TechTalk: Top 10 Tools to Help Manage A Courier Company Website – #3 Incapsula

The third key tool for managing your courier company website is a website security and speed enhancing service called Incapsula. Incapsula has two major benefits: the speed of your website is increased while your site is protected from outside attacks.

The first and most important benefit of Incapsula are its high level security features. Incapsula is owned by Imperva, the global cyber-security company protecting Fortune 1000 corporations and financial institutions. Incapsula is designed specifically for small to medium-size businesses.

As your site resides on the internet it is vulnerable to numerous types of attacks from the outside. We all read about hackers and programs that can invade or infect a website making it unusable and/or dangerous for your visitors. Just as you need to protect your computer from viruses and hackers using software programs such as Norton Security or MacAfee, your website is out there on the global internet and thus vulnerable to attacks from anywhere.

Incapsula acts as a super firewall, stopping bad bots from crawling and copying your site, and blocking hackers from trying to enter through cross site scripting, illegal resource access, and other methods. If Google detects that your website has been hacked it will penalize it, and you can suddenly find that your site has been removed from search results. To protect your site, Incapsula offers an easy-to set up service, with ongoing alerts notifying you when Incapsula has identified and blocked a potential attack. Once you set-up Incapsula, you may be shocked when you see all the threats it is blocking that you were previously not stopping and unaware of.

Improved site speed is a second benefit of using Incapsula. Google’s mission is to make search and user experience on the web as efficient as possible. Site speed, how quickly your website’s pages load up, is one of the factors that Google uses in their ranking algorithm. To that end, Google “rewards” sites that have fast page speed by making that a factor in page rank (the position your website has in Google search).

Incapsula uses various optimization techniques to speed up your site’s performance including minification and image compression. Minification shrinks the size of webpages by removing unnecessary characters from your page’s source code without impacting page functionality. Image compression compresses images files, which allows pages to load faster without affecting image quality.

It is fairly simply to sign up and get Incapsula working for you. This is a web service, not software. The basic business plan is $59 per month/per website. You will need to have a tech person involved (for 15 minutes or less) to change your DNS records to point to Incapsula’s filtering and optimizing system.

Here is a good article on Forbes.com about how Incapsula works: http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2011/11/09/incapsulas-cloud-shields-accelerates-your-system/. To sign up or learn more about Incapsula, go to their site at www.Incapsula.com

4 – 10 on our top 10 list to follow soon.
1. Google Analytics
2. Google Webmaster Tools (and Google Webmaster Central Blog)
3. Incapsula
4. LivePerson
5. Amazon Web Services
6. Braintree Payments – Vault
7. Woopra
8. MOZ
9. New Relic
10. TechSmith – Camtasia, Snagit

TechTalk: Top 10 Tools to Help Manage A Courier Company Website – #2 Google Webmaster Tools (and Google Webmaster Central Blog)

The second key tool for effective website management is Google’s free Webmaster Tools. This tool compliments your company’s Google Analytics account. http://google.com/webmasters/tools/. Where Analytics gives you data and stats on visitors to your site, Webmaster Tools goes inside your website and evaluates how your site is set up structurally and how it is operating. Webmaster Tools provides diagnostic statistics on website factors including: server errors, search appearance, duplicate content, links to your site, crawl errors, and other factors that are critical when monitoring the health of your website because these items directly impact (positively or negatively) search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization, the process of maximizing a website’s organic (non-paid) visibility and ranking on search engines, is not just about using industry related key search words (Chicago same-day courier, New York courier, Los Angeles delivery service, etc.), but also about understanding and managing the unseen factors within your website. Every page on your site has code, tags and titles which search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) access to render your page in search results. Webmaster Tools includes statistics relating to Googlebot’s crawl of your website: how many pages Google has crawled on your site, how many pages are in your sitemap and how many have been indexed by Google.

