Tag Archive: small business


SEO, SEM Techsnoop

SEO and SEM are Tools to Take Control of Your Business.

Small business owners have a choice; hire someone to completely control your digital destiny. Or, learn the basics of SEO and SEM to enhance your website and local business search results.

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization. When you or your web designer edits the metadata and content of your site, the search engine crawlers move your site link up closer to the top of the results. In local search, the customer’s location data is used to further filter these results. Search engine algorithms are constantly updated to push link-bait and spam sites further down and genuine sites further to the top of the results. Review the recommendations of Bing, Yahoo! and Google to lift your search rankings.
  • SEM: Search Engine Marketing. SEM is paid ads on sites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Bing. These ads show up at the top of search results and on the right sidebar of search results. This can be an effective short-term solution to help enhance your SEO efforts.

Organic search results are the results that naturally occur when a customer searches for your type of business. An example is ‘web design’ which used to be a keyword that businesses would overuse in their metadata and on their pages. The newest algorithms are able to determine web design from the page content without overuse of the word. In fact, today’s search engines will actually penalize your site for ‘keyword stuffing’ as this is now considered spam.

Providing good, relevant content that is updated often is the best way to reach the coveted first page of search results. These are the results most likely to be clicked by customers.

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Webdesign Ninja Techsnoop

Starting or updating a small business website? Interview your web designers like you would for employees. Here’s some tips.

Small business owners are busy wearing multiple hats running a business. So when it comes to technical solutions, most small business owners choose to outsource their website creation. To select a great designer or agency, you need to know some designer-speak. If terms like SEO, SEM, newsletters and list building are foreign to you, keep reading.

The purpose of your website is to increase your business income. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, bringing customers to your store or enticing them to call is the primary focus of a website. But if your site is not found by potential customers, no conversions can happen.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization; the process of having your site appear in search results high enough to cause clicks by customers.

SEM = Search Engine Marketing; the process of using paid search results to drive marketing activity.

To prepare for the web designer interview process, make a list of goals for your website. Decide on a color scheme and branding that you think reflects your business. Next, write a description of your ideal target customer. Having a picture of who you want to target helps direct the design process.

Does the designer communicate well?

Every tech person communicates differently. But when developing your website, the designer must be able to understand your goals and communicate how they will accomplish this. Is the designer clear, using normal English or do they use technobabble to make themselves sound smarter? This is a sign that working with the designer will be difficult.

Is there a portfolio you can review?

Does the designer have a range of work styles? Or do all their projects look exactly alike? It is ok for a designer to specialize in one area of design, but if your web site does not fall into their speciality, it won’t be a good match. Also see if the designer can do other things such as business cards to match your site. A web designer with multiple talents helps you to keep your branding consistent.

How will the web site be managed?

What platform will the designer use? Will you use an administration board to update the site or will the designer make updates for you? Will the designer train you to use the back-end? Most designers can offer a flat monthly fee for updating your site. But there are many options for making small updates to content, photos and prices yourself. Consider if you have the time to do this task.

Responsive Website Techsnoop

Will the Designer create a wire frame or mock-up of the site?

There are many wire frame or prototyping tools available so that you can get a good view of how the site will look and behave. Does the price include creating a wire frame or mock-up? If not, this is an important add-on feature that you should consider. You don’t want to be surprised with a difficult to navigate site that is not user-friendly.

How Much Will It Cost and What does it include?

Know what your budget is for a website and what features you need to accomplish your goals. Be sure to get a written proposal of the functions included and the total price. Understand that any changes will come at an increased cost.

Does the price include editing photos, uploading starter content and training? What about a logo? These are usually extra features that may cost more.

If the web designer is good to communicate with, offers the services you need and is within your budget, you are most of the way to your new website!

Need more help? DKemp Designs is always happy to help with a free consultation call.

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HP Envy Review DKemp DesignsTech Upgrade

Hello fellow geeks, technophiles and those who need translation of geek-speak. Wondering what Techsnoop has been up to? Wonder no more! Techsnoop has been busy learning many new software tricks. This put a massive strain on Techsnoop’s trusty Toshiba laptop which has served faithfully for many years as a design ninja.

Shopping for new tech is one of Techsnoop’s favorite activities, but not when there is a ticking clock. The stress of getting the best value in a crunch situation is not fun. But the Geek Gods were with Techsnoop, and a great deal appeared on an unlikely contender: the HP Envy x360. A convertible laptop was not even on the list of shopping items in this replacement foray. But the specs on this model were irresistible.

