Category

Business

Nova Sponsors Barking & Dagenham Chamber Of Commerce Awards 2015

By | Brand development, Business, Business advice, Essex, General | No Comments

The Nova Agency is proud to be sponsoring the Young Entrepreneur Award at the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce (BDCC) Business Awards 2015. At what will certainly be a fantastic evening, businesses from around Essex will gather to celebrate the best and brightest that the South East has to offer.

The Young Entrepreneur Award

This category is open to a young innovative business mind (under the age of 30) who has demonstrated vision and creativity in their work. Does this sound like you or someone you know?

The judges will want to know:

• Your vision for the business
• How you have achieved your objectives, and overcome obstacles
• Your plan for the coming year

This is an excellent opportunity to gain the recognition you deserve. Apply or register your interest here!

Where

The BDCC Business Awards will be held at the impressive function room at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club. The perfect venue to celebrate such an event the function room will help to all to celebrate the Awards in style.

Dates For Your Diary

Entries are open and applicants can apply here.

Entry form closes at 5pm on the 7th of June.

Successful applicants will then be told and provided with free tickets to the event on July 16th! Get your finest wear ready!

How To Apply

So are you a bright young individual making strides in your industry? Or do you know someone who shines at the work that they do? If so get involved and sign up today!

5 Executive Secrets to Speed-up Using Gmail

By | Business, Business advice | One Comment

Saving time and effort is one of my favourite pass-times yet I was told once by a colleague that I spend far too much time on checking my emails.

But I get 80 new emails a day sometimes! Like it or lump it, while we sleep we get emails! This article is going to show you in just a few steps how easy it is to avoid getting caught up in your emails. Gone are the days of procrastinating in my inbox – with these 5 tips, you should speed-up using Gmail too.

Procrastination vs Gmail

I felt like sharing with you why using Gmail offers me some really powerful features to maximise my day in an effort to help you with your day. I hope I can save you some time, thank me with a Share on Facebook or Twitter ok?

So these features dramatically reduce the amount of time you’ll need to spend on emails, making the corporate responsibility part of your job more efficient and getting you a special “nerd badge” for showing your family or colleagues how best to use Gmail.

Of course you’ll also be able to get heaps more work done too, or if you lucky go home early?

First off, just be aware that I used to be a reckless with my email address and I recommend that if you are using your work email to sign up for anything and everything, you won’t be helping things, you’ll have more work too. SO consider that next time you subscribe to something, be sensible with your email address and online sign up to really useful blogs like ours!

This simple consideration along with my suggested changes to your email set-up should help you to improve things. My tips will make it easier for you to find your emails, assist you with automatically filtering emails into organised folders and helping to prevent spammy emails hitting your inbox in the first place.

After all, prevention is better than the cure!

Why use the Nova email system in your Gmail?

Well these aren’t really secrets, but if you don’t know, you just don’t know, am I right!

The need to write this post come from a need to speed up checking my own emails and from discovering hidden features and tools in Gmail over the past 9 years. It was only about 6 months ago I decided to spend less time on my emails than today.

I designed a system using some freely available tools within Gmail and I regularly use these systems to check email once in the morning, once in the afternoon. I’ve saved so much time per day, I can afford to spend time writing valuable blogs instead.

You might too be one of those people that wouldn’t even be able to finish daily and other important tasks due to spending hours on emails. I used to feel defeated, rushed and I didn’t feel like I had achieved much.

If you can relate to this then never fear that Empty Inbox is not far off and you’ll start reclaiming extra time the more efficient you become at using Gmail.

(At the time of this blog post I was using latest gmail interface, but these ideas / tools should still work with the Basic HTML version too).

Some of Gmails secret features

1/ Organise with Filters

Filters are used to scan emails before they come in to your inbox. Using keywords or email addresses you can identify emails you want and apply actions to and delete, archive or sort them automatically along with lots of other useful actions.

Gmail provide a handy “filter wizard” which you can use to filter emails with all sorts actions including actions such as;

  • Apply Stars
  • Apply Important Tag
  • Apply Labels
  • Move to a certain folder
  • Archive
  • Mark as read

There are plenty more options available and using these in combination with cleverly organised folders (and sub folders for advanced organisation) soon your email can be categorised how you want without even using your inbox!!

You could for example organise emails by supplier / client or contact or by project, group, context and the list is endless.

I use personally use filters to remove emails from my inbox that I don’t feel are urgent to see, such as newsletters or subject matter that I want to keep, but don’t find vital enough to check each day.

Filter-wizard

2/ Unread first

A very handy feature to speed through your emails, is to show only “unread emails”.

This can prevent procrastination by hiding “everything” (which is googles way of saying – all of your other emails) and showing only emails which need to be read or actioned.

If you don’t set your gmail view to “Unread” first, the next step will be super useful and save you the most time out of all the tips here in this post.

Unread-First

3/ Triage via inbox vs next button

Everything leads up to this point, the mass extinction of unwanted email from the main view of your Gmail, you should have now a long list of “unread emails”.

