Things are moving very fast at Optimized SEO and Websites these days and we are loving it!
I was doing some invoicing yesterday and noticed we currently have over 100 active website, SEO, Google Ads, and web hosting customers. 105 to be exact at the moment. I’ve been somewhat shocked as of late as to how tech-savvy our business-owning clients are.
I’m now convinced being tech-savvy has little to nothing to do with someone’s ability to manage a profitable and successful business.
This article is seriously meant to help small business owners who wish to improve their basic computer skills and tech-savviness know where to start and what tools are available to assist them. We’re not saying you need to learn how to code or anything like that…just basic computer skills!
Learn To Google, Seriously!
There is much more to Google than simply typing in a word or phrase and checking the search results.
If you use better ‘search queries’ you will get better search results. Mastering this can seriously help you better understand how Google’s algorithm works and should shed light on how you can improve your business’s visibility in the search results.
Try “wrapping a phrase in quotes” and compare the search results to the same phrase not wrapped in quotes. A great search to test this on is your business name. Try it now!
We’re not going to expand too much on this Googling section of this article, but just so you know, there are tons of other parameters you can use in Google’s search bar.
Try this, for example, Google this and replace ‘yourwebsite’ with your real website:
This is going to show you all of the pages Google indexes on your website. Any surprises? Pages you didn’t know existed? Or, are pages being indexed that you don’t want to be? Or worse, is Google not indexing some of your website’s most important pages?
Grammar and Punctuation Checking Tools
Grammarly has a free version if you were unaware, take advantage! We pay for the premium version and you should definitely consider doing the same. It quickly and easily makes your written content more professional and makes you sound more knowledgeable in general!
Which email looks more professional?
We get big blocks of text sent in the email body from business-owning clients and others daily. Often these emails are not personally addressed to anyone, don’t use capitalization or punctuation properly, and often just don’t even make sense! We need to send a follow-up email for clarification. There is no email signature…we’re not sure who sent the email sometimes or how to respond besides hitting reply.
We don’t know if this is how our clients email their clients, but if it is, it would be a great idea to spend a little more time and put a little more effort into written communications.
Identify Spam and Do Something About it
It’s a best practice to put spam emails onto your email’s blacklist. If your email doesn’t allow for this, get Zoho. It’s a free company email. Email should be free! Stop paying Outlook or Google for this service!
If there is an ‘unsubscribe’ link, use it! The illegal emails won’t have this link and will say something like, “respond with STOP in the subject line to be removed from our email list.” It’s illegal to not include an unsubscribe link on these mass spam emails so many unscrupulous businesses send these days – most being website and SEO services located in India or the Philippines.
For calls, consider a Robo-Killer app. We’re happily paying for their spam calling-blocking service because it works great!
So, there is no need to forward us the emails from fake website and SEO companies after they send you some bogus email about XYZ being wrong with your website! We literally get the same emails!
Forwarding Texts, CC, and BCC Emails
We can do a lot for our clients, but we can’t answer their phones or read their text messages. Often, calls or texts to verify the ‘business number’ are needed for various things. Some of our clients have struggled to relay these codes that we simply have no other option of obtaining.
Every email has a forward option, we’re pretty sure most people know that. A lot of the time we’ll have temporary access to our client’s email to eliminate the need for them to relay anything to us from there. Along with forwarding emails, you can CC or BCC people on the emails. When you use CC, all parties getting the email see the others who received it too. BCC is the ‘secret’ way to also send an email to other people.
Learn How To Take Screenshots
Learn how to take a screenshot on your phone, there is often a quick/easy way to do this depending on your phone.
You have several options to take a screenshot on a computer, hit CTRL+ALT+Print Screen on a computer, and you just took a screenshot. You can also download one of several Chrome extensions which allow for more functionality than taking an entire screenshot.
Can you remember 1 password if that’s all you had to remember?
Lastpass – It’s exactly what it sounds like. Remember 1 last password, and you are set! Lastpass will remember all of the others.
