Website trends with Daria Pimkina and Nick Parenti, Founder & CEO of bizahoy
Daria: Hi guys. Here is Nick.
Nick: Hi guys.
Daria: He’s helping me to do my website. Thank you very much.
Nick: Thank you for having me here.
Daria: Yes! He will be here today with me and the subject of our interview is…
Daria: Yes, what’s happening nowadays with websites and what are the trends in 2019. So, I have to admit that I planned my website since many years and it was in my to do list, since three years.
Nick: Three years!? Haha
Daria: Yes, haha. What happened? I had my Instagram workshop sessions, then Nick came to me and he was just explaining what he does and what kind of things you do. And then it was like, oh my God…
Nick: I need that haha whatever you just said… all of it.
Daria: So please, I’m a look your telephone because they have the list of my questions at his telephone. So, please tell what you exactly do in your startup. He’s also has a startup. And he is first a year in Germany is coming from United States. Right?
Nick: Right. Washington DC is where I’m from and just to give a little bit of background on me, I am a business consultant and entrepreneur and I recently started my startup, which focuses on setting up business technology and software for smaller businesses.
Daria: Yes. Like me for example.
Nick: Right. So, I had spent a long time working at big consulting firms one of these big four companies. And, we were always helping really, really large firms. Who’ve got huge budgets and they do these projects where they bring in hundreds of consultants to do these big projects. And my mom has a small family business and I saw her struggling with some of these similar types of things with technology and sales and marketing and websites and finance and all of this. And so, I thought why isn’t there something that exists for smaller companies to kind of manage all areas of their business
Daria: Well its always good to help your mom haha.
Nick: Haha right. I got some brownie points for that for sure. So I started this company a few months ago and I started it in the US in Washington DC, which is where I’m from and my wife is from Hamburg. And so, we moved here in March and I decided to also move my business here as well. So, I actually have both the US side to it and a German side too. So I do both European and US clients.
Daria: Which is very brave. Haha.
Nick: Haha yeah very brave. The communication is tricky, but in this day and age it’s getting a lot easier to do a remote servicing of clients and so forth. And so, one of my main services and products that I offer is websites, because a lot of small businesses, they sometimes don’t have websites or they want to integrate their websites with the other systems they have whether that’s their sales system or their accounting system
Daria: Right and a planning system, if I was like coaching people I would like someone to plan their meeting with me through my website automatically.
Nick: Yeah and I think it’s really important that when you’re putting your website together it’s really easy to just set up a quick plain website. You can pay somebody in India to do it for 50 bucks and it’s super simple, but you really have to think about how does this apply to my business?
Daria: Haha you know in Germany we pay someone that is sitting in Latvia or Estonia, they are cheaper.
Nick: Haha oh really? Cheaper than that?
Daria: Yes, I heard haha. I don’t know
Nick: I wonder how those office look haha
Daria: The thing is that, I was all of that sure. About actually we don’t need nowadays the website because we already have social media. And why do you think that their startup, like mine for example, I would like to coach people, to show them how they grow their Instagram account. Why do I need a website if all my clients are already in Instagram and I can get my clients from Instagram?
Nick: Well that’s actually a really good point and I actually kind of realized this when I met with you before where I’m a little bit newer to Instagram, still navigating it. That’s why I signed up for the meeting with you and I did kind of realize that Instagram is a little bit like a mini website. You’ve got your photos and you’re communicating to customers your company information and what you’re about and so forth. But you are a limited and how you could utilize it. Yes, people can then find your email address and contact you or direct message you and so forth, but you might need some additional features. So like one thing that you told me is that you wanted to be able to offer some products online and I know that Instagram is going to be getting to that point at some point where you can purchase things more easily and having a shop can purchase things…
Daria: You can purchase things but they are clothes. It doesn’t include services we want to go sell.
Nick: Sure, sure. And so, websites allow you to do this, it’s really unlimited possibilities to how you want to interact with the customers, in sort of the internet online form. So, you can add on the shops very easily, booking systems, contact forms.
Daria: Okay, it’s very interesting.