On your screen you’ll see lot’s of rows of emails with additional information along each row (each column giving you info about each email), you should see from left to right the following;

  • A check box – Select a single or multiple emails
  • Star Icon – Highlight emails as Starred
  • Important Icon – Mark your emails as important
  • From – Telling you who sent the email
  • Subject Line – Giving you some info about the email
  • Attachments – Paper clip icon
  • Time / Date

To triage your emails and sift the wheat from the shaft, go down the list and apply a check to the check box.

Ok here’s the time saver, once you’ve selected multiple emails from top to bottom of the list checking your emails using the other columns to identify which emails you want to action.  You’ll notice the toolbar (navigation bar) above the list of emails will change giving you more options.

The button we want here is the box with an arrow pointing down on it (archive) which in Gmail simply means, “not in my inbox” or in Gmail language moved to “All Mail”, which includes; archived, sent, unread etc.

With all of your emails selected you could also start using the other buttons to organise further your emails, don’t forget to look in the “more” button which gives you further actions to apply.

Note that “Mark as read” also archives (not delete) the email and removes them from your “Unread” list.  But be aware that you can only do one page like this at a time, moving to the next page deselects the previous page and you’ll have to start again!

Of course IF you have emails that you do want to read then move on the the next step.

More-Selection

4/ Faster Email Reading and Quick Actioning

First of all, I’m not telling you here how to read your email or what to do with the email once you have read it. Simply how I now navigate between emails and to action an email effectively.

First of all you don’t need to pop in and out of the list with this tip, i.e. Go into an email and hit the back button to return to the list.  Just pick the top or the bottom.  This choice will depend on which order you would like to go through you emails, I sometimes choose the top which is the latest emails, and if there are important unread emails or it’s been a while since I checked my email I go to the end of the list and start from there.

I’m assuming you’ve read the initial email (the first or last from the list) and now you want to action the email by forwarding the email, replying to it or simply archive (mark as read) to move onto the next email.

Well if there is no reply or forward required here is another great button I’ve discovered, as it’s a little tucked away.  The NEXT or PREVIOUS button!!

Of course hitting the previous button works from the top of the list, the next button form the bottom of the list, so now you can read, action and move on quickly without the need to return to the list view.

Next-Previous Button

Quick Action shortcuts

If you want to quickly reply to a short email (i.e. A few sentences that meant you didn’t need to scroll down to read it) then you can hit the reply button. If you have a longer email and get to the bottom you’ll notice a text box with reply and forward in it. Click one of these or simply start typing in the box to reply. Note – This will reply only to the person that sent the email to you.

Reply All

If you have multiple people to reply to (i.e. Reply All) then hit the down arrow next to the reply button and you’ll get more options, the reply all button will only be present if there are more people involved in the email (i.e. someone was CC’d or multiple recipients).

Filter messages like these

This one is vital. If you realise that the message is one of those not so important messages that you don’t want in your inbox each time, or if you want to add a different kind of action to messages from this person (or with certain keywords within it), then use this feature to jump start the filter wizard.

reply-drop-down

Send Shortcut

On PC use – CTRL + Enter
On Mac use – ⌘ + Enter

5/ Gmail Labs (The best bit)

Google Labs for Gmail is a nirvana for indie developers to create some awesome (somewhat hidden) features that can’t be accessed through normal settings or found in the new interface anywhere. Some of my particular efficiency favourites are:

Undo send

Perfect for a few seconds of grace when you accidentally send an email but realise that it’s to the wrong person, you didn’t attach the file you wanted to or just feel not quite ready to send but out of habit, hit that send button too hastily.

Right-hand chat

This lab tool is great if you have lots of folders and subfolders, instead of having to scroll in the tiny window the new Gmail interface allows. Right hand chat moves the whole chat section over to the right hand side instead.

Quote selected text

To reply quickly regarding specific text in an email, simply select the text and hit reply. The selected text will be placed as a quote (with citation and date) in the return email.

Unread Message Icon

If you have Gmail in a tab in your browser this little gem will place a further icon on top of the gmail icon and show you how many unread emails you have. Goes well with point one and if you “pin” gmail to your browser it minimises the tab and looks super cool up in the browser.
unread-icon

Labs-Unread Icon

Well that’s all for now, thank you for reading this and if you have anymore useful ways to make using Gmail more fun or efficient, I am always open to hearing more about how best to use Gmails many cool tools. Also if these tips have helped any of you, please share, comment and sign up for more blogs like this one.

(Use the form on the right here to sign up for email notifications of our new blogs and weekly tech news round-ups).

The First 24 Hours With An iPhone 6

By | Business, Technology | No Comments

It Begins With A Question From A Jealous Social Media Manager

In the office it is quite clear who loves Apple the most, who will use nothing but a mac, for she is addicted to hot corners and the little sound they make when booting up. Our Social Media Manager, Helena, will readily admit to being quite bias towards the brain child of Steve Jobs.

Her tablet is an iPad, her phone an iPhone, her laptop a MacBook Pro. When the rest of the office bought PCs (that they had to build themselves) Helena stayed loyal and dug her heels in until a Mac was sitting pretty on her desk. She then began work straight away whilst the rest of the office had fun screwing and un screwing bolts customising their PCs to suit their needs.

And slowly but surely she began working on the rest of the office. To be honest it wasn’t much of a challenge with the CEO already feeding a small seed of love for Apple. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when John (CEO) walked into the office with a brand new Mac laptop and more importantly a beautiful iPhone 6 in his grasp. This of course prompted a simple question from Helena:

“Is it as glorious as it is in my dreams?”

If you’re as eager as our Social Media Manager or are debating whether to purchase here is an honest review from a man who has had both Android and iPhone glued to his ears in the past 24 hours.

iPhone 6 – My Immediate Opinion

Well what can I say, I have to begin with:

The guys in apple were at their usual awesome level putting up with me standing there painstakingly working out the total cost of all packages with a calculator! Patience, has now been added as an additional prerequisite to being an ultra cool Apple dude (extending our previous character traits of having a fantastic beard and being called Chris!)

After 15 – 20 minutes of deliberating, I managed to choose a deal that gave me an extra 6GB of 4G data for just £30 (upfront cost), none of the tariffs I looked at really made much of a difference, so I settled on a mix of cost, features and upfront payment. I’m paying just £3 more a month than the iPhone 5 and I have 10GB of 4G data each month, so I’m chuffed about that! (thanks to EE).

I brought the phone in the Thurrock Apple Store, so if I want Apple care I get 2 years warranty and accidental damage for £79 and also I benefit from extended warranty for internal faults, like battery failure. (A problem I feared hit me on the iPhone 5 but turned out to be a dirty charging port).

My main reason for choosing the iPhone 6 over anything else on the market is the familiarity and trust I have that Apple are going to offer me a superior and well rounded device. I have had the Androids and Blackberries and Nokia’s and none come near to the winning overall quality and functionality.

I mean this is the same stuff I was sold into when choosing Apple for my next phone back at the iPhone 5 launch 2 years ago

The only frustration I came to harbour with the iPhone 5 was the apps organisation and the screen was just a bit to small for me. Also the battery life, I only figured out how to extend life (by turning off data roaming) a few weeks ago!!

I immediately love the iPhone 6 extra space (and zoomed view options). I now have all the app space I need on a single screen. Plus armed with my new knowledge of battery life and a NoMo battery charger from my good friends at B-E-E-S.co.uk, I no longer fear short battery life!

You know I used to find myself creating too many organisation folders to keep my favourite apps on hand, now at a thumbs reach I have the room I needed to keep key apps immediately available.

I haven’t had the chance to play with any other functionality yet, so I can only talk about the screen which just looks wonderful, that might possibly be a result of my iPhone 5 screen looking a little haggard, with it’s scuffed protecter sat on top, dulling the experience down on that screen (I recall feeling the same about the iPhone 5 screen you see).

Anyway, my new iPhone 6 screen is crisp, bright and colourful and looks delightful. The curvature of the screen is an extra point in the beauty meter and adds an infinity pool effect where the phones bezel appears non-existent.

I got the Black finish this time which I’m really enjoying, it’s compliments my new Mac Book Pro wonderfully!

The sim / network isn’t currently working so I can’t actually use the phone, as a phone (at the moment). I’m sure after a short call to EE we’ll be OK, Not sure what happened but my upgrade seems to have been misconfigured or not explained to me so I currently have a sim that seems to recognise 2 numbers and has taken the liberty of joining my iCloud and Gmail together allowing me to benefit from the same configuration I set up on the Mac the other day.

The button configuration is OK too, Conor the “Android Fan Boy”, seems to think the buttons are laid out for right handed people, but (a leftie myself) find that all the buttons are in easy reach for me. Having my thumb on the volume side (the side I use most) means I can use all three buttons there with ease and index finger the other side if I need to quite happily enough. Overall the buttons are simply much nicer and easier to push with better tactile response.

I’m very happy with the over-arching design and experience so far. The new screen size is my favourite feature at present. I’m looking forward to pushing the new hardware with some 3D games or some of our own AR software (NovAR), but I’m sure how I’m going to find the rest of the phone, I’ll have fun with it later and let you know more then.

In the mean time the only thing I can tell you about the functionality was partially thanks to the new Mac Book Pro I have too. The iTunes install was easy, streamlined yet it appeared not to work. I left it off last night and when I plugged it in just now I am pleased to see that I have all my iPhone 5 Apps on my iPhone 6 just where I left off.

The images all uploaded to my Mac too allowing me to distribute them to my cloud storage later and thus far I’m LOVING my new Apple Experience.

