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Archive for 2011

How to Increase the Security for Your Website

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The security of your business’s website should be one of your highest priorities. A secure website is one of the best ways that you can establish trust with your customers. The security of your website will directly impact your number of visitors and has the potential to hinder or boost your sales. With the massive number of website intrusions this year alone, hacking has become a major concern for most online shoppers. Whether it is to protect your website or your customers personal or financial data, a secure website is a must have. The following are some tips for creating a strong and secure website environment for your consumers. Securing Your Website

Use a Strong Administrative and Database Password:

Creating a strong administrative and database password will prevent hackers from accessing the admin interface and from taking over your entire online business. If a hacker does gain entry to your website’s administration panel they can pretty much do whatever they please from defacing your website to committing fraud by pretending to be you or your company. To learn more about creating strong passwords visit Elements of a Strong Password.

Secure Admin Email Address

An admin email address is used to login to your web server, CMS, database. It should be kept private and different from the one that you have on your contact page.

Make sure you have Firewalls Implemented:

Configuring a firewall will help prevent unauthorized access to your site and acts as a filter for the information that is sent to and from your website. You should configure your firewall to the highest security preferences so that it will deter hackers from attempting to gain entry to your site.

Update Your Antivirus Program Regularly:

New malicious programs are created and discovered every day so it is important that you not only have Antivirus software but that you also keep it up to date. Antivirus programs scan, track, and remove any problems from your hard drive. Like Antivirus software a spyware program can detect and eliminate any spyware that has made a home on your hard drive.

Read the Latest Information on Tech Blogs:

Reading tech blogs regularly will keep you up to date on the most recent vulnerabilities and will help you stay one step ahead of hackers.

Use robots.txt to Keep Certain Things Hidden from Search Engines:

Add a robots.txt folder for the documents, images, and information that you do not want to be indexed by search engines.

Use a Secured FTP Access and Restrict Root Access

SFTP access prevents others from being able to view what you are uploading or downloading to & from the webserver. Restrict the access to certain non-system folders to prevent FTP uploads by people other than the system administrator.

Check Your Software and Third Party Scripts:

Ensure that any software you use is kept up to date with the latest security fixes. (Blogging software like WordPress, third party scripts, etc.) Also remove any scripts, services, or other software that you are no longer using.

Perform Security Testing:

It is important that once you have the previous security items in place that you perform security testing. Search your website and source code for any security flaws that may allow unauthorized access. You can check your source code for free with Source Code Analysis Tools. Using security plugins like WordPress Security Scan are also a great way to analyze the security of your site.

Keeping your website secure is a never ending job, there will always be new threats and hackers will continue to find new ways to gain unauthorized access. Implementing these suggestions in addition to doing your own research will help you to stay as far ahead of these types of individuals as possible

Thanks for Reading!

Dustin - Chesapeake Digital Technologies

Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland


Small Business Website Tips for Increasing Your Online Sales

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Directing traffic to your website is only the first part of increasing your online sales. In the past we have often discussed the various methods for targeting your potential customers but what happens when they are actually on your website. Do your visitors follow through with a purchase or do your leads tend fizzle out? With this question in mind we offer the following suggestions to increase the likelihood of a sale once your customers are able find you on the Web. Increasing Website Sales

Ease Your Customer’s Fear:

With most transactions there are associated risks. It is very important to address these risks because they may immediately deter your potential customers. Having a secure website, a customer privacy policy, and offering a money back guarantee is just a few ways that you can put your customer’s fears to rest.

Create Value and Offer Incentives:

One of the great things about the Internet is that it allows people to easily explore their options however this can also make it hard for a business to stand out amongst competitors. It will help if you offer additional value whether it is through better pricing, a higher level of quality, or better customer service.

Display Genuine Testimonials:

The past positive experiences of your current customers can help encourage new customers to choose your products or services. People love reviews because they help them to predict their level of satisfaction based on the experiences of others. A positive and genuine customer testimonial can often prove to be a major factor in a visitor’s decision to choose your company over one of your competitors.

