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About Warren Schultz

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Warren Schultz from TAP Solutions has been in business since 1999 and in the programming field since 1983. Warren is a MS Excel Specialist who does Excel Support and Development. Warren also develops website that help you be found on the web and represent your company in the way you want it to be seen. For any questions please call Warren at 818-281-7628 or e-mail me at Warren@tapsolutions.net. Additional information can be found at www.TAPSolutions.nett

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Microsoft Excel can be fun and helpful

| Uncategorized | June 4, 2015

Believe it or not, Microsoft Excel can be as enjoyable to use as a trip to Disneyland. It is a wonderful spreadsheet tool that people can use to make their jobs – and by extension, their lives – easier because Excel saves time and money. It also eliminates costly errors.

Excel is way more than just a big calculator. It can make the complex simple, the inefficient efficient, the manual automatic and the tedious fun. Here are some of the many ways Excel can work for you.

Repetitive jobs that took hours or days now take seconds. Say for example, someone had to format reports for five bosses and set up graphs every day. Each boss wanted the report to show something different. Having to manually format five different reports took two hours a day – and sometimes longer because he made mistakes. With Excel, the various reports took seconds with no mistakes.

Raw data can be manipulated and assembled into just about any useful way. A human resources department had a problem keeping its employees’ insurance reports in sync with the insurance company’s reports because each used a different data format and data structure. This caused the HR staff to have to manually reconcile the reports of more than 1,000 employees. This took time, and that didn’t take into account the occasional error. With Excel, all the HR staff had to do was quickly glance at the spreadsheet and the errors would be easily seen.

Data can be converted from different sources and formats into Excel. Say, for example, a company has six different databases. Database A is the most current, but it’s missing one critical detail, meaning somebody has to go into Database B to find that detail. If it’s not there, that person has to go through Database C, and so on, until that detail is found. Excel merged all the data into one centralized database, so anyone could easily find that detail.

Business aspects are easier to keep track of. A payroll manager had to input each of 50 employee’s timecards and now didn’t have to because Excel combined all the information into one sheet. Now, whatever the manager needs, be it number of overtime hours, or hours per project, is easily called up into that one sheet.

Human error disappears. Once, a sales clerk had to add up the total sales by department. But he added the individual totals and the subtotals instead of just the subtotals, so he thought the company’s sales had doubled. He looked really bad when he had to tell his boss the truth.

In summary, Excel allows people to “think outside the box” and develop creative ways to solve problems that make their lives easier because Excel saves time and money.

Warren Schultz

http://www.TAPSolutions.net

THREE IMPORTANT WORDS TO CONSIDER IN MARKETING: LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL

| Uncategorized | March 19, 2015

THREE IMPORTANT WORDS TO CONSIDER IN MARKETING: LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL

Sometimes, the best place to market yourself is in your back yard, figuratively speaking. By targeting your local area, you put yourself in an advantageous position: You’re competing with fewer people for your services. It’s also true that by doing so, you decrease the number of potential customers, but this can be mitigated because many people want to work with people who live nearby. This gives you a better chance of being THE big fish in this smaller pond.

So, you’ve decided to think local. How do you go about it? Here are some ideas:

Show everybody online you’re local. The easiest way to do that is to include your address and phone number on your website. Another way is to get listed in online directories, such as Yelp and yellowpages.com. Individual search engines, such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, also have online directories. Just go to any search engine, type in “business directories” and get a long list. Then, go to those sites and fill out the information – making sure you again include your local address and phone number.

Show everybody you meet you’re local. Good old-fashioned networking still works. Go to local chambers of commerce, networking groups, business mixers, trade shows and professional associations and get in front of as many people as you can. Stress that you’re local and looking for local customers/clients. Make sure you have business cards and marketing materials with local addresses and phone numbers. Maybe you can team up with “power partners,” which are businesses that could refer their clients to you because you offer a service those clients need. An example: web designer, content writer, graphic designer and proofreader/editor.

Show everybody you’re an expert who’s local. Have a portfolio that shows the awesome work you’ve done for local customers/clients. Get these people to give testimonials. Give a free seminar that leaves no doubt that you are the one to go to in your field/industry. Offer some of your lower-priced services at either deep discounts or for free. Have a blog that can link to your website, or write articles for local newspapers or trade publications.

For more information please go to www.TAPSolutions.net 818-281-7628

How to use Excel to Save You Time and Money

| Uncategorized | January 22, 2015

How to use Excel to Save You Time and Money

Microsoft Excel is one of the most underused tools in the entire MS Office Suite. But those who understand its usefulness take advantage in so many ways. It organizes complex scientific and mathematical data into information you can use such as business reports or financial reports. And it can be set up in either rows or columns, making your report truly individual.

