to implement an effective social media strategy. They may not realize that long hours are not necessary to see dividends in a social media campaign.

Solution: Strategize to create a targeted campaign that requires minimal hands-on work. A professional social media marketing company can assist with the initial launch of the campaign and then leave the small business owner with only small amounts of maintenance necessary as time passes. The use of local online directories allows customers to promote small businesses without too much effort or time on the part of the owner.

Reason #3: Thinking it Unnecessary
They may think that social media is optional and that they can continue growing their businesses without it. They may be unaware of the role and the possibilities of successful social media usage.

Solution: Research….look for case studies of small businesses that have implemented a social media strategy with positive results. They should see convincing data on the increase in sales or profits after the use of social media compared to before. In addition, small business owners will benefit greatly by becoming educated and aware of the implications of a social media focus…success might not be measured by direct sales only, but by an improved reputation and/or increased referrals.

Reason #4: Not Knowing How
Small business owners are likely talented experts in their own fields, but caterers, tailors, consultants, and printers etc. may have little or no knowledge of the impact or possibilities of social media as a viable business tool: and once they have become aware of it…may not know where to begin.

Solution: Get Help…You do not have to be a computer expert to implement an effective Social Media campaign, however, consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable Social Media Marketing (SMM) specialist can provide you with feasible ideas for simple but effective campaigns. There is no need to allow any of these reasons to prevent you from capitalizing on the opportunities that may be yours in the ever expanding world of Social Media.


Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SMM , social media , small business

(ERP) Enterprise Resource Planning and Your Business: Learn the Basics

Posted Wed, March 19, 2014 by Julie Short

"Our business doesn't need something as complicated as ERP."
It isn't a surprise to hear such a statement from a company. Many business owners believe that ERP (enterprise resource planning) is a very technical and complicated process that will only result in a clunky computing environment and extra costs that strain limited budgets. But the truth is that ERP isn't that complicated once you understand it for what it is: a back office management software strategy that can help consolidate business functions into a unified process.

ERP 101: What is enterprise resource planning?
ERP is an integrated software system that has been used by businesses for over a generation. The term itself was introduced in the 1990s by the Gartner Group. But it was actually a software suite strategy developed in the 1950s for inventory management and to create plans for materials requirements.

The manufacturing industry benefited from ERP as a replacement from the past MRP (manufacturing resource planning) software. ERP was more robust, even during the 1990s, as it streamlined the entire production process from the design phase to the financial costs calculation stage. As technology evolved, so too did ERP software. Businesses from every industry saw a way to incorporate ERP into their business software strategies to help manage their human resources and accounting processes.

How does ERP work?
ERP consists of individual software modules featuring technical capabilities to handle automated back office tasks. These modules have integrated application functions suited for the activities that you want it to perform. The common ERP modules used in most small and large businesses today are:
•    Material purchasing
•    Human resource management
•    Distribution services
•    Inventory control
•    Manufacturing processes
•    Accounting services
•    Marketing and sales

Each module works from one relational database system. This database management system has a dashboard, analysis tools, user interface, and access and security features. It can easily integrate with other computing features like web-based applications, word processing and email clients.

The main function of ERP is to allow for real-time data collection and sharing throughout every department of your operations. All of the data is placed within this central database management system and can be accessed through the different ERP modules used in the other departments of your business: accounting, customer services, sales, and warehousing.

Benefits of ERP
What makes ERP so ideal for businesses is that you don't have to purchase every module. You can pick and choose the module you want based on your business needs.

Let’s say you are looking to automate your accounting tasks. An ERP accounting module can give you some of the following functions:
•    configure pricing for products
•    gather more complete and accurate accounting data
•    manage employee payrolls

Other departments of your business will be allowed to access this information for their operations. Your warehousing department can go through their ERP system and ensure customers paid orders through accounting before shipments are sent out. Customer service can change customer payment information with accounting in moments as the sales department ensures that product pricing corresponds with any special deals currently being offered.

Software vendors offer ERP software module applications based on the size of your business. The ERP software market is divided by tiers: ERP Tier I is suited for large corporations, ERP Tier II is for mid-size companies, and ERP Tier III is for small businesses. Compare software vendors from each tier to see what ERP solutions match your business needs and fit into the company budget.


Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : erp , web applications

Streamline Your E-commerce Solutions for Customers

Posted Wed, March 12, 2014 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

How Cloud-Based HR Solutions Offer Advantages throughout Your Company

Posted Wed, March 5, 2014 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Does Your Website Effectively Reflect Your Brand?

Posted Wed, February 26, 2014 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : branding , websites

The Best Free Apps for Small Businesses

Posted Wed, February 19, 2014 by Julie Short

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Wave Accounting

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

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


Have any of these apps worked for your small business?

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


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

Should you be doing Email marketing in 2014?

Posted Wed, February 12, 2014 by Julie Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in : Email Marketing | 
Tags : email marketing

Beyond the Black Hat: Contemporary and Common SEO Strategy Mistakes

Posted Wed, February 5, 2014 by Julie Short

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

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

White Hat SEO No-No’s

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

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

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

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

What is CRM? A Guide for Newbies

Posted Wed, January 29, 2014 by Julie Short

The world of marketing is full of acronyms. Every modern marketer knows what an FAQ is, but other acronyms – CPC, CTR, and MFA, to name a few – are not as well understood by many of us. Here’s one you need to know: CRM. Whether you’re a marketing newbie or just interested in learning more about this mysterious acronym, here’s a quick guide to navigating CRM.

First things first: What does CRM stand for?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Successful CRM entails a company-wide strategy designed to increase profitability and reduce costs.

At the heart of this strategy, the company as a whole – especially the marketing, sales, and customer service departments – works to create a two-way interaction with its customers so as to better understand customer needs and behaviors.  An efficient CRM system imports relevant information from several sources into one central location, making this information available to your marketing team and other key players in your organization.

Marketers implement CRM through various methodologies, software and internet applications. These tools help you keep track of customers in an organized way.

What is CRM, really?

A theoretical definition is all well and good – but exactly what is CRM in practice and how can it help your business? Although CRM is a pretty simple concept, it has grown to include all kinds of software and strategies – mainly because various consulting firms and software vendors try to create their own brand of CRM.  Here’s a more application-focused explanation:

  • A CRM system compiles all of your customer information in a central location and makes it accessible across your team.
  • Marketing tools within CRM assess the effectiveness of your current email, social media, search, and telephone campaigns by tracking the number of responses, clicks, leads, and deals these methods generate.
  • CRM software can provide tech support to customers; automated customer service capabilities can increase efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Successful CRM helps you identify strong leads and focus your marketing energy on these high-potential leads.
  • An automated CRM system improves your bottom line by eliminating duplicate efforts, unnecessary expenses and ineffective campaigns.

Effective CRM tools organize, automate, and synchronize marketing, sales, technical support, and customer service efforts in a way that makes the information you gather meaningful and usable.

That is what’s tricky about CRM: its exact functions and capabilities vary widely from one system or organization to another – but the overarching meaning remains constant. You use CRM to learn what your customers need and want.

Implement CRM across the board at your company.

If you’ve been handling customer data and relationships manually, you might be put off by the idea of adding a whole new system to manage something you feel is under control. But there are a few factors – a lack of customized customer relations, unorganized customer data in a hundred different places – that might make you realize that your spreadsheets (or Rolodex – we won’t judge) just aren’t cutting it any more.

Ask your employees – and not just the marketing team – how they feel about their relationships with customers. If they feel strained or stretched in too many directions, it might be time to consider implementing an across-the-board CRM system.

Let the experts at Web Revelation help you implement an effective CRM strategy. You’ll finally have time to take care of your existing customers – and time to find new ones, too.


Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM

How Should You Prioritize Your Social Media Marketing?

Posted Wed, January 22, 2014 by Julie Short

By now, most businesses agree that social media marketing is no longer optional – you have to maintain profiles on the major platforms if you want to compete in today's world.

But, deciding how to split up your time (or even money) between the different social media sites themselves is an entirely different matter. If you look hard enough, you can find a number of very good reasons to prefer any of them over the others:

  • Facebook still has the largest reach, in terms of daily visits and new content;
  • Google+ is affiliated with the world's most popular search engine, and is the fastest growing of the social networking sites;
  • LinkedIn is built for business, and can make networking with clients easier;
  • Twitter takes very little time, and can allow you to spread your marketing messages in a viral way;
  • Some studies show that Pinterest is the most reliable for e-commerce sites looking to generate click-throughs to online stores.

As you have probably guessed, we could go on with more bullets until you are thoroughly confused. But, if you're like most of us, you don't have the time, energy, or manpower to focus on all the social media sites at once. So, how do you decide where to place your priorities?

Here are a few tips to help you sort things out:

Remember that much depends on your industry and location. The answers that work for a small bakery aren't going to be the same that apply to a manufacturing company. Context is important, especially when it comes to social media marketing.

Pay attention to your customers. In a lot of cases, you can find out what social media sites are most important to you simply by going where your most important customers or clients go. Chances are, other buyers who fit the same profile will prefer the same social networking sites.

Study the analytics. As a rule of thumb, you want to pay the most attention to the social media sites that are showing you the biggest results. That means going back to your business website analytics and seeing which profiles are generating visits and conversions.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Regardless of what results you're seeing now, though, don't be afraid to experiment and see if you might be able to reach new markets (or at least engage customers in a different way) by trying social sites you haven't paid attention to in the past.

Are you getting the right kind of advice from your Internet marketing partner? What about bottom-line results? Now might be the perfect time to talk to WebRevelation and see what we can do to help your business grow.


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

How to Generate Content That Attracts Decision-Makers

Posted Wed, January 15, 2014 by Julie Short

Far too many small and medium-sized businesses treat content marketing as something they simply have to do, or an item that they need to check off a list. If you ask the business owners or marketing executives in question why, they might tell you something about search engine optimization or engagement, but the truth is they really don't have a strategy tied to the articles, blog posts, and other content they create.

That's probably better than not generating any content at all, but it isn't the kind of approach that's going to do a lot for your business, either. A better way to think about content marketing is to develop a strategy to attract decision-makers to your business website, interest them in your point of view, and then get them to take action.

Here are eight easy tips to help you do exactly that:

1. Build your content as part of a plan. Magazines, major websites, and newsletter publishers all plan their content weeks or months in advance to ensure they remain consistent and stay on topic. You should do the same.

2. Use cutting titles. Did you notice how the title of this article cut right to the heart of an issue that a lot of business owners and executives care about? Open your content with something that's interesting, timely, or inspires curiosity.

3. Start with an attention-grabbing hook. If the first few seconds’ worth of your content aren't interesting (usually the first paragraph of an article, or the opening moments of the video), you can be sure viewers and readers will click elsewhere.

4. Do your research. You can add a lot of credibility to your content by taking advantage of current statistics, relevant quotes, or new studies.

5. Find the right length. Your content should feel like it’s short, sweet, and to the point – even if you need longer to explore a topic. Break something up into different sections, or a series, if you need to in order to stop things from going on too long.

6. Give a strong call to action. After someone has viewed regular content, make it clear what you would like them to do as a result. Decision-makers are busy people; don't leave them guessing about what comes next.

7. Don't gloss over your resource box. Often, readers or viewers will look at a resource box before your content to see whether they can trust your ideas. Make sure your most prominent qualifications are listed.

8. Pay attention to the comments that are generated. Sometimes, the real value in a piece of content is in the comments it generates. The feedback you get could lead to sales opportunities, or at least ideas for more content in the future.

Here's one more bonus tip: Content works best when it's released continually, so put these tips into action early and often to get the best results.

Looking for an Internet marketing partner that understands how to create profitable websites? Get in touch with WebRevelation today to see what we can do for you.


Posted in : Website Content | 
Tags : marketing , content

Turning Social Media Blunders Into Marketing Opportunities

Posted Wed, January 8, 2014 by Julie Short

In some ways, social media can be a wonderful tool for marketers and business owners everywhere. After all, if you have a healthy following on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you have a virtually free, instant way to communicate ideas to your fans, customers, and colleagues all at once.

And then again, you also have a way to say the wrong thing to all of these groups at the same time… not to mention anyone they decide to pass it along to.

We already know you aren't the kind of person to post something you shouldn't on the Internet, and especially not in a space as public as a social media site. But, what happens when an intern or employee does it for you? Or when something you meant to be private ends up being seen by people it shouldn't be? What about when something you posted is taken in a completely unintentional way and offends an important customer?

You probably get the point. The more you use social media marketing, the more likely it is that you're going to run into one of these situations sooner or later. When you strip away things like body language and context, misunderstandings are almost certain to take place.

What matters isn't that you find a way to avoid every social media marketing mishap, but that you know how to respond to it. Here is how we teach our clients to turn social networking blunders into marketing and customer service opportunities:

Don't bury your head in the sand. When someone calls you out on social media, staying silent is essentially the same thing as saying that you just don't care. Even if that's actually true, remember that other customers, prospects, and contacts might be paying attention, and you certainly don't want to offend them at the same time. So, make a point of following up on messages and responding to issues and complaints that come your way.

Apologize if you need to. As most of us learn at one point or another, the important thing about an apology isn't that it's spoken or written, but that it appears to be genuine. If you're struggling to come up with a sentiment that will appease the other party, try to see things from their point of view. If it seems like you might have written a post on something that you shouldn't have, say you're sorry in a heartfelt way.

Get back on message. Acknowledging a problem, and apologizing, are one thing, but dwelling on the issue is another. Unless there’s some reason for you to come back to the same challenge, clear things up and then get back to other topics that matter to your readers and contact.

Don't give up. Some businesses, in the face of a social media "oops," decide to either stop posting altogether, or to turn their profiles into sources of very generic content. Neither is a very good choice if you want to keep attracting the attention of new customers and get them talking about your ideas. We learn the most from our mistakes, so don't be afraid to keep pushing forward and posting new material.

If you're looking for more great advice on web design, Internet marketing, and social media, come back to our blog soon. Or better yet, get in touch with a member of our team today and ask for a free consultation.


Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : social media , marketing

Is Your Business Website Singing Google's New Tune?

Posted Wed, January 1, 2014 by Julie Short

In late September, Google rolled out its latest major algorithm update – nicknamed "Hummingbird" – which might just bring the biggest-ever shifts to search engine optimization.

If that seems like an overstatement, we understand. The previous "Panda" and "Penguin" algorithm updates generated a lot of press, and most businesses quickly discovered that the sky really wasn't falling, regardless of what they might have read on Internet marketing forums. And yet, a little bit of context is in order. While Panda and Penguin affected 5% of searches each, at most, early studies show that Hummingbird has changed results on more than 90% of all search queries.

Beyond the raw numbers, Hummingbird isn't just another algorithm change, but the first real step toward a new way of thinking about search results. It's not so much an update as it is a shift in philosophy. Whereas Google and the other search engines use to consider different terms independently, and then try to find good matches for them within indexed web pages, the focus now is on understanding the intent behind the search string.

In other words, Google is no longer satisfied to show you results for the exact phrase you are looking for… instead, it wants to anticipate the answers and information you need, and deliver those as quickly and accurately as possible.

For searchers, this means more precision and a heavy dose of common sense. For marketers and business owners, it means singing to Google's new tune if you want to continue to see traffic flow to your site.

Here are a few steps you can take to get started:

Stop worrying about traditional search engine optimization techniques. Because Google is adopting a contextual approach to determining search results, things like keyword density and inbound link volume no longer matter in the way they used to. The focus is on high-quality content from here on out, not simple statistics.

Focus on visitor engagement. One of the ways that Google figures out which pages are "better" than others, in the absence of strict keyword-matching, is by looking at the way visitors behave on the site. If they spend a lot of time, click through to other links, or comment on it in their social profiles, it's going to gain more credibility – and see more search traffic. Build your content accordingly.

Organize your content for readers and viewers. Beyond coming up with great content, it's important that you organize it in a way that's easy for readers to find, scan, and search. The old rules of "one topic per page" don't necessarily have to apply, especially since you're not trying to divide keywords between one page or section and another.

Keep the great content coming. With Hummingbird in place, the best content is fresh, unique, and interesting to readers. So, even though you might not need as many keywords as you did before, you do still need lots of timely and relevant articles and blog posts.

Looking for creative ideas and experienced Internet marketing advice? Get in touch with WebRevelation today and see what our team of experts can do for you.


Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEM , content

Why You Might Not Want Off-The-Shelf E-commerce Packages

Posted Wed, December 25, 2013 by Julie Short

You don't have to look very far these days to find an e-commerce platform that claims to do everything you need and more, right off the shelf. But, despite their high prices and impressive feature list, most will require some degree of customization and specialty programming (and possibly a lot of it) before they'll work predictably on your e-commerce site, much less give you the features you thought you were paying for.

In other words, there are a number of reasons you might not want an off-the-shelf e-commerce package, and certainly not to invest in one without the help of a custom e-commerce programming team on your side.

In fact, when you work with online retailing experts for your e-commerce package, you gain a number of advantages that you can’t get with off-the-shelf systems, such as:

E-commerce platforms built just for you. Not only do off-the-shelf e-commerce platforms often have to be customized, but they may also have features or functions you don't want or need. Extra functionality might sound like a good thing, until you realize that the extraneous code can cause lots of problems, contain pieces that hackers can exploit, and even crash your online store.

Advanced marketing capabilities structured around your campaigns. Do you have some online marketing features that are especially important to your online store? Why not have an e-commerce platform that is built around those, rather than generic e-commerce campaigns?

Automated order processing and fulfillment solutions. Depending on how you source or manufacture your products, automated order processing and fulfillment could save you tens of thousands of dollars each year, and allow for faster, more reliable delivery to customers.

Specialized pricing and discount controls. Many e-commerce platforms only allow set pricing schedules and tax calculations. With a custom (or customized) platform, however, you can set prices anyway you wish.

Detailed e-commerce reports. Although most standard e-commerce platforms do a good job of generating reports, your customized package can make the process of generating the ones you need faster.