Build a Relationship:

Be sure to express product or service recommendations based on the information that your customers provide. Making a one-time sale might be your initial goal but you should always strive to build a long term or an ongoing business to client relationship. Nurturing this type of relationship will not only influence future business with that particular customer but it will also increase your reputation and show your potential customers that you care. Follow up emails, subscriptions, memberships, loyalty programs, customer satisfaction surveys, and product recommendations are all great ways to continue positive communication with your customers.

Additional suggestions include:

  • Allowing your customers to focus by limiting the number of products offered on each page.
  • Creating an attention grabbing headline for your products page.
  • Clearly expressing your products, how they work, and how it will benefit the customer.
  • Focusing on your visitor by using terms like “you and your” while avoiding “we, me, and I”.
  • Creating a sense of urgency without being pushy. For example use “limited time only” or “Available while supplies last”.
  • Using various color schemes and text formatting to grab your visitor’s attention.
  • Determining what methods, prices, or product features work best for your business and attracts more customers. (Split Testing)

These are just some basic suggestions that can be implemented to increase your online sales. I urge you not to stop here and continuously explore your own ideas to discover what works best for your business.

For additional tips please visit How to increase sales and 6 Sure Ways to Increase Sales!

Thanks for reading and Good Luck with increasing your business’s sales.




Apple Resolves the Issue Plaguing the Battery Life of Their iPhones . . . . Maybe

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Shortly after the release of the iPhone 4S and the iOS 5 software update many users began experiencing major problems with the life of their iPhone batteries. In our last blog post we addressed these issues and even provided some tips for conserving your iPhone’s battery. In the article we discussed how Apple had announced that their iOS 5 update was at fault and that they were working hard to bring an update to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

full iPhone battery

Image of the iPhones Full Battery Icon

Yesterday, Apple released the new iOS 5.0.1 software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, the update is supposed to fix the battery problems that a number of users have reported with iOS 5 over the last few weeks. Along with a fix for the bugs that were affecting the battery life, the latest update also added multitasking gestures for the original iPad, resolved bugs with documents in the cloud, and improved voice recognition for Australian users using the dictation feature.

The update is now available in iTunes or also available with the over-the-air function for existing iOS 5 users. Users with the previous iOS 5 can update by going into Settings>General>Software Update to update their device over-the-air. Using the update OTA provides a much faster experience due to the smaller size of the update file. For users who are not operating on iOS 5 they can update their operating system the traditional way by plugging in their device into iTunes.

iOS 5.0.1 update

Image of iOS 5.0.1 update

Although the update has only just been released it has been reported at PCWorld that some users are still experiencing a slightly faster battery depletion rate. One user posted on a forum that they had “Updated about 1.5 hours ago, the battery has drained 20% since then with no usage! This is awful”. Another forum commenter stated that they have “Lost 15% in 45 minutes and I didn’t even use the phone. What happened?”. Others have even started saying that the battery life was better before the update took place.

Although there have been a lot of complaints that the update hasn’t resolved the issue there have been other users that say that the update has worked fine for them. Did it work for you, or are you still suffering from a fast draining battery?

If the problem still persists for you, others have suggested being patient and that possibly resetting your phone to its original factory settings may help the battery update to take effect. However if you find that this doesn’t work then try some of the tips to save your iPhone battery that we offered last week until resolved. Hopefully Apple will hear the new complaints and implement another update shortly.

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland


Dealing with Distractions and Staying Focused at Work

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

dealing with workplace distractions

Distraction can be a major obstacle for most people in the work environment. Filtering out the noise and staying focused on your daily tasks is often much easier said than done. Our daily routines, electronic devices, and environment all have the potential to stand in the way of us completing crucial assignments. The average distraction takes a person anywhere from 2-15 minutes to recover from once the distraction is actually removed. In order to overcome these distractions and conserve your precious work time you should try to incorporate some of the following suggestions into your work habits. For the purpose of this article the daily distractions that we encounter have been broken down into three categories mental, physical, and environmental.

