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In this digital age, staying connected online is good business. But many people find tech intimidating. Tune it to the Camp Tech podcast where host Avery Swartz will help you navigate the digital world in a beginner-friendly way. Hear tech industry professionals give expert insight into the digital opportunities available to business owners today. You will learn practical tips and discover how to make the web work for you - no previous technical knowledge required.

Camp Tech Podcast with Avery Swartz Avery Swartz, Founder and CEO of Camp Tech

    • Wirtschaft

In this digital age, staying connected online is good business. But many people find tech intimidating. Tune it to the Camp Tech podcast where host Avery Swartz will help you navigate the digital world in a beginner-friendly way. Hear tech industry professionals give expert insight into the digital opportunities available to business owners today. You will learn practical tips and discover how to make the web work for you - no previous technical knowledge required.

    023: HTTPS and SSL Certification

    023: HTTPS and SSL Certification

    Guest: Shawn Hooper
    What He Does: Shawn has worked as a computer programmer for most of his life, and is currently the Director of IT for Actionable Books — His job entails developing all of the internal tools for their staff. He is also a WordPress core contributor.
    Ponderance: How do SSL certificates and HTTPS help to secure websites?
    Find him online: shawnhooper.ca
    In today’s episode, Shawn joins Avery to talk about issues of HTTPS and SSL Certification. During this discussion, Shawn explains some of the technicalities of these things, and puts them in a practical framework that listeners can apply to their own websites.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [2:50] SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer — this is actually an old protocol, and the new one is called Transport Layer Security, or TLS. SSL/TLS are cryptographic protocols that ensure that the data between your computer, and the computer that you’re getting data from, is encrypted for both sources.
    [4:50] HTTPS is a secure version of the HTTP protocol. This protocol is the standard that defines how a web browser and a web server exchange data. This covers permissions to request a page, how the server responds to that request, and how it handles errors. It requires an additional layer of security, so it’s HTTP over SSL.
    [6:30] In your web browser, when you look at the address bar, if it is secure you will see a little padlock. This means you are using https and the connection between you and the site is secure. The URL will also start with https, rather than http.
    [7:55] Web browsers are starting to call the attention of website owners and the visitors to websites to being more aware of security and to enable https to the websites we visit. The “not secure notice” shows up on pages where there is a form that requires a password or perhaps credit card information that is not secured with HTTPS.
    [10:05] Another type of warning could come on a page that is HTTPS, but isn’t fully secure. This is a sign of a broken implementation — it might be represented by a broken padlock or an i with a circle around it.
    [11:54] In addition to security, the biggest benefit of switching to HTTPS and having a secure site will help increase the trust between your customers and you. If they trust you, they are more likely to interact with the site much more easily. In some cases, having a SSL/HTTPS encrypted website is a requirement. This is required if you accept credit card data. Google will also give a slight increase in ranking to sites that are HTTPS.
    [14:05] To implement SSL/HTTPS, you need buy a certificate that will act as a “handshake” between your computer and the web server. This certificate identifies your server as being you, and allows your visitors’ browsers to recognize your website. There are three different types of certificates available: 1) domain-validated certificate, 2) organization-validated certificate, and 3) extended-validation certificate. From a technical standpoint from what they do, they all encrypt the same way. It is from a trust standpoint where they differ.
    [18:23] In terms of cost, you could get a domain-validated certificate for free. An organization called Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates. Many web-hosting companies are building Let’s Encrypt right into their web offerings. A certificate from Let’s Encrypt expires after 90 days, rather than a year like most other SSL certificates, but it can be auto-renewed. This option is a great solution for those who want a little boost of trust but don’t necessarily need the higher-end validation of who you are.
    [20:48] If your web host doesn’t support Let’s Encrypt, you can get domain-validated certificates from a certificate authority for a couple of dollars a year. The other two types of certificates are more expensive.
    [22:19] Some factors that might affect the cost of

