Archive for the ‘Helpful News’ category

What does the end of Windows Server 2003 mean for you?

May 28th, 2015

Support for Windows Server 2003 ends on July 14, 2015.
Organizations still running windows Server 2003 should plan their migration. There’s not much time left and the migration process will involve more than just installing a new server. Though you can continue using the 2003 server after support ends, it is not recommended and will cost you more time and money in the long run on performance, security, and server management issues.

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) running Windows Server 2003 will run into vulnerability issues once support ends and can lose business due to compliance issues.
Businesses still running the 2003 server that handle regulated data like those in healthcare and payment card industry (PCI) data will face fines or be cut off from key trading partners like VISA, MasterCard or American Express that are looking to protect their own regulatory compliance status.

Customers reluctant to migrate out of 2003 servers will inevitably deal with having personal and clients’ information stolen. Your IT staff may not be able to fully restore information from malicious attacks or electronic data loss from cyber-security risks on an outdated server.

Upgrading from the Windows 2003 server means not only having to move on to a new up to date server but upgrade to new hardware as well to support the system. Though the upfront cost may seem expensive it is more cost effective in the long run than to deal with irretrievable data loss, security issues, and maintenance issues while dealing with frustrated clients.

Companies with about 100 servers can expect the process to be around 3 months or more to be fully migrated into new servers. Those more technologically savvy should work quickly, Microsoft’s end-of support website for Windows server 2003 is a great place to get started in accessing how many 2003 servers systems you currently have plugged in to move forward into the migration. A great resource is Microsoft’s Server and Cloud Blog at TechNet with informative posts like this multi-part migration guide (Parts one, two, and three).

There you can follow the four steps of migration planning:

  1. Discover: Catalog your software and workloads
  2. Assess: Categorize applications and workloads
  3. Target: Identify your destination(s)
  4. Migration: Make the move.

You can contact The Computer Company Inc., a Microsoft Licensed Partner to ease you into the migration process with personalized in-person tech support and 24/7 customer service.

 

 

 

 

References

1. United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (2014). Microsoft ending support for windows server 2003 operating system
2. Small Business Computing (2015). Say Good-bye to windows server 2003
3. Microsoft Download Center. Payment card industry data security standard compliance planning guide
4. ebuyer (2014). Businesses using windows server 2003 could face VISA & MasterCard backlash
5. IDC (2014). Windows server 2003: Why you should get current
6. Microsoft TechNet. Windows server versions

Fake Government Sites – Daily Security

April 8th, 2015

The FBI has warned US citizens to beware of fake government websites showing up in search results. Watch today’s Daily Byte to learn about this latest phishing campaign, what blackhat SEO means, and how to avoid evil search results.

Computer Company  IT Manager, Bob Froess found this article here: http://watchguardsecuritycenter.com

Posted by Don Thurber

eManagerSite’s 10 Website Design Tips for Your Small Business

June 18th, 2014

 

The first place the vast majority of consumers turn for information on local businesses is the Internet. That means your customers and prospects are looking for you online, from their laptops as well as tablets and mobile devices. In other words, your business needs to be online. Whether you have a website that needs to be improved, or don’t yet have a website, be sure to apply these 10 tips to help you get the website your business needs and de­serves.

Top Ten Website Design Tips:

1. Incorporate Keywords

In order for search engines to understand what’s on your page and better connect you to potential visitors, you need to have your most important information (keywords) included in your website. These typically are embedded during the meta-tagging process in the following three key areas:

• Title Tag: descriptive, keyword-rich and specific – tags are major contributors to ranking and should be less than 65 characters long
• Meta Description: keyword-rich – this explains what the website is about and helps click-thru rates
• Meta Keywords: match to related search terms used by your target audience

You’ll want to wrap these keywords naturally into your copy, since your website should appeal to human visitors first, search engines second. Keywords to consider:

• Your company name and key people, such as “John Johnson, plumber” and “Johnson and Smith Plumbing Company, Dallas”

• Products or services your business offers, such as “plumbing,” “child care,” “oil changes” or “wedding cakes”

• The geographic area you serve, such as “San Jose, California,” “Twin Cities metro” or “greater Cleveland”

• Phrases customers may search for, such as “car wash coupons,” “Minneapolis dry cleaner,” “free roofing estimates” or “Phoenix estate attorneys

2. Include Multiple Points of Contact

Make it easy for visitors to contact you. Display your phone number prominently at the top and bottom of every page. Include your email address and possibly your physical address in the footer (the bottom bar) of every page. Be sure to create a “Contact” page that includes all the above information, plus a map, directions, hours of operation and possibly a form visitors can fill out for more information.

3. Make Branding Professional & Consistent

Save the smiley faces and animated graphics for emails to your friends—your website should have a professional look that matches your brand. Use colors that go with your logo colors; choose one or two fonts and use them consistently across the site; make sure graphics or photos complement each other and look professional. If in doubt, keep it simple.

