Do you find yourself getting frustrated by technology – computers, the Internet, mobile phones for example? These simple tips, in the video below, will help restore some sanity and save you time into the bargain.
The video is a recording of a talk given by David Pogue who describes himself as the personal technology columnist for the New York Times. It’s just under 6 minutes long and well worth watching.
To save you time making your owns notes, here are some that I made from the video.
- Scrolling on your computer – pressing space bar scrolls down 1 page. Ctrl/space scrolls up 1 page.
- On forms press tab to jump to the next field.
- Ctrl/+ make the text larger. Ctrl/- makes the text smaller. Just keep repeating to get even larger or smaller.
- On smartphones, to avoid typing full-stop, space and then capitalizing the next letter when you start a new sentence, just hit the space button twice. (Actually, on my Blackberries you just hold the space button down for about a second)
- On any phone just hit the call button to redial the last number dialed.
- To skip those recorded messages you get when you dial certain companies just hit the # key.
- To convert currencies or measurement units just type the values into the Google search box. You’ll find the converted values at the top of the search results.
- If you’re editing text on a computer and want to highlight a word just double click it rather than swiping your mouse across it.
- When the word has been highlighted just type over it rather than deleting it first.
- On a digital camera, to avoid shutter lag, press the shutter button half way to pre-focus before taking the picture.
I hope you found these tips useful. I certainly did. If you have any tips of your own to share just hit the Read More button below and leave a comment for others to see.
I see this all the time even with some of my own clients; even after I have explained to them how to use their blogs,
You see, the problem is that, these days, people are inundated with sales messages to the point where they are immune to them, and even where they are turned off by them. Your website pages should advertise the products and services that you provide. What’s point of writing a blog if it’s going to contain more of the same?
What should your blog be used for? It should be used to demonstrate your expertise. Post articles about trends in your field of business; your opinions about what’s going on in your field; educational posts about your field; results that you’ve obtained for your clients. All these things will demonstrate your expertise.
Your aim should be to establish yourself as an authority and expert in your field of business so that potential customers will trust you. If your blog makes you come across like a pushy sales person, then it will simply push people away.
I’m not saying you can’t talk about the occasional special offer or promotion that you’re running. But the main thrust of your blog should be informative content.
How do you use your blog? Are you pushing people away?
Click the Read More button below right to share your comments
A client calls you to ask why he hasn’t received the quote he requested last week. You pause, try to remember and then think “Oh s**t”. You remember opening his letter and throwing it in your in tray so you realize that it must be somewhere under the stack of paper that’s in there.
Sound familiar? We’ve all been in this situation at sometime or other. But in today’s fast moving world, “stuff” (i.e. all the things that come at us such as letter, emails, texts, telephone requests etc.) comes at us so fast that keeping up with it con become a nightmare. How can we handle it? …..Read More
I’m often asked what is the best way to send out bulk email - e.g. email newsletters – to distribution lists.
Many businesses I know simply use their email client, such as Outlook or Outlook Express, to send bulk emails. They create the email and then put the distribution list of email addresses in the bcc field. By doing this recipients don’t get to see the entire distribution list. Whilst this approach is acceptable if you’re only mailing to a few addresses, once your distribution list starts to grow it becomes difficult to manage and, more importantly, you could run into trouble with your email service provider.
Email Service Providers frown upon bulk email because it clogs up their servers and it could be spam. Many service providers will disable your account if you persist in bulk email.
So what’s the best way to send bulk email if you have a distribution list that you regularly send mailings to? The answer is an online bulk email service. There are numerous services you can choose from. The service I use is called Campaign Monitor (www.campaignmonitor.com).
With Campaign Monitor you can set up emails as either plain text, or html if you want to include images and formatted text. Templates are provided to help you create your emails. Alternatively, you can create html emails using an html editor such as FrontPage, and then import them. You can also personalize them by, for example, adding the recipients’ names on a salutation.
Distribution lists can be as big as your want. When you’ve sent out your mailing, Campaign Monitor automatically manages your distribution lists for unsubscribes and bounce backs. You can also get statistics about the number of recipients who’s viewed the emails.
You do have to pay however. You can set up an account for free but you have to pay for mailings sent to more than 5 recipients. A mailing to 1000 subscribers will cost $14 (the service is run from the US) but this is a small price to pay to make your email marketing campaigns and newsletters look professional.Read More
One of the LinkedIn groups that I subscribe to recently had a post entitled “Do Businesses Really Need a Website”. The post referred to a survey that has recently need done where 24% of businesses surveyed replied that they didn’t have, or need, a website. My comment to that post was that most of these businesses who don’t have a website would be out of business in a few years time because of the increasing demographic trend towards the use of online technology by both consumers and suppliers.
Having given this more thought I’m now of the view that not all businesses require a website. However, I still stand by my claim that businesses that don’t embrace online technology will, at some time on the not so distant future, be out of business.
Many business’ website are useless. They are static online brochures that never get updated from one year to the next. And I’m not just talking small businesses here. Some of the larger businesses have websites that never get updated despite having spent thousands to set them up.
