Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Standing Out From The Crowd

Vision ICT Blog 05/13

Welcome to the Vision ICT Blog.

Every month we will have a topic or issue that we will discuss, either to do with the company, related business or technology issues that affect YOU.

Good news! Vision ICT will now be aiming to release 2 blog posts a month! We will do our best to keep up the high quality of content within our post. We hope you enjoy them.

This month’s topic: Standing out from the crowd

Whether you are a business or a council, or even a charitable organisation, everyone wants their cause to be visible. However, making sure your message can be heard above the others competing for the people’s attention can be a difficult task. So what can you do to increase your visibility in the rapidly evolving world of technology?

Web presence is a problem unto itself. Not only do you have to promote yourself, you physically have to compete with every other website on the internet. Page rankings play a major part on being found online, however I will be going into web page rankings and search engines in a later topic. 

For now, let’s assuming that the search engine angle is taken care of. Your site can be easily found online, and you can draw in visitors who are looking for what you provide. The question now is, how do you make people revisit your site or prioritize your product over others. 

The first thing that anyone will see when they visit your site is the front page. How does you front page look? Is it easy to handle and navigate? Is it clearly laid out and well presented, with a small number of same palette colours?

Colours are an important aspect of a website and ensuring you have colours relevant to your goal should be considered. Having bright blue and red text together might look nice, but it may be hard to read especially for the visually impaired. Usually you will want a single colour for the majority of text, maybe another for any links on the page and possible one more for major headings (although that isn’t always necessary as bolding and size increases can produce an equal if not better effect).

Presentation is key in any aspect of self-promotion and a website is no different. Ask a few trusted colleagues and ask them “Is this the best view of my site that I can put across?” Having an outside opinion can be very valuable. Everyone has their own view point but getting a couple of different ideas from different people will show up any glaringly obvious problems.

Are all your documents up to date and well organised? Every page and any information on your website should be carefully and clearly laid out. Visitors should be able to get exactly what they want without having to dig around for it. Quite often councils will forget to upload minutes and agendas and the site will slowly slip out of date. Having a reminder to constantly keep the site updated is a good idea. Perhaps write a note on your calendar at the end of each month. This also keeps people a reason to revisit the site, as they may well have an interest in minutes/agendas/newsletters or such.

Giving people a reason to return another day ensures regular traffic. A council can also do a regular news update about the local area for residents. On the business side, having a personal front that is friendly can make a big difference. Updating about big jobs or changes within the company can be very positive. If most of your business is local, making reference to local news and events can also show you are in touch with the community.

Another good way to get people’s attention is to have unique features. Having something on your site like a photo gallery or a question an answer facility gives a site visitor something interesting to do and look at. Engaging in public opinion helps make people feel that their concerns are being listened to. Photos relevant to your product or company can help give people a better feel for the quality of service you provide, or photos of the local area show how close you are to the community.

Audio/visual elements can be very striking and memorable. Most businesses and councils won’t consider this angle, as up until recently the support for sound/video on websites has usually been rather shoddy at best. However, interactive technology is on the rise and as a having a good quality video presentation as part of your website could be beneficial. A voice and a face are far more memorable than a simple block of text.

Vision ICT itself has recently started using cartoons to punctuate its blog posts. Just even the littlest of things can help give your web presence a fresh look and get people interested in what you have to offer. Even if a visitor doesn’t specifically buy a product, they’ll likely remember you when talking to friends and colleagues.

If you are interested in adding some fun new facilities to your Vision Website such as a Vision Questionnaire, Vision Video Presenter or Other Addons, give us a call and we will talk through your options.

Until next time, stay well!

Next month – Search Engine Optimisation

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Importance of Data Backup

Vision ICT Blog 05/13

Welcome to the Vision ICT Blog. 

Every month we will have a topic or issue that we will discuss, either to do with the company, related business or technology issues that affect YOU.

Sorry this month’s blog is a bit late, it’s been a very hectic month!

This month’s topic: Importance of Data Backup

Information is the key to any well running organisation. The mark of a human civilisation is the ability to record the world around us and display that knowledge in the future. From cave paintings, through parchment and paper, right up to the computer our advancement as a species has been reflected in how we record information.

That being said, some of the greatest tragedies of our history have been the loss of information. In the dark ages we lost a great deal of technological and cultural information which took centuries to recover and relearn. Knowledge of ancient peoples, places and practices have been lost due to no written records existing. Even in recent times, so many black and white films and early TV shows were discarded with no consideration of their value in the future, never to be seen again.

What would you do if tomorrow all computers stopped working? Without access to all the information we have stored on computers we would be in complete anarchy.

How about you personally? What would you do if your computer crashed tomorrow? Could you continue your work/job without computer support? How easy would it be for you to restore any lost data?

For many businesses the loss of critical data can spell the end of operating. In the public sector, the loss of documents can cause confusion and damage public confidence in a local government body. Whilst most people won’t even consider emergency procedures, any computer is at risk of damage. Be it a virus, floods, theft or accidental damage, computers are surprisingly fragile and most people only store data on a single computer.

What are the solutions to this?

Well you could store a backup on an external drive like a USB. However this is dependent on the drive not also failing, and finding somewhere safe to store the drive. Also as more updates are made to the data, you will need to personally update your back up. How often will this be done, once a month, once a year? What if critical data is gained BEFORE you can get around to backing up?

Another solution is online data backup. Cloud storage looks to be the future of computing. Cloud storage often will see your data uploaded with security encryption to prevent unlawful access, stored on multiple servers to ensure prevention of loss, and will automatically back up the data at allocated times so you don’t even have to remember it.

Vision ICT offers its Vision Backup services to help keep your data secure. If you want to utilize the Cloud and want the complexity of organising it taken out of your hands, then give us call and we will provide you with details about our service. 

Until next time, stay well!

Next month – Standing Out from the Crowd