4. Provide Clear Calls-to-Action

A “call-to-action” refers to text on your website that invites visitors to do something. Clear calls-to-action get visitors to take the next step and go from just looking at your website to contacting your business. Calls-to-action could include:
• Learn More (link to download a brochure, an eBook, product guide, catalog, etc.)
• Call Now
• Free Consultation or Free Estimate
• Get a Price Quote
• Buy Now
• Make an Appointment
• Request a Demo
• Request a Sales Call
• Sign Up (for a newsletter, email tips or special offers)
• Follow Us on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, Connect on LinkedIn
• Register (for a drawing or a prize)
• Visit Us (link to map)

5. Make Pages Easy to Read

Most people just scan the information in websites rather than read it top to bottom, start to finish. Make pages simple to scan by remembering an “F” pattern—put important content across the top of the pages and down the left side. Also, use bold headlines and subheads to make information easy to scan.

6. Make the Site Easy to Navigate

Navigation tabs or buttons should be consistent across every page. As mentioned above, you’ll want to position navigation using the F-shaped reading pattern, with buttons, links or tabs running across the top or left side of the page. Also be sure to:
• Keep your primary navigation to eight tabs or less (five is ideal)
• Make clickable elements consistent, especially in terms of font, size and other stylistic elements
• Include a header and footer on each page for key links and information
• Add a progress tracker (sometimes called a Breadcrumb) close to the top of each page.
It should look something like “Home> Catalog> Product #1”, giving visitors an easy way to backtrack.

7. Put Important Info “Above the Fold”

Think of a newspaper — the biggest stories are on the top half of the page, or “above the fold.” Your website should do the same. According to a recent Nielsen report, 80% of site visitors won’t scroll down the whole page, so make sure the important info is near the top:
• Place your business name and logo in a prominent spot
• Emphasize what you do with a strong headline or tagline
• Use special offers to draw interest
• Summarize your services or products using your menu bar and visuals

Make it clear what visitors should do – calls-to-action, that include your number, a contact form, and maybe an option to download information, etc. Keep in mind that “above the fold” is a moving target with the increase of mobile and tablet use, but it’s still critical in website design.

8. Make the Site Quick to Load

If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, visitors may abandon it and go to a competitor’s site instead. You can help ensure the site loads quickly by keeping image sizes low (but still of good quality) and limiting the number of videos, widgets, photos and social media sharing buttons embedded in the site.

9. Build Credibility & Trust

Your website should help potential customers get to know you and trust your work. To help build credibility, include samples of your work on the site; testimonials from happy customers; links to newspaper or magazine articles that have featured your business; any awards you’ve received; and logos of any local organizations you belong to, such as the Chamber of Commerce.

10. Connect to Social Media

Whether your customers are consumers or other businesses, connecting with them on social media is a great way to spread the word about your products or services, as well as increase traffic to your website. You’ll want to know on which social networks your target audience spends their time. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular sites:

• Facebook – still reigns as the largest social site and offers opportunities to nurture relationships and target ads
• Twitter – great for communicating real-time news, assisting with customer service and supporting event coverage
• LinkedIn – serves as largest network for businesses and professionals and is ideal for building relationships, partnerships and hiring
• YouTube – the largest video-sharing site provides a place to easily share your expertise, tips and behind-the-scenes company videos
• Google+ – a growing networking site that has a link to a company’s Google+ account is a good way to influence shares
• Pinterest – one of the most visual social sites with a female-oriented member base. Great for retailers and other highly visual businesses.
• Instagram – great for showcasing your company with stylized images and videos. Perfect for businesses in hospitality, retail and entertainment.
• SnapChat – one of the newest kids on the block, this social app allows users to share short-lived photo and video messages.

Take Our 30 Second Test

“Time is money, wake up your website today!”

Discover the overall strength and effectiveness of your website. 

30 Second Test – Things to look for:

  • Does your website communicate your message clearly?
  • At the end of the day, what do you want your website to do?
  • Does your website effectively explain your product/service?
  • How do your clients react to your website? Do they like it?
  • What does your sales staff say about your website? Does it help or hurt them?
  • Does your website sell for you the way you want it to?
  • Do you know If people are even using your website?
  • What do visitors do while on your website?
  • Bottom line, all websites have a call-to-action, even if it is to click on the next link or read the next page. Is your call-to-action getting you results?

If one or more of these questions cause you concern, call Web Interactive today at 1-800-418-2358 and let’s get your website ticking again.

TCC Web Interactive

A Division of the Computer Company, Inc.
Website Design CT
15 Commerce Drive, Cromwell, CT
info@tccwebinteractive.com
(860) 635-0500

Why do Catholic Schools need dynamic eManagerSite websites?

May 30th, 2014

Historically, Catholic Schools have been at the forefront of scientific, educational, medical, and technological innovation.  Ironically however, Catholic Schools sometimes are one of the slower adopters of this same innovation.  This has proven true of the adoption and effective use of both websites and social media by most parishes.