I’m really feeling the immediate benefit and productivity surge at work as well as at home too! My Mac Book Pro, iPhone 6 and I are having a whale of a time with it, all I can say is why did I ever bother with Windows?!?

I should have made this transition a long time ago, I’m not missing my PC or Laptop a single little bit!!

So what about you?! Do you have an iPhone 6? Are you a convert from Android or are you an advocate for Samsung?

Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @TheNovaAgency. We want to know what you think!

5 SEO Tricks You Didn’t Know

By | Business, Essex, General, SEO, Social Media | No Comments

SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a term that I am sure you are hearing more and more these days.  To put it simply SEO means ‘how to get Google (as the main Search Engine we will be using Google throughout) to notice my website.’  Think about a shop in a shopping centre and all the methods store managers use to make sure people visit them.  Leafleting and standard advertisement works but nothing is more effective than having the shopping centre promote them and push their offerings to visitors.  The exact same applies to your online store.  To drive more traffic to your website you have to be found on the 1st page of Google search, 2nd page at a push.

There are  2 main ways of doing this:

1)         Pay Google to put you at the top of the 1st page.

2)         Use a few of our simple SEO tips to appeal to the Google algorithms and push you to the top organically. Where are these Tips I’m talking about? Keep reading.

1.Social Media

Nova touched upon the relationship between SEO and Social Media in our blog post ‘Social Media & SEO A Match Made in Heaven’ where we emphasized that your page ranking can be directly impacted by your Social Media presence.  There are numerous reasons why Social Media is so great for your page ranking.  Firstly, it is a great platform to promote Specifically the more ‘shares’ you have the higher Google will rank you, and the best way so make it easy to share is the key point here.

Google’s newest algorithm update ‘Hummingbird’ specifically looks at the standing of your Social Media presence. Rather than backlinks it would seem Google is actively more interested in the amount of ‘Shares’ your FB page generates as well as the popularity of your Google + page.

2.Interesting Content

This follows on well from Social Media I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, genuine interesting content is vital to a successful SEO campaign. Remember one of Nova’s key rules:

If Content Is King Then Conversion Is Queen

The two go hand in hand. If you generate good content and put it out there conversations will start to happen. Google bots will pick up on the new interesting additions to your website as well as the ‘Shares’ ‘Likes’ and ‘Retweets’ that come with it, all of which ticks Google’s SEO boxes pushing your website up in their page rankings.

One of the best ways to do both is by regularly updating a Blog page on your website. Now we’re not talking once a week every week, but just once a month a 500 word post offering a genuine insight into your industry and what you do as a company can significantly help your SEO ranking.

3.Webmaster Tools

If you are serious about increasing your Search Engine ranking and I mean serious then you have to get to grips with Webmaster Tools. I use Google Webmaster Tools as it works well with Google Analytics. Where Webmaster Tools aid help you is in pointing out problems on your site that cause Google Bots to send negative SEO readings back to Google. Once rectified it will give you a positive SEO boost. So where Analytics tells you about the visitors you’re already attracting, Webmaster Tools helps you attract a whole new group of visitors.

4.Get more mobile friendly

Google have just reported changes to be initiated in the USA which will hit the UK soon.  Now Google will highlight when their algorithms find a website that is not mobile responsive, this will have the negative effect of encouraging people to avoid your site.  This then has a knock on effect on your page ranking and so should be a serious consideration when creating or re-developing your website.

The fact is Google prefers responsive web design not just for you, but for them also.  It’s more efficient for Google bots to trawl through the site, additionally if your site is repsponsive therefore combining your desktop and mobile site onto one URL it makes the site easier to share and for people to engage with.  If a visitor is unhappy when trying to view a mobile site on a desktop it creates a higher bounce rate causing problems for Google’s external link algorithm which will then harm your SEO.

5.Change the way you think about keywords

Previously Google focused on the words used in a particular search to evaluate the keywords you use in your site.  Now Google will also be looking at the intent of the searcher and will look to predict the answer of their next searches dependent on a previous search.  For example if you were to search “Who is Jennifer Lawrence?” then it will come up with her Wikipedia and IMDB pages.  If you were to then search “What films has she been in?”  then Google will presume that you mean Jennifer Lawrence and provide you to links about The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.  To get to grips with this new SEO style start thinking about the subject of your website, what information it provides and where your service is located.

Do you have any great tips for increasing your Page Ranking?

What do you think of Google’s developments?

As always we would love to hear from you! Either in the comments section below or Tweet us @TheNovaAgency

 

The Two Things I Think Everyone Should Know How To Do On Twitter And Facebook

By | Business, Social Media, Technology | No Comments

Facebook-twitter-featurebp

Forgive me if what you are about to read are well known tricks in your Social Media Bag. Some of you may even ‘tut’ in disgrace but I do not mind. Perhaps I should have brought this to the attention of my followers long ago but it only just hit me that I regularly see people complaining about problems that these two tricks resolve.

And it hit me it wasn’t that they were forgetting to do it, no it was that they have never been told.

