Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Which are the best website browsers?

Are you looking for the best way to access the Internet? If so, you’ll need to choose a web browser.
Your web browser is the piece of software that you use to access web content. Ten years ago the likelihood is that you’d have accessed the web using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the browser’s market share peaked at over 95 per cent in 2002.
However, there is now a great range of browsers for you to choose from. Keep reading to learn more about what to look for when you choose a browser.
Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome – the big three
According to data from Net Applications, Internet Explorer remains the most popular web browser in the world. It had a 54.1 per cent share in May 2012 compared to 19.7 per cent for Firefox and 19.6 per cent for Google Chrome.
Many people don’t give much thought to their browser and simply assume that all browsers will provide great access to online content. However, the features of browsers vary significantly and so we look next at what you should consider when choosing a browser.
Choosing a browser
There are three main factors to consider when choosing a new browser:
· Speed – the time it takes to load web pages can vary from browser to browser. Often, this depends on how much of your computer’s memory they use.
· Security – each browser offers differed levels of security and protection against phishing and malware.
· What you use the web for – as each browser offers different features and add-ons, some are more suitable for accessing music and video while others are better suited to shopping or e-mail.
When choosing a browser it’s useful to try one or two options to see which one suits your Internet usage the best. Indeed, some people use more than one web browser for different purposes.

Overall we use and recommend Firefox for the best combination of the factors above

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Mountain Lion breaks Apple records

Apple’s new operating system Mountain Lion has, says the company, broken download records, but what do the critics say of this roaring success?
Mountain Lion was downloaded 3 million times in its first four days on the market. So, the people like it, and the tech community has been running the rule over Apple’s latest too.
Cnet were drooling over the new operating system. It found the low price of £13.99 a particular selling point. Its reviewer would have happily paid that for just one of these new features: Notification Center, iCloud Document Library or Notes and Reminders.
Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press’ deputy technology editor, also gave a thumbs up. He said the entry price was worth it for just the iCloud integration. However, he noted that Apple is now definitely prioritising portable devices over desktops.
Hot Hardware’s comprehensive review also rated the updated operating system as well worth the money. With many of its innovations forged on the iPhone and iPad, Ray Willington reckons Apple will use it to convert desktop users to tablets and Windows fans to Macolytes.
Shane Richmond in the Telegraph gave Mountain Lion a four out of five rating. While praising some of the “delightful, Apple 'it just works' features”, he wasn’t so keen on the look of some apps. In browsing and mail, he writes, Apple is behind the curve.
Over at T3 it was yet another round of applause for a ‘powerful and worthwhile upgrade with lots of nifty features and improvements’. The author regrets that some features are only available on flash drive Macs but says the whole system is now faster and leaner.
The latest version of Windows is due in October and will – if early reports are to be believed – confirm what Mountain Lion says about computing now. The desktop PC is giving ground to mobile devices and virtual computing power in the cloud.
Review links include:

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Using Twitter For Your Small Business

Twitter may be great for celebrities to keep us updated with how their diets are going but it has also proved to be an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. However, as with many of the various social networking platforms and internet marketing tools, it will only benefit your business if you use it in the right way.
When you use Twitter to help market your business it is essential that you are not too overtly “sales”. Many business Twitter accounts will constantly link to their website in an attempt to try an get a steady stream of traffic, but you need to think about it from the point of view of your target market. Nobody will follow a Twitter account which is just link after link, so try and spice it up - whether it’s related news updates or even completely unrelated comments about your day and events during it. You need to be subtle about your sales tweets if you are commenting on something that’s happened, you can maybe try and slip in a link for example “can’t believe how warm it is today - ice creams all round for us at www.mywebsite.com”.
The amount of updates you should post is another decision you need to make, and one that can effect the success of your Twitter marketing efforts. For example, nobody wants their Twitter newsfeed to be filled with loads of offers and links to products, even if they have an interest in that particular product or service, so constant updates will see your follower count quickly diminishing. However, there’s no point in having Twitter if you can’t use it to promote your offers and/or link to your website - a thousand follower isn’t much help when none of them even know what your web address is. So what is the perfect amount? Well a good amount depends on what the statuses are, if you’re just posting links to your products or website, 1 or maybe 2 a day would be sufficient. But as discussed earlier for those who may be posting about various less relevant subjects, this could be increased to 4 or 5 a day as long as only 1 or 2 are “sales” tweets.
This may all attract relevant followers for your Twitter but there are other things you can do to attract more. You should always try and promote your Twitter to existing customers, they are clearly interested in your services/products already but this will give you a platform to advertise special offers, sales and/or new product lines. This can be done by incorporating your Twitter feed or link into your website but also into your emails and any forms of marketing material. Unless you are a celebrity, following and speaking with others is an important part of increasing your relevant followers. Whether it’s other firms, individuals working in the same industry or your previous customers - following individuals and tweeting to them will increase the perceived legitimacy of your business whilst also raising the possibility of re-tweets and replies which can lead to their followers to follow you.
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LinkedIn’s new look

Perhaps just as important for business users is the announcement by the site on September 16 that they had hit 10 million registered UK members. According to LinkedIn that means four out of five British professionals are registered on the network. 

The company says the redesign is part of a general simplification of the site. LinkedIn says it will make it easier for users to find out about the companies they connect with and companies will have more power to build relationships with their fans.  

Users will now find a company updates stream, rather like a Facebook news feed, allowing you to comment or share the latest news. To the right are job opportunities – a major use of the network – and the company’s products. 

This being 2012, we also get the obligatory news that company pages are now fully iPad, iPhone and Android compatible. 

So what’s in it for companies? Well, it’s easier for them to add a smart cover picture. The update stream is now targeted to the interests of the individual site members who view it. The cleaner look and navigation, says LinkedIn, will improve how companies ‘showcase their company’s products, services and career opportunities to members’. 

Another improvement available to just some big companies so far (American Express and Expedia for example) is a more visual branding of their job opportunity pages. 

And there’s more to come. Mike Grishaver, of the site which was launched in California in 2003, wrote: “We are just getting warmed up and look forward to sharing more news as we continue to improve Company Pages and roll out the experience to all companies later this year.”

With 175 million members around the world and burgeoning revenues LinkedIn seems to have found a way to make social networking pay. While basic profiles are free, members pay for additional features. 

But should you or your business be on the site? Plenty of people seem to think so, and this recent article from the Guardian (who were selling training in the site’s use) lists some of the reasons to consider it.


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Quick Start to Using Google Analytics

Many of us today have a website of some description. Whether you run your own business, manage an online store or you have your own blog, tracking who is visiting your website and why is vital to succeeding in the online world.
One of the best ways to track this data is by using Google Analytics. This is a powerful, free tool that can help you work out why and how people are finding your website and can track your visitor numbers. Keep reading to learn more.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free tool that shows you how people found your website, how they explored it, and how you can enhance their visitor experience. It provides detailed statistics about the visitors to your website.
By analysing the data that Google Analytics provides, you can improve the profitability of your website, increase conversions and drive more traffic to your site.
What you can measure
After you connect your website to Google Analytics, click the ‘View Report’ button on the initial screen. This will show you the various types of data Google Analytics provides:
· Visitors – You can find out where your visitors are located, what language they speak and how often they visit your site
· Traffic – You can establish how people get to your site. This tells you what keywords people are searching to find you and you can track websites that link to your page
· Ecommerce – If you sell via your site this will help you analyse information about transactions and revenue
· Content - This tells you which pages on your website are most popular and how visitors arrive and leave your pages
By analysing this information you can establish which keywords are most popular and this helps you boost your search engine rankings. And of course knowing which products sell best can help you make your popular items more visible.

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Toolkit Websites Awarded 5 Star Rating!

The best, most trustworthy and most valued praise comes from real, satisfied customers, which is why Toolkit Websites is so delighted to have been voted to the top of the pile by the 18,000 users of one of Britain’s top business referral sites.
The prize in this case is a coveted five star rating by Approved Index, the business supply experts.

Approved Index is a free business to business website that puts customers in touch with suppliers of hundreds of products and services. If your business wants anything from portable toilets for an event to some staff training then you can find it at Approved Index.

Approved Index users can compare a range of quotations and, of course, see feedback from previous customers. That’s where Toolkit Websites has proved its mettle. The Southampton-based company, which has made a speciality in getting small businesses online quickly with sites they can manage themselves backed with superb, friendly and expert customer service, was rated with five stars from Approved Index.

To put the achievement in perspective, only 16 companies on Approved Index’s books managed to surpass a rating of 4.5 out of five this year – and that’s based on real customer feedback from the 18,000 buyers who used the site this year. The average score for suppliers was 3.38.

Approved Index said: “Toolkit Websites has been up-rated to 5 stars and joins an exclusive list of suppliers to whom Approved Index owes a debt of gratitude for consistently going above and beyond the call of duty when responding to buyer enquiries!”

Customer feedback for Toolkit Websites through Approved Index included, this glowing assessment: "Top company A++++++++++++++++++++++++"

And: "Good customer service. They provided an in-depth quote which meant I was able to make an informed decision." 

A real thumbs up for Toolkit Websites!

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Is Adobe Social The Answer For Social Media Marketing?

Every business in the land is busily tweeting away and updating their Facebook pages. But is all this social media activity actually winning any new customers and paying back at the bottom line? A new software tool from Adobe hopes to measure just that.

Adobe Social, which was released Thursday, September 6, claims to make the jump from gauging your apparent marketing success in Facebook likes or Twitter followers to finding out who’s clicking and spending as a result of your social media promotional campaigns.

Adobe Social lets you centralise all your social media campaigns through one simple drag and drop interface, publishing your content across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social networks you use.

Once you’ve published your content, the software will let you know what’s getting people talking so you can cash in with adverts or sponsored stories. It’ll even let you automate the process.

Further analysis will tell you whose support is actually worth cultivating and will result in real sales.

While having thousands of followers on Twitter looks great - and thus far has been one of the only ways of measuring influence - you may find that one of your fans with far fewer followers actually brings in more sales. “We are more interested in measuring actual influence as it relates to your bottom line over potential evangelism,” as Adobe put it themselves.

The software will also integrate with a number of other Adobe products so your social media marketing can fit into the bigger marketing picture too.

“Social media is no longer an experiment and it is time for social to grow up,” writes Adobe Social Product Marketing Manager Lawrence Mak in his launch blog.

It’s very early days in the real world for Adobe Social after a long beta testing, but CMS Wire cites All Facebook’s ‘strongly positive review’, picking out the ‘extremely user-friendly interface’ and the easy to understand results from the undoubted ‘treasure trove of data on social campaigns’.

You can view some video demonstrations here.

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Windows 8 – what’s in store?

Microsoft’s latest version of its market-dominating operating system brings the Seattle giant firmly into the age of apps and taps as Bill Gates’ firm joins the tablet age.
The grand old man of operating systems is undergoing one of its most radical updates as the Seattle software giant recognises that the hardware we use and how we use it has changed. With more and more of us tapping tablet screens or browsing on the go on smart phones Windows 8 is designed to work across all hardware platforms.
That means Windows Phone users will already be familiar with the new look interface – Metro – that some critics are warning could be a major shock for PC users. Metro displays programmes and apps as tiles and Microsoft reckon it’s a whole new step forward for them in terms of design. Simplicity and honesty seem to be the keys for this new Windows look, with slogans like “Do more with less”, “Fast and fluid”, and “Authentically digital” accompanying the pre-release publicity.
There is still an old style Windows desktop, but it’s not the default option and to the horror of some reviewers that familiar start button has vanished. Developers have already started to release software that resurrects it.
Windows 8 – and it will be given a fancy title by its October 26 release date – is also designed with cloud computing in mind. It will synchronise a lot of online services like web mail and Facebook through apps and with a Windows password you can log onto any Windows 8 machine and see your own familiar set up. The Skydrive will save documents online for access from any machine.
But change is always painful and reviews of the various preview versions have been mixed. It’s no coincidence that the Microsoft Surface Tablet will accompany the new operating system onto the market and many critics worry that the business and desktop PC user has been forgotten.
PC Adviser liked Windows 8 but warned it ‘is certainly going to take some getting used to’. Californian tech columnist Troy Wolverton found much to like in Windows 8 – not least its speed – but concluded, ‘for PC users, Windows 8 is a major misstep’. Cnet reported on former Microsoft employee Gabe Newell’s view that: "I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space."

There’s plenty more opinion out there though and, remember, nobody has seen the final version yet. If you have a Windows 7 machine, you can download a version and have a play yourself. 

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Growing Your Business With LinkedIn

For those of you that don’t already know, LinkedIn is the Facebook of the business world. A LinkedIn profile is the new business card, and has become as common amongst any business owner, manager or employee’s career as a traditional business card - if not more so. Enabling individuals of all levels to showcase their personal and professional skills, promote their company, pursue partnership opportunities and network with other likeminded individuals, LinkedIn has over 150million members in over 200 countries (as of 9th February 2012). It’s growth has been exponential and it’s staff-base has quadrupled in less than two years, a testimony to the popularity and reach that the site has across the globe.
For the small business owner, LinkedIn can be a tool of unprecedented power in order to obtain new customers and contracts and even reach whole new markets. The first step in doing so is to set yourself a profile, which is essentially like an online CV. It gives you prompts but make sure you try and fill it in as detailed as possible, this just adds more credibility as well as giving an idea of the level of your expertise. It also allows you to link to your website and twitter, if you have these make sure you do so as it’s a great way of promoting them.
Once you have set your profile up with details of your current business and the products or services you offer, it’s time to add some connections. The first step would be to add anybody you have spoken with in relation to your business, done business with in the past, has worked for you and even your friends and family. If they have had an involvement with you in a business capacity, ask them to give you a “recommendation” for either the business you have now or a past position. A recommendation is exactly what it sounds like and is essentially a couple of sentences written by an individual about there experience working with you as either a colleague, a boss/employee, a partner or a client.
Now technically you’re not supposed to add people you don’t know on LinkedIn but the reality is that the whole point of networking is connecting with people you hadn’t previously known, so don’t be afraid to really get adding people who you feel may be interested in your services or where you’re interested in theres, or perhaps individuals that you feel could help your business in other ways. As well as searching for relevant individuals, also try and search for relevant groups, whether it’s broader business networking groups such as “The Small Businesses Group” or more specific groups to your business, for example “Internet Marketers Group” or whatever is related to your business, products and/or services. These are another great way to meet people who you would benefit from connecting with and the group enables you to discuss anything at all whether it’s about your business, your industry, the economy or even less business-related topics.

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PC Not Dead Yet Says Dell Boss


The PC is dead, long live the PC! That seems to be the thrust of the recent (August 27) thoughts of the man behind Dell, the company that probably made the machine you spend most of your day staring at.

Michael Dell told an open meeting of computer bosses in San Francisco that since the term ‘post-PC’ was coined in 1999, PC sales have increased more than three fold.

Google the term and you’ll find an alternative and perhaps more revealing source: a Wikipedia page that dates the term to 2011 and its coinage to Apple’s new boss Tim Cook.

The Apple iPad has made the tablet computer a genuine competitor to the desktop machine in some fields. Before that the company’s iPhone made the smart mobile a whole generation’s first computer.

Microsoft’s first tablet, the Surface, will have its own keyboard, further stepping onto the desktop’s home turf. And when Apple and then Microsoft recently released new operating systems they were reviewed as being designed with mobile devices in mind first. Some even called them a disaster for PC users.

Take a look away from the tech blogs at the investment advice sites and you’ll see that some of them see ‘post-PC’ as being with us already. Warnings about the future of companies like Dell, Hewlett Packard and even Intel abound. Mr Dell can respond that 380 million desktop machines were sold in 2011.

But while the head man was confidently defending his company’s products the latest announcement from Dell in the UK was not of a new machine but a new service. Cloud computing from Dell is on the way and Michael Dell also spoke in San Francisco about the ‘virtualisation’ of PC desktops his firm is engaged in so work systems could be accessed from any device.

But are we seeing a growing divide between work and play rather than the death of the PC? Surely VMware CEO Paul Maritz had a point when he told the Californian round table: “I defy anyone to edit a PowerPoint presentation on a mobile phone.”

PC Mag columnist John C. Dvorak was blunter when he called post-PC evangelists, “similar to the bicycle nuts who seriously think the car is dead and the vegans who think that bacon is dead”.

It’s a fair bet that if you’re reading this at work you’ll be clicking the links with a mouse and if you’re in the coffee shop then you’ll be using your fingers.

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