Is Your Website Functionality Costing You Sales?

website functionality is costing you sales

 

A recent article on the BBC website about website response times got us thinking.

Customers are more demanding these days.

They want a personal shopping experience, interactivity and rich media when they shop online.

The problem is that to create this type of personalisation a lot of scripts, images and integrations with other applications and systems are required, which have an adverse impact on website load times.

OK, we’re not talking minutes here; globally the average load time has gone up by 7% compared to last year (from 4.2 seconds to 4.5 seconds). Granted, that doesn’t sound too horrendous, but even a slight increase like this can have a huge impact on sales.

Half a second could cost you an 11% fall in sales

To illustrate this phenomenon, the article went on to talk about North American online fashion retailer, Nordstrom.

When its website’s response time slowed by half a second, its online sales fell by 11%. When you’re talking about a company with annual sales in the region of £10.6bn that equates to a loss of tens of millions.

Getting the balance right

It’s quite ironic that this problem is being caused by retailers who are trying to give their customers what they want – a more interactive, personalised multimedia online experience.

Many are so concerned that their websites continue to function and remain up and running that they lose sight of loading speeds. In light of Nordstrom’s experience, this ought to be one of the key metrics used when assessing website performance.

The article states that most of us won’t wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to lead before we head off elsewhere.

So there’s your challenge – to balance your rich customer experience with a load time that comes in under 3 seconds.

If you can achieve that, you’ll be on to a winner.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

What’s Draining Your Battery?

smartphone battery life

 

Smartphones are a Godsend.

You can be contacted anywhere, respond to emails anywhere, keep up with your social connections anywhere.

OK, at times this constant connectedness leaves you hankering for the good old days when mobiles didn’t exist, but to be honest, you’d be lost without your smartphones.

However, smartphones do have one draw back – FOFB – fear of a flat battery. Yes, you can guarantee, when you need your phone the most, your battery will die leaving you incommunicado.

It’s even more annoying when you’ve hardly used your phone all day.

Recently, Facebook as been revealed as one of the top iPhone battery guzzlers with some users complaining that background activities zap over 20% of their battery’s life.

It’s this background app activity that’s usually to blame, so how can you find out which apps are draining your battery?

If you go to Settings on your iPhone and scroll down to Battery:

iPhone battery

 

You’ll reach the following screen. If you scroll down to Battery usage you’ll see which are the offending apps:

iPhone battery usage

 

You can see how much battery each app has used over the last 24 hours or 6 days. Once you have this information you can decide on your best strategy for saving battery life. That could be closing Facebook while you’re not using it, or turning off the app’s use of your location.

Hopefully, that should help you identify which app or apps is stealing your battery life so you can enjoy a happier relationship with your iPhone.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Why Social Media Matters to Your Business

Do you really have to use social media within your business?comment

Is it a viable way of promoting your brand?

Can it really raise your profile?

Yes, yes and yes – social media really can do that for your business, and that’s just for starters.

You’ve probably heard it all before, but social media provides you with a genuine connection to your customers. Interacting with them has never been easier; you can get their feedback on  your products and services, give them offers, chat with them and provide solutions to people when they need them most.

Not only that, but should someone have a gripe about your service you can act immediately and change a potentially damaging situation into a PR triumph.

Having a Facebook Business Page will help you communicate with your customers and promote word-of-Facebook (the new word-of-mouth) behaviour. After all, the more people talking about you online the better.

Making powerful connections

But social media isn’t just about enhancing relationships with your customers. What about other businesses?

Platforms such as Twitter have made business owners (big and small) more accessible than ever before. It’s a great way to make new connections and to convince other influencers to talk about your brand.

And of course, then there’s the press.

Did you know that 1 in 5 journalists access Twitter daily as part of their story sourcing? Before you know it, one tweet could get you masses of press coverage – that’s pretty powerful stuff.

All in all, social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools your business has.

If you not there already, now’s the time to get started. Come on, join the social revolution.

Google Must Block Privacy Infringements, Say MPs

There has been a lot in the news recently about privacy infringements, and privacy rights. Nowhere, it seems, is this more important than on the internet. Its popularity has made it an instant sounding board for anyone wishing to put their opinion ‘out there’ for all to see.