So do forgive me if this is all old news to you but allow me to bring these old tricks to light once more to aid the thousands of new users joining the plains of the Social Media world every day.

1. How to Make Sure That All Of Your Followers See Your Tweet To Another Account.

Are you a Social Media marketer who regularly checks analytics and think that some of your tweets to other accounts just do not have the same reach?

Or do you simply like to know that all of your followers can see when you tweet another follower?

Well then this tip is for you.

When Twitter guides you through the first steps in creating your first Tweet it fails to point out one major factor.

If you Tweet someone like this:

Blog Post 23.07.14 (1)

Without ANYTHING before the @ then the only accounts that will see that tweet are those that follow BOTH you and that account.

This can severely cut into the exposure of your tweets limiting your engagement and potentially impacting future business.

In order to avoid this and ensure that all of your followers see your Tweet you just have to put something else before the @

For Example:

Blog Post 23.07.14 (2)

OR EVEN

Blog Post 23.07.14 (3)

And there you have it as simple as a ‘.’

I think it’s shocking, SHOCKING, that Twitter doesn’t teach you this when you first sign up

movies-mean-girls-still-7

2. How To Control Everything On Your Facebook Profile

On a daily basis I read someone worried about a post being put onto their Facebook profile without his or her permission.

Or worried that a post might be uploaded when they have limited access to Facebook and so cannot take the post down.

And they are worried for good reason. More and more employers are admitting to checking current employers out on Facebook and if they don’t like what they see will bring in the employee for a warning or outright fire them.

Even worse there has been a dramatic increase in employers not hiring future employees over what they have managed to discover online. That means that if your security settings aren’t top notch that recent status that your friend has tagged you in, you know the one about you drinking until you passed out, can mean you loosing out on a job.

Well there is a simple security setting that allows you to verify any posts about you or any posts onto your wall.

To activate this setting follow these simple steps:

1. Click on Settings in the drop down option by your profile name

BP 02.07.14 1

2. Look to the left hand side and select ‘Timeline and Tagging.’

Blog Post 23.07.14 (4)

3. This is a pretty useful page full of settings to help protect you on Facebook. The one we’re interested in however, is the following:

Blog Post 23.07.14 (5)You will want to select ‘Edit’ just to the side of ‘Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?’

4. Simply click on ‘Disabled’ and it will allow you the option to Enable this feature.  This means that from now on whenever someone tags you in a status or photo it will not show up on your timeline until you have verified it!

Blog Post 23.07.14 (6)

I know everyone’s a winner right:

JLaw GIF

There you go, two simple tips that I believe every one should know. Hopefully you will find at least one of them extremely helpful.

Let me know if you need anymore help with either of the above! Simply tweet me at @HWalshNDM or e-mail me h.walsh@novadigitalmedia.com

 

How To Make The Most Of Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn For Your Business

By | Business, Social Media, Technology | No Comments

Unless you’ve managed to avoid all forms of media over the past 5 years you would have come across at least one, if not all, of the following entities:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

That’s not to say that you are active on all 3 or even 1 of them. Plenty of people I’ve spoken to claim to hate social media and the horse it rode in on. Furthermore, they believe that social media had no benefit for their company!!

Maybe you’re nodding your head right now or maybe you’re already thinking about what social media could do for you.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you use Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, either personally or professionally?
  • Would like better communication with customers?
  • Would you like to talk with key thinkers in your industry?
  • Do you hold exciting events, competitions or promotions?
  • Do you like to promote positive testimonials to as many people as possible?
  • Do you love talking about what you do?
  • Have any of your customers asked whether you were on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?

If you answered yes to any of the above then Social Media is for you.

But how do you begin?

Or have you already begun your journey but require guidance on how to really take advantage of this modern phenomenon?

Well I have just the thing for you. Here are 3 tips to think about when approaching the big 3:

1) When creating your Facebook page apply to change the web address to include the name of your company.

So instead of:

www.facebook.com/thenovaagency/203848857493034589

You get:

www.facebook.com/thenovaagency

To do this go to ‘Settings’ click on ‘Page Info’ and Edit you Facebook web address.  Much easier for potential customers to find you and a great boost to your page ranking on Google!

2) When creating your twitter account & you are asked to follow a few accounts search for the following:

@bizitalk
@Ukhour
@ukbusinessrt
@thenovaagency

they actively RT (repost) any of your tweets to their huge following on your behalf.

3) On LinkedIn follow as many groups in your industry as possible. Look for ones that have a good following and whose admin are active in conversations.

This will instantly bring you into contact with other people in your industry expanding your networking group exponentially.

But that’s only the beginning of what I could share with you.

I can show you how to:

  • Drive new visitors towards your business.
  • Find and engage with a specific demographic increasing profitable relationships.
  • Use Facebook advertising to its full advantage increasing awareness and sales.
  • Get involved with conversations about your industry letting you know what your customers want.
  • Stand out on twitter with engaging posts just itching to be shared
  • Learn How to customize all of your accounts to match your unique image.
  • How to harness the power of ‘shares’ ‘RTs’ ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ into real results.

