Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Spring Business Barometer

According to the Spring 2005 Business Barometer, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 leaders of small and medium-sized businesses, two out of three business leaders believe that business Web sites influence overall sales. More than half of the small businesses surveyed now have Web sites in place, and a full 96 percent of those say their online identity is critical to their success.

The top three business priorities according to these business leaders all tracked back to the bottom line:

  • revenue growth (79 percent)
  • customer retention (70 percent)
  • expense reduction (46 percent)

Web developers can use this survey data to help position their services and assist business leaders with helping to meet their business priorities. In particular, the following three "e-commerce features" were listed as valuable to small business owners:

  • online payment transactions
  • online business forms
  • email requests

In addition, small business owners ranked these Web-based marketing strategies relatively low: e-mail marketing, search engine keywords, and banner advertising. The top three marketing tools critical in driving business for their companies were as follows:

  • community relations (55 percent)
  • Web sites (47 percent)
  • public relations/media coverage (31 percent)
By sharing this survey data with small business owners, Web developers can position themselves as business advisors and increase the likelihood of developing cost-effective Web projects that meet the needs of small business owners.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Microsoft Access Training

As detailed in the Boston Market - May blog posting, database expertise continues to be in high demand among companies seeking technology professionals in the greater Boston area. In particular, nearly 200 job postings are available via BostonWorks.com for individuals with Microsoft Access knowledge and experience. More than 370 job postings are available at Monster.com.

Microsoft Access training is available for free at Microsoft's New England District offices on Wednesday, May 18. The agenda is as follows:

  • Introductory sessions -- 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Intermediate sessions -- 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Developer sessions -- 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM
For further details go to Boston Access Day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yahoo! Website Service

I decided to test Yahoo!'s new Website development service. I used it to list Web Apprentices in Yahoo!'s local business directory. Check out the results here:


It took me about one hour to set this site up. It's easy to do once you know what you want to say -- it might take another hour to capture and edit the content.

As you will see, this approach has limitations (advertising, lack of flexibility, etc.). However, this might be a solution for some businesses who merely want to establish a temporary Web presence until a custom solution is developed.

Check it out. We are all aware of a local business that could use a simple Website. Your sister's Beauty Salon. Your nephew's lawn mowing service. Your local church, mosque, or synagogue. Offer to get them on The Web using this service. Keep in mind that your time has value. At the very least you should barter for two hours worth of service in exchange for your efforts.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Boston Market -- May

Database expertise continues to be in high demand among companies seeking technology professionals in the greater Boston area. Currently, the Boston Globe lists the following opportunities (number of listings in parentheses):

Monster.com lists the following opportunities (number of listings in parentheses):

Regardless of the database product Web developers can enhance their career prospects by learning SQL, the standard programming language used to access information from databases.

  • The Boston Globe lists 404 SQL opportunities.
  • Monster.com lists 931 SQL opportunities.
The links above and on the right-hand side provide easy access to Web development job listings in the greater Boston area.