Dedicated e-commerce support. This is perhaps the biggest benefit. Anyone who has tried to find specialized answers from their e-commerce package provider already knows how frustrating it can be to wait while the problem or issue costs you money every hour. With a customized e-commerce package, support is never farther away than your dedicated e-commerce development team.

A lot of e-commerce platform developers want you to think that you're getting a great deal, and an all-in-one solution, by buying their ready-made product. But, as lots of entrepreneurs and online store owners have found, you almost always end up paying for custom programming customization one way or another. Why not have the right team on your side from the start, helping you to choose the package and/or features that fit your needs?

Call WebRevelation today at 817-283-3324 to see why we've become your top choice for e-commerce design and support.
WebRevelation today and let us show you how we use specialized programming and design to help our clients sell more while keeping costs low.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : websites , e commerce

Do You Need a Custom Online Ordering Solution

Posted Wed, December 18, 2013 by Julie Short

As e-commerce has grown, and gotten more competitive, a lot of different platforms and payment gateways have come to the market. But, for online retailers who need the very best, custom online ordering solutions are often the most convenient, not to mention the most cost-effective.

What makes custom online ordering solutions better for e-commerce? Here are just a few of the key benefits:

Custom online ordering solutions are faster. Faster carts and payment processing mean fewer abandoned sales. That's especially true if you have a complicated checkout procedure that could otherwise stall or confuse buyers.

You get more reliable carts and payment processing. Even worse than slow payment processing is an unreliable platform that makes buyers feel like your online store isn't safe and stable. Having your online ordering offline costs you money each and every minute, so you need a reliable answer.

Custom ordering solutions can lower your e-commerce costs. In the end, so much of e-commerce comes down to efficiency. That is, if you can handle more orders with lower per-transaction costs, you can instantly increase the profitability of your online store (and maintain that advantage over time).

Your online store gets automatic integrated inventory control. With custom online ordering, you can tie transactions to inventory, meaning better real-time information availability and fewer chargebacks.

You can take advantage of advanced shipping features. For some online retailers, shipping and fulfillment can be complicated because of multiple distribution centers or unusually packaged or weighted objects. With custom online ordering, you can build in the functionality you need.

Your e-commerce site can use special pricing models. 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.

Custom online ordering solutions could offer better e-commerce security. Security is a big concern for both online retailers and their customers. With custom online ordering solutions, you can make every transaction as secure as possible.

Think your online store could be more profitable with custom online ordering solutions? Talk to WebRevelation today and let us show you how we use specialized programming and design to help our clients sell more while keeping costs low.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : websites , ordering solutions

What Technology, Logistics, and an Eye For Details Mean to Oil and Gas Producers

Posted Wed, December 11, 2013 by Julie Short

These days, lots of businesses like to talk about technology and logistics, especially when it comes to the oil and gas industry. When it comes down to it, though, these are just buzzwords – they are the difference between successfully turning a profit from one quarter to the next and being out of business altogether because you can keep an eye of the details.

Here at WebRevelation, that's something we've seen firsthand. In working with oil and gas producers, suppliers, and distributors all these years, we have learned how to put the pieces of a successful technology plan together in a commonsense, cost-effective way. In other words, we've learned how to help our clients do the most with the least, and boost their bottom-line results in the process.

Here are just a few of the ways oil and gas companies can utilize new technology to run smarter, more efficient businesses:

Through improved inventory control. Need to know what you have, where you have it, and what condition it's in? Most oil and gas operators do, which is why inventory control is such an integral part of their technology plan.

By keeping a close eye on costs and financials. Because market prices can change on a dime, and suppliers can shift terms at a moment’s notice, having one eye on the bottom line – and one finger on your pricing controls – is a must in today's oil and gas industry.

Through scheduling and project management. Smart scheduling and project management let you meet deadlines, keep costs low, and ensure that your whole operation moves forward smoothly.

With reliable mobile communications. Voice, video, and file-sharing systems let entire organizations stay in touch, even with multiple locations or vendors located around the globe.

By watching real-time shipping and logistics. You don't have time for missing equipment or incomplete answers. That's why real-time shipment tracking and logistical information can make such a powerful difference on your company's bottom-line performance.

With detailed, customized reports. When you need to spot important patterns and trends, or make sure that you're coming to the right conclusions, there is no substitute for having accurate, instantly customizable reports.

Worried that your oil and gas company isn't making the most of available technology? Talk to a member of the WebRevelation team today and let us show you what we've been able to do for other businesses like yours.

Posted in : Business Strategy | 
Tags : Gas and Oil , technology

How to Make Search Engine Marketing More Successful Over Time

Posted Wed, November 27, 2013 by Julie Short

As we have noted in some recent blog posts, there are really two keys to success when it comes to search engine marketing: First, you have to plan your campaigns very carefully, especially when it comes to keyword research; and second, you need to constantly refine your ads and offers over time, making them more targeted and efficient.

Today, we want to focus our attention on that second part of the equation. That is, we want to share with you a few of the tried-and-true secrets for making your search engine marketing campaigns more successful (and profitable) from one month to the next:

Always test new versions of your ads. When writing pay-per-click ads, the name of the game is to attract attention from the right kinds of buyers. That takes trial and error, using the successive results of new versions as your guide.

Look for negative keywords that can help you avoid unwanted clicks. As much as you want the right traffic coming to your site, you don't want to pay for just any visit. Negative keywords help you keep away people who aren't going to buy from you, and reduce waste in your search engine marketing budget.

Split-test your landing pages for maximum conversions. Once you have a targeted visitor to your business website, the challenge is just beginning. In the same way you need to test ads for click-throughs, landing pages should be altered and compared to make sure you're turning as many visitors into leads as possible.

Study your competition to see if they have any hidden tricks. You never want to copy things like content from your competitors, but you can look at their websites for information. Pay particular attention to any features or offers they have that your site is lacking.

Pay close attention to your on-site analytics. Ultimately, one of the best ways to improve your search engine marketing performance is to see how visitors interact with your landing pages. Once you understand what they like and don't like, you can emphasize your strengths more effectively.

When you devote your time and energy to making search engine marketing more effective, your campaigns produce bigger and bigger returns as the months go on. Pretty soon, you'll be seeing Internet marketing gains that would have felt unimaginable in the past, but that's just the natural result of one small incremental improvement after the next.

If you want to see that kind of growth in your online sales or lead generation, now is the perfect time to call or email WebRevelation to request a free consultation.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , Search Engine Marketing

Why So Many Businesses Get it Wrong About SEM

Posted Wed, November 20, 2013 by Julie Short

A lot of businesses treat search engine marketing – that is, paid listings in the results you see on Google and other popular search sites – the same way owners and executives always treat things they don't understand or haven't been successful with yet. Which is to say, they ignore it.

In fact, if you happen to mention to your colleagues that you're even trying search engine marketing, you'll probably get a few encouraging recommendations, along with a healthy dose of "helpful advice" that it's "too expensive," or "just doesn't work."

But, we have seen time and time again that you can find new customers, efficiently and profitably, by making the most of search engine marketing. So, why is it that so many businesses get it wrong?

In our experience, there are four main reasons:

1. They devise campaigns that aren't targeted enough. A lot of companies, when first beginning search engine marketing campaigns, assume that they want to bring everyone they can to their website. Without very specific targeting, though, you're just setting yourself up for a big budget with very low conversion rates.

2. They fail to pay attention to their quality scores. If Google and the other search engines don't think your ads are relevant to searchers, they are going to charge you a lot of money to run them. Few things will sink your search engine marketing campaign, and your return on investment, faster than low-quality scores.

3. They don't make the most of the clicks they receive. If you aren't doing everything you can to turn visitors into customers, then the rest of your search engine marketing campaign is wasted. It's hard to overstate the importance of landing pages and offers, since they'll ultimately determine the profitability of your investment.

4. They give up on search engine marketing too soon. Occasionally, search engine marketers have success right away. More often, though, it's a mixed bag at first, with small improvements leading to dramatic results over time. Give up too soon and you could miss the big payoff that’s waiting for you down the road.

If you've always assumed that search engine marketing wouldn't work for you, then it's time to find out what your company has been missing. Call or email WebRevelation today and let us show you what the right keyword and advertising combinations can do for your Internet marketing efforts.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , Search engine marketing

What Separates the Winners From the Losers in Search Engine Marketing

Posted Wed, November 13, 2013 by Julie Short

In many ways, search engine marketing is a "winner takes all" sort of endeavor. That is, in most markets there are a few companies that are attracting the lion's share of traffic, dominating the top sponsored listings and converting visitors into clients or customers at a much higher rate than their competitors.

While this is common knowledge, though, the factors that separate the "winners" from "losers" in search engine marketing aren't. So, if you're tired of putting together campaigns that seem to be overshadowed by other advertisers, here are the three things you need to be sure you have:

1. The very best keyword and market research. Many search engine marketing campaigns fail before they even get off the ground, simply because they aim for popular keywords and search phrases instead of profitable ones. In order to find the right buyers for your company, and avoid wasting money on the wrong keywords and phrases, it's important for your research to be targeted and specific. In addition, you want to know everything you can about customers you're trying to attract, beyond the search terms they prefer.

2. The right offer for every search phrase and add combination. If most of your search engine marketing simply leads potential buyers to your site's home page, then you are probably missing out on sales and marketing opportunities. Instead, you have to create the right partnership between search terms, ads, and marketing offers to envision what a potential customer might have in mind and suggest the next step that makes sense for them.

3. Some sort of mechanism for following up with potential customers. In most markets, very few people are going to make a purchase, or even request a personal meeting, the first time they visit your site. But, if you can convince them to sign up for your email newsletter, for example, or follow you on social media sites, then you've laid the groundwork for a relationship that can grow and continue in the future.

Because search engine marketing campaigns are optimized one incremental percentage point at a time, the real success – and the key to smashing your competitors – lies in constantly improving and becoming more efficient. Keep these three factors in mind, and you'll have a head start on all the other companies you’re bidding against.

Need help making your Internet marketing campaigns more profitable and efficient? Let WebRevelation help. Call or email our team today to request a free consultation and see what we can do for you.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , Effective campaigns

4 Reasons to Start Trying Search Engine Marketing Today

Posted Wed, November 6, 2013 by Julie Short

Although most business owners and managers are at least familiar with the concept of search engine marketing by now, many companies are still hesitant to invest the time and money needed to attain a better search ranking – especially when it comes to paid advertisements or sponsored listings.

But, as experience has shown us time and time again, search engine marketing is something that virtually any company can benefit from, so long as their campaigns are structured the right way. To help you see what we mean, and why it can be so profitable, here are four reasons to start trying search engine marketing today:

1. Paid search marketing is a great way to supplement organic SEO. Just as there are some people who never click on paid Google ads, for example, there are others who prefer sponsored listings more. In other words, whatever you can do to attract targeted web traffic to your site can be helpful to your overall Internet marketing plan.

2. Sponsored search listings tend to attract a different kind of buyer. Many Internet marketers believe that searchers turn to organic listings when they want information, but skew more heavily towards paid listings when they are actually serious about making a buying decision. That means search engine marketing could help you attract visitors who are ready to take action.

3. Search engine marketing lets you test new keywords and offers. One thing businesses love about search engine marketing is that it allows them to test new keywords and offer combinations very quickly. If you want to see how potential buyers might react to your message, but don't want to take the time necessary for a traditional organic SEO campaign to kick in, search engine marketing might be your best bet.

4. Search engine marketing doesn't have to be expensive. The best place to start with your search engine marketing campaigns is on obvious keywords and phrases (like your own company's products and brands, for example). Doing so is a good way to keep costs down while converting a high percentage of visitors into customers.

If you think search engine marketing isn't something your company can use, think again. Unless you don't have any need for a cost-effective way to find new customers and clients, it probably deserves a place in your ongoing marketing mix.

To find out more about search engine marketing and business web design, get in touch with a member of the WebRevelation team today.


Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEM , Search Engine Marketing

4 Ways WebRevelation Can Make Any Manufacturing Company Smarter in 2013

Posted Wed, October 23, 2013 by Julie Short

Although we are best known for web design and development, the work we have done with manufacturers over the years has given us a keen insight into the different ways that technology can make them smarter and more efficient. In fact, having consulted with many successful businesses to examine the way they use websites, mobile devices, and software platforms, we have developed a unique perspective on the steps these companies can take to improve their bottom-line picture.

Could we put our expertise to work for you and achieve dramatic results? We certainly think so. 

To give you a sense of why we are so confident in our abilities, here are four ways that WebRevelation can make almost any manufacturing company smarter in 2013:

1. With a better manufacturing website. Far too many manufacturers invest in websites that are little more than online brochures, when a modern web presence can do so much more. Things like real-time inventory and production tracking, lead generation, and project management are all relatively simple upgrades that can make a huge difference in day-to-day operations.

2. By reviewing their current technology. If you aren't taking advantage of things like mobile technology, customer service apps, or custom web programming, you probably aren't getting all you could be from your company's technology. Often, a simple audit and consulting session is all it takes to find the efficient, practical answers your business needs.

3. By introducing high-ROI CRM systems. With effective customer relationship management, sales opportunities don't fall through the cracks and you can keep a closer eye on the pulse of your customer base – not to mention keep accurate account details and history at your fingertips. These types of platforms pay for themselves very quickly, and make it easier for you to connect with the buyers who keep you in business.

4. With better information (that leads to better decision-making). Better manufacturing technology isn't just about what you can do, it's also about what you can know. With detailed analytics about your website, customers, marketing, and other areas of your company, you can make better, more confident decisions and investments going forward.

Interested in seeing how WebRevelation can help your specific manufacturing company? Give us a call and arrange for a free consultation. There is no obligation, and we’ll be happy to show you what we can do for you. 

Posted in : Websites , CRM , Business Strategy | 
Tags : N/A

5 Reasons Every Manufacturer Needs a Powerful CRM Platform

Posted Wed, October 9, 2013 by The HVAC Girl

Manufacturers tend to love technologies that make production faster, cheaper, or more reliable while casting a doubtful eye on new ideas that can help other parts of the company. Part of that probably has to do with the fact that manufacturers work in environments where there are very often slim margins and lots of competitors. That means there is very little room for mistakes… but it also means that there are bigger incentives to get smarter and more efficient.

In no part of the manufacturing business is that more true than when it comes to customer relationship management (or CRM, for short). CRM packages allow you to keep track of buyers and prospects, automate communications, and record important details in a way that would be impossible to duplicate in a spreadsheet or simple database.

To see why this is such a difference-maker for manufacturers, here are five benefits you get from installing a powerful CRM platform:

1. You spend less time on marketing, customer service, and account management. Because CRM platforms automate a number of important tasks (like account details and contact information update), you and your team can devote a lot less time to routine tasks.

2. Your company has detailed information about buyers ready to use. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to give them what they want – both individually and collectively. On the one hand, detailed buyer records and account histories tell you everything you need to know about a particular contact; and on the other, it's easy to find the information you're looking for about all customers, those in a particular geographic area, or the ones who have received a specific offer at a glance.

3. Fewer sales opportunities slip through the cracks. Spreadsheets and other manual systems are subject to far more human error than CRM platforms are, especially when it comes to following up on new sales opportunities. In this day and age, no one can afford to let customers "get away," and the CRM can help you manage contacts and new opportunities.

4. It's easier to spot trends in the market, and in your company. Because the right CRM system can give you detailed data across customer groups, date ranges, etc., it makes it easier for you to spot developing trends or concerns. By adding flagging customer keywords to different keywords and search terms, you can even see what buyers are talking to your staff about on a regular basis.

5. CRM platforms lower costs across the board. One of the best advantages of moving to a CRM system is that it can help you save money. Fewer wasted contacts, less time spent chasing the wrong opportunities, and more focus on the right parts of your business all mean better efficiency and bottom-line improvement.

Want to learn more about customer relationship management, or how the latest tools and software can make your company more profitable? Get in touch with WebRevelation and let us share some of our manufacturing success stories with you.

Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM

What the Right Mobile App Development Partner Can Do For You

Posted Wed, September 25, 2013 by Julie Short

With thousands of companies across America considering mobile app development projects to help generate sales and boost the bottom line, more and more of them are wondering how to find the right app designer… or even what exactly a good app developer actually does.

That's understandable. It's a very new field, and one that's growing so quickly that it's hard to keep track of different concepts, labels, and best practices. With that in mind, we'll begin by explaining that, in a basic sense, an app developer is usually a person or team who takes your idea, programs it into the right formats and languages, and gives you a finished piece of software that can be used on iPhones, iPads, Androids, and other mobile devices.

As with something like web design, however, there are a lot of different types of companies that can help you with app development – and a lot of different levels of service and value. So, rather than simply defining an app developer, let's look at a few other things that the right app development partner can do for you:

Assess your idea, the market, and your competition. A lot of business owners and executives want to rush an app to market, but that's not a wise approach. Your development partner can do a bit of research and see whether your idea is likely to succeed, and what kind of competition you're up against.

Help turn your app concept into a viable product. Few app ideas are ready for development after an initial brainstorming session. Often, a little bit of thought about the features and layouts that will be used can produce important improvements – especially if a team of seasoned app developers can give some input.

Handle the technical details of app development (and especially troubleshooting). In the same way, there's a big difference between "coding" an app and having it ready for sale. You want your app tested extensively, within different types of mobile devices, to make sure it's going to work correctly for customers.

Get your app to market and help you build initial sales. Apps hardly ever generate their own sales momentum, at least not when they are first released. That's why it's important to have a strong, efficient marketing plan in place to let customers know about your product and start generating orders and downloads.

Although a lot of companies offer "app development" as one of their services, very few really give you the level of value that you're probably looking for. Remember that, and then choose your app development partner wisely.

Want to learn more about mobile apps and how they fit into your business? Call or email WebRevelation today to arrange for a free consultation.

Posted in : Mobile Apps | 
Tags : mobile app

5 Ingredients to a Great Mobile App Development Project

Posted Wed, September 18, 2013 by Julie Short

These days, almost everyone thinks they have a great idea for an app. But, once they get to the market, many apps fail to make an impression, either because there is too much competition, the design and development are lacking, or the concept ends up being unworkable as an actual piece of software.

