The State of Mobile Technology: Are Desktop Computers Obsolete?     

desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets. Website Design And Marketing, LLCAccording to a recent PEW RESEARCH CENTER report* almost 66% of Americans own a smartphone. More importantly almost 20% of Americans rely on a smartphone exclusively for accessing the internet. These trends are expected to continue growing.

So what does this information mean regarding the desktop computer? According to a January 2015 IDC press release*…“Portable PC growth remains strong with double-digit growth from a year ago, while desktop shipments declined by more than -10%.”

Could this be the beginning of the end for the desktop computer? Desktops have survived the invention of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and a variety of other mobile devices, but could there a time come when all laptops seem too bulky and too stationary to ever own?

Current State of the Desktop Computer

Desktops and laptops still possess the majority of the market when it comes to searching the Internet at 90%, but smart phones are close behind at 80% and tablets are nearing 50% and growing rapidly. These numbers are expected to change in the coming years as tablets and other mobile devices become accessible to users in all budgets. There is also debate over the recent net neutrality ruling and how it will affect Internet use in the coming months and years.

Desktops have withstood the usual two year time-frame it takes for something to be considered obsolete once a viable replacement arrives on the market. However, recent years have brought alternatives:

  • Laptops now feature strong performance power without weighing a ton from excess hardware
  • Cloud services allow users to send data to online storage
  • As more and more people telecommute, desktops seem to make less sense

Despite the developments in mobile devices, many believe it will be a long time before business users shift completely to mobile devises over laptops or desktops. Desktops have a longer lifespan than laptops, but they limit the mobility of the user.

Desktops for Entertainment and Work

One of the key markets that will play a role in the lifespan of desktops is gamers. They benefit from the customization options desktops offer and require systems that are high-speed with strong 3D graphics. Smartphones, tablets and laptops will improve, but they will still be far from the ability of a desktop.

Another feature of desktops that appeals to gamers and other communities is the ability to easily fix and upgrade parts on a desktop. Laptops have some upgrade ability, but tablets are far behind.

Desktops allows users to operate numerous open windows simultaneously and run multiple monitors when necessary. Gaining single screen access to multiple browsers, photo editing software, social media, and word processing at the same time is essential for many people in the business world and a desktop is still the best (and in some cases only) way to do this.

Finally, and perhaps is the biggest argument in support of desktops never leaving the market? The devastation of a shattered screen is extremely unlikely. Anyone who knows the devastation of dropping their smartphone, tablet or laptop understands the security offered by a desktop computer.

Are we on our way to a desktop-free world? Only time will tell, but most agree it isn’t going to happen in the immediate future.

 

*Source:

http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25372415

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015

 

How to Create the Perfect Password

I came across this article about online security and feel it is so important and informative that I’m posting it verbatim from the originating website. A link to the story is at the bottom of this email.

How to Create the Perfect Password

With more and more of us shifting everyday tasks—banking, education, social interaction, even shopping for groceries—to the virtual world, securing our personal information has become more important than ever. One of the simplest ways to help protect our financial and other info from prying eyes and would-be identity thieves is to use a strong password. Yet many people take a decidedly casual approach to choosing a password, with potential disastrous results.

Having your password compromised is no laughing matter. More than half a million hackers have a go at cracking Facebook passwords every single day. In an effort to protect its users, the site gives specific tips for protecting both your Facebook account and any financial information you may have saved on the site—unsurprisingly, choosing a strong password is high on the list.

Facebook’s not the only place you have to worry about securing your financial info, of course. A 2013 investigation by Verizon found that, across 27 different countries, attacks on banks and other financial institutions account for a full 37% of data breaches. In 76% of these intrusions, the hackers simply used a weak or stolen password to access the system. Password theft is one thing, but if all that separates a would-be thief from millions of dollars is the name of someone’s pet gerbil, it may be time to beef up password protocol.

So what constitutes the “perfect” password?

If you’re serious about security, a strong password will include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and even non-keyboard characters. It will be unique (using the same password for everything might be common, but it’s also spectacularly unsafe). It’s also greater than eight characters in length, contains arbitrary phrases made using numbers and letters (e.g., “b4D P4S$W0Rd”), but no complete words. And no matter how secure your password is, it’s made more secure by changing it regularly.