    • 39 Min.
    022: Hot and Fast Tips for Email Marketing

    022: Hot and Fast Tips for Email Marketing

    Email marketing gets a little bit of a bad rap — people tend to forget about it because it’s old. There’s a lot of data out there that shows that it consistently works for many businesses and different types of organizations, including business-to-consumer and business-to-business. In this episode, Avery talks about some of her favorite aspects of and quick tips for email marketing, and what benefits this form of digital marketing can have for businesses. Email is one of the only forms of digital marketing that goes direct to the target audience, and is very affordable compared to other digital marketing channels. Listen today to hear all about email marketing!
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [5:37] Following the introduction about some of the positive aspects of email marketing, Avery shared her quick tips for listeners. The first tip is to think about all the ways you can capture email addresses — getting a lot of email addresses is a really powerful way to market to a large number of people. Think beyond the signup form on your website; give your customers information about what they will get if they sign up for your email newsletter.
    [7:53] To get other people who aren’t on your website interested, you may consider running a social media contest. In addition to this, Avery’s number one favorite way to get email addresses is to think of different ways you could potentially get that information from someone in person. You can set up a tablet with your email subscription sign up at a convenient place for your customers.
    [11:53] When preparing to do your email marketing campaign, think about it as if someone is opening it on their smartphone first. Some hot and fast design tips for mobile: 1) Make sure you’re using an email program that can handle a different mobile design than the desktop or laptop email design.
    [15:09] 2) Do more than just send out one marketing message to your entire marketing list. The best way to do targeted campaigns is to segment your email list. Get creative in the ways you could segment your list to reach more of your customers on a personal level.
    [20:26] The final tip for today is: 3) If you are using an email marketing solution, many of them have reporting tools that are built in. You can look at these reports to see how different email campaigns performed. Look at things that could inform your next email campaign — where were the links clicked in the email? What was the best time and day of the week to send emails?
    [23:00] If your email marketing solution allows you to do some AB testing before you send out a giant campaign, take advantage! You could test things like different subject lines, times and days of the week, or the content inside the message. You need to think about how all of the different parts of digital marketing play together, so you have a cohesive strategy for your business.
     
    Episode Highlights:
    Different Ways to Get Email Addresses
    Email Marketing Campaigns
    Mobile-First Thinking
    Design Tips for Mobile-First
    Targeted Campaigns/Segmented Email Lists
    Reporting Tools
    AB Testing
     
    Resources:
    Hover.com/camptechpodcast
    MailChimp
    Camp Tech Website
    Really Good Emails
    MailChimp’s Email Design Guide
    Mobile Email Design Cheatsheet
    The Modern Guidebook to Email Marketing

    • 26 Min.
    021: Best Practices for Digital Security

    021: Best Practices for Digital Security

    With no guest joining Avery on this episode, she takes the time to talk about a very important subject — digital security. In today’s show, she shares practical advice that anyone can use in a more convenience-based lifestyle. She covers everything from things to watch out for, to how differences devices might be affected, as well as sharing some tips and resources to improve your digital security practices.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [2:05] Many small businesses don’t always have their own dedicated IT department; in addition to installing software and getting email set-up, they also have to worry about security. There are things that could go wrong, and it’s important to have your security properly configured, to protect yourself and your information.
    [4:31] The number one threat seems to be people getting Malware. Malware is an umbrella term that covers all sorts of bad things that could happen to your computer. This might happen if someone is trying to control your computer, or trying to spread something else around. People are also getting into the “Malware scene” for money (Ransomware). The average ransom demand is $649, and 43% of Ransomware victims are employees within organizations.
    [8:29]  Digital security should be practiced daily; it should become a habit just as your physical safety is.
    [9:27] Setup: computers, smartphones, websites. Websites have security issues, and if you are the owner of a website, you need to make sure you’re thinking about security for your website. For computers, Macs tend to be a little more secure than PC’s, but they are still susceptible to viruses, etc. Owners of both computers need to configure their computers correctly. As with computers, if you have a smartphone there are safety and security vulnerabilities (Android phones more so than iPhones or other iOS devices).
    [11:53] Once you have things setup, it will become a day-to-day practice of digital security. The two biggest vulnerabilities of digital security today are phishing emails and data breaches.
    [12:36] Phishing emails are spam emails that come in, but they are getting much better. They may look like they’re coming from people or a company you know, and the messages are starting to look legitimate and professional. If you follow the links provided, your computer may get infected with a virus, or you might be tricked into sharing some kind of secure information you wouldn’t want to share. Be very careful when you’re checking your email — check out the link destinations and the file names to discern legitimacy before you click it.
    [15:27] With so many digital accounts, it is (unfortunately) highly possible that platforms will have a data breach. Password management — and having a different password for different logins — is very important. If, for some reason, your password gets shared in a data breach, and you only have one password, someone could easily access several of your accounts with one password. Avery suggests using a password manager.
    [20:51] Keep everything updated, especially on your phone. Updating the apps and the operating system on your phone is one of the number one ways to block security vulnerabilities. Many times when there is an update, it is for a security patch.
    [21:54] If you use your phone to message people, some messaging apps aren’t totally secure. The most secure app Avery recommends is Signal, which offers end-to-end encryption.
    [23:30] If a program offers you two-step authentication, use it! This system allows you to log in with your password, and then provides a second verification on another device before logging you in.
    [24:42] VPN: Virtual Private Network. A VPN makes sure that whatever you’re doing online is encrypted. Whenever you’re on an open wifi source, you definitely need to turn on a VPN. They should work on any number of devices.
    [26:52] Anti-v