So, how can you tell if your mobile app will be a success? There aren't any surefire answers, but here are five ingredients for a successful app development project:

1. A unique concept. There are a lot of really great app development ideas that fail simply because others have thought of them in the past. If your app is similar to others that are on the market, it needs to do something different, or better, in order to stand out.

2. A strong list of features. Does your app development project truly represent big value for someone who would buy or download it? By examining your list of features – that is, what it is your app will actually do – you can decide whether or not it's actually needed in the market, and whether customers will actually come looking for it.

3. Streamlined design with an emphasis on usability. No one wants to spend a lot of time learning to use an app, and if it doesn't shine from a usability standpoint, it's only a matter of time before a competitor releases a product that's easier to navigate. The same goes for design, where your app should have a pleasing look and interface.

4. Extensive testing and compatibility research. Apps that crash frequently, or don't work consistently across different mobile operating platforms, will struggle to achieve even modest sales. Because you don't want your app to get a reputation as being unstable, extensive testing is a necessity before you release it.

5. A comprehensive marketing and promotion plan. It's very rare for an app to simply show up for sale online and start to generate attention and reviews all on its own. Just as websites don't automatically appear in Google's rankings, an app promotion and marketing plan is important to generate momentum and find those all-important initial buyers.

Does your mobile app idea meet all of these criteria? Whether it does or not, now might be the perfect time to speak with the WebRevelation team – we can help you get more from your concept or turn it into something that's profitable for years to come.

Posted in : Mobile Apps | 
Tags : mobile app

3 Ways Companies Make Money With Mobile App Development

Posted Wed, September 11, 2013 by Julie Short

Mobile app development is a big business, and one that's getting bigger all the time. With millions of iPhones, Androids, and iPads flying off the shelves each month, Americans are becoming more and more connected through mobile web devices – and looking to new apps to help them make their lives and careers more convenient at the same time.

But, while businesses across the country are looking to cash in on app development, many will struggle to even break even on mobile software packages. There are a lot of reasons for this, including competition and a lack of understanding about app development, but one of the most important is that companies don't always know the best ways to profit from apps in the first place.

To help keep you from making the same mistakes, here are three ways that businesses profit from app development:

1. By becoming an app store bestseller, or steady sales over time. By now, you've undoubtedly read about an app that has made its founder or creator millions of dollars (and might have even purchased a few of your own). While these kinds of apps are obviously incredibly profitable, they also require that you have an original idea, along with more than a bit of luck. It's certainly possible to come up with a popular app, but know that you face lots of competition and will have to have a concept that's well above average.

2. By lowering costs with customer convenience. Another way to profit from apps is by giving your customers convenience they couldn't find elsewhere. In other words, by giving them an app that lets them place orders, for example, or update account information online, you don't just make life easier for them, you lower your own customer service costs at the same time. Looking for that mix of convenience and savings can be a great way to use inexpensive app development to boost your bottom line.

3. By using apps to introduce buyers to different products. Sometimes, the best way to make money from an app isn't to sell it at all, but to give it away and use it to promote other products and services to those who download it. Of course, you don't want to go overboard with the advertising or your app might get bad reviews. But, put together a handy tool that leads customers to other parts of your company, and you might have a win-win marketing solution.

One thing you'll notice about each of these ideas is that they all represent a different mobile app development, pricing, and distribution strategy. So, just as you need to know how you can make money with an app, it's also important to envision what that chain of profitability will look like before you begin if you're going to maximize your chances for success.

Have questions about app design and development? Get in touch with WebRevelation today and let us find the answers you need.

Posted in : Mobile Apps | 
Tags : mobile apps

Will Your Mobile App Development Project be Profitable?

Posted Wed, September 4, 2013 by Julie Short

Whether they express it directly or not, this is a question that is on the minds of a lot of business owners and executives when they come into our office to discuss mobile app development. Will they make money from the project, or will it be an expensive waste of time?

Obviously, there isn’t any single answer to that question – too much depends on your idea, the execution, and what kind of impression you make in the market. Plus, there is the harsh reality that developing a mobile app is the business equivalent to writing a novel or screenplay: Some go on to make big money, many generate solid sales, and more than a few are never noticed by potential customers.

So, how can you produce a big hit and avoid sinking money into a losing project? The first thing to do is realistically evaluate your app development idea. Here are three important questions to ask yourself from the outset:

1. How many other similar apps are already available on the market? There are really two important components to the answer. On the one hand, dozens of other existing apps might mean that it’s hard to gain attention and market share for your concept, especially if other apps are already entrenched as bestsellers.

On the other hand, though, having no other apps in your market isn't always a good thing, either. It could indicate that there just aren't enough potential buyers for the app you want to develop.

2. Does it do something different or better than other available apps? This is probably the biggest point that most would-be app developers overlook. In their rush to get a "great idea" out to the public, they don't stop to think about whether they have something that's truly new and interesting.

Unless your app offers something that other existing products don't, buyers are likely to stick with the ones they know and trust and ignore yours altogether.

3. Does it have value to your business beyond the sales it generates? Often, the key to a successful app launch is in figuring out exactly how you'll profit from it. In other words, some apps make money without ever being sold, because they bring customers back to your mobile website, encourage online sales, or reduce your customer service burden.

Before you invest money into app development, figure out how it can be distributed, and whether profits can be made in ways that don't involve selling it directly to customers.

Need answers to your questions about mobile app development? Contact WebRevelation today and let our team walk you through everything you need to know.

Posted in : Mobile Apps | 
Tags : mobile app

5 Online Tools You Can Use to Manage Your Company More Effectively

Posted Wed, August 21, 2013 by Julie Short

It isn't uncommon, when we meet with new business web design and marketing clients, to find that they have dozens more software tools and applications than they really need… but at the same time are missing out on some of the "essentials." In other words, they have a lot of things that won't really help them run their company, but have missed out on some of the most convenient and powerful tools out there.

To help you get more from your business, and your schedule, here are five that we can recommend you check out and incorporate into your company right away:

1. Trello. This amazingly simple piece of software makes project management a snap. By helping you sort tasks and milestones, complete with icons, next-step reminders, and other simple features, it gives you a straightforward way to move through large, complex projects, even when lots of different people are involved.

2. HootSuite. We mentioned this piece of software in a recent post about social media marketing, because it can be a wonderful timesaver for almost any business. Not only does it bring all of your social profiles together in one place (so that you don't have to log into them individually multiple times a day), but it lets you schedule tweets and other social updates ahead of time. If you feel like you don't have enough time to keep up with your social accounts and connections, HootSuite could be the answer.

3. Dropbox. This application lets users share large files with one another, and then update them on an ongoing basis. That means you can transmit pieces of data that are far too large for email, without uploading them to a public part of your website, and then collaborate with other team members, vendors, or customers at remote locations.

4. Skype and/or GoToMeeting. We've lumped these two together for the simple reason that traveling to face-to-face meetings isn't always a viable option these days, for financial and scheduling reasons. But, by using either piece of software (or both in conjunction), you can communicate with others and show off intricate presentations in real time, and all for a small fraction of what you'd pay for a single airline ticket.

5. Evernote. Although Evernote has a few distinct functions, we love it because it's document management at its best. Save important emails, paperwork, etc., and then tag it by date, folder, and even keywords. The result is that you'll never find yourself looking for an important file or piece of paper again, because they've all been stored and backed up in one convenient place.

Need more great tips on running a successful business in the digital age? Visit our blog for future updates, or get in touch with a member of the WebRevelation team today to see we can do for you.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : online tools

4 Tools You Can Use to Make Social Media Marketing Easier

Posted Wed, August 14, 2013

Most of the business world has figured out social media marketing is powerful, but that the benefits and bottom-line improvements come at a cost: lots of your time. Unlike pay-per-click advertising or other Internet marketing solutions that run on budgets, social media profiles are largely run on available minutes. 

For some businesses, owners, and executives, it would actually be easier to just write a check. But, since social network marketing requires one-on-one interaction, creativity, and lots of regular content, there just isn't any way around it; if you want to succeed, you have to devote a little bit of time and energy.

With that in mind, here are four tools we recommend you start using immediately to help you manage your social media marketing workload:

1. An editorial calendar. One of the biggest time-wasters when it comes to social media is logging onto your accounts and having no idea what you want to say, or what you want to post about. Take a cue from professional publications and keep an editorial calendar of upcoming topics and themes. It will help you stay on topic, and on schedule, with your social networking accounts.

2. Update scheduling apps. There are a variety of these around, with HootSuite and TweetDeck being two of the more popular options. In a simple sense, these allow you to schedule your social media posts all at one time. Just be sure that you don't go too far into the future, or what you’re posting could be out of touch with current news or events.

3. Social sharing tools. There are any number of social sharing tools and apps you could use that make it easier for people to "like" your content, or send instant tweets and recommendations about it. These can be used in conjunction with all kinds of content, and especially blog posts or other material on your site. That's helpful because it lets you get more mileage out of every post, image, or video, while helping you to grow your social network at the same time.

4. Your website's analytics package. Social media marketing can take a lot of time and energy – so much so, that it's easy to forget that the real goal is to grow your business. By using in-depth analytics, you can see how people are reacting to your social content, and whether your profiles are generating new interest and sales opportunities.

Of course, but one way you can save time on social media marketing without sacrificing results is to have the right creative team working on your side. Get in touch with WebRevelation today and let us show you how we can put these tools to work for your business.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : social media

Do You Know How to Find Prospects and Clients on Twitter?

Posted Wed, July 31, 2013 by Julie Short

At a time when business owners and executives seem to think that social media can cure just about any business problem, it's surprising how many companies aren't utilizing Twitter to its fullest. In particular, more companies and salespeople could be using their Twitter profiles to find, approach, and interest new prospects.

Here are five easy steps you can follow to find new prospects and clients using Twitter:

1. Create the right profile. Simply being "on" Twitter isn't going to do much for your business. You need to have a profile that stands out and establishes you as a key professional or vendor. That includes the right username, a professional photo, a custom background, and current contact information so prospects can reach out to you both on and off of Twitter.

2. Start using Twitter's search tool. You can search through users and messages by name, hashtag, or keyword. That should make it easy for you to start locating good targets. Once you have some good candidates for new sales opportunities, you can follow them, or even send a personal introduction. It's a good idea to do both, since you can learn a lot about a potential client from their Twitter feed.

3. Use each new contact as a starting point. The great thing about finding a good prospect on Twitter is that they are likely to know and follow other good prospects, too. By using this approach, you can quickly identify several (or maybe even dozens) of individuals and/or businesses that you might like to work with in the future.

4. Do Twitter marketing the right way. Although your initial efforts might be focused on personal introductions, you want your Twitter account to be a source of new information and insights. That way, your prospects have a reason to follow you. Also, a healthy Twitter marketing campaign can attract new prospects that you hadn't previously targeted all on its own.

5. Create a sales pipeline. If you're going to turn Twitter contacts into customers, you'll probably have to have a process that involves other social profiles, your business website, or even a phone call at some point. Twitter is great for making introductions and spreading information, but most businesses won’t want to rely on it when it comes to furthering opportunities or closing the deal.

Twitter can be a great tool for creating sales and beginning new business relationships, but you need to make the most of every contact and every tweet. So, get started with these tips, and when you need more help – or to take your social media marketing to the next level – get in touch with the WebRevelation team so we can create a plan just for you.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : twitter

How to Grow Your Manufacturing Company Without Adding People or Equipment

Posted Mon, July 8, 2013 by Julie Short

Conventional wisdom says that growing your manufacturing operation requires bigger inputs – usually in the form of capital, labor, or new equipment. But, what if there was a way you could make your business "bigger," growing your profits right along with it, without any of those investments?

That's not an impossible scenario. By installing or upgrading an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software package, you essentially get a bigger business than the one you have now, if only because you're getting more from the labor, cash, and equipment you already own.

In other words, an ERP system (which puts critical information about production schedules, input costs, supply  chain data, and more at your fingertips) makes every other part of your manufacturing operation more efficient. That means you can better manage costs, calendars, and even new customer opportunities in real-time.

Imagine having access to more detailed information about:

People and materials. When delivery deadlines are tight, you want to know which employees you need, where key inputs are located, and what kinds of potential problems might hold up delivery dates. Within ERP, you have full visibility of every important factor, so you can deal with any issues – even those relating to costs – before they become limiting problems.

Work and delivery schedules. In manufacturing, the "when" is just as important as the "where" or "how." That's why our advanced ERP systems feature detailed scheduling and forecasting options, so you can combine them with budgets, input lists, and other tools to make sure that times, locations, and finances all add up the way they should.

Bottlenecks and cost factors. Often, unexpected production bottlenecks end up being an anchor on your bottom-line performance, forcing you to give discounts and make other concessions because of delayed delivery dates. With the right ERP, you can anticipate virtually any kind of delay (sometimes even at the estimation and  proposal stage) to ensure on-time delivery or adjust your budget for accelerated production.

In any business, and especially manufacturing, you always get the biggest return on investment from optimizing what you already have, rather than purchasing more inputs. That's why our clients love ERP solutions that let them squeeze more efficiency from their operations without big investments and equipment, industrial space, etc.

To see firsthand how the right ERP can transform your manufacturing company – and your bottom line – call or e-mail a member of our team today and ask for a no-obligation demo of our packages.

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : manufacturer , erp

4 Ways the Right ERP Solution Helps Your Company Save Money

Posted Mon, July 1, 2013 by Julie Short

If you are a manufacturer that isn't using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – or you're using an ERP that's out of date – then you could be missing out on the chance to literally save millions of dollars. That's because these integrated software packages help you handle design, production, and customer interaction at every stage of the process, giving you more information, control, and flexibility than has ever been available to businesses at any time in history.

How does that translate into actual, bottom-line savings? Here are four of the most important ways:

1. By letting you produce better estimates. When you can see the prices, availability, and even location of inputs in real-time, you can better forecast production costs and schedules. That includes raw materials, components, inventories, and even people. Having a strong ERP packages is like having your finger on the pulse of every part of your business, and then being able to set prices accordingly. 

2. With more accurate financial planning. Your internal budgeting and accounting is every bit as important as the estimates and proposals you submit to customers. With integrated ERP financial features, you can examine things like revenue, supply chain costs, and even trends for expenses, so you can minimize waste at every step in the production process.

3. By removing production bottlenecks. When manufacturing isn't moving along as expected, it's going to cost you money. That's because delayed delivery dates and other unexpected setbacks lead to discounts, smaller orders, and other issues that reduce already-thin margins. The more of your own scheduled profits you can recoup, the less you give away unnecessarily.

4. With a better reputation in your market. Once you become known as a manufacturer who can meet tough deadlines and deliver a quality product on-time and within budget, your sales figures grow quickly. In other words, the capabilities that you get from the right ERP often translate into bigger sales and more sustainable accounts over time. Keeping customers happy is always the name of the game, and having the right information at your fingertips makes it a lot easier to achieve buyer satisfaction.

Whether you're a small manufacturer or a growing producer, it's vital that you have the best ERP technology on your side, and are taking advantage of all of its features. Why not call or e-mail us today to arrange for a free demo and consultation to see how our packages can help you save big money every quarter?

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : EPR , manufacturer

What Every Business Owner or Executive Should Know About Mobile Web Development

Posted Mon, June 24, 2013 by Julie Short

For a lot of business leaders, mobile web development is a little bit like the weather – they understand it well enough to see the trends, but couldn't really tell you what the real driving forces or long-term implications are.

That's understandable, especially given that things on the web are changing all the time and business owners, executives, and managers have lots of other challenges to worry about. Still, there are a few basic things you should understand about the process of launching, coding, and profiting from the mobile version of your business site:

There is probably less work and expense involved than you think. Because most mobile business websites can largely be modeled after an existing web presence, the process usually isn't as long, involved, or expensive as clients tend to expect it will be. In many cases, it's just a matter of taking what you already have and adapting it for smaller screens and different browsers.

There isn't any single way to develop a mobile website. For some companies, a dedicated mobile web presence is the answer; for others, a responsive re-design of an existing site makes more sense. And even within these broad solutions, there are different kinds of layouts, features, and even content strategies that make sense. The point is that you probably need a mobile-friendly site, and can get guidance on how to build it from an experienced creative team.

Mobile web development can increase your marketing reach dramatically. There are a lot of reasons for this, beginning with the tens of millions of people who are switching to iPhones, Kindles, and other web-ready mobile devices every year. This is even more true overseas, where a lot of people are ditching traditional computers altogether. In fact, mobile web usage is expected to make up the majority of worldwide Internet traffic by the middle of 2014. That means there are a lot of potential customers out there waiting to view your mobile-ready site.

And finally, mobile web development can be very cost-effective. When you combine low development expenses with big marketing opportunities, good things tend to happen. Every business is different, of course, and you can make any guarantees in our industry. But, if you're looking for a solid way to beef up your bottom line, you could do a lot worse than a mobile website.

You don't have to understand the technical details of mobile web development, or learn any HTML, to see that it can be a great thing for your business. Why not talk to a member of our team today and see how we can build the perfect mobile website for you?

Posted in : Mobile Websites | 
Tags : mobile website , business

5 Things That Make Mobile Web Visitors Love Your Website

Posted Mon, June 17, 2013 by Julie Short

Are you considering launching a new mobile website for your business, or perhaps re-coding your existing site to make it responsive and mobile-friendly? If so, we encourage you not to wait too much longer – more people than ever are accessing the web via smartphones and tablets, and they are expected to make up the majority of Internet users within the next few years.

It's important to remember, though, that all mobile websites are not the same, and don’t all give the same value to your business and its customers. In fact, if you really want to stand out, there are five things your mobile site should have that visitors will love:

1. A simple, mobile-friendly layout. No one enjoys scrolling, zooming, or turning their smartphone sideways just to read a simple webpage. And yet, many so-called mobile sites aren't designed or configured for small screens. This is where experience, planning, and a lot of testing come into play during the mobile development process.

2. Easy-to-read text. Big blocks of small text can be incredibly difficult to read on mobile devices. Either break text into smaller chunks, or limit the amount of text on your mobile site altogether.

