If you ask a business owner whether or not they would like more traffic to their website, most often times the answer will be an enthusiastic “yes”. So, how is that accomplished? How do you get people to notice your website and generate purchase intent? Well, it surely won’t happen on its own. There’s plenty of competition out there on the world wide web, but with some creativity you can attract more viewers, leads and ultimately more buyers.
If drawing in potential customers to your website is a challenge for you, then you’ll want to hone in on these seven proven ways to increase traffic to your site.
If you haven’t already, you’re going to want to join social media. Proactively posting on social media forums creates links back to your website and exposes you to a new audience of potential website visitors. It goes without saying that those visitors are your potential customers, so be sure to engage with them and answer any of their questions they post. With a little research, find the social media platforms that’s best for your business. Don’t forget to be creative and use of mix of words, videos and pictures to tell your story.
#3: Design Video Clips for YouTube
Since the first YouTube video was posted in 2005, the website now has over one billion users. Tap into those viewers by posting video to YouTube, which is a great way for them to experience your brand. Definitely put some resources into those videos, both visually and auditory, as they could be the viewers first impression of your company. Viewers can watch and share those videos, leading to people visiting your website.
#4: Create and Maintain a Corporate Blog
Do you have a corporate blog? If not, you should highly consider starting one. A blog is an additional communication channel for potential and current clients, it helps build authority, and it personalizes your brand. Once you start a corporate blog, it’s important to properly maintain it. Regularly adding new articles to your blog gives you more content for Google to index, especially when it comes to long-tell search terms. It also gives visitors a reason to come back to your site.
#5: Promote Your Posts More Effectively
Now that your blog is created, ensure you’re getting the most from every blog post by using interesting, search-optimized titles, including attention-grabbing feature images, and announcing new articles with tweets and social updates.
#6: Seek out Linking Opportunities
Do you have friends or colleagues in similar industries? If so, reach out to them and ask if you can have them link from their website to yours. Both of you will benefit from fresh visits to your pages, and they get another helpful resource to share with their own customers. It’s a win-win for both parties.
#7: Give Viewers a Free eBook or Guide
People love free information, so provide them with a free e-book or special report full of details, insights, tips and tricks, and more. Link the content on your website and you’ll have new, knowledgeable visitors thanks to your informative content.
As you can tell, these ideas are not tied to big costs. In fact, they’re simply free or affordable and organic ways to generate more visitors to your website. So, what are you waiting for? Jump onboard and start executing these strategies; you’ll be glad you did.
WebRevelation is a full-service custom web design and web application development firm specializing in creating websites that fulfill any specific functionality. We offer strategic SEO marketing services, as well as content management systems for small and medium-size businesses. We create custom web applications and dynamic customer update-able websites. Get in touch with WebRevelation today and see how we can help your business.
All over the internet are companies who advertise their low-cost website development, and some companies even offer free web design services. Stop and think about that though… Are you going to get a professional, high quality product for absolutely no cost? Clearly, there's going to be a catch in the end. Unfortunately, you'll likely end up with a haphazard and incomplete project or a website that is full of bugs and glitches. So, in the end, no matter how little money you spend you're still faced with lost time and costs.
Let’s take a look at the many ways that cheap or free websites can backfire…
First Impressions Are Critical
According to several studies, a first-time website visitor will browse for about 5 to 10 seconds before they decide whether or not to stay. Is your site user-friendly, modern and mobile friendly? If your website was built in a few hours then the answer to that question is very likely a solid "no". That's unfortunate and there's a good chance those first-time users will turn to your competition. Your website should be informative, visually appealing and mobile friendly. Too many colors, pictures and fonts create clutter and often leave users less likely to remain on your page.
Shortcuts Can Hurt Your Reputation
What's the benefit of hiring a cheap web design company if they leave you with a site that's constantly crashing or the programming was done incorrectly? If you hire a bargain provider, chances are the site will include lots of unnecessary code. That’s because the website was originally built for different uses, not your business in particular. Essentially, you're left with problems when you add plug-ins, update hosting software or attempt to gain mobile visitors to your website.
Annoying Third-Party Ads
Have you ever visited a website and within seconds pop-up ads are appearing? However, many low-cost web design services are actually advertising platforms in disguise. That might not sound like a bad thing until you stop and think about the message it sends to your prospective customers. It sure makes for a bad user experience when they are constantly having to click out of third-party ads. What's worse is when they land on your website just to find advertisements for an entirely different company or industry). It's not helping your business grow if your site is possibly promoting your competition.
Don’t Forget About Back-end Functionality
These cheap and free website design companies are good at making their product appear attractive at first glance, which is why businesses get leered into signing a contract. However, beautiful aesthetics are only one aspect of web design. More important than a sleek, modern look is what’s happening in the background. Websites can’t function efficiently without proper back-end functionality in the forms of databases, tools and automated features, all of which are not free to accomplish.
Take time to research the website design company you select and don’t be tempted to go the cheap or route. Treating your website as an investment will benefit you in the long-run, even if you pay for quality upfront.
Are you ready to take your website to the next level? WebRevelation can design a new, professional website for your growing business. Call WebRevelation at 817-283-3324 and schedule a free consultation!
When it comes to custom software development, business owners and executives usually have a lot of questions. That’s because they might be somewhat familiar with the topic, but they tend to not know much about the details.
In other words, they want the savings of time and money that come with having a well-programmed custom software, but they aren’t always sure what to ask for. Or, they may not even know where to begin the process in the first place.
Our team has taken on dozens of custom software development projects over the years, so today we thought we’d pitch in by answering a few of the most commonly asked questions that tend to come our way.
We'll cover the following 3 points in this video:
#1 What’s The Difference Between A Website And Custom Software?
#2 Why Would My Organization Want Or Need Custom Software?
#3 How Can We Get Quality Custom Software Development?
Contact the WebRevelation design and development team today and we'll be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation for you. During that time, we'll find out about your project, let you know how we can help, and even give you some advice to use right away. Don’t let the opportunity to save time and money pass you by. Contact our team now to set up a time to talk!
As 2018 comes to a close, the Team at WebRevelation wants to thank our clients and blog readers for another successful year! We are blessed to have new and existing customers who believe in the work we do. We’re excited about all that 2019 has in store for our company as we continue to grow our business.
It’s clients of ours like Ground Zero Storm Shelters that we were able to help transform their e-commerce business through both a new website and custom web-based application development. Based in Oklahoma, Ground Zero is a multi-generation, family owned and operated business that focuses on providing personal security and natural disaster protection. They prebuild high-end shelters such as outdoor storm cellars, safe rooms, and underground garage storm shelters for customers throughout the country.
Ground Zero previously faced numerous challenges with managing their complex pricing structure in the area of tracking and reporting. Like many other companies, they were using spreadsheets to conduct their business rather than relying on easy-to-use, intelligent custom web-based applications. Also, their previous website did not allow the ability for customers to make online deposits, yet those deposits were required for order placement. Overall, there were numerous areas of opportunity for greater efficiency both in technology and a variety of business practices.
Ground Zero had actually been working with a different developer to make some much-needed changes to their website and ordering processes prior to engaging with WebRevelation. However, as the project evolved and became more complex, the developer couldn’t handle the demand and Ground Zero was left with unanswered questions and an entirely unfinished project. Unfortunately, we have heard of that type of situation happening all too often with other web companies.
WebRevelation sprang into action and immediately began working on planning and executing the overhaul of Ground Zero’s website and ordering systems. Streamlining processes and improving efficiency were crucial aspects that WebRevelation made possible. Functionality was added to automatically perform down payment percentage calculations and complicated, zip code pricing. Ground Zero’s site was also integrated with QuickBooks to support more efficient business practices. Additional backend upgrades linked each customer’s notes with their account information for easy reference and implemented reminders to collect any additional information needed to proceed with production and installation. Automated systems were also added for workforce management of installation and warranty teams, allowing work assignments to be made based on availability and worker skill sets.
Interested in learning more about other companies we have helped? Read more here.
WebRevelation provides complimentary consultations. Whether it’s creating a new website, mobile app, or a web-based custom application, WebRevelation is here to help your business succeed. Contact us today by calling 817-283-3324 or online here.
At the time, Choice Partners was limited with their website functionality in a variety of facets. To begin with, the login process was disorganized and complicated. Most attempted users had difficulty when it came time to submitting questions and receiving answers. By law, Choice Partners was required to make questions and answers public, yet it was not being done successfully. Vendors struggled to sell to government entities via the out-of-date online store.
Even though Choice Partners faced numerous challenges, the agency had the foundation of a solid website and did not need to completely reinvent the wheel. Instead, WebRevelation was able to build upon their current site with custom solutions and improvements. Integrating a new, custom system with the existing one is one way in which WebRevelation was able to save Choice Partners on expenses. A fresh website was designed, which now integrates seamlessly into the coop’s existing RFP system. On the front end, users now experience a unified system. The amount of user headaches decreased drastically thanks to gaining access through a single login to various resource areas. Coop members and vendors can now complete applications online in a simplified manner. Also, the updated portal allows government entities to easily shop approved vendors. That’s not all though. As far as the administrative functionality, Choice Partners has gained the ability to handle bidding questions through a built-in database and to manage, assign, and publish contracts online. Today, Choice Partners is attracting bids from a larger number of experienced vendors.
WebRevelation is dedicated to building modern, user-friendly websites and intelligent application symptoms. We want to help your company thrive, just like we helped Choice Partners. We would enjoy the opportunity to discuss your business needs with you. Call us today at 817-283-3324 to set up a complimentary consultation or complete this form.
It’s December. Although I see the words on the computer screen, I am in absolute disbelief. It feels like yesterday that we were discussing our 2018 goals and vision for WebRevelation during our January staff meetings. Now, as we sit here on a cold winter day in December, we find ourselves thinking back on how much WebRevelation has grown over the last 14 years. Not only that, but we also can’t help reminisce on how we have been an integral part in helping numerous businesses with their own growth and development.
It’s clients of ours such as Gellco, where we utilized our knowledge and expertise to solve their online problems. Based in Oklahoma, Gellco is an outdoor clothing and footwear supplier for the manufacturing and oil and gas industries, as well as construction businesses. Gellco provides these businesses with durable apparel sold all throughout the United States via the internet.
Imagine the headache of contract pricing, handling mass quantities of products, and tracking employee spending with each client organization... all on an antiquated spreadsheet. As you can imagine, it was a tedious process. Gellco also lacked a dynamic website, often leaving businesses frustrated and confused during their attempt at online ordering. This is where WebRevelation stepped in. We were able to meet with Gellco to further understand their challenges, which allowed us to create a new, modern e-commerce website capable of handling all aspects of Gellco’s business. Old-fashioned spreadsheets were removed and replaced with an online application. Business intelligence functionality was added to help with sales and marketing, virtual wallets started tracking individual employee spending, and an upgraded system now allows Gellco to set individual pricing for each client. Where they once struggled to keep up with customer demand, Gellco is now thriving in both handling orders and with client retention.
We’re proud to work with Gellco and many other companies to make their business run smoothly because it’s clear that custom application development can save time and effort for employees, customers and business owners alike. Do you have an e-commerce business that could use our help? Are you ending 2018 feeling like your company website needs a new look and feel? Do you have a need to streamline processes with an intelligent application system? We helped Gellco with numerous aspects of their online business and we can help your company thrive as well. Connect with us to take your business to the next level in 2019.
This is part 2 of the article, Do Small Businesses Need Custom App Development? You can read it here.
The first section of this blog post discussed how running a small business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you take advantage of the latest technology trends you can find simple and cost-effective ways to operate your company and stay ahead of the competition. Below are some additional challenges and solutions we work with on a regular basis…
Document storage isn’t the only major headache for those who work in very specialized industries. For instance, financial companies also have stringent reporting requirements and confidentiality guidelines they have to follow.
When we work with these types of companies, we develop custom software that meets these challenges and presents them with all-in-one solutions. That way they can meet their needs for security and oversight, and do so without having to learn or maintain several different apps.
Advanced E-commerce Tools
Do you sell products or services online? If so then you already know how difficult it can be to find apps that tie together inventory, marketing, and fulfillment. Add in the tools you might need for your specific business (like a real-time currency converter or shipping tracker) and just managing your software can become overwhelming.
We know that our e-commerce clients need to keep their focus on other areas, which is why we develop inclusive apps that combine all these different features into a single affordable solution. That lets a retailer keep growing without spending more than they should on software.
Employee Scheduling and Training
Even in our digital age, managing employees is often the hardest part of running any business. However, that challenge can get a lot easier when you have the right tools for the job.
With custom software that is designed specifically for your company, you can manage things like schedules, payrolls, and even training modules, or benefits. And, with web-enabled apps, you and your team can manage the details from anywhere. That’s a great way to save time and money while keeping your employees on track and working productively.
Business owners are often surprised at how easy and affordable it is to develop a custom mobile app that works on a number of devices and platforms. You probably can’t spend your day fixed to one spot, so why should your software?
Custom Programming Starts With Your Needs
It’s possible that you see one or more possibilities for your small business on the short list of uses for custom software development we have outlined here. Or, it might be that what you really need to help your business move forward is something altogether different. Either way, what’s important to know about our work is that it’s driven by your goals and challenges. Everything we do starts with the discovery process that focuses on what you’re facing and the specific outcomes you hope to achieve.
To learn a bit more, and see what kinds of cost-effective solutions the WebRevelation software development team could come up with for you, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
This is part 1 of a 2-part article. Part 2 is now available to be read here.
Small business owners have a lot to think and worry about. Usually, they need to fulfill many roles, chief salesperson, marketer, and manager amongst them. On top of that, they may have to keep an eye on industry trends, customer behavior, and numerous competitors – including other small businesses and national chains.
We know this because we have been helping other business owners just like you to develop and implement custom apps and software for just over two decades. During that time the possibilities have only grown. We can help entrepreneurs do things that would have felt impossible just a decade ago. Even better, we can build custom solutions for much less than our clients tend to expect.
Does this mean your small business could benefit from custom software? It's a question more and more owners are asking themselves, and the answer will depend a great deal on your own needs. To help you find the right answer, today we want to present some of the challenges and solutions we work with on a regular basis…
Specialized Apps and Plug-ins
Sometimes, business owners fret because the software they really need to solve a specific problem simply doesn’t exist. It might be that they have a desire for an unusual application, or that they need a plug-in to add extra features or functions to an existing product.
In either case, custom development can be the perfect answer. A good programming team will help you add on to the apps you’re already using, or if that’s not possible, to design what you need from scratch.
Data Monitoring and Reporting
It’s no secret that better data reporting – a.k.a. business intelligence – can give you a real competitive edge. The more you know about customers, expenses, and market trends, the easier it is for you to make the right plans and investments.
Unfortunately, while it’s easier than ever to gather data, aggregating it and deciphering thousands of points of information can be difficult. That’s where a custom app can make an enormous difference and lead to better decision-making at every level of your company.
Any business owner will agree that keeping one eye on the bottom line is an important part of the job. But, how do you keep track of things like inventory, employee hours, and energy costs… not to mention hundreds or thousands of small customer transactions?
The answer for many of our clients is to use specialized financial reporting apps that work as standalone solutions or extensions of existing software products. They let business owners get the detailed financial insights they need, updated continuously in real-time.
Document Storage and Delivery
In certain types of businesses and industries, document storage and retrieval can be an enormous challenge. For instance, some of the medical care providers we work with don’t just have to store charts, prescriptions, and insurance records, but also have to do so in a way that complies with HIPAA guidelines.
Luckily, we can build custom software solutions that don’t just make it easy to save, store, and back up important documents, but also to retrieve them by searching criteria like dates and keywords. That can be a huge time-saver for a busy professional.
Contact our team today to let us create custom solutions that are tailored to your small business.
Eager to read more? WebRevelation will take a break from blogging on November 22nd as we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, but the continuation of this article can be viewed on Thursday, November 29th.
This is a continuation from the blog article posted on Thursday, November 1, which discussed the need for custom software development and programming to streamline the order and fulfillment process. You can read it here.
You’ll Get Tighter Inventory Control
With custom programming, you can more accurately forecast future sales and keep better track of what you have in your inventory. That means fewer lost items and orders, better order fulfillment (see above), and even fewer products lost to theft or breakage.
Depending on what you sell, inventory control can be an enormously pressing challenge. Many of the business owners who initially come to us admit they don’t actually know exactly how much product they have on hand to sell or how quickly they could replenish their inventory if needed. In those situations, developing custom apps that yield the proper insights can become a huge priority.
In today’s B2B e-commerce world it pays to automate inventory. You want figures adjusted automatically after purchases, returns, and deliveries. Most of all, you want to save money on orders for manufacturers by knowing what’s sitting in your warehouse at any given moment.
CRM Apps Build Better Buyer Relationships
Although we have focused on the technical and back-end aspects of custom app development so far, some of your biggest gains could be realized through more efficient marketing, increased repeat orders, and stronger customer service. That’s because you can use programming to improve or replace existing CRM solutions and build better buyer relationships in the process.
Some businesses are really embracing the overlap between artificial intelligence and buyer engagement. It’s not hard to see how software that allows you to track customer interactions, tailor your marketing, or zero in on smarter pricing strategies could boost sales. And, when you’re able to automate things like regular purchases and returns you can entice customers to place bigger and more frequent orders.
CRM apps can take many different shapes and forms and can be integrated with other pieces of software you already use. You can even use them in tandem with mobile devices to make purchasing your products convenient for your best customers.
Better Info Means More Detailed Reporting
One side effect of getting the custom app you need to run your B2B e-commerce company is that you’ll get immediate access to more (and more accurate) information. You’ll have a better idea of where orders are coming in from, what you have in inventory, which buyers have the most valuable accounts, and how much time and money you're spending on fulfillment. Those are just obvious examples; you could get all kinds of insights in other areas of your business, too.
These are the nuts and bolts benefits that allow you to grow your bottom line for years to come. However, you can’t realize them until you stop relying on the generic software your competitors use and give custom programming a try.
Ready to Put Custom Programming to Use in Your B2B E-commerce Business?
We have seen time and time again that the owners of B2B e-commerce businesses tend to get very excited when they understand the possibilities presented by custom app programming. However, we can’t give you personalized recommendations through an article. To see what kinds of benefits and possibilities are out there, you have to take the first step to learn more.
Contact the WebRevelation team today so we can schedule a no-obligation consultation and talk about the goals you would like to meet. You might just come away from our meeting amazed at what we can do to help your company make the next leap forward.
This is part 1 of a 2-part article highlighting the cohesiveness of custom app development and B2B e-commerce and the role they play in your business. Part 2 can be found here.
It takes a lot to build a successful e-commerce business in any market or environment. However, B2B e-commerce offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
On the one hand, the market for B2B e-commerce is enormous and growing. Virtually any kind of company is going to have to rely on other companies to provide important products and services. Like anything else, these can be sold more profitably and efficiently via the web. Additionally, having the ability to place orders online adds a layer of convenience for business owners that might be pressed for time.
On the other hand, though, marketing and selling to businesses is a different proposition than providing products to consumers. People think differently when they are making purchases for a business. The sales tend to be more significant and complex, leading to more research and a higher number of interactions needed to close a deal. And, let’s not forget that virtually all B2B e-commerce markets are flooded with competitors.
Smart business owners don’t worry about these challenges. Instead, they use innovative tools like custom app development to innovate and stay one step ahead of their colleagues. In today’s article, we want to look at some of the reasons you might work with a company like ours to develop specialized apps for your B2B e-commerce business.
B2B E-commerce Demands Custom Solutions
When you’re selling directly to consumers you only have to meet a demand or solve a problem with your products. In a B2B setting, though, there aren’t just buyer needs and budget factors to consider – there are also a number of logistical terms that have to be met.
For example, what you sell might have a direct impact on your customer’s supply chain, their ability to operate effectively, or even whether they can deliver what’s needed to their customers. In that case, speed, efficiency, and cost controls might take on new importance. Or, there could be stringent industry and regulatory guidelines that have to be met for your products to work as intended.
Because of the complexities involved, B2B e-commerce demands custom solutions. Why sell your products using off-the-shelf software when your buyers need something more specific?
With Programming You Can Streamline Orders and Fulfillment
Fast fulfillment and delivery are crucial for the success of any online retailer, but it takes on a different level of importance when you’re dealing with B2B e-commerce. For all of the reasons we’ve already given, you simply can’t afford to lose track of shipments or have orders delayed.
Custom app development can be used to streamline the fulfillment process, saving you time and money with every order that comes through the pipeline. Using automated tools, you can move every purchase from a warehouse or production facility to a wholesaler and buyer in less time than ever before. And, you can track that movement with live updates so the progress can be monitored by both you and your customers.
Many B2B e-commerce companies suffer from fulfillment problems that cost them tens of thousands of dollars per year. That wouldn’t happen nearly as often if they were aware of how easy it is to get the smarter tools they need.
The continuation of this article will be posted on Thursday, November 8th.
Are you looking to streamline your E-commerce business? WebRevelation can help take your business to the next level. Contact us today so we can discuss your needs.
Below is the continuation of last week's blog post, which can be read here. Read below as we lay out the final steps of Creating the Future with Custom Software.
Do Away With Repetitive Data Entry
If you or one of your employees is in the habit of routinely entering large amounts of data into a spreadsheet or database then you have a striking need for software development whether you realize it or not. Custom apps can do many things, perhaps none so important as automating the task of data entry.
Not only will using specialized software to collect data or integrate different tools together save you lots of time (or employee hours), but it can also greatly improve your accuracy. That’s because a stable app isn’t going to make mistakes, whereas a human would. Additionally, you can get access to more data than you had before if you’re collecting it in a way that doesn’t require your time.
Find Improvement at the Margins
If you like the idea of having more data with custom software, then you’ll love the possibilities that present themselves when you can take advantage of advanced reporting in real-time. This is one of the areas where our clients typically find they can make huge bottom-line improvements.
There are likely to be many different areas of your company where you could save a lot of money if you only had better information. Imagine what you could do with inventory, scheduling, pricing, and marketing if you always knew where your time and money was going, or which activities were generating the highest ROI. That’s an underrated component of having a software solution that’s designed specifically for your company.
Planning ahead is all about envisioning certain outcomes and then making sure you can achieve them. However, things often seem “cloudy” when you’re dealing with an incomplete picture or several different unknowns. By using custom software you can help firm up plans and ideas even if you don’t know exactly what the future will hold.
Integrate New or Existing Technology
New technology is coming out all the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your various apps and devices are going to play well together. Or, for that matter, that they are going to work with the hardware and software you have relied upon to run your business in the past.
What’s the point of spending money on servers, mobile devices, or new apps if they are going to create more headaches than they take away? Custom programming can be an important bridge that brings together existing technology, new products you want to invest in, and your business goals. It can help you get more from every dollar you spend while improving productivity and can even make your data more secure.
Want More Information Tailored to Your Situation?
You don’t have to guess or wonder how custom software development could help you run a sharper business. At WebRevelation, we offer all new prospective clients a free consultation. That’s your chance to get expert advice on exactly how an experienced programming team can save you money, along with what it will take to bring your project to life.
If you want real answers to the questions you have about making technology work for your company, contact us today!
This is part 1 of a 2-part series. The first part of this article can now be viewed here.
It has often been said that in the world of business, the best way to predict the future is to simply create it. In other words, if you set a tone and generate a solid plan, you are much more likely to get the outcomes you’re looking for, or at the very least, not be surprised by changes that are building on the horizon.
We think this is a good philosophy and one that applies especially well to the world of custom software designed for businesses. That’s because our best clients look ahead and think about the kinds of situations they want to enjoy rather than simply reacting to what might be happening around them.
Wondering how this works in the real world, or how it could benefit your business? Let’s look at a handful of common uses for software development.
In the same way, smart business owners and executives can also use custom software to make their businesses more scalable on the other end of the spectrum. That is, they can maintain the same kinds of processes when things are booming and when they have the need to scale back. That’s a good way to control costs and ensure the business is always profitable.
Get Industry or Business-Specific Solutions
Often, we meet with business leaders who rely on generic software solutions – like CRM’s, accounting tools, and project management applications, for instance – simply because they don’t know they have other choices. However, your industry and business might not be like others, so why not use something that’s designed specifically for what you need?
More and more, managing a smart marketing strategy means zeroing in on specific groups of buyers, controlling costs, and keeping close track of customer and prospect interactions. These are tasks that are best handled by custom software applications.
As we’ve already mentioned, software works best when it has been tailored to a specific company, situation, and use. That’s especially true with regards to marketing, where every contact, expense, and campaign need to be watched closely. That makes custom software the perfect solution.
The continuation of this article will be available on Thursday, October 25th.
WebRevelation has over a decade of experience with building custom software to help business excel. Contact WebRevelation today for a free quote.
This is a continuation of last week's article, Could Custom Manufacturing Software Development Make Your Business Run More Smoothly?, which can be found here.
Below we highlight a few of the ways you can use the power of programming to give your bottom line a push in the right direction.
Find Hidden Cost Savings
If there is one thing virtually every manufacturer on the planet has in common, it’s that they are all trying to identify and cut out unnecessary costs. Once the most obvious expenses have been eliminated, though, you need the kind of insights you can’t get from simply taking a walk across a factory floor.
In the past, our clients have used specialized software to optimize employee schedules, save money on shipments, reduce fuel and energy costs, identify cost savings with raw materials, and even find better pricing margins when dealing with retailers. Are there parts of your manufacturing business that are costing you more money than they should?
Bring Customers, Suppliers, and Departments Together
No matter how much you automate your manufacturing business you’ll still have to stay in constant contact with employees, vendors, and even customers. With the right custom software solution, you can integrate numerous different apps and devices together into a seamless network that takes many of your most pressing headaches away.
Imagine being able to reach out to a company that provides key inputs and tracking of incoming shipments. Or, think about what it would be like to be able to communicate directly with a driver or warehouse manager. Imagine being able to send a signal down to the factory floor at a moment's notice, or to reach out to an employee to let them know about an impending schedule shift. Now imagine being able to do all of these things from one single platform and interface.
Communications tools are everywhere, but manufacturers need solutions that work inside the framework of proprietary applications. With custom software you can watch inventory, finances, and a lot more, all while having the option of managing communications from one hub.
It’s easy to forget that communication is a two-way street. Just as you need to be able to reach everyone involved in your supply chain, it’s just as crucial that certain people – like supervisors, sales reps, and wholesalers – have the ability to stay in touch with you, as well.
By developing custom apps that tie into mobile devices and workstations, you can make it more convenient for others to keep you in the loop. That can translate directly into more sales, fewer returns, and better service. It also helps you to develop and maintain strong relationships with the people you depend on.
Manufacturers can use mobile apps for inventory, reporting, CRM's and marketing, or even pricing and presentations. Doesn’t it make sense to give your employees, vendors, and customers the tools and data they need to work with you right at their fingertips?
Want to Learn More About Custom Manufacturing Software?
At WebRevelation, we combine decades of programming experience and business know-how to help our clients achieve the extraordinary. If your manufacturing business could be using technology to get ahead, rather than just keeping up, you should schedule a free consultation with our team today.
Why not reach out so we can show you how custom software development can make an immediate and measurable difference in your manufacturing business? It only takes a moment to contact us, and it could turn out to be the best decision you ever make for your company.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series. The second part of this article can now be viewed here.
Running a successful manufacturing business isn’t just about having the right products or a steady supply chain, it’s also about ensuring you are as lean, mean, and efficient as you possibly can be. In a world where automation, instant price adjustments, and overseas competition are all factors to consider, no manufacturer can afford to have waste in their budget or production strategy.
As good as you and your team might be at sniffing out extra dollars and hours, though, you can’t spot every problem area on your own. And, you certainly can’t pour through endless reams of data in real time without help. That’s where custom manufacturing software comes into play.
Across the country, and the world, manufacturers are turning to custom design firms like ours for solutions that can help them organize data and get an edge on the competition. Today, we want to highlight just a few of the ways you can use the power of programming to give your bottom line a push in the right direction.
Monitor Your Machines
Does your production line depend on the use of complex machinery? If so, you should have custom maps and software that monitor things like heat, wear, and maintenance. Additionally, you might want to analyze environmental factors such as humidity or electrical output.
