Five apps to stay connected

For personal or professional these five apps are the must haves for your cell phone!

It can be difficult to stay connected with friends and family even if you’re in the same city. We are all busy with our lives, rushing to work, looking for a job, trying to date and just keep our heads above water. But you don’t want to lose touch with people we care for. You have to nurture friendships and thanks to my five favorite apps you can do it at the tip of your fingers! 

I love to stay connected with my tech peeps with Discord it’s the one I started using when I dipped my toes back into gaming. I can chat with my online friends using voice or text and I’ve found it’s simpler to use than platform chat feature (less distracting for me). I plan to use it more when I start my twitch channel for my fans and digital hangout to create a community or to figure out the bestprank appsince I plan to incorporate comedy video on my channel. 

Everyone I know is on Facebook! Billions of people can’t be wrong and Facebook Messenger app is one of the most widely used chat platforms in the US.  A lot of people are concerned about security or privacy but my mom told me it’s not a secret when you tell someone else so I don’t post anything online I care about anyone knowing. So it’s the perfect way to stay in contact with my parents and older relatives! It’s been heaven sent after slowly getting them to stop calling me at all hours of the night (my time) since I’m in California and their in the Midwest. Instead keeping up on messenger means we can take advantage of it being user friendly to exchange photos, family news, plan out trips, and talk 2020 politics. It avoids awkward silence when asked pointed questions ‘when are you getting married’ <sigh> or my nephews crazy conspiracy theories!

Now communicating isn’t always fun and games! I have a side hustle managing social media accounts and event management. So have used Slackwhen managing my projects. It is cloud-based tools makes it great to pick and choose what I need. I can archive chats and search them pretty simply. One of my favorite things about Slack is that if I want to reach out to an individual from a group project I can take it ‘side line’ by chatting or sending a direct message. It’s simple and surprisingly user friendly.

I have a few clients who are very concerned about security so I sue Signal for them. The app has the ability for chat functions, sharing files and hyperlinks, voice notes and works like regular texting. 

If you really like how FB Messenger works but want something more secure I find MeWe is the perfect alternative. It’s privacy by design philosophy means that it you can use to be social with friends, join groups, chat, make GIFs, make calls using the app, shoot video, and offers 8GB of free storage for content. It also allows you to customize and you can set it up to decide who gets to see what you share. If you want to have even more privacy they have secret chats for $4.99 a month with 50GB. It also offers the MeWe Pro for businesses that I find is very similar to Slack.

Looking for a new Web Hosting Platform?

What to look for when looking for a web hosting platform

If you’re a small business you can’t ignore ‘tech’ aka a solid website. You need to be familiar with SEO services, keywords, and web hosting. If you are still trying to figure it out that here’s a quick informational blog to get you on the right path. 

If you want to be able to post a website on the internet this is the service aka bridge from your computer to the world. A webhosting company provides tech and assistance for your site to be seen by customers. A company should provide 24/7 customer support and before signing a contract make sure they offer as much or as little as needed. If you don’t own a site they can also assist with a domain name and make sure you own the rights to the domain name so that you don’t have to pay additional fees. 

The cost varies because it depends on how much storage and bandwidth you use. A simple way to understand is if you have lots of photos or videos you’ll use more than a site that just has text. Read the fine print with companies that offer unlimited storage and bandwidth since when you hit your limit performance might slow down or shut down. A great way to figure out if the web hosting company is reliable or offers the service you need is check out statistics and reviews from current and past customers. Also confirm that your website is up and running every hour of the day. 

Look to see if they have 99.5% or better uptimes since if they have less than that it will affect your reaching customers. I recommend you ask the web hosting company if they have site backups to make sure of computer crash or equipment failure it won’t affect your website.

Security is a top priority! Make sure they have high-security standards that you and your clients can trust. If your looking for a new web hosting platform in 2019 you can check out the following:

Top Web Hosting Platforms

InMotionWeb Hosting offers WordPress hosting, web design services, and 24 hours a day U.S.-based support. The service comes with a 90-day guarantee period. 

HostGatoroffers an unmetered bandwidth and unmetered disk space. If you are uncertain what this means for the service, HostGator will allow you to try them out for 45 days with a money-back guarantee.

