1. Google Goes Social with Google +1

    Google +1 is an experimental program by Google aimed at making searches much more effective and efficient. Through a nifty +1 icon that appears beside Google search results, users with a Google profile can recommend sites by simply clicking on the +1 button. While still in the experimental stage, there is a lot to be excited about with Google’s new thingamajig, Google +1 from Google Labs. Google +1 is essentially a button next to each search engine result that you can click when you want to recommend a particular link or website. Google describes it as something you use “to give something your public stamp of approval, so friends, contacts, and others can find the best stuff when they search.” The program is not available for everyone just yet, but participating and testing it out is easy. You’ll need a Google profile to participate, then just go to google.com/experimental and click the “Join this experiment”. After a few minutes, you’ll begin seeing a +1 icon / button beside results on any Google search results page. Click the button for sites you want to recommend, and Google will ask you to confirm. On your Google profile, you’ll have a tab where you can see the sites you’ve recommended through +1. You’ll also have the option to uncheck the box that will allow Google to use your +1 information to send you targeted advertisements. Especially for businesses, a +1 for your website can maximize your SEO capabilities as well as lend credibility to your website. Anyone can +1 your website – colleagues, clients, and even friends – so the more +1s for your site, the more visible it becomes. Try Google +1 and see how it works for you.
  2. Security: Don’t be the Next Victim

    Symantec recently released a study showing dire figures – at least 50% of SMBs out there have little to no disaster-preparedness plan, which if left unchecked can cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue. The risks are real enough, with an SMB standing to lose somewhere in the ballpark of $12,500 PER DAY when operations are interrupted because of security breaches or malware attacks. According to Symantec, of the 1288 SMBs they surveyed worldwide, about half have no security or disaster-preparedness plan whatsoever. Of that 50 percent, 36 percent intend to get or create a plan in the future, while the remaining 14% have no plans on their agendas whatsoever. With these figures, it’s hardly surprising that the study also found that many SMBs only act when it’s too late – which causes not only lost revenue for them, but for their clients as well. More than half of the surveyed SMB clients – 552 – said that they have had to switch providers due to unreliable and irresponsible service. Numbers do not lie: security is more important than you might think. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out just how essential it is before enacting a security plan of your own – for your sake as well as that of your clients. Having the right kind of system in place is vital to keeping your operations smooth and efficient, as well as enabling you to better respond to your clients’ needs. If you want to know more about implementing the proper security and disaster-preparedness protocols for your business, please contact us and we’ll be happy to sit down and create a customized plan that will meet your specific needs and requirements.
  3. Email Encryption: Why It’s Important

    When we create a letter in the analog world, we take the time to seal that letter in an envelope to keep it safe from prying eyes — especially if that letter contains sensitive information. If it’s highly confidential information we might even resort to obfuscation such as using coded text, or making sure that it is delivered via secure channels such as by special messenger. Encrypting email is relatively easy with today’s software. Usually it involves the use of a public key and a private key. The public key is available to everyone, and if you want to send someone an email message you would use that person’s public key to encrypt that message. That person in turn would use his private key, to which only he has access, to decode that message. Software such as the latest versions of Microsoft Outlook supports this feature , and even flags you if the recipient’s email software does not support encryption. Some systems take it a step further by allowing you to digitally sign your emails, so that other people can verify that it is you who actually sent the email and not someone else. This is especially important since hackers sometimes spoof or impersonate the identities of others to fool unsuspecting users. If you are interested in finding out more about email encryption and security, contact us today to find out how we can help make sure your messages are safe and secure.
  4. Handy Twitter Tools to Connect Successfully with Your Twitter Followers

    Since its initial launch as a microblogging service in 2006, Twitter has taken the World Wide Web by storm, and if there’s ever a popularity contest among social networking platforms, Twitter would most likely be the winner. On its own, Twitter is a great service for connecting with people. However, without the third party tools, it wouldn’t be as phenomenal as it is today. There are countless Twitter tools and apps available today. Here’s a list of six that are sure to be useful and effective in building relationships with your Twitter followers. The first section introduces some basic tools, which you can skip if you’re already a Twitter expert. The second section describes tools that you may not have previously heard of, but are worth checking out since they can boost visibility, traffic, and clients. The Basics Link Shorteners – Most Tweets (posts) on Twitter are not the usual “what I had for lunch” Tweets, but are more often people sharing links of articles, videos, photos, and more. Sharing links is a great way to help people better understand your field of interest and expertise while also helping them discover great content online. However, many links are very long, and do not fit within Twitter’s 140-character limit – so as the term implies, a link shortener shortens a specific link/URL. Try sites like Bit.ly , TinyURL and tr.im to easily condense your very long URLs into just 15-20 characters, leaving you room to comment.In addition to the practical need of shorter URLs, a majority of these tools also provide useful tracking reports so you can monitor the number of people who clicked on your links, which were the most popular, the dates when people clicked them, as well as give you an idea which topics are the most popular with your Twitter community. TweetMeme – That ever-present gray and green “re-tweet” logo enables readers to quickly re-post or “re-tweet” your post to their own Twitter followers. TweetMeme is a wonderful means to encourage your audience to spread the news about your status, tips, and words of wisdom.Like link shorteners, TweetMeme also tracks your links as they pass through the Twitterverse, and shows the total number of times your link was re-tweeted. Aside from helping you determine the popularity of given topics, it also lets the feisty competitor in us compare the success of our posts versus others and even ourselves. TwitPic – This is one of the numerous tools that let you take pictures with your mobile phone and post them directly on Twitter. Other similar tools are: TwitGoo , img.ly and yfrog . These tools are also usually integrated into whatever Twitter mobile application you’re using. You can also obtain statistics to monitor responses on your pictures. You can still also opt to link your followers to a Flickr account, Facebook page, or a web page that displays your pictures. Cast your Twitter net even farther… There are a lot of nifty Twitter applications out there that will help you create a solid and engaged community. When you’re ready to take your Twitter skills to the next level, below are three tools to get you started. TweetSwell – This great app allows you to create Twitter-based polls, wherein each reply doubles as a tweet and helps the poll become viral. TweetSwell  can also help maintain your brand identity by ensuring that your poll pages are synchronized with your custom-made Twitter layout. Similar apps are: Twtpoll and TwtSurvey . TwtVite – Somewhat related to Eventbrite , TwtVite enables you to use Twitter to get together in the real world. Check out the animated video to get a feel for how it works. For an actual example, read this case study about a Milwaukee bar owner who used TwtVite in hosting the biggest Tweetup in the Midwest . TwtQpon – Online coupons offer small businesses a fantastic opportunity to drive lots of new and repeat clients. This app creates online coupons that can be published on Twitter and many other social network sites. While apps such as Groupon and Living Social can also make online coupons, TwtQpon is specifically designed for social networks.


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