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Tuesday 31 December 2013

8 New Year Resolution Ideas

The new year is just around the corner! With the new year comes many little things, such as celebrations, feasts, deals, and all kinds of good things. As humans we all want to set new goals to achieve every year, and businesses also sets new goals to achieve without any exceptions. It can be hard to determine the exact goal to go for, but everything starts with a simple question:

What does your business aim to 
achieve in the new year? 

Just to help you save some thinking time, here are  8 New Year Resolution Ideas, for any small business.

1. Learn How to Delegate More

When running a small business there tends to be a million things to do. Faxes to send out, email to reply to, accounts to settle, bills to pay, staff to manage, business meetings to attend, issues to resolve, trying to meet monthly sales targets, and the list goes on and on. This is tiring, and it has very bad negative effects on your health. Look at from this perspective, if you are laid out 'cold' for a whole week without any productive work being done, rather being slower in finishing your productive work rather than in 1 day, but in 2 days (perhaps). Your small business has staff that are paid a salary to do work for you, and these staff of yours are excited to learn, grow, and be part of your business. Giving a little bit of empowerment goes a long way. The conclusion is, delegate more and do it more often.

2. Give Something Back to the Community

Make the new year a year when you get involved in your community to give back, give a free seminar, provide free workshops, or even donate some money to a notable cause. Find something that you believe in and support it. Through your honest intentions you could potentially meet new clients, or spread positive awareness about your company. Along the way hopefully generating a large loyal following for your business.

3. Drop What is Not Working, and Move On

Having a conundrum that doesn't seem to go away? Maybe it is time to cut your losses and just move on. Some problems are not meant to be solved immediately, but rather it may be solved in due time. Drop what is not working and move on to something more productive, and potentially more profitable. Why waste your valuable resources, and time into something that is really not working? Put all of your talents and skills into something that would make money, and hopefully through that new venture, it generates more money than what the previous hold up cost you.

4. Learn Something New

Learning something new doesn't need to be limited to your industry, or anything related to what you do. It could be learning Photoshop if you are a service business, or learning engineering if you are in the design field. All of everything you learn will have a benefit in the future, like the two examples used, if you are a service business with some handy dandy Photoshop skills you could whip up beautiful posters that could be used in your advertising endeavors, and for a designer to know engineering, would also be profitable in the future when he/she wants to design anything that requires a little bit of engineering know-how. Pick up something new and don't worry about it, because in the near future, everything you have invested time into will somehow reap its rewards. How do you make more time? Well delegation works right? ;) (Not all education is expensive you can study new things here for free)

5. Set a Savings Budget

Your business is flying online with great new ideas. So hold on to your horses, because in all businesses there are always ups and downs to everything. There will be happy times and also very gloomy times. Set a savings budget, to make sure that you have a safety net to fall onto when there are bad times. 

6. Create a Spending Cap

With money flowing in and out the tendency to overspend available monetary funds can be very tempting. Consider putting a spending cap on monthly activities, and for a more macro view a yearly spending cap to ensure that expenses don't exceed the benchmark you have set. This maximizes efficiency and allows you to make critical spending decisions to ascertain whether what you spend is truly making you a healthy profit.

7. Go Mobile

Now that your business should be somewhat underway (I am assuming that it is, because you are entering the new year with a business, that should mean your business is of age). Go mobile. The mobile market isn't something that you should question its viability anymore with figures flying showing statistics that mobile is probably the new future, as consumers and customers are looking for a more convenient portable way to access basic information. Why lose out on the mobile market when an investment into it wouldn't hurt you, but just grow and expand from your current market penetration. 

8. Refresh Your Website

Your website is awesome, but when was the last time you updated it? Have new projects that you recently completed, your company has a new direction, the trend for websites have changed, and many more. These are some of the reasons to why you should heavily consider reforming your website, as your website is the face of your company in the digital atmosphere and first impressions as we all know it is a lasting impression!

photo by Harold Neal

Thursday 26 December 2013

Internet Businesses & Malaysia's 2014 Budget



2014 Budget (Latest or not so new news)

The 2014 National Budget of Malaysia, proves to be something of a good news to the Internet Industry. According to a report by Avanti Kumar from MIS Asia (2013) the Budget 2014 proposals tabled by the Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday, October 25th 2013, includes introduction of the new 6% GST that will help reduce surplus, while shrinking and balancing the fiscal deficit by 2020. Among the news was that the ICT Industry didn't miss out on initiatives too, as there was an allocation of RM3.4 billion ($1.08 billion) for the second phase of the national high-speed broadband project (HSBB), which has been so far implemented by Telekom Malaysia. - read more here -

What is High Speed Broadband?

High Speed Broad band in simplicity means fast Internet. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia implemented a High Speed Broadband Initiative, named the National Broadband Initiative in hope of making High Speed Internet available to the Citizens of Malaysia at an affordable price, with added emphasis for rural areas for the second phase.

How Small Businesses Benefit from Faster Internet?

Malaysia is the 2nd highest country in South East Asia for social media penetration. Social Media has taken to Malaysia by storm! It represents a part of the lives of the people of Malaysia, and proves to be integral in everyday tasks.

