Posts Tagged ‘web development’

Integrating Customer Service – Seattle Web Development

Whether you’re an established business or just getting set up on the web, customer service is becoming increasingly important for Seattle businesses online. While in the past, customers were accustomed to waiting days or even weeks for a full reply, today’s service based industry demands faster responses. In fact, quick customer service can actually make sales.

customer-serviceweek

The following include a few tips from Seattle web development professionals on what you can use to integrate customer service directly into your website.

CRM

A CRM or Customer Relationship Management system is an easy way to integrate customer service directly into your website. Available options include everything from ZenDesk to Zoho, and allow you to create live chat boxes, click to call functions and customer support forums, where customers can ask questions and help themselves. These customer service solutions require no technical knowledge or development skills, but do charge a monthly fee based on your usage and required features.

Custom CRM

A custom CRM can provide all of the offerings of a subscription based CRM but does not charge a monthly fee. Instead, you pay your Seattle web development team to design and build a chat function, forum or help desk for you. This means that you pay one fee upfront for the development, wait for it to be built, and then allow them to integrate it into your website. This allows you to manage as many customers as you want without paying more. However, you do have to wait during development and you do need occasional maintenance.

Social Media

Social media allows you to integrate a free chat system directly into your website, but it is not foolproof. While you can direct users to your social pages to chat with you, send you messages or post on your wall, this requires careful monitoring and requires that you manage your social media closely. The faster you respond to customers on social, the better they will feel about the experience. If you have a small business, you can likely do this yourself, but if you have a lot of customers and a lot of questions, you may need a dedicated manager. In most cases, you can integrate the Facebook Messenger API into your website, or have your developer do it if you aren’t sure how.  You can also add links to your Twitter and Google + as needed.

There are a variety of customer service solutions that you can choose from, and sometimes, the best option is a mix of both. If you have a large business that processes returns, then a help desk with a ticketing service is a must. If you just have a small business, social media may be an adequate solutions. Because there are plenty of options, you can also integrate both to offer more service.

If you want help deciding on what’s the best way to integrate customer service into your website, contact Rory Martin’s Seattle web development team for a consultation.

Share/Bookmark

Seattle Web Development: Why Choose a Custom CMS?

Moving to the web requires a lot of thought and planning and one of the decisions is what to do with your content management system (CMS). One option is to choose a custom CMS, but, like most web choices, it is not for everyone.

What is a CMS ?

multi-cms-twb

Just in case you are mostly unfamiliar with the term, a CMS is a content management system. It allows you to interact with and update your website without the use of code or a web developer to help you. Over time, this allows you to update your website on your own and lower costs. Depending on your CMS, you might be able to do a variety of tasks, such as updating web content, posting blogs, and even changing the design or colors of your site.

What Are Your CMS Options?

While a custom CMS is an option, it might not be your best option. There are a variety of free to use CMS platforms on the web, including Joomla, Drupal and WordPress. Just because these are free to use does not mean they are the worst choice. For example, some of the biggest websites out there, like CNN, use WordPress. However, each free to use CMS is limited to a specific number of usages, only supports certain tasks, and might be quite limited without paying for or developing plugins to add extra features.

How Do I Choose?

One of the easiest ways to choose a CMS is to decide on what features you need, what you want to do with the CMS, and how much you can learn. Some CMS systems like Drupal have a steep learning curve, which might not be suitable if you don’t have the time and energy to put into it. Others, like Joomla are feature rich for creating business websites, but do not innately support shops or blogs. WordPress websites are ideal for blog and magazine websites, but can support single page sites and shops as well. If you need something that none of the available CMS options provide, then you may need a custom CMS.

How do I get a Custom CMS?

The easiest way to get a custom CMS is to find a quality Seattle web development team and talk to them about what you need. They will tell you if an existing CMS will suit your needs and potentially save you a great deal of money. They will also tell you how much it will cost to design a CMS around your needs, if your requirements are possible, and how long it will take to get your site up and running. Unfortunately, the hardest part here is deciding what you want and need, but usually, a good Seattle web development team can help you with that as well.

One important thing to keep in mind is that your content management system and your website are separate things. Your web development team can build the CMS to allow you to update your website. With this in mind, you may also need a web designer if the team does not do design. Want to learn more? Or want a quote on creating a custom CMS or installing an existing free to use one? Contact Rory Martin’s Seattle web development team at 206-402-6347 to find out more.

