9 Steps for Managing Small Business IT

Posted on Posted in computer, internet, technology

Information Technology has never been more affordable. Small businesses can now take advantage of technology that will help them level the playing field and compete with larger companies, even on a global scale. Yet, the costs for small businesses that compete with you have come down too. How do you use IT to gain a competitive advantage?

Business leads – IT follows

1. Use IT to provide value to your customers

If IT does not add value for your customers, what's the point? Technology should allow you to either, lower costs, provide better customer service, or develop new products and services your customers need. If deploying new technology does not do one of these, do not bother.

2. Do not buy more complexity than you need.

Efficiency is found in simplicity – fewer moving parts. Do not buy feature laden software if simple software gets the job done. However, you should take care to analyze and anticipate your needs so you do not under buy. A good tactic is to plan for a progress of features or capabilities that match your expected growth. Choose software that is easily upgraded and allows you to use your existing data with new versions or modules.

3. Apply technology only if it improves a process

A manual process is often the most efficient. Do not spend 200 man hours implementing a technology that will save you 8 man hours a month. Any technology should also add customer value over and above the manual process.

4. Monitor capacity, performance and health

Do not just set it and forget it. There are too many inexpensive management tools that will allow you to monitor your systems and alert you in time to avert a disruption of service. Something as simple as running out of disk space can cause a service outage that takes days to recover from.

5. Be proactive instead of reactive

Monitoring your systems also allows you to collect data that can be used for trend analysis. For example: By knowing the rate of increase in your disk space usage you can predict when you will need to add capacity and plan accordingly.

Replace your equipment before it wears out or becomes unreliable. Practice "life cycle management." Budget for computer replacement every 3 to 5 years. For example: if you have 40 computers, consider budgeting to replace 10 of them each year.

6. Plan for contingency

Hardware fails. Users screw up. Viruses are always a threat. It's prudent and cost effective to use redundant disk technology on your server, but you do not have to go crazy trying to build fault tolerance into all your systems. If you have 20 computers, having a spare ready to go only costs you an additional 5%. That's a very cost effective way to increase availability. I've worked with large companies that will spend days trying to source parts and repair a computer while the user can not work.

7. Provide operational structure

Define the processes you will use …

Benefits of SEO Marketing Strategies for Automotive Dealerships

Posted on Posted in seo, website

Every business, including an auto dealership, wants its business website to appear in top search engine rankings when people search for their products. In order to get into top results, they need to optimize their website's visibility on search engines. Unlike the PPC advertising, which is for short-term, SEO is a long-term strategy that can improve your business' online presence.

In this article, we will know how SEO marketing strategies benefit auto businesses.

Improve organic search listings: The main purpose of SEO is to make your business rank well in the search engine result pages (SERP). Having said that, it's not as easy as it is the case with PPC. A SEO strategy involves various critical factors that when made work together improve your organic search listings. Improved organic search listings result in increased visibility, reliability and higher traffic for your website.

Drive relevant traffic: Keyword research is the main aspect of SEO – as it's not just important to appear on search engines, but to appear for the related search. By using targeted keywords, a business can drive refined traffic (people searching for the products you offer).

A perfect SEO strategy makes use of revenue generating keywords, which are selected after thorough analysis (in terms of usability, competitiveness, etc.). These primary keywords, focused around your business, maximize the effectiveness of the SEO strategy – bringing quality traffic and improve the rankings of the website in the search engines.

Improved visibility: A website appearing high on the SERP is considered to be reliable and most importantly, will be perceived as the market leader by the people. Techniques such as link building, local SEO, etc., help in optimizing the web presence of your website, making it appear in the niche marketplaces.

Work for both small and large businesses: SEO results are primarily based on the functional aspects such as quality content, quality links and high website standards in terms of user-friendliness, easy navigation, accessibility, etc. All these aspects that make a SEO strategy successful can be developed by both small businesses and large businesses alike and with consistent and focused effort.

Higher leads, sales and ROI: High targeted traffic ultimately means more leads, which can later be turned in to sales. SEO strategies based on the organizational strategy including features such as understanding the customers, call to action keywords, etc., help in better customer acquisition and thus generate greater ROI. Further, websites referred through top organic listings are trusted the most and the customers tend to stick to these websites, so ensuring future income too.

Cost-effective: SEO strategies are cheaper and offer long lasting results. There is no cost incurred by businesses for getting their websites indexed by the search engines, it is only for enhancing the functionality of the website, the cost is incurred. Unlike PPC, SEO strategies are offered at fixed cost (for long-term). Even when a campaign closes to end, with just minimal updates you can see your website still ranking higher.

As majority of the searches being …

YouTube Marketing – Can It Take Your Brand to the Next Level?

