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Websites On The Go…

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Have you checked what your website looks like from your phone recently?

With mobile technology continually developing, increasingly websites are being accessed from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The problem this poses for business owners is that your website that looks perfect on your desktop computer might not prove functional on the go.

Rendering might mean your website is unreadable from a phone or that special effects you have added using flash fail to load. These are not the only considerations you need to take towards your website as a business owner. Mobile sites are all about ease and convenience of use, this requires simplified navigation and easy to click links. Key information should be immediately available, this includes contact details, especially telephone numbers or email addresses, and opening hours.

For websites that offer purchasing, the mobile customer is a dream, but only if the process proves quick and easy, encouraging the user to return for future purchasing rather than turning to a competitor for similar items in the future.

Key Tips for Mobile Success:

  • Keep it key – avoid cluttering your mobile site with unnecessary information, ensure only relevant information is available  to the user
  • Make it quick – mobile data is typically slower than your typical internet connection – limit information to ensure faster load times
  • Brand identity – although a reduced version of your desktop site keep branding and design consistent between the two
osomwebWebsites On The Go…
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How to Setup an Out of Office for your Twitter Account?

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Twitter, for many people, has become a preferred method of contact and marketing in recent years.  When you are on holiday with limited or no access to the Internet, you create an “out of office” reply in your email program to let people know that you won’t be able to respond to them straight away.

How about doing something similar for your contacts who are trying to get hold of you through your company Twitter account? You don’t want to miss that possible new sale or client do you!

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How to Setup Out of Office Replies in Twitter

Step A: Setup a Twitter App

  1. Go to dev.twitter.com and sign-in with your existing Twitter account. Create a new Twitter app (screenshot), add a description, website (any URL) and callback URL (https://spreadsheets.google.com/macros/).
  2. Once the Twitter app has been created, click the Settings tab and set Read and Write as the Application Type. Click Update to save your changes.
  3. Switch to the OAuth tool tab and make note of the Consumer Key and Consumer Secret.

Step B: Setup the Auto-responder Script

  1. Open script.google.com and choose File -> Make a copy to duplicate the auto-responder script into your Google Drive.
  2. Enter the start and end dates of your vacation, the Twitter app keys (from the previous step), and your Twitter handle.
  3. Go to Run -> Start to initialize the auto-responder. Say Yes if the script requires you to authorize access to certain Google Script services.
  4. Choose Run -> Start and it will show an “Authorization Required” dialog. Allow the script to access your Twitter account and you are done.

The script will invoke itself on the start date specified by you and will respond to all incoming tweets until the end date. It will then uninstall itself automatically. As always, you are free to use, modify and distribute the source code with attribution.

When you are taking another holiday, just open the auto-responder script already present in your Google Drive, change the Start and End dates and choose Run->Start to setup the autoresponder again.

osomwebHow to Setup an Out of Office for your Twitter Account?
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10 Ways to Generate Traffic

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1. Be seen in a Jam

A simple but effective way to generate traffic is to include your URL in all offline marketing literature, from your business cards, letterheads, leaflets and adverts through to stickers or detailing on your car – generate traffic while stuck in that jam.

2. Blogging

Join conversations on related blogs or start your own blog. Ensure the story isn’t static by inviting conversation – draw in your audience by asking questions

3. Get Linked Back

To generate traffic you need to get out there are make yourself known. This will involve posting comments on other blogs related to your line of business and placing links back to your site as you post.

4. Be Regular

If you are serious about generating traffic you should look to make comments at least 10 times a day, up to a minimum of 50 times a week. Comment on blogs relating to your niche to ensure you get your name and face recognised in your area of expertise.

5. Provide a Solution

Create content that is useful to your intended audience. Offer information that will help readers to achieve a goal or solve a problem. Be sure to keep the tone conversational and try to entertain your audience so they keep coming back.

6. Unlock the Door to Google

Improve your Search Engine Optimisation ranking by ensuring your keywords are related to your niche. Keywords should be words that your target audience will use to search for your site.

7. Giveaway

Offer readers a freebie, this could be an eBook associated with your niche industry or hosting a free webinar to share your expertise on a given subject.

8. Socialise

Sign up to as many social networks as you can manage. Social networks are a great way to promote your posts and introduce yourself to like-minded people.

9. Don’t Plagiarise

Avoid copy and pasting content from other websites as search engines can detect unoriginal content, which will penalise your site in search engine rankings.

10. Pay Out

If you don’t have the time but you do have the budget… Pay someone to create traffic on your behalf.

osomweb10 Ways to Generate Traffic
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5 Web Design Trends You Will See More of in 2017

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The design trends of websites are constantly evolving. If you had your site updated a couple of years ago, you will find these are now outdated due to the invasion of newer trends. No matter whether you are planning to launch a new website or redesign an existing site, it is always good to have a general idea about new web design trends. Here we emphasise 5 web design trends you will see more of in 2017.

 

  1. Enhanced responsive web design

Already, responsive web design has dominated the industry because of its useful characteristics that enables a better user experience. This concept is likely to expand with some mild changes. Since Google changed its algorithms in April 2016; they now prioritise websites that have prominently optimised content, which means, just because you have a responsive website, you may not get better rankings from Google in 2017; Google expect responsive websites with fewer options (simplified) and properly optimised content.

