Custom Servers and Workstations are Better For The Growth Of Your Company


Computers are an essential element to both our personal and work lives.  Our reliance on computer technology makes it so that hardware and software maintenance must be done on a regular basis.   Building a server, workstation, or personal PC is becoming a popular option verse purchasing a pre-built PC simply because end users can fully customize their new machines without an exceedingly wild budget.

Having a computer built allows you to select and purchase the components of a PC separately.  For servers and workstations being able to customize components is critical.  Custom built computers are often less expensive and better performing than pre-built, higher priced computers. 

Although price is usually the first thing that consumers care about when it comes to building the technology for your company it should not be the most important factor.  It is crucial to work directly with IT consultants that are familiar with how your company runs, the software that is needed, and hardware requirements when purchasing and building the technology that will be used to help run your company. 

Specific software systems only run using operating systems that meet their precise needs. The last thing you want to do is to customize a computer that will not run the most basic of software programs used daily in your operations.  An IT professional can help to make sure the computers that are built use the appropriate motherboard, graphic card, and RAM for your needs while ensuring room to grow as technology is updated in the future.

Not only is price a huge benefit of custom-built servers and workstations so is the flexibility in regard to the unit’s specifications.  With the ability to purchase components according to the user, each computer can be built to meet the specific needs of the users.  The function of the computer is different depending on the user.  Certain workstations need to function with specific software systems crucial for day to day business operations and therefore will need to ensure the computer is built to meet this need.  Some considerations that need to be considered are word-processing functions, audio-visual features, and gaming abilities.  Let’s face it, there is no need to spend extra on a fancy gaming video card to be installed on a workstation where graphics and gaming are not a priority.  Instead a less expensive, entry-level, card can be installed. 

Although many times a pre-built computer will work just find for most situations however, when you can save yourself money and purchase a pc that is customized to your needs, why wouldn’t you?  Working with professionals you can work together to ensure that your network is set up for the most optimal results for your company and industry.  This also helps to ensure that your technology can keep up with your company’s future technology needs.  PC’s don’t need to be replaced on a yearly basis to enjoy the latest in technology.  A few basic upgrades in hardware and software as needed, on a regular basis, can save company’s thousands of dollars each year without sacrificing on technology.

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.



How Can Custom Software Programming Help You?


A new year often is a signal of new beginnings, fresh goals, and the enthusiasm to achieve success.  This concept is not only true in many of our personal lives but also in business.  As the new year starts it is a prime time to target top technology needs for your company needs in order to continue to be profitable and flourish amongst top competitors.  

For many companies it is easy to recognize the areas within the organization that need improvement however, implementation process fall short.  It is easy to document and execute when updates to hardware and software are needed within company networks and workstations.  There is often an ease in spotting disconnects between current technology and software that affect the workflow process as well.  Companies, however, often back burner improvements to workflow through custom software development because it can seem daunting.  Sound familiar?

Yes, at first the idea of change especially when it comes to changing the way things have always been done seems overwhelming.  It is important, however, to recognize the old way of doing things is a great way to keep your business stagnant.  The only way to advance is to keep up with advancements in workflow process that keep you competing with emerging and existing competitors.  

Custom app development specifically programmed to the needs and methods of your business not only reduce expenses it can vastly improve efficiency while providing long-term gains to productivity. There are a number of benefits to having software programmed for your specific needs verse buying commercial or off the shelf software models and adjusting your process to match.  Custom software programming allows you to continually adapt the software as you grow, processes change, or future business needs come up. 

Another benefit to having software that is programmed specifically for your company and workflow process is that it allows you to closely examine your current methods.  This gives team members who may not be directly involved in the day to day workflow a chance to see how things are done without being too close to the situation to offer suggestions for improvement. 

Another benefit of custom programmed software is the ability to integrate work processes and procedures currently being used.  Just because you are creating a custom program doesn’t mean you have to start all over again.  Existing software, Excel spreadsheets, and more can all be built into, modified to fit, or integrated as they are into custom CRM software solutions, barcode reader software, QR code systems, or enterprise resource planning services. 

