Are you technology happy?
No? Call us on +44(0)1209 613660.

Time is ticking for free Windows 10 upgrade

Can you believe that it has been almost a year since Windows started rolling out Windows 10 as a phased release?

Windows 10 has currently been available as a free upgrade to anyone running Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 (consumer addition) – but should you not upgrade by July the 29th you will have to fork out £100 +

If you are yet to upgrade, but are still unsure as to whether Windows 10 is for you, why not get in touch with our tech team? We can answer any questions you may have, and give you free, honest advice.

Call us Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm 01209 613660

Phone notifications cause ‘ADHD-like symptoms’

Hyperactivity and a lack of attention span are often traits ascribed to millennials unable to put down their phones. Now a study from the University of Virginia claims these stereotypes may not be totally inaccurate, with smartphone notifications apparently causing “ADHD-like symptoms even among the general population”.

The research, which has been presented at the Human-Computer Interaction conference in California, examined how 221 college students used their smartphones over a two-week period.

They found that when students had notifications turned on – by having their phone on ring or vibrate, for example – they reported “more symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity” than when their phones were on silent.

“We found the first experimental evidence that smartphone interruptions can cause greater inattention and hyperactivity – symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – even in people drawn from a nonclinical population,” said Kostadin Kushlev, lead author of the study.

Pirate 2 DAB – Business Hub Podcast

On tonight’s show Andrew will be talking to Mark Peters about CCTV and IP cameras, how they work and how they can help you monitor your business operations and processes on a real time basis. Andrew also talks about the benefits of detailed website analytics, and the importance of monitoring your digital marketing efforts from an analytic point of view. We also offer a friendly word of warning following the recent release of Windows 10.

Pirate 2 DAB – Business Hub Podcast

On tonight’s show Andrew chats to Mark Peters about how tourism can affect the IT infrastructure of businesses in Cornwall during the busy tourist season. We also look at and discuss the new features of Windows 10, including the introduction of Cortana – who after being available on the Window’s phones is now coming to your desktops, Andrew also looks at some of the new icons and applications you can expect to see with Windows 10.

Trust Me! I’m a web site…

Is your web site helping or harming your credibility?

 

One of the most important purposes of a web site is to engender trust and demonstrate your business’s credibility within your market. Fail to do this, irrespective of any ‘funky functionality’ or time consuming marketing efforts and the potentially valuable revenue stream will be nothing more than a big hole in the world wide web into which you pour inordinate amounts of time and money!

According to the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab’s Web Credibility Research Project

there are 10 primary factors that can make or break your site’s effectiveness in boosting your credibility. I actually think that there are 11, one of their really should be split! Let’s look at them one by one:

 

1.      Make it easy to verify the information on your site

At first glance, this may appear to relate more to non-commercial or informational sites, but actually, if you’re quoting figures or research that back up your usp, provide a link or at least cite your source.

Why? Look at these two phrases:

“Over 500 000 people in the UK have satellite TV”

“According to XYZ University Research Project, in 2015 over 500 000 people had a paid satellite TV subscription with another 200 000 using freesat”

 

The second phrase shows a little more detail and illustrates the fact that you didn’t simply make the numbers up, therefore you care enough about your business (and by extension, your customers) to spend that extra bit of time researching your market properly.

2.      Show that there is a real organisation behind the site

This is a simple one. It’s often missed by small, one-man-band web designers. They stick an email address and mobile phone number on their web site, but don’t provide any indication of a physical address or a landline number. They may be the world’s greatest at what they do, but don’t do themselves any favours trying to maintain such a level of anonymity.

Additionally, showing any professional or business organisations in which your company are involved will show that you are an active part of the business community, again, by extension potential customers will take the view that you will, or are at least likely to, care that little bit more for your customers. Poor companies are not likely to bother joining organisations or business groups.

3.      Highlight the Expertise within your company

If you have particularly knowledgeable team members, or they perhaps contribute to community projects or are an authority in a particular related subject area, highlight this within your site.

