web design or web development?

When it comes to establishing or relaunching your company’s website, you may end up fielding offers from an array of suitors. Some may present themselves as website designers. Others may call themselves website developers. What’s the difference between the two? Can you have one without the other? Which choice is better for your business? The Sumner Group has answers for you!

Design

Website design takes care of the look and feel of your website. Website design can be as unique and creative as necessary to reflect your business image and produce a visitor-friendly experience. But relying solely on website design to build a website can severely limit the site’s effectiveness.

For example, oftentimes websites are designed entirely with flash animation elements. Flash animation websites are almost entirely image-based. Although flash animation websites are extremely popular, and they look great, these website designs are notoriously subject to be bypassed by search engine spiders because search engine spiders cannot read imagery. Regardless of how much text is within the flash animation, to a search engine spider the text simply does not exist. Because of this limitation, such sites never appear on search engines if they have not undergone extensive web development. Add to that the lack of support for Flash on the iPad and other next-generation devices, and it’s easy to see why many businesses are shying away from Flash-based websites, although it is a nifty design tool.

... and Development

Web development makes a website work well with search engines and existing Internet technology. This service, in addition to good website design, will provide the best exposure, usability and visibility for your website.

For example, although the graphical elements of website design include the navigation bar, the actual navigation process (how a visitor travels through your site) is accomplished through a variety of development methods. For instance, internal page hyperlinks, breadcrumb links, site maps and a search function all play a role in user-friendly navigation and can only be properly achieved through effective website development.

The way the content of the website design is managed is also a part of web development. Bringing continuity to website design is best achieved by using cascading style sheets or CSS, which is a web development process. CSS also allows for quicker recognition and response by search engine spiders, thereby increasing the visibility of a website by search engine spiders.

5 Ways to Gain More Referral Business

Your customers are your biggest asset. In addition to ensuring that you remain in business, your customer base is essential to your overall marketing and advertising campaign.

A happy customer is a customer who is willing to refer business to you. In fact, word-of-mouth is one of the most effective and popular ways of getting new business. You can ensure your customers send you more business consistently if you follow a few simple steps:

1. Provide superior customer service

With good customer service lacking in so many businesses today, if you provide superior customer service, you are going to stand apart from and above the competition. Your customers are going to appreciate that you take the time to listen to them, that you solve problems quickly, and that you genuinely care about them as customers.

In addition to ensuring that your current customers continue to do business with you, they’re going to refer others to your business because they are satisfied with your customer service.

2. Treat your customers well

Customers want to be treated well. They want to know that you appreciate their business, so always ensure that you treat your customers well by thanking them for their business, asking for their feedback, and addressing any problems or concerns they have in a timely manner.

Treating your customers well also means ensuring that your employees treat them well by offering to help them, and by always addressing them in a polite manner.

3. Ask your customers to refer business to you

Sometimes getting customers to send you more business is as easy as asking them to refer their friends, family, and coworkers to you. Satisfied customers will generally have no problem spreading the word about your product or service. All you have to do is ask.

4. Offer discounts or specials for those who refer business

While it’s not a necessity to reward your customers for referring business to you, it is a strong incentive for them to continue to send business your way. You might offer a discount on your product or service every time a customer refers someone to your business. You might also offer a free product to those who send business your way.

Or, you may want to come up with a more creative way to reward your customers for referring new customers to you. The key is to reward your customers in some way.

5. Thank customers for their referrals

When a customer refers a new customer to you, take the time to thank that customer. You can send a handwritten note or call the customer. Whatever method you choose, just make sure that you thank the customer for his referral. Showing your gratitude will also help ensure that that customer continues to send new customers to your business.