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Tech Tips      

January, 2009 is a time of personal change and a time of change for our entire nation.  As always, change is unsettling.  Things are different, untested...and we are not certain about how these differences are going to impact our lives.  Some changes are welcome and much anticipated...the marriage of my niece, and the impending birth of my first grandchild.  Some changes are inevitable, but unwelcome...the death of my wonderful, Aunt Dixie, who was just 4 days shy of her 89th birthday.  Some changes are expected and planned for many months...the inauguration of our new president this week, during a time of great challenge for our country and our world. 
Do you foresee big changes in your organization in 2009? Almost everyone I have talked to is being challenged with trying to get more accomplished with a smaller budget, and often with fewer staff members. The January Roadmap discusses using web-based technology products to get your work done faster and at a lower cost.  Tech Tips discusses some important website housekeeping issues for the new year. 
RoadMap: The Benefits of Web-Based Technology ProductsRoadmap
Technology helps us get our work done faster.  The problem is that technology is often expensive and it is very time consuming to select, acquire and install. Everyone who has been responsible for automating any business process has stories to tell about the long hours spent selecting the software, negotiating the contract and deploying the software only to find that the software did not provide all of the benefits promised by the software sales person. Or, we find that by the time the software is deployed, the needs of the business have changed and the software we are rolling-out does not meet our most pressing business needs.
Time to deployment must be reduced to solve either of these dilemmas.  If we cannot get a technology solution deployed quickly, its value to the business is greatly diminished. Speed matters. 
Web-based software products are changing the software paradigm.  They are providing applications which allow small businesses and non-profits to compete with larger corporations.  The software can be deployed in hours or days rather than the months and (sometimes) years it used to take to deploy traditional software solutions.
Google makes advertising instantly available to anyone, allowing small organizations to benefit from the same knowledge that was once only available to large corporations.  You can place your first ad on Google in just an hour or two, rather than spending months working with ad agencies and publications.
eBay allows small businesses to sell quickly and competitively on the web. Your products can be posted for sale on eBay much more quickly than you can contact the local newspaper and design a print ad to run in the Sunday paper.
Apple's new popular iTunes and iPod tools allow small businesses to create audio and visual podcasts that can be deployed inexpensively over the web, rather than using expensive television and radio time.  YouTube is another popular outlet for your audio and video webcasts.
eNewsletters are inexpensive alternatives to printed newsletters.  Constant Contact and other eNewsletter vendors provide templates and tools to create professional newsletters. They also provide tools to easily manage your mailing list and provide statistics which allow you to determine how effectively your newsletter is reaching your audience. eNewsletters are much less expensive than traditional print newsletters because you usually pay based on the number of addresses on your mailing list. You no longer have printing and mailing costs, and you can send your eNewsletter to your entire mailing list with just a click of a button.
Web hosted applications have made complex software available to small organizations who could never afford these applications under the purchased software model.  An organization can find a hosted application to meet almost any business need.  The cost of web hosted software is usually tiered so that each organization can purchase just the amount of functionality it needs. Most web hosted software can be up and running within hours or days, and since it runs over the web, no additional computer hardware is needed.
New technology offerings are being added every day, and creative companies and individuals are developing new ways to deploy this new technology. Some tools, like those discussed above, have already proven their value.  Others are too new and unproven to use for mission critical business needs.  If you have questions about new technology that you are considering, please contact us.  We will be happy to help you make solid technology decisions to benefit your business.
SmartSite Technology serves as a virtual IT Department for small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations.  We provide all of the information technology services that a business needs to compete in today's marketplace.
Our goal at SmartSite Technology is to help each of our clients to be a success!! We know that technology is not a core competency for many small business owners and non-profit professionals. We believe that every organization benefits when they automate their business processes. We work closely with all of our clients, even those who are uncomfortable with computers and technology, to help them introduce automated processes into their operations. 
Contact us today to discuss your technology needs.
Dixie Groutt
SmartSite Technology
Copyright 2009 SmartSite Technology. All rights reserved.
January 2009
In This Issue
RoadMap: The Benefits of Web-Based Technology Products
Your Tech Tutor Says...
Website Maintenance for the New Year
tutor pic number 1
It's a new year and time to take a few minutes to take care of a couple of website housekeeping tasks.
Since it is now 2009, it is time to change the copyright statement on your website.  If your copyright information is not part of a template or an includes file, this is the perfect time to make this change.  It is much easier to change the copyright information if you only have to make the change in one place rather than on every single page of your website.  
Now is a good time to take a critical look at your website to make sure that your site content is relevant and up-to-date. Does your website answer the questions that your site visitors will want answered?  Is the content interesting and informative?  Are there plenty of graphics and pictures to catch the eye of casual visitors? Are all of your links working?
Old content and broken links frustrate your site visitors and make them reluctant to visit your website in the future. Take the time to fix any problems you find right away, and resolve to review your website at least once each quarter.  This will be time well spent, and  you will have a website you can be proud of and one that will help promote your business all year.
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