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Six Benefits of a Great Business Website

Are you contemplating setting up a website for your business and wondering if it's worth the time and effort? With the popularity of social media and the general public's use of the internet for everything from researching products and services to reading the latest news, professional-looking websites have become extremely advantageous. Here are six of the biggest benefits a good website can have for your business.

 

1. Visibility.

One of the main things businesses need to bring in profits is visibility. If customers are aware your business exists, they can visit you. While you may have a lovely brick-and-mortar building and all kinds of local advertising, it can't compare with the far-reaching possibilities of the internet. Consumers are becoming more and more web-savvy and are using the internet to research and plan before they even leave home. Having a website that will show up when a consumer searches for a product or service you provide, gets your name and location in front of them in a very helpful way.

 

2. Sales

Your website can also potentially drive up your company's sales. Adding eCommerce capabilities to your site means that your customers don't even have to leave their homes to buy what you have to offer. The convenience to your customer is a benefit that they might find helpful and you might find profitable.

 

3. Email list

When you create a website for your business, you can include an option for customers to sign up for your newsletter. By providing this service; you can offer new product information, coupons or discounts, current promotions, or any other information you would like to get out to your customer base. An email list makes online marketing more effective and can bring in more business.

 

4. Customer service

A website allows you to handle customer service inquires in a timely and efficient manner. You can place a form on your site allowing customers to contact you electronically, and you can respond to their issues promptly. This eliminates some of the back and forth that can go along with traditional customer services done via phone or regular mail.

 

5. Expertise

By providing helpful and accurate information about your particular business niche on your website, you can establish yourself as an authority on the subject. You can influence your rankings on search engines by keeping your site up-to-date with information that is relevant to your topic and that customers either want or need to read. Establishing yourself as an expert in a particular area gives customers confidence in you and your products or services. This confidence can lead to increased profits for you.

 

6. Updates

One of the biggest benefits of having a business website is the ease with which you can update it. If your company changes locations, if you develop or wish to promote new products, or if you have company news to share; your site can be changed quickly and repeatedly. This makes getting new information out to your customers in a timely manner much easier that it is offline.

 

In the 21st century, technology is changing the way people interact with businesses. A great website can help you take advantage of these changes and can give your business all the benefits a web presence has to offer.

 

Contact us today for more information on how we can help.

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Active Listening

Active Listening makes you a better communicator

 

The best sales people in the world listen 80% of the time and only speak 20%. So what is that telling the rest of us? We really need to become better communicators and here are some things you need to know in order to become an active listener and thus a better communicator.

 

First thing is to pay attention to the speaker. Look them in the eye and let them know they have your undivided attention. Avoid being distracted by things going on around you. Treat them the way you would expect to be treated, their thoughts are just as important as yours. Pay attention to body language, that can sometimes speak louder than words.

 

Secondly, show them that you are paying attention. Make small verbal comments such as “yes” or “uh huh” to let them know that you are actively listening. Use your body language and gestures to express your interest, by nodding occasionally or by using facial expressions.

 

Now you will need to provide feedback to the speaker. Our conjectures, convictions, and attitudes can distort what we hear. As the listener, your role is to process and understand what is being said. This may require you to take time to reflect on what is being said and then ask questions. Paraphrasing is a great way to let the speaker know you have been listening by saying things like, "What I'm hearing is," and "Sounds like you are saying,". Recap the speaker's comments from time to time.

 

Always allow the speaker to finish each point before asking a question or making a statement. Interruptions usually frustrate the speaker and you will not understand the message the speaker is tying to convey.

 

Active listening is about respect and understanding for the speaker. You are gaining information and perspective. You improve nothing by confronting the speaker or otherwise putting the person down. You should be open and honest with the speaker. You can assert your opinions, but do it respectfully.

 

Old habits are hard to break, but with time, determination and attentiveness, you can become a great active listener.

 

Be conscious of your listening by reminding yourself that you are truly wanting to understand what is being said to you. Set aside all other opinions and focus on the message. Ask questions, mull over, and summarize to ensure you fully understand the message being presented to you.

 

Remember we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, we were made to listen twice as much as we speak. Start using active listening techniques today to become the best communicator you can be. Improve every aspect of your life by concentrating on what others are really saying to you. You will develop deeper and better relationships through proper communication. 

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Google Chromecast Desktop Casting

Google Chrome version 53 introduced native casting support to the Google Chromecast. This ability has been available for a while using an extension but now that everyone with an up-to-date version of Chrome has it lets take a look at an interesting feature that it includes.

 

For the uninitiated, the Google Chromecast is a little HDMI dongle that you plug into your TV that connects to your Wi-Fi network and allows you to stream content to your television from your Phone/Tablet/Laptop/Desktop. You can stream things like YouTube, Netflix and even audio-only like Google Play Music or Spotify.

Google Chromecast 2015

 

When you use Chrome to stream your content you can stream whole tab to your TV. Which means you can stream any website (including sound) to your big screen, great for sites that don’t support the Google cast function. Now with the new version of Chrome (previously in beta from the old Chromecast extension) you can stream your entire desktop.

 

The Cast Option in Chrome's Dropdown Menu

 

Streaming your whole desktop lets you playback content that doesn’t have to exist on the web, like locally downloaded movies/TV shows. It even syncs the audio delay according to network performance. The streaming quality is subject to several factors but is heavily dependent on your Wi-Fi network performance, so the better your network the better the quality (including framerate and compression artifacting).

 

Cast Desktop Option when you select a source

 

Ideally you should be using a strong 802.11ac Router/Access Point and the most recent Chromecast (which supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi). There are rumors of a new Chromecast coming out next month (October 2016) which would be the third generation and is allegedly bringing 4k support along with it.

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Weird Stock Photos:Part 1 of 3

Weird Stock Photos Designing websites day to day gives me a lot of opportunities to use stock photos. We use these photos in layouts and content to enhance the design and most times when we do not have anything supplied from our clients. For the most part the variety to choose from is great and the photos are not only beautiful, but also very professionally taken.

 

By browsing through a countless number of pages I have found what I think to be some of the funnier images cataloged. Sometimes it really makes me think, "What was the photographer thinking!?" On the other hand, maybe its like my mom has always told me. You're not weird, you're a limited edition.

 

The photos below are courtesy of thinkstockphotos.ca and should not be used for other purposes than this blog post. (Not that you would want to anyway.)

 

And yes, you read right this is part 1 of 3 so look for the next installment of Weird Stock Photos.

 

enjoy.

 

Weird Collage

 

 

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REM Production Meetings

REM holds a weekly production meeting every Friday morning. 

 

With a coffee or tea in one hand and last week’s schedule, next week’s tentative schedule, and additional notes in the other, the REM staff gathers in our boardroom to discuss the-state-of-the-REM-world, as it relates to projects.

 

As the Project Manager at REM I am happy to lead our production meetings.

 

The format of our production meetings is very typical.  We discuss incomplete tasks from the current week and talk about the tasks that I have tentatively booked for the following week.

 

The meetings give everyone the opportunity to share feedback from our customers that could alter the status of a project and scheduling.  For example, if a customer is going on holidays for a couple of weeks this may force me to adjust the deadline of their project.  Likewise, if a customer has requested a new feature I will need to shift the effected schedules in order to accommodate the additional work. 

 

Our meetings give me the chance to confirm which members of our team can complete certain tasks in order to help balance the overall work load of the company. 

 

Our conversations help provide insight into our processes and customer relationships which is imperative for us to mature in our individual roles and as a company.

 

It is essential that everyone has a solid understanding of the projects that affect them, and in many cases, their colleagues.  Our weekly production meetings are an important part of our internal communication.  They help us remain prepared and productive and help ensure that our projects are completed accurately and on time.

 

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Handy Web/Graphic Designer Terminology: Part 1

Ever worked with a Web or Graphic Designer and wondered about what that designer jargon meant when they explained their design and/or answered some questions? Have you ever tried to muddle through them? Some of them are logical and easy to understand, but there are some that might make you scratch your head and go, “What do you mean by that?”

 

Well, fret not! Here are some handy Web/Graphic Designer terminologies (“Jibber Jabber” as Penny from The Big Bang Theory would call it) that you’ve been dying to learn. Keep in mind that these are designer lingos that I’ve learned for myself and are not “official” descriptions.

 

I will be talking about the main sections of a web page, using the homepage of our website, REM Web Solutions, as an example with labels and numbers to illustrate the terms below.

