Your Website Only Needs 2 Things

This is a bad photo to use on your website for many reasons. It’s blurry, out of context and to quote my niece, “his face is messed up.” As users, we want to click away because there is nothing interesting going on with this picture. Unfortunately for this guy, we’re not engaged enough to stay on the site.

Using boring, unrecognizable and poor quality photos on your website will actually hurt your chances of converting users to followers. Or more importantly, if you’re selling a product or service, poor photos will hurt your chances of making a sale.

A good rule of thumb for any webpage is, it needs these two things:

1. A good story.

2. Good photos.

These are the pillars for good content. Without them, no one is interested in staying on your site.

However, there is an exception to these rules…celebrity photos. People will click on a blurry photo of a celebrity because it’s a photo of a celebrity. It’s not about the quality of the photo, it’s all about the subject matter. As users, we are engaged to learn more about the story behind the photo. The promise of some good gossip will keep our eyes on the page. Click bait for sure.

photo source:

Let’s explain the rules in a little more detail…

Rule #1 – Your Website Needs a Good Story.

Well known products or services almost always have good stories behind them. A rags to riches entrepreneur that created a cleaning empire with $17 in his pocket makes for a great story. Without looking at his products, you’re assured of their quality and efficiency.

It’s true that not every business is going to have a good story of why they do/sell what they do…but its employees might! And if the employees aren’t that interesting, the stories behind the products themselves might be! The challenge is to find these interesting nuggets and share it with your audience. In today’s CONTENT driven world it’s a must in order to stand out from your competition.

And once you find your good story, share it with your audience! Write about it on your blog and your social media channels. Print it on a sign and have a person twirl it on the corner. Or get one of those inflatable guys because.

Inflatable air guy

photo source (Flickr user: Alex Liivet)

Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. (NewsCred)

Rule #2. Use Good Photos Throughout Your Website.

A story is not nearly as good without photos. Unless you’re speaking to face-to-face with someone, you’re going to need some good photos to help tell your story. Stock photos are great but they can become overused. If you look at enough websites and blogs, you’ll recognize the same photo in multiple places. Even though they are good quality, they have to connect with your content and help illustrate your story.

Photos take time and may cost money but they are worth it. Invest in them and they will help tell your story to a wider audience. Increasing your chances of selling products and services.

20 Things To Do After You Unplug Your Phone

Unplug from your Wi-Fi

We are wired. Wired on caffeine. Wired to the devices hovering in front of our faces. Wired up to receive the constant stream of the everything going on in the world. Posts, vines, tweets, memes…we don’t want to miss out.

What if we did miss out though? What if we asked you to unplug for just one hour a day?

Little Apple Technologies is in the business of providing Wi-Fi. So why would we be telling people to unplug from their devices from time to time? Because it’s good for your body and your mental well being! We care about you. We care about ourselves. Balance and function are essential to a good life. And too much of one thing will throw everything else out of whack.

Put down your phone.

As easy as it sounds to unplug, it takes discipline to do it. When our phones are always there and the new content pouring out every second, how can we stay away? While this may soothe the savagery of boredom, being plugged in constantly is causing more harm than good.

Now more than ever, doctors and psychologists are seeing new disorders pop up in our lives because of our device addiction that are affecting our moods and causing deficiencies in our bodies. As a result, we are changing our chemistry. Becoming more moody, depressed, sleep deprived and unbalanced.

the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has been recognized as a recently emerging psychological disorder brought on by the advance of technology.

“…when the brain’s necessary symphony of commands and bio signals are disrupted by light-emitting screens or cell phone LCDs, it smothers the production of melatonin and can lead to much more than morning fatigue.”

Researchers recently discovered that one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives.

source of stats

But there’s hope! There’s this thing called a power ON/OFF button. Push it. Go ahead. Do it! Turn off your device. And leave it off for one whole hour for every day.

Turn off your phone.

It will be scary and you will miss stuff. But in order to feel the benefits, you have  to get in the habit of unplugging. Don’t worry, it’ll be worth it because you are worth it!

