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Did you get to the end of the Financial Year in good shape?

I certainly hope 2014-2015 was a good year for you and that you are looking forward to lots of new prospects, sales and good business in the next. I have outlined below some end of year things that you should take note of.

Financial Year End Tasks - Backups

There are lots of things to do at Financial Year End. Preparing Trust and Company minutes, getting stocktakes done and preparing final things for your accountant are some of the important ones. However in this newsletter I want to highlight some often neglected ones.

Jethro-Facebook-Alex-Hughes-076-Backup-Peace-of-Mind

First of all remember a copy of your data is not necessarily a backup. If you copy it, label it and store it securely it can be. The important test is that it is not being overwritten. So using your daily backup without taking monthly or at the very least annual snapshots of your data is a poor process. At the very least you should be able to locate and recover from the last 1-5 financial years data. If you do not have a “proper” backup process in place then ask us how to do so. These components should be a checklist for you. A Proper Backup should:

  • Allow you to recover from the last day, week, month, year – meaning you have access to media with those data sets on them.
  • Be labelled – clear and time proof labelling (not post it notes)
  • Be recorded – note who did the backup, when and what was backed up as well as the media it was stored on if your system does not do that for you automatically.
  • Be tested – at least once every 3-6 months you should run a recovery test to ensure that you can recover your data in the case of a failure.

Contact us now if you can’t tick off all those items for your backups.

Financial Year End Tasks – Using Excel Spreadsheets

Nearly every business uses Excel Spreadsheets. And none more so than office staff, accountants and book keepers. While Excel is a fantastic Business Intelligence tool a quick google search on parliamentary inquiries excel errors will scare the pants off you. I have seen first-hand how QLD government has reported incorrect numbers based on spreadsheets with errors in them. Most businesses also have the same problem – even mine! Relying on spreadsheet data for financial information needs to be done with the right auditing tools in place to ensure fidelity of the data, and comparison with the source (accounting) data. Done right Excel Reporting tools can greatly improve a business’s ability to manage their financial information, management reporting and other data. I have 27 years of experience of working with financial data in Excel (since version 1 and Lotus Notes before that). If you would like some assistance to ensure that your spreadsheet design (or your accounting staff’s spreadsheets) are accurate there are some simple things we can do to assist you. Even if that is just a couple of hours of specific training in good spreadsheet design techniques.

Talk to us about Excel and VBA training for your business. We provide customised training that your end users will find useful straight away – not just going through a manual on formulas and functions they will never need or use.

Financial Year End Tasks – Filing and Archives

CB107982_LoResI grew up in businesses with large filing archives, microfiche machines, rooms full of filing cabinets, stacked shelving and the dusty ceiling space storage accessed with a torch in times of desperate need only!

Today we create data in multiples so much greater than those days of typing pools, slow copy machines and dusty archives. However often digital data is stored in the same method that we used to store analogue data. This is really rather ridiculous when we think about it. Before computers data could only be stored in one place in a filing system and the indexing method needed to be able to help you easily find that data. Today with the use of metadata we can store data anywhere and use powerful search algorithms to find and locate data. The key is the metadata. Without it we can be as lost as the person in the archives who discovers all the vertical tab filing labels have fallen off.

The modern office stores data in most if not all the following places. Email, hard drives, network servers and storage, cloud storage places, USB external drives and mobile devices. How many times have you or someone you know spent ages looking for the file, email or image you “saved” and now can’t remember where it is?

Talks to us about how we can help you make the best use of your digital filing systems and reduce wasted time

Quick Steps in Outlook

outlook quick stepsEmail management is probably the largest time waster for businesses and office workers today. From Outlook 2010 on there is an awesome feature in Outlook that enables anybody to quickly and easily automate repetitive email management tasks. Effectively they are shortcuts that you can create that will mark items as read, move them to folders, forward emails to preselected team members and many other customisable actions.

Click on an email and in the ribbon select the quick steps box. You can open the manager and look at the default ones, modify or duplicate them and play with the options. More help online to manage Quick Steps.

If you are processing more than 100 emails a day ask us for help with managing them in significantly more efficient ways than what you probably are doing now. this applies to those people with hundreds of unread mails also!

