Posted on August 20, 2017 | By Joe
You simply can no longer avoid using information technology if you’re a business owner. However, some entrepreneurs worry that it’s too expensive to use technology like restoration software in their business.
The video above explains how to use a simple cost/benefit analysis to figure out how much your business can benefit from information technology.
Posted on August 16, 2017 | By Joe
It seems there’s an app for everything these days, a notion which has even been used to market the thousands, if not millions of apps that are currently available through the App Store and Google Play. But if you’re looking to invest in an app for your business, to take your interaction with your customers to the next level, or even just to make your business and your employees more efficient, what[’s involved and how much is it likely to cost?
We spoke to some of the best app developers NYC has to offer, to find out what kind of things you should think about when you’re considering building an app, and what kind of costs you might be looking at.
Why an App?
A good place to start is to ask why you think your business needs an app? What do your think it will deliver over and above what you have at the moment, and will this make the investment worthwhile? If an app is the way forward, you then want to start thinking about the basic questions like, which platform do you want your app designed for – iOS (Apple), Android or both? Is it going to be for mobiles, tablets or both? How are you going to build your app? Yes there are off the shelf packages and services that allow you to create your own app, but the chances are you’re only going to get the end product you want, and that’s worth investing in, if you hire a specialist company to assist you. And once you find an app developer to work with, there are a whole host of other questions that you need to think about.
What is the app meant to do? Apps and app developers have the capacity to do pretty much whatever you want, so you need to think about what you want to achieve with your app, but also what your users are likely to want from your app. There’s no point creating something you think is up to the job, when in actual fact it leaves your potential customers or employees feeling rather underwhelmed and disappointed. And that goes for how your app looks and works as well as what it actually does.
Perhaps you need an enterprise app for your business, to improve communication between departments and employees and deliver the kind of information that will help make your business function more efficiently? In which case, there could be a lot of investigation and consultation involved in order to develop the understanding of what the app needs to be able to do.
What are users meant to do with the app? If the app is designed to market your business and your products, is it just meant to be a shop window, or do you want users to be able to interact with your app, and ultimately you? Does your app need e-commerce functionality, so users can purchase your products from the app itself? Do you want users to be able to communicate with you, ask questions our leave reviews? Does your app need to communicate with your website or will it stand alone?
The Internet is full of stories of tech whizz kids who built apps over a weekend, for next to no cost, and ended up making millions. In these instances it’s less the app that’s responsible for the success, and more the unique or interesting idea behind it.
But what if you’re not looking to create the latest novelty app or addictive game, but rather something that can help you grow and expand your business? Well, in this case you probably need to think of the cost of your app as you would any other investment in your business, like your premises or your website. In which case, you’re probably looking at a cost that’s certainly in 4 figures, and more than likely in the mid five figures if you’ve ticked a lot of the features and functionality boxes.
While an app for your business may require a significant investment, the key is to make sure you know what you want and can deliver it within a sensible budget. You might even want to spend a good long while thinking about whether or not you actually need an app. How much of your traffic is via mobile devices? How much interaction do your customers have with you before, during and after the buying process and does this make investing in an app worthwhile? Would a mobile website be more appropriate?
But if you keep coming back to the fact that an app is what you need to grow or improve your business, the best thing you can do is speak to the professionals. Not only will a specialist app developer tell you what is and what isn’t possible, they will no doubt come up with other ideas and options you hadn’t even thought of. Their advice and expertise will be invaluable, and these will be the guys who can deliver an app that has the best possible chance of being everything you wanted it to be.
Posted on August 13, 2017 | By Joe
With the increasing dependency most business have on their IT systems, having an IT support company is no longer a luxury but a necessity. There are plenty to choose from so how do you find out which one is the right fit for your business’s needs?
Making An Assessment
The first step to picking a business is to look at your own business and what you will need from them. the bigger the business, the more solutions and products that it will need but also the bigger the use of IT systems in day to day operations, then the more complex the support required will be. So by looking at what you do this will help you assess what you need.