Nick: And I think also like it’s a little bit of an expected thing that all businesses have websites. So it may look a little funny if you don’t have one. Essentially, a website is a piece of marketing.
Daria: Yes. I know.
Nick: Because it’s your 15 seconds or in some cases 5 seconds because you only have a short amount of time to really captivate and communicate to a customer what you’re about. And so, really it’s your company profile and platform for you to interact with your customers for the first time and tell them what you’re about. And then obviously you can get fancy after that and add more gadgets and chatbots and all this other wild stuff.
Daria: But I really like the idea of the future that the chatbots can be in your website and help you to work on your leads or to just sell some of your products or webinars.
Nick: Yeah, I would say I know we wanted to talk about trends. I would say for sure that is a big trend that’s popular right now is chatbots. With new technology, with artificial intelligence and different features and chatbots where you can, you can do product tours through your site and, and essentially automatically have the customers interact with the chatbot and get a whole full tour of your site and your products and what you’re about.
Daria: That’s great. Right?
Nick: Yeah, that’s really cool. And tons of different applications. You can use it for marketing purposes, for offering different types of deals and so forth and for retargeting customers. And obviously there’s the customer service aspect. If people have questions. You can interact with them there.
Daria: Okay. And my first question was about, the platform because nowadays there are so many platforms that exist
Nick: Yeah there are hundreds
Daria: Yeah, like Wix, Jimdo and what do you suggest the people should do and how they can choose. I know you will have a blog post coming out tomorrow.
Nick: Yeah, I‘ll have a blog posts coming out. It’s a comparison between the top six web tools.
Daria: I will give you a link this on my stories.
But I’m pretty upfront about it. There’s no need for me to really hide it, but I am very passionate about one specific tool, because I think that it is the most robust, powerful tool out there on the market, which is WordPress. Just to give you some figures, in 2019, 61% of websites are built on WordPress. And then the second biggest is Joomla with 5%.
Daria: Okay. But if I don’t know how to work with WordPress, what should I do? Because I was like thinking I should go to Wix. And I was like, okay, next time. And then I saw Jimdo, which is very popular in Germany, right? I was like, hmm, okay. Interesting. I’ve never saw that design is very, it’s not what I exactly wanted. So how can I work with WordPress?
Nick: That is the main point about why you would use an alternative to WordPress. But also you hinted on why you would therefore end up wanting probably to use WordPress in the end. So a lot of these other tools like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace or Shopify or any of these other ones, these are, Software as a Service products. So the software is that you pay for on a monthly basis. So you’re paying to use this tool. Okay. And it’s nice, it comes out, it’s a package. If you don’t want to get into so many details and you need something quick and you want something easy and you just need like a landing page or something and that’s it, totally agree that those would be good. But if you want any type of possibilities for customization or the ability to grow your business, with your site, you need more flexibility. And WordPress offers this type of flexibility because you can add more features onto it for free. It’s an open source product, so that means all developers can edit it. And so, people are constantly adding on new features to it. And there’s a huge community following online for WordPress. And so, it’s always getting better because so many people have used it. Then any type of roadblocks might encounter somebody else down the street is also encountered. And you can find a solution for that online. It’s also free.
Daria: Yeah, that’s true.
Nick: So you only pay for minimal amount every month for the hosting. You own the site, so you have control of it. You don’t have ownership for Wix and these other ones, they own your site essentially. So if you cancel your subscription, your website is gone. Whereas WordPress, you actually, you own the file of your, of your website and you can do whatever you want with it. And also kind of like what you hinted on when you went to Wix and you saw that you want to be able to customize it a little more. WordPress offers that flexibility. I like to think of it in terms of like maybe Legos or something. WordPress is kind of like Legos Lego blocks and you can build your site very easily with these blocks and you can get the instructions on the package of how you want to construct it. And if you want to change something you can do it. But getting Wix or something is like getting Lego’s with all the pieces glued together.
Daria: And you put your hands like this and our screen is shaking haha
Nick: Haha oh, sorry guys. Okay. I’ll raise them then.
Daria: So WordPress, which is actually we choose for my website also WordPress.And so we talked about platforms and should I create my website by myself or I should outsource it. Actually, I did. I actually outsourced it.