Malaysia's eCommerce revenue alone is at a staggering $30,000,000,000, approximately making up 9.88% of the country's GDP. This is just starting as the Internet space in Malaysia is expected to grow at least 20% more ($6,000,000,000) in the near future.

This proves that the Internet is a strong and growing marketplace for Malaysia. Faster broadband can deliver more productivity at lower costs, and small businesses can benefit from from reduced costs greatly. Small business can connect easily to the world, supporting innovative ideas, high-tech jobs, and grow productivity.

Clearing the air between Bandwidth vs Speed.

Bandwidth and Speed are two very different things. Just for everyone to understand lets use the highway example, where the lanes of the highway represent the bandwidth, and the speed well represents the speed. Adding more Bandwidth means adding more lanes to the highway allowing more traffic to flow, in this case more data, but the speed limit still stays fixed. So if you want faster Internet for better quality, then check speed not the Bandwidth.

Great, now what should you do?

Take advantage of the Internet by:

  1. Having a legitimate different approach to after sales service through the Internet, where problems faced by your customers can be posted to an online portal for you to address to.
  2. Creating a blog to engage with your customers. (Learn how to develop better titles for your Business Blog here)
  3. Organize discounts and deals through an online campaign.

Optimize your results by knowing what Google is doing with their search; 'Organic' SEO.

Let us know what you think:

  1. What is your perspective on the latest 2014 Budget for Malaysia?
  2. Does the 2014 Budget leave any implications for Internet Businesses in Malaysia?

Image sourced from Suara Generasi Baru | data sourced from GDP - World Bank Indicator | News from MIS Asia

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

With all the festivities going on, I just thought, Christmas is about the spirit of giving and the New Year has all kinds of new aspirations, wants and needs. So I thought of doing something a little bit different, sort of a catch! I believe through creating a definitive list of what you should own would draw a trail enough to give gift ideas, or what you should need.

Things you should own~

1. Pen and Notebook. To write down all the nitty gritty stuffs.

2. A Library Card. To read more and learn more.

3. A good Phone. Something you can call your friends with, not just through dialing, as this is the age of other methods of communicating.

4. A TeaCup.

5. Soap. Hygiene is important.

6. A gym membership. Working is great, but your health helps you do greater things!

Having mental block? Looking at a single perspective is tough. Running into a brick wall over and over again isn't going to get you around it. Tough as it may sound, presented above in the short 6 list shows you just how to look at the "brick wall" from a different camera angle. This allows ideas to stream in! This doesn't just apply to gift ideas, it can work for many other things too. Sometimes a road block doesn't mean you have to make a u-turn there are alternative routes around the corner.

Consider approaching your problem head on and looking at it from a bird's eye view, taking a deep breath and looking at it one step at a time.

When the going gets tough consider turning for expert advice! You could consult a stationary expert on potential stationary that would suit your exact needs, or you could even consult expert advice on technological information you may need to know that could save you time, and "brain juice".

Hopefully these give you ideas you need for Christmas gifts, or New Year needs that could boost your productivity!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

10 OS X Mavericks Keyboard Shortcuts

What it takes to be productive

Focus. It seems to be rather elusive of late and doesn't really help you when times are getting more and more difficult. It can be rather draining when you find yourself working for 'hours' and not get anything done at all. Times like this call for some drastic action. Right now you could be needing to do 3 very important things. Here is the trick. Pick only one. Eliminate the rest. 

Now that the task is clear, destroy all other forms of attraction. Bookmark all your tabs, and only leave the one tab open that is going to work for you.

Then from here, just dive in.

How to reduce clutter

There is a time in life where everyone is faced with a whole lot of clutter, when things just get out of hand, and continue to pile up in an endless clutter. The answer is simple. Declutter.

Actions that you must take. Now.

How to do just that? Well how do you get started? Let's do it in simple steps:

  1. Take 10 minutes today to sort through a pile of clutter.
  2. Ask relevant questions like: Do i really really really need this?
  3. Stop after 10 minutes don't do too much. It will eventually turn into a negative action which doesn't make decluttering a little more pleasant that what it is.
Here are some of the 10 shortcuts that I use when I am on my Mac. (Sorry Windows folks, I will get to that bit in the future!)

1. Command + Shift + 3

Full-screenshot (for times when you want to remember something really quick and it will just pop onto your desktop with no hassles! 

2. Command + Shift + 4

For the time when you really want to screenshot something very specific (and this also pops onto your desktop)

3. Command + Tab

Change between active applications quickly from your desktop!

4. Command + N

when in Finder this creates a quick New folder.

5. Command + [

Go back in Finder.

6. Command + ]

Go forwards in Finder

7. Command + Delete

move files in Finder to trash

8. Command + Spacebar

launch spotlight!

9. Command + W

Close window

10. Spacebar

preview highlighted items in finder
Most of these shortcuts, really help when times are tough. Rushing to complete deadlines, or finish work that seems to be piling up! All of these help a ton.

If you have more and would like to share how you use these in a creative way, or how it helps you to declutter let us know what you think!

All images are rights of their respective owners | Neither EVERWORKS nor the author take any ownership of the images. 

