What I Learned from a 75 Year Old

Yesterday I met a man who walks five miles a day. He does this every day and has walked 14,000 miles. If you do the math, he’s been at it for close to eight years. He is 75 years old. By the time he’s 80 he plans to have walked a distance equal to circumventing the globe.

What did I learn from this discussion?

  1. The importance of consistency. It has been extremely cold here lately. He didn’t let that stop him (though he did walk inside). Every day. For close to eight years. Five miles. What have you done every day for the last eight years besides get out of bed?
    I’ll bet that after doing that every day, if he skips a day now, he feels it in a bad way. One of the things I see in Internet marketing and in business in general is a lack of consistency.  People commit to updating their site every week and do it religiously for two weeks. And then get sidetracked. Business development people commit to holding five outside meetings every week. And they do it really well for a month. But not, apparently, long enough for it to become a habit. Yet this older gentleman sticks to his routine and now it is a habit for him. A healthy habit that will help him age like a fine wine instead of a ripe banana.
  2. The importance of variety. I asked him what route he takes on his walks and he said it depends on the day, on the weather, on how he’s feeling and on whatever the day brings. Doing the same thing exactly the same every time, unless you work on an assembly line, gets stale rather quickly which then leads to a lack of follow through. By mixing things up though, you get a fresh perspective on life and on the task before you. Trying a new path to walk down, even if it is parallel to your normal path, can open your eyes to new possibilities.
  3. The importance of goal setting. At 75 years old many of us would suggest he slow down. Take life easy. Get a recliner. He could very well have said “I’m 75 and I just walked 14,000 miles, I’m taking a rest.” But instead he has a five year goal. And he’s already contemplating what to set after that. As the year winds down many of us are setting goals for the year ahead. But what about three years from now? Five? Ten? And yet here’s someone that is 75 and has a five year goal! Talk about inspirational!

What do these learnings mean to me personally?

  1. I am responsible for growing my company. That won’t happen if I’m not out talking to people, meeting new people, and revisiting existing connections and customers. But with a clear plan – instead of five miles a day I’m working on four meetings a week – I can set a consistency to what I do that helps my company grow in a healthy manner.
  2. Meeting with different kinds of people. We work with and target some distinct niches, such as tourism-based non-profits. By meeting with people that serve on boards, people from companies that serve non-profits and staff from the non-profits, I get clearer perspectives on what the needs and challenges of these organizations are which in turn makes us more valuable of a partner / vendor to these organizations.
  3. Setting goals is easy. “I want to earn $1,000,000 a year”. There. I set it. But setting realistic goals based on past performance and current conditions is perhaps a better path. And setting goals not based on revenue are very important. There is so much more to life than money. Whatever the goal that is set, it is important to not only set it but then to track progress towards the goal. If you say you want 30 new customers next year but at the end of the first quarter you only have three, you need to either change your goal or change what you’re doing to work towards that goal.

So whether you’re 75 or 25 (or somewhere in between), remember to be consistent in what you do, add variety as able and always set (and measure) goals.

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Six Reasons to be Thankful

We are thankful for:

  1. New connections. The first part of our tagline is “We PARTNER with our customers” and we are excited about all the new “partners” we have this year. EduCyber is delving further and further into innovating to help our customers get ahead and stay ahead.
  2. Strong relationships. EduCyber has a very high customer retention rate. We help our customers succeed over the long term. And they reward us by keeping their business with us. Very thankful!
  3. Our jobs. We love designing websites and developing websites. The challenge of determining a clear action step and then implementing it. Removing all the clutter and distraction so that visitors can move on to the next step. This takes great design and it takes great development.
  4. Our community. We are engaged in our business community through a wide variety of organizations but we are also engaged with our neighbors and friends through Sunday worship, Boy Scouts of America, Optimists International, and volunteering at different charities around town.
  5. Our health. There is a lot of confusion and unrest around healthcare in our nation. But we are thankful that we have our health.  Take each day as it comes – Carpe Diem!
  6. New challenges. One of the exciting things about being in the Internet Marketing realm is that what was true yesterday might not be true today. We love delighting our customers as we bring new technologies and new programming to bear to give them a site that helps them grow.

