What Poor Hosting Decisions Can Mean For a Business Website

We all know how important an online presence is to business these days, but is it simply good enough to build a website and host it in the cheapest way possible? While keeping track of costs is obviously essential for any company to succeed, taking this too far can lead to some poor decisions being made, and the world of website hosting throws up some interesting examples of this.

Shared hosting is far and away the cheapest option available to anyone looking to put a website up for others to see. By using one server for numerous websites, hosting providers are able to offer some astonishing deals to get your business online. However, these shared hosting options do not come without an element of risk.

Poor SEO

In order to rank the best websites for any given search term, search engines such as Google use anywhere up to 200 ranking factors to determine whether a site is worthy of inclusion or not. One such factor is site speed.

Site speed concentrates on how quickly each page on a given website loads whenever a link to it is clicked. Consistently slow load times can adversely affect how well a website ranks, which ultimately affects your profits.

Uptime is another issue that Google takes extremely seriously, and it’s a factor that can detrimentally affect how your site performs in organic search results too. If your site is consistently down whenever Googlebot crawls your pages, it doesn’t reflect well on the legitimacy of your business.

Low cost at a high price

While shared hosting options offer low cost, they can directly affect how well your business performs. This is mainly down to how they work. As there are multiple sites all hosted on one web server there is very little room for growth. Should you experience a spike in traffic you could end up with bandwidth issues that will slow your site or, even worse, take it down altogether.

Dedicated servers completely do away with these problems as you have the server all to yourself. This gives you far greater control and makes the likelihood of your site going offline for excess traffic almost zero. However, all of this good stuff comes at a price, and it is one that’s often far too high for the average small business to pay.

So, what’s the solution?

One way around this problem is to opt for a virtual private server (VPS). This is kind of like a hybrid of shared and dedicated hosting and it gives you much greater flexibility than shared hosting at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated package.

Host1Plus VPS host, for instance, allows you to have a section of a dedicated server that you share with other users. Because you get a designated amount of space on that server you are much less likely to encounter any of the issues mentioned above that can adversely affect how your site (and therefore your business) performs.

By taking this one simple step you are greatly increasing your chances of online success. Treat your hosting package as the foundation upon which to build your business and you won’t go far wrong. Treat it as something inconsequential and you could see everything fall down around you.

People Process and Technology CRM

How Capsule CRM and Piesync makes me 30% more productive

I have been using Capsule CRM for over 5 years now, and have set up Capsule CRM for several of my clients, and use it for Emergination and Prezentt. Like any system implementation – it is important to align people, process and technology when implementing CRM.

I have looked at many CRM systems, and even smashed together a rudimentary system many years ago before many of the great saas offerings were available.

So in this post, I’m going to cover a brief bit about how to get the people on board with CRM, how to implement the processes – and the technology that I use – Capsule CRM. You can of course use other systems – Salesforce, SugarCRM and a myriad of others.

people process technology  CRM

People process and technology CRM

3 Things to Get the Sales Team onboard with CRM

The thing that I have found are important with CRM systems are firstly to get the sales team – the people – on board.

Here’s what’s important:

1. Easy to use.

Salespeople hate typing – they prefer to be engaging with customers – which is exactly what they should be doing.

So using the CRM must be easier than not using it. If it doesn’t help make sales, it isn’t going to get used – nor should it be implemented…

If can be too easy for sales people that are experiencing call reluctance to distract themselves by spending endless time inputting and managing data. Useful to get started – but then it is important to get back to the core business of identifying prospects and engaging them.

2. Works nicely with email
Email is one of the most useful – and time consuming tools ever invented. The unstructured nature of emails make the processing of those difficult – is this email for information, does action need to be taken – and if so what? Further the sheer volume makes processing that information all the more difficult.

3. Make it dead easy to apply consistent sales processes
I am often working with technology founders who have technical / engineering / software expertise – but they struggle with sales processes. The key is to see sales as a system – a series of steps – a series of consistent steps that build from the identification of potential prospects, finding means to entice them, and then through to pitch, proposal, sale and ongoing client service.

So why did I pick CapsuleCRM?

My technology stack is as follows:
– Google apps for email
Saasu for all accounting and billing
– Toggl for timetracking
CapsuleCRM for all client work – from prospecting and sales, to projects
Business Catalyst or Wordpress for web presence

I used to use Basecamp for projects – but ditched that as most activity was really occurring in email anyway.

