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Directions for Google

Chicago - October 18, 2018

A search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo will return a list of websites when you type a specific search term. Is it possible to tell (request sounds better) them to return your website (possibly near the top) for that search term?

Yes. At least they let you try.

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Search engines have gotten smarter in the last 20 years. With all kinds of machine learning and artificial intelligence built into them, they will automatically index your website soon after it goes live. They will try to understand the content of your web pages and based on their interpretation, will list your website when they think it is relevant to something a user is searching for. Therefore, it is very important, that they understand your website correctly.

Meta Tags

Search engines give you an opportunity to talk to them about your website and help them comprehend correctly what your web pages are all about. They do this using meta tags, which are not visible to a normal user browsing the web page but are embedded inside the code for the page and make sense to a web browser (like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer) as well as search engines. Meta tags are quite similar to other kinds of tags (like hashtags for example), in the sense they help classify, categorize, and most importantly rank a web page for organic searches (where users type a search term hit return and expect to see a list of websites most relevant to the search term). In paid searches (also called PPC or Pay-Per-Click), you can pay Google and Bing to show your advertisement if it is relevant to the search term, regardless of your meta tags or rank. How to influence PPC is a topic for another post. Right now, we will focus on organic searches.

Search Engine Speak

There are many different meta tags and not all of them impact SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The two most important ones are:

1. Title tag – this is the title of the web page that you see at the top of your browser. It is advisable to keep it 60 characters or less in order to display correctly. In SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) also, the title tag is used to display the title of your website. A good title should be relevant, succinct, attractive, and use keywords that you are targeting on the web page. Avoid stuffing keywords – it won’t make sense to a user and search engines may penalize you. Mentioning your product or service, your brand, category, location are all good ideas.

2. Meta description tag – this is a summary of your web page. Previously it was advisable to keep it to 160 characters, but Google increased it to 300 characters in Dec 2017. In SERPs, the meta description tag is used to display a summary of your website This is your “pitch” or your “advertisement” to the user to click your website. Just like the title, the meta description should also be relevant, action oriented, and use keywords that you are targeting on the web page.

Google and Bing can also try to figure out the meta description themselves based on the content on the web page, if you do not provide one. They may do that even if you have a meta description, if they believe it does not properly represent the content on your web page.

Search engine algorithms are sophisticated and closely guarded secrets. They also change often. Title tags and description tags are a way to help search engines understand the content on a page. With the huge amount of web pages on the Internet, it is now more important than ever before to take the time and effort to carefully craft unique title and description tags for every page on your website. This activity is a part of "On page SEO".

Do you feel meta tags help in improving rankings for organic searches? Have you observed that better written meta tags lead to more clicks? What kind of results are you seeing? Drop us a line at info@cagoinc.com – we would love to hear your thoughts.

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Apples and Oranges

Chicago - October 12, 2018

What does better look like?

It’s a tough question but the answer centers around an understanding of your customer. Business decisions (while partly your own personal preferences) really need to center around what your clients want — not just your personal likes. Many entrepreneurs have a vision as to what their “ideal” customer is. That vision needs to match reality. For businesses with a traditional retail footprint, the feedback is instantaneous. Sellers meet customers face-to-face and learn the customer’s likes and dislikes. They find their resistance points in making the sale. Fashion legend, Diane Von Furstenberg has mentioned this in numerous interviews. Early on in her career, meeting customers at trunk shows and in retails stores helped her to refine her business decisions. The experience of talking with her customers gave her ideas about how to best service her brand. When she relaunched her iconic brand in 1997, QVC gave her the forum to connect on a larger scale with rapid and immediate feedback. This feedback can be more difficult to get in the digital world. But it’s possible.

How do people find you?

What’s the awareness around your website or brand? After spending hours on imagery and building page after page of copy, businesses fail to drive customers to their website. There is no limit as to what people can put on the web. However, content that is relevant requires more editing. And the next step is that you must drive people to that content. Your brand’s survival depends on it! Metatags and Keywords (part of On-Page SEO) come in handy when describing to a search engine what your webpage is all about.

Do you have the right Keywords?

These are the simple words that people type into Google or other search engines that allow customers to find you. Using appropriate keywords for your website eliminates users that land on your page by accident. Viewers get to your website looking for Apples only to find Oranges because your keyword said “fruit”. Words that are not specific enough to help flow the traffic accurately can be frustrating for your customers and for you. The wrong keywords skew your search results inflating your hit number while diminishing your sell number. The important data gets harder to find.

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Your customer’s sticking points

Once customers get to your site, knowing the path they take to navigate is a key to unlocking their interests. Where the customer goes to, where they land or where they start is just the beginning. How long they stay on a page and where they bounce to adds to your understanding of their needs. Knowing this information will help to focus your energy on what is important and stop wasting time and money on the irrelevant. These analytics help you target the content to users, so they don’t waste time. The goal is to become the “go-to” site for information and products your customers love without bouncing them through pages. There are many large websites with deeply rich content that has been extensively labored over… only to find viewers don’t click on them because the content is not relevant to their needs. More isn’t more. As retailer Marshall Field coined many years ago — “Just give the customer what they want.”

