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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Things you DON'T want on your website

Now, this admission will reveal my age.  I have been a part of designing websites through ~every single aspect~ shown on this infographic chart from Who Is Hosting This.

Click here to view the infographic. You may need to click
again on the image to make it large enough to read.


From gradients to web counters, I have done them all. Take my advice and do not ask me to add these things to your website unless you are wanting a "retro" look. Except maybe drop shadows, I like drop shadows. They may have their place depending on the design.☺



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Digital Marketing for the Small Business

OutMarket has put out in interesting white paper on "15 Ideas to Grow with Digital Marketing".  Online marketing is not just for the big guys but is easily available for small businesses and you need to take advantage of that opportunity to level the playing field in your industry. The article provides some of the first steps in developing your online marketing plan and well worth reading.

Some small business owners want to save funds and do it themselves but you might want to consider hiring this out to an online marketing specialist so you can focus on YOUR business. Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics and social media monitoring can monopolize your time, taking you away from running your business.

Shameless plug, McAllister Park Design can help you with your online marketing and increase your exposure online to potential clients. We will work with you as a consultant to help you develop a plan or as your regular marketing guru, your choice.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Favorite Apps/Software

Do you know the difference between an app and software?  Well, if you try and look it up online, you will get a variety of answers. What we do know is that "app" is short for "application".  Past that point, the line is pretty blurred as we often use the word "software" pretty extensively for any "application" that runs on a computer.  But there is a definition.

An app is computer software that is designed to help the user perform various light weight
tasks on the computer (but more often referred to an application on a phone or tablet) while software is usually things like your operating system and system files on your computer.   Does it matter? Probably not.

With that out of the way, I want to list a couple of my favorite apps.  Hopefully, you will find them helpful in your business as well.  The great part is that they are low cost and free since I tend to be frugal when it comes to business "apps".  I also want the app to cross all my platforms for the most part (which includes Windows 8.1, Windows Phone and Kindle HD).

Evernote - How could you not function with this wonderful notebook style application.   It allows me to keep notes, articles clipped from the internet, lists, ideas and journal.  It helps you stay organized and helps you remember. This they do quite well.  You can use the application for free or the premium version (with offline notes, more security and search capabilities) for $45 per year.  What a bargain.

Toggl.com  - I need to keep track of my time for various clients and different projects. What better way than Toggl which is available for Windows, iOS and Android (and will sync together as well).  I have used this for the last year, replacing an older program (Time Is Money) I used to use before the world of the cloud applications.  Now I can track not only my time on my computer but when I am in a meeting, a phone call or consulting with a client.  I can report hours for each project or a detailed report for the last year. This is important to me business. Free with subscription upgrades for $5 per month.

Live.com Calendar - Honestly, I use the Google Calender for various Non-profit websites but I use the live.com calender on my phone and computers. It captures events off of Facebook, it is easy to add events and always with me.  With connectivity through all my electronics, I no longer use my paper calendar. I also appreciate that it notifies me of upcoming events. It is a great babysitter for me as I don't keep track of dates quite as well as I used to when my memory was younger.   I haven't used many of the other features such as Word, One Note and Excel but I am glad to have that option.

LastPass - I keep all my passwords safe and secure across my systems. Save yourself the hassle of remembering to write down your passwords, changing them regularly and "which password did I use?" nightmare. It allows you to save online form information as well saving you time and energy of typing your name and address over and over again. 




So, these are a few of my favorite things... until next time! ☺

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Should I Hire a Professional Web Designer?


Well, to tell you the truth, there are many reasons to hire a professional but there are
Your nephew might know computer games
but that doesn't make him a web designer.
times that you can settle with a DIY website. But avoid your geeky nephew that can throw up that a bargain website. Unless he is a professional, that is one situation I suggest you avoid.

Companies need a web presence. They need to have their information available to their customers such as products, services, hours, contact information, ordering, menus, specials, and much more. With a simple site, this might be workable on your own. There is no doubt that software and websites with templates and stock images makes it much easier today than even just a few years ago.  But if it is too much, call a professional.   If you are looking at e-commerce, call a professional. If you want custom features, call a professional. Just my suggestion.

You might also consider just doing a consultation with a designer. They might be able to help you organize your site plan and make sure you are marketing yourself online appropriately. A few dollars spent up front could save you considerable headaches in the future.

As a small business owner, I know that spending time on building a website will take the owner away from other important aspects of  their business. You might be surprised at the cost of a basic website even from a designer. Look at their work, ask their other customers and talk to them about your ideas. Their experience and expertise just might make the difference between success and frustration. :)






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

School's Out and DMC is Back!

Good Morning, Daily Mouse Readers!

I am back and ready to go, sharing information for your business, your online presence, marketing, social media and using your computer productively and effectively for your business.

Building your business online is just as important as your personal presentation, sales pitch and branding. Do you have your information online to support your customers coming to your location?  Do you provide them with your products, menus, specials, hours and directions?  Do you want to encourage them to contact you or to look elsewhere? Let me give you an example.

Coffee is a morning ritual.
I need my coffee in the morning!
I love coffee and my coffee maker died last week. I went looking for a new one that had the features I wanted.  Yes, I am a little finicky about my coffee maker. I prefer a thermal pot so I don't burn the coffee. My experience is that coffee makes last longer if they don't have a burner running for hours daily, not to mention keeping the cost down for electricity.  I wanted at least a 10 cup capacity (none of that individual cups or pods, please) and I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg. I saw that a big store (starts with a W) showed online that the model I was consider was in stock nearby.  So, I went out of my way to find it. But they were wrong. Not only did they not have that brand, it wasn't even marked in that aisle that they ever had that brand in-store. The clerk, that wasn't from that department, said that they often didn't have what the inventory said online but I could order it.  REALLY??  If they don't know their inventory, why would I trust them with an order?  If I am going to order it, I can get it cheaper from Amazon and know that it will arrive promptly.  Three other local stores were less than helpful finding the perfect coffee maker.  Amazon got my order.

Melitta 46894A 10-Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker

Building your presence online is more than just providing an online brochure. Be sure you provide the information your customer needs and wants. This  may be their first impression of your company and your product or service. Is your website a reflection of how you want your company to be portrayed? Do you want to talk it over?  Consultations are available (shameless plug!).

Friday, May 30, 2014

Taking a Hiatus

Due to a heavy work project load, an internship and homework (I will be graduating in the fall), I am taking a hiatus from the DMC for the summer.  I will still post links on occasion and write articles as I find time but it won't be daily until September.  I promise to come back with new information, great tips and maybe even some audio and video blogging to mix things up a bit.

Blessings! <><
Becky


You can now ask Google to remove links about you - CNET

You can now ask Google to remove links about you - CNET