How Server Management Is Exactly Like Football (Sort of)

April 29th, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Servers are like football players. If you only have one, your team is not going to do well: you need strength in depth and breadth if you’re to weather the whole match. And each player might be better in one area than another: speed or defence, complex play or stone-cold reliability.

It has been said – and it may be true – that I’m overly obsessed with football. But bear with me here: I run a company that has named each of its servers after Arsenal players. It’s a thing we do.

“Servers in the plural?” you may ask. And the answer’s yes: we have a bank of separate servers on which we host our clients’ sites. Why? Because multiple servers make each of our websites, and therefore all of your business, safer. Multiple servers spread risk: if one goes down, we haven’t lost every piece of data. We can fix the problem more quickly and more seamlessly.

And that’s what I mean by strength in breadth and depth. If your web agency parks every one of its websites – all of its databases and every bit of information – on a single server, it will take only one gremlin to bring the whole thing crashing down. And, let’s be honest: we’ve all used technology. The odd gremlin is inevitable.

So our team of servers has all the stability to make it through the full ninety minutes. Each of our servers is also configured to be the best in a specific area: from Thierry to Sanchez, Overmars to BFG (named in honour of Per Mertesacker – if you don’t get the reference, I’m not explaining it here!).

That is, one will be ideal for ecommerce sites; another will be perfect for brochure sites or ones backed up by a large bespoke database. Hector, named after Bellerin, the Premiership’s quickest player, is our fastest server ever. You get the picture.

Image+ hosting doesn’t just boast the best players in the game, though – it also has the advantage of the best management staff, too. Our server management service offers our clients the peace of mine that comes from expert maintenance and monitoring: we’ll keep an eye on the servers, make sure they’re running exactly as they should, and fix any problems before they grow up to be gremlins.

Your website will make specific demands on any server: the traffic your site will attract, the functions it will make available to its users, the anti-virus or firewall software it will require to be safe. All these elements will be weighed and balanced by the coach (my fellow Arsenal fan, Nick) – and a winning formula selected.

From server back-ups to migrations – and right up to recovery in event of a server failure – we’ll be there for you. Think of as your back-room boys, providing all the half-time oranges that ensure the team stays on the pitch, working hard for you.

Football managers spend their lives worrying about playing in 4-4-2 formation or 4-3-1-2 or whatever else. Nick spends a lot of time tinkering with server set-ups and security, applying updates and new installations to make sure your website is seamlessly delivered to your customers. Our aim is to minimise lag, interruptions and the dreaded crashes.

After all, that’s how a team wins silverware.

How Our New App Makes Google Reviews Work For You

February 14th, 2014 in Uncategorized

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” The internet was never told this by its mother: instead, it offers users every opportunity to let the world know what they think on every conceivable topic, often vocally and negatively.

This poses real challenges to businesses: somewhere on the internet, it’s likely that someone is talking about you, your product or your service … and it’s not always positive (though of course it should be!). Social media is one great way to join in these conversations and help turn negative impressions into positive ones by engaging sensibly and helpfully with criticisms. But what about more static sites, where once a review is posted it’s there for all to see?

You know the sort of site we mean: in the hospitality industry, TripAdvisor is hugely powerful, its crowd-sourced star ratings of hotels and restaurants potentially influencing the leisure choices of millions; the Google network, too, is populating itself with reviews of every kind, encouraging uses with a Google+ account to offer their opinions on every business with which they have a relationship.

These reviews matter because we trust other people more than we trust advertisers: peer reviews have an air of authenticity, and often appear to have no axe to grind bar a desire to present others with an honest assessment of a given company or organisation. That sort of authority can be powerful.

For example, research shows that a low review rating on Google Places will lead to users clicking through to the ‘People also searched for’ page … and finding a competitor with a higher rating instead. Google is no longer referencing third-party sites – so the reviews given by its users are more important than ever to your Google ranking and your click-rate.

It’s worth monitoring your rating, then. When one of our clients – which offers a great service – approached us with a Google review rating of less than one out of five, we knew that there had to be a way better to reflect the quality of their offering. The key here is to engage your happy customers: the rare bad experience is always more likely to get us typing a review than any number of great dealings with a trusted company. Your happy clients, though, are your best weapon against rogue review ratings.

That’s why we’ve developed an app which engages a company’s users and prompts them to submit a review to whichever review sites are most important to you: by prompting happy customers to record their good experience, you harness the natural power of doing a good job. Indeed, the client who came to us with a rating of less than one had increased that figure, just a week after beginning to use our app, to nearly four out of five. That’s called getting the crowd to work for you.

Our simple app might not prevent the odd negative review, but what it does do is give all those happy consumers a different bit of homespun advice: if you have something positive to say, why not shout it from the rooftops?

Drop us a line today to have a word with us about how to improve your online review ratings – you really can see benefits immediately.