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Thanksgiving - Breakfree2013


Who is facing this issue?

It was brought to our attention, here in EVERWORKS, that there are people in Cambodia that are without toilets. We also found out that achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation would save 2.5 million live every year (WHO 2008). 

This to us is serious.

Who brought this to our attention?

The Cambodian Toilet Crisis was brought to our attention through a group of University students from the University of Wollongong in INTI International University.

Money crisis.

28.3% of Cambodians live on less than $1.25 (purchasing power parity) per day (UNHDP 2011). A toilet averages $200, and paying for a toilet is difficult.

How does EVERWORKS feel?

The Cambodian Toilet Crisis struck a cord with us as it brought us to understand that the basic things we take for granted everyday is a luxury for another that is facing a tougher situation. 

What action have we taken?

We believed in what the University students set out to do, and we decided to back them up, giving them adequate resource, and consultation to show that although as a company, profits are important, but the well-being of others is just as equally important to us.

How can you help?

Contribute to Water and Toilets, a social business that aims to make a difference in the community by giving its time and resources to solving real world problems, and one of the problems that they are trying to solve right now is the Cambodian Toilet Crisis

We are interested to find out what you think:

  1. Can you live on $1.25 a day?
  2. Did you already know that toilets were such a 'big' issue?
  3. How do you think, world problems like this can be solved?

Saturday 7 December 2013

History of the Internet

The Internet has come a long way from when it first started with conceptualizations that are now today considered to be revolutionary, but back in the ages considered to be only something of a distant dream.

The Internet has revolutionized the way people communicate (Skype, Whatsapp, etc), the way people share their life experiences (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc), the way news is spread (Twitter, etc), the way causes are made known (Thunderclap, etc) the way funding is obtained (Kickstarter, etc), the way education should be shared (Khan Academy, etc), and many more.

These are the start of something greater, the continual growth of the human race; for the betterment of everyone.
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve several billion users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW), the infrastructure to support email, and peer-to-peer networks. - Wikipedia
Fancy as it may sound but the Internet is simple in its on complex manner. Think of it as a place that people can gather, like a country on its own (but with the global human race as its population). You can do anything, help in anyway, spread news, do business, share photos, advertise, market a brand, absolutely anything. EVERWORKS is an example of something that was given birth to because of the Internet. There are no limits making the Internet one of mankinds most crazy invention, and it is just the start.
Forty years ago, the average person followed an employment path largely determined by birth and education, often committing to one employer until retirement. Today you probably wouldn’t even consider that as a viable option. Success is no longer solely determined by the right education, the perfect resume, or even your age and background. Teens as young as 12 are now coding websites, producing films and building networks through social media. By the time they’re adults, this online generation will already have some skills and real-world experience that a formal education just can’t provide.The Internet is bringing a revolution along with it. Access to information combined with global supply and demand is reshaping established conventions and destroying old world definitions. - Forbes
Check out the video below for a brief excerpt of just what the Internet is!

Thursday 5 December 2013

Private vs Public Cloud

There has been a lot of shenanigans about cloud computing and it has been revolving a lot of mainstream media of late. Yea yea I know what you're thinking, this is going to be just one of the other posts about "Cloud Computing" that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, but it just is here to ride on with the waves of the world!

Guess what?! Sorry to disappoint you, but this isn't just one of those posts. Consider this to be a layman's article about cloud computing. Just for everyone else in the world who isn't very much a tech geek.

So cloud, it was probably as big news as Apple making moves with the mobile application world; which did generate quite a bit of buzz. So what is "Cloud Computing"? According to Wikipedia, it is a "colloquial expression used to describe a variety of different types of computing concepts that involve a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network (typically the Internet)". Well the definition does its job, but it makes it a little bit too fancy for me. 

Just to explain it in a simple manner, consider this; you want to build something big, but now all you need is just a simple computer with a log-in and a subscription. Like immediate access to unlimited power supply whenever you need it, and only paying for what you use. Now that is a bare basic of cloud computing, but that is only just scratching the surface of it. (this post is supposed to be about private vs public cloud - I will touch on more specifics of cloud computing in a different post) 

Now let's move on, now that we have the basic idea of what cloud computing is the question is private vs public cloud; which should I need?

Public Cloud:

  1. Standardized operations such as email, shared by many people
  2. Collaboration projects
  3. You have SaaS (Software as a Service) from a vendor with a well implemented security policy.
Private Cloud:
  1. Your business and your data is controlled by you. (Privacy and Security is mandotary)
  2. Your business industry requires high privacy and security.
  3. Your business builds and innovates next generation cloud products.

Knowing which Cloud Computing option to choose can be a hassle, and being able to see a macro view helps in easing the decision making process.

Cloud Computing is still relatively new in the Malaysian market, but consider it to become a major player in future businesses. Consider going the cloud way, because it may suit your company's requirement for scalability, or just give you the occasional security net when you need power the most.

Let us know what you think:
  1. Do you think cloud computing will solve your day to day business problems?
  2. How is cloud computing changing the world of computing today?

image source cubeelite & imore

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Wikipedia is Powerful

Wikipedia is great for 

Personal Branding and Business.