The Look

HP Envy CaseA sleek aluminum body with subtle curves, makes this a beautiful laptop even when closed. Under the hood, 12GB of ram, 6GB of video ram and a 1TB hard drive offer speedy response and lots of room for large design files. Altogether this created the need for a closer look. This is a Windows 10, 64 bit system with a 6th generation i7 processor and the price was so great, Techsnoop can’t even print it. Let’s just say many laptops with lesser specs were much more expensive.

 

Spectacular Specs

The official roundup:

Design – slim, lightweight aluminum body makes this beautiful to look at, hold and show off.
Weight – about 5 lbs, average and not too taxing to carry around. The trade-off is no optical (DVD) drive, but not a deal breaker.
Screen – bright, crisp, saturated colors. Not retina, but very close.
Touch – the touch screen has great sensitivity and seems calibrated correctly, with 95% or better accuracy.
Windows 10 – much better than Windows 8, Windows 10 allows you to configure and work the way you want with minimal distractions from the UI. Kudos.
Battery – five to six hours of use on a charge, Techsnoop gets between 4 and 5 hours with heavy applications and video playback.
Keyboard – keys are sensitive and responsive. A small dip keeps keys flush with the tray so keys don’t get pushed when in tablet mode. And there is a backlight button so you can keep working in dim lighting.

In fact, Techsnoop was working smoothly during a recent power outage in the Metro area! (But no internet :-()

Fun on the Go

The tent style is fun and efficient for watching video, learning tutorials or following recipes, while the tablet is great for taking notes, sketching or collaborating. No matter which form is used, the HP x360 is a solid computing tool to have. While Techsnoop will be adding more tech to the family, the HP Envy is a welcome and fun addition.

HP Envy Tablet HP Envy Stand

Working Freelance

Well, another year has passed and a lot was accomplished. Contacts made, family nurtured, skills expanded and I’m still standing! How great is that?

So, what next?

Many people use New Year’s Day to re-assess their goals and dreams, but I prefer my birthday. It is a more true measure of where I am in the universe. How have my experiences reshaped my moral compass? Maybe what was important last year is not as important today. After all, we live in changing times. So, forge ahead.

First, Access.

What worked in the past year? I make an informal list of where my biggest gains came from. For me, the biggest gains came when I stayed organized. Making a list and ticking things off is satisfying, but it also leads to rewards. Keeping focused on business expanding activities grows the business and creates income.

Next, be Ruthless.

Yep, there are some things we all do that make for false happiness but are a productivity drain. Sorry Facebook, time spent with you will be cut by 70 percent. Why? Although Facebook is the Monster in the closet we can’t ignore, it doesn’t bring the profits that other social media does. In less time per week, I get more leads and business generated from Twitter and LinkedIn than Facebook. It’s hard because I like being on Facebook, but chop, chop.

Wrap Up.

Decide on three objectives for the coming year and prepare an action plan. I have an ongoing objective to focus on mobile. Training, tutorials and development are all focused on mobile products. Mobile marketing is not going away and small business must adopt.

Also, entertainment is a key component of digital marketing so I am upping my animation skills. My website update will downgrade the giant slider and focus on animation and interactivity. Sliders are still important, but movement and fun are the keys now.

My last objective for the coming year is to improve my health. Smoothies, more homemade food and organically grown food (by me!) are all things I will be ramping up this year. And so far I am on track with my goals.

How about you? What objectives are you focusing on? How is it going? Let me know in the comments.

Techsnoop 30 days with Note 4

The Story

After sadly having to replace the beloved HTC EVO LTE, Techsnoop choose the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. This is a story of the first 30 days with the Note 4.

The Usurper

So in Techsnoop’s 30 day shake down of real world use, the Note 4 was extremely satisfying. Although the phone is large, it is a comfortable fit in my hand. (side note, Techsnoop has hands on the large side for a female). If you need frequent one-handed operation, there are settings to make that easier. It is thin and light and beautiful to look at. And the basic functions are simple to master.

Let’s look at the number one concern; battery life. Yes, the big, bright screen does suck up energy. But a tweak of screen brightness and screen saver settings helps extend this time.  In this test Techsnoop ran 3 to 5 games continuously with 3 email accounts, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, messages and S-Health. These settings with calling and texting using Bluetooth meant twice a day charging. The included fast charger made this pretty painless.