But this brings problems, as outlined in a recent article by Stewart Mitchell in PC Pro.

According to Mitchell, a cross-party committee of MPs has called on Google and other web companies to block web content that breaches privacy injunctions. The committee was set up to ‘investigate whether new statutes were needed in the light of recently broken privacy injunctions and to discuss controls on the media.’ However, it concluded that better policing of existing media laws (and applying them to the internet) should prevent future breaches.

“The Committee says that major internet corporations [such as Google and other search engines] should take active steps to limit the potential for breaches of court orders through use of their products and, if they fail to do so, legislation should be introduced to force them to,” the committee found in a report.

“In addition, the Attorney General should be more willing to bring actions for civil contempt of court in respect of injunctions being breached online.”

In its defence, Google argued that it was difficult to take information down, but this was rejected by the committee:

“Google acknowledged that it was possible to develop the technology proactively to monitor websites for such material in order that the material does not appear in the results of searches,” the committee argued.

“We find their objections in principle to developing such technology totally unconvincing. Google and other search engines should take steps to ensure that their websites are not used as vehicles to breach the law and should actively develop and use such technology. We recommend that if legislation is necessary to require them to do so it should be introduced.”

The committee has also called for these regulations to be extended to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and, in time, major bloggers.

The report recommends that, when granting an injunction, the courts should direct the claimant to also serve notice on internet social media content platforms.

You can read the full article here.

 

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

How To Gain More Facebook Likes and Fans

standingoutEveryone seems to have a Facebook business page these days.

Social media has taken the business world by storm offering new channels through which you can communicate with your customers. Plus the potential SEO benefits are very attractive.

Before getting down to the nitty-gritty you might like to take a peek at this study from SEOMoz which shows the correlation between getting liked on Facebook and improving your rankings.

Did you know…

According to PracticalEcommerce:

  • On average, Fans spend an extra $71.84 they would not otherwise spend on products they describe themselves as Fans of
  • Fans are 28% more likely than non-fans to continue using a specific brand
  • Fans are 41% more likely than non-fans to recommend a product

Attracting fans

So the figures show that having a large number of fans is a good thing. But how do you get them?

Basically there are no quick fixes – you have to attract them by doing things that will benefit them.

Such as:

  • Offer coupons and giveaways – we all love something for nothing
  • Solve problems – show them how to save time or money (or both)
  • Educate – give them a useful ‘how to’ article
  • Research – giving away a useful eBook linked to your business is always a winner
  • Entertain – yes, sometimes people just want to have a laugh

Although social media is there to encourage participation and online communities, you can use it to promote your business. Just don’t go overboard.

The best promotion is by providing something that is of benefit to your fans – something they will value, enjoy and tell their friends about.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

More About Staying Safe Online

stay safe online In an earlier post I talked about staying safe online and being careful about what personal details you publish on social networking sites.

But what about professional sites such as LinkedIn – do you still have to be careful about what you write there?

The simple answer is yes.

Completing your full CV online isn’t a good idea. This information could be used by identity thieves when completing bogus loan applications or even worm their way into a company’s network if they have the know-how. So make sure you limit your work history.

At times you might be using sites like these in your job hunting activities. If that is the case, widen your scope of information only while job hunting. Once you have a position cut it back again leaving just information there to entice potential new employers in the future.

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn does offer you the ability to restrict the amount of information people have access to. For example you can close off access to others to your network of contacts. This can be very valuable especially if your network is sensitive to your job (e.g. as a sales professional or recruitment consultant).

Are you genuine?

Of course, staying safe online isn’t just about being careful about the information you give away. How can you be sure the person wanting to contact you is genuine? Are they really who they say they are?

There are a lot of reasons why someone would want to set up a fake profile – and most of them are bad. They could be looking to defame someone, embarrass someone by impersonating them or stealing their identity for fraudulent purposes. What’s more, their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts could be sending out links to malicious sites.

So how can you be sure the page/profile belongs to the person you think it does?

Well the best way is to stay watchful. If you know the person well, you’ll probably know their style and the type of things they are likely to post. If anything unusual appears email or call your friend to find out if it is legit or not.

Why do you need to know this?

