What are Core Web Vitals and Why Do They Matter

While the creation of content that readers find fascinating and valuable will always be at the center of your content strategy, you are aware of the increasing burden that search engines place on user experience, particularly for people using mobile phones. Your content’s effectiveness is crucial to achieving your clients’ acquisition goals and, by extension, your lead generation results.

However, tracking key performance indicators is nothing new for content marketers. And, while it seems simple to track page load times and other information, there is still some element of trial and error because search engines don’t publicly disclose the mechanics that power their algorithms or the details of their monthly changes.

Therefore, it is essential to be on the lookout for any new suggestions or tools Google may provide. This includes Core Web Vitals (CWV), a new set of metrics that Google released to assist website owners in bettering their visitors’ online experiences.

What are Core Web Vitals (CWV) In Terms I Can Understand?

Google has long believed that providing its consumers with high-quality, relevant information is the best way to meet the needs of both the company and its users. But as with continued internet growth over the years, Google has started analyzing more information based on user experience. Even though many media outlets still disregard Google’s suggestions as useless “web hygiene,” doing so can help you get an advantage over the competition.

Core Web Vitals are a number of measures that gauge how well your site loads and how user-friendly it is. They include measures of visual stability, interactivity, and loading time.

The three Core Web Vitals metrics are:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This metric measures how long it takes for the largest element on your page to load. In other words, LCP monitors how long it takes for a page to transition from being completely unresponsive to displaying its largest text block or picture element.

Every second of delay costs users thousands of prospective consumers, and as you are well aware, users have minimal patience for such things. Low LCP scores are not enough to simply pick your largest page element with care; huge files, CCS, and server-side factors can all play a role. If you want to get serious about improving your LCP, aiming for less than 2.5 seconds is a good benchmark.

First Input Delay (FID)

This scope measures how long it takes for your page to become interactive. The time it takes a user to do an action on the website, such as picking a menu item or checking a box, is recorded by FID. Google seems to be working on a new responsiveness statistic that looks at latency across several user interactions rather than just the initial one and over a longer time period, noting that most online systems already score well in terms of FID. This is a perfect example of how CWV is more of a moving target than a fixed answer.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This metric measures how much your page elements shift around while loading. You want your CLS to be under 0.1. In other words, how the page’s elements shift about the viewport as the page renders. Poor CLS might be caused by images or objects like ads or iframes that don’t have the right proportions, which can be frustrating for your users. Since CLS is primarily concerned with the significance of the change and its impact on the surrounding content, it is not measured in seconds like the other CWV indicators.

These metrics are important because they help gauge a website’s user experience. A website that loads quickly and has little layout shift will be more enjoyable to use than a website that takes a long time to load and has a lot of layout shifts.

Why Should I Care about Core Web Vitals for my Website

As a website owner, you should be mindful of Core Web Vitals because they are a key part of delivering a great user experience on your site. They are important because they give you an idea of how your site is performing from a user perspective.

If your site has poor Core Web Vitals, it could be affecting your traffic and conversion rates. Google uses these metrics as a ranking factor in their search algorithm, so it is important to make sure your site is optimized for them.

You can check your site’s Core Web Vitals using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Simply enter your URL, and Google will give you a report on your metrics. From there, you can start making changes to improve your scores.

What Can I Do to Improve My Website’s CWV

Some common ways to improve your Core Web Vitals include:

  • Reducing the size of your images
  • Minimizing your reliance on JavaScript
  • Lazy loading of your content
  • Improving your server response time
  • Checking your cached content
  • Removing animations
  • Switching your hosting provider

These are just a few of the many things you can do to improve your Core Web Vitals. If you want to ensure your site delivers a great user experience, keep an eye on these metrics.

What Are the Benefits of Improving My Website’s CWV

When you improve your website’s customer web journey (CWJ), you can enjoy a number of benefits. This includes the following,

  1. Increased Customer Engagement: When you make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for on your website, they’re more likely to stick around and engage with your brand. This can lead to more sales and more loyal customers.
  2. Improved SEO: Making your website more user-friendly can also help you attract more organic traffic from search engines. This is because search engines like Google reward websites that offer a great user experience.
  3. More Leads and Sales: Ultimately, the goal of improving your website’s CWJ is to increase leads and sales. When you make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to buy from you. [Particularly important for our manufacturing web design clients.]

Looking For IT Staffing Services and Technology Solutions?

If you’re looking to improve your website’s performance, start by focusing on the customer web journey. Core Web Vitals are a key part of delivering a great user experience, so make sure your site is optimized for them. You can achieve this by engaging a reputable IT services company like The Provato Group.

When a client comes to The Provato Group, we assess their unique situation and provide guidance on how to get the best possible outcome. We have over 75 years of expertise in the IT industry, with 65 of that spent on advanced IT projects, architecture, and development. we focus on providing expert IT staffing and technology solutions for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. We are able to provide superior service to our customers since we don’t focus on the competition in any given market.

So, what are you waiting for? Start monitoring your Core Web Vitals today! Want to understand more? Reach out to one of our website architects to get insights into your site’s CWV and performance.

The Key to Smooth Data Migration: Avoid These Common Data Migration Mistakes

The heart of a business is in its infrastructure, and infrastructure evolves. When that happens, data must be migrated from one system to the next. The company’s entire history is stored in your data – ready for data analysis, audits, and sometimes records of decades-long customer relationships. Some businesses went through their digital transformation so long ago that they once digitized the film from tapes. Some remember the migration from mainframes to modern PCs and servers. A great many have now migrated from PCs and servers to the cloud.

More businesses every day are going through complete and partial data migrations. One department may migrate to upgrade its platform of tools, or the company may migrate archives and infrastructure away from technology that has grown archaic to the next cutting-edge solution. However, if this is your first major data migration, there are more than a few ways to invite disaster.

Data migration is a huge task with millions of opportunities for error. If done carelessly, you get technical difficulties of the highest order. If done neatly and meticulously, your staff is left with the delight of a new system with their archive of data already at their fingertips.

Let’s explore some of the most common data migration mistakes and how your team can easily avoid them.

1) Migrating into a Mystery System

Know your system before you migrate into it. Have key staff members spend time exploring the new platform, creating test cases and getting to know the features. The data won’t be at anyone’s fingertips if your team doesn’t know how to access it.

Both your IT team handling the migration and those who will most use the platform afterward should explore the features, functions, and what it’s like to handle data in the system before the migration. This will not only help you plan a better data migration, but it will also help your teams more quickly adapt to the system once migrated.

2) Migrating At the Wrong Time

There are times when a company can soak a little disruption, and times when it can’t. Planning a data migration is a lot like planning an office renovation. Copying and moving files takes resources, and it may leave certain teams in a data limbo while their files and systems are being transferred. Even if you plan for your teams to keep using the old system while the new one is prepared, the transfer itself or the resource usage can cause errors in the system.

You want to schedule a data migration for nights, weekends, and slow weeks in your business cycle. Nights and weekends allow you to optimize resources for the migration and work in a clean, unchanging data environment between the two systems. Planning for a slow week ensures that any aberrations that could occur during data migration have the minimum impact on your team and operations.

3) Migrating Your Junk Files

When relocating offices or moving between homes, you don’t bring crates of old junk mail – but businesses often migrate their entire file systems without culling the junk.

Why use your resources and effort on migrating files you don’t need? This is the perfect opportunity to remove all junk mail, old temporary files, programs you don’t need, intermediate backups, and miscellaneous downloads. Every email spam folder can be removed. Wipe out any program not serving a function – and all the data attached to it. Take this opportunity to purge your email lists, and archive old customer and employee data. A data migration is the best moment to lean down your data, shedding junk and potentially culling old malware along the way.