3.  No long forms that require lots of typing. In the same way, having to type a lot of information into a box to place an order, get customer service, etc., tends to turn your mobile customers off. Use drop-down menus, click-to-call, and other, more-convenient features whenever possible.

4.  Lower resolution images and screens. Although data plans are getting bigger and cheaper, most users don't want to burn a lot of their available data simply viewing your site. Add in the fact that bigger mobile websites take longer to download, and it's easy to see why you don't want dense pages and large images.

5.  Apps and tools specifically for mobile users. Very often, your app can be even more valuable to customers than your mobile site itself. So, if you have an idea for something that might bring you more business (or make life easier for your buyers), consider developing it into a downloadable mobile product.

Whether you're making a dedicated mobile site or a responsive version of your existing web presence, these five features should be a priority. That's because they can mean the difference between being mobile-accessible and actually being mobile-friendly. And, as we've seen in recent years, that difference can be worth quite a bit to your bottom line.

To learn more about mobile web design and marketing, contact the WebRevelation team today!

Posted in : Mobile Websites | 
Tags : mobile website

Do You Need a Mobile Website or Responsive Design?

Posted Mon, June 10, 2013 by Julie Short

Until very recently, companies were faced with two different choices when it came to establishing a mobile web presence: either have someone design and develop a mobile-specific version of their website, or watch smartphone and tablet customers go elsewhere.

Now, though, responsive design has changed all of that.

By shifting appearance and features to suit individual visitors, responsive websites offer virtual "one size fits all" capability to any business website. In other words, they make it easy for laptop and desktop users to see one version of your pages while mobile users get another that's adapted to their screen, data plan, and capabilities.

Plus, responsive web designs allow you to maintain one single web presence, which means there are lower design costs, and less work needed to keep your webpages up-to-date. Given those advantages, opting for a new business website with responsive web design should be a no-brainer for companies, shouldn't it? Or, is there still a reason to have and maintain a mobile-specific site?

The answers, as always, differ from one company and situation to the next. However, here are a couple of quick guidelines to keep in mind:

Most of the time, a responsive web design is going to be the better choice for a new business website. For all the reasons outlined above, responsive web designs tend to offer more long-term value when it comes to designing a new site. So, if you're starting from scratch, or looking to make a major upgrade, then it's definitely worth asking about responsive capabilities.

However, certain businesses can still benefit from a dedicated mobile site. If creating an entirely new website is out of the question (or out of the budget), then a dedicated mobile site might be the better answer, since re-coding existing sites to make them responsive can be difficult and expensive. Also, if you have the kind of business that gets lots of mobile traffic (that is, if half or more of your visitors come to you via mobile devices), then you might want a separate mobile site with its own set of tools and features.

No matter how you get a mobile web presence, the most important thing is that smartphone and tablet customers are able to reach you online and have your site function correctly. So, if you're having trouble figuring out what answer is right for you, call or e-mail a member of the WebRevelation team today and set up a free consultation.

Posted in : Mobile Websites | 
Tags : mobile website , responsive design

5 Reasons Not to Put Off a Mobile Website in 2013

Posted Mon, June 3, 2013 by Julie Short

If you are a business owner or executive reading this blog, then you've probably already heard the advice to get a mobile website, and embrace mobile marketing, sometime around yesterday. But, if you're like a lot of your colleagues, you may be waiting to make the move for number of different reasons (need more money in the marketing budget, want to finish other projects first, etc.)

However, in 2013 there really isn't any excuse for putting off your mobile website any longer – or at least there isn't an excuse that outweighs the benefits. To get a taste of what we mean, here are five reasons you shouldn't wait any longer to get a mobile version of your business website:

1. The number of mobile users is too huge to ignore. More than 100 million people already access the Internet via smartphones and tablets, and mobile users are projected to make up 75% of all web traffic within the next few years. That means your customers are going online with iPhones, Kindles, and other devices, so you should be ready to reach them with a mobile-ready site.

2. Getting a mobile website is easy and cost-effective. As with all forms of technology, mobile web design and development carried a fairly steep price when it was new. Now, though, you can create a mobile version of your existing website (or invest in a new responsive web design) without doing big damage to your marketing budget.

3. Having a mobile web presence can lead to new sales opportunities. A mobile website isn't one of those things that you invest in just to spend money – because potential customers can use it on a daily basis, and it can easily lead to sales opportunities that you wouldn't get through a traditional, existing business website.

4. Mobile sites work well with your search and social media campaigns. Google and the other search engines have shown a preference for mobile-ready sites, since many searchers are using phones and tablets. Additionally, a number of apps can direct customers from your mobile site to your social profiles.

5. You don't want to fall behind your competitors who are already mobile-ready. Finally, you don't want to be the only business in your market without a mobile presence, only to watch your customers take their business elsewhere.

There is never a bad time to make an investment in your business, and the mobile Internet market has gotten far too large to ignore. Why not call the WebRevelation team today and let us show you how easy it is to get the mobile site you need to grow your company?

Posted in : Mobile Websites | 
Tags : mobile websites , lead generation

How CRM and Custom Web Programming Can Help Your Bottom Line

Posted Wed, May 15, 2013 by Julie Short


In this economy, it isn't about doing more with your Internet marketing… it's about managing time and expenses efficiently. For that reason, customer relationship management (or CRM) is becoming more important than ever. Businesses in all industries are working so hard to identify sales opportunities that they don't want (and can't afford) to watch them slip through their fingers because of poor data management or follow-up.

With that in mind, a lot of new and existing clients are turning to us for custom web programming that supplements their existing CRM efforts. We have seen this firsthand, with our own clients, as we help them to do things like:

Integrate online and off-line CRM systems. If you have proprietary (or custom-designed) CRM systems that you use to manage buyer relationships, why not integrate them with your business website. Or better yet, look into cloud computing CRM solutions so that data is always accessible and up-to-date.

Develop apps that help meet CRM goals. If it seems like everyone has an app these days, there's a good reason for that: app development has gotten less expensive, and you can use small pieces of mobile software to let customers track orders, manage account details, and so much more.

Tie CRM and social media together more closely. As we've written the past, social media and CRM make for natural friends. With a new web app or custom programming solution, you could move customers seamlessly from one to the next, collecting information and producing more targeted offers at the right times.

Put automated follow-up systems into place. Automated marketing, client management, and CRM are big topics because they can free up huge chunks of employee time while improving your profit picture. Best of all, automating CRM systems doesn't have to require a big investment of time or money.

Program web apps to meet ongoing CRM challenges. No two custom CRM solutions are the same, because no two organizations have exactly the same needs or goals. Much of what we do involves finding out what the real business mission is, and then creating a tool to match.

Are you making the most of CRM and web programming to keep in touch with customers and market to them effectively? It only takes one phone call to the WebRevelation team to get our CRM experts finding new solutions and profit opportunities for you. Let's schedule a free consultation today.

Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM , web solutions

Why Social Media, Customer Service, and CRM Go Together

Posted Mon, May 13, 2013 by Julie Short

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn get a lot of attention because they have grown so quickly in the past five years (and are still adding millions of users each month), leading businesses to see them as marketing opportunities. After all, if your customers are hooked on social media, that must be the best place to go and advertise or market to them… right?

In some cases that might be, but a lot of companies are finding that social sites are difficult places to spread marketing messages. In fact, it could be that social platforms have more value for customer service and CRM than they do for gaining new business. 

That's because social media profiles are built on relationships, not transactions. Here are a few ways to use your social profiles with customer service and CRM goals:

Solve problems and answer question publicly. When a customer e-mails you and you send a response, you benefit from keeping them satisfied or furthering a sales opportunity. When you do it publicly, however, on a social media site, you also answer that question and improve your visibility with dozens or hundreds of other buyers, too. That's why, so long as you aren't spreading sensitive information for all to see, your social profiles can be great for handling routine customer service inquiries.

Find distinct customer segments that you can market to. One of the underrated features of a strong social media campaign is the information you can find about buyers (or groups of prospects) simply by looking through profiles. Don't worry, we aren't talking about cyber-stalking; instead, we are encouraging you to find out more about your best customers, and notice similarities between them so you can find others just like them.

Create links between your social profiles and online CRM systems. There are any number of ways that you could tie Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to custom CRM systems, account updates to targeted marketing, and more. The fact that tens of millions of people use social media site on a daily basis should encourage you to find ways to move friends, fans, and followers from your profiles to other pages and customer management systems.

If you're looking for more ways to connect social media and customer service, or simply want new ideas for growing your business online, now is the perfect time to talk to the team at WebRevelation. Why not call or e-mail us today to arrange for free consultation?

Posted in : CRM , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : social media , CRM

Why Automated CRM Isn't a Luxury Anymore

Posted Mon, May 6, 2013 by Julie Short

Customer relationship management tools that are integrated into your business website used to take a backseat to other features, like marketing platforms are interesting designs. With the cost of acquiring new customers going up, however, maintaining the right relationships (and keeping track of details like accurate contact information) is more important than ever. 

If that sounds like an overstatement, consider things in a different light: the bulk of the money you'll make this year is probably from existing customers. The more efficient your CRM systems are, the more of that revenue you can gather and keep… and the less of it you'll see "spill out" to your competitors.

That makes automated CRM features important to the bottom line. Here are three features we are helping our customers to implement and profit from:

1. Custom programming for web databases. Having your website be able to collect information from customers and store it in a database is a good start, but what if you have extra fields, need stronger analytics, or want to do some processing that requires advanced functionality?

In that case, custom programming can be the perfect solution. By allowing you to tailor your CRM package to immediate and long-term needs, it can help you reach new levels of effectiveness (and ROI) with marketing and account management.

2. Automated responses and follow-ups. Automated messages and reminders can serve a number of functions, from simple straightforward marketing to account updates, data collection, and so much more. What's best about these solutions is that they are easy to implement, and take an enormous burden off of you and your employees.

That means your team can focus its energy where it matters, without having to worry that customers and sales opportunities are going to "slip through the cracks." Even just a few automated tools can drastically transform your business.

3. Advanced customer differentiation and marketing profiles. In 2013, knowing your customer is every bit as important as finding more of them. By using automated tracking systems, you can learn to identify different segments of your customer base, and even customize your marketing seamlessly.

For that reason, automated CRM that helps you gather, track, and utilize customer analytics can show a high return on investment very quickly.

Not only is automated CRM more important than it used to be, but it's also getting more affordable and easier to implement. To see how small changes in your business could benefit you in a big way, call 972-478-7127 to set up a free consultation and CRM demo.

Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM

Are You Making the Most of Your Biggest Customer Service Tool?

Posted Wed, May 1, 2013 by Julie Short

Business owners and executives often like to think that customer service begins and ends with personal interactions – the telephone conversations and e-mails they exchange with buyers. As important as these encounters are, however, the reality is that your website can be your most important customer service tool. That's because it's the one part of your company that buyers interact with the most, reaching more customers, more often, than you or your employees could ever hope to.

With that in mind, are you making the most of your business website as a crucial customer service tool? Most companies we meet with aren't. Here are a few ways to use your business website to keep more buyers and grow customer relationships:

Post FAQs and downloadable documents online. A lot of what customers really want to know (that is, common customer service inquiries) can be covered in frequently asked questions and downloadable documents like product manuals. By making those available online, and easy to find, you cut down the time needed for your staff and your customers.

Have an easy navigation structure with clear contact information for different parts of your company. Few things are as frustrating as coming to a business website and knowing that the information you're looking for simply has to be there… if only you could find it. Make pages simple to navigate, and ensure that it's always easy to reach a member of your team by telephone or e-mail.

Allow customers to change their own orders and account details. Depending on your web structure, this could require a bit of custom programming, but it's well worth the effort. That's because, despite the old advice that building customer relationships is all about being friendly and personal, many of your buyers want to be able to save time by changing orders and account details without picking up the phone or stopping by in person.

Make your website mobile-friendly. Nearly everyone is attached to a smart phone or tablet these days, and if your customers can't access your business website through mobile devices, then you're missing out on opportunities to make them happier.

Customer service is about a lot more than simply being friendly when you see your most important buyers. By upgrading your business website, you make it easier for them to do the things they want and need to – and that's what strong customer relationships, and brand loyalty, are really all about.

Need help upgrading your business website, or putting together a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy? Let the team at WebRevelation help! It only takes one quick phone call - 972-478-7127 - to setup a free consultation.

Posted in : Websites , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : website

Optimizing Web Content As You Write

Posted Mon, April 29, 2013 by Julie Short

Search and social media technologies have evolved vastly in the last few years by modifying and building tools to make digital media landscape more accurate, useful and interactive. 

SEO isn’t a purely a technical concept. At its core, SEO revolves around marketing. As technology changed and evolved, SEO became more content centric. SEO gives brands with good content, especially smaller operations, the ability to put themselves in a winning position. SEO boils down to technology and human behavior. Content marketing and content management systems play a large part in this relationship. 

The Shift
In the past, content marketing and SEO departments generally have been separate disciplines. Originally, CMS systems weren’t designed with SEO as we know it in mind. SEO was a totally different game. Mastering SEO would help brands trick their way to the top of search engines. Uploading thin content just to have something on your website, forgetting about design and focusing on rankings are ways of the pasts. 

As Google has shifted to focus on quality, relevance and content, it's essential that brands bridge this gap and time lag between authoring and optimizing content. Published content that isn't search engine friendly with errors that can be easily penalized by Google. To make the most of this content marketing opportunity and it's important to optimize content as you write it.

Integrating your content and SEO process provides you with learning, scale, and efficiency across content and SEO teams. Users can create and optimize in sync without having to switch from SEO tools to CMS systems. 

The result is great content that is SEO friendly that allows you to maximize results from search (search rankings, traffic, conversions, and revenue).
As an organization you can coordinate content creation across SEO and editorial teams to ensure the content turns is optimized, of high quality and produced efficiently. Any content changes can also go live sooner and impact results faster.

The Relationship Between CMS and Content Creation
Having a content management system empowers people within your organization to actively contribute relevant content to your website. What type of content am I talking about? This content could be blogs, news, adding to your growing portfolio as you complete new projects or adapting your descriptive information to reflect your evolving business. Your business is alive and changing. Search engines reward websites that regularly contribute quality content because they expect for your site to be an extension of your living business. 

SEO as You Go
Before you start adding content to your site, make a strategy. What do you want to accomplish with your site? What does your target audience search for online? Those are the kinds of topics you want to address within your site. Here’s some SEO best practices to apply to your content as you write:

  • Create a simple directory. Avoid having subdirectories and using directory names that have no relation to the content in them. 
  • Improve your URL structure. URLs that are simple to understand and easy to remember will help people reach your content. Use real words in URLs. 
  • Use brief, but descriptive titles. If it’s too long, search engines will only show a portion of it in the search result. 
  • Accurately describe page content. Titles that don’t specifically describe what they’re about could get lost in search. Often, inferences won’t cut it, even if they’re cute or funny. Be as direct as possible. 
  • Customize your post by being as unique as possible in content descriptions. Also, mention any sub-topics in the content. 
  • Offer exclusive content. When you’re writing something, find your unique perspective and insight. Ask yourself, what can I offer that will set this apart from anything else online?
  • Write content that’s easy to read. You’re not writing a scientific study. Make sure what you’re writing isn’t boring. Don’t fill sentences with unnecessary or difficult to understand words and ideas. 
  • Organization is key. Don’t write a long block of content. Break things up with subheads and bullet points. 
  • Create content directed at the user, not the search engine. Your content should be easily accessible to search engines, but should accommodate the visitor’s needs as well. 

Concluding Thoughts
Empowering content writers with SEO capabilities allows your business to scale the impact of your SEO team. Technology and CMS integration enables your content team to make optimizations that drive traffic and conversions. SEO professionals can also analyze error distribution, identify common SEO errors and the source of these errors, and take corrective action.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : content , google , seo

How Being Active On Google+ Will Improve Your Search Traffic

Posted Wed, April 24, 2013 by Julie Short

After Google Plus was launched a year and a half ago, it became clear it would alter a lot of things we knew about search engine optimization. It’s existence also changed the predictability of Google’s search engine. 

They added a personal element to search. Most small brands discovered over the past 18 months they don’t know how to work with this new element in search to increase traffic, and continue delivering quality content. In this blog, you’ll find some suggestions to utilize Google+ work for your search traffic’s benefit.

You’ve got to think about Google’s search engine like a giant web instead of an engine.

Before Google+, search traffic was much more predictable. While Google constantly changed their algorithm, search was a predictable flow; it was, keywords + backlinks + quality content + competition = winner. The Google+ era completely transformed the system, so you had to actually participate on social platform for more traffic. It’s a brilliant, dirty trick, but it’s their world and we’re just all trying to succeed in it and reach as many eyes as possible. 

In the past, a site with no history could, when created in accordance with Google’s rules, drive massive traffic. That’s a big reason a lot of people are still struggling with the new rules. Now, the process works in reverse. The more attention and authority you have the more traffic you receive.

You need to connect with your market on Google+, so they can drive traffic to your site. The larger your Google Plus network, the more chances you have to drive traffic. You want to activate as many people to advocate and share your brand. You’ve got to strive to be relevant instead of just existing in the Google universe. 

What You Should Do Now
First, start connecting with your target market on Google+. Add them to your circles. An easy way to do this is add shared circles from other Google+ users. You would be surprised at the number of users who have hundreds of people in their circle, and can provide you with access to their circle for free. All you have to do is add the circle to your list of circles. 

Second, join relevant Google+ Communities. If you want to find the best prospects for your business, you might want to consider joining Google+ Communities. If you have ever participated in a forum or Facebook group, you can easily use a Google+ community.

Third, add your name to Google Authorship. Google is starting to help bloggers increase their personal search relevance by creating Google Authorship. Google Authorship links content you write on certain sites to notify Google of your status as an author on a particular site. If anyone blogs on multiple sites you can increase your authorship, and in essence carry your Google reputation across the search spectrum.