Here are 20 things you could do with one hour of being unplugged and tuning in to your life:

1. Catch up on some sleep and take a nap.

2. Go to the library and read 3 kids books in the kid section.

3. Sweat. Do 20 jumping jacks, 20 squats and 20 push ups. Feel your heart rate go up and your breathing increase.

4. Clean out your closet and drop off the box to charity.

5. Go shopping for a new pair of pillows for your couch or bed.

give hugs and kisses.

6. Give hugs and kisses.

7. Go to the park and swing.

8. Get a fish tank.

9. Buy a puzzle and start it on your table to pick it up again tomorrow when you unplug again.

Unplug from the internet.

10. Paint one wall or door a bright color.

11. Bake a pie.

12. Re-arrange your bedroom.

13. Invigorate your home with new smells. Buy new soap. Cut flowers and put them in a vase on your table and by your bed.

14. Volunteer at a pet shelter or at a hospital to hold babies.

15. Learn to speak a new language.

16. Write a Thank You letter to someone and send it snail mail.

17. Try 3 different beers or wine. Send your favorite one and your review of it to your friend in a different state.

Float in a body of water.

18. Go float in a body of water.

19. Pray. Meditate. Be quiet.

20. Write out your last will & testament, get it notarized.

Unplug once in awhile and be well.

America, The Pioneer of Modern Day Communication

(image source)

As Independence Day approaches, we celebrate our victory from British rule over 200 years ago. At the time of our newly found independence, our country ran on true grit creating our own government granting individual freedoms never before seen in any previously governed nation.

We fought fiercely, against incredible odds, determined to carve out a better life for ourselves and our families. From our fearlessness, Americans persevered, pioneered and developed our country into a superpower. Further developing burgeoning technologies – telegraph, telephone and internet – into the advanced communication systems we now have today. Essentially, we crossed the great divide and connected the world together forever.

That’s a pretty big deal. That’s worth a tweet or two.

Granted, we didn’t come up with the ideas originally but we picked up the ball where the brilliant men who discovered them left off and ran them in for a touchdown. American ingenuity and our fierce determination won the game for the whole world and the greater good of mankind.

I daresay, that’s something to be proud of!

Some say that the Internet is the greatest innovation of mankind. We agree, Internet is awesome. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, Internet service wasn’t available in homes across America. Especially for folks in rural areas.

And that’s where Little Apple Technologies “American dream” began in 2003. To supply high speed internet to folks who live in rural areas in and around Bozeman, Montana. We love what we do at Little Apple Technologies.

And in the spirit of celebrating our nation’s independence, we are reminded of the joy we receive in bringing Internet technology to your home. And we could not do it had it not been for the great inventors and innovators who came before us. Those fierce sticklers who never gave up on their pursuit of developing something better than what existed before.

As we celebrate this weekend with fireworks and potato salad, let’s all pause for a moment, and embrace an attitude of gratitude for those great men:

Thank You to:

Guglielmo Marconi - inventor of telegraphGuglielmo Marconi (inventor of the telegraph)

Alexander Graham Bell - inventor of telephoneAlexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone)

Martin Cooper - inventor of cell phoneMartin Cooper (inventor of the cell phone)

Bob Kahn - inventor of the internet

Robert Kahn (inventor of the internet)

Vint Cerf - inventor of the internetVint Cerf (inventor of the internet)

Al Gore - self proclaimed inventor of the internet

Al Gore (self proclaimed inventor of the internet)

Top 10 Reasons Dads Are Awesome

Lego Dad

It’s that time of year again where we flock to card stores and hardware stores to load up on funny sentiments, sports metaphors and for those lucky dads a new drill or a classy tie!

We celebrate fatherhood 1 day out of 364 and it really should be celebrated more. Dads deserve more than one day of gratitude after putting up with a year’s worth of our shenanigans! And you know there were many.

Like that time I decided I could fly by jumping off the roof. Of course I couldn’t do it alone so I got all of the neighborhood kids to do it with me. My dad and their dads loved that one. Arms folded and shaking their heads with pride.

Or that other time my sister and I took all of our toys, clothes and shoes out of our closet just so that we could sleep in it? That went over real well with Pops.

And when I thought that sugar and bread would make a nutritious sandwich for lunch.