4) Skipping the Prep of Both Files and Destination

Removing junk is an example of preparing your company’s data for migration. But just one step. In any migration, both the data and the target platform should be prepared to combine. Your data may need to be adapted to fit the new formats of the new system. For example, a new system might use a different date format, or have more and different names for certain shared variables. Preparing your data allows a smoother automated transition of large bodies of data and full system configurations.

Preparing your file destination allows you to get all your security and operational settings in place before errors can be caused when the body of legacy data is imported. Make sure you’re using the right database types, and that your built-in passwords match (or are updated altogether). Preparing both the data and the new platform will help to minimize hiccups in the new system and prevent data disasters.

5) Forgetting to Test Migration Success

Speaking of data disasters, always test a theory before implementing it. Testing data migration at every step of the process is essential when considering something as important as your business’s operational infrastructure.

Test to ensure that:

  • The method you will use to migrate data works.
  • The data functions correctly in the new platform after being migrated
  • Migrating large sets of data is successful
  • Migrating more than one category and nested file systems is successful
  • Outlier cases are handled
  • Data at no point is lost or corrupted during the migration

6) Roughly Estimating the Migration Time and Cost

You might be surprised to learn how often a data migration estimate is really a rough “guestimate” with no real understanding of data file sizes, transfer speeds, and the available hours to operate the transfer. This is one of the reaons that a trained data migration specialist is often consulted to build a data migration plan that includes a more accurate and data-based estimate of the cost requirements for a data migration.

After calculating the size of your data migration, the originating and target systems, and the transfer speeds available, your data migration specialist will be able to give a more accurate estimate of the hours needed to complete the migration. From there, you can build a schedule of transfers and data handling during low-activity hours for your company systems.

7) Migrating Manually without Automation

Modern data migrations are massive. There are thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of data entries depending on how busy your company is. Most of this data, however, is already organized into classes and similar-set databases that can be automatically migrated far more easily than you could manually migrate – even for those savvy in handling servers.

Automated data migration takes the best migration process and then iterates over your full data set. In this way, you can carefully insert the data from an old system to a new system – even with unmatching data forms – in order to migrate company data without manual entries and hand-selected transfers.

8) Forgetting to Test the Migration’s Complete Success

The other side of the automation coin is the need for human auditing and testing. Your automation may not be able to handle outlier test cases, or some of the transfers may have simply been interrupted or incomplete due to signal variance from your internet provider or router. Check everything.

Make sure that a complete data migration is also fully operational. Asl your testers or even your teams to explore, try to touch and access all their operational data, and report back. Your migration software may have also produced a log of errors and alerts that can guide you toward potential areas where an error may have occurred, or where minor data corrections may be necessary.

9) Data Migration Without an Expert Plan

All of these common mistakes are why the most organized, efficient, and error-resistant data migrations come from consulting with a specialist. Data migrations are both large-scale and extremely precise. Every piece of data matters, and every migration from one system to the next is unique. It takes forward planning and an eagle-eye perspective on the entire system to plan the most efficient data migration for both the company and the data itself.

You can rely on The Provato Group as your data migration specialists to plan and implement the smoothest possible upgrade of your company’s infrastructure.

Cloud Services: 7 Ways Small Businesses Benefit From IT

Cloud services have been around for quite some time; however, adoption is relatively low compared to the massive benefits it brings to any entity that uses it. However, all is not lost; more small and medium enterprises are waking up to the reality that cloud computing is the silver bullet they’ve all been seeking to revolutionize and advance their businesses.

So, what are cloud services, and are they beneficial to small businesses? Read on to find out!

Cloud services and small businesses

Cloud services are online services that enable users to access applications, data, and other resources over the internet from anywhere. Cloud services can be used for various purposes, such as managing email, working on documents, or streaming music.

Most small businesses are usually faced with one major issue: lack of resources for the simple reason they’re starting out. But that’s not all; even with adequate resources, it may be challenging to justify some tech purchases, mostly due to the significantly high acquisition and operational costs.

So how can small businesses access top-tier tech capabilities without stretching themselves thin or with less uncertainty about whether investing significant resources would pay off?

The answer is cloud services.

With cloud services, small businesses can enjoy unmatched tech capabilities at a fraction of the cost and with little or no resources (i.e., skilled IT workforce) to utilize it in line with their organizational objectives.

These are some of the ways small businesses stand to benefit from cloud computing:

1. Ease of use and integration

Cloud services can be integrated into a business without needing IT staff. With a cloud service provider, small businesses can incorporate cloud services and related utilities into their existing systems and workflow processes in minutes or even seconds.

It’s easy to see why this is important: If you want to use a specific feature or tool within your organization, it can be frustrating if there are multiple steps involved in setting up the integration process or having to hire an expensive team member who knows how to do it manually.

With many providers offering free integrations with their products, as long as they have been built on open-source software, adding them to your organization will be quick and easy—and free!

2. Greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness in business operations

Cloud services can help small businesses grow and become more competitive, efficient, and cost-effective. Cloud services are available 24/7 worldwide, so you don’t have to worry about being tied down by your physical location, provided there’s internet access.

You’ll be able to access many different types of cloud storage solutions at a low price point—and because it’s all hosted on one platform instead of multiple servers around the world, there is no need for expensive hardware or software licenses. Cloud services allow you to focus on what matters most: running your business by enabling you to outsource the day-to-day IT tasks and maintenance.

3. More flexibility.

When using cloud services, you can adapt your business model and scale up or down as needed. If your company has been doing well in one area but is struggling in another, you can switch to a more profitable segment without having to make major changes all at once.

You also won’t have to worry about losing customers because they’re unhappy or due to a misunderstanding—the cloud allows them to easily move their data back onto your servers when they want access again (and vice versa).

And since everyone in the organization shares resources across multiple locations, there’s no need for costly equipment purchases or maintenance contracts; instead, as one location grows larger, new servers are added until everyone has access everywhere else within a reasonable timeframe.

4. More scalability.

If your company grows, you can add more servers using the cloud infrastructure and pay only for what you use. If your business shrinks in size, it’s easy to scale back down without buying new hardware or struggling to dispose of others.

Additionally, many of these services offer a pay-as-you-go model that allows businesses to save money by not having an ongoing bill for their IT infrastructure. This is especially beneficial considering that many small businesses don’t have a dedicated IT department looking after their needs—they may be responsible for everything from payroll processing to managing their social media accounts themselves!

5. Advanced collaboration.

If there’s anything the past three years have shown the world, it’s the need to find innovative ways to collaborate beyond physical spaces since circumstances may not always allow traditional workplace dynamics.

When using a cloud service, your employees don’t have to worry about their data or devices containing sensitive information. This means that they can work together without worrying about whether their workspace is secure or not.

Additionally, since cloud storage provides unlimited amounts of space and bandwidth, it’s easy to share large files between multiple people. This means less time spent on file transfers and more time getting things done!

6. Better security.

Cloud services provide better security than traditional systems. When you use a cloud service, your data is stored in data centers protected by top-tier safeguards, including but not limited to firewalls and malware scanners.

The same cannot be said for your hardware or any other physical device used to store sensitive information; even if those devices are protected using antivirus software and other means, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be safe from malicious actors looking to steal personal information or money.

Cloud services can help you improve your security posture by providing more protection against external threats while also reducing costs associated with maintaining legacy infrastructure—and they’re easy to set up!

7. Enhanced productivity.

In a cloud-based service, authorized individuals can access information anytime, anywhere. They can work on multiple projects simultaneously and access data from any device. A small business’s employees are also free to collaborate with other team members, which allows them to get things done faster and more efficiently.