Why Wikipedia?

  1. You can create or edit your business, brand or biography post on its website.
  2. Your business or personal brand Wikipedia page can produce significant improvement to your business and your reputation.
  3. It adds a level of prestige, authenticity and credibility to your business, brand or persona.
  4. It provides you with an additional and credible website presence that will depict your business with integrity.
  5. Can produce a significant positive increase in salesEnhance your visibility in search engine results

Wikipedia is all great, but is it really that significant?

At a rate of 600 words a minute, 16 hours a day, a person could read about 17,000,000 words in a month. In the month of July 2006, Wikipedia grew by over 30,000,000 words. Reading the current incarnation at that rate would take over seven years, and by the time they were done, so much would have changed with the parts they had already read that they would have to start over. The best way to get an idea of the bigger picture is with statistics. The available statistics cover various aspects of Wikipedia, whether as an encyclopedia, a website, or a community. Some provide current snapshots and others track growth and development over time.
As of January 2010, comScore estimated that Wikipedia earned 365 million unique visitors per month.Wikipedia is the seventh most popular website in the world, and is used by 500 million people each month. Of these, about one out of 15,000 contribute five or more edits (you can too!), and of those, a stable 10% contribute more than 100 edits each month. The largest number of these active editors was in March 2007, 4800, and is around 3300 in 2013.

Hooray, now what do I do?

Step 1.

You should make sure that your business is renowned and someone has created articles or news about your business or company, which are available online. Has anyone created outside articles about your company online?

Step 2.

Create Wikipedia account.

Step 3

  1. Do not include your personal essays or original research as citations.
  2. It is not recommended you to pull tons of information directly from your business website, until you have a big company like 7Eleven, or Telekom Malaysia.
  3. This outside source citation about your business proves that your business is known.
  4. And most important  - do not advertise or market your company in your post.
  5. If you don’t have a lot of outside articles, consider doing a little public relations outreach and publish new relevant content before creating a page.

Why you should follow the rules/guidelines.

Wikipedia is a place where people go to for resourceful information, and it should never be used as a place to promote or to sell any of your products! Follow the rules, because Wikipedia owns some really valuable real estate in Google, and it wouldn't hurt for you to have a "legit" Wikipedia page to hop into some of those prime real estates! 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Google's Hummingbird Impact on Malaysian Social Marketers

Recently Google has been answering questions; literally answering questions. It suddenly seems like we can finally talk to the machine by asking it questions just like how a normal human would. There is a reason to this. Google recently, "silently", switched over to their new search algorithm they call the "Hummingbird".

1. Improve mobile's web search experience

Mobile is obviously a major focus for Google, and Hummingbird is a way for Google to announce itself that Google takes mobile seriously. Google wants mobile users to in a way interact with search in a more streamlined approach, by overhauling their entire search algorithm, to better serve mobile results. Something social media marketers should really pay attention to.

Stuff that make your mobile website that bit better:

  • Make your website responsive
  • Optimize your site for speed
  • Fix smartphone only errors!
2. Connect your blog to your Google+ profile

According to Google,

“Using authorship helps searchers discover great information by highlighting content from authors who they might find interesting. If you’re an author, signing up for authorship will help users recognize content that you’ve written. Additionally, searchers can click the byline to see more articles you’ve authored or to follow you on Google+”.

3. Create and publish to your Google+ profile

Hummingbird was tailored as an algorithm for providing better answers to your "organic" queries and Google Plus was created to have a greater social presence. That being said, Google is heavily focusing on Plus, for trends towards social search. Google Plus should be at the foundation of these future social trend searches.

Hummingbird is important, and why you should pay attention to it.

Mobile keyboard. While many may continue to type with their phones when searching, however awkward it may seem to be typing with a mobile keyboard however efficient it may be designed to be it still takes quite some bit of effort to make sure you stop tapping on the wrong alphabets! Over time, people are going to naturally float to more organic search methods like voice, and voice queries are far more likely to happen as compared to magically reading your brains, which could be an intrusion of privacy. With all things search Google tends to want to be number 1, that means Google wants to dominate mobile search.

"Real" speech patterns. Google Hummingbird learns, this two year-old child has just learned a few very basic concepts, but it represents the fundamental learning blocks for it to go forward, and a lot of its learning is derived from a huge amount of information in the Google atmosphere. Imagine as it continues to learn and understand what is truly organic.

Knowledge Graph. Natural language is just another piece of the puzzle, as Google Hummingbird seeks to maybe do the latter, understanding complex types of user intent.

Hummingbird. How will it affect you?

Is keyword still important or will it disappear?

Well essentially it won't go away totally, as keywords are important to language, and it is necessary for the existence of keywords, because without it not much accuracy can be translated even in day-to-day speech!

You need to understand your prospects intents!

This is what Google is trying to get you to do, find out what it is that users really want instead of just keywords. As a publisher, you should focus more attention on building pages for different needs and intentions of the potential customers for your products and services. Start thinking, because you wouldn't want to miss this train!

Semantic is the new king

Content used to be King, and in some sense that holds some truth, but consider content to have become slightly more complex as the human race matures, and as semantic meaning becomes easy, maybe in the future Google would implement something new that would be on the tips of our tongues all over again!

Everything is a journey. What is Hummingbird to you?

What else is there about Hummingbird that you know that you could share with all of us?

With the world growing at a rapid pace, it seems to be that knowledge is the key to any future. (please if you feel this statement is wayward in anyway, feel free to challenge it!)

Saturday 23 November 2013

Multi-site Colocation - How it helps you.

Just how does the structure of a multi-site colocation help you?

You need robust or custom hardware and/or a lot of bandwidth. Managed hosting doesn't give you the flexibility that you need, because the provider would have already specified the hardware that they will use and you only get what 'class' to choose from the list that they have already pre-specified. With colocation you are in total control and can implement anything that would give you the most bang for your buck.

You need to set up server clusters, load balancing, redundant hardware, etc. These are beyond the realms of managed hosting and will never be managed hosting.

You need to host content or services not allowed by most managed hosting providers. Managed Hosting providers place restrictions on their service and it can be difficult to do something, but Colocation service providers provide no restrictions normally as long as it's legal. The sky's the limit!

You want freedom from arbitrary or costly limits. Managed hosting providers will typically impose a range of limits and things can get frustrating - and for these limits to be lifted you would be required to pay for such a privilege. With colocation it imposes no such limits and you will pay more if your power/cabinet space or bandwidth usage increases but you will enjoy the bulk of everything more cost-effectively as you grow.

You want/need to be in control. There could be a thousand reasons why, but the bottom line is that YOU need to be in the driver's seat of your Internet project, and Colocation puts you there.

Escalating costs, and greater volatility represents a large representation of today's economy. Costs are a big problem, but it shouldn't weigh down your more important revenue activities.

Hassles in hosting, can be a tedious mess. Cabling coupled with troublesome hardware engineering just doesn't help with freeing up your time so that you can focus on making money.

What if you could move everything to a place that has everything? An ISP-level Internet Connection, uninterruptible power supply, fire detection systems, and accredited managed security.

The EVERWORKS Multi-site Colocation is backed with SLA Guarantees to give you peace of mind, and much more so that you can concentrate on what is most important.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Is SMS in Malaysia Still Relevant Today?

With the dawn of the age of technology everything changes at rapid pace. The lifespan of hardware used to be 10 years, but now it is dwindling down to 2 to 3 years. Technology is growing, it has become apparent in our day to day lives. The way we interact with technology has also changed with the introduction of the internet as a medium to our everyday lives. With that in mind, does the growing industry of Instant Messaging and Smartphone diminish the SMS industry all together?

Malaysia Mobile Statistics

Report claims that Malaysia will have 41.9 million mobile subscribers in 2013 with Maxis taking subscriber market share of 41.4%. Total wireless subscribers in Malaysia to reach 41.9 million in 2013
Given the latest quarter numbers, the publisher forecast that total subscribers in Malaysia will increase from 27.1 million in 2008 to 41.9 million in 2013.
Let’s look at the data, the one thing that doesn’t tell a lie or twist a tale.

Statistic show that there is a large amount of mobile users in Malaysia. It isn't rocket science to determine that there is a large following of people that are actually using mobile. A good number Malaysians still use SMS, because not everyone is using the same device, let alone the same application. (Even though WhatsApp has drawn a strong following in the Malaysian environment) The SMS is still apparent to send ‘sure’ message that are not subjected to failure of sending due to 3G network issues or slow connectivity.

Penetrating mobile users to a greater extent can be achieved through a SMS Marketing Campaign that penetrates deep into the depths of users, and could prove to be invaluable in future.

Not sure how to give your customer a sense of security? Sometimes giving back to the community shouldn't necessarily be a tough ask. Offer discount & deal to generate a strong customer relationship. A way to inhibit deeper psychological advantages, especially toward most customers that are cost savvy.

Mobile has taken a storm in recent years, don’t miss out on it and get started now. It is tough to enter any industry and find out how can start easily now.

Photo by 男渋谷区

Tuesday 19 November 2013

How to Develop Better Topics for Malaysian Business Blogs?

As business to consumer relationship changes, companies have looked for key factors that would help them evolve to meet new consumer demands; giving their customers the value that they are seeking for. One method and the method that I am using right now to write to you that has taken off over the past several years is the business blog, and it shows no signs of slowing down! 60% of business have a business or a company blog, a staggering statistic if you ask me, and it is a credible potent secret weapon that can impact your company's marketing strategies. News websites have people cornered on information, while culture websites are distracting everyone and that leaves businesses with a unique position to engage, inform, and build a solid relationship with users!

Business blogs are now the human face of a modern company, to try to create a sense of trust with potential customers, giving value to your readers while at the same time shaping your product and aims in the process.

Delivering true value

Case Study: IBM Blog. Notably missing from IBM's blog is recommendations for personal computing, because the organization knows its audience.

Knowing your audience takes more then demographic information, it should also include trends and evolution. There are two ways of achieving this. One is through Technorati's blog directory and another through RSS feeds.

Don't try putting on a mask. Be true. Be real.

Intention should be the key to everything here. Are you blogging to give valuable information, or just blogging for the sake of blogging? Customers and consumers are well informed. Make blog topics substantial and deliver information of value to your readers. Take time to understand that superficial content is going to hurt your image just as much as just not publishing any content on your blog at all (if not even worse).

Digital is the future, but listen to real humans.

It doesn't take a lot to get wrapped up with all the digital research, but more often than not the real case that needs to be looked into is what your customers actually want. Lend a listening ear to your concerned customers and stay true to what they actually need. Pay attention to titles that do well on social media so you can leverage on what your users want to read and this should be of the very highest priority. Incorporating user voting through SurveyMonkeys or GoogleDocs should help shape the content of your blog in a very interesting manner. 

With the right mix of technical expertise, community interaction and feedback, and the right etiquette your blog can be very much be part of your marketing efforts, with the added bonus to strike an invaluable relationship with your customers. 

Make posts scannable

Once upon a time we used to be boggled down by the endless amount of text in textbooks and for the most of us dread looking at so much text. You don't want to do that to your readers. Make your posts scannable (to a certain extent, because some parts do require further elaboration). Include points, sub-points, numbers, short paragraphs etc. This helps readers go through the content quicker, and grasp parts that is most relevant to them.


Nothing beats free stuff, period. You can give away your latest product, or a new iPad or computer that would make your customers excited. Oh, don't forget you could also giveaway stuff that guest bloggers post, like e-books, books, or similar merchandize.

Guest posting

Get an interview with an industry expert, someone that could give super valuable information that would empower your readers with even more knowledge!

Remember your blog shouldn't be a place for you to have your sales pitch, but rather it should be a place where your customers can come to gain valuable information, and to have a real relationship.

Don't forget to keep up to date with the latest trends to service customers that are up to date with the latest bits of information.

Please share with us what you think:

  1. Do you agree that blogs should deliver true value and not be a place to sell?
  2. How do you find the right topics for your business blog?

Infographic Source: blogging.org | photo by John Sutton

Sunday 17 November 2013

Good or bad? Malaysia & eCommerce

Digital media in Malaysia has seen a gradual increase. 60% of the population of Malaysia is an Internet user. That is a staggering amount of users! There has been much speculation and a lot of doubt surrounding the Internet and its viability. The dot com era still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of the majority and the lingering fear isn't helping Malaysians come to realize just how powerful the Internet can be.

Malaysia is the 2nd highest country in South East Asia for social media penetration. Social media has taken to Malaysia by storm. It represents a part of the lives of the people of Malaysia, and proves to be integral in everything that they do. From interaction, to communication, to business dealings, and much more.

E-commerce revenue alone is at a staggering $30, 000, 000, 000 and that is a large market to tap into; that could prove to be profitable for most. Has the Internet revolution reached its peak in Malaysia? It is believed to be that there will be an expected growth of an additional 20% of revenues in the coming time. That makes a $6 000, 000, 000 in potential revenue to be earned.

Imagine reaping a portion of those profits. That would make any bottomline a happy one. Penetrate the Internet market through the quickest, easiest method right now. Don't wait any longer and consider the options immediately.

To start an online business you require the basic fundamentals from simple hosting, to business email, and the right business plan.

5 things to watch out before starting an e-commerce business

1. Note down your idea, and niche it down

You have a great idea, but there are millions of other people in the world out there that are thinking of the same thing, and probably have already started implementing their ideas before you have. Let's say you want to start a business selling laptop computer covers for all brands! Well it is a huge market, but it is very saturated and competitive.

Consider niching it all the way down to just maybe do MacBooks. Concentrating on the new launch of MacBooks coming out rather than stretching resources to fulfill other brands that have yet to launch new models would prove to be something very profitable.

2. Test before you invest

Have that great idea? Set up an online store immediately, and splashed tons of cash to only find out later that actually nobody really cares about anything?

Problem, but not a big one. Consider actually testing out your amazing idea first, through a blog.

3. Manufacturing is a headache

Language barrier, quality control, difference in business practices all get in the way of manufacturing, and why bother with all of the headache when you can outsource to reliable companies that are willing to get things done for you for a reasonable price, with a lot less worry and headaches.

4. Don't underestimate the power of SEO (Consider the future; Hummingbird)

Most successful niche sites have 80-90% of their traffic organically from search engines. The tip would be to create likable content, find industry related people and comment or rate their product, and get active in user forums.

5. Put careful thought into the platform you choose

With so many varied options in the market today, making a choice seems difficult especially when there are a ton of services out there that provide a considerable amount of services to run an e-commerce store, but bare in mind that when you choose one you might want to stick to it for a good amount of time. Considering that migration from one place to another may seem straightforward, but it produces 10 times the amount of headaches.

Photo by Robin Wilson | Referenced from SMU University

Friday 15 November 2013

Discounts & Deals don't "bite"

With festivities coming as the year draws to a close, there are business owners who question the practicality of offering either discounts or deals. There is a fear that giving such would devalue the brand, or give off a negative impression that the company isn't doing well.

