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The biggest threats to your business

June 01, 2015 by John McGarvey

What are the real digital threats to your business? When you’re thinking about IT security, it can be hard to know where you to focus your time and energy. (Believe everything you read in the news and there are dangers lurking around every corner!) To help companies understand the real risks out there, recruitment firm Modis has created this infographics explaining business security issues. It is a little US-centric, but we still think it contains some helpful information.

What is your biggest cyber threat{{}}

What’s Your Business’s Greatest Cyber Threat [Infographic] by the team at Modis

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Posted in IT security | Tagged security | 1 comment

Google Primer: get free bite sized business tips

May 27, 2015 by John McGarvey

Google Primer screenshot{{}}It’s impossible to keep up to date with all the latest techniques and trends when you’re running a website. And when you search for advice online, it’s even harder to know which online marketing, sales and search engine optimisation articles you can actually trust

When the world’s biggest search engine starts offering bite size tips to help you reach more people online, it’s worth listening.

That search engine is Google, and it exerts enormous influence over who sees your website.

Appearing high up search results lists can translate directly into extra revenue for your online business. And that means it’s a good idea to get whatever information you can from the search giant.

Introducing Google Primer

Towards the end of last year, Google announced a new mobile app: Primer.

Primer is free and offers a series of short, sharp guides to online marketing. Each takes four or five minutes to complete, so you can learn something new while waiting for a train or queuing to buy lunch.

The guides cover areas like content marketing, public relations and search advertising. They give a somewhat Google-centric view of the world, but as Google accounts for over 85% of UK searches that’s arguably no bad thing.

Download Google Primer for free

Primer doesn’t really get under the skin of the topics it covers. But if you want a quick overview of a subject, it’s a good place to start – and it can almost certainly get you thinking about new ways to reach customers online. 

Google Primer is completely free and available for Android, iPhone and iPad devices. Learn more and download now.

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Tagged Google | 0 comments

IT for Donuts: where to get web design inspiration

May 19, 2015 by John McGarvey

Web design inspiration{{}}IT for Donuts is our regular feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.

If you're redesigning your website, you need some inspiration. And if you're working with a web designer or agency, they're likely to ask what sort of sites you like.

To help you get ideas, here are five sources of web design inspiration:

1. Behance

If you're a web designer, you'll already know that this is one of the obvious candidates. Behance is a giant portfolio website, full of work from web designers all over the world. You can spend hours exploring it, using powerful search tools to find ideas of interest.

Visit Behance >

2. Little Big Details

Little Big Details is all about the little touches and subtle polish that help make a website truly engaging and memorable. It showcases animations that make you chuckle, messages that make things easier for users, and other little details that contribute to the overall experience of a website.

Visit Little Big Details >

3. GoodUI

GoodUI is a little different from the other sites in this list. It's not really about how your website looks, but is full of great ideas that can make your website easier to use and more successful. If you want to increase your conversion rate, there are loads of ideas here.

Visit GoodUI >

4. Media Queries

Sorry to get technical, but media queries are a way of using cascading style sheets (CSS) to make your website look different on different screen sizes.

You probably don't need to know how all that works. However, the knowledge may help you understand why the Media Queries website is full of examples of sites that use responsive web design to adapt to different screen sizes.

Visit Media Queries >

5. siteInspire

siteInspire is a showcase of great web and interactive design. The site claims to contain over 2,500 searchable examples of beautiful, clever and usable websites. It's certainly a great place to look for the inspiration for your own site.

Visit siteInspire >

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Five things to do when your website goes down

May 11, 2015 by IT Donut contributor

Error – website not found{{}}Has your website ever crashed? When it happens (and it happens to every website, at some point), it's a crisis because you can't do any online business. So, here's what to do when your website goes down

If you've planned ahead and set up website monitoring, you should get notified quickly if your site goes down. Alternatively, you might notice yourself or get a message from a potential customer. But no matter how you find out, it's important to ask these five questions.

Is it down for everyone?

Let's eliminate the obvious first. Make sure you own internet connection is ok.

See if you can get onto Google, the BBC, or another popular website. You can also use a service like Down for everyone, or just me? to be sure that your website is actually down.

What have we changed recently?

Have you recently changed or updated your website?

If your web browser seems to load something but displays a blank page (rather than showing 'waiting' or 'connecting'), it could be an issue with your coding or website software.

See if you can roll back to an earlier version of the site. Does this fix it?

Can we spot the problem?

If you've got a little technical knowledge, you might be able to identify the problem yourself. If not, skip this one!

Open up Command Prompt on Windows or Terminal on Mac and send a ping to your website address to pinpoint any server issues.

