By now you have probably gotten an email from every company that you have ever visited on their COVID policy. No need to rehash washing your hands and social distancing here. The point that I want to stress is that we are all in this together, locally and globally, and it's going to take all of us to beat this thing.
I work for the government in my day job, maintaining transmitters along the coast of South Carolina. The government is just people. Some very hard working people that perform jobs that in the private sector usually pays much more for the same work. But, boil it all down, and it's just people helping people.
In times of crisis's past, like the hurricanes we've had, we didn't get extra pay or bonuses, just a good feeling at the end of the day that we made a difference. Getting through this is going to be difficult, but not something we can't do.
There are always two options you have in any situation. One is to do nothing. With COVID doing nothing is actually a good thing. Stay at home and you're not part of the problem. The second option is to try harder. I have to credit my father with that one. He was part of what they now call the greatest generation, but the greatest generation is really yet to come. We are all products of these generations, we are the hybrids. Let's try a little harder and figure this out. Figure out what you can do to help.
Sure it's scary, we see exactly how fragile our world is. And, the big brains say it's going to get worse before it gets better, but we will get through it and come out stronger. Helping others is really the name of the game.
Check on your neighbors, have empathy and employ compassion. We are all going through a lot. I want to be able to reflect back at the End of the Plague party and know I had a hand in making the world a better place. I may not invent a miracle vaccine, but I help keep emergency communications online over here, inspire hope and I lend a helping hand. I am very grateful for the medical, fast food, grocery workers and everyone involved in all these chains that keeping us moving forward.
Do your part and work harder. Patience, courtesy and humor go along way, act like you've been somewhere. Maybe this will spark a spiritual revolution when we finally realize that we are all the same, and that we are all connected.
Go the extra step and reap bigger rewards. It's the year to try harder and work smarter!
Every 4th year, it's time to calibrate the calendar year with the orbital or seasonal year. 2020 has 366 days this year and leap days are even more odd than you think.
Check Wikipedia.com for more calendar info and folklore.
For calculation leap year into your SQL Server apps try MyTecBits.com for a T-SQL method of extracting the extra day in February.
Make the most of 2020, you've got an extra day to get things done!
There's a lot of talk about traffic and SEO and I wanted to mention a few key points on building volume. First, your sites needs to built correctly so search engines can read it. That's a technical discussion for a later date, but needs to be in place for other methods to work. Setup Google Analytics and a few others so you can triangulate and see what's actually working. Without a measure your're driving blind. If you don't have a blog, add one. It will be the most read page on your site and you can feed it directly to social media. The Post Viewed tag in the lower right corner of each article here is misleading, it's not how many times it's been viewed, it represents how many times the Read More tag has been clicked. For the record, the main page of this Tech Notes blog gets viewed between 3k to 7k times on any given day.
Dynamic content isn't just tailoring your site to your unique visitors, it's generating relevant and fresh new content for your site. Having this dynamic content is what is going to improve your SEO score and the quality of traffic you receive. There's no way to short cut this process. Some of the most intelligent minds at Google are continually working the algorithm to weed out the junk and click bait. If you write compelling articles and add epic content regularly, your numbers will begin to perk up. If you work it, expect about a 25% increase in qualified traffic and that will be significant to any business that you're in. Google has some great webmaster tools here. Give the PageSpeed Insights test a try and see how your site scores. Your site may need more work than you think. Keep it fresh and keep it growing, make a bigger target.
TechCrunch has a great article on the growth of enterprise software featuring a 3 trillion dollar opportunity, but it's bigger than that and there's so much room for small business and start ups. In short, mobile collaboration for your workforce with direct integration to product partners and stakeholders is the only model to develop for, anything else would be a disservice to your client.
Just five years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined that a farmer or construction worker could be an information worker. But with products like Farmlogs, Planet Labs and Airware in farming and agriculture, and PlanGrid or Skycatch in construction, all new demographics of the workforce are being supported by information technology. And this is just the beginning. As every employee on the planet is enabled by a smartphone, the addressable market for enterprise software grows from about half a billion people to the billions of workers leveraging mobile devices to do their jobs.
Every job is software-enabled, every industry is digitized. Read more at TechCrunch.com
There's a revolution in technology going on and for as many businesses that get it, many intelligent organizations still just do not. I get a few offers, most of them low, on different domain names every month and one of the questions I was asked by a potential purchaser was, how do I arrive at a price?
It's a fair question and to put an answer to it, here's the rationale behind the numbers. First, like real estate domain names are virtual property, but with several valuable added dimensions. Domains are the way customers find your business, remember your location and spread the news about your products. It's your business address for all practical purposes. Ninety percent of the people you do business with will never visit your business at it's physical location, but they'll all check your website, which is by way of your domain name.
Names that have more traffic or are capable of generating more traffic with short memorable names are worth more and their market demand is more. Like having a shop on main street vs. opening up a business on a rural road. A good memorable name that suits your business or product lines brings customers and helps them find their way back to you. Most company names are picked without the customer in mind or without any marketing considerations, just a name that means something to the organization on a somewhat emotional level. You can spend millions branding a odd name or bring the brand to your door with a descriptive name. And with domain names, you can have several or hundreds of names to drive traffic to your business.
