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July 2018 notice...

Christine Cahoon   Tue 10 Jul 2018

Promoting the arts
"Our long journey"
Create your own blog section

Promoting the arts

This month, Platypus have the pleasure in hosting two web sites from two local, gifted artists who use their talents to entertain us through the written word and through opera:

Sarah Richmond, as well as running a successful business performing at a wide variety of events providing "Music to Make Your Day", Sarah sings in operas throughout the UK. She will be performing Valencienne in The Merry Widow on 3 and 4 August 2018 at the The Millenium Forum, Newmarket Street, Derry:

http://www.sarah-richmond.com/


Jamie Guiney has just announced his debut short story collection 'The Wooden Hill' is due out for publication this year with Epoque Press:

http://www.jamieguiney.com/


"Our long journey"

The Vespa World Days Belfast 2018 was advertised in previous notices. I was treated to a special guest access pass, thanks to Mark and Maggie Cooke. Here are my reflections on Belfast and this amazing event:

http://www.ronjea.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=978

Create your own blog section

If you'd like to write about anything that adds value to your company and audiences, why don't you create your own blog section/subsection. It's easy for any web site that uses ETINU, just follow the instructions available at:

http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/generic?instanceID=19

June 2018 notice...

Christine Cahoon   Wed 13 Jun 2018

England's smallest, remotest school
Adding content from Word to a generic section type
It's this week... Vespas galore!

England's smallest, remotest school

We have pleasure in hosting Kielder First School and Little Squirrels Nursery, http://www.kielderfirstschool.org.uk/. This school is in the small, remote village of Kielder Village, western Northumberland, England. It's a playful web site and shows the charm and activities of the school through its photos and events calendar. From other sections, its obligations and policies can be viewed.

Adding content from Word to a generic section type

Using these section type, allows you to add whatever content you like, in whatever way you want. However, copying and pasting from Word, will copy Word's invisible characters that includes style elements so will override your site's design styles. Here's a few tips to avoid them when pasting content:

http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=745

It's this week... Vespas galore!

In January we let you know that the Vespa World Days 2018 event is coming to Belfast. Well, it's this Thursday 14 until Sunday 17 June... you'll start to see Vespas arrive from all over the world. They are having rideouts from Titanic to Crumlin Road Victorian Gaol, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Carrickfergus Castle in different days! Everyone give them a welcome if you meet them or a wave as they drive passed! See: http://www.vespaworlddays2018.co.uk/ or visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VwdBelfast2018/

May 2018 notice...

Christine Cahoon   Fri 18 May 2018   updated: Tue 22 May 2018

A notice to all clients—news and information that may be of interest to you...

Caring for children
You couldn't miss it... General Data Protection Regulation!
How can I get the link to a specific blog post?

Caring for children

We are pleased to host The Rocking Horse Nursery and Play Station web site, http://www.rocking-horse.org.uk/. The Nursery have been serving the community in Greenisland for more than 35 years. It has given children a warm, secure and nurturing environment to stay while giving parents the peace of mind they need as they return to work. Their web site contains information about their ethos, staff, policies, activities, facilities and services they offer.

You couldn't miss it... General Data Protection Regulation!

If you've ever subscribed to a service, you will have heard from that service recently (even from those you'd forgotten you provided an email address to) regarding the new regulations coming in force on 25 May 2018, https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/. These set of regulations are designed to provide protection around personal data, even if it's just a name and an email address. We would like to make you aware of our updated privacy statement in relation to the personal data collected from our web sites, http://www.etinu.com/ and http://www.platypusconsultancy.com/, see: http://www.platypusconsultancy.com/platypusconsultancy/static/privacy-policy-statement.html

April 2018 notice...

Christine Cahoon   Mon 16 Apr 2018

Going from strength to strength
Time to reassess your site's audiences?
Measuring visitors activity

Going from strength to strength

Platypus are pleased to host the Active Feet Podiatry web site, http://www.activefeetpodiatry.co.uk/. This business has grow from a domiciliary service in 2011 now to working from their premises in Newtownabbey, exhibiting last week at the 2018 NI Fitness Show. The web site has lots of information on foot care, treatments, home visits and its clinic with an appointment system embedded into the web site.

Time to reassess your site's audiences?