Strong, adequate, or weak, no password can protect against every possible threat. But by following our tips, you can help keep your social media accounts in your own hands, make your financial info safer, and encourage meddling thieves and hackers to seek easier prey.

http://www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/2014/02/27/how-to-create-the-perfect-password/?fb_action_ids=10152419833448036&fb_action_types=og.likes

How to Create a Strong, Professional Online Presence for Your Business

How to Create a Strong,  Professional Online Presence  for Your Business
These days most local businesses have a website.

One important marketing goal of a business should be to build a strong online presence that conveys a professional message and supports your company’s mission. Unfortunately, if a website is your only presence, you are missing out on a lot of great marketing opportunities.

What are the best ways to create a strong, professional online presence for your business? Here are a few thoughts.

Have a Complete Website

First and foremost, your site should be current and relevant. If it has been a long time since the site was updated, make revising your website your first priority. Your firm’s site should be current from both a content AND a software perspective. Most people choose to update the content with a blog. Add new and relevant content on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis, but make sure it is consistent. The great thing about a legal blog is the amount of material with which you can work – there are always topics and stories that are timely and relevant to share with the public.

Utilize Social Media

Social media is a branding tool, not a sales tool. Too many business owners dismiss social media as a viable way to grow a business online, but this is changing fast. It is important to explore your social media options and determine the best course of action based on the needs of your firm and where you are now.

If you are currently absent from social media, choose one platform and spend a few weeks focused on building a campaign. Once that is consistent, add another platform. For instance, set up a Facebook page and begin posting to it daily. Once that is part of your regular routine, create a Google+ page, then a Twitter account, and so on. The key is to have solid, consistent campaigns for each platform.

In addition to having these social media accounts and keeping them active, there are other beneficial things you can do. For instance, those with Google+ accounts can take advantage of Google Authorship. This links all the content you publish online with your Google+ account, giving you greater credibility and making it easier for people to find your work.

Create Videos

Online videos are one of the most consumer-friendly methods for marketing. As a matter of fact, the video content site YouTube reaches more consumers age 18 to 34 than any cable network. Six billion hours of video are watched every month on the site. Though a lot of that is entertainment, YouTube has also become a destination for research and learning.

If you have not yet considered using video to enhance your online presence, you should add it to your list of goals for the year. Video is truly the key to taking your firm’s marketing to the next level. It puts potential clients at ease and helps them feel familiar with you before they even step into your office. Videos also show you are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to educating people about your field.

Claim Your Directory Listings

There are free listings for your business now on all Internet Yellow Pages, local search pages and directories, including vertical legal directories. Typically these are basic generic listings, name firm name, address and phone number. By claiming these listings you can build out the details to include email addresses, website URL’s hours of operations, photos and practice area information. This makes for both a more robust listing for those potential clients seeking your products and services as well as an extended Internet footprint which the search engines appreciate.

Solicit Reviews and Testimonials

This seems simple enough, but not enough business owners are taking advantage of it. Consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, especially if they are connected to that person in some manner. Asking happy clients to review your services is one of the best ways to build an online reputation. Referrals are as important (even more so, really) online as they are in the offline world. Find a way to link your social media efforts with soliciting referrals and you will create a great system for reaching out to potential clients at a very personal level.

Looking for more ways to enhance your firm’s online presence? Give us call!

Why You Have to Think Like Your Potential Customers and Clients.

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When It Comes to Online Marketing, You Have to Think Like Your Potential Customers and Clients. Here’s Why 

Online marketing can be a tricky business, but if you master the human side of the process, everything else seems to fall into place. One of the most important things you can do to successfully market your firm online is to understand how your customers and clients think. Getting into their head and anticipating their concerns is one of the most effective ways to get them to take the next step.

Why is thinking like your potential clients the key to online marketing success?

It helps them feel a connection.