How can I teach you all of this?

If you would like to discuss our 1to1 Social Media Training, Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

What Is Cloud Storage? And Why Is It The Future?

By | Apps, Business, Technology | 3 Comments

cloud-banner

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud Storage is becoming more and more popular but what is this ‘Cloud Storage’ exactly? Cloud Storage is a term for storing digital data on a remote server accessible via the web.  There are many uses to cloud storage for example backing up personal data, backing up software and general storage. The Term “Cloud Computing” was believed to have been coined first by Joseph Licklider in the 1960’s however, the use wasn’t commercialised until the mid 2000’s with Amazon launching there S3 service in 2006. I know what you may all be thinking, storing all my data in a random location is surely not as safe as storing it on the USB I carry around with me? Well Mega has pioneered in the Encryption world with an encryption method that uses an advanced AES algorithm. What does this do you ask? Well this gives users the ability to encrypt all their data and even Mega cannot access your files because they do not know the key you have encrypted the files with. Kim Dotcom the owner of Mega set a reward of up to €10,000 to the first person to hack into this system. So far there hasn’t been a single successful attempt.

So Why Is Cloud Storage The Future?

With 180 Million people using cloud storage, 65% of US companies shifting to the cloud storage since 2011 and even more converting across around the world every day, it’s hard not to think that the future will be stored on a remote server.

So Which Service Should I Choose?

There are hundreds of Cloud Storage sites online but which one should you choose? The big hitters in cloud storage world are Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, Box, iCloud and Mega. Each one of these provide a FREE storage space ranging from 2GB to 50GB.

Dropbox

Dropbox is the most recognised and most popular service in the storage world with a long term membership base and easy to use features.  It is it’s ever growing membership and easy to sync options,  It should be taken into consideration however, that they only provide free users with 2GB upon signup – the smallest free offer of the large companies.

Google Drive

Google Drive is another one of Google’s FREE additions to their Gmail accounts. Google Drive gives you a large 15GB FREE upon signup to Google. With many features the same as Dropbox and an amount 7 times more than Dropbox, Google is soon to become the bigger cloud storage company.

iCloud

iCloud is a prefect storage solution for anyone using an apple device, as iCloud allows you to backup all your devices to one central storage account. However, they only give you 5Gb for free. Therefore if you backup more than one device you will very quickly use up all your online space. However, if you are not using an apple device then you are much better off with another service such as Mega.

Mega

Mega is the bigger and better rebirth of Megaupload. The US government shut down Megaupload in 2012 on copyright infringement grounds due to thousands of users uploading pirated copies of popular Films, TV shows, Software, Music amongst other things. Since then Kim Dotcom the owner of Mega & Megaupload has made a extremely secure site with a massive 50GB FREE upon signup and an untouchable approach to copyright infringement.

My conclusion

The Mega website is the greatest of them all as far as protection and storage space, It provided you a very large storage with protection from even the company themselves. I strongly suggest you try out Mega, even if it is just to store a few files. If you have any Questions at all about Cloud Service please do get in contact! Either Tweet @CLyonsNDM or e-mail info@novadigitalmedia.com

5 Things You Never Knew About Google

By | Business, General, Technology | One Comment

google-featurebp

1. Google was originally called BackRub

I know what you are thinking, that we are making it all up. ‘Backrub?! BACKRUB?! Why on earth would a SearchEngine Company be called BackRub?’

But it is the truth, even Google states it on their official ‘Our history in depth‘ page. But why BackRub you ask? Well according to Wikipedia, always a valid source, one half of Google’s founders Larry Page conducted a research project on the importance of backlinks when analysing a web page. That research project was nicknamed ‘BackRub”. They then then created the first version of their soon to be infamous Search Engine under the name BackRub. Why exactly was it called ‘BackRub’ we hear you ask? Well it could be a simple reference to the importance of backlinks or to take that further the idea was that the more links you have the more important your website working on an online version of “you rub my back and I’ll rub yours”.

The answer is, we’re not so sure.

So there you have it Google was close to sounding more like a massage clinic. They preferred an even geekier name – ‘Google’ a play on the word “googol” a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros . . . Or something along those lines.

2. Google Spends $72 million a year on employee meals

Yes you are reading that correctly. When it comes to providing sustenance for their employees Google way ahead of the rest. According to Employee cards Google provides 2 meals a day for their employees but if other sources are to be believed employees are usually getting 3 meals a day provided for them. If accounts are correct Google has at least 9,600 employees based around the US, they are open 251 days a year which would work out at around 600 meals per year. If you then do the math (as Sillicon Alley Insider has) it works out to roughly $72 million being spent every year. Just. On. meals.