Having these kinds of computerized solutions in place can speed up production. Perhaps more importantly, they can help you identify any pressing issues that might lead to bigger problems (like breakdowns or broken parts). You can use automated systems to monitor every aspect of your machinery while getting more precise readings than you would from a human operator.
Given the high costs associated with a halt in production – not to mention the large expenses that come with replacing manufacturing machinery or opting for emergency repairs – using special software tools to keep an eye on your most valuable physical assets could be considered common sense.
Get Insights with Smart Data
Manufacturers rely on all kinds of data to keep their businesses running. In addition to available inventory and supply inputs, you probably track things like currency exchange rates, delivery times, fuel prices, employee schedules, machine maintenance costs, and so much more.
The problem with all of this data is that it comes to you continuously, and often in formats that are difficult to digest and interpret. With the right custom software package in place, however, you can automate data collection and reporting so you always know what’s happening in real-time. You can also eliminate the kinds of inaccuracies that are bound to pop up when you have employees entering data manually into spreadsheets and databases.
Read more in next week's continuation of this custom manufacturing software development article.
Are you looking for someone to help take your manufacturing business to the next level? You've come to the right place! WebRevelation is happy to discuss your needs with you. Contact us today!
Mental health is a hot topic in our society. While once considered a taboo subject, physicians, lawmakers, and even journalists are all stressing the fact that cognitive and emotional health are just as important as physical well-being.
As awareness around the various aspects of mental health has improved, so too have the capabilities of software developers serving hospitals and care facilities. Companies like ours are coming up with tailored applications that can help our clients provide a higher standard of care, streamline tasks like billing and scheduling, and even monitor patient beds, pharmaceutical inventory levels, and so much more.
More and more administrators are looking for custom software development that can help them work and compete in this growing field. Today, we want to point out some of the ways you can use software programming to improve your mental health care practice.
Identifying Mental Health Needs
Nearly any form of mental illness is easier to treat if it is diagnosed in the early stages. Unfortunately, most patients don’t seek help until their symptoms become severe enough to affect their lives in important ways. Additionally, primary care providers might not always connect physical symptoms to mental illness or may fail to report them consistently from one visit to the next. Each of these makes it less likely that a person suffering from a psychological disorder will get the care and assistance they need.
With the appropriate software solutions in place, however, physicians can use keywords, symptom searches, and notes from nurses, physician's assistants, and even primary care doctors to better assess the likelihood of mental illness. That means increased chances to catch problems before they've progressed to the point where they could be more difficult to treat. In that way, custom programming can lead to better outcomes for patients and mental health care providers alike.
Providing a Higher Standard of Care
Even when mental illnesses are properly detected and diagnosed, problems of data collection and aggregation may contribute to lapses and mistakes. For example, two physicians might observe similar symptoms and complaints, but if their reports are worded differently, there is a chance the correlation could be missed. Additionally, it can be difficult for those who suffer from mental disorders to properly self-report what they are feeling, or to ignore thoughts or symptoms that don’t seem to be connected to their mental illness.
By giving mental health care providers more in-depth tools and smarter record-keeping solutions, these kinds of errors and oversights can be made far less common. Additionally, they can take away the challenges that might exist when staff exhibit a bias against certain individuals and illnesses, or have trouble communicating with a patient who may speak a foreign language.
Maintaining a high and consistent level of care is always a priority in the world of mental health, and that mission is immeasurably simpler when you and your team have the right diagnostic and reporting tools to work with.
Reducing Delays in Treatment
Speed and efficiency are important aspects of caring for the mentally ill, particularly when an individual may be experiencing extreme stress, delusions, or even suicidal ideations. In those instances, having access to rapid answers for testing, reporting and diagnosis can literally save lives.
Custom apps can help mental health providers meet all of these challenges. With the right software qualified professionals can expedite evaluations so challenges can be assessed quickly. They can also use integrated tools to record observations or look into a patient’s medical history without delay. And of course, better data collection can make it easier to focus on a treatment plan that mitigates symptoms and reduces the danger to a patient, the staff members caring for them, and others in or around the facility.
Following the Latest Mental Health Care Standards
The science of medicine is constantly moving forward, particularly when it comes to the evolving field of mental health. It’s up to professionals to maintain a working knowledge of the latest studies and methods and to check up on patients who may experience intermittent issues or require follow-up observation.
Using the right software, a mental health facility can integrate things like ongoing training and document delivery for continued learning. These tools can make the otherwise-overwhelming task of researching pharmaceuticals or journal articles much simpler.
Additionally, physicians and staff can use custom apps to interact with those they care for even while they are away from the office or facility. For example, they could let patients or their caregivers submit regular assessments, assess themselves with cognitive tests, monitor side effects, and even rate their own progress while using specific medications and treatments.
Manage Prescriptions and Treatments
It can be difficult for mental health care providers to issue prescriptions and therapies while at the same time watching for harmful interactions and unwanted side effects. With the right custom maps in place, however, they can use updated software to double check for errors and inconsistencies.
This reduces the time burden placed on a physician or caregiver, of course, and leads to a higher standard of care while taking away obvious risks. This is especially pertinent in situations where a patient might have a need for multiple medications, some of which may be unrelated to the mental illness they are seeking treatment for.
In the same way, integrated software solutions can help with insurance, billing, and paperwork like discharge reports. In other words, you could get everything you need to run your practice more smoothly, deliver better care to the people you see, and maintain a healthier bottom line. Why not let technology take over some of the hard work that is needed in today’s mental health field?
Looking for Custom Mental Health Software Solutions?
At WebRevelation, we believe a piece of custom software is only as valuable as the outcomes it produces for our clients. With many years of experience in institutional programming – including medical services projects and HIPAA compliant applications – we know what it takes to find stable, efficient, and cost-effective solutions to the challenges you face.
WebRevelation can help you with your custom software development needs. Give us a call today or complete a contact form and we will be happy to discuss and create a plan of action that's right for you and your business.
This is a continuation of the blog post "Bringing Management On Board With Your Software Upgrade". You can read part 1 here.
Use Apples-to-Apples Comparisons
If the executive or business owner you are working with isn’t a technical person or someone who uses the software in question every day, they may not understand the real-world benefits of what you’re proposing. You can help them by showing off a few apples-to-apples comparisons that focus on bottom-line benefits.
For example, software development can seem expensive until you relate it to the expense of buying a new vehicle, upgrading HVAC in a building, or writing off unsalable inventory. If you get a manager thinking in those terms, and comparing the benefits they would get from a similar expense in another department, they may begin to view your request in a new light.
Point Towards Outcomes
As we have already noted, the need for an upgraded software package isn’t always obvious to someone who isn’t using the application themselves. So, rather than pointing out all of the things that are wrong with your current solution, look for ways that you and your coworkers can improve your performance by making an improvement.
In many cases, explaining the benefits of a software upgrade means talking about time – time that is spent doing manual data entry or generating reports, time wasted while waiting for tasks to complete, and so on. The more time you’re spending, the more money you’re burning. Make that case to your manager so they can sense an opportunity to generate a profit rather than an expense.
Find the Free Money
Although many of our new clients don’t realize it, there are situations where businesses of all sizes can take advantage of federal grants to invest in software upgrades. In fact, the U.S. government has a special incentive fund, dubbed the Small Business Innovation Research Program, set aside specifically for this purpose.
Depending on what industry you work in, there is a chance you could use public money to upgrade your software and compete with bigger businesses domestically and abroad. Naturally, the availability of open grants can make it much easier to win approval for your project from a business owner or executive.
Appeal to Common Sense
In many situations, software is the biggest and most important tool the team will use in their daily work. It’s the computerized version of hammers and nails. While a business owner or executive might not grasp the exact shortcomings of the solutions already in place, they may understand if you simply explain that you need to modernize an application because it’s slowing you down or stopping you from meeting other objectives.
Often, the costs associated with software development are small compared to what it would take to improve a company in other areas. So, by appealing to basic business sense you might be able to nudge a reluctant decision-maker forward.
Want Help Understanding the Software Development Process?
You don’t have to make the case for upgrading your company’s software on your own. In fact, our team of experienced programmers can help you find the numbers, benefits, and fine print details you’re looking for.
If you feel like your business might be able to benefit from a software upgrade in the near future, contact WebRevelation today. We will make sure you understand everything you need to know to explain your idea to management or take the first steps forward.
This is part 1 of a 2-part blog post. The continuation of this article can now be viewed here.
Get the feeling you need to upgrade or replace the software your team uses to complete important tasks? You know the signs: the applications don’t do everything they’re supposed to, look outdated, crash frequently, or fail to generate the data and reports you need. You may even suspect your current software package creates more work than it eliminates.
When you’re facing those kinds of frustrations it might be obvious to everyone that your software needs to be upgraded. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your management team is going to see it similarly or that they’ll approve the investment in a new software development project. So, how can you get them to see the light?
The first step is to realize the situation we’re describing isn’t unusual. We have seen it play out again and again over many years of working with custom software development. The people you work for may or may not be aware of the issues you are facing. Even if they are, it may not be enough for them to take action. After all, they have other priorities (like the expense of an upgrade vs. dozens of other bottom-line considerations) that have to be factored. Maybe that’s why so many frontline employees and managers are afraid to even broach the topic of software upgrades and development with business owners and executives.
However, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away, and your odds of getting the tools you need to do your job might be better than you think, provided you follow the right approach. In this article, we’re going to show you exactly how you can persuade management to invest in custom software for your company. Let’s start with making sure you’re speaking the right language.
Explain the Problem in Numbers
Managers and business owners know they can’t afford to invest in everything they would want for themselves, their companies, or their employees. They constantly have to weigh the costs and benefits of each buying decision to see how it might pay off in the long run.
You can help them to come to the right conclusions by attaching specific numbers to the “hidden” expenses associated with using an outdated software package. Perhaps productivity is down, billable hours are being wasted, or sales opportunities are being missed. If so, spell out these considerations – along with firm figures or estimates relating to their cost – so a decision-maker can see exactly how the business is being held back by the old software.
Don’t Ask For Software Upgrades Alone
It’s easy for someone in upper management to dismiss a loan request for an investment into the company, but much harder for them to ignore the issue if it comes from several individuals (or even entire governments). If others on your team or in your company are affected by software that needs to be modernized, get their help in asking for an upgrade.
Not only will the request seem more credible coming from several different people, but your colleagues might be able to offer their perspectives for a software upgrade that you hadn’t already considered.
Make a Plan Full of Details
To a busy executive or business owner, the request to undertake a new software development project can seem like something that will require a great deal of money and time. They’ll have to research vendors, find solutions, and make lots of hard choices along the way. They may have to do all of this while facing several different unknowns.
You can smooth the path to a “yes” by taking some of the legwork (and guesswork) out of the process. Find out exactly what’s involved in creating and implementing an updated application, along with concrete steps and schedules. You could even volunteer to spearhead the project so it doesn’t end up as another item on the manager’s desk.
As mentioned above, next week we will share the final steps in bringing management on board with your software upgrade. Contact us to discuss your needs.
If you have done research on Search Engine Optimization, then you’ve probably come across mentions of Google’s elusive algorithm. You won’t find a ton of detailed information about it, however, because Google keeps the specifics of their algorithm a secret and uses pretty vague language when they release updates.
PageRank contributes to the algorithm and it is one of the processes for how Google sorts the pages on their SERPs. This article will cover the recent changes made to PageRank and how to utilize it.
How PageRank Works
Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created PageRank at Stanford University. PageRank gives websites a score that measures their quality in relation to other websites. Spam-free and high-quality websites receive a higher score on PageRank. PageRank used to be widely accessible through Google’s Toolbar. After 2013, however, the metric was no longer updated. This is because the system was too easily manipulated. Since the old page ranking system was based off of the sheer quantity of outbound links to any given website, spam systems would generate fake links to boost their PageRank by forming “link farms.”
The new PageRank, whose patent was released in April 2018, bases their ranking score on a different foundation. PageRank takes trusted websites, also called seed websites, and tracks how far away other websites are from the trusted one. Trusted sites are authoritative and spam-free web sites that serve as the starting point. The shortest length from a trusted website to your website determines what your PageRank score is. Ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? The concept is the same but with websites.
Increasing Your PageRank
PageRank doesn’t have as much weight in Google’s algorithm as it used to, but that doesn’t mean the principles of PageRank are irrelevant. One of the reasons why Google keeps their algorithm a secret is to guard against manipulation. If Google’s methods for bringing up websites on their SERPs were public, then they would be taken advantage of more often.
At the end of the day, focus on good and ethical brand building, which is the goal of all of Google’s efforts anyway. Google pays attention to who the trusted and legitimate websites are. Those websites earned their status by investing time, energy, and monetary resources into their online presence.
Want to increase your PageRank? Don’t try to cheat the system. Produce quality content on a regular basis in order to help those in your niche market. This will get you noticed and people will start linking to you. That is ethical link building. That is how to become an authoritative site. Once you become a trusted site the honest way, then you’ll stay on top despite any changes to the algorithm.
WebRevelation is here to help you and your business. Contact us today.
by Chris Leone This article by Chris Leone, from WebStrategies has been reposted with permission. As President, Chris is responsible for leading all the day-to-day operations of WebStrategies. His work has been featured on the Google Analytics and Hubspot blogs, and he’s a regular columnist for the Richmond Times Dispatch.
This article provides information that can guide you about how to budget for marketing and where to invest your marketing dollars.
Included in this article are:
How much are companies spending on marketing?
Where are marketing dollars invested offline and online?
What marketing strategies and tactics are getting results?
The answers to these questions come from a few reliable sources:
an annual survey of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) from a variety of industry sectors and firm sizes
a leading research group report about interactive (digital/online) marketing trends and predictions
First, a look at how marketing budgets are changing.
For eight consecutive years, top marketers were asked how their marketing spend was expected to change in the upcoming year.
Since 2009, marketing budgets remained relatively consistent or increased compared to the previous year for the majority of participants.
With no evidence to suggest this trend will change, 2018 marketing budgets are expected to remain consistent with 2017 levels or increase.
The report above from cmosurvey.org shows a slight slow-down in the rate of increase in marketing spend after a large jump in early 2017. The largest increase in projected marketing spend occurred shortly after the recession of the late 2000’s, but continues to fluctuate between 4 and 10%.
Marketing budgets as a percent of the overall firm budget has remained even more consistent, as shown in the chart below. On average, marketing budgets make up 11.4% of total company budgets, with some variation depending on the industry and who they're marketing to. Not surprisingly, those companies in the B2C product space allocate the largest portion of their total budget to marketing, averaging 13.4%.
Marketing spending as a percentage of revenue tends to fluctuate, but has trended down slightly in the past few years, with the highest percentage again coming from B2C product companies followed by B2C services.
The chart below shows the wide variation by industry in marketing budget as a percent of total revenue.
One of the difficulties in providing a general budget recommendation is that not all companies are consistent with what they include in their marketing budget. While some companies include any marketing, and even sales related expenses, others would categorize some of those expenses separately as a part of their total budget. The chart below illustrates these inconsistencies, and shows the marketing expenses most commonly included.
How To Allocate Marketing Budgets Across Channels
The next question to answer is how to allocate marketing budgets across channels – offline and online - and how to spread the online investment across the various online/digital channels.
Reports from Forrester Research and eMarketer show the estimated allocation of marketing funds offline vs. online and across the digital channels.
Here are some conclusions from that report:
In 2018, the average firm was expected to allocate 41% of their marketing budget to online, and this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020
Search engine marketing will capture the largest share of online spend with online display (banner ads, online video, etc.) taking the second largest share
Online video will represent the highest growth category, with the anticipated investment more than doubling 2016 numbers by 2021.
Social media advertising investments will continue to grow, with a 17% compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2021, and is expected to represent 25% of total online spending in 2018.
Mobile marketing has grown to a point that it’s no longer tracked in the forecast and it’s presumed to be considered across all channels
Digital marketing is pacing at an 11% compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 2021 with the biggest growth occurring in online video.
Investment in paid search, display advertising, social media advertising, online video advertising and email marketing is predicted to account for 46% of all advertising by 2021.
Conclusions from the 2014 report (for comparison):
29% of a marketing budget was allocated to online/digital channels
Search engine marketing (SEO & SEM) captured the largest share of online spend at 47% or about 14% of the firm’s total marketing budget
Online display advertising (banner ads, remarketing & retargeting) captured the next biggest share of the online spend at about 34% of total online spend and about 10% of the total marketing budget
Social media investments were estimated at 6% of total online spend and a bit less than 2% of the total marketing budget
Mobile garnered about 10% of the total digital marketing budget and slightly less than 3% of the total marketing budget.
The chart below shows strong increases in digital channel investment. At least half of all respondents planned to increase spending on social media marketing, content marketing, personalization, video advertising, and online lead generation.
Traditional channels did not fare nearly as well. Print, radio, and television were expected to see a net decrease in total marketing investments.
Once again, these are averages.
How marketing funds are ultimately allocated is driven by the nature of the business, the competitive marketplace, and how target customers behave through the buying funnel.
Which Marketing Strategies & Tactics Are Getting The Best Results?
In a recent survey of 2,500 digital marketers, respondents reported on what marketing activities generated the best ROI.
Email marketing still leads the way with the highest percentage of Excellent and Good ROI results reported, with social media marketing following closely behind.
Marketing technologies and automation are proving effective at bringing together the most effective marketing tactics (email marketing, organic search, social media marketing and content marketing) to achieve better results.
Which Social Media Channels Should I Invest In?
An August 2016 report from eMarketer attempts to project social media penetration by social platform through 2020.
While there are no direct investment assessments associated with this particular study, it does show noteworthy trends among the major social channels.
Facebook is expected to remain king, with 90% of social media users utilizing the platform. Instagram is expected to grow, from 32% penetration to 47% by 2020.
Other social channels with baked in advertising features, such as Pinterest and Twitter, will continue to have relatively low penetration, peeking around 33% of users by 2020.
This data suggests an emphasis should be made on Facebook and Instagram channels for social advertising.
Expected Changes In Digital Platform Investments
In a 2017 report from Hanapin Marketing, 75% of respondents expect to increase their Google Adwords investments in the next 12 months (more than any other digital channel). Facebook, which has become a respectable competitor to paid search, expects to see increased investments by 71% of respondents.
Instagram and Twitter, by comparison, expect to see increased investments from less than half of respondents (46% and 21% respectfully). Snapchat, which has a greener ad platform, was at the bottom of the list, with only 15% of respondents expecting to increase investments into 2018.
This report bodes well for "digital traditionalists," who continue advocating the importance of search over social channels.
Changes in Traditional Versus Digital Marketing Spend
This chart, also from cmosurvey.org, shows the sharp contrast between digital growth and offline decline.
For a half decade, investments in traditional advertising have consistently dropped by single digit percentages each year.
Digital marketing spend, by comparison, has consistently grown by double digit increments year after year.
This means businesses are shifting their marketing spend.
What used to be spent on radio, television, and newspaper is now being spent on search, email, and social.
This trend is expected to continue for the next several years.
The chart below from eMarketer projects the following: “In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media ad spending in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending in 2017 will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending.”
This marks the first time in history digital spend surpassed TV ad spend in the US.
And the gap will only widen—by 2020, digital spend will surpass television by 36%.
Percentage Of Marketing Budget Spent On Digital
Digital spend is only a portion of total marketing spend for most businesses. For 50% of businesses surveyed, digital represents less than 40% of total marketing spend.
Businesses who rely more heavily on the internet to generate sales (e.g. an ecommerce business), invest a greater percentage of their marketing budget towards digital.
For more traditional businesses, which rely on offline AND online activity to fill the sales funnel, a healthy mix of marketing investment is to be expected.
"Jack of all trades, master of none" is a figure of speech used when people try to do everything and end up spreading themselves thin so they are not actually an expert on anything. A common temptation for website owners is to appeal to the masses and appear on as many SERPs as possible. Keyword stuffing is a SEO campaign mistake and has the goal of being listed in the most number of searches as possible. Relevance is important to search engines, but a significant contributor that is often forgotten about is authority.
What is Authority?
Authority is the level of trust search engines attribute to websites. We’re not talking trust in the sense of avoiding fraudulent websites and boosting security, but trust in the sense of community-approved brands. There are two types of authority: domain authority and page authority. Domain authority refers to the trust granted to an entire website, and page authority is reserved for individual pages within the websites.
Authority is different from relevance. Relevance asks the question, “Does this site’s content match the user’s query?” Authority asks the question, “Is this site well-known enough to send the user to it?” Sometimes it seems like authority is just a popularity contest. While that is certainly true to some extent, search engines determine authority in many different avenues.
How is Authority Determined?
In the past, links were the main variable in authority. To put it plainly, authority is the fruit of link building. While link building is still vital, links are no longer the only determining factor in a site’s authority. Search engines take the content of a website into account when scanning for trustworthiness. The quality of your content is also important for generating more buzz about your brand.
Instead of being an expert in everything, the emerging idea of topical authority refers to the practice of working toward the goal of being the absolute best in your particular niche. Take Walmart and Tiffany & Co. for example. Walmart sells just about any type of product you could need on a regular basis. Tiffany and Co. is just known for their luxury jewelry. While Walmart offers a variety of items that people like to buy, they don’t offer the absolute best in anything. When someone wants to buy a piece of fine jewelry for someone special they don’t think, “I have to go to Walmart for this!” It’s nothing against Walmart, it’s just the fact that smaller and more niche-focused shops are able to specialize in particular products and excel in them.
Prioritizing topical authority and social media go hand-in-hand in playing a huge role in who is talking about your brand. People are more likely to mention an article or a website that offers a fresh and new perspective or insight into the market they care about compared to a generalized statement that isn’t specific enough to relate to.
Another factor in authority exists in the genetics of your website. You will have greater authority if your website has better optimization. If your website caters to mobile devices, if it loads quickly, has an organized structure to it, and does not host broken links to name a few. Your website’s SEO authority might be suffering if it does not meet this standards. Be sure that you are aware of how to know that you need a new website.
While SEO relevance will get you on the SERPs, it only goes so far. You need to be an authoritative and trusted brand to rise to the top. WebRevelation wants to help you be a trusted and authoritative voice in your niche. We can help you optimize your website so that search engines will will send the ideal client your way. Give us a call today or fill out a contact form and we will be happy to discuss your options and a game plan.
Search Engine Optimization is not just about strategic practices within the coding of your Web page, it’s about how your page interacts with other Web pages on the Internet. The two most important ranking factors for Google are links and content. Therefore, you could say that your Web page is only as good as the sites that link to it.
Link building is the practice of boosting credibility and trust by linking within your site internally and to other sites externally. There are many shady practices that revolve around link building, which is why many website owners shy away from links altogether. This is a detrimental move for their SEO because Google values links. Link building can be done both externally and internally.
External linking happens when a website that is not part of your domain links a portion of their content to one of your Web pages. When it comes to external links, you have to earn your links over time. The desire to have numerous outside Web pages linking to your site is a big temptation on SEO campaigns. Some people attempt to buy links or generate fake Web pages to increase the amount of links they have. These tactics are highly discouraged and can result in page ranking punishments.
Before we cover a few ideas on how to generate external links, know that excellent content is at the core of link building. The biggest question for every blog post, product demonstration, and ebook should be, “Is this content the absolute best it can be?” In order for other websites to link to yours, you have to offer unique content that is trustworthy. Don’t neglect other SEO efforts for the sake of creating as many links as possible. Users must be able to find your Web page on the SERP before they can even link to it.
After you are satisfied with the quality of your content, consider being a guest blogger. If you have an established brand and have knowledge of a particular subject, write about it for a credible website. Guest blogging should never be done just to gain links to your website (don’t forget that content comes first!). Instead, write because you have knowledge to share and treat the links as the cherry on top.
Infographics are another great way to boost external links. Since it’s easier to copy an infographic and cite its source within the article than to create one on their own, website owners commonly share infographics around the Web. This is why you should create an infographic and make it accessible for others to use.
While there fewer options when it comes to linking from one page on your website to another page, internal linking helps users navigate your website and contributes to page ranking. There are right ways and wrong ways to link internally.
As a general rule, don’t go overboard with your internal links. If every other word in your article is a link to a different page on your website, then you are abusing the internal link method. In the same way, don’t add an internal link in places that are unnatural for the reader, such as links on conjunctions or on only part of the word.
Pay attention to the literal words you select to contain the link. These words are known as your anchor text, and their relevance to the page it links to can actually increase or decrease its credibility. You should also link to more than just your homepage. Since it’s generally harder for the deeper pages of your websites to earn links, share the spotlight and link to the lesser-known pages, as long as they are still relevant to the content.
Here’s a WebRevelation practice that we’ve adopted in our link building endeavors. When you link to an external Web page, be sure to adjust the link’s target in your settings so that the link opens up in a new window. When you link to an internal Web page, the link can open up in the same window. The reasoning behind this is so those who explore external links on different websites can easily return to your page in order to finish reading or shopping.
Do you ever search for something on Google and click the “Images” tab to see what might pop up? Chances are you do, and so do lots of other people. In fact, one study shows that over 26% of searches are done with Google Images. If you own an ecommerce website or visually display your services on the Web, you should enhance your photos with an SEO tool called alt attributes.
What are alt attributes?
Alt attributes are also known as alt text, alt tags, or alt descriptions. They are simply an alternate way of describing an image by showing text in the image’s place. Since search engines cannot interpret images except with what they find in the Web page’s content, alt attributes are written in the coding and give search engines a clear description of the image.
What are they used for?
You’ll also notice that when you hover your mouse over certain images (usually buttons or product images), a description of the image will appear. This is an alt attribute. The main purpose of alt attributes are for screen readers to “read” images when assisting the visually impaired. It should be every website owner’s responsibility to make sure that their content can be enjoyed by the most amount of people as possible.
Additionally, if for some reason an image cannot be displayed properly on a browser, its alt attribute will appear instead. Because search engines can better understand your Web page when they interpret its images correctly, properly formatted alt attributes boost your SEO and page ranking.
How do I use them?
Start by focusing on your Web pages that are dense with images, such as portfolios, galleries, and product pages. These pages will be harder for search engines to interpret on their own since there is less content to work with. Include keywords in your alt attributes, but don’t keyword stuff and only use them if you would actually use that word to describe the image. Keep the tag short, but include an honest description of the image.
Let’s take a look at a few examples. The “img src” is the name of the picture’s file and the text that follows “alt” is the alt attribute.
Do: img src="Crayola.jpg" alt="Crayola markers and paper on top of table"
Don’t: img src="Nature.jpg" alt="Trees and water"
Do: img src="Nature.jpg" alt="Lake water reflecting trees and cloudy skies"
Don’t: img src="Dog.jpg" alt="Cute dog"
Do: img src="Dog.jpg" alt="Yorkshire Terrier resting on carpet"
If you are unsure about alt attributes ask yourself this question, “If I read the alt attribute out loud to someone who wasn’t looking at the picture, would they be able to visualize the image and be relatively accurate?” When you can confidently answer in the positive, you have a great alt attribute.
Alt attributes are easy write and quick to incorporate into your website. For more ways to boost your SEO, check out the rest of our Understanding SEO blog series. If you’re ready to optimize your own website, WebRevelation offers professional marketing tactics to increase traffic and boost sales. Give us a call today for a free consultation!
The next step in getting more traffic to your site is by creating meta descriptions. They are a lot like stretching before you workout: some people skip it altogether, but it actually makes a world of difference in seeing great results! In the same way that title tags are only visible on a Search Engines Result Page (SERP), meta descriptions are also written into the coding and located under the title tags.
In all ways except in length, you want your meta description to be like the introduction or prelude to a really good book: catchy, pithy, and informative but without giving away any big spoilers. Meta descriptions don’t directly impact your Web page’s rank on SERPs, but they can be the difference between someone clicking on your website or your competitor’s.
Writing Meta Descriptions
If you look around online, you’ll see that most people recommend meta descriptions no longer than 155 characters. The fear is that Google will cut off your meta descriptions if they are too long. Other websites suggest 320 characters for your meta descriptions to ensure that Google doesn’t change or edit yours for being too short (Google might also edit your description if they find a duplicate on your website, or they don’t believe it to be descriptive enough).