Techsnoop 30 days with Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Credit: Phone Arena

Productivity

Social media apps including Hootsuite are easy to open and use and the recent apps button keeps everything at your fingertips for fast retrieval. Voice recorder, Office Suite, Splashtop, WordPress and Square apps all work seamlessly. These are the apps Techsnoop can’t live without. Cashing checks with the Note 4 couldn’t be easier and the 3D Anatomy app is great for learning and for looking up info if you are having pain or symptoms. The scroll, detail and zoom all work excellent.

Entertainment

Games play lighting fast and graphics are crisp. Angry Birds games were great to play with the extra screen space. The display skews cool and bright but settings can be adjusted. Techsnoop prefers the rich colors. Phone connected to my bluetooth headset smoothly and voice quality was great (till my bluetooth battery started dying). Same with music playing, sound great and quickly switched from music to voice when calls came in.

Reading with Nook, Kindle and Komik apps are all smooth and easy on the eyes. The Note 4 is light enough to not have arm strain while reading for long periods. Graphics on the comics are crisp and beautiful. Disclaimer: Techsnoop loves printed comics, they are great but storage becomes an issue quickly. So, compromise with a digital/print mix.

One benefit of the shakedown is learning that all of Techsnoop’s/DKemp Designs‘ sites are beautifully displayed on the mobile screen which is between the former HTC EVO LTE and the 7 inch tablet size previously tested.

Stay tuned to this post for the unboxing video which is being edited by IRM.

The Dirty Specs

Galaxy Note 4 Specs Techsnoop 30 days

DKemp Designs Why Go Mobile
Are you hung over from Black Friday or did you celebrate Cyber Weekend and avoid the crowds? As a business owner Thanksgiving can make or break you for the year. Customers remember a great shopping experience even more than the deals.  Great mobile shopping strategy begins the year before you want results.

Still need a reason to convert to a mobile-optimized website?

  • Tablet users spend 50% more than desktop shoppers.
  • Mobile ads perform 4-5 times better than desktop ads.

*http://21-vital-mobile-marketing-facts

  • Over 40% of shoppers purchased from their smartphones on Black Friday 2013.
  • 78% of local mobile searches result in a purchase.
  • Over half of all internet shopping is on a mobile device.

*https://surprising-mobile-ecommerce-facts/

What are you waiting for?

Face it, no one wants to be outside in long cold lines. Why not shop in your cozy pajamas while eating leftovers? If your business doesn’t ship, let customers buy online and pick up in 48 hours. This allows you and the customer to shop more relaxed than in a 2 to 4 hour sub-awake rush.

As one of the growing crowd of shoppers who refuse to join the crush of camped-out zombies, Techsnoop only shops online during the Friday-Monday holiday kick off. An informal poll cites ridiculous hours for the employees, over saturation of useless items, rudeness of crowds and shopping apathy as reasons many are opting out of the in person experience.

DKemp Designs black friday 2014
Get ready for the next holiday by calling a local web design company to assist you with a mobile presence. It is even more important for 2015 due to the Google Penguin search rules. Have a fun and mobile holiday season!

DKemp Designs Be Mobile

(Originally published on LinkedIn by Dorthea Kemp)

If you are a small business owner, congratulations!

You are part of what keeps America growing in this fast changing economy. You anchor communities, give local teens jobs and provide competition. We all thank you.

The good news is, small = agile and able to respond quickly to market shifts and customer demands. Close relationships with customers translates to stronger referral business. The not so good news is one or two missteps can end your enterprise. So, what can small business owners do to bolster themselves for the long term?

Mobile Investment.

The amount of consumers using mobile to research and compare businesses before ever making a purchase is over 50%. Further;

72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week*.
95% of smartphone users have searched for local information.**
60% of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in a store, and another 50%
while on their way to a store.**

Small businesses have to leverage every available tool to compete against the mega-corporations endless marketing machines. Mobile technology is the pebble that levels goliaths.

Mobile access is the single most important step in small business success today.

Having a properly strategized mobile presence allows business owners to collect information, create and execute marketing campaigns and stay in close touch with their customer base. Repeat customers in the local area are small business bread and butter.

A mobile presence allows small business to cultivate the close caring relationships customers like and respond with low inventory and overhead to customer demands. A strong mobile presence includes a responsive site, landing pages, social integration, SEO optimization under the newest rules and listing on the major search engines. This is a strong combination to cultivate your market area.