So from all of us at EduCyber to all of you – Happy Thanksgiving!

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Stay Secure with a Strong Password

Not too long ago hackers stole 32 million user passwords and exposed them on a web site. An enterprising security company, Imperva, did some analysis of all these passwords. Guess what they learned?

Your password probably isn’t strong enough. If you thought you were being clever by changing your super easy to guess password from “123456” (like 290,000 users had) to something more difficult like “123456789” you are in the same boat as the nearly 78,000 users who use that as their password. Oh, and “Password” was used by 62K users.

Some other not-so-clever passwords to avoid include:

  • 12345
  • iloveyou
  • princess
  • rockyou
  • 1234567
  • abc123
  • Nicole
  • Daniel
  • babygirl
  • monkey
  • Qwerty
  • 654321

What can you do to make your password more secure but not require a Ph.D. to remember? It needed be as difficult as you think:

  1. Make sure your password is 7 or more characters in length
  2. Change an easy to remember word by turning letters into numbers, e.g., password -> pa55word
  3. Use an upper case letter in a different spot, e.g., pa55wOrd
  4. Change a letter to a special character, e.g., p@55wOrd
  5. Use one or more spaces, e.g., This is my p@55wOrd
  6. Use really long sentences that are easy to remember and type, e.g., This will always be my p@55wOrd
  7. Change your password regularly. Did you know that February 1 is National Change Your Password Day? Or if that doesn’t work for you, change it twice a year when the time changes.

For most users, following 3 or more of the tips above will keep you safe on the Internet. But any system can be hacked. Once you develop a good password, don’t tape it to your monitor or beneath your keyboard.

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Web Site Bridge

I’ve been asked a lot lately what sets us apart from the competition. While we fill a distinct niche, it is often difficult to articulate how what we do is different from others.

Does This Bridge Go Anywhere?Today I’ll use a bridge analogy. This bridge on the right gets me where I’m going. It is very functional. One side of the bridge looks much like the other side. Many web firms can give you a web site. But most of those firms will give you a site that looks both like most of the rest of their web sites and like most of the sites that are out there on the internet.

You’ll notice also that this bridge doesn’t give you much of a view. It just goes from point a to point b. No railings or other features to help you. Notice also that you could probably get by without this bridge. Just a little hop and you’d be across that ditch and on the other side. Other folks design web sites that don’t really help you get anywhere difficult. Those sites have few or no images, and little to spark the imagination. There are no “railings” that you can hold on to and grasp new meaning. And frankly if the site didn’t exist, it probably wouldn’t have much of an effect on business anyway because it isn’t generating leads, interest or new customers.

Now consider the bridge below. This bridge practically invites you to come and stand on it. The path is wide, there’s a pleasant arch to it there are railings. We make web sites like this. First they are visually appealing. They let the visitor know they are welcome to step onboard. Next, and this is the most important part of any bridge, they actually go somewhere. The bridge in the picture crosses a babbling brook that turns into a torrent every spring. Without the bridge, you’d be stuck on your side of the river. With our sites, we help you get where you’re going – each site is designed to help your business grow. We build powerful, data-driven web sites that can streamline processes, attract and retain more customers and offer opportunities to stay connected and build on the relationship.

GoodbridgeAnd just like every bridge has many of the same parts but a good bridge fits in and enhances its surroundings, that is what our websites do. Some firms ask you what template you like best. We never start with a template, instead we spend time listening to you to determine what you need. Then we bring our expertise to bear to build a custom look that not only carries your brand forward but also draws the visitor in.