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As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

All content © Tim Miller. Feel free to share or send these emails on. If you want to unsubscribe just reply with Unsubscribe in the subject.

What’s the biggest challenge facing you in business right now?

If you don’t read the rest of this article maybe just take 30 seconds to email me and send me an answer to that question. It’s possible I can locate something or know something that can help you. Or maybe one of my other clients can; the power of networking is invaluable!

Seminar Update

santa-and-bald-eagle-tour-facebook-advert-1

If you missed the seminar we will be holding a repeat one. However we are aware Wednesday mornings are not good for a lot of people. We are also prepared to come and do a customised version directly with customers and their staff for a flat fee.

Contact us now if you want to do this for Your Business

Windows 10 Specifications

More and more information is coming out around Windows 10 and the specifications have now been released for the upgrade. There potentially will be deprecations of applications and features. The official Windows 10 Specifications page lists the minimum requirements for hardware and also lists all the potential issues.

WARNING! At this stage if you are running a small business network with a server we don’t recommend upgrading to Windows 10 yet. If you are running individual PCS then there should be no problem, but I would recommend either doing it on a non-critical machine first or asking us to assist. Finally you should have a Microsoft ID before upgrading. Windows 8 users will likely already have one but Windows 7 users might not.

Talk to us first if you are not sure about updating to Windows 10.

Office Shortcut Keys

Kitti-IMGP7026-keyboard-warrior

Learning to use Office applications effectively is critical for information workers. So many hints and tips are out there it is sometimes hard to know where to start. Even the little ones we provide in these newsletters or online are just a drop in the bucket.

Today we are going to show you a bunch of really effective short cut keys that we use regularly and that once mastered will speed up your use of Excel. Print these out maybe and put them near your screen. I have highlighted the best ones that are my constant use Go Tos.

Keys for moving and scrolling in a worksheet or workbook

Arrow keys: Move one cell up, down, left, or right

CTRL+arrow: key Move to the edge of the current data region
HOME: Move to the beginning of the row
CTRL+HOME: Move to the beginning of the worksheet
CTRL+END: Move to the last cell on the worksheet, which is the cell at the intersection of the rightmost used column and the bottom-most used row (in the lower-right corner), or the cell opposite the home cell, which is typically A1
PAGE DOWN: Move down one screen
PAGE UP: Move up one screen
ALT+PAGE DOWN: Move one screen to the right
ALT+PAGE UP: Move one screen to the left
CTRL+PAGE DOWN: Move to the next sheet in the workbook
CTRL+PAGE UP: Move to the previous sheet in the workbook
CTRL+F6 or CTRL+TAB: Move to the next workbook or window
CTRL+SHIFT+F6 or CTRL+SHIFT+TAB: Move to the previous workbook or window
F6: Move to the next pane in a workbook that has been split
SHIFT+F6: Move to the previous pane in a workbook that has been split
CTRL+BACKSPACE: Scroll to display the active cell
F5: Display the Go To dialog box
SHIFT+F5: Display the Find dialog box
SHIFT+F4: Repeat the last Find action (same as Find Next)
TAB: Move between unlocked cells on a protected worksheet

Keys for moving in a worksheet with End mode on

END: Turn End mode on or off
END, arrow key: Move by one block of data within a row or column
END, HOME: Move to the last cell on the worksheet, which is the cell at the intersection of the rightmost used column and the bottom-most used row (in the lower-right corner), or the cell opposite the home cell, which is typically A1
END, ENTER: Move to the last cell to the right in the current row that is not blank; unavailable if you have selected the Transition navigation keys check box on the Transition tab (Tools menu, Options command)

Keys for entering data on a worksheet

ENTER: Complete a cell entry and move down in the selection
ALT+ENTER:
Start a new line in the same cell
CTRL+ENTER:
Fill the selected cell range with the current entry
SHIFT+ENTER:
Complete a cell entry and move up in the selection
CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER:
Enter an array formula (must be used when editing an existing array formula)
TAB:
Complete a cell entry and move to the right in the selection
SHIFT+TAB:
Complete a cell entry and move to the left in the selection
ESC:
Cancel a cell entry
BACKSPACE:
Delete the character to the left of the insertion point, or delete the selection
DELETE:
Delete the character to the right of the insertion point, or delete the selection
CTRL+DELETE:
Delete text to the end of the line
Arrow keys:
Move one character up, down, left, or right
HOME:
Move to the beginning of the line
F4 or CTRL+Y:
Repeat the last action
SHIFT+F2: Edit a cell comment
CTRL+SHIFT+F3:
Create names from row and column labels
CTRL+D:
Fill down
CTRL+R:
Fill to the right
CTRL+F3:
Define a name

Keys for working in cells or the formula bar

BACKSPACE: Edit the active cell and then clear it, or delete the preceding character in the active cell as you edit cell contents
ENTER: Complete a cell entry
CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER: Enter a formula as an array formula
ESC: Cancel an entry in the cell or formula bar
CTRL+A: Display the Formula Palette after you type a function name in a formula
CTRL+SHIFT+A: Insert the argument names and parentheses for a function after you type a function name in a formula
CTRL+K: Insert a hyperlink
ENTER (in a cell with a hyperlink): Activate a hyperlink
F2: Edit the active cell and position the insertion point at the end of the line
F3: Paste a defined name into a formula
SHIFT+F3: Paste a function into a formula
F9: Calculate all sheets in all open workbooks
CTRL+ALT+F9: Calculate all sheets in the active workbook
SHIFT+F9: Calculate the active worksheet
= (equal sign): Start a formula
ALT+= (equal sign): Insert the AutoSum formula
CTRL+; (semicolon): Enter the date
CTRL+SHIFT+: (colon): Enter the time
CTRL+SHIFT+" (quotation mark): Copy the value from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the formula bar
CTRL+` (single left quotation mark): Alternate between displaying cell values and displaying cell formulas
CTRL+' (apostrophe): Copy a formula from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the formula bar
ALT+DOWN ARROW: Display the AutoComplete list

Keys for editing data

F2: Edit the active cell and put the insertion point at the end of the line
ESC: Cancel an entry in the cell or formula bar
BACKSPACE: Edit the active cell and then clear it, or delete the preceding character in the active cell as you edit the cell contents
F3: Paste a defined name into a formula
ENTER: Complete a cell entry
CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER: Enter a formula as an array formula
CTRL+A: Display the Formula Palette after you type a function name in a formula
CTRL+SHIFT+A: Insert the argument names and parentheses for a function, after you type a function name in a formula
F7: Display the Spelling dialog box

Keys for inserting, deleting, and copying a selection

CTRL+C: Copy the selection
CTRL+X: Cut the selection
CTRL+V: Paste the selection
DELETE: Clear the contents of the selection
CTRL+HYPHEN: Delete the selection
CTRL+Z: Undo the last action
CTRL+SHIFT+PLUS SIGN: Insert blank cells

Keys for selecting cells, columns, or rows

CTRL+SHIFT+* (asterisk): Select the current region around the active cell (the current region is a data area enclosed by blank rows and blank columns)
SHIFT+arrow key: Extend the selection by one cell
CTRL+SHIFT+arrow key: Extend the selection to the last nonblank cell in the same column or row as the active cell
SHIFT+HOME: Extend the selection to the beginning of the row
CTRL+SHIFT+HOME: Extend the selection to the beginning of the worksheet
CTRL+SHIFT+END: Extend the selection to the last used cell on the worksheet (lower-right corner)
CTRL+SPACEBAR: Select the entire column
SHIFT+SPACEBAR: Select the entire row
CTRL+A: Select the entire worksheet
SHIFT+BACKSPACE: Select only the active cell when multiple cells are selected
SHIFT+PAGE DOWN: Extend the selection down one screen
SHIFT+PAGE UP: Extend the selection up one screen
CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR: With an object selected, select all objects on a sheet
CTRL+6: Alternate between hiding objects, displaying objects, and displaying placeholders for objects
CTRL+7: Show or hide the Standard toolbar
F8: Turn on extending a selection by using the arrow keys
SHIFT+F8: Add another range of cells to the selection; or use the arrow keys to move to the start of the range you want to add, and then press F8 and the arrow keys to select the next range

Let us know if you like these tips or want to know how to use any of the Microsoft Office products more effectively. Training your staff in how to use their computers more efficiently and effectively is a small investment that can make them more productive.