  1. Increased usage of basic shapes

Usage of geometric shapes and patterns became popular in the latter part of 2016. This trend is likely to gain popularity during 2017. In fact, a designer can integrate geometric shapes to a website in many ways. Encircling an image, using photos that have geometric accents and using a variety of lines and patterns to build the design, are some of the options to consider. In fact, depending on the creativity of the user, you can integrate any amount of geometric shapes and patterns to the respective website.

  1. Usage of GIF and other animation types

Although it’s been a while since the introduction of animations and GIF images to websites, their popularity hasn’t decreased yet. In fact, animations are a great way to explain something clearly to the audience and maximise the meaningfulness of a certain textual content. Now, in 2017, you will see more sophisticated GIFs and animations with the use of SVG and CSS. Designers expect to present more content using animations and GIF images. Practically, web surfers like to see these GIF images and animations as an interesting mode of data presentation. The other important aspect pertaining to GIF animations is that they are lighter in weight than a graphic created using multiple images or videos. This is highly advantageous in building lightweight websites that load faster.

  1. Better landing pages

In 2017 you will see that the designers will have more emphasis towards the landing pages other than focusing on the home page. Although every website demands a home page, the importance of an effective landing page has increased significantly; online marketing strategies drive target traffic towards the landing pages, not the home pages.

  1. Modular designs

Although modular (grid based) designs are not a new concept, it gained an immense popularity very recently. This design trend can be perfectly integrated with responsive web design. Usually, these grid designs appear clean and nice on all types of screen including mobile devices that are widespread across the globe.

As a website owner, it is important to update the design of your website to match the most recent trends in order to keep your audience impressed and to ensure compatibility with the latest search engine algorithms.

osomweb5 Web Design Trends You Will See More of in 2017
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Google Maps Local Listings Can Now Have Videos Uploaded

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Google announced today in the local guides forum that users can now upload videos to local map listings. Do you want to add videos of you at your favorite local restaurant? Well now you can, we can see a lot of dull videos getting uploaded but also some great ones at things like sporting event venues etc.

But there is one catch at the moment it can only be done on an Android device, we are sure this will open up to iOS. But for the moment it’s just Android.

You can add videos from three different areas:

  • Add a video from a place’s page.
  • Add videos from “Your contributions.”
  • Add video using Google Photos or your Gallery app.

So if you have an Android device why not give it a go and let us know if you think this adds to user experience of local listings on Google.

osomwebGoogle Maps Local Listings Can Now Have Videos Uploaded
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Why website security and back-ups should be a top priority in 2017

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Most of us have heard IT specialists talk about website security and the importance of making back-ups. Unfortunately the threats associated with website security are very real; in 2017, website security and taking back-ups has become more essential than ever for a variety of reasons.

Read on to discover why the security of your website and making back-ups should be treated as a priority.

  • Your website can be attacked by hackers

Over the years the internet has become crowded with many types of hackers. The intention of hackers may vary; some hackers will try to steal sensitive information (for example, for financial gain or to clone your identity), while others do it simply to create problems. It is unrealistic to expect that your website is ever 100% secure especially as hackers become more sophisticated and develop new ways of gaining access to sites. Methods hackers might use to gain access to your website include:

  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
  • Inside attacks
  • Password attacks
  • Injection
  • Spam
  • Phishing
  • Interception

For any business owner it is vital to be aware that such attacks will not be good for your company. If your website gets taken down at a vital point or your customers suffer from poor user experience, the damage to your business could be irreparable. Worst case scenario, these hackers could steal sensitive information about your customers, such as credit card details. These events will destroy the loyalty and trust your customers have in your website and business as a whole. Such attacks also have the potential to decrease your ranking in search engines such as Google, which can prove disastrous in a highly competitive business world.

  • Updates can go wrong

You will become extremely helpless if you lose valuable data on your website due to a mishandled update. Generally, services like WordPress always instruct their clients to keep a regular back-up of the website in order to minimise damage. Upon such a loss, you are likely to lose everything including themes, software, backend programming, plug-ins etc.

  • Malware

Currently the internet is the home of an enormous amount of Malware. Malware can reach your websites at any given moment if you haven’t taken necessary security precautions. Downloading malware will result in your website not performing as expected. However, if you have taken a recent back-up of your website, you can completely restore your website and minimise the damage significantly.

  • Accidental deletions

Accidental deletions are a possibility in the IT sector. Sometimes, recreating such files may take hours, if not a day. Although such incidents are rare among professionals, human error does happen from time to time. This is when you will need the assistance of a comprehensive backup.

What is the solution?

  • Update regularly

Make sure that you regularly update software such as CMS. This will ensure that such software is more secure and bug free.

  • Use HTTPS (SSL)

By using an SSL connection, you can encrypt the data that transfers between the server and the browser. This is a good way to keep the hackers away from sensitive information that your website has stored.

  • Back-up often

Make sure that you maintain an off-site backup. The time you spend backing up your website is an investment. Be sure that these backups are stored securely.

osomwebWhy website security and back-ups should be a top priority in 2017
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