 

REM Web Solutions homepage with labels

  1. Main Navigation – the explanation is in the name. This is a set or menu of web page links that’re crucial to your website and where your user/customer would navigate to the most. Best practice suggests it should be at the very top of a website; it must be clearly visible and easy to understand.
  2. Header – much like the header of a formal letter, the header is the main section that appears at the very top of a web page. It’s what you want the user/customer to pay attention to first. More often than not, the main navigation is within the header because just like the main navigation, the header should ideally have the most important pieces of information and elements your website needs, such as your company logo, search bar, etc.
  3. Body Copy – the body copy is the main text that starts off a web page. In a homepage is the introduction paragraph more often than not. For a website body copy is an important piece of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A search engine such as Google or Bing, would crawl through the website and look for keywords in headings and paragraphs that will be associated with your company.
  4. Footer – similar to a formal letter, the footer appears at the very bottom of the web page. Most of the time the footer’s main role is to reiterate the info/elements that were in the header. Why repeat in the footer what’s already in the header you ask? It’s to engage your user/customer once again after they’ve scrolled to the very bottom of the page, enticing them as if to say: “Congrats! You’ve made it through the entire page. Now that you’ve seen this page, wanna see another one?”

I hope this blog post has been very informative for you! You could throw them into conversations the next time you chat with a Web/Graphic Designer. Certainly the designer will be very impressed and they’ll appreciate that you know them. This is Part 1 of a blog series; next month is Part 2 which will delve deeper into web and graphic design lingo.

 

For now, I shall leave you with a great quote from Paul Rand, a famous Graphic Designer.

“Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated.”

 

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Customer Service

How to Deliver Great Customer Service

 

A widely quoted statistic gets to the heart of the value proposition behind customer service: The cost of acquiring a new customer is five times that of retaining an existing one. For businesses that succeed by forming a bond with the customer, the disparity is surely even greater.

 

Good customer service is essentially a variation on the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If people believe that they're being remembered and are known to your business, that will have a positive impact on their disposition toward your business.

 

Providing good customer service is often a matter of common sense, but that doesn't mean it comes naturally to everyone. For some, in fact, it means behaving differently than they do in other business situations. If you are used to fighting about every detail of a business deal, you may have to adjust your attitude. The same goes if you feel that selling is a zero-sum game; to win customers, you will sometimes have to make them feel they have won, too. Here are some important steps to help you with great customer service.

 

Caring for Customers

 

Great Customer Service Begins with You


You must lead by example. If you are enthusiastic and courteous, others will want to do the same.

 

A Culture of Customer Service Must Be Codified


Start by hanging on the wall a set of core values, 10 or fewer principles that include customer service ideals. We have seven and they are as follows: Customer Success Comes First, Take Ownership, Think More, Improve Everything, Congratulate the Victory, Persevere, and Customer Success Comes First.

 

Employees Are Customers, too


Companies renowned for their customer service treat employees as they would have their employees treat their customers. Employees take on more responsibility because they know they are appreciated and an important part of the team. People who don't feel like they're part of the bigger picture, who feel like a small cog in a big machine, are not willing to go the extra mile.

 

Not every business can afford to shower staff with generous pay and benefits, but not every business has to. Small companies can show "intense interest" in employees, in their welfare, their families, and their future. It's also important to recognize an employee “publicly” for a job well done. Some companies also offer incentives for exceptional customer service, but if you can't spare the cash, you might throw an office party or offer another token of appreciation.

 

Emphasize the Long Term


Short-term sales incentives can sometimes undermine long-term customer satisfaction. Prevent that by building short-term programs atop an ongoing program that rewards broader improvements. Moreover, winner-take-all incentives can drive a lot of unhealthy competition and disengage the rest of the sales force. You improve sales performance by much greater percentages when you improve the performance of the large group in the middle of the bell curve.

 

Build Trust


Use your customer's name whenever you can. And sometimes you have to give to get. Going the extra mile by showing the customer you care about making them successful, can build a lot of trust.

 

Listen


The best salespeople spend 80 percent of their time listening, not talking. Ask open-ended questions to elicit a customer's needs and wants. Once they've identified what they're looking for, use their words throughout the process, that way, they've sold it for you.

 

Sometimes It's the Little Things That Matter


Small gestures that anticipate customers' needs or attend to their comforts, such as offering a cold glass of water on a hot day or a children's area with toys, go a long way toward winning them over.

 

If You Can't Help a Customer, point to an Establishment That Can


And saying "You might try Smith's, on Main Street" won't make nearly as strong an impression as confirming that Smith's has the item in question and giving directions to their location on Main Street. This is the ultimate in customer service, and guaranteed that customer will be back.

 

Show Your Appreciation


One important element of retaining customers is communication. Personalize the thank-you note after a deal or perhaps a follow-up phone call is also a nice touch.

 

Treat Your Best Customers Better


If your company relies on a relatively small number of clients to provide a disproportionately large share of revenue, it makes sense to devote a disproportionate amount of time and energy to serving them. (Think of airlines and the escalating benefits in their frequent-flier programs.)

 

Resolving Customer Disputes

 

It's bad enough when a customer is unhappy with your product or service. But if the attempt to redress the problem is frustrating or fruitless, it makes matters much worse. A satisfied customer may tell one or two friends about your company, but an angry customer will tell at least 10. Some aggrieved customers can never be placated, but, more often, successful dispute resolution lies with a caring and qualified customer service representative.

Solve the problem when it occurs. Give the people who are the first line of response the authority to resolve problems themselves.

 

Don't greet agitation with agitation. Our first tendency is to match our tone to their tone, but you don't want to do that. If we stay calm, their voice will start coming down, and they'll begin to relax.

 

Here is a helpful hint for resolving a dispute as a five-step process called the Five A's: Acknowledge the problem. Apologize, even if you think you're right. Accept responsibility. Adjust the situation with a negotiation to fix the problem. Assure the customer that you will follow through.

 

Don't forget salesmanship. The skills and techniques of good selling discussed earlier are even more valuable in difficult situations. Address customers by name, and repeat what they've said. Whether you resolve the issue or not, they'll see that you have their best interest in mind.

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Proper Names for Groups of Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish and Invertebrates

Groups of Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish and Invertebrates

Cobras: a quiver
Crocodiles: a bask
Frogs: an army
Toads: a knot
Turtles: a bale or nest
Salamanders: a maelstrom
Snakes, vipers: a nest

Fish in general: a draft, nest, run, school or shoal
Herring: an army
Sharks: a shiver
Trout: a hover

Bees: a grist, hive or swarm
Caterpillars: an army
Clams: a bed
Crabs: a consortium
Cockroaches: an intrusion
Flies: a business
Grasshoppers: a cloud
Jellyfish: a bloom, fluther or smack
Lobsters: a risk
Oysters: a bed
Snails: a hood
Squid: an audience

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Hot Hot Hot

HOT HOT HOT

 

At the beginning of the summer, I decided to try my hand at gardening! As a bonafide foodie, and a lover of hot sauce I grew a bunch of peppers in hopes that I would be able to make my own! After 3 months of watering, fertilizing, and hoping my peppers would make it through I was able to create my first batch! Take a look at the process below!!

 

As anticipated this entire process was extremely rewarding. We ended up with an incredibly hot and I mean HOT sauce. Cant wait for the next one!! 

 

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My Frankenstein Kitchen Audio System

So like many I have tried installing a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen to listen to some tunes while doing dishes or the like. Also like many others I am let down buy the terrible sound quality, low volume and flakiness that is Bluetooth (sometimes). So as a project for myself I decided to whip up my own wireless streaming audio system.

 

To start I used the 2 rear-channel speakers from my 5.1 home theatre setup (which currently is setup in a 2.1 configuration) which were collecting dust under our TV stand. I cleaned them off and took the speaker wire that was still connected to the also-collecting-dust center channel speaker and cut/stripped it evenly so I had a pair for each speaker.

 

Next to power them I needed to get an amp. After a bit of research on what the power requirements on the rear-channel speakers were and some Amazon-ing to find an amp that I liked I ordered the LEPY-2024A+ Digital Amp .

 

Finally, I needed a way to get my music to the speakers. I had this piece in mind from the start which is a Chromecast Audio from Google. You plug it into power and into your audio output (the audio amp) and then it connects to  your home Wi-Fi network and shows this little Cast icon  in compatible apps like Spotify and Google Play Music. You just hit the button and choose where you want your music to play and away you go. It also works from inside Google Chrome on desktop in both Spotify and Google Play Music as well.

 

They sound great and are really easy to begin streaming to from any smartphone, tablet or desktop/laptop. Also a nice perk of the Chromecast Audio is it handles the streaming itself, it isn't pulling anything from your device so you don't need to even be connected to Wi-Fi after you have initiated the stream.

 

Not to shabby.

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