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search engine optimizationHave you ever gone against the grain, judging a book by it's cover, only to find that it was actually really good? First impressions are everything, but unfortunately you rarely, if ever, get a second a chance at making one. And while judging a book by its cover isn't always a bad thing, customers judge small and large businesses on their websites constantly.

In fact, websites have an average of 10 seconds to make a good impression on customers and communicate what the customer can get out of the site and business. Almost half -- 46% -- of mobile users have complaints related to navigation, which is why it's critical to have a mobile-friendly company website. Keep this in mind; a survey from eConsultancy revealed that 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.

It's easy to see how poor web design and web development can be a turn off for potential customers. Although many of today's web surfers mostly skim content -- users read about 28% of the content on a web page -- it's still important to invest in web design services as a business owner, especially as a small business owner.

As a small business owner, think of your company's website as your "book cover." Like a book cover, get ready for it to be judged, despite the sage advice not to. Though website design is critical to the success of your small business, search engine optimization services are just as important. Think about it -- even if you had an awesome website, what's the point if no one on the internet can even find it? That's the beauty and power of implementing solid search engine optimization plans.

Similarly, even if your brick-and-mortar business is bustling in the physical world, you might find it difficult to increase sales and connect with your customers if you lack a strong online presence in the digital world. Search engine optimization allows you to become more accessible and visible to your target audience by allowing your company website -- your well designed company website, mind you -- to rank higher in search engine results. The end goal is to keep your phone ringing by attracting and securing qualified potential customers and turning them into loyal, repeat customers.

This helps to create a sense of brand awareness that keeps your customers coming back. Search engine optimization can also lead to an increase in customer referrals, as search engine users are more likely to trust and refer websites that rank on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs).

By having a well designed website and taking advantage of search engine optimization services, you can feel confident that your brand will get the recognition in deserves.



Over the past few years, investing in cloud computing has become more and more popular. An estimated 42% of IT heads have said they increased spending on cloud computing in 2015. It’s no secret, though, that the cloud can sometimes come with risks -- high-profile hacking cases with celebrities have made this clear. And when it comes to businesses, there is often even more at risk. Worse, online threats continue to increase, as there are about 82,000 new malware threats popping up every day. Luckily, the risks associated with cloud computing can be mitigated. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.


Understand the Difference Between Services

There are three types of cloud computing services: Platform as a Service, where users access platforms (example: GoDaddy), Software as a Service, where users access applications (example: Google Apps), and Infrastructure as a Service, where users access infrastructure (example: rackspace). The right choice for your company depend on your specific needs, and each service deals with different common security threats.


When is the Last Time You Had a Cyber Security Assessment?

In many cases, system vulnerabilities come not from the technology itself, but from users. Even today, 2 million of Adobe's 38 million users rely on the password “123456” -- a highly insecure solution. A cyber security assessment from an outside company can look at everything from your typical employee behavior, to the threats malware pose to your everyday business. Third party audits can identify anomalies you may not even realize are a problem.


End-to-End Encryption

To decrease risk, your cloud service provider should be encrypting data when it is in transit and when it’s at rest. Additionally, data should only be decryptable with the right encryption key. Certain industries have a lot at risk when it comes to reliable encryption. The medical field, for example, relies on data encryption to protect patient privacy and to remain legal under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). A HIPPA guide can help in ensuring that hospitals and doctors offices are following the letter of the law and preserving confidentiality.


As cloud computing solutions become more popular, things like cloud computing assessments, end-to-end encryptions, HIPPA guides and a clear understanding of services will become increasingly standard.ard.

web design

Your web site is incredibly important to your business. Most people know this, but then when it comes to actually designing a site that's easy to use, they go a different way.


6 Ways to Improve Your Web Design and Increase Your profits:

  1. Make your site as simple as possible
    Your web design should not have a hundred or more pages for people to look through. Make it easy to navigate. You may know where to find items and information on your web site, but you need to make it easy for people who know nothing about you, your company, and your website to do the same thing.
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  3. Simplify your site with fewer colors
    One way to really turn people off is to have a site that's so busy it can blind them. Even if your site does not do that, having overly intricate backgrounds or hundreds of colors only serves to distract people from the content. Lose some of the ornate designs and people who come to your website will be more able to focus on your content.
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  5. Remember the 80/20 rule
    What's that? Web design experts estimate that 20% of your site is responsible for 80% of your traffic and revenue. Focus on that part to increase both. This also means that by focusing on the elements that make up that 20%, you will lose a lot of content that is distracting and off putting to your visitors.
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  7. Repeat your messaging
    You need to repeat your message all the time on your web site. Many people only give a web site about 10 seconds to give them something. That's not a whole lot of time. Remember that people will only really register and pay attention to about 28% of the content on your website. You can up the chances that your message, slogan, or brand identity is part of that by repeating it on your web site. If you have a slogan, incorporate it into the logo and header of you website.
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  9. Understand SEO
    Search engine optimization services (SEO) are very important. These can help your website appear higher up on a search in an organic way. When you consider that more than 90% of all web experiences begin with a search engine, and most of those start with Google, you can see how important it is to be up at the top. Many people never go past the first page of a search, so if you are below that, you may never be found. Make sure your search engine optimization plans are incorporated fully into your web design.
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  11. Pay attention to your mobile site
    Make sure your site looks and works well on mobile devices. More and more people are using devices to look at web pages. Your web design can look perfect on a computer, but if it looks terrible on mobile technology, you can really hurt your brand. A whopping 46% of mobile web users complain that the pages are hard to load on their devices and 44% say they are hard to navigate. A full 40% will abandon a website and look elsewhere if the site does not load on their mobile device. If your website design plan does not include a strategy for mobile users, you will really miss out on a lot of business.

