Using Mind Maps To Plan Your Business

Using Mind Maps To Plan Your Business

Mind Maps Make Meetings Better (and more productive)

Every have to take meeting notes?

How about use the meeting as problem solving method? And everyone sits in a room to defend their business silo, but no one wants to talk about the primary issue that needs to be addressed?

Well using mind maps might be the way to draw out the best solutions from the group.

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What is Mind Mapping

  • Way of visually getting ideas you don’t know are in your head or trapped in a team and representing them in an easy to use format of subjects, ideas and sub-ideas.
  • Essientially here’s how it works
    • Start with a main topic or issue, the Subject. Say, SEO for Website
    • Start populating the second level, or Ideas, with possible issues or groupings of drill-down items. In this case. Internal teams, External Resources, Training, Measurement Criteria, Other Items, etc.
    • Then, inside each of these ideas, there are sub-ideas, resource details, questions to ask, action items, etc.
      • All of these can usually be signified in the software with either custom icons like a checkbox, question mark, etc, or with different text colors.
    • Each of the Ideas start a branch of “bubbles” on the mind map, which then branch out again, and even again if necessary. All of this forms an easy to use diagram, which in many cases can be converted to a more traditional outline format if needed. 

Why is Mind Mapping Better Than Plain Old Words?

  • Ever try to add an item in a traditionally list on paper or a white board? Your options are to erase and move items, add it to the bottom and signify it needs to be somewhere else, or draw an impromptu mind map with lines, bubbles and some text anyway.
  • Humans consume visual data quicker and better than plain text. Ever wonder why TV and magazines and of course, the web, have ousted newspapers? Highly visual and easily consumed ideas instead of long, wordy sentences. 
  • Mind Mapping encourages grouping of ideas and expanding on those ideas, whereas simple text can be limited by the format.

How to Mind Map?

  • Start with an idea or subject that is easy to solve. If the subject is too complex, break it down and then build mind maps for an easy to consume part of the mind map, therefore solving the bigger issue by conquering the smaller ones.
  • Use images, hyperlinks, contact information and more to make the document more useful or easy to follow. 
  • Also use different colors for the different Idea branches to make it easy to navigate inside each topic and subtopic.
  • Use short phrases to capture ideas, especially in the brainstorming portion of mind mapping. You can always go back and expand on issues, but capture what you need, and only what you need initially.

Any Pitfalls to Avoid When Mind Mapping?

  • Concentrating on one item too long. Dump ideas and move on, you can sort everything out later.
  • Not having someone leading the mind mapping that knows how to ask for expansion or more creativity. 
  • Capturing vague ideas and not documenting or expanding them.

What Software Can I Use to do Mind Mapping?

  • Mind Meister : Free for up to 3 maps, $5 for personal, $8 for a Pro account and $12.50 for enterprice (all per user, per month)
  • Coggle : Little more bare bones, not the catalog of templates or “flair” but cost : Personal – free, 3 private diagrams, Awesome is $5/month for most of what you will need, and $8 for an “organization” account if more customization needed for teams.
  • Mind Manager : really a virtual whiteboard but it’s by the company I was first exposed to in Mind Mapping, Mindjet. It’s #349 for Windows, $179 for Mac. All have 30-day trials. Full-featured and wonderful software. 

Have any questions or suggestions on going mind mapping? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Does your business have a shared inbox?

Most small, and nearly ALL large businesses have generic email inboxes that are logged into by two or more staff members. Sometimes it can get messy when everyone, or in some cases no one, log into the box to handle customer requests, questions, or just to clean it out.

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Why would you need a shared inbox?

Current and potential clients like to have generic email inboxes they can use to contact your company. Addresses like “info@”, “support@”, and “customerservice@” help them reach the right person. But sometimes it’s never just ONE person, but a group that keeps that inbox monitored. And this can sometimes cause collisions of two people working the same issue, or worse, ZERO people working the same issue because they thought it was being handled by someone else.