Dealing with Mental Distractions:

Have a Firm Stance-

Dealing with and overcoming distractions is no easy task which is why it is important for you to stand your ground. Know that your time crucial, understand that what you are working on is important, and recognize that it needs to get done.

Stop Procrastinating-

It is important that you break the habit of procrastination. Continuously pushing back work will only push it further from your mind and will make completing it even more stressful. People who say that procrastinating helps them because they work better under pressure are most likely just trying to justify a poor habit and would most likely work just as well if they were motivated to complete the task sooner.


If you find that you are too stressed to work there is no point in stressing yourself out any worst. Find something that you like doing or and put your mind at ease for a little while. Try taking a few minutes for you by staying loose, listening to relaxing music, or reading un-work related material.

Be Well Rested-

Ensure that you get a good night’s sleep and that your body and mind is well rested, flexed, and ready for work. Exercising, reading the morning paper, and solving puzzles will help wake and keep your brain in gear.

Dress the Part-

What you wear often reflects how you feel. Wear the clothes that exude your confidence because it will most likely be shown though your work as well.

Reward Your Self-

Celebrate your accomplishments don’t just move immediately onto your next task. Have some kind of system that lets your brain relax and take a short break from work. Moving from task to task without any acknowledgement is a surefire way to burn out quickly. Going out to party every time you finish your work is a little much but perhaps you can do something small and personal like check out your favorite website, get coffee, take a walk, or call a friend.

Dealing with Physical Distractions:

Take on Bite Sized Chunks-

Start with the easiest assignments. Once they are completed feel good about your work and carry forward with that same momentum onto your next job at hand.

Watch out for Menial Activities-

Menial activities like washing out your coffee cup, opening mail, and sharpening your pencils can be used as a welcomed distraction from work but they can also unintentionally take up too much time. Reserve some time in your schedule to complete these activities or you could also use these tasks as breaks in between your other job assignments.

Be Prepared-

Make sure you have what you need before you get started so that there are no excuses to take any unnecessary break.

Eat, Drink, Sleep and Exercise-

Make sure your body has fuel and is well rested. Exercise is a great way to stimulate your mind and body as well as to stay energized throughout your day. Drinking too much coffee can often make it hard to focus so you may want to consider drinking tea.

Filter out the Noise-

Soft music, soothing sounds, and static noise can be helpful with relaxing because it helps to filter out the other noise distractions that you might encounter.

Minimize Interruptions from your Coworkers-

Use your email auto-responders to let others know that you are hard at work on something that requires your full attention. If a coworker does stop you from working avoid being rude, try saying something nice, then explain to them that you need to get back to work and maybe set up a time to catch up later.

Set aside your Own Time-

Schedule some time to take care of the stuff that would normally cause you to be distracted while working.

Organize and Prioritize-

Use a calendar or project management software that lets you create task reminders and set priorities to your specific assignments.

Complete Tasks as they Present-

Try to avoid picking up the same assignment twice. Make sure that when you receive something, that you complete it and then move on, don’t do part of it and then come back to it later because that can cause more distractions.


Dealing with Environmental Distractions:

Close the Door-

Close your office door, close the blind, and concentrate on your work. Cutting out visual distractions lets you keep the task at hand in sight at all times.

Turn off what you don’t Need-

The computer, the Internet, and your cell phone can all be a huge distraction. If they aren’t being used turn them off so that you can maintain your focus on your work.

Check the Temperature-

Maintain a decent temperature in your work environment. Too hot can put you to sleep where as too cold will make it so that you can only think about how cold it is.

Clean up the Mess-

Clean your office and organize your files so you can easily find what you are looking for and aren’t subconsciously impacting your productivity.

Get comfy but not too comfortable-

Be comfortable in your workspace but if you find that your desk chair, temperature, or lighting arrangement causes you to be drowsy then you should change it.

Hope some of these tips will be able to help you regain your focus and stay motivated while working.