So the choice, dear reader, is yours. You can choose the plain old bridge (web site) that draws no attention or you can choose a beautifully designed bridge that helps move your company forward. And that is what sets us apart.

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Colorado Gives Day

Tuesday, December 6th is Colorado Gives Day. The Community First Foundation, together with 1st Bank, is sponsoring the 2nd annual Colorado Gives Day. Last year over 8.5 Million dollars were raised for Colorado NonProfits.

EduCyber is pleased to work with and support the following Non-Profits that are participating in Colorado Gives Day:

The MaxFund (www.Maxfund.org) From the time the founders first helped Max, the MaxFund has been all about helping pets. Denver’s true no-kill animal shelter, MaxFund helps hundreds of animals find homes and get the care they need. Visit the site and click on Donate now with GivingFirst.org on December 6th and make your donation go further.

Wheat Ridge 2020 (www.WheatRidge2020.org) Created to help enhance businesses and neighborhoods of Wheat Ridge, WR2020 continues to play a positive role in Wheat Ridge and helps to bridge the gap between government and business. Visit the site and click the Donate Now GivingFirst.org logo.

There are lots of great nonprofits in Colorado but these two are near and dear to our hearts. Please take a moment and give to your favorite (or ours!).

 

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Wheat Ridge Fire Department Web Site

икони на светциThe newer, friendlier Wheat Ridge Fire Department web site is live! The crisp, clean look fits nicely with the way Wheat Ridge citizen’s view the fire department.

New features include an automated ticker showing recent calls so die-hard fans of the fire department can stay up with what is happening and where; instead of having to hunt for key documents from the fire marshall’s office they are now available on the bottom of every page. Also, if you’re trying to find one of the stations, use your smart phone to capture one of the QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) at the bottom and you can get there easily.

Check it out at www.wrfire.org.

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What Makes a Good Web Site Good?

We design web sites. We do this all day long, every day. One of my primary roles is working with the client to establish the goal and the look.  Frequently the client comes to us with  “I want these features on the site and I want this element and this element”. As we talk through it though, it turns out that the features they want have nothing to do with their business goals. So my question is “What makes a good website good?”

The single most important aspect of web design is focus. We need to be able to focus the web visitor on something. EduCyber has chosen to focus that attention on the call to action. By first creating a focus – many web sites don’t really have a focus – and then having that focus be on the call to action, we help web visitors determine whether the site provides what they want.

We’ve all heard that we only have a second or two to capture people’s attention. Why waste that time showing them something unrelated to you or your business? Often the home page call to action is simply an invitation to click deeper into the site. A realtor might feature one prominent link for buyers and another for sellers. An insurance company might feature one link for homeowners, another for auto and a third for life insurance. Whatever the call to action is, the design should focus on that.

The second most important aspect of web design is depth. In this case, I’m speaking of visual depth. This makes the web site more visually engaging and is more likely therefore to pull in the visitors attention. Providing depth in a site can be accomplished in a variety of ways from drop shadows to juxtaposition of elements to arrangement of lines and objects.

Often depth is one of those intangibles that make a visitor say “I like this site” if it has depth or “This site just doesn’t work” if depth is lacking.

There are many facets to good web site design but getting these two points right will set you on the path to a good web site that is good for business.Икони

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5 Things to Measure in Social Media Marketing

Most businesses engaging in Social Media Marketing measure things like “Likes” or “Followers”. That’s not bad but Internet Marketing is more than a popularity contest. For a small business

  1. Number of Interactions on Facebook – shows they’re engaged.
    Developing a successful Facebook page where your fans or “likers” not only like a particular item but make comments. Developing a following that interacts with you on social media emboldens them to interact with you as customer.
  2. Number of click-thru’s – from Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn back to your site.
    This is easy to track. It’s also, if something you’re measuring, easier to create ways for people to do so.
  3. Increase in number of people who attend an event or call you after/during a campaign.
    Depending on your business and the appropriate call to action, you might “see” the results as click thru’s but if you hold an event that was properly publicized on social media and see an increase in attendance or participation, you can begin to make the connection.
  4. Number of hits on a landing page on your site from a campaign.
    While similar to number of click-thru’s, creating a special landing page is one way to very clearly check how much traffic you get from your campaign. It is also smart because you can have a page specifically created for that campaign, making it highly targeted.
  5. Increase in customers as a direct result of a campaign
    Ultimately, your social media marketing needs to get you more customers. For each business the method of acquisition is different but you need to measure this or you might as well not even do social media in the first place.