Ways to set up a shared inbox

  • Manual – An email gets sent to “info@” and several people all see it in their inbox. Someone has to accept that email, read it, respond back to the sender, then file that email in a different folder or use whatever process is mandated by the business to mark it as complete.The problem arises when the inbox is set up incorrectly and not everyone sees it being read so multiple people start working the issue, or everyone sees it and assumes it will be handled by someone else so no one helps the customer.In this case, there needs to be a documented process of who handles it and when. If rep A is gone, rep B works it. If it sits for more than “x” hours then the manager or someone else is specified to handle it. If there are no documented processes you will have breakdowns or cause extra work on certain issues.
  • Forms on the Website – Putting a form on the website does a couple of things. First, you don’t give out actual email addresses but you can still direct subjects selected by the client to a particular email address. This means all “info@,” “questions@,” or whatever goes to an actual person, not a group of people, but the client doesn’t see who gets it. This also allows some flexibility when someone leaves the company, is on vacation, or is just too busy to handle these types of requests.A second benefit of forms is they allow you to format the information being gathered instead of just letting the sender put whatever information they wish into the form. So you can ask for and even require names, email addresses, phone numbers, subjects, and just about anything else you want or need.Finally, many of these forms can be saved to a database AND sent to a person or persons, so in the event email goes down, a person’s address is terminated for whatever reason, or something just isn’t handled right away, you can look at the data and recover this request and fix the issue.The one drawback is this format requires the user to actually go to the website to submit the form instead of just firing off an email from their phone or email application.
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management platforms are the next step beyond email forms. They are databases or applications that use form or email information to create tickets that can be handled by one or more people. Some potential CRM platforms in a wide variety of functions and price are Hubspot, Zoho and Freshdesk (what I use at BeBizzy).There are so many benefits to this type of system including:
    • Saved threads of communication with the client
    • Formatted questions that require the sender to provide necessary information to solve the issue like invoice numbers, usernames, phone numbers and more.
    • Many have the ability to add an FAQ, support forum, or other intermediary step where the sender can often solve their own problems or the group can solve it before you can.
    • Most CRM platforms are located off the website network, so it doesn’t affect the traffic or performance of the website
    • It provides an auditable trail to see how long it took to respond, how many interactions did it take before resolution, who handles how many tickets, and more.

Bottom Line

Shared inboxes are a great way to handle client request or questions. They allow your company to respond as a group instead of relying on just one person. But it more control is needed, the first step would be to create some forms on the website that send to specific people and save to a database. If the budget exists, or the need is great enough, a CRM is a great way to handle support tickets, general inquiries or other client requests. If the cost looks too big, weigh the option of what does it cost to lose a current or potential customer because something wasn’t handled right away.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

Landing Pages

You’ve probably heard of landing pages. You may even HAVE a landing page. But you also might not know why you have it, what it’s doing, or even how to fix it if you’re not seeing results.

On today’s Episode 70 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk with the Landing Page School Podcast host Nicholas Scalice and find out what you might, and might not, know about landing pages.

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First, some tech news

First, two big updates in the last week or so.

WordPress 4.9.8 was launched.  We are getting very close to 5.0, which will include the Gutenberg update to WordPress. Very anticipated version which will bring on a visual editor and promises to change the WP landscape for the better. That remains to be seen with older websites, themes, etc. But the 4.9.8 update does have the “Try Gutenberg” callout. It’s an opportunity to try the Gutenberg editor before it is released in 5.0. I have not doesn’t it yet, but will test shortly.

Also has 18 privacy fixes and a few other improvements. I’ve updated all my sites with not issues, but make sure you back up before you do anything.

Also, Android released it’s Android P (Pie) update for the Google Pixel phones. I updated my Pixel 2 XL on Monday. Small changes in the notifications and menus, but for the most part it was a pretty seamless update. I’m sure there will be more as I use it, including the Adaptive Battery feature, which promises to turn down battery usage on apps that are not in use at the time, but still running.

Finally, Samsung will be announcing the Note 9 tomorrow (Aug 9). Lots of huge improvements for this devices anticipated including a bigger battery, better screen and camera, and the Adaptive Battery. Can’t wait for that announcement. FYI, you can sign up to watch the announcement live at this Samsung website.

Now on to today’s main topic… landing pages. Most of you have heard the term, and maybe even use them on your websites. But I have a couple of sites that are going to be implementing them, and decided now would be a great time to bring in an expert, which is why I called on Nicholas Scalice, the host of the Landing Page School Podcast.  So this is me, and Nicolas Scalice… enjoy.

What are Landing Pages

Landing pages are a page on your website that has a very specific purpose, audience, and/or message. It should be developed to get the visitor to perform one action… purchase something, sign up, request info, download a PDF, contact you… one specific action.

The difference between a home page, or even an interior page and a landing page is on these pages, you are directing visitors to other pages in the website to get more information, and on a landing page, again, you are getting visitors to do that one specific action.

How to Get Traffic To A Landing Page

Most traffic is directed to landing pages through paid marketing efforts. Things like Google Ads and Facebook ads allow you to be very specific to the audience and who you would drive to see the main message on that landing page. It also works if you drive landing pages through traditional means like billboards, radio, tv, print, etc because you are serving a very specific message on both the ad and the landing page. The trick is NOT to drive all of this traffic to the home page, as that has a very open message instead of the message match between the ad copy and the page.

What Should You Have On A Landing Page?

Nicholas gave us six items to have on a landing page which answer certain questions :

  1. What Is It? What is the offer? What is the landing page about?
  2. Can It Help Me? Is it something that can make my life or business better or easier?
  3. Do I Like It? Is the visual design of the page good and trushworthy?
  4. Do Others Like It? Is there social proof that says other visitors and clients like it?
  5. Trust. Is there something on the landing page that says this site and/or product is trustworthy?
  6. How Do I Get It? What’s the call to action? How do I order, sign up, or purchase?