Using software programmed for your company verse off the shelf software programs also allows companies to save on the expenses associated with the costs of yearly maintenance and software renewal that is often associated with commercial software.

Our professional software developers specialize in creating custom workflow solutions for companies in a variety of industries from parks and rec to over the road trucking, Creative Programs and Systems will develop software that integrates your existing systems into one. 

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.



The Top 9 SEO Trends to Look For In 2019


It is that time of the year where we all begin to reflect on the past year and look ahead to see what is coming on the horizon.  This is true in both our personal ventures and in business.  So much can change in just a years’ time, software is developed, processes are upgraded, and algorithms change.  It is crucial, especially when it comes to your business online that new trends in SEO and digital marketing are considered.  Get a jump start on your 2019 online marketing goals by considering what experts are labeling “the most important SEO trends of 2019”.

Who is your target audience?  What is their intent?

According to industry experts knowing, defining, and building your online marketing strategy around these two things will be more important than ever before. Understanding what people’s expectations are with any given search query and providing the answer/solution with your website and overall online presence is the most effective manner to meet your audiences need.  The goal for marketers is to stay ahead of people’s preferences because they can change quicker than can be imagined.  If you are successfully able to do this, Google will reward you with higher search engine placements and site visitors are more likely to invest in you. 

Search engines outside of Google

In 2019 experts agree that the importance of placement on Google, although high, will shift towards traffic coming in from a variety of sources and search engines.  The goal is to effectively drive traffic and look to engage people in outlets other than just websites. 

If your target audience, as defined above, are searching for apps then your website ranking will not be nearly as important as your rank in the app store.  If your audience is full or video viewers, then it is crucial that your videos appear towards the top of where they are being searched.  The main objective is to rank well on Google and engines that are being used by your audience. Drive traffic through all mediums that your audience is using.

AI: The importance of artificial intelligence

The use of structured data is becoming critical in SEO as the shift from mobile-first to AI-first continues.  The information gathered by AI must show a relationship and within a timely manner. AI processes text quickly and will bypass required information if it is taking too long to crawl the data as it is being presented. 

In 2019 the importance of structured data, schema, active and passive search behaviors and intent make the process and behaviors leading to the search a critical part of SEO.  As digital marketers we need to start diving deeper into the relationship between keywords, topics, and audience behavior in creating and implementing structured markup.  Using a combination of site architecture, meta data, site tags, and structured data allows marketers to give the proper signals to search engines to back up the sites topical and supportive content.

Generate incomparable content

In 2018 we learned that Google’s algorithm was focused mainly on the quality of the content and this will not change a whole lot in 2019.  It was found that websites that were able to provide in-depth, high quality content increased significantly in their placement on search engines. Websites with weak content, although previously ranked highly, dropped in placement on search engines and website visibility became minimal.  Website content writers must create content that is able to answer questions and solve users’ problems.  The best way to do this is through the creation of content that relates to, moves, and brings solutions to your target audience. 

Boost knowledge, become an expert, and create trust

Not only is the content important but quality is also determined in that the content fits into the context.  As marketers it is not likely any authority will be placed on your content if you have not proven to be an authority on the subject.  What this means to us is that we must work to leverage ourselves within the industry as an expert.  Back links and other important SEO measures must be received through sources that show expertise in areas we are looking to specialize in. 

Technical aspects of search engine placement

The complexity of technical SEO practices will not go away in 2019.  There are some key technical components that will continue to play a role in your placement including:

  • Site Speed: The speed at which your website pages load on desktops and mobile devices will continue to play a role in rankings.  Your audience has about three seconds of patience.  In order to get the best loading speed possible for the pages on your website follow this advice:activate AMP on your pages, use HTTPS, move to PHP7, optimize, and use critical rendering paths.
  • JavaScript: Websites are heavily Java Script driven. Be familiar with this popular programming language and how search engines work best with JavaScript driven websites.
  • Optimization on-page

On-page site optimization hasn’t disappeared in its level of importance with the increase in elements that are now significant in search algorithms.  On-page optimization is not an aspect of SEO that can be put in place and forgotten.  Each and every quarter, on-page optimization should be reevaluated and modified as seen fit. 

