Tag Archives: Business Process Automation

questions you should ask a web design & development company

Questions You Should Ask A Web Design & Development Company

Most of our client are great business owners who know nothing about web design or development. Naturally, they come to us with a ton of questions you should ask a web design & development company. Having an educated client aids in making sure that we exceed their expectations. It also makes them more likely to become a steady, ongoing part of our family-like network.

 

This will be a multi-part series where we have compiled a list of the most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. Knowing the answers or what to expect should help to make the best decision for you. Some of the questions are self-directed, while others are mentioned for the developer, or red flags you should avoid.

 

  1. Does their Portfolio reflect the style you like?
    • Are there examples on their portfolio that reflect your style or your vision? Does their finished work look great, or is there some experience left to be had? Most companies do not display all of their work; however, you should be able to tell if they are capable of the look you want to achieve. If it isn’t apparent, do not be afraid to ask-they may have something up their sleeves to show you.
  2. Does the company have a knowledgeable process for work completion?
    • A company that has a proven process that works will not hesitate in explaining to you the way they work. A clear and well established work plan does not have to be detailed in writing. However, it should be able to easily be explained in a way that you understand. Look for a company that asks a ton of questions; it shows they are listening and the wheels in their head are turning a solution specifically for you.
  3. Does the company have reviews or references?
    • People usually leave reviews when they were either really impressed, or very disappointed. Take some time to check not just their own supplied reviews, but those on social media, Google, and other review sites. The ones published by a third party are less likely to be modified and may truly reflect their business. Privacy issues may affect the ability to provide direct references, but a portfolio should be readily available. References that are provided should have nothing but good to say about them.
  4. What is your experience?
    • In other words, can they do the work requested? How can they assure you that they can perform the work? A web design or development company will be able to understand your requirements with ease, and be quick to discuss follow-up questions or concerns to make sure that they get it right. They will not lead your discussion with their offers, rather let you explain what is needed. Then they are prepared to offer a solution that covers everything you planned, and everything you did not. It is easy to get distracted by bells and whistles of those who seem to have a preplanned go-to. Watch for companies that try to steer you away from building from your core business process in order to fit the mold they use.
  5. What is the lead time for starting a project?
    • Some may say that a free web developer, or one that does not have at least 1-2 weeks waiting time before starting should be meet with skepticism. However, many companies have a large team and resources to start a project. Plan to start within one month of beginning your search or run the risk of quotes expiring or other potential issues. DO consider the project deadline so that you leave enough time to complete the project without rushing.
  6. Does the company outsource their work?
    • This is a highly discussed subject in IT, and is sometimes a sore spot. Some companies do all of the work themselves (in-house), either in their office or by offshore development (their employees). Others may outsource some or all of their work to another company, which is usually offshore. Knowing which model they follow can help avoid going through any issues commonly associated with outsourced projects. Why go through a middle man when you can go directly to the source?
  7. How do you determine pricing or what is the cost?
    • Pricing is different for any web development or design company you meet. Costs usually depend on the total time and resources required. Some projects or tasks need to be billed hourly or can be charged a flat rate. Pricing can also vary according to the number of employees required, API integration, or even the speed you need it completed. Everyone has heard the horror stories of being told one price, and then later having to pay more. Just be sure to get a clear understanding of ALL fees involved, when they are expected, and what is the refund process in the event that things just don’t work out.
  8. Are they local?
    • A very important factor, we can’t stress enough how much easier a project can be with someone local. Choosing a local web design or development company is recommended because it enables you to sit down face to face with someone. Companies not local to you can lead to more frustrations when it’s  time discuss requirements, details, or changes. In the event that there is an issue, you can bring it directly to them because you know who and where they are.

We are about halfway through this list, but the best is yet to come. Check back next week for part two of most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. We plan on wrapping up with topics that really set web design and development companies apart, including why you should use MediaLinkers for your next project!

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automating your business

Automating Your Business

One move that you, as a business owner, should make is automating your business. Whether it’s approving time off, or sending mass marketing emails, there are tools available to do it all for you. Some require little to no setup effort, while others require a lot initially, however, once the automation is enabled, you have the ability to sit back and watch the process happen with no work from you. We have gathered a list of tasks that a business owner might need to complete, and the most successful way to automate it. Each tool has been previously built and tested through our own experience, so knowing how each one works is MediaLinkers‘ talent.