In regards to length of the page, there is not measurement. In fact, it’s good practice to NOT index the page so SEO rules don’t apply. Concentrate on conversion optimization, not SEO optimization. Also keep in mind, where your customers will be viewing the page. If it’s mobile, small images, less text and other mobile tricks should be implemented to work on phones and tablets. Responsive or mobile themes are necessary in today’s business climate!

What Are Mistakes Made on Landing Pages?

The number one mistake made on landing pages is not having a great offer. The site might be awesome, and the ad-spend might be well thought out, but the offer might not be well thought of. Some poorly designed pages do very well, while a well designed site might not convert because the offer is bad.

It’s also a mistake to have incorrect “micro-copy,” the text on your buttons, subheadings, etc that are action focused. If you can build the “value” into the button or other text it will convert better. Try completing the phrase “I want to…” with the button or link text. I want to contact you, I want to download the free e-book, I want to purchase your widget all work great.

A/B Testing

You’re probably never going to develop the perfect landing page on run #1. A/B testing only works if you have enough traffic, and you have a plan on what to test, how long, what are we testing for, etc.

Nicholas suggests testing “bigger things” like the offer instead of button color or text.

How Do I Build A Landing Page

Unbounce : drag and drop builder for

WordPress : Page Builder called Elementor, and other themes make it easy to build quickly and efficiently.

LeadPages : Landing page creator that also interfaces with WordPress and other platforms.

How Can I Contact Nicholas Scalice?

Have any questions or suggestions landing pages or any other technology affecting your business? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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What to do About Deleting Facebook

What to do About Deleting Facebook

BeBizzy News and Notes

  • Reminder, Tax Day is Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
  • WordPress 4.9.5 was released yesterday. It’s a small update, and just a few minor releases before the big one, Gutenberg, gets released.

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Should You (and your customers) Delete Facebook?

Some Background On The Facebook Issue

  • Facebook has been accused of distributing “fake news” since before the last US Presidential election.
    • The social platform was supposedly manipulated to send articles to those of certain political leanings re-enforcing those beliefs or inciting anger at opposing beliefs.
  • Recently it has been found that Cambridge Analytica obtained the Facebook data of 50 million users UPDATE!! I LIED! This afternoon (4/4/18) it was announced the leak was 87 million accounts!
  • Inside that data is your contact info, who you follow, what ads are clicked on, friends, your timeline, and much, much more.
  • So now that the cat’s out of the bag, what should you do as a consumer, and how does that affect you a as a business person?

First, let’s look at how to get your Facebook data

  • Computer – click on the down arrow to the right of your notifications and select “Settings
  • Under the General Account Settings is a link to “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click it.
  • You will be taken to another page (page views anyone) that asks you to click another button to “Download Archive.” Click THAT.
  • Next you will asked to provide your password. It is the same as your Facebook password, then click “Submit.”
  • An email will be sent to your login email stating your Facebook data has been requested, and a followup email will be sent when the data dump is complete.

Now if all that information scares you, you’re not alone. And thousands are deleting their Facebook accounts including Elon Musk, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum (who sold his company to Facebook for $16 billion), Jim Carey and more.

  • Deleting your account is easy, go here and click deactivate your account 
  • HOWEVER, before you do, remember that Cambridge Analytica and others already have your info, so deleting your Facebook account will only cut you off from sharing new info. They can already act on what they have.

So what does this mean to you and your business

Your customers could easily do the same, and once they see who they all follow, like and interract with, there’s a chance they will also either delete their accounts or remove some affiliations.

Instead of deleting Facebook, it’s suggested that users remove allegiances to Apps, Website and Games. You can also see what information is saved as “Your Ad Preferences” , where you can see what’s stored as Your Interests, Advertisers You’ve Interacted With, You’re Information and Ad Settings.

But if your customers go here, there is a chance they will “unsubscribe” to your ads and other information. So now what?

Well, if they do this, you could lose their attention. So there are a couple of things you can do to retain them now before another scandal prompted them to make changes.

  • Post Often – By putting quality, relatable, non-sale related content in front of them often, you could entice them to think of you as a needed resource, entertainment source, or wanted advertiser.
  • Advertise to a targeted list – Obviously when looking at your data you can see just how targeted your ads could be blasted. Be more selecting when you send out an ad instead of throwing it out to as many people as possible. It will save money and keep other timelines from being clogged.
  • Focus on things other than Facebook. Get your website’s SEO fixed, look at Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn as possible avenues of driving traffic, and look at marketing automation as an option.

If a user has made up their mind to delete Facebook you will simply loose that method of reaching them. If you have hitched your wagon, traffic and marketing to only Facebook, now is the time to start looking at other solutions.

WordPress Plugin of the Week

Mergebot 

Wish I would have sought this one out a few weeks ago before I moved a very large, active site. What it does is you install Mergebot on both your LIVE site and a DEVELOPMENT site. As your visitors interact with the site with sales, contacts and other things the information is passed through the cloud the Mergebot. Also, as you make changes to the development site these database changes are also sent to Mergebot, where the cloud database combines the two making it easier when the DEV site goes LIVE by syncing all the database changes in one place.

