Tag Archives: Tips

Backup, Backup, Backup!

If you’ve had your hard drive crash and have lost all your data, I will be “preaching to the choir”, as you will most likely have kicked yourself and then bought an external backup drive already. If not make sure to read this post so you are not kicking yourself in three months about backing up your data.

There is nothing worse than starting your computer and nothing happens. Especially if all your business and billing financial records on on the computer. For any business, student, or computer user regular routine backups should be part of your routine. Businesses should back up their systems at a minimum of once a day and should both backup to the working disk as well as to another network location and to an external drive. Sounds redundant doesn’t it, you bet it is, but have a problem and you will be so glad that you had multiple backups in different locations. For the typical homeowner and student backing up your computer may be best done once a week.

There are many backup utilities and some external drives even come with their own. I use several systems. I use the Windows backup utility that comes with Vista once a week and I use my Seagate External drive back up utility once a day. Once a month I back up to another location in my network.

With redundant backups you can assure that your data is covered and you won’t miss a beat if your system crashes, computer gets stolen, or your files get corrupted.


Identification of Trends Impacting Google Maps Placement

Image of a Google Maps exposure on Google.com.

I am starting to see a few trends in Google Maps that can be leveraged for placement and wanted to share them with you.

I have particularly studied several pest control firms up in the New York City and New Jersey areas. Here’s what I see in regards to who owns the top spot and on down. My comments below are based on what I see for the New York City search query above, but are matched with the New Jersey listings as well.

1. Typically the business with the most number of reviews will be placed first. These reviews are pulled from maps.google.com reviews as well as other review locations. The New York City reviews are being pulled from NewYork.CitySearch.com in the link above. All the business locations with the city name in the query with reviews are listed first and in order with the one with the most reviews listed in the number one position.

2. Google Maps then appears to pick up adjoining cities alphabetically with the business with the most reviews first. In the link above the first city was Astoria. The business listed had nine reviews.

3. Any businesses that had no reviews were then listed with the city that matched the search query first and then additional cities were listed in alphabetical order. So in this case the first listing without a review had a Manhattan address (as Google understands that this is New York City). The second business was in Astoria and also had no reviews. The next listing without a review was for Brooklyn.

Additionally Google will show a listing over another if it has a coupon. So if you have no reviews, but you offer one or two coupons, your listing will appear in a higher position than others without reviews and with no coupons.

It is easy to create coupons. You do so by logging into your Google Maps or Google Local Business Center account. Now getting positive reviews is harder.

My recommendation is that if Google Maps placement is valuable to your business is to get busy soliciting customer reviews. Provide clients with a link to post reviews directly on your Google Maps profile page when you have sold or completed your service. You may want to even encourage reviews with a small monetary tip, coffee cup with your name, or personal email asking for their comments and a link to your Google Maps page. I would also recommend that you create one to five coupons for your business.

This is the first real trend that I have been able to see in regards to how Google handles who gets placed where when it comes to Google Maps. At this time we do not offer Google Maps placement services as really getting reviews and creating coupons is about you and your interaction with customers directly and not necessarily something that should be farmed out. That being said, clearly the “nut has been cracked” so get busy working to improve your Google Maps placement starting with customer reviews and then coupons.


Our February Newsletter is Posted

This month we have some great topics in our e-newsletter. Here’s a quick review:

Are You Missing Google Local or Google Maps Exposure Opportunities?

You can get free exposure on Google.com, when you match a local search query, if you have a Google Local Business account. What makes it all even sweeter is that the exposure is free.

First, if you don’t have a Google Local Business Center account, I would strongly recommend that you consider setting one up as sometimes local searches are shown above the organic results accompanied by a map. Why wait when you can set one up for without charge? Read more…

Brite Idea Tip: Google AdWords Ads to Show on Smart Phones and Will Offer Click to Call

Google will be rolling out a new mobile advertising program in AdWords this month. But to have your ads show on iPhones and other smart phones you need to make sure that you are opted in. Here’s how you can tap into this mobile network so that when Google rolls out the program to your account you will be automatically able to participate.

For quite sometime in the campaign control panel you could select to show your ads on iPhones and Smart Phones or just on desktop PCs. Now Google is going to finally enable special features just for iPhones and Smart Phones. Read more…

Confused About the Google Caffeine Update? Join the Club

We’ve heard conflicting reports about the release of the new Google Caffeine update and whether it is already live. First, the professional chatter in the first week in January was that the new Google “Caffeine” algorithm was out. Then, on January 14th, the professional chatter was that, no, the algorithm had been delayed. So who do you believe and why would the update possibly be delayed?

As with all important new algorithm adjustments on Google, there is a fine tuning period after launch. When the infamous Florida update was rolled out several years ago, the blow back that Google received was so strong, parts of the algorithm were tweaked for performance to soften the impact or rolled back all together.  Read more…

If you have enjoyed these articles make sure to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.




Creating a File Shortcut in Office Applications

Screen shot showing new shortcuts in file menu bar.I think that you will love this neat little shortcut that I have been using, if you don’t know about it already. Follow the instructions below to add a shortcut link on the system file menu screen for any Microsoft Office Applications. Now, I just wish Microsoft would allow me to create these handy shortcuts from any Windows and systems application.

I’ve inserted an image from one of my file menus just to the right so you can see exactly what I am talking about. As I do not save my files in the My Documents folder, it is helpful for me to have shortcuts to file locations that I use frequently on the file menu bar. Here’s how to do it so you can save time too.

  1. Open the office application of your choice (Word, Excel etc.). Microsoft calls this file menu the “My Places” bar. Navigate to and select, but do not open the folder that you want to add to the menu.
  2. Click Tools and then Add to My Places. Your selected folder will now appear at the bottom of the My Places menu bar. If you don’t see it, right click on the bar and select small icons as it may be hidden for the moment or resize the dialog box so you can see your new folder.
  3. To move your new folder up to the top of the menu on the My Spaces bar, right click on the item you want to move and click move up or move down as needed.

I find the addition of my most frequently used files to be very helpful and only wish that I could do this in all my computer applications. I think that once you try it, you’ll be doing custom file additions to your My Places bar too!


How to Change Your Signature in Outlook or Outlook Express

Have your electronic signature help drive traffic to your Web site by making it a marketing tool! Here are some easy to follow instructions on how to update your electronic signature.

How To Change Your Signature in Outlook Express

  1. On the top menu bar click tools
  2. Click Options
  3. Choose the section for signatures
  4. Click new, type in your signature and information
  5. If you want this to be your default signature, click default
  6. Click Okay

How To Change Your Signature in Outlook

  1. On the top menu bar click tools
  2. Click Options
  3. Choose the section Mail Format
  4. At the bottom, click signature picker
  5. Click new and enter your new signature
  6. Click Okay

IE 8 Web Slices Explained

IE 8 has a cool new feature that some websites can and should use, it is called a web slice. In essence a web slice is a small section of your page that you update either manually with HTML or dynamically with a script and allow a reader to subscribe to that snippet. 

Our web slice page.
Our web slice page.

By subscribing to this special snippet, readers can see any new entries you add to your web slice section in their browser instantly when you add to or update them.

Here is an example on one of my own pages. On the right of the content you will see a gray box that says “MWS New QL Template Features”. If you mouse over this box and have IE 8, a green icon will show to the top left of the content. Additionally, take a quick look in the browser bar and you will see a new green web slice icon has also been illuminated. If you mouse over the slice box in the content you can choose to subscribe to this snippet. IE will place a link to this snippet over just above the tabs on your browser pages.

Once you have subscribed, anytime I change this section on my site, add a new link, a new photo, etc. your browser link will show the new updated content. You can view the content on demand. If you ever want to remove this code snippet. Just right click the item above the tabs and select delete.

I have to say I spent a few hours learning how to set up and style the snippet initially to make it look good. Here is a great tutorial on how to make the code that I used at CODE Magazine. The code is pretty straight forward. What took time was to figure out how to style the snippet that showed in IE.

I found the first div tag controls the font color, size, and background. If you do not style this first div tag IE will pick up your own website body tag background and coloring which in some cases can be a problem. Testing and tweaking to style it properly may take a bit of time using trial and error, but once you get it, you will be able to quickly add the same syntax to other pages or web slices on your website.

How would a website use web slices?

Well, the possibilities are endless! Some sites may choose to show current coupon codes, showcase new features, highlight new products, introduce specials or other timely information. You don’t need to programmatically insert information. Once your “shell” is styled and set up to your liking you can embed this on any page and just change the content using regular HTML.

Take a look at my web slice page, subscribe to it, and see what you think.