Author Archives: Nextmill

Three Simple Ways To Start Your SEO Efforts

Your business recently just had its website put up, but now you want to make your site more visible so that you can actually attract customers.  Starting with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to drive traffic to your site.  Here’s a few tips to get started on increasing your websites search engine rankings.

1. Change your H1 tags to have relevant keywords.

When the Google Search Engine Bot is looking for relevant material to go on search ranking, the H1 tags have one of the biggest effects.  Your H1 tag is your pages main header, and you should have at least one.  Be sure to to include relevant keywords in your H1 tag to capitalize on your potential customers search efforts.

2. Have unique meta-descriptions for each of your page links.

The meta description is how the Google bot figures out what each page link is all about.  Just like the H1 tags, these should be keyword-rich but brief (no more than 150 characters).  Each page should have its own unique meta-descriptions so you can widen your keyword-reach.  The more unique keywords for each page means the more likely Google Searchers are going to reach your different links.

3. Start Using Social Media

If you don’t already have a Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your SEO.  Sites that have more +1′s on Google Plus and Facebook Likes are among the highest search engine rankings.  Social media markers are among the highest correlating factors with respect to SEO (Moz 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors).  If you already have various social media accounts, make sure you are posting often to increase customer interactivity and to gain more likes and +1′s

New Windows 8.1 Update

microsoft skydive

After facing massive criticism for the changes made in Windows 8, Microsoft revamped the look of their newest operating system in the recent 8.1 upgrade.  One of the biggest issues users were facing with Windows 8 was the removal of the Start button, which allowed for easy navigation through all your applications and programs.  Instead, Windows 8 laid out all the apps on the front screen.  This was an issue because certain applications people did not even need were taking up too much space.  The user interface seemed more suitable for mobile/touch screen devices.

NEW START BUTTON

Microsoft brought back the start button making it allow for more customization. It also features live updates, looking very much like the tile layout.  The tiles are resizable, which allows users to arrange their most prominent apps by size, where as before the unimportant apps took up too much space. This makes it easier for users to access the apps they actually want to use.

LOCK SCREEN UPDATE

The lock screen now allows you to play a slideshow, using up to ten different folders.  It also now allows you to select applications and view their notifications, allowing for detailed notifications on one selected app.

NAVIGATION

When you sign into your device, you can choose where to you want to go.  You can choose between you desktop or the apps view if you do not want to start out with your start screen.

The changes that Microsoft have made address many of the issues that were raised in Windows 8.1.  However Windows still has a long way to go before it establishes itself as the premier desktop operation system.

If you are having any issues with Windows, our onsite technicians can resolve anything!  Check out our site here.

 

5 Things to Remeber About Your Domain Name

When you are running a website your domain is just as important as anything else so here are some pointers when registering a domain name.

Memorable

Remember to pick a domain name that is easy to remember for your visitors.  It should be relevant to what you website is about or helps in branding your website.  Not only is this helpful for your users recognition but it also helps with search engines delivering your site for relevant search queries.

Short and Sweet

Try to avoid extremely long domain names as they are hard to remember and easy to misspell.

Auto Renew!

Once you pick your domain name and register it, it would be wise to set it to auto-renew.  This feature is available on most domain registrars and will automatically renew the domain name for you so you don’t have to worry about loosing it if you forget about the expiration date.  Loosing a domain name can be catastrophic to your business.  Even if you decide not to renew the domain name, it is a lot easier to login and turn off auto renew than it is to try to renew a domain name that you have let expire.

Passwords!

Keep your domain registrar login information and password somewhere safe!  Forgetting your password or login is likely to happen so keep it in a safe place that you can access when you need it.  Nothing is worst than forgetting to renew your domain name and then frantically trying to reset your password or login in enough time to save your domain.

Own Your Domain Name

If you are having a web designer build your website for you make sure that either you register the domain name yourself or have the designer register it in your name.  If things go sour with a web designer and you don’t have control over your domain name things could get ugly.  It is best to have control from the beginning.

