9 Essential Elements to Choosing a Good Domain Name

Part of our service here at C and G Studios is to help clients with branding their new startups correctly and a key component of this is to choose a good domain name. This infographic by the folks over at Entreprenuer helps to highlight 9 essential elements to choosing a great domain name.

Don’t forget to head over to our Resources to page to check our preferred domain name registrars that we highly recommend and, of course, use ourselves.
good domain name

 

The Importance of Backing Up Your Website

The Importance of Backing Up Your Website

When was the last time you backed up your website? If you had to think about it, it’s been too long ago.

Backing up your website regularly is absolutely vital. Every experienced website owner knows this. Unfortunately, many new website owners do not take backing up as seriously as they should. This is sometimes down to the assumption that everything will be OK and other times they’ve looked into backing up their files and decided it was either too time-consuming or too costly. But reality, if something with your website goes wrong, you could lose everything. That brand-spanking new responsive website you just shelled out a chunk of change for? It would be gone. That blog you’ve been laboring over and building up over the past year? Gone. Just like that!

Some larger businesses can afford to tempt fate and not back up their website as they can simply get another one built  – but if they are that large a business then usually they make regular backups. But, can you, as a small businesses, afford not to back up your website? Can you afford to pay out for another website to be built if your current site vanishes?

Server Outages

No hosting company in the world can offer 100% uptime and reliability. Even the best premium hosting companies have had severe problems with their data centers. Your website can experience irregular downtime and problems during this time for days.

When a server does go down, the hosting company usually (but not always) can retrieve the data. However, even if your website data can be retrieved, you might have to return to a version of your website that is a few days old. Therefore, when your hosting company goes down, you could potentially lose a few days of work.

WordPress Websites are Vulnerable to Hacking

As we all know hackers have become commonplace on the web. Whilst we here stories that hackers steal credit card numbers and other sensitive information, but more than often people hack websites simply to prove to themselves or others that it is possible. If your website is online, there is always the chance that it may become compromised. Even simple blogs get hacked.

Plus, WordPress is by far the most used CMS for business websites and blogging. This is perhaps why it’s often a target so often for hackers and spammers. Even if you use a security plugin on your website, there is still the risk of a malicious script injecting malware or a virus onto your website.

Mistakes Happen

We all make mistakes. It’s perfectly possible that yourself or a co-worker/employee might click a wrong button or delete a necessary file by accident. When you backup your files, you have a fresh copy of your site to pop back on the server if any thing goes wrong. Mistakes are not something that happen every day, but when they do happen, you will be glad of any recent backups you have.

Updates Gone Wrong

Regular updates to features/plugins and increase security are important and recommended, but they don’t always go as planned. This is why WordPress always tells you to perform a backup before updating. Websites have numerous components, including plugins, themes, software, and back-end programming. An awry update to any of these can take your website offline.

Backing up WordPress for the technically minded

The WordPress website has a handy little guide on how to back up your website properly, although you do need to be a little technically minded.

Backing up WordPress for the non-technically minded

Not too technically proficient or simply don’t have the time/want the hassle? We offer a WordPress Management service to ensure your website is always backed up. Our service features regular backups, virus and malware checks, aswell as SEO Analysis. Check it out!

Your Last Chance to Grab a Growth Voucher

Your Last Chance to Grab a Growth Voucher

The Growth Voucher programme is a government initiative that provides businesses access to expert advice and guidance that will make them more successful.

Businesses can apply for business advice of up to £2,000. You will have to match the value of the voucher with your own funds. You will be asked to take part on surveys so that the government can monitor how the Growth Voucher programme has helped your business.

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Is my business eligible?

Growth vouchers are available for businesses who meet the following criteria:

  • Businesses who have 250 employees or less (including any employees of companies that own a stake in your business).
  • Businesses who are registered in England.
  • Businesses who turnover less than €50 million.

Accredited Growth Voucher Advisor

Chips & Gravy Studios Ltd is one of the few accredited UK advisors in the Growth Voucher programme who provide a vast array of digital services to help improve your business, including Web Design and Development (including eCommerce), Video Production and Branding.

We can help you to make the most of digital technology, including improving productivity, developing a digital strategy, enhancing your online presence and marketing your website.

Growth Vouchers can be used to obtain strategic advice and used with Chips & Gravy Studios on the following categories: –

  • Making the most of digital technology.
  • Marketing, attracting and keeping customers online and with software.

Time Is of The Essence

Unfortunately, the window to receive your Growth Voucher is closing and if you are interested then you need to apply by 31st March 2015. If you’re successful you’ll have until 3 months from the date of issue to claim the voucher.

 

Where Can I Get a Voucher?

To apply for your Growth Voucher head over to the Growth Vouchers programme website and apply.

 

I’ve Got a Voucher, Now What?

Then get in touch!

The Benefits of Waking Up Early

The Benefits of Waking Up Early

For the past few months i’ve been waking up early. For those who don’t know I run my little creative design studio from a home office which means I can simply fall out of bed, grab a shower, make a cup of coffee and start working straight away. No commute, no problem! Most business operate from 8:30-9:00am which is when my phone usually starts ringing and my inbox starts to fill up with client queries. This means that mornings when I have a lot of work to do can get rather congested with a combination of emails, phone calls and of course the project i’m working on. Mornings like that are never good and set you up for a bad day. But I found a little solution.

For the past few months i’ve been waking up around 5:00 – 6:00am.

One morning I was rudely awaken by my cats who thought that 5am was a perfectly good time to demand breakfast. So,  begrudgingly, I woke up, went downstairs and fed the little idiots. But, instead of going back to bed and struggling to get back to sleep I decided to fire up my Mac and do a bit of work. Being a ‘non-morning’ person I hated it. Sitting there in the autumn moonlight, I nursed a hot cup of coffee and went through my morning tasks. I should have hated it, however, by waking up that little bit earlier I realised that I was able to get a fair few bits done that if done after 9:00am would probably take me 3 times as long. So I’ve started to get up a little early most days and my productivity has risen. I don’t get up early every day but I do it most days and it’s become a habit. Here are a few benefits i’ve found from waking up early.

why wake up early

 

Early Emails

First thing I do when I start my day? Go through my emails. I’ll spend a little while going through my inbox reading anything interesting, unsubscribing from nuisance emails and replying to clients. The beauty of replying to emails early is that my clients have response’s in their inbox when they get into the office at 9am.

Writing

I’m in the process of writing a book and a couple of ebooks (that will be given away free for newsletter subscribers) and i find the best time to write is in the mornings before the world wakes up. With a good cup of coffee in hand and my scribbled notes that I make during the previous day, I spend an hour or so writing. Being uninterrupted by phone calls means I can really keep my train of thought and get a fair bit of work done.

Get S–t Done

Quite simple, by getting a 2-3 hour jump on the world I’m able to spend an extra 2-3 hours a day on client projects or my side projects, if needs be.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Adding an extra 3 hours to the beginning of my day means I get an extra 3 hours during the day to do whatever I want. Whether that be taking an hour off to go for a walk or run, take a long lunch with my Fiancee or even finish work 3 hours early. I don’t always take the 3 hours off but it’s great to have that guilt-free option.

Learn

I firmly believe we should never stop learning. As a creative designer I personally feel I should keep myself educated on the latest design techniques or I should be learning new coding languages when I have a bit of spare time. I’ll sometimes spend a couple of hours in the morning on Treehouse teaching myself a coding language when everyone else is fast asleep.

 

5 Reasons Your Business Should Be Using Twitter

5 Reasons Your Business Should Be Using Twitter

Twitter has definitely transformed the way businesses are responding to customers, reaching new audience, offering new products and services and even converting followers and visitors into buying customers. If your business is not already on Twitter, chances are you’re missing out and will be crushed by competition in no time. Here are five reasons why you should be using Twitter for your company.
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Get Connected

The main reason anyone should use Twitter for their business is to connect with customers. You are able to connect with almost every customer due to the simple fact that they are also on twitter and probably using it for all their communication and interactions, both with friends and other businesses. Most people check their feeds at multiple times during the day just to stay in the loop of what the accounts they’re following. Chances are if there is a customer that is angry with your business or a happy one, you will hear him or her on Twitter.

Monitoring competition

Every business always wants to know how its competition is doing and what it’s up to. This is one of the most important reasons why anyone with a business needs to use Twitter today. Twitter gives you a chance to use its search for free to spy on competition and learn a lot of things about your competitor. You can see what customers are saying about your competition and exactly what the competition is doing concerning their complaints, if any. You can then approach these customers with solutions the competition has refused to provide, connecting with them further. It’s also worth checking out the feed of a couple of companies you admire, whether they are providing a similar business to you or not, just to see how they interact with their followers.

Viral nature of Twitter

In case you have some popularity on Twitter you might understand the viral nature of twitter today. Big brands such as Nestle, Nike and Dell for instance, has been able to transform tweets into viral content through their promotional messages on the social networking platform. If you can do the same, you will have a marketing strategy you can always rely on, today and in the future. One thing to consider is that it’s never easy to predict what will and won’t become viral – remember the blue and black/white and gold dress debacle?

Branding

The beauty of social media, especially Twitter, is that no business needs to have the budget of Starbucks, Nike, Coca Cola and Dell to market their product and build an audience. Twitter allows average businesses or individuals to brand themselves on Twitter with ease. For those whose companies or brands are not recognised, it’s very important to add a little personality to your tweets to show there is a person behind the keyboard.

Increase sales

You are on Twitter to gain a large audience, transform customers into brand loyal visitors as well as helping to convert curious individuals into buying customers. Twitter is a great tool to help increase sales and make a lot of profit in the process. Since the messages are really short, the coupon codes, discounts and deals shared on Twitter are acted upon directly by readers and even retweeted and shared on other platforms in more ways than you could even imagine. Many companies out there will testify that Twitter is the main source of their paying customers – including us!


Hootsuite - Social Relationship Platform

 

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