In addition to being accessible from anywhere at any time, these services are user-friendly enough so that even those who aren’t technically savvy can use them effectively. Users never have to worry about their IT staff out of office hours because everything is stored securely in the cloud—and if something goes wrong (or someone loses their password), there are plenty of backup options available.


By taking advantage of cloud-based solutions, small businesses can save money on infrastructure costs, enable faster deployment of new applications and features, and improve security and data protection. Overall, the adoption of cloud services by small businesses is becoming a necessity to remain competitive in today’s market.

Ready to advance your business using cloud services? Contact us for more information.

Managed Application Services 101

A company’s application (or applications) is one of the most important channels for customer service and communication. Depending on what your app might do, it can be a source for collecting customer pain points, a supplemental tool, or be the very foundation of your business itself. No matter what purpose your app serves, it’s critical to ensure it functions effectively, serving and delighting your customers on a consistent basis.

There’s a significant degree of maintenance and upkeep that goes into running a successful app. While it’s certainly possible that an organization can do this themselves, the amount of time and effort it involves can take them away from the other vital functions of running their business. It can lead them to focus more on day-to-day operations and less on high-level strategic decisions that will move the needle in major ways.

That’s why it makes sense to partner with a provider of managed application services. Let’s take a closer look at what managed application services are, why your company would want them, the type of organizations that use them, and how they work.

What are Managed Application Services?

Your application plays an important role in your business. That role will vary depending on the nature and purpose of your app, but you developed it for a reason. Every app requires a certain amount of operational support to ensure it continues running successfully. Managed application services are services provided that keep an app operational while responding to any disruptions or challenges to ensure it stays online.

Managed application services involve maintaining the app, monitoring for bugs, and making the appropriate updates to counteract those bugs. It also involves engaging in modernization efforts and updating release notes so that customers understand critical changes that have been made.

Routine maintenance isn’t the only type of support a managed application services provider can give, however. They can also assist in developing the app itself. They can provide user design and coding support to help the app get from conception to the App Store.

The scope of a managed application services provider you choose will depend on your specific needs as a client. Some require assistance with one app, others need support for multiple apps, databases, or other technology solutions. The specific services can also be applied to other systems, platforms, technologies or services. Again, it depends on the organization and its business requirements.

Why a company would want Managed Application Services?

So what does a company with a need for managed application services look like? Companies that find themselves in a variety of situations may find it advantageous to turn to a managed application services provider. Below are just a few examples of reasons that companies that would want to partner with one:

Staff turnover

If a company has staff who previously supported their applications leave, they may need to supplant that support. A managed application services provider can assist with this need.

Can’t afford expensive IT staff

Having a fully staffed IT department is costly. Along with paying their salaries, you’ll also have to pay for benefits and PTO. Employees require more organizational infrastructure that could eat away at your bottom line.

It’s less expensive to go hourly

By opting for an hourly approach to your IT staffing needs with a managed application services provider, you can save money. Rather than hiring full-time employees, you can hire fractional ones.

Leverage a team of resources

If you hire an IT staff, you may have limited budgetary resources to commit to them. You may only be able to hire one or two individuals, forcing them to cover a multitude of technologies. With a managed application services provider, you can leverage a team of resources with diverse skill sets.

Need to keep up with the latest tech

Managing application services involves maintaining awareness of best practices in the areas of cybersecurity and other tech-related areas. That can be a lot of pressure on your IT staff. With managed application services providers, you can rest assured they’re keeping up to date on the latest trends.

Need insurance coverage

If you do have existing staff, a managed application services provider can act as an insurance policy to bolster your support needs.

A desire to focus on higher-level work

Your team needs the ability to focus on strategic-level tasks as opposed to operational ones. Managed application services providers can complete the more menial work.

What type of organization typically could use Managed Application Services?

If you’re wondering if managed application services are right for your organization, below is a summary of businesses that may benefit from one:

  • A small or mid-sized team that currently has limited IT capabilities
  • Businesses that don’t view application development as one of their core competencies
  • Businesses that want to eliminate excess costs but still require app support
  • Teams that are experiencing high churn rates with their IT staff turnover
  • Organizations that don’t have the budget for full-time IT employees but still have IT application requirements to fulfill

If any of these apply to you, having a team of experts in application development and support might be the right fit for you.

How do Managed Application Services work?

So what can you expect when you sit down with a managed application services provider to reach an agreement? First, you’ll draw up a contract. That contract will include a statement of work that defines:

  • The number, size, and scope of applications to either support and develop
  • The type of support needed
  • A Service Level Agreement (SLA) that defines issue resolution and support hours
  • A minimum number of hours required for support
  • Costs for hourly/monthly support as well as additional costs for any extended services offered

Once terms are agreed on, the provider can begin working with the organization to manage and support their application.

By partnering with the right managed application services provider, you can minimize risks associated with subpar application support. By clearly defining the scope of the expected work, you’ll be sure to establish a solid working relationship with your provider, setting both their team and yours up for success.

Interested in finding the right provider for all of your application service needs? Look no further than the Provato Group. For more on how we can partner with you to revolutionize how you develop and nurture your apps, contact us today.

How to Choose the Right Social Media Channel for Your Brand

Social media has become a core part of everyday life. Whether you’re a small business owner or a large corporation, the chances are good that your customers are on one or more social media platforms.

Social media is a great way to get your brand out there and build a following. And there are a lot of social media channels out there, and they all offer different things. For this reason, it can be hard to know how to choose which social media channel is right for your brand. So, where should you be? Is there a right place to be? And how do you even know what that place is?

In this blog post, we’ll talk about how you can choose the right social media channel for your business.

Identify Your Target Audience

The first step in choosing the right social media channel for your business is to define your ideal customer or target audience. This is important because you need to know who you’re talking to, and why they’ll want to listen.

Be sure to define your ideal customer—the person who will be most interested in your product or service—and then narrow down their demographics. For example, if you sell organic skin care products exclusively to women between the ages of 25-45, you may want to consider Instagram because that platform has more active users within this age range than even Facebook does.

To define your ideal customer, ask yourself:

  • What are their interests?
  • How much money do they make?
  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they?

You also need to think about what kind of information they might be interested in—are they more likely to be interested in product announcements or behind-the-scenes glimpses into your company?

These are all questions that will help narrow down exactly who your target audience is and help guide your social media marketing strategy accordingly.

Define Your Social Media Goals

One of the most important things to consider when choosing which social media channels to use is how you want to use them. Do you want to use social media as a way to build brand awareness, connect with customers, extend your customer service, or lead generation and sales?

Defining your goals on social media is an essential part of building your presence on that channel. It will help you figure out what kind of content you need to post to achieve that goal. For example, if one of your goals is lead generation then you’ll need different types of content than if your goal is brand awareness.

It’s also important because it will help you create an audience who will be interested in the type of content that helps reach these goals. The key is knowing what will work best for your company and its needs.

Identify Where Your Target Audience Is Now

Choosing the right social media channel for your business is crucial, because it can make or break your brand. But it’s not just about picking a channel that’s popular, or where you think your target audience is hanging out—it’s also about knowing what platforms they actually use and which ones they spend the most time on. If they’re on Facebook all day, then you should be there too.

You can also look at other ways that your target audience interacts with each other and find out where those interactions are happening. For example, if you sell dog treats and want to connect with pet owners, then looking at how often they post about dogs on social media would tell you how many pet owners are using that platform.

Identifying the platforms which your audiences use or where they spend their time most would help you in narrowing down the choice of social media channels.