We can help you register your domain for you if you are having difficulties or don’t feel comfortable.  Feel free to give us a call at  (866) 639-8645 and we are more than happy to help you.  You can also register a domain name through our website.

Desks. It’s where we work.

I bet you all spend a long time at your desk.  Between work and pleasure I probably spend 8-10 hours a day at a desk.  Don’t get me wrong, I get up and move around a lot during that time but my desk is my home base.

A good desk needs to have a couple of features for me to be able to use it.  It needs to have a wide enough surface that I can spread my stuff out and not have things piled on each other.  It needs to be big enough for me to have my midi keyboard, a monitor, a set of speakers and my laptop all on it with feeling cramped.  It also has to be able to have clean cord management.  I hate seeing cords so they must be able to be hidden.

I couldn’t stand to be at the desk all day if I hated it so here are some cool desks from around the web.  Comment and let me know if I left off any cool ones!

Zemanta: Blog Smarter. A tool to help you blog better.

Have you ever been sitting front of your computer, typing up a great blog post but wish you had a friend who knew exactly what you were looking for looking over your shoulder?  Well bloggers, enter Zemanta.

Zemanta is touted as, “a tool that looks over your shoulder while you blog and gives you tips and advice, suggests related content and pictures and makes sure your posts get promoted as they deserve to be.” And it does what it says it does.

I decided to go ahead and test run  Zemanta while creating this post.  So, I went to my WordPress plugin section and searched “Zemanta.”  Installed the plugin without issue, activated it and went ahead and started this post.

Plugin launches in the top right hand corner of your window and integrates seamlessly with your other tools.

Zemanta Blog Tool

Zemanta. Blog Smarter

I started typing my blog post and then hit “Start Using Zemanta” button and up pops relevant pictures and articles to what I am typing.  It is pretty cool and helpful.  I can drag and drop pictures into my post and they embed perfectly.

Example:

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBash

If you want to add a related article for your readers to check out all you have to do is click one from the “related articles window” and it inserts it as a link.

Example:

Related articles by Zemanta

Pretty great, right?

The plugin works well and the “advice” is pretty good.  It really depends on what you are typing about.  Some topics will obviously trigger more relevant help.  Zemanta will also suggest tags for you based on what you have typed, the pictures you dragged and the articles you suggested.  All you need to do is click the tags you want to activate.  If you don’t want to use Zemanta at any point you can just minimize the window and it is out of your way and not active.

If you’re in need of some picture or related article suggestions or just want to test Zemanta out I highly recommend it.  It might help and it might not but it is definitley worth giving it a go and see if you can benefit from it.  It runs with a variety of blogging platforms so take a look at their site and see if it is something that you can use.

Has anyone else had any experience with Zemanta or other helpful blogging tools?

Google Instant, love it or hate it?

Google Logo

Credit - Coin-Opt

By now you have probably noticed something about Google that is different.  No, I am not talking about the moving dots fiasco from earlier this week.  I am referring to your search results.  Well, if you haven’t been on Google since, say Wednesday, I want you to go there now and search for something.  See what I mean?

Anytime anything changes with Google’s interface it is a big deal to a large number of audiences including users, advertisers, business owners and search engine marketers.  I have already read through all the doomsday predictions detailing how Google Instant is going to kill SEO but lets calm down.  If anything Instant gives SEO more options.  You can now try and rank for individual letters instead of words and phrases.  Besides that, I did a side by side test with a browser running Instant and one without Instant and the first page of search results were exactly the same.  In the future, I can’t say what will happen but for now SEO is still alive.

As far as users end goes, I was quite taken aback when I started using Google Wednesday morning and had this barrage of results coming up and refreshing every time I typed a new letter.  It was bizarre and I didn’t know if I would like it.  Google has always been simple, clean and familiar, so this was quite a shock.  After 2 days with it though I am enjoying the speed of my searches now.  It can be a bit confusing if you are typing extremely fast but it just takes some getting used too.

According to Google’s site they can save 2-5 seconds per search with Instant and offer better predictions for what you want.

But if you absolutely hate Instant you can turn it off through your preferences page.