For additional help for relaxing in your workspace check out 10 ways to relaxify your workspace!

Thanks for Reading!



Tips for conserving your iPhone’s Battery life

Friday, November 4th, 2011

A couple weeks ago Apple released the iPhone 4S which is their latest mobile device. Along with the 4S, Apple also released their latest mobile operating system upgrade. The iOS 5 comes standard on the iPhone 4S but is also available as a free download to all compatible iPhone users. Since the release, a small but significant number of users have reported a drastically shortened battery life.

iPhone's Low Battery Display - Tips for conserving your iPhone’s Battery life

iPhone’s Low Battery Display

According to The Loop’s Jim Dairymple on Wednesday November 2, 2011 Apple confirmed that the battery issues were due to a bug in the iOS 5 software update. According to the article Apple reassured users that they have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and will release a software update to address them in a few weeks to help conserve your iPhone’s battery life.

In light of the recent problems surrounding the iPhone’s battery we thought it would be beneficial to discuss some methods for conserving your phones battery life. Although this particular problem was a result of a bug in the software we feel that these tips will still be tremendously useful because iPhones already have a natural short battery life due to its powerful performance and crisp display. The suggestions below for saving your phones battery are applicable to all iPhone models and are designed to ensure that you have the juice when you need it the most.

  • Close Background and Inactive Applications – Double tap the home button to access the list of running applications. Similar to how you would move the apps hold your finger down on the application for a couple seconds and then select close when the app begins to shake.
  • Use the Auto Brightness Feature – Access the settings folder, select brightness, and make sure the Auto-Brightness feature is selected.
  • Decrease the Brightness – Within the same menu you can increase and decrease the default screen brightness. The lower the brightness the less battery your phone will consume.
  • Turn off Your Bluetooth – Transmitting wireless data requires the battery and leaving Bluetooth on when you are not using it takes up more of your phones battery life.

Settings > General > Blue Tooth > Move the slider to the off position

  • Keep Wi-Fi off When Not Using It – Unless you are in a Wi-Fi hotspot there is really no need to have this feature on. Keeping it on at all times will cause it to continuously look for a network to connect to and wastes its battery life in the process.

Settings > Wi-Fi > Slide switch to off position OR

Settings > General > Network > Wi-Fi > Slide switch to off position

  • Turn off 3G – If you don’t need to be on 3G or you are using a Wi-Fi hotspot turn off your 3G network. Connecting using 3G for faster data speeds and higher-quality calls requires more battery life.

Settings > General > Network > Move 3G switch to the off position

  • Turn off Location Services – The GPS is a great feature because it lets apps know where you are and become more interactive but at the same time it is a huge energy drain. When you’re not using an app that utilizes your location turn it off.

Settings > Location Services > Slide to Off (After iOS 5 updates)

Settings > General >Location Services > Slide to Off (Before iOS update)

  • Turn data push off and Fetch less – Turning this off reduces the number of times your phone connects to the network and will extend your battery’s life. Push is when your phone automatically connects to the network to download new information like email and app updates. When Push is off you can fetch data every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, hourly, or manually. Choosing manually or hourly will use the least amount of battery.

Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Fetch New Data > Slide Push to off and select the fetch frequency

  • When Your Battery is low, avoid extraneous activities – Avoid playing games, watching movies, or listening to music while the battery level is low.
  • Turn off Music Equalizers – The iPods music equalizers may make your music sound better but can also cause an unnecessary drain in your battery life.

Settings > Music > Select off from the equalizer selection list (After iOS 5 update)

Settings > iPod >Equalizer >Off (Before iOS 5 update)

  • Adjust the Auto-Lock Function – Enable your phone to Auto-Lock sooner to save energy when not using it.

Settings > General > Auto-Lock > Select Lowest amount of time from time selection list

  • Turn off Siri’s raise to speakfunction – Because Siri is activated when lifted to the user’s ear it can accidently drain the battery if you’re not actually using it.

Settings >General > Siri >Slide “Raise to Speak” to the “Off” position.

