Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody!  My blog post today is going to be about the positive things we have to look forward to in 2009. The past year is almost behind us, and in many respects that’s a good thing. Come tomorrow, we all get another chance to start fresh. Whether you own a business or simply work for one, you may be thinking the outlook is dim. But there are things to look forward to, and ways to take advantage of the business opportunities that are out there, especially through the internet. For example, If you’re in the website development business as I am, there is always new and innovative technology being produced, and that only helps us serve our clients better. Here are a few positive things to focus on in 2009.

There are business opportunities out there

In an article for Forbes, Saj-Nicole Joni notes that,  “the opportunities will be extraordinary for business leaders who have the vision, skill and courage to move forward.” These opportunities, in large part, involve the internet. If your business has a website or a blog, there are brand new avenues for free marketing available to you on a daily basis. Even more than that, the technology that allows us to create these websites and blogs also allow businesses to enhance their image and leave a lasting impression on a much wider scale.

Encourage others

This comes from a blog post by Danny Brown. He sent a call to his followers on twitter, and asked them to tell him how they would encourage greateness in 2009. Inspiring others not only makes them feel better, it makes you feel better as well. When everybody is feeling positive, more positive things tend to happen. If your business has a website, try using it to thank your customers/clients in some way. Whether that encouragement comes in the form of a simple note, a personalized email or special deals. Let your customers know you appreciate them, and believe me, they will be a customer for life. Make your blog more interactive, this not only helps bring you more traffic and potential business, it’s also a great way to make people feel as though what they have to say matters. One of the things I believe will become bigger in 2009 is social media, which is very interactive, so encouraging this through your own business keeps you on top of the trend as well.

A new year means a new start

Come January 20th, we will have a new president and, for many people, that’s already a huge improvement from the past eight years. But no matter how you feel about the politics of it, a new president brings fresh new ideas and that’s what we need more than anything. The new administration also knows the power of the internet, so I expect technology to grow by leaps and bounds.

It isn’t all just doom and gloom out there. A new year brings fresh hope, and in order to acccomplish the goals you have for yourself and your business, a healthy dose of hope can only improve your chances. Encourage others, think outside the box and focus on the good news. We at Datex Media want to wish you all a very happy and successful new year, and I encourage you all to share your thoughts on what the new year will bring.

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How to Provide Quality Customer Service in a Technology World

imagesTechnology has opened up our world, especially with regards to my industry, website development. But it has also opened up a brand new challenge, with regards to customer service. It can be difficult for a programmer to explain what goes into designing a website to a business person who has no knowledge of how the technology works.

At Datex Media, we have a Project Manager, Erwin Smith, who helps us bridge the gap between geek-speak to business owners and executives and vice versa. The following post is written by Erwin, and explains how he deals with customer service in a technology world.

The first thing I make sure to do with any client is to get a thorough understanding of what their business is, how they operate and what their goals are for the company. I know how competitive it is out there, and ensuring I give our clients the time and attention they deserve helps us to create a website that suits their specific needs and objectives. For example, I’ll ask them questions about why they do a certain process in a certain way so the programmers can figure out how best to write the code. But even with all the communication that takes place, issues can and do arise.

A couple of the most common customer service issues that come up deal with the technology that goes into creating a website, and the lack of understanding the average person has of it. For example, getting clients to understand the time that’s required for programmers to provide the best possible solution for their request. It may look like a simple page to them, but there are many things going on behind the scenes that need specific attention and a programmer’s creativity to produce the function or tool they envisioned. Another issue is maintaining proper momentum and not pushing our client’s patience.

In both cases, communication is key. When speaking with a business client, I try and keep it simple. Because I am familiar with technology, and much of the language that goes along with it, I know how to communicate with the programmers that are building the website. Speaking both “languages” is a major plus because it allows me to be a liason between the clients and the programmers. This skill, I believe, is crucial for customer service in this industry.

Trust is another key componant in customer service. I find that keeping our clients updated on the progress of their websites on a regular basis helps build a stronger relationship with them. With this foundation, they don’t have to understand the technology that goes into what we’re doing, because they know we are working to give them exactly what they want. Of course, the proof is in the pudding. Once a business has seen the finished product, they know we heard everything they said.

Customer service in a technology world has some special challenges. I believe that getting to know your client and how their business operates are keys to giving them a website that suits their specific needs, it also helps build your credibility because these clients will provide word-of-mouth advertising for you. So what have I left off? What do you do to ensure quality customer service? Please let us know by leaving your comments, questions or suggestions.

