Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Get the most out of your business Facebook page.

As Facebook becomes more important for businesses it is becoming more common for your Facebook page to be the first point of contact that you have with your customers, at least for basic information about who you are. To ensure that you are getting the most from your Facebook page you need three basic things. You need some basic information about your business so that potential customers can get an idea about who you are after a quick scan. You need to have your contact details available, particularly a link to your website. Finally you need to make sure that your page is optimised to be found. Thankfully Facebook has made this easy with a couple of simple categories.

Facebook gives you the option to add "Place Topics" or sub-categories to your business Facebook page. This will not only display on your page but will also be indexed by search engines, meaning your Facebook page is more likely to come up in a search. On Facebook it is already possible to search a location for a specific type of business. Adding place topics to your business page will make it easier for you to be found.

Your location is also important to have available on the page because Facebook already has the location of most of its members. If someone is searching in Facebook for a particular type of business or even for your business' name it will provide a list of those businesses closest to the searcher before listing businesses further away. If you don't already have your location listed then you can do so by clicking the 'About' button on your own page then editing in there.

With these simple additions you can get more impact from your Facebook page with minimal effort. As more people see Facebook as an alternative source of information to traditional websites it really pays to have some basic information up there and to have done some simple optimisation. Even if heavy social media engagement is not part of your online strategy at the very least it will help to point traffic your direction.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Podiatry website launch showcases new software.

Congratulations to Jennifer and the team at Butler Pelvin & Associates who’ve just launched their new administrative software at the NZ Podiatry conference to rave reviews. As Jennifer said, “everyone loved the new website.”

The administrative software means Butler Pelvin can easily manage the membership database for any not for profit organisation. Features include:
  • Membership joining and renewal
  • Membership insurance
  • Advertising and registering for events
  • Membership CPD
  • Classifieds
  • Supplier Information
Podiatry NZ is the first organization to use this software. Members can promote their business to the public as well as mange their own education and membership details online. Check out the website here .

We’d like to thank Jennifer for the opportunity to be involved in this project.

-Audrey and the team at Spiral Web Solutions Ltd.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Do you need a mobile website?

Spiral just recently created its first mobile site for a customer. It has been exciting for us as this is a great area to be working in. We can see so much potential for some of our customers. People are staying plugged into the web more and more. It is increasingly common for information to be accessed from a smartphone or tablet far from any traditional computers. The web is now in your pocket wherever you go.
Our latest creation
Why is a mobile site important to have? Well it depends on your business. The key advantage of a mobile site is always going to be its portability but equally important for good mobile access is its simplicity. It is never going to be more complex than a full website but it shouldn't be. It should be as simple as is can be while still maintaining the basic functionality you're aiming to achieve. One of the key limiting factors with mobile internet is the potentially low speed of the connection. The internet simply will not be as fast climbing up a cellphone signal as it is sprinting along a high speed broadband connection. So if your business would benefit from being more accessible for people on the go perhaps a mobile site would benefit you.

Looking quickly at the site Spiral has just recently created we can see these aspects at work here. NZRAB has a mobile site that is very simple but does exactly what needs doing. In this case a Real Estate Agent can easily check the credentials of an architect while on the go. Perhaps while showing or viewing a building. It is a great example of the benefits of having a simple, portable website that can be accessed easily. It is quick to load on any mobile device due to the streamlined design but it also conveys all of the information that it needs to.
A mobile website will be particularly useful if many of the people who will be looking at your site spend a lot of their time away from an office. It is great if providing access to a database is one of the key goals of your current website. The key of every mobile website is to be simple, easy to use and effective. Perhaps your current website works well on mobile devices and fits these three criteria. But if not then it might be something you should be looking into. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email if you're curious and would like to hear more.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

My Favourite Things Mobile.

Mobile seems to be the flavour of things this month so to go along with this theme I've come up with a quick list of all of my favourite things mobile. The mobile internet allows us to tap into the vast potential of the web from anywhere with phone service. These apps and mobile sites are just a few that I think are the most useful or interesting.

Metlink Mobile
Metlink - So useful for anyone who uses public transport. It can help you find the nearest bus stop or relevant timetable. And as most buses now have gps units installed in them this mobile site can tell you exactly how far away from your bus stop they are. I find this useful every morning as I can check if the bus has gone past already once I get to the bus stop.

Google Maps - Handy when you realise you don't know how to get somewhere in your own city. A lifesaver when you get lost somewhere you don't know, whether you're on holiday or heading off to a business meeting. If you can get a data connection when you're in another country this can be particularly useful. I'm usually pretty good at getting my bearings but I got completely turned around coming out of a subway station in Toronto once and had no idea which way I was supposed to go from there. Luckily I could check the maps on my phone which showed my location and I could easily see where to go from there.
London 2012 Results - So the Olympics are over now, though the Paralympics are only halfway through, but this was a great app to have while it was on. I'm expecting something like this from all major sports events from now on. Not only did it have schedules and results but it also had the option to be notified for specific events. I just had to select my favourites and I'd get a notification when they were starting.

An Example game of Words
Words With Friends - This is basically just scrabble but you can play with anyone anywhere. You can play with your friends who have the game too or with a random opponent. I have an ongoing game right now with a friend who moved to the USA and with its inbuilt chat its a great way to keep in touch.

Flipboard - One of the greatest things about the mobile internet I think is the ability to access personalised content anywhere. Flipboad allows you to choose which media sources you want to hear from. It can pick up images from your Facebook and Twitter accounts and mixes it in with stories from the Economist and BBC News to create a personalised magazine on your mobile device. Whatever mix you want.

Stuff - While Flipboard is great I do need to get my fix of New Zealand News as well. Stuff has a great app I can have a look through in the mornings to catch up on the top stories in the country. While the layout and content are great I have noticed a few times that it can crash unexpectedly. It is still a fantastic application and despite the occasional frustrating episode it only takes a few seconds to get back on so it still makes my list.

The mobile web is one of the great areas for potential growth in the future. As more and more people are connected to the net 24/7 through smart phones and tablets there is a great opportunity to move into some of this previously underutilised time. I'll still read a book on the bus sometimes but I am equally likely to be checking the latest news. Not only that but a good mobile site or app will make people's lives much easier. I like these sites and apps because they either help me or entertain me at times when I previously had much more limited choices.