Why You Should Hold a Kickoff Meeting With Your Seattle Web Development Team

Whether you’re hiring your first web development team or hiring someone to make small updates to your existent content, they will probably offer you a kickoff meeting (if they don’t, go find another developer). While it may seem like a waste of your time to get together and have a meeting with your web developer, after all, some people hire international rather than local Seattle web developers, there are a couple of pretty convincing reasons why you should take them up on the offer and attend the meeting.

What is a Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a meeting where you go over initial design ideas, tell your web developers what you want, and if you’re lucky, they will show you any preliminary ideas. This sort of meeting can be done over the web if you’re short on time, but you can also show up to get to meet your designers, and they can meet you to get a better feel for who you are and what you might want. Some developers will want to host the meeting in your place of business so that they can get an idea of what your business is like as well, which is helpful when creating a design.

What Should You Discuss with Your Web Designers

A great kickoff meeting will allow you to discuss your needs, desires, and requirements for the product. In return, web designers will discuss product viability, feasibility, budget, time constraints, and any preliminary options for the site. You’ll cover topics like your brand, your core products, your product purpose, and most importantly, getting everyone involved to submit ideas, suggestions, and other information which might be helpful for creating a finalized idea of what you want your website to be.

Seattle web design meeting

Preparing for your Kickoff Meeting

While your web developer should do most of the prep work for the kickoff meeting, you can make sure that you are prepared by bringing along ideas of what you want your site to look like, lists of requirements, timelines, and items such as crucial elements of your website. If you have a separate web designer, then you’ll want to bring them along to the kickoff meeting as well so that they can work with the developer, but most development teams include design in the package.

Other than that, you really just have to set up a time and a place, and then start talking to your web developers about what you want and need in a site. From there, they can decide which direction you want to go, get a better idea of the feel of your company, and choose an appropriate direction, so that you get a website you truly love. A good kickoff meeting sets the stage for a whole project, and the ability to hold them is actually one of the reasons why you should choose a local Seattle web development team, rather than choosing one in Austin, Texas.

Want to know more? Contact Rory Martin to discuss your web development needs.

Seattle Web Development: Do You Need Mobile Web?

Seattle Web Development: Do You Need Mobile Web?

If you’ve been looking around for a website designer then you’ve probably heard or seen the term ‘mobile web’ a few times. If you’ve been reading up on what your website should and should not have on a blog then you’ve probably heard it more than a few times. The mobile web is a vast and confusing place if you’re new to the world of web development, but, whether you have an existing website or you’re planning on hiring a local Seattle web developer to build one for you, you’re probably only wondering one thing about the mobile web, do you need it?

LK-Hjelle-Website-Mobile-Website-Design-by-Heydays-464574

What is the Mobile Web?

The mobile web is technically any part of the web designed for mobile use. For the most part, that means websites and menus which resize or adjust or are sized properly for phones and tablets. Because traditional websites are often too big to display properly, or display so small that it is impossible to read or select the menus comfortably, the mobile web makes using the web easier.

Do You Have Mobile Traffic?

If you already have a website, then the easiest way to see if a mobile website could benefit you is to check your mobile traffic. If you have any analytics program (the free version from Google will do the trick), you can easily check to see which percentage of your visitors visit on a browser vs. a tablet or phone. Some will even tell you the specific devices such as Samsung Galaxy or iPhone that you’re getting your traffic from.

If you don’t have a website or don’t have analytics (or don’t know how to use your analytics) then you can also go by general statistics. Right now, mobile usage is trending upwards, more than 60% of users research shops, restaurants, and stores on their phone before visiting them, and more than 70% of consumers research products and cross compare them on their phone before purchasing. Essentially, if you sell products, have a store, or have anything that users may want to research online first, then the mobile web could directly impact your sales.

What Are My Options?

There are multiple options for anyone who wants to have a website that’s compatible with the mobile web, but sometimes the best thing to do is to talk to your Seattle web developer about your needs and your site first. Some websites work well with mobile websites set up separately, although these do have their issues with search engine optimization and duplicate content. You can set your website to automatically re-direct to your mobile version whenever someone logs on from a mobile device. You can also have your web designer set up a responsive web desing that resizes based on your visitors, but this isn’t always ideal.

Do you want to talk about which mobile web option is best for your website? Try talking to one of the professional Seattle web developers at Rory Martin before you make your decision.