Nick: Haha yeah, which was through me haha. Which is what I do. So haha outsource for sure haha I mean I think it depends. I mean like if you have the time and the interest to really essentially learn the tool and it’s not just learning how to use a new tool, but also learning how to, kind of build with it. Yeah. It’s not just like creating posts are creating pages. You have to learn how to install it and so forth. And, I think it’s, it’s good if you have a low budget, but if you have some money to spend to have a, have the right consultant and do it and so forth, then I would recommend that because at least from my experience, like I definitely know like the ins and outs and tricks behind certain things. like you were debating between a couple plugins. I remember. And I knew the plugins quite well and I knew which ones would work the best for your situation.
Daria: Yeah, from my side I would say that, as I said that at the beginning of our interview that I planned to do it but I never had enough, power or I never started and with Nick, I know that everything, he will do this routine on this things, which I don’t want to do because it’s not my specific things. I’m not an expert in that and it’s all the time for my perspective. It’s all the time. Good to outsource such a business. Yes. To someone who is professional in that. And, yeah, we will, show you in the next interview my website and what kind of feature we used in my website. I will share everything. I will not hide that from you. So, I will share maybe the list of our applications, which we use and Nick will tell why we use this kind of things for my website and let’s go to the trends. Yeah.
Nick: So I mean, there’s a lot of different types of trends that are popular and coming out now. I mean, of course there’s a lot of design trends. It’s very popular to do very minimalistic, styles on your, on your pages and black and white, it is very popular now. Lots of different things like isometric graphics and it’s very popular to make a much simpler page. But the design trends, these always change every year. What was popular last year was very different than what’s popular this year. So I would say just like design-wise, pick something that fits your branding, your personality, what you like and what type of image you want. I mean, further than that, I mean, mobile is a huge trend and has been a trend for a long time. And so, you have to make sure they are watching via their website.
Daria: How many people are using websites on the mobile?
Nick: They’re using mobile for the vast majority, majority. It’s more than 50% for sure. But I don’t know what the percentage is exactly.
Daria: I know!
Nick: Oh, you do? Okay.
Daria: In Germany it’s more than 75% of people. They are watching your websites from mobile.
Nick: Yeah. So you have to make sure that whatever you’re using is mobile friendly and there are lots of tools and techniques that you can use where your website, we’ll have a one image on a mobile site. It will have a slightly different structure on the desktop and even a slightly different desks, structure, tablet. And I mean we touched on chatbots of course as being a trend. And I mean, one trend in general that I think is it’s maybe not so specific to only websites but is integrating, your website with other systems you might have. So being able to integrate your website with your sales system or your customer service system or your marketing tools even your finance if you have an online shop and somebody makes a purchase, having that being processed on your site. And then putting a transaction, maybe your books. Yeah. And so over the last five years it’s been really popular and, and there’s a lot of innovation going on where people can, or businesses can integrate their systems together with their websites so that everything flows together nicely and you weren’t manually going in and out. Yeah. Transcend that. So that’s the future. I think that is a very cool.
Daria: How is a website supposed to look? website. Is it enough only one page or is good when many beaches?
Nick: I mean, I think it depends on, your business. I think it’s nice to have more information to, satisfy customers’ questions or anything that they’re looking at about your business. But some sites can get quite overwhelming. Sometimes if you go to a site that’s totally cluttered with too much information and people can get lost. So, I think it’s really important that you still have, you think about simplicity to some extent. you think about like the first company that comes to mind is like Apple like they are very good at creating a product that is both simple and beautiful on the outside. And then, but on the inside there’s a lot of functionality and power underneath. But from the user side it’s very, very easy. And so, I think with websites for sure is that you need to think about what is important to your business and what functionalities you need, incorporate those functionalities into your website. But at the same time make it feel, I guess the word is “effortless” to visitors so that it’s very easy. And yeah, and I mean every year there’s so many different types of applications that accomplish this then are making it really easy, you know? Like, for example I can think of a company called Typeform which has contact forms and you can add to your website and let’s say you need to ask your customers some questions and you need, they need to submit that information to you. Typeform was really nice because it will ask you one question really smoothly and then you answer and then we’ll give you the next question and then it will give you the next question is, and it’s not just like some boxes and so on. So it’s like creating this really nice user-interface and there are lots of other tools I can go on and on all day.
