How COVID-19 has created an unprecedented demand for cloud hosting providers.

My Post (13).pngThe unprecedented lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic have led to huge changes in the traditional workplace environment and in the way that businesses are being run.

Every sector and industry in the UK has been affected in some way as companies adapt to new working environments. For most companies, that means joining in with the work from home revolution, even if they never planned to in the past.

For the IT sector, a shift to online working has created a huge surge in demand for dedicated cloud hosting platforms, as companies have quickly looked to increase their security and storage capabilities.

In this article, we take a look at how cloud hosting has been affected by COVID-19, and how cloud hosting providers have coped marvellously well with the surge in popularity!

What is cloud hosting and why is it in demand?

COVID-19 has demonstrated the need for cloud-based hosting and the upsurge in demand has been felt by hosting services across the country as they deal with the ever-expanding move towards more cloud-based systems and applications.

But to understand why cloud hosting is currently in demand due to COVID-19, we need to take a look at what cloud hosting actually is.

In the not so distant past, companies or websites would host their data on a single server. This server would have a location, usually within a data centre, somewhere in the world. That server could host just one website’s data or it could host the data for several different companies all at once.

But in recent years, there’s been a fundamental shift in data hosting. Instead of using a single server, there’s been a move towards hosting data on multiple servers, giving better redundancy and scalability. This has become known as cloud hosting, the idea being that the data you need storing is stored simultaneously across a ‘cloud’ of different servers. – Read more

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How IT is enabling the COVID-19 work from home revolution

My Post (1).pngMany businesses were thrust into chaos and uncertainty after the government announced a stay at home order which forced many employees to work remotely. Over the past few months, however, businesses have adapted to operating with a remote workforce so much so that many employees are hoping to make the transition to remote working for the long-term. The answer to how businesses have been able to transition to remote working lies in IT and cloud computing. We explore how IT has enabled the COVID-19 work from home revolution below…

At the start of the pandemic, businesses needed to carefully consider how they would remain connected and collaborative even when their team is physically spread apart. This forced many businesses who were initially slow to adapt to new technology to quickly re-evaluate their IT structure and modernise their systems. To achieve this, many businesses looked to the cloud.

Cloud computing and COVID-19:

For many businesses, cloud computing offered an essential lifeline and provided them with the remote access and security they needed to enable their employees to work from home efficiently. Remote desktop services, for example, allowed employees to interact and receive data from their work computers to their personal computers and devices. This helped smooth the transition to remote working and allowed employees to continue to complete their everyday tasks and duties.

Cloud-based technology also allowed employees to collaborate on projects together, through document sharing and video and conference calling apps. For example, with shared documents, employees could add and make changes to a document instantly, ensuring all members of a task force or team have access to the latest update of a document.

As many physical stores were forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions, many businesses had to take their services online or expand their online presence. For this reason, businesses saw unprecedented online demand. Cloud hosting enabled businesses to successfully navigate this demand, as cloud hosting systems are easily scalable.

Technology essential for remote working:

Aside from cloud-based technology, multiple tech tools and services have been adopted by businesses to enable their remote workforce to operate as efficiently as possible.

• Messaging apps

Emails cannot replicate the speed of a face-to-face conversation. For this reason, many businesses quickly adapted to online messaging apps and tools for quick communications and informal messages. Popular messaging systems have multiple team and topic channels, allowing different departments to engage in multiple conversations at once. Like emails, message chains can be searched via a keyword, allowing an employee to quickly find and locate data or information they may be looking for.

• Video calls

Although emails and messaging apps have proven to be very effective for remote working teams, sometimes face-to-face interaction is needed. This may be because the topic that needs to be discussed is sensitive, or an idea needs to be explained in detail to a colleague. To enable face-to-face interactions whilst following social distancing guidelines, many companies adopted video conferencing apps and tools, for example, Zoom, Houseparty and Google Hangouts.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, many individuals struggled with isolation and anxiety. For this reason, many businesses introduced social video calls, such as team quizzes and virtual coffee breaks, to help employees who were feeling particularly lonely during this time benefit from online social interactions. – Read more

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SEO – 10 Tips for a Homepage That Ranks

My Post (10)Your homepage is the most important page on your website. It’s where visitors get introduced to your business and its the door to all your other content. For this reason, it’s the page that you want to rank highest on Google. To achieve that, you’ll need to optimise your homepage and here are ten  SEO tips to help you get started.

