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.

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.

5 Ways Managed IT Services Benefit Your Company

All businesses need proactive support to identify and manage IT issues before they occur and regardless of the business niche or size, companies can benefit from outsourcing a skilled managed IT services provider to handle issues with their IT infrastructure. In essence, a managed IT service or IT consulting firm allows a business to offload its IT operation.  The IT company assumes the ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring, managing, and problem resolution for the IT systems and network within the company.

Businesses that need to compete effectively and remain relevant require technology to operate efficiently in this increasingly complex IT environment.  A business operating with a managed IT service focuses on the prevention of critical networking devices fail issues before they disrupt employees, management as well as clients. It is quite clear that a company will notice a significant improvement in their operations when they have a well-maintained and proactive IT services, network monitoring, and system optimization.

  • Unlimited Access

It is frustrating to suddenly have a systems issue in the middle of a busy day and even more frustrating if you are unable to access the support you need in a timely manner. Managed IT services provide network monitoring 24 hours per day and clients also have immediate access to the latest technology and innovative business grade solutions that maximize uptime and profitability such as remote monitoring and management (RMM), cloud computing, as well as backup and disaster recovery and, commercial IT services.

  • Reduced Operating Cost

Outsourcing the services of an IT computing consulting firm enables companies to hire highly skilled consultants as opposed to hiring, training and retaining a new worker, which can be costly. It lowers salary, marketing, training costs, and gives a business the flexibility to scale rapidly or slow down their operations as needed.

  • Enhance Security

There is a growing need for businesses to protect confidential information of their company and that of their clients from headline-grabbing stories we’ve all heard about such as security breaches, information theft, or software bugs. It’s the responsibility of a managed IT services provider to be aware of such risks and apply the appropriate data and compliance protection procedures that ensure a business doesn’t fall victim to security threats.

  • Disaster Recovery Services

Having an IT disaster recovery plan in place is a critical requirement for any business to prepare itself in the event of any hardware failure, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, human error, data loss. Managed IT services cover all the bases by taking into account the complete spectrum of potential interruptions and use advanced approaches and solutions to guarantee IT systems resilience, uptime, availability, and disaster recovery.

  • Minimize Downtime

Downtime is not only wasted time and resources, but it also hurts a business financially and its credibility. A managed IT services provider can identify and fix a potential problem before they occur, which in turn, reduces downtime significantly, increases productivity and limits unnecessary business expenses.

Learn more about Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, and the IT solutions they provide including IT consulting, computer consulting, network consulting, networking, server installation, IT disaster recovery, computer repair, virus removal, malware removal, computer tune ups, data backup systems, computer troubleshooting, structured cabling, low voltage wiring, website design, graphic design, logo design, website hosting, search engine placement, iphone app programming, android app programming, and custom programming at www.cpsmi.com.  To contact one of our IT experts, call 810.224.5252 today or via email at info@cpsmi.com.

Comparing Digital Marketing to Traditional Techniques

Proper search engine optimization doesn’t exist alone, it must be pursued as a bigger picture in marketing your website online.   Adequate doesn’t cut it in the competitive world of online business and therefore a comprehensive plan needs to be in place that concentrates on building your websites presence online.  This process combines several elements that come together to properly showcase your website to search engines to rank within the top ten organic search results.

Optimizing websites, otherwise known as SEO, has not been around that long.  It is interesting to note that marketing websites really didn’t become a popular idea in web exploration until around 1998.  Until then the concept of marketing evolved more from the point of view of a store front with products or services that business owners needed customers to know about.  The concept of the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion were mainstream.  They concept of marketing evolved as the internet became a main stream way for business owners to conduct business.

Old school marketers, like myself, had been trained in a manner that did not involve e-commerce.  As the internet has become a more common element in day to day life the techniques that we use have also had to evolved.  Whereas a listing in the yellow pages of every county you serviced would have been a great tool to use back in the 80’s today most homes do not even have a phone book and many children under 18 have never been introduced to the yellow pages.

When it comes to knowing what a search engine is looking for in ranking your site it is impossible to come up with a solid formula to follow.  In SEO you must learn to be fluid and adjust what you are doing consistently as the times change and search engines become more aware.  For optimization to be effective you must truly be a savvy marketer that is willing to do what it takes to continually improve your website.

There truly is more involved in good SEO than driving traffic to your site. Not only does the traffic need to be able to find you but your site must offer them what they are looking for.  Your website must be engaging and offer the user something of value.  It is also crucial that the traffic that is making its way to your site is your target.  If you are selling cat food but the only people finding your site, even if they are finding it by the thousands, are people that love dogs and allergic to cats then it is ineffective.  With the competition that is found online it is imperative that the users that make it to your site are interested at that moment in what you are offering and are engaged in the information presented on your site.

The 4 p’s of marketing still exist in the digital marketing era.  Let’s examine this in a little more detail.

Product/Service

It is important that this element is defined before you are addressing your online marketing needs. Who are the customers that you are looking for; what are you offering them and how does it benefit them?  What are these consumers end goals; how does your product or service help them to obtain it.  Define the struggles that your market faces and what your product or service does to ease them.  Understanding who you are selling to and what you are selling is obviously a key element that needs to be defined before beginning any marketing campaign, especially online.

Price

A lot of research goes into determining a price point. The price that you will be able to charge is totally dependent upon the value that people perceive that they are gaining from your product or service.  All businesses are in business to make money unless of course you are non-profit.  The amount that is charge must cover costs and a profit.  The trick to this is that people must perceive your product or service to be worthy of this amount.  If people are only willing to spend $5 on your widget but it costs you $4.75 in overall expenses, it is up to you to decide if the profit of $.25 is enough in the end.  If you are selling widgets at $6 and people aren’t buying them it is obvious to see there is an issue.

Place

If you are running an online business, it is a must that the market for your product is online.  Will your consumers know to look for you online?  Does your business also service consumers at a physical location?  Does your website only offer information about your products or services or is it an e-commerce or a combination of both?  It is imperative that you define what is taking place on your site and determine if the targeted consumer is going to be able to find you where you are at.

Promotion

This is how your marketing message gets out to the public.  With traditional marketing this is done through print, radio and other types of advertising but in digital marketing it combines several avenues and making sure you reach all of them.  The internet is a combination of advertisements, paid and organic search results, information blogs, videos, and so much more.  Your job in SEO is to come up with a combination of sources to use to spread the word about your company.  If your target mainly uses videos to gain information, then only advertising on informative blogs is not going to be a solution for you as is the opposite.  You need to offer useful promotions, to users in sources that they will benefit from.

Learn more about Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, and the IT solutions they provide including IT consulting, computer consulting, network consulting, networking, server installation, IT disaster recovery, computer repair, virus removal, malware removal, computer tune ups, data backup systems, computer troubleshooting, structured cabling, low voltage wiring, website design, graphic design, logo design, website hosting, search engine placement, iphone app programming, android app programming, and custom programming at www.cpsmi.com.  To contact one of our IT experts, call 810.224.5252 today or via email at info@cpsmi.com.