Posted on Posted in internet, seo, website

Online video is virtually dominating the internet, and businesses are striving to keep abreast with this trend and promote their brand. YouTube is a great platform that businesses can effectively utilize to promote their messages. It is important to be aware that most people visit YouTube for the primary purpose of entertainment and therefore businesses must create and publish YouTube videos that are entertaining enough.

Video marketing has been adopted by many famous brands such as Sony Mobile and Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube, which are taking advantage of YouTube’s mammoth audience base to engage with their potential customers. Compared to other traditional search engine optimization strategies, videos in your SEO plan can maximize your outreach and attract more number of customers. Let us consider how YouTube fits into an effective search engine optimization plan.

YouTube Marketing for Business Success

Video SEO based on YouTube analytics essentials, can play a solid role in deciding the success of your marketing strategy. According to this report that quotes Chris Clarke, chief creative officer at DigitasLBi, the agency that produces YouTube content for Sony Mobile, YouTube remains the biggest and best video site on the web. However, brands aren’t leveraging YouTube talent in the best way. Brands need to provide content that operates in the ways YouTube and its communities operate. Only then can they make the best of YouTube marketing.

Though challenging, businesses can choose from the many promotion options available on this popular video channel. Pre-roll ads that run before videos and are skippable can be created. This is an economical option since the advertiser needs to pay only when someone watches the ad for at least 30 seconds. There is also the option of buying ads that appear at the bottom of the screen during video or buying display advertising on the site.

Here are some reasons why you need to consider YouTube marketing.

  • Absolutely free and easy to upload your video in YouTube and share it with others.
  • No need to spend on web servers to store your video, as it is possible to host it directly through YouTube.
  • YouTube easily accelerates the broadcast of the video and helps to reach out to a massive crowd.

Find the Perfect YouTube Tool

YouTube provides powerful tools which you can use to create excellent content, share content, build a strong fan base and effectively market your brand.

  • YouTube Capture: This enables you to create movies on the go, capturing every moment. You can record as many clips as you want and any number of clips can be stitched together. Moreover, you can trim and reorganize the clips conveniently from your phone and even add a soundtrack that you prefer either from your own music library or from Capture’s audio library. Upload your video to YouTube and simultaneously post to all of your social networks.
  • YouTube Video Editor: This is another valuable YouTube tool that can be used to enhance your uploaded videos in your web browser. You can combine videos,

What's New in HTML5 for SEO?

Posted on Posted in seo

HTML 5 is XML based presentation language used on World Wide Web for structuring and presenting content. Visual and audio elements are easier to code in HTML 5 and less time is wasted writing JavaScript for animations. HTML 5 has many new concepts which will be more beneficial to Web Developers and Designers. Web designing done with the help HTML 5 will make them very independent and they will not have to do more coding overall as there is no need of scripting for validation.

HTML 5 has introduced new HTML tags and a new feature of page segmentation which now with HTML 5 Web Design allow applying page segmentation. These new HTML tags are used to segment a page from different elements which will affect SEO practices.

We will see how these new HTML tags affect SEO work:

Article tag can be used in article which makes HTML code clean and reduces use of tag which basically separates segments of the article. This leads to increase in rank in search engine with the use of on-page Search Engine Optimization.

Due to use of Section tag each section of the content of the article can be separated which gives the benefit of different HTML heading for each section.

A new Header tag is most useful for SEO practice as it gives lots of flexibility. It is very much similar to tag but it has lots of stuff like H 1, H 2, H 3 elements, whole paragraphs of text, hard-coded links, and other information. Footer tag is also useful to store some important information which can be useful for SEO.

Nav tag is the most important tag from the SEO point of view as it can be used to identify a collection of links which are on other pages.

These are only some of the new tags introduced in HTML 5 which will be advantageous for SEO practice in some way. …

Troubleshooting Computer Freeze (Lockup) Problems

Posted on Posted in computer, website

How familiar does the following sound? Your computer was working fine, but then suddenly started locking up (aka hanging or freezing), rebooting itself (crashing) or shutting down spontaneously? If you know only too well what I am talking about, then read on! Performing the simple steps below can fix the majority of lockup cases.

1. Check for recently installed software or hardware.

If the lockups started to happen after you installed a new peace of hardware, new software program, or new drivers, uninstall it and see if the problem goes away.

2. Run your antivirus program.

One of the first things to do in the case of sudden lockups is to run your antivirus program. Check your antivirus manufacturer's website for updates and latest virus definition files. (This is absolutely necessary, outdated antivirus is not going to be of any use!) If you do not have antivirus software installed – or if updates are unavailable – run one of the web-based antivirus scans that some major antivirus vendors like Trend Micro are offering for free. You can find a comprehensive list of available web-based scans and free antivirus programs at http://www.free-antivirus.info .