The purpose of a homepage

Homepage SEO starts with understanding what the purpose of your homepage is. Essentially, it is to offer introductory content that lets visitors and search engines know what type of business you are and the kinds of product or services you are offering. It also acts as a gateway to the more specific and detailed information found elsewhere on your site.

With this in mind, here are the ten things homepage SEO should set out to do.

1. Navigation

Navigation, including menus and links, is necessary for two purposes. Primarily, it’s there to help visitors quickly and easily access the information they are looking for. For SEO, its important because it enables search engines to discover and index all the content on your site. As it does so, not only will that content be findable on the internet, it will give the search engines a more complete picture of your company and brand. This helps it better decide if your site is relevant to someone’s search query.

2. A company overview

Including a company overview on your homepage is vital for SEO. This doesn’t need to be highly detailed or very lengthy. Instead, keep the description concise, explain what you do clearly and provide your unique selling point (USP).

You can also include short overviews of some of the key services you provide or product types and provide links to them.

As this information is provided on your homepage, search engines will take note of it for ranking purposes.

3. Keywords

Ideally, you should only focus on a limited range of keywords on your homepage. Your other pages will focus on keywords of their own and you don’t want the homepage to compete with these for search engine favour. Your brand should be one of the keywords you focus on, as well as your main areas of business. If it is important, you should consider focussing on location, too.

Remember that when including keywords in your text, they should sound natural, not forced and certainly not overused, as this can be off-putting to readers and affect ranking.

4. Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings play a key part in SEO but are only of any value if they are marked up as headings using HTML H tags. Without these tags, search engines cannot recognise them as headings. You should include headings and subheadings for titles and to divide up sections of text on your homepage. To make the best use of them, include some of your keywords. Only one heading, the title, should use the H1 tag, the rest should be H2s, H3s and H4s, used hierarchically.

5. Images and videos

Visual content has an immediate and striking impact on visitors and should be an important component of your homepage. Using images together with blocks of text is a good way to break up the page into meaningful sections for the reader and provides opportunities to add SEO worthy content that can help search engines better understand the site.

For SEO purposes, all images on the homepage should have an alt tag and these can contain the various keywords your page is aiming to rank for. Try to limit keywords to one per alt tag.

While videos don’t add SEO advantages in themselves, if they are liked enough by visitors, they can result in backlinks which are highly important for helping you rank better.

6. Social proof

Both visitors and search engines come with built-in scepticism. While they like trustworthy websites, they like it even more if there is some kind of independent proof. There are numerous ways you can include this on your website, such as testimonials, reviews, links to ratings on third-party sites like Trustpilot and Google and logos of your clients, sponsors and relevant trade organisations. This also gives opportunities to add additional SEO-friendly text.

7. Internal and outbound links

Internal linking is crucial for good SEO as it helps with site indexing. However, aside from menus and footer links, the main homepage content should restrict links to the main pages you want visitors to move onto. Minimising the choice not only streamlines navigation; it forces the search engines and visitors to take the path you want through the site.

A footer menu can be beneficial, however, as it can contain both internal links to important parts of the site that aren’t essential on the homepage itself (blogs, knowledgebases, FAQs, etc.) and link to external sites. External links can include the logos of organisations you are members of or have affiliations with and which provide kudos and social proof.

8. Calls to Action

The text used in your calls to action (CTAs) is not only essential for improving clickthrough rates, as a link, it is also taken note of by search engines. Although only short, CTAs do need some thought to make sure they clearly state the action you want visitors to take. Indeed, many websites use split testing to see which CTA texts attract the most clicks. To be most effective the CTA needs to be highly visible, direct and clear.

9. Meta description

Although the meta description doesn’t feature on the page itself, it is often displayed in the search results and has a key role to play both for SEO and for clickthroughs. For the homepage, the meta description should include the company name and a short but clear description of your business. If this can include your focus keywords and be written to attract clicks, even better. Done effectively, it enables search engines to understand the site’s topic and helps potential visitors decide if it’s the right link to click on. – Read more

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