Categories
Cloud Technology web

Increased Cloud Usage During The Pandemic

/ Insights      / Increased Cloud Usage During The Pandemic

Increased Cloud Usage During The Pandemic

As businesses become increasingly more reliant on cloud services during the pandemic, Aspiring Panda shares their commentary on how businesses can work safely in the cloud and predictions they made around the necessity of cloud migration made long before the pandemic hit.

With global workforces now forced to adapt to a ‘new normal’, companies spanning multiple industries have had to re-evaluate their working practices to ensure staff can work remotely safely and securely. This has naturally seen a huge increase in cloud usage as millions work from home and expect to continue doing so. Indeed, some of the world’s leading tech brands have committed to more flexible remote working indefinitely including Shopify, Twitter and Facebook, with other well-known brands expecting to follow suit shortly.

As cloud computing becomes more crucial than ever, tech giant Microsoft has seen huge spikes in sales as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The health crisis has spurred the use of Microsoft’s services and helped drive a 59% jump in sales in the Azure cloud business. With 95% of Fortune 500 businesses using Azure, over $1bn has already been invested annually to protect Azure customers from cyberthreats. Analysts say the lasting impact for cloud providers like Microsoft is positive for the most part. Leading analyst Daniel Ives expects $1 trillion to be spent on cloud computing over the coming decade. Many companies expect to massively increase their spend on cloud services to maintain business continuity during the pandemic. Whilst Microsoft and Amazon Web Services command the biggest cloud computing market share, new players to the sector like Oracle are already vying for a slice of the pie, indicating the lucrative opportunities available to cloud providers.

Whilst Aspiring Panda Managing Director, Manjeet Panesar certainly couldn’t have predicted the pandemic, he has been extolling the virtues of cloud services for years and admits current circumstances have forced businesses out of complacency.

“We have always actively encouraged all our clients to migrate to the cloud as we rightly predicted physical servers will gradually diminish in 2020 as clients move towards cloud services. The majority of large businesses have huge data centres which can be costly and time-consuming to maintain. Savvy IT leaders should already have cloud contingency in place for emergency situations like the pandemic and use this as a wake-up call to ensure processes are in place so they are ready for any future crisis. Swift migration is particularly essential for businesses like accountants and lawyers; anyone dealing with confidential data in terms of keeping records, physical files and analysing and sharing records.”

So what are key benefits for businesses using the cloud?

Cloud computing platforms, such as Azure, tend to be less expensive and more secure, reliable and flexible than on-premises servers. With the cloud, equipment downtime due to maintenance, theft or damage is almost non-existent. Also, you typically only pay for the services you use, which provides a level of convenience and cost-control that’s almost impossible to achieve with on-site infrastructure.

Since the pandemic has forced employees to work remotely, there is increased demand for effective and efficient security and protection protocols. In recent weeks there have been several cyber-attacks made on businesses but with the cloud, your encrypted data will benefit from constant monitoring of version changes, automated backups and storage usage. This means in the unlikely event of your data being compromised, you always have contingencies in place. 

Cloud services are also available with flexible infrastructure giving you the ability to scale up or down automatically to ensure that optimum service is maintained. Flex servers are important for ecommerce websites that are particularly experiencing increased web traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Aspiring Panda providing cloud services to all industries from ecommerce and finance to agriculture, the latest report from SmartVault that cloud tech was proving vital to accountants was heartening. Statistics showed 62% of accountants surveyed for the report who felt they were responding to COVID-19 successfully, were more likely to be using cloud-based technology.

Nonetheless, with millions of us now accessing internal systems remotely, this has made businesses more vulnerable to cyberattacks with many already falling victim to cyber threats. EasyJet recently experienced a high profile hack with many other businesses reporting similar issues.

“Security is becoming more of a prime concern for major businesses so it’s important that whatever cloud platform you choose, all-around security comes as standard,” advises Manjeet. 

“Ultimately, a robust approach is needed from IT leaders to ensure their organisations are benefiting from safe and secure cloud services, particularly if most of them plan to encourage remote working in the long term as a lasting result of the pandemic.”

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Productivity web Webdesign

Many Business Owners Still Have Websites That Do Not Work On Mobile Devices

/ Insights      / Many Business Owners Still Have Websites That Do Not Work On Mobile Devices

Many Business Owners Still Have Websites That Do Not Work On Mobile Devices

It has been nearly two years since Google announced that it was changing the way it displayed search results to penalise websites that were not designed for use by mobile phones and tablets.