The method, internet media. Consider the pro's and cons of different advertising media. There's print, TV, radio and internet. Print, I throw it out. It's garbage that comes with my printed mail. I haven't bought a newspaper in over 10 years at least and the last time I think I looked at a magazine, I was either in a doctors office or on a plane. Forget print, it's over. The postal service is nostalgic and I'd be willing to bet 100 percent privatized within 10 years. TV, I watch movies for the most part or change the channel during the commercials. Watching the Atlanta Falcons beat the Aint's in the season opener, I saw a couple of ads, but couldn't tell you what they were today. I'm moving in the direction of subscription TV like Netflix and Hulu. I'm not alone. Radio, okay you get ads in front of me while driving more often then I care to say. Occasionally, I am too lazy to load a playlist from my phone or all the stations that I have programmed in are in sync with their commercial's timed together. Traffic reports get me to tune in, but the rest of the noise I could do without. I get about half of percent of anything useful from radio news. The tone and rate of speech only ramps up tension. I'm working on weaseling out listening to main stream radio all together. Half the time I enjoy just listening to silence.
The internet has main access to get in-front of my eyes. I am on the net at home, at work, even while visiting a store in the mall I might be checking prices of a competitor on my phone. I have discretionary income and I move quickly. Like a lot of your customers, I have much to manage and like in the real world, I have to be street smart online and as nimble as a forest creature to find the best deals. I validate a business I am going to use based on the domain they have, how their website looks, works and if they have a phone number on their contact page. Usually I like a second opinion, options or it's just the way to complete due diligence by checking a few other sites. How I find that second, third or fourth site through search or by their domain name directly is potentially a company I'll be working with. CEO's of those companies are the CEO's that are likely to make their 17 percent growth targets and are the ones that get their bonuses. They're the one that get it. I price domain names comparable to other media even when that media is less effective.
30 seconds on Atlanta TV during prime time will cost you 30k and your money is gone just that fast. Most industry magazine ads will cost you upwards of 1200 per month for a four color, 1/2 to full page ad and you don't even know if anyone is reading it. Your domain name is yours perpetually. The internet is even more revolutionary as the phone system was when it came into being some 120 years ago and as fast as technology grows, the internet is not going to be replaced anytime soon. With a great domain name you look like the authority in your industry. Most clients will never see your office, I can't stress enough how important your online presence is. Technology is the only industry that has had double digit growth since the 70's and looks to be booming for the rest of man's existence. The slope of the curve is about to go vertical.
The short, memorable, brand-able, desirable names, and what other similar domains have sold for, makes for the price range listed. We encourage you to make offers on our domains and other available names. The cost, effectiveness and value is continually rising.
Writing is a huge part of building a great website and also the point where most sites fall short. Writing content isn't easy for most developers, they are good with the technical end and years ago with Visual Basic, I remember contests where it would challenge developers to write a function with less words last guy. Kind of like the show Name That Tune, where contestants had to identify a song within a few beats. Writers do a similar thing with landing the hook in the first sentence of a book. The challenge is can you grab the reader's attention and hold it with the first sentence. I've come up with a great one for a book I'll finish someday so I'm not going to reveal it here. One of my favorite comes from British historian and author Stewart Colette in his book Mumba. Here it is, "When you fall in love after the age of thirty, it's usually with someone else's wife." And, the Snoopy classic, "It was a dark and stormy night".
I enjoy writing without all the syntax and code sometimes, simply just to paint the picture with words is a true art, almost a lost art. Programming is art form, too. It's satisfying building a site and seeing it all come together, both form and function. The only drawback to coding is that the language changes often and web programming is an incorporation of many languages. For people outside the industry this would be like having to do your job in Russian and Italian starting next month. It has stabilized in the last 7 years and that's made development very productive.
I've gotten off on a little bit of a rant, point being, well two points, first I'm giving TechnologyGroup.com a new updated look to show a little of what I can do while I'm looking for a new gig. And secondly, I'll be adding a bunch of tutorials and code snippets to help other developers. Here's my portfolio and the rest will be under the Resources menu item I'll put up shortly with the others I'm working on. Please excuse the 404 if you get that in the meantime, I'm working on it live.
When you think about it, you learn everything from other people, so why not give something back. There's a lot to learn in web development, you have to be a designer, graphic artist, software developer, marketing professional and author to make something worth going to. I am a one man band that enjoys getting it all done. If you're looking to have some work done, I'm looking for a good client. Feel free to call or send a message and let's see what you have in mind.
Time to get back to business. Hope everyone had a great holiday and is ready to work. The two times a year that I take a deeper look at business trends and economic forecasts are at the end of the year and at the end of 2nd quarter. End of the year is more a reflective time for some reason, like after the game. End of 2nd quarter is like taking inventory during half time while there's still time to change the results before year end, mid game.
No one that runs their own business, or is directly responsible for one, can ever really take their mid off the game. Sure you might go on vacation and spend time with your family, but you just can't help thinking about what you have going on. Sometimes it helps to get disconnected, a fresh perspective, see from a different angle and get some rest, but successful people rarely take their eye off the ball if ever. You love what you do and you know your competition is constantly grinding. So while relaxing, I try to take a closer look at what my competition is doing right and measure what's working for me.
One of the things I do at these two points is look at the big picture. Reading through economic forecasts for different industries and countries can give you great insight to why your efforts aren't measuring up to predictions or worse, the numbers are climbing up and you have no idea why. According to The World Economic Forum, Forbes and The Balance to name a few, the economic outlook for the US is strong and set for steady growth.
No matter what business you're in, investing in yourself is never a bad choice. Educate yourself, educate your people and increase the advertising budget. Hope you are off to a great year, game on.