Whatever route you choose to take in terms of character count, verify that the first 130-150 characters of your meta description are your absolute best. Mobile users might not be able to see past that count and desktop users might not even read past that number anyway. As far as the literary mechanics go, here are some basic tips to strengthen your meta descriptions:
Focus on the buyer in terms of content and wording. If your ideal client is looking to buy a technical product, craft your words technically and give the details that cater to their interests.
Highlight what makes your product stand out from the rest. Why does the searcher need to have your product?
Match the tone of the article. Users expect to find in the Web page what they see in the meta description. False advertising, even in literary style, makes for unhappy customers.
Implementing Meta Descriptions
If the thought of adding meta descriptions to your website makes you want to curl up into a ball and cry, please don’t. Meta descriptions are not as difficult to implement for your Web pages as they may seem. Simply take a look at your Google Analytics, determine what your most popular pages are, and start adding their meta descriptions first.
Don’t send yourself into a frenzied scramble trying to add descriptions to everything. Google actually creates their own meta descriptions for pages that don’t have any. While they might not be ideal, they can cover you in the time being. This is another reason why keywords are so important. Google scans your page and pulls content from it to create the description, so having relevant keywords will benefit that process.
Your most visited Web pages and your top-selling product pages should be your first priority for crafting succinct and inviting meta descriptions. Always stretch before you workout and don’t neglect those valuable meta descriptions.
We all know how important first impressions are when meeting someone new. The same is true for first impressions on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Title tags, also known as meta tags, are what users see as the title of your page in search results. They are located within the coding and are not the same as h1 and h2 headings, as users can’t actually see title tags when they reach your website.
The five following tips are vital for enhancing your SEO. All five are easy to implement, and you can even get started today! How many are you currently putting into practice?
1. Title tags are important.
The first tip for optimizing your title tags is to make sure you’re always working to refine and improve them. While it may seem basic, you would be surprised by how many website users do not adjust their title tags. Where your page shows up on the SERPs won’t matter if the searcher doesn’t even want to click on your title tag. Where else will you also see your title tags? They appear on social media posts that link to your page. You definitely won’t get clicks from social media if your title tag isn’t appealing. Google checks to see if your title tag actually describes your page and if it’s relevant to what people are searching for. If it’s not, Google might edit your title tag to better describe your website.
2. Use keywords.
After you find the perfect keywords for your Web page, you should include them within your title tags. Because search engines value keywords, failing to incorporate them in your title tags can be harmful to your SEO efforts. If you researched successfully for valuable keywords, then you will reap the benefit of that by placing them in your title tags.
3. Intrigue but don’t reveal.
Your title tag needs to entice the user to click on your post, but don’t give everything away. If you reveal the main point of your article in the title tag, then there is no reason for your audience to read it. There are many ways to craft catchy titles. Use strong and descriptive words and focus on your audience.
4. Avoid the click bait temptation.
While it is easy to cut corners and do whatever you can to boost your clicks, just don’t do it. You’ll only increase your bounce rate if users land on your page expecting what the title promised and getting something entirely different. Sending out click bait also hurts your image as a company. Once you’ve wronged a user once, they’ll have a hard time ever trusting you again. Keep it honest and your reputable reputation will reward you later down the road.
5. Keep it short and sweet.
Google technically determines its prime length of title tags based off of pixels, but a general rule is that they start cutting off title tags on their SERPs around 50-60 characters. Even if they didn’t cut off title tags, it’s best to keep titles short. Users won’t want to read the lengthy title of something that they aren’t already invested in. Only keep the best and most incisive words in your title tags.
Title tags, though they are often overlooked, are pivotal pieces of SEO and generating more traffic. Remember the importance of first impressions and don’t neglect your title tags!
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, keywords can either make or break your marketing efforts. Keywords are defined as the words and phrases people use to search on web browsers. Of the many factors that go into where your website ranks on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), keywords are a significant contributor. Before we cover how to use keywords, let’s discuss which words are the best to use.
The Best Keywords
Do you want to improve your company’s marketing efforts? Invest in keyword research. There are many keyword research tools available, so be prepared to be patient and utilize the trial-and-error method. While it might be tempting to use generic keywords, that is not always a great move for your SEO.
Long-tailed keywords are usually longer, more specific, and generally catered to particular niches. For example, if someone is needing a late night cup of coffee, instead of searching “coffee shop,” they will probably search “coffee shop open late near me.” Research shows that 70% of the searches performed on the web use long-tailed keywords. Not only are long-tailed keywords less competitive, they also lead to more conversions. The more specific the search, the more serious the person is about buying and not simply browsing.
How to Use Keywords
Once you have done your research on which keywords to use, now it is time to figure out how to manage them strategically. Most search engines use computer programs to crawl through the Web and analyze pages. For best results, be intentional about positioning keywords in the right places and do not overuse them.
Definitely include keywords in the title of your Web page. Do note that your page title is different from your title tag, but you should use keywords in both. A title tag is the name of a page that SERPs display to the searcher. SERPs also display meta descriptions (or “snippets” as Google calls them) that are another great spot for keywords.
When it comes to the content of your page, include keywords, but be careful not to overuse them. A recommended rule of thumb is to write for people and not for the search engines. Long-tailed keywords are great for diversifying your content, and they make it easy to use synonyms. If you use a keyword too much, then you might get marked for spam. This is known as keyword stuffing, and you want to avoid it as much as possible. If you are unsure about whether or not you have used a keyword too much, try reading your content out loud a few times. If any of it sounds awkward or forced, then you should consider switching up the content.
Keywords are a wonderful and manageable step toward improving your SEO. At WebRevelation, we know that, when using long-tailed keywords, the higher position you maintain on the SERPs means the more traffic you will receive, which ultimately lead to more conversions. If you need help honing in your niche and attracting the right kind of traffic give us a call at 817-283-3324 or contact us here and we will be happy to help your business.
As previously defined, Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines measure your page’s worth in order to determine where your page ranks on their results page. Search engines use algorithms, which are predetermined mathematical equations, to crawl through the web and scan pages. Different search engines use different algorithms, and Google alone updates their algorithm around 500-600 times a year. This is why, when it comes to SEO, there is a lot of trial and error involved.
While this makes SEO seem like a moving target, you can keep three important categories in mind in order to optimize your website for search engines: quality, trust, and authority.
Quality refers to giving Google substantial content, and content that is unique. Google won’t be able to distinguish between your website and another website if you don’t clearly show how your product is unique. Stay away from copied text, automatically generated content, and lookout for user-generated spam or hacking as these decrease your quality content. Take a look at the full list of Google’s Quality Guidelines. You’ll notice that most of these guidelines are simply best practices that are easy to implement.
To increase trust, you have to prove to Google that your website is trustworthy. For example, if you have received many poor reviews about your website, then Google won’t want to show your site to their users. Your website’s trust increases when credible websites are linking to you. Additionally, make sure payments made on your website are secure. Search engines don’t want to send their searchers to a fraudulent website, so take the extra measures to display your company’s legitimacy.
For search engines to recognize your authority, you have to prove to Google that you are popular. Create published content that people want to link to. This indicates your website as an authoritative figure in your niche. Social media presence also factors into your authority, so get people talking about you. Even featuring testimonials on your website shows that you have a fanbase.
As a side note, don’t even think about trying to trick the algorithms. Cloaking refers to the malicious practice of presenting different information to users and search engines in attempts to boost SEO. Along with other practices such as link scheming and automated queries, Google penalizes websites that partake in cloaking.
It is important to remember that SEO wants to work with you and not against you. Just as you want to keep your customers happy, search engines want to keep their customers, the searchers, happy. In order to please the searchers, search engines want to provide the best results possible. This is why it is your job to show search engines that your company is what the searcher is looking for. SEO can seem overwhelming, you will know you’re heading in the right directions as long as you keep quality, trust, and authority in mind.
Have you ever been disappointed by SEO analysis tools that promised great results but didn’t deliver? If you have ever searched for ways to help your website’s SEO, then you know there are many devices that claim to offer proven results but don’t follow through. Here are five tools that you might have overlooked and that could help you in your SEO journey. The best part about these tools: they’re all free! Before you jump right into the best SEO analysis tools, make sure you understand the definitions of SEO jargon.
Even though people think they should use sources other than Google for analysis help, Google actually has a plethora of great resources to boost your SEO. Before you dig into the myriad of devices that Google offers, the best place to start is always with Google Analytics. It’s good to know the numbers of where your website is at before you make any changes. This way, you’ll be able to tangibly see if the tools you’re implementing are working. Once you’ve explored your analytics, Webmaster Tools is basically your homebase for website support and learning resources. Speed is an important factor for SEO, and PageSpeed Insights is a wonderful tool that will analyze how fast the pages on your website are loading.
2. HubSpot’s Website Grader
One of the great things about this tool is how easy and quick it is to use. HubSpot’s Website Grader literally examines your website and gives it a score. While no one likes to be graded, the mindset for using this tool is similar to why you should use Google Analytics: know where your website is at so you can track its progress.
3. Link Checking
One of the hardest parts of website maintenance is keeping track of your links. Not only is it embarrassing when you find a link on your website that is corrupted, it’s bad for your SEO. There are many free resources available that will scan your website and check for broken links. Dead link checker and W3C Validators are fast, free and easy to use.
An infographic is probably the most overlooked SEO tool that is popular and easily accessible. Because they make information easy to comprehend and appealing to look at, infographics work great for boosting your SEO. Infographics are sharable and linkable, which help with SEO. They are also great for easily bringing information about your company to smart phones. If you don’t naturally have a knack for creativity or design, not to worry! Infogram and Canva have many layouts to choose from and they make it very easy to customize.
Nothing is better than getting advice personalized to you and your website. WebRevelation offers a full range of digital marketing optimization, and your over-the-phone consultation is totally free! When creating new websites, WebRevelation ensures that your online presence will make search engines happy. If you’re in the need for a brand new website that will increase your SEO, or if you simply need advice on your current website, contact us today.
There’s nothing more frustrating than launching your new SEO campaign and seeing little to no results. If you are trying to navigate SEO on your own, or even if you hired professionals to help you out, it’s easy to get lost in the great wide web of Search Engine Optimization. Wherever you’re at on your SEO journey, it’s good to define your terms and understand what all of the jargon means. Take a look at this list of SEO-related words and their definitions so that you can stay informed in your search.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization is all about helping search engines understand what your page is about so they can better determine where the website ranks on their SERPs (which is short for Search Engine Result Page). The general goal of this process is to increase traffic to your website by utilizing different practices and making sure your website doesn’t get buried deep in the SERPs.
Keywords - The terms people use to search on web browsers. It’s important to identify these words in order to make sure SEO campaigns align with the popular keyword trends.
Title Tags - Also known as meta tags, these are what users see as the title of the search results that they click on to get to a site. They also determine the name of the tab in their window. Title tags are not necessarily located on the page itself but within the coding, and they are not to be confused with h1 and h2 headings.
Meta Descriptions - Just like title tags, meta descriptions are sentences within the coding that describe the page. Users see this description underneath the title tag when they see a website on their Google search.
Alt Attributes - Also known as alt text, alt attributes are descriptions of images and graphics to be displayed to the user when the image cannot be properly delivered in the case of an error. Alt attributes are also shown to search engines so they can differentiate between images.
Link Building - The practice of one domain linking within their site internally and externally to another domain in order to boost credibility and trust. The anchor text are the words the user can see that contain the link within them.
Authority - The level of trust search engines grant a website for each user search that depend on other credible pages linking to them.
Pagerank - This is a value between 0 and 1 given to web pages by Google’s algorithm based off of several different factors, such as authority and link building, that determines where web pages appear on the SERP. This is different from toolbar pageranks that are values between 0 and 10 and are given only during certain times throughout the year.
If you didn’t find the word you were looking for, here is an extensive glossary of SEO terms that you can peruse. While SEO may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! At WebRevelation, we will improve your SEO to ultimately increase your traffic and your company’s profits. If you want to see results by using our unique approach to SEO, contact us today.
Are your web pages not loading correctly? Are some of your websites not loading at all? While you might be in need of a more advanced network solution, a great way to troubleshoot your problems is by clearing your browser’s cache. If you have no idea what a cache is, not to worry! Keep reading to understand your browser’s cache, the importance of clearing it, and a step-by-step cache cleaning guide.
What is your browser's cache?
Each browser you use stores images and files that are used periodically in order to help load pages faster. For example, that WebRevelation logo you see at the top of the screen can be found on other pages of this website. Instead of having to download that image with each new page you click on, your browser probably has the image saved in its cache to be quickly retrieved as you explore the website. This tool is great for quick searching, but your browser’s cache might be harboring unnecessary files.
Caches are different from cookies. A cookie is a file that the web browser creates and stores on the computer, such as usernames and passwords. These are usually user-specific information that you probably use on a semi-regular basis. Caches are also different from your browser’s history which is a record of the websites that you have been to and the order that you visited them.
Why do you need to clear your cache?
While the cache can speed up the time it takes for a website to load, it’s a good idea to clear it regularly. Old cached files might prevent you from viewing the most recent version of a web page. Cookies typically expire after a certain amount of time, or when you log out of a website, but the cache only clears out its data when it gets full. This means that you could have unwanted images and files from websites you visited once and might never visit again.
How do you clear your cache?
Here is a step-by-step guide for clearing the caches on Chrome and Safari browsers. If you use a different browser, or if you’re reading from your mobile device, click here to learn how to clear your browser.
1. Click on the three vertical dots to the right of the search bar.
2. Click More Tools.
3. Click Clear Browser Data.
(For a shortcut: Hold down Shift, Command, Delete)
4. A window will pop up where you can select your desired time range and select Cached Images and Files.
5. Click Clear Data.
1. Click the Develop tab in the menu bar.
2. If you don’t see this tab, click Safari, Preferences, Advanced and make sure “Show Develop menu in menu bar” button is checked.
See, that wasn’t so bad! If you are still experiencing trouble with your website, give us a call today. WebRevelation offers free consultations for your website problems and offers solutions catered just to you.
Freedom, fireworks, and hotdogs all come to mind when thinking about the 4th of July. Each year, 80% of United States citizens attend a BBQ, picnic, or cookout to celebrate Independence Day, and almost just as many gather together with their family. With this festive holiday right around the corner, be sure to educate yourself and impress your friends with some facts you might not have known about the 4th of July.
To start off, let’s get something straight with this holiday’s origin. When you ask someone why the 4th of July is celebrated, they might describe it as the birth of the United States’ freedom which is signified by the signing of the Declaration of Independence. While this is a commonly accepted notion, it is actually false. In a letter to his wife on July 3, 1776, John Adams revealed that he wished for America’s independence to be celebrated on the 2nd of July. Here’s why:
The 4th of July actually denotes the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress and not the signing of it. Congress declared freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. They debated for the next two days over the wording, revisions, and edits to the Declaration of Independence. The main author of this document, which was intended to be the proclamation of freedom to the public, was Thomas Jefferson. It was not until August 2, 1776 that most of the delegates signed the document, and two delegates never signed at all.
You won’t be the only one grilling hot dogs this year, on the 4th of July alone, it has been reported that Americans eat 150 million hot dogs. That is enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times. Hamburgers, watermelons, and pies are also popular (and delicious!) food items that are found on the dinner table during the holiday. Food isn’t the only way to celebrate: more than 14,000 firework displays occur across the nation every year. Once the sun goes down, Americans like to light up the sky with colorful and loud explosions.
While there’s no celebrations quite like ones you will find in the U.S., there are other countries around the world that celebrate the United States’ Independence Day. From Norway to China and France to Australia, tourists and residents can be sure to find parties equipped with BBQ and the Red, White, and Blue.
No matter where in the world you might be celebrating from this 4th of July, you now have some festive trivia to share with your loved ones. Be sure to stay safe, have fun, and make sure to grab a hot dog. Although, at the rate they are being consumed in the United States, you might want to act fast!
For some business owners, establishing a consistent social media presence seems like an impossible task. How do social-media savvy companies stay up-to-date on all of their posts, while still running their business? The answer: they don’t. Well, not all on their own, at least. Hootsuiteis a social media management tool that keeps track of your social media platforms, what you want to post, and will post it for you whenever you want. If you’re brand new to Hootsuite, or if you’ve had it for years but feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth, here are five basic steps to use this platform for its maximum potential.
Step #1: Organize yourDashboard.
If your dashboard gives you anxiety when you look at it, then it’s probably because you aren’t organizing your streams in a sensible way. Hootsuite provides totally customizable dashboards, so set up for what works best for you. For a clean look, order the tabs according to your social media platforms. Instead of trying to keep all of your networks on one tab, make multiple tabs for your accounts. Just click on Streams in the navigation menu and click the add tab button in the tabs row at the top. Once you have your new tab, you can add the respective social network.
Step #2: Set up Bulk Message Uploads.
Depending on your plan, you may qualify for Bulk Message Scheduling. This feature, located in the Publisher tab, allows you to upload a file from your computer with all of theposts youwant to make, their captions, and when you want them posted. Doing this will save you a lot of time because, instead of having to compose each post individually, you can use just one file to schedule and upload them all at once.
Step #3: Try AutoSchedule.
Do you find yourself searching for something to post and choosing a random time to post it? AutoSchedule is another helpful feature that schedules posts for your account based on your settings, currently existing content, and the ideal timing for your audience. When you compose a message and click on Scheduling, you’ll see the option to turn on AutoSchedule. Adjust the settings to your preferences and prepare for automatic posts customized to you.
Step #4: Take a Course at Hootsuite Academy.
As a resource for Hootsuite users, Hootsuite Academy offers training courses for those looking to develop themselves personally and professionally. There are free and paid courses available. You can learn more about how to use the Hootsuite platform itself, or you could grow your knowledge of social media marketing. They’ve even partnered with Syracuse University to offer Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification.
Step #5: Download the Hootsuite Mobile App.
Already headed home from work and you can’t remember if you scheduled tomorrow’s posts? For iOS and Android devices, Hootsuite has an app that can do almost everything your desktop can: add new streams, post on multiple platforms at once, schedule posts for later, manage settings, respond to direct messages, and more. If you add a new item in the mobile app, it will automatically sync onto your desktop’s Hootsuite dashboard.
Always remember: there’s no point in attracting customers through social media only to have your website turn them away. Here at WebRevelation, we recognize that social media is simply a means to get potential clients to your website and your product. If your social media game is strong but your website is suffering, or you need help with online marketing, contact us today for a free consultation.
Every business owner knows that trends, products, clients, and styles are always changing. To keep up with the times, your website should adapt to these changes. While websites constantly require minor upkeep, how do you know if your website needs a total makeover? Ask yourself the following five questions. If you answer “no” to any of them, then you probably need to revamp your website.
Is your website is mobile friendly?
Just because your site looks fabulous on the desktop does not automatically mean users can painlessly maneuver it on their smartphones. Websites that haven’t joined the mobile-friendly movement are hurting themselves. The number of mobile users has been on a steady incline over the years. How do you know if your website is responsive to mobile devices? The test is simple: pull out your phone and explore your site. If images or information are squished together, or certain features don’t even work, then your site is not mobile friendly.
Is your website traffic growing?
When it comes to your website, it should help build your clientele, not harm it. Consistently check your website traffic analytics. If the growth of your company has plateaued, or worse, declined, then your website needs to be revitalized. Every feature on your website should be intentional. If it’s not, that means you’re wasting precious space that could be used to expand your reach.
Is your website easy to use?
This question is for both you and your users. Can your users seamlessly navigate your site? Can you customize your website without having to spend hours watching video demonstrations just to reformat an image? The bottom line: if your website is difficult to use, then people won’t spend time on it. If your website is difficult to edit, then you won’t want to improve it.
Does your website accurately represent your brand?
It’s important for every business to maintain consistency, even on their websites. If you are even slightly embarrassed by your out-of-date website, you need a new one. You wouldn’t let your employees misrepresent the values of your company, so why would you permit your website to do so? Innovative and forward-thinking brands should not associate with websites that look like they are from the prehistoric era.
Are you completely happy with your website?
The thing is, there is no excuse to not be totally proud of your website. If you don’t feel comfortable showing your site to friends and family, that’s a red flag. Do you sometimes cringe when you compare your website to your competitors? Do you secretly hope that your site doesn’t steer customers away from your product? If so, you absolutely need a new website.
If you know that your website needs a transformation or some minor tweaks, contact WebRevelation today for a free consultation. We offer and a variety of services to make your website mobile friendly, to increase traffic, to make it easy for you and your clients to use, and to represent your mission. You deserve to be proud of your website, so contact us today.
One of the most exciting things about launching a new business is putting your brand-new website online. However, one of the most frustrating things about putting a fresh web presence on the internet is that it can take a while for customers to notice.
Attracting web visits can be a challenge for any business. For one with no history or name recognition, though, it can seem impossible to get buyers to find the site and refer their friends.
Today, we want to share a handful of quick and easy tips you can use to get your brand-new website off to a flying start. Here is how you can get the traffic you need, and more importantly, keep it coming…
Start With an Email Blast
Your first source of website traffic will probably come from people who already know you and are excited for the launch of your new business. Chances are you won’t have to send these folks an email to alert them about your new venture, but you should do so anyway (assuming you have their opt-in permission). Not only will it remind them that you're open for customers, but they may forward your message and generate referrals from their friends and colleagues.
Run a Few Paid Ads
Some entrepreneurs dislike the idea of using paid search and social media ads, particularly at a time when marketing budgets might be low. However, you can use advertising on Facebook and Google to narrow in on your perfect customers – whether you want to sort them by location, interest, demographics, or other factors – greatly increasing your odds of making those all-important first few sales. Online advertising can be a great way to kickstart your sales and brand recognition efforts.
Boost Your Content on Social Media
It’s not a bad idea to spend a few dollars boosting your content updates and email newsletters on Facebook, given that you can often reach thousands of buyers for less than you would spend on a cup of coffee. That’s a particularly attractive proposition for new businesses that don’t have much in the way of existing web traffic or awareness within a target market. Consider boosting your content with existing fans and others who are interested in the same types of products and services.
Borrow a Targeted List
You might not have any existing web traffic, but others in your industry probably do. It goes without saying that your competitors are going to send people your way, but what about colleagues in related fields? By guest posting to their blogs, or providing some kind of special offer they can promote through their email newsletter and social media profiles, you might be able to reach thousands of potential customers or clients who might not have otherwise heard of you.
Create Repeat Visits
You can use the tips we have given you so far to bring first-time visitors to your website. Don’t forget, though, that one of your important goals is to keep them coming back again and again. You can do that by having them sign up for an email newsletter, receive coupons through social media, or giving them some sort of instant and downloadable offer. Whatever method you choose, try to give them a reason to not only return to your website soon, but to tell their friends and contacts to do the same.
Any major purchase you make for your business is going to require a bit of ongoing maintenance. You wouldn’t invest in a building or vehicle with the expectation that you could simply forget about it, so why do so many business owners overlook their websites?
Luckily, it doesn’t take a lot to keep your web presence running smoothly. However, there are a few things you’ll have to do if you want to get the most from the investment of time and money you put into getting it online the first place.
Here are five important ways you can maintain your business website and improve your return on investment…
#1 Review and Update Your Content Periodically
You should make a point of reading through your website once in a while and ensuring the content on your pages is still accurate. It’s surprisingly easy to let things like calendars, employee profiles, and product pages become outdated. When that happens, customers aren’t getting accurate information about your company, which can lead to misunderstandings and lost sales later.
#2 Make Additions to Your Business Website
As your business grows, your website should grow right along with it. You might add new pages for new locations or product groups. Or, you could put in additional employee bios as your team grows. You could also grow your site with new articles and reports that improve your credibility and bring fresh search traffic. You could even consider adding plugins that give customers and vendors the features they’ve been asking for. The important thing is that your website keeps growing month after month.
#3 Update Your Plug-ins and CMS
Most businesses rely on a content management system and a series of plug-ins to not only build a profitable business website, but keep adding new features over time. It’s important that these be updated frequently so they remain stable and secure. Additionally, you might think about replacing old plug-ins with newer ones, which can have the effect of speeding up your website while making it more valuable to users.
#4 Review Your Web Analytics Monthly
When you dig into your web analytics package it’s like you’re checking the gauges and indicators on your business website. If there is anything that might disrupt the flow of traffic to your pages, or your ability to generate conversions, it’s better to know about that sooner rather than later. Additionally, you can use the statistics from your website to optimize your marketing campaigns in addition to troubleshooting any underlying problems.
#5 Get Regular Website Audits
A website audit is simply a deep dive into the HTML beneath your layout. A web designer can use the number of tools to test things like speed, content strength, link quality, and other factors to see whether your website is visible and usable to customers. These kinds of checkups should be performed regularly (at least once a year) so you can stop any minor issues from becoming costly problems later.
Need Better Web Design or Online Marketing Advice?
Business owners and executives throughout San Antonio and Oklahoma City know the WebRevelation team because we deliver quality, service, and results. If you are thinking about taking your business to the next level, now might be the perfect time to contact us for a free consultation!
There is a common misconception within the business world that web programming – also known as custom web development – is only for huge businesses with enormous budgets. However, that’s far from the truth. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses often have the most to gain from working with a talented programming team.
In order to explain why this is the case, we usually give some concrete examples relating to e-commerce, data automation, etc. In today’s post, though, we want to take things in another direction. To show you why smart web programming helps the bottom line, let’s look at three different sides of your business that can be improved with the right custom software…
Web Programming Helps With Sales and Marketing
There are dozens of ways you can increase your revenue using custom web applications. You could automate data collection from prospects, customize your marketing campaigns at a regional or individual level, and even create add-on e-commerce opportunities with apps that upsell.
Whether you serve customers in a retail, wholesale, or business-to-business setting, there are probably parts of your website that could be improved with custom functionality. It’s amazing what a small investment of time and money in web development can bring you in terms of new sales opportunities.
You Can Use Web Programming to Keep and Serve Customers
It’s almost always more cost-effective to keep your current customers, or sell more to them, than it is to spend money finding new buyers. Luckily, this is another area where you can get more from web programming.
Imagine being able to automate things like repeat orders, shipment tracking, and customer returns. Or, think about what it would be like to have detailed information on every interaction with a buyer at your fingertips, and to be able to make decisions based on those insights. That’s the power of smart web programming, and how you can use it to improve customer retention and repeat sales.
Custom Web Development Helps You Manage Employees and Vendors
This is an area of web development a lot of business owners and executives tend to overlook. That’s because most of them are focused on adding new features that increase sales, even though they could save time and cut costs by managing employees and vendors more efficiently.
Using the right custom software you can schedule teams, manage large projects, and even allow for real-time collaboration between different groups or locations. You can also store documents, manage payroll and benefits, and identify work that is being duplicated. Those are all great ways to trim a bit of fat from your bottom line and make your business run leaner and meaner.
Want to Learn More About Web Programming?
It’s one thing to learn about the benefits of web programming, and another to realize it could help you reach the business goals you have in place. Why not contact the development team at WebRevelation today and let us show you how we can use the right tools and expertise to boost sales, lower customer service costs, and make it easier to manage your team?
You can use the internet to attract customers to your business from around the globe. As more and more marketers are discovering, however, the most cost-effective way to use your website and social media accounts is to target buyers within your own city or neighborhood.
Local online marketing is inexpensive, works quickly, and helps you build a base of customers who are likely to stay with you for years to come. Best of all, it’s easy to find local buyers if you simply follow a set of proven tips and best practices.
Let’s look at a few things you can do to boost your local online marketing starting today…
Use Local Keywords on Your Website
You probably already know that Google uses automated spiders to crawl your website and identify certain terms that match up with search queries. What you may not realize is that it will do the same thing to identify geography. So, if you use certain city or state names, neighborhoods, landmarks, or other terms related to a specific location, that makes it easier for search engines to determine where your business is located in the real world. Then, that information can be passed on to searchers.
Integrate Maps, Phone Numbers, and Driving Directions
In addition to general location-specific keywords, you’ll want to have maps, phone numbers, and driving directions on your website. If you have multiple locations, you could create separate pages with information for each store, facility, or office. That gives you more geographic content for Google to read, while at the same time increasing the odds that someone who is interested in the products or services you sell will be able to find their way to your front door.
