Content Management for Your Business Website

Having a website to help promote your business is an important step in creating a presence on the internet. Once you’ve made the decision to take that step, you want to figure out whether the web design you choose is static or dynamic. Today I’ll be discussing content management for a static website, and why this may be the route you want to take for your business.

 

Simply put, a static website, or “business card” website, contains information, or code, that doesn’t change. However, the site administrator can go in and update information on the website when necessary. This is a good option for most businesses, if all you’re looking for is to create a site that tells the public who you are and what you do, and you don’t need to update the site on a regular basis. There are several companies that allow you to build your own website such as Go Daddy and Network Solutions, but unless you are at least a little bit familiar with HTML coding, this can be very time consuming and frustrating.

 

You can also choose to have these internet companies build the site for you, but you may find that you aren’t getting the personalized attention and time that you need to ensure your site does everything you want it to or that you get the instructions you need to navigate your way around the administration of the site. If this is the case, you may want to find a web design company that offers a wider range of services. At Datex Media, we take the time to truly get to know our clients and what they’re specific needs are; the message they want to send and the web design that really speaks to who they are as a business and how they operate. Once the site is built, we also take the time to personally train our clients on how to work within the administration of the site.

 

One of the pluses to creating a static website is the fact that it can be built fairly quickly, giving your business a presence on the internet sooner rather than later. And unless your business needs to update your website on a daily or regular basis, a static one will cover everything you need. Once the website has been created, you can always go in and make changes to the content as needed. For example, maybe your business has added a new service and you want to make sure your internet audience is aware of it; all you, or the web design company, has to do is click on the category you want to change and then click on edit and type in whatever new information you want to be shown.

 

Now, there are about as many different ways to go about editing content as there are websites on the internet. Some people are comfortable formatting their own HTML codes and others aren’t; and it’s important for any business to know exactly what’s going into their website content, whether they choose to do it themselves, or leave it in the hands of the web design company that built it. In order to give our clients, and potential clients, the most personalized service we can, we’d like to hear from you, our readers. What administrative tools work best for you, which ones don’t you like and what would you like to see added to administrative templates? Please leave your thoughts, comments and suggestions.

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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.

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.

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.

Make Your Website Work For You Not Against You

man2Time is money; we are all familiar with this concept, but it’s especially important for anybody who owns or manages a business. In fact, according to a study conducted by America Online and Salary.com, “companies are spending $759 billion a year in wasted salary due to time inefficiency.” One of the best ways to cut down on these costs is to maximize on the organization computer software can provide your company. We all know how much easier our lives have become thanks to technology, but it has also created some challenges as far as the flow of information and data are concerned. That being said, you can make your website work for you. Software integration allows your business to extract and organize pertinent data, you can save time, improve efficiency and facilitate easier employee communication.

Technological advances have allowed us all to work within specific formats to create and organize our data; however, the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. For example, your accounting department may have all your company’s economic information stored away in a system such as Quickbooks. While this software is helpful in maintaining your financial records and generating invaluable reports, you can’t access it unless it is downloaded into the computer you are using. This means that if you want a report of your quarterly earnings, salary information regarding your employees, or any other vital data stored in the software you are using, you have to wait while that department compiles the information, organizes it all and finally faxes or emails it to your office. The good news is that Quickbooks now allows this data to be extracted and incorporated into your corporate portal where anybody who needs this information and has the authority to view it can download it themselves from their own computer. That’s one way you can make your website work for you, but there are others.

Quickbooks is just one example of how a website developing company such as Datex Media can integrate vital information into your website. By creating a corporate portal, you can take all the different forms of data your company currently has and consolidate them into a format they are used to. This standardized format means you can view this data from any computer you are at, as long as you are authorized to do so. This can also be done with excel and word documents as well as many others that are used on a daily basis in offices around the world. Without this capability, you have to wait for the person who has the file stored in their computer to access it and pass it on. Again, this is a waste of time and very frustrating for anybody who needs this information to complete their work, and in the economic situation we are in, the more time you waste waiting for necessary data, the more money you lose. Incorporating this type of software into your already existing website can also improve employee communication.

Depending on the size of your company, you may have many different departments in charge of very specific aspects of your business. While they may have a handle on exactly what is going on with their particular duties, interoffice updates are crucial to the flow of business. This is another way extraction can help. By consolidating all your data into a format the whole company can pull up, the communication between your employees and management improves and there is less misunderstanding about where projects are at. This can also cut down on redundancy because, often times, the same job is done more than once simply because information didn’t get to the necessary people fast enough. This is especially true when you’re talking about something like commercial real estate and property management.

Datex Media is currently working on an iPhone application that will allow property managers to download their tenant and vendor data into their phone. This means when you are off site, you can access the specific information you need for each property and have it right at your fingertips. This information can be organized into categories so that you can pull it up and easily find the pertinent data such as phone numbers, rent status, work orders etc…. Again, this type of software integration and data sharing saves you time and money, which is more important in today’s economic climate than ever before.

Imagine organizing company events, meetings and employee birthdays in a data base that allows anybody who needs it access. No more waiting for crucial reports, no more pulling up three different data bases to complete the project you are on; software that can find, extract and share the information each employee in your company needs. This is how you can have your website work for you not against you. Technology is a wonderful thing, when used wisely and when it’s implemented by experts who know how to get it to do what you want it to. And that’s another key factor; this type of data sharing can be done to your company’s specific needs. You decide who has access to what, and what type of format you want it in. There’s a famous saying that goes “are we running the machines, or are they running us?” Often times it can feel more like the latter; luckily there are ways to change that, and this is one that can streamline your company no matter what business you’re in.