Internet Marketing For Your Website: Tips On How It’s Done

online_business_networking_groupsInternet marketing has become as important, if not more so, than traditional marketing. With so many websites out there, companies now have the opportunity to reach a much wider audience, and with a good web design that incorporates search engine optimization (SEO), businesses can take advantage of boundless networking outlets, especially in the area of social media.

 

I just read an article at BloggerSavvy that spoke about the power of word-of-mouth advertising. This is one of the ways social media can help you with your internet marketing. In an article written by Kelly K. Spors for the Wall Street Journal, he states that “social media can help firms better connect with and market themselves to consumers and others in their industries, and they are often free.” In fact, websites like twitter, stumbleupon and digg are so popular that they have become part of many internet marketers’ daily lives. While having a website helps a business spread the word through the internet, you may also want to consider starting a blog as a companion site.

 

The plus side to creating a blog is the ability to go into more depth about your company’s niche market, products and services, and once you’ve built up some really good relationships through the social media networks, other people will begin to submit your blog posts to the various bookmarking sites and directories, which promotes your website even more. A good web design company can create a blog and incorporate it into your website for you; this way you can get traffic to both at the same time. The next thing you may want to consider is whether you want to hire a professional that is familiar with how internet marketing works.

 

Marketing a website and blog can be very time consuming, and I have found, better left to those who truly understand it. That’s why I recently hired a professional to handle my internet marketing for me. I’m so busy with my web design company and blog posts that I found it better to hire somebody who knew much more about how it all works than I do. Keep in mind, the key to internet marketing is networking and connecting with everybody in the blogosphere. This entails visiting the numerous social networking websites, visiting the websites of people you are building relationships with and commenting on sites that are in a similar market as you, just to name a few. As you can see, this can be a full time job, and if you’re busy running your business, you can’t really devote the time it takes to get the most out of this type of marketing.

 

While traditional marketing is still a vital part of promoting any business, internet marketing is growing by leaps and bounds. Owning my own web design company gives me a unique perspective on how many businesses today have a website for their company, and the numbers are growing everyday. It takes time and effort, but engaging your potential clientele in more personal relationships through social media has become a must in today’s technologically driven world. While I am fairly new to how this all works, I am educating myself quickly in order to catch up with the millions of people who already know the power of the internet. Being that I am a beginner, I welcome your thoughts, suggestions and comments; after all, that’s what building a connection is all about.

SEO and Your Website: How Does it Work?

Got a website or a blog? If so, than you are at least familiar with the term SEO, or search engine optimization. It has become an integral part of any web design, especially if it’s for a business. So we all know it’s important, but many people are still confused as to exactly what it is or how it works. Because of this confusion, many businesses hire companies that claim to be SEO experts, and often times, they are making lofty promises and charging even loftier prices for their service.

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” or “search engine optimizer.” The goal is to get your website and/or blog a higher ranking in the search engines and drive more traffic to your business site. There are a handful of things that go into achieving this type of specific web design, which include: content development, keyword research, expertise in specific markets and html formatting, just to name a few. Now, this type of service can be a good thing, especially if you or your company doesn’t have enough time to devote to this aspect of their business. That being said, many of these companies are promising immediate results and charging an arm and a leg for them.

From everything I’ve researched, it seems as if it takes more than a couple of days to generate heavy traffic to a website, in fact it can take several months. So, if you decide to hire an SEO specialist, be vary wary if they promise quick results. To me an SEO company is like a psychiatrist, in that it’s an ongoing process and one really never knows what is going to happen. Now that’s just my opinion based on what I’ve learned for my own web design company. Another question to ask is, is the money you are paying these people worth it?

Some of the quotes I’ve seen for SEO services range between $20,000-$30,000 and a monthly maintenance fee. It seems a bit pricey to me, especially if you can find out how to do it all yourself. But that’s the question, is improving your website’s ranking worth that much money to your business, and do you really need to spend that much or can you find companies that will do it cheaper? My feeling is that you have to devote a lot of time to your company’s blog and/or website to really get it going. Creating the web design is just the first step; you have to also ensure you are providing fresh, quality content to your blog on a regular bases, you have to research the appropriate and most-used keywords on a daily basis and you have to submit your pages to the various search engines and social networking sites. And that just scratches the surface.

So here are a few questions to all of you. How much do you think a business should pay for an SEO specialist? Do you think you even need to hire outside help for your website, or should you just do it yourself? How long do you think is a reasonable amount of time before you start seeing higher rankings and more traffic to your blog? And what are some of the warning signs to look for, when hiring outside help? I know one thing you definitely want to be careful about is hiring a company that breaks the rules set forth by Google. There are a lot of dirty tricks companies are employing, and they do get quick results; however, these results don’t last and it can get you banned from some of the most important search engines out there. Now let’s hear what you all have to say about it.