Here are some ways to truly make Excel work for you:

  1. Budgets.  One column can be the actual budget items, another can be what you spent, and another can indicate the percentage you spent.
  2. Collections. Whether they’re personal collections, such as records, CDs, DVDs or model airplanes; or business collections such as inventories, keep track of what you have, how many you have and where they are.
  3. Education.Students and teachers can analyze so many different types of data and make calculations, graphs, charts – whatever the project requires.
  4. Invoices. You can create a spreadsheet indicating when the invoice went out, when you got paid and how overdue they are.
  5. To-Do List. Make a list of tasks or goals you need to complete, then check them off when you do.

Warren Schultz —  Website TAPSolutions.net — 818-281-7628

When to Get Your Small Business Website Redesigned

| Uncategorized | December 29, 2014

When to Get Your Small Business Website Redesigned

By Warren Schultz, Tap Solutions Http://www.TAPSolutions.net

Your Small Business Website Redesign Specialists

Not every business website needs an overhaul. Some (maybe even yours) are up-to-date, getting good traffic and bringing in a steady flow of business. How can you tell? Here are some factors to consider. You may need to redesign your website if:

  • You’re not ranked on page one of the search engines. It’s important to maintain a high standing in the search engines. You can achieve this by taking advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
  • You’re not getting enough business through your website. Find out how simple fixes can generate new leads and produce more sales online.
  • You’ve changed something about your business, but it is not reflected on your website. Companies alter and update business plans, or introduce new products and/or services, but sometimes forget to put these changes on their website. Your site is a direct reflection of your business. Make sure it is in sync with everything else you do.
  • Your site isn’t easy to navigate. Visitors to your website must be able to find information easily. This means concise wording that incorporates your key word phrases and other elements to make the pages more search-engine friendly.
  • Your site looks dated. Design standards, trends and best practices change and evolve over time. In addition, it important to update your content, search engine accessibility, overall layout, etc. on a consistent basis.
  • You can’t easily update the content on your site. If you still have a website that only your web designer has access to, you may want to consider content management system that allows you to go into your site and fix errors, update information and trumpet the new products/services you’re offering.
  • Your site isn’t appearing on the new web browsers. It seems that new browsers appear out of nowhere daily and in a short time gain traction. Are you on all of them? If you’re not, customers find you.
  • Your business website suffers from a lack of enthusiasm and creativity, resulting in low results. A website redesign can be the first step in generating excitement within the company. A redesign can show your employees, your customers and your competition that you are a force to be reckoned with in the market, and you will not go quietly.

A redesign can breathe new life into your website, transforming your web presence from being good enough to being extraordinary.

For more information on how to find the right web developer contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628.

 

11 Basic Steps to Get Your Website to Work for You

| Uncategorized | December 23, 2014

Eleven Basic Steps to Get Your Website to Work for You

By Warren Schultz, Tap Solutions Http://www.TAPSolutions.net

As a business person you know you need a website. Done. Check it off your list of must-dos. But wait, did you know you should update your website, regularly, check for broken links, use correct meta tags, and do several other “housekeeping” items to keep your website working well? Here are 11 basic steps to check off your list of website must-dos:

1) Make sure your site looks good on all browsers. Use different browsers to access your website. Browsers are like interpreters. Let’s say you have a document you need translated into another language. If you give the same document to three people, each person’s translation might be ever so slightly different. Browsers work the same way. If they interpret the website code differently, your site may look great on Firefox and look very different on Internet Explorer. So, make sure your site looks great across different platforms and systems.

2) Keep your content current and pertinent. An updated site makes your site look fresh, more attractive to prospective customers and gives them reasons to return. Plus, your search engine rankings are higher when the site is current. So, here are some things to do to keep your site updated:

a) Make sure all links go to where they’re supposed to. Links to websites don’t last forever, so at least once a month you should click on every link and ensure it’s still working. If it’s not, fix or delete it. If a potential client tries a link and it fails, it could give that person a negative opinion of your site, and bye-bye business!

b) Insert new content frequently. You don’t have to rewrite a page/website each time. If you simply change the wording, or even a graphic element or two, your site will continue to look fresh and stay at the top of search engines’ lists. Adding a new page also is a great idea. But make sure what you add is relevant to your site and your subject matter.

3) Make sure your site has been submitted to search engines and directories. Do you really want to be a well-kept secret? Sometimes the search engines and directories find you, but it is better to tell them your website is there. Think of it as a first date. By submitting your website, you are letting search engines and directories get to know who you are and what you’re about. First dates don’t have to be expensive, either. There are free submission sites that will introduce your site to several engines at once. There also are sites that will do it for a minimal fee. Be sure to also submit to sites that are local or within your industry.

a) When submitting, use meta tags and make sure they’re correct. A meta tag is the information about the website page that search engines and directories use to help index your site. The most basic meta tags are your site’s title, description and keywords. Make sure you have meta tags for each website page, and make sure they’re spelled the way you intend and are customized for that specific page. Improper spelling could mean a would-be customer misses your page because he spelled the keyword right and you didn’t.

b) Make your site is spider-friendly. We don’t mean those (sometimes) cute little arachnids. We mean software that “crawls” down your website to collect information on your pages. If not, all of your pages are showing up on searches, then you’re probably not spider-friendly, and your friendly neighborhood web designer can resolve this.

