How to Apply Your Smartphone to Your Business’ Web Strategy
When establishing a business, there are two elements that seem to always be in short supply: time and money. Unfortunately, these elements are often tethered: making money requires time and having time requires money. For many entrepreneurs, this dilemma leads to an increased value in anything that’s capable of saving either commodity.
Personally, I’m of the “use what you’ve got” mentality. Until you’ve secured the financial backing to bring in help, maximizing currently-available resources can be cost effective and save precious time. Enter, your smartphone.
Like Mary Poppins’ suitcase, today’s smartphone is capable of housing many tools that simply “get shit done”. And if there’s one mantra that entrepreneurs need, that would be it.
In the following article, I’ll outline several ways that entrepreneurs can use a smartphone to improve their business’ web presence. Some tips might not be compatible with your business’ web strategy, but for many of my clients, these will apply.
Manage Your Community
One area of a new business that may consume a lot of time can be found in social media efforts. Although jumping into social media might not be immediately planned, at some point you’re going to need to add it to your strategy. Why? Because more than likely, your customers are there…even if you’re B2B.
All the major networks have native social media apps: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. Use these to engage your followers and moderate your community. If you want added functionality, download an app like Hootsuite that will allow you to track multiple channels simultaneously and “listen” for conversations that are relevant to your business. Once you’ve done that, set your phone to notify you when these conversations are occurring so you’re there to contribute.
WordPress, the platform we use when setting up websites for our clients, has a native app for iOS and Android. Through this app, site owners can edit existing content, manage their site and add new content like “Posts”. No, I’m not about to suggest you peck and swipe an entire post on your smartphone. That would be the opposite of time-saving. Rather, use your voice to draft a post instead! On Android, once you understand how your phone hears you, you can input text much faster than with your fingers. By “understand”, I mean that your phone needs to hear you speak punctuation marks and know when to start a new paragraph (just say, “new line”). Give it a shot! Open your phone’s keyboard, tap the microphone and clearly speak the words written in this paragraph. You might be surprised at its accuracy! I use Google Keyboard for text input, but the functionality is available on other titles as well.
Once a blog post is drafted, the article will be there waiting for you to format and add images the next time you’re in front of a computer.
Track Your Site’s Visitors
For every site that I build, Google Analytics code is inserted on the back-end. With this code in place, site owners can assess the who, what, when, where and how of their domain. You can even track your visitors in real-time if you want!
Track the Industry
It’s always good to stay in-the-know of happenings in your area of business, entrepreneur or not. Let’s use mobile app developers as an example. If a mobile OS is improved, a new behavioral trend emerges or new hardware is introduced, app developers need to know because it will eventually have an impact on their product. To keep tabs on relevant news, grab an app like Feedly or Flipboard. Once you’ve identified your sources, check back every-so-often to see all the latest headlines.
Strengthen Your Site’s Security
One problem that many web users have faced is having an account compromised. Poor passwords are usually the culprit of these incidents, but even strong passwords can be cracked with a little time. By using your smartphone as a second layer of authentication, online accounts become exponentially more difficult to breach.
There are several options that you have in order to accomplish this. The simplest method which requires no smartphone is to have a text message sent. Once the message is received, you have several seconds to enter it on the site. With a smartphone, however, you’re not limited to SMS and have the option of using the Google Authenticator app on Android or iTunes. Yes, it actually takes more time to log into your account, but keeping your administrator account safer from bad guys is worth the few extra seconds. It could save a lot of time and frustration in the future.
In order to get things done on a website, you need to remember that you were supposed to do them in the first place, right? When it comes to tasks, some individuals have an excellent memory. But in order to maximize productivity, some need to do more than just remember them. We must also be able to prioritize them, set deadlines, reminders and notifications. By strategizing a plan, then translating that plan into actionable and prioritized tasks, getting everything done becomes a much more realistic goal. This applies to both web-specific tasks and tasks in general.
For task management, Google users can opt to utilize the built-in account feature (if you didn’t know this, you can access it on your desktop by going to the Google Calendar web page, then selecting “Tasks” under the “My calendars” heading on the left).
A smartphone app like GTasks is perfect for organizing your to-dos. Simply define business goals through lists, then add individual tasks to your lists. When adding a task, be sure to also assign a reasonable deadline to help stay on track. If you’re like me and need a nudge to remind you when to do it, you can define this in the app too.
Pocket is a second tool for those with a finite amount of memory. Download this app and never worry about forgetting where you saw something online again. As the creator of the app put it, it’s like “DVR for everything”. In addition to having a mobile app, Pocket also provides a desktop browser plugin for Firefox and Chrome. Wherever you are – if you encounter studies, articles, videos, guides and any other resource that pertains to your business – just tuck it in your Pocket, then pull it back up when you need it.
While the odds are that your smartphone is within arm’s reach of you right now, there are going to be times when your phone is out of ear-shot or even muted. As such, any notification received on your phone will be unbeknownst to you. Even if it’s right next to you, viewing the notification on your wrist is usually faster than trying to unlock and navigate your phone. For the web, these notifications are everything from Twitter replies and Facebook comments to important emails and task reminders. If you’re notified faster, you can act faster – and acting faster saves time.
For less than $100, you can grab a smartwatch and pair it with your Android or iPhone. With the current market offerings, I recommend the original Pebble. It won’t win you any fashion awards, but it’s got days of battery life, visibility in direct sunlight, water resistance and it’s really lightweight. It’s arguably less “smart” then an Android Wear or Apple Watch, but it’ll get the job done from a business perspective without killing your budget for the month.
What about you? How do you use a smartphone to sharpen your entrepreneurial edge?
About the Author
My professional experience with the web reaches back more than 8 years. During this time, I've been developing sites for individuals and businesses, working on a team of digital experience analysts as well as providing qualitative and quantitative research surrounding web and mobile technology.Jonathan