Are you at a crossroads in your business and thinking about the best way to redevelop your website using Web 2.0 technologies? Has the arrival of social networking got you interested in exciting ways to operate your business online? If so, then you're naturally at a positive junction in the growth of your business; I have several solutions that will both modernize and revolutionize your business at the same time - to get your website to the next level in every way!
First, let me provide an overview on my history and knowledge in this field. I am the President and CEO of Hudson Horizons, an e-Business product, solution and marketing company specializing in creating highly sophisticated customized websites and providing e-Marketing services for small and mid-sized businesses. The mission of our company is to develop websites for our clients in a way which will streamline their internal business processes and effectively position their business in their industry online.
Each website we create for our clients includes a highly sophisticated and comprehensive back-end system to completely manage and control their business online. Such administrative functions encompassed by our solutions include: Content Management, e-Invoicing and Online Payment Solutions, Custom Workflow Processes, Customer and User Management, Social Media Capabilities, SEO and e-Marketing Tools; the list goes on. Everything we do for our customer is 100% customized by us for their business. By doing this, we are able to supply our clients with solutions that increase sales, simplify their business tasks, offer online collaboration with their users, clients and employees, and offer a cost-effective solution that provides an immediate return on their investment.
Now that you are familiar with my background in this industry, let me offer several suggestions to revamp your website. If implemented, your website has a great chance to get to that next level - ultimately turning your business from an "ordinary business" into a "competitive e-business."
Content Management is a system that allows your business to easily manage certain components and areas of your website. Such areas that a Content Management System allow you to control include: page content, page names, images, pictures, news events, frequently asked questions, articles, blog posts, and other website areas of importance. Most quality Content Management Systems are form-based and require no HTML coding experience to manage these elements.
Content Management offers a cost effective way to make changes to your website without having to hire a web developer or designer to make these changes for you. My company foresees all e-businesses eventually benefiting from a CMS component, which will effectively manage their website on a routinely basis. A solid Content Management System is the foundation to any productive website in today's Web 2.0 world. If you want to compete with the best then you have to utilize the finest tools. Implementing these advanced features will permit you to manage all areas of your website while keeping your overall operation costs down.
e-Invoicing and Online Payment Solutions
If your business focuses on product sales, would you benefit from collecting client payments through online means? If so, then an e-Invoicing or Online Payment Solution would be a great way to facilitate this process for you. There are various ways to setup an e-Invoicing and Payment Solution to process payments online. A few of the most popular methods include: Credit Cards processing, ACH and EFT transfers, Direct Deposits, PayPal integration, Google Checkout integration, and the list goes on.
Having a solution like this could truly bring your business up-to-date and allow you to focus more on growing your business and less time trying to manage the collection of payments from your clients and customers.
Here at Hudson Horizons, we use e-Invoicing to bill our clients via email. Our customers simply click a link in the email and complete their credit card details through a secure online payment form. Our system then processes their credit cards and the payment is deposited directly into our back account - it's that simple. e-Invoicing isn't all about making it easier for us as a business; it's also a more convenient way for our clients to make payments since they no longer need to write checks and mail payments to us.
Custom Workflow Processes
If your business has specific internal business processes that are performed everyday, you might consider having this process completely automated through your own website. If this process takes time and requires documents, contracts or other materials to be created and distributed, consider setting up a dynamic web-based workflow process that does all this for you on-the-fly.
Turning a specific business task into a dynamic workflow process will inevitably save your business time, money and simplify your operations in a very short period of time. We've had much success doing this for our clients. Recently, we implemented such solutions for a client's website, taking their wedding and event entertainment business to the next level. We set up a custom workflow process that now allows them to generate comprehensive event plans and contracts and electronically submit them to reception halls, bands, and clients in a few simple steps. This process now joins all the various parties that relate to an event in one simple-to-use system. This saved our client thousands of dollars per month and, because they require less time to manage daily operations and internal business processes, enabled them to take on more customers.
Customer and User Management
Having the ability to easily manage your customers and users in the back-end of your website is extremely important to the success of your business. Having this control within your website will enable you to: activate/disable accounts, reset passwords, view contact information, email users, track changes, view profiles, manage payments and view order history all in one centralized system.
Social Media Capabilities
Social media describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share content, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives, and media themselves.
Social media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video. The social media sites typically use tools like message boards, forums, podcasts, bookmarks, communities, wikis, blogs/weblogs etc.
According to Wikipedia, a few prominent examples of social media applications are:
- Wikis: Wikipedia
- Social networking: MySpace and Facebook
- Presence apps: Twitter and Jaiku
- Video sharing: YouTube (video sharing)
- Virtual Reality: Second Life
- Events: Upcoming
- News aggregation: Digg and Reddit
- Photo sharing: Flickr and Zooomr
- Livecasting: Justin.tv
- Episodic online video: Stickham, YourTrumanShow
- Media sharing: Izimi and Pownce
- Social bookmarking: del.icio.us
- Online gaming: World of Warcraft
Everyday, millions of people use search engines to find information on products and services. However, most people generally only visit the first few results of the search, causing helpful yet poorly-ranked sites to go unnoticed. Without top positions, your site could be overlooked as well. For this reason, it is vital to ensure that your site has every opportunity to be discovered.
As the Internet continues to dramatically increase in the number of users and websites, companies face more competition everyday. In order to keep your website competitive and its ranking as high as possible, you must execute what is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and continually perform e-Marketing Services to keep your website fresh and in the eye of your target audience.
Three of the most important and easy-to-implement SEO tactics are: content and keyword development, updates to META Tags, and search engine friendly URLs. You can find many SEO tools on the Internet to help you ease the process of SEO and e-Marketing.
Using FREE or paid SEO and e-Marketing tools and services is a great way to generate more exposure, ultimately increasing traffic to your website. It's extremely important to not only build a "kick-ass" website but to also market and perform SEO on a consistent basis. I recommend speaking to a professional e-Marketing and SEO Company to help increase the awareness of your website online.
So as you can see, there are many things to think about when revamping your website and this is just a preliminary list to get you headed in the right direction. As the Web becomes increasingly important for every business to survive and compete with their competition it's important that you not only focus on creating a new design but also think about ways to simplify, modernize and revolutionize your business with a custom back-end system. You'd be amazed what can be done with your website... All you have to do is dream it! As our company saying goes, "If you can dream it, we can do it".
I hope this article opens your eyes and provides a little insight to help you get your business to that next level. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me as I will be glad to help. I wish you all much success!