Google+ has changed the search and social media game. Are more people still using Facebook for daily social media use? Yes. But, ask yourself how many people use Google on a daily basis. Driving the most people to your basic information is what you’re striving for. One of the best things about this is that you’ve got a great, low-cost opportunity with Google+ to drive additional search traffic to your website. 

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : google+

Designing for Content, Not Screen Width

Posted Mon, April 22, 2013 by Julie Short

Some designers still heavily factor in screen sizes into the website design process. Some designers still think in pixels, but things have changed a lot in the last few years. The modern designer must put content at the forefront of the creative process. 

Does Size Really Matter?
Most people agree size matters, but over the last decade, technological advances have changed the game. Some spent countless hours designing to fit all the different screen sizes and trending devices people are using to access the web. Designers tend to develop a site according to screen width, i.e. 320, 768 and 1024 pixels. In reality, the opposite exists. 

Varying screen sizes makes it tough to restrict to one single common width size. Creating a bunch of designs based on the screen size isn’t a viable option either for designers. Normally, designers tend to create three static layouts that keep alignment with the nearest width. This approach is much better, when compared to the desktop only, static site as it caters to at least one column, a simplified version for the mobile and also a touch-friendly version for the tablet. 

Thinking In Percentages
Creating designs for your responsive layout requires you to set many of the dimensions in percentages. This approach ensures that your content grows and shrinks, on an even basis, depending upon the variable screen sizes and also on the screen size it is being viewed on. Your content will cover up to 90%, instead of maybe 50% of the screen. This is possible as the content is centered on a screen size that is a few pixels smaller than the next available breakpoint.

Choose breakpoints based on the area where your content breaks, instead of the device screen widths. Rather than creating a design and then trying to fit it in the screen slot, you should find out the width at which your content begins to struggle. If you start with a 1400 wide design and slowly shrink the browser until a content piece breaks the layout or gets close enough, then that determines the next breakpoint. It doesn’t really matter whether it is at 1200, 800 or 673, if the content works great, then you should not look at changing the layout. You might end up with strange numbers and also might have several breakpoints as well.

Content Focus
Earlier we talked about picking your breakpoints based on where your content breaks and not your screen width. Do it this way because there’s too many different devices out there with different screen widths and they keep making new ones. It’s impossible to decide on consistent breakpoints for all these devices. So, let the content be the deciding factor. 

Concluding Thoughts
The point is to not get hung up on how something looks on the latest iPad or the new Nexus, but to make sure your breakpoints are suited to your content and that your design looks good no matter what screen it’s on. Determining a set of definite breakpoints, for responsive projects is tough, as more and more screen sizes are making a beeline into the horizon every day. Relying on these tips will help your content br displayed in the best possible way. 

Posted in : Website Content | 
Tags : content

Clean Design: Keeping Your Homepage Free from Clutter

Posted Wed, April 17, 2013 by Julie Short

Client’s often want to cram it with as much content as possible on a website’s homepage. However, the designer is striving to maintain the integrity of the design. In this blog, I'll give you a few ways keep your homepage clean and why it's important to help your clients see the benefits of a clean design. 

More and more people look to search engines to find content, instead of a site's homepage. The search engine takes the user directly to the information they require and can completely bypassing the sites homepage. Obviously, this deep linking seriously reduces the prominence of the homepage. 

Add to this factor the rise of RSS feeds and more people accessing information via mobile devices, and you begin to see the focus shifting from the website homepage towards the individual pages of content. That is not to say homepages are no longer important, they are simply not as important as once they were and so do not justify the level of competition they receive in some organizations.

Don’t rush the homepage
By starting with standard textual pages, which makes up the majority of the site, you get to set the design style before it gets diluted by the land grab for homepage real estate. Once the client is on board with the design they will perceive it as being more important and so are less likely to allow it to be railroaded by content demands.

A homepage should reflect the sites content at the highest level and signpost the user to key content deeper in the site. In the majority of projects I work on the client hasn’t finalized all of the content in the initial design stage. It is hard to create an effective homepage until you have a full understanding of what content it is meant to signpost and represent.

Communicating the importance of white space
In the case of homepage design the heart of the conflict between designer and client is often a perception of the importance of white space. Every designer knows that white space is a fundamental tool of good design, but designers often won't express why whitespace is necessary in a way the client can associate with. 

Or in other words; the more you add, the less importance anything has. Designers sometimes sell white space on the basis that it looks better. Instead sell it on the basis that every item you add to the page detracts from the main message. 

You might want to suggest that a user has 10 points worth of attention they can give to the homepage. Every “module of content” added to the homepage takes a minimum of 1 point. More points should be assigned to more important elements. This approach will quickly show that the more you add to a page, the more likely important elements are going to get lost in the crowd. Use this as a method to focus the clients mind on what is important.

A clean homepage will help users navigate a site easier, make it look better and keep the visitor's focus on important content. 

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : website design

Design Basics: Embracing Constraints

Posted Mon, April 15, 2013 by Julie Short

If you’re a creative person you might believe you are at your most creative without any constraints. In reality however, this isn’t true. Your creativity needs a focus. If creativity guides you without any boundaries, it’s easy to go overboard. Constraints limit the actions that can be performed by the user and increases the usability of the design and reduces the probability of operational error. Restrict yourself to just a few design elements and a set deadlines to positively direct your design efforts. 

The Hazards of Creative Freedom
The greatest gift a client can give is creative freedom. On the other hand, the worst thing a designer can do is allowing themselves total creative freedom. It should be in the client’s interests to leave the designer to do their thing because a good designer can identify the key elements required to make the project a success. The client can tell us the problem they need a website to promote a new product and it’s up to the designer to create a solution. The good designer gets to the design stage with a big list of constraints from the discovery phase: they know the demographic, branding guidelines and, through various conversations with his contacts there. For the responsible designer, the truly open brief doesn’t exist. And even when they have got a set of constraints from the client, they might well impose still further constraints upon themselves.

The first constraint to put upon yourself is time. Speed helps in the early stages of a design because you get down key concepts without focusing on details. Working fast also helps switch your brain functions. It encourages use of the right side of your brain and it’s the right side of the brain that does the creative heavy lifting. If you have a serious time limitation, you aren’t able to rationally analyse your work. You simply don’t have time. Instead, if you force yourself to rely on the subconscious and intuition, you will be using the, creative, right side of your brain. You can produce acceptable designs working from the left side of your brain, but they will have been processed rationally, based on existing solutions. Force yourself to use the right side of your brain and you can get away from these rationalised processes and make decisions based on instinct and gut reaction - and it’s here the original and innovative processes can take place.

Separating Creativity and Art
It’s worth noting that there is a separation between creativity and design. Exactly what we’re calling these is semantics, but the above process is one to encourage free, unrestricted, thought with the goal of promoting innovation. This is the creative process. The design process requires you to take the creative work and pull it into a more cohesive shape. For a website designer this requires assessing how the creative designs can also be usable, functional, designs. We’re building websites not making art.

Your design should guide the user through the process. It shouldn’t overly embellish. Sometimes the embellishments are appropriate, but you need to understand why they’re needed. Understand what elements (font, colour, image type, text size, line weight) are required for the design and embrace them. These are the constraints that will allow your creativity to really shine and offer site visitors the best usability experience. Try utilizing symbols to creatively increase site usability. Symbols are useful for categorizing, clarifying and cautioning users about certain actions. A good example of symbols being used for constraint in design would be the error sound that a site makes when an entry is incomplete or invalid. This serves as a warning to the user that additional actions are necessary.

Setting limits is not solely about not using design elements. It is much more about focusing on the few genuinely important elements that are required to convey the message of your website, and adding in other design elements only when they support the key elements. Choice doesn’t give us freedom. 

Constraining user behavior instead of enabling it may initially seem counter-intuitive, by limiting user actions they can actually focus on perfecting those limited options. Understanding and implementing constraints will help users engage your design with minimal error. Too much choice is often confusing, disabling and dissatisfying.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : website design

Email Marketing: Getting More Email Signups from Your Website

Posted Wed, April 10, 2013 by Julie Short

An email database is an important marketing tool. A large database allows you to proactively communicate with a large number of your customers, but before you launch an email marketing campaign you’ve got to build the list. Your website is the easiest way to gather email addresses from interested parties. Be sure to convince people to want to subscribe to your emails. You have a better chance to retain them in the long run if they find value in your emails and chose to sign up.

Once, I signed up for a company's newsletter for $1 off my bill every month. A lot of customers will connect with you for a small value. This value doesn’t have to be monetary, but most customers need an incentive to receive another brand email in their inbox. They are probably already receiving a lot of similar emails. Think long term. Signing up is half the battle. You want them to actually open your emails. Get creative and find an angle. Exchange with them something you have of value for their email address. This value could be exclusive, behind-the-scenes access or even exclusive coupons.

Regular Newsletter
Your goal isn’t only to build a giant email list. You only derive value from it if the people in your list care about what you send them. If they delete every email you send, your effort was a waste of time. A regular newsletter’s purpose is to maintain and boost long-term relationships with your subscribers. After a list is built, this is an opportunity to communicate, compel them to buy and continue to offer the value they initially signed up for.

Online Archive
Some subscribers want a preview of what they’re getting into before they commit. Maintain an online archive of past newsletters and email correspondence to let interested visitors see what they should expect in the future. If your newsletter or emails typically offer value, an online archive can help you grow your subscription list.

Multiple Signup Locations
Different people decide to commit at different points in the perusing process. You can’t know when a certain visitor will want to sign up. Place the form obviously on the web page. Make it easy for them to find a way to sign up without having to search for one specific page. Try integrating your value proposition into a “Hello Bar” and drive attention immediately to signing up. A “Hello Bar” is a small bar that stays fixed at the top of a page while you’re on a website.  

Give Them a Reason to Trust You
Most people are jaded by the bad practices of other brands, businesses and spammers. Provide your subscribers every assurance you aren’t one of those brands. Under your signup form or on a signup page, let them know how often you email out and what they should expect. Brands that email every day, especially frivolously, annoy the typical consumer. Provide a link to your privacy policy. This will tell people how you intend to use the information you’re collecting. Show subscribers you have nothing to hide, you will protect their private information and that you won’t share it with any third party.

Posted in : Email Marketing | 
Tags : email marketing , content

Building a Website Better Than Your Competition

Posted Mon, April 8, 2013 by Julie Short

So, you’ve got the same product, similar pricing and offers as your competitors? Business is all about competition. With an effective call to action, your website should attract potential clients and encourage them to buy. You’re looking for any and every advantage over rival businesses. In this blog, I’ll give you a few ways to differentiate your website from your competition.

Google Analytics can provide you a lot insight into your website (traffic, conversions, etc.), but it will also compare your results to your industry average. This insightful tool will give you an idea of how well you’re doing digitally when compared to others in your industry.

If you’re in a highly competitive industry, you’ve got to have a website that sets you apart from your competitors. Give your customers a digital value they can’t resist.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary for your website to compete. Several factors impact how your high your website appears in search results and if your competition appears first. Concentrate on content creation. Regularly posting fresh content makes your site more appealing to search engines and their automated indexing programs. Also, new content is an incentive for visitors to return to your site after the first visit. Pay attention to the keywords you’re using in your site’s content because it factors in. Focus on the search queries that yield the highest total traffic. To determine the most effective keywords, Google Analytics or Google's Webmaster Tools program provides traffic data for different search queries. Effective SEO strategies are constantly changing. It’s crucial to monitor the trends, SEO news and your site’s effectiveness. You may be due for an overall site update to stay competitive.

Your website’s design should complement your content. A site’s design should be attractive without being distracting. A clean design, with lots of white space, no dense copy and clear offers will translate well to your unique visitors. Avoid huge blocks of content. A homepage isn’t the place to provide the essay about your company. The homepage is merely the gateway. The important information and deals should be differentiated and jump out to the visitor. The site design should facilitate the buying process in the best way possible.

Easy Communication
Don’t make your customer jump through a lot of hoops to know more about your company and to connect with you. Make communication as easy as possible. Some sites require a visitor’s email address before viewing key information about a product or service. The casual customer, who is shopping around, could be driven away by this action. Too much personal information too soon causes customers to be sensitive. Include a contact us page on your website with an in-browser contact form. Eliminate the need for your customer to go through another step by having to open their own email to connect with you.

Strong Central Message
Successful websites aren’t cluttered, employ a clear call to action and have a strong central message. Give a direct, concise summary of what you’re about, what you offer and why you’re the best choice over your competition. Assume they know nothing about you and what you do. Give them all the information necessary information to choose to do business with you. Also, clearly state the next step in the purchasing process. If they can buy, sign-up for services or get a quote through the site, make it very clear and obvious. You will want to direct customers to the next step at every possible avenue on the site.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , web design

Simple Techniques to Maximize Web Conversions

Posted Wed, April 3, 2013 by Julie Short

The conversion rate measures the number of potential customers that result in sales. On your website, it’s the number of visitors that result in sales. Some people focus solely on driving people to a website, either organically or through search engine traffic, but it’s important to go that extra step to ensure you’re getting a return on your website investment. Here are some simple techniques to improve a website’s conversion rate. 

You should strive not to prevent anyone from purchasing your products or services. It should be unacceptable for one person to be turned away because of an inaccessible site. The more complicated the website, the more opportunity you have to confuse or lose your customer. Users should be able to find the information they need. If you’ve got information your visitors want, it should be on your website. If visitors are disappointed by a lack of information, they’ll go elsewhere. 

If you’re selling products, pay close attention to how a user adds products to the shopping cart. I have a big problem with online stores that force users to proceed to a shopping cart page every time they add a product. This action slows down the shopping process and the inconvenience alone can deter customers from purchasing multiple items. Sites with one-click “Add To Cart” buttons give customers a clear call to action.

Dispose of Lengthy Forms
Don’t waste people’s time. Refrain from requiring an email address before accessing most of the information. In most cases, if your request is premature you will drive users away. Be clear and concise when you’re requesting information from a user. The user should understand the reasoning behind sharing information and know they can trust you with their private details. If you only plan to email your customers, you might not need a phone number. The more information you request, the better the chance of driving away the cautious customer. 

Focus on providing a positive user experience. This will translate into a positive view of the brand. Utilize compelling headlines and subheads. Visitors can scan for information easier with good headlines. 

Regular Updates
Regularly updating content fosters trust with the customer. Updates lets them know you still exist and are operating. It also gives them the best decision-making information possible. If you’ve got specials or sales, don’t keep them a secret from your website. Keeping the user informed through every step of the sale process is a great idea. A company that shows it cares about their customers, even after they've finished shopping, will make a user far happier and far more likely to return.

Offer Payment Options
This may sound obvious, but offer a reasonable selection of payment methods. Not everybody has a credit card, and those that do don't always want to use them. Consider alternatives to the usual methods. Options like PayPal and payment upon pickup may endear you to the online customer. Make the user's life easy and give them what they want.

Give Visitors Value
This may be the last listed, but it is an important suggestion. Understand why your brand and website is special. Give important content the best placement. Great customer service, low price guarantees and free delivery are all examples of factors that endear your website to customers over your competition. Be the authority in your field. If your website is branded into a user’s mind, they’re more likely to think of you when they need that certain product or service. Make your digital customers a special offer they can’t refuse. 

Are people looking for something, not finding it and then leaving the site? Analytics and surveys are the best tools to really understand why visitors are leaving. Use an analytics tool to remove obsolete pages and build on content pages with high traffic. Select “The Biggest Loser” within your website. This is a page that is receiving a lot of traffic and has a high bounce rate, but contains important content with the potential for improvement. 

After working on all these different areas, be sure to test, analyze, adjust and repeat.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content | 
Tags : web conversion

Understanding the Features of Good and Bad Web Design

Posted Mon, April 1, 2013 by Julie Short

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The difference between a good website and a bad one is often amateurish designer mistakes. Eliminating bad and ugly design mistakes won’t guarantee pages will be more attractive, but it generally enables more effective communication. Features of web design can be divided into categories: the good, the bad and the ugly. Bad design missteps aren’t the end of the world, but can make pages look unprofessional and awkward. Ugly mistakes can often render a website ineffective and sometimes harmful to the reputation of a person, business or brand. After all, every website is a direct reflection of a brand’s professional digital image. 

The Good
A good web experience puts users in control and empowers them to be engaged. Utilizing Content Management Systems (CMS), clients update content themselves without assistance. CMS empowers the client to communicate quickly on their website, generally without needing help. 

In a solid design, consistency is crucial. From colors to messaging, branding should be clear and consistent with the offline presence. Every website should accomplish a clear goal. Users should easily understand the call to action. Good designs are organized in a way that engages visitors. Text should be easily readable and links will stand out. Links are often considered a website’s call to action. Using different colors or underlines for links will help them stand out. 

The Bad
It’s important to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are design qualities that distinguish a designer’s competency to execute a good website. Starting with a basic principle, images on the website should be crisp and clear. Using a grainy image smaller than the standard browser size (1024x768) as a page background is an amateur designer’s first giveaway. Poor color scheme choices and a lack of contrasting colors are other amateur mistakes. 

Most designers agree, the most crucial component of web design is typography. Typography and font choice impact a lot of website components. For example, overused, plain fonts like Times New Roman aren’t distinctive and can be hard to read. Typography is important because it’s the messenger carrying the main message. Don’t overlook its importance. 

The Ugly
Inferior web design is a curse. As we tell our clients, your website is often your first impression in an age where we are dependent on Internet information. A bad website can be very damaging to branding and reputation. One of the worst things a designer can do is prioritize style over substance. Users are impatient and expect pages to load quick. With this attitude, designers must stop incorporating elaborate animation and visuals that delay pages from loading. An extensive use of flash will slow down pages for web users and completely exclude mobile users from certain content. 

Some of the worst features are truly ugly design choices. Busy pages with large blocks of content, that lack a reasonable use of whitespace, leave visitors confused and annoyed. Problematic sites lack imaginative, well-planned navigation. Navigation and organization are crucial components of a website’s success or failure. Designers have to accurately anticipate what topics visitors will be looking for when they come to the site. Visitors shouldn’t have to click multiple links and buttons to find information. Designers have got to organize the data to be discoverable. Sounds like an easy task, but it’s not for the lazy designer. 