All customers like to think that they are employing the experts and therefore getting the best knowledge available. Whether you are recommending a 3rd party product, or providing a service, demonstrating the depth of knowledge within your team is essential if you are going to get that web site visitor to complete the enquiry form or pick up the phone.

4.      Show that you are Real, Honest and Trustworthy

The first step of this is to show who you are. You don’t need to put your whole team’s CVs / Resumes online, but put the whole team on the site.

And remember that all companies are ultimately about the people in them, be open, honest and friendly. Your web site is the first stage to building a relationship with potential customers. DO your team have hobbies that demonstrate character traits that will help build trust and credibility? Perhaps your company provides long term services that sometimes need a bit of extra effort, one of your team run ultra-marathons, that hobby requires exactly the type of commitment you are trying to sell, so include it in their bio.

5.      Make it Easy to Contact you

It is far too common for sites not to provide quick and easy contact methods. Remember, it’s for your customers’ convenience, not your! Here are a few important points:

  1. Provide multiple channels, phone, email, a contact form, postal address
  2. Think ‘outside the box’ if your market has any commonly used non-standard communication methods, for example, Skype or irc (Chatrooms) or Google hangouts.
  3. Monitor ALL of the channels provided. It’s not good looking cool with your Skype details on your site, if you never turn on Skype
  4. If your market can be time sensitive and you have the resources, consider a live chat service.
  5. Do you have a showroom or offer a drop-in service? Provide a map

Remember, the less effort the customer has to put in, the happier they will be when they make contact.

6.      Design Your Site so it Looks Professional AND is fit for purpose

People make sweeping judgements about a company’s professionalism based on the quality of the visual design of any material that they provide, especially your web site, if it’s their first point of contact.

That’s not to say that every business needs to spend thousands on design services, but some investment of time and / or money should be considered to ensure that the basic rules or followed.

Consistency is the key. This demonstrates an attention to detail, which engenders trust in that you will bring that same attention to detail in what you provide to your customers. Particularly important areas of design are:

  1. Layout: keep the overall layout of you web and print design themed along the same lines.
  2. Typography: Maintain consistent use of fonts, colours, relative sizes and spacing across all of your communications.
  3. Images: Define a style and stick to it. So many ecommerce sites fail on this point, which is actually one of the most important in maintaining that level of consistency that actually increases your credibility.
  4. Mission / Ethos presentation: These should underpin everything that you do, but ensuring that your visual presentation backs this up is something that a good designer will be able to do.

7.      Ensure That Your Site is Easy to Use

UX or usability design is one of the buzzwords on the web these days, and while a bit trendy, is an important factor in the design and planning of your site.

Put yourself in the shoes of our customers (remember it is they for whom you are building the site) and think how they would want to use it. Do they need a quick and simple way to order spare parts or consumables for a product? Will they be looking for a quote for a production run?

By ensuring that the functionality or information they are likely to require is easy to find, you will show that you have considered them and that their time is just as valuable as your own. Another plus when it comes to credibility…

8.      Ensure That Your Site is Useful

Everyone likes something for nothing! It’s human nature. So give something away on your site. It doesn’t have to be something tangible, it doesn’t have to cost you anything. Remember that you are the expert in your field, so you have something your customers don’t, knowledge. This also reconnects with item 3 in our list, by giving away knowledge freely, you demonstrate your expertise as well as giving your potential customers something for nothing.

Other great ideas for freebies include pdf downloads, desktop wallpapers (great for brand awareness).

9.      Update Your Site’s Content Often

We’re not suggesting that you should rewrite your whole site frequently, but, if you have a blog or news section, don’t leave it with the ‘Welcome to our new website’ post as the only one there. Don’t start off with bags of enthusiasm posting every day, then after 3 weeks all of a sudden, nothing… That doesn’t demonstrate the credibility you need, but that you get bored after a few weeks.