4) Identify your target market and design your website to fit it. Someone advertising football-related items or services should not have a website whose primary color scheme is pink and flowery. Similarly, the words you use should reflect your target market, so a football site would have words such as “linebacker,” “touchdown” and “quarterback.” It would not have words such as “roses,” “frilly” and “dainty.” Remember to write your content to your target market. Use words your target market would use and understand, and you might find customers and potential clients staying on your website longer, which means they are finding out more about you which in turn could help your bottom line.

5) Identify your keywords and repeat them. What you choose as keywords (descriptive words/phrases) depends on what descriptive words you think/know your customers will put into search engines to find you. There are tools online to help you with this process and pick which words/phrases you should use. Another useful method is to see what your successful competition is going after. Remember, include these keywords in your meta tags as well as your content. If you target a geographical area, make sure those cities within the area are also keywords.

6) Get referrals. If your business has a retail supplier, ask if you could be placed on its site as a trusted partner or preferred vendor. That way you get additional exposure. Put a link to the supplier’s site on your website. This will give your site partner one more avenue to sell its products or services. It’s a win/win situation. Also, ask clients if they would put you on their sites as a trusted person.

7) Get reviews of your site from friends who will tell you the “truth.” Everybody has trusted friends or business associates. Why not use them? Have these people look over your site and provide feedback. Be sure to cross gender, age and generational lines, because everybody will see your site a little differently, and their comments and suggestions could provide insights you weren’t aware of, which can lead to new business if you take that information and run with it.

8) Check your competitors’ sites. They invariably have different ideas, and one or more of them might give you an idea of how to improve your site. But be careful not to just copy their ideas verbatim. You don’t want to be seen as unoriginal or be sued for plagiarism.

9) Let Google do the work. Google offers a free service called Google Analytics. It generates detailed statistics about visits to your website, such as tracking visitors from search engines. It also can tell you which pages are most popular and what’s not working, which will help you target your market. Without Google Analytics, you can’t tell what kind of activity your site is getting.

10) Use alt text. This one has been mentioned so many times by others, yet web designers and developers still fail to heed it. “Alt text” refers to words (usually one sentence) that describe something on your website, such as a photo or graphic element. Putting alt text on your images allows search engines and disabled users to make better use of your site.

11) Include a call to action. So visitors are on your site, but they’re not calling you. It could be because you aren’t telling them to. It might seem silly, but many would-be customers need their hands held through the entire process, so make sure that, at least at the bottom of each page, you tell them to contact you. And make it creative. Everybody has “Click here” or “Contact me” but most don’t have “Call us to find out what the IRS isn’t telling you” or “This can be yours if the price is right.”

These are only a few of the steps that will help you maintain a website that is relevant, search engine-friendly and will get your clients to ultimately contact you. To discover what else can be done to improve your online presence, contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628. Website: www.TAPSolutions.net

Things to Look for When Hiring a Website Designer

| News | December 21, 2014

By Warren Schultz

A website is your business portal to your customers. It has to appear professional, function well and be easy to navigate. If it isn’t, you’ll likely lose their interest and the sale.

You can create your own website or hire a professional. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Do-it-yourself websites cost less, but they require that you or your staff expend time to set it up and maintain it.

Hiring a professional web designer is the other option. Beware—just because someone advertises that they are a web designer does not guarantee that they have the proper credentials and work experience.

Before speaking to anyone, know what you want your website to achieve. Ask yourself:

  • How will you use the website?
  • Will it be your customer’s main connection to your company?
  • Will it be a teaser to get people to find out more about your company?
  • How many pages will it include?
  • What will it say?
  • What will the pages look like?

When speaking with web designers, ask to see samples of their other work, such as pages / websites they have created. Make sure their style matches what you have in mind. Then be very specific about what you want. Don’t assume that the web designer can read your mind.

Here are some other tips:

Ask for references. If someone you know recommends a web designer, check them out. Find out what it was that individual liked about the designer and determine if it meets your needs. Don’t let the fact that the designer isn’t local be a stumbling block. The internet and telephone are wonderful inventions.