Call us today!

Social Media Images Sizes

Jethro-Marketing-facebook-highlight-mar-2015-1

There are so many different social media platforms and they all have different recommended image sizes for use in the header, profile pic and content. It can be very difficult working out what size to use where. Getting it wrong can mean that images don’t display correctly, scale badly, crop text or logos from the image or worse. We actually use a spreadsheet tool we have developed to identify the correct sizes for to convert images to for each platform as well as many other regular formats such as A4 portrait and landscape, DL flyers, business cards and more. If you struggle with this talk to us and we can help. In the meantime this website gives you a great cheat sheet for social media image sizes on some of the more popular platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest) and the sizes to use for headers, profile pics and inline content.

Ask us for help with developing great images with text overlays for your social media advertising and web content

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

All content © Tim Miller. Feel free to share or send these emails on. If you want to unsubscribe just reply with Unsubscribe in the subject.

Did you get Skype for Business installed? The recent upgrade for all Office 365 users should have taken affect by now. Talk to us if not.

Remember you can find the Lync app for iPad and iPhone in the iTunes store, Android app in the Google play store, and the Windows phone app in the Windows Store. In all cases you just need to sign in using your Office 365 credentials.

Cloud Management Tips – Migrating your data to your Cloud Storage

clip_image001You might have files on your computer that you want to copy to your cloud storage areas. Before you just start copying them én masse you might want to consider some important things first.

Storage Limits

There are more storage limits on services than just the total space although that is critical to think of. Many services what file types can be stored. There are also usually limits on the number of files, and individual file sizes. Usually the retail or free service is limited more than the business or paid service as well.

Accessibility

Not every loud storage solution makes it easy to access your files. Ensure that the app is available on your platform of choice, that files can be selectively synced and that you can access your files when you need them by testing with a few simple ones first.

Editing

Not all services or apps allow editing of the documents in a browser or on a mobile device. If you need to edit documents on the go then check this feature out first.

Sharing and Security

There are different ways to share with each different service. Some like SharePoint can share a single file as read only or edit. Others like Dropbox can only do that a folder level. Check what you need before deciding which to use.

We can sit down with you and talk about your current data storage and how to migrate this into the cloud in the most cost effective and efficient manner. Call to discuss today on 0414 770 002.

Windows 10 is coming – Free Upgrade from Windows 7 or 8

windows 10 logoWindows 10 will be released later this year. And if you upgrade from Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1 in the first year from its release you will get the upgrade free*.

Some of the features from Windows 8 that some people found annoying have been removed or changed in Windows 10. These include:

  • Full screen modern app windows can now be moved and resized like regular resizable windows and are no longer full screen or docked in the sliding panel. Each has the familiar resize icons on the right hand side for minimise, restore and close.
  • Internet explorer is now going to be one version – not two – and never knowing which is which will be gone! The new browser is codenamed Project Spartan. Stay tuned for this one.
  • The Start screen is fixed. There is a start menu just like in Windows 7, and the revised start screen can be customised to show apps that you choose so you can have the best of both worlds. It can be toggled to full screen or work just like the old Windows 7 one did – your call!
  • The corner based navigation system is gone. When you stick your mouse in the corner the apps and charm bar wont display. In fact the entire charm bar has been replaced by a really cool notification centre similar to what windows and android phones have that can be pulled up or down, and used to see notifications and dismiss them as necessary.
  • VERY COOL – a multiple desktop function built in. you can have multiple desktops with different applications open on each one and switch between them. Excellent for laptop users.

office 365 on the go survey detailsSpecial Deal – If you are interested in previewing Windows 10 we can show you some devices with it running and then talk about when your business will migrate to Windows 10 and take advantage of the under the hood features that will make your staff more productive.

*Doesn’t apply to customers running Windows Enterprise or on Software Assurance.