Look at where you work, for starters. Do you operate in a single geographical area or are you countrywide? If local, then choosing a local company is logical but if your business is countrywide, then a matching service is needed.
There are concerns regarding the service and support given and other concerns that will come into play when making your choice. For example, if your business requires an enhanced level of security for whatever reason, and there will be a need for your IT support company to visit your premises, do the employees go through a CRB check online, (also know as a DBS check)? What other checks do they carry out tro make sure your information will be secure?
When it comes to the package offers, look at companies that offer a range of different services and allow you to build your own package. There’s no point in paying money for services you will never need because you don’t use that type of system. You want to pay for what you need only.
Talk about guaranteed response times and Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These are crucial for you to know when a company will respond to a call about a problem and how quickly they will be with you when you make the call. Check what happens if they don’t, such as a refund of charges or similar compensation. Also, check to see if they outsource any elements of the business and how this can affect service levels and the people you will be dealing with.
For bigger companies, a dedicated account manager service is useful so you don’t have to go through all the details of past problems each time. There is also the dedicate engineer options offered by some providers for a similar reason. In addition, some support companies also provide services such as cloud solutions, telephony and connectivity projects. This saves dealing with various companies if something serious happens on the premises and saves time and money.
Once you have all the answers to the many questions about the service provided, it never hurts to do a little background checking into the company. Look at customer testimonials and ask for customer references to get a real person’s opinion on the services. Check out their accreditation for services offered and also that they have the relevant insurance and other protection in place. Once you have all the information at your fingertips, you will make a choice and feel confident with the selection you make.
Posted on August 9, 2017 | By Joe
Remarketing is a relatively simple concept, and can be extremely effective if it’s done right.
It might not be right for your or for your business, depending on a variety of factors, but here is a useful infographic from Google that should give you a better idea of exactly how Remarketing works.
Knowing more about it and how it works will give you the information you need to decide if Remarketing is what you need to get more from your site visitors.
Posted on August 5, 2017 | By Joe
In the world of online business, it can be frustrating that you often only get one chance to ‘sell’ to the visitors to your site. You put a whole load of effort into your SEO and your marketing in order to attract these visitors, and when they finally show up you might just have the one chance to convert them into customers before they are lost for ever.
Well, hopefully that’s not the case. In a perfect world your website contains the kind of information that makes visitors want to stick around, or at least come back when they are ready to ‘buy’. But even if you have a site that does provide all the necessary information and inducements to convert your visitors, there will always be those who visit, and then simple leave. Wouldn’t it be great if you could continue to market your products and services to them, even after they had left your site? Well, thanks to the Google Remarketing, you can do just that.
If you’re looking to get more form the visitors you attract to your site, and which business isn’t, then you should be looking at how Remarketing could help. You can follow this link to get some useful information on how remarketing works, but in essence it’s fairly simple, and very clever.
You make sure your site is set up to tag your visitors accordingly, depending on what pages, product and services they’re viewing. Then, once thy have left your site, if they access other websites in the Google advertising network, or even search for related products in Google itself, marketing for your products and services can be shown to them.
With some studies indicating that it can take a number of ‘interactions’ with a customer before they complete the buying process, you should be looking at every opportunity to make sure you keep interacting with the visitors to your site, even after they have left, and Remarketing is a great way to do this.
Posted on July 21, 2017 | By Joe
Choosing a CMS (Content Management System) for your website can be the difference between a beautiful, effective web presence that is suited to your skill levels, and wasting time and/or money on a website that looks poor and is far too complex for your capabilities. Additionally however you also need to consider the future and how your needs may change over time in relation to what you need from your website and what features you may wish to add. To this end this useful overview from K-too Marketing, who create affordable wordpress websites for business, talks you through the process of choosing a suitable CMS for your needs by weighing up the pros and cons of four of the main CMS’ on the market today.
WordPress is the World’s most popular CMS and as such the support that can be found online for it is practically unparalleled. Additionally this CMS is widely regarded as the easiest to use of all and additionally provides millions of ‘plugins’ which even amateur users can use to add functionality to their website. These include contact forms, social media streams and live chat features. Practically anything is possible through the range of WordPress plugins and for this reason a WordPress website can adapt as your needs change.
Wordpress may not make for a suitable option when you foresee your website being of a particularly complex make up with heavy traffic. An example of this would be an e-Commerce website with thousands of products.
Skill Level: Beginner
Joomla is a happy medium between the sometimes under powered, yet easy to use WordPress CMS and the mighty Drupal CMS which is difficult to use for even the intermediate user. Joomla is perfect for those looking for a website that has a heavy focus on articles and content and provides an intuitive interface.
The main con of Joomla is therefore in relation to the fact that it is suited only to those at an intermediate level user; although the system can be learnt with a fairly significant amount of dedication.
Skill Level: Intermediate
This CMS provides amazing extensibility options, which feature solid support, plenty of add ons and customisation options. As well as this it offers an easy to use backend option for the beginner and a powerful PHP option for programmers who are building highly customised websites.
Expression Engine is, unlike the other CMS systems, a CMS that costs money and you can expect to pay anything up to £200.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Drupal is the most powerful CMS of all the systems reviewed here. It is highly scalable, which means that it can adapt and meet the needs of even millions of users and visitors through the most complex of websites.
Drupal is considered as the ‘coder’s dream CMS’. This CMS is then a system that is exceptionally complex and only suitable for web professionals.
Skill Level: Advanced user
If you still feel unsure as to which CMS is suitable for both your needs today as well as tomorrow then consulting with an experienced digital agency is essential. Reputable companies within this industry will be able to guide you through the seemingly complex landscape of Content Management Systems.
Posted on July 14, 2017 | By Joe
When businesses hear that Google are releasing a new update to yet again change how websites are rated in their important search engine rankings, a sinking feeling sets in. Everyone starts to worry that suddenly customer aren’t going to find the business and that it will cost a fortune to revamp the company’s website to keep it current. But the latest change to the mobile-friendly ranking of a website could actually be an opportunity to assess your online presence and make changes before your competitors. We spoke to TheGrapefruit.co.uk to find out more, how this could be viewed as an opportunity, and what it means for their SEO services (TheGrapefruit.co.uk/London-SEO-Services).
What is the update?
In 2013, Google launched an algorithm that changed how sites were ranked based on their appearance when accessed through a mobile but the new update due to launch this month’s goes much further. The new update will label a site ‘mobile friendly’ and when someone searches from a mobile, these mobile friendly sites will appear at the top of the listing. This means that mobile users will be given results that are best suited to the means they are using to access the internet, rather than the traditional ranking methods.
Rethinking the strategy
For many businesses, adopting the idea behind the Content is King saying is the way forward for their online presence. While the saying itself is a bit tired, the underlying principles of it are solid – no longer are websites just about selling an item or a service but about engaging customers and increasing traffic. The main way this is done is by using great quality content alongside information about the business and one of the top platforms for doing this remains WordPress.
WordPress have been around since 2003 and were originally a blogging platform but are used by over 25% of the top 10 million websites in the world including major names such as Mashable and TIME. Nor is WordPress just about blogging any more, it now seamlessly integrates e-commerce and full websites into one place.
Advantages of WordPress
One of the biggest advantages of WordPress is how customisable it is – whatever your business is there is a theme to tie in with it. It is also to set up a basic website yourself, though many businesses still favour using a website designer to get a full, finished product. In addition, WordPress websites are automatically optimised for mobile so when Google’s new algorithm changes the search engine world again, WordPress sites are going to be right up there at the top of the list.
WordPress is also Open Source, which means that in its most basic form, it doesn’t cost a penny. Of course, for a more sophisticated and multi-faceted website then there will be costs involved but even these remain competitive. WordPress also has thousands of Plug-ins that work to help your website including the ever-popular SEO Yoast that shows if your website is hitting all of its SEO targets such as tags and descriptions, all vital to coming up top in those search engine rankings.
So why not view the new mobile friendly changes as a chance to alter your online presence and make sure that when your customers search for your type of business, you will be top of that list?