Tracking down to see if any employees have piped up and indeed they have (although whether they do work for them we aren’t entirely sure) claims to have their laundry done for them and they make the workplace ‘fun’. Perhaps a more reliable source, another commentator who claims to supply provisions to Google states that Google provide massages for their employees. He even goes as far as to say that Google is “one corporation which takes care of its people and shares its wealth with those who help to make it so.”

Whether the extra commentary is true or not, one fact remains Google does provide free food for their employees quickly making it, bar Nova, the best place to work in our eyes.

3. Google indexes 60 trillion individual webpages

As of 2013 Google indexed 60 Trillion individual webpages. That’s 60 Trillion. Individual. Webpages. Going by American Measurements of 1 Billion = 1,000,000,000 and a Trillion being one 1000 x 1 Billion then:

1 Trillion = 1,000,000,000,000

If that still doesn’t blow your mind there are currently 7 Billion people on this planet. That means there are roughly 8,571 webpages for every single person alive.

And it’s never going to stop growing.

4. Search Actors name then Bacon number and it will tell you how many steps they are

This one was a favourite discovery in the Nova Office. If you’ve seen the Kevin Bacon Ads where he promotes EE’s high rates of connectivity and wondered why on earth he was chosen for the role it’s because Kevin Bacon is connected to every actor by ‘6 degrees’ or less. He has been in such a variety of films with such a wide range of actors that he is loosely connected with every single one.

Amused/impressed Google decided to add an algorithm where if you search any actor’s name and then finish with ‘Bacon Number’ it will tell you how closely connected he is with that actor.

For example:

BP 30.07.14

Will this help you grasp the internet better? Will it encourage intellectual growth? Probably not on both accounts but will it fill some time/help you waste a few hours? Definitely.

5. Google Searches All Of Your E-mails

This one edges into ‘Big Brother’ territory in an uncomfortable way. It would seem that Google searches through your e-mails using a process known as ‘content extraction’. This is where all incoming and outgoing e-mails are scanned for keywords to facilitate target advertisement towards that user. A bit like what Facebook does on a daily basis.

Furthermore Google Earth has been cited for breaching personal privacy for perhaps showing too much detail about those living at the homes shown in the street view.

Google however, remains strong and refuses to backdown to groups who believe it truly is breaching privacy laws.

Would it stop you from using Google?

So there you have it, 5 things you didn’t know about Google. Some of these facts may help you, some are just nice additions to the current ruler of search engines.

As always we would love to know your thoughts! Do you know anything about Google that we haven’t mentioned?

Tweet your facts to @TheNovaAgency or comment below!

How To Protect Yourself Against The Never Ending War Of Computer Viruses.

By | Business, Technology | One Comment

We have all heard of it Computer Viruses, many of us have had encounters with them in the past.  However did you know you could have one on your computer without knowing it? On the 2rd June 2014 the U.S Department of Justice announced that they took down a botnet called “Gameover Zeus, however warnings from many internet giants have told us we need to protect ourselves as they will come back bigger and stronger. Their aim, to steal banking data. This isn’t the first time this has happened and will not be the last.  With currently 15,000 machines in the UK infected with Gameover Zeus, it’s time to protect yourselves.

This is what we would suggest you should do to protect yourself against such malicious attacks.

Update Your Operating Systems

Don’t worry we are not suggesting you upgrade your Windows 7 machine to Windows 8, you will see in the bottom right of your screen sometimes a popup saying “Windows Update Available” you NEED to keep these updated.

!!!WARNING!!!

If you are running Windows XP, YOU ARE VULNERABLE. The support updates ended in April 2014, which means windows will not release any security updates, YOU NEED TO UPGRADE TO ANOTHER OPERATING SYSTEM.

 

Update your Software

Keep your software up to date.  Things like Internet Browsers have weaknesses and these security issues get breached by hackers. However, the browsers patch the issues in updates, so by updating the browsers you keep yourself secure against attacks. There are many browsers to choose from; Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.  It’s purely down to personal preference which you choose.

 

Anti-Virus

Make sure your have installed and updated your anti-virus software. Do not worry about extra cost if you do not have anti-virus software, you do not have to purchase the most expensive software to stay protected and there are many FREE ones available online such as windows Security Essentials and AVG.

Updating your Antivirus doesn’t mean downloading a new copy of the software each time, there is a database where the software updates itself, and they are called ‘definitions’.

 

Remove unwanted programs “Advanced”

You may find unwanted programs installed on your PC without knowing they have been installed internet explorer toolbars are very common and many users will notice an increase in this problem.

There are many tools to remove these, but please be aware you can uninstall vital software this way and is only suggested for advanced users. The best tool for this is called CCleaner, you can uninstall programs, clean your software amongst many other features.

 

Be careful Installing software

Many software installers will have a “click next” process, which means you just keep clicking until it’s installed.  But beware you will be installing “extra” programs within this installer. Always read before you click and in many cases you can click “Custom Installation” where you can select what you would like to click on and install.

 

If you stick by this saying you will be safe online.

If In doubt, Leave It Out.