It’s not cheap, but if you’ve ever moved a large site or database and had to keep a version live while you migrate or change it can be a huge headache when it comes time to merge the data. Mergebot could help you with this.

Cost is $249/yr to migrate one site at a time, $349/yr for three, and $589/yr to do five sites at a time. Again, not cheap, but compared to the hours you could spend messing with database sorting and merging, it could be a lifesaver. Wish I would have used it before I migrated the last site, but I won’t make THAT mistake again!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

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Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast : Samsung Galaxy S9

We’re back after a few weeks of traveling, too much work, and an illness thrown in for good measure with episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast where we discuss the Samsung Galaxy S9 phone and how it compares to the Samsung Note 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL.

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Before we get into the main portion of the podcast, I have a few smaller items to talk about; a cautionary tale and two reasons to back up.

  • Cautionary Tale : woman has a computer break down, needs to write an article on her iPhone. Instead of using one of dozens of apps, she instead chooses to write the article on the tiny iPhone keyboard and uses her texting app, thinking when it’s done she can send it and then migrate it to a computer. Being mostly done one evening, she left the app running and went to sleep. The next morning, she picked up the phone, hit the space key, and ERASED everything she had previously written on her article. There is NO WAY to recover that information. Had she used one of the many office or note taking apps available for little or no cost, this would not have been an issue.
  • Backup Reminder One : Was asked by ANOTHER person last week if it’s possible to recover photos lost on a now-defective iPhone. This individual has never turned on their iCloud backups, Google Photos, Dropbox, Carbonite, or anything else, just left them on their phone. Now that the phone is dead there is NO way to recover these treasures without expensive recovery processes which may or may not work. BACK UP YOUR DATA!!
  • Backup Reminder Two : Many of my websites were attacked last week. I knew this by getting warned by the Wordfence app, which notifies me if anyone has a failed login attempt or if any critical files were changed. By using a weekly backup, all I had to do was restore a backup for the sites and change some login info.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Review

  • Had my Samsung S9 phone for about a week and it’s finally time to provide my review, and my comparisons to the Samsung Note 8 and Google Pixel 2 XL.
  • I’m lucky enough to be a member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 
Spec S9 S9+
Price $800 $930
Operating System Android 8.0 Android 8.0
Screen Size 5.8″ 2960x1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED 6.2″ 2960x1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED
Processor Exynos9810 Exynos9810
RAM 4GB 6GB
Storage (as tested) 64GB 64GB
MicroSD Slot Up to 400GB Up to 400GB
Rear Camera 12.MP 12 MP
Front Camera 8MP 8MP
Battery Life 11 13
Weight 5.74 oz. 6.67 oz.

Look, Feel & Design

Compared to the Note 8 and the Pixel 2 XL, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is only 3/4″ of an inch smaller, but boy is it noticeable! Carrying in my front pocket was much less bulky, and holding the phone in my hands was significantly different that the other two giant phones.

Typing and some other “business” uses were a bit more difficult with the smaller screen, so if you do a LOT of critical functions like posting to work social media, composing long emails, or maybe even typing notes, the S9+ may be a better option that the S9.

Battery Life

If there was one place I saw a drastic difference in the S9 compared to the other two phones it was the battery. I’m a big power user so the more battery I have the better. The S9 only has a 3000mAh battery, but the S9+ has a 3500mAh battery which is more comparable to the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL. The larger form factor has the benefit for more room, which is largely taken up by the battery.

Performance

The new Samsung Exynos 9 processor in both of these devices is fast! Boot times, app opening, even page transitions are noticeably quicker than the Note 8 & Pixel 2 XL. There’s some discussion on whether the Exynos 9 is on par with the A10 processor in the Apple iPhone X and tests seem to place it right in between the A10 and the Snapdragon on the other flagship phones. Either way, this is really quick  even compared to just the last version of the S-series phones.

Software

Luckily the Samsung S9 and S9+ come with Android 8 Oreo installed so the security and feature updates are available. Not surprisingly the Google Pixel 2 XL is running an even more advanced of Android. But what IS surprising is that the Note 8 is still running Android 7.1. As of this recording AT&T has started rolling out Oreo for the Note 8, but we’re still waiting on Verizon (hopefully we’re just waiting until after the Easter holiday weekend to make sure there’s no run on the call center, so next week?)

Sound

While the Note 8 still had the standard single speaker on the bottom of the phone which can easily be covered up and muted, the Samsung S9 has some amazing sound quality built in. They are running a surround system with Dolby Atmos technology and plays back great sound even if the exposed speaker is covered by the hand, clothing or other method. It’s not quite as good as the Google Pixel 2 XL, but this is simply because the Pixel 2 has stereo front firing speakers built into the bezel, which costs a little real estate on the screen, but features great sound.