Over time an organisation can change and, although the site's content may have changed with it, it may be attracting the wrong audiences. It may be time to review if the content on your web site is still relevant to the audience(s) it is trying to reach and if visitors can navigate to the relevant content easily. For a few tips to help you, see: http://www.platypusconsultancy.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=951

Measuring visitors activity

Google Analytics, that all ETINU sites use, is great for monitoring a site's traffic, but did you know there are four types of goals that can help you monitor how visitors are viewing your web site, with even more detail that the normal Google Analytics reports generate? Simple explanation on what they are and how they could be useful for your site, see: http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=949

If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to contact us.

Time to reassess your site’s audiences?

Christine Cahoon   Thu 12 Apr 2018   updated: Fri 13 Apr 2018

Over time an organisation can change and, although the site's content may have changed with it, it may be time for you to think again:

  • is your site attracting the right audiences;
  • who are the audiences you are trying to reach online;
  • what will each audience be looking for when they visit your web site; and
  • what do you want each audience to achieve when they visit.

Doing so, will help you review the site's content to ensure you are:

  • targeting the right audiences for your organisation;
  • using the right words within the content that each audience will be familiar with; and
  • making it easy for each audience to get to the right content sooner and achieve what they want without frustration.

So, here's some tips:

  • list the type of audiences you want to visit your site
  • what's their demographics (age, gender, location, income);
  • what particular interests, influences, beliefs do they have;
  • do they have any relevant behavioural trends;
  • think of the keywords that each might use to type into a search engine when they're looking for the type of services and products you offer;
  • use these keywords in your page content and metatags, where relevant.

Remember what's good for your audiences is good for search engines too. The likes of Google, Duckduckgo and Bing want to ensure that each search a user does displays links to quality, relevant content.

Motorways and processes...

Christine Cahoon   Tue 10 Apr 2018

It's hard to believe in the 1960s that drivers had to be taught how to exit slip ways from motorways but it's true.

In a similar way, it's hard to believe that some need taught on what the web is and what it is capable of, especially when most now take what's available online for granted. Some are in management positions and may have misunderstandings, because of the way the certain news is reported such as with security issues.

Maybe you're:

  • in a management position leaving your technical team to make all decisions without you fully understanding what they are telling you... you're the one spending money, but not necessarily seeing the benefits or
  • a head of operations and you think that your business processes could be more stream-lined (maybe some are still paper-based) and could be available online for the public to submit information and privileged staff to manage, or
  • in charge of sales team who spend lots of time online, but you're not seeing the results translated into income and you're unable to measure your return of investment (ROI).

If you want experienced, technically-aware, security-conscious people, and want someone to speak in understandable English, without techie-speak, we're happy to talk over what we can do for you. We will discuss your requirements and options in a one-to-one meeting or develop a workshop that is customised to you and your staff's business needs.

It could be a worthwhile investment to help you make more informed, wise decisions that will help you direct traffic to your online presence and help you be more efficient to grow your business.

March 2018 notice...

Christine Cahoon   Tue 13 Mar 2018

To Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful
ETINU's "tag cloud" feature
Track your marketing campaigns

To Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Platypus have the pleasure in hosting the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful web site, http://www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/. This charity runs a number of programmes throughout the year, such as: The BIG Spring Clean; Green Coast Award; Green Flag Award; Adopt A Spot. Its aim is to improve environmental education in Northern Ireland schools, increase public engagement for communities in need and raise environmental standards for the places where people live, work and relax.

ETINU's "tag cloud" feature*

*The tag cloud feature is available in a few section types, namely in: blog; gallery; and publications. Keywords that you specify for any blog post, photo or publication, appear in the tag cloud enabling you to categorise them. Anyone looking at the cloud instantly sees the most popular themes by the size of the corresponding keywords. More details at:
http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=743

Example of the tag cloud in Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful's blog (right of the page):
http://www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/cgi-bin/blog

Example of the tag cloud in Real Music Club's 2017 gallery (select the tab "Tag cloud"):
http://www.realmusicclub.com/cgi-bin/gallery?instanceID=10

Track your marketing campaigns

There are many ways to market your products and services, but it's worthwhile tracking the success of each marketing campaign such as sending a link in a mailshot, posting on Facebook or Twitter, or placing an Ad on Google Adwords. Using Google's simple campaign URL (web address) builder tool will help you keep track of how successful each activity is (https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/). By using the web address that the builder generates, you can monitor matching web traffic in Google Analytics. For more details, see:
http://www.platypusconsultancy.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=397

For more information about ETINU, see: http://www.etinu.com/, and feel free to forward any questions about ETINU or your web site.

February 2018 notice...