You know that moment and how special it can be – the exact moment you truly relate to someone and feel like they “get you.” It can be a powerful emotional experience and it always leaves an impression. This is the feeling you want to create for potential customers and clients. If they feel as if you get them, they are more likely to trust you and reach out to you when in need of your services.

According to a recent Harris Poll, nearly half of all consumers surveyed said they are influenced by product and service reviews on social media sites. People crave connections and they want to feel a connection before making a purchase or working with a professional. You can launch this connection by understanding their needs and relating to what they believe is important.

Knowing their needs enables you to provide the right product for them.

Unfortunately, too many marketing campaigns focus on virtually screaming the benefits of a product or service in a person’s face. You might think it helps to tell a potential client all you can do for him or her, but the truth is people only care about the few specific things they need. They want to talk about themselves and know you can fix whatever problem they are desperate to fix.

This is especially true when it comes to marketing a local business firm. Most of your potential customers and clients are in need of a product or service, have a trouble or stressed situations, or at least concerned about important issues in their lives. If your marketing message offers them comfort, it is more likely to be effective.

Thinking like your potential customers and client allows you to anticipate their future needs.

Best of all, when you put yourself in your potential customers’ and client’s shoes, it is easier to keep them coming back for more. Making a good impression means customers and clients will return to your business when they need the goods and services you provide. If their experience is positive and they feel related to, they are more likely to refer to you as “my favorite store”.

Looking for ways to get into your customers and client’s minds and figure out what they really want? Wish you knew how to turn this knowledge into a successful online marketing campaign? We can help. Give us a call today to learn more about building your most successful marketing campaign ever in 2014.

Website Design – New Features for Today’s Marketer

The Internet changes frequently and over time, has become more and more adept at helping the average person find the information needed to make important decisions. What does the online future hold and what should your business focus on in 2014 to make the most of your online marketing opportunities?

Website Design   

The Internet is one of the most valuable tools consumers have at their disposal for conducting research, so to give the impression of being a successful business, you must make sure you are using professional online marketing to your advantage. In today’s digitally connected world that means a website for both the desktop users AND a mobile optimized website.

Website design is one of the most important factors for building a strong online reputation for your firm. A high-quality professionally designed website says a lot about the quality of service your firm provides. It enables your visitors to access the information they want in a quick intuitive manner, creating a strong engaging user experience and is more likely to eventually generate new inbound phone calls.

Mobile

More and more people these days are using mobile devices to access the Internet. Recent estimates show about half of all Americans use smartphones and about a quarter of the population owns a tablet. With so many people using these PC and laptop alternatives, website owners must ensure their site is capable of performing properly on a mobile device. Experts say that before too long almost all Internet access will be done through a mobile devise. Will your website be prepared to render the proper mobile-optimized user experience on these mobile devises?

Website Security

In addition to having a desktop site that looks good and functions on a mobile device, you must also make sure your company site is secure on these devices. You must do all you can to ensure your website is not hacked and it is secure. The most up-to-date options include protection from mobile data loss and threats specifically targeting tablets and smartphones. Security should also include reduced risk for lost or stolen devices, including unauthorized access, and data leakage from employee-owned devices. Finally, the best security systems offer equal protection for desktops, iPhones, iPads, Windows Phones, and Androids. However no system will ever be 100% secure, at best it will only deter the hackers.

Content and Design Revisions for Older Sites

Finally, consider if it is time to update your desktop site’s content and design. Aside from general updates of information, you might also need desktop software upgrades and updates to make the site compatible with today’s devices. Things like typography, interactivity, and format all effect a site’s usability on a mobile device. Responsive web design will continue to be a trend in 2014 because so many people are transitioning to mobile devices as their primary means of accessing the Internet. Content will continue to be an issue for optimization, too, so if it’s been awhile since your last revision, now is the time to get started.

If you want to learn more about the latest design trends for 2014 or you are ready for a site upgrade or simple evaluation, let us know. We can help you get your site ready for the next phase in Internet marketing.

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Have website marketing, website security or SEO questions, just email or call us for answers at 516-238-5252.