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : web design

8 Common Website Blunders Costing You Money

Posted Wed, March 27, 2013 by Julie Short

Search around the web and you’ll find a lot of non-functional, ineffective websites. You don’t want to put a site out there that will do more harm than good. Avoid common pitfalls of web design by understanding the most basic mistakes a designer can make.  

1. Too much flash
Flash was once used in cutting edge design, but now it’s mainly just a headache. Flash isn’t functional on most mobile devices. Designers are replacing Flash with JavaScript, CSS and HTML to relay dynamic content. Modern web design shouldn’t include elaborate hover effects and animation on content-based websites. Your design strategy should be less about impressing people and more about enabling people to access your website’s content effectively.

2. Text is hard to read
If you’re still relying on fonts like Times New Roman or Tahoma, your web design won’t stand out. Customized typography is abundantly available. There are many specialized fonts that will help your design pop and make content easier for visitors to read. There’s a fine line though. Choosing a font that’s too bizarre could make reading difficult. Use a sans-serif font. This font type is often best for readability. Text should be scannable. Utilize subheads, highlighted keywords and short paragraphs. Also, give users the option to resize the text if they need to.    

3. Too much clutter
Everything is best in moderation. Including too much content can drive traffic away from a site and increase the bounce rate. Readers will tire of excessive information and probably stop reading. Keep content concise and relevant. Avoid including large chunks of information. Bulleted lists can help you break up information. Also, too many links congested in one area are ineffective.

4. Unattractive screen resolution and contrast
If a site’s overall color scheme hurts a user’s eyes, the content will be ineffective. What looks best from a design perspective isn’t always the most functional. There has to be an adequate amount of contrast for text to be readable. The optimized layout for websites is 1024 x 768 pixels. In modern design, users should never have to scroll horizontally to view a page. It’s difficult to design around every resolution and device people will access your site on, but use analytics tool to determine what people are using most often to view the site when planning an update.

5. Site doesn’t function on mobile.
Mobile functionality is necessary for every site. Is your site responsive and adjusts to a mobile screen? A complicated website design won’t translate well onto mobile. The existence of mobile shouldn’t deter you from designing cool things for computer users, but you need to have a mobile site. It’s an easy fix and will allow mobile users to access a simpler, more concise site viewable on smaller devices.

6. No clear direction
An effective website is easy to use. Common website navigation issues can be avoided with some effort. Provide your visitors direction. Assume your visitor is going to make mistakes and won’t understand jargon. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and look at how the site functions objectively. Organize content in a subtle way that provides a roadmap for visitors to easily discover what they’re looking for. Links shouldn’t be too small and should change color once they’re clicked on for easier user navigation.

7. Changing archived page URLs
Some change URLs of outdated pages when they are moved off the main page into archives. This can make it difficult to maximize good search engine placement because page links to your site become broken. When a site’s created, it should allow content to be moved into archives without having to change the URL. If URLs change every few days, promoting your content will be nearly impossible.

8. Image overload
Many of the mistakes designers make revolve around excessiveness. Finding the right balance between imagery and type can be difficult, but it’s crucial. Talented designers often want to overload users with cool imagery, but in most cases simple designs are more effective. Don’t give the reasonable user a chance to be confused or annoyed by elements on the site. Animations can be cool, but often slow page loading. Use animations sparingly and tastefully. Never underestimate the power of whitespace in web design.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : website mistakes

Your Business Needs a Mobile App and Here's 5 Reasons Why

Posted Mon, March 25, 2013 by Julie Short

40 billion apps have been downloaded since Apple’s iOS App Store launched. 20 billion of those were downloaded in 2012. Over 1 million apps have been submitted to iOS App Store. There are several potential payoffs for businesses that choose to adapt to their mobile audience. 

Bank of the West and Harris Interactive conducted an online national survey on how small businesses were embracing technology in 2012. Among small business owners who use mobile technology, 2 out of 3 (68%) agree that it has increased efficiency for their businesses, and 3 out of 5 (61%) say it serves functions in their businesses that cannot be completed as efficiently through other means.

Developing an app is another channel to connect with your customer and an additional resource to influence purchasing decisions. There are some exceptions, but most businesses can find benefits in developing a mobile application by providing customers amenities they desire. 

Your customer wants a 24/7 resource
There are around 1 billion smartphone users in the world and 115 million in the US alone. The mobile web grew faster than many could imagine in the last few years. Information on the go evolved to the average customer’s norm. Mobile is the latest frontier. If a customer wants information on a business or product, they want it NOW. More and more customers avoid calling for information and the average business can’t employ workers to provide information 24/7 anyways.

Increase branding awareness
What’s important for your customer to know about a business or product? Digital competition is fierce right now. Having an angle helps brand yourself to consumers. When I say angle, I mean a useful reason for your app to exist. Carpe Diem Private Preschool, a private preschool in Dallas, created an app that allows parents to observe their children on a classroom webcam. You can make action-oriented content from your website easy to access on smartphones and foster brand loyalty by going that extra step.  

A unique and helpful mobile experience will help you be competitive
Are you trying to reach the most people possible? Apps often eliminate clicks and extra work on the part of your customer. Making a sale easier on yourself and the customer is what every business wants to accomplish. Your app doesn’t have to be complicated, just efficient and useful. Your app could provide store hours, driving directions, quick pricing, product/services information, menu and exclusive deals to encourage loyal customers. 

Magic Beans, a Boston retailer specializing in toys and baby accessories, launched a mobile app in 2010. Magic Beans launched an app that allowed customers to skip cash registers and check themselves out on their mobile. After checking out, the app recommends two products and additional offers that applied to the customer based upon their purchase. Customers could also scan a product’s information for more information. This app resulted in an 8% sales increase for those who used the app. 

Deliver news and speedy offers to your customers
Smartphones are now an extension of their owner and no longer an accessory. Next time you’re in a public place, just stop and take in the sights around you. Notice how many people are on their mobile or smartphone. The smartphone is your direct communication link to your customer. 

The death of paper coupons is one of the great amenities of an app. If you provide coupons, forgetting them at home will no longer prohibit your customer from shopping with you and you can track which customers are using coupons easier.  

Anyone can have an app
Apps aren’t exclusive to major brands. Small and medium-sized businesses have launched successful apps. A Nashville realtor, Zeitlin & Company, launched an app last year that take’s a user’s location and shows all available listings in their immediate vicinity on a map. Also, the app includes information on each listing, price, local schools, restaurants and grocery stores. With the click of a button, homebuyers have a lot of the information they want when researching a home. 

WebRevelation has extensive experience developing custom web applications so you can go that extra step for your customer to communicate and operate more efficiently. Our apps are nearly maintenance free and extremely scalable. Contact us for more information on a custom web application. 

Posted in : Mobile Apps | 
Tags : mobile app

Predicting the Web of the Future

Posted Wed, March 20, 2013 by Julie Short

Technology trends are moving toward every device being handsfree. At the start of the year, Google unveiled plans for developing voice command and hands free glass technology. Microsoft recently released a video where researchers showed developments they’ve made in gesture technology. More on those developments later in the blog, but that leads me to the main question. Where is web browsing headed and how will these changes impact website design?     

Technology companies and developers are constantly competing to enable us to accomplish more while actually doing less. Here a couple of the different approaches tech giants are taking in web and product development.

Voice Recognition
Google’s hoping to offer speech recognition as a feature on its popular web browser. Google Chrome’s latest beta version added preliminary support for voice commands. In the near future, users should browse the web, compose emails or tweet thoughts by speaking. They’ll eliminate the need to touch your computer’s screen or mouse. The complications with this technology are pretty obvious. Voice recognition technology is not perfect and mistakes are inevitable. This technology won’t make all computers completely hands free because it makes mistakes, but the real-time transcription they’re displaying is fast. Many think this’ll be a timesaver because most people can speak faster than they type. However, unless improvements are made, you have to speak very slowly to be heard clearly by Google’s transcriber. 

Augmented Reality Glasses
This week, the crowd at South by Southwest has been buzzing since Google revealed new details about its Google Glass technology. Google’s latest product, expected to be available for purchase by the end of the year, is described as an augmented-reality headset. This headset resembles a normal pair of glasses with thin glass lenses. Google’s describes it as being able to project images directly into a person’s eye. Google glass should feature apps, access to the web, a camera and voice recognition. The user will able to operate the glasses with voice commands. For example, if a user is in Oklahoma City and hungry, they could say “restaurants nearby” and they’d quickly see the restaurants around inside the glasses. Recently, Google announced that eventually Google Glass could feature prescription lenses. Essentially, if Google Glass catches on, people will wear their computer on their faces everywhere they go.  

Gesture Technology
Microsoft wants to change how we interact with our computers in a very different way. If Microsoft researchers are successful, touchscreens will be a dying trend. Microsoft has been working to expand technology that is utilized in the Xbox Kinect. Kinect allows gamers to actively play through a sensor that reads body motion. Researchers have worked to harness this innovation to read more deliberate hand gestures, such as the movements of a closed fist. This development would allow users to motion a hand in front of a screen and those gestures would register as actual actions made on the computer. 

The Impact on Web Design
There’s one really popular concept in web design right now. Developers keep talking about designing for the future. In the web of the future, all content will be expected to load instantly. Consumers today are less tolerable of delays than ever. Web content will have to be optimized to operate quickly or you’ll lose visitors. All the developments above should expedite Internet searching. Expect to design for evolving app needs and new platforms. Google Glass isn’t even released yet and they’ve already announced that Gmail, the New York Times, Path and Evernote all have functioning apps that will work with Project Glass. 

In a decade, humans and the technology they’re using may be almost indistinguishable. Almost every facet of life will probably be available online. Traditional computer interfaces will disappear and become touchless objects embedded in a room. Users will expect web content to function seamlessly with each new device, whether it features voice recognition or gesture technology. Responsive web design and customer management systems will probably thrive as we understand them now, but continue to improve functionality as platforms and user expectations change. 

What do you think about some of the new technology developments? Are they exciting or daunting innovations? 

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : reality glasses , voice recognition , gesture technology

Importance of Digital Marketing for Manufacturers

Posted Thu, March 14, 2013 by The HVAC Girl

Buyer behaviors and expectations are constantly evolving in this technology revolution. Sales is crucial to your manufacturing business. You might only work a certain amount of hours a day, but your website can be an available salesperson 24/7. The thought, effort and importance placed upon your physical salespersons should be applied to your website as well. Applying your business digitally is crucial to success.

Connecting Effectively with Your Audience
Just as technology is evolving, how we connect to our audience and target market changes all the time. For that reason, you can’t view your website as a finished product. Just the way a product is constantly improved for quality, cost and effectiveness, your website must be a consistent effort to improve how you reach your audience.

Prospects don’t call for information as often as they used to. The average prospect uses the Internet to research products and vendors. If your brand doesn’t already have a direct connection with a customer, the average consumer will turn to a search engine to find what they need. For this reason, it’s key to work with a web developer that builds a site optimized for search engines. Buyers expect to find a site with adequate, relevant information necessary to their purchasing decision. If you don’t meet meet a prospect’s expectations, they’ll just move on to your competitor.

Key Components of Digital Marketing to Buyers
A manufacturers website should effectively market to your economic, technical and user buyers. Economic buyers have veto power and are decision makers in companies involved in B2B sales. Technical buyers screen out vendors and brands to judge products on technical features. User buyers will personally or supervise use of the product. How do buyers interact digitally through the purchasing process? According to an Enquiro Research study, here’s the amount average buyers uses the Internet in the different phases of the purchasing process:

  • 95% of buyers use the Internet for awareness about a company or product.
  • 92% of buyers use the Internet to research a company or product.
  • 70% of technical buyers consult various online influencers during the negotiation phase of a sale.
  • 88.9% of technical buyers surveyed would go online for information during a purchasing decision.

Return on Your Investment
You can view your website as a machine. You should expect it to drive traffic, assist in converting prospects and measure results effectively. Search engine optimization (SEO) will help promote your site on search engines and drive traffic to it. An effective web developer will optimize your site for optimal search engine placement. When consumers search for keywords related to your business, they should be able to find your business.

Website functionality and content will help you retain business. In April 2010, Google started factoring in site speed into its web search ranking. Slow, poorly designed sites lead to a high bounce rate. To engage prospects, provide what they’re searching for. Provide online catalogs, product descriptions, searchable technical content, technical support and contact information. Be the first to easily answer their questions and you have a better chance to win their business.

Your website collects comprehensive analytics that enable you to better serve prospective customers. Your site analytics will measure sales and conversions, as well as how visitors arrived at and used your site. Understanding this information will help you continually work with your web developer to improve your site’s user experience. Find out how your website is marketing your manufacturing business by getting it evaluated.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : manufacturer websites

5 Key Elements of a Successful Home Builders Website

Posted Mon, March 11, 2013 by Julie Short

Online competition is tough these days. Just having a website isn’t enough. From Google Analytics, the average home builder’s website received 63.7% of its traffic from search engines. To capitalize on each lead, home builders must maintain a website that meets the expectations of your prospective customers and I’ll give you five important expectations to meet in this blog.

Fund a Website with a Content Management System
A website with a content management system (CMS) allows you to communicate easier and more frequently with visitors. You can’t afford to wait for someone else to update your site or post important, time sensitive information for you. CMS gives you control and enables you to easily edit, add and delete content on your site. Also, CMS encourages collaboration by allowing your staff to create, edit and approve content before it’s published.

Communicate Who You Are and What Services You Provide Immediately
Unique visitors make split-second decisions about your company and products when they first visit your website. If your website is unfinished or poorly designed, then they will assume you approach your homes with the same attitude. Sometimes you have only ten seconds to communicate your company’s value. Let them know why your company is special and why your products are better than your competitors quickly and concisely.

Model Your Website After the Purchasing Cycle
It’s important to understand the process a customer goes through when making a major purchasing decision. Have a site designed and fill it with content deliberately catering to this process. Often, unique visitors will come to your site with zero knowledge of your brand when they’re just starting their research process. They’re looking for a company to fulfill what they need.

  • Discovery- Introduce yourself just as you would a new visitor coming into the office. When unique visitors first arrive, they want to know if your company is worth researching. In its first impression, your website should communicate that your business is trustworthy and excels in its field.
  • Research- Visitors want to know how you build your homes. Different visitors are looking for different specific qualities, but they want to know if quality designs and materials are used in each property.
  • Sourcing- Be sure to include detailed information on each property. Serious shoppers want to see prices, floorplans and visuals of the property. Some builders choose to make visitors request the price on specific home. Keep in mind some customers are unmotivated to wait, especially if your competitors are listing prices.
  • The Sale- Usually the sale will happen offline, but provide information about everything involved in the sale process. Visitors will feel more comfortable and require less explanations during the actual sale.

Keep Content Relevant and Updated Regularly
Content is always better when it’s fresh. Search engines routinely prioritize newer content over the old. A regularly updated website is just another important customer service avenue. New customers visit your site to learn about what you’re offering and return to have questions answered. Simply answer these questions and you increase your chances of retaining business. In the long run, an effective website will save you money. A website can eliminate the need for a 24/7 customer support staff.

Content Should Be Easily Shareable
When providing listings or previews of newly built properties, enable visitors to print, email or share an individual property on social media. Allow your prospects to drive traffic to your website for you. If you offer these sharing options, you could expedite a purchase because other involved parties can view details about a specific listing quickly.

See how you can effectively market your new homes digitally by having your website evaluated.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : home builder websites

5 Rules of Modern Web Design

Posted Wed, February 27, 2013 by Julie Short

Aristotle once said, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Your website is an opportunity for your brand to interact with a customer. Strive to maintain a site that represents you in an attractively visual way. For some inspiration and see examples of WebRevelation’s website portfolio. Along with an appealing website, make sure to take into account these 5 rules in creating a modern website.

1. Make design decisions based on data, not assumptions. 
Start the content decision process by asking yourself, “Is this valuable for users?” It’s easy to assume you understand your audience, but a lot of statistical information and case studies are readily available to put you on the right track. Do your research. If you have an old website and access to website analytics, you can learn a lot from those personalized statistics and better understand the ways the new site needs to improve. Also, you can see what the old site was was accomplishing and what content should remain. 

2. Interactive designs are in.  
Effects can add functionality, as well as design appeal. Hover effects can offer more information and make it easier for visitors to know what they’re clicking on clearly and quickly. Also, this effect helps declutter a site’s pages. Choose effects that accompany site themes seamlessly. Don’t be innovative in ways that deviate from other concepts on your site. The whole site and message should blend together cohesively. For example, if the website is for 

3. Test everything. 
Assume every aspect of your design won’t function perfectly on different platforms. Test your website on a computer, tablet and mobile device to be sure. Aim to keep your load times as low as possible to appeal to a wide audience. If your site takes too long, visitors might not stick around through a long wait to see a cool design. Be sure to optimize background images. Often, they’re large files and could slow load times.  

4. DO NOT overlook mobile.
Embrace that we live in a mobile society. This audience is growing every year and will surpass computers in web traffic in a few years. When designing a website, it’s key for designers to consider how the design will translate into a mobile version. While differently formatted, a full and mobile sites should mirror each other in concept. Create a concept with a flexible visual and stylistic language that will apply to a mobile and tablet format. Check out these examples of WebRevelation mobile websites

5. Great content is just as important as a great design. 
A website design is the like the greeter at the front of store. The design welcomes visitors to a site and captures attention. Great content will retain, engage and encourage visitors to return again. Also, appropriately segregate content. Visitors don’t want to go on a treasure hunt for the information they need. Think as a visitor when you separate content. Ask yourself, “Where would I expect to find this topic?” Want more information on this?  Check out What Posting New Content Regularly Does for Your Business 

If you are wondering if your website is MODERN, get your website evaluation!


Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : web design , content , mobile

Get the Word Out: Successfully Advertising Your Website

Posted Mon, February 25, 2013 by Julie Short

Once you’ve created a site, you’ve got to focus on raising awareness for it and developing strategies to drive traffic to that site. Starting to promote your site can be as simple as including your website on your employee business cards. That won’t be enough though. 