Update Your Local Online Business Listings
Google doesn’t only rely on the information it finds on your website to determine location. That’s because it knows websites get out of date all the time. So, it pulls corroborating data from other sources like business directories, Yelp profiles, and even social media accounts. You should ensure these stay up-to-date at all times, since you’ll get a local search engine visibility boost if your contact details (like address, phone number, etc.) are consistent through each listing.
Try to Attract Positive Local Reviews
When local buyers say good things about your business on Facebook, Yelp, or Google Business, that creates more content and engagement that can lead to search traffic. It also generates a sense of positive “buzz” that encourages buyers who might have been skeptical about your company to go ahead and either buy from you or make an appointment. In that way, positive reviews both enhance your local online visibility and help you to make the most of it.
Need Help With Local Online Marketing?
At WebRevelation in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we have a team of experienced designers, marketers, and programmers who are ready to help you take your business to the next level. Whether you need help with local online marketing or large-scale web development projects, we are ready to step in. Contact us today to set up a free consultation!
If you’re a business owner or executive who cares about online marketing, you’ve undoubtedly come across some of the eye-popping statistics around mobile web usage. Smartphone and tablet users now make up the clear majority of all internet users. Google estimates that 25% of its searches originate from mobile devices. Mobile ecommerce is poised to overtake purchases from laptop and desktop computers in the near future.
These realities about the changing online landscape show up again and again. What’s missing, for a lot of decision-makers, is a sense of what to actually do about it. It’s one thing to know there are lots of customers and prospects using mobile devices, and another thing to figure out what they want from you.
So, how can you keep mobile website visitors happy? Let’s take a look at a few things we’ve learned designing websites for businesses and nonprofits over the last few years…
Your Website Needs Mobile Compatibility
This might seem like a basic and obvious point, but it’s one that a lot of business people seem to miss. If the majority of your customers (or even just a large percentage of them) are arriving through phones and tablets, then it only makes sense that your website should be accessible through these devices.
Note that you don’t have to lose your existing layout or features to be mobile-compatible. In fact, most of our clients opt for responsive web design that changes its appearance and display based on different screen sizes and platforms. With just a little bit of coding, you can create a web presence that’s accessible to all your customers.
Mobile Web Users Like Speed
It’s a known fact that today’s internet searchers and customers are a lot less patient than they used to be. That’s especially true when they are viewing your site on a small screen or a connection that isn’t coming through a cable.
If you want to hold the attention of your mobile customers then you should do everything you can to speed up the delivery of your pages. That could mean opting for faster web hosting, or it might involve optimizing images, layouts, content blocks and even plug-ins. There are a lot of ways you can speed up your site, and they’ll all help you to win more business from customers using phones and tablets.
Mobile Customers Want Interactivity
It goes without saying that your website needs to act as a sales funnel, guiding searchers through multiple questions or pieces of information until they are ready to complete a purchase, make a call, or perform some other action.
However, when it gets to that all-important conversion step, you don’t want mobile users to feel like it’s a hassle to work with you. So, you should consider replacing long forms or complicated menus with simple buying prompts or click-to-call buttons. You’ll increase your response rates with all types of buyers, and especially mobile users.
Does Your Online Marketing Strategy Work?
If you don’t have an online marketing strategy, or if you aren’t convinced the one you have is leading you in the right direction, now is a great time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team. Contact us at our offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City today. We will be happy to review your current website with you and show you how you can start getting more from the internet.
Business web design is often thought of as a wholly creative endeavor, but creating the perfect web presence isn’t just a matter of sketching out ideas until they come together. There are some fundamentals that creative teams need to pay attention to – and clients should look for – to produce a professional result.
In other words, despite what you may have heard from a freelancer or artist, a good web designer doesn’t simply “wing it” and wait for inspiration to arrive. Instead, they count on these five solid foundations of a profitable web design…
#1 The Design Reflects the Company
The first thing a good web designer will do is consider their client and project. What looks perfect for one business or situation might not be appropriate or impactful for another. No two businesses are the same, so their websites shouldn’t be identical, either. Things like customer type, location, and even marketing tone all have to factor in if you want to create the perfect design.
#2 The Layout is Easy to Understand
Today’s searchers and online customers are moving faster than ever. Studies and surveys show you have less than three seconds to impress a first-time visitor to your website before they’ll click away to one of your competitors. Knowing that, it’s crucial that a web design be easy to understand. That is, someone who is looking for answers should be able to understand who you are and what you do in the blink of an eye.
#3 There is Plenty of White Space on Each Page
Did you skip over this article and check out the bullet points before digging into the text? That’s exactly what most of your customers will do when they arrive on your website. When you have lots of white space separating blocks of content, images, and video from one another, it makes it easier for them to instantly grasp your most important selling points. It also encourages them to find the information they want as quickly as possible.
#4 Website Navigation is Simple and Straightforward
Most of the time, a visitor to your website isn’t going to start at your home page and make their way through to the topic or section they want in a straight line. In fact, some may become “lost” either because they hit the wrong link or arrived on a sub-page from a search engine or social link. If you have a clear navigation structure in place, you won’t lose those sales opportunities because it will be easy for searchers to get where they are going on your pages.
#5 The Web Design Leads to an Actionable Step
The reality is you have a website because you have business needs. That is, you’re trying to generate online sales, phone calls, in-person meetings, or other forms of activity. Your web designer needs to know what a perfect visit looks like and then structure your pages to encourage that result again and again.
Do You Need a Better Website?
If you feel like you aren’t getting the kinds of results you deserve from your existing business website, maybe now is the perfect time to talk to the experts at WebRevelation in San Antonio in Oklahoma City today. Contact us now to set up a free consultation and see how we can help!
One of the things that makes search engine optimization (SEO) difficult for a busy marketer is that it takes a consistent amount of time and effort to earn a top Google ranking.
To understand why, think about it like exercise. You can’t simply toy with SEO when you feel motivated to do so. Unless you work at it every month (and preferably every week) you will struggle to make lasting improvements over time.
Of course, for a business owner with lots of other roles and responsibilities, being consistent with search engine optimization and content marketing can be difficult. It’s not impossible, though, especially if you follow these proven tips…
Work from an Editorial Calendar
The professionals who write your favorite blogs and television shows don’t get writers block because they plan themes and episodes well in advance. In other words, they never find themselves facing an empty screen or a blank piece of paper. You don’t have to, either. Work from a calendar of upcoming posts and you’ll never be out of inspiration.
Develop a Writing Habit
Writing isn’t really an activity; it’s more of a habit. By that, we mean it gets easier if you do it frequently. It’s difficult to stay on top of your content marketing if you’re constantly setting aside hours at a time to compose new ideas. See if you can commit to writing for 10 minutes a day instead. You’ll be amazed at how many more pages you can finish that way over a few months.
Mix in New Forms of Content
While succeeding in search engine optimization has traditionally been dependent on writing web pages, articles, and blog posts, those aren't your only choices. If you’re better working with images, video, or even audio clips, try promoting your company with those. Google uses advanced software that can “read” and “hear” non-text content that customers might like.
Get Help from Creative Professionals
If you find that you really don’t enjoy producing content, or simply can’t make the time, then you don’t have to let your search engine optimization campaigns wither and die. Instead, find a creative team who will take the time to learn about your business and let them take over your editorial calendar. You might not like paying for content, but it will be worth it over the long run when you start attracting more search visitors from Google.
Review Your Progress and Adjust
The most efficient and effective search engine optimization campaigns are constantly being tweaked and improved over time. Work with your creative team to review your web analytics and assess your progress. When it’s time to focus on new topics, markets, or keywords, don’t be afraid to experiment. Search habits change all the time, and your marketing plan should be adjusted accordingly.
Ready to Kick Off Your SEO Campaign?
If you’ve been following along in our search engine optimization series and want to start bringing more customers from Google to your business, this is your chance. Contact WebRevelation today at our offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City to set up a free consultation.
We will be happy to review your website and online marketing goals with you to find an affordable and effective path forward. Contact us now!
Do you want to generate more content for your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns, but struggle to write regularly? Or, have you tried to produce regular articles and blog posts but found it’s a challenge to actually get attention from Google and real-world readers?
In either case, the answer might be to follow some professional-grade tips on creating online content. Having a process to guide you makes it easier than it would be to start writing from scratch, and knowing how you should arrange and format your articles increases the odds they’ll show up in Google’s search engine listings.
Let’s look at what you need to do to create the content you need for your website…
#1 Put Topics Before Keywords
The classic mistake business owners and marketers make is trying to write pages or articles structured around keywords. It’s tough to form big ideas from single (sometimes awkward) phrases. A better approach is to simply think about an interesting topic within your business or industry and start your article there. It’s easier to add in keywords later, as needed, than to begin by making them the centerpiece of your content.
#2 Write for Readability
It should go without saying that you don’t want to sacrifice the informational or marketing tone of your article just to fit in one more exact-match keyword phrase. Neither should you weigh your posts down with lots of jargon or acronyms. Think about your average reader or customer. Consider what they know, and which topics or concerns matter to them. Then, set up your content in a way that’s easy for that target market to digest and understand.
#3 Come Up With Sizzling Titles
The standard advice in SEO is that you want your targeted keyword phrase to appear in the title of anything you post online. That’s not bad advice, but we recommend going a little farther. Make sure your titles are interesting to readers. In fact, try to put them together in a way that makes your content seem irresistible. If you need inspiration, check out a few of the websites or blogs you like to read. Then, see if you can tweak the titles or topics to fit your industry.
#4 Select the Right Images and Optimize Them
With a strong title you are essentially “selling” the reader on giving their attention to you. Once they click through to your content, their eyes are going to be naturally drawn to the images or photographs you use to accompany your articles. Make sure you choose something that’s relevant, vivid, and interesting. And, don’t forget to add “alt image text,” as these tags are scanned by Google’s spiders.
#5 Use Internal Links Carefully
Internal links are important to your SEO and content marketing strategy for a couple of reasons. First, the text you use in your link can help make a page more visible to Google. And second, readers who like your ideas may follow links from one article to the next. Knowing that, you might want to include a couple of links in each post that move readers onto a related subject. You’ll definitely want to end each post with a call to action, too, that invites a searcher to become a customer.
Good SEO Requires Lots of Great Content
If you want to make the most of search engine marketing, you’re either going to have to become proficient at writing content or work with a creative team that will do it for you. Either way, we hope you’ll follow the five tips we’ve outlined in this post. Then, check the WebRevelation blog again soon because we are going to give you more great advice on achieving consistency in your SEO campaigns.
Most business owners wouldn’t launch a new product, open a new office, or hire a new employee without doing some planning and investigative work. When it comes to search engine optimization, though, many of the entrepreneurs we meet seem anxious to start “doing” things without any strong or firm strategy in place.
That’s understandable. Every day you’re not working on your Google visibility is a day when your competitors are theoretically pulling farther ahead. At the same time, though, it’s difficult to succeed in any aspect of online marketing without the right strategy. Fail to plan enough in putting your SEO campaigns together and you could end up right back where you started – only with less money or patience to show for your effort.
With that in mind, how do you plan for a successful search engine optimization campaign? We are glad you asked, because today we’re going to lay out the basic steps you need to follow…
Know Your Target Market
Good search engine optimization campaigns aren’t really about keywords or links; they are about the customers you want to bring to your website. The more you know about your market, and the motivations of your buyers, the easier it is to find them and appeal to their needs.
Look Into Search Trends
Once you know who your customers are, you have to consider what it is they are searching on Google, Bing, and other web portals. That means assessing recent search activity and trends so you can optimize your pages and content for the right keywords and search strings.
Study the Competition
Unfortunately, you won’t have Google’s attention all to yourself. You have competitors who also want to attract search visits to their websites, too. By working with a web design team who will study the competition, you can get a sense of which terms or buyers to target and how you can make your website stand out.
Audit Your Own Website
Is your website well-constructed to attract search visits? Do you have technical issues (like slow page loading, outdated plug-ins, or duplicate content) that will make your content invisible to search spiders? These are the kinds of answers you get from a comprehensive audit of your website, which is an important step in the SEO process.
Develop a Sales Funnel
Bringing a potential customer to your website is just the first step. Once they arrive on your pages, you want to make a sale, capture a lead, or convince them to return in the future. To help you accomplish those goals you should have an established sales funnel in place that guides a prospect from their first visit to a completed sale.
Need Help Turning Your SEO Plan Into Real-World Results?
Every good search engine optimization campaign starts with the right plan and preparation. Without that, marketers are just checking items off of to-do lists that may or may not lead to any real revenue growth.
When you’re ready to use SEO profitably effectively – or just to get more from your business website – turn to the experienced team at WebRevelation. In one short consultation, we can help you to see what’s working with your website, where your biggest challenges and opportunities lie, and your best steps forward.
Contact us today! Or, stop back for the next article in our series on generating search-friendly content.
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t nearly as complicated as some web designers and business owners make it out to be. To be sure, there is a lot of technical know-how involved, and Google’s algorithms are always changing. However, when you stop and take a look at the business owners who are successful and attracting customers through search, there are always three important factors involved.
Today, we want to take a quick look at each of the three. Then, we’ll break them down in more detail in a set of subsequent following posts. For the moment, though, let’s start at the top with the first ingredient of a profitable SEO campaign…
#1 Good SEO Planning and Auditing
It’s easy to jump straight into search engine optimization with a desire to improve your Google rankings, but if you don’t have a short and long-term plan in place, you’ll eventually end up wasting time and money. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you aren’t going to get the kind of results that move your business forward.
Good SEO planning involves keyword research, competitive analysis, and a study of your competitors. It also means putting a good conversion strategy into place so you know how you’ll turn search visitors into new revenue. Without these pieces, your SEO plan will feel like busywork.
#2 Strong Search-Friendly Content
There are a lot of complexities involved with search visibility, but one constant is easy to understand: the more topical content you have on your pages, the more search visits are going to come your way.
This is true to the point that you would almost be better off producing lots of unique, high-quality content and ignoring search optimization altogether, than you would to focus on search algorithms and no content creation plan in place. Google and real-life searchers both want to find lots of information that’s deep and up-to-date. Providing that on your website gives you a huge advantage.
#3 Patience and Consistency
Although you can improve your search engine position very quickly, holding on to those top positions and turning visitors into buyers takes time, effort, and patience. In other words, a successful search engine optimization campaign isn’t going to be created overnight, and you’ll have to do some work to maintain it.
This is an area where a lot of marketers come up short, but it also represents a point of opportunity. If you’re willing to do what some of your competitors won’t and keep growing and adjusting your website, then you will be able to win customers who wouldn’t have come your way otherwise.
Want Help With Web Design and Search Engine Optimization?
There are a lot of places you can turn for online marketing services, but not many creative teams with the track record of WebRevelation in San Antonio and Oklahoma City. If you’re tired of spending money without getting the results you are expecting – or worse, watching your competitors pass you by on the internet – now is the time to speak with our team and see how we can help!
In our experience, there are really two types of companies when it comes to search engine optimization: those getting lots of traffic (and sales) from Google, and those who have tried and failed.
If you’re amongst that second group, you might not even know why things didn’t work out. We talk with a lot of business owners who feel like they did all the right things to make SEO work, but didn’t see their efforts and expenses turn into any real results. So, they end up confused, frustrated, and feeling like search marketing is a waste of time.
What went wrong? Naturally, we would have to take a close look at your website to know for sure. However, when an SEO campaign flat-out fails, it can almost always be traced back to one or more of these five issues…
#1 It Was Based on Old Tactics and Ideas
Often, when a business owner tells us they have “tried” SEO, what we find is they hired a consultant who used outdated tactics that were based on gimmicks. These might include keyword stuffing and link farming, which were in vogue years ago but don’t help you improve your visibility on Google now.
You can’t compete in today’s search environment by sticking to tactics that only half-worked in the past. Instead, you have to stay up with the best practices around organic search trends in 2018 and beyond.
#2 You Didn’t Commit To it Long Enough
The problem with following good SEO advice that actually works over the long term is that it can take weeks or months for the campaign to really make an impact on your bottom line. Real solutions aren’t quick fixes, even though that’s exactly what a lot of business owners want from an online marketing company.
If you decide to improve your search positioning but give up after a few weeks – because you aren’t seeing results yet, or hate producing new content – you can’t be surprised when your campaigns fail to produce anything.
#3 Your Website Wasn’t Ready for SEO
A good web design team will audit your website and make any needed improvements or revisions before putting a search engine optimization plan in place. However, if you went with a vendor who wasn’t so thorough, they could have missed details that stopped Google’s spiders from crawling your pages.
Issues like broken links, duplicated content, and slow page loading speeds can all kill your SEO campaigns. Before you can get attention from searchers, your website has to be ready.
#4 You Only Paid Attention to Half the Results
Believe it or not, you can achieve a top ranking on Google and still fail at SEO. That’s because traffic doesn’t equate directly to sales; just because someone visits your website doesn’t mean they’ll visit your shop, make a purchase, or call to set an appointment.
To make SEO profitable, you need to generate conversions (and ultimately revenue) from your pages. That’s a lot easier when you have a plan in place to persuade visitors to contact you or complete a sale.
#5 You Didn’t Make Any Course Corrections
Search engine optimization, like all forms of marketing, is about making plans, executing them, and then finding adjustments to improve. Somewhere along the way you have to evaluate the keywords and search terms you’re targeting and tweak your landing pages to increase your response rates.
You can’t afford to sit still with SEO for very long. When you stop getting better, you practically guarantee your campaigns won’t be as successful as you’d hoped.
Looking for SEO and Internet Marketing That Works?
If you’re tired of chasing gimmicks and fads and feel ready to use the internet to attract customers to your company, now is the time to get the expert advice you need. Contact WebRevelation today and we’ll be happy to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. In just one hour, we’ll review your website with you, give you some recommendations to reach more customers, and show you how easy and affordable it is to start getting better results online!
There are several huge benefits that come with making the switch to agile marketing. However, the biggest one of all tends to get lost in the mix.
Before we explain that benefit, though, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page. Agile marketing, in a nutshell, is a philosophy where a web design firm works with the client to find out what sort of needs they have and pairs them against a realistic budget. Then, we focus on a set of deliverables for a set period of time (like three or six months) before we come back and re-evaluate. At that point, we find new areas to focus on for the next block of time.
In this way, agile marketing stops business owners and being locked into one set of rigid online marketing activities that may or may not be successful over time – or that may show big returns at first and then dwindle over time.
The Big Benefit of Agile Marketing
With that explanation out of the way, let’s get to the part of agile marketing that makes it so special: it allows you to see the results and then use your time and money in the most effective way.
This is precisely the opposite of the way a lot of online marketing campaigns work. That’s because most are backward-looking; they are configured for search engine algorithms that have already changed, or ideas that used to be current but no longer pay off the way they used to.
By seeing what works and then adjusting your spending as you go, you can always be in a position to maximize your returns based on what’s happening now. In fact, you and your web designer can look forward to changes in your industry or shifts in the way companies like Google or Facebook are operating.
At the same time, an agile marketing campaign leaves you the room and flexibility to switch up your approach to finding customers on a regular basis. So, if you’ve been curious about some aspect of search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, or reputation management you can try it without committing your entire budget to a strategy that’s not proven. Likewise, you can experiment with new apps, websites, or types of content you think might be a good fit for your market and customers.
One of the biggest risks associated with using the web to attract customers is that you’ll find yourself relying on strategies that are out of date, or simply plugging forward with existing campaigns because you aren’t getting more current advice. With agile marketing, you’re always looking ahead and basing your next move off of real-world results.
Ready to Try Agile Marketing?
When it comes down to it, agile marketing is all about getting the best of what works and optimizing your campaigns using up-to-date information and insights. If you think that’s something that could benefit your business, now is a great time to schedule a consultation with our creative team to talk specifics.
Contact WebRevelation in San Antonio and Oklahoma City today. We’ll answer any questions you might have and then set your business off in a whole new direction!
Since we started moving our clients to agile marketing campaigns, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. A lot of the business owners we deal with just wish they’d heard of the concept years ago.
For those who might not be familiar, agile marketing involves changing your approach and deliverables as needed. So, a plan for a small business might start with search engine optimization and reputation management, but move on to social media as results or best practices dictate. It’s “agile” in the sense that future plans are never set in stone.
As it turns out, it’s a much better way to work – both for us and our clients. Today, we want to share with you some of the reasons agile marketing is so popular and profitable.
#1 Agile Marketing is Responsive
If you’ve been promoting your business over the internet for a while, then you already know how quickly things can change. The rules for reaching customers through Google and Facebook seem to shift every few months, for instance, while the best practices around social media, online reviews, and even email newsletters are always shifting. With an agile marketing campaign, you can stay ahead of the curve by shifting tactics whenever it makes sense.
#2 Agile Marketing Leads to Less Waste
Without agile marketing, it’s incredibly easy to just keep approving the same expenses or activities again and again… even if you aren’t sure whether your existing campaigns are profitable. That leads to wasted time, effort, and money. With an agile mindset, though, you’re always devoting your resources to the channels or activities that are showing the highest returns. That means a lot less waste in your marketing budget.
#3 Agile Marketing Compounds Your Gains
Suppose you notice that one part of your website (like a particular blog, or pay-per-click ad group) is generating the biggest share of your sales and profits. Wouldn’t it make sense to devote a bigger portion of your budget and attention in that direction? That’s exactly how agile marketing works, and it can help you to compound and multiply your bottom line gains over time.
#4 Agile Marketing Leaves Room to Try New Tactics
Another great feature of agile marketing is that it encourages business owners to experiment with new ideas. So, if you’ve been hesitant to try something like online video in the past, for example, you could devote a small portion of your budget in that direction without sacrificing the returns you see in other areas. In that way, your agile campaigns leave you room to experiment and find out what works for your business.
#5 Agile Marketing Plans Don’t Get Stale
This sense of continual change and improvement is at the heart of the agile marketing philosophy. You never want your website or content generation routines to get stale. With a plan in place that encourages you to think critically about the results and try out new ideas, you’re far less likely to get stuck or see your new sales dwindle over time.
Want to Learn More about Agile Marketing?
At WebRevelation, we have always been focused on using the internet to help our clients get more profitable and more efficient. If you’d like to learn more about our work, or the specifics of agile marketing, we encourage you to contact us today to set up a free consultation.
As we talk with our clients about agile marketing, many of the most astute come back with a simple question: how will it help us to save or make more money?
We love these kinds of exchanges, because they give us a chance to show off what we do best – take common-sense ideas and put them to work for the companies we serve. That’s because years of experience in this industry have taught us that new websites, search engine optimization plans, and social media marketing campaigns are all exciting, but they only have value if they lead to more sales or decreased expenses when it’s all said and done.
So, will you get better value from an agile marketing plan or a more traditional approach to finding customers over the internet? To help you find the answer, let’s look at what you need to know…
How a Traditional Online Marketing Campaign Works
When we refer to a “traditional” internet marketing campaign, we mean the kind of setup you're probably used too. That’s where you hire a web design company to give you a specific type of deliverable, like a site with so many new pages, or a fixed number of blog posts. After you receive those, you’re back to the drawing board when it comes to future lead generation ideas.
This type of arrangement can work, of course, but only if you have a good idea of where you’re headed, know which marketing channels will be successful, and have a good creative team you can count on.
The Differences With an Agile Marketing Campaign
With an agile marketing scheme, you swap one-off transactions for a regular online marketing budget. Then, that budget gets devoted to a set number of deliverable items that will be completed within a short timeframe (like three or six months). After that, you meet with your creative team again to see what’s working and what isn’t. Then, you decide on a new direction going forward.
Obviously, the big difference here is that you’re never locked into one strategy. In fact, it’s assumed that your plan for attracting customers to your website will change over time as your business grows and you watch the results you get from each activity. Also, agile marketing makes it possible for you to switch tactics as dictated by new information or online marketing trends.
Why Agile Marketing Provides More Bottom Line Value
Agile marketing helps your bottom line in a couple of ways. For one thing, it makes your yearly budget more predictable than it would be if you were simply investing in activities or campaigns one at a time. More importantly, it allows you to maximize the return you get from every dollar by shifting your budget to the areas where you get the biggest results.
In other words, agile marketing lets you keep expanding your wins while cutting off losses or dead ends. Billions are wasted every year by marketers who don’t take the time to study the competitive landscape or shutting down campaigns that are failing. In an agile system, that never happens.
How To Learn More About Agile Online Marketing
If you want to know more about agile marketing you could stop by our blog again soon to read more content. Or, you could get specific answers about your business and challenges by scheduling a free consultation with a member of the WebRevelation team.
With offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we have coverage throughout the Midwest and
Southeast. Even better, we have decades of experience with web design, programming, online marketing, and so much more. Call us today to set up a free consultation and see how we can help!
It’s easy to get excited about a custom software development project, and even to hire a programming team and get started. When it comes to ending up with a finished product that everyone is pleased with – from management to the end-user – though, things get a little harder.
That’s because custom software programming, like everything else in the world of business, is all about results. In particular, there are certain key results that matter more than others. Manage and plan with those in mind and you’ll be on the right track. Lose sight of them and you can easily find yourself sliding backwards with delays, cost overruns, and ultimately failure.
To help illustrate this point, and keep you from falling into common custom software development traps, let’s look at the five kinds of results that will ultimately make or break your project…
#1 Goal Fulfillment
If your software doesn’t do what you need it to, then it doesn’t really matter how it looks, when it’s delivered, or how much it costs. The project will be a failure if it doesn’t serve some kind of business purpose. That’s important to keep in mind because it’s easy for custom development to move off track if you don’t have a very strong sense of what you want to accomplish.
#2 Interface and Aesthetics
Functionality is almost all-important, but usability and visual appearance also have to factor in. If your app is difficult to use, then all the features in the world probably won’t save it. Likewise, users expect a certain kind of cleanliness in software design. They want clean menus and interfaces. If your software looks clunky or low-budget, that can affect its perceived value.
#3 Software Stability
This is an easy aspect of your custom software development project to overlook, but it’s incredibly crucial. The release version of your software doesn’t just have to be stable enough to work consistently on a variety of platforms without any problems; it also has to operate without conflicts resulting from other applications or operating systems. Otherwise, it won’t be usable by you and your team.
Even the most useful, stable, and elegantly-designed piece of software can turn into a bad bargain if your project runs over the established budget. At some point its value is exceeded by its cost. That’s why you should only work with experienced development teams that have a reputation for being efficient and dependable. And, it’s a good reminder to keep one eye on the bottom line as the programming process moves along.
In the same way, your custom software development needs might be tied into some sort of specific event or deadline. In that case, the ROI you see from your investment could be dependent on getting a usable app by a specific date. If that’s the case, make sure your programming team knows about this hard calendar target and why it’s so important.
Need Expert Custom Software Development?
When you need a new piece of software developed to meet the needs of your business or organization, you want an experienced team with a track record of success. Why not contact WebRevelation? We’ll be happy to set up a free consultation so you can get answers to your most pressing questions.
Many of the new clients who come to us have horror stories about custom software development projects that went way over their original and intended budgets. Nearly all of them have at least heard about these kinds of nightmares. As a result, they come to us feeling understandably worried about the costs associated with programming something new.
In order to help calm their fears, we typically do offer two things. First, we show them our long track record of success with delivering new pieces of software on time and under budget. Second, we explain the biggest reasons why so many custom software development projects end up costing more than they should.
Today, we want to lay out a few of those issues here…
Insufficient Understanding of the Project
The most common reason it’s difficult to complete a custom software development project for the right fee is the programmers really didn’t understand the scope of the job to begin with. In other words, they heard what the client asked for, but didn’t necessarily understand all the various features and functions that had to be incorporated. They didn’t ask enough questions (or not enough information was provided), so the project just seems to get bigger and bigger with each passing week.
Project Creep and Scope Changes
Project creep – the phenomenon where clients and/or their programming teams keep adding new features to the list of deliverables – can be a real issue, too. This occurs when a management team asks for one thing, but then treats the resulting software project like a Christmas tree, adding one new idea to the list after another until the whole thing falls down. An experienced programming partner can help keep this from happening, but the best way to prevent project creep is by simply being aware of it.