10.  Use Restraint with any Promotions

In general, people hate popups, if you must, be very careful and make sure that they genuinely serve a vital purpose to a large proportion of your current and potential customers. A good example might be a school web site adding a popup to their site to say that the school is closed due to a plumbing leak. A bad example would be a popup asking visitors to sign up to your mailing list!

The same rules of subtlety and relevance apply to general advertising on your site. For you own products, think about the sales process and provide your simple calls-to-action, rather than banners and ads that appear to be from another provider.

If part of your income is from advertising 3rd party products on your site, ensure that it is clear to your visitors which are 3rd party ads and which are for your products. ‘Banner blindness’ will reduce the effectiveness of both if you muddle things up.

11.  Avoid Errors of All Types, No Matter How Small

Two of the most common issues on web sites are broken links and typos. There’s no need for either…

  1. Get someone else to proof read your site. Spellcheck doesn’t cut it. Most do not review the context as well as the spelling, so always ask someone else to proof read your site. It may even be worth employing a professional proof reading service.Even if you are generally pretty good and proof read other people’s work, don’t rely on yourself to proof read your own writing.
  2. Regularly check broken links. This can be an automated process using any one of a number of online tools. Our favourite is:
    https://validator.w3.org/checklink
  3. Conduct a regular review of the site’s content (text, images and media, such as videos) for relevance and accuracy. Out of date content can be just as harmful to credibility as missing content and broken links.

Summary

So, in summary, plan your site carefully. Plan your content carefully. And don’t consider your web site to be ‘set it and forget it’, but as a continuously developing and important part of your marketing efforts.

The most effective web site marketer take the view that the web site is part of their team and is alive. It needs feeding, care, attention and a new suite of clothes every now and then. While you shouldn’t need to commit masses of hours to your site (unless it’s your only, or most important marketing channel), but you should specifically set aside time for it on a regular basis.

Creative Focus

If you would like to talk to Focus about how we could help you get the best from your web site, give us a call on 01209 613660.

We provide design and development services for web sites and web applications as well as online marketing, design for print and IT infrastructure and communications services.

Pirate 2 DAB – Business Hub Podcast

Andrew speaks to Mark Peters about remote working, what remote working is, and how it makes a difference to growing businesses by allowing distance working. Andrew also explains how Avaya – (please click on the Avaya PDF file for the full brochure) is also compatible with remote working.

Pirate 2 DAB – Business Hub Podcast

On tonight’s show Andrew answers questions on Windows 10, and gives a word of warning/caution when it comes to instantly installing Windows 10 as it is released. We also talk upgrades and give advice on Windows 10 and upgrading. Other topics also include helpful printing tips, digital solutions and consistent branding.

Pirate 2 DAB – Business Hub Podcast

Tonight we discuss the end of life for Windows server 2003 and the introduction of Windows 10, what the difference is between the two and our thoughts on Windows 10 so far, including compatibility issues and making sure your software works with Windows 10. Andrew also talks you through reserving and downloading your copy of Windows 10, and touches on security breaches and increasing your network security.

Pirate 2 DAB – Business Hub Podcast

Andrew Davenport speaks to Mark peters about CRM systems (customer relationship management), we look at what CRM systems are and what they should do, Andrew discusses different CRM systems, and customising your CRM system to suit your business – we also talk about some recent CRM projects that Focus Technology has been working on, and how we can help build you a bespoke CRM system to suit your own specification.

Pirate 2 DAB – Business Hub Podcast

On tonight’s show we touch on the Cornwall Business Week and our experience at the Cornwall Business Fair, including our popular personalised M&M’s and the unfortunate M&M “ball malfunction!”. Andrew also speaks to Mark Peters about Focus’s continued growth and expansion, and looks at some of the recent tech news that has been hitting the headlines.

1 2 3 4

Join Our Maillng List

Sign up for regular tips, tricks and news from Focus