Take a Look at Your Competitors

When it comes to choosing the right social media channel for your brand, one of the most important things you can do is look at your competitors. What are they doing? Where are they? How do they interact on those platforms? Where are they active? What kind of engagement do they get on these platforms? Are there any major differences between them and you?

The more you know about your competitors, the easier it will be for you to choose which social media channel is best for your business. You can also look at other businesses in your industry and see what they’re doing. If you think that your competitors are doing something that’s working well for them, try to replicate it.

Conducting research on your competitors will give you an idea of what you should expect from each channel, which will help you make an informed decision about whether or not it’s worth investing time and money into using that platform.

Participate in Online Forum Discussions

Participating in online community and forum discussions is a great way to get your name out there and make connections. It’s also a great way to figure out which social media channels are best for your brand.

When you participate in online communities, you’ll be able to see what people are talking about and how they’re talking about it. You’ll learn what kinds of discussions are happening on a specific platform you’re considering, what kind of content gets shared most often, and whether or not there’s enough conversation happening around topics that matter to your business.

Draw Inspiration From Your Product or Service

Your product or service is what makes you unique. It’s what sets you apart from other businesses and gives people reason to come back to you time and time again. So if there’s one thing we know it’s that your product or service should have some sway over which social media channels are best for your business.

When choosing the right social media channel for your brand, it’s important to draw inspiration from your product or service. One way to do this is to think about what you’re selling. For instance, you should consider whether or not your product or service has an element of entertainment or education. If so, then YouTube might be a good option because it allows users the opportunity to learn something through videos and tutorials.

So, there you have it! If you’re looking for a new way to connect with your audience and grow your business, social media is definitely the way to do it. But with so many platforms out there, it can be challenging to know where to start.

We hope this article helps you decide which channel is right for you. And if you’re still not sure which social platform is the best for your business, we’d love to help you out. Our team of digital marketing experts will help you find the right one for you! Just contact us today, and we’ll schedule a consultation.

A Short History of Cloud Computing and Its Future

We use cloud computing on a daily basis and think nothing of it. Opening a thin client on our smartphone we instantly access the cloud when saving the document we created or opened. In fact, the process of saving happens automatically, too.

In the Beginning DARPA Created the Internet

Most of us alive and using computers or smartphones today grew up with computers and smartphones. The older people using these devices recall their invention or popularization – all ultimately stemming from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project called ARPANET in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Personal Computer Revolutionized Individual Development

While computers took decades to go from the mainframes of that glutted businesses and research universities beginning in the 1950s, once the personal computer hit the shelves in the late 1970s, technology leaped ahead quickly. Many companies flooded the market with their version of the personal computer. You could choose from the Micral C (1977), TRS-80 (1977), or Commodore PET (1977), soon followed by the IBM Personal Computer 5150 in 1981 and IBM’s Personal Computer 5150 in 1981. The easier-to-use Macintosh computer entered the fray in 1984.

Berners-Lee Creates the World Wide Web from the Internet

It took only 12 years from the introduction of the personal computer for the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee to occur. While DARPA’s packet-sharing idea lets researchers around the world communicate and share data, Berners-Lee worked to bring the utility of ARPANET to the masses. His WWW let any individual or organization with server space create a web page.

This revolutionary idea spawned businesses and special interest pages. The browser wars ensued with Netscape duking it out with Mosaic, Internet Explorer, and Lynx, the latter a text-only browser that only individuals with very slow connections used. We’re talking a 2400 baud modem because no one conceived of 5G or broadband at the time.

Businesses and Entrepreneurs Flood the WWW

The WWW quickly welcomed businesses, including unique notions like eBay (1995) and Amazon (1994). Both companies allowed an individual to create a listing to sell an item or items via the larger platform but under their own personal or business name. Both eBay and Amazon offered their own built-in shopping cart and a systematic point-and-click mechanism for creating listings. This qualifies both as the first service platforms. They enabled the birth of the entrepreneur in all of us and inspired the creation of platforms like TheRealReal, thredUP, Poshmark, and many others. Etsy comes from this idea, as does Shopify.

1999 Gives Birth to the First SaaS App

While most of us think of cloud computing as personal computing, the first cloud services served businesses and those individuals wanting to enter sales on a personal basis. Even the first credited cloud app, Salesforce, serves businesses.

With respect to personal or home computing, the cloud app revolution began with sites like GeoCities and AOL offering up free server space so people could create websites on any topic. Some people realized that they could upload any file to their server space, then access it at a friend’s home from their computer.

Another trick – emailing it to yourself or creating a draft with an attachment – went on for years. You could purchase space, too, from CompuServe, AOL, and eventually GeoCities, or obtain a free Yahoo email address that let you store your email online. We didn’t call it “in the cloud” at that time, but that’s what we call it today.

21st SaaS Offers Mobile Solutions

Around 2006 to 2007 an upstart called Google offered free email to compete with Hotmail and Yahoo. It also offered a unique app called Docs, which still exists. Traversing to the Google Docs website, the user can log into a word processing app that works similar to Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect. The popularity of Docs spawned online versions of spreadsheets programs, databases, drawing programs, and more. Competitors, such as Zoho (1996), had existed for longer, but Google used better marketing and offered an easier-to-use interface.

SaaS and Its -aaS Siblings Become Ubiquitous

Suddenly, it seemed, every business made an app and offered “a cloud solution.” True cloud solutions though require more than an app. They allow you to save your work in an online space you can access from anywhere. Most of us use a cloud app each day, perhaps without realizing it.

We open a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs from a computer and it instantly connects to the cloud space connected to the account. While we once felt awed at the gift of a few free KBs of storage, companies now dole out 15 MG to a gigabyte (GB) without thinking about it. Since we can purchase a physical terabyte drive in a store or its virtual representation for less than $100, we’ve beat what many once termed “the storage problem.” Cloud computing lets us store what we need in an accessible anywhere mode.

According to DevSquad, 94 percent of technical professionals use cloud software as a service (SaaS). That shouldn’t surprise anyone. You expect computer gurus to use the latest and greatest inventions. Look at the top 75 SaaS apps as ranked by Datamation though and you learn that the most popular app falls into the marketing industry – Salesforce. One of the original SaaS apps still tops the list, followed by Microsoft Office 365, an app used for both personal and business use. Embracing personal creativity hits the list at number three with Adobe Creative Cloud because you have to edit selfies sometimes. Business use cases abound with the top five rounded out with FreshBooks accounting SaaS and Paychex, a payroll and human resources cloud app.

The ‘as a Service’ Revolution Continues

Today, cloud computing provides the online app plus a thin client that takes up only a few megabytes on our smartphone or mobile device. Those old enough to have installed a program from a collection of floppy disks or even a CD-ROM appreciate the simplicity of the cloud. It turned what once required a veritable computer genius into something children learn in pre-school. Most of us can and do use the cloud every day when we access SaaS. Even if we don’t use its more advanced forms, such as platform as a service (PaaS), Framework as a Service (FaaS), Operations as a Service (OaaS), or any of the other more than 20 and growing “as a Service” options described in the Auvik dictionary. We can appreciate how far computer science has come and its burgeoning future in the Metaverse, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other developing technologies.

7 Best Practices for iOS App Development

Developing a successful iOS application isn’t easy. It requires forethought, planning, and a commitment to quality. Your strategy and approach may vary depending on what kind of app and audience you have, but there are some guidelines you can adhere to no matter what kind of app you’re creating.

Let’s take a closer look at seven best practices for iOS app development.

Do your market research

Before you start coding, it’s important to have done extensive market research. This will help you better understand your customers and the need for your app. Without this important first step, you run the risk of your app failing to resonate, making it more difficult to grow and sustain your user base.

Have the right understanding of who your app is for and what pain points it solves. This will lead to happier users later, along with more frequent adoption and use.

Define your Minimum Viable Product

Yes, you should do your due diligence and perform the necessary research to ensure there’s the right product-market fit for your app. But you’ll also want to deliver value to your customers as quickly as possible.

When you’re starting out, you’ll want to identify a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. This is the application you can offer to a smaller subset of customers with the least amount of features they’d need to derive value out of using it. They can test it and provide valuable feedback on what needs to be fixed.

Your MVP doesn’t represent the final form your app’s going to take. Think of it as an extension of your research efforts. By identifying an MVP and testing it with a small cadre of users, you’ll then be able to better pinpoint any challenges your app may face. You can then fix them without having to do so after you’ve deployed them.

Take your time to ensure your code is on point

When you eventually submit your app to the App Store, you’ll want to be sure it gets through without issues or delay. You may feel pressure to get your app to market as quickly as possible. But taking the time to review your code to ensure it’s high quality solves a lot of problems you’ll run into after release if it’s bad code.

This means having a robust system of quality assurance throughout your organization – whether you’re a one-person shop or a team of developers. Quality code is the backbone of all successful apps.

Look at documentation as a part of the process, not an extra task

Documentation often seems like a bore and a chore. We can view it as an additional task after we’ve completed all the truly critical work that needs to be done.

Don’t fall into this trap! Documentation, at every step of your iOS app development process, is vital for creating a better overall user experience.

For one, documentation helps your users understand what your app is and what it does. Documenting your code is also useful for helping your developers both now and in the future. When improvements or changes need to be made, documentation serves as a source of truth for helping you get back on track.

While you may like your developer team at the moment, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay forever (in fact, your developers are almost certain to change at some point). Having proper documentation helps maintain institutional knowledge between your teams.

If you don’t have additional developers and work on the project yourself, this makes documentation even more important. Don’t let one person (namely: you) become the single point of failure.

Always keep app security at top of mind

App security is another critical component of the iOS app development process. Consider the consequences of releasing an app with faulty security in place. If a malicious actor hacks into your app’s data, they may then be able to hack the data of any device that has used your app. That data could include personally identifiable information (PII) or financial information like credit card numbers or bank statements.

If your customers have their data exposed and stolen, they won’t be happy – and for good reason. Beyond eroding their trust in you as a product or service provider, you may also be exposed to potential legal action.

Sound security practices using features like encryption and multi-factor authentication – help keep your users and their information secure. This requires attention to detail when coding to minimize vulnerabilities. It may take more work and oversight upfront, but it’s much easier (and less costly) than taking shortcuts that lead to bigger headaches later on.

Distribute it via the right channels

Research is important. Correct code is important. Security is important. These are vital steps to make your app a success. But just as critical as these components is your ability to get your app in front of the right people. You do this by distributing it through the right channels.

Don’t overthink this step. When you’re developing an iOS app, the best place to distribute it is via the App Store. Apple has a set of comprehensive guidelines for app developers to follow when submitting their apps. These guidelines cover just about every aspect of app management you can think of, addressing everything from performance to legal concerns.

Review these guidelines before you start creating your application. Ensure that you’re adhering to them at each stage of the development process – through planning, development, and deployment. If you don’t, you may have to fix these issues later. That will take additional time and money, potentially delaying your app’s release or causing you to pause operations.

Optimize backward compatibility

Your iOS application shouldn’t just run on devices or systems built in 2022. Not all of your users are going to be on the most current iPhone or operating system. You’ll want to ensure you can appeal to the broadest number of users possible.

That’s where backward compatibility enters the equation.  Backward compatibility is when an app can run on earlier versions of iOS and Apple devices like the iPhone.

Your ability to optimize this will depend on your app’s specific features and how well they match up with previous iOS versions. In some cases, you may not be able to do this for older versions. But maintaining awareness of earlier versions and being compatible with them when possible will help increase your potential users.

Need assistance navigating your iOS app development? The Provato Group can help. For more on how we can partner with you, contact us today.

A Complete Guide to the Differences Between CRM and CMS

At the core of every modern business, there are two acronyms: CRM and CMS.  These two acronyms are the most often confused or transposed in the whole glossary of digital marketing. The fact of the matter is that every modern business that runs on software and has a website needs both a CRM and a CMS – and to manage them expertly as two separate, integrated systems.

But what exactly are a CRM and a CMS? How do you keep the two acronyms straight and handle both with the ease needed for a growing business? By the end of this article, you’ll be well on your way to expertly managing both your CRM and your CMS – or ready to make an informed decision on the right software solutions for your business.

What are CRM and CMS? What is the Difference?

Quick Answer: CRM and CMS are both software that your business needs. The CRM, or Customer Relationship Manager keeps track of customers has features for marketing and communication. The CMS or Content Management System is a website engine with features to create pages and manage content.

A business’ CRM and CMS are often integrated to facilitate personalized website experiences, continuous customer service, and digital marketing strategies.

What is a CRM?

  • Customer Relationship Management software
  • Example: Salesforce CRM & HubSpot CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management (software). It is an interactive and self-updating archive of all your leads and customers who have ever engaged with your company. At your core, your CRM is your record of customers, but also contains analytics, marketing automation, and communication software to, eponymously, manage your customer relationships.

What is a CMS?

  • Content Management System
  • Example: WordPress & Squarespace

CMS stands for Content Management System. A CMS is a website engine that is designed to help you build and edit pages. On the back-end, it is run by a database of pages and content, arranged using software themes and HTML code.  Because most of a business website is static, readable pages, a CMS can be used to quickly build everything you need except embedded portals like e-commerce shops or web games – for which there are modules you can plug in. A CMS comes with pre-built themes and structures for your basic “Home”, “About”, “Contact”, and “Blog” business website. Plugins build onto your CMS core to add features that are more than flat content, like shops, user portals, maps, and tools.

The Difference Between a CRM and CMS

A CRM manages a database of customers and details about them. A CMS manages the content of your website.

What You Can Do with a CRM?

Leads, Customers, and Dormant Accounts

At the core of a CRM are the records of your leads and customers. There should be three types of records; Leads that have not yet converted, customers who are active and due to return, and dormant customers who may eventually re-engage. Some brands also have a temporary entry for website touch-points that are not yet data-available leads.

A Customer’s Entire History with the Company

Your CRM will make a customer record as soon as an interaction is registered. Once a customer has a record, every interaction with the company (integrated with the CRM) is recorded. This builds a customer’s entire history with the company and allows you to create a continuous relationship with each customer – and analyze their trends. This can include their browsing, shopping, blog-reading, and customer service contact records.

Communicate with Customer with Automated Record Keeping

Many CRMs include call, chat, text, and now video conference features to reach out to customers directly through the platform. Most can integrate with the leading communication platforms to do the same. When connected through the CRM, every interaction is recorded and can be used or referenced later.

Personalized Marketing and Automation

  • Birthday rewards
  • Personalized deals and offers
  • Personalized email content

Perhaps the most useful thing about modern CRMS is automation of personalized content. Your CRM can help send personalized email campaigns where the names and even the preferences and shopping history of your customers are used to create a greater connection with each customer. Your CRM can send birthday wishes and help your e-commerce engine craft offers uniquely appealing to each customer based on their history.

Analysis Trend Prediction and Optimization

CRMs can also offer analysis of customer trends by processing the data of individual and group history. Your CRM can help predict customer behavior and potentially build a strategy to optimize a customer’s predictable patterns.

What You Can Do with a CMS

Start a Business Website

The core function of a CMS is to build a website and host content pages to be visited and read. With a CMS, you can build any structure of pages. The appearance and layout of the content on each page is determined by your theme, which you can select or build custom. Content includes text, images, and embedded tools like video players and calculators.

Any business can start a website with a complete CMS, and any of the leading CMSs available. If all you need is a few landing pages and service pages, this can be built by any tenacious non-programmer in a single day using a modern CMS.

Build a Homepage and Service Pages

Most CMSs make it easy to build your basic business pages right out of the box. Start with any basic website theme to build a homepage for your website and a navigation bar of service pages. With any WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get, or “Whisywig”) engine, you can visually arrange each page as you build or edit without the need to program.

Manage a Blog and Information Center

The CMS design was built for blogging. A blog is, essentially, a database of page URLs and content, arranged according to a design theme. It’s just a database of HTML and CSS at its core. This makes it easy for anyone today to build a vast blog navigated by menus. Create a more comprehensive knowledge base and navigation menu system and you have a professional information center built from the same pieces.

Fun fact: You can actually build a non-CMS website, then host a CMS inside as a blog portal. In reverse, you can build a CMS website and host other web structures as plugins.

Increase Your SEO Ranking

If your concern is SEO, a CMS is the center of any business’ SEO strategy. You have to have content pages in order to win search results. The more comprehensive service pages and useful blog articles you have, the more page results you can provide to your targeted user searches. In fact, Google ranks pages by performance criteria that are specific to the CMS, like page load speed, the order in which assets (images, text, and embeds) appear on your page, and how well your CMS can be used on mobile devices.

Track Website Analytics

Most modern CMS’ now include (or plugin to include) the ability to track your website analytics. Analytics are essential to quantitative growth for any business. If you want to increase your website traffic or improve conversion funnels, you’ll need the analytics connected through your CMS.

Set Up Admin and User Accounts

Every CMS has admin and user accounts, which can be expanded for both back-end and customer-facing features. Your admin accounts are editors and those allowed to manage the content, while you can often create controlled ranks of user accounts for customer-access permissions and limited staff account permissions.

Expand with Plug-In Website Features

A CMS isn’t truly complete without a full stack of plugins. Cybersecurity, e-commerce, and dashboard analytics are the top three, but you will likely find close to a dozen plugins that your business needs or should try when building your website. Be cautious, most popular CRMs have an unvetted plugin community, so be sure to choose only the most trusted software to plug into your business website.

Integrating Your CRM and CMS | Personalize Your Customer Experience

Now that you know the difference between a CRM and CMS, let’s conclude this exploration with what they can do together.


Most businesses start by building their website with a CMS. From there, they create customer accounts where customers can take actions like shop, buy, and earn loyalty points. The CRM, when integrated, tracks these behaviors and records them as an archive of personalized data for each customer. This data can then be used to predict customer behavior, offer personally tempting deals, and personalize email outreach later on.

CRMs can create lead records through your CMS by creating a temporary record for each IP address that explores the website without logging in. If this IP results in a customer account, their pre-account data can even be added to the record – determining the exact moment and original interaction with the brand.


Your CRM can also send useful data back to your CMS. Your CRM can tell the website when to greet the customer with birthday wishes and which “product suggestion” panels each customer is most likely to respond to. The CRM can tell the CMS if the customer prefers dark mode, or if their holiday shopping patterns are about to repeat.

What is the Difference Between a CRM and CMS?

The difference between a CRM and CMS is that a CRM manages your customer data while a CMS manages your website pages.

5 Reasons Why Sitefinity is the Right CMS For You

Developing engaging content is a surefire way to reach more customers. But simply writing it isn’t enough. Great content doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Whether it’s the planning process before you’ve developed your content or the distribution process after, your content will require strategic management to ensure it’s performing well and helping you drive more sales.

Because of this, you’ll want to partner with a content management system (CMS) that allows you to get the most out of your content. Your CMS should be feature-laden, delivering value in a way that works for your organization’s specific content needs. It should have the capabilities needed to develop, distribute, and measure the content you pour your heart and soul into creating.

The best CMS you can use is Sitefinity CMS. It’s a comprehensive CMS that works for organizations large and small – no matter what your customization needs are, Sitefinity CMS can help you optimize your content’s performance. Let’s take a closer look at the top five reasons why you should use Sitefinity as your CMS.


Developing content is about more than simply thinking of a great idea and then executing it. You must be sure that your message is going to the right audience at the right time. Without this knowledge in mind, you run the risk of delivering carefully crafted content to people who aren’t really interested in what you have to offer. Sitefinity’s customization capabilities allow you to find your audience.

Sitefinity’s content development suite includes the ability to customize your content or campaign for the appropriate audience. You can not only develop content directed in the right place, but you can also test it out to optimize its effectiveness. Sitefinity CMS offers sophisticated A/B testing capabilities. You can evolve your content, shifting your focus until you strike a balance that resonates.

When you customize your content, you’ll get more value out of the valuable audience research you’ve conducted. You’ll develop messaging that speaks to your prospects on their level, no matter what demographic they fall under. This is how you increase engagement – with content expertly aimed at the right person.

One of the best ways to evaluate the distinctive components of your audience is through segmentation. Sitefinity gives you the ability to select the categories by which you want to identify your audience. This can be based on their demographic information or on their activity with your website. With the Sitefinity Insight campaigns feature, you can examine your potential customer’s activity and makeup. Once you’ve identified your audience, you can then begin personalizing your site content to best meet each segment’s information needs.

All your customization efforts will be recorded and evaluated by Sitefinity Insight, providing you with valuable insight into what’s working and what isn’t. You’ll find yourself able to continue successful campaigns or pivot from ones that aren’t having the expected impact.

Of course, customization is only effective when you fully understand your customers.

Learn More About Your Ideal Customer

Having insight into your customer and their behavior is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your marketing toolbox. Sitefinity has numerous tools dedicated to helping you better understand your customer. With its automation and customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities, Sitefinity helps you establish a holistic view of your customer and their wants, needs, and desires.

You can integrate information and data from other programs (more on this below) to help you build powerful, accurate customer personas. This provides you with an informed background from which to build compelling content. Sitefinity CMS understands that knowledge of your customer is the most powerful knowledge of all and gives you the tools needed to figure them out.

So how can you apply this improved knowledge of your customer and leverage it across platforms?


You likely use different platforms for a variety of business reasons. You’ll want to align your content with the goals these platforms are supporting. Being able to do this can be the difference between streamlining your content with the rest of your operations and allowing your organization to fall into confusion from a content development perspective. Having multiple tools can leave you reaching for data from disparate locations, hurting your ability to create content that takes these platforms into account.

You won’t have to worry about this with Sitefinity. That’s because Sitefinity has advanced integration capabilities with a variety of platforms that businesses love to use.

If you have an existing customer relationship management (CRM) tool with valuable customer data you need to access, Sitefinity can connect with it.

What about your employee records? If you have internal-facing content to create, having the ability to reach that information might be helpful. Sitefinity can integrate with those types of platforms as well.

There’s no shortage of integration capabilities at your disposal when you partner with Sitefinity. You’ll find that it’s a versatile tool with a seemingly limitless number of integration possibilities. Your marketing staff can get quick access to the data from those platforms while disseminating content from your website to those platforms as well.

Sitefinity encourages digital unity by linking your various platforms to it. Whatever your specific business needs – and whatever your current toolset – Sitefinity can help you manage it without the fear of losing valuable data.

Your need to integrate is only one concern, though. You’ll also want to develop websites that look stunning no matter how your customer is viewing them.


Your potential customers will likely be accessing your site on several different devices of varying sizes – smartphones, computers, and others. Sitefinity’s responsive design adapts your site to the device its own. You won’t have to worry about how your site appears on one device compared to another because Sitefinity has the flexibility needed to make it look perfect anywhere.