  • Use iPhone regularly – For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Be sure to go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down).

  • Sleep and wake less – Avoid waking your iPhone only to lock it again without using it.

These are just the basics there are plenty of other ways that you can conserve the life of your iPhone’s battery. For more information check out Apple’s iPhone Battery life Page.

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

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Tips for Cold Calling Your Prospective Customers

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Are your phone lines ringing off the hook with potential clients or are you with the majority of small businesses who have suffered a decline in customer activity? You have a business, you offer a product or a service, and you have a business goal but now what?

Rarely do customers seek out a business unless they are familiar with its background and brand reputation. If you need the customers, it is up to you to find them. It is your responsibility to target your audience and capture the attention of prospective customers. Advertising and marketing play a vital role in making your business appeal to a specific audience. Lately social media has provided companies with a tremendous, free, and effective marketing tool, however social networking sites are not the only tools available. There are plenty of offline marketing techniques, one of which is Cold Calling. Although cold calling doesn’t have the best reputation, if done correctly it can be a valuable sales tactic for your business.

Cold calling is the marketing technique of reaching out to possible future customers via the telephone. The term cold is used because the potential buyers are not expecting to be contacted nor have they had any prior communications about the product. Cold calling is the opposite of warm calling which is where the potential client directly expresses their interest in your services. Companies that warm call their customers typically gather information using post cards and website information surveys or subscriptions. Compared to warm calling, cold calling relies much more on guess work, calling the right person at the right time, having the right solution, and a little bit of luck.

Some might think that cold calling is only disliked by consumers however sales associates often dislike this technique just as much. For many companies cold calling customers can be one of their greatest weaknesses.

Why consumers dislike cold calling:

  • The majority of the time you can easily discover that the cold caller is uninformed about what they are selling.
  • These types of calls are often unwelcome interruptions and can distract from actual work.
  • Most of the time we probably aren’t interested in the products being sold.
  • Sometimes the callers can appear as being manipulative, too resilient by not taking no as an answer, and too chummy or fake in order to get the sale.

Why sales associates dislike cold calling”

  • They have to call someone they don’t know.
  • They have to call someone they that probably won’t be interested in their product or service.
  • They are discouraged easily because the high number of people who reject their sales pitch.
  • They have to perform a task that usually brings the worst out of people.
  • Cold calling can feel uncomfortable and repetitive, and the cold caller is often lousy at it.


Companies that rely on cold calling as their primary source for generating sales are fighting an uphill battle. However this doesn’t technically mean that it doesn’t work, it just requires more effort and the right skill set. The following are some important tips to follow when you are using cold calling for your business.

Be educated, prepared, and sell the appointment:

Know what you are selling and how to properly sell it before you attempt a cold call. Research the company that you are cold calling and try to identify the decision maker prior to calling. Develop a proper opener and possibly a call outline of the topics and key items you want to emphasize during the conversation.

Always be courteous and display confidence:

Sales calls can often bring out the worst in people but it is extremely important for you to remain polite and respectful to all parties that you encounter when conducting a cold call.

Don’t underestimate the “Gatekeeper”:

The person situated between you and the decision maker is known as the gatekeeper. This person is usually a secretary or assistant that screen callers for the decision maker. When talking to this person don’t lie, or be rude, just be straight forward with them. In order to reach the decision make you must first produce a positive impression on the gatekeeper.

Respect the prospects schedule:

Ask them if it is a good time to talk with them about the opportunities that your organization or products can provide. If they are unable to talk with you at that moment then suggest a specific time to reach them, avoid general lines like “I will call you back at another time”. Instead ask “Would it be more convenient if I called back tomorrow morning at 10am”.

Carrying the conversation:

If you manage to make it through the gatekeeper and the prospect has the time to meet with you then it is extremely important to capture their attention early in the conversation as well as maintain it throughout. Try to utilize their name throughout the conversation to strengthen and develop the bond.

  • Be professional but enjoyable

Don’t be afraid to make them laugh or deviate to the occasional small talk. Being honest about a sales call situation can also provide some levity and small talk can help establish a relationship with the prospective customer. For example a cold caller may introduce themselves by saying “Hi my name is Jane and this is a sales call, I know most people hate sales calls, so I’ll be brief but I feel that there are some important opportunities that our service can provide for your company.

  • Project Emotion, Create Excitement, and provide value

Use past positive anecdotes and success stories to inspire positive feelings for the prospective client. For a physical product you can suggest a product demonstration and you can refer to past customer experiences.

  • Discuss their problem

Try to ask what a common problem for their company is and offer several ways how your business can help eliminate that problem.

  • Push past no, but know when to stop pushing:

Being resilient is a necessity that a cold caller must have, they will frequently be faced with rejection and being able to move on and push past “no” is crucial to success. When making a call, if they tell you that they aren’t interested without hearing you out try to jump start a conversation by asking a question. For example you can ask them what problem they face and how much that interferes with their everyday business productivity. If you sense the prospect is upset and is becoming unreasonable you should politely thank them for their time and move on to your next call.


Asking for an appointment:

Even if the conversation has gone well, this is still a sales call and it is very unlikely that the client will ask for an appointment. It should always be you who closes the call by requesting a meeting with the person to discuss in more details. Remember to ask in a way that assumes that they want to meet with you, avoid “would you like” and go with “are you available on Tuesday at 3pm”. The words you choose to say something matter and in this situation they will help make it more difficult for the prospect to say no.

The best way to achieve success is to rehearse prior to the call, analyze your strengths and weaknesses following the call, and improve for the next call.

Hope that you find these tips helpful.

Thanks for Reading!




Offline Marketing Techniques for Your Online Business

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

With marketing today it is absolutely necessary for a business to develop a strong advertising plan and utilize a diverse set of marketing strategies.  In most cases, businesses tend to spend much more on the their company advertisement or the promotion of their products than the actual cost of production. In the past we have emphasized the different ways to market your company online however you should also keep in mind the opportunities that offline advertising has to offer. Marketing Word Cloud

The basic principle behind promoting your business is to express and convey the company’s goals, products, or ideas to the targeted audience. Businesses use marketing methods in order to maximize their brand recognition and customer awareness. With today’s technology it is fairly simple to market your business online with email, blogs, and social media sites. However, a well-designed marketing campaign should actually incorporate both online and offline promotional strategies. Due to the intense focus that has recently been directed to online marketing, some companies may have lost focus and have possibly missed out on attracting offline consumers. The following is the more widely used offline marketing strategies. Each of these methods can be used to increase your company’s brand and reputation.

  • Place your website’s URL in emails, letterheads, and business cards.

  • Give out complementary promotional items. For example you could give T-Shirts, fliers, bumper stickers, pens, and magnets all with your business logo or company website listed.


  • Advertise your company and the website’s URL in newspaper or magazine press releases.


  • Using QR codes so mobile users can access your website


  • Create window or storefront signs that display your website’s URL for both customers and potential customers passing your store.


  • Join local community groups to spread information about your company. (Business associations and Chamber of Commerce)


  • Create and Send Business Post Cards that provide contact information about for your company.


  • Contact your local business direct mailing advertiser. Design and create an advertisement for your local audience.


  • Sponsor local Events, Fundraisers, and Charity Functions.


  • Make sales calls or hire someone to perform “cold calling”.


  • Attend Business Trade Shows or Seminars to network with other industry professionals.


  • Use Word Of Mouth by reaching out to your contacts and spreading promotional information to friends, family, and acquaintances.

These are just a few tips for marketing your online business offline, for more examples visit 37 Original ways promote your Business . In conclusion, marketing should be a blend of online and offline techniques. The internet may offer a good environment to market your business but that doesn’t mean that you should limit your company’s reach to the internet and restrict your marketing potential. Almost every business on the Internet is performing online marketing which is why adding some offline promotional strategies can potentially help distinguish you from your competitions.

Thanks for Reading!




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