GoDaddy offers SEO services, a free domain, and a database backup and restore. They offer packages with unmetered bandwidth as well. GoDaddy is fast and user-friendly. 

Bluehost also offers a free domain and 24 hour-U.S.-based support. They offer packages with unmetered bandwidth. 

SEO to small business a quick guide

I’m passionate about SEO and love to share my own experience

How can a small business use social media to market them selves? I find they often have little idea of how, what or even realistic expectations. Instead it’s the dream of going ‘viral’ as if that brings feet in the door and bottoms on seats.

If they decide to reach out to a SEO Consultant they may not know how to find someone who’s effective. Instead they might hire someone who buys bots so they don’t see any benefit and decided it’s all a scam so they go back to the marketing that isn’t effective or do nothing at all and hope for the best.

Right now if you are looking for someone either a one-person office, a niche SEO consulting services provider, or a large-scale marketing operation with 50+ employees well it can be overwhelming to find the right person. UpCity ranks 56 reputable SEO companies within a 45-mile radius of Chicago alone. In most large metro markets like Los Angeles, New York, or other cities, this number is often inflated even further by a sizable quantity of people who do SEO as a part-time gig. Taking all this into account, you could be looking at 75-100 SEO companies in one single market. Setting yourself apart from the competition is increasingly difficult because, put simply, there’s just too many people offering the same service.

A lot of small business owners just don’t understand SEO and think it doesn’t bring any money into the business. It’s especially hard with small business that are doing ‘OK’ so don’t see any reason to change from the tried and true. So you have to educate your prospective client on why it’s effective, what SEO is and understand other misconceptions that you must work againstto convince them of your value. I find that most believe it’s a ‘do it once’ and that will be forever not realizing it’s an online community and relationship. It isn’t the fast buck but more of the rabbit vs the tortoise. It’s a slow and steady work to create a natural engagement not one with bought fake followers/comments/likes that go against Google and other search engines’ approved guidelines. These types of tactics often promise quick wins, but the potential consequences can be disastrous. Many black hat tactics can lead to a site being completely wiped from all search results.

So when working to pitch your services I recommend the following:

1. Do Your Research

I use the same philosophy I learned working in development and on campaigns. RESEARCH RESEARCH and MORE RESEARCH! You have to come with a thorough knowledge of the business, look at them online, business goals, competitors and a general idea of what you want to do (don’t give details they might think they can do it themselves) with the website/social media channels.

2. Know Yourself

Sell yourself and be confident. Don’t hesitate to correct them (diplomatically) and show off your skills. I always like to show other clients and tell them about my successful campaigns. It’s a great way to connect and get them excited about what you can do for them.

3. Distinguish Yourself

When talking with your prospective client tell them what makes you different and why it makes you the best candidate to work with them. It might be personal familiarity with the business, language skills or experience working with the targeted community. Make sure you have 2 to 3 positive professional experience or success stories you can discuss in your backpocket to bring up naturally in conversation.

4. Prepare for Their Questions

Make sure your ready for the pushback of ‘does this work’ ‘why should I spend money on this’ or just reassuring them that you aren’t out to scam or trick them. Always keep in mind this is an interview so be prepared for questions and don’t be condescending when explaining. 

One example of showing the value behind SEO for a prospect would look like this:

A local bistro in the Hancock Park a Los Angeles neighborhood wanted to drive more traffic to daily specials on the webpage. The bistro will also benefit from SEO in ranking high for searches such as “food in Hancock Park” and wants to outrank their competitors for the search “Los Angeles Bistro”. These are now two avenues in which the bistro can benefit from SEO.

They have two issues: they want more traffic to daily lunch specials page and rise above competitors. What you bring to them is experience from past clients so a track record of helping small business with local SEO for LA, and you can assure the owner that your bring value for the expense. You now can show him/her that you ‘Know Yourself’ and ‘Distinguish’ skills that make you a benefit to the business.

Now let’s make sure to highlight the mistakes that will make them not want to use your service:

1) You’re worried about making a sale so much that you neglect to understand your clients’ needs.

2) You think that since you’ve been doing this for years that you don’t have to “know yourself”. This is when you start missing the little things that make your company unique.