Hopefully you’re getting a good laugh too while thinking of some of the doozies you pulled on your dad! If you’ve got kids, you know that raising them is downright hard. And teenagers…forget it. Knowing that they won’t appreciate all the hard work until they’re out of the house or when they’re parents themselves seems like a cruel joke sometimes. But we’ve learned from our dads that the effort is worth it. We’ve learned so much from them so far!

Here are the top 10 Reasons Dads are Awesome:

Reading time with dad.

(image source)

1. They let you stay up past your bedtime to finish reading your favorite book.

2. Beer and beer cozies.

3. Knowledge of how to barbecue meats of every kind.

4. Shorts and flip flops are all the clothes you need on a hot day.

5. A hug can make a bad day all better.

Hugs by dad fixes everything!

(image source)

6. How we learned our lesson when we did something really stupid.

7. Getting us out in the great outdoors!

Catching a fish with dad.(image source)

8. Making funny faces and silly dances will brighten anyone’s day.

9. Yelling as loud as you can when the ref makes a bad call.

10. Tells you he loves you even when you were a jerk the day before.

So where ever you are and whomever you are, take some time to give that special dad or guy who plays that role a big THANKS!

5 Things Your Business Video Needs

Videos are one of the best marketing tools that a business can have in it’s arsenal. Why? 90% of people are visual learners. People don’t read, they scan. No matter how carefully you craft your words about your business, chances are no one is reading them.

That’s why videos can be a HUGE BOOST to your business. But…put some thought into it!

You know a good video when you see one. It looks professional and is satisfying to the eye. The music and sound is pleasing to your ear and you can clearly understand what the commercial is about.

You don’t have to be a seasoned film critique to know a bad video when you see one. The lighting is terrible, the sound is hard on your ears and the people are just…wow…let’s just say they’re not used to being on camera.

From this video, we get that taxes are boring and this business tried to make it funny and entertaining. Mission accomplished (no pun intended), this video is HILARIOUS and went viral because of it. However, we’re pretty sure the real goal of this video was to promote their tax preparation business: not be known as the “worst commercial ever” on YouTube!

There’s a lot of lessons to be learned from the video above and what to avoid when making your own.

Good Videos Should Include These 5 Things:

  1. A good script so your message is clear
  2. Good lighting and good sound (little to no background noise)
  3. Good looking subject matter (actors, scenery, etc.)
  4. Few camera effects and transitions
  5. Stable camera (tripod)

Videos are completely worth the time and money!

Videos are worth the time and money!

Did you know that in one day – 27 million pieces of content are shared on the internet? That’s a lot of eyeballs that could be looking at your video! More importantly, the stats on what videos can do for sales lead generation are staggering. Here is a list of helpful stats for Video Marketing to further convince you:

The Top Video Marketing Statistics for 2015 (source)

59% of viewers will watch a video to completion that is less than one minute. – Wistia

92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. – Invodo

65% of executives have visited a vendor’s site after watching a video. – Forbes

70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium. – MarketingProfs

When marketers included a video in an email, the click-through rate increased by 200% – 300% – Forrester

The average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video. – Mist Media

64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. – comScore

59% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text, if both are available on the same page. – Forbes Insight

Homepage videos are shown to increase conversion rates by 20% or more. – ReelSEO

Using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80% – Unbounce

1.8 Million Words is the value of one minute of video. – Dr. James McQuivey, Forrester

You might be thinking…”I don’t know how to shoot a video! What am I going to do?”  I’m sorry to say there is no easy way around it.  You’ll have to learn how to take good video or pay someone to do it for you.  But it’s worth it!  Just look at the stats above and think of how many sales leads you’re missing!

Best Mother’s Day Letter Ever

Happy Mother's Day from Little Apple Technologies!

(photo source: Wikipedia Commons)

This post has nothing to do about internet except that it’s on the internet. As you know or will quickly find out from flower ads everywhere, that this Sunday is Mother’s Day.

A day where we honor and celebrate those mommy warriors who work(ed) impossibly hard for us. As kids, we had no idea what being a mom entailed. We just didn’t care, we were kids. And even as adults, some of us even parents ourselves, still don’t know what it was like for our mothers. We think we found something that does explain it. Or scratches the surface at least.