Office 365 gives You more Mobility

Have you ever checked your mail in the bathroom? What about taken a business call while at the beach? While we all need balance in our lives, being more mobile can both be a curse and a blessing.

Check out this info graphic that shows some interesting stats. Can you identify with any of these? Or are there some other spots they missed? What about the movies? Ever responded to email while munching on popcorn? I’ll post this on Facebook for you to respond with your plugged in confessions! Confess now!

Let us know where you need better access to your data and we can help you design a solution that works for you or your team. Telecommuting can save you money and make your staff more productive. Call us today!

Using The Round Function in Excel

The ROUND function is extremely useful to truncate calculated values with long decimal places to the 2 decimal places we need with currency calculations. Typically where this is a problem is where you have calculations on financial figures being added up and the sum at the bottom “appears” to be wrong. Solve the problem of a board member adding the figures on a financial report with a calculator and then calling you out on the total (this happened to me once).

Read all the instructions on how to use this powerful function online at http://spyjournal.biz/excel/ROUND

If you want to know more about using some of the more powerful formulas in Excel to improve your productivity then give us a call.

Social Media Tips and Information – What not to do!

I bet you have heard of someone who shared something inappropriate on social media who now wishes they hadn’t. Maybe it adversely affected their employment, relationships or even got them fired. While there are (maybe not as obvious as they should be) levels of TMI (too much information) that personal sharing from our friends and family can cause us to cringe, it’s just as bad for business.

Having a social media policy is one thing. But do you have a strategy documented for dealing with the worst case scenario, an employee upsets customers or even without that provocation they just go rank on you. Do you know what you should, and equally important, shouldn’t do?

If managing social media seems like a scary prospect for your business (and it can be) then try out sourcing it to us. Our global team of social media experts can work with you to successfully represent your business in social media.

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me on these platforms:

· Twitter https://twitter.com/spyjournal technology, cycling, social media, management, business, and web

· Linked In http://www.linkedin.com/in/jethromanagement

· Delicious https://delicious.com/jethrocon saved links

· Blog http://spyjournal.biz/ all sorts of stuff including personal and family updates

· Spyjournal Facebook https://www.facebook.com/spyjournal.biz tech, cycling, and other stuff

· Subscribe to our daily Newspaper https://paper.li/spyjournal/1345852972

· Subscribe to our weekly Newspaper https://paper.li/spyjournal/1345853288

· Jethro Management Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JethroManagement business, management, web

· Jethro Marketing Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JethroMarketing social media, marketing

· Dreamcoat Photography Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DreamcoatPhotography

· Dreamsport Photography Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DreamSportPhotography

· Red Hot Snapper Facebook https://www.facebook.com/redhotsnapper roller derby

All content © Tim Miller. Feel free to share or send these emails on. If you want to unsubscribe just reply with Unsubscribe in the subject.

The first quarter of 2015 is almost done so let’s get straight into it.

Cloud Management Tips – Who Owns the Cloud?

cloudLast newsletter prompted a question of “Who owns the cloud?

The answer is it depends – on what sort of cloud you are talking about.

Common public cloud scenarios like drop box, or Flickr, or Office365 the infrastructure is owned by the company involved. The data is always yours. Always check the terms and conditions!

Common private cloud ones like all your online banking for instance are owned by the bank – but you can access your data – though I suspect it’s not actually ours.

And then you can own your own private cloud. For as little as a few hundred dollars, the right router and some hard drives you can create a private cloud structure where you can access your data anywhere – while it is stored right at your house or office. Mind you this is not a safe a scenario as using something like Office 365. For instance your encryption layers will not likely be anywhere near as good as Microsoft’s. Neither will physical access to your premises be anything like as secure as theirs.

We can sit down with you and talk about your current business technology usage and what cloud services you could be using that could benefit you in one or more of these areas – cost reduction, efficiency, data security and access, and business continuity. Call me to discuss today on 0414 770 002.

Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

windows8I think all of our customers are finally off Windows XP. Hopefully there are none left using Vista – please contact me if you are! We still have quite a few customers using Windows 7 and in some cases we have plans to migrate them to Windows 8.1 soon. However many people don’t like change and think Windows 8.1 is strange, scary or confusing. So this section is a little bit about why you should be thinking seriously about upgrading to Windows 8.1 now and Windows 10 soon.

First of all here are some of the major reasons Windows 8.1 is better than Windows 7.

  • Improved Start-up times – the same PC will boot up a LOT faster with Windows 8.1
  • Better Battery Life – laptops get longer battery usage with Windows 8.1
  • Faster PC – your existing PC will run faster with Windows 8.1
  • More stable – Windows 7 was pretty good – Windows 8.1 is even better
  • Synchronisation – Windows 8.1 synchs your data, settings and desktop through OneDrive – it’s the same on every PC you log into
  • More secure – Free antivirus and anti-malware built in
  • Designed for Touch – if you have a touch screen or device you will rapidly find speed gains over using the mouse – especially useful for tablets

We recommend Windows 8.1 Pro for all businesses as there are some significant additional features over the standard (consumer) edition including:

  • Join a domain – required to network to your company server
  • BitLocker – encrypt your hard drive against theft – very important with laptops
  • Remote desktop application – connect to another PC remotely
  • Hyper-V – ability to run virtual machines inside your computer

Windows 10

http://blogs.windows.com/business/2015/01/21/windows-10-an-exciting-new-chapter/

Office 2016

http://blogs.office.com/2015/02/04/next-chapter-office-windows/

Skype for Business

http://blogs.skype.com/2015/03/17/welcome-skype-for-business

Windows 10 builds on Windows 8.1and according to Microsoft “is their best enterprise platform yet enabling our enterprise customers to be more productive, simplifying management and deployment, working with all of their existing apps, and helping to protect corporate data better than ever.”

More on Windows 10 in another edition. Right now we are trialling the developer previews of Windows 10, Office 2016 and Skype for Business in a virtual machine and learning about them.

Typically we upgrade a computer to Windows 8.1 from Windows 7 for $150 plus the cost of the software - $189 for Pro and $129 for Standard. All your existing programs and data will remain in place.

Special Deal – mention this newsletter and get a 5% discount off our Windows 8.1 upgrade price. Call us and we will help you identify exactly what you need and what benefits you can achieve with an upgrade to Windows 8.1.

Using Paste in Excel

excelCopying and Pasting is an important PC skill to know and learn. Office 2013 has built on previous versions of Office and provides many options for pasting.

Some examples include just pasting the formats, just he values, just the functions or more esoteric things like column widths in Excel, and even utilising mathematical functions. This article gives you some great tips and information about pasting in Excel.

http://spyjournal.biz/pasting-office-2013-newsletter

If you want to know more about improving your spreadsheet design for more efficient use and ensuring your results are accurate then give us a call.

Other office 365 News and Updates

Office 365 continues to pump out updates, improvements and features.

The latest news is that OneDrive for Business comes to Mac and iOS devices

onedriveSometimes One Drive stops synching correctly. If you have One Drive folders that are not synching correctly try this Repair tip.

Right click the blue cloud in the task bar and click Repair. Follow all the prompts.

Social Media Tips and Information

Today we are just going to give you a list of some great information that has come across our desk in the last 2 weeks. If you want to get more regular updates, follow us on twitter, or our daily or weekly newspapers.

If social media seems like foreign world or nightmare to manage (and it can be) then try out sourcing it to us. Our global team of social media experts can work with you to successfully represent your business in social media with cost effective measureable results

Web Design - What should your website be trying to achieve?

Many websites are confusing. Why do I say that? Because if you stand back and look at the site there is no clear purpose or intention of the site. A businesses website should be very obvious. Either its purpose is to inform and educate, sell product, or provide a mechanism for the enquirer to quickly and easily contact the business. Sometimes it is a mixture, and when that occurs the separation should be clear. E.g. a blog should be used for the education and information component. It should be used as a tool to drive customers to calls to action either on the site or directly with your business. Sales and shopping pages should be obvious and easy to navigate.

When considering a basic website for a small business the primary purpose of the website is effectively marketing. It is to create a way to bring customers into the business and add sales revenue and profit. If the website does not do that it should be retrained or sacked just like you would with a non performing sales employee.