Check out a web designer’s site. Is it attractive? Easy to navigate? Organized logically? Are there any broken links? How quickly does the site load? Answering these questions will help you decide if you want to use that particular web designer. Look at the portfolio (examples of other web sites they’ve worked on shown on their site). Do you like what you see? What can the web designer do? Does he or she only design websites or can they do dynamic development and database design? The best developers know how to create a site, maintain it, market it and promote it. Does this person do it all? Look for customer testimonials. They often provide clues to contacting them. For example, the person’s full name or company name might be included, giving you an easy way to call or email them to talk about the web designer.

Lines of Communication. How easy it is to communicate directly with the web designer? The contact information page should make it clear. When you communicate with him or her, make sure it’s not just through emails. You’ll want to talk to the person directly to gauge his or her personality and see if he or she is willing to bounce ideas between you two. Ask as many questions as possible and see if you like the answers. Some questions you should ask are: Who will own the website? Who will maintain it, and at what cost?


Find the best price
. Many web designers don’t post their prices online—don’t let that stop you. Contact them directly, give them a few parameters or specifications, and they’ll usually give you an estimate, which you can either accept or refuse, or propose a counteroffer. Find out if the designer requires a percentage up front and what the project payment terms are.

Read the fine print. Insist on a contract. It protects you and the web designer. Make sure the contract includes deadline guarantees, the designer’s availability, how much more you’ll pay for changes to the project, and whether the web designer will take care of programming bugs that you discover once the work is done. Also find out who will own the website once it is complete. It should belong to you, not the designer. Ask for the source code it is written in and all related files.

Finally, if you’re in a regulated industry, make sure all legal and compliance issues are included.

Web designers come in all shapes and sizes, depending on your project, budget, and time line. Larger web firms offer a staff with varied skills and an enhanced body of work, but often charge more and can be more bureaucratic. Smaller firms or a freelance web designer often charge less for work and offer better one-on-one communication.

For more information on how to find the right web developer contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628.

 

Six Things You Should Know When Looking for a Web Designer

| News | December 16, 2014

By Warren Schultz
Most business people know they need a website but have no clue how to go about putting one together. How do they even find a web designer? Are web designers the same as graphic artists? Do they need to hire a separate person for that? Do web designers help with writing the web site? So many questions; where do you go to find the answers?

Here’s a quick guide to how to find a qualified web designer to create your site:

  1. Have an idea of what you need on your website. How will you use your website? Many people use theirs as the main link to your company. Others use their site as a complement: You’ve met me, now check out my site. How many pages do you want on your site? What will each page say? Do you have any ideas about how you want each page to look?
  2. Freelancer or large firm? Do you want to work with a freelance developer or a large firm? There are positives and negatives to each. A larger firm has employees with varied skills and a large body of work; however, they often charge more and tend to be more bureaucratic. A smaller firm, or a single freelancer, usually offers lower prices and better one-on-one communication.
  3. Referrals. If someone you know recommends a web developer, check it out. Find out what it was that person liked about them and see if that developer meets your needs. Don’t let the fact that the developer isn’t local be a stumbling block. The Internet and telephone are wonderful inventions.
  4. Check out the developer’s site.
    1. Its look. Is it attractive? Easy to navigate? Organized logically? Are there any broken links (links that don’t work)? How quickly does the site load? Look at the portfolio on the site. Do you like what you see? Does he or she only design websites or can they do software development and database design? The best developers know how to create a site, maintain it, market it and promote it. Does this developer do it all?
    2. Testimonials. What do the customer testimonials say? If person’s full name or company name is included, contact them and ask what type of experience they have had with the developer.
    3. Communication. Don’t just rely on email to contact the web developer. Speak to them directly to gauge their personality and see if they are willing to bounce ideas between the two of you. Ask as many questions as possible and see if you like the answers. For example, Who will own the website? (Hint: it should be you— not the web developer or a third party). Who will maintain it, and at what cost?
  5. Find the best price. Many web developers don’t post their prices online, but that shouldn’t stop you. Contact them directly. Give them a few parameters or specifications, so they can provide an accurate estimate, which you then can either accept, refuse or counter offer. The developer also has the option to reject your counter offer. You’ll also need to know when the project costs are due, if a percentage of the payment is due up front, and your payment options.
  6. Read the fine print. Insist on a contract; it protects you and the developer. Make certain the contract includes:
    1. Deadline guarantees
    2. Developer’s availability
    3. How much more you’ll pay for changes to the project
    4. If the developer will take care of any programming bugs you may find once the work is done
    5. Again, that you are named as the website owner.
    6. The computer language it is to be written in.
    7. All legal and compliance issues if you are a part of a regulated industry.

Once you’ve chosen the web developer you are going to use, make sure you keep the lines of communication open. Remember, you are the one who is going to have to live with the website, so make certain it’s what you want and represents your business the way you’ve always envisioned it would.

For more information on how to find the right web developer contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628.

 

 

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