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Increasing Revenue Because Your Web Efforts Yell, “LOOK AT ME” Via Technology

September 14th, 2018

You have a business; not any business, it’s your business. Like most businesses you are faced with increasing burdens of taxes, competition, employee concerns, cost of money and many other issues. You want an advantage. You have thought about beefing up your web presence but are not familiar with the many different avenues on how to approach the need with a sensible solution. Better yet you do not want to not learn how the technology works, your busy, you want to know what it will do for your customers and ultimately your bottom line. Finally, you want to create an affordable and sustainable effort that allows a web based technological platform to create the needed value for your current and potential customers. This article provides a simple overview on how to understand that process.

The first subject on this short journey is the most critical. When you pursue a partner in web development there is a list of criteria that should be met. The first item and most important is an understanding what your customer value needs are. The conversation between the client and the web development company needs to be crystal clear on the requirement needs of the end user or customer. Most significant is the need for the company to clearly identify with what creates real value with their current and potential customers. There is a great deal of ways to broaden this awareness, traditional methods such as “SWOT analysis” or more complex approaches such as “voice of customer” all work but they need to be accomplished before you can address web platform needs. The next two areas are of equal importance; 1) Creative and 2) technological prowess. If your web development company is very creative but cannot write great code then they cannot create a final winning solution. Likewise if you sign with a company that understands and writes the most logical front end and back end code for your web applications but does not present that code in a creative and appealing manner; all is for not.

A few things that round out the requirements. Make sure that the company is accountable to you, you’re the boss and both parties need to understand that. This includes respecting timelines, responding to questions and keeping you in the loop on the entire development process. Find a partner that offers an affordable solution. There are many web development companies, make sure that you partner with one that offers a reasonable cost to the value that you are receiving. It is a world market and the cost of value required should be explored. Many companies have paid 3-6 times more than what the real value of similar web based solutions. Get several quotes on upcoming projects. Ask the required questions to ensure that you are receiving like value from each web solution company, find the affordable solution. Make sure that your web development partner offers an ongoing solution for your web based needs. Demand that the final agreement includes 1 year of maintenance/warranty issues. Have a clear understanding of what the performance will be for issues that take place in the future with the site by getting a commitment that they will stand by their work. Ensure that the company has a solid historical representation by contacting their prior clients.

Make sure that your web development company understands the depth of technological offerings. There are many ways to skin a cat these days, but web developers get caught in what they know not what is available. Often you will find web development companies sell you on solutions that they are familiar with instead of what is the best solution for your customers. Make sure that they are well versed in the latest web technology. At minimum web development companies need to be well versed in both front end and back end applications. Here are a few to be familiar with and how they can provide value to your customers

1. HTML 5.0

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and has been the code that your web browser reads in order to create visual and audible web pages. What is important about HTML 5.00 is that it is the current development of the HTML language that will allow a further integration of standard HTML coding toward a rich media environment. The key to the latest version is that it creates additional flexibility to produce a media rich environment for your customers without the addition of API’s. They do not fully expect HTML 5.0 to be completed until around 2014 but if your web development company is not paying attention to how the current development of HTML will add to a more dynamic media environment now and in the future, look for a company that offer new age solutions.

2. Flash

Adobe offers an amazing range of products to enhance the web experience. One that needs individual mention is Flash. There is an attempt to promote HTML 5.0 over Flash content but there are many things that only Flash can accomplish. Flash is critical to media rich environments and will be hard pressed to be surpassed in areas like games, desk-top widgets or any other application that requires advanced animation and techniques. Flash has been criticized in the past for overall CPU usage but the latest version of FLASH has reduced the need, in addition programmers of Flash need to be attentive to the CPU requirements of the venue the application will be ran on. As our customers progress from the Desk top to the smart phone, overall understanding of CPU usage is critical to overall customer experience. Finally, it is not uncommon for development companies to embrace HTML 5.0 and not FLASH or vice versa. To provide the richest and most fulfilling media environment for your customers choose a web development company that is versed and willing to write code in both.

3. CSS

Cascading Style Sheets is the language that allows the look and formatting of HTML. The separation from document content (HTML markup) and the styling of the markup allows for a great deal of flexibility on how the content is presented. Style sheets are responsible for the look and several style sheets can be created to allow more flexibility in how your web content is presented in different browser venues (i.e. Mobile phones, print, screen reader, etc. ) Recently we reviewed a large corporate web effort that was done primarily in old table html format. We estimated that the overall effort could have been done in 1/6 of the time using CSS style sheets, in addition the lack of flexibility in all the venues the application was viewed. Bottom line is the Web Development Company needs to be well versed in CSS.

4. JavaScript

They say that HTML is the structure, CSS provides the style and JavaScript creates interactive encounter that allows web pages to be more of a fulfilling experience. A few items that JavaScript applications address; validating form input, changing images, background effects, calendars, calculators, links & Buttons. The list goes on and on. You can have great content with appealing style, but also ensure that your customers experience client-side technology like JavaScript. You will find that the same page without JavaScript is a different page from a web experience comparison. Create the most interaction with your customers by utilizing good JavaScript code.

5. PHP/MySQL or ASP

Web sites today not only need to be media rich, they need to be dynamic to address the spontaneous needs of the users. PHP and MySQL, or ASP is server-side technology which will allow the web page to provide a liver user experience. Text, Images, Video can all changed in response to different contexts and conditions. It is important to have an understanding of the needs of your customers so dynamic pages can be created to produce content that is specific to the overall value need of the end user. In addition make sure that your web development company has a program to enhance the Search engine optimization of your dynamic pages. Historically the dynamic production of the content of these pages has been less visible. Solid SEO programs in place will combat this and allow your pages to index with the major search engines faster than your competitors.