Spending sometimes several thousand dollars on a “brochure ware” site that contains some outdated historic information about the companies past, a google map and some very bland generic product or service statements is basically a waste of money. The first and foremost goal is to create a way for prospective customers to actually contact you. This should be done through sales messages, advertising images and text, calls to action and contact forms. Showcase your company’s offers, deals and discounts, provide easy access to virtual sales people, real world online chat or at the very least a telephone number and email address.

The first marketing action we perform is to first find out what exactly the clients goals are. We ask the client about what they want the website to deliver to the business in terms of sales, contacts or enquiries. We then do some market research – search keywords, audience insights from social, competitive analysis. This allows us to set the site up correctly for SEO analytic tracking and measurement. Finally the customer has something that can be used to effectively replicate them in an online world.

webdesign

Here are our basic design principles:

  1. Keep it simple stupid – KISS - Don’t make it hard to find things. One layer of navigation, front page calls to action, side bar enquiry forms and information.
  2. Clarity, Conciseness and Care - Short simple sentences work best. Say exactly what you mean. Spellckecha evyrething!
  3. Use The Correct Heading Hierarchy - Websites have structure. We use this because SEO loves it and it reads better.
  4. Limited use of colours - We use colour palette generators by much smarter people than us who have thought these things out already. Readability for vision impaired is smart as well as thoughtful.
  5. Keep people on your page - We use content sharing tools to recommend further content from within the site
  6. Keep people coming back for more - Regular updated content is extremely important for SEO, and keeps people coming back. It is a great driver for ongoing social engagement and interaction.
  7. Be Social - We use simple recognisable tools to make it easy for people to like and share your content as follow you on social media

Contact us today if you need help fixing your site, or for a whole new refresh! Mention this newsletter and we will provide a free site review – normally worth $199.

Follow us on Social Media

As always we are your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me on these platforms:

Did you know that in a study of 200,000 ostriches over a period of 80 years, no one reported a single case where an ostrich buried its head in the sand? Yet we use that expression to describe people who want to ignore the future. In technology the future is in cloud. Most of the major growth that is occurring in technology (above industry trends) is in the various cloud services out there. We talked about that last newsletter and it has sparked numerous interesting discussions with a number of our clients.

As always I am available to respond to your requests, queries and provide you with information.

I don’t charge by the phone call – and as I often say “it’s cheaper to ask me then it is for me to fix something after its done wrong”.

Cloud Management Tips – Where is my data? Is it safe?

clip_image002We are going to keep writing tips on cloud management as there is just so much misunderstanding out there as to what the cloud is and how to leverage it in your business safely and effectively.

One of the biggest fears our customers have is storing their data off their PC. There are various questions around who has access to it, if it’s safe, and so on.

Let’s bust a myth but also add some words of caution.

Is it safe? The easy answer is not only a resounding yes – but also its much safer. Your PC has a single point of failure – the hard disk. And they fail all the time – in fact more than any other PC component. We deal with them all the time – I have two clients pcs here right now with failed drives from the last week. So storing your data on your hard drive is not safe. Even having a local backup may not ensure your data is safe if that gets destroyed, e.g. in a fire or theft.

The cloud is designed to be always accessible, always backing up and constantly redundant.

Different organisations do different things but the big ones (Microsoft, Google Amazon etc.) all have geographic redundant storage duplication ensuring your data is spread all over the world for safety sake.

clip_image003Security. Now don’t be alarmed by that last statement. The word document you just made with all your user names and passwords in it cannot be seen by technicians in data centres all over the world. Microsoft Office 365 data duplication is done at a very basic level – way below encryption. No one could steal drives from a data centre and recover your data. It’s just not physically possible. Physical access to centres is tightly controlled and access is never given to physical entry as well as user information. In fact user access is only ever granted to an engineer with your specific permission. Any other technician can only ever see data as encrypted information for which they have no access.