It isn’t a popularity contest, it’s business. It’s important to measure things that impact your bottom line. Need more help figuring out what to measure? Check out our March 15 seminar, How to Build an Internet Marketing Plan.

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Help EduCyber Pick its New Logo

We’ve been talking to a lot of businesses about their Internet marketing plans and how they fit into the bigger picture. We’ve been spending so much time in fact, we decided to create a new brand for our business – AdvanceMyBiz.

The site (www.AdvanceMy.Biz) will soon be live but as we’re building this new brand, we’ve got to have a new logo to go with it.

We’d like your help making the final pick. We’ve narrowed it down to two choices. Visit our FaceBook page (and don’t forget to “Like” us) and let us know which one you like best. It’s at www.facebook.com/educyber.

Hurry. We’re closing the voting on February 3.

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Change Drives the Internet

The way the Internet works today, in January of 2011, is different from the way it worked in January of 2010 and so completely different from the way it worked in January of 2001 as to be completely unrecognizable.

One of our clients made the comment “I hate old-fashioned web sites” the other day.

And then we all laughed. But it’s true.

Take a look at these shots of the Amazon Web Site

Circa January 2001:

Amazon2001

Note how text heavy the site was. Since most folks were still dialing up to the Internet, it was important to have only a few pictures. Even the navigation was text heavy and designed to get you to a category quickly. Notice also the prominent search box in the upper left hand corner – some things haven’t change and the value and importance of search was well understood even back then.

Circa January 2010:
Amazon2009

Now we’ve got a lot more and larger graphics in order to showcase the products. Now the search bar is considerably longer. In all likelihood in the 10 years ago site, I would have only typed in one or two words. Now I’m comfortable typing in the whole title of a book or model of an item that I’m looking for and can see the whole thing in the search bar.

Amazon2011January 2011:

Looks pretty similar doesn’t it? Even the Kindle is prominently featured. Notice in both last year and this year how the immediacy of an experience things are. You can see what other customers are looking at RIGHT NOW. While there is more “stuff” in this year’s page, there is still a good use of white space to focus attention – that Kindle really stands out. Amazon has figured out though how to add more advertising on the right without overwhelming the page and they have tightened up the navigation on the left opting for pop-out menus instead of a longer listing of categories.

So what does this mean for you and your site?

First it means that if you haven’t changed your site in a few years, the time has come. It needs to be refreshed. Like your logo? Keep it. But consider what you want your site to do and then look at it and ask yourself if it is helping you do that? How can it be done better? Have you changed your services or products? Do you have something you should be featuring as prominently as Amazon features their Kindle?

Next it means you need to stay on top of (but not necessarily on the bleeding edge of) change. What is happening that will affect your business and your web site. When the automobile was first invented, how many blacksmith’s thought it was a passing fad? When the computer was invented how many typewriter makers thought it was just a flash in the pan? Don’t be left behind because you’re not staying on top of change.

It also means that some of the things you try might not work. Over the years Microsoft has had some spectacular failures (anyone remember Microsoft Bob?) but they continue to be a very powerful force because they try new things. Right now social media marketing is all the rage. Passing fancy? Who knows? The one thing I do know is that 100s of millions of users are out there so we’re engaging because that’s where our potential customers are.

If you want help changing your site, call EduCyber at 303 268-2245.

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