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Hosting And Servers And You

Posted by Marie Carroll on Aug 11, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Hosting: What Is It?

As your business expands, you’ll need a place to host your presence online. A place to house your website, keep people engaged, and manage increased traffic.  To make your websites accessible across the Internet, you’ll need to choose a web hosting provider. Some well known providers are GoDaddy, DreamHost and Hostgator, which are used by thousands of sites across the web. We hope this brief overview provides some guidance as you navigate servers and hosting.

Continue reading for Sparkfactor’s tips about web hosting and what it does, by using examples from our clients who have come to us for help.

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Topics: Business Lessons, Education, eCommerce, Technology, Server, Web Hosting

#InspiredBy Independent Bookstore Day

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Apr 27, 2018 5:45:30 PM

Last April I spent a very rainy and cold Saturday traveling around Chicago with some friends, running in and out bookstores, collecting punchcards. It was the last Saturday of the month—Independent Bookstore Day—and we were participating in the first My Chicago Bookstore Challenge: if you visited 10 of the participating independent bookstores throughout the city and suburbs, you received a 10% discount from all participating stores for the next year; if you visited 15, you got 15%. We succeeded in visiting 11 participating bookstores and several more that weren't on the list, just for fun.

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Topics: Social Media, Marketing, Advertising, Business Lessons, Neighborhood Marketing

Why Plagiarism is Bad and How to Prevent It

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Mar 28, 2018 8:00:00 AM

With the new ruling affecting images and Twitter retweets, we thought it would be helpful to update and re-publish this post about plagiarism, first published in 2016.

In a world of content marketing, when over 2 million new blog posts are being published every day, will someone really notice if a few lines, or paragraphs, or articles are the same as others?

Yes.

Even with online tools (see below) being used to catch plagiarism, which makes it easier than ever to spot a fake, plagiarism is still rampant. Continue reading to learn what plagiarism is, how it can negatively affect your business, and how to prevent it.

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Topics: Business Lessons, Inbound Marketing

Resources You Need to Develop a GDPR Strategy Immediately

Posted by Sparkfactor on Mar 13, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Most of the information below was found in HubSpot's Create a GDPR Strategy Lesson, as well as other resources, all listed at the bottom of the post for your convenience. This post does not constitute as legal advice and you should always seek legal counsel to see how this regulation will affect your company or organization's specific circumstances.

If your business collects personal data from subscribers, leads, and/or customers, you should have already heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and know that it goes into effect on May 25, 2018. If you haven't heard of the GDPR, read this post to understand the fundamentals and check out the resources to have a better understanding, then contact your legal department to know how this new regulation affects your business, then gather your marketing team and put a plan in place to become compliant with the GDPR.

The GDPR is a regulation by the European Union (EU) to protect the digital personal information of its citizens. HubSpot puts it this way: the GDPR enhances the protection of personal data of EU citizens and increases the obligations on organizations who collect or process personalized data. While most of our audience is in the United States and might not do business directly with countries in the EU, please hear this: The GDPR will affect companies in the US, if they collect personal data of EU citizens, knowingly or not. Companies not compliant with the GDPR that are found to be in violation could face fines up to 20 million euros or 4% of the company's global annual revenue, whichever is greater.

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Topics: Marketing, Business Lessons, Email Marketing

Don't Be Fake: A Lesson to Be Learned Before Buying Followers

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Feb 2, 2018 12:30:00 PM

The New York Times published an article over the weekend detailing records of various celebrities who it seemed had purchased fake followers on their social media accounts, mostly on Twitter. The Chicago Sun-Times even suspended their movie reviewer for it. At first you might be shocked at such a reaction: Why suspend—and potentially fire—someone for something as little as having a few fake followers?

It's not just as simple as having a few fake followers. In fact, it's a lot more complicated than you might think. The in-depth New York Times article focused on many aspects of the situation these celebrities and influencers find themselves. To help you and your company navigate through the potential pitfalls of fake followers, let's take a look at the angles involved.