What do you think about Instant, love it or hate it?

Happy searching!

Recap: Apple’s Special Music Event

Well folks another exciting Apple event down and another set of updates and new products to get happy about.

Let’s keep it brief and get to what Apple unveiled and what they didn’t.

Ping and iTunes 10

Apples new iTunes based social network where you will have the chance to befriend fellow music lovers through your iTunes interface and see what they’re consuming audibly. You can even become friends with Lady Gaga! The network is also accessible through you iPhone interface.

iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod Touch

iOS 4.1 will fix a few bugs and issues from the previous iOS 4 release but also include some cool new features.  The update will be available next week.  We also got word that 4.2 should be out around November of this year.

Fixed in iOS4.1

  • Proximity Sensor issues
  • Bluetooth issues
  • iPhone 3g performance problems

New in iOS4.1

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos
  • HD video upload over Wi-Fi
  • TV show rentals
  • Game Center

Updated iPod Lineup

The entire line up of iPods got a facelift and in the Nano’s case, a complete lobotomy.   The iPod classic appears to be on its way out with only mentions of the iPod Touch, Nano and Shuffle at the event.  The new Touch sports a front facing camera for Facetime,  Retina Display, HD video recording capabilities and Game Center.  It is also thinner than its fatter older brother.

The Nano is now a touch screen device as well.  Measuring in at a bit bigger than the shuffle, the Nano features a fully function touch screen, up to 24 hours of non-stop battery, a clip and an FM tuner.  It is available in 7 colors and 2 different storage capacities (8 gb and 16 gb.)

Apple TV

I’ll give you a run down on the specs and features to compare to the old Apple TV offering.

  • 3.9 X .9. X 3.9 inches in size
  • .6 pounds
  • HDMI Output
  • Optical output
  • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
  • Built-in IR receiver
  • Micro-USB (for service and support)
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi (a/b/g compatible)
  • Supports MPEG-4 video, H.264 video up to 720p and Motion JPEG (M-JPEG)
  • Aluminum Remote
  • .99 cent rentals of TV shows (no more buying shows)
  • $4.99 rentals of first run HD movies
  • Everything in HD (when available)
  • $99 bucks for the Apple TV unit

No Word On iTunes Cloud Service

Major bummer. With Apple buying and closing LaLa.com earlier this year I was really hoping they would announce a cloud based music service.  Maybe next time.

Internet radio and music blogs combined–a perfect match

Fan of Pandora or Last FM but want to try something new? Well here is an internet gem I stumbled across this week that combines internet radio and music blogs.

Shuffler.FM is a web based music radio service that crawls the musical blogosphere and plays music that is posted on those blogs.

Here is how it works.

You log onto Shuffler.FM and choose your genre.

The music is then played through your browser and you are transported to the blog where the song was posted.

You can change songs or genres with a tool bar that is displayed at the top of your browser.

The whole process is extremely seamless and easy to use.  You are  presented with different methods to share the music you have found through Twitter and Facebook.

Even better news is that Shuffler.FM uses HTML5 so the service should work on your iPhone and iPad.  I had some trouble getting the music to play on my iPhone even though the site loaded up fine.  Not sure what the issue was but it sounds like an official app is in the works.

So, if you need some tunes to get you through your day or just like discovering new bands and blogs,  Shuffler.FM might be the perfect solution for you.

Great deals and saving money… it’s possible!

Saving money is the new trend.  Of course there’s all the basic things, like turning off lights when you leave a room, but we are all pretty familiar with those money saving strategies. Here’s some suggestions on how to save money when you’ve already decided to spend some. Listed below are some cheap outings/options, most of which are found in the Orange County area. Feel free to comment with other deals you’ve found!





Follow Sprinkles on twitter and you can get free cupcakes each day. A new password is released each day, and a small specified number of customers can receive a free cupcake by whispering it to the cashier.


Urban Spoon has a database of the price rating of different restaurants and fast food places, so if you’re looking for somewhere new to go for lunch or dinner ANYWHERE in the US and even in certain countries abroad, this is a great resource.


