Stocks are getting hammered, interest rates are up, inflation is a killer, and instead of post-COVID growth, some signs point to a recession. We are custom software and web application developers because we want to help clients provide their customers with the best experiences to generate a win. So, it may feel self-serving to write about why recessions are great times to continue or start your company’s digital transformation.
That’s why reading the Harvard Business Review’s How Companies Should Invest in a Downturn (linked in Resources at bottom) was exciting.
Cash is tight, so this post discusses five WTE tech transformations with great return on investment:
Today most companies have responsive websites, a site capable of looking good no matter what size screen a visitor is using. Responsive design is a good thing when more than half the web’s traffic comes from phones and tablets, but few companies have upgraded to a mobile first website.
Mobile first websites take advantage of cloud storage and backup, Application Program Interfaces (APIs), and microservices. APIs pull in or push data in from or out to applications such as SalesForce, PowerReviews, and Hubspot. Microservices are applications coded as a collection of loosely coupled services and bring advantages such as shorter development times, independent deployment, profitably expanding business capabilities, and are easy to maintain and test.
Did you know there is more than one cloud? We work with Amazon’s Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft clouds. The cloud transforms how we code, design, store, backup, and serve websites and applications. Speed (of application development), security, and creating a common programming environment are a few cloud benefits. Here’s the hybrid accordion we are working on to cut long articles into smaller mobile friendly pieces.
Creating a mobile-first website is hard if your content marketing isn't mobile-first. The mobile-first content marketing movement is new but growing fast because phones and tablets are how your customers research, discover, and share your content. WTE Solutions is a good example.
More than eighty percent of WTE.net's traffic reads our content with laptops or desktop computers. You'd think those stats (less than 20% looking at WTE.net with phones and pads) mean mobile-first content marketing isn't crucial. However, WTE embraces mobile-first content marketing for two reasons:
First, mobile-first content marketing is essential because many of our ecommerce and custom software customers have more than 50% of traffic coming from phones and pads. Secondly, we need to walk our talk.
Our research indicates smartphone researchers (people using their phones to find things to read and interact with later) are influential and essential. WTE creates custom software and web development for small to medium-sized businesses such as independent doctors or realtors all the way up to Fortune 100 banks and healthcare companies. We never know where our next gig will come from, but chances are our next customer used their phone or pad at some point in their buying journey. That's why we are embracing the mobile-first content marketing movement.
Here are a few mobile-first content marketing ideas:
Everything is Short Form Content
We're converting "long form" content, articles with more than 500 words, into a series of connected shorts using a hybrid accordion menu (example from our new website is below, new WTE.net site should be live before the end of the year).
Big hero images, the large image at the top of web pages, don't translate to smaller screens, so the hybrid accordion will be the first thing mobile viewers with small screens see.
We are vastly increasing our investment in videos, especially shorter videos of a minute or less, because videos are great mobile-first content. We utilize tech like Instagram Reels and TikTok for shorts, YouTube for longer video content, and high-availability ad-free video serving from Brightcove (a WTE Partner).
Traditional infographics in the 600 to 1100 x 2000 to 5000 don't work on smaller screens; that's why we reimagine infographic components and interactivity for smaller screens.
Example of an "accordion" menu where clicking on the + displays the content for that section.
Creating mobile-first content is more about adapting than limiting. When something is essential, like this services content we use the accordion so the content looks great on any screen.
Most visitors to WTE.net are on at least one social network, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or TikTok. Social networks encourage User Generated Content (UGC). No one can create as much content as their website needs, so don’t even try.
We encourage our customers to create online communities and to move from being content creators to becoming content curators because of the 1-9-90 Rule. The 1-9-90 Rule says:
WTE was visited by almost 300 people last week, so there were three contributors or people willing to contribute content if asked. Asking is no small thing. However, how you ask for help creates or squanders trust, so creating WTE.net as an online community is something we are working on with Rideology.io.
Rideology.io grew out of our work with creating a dealer network application for CarFax and the event marketing efforts we do for Cars and Coffee Morrisville. On the first Saturday of the month, thousands of Triangle North Carolina car lovers come to Durham’s Imperial Center campus to showcase, discuss and take pictures of cool cars.
The combination of Cars and Coffee Morrisville, WTE’s work for the CarFax dealer network, and the need to help customers create online communities became the brain salad WTE’s founder and CEO Eric Garrison used to create Rideology.
Rideology is a “Community in a Box” application, an application designed to create the pillars of an online community.
Online community isn’t free. You’ll need to curate and monitor this content, but user generated content is the least expensive most valuable content you’ll work hard to earn. We’re working on a 2023 launch for the WTE Community in a Box application.
Your “About Us” or “Our Story” page sets your website’s stage. As shared in Simon Says Start with Why, most About Us pages focus on what a company does instead of sharing their why – the reasons and stories that explain why they exist. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, Simon Sinek explains.
We like to combine Sinek’s Start with Why book with a native American saying:
If your About Us page doesn’t tell a story that knits your business, beliefs, founding, and ethics together in ways that keep reappearing, you’ve missed an opportunity. You only have seconds to capture attention, encourage trust, and share online before a visitor abandons your website.
Sharing authentic stories where you may not always look pristine or perfect creates trust. Your visitors want to know if you are like them. Sharing stories, particularly on pages where your visitors expect one, wins customer hearts and minds.
Thieves don’t care if we’re in a recession, and hacking attempts online only ever go in one direction – more. As we shared in Cloud-to-Cloud Backup: Save Your Data, Brand, and Company, there’s a lot to lose and many who want to steal your content, customer information, applications, and website.
Spending on better online security during a recession may benefit more than a simple return on investment. The good news is that many websites and application security improvements don’t cost much. So, what’s the value of knowing your customer information isn’t on the dark web? Is it essential to protect your customer information? Every website, application, and microservice gets hacked (or at least attempted), so would knowing you can defend, isolate, and fix those problems create peace of mind?
Since it is always better to know what you are up against, we’ll audit your website, Application Program Interfaces, microservices, and apps free of charge. And yes, we’ve conducted audits where everything proves to be fully secure and good to go, even as the vast majority have holes those schooled in the dark arts could use to do bad things.