According to a survey conducted by eAccountable and market research partner Clear Vision Research, "Of 1500 people surveyed the majority of them use cashback, deals, and coupons when making online purchases; this research highlights just how much customers value cashback, deals, and coupons."

Using discounts & deals should not be viewed as devaluing a brand, but should be viewed in a more positive manner. Psychologically shifting perspective from whether a cup is either half empty or half full. Customers greatly appreciate deals that help them to purchase the things that they need or want.

One way to give deals could be to divert marketing promotion budgets to giving back to customers as privileges for saving money.

Offering deals, often benefit both the customer and you. Customers get more value, while you get customers to purchase more of your products; developing a sense of customer loyalty. Once customers get accustomed to using your product eventually developing a habitual response and familiarity, it will turn out to be difficult for them to use "unfamiliar brands". This develops a response where customers are comfortable with the products you offer and this gives them a sense that they are within control (well within their comfort zone), and without much prompting there would already be a transparent barrier for a customer using your products to shift to something they are not accustomed to using. With a psychological advantage such as this it helps to develop a priceless customer and business relationship, that most marketing promotion, advertising, find hard to achieve.

An Extra for Malaysian Businesses

An example of a win-win situation is where deal offering service businesses promotes business deals to customers. The benefit is great where customers get better deals for the things that they want, and businesses get to close a larger rate of sale while at the same time creating greater brand awareness

Here are a few notable deal business services:

  1. Groupon (Malaysia)
  2. Livingsocial
  3. Dealmates
*If you are a business offering deals as a service and would love to be listed in this post please drop us an email here. We would be more than happy to include you in this list!

Deals are powerful, it appeals largely to price conscious consumers, which generally means a large population of this earth, will find it to be of great help, that a business is considering their needs and fulfilling it in a manner that can have an added personal touch.

So as you prepare for the year end holiday shopping season, consider allocating a special landing page, as you promote your products. This could be just as jolly as a season for shoppers, as for your 4th quarter bottom-line.

Please share with us your experiences with offering discounts & deals:

  1. How has discounts and deals helped your business?
  2. Would you greatly appreciate a discount or deal if given one?
Image "Crunch" photographed by Je Hyung Lee | Article Info resourced from Hostgator

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Google's Secret Search Algorithm "Hummingbird"

Recently Google has been answering questions; literally answering questions. It suddenly seems like we can finally talk to the machine by asking it questions just like how a normal human would. There is a reason to this. Google recently, "silently", switched over to their new search algorithm they call the "Hummingbird".

Google announced this, Thursday 26th September 2013, hosted in a garage that both founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin back then when Google just started to grow to become more successful.

The main focus, repeated many times, was that the new Hummingbird algorithm allows Google to parse full questions quicker and to identify and rank answers to those questions from the content that they have indexed.

The big question.

As for how it'll affect search results (the main concern of every SEO following) the new search algorithm was implemented silently over the past few weeks! Right under our noses, and if it hasn't affected any of your search engine placements (mainly drops in ranking), I believe that people should start shifting their focus to addressing more human questions. Solving day to day needs and that could prop to be the future of search and could be greatly influential in determining whether or not what you offer would provide for the needs of the searcher.

Organic understanding of human cognitive behavior? Perhaps the future isn't too far away anymore, with the rapid growth in technology, and the growing popularity for hardware to embrace a more human touch.

  1. Where do you think Google is going with their search?
  2. Will you think Google Hummingbird would affect search rankings?

Photograph of Hummingbird by Dan Ripplinger  | Referenced from TechCrunch

Wednesday 6 November 2013

DDoS Attack Report & Infographic for Q3 2013

Prolexic observed many interesting metrics that illustrate significant changes in DDoS attack methodologies, most notably a shift away from SYN floods to UDP-based attacks, and the rapid adoption of Distributed Reflection Denial of Service (DrDoS) attacks.

In previous reports, Prolexic has focused on the use of the BroDoS toolkit to generate high-bandwidth attacks using misconfigured servers. Reflection attacks use a different kind of bot and require a different type of server to spoof the target IP. Prolexic believes the adoption of DrDoS attacks is likely to continue, as fewer bots are required to generate high volumes of attack traffic due to reflection and amplification techniques. Another advantage, which may contribute to the increasing adoption of DrDoS attacks, is the anonymity provided by spoofing IP addresses.

We, at EVERWORKS has been working very closely with Prolexic for our DDoS protection solution to protect our critical clients. Recently, Prolexic has just shared with us some interesting report of their Q3 global DDoS attack report for 2013.