Simply because the only way to crack down on fraudulent users is for us all to stay alert. By making sure you don’t reveal too much information about yourself and keeping watchful for fake accounts, we can all work together to rain on the ‘hoaxers’ parade!

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

How Much Information Are You Giving The Web?

information on the web Would you leave a note on your front door saying:

“We are away for the whole weekend…won’t be back until 10pm Sunday night.”

I should hope not.

So why do you write things like that on your social media status updates? OK, they might not be quite so blatant as that example, but you’d be surprised how many people leave personal information scattered around the web like that.

Applications like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with their ‘what are you doing now?’ facilities encourage people to let details slip that they wouldn’t normally tell their friends – yet alone strangers.

If someone out there is intent on doing you harm (e.g. through ID theft etc.), if you leave personal information on social networking sites, over time they will be able to piece together a picture of you. They’ll get to know about you, your family and your habits.

With the advent of mobile technology it is all too easy to make updates when your blood alcohol level is a bit on  the high side – i.e. at parties – which tends to blur the lines between what should be said and what should not. If you’re not careful you could lose a lot more than just friends.

Another favourite is updating people on your travel stories, normally while you’re travelling. It doesn’t take Einstein to work out that if you’re whinging about the appalling train service, you’re not at home, leaving your personal belongings unguarded.

So make sure you think before you Tweet – don’t divulge too much information.

Social networking at work

I bet, at one time or another, you’ve tweeted from work or at the very least, added something to Facebook.

Using social media at work may be OK by your boss, but again be careful about what you write.

For example, playing hookie and then tweeting about what you’ve been up to isn’t the smartest thing in  the world to do and will probably get you sacked. But it can go much further than that. Leaking information about customers (on purpose or accidentally), making inappropriate statements about your company or workmates, harassing people can all lead to reprimand or dismissal.

That is why many companies today are instigating policies for the use of social media. You would do well to seek out and heed your company’s so you don’t fall foul of it.

How do others see you?

It’s a really good idea to, once in a while, Google your name.

No, it’s not because you’re on an ego trip, but rather it gives you the opportunity to see yourself online as others see you on social networking sites.

This is a great way to see what information is available about you so you can adjust your profile and habits accordingly.

Using Google Alerts is a great way to monitor information about you. Simply set one up in  your name and then, when anything is published on the web about you, you’ll receive an email notification.

Staying safe online is vital and the best way to do that is by controlling the information you place ‘out there’ for all to see. If in doubt, don’t publish it.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Stay Safe With Social Media

social media Never before has it been so easy to gather information. Gone are the days when researching a subject for homework meant heading off to your local library before someone else grabbed the book you needed. Oh no, today’s kids just have to fire up Google to find out anything they want to know.

But at times too much information can be a very dangerous thing.

Social media has changed the way you work and interact with other people. Why pick up the phone when you can poke someone on Facebook, Tweet them or anything else you’d care to mention. All of these sites allow you to add your personal information online to complete your profile. But too much information is bad.

You’ve heard the news stories about creeps grooming kids on Facebook and all the other horrific stories of identity theft. If you use these sites you need to stay safe. And that means being careful about how much information you give about yourself.

Information you shouldn’t share

Protecting yourself online and not giving away too much information is something we should all be doing as a matter of course. And yet people still complete every field imaginable when completing an online profile.

The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to complete a box because it’s there. Only give information you are happy people knowing – and no, just because you haven’t given a certain piece of info doesn’t mean your friends will think you’re trying to hide something.

Never, ever share:

  • Your national insurance number (why would you?)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your home address
  • Your home phone number

All of these can be used for identity fraud.

Exercise your privacy rights

More and more social networking sites are offering their users more control over privacy settings. So don’t just settle for the default settings.

Take a good look at the settings  and set them according to what you want:

facebook privacy settings

These are Facebook’s settings. They allow you to determine whether no one, friends, friends and networks or everyone can see your basic information, photos, personal information, friends etc.

Why you need to know this

The internet has revolutionised the way we gather our information. Today you can access all sorts of data that would never before have been possible. But this added freedom does bring dangers. There will always be people out there looking to exploit honest people. If you use social media, stay safe and make sure your information is protected.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.