Why are these statistics important to a courier company website manager? The factors that are “under the hood” on your site play a critical role in how your website performs on searches. With no changes to content or design, monitoring and correcting unseen factors such as inbound inks, unfound pages, crawl errors, duplicate titles and descriptions (which Google doesn’t like) can have a huge impact on where your website ranks on searches for your company’s products and services.

Google’s Webmaster Central Blog is an online resource providing an abundance of information on what is changing in Google’s search algorithm, as well as what happens if your site is penalized by Google, and new features being introduced in Search. http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/

#3 – 10 on our top 10 list to follow soon.
1. Google Analytics
2. Google Webmaster Tools (and Google Webmaster Central Blog)
3. Incapsula
4. LivePerson
5. Amazon Web Services
6. Braintree Payments – Vault
7. Woopra
8. MOZ
9. New Relic
10. TechSmith – Camtasia, Snagit

Top Courier Industry Meetings to Attend in 2015

Top industry meetings to attend in 2015 for professionals in the same day and expedited delivery industry.

January 23rd – 24th
FLORIDA MESSENGER ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE – Orlando, FL
www.floridamessenger.org

February 27th – March 1st
TEXAS COURIER & LOGISTICS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE – Austin, TX
www.Texascla.com

March 6th – 7th
CALIFORNIA DELIVERY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING & CONVENTION – San Francisco, CA
www.CADelivery.org

March 1st – April 3rd
AIR CARGO 2015 – New Orleans, LA
www.aircargoconference.com

April 21st – 23rd
EXPRESS CARRIERS ASSOCIATION (ECA) 2015 SHIPPER/CARRIER MARKETPLACE – Orlando, FL
www.expresscarriers.org

May 6th – 9th
CLDA ANNUAL MEETING & EXPOSITION – Orlando, Florida
www.theCLDA.com

June 10th – 11th
CLDA Lobby Day – Washington D.C.
www.theCLDA.com

October
CLDA LAST MILE DELIVERY FORUM – Date/Location to be announced
www.theCLDA.com

October 19th – 21st
PARCEL FORUM 2015 – Chicago, IL
www.parcelforum.com

December
NEW YORK STATE MESSENGER COURIER ASSOCIATION WINTER MEETING & PARTY – New York, NY – Date to be announced
www.NYSMCA.org

Submitted: J. Hayford

TechTalk: Top 10 Tools to Help Manage A Courier Company Website

Many courier company owners we have met at tradeshows over the past years have asked which tools we use managing the Courierboard.com website, the online delivery network connecting shippers to courier companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. We have put together a top 10 list of favorite tools that can help courier company owners (and other businesses) more effectively manage the complex aspects of running a website, including security issues.

This top 10 list includes those services we use extensively and recommend as highly effective. These are listed by importance, with #1 being the most useful.

#1 Google Analytics

Without a doubt, the first and most important tool a courier company must have when managing a website is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free service which provides in depth statistics and analysis hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or longer, of activity on your website.

There are extensive online tutorials and help features making it easy to set up and use Google Analytics. Statistics available on Google Analytics includes: how many visitors you have, how many actions they take, what pages on your site they visit, city, state and country details, what percentage are using mobile, which types of mobile devices (IPad, Samsung Galaxy, IPhone, etc.), bounce rate (how many visitors come and leave immediately), what type of computers your visitors are using (Windows vs. Mac), screen resolution, browser, average time of visit, and dozens of other statistics to help you understand the behavior, demographics and tech profile of visitors to your website.

Google Analytics also measures conversions/sales, so if your courier business has an online delivery order option, Google Analytics will show you how many visitors are visiting your company website and how many are eventually placing an online courier service order.

Analytics shows you how to set up Goals and Goal funnels which trace “the trail” of visitor activities: how many prospective customers start at step #1 (your home page), what steps (other pages) they may visit and how many and what percentage eventually click to request an online delivery order. Being able to get an analytical picture of what visitors do once they arrive on your website helps courier company owners better determine what to do to increase online sales: should you change your page content?, make something easier to do or reach (fewer steps)?, or redesign something to attract more customers to your order area?