Camera

I’ve saved the best for last. The Super Speed Dual Pixel camera on the S9 is simply better than the Pixel 2, which as been crowned the best smartphone camera for several months. The Auto function does a great job of selecting the right white balance, exposure and focus. And if you go to the Professional mode, you can get really creative with all of those functions. But on the video side, the Super Slo-Mo camera is really innovative. At 960 frames per second for short burst the super slo-mo camera delivers crystal clear slow motion video. And it didn’t really matter how fast the video was moving. The low-light capture is stunning with no artifacts in the darker sections of the photos. FYI, to open the camera quickly you can double-press the power button.

Summary

As a phone for personal and light business use, I would have no problem recommending the Samsung Galaxy S9. It’s the fastest phone I’ve ever owned, the screen is great, sound is amazing and the camera is the best smartphone camera available.

I’m a bit of fan of the larger form factor, and while I didn’t get a chance to test the S9+, I have held one in a Verizon store and played with it. The form and performance is similar to the Note 8 making typing and other tasks a bit easier for me.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on your digital assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home and on your podcasting apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio or wherever you get your podcast files from, like the PocketCasts app!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Have a great easter weekend everyone, stay safe on April fools, and we’ll see you next time on the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

Some photos and videos from the S9

 

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Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Weeks ago, I promised a comparison between the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 smartphones. I purchased the Pixel 2 XL prior to Christmas in 2017, and as a #brandpartner for Verizon wireless, I was given a Samsung Note 8 a few weeks ago to test and talk about.

I’ve finally got a few weeks under my belt of using the phones at the same time to do basically the same things, and I’m finally ready to give my impressions.

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The Basics

First of all, I’d like to preface the comments on the comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs the Samsung Note 8 by stating you can’t go wrong with either of these phones. There are differences, and frankly if you could combine the two of these phones you’d have the perfect smartphone… and probably the most expensive. So I get it, you can’t have everything in one phone, but a guy can dream, right?

A couple of other things before I continue. I use both phones with a plastic cover on the back and a glass protector on the front. This ads some bulk and minimal weight but keeps the phone protected against dropping and normal wear. I am also comparing these phones in their ability to conduct business more than as a “leisure” device. So taking photos of kids will be less important than ability to run apps, answer emails, etc. (although I DO take a ton of pictures of my dogs).

Here is some basic spec information on the Pixel 2 XL vs. Note 8.

SpecGoogle Pixel 2 XLSamsung Note 8
Price$949$950
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1Android 7.1
Screen Size6", 2880x1440 P-OLED6.3", 2960x14440 AMOLED
ProcessorSnapdragon 835Snapdragon 835
RAM4GB6GB
Storage (as tested)128GB64GB
MicroSD SlotNoUp to 256GB
Rear Camera12.2MP12MP w/second 12MP telephoto
Front Camera8MP8MP
Battery Life12:0911:11
Size6.22 x 3.02 x .31"6.4 x 2.94 x .34"
Weight6.17 oz.6.88 oz.

Look, Feel & Design

Both phones are roughly the same size, weight and “bulk”. But I’m used to a large phone so this isn’t a big deal. Even though it’s technically larger, the Note 8 just seems smaller and lighter. It is thinner and maybe that lends itself to tricking it’s the smaller phone. The bezel is also smaller on the Note  8 than the Pixel 2 XL which provides some extra screen real estate at the top and bottom of the screen.

In true Google fashion the screen is good, but not awesome. My impression of Google in regards to their hardware, and in some cases their software, is here it is, it’s functional and wonderful, now go use it. The Note 8 screen is probably the best screen I’ve seen on a smartphone. However, watching YouTube videos (for work!) seems better on the Pixel 2 XL because the screen isn’t as “stretched” for some videos. One note regarding the Pixel 2 XL and burn-in… I’ve had the phone since the release date and have had no burn in visible on the device.

Something that is a great addition to most Android phones in the last few years is the existence of a fingerprint sensor. Both of these phones have them as a way to log into the phone, but the Pixel 2 XL seems much more easy to use because of placement than the Note 8, which sometimes forces more manipulation of the phone in order to reach the sensor especially when using a back cover.

One final point on the look & feel, typing is easier on the Google Pixel 2 XL. No idea why, just fewer typing mistakes on this device. They are virtually the same size, so I wish I had a reason but I do not.

Advantage : 

Battery Life

If you use your phone primarily as a business communication device battery life is a primary concern for you. And both of these phones offer excellent battery life with a 3520mAh battery on the Pixel 2 XL and a smaller 3300mAh on the Note 8. The slight decrease in batter size on the Note 8 IS noticeable when you’re working away from a charger, taking lots of phone calls, or using the screen a lot. Testing data reveals the Pixel 2 XL has a very impressive battery life of over 12 hours when being used consistently to view the web over a 4G connection, while the Note 8 comes in at just over 11 hours. Real-life experience has shown me the Pixel 2 XL to be even more protective of it’s battery level.

Both batteries charge extremely fast when using their provided charging plug and cable. And one feature I really miss on the Google Pixel 2 XL is the presence of wireless charging, which is a feature of the Samsung Note 8.