To have the full copy of this report, please download the report like below: 

  1. Prolexic Quarterly Global DDoS Attack Report - Q3 2013
  2. Attack Report Infographic Q3 2013

Wednesday 9 October 2013

MYNIC New Campaign "Me, Myself and I"

Are you in the midst of planning a domain name for yourself? If yes, here is another good reason to do it now ! MYNIC Berhad has just launched a new campaign "Me, Myself and I" from 1 October 2013 to 31 October 2013. Just register your name with .my (example johan.my, jeeta.my, jialing.my) and stand a chance to win an Iphone 5S, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Blackberry 9900. Why wait? Register your .MY domain name now at www.everworks.com 

What are the prizes? 
  • GRAND PRIZE: Apple iPhone 5s + free 1-year domain name
  • 2nd PRIZE: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 + free 1-year domain name
  • 3rd PRIZE: Blackberry 9900 + free 1-year domain name
  • 4th PRIZE: Blackberry 9790 + free 1-year domain name
  • 10 x CONSOLATION PRIZES: free 1-year domain name
What is the Terms & Conditions? 
  1. The closing date for this contest is 31st October 2013 at 11.59 p.m.
  2. Open for .my domain name only (example johan.my). Multiple entries are allowed.
  3. All prizes are subject to availability and MYNIC reserves the right to replace the prize with an alternative product or color of equal or higher value if necessary.
  4. Lucky draws and competitions are only open to Malaysian citizens.
  5. The promotions are open to public - with the exception of any employees (and their families), their agents or related third parties who are directly connected with the administration of MYNIC Berhad.
  6. Winner(s) will be selected at random after the closing date by MYNIC Berhad from all entries received. The judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  7. Winner(s) will be notified by email or telephone (using the details provided at entry).
  8. If MYNIC Berhad cannot: (i) contact the winner (via the details provided at the date of entry) within a reasonable period of time (to be established at the MYNIC's sole discretion); or (ii) the winner does not return confirmation of their attendance for the prize giving ceremony to MYNIC Berhad within 7 days of notification that they have won the Prize, MYNIC Berhad reserves the right to re-draw a winner of the Promotion and thereafter until a winner on these terms is found.
  9. MYNIC Berhad accepts no responsibility for the Prizes being lost, damaged or delayed after the winners receive their prizes.
  10. By entering this contest you agree to having your name, details and photo published online or in a future issue of MYNIC Berhad campaigns and promotions.
  11. The organizer is MYNIC Berhad (Co.No. 735031-H) Level 3, Block C Mines Waterfront Business Park No.3, Jalan Tasik Mines Resort City 43300 Seri Kembangan Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia

Saturday 28 September 2013

Allow or Deny Search Engines by Using Robots.txt File

What is Robot.txt? 
Web site owners use the /robots.txt file to give instructions about a website to web robots, and this is called The Robots Exclusion Protocol. Website administrator is using robots.txt File to Allow or Deny Search Engines. If you have portions of a website that you do not wish for search indexes to see, you can protect them with a “robots.txt” file dictating which search engines are allowed or disallowed from seeing specific folders/files.

There are many options which you can specify in a robots.txt file to explicitly deny or allow specific search-bots to index certain folders or files. The simplest robots.txt file uses two rules:

  1. User-agent: the robot the following rule applies to
  2. Disallow: the URL you want to block

    These two lines are considered a single entry in the file. You can include as many entries as you want. You can include multiple Disallow lines and multiple user-agents in one entry. 

Two important considerations when using /robots.txt:

  1. Robots can ignore your /robots.txt. Especially malware robots that scan the web for security vulnerabilities, and email address harvesters used by spammers will pay no attention.
  2. the /robots.txt file is a publicly available file. Anyone can see what sections of your server you don't want robots to use. So don't try to use /robots.txt to hide information.

Can I block the Bad Robots?
In theory YES, in practice, NO. If the bad robot obeys /robots.txt, and you know the name it scans for in the User-Agent field. then you can create a section in your /robotst.txt to exclude it specifically. But almost all bad robots ignore /robots.txt, making that pointless.

DDoS Attack via Bad Robots
If the bad robot operates from a single IP address, you can block its access to your web server through server configuration or with a network firewall. In DDoS situation, the robot operate at lots of different IP addresses (hijacked PCs that are part of a large Botnet), to generate attack load to your server by just simply scanning your website. It will make the entire web server slow or stop with little of bandwidth involved. It's consider as level 7 of DDoS attack, the application attack.

The easiest solution is to use an advanced firewall to automatically block on all these IP addresses that make many connections. To learn more about our DDoS protection solution, please visit http://www.everworks.com/Services/DDoS

Please find below for some other articles that explains how a robots.txt file works, as well as how to and how to configure it for your website.

Friday 13 September 2013

Business Email - Step 4: Email Options

We recently published our Business Email series to help you with your business email management strategy. As each post is posted up, we will dive deeper into each chapter to discover a better business management strategy.
Catch up on the previous chapters here: Step one, two, and three.

Knowing which email, hosting email, and requirements doesn't just stop there!

Find out what is the easiest solution available for you. Here is an easy breakdown of what you need to know most importantly.

EVERWORKS offers a simple all in one email solution that services almost every major need.

Here we have a breakdown of EVERWORKS's email offerings:

BasicWorks, MidWorks, and PremiumWorks suggests what the name actually means. Choose what is best for you! (Still not sure what to choose? Worry not, drop us an email and we will gladly help you out!)

This concludes our Business Email series! Hopefully this has given you plenty insight on how to manage and choose email. Stay tuned for more!

Tell us what you think:

  1. What are your thoughts on the options given?
  2. Between BasicWorks, MidWorks, and PremiumWorks which would you choose and for what purpose?

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Option photographed by Hope for gorilla from Flickr | Resourced from Rackspace