    • 34 Min.
    020: What’s Happening on the Cutting Edge of Social Media

    020: What’s Happening on the Cutting Edge of Social Media

    In this episode, Avery and Dani talk about what sort of developments are happening today on various social media platforms, and how small businesses might use some of these developments in their business.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [3:10] Dani discusses some of what is going on in today’s social media. “Dark social” refers to the concept that 80% of all sharing that happens on social media/text/email is hard to get readings on because of how people are sharing the information. Analytics can get tricky to track.
    [5:40] How does this work with their clients? It is perhaps more imperative for larger companies, but smaller companies (most of Dani’s work) use Google analytics. Now they link the direct traffic back to social sharing and focus more on “clicks” — this inflates analytics.
    [7:47] What else is going on in the social media world? Instagram stories and Facebook My Day — posting a photo or video that will only be there for 24 hours. Both of these avenues offer a different, more casual way, to share information.
    [12:02] Facebook My Day is in the Facebook Messenger App and is similar to the idea of Instagram stories, but is only available for profiles, not businesses. Eventually maybe there will be a My Day button for Facebook pages that would allow more access for everyone on Facebook. Avery and Dani also talk about Chatbots and how they are being utilized.
    [17:25] Avery and Dani talk about Facebook as a staple in social media — it’s undergone many changes, but one of the keys to their success is that they’re always integrating the newest possible technology.
    [19:04] What do these changes in technology entail for businesses? The more developed technology gives businesses an opportunity for in-the-moment representations of who they are as a company and how they want to present themselves to consumers.
    [20:07] Discussion about Snapchat (Snap) and some of their recent developments and the evolution of the app. It is a little harder to grow your followers on Snapchat versus some of the other social media platforms.
    [23:20] Businesses and Snapchat: Dani tends to direct her clients away from Snapchat and focus more on things like Instagram stories. For now, the focus should be on the tools they can use well and the ones that are going to work for them. Dani also speaks to the fact that technology and social media is always changing, and who knows what we’ll be using ten years from now?
     
    Episode Highlights:
    Dark Social
    Analytics
    Facebook My Day
    Instagram stories
    Facebook Messenger
    Chatbots
    Yuval Noah Harari’s books: Sapiens and Homo Deus
    AI — Artificial Intelligence
    Snapchat
    Snap Spectacles
    Businesses and social media platforms
    Changing social media
     
    Resources:
    Hover.com/camptechpodcast
    Episode 9 of Camp Tech
    Dani G Inc
    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
    Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
    The Globe and Mail Small Business Summit
    Camptech.ca