Why have our Catholic Schools been so slow to embrace the  internet?  I believe it is for the same reason that any of us fail to do something well – a lack of vision and thus motivation.  In other words, without understanding the potential and importance of an idea, it is unlikely that we will be empowered to implement that same idea.

Below are what I believe to be the top 7 reasons that Catholic parishes desperately need a dynamic website.

First Impression

When someone moves into town and they are looking for a Catholic parish, what is the first thing they do?  They google “Catholic church, name of townname of state“.  So what is their first impression of our parish?  The parish website!

If our parish website is ugly, looks like it was made in the 90′s, or is poorly maintained (i.e., it still has information about last year’s Fall Festival on the home page), that new parishioner will probably be a new parishioner at another local Catholic parish whose website reflects “we are a beautiful, dynamic parish with a flourishing faith community”.

Primary Source of Communication

What is one of the most important principles of evangelization and communication?  Meet them where they’re at.  If we want to be faithful and effective evangelists and catechists, we must go where the people are.

So where are the people in our parish? Answer: online.  The internet – websites, blogs, social media – are the primary source of information and means of communication today.  If we embrace these mediums of communication, they will help transform the life of our parish.

Increase Active Participation

How often do you spend countless hours creating and preparing for an awesome youth night, bible study, or other parish activity and then wonder why nobody (or very few people) show up?  Often, the problem is not that people are not interested in the events or ministry that we provide, it’s that they do not know about them!

Let’s be honest – most people do not listen to announcements at the end of Mass or read the parish bulletin.  However, a dynamic parish website, combined with the effective use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter and a robust communication tool such as email newsletters, will engage the majority of parishioners and increase awareness of the spiritual, social, and services opportunities available at the parish.  And if we increase awareness, we will ultimately increase active participation!

Efficiency

I know how much time is spent on administrative work each week.  Flyers, permission slips, volunteer recruitment and coordination, tracking down payments…all tasks (important as they were) that required time that someone would have rather been spending doing “ministry”.

With a dynamic parish website and by utilizing social media, a parish can greatly reduce the amount of time spent on traditional administrative tasks through more efficient and streamlined forms of communication.

Better Stewardship

A great parish website improves stewardship.  Firstly, we are more efficient so we are better stewards of our time.

Secondly, we can greatly reduce the amount of paper used for mail-outs, permissions slips, flyers, etc. by embracing digital communication.  This will save the parish thousands of dollars a year,

Thirdly, by freeing up more time, we are able to spend more time using our talents in other ways.

Finally, if your parish website gives a good first impression we have a better chance of growing the number of families in our parish, which ultimately increases donations and your parish.

Go Green

By creating a dynamic parish website and using social media, we can become a more paperless parish.  Thus, we will be doing our part to be a good steward of the environment.

Open 24 / 7 / 365

Regardless of how many hours we work and serve at our parish, we cannot be available around the clock.  Not true of the parish website.

The parish website is the one part of our parish that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  By creating a beautiful, dynamic website, you have an opportunity to evangelize and catechize at all hours of the day.

Manage Your Schools With Ease

eManagerSite is the perfect website builder for schools, colleges, and community organizations. Manage staff, notify parents, schedule events, integrate blogs and social media, and so much more. eManagerSite CMS is a complete website editing tool that fits any need – and any budget.

Unique Features for Schools:

  • Handle The Latest Designs with advanced scripting and more
  • Simple To Use for everyone – tech-savvy or not
  • Intranet & Extranet Sites for managing staff & students
  • Easy Payment Portal for school lunches, field trips, & more
  • Pre-built Forms including Contact and Payment forms
  • Unlimited Storage for all your pages, photos, and files
  • Mobile Ready Design automatically resizes to tablets & phones
  • Send Out Newsletters & Alerts using our mass email tool
  • Unlimited Number of Blogs for teachers and students
  • Change User Permissions – users can only edit certain pages
  • Schedule Events & Get Registrations using built-in calendars
  • Have Interactive Learning with podcasts, built-in video & more
  • Bid List & Bid Results pages that can be easily edited and updated
  • Lifetime Support available through phone, email, and in-person
  • Free Trial with no risk or commitment

 

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Get In Touch
Contact Us
15 Commerce Drive,
Cromwell, CT

1-800-418-2358

 

Five Things to Know About Alibaba, ‘The Hottest Thing in Tech’. Selling on the Internet with eManagerSite

April 18th, 2014

Alibaba, the Chinese internet behemoth that’s relatively unknown in the U.S., is preparing to file the prospectus for a U.S.-based initial public offering next week, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Recent estimates value Alibaba between $153 billion and $200 billion and indicate that the IPO could raise up to $15 billion.

John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple, told CNBC this week that the Chinese e-commerce giant is the “hottest thing in high tech right now.”

With the IPO – the largest in tech history – just around the corner, here are five things you need to know about Alibaba.

The “hottest thing in high tech right now.”

What exactly does Alibaba do?