Having a business website is an interactive process that involves constant analysis and adjustment to ensure you are maximizing your company’s image, marketing potential and reacting to how your visitors behave once they arrive on your website. At least one person on the management team should be familiar with Analytics and be assigned to review the data on a regular basis.

Setting up a Google Analytics account is very simple. You begin by having a Gmail account to register with Google Analytics. I recommend creating a company Gmail account username. Once you register, Google will generate and show your tracking code which you copy and have your web developer add to every page on your website. Once the code is installed, analytics will begin to record your website activity which will be viewable on your Google Analytics Dashboard. To get more details on setting up Google go to http://www.google.com/analytics

#2 – 10 on our top 10 list to follow soon.
1. Google Analytics
2. Google Webmaster Tools (and Google Webmaster Central Blog)
3. Incapsula
4. LivePerson
5. Amazon Web Services
6. Braintree Payments – Vault
7. Woopra
8. MOZ
9. New Relic
10. TechSmith – Camtasia, Snagit

When should you use a courier company versus FedEx, UPS or USPS?

Courier companies offer specialized same day delivery service while FedEx, UPS and USPS offer next day, two day or up to four day services.

If your delivery doesn’t easily fit into the “big three” pipeline, they tend to charge you more money to get it done. For example, a Delray Beach company had 10 boxes of brochures each weighing about 25 pounds that needed to picked up in Miami, Florida and delivered to an office in Delray Beach, FL. The delivery distance was about 50 miles or an hour driving. The cost for FedEx overnight was approximately $350 based on box dimensions, number of boxes and weight. A Miami courier company quoted $120 to pick up and deliver the boxes within four hours. The customer saved over $200, didn’t have to create any shipping labels, had the boxes picked up directly from the printer and delivered to its office; all within 4 hours of requesting a quote.

If you post your quote request or repeat delivery request on Courierboard.com, an automatic e-mail alert goes out to every courier company in our network within a 50 mile radius of the originating city (pick-up location). You will get calls or e-mails from 2-5 companies with competitive prices within 15 minutes. Hopefully, you’ll find a courier company that is already going that way that is able to give you a better rate. Courierboard’s delivery quote system helps you save time and money by getting multiple quotes easily.

Top Courier Industry Meetings to Attend in 2014

Top industry meetings to attend in 2014 for professionals in the same day expediting delivery industry.

January 24th – 25th
FLORIDA MESSENGER ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE – Orlando, FL
www.floridamessenger.org

February 28th – March 1st
TEXAS COURIER & LOGISTICS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE Austin, TX www.Texascla.com

March 30th – April 1st
AIR CARGO 2014 – Orlando, FL
www.aircargoconference.com

April 15th – 17th

EXPRESS CARRIERS ASSOICATION (ECA) 2014 SHIPPER/CARRIER MARKETPLACE – Atlanta, GA
www.expresscarriers.org

May 14th – 17th

CLDA ANNUAL MEETING & EXPOSITION – Scottsdale, Arizona
www.theCLDA.com

September
CLDA LAST MILE DELIVERY FORUM – Date/Location to be announced
www.theCLDA.com

Sept. 29th – Oct. 1st
PARCEL FORUM 2014 – Dallas, TX
www.parcelforum.com

October
CALIFORNIA DELIVERY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING & CONVENTION – Date/Location to be announced
www.CADelivery.org

December

NEW YORK STATE MESSENGER COURIER ASSOCIATION WINTER MEETING & PARTY – New York, NY – Date to be announced
www.NYSMCA.org

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Use A Courier Company for Your Delivery

#1.  Courier Companies can pick up and deliver your shipment the same day, solving last minute delivery needs.

Couriers deliver by ground service, so destination must be reachable same day, assuming standard driving times from pick up to delivery location.

#2.  Courier companies can often save individuals and businesses money versus express and overnight shipping, particularly when the shipment is heavy or bulky.