When Is It Time To Upgrade Your Website

We live in a technology driven world. That’s why upgrading your website can be one of the most important things you can do to help your business. Among other things, a website helps promote your company’s brand image as well as brand loyalty. With increased competition from the internet, you want to make sure your website stands above the rest and has up-to-date software. This can be especially important if you want to provide updated information to your customers in a timely manner. So, when do you know it’s time to upgrade your website?

The first and most obvious answer to that question is that you want to upgrade your website if it’s been more than a couple of years since you built it. You don’t want your customers to get the impression that you’ve neglected any part of your business, and new possibilities on the internet are emerging so fast that it’s easy for your website to look outdated. With new software coming out all the time, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for you to take advantage of all the marketing possibilities the internet provides. Without integrating some of this software into your already existing website, you may reduce your ability to promote your brand image and compete with the big guns out there.

Another key component when thinking about when to upgrade your website is how user-friendly your site is. One of the consequences of the internet being a relatively new medium is that users are still on the learning curve when it comes to knowing how best to utilize its possibilities. The way they navigate, read and interact with websites is adapting to enable more efficient browsing. Users have come to anticipate navigation being found in a certain place and being as easy to understand and follow as possible. In fact, one study found that one of the best ways to promote and maintain brand loyalty is by ensuring your website is high in user ability.  

Technology has come a long way and it’s done so very quickly. Because of this, a lot of websites were previously developed without anticipating the rapid changes in software and software applications. This means your website may be seriously behind the times, and that’s not good for your company’s brand image. Nobody wants to do business with a company they feel is out of touch. Enhanced organization and improved employee communication are two more reasons you may want to upgrade your website. At Datex Media, we can integrate a corporate portal into already existing software. This provides one central location for all your company’s needs, improving efficiency and streamlining your business. Another plus to this is it can improve your company’s carbon footprint because it can limit the amount of paper your business has to use.

Any good business knows that brand loyalty is vital. If you leave your website looking out of date, if your users find it hard to navigate, or if you look like you’ve neglected an integral part of your business, it’s probably time to upgrade. The internet is a fast-paced world, and you have to stay current, especially in terms of your website’s technology. Integrating innovative software, and giving your website the facelift it needs can go a long way in helping your company compete in the global market.

What Goes Into Designing a Successful Business Website

business1Creating a website for your business is vital, in today’s global market. With the economy being what it is, you want to ensure your company is taking advantage of every opportunity it has to attract new clients and maintain customer loyalty. That’s why it’s so important to truly know what goes into building and designing a successful business website for your company. This can give you a more realistic understanding of the expected outcome.

 A website developer, at least a good one, will ensure the site they create to represent your business is user-friendly. This means that your clients and potential clients can easily navigate around the site and get the specific information they are looking for. There is nothing worse than attracting traffic to your site, and then losing potential business because it was too complicated for people to figure out how to use. This can be a major blow to your company and lose you valuable credibility, especially in today’s economy. In fact, a poorly designed website, or a website that doesn’t suit its purpose can affect your company’s bottom line.

In a study done by Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc., experts state that “because there are so many poorly designed websites, when customers find one that “works”, they tend to do repeat business and gain trust in the organization.” The same study went on to say that they “estimated that improving the customer experience increases the number of buyers by 40% and increase order size by 10%.” Every company that has a website is competing in a global market, in today’s world. With this type of intense competition, you want to make sure you have one of those websites that “work.”

One of the components that go into creating a website is design; you want to make sure it represents your company well. Do the layout and artistic aspects show and tell your clients who you are and what you do? This is important because, for many people, this will be the first impression they have of your business. A good website developer will be able to create a site that is not only aesthetically appealing, but also, informative and truly reflective of your company. You also want to let your website developer know whether you are interested in creating a static or dynamic website, and if you want the website to have the capability to expand as the need arises.

A static website contains information or ‘code’ that doesn’t change. It has been crafted to work like a printed document and to be referred to on the web. One of the reasons company’s choose this is because much more can be done design-wise and in the construction, when the website developer knows how it will look in every browser. But, if you want to be able to update your website design on a fairly regular basis, a dynamic site can be designed to suit those needs.

A dynamic website is set up to automatically update your site whenever data changes. The content is usually fed from a database that will update the text and images on the website, once these changes are detected. This opens up a lot of options on the business applications of your website, but there are also a lot more variables to consider during the website design process. It can also be more expensive to build this type of website, so you need to weigh your need against the economic benefit. But, before you make the decision on which route to take, you may want to ask yourself what exactly you want your website to do.

Does your company want to sell products in the global market, do you want to call people to action, or is your business more interested in disseminating information? These are just a few of the questions you want to ask yourself and pass on to the web design team you hire. For example, at Datex Media, we create and build your website to suit your company’s specific needs. This means if you want to sell products online, we can integrate the software necessary to do that. You may want to organize one central location for all employee communication, or perhaps you want to add software that provides tutorials for your products and/or services. All these things, and more, can be done it’s just a matter of knowing what your company’s vision and purpose is.

A professionally done, well-designed website can improve your company’s business in many ways. A good web design can provide new avenues for marketing and advertising as well as giving your brand image a boost. That being said, it is important for you to know what goes into creating a successful website, in order to understand how much they truly have to offer.