Author: Jonathan

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

New (for 2019-2020) Bryce Properties website launched

A few days ago we launched the new Bryce Properties website! The customer is super happy and that is very pleasing for us.

We’ve been working with Bryce Properties for a number of years. In fact, the first version of their website was back in 2008! How time flies!

Who/What is Bryce Properties?

Bryce Properties is a local (to Plymouth – UK) business that rents the highest quality accommodation to students looking for rooms in Plymouth. They have a range of property sizes from one-bedroom flats to ten-bedroom houses.

Eleven years – The evolution of a website.

Have a look at the difference eleven years makes!

2008

Sadly, we don’t have any screenshots of this iteration of the site. Probably a good thing!

2013

The 2013 iteration of the  Bryce Properties website
2013 version of the site

Wow, 2013 was rudimentary by comparison to the 2019 version! Very linear and not a lot going on. I’m not sure about the lurid pink now!

2016

The 2016 iteration of the  Bryce Properties website
2016 version of the site

Some improvements over 2013 we agree, but still not great compared to today’s version.

2018

2018 Bryce Properties website
2018 Bryce Properties website

In 2018, we made serious improvements to the site. Much more mobile-friendly than previous versions and the introduction of the CSS framework Bootstrap 4 to provide a base to work on.

2019 – Today

Link to the site (as it is today)

Bryce Properties 2019-2020 website
Bryce Properties 2019-2020 website – Home page

This years’ version of the site is a much-improved one. Some of the new features are listed below. The main ones are that it now looks great on large-screen monitors as well as smaller mobile devices.

Check it out yourself

Features

  • Looks great on large screens
  • Looks great on mobile and tablet devices
  • (Expands nicely as the user stretches and decreases the width of the browser window)
  • A top navigation bar providing quick links to different sized properties stays visible regardless of where the visitor is on the page or indeed on the whole site
Top navigation bar(stays at the top during the visit)
  • Completely secure with SSL encryption
Visiting the site is secure via SSL encryption
  • Virtual tours of 15 properties included
Viewing a virtual tour of one of the student houses
  • When enquiring about a specific property, an email is sent to the office team with the property details enquired-for as well as the visitor’s name and contact details. Making it easy for the Bryce team to communicate back to the prospective tenant
Email example received from the website
  • Each property has a tabbed interface providing different information in an easy to navigate way.
Tabbed interface for each property displayed

Technical

For those who really want to know!

Scripting (the programming side of things) – PHP

The scripting language used is PHP. A long-time used scripting language for web developers around the world. This is what enables some of the useful features such as the customised emails that come through to the office.

CSS Framework

Bootstrap 4 is a CSS framework. Basically, it comes with a pre-made look-and-feel, providing items such as buttons and tabs. Bootstrap certainly provides a very handy starting point. However, there is a lot of coding necessary none-the-less! This site contains 5253 files!

5253 files in the site!

Finally

We hope you like the site. It’s just one type of site we work on and in this case, providing regular on-going support and changes.

Other types of websites include WordPress sites where the customer is able to manage the content of their site once it is live, and Shopify, a fully-functional online shop site.

Questions?

Contact us for more information or if you would be interested in us helping you on your website project.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

FREE Excel Spreadsheet Template – Recording Hours Worked

“Recording Worked Hours” (by Client/Project)

We all like free stuff don’t we? Especially if it proves useful! Here on this page, I’m offering you free of charge a useful spreadsheet template I created for recording hours worked.

“Recording Hours Worked.xlsx”

It’s a spreadsheet I’m using myself so I’m getting first-hand experience of using the file. In that way, I hope you also find it beneficial.

No strings attached!

Though coffee and a doughnut would be nice!

If you like it, let me know. If you share it with others, please let them know where the spreadsheet came from!

It’s probably most useful for those self-employed people out there who need a simple way of recording hours worked. It’s intended for recording hours worked for their clients, but it can be used for other business scenarios such as projects. If you use it in larger scenarios, I’d be very interested to find out how. Would you let me know? 

All I ask is that you sign up to the Anything I.T. mailing list or Like our Facebook Page. We don’t spam with numerous emails. In fact, you will likely only get between 1-2 a month! I’m not even going to force you to provide an email address. The file is just there, at the bottom of the page, ready to use.