The key to unlocking the power of the Internet to promote business is to use it to hold a dialogue with your customers and prospects. The dialogue can be through a blog or social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or iTunes, or whatever arises in the future. That dialogue doesn’t necessarily require a website. Many small businesses do very well just using Facebook. The key here is regular interaction with your audience.
Some people think that all these things that I mention are a passing fad that they can ignore. That is a big mistake because almost everyone, nowadays, is carrying around a computer. It’s called a smartphone.
Smart phone are now ubiquitous. They’re everywhere. Actually I hate the term smartphone. These things are actually personal computers. Yes I know that the term personal computer is used, wrongly in my opinion, for a desktop computer, but these so-called smartphones are really personal because we carry them around with us and use them all the time, not just for phoning people, but for all kinds of applications including accessing and interacting with people on blogs and social media site.
The fact is that technology is now in the hands of the people in the street. Most people under the age of 30 are 100% comfortable with it. What’s more, the development of that technology is accelerating and, overall, making it easier to use. So businesses that think they can carry on marketing by simply placing ads in the local paper and having Yellow Pages paid for entries, are fooling themselves.
Embrace the new technology now and start a dialogue with your customers and prospects. Fail to do that and at some point, in the not too distant future, you will go the way of the dinosaurs. Oh, and of you do have a website and it’s a static brochure site, then you fall into this category as well.
Here’s a website you’ be crazy not to look at - http://theoatmeal.com/
What’s the best way to get your points over to your readers?
Let’s face it, no one wants to read pages of endless text even if they do spell out all your important messages. Images are great but don’t really get the points over. I’ve always argued that the best balance is a combination of the two, but even then, whilst you will probably get your points over to your readers, how much impact will they have? Will your readers remember your message a day, a week, or a month later.
The Oatmeal website uses a unique cartoon style that is often hilariousness, whilst at the same time covering some topics that would otherwise be boring. For example, check out the item that explains how you should use semicolons. For me, semicolons were always a bit of a mystery. I now understand thanks to The Oatmeal cartoon; the impact it made was such that I won’t forget.
I found the Tech section to be highly amusing as well (I would wouldn’t I?).
The Oatmeal is different from other websites. It stands out; it’s highly effective; it shows what can be done by sidestepping out of the mainstream. I’m not suggesting that we all start drawing cartoons. The Oatmeal was created by a highly talented comic strip artist, Matthew Inman. However, in a world where there are more web pages that people on the planet, we all need to find ways to stand out from the crowd.
How do you stand out from the crowd? I’d be interested in hearing your ideas.Read More
What’s your USP?
On of the first things to decide before you even think about putting your business online is to decide what your USP is. Your USP will form the main theme running through your website, and other marketing activities, both on and off-line.
USP – Unique Selling Proposition
The unique things that a business offers to its customers that make it stand out from its competitors
Sadly many businesses appear not to have given a moment’s thought to their USP as the following story illustrates.
Here in my local town, Tenbury Wells in the Welsh borders, things tend to be a little bit behind the times, particularly so when it comes to local businesses. This is not a prosperous town, or even a prosperous area, so small traders need to do all they can to generate business just to stay afloat.
I noticed that over the recent Easter period, the local High Street traders have organized a poster campaign aimed a persuading people to “support your local shops over the Easter holiday period”.
Incredibly many of the shops have their ”support your local shops” posters displayed alongside their list of Easter opening hours showing that the shops are closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. A few are even closed on the Saturday afternoon.
The main thing that these local shops have going for them, in other words their main USP, is that they are convenient. I don’t have to drive 20 miles to buy a box of screws or to buy pet supplies, and I don’t mind paying a little bit extra for that privilege.
So I ask myself, if convenience is their USP, why do they make it inconvenient for me to buy from them? Do they know what their USP is? Have they given any thought to it? I don’t believe they have. I think many small businesses simply set up shop and go through the motions without any thought. The same it true for many small business’s websites.
So, if you are looking to put your business online, decide what your UPS is before you do anything else.Read More
A client calls you with a query about a phone conversation you had last week. You can’t remember all the details so you start rummaging through that pile on desk because you remember that you wrote some notes down on a scrap of paper.
Or you’re writing a proposal for a client and have spend half an hour trying to find the notes you made in your initial meeting with him.
Sound familiar? We all gone through this kind of scenario at times. But there is a better way …..Read More
Ignore social media and, one day soon, Google will ignore you.
I recently had a call from a customer asking me if I could look at her site to see if there was anything I could do to increase the site’s position on Google. I had previously done some optimization work with keywords to increase the site’s position but now, apparently, it was dropping behind competitors’ sites…..Read More
As a reminder, Google Reader is an RSS news feed aggregator. RSS news feeds are available from blogs and many websites. By subscribing to news feeds that interest you, you can read them all under the single umbrella of Google Reader. I have found it an extremely useful tool that saves me having to search visit and reed individual blogs.
Apparently Google Readers usage has been falling and Google have reached the point where they think it’s no longer worth maintaining. A shame I think but, if that’s the case, then I guess it’s inevitable.
All is not lost however, because there are a number of other RSS Readers with similar capabilities to Google Reader. Three alternatives that match the look, feel and functionality of Google Reader are Feedly, NewsBlur and The Old Reader. Google Reader offers the capability to export feeds and these three alternatives allow you to import this data.