If you get a response like 'unknown host' then there's likely to be a problem with your website domain. If the message says 'timed out' then it's more likely to be a problem with your server or network.

Who do we call?

It's probably time to call your IT people. Make sure you keep their direct numbers handy for occasions like this.

Hopefully, you'll have a good relationship with the people who build and manage your website. A quick phone call should reassure you that things will be fixed in no time.

Who else should we tell?

By this stage, you've probably realised you're facing a website issue that isn't going to be solved in a few minutes. But you still don't need to worry. Instead, start communicating.

If you have social media accounts for your business, use them! Customers understand that technical problems happen, and will be more patient if they know you're working to fix things.

If your website or online app is particularly critical to your customers, you can also provide more detailed updates via a service like StatusPage.io.

Copyright © Nick Pinson is director at iWeb Solutions.

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Tagged website | 0 comments

Could cloud CRM connect you with your customers?

May 06, 2015 by IT Donut contributor

Heart – CRM software{{}}

Customer relationships are central to your business success. No matter whether your company is a giant corporation or a one-person micro-business, you must give your customers the care, understanding and attention they deserve

Customer relationship management (CRM) software has been around since the 80s, helping businesses provide better experiences for their customers.

CRM software gives you a hub to track and manage interactions with customers. It helps you get organised by saving contact details and logging communications in one place.

Without a good CRM system, many companies would feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with the needs of their customers. This can lead to lost business due to poor customer care.

CRM is for smaller companies, too

CRM software used to be the preserve of bigger businesses. The time, effort and budget required to set up CRM meant it simply wasn't practical for small companies.

Today, this stigma persists, even though the rise of cloud computing has brought CRM within reach of much smaller firms.

While traditional CRM software had to be installed on a server in your business, cloud CRM packages work online. You sign in to a website in order to access the software, view customer details, log calls and so on.

Cloud CRM software offers all the typical benefits of cloud computing. For instance:

  • Costs are generally more manageable, because you pay a monthly fee instead of having to invest a big lump sum upfront.
  • You can usually add and remove users as and when you need to, only ever paying for the number of users you actually have.
  • It's easy to work away from the office, because cloud computing services can be accessed via any internet-connected computer.
  • Cloud CRM providers usually provide support and updates, so you don't need a degree in Computer Science to manage the software

With most cloud CRM providers offering free trials, even the smallest businesses can test CRM software with minimal commitment.

Cloud CRM can be faster

Traditional CRM software would take hours to install on a server. You might also need serious training to get to grips with the feature-heavy package. But with cloud CRM, you simply have to sign in online and you're ready to go.

Well, ok, it's usually a little more involved than that. You still have to invest time in choosing your preferences, uploading or entering customer details and learning how to use your CRM system.

However, cloud packages usually prioritise ease of setup and use over feature complexity. That means you'll often find them to be fairly intuitive. Most also offer wizards, tutorials and walkthroughs to help you get started.

Add-ons and customisation

CRM software is no longer a one-size-fits-all game. Most cloud packages offer several feature levels. You can either pick the one that suits your company best, or start with the most basic package and then upgrade if you need to.

Often, these packages can also be customised in other ways. Because they run online, you may be able to connect other cloud services, add-ons or extras.

These enable you to access extra functions, or perhaps connect your CRM software to another business system. For instance, you might be able to connect your CRM software to your cloud telephone system, so a customer's details appear on the screen automatically when they call you.

With so many possibilities available, it's clear that customer relationship management software is no longer limited to big businesses. Are you ready to give it a try?

Blog ©2015 DMC Software

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Tagged crm | 0 comments

IT for Donuts: easily check where your username is available

April 29, 2015 by John McGarvey

IT for Donuts: easily check where your username is available{{}}IT for Donuts is our regular feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT

When you’re creating business profiles on social networks and other websites, it’s a good idea to use a consistent username.

This makes it easier for people to find you on different social networks (like Facebook and Twitter), ensures your brand is consistent – and helps you keep track of your presence on these sites.

Is your username available?

However, some popular social networks have millions of users. Others – like Facebook – have billions. That means it can be hard to find a username that’s available everywhere.

What’s more, checking each of these websites individually is a hassle. Lucky, then, that there’s a service to make it easier.

Check everywhere at once

Step forward, NameChk. This brilliant website is definitely one to add to your bookmarks.

Just tap your desired username into the box at the top of the screen. NameChk will check whether that username is available across a whole host of websites, from well-known social networks to niche platforms.

In just a few seconds, you’ll know if your first choice username is viable, or if you need to get your thinking cap on.

Visit NameChk now >

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