GDPR - No need to be scared
There are people out there trying to scare you.
In fact, the new General Data Protection Regulations are not so hard to understand and the steps you can take to ensure compliance are straightforward enough....
Weaving your way through the mass of social media packages available can be daunting for a small business. There is lots to consider, so let us help you get started.
Such is the bombardment of information we all receive, many businesses feel they must be on every social media platform at once. It's hard to get rid of that anxious feeling that comes when everyone tells you how some other company is successfully using Facebook to to this, or so and so created a wonderful Instagram campaign that resulted in record sales. Without endless resources, however, this is simply not possible for the average business. You don't have the time or money to replicate what the big companies are doing....
It seems to be the way of things that a lot of these posts start with a conversation with a client and this one is no exception.
In this case, a long-standing networking colleague was complaining about his website's lack of visibility. Resisting the overwhelming urge to shout at him, "You should have come to us!", I asked him if he had a content strategy.
As the catalogue of hacked websites and databanks grows, we are warned over and over again to abandon passwords. But can we? Should we?
Life was so simple once. We worked for a company, we signed on in the morning with a password which gave us access to the company server and we went and did our job. The password itself was usually given to us by the IT manager or one of his minions (they always seemed to be "him" in those days). Nobody, pretty much, ever changed them or worried about anyone else accessing their own stuff. After all, the email was for office stuff wasn't it.
People come to us from time to time and ask "What is the secret of SEO". We tell them there isn't one. What they are really asking is, "why can't I find my own website on Google?", which is a fair question, and "Why doen't my website rank higher?" which is a much more difficult one.
Since you can often see their faces dropping after this news, we then pick them up and tell them that there is something you can do, but that anyone who guarantees them a top spot is simply a snake-oil salesman. We tell them that it is all about time and attention to detail. The good news is that if they do the right things, they will start to see their website improve their ranking. Even better news, if they want to do it for themselves, it is free.
This week I am returning to the theme of online reviews which are exercising a stranglehold over page ranking and search. In a previous post, I discussed the failure of the Search Engines to equate popularity with quality and how review sites impacted on your own business website and I wanted to return to that. Just how do businesses set about counteracting the tyranny of the review? And is such a bad thing, since it is said that 90% of people say they will be influenced by a positive review?
But before I do, I just wanted to remind us all why I think that the whole review process has got out of hand....
There few individuals left who can't see that the internet has become THE indispensable marketing tool for your business, no matter how small or large you are.
People have realised that the web is no longer about tech-savvy individuals coming up with clever ideas, but a bread and butter marketing opportunity that every business should be exploiting to the maximum. Just as email, SMS and Instant Messaging have largely replaced the letter and supplemented the telephone, websites, social media, paid advertising and e-mail marketing have replaced the newspaper advertisement as the preferred way to secure more customers. The same people have also began to understand that the web is a place for brand awareness and reputation building as much as it is for customer acquisition. Increasingly they are trusting the web to store and handle their data as more and more cloud services become available. It is the place business is increasingly done....
Got your video ready? Writing new content? Tweeting like crazy? Running through SnapChat and Instagram? Still not succeeding?
If you are, great! Then you are lucky or wise enough not to need to read this post any further.... But, if things are not going according to plan, you may want to keep going. It may not solve your problems, but it will stop you wasting a lot of time expecting the "next big thing" to solve your problems....
I have a friend who is obsessed with "Open Source" products and software. For him, it can do nothing wrong. He has a particular downer on Microsoft, even though he is fully accredited with them and instructs people in how to use it every day. When you boil his issues down to their essence, it comes down to the fact that he considers they overcharge for the products they provide and that they get away with it because most of us don't know any better.
But I am less concerned about Micosoft Apps than I am by Google and Facebook. At least with Microsoft, you pay your money and you get a working set of software most of the time. It's up to you to judge whether Word or Excel do the job you want them to and that they are worth the money you pay for them. Over time, they have become no more and no less than the thousands of other apps you can buy at the Apple or Google Stores....
© ©i-webdesigner - no reproduction without permission
Why do some businesses look good online and some awful? Or, to put it another way, how do you get your business to be one of the attractive ones?
One way to look at this is to imagine for a moment that your business is a person looking for Mr or Ms Right online. If your website or facbook page was a person, would anyone risk that first date with you? It is a well-known adage that you have 7 seconds to make an impact. Is this what your landing pages do? The main thing to remember is that you have to make an immediate positive impact. So let's consider how you might do that. You will find it is surprising how often the simple way of addressing things is often the right one....
Where would your business be if your personal data, emails or computers fell into the hands of criminals?
The growing number of cases of Cryptolocker and similar lockouts suggest that the level of danger faced by businesses has moved to another level. Not content with damaging everything on your computer, sophisticated criminals are now demanding money with menaces as a way of blackmailing businesses. And many pay. The reason they do so is that they cannot affor to be without their systems for any length of time. We are so dependent on computers, we literally cannot do without them....
I sometimes feel that the providers of security products want us to feel terrified. After all, there isn't much of a story in "opened up my PC, did a good days work, then closed it down safely".
Thank goodness then for the wonderful phone calls from those helpful people at Windows telling me they have detected problems with my PC. If it wasn't for them and for the Nigerian Prince who has promised to come up with a wonderful new pot of money, I never knew I had, I would never have got round to recommending these 10 simple tips to staying safe online....
It's surprising how many businesses do not even practice security essentials. Practically every day, I hear someone asking us if they can use a simple password as the one we gave them is too hard to remember. When you see what they suggest, it turns out to be the name of their dog or their son or daughter. Ask them another question and the same password will almost certainly the one they use for everything. With other businesses, they will happily tell you that they have no policy of updating software or way of checking safe practices amongst their employees. All we would say to them is that you had better have access to a nice loan or a sizeable reserve of cash for when Cryptolocker gets you! We even know one business who kept a sizeable database of customer information, who, when asked what they would do if this was hacked and they faced a massive fine from the authorities, replied that they just did not care on the grounds that "it would never happen to them".
That will no doubt look good when they need to explain themselves to the data protection authorities....