Here is why I found Capsule CRM compelling out of all the systems I tried:
1. Lightweight – it is fast to implement, covers only what I need and nothing more
2. Integrates to Google Apps. I use the Piesync subscription to keep two contact integration (if I change a contact in Capsule CRM or Google Apps, it automatically syncs to the other platform)
3. Very easy to set up task lists so that a consistent approach is applied to every enquiry and every project
4. Low cost – their freemium model allows a client to experiment, decide if they like it or not – and then commit or not. In some cases the freemium model has allowed them to use the product for a number of months – so when it becomes time to upgrade they do so willingly.
5. Integrations – with Mailchimp and the Prezentt application – we always have a single view of the customer and all activity via Capsule CRM.
6. My absolute favourite – and how I get the productivity improvement – the Google Apps plugin. This allows me to see each person’s contact information that appears in Capsule CRM – and create a new opportunity, task, action, or case direct from Google Mail.

There are many systems to choose from and it depends upon what you are doing as to what makes most sense. For many, a simple rightweight system like Capsule CRM is a great place to start.


Smart Marketing: How to turn your Customers into Advocates for your Brand

Nowadays, marketing is not just about a quick appeal to as many people as possible and hoping that a decent percentage respond to your message, it is about fostering loyalty and establishing relationships. Building customer loyalty is important because it is easier to sell more to your existing clients and customers than it is to acquire new business. As a result, gone are the days of mass marketing, instead, successful businesses are those that focus on personalising the experience their customer has with their brand.

Turning your existing customer base into advocates for your brand begins with offering the best possible customer service alongside a fantastic product and tangible incentives. Without further ado, let’s discuss a number of other smart marketing techniques that can help a business turn its customers into advocates for their brand.

Creating a Loyalty Scheme that suits your business
One way of achieving this is through customer loyalty schemes; by utilising loyalty initiatives companies can keep their existing customer base happy to the point where they want to spread the good news about your services to everyone they know.

We all like to feel that we are part of a select group, which is why loyalty schemes have proved to be extremely popular. Customers like to be rewarded for bringing their business to you and any loyalty scheme you develop will need to provide your customers with something that is worthwhile. Whether you print your own ID cards for customers to use to collect points, or let them save up for meaningful rewards, you will soon discover that acquiring customers is good, but keeping them loyal is even better.

Encourage Feedback
Whether you are an online retailer, a bricks and mortar store, or both, consumers nowadays trust feedback from fellow customers more than any clever marketing message that you could ever produce! Because of this, it is important to provide great customer service at all times and encourage your customers to write online testimonials and reviews about their experience with your company. It is now common for people to look up a business or service online and perusing what other people have to say about that particular brand before spending any money with them.

Continue Improving your Services and Products
It is often said that word of mouth is the best possible marketing tool as there is nothing easier than recommending a great service or product. With the advent of social media that feedback has now become almost instant and can easily make or break your business so it is crucial to continue improving your customer service and products to meet customer expectations.

Another way to make your core offering the best in your industry is to get your most loyal customers to participate by contributing ideas about what they would like your product or service to be like. Ask for feedback and create a sense of community that will make everyone feel like part of the group and of your success.

A business’ most loyal customers will also be its best advocates, be it for buying products, subscribing to newsletters, providing feedback and reviews, or mentioning that company on social media. Making sure these customers are well looked after will prove to be a meaningful investment for the success of your company.

How Software is Transforming HR

The human resources department plays a pivotal role in any organisation. Technological advancements now mean that the way HR departments’ function is changing. One reason for this is the use of HR software and this is transforming the way HR departments operate.

Increased productivity

Using HR software saves every member of the HR department a lot of time and this improves their productivity. For example, completing and maintaining accurate records will take a lot of time. Using software can cut the amount of time wasted on such tasks and free up staff for other duties. Not only will this increase the productivity of the HR department, it can also improve productivity right across your business. If employees in other departments can access certain records, data and training materials, then it will save them time, prevent them from needing assistance from the HR department and help them to work more efficiently.

Saves money

Although the initial outlay of purchasing HR software for your company may seem like an unnecessary expense, it will save you significant amounts of money in the long run. Your labour costs will be reduced as the software takes over the functions that were once completed manually. Therefore, you will have less need to recruit new staff and will save money that may have been spent on paying overtime to your employees to complete certain HR tasks.

Improved training and development

One of the most important tasks undertaken by staff in the HR department is organising the training and development of employees throughout the company. Identifying the different training needs, planning training materials and monitoring developmental progress is time-consuming and presents many potential challenges for the HR team. By installing HR software, many problems are reduced, the training is more effective, producing training materials is easier and identifying the developmental needs of staff is much simpler.

Better decision-making

When you use HR software, data and records are more likely to be accurate and up to date. It is also easier for you to access this information and compare different sets of data. As a result, the decision-making process is much easier and it is more likely that the decisions and will have a better outcome. The HR department are involved in decision-making at every level of a business’ day-to-day running. Examples of this include recruitment, training needs, tracking staff performance and identifying problems within the team.

Simplified recruitment

Recruitment is one of the major responsibilities of the HR department. They are involved in every stage of this process, from advertising a position to the selection process and then inducting and training a new employee. Using CIPHR HR software can simplify this process and reduce the likelihood of encountering problems at various stages in the process. It can also mean that you can keep the application details of both internal and external employees on the system in case you decide to use them in the future for other job positions within the company.

Overall, there are significant benefits to using HR software for your business and the changes it will make to the functions of the HR department are all positive. Although there is an initial cost in installing such software, it will save you money in the long run and also improve the overall efficiency and productivity of your company.

Prezentt – better presentations

Prezentt is a web app that helps presenters to get a 1000% better interaction with their audience during their presentations through a range of tools. You can improve the impact of your presentations by sharing your slides with your audience immediately, tracking questions and follow ups, saving time and getting much greater audience engagement.

You don’t need to change the way you deliver your presentation – you just add a PDF of your presentation to Prezentt prior to your presentation. Then share the unique URL with the audience. They can ask you questions, connect to you on social media, and share your content with their colleagues. Plus they can take notes against each slide, saving you from printing speakers notes.

You can try it and as a presenter deliver 4 presentations free each year – it is totally free for those attending a presentation.

I am a co-founder of this company – and look forward to your presentation success!



The Social Media Revolution continues




Here is the 2015 version of the incredibly popular short video’s by creator Eric Qualman that showcase the power of the digital revolution – in particular, mobile and social media – and even wearable tech.

These videos are a great scene setter for digital and innovation workshops – always thought provoking!


The Social Aspect of Online Games

Whilst some might argue that I am showing my age, it doesn’t seem that long ago that board games – physical games – were common and great fun. The personal interaction was the part that made it interesting, with a win or loss inspiring elation or disappointment.

The early game consoles were novel – and introduced a new facet – gaming and competition on demand through challenging the console. No longer did you have to play against another person – you could challenge the console. So, this new facet – on demand competition – was born to the detriment of the social aspect. A new game was played between siblings  – who could wrest control of the game controller.

Arcade games offered social sharing  – which consisted of standing around an arcade game when one of your friends was playing. Top score sharing was by memory – in other words, you have to ensure at least two or three people saw your score – and remembered it! The competition had great intensity and energy to it – however it was vastly dull without company.

As consoles have become more sophisticated, the quality of the gaming experience has improved significantly – however current and future games are very focussed on the social interaction and shared experience of playing games.

The minimum factors include:

  • Play at your convenience and for a length of time of your choosing
  • Compete against others and win accolades for success
  • Identification of friends enabling connection – with appropriate safeguards to prevent cyber stalking
  • Creates engagement and capacity to share success outside of game network via social media
  • Delivery of experience across multiple devices  (computers, tablets and games consoles) and through social platforms such as Facebook
  • Opportunity to build the database of users  – allowing for reactivation offers

These factors deliver:

  • Revenue across multiple platforms
  • New potential customers at a lower cost of sale
  • Exponential sales growth through buzz generated

How the internet has revitalised Texas Holdem

I confess to not being a fan of the traditional addictive online games such as Call of Duty or World of Warcraft.

However I have become more interested in online games like Texas Holdem.

Some of the facets above are included but there are some unique features in Holdem that I particularly like:

  • I can jump in and play fast – I can also exit when i feel like it
  • Whilst I’m learning the game I wont be embarrassed if I don’t win
  • The pace is faster than a face to face game (which can go for hours) – any party that wants to leave the table can

The internet is enabling new ways of multiplayer games being delivered. in the future we will see virtual reality and more – it will be exciting and a new way of meeting our social interaction needs.