3. Run some good spyware removal tool.

If your machine is not infected with any viruses, it is still possible that it has some harmful adware or spyware is present. Download and run some good spyware removal tool such as AdAware or Microsoft AntiSpyware . Check http://www.free-antivirus.info for a list of free spyware removal applications.

4. Check for free hard drive space.

When no viruses are found, check out free hard drive space on drive C :. Make sure there is more than 20% of free space available; low disk space can lead to random lockups.

5. Check for overheating.

Overheating is another known cause of lockups. It can be caused by problems with fans inside the case, dust buildup, or other cooling problems. Make sure the power supply fan and CPU fan are running and free of dust buildup. You can check the temperatures inside the case by running Motherboard monitor
http://mbm.livewiredev.com
– make sure the temperatures are within the preset limits. Be very careful while cleaning inside the computer case (use plastic vacuum crevice tool) and NEVER OPEN THE POWER SUPPLY CASE as it contains high voltage.

6. Check the hard disk.

Check the hard disk – it is possible that its logical structure is corrupted. To check the disk for errors, right-click on the disk C: icon in "My Computer", select the "Tools" tab, check all check boxes in the "Check disk options" field, and press the "Check now" button . It should ask if you want to schedule the check next time you restart your computer – answer "Yes" and restart your PC. The check will be performed automatically after startup; it can take a while, so be patient. The program will attempt to fix some problems automatically – however, if the hard disk is failing physically, it will need to be replaced. It …

Web Hosting Aspects That Might Affect SEO

Posted on Posted in seo, website

Does Web Hosting Have an Effect on SEO?

There are 3 web hosting factors that influence where your website gets ranked. Here is an in-depth look into them:

Uptime/ Downtime

Downtime is the length of time when your website cannot be accessed because of the problems involving the server. It is likely for search engine spiders to visit your website many times daily. However, if they visit when your site is experiencing downtime, they will record it as inaccessible and will go on to the next site. When this happens over and over again, your website will be considered unreliable and your rankings may be reduced. Unreliable sites are not displayed highly in results of search engine since this will put them in a bad light when the searchers click on results they give but can’t access the site. Even if it is 99% uptime, your website will not be accessible for a total of 7 hours over a span of 1 month. If possible, you would want your website to be 100% accessible at all times. However, websites are expected to experience some kind of downtime even if these have expensive web hosting plans. Yet, there are web hosts that offer and guarantee 99.95% uptime, so accept no less than this.

Speed

In general, search engines do not divulge the factors that belong to their algorithms. Yet, in 2010, Google openly revealed that the speed upon which a page loads is only one among those more than 200 factors. This is certainly a very small percentage (of only 0.5% ) effect on your rankings. Nevertheless, it is still worthwhile to take it into consideration. The loading speeds for your web pages are as follows:

When you have a lower than average loading speed, you should not necessarily blame your web host. The slow down may be caused by the coding and configuration of your website. However, if you are confident that your site’s technical set-up has been optimized in the best possible way, but you still get poor loading times, it is about time to request your web host to transfer your site to a different server. Nowadays, it is quite common for a website to share server resources with numerous other sites. As expected, more sites on a server use up more resources, which results to slower loading times. When you transfer your website to a private/dedicated server or one that is not too busy, you will see quick improvement in page load speeds.

Location

Aside from several different factors like content and backlinks among others, in order to show the most significant search results, search engines evaluate the website’s location for deciding where to position it in their rankings. For instance, when the people who search are located in the UK, search engines will normally display sites located in UK higher in their search results. To find out where your website is located, they use some indicators like the IP address of your site, which is allotted …

3 Companies With Huge IT Departments

Posted on Posted in computer, technology

Information technology is a necessity in today’s market place, and not only large companies benefit from using an IT department, but smaller businesses often do as well. Anytime computers and networking is used, there is going to be a need for personnel that is capable of managing all the information required to run that business. Large corporations typically have their own staff of IT professionals running the show, but some smaller ones even outsource their information technology needs.

As you might expect, some of the most well-known companies around the world make use of IT departments to keep all information pertaining to the company in a convenient form so that it is ready at a moments notice. Information such as employee benefits, their payroll check creation and more are managed by IT departments. You sill recognize many of the names of companies that regularly use information technology.

Walmart is one large corporation that must use the resources which are provided by information technology departments. This corporation operates worldwide and that means having a great IT department is essential if all the information going in and out is going to be up to the company’s standards. With hundreds of stores located all over the world, it would be nearly impossible to keep up with each if it were not for the interconnection between all of the stores and corporate offices.

The same is true when you are taking a look at the clothing store giant, JCPenney. This corporation also has more than a thousand stores operating in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico. It also keeps track of everything going on in its stores through the use of its own unique IT department. IT departments are in charge of all kinds of information going in and out of corporate headquarters including advertising campaigns. If it were up to the individual stores to create all their own campaigns through the computer networks within their specific organizations everything about JCPenney would change.