Bad or Deceptive Software Development Quotes
It’s unfortunate, but some custom software development companies will knowingly under-quote a project to get a client’s business. Then, they’ll add to the costs as work moves along, knowing that a business owner or executive is unlikely to find a new vendor once the job is underway. Obviously, you can mitigate this somewhat by being careful about agreements and invoices, but it’s better to simply avoid firms that don’t have a great reputation in the programming industry.
New Ideas or Inspirations from Programming Clients
This is somewhat less common but can actually be a good thing. If, in the middle of your custom software development project, you spot an opportunity to spend a little more and make the resulting product even better or more profitable, then why not go for it? If you come up with an idea that’s a winner and fits into the framework of what you are already planning, adding something a little extra to your contract – and getting a better business tool as a result – can be a good value.
Need a Custom Software Development Team You Can Count On?
At WebRevelation, we have decades of combined experience in planning, designing, and programming new pieces of software. If you want to work with a vendor that will take the time to understand your project, and then deliver just what you need at the right price, contact us today so we can get to work for you!
It would be a very unusual day if a business owner were call us out of the blue and want to talk about API integration. Most decision-makers outside the IT realm aren’t really sure what the term means, and only tend to think about it when they’re experiencing problems they don’t understand.
And yet, API integration can actually have a big effect on your company’s bottom line.
Don’t worry: we aren’t going to try to make you an expert in software programming or web development. What we do want, though, is to share a few simple ideas about API integration custom app development that can help you to meet your business goals.
An Introduction to Application Program Interfaces (or APIs)
APIs might sound complicated, but they aren’t. Basically, they allow your website to interface with other tools. For instance, when you go to set an appointment online, and are taken to someone’s Google calendar, there is an API making the connection between two different pieces of software.
APIs can be used in a lot of different ways. You probably encounter them all the time without knowing it. For example, many widgets that supply information on weather, sports scores, stock prices, or currency exchange rates all use APIs. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter rely on several of them.
You might be thinking that is interesting but doesn’t seem relevant to your business. That brings us to the next point.
You Probably Use (or Will Use) APIs On Your Website
At some point, it’s likely you’ll want specific data (possibly from a third-party or off-line source) to be displayed in your website. That might be to help with sales, to give some useful context, or just as a useful plug-in for guests. So, there’s a good chance you’ll be using an API to bring your website together with some other social or informational tool.
However, most web developers aren’t going to build APIs from scratch. That can be problematic because every piece of code you add to your website can slow it down, conflict with other instructions, or even lead to security vulnerabilities. Choosing the right APIs, and having them properly integrated, can be crucial even (or especially) because it happens behind the scenes.
That’s where a good web development partner comes into play.
What We Want You to Remember About API Integration
Unless you happen to be very technically-minded, or get into the details of web program on a regular basis, you probably won’t think of API integration again after you finish this article. However, hopefully you understand by this point that it’s about bringing different pieces of web-based software together. And, we hope you’ll come away with the knowledge that it's something your development team shouldn’t rush through.
When API integration isn’t handled carefully, and tested thoroughly, you can end up with problems on your website that are difficult to diagnose and fix. Pages can crash, your content can load slowly, or visitors might have the impression that things “just don’t work.”
Obviously, that’s not going to help your online strategy or your bottom line. So, while you don’t have to be an expert in API integration, you do have to hire the kind of web development company that pays attention to the details if you want to stay out of trouble.
Looking for Advanced Website Application Development?
At WebRevelation, with offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we can program web applications other companies can’t. Better yet, we can finish our work on time and within budget.
To learn more about our capabilities, and what we can do to help your business grow, contact us today to schedule a free consultation!
How do you get a custom web application development company to do their best work?
This is a question you might not have ever considered, but it’s one you should think about if you’re building a website that will have advanced features. After all, good programming isn’t cheap or fast; you should do everything you can to get the most from your effort and investment.
It goes without saying that the first step is to work with a quality creative team in the first place. A company with lots of experience, strong technical skills, and a track record of success is much more likely to deliver the results you want than a vendor who is advertising themselves as the cheapest or fastest in the business.
Beyond that, though, there are certain things you can do as a business owner or executive to inspire a custom web application development company to produce work that’s award-worthy. Here are a few ideas to help you get started…
Make Sure Your Web Development Partner Understands the Project
This sounds so simple, but it’s crucial to the success of any project. If your custom web application development company fails to understand the details or minor points of your project, or misses a major need, then it’s going to slow things down. Or worse, it could lead to a situation where you get a finished website that doesn’t exactly do what you hoped it would. You don’t want to waste your time or money because of a simple misunderstanding.
Answer Questions With as Much Depth and Detail as Possible
You can be sure that, during the coding and design process, your web development partner is going to have a few questions. When possible, give depth and detail within your answers. Even yes and no queries can be given some context if it’s important for your team to know why you feel a certain way. This is one of those situations in life where more information is better than less. The better your development team understands your needs, the easier it will be for them to give you what you want.
Don’t Rush the Creative or Technical Process
Some business owners and executives get anxious to launch their new websites and will try to rush the process along. A good custom web application development company is going to resist efforts to speed through any step. That’s because we know how important it is to make sure all the bases have been covered, and that your web application has been thoroughly tested, before it goes live. That way you won’t have to deal with errors or unexpected downtime later.
Remember What You’re Trying to Build or Accomplish
The great thing about the digital age is the feeling that we have endless opportunities to connect and promote in innovative ways. The drawback is that the possibilities can quickly become overwhelming. If you want your custom web application development company to do their best work, remember what you’re trying to accomplish and don’t distract them with new ideas or priorities if they aren’t important. Then they can stay on task and focus on the outcomes that matter.
Need a Custom Web Application Development Company That Puts You First?
At WebRevelation, we have built our business up over 20+ years on client successes. When you come to us, you get real answers, real service, and the knowledge that meeting your business goals will be our top priority.
Contact us today to get answers to your questions or a quote on your web development project.
There are a lot of custom web application development companies out there. We should know – we keep tabs on our industry and colleagues all the time, and find ourselves amazed at how many firms pitch their ability to generate new software.
Of course, some teams earn better reviews than others. Even though business owners and executives ultimately find us because they want a completed website with special functionality, there is a lot that goes into the process of generating a new web application.
To help bring you closer to the tools you need, let’s look at some of the things you should look for in a web application development company…
The Patience to Learn and Research
In some ways, coding and new business app is the easy part. It’s learning about our clients, along with their ideas and challenges, that takes a special touch. We have learned over the years to be patient and let business owners and executives explain to us exactly what they need. Don’t settle for a development partner who won’t take plenty of time in the discovery phase of your project.
The Discipline to Meet Deadlines
It’s easy, if you aren’t careful, for a web application development project to go many weeks or months past a stated deadline. While some delays might be introduced by clients as they refine their ideas, it’s important to find a team you can count on to stick to a firm schedule.
A Good Eye for Design
Although your custom web application development company should be more concerned about the functionality of your website than pure aesthetics, we aren’t going to pretend looks don’t matter. Make sure you hire a team whose creative instincts are as strong as their programming chops.
An Emphasis on Usability
Usability could be considered part of design, but it’s so much bigger. Your website doesn’t just have to be powerful and beautiful, it has to be easy to use and interact with. Otherwise, no one is going to care about the unique features you're offering them.
The Ability to Take and Implement Feedback
Web programmers might be experts on coding, but they aren’t the ultimate authorities on your business. For that reason, they should be willing to take your feedback and make necessary edits or revisions quickly. If you find you’re working with a custom web application development company that thinks they always know better than you do, it might be time to shop around.
A Focus on Testing and Stability
Your website, and the underlying plug-ins, are only valuable so long as they can be used by your customers, employees, or vendors. That usually means ensuring compatibility across a wide range of devices and browsers. In order to be sure everything functions exactly as it should, your programmer should test extensively.
An Awareness of Security Standards
The last thing you want, when you’re adding new business features your website, is to introduce security issues that can be exploited by hackers. That’s why you need your team to not only prioritize online security, but to update and patch your web apps as needed to keep your company safe.
We Speak Business and Custom Web Applications
If you want to make your business website bigger, stronger, and faster, you need a programming team that can translate business opportunities into code that works flawlessly. That’s where the creative minds at WebRevelation come in.
Why not call us today and see how we take your inspiration and turn it into something that you can use to grow your company in revenue month after month?
Is data integration just a buzzword, or a luxury for Fortune 500 firms with massive IT budgets? We don’t think so. In fact, experience has taught us that smaller and medium-sized organizations sometimes have the most to gain from organizing information more carefully.
To show you why, and get you thinking about the many ways you can use smarter technology and communications to reach your bottom-line goals, let’s look at five ways you can use data integration to grow your business…
#1 A Customer-Focused Sales Approach
Whether you realize it or not, your customers are constantly giving you new data about their needs, demographics, and preferences. They’re telling you exactly how you can sell more products and services to them. And, they’re telling you what other buyers who are in their shoes want as well.
With a smart data integration strategy, you can focus your sales and marketing on individual buyers or those who share specific traits. That’s a great way to boost revenue now and over the long run.
#2 Supply Chain and Logistics Management
The era of large warehouses filled with unsold inventory is quickly coming to an end. Today’s manufacturers and suppliers are using integrated data to track shipments, inputs, and orders in real time. They’re revolutionizing our understanding of the supply chain to maximize profitability.
This kind of coordinated production effort is virtually impossible without the right custom software. How can we help your company to get smarter about manufacturing, shipping, and storage?
#3 Auditing and Reporting Solutions
It’s much easier to have faith in the accuracy of your data when it’s coming from several sources and updated on a continual basis. That’s why automated data collection is so important to the integration process.
You can use the information you get from many different sources to generate customized reports or audit your own performance at the micro or macro level. Everything starts with having the right information. From there, drawing good conclusions is easy.
#4 Real-Time Forecasting
It’s difficult to look into the future when you can’t see the present clearly. This is another area where accurate reporting and data integration can be an enormous boost to your bottom line. When you have a firm handle on things like costs, sales, and inventory, you can move more confidently towards scheduled promotions or investments.
Forecasting and planning are crucial to the success of any business owner or executive. Those jobs are simplified with advanced data integration.
#5 Scheduling and Resource Management
You only have so many hours and employees to go around. And, your company might have shared resources like automobiles, meeting rooms, or specialized equipment. Cloud technology combined with smart data systems remove the headaches that come with overbooking or/and shortages.
With advanced data integration, you can schedule these for maximum usage and efficiency.
Want to Get Smarter About Data Integration?
You don’t have to become an IT expert to make use of data integration in your company or nonprofit. You just have to have the right tools (and creative minds) helping you to move in the right direction.
Contact the team at WebRevelation today so we can show you how we’ve helped other clients to collect, manage, and profit from data integration. It’s easier than you might think, and it could be the step that makes it easier for you to reach your other goals!
One of the most important assets in your business? Most of the owners and executives we talk to will come up with answers like real estate, patents, or even employees. A few forward-thinkers might name their brand or experience.
One answer that hardly ever comes up, however, is the data a company owns.
While data might not be the most valuable part of your business on paper, it can be worth a lot more than you might imagine. That’s because you can use data to sort customers into groups, market to a tightly-defined segment of buyers, spot industry trends, and a lot more.
In fact, many companies are sitting on goldmines they don’t even know exist. That’s because they aren’t paying any attention to data integration – the process of making information more accessible to users and decision-makers.
Here are a few ways you can avoid making the same mistake…
Data Integration Starts With Automated Capturing
It’s nearly impossible to get anything for your company’s data if you’re manually entering by hand. That’s not just because the costs will be high and duplication mistakes are going to occur, but also because there will always be a lag time between the moment when information is received and when it’s accessible.
Using specialized software, you can automate data collection through your website, incoming documents, and even printed mail. Given that computerized capturing systems are fast and inexpensive, why would you want to pay someone to type day after day… or worse yet, do it yourself?
Data Needs to Be Accessible in Real Time
It’s not exactly a secret that today’s business world moves at a faster-than-ever pace. In order to make good decisions, you have to have updated information. Old data isn’t just useless, it can actually cause you to make poor decisions that move your company backwards.
With smart software and automated data collection, though, you can maintain up-to-date records on customers, finances, inventory, personnel, and other parts of your company. Then, you can get real-time feedback on both what is and isn’t working.
Profitable Data Integration Requires Detailed Reporting
As we have noted in the past, data doesn’t have much value in and of itself. To profit from it, you have to parse it, understand it, and decipher trends. This brings us to another aspect of data integration, which revolves around detailed reporting.
When you have the right data systems in place, the metrics you need are available with the push of a button. Even better, reports can be customized for various date ranges, regions, customer types, etc. That’s everything you need to run your company in an easy-to-understand format. And, it’s insight you wouldn’t get from a spreadsheet or stack of papers on your desk.
Is It Time to Start Getting More from Data and Technology?
If you suspect your company could be doing more with technology than it is right now, take this chance to get the expert advice you need. The WebRevelation team is here to answer your questions and find cost-friendly solutions to your biggest challenges. Contact us today so we can set up a time to talk!
Microsoft Excel is great for a lot of things, but it shouldn’t be your data entry and management solution. That’s the business equivalent of using a small hatchback to move your belongings from one house to another – you can probably get the job done with enough time and patience, but you’re better off using the tool that suits the purpose.
This isn’t exactly advanced thinking in the world of software and application design, but it’s something business leaders need to remember. That’s because we regularly come across companies stuck in what we call “Excel Hell.” They’re using numerous spreadsheets to try to manage data with opportunities and insights slipping through the cracks every day.
What It’s Like in Excel Hell
Are you in Excel Hell? Here are some of the signs…
The spreadsheets you use to manage your business span many different worksheets, often with overlapping names, date ranges, or purposes.
You do a great deal of data entry directly into your Excel spreadsheets, and continually find yourself worrying that individual entries are going to be inaccurate.
Speaking of your data, you aren’t all that confident about the accuracy of your customer records, bookkeeping, or sales forecasts.
You have numerous pieces of data that are repeated, duplicated, or just listed in multiple formats.
Your team struggles to import and export data between different spreadsheets, or into and out of Excel when using other pieces of software.
The spreadsheets you rely on frequently display error messages or broken functions resulting from missing links, incomplete sums, or equations that don’t make sense.
These are just some of the problems you find in Excel Hell, but there are indicative of bigger data management problems. And more importantly, they can cripple your business.
A Better Solution to Data Management
None of this is meant to pick on Microsoft or Excel. What we are getting at are the perils of using tools for jobs for which they weren’t designed. It’s not the way to get the business results you need. Rather than rely on an endless number of spreadsheets to record, tabulate, and view data, why not use a different piece of software designed specifically for the tasks you’re trying to complete?
Often, business owners and executives will tell us that the applications they need don’t exist. That’s actually good news!
Why do you want to hear that the software you need hasn’t been invented yet? Because when you hire a programming team to turn it into a reality, you either get a huge advantage over your competitors or a product you can sell on your own.
In other words, the answer to your data management problems isn’t to rely on spreadsheets that will eventually drive you crazy, but to develop the custom software needed for accurate data collection and reporting. It’s your cue to build a better mousetrap.
Data management is always going to be a headache if you’re trying to keep track of thousands of pieces of information in a piece of software that wasn’t designed for the job. Why not build a better tool and improve your company at the same time?
Custom Software Programming Made Easy
Have a need for software that’s developed specifically for your business? Want to solve your toughest data management problems permanently?
Contact the experienced programming team at WebRevelation today to see how we can help!
The digital age is here, but some companies and organizations aren’t. In fact, a lot of the business leaders who come to us admit they are still largely (or even completely) dependent on manual processes to execute everyday operations. In a world where computers and software are teaming up to do more and more, they are still pushing papers, filling out forms, and updating records by hand.
It goes without saying, that falling behind in this way puts you at an enormous disadvantage. Even if your company or department is profitable, why wouldn’t you make it more profitable by using the proper tools for each job?
Automation is more than a business buzzword – it’s a way to cut costs and do away with your biggest hassles. Today, we want to shed light on a few areas of your business that can be greatly improved with custom programming. Let’s look at some of the areas where companies tend to waste more time and money than they should…
Most data entry tasks can be automated quickly and affordably. That means paying for fewer staff for temp hours, but it also means getting higher-quality data into your records more quickly. As any experienced business person can tell you, the toughest part about managing information is having it entered cleanly and rapidly in the first place. Why not let your website, or piece of custom software, handle the job without errors?
Data is only valuable when you can use it to improve your business. Unfortunately, contact details, marketing touch points, and other pieces of information are routinely lost or missed because decision-makers don’t have a good way to spot big-picture trends. With custom software and automation, though, you can get all the data you need at your fingertips, and present it in a way that’s easy to browse and understand.
Many businesses struggle with document management and its various forms. Manufacturers have to pass along manuals, rebate cards and sales materials. Physicians have to keep hundreds of thousands of patient records together. Accountants can find themselves drowning in a sea of invoices, receipts, and statements. With custom software, you can store, catalog, and deliver documents securely in real-time. How much money and aggravation would that save your company?
Getting employees, volunteers, or vendors to the correct places at the correct times can be a logistical nightmare if you’re working through phones, emails, or even faxes. However, savvy companies are integrating online tools, mobile apps, and other resources to automate scheduling processes. The result is a system where these issues can be managed in real-time without gaps or duplications.
Could Your Business Be More Efficient?
If your company is still dependent on manual processes, or if you simply aren’t getting all the gains from automation you should be, then it’s time to talk to the experts in the field. Contact the experienced minds at WebRevelation today. We have locations in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, not to mention decades of experience helping companies and organizations of all sizes to get more from technology.
Contact us today to set up your free initial consultation!
Outside of our industry, it’s a commonly held belief that new business software development is driven by tech-minded people who write code for fun. That occasionally happens, but what occurs far more often is that an aspiring entrepreneur or executive sees a need and decides to have a programming team fill it.
In other words, most custom business software creation is driven by inspiration or necessity.
Typically, business leaders fall on one end of the change curve or another. On one side, you have thinkers who see the possibility to create a ride-sharing app, for example, or an idea to deliver books in digital content to small screens. On the other side, you have taxi business owners to fight the tide of change, or physical retailers who cling to printed books and DVDs.
We all know that innovation tends to win out in the end. Knowing that, one of the most important things you can do is “See” into the future by creating. Today, then, we want to give you a series of questions you can use to start your brainstorming. Answer the following, and see if it leads you towards the inspiration for a new custom business software project…
What Can’t You Do That You Wish You Could?
In most businesses, there is a desire to meet some need that has felt just out of reach. However, technology and perspectives are changing all the time. Something that would have been impossible just a few years ago might now be feasible through mobile technology, cloud computing, or automation. Think about the ways you’d like to expand and then see how you can turn them into reality.
What Do Customers Want From You?
If you have something buyers have been asking you for, now might be the time to give it to them. Custom business software creation is inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special technical knowledge from a client or entrepreneur. You simply have to tell your programming team what it is you’d like customers to be able to do and we can help you take care of the rest.
Which Tools Would Improve Life for Employees or Managers?
Perhaps the people you have working for you are holding on to some really great ideas that would either increase their productivity or make it easier for them to service customers. By getting a sense of what they need to better do their jobs, you could find the basis for a great software development project.
What Do You Wish You Could Spend Less Time or Money On?
Sometimes, software development is about doing less instead of more. You can automate tasks like data entry, reporting, and even certain bookkeeping functions so you can spend less time doing things that are unenjoyable or unprofitable. If there are parts of your business you would like to spend less money or effort on, look for ways to let software take over the job.
What’s Missing From Your Market?
This falls into the area of pure inspiration. The big thinkers of our time sometimes seem to pull great ideas out of nowhere. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what possibilities are on the horizon. Where could the next big business idea or life-changing application come from? Spend enough time brainstorming and you just might hit on a game-changing concept.
How to Turn Your Vision Into a Business
Whether you have an idea for a new business, or just an aspect of your existing companies you’d like to explore, the expert programming team at WebRevelation can help. For years, we’ve been helping our clients around San Antonio and Oklahoma City to develop and market custom business software. Why not schedule a consultation to see what we can do for you?
If you’re busy running a business or department, web development software probably is a topic that rises to your mind on a lot of different occasions. However, you may start thinking about it when you meet with a team like ours, or simply begin exploring the different ways you could gain revenue or cut costs through your website.
Most of the clients we meet with will admit they don’t know a lot about web development and software. That’s perfectly fine. We don’t need them to be experts in our field. Instead, we just have to help them understand what we do and why it matters to their plans.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what business owners actually need to know about web development software…
Web Development Software Packages are Just Tools
There are a lot of web development software systems out there, and a lot of different firms claiming that the ones they use (or have developed) are the best around. However, it’s important to remember these are all just tools. A hammer or a saw is only as good as the person using it. The same goes for programming. It doesn’t really matter all that much what your web developers use as long as they have the right skills, experience, and mindset.
Different Web Development Software Programs Have Different Benefits
With the point about web development software being dependent on skills and talents out of the way, it’s not a bad idea to ask your designers or programmers which software solutions they prefer. You may even want to find out why they like one product or another. That isn’t because there is a “right” or “wrong” answer, but because you want to have an idea about their thinking and expertise. In other words, you want to be sure they are using the right tools for the job, not just the ones that happen to be closest or easiest to master.
You Don’t Need to Know Much About Web Development Software
In the end, you really don’t have to know a lot about web development software to get custom programming as a client. You simply have to be sure you know what your website will do, and that the final applications are going to be stable and secure. We always encourage the business owners and executives we work with to ask plenty of questions, but don’t worry if you aren’t all that comfortable with, or interested in, the technical details.
Need More Clarity on Custom Web Development?
Custom web development can be a complicated and technical topic. However, your creative team shouldn’t use jargon or acronyms that go over your head – they should help you to understand exactly what you’re going to get for your time and money.
If you’re tired of being confused about custom programming and want to learn about the bottom line business possibilities, now is a great time to talk with the WebRevelation team. Initial consultations are free, and we'll be happy to answer all your questions. Reach out to us today!
Once you understand the power of custom web development– the potential to cut costs and boost profits by adding new features to your business website – it’s easy to make the decision to move forward. After all, what owner or executive doesn’t want to gain an edge over the competition?
The harder part is figuring out who you should turn to for web development services. It’s a big decision, and one that’s easy to get wrong.
That’s because most businesspeople have good ideas about what they want from their websites, but don’t understand the technical details of the work enough to evaluate different firms or vendors. In other words, they know what kind of functionality they need online, but may not be sure how to get it.
Finding a web programming partner doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to know what to look for. Let’s look at the traits that matter most when selecting a web development services partner…
Web Development Experience
Custom programming experience matters for a couple of reasons. First, there are technical challenges involved in putting together an app or plug-in, particularly if you want your website to do something innovative or unusual. At the same time, an experienced team of programming and creative professionals can help you flush out the details of your project and finish it on-time and within budget.
The Size of Your Programming Team
Unless you have a massive budget or an infinite deadline for the completion of your custom web development project, the size of your programming team matters. You want a company with enough technical minds on staff to get your job done quickly. At the same time, though, you’ll generally get better value from a smaller firm that doesn’t have huge overhead expenses that need to be built into your invoices.
A Service-Oriented Mindset
Programming custom web applications isn’t the biggest or most important part of our work – getting to know our clients and their needs or challenges is. You should remember that and prioritize fast, personal service when evaluating different vendors. They’re going to be a lot of questions and conversations that come up while you’re building or improving your website. That will be a lot easier to deal with if you work with a firm that puts your needs first.
A Track Record of Successful Projects
Clients tend to look at samples and portfolios when choosing vendors for web development services, but we encourage you to go a little bit deeper. Talk to former clients, check out case studies, and try to find out if a team’s past work has been profitable for the businesses that hire them. All of these tell you something about a programming partner’s working style, along with the outcomes you can expect on your own projects.
Want Help With Custom Web Development Services?
The WebRevelation team has many years of experience with web design, development, and custom programming. Contact one of our offices in San Antonio or Oklahoma City today to learn more about our work and see how we can help you take your website to the next level!
For people who run companies, it can be difficult to separate facts from myths about web application development.
On the one hand, nearly all business owners and executives are excited about the possibilities that come with having websites that can do more. Most realize they can reduce expenses, automate repetitive tasks, and kick their marketing into a higher gear with custom apps and plug-ins. On the other hand, many have to get past empty hype they’ve heard from web programming companies, or are carrying around misconceptions that web development has to be expensive, risky, or complicated.
To be sure you have the right ideas about web application development – and that you can take steps to put it to work in your business – let’s look at five real facts to keep in mind…
#1 You Use Custom Web Apps Every Day
Many of our new clients will tell us they aren’t that familiar with web application development, but most use custom online programming every day. That’s because almost all major websites use bits of code that been developed for specific purposes (shopping carts, marketing offers, detailed searches, etc.). Whenever you come across a website that does something besides displaying text and images, there’s a chance you’re interacting with a custom web app.
#2 Web Application Development Is a Business Issue
Although web application development might seem like a technical topic from the outside, it’s really more of a business issue. That’s because clients seek it out to add new features and functions to their websites. They want to collect more leads, streamline customer service, or simplify repeat orders. In other words, you work with the development team because you want to make your business more functional and profitable, not because you have an interest in seeing lines of code.
#3 Most Websites Aren’t as Functional as They Could Be
The idea that web application development has to be complicated often keeps businesspeople from pursuing profitable ideas and projects. Most websites simply aren’t as functional as they could be; they don’t have all the tools and resources needed to help customers, vendors, or employees get the information they need. If you ever get the feeling you want your website to do more than it is, you’re probably expressing a desire for web application development.
#4 Custom Web Programming Has Three Components
There are really three aspects that separate great web applications from the rest. The first has to do with design and visuals. You want your website to look great so you can impress customers. The second aspect is functionality. It’s obviously important that your application does what it’s supposed to. The third piece of the puzzle comes down to stability and security. That means your custom application should not only work, but be responsive without giving hackers an opening into your website. Don’t settle for any vendor who can’t work with all three of these priorities.
#5 We Can Help With Web Application Development
If you want to know more about web application development you could check back to our blog soon for more informative articles. Or, you could reach out to the WebRevelation team to schedule a free consultation. It won’t cost you anything, and we'll be happy to answer your questions and show you what it means for your business.
It used to be expected that visiting a doctor, dentist, or the medical practice meant arriving very early to an appointment and filling out endless forms before you could be seen. Now, most physicians are rapidly moving to online medical intake forms. The best are setting them up in a way that doesn’t just save time, but also impresses patients.
With that in mind, our question today is this: is your practice making the most of online medical intake forms?
If you aren’t, or don’t feel sure your forms are as effective as they could be, then let’s take a look at a few of the relevant details and benefits you should consider…
Online Medical Intake Forms are Convenient
This is true for physicians, support staff, and patients. The people coming to your practice don’t want to take the time to fill out forms by hand, and it doesn’t help your schedule to wait for them to complete paperwork before they can be seen. Additionally, newer online medical intake forms can be completed using smart phones and tablets, meaning patients can fill them out whenever or wherever it’s convenient for them.
They Allow for More Accurate Information
Another problem with the old paperwork system was that it could lead to inaccuracies and errors. Few good things happen when people are scribbling down notes about their medical history, allergies, or insurance information by hand while they are in a hurry. These kinds of situations can lead to billing errors or even mistakes in treatment. Why take those chances when you could solve the problem with online medical intake forms?
Great Online Medical Intake Forms Impress Patients
Not all online medical intake forms are created equal. Some are clunky, confusing, and badly-designed. When yours are clear and interactive, though, it impresses new patients. Also, existing patients can save some pieces of information, making it easier for them to schedule appointments and complete their check-ins. That makes it more likely they’ll continue to return to your practice and refer others) for years to come.
In this day and age, HIPAA and patient confidentiality are more important topics than ever before. Using secure online medical intake forms, you can help control the flow of information through your practice and keep records safe and secure. That’s a good way to put patients at ease, and to protect your company from fines, lawsuits, and other damages.