Think of it as a mix of Amazon.com, eBay and Paypal. Customers use Alibaba to shop online, sell unwanted goods and make online payments. Alibaba has two retail sites: Taobao, which features thousands of non-brand name products sold by smaller merchants; and Tmall, which offers brand-name products. The two sites are hugely popular, and collectively account for more than half of all parcel deliveries in China. According to The Wall Street Journal, their combined transaction volume in 2012 topped one trillion yuan ($163 billion), more than Amazon and eBay’s revenue combined.

Alibaba is big

Hangzhou-based Alibaba is China’s largest internet company and operates in the world’s largest internet market. It also has offices in the U.S., U.K., India, Japan and Korea. China has 560 million internet users – twice as many as the U.S. – who spend an average of 20 hours a week online. With 24,000 employees, more people work for Alibaba than Yahoo and Facebook combined. The site had 36.7 million registered users in 2012, and Taobao.com is one of the world’s 20 most-clicked sites, Business Insider reported. On the 11th of November every year, Alibaba conducts a huge online shopping sale which coincides with what is known in China as Single’s Day – a day on which young people lament or celebrate being single. On November 11 2013, Toabao and Tmall made 35 billion yuan ($5.75 billion) in the 24 hour period. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s mobile payments service Alipay is responsible for 70 percent of all of China’s mobile payments in 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Alibaba is profitable

Alibaba Group reported a 66 percent on-year surge in revenue to $3.06 billion in the final quarter of 2013, while net income more than doubled to $1.36 billion. The robust earnings report followed a slowdown in the previous three quarters. U.S. search engine Yahoo’s market value is closely interlinked with Alibaba as it owns a 24 percent stake in the Chinese internet giant worth around $30 billion. Yahoo’s shares rose 9 percent following Alibaba’s quarterly earnings report on Wednesday. Jack Ma, the 49-year old Alibaba founder, is China’s eighth richest man and the 122nd richest man in the world, according to Forbes, with a net worth of $10 billion.

Alibaba has struggled with corruption allegations

In 2011, Chinese police arrested 36 people in connection with operating fraud on Alibaba.com. They were accused of running a criminal gang that used fake personal and business identities to open fraudulent accounts, cheating buyers out of over $6 million, Reuters reported. In 2012, Yan Limin – once the manager of Alibaba’s Juhuasuan group buying venture – was sacked for gross misconduct after accepting two large bribes. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2013. Several other Alibaba employees implicated in the case were also sentenced.

This is just the beginning

Alibaba made $3.5 billion worth of acquisitions over the past year. Its shopping spree has been concentrated in Asia thus far, but the conglomerate is starting to target the U.S. market. Last month it bought a minority stake in California-based messaging and free-calling app Tango for $215 million. Alibaba already has its own application, Laiwang, which had over 10 million users as of January.

Selling on the internet is easy. WebInteractive can do all the work for you. Need to know more, please contact us todayfor a free eva

WebInteractive provides you with everything it takes to sell products and services online. We understand your needs. In today’s digital economy, people want to conduct business quickly, easily and  wherever and whenever they feel like it. Therefore, in order to compete in the 21st century, a company must be conducting business 24×7. eCommerce is one of the most important technologies that has emerged from the internet. ecommerce allows people to exchange goods and services immediately and with no barriers of time or distance.

eCommerce allows customers to go online and buy or sell almost anything they want 24/7.

eCommerce & eBusiness examples:

  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Order status
  • Shipping, Customer service, support and problem tracking
  • Order History
  • Email Marketing
  • Accounts Payable & Receivable
  • Real-time payment processing (checks, credit/debit cards)
  • Reporting
  • Inventory Control
  • Secure Transactions

eCommerce – The Computer Company’s programming skills and focus on security will enable your business to fully capitalize on the vast potential in web-based and real time credit card transactions.

Our eCommerce Services include:

  • Online shopping cart software
  • Designing and developing a custom e-commerce solution
  • Custom eCommerce website design

The comprehensive online marketing and web development solutions from TCC Web Interactive helps your business grow. Let WebInteractive do a free evaluation of your website and start making money with your website!

 

 

Hartford Location

The Computer Company / WebInteractive

15 Commerce Drive

Cromwell, CT 06416

860 635 0500

800 418 2358

mailto:info@computercompany.net

 

 

 

By  Katie Holliday

Is It Inevitable That Websites Are Doomed to Becoming Obsolete?

February 26th, 2014

During every cycle of technological growth, someone declares an aspect of our daily culture “dead.” SEO, print media, blogging – even the internet itself – they’ve all been tapped for extinction. Yet we still have newspapers to read, we still have search engines to please, and blogs now number over 152 million.

This does not, however, negate the sentiment that some of these mainstays are on their way out. If you think of death more as a transformation into something new, then print media is definitely experiencing that process. As is SEO, blogs, infographics, and even the mighty website itself.

It’s an obvious truth that websites as we know them are a thing of the past. They are evolving out of necessity, and in a sense, into utter oblivion. Why? Because that’s simply the nature of technology; it’s anything but static. And if your website is static, it’s an endangered species.