This responsiveness tracks with the platform’s overall theme of simplicity – one that is present within the platform’s operating features.

Easy to Use

No matter what kind of platform you’re looking to use for any purpose, usability is critical. When a platform is difficult to navigate, it makes it harder for your team members every time they log in. They’ll waste time trying to find where content is stored and the specific commands they need. It will be even harder.

With Sitefinity CMS, you’ll never have to worry about your team’s ability to use the system. Sitefinity’s efficient user interface is geared toward simplicity and ease of use. Sitefinity condenses all the tasks you’ll need to develop and distribute content that’s easy for your intended audience to use. With a few clicks, you’ll be able to create content, guide it through production, and send it to the appropriate channels. The simple interface enables you to deliver consistent language and content through whatever device you choose.

The bottom line? Sitefinity CMS is one of the best CMS tools available from both a versatility and capability standpoint. Using it will help your marketing team level up its content for happier customers and better results.

The Top 5 Reasons to Build a Small Business Website with WordPress

In today’s marketplace, every business needs a website. It is the first place your customers go to discover your brand. It may host your online store or represent your brick-and-mortar establishment. The question is how to develop your website. You can commission a hand-built website, hire an onboard developer, or use one of the many quick-and-easy website builder platforms on the market.  For a small business, it can be tough to know which is the right route to a high-quality website that your team can maintain.

A small business needs a website that runs like a machine. You need easy updates to content like blog posts and service pages so your team can manage the website without a specialist. You also need your website to meet the necessary security and performance requirements to compete for SEO and SERP ranking. Why do engines and colleagues keep suggesting a WordPress website? Aside from sourcing around 1/3 of websites on the internet, WordPress offers a toolkit approach to website building that is uniquely useful to small business priorities.

Why do we recommend WordPress to small businesses in need of a new website? Here are our top five reasons to make small business WordPress website.

1) All the Tools You Need are Available

WordPress starts with a basic website framework that you can build onto with “plugins”. It is a module and toolkit system for building websites one feature-set at a time.

You can get a homepage up almost instantly on a properly configured server with many free themes that provide the basis “Home”, “About, “Contact”, “Blog” site map structure. From there, you can add modules for a web-store, security, store locator, booking calendar, or online menu and delivery tracking system. Customer accounts, security, and performance modules are considered essential but you can choose the package and pricing that works best for you.

Everything you need to build a WordPress website of business quality is available and affordable for the website in a plug-and-play experience. This makes it easy for small businesses to quickly construct the features they need for a modern and high-performing website that suits their business model.

2) Quick-Build Themes and Infinite Customization

WordPress makes it extremely easy to get started. If you need the basic structure of a beautifully branded, high-performance website, you can get one up in one or two days depending on your ready assets. With the right plugins, most small business models can put together a WordPress website that does everything you need it to for engaging leads, selling to customers, booking, and providing platform services for logged-in accounts.

The right theme and plugins can get you started very quickly – with easy slots in the design for your website colors and brand assets. At the same time, WordPress is also built by code and therefore extremely customizable. You can have a unique theme (your entire website structure and style) developed by a programmer, with an all-in-one approach or your own custom plugins as well. WordPress is as flexible as a hand-built website, but extremely easy to piece together quickly out of existing elements triest, tested, and 5-star rated on the market right now.

3) Vast Network of Users and Developers

WordPress is not an island. Your support network of users and developers is vast. If you have a common-use question or even an elusive error message, there are literally millions of other people using WordPress who may have the answer. If you want guidance on an existing plugin or to commission a unique feature, there is a developer with the right experience for the job. You can hire onboard WordPress experts, outsource to WordPress developer shops, hire WordPress specialized marketing, content, and community managers, and ask the greater community for tips.

You are never stranded when working with WordPress because of the vast network of other WordPress users and programmers found through the marketplace, job market, and community.

4) No-Code Website Management and Content Updates

WordPress has played a major role in the WYSIWYG movement to low-code and no-code platform management. “What You See is What You Get” or “whisywig” conversationally is an engine built to help you design web pages and edit your content without delving into HTML, Javascript, and other bracket-based coding languages.

Instead, you can use a visual interface that allows you to arrange page elements and enter content without knowing the difference between a and a. The WordPress WYSIWYG editor (Gutenberg Editor) is a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to build pages and templates from your existing brand assets. For a small business team, this is an incredible time and money saver because you can quickly produce regular content without the daily need for a web code specialist.

5) The Structure is Familiar and Easy for Customers

Last and never to be underestimated; customers are familiar with WordPress sites. Even with very unique themes, the basic structural elements are all there. Customers know they can find the big pages in the header and site map links in the footer. They understand how to navigate a WordPress blog and – whether they realize it or not – customers are familiar with the most-used eCommerce web store platforms.

This will make your site approachable and easy to use. It will feel natural and intuitive to navigate your WordPress website which reduces friction and improves your overall conversion funnel. With a pro to help you smoothly connect all the modules for a high-performance website experience, your customers will naturally flow from intake to conversion without the need for guidance because, without realizing it, they already know the way.

Small businesses make every decision based on a balance of efficiency, quality, and performance. WordPress meets that criteria by offering both easy-to-construct websites for any business model and ultimate customizability if you want to take more detailed control. For more information about WordPress websites for small businesses or to commission a professionally configured and branded website tailored to your business needs, contact us today.

How SEO Works and Why You Should Work It

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Such a simple phrase has completely taken over the business world of today. Trends in business are now trends in search engine algorithms. When Google updates its priorities, the entire world jumps to meet the new standards. Of course, this should come as no surprise in a world where a business missing from Google Maps might as well not exist. When customers look up their plans online before going out, a business without a web presence – one that cannot be found by search engines – is practically invisible. No matter how big your roadside sign may be.

So, just what is SEO? Why does it matter? Because SEO works when you work it. If you want that sweet internet “foot” traffic; if you want just-in-time blog answers and customers who find your brand right before they purchase or pick up the phone, SEO is the only way to achieve it.

Let’s dive into the details.

The Basics: SEO is How Search Engines Find Your Website

The simplest answer to “What is SEO” is that SEO is how search engines find your website – and how customers find you through the search engines. Your SEO is how well the phrases and words in your content match the purpose of your website. A simple and clear choice of words can make a bigger difference in your initial SEO efforts than weeks of website building.

For customers to find your website via a search engine, first the search engine has to connect what your page offers to what the customer wants. Search engine optimization is how businesses clearly indicate the value each page offers customers. This can mean a clear, descriptive page title, opening your content with a summary blurb, and clearly stating your points and tips on each page. SEO has reduced the number of really cleverly named web pages, but increased our ability to find and be found at the moment of need – or greatest curiosity.

Inbound vs Outbound: SEO is the Core of Inbound Marketing Strategy

You often hear about inbound marketing and SEO in the same breath, but what does that mean? Inbound and Outbound are two different types of marketing. Outbound marketing pushes information at the customer. Billboards, TV commercials, and even mailers are all outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is when the customer comes to you.

SEO makes that possible by providing your relevant pages when the customer makes a search. The customer asks the search engine for tips on repairing a sink drain. Your page just so happens to be titled “How to repair a sink drain in 5 easy steps” and this is exactly what the customer wants to see. They click and follow the link – inward – to your website. Inbound marketing is providing what customers need, when they need it, and letting the customers come to you.

As you can see, SEO is at the heart of inbound marketing in the digital age. We all appreciate businesses that cultivate an interesting and useful blog instead of investing their ad-spend in flashing web banners from the 90s and 00s.  SEO allows you to finely tune the content of each page so that customers can find the information or entertainment they seek when and where they want it most. This way, your brand can be that just-in-time expert – every time.