 

Google Algorithms Updates and Your Company Website

Here is a fact worth noting… every business website is affected by recent Google algorithm updates. It started a few years back with one called Panda, which was followed by Penguin in 2012, and finally Hummingbird near the end of last year. The goal of each update was to enhance the user experience and ensure the best results were provided when users conducted a search. Unfortunately for some, it sent their online marketing plans into a tailspin. What do algorithm updates mean for your firm’s site and how you can you avoid the problems many experienced in 2013?

Understanding the Latest Update – Google’s Hummingbird

Hummingbird was the most sophisticated of the three recent algorithm updates. It attempts to anticipate what a user wants in response to his or her search. Hummingbird considers a user’s location and his or her search history when returning results. Hummingbird also makes it easier for users to search using natural language, so instead of typing “personal injury lawyer,” he or she can enter the question, or verbalize “where can I find a personal injury attorney specializing in auto accidents?”, and Google will understand the tone AND intent of the question.

What Does This Mean for Your Company?

Sites featuring quality content experienced few negative effects from the Hummingbird update and in many cases, they rose in search results. However, as things continue to evolve, traditional SEO practices might not be enough to garner the results you want from your company’s site.

Google has more engineers today working on search than ever before. Fifteen percent of searches each day are phrased in ways Google has never seen before. Their goal is to stay ahead of the curve. Your online marketing goals should be, as well. If you want to make the most of Google and other search engines, there are a few things you can do to improve your rank now and maintain a high rank in the future, even as things change. Most importantly, post new quality content regularly. Blogging is an excellent way to accomplish that task.

How can your company’s site offer the best user experience and ensure Google’s algorithms appreciate your efforts?

#1 – Post high quality content on a regular basis. Make sure your content focuses on your business niche and provides information you believe your client would want to read. The better you know your potential clients the easier it will be to provide valuable content. Learn more about getting inside your client’s heads here.

#2- Be practical about keywords. They are still important, but abusing them will only damage your rank. Take a common sense approach to keywords and use them as a general guide for content, instead of as the main driving force.

#3 – Utilize Google Authorship because it boosts your online credibility. Google Authorship allows you to officially claim ownership of your firm’s content, so readers establish familiarity and trust with you. Algorithm updates will likely continue to favor verified authors, so linking content and Google Authorship will also enhance SEO.

The more you do now to make your business site high quality the less you will be rattled when new algorithms are released. Ultimately, trying to outsmart or trick search engines results in failure, so take an ethical approach to your site and in the end, your efforts will pay off.

If you would like to learn more about how algorithm changes affect your company web site or you would like to discuss changes that could improve your site’s rank, give us a call.
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Have website marketing, website security or SEO questions, just email or call us for answers at
516-238-5252.

Learn How The Internet Works!

how the internet works, website design and marketingThe World Science Festival has produced a most interesting 3 minute video clearly illustrating the way in which the Internet works showing how your computer’s browser finds and puts those web pages on your monitor’s screen.

According to their website… “The video lets you ride shotgun with a packet of data-one of trillions involved in the trillions of Internet interactions that happen every second. Look deep beneath the surface of the most basic Internet transaction, and follow the packet as it flows from your fingertips, through circuits, wires, and cables, to a host server, and then back again, all in less than a second.”

Worth your time to watch it here: How The Internet Works

How much is a website?

the cost of a website
We get the question all the time – “how much is a website?”. The answer is another question… ‘How long is a piece of string?”

As our websites are customized for each client, designed to match needs, budgets and the styles of their particular industry, there is no one-size-fits-all website so there is no set answer as to that question. Yes there is a range we could quote but as soon as you do that expectations are set.

The way we then answer that questions is with a short series of other questions, the answer s to THOSE help us determine a rate. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when considering a new website:

  • What exactly do you want your website to do? The answer to this helps determine the look / feel / content density of your site.
  • Why are you considering a new website ( or website revision of an existing site) now?
  • If you already have a website for your business, what do you like about it? What do you dislike about it?
  • Who will be maintaining your site in the future?

Once we have answers we can then make some determinations as to what type of site and how robust it should initially be. From there we can work up a customized quote.