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Topics: Social Media, Business Lessons

Why You Need to Consider Migrating Your Site to HTTPS

Posted by Kate Alpert on Jun 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM

You may have seen an increase in secure websites—those that have "https" instead of the simple "http" before the rest of the URL—over the last few years. As early as 2014, Google has shown preference to these secure sites in an effort to make the web a more secure place.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is how information is communicated across the web. HTTPS has an extra layer of security that encrypts transactions and authorizations. HTTPS has been most common for websites and web pages that asked for credit card information or passwords. In more recent years, HTTPS has started to become the new standard for all websites. Here are some reasons your company should consider switching from HTTP to HTTPS.

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Topics: Google, Business Lessons

Why Every Company Needs Brand Guidelines

Posted by Andrea Garcia on May 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A brand is the way a company presents itself to outsiders: consumers, board members, partners, customers. A brand is used to identify one organization from another. And it's not just the logo—although that plays a significant part—a brand identity takes into consideration tone of copy, content, visual elements like fonts and images, and even fundamentals like the company's mission statement. Without a clear brand identity, organizations can sink in the sea of competition.

And even if a company has a brand identity, if the ideas that make up that identity only stay with the C-suite or with those in leadership, it's not being put to good use. An organization's brand needs to be communicated to all team members. The best way to do that effectively is to develop a brand guideline.

Brand guidelines are a set of standards that create a company's brand. It can be as long or as short as necessary—as long as all the essentials are present so that, as Shelby Clarke puts it, "every single person in your company . . . understand[s] both what the brand is, as well as how to implement it in the work they do." It can be a physical document or it can live digitally on an organization's collective drive, so long as every single employee knows how to access the guidelines.

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Topics: Marketing, Advertising, Business Lessons, Identity

The Phenomenon of Binge Watching TV: Lessons for Marketers

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Nov 30, 2016 8:45:00 AM

Binge: an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence; an act of excessive or compulsive consumption

"Binge watching" has become quite the phenomenon in the last few years, thanks mostly to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon that allow users to watch episode upon episode of their favorite TV shows, past, present, and originals. This past weekend after Thanksgiving, for example, Gilmore Girls was supposed to break the internet with the amount of people who were going to watch the revival episodes. Or maybe Crown is more your speed, or Mozart in the Jungle. Whatever show it may be, I'd be surprised if there was anyone with access to a streaming service who hasn't fallen subject to the lure of "the next episode starts in 5 seconds."

With studies claiming that attention spans are down to eight seconds in our always-on culture, binge watching defies that trend, with 29 percent of respondents of a recent survey saying they wait for a show to be over to specifically be able to binge watch the show. With binge watching consisting of three episodes or more, that could be anywhere between an hour to three hours, depending on the length of the episodes.

So, what does all of this have to do with marketing?

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Topics: Marketing, Business Lessons, Inbound Marketing, #InspiredBy

Here's How to Get Organized Before the Holiday Season

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Oct 7, 2016 8:30:00 AM

October is usually the calm before the storm of the holiday season. Sure, Halloween is at the end of the month, but October is a brief reprieve between the end of summer and Thanksgiving, the start of school and winter holidays. Typically "get organized" is a New Year's resolution, but do it now before the holidays, and you'll go through the busy season much more prepared. Use this time to get organized for the upcoming stress of holiday marketing and personal holiday shopping.

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Topics: Business Lessons, Holiday

Your Direct Marketing Needs to Be Better Than This

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Sep 23, 2016 2:30:00 PM

This morning, before heading to work, I opened up the one piece of mail I had from yesterday and it was probably the worst piece of direct marketing I have ever received.

I opened the envelope and saw a haphazardly folded piece of computer paper and a big, flat refrigerator magnet. While the envelope had the name of the real estate company it was from, the letter itself had no distinguishing logos or contact info. Written in Calibri, the letter went right into a paragraph about the Chicago Bears, without actually saying the name 'Chicago Bears.'

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Topics: Business Lessons, Direct

   
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