  • Prepare for the importance of voice search

The last decade of SEO has been all about mobile optimization although 2019 isn’t going to be full on voice search it is time for marketers to consider it and start to include voice strategies in their online marketing techniques.  Voice searching is an easy way to request answers to simple questions however might not yet be the best option for more complex needs. 

  • Optimize for featured snippets & Google SERP features

Not only must your own website be optimized, in 2019 the Google experience must also be optimized for. Your sites exposure will come in a combination of ways, visibility is key.  Featured snippets should be programmed to answer questions to questions users will have related to your website.  These snippets could range from recipes, knowledge graphs, answer boxes, and who knows what else.  Programming these snippets into your site are guaranteed to see an increase in your organic traffic. 

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming,website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.



More Answers to The Million Dollar Question, “How do I get my website on the first page of Google?”

It is the question we are asked more than any other, “How do I get my website on the first page of Google?” and as we previously mentioned,there is more than one way to reach Googles front page.  In this installment we will look at gaining first page Google access both through paid ads and organic searches. 

 Let’s start by talking about paid advertising, more commonly known as Google Ads.  This is the quickest method in which companies can get their website to be viewed on page one of the Google search engine for particular keywords and phrases.  One of the easiest ways to describe Google Ads is to compare it to an auction.  Once you have created and set up a Google Ads account you will create bids for targeted keywords and phrases.    This bid is the amount you are willing to pay for ad positionings for your targeted keywords.  Pay per click as it is referred to allows higher bids to appear closer to the top of the page with all other elements being equivalent. 

There is a lot more that goes into paid per click advertising on Google.  This is however a very simplified approach to introducing the concept of paid advertising.  Website owners will choose a daily budget that they don’t want to go over and once this amount has been spent your ads will stop showing.  Ad scheduling helps to narrow down the time frame which your ads are shown.  It is important to note that you will have more ad impressions than ad clicks.  In pay per click advertising you are only paying for those clicks to your actual ad.  Setting up campaigns with quality ads and keywords will lead to a higher quality score, further enhancing the positioning of your ads.

There can be a large difference in campaign costs between industries.  For highly competitive industries such as construction, legal firms, and IT companies commonly have bids ranging from $1.00 up to $100.00. Paid advertising can be cost prohibitive especially when not properly managed. 

CPS has a Google Ads expert on staff.  It is common for companies to set up a Google Ads account without professional assistance. Google has made it very simple to sign up and create ads on their platform. Bing has a similar product as well. The problem is that if you don’t know what you are doing you can easily waste hundreds of dollars. 

I suggest all companies hire a professional that is certified in Google Ads to create and manage your account.  They will be able to optimize Google Ads and your company’s website to work together to create the best experience for your paid advertising campaigns.  Certified Google Ad specialists often charge a one-time account set up fee and monthly maintenance.  You can expect to easily make up the cost of professional services with the benefits you receive in increased traffic to the site within the first few months if not the first month. 

In conjunction with paid advertising it is important to have your site ranking organically on Google and other popular search engines.  Organic rankings are the listings on the SERP that are found underneath paid advertising and business listings.  Often more paid ads are seen again after organic listings.  Organic rankings cannot be bought and must come naturally. This is done through a practice known as Search Engine Optimization, SEO.  Many factors influence the positioning of your website on Google.  Some of those include:

Page Content Quality and Length

The pages throughout your website need to be full of content that is easy to read, informative, and unique. The on-page content must be beneficial to the reader.  Your content should be only as long as it can be while maintaining quality. Create content that your target audience will find useful.