6. Web Video & Images

Going forward it will become more about the best overall media experience on web platforms. Now is the time to outpace your market opposition by offering better video, images and content above your competitors. Web Video once uploaded to your site and social marketing avenues gets reprocessed from site to site. This creates an enormous amount of exposure for your company. If the video is done well or has an attraction with segments of viewers it could go viral. In addition as consumers become more sophisticated with how to search on the internet the “long tail” of keyword search will allow video tags and image tags to be found by a more intended market segment. Bottom line is this, get rolling on video productions for your business. It does not matter if it is product introduction or company information put it on your website and introduce it to YouTube and like social media sites. Decent video production for the web is affordable and your efforts will pay off.

7. SEO

They say, “If you build it they will come”. In the world of the internet they say, “If you build it with an excellent Search Engine Optimization program they will come.” Bottom line is build it, but do not build it without a solid Search Engine Optimization program in place. Any good Web development company will have people in house that can develop a solid program for you. If they are crafting a web solutions from scratch demand that a program be involved in the package. Any web investment needs to be complimented with a solid plan to bring future customers to your site. There are several avenues to accomplish this. If you research search engine optimization on the web you will be able to review several good and bad approaches. Most important is the need to for a program, ensure that your program comes with actionable and verifiable benchmarks so you know that the search engine program is working. There are several ways to track gain in the optimization area, hold your web developer accountable to specific criteria.

The reality is that consumers and the internet are completely entangled. As progressive generations grow the reliance on web searches and on line shopping will continue to displace more traditional methods of” business to consumer” or “business to business models.” Most realize the inevitability of that statement, many others will in the future. Embrace all of the technology now; get ahead of your competitors. As a business owner you can hire the most talented web development firm available, but, in order to be at the top of your contribution toward internet marketing. You also have a learning curve to address. The longer you are engaged in the web technology process the more you can contribute and compete. If you are thinking about a web presence get started, if you already have one look at make improvements. Tomorrow could be too late.

Should You Incorporate Testimonials In Your Next Web Development Project?

September 13th, 2018

There are many different aspects or areas that you may want to incorporate into your next website design project. One that you may want to consider is the testimonial. A testimonial section can benefit your company in many different ways. Here is a look at some of the most common. They may just cause you to be interested in adding a section such as this when it is time to build or rebuild your website.

What is a testimonial?

A testimonial is a written statement or comment that a customer makes. People often leave testimonials about products or services that they feel particularly strongly about. Although many people think that a testimonial should not be solicited the truth is that some of the best ones have been written in response to a company’s request for customer feedback. Regardless of whether a testimonial is talking about a product or service that your company offers or they are talking about the less tangible qualities that your company excels at, testimonials can be very effective.

Why can it be a beneficial part of your website?

Potential customers are often drawn more strongly to a company that they feel they have a connection with. If you include customer testimonials you may find that you are putting a human face on your company and that you will get more of a response than if you had simply designed a nice site with very little that is personal about it. If customers feel that they get a human feeling from your company they are more likely going to purchase from you or use your company’s services instead.

The key is to use the right kind of testimonial on your website. They need to sound real and honest rather than sounding as though they are fake or forced. It is also important that they seem relevant and talk about something that actually refers to your business. A random testimonial that does not seem to have anything to do with your company may also fail to help you connect with your clients.

Elements of a good testimonial

There are a few things that make a good testimonial even better. The first is that they are specific. They do not have to talk about a product, they can also talk about another quality that your company exhibits. However, it is important that you talk about specific features rather than making a general statement about how amazing your company is.

It can also make a testimonial seem more realistic if there is a name and some general information included with them. It is true that this is something that can be altered or added but if the testimonials seem realistic it will often seem less likely that this was done. A successful company is one that gives the impression of being honest and upfront rather than adding anything or hiding any details.

Whether you want to use testimonials on your site is up to you. You may find, however, that by adding this personal, human touch that it becomes easier to market your company using your website.

Internet & The Mobile Phone – A Web Developer’s Perspective

September 12th, 2018

It wasn’t long ago that a phone was just a phone. We made calls, sent text messages and sometimes we even sent each other, dare I say it, picture messages too. Thinking of mobile phones in that way is now a very 90’s point of view.

Mobile phones can now safely be placed in the same category as your laptop or even your desktop computer. The features and functionality available on mobile phones have grown exponentially to a point where people are browsing more and more web sites using their phones than ever before. This trend is set to rise sharply in the next few years.

If you run a business and have a web site I want you to think about your contact details. Ask yourself the question, ‘how contactable am I’? Web sites commonly have a contact page containing a phone number and contact email address. Often, you will find them at the bottom of each web page to.

‘Great’ I hear you say. ‘What’s new about that’?

When you see an email address you will notice that it will invariably allow you to click on it and send an email. But, what about your telephone contact number?

Now take a step back and think about the ever increasing browsing habits of mobile phone users. Wouldn’t it be great if the mobile user could browse your web site, see your contact phone number, click on it and be in direct contact with your business right there, right then?

Here are Sozo, we like to keep our eye on the future and also keep in mind our customers wider audience. That is why we can ensure that your web site contact phone number will enable your audience to contact you instantly.

‘What if I’m looking at the web site using my desktop or laptop computer’? Well, if you have a Voice Over IP (VoIP) software application installed such as SKYPE you can also click on the phone number and call too.

The main message I want you to walk away with is the need to think not only about the message your web site conveys, but also about how contactable you are too. If your message meets the need of your audience, they will more than likely want to talk to you. Increasing your ability to be contacted by any and all means should always be of paramount importance.