Why Websites Must Evolve or Die

Think about a typical website, say circa 2005. It’s a hub of information, yes, but a pretty flat and stagnant hub. Sites in this vain trying to compete in today’s marketplace have an insurmountable challenge. Look at dynamo apps like Flipboard and Facebook’s Paper. They are alive, by comparison; bursting with images and media, multifaceted, and far more engaging. Even the most successful blogs, updated daily, can’t compete with this kind of freshness and relevancy.

Technology is central to our lives because it flows at the pace of human evolution. Things that are static will always fall away, because life requires energy and movement. If you’re finding yourself stuck in the evolution of your business, take a look at your reliance on static pages and information. Remember that the internet in many ways mirrors the methods of our minds. It’s always firing, also sending new information. The most successful examples of online media these days matches that vibrancy.

How Social Media Breaks the Mold

Sites like Twitter and Facebook are not traditional websites because every second spent on either brings about a new experience. They are the polar opposite of static media, with streams of data and information available every nanosecond.

Furthermore, social media is insanely popular because it is highly customizable. If you were inundated with every tweet and status update, social media would cease to be relevant. Because you can choose whose information you are presented, it’s tailored to your liking, and engenders immense loyalty.

Is it any wonder why Google is fervently pushing folks to Google+? They understand the evolution taking place. We as business owners should too.

Consider a dynamic feed like Twitter’s juxtaposed with a static website. On the former, you could get lost for hours consuming fascinating details. On the latter, you’ll get the entire download in just a few minutes, and be ready to move on.

Companies that still cling to the notion that singing their own praises will amuse the masses are already finding success is fleeting. Given the choice between an ever-changing flow of excitement and a self-centric diatribe full of hard sells, it’s easy to see why social media is spelling death to the static website.

Adapting Your Online Business to the New Paradigm

If you want to think like a trendsetter, reevaluate your business with an eye to a new presence. The old way looked like this: build a website, do everything possible to make search engines rank you, launch numerous marketing campaigns, and essentially work your tail off trying to get attention. The problem is, consumers aren’t all looking for your services like this anymore.

The new game in town is found in the ever-present flow of dynamic media. If you want to compete with any sense of longevity, engage your future customers into a dialogue first. Hook them into your sphere by providing multiple channels of relevant, unique, and quality content offerings. Use social media to have a daily stream of industry-related
blasts, creative reveals, and various other ways of joining them in the daily flow. In other words, meet them where they are at, with information they actually want to consume.

Websites of yesteryear are like stop signs now. They’re always there, espousing the same information. And they’re expecting users to find them. It’s your job to find your audience, and to do so in a manner that matches their day to day behaviors. It’s your job to offer your audience things with tangible value before they become your customers.

The Good News and the Bad News

The more challenging aspect of this new stream-like way of marketing is obvious: it’s new, it’s different, and it requires more effort out of the gate. But the really, really good news is that the customers you do retain through this method are likely to remain fiercely loyal, if you provide a good product and service. Marketers in the modern age have to, in essence, romance their future customers. Once you do so with integrity, people are likely to keep coming back, because an actual relationship is formed.

In many ways, this is bringing more honesty to marketing. Since we really do have to work harder and harder to acquire new customers, we need to make darn sure we never take them for granted. Follow-through is as essential as the initial content offerings – all these pieces create the perfect company model. Balance is integral.

The sooner you dive into the new paradigm, the more likely your business will thrive. Change is always inevitable, and the true success stories are those who dared to shift focus before mass consciousness caught up. There’s still time to be an early adopter – step one is evolving your dying static website

Web Interactive addresses a full range of marketing needs, including email,  content and social media marketing—creating a winning synergy that delivers  quantifiable results. Want a free no obligation consultation with our experts

Contact us today at TCC Web Interactive

A Division of the Computer Company, Inc

info@tccwebinteractive.com

(860) 635-0500

(800) 418 2358

 

 

By Tina Courtney-Brown

 

 

 

The Future of Content Marketing – 2014 Trends and Predictions

January 27th, 2014

Business has never been about “keeping up”. If you intend to simply pace the pack, then you are in for a rocky 2014. Innovation never rests and content marketing is home to a great deal of innovation as businesses discover its ROI and long-term potential for audience engagement and sales conversion. The question on everybody’s mind as the year draws to a close is, “what’s next?”

The simple answer: more. But how much more? More of what? How will consumers respond to more? These are all questions receiving a great deal of analysis by industry leaders and professionals. Through their insights and some knowledge of our own, 2014 can be the year where your business sees the value of content marketing.

More

Content marketing shows no signs of slowing down. According to a recent study, as many as 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to determine that this is a pie worth grabbing a piece of. But the equation is not as simple as doubling the number of Instagram pictures your company produces. Savvy consumers are looking for more rewarding content that enriches their lives.

The axiom “quality over quantity” remains just that, an axiom. As a bevy of content marketing pieces flood available distribution channels, separating yourself from the background noise with high-quality, engaging content is paramount. Regardless of your marketing strategy, engagement metrics, and ROI, failing to recognize the importance of quality content in the New Year will be met with disappointing, though expected, results.