Advantage : 

Performance

Both of these phones have the same processor, the Snapdragon 835. And while the Note 8 has a slight advantage in actual processor testing data, it just feels like the Pixel 2 XL is quicker and better at handling requests to process data. Even with it’s added 2GB of RAM, the Note 8 occasionally lags or locks on certain requests, while the Pixel 2 XL just hammers it out quickly and smoothly. Now don’t get me wrong, the Note 8 is wonderfully quick and opens multiple apps well, again it’s more of a feeling that justifiable. And when you have invoicing, social media, mileage tracking, calendars and more open, seconds count.

In regards to network and voice performance, the Google Pixel 2 XL is better here as well. I work in a downstairs office with only a very small window. The rest is concrete walls on three sides, so it’s a bit of a bunker. When using the Note 8, I get a noticeable dropping or cutting out of calls in comparison to my Pixel 2 XL with two bars compared to three on the Pixel XL, and even the Wi-Fi radio seems to have a better, longer-reaching connection.

Advantage :

Software

Here’s where some of the comparisons have issues. The Google Pixel 2 XL is running Android 8.1.1 (Oreo) and the Samsung Note 8 is running 7.1.1 (Nougat). This software upgrade is just a few days away from the Note 8, but as it stands now there are a few things that lean towards the Pixel 2 XL. Security upgrades, notification dots on app icons, picture in picture on videos and some notifications on apps that are killing your battery are an advantage Oreo brings and that means the Pixel 2 XL wins.

There also is the “stock” Android versus the modified Samsung Android experience debate. Stock is just that, no extra default apps installed, no bloatware, and no Bixby (Samsungs smart assistant) which even has it’s own button on the Note 8, and also which I have disabled.

Advantage :

Special Features

One of the drawbacks of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 is what was a benefit in the software section above… stock. On the Pixel 2 XL you get what you get. No SD memory slot, smaller RAM, no S-Pen, just a stock version of Android 8 running on an awesome device.

So the Note 8 easily wins this category. First, the memory expansion. I use my extra memory for a lot of things. I store music (I am a DJ), I store web files, I store data backups, things that will come in handy if I cannot get access to the Verizon network (which frankly doesn’t happen too often). I do miss the expandable memory, which is really why I paid the extra money for the 128GB version of the Pixel 2 XL.

So let’s talk about the S-Pen. The S-Pen is one of those things you don’t miss until you do. I so rarely use it, but when I do it’s for something pretty important like a diagram, quick hall layout when talking to bridal clients, a website example, or just a quick note. I actually do use it quite a bit on my Samsung Chromebook Pro, and before that on my Samsung Note 10.1 2014 tablet. Both of these are larger form-factors and easier to write, but the pen works the same across all of these devices.

Advantage : 

Sound

This is going to be quick. The Google Pixel 2 XL is the best sounding smartphone I’ve ever owned. Period. The dual front-firing speakers are louder and can broadcast sound regardless of how you are holding the device. The Note 8’s small speaker on the bottom of the device gets covered up or just is so small it doesn’t carry very well.

This sound advantage continues to the phone itself as well. The sound quality on normal phone calls is better than even wired phone systems, and if used on speaker phones there is no comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8.

Also, Bluetooth seems more stable and less “laggy” when on a phone call. That’s probably a product of Oreo vs. Nougat, but I call it like I see it.

Advantage :

Camera

Both of the cameras on these devices are spectacular. The Google Pixel 2 XL is a bit more balanced and more accurate for colors, and the anti-shake correction on videos is pretty awesome if you are using it attached to something that moves, in a vehicle or on a bike, and just walking or running.

But again, the cameras on both the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Note 8 are great features, but many articles claim the Google Pixel 2 XL camera to simply be the best phone camera available and I agree. So crank up the resolution on those photos of whiteboards, presentations, or anything else for work, then get them saved to your unlimited Google cloud storage for use later.

 

Google Pixel 2 XL photos

GP2XL-wall  GP2XL-flower  GP2XL-farley

Samsung Note 8 photos

SN8-wall  SN8-flower  SN8-farley

Advantage :

Summary

Well, looking at these results and forced to make a decision, I would choose the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8. I’m sure shortly after I publish this Android 8 will get installed on the Note 8 and we’ll have to do this again, but as it stands now, the Google Pixel 2 XL just has too much going for it starting with the better operating system, then easier to use form factor, easier to use fingerprint unlock reader, better sound, better battery life, and snappier performance.

However, if you want that extra 1/4″ or so of screen real estate, a seemingly smaller footprint, wireless charging and ability to add a very large SD storage card, the Note 8 is for you.

Both phones are significant increase in quality over their last versions as well as their flagship competitors, so really you can’t go wrong. And the large footprint is simply awesome if you use it for many business tasks, note taking, and communications.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

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Episode 64 – Make Sure You Have Backup Systems

Episode 64 – Make Sure You Have Backup Systems

Backup Systems

Do you have a critical piece of

Now I know this makes me a bit out of the ordinary. Most people still default to notepads, post-it notes, or random pieces of paper to keep short reminders, meeting notes, and ideas, but maybe it’s time for you to buckle down and think about using your technology to do this job, and de-clutter your life and business.