Inbound Links Quantity and Quality

Google ranks your website higher than similar websites when other sites link to yours, especially large scaled, relevant websites.  When other websites, third party links, show acceptance by creating inbound links to your site Google sees that as a signal that your content is worthy and therefore can have a higher SERP.

Mobile Presence

With the increase in the number of people accessing the internet via smartphones and tablets, Google is placing mobile-friendly websites ahead of those that aren’t. Websites need to be optimized for mobile devices so that they are easy to navigate.  Users on all platforms should access the desired information with speed and ease.

Page Speed

No one notices the speed at which pages load unless they load slowly.  Well, no one except Google that is! Web pages must load quickly no matter what device they are being viewed on.  Patience is a virtue that most internet users don’t have therefore in order to provide the best sites possible within SERP the loading speed of pages is measured.

Keyword and Phrases Within Page Content

Another element that is considered important in SEO is using the keywords and phrases you desire ranking for within your sites on page and off page content.  These should be used not only within the content of the page but also the headers and meta details.  It is important to not overdo their usage as this is known as “keyword stuffing” which Google will penalize you for. Content should be written in language that is easy for humans to understand.  Keywords should be used sparingly and kept as natural sounding as possible.

Domain Name Authority

This is something new companies don’t have a lot of control over however, the longer you have owned a domain the better.  The more pages that contain your domain name along with quality content the better for ranking.  Using keywords within your domain can impact traffic and therefore rankings because users are more likely to click a relevant domain name vs a competitor’s domain that shows little relevance to the search.

Site Security

Google places priority on secure sites vs non-securesites.  A website should load via https.  Not only does Google give placement preference to secure sites, site visitors prefers to visit secure sites as well. This is true even if you are not obtaining critical information such as credit cards.  Google wants all sites to have an SSL installed in order to load website pages in a secure format.

Along with on page elements there are a number of off page features that, when done correctly, work to enhance your rankings on search engines. Some of these essential tasks involve:

Creating a Google My Business Listing

Business listings are one of the best FREE ways to“advertise” your business.  Take time to claim and optimize your business on Google (and other major searchengines).  Business listings are listed right after Google Ads, pay-per-click, and before organic searches on the SERP.  This listing allows clients to leave reviews, see your business on a local map, and shows all relevant business information like hours of operation, address, and more.

Create and Maintain a Blog

Blogging is one of the best ways to create a buzz about your company.  If you want to rank on Google,start a blog and post regular articles and company updates.  Blog ideas can be difficult to come up with,so my advice is to consider the top 5 questions customers would ask you if they were in front of you.  Then write a detailed answer to satisfy each of these questions, one blog post per questions.  Make sure to note the title of your blog; it is a crucial element to each blog post.

Quality Link Building

Quality link building can be done in a number of ways.  Guest article writing is one of the best ways that businesses can build links.  Write an article for a local paper, industry blog or magazine, or whatever reputable source you can find to publish you.  At the end of your article add in a bio with a link to your website and information about your company.

Submit your Business Information to Directories

Create listings of your business on local and industry directory sites.  Sites like Yelp, Foursquare,and Angie’s List, some of which charge a small fee, are great sources to create business listings.  Creating a healthy online profile through trusted directory domains send a trustworthy signal to search engines like Google.  If other sites trust yours this will only help your SERP.

Just remember that you are never done!  In order to get to the front page of search engines and maintain your placement it is critical to remain persistent in your efforts.  Staying one step ahead of the competition is what will ensure your placement at the top!

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming,website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.

The Million Dollar Question: How Do I Get My Website on The First Page of Google?

Every business on the internet wants to know how they can get their website ranked well enough to show up on the first page of search engines, mainly Google.  It really is a million-dollar question and if the answer was as simple as the question then I would be out of a job however, it is not simple and instead requires a great deal of patience, time, effort, and understanding.  The good thing is you are in the right place to start the adventure of 1st page Google rankings and we are the team of experts that can help get you there!

It is important to first understand how search engines like Google work.  Many people use Google and the Internet interchangeably.  This is however, incorrect.  The internet is, “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.” (https://www.dictionary.com) In real people speak, the internet is the one source where the world can connect without borders.  This connection involves search engines, web sites, and more.  Google is not actually the Internet and even if your site is not ranking on the first page of Google does not mean it is not showing up on the Internet.  What it does mean though is that your website it lives on the internet but is not displayed as an option in Google’s search results for the exact keyword that was searched.

Google is not human, it is in fact an automated system that works 24/7/365 visiting websites throughout the internet.  Google takes a glimpse of each page within the website and tucks this information into a large database where it organizes this information into usable data for later search inquiries.

In theory Google is “reading” the content on pages of your website including text, pictures, video, and audio files.  This data is used to determine exactly what that page of your website is about and uses it to decide what web pages to show in searches and in what order for specific keywords and keyword phrases.  In real speak, Google uses several elements to create an algorithm to establish what pages (websites) within the Internet are the most relevant to the specific phrase that is searched and displays them in order of relevance.  These results are known as SERP, Search Engine Results Page; the result, the SERP is defined as the first ten website pages that are shown.

A SERP itself is broken down in a unique format.  The top results are usually comprised of paid ads that come from Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords.  The next section is filled with local businesses listings and a map laying out the locations and basic service area.  After that you will find the main area where the organic listings are found.  These are the top 10 webpages Google has found that are relevant to the search term(s) as described above.

Often clients are on Google but just aren’t showing on the first page results.  There are several factors that play into where your site pages are ranked within Google for searches using keywords and phrases that are relevant.  The goal is to rank on the first page but just because you aren’t on page one doesn’t mean that you aren’t “on Google”.

To get ranked by Google your website and pages need to be indexed.  This is the case for all search engines not just Google.  There are several ways that this can be done: manually through an indexing tool such as Google Search Console or automatically over time as Google is scanning the internet it will find your site.  This process can take some time though so if you have a newer site it is in your best interest to have the pages of the site manually indexed.  If your page is not showing up in Googles search results for a keyword or phrase you think it should be it is time to evaluate the reasons this is occurring.  Remember to look as you may not be coming up on the first page results but instead on a later SERP.  Both are “issues” that can be resolved.

I know what you are thinking, “Ok, my site is there on page 17 but how in the world do I get it on page 1 where it will actually be seen?”  This is the million-dollar question, it is what all website owners strive for. In fact, so much that there is an entire industry that was created to do this one specific thing, RANK WEBSITES AND PAGES ON GOOGLES FIRST PAGE! As we have mentioned, there are two ways that first page Google rankings can occur: paid advertising (Google Ads) and organic listings.

In our next installment we will dive into each method of reaching Googles front page.  The one thing to remember is that if it was easy everyone would be there.  The process of ranking on Googles first page through either paid or organic listings is not simple or overnight.  It will take time, patience, and perseverance to obtain the status you are looking for with your website.  Thankfully you have found right where you need to be!  The professionals at Creative Programs and Systems are here to lead the way.

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.

Basic Elements Used In Networking: What You Should Know

The term networking is used a lot in both IT and business a lot.  Creating a successful IT network is crucial to the growth of a business.  When people within an organization are able to share and merge information in real time an increase in efficiency naturally occurs.  IT networking is a concept that many of us are familiar with but unsure of what it takes to create.  A network is a system where computers, phones, peripherals, and even IT devices are connected.  Some basic essential needed to create a manage this system include routers, switches, and wireless access points.  These units connect the devices on your network and allow them to communicate with one another as well as outside networks such as the internet.

The Foundation: Switches

A network switch is the backbone of many networks within companies large and small.  It acts very much like a controller and connect devices such as computers, printers, and servers to the network within a location.  A switch creates a link of communication on your network, allowing devices to work with one another and outside networks, thus creating a system in which resources can be shared.  When information is shared, in real time, across sources and available resources are shared businesses save time and money while increasing productivity.

There are two types of switches that IT professionals can install within your networking system: managed and unmanaged.