Look into Lastpass and get it on all your devices, pay them if needed, it’s worth it!
Computer Folders & The Cloud Are Your Friends!
It’s a must to gain a basic understanding of how to organize and utilize the files on your computer and in the cloud, and on your phone for that matter these days!
Going back to the screenshot section above, it does no good to take a screenshot if you can’t retrieve it from your device after taking it! Windows has a ‘downloads’ and ‘quick access’ folder by default. Check these 2 folders first if you can’t find something after downloading and don’t forget to use the search feature in File Explorer.
DropBox literally allows you to have your computer files in the cloud so they can be referenced and used from any device. I’m not sure how any business owner operates without DropBox or a similar solution in place. I’ve personally been paying for DropBox’s premium version since 2013.
Transferring data from your phone to computer and vice versa
DropBox can make transferring data super easy because it is literally everywhere you have DropBox installed and you can always just hop on DropBox.com and log in.
A faster solution for transferring a lot of large files such as photos or videos would be to physically connect your phone to your computer and utilize the file transfer features built-in to both. There are too many device combos on how to do this, but Google your devices to find out how!
Learn Short-Cut Keys
To keep this article manageable length to consume, let’s start with copy and paste. If you didn’t know you can highlight text on a computer screen and then click CTRL+C. This copies that text. To paste that text you just ‘copied to your clipboard,’ simply click where you would like to paste the text and then hit CTRL+V.
CTRL+TAB will scroll to the next browser tab open to the right. CTRL+SHIFT+TAB will scroll to the next browser tab open to the left. Little things like this allow you to be so much more efficient on the computer!
Learn The Skills You Need Online
100%, start with YouTube. It’s free and you can literally learn about anything on there.
If you want to be sure you are getting solid advice, look into Skillshare, Udemy, or any of the many other online learning platforms available today.
Bookmarks Save Tons Of Time!
Utilize bookmarks! Enable the bookmark bar on your browser, you should be browsing in Chrome if you are not already.
If you go to certain websites regularly, such as your CRM’s website, your bank’s website, email service, logging into your website (hopefully), and so on. These websites should be viewable in 1-click. Stop typing the website address in each time or Googling them to navigate there!
Master a CRM
Organization trumps all! There is a book any business owner should read with a title along these lines – The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni.
While I completely agree, along with being organized you need to be profitable! Hopefully, this article can save you hours each week improving your current way of doing things.
Find a CRM that meets your needs and budget. Check out Invoice Ninja if you need a free solution and have less than 100 customers.
You Should Have Decent Skills With Spreadsheets
Excel isn’t the only option anymore. Apple, Google, and Zoho all have spreadsheets similar to Excel and there are countless others.
Even small business owners should have enough skills in Excel to perform simple functions. I’m talking about things like how to use AutoSum but really even more advanced than that. You wouldn’t believe how many CSVs we get from clients with the text in all caps. We need to convert it to have the first letter in each word capitalized, not the entire word! This example is specific to clients exporting their client list for us to update their email list.
A function like this is as simple as: In cell B2, type =PROPER(A2), then press Enter. Say cell A2 contained SARAH, B2 will now contain Sarah. This probably isn’t enough though…Cell B2 is now a formula, not a value. You can’t upload this to your MailChimp account like this. The final easy step is to copy the entire B2 row (assuming you just copied the function down…) and paste it as values.
If you own an eCommerce store, mastering little features of spreadsheets like this is a must!
This is just scratching the surface…
I was going to continue on about accepting credit cards next but wanted to keep this as short as possible to hopefully prove a point.
If you don’t have basic computer skills in 2021, it is time to develop them. Like, right now!
The longer you wait, the better chance your competition is going to leave you in the dust. Obviously, business owners can delegate tasks to employees with these skills or hire other companies. If you have the money to do this, that is great. Even if you do, it would be very wise to gain a good enough understanding that you can communicate professionally and respond in a timely manner working with your business partners.
Not to mention, even just having a basic understanding could let you know if you are getting ripped off or not!
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