Many business owners have updated their websites to meet the new requirements however we still encounter those that are not and therefore are not appearing on mobile searches.

This is significant as more than half of all internet searches are made from a mobile or tablet device. Meaning that websites that are not compliant with Google’s guidelines are potentially halving the amount of people that visit their website having searched for businesses like them.

If your business website is not optimised for mobile devices, this is important as these are people that are looking for businesses like yours.

If they do not find your business, then the likelihood is that the person searching for the service will end up using a competitor.

What To Do If Your Site Is Non-Compliant

The first step is to check if your site is mobile friendly. To do this you can go to the Google website https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly and take the test in the link.

If your site is not mobile friendly, then it is likely that you have not updated your website for at least three years. The internet and consumer trends have transformed in this time as has the possible things your website can do.

Therefore, it may be worth investing in an entirely new website to refresh the design and functionality and ensure that your website is mobile friendly.

If your site is not mobile friendly and you are not sure of the next steps then call us on +44 020 8861 0115

 

 

This is a guest blog by en-ACT member Kristian Downer a social media expert based in Peterborough

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Technology web Webdesign

Three 2017 Web Design Trends

/ Insights      / Three 2017 Web Design Trends

Three 2017 Web Design Trends

The world of web design has continued to evolve during 2016 as consumer behaviours react to the latest technologies and trends. Aspiring Panda have identified three 2017 web design trends that could affect businesses across the UK.

The key 2017 web design trends we examine relate to content, SEO and mobile accessibility as the way the public consume information and buy products and services continue to evolve.

Video Will Continue To Dominate Online Content

Content is an incredibly part of marketing your business and making the most from your web design. In 2016 video really started to dominate and one particular trend that captured the imagination of the public was live video.

Facebook Live and Periscope continue to be powerful tools for business owners to tell their story and video content of all types are forecast to grow in 2017.

Within web design this will mean considering how video can be incorporated into existing and new build websites.

Mobile Accessibility

It has been nearly two years since Google made it clear that websites that were not mobile friendly would be negatively impacted in search engine results. During this time the amount of time people spend on the internet from a mobile device has surged to dwarf desktop usage.

2017 web design trends continue to reflect the relevance and importance of designing websites considering they will be accessed primarily by mobile devices.

SEO Will Continue To Be Local & Content Driven

Search engine optimisation continues to be a powerful tool for businesses to drive traffic to their websites. The way in which this works continues to evolve and in 2016 local search was a key factor for small businesses.

In 2017 this is likely to continue as is the need to have an active website posting regular content that includes related keywords to your business.

If you are unsure if your website is ready for 2017 then give the Aspiring Panda team a call (+44) 020 8861 0115

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Technology web Webdesign

5 Quick Small Business Website Tips

/ Insights      / 5 Quick Small Business Website Tips

5 Quick Small Business Website Tips

A website is a huge opportunity for small businesses to attract new customers and strengthen relationships with existing customers.

We have put together a set of five quick tips that will help small business owners get the most from their website.

Tip 1 – Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly

We have repeatedly spoken on this blog about the importance of your website by those using mobile devices.

This is especially critical for businesses that operate within a small local area as appearing in local mobile results means people can find you on the move when they may need your product/service urgently.

Tip 2 – Add A Blog

Google loves websites that have lots of fresh and relevant content, publishing a blog post once a fortnight will ensure that when Google looks at your site it can connect what you are saying to what your customers need.

Tip 3 – Make Your Contact Information Easy To Find

If people visit your website and want to find out more but cannot find a way to get in contact with you easily then they will leave and find a competitor.

We recommend you have your business phone number on every page.

Tip 4 – Make Your Site Visually Appealing

Images can help explain what you offer to customers and make your site more visually appealing. The more appealing your website to the eye the more likely people are to stay and assimilate the information on your page. This tip goes hand in hand with easy to use navigation so people can find what they need straight away.

Tip 5 – Promote Your Blog Posts More Than Once

Only promoting a good quality informative blog post is a wasted opportunity, use social media to repackage the content repeatedly to ensure

If you would like to know more about what your business needs to keep up with modern consumers and changes to the way online marketing works give us a call on 020 8861 0115

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
web Webdesign

Three Questions To Decide If You Need A New Website

/ Insights      / Three Questions To Decide If You Need A New Website

Three Questions To Decide If You Need A New Website

If you ask a web designer if your website needs to be redesigned, then without looking at your existing site they may be inclined to say yes.