Managed Switches: A managed switch allows techs the ability to configure it for the needs of the network.  Monitoring and adjustments can be made locally or remotely.  This gives companies a greater control over the network’s traffic and accessibility.

Unmanaged Switches: An unmanaged switch is one that works right from the box however cannot be configured.  This type of switch is most often not used in commercial IT but instead home networking equipment.

The Dispatcher: Routers

A router is used to join the devices on the network together.  A router is also used to connect computers to the internet.  Using a router in networking allows one single internet connection to be shared amongst users.  Paying for individual internet connections for each computer within a company would be a huge expense without a beneficial increase in function performed.

As a dispatcher, a router examines the data that is sent across the network and pick a proper route for the data to voyage through the network to its final destination.  A router is used to connect your business to the outside world while protecting the data from threats and deciding a priority over systems in the network.

There are a few types of routers to choose from including:

  • Routers with firewalls
  • Virtual private networks (VPN)
  • Internet Protocol (IP) communications system

Routers make basic networking functions possible while making networking easier and more secure.

Accessibility: Access Points

Access points are added to network to allow for connection without cables.   This makes the process of bringing new equipment online simpler and allows for flexibility to mobile employees.   An access point works in a similar fashion as an amplifier for the network.  Routers provide bandwidth and the access point extends the bandwidth amongst many devices that are able to access the network from a near and far.

An access point is more than just a unit that extends the Wi-Fi signal.  A network access point allows useful information about all of the devices on the network and provide proactivity security while serving other practical functions.

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.

Managed IT Services: Finding A Compatible IT Provider for Your Business

As you are interviewing providers to provide your business with managed IT services it is crucial that you know what you need and exactly what services you are looking for.  Below we will provide you with some tips you should keep in mind while you are interviewing companies to become your new managed IT services.

In business, no matter if you are growing or happy where you are currently at, your IT infrastructure is crucial.  Many small business owners try to manage their IT services without hiring an outside source.  However, as they grow, they find that their IT service needs become more than they can manage on their own.  This is where companies such as Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, can help.  Managed IT services leverage the use of technology to increase efficiency throughout your organization.

Managed IT providers, MSP, is a company that is an outsourced provider of set IT tasks for your business.   Many MSP providers are seen as your company’s “internal” IT team as most are available to provide services to you 24/7, after business hours may be considered emergency only.  A major benefit of MSP providers is that they become part of your company without the overhead and extra staff.

Important Features of Your Managed Services Provider

IT Support When You Need It – 24/7/365

One detail that many IT service contracts include is availability.  Although most MSP providers offer services round the clock it is common that services provided outside of what is agreed upon as normal business hours is done at an additional premium.  The point being that they are available when you need them.  Catastrophes don’t always occur during “regular” business hours.  It is important that even though your IT company isn’t open 24/7/365, they are available when and if you need them.

Backups and Data Recovery

It is crucial that your service provider has in place specific procedures for backups and data recovery.   Most companies don’t know the benefits of an IT provider until an actual catastrophe occurs.  When a data failure occurs, and you are required to restore your company information based on the backups that are in place is probably not the time to learn the company you hired is subpar.

Maintenance and Preemptive Support

Not only is the purpose of hiring an MSP about having support when a problem occurs, it is about being proactive and preventing issues before they occur.  IT support providers need to be able to not only monitor the existing IT infrastructure they should also derail potential problems before they occur.

Hire an MSP Provider That Understands Your Company

Every business is unique and therefore needs special attention paid to their unique needs.  Find a provider that wants to learn about your company in detail.  In order to provide your business with a successful IT solution and suggest strategies to grow your company they must understand your companies wants and needs.

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.

Outsourcing IT Services Through a Managed IT Provider

There are a number of ways in which business of all sizes receive IT support.  From in house IT techs, on call IT professionals, and managed IT providers, specialists exist in a number of capacities to ensure that the IT needs of your business, no matter how large or small your company is, are met.  Many companies are switching to managed it services simply because it is one less thing on their plate to manage.

In order to choose an IT infrastructure for your business it is important to evaluate your current needs and future growth.  Although the services of managed IT professionals allow you to take a hands-off approach it may include more services than you actually need.  In this installment we will take a look into the general overview of managed IT plans.  It is important to note that different companies offer different services, so it is crucial that you find an IT plan and company that would fit your needs without having to pay for services you do not require.

Vital Elements of Managed IT Contracts

Security

Security within your organization is important for a number of reasons and it truly the first area of concern for many business owners.  It is crucial that company and client data is kept secure.  A breach in data security not only costs companies millions of dollars to clean up from it puts critical data in jeopardy.  Managed IT service providers must have a detailed outline on how they will secure your specific IT systems.  Look for areas including intrusion detection and prevention, encryption, and firewalls to be addressed as well as how the services will be carried out.

Infrastructure

The infrastructure of your organization must be well cared for in order for your company to thrive and grow.  No matter what size your company is the basics still apply, to run efficiently everything you need must be able to be performed on your systems network.  This means that your managed IT service contract must include server & storage maintenance, network administration, backups, and basic services to issues arising within the network.  You must work with your IT provider to develop a list of current and future IT services that are required for you business to continue to thrive.

Service and Support

The service and support of IT technicians can occur in a number of manners include over the phone, remotely, and in person.  Does your company require 24/7 support to operate?  If this is the case and your business will be dead in the water without 24/7 support, you will want to find an IT company that offers a managed IT service contract that supports your company no matter the time a day or day of the week.  This type of support will come at a premium.  Many IT companies support normal business hours and make accommodations for emergency support when needed.  Support outside of normal operation times may require an additional fee above and beyond your monthly managed IT support.

Monitoring your Network

Monitoring your network is critical to successfully managing your IT services.  An interruption within the network will mean downtime for your company.  Managed IT services monitor every aspect of the network from in house, remote users, mobile devices, and virtual machines. Monitoring services should also include intrusion prevention and detection, firewall configurations, and 24/7 monitoring.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

Having a complete backup of your data is crucial.  If disaster strikes it is important to know that the data that keeps your company up and running is accessible and up to date.  Does the company provide on site backup, cloud backup, or is a private source used to backup crucial company data?  Not only should you know where to look for important company backups it is important to have access to this information when you need it.  Your managed IT support provider should also include a detailed disaster recovery plan when addressing backup needs.  It is essential that this information is readily available to prevent any downtime if your company should encounter an unexpected issue.

There are many aspects to managed IT plans.  This installment provides basics to expect when looking into providers of managed IT service plans.  Further questions should be asked to help you determine if these services are right for your company.  When interviewing IT specialists and different service plans available it is important to note exactly what is and isn’t covered in different managed IT plans.  Communication is the key element when it comes to a successful IT solution for your company.

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.

Is Your Website Ready for the Mobile Revolution?

The way we live is forever changed with each new advancement in technology, especially mobile technology.  Mobile technology is changing at a rapid pace and our responsibility is to keep pace with these changes.   As customers change how they use the internet and how they engage with business it is up to us to evolve as well.

If you don’t believe in the theory of a mobile technology revolution it is time to take the blinders off and look around.  If you step outside and look around, you will see people everywhere using their smart phones in one form or another.  It is interesting to see the shift in internet use as we move from desktops to laptops and now into a world of mobile devices.  Each advancement in technology and how our access to it has changed end user interactions.

Consider the following:

82% of us browse the internet on their phone

61% of us search with their smartphones each and everyday

94% of smartphone users look for local information and 84% take actions because of it

47% of us visit business or service websites

77% of us use our smartphones to research products and services

(Our Mobile Planet: United States of America. Understanding the Mobile Consumer. May 2013. http://think.withgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en.)

From the statistics above you can see that almost 50% of the visitors to your website are from smartphone users.  Problems arise when visitors seek out sites that are coded improperly and are not mobile responsive and therefore basically unusable when viewed on a smart device.  Websites that are not mobile friendly are still viewable on smartphones however are practically unable to be interacted with.  A non-mobile responsive site will show up as a micro version of itself.

Users will only be able to garner information from zooming in and scrolling left to right on the text.  Website menus will be super tiny and frustrating to work with.  If your site is not programmed to be viewed correctly on mobile devices you could be losing upwards of 50% of your customers to the competitors who have already upgraded to a mobile responsive website design.  No user wants to scroll in and out on a website to gather information.  As advancements in technology shows us, end users are all about ease of use and convenience.  Mobile friendly, responsive website design is critical for the growth of your storefront and online business.

To find out more on mobile responsive website design call the experts at Creative Programs and Systems, 810.224.5252.  We are an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a wide range of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.

Creating Website Content That Is Ready for Voice Search

One of the most important aspects of creating a new website is making sure that your target traffic can easily locate you.  The planning process involved requires business owners to consider what keywords and keyword phrases people will type into search engines in order to find them.  Content is then created around these searches to maximize ranking results.  That has worked well in the past but with new technology and voice search now is the time to reconsider website content.

Voice Search Technology

Voice search technology is when people use their voice to ask devices such as computers, phones, Alexa, Google Home, and such devices to aide in their search of the internet vs sitting at a device and typing the search into a search engine.  More than half of all internet searches are said to come from voice activated technologies by the year 2020.  Each year the number of voice-activated speakers purchased increases ten-fold.  It’s pretty obvious to us that in order to continue to be successful websites need to be adjusted to accommodate for both voice and type searching.

People are using voice search technology mainly because it is so fast and easy to use.  You can search using your phones while on the go.  Information is easily received whether you are in the car, at a restaurant, or sitting in your front room, no matter where you are at voice search technology allows you to easily access information.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

There are a number of things voice search technology changes when it comes to search engines and optimizing your website to meet the needs of your customers.  One thing this means is longer search phrases. When people speak they tend to talk in complete sentences whereas when typing the phrases are shorter and more to the point using basic keywords.

Voice Search vs Traditional Typing

Voice Search: Clients are more likely to ask a question such as: “What are the voice search statistics for 2018?”

Traditional Search: Clients are more likely to input a keyword or phrase without adding to it: “voice search” or “voice search stats 2018”.

Voice activated applications have been programmed to understand our natural speech patterns.  They will understand longer text phrases and questions.  When planning to optimize your website for search engines it will be important to take this new information into consideration.  Keyword optimization will no longer only revolve around simple keywords and long-tailed keyword phrases it should now include answers to questions and longer phrases.

The Future of SEO

With voice search technology becoming more and more common, optimization for search engines is going to focus more on the long-tailed keyword, a keyword that is more than three to five words.  Whereas previously websites would have been optimized for “kitchen remodeling” with voice search optimization should include “kitchen remodeling trends for 2018” or “local contractors specializing in kitchen remodeling 2018”.

Websites that are designed with voice search technology in mind will have a huge advantage over older website designs that do not redesign their sites to include optimization for the new technology.  Long tailed keywords and phrases are less competitive and therefore easier to rank for.  Designing a website around this now will ensure you are prepared as voice searching becomes more and more common.

What Can You Do Today?

Currently the most common voice search is your business’s phone number and address.  Don’t hide that information on your site within an image or logo.  The phone number and address need to be easily found and recognized.  Your companies Google business listing should include an up to date address, phone number, and website address should be easily available if a client does a quick search of your company’s name.

If you are looking for local customers include phrases such as, “near me”, “local”, or “close by”.  The popularity of keywords that include these phrases has increased over 500% in part due to voice searching.

Content should be structured for the intent of your users.  What are your users looking for?  What information are they trying to find from your site?  Optimizing for Google means that your sites content gives answers to the user’s questions.  Blogs or a blog series should be written in a manner that also answers your customers questions.  Posts should specifically address questions that will be asked.

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.