Another large corporation that utilizes IT department staff to keep everything running smoothly is Target. This is another giant in the industry that employs thousands of individuals throughout the nation. The only way to track all the information located within the corporation is through information technology.

As a general rule, these corporations have their own information technology departments staffed by their specially trained employees. However, there is no reason that any of them could not make use of outsourcing this important part of doing business if they simply had no other choice.…

Components of Your Computer

Posted on Posted in computer

A personal computer is a programmable electronic system, which processes data and which is designed to have a single user at once. Over the years, computers have developed from all points of view and their components make no exception.

The central unit is the basic components of the system and it consist of the following. First of all, you have an asymmetrical and logical unit which does everything you want related to arithmetical and logical calculations. Then, there is the internal memory, also shortened in IM, an internal memory which stores the programs and the data which are in process. The, we have the command and control unit, which reigns over the entire ensemble.

There are also other kinds of components which make a personal computer and these components start with the peripheral ones. These establish the connection between your computer and the things around you. You have the input components, such as the keyboards and the mouse, then you have the output ones, such as the monitor and the scanner, then the storing ones, such as magnetic band units or CD-ROMs and last but not least, you have the communication components, such as the couple and the modem.

There are also constructive elements with a computer, the main ones being the system unit, the storage unit and the peripheral components of the connection components. When it comes to the central unit, this is actually a case and it involves everything that is in it, too. One of its main functions is the physical ones, this being the place where the internal components are mounted. The internal components refer to the main board, to the disk units, to the extension plates and so on. …

Computer Forensics – One of America’s "Hottest" Jobs

Posted on Posted in computer

Computer forensics is relatively new and growing bigger by the day. Simply “Google” it, you will see long list of vacancies available for individuals with bachelor’s and master’s degree as well as jobs as freelances and in consulting firms. The high salaries that are offered to experienced and skilled computer forensics have has always been a “hot” topic. If you are someone who is born to be in the forensic world, i.e. have the characteristics such as curiosity and investigative, it is perhaps, the time to get involved in this field. Other than that, do you possess the followings?  

1)      Computers are your best friend  

Most of the best computer forensics is born to be curious about how and why computers work since they are kids. They spend most of their childhood reading, researching and exploring the computers. You should have good knowledge of computers, and would like to know more.  

2)      Education  

Education is the elixir for all problems. In order to gain yourself a place in this hot job, you need to have recognised qualifications from accredited schools. Enhance your resume by getting other certifications such as the CISSP, CISM, CISA, or CCSP.  

3)      Working Experience  

You may be excited to become a computer forensic student. However, real working life is far different from your college/university life. Accumulate hands-on experiences during your spare times and listen to experienced people around you.  Equipping yourself with the necessary skills may give you a higher chance during the interview session and also to mentally prepare you how to survive in the computer forensic industry longer.  

4)      Invest in Useful Tools  

As a computer forensic, you are expect to know how to use specialised recovery programs to recover what was thought to be deleted or erased, or hidden evidence, either all or part of it. Investing and getting familiar with computer forensic software will assist your chance in getting hired or even becoming your own boss.  

5)      Good Writing Skills  

Computer forensics is required to write detail and technical reports on the data recover and to testify in Court. Hence, you should sharpen your writing as well as public speaking skills.  

There is no shortcut in getting into this “hot” job, but with proper preparation and determination, you may be one of the few enjoying the high paid computer forensic job.  …

A Look at Artificial Intelligence and Technology – Book Review

Posted on Posted in computer, internet, programming, technology

It is fairly obvious that computers and artificial intelligence will run our world tomorrow, as we program these machines today. Interestingly enough, not long from now these AI machines will be programming themselves. How did we come so far so fast you ask? Well, maybe you need to do a little research for yourself.

If this topic interests you, then boy do I have a great book for you to read. It is a book that I own personally, and one I read a long time ago, but it still holds validity today, and many of the predictions of that past period, which is only two decades ago, although it seems like eons; the book is:

“The Connection Machine,” by W. Danny Hillis, MIT Press, MA, 1989, (208 pp), ISBN: 978-026258-0977.

This book is an extension of a highly controversial and ahead of its time MIT thesis by the same author. This book is not for the non-intellectual, and he gets pretty thick into the details and philosophy of parallel computing. This book was written well before massive Internet use, just as the computer technology in Silicon Valley was really taking off. Indeed, this is one of those books which was the prime mover of the time.

This is why I have it in my library, and why I recommend it to anyone who is into artificial intelligence, computer hardware, future software, or where we are go from here; why you ask – because if the past is any indication of the future, things are getting get pretty interesting in the next decade. In fact, I hope you will please consider this, and educate yourself a little in the past, so you can understand how far we’ve come, how fast we’ve come, and where we go from here. Think on it.…