Get Help with Online Medical Intake Forms
If you feel like you aren’t getting as much as you could be from your online medical intake forms, or you just want to look at more ways you can use the web to run a smarter practice, now is a great time to schedule an appointment with the WebRevelation creative team. We have the skills and experience needed to help doctors, specialists, dentists, and other professionals to make the most of the internet.
Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!
A lot of web designers would like you to believe that ecommerce is all about shopping carts and simple plug-ins. To their thinking, every online store is the same, and generating profits from internet sales is as simple as pairing a few product pages with search engine ads and social reviews.
They might be right, when it comes to small businesses that just sell a few simple products to consumers. When we look at ecommerce for companies that sell B2B services and solutions, though, it’s an entirely different story.
Let’s look at some of the things that make B2B ecommerce a little bit different…
B2B Purchases are Bigger
A recent Forrester survey showed that 30% of all B2B buyers made online purchases, and that almost twice as many were planning to in the next few years. That makes B2B ecommerce one of the fastest-growing parts of the industry. Almost everyone with an internet connection has bought something from Amazon.com or iTunes; however, much of the B2B market remains untapped.
It isn’t just that B2B internet purchases are growing as a percentage, though. Online or off, business buyers tend to spend quite a bit more than their personal consumer counterparts. So, there are many more dollars at stake for each potential order or account.
B2B Buyers Want Content
Although customers buy all kinds of products and services over the web now, many consumer purchases still amount to “impulse buys.” People see products they like, check out the price (and maybe a few reviews), and then complete the sale.
That doesn’t happen as often in B2B ecommerce. Because more money is at stake, and because buying decisions are often made by groups, prospects tend to research their decisions a little bit more. Additionally, the extra money means extra competition in a lot of markets. As a result, B2B businesses often need more content – in the form of blog posts, videos, buying guides, etc. – both to remain at the top of the search engine listings and convince prospects to keep moving forward.
It’s Not Just About Price
Some B2B marketers might grumble about the need for additional content and reputation building, but there is a silver lining to all of this buyer research: most people who are spending money for the business organization aren’t as sensitive to price. Unless it’s something as simple as printer paper, they want service, speed, and reliability.
That means you can get profits from B2B ecommerce even if you aren’t the cheapest supplier in your industry. As long as you can explain to customers why they have to spend a little bit more to get the best, you may be able to generate big sales directly from your website.
Want Help With B2B Ecommerce?
If you sell to other businesses and want to add online ordering on your website – or simply want to get better results from your existing B2B ecommerce offerings – now is the time to get expert advice from a proven creative team. Talk to the experienced minds at WebRevelation today and see why so many B2B marketers refuse to work with anyone else!
As we have noted on our blog in the past, custom software development can sometimes go horribly wrong. Some projects start out as great ideas, but end up being expensive, time-consuming, or ultimately a huge waste of effort and money.
There are a lot of reasons a custom software project might go wrong, of course, but one frequent cause of failure has to do with shifting focus. That is, a client sets out to accomplish one thing, and then lets their attention drift to other (sometimes competing) ideas and priorities as development moves on.
It shouldn’t be surprising that a programming job can go off the rails under those circumstances. If you set out to bake a cake and then ended up craving tacos, the end result wouldn’t be pretty. The same thing happens when you’re trying to code a new application. If you change course in the middle of the job, you’ll either have to start over or end up with something that doesn’t really fit any specific purpose.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways you can maintain your focus during the software development process…
Start With a Big Idea
Ideally, you should be able to explain the core idea behind your custom software project in a single phrase. If you can’t boil your inspiration down to a simple thought, there’s a much higher chance your idea will move in a lot of different directions. To avoid project drift, try to narrow your thinking to saving money, reducing paperwork, increasing sales, or some other tangible task from the start.
Focus on What’s Important
After you have a firm idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, you should be able to decide which aspects or features of the project will have the biggest impact. Even if it’s just a bulleted list, see if you can come up with a few thoughts on critical features that need to be implemented. Then, you can share the benefits or functions that will make or break your application with your development partner.
Don’t Make Sudden Changes
At some point in the programming process, it’s likely you’ll hear a recommendation, or see something you like, that will get you thinking about instituting new ideas or directions. Ask yourself whether these changes are really necessary, and how much they’ll add to the finished product. If you decide they’re worth the additional time and money you can move ahead, but you shouldn’t make these decisions lightly.
Follow a Proven Model for Success
The initial version of your custom application doesn’t have to be the final one. In fact, you might want to meet with your custom software programming partner at set intervals after its release to make revisions or improvements. Knowing that, you shouldn’t feel as if everything has to be perfect from the start. Focus on getting a core version of your software that does what you want to and then add to that as you go.
The First Step Towards Successful Custom Software Development
If you’re serious about saving money, increasing sales, or hitting another hard goal with your custom software development project, you need the right vendor on your side. Call the expert team at WebRevelation – based in San Antonio and Oklahoma City – today to see exactly what we’ve been able to accomplish for other businesses just like yours!
Most of us can remember playing the “telephone game” at some point as children. If you never did, or don’t recall the experience, it usually looks something like this: one student is given a phrase on a slip of paper, which they have to recite from memory to the next person. That person passes the message along to another student, and so on.
What makes this game a fun tool for educators is the fact that the ending phrase hardly ever comes close to the statement that was originally written down. The lesson is that gossip, hearsay, and third-party impressions aren’t as reliable as we tend to treat them.
Why bring this up today? Because the biggest mistake made in custom software development usually doesn’t have to do with execution. If you hire an experienced team to program your next application, they aren’t likely to do a bad job. Instead, what causes so many delays, busted budgets, and project failures is a misunderstanding of a client’s actual needs. If your software developer thinks they’re making one thing, and you think they're programming another, the results are never going to be great.
Because this is so often an issue within our industry, today we want to give you a handful of tips you can use to ensure your programming team knows exactly what you want them to build…
Choose the Right Vendor
The longer you work in this business, the more you realize it’s important to listen and take notes. If you hire a software development firm that’s new to the business or charging rock-bottom rates, there’s a good chance they’ll rush through your project. Work with an experienced team, though, and the chances they’ll miss important details are slim.
Talk With Everyday Users
It’s a good idea to make sure that your idea of the perfect custom application matches up to what your customers, employees, or other everyday users expect. Otherwise, you could give your development team a list of features that means nothing to the people who will actually have to use your software. Get input early on the process so you can avoid setbacks later.
Focus on the Details
Once you have a firm concept for your software development project, start to fill in the details. What should the interface look like? Which features are most important? How could you expand your custom software in the future? By having written notes and the details in place, you can be sure you and your programming team are on the same page.
Provide Regular Feedback
Don’t just sit back and assume you’ll get the finished piece of software you need. As your vendor supplies you with designs, mockups, and test versions, give fast and thorough feedback. Don’t force them to guess about whether their impressions of your needs are correct or not. Give them revisions or a green light to move ahead if they’re doing a good job of turning your concept into a usable application.
Looking for the Right Software Development Firm?
If you can spend the time and money needed to have a custom application created for your company, then why not turn to a team of experienced professionals with a proven track record of success? Call the software development pros at WebRevelation today to learn more about our work to get a project quote!
An experienced custom software programming team can create applications that automate tasks, improve your marketing, and grow your bottom line. Before any of that can happen, though, they have to understand what your needs for the project look like in the first place.
In other words, you have to help them understand what you do, so they can help. That can be a little more complicated than it sounds, since you are an expert in your business but not software development, and your programming team knows coding but might not have a firm grasp on your strengths and challenges.
By putting together a set of written notes and observations, you can gather your thoughts, put them in order of importance, and make sure you don’t miss anything that’s crucial to the success of your software development project. Additionally, some clients like to work from notes because it relieves the pressure of having to list off their needs or ideas on the spot.
Also know that your software development partner might have a questionnaire they’ll ask you to complete. This can be a great way to get your thoughts moving and clarify your priorities.
Regardless of whether you put anything in writing or not, you can be sure your development team will want to interview you so they can get depth, context, and the answers to follow-up questions. Try not to rush this process. It can be difficult to take time out of your busy schedule to answer basic questions about your company, but the more your programming team knows, the easier it will be for them to meet your needs.
Expect your interview to last at least an hour or two, with additional questions likely to follow.
#3 Software Examples
Sometimes, new clients will come to us with examples of other software packages they like to point at. Usually, they want something that’s a little bit different than the application they are showing us, but it’s always helpful to have a starting point, if one exists. In fact, your example software doesn’t even have to be from the same business or industry.
If you do provide your team with an example, be prepared to point to a few specific features or visuals you like. Additionally, think ahead of time about the different ways you’ll want your custom software to be different.
If you really want a software developer to understand what you do and why it’s important, you might invite them to watch you and your team work. That way, they can see how users or customers are interacting with your existing software, what your current workflow looks like, and how things can be improved in the future.
The advantage of this approach is that it can yield insights or ideas you might not have thought of on your own.
Need a Great Software Development Partner?
Whether you already have an idea for the custom software application you need to have built, or simply want to talk with an experienced team who can help you find profit and savings opportunities, now is the perfect time to take the next step. Call the programming experts at WebRevelation today. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and show you exactly how you can use our work to improve your business!
Software development can transform an organization and help a company to save huge amounts of money over time. Or, it can be a never-ending process that results in wasted time and money.
Some of the world’s biggest organizations have seen major losses when it comes to custom software programming. Let’s look at just a few of the headline examples from recent history:
The Canadian government set out to consolidate 17 million webpages into a single system. After more than $35 million spent, less than 1% have been integrated.
The UK grocery chain Sainsbury’s wrote off roughly $300 million after its inventory automation platform was determined to be unusable.
Ford Motor Company scrapped its new purchasing system after investing $400 million in its development.
These are just a few examples, and they involve big organizations with enormous IT budgets. However, there are likely hundreds of smaller examples for each of these that never see the light of day. Because small and medium-sized companies don’t have as many shareholders or outside observers, their losses go unreported.
The point we want to make is that it’s easier than you might think to lose a lot of money on a software development project. Here’s how you can stop that from happening in your business
Be Clear on What You Want and Need
In many cases, the biggest software development blunders occur because the decision-makers involved didn’t have a clear picture of what they were trying to accomplish. And so, it was left to their development teams to try to sort through conflicting ideas and priorities. That’s never easy, and it can lead to delays, cost overruns, and incomplete work.
Commit Enough Time and Resources to the Project
As with most things in life, software gets a lot easier when you don’t try to cut corners. If you don’t devote enough time or money to your application, then you can’t be surprised when the finished project comes up short. You can save money by scaling back your needs and working with a smaller team that doesn’t have huge overhead expenses, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you get quality work for nothing.
Be Actively Involved in Testing and Development
Your software development team should engage you at several different points in the process, ensuring that their work meets your vision and expectations. Don’t simply rubberstamp approvals on what you see – be actively involved in the testing and development. It’s better to work out any kinks or issues early than it is to ask your vendor to re-encode big sections of your project later.
Hire a Software Programming Vendor You Can Trust
Developing a new piece of software is a lot easier, and more likely to succeed, when you have an experienced team on your side. Only hire a firm you can trust to meet their deadlines and stay true to their word. Your programming partner should be able to ask good questions and guide your thinking, not leave you with big invoices and unfulfilled promises.
We Know Custom Software Development
At WebRevelation we have 20+ years developing custom software solutions for businesses and organizations of all sizes. With offices in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, we are your affordable, dependable, and experienced programming team.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation and see what our team of experts can do for you!
In a perfect world, an entrepreneur or executive could think of an idea for a new software application, send a few notes to a talented programming team, and get a finished product they could use in just a few weeks.
That would be great, but it isn’t the world we live in. Instead, software developers and their clients need to be in continual contact, asking and answering questions on an ongoing basis until the project has been completed perfectly. When clients simply want to write a check and “have the job finished,” there are inevitable setbacks and delays that pop up along the way.
To help you avoid these kinds of difficulties, and to make it easier for ourselves and all the other experienced software programming teams out there, let’s take a look at the role clients play in the custom software development process…
You Provide the Inspiration
It goes without saying, but we need our clients to tell us what kinds of software packages they want to see built. The more specific your idea and inspiration is, the easier it will be for us to turn that vision into a reality.
We can certainly help you to flush out your thoughts and make them more concrete, but it’s a good idea to get together with some members of your team – and even a few of your customers or vendors, if they’ll be affected – to think about the different ways you can use software to improve your business. Then, we can help you put all of those needs or concepts together in a way that works.
It’s Your Job to Approve Work or Request Changes
Many new clients are very excited about the process of brainstorming new applications, but aren’t as enthusiastic (or prompt) when it comes to providing feedback. That can leave a software development team guessing about the best direction to take when moving forward.
Because it’s ultimately your money (and your business) that’s on the line, you should be as detailed and thorough as you can when reviewing design layouts, feature lists, and beta versions of your software. The more you have to say during the development process, the fewer revisions and delays you will have left to deal with when you get closer to the release of your software.
You Keep the Project on Track
Developing a new piece of software is a little bit like writing a novel. You don’t always know what twists and turns are going to be waiting for you until they arrive.
When it comes to making tough decisions that involve deadlines, budgets, or core features, it’s your job as the client to decide what best fits the vision you have in your mind. Additionally, it helps if you can stay consistent with regards to your needs, so your development team isn’t chasing a target that is constantly moving.
We Can Bring Your Ideas to Life
Have an idea for a piece of software that could make a huge impact in your business or industry? Or, do you just want to find out how a strong programming team can help you to cut costs and solve problems?
In either case, your next step is clear – contact the WebRevelation team in Oklahoma City today to learn more about our work and see how we can help. Your initial consultation is free, and it could change your business forever!
Want to ensure your software development project goes as smoothly as possible? Want to avoid the delays, cost overruns, and late-stage changes that can make programming a new application such a hassle?
A lot of clients think the software development process is out of their hands the minute they hire a programming team to get to work, but there are a number of ways business owners, managers, and executives can stay involved. By remaining engaged, they can help to ensure the end product is exactly what is needed and expected.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to learn how to code or use technical software. In fact, your contributions are as simple as they are important. Here are a few ways clients can help their programming teams of custom software development…
Take Time With Discovery Meetings
The most important thing you can do to ensure your software development project is a success is to make sure your development team understands exactly what you’re looking for. Explain your business, your customers, and the challenges you’re facing. Take the time to spell out any complex requirements, and point to examples of what you do and don’t like if possible.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Often, the biggest misunderstandings that come up when programming a new piece of software lie in the assumptions that either the client or developer make. Don’t simply take it for granted that your team knows exactly what you mean when you give them a direction to work from. Be as specific as you can with your feedback and examples, since this will help to prevent key ideas from being lost in translation when they are being brought to life.
Keep Focused On Your Goal
Programming a new piece of software is more of a creative endeavor than a lot of businesspeople realize. It’s easy for clients and developers alike to follow twists, turns, and inspirations at various points. As a business owner or executive, you need to keep your ultimate goal in mind. Know what you want your software to do, and how it should look. If you waver in your intentions, it will be hard for your programmer to deliver the finished product you need.
Give Sharp Design Feedback
The look and feel of your finished application is just as important as its functionality. Additionally, the design elements of your custom software project need to match your existing branding. For that reason, it’s always helpful if clients can give sharp feedback on visual elements and interfaces. These parts of your software project are easy to change in the beginning but can require lots of work to alter when the job is nearly done.
Let Your Software Development Team Test Their Work
Any good custom software development team is going to want to test what they’ve built, extensively. Sometimes, business owners and executives will be so excited with what they see during the beta version rollout that they try to push deadlines ahead or skip testing. That’s a mistake. You want your software to be as safe, stable, and as functional as possible, so give your development team the time they need to test their work and wrap things up properly.
How to Get Started with Custom Software Development
Have an idea for a piece of custom software that could help your business grow, or just want answers to your most pressing questions about application development? Talk to the friendly and experienced team at WebRevelation. We’ll be happy to set a time to speak with you, and there’s no obligation. Reach out to us today to set a time for your initial consultation!
That’s because enterprise system development is really about using software that’s tailored to your needs in order to cut your business expenses. While there are up-front investments involved in programming, they tend to be a lot smaller than most businesspeople think. And, they are nothing compared to what you get in return.
To help you understand why, let’s take a look at a few of the ways your business could save money with enterprise system development…
Enterprise Software Can Replace Many Different Tools
In our experience, most companies have software packages and subscriptions they don’t really need. That’s because they rely on individual tools to perform very small tasks, and then keep paying for them out of habit. Or worse, they hire extra IT personnel to make all these different tools work together.
With the right enterprise software solution, you can trade multiple different software suites for one interactive program that covers everything you need. Then, you can either own it outright or license it at a discounted rate.
You Can Save Employee Hours With Enterprise Systems
If paying for many different software packages that do the same thing is a waste, then having temps, vendors, or employees handle data entry, again and again, is an even bigger anchor on your quarterly expenses. That’s because human data entry costs a great deal, while introducing errors in the process.
You can use enterprise systems to scan, organize, and automate virtually any task that involves storing or retrieving information. For a small investment, you can say goodbye to annoying data entry costs forever.
Enterprise Software Can Give You IT Stability
Another by-product of having many different software solutions working together in a makeshift way is that it can cause problems related to compatibility and updates. In other words, most off-the-shelf software solutions are built to be standalone; they may not play well with other applications.
By swapping out several different software tools for one solution, you can avoid these kinds of conflicts, making your networks run faster and preventing outages. That equates to higher productivity and more money in your pocket.
You Have Fewer Security Issues With an Enterprise Solution
If some of the information your business handles is sensitive, you might want to look into enterprise software development simply because it can be more secure. You can set up your application to restrict access, store data locally, or require extra passwords and controls before certain actions are performed.
Each of these makes your business just a little bit more secure, protecting you both from online thieves and everyday employee errors. The last thing any business can afford is the unexpected expense of an IT security problem.
Want to Learn More About Enterprise System Development?
You can save big by getting the right tools for your company – and you can probably do it while spending a lot less time and money on programming than you might imagine. To learn more, or to get a free quote for your enterprise system development project, contact the friendly team at WebRevelation today.
Entrepreneurs and CEOs often tell us the benefits of enterprise development sound great, but they have trouble placing them in a real-world context. So today, we want to spell out five ways you could use software solutions to take away your biggest headaches. These may or may not match your needs, but they should help you to get started in thinking about the different ways enterprise systems can work for you…
#1 Customer Service Interaction Tracking
What happens when a customer contacts you with a question or request? Imagine what it would be like to be able to track the source of the inquiry, and then follow its resolution from the first step to the conclusion. Now think of what it would be like to be able to follow up with that customer based on that information, or even market to them again in the future. What would that do for your revenue? That’s how smart companies are managing buyer interactions, and it’s one of the most obvious uses of a custom enterprise system.
#2 Data Entry and Information Recording
In the digital age getting information isn’t a problem. You could measure every marketing and buyer interaction if you wanted to, and then use what you’ve learned to generate detailed reports about trends, inventory, etc. However, most businesses struggle to properly record and utilize all the data out there. With a custom enterprise system, you could automate these processes to make information faster, more accessible, and more accurate.
#3 File Sharing and Project Management
Do you have several people, departments, or teams working together on big projects? Need to combine the efforts of in-house employees and managers with outside vendors or support personnel? If so, you could use custom enterprise software share files, to keep everyone on same page, and manage task completion in real-time. This is especially valuable if you have certain types of jobs that need to be duplicated again and again.
#4 Manufacturing and Supply Chains
It’s never easy managing resources, employee schedules, and inventory. Add those together with the difficulties associated with wholesaler or retailer orders, fluid cost concerns, and supply chain logistics and your business can become unmanageable very quickly. However, with the right enterprise software solution in place, you can enjoy better information, improved forecasting, and faster communication at every level. That’s a good way to make your manufacturing business more profitable and responsive.
#5 Cloud-Based Document Delivery
Manufacturers, professional service providers, and many other types of businesses have a need to deliver thousands of documents – including product manuals, client or patient records, etc. – that are continually being revised and updated. Additionally, they need those records to be accurate, secure, and available on a number of devices or workstations. In many cases, an enterprise software platform is the answer, giving you stability, security, and low-cost reliable performance.
Ready to See What Enterprise Systems Could Do for Your Company?
Want to move past these general examples and get a sense of what enterprise systems might be able to do for your company or organization? Taking the next step is easy – just contact the team at WebRevelation so we can discuss your business. In one short consultation, we can tell you how you can use software to save time and money every quarter.
Many of the business owners and executives who come to us think the idea of developing or implementing enterprise systems into their companies sounds exciting. However, they also tend to think it sounds complicated and expensive.
Fortunately, using enterprise systems – large-scale software solutions that can be put to work across an organization – is more about possibilities than it is costs and technical know-how. That’s particularly true in small and medium-size companies, which can often take advantage of streamlined answers to the challenges they face.
In fact, while some businesses tend to worry about the details involved with enterprise systems, they should be thinking about the opportunities. To ensure you’re seeing the bigger picture, today we want to take a quick look at three huge business problems you can solve quickly and affordably with enterprise systems…
#1 Data Entry and Automation
Most organizations don’t struggle with getting detailed information so much as they do managing it. When things like names, addresses, and customer specifics are outdated or incorrectly added to a system, chaos ensues. The same thing goes for employee and vendor records or information about ongoing projects.
In a lot of companies – and yours might be one of them – managers and employees use a combination of mismatched tools to accomplish what should be simple tasks. For instance, they might be using spreadsheets to organize customer contact details, a cloud application for documents, and a separate CRM for sales opportunities.
In this kind of configuration, problems can creep in the process when you try to take information from one tool or resource to another. With the right enterprise system in place, though, you can achieve process compatibility and move data from one place to another without losing time or accuracy.
#3 Customized Reporting
It’s one thing to have lots of data, and another thing to be able to use it effectively. With the right enterprise solution in place, you can sort thousands or millions of different data points together, sorting entries by time, location, user, or any number of custom markers you designate.
This is how you bring information to life, spot inefficiencies, and take advantage of opportunities as they develop. Whether you need instant access to specific information or customized reports that can be generated automatically at regular intervals, an enterprise solution can make it easier to get what you need.
Enterprise Systems Are About Efficiency
The first point we made to you is so important we want to restate it again here: using enterprise systems isn’t about adding huge sums of money to your IT budget or hiring dozens of coders. Instead, it’s about using software and smart ways to solve everyday problems that have been costing you time and money.
To learn more, or see how you can use enterprise systems to make your business run more smoothly, contact the WebRevelation team today for a free consultation!
When it comes to custom software development, business owners and executives usually have a lot of questions. That’s because they might be somewhat familiar with the topic, but they tend to not know much about the details.
In other words, they want the savings of time and money that come with having a well-programmed custom software, but they aren’t always sure what to ask for. Or, they may not even know where to begin the process in the first place.
Our team has taken on dozens of custom software development projects over the years, so today we thought we’d pitch in by answering a few of the most commonly asked questions that tend to come our way.
#1 What’s the Difference Between a Website and Custom Software?
A website can really consist of anything you want to put online, and might typically be filled with information about your company, your team, and your products. Custom software, on the other hand, is a specific type of site (or could be made up of pages within the site).
Custom software combines different pieces of data or information to make them usable. For instance, you could use custom software for account logins, scheduling, online training, and other features. The main distinction is that custom software is interactive and draws inputs from a lot of different sources.
#2 Why Would My Organization Want or Need Custom Software?
Additionally, custom software can be used to eliminate or automate repetitive tasks like data entry or to manage thousands of members or subscribers all at once. Regardless of the specific use, custom software is all about efficiency, better communication, and faster work.
#3 How Can We Get Quality Custom Software Development?
We could pass along a lot of knowledge when it comes to custom software development, but a lot of it really comes down to a pair of critical directives. The first is to know what you’re trying to build or accomplish. You should never lose sight of that in the design process. The second is to only work with experts who know what they’re doing. Custom software development is complicated, but it gets a lot easier when you’ve built dozens of them.
As long as you don’t lose sight of these two points, you’ll always be moving in the direction of getting a finished product that can help your business or organization grow. No matter what your specific challenges or needs might be like, that’s always the real goal in the end.
Ready to Learn More About Custom Software Development?
Of course, answering these three frequently asked questions about custom software development probably won’t tell you everything you need to know, particularly when it comes to your own specific business situation. However, there is a fast, easy, and free way to get the information you need.
Contact the WebRevelation design and development team today and we'll be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation for you. During that time, we'll find out about your project, let you know how we can help, and even give you some advice to use right away. Don’t let the opportunity to save time and money pass you by. Contact our team now to set up a time to talk!
Conceptually, business owners and executives love the idea of custom software development. Who wouldn’t want an online tool that helps them save time and money while automating certain repetitive and expensive tasks?
There isn’t one answer that applies to every organization or situation, of course, but today we want to give some generalized examples of custom software development in action. Here are seven ways you can use a team like ours to add something special to your business or online presence…
#1 B2B Account Management
In the world of B2B sales and customer service, it often makes sense to let buyers handle details like memberships, recurring purchases, and shipping instructions on their own. With custom software, you can let customers manage their own accounts (and save yourself time and money in the process).
#2 Online Medical Patient Interfaces
Most of us have used an online portal of some kind to schedule a doctor’s appointment, update a medical history, or otherwise interact with a healthcare provider. These tools provide convenience, time savings, and confidentiality that wouldn’t be possible in person or over the phone.
#3 Student Portals for Schools and Universities
At most learning institutions, students can sign up for classes, download learning materials, and check on things like grades or schedules all from a simple custom software. Are there similar features you could use in your business or nonprofit?
#4 Customized E-commerce Solutions
No two stores are the same, whether they are online or off. Custom software development can be used to tailor the shopping experience, provide personalized marketing, or simply automate things like shipping and returns. Given that margins are so tight in e-commerce, this kind of programming can be a real money saver.
#5 Management and Scheduling Tools
Lots of managers use custom software to schedule employees, set up training sessions, and handle day-to-day documentation. That functionality can be convenient in any setting, but it’s especially valuable as a company or department grows and turnover increases.
#6 Financial Website Account Logins
Whether you realize it or not, you probably use secure custom software every day to interact with your financial institutions. These allow for the safe transfer of information, real-time updates, and the ability to do things like view and download statements.
#7 Volunteer Coordination Pages
Charitable groups and community associations use custom software development, too. That’s because specialized websites can help with scheduling and group activities, not to mention fundraising and management functions. There’s no organization, big or small, that can't benefit from the smart use of online tools.
Could Your Business or Nonprofit Benefit From Custom Software Development?
The most important thing to remember about the examples we’ve outlined above is that they are just generalized descriptions of bigger possibilities. In other words, what you need might fit one of these profiles, combine a few of them, or be completely different.
The best way to determine what you could do with a web development project, of course, is to speak with a team of specialists who have helped dozens of companies just like yours. Why not reach out to WebRevelation today so we can talk about the challenges you’re facing and generate a custom proposal for you today?
If so, we can understand the challenges and dilemmas you are facing. We often work with business leaders who see the value of bringing scheduling, marketing, and automation tools online, but don’t know enough about the specifics of web programming to evaluate different firms and proposals.
This part of the process might involve brainstorming, and even checking out some colleagues or competitors. To be sure, your creative team might have additional input or suggestions later. However, things work best if you go into your search with a rough sense of what you want to get from the finished project.
Examine Samples and Case Studies
Once you have a good idea of what you would like a creative team to code for you, it’s time to check out different firms and their capabilities. The best way to do that is by examining samples and case studies.
When you’re looking at examples of a creative team’s work, it’s natural to focus on visuals and design elements. Make sure you get past the obvious, though, and see whether the custom software they’ve built in the past are functional, stable, and profitable. You aren’t just looking for the right artistic designs, but a track record of success.
Prioritize Experience and Reputation Over Sticker Price
Every custom software development project is different, but one thing we can safely say is that there are always hiccups and unexpected turns along the way. When the unknown jumps in out of nowhere, an experienced web programming team can help you stay on track and within budget.
Naturally, a creative team with many years of experience isn’t going to be the lowest cost option. They are going to be known for helping companies to solve problems, and that means higher project fees. However, this is an area of your technology budget where you probably don’t want to sacrifice quality of work to save a little bit of money.
