Cloud Computing Alternative to Pricey In-house Gear

We can take somebody’s data center and run it for them on the cloud.
 – Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates

With this new architecture you’re always online and the applications are stored in the cloud.
 – Google CEO Eric Schmidt

I really don’t know clouds at all.
 – Songwriter Joni Mitchell

Everybody’s talking about cloud computing yet few people seem to know precisely what it is. So let me change this.

Read more

Simple Ideas to Increase Your Web Presence

If your idea of a web presence is just having a website, think again. Although a website is a crucial first step and should serve as a hub for your brand online, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How are your customers finding your website? Sure, your URL is on your business card and brochure but if your customers don’t know you exist that’s not going to help. Having a presence on the search engines for key phrases relevant to your products and services is vital. So put yourself in your customers shoes and come up with likely key phrases they may type into a search engine and do it yourself to get an idea of where your website ranks.

There are many different components to search engine optimization (SEO), including on-page and off-page optimization (link building), as well as information architecture considerations, so an assessment of your SEO needs is the ideal place to start and get an idea of where you are and where you could go.

Oh and if your customers are looking for your services locally PLEASE go to http://www.google.com/local/add/ and add your business now!

Do you have several unique products that can stand on their own? Separate websites or minisites may be a good strategy for you, segmenting your products and optimizing for search by using unique domain names.

Thinking about having a photo gallery or videos on your website? Using services like Flickr or YouTube can help you spread your brand beyond your website. Don’t forget to tag your photos and videos with relevant keywords and descriptions. Make sure your profile page links back to your website and brand the profile with at least a logo.

Do your customers look to the web for help related to your products or services? If you have the expertise and time a blog is a fantastic way to connect with your customers. Some questions to ask yourself include: What results are you trying to achieve? And who is your target audience?

Having a presence on social networking sites isn’t necessarily vital for every company, yet. It all depends where your customers are. For a quick test, try going to search.twitter.com and typing in the name of the product or service you provide. If you sell mattresses try searching for ‘new mattress’ or ‘new bed’ or if you’re a restaurant try searching “restaurants” near:”Halifax”. See anyone worth talking to?

Is your company B2B? Encourage your staff to use Linkedin. Again, don’t forget to link your profiles back your company website.

This is just the beginning of what you can do to increase your presence on the web, but if any of these tactics make sense for you, the time to start is today. If you have any ideas you’d like to add or any questions please leave a comment!