The issue with this, of course, is that quality is not something that is capable of measure. The intangible characteristic can be frustrating for data-driven businesses, but hiring quality writers should be your guidepost. You run a business with aplomb and they carry that same acumen to their respective arena, so trust their instincts and skill.

Substance

While “quality” itself is intangible, the range of topics emphasized by your business is not only understandable, but also malleable. Whether you are a B2B or B2C organization, data has shown that current trends in content topics are not cutting it anymore. B2B blogs are guilty of proffering generic industry profiles and parroting industry trends, while B2C organizations are on the hook for pandering based on engagement metrics instead of value.

Luckily, either case has a straight-forward solution. For businesses, utilize case studies that examine the sources of success that propelled industry leaders to their lofty position. In addition, hold live, area events that focus on the consumer instead of the characteristics of your business. Customers are less interested in what makes you tick than they are in what insights you have to give from your position of authority.

For B2C companies, focus on value. If a customer cannot identify what they stand to gain by reading your publication or viewing your video, then you have fallen short. Consumers are inundated with media. Viral videos, news reports, texts, phone calls, and music barrage eyeballs on a constant basis. This scarcity of time should play a part when you shape your content topics. An article can be deemed “useless” before the first word is read, and this would constitute an unfortunate loss of opportunity and a sometimes costly waste of time.

Technically Speaking

Content receives the bulk of emphasis here due to its importance. However, the method of distribution of such content is as important as ever. Furthermore, understanding the changing trends in distribution can help once again differentiate your marketing from the chaff that fills Facebook feeds every day.

Most importantly, businesses will need to determine how to track their ROI on content marketing response in the year 2014. Research has shown that as little as 25% of marketers actually measure this key metric on their efforts, effectively blurring the line between discussion and noise. The actual return on Facebook likes, shares, and comments will be an area of intense development in 2014, and businesses that adopt this technology will see dividends as a result.

Beyond tracking the return on marketing efforts through analytics, businesses will need to understand the changing distribution platforms of the New Year. Until recently, businesses placed emphasis on “destination” sites; central hubs of interesting content that could deliver value and engage customers. However, this method puts a lot of eggs in one basket. The new model? Integrated, distributed content across earned, owned, and paid properties. Developing marketing efforts across all of these avenues will see better results than the consolidated approach largely due to the distributed nature of our digital lives.

This distribution does not lie simply in the formats through which we consume our content, it also resides in the platforms we use for access. According to data, mobile web will overtake desktop traffic in only two years time. This involves changing screen resolutions, readability, and access that necessitate creating content that spans all platforms gracefully. In all content, consider how the page, material, and layout will be viewed across myriad platforms and utilize practices that bridge the gaps.

By emphasizing quality over quantity, basing content ideas on customer needs, and exercising the appropriate technical practices for seamless distribution, your company can see improved sales, engagement, and customer relationships in the New Year. Content marketing has become an inarguably powerful medium, and failing to utilize it to its full potential would be an exercise in corporate seppuku. Fortunately, a little knowledge, created and used, can go a long way in 2014.

Do you need a Content Marketing plan? Contact WebInteractive  today for a free no obligation analysis of you current situation. We guarantee that we can increase your visability and results on the web.

TCC Web Interactive
A Division of the Computer Company, Inc
info@tccwebinteractive.com
(860) 635-0500

 

 

 

How to Optimize Your Business Website for the Mobile Era

December 23rd, 2013

It’s a sure bet at least some of your readers are browsing your website or email newsletter on their mobile devices: Nine in ten American adults now own smartphones and a third of American adults own a tablet computer such as an iPad, up from 18 percent a year ago. For some marketers, mobile traffic is already outpacing desktop visitors, but adapting your web presence to the tablet era can be a challenge.

Having a mobile presence that works for people is really important, because if they’re frustrated with your site on their phone, they’re probably not going to go to their desktop computer and try to find your site there, especially if they’re doing something location-based

Hone in on your priorities. Start to optimize your web presence for mobile by looking at the top priorities you have for your business. Different companies interact differently with customers online. For example, a brick and-mortar business may primarily be concerned with making sure their location and hours remain highly visible. Professional offices may want clients to be able to easily schedule an appointment. Other businesses may value having their multimedia content be highly accessible in a mobile environment.

If you have a very dynamic site with a lot of moving parts, it may be hard to navigate the entire site on a tablet, let alone a mobile phone.

What would you most like your customers to be able to do on your site? Ask yourself. Then, take those priorities and make sure those features are easy to find, and use, on mobile devices.

One big obstacle to adapting your business’ web presence for mobile devices is that creating a dedicated mobile site can be expensive and complex. If you don’t have the resources to create an app or mobile site, responsive design may be just the solution.

Responsive design means that your website will be reconfigured and resized so it looks good on any screen, without having to design a website for each mobile device or browser.