Mobile Works.

One customer had been in a community for 10 years. Yet when we published their website, walk in traffic increased by 15% in only 60 days. The most frequent comment was “I never knew you were so close, I was driving out to other cities for your service when I could have walked”. So a mobile web presence instantly boosts your market without any other efforts.

But, don’t stop with publishing your site. Just as one customer can find you, allow others to locate you by using current SEO, social media and other low-cost efforts to ensure your site is found in the area you cover.

*http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-2013-mobile-growth-statistics/
**http://www.mobify.com/blog/13-stats-to-convince-your-boss-to-invest-in-mobile-in-2013/

DKemp Designs Perfect

(Originally posted on LinkedIn by Dorthea Kemp)

I recently read Tom Stevens’ post “I Don’t Care Anymore (Do You)?” which got me thinking, what does it mean to truly not care? Do I care? I mean, I don’t think Tom really doesn’t care about anything. But I believe that he, like so many of us is tired. Bone, brain, deep tired.

We are tired of always being on. We think it is a good thing, but it is exhausting. As if we are at a perpetual cocktail party. Dress or suit perfect, hair styled, teeth white with no food stuck between. All day, every day. We’re not just ready for our close-up Mr. DeMille*, we’re ready for our Selfie.

We’re tired of being body slammed with negative information. News is always telling us somebody died horribly, somewhere is at war, some child is missing or our favorite food is killing us. Now, information is important, but I don’t want to see a 12-car pile up while looking at my best friend’s second-cousin’s wedding pictures. The constant slam of horror during everyday activities generates a roller coaster of hormones that leaves us wrung out emotionally.

So, how to keep light spirited and excited with all the attitude and negative information weight? Here is my 5 step plan;

Unplug Regularly

Don’t be available all the time. Turn off your ringer and use your phone to read while blocking calls. Carve out specific times during the week when you just don’t answer your phone. That includes Facebook feeds, Twitter, texts and any other social media.

Soak your feet, take a nap, hem some pants, or make a plan to leave a dead end job. Just do it without the phone ringing or checking your “feeds”. Allow your brain and emotions time to process and absorb information in a peaceful environment.

Turn Off the Noise

Yep, we all do it. The TV is on for noise, not information or entertainment. If you’re not actively watching, turn off the screens. This controls the flow of passive information raising your stress level unconsciously.

Bask in quiet or talk to your family or neighbors. Actual face to face conversations. Pour a tall cold glass of Coke or iced tea and discuss the length of the grass or the meaning of the universe. Enjoy quiet pauses and smile.

Your brain and mood will love the break. Too much news can lead to depression ** and/or dampen empathy responses. If we are always responding to crises, we become immune.

Take a Class

Learn something new or expand your current skills. Learning a new skill or a trick with an existing skill generates excitement and passion. Doing something faster or better than you have before gives you a Superman boost. You have Mastered something. Yeah! Udemy has free classes and YouTube also has lots of great free tutorials. And don’t overlook Pinterest for DIY projects from headbands to making your own furniture.

Using something on a daily basis that you created or improved with your own hands gives you a really happy feeling. I reclaimed a butcher-block topped dining table to use as a desk and it became my favorite place to hang out.

Cook From Scratch

Make one meal per week using no processed foods. If you have a crock pot, it’s not even that hard. You can make everything from homemade bread to pot roast and vegetables in a crock pot. Frankly, after you find out how easy crock pots make meals, you may need more than one.

Chopping and measuring can be a Zen experience. Don’t obsess, throw everything into the chopper (I use a Ninja) and dump. Or, put on your headphones and rock out like a mini spin class without the sweat.

Put in the liquid, turn on the pot and read a good book. Soon the house will draw your family to the table with the smell of fresh cooked food. No yelling needed.

Play With a Toddler

Nothing refreshes your world view like talking to a 3 year old. They have an innate sense of right and wrong and everything is new and fun. Warning: this can lead to hearing the title song from Frozen a couple dozen times. Just go with it. Don’t schedule a play date or any structured activity, grab some bubbles, chalk, crayons or magnets and go (no screens allowed). The toddler will find something to do. Just follow.

I garden and my daughter doesn’t, but on Mother’s day while outside, my granddaughter picked up my spade and started stirring dirt in one of my pots. No prompting, and she was neat with it. We talked and I explained the plants. A good time was had by all.

