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Today I am providing some answers to common questions we get asked and not just focusing on Windows 10. However I will have one little Windows 10 section as well for those who have updated already.

Are you actually harnessing the power of Office 365?

Jethro-Facebook-Office-365-Mobility-Business

When you made the strategic decision to move some or all of your business to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 that was a good call. But since you made that call have you actually extracted as much value from this tool as possible, or is a large part of your investment lying there just untapped?

With our free customer audits we offer the opportunity to discuss what you have in place and what you don’t but could be utilising. Here’s a quick checklist. Are you utilising the power of these products?

Feature

Description

Major Benefits

Who should use

Skype for Business

Instant Messaging and Hi Def Video conference communicator for staff, customers and suppliers

Find out about Skype for Business

Hi Def Video conversations

Instant messaging

Presence indicator

Tightly integrated with Outlook

Presentation and webinar system

Any business with multiple staff

Any business with customers or suppliers who use Skype or Skype for business

Anyone who uses Outlook heavily

Anyone who needs to share their content via voice conference or webinar (private or public)

SharePoint

Document management system

Find out about SharePoint

Multiple version management

Single point of reference

Reduce attachments in email

Remote / mobile access to documents

Collaborative (multi user) editing

Any business creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, video content or PowerPoint decks

Any business with staff roles and security levels for access

Any user who has more than one device (e.g. laptop and PC, or tablet and mobile)

Any business who collaboratively creates documents

OneNote

Note taking application that includes web clipping, email saving and screen shot saving

Find out about OneNote

Organise notes, to do lists, screenshots, and other important information in one place.

Easily share some or all of any notebook with multiple people as read only or read write

Automatically syncs across every device you own with no need to save

Anyone who writes to do lists

Anyone who needs to store important information like passwords

Anyone who needs to share with staff important information e.g. shared notes about customers

Anyone who needs to create screenshots and turn them into images

Delve

Delve displays information that is most relevant for each person based on the work they are doing and the people with whom they are engaging

Find out about Delve

Surfaces information already being created in the organisation by other people you might not know about

Improves collaboration

Integrates with Yammer

Any business with a team working on a projects or shared work

Any user wanting to find other documents in the organisation

Any business with 3-5 or more staff who create and edit documents

Yammer

Private Enterprise Social Network.

Also allows connection with external networks

Find out about Yammer

Find information and answers to common questions easily

Communicate with peers and colleagues on projects and documents

Network with others inside and outside your organisation

Any business with multiple locations or remote workers

Any business that works with customers or suppliers who also use Yammer

Any business that runs projects

Sway

Online publishing tool

Find out about Sway

Create and share polished, interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more

Any business creating presentations or reports

Any user creating content

Anyone needing to provide a slick looking web presentation of their information or data

Contact us now to if you haven’t had your free audit or want to know more about any of these products.

SEO Is no longer an option for business it’s a Must

Here is a fairly long explanation of what SEO actually is if you ever wondered just what those telemarketers are offering when they ring up and say they can put you on the front page of Google. I debunk the myths and explain the actual science of SEO so business owners can understand it.

image001Definitions

  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – commonly referred to as getting on page one of Google for a search. However there is a lot more to it than that. It is actually about ensuring that the website has all the components in place to assist the search engine crawlers (Bing Yahoo and Google) to rank you correctly. There are a number of components and I have attached a cheat sheet that describes most of these. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing – paying for ranking improvements by the use of AdWords, Click marketing and other techniques.
  • SMM – Social Media Marketing – very broad term around utilising social media as a marketing tool
  • Black hat SEO – refers to aggressive and often “bad” methods of attempting to “game” the crawler algorithms by taking advantage of them. Usually a short-lived approach and is generally only used by the scammers – those who call up in a foreign accent and tell you they want to help you improve your SEO. While these often work well for 1-2 months the end result is usually a lower result as you can get blacklisted for doing it.
  • White hat SEO – the professional approach to doing it right using known techniques that actually work.

Measurement

There are some easy ways to define measurement and then a whole range of additional metrics that are far more in depth and specific. The first task is of course a goal or goals that need to be set in order to measure improvement of the metrics against those goals. For example measuring the number of people who come to the site isn’t really relevant without adding in calls to action and then measuring those calls to action. Then you can determine if a particular piece of work changed any of those things.

Using Google analytics is extremely important and should be enabled by your web developer. If you are not sure ask us. Metric management is about tracking the specific stats against a goal and the changes as you do things. Google analytics can measure how many people clicked on the contact form page and how long they stayed there, where they came from and where they went next. Some of the specific things that can be measured external to the google analytics are the number of enquiries you receive from the website forms. This can then help us create a ratio as follows:

no of people viewing a sales page : no of people clicking from the sales page with a call to action to the contact form page : no of enquiry forms received : your conversion from those enquiries to sales. Example 1000:150:8:5

This then allows you to set a goal around that ratio metric – e.g. increase the numbers or improve the ratios.

The actual measurement then requires three things:

  1. A measureable goal
  2. The stats being collected from the website
  3. And the additional stats provided by yourselves.

Additionally Goals themselves should be what is known as SMART goals:

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

  • Who: Who is involved?
  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • When: Establish a time frame.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”

Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……

How much? How many?

How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

Realistic- To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labour of love.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

How do we do this?

SEO is primarily about two things – Content and Currency.

Search engines rank you for the content on your site. They crawl words within context looking for relevancy. They look for timeliness or recentness.

This has to be developed backwards from the goals.