Feel free to answer the questions yourself, and then call us to discuss your answers.

WEBSITE & INTERNET SECURITY – A NECESSITY IN TODAY’S DIGITAL WORLD!

WEBSITE & INTERNET SECURITY by Website Design And Marketing

It is a digital 21st century fact of life. Despite constant improvements in online security, websites are more likely than ever to be hacked. Across the board, website hacking incidents have increased for sites of all sizes. Mega sites and even some USA government sites have recently been hacked as well as small business websites.

And while high-end security can be expensive, the good news is that small businesses can defend their sites effectively with more basic precautions.
Website security is now a critical issue that all web publishers need to address and protect against. To that end, we will be offering a few tactics that small web publishers can use to deter hackers.

So how do you prevent this from happening? The truth is you cannot be 100% protected. Witness the recent news stories about mega-sites such as LinkedIn getting hacked, including even a few of the USA government sites.

The best you can do is be diligent and check your site regularly.

So how do you protect yourself?  Here are a few tactics to employ, broken into three groups:

  • Technical
  • Non-technical
  • Your local computer

Here are a few technical website security tips to discuss with your Webmaster:

  • If you have a website with login capabilities, purchase TSL or SSL support from your web host or domain service provider. This encrypts the login username and passwords at the Users computer before it is sent over the internet. If you don’t do this, hackers can pick up those credentials and gain access to your site. Don’t imagine that hackers aren’t listening or care about your site, because that is simply not true.
  • Secure your file access. If you’re using FTP, switch to secure FTP (sFTP) or Secure Shell (SSH). You do not need a certificate for this. Most webhosts support this at no extra charge.
  • If you are using a popular, open source content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla, install a robust security plug-in, preferably one that can take advantage of the SSL certificate.
  • Protect yourself at the network level. All webhosts have firewalls, but an intelligent network security application improves security, reliability and performance.
  • Back up your site regularly, keep copies on multiple locations along with documentation on how to restore your site. If you site is hacked, the last thing you want to do is discover you really don’t know how to bring It back, are missing a password or lost some important file.
  • Make sure your site is running on current software and is up to date. This applies not only to applications like WordPress but server components like PHP and MySQL. “Isn’t that the web hosts responsibility?” Yes and no. Not all web hosts keep their environments up-to-date for varying reasons.

On the non-technical level, we have some common sense, but frequently overlooked suggestions:

  • All hosts are very much the same when it comes to serving static HTML, but it quickly gets more complicated when it comes to PHP applications like WordPress and security. Be sure to have someone who knows what they are doing look into this for you.
  • Make sure all passwords are an alphanumeric combination. Also change individual passwords on a regular basis.
  • Keep the admin password to yourself.
  • Disable employees’ passwords as soon as they leave your employ.

For your local computers, we have some common sense, but frequently overlooked suggestions:

  • Email security – delete your password trail from your PC as well as from your Gmail, MSN or other email accounts – including on the cloud servers. Go back to the old style “paper & pen” method of marinating your passwords. Just be sure to keep that list in a safe & secure place.
  • Keep all virus protection and malware protection up to date.
  • Maintain and install all Windows updates.

How to know when you need a dedicated mobile website

The 2012 holiday season illustrates consumer trends that smart business owners will take notice of as well as act upon.

• According to released data, Cyber Monday activity was 26% greater in 2012 that it was in 2011, indicating that more and more people are using the Internet in every part of their daily lives.
• More interestingly, access during that period by mobile devices increased by 16%!
What this means to your business… as smart phones become the new norm of accessing information online, your company’s website needs to be properly optimized for mobile devices. Doing so is an indication to your clients and potential customers that your firm is technologically up to date, and by inference your entire businessis up to date as well.

We’re seeing mobile access to some client’s desktop sites now at 30% levels. Check your analytics, and if your website is being accessed by mobile devices from 25% – 30% it may be time for you to have a dedicated mobile site to better serve your clients and potential clients searching for and vetting your firm.

Website Design And Marketing, LLC now designs and produces dedicated mobile websites and would be happy to discuss your needs and options.

Just email or call us at 516 238 5252.