These activities may not work for everyone, but try one or two during the week and see if your level of excitement or caring about the world increases. Or maybe you’ll invent something or just de-stress. The brain can be refreshed with any good music, learning, and face to face interactions. These processes all increase positive neural actions and hormones.

Tom’s remedy to withdraw physically sounds great and I hope to try it one day myself. Unfortunately it may not work for everyone who needs to rejuvenate, but anyone can do the 5 things listed above. Any combination of them can be used for a mini vacation to revive your brain cells. And that’s where excitement begins.

* Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard
** Bad News Burnout

Get a Taste of Geek

If you don’t understand the geek trend, May is a great month to test run your inner Geek. Try out some comics, movies or dress up as your favorite super hero.

Free Comic Book Day

Wonderworld ComicsIf you missed Free Comic Book Day, stop into your local comic store and talk to the staff. Chances are they still have some free stuff and some deals on popular story lines. As a newbie, they will be happy to catch you up on the latest. Techsnoop’s favorite store is Wonderworld Comics, located on Ecorse Road in Taylor, Michigan. The staff is ultra friendly and knows everything comic-related. Click here to find a store near you. As a bonus, most comic shops are small businesses and supporting local small business is great for everyone.

May The Fourth Be With You

Finally, celebrate today with a marathon of Star Wars movies. They were all released in May and the tag line is catchy. Here’s a salute from Techsnoop’s pal #SmuttyCat.

SmuttyCat Jedi

 

 

Shake Off Snowpocalypse

Well, it’s that wonderful time of year again. January, when all is cold and bleak and you must somehow road map an entire year of business success. Perhaps 2013 was OK, but you need to move to the next level. Or, maybe some of your tools and strategies did not work out well. Or, maybe, like Techsnoop, you have an unquenchable desire to grow as much as possible.

Whatever the motivation, success does not happen in a vaccum, it has to be planned, adjusted and planned. Toward that goal, here are some tools and technology that can help your business reach 2014 goals.

DKemp Designs Banner for TSH

Security

Security breaches came fast and furious in the last part of 2013. Don’t be fooled, this is a trend that won’t go away. Every person needs a security plan for finances, business and personal information. Default features and systems are not reliable.

If you have a Windows 8 computer, make sure you upgrade to 8.1 and use Windows Defender or AVG. Many of the programs that come pre-installed will expire after 60 to 90 days. Windows Defender and AVG both are free and don’t expire.

Change your passwords. Techsnoop cannot stress this enough. Not only change them, make them all completely different from any previous passwords you used AND use special characters. Hackers are not only getting better, they have awesome tools to crack passwords that are simple or based on personal information. Although many state you should not write down passwords, Techsnoop recommends you keep an off-line list secured at your home. This makes it easier for you to feel OK making complex passwords. Never keep them in any on-line accessible medium.

Mobile

Make your business mobile now. The percent of buying customers only accessing the web from a tablet or smartphone is rising daily. If you are not visible on these platforms your business will drop daily.

There are many options for going mobile. Even if you currently have a site that is not mobile, you can use a mobile app, build a smaller mobile site with your top sellers or use a template builder. Of course the best option is to build your site mobile ready from the beginning. DKemp Designs creates sites that will work on all devices, including iPads and iPhones. Whatever you do, now is the time to be mobile ready.

Technology

Many studies say that using headphones while working increases productivity. Find a comfortable set, choose your tunes and get ready to warp out piles of work. CNET has a roundup from CES2014 to look over. Techsnoop uses the ARCTIC P311 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones with Integrated Microphone because they;

Have an awesome 20-Hr Playback and several days standby time.
Are comfortable with over the ear and behind the neck style and padded ear cover
Come in pink
Switch from music to phone with no problem
Fold down to carry easily (see Techsnoop review on Amazon.com)

Upgrade your drivers on phones, laptops and tablets. If you connect your tech to printers, headphones and each other make sure they continue to work well together by keeping the software updated.

Drop Windows XP. Yes, Techsnoop knows it is easy to use and you like it. BUT, it is not ready for today’s tech and security. Support for the platform is non-existent and it’s just time to move on. Find a qualified tech to update you today.

Social Media

Sign up for Buffer App, Hootsuite or Commun.it today. You need social media management. Branding requires nuturing which requires keeping your name positively in the public. Offer your followers great content and occasional freebies and become a social rock star. But you need a management tool. Get on board today. And use one of many analysis tools to determine your best posting times.