First you have to develop an avatar or a generic target customer. You create a mythical person who is your ideal next customer – the person you want to be having that phone call with selling your services. Once you identify the problem that person has that you can solve for them, then you need to work out how they find you. E.g. what was the problem? What words did they type into google to start finding solutions to the problem? How did that then find your website? When they found your website (page on your site) how well did the words you wrote confirm for them that you know how to solve their problem and convince them to contact you?

This leads you or us then to the ability to write content for your site that meets this objective. The more pages that can be written describing the real problems your customers have and how your company solves them. The more keywords there are that can be crawled by the search engines and the higher you will rank for those keywords. Adding in external links and other reference material, and then being referenced by other sites, analysts, uni students doing assignments on that problem and writing websites about them, etc. will help your rankings.

SEM – paying for it

A natural extension to the first component is to start paying for the results using AdWords and click marketing. E.g. paying for your site to be ranked higher or in suggested or advertised results sections on searches for certain keywords. Note there is no point doing this until you are already ranking well for those keywords. Your site needs to already have good content with those words before you can do this effectively.

SMM or Social Media Marketing

A powerful tool to massively leverage the ability for people to find your content and also improve SEO is SMM. This is extending the content you write on your site out into social media space – LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter are probably the best places and definitely Facebook as well. Each space has a different set of “rules” and ways to work and Twitter and Facebook also have the ability for you to pay money to advertise.

How do we help?

We have a very specific targeted approach to this and can assist at any one of three levels:

  • We can do everything for you including writing the articles
  • We can assist you by doing the technical and web stuff after you have written the content yourself
  • We can teach you how to do it yourself and then stand back and let you go to it on your own.

Our approach is simple.

The first step is to have a planning meeting where we assist in working out goals, setting a timetable of 6-12 months for content creation, determining the scope – e.g. website alone or extending to Social Media

From there we can help you work out who does what and what the cost will be.

Each step we take helps you identify the goals, how will measure it – who does what and how much it will cost. No black box “pay $40 a week and we will get you onto page 1” false promises.

Contact us today if you want a free analysis of your website for the 7 most common mistakes most business websites make (Usually $199). If you want a free SEO cheat sheet email and I will send one to you.

Is Your WordPress site secure?

wordpress-logoWordPress is one of the most popular CMS (Content Management System) website software out there. We have developed a lot of WordPress sites for our clients. What many people don't realise is that both the WordPress core system and all of the available WordPress plugins are vulnerable to hacking, and need to be monitored and kept up to date on a regular basis.

Keeping your website up to date will help safeguard and eliminate uninvited intruders or bugs on your site.

Nearly all of our clients take the approach to allow us to manage all aspects of the domain name management, hosting, development and ongoing maintenance. However we do allow our clients the flexibility to host elsewhere, manage the site and maintenance themselves if they wish.

Obviously we can’t be responsible for their site if issues occur if they’re choosing to host elsewhere or managing the site themselves. And unfortunately some people fail to keep their ‘versions’ of software and plugins up to date, again causing possible opportunities for hacking. The lack of updates, coupled with poor hosting environments can leave a website wide-open for security threats.

But time and time again, we have clients who do it themselves come to us pleading for us to help them out of a horrible hosting mess or to fix the site when it gets hacked or goes down.

Where there are WordPress sites there are hackers, and over time we’ve seen an increasing number of hacking attempts and malware on WordPress sites. We daily get reports from our managed sites indicating the targeted attacks occurring and the successful blocking of those attempts.

What Jethro does for our managed WordPress clients

  • Our servers are entirely owned and managed by us. There are no other resellers or websites on the server that we don’t have control of. When you host with crazy domains or any of the other cheap hosts you are subject to the fact that there are hundreds of not thousands of other sites on the same server – and while your site might not have any issues something happening to one of those other sites might cause your server to go down.
  • We monitor the servers constantly. Both at the server level where we receive text message and email notifications if something occurs, and at individual site level.
  • We harden the security of the default WordPress site way beyond the standard install. The standard install script most hosters offer for DIY leaves folders unprotected, easily guessable admin user names and no usually no password complexity requirements. We ensure that the site is as hard as possible to get to.
  • We don’t install 35 “that might be nice to have” plugins that may cause compatibility issues, security flaws or other issues. Every plugin we use has been tested over a long period of time, is compatible and has good developer maintenance.
  • We offer a maintenance service level agreement for all our clients that includes regular off server backups, plugin and core updates, documentation of all changes made and easy recovery if problems occur and active monitoring of the site.

Talk to us today about your WordPress website and ask us for a quick analysis of the site for potential problems. Better yet let us maintain this business asset for as little as $550 a year.

Welcome to the New Windows 10

Your Start screen

The Start menu is back—and it’s more personal, more organized, and more fun than before. Go to Start Windows logo icon on the taskbar on your keyboard. You'll find your most used apps on the left, the All apps list, and shortcuts to other locations on your PC, like File Explorer and Settings

win 10 start screen

Windows 10 Store

win 10 storeThe Store is a one-stop shop for music, videos, games, and apps.

Try out an app before you buy it, or pick a free one. Your Windows 10 apps will work on all your Windows 10 devices.

Application Switcher and Virtual Desktops

Click the application switcher for quick access to all your running apps. Or create and switch between virtual desktops.

win 10 desktops

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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:

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What people say..

Enjoyable and helpful information. Great introduction - made me want more info.

Feedback from Free Business Seminar Jan 2013

— Kathie - Business Owner

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