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Website developer George Botelho thinks Bermuda is woefully underserved when it comes to website presence.

Mr Botelho has run web development company Advanced Services, based on Church Street, for the past 11 years.

Since the pandemic struck, he has been flooded with calls, e-mails and Facebook messages from companies and charities suddenly looking to update their websites so they can operate online during the crisis.

“The banks have also been referring people,” Mr Botelho said. “We're working six days a week. Given the environment we are in now, and the foreseeable future, an online presence has become paramount. A website is available 24/7. A store is not open 24/7. You can make the website reflective of your branding and your message. You can make it relevant any day, anytime.”

Clients include retailers and Airbnb businesses, and charities such as the Bermuda Charitable Foundation, the Bermuda Red Cross and Narcotics Anonymous.

About a third of the people contacting Advanced Services have never had any online presence at all.

“It is obviously easier for people who have some presence,” Mr Botelho said. “There are different manners in which to have a presence online. We typically design websites from scratch according to our clients individual needs.”

He said a lot of people are using template websites, offered by Shopify or Lightspeed.

“That is cheap and quick to get up,” he said.

Advanced Services has been helping a lot of retail clients to implement a payment gateway, so customers can make a payment or purchase things on their website.

“There are four companies locally that process payments that can be utilised by those who want to process online,” Mr Botelho said.

“One of them is being used primarily, nine out of ten times. It is called authorize.net owned by Visa. We have been an authorize.net partner for four or five years. You can't go to them directly, you have to go through someone like us.

“We are one of three local companies that do it. We have a streamlined process with them. We do all the work with them on the client's behalf. We submit an application on their behalf, create the account on their behalf, set it up and utilise it and develop programming integration work on the client's website.”

He said a lot of clients think the process of setting up a website and implementing a payment portal is a lot more complicated than it really is.

“It's not,” he said.

Another misconception is that it's an expensive process.

“That is relative,” he said. “What might be expensive to you might not be to me. Many have been pleasantly surprised to learn that shifting online with payment processing isn't complex or expensive and that there are a number of options available.”

He said the costs involved relate to the forward facing website, the payment gateway service provider and the merchant bank account.

Mr Botelho said payment gateways can be cheaper than using a hand held credit card device.

“Our role is that of a developer,” he said. “We do the integration work. That is typically three hours of work for us, and our rates are pretty reasonable.”

Advanced Services has been offering free payment gateway integration to local charities.

Mr Botelho said clients manage the websites themselves.

“Websites are really simple to manage, otherwise they wouldn't be used,” Mr Botelho said. “As far as what do they need when they come to us, it depends. Some already have a business account with a local bank. Some don't. They need to be ready to proceed.

“We take care of the payment gateway provider service segment. We do the integration work for them within three hours. We will put them in contact with applicable person in the banks. We just tell the banks we have a new client, they require payment gateway integration can you assist them with the merchant component?”

He originally started the business with his wife Ritu. She eventually went to work in human resources.

“She has been laid off from her job, so she is helping me right now,” Mr Botelho said.

For more information call 400-3682, e-mail contact@advanced.bm or see www.advanced.bm

In demand: George Bothelo, of Advanced Services (File photograph)
In demand: George Botelho, founder of Advanced Services (Photograph supplied)

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Published April 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm (Updated April 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm)

Website developer inundated with calls

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