 

The way people use the Internet changes all of the time. The things we use with the Internet are also changing all of the time. Ten years ago, no one used mobile applications for their businesses. Now, global revenue from these applications is slated to top $35 billion. 

These new ways to interact with customers and clients can help you grow your business, but only if you take advantage of the opportunities and understand the pitfalls. You may have great products and services to sell and a great web page, but what do people see when they look at it on their smart phone? Keep these new technological advances in mind when working on your web design and it can help grow your business.

 

For A Free Website Analysis Call 716.362.7592

network disaster recoveryData backup and recovery is something that most businesses consider doing at least once. Unfortunately, it's not untilafter a disaster that business owners understand the importance of a thorough network disaster recovery plan. This is never good. 

If your business has yet to devise a disaster recovery plan, or if you think your plan may need some updating, here's a quick guide to the essentials of a good network disaster recovery setup:


The Basics: Network disaster recovery planning is all about having safeguards in place for the worst possible situations. This can refer to a natural disaster event where an enormous amount of files are damaged, or it can refer to an internal and/or virtual disaster, such as a hacker compromising sensitive company data.

The Planning: First, you'll want to conduct a network assessment (or have a professional network consultant do so) in order to determine your overall system security. You'll then have to devise a detailed set of steps for every disaster that your business is likely to encounter. This will include a risk assessment calculation, or a prediction of how much data would be compromised in each specific event, and also recovery objectives to determine how much data you could recover and how long it would take.

The Details: Here are just a few details you'll want to consider for each incident when you create a recovery plan:

  • People: How many customers would be affected by the incident? How many employees? What important information would you need to convey to those affected, and how would you do so?
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  • Data: What's the most important data in your system, and how do you protect it? Do you have fail-safe backups ready in case the original documents are damaged?
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  • Equipment: How much do you rely on physical equipment (like computers or phone lines) to run your business? If itall got damaged, do you have the funds to purchase replacements? If not, how much equipment could you replace and what business tasks would you then be able to accomplish?
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  • Security: In a survey of 38 million people, at least 2 million admitted they used the password "123456" to protect important files. You want to make sure that you have physical and digital security measures in place.
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  • Outside Help: Will you need to call upon a network consulting firm or specialist to accomplish everything after a disaster? Will you have suppliers or business partners you'll need to cooperate with? Who will be able to assist you in each situation?
 

The Policies: Once you're able to solidify the details, you'll then want to create an official policy and set of procedures for each scenario. This part is one of the most important steps and it's something that network consulting services really help with. The reasoning here is simple: If and when a disaster strikes, you'll want to have a procedure already in place; you want to use your time making valuable actions, not wasting it making decisions (or mistakes).

With over 82,000 new malware threats each day and natural disasters occurring in the U.S. every year, it's important to make sure that your business is prepared for the worst.

it service pricing

It's not easy for businesses today to decide if managing IT services in-house is worth the investment or if it's a better idea to outsource IT services to a professional network management service. At the root of this debate is one big problem: understanding IT service pricing. Here's a quick guide about what many people get wrong about IT service pricing, and a few things to keep in mind when you're assessing the benefit of a managed IT service for your business:


Myths About IT Service Pricing:

  1. Myth: It's impossible to accurately price cloud computing services
    While it's true that cloud computing services are getting more complicated by the day, but it's still possible to price effectively. You need to consider factors such as storage space, traffic allotments, and data backup services.

  2. Myth: Managing high-risk IT tasks in-house is more secure than outsourcing
    Think of it this way: when you give employees the keys to your most valuable information, they're able to walk out the door with all that info if they really want to do some damage. It's definitely safer to have outsourced management teams handling sensitive information about your business's security network.

  3. Myth: Outsourcing IT work per project is more cost-effective than outsourcing everything to a managed service
    When you outsource your IT work by the project, you aren't likely to have a solid estimate of what it will actually cost. Many services will charge hourly rates of anywhere between $125-$175 per hour -- but they won't always tell you how many hours a project will likely take. With a managed service, you'll pay a flat fee (usually monthly) and you have the reassurance of getting good-quality services every single time, regardless of how long a project takes.
 

Factors in IT Service Pricing:

The biggest factor you'll have to consider with pricing IT services is cost; when everything is said and done, it all boils down to the cost effectiveness of outsourcing your IT services. More specifically, you'll have to consider the following questions:

  1. Do you already own equipment or will you have to purchase it?

  2. Can your business really afford the cost of this equipment up-front?

  3. If your business is growing quickly, do you have the resources to make sure that your IT department grows as well?

  4. Can you easily recover important information if a disaster occurs, and without jeopardizing your network security?

  5. Are you willing to pay for ongoing software and hardware updates, as well as ongoing staff training?
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It's important not to let the confusion of IT service pricing keep you from using a managed IT service. Whether you rely on cloud computing programs (as four out of five businesses do), or you need to upgrade your cyber security defense (there were over 82,000 new malware threats per day in 2013), or if you simply need to boost your visibility online with SEO services -- a managed service can provide it all.

Contact Us Today!