The Evolving Principles of SEO Strategy

  1. Getting the Attention of Web Crawlers
  2. Hacking the Backlinks
  3. Getting Ranks and Clicks
  4. Content Value and Reader Experience

Did you know that the core principles of SEO have been evolving for the last 20 years? In the 00s, SEO was all about manipulating web crawlers with keyword stuffing and backlink lists. Needless to say, Google has since blacklisted pretty much all of the original SEO tactics and put a new focus for the most-likely-to-succeed SEO strategies: Customer experience.

Today, trying to game the system on a technical level only works through proper website configuration and accessibility features. Beyond this, your best choice of SEO strategy that is likely to succeed through several algorithm updates is a focus on customer experience. Smoother and faster page loads, more interesting and relevant information, authority data sources, mobile performance, and integrated multimedia are now the name of the game.

Writing organically is more likely to hit your keyword targets than stuffing a specific word or phrase. Writing clearly and with easily-skimmed points is more likely to get readership and reduce bounce rate – which are also now calculated SEO elements.

SEO Copywriting vs SEO Marketing (SEM)

Often, there is some confusion about the difference between SEO – the overall strategy of search engine ranking – and SEO copywriting – the act of honing written words for keyword density and clear messages. They are both typically referred to as “SEO” but one is the total marketing strategy and one specifically relates to written content.

If you’d like to differentiate “SEM” or Search Engine Marketing is an alternate term for SEO strategy that is widely – if not universally – used. SEO copywriting is often used to differentiate the specific goal of writing content with the right keyword balance for your SEO strategic goals.

When Your SEO Strategy Becomes Your Brand Identity – or Vice Versa

Over time, you may even realize that your SEO strategy and your brand strategy have become one. This will happen as you hone your website content to Google’s standards. Becoming more transparent, transitioning from content fluff to expert-driven advice, and more clearly translating your brand’s marketing keywords as statements will actually frame your brand in the process. You may be refining your brand identity in the process of boosting your SEO, or you may find that your SEO simply must fall back on your existing brand identity in order to convey the organic and expert-driven style of writing that Google is continuing to require.

Working Your SEO Strategy for Digital Marketing Success

SEO works when you work it. The reason to work on your SEO strategy every week and month of the year is that Google (and other search engines) is the window to your digital audience. Without a presence on Google, customers simply won’t be able to find you. Without a high page ranking for your keywords, customers will see competitive brands before they have a chance to click your website.

For businesses who want to get ahead – and those who simply want to stay afloat – working your SEO strategy, honing your content, and improving your technical performance – is always a valuable effort.

Not sure where to start? The Provato Group can help you know more about what is SEO, and hone your SEO strategy from the opening words on your homepage to a custom website design that will load quickly improving your visibility in search engines, and the back-end mechanics of your website. We’ll help you build a powerful blog, compelling service pages, and even take your SEO off-site with videos, social media, and other forms of engaging inbound marketing techniques. Whether you need an SEO strategist or an expert SEO copywriter, The Provato Group has everything you need.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation on your business SEO status, results, and strategy for the future.

What database administrators need to know about Azure SQL

For database administrators, it’s important to find a system that’s feature-laden in a way that delivers optimal value to the end-users. That’s why the best solution for most organizations is to use Microsoft Azure SQL. It has a unique blend of features that allow for greater organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Whether you’re building a new database or migrating a legacy database to a new program, Azure SQL is perfect for you.

The question is: why should your organization use Azure SQL? Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages of using it by running through many of the program’s many features.

Implementation options

First, Azure SQL offers some versatile implementation options for getting started. The option you choose will depend on where you currently are in your Azure SQL experience. Depending on the level of sophistication you have with the product, your options may vary.

  • Looking to migrate your workloads onto Azure Virtual Machines (VM)? SQL server is the option for you.
  • With Azure SQL Managed Instance, you can update the applications you have as well as tap into hybrid flexibility.
  • You can also put the infrastructure needed in place to support your modern cloud applications by using Azure SQL Database.

No matter how you choose to implement Azure SQL, you’ll have a whole host of features at your disposal. Below is a brief summary of the features you can expect to benefit from using Azure SQL:


Protecting your data is paramount for an organization with any kind of digital presence. Whether you need to safeguard proprietary data or personally identifiable information, having a secure database is critical for keeping your information’s integrity intact.

Azure SQL offers all the tools you’ll need for a comprehensive security posture. It has cryptographic verification. It also has real-time threat protection capabilities to help you navigate threats and assess your vulnerabilities as soon as possible. Azure SQL has security controls such as encryption and access management as well to keep the right people in and the wrong people out. Finally, Azure SQL’s compliance coverage will keep your security tools up to date.


As your business grows, your database requirements may change as well. Azure SQL allows you to adapt and scale your database needs as the needs of your organization evolve. You’ll be able to scale your capabilities on a timeline that works for you and your team.


Azure SQL’s fully managed service eschews hardware for a more flexible, serverless approach. Forget dedicating physical space you don’t have for computer storage. Azure SQL supports cloud applications.

High availability

A service can have all the capabilities in the world, but without reliability, it will fail to serve you. When it comes to your database, you’ll want to be sure you can access it the majority of the time without disruptions or outages. Azure SQL offers high availability with minimal chances of disruption.

Regularly recurring tasks such as patches, updates, and data backups are all automated by Azure. It also has remedies in place for spontaneous network outages or failures. If you use retry logic within your app, your database will experience minimal downtime.

The bottom line is that a database is only as good as its ability to keep you connected to your data. Azure SQL has plenty of ways to keep your data available no matter what external circumstances might occur.

Backup and recovery

For most organizations, their data is the lifeblood of their business. So what happens when disaster strikes and that data is compromised? Without the right protection in place, it can be catastrophic for your organization. Azure SQL databases rely on SQL Server engine technology to provide data backup and restoration services. These measures provide you with the safety and security of knowing a disaster won’t take you back to square one. Azure SQL’s redundancy offers regularly scheduled backups, ensuring you access your data after an incident occurs.

Automatic tuning

You’ll also want to optimize your database’s performance, and Azure SQL gives you the ability to do just that. With automatic tuning, you’ll always have the best performance available. Azure SQL has a highly adaptable performance posture, enabling you to get the most out of your database without having to manually adjust or monitor your performance settings.

Monitoring and analytics

One of the most time-consuming aspects of your IT operations can be manually monitoring the performance of your various systems. Azure SQL cuts down on this, providing you with a comprehensive portal that allows you to monitor and track performance across all of your Azure SQL databases and other virtual services.

You’ll also have access to a host of analytical tools. This type of data is critical to making sure your organization’s IT operations are operating with maximum efficiency. With a single page, Azure SQL gives you a holistic view of all of your SQL resources. This includes your Azure SQL databases, the server hosting them, as well as any SQL Managed Instances or your SQL Server on Azure VMs. 


Because Azure SQL offers such a versatile and comprehensive suite of services, it can often seem overwhelming having to sift through everything to find specific data. SQL On-Demand offers you more insight into your data with the ability to make tailored queries to get you the information you need when you need it.

Azure SQL is the database solution you need

Because of the features described above, it’s clear that Azure SQL offers a better database solution than any other option available. Azure SQL has solutions that can be customized and applied to a variety of organizational types and sizes, scaled up or down depending on what you need.

With this in mind, it only makes sense for your team to migrate its legacy database services to Azure SQL. The main challenge is determining how to navigate these migrations. While it may seem daunting at first, having the right partner in place to guide you through the process helps you overcome any obstacles, focusing on getting the most out of Azure SQL.