Please enjoy a letter we found written by an anonymous mom to her kid. We sure appreciate our moms at Little Apple Technologies and want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all mommies everywhere! Enjoy!

Dear Wild-ling,

All these years have passed us by and yet in a heartbeat I can remember the day you changed my world and my body. Forever.

Raising you to adulthood was not far from a hero’s journey. You and I and vast oceans laid before us of unanswered questions, imminent storms and peril. There was no map to follow nor was I a skilled captain who had braved these waters before.

Nothing could prepare me for this. You needed so much from me. All of the time it seemed. And I was terrified. Terrified of not knowing the answers for the million “what if’s” I was about to face.

“Will I be fierce enough to protect you?”

“Will I be strong enough to last through the fight?”

“Will I be able to provide for you through it all?”

“Will I give up?”

“Will I fail?”

Oddly…it was during these moments when I knew I was fit to be your mom. When I surrendered to the fact that my efforts would never be enough.

How can you know what I mean? I’ll explain.

Whenever I felt that I didn’t have enough……time…love…patience…food…money…strength…willpower…sleep…energy…enthusiasm…words…explanations…respect…excitement…happiness…extravagance…gas in the tank…courage…empathy…miracles would happen.

No matter what the challenge, I found a way to give you more. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. It was really, really hard sometimes.

I didn’t win every battle with you. I didn’t always do or say the right thing. I did get angry. So many times I yelled. So many times I cried and just wanted to give up.

But we’ve made it through. We’ve reached OZ and earned a brain, a heart, courage and a happy home to return to.

Because of you Wild-ling, I became a better person than I ever thought possible. My body and heart carry battle scars to be forever proud of our journey together. Through it all, I just tried my best to put my love for you first in everything we did.

Thank you for this crazy adventure. And please remember to call and stop by once in a while. For one day soon you might become a parent and no what “never enough” means.

– Love, Mom

Building a House in Bozeman? Check To See If You Can Get Internet First.

Dear Internet Consumer,

We don’t usually write in ALL CAPS but the time has come for a billboard like announcement…


Every week we speak with folks who’ve just bought or have just built a beautiful home in the mountains and now want internet hooked up.

As consumers, our buying behavior is changing. Where as little as 5 years ago, some of the most important conditions for buying real estate were an open floor plan and stainless steel kitchen appliances. Now, it seems the most important features for buying a house outside of Bozeman are:

1. “Can I get internet?”

2. “Will it be screaming fast like the fiber connection I had in town?”

Our answers are most often…

1. “Maybe.”

2. “Define ‘fast’.”

Why Is Internet Not Available Everywhere?

The easy answer is that internet has not been around long enough. Let’s explain this further with a little bit of history…

Internet Service is not like electricity.

Electricity has been around for over a 100 years. Since it was invented, its use has been part of urban planning and community development. That’s a lot of time to build the infrastructure necessary for providing electricity to almost every home possible. We simply haven’t thought of life without power because generations have always had access to it.

Coincidentally, we now expect fast internet to be available wherever we choose to live. Unfortunately, this isn’t a reality yet. Why isn’t fast internet available everywhere?

Internet has only been around for 20 years! 

Compared to electricity, that’s merely a blink. There simply hasn’t been enough time to build the infrastructure necessary for internet to exist in every home. And yet it is quickly becoming a necessity with the advent of mobile devices and several services moving online.

Oh how times have changed. And they are changing at warp speed!

What Internet Services Are Available in Southwest Montana?

Depending on your specific location, there are several types of internet service available: Fiber Optic, DSL, Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP), Mobile Hot Spots and Satellite. Each type has its own unique network and technology hence their pricing and speeds vary greatly.

Here’s a rough breakdown of each:


Pros: Offers fastest speeds through fiber optic cable, usually in the ground.

Cons: It is only available in a small footprint in downtown Bozeman. If you have access to it, you may never want to move.


Pros: DSL is internet supplied through your telephone line.

Cons: When everyone is home from school and work and they want to stream Netflix, your connection may start to chug. Some areas of their network might be limited to a certain amount of customers and speed plans.

Wireless Internet Service Provider – WISP

Pros: If you live outside DSL and Fiber internet, WISP’s seem to be the next best offering unlimited data and decent speeds.

Cons: You’ll need a clear Line Of Sight from your house to their nearby towers. If there is something in the way of this line – say a mountain or a bunch of tall trees – access may be a problem.

Mobile Hot spots

Pros: Portable devices that go where you want to go, could even be your smart phone.

Cons: Uses the same data plan and network as your cell phones. Because of this, service is not available everywhere and going over your monthly data limit, may cause possible cardiac arrest when you open your monthly bill.


Pros: You’re able to get on the internet.

Cons: Previous customers have reported slow and unreliable service. Additionally, there may be monthly bandwidth caps.

So before you build a cabin in the mountains or move into a home surrounded by big beautiful trees, call Little Apple Technologies to find if internet is available. It should be the first phone call you make.

Why Is My Internet So Slow?

We hear this question a lot. We wish there was an easy answer but the truth is, there are a lot of reasons why your internet is slow. Before we list out these reasons, consumers everywhere must learn a vital truth:

Internet service is NOT an all-you-can-eat buffet. You don’t pay one price and get all of the internet.

Instead…think of internet as a water hose. You choose what size hose you want (Basic, Standard or Premium) and we turn on the water. The water supply is unlimited however there’s only so much you can do with the stream you choose. Since we’re sticking with the water hose metaphor…it goes something like this…

If you have our Basic Plan and you want to stream Netflix, you’re going to need a MUCH, much bigger hose.

Why is my internet slow?

Photo source Flickr eos dude Creative Commons License.

If this scenario describes you, then you’ve got a low-flow situation. If you want to stream Netflix, you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium Plan. That way you’ll have a much bigger hose that will allow a bigger stream (yes, pun intended) of water (internet) to watch movies.

Now that we’ve illustrated how internet service works, here are several common reasons why you’re internet might be slow:

1. You’re devices are using data. Even when you’re not using them.

Anytime you’re on the internet, your other smart devices may be on your WiFi also. The big explanation is any WiFi enabled device that is logged on to your home WiFi (TV, computer, smartphone, tablet, gaming system) has an operating system and applications installed on them. Some of these devices update their systems automatically by going to their websites and downloading update files. This necessary action uses your bandwidth connection to do so.

Solution: Go in your applications/devices settings, change the update functions from automatic to another date & time when you won’t be using the internet.

2. The file sizes of your computer’s operating system updates are REALLY, really big.

For example, if you’ve got an apple device and want/need to update to the latest operating system, the size of the file to download is over 700 MB. If you’re download speed is 3 Mbps, then the estimated time it will take for that file to download is 4 hours. *Note: this could be way longer if there are other devices using the internet connection.

Solution: Download the file during a length of time when you’re not going to be on the internet.

3. Your router may need to be rebooted.

Your router works hard and sometimes causes your internet to slow down if it needs to be rebooted. And sometimes…your router could be dying and in need of a replacement.

Solution: Call LAT for a technician to trouble shoot it for you.

4. Your outdoor internet equipment may need to be serviced.

The equipment responsible for supplying you with internet most likely live outside your home. Because of this, they are exposed to bugs, birds, wild animals and hostile weather conditions. It is rare but sometimes a combination of this fun outdoor stuff may affect your connection.

Solution: Call LAT for a technician to trouble shoot it for you.

5. Your neighbors are jumping on your WiFi.

Solution: Password protect your internet connection.

“Why Isn’t My Website Showing Up On Google”…and other Website Annoyances

#1. “Why isn’t my website showing up on Google?”

Why isn't my website showing up?

We hear this A LOT. The easiest and shortest answer is…”GIVE IT A SECOND WILL YA!” The most likely culprit is, Google has not found your website yet. Google’s web crawlers are scheduled to go out and index millions of websites on a regular basis. Depending on when this scheduled index search occurs, your site may not be found until the next scheduled Google Bot search. Here’s the scoop straight from Google:

“Our (Google’s) crawl process is algorithmic; computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site.” (source)

Even when Google has found you, your ranking on the search results page may still be low. Why? Here are some common factors that affect your site’s ranking:

  • Your site and domain name are brand spanking new. Your competitors domain names may be older, and more trustworthy because they’ve been around longer.
  • There are few sites with links to your new site. Your competitors websites may have more inbound links than your brand new website. Inbound links have a strong influence on your Google ranking. It may take some time for you to build up inbound links.
  • Your website isn’t mobile-friendly. Google’s new algorithm (released April 21, 2015) is designed to rank sites higher for having a mobile-friendly version of their site.
  • You’re not on Google +. Google loves Google and has become the largest search engine in the world. If you’re regularly using their products & apps, then Google is aware of you and the content you’re sharing with your target audience.
  • Your site lacks good and relevant content. Google bots crawl through millions of websites. The ones with the most relevant and engaging content are often rewarded with higher search engine rankings.

Takeaway: Getting your website to rank at the top takes time, effort and money. If it were easy, everyone would be up there. Keep your chin up and keep at it. Luckily, Google shows you how to do it.

#2. “I spent a lot of money on my new website. Why am I not getting any customers?”

Waiting for the phone to ring.

While your website is a large part of your marketing strategy, it is only – ONE PART – of your overall marketing strategy. Now that your customers have a website to learn more about your business, it’s up to you – and the other parts – to get them there.

Depending on who your target audience is, the other parts of your marketing strategy may need to be:

  • Writing a blog that offers advice and insight.
  • Creating unique videos about your products & services.
  • Get on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…pick one or two.
  • Create buzz about you and your business.

Takeaway: Use creative and interesting ways to tell people about you and your business. Commit yourself to learning more and more about your customers. Who are they? What problems do they have that your product or service can solve? You get the drift.

#3. “Do I need a Facebook account for my business?”

Do I need Facebook for my business?Flickr: Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Yes, if you are already on Facebook and understand what good content is.

No, if you have no desire to get on Facebook and were told you have to have one because the speaker at the small business seminar said you did.

There are A LOT of people on Facebook. Because of all these people, your product or service gains exposure. Thankfully Facebook isn’t the only game in town. There are a bunch of other social media channels that you can choose from. Pinterest and Instagram are fantastic for food. YouTube is great for tutorials, DIY projects and following recipes.

Takeaway: Pick a social media channel to follow and find out why it is important to your customers. Jump in on the conversations, start some of your own. Don’t forget…it is a “social” application.

Do you have any website myths that you’d like debunked?

Do I Need a Mobile Version Of My Website?

Yes, you do and there will be a penalty in Google’s search rankings if you don’t.

We know…just when you think you’ve got your website dialed in, you’re thrown another curve ball. And with the launch of Google’s new “mobile-friendly” algorithm, a Responsive Web Design or mobile-friendly design of your site will pay off.

“Google’s new algorithm plans to provide a boost in the rankings of those sites which are only mobile friendly.” (source)

If you’re freaking out right now,  you’re not alone.

“…almost 81% of the top websites are not responsive.” (source)

As you can see from the stat above, A LOT of companies will be coming out with a mobile-friendly website soon. We may not always agree with Google but we feel this new algorithm is a good thing. Really.

In general, Responsive Web Design (RWD), “mobile-Friendly” sites are easier to read and require less scrolling and panning. Overall, this makes any site you visit a more pleasant experience regardless of the device you’re using. Plus…Google rewards your site with higher search rankings. Not bad, right?

Thumbs Up!

Depending on the current design of your site, updating it to a “mobile-friendly” version may not be as painful or time-consuming as you think.

Little Apple Technologies web development team recommends the following tips for converting your current website to a responsive one:

  • Think Mobile First. Browse through your current site envisioning what you want your site to look like on a smartphone. *Think less words and more impact.
  • DE-Clutter your website. Very important step. Remember, your site’s pages have to be readable on a smartphone. *Think less “scrapbook” and more modern/contemporary.
  • Choose flat colors to represent your site’s theme. Color is fabulous but too much on one page will feel busy and overwhelming. *Think less “rainbow” and more complimentary color combinations.
  • Pick 2 fonts with styles. Be sure to use an easy to read font. *Think less script and more sans serif.

Last but certainly not least…call the web professionalsA Responsive Website uses specific code, css styling and media queries to make a website look good on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet and a smartphone.

Luckily, many are in the same boat with you and now can see the shore.

Now we can see the shoreline.