If you want to read more about Microsoft’s security then check this website. Other storage providers have similar security in place. Check their sites if you want to know more.

http://products.office.com/en/business/office-365-trust-center-cloud-computing-security

We can sit down with you and talk about your current business technology usage and what cloud services you could be using that could benefit you in one or more of these areas – cost reduction, efficiency, data security and access, and business continuity. Call me to discuss today on 0414 770 002.

PC Patches – managing your computers’ security.

clip_image005Many of our customers wonder why they constantly have to patch their Windows PCs. Often they think that Apple Macs don’t have patches. They find it frustrating and confusing.

Hopefully I can explain some points here.

Microsoft has committed to delivering an operating system in Windows 8.1 that is extremely flexible, and has world class security levels (e.g. hackers find getting access to these systems very difficult compared to previous OS (Windows XP for instance). However with millions of lines of code there are always going to be flaws. Code is written by programmers with not enough sleep and too much caffeine after all. Someone once said a programmer is just a tool that converts caffeine into code! As hackers look for flaws and ways to exploit them so Microsoft is constantly releasing patches to resolve those flaws. However that’s not all. They also release patches to provide updated driver lists to pcs for ease of adding new hardware, provide upgraded options, speed and performance updates and new features.

For individual users running patches once a month (Microsoft have what is called Patch Tuesday when the bulk of patches are released) it isn’t too onerous. By the way Apple also releases patches for Macs and their other products. See this website https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT1222

However for business users with more than one pc on premise – and particularly those with upward of 5 – who haven’t implemented a pc management strategy will definitely notice their internet slow to a crawl as 5+ machines simultaneously attempt to download and update.

Businesses with multiple computers should either be using WSUS – a patching tool that resides on a local server and downloads the patches once and then distributes them to the pcs on the network, or a cloud delivery service called Intune that is the new way of doing this. Both options also have many other features and benefits that business users can take advantage of to improve their users’ productivity.

Special Deal – mention this newsletter and get a 1 hour PC Management consultation free. We will help you identify exactly what you need and what benefits you can achieve with either an on premises server or Intune Subscription.

Using SUM in Excel

clip_image007 Have you ever used Excel? It is the most used business intelligence tool in the world. It is an extremely powerful spreadsheet tool but often people use it as little more than a glorified back of the envelope scratchpad.

We have hundreds of articles on www.spyjournal.biz relating to using Excel in many scenarios.

Today I want to show case just how to use the Sum function and the Sigma short cut in the ribbon.

The article was written for Office 2010 but is still current to 2013. http://spyjournal.biz/excel/SUM

If you want to know more about improving your spreadsheet design for more efficient use and ensuring your results are accurate then give us a call.

Social Media Tip – image sizes and advertising for Facebook

Facebook is the world’s largest advertising platform. If your business is not active and advertising on Facebook then you are definitely falling behind your competitors – they are!

However there are some tips and tricks to advertising effectively in Facebook. As a Facebook Agency account we have access to be able to help you manage your advertising, and if you have a budget of over $1500 per month then we can get you access to a Facebook account representative to assist you to maximise your results.

For the rest of you – there are some tips and tricks.

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Links

https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay

https://www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide

If you need us to manage this for you just give us a call. We would be happy to assist you with your advertising, graphic design and photography needs and questions.

Web Design – are your contact details easy to find on your website?

One of the most frustrating things about websites is not being able to contact the company. Having an easy to find phone number, email address doesn’t seem too hard. But many business websites do not display them at all or hide them away in multiple menu layers.

If your website doesn’t have an easy way to contact you – then we can guarantee you are sending your potential customers away. And your opposition with a clear phone number and a fast response time on emails sent is happy to have them! See out site for an example of an easy to find phone number, email and multiple ways to contact us. www.jethroconsultants.com

Contact us today if you need help fixing your site, or for a whole new refresh! Mention this newsletter and we will provide a free site review – normally worth $199.

Follow us on Social Media

As always we are your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me on these platforms:

Twitter https://twitter.com/spyjournal technology, cycling, social media, management, business, and web

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What people say..

I learnt some points that enable me to look at my business in the (way) that will improve my bottom line. Thanks Tim and Ian.

Free Business Seminar Feedback Nov 2012

— Roland - Financial Advisor

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