Have you taken a look at your business website lately? If you were a potential client, would your website instill a sense of confidence in your services? These are the questions Darryl Parker, of Parker Web, asks when maintaining and updating websites for small- to medium-sized businesses.
Originally starting out in 2002 building websites from scratch, Darryl and his team realized they would have to change with the times if they were going to continue being successful. “A significant reduction in project work during the 2008 recession had us looking at our company in a new light,” says Darryl. “Although we were already taking on web maintenance work, it was not our priority. As we developed the processes and systems around website maintenance, and built an even larger client base, we found we offered some unique value to the marketplace.”
Parker Web is now fully focused on web maintenance services with a focus on eCommerce operations. Below, Darryl gives advice on ensuring your business has a competitive website, emphasizes the importance of customer service and shares his prediction on the future of web browsing:
What are your recommendations for people wanting to keep their websites fresh and up-to-date? What should they be looking for?
My number one and most often overlooked tool in the website kit is the use of traffic analytics. We highly recommend Google Analytics. Even a cursory, uneducated review of the stats once a month or so is bound to turn up information that would be useful to you and your online business efforts.
Secondly, I recommend determining a path to make your website operationally-integrated into your business. This could be as simple as appointment-setting or bill payments or as complex as a ticketing system or online order-tracking. The web can quickly become the most valuable resource in your business if you look beyond marketing and develop an operational perspective on its use.
Finally, web credibility is a concept with which every small business owner should familiarize themselves. Most buying decisions today are Internet-influenced. If you meet someone at a networking event or at the Chamber of Commerce or even go on a sales call, you can bet they will come to your website and make a determination if you are credible or not.
You seem to put as much emphasis on customer service as you do technological know-how. Which is more important, and how do you maintain a good balance between the two?
Our customers tend to not be web-savvy, and they’re the first to admit it. They’ve hired us to be the web-savvy part of their operation. We gain and keep customers because we don’t fall into tech-speak or take an aloof approach to their needs. We realized very early on in our transition that web developers lacking in quality customer service were not a good fit for the customer experience we wanted to provide. I’m very happy to say we’ve made customer service priority number one by focusing on timely and knowledgeable communications and providing guarantees like our “Two Business Days or Less” service level agreement.
How do you see the increase of mobile web browsing, tablets and smartphones changing business websites in the future?
We’ve seen a marked increase in mobile device usage. In our own experience, our local B2B websites are averaging about 10% accesses through mobile devices and local B2C sites are seeing 25% or more. Due to the difference in screen resolutions, you must optimize the display of your site for traditional standards, even if you’re a small business. Failure to do so will have a rising impact on your perceived credibility as a business.
Check out www.parkerweb.com for more information on Parker Web and their web maintenance services. Need an idea for making your website operationally-integrated? Check out our appointment-taking and webchat services!