Just make sure the theme you select is “responsive”—meaning that it responds or adapts to the size of the screen the visitor is viewing on. Typically, responsive themes mention this feature in their descriptions..

Unfortunately, there’s no simple plugin to make a non-responsive theme responsive. It really does require switching themes. An experienced web developer can help with the process so that the transition is smooth, without broken features on your site.

Create a dedicated mobile site.  What if you want the best mobile experience for your audience and have the resources to do it? If that’s the case, you’re going to create a dedicated mobile site for the small screen. This is a more expensive option than developing a responsive website, but can make sense for some businesses—for example, if you’d like people to be able to easily purchase from their mobile phone and your online catalog is extensive, a mobile site may yield a good return on your investment.

It’s tempting to add columns, sidebars and widgets on your mobile site, but very hard to click on the right thing when trying to scroll in and out on a mobile device. So remember to prioritize your features and layout around your business goals.

Test your site out on various devices.Whichever route you take—responsive design or dedicated mobile—here are a few steps you’ll need to follow up and make sure your customers have a great experience.

Test your site on various devices and with various operating systems. The mobile world comes in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of operating platforms including iOS, Android and Windows. A font that may look perfect on a desktop computer might be hard to read on a phone, for example. It’s a good idea to test out phone numbers, to make sure that clicking on them on your mobile device allows you to actually make a phone call. Something non-standard, like putting periods between numbers, doesn’t work. You can easily check whether it does or not right from your phone.

Compare your site to others. Looking at sites you like or wish to imitate on various devices can be helpful. Pay attention to which features improve your experience and which leave you frustrated. Get a sense for how your competitors, suppliers or vendors do mobile design by looking at a single site on multiple screen sizes and multiple devices.

Compare mobile visitors before and after. Google Analytics and other Web traffic tools make it a cinch to compare the percentage of traffic coming from mobile, so find out if your efforts are paying off. Other numbers to track if you choose to optimize for mobile traffic: time that mobile visitors spend on your site, and how many visitors are clicking on your calls-to-action or other conversion
mechanisms.

How do you ensure you have a mobile optimized website? Contact Web Interactive today for a free evaluation of your current circumstances and how we can assist you.

TCC Web Interactive
A Division of the Computer Company, Inc.
Website Design
info@tccwebinteractive.com
(800) 418 2358

What Exactly Does HIPAA Say About Email Security for the Healthcare Industry?

November 20th, 2013

Performing daily business transactions through electronic technologies is accepted, reliable, and necessary across the nation’s healthcare sectors. Therefore, electronic communications and email have become a standard in the healthcare industry as a way to conduct business activities.

When your organization is responsible for critical data such as protected health information, choosing an email provider like The Computer Company is more than a matter of trust.

 

Questions to Consider When Choosing an Email Service Provider

  • Signed Business Associate Agreement
  • Awareness of their responsibilities under HIPAA’s Security Standards
    Solutions that meet or exceed HIPAA’s Security Standards
  • Willingness to work with you and advise you on your security and privacy choices
  • Protect data integrity
  • Flexible, scalable services – no account is too small
  • Administrative access to assign or change a user’s password
  • Controls to validate a user’s access
  • Audit controls to track user access and file access
  • Allow access to users based on role or function
  • Data transmission security
  • Unlimited document or email transfer
  • Ability for encryption
  • Emergency access for data recovery
  • Minimal server downtime
  • Secure data backup and storage
  • Secure data disposal
  • User friendly, web-based access
  • A Scalable, flexible and HIPAA-compliant solution for electronic communications

The Computer Company offers secure, premium email services including extensive security features, Spam and virus filtering, robustness, and superior customer service. The offerings are scalable to any size healthcare organization

In addition to The Computer Company itself protecting your ePHI by following the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules as required, The Computer Company also provides a clean set of guidelines for using its services that enable your ePHI to be safeguarded
Want to learn more? Would you like an unbiased evaluation of your current circumstances?

Contact The Computer Company at 800 418 2358 or info@computercompany.net for a free evaluation and demonstration of our product.

Obamacare Site Disaster: How To Fix It

November 7th, 2013

As the government attempts to figure out the problems with the Obamacare flagship site and the backend databases, solution providers said that there are options for a few so-called “quick wins” to help the site get up and rolling. The 20 million hits on the website show that people are voting with their mouse clicks, and that many people want to use the site to sign up rather than phone calls or paperwork. In light of all the technical problems, Here’s a look at the first steps solution providers say they would take to get the site working again.

The first step that should have been taken was to follow best practices from the beginning. if you build performance culture early on, finding the problems as you go along is a lot more efficient than trying to find them at the end of the process, If best practices had been followed, the time constraints on the launch would not have been as much of an issue.

We have found it is best practice to develop one function at a time, both to test individual performance and communicate the results to the customer. However, a lot of people still follow the “waterfall” approach, he said, which isn’t nearly as effective. We have seen startups go from zero to 10 million users in three months with no problems when using best practices. This can be done.