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Always have a backup system!

Ever been in a position where your data is corrupted to the point of not being able to do work? Or how about a critical piece of hardware doesn’t work and you’re dead in the water?

Back in my tech support days, a guy called in and said he was losing $1000’s of dollars a day because his internet connection was down. We went around and around trying to get him up and running, and had to run a technician out because it appeared to be a line issue. Again he stated it would cause him to lose $1000’s a day! $20, $40 or $50 a month for a second internet connection doesn’t seem like too tough of a purchase when you’re losing that sort of money a day.

How this topic emerged was I just worked on a night club’s sound system last night. After an hour or so of troubleshooting the entire system while it was LIVE entertaining nightclub customers, I narrowed it down to the sound board was freezing (confirmed with dozens of similar issues on search).  We really had three options. 1) Stay the course and have the sound interrupted every four or five songs… not a good solution but not impossible to do. 2) Hotwire it by running mics and everything through the Denon controller straight through to the amps. Or 3) replace the board with the old board and hope everything worked. We let it ride for the night, went back to the old system the next day, and sent the board off to be worked on or replaced.

At BeLoud Entertainment, my mobile DJ company, I have two computers, both have music software and lighting software installed. If the light software fails the lights can all be set to sound active. I have an extra speaker in the trailer in case one of the speakers blows up. There’s at least two microphones (one wired) so I can always communicate. And if my board fails, I can run straight from my computer to the speakers.

I also got a call from a regional construction company where a computer was held hostage by malware and the person responsible wanted $1000 in bitcoin to de-encrypt the data files. That person backed up everything EXCEPT his computer, which held all the files for bid, financial records and more. Had that data been backed up the solution would have been to wipe the computer, re-install Windows, and push the data back onto the device.

Some potentials backup systems.

  • Chromebook or cheap laptop to work if main computer is down or fails
  • All data should be at least backed up to off-device storage, then off-site.
  • Backup internet connection, even if it’s a mobile hotspot, or a last resort somewhere offsite like a café so you can still work.
  • Mobile devices. It’s rare to get a lot of money back when trading in your mobile devices, so keep on around in the event that your shiny, brand-new Note 8 fails and you need something.
  • Communication methods like Skype, a VOIP-phone, Facebook messenger, text and others can be valuable when your main communication method fails.
  • Have your website backed up so if that network, or even just your server, fails catastrophically you’re down for hours and not weeks.
  • Office systems like Google Drive or WPS Office can get you buy when your computer fails or your copy of Microsoft Office starts to have issues.

The best way to ensure you have backup systems in place for your critical processes is :

  • Buy a reliable computer, tool or other device that is absolutely needed to get your job done.
  • Have a cheap backup of that critical piece. If you use a computer all day, every day, get something cheap to get the job done.
  • Back up to off-device, or better yet, off-site data backup.
  • Keep that old mobile device if you’re not getting good trade-in value to make sure you always have a backup phone if something catastrophic happens to your primary smartphone.
Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon (#ad). No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, we meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us!  #BetterMatters #brandpartner

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Added as a Verizon Brand Ambassador

Google Mobile Results Changes

In early January 2018 Google announced some upcoming changes to the search results that will be presented based on the type of device used to access the search.

One of the ranking factors that will be used in presenting mobile results as of July 2018 will be page load speed. In the past, page load was not a high ranking factor for mobile results, so this is a fairly big change.

So now is the time to start thinking about redesigning the page, moving to a faster host, or making significant other changes to the page to increase your load speed on your mobile page.

Google has already been using page load speed as a primary factor on desktop sites, but will now us speed in determining mobile results.

Now Google has stated it will be used more to punish very slow sites by moving them down the page ranks than it will be to lift faster pages, but I expect it to become more significant in ranking mobile results in the near future.

So the tip for better mobile results on Google searches is to start planning for a mobile site, get it optimized, get it running on a faster server, and get it indexed by Google and ready for the change in July 2018.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon (#ad). No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, we meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

My Three Words – 2018

My Three Words – 2018

My Three Words for 2018

Several years ago I read a post by Chris Brogan, a recognized marketer and social media evangelist, regarding his three words. Each year he selects three words that will guide him throughout the year’s business landscape and pull him towards his goals.

I’ve done the exercise for several years as well and have enjoyed the thought process, and have achieved success… well, some of the time.

Last year’s words were : traction, focus, and education. My web hosting business jumped from 15 to nearly 70 websites (traction), my goal was to launch at least one website per month and I got 10 out of 12 (focus), and I received amazing SEO training from one of the most respected experts in the field (education). So, minus a few hiccups, I would say I did pretty well. But this year will be better.

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My Three Words for 2018

So that brings us to my three words for 2018.

The focus for 2018 will be to pivot from BeLoud Entertainment, my wedding DJ company, to BeBizzy Consulting and to build on the foundation laid in 2017. And my three words are :

Structure

2017 was the year I got BeBizzy Consulting pointed in the right direction. I dropped the focus on computer troubleshooting, project management, and other services, and instead wanted the structure of website development, digital marketing and search engine optimization. 2018 will build on that structure with combining all the scattered hosting environments into two and implementing some increased focus on acquiring SEO clients.