Distance is the primary cost factor in courier delivery quotes not weight, 20 lbs. vs. 200 lbs. has a much smaller impact on the delivery cost using a courier company.  Compare a same day courier delivery quote vs. overnight when the delivery destination is 60 miles or closer.

#3.  Courier companies can pick up and deliver 24/7, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, providing delivery services when standard shipping companies don’t deliver.  

#4.  Courier companies provide customized delivery services at reasonable prices. 

Courier companies provide unique delivery solutions for businesses such as door to door delivery of purchases to customers, picking up sensitive items such as perishable food or medications, critical parts for vehicles or manufacturing plants, and route deliveries for repeat shipments once a week up to 7 days.

#5.  Courier companies maintain service assurance by providing insurance, background checks and performance standards for courier drivers….round the clock dispatchers and shipment tracking for urgent and time sensitive deliveries.

#6.  Using courier companies reduces the need for businesses to maintain in-house company fleets, by outsourcing seasonal, temporary or full time deliveries.

Courier companies can provide drivers and vehicles when needed for deliveries to customers or moving inventory between locations – allowing businesses to dedicate resources to their main goal: selling their products, instead of managing deliveries.

#7.  Courier companies provide specialized delivery services that most standard shipping providers don’t offer… such as last flight out, legal process serving, and white glove delivery.

#8.  Courier companies can save customers money through freight pooling …combining deliveries within similar route areas thereby reducing costs.

#9.  Courier companies provide retail businesses with a cost effective option to deliver products same-day …building customer sales, satisfaction and improving customer loyalty.

#10.  Professional courier companies can be found almost anywhere, from small towns to large urban areas, providing delivery solutions in thousands of cities throughout the U.S.

To get competitive quotes for deliveries, post your free quote request on Courierboard.com, the Online Delivery Network connecting individuals, businesses and organizations to thousands of professional courier companies in the U.S. and Canada.

The ECA Marketplace 2013 – Review

The Express Carriers Association’s Marketplace is a unique annual event which brings together companies needing delivery service, shippers, and independent professional courier companies from all over the country. The heart of the marketplace is one to one meetings between shippers who are looking to identify potential partners for their delivery requirements and courier companies who are looking for new business clients.

From experience attending the last six Marketplace conferences, 2007 – 2012, this event represents one of the best “bang for your buck” business building opportunities in the industry.

Prior to the meeting, shippers review the profiles of courier company attendees and select those which they might potentially utilize in their delivery markets.  Interview appointment schedules are set and courier companies, in a speed dating type format, get the chance to sit down face to face and present their company to shippers looking to find new delivery service suppliers.

This year the ECA Marketplace will be held from April 9th – 11th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dallas, TX. For more information on this business building and networking event, go to Express Carriers Association Marketplace 2013

 

 

Couriers and Messengers – A Historical Perspective

Couriers in History

The word courier is derived from the Latin word, currere, which means to run.  Other words derived from currere include occurrence, currency, and current.

The Wikipedia definition for courier states that couriers are different from ordinary mail services by offering speed, tracking, security, and individualization of express services.

Before the automobile, expedited delivery included multiple types of methods to deliver goods and messages quickly including runners, homing pigeons, horse and pony riders, stage coaches etc. The history of couriers goes back thousands of years to the days when the only method of speedy delivery was by running.

In Greek mythology, Hermes, the son of Zeus, was called the Messenger God (in Roman Mythology known as Mercury). In ancient mythology Hermes/Mercury has wings on his feet. In stories, Hermes is often sent by his father, Zeus, to deliver dreams or to travel with mortals to keep them safe.

The origin of the U.S. postal service’s motto, traces back to Herodotus, a Greek Historian born in 484 BC, who is quoted as saying “Not snow, no, nor rain, nor heat, nor night keeps them from accomplishing their appointed courses with all speed”.

One of the most famous messengers in history is told in the legend of the Greek messenger who in 490 BC ran from Marathon to Athens after a major battle where the Greeks defeated the invading Persians. Legend claims he fought in the Battle of Marathon and then ran about 26 miles to notify the people of Athens of their victory; he then collapsed and died of exhaustion. The Olympic Marathon, which is approximately 26 miles, originated from this legendary 26 mile run.

Ann Hennis Trotter Bailey, also known as “Mad Ann” (1742 – 1825), worked as a scout and messenger during the Revolutionary War.  Bailey is famous for her 100 mile ride from Fort Clendenin to Fort Savannah to bring back much needed gun powder.

Paul Revere is best known as the messenger who rode through the night in 1775, the famous “Midnight Ride”, to warn the colonists in Lexington and Concord that the British Militia was coming.

In 1834, Commander Travis, while trying to defend the Alamo against the army of Mexican General Santa Anna, sent out couriers to local communities to get reinforcements.

Wells Fargo was started in 1852 and became the first premium package delivery service in the U.S. It specialized in moving gold and packages and established a huge network of Wells Fargo offices throughout the U.S. which were particularly important for organizing commerce in newly established territories and states.

The Pony Express was established in 1860 to provide express courier service between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California. The Pony Express set up relays of riders who would cover the 2,000 plus miles with mail and small packages in about 10 days.  A rider would switch horses at relay stations every 15 to 20 miles, traveling 75 to 100 miles per day. The Pony Express operated in parts of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. It stopped in 1861 when the introduction of the telegraph made it possible to relay critical messages electronically.

During World War I, the Second Cavalry Regiment, 400 men with mounts, served as couriers and scouts in the combined American-French effort against the Germans. On September 11, 1918, the regiment rode through the night and managed to get five miles behind German lines.

During World War II, Nancy Wake, known as the White Mouse, was the most decorated service woman in the Allied forces and became the Gestapo’s most wanted spy.  She was a journalist and served as a courier for the French Resistance.

In the United State there are hundreds of thousands of independent couriers which together represent a delivery network which for the most part is largely invisible to the general public as they deliver in their own unbranded cars, vans and trucks. These couriers handle millions of special handling and same day deliveries every day, from medical lab or bank check route pickups to last minute parts deliveries to solve manufacturing emergencies and delivery of medicine or transplant organs to waiting patients.

Dependability, problem solving, professionalism and dedication are the qualities which professional couriers have in common. Today, and throughout history, independent professional couriers are indispensable to help solve critical needs for individuals, businesses, and governments.

Courier Service Network

Courier Service Network

Find Courier Companies and Freight Pool

Accessing Courierboard’s online network of professional courier companies gives businesses and individuals an opportunity to save money by locating courier companies who can pool their freight, filling excess capacity on delivery vehicles.  When looking for a courier company you have two options:  1) You can call several companies directly and get their stated rate based on your pickup location, destination, weight, dimensions, and how quickly the delivery must be made, or 2) You can post your delivery information using Courierboard’s Quick Quote system and alerts are sent automatically within 10 minutes to all courier companies in Courierboard’s courier company network within 75 miles of the pick up location.  Courier companies receive the alert and review your delivery requirements, contacting you directly with their quotes. This provides the shipper with an easy way to get competitive quotes.

Courier companies that already have a vehicle doing deliveries in the area where you need service can often provide a lower price because they can pool your delivery with their existing route deliveries, which lowers the cost for your shipment.  The rate advantage can be substantial versus hiring a courier that will be doing your delivery only.  An individual who purchased a vintage Mercedes convertible top on EBay posted a quote request on Courierboard to have the top picked up in North Carolina and delivered in Connecticut.  The quotes he received varied substantially, from a high of $550 to a low of $160.  The courier company offering the lowest rate already had a delivery vehicle traveling on that route with room to accommodate the extra freight and pool with other shipments.

In summary, using Courierboard’s free Quote system provides shippers with an opportunity to save time getting multiple quotes and when local courier companies can freight pool the shipment, the shipper may save money as well.