 

The most widely used form of automating your business is Human Resources related. From vacation and PTO requests, to timesheets and hiring, the majority of HR processes can be automated. Every employee at a particular company follows the same general process for each desired outcome. If hired, each employee fills out the same paperwork, trains under the same modules, and, registers for the same credentials needed in order to do their job. MediaLinkers has the ability to create a database to store and organize employee info so that management can easily and readily have employees to fill out, and able to access those records. This also opens the door for employee requests to be sent to the designated supervisor for approval. Eliminating the need for additional employees, this frees up capital for other ventures, as you do not have to designate human resource tasks that can be automated.

 

Another great way to benefit from automating your business is by using a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). The benefits of a CRM are tremendous. A successful company is one that is able to streamline a customer’s info, so that any department that requires access to their info is capable of seeing the same info across the board, and in return, able to assist the customer efficiently. MediaLinkers uses its own proprietary CRM to keep record of past, current, and future possible clients, in order to have a more personal relationship with our customers. We can build a custom CRM that is tailored to your needs, as different businesses may require different fields of information on a client or customer. You can use a CRM to track payments, follow-ups, make any notes on comments or promises made, even send invoices or manage emails sent to the client. The possibilities are endless. Creating a database linked to your website that stores potential customers’ contact info is a necessity. Adding this feature, MediaLinkers can program your website to automatically sort and filter leads based on your needs, prevent spam from seeping through, as well as keep the information online, instead of clogging up your email with individual notifications.

 

The third process we wanted to highlight in the need for automating your business is Sales and Marketing related. Setting up goals, and automatic processes for leads will in increase your Return on Investment (ROI). Just by adding Google Analytics to your site and configuring it to track conversions, and other important data, it takes the work out of analyzing your website. This frees up time to focus on how to increase conversions, and fix the issues making customers drop off. MediaLinkers has the ability to create the modules needed to integrate and apply the Google Analytics, or whichever website analyzer you would like to use. Many sites built do not have the ability for the owner (unless they are programming knowledgeable) to simply add the codes to their site. It is a module that needs to be created or modified, so reaching out to someone that can do this for you is a great move.

 

There are tons of other ways you can improve productivity, and benefit from automating your business. Call MediaLinkers today for more a more personalized review of which automated processes would profit you the most. We offer free, no obligation consultations, and quotes, to help you decide what the best move is for you and your business. We look forward to speaking with you!

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Using PHP for Business Process Automation

In today’s economy improving productivity and cutting costs is essential to business survival. One of the most proven cost cutting and productivity raising activities is business process automation. Business process automation is the use of technology to improve the efficiency of business processes. This typically includes the automation of operations that were previously manually performed. Information technology can be applied to automate many functions by use of software development to integrate various applications. Continuous improvement of business processes is a competitive advantage that a company builds over time. It begins with a thorough examination of a company’s existing business processes. Identifying, analyzing, and improving processes can have a drastic impact on a company’s productivity and bottom line.

Many business process automation efforts are most useful when created as web applications. Many web applications are integrated with the front-end of a company’s web site. A web application can offer access to the application from any location with Internet access, allowing employees to contribute to a project from remote locations. It can also establish a direct line of communication with a business’s current and potential customers. Web applications can be use to collect customer information, create and manage a customer database, track inventory, run reports, and many other processes that would otherwise be extremely laborious. Certainly the effectiveness of a company’s web applications plays a large role in it’s competitiveness within the market.

PHP, a scripting language designed specifically for web development, has quickly become one the most widely used development tools for creating web applications that automate business processes. PHP offers faster development time and more widespread adoption than is typical for other scripting languages. Since it was conceived as a scripting language specifically for the the Internet environment it offers many advantages when it comes to developing web applications. PHP has been used to create millions of web applications, and will continue to dominate web application development projects due to its already widespread adoption and usage. PHP has many uses, from creating a content management system allowing non-technical users to easily manage the content on a website, to creating e-commerce applications allowing one person to easily operate a large eCommerce operation, PHP is easily applied to almost every business process involving information technology.

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