Want to Work With the Best Custom Software Development Team?
We firmly believe that anyone who’s looking into custom software development should follow the steps we have outlined in this article. We also believe that any serious business person who does so is going to end up seeking out a creative team like the one you would find at WebRevelation.
With dozens of successful custom software projects under our belt, and offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we have the skills and tools needed to complete projects large and small. Why not contact our team today to see how easy it is to get the best minds in the business working for you?
Hiring a creative team to develop a custom software for your company almost always seems like a great idea, and in truth it usually is. However, it’s important to have a clear vision – not to mention some experienced programming minds – or the project can quickly become expensive, time-consuming, and underwhelming.
It goes without saying that anything you publish on the web has to be attractive. Visitors make split-second decisions about credibility, and where to spend their time, so visuals matter. However, custom software that just looks good won’t be enough to help your business.
To really be of any use – to your business or its customers – your custom software has to have a strong design and great functionality. In fact, if your site doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, then it won’t matter how well-presented it is.
#2 Not Paying Enough Attention to Web Traffic Flow
It would be hard to overstate just how important it is to manage the flow of traffic through a new website. That’s especially true when it comes to custom software development, which can feature lots of interactive tools and menus. Usability should be just as big of a priority as functionality since you want it to be easy for employees, customers, or vendors to make the most of what you've developed.
Work with a team that will plan ahead to ensure users can easily get from one core feature or function to the next. It will make your custom software all the more valuable to real-life users.
#3 Rushing Custom Software Online
As with anything in the world of business or technology, it can be easy to rush things along in order to hit the ground running with a new idea. Custom software development doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it does need to be a well thought-out process.
Some creative teams (or their clients) will rush through things like discovery, usability testing, and coding. That might speed up the launch of their new custom software, but also leaves them with big gaps in security, website crashes, and other issues that are harder and more expensive to fix later.
#4 Forgetting to Grow or Update Your Custom Software
Your custom software development project isn’t really “finished” until people stop using it. Until then, you should constantly look for ways to grow, add new features, and streamline the interface.
Want Expert Help With Custom Software Development?
The easiest way to get the custom software development work you need is to simply hire a team of professionals who can not only guide you step-by-step through the process, but also ensure the resulting site is stable, fast, and functional.
If you want to work with the best, contact the team at WebRevelation today to set up a free consultation. We’ll be happy to learn more about your project, explain your options, and submit a customized proposal. It won’t take long for you to learn what’s possible with the right tools and expertise on your side!
Sometimes, we take meetings with business owners and executives who have heard about custom software development but don’t know exactly what it means, or how it can help. They are aware that creating a stronger online resource brings bottom-line benefits, but might not know exactly what those benefits look like.
With that in mind, we want to devote today’s post to a few of the biggest reasons that custom software development matters to businesses of all sizes. Let’s start with the biggest question of all, and then move on to a few details you may or may not have already considered…
What is Custom Software Development All About?
When we talk about custom software development, as opposed to related terms like “web design” or “web programming,” what we’re really referring to is the art and science of building pages and tools that bring various data points together. For instance, you could have custom software that allows for scheduling different groups in an event space. Or, you could have custom software that takes customers to their accounts, or one that allows managers to schedule training for employees.
Once you look at custom software development in this light, the big reasons it matters so much to businesses come clearly into focus.
Custom Software Can Transform Everyday Business Tasks
In the early days of the internet, it was easy to marvel at the availability of information that was springing up everywhere. Now, though, business leaders are a little more savvy about the possibilities. It’s not just about what you can share online, but also what you can do.
A properly imagined, designed, and implemented custom software can automate repetitive tasks, cut costs associated with jobs like data entry and customer service, and slash the amount of time and money departments spend, virtually overnight. Additionally, they can add new customers, managers, vendors and front-line employees.
In other words, they can help you to make so much more from the internet than simple marketing tasks.
Custom Software Development Isn’t a Self-Guided Solution
It’s one thing to grasp the concepts behind custom software development, and to see their potential utility. It’s another thing to put that power to use in a way that expands your business or helps you to meet existing goals.
Like web design, some business leaders treat web custom software development as a self-guided solution. That is, they think that simply getting some form of programming is going to magically lead to gains in sales, efficiency, and savings. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t work that way.
How to Learn More About Custom Software Development
Want to know more about custom software development, and the ways you can use parts of your site to provide cutting-edge tools to your customers or employees? Schedule a meeting with the WebRevelation design and programming team today. We’ll be happy to answer questions and provide a custom proposal for your project.
As with backup planning and cloud computing, the magic of great custom software – an online resource that connects many inputs or points of information into a single usable tool – can lead to big savings of time and money. But, as with these other technologies, the key is getting the finished product that actually accomplishes what it’s supposed to.
As a veteran web programming team, we’ve seen the ins and outs of this process. In order to help ensure your next custom software development project is a success (especially if it’s your first one), today we are going to give you a few tips on what to look out for. Here are a few things that make for great custom software …
A Clear Business Purpose
You aren’t going to create custom software for fun, and developing an online application or resources is a big project. So, it’s very important you begin with the right purpose in mind. Have a clear sense of what you and your team hope to accomplish and your programming partner will have a much easier time delivering on your needs.
Full App or Information Compatibility
It’s always a tragedy when a great idea for custom software can’t be brought to fruition. However, it’s easy to have that happen, particularly if you don’t have compatibility between the various tools (like email, forms, online databases, plug-ins, etc.) and the custom software itself. That’s why your choice of programming vendors is so important.
An Easy-to-Use Interface
In the same way that your custom software has to work well to serve its purpose, it also needs an easy-to-use interface. Your employees and/or customers shouldn’t feel like it takes them a long time to figure out your custom software, or like they need extensive workarounds. Blending usability with high performance can be a bit of a balancing act, but it’s crucial to the success of your project.
It goes without saying that your custom software needs strong programming. If your development team rushes or isn't thorough enough, you won’t just end up with a product that is bad or works slowly – you could cause crashes and online security headaches for anyone who uses your site.
Want to Know More about Custom Software Development?
Below are additional, helpful articles on the subject of custom software development. We encourage you to read through the vast amount of information you can find on the WebRevelation blog.
If you’re ready to move forward with your custom software development project – or just want some clear answers from a team you can trust – now is a great time to schedule a complimentary consultation with WebRevelation. Contact us today. We’ll be happy to give you the information you’re looking for and help take your ideas to the next level!
Typically, when web designers and online marketing gurus talk about “optimizing content,” it’s in the context of adding keywords and links to a page, or perhaps pursing up a blog post. It’s almost always implied that the goal is to improve your search rankings and visibility on Google.
However, optimization isn’t just about drawing in visitors from search engines. You want your content – whether it be articles, videos, product descriptions, or something else – to be easy to find on every major portal, hub, and platform. Why not use every avenue at your disposal to reach out to customers?
To give you a sense of why optimization is important around the web, and not just on Google, let’s look at five other places you want your content to stand out…
Alright, we’ll admit that this first one is a little bit of a cheat. After all, Bing might be controlled by Microsoft instead of Google, but it is still a search engine. The point here, though, is that you shouldn’t ignore your Bing positioning. It might only make up 10 to 15% of the search market, but that’s nothing to sneeze at. Often, smaller companies can make fast gains on secondary search engines because their competitors aren’t paying attention.
YouTube has occasionally been referred to as “the world’s second-largest search engine,” and not just because it’s owned by Google. The site displays billions of video clips a day, and yours can help you attract leads and sales if you take the time to optimize titles, descriptions, and outbound links. You want your videos to be easy to find and act upon. That means using carefully-researched terms and phrases whenever you can.
If you sell any kinds of products or services, then you probably have listings on Amazon – both for your company and whatever merchandise you are offering. Although a lot of marketers don’t realize it, Amazon has its own internal search engine. While the search term shoppers use their might not be the same ones they would prioritize on Google, it’s important to feature them in your content.
Hashtags are often thought of as being ironic, or a cultural phenomenon that’s synonymous with the digital age. However, it’s important to remember that they are also critical search and newsfeed identifiers on Twitter (and to a lesser extent on Google + and other social platforms). So, if you want to join in on a topic that’s already trending, or see your content go viral, link to it through a tweet using the right hashtag for the job.
If you have a retail business, Yelp could be every bit as important to your marketing success as Google or Facebook. In fact, you could also include TripAdvisor if you operate in an area with lots of tourists or business travelers. Either way, your profiles and posts on these platforms should be optimized for location and business type, while also featuring plenty of helpful reviews.
Achieving a strong search position on Google is always going to be valuable, but that doesn’t mean it should be your only goal. Pay attention to these other important corners of the internet, too, and you could see your sales and branding efforts get stronger every day.
Need help bringing together all the different pieces of your online marketing campaigns? Call our team today to see how we can help you get organized and achieve bigger bottom-line results!
Are you making internet marketing harder than it has to be? Experience has taught us that a lot of business owners are, even if they don’t realize it.
In any job or discipline, having the right tools makes a huge difference. If you doubt this, try to put together a coffee table using a butter knife instead of a screwdriver. Or, substitute a large rock for a hammer. You might get the job done eventually, but it’s going to be a frustrating experience.
The same thing happens with websites and online promotion. Often, business owners and executives feel overwhelmed by the ongoing tasks needed to generate sales and leads from the web. However, these jobs get much, much easier when you have the right tools and know how to use them.
To give you a sense of the kinds of tools we are talking about, and how they can save you time and stress every week, let’s look at seven that are often overlooked, even though they’re indispensable to those of us who work within the web design industry…
#1 SEO Evaluation Software
Are you focusing your pages and blog posts on the right keywords, and putting them in the right places? You don’t have to guess. With SEO software (like Yoast or Moz) you can get real-time guidance on crafting search-friendly content.
#2 Social Management Apps
There’s no need to log into Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other social media platforms individually, or to post material at the exact moment you want to release. With software like Hootesuite and Tweetdeck, you can schedule content and direct all your profiles from one convenient hub.
#3 Web Analytics Packages
Need to know how many people are coming to your website, where they are arriving from, or how they behave once they land on your pages? Google Analytics is available for free use and can be customized for numerous different reports to help you keep an eye on your progress.
#4 Website Error Reports
There are a number of online tools that can help you track the speed and performance of your website, scan your content for duplication, and check for issues like broken links. Then, you’ll have an easy-to-follow report that shows you exactly what needs to be fixed.
#5 Reputation Management Services
Customers are probably leaving reviews for your products and services all over the internet. By using reputation management tools, you can track their feedback, verify that the opinions shared are legitimate, and know what buyers are saying about your business.
#6 Directory Submission Plans
Local business directories and industry websites are important hubs of information, both for buyers and for Google’s search engine spiders. But, submitting your data to them one at a time, and then keeping it updated, would be a tedious exercise. Luckily, you can use automated tools to submit profiles on your behalf.
#7 Email Optimization Guides
If you use a reputable email delivery service, you can use automated tools to figure out when you should send messages, how to segment your lists, and which topics are driving clicks and conversions. That’s a great way to make every campaign more profitable.
Could you manage your online marketing without some or all of these tools? Absolutely, but why would you want to take more time and get diminished results? Each of these is simple, cost-effective, and can help make you more efficient right away.
Whether you are guiding your own online marketing or working with a team of creative professionals, it’s critical that you have someone using the right tools for the job. Otherwise, you’re going to waste a lot of time and miss out on big opportunities to gain new customers.
Whether you are building a new B2B website or updating your current site, figuring out what should go on the home page is often the hardest part. The days of keyword stuffing the home page to get it ranked by Google are long gone. Today’s home page should be all about connecting with your audience and enabling them to find what they want as quickly as possible.
Sadly, according to the Nielsen Norman Group, this is the exception rather than the rule. “Most B2B sites emphasize internally focused design, fail to answer customers' main questions or concerns, and block prospects' paths as they search for companies to place on their shortlists.” On a happier note, this dearth of good B2B home page content means that, with a few best practices, you can easily outdo competitors.
With that in mind, here’s the information you may wish to feature on your home page.
Your brand message: This can include a memorable, relevant tagline as well as a summary of your value proposition or USP. Remember, this is not the “About Us” page! Keep this summary focused on what matters to the customer—their pain points or opportunities.
A brief welcome message: One of the best ways to do this is with a video clip. It should NOT start playing automatically, but it should be easy to find. Keep it simple, tell visitors why you’re glad they are here, how you hope to help them, and end with an invitation to learn more.
Social proof: Testimonials are some of the most powerful content you can have on your site. Don’t hide it away on a separate page. Feature it prominently on the home page. Capterra offers tips on doing testimonials the right way here.
Informative, authentic pictures: Photos provide information to your site visitors as well. People pick up on a lot about your business when you feature a photo of employees at your facility or a real customer using your products/services. Stock photography only tells them you know how to buy an image license.
Recent content: Don’t overwhelm your homepage with a newsfeed, but do make it possible for visitors to see what’s going on with your blog. It makes them feel that you’re taking care of your site—and that you’ll take care of them as a customer.
A call to action: What’s the next thing you want the web visitor to do? More important, what did they come to your site to do? When people land on the home page, they may not know where to go next. Provide direction in the form of a call to action that helps move prospects farther into the funnel.
Contact information: Put an email address, phone number, and physical address for corporate headquarters on the home page (in the footer section) so that visitors can find it immediately. Don’t hide this info in a contact form!
Bonus Tip #1
Besides making your site easy to navigate, include a search box so visitors can find what they want without having to click through multiple pages.
Bonus Tip #2
Don’t link out to your social media accounts from the home page unless you have a GOOD reason to do so. Remember, once visitors leave your site and hit LinkedIn or Facebook, they will be exposed to distractions and even ads from your direct competitors.
Business users are on your website to learn more about your company, evaluate your credibility, understand more about your brand, or find a specific piece of information to help them make a decision. Increase your chances of getting a seat at the bidding table by making your home page remarkable! For more insights and a web review, contact Web Revelation today.
If you don’t have a full-scale marketing team to manage your online presence, it’s very tempting to simply let your website remain static. After all, it looked pretty good and seemed to function well when it was first built. And if it’s not broken, why fix it?
The fact is that your website has a lot of potential to help move your business toward its goals. You can use it to engage, entertain, educate, persuade, and connect with your ideal target market. But it won’t do any of those things well if you let it sit around collecting dust. Allocating even modest resources to keeping your site looking fresh and inviting for your web visitors can make a big difference. Here are a few places to start.
#1 Audit Your Links
Nothing makes a website look defunct faster than broken links. Check not only for internal links that aren’t working but for links out to other sites and from websites that are referring traffic to you. Target Internet recommends looking in the Crawl Errors section in Google’s Search Console. “It shows you URL’s where Google have found errors like broken links (“404 errors”). This is a really useful report as it doesn’t only show you the broken links but also the pages which they’re linked to from.” This tool is free to use, and you should make it part of your monthly routine web maintenance.
#2 Shoot a Short Video
Especially in the B2B sector, few companies have taken the time to add video to their site. Your website will immediately appear more fresh and modern when you add a short video clip. It can be just thirty seconds featuring a welcome message from the CEO, an overview of a cool project, or a customer testimonial. The production quality doesn’t have to be stellar. It’s more important for the content to be authentic.
Tip: Don’t use a whiteboard “Explainer” video unless you have something to explain. It’s no substitute for putting a human face on your company.
#3 Keep Your Blog Current
Whether you hire an outside writer or rely on internal contributors, a regularly updated blog is one of the best ways to keep new traffic coming in and to show Google that your website is well-maintained. Aim for one or two new posts per month. To avoid falling behind, plan content in advance and create an editorial calendar. If coming up with new topics is a challenge, try this tip from Amanda Rodgers at Brand Wagon Agency. “One great way to get out of your blogging rut is to take a topic, and make a ‘mind map.’ Take a post idea, and brainstorm ways that that topic can be expanded into new topics.”
#4 Check and Update Your Images
Whether you have new team members, a new facility, new products, or other changes, these should be communicated visually on your site. Replacing stock images with professionally shot original images is an excellent way to make over a site. And don’t forget to update tags on older photos. SLR Lounge explains why here.
#5 Create a Helpful Giveaway
A full scale white paper is nice to have, but a checklist, report, or list of tips can be just as helpful for engaging visitors with fresh content. It gives repeat visitors another reason to stop by, and offers plenty of opportunities to drive new traffic through your social media accounts. Focus on creating something small but helpful—a bite-sized piece of content that business users can consume quickly.
Those are just a few of the ways you can update your content. But here’s one more that’s even more critical. If you haven’t mobilized your site to make it responsive, that’s the first thing you should address! Nothing looks more outdated than a site that can’t be viewed properly on a mobile device. For more advice and a review of your site, contact our team at Web Revelation today.
Earlier this month, we discovered some of the many ways bad processes can hold your business back from reaching its goals—and how to catch the signs that a process needs to be improved. This time, let’s unpack what a good process looks like and how to improve your existing processes.
Five Characteristics of an Excellent Business Process
If you want to make your business processes better, you need to have a clear idea of the standard you’re trying to achieve. Here are five ways you know a process is well-designed:
It has a point. If there is no real purpose to an activity in terms of furthering the organization’s goals, it may be better to outsource or even eliminate the activity rather than try to improve the way it’s performed.
It gets the job done. A process must be effective and serve its intended purpose.
It reduces or eliminates waste. That means no redundancy, no unnecessary steps, and no needless back and forth.
It cultivates buy-in. A process must have high usability and those using it must be willing to follow the process. Processes that are easy to understand and follow and that promote good work performance are less likely to meet with resistance.
It can be monitored and its effects can be measured. Accountability and quality assurance should be built into the process.
Breaking Down a Process and Making It Better
Once you’ve identified a process to improve, here are your next steps:
Define what the process is supposed to accomplish.
Define how the process is currently done (map out the steps or elements).
Identify why it isn’t working (seek out the bottlenecks, redundant activities, and areas where errors are most likely to be introduced).
Consider alternate ways of accomplishing the task or provide more resources to overcome bottlenecks.
Remove unnecessary or redundant steps.
Add quality control monitoring to steps that are error-prone and to the process as a whole.
Automate some or all steps in the process using appropriate technology.
Communicate changes to all those who will be using the process.
Review the process on a regular basis to continually improve it.
Input and feedback from those in your organization who are using the current processes is essential for success when you start making improvements. Leverage their knowledge to help you understand all the elements of the process, the areas of greatest frustration, and creative ways to solve these problems. You can get more details on process improvement with this excellent article at MindTools.
What Role Should Technology and Automation Play in Process Improvement?
Sadly, automating a poorly designed process is NOT an improvement. In the same way, throwing technology at the problem will not solve it. You must go through the steps to fully understand the shortcomings of your current process before you try to apply a high-tech solution. (Laserfiche has an article on business process automation here that makes that point well).
As a quick example, if your organization has a challenge with properly handling customer inquiries due to lack of adequate training for customer service personnel, installing an online chat application on your website won’t fix the issue. It just gives customers a new way to reach your company and have a frustrating experience. On the other hand, let’s say the bottleneck in increasing customer satisfaction is due to delays in shipping or errors in order fulfilment. In this situation, automating the transfer of data from your sales portal to your backend order processing and logistics systems would make a lot of sense to reduce these problems.
Here are just a few signs that technology might be the answer to your process problem:
You have a process that’s common across your industry and there are out-of- the-box solutions for it.
There is very little variance in how the process is accomplished—human judgement calls and intervention are rarely, if ever, required.
The process requires input from many different people, making virtualization and automation of the workflow an obvious choice for moving things along faster.
Your process involves multiple databases or “silos” of information and systems that aren’t currently integrated.
Your competitors are using out-of- date processes and you have the opportunity to outpace them by automating your own processes with custom applications.
Do you suspect that custom web and software development might be the secret to solving your business process woes? Contact our team at Web Revelation for a consultation. We specialize in using technology to make your business faster, more efficient, and more profitable.
Processes are supposed to make things work more efficiently. But there’s a downside to doing things the same way every time. If you’re doing it wrong, that process is ensuring you’re doing things wrong on a large scale and for a long time. And if you don’t have a good handle on what your processes are and how they work, you might not even realize there’s an issue. This is not an uncommon problem. According to the 2015 BPT Survey Report, 50% of businesses participating in the survey admitted that they only “occasionally” document their processes or keep them up to date. It’s no surprise that businesses that fail to document, adapt, and improve their processes often fall short of their growth objectives.
What’s the Impact of Poor Processes?
Bad business processes can hurt your organization by:
Contributing to errors or inaccuracies that require time and money to correct
Delaying the completion of downstream tasks due to bottlenecks
Taking up valuable labor hours with redundant activities
Hindering the timely completion of projects
Creating “blind spots” in your ability to monitor and improve quality
Increasing customer dissatisfaction
Preventing your organization from implementing best practices and new technologies
Time Can Turn a Good Process Bad
No company is perfect, and every organization has some flawed processes, but where did these poorly-designed and inefficient procedures come from? Sometimes, a process is flawed from the start because it was thrown together in a hurry without a lot of thought. Even more often, a process made sense at the time, but simply didn’t scale as the business grew or the marketplace changed. The bad news is, the longer a bad process has been in place, the more challenging it can be to change it. The good news is, it’s never too late for a positive transformation. First, you need to identify processes that are ripe for a makeover.
When Should You Suspect a Process Needs to Be Overhauled?
There are a number of warning signs that a process might need an in-depth review.
A process is informal (not written down) or it is difficult to teach to new staff members. A well-designed process should make logical sense and not require intuition or years of on-the-job experience to perform correctly. (BPM Leader offers insights into creating good process documentation here).
An issue is mentioned often in complaints, either directly or in online reviews. For example, customers might make negative comments about the way invoicing, service requests, product shipping time, or returns and refunds are handled.
Everyone in your company tries to avoid being responsible for a particular task, a common sign that it is tedious and redundant. Smart employees also avoid being associated with flawed processes because whoever is put in charge of those process-related tasks ends up in trouble for making mistakes or falling behind schedule.
There is a frequently performed task that has no associated KPIs or there is no way to track whether the process is resulting in the desired outcome. In some cases, there are processes that are necessary even though they don’t directly improve the bottom line. This is commonly the case with administrative and compliance-related processes. It’s even more imperative to make these processes more efficient, since they will always be a resource drain and a liability.
Employees complain that they can’t do their jobs well because of frequent miscommunication or delays in getting what they need. For example, if communication for a large-scale project is done via email, this can lead to confusion with constant back and forth and email threads that are incredibly lengthy. Too much time is being spent searching for the relevant information rather than performing work.
What Can You Do to Improve Processes?
Just from reading this far, you probably already have a few processes come to mind that need to be addressed. In the next article in this series, we’ll explore the steps for improving a process. We’ll also look at the role of automation and technology in making your business processes work better.
Do you have a business process you want to start improving right now? Contact Web Revelation for more insights.
How well is your website performing in terms of bringing in new leads, boosting sales, and helping your business grow? If it’s not having as much of an impact as you would like, it’s time to look at your inbound marketing. Making improvements in this area can have a dramatic effect on how well your website serves your business needs.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
It’s easiest to define inbound marketing by contrasting it with outbound marketing. Let’s say you want to get an up-close look at some birds. If you go hunting for birds with a shotgun, that’s outbound marketing. It’s a scattershot approach and may scare off far more birds than it takes down. Inbound marketing is like putting a bird feeder in your front yard and letting the birds come to you. Cold calling, email blasts, and paid ads are all examples of outbound marketing while blogging, social media engagement, and content marketing in general are inbound. Let’s look at what happens with your website when inbound marketing is on target.
Benefit #1:More Inbound Traffic from Organic Searches
Inbound marketing and SEO are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact, they can and should work hand in hand. Whether you are publishing blog posts, podcasts, infographics, white papers, or videos on your site, some of the most effective inbound marketing content is designed around targeted keywords. Prospective buyers may feel like they have stumbled across this content by accident while searching for an answer to a specific question or problem. However, behind the scenes this content has been carefully optimized to rank well for your target audience. For example, a consulting company in the workplace safety and health sector might post an informational report with the keyword “cost of forklift accidents”. It’s a safe bet that some of the people searching for info on this topic are doing so because their company has experienced a recent safety incident—and these readers would make excellent prospects.
Benefit #2: Higher Brand Awareness and Inbound Links
While outbound marketing is often used to build brand awareness, inbound marketing also plays an important role in this area. Creating highly sharable content (even when it’s not specifically focused on your products or services) boosts exposure for your brand and can increase the number of reputable sites and platforms that link back to your site. Guest blogging and writing educational content for industry publications can provide valuable inbound links to your website from highly relevant sources. But social media is often the easiest place to start in terms of building brand awareness. Now that search engines are taking “social signals” such as likes, comments, and shares into account in terms of ranking, the more engagement you can inspire, the better.
Benefit #3: Increased Conversions on Your Site
This is the most critical metric for any business website. It’s far more important than the number of visitors you receive. If you offer free educational resources on your site, visitors stay longer. That’s great for reducing your bounce rate (another factor search engines weigh in determining the relevance of your site). But inbound marketing should do more than that. Most B2B websites convert only a tiny percentage of visitors into leads. Your inbound marketing should establish trust so that it attracts visitors who are ready to make a next step—even if it’s a small one. Consider distributing an educational blog post or podcast that links back to a landing page where visitors can download a helpful white paper, report, or checklist in exchange for their email address. That’s a fresh lead your marketing and sales people can cultivate, and a perfect example of how your website can deliver value for your business.
Benefit #4: Continuous Improvement for Your Site
What about performance over the long term? In some ways, a higher volume of traffic can be beneficial even if people aren’t doing what you want when they are on the site right now. Because at least you will have enough data to analyze. Inbound marketing gives you many streams of inbound traffic to mine for insights, determining what works and doesn’t work on your website. Be sure to use a customized link for each piece of inbound content (free link shortening services like bit.ly can help). That way, you don’t just see an increase in hits and wonder where they are coming from. Once these visitors are on your site, you can also see how they interact with various pages and identify areas for improvement in the text, layout, page load times, and more. Are you ready to improve your inbound marketing and enjoy better performance on your website? Contact the team at Web Revelation for a consultation today.
Are you paying attention to the relationship between your email campaigns and your web traffic? Done right, email marketing can be a highly effective tool to cultivate leads and keep long-term clients engaged with your website. Here are several ways that this kind of marketing might be impacting your website performance—for good or bad!
#1 Getting More Clicks to Your Site
Each email you send provides an opportunity for you to engage readers and invite them to visit your website. It’s important to be consistent about including a call to action in each email, because it’s going to take a lot of emails for the results to add up. Click through rates from email marketing have declined in the past decade. According to Campaigner.com, email marketers could count on about a 3.5% click rate in 2011. By 2015, that rate fell to less than 2%. That doesn't mean you should stop bothering with email (because the folks who do click through are prime candidates for conversion). It does mean that it’s going to take more ingenuity on your part to improve those click through numbers.
What can you do to boost your click rates and drive more traffic with your email marketing? Obviously, delivering relevant and engaging content via email is the foundation. But there are other tactics that might help as well. Campaigner.com also shared this interesting fact: email marketing campaigns with a high number of links deliver the best click through rates. According to their data, campaigns with 1-10 links have a click rate of about 1%. That rate jumps to 2.6% for campaigns with more than 20 links. Build a robust campaign with a series of emails that let you experiment with linking to a wide variety of pages on your site. Segment the emails so that each campaign includes the links that are relevant to each target audience or buyer persona.
#2 Increasing Your Rate of Repeat Traffic
RVR or Return Visitor Rate is an important measure of the health of your website. Email marketing encourages prospects and current customers to visit your website frequently to learn, explore, or shop. In general, the more times a user visits your website, the higher the acquisition rate.
What’s a good RVR? Opinions vary, but thirty percent is a healthy return visitor rate according to sources like Contently. Less than ten percent indicates that you aren’t giving people sufficient reason to come back for more. On the other hand, if RVR is very high (especially if overall traffic to your site isn’t high) you probably need to focus more on obtaining new visitors. One way to do this with email marketing is to include content that’s shareable. Recipients can forward this content to people in their network and drive those new viewers to your site.
#3 Ruining Your Website Reputation!