Chick Fil-A in Santa Ana seems to have regular deals, so follow them on Twitter/Facebook.


Cheap Stuff: The OC register‘s Marla Fisher produces a daily blog that mentions cheap or free products/ discounts/ foods/opportunities and the like that are available in Orange county




Outings/Events: These website will provide you with information about things that you can do in and around Orange County for free/low costs. They include events, fairs, activities, attractions and more.


http://www.anaheimoc.org/Articles/Archive/Webpage101373.asp

http://www.freeinoc.com/

http://www.orangecounty.net/html/events_ongoing.html


And I can’t forget to add Millennium Systems to this list! You can find our deals on this Special Offers link.


Happy Savings!

Lifehacker offers up some great free downloads for your Mac,iPhone and Linux system.

Lifehacker's iPhone, Mac and Linux Best Free Software downloads

Lifehacker's iPhone, Mac and Linux Best Free Software downloads

Ever wanted to accomplish a task but did not have a necessary piece of software to do it?  You could shell out the money for the well known version of the software from a company like Adobe or Microsoft, or you could go with a lesser known but completely comparable and functional product.

The great team at Lifehacker have put together the best of the best when it comes to comparable products to the big boys like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.  Most of these products are completely free and have most of, if not all the same features that their more expensive counterpart does.

Lifehacker has compiled a pack of applications for the Mac, Linux and iPhone.   They have included the products name, a description and a link to download each app individually or you can download the entire pack with one click!

I have had some experience with a lot of the products offered in the iPhone and Mac package so I will give you my thoughts on those.

From the iPhone pack you have a wide range of apps that cover productivity to media.  I have had a chance to spend a few months using Dragon Dictation which allows you to speak into your iPhone and have your words dictated out onto the phone which you can then use to send a text message or email.  It is extremely accurate for being a free product.

I have also fallen in love with two media offerings in the pack;  Remote and Pandora.  The Remote app allows you to control your iTunes, Airport Express or Apple TV with your iPhone.  It is extremely easy to use and set up.  Your entire library of music will be displayed on your phones screen and you can start, pause and browse right on your phone from anywhere within range of your computer.  I have also been using Pandora internet radio daily now since I got my iPhone.  I was a big user of the online offering of Pandoraand now with Pandora‘s ability to play in the background while I use my phone for other things, there really is no better choice for online radio.  With the ability to create multiple stations and listen on the go you are ready to listen anywhere, anytime.

When it comes to the different camera apps offered in the Lifehacker pack, I have used Hipstamatic to great extent.  It is pretty easy to use and produces very fun and spacey looking pictures.  With the ability to purchase new lenses and flashes you can really create some cool stuff.

For the Mac, I absolutely love Quicksilver for an application launcher.  I try to avoid using a mouse or trackpad if I can so being able to launch any application with a set of hot keys is fantastic.  Just hit your desired hot keys and up pops Quicksilver, then type in the name of the app you want to use, hit enter and you’re set to go.

I have taken quite a liking to minimalistic text editors.  I don’t use half the features in programs like Microsoft Office or even Open Office’s Writer, so I like to use Bean.  With a variety of file extensions to save your documents in, you shouldn’t have a problem exporting them to a more robust editor if need be.  Bean will give you a lightweight text editor without all the bloat of more complex programs out there.

For FTP I am using Cyberduck and it works very well.  With the option to save certain connections you can save time when trying to FTP to your files.  With the full ability to upload/download you don’t need to look anywhere else for a great, free FTP client.

And finally,  my favorite app from Lifehacker’s pack has been the vector program, Inkscape.  Inkscape is the counterpart to Adobe Illustrator without the bloat in my opinion.  So far I have been able to do anything I could do in Illustrator with Inkscape.   I find the interface is easier and more intuitive.  Most of the drawings for this blog are done in Inkscape, which is also available for Windows.

So, take a look at the provided links to the packs and pick and choose what you want to try or just get the entire bundle.  You have lots of great options now for your iPhone, Mac or Linux.

Linux Pack
Mac Pack

iPhone Pack