3) You downplay the competition. Come to realize that your competition is in business for a reason; bad mouthing the competition can come back to bite you.

4) Never act is if your client doesn’t understand. Don’t be that person who says, “you wouldn’t understand” to a client. That is the quickest way to lose a client.

Now that you have what to ‘DO’ and what ‘NOT TO DO’ your ready to find new clients for your SEO business. Be prepared, be confident and be yourself!

Time to get Happy!

My favorite sad sack detective is back on SYFY

Season 2 of Happy! returns on March 27th! I got to speak with Christopher Meloni (Nick Sax), Grant Morrison (creator) and Patrick MacManus (Executive Producer) before the first season at San Diego Comic Con. I wasn’t sure how they would take the zany graphic novel and translate it to SYFY but after the first episode I was hooked. It’s like a really really dirty Who Shot Jessica Rabbit! Chatting with Christopher after seeing his many years as a police detective on Law and Order: Special Victims I wasn’t sure what energy he’d bring playing Nick Sack. I’ve really only seen him in fairly dramatic roles. But Nick a police detective caught up in drugs and kicked off the force and his family after an affair who turns to being hitman drowning his sorrow in illegal substances and drink really brings out his wild funny acting chops. It’s a wild wild with Nick looking to save his daughter Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) from an evil Santa with the help of her imaginary friend Happy! (Patton Oswalt) a creature only kids and he can see (because of his near death experience). Even his ex-wife Amanda Henson (Medina Senghore) harnessed her ‘mama bear’ to rescue her little cub. At the end of the season Nick and Happy! are up for more adventures, a relationship with his daughter and maybe back at home??? This chaotic roller coaster had me laughing and a wee bit scared with the delightful work of the set designer and entire team to bring the graphic novel to life.

Season 2 of Happy! looks even crazier with Ann ‘FREAKING’ Margaret <meow> a new child kidnapping ring, Nazis, no more killing AND making Easter Great Again <guffaw>! I have to say they had me at Happy!

‘Captain Marvel’ Review: Let’s go back to the 90’s

Captain Marvel is taking all of us along on a wild trip back to the 90’s well 1995 which means a delightful soundtrack, payphones, boxy cars and young two eyed Nick Fury! 

The movie takes place before Superheroes and Hydra has taken over the world or even before we ‘meet’ aliens. So when Captain Marvel lands in a Blockbuster Video I knew I was back in my teen years looking for weekend movie that had to be returned before the onerous fees. 

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck directed this delightful superhero movie from a script they wrote with Geneva Robertson-Dworet it’s a solid origin story movie that realizes we all came for a superhero movie so we don’t need too much background. 

I really enjoyed the fast pace of the movie from the opening scene of her sparring with her mentor a heroic handsome Kree named Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), getting a take down by the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), and the fight with the villainous Skrull. She lands on earth and from that moment on the movie is full of great-choreographed fight scenes, shocking funny one-liners, and surprising twists and turns. It’s the perfect length so didn’t have any slow spots and it enrich the Marvel Universe and Captain Marvel’s place in it.

The supporting cast really kept the story going with characters from past movies that I KNOW. I LOVED Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) who really brought the humor that being able to shapeshift allows and his ‘I told you so’. Seeing Samuel L. Jackson with TWO eyes and a little wet behind the ears S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Nicholas Fury had me giggling. I loved meeting Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) who’s still the good guy I want in an alien dogfight. 

I must say that I have a major soft spot for Carol’s BFF/adopted family Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and her delightful daughter Monica (Akira Akbar) it was Black Mom/Girl magic for this Blerd. They had great chemistry as a trio with a long history that was one of Carol’s memory glimpses. Did I forget Goose the cat???? I think I’ve seen glimpses of him in other MCU or maybe it was my imagination? All I can say is keep an eye on the cat he’s hilarious. 

Go see Captain Marvel you’ll laugh, be reminded how much we all miss Stan Lee and stay till the very end because we are all counting down the days for Avengers: Endgame. No the gang isn’t all ‘here’ but I’m hoping our scrappy heroes will somehow figure out how to fix Thanos’ plan to save the universe by erasing half the population. We only have seven weeks so PLENTY of time to re-watch all the MCU starting with the newest Captain Marvel!

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Writers: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2h 4m

Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi