June 15, 2011 by

BT earmarks 66 more exchanges for fibre-to-the-cabinet upgrade…..http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/14/bt_fibre_rollout_66_exchanges/

June 15, 2011 by

New voice search tool available for google…. http://mashable.com/2011/06/14/google-voice-search-demo/

June 13, 2011 by

Why your Brand needs Digital Media http://mashable.com/2011/06/09/digital-experience-strategy/

June 13, 2011 by

51 Useful tools to help you get on in Social Media http://mashable.com/2011/06/12/digital-media-resources-19/

Specialist Searching

September 2, 2010 by

After looking at some of the recent research statistics it would seem that we all using Google as a means to search for almost everything but could my recent findings show that things are on the turn?

Many website owners are only interested in getting on Google, it can be, in some eyes, what its all about!! Although it has the notoriety as being the most popular search engine out there, there are others on the move up the popularity stakes to give them a run for their money. Bing is a major player and have been acquiring major support from all over, a recently published article informed us that Yahoo are starting to test and add  search results from the Bing engine, this will be shown to the consumer once it has kicked in by displaying the following  (NASDAQ: MSFT) “Powered by Bing” logo at the bottom of Yahoo’s (NASDAQ: YHOO) search results screen.

I decided that after reading the article that I wanted to know more about other search engine choices that were out there. I was very surprised to find a list longer than my arm with a whole host of search engines  that I had never heard of, I like to think that I know most of the search engines out there but some of these are specialist engines which made the list even more exciting.

Some times we need a search engine to look for more than just a plumber or an electrician, we at BT Customerstreet are aware of this and have the portals that we can add to our list of directories so it kind of comes into a similar bracket. When you need a specialist search it turns out that you can now use a selection of different engines to give you a more specialist result.

I have added a link here to show you a site that contains a comprehensive list of the selection that is available and also gives you an idea of which engine to use for your particular search. Some of the engines are set up for certain areas of industry, how about searching for business use, the likes of Hoovers, LexisNexis or Kompass are set up entirely for business searches, you have IFAC.com that is purely for accounting purposes and for the more general approach we have singingfish, now part of AOL,  which is used to look for media files such as audio and video.

I really don’t think that anyone will take over from the mighty Google, short of a global boycott I really don’t think that it’s popularity will ever see a sharp decline , but you just never know.

Here today gone tomorrow

August 26, 2010 by

Moving with the times is becoming a very important issue for many small businesses, one of the biggest changes of recent dates was the introduction of the new operating system Vista, this threw many software developers into complete and utter chaos as the majority of their products were simply  not compatible and major fixes were needed pronoto to keep the big wheel turning. BT Customerstreet were no exception to the rule and had to undergo a massive panic fix as this of course affected our online software for website amendments.

It seems that now evolution is on the move again and the next thing to be phased out will be IE6, this was released in August 2001 and now seems to be one of the oldest but common web browsing systems that large software companies are phasing out compatibility with.

This is going to have a massive effect on those smaller traders who would not update their system as they are happy with trusty old reliable IE6 and their older versions of windows and quite simply the added expense of buying a new computer or bit of software is completely out of the question. There are currently issues of business to business incompatibility, one company may send a document to another saved in an new version of Excel and then the recipient cant open it as they only use the old version, updates are not always available either and spits out a whole new string of inconveniences and money spending resolves.  There are so many choices out there at the moment but this is of course going to come at a price especially if this means that a whole company needs to be upgraded to the likes of windows 7 just so they can run their business.

A key example of systems that are required to run on such old products are regulated software systems, say ones provided by the FSA, small firms are obliged to use trusted operating and back end systems to ensure they protect their clients interests.  JP Morgan were a prime example of how changing back end software systems to save money and merge infrastructure with other parts of the business back fired.  They were fined a massive £33m by the FSA as the accounts were accidentaly merged and left no clear definition from their clients monies and their own, this could have had a catastrophic effect if the business had been declared bankrupt as there was no way to separate one set of funds from the other.

Although this threat wont go quite to that extreme it highlights the need for businesses to be up to date with what is going on with the world wide web, as insignificant as this issue may be to some it will be a massive problem to others and it looks like the daily need to save a bit of cash may not be found in this area.

A lot of browsers can now be downloaded free of charge so it could just be as simple as that, or on the other hand it might not, it may mean that a whole new operating system is required and as you well know, this is not free.

There is a huge choice out there now that have excellent compatibility with the vast majority of  applications, Mozilla and Opera are some of the big hitters but I reckon it will only be a matter of time before the update becomes a necessity and not a choice.

BT Customerstreet Helping Cancer Research UK

August 25, 2010 by

BT Customerstreet can honestly say that they go the extra mile for worthy causes.

Recently most of the staff underwent screening for the Anthony Nolan Trust and added them selves onto the bone marrow register, this was of course purely voluntary and the staff were under no obligation to attend, the turn out however may have looked like it was compulsory for the amount that turned up was commendable.

Some of the staff have branched out on their own and gone the extra mile for charities close to their hearts for issues that have affected their families, there has been the 3 Peaks Challenge, done by Danielle Smith, 26 miles over a tough terrain, the same distance as the London marathon, I would assume this was worse as there were hills to climb on this adventure. Race for life, done by Emma Standing, this is an event run every year by Cancer Research, run only by women to help support issues such as breast cancer awareness, both ladies raised significant amounts of money and we applaud them for their dedication to their causes.

Another issue that is cl0se to the heart of BT Customerstreet is a website called Jakes Photography this is currently being designed free of charge by Darren Carter and Neil Thurlwell of the companies SEO team. This website is homage to Jake Lewis who sadly lost his battle in November 2009 to cancer.

He was a frustrated artist, who openly admitted that photography was the best artistic outlet for him, as he was too impatient to paint, as he could never wait for the paint to dry and said he was also too lazy to paint, although some of his pencil/charcoal sketches adorn the walls of at least two households.

The site houses a collection of amazing pictures that he captured on his travels, all pictures can be purchased with 50% of the proceeds going to Cancer Research UK and the rest going towards his family.

We wish the site all the best and hope it reaches the parts other sites cannot reach and hope that Jakes pictures get the appreciation they deserve and raise money for a very worthy cause.

Insight of the site

July 14, 2010 by

BT Customerstreet

Many people are interested in getting a website for their business or even just for them, it comes as no surprise that people have an idea of how they want it to look and feel so that it is representative of their business or them as an individual, one of the key questions you need to ask yourself is how do you want it to function?

You need to decide what you want the site to do for you, some just want to use the site as an info drop spot, save on leaflets I suppose and give customers all the information that they need at the click of a mouse. Others want to sell products and link in with other companies, called back linking and if you have an affiliation with a certain organisation or brand why not add it on to your site, gives you credibility to your customers and shows that you are a legitimate trader. Key point on this part is to make sure you get permission first before you use any logos or links, some companies do not take too lightly to some individuals using their company logos to promote their business even if it is helping them in the process.

It could be that you are simply looking to have a site that is just for personal use, may be a birthday site for friends and family to stay in touch, or simply for your business.

All sites can be written with the desired result in mind as long as you have a clear picture of what you need it for.  I once discussed an account with a customer and when we got around to the discussion of the site ranking on the net he said he didn’t want it to be found, he claimed he had not bought it to gain new customers he had enough of those already, he wanted it as an  information site for the customers he had already. This was completely new to me as I was so used to people saying the opposite that he caught me off guard.

I have found some simple yet effective sites below that highlight different uses to personal websites.

Haltonrangers.fc

Nickdaggerphotography

worldcupplayers

These sites are informative and also rank well on popular search engines such as google, they have the correct type of content for their purpose, with so much competition nowadays on the net it is very important that you dont waste valuable time and energy writing content that doesn’t work for you or your site.

Treading Carefully with your Content

July 1, 2010 by

I have spent the best part of a day setting up numerous accounts for the BT Customerstreet brand on a whole host of social networking sites and have been looking at some great sites from other businesses for inspiration.

In my opinion it does matter what you have to say and who you want to say it to, I looked at a site that was posting random content just to attract a bit of attention from the passer by in cyberspace, I felt that this was a little bit of internet tarting as I think the content was for the wrong type of exposure on the internet, yes you may have a few thousand followers but are they really interested in you and your product if your content has no relevance?

If you have a product and you know its great then fine, shout about it and get it out there for all to see, dont add useless content that your ‘real’ customers could find off putting, try to add content that is relevant to what you are selling or will at least drum up a bit of interest about your product due to relevance.

You can get RSS feeds that will auto post things for you and post any type of content you choose, but if you care about your product spend some time to fine tune what you put out under your own product umbrella.

Here are some great examples of how to do it properly done by random small businesess I have found on my travels and a great page from Pepsi

Twitter Example

Facebook Example

Linked In Example

Pepsi

Social Media and the Small Business

June 24, 2010 by

As you may be well aware I had ventured into the world of Twitter some weeks ago and also added a facebook account. I have been investigating the realms of this very exciting side of the internet and have been astonished at just how many social networking sites there are out there.

I don’t want you to think that I spend my whole day typing in links over a variety of different sites, this would just be foolish, oh no, for the tech savvy business owner there are a whole host of tools that you can use to do all of this for you, you just need to go through the initial process of setting up all the accounts yourself, for a fee there are some companies that will do it for you, I preferred to do it myself as some of the sites that you could sign up to are not really designed for our particular type of business.

There are so many things that a small business can do to push their product into the face of the customers rather than waiting like a sitting duck on the net in the possibility that they will come to you, you can do pro active marketing and spend a bit of time pushing your product or you can get the basic set up and do nothing.

Every business requires a degree of effort to get it going so why not investigate the tools that you can use to help. The budget was released but a day ago and I feel that any small business will definitely need to go on the net if it stands any chance of staying strong. Online presence has relatively low overheads and if it does generate you more business then it can only be money well spent.

Posting sites such as Ping.fm will do a lot of the work for you, you create the accounts, post about your business to one place and it sends it all out on your behalf, cant be bad!

BT Customerstreet can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, Yammer, Bebo and Identi.ca to name but a few, I’m sure I will find more as I go along so maybe I will see you there.