    • 27 Min.
    019: How To Up Your Google Ranking

    019: How To Up Your Google Ranking

    Guest: Brock Murray
    What He Does: Brock works as a digital marketing specialist, and the co-founder of seoplus+, focusing on generating sales and leads for small and medium businesses. Additionally, he works as an instructor for Camp Tech.
    Ponderance: How can small, local business improve their rankings on a Google search?
    Find him online: seoplus.ca
    In this episode, Brock and Avery discuss several different ways small business owners can work to improve their rankings on search engine websites. They cover everything from polishing your website, getting reviews, connecting with local businesses, and optimizing your social media presence. Tune in today!
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [2:16] Responding to a piece of listener mail: What is the most cost efficient way to improve your ranking on a Google search, if you have a specialized, local-area business?
    [3:11] Brock follows an approach for local SEO: invest in your website to make it optimized correctly and mobile-friendly, focus on the content of your website, get links from other websites, and get connected with Google My Business.
    [7:51] An important piece for the local aspect is Google My Business. This profile is linked to your business’s physical location, and once your profile is verified, you have the opportunity to show up in local business searches.
    [10:27] For local SEO, getting good reviews on major sites is critical. You will drive more business when people see that you’re getting good reviews. As a business owner, a very simple way is ask your customers to leave a review, and guide them to where they can leave them.
    [14:30] Another big part of local SEO is being in local directories — websites that list local business, like Yelp or FourSquare, will complement your SEO strategy and help your business rank better as well.
    [17:07] Avery and Brock talk about the importance of your social strategy, and how it, too, can complement your SEO strategy. Being intentional about which social network you want to target is important for driving your business. Getting connected with other local businesses on social media can also enhance your SEO growth.
     
     
    Episode Highlights:
    Process for approaching local SEO
    Building good content for your website
    Get linked locally - Google My Business
    The power of Google reviews
    Encouraging customers to leave reviews
    Local directories
    Managing your social profile
    Getting connected with other local businesses
     
    Resources:
    Camp Tech Episode 8 — Remarketing Digital Ads
    Help A Reporter Out
    Google My Business
    avery@camptech.ca
     

    • 22 Min.
    018: All About Web Apps

    018: All About Web Apps

    Guests: Jordan Deutsch and Trudy MacNabb
    What They Do: They run a development-focused agency called Up At Five, and work predominately on web applications.
    Ponderance: What tips can they share on how to approach an app project?
    Find them online: upatfive.ca
     
    Description: On today’s episode, Avery meets with Jordan and Trudy of Up At Five, a digital studio focused on data-driven web applications. They cover everything from what it means to build one, what it might cost, and what kinds of considerations one should have as they plan to develop and produce a web application.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [3:44] Avery, Jordan, and Trudy cover exactly what a web app is, and how it differs from an app on your phone or a website. Unlike phone apps, web apps are “operating system agnostic,” so you can run it through any browser, and it also allows for more user interaction.
    [6:18] Native applications — some web apps can be adapted to utilize special features of certain devices or operating systems.
    [9:39] Listener mail from Orrest: He found that the existing accounting websites, while they work for general businesses, he is looking for something that will support the needs of a specific industry. He wants to know what it takes to build a working model, and what steps or procedures are needed to develop such a site.
    [11:48] Assuming the listener was trying to develop a web app, where would one even start? Understanding the features that will differentiate you from other products on the market is very important in developing something new.
    [12:42] What is the process like to work with the Up At Five team on a project? Typically they start with an exploratory phase that considers expertise from the industry, as well careful consideration of what good things current programs have, and what things you think could be added or improved.
    [14:26] Once high-level features have been nailed down, they go through a wire-framing process. This includes what a user flow would look like, and more finite detail about how the application will store and process information.
    [16:04] They discuss the role of user testing in the development process, as well as the benefits of user testing. Not everyone is going to use a product in the same way, and it’s important to consider the widest variety of people in your user group. Synthesizing the feedback from different users helps to shed light on strengths and weaknesses.
    [19:26] How much does a startup project for web apps cost? Jordan and Trudy recommend a website (see below) that allows you to enter the information for your project to get an idea of how much your idea might cost.
    [22:06] They discuss long-term maintenance of web apps, in order to keep them current from both a content side and a technical side. It would be ideal to have someone technical, either in house or readily available.
    [25:49] Make sure to leave time and money for the promotion of your product!
    [26:14] What tips do the girls have for someone who wants to start a web app, in terms of working with a professional? Don’t be afraid to ask questions or bring up new ideas! There are a lot of exciting stories of success to use for inspiration!
     
     
    Episode Highlights:
    What is a web app?
    Difference between web app, phone apps, and websites
    Benefits of web apps
    Process of creation of a technical project
    Role of user testing
    Cost of starting a web app
    Long-term maintenance of a web app
     
    Resources:
    Up At Five Website
    Howmuchdoesawebsiteco.st
    Show Notes
    Camp Tech Website
    Avery@camptech.ca

    • 29 Min.

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