Disclaimer/Warning

To make this work, you may need a basic understanding of Excel documents. if you break your copy, you can ask me for help, but please don’t blame me!

Explaining the Document

Summary sheet

Below are a couple of screenshots of the SUMMARY sheet of the spreadsheet (or workbook whichever you like to call it). You will notice there are a number of sheets, all named the months of the year, as well as the SUMMARY sheet.

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheetIn this example, we have a sheet that summarises the data across the year and the individual months.

On this, the SUMMARY sheet, we enter the client/project on the left-hand side. These names are automatically populated to the other individual sheets. This is important as it ensures no typing mistakes are made by the user (and thereby providing accurate data).

The SUMMARY sheet provides not only a, ermmmm, summary, of hours worked each month and for each client/project, but money made (if you use this as the basis for your invoicing).

The financial aspect is optional and for me at least, it is primarily used for giving me an idea of where I am with certain clients.

You will also note the columns which I hope are self-explanatory:

  • Total Hours
  • Total £
  • The individual months (each with Hours and £)

On the far right-hand side, you will see a list of rates. Enter your own here. These rates are used on the individual month sheets (more on this below).

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

The ‘Month’ sheets – Entering in your hours worked

On each ‘month’ sheet, you should see on the left, the area where you need to enter four pieces of data:

  • Date (the date of course!)
  • For Whom/What (See below for an explanation)
  • Description (Whatever you want in here to describe the work carried out)
  • Hours (The number of hours obviously. Can work in parts of hours too, such as ‘1.5’.

Recording Hours Worked

For Whom/What

Your client name or project name. Clicking into this cell reveals a dropdown arrow which picks up the client names/project names you entered in on the SUMMARY sheet. Adding a client name or project name on the SUMMARY sheet automatically adds it to the dropdown options.

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

This cell is configured so that you must enter in (or select from the dropdown) an exact match from the list. Trying to type in ABC1234lhalhdlahdl (if it doesn’t exist on your SUMMARY sheet) will produce an error.

Type in a description and enter how many hours work, or indeed a decimal of an hour (0.1 would be 6 minutes, 0.25 would be quarter of an hour, 0.33 would be 20 minutes, 0.5 half an hour, and so on).

The ‘Month’ sheets – Client/Project auto-summarisation

On the right-hand side, you will notice the client names (or your project names) automatically populated.

Important: Do not try to type into these cells. Only the rate column of cells is editable (but you will still need to enter valid data).

Additionally, the hours worked for each client/project is auto-calculated based on the data on the left-hand side so do not try to edit this directly.

Option: You can also choose a rate for this client/project. If you do, then the amount in currency is automatically calculated. It could be useful for you if you need to generate invoices based on time worked.

Recording Hours Worked

The rate is also chosen via a dropdown menu. The rates are configured on the SUMMARY sheet to the far right-hand side.

Like the other dropdown, you must select a valid option otherwise it will display an error.

Protected Cells

In the blank version below, some cells are protected. This is because we don’t want anyone accidentally overwriting the formulas within the cells by mistake and wondering why it’s not working!

If you feel competent enough, you can unlock the cells via unlocking the spreadsheet by clicking the ‘Review‘ tab on the Ribbon and clicking Unprotect Sheet and entering the password doughnut5 (hint hint).

 

Ribbon

Potential Future Enhancements

I’m considering adding the following columns on the ‘month’ sheets next to the amount (£) column:

  • Invoice #
  • Sent (date)
  • Paid (Amount £) – Colours Red (Unpaid), Orange (Partially paid), Green (Fully paid)

Colours of cells would change depending on invoice status, Sent, and Paid column.

Summarisation and Downloads

So, I hope you find this spreadsheet useful. I certainly do!

There’s a blanked out version to download below as well as one containing some sample data.

If you have ideas for improvements feel free to send a message via the contact page on this site, or via the Anything I.T. Facebook, or by directly emailing me: support@anythingit.net.

The files

Recording Hours Worked – with sample data.xlsx

Recording Hours Worked.xlsx

 

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

How to run two Chrome browser windows, each with a different colour theme

Ever thought it would be useful to have two Chrome browser windows running, one for your personal websites (such as social media, personal email and news), the other for your business websites (business email, productivity and customer relations management)?

Each with its own colour theme?

Of course, you can do that with the default Chrome experience by opening two Chrome windows, but what if you wanted to change the colour theme for each so that they are easily distinguishable from each other?

If you head over to the Chrome web store > Themes, you can certainly change the colour of the window, and in fact you can change the look completely with a range of image-based themes.

The only snag is that every Chrome window will change, not just the current one.

So how do you change things so that each Chrome window has it’s own theme or colours?

Two Chrome windows, each with its own colour theme

What you need to do is set up another ‘User’ of the Chrome browser. Google Chrome allows you to add users of its browser so more than one person can use the browser and have their own bookmarks, history, and yes, themes.

At the top right of the browser window will be a small round user icon. If you are signed in to the Google network with your email address, then you will likely see your profile image. Here’s my profile the icon with my mugshot below.

Clicking this will bring up a similar menu to this one:

Click on the Manage People icon to show this new window:

From here you can Add Person:

Choose a name for this Profile and an avatar/icon, and click Add.

Optional: The setup of the new user will ask if you want to sign in to Google Chrome with another user. Perhaps you have a personal email account and a business one?

Each account can then be synchronised (bookmarks, history, colour theme) to other computers you use! Just sign in (or create an account) for the additional user and you are done!

That’s it! Now you can click again on the top right profile icon:

In the example below, I’m signed in with my business email (jonathan@anythingit.net), and there is an option in the menu to open a new browser window with my personal user ‘Jabbs’.

To change colours. You can visit the Chrome web store in each window to choose a theme for each ‘user’.

That’s how you can do this:

Any questions? As always, get in touch!

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

A 10-minute Introduction to Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a system created by Google to help website owners with statistical information about their website.

Do you remember the old website hit counters? They used to be pretty much the only way you could tell how popular your website was!

Old school!

Google devised a system where a large amount of useful statistical data could be gathered about your website and it’s visitors. From the total number of visitors during a given period to the kind of device the user was visiting your website on. Google Analytics also shows you information about where the visitor is viewing your website from and how long they stayed on your site.

How it works

One basic requirement is for some Google code to be inserted into your website. If you have access to the website HTML files, then some code like this would need to be placed just before the </head> tag:

<script>
  (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
  (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
  m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
  })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');

  ga('create', 'UA-yoursiteID', 'yourdomainname.co.uk');
  ga('send', 'pageview');

</script>

The code you need to insert is provided by Google in your Analytics Dashboard when you set up your site.

If your site is built with WordPress, then there are plugins you can install that will do this for you. You would need to install the plugin and the plugin would ask you to connect to Google Analytics so that it can create the necessary code for you.

Essentially, every time a user visits your website, the code above is run and Google receives the information about the visit. This information is then shown in your Dashboard.

Explanation of the most useful features

After navigating to your website dashboard within Google Analytics, you should see information similar to the following. This is the Overview of your site and usually displays the main information from the last seven days.

In the screenshot above, you can see four main pieces of data:

Users
This is the number of unique users who have visited the website. This is possible one of the best pieces of information since it tells you how many actual people have visited your website.

Sessions
Sessions are the total number of times the site has been visited. Sessions could be made by Users visiting the site several times. In the example above, you can see there are more sessions than users. This suggests that some users have visited the site more than once during the period specified.

Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is where a visitor lands on your site but then departs without clicking through to other pages. In other words, they see one page then either go back (perhaps to search results) or close the browser, ending the sessions

Session Duration
Session duration tells you how long in hours:minutes:seconds the visitor stayed on the site.

Audience

One of the main areas I look at is Audience. Or Audience Overview. This shows you a graphical image of the time period selected. The time period can be changed in the top right of the page. You can also compare to previous years by selecting ‘Compare to:‘ in the date range selector.

Here, we have some additional information. You may notice ‘New Users‘ and ‘Pageviews‘.

New Users
New users are visitors to the site that have not visited previously. If a visitor has been to your site in the past, then they would simply be a ‘User’.

Pageviews
This is the number of pages that your site visitors have seen. For instance, every time someone clicks on your About Us page, that is recorded as a Pageview.

Analysing the data presented

How it works for your business is of utmost importance to using Google Analytics.

If you can look at the data and make useful, informed decisions about your website, then Google Analytics has done its job. Try and look at the data in such a way that you can gain meaningful information to take your business forward.

So, it’s really up to you how it can work for your business. In the examples and screenshots below, I suggest some areas that we could look into to make the website shown a better one.

Example 1: Browser
In the screenshot below we can see a list of browsers that people have used to visit the website. Top of the list is Google Chrome, Safari, Edge, and so on.

From a business perspective, there are two or three interesting pieces of data:

  1. Session duration difference between Chrome and Safari. 8 minutes! Why is that? We need to ask questions about this. It could be that Safari in this list refers to the mobile version of Safari as well as the Desktop version. Perhaps mobile users don’t spend so much time on the site?
  2. The Internet Explorer Bounce Rate. Internet Explorer is the old browser by Microsoft and is no longer supported. But why would users of this browser be more likely to leave the site after visiting one page? Granted, there were only five users. Perhaps you could make a business decision to display a message on your site to Internet Explorer users saying that the website works best on Chrome/Edge/Safari/Firefox?
  3. Three users visited the site using the built-in browser in their Samsung device (Samsung Internet), and another used Amazon Silk (Kindle/Fire browser)!

Example 2: Mobile vs Desktop
In this screenshot, you can see something incredible. Visitors to the site are doing so on a mobile device MORE than on a desktop computer!

What does this tell you and your business? Well, the owner of this site certainly needs to ensure that the site works well when viewed on a mobile device! It needs to look good and load fast!

Acquisition
I’ll finish this short explanation by talking about Acquisition. This is data showing where your visitors came from to get to your site. For instance, this is extremely useful if you want to analyse keywords that users type in on Google Search

This data also shows whether the user types the address of your website in manually, or perhaps have clicked a link on another website.

So for this website, the majority of users appear to be ‘Direct’ visitors. This is where the user has either typed the address of the website into the URL bar in the browser or has perhaps saved the website to their favourites.

This data is not entirely surprising for this site (Posidacious) since it is a Maintenance Management System for letting agents and landlords. Therefore, I should imagine a lot of the tenants will have saved the page somewhere, as would the staff of the agencies and their contractors.

A small percentage find the site by searching or via social media.

A short video by Anything I.T.

Here, we show you around some of the features in a short video

Further reading

Neil Patel is probably my favourite online marketer. He dishes out free advice almost daily and writes comprehensive helpful blogs on various SEO related topics.

He has written a blog post called: How to Get Actionable Data from Google Analytics in 10 Minutes, which goes into more detail and in fact he goes on to explain how to set up Goals within Google Analytics. A very useful feature.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

From not being listed on Google to who knows where!

So the Anything I.T. website has just been launched, but the website is not even listed in the Google Index (more on that another time)!

This means that even searching on Google for “Anything I.T. Plymouth” doesn’t reveal our site!

Clicking through the search results does not find our site at all!

So I’ve made a short video to accompany this blog post (watch below) and our plan is to make certain changes and take actions on the site in the hope that over the next few weeks (even months perhaps) we can show you some results of our search engine optimisation on our own website!

Fingers crossed? Or some experience and skill?

Watch this space!

Video of our starting point.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Are you scared of your computer?

Don’t be!

Or if you are, get in touch and you’ll find a helping hand with Anything I.T.

Here’s a short video I made earlier at the Brighter Business Brunch organised by the Six O’Clock Club (thank you Mike Turner)

Something we at Anything I.T. can help with is to ease away a strange fear that many people have of their computers, their website, their Wi-Fi, and their use of computer applications (such as Excel)!

There really is nothing to fear! Sometimes all you need is a helping hand from a someone who knows…

Have you experienced this ‘being scared’? Please let us know below! Don’t be scared!

That’s where we come in!

We’ve just made live a new Anything I.T. website which includes a way of contacting us, useful information about some of the services we offer, and a blog with a growing number of helpful posts which we think will become a very useful free resource.

Get in touch with me direct if you like or through the Anything I.T. Facebook Page, or website (details below).

Homepage
Blog
Facebook Page

Don’t forget to comment below if you have been/or are someone who is a little scared of tech!

Take care,

Jonathan

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