Instead of launching the site to the entire country all at once, it would have been better to do a scaled rollout. Compare the situation to a Black Friday rush, where it’s better to let customers slowly come onto the site rather than allowing a stampede of holiday shoppers trample each other for the latest toy.

First offer the program to small businesses as a smaller-scale trial run and implementing the lessons learned from that rollout before expanding the offering to individuals and families.

They could have scaled it much differently than going for the big bang theory of providing the service.

One of the major areas of blame for the healthcare.gov site fiasco was the immense amount of traffic that hit the site since its Oct. 1 launch, already logging more than 20 million hits. The problem could have been helped if the developers used a scalable cloud approach instead of throwing more money into hardware. The hardware would also work, but it is a lot more labor and capital intensive,

It’s unbelievable what you could do now with the cloud approach. The cloud is the best option for unpredictable workloads and data sizes.

Just look at Netflix. Netflix traffic spikes as people come home from work, so the site keeps extra space on standby to accommodate the additional traffic. Although cloud virtualization becomes trickier with personalization, the same approach could have helped the healthcare.gov site.

Even though Connecticut’s state-run health exchange has been running well, with no downtime so far, interacting with the federal database system is still a struggle. The site has to interact with a variety of databases from insurance companies, healthcare organizations and the IRS, to name a few. There isn’t a set of standards among the databases, which is one of the problems with the healthcare exchange. It’s almost like they’re reinventing the wheel. There are solutions out there already.

One solution would be to force healthcare providers to standardize their databases instead of simply adhering to what they had been doing before. You end up doing the same thing a hundred different ways with each provider.

After experimenting on the site, we found it needs improved search capabilities and a virtual agent to assist consumers. Instead of clicking all over the site, which chews up bandwidth, consumers could find their answers much more quickly. For example our own experiment showed thaif we searched I have a heart condition or What if I live in Connecticut which has a state exchange, no results popped up. But, if you type into the search that you cannot afford insurance, for example, it spews out more than 100 results that aren’t necessarily related.

The site is preventing people from self-educating, which 20 million-plus site clicks proved people wanted to do. Going forward the search data would help refine the site in the future, as companies like Amazon and Google already do. That should help them understand how the healthcare.gov has to transform itself to actually support what the consumers are looking for.

One of the keys to the Connecticut state health exchange success was a tough decision in January to cut functionality by 30 to 35 percent, said exchange CEO Counihan. “In retrospect I think it was the smartest decision we made,” Counihan said.

We suspected that part of the problem with the site was discussions about what functionalities should be included. I could only imagine that all the internal bureaucratic debates on what the app should do and shouldn’t do … was a big part of the problem.

Enhancing that issue was the contract basis of the work, because workers are often paid per line of code. He joked that it makes people more inclined to code Ferrari-like features into the system rather than taking a simplified business approach. There were a lot of extras, which created inefficiency. It’s like everything and the kitchen sink was left in the website whether it was needed or not.

One major problem was the “broad overuse” of third-party services, a number of which were likely unnecessary because many of the third parties performed the same tasks. Financial services companies usually have five to seven third parties involved with their sites. The healthcare.gov site had well over 20 or 30 third parties, the analysis found a very aggressive overuse of these third-party services.

The other main problem with the third parties is that they are out of the site’s control, if the third party can’t handle the traffic load,and then the site will collapse.

Basic performance culture is to eliminate the amount of times that the site must call up Web elements. An analysis of the site shows it takes an average of more than 16 seconds for each time the site has to call up a page.

Each one is a performance penalty to the website. It’s like doing laps on the track. Four versus 100, it slows things down. It takes a lot longer for the website to load.

It would make a lot more sense for the government to pull in companies like Facebook or Twitter, both of which have millions of users pulling information from different sources all of the time.

Multiple companies have offered their application performance management software to the healthcare site, including Compuware APM and AppDynamics. It would be helpful to do an analysis to discover the location of bottlenecks.

Without having a system that can do this accurate performance analysis, they’re really falling into the age-old trap of looking in all the areas without having any visibility of what to fix. Without that,they’re really flying blind.

The government is bringing in some great companies to help fix the problems, such as Verizon, but without APM, the companies won’t have any idea where to look. They’re bringing in some really good people who could help if the problem is in a specific area, but I think they’re really guessing at this point. At the congressional hearing with the major contractors involved in building the healthcare.gov site, none of the contractor representatives were able to answer the question of who was in charge of compiling the pieces and testing the final project, except for generally attributing it to CMS. Testing is usually the last piece of the project, but it is crucially important. I think the biggest problem is that, especially when you’re trying to get the website to market, if you don’t have a focus on performance, it’s often too late to cross your fingers and hope performance is good. We recommend performance testing before a website goes live.

Connecticut Health Care Exchange’s Counihan said the Exchange tested its site a few months before launch and found 67 defects, which it was able to fix before the launch.

In the end, problems after rollout damage the company’s brand. There will be a lingering reputational impact on the site going forward because of the botched implementation.

Planning an E-Commerce website

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By Sarah Kuranda