That’s right, this can happen if you aren’t conscientious about how you curate your email marketing list. If you get it wrong, you may impair your ability to run any email campaigns associated with your website at all. When enough people mark your messages as spam—or if you send out bulk emails that look suspicious to mail delivery services, your email server’s IP address or even your web domain name may be blacklisted.
This can happen due to circumstances outside your control (even MailChimp got their URL blocked by mistake in their early days). But it’s usually the result of mistakes like the following:
Adding people to your list without obtaining their permission
Sending too many emails in a short time period
Emailing content that is irrelevant or overly “salesy”
Waiting so long between emails that recipients forget they signed up for your email list
Using a double opt-in process, sending content that’s highly targeted to interest your recipients, and keeping in touch regularly are good ways to reduce your chances of being considered a spammer.
You should also avoid the types of actions that make email delivery services mark your messages as spam or block you entirely. FulcrumTech has a good article about best practices to avoid the dreaded spam filter. Remember, if your emails aren’t getting through at all, then your website performance will suffer from the loss of all those clicks from people who really want to engage with you!
Omni-channel Marketing and Customer Care (How to Be Everywhere)
Is your organization keeping up with the expectations of today’s B2B buyers? You probably know that key decision-makers are disqualifying vendors through online research before ever engaging with a salesperson, and they have higher expectations for good post-sale interaction as well. There’s never been a time when providing an outstanding experience has mattered more. From advertising to marketing, sales, and customer service, every aspect of a brand must make your company approachable in unprecedented ways.
Can Customers Reach You When and How They Wish?
In the past, that might have meant picking up the phone or faxing an order form. Today, B2B buyers expect much more:
Rapid replies to email (within hours, not days)
Live chat with reps consistently available during business hours
Responses to messaging through FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—anywhere a company maintains a profile
And don’t forget mobile texting and video chat. These more personal, familiar modes of communication can really help a B2B company stand out from the crowd.
Omni-channel Is Not Multi-Channel
Multichannel marketing is a tactical approach to reaching prospects and customers through a specific set of technologies. It is traditionally focused on what works best for the company doing the marketing. Omni-channel is about shifting the conversation away from platforms, technologies, and devices. It’s about focusing on availability and personalization. Customers want to interact with a vendor on their own terms using the technology of their choice. Even more, they want their interaction history to be available to any agent they speak with so that they don’t have to repeat themselves. They expect a seamless, consistent brand experience that takes their preferences into account. Three Tips for Delivering an Omni-Channel Experience
#1: Deliver mobile-friendly web design
This is at the top of the list not only because it’s the simplest fix but because it is so essential. Even business buyers are using a variety of devices besides their desktop to interact with your brand. They might see your tweets on their phone, read a thought leadership article on their tablet, and place an order on their laptop. Besides having a responsive website that automatically detects the parameters of the user’s device, be sure you actually are delivering great content on all the platforms they might use to research your brand.
#2: Provide continuity for e-commerce
Abandoned shopping carts can represent a huge missed opportunity for companies. When a prospect switches from one device to the next, their e-commerce selections should travel with them. Imagine if your business buyer is browsing your online catalogue on their phone and drops some items in the cart for later review. When they login to their desktop later, they receive a reminder that they have items still pending checkout. You’ve just made it that much easier for them to move from consideration to purchase. The ability to synchronize across devices is essential for omni-channel!
#3: Stop Keeping Data Siloed
Every interaction your customer or prospect has with your company is part of the total picture they build about your brand. That means the questions they ask via email or even social media should be available to your agents if the customer decides to follow up via phone or live chat. That may mean implementing more than just a traditional ticket management system. You want all the data on your customers so you get a 360 view of them as well. Not only does this approach boost satisfaction, it will help you market more effectively to your customer base on an ongoing basis.
How do you plan to use technology to make your marketing and custom care more personal, more available, and more consistently excellent for every user? If you want more ideas for strategy and implementation designed for your sector and customized for your brand, contact Web Revelation today. Our team can help.
Does Your Business Website Have Great UX? Understanding User Experience
What is User Experience (UX), and why does it matter whether your website has a good one? This design concept is about far more than just visuals or content. It’s the confluence of all the elements on-page and behind the scenes that add up to the total functionality of a site. When a web visitor has an experience filled with friction and frustration, your UX needs some work. As the folks at Moz point out, Google and other search engines are already taking User Experience into account in their search ranking algorithms. Whether people are bouncing off your site because it hurts their eyes to look at, your content is useless, or the page load time is driving them nuts, at the end of the day a lack of attention to UX is hurting your web presence. Here are some common mistakes you’ll want to be sure to avoid.
Seek and Not Find
Users should never have to navigate through a complex or poorly labeled site to find the information they need. Keep your top tier navigation menu short (five options is about the max). Today’s users typically know they can click the logo at the top of your site to access the home page, so save your top level menu for essentials other than “home”. You can add more pages as drop downs but don’t go crazy there either. Also avoid using page designs that force users to click on tab after tab within a single page to reveal all the content.
If there are hyperlinks to click on, make sure they come with a clear description so users know where they are being directed. That goes double for files like PDFs that will automatically download to their device. When you have lovely images to click for users to travel deeper into the site, be sure they are also labelled with text. That’s not just good SEO, it’s functional. For example, even if an image is linking to a portfolio piece, it should state what the user can expect to learn (e.g., Brickyard Museum Restoration Project or “Master Brake Center Case Study”). Don’t make users hover over an image to find out what it is for. They may miss that subtle cue.
Forms Done Wrong
Long forms can help you collect necessary information for your lead generation initiative. But a poor design can hurt more than it helps. Forms that ask for a lot of information that seems extraneous to the user will annoy them (especially if you make those fields mandatory). Never use a template that erases all information if an incomplete form is submitted—or one with the reset button too close to the submit button. You won’t get a second chance to capture leads from ticked off prospects. If you are asking for lots of info, give a reason. For example, a site providing vehicle wraps might ask for the make and model of a visitor’s vehicle in addition to contact info so that they can provide an accurate quote.
Sure, special effects are…special. But they can also add a lot of time to simple actions. Users have little tolerance for buffering—even when the fault is with their internet carrier and not with your website. But when you make them sit through a cute animation just to get to the content they are interested in? They know exactly who to blame. And it’s you. Using sliders, fade ins, and other effects is fine, but keep them limited to areas where it adds value (such as drawing attention to critical information) rather than just because it looks cool. For mobile, stick with interaction methods that users know well, like tapping and swiping.
Five Good UX Principles
Focus on designing your website with your typical user in mind—not your typical technology buff.
1. Navigation should be clear and easy to follow and the layout should direct the eye to important information.
2. Images should be relevant to the page topic and design elements and colors should not overshadow content.
3. Content should be written at an appropriate level and geared toward providing the information your audience needs.
4. Page load times should be kept to a minimum (image file sizes, scripting, and other behind the scenes factors can have a real impact here).
5. Users should be able to get to what they are looking for with a minimum number of actions.
Most important, you should get feedback from trusted experts and actual end users so that you can improve your UX. At the end of the day, it’s about delivering what your customers want.
Looking for a professional assessment of the UX on your website? Contact Web Revelation today for a consultation.
With so much jargon to sort through, it’s easy to get confused about where to spend your time and effort in online marketing. If you’ve ever wondered what a landing page is and why it matters for your business, now you can find out!
The basics: A landing page is a static page on your website that’s built for a specific purpose, usually as part of a campaign, promotion, or other marketing effort. In the B2B space, landing pages are often used for lead generation. For example, a company may develop a white paper and make it available for download if a web visitor fills out a short form on the landing page with their name, company, position, email, and phone number. Assuming the white paper is still relevant five years down the road, it can still be collecting qualified leads for your sales team if you’ve got a landing page that converts well. Here are four quick tips for how to get it right.
Keep It Short and Sweet
In the B2C world landing pages are often long form sales letters. In B2B, that type of landing page simply isn’t appropriate (although if you can figure out how to write a landing page with a “buy now” button that convinces a buyer to place a $120,000 purchase order, we’d love to see it!) For a B2B landing page, most of the content should be viewable without significant scrolling.
The visitor should know from the link that directed them to the page what to expect. And that’s what they should find, presented as succinctly as possible. Never do a bait and switch! Don’t be afraid to use video to make landing pages more engaging. But keep these short as well. Thirty seconds is a fine length if you want visitors to actually watch the whole thing.
Match the Offer to the Buyer
A digital resource that can be delivered immediately is a great offer. But you should tailor the type of resource to the stage the buyer is in along their journey. They might be just learning about the brand or seeking information to solve a specific problem. Often, a landing page is used at the beginning of the journey or closer to the top of the funnel, when buyers are marginally aware of your company, looking for answers to specific questions, and potentially open to engaging and learning more.
A whitepaper is best for people doing initial research to make a better purchasing decision down the road while a checklist is a great idea for people who are trying to solve an immediate problem. The type of offer visitors respond to can tell you whether a lead is just warm enough to start a drip campaign or if they are ready for a call from a sales person.
Ensure Your Call to Action Counts
Always start with the call to action in mind and design every element of your page from the visuals to the text with that final step as the focus. Otherwise, you may create interesting content but deploy it ineffectively. Also remember that a call to action shouldn’t be a demand. It should be an invitation. For example, it’s appropriate to use words like “discover” and “explore” when buyers are in the information gathering stage and you are offering a resource that helps them in their quest. That type of terminology is in alignment with what they are already in the mood to do.
It’s a best practice to have only one call to action on your landing page, even if visitors could conceivably take more than one action. Don’t ask the prospect to call, email, text, sign up for a newsletter, share your content, connect with you on social media, and enter to win. Pick the action that matters most and make that the focus.
Make It Easy to Get Results
User experience is critical for a landing page to convert well. Design the page so the user can get what they want and you can get what YOU want with the least effort. For example, determine the best number/type of fields for your form so you don’t scare people away by asking for too much information. A form with more than five fields is usually a deal killer.
Ensure that the buttons or other elements that give direction on what to do next are easy to locate. Remember, people scan content online rather than reading it word for word. You may have some great copy on your landing page, but visitors must be able to jump immediately into taking the desired action if that’s what they want.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Landing pages are a great place to do A/B split testing or multivariate testing. You know exactly what you want visitors to do and can track which version of a page delivers the best results.
Need to add landing pages to your website to help you achieve your marketing goals this quarter? Web Revelation can help you develop and launch your next campaign.
Does it seem like B2B companies are always playing catchup when it comes to online marketing? That’s probably because they are. The process of marketing in the digital age has become increasingly complex. Many B2B organizations are still using outdated tools, struggling with inadequate resources, or getting so caught up in the latest tech that they forget the basics. Here are five common mistakes we see B2B companies making when they market online.
#1 Creating Boring Advertising
Why is it so hard to connect with fresh prospects online when you are selling a technical, engineering, manufacturing, or industrial product? Because you think that they are already prepped to hear about the specs when their minds and hearts are still far away. B2B companies often rush to talk about the benefits (or even the features) of their product before establishing emotional rapport. That’s an understandable mistake since the target audience is often knowledgeable and educated. But generating excitement and connecting on a personal level is a step that can’t be skipped. This is particularly important for online ads, when buyers are first being introduced to a brand. Intrigue is the name of the game at this stage. Be human, be compelling, grab attention and don’t let go.
#2 Missing Out on Automation
According to a 2015 study by Autopilot, “Marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads than those using blast email software.” Replacing manual processes with automated systems is about more than saving labor hours. Leveraging automation tools opens your eyes to a whole new set of strategies and tactics for creating successful campaigns. It’s also beneficial for lead nurturing and boosting revenue from existing clients with cross-selling and upselling as new products and services become available.
#3 Failing to Align Marketing with Sales
This is probably the biggest challenge that B2B companies face. Sales knows it. Marketing knows it. They just haven’t figured out what to do about it. Sales and Marketing must collaborate to create a set of buyer personas, agree on what a qualified lead looks like, and decide what analytics tools and metrics will be used to track results over time. In combination with automation, this targeted approach delivers better quality leads to Sales and allows Marketing to demonstrate its true value as a partner in improving the company’s bottom line.
#4 Not Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
The Content Marketing Institute revealed in 2015 that “55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like.” Obviously, that goes back to the discussion that Marketing and Sales should be having about lead generation and cultivation. But there is no question that content marketing does get eyeballs on your brand. According to Hubspot, B2B companies that publish 11+ blogs a month received almost 3 times the traffic of those blogging 0-1 times per month. Of course, you can also see a benefit with a modest amount of blogging—particularly if you take the time to create real thought leadership pieces. Finding the right balance of volume, consistency, distribution platforms, and content types (video, podcasts, blogs, etc.) will take some time. Don’t be afraid to start small and build your strategy along the way as you see what types of content get the best response.
#5 Thinking the Current Website Is “Good Enough”
The 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report discovered that B2B buyers are 60% of the way through their decision-making process before they engage a sales rep. They are judging the quality and credibility of your brand right now based on the look and feel, navigation, eye-catching design, and content on your company website. If they don’t like what they see, your business may be eliminated in the early rounds before your sales team even gets the chance to make a pitch. That doesn’t mean you need to add a bunch of bells and whistles to your website. Often, it means streamlining the functionality, ensuring mobile compatibility, revamping the messaging to put the focus on the customer and their concerns, and delivering a visually compelling experience that draws people in. Visit your competitors’ websites and do a side-by-side comparison. If you aren’t blowing them out of the water, it’s time to step up your game.
For more ideas on ways to improve your online marketing, contact Web Revelation today. We’re happy to help!
Wholesalers and manufacturers may be buying in bulk for business purposes, but these days the individuals actually placing the orders are accustomed to being able to shop easily online. They rightly feel that they shouldn’t have to pick up a phone, fill out a tedious order form, or even use an antiquated fax machine simply to do their job as a purchasing agent. Instead, they expect to have a modern e-commerce experience whether they are buying for business or personal use. Organizations that want to become a preferred vendor for these customers would do well to explore an updated web-based ordering system.
Here are some key features that make online ordering simple and attractive for bulk buyers.
Faster, Better Service
At the most basic level, an online ordering system should eliminate duplicate data entry efforts, reduce errors, and process orders immediately. Less frustration leads to more brand loyalty and repeat business. You will also find that most customers enjoy a self-service experience even after the order is placed. They want to be able to track shipments and view their order history easily online. If they can repeat a previous order with just a couple of clicks, that’s even better!
That doesn’t mean the human touch is taken out of the equation. Instead, a modern system can incorporate live chat so that those customers who do have questions or challenges can get immediate assistance. When inbound sales teams are freed up from answering phones as order takers, they are more available to improve the service experience for customers who need help.
Targeted Product Catalogues
If you serve multiple industries, not every customer should see your entire product line. In fact, users will appreciate being presented only with relevant items when they go online to search for what they need. With a well-designed, segmented e-commerce solution, you can determine the items clients see when they log in to their account. For example, bulk packaged quantities can be presented to wholesale clients and hidden from retail clients. Of course, this means you can also set up special pricing and other private “eyes only” information for your top tier customers as well. When you are in charge of the online ordering experience, you can design it for maximum impact.
Accurate, Visible Inventory Numbers
This is a critical aspect of a good online ordering system. Lead time is one of the most common factors that determines who gets an order from a major customer. A wholesaler may need to deliver to retailers right away to capture seasonal sales. Or, a manufacturer might have to shut down a production line if they can’t get a part in a timely fashion. Providing information about which items are in stock (along with the quantity available) helps procurement specialists make a quick decision.
Be warned, this data has to be very accurate! Just one bad experience with finding out an item is on backorder when your website indicated it was in stock can turn off a customer. This means you need to integrate in real time with your existing ERP or inventory management system to ensure that your website never makes promises your warehouse can’t fulfill. As a bonus, implementing an integrated online ordering system may actually serve as an opportunity to help you scale to handle higher volume clients.
Multiple Payment Options
While some businesses have a dedicated credit card for online purchases, many still use a purchase order system. In fact, these Net 30 clients could be some of your largest accounts. You’ll want to be sure to accommodate them by accepting PO#s from your customers.
More Incentives to Buy
When you know which items your customers are buying, you can predict what they will want to try in the future. This means you can actually leverage the information captured by your online ordering system to promote new products as they become available. Rather than sending out a costly paper catalogue that will probably end up in the trash, you can present relevant items to your repeat customers using a variety of digital marketing methods. That might be as simple as featuring a new product with a special introductory price when they log in to their customized ordering portal on your website. This streamlined approach is less annoying for customers and more beneficial for your business.
Want to learn more about how a well-designed online ordering system can maximize high-dollar customer relationships with wholesalers and manufacturers? Contact WebRevelation today.
When is off-the-shelf software or a typical SaaS app going to do the trick and when do you need a custom online application? It might seem that there’s a simple answer—you only build what you can’t buy. But the reality is much more complex. In fact, even with a huge array of ready-made solutions, many businesses are still spending money regularly on custom development. In 2013 (according to a survey from Forrester), enterprise class organizations spent roughly the same amount on bespoke solutions as they did on packaged applications. Of course, having a big budget in the first place makes it easier to justify investing in a custom app. For small to mid-sized businesses, it can be a little more difficult to define when there’s a need that can be most effectively met by a tailor-made piece of software.
Here are five ways to know when a custom application can be a wise investment:
#1 You Only Need a Limited Scope to Accomplish Your Goal
Maybe you need a specific piece of “Best of Breed” functionality to make your business run better—but you don’t want to buy an entire suite of software from a major vendor just to get that one bit you need. The big names in the industry are well known for piling up the licensing and maintenance fees, locking in customers with long-term contracts, and forcing upgrades for their products. With a custom made product, you build only what is required to solve your actual business problem, your costs are limited, and you maintain control over the software.
#2 You Want Added Functionality for Competitive Advantage
At the other end of the scale, you might need an application with rich capabilities that simply aren’t provided by the SaaS vendors or traditional software suppliers serving your sector. Being the first in your industry to build a better application can put you ahead of the pack in productivity, innovation, and market share. These are especially exciting projects, and it makes sense to invest in a solution that your competitors can’t access.
#3 You Require Smarter BI for a Brighter Future
Business Intelligence is one of the most rapidly growing areas for custom development. Depending on your business model, you might be pulling data from a variety of sources from ERP to CRM, E-commerce, customer facing apps, and more. Being able to create a strong self-service dashboard and reporting system that compiles, displays, and interprets data from your unique data sources can be a powerful tool for predictive analytics. The more niche your industry is, the greater the chances that you’ll want a custom BI application.
#4 You Deserve Software That Truly Promotes Efficiency
Workflow automation is a prime example of when a custom online application can beat the socks off of an out-of-the-box application. The inner workings of your business will never map exactly onto a generic piece of software. Rather than adjusting your workflow to meet the capabilities of an application, it makes more sense to build an application that suits the way you do business.
#5 You Can Link the Custom App Directly to Revenue
Sometimes, the ROI on building a custom online application is obvious. If your existing software is causing you to miss out on opportunities, it makes a lot of sense to upgrade with a custom app that helps you capture more revenue. That could be one that adds functionality requested by customers, ensures repeat business, helps you cross-sell or upsell high dollar products/services, or attracts more of the ideal clients your company needs to be more profitable year over year.
Whether it’s an internal business application or a consumer-facing portal, a data-base driven app or a mobile solution, WebRevelation is ready to help grow your business with customized solutions. Learn how we can integrate with your legacy systems, build out new capabilities, and drive more value for your business. Contact us for a consultation today.
To hear some marketers talk about it, you would think that email had been around for half a century or more. In the age of social media, many talk about marketing through email newsletters as if they were passé and outdated. In fact, we regularly talk with business owners who think email no longer works, or at the very least, that it has stopped working the way it used to.
But is that idea accurate? Could it be that email marketing is still tremendously effective if you use it the right way? Based on our experiences working with clients, we certainly think so. To see how we reach that conclusion, though, we should step back a couple of steps and walk you through both sides of the issue…
Why Marketers Are Giving Up On Email
It’s easy to come to the conclusion that email doesn’t work the way it used to. In virtually every industry, subscribers are opening fewer messages, clicking on fewer links, and hitting the “unsubscribe” button more often. While it’s true that most adults carry around a smart phone or tablet that leaves them connected with their email almost continuously, it’s also true that they get far too many messages to read, and only scan through a handful of them.
When you look at things from that point of view, it’s easy to decide to give up on email and try more exciting channels like social media and video marketing. But, writing off email altogether overlooks a couple of important details.
The Power Of The Inbox
We suspect many marketers fail to appreciate the potential of email newsletters simply because they’ve been around for a relatively long time (in digital marketing terms). They aren’t exciting anymore, so business owners stop paying attention.
However, unlike some other forms of marketing, email is incredibly fast and inexpensive. Plus, it allows you to control your messaging in a very precise way, especially if you segment your lists and customize your content for readers. If you want to save money and get an instant response, it’s hard to beat email.
How To Make Email Marketing Work
Once you realize there is still a lot of potential in email, then the issue is not whether to use it, but how to use it. Here are a few of the best practices we use to achieve stellar results for our clients:
Use irresistible subject lines that draw our readers in
Include a short, informative article in every email newsletter
Divide your list of subscribers into specific groups and target your messages specifically to niche audiences
Make sure your email newsletters are mobile-friendly, with text and images that display cleanly on small screens
Wrap up every email with a simple call to action that invites subscribers to take the next step
Email is like any other tool you can use to reach out to customers – when you use it correctly, it’s going to be profitable and effective; when you don’t, it’s going to be a waste of time and money. If you aren’t getting the kinds of results you expected for your campaigns, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your approach and see whether you could be doing more to get subscribers to open your emails and act upon them.
When you need a creative team that understands how to get real-world results, make WebRevelation your first call. And it only takes a moment to get in touch with our team and set up a free consultation, so don’t delay any longer!
There are a lot of places to get a “deal” on a small business website… so long as you’re looking for a low price and not necessarily a bigger value. No matter where you turn, there is another overseas company offering what they promise are custom websites, online templates that can supposedly be tailored to meet the needs of your company, and even free DIY websites offered by companies that advertise on TV.
In each case, though, you are very likely to get what you pay for. There’s a reason professional web designers charge professional fees, and a reason that these other services are willing to give you what they have for nothing, or next to it.
To understand why this is, let’s look at a few of the hidden costs associated with cheap and DIY websites…
Your Credibility Is On The Line
According to some studies, a first-time visitor to your website will browse for about 5 to 10 seconds before they decide whether to stay, or look for what they need elsewhere. That means first impressions are absolutely critical. Unfortunately, you’re not going to stand out in the crowd – at least not in a favorable way – by having a website that looks like it was thrown together a couple of hours.
Third Party Ads Ruin Your Website
Many free and low-cost web design services are really advertising platforms for the companies that host them. That might sound like a good deal until you stop and think about the message it sends to your potential customers when they arrive on your pages and find ads for an entirely different company (and possibly ads that aren’t even relevant to your industry). That destroys your credibility in a second, and virtually assures you won’t get the business.
A Website That Doesn’t Work Is Always Expensive
Whether you’re getting an ad from a template or a bargain-basement provider, there’s a good chance it’s going to include lots of unnecessary code. That’s because the website was originally built for dozens of different uses, and not your business in particular. That can slow down your website, and cause problems when you add plug-ins, update your hosting software, or attract mobile visitors to your website. Then, your pages can freeze or crash, ensuring the visitor won’t be buying from you anytime soon.
The Web Is About Layouts And Functionality
The one consistent thing about templates and low-cost websites is that they always look good at first glance. That’s how business owners get suckered into paying for them. Interesting aesthetics are only one facet of web design, though. If you really want to bring in buyers and add to your bottom line, your website also has to have back-end functionality, in the form of tools, databases, and automated features. You aren’t going to get that on the cheap.
Online Marketing Is Half The Battle
Ultimately, the success or failure of your website is all about the number of customers you can attract, and the quality of the sales opportunities that are generated. A great custom website is going to be built with future online marketing campaigns in mind. A template or DIY website is like a stand-alone brochure that’s never going to be seen by actual customers.
There’s never a good time to take a chunk of cash out of your business. But, if you’re treating your business website as an investment that’s going to pay you back, then it makes sense to pay for quality. It’s one thing to try to save money on a line item expense for paper and pens, and another thing altogether to hurt your own marketing because you don’t have a professional web presence that appeals to customers.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
In an earlier post, we looked at some of the top-level advantages of using a custom content management system instead of WordPress or the other more popular options. To be sure, custom CMS setups aren’t for everyone, but for companies that can use them they are invaluable.
Today, we want to go a little bit deeper and explore the way a custom CMS can work with a few advanced website applications. In other words, we want to take a look at the way the right programming can help you accomplish more with your web presence.
Here are a few ways that a custom CMS might add more power, and profitability, to your business website:
If you need your website to perform advanced functions behind the scenes, or to integrate with off-line databases, scheduling apps, or other business tools, a custom CMS might be the answer. That’s because your content management system can be programmed with advanced encryption, file-sharing, and other features that make it easy for you to integrate different pieces of existing software (including custom applications that have been developed specifically for your company) in a way that makes them easy to use together.
In the same way, a custom CMS may be able to power advanced marketing tools that allow you to segment customers, dynamically control advertising budgets, or draw contact names from online sources and use them in print marketing campaigns. Certain types of functionality are easier to build into a custom content management system, especially if they are imagined from the outset. If you’re looking to unlock the power of advanced Internet marketing, consider starting with the way your website is organized.
Although WordPress and the other popular content management systems are a lot more versatile than they used to be, there are occasions where companies want to use design features that are better-suited to a custom CMS. If you are wanting to achieve an unconventional aesthetic with your new website, or want to experiment with different layout types, using a custom CMS might be a good way to implement these ideas without having to sacrifice functionality in different parts of your website.
Sometimes, the decision to choose a custom CMS isn’t about aesthetics or the user interface – it’s about getting all the backend and marketing power you can from your new website. Have you looked at your options for creating a new website that makes your business more profitable?
If you have questions about content management systems – or web design and Internet marketing in general – why not speak to the WebRevelation team in Oklahoma City? In just a few minutes, you can set up a free consultation where we’ll be happy to review your current website and answer any questions you might have.
Deciding to implement a content management system into your new website is an easy call – doing so makes it easy for you to add and update pages while maintaining a consistent look throughout every part of the site. Figuring out which content management system to use, however, can be a little tougher.
Obviously, there are a lot of popular options, such as WordPress and Drupal. But, lots of business owners overlook the advantages of a custom CMS, usually because they are working with a web design team that isn’t familiar enough with them to spell out the benefits.
That’s too bad, because having the right CMS can make a huge difference on the usability and profitability of your website. And, getting one that’s publicly available isn’t always the best choice.
To help you understand why, here are three benefits of using a custom CMS that you might not have known about:
#1 It Can Be Tailored to Fit Your Needs
As the word “custom” implies, this type of content management system can be shaped, designed, and programmed to meet the needs of your company. That means you don’t have to worry about a “one-size-fits-all” approach to web design, but instead can take advantage of the features that matter to your organization (and ignore the ones that don’t). The result isn’t just better functionality, but often cleaner code that isn’t cluttered by things you don’t need. Doing away with extra chunks of code could make your website run faster and more smoothly.
#2 There are Fewer Online Security Concerns
Hackers and cyber criminals love common content management systems, like WordPress, because so many millions of people use them. They only have to find one weak point in the content management systems security and they can suddenly access millions upon millions of different websites at once. On the other hand, with a custom CMS, there isn’t nearly as much incentive for thieves to spend time breaking in. That makes them more likely to move on than bother trying to crack the security on your website.
#3 It Makes it Easier to Update Your Website
One of the biggest advantages of having a custom CMS is that the interface can be designed for simplicity. In other words, we can make it so that adding new pages, or updating your content, is as simple as using a program much like Microsoft Word. That might not seem like a huge deal, but if you’ve ever struggled to keep your website up-to-date, you know how important it is to have a system that’s easy to use and master. What’s the point of having a CMS if updating your website is a chore?
If you’ve never considered using a custom content management system, now might be the perfect time to take a closer look and see if it’s right for you.
Looking for the very best in business web design and Internet marketing? Talk to the team at WebRevelation in San Antonio, Houston or Dallas today!