Christine Cahoon   Mon 12 Feb 2018   updated: Tue 13 Mar 2018

Booking a holiday made easy
Mouths of the Farset!
Check your site’s metatags are up-to-date
Check what keywords visitors use to get to your site

Booking a holiday made easy

Platypus are pleased to host the Florida Manor Estate web site, http://www.floridamanorni.com/. This site has a booking system that uses Stripe to enable visitors to reserve and pay for a holiday in one of their three luxurious apartments. Within easy reach of Belfast, Comber and Bangor, the estate dates back to 1676 and lies in 200 acres of extensive landscaped grasslands, private lakes, walkways and bridal paths.

Mouths of the Farset!

The Tangible Leadership Series 2018 is coming to the Skainos Centre (http://www.skainos.org) in Belfast on the afternoon of Thursday, 22nd February 2018. I will be speaking at this event, which is entitled ‘Mouths of the Farset!’. I will be talking on changes in technology and my observations along the way. If you would like to speak at this event or be in attendance, there are more details at: https://www.tangible.ie/2018/01/29/tangible-irelands-mouths-of-the-farset/

Check your site’s metatags are up-to-date

The titles and descriptions for each page of your web site are what users see on a search engine results page. Keeping them relevant to the content of each page will ensure that the user won't be disappointed and will select the link to visit your site. This blog post explains how to change them and tips on selecting the best key terms within titles, descriptions and content: http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=663

Check what keywords visitors use to get to your site

This blog post directs you to a helpful report within your Google Analytics account and explains how you can identify the key words that have good average position but poor click-through rate, so you can improve the site's content: http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=664

For more information about ETINU, see: http://www.etinu.com/, and feel free to forward any questions about ETINU or your web site.

January 2018 notice...

Christine Cahoon   Fri 19 Jan 2018   updated: Tue 13 Mar 2018

A big event happening this year
ETINU's section types
When to use the section types, blog and newsitems

A big event happening this year

Platypus are pleased to host the Vespa World Days Belfast web site. This event will be taking place on 14-17 June 2018. Held every year in a different city, this year it's coming to the Vespa Village in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. If you're in Belfast in June, watch out for more than 4,000 Vespa scooters from over 320 Vespa clubs within 32 countries coming your way!

http://www.vespaworlddays2018.co.uk/

ETINU's section types

This blog post gives at-a-glance information with a series of screenshots and simple explanation of how each section type displays content and their different features:

http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/generic?instanceID=19

When to use the section types, blog and newsitems

This post describes the differences between using newsitems for timed content and the blog that displays the content permanently with various options for finding content:

http://www.etinu.com/cgi-bin/blog?instanceID=1&do=show&blogID=710

For more information about ETINU, see: http://www.etinu.com/, but if you have any questions about ETINU or about any of our services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Living in the clouds

Christine Cahoon   Mon 15 Jan 2018

AWS logo

At the end of last week we had cause to upgrade the performance of a number of web sites by up-sizing the server instance they were hosted on. It occurred to me just how much easier life has become since we began living in a cloud.

Upgrading a server is a breeze compared to the 1990s when we were hosting all our own internet services on our network, then later in our own racks in Telephone House in Belfast (the network "head end" for Northern Ireland). When renting data centre real estate we were in a situation that was much more prone to downtime, fraught with stressful incidents if anything went wrong, and costly.

For more than ten years now we've been using Amazon Web Services, http://aws.amazon.com/ creating our own resilient hosting environment for all our internet services in a rather large and well equipped cloud. All services are monitored, system updates are easily performed regularly, and snapshots, which capture the complete content of each server instance (operating system, databases, application software and other resources including all data), are taken daily for backup purposes.

Within the AWS global cloud, each server instance has been built by ourselves to our specification and tuned for our ETINU software. When demand arises, another server instance can be created or an existing instance upgraded with minimum ado. For most new instances we take a snapshot of our most recent server configuration to create a new source image then launch the server instance using that image.

Once a server instance has been set up, it is automatically charged at a price for on-demand per hour usage. However we can negotiate "reserved instances", an accounting device that allows us to commit to "always on" server instances over a fixed term and thereby reducing the cost.

We performed an upgrade on one of our servers at 04.45 this past week. There was no user activity or network traffic at this time and the new larger instance was running with negligible downtime of service. Tests after restart showed that the server had boosted performance as expected.

We sometimes hanker after the good old days but I, for one, am very glad we've moved to cloud hosting where, not only is an upgrade easier, but hardware, security and environment are also taken care of.

Clouds