Posts Tagged ‘web design’
Having good customer service is absolutely critical for the success of your online business. You may have a great product and a strong customer base, but being able to solve customers’ problems as they come up can be the key to your success. Many businesses rely on computerized systems to deal with inquiries and the like, but this can actually prevent you from providing effective customer service.
It is preached to the point of overkill, but customer service is really just a waste of time if you aren’t personally dealing with the customer. Developing a personal relationship with customers is important because of the amount of purchase hesitancy that is involved with online businesses.
If a customer ever has an issue, and inquiry, or a complaint, you as the business owner should invest some time into solving their problem. When people see individuals higher up on the ladder investing time in their consumer base, it sends a really strong message – that of a company that actually cares about the product they’re providing people.
Many consumers distrust online businesses because of the amount of scams out there. It’s easy for a business to set up shop online, make a transaction, and virtually disappear if that buying customer ever has any issues with the product.
Make Customer Service Unnecessary
While developing relationships out of your customer inquiries may sound like a lot of work, there are ways you can minimize the amount of customer coddling you’ll actually need to do. If your website is functional, simple, and informative, customers will be able to answer their questions themselves.
Your website should be well designed with easy-to-understand descriptions of the product, price, size, shopping carts, and anything else a customer might need to know during a purchase, like return policy or warranty information.
Your reputation is at stake when it comes to customer service. Consumers are quick to judge and often judge harshly. By demonstrating the willingness and ability to provide customers the answer they need, your brand reputation will be enhanced and consumers will affectionately recommend your brand to their peers.
If you are starting a business online, you should be using as many resources as possible. Entrepreneur.com is a great resource for aspiring small business owners and new entrepreneurs. Allen Moon, the founder of On Deck Marketing (an internet marketing agency that specializes in product marketing strategies, e-commerce and online marketing), wrote a great post specifying each step you can take to set up and run a business online.
I decided to use a few of the steps to help you prepare before you set up your online business. These three steps from Moon’s original post are the most fundamental things you can do before you’re ready to set up your online business.
Step 1: Find a need and fill it
Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second. To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results.
Step 2: Write copy that sells
There’s a proven sales copy formula that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the moment they make a purchase:
- Arouse interest with a compelling headline.
- Describe the problem your product solves.
- Establish your credibility as a solver of this problem.
- Add testimonials from people who have used your product.
- Talk about the product and how it benefits the user.
- Make an offer.
- Make a strong guarantee.
- Create urgency.
- Ask for the sale.
Step 3: Design and build your website
Once you’ve got your market and product, and you’ve nailed down your selling process, now you’re ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention–otherwise they’re gone, never to be seen again. Some important tips to keep in mind:
- Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
- Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
- Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message.
- Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses.
- Make it easy to buy–no more than two clicks between potential customer and checkout.
- Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
Adobe’s Flash has been taking some serious heat lately as Apple and Adobe continue their spat over the future of online video. Advertising agencies continue to suffer due to a lack of development with Flash. A successful online business’ website should be designed to engage their customers, not frustrate them.
Even the American Association of Advertising Agencies relies heavily on flash players that are inconsistent in loading time.
Adobe Flash Player can take minutes to load, but your customer attention span is only seconds. If your web design is difficult to navigate, slow, glitchy, or is ridden with broken links, good luck retaining any customer loyalty.
Many advertising agencies are hung up on having a fun, flashy, aesthetically appealing website that may actually end up working against them. With Adobe Flash struggling to update and revamp their service, the Flash can be the very thing that buries your potential website’s audience reach, traffic and search engine optimization tactics.
Steve Jobs himself made several statements regarding the lack of quality that seems to continually plague Adobe Flash Player. According to an article on ComputerWorld Jobs said:
We told Adobe, if you ever have this thing running fast, let us know, which they never did.”
Before the iPhone was launched in 2007, Apple made an affirmative decision to ban Flash from the new smartphone. Jobs blamed the exclusion on issues from “poor performance to security issues.”
Apple fervently supports the idea of embedded videos as a permanent replacement for flash. The embedded videos will be a prominent feature in HTML5, the new generation of H that is the fundamental language of websites currently under development.
The embedded videos will give websites more power and control over their web design. It eliminates dependence on third party plug-ins like Adobe and Microsoft Silverlight.
Backlinks are links to other websites or web pages included in the text of your page. They are very powerful tools used to optimize the use of search engine optimization. Search engines consider the number of backlinks a website has as one of the most important factors contributing to that site’s search engine ranking. The more backlinks your website has, the more powerful or popular it seems to the visitor.
How do I make valuable backlinks?
In order to have backlinks that are actually significant and meaningful to search engines, they have to be quality. There is a strategy in choosing your backlinks, to maximize your viewership.
Debbie Everson wrote a very interesting article called How to Build Valuable Backlinks. Key points of this article discuss ways to make your backlinks valuable and warranted.
Follow these 5 simple steps:
1. Do your research
Choose a keyword that best fits the content if your webpage. Try to avoid generic words, and try to make it match the purpose of your website. Run a Google search of the keyword you chose and pay close attention to the top 20 search results. Write them all down, and now you have a list of 20 relevant and very popular websites to backlink to.
2. Use URL Directories
Submit your URL to different URL Directories to start building some credibility. Sites that have too many backlinks too quickly are often flagged as suspicious. By submitting your URL to a directory, overtime you will build several backlinks. Be specific as well. If you target a niche market, you have a better chance of being considered valuable.
3. Use Article Directories
You can include links in articles that you submit to article directories. You can also add a link to your author description with appropriate anchor text. This is an important tool to use because article directories are known to rank well in the search engine ranking pages. It also pulls in traffic to your website.
4. Use Forums
Forums are extremely popular in all walks of life. People participate in discussion forums for topics from aviation, to violating probation, to major golf tournaments. There is a forum for everything. Add a link to your signature at the bottom of your posts. However, be active and genuinely participate in the forum.
5. Make others link you
Write legitimately interesting content that makes others want to link to your website. Write at least once a day to develop a following. Be up to date and well informed. Ask questions of the people who read your material for feedback and suggestions.
According to the Wall Street Journal AT&T’s new phenomenon, the iPad, recently suffered an astronomical security breach. A hacker group, calling themselves Goatse Security gained access to the private details and email addresses of nearly 114,000 early purchasers of the iPad. People such as the New York Times’ chief executive Janet Robinson and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel were exposed.
The hackers were actually able to gain access to this information through a script they located on AT&T’s website. The script automatically returns email address in conjunction with each iPad ID Number. The iPad ID Numbers were simply guesses made by the hacker group.
The gaping hole in AT&T’s security was reported to be closed, but not before it exposed several military accounts.
Security online is a huge issue. In order to maintain a strong online business presence, you must be properly equipped and safe. Many people are scared to buy online and you must be able to reassure your web-based customers that your online business practices online are secure and credible.
Make sure you’re safe
Make your online business credible and trustworthy. You want to be able to implement your online marketing strategy efficiently, so you must make yourself safe and secure in order to move forward. Apple will probably lose very valuable customers due to the vulnerabilities the hackers were able to find. They must quickly implement an internet marketing strategy to cover their bases.
Have a security seal
You may already have an SSL system, or Secure Sockets Layer (encryption to provide security for communications), but these still have potential loopholes. Merchant accounts are a little safer since in the future, they will all be requiring PCI Security Standards Council compliance. The PCI data security standard is a multifaceted security standard that includes requirements for security management, policies, procedures. You can promote the credibility of your security seal in your internet marketing strategy.
Use Trust Guard
Trust Guard is a third party verifying system that not only help you recognize certain issues, but they provide you with a seal that enhances your visible credibility.
Trust Guard services include:
- Low prices
- Vulnerability Scanning
- PCI Scanning
- Security Seals
- Business Seals
- Privacy Seal
Dice, a Dice Holdings, Inc. service, is the leading career site for technology and engineering professionals.
Dice conducts comprehensive surveys that delve into the world of web technology and career paths for technology professionals. These fields include anything from website programming to IT service to basic web design to software packages. The statistics included in this article give a good insight to the inner workings of the world of technology.
The Annual Tech Salary Survey for 2009-2010 from Dice reported some extremely interesting results for tech professionals.
Here are a few quick summaries and some key points from the survey results:
1% increase in average pay to $78,845
47% say their employers are doing nothing to keep them motivated
19% are being offered more challenging and interesting assignments
14% are benefitting from more flexible work hours
24% received a bonus, the average salary was $90,521
42% report dissatisfaction with their compensation
Job and salary dissatisfaction is at its highest level in recent history, and tech professionals should be willing to fight for advancement and higher compensation. However, some departments are doing much better than others:
4% salary increase in Washington, D.C. to $89,014
4.4% average increase for technology professionals in the Government and Defense sector
1.5% increase for New York City to $86,710
$96,299 is the average IT salary for Silicon Valley
Salary by Employment
Certain areas of the field are in very high demand and pay significantly higher salaries. These salaries include:
$115,916 – ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming)
$107,827 – SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)
$105,844 – ETL (Extract Transform and Load)
The average salary by employment time for 2009-2010 is as follows:
$78,845 – US Average
$76,784 – Full-time Workers
$98,964 – Consultants
$61.56/hour – Consultants Base Rate Per Hour
The biggest concern technology professionals have for 2010 include:
24% – Position Elimination
17% – Keeping skills up-to-date and being valuable to respective employer
15% – Lower salary increases and lower billing rates
15% – Canceled projects or fewer projects
11% – Increased workload
5% – Increased outsourcing
3% – Position relocation
10% – No concerns at this time