There are lot of platforms and advertising channels to choose from. Your website advertising should encourage repeat visits and generate leads or sales for your business. You’ve got to maximize the opportunities coming with each first impression. It’s important to understand the features and benefits of each form of digital promotion. Here’s what you need to know about each advertising route before you get started: 

Search Engine Advertising
Whether you want to generate organic traffic (where users find your site in an applicable search engine search) or you have room in the budget for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, utilizing search engine promotions provides opportunities to reach the broadest audience on the web. In truth, search engines are the biggest driver of quality traffic to websites. Creating search engine interest works best when a level of user interest exists for your brand or keywords related to your brand. Quality and performance of your PPC ads are crucial to long-term success in this method. There are a lot of factors that can determine a PPC ad’s success. Choosing appropriate keywords for the ad is only half the battle. Designating  desirable landing page and excelling in copywriting are crucial elements that can define a campaign’s success. 

Mobile Advertising
Mobile advertising is still growing and changing. As of now, developers are looking for new ways to monetize content that’s been free so far. Analysts predict mobile ads will collect $11.4 billion in revenues by next year. In 2012, mobile ads brought in $9.6 billion. Search ads have been most popular, but display ads are growing and should be more successful. 

Email Advertising
Connecting with existing contacts can give you a real boost when starting any new campaign, especially a new or revamped website. An email advertising campaign, which reaches out to customers or other people you already have an existing relationship with can be an easy win, especially since it hits people where they spend most of their decision-making time, their inbox. 

Social Media Advertising and Self-Promotion
Social Media is a natural avenue to invite people to your new site. Like email, this audience will be made up of contacts who have opted-in to a relationship with a brand. They understand that they are going to be fed links by a business, so links back to a home site will not be a sales turnoff. By leveraging these spaces, in addition to the great content you are offering at the end of the link to your site, will help ensure a successful web site campaign.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : website advertising

5 Tips to Writing Your Most Popular Blog Post Yet

Posted Wed, February 20, 2013 by Julie Short

Whatever point you’re at blogging wise, whether you’ve just started blogging or you’ve been at it awhile, one popular post can generate a traffic boost to your site and help you land unique leads for your brand. Ideally, a popular post will trigger visitors to explore more content on your site and blog. 

A Headline News Related Topic
If your brand has an angle on something popular going on in the news, write a blog around it. This topic is in the news and already instant web traffic. If you choose a headline with the right keywords, you increase the chances your blog will land in front of unique visitors to your brand. Don’t just reprint the news tho. Fuse your professional opinions and insight into the news of the day and you’ll give readers a spin they’ll be interested in. 

Give your title a lot of thought because it’s key to your article being found and viewed. As I mentioned before, using the right keywords help your blog land in front of people researching the topic. Once you’ve decided on a topic, you’ve got to imagine what phrasings a person might use to find this topic on a search engine and implement those keywords into your blog’s headline. Also, the title is influential because it convinces people to click on your blog. You can’t just fill the title with keywords and wait for the blog hits to appear. The keywords have to appropriately fit into an attractive and intriguing title. 

We live in a fast, visual world. Posts that are attractive to the eye and well formatted will influence a reader completing the post or sharing it. Placing applicable images or even a slideshow into the blog will help make your post a visual feast for the reader. 

Post Structure
It’s important your posts are readable. Separate your points so they’re easily readable. If your blog post is one long chunk, readers will often take one look and leave the blog. Utilize bold and italics. Make your points as quickly as possible and try to end the post with a call to action. Give readers a reason to interact with the post, either by telling them what to do next or by encouraging comments or sharing it for you on social media.

A Unique Perspective
Hundreds of millions of blogs exist. You’ve got some steep competition, but the good news is there’s only one you. Try to be authentic to yourself in your writing and set yourself apart from similar blogs. Have fun with your posts. The trick is to get your message across and remain relatable. Special views, facts or quotes invites people to share your blog.. 

Posted in : Blogging | 
Tags : blogging basics

Simple Ways to Reduce Your Websites Bounce Rate

Posted Mon, February 18, 2013 by Julie Short

Analytics programs can track nearly every action taking place on your website. From where people were referred to your site online to how long someone remains on a specific page, you’ve got a lot of tools to determine what your website is accomplishing and what it isn’t. 

The website bounce rate is the number of visitors arriving on your site and exiting it quickly without ever visiting another page. To me, your bounce rate is one of the most important website stats to work on. Keep in mind throughout this article, people will click on your website by mistake and those aren’t the people to worry about. Factor them in when you look at your website stats. Most often, the bounce rate conveys the kind of first impression you’re making. Engaging the visitor right from the start is your goal. 

If your website’s bounce rate is high, you’ve got things to improve. People could leave your page for a variety of reasons. Maybe you don’t have a mobile site and your site isn’t compatible with a smartphone. They might not have seen anything they found interesting. Also, not having regularly updated content could be a factor. Start working with your web developer and team to improve certain aspects of the site and see what is effective. 

Your message should be blatantly obvious.
Often, with first-time visitors you get one shot to impress them or answer their questions. If you can’t or won’t do it easily, they’ll go elsewhere. One of the highest causes of a high bounce rate is visitor confusion. They won’t go on a treasure hunt through your navigation and pages to find the most pertinent information about your company. This doesn’t mean your homepage should be cluttered and packed with all of your information, but certainly the most important and identifying information should be located here. 

Your site’s purpose for existence should be immediately clear in both its design and content. If you’re a home builder, a unique visitor shouldn’t leave your site thinking you’re a residential roofer. People should have an adequate understanding of your company and product from the homepage and that will drive traffic to feature pages. Feature pages are great to supply additional and technical information on the product. The content on your homepage should guide your reader through the experience of your website. Don’t be vague. Be specific and concise in your language. Instead of a “Learn more” tab, be more descriptive. Invite visitors to “See our product’s features” instead. 

Review browser compatibility. 
Sometimes a high bounce rate has nothing to do with your content’s quality. A high bounce rate can indicate your site might not function completely for all of your visitors. People are clicking on portions of your site and unable to view the information they need. Because of the way different websites are designed, they can appear one way in one browser and completely different in another. To determine if this is your issue, try opening your site in Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox and on your smartphone. 

Don’t annoy your visitors.
If people reach your site and are overwhelmed by popup ads, banners or automatically loading chat windows (even if it’s for contacting your support staff), your bounce rate will be high. Before your visitor even had a chance to settle in and determine what they want to know from your site, you’re scaring them away. To determine if this is the issue, the only test is gutting possibly annoying properties from your site and seeing what happens to your bounce rate over a period of time. 

Improve your page load time. 
Your site speed can be a huge factor in your bounce rate. If people can go elsewhere in the time it takes your site to load, you’ve lost them. Sometimes your site speed will be affected by their Internet connection, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your site isn’t the cause of the speed issue. Packing your page with visual elements could be the cause of the problem. 

If you’re having a bounce rate issue, WebRevelation can help. WebRevelation is a full-service custom web design and web application development firm specializing in creating websites that fulfill any specific functionality and that can be easily operated and updated by the client.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : bounce rate , slow load time

Whats Next: 8 Predictions for Business Mobility in 2013

Posted Sun, February 17, 2013 by Permission

From Apps To M2M, Mobility Is Growing Everywhere

Used by permission - Originally published December 6, 2012 by Mobeen Khan - Executive Director, Mobility Marketing, AT&T Business

In 2013, mobile is the main event

The major trend I see running through this list is that mobile strategy in enterprise is no longer a side-stage project. It has become the main event. We’ve reached a point where many businesses already have basic mobility in place: smartphones, data plans, some security, some device protection, compliance policies, and mobile email access for employees.

And, more importantly, almost everyone in the organization – IT, marketing, sales and operations – is thinking about what to do next.

It’s all about the applications that improve productivity, the “Internet of Things” that connects a company’s assets and the security services that keep this information protected. 2013 is going to be the year when we see many more examples of businesses, industries, and eco-systems transforming through the innovative use of mobility.

Predictions for the evolving mobile landscape

Here are the eight ways I see mobility evolving in the coming year:

1. 2013 will be a tipping point for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. With greater standardization throughout the industry and falling costs of key components, I believe that M2M is poised for much more rapid adoption in the coming months.

2. Customers will heighten their focus on end-to-end mobile security –Including devices, data, and networks – in light of increased sensitivity to major breaches that may be looming. Everyone realizes that real innovation will only come if we adequately address security and policy issues.

3. Business mobile users will continue to diversify their mobile operating systems. I think that the Windows mobile platform has a chance to be a surprise hit in the business world.

4. Adoption of mobile applications in business will spread across multiple platforms. Native applications are currently the standard for enterprise apps, but we expect HTML5 and mixed-mode applications to gain more traction in 2013.

5. Businesses will start to layer more “platforms” on top of their basic mobility services. Think solutions like Near Field Communications, Push-to-Talk, and Biometrics.

6. Enterprise app stores (or downloadable enterprise apps) will become more prominent in 2013. And they’ll be integrated with application management, blessed by IT.

7. We’ll start to see more “mobile first” applications. Right now, most companies mobilize apps that already exist as desktop or Web-based software. In 2013, we expect to see a shift toward apps designed originally for mobile platforms. Some potential examples: collaboration software, context-, location- or persona-aware access and mobile-based assistants in business-to-consumer industries.

8. Enterprises will start to develop mobile centers of excellence and mobile IT teams to handle the creation and management of mobile strategies across different lines of business

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : Business Mobility , 2013 Mobile

4 Things Your Website Says to Potential Customers

Posted Wed, February 6, 2013 by Julie Short

Your website is your first impression. It’s often your first and sometimes only chance to attract new business online. Having a sleek-looking and functional site design will attractively display your company after a search engine directs them to your site. Your website doesn’t have to be the most intricate ever designed, but it shouldn’t be a treasure hunt for consumers to find out information about your company. Whether it’s good or bad, here are four things your website is telling visitors. 

If your business is trustworthy and professional 
Like I said in the first paragraph, your website is often your first impression with prospects. Prospects are less likely to call to learn more about a business. According to Search Engine Journal, 88.1% of US internet users ages 14+ browsed or did research on products online in 2012. Regularly updated content lets prospects know you’re in business and you’re prepared for their Internet visit. It shows you care. The modern consumer is cautious about what they view online. Internet scams have contributed to this attitude. Your website should be as personable as possible, so prospects feel like you’re a professional company and worth their business.     

Your attention to detail
Just having a website isn’t enough. You might’ve thrown together a basic website just to get started and haven’t chosen to upgrade to something better for a million different reasons. Think about your website like a proposal. You wouldn’t submit a proposal to a client that has errors, is hard to read and lacks the content needed to choose your business. You’ve got a lot on your plate running a business, but your site or lack of a site could be restricting your growth. If your website is old, poorly designed or lacking updated information customers will think that’s how you treat your business. 

Your level of success
If I attempt to visit a company’s website and it doesn’t exist or it’s an absolute mess, I keep searching until I find a business in that field with a website. If these statements apply to your business, you’re inadvertently sending negative messages to prospects. In the mind of the consumer, every successful business has the ability to maintain an easy and functional site.

Your attention to customer service 
Bad, old and plainly designed websites miss out on the opportunity to relate to their customer. You can show them they’re not just a customer number with a personal touch on your website. Home builders can exhibit happy families that end up owning homes they constructed. Manufacturers can highlight how their website utilizes software solutions that reduce data errors and streamlines customer ordering. Be one step ahead of your competition and ensure that your online activity is creating an environment that encourages sales. 

Let WebRevelation take your website woes off your hands. Contact us for more information on how our software technology can easily assist your business in maintaining a more positive digital presence.  

Posted in : Blogging | 
Tags : professional website

4 Ways CRM is Essential to Business Success

Posted Mon, January 14, 2013 by Tim J Short

Attentive customer service is at the heart of most successful companies. In 2012’s American Express Customer Service Barometer, 75% of American consumers have spent more with a business as a direct result of positive customer service. Advances in technology and website design allows WebRevelation to help you streamline the customer relationship management (CRM) process.

Billionaire Richard Branson once said, “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”

To help you understand why so many businesses are adopting CRM software, here are the 4 major benefits of CRM:

  • A Streamlined Sales Process- This technology has the ability to organize, automate and synchronize everyday business. This will result in higher sales productivity, reduced expenses and better customer profiling and targeting.
  • Cost Savings- CRM takes a small initial investment, but in the long run don’t worry about combining sales information from a variety of platforms. CRM helps businesses streamline time consuming activities. Carbonite, a Boston-based online data backup company, found in a survey that 48% of American small businesses with under 20 employees lost data in 2012. In this economy, your business can’t afford any losses and CRM software can help you avoid this downfall.
  • Improved Lead Generation- CRM increases cross and upselling opportunities by pointing businesses toward and maintaining lists of warm leads. This encourages a productive sales environment and ensures that customers are pursued appropriately.
  • Shared Knowledge- Web-based CRM enables knowledge about existing and potential customers to be shared throughout the business and accessed from any remote location. Your staff will have the most information on your customer possible in real-time at one place.

CRM solutions offers a chance for small and medium-sized businesses to manage customers, increase customer retention, improve effectiveness, benefit from higher close rates and have a higher overall profitability.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : N/A

The Rise of Mobile: A New Necessity to Reach Customers

Posted Mon, January 7, 2013 by Tim J Short

My grandfather used to say, “Drop your line where you see the fish.” In 2012, mobile traffic made up a significant portion of all Internet traffic. For the average business, having mobile compatible websites changed from a luxury to a necessity for 2013.

Walker Sands’ Quarterly Web Traffic Report found that mobile web traffic quadrupled in the last two years. As mobile adoption continues to boom, marketers have to monetize mobile traffic or die trying. Here’s the top four reasons why you need a functional mobile site:

More than half of U.S. consumers own a smartphone.

There’s a lot of mobile sales potential that’s still unrealized. According to the Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research Series, 46% of smartphone users browse the internet on their devices several times a day. By providing a great mobile experience, you have an opportunity to pull ahead of your competition.

Mobile users need a simplified browsing experience.

Smartphones can’t render full websites with quality. Full sites vary in how they translate on mobile devices, but they aren’t generally designed to be easy to navigate or load quickly. in 2012, Google Data found that 71% of smartphone users who see a TV, print or online ad, do a mobile search for more information. Often, people can’t read full sites on a mobile device.

You could lose business.

If people have a hard time accessing your site, you might not get a second chance and forfeit that business to your competition. In a Compuware study, they found that if your website is slow or breaks down 57% said they wouldn’t recommend your business and 40% would turn to a competitor.

Mobile users are using phones to research and purchase.

By 2014, mobile internet usage should surpass desktop internet usage. It might not be something we’re all proud of, but 86% of mobile Internet users are using their devices while watching TV. According to Go-Globe statistics, some of the reasons customers prefer mobile commerce is the on the go convenience, special discounts and easy to compare prices.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : Mobile Traffic , Mobile User

How SEO Drives Web Traffic for Small Businesses

Posted Tue, January 1, 2013 by Tim J Short

Search engines are the biggest driver of web traffic to individual sites. Optimizing your websites and blogs to land higher in search results opens your brand up to more unique visitors. WebRevelation offers strategic SEO marketing services for small and medium businesses and here’s three reasons why local search engine optimization is crucial to digital marketing.

About one million Google Places pages are claimed per month.

Competition is stiff. Your business is a needle in a haystack. Google’s not just going to automatically list your site first in searches because your website exists. When you’re a small to medium business you’re not usually going to generate as much regular interest as a large corporation. Strategic SEO is basically anticipating where your customers are going to be on the internet and trying to pick them up.

Increasing web traffic generates leads and could boost sales.

SEO is like a good pick-up line. It positions your brand positively in front potential customers. Interesting web content has to exist to support that initial attraction when someone lands on your site from a search engine, but people can’t buy if they don’t know you exist. In the past, a business owner might pay for a billboard, newspaper or TV ad to expose a brand to new consumers. Investing in SEO is more affordable, targeted and can be deployed locally, nationally or even worldwide. Unlike a traditional ad, you’re not regularly paying for an ad and people are able to instantly interact with your company.

Using strategic SEO targets unique website visitors.

When people search for topics related to your brand, will your website appear? Every business owner must ask themselves this question when evaluating your website’s success... How effectively is your site is reaching potential customers? We specialize in making sure your website is organically optimized to land in front of the right new eyes when people search for topics related to your brand. Well-placed local rankings get more eyeballs.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , Search Engines , Google Places

How houzz.com can be a benefit to home builders

Posted Thu, November 22, 2012 by Julie Short

Houzz.com  is an online idea book for decorating a room to building a custom home.  Users select from over 800,000 photos of ideas that they like with the benefit of keeping them in one location.  As a home builder, you can increase your exposure, build your brand, and communicate more efficiently with clients using a visual ideabook. is an online idea book for decorating a room to building a custom home.  Users select from over 800,000 photos of ideas that they like with the benefit of keeping them in one location.  As a home builder, you can increase your exposure, build your brand, and communicate more efficiently with clients using a visual ideabook.  This power point slide is how to get started.


Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : houzz , idea book , home builder , custom home

The 10 Demands, The 5 Reasons, & the 3 Ways for business owners to get distracted!!!

Posted Wed, November 7, 2012 by Julie Short


The 10 Demands, The 5 Reasons, & the 3 Ways for business owners to get distracted!!!
Do you need another article to read to learn about being a better business onwer?
Really do any of these articles do anything but helping you “Get Motivated” – at best, at worst these make me want to puke. They are vague recommendations to the casual viewer attempting to make an effort to be a better business owner.  But the results are that we get overloaded on too much information (otherwise known as Infobeasity) but having NO PLAN!!!
So what I want to discuss is the empowerment that comes with PLANNING!  Now isn’t that EXCITING.  No it isn’t, but never the less it is the path creating that allows us to know that our day was successful.  Successful because we accomplished what we set out to do!  I know mind blowing, new-age kind of idea!
So take the 15  minutes you would have wasted on reading the articles above and follow these simple steps (it isn’t complicated, so for all you right-brainers, STOP making it complicated):
Step #1: Write down the 3 items that are recurring “items I need to deal with”
Step #2: Write down what YOU want to see happen with these items
Step #3:  Write down each step that needs to get these items COMPLETED.
Step #4: Find your calendar and schedule the time required for each step.
There you now have a working plan.  And as my business strategist Kathie Nelson, Connectworks reminds us of “1 minute spent planning saves 9 minutes”.  So save yourself time, distractions, and dissatisfactory results by making a plan!



Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : 10 demands entrepreneurs , 5 reasons people fail , 3 surefire ways to grow , plan , infobeasity , get motivated ,

Your Reputation is at Stake!

Posted Wed, October 24, 2012 by Julie Short

I recently met a business owner who asked me to review his website. If I had just randomly run across his website without meeting him, I would have thought he was out of business!

A contact (who isn't in the web development business) said that YELLOW PAGES are obsolete, if you don't have a website people won't do business with you!! 
Professional employee attire
Clean and Organized Store front
Top-of-the line customer service
But you may be OVERLOOKING that your website is the first impression of your business!  
It is where the reputation starts, and it could be your SALES COFFIN.

•Has it been updated in the last 3 years?

•Does it fit wide screen monitors?
•Is the navigation easy to use?
Want to simple tool to fully evaluate your website? Use this easy tool Should Your Website be Fired?
Let me light the fire even further.  
Standard websites are NOT mobile websites.  
Mobile websites are websites designed specifically for smart phones and tablets.  
6 billlion smart phone users at the end of 2011!  
And their expectations are astronomical!  
( See the Mobile Content - Useage & Expectations graphic  for these details)
Google believes that your SUCESS IN MOBILE (websites) will determine the FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS! (Google Mobile Playbook
40% of smart phone users have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. 
There is an on-going war with changing consumer preferences, and if you do not keep up with it, 
your reputation will be eaten alive.  I would prefer not to attend your business’ funeral!!!


Posted in : Online Profile Management | 
Tags : The Mobile Playbook , Google , mobile , mobile content , mobile usage , mobile expectations , customer service , store front , reputation ,

Pinterest Baby Step #4 Your Profile

Posted Wed, September 19, 2012 by Julie Short


Baby Step #4 – Your Profile
As a refresher from Pinterest Baby Step #3 – What Boards to Have by checking out these new postings on WebRevelation’s Boards.Follow Me on Pinterest
Entrepreneur Motivation – who doesn’t need a BEAUTIFUL reminder that all we need is a shift in thinking to make changes happen!  
Social Media – Interesting marketing facts on Pinterest
Customer Appreciation Gifts – Diaper wreath-ideal for those businesses that have mostly women for their clients 
I am hoping that you’ve established your boards & started posting on them.  It may take some time to fill them in of which I have to remind myself to do.  My post-it-note on reminder system:
Now on to learning Baby Step #4 – Your Profile.  Having a complete profile will make it the easiest for pinners to find you and know what you do.
 Starting at your business board page, you’ll see in the middle of the screen “Edit Your Profile” – Select it.
The fields are pretty intuitive to complete and only a 10 step process.
The most important one is to make sure that the HIDE your Pinterest profile from search engines is off.  If it is OFF, then search engines can find your information!  Happy Days!
I’ve taken it easy on you today just to make sure you come back for Pinterest Baby Step #5 – Who to Follow which will wrap up this series on Pinterest.  If you have questions or need inspiration, make sure to comment on the blog and I’ll get back to you!
Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : Pinterest , profile , hide from search engines

Pinterest Baby Step #3 - What Boards to Have

Posted Wed, September 5, 2012 by Julie Short
Dear friends, please let me remind you before getting overwhelmed that baby steps will get you to the bus of success without requiring a Cerebral Enhance-o-tron, causing trauma to your brain or your friends around you.  
So as we step off this ledge into the vastness of pinning, we must pause and put our thinker caps on.  To keep in line with the Baby Steps, we want to come up with only 3 boards.  The goal of these boards would fall in line of one of these 3 life-changing questions:
1. What would be interesting to my clients?
2. What expresses the heart of my business?
3. What would be valuable for my clients to have links to?
Simple examples of this:
Real Simple Magazine - gives creative, practical, & inspiring solutions that make life easier.
Boards – Daily Thoughts & Inspirations, New Uses for Old Things, & Easy Decorating ideas
Whole Foods Market- world’s leader in natural & organic foods
Boards – Who wants dinner?!, Eat your Veggies, How Does Your Garden Grow
GE – General Electric- Pinning things that inspire us to build, power, move and cure the world. 
Boards – Pinspire, Hey Girl, and That’s Genius
So if you still are following along HERE, these boards may not make the most sense unless you read the images associated with them.  Pinspire encourages pinners to create their own board in honor of their cancer journey and then share the board with them.  GE chooses a board to feature each week.  This board topic lines up with GE’s mission to cure the world AND it creates a sharing environment with their followers.  Well played GE, well played!
So with all of this inspiration, I’ve come up with the 3 beginning boards for WebRevelation:
  1. Entrepreneur Motivation - as most of our clients are small to medium sized business owners, and who doesn’t need an added dose of COURAGE.
  2. Social Media – this has to do with what is a point of interest for our clients as all of them are online and have at least heard the distant rumbling of the social marketing herd.
  3. Customer Appreciation Gifts – as a business owner giving creative gifts to your clients is a PASSION of mine, so I want to share all of the goodies that I find.  Not only that, but I’ll be able to post items from our own clients to this board which does in turn create cross traffic for us.
May the creative force of Calvin and Hobbes be with you as you create your new board.  Follow ours to see the baby steps in progress and come back to my blog for Pinterest Baby Step #4 – Your Profile.
Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : Entrepreneur Motivation , Social Media , Customer Appreciation Gifts , Whole Foods , Real Simple , General Electric

Pinterest Baby Step #2 - Terminology

Posted Wed, August 15, 2012 by Julie Short

I figured to make sure that we are all on the same playing field, a good old teaching technique as defining terminology would be critical.  The 3 main terms used when running around Pinterest are

Pin                  Board                   Follow
With the agreed upon assumption that Pinterest really is the expert on Pinterest, I’ll let them define what a Pin is:
“What is a pin?
A pin is an image added to Pinterest. A pin can be added from a website using the Pin It button, or you can upload images from your computer. Each pin added using the Pin It button links back to the site it came from.”
Here is a favorite pin of mine:
Orange arrow = image that has been pinned
Aqua arrow = comment made by the person who originally pinned it
Green arrow = where the pin came from and where it was posted to
This pin’s intention was to motivate us to walk a mile, eat that banana, or lift that 5 lb dumbbell now because starting is infinitely better than not starting.  I would submit to you readers, that beginning your pinterest endeavors now is better than not starting at all.  So give yourself a round of applause for even just reading this blog post for it is a baby step start!  And as Jennifer Hudson says “It turns out that even the smallest changes can have a big impact.” 
Now where did I put that pin? Oh, on a Board!  Just like you have filing folders in your filing cabinet, folders on your Widows Explorer, or your coupon organizers for those Extreme Couponers amongst us; Pinterest has an organizing tool called the Board.  The Board is where you organize and file all pins that you feel are within the same group.  Defining your boards will be key in your business marketing strategy on Pinterest (which I’ll talk about in the Pinterest Baby Step #3 – What Boards to Have?)
You’ll see from my personal Pinterest account that I have the following boards 
Fairy Party
Food (I really can’t remember what the difference is between cooking and food board smiley)
Timothy (my son)
Paper decorations (who knows why I have this one….)
1. All of each of these areas can be edited by clicking on the “Edit”.
2. You can have an unlimited amount of Boards
3. You have a running tally of Boards, Pins, Likes, Activity, Followers, & Following in the row directly above the board area.
Which beautifully leads me to define Follow.  “I will follow him. Follow him wherever you may go… (Not familiar with this song?  Check out Whoopi Goldberg’s version) 
Pinterest Follow is truly not complicated.  When you choose to Follow someone or group or business, you will be able to see all of their pins. They will not show up on any of your boards until you repin it.  We’ll talk about the strategy of who and why to follow someone (Pinterest Baby Step #5 – Who to Follow)
That’s all the “terms” you need to know.  So no quiz or exam – just start perusing Pinterest to see what sparks your interest. Come back for Pinterest Baby Step #3 – What Boards to Have? To learn strategies as to what boards to create.
Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : Pinterest , Whoopi Goldberg , Extreme Couponers , Board , Pin , Follow , did not start

Pinterest is Green

Posted Wed, August 1, 2012 by Julie Short

Home Builders before you check out when it comes to Pinterest, check out these 5 Home Builders utilizing Pinterest to the fullest.

Brookfield homes       Toll Brothers    Lennar Homes     Beazer Homes

You think that Pinterest is all Pink? I say that it is ripe for GREEN$
(just as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was for Chick-fil-A!)

Pinterest is Sticky – 89 min average per viewer (Pinterest Users Growth)
12 million active monthly viewers (Pinterest Users Growth)
25% of consumers purchased something
        after seeing it on Pinterest
(Pinning down the Impact of Pinterest)


Is this enough GREEN information for you to start your own BABY STEPS to the bus with me?

Baby Step #1: Set up an account
1. Go out to www.pinterest.com

2. Select the “Request an Invite”
3. Sign up for the invite by entering your Twitter account email address. Then select the “Request Invitation”.  Spoiler note - If you don’t have a business Twitter page currently, you will need to set one of those up before you sign up for an account.  They accept Twitter and Facebook accounts, but currently they won’t accept a Facebook Business page login…..So email me if you need help with that!

4. Once you sign up, you will get an email like this:

5. Select the “Explore Pins”
6. This will take you to the same www.pinterest.com page that we started with, but now select the login button.


7. When getting to the login page, select the “Login with Twitter”


8. Enter in the email address that you used to request an invitation and the password.  Select the “Remember Me” option and then select “Sign In”


9. That’s the completion of Pinterest Baby Steps #1.  Next step - Pinterest Baby Step #2 – Terminology!

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : Pinterest , chick-fil-a , green , sign-up , chickfila , Pinning down the Impact of Pinterest , Pinterest Users Growth , How to signup for Pinterest account , How to sign up for Pinterest account , how to sign up for pinterest , pinterest account , signup for pinterest account


Posted Fri, September 24, 2010 by Tim J Short

We have recently had a plethora of questions regarding IMAP and POP and while WebRevelation does not support local email clients, we would like to try and answer your questions on IMAP.

What's the difference?
The main difference, as far as we are concerned here, is the way in which IMAP or POP controls your e-mail inbox.

In a nutshell: IMAP email access coordinates between the server and you mail application. Messages that have been read/deleted/replied-to will show as read/deleted/replied-to both on the server and in the mail application. POP3 does not coordinate with the server. Messages marked as read/deleted/replied-to in the mail application will not show as read/deleted/replied-to on the server. This means that future downloads of your inbox or other mailboxes with POP3 will show all messages as unread.

When you use IMAP you are accessing your inbox on the mail server. IMAP does not actually move messages onto your computer. You can think of an e-mail program using IMAP as a window to your messages on the server. Although the messages appear on your computer while you work with them, they remain on the mail server.

POP does the opposite. Instead of just showing you what is in your inbox on the mail server, it checks the server for new messages, downloads all the new messages in your inbox onto your computer, and then deletes them from the server. This means that every time you use POP to view your new messages, they are no longer on the mail server.

IMAP makes it easier to view mail from home, work, and other locations
Because IMAP leaves all of your messages on the mail server, you can view these messages from any location with Internet access. This means the e-mail inbox you view from home will be the same one you see at work.

Since POP downloads new messages to your computer and removes them from the server, you will not be able to see those new messages on another computer when you check your inbox. Those messages exist only on the computer that downloaded them using POP.

However, if you use IMAP and create e-mail folders on the server, these folders are accessible from anywhere you read your e-mail using IMAP. If you use POP and create e-mail folders, they are stored locally, and you cannot access these folders from anywhere except the computer on which you created them.

POP can create problems if you alternate between it and IMAP. There is an option in many POP e-mail programs to leave copies of the messages on the server, but this option has complications. When you leave copies of the messages on the server, then access your e-mail using WebMail or another IMAP e-mail client, the POP client may create duplicate messages next time it accesses the inbox; you will see each of the messages more than once, and you will have to clean out (delete) the unwanted ones.

You may want to keep local copies
While using IMAP to save e-mail on the mail server is recommended, there are reasons to have local copies of messages (messages downloaded to the computer, as with POP). Fortunately, IMAP allows you to keep local copies of all your messages. The option of local copies is useful when you are connecting from a dial-up connection. You may want to download your messages, then disconnect from the Internet and work with your mail offline. Please note that while you are working offline, you cannot send or receive mail. You need to be connected to the Internet to do those tasks.

You have a backup of your e-mail with IMAP
WebRevelation’s e-mail servers are backed up every night. Thus, when your e-mail is stored on the e-mail server (as is the case with IMAP), a backup of your e-mail is made every night. These backups are used in the event of system failures or if a virus deletes your local mail. If you use POP, you lose your mail.

Bonus “Jeopardy player” information:

What do they stand for?

  • IMAP = Internet Message Access Protocol
  • POP = Post Office Protocol
Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : email , pop , imap

Better Business Bureau Serving Central Oklahoma Warns Businesses of Directory Scams

Posted Thu, February 11, 2010 by Tim J Short

by Bob Manista - President & CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Central Oklahoma

Most business owners like appearing in a yellow pages directory or two. Some spend significant money on ads directing customers to their companies' services. Unfortunately, con men - both in the States and abroad - know that directory advertising can be a critical part of doing business, and are willing to exploit misunderstandings and half-truths to get your money while providing little or nothing of value.

The scam is both typical and easy to spot. Your receptionist answers the phone and the con man identifies himself as being a representative of "the yellow pages," or "your directory." (They are almost universally vague about the publication name in an effort to create confusion or the assumption that they represent the most popular directories.) The supposed purpose of the call is to "confirm your business listing" and the con man asks whoever answers the phone to either say the listed data is correct or actually list the contact information for the business. After the info is confirmed, the con man may ask a series of "yes or no" questions, and may ask to confirm credit card or billing information. (They'll do this as simply as saying "You want this billed to the same address, right?") The "yes or no" questions have often been recorded and re-cut as a confirmation of an order for special listings or services. By the time someone is transmitting credit card data, the cat is out of the bag and you may be charged for listings.

What do you get for your money? Maybe nothing. Some international directories exist, both in the real world and online, but they have extremely limited circulation or are not widely promoted. An infamous Swiss website has a number of listings from seemingly localized U. S. businesses like barber shops - which may be faithfully and accurately listed, but needlessly reported to an international cabal of viewers. Some directories go unpublished or print only a couple dozen books - enough to provide "tear sheets" for the unlucky (and often unwary) advertisers.

The billings for such publications are notoriously difficult for a business to fight, partly because the perpetrators of the scheme are often outside the country. Your best protection is to make sure everyone who might answer the phone at your business is aware of the scam and will take steps to avoid giving the con man a green light.

  • Make sure only one person is responsible for your business' directory advertising. Relay any inquiries to that person.
  • Carefully restrict access to any credit card or billing information among your employees.
  • Beware of calls "confirming" company data, especially those from inquirers with foreign accents.
  • Ask the company name of the publisher of any directory. If you don't recognize the name, hang up.
  • Do business with directories only in business and/or in writing. Demand a written invoice before giving permission to go to print.

Remember (and remind your employees) that the famous "walking fingers" logo does not belong to any one entity. The logo was not copyrighted by Ma Bell or A T & T, so anyone with a scanner can reproduce it and place it in billings. That logo itself is no guarantee of the legitimacy of the directory.

Limit your business listings to two or three directories at most. Expanding your reach may sound like a good idea, but the effectiveness of those listings is arguable. Research how your customers first located you and stick with what works. The more directories your business appears in, the more likely you or your staff will be confused by marketing calls.

Also of note is a practice in which con men broadcast mail throughout an area, sometimes containing an invoice or small rebate check associated with phone listings. The invoice may not be a real billing, but a contract to do business with the company - by returning the disguised contract/invoice with a check, you've obligated yourself to use the company's services. Fine print on the back of the $5 check might obligate you to thousands of dollars in unneeded services.

Listen carefully to callers, watch your mail, and call the BBB with questions on your Accredited Business Hotline: 405.236.5292.

Posted in : Announcements | 
Tags : business owners , scams , security

WebRevelation Servers and Sites Certified as PCI Compliant

Posted Mon, February 1, 2010 by Tim J Short

As of February 1, 2010 Webrevelation has obtained server certifcation required for PCI compliance! If you are one of our customers or future customers and you process credit cards; rest assured that we use only the highest standards for server security as related to the guidelines of the PCI data security initiative.

What is the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a worldwide information security standard assembled by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). The standard was created to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud through increased controls around data and its exposure to compromise. The standard applies to all organizations which hold, process, or pass cardholder information from any card branded with the logo of one of the card brands.

The standard is maintained by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, which maintains both the PCI DSS and a number of other standards, such as the Payment Card Industry PIN Entry Device security requirements (PCI PED) and the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS).

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is a complex and ever evolving subject affecting millions of businesses – acquiring banks, Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), processors, hosts, shopping carts, e-commerce and retail merchants and other merchant services providers.

If you are not hosting your website with us, make sure your host is PCI compliant.

Posted in : Announcements | 
Tags : Servers , PCI Compliant , WebRevelation

WebRevelation Selected as One of The Leading Web Designers of the Central United States

Posted Tue, May 12, 2009 by Tim J Short

WebRevelation has been selected by Goldline Research as one of the Leading Web Designers of the Central United States for 2009. The list of the Leading Web Designers of the Central United States is scheduled to be published in the May 25th issue of Forbes Magazine. WebRevelation was chosen in this region to receive this prestigious designation showing that WebRevelation is truly a Dependable Web Development Firm. Read More Here >>>

Posted in : Announcements | 
Tags : Annoucement , Webrevelation , Central United States

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