 

 

Resources

How to Update Windows: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/help/windows-update

How to Update Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95414?hl=en-GB

How to Update Firefox:  https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/update-firefox-latest-version

Download AVG:  http://free.avg.com

Download Microsoft Security Essentials: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/security-essentials-download

Download CCleaner: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

CCleaner Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQHOBkaP4ak

How to Remove Toolbars In Internet Explorer: http://www.pcworld.com/article/241720/how_to_remove_browser_toolbars_in_internet_explorer.html

Why Websites Are Not A COST To Your Business!

By | Business, Essex, Web Design | One Comment

Cost:

‘an amount that has to be paid or spent to buy or obtain something’

Two words that resonate from that definition by Google are:

• Paid
• Spent

Well what do those words mean?

Paid:
• To give
• To settle
• To suffer in retribution
• To transfer money
• To repay
• To pay in debt

Spent:
• Used up; Consumed
• Having come to an end
• Depleted of energy
• Tired; Worn Out; Exhausted
• Used Up, Consumed

Do these sound like words you want to use to describe the process of acquiring your businesses most valuable asset?!

Nova Digital Media have coined a phrase we use to describe the commercial release of funds to create a digital presence online for your business:

Corporate Digital Investment

Why use “’Investment’ to describe a website?

Define Investment: (thefreedictionary.com)

• Property or another possession acquired for future financial return or benefit
• A commitment, as of time or support
• The act of investing effort
• A thing invested in such as a business

Sound more like the words you want to hear?

One of the largest problems Web Designers face when selling their wares is cost, as soon as you concern yourself with cost you are fighting a losing battle, there will always be someone else out there willing to offer cheaper website than you.

At Nova we sell on value, our websites are valuable assets that increase revenue and give your business a direct online benefit.

For example an ecommerce website that brings a business 40% of their revenue should have at least 40% of the marketing budget allocated to ensure that revenue is sustained right?

Then why oh why do most people buy on price and not return of investment?!

It’s crazy!!

The best analogy I’ve ever used to accurately describe this insane buy on price situation is the “Build me a house” model.

Picture, if you will, someone asking a builder they have never met before, “build me a house!”. The builder then a little surprised by this blunt request agrees reluctantly, then without anymore being said the Home owner follows up with a classic question…”Oh and how much will that be?”

How would the builder then explain what considerations need to go into building a house:

  • What plot of land to use and where?
  • Which Architect to use…?
  • What size is the house?
  • How many rooms?
  • What is the function of the rooms?
  • What materials are required (structurally / aesthetically)?
  • What materials are wanted (wood / metal / glass)?
  • Which professionals do you want working on the job?

Imagine the huge variables involved in the “costs” that are building up.

As you can imagine there are too many assumptions to make for the builder to simply pluck a figure from the air. Of course with experience the builder could say a figure and constrict the buyers dreams by fitting limiting their choices but we’re not building a house and we don’t believe in constraint.

One way to do it would be to say to the buyer, “My hourly rate is £xxx, resources are not included within that fee and I do not know how long the build will take.” Not a very comforting concept, you may as well hand the builder a signed cheque and let him fill out the amount.

Our considerations for Internet Marketing are in many ways the same as the builder but we have “revenues” coming back to consider building into your Internet strategy.

The main question is – How much money do you want to make from your website?

  • How big is the site?
  • What does the site do?
  • How much content have you got / do you need?
  • Do you have photos / Are they good enough?
  • Which coders will we need?
  • Will you need photography or copy writing services?

Consider we are building your online shop front, your 2-way communication with your clients and integrated marketing solutions to grow your business.

Deciding what is best for you and your business and what other external considerations need to be used in tandem with your website should not be something you rush into with the best “price”, and definitely not something taken without serious advice and consideration.

Long term goals, milestones and task need to be considered. Does the company you’re working with match your values and ideas? Are you comfortable with them? Do you trust them? Will they be there to support you in a year or two?

30% of all start-up businesses fail in the first year so it is important to consider if the company you’re working with is established, respected and most of all if you like the work they have done in the past.

Nova have adopted a very simple 4-stage process to guide our clients through the battle field of unlimited choice and infinite possibilities and it all begins with professional and serous consultancy in the form of a fact finding meeting. This meeting can be in person or over Skype or phone, and takes anything from 30 minutes or more.

After all we have no idea what you want to achieve from your website! Our mission is to fact find and discover what it is you would like to have, what you need and what you have to have to do to hit goals.

For example; Do you need to be found on Google for certain search terms? Do you have systems in place to sell you services internally? Do you have a CRM and would you like your web leads to be injected straight in? Do you use Social Media and if not which platforms would be best for you?

This is just the tip of the iceberg and there are plenty of other considerations to take into account as well.

If you want to have a serious Internet presence, if you need results driven solutions just call a company like Nova that acts professionally enough not to just take your money without question.

For clear blue-sky solutions for your business call Nova Digital Media or The Nova Agency Today on 01708553320.