Taking Your Business Online Can Increase Profits

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
Most if not all businesses can benefit from having an online-presence. Going on-line for a business can be a low-cost marketing solution.

Your online presence can help give customer’s quick access to information about you and your business, all the way to having automated inventory alerts that let clients know about new products and stock levels.

When getting started online, you’ll want to get a domain that represents your business. You’ll want to pick something that’s easy to remember, and easy to spell and type.

You don’t want a domain name that you have to spell out for clients – that makes it very hard to use in advertising.

There are many domain registrars to choose from, including Tech Experts.

After you have your domain name, you’ll need website hosting services. Most web hosts, including Tech Experts, include company email with the service.

Most hosting plans are very affordable. Our basic hosting plan starts at $9.99 per month.

If you want to take it a step further, you can set up an online store. There are a lot of options, depending on how involved you want the store to be.

Accepting credit cards online can be a hassle, especially with the new security and compliance regulations. If you expect to do a large volume of business in your store, it makes sense to set up a secure site and contract for the credit card processing services.

For smaller web stores, PayPal offers a checkout service that is fully PCI DSS compliant. Their basic service is free (less the processing costs).

Setting up a website is not enough to make your business drastically improve. You have to find a way to get customers to your website.

There are many ways to do this. An inexpensive and effective way to get your website noticed is to start a blog.

Blogs will show a human side to the business and search engines crawl blogs easily. Easy places to do this are popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

This helps improve your ranking in a search on search engines. There are other ways to improve your ranking as well. In fact there is a periodic table guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

By looking at the periodic table, you can see exactly on a point scale what increases and decreases your SEO ranking.

There are companies that specialize in SEO Optimization. The fees range from very reasonable to exorbitant. SEO is as much black art as science, and it pays to have professional help.

There are tools that track how users are using your website. Google Analytics tracks how much time is spent on your website, and where visitors are going.

This can be useful for you to optimize your site for ease-of-use. You want to make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for and browse easily as well.

Another tool that can be useful is Google AdSense, which places targeted ads on your site – and everytime someone clicks on ad, Google will pay you a small amount.

The last thing to think about is the mobile version of your site. More users browse the Internet than ever before with their smart phones and tablets, so you’ll want to have a mobile site for these visitors.

This can be a little more tedious due to the fact that this technology is still emerging.

A lot of web sites require a mouse for them to function; an example of this would be a site with a menu bar at the top with a “mouse over” function to see the drop-down menu.

So having a site that detects the type of device and browser that the user is using and directs them to the correct site is important.

Questions About Cloud Computing? Hosted Services 101

With cloud computing taking off the way it has in the information technology field, hosted services are becoming widely implemented, more and more each and every day. So what are hosted services?

Hosted services are a wide variety of IT functions including: email hosting, web hosting, storage, security, monitoring, applications, (SaaS) and infrastructure over the Internet or other wide area networks (WAN).

Email Hosting
This type of service offers premium email at a cost rather than using advertising supported free email, or webmail (IE: Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, etc.).

Email hosting allows for custom configurations, as well as supporting a large number of accounts. Another great benefit that people love is the fact that you can have your email with your own custom domain name.

For example, instead of JSmith@yahoo.com, you can have JSmith@(yourcompanyname).com.

Security can be enhanced with this service, from spam filtering, to custom platforms and policies.

Hosted email is far more customizable then a traditional free email solutions. Most companies that provide email hosting also provide web hosting.

Web Hosting
This service lets users publish personal or professional websites, and make them available via the World Wide Web.

The hosted service provider is basically providing the customer with server space to store the various information, videos, audio, and image files, as well as management and backup services for their websites.

Remote Backup
This service provides users with an online system for backing up computer files and storing them. We covered remote backup service in our September newsletter (www.TechTidBit.com).

Typically, remote backup software would run on a schedule, and backup files daily, compress, encrypt, and sends the files to our servers via the Internet.

The beauty of a remote backup service is the fact that the client does not have to worry about switching and labeling tapes, or any manual steps what so ever.

Disaster recovery takes it a step further, and is able to take a backup image, and virtualizes your entire server. In the event of a server crash or other disaster, the service provider can have your server back online and fully functional within hours.

Hosted services are here to stay, due to their ability to minimize IT and training costs, control and predict your costs, remotely monitor/manage the infrastructure, and maximize the changing business needs and requirements, allowing the business to focus on its operations, and core growth rather than their computer networks.