Daria: And what is your favorite one which, you were like wow, this is wonderful tool to use it and to integrate it to your website?
Nick: So I would say the number one tool is probably, I would say, WooCommerce. It is great because it is the eCommerce side to WordPress. So it is a plugin free. You install it onto your WordPress page and it allows you to create this online shop component where you can create products and so forth. And what I really liked about commerce is that it’s very easy to use and then you can connect it with a lot of different things. So you can obviously connect it with your sales system, you can connect it with your accounting system. You can have it automatically calculate sales tax and so forth.
Daria: And what is the best payment system for your website?
Nick: So I would say the two big ones are PayPal and Stripe.
Daria: PayPal for business.
Nick: Yeah. That’s one thing you have to make sure is that you are using a PayPal merchant account via PayPal for business. And Stripe and PayPal, they’re both pretty similar. They’re both competitors. I guess Stripe is a little bit more focused on mobile apps. So, you can integrate them with your website of course, but they are pushing very strongly for people that want to integrate payment processing to their mobile apps. But PayPal, everybody knows that’s a big one and it’s again, it’s very easy. You create an account, you install it and, and again, WordPress, like the community is so big that people have created so many different attachments to connect PayPal to your site and its just very easy to use.
Daria: And those are some of the best applications. WooCommerce and then?
Nick: I would probably start to say like, obviously I’ve touched on some of the chatbots and there is a big bucket.
Daria: You have any examples how you can integrate chatbots to your website?
Nick: Yeah, so that’s what’s great is that all of these chatbot companies, they know that so many different customers have WordPress sites. So one of their first things they do is they create an integration with WordPress. Whereas for Wix, they may not.
Daria: Like last year I was like, I, when I talk to the people, I was like, the chuck boots is their future in 2019 we will talk with child wants, but, and what, nothing happened. Nothing happened. Job was we’ll never, for right now, for one, two years, they will, they will, they will be never like a person
behind their screen.
Nick: Yeah. It’s always better to have a person behind the screen. And I mean that’s actually one of my, one of the, chatbots I like, is it has a combination of both of them.
Daria: What’s the name of this?
Nick: Oh yeah, yeah, sure. So there’s, there’s LiveChat, which allows you to have a live person chat with you, hence the name. And they have a chatbot component. So, if you’re away, then the chatbot is there. And if you have a live person they’re also there and you can set it up or you have a combination of both.
Daria: Ah ok so its like a combination of both live person and chatbot.
Nick: Exactly. And if one person is busy chatting to one person, you can have a second customer representative take care of the second person and so forth. And so, you can create these whole teams of customer service representatives that can service multiple people online at the same time. And yeah, it’s really great. There’s automatic translation so forth..
Daria: That’s cool.
Nick: And if there’s just nobody, and let’s say the chatbot runs out of answers, yes, somebody can then fill out a form and then submit that form. Let’s say it’s a question like I’m trying to find what, we’ll just send this, I’ll send it. And then that will go into the customer service system. And then in the customer service system there’s a whole ticketing process… another good one is Intercom. Intercom is a very popular one that has some marketing, more marketing related features.
Daria: So what kind of features?
Nick: Like the product tours and so forth.
Daria: What exactly is a product tour?
Nick: So what it does is that customer can go into the chatbot. And they can say are you interested in or product tour? They can say yes. And then it will walk them through the website with information at the same time for the chatbot. Okay. And you can all, you can have the chatbot give people offers and you can do pretty cool stuff with like retargeting and remarketing.
Daria: You know what can this chatbot work with Facebook Messenger?
Daria: I have one coach who is an expert in sales and she uses this kind of chatbot from Facebook Messenger and honestly I’m not deleting it because it sends so many interesting things to my messenger where I’m like hm, ok, I’m going to download this and this checklist and this 30 min thing to know this sales technique. It’s a really cool thing. And why don’t I delete this? I know that it’s not her and it’s a bot, but I still keep it.
Nick: Yeah. I mean it’s all about delivering value to customers. You have like a free ebook or something that you want to offer to kind of help your customers. You can do that. And the chatbot is an easy way to do that. And yeah, it’s good. And you can see also like you can have and where let’s say a customer visits your webpage and they don’t go past the first page or they don’t buy anything. You can have it where the second time that customer visits your page, you send them an offer through the chatbot and then they say, oh wow like, I didn’t know that they had this free resource or something or they have a webinar coming up or I can learn more. And then.
Daria: Will I have a chatbot in my website? Haha
Nick: Haha yeah.
Daria: I caught you haha
Nick: Haha. One thing that like, I’m sure we will look at is like which chatbot? Because again, like what chatbots might work best for you. you’re a very social media oriented and there’s some chat bots that for example, like ManyChat integrates very well with your social media profiles and live chat with these customer representatives might be a little bit too much for yeah. But again, you may not know that and it’s good to kind of like for us to discuss and figure out like, okay, for your business what works best, what makes the most sense.
Daria: Yeah. That’s great. Great that I have you. It’s really cool. The third one application which you, which was wondering you, it’s about casually, actually scheduling one is quite good. I mean, what’s the name of it?
Nick: So, there are two, there are two options, but I like, the one that we talked about was Acuity Scheduling, which is amazing is this is a great tool. If your, like an agency that sells services, or you do any type of booking services where a customer needs to book a time with you for either a phone call or a meeting or they need to show up for an appointment. It’s quite good. And so, this is called Acuity Scheduling and it’s quite easy to add to your website. Also integrates with PayPal and your email service and so forth. And yeah, what it does is that it creates like a little calendar where people can then select the day, select the time.
Daria: That’s what the actually I needed about that. and they can select, and they selected time, but I didn’t know how they can pay.
Nick: Yeah. And well that’s the great thing is that it integrates with PayPal. And so, when they get to this step where they add their email and their name and in order to make the appointment, you can add in or deactivate or activate whether you want them to pay for it. So, you can say I want them to pay x number of dollars for this appointment. And then they put their credit card in and it’s all processed via PayPal. So, that’s really great. And it also integrates with your calendar. So let rate, let’s say my uncle pen to write Google calendar. Exactly. So if you have Gmail or if you have office 365 and integrates with, it also can connect to any other additional ones besides those two. But it will check your calendar and we’ll say, oh, you have, an appointment with Nick at 6:45. Yeah. So we’re going to block off that time and prevent people from booking that time with you.
Daria: Yeah. And what they have. What I find really cool is that you can even reserve some time for the road. Like if I need time for the meeting, and I need half an hour to get to the meeting and I can reserve this time, between the meetings that I will have a pause or I will have my tea.
Nick: Yeah. That’s great. Yeah. And then just to top it off, you can also connect it with sales systems this really cool.
Daria: Okay. So, for our trends we have four main trends.
Nick: Yeah. So first I would say is, I’m mean I’m probably the most important of all is mobile and mobile to make sure everything is mobile and I guess some of the design trends I talked about to make it the simplest is simple and as user friendly as you possibly can. And again, chatbots, if it makes sense for your business and then any of these other, integrations with your other systems. Yeah, so it’s pretty cool stuff.
Daria: Yes. And, next time we will make an interview where we will explain actually because I don’t have a clue what the year he made in life. Nick will explain what kind of features I will use on my website. Why and what kind of are like, we have between which kind of, applications yeah. Or how, how it’s called the like from which kind of apps.
Nick: Yeah. We’ll, we’ll run you guys through, just how the website is designed, how it’s structured and then like what features it has and why we chose those and what we’re using. Also, in the back end. So, if you want to set it up yourself or if you want to use a consultant, you can kind of an idea of like what tools are out there that you can use for your site.
Daria: And, what, what we recommend, yeah. For or for the rep side. So, thank you for watching us and I wish you amazing evening. I will download this interview and put it to my identity, so love you and
Nick: Yeah, thank you guys.
Daria: Bye Bye. Thank you.