Do you find Metatags and Keywords to be effective for your customers to find your website? What kind of results are you seeing? Drop us a line at info@cagoinc.com – we would love to hear your thoughts.

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Do You Hear Your Customers?

Chicago - October 3, 2018

Getting an accurate read on what your clients think about your business performance and your customer service efforts is not rocket science. Many of your customers use Yelp and Google Reviews every day. But what if you really want to drill down and get the feedback BEFORE it hits the Internet? You have the power at your fingertips and it’s pretty easy. It’s your website’s contact form. Most companies think of using the form only as a means to gather new customer leads. Some businesses have not even thought of putting in a form on their site at all. But all you have to do is look at the pages of Yelp and Google Reviews to figure out that people want to share their opinion … and they are sharing their opinion about your business all over social media anyway. At best you advertise your best feature to a new audience on Yelp. At it’s worse, it advertises your flaws to new customers and your competition.

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A better solution than Yelp and Google Reviews!

A savvy business owner uses the contact form to focus on a specific part of their business and uses questions to gather information on areas they see as important to meeting their customer’s needs. A form can focus in on product offerings, delivery systems, customer service or any specific areas that is chosen as a target requiring improvement. An effective form can offer key statistics for the results and provide measurable improvements (or needs to improve points) if it is used regularly. And as an added incentive, any positive feedback that is provided can be used to enhance your future marketing efforts as it builds upon your existing strengths. In short, the form is an easy way to gather feedback that can have a direct and lasting impact.

Old customers vs. new customers

Let’s say you have a car dealership. You can post your form on your website and gather responses from people who are looking to buy a car. This works well if you offer an incentive like a free oil change after the customer purchases a car or at least comes in to shop. Another approach is that you send a form to an existing customer. Here, the feedback is much more direct. They can provide accurate information based off their own experience and if they happen to be a regular customer, the feedback is even more important.

Ask yourself this question:

Who would you like to hear from – a regular customer who knows your services and uses your services regularly OR someone who just happens to stumble upon your business and who has never used it before?

Ideally, both.

In this example, if the buyer is someone who routinely purchases a car on lease every three years, that customer is golden. They can be a wealth of information on what they are looking for when picking a dealership. They can offer valuable advice that can lead to the next sale. The feedback they give may be important enough to capture similar like-minded car buyers. That is something to build upon. The people who have completed a sale with you can offer keys of understanding as to what you do best, and what you do poorly. They can also be your most vocal advocates to their friends. All you have to do is ask … in a form.

Are you using contact forms effectively? What kind of results are you seeing? Drop us a line at info@cagoinc.com – we would love to hear your thoughts.

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The Power of a Simple Contact Form

Chicago - September 27, 2018

If there is one reason for small businesses to build a website, it is so that their customers can get in touch with them. As simple as that ! Well, really there are many more reasons for businesses for all sizes to build a website. And even go beyond a website – every business today needs to build a powerful digital presence.

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Let’s start with the contact form on your website - why is a contact form attractive to your customers when browsing your website? Three simple reasons:

Convenience  – It requires very low amount of effort to fill out a contact form, and it is fast. Other methods of getting in touch like phone or email require users have to first find your phone number or email on your website, then open the phone or email app, put your phone number or email address, and then initiate contact. Not having to deal with a real person (no sales pressure) can also save time and energy and works quite well for simple inquiries.

Available all the time – 24x7, 365 days a year, rain or shine – the contact form is there on your website even when you are not there at your store and nobody is available on phone. Users don’t need to search for your store’s business hours like they have to do when contacting in person or by phone. The form is always there.

Clarity - a contact form requires specific fields some being mandatory and it’s easy for customers to provide the necessary details without forgetting any. What this means is that a contact form clearly asks for Name, Email, Phone, Address, and other relevant details specific to the subject. Customers can just fill them all out without forgetting to provide any key piece of information.

From a small business owner perspective, it keeps things organized. All responses to contact forms are collected in one place and available for future reference, in a consistent way since all inquiries have the exact same fields filled out. It also allows the business owner to add options for getting customers signed up for email list, newsletter, coupon club etc. at the same time that the customers submit a query. The business owner can get the exact information they need by providing various mandatory and optional form fields.

In our experience, the small business owner who has put a contact form on their website has started to get 5-8 new inquires every month, without doing any else.

Are you a small business owner who wants to put a contact form on their website? Do you have already a contact form on your website? Have you noticed similar results as us or something else? Drop us a line at info@cagoinc.com – we would love to hear your thoughts.

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SEO as a