How an All Service Web Company Can Help Small Businesses Succeed

It seems that everywhere you look companies are becoming more and more specialized. Social marketing is breaking down into Facebook specialists and internet marketing is breaking down into PPC, Keyword research, and conversion optimization. Unfortunately, as a small Seattle business owner, that means bad news. The more specialized the company, the less services they offer and the more people you have to hire. And that means spending more money.
While that’s great for big business, you might not be able to afford hiring all these different people for your marketing team. What you do need is a single all service web company with the right team already put together so that you can save money and hire just one company.

all service
Let’s talk about some of the other benefits:

One Stop Shop

If you’re getting your Seattle web design, your SEO, and your social management all in one place then you won’t have to worry about talking to, dealing with, or paying multiple people. You talk to one person, they communicate your needs to the rest of the team, and that’s it. No spending hours and hours a week in meetings with different teams because you only have one team.

Everyone is On the Same Page

One of the hardest parts of working with multiple companies is that you will spend time in meetings telling different people what you want, and then spend time communicating what each team is doing across teams, or paying them to have internal meetings. When you go with a full service web company, you won’t have to deal with any of that because the entire team will already be on the same page. All you have to worry about is one type of meeting, and the team will create a strategy for your entire website.

Optimal Launch

If you don’t yet have a website then a full service company can perform what might seem like magic for your launch. How? They can co-ordinate SEO and social efforts to match up with your launch so that by the time your website is live, it’s already ready for traffic. A full service company can pull this off flawlessly, ensure that the website is SEO friendly, and make sure that your social pages and hype are ready to go, if you do that with different companies it could quite literally be a nightmare.

Cheaper

Let’s face it, when you pay different companies you’re not only paying for their services and skills, you’re also paying service costs, administration and management fees, and individual time. When you pay a single company you can cut costs because you’re only paying all of those fees to one person. What you’re paying to everyone else is just their service fees.

Want to know more about how a one-service company can benefit you? Whether you’re looking for Seattle based web development, design, SEO, or Social Media, Rory Martin can help you achieve your goals, and without the hassle of dealing with multiple companies. Contact us to learn more.

Mobile Is Taking Over the Web – Are You Ready?

If you’ve ever stopped for a moment to look up a website, store, or restaurant on your phone or tablet, then you’re not alone. Statistics show that more and more consumers are using their mobile phone to research and purchase items online, while websites aren’t really catching up to the trend. In fact, a study in early 2013 shows that 51% of people are more willing to make a purchase from a site with mobile optimized content, but only about 4.8% of applicable sites actually have mobile optimization. With this in mind, jumping on the mobile bandwagon could benefit you more than you might think.  Mobile web development services are often more affordable than original website creation, and you can likely use most of your original web design.

mobile web development in Seattle

Mobile Search to Surpass PC Search by 2014

Experts in mobile and standard search have been saying it since 2011, and are still saying it now in 2013. Mobile Search is expected to surpass computer based searches by 2014, even if it is as little as 1%. Currently consumer based searches on mobiles are at 41% compared to 59% on computers, meaning that mobile doesn’t have too far to catch up. Combined with the eye opening stats on purchases and research, going mobile could be very important for your site.

What is a Mobile Website?

So what is a mobile website? Chances are if you’ve ever taken a moment to research something on the web and you came across an impossibly small website with floating social share buttons in the way, or popup ads that were impossible to close, then your immediate response was to leave. Chances are that this site looked great on a web browser, but on your phone, it’s almost impossible to read.

A mobile website is one that has been designed with mobile use in mind. Typically there are no sidebars and are optimized for smaller screens with single row wider text that can be read more easily. Ads, if any, should be inserted between lines of text rather than on the side, and anything that floats should typically be removed.

If you aren’t sure how to go about creating a mobile website for your site, you can check with a web developer and ask about using canonical URLs to ensure there is no duplicate content on your site.

Is Mobile Optimization Right For You?

While only about 4.8% of websites have mobile optimized pages, mobile optimization isn’t for everyone. Not every site can benefit from utilizing mobile search, so it is always important to look into the facts before spending your time and money. Popular tools such as How to Go Mobile can be used to calculate how much each mobile click is worth to you, so that you can decide whether or not optimizing for mobile use is good for you. For example, a study by Adidas showed that every mobile search was worth $3.60 because 1 in 5 searchers ended up as a customer.

© Copyright © 2012 Rory Martin Inc.