This is because every web designer will feel they can improve your site and the speed of change within the industry means that most sites are behind the current trends soon after they are released.

The reality though is that for the overwhelming majority of the UK’s 5m businesses it would be impossible and impractical to redesign in line with design trends.

So rather than looking at the trends we ask businesses to balance the needs of their customers with the functional capabilities of their website. This can be split into three questions:

Is Your Business Mobile Friendly?

If your website is more than a couple of years old, then it may not be designed with people who use the internet from a smartphone or tablet in mind. The likelihood is that with more than half of all traffic coming from mobile devices this will include your customers.

Sites that are not mobile friendly appear too large or too small on a smartphone or tablet and can be difficult to navigate.

Google have recognised this and now do not show websites on their search engines when a user searches from a smartphone or tablet, which could see your website become invisible to half the internet.

If your website is not mobile-friendly (test it here) then it is time to get a new website to ensure that your customers can find your site and navigate it efficiently.

Is Your Website Easy To Navigate?

Modern consumers are incredibly impatient, if your website is difficult to use or they find it hard to find what they want, then they will simply give up and go elsewhere.

Therefore, if your website is confusing or hard to navigate then you need to seriously consider redesigning your existing site or building a new one.

Does The Design Reflect The Message I Want To Send Customers?

Branding is used to describe any part of your business that allows a customer to make a judgement about your company. If your website is tacky, lacks detail or has obviously not been attended to in years then your potential customers will make decisions based on that.

So if you look at your website, and you do not think it reflects the values of your customers it may be time to redesign your website.

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Technology web Webdesign

Three Ways To Improve Your Website This Spring

/ Insights      / Three Ways To Improve Your Website This Spring

Three Ways To Improve Your Website This Spring

In the UK, as the weather starts to improve, spring is in the air, our thoughts come to how we can give our company a spring clean and keep things moving as we enter the second quarter of the year.

Here are three ways that you can clear the cobwebs out of your website this spring:

Check Your Website Is Mobile Friendly

If you have not developed your website recently then it may not be mobile friendly. This means that the design may not be responsive to the different kinds of devices that people may use to access your website.

With more than 50% of web searches now via a mobile device, it is important everyone that visits your site can get the most from it.

You can check your site is mobile friendly here

Check All Your Contact Information & Calls To Action

Making sure that the information is right on your site, is up to date and there are clear calls to action can be the difference between a site visit and a conversion.

If someone cannot quickly find the way to contact you or buy directly, they will get frustrated and leave, so make sure everything is clear and all the links work.

Write A Blog Post

Having recent and relevant information on your site is important from a search engine ranking perspective and the impression this creates with your customers.

It is an opportunity to showcase your knowledge of your industry and build trust with your audience, so even if it has been a while, now is the perfect time to get back into blogging within your business.

If you have any questions about your website and how to make the most from your web presence, contact the Aspiring Panda team.

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
web Webdesign

Three Small Business Website Trends For 2016

/ Insights      / Three Small Business Website Trends For 2016

Three Small Business Website Trends For 2016

One of the reasons for hiring a professional web design company is that the industry is constantly changing and evolving. Hiring a company that works on websites on a daily basis can help your business keep in touch with the latest developments and generate more revenue.

Last year was one of change in the web design industry, the big change was that building websites that were easy to read and interact with on mobile devices became critical.

A change in the way Google ranks websites in search means that from April 2015 sites that are not “Mobile Friendly” found themselves harder to find for their potential customers.

Here are three trends we think will impact small businesses in 2016.

A Focus On User Experience

For small businesses the website is no longer a poster for the bricks and mortar presence, instead the site needs to be easy to access and active. This means that it needs to engage users, providing convenience and ease of use, whilst compelling them to take an action.

Sites that do this well will convert more customers and see a greater return on all their online marketing including social media and paid advertising.

Increased Links Between The High Street and Online

With 86% of people using the internet whilst in shops to research products they are considering buying, retailers and service providers will need to make sure that their online and offline offerings are integrated to maximise the potential of both. Businesses need to think of them as the same thing as we move into 2016.

Renewed Focus On Driving Traffic & Retaining Data

With social media becoming more and more saturated, there will be an increased need to advertise on these platforms to reach your audience.

To ensure this is of benefit businesses will need to ensure that they put the right mechanisms in place to maximise the effectiveness of any traffic driven to their website and capture as much data for retargeting and email marketing campaigns.

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Development Technology web

A Guide to Mobile Responsive websites

/ Insights      / A Guide to Mobile Responsive websites

A Guide to Mobile Responsive websites

In the last five years the way in which we search the internet has changed. Internet traffic has moved from the desktop to the mobile device. This is powerful for consumers and retailers and contributed to a huge change in the way Google ranks websites.

This year Google changed the way it treats websites that are not designed to display correctly using smart phones and tablet devices. From the 23rd of April 2015 Google changed the algorithm that ranks search engines depending on whether a website is “mobile friendly”

This change is due to the change in internet searches, with more than 50% of web searches now made on mobile devices rather than on a desktop PC. This change means businesses need to ensure their website is mobile responsive or risk a decrease in visits to their sites.

Many Businesses Are Still Not Up To Date

However through our networking and the projects we have been working on it is clear that there are still a large number of businesses that have not updated their site to be mobile responsive.

Even six months after the changes were introduced we still meet businesses that have websites that are currently unresponsive.

How To Check If Your Website Is Out Of Date

To see if your website is mobile responsive or not you can visit the Google website and take the mobile friendly test.

If Google says that your website is not mobile friendly, then it is not too late to update your site, however we recommend that you make the changes as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss out on mobile search tracking.

If you are unsure what these changes mean for your business or would like to speak to a digital marketing expert then give the Aspiring Panda team a call.

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Development web

3 Website Factors That Affect What Your Customers Think Of You

/ Insights      / 3 Website Factors That Affect What Your Customers Think Of You

3 Website Factors That Affect What Your Customers Think Of You

A website is a valuable marketing resource, which says more about your business than you may think.

It is your opportunity to get your business discovered online whilst informing and selling to those that visit. A well designed and content rich website will pull people to your website, tell people what you do and generate a positive impression that will lead to business.

If your website is not up to standard then this can have a negative impact upon the sales and reputation of your business. Until these are addressed you may be selling your business short and losing opportunities.

There are a number of different factors that contribute to this and we have focussed on three that will affect what your customers think of your business because of your website

The Design

Despite being only around 20 years old as a commercial discipline, web design has changed a lot over 20 years.

The technology has changed meaning that designs not only have to be modern but accessible on a range of different devices. The design is still important as we subconsciously are aware of sites that are out of date, this does not mean businesses need state of the art sites just those that are modern and match customer expectations.

The Content

The content within your website is important, you have only a few seconds to get the interest of your audience or they will move on. This means the content must grab the audience and give them the information they need immediately. Content should also be free from simple spelling mistakes to avoid giving your audience the wrong impression.

Active or Passive

Previously you used to be able to get a website built and the job was done. Now due to the saturation of the web more is required to stand out.

Your website needs to be active to show that you are still trading and to encourage your users to take action. An active website could have a blog, social media integration and a range of other elements to move beyond the boring. What’s more Google love content such as videos and blogs so an active website is going to be more visible in a search.

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
web

Many London Business Websites Still Not Mobile Friendly

/ Insights      / Many London Business Websites Still Not Mobile Friendly

Many London Business Websites Still Not Mobile Friendly

Since Google changed its algorithm in April 2015, having a website that is mobile friendly has become vital. However many London businesses are still not compliant and may be missing out on opportunities to reach their target customers.

What Is Mobile Friendly

Mobile friendly is a term to describe a website that has been designed to display websites properly on smartphones and tablets. Sites that are not mobile friendly may be shrunk to fit all the information onto the screen, or be too big and going well outside the boundaries of the screen.

This makes them hard to view and navigate when using a mobile device, which is something Google wants to avoid when it points you to a website via Google Search.

How Do I Check My Site

Checking your site is mobile friendly is simple, all you need to do is run your site through the Google mobile friendly test

Why This Matters

More than six months after the change a large number of small businesses are not yet compliant and are therefore less visible in Google search. This is important as Google is the dominant platform people use in the UK to search for information.

In the UK Google is used for nearly 90% of all searches making it important to be as visible as possible.

The Challenge For London Small Business Owners

Despite the changes being live for some time, many London business websites are still not mobile friendly.

This can be for a number of different reasons, but we believe that many still do not know how important a change this was.

Keeping track of the latest digital marketing trends can be difficult for small business. Knowing which announcements and changes matter is not always easy to determine and neither is the correct fix.

If you are not sure where you stand with your website or digital marketing, give us a call and we can give you the information you need to keep your website up to speed

anu_panesar

Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.