Prioritize

Similarly in 2016 and back there was a large selection of services offered by BeBizzy Consulting. 2017 shaped and molded everything into a more management, focused business plan. 2018 will prioritize this plan and act on the experience and education and while still thinking to bring on additional website clients, the focus is to offer better solutions to current clients and new solutions to those already with websites. SEO, local search optimization and digital marketing are needed by many businesses, and that will be a priority for BeBizzy Consulting.

Transition

As much as I hate to say it, I’m getting older. And while I can still DJ with the best of them, I am going to be that 50 year old dude behind the gear very soon. So it’s finally time to start transitioning away from BeLoud Entertainment and putting more focus on BeBizzy Consulting, which will be my home for many years to come.That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning BeLoud… quite the opposite. But this year will be a step back while I evaluate how much time can be spent on the planning, meetings and execution of a wedding and school dance and still be able to service my BeBizzy clients. It does mean that I’ll fire up my DJ Voices podcast again, and start offering a DJ planning website so I can still be involved, but on the consulting side instead of the delivery side. BeLoud Entertainment will still provide service to over 30 events in 2018, and we already have a majority of those booked.

And that’s it; structure, prioritize and transition are my three words for 2018.  I’m sure we’ll revisit these on the BeBizzy Break Podcast several times to see how we did.

Have you planning your three words for 2018? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Performing a Social Media Audit – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 61

Performing a Social Media Audit – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 61

Performing a Social Media Audit

Audits. When one thinks of that word it brings to mind some guy sitting in your office sifting through receipts, bookkeeping notes and interviewing your employees on processes. But what if you could use an audit form something good, like increasing your marketing efficiency? That’s why you would perform a social media audit on the various platforms you are using to market your business.

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Donna Amos of Solopreneur Solutions

Joining me today on the BeBizzy Break Podast is Donna Amos, Inspiror of Possibilities for Solopreneur Solutions, a boutique digital agency based in Cincinnati, OH. They provide web design, social media management, email marketing and more and she published a great article recently on “How To Do a Social Media Audit.” 

This article was a great starting point to the next few weeks when we will talk about optimizing profiles and pages for your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

How To Get Started Performing a Social Media Audit

This is the perfect time of year to do a social media audit to prepare for next year.

  • Create a spreadsheet with the social media platform, the URL, and name on profile and the description
  • Also include number of fans/followers, and the date of the last activity
  • Make sure everything is consistent (name, images, colors, etc)
  • Start auditing individual social platforms for traffic

Where is Your Traffic Coming From?

Now that you’ve audited the general items of the individual to make sure everything looks and feels the same, it’s time to start looking at Google Analytics for indicators that visitors to the website are coming from the various social platforms.  You can also get some valuable information from the social media platform data.

In addition to using the social media analytics to perform a social media audit, you can also use third party tools like Hootsuite and SEMRush to analyze data from social media websites.

Act on the Social Media Audit

There are some actionable items that may show up in your social media audit that can

  • Repurpose old content in another form like video, slideshows or podcats
  • Set up goals and metrics to measure
    • The point of doing social media is to create awareness, gain followers to frequency, and that activity drives traffic to the site to sign up for email newsletters and subscriptions, then convert those subscribers.
    • Determine what “success looks like” for your business and see what sites are meeting that success model.
  • Sometimes it’s better to abandon/close a social media platform if you are unable to manage that platform or your audience just isn’t there.
  • Set up a schedule to perform this social media audit quarterly or at least regularly to look for trends on what is working.

Other Tips

  • Video is going to be the dominant form of media in social media in the coming years.
  • Video doesn’t have to be polished to be effective. Just needs good camera placement, decent content and great sound.
  • Create a list of FAQ’s, answer them, and make 1-2 minute videos answering those questions and share in your social sites.
  • Do you want to be seen as a thought leader? Then consumption of social and website content is the goa.
  • If you want to create awareness, strive for reach… how many people can you reach with each post..
  • Shares, likes and retweets are to be used if the goal is to reach more with word of mouth.
  • There is a documented trail of each post to see how many people see it, share it, like it, click on it, and even purchase because of it.
  • Don’t expect immediate results! Sometimes you are talking to no one until your acquire a following.
  • But there is a benefit to talking to no one in social and blogs because the post lives on and can be found by people searching for the content keywords.
  • Googe+ is great for SEO benefits, even if your customers aren’t there.

Performing a social media audit can take a bit of time, but if you do it once you will produce a baseline that will enable your business to compare to when making future decisions on digital marketing. Both Donna and I encourage you to take the time between now and the end of the year to audit your social media properties.

Don’t forget to check out Donna Amos’ article on “How to Perform a Social Media Audit” at her website, and follow her on Twitter to stay informed.

Have you done a social media audit? What were your experiences and what actions did you do after the audit? Let me know at BeBizzy.com or @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio