It's a new year, a new decade, and the perfect time for a fresh start. The beginning of the year seems to bring out the best in people. We have new resolve and we're motivated to set goals. If you haven't set your own New Years' resolution yet, we have the perfect idea to share... clean your computer inside and out!
Many of us use digital devices every day. As we complete work tasks, create new documents, download apps and pictures, and multi-task our way through never-ending to-do lists, we also make digital waste along the way. Unlike an overflowing laundry basket, leaves in the yard, or dishes in the sink, digital waste can hide. Chances are your computer needs to be cleaned up. Great news! January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month.
Shopping season is officially here! Our team got together and recommended some gifts for that friend or family member that's always looking for new technology. Be prepared for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday this year and be on the lookout for these awesome items for your loved ones.. or maybe even for yourself! On your mark, get set, shop!
Change can be hard, especially when it comes to technology. But in the words of Gail Sheehy, "If you aren't changing, you aren't growing." This holds true as technology shifts and evolves – and the latest shift will be from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
While Windows 7 has been great, all things must come to end, and the sunset of Windows 7 comes in January 2020. So, what does this mean for you? It means that it's time for you to make the big change. Trust us, it will be worth it.
Quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb for almost any industry or profession. Everyone is always on the move, so these days quantity often gets placed above quality, but what if that isn't what's important?
When it comes to writing blogs, you are but a mere drop of water in an ocean of how-to blogs, inspirational posts, and educational content. So, what will make you stick out while gaining exposure for your company? Follow these 6 steps to take your blog writing to the next level.
Social media is a powerful tool for everyone who uses it. People use it personally to connect with their family and friends, while businesses can harness its many benefits by creating a consistent voice and brand that allows them to connect with their audience. Pretty powerful stuff, right? Well, with great power comes great responsibility.
With the steady increase of social media users, also comes a steady increase of cyber criminals that seek to:
Facebook gray verified badges for business pages are officially gone! So, what does this mean for you?
Essentially, you might have gone through the application process to earn your gray verified check mark. This makes your business page look credible and shows that you are who you say you are. However, with this change comes some extra effort that has to go into maintaining your credibility.
As Facebook makes this transition and updates their process, we will let you know!
According to a study conducted by Microsoft, the average attention span of a human is 8 seconds, which believe it or not has declined from the 12 seconds reported in 2000. This means users are taking less time to evaluate:
- Is this content relevant? - Is this content reliable? - Is this content readable?
So, what can you do to grab the reader in that 8 seconds?
My humans bring me to work with them every day; they wouldn't have it any other way. Unlike my humans, I can sit in on meetings, listen to ideas and think about solutions to problems and then I can go take a nap: they can't. Life is good that way. But you know when life isn't good? When a customer comes in angry because they got scammed and wakes me up from my nap - it really raises the fur on the back of my neck.
You see, I know the various methods hackers use when they are on a phishing expedition and my human's customers need to be watchdogs about it. I'll let you in on a little secret I have learned in this business: if it looks suspicious—it most likely is, but sometimes it can look 100 percent legitimate.
Blogging certainly isn't what it used to be. When blogging first took off in the late 90's/ early 2000's you were sure to be reading more diary like entries on platforms like Open Diary and Xanga. I'm sure if we took a moment to look through all of those entries there would be good laughs…and maybe some serious cringing. Over time blogging became a generally accepted way to share information, news, and also bits and pieces (or maybe more than that) of your personal life.
Blogging and your SEO
In today's world of Internet Marketing everyone wants to do everything possible to be found on the internet. According to Search Engine Journal, SEO jobs have soared in the past year with a 43% increase from 2017. I'm sure you've read or heard somewhere Blogs are a sure way to keep your website current and an easy way to get keywords on your site. While there is some truth to that it's good to know the whole story.
Hiring a sole external or in-house IT person or trying to manage the services on your own as the owner or manager of a business might seem like a good idea until you come across an issue that you can't fix; this happens often for many reasons.
Designated individual IT consultants or employees get sick or need to take extended leave, they go on vacation, take holidays and some just move on, leaving you vulnerable to any number of problems that might occur. Things are great when they are running smoothly, but when they aren't this can bring a screeching halt to production in the workplace.
Synergy: "The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects."
Cold weather generally prompts people to break out the space heater at home or in the office for added warmth and comfort. This is a great idea because it can help to save money on heating bills when you only need extra heat in one area of the room. However, the last thing anyone needs is a fire erupting, especially during the holiday season.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2011 and 2015, space heaters accounted for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 85 percent of home heating deaths. It is crucial to follow safety guidelines and take precautions to minimize the risk of space heaters causing damage to a home or an office.
Google Analytics is a free tool that shows you how well your website is doing and how many visits you get in a day, but it also does so much more. It can tell you how long a visit lasted as well as how many people have viewed your website. And it's seriously free, but you have the ability to upgrade to a paid plan, Google 360.
Why do you Need Google Analytics? When you use Google Analytics you have the ability to use Google's Metrics which shows the following information: Pageviews, Bounce Rate, Users, New Users, Sessions and Unique Pageviews.
• Pageviews gives you information regarding which pages web searchers are looking at within a session. • Bounce Rate is critical for finding out how well your online content is doing because it shows how long a visitor stays on the page before leaving. • Users tells you how many unique visitors your site gets in comparison to Sessions, and how many visitors your site had. • New Users is beneficial if you are trying to track visitors who have not previously visited your site or if you are reaching out to, well, new users. • Sessions tells you how long a visitor was viewing your website in a single visit and in how many total visits, and it is the most common metric used. • Unique Pageviews tracks visibility of content per Session and which pages were mainly viewed.
The metrics outlined above are the most common Google Analytics Metrics and will give you the greatest insight as to how your website is doing. If you are an ad-based site, Bounce Rates and Pageviews per Session will be particularly useful for upping ad revenue.
There is no denying that mobile devices are ubiquitous, and it should come as no surprise that mobile internet browsing has now surpassed that of desktop use. According to Statcounter Website Analytics, as of September 2018, worldwide usage stats are as follows:
Google, being the enigma that it is, seems to subtly remind us how intertwined it is in our everyday lives. Whether it's by showing you an ad for something that crossed your mind 2 hours ago or giving you a suggested search for something you discussed with your coworker yesterday, Google never fails to impress with its…. observant…. abilities.
However, when it comes down to it, being in Google's good graces is one of the best things you can do for your business. If you think about it from a consumer standpoint, the first thing you do when you are searching for a service is "Google it". From there you look in the sought-after "box". This lists the service providers closest to you in order from closest to the city center outward. You might glance through the reviews, maybe click the company with the most or highest reviews. Then you work your way down the search results, usually stopping when company websites that haven't been updated since 2010 start popping up (maybe around page 3?). So how do you keep out of the Flash Mob era crowds on the web?
Whether you are a new business or an existing business, having your IT infrastructure set up by a professional full-service business technology company like Technical Resource Solutions in Canton, Georgia is critical in today's world. This coupled with cyber liability insurance will safeguard your company from data breach, ransomware attack or a complete outage of internet infrastructure. Your entire company is at risk if you don't have the proper infrastructure and cyber insurance protection in place to safeguard your data against cyber attacks.
About Your Infrastructure:
The first step is to have your infrastructure professionally installed. Your infrastructure consists of a server, modem, router, backup system, software, network, internet service provider, management and more. You may also need a cooling system in place to keep your equipment cool in order to prevent overheating and an out-of-the-way storage area to keep all the equipment from harm by foot traffic at work.
The number of servers you will need will be based on the number of employees and functions each server provides. Small companies can get by with one server, but it can get complicated very quickly when it comes to managing email, backup, data management, printers, volume, and more. For instance, if you are a business that provides website development and hosting like Technical Resource Solutions, a single server may be solely dedicated to just that. Because it can get complicated, it's always best to have your IT infrastructure professionally installed and managed.
Do you remember those huge Yellow Pages® books from the past that were delivered to your doorstep? If you needed a plumber, a doctor, an HVAC company or a full-service business technology company, it was the only way to find one before the internet came along. But what was it that made you choose the one you chose? Most likely it was a full-page ad or a catchy logo instead of a printed name and phone number. A picture or a logo held a lot of power in the Yellow Pages because they represented the very first visual impression of a company.
Now, when people search the internet for a business and land on your website, the same concept still holds true: what is going to set your website apart from all the rest? Your logo. It's your identity and it needs to personify who you are and what your company represents. A strong, well thought-out logo will capture the attention of potential customers and they will most likely want to hang around and get to know you better by taking a closer look at your website. This is how branding gets started.
Microsoft tried to do too many things, too soon with Windows 8. Its desktop "tiles" resembled those used on a tablet or phone, but they confused people. Tablets were trendy, but crossovers were like genetically modified cats (the horror!); nobody knew quite what to do with them.
After being swatted on the nose often enough over Windows 8, Microsoft introduced Windows 10 this year. It's the first true hybrid version of an operating system that shares the best features of a computer, a tablet, a smart phone, and an XBox One. Think of it as the Labradoodle of the tech world: loyal, friendly, easy to bond with, but without the endless shedding and whatever it is that makes people sneeze.
Have you ever had one of those weeks when there's so much to do that you have cereal for dinner... every night? If you're an entrepreneur, of course you have! And part of the reason for that is because you take pride in your work, have a good work ethic, and want to ensure your customers are happy with the results.
Around our office, we have a lot of late nights. Lucky for me, I never have to resort to cereal for my own dinner, but the take-out food and caffeinated beverages consumed by some people in my office are always an indication that we're on a deadline, or we're trying to re-work a design that someone wants to tweak.
Let me share with you a few things that make my ears perk up during a design meeting:
"Everyone" as a Target Audience. People have different needs, different tastes, and different goals. Not everyone, for example, likes dogs (go figure!), so if you are a small business owner whose website needs to target dog lovers, "Everyone" is not your audience.
Knowing who your audience IS, however, will help us craft a design and a message that will appeal to those people who are seeking your services and will eventually become your customers.
Websites Evolve Simply having a website is not all there is to it. As your business develops, so should your website. Inventory and service offerings change, prices need to be updated, and your photos and text need to keep up with the current market to help your business stay competitive.
Think of your website like your car. Your 1980 conversion van might still run, but it likely doesn't convey the message – or image – of who you and your business are today. Same goes for your website: the site created for your business in 1999 might still be active, but it needs to adapt so it is compatible with current technology – like smart phones and tablets.
Be An Original I can't tell you how many people see a design and say, "I want to look just like that!" Well, that belongs to someone else's business, so outright copying would 1) be tacky and 2) not deliver YOUR message to YOUR specific audience.
During a design meeting, my people ask you questions about how you chose your business, how long you've been in business, what your top-selling products or services are, and what kind of customer feedback you receive. We also want to know who (specifically) your target audience is (see above), so we can make your website reflect YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.
Let Us Help You We've worked in this industry a long time, so we know how to make our customers happy. We look forward to a night of take-out food and a double espresso on your behalf!
As someone with hypersensitive hearing, it's easy for me to hear beyond the words of a conversation, which means that if someone is really happy – or really frustrated – I know about it pretty quickly.
Sometimes people sound frustrated when they bring their new laptops or tablets to a meeting, and they've forgotten a cord, can't find a file, or find out their new device isn't compatible with their existing software. Business people like it when their applications work, when they can see the screen, and when they don't have to plug it into the wall to make sure it runs during an entire meeting.
A lot of those frustrated people have a Chromebook. At first, they're all excited about it; "after all," they say, "I heard that guy on the radio say it's one of the best."
Well, if you ask me, they shouldn't buy a device based on a generic recommendation from a popular consumer advisor. Does that guy realize most people are looking at how technology can improve their bottom line over the long term, not just with up-front costs? Did they call that guy and ask what the best recommendation was for their specific business?
If they had asked us what we recommend to fulfill their needs now and in the future, that laptop might well be Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
My ears perk up when I hear about all the benefits of this laptop-tablet hybrid, partly because the people who use the Surface Pro 3 are so excited about all its benefits.
First, it has great battery life. If you don't always remember to bring your cords to a meeting, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has a battery that lasts up to seven hours!
It's powerful and boasts great file capacity, too, with up to 512GB storage and 8GB RAM. And it works well with all of the commonly used Microsoft business applications.
Like most great breeds, it's also pleasing to the eye, with exceptional screen resolution.
And while I'm a purebred myself, there's something to be said for hybrids: the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 combines the best features of a laptop and a tablet into one amazing piece of equipment.
It may not take the place as "man's best friend," but it sure comes close!
If there's one thing I've learned through my years of being the ears of Technical Resource Solutions, it's that there's cheap and then there's value – and cheap can end up costing more in the long run.
Last month, we talked about resisting the DIY route for your website. This month, we'll talk about the difference between a trained, experienced professional and someone who knows "just enough to be dangerous."
The very first business website went live in August of 1991, and the ONE BILLIONTH website came into existence in September of last year. In order to stand out among those kinds of numbers, your website has to be amazing. And it's unlikely that you're going to get an amazing, functional, and secure site from someone who creates websites "on the side."
Your niece in college might be able to create a decent-looking website, but will she understand what will help your site stand apart from others in your industry? Will she be able to update the site during exam week? And if the site crashes while she's in class, how much of a priority will it be for her to drop what she's doing and get things back up to speed so you don't lose business?
Maybe you have a friend who dabbles in web design and offers to create a site that will "save you money." Have you considered what that up-front savings might cost you in the long run? Can your friend guarantee a site that is mobile-friendly? How savvy is your friend at creating a site that is hack-resistant? Can he add a shopping cart with the most up-to-date security features to keep your customers' information safe from online thieves?
When comparing up-front costs to build a site, take an extra moment to look into the future and think about what it might cost you – in credibility, time, and lost customers – if your "cheap" website doesn't live up to your needs and expectations.
A cheap website is like a pair of shoes from the discount store: you'll settle for them in a pinch, but wouldn't recommend them for the long haul. A website is a good value when it presents a professional image, meets or exceeds performance expectations, offers security to you and your customers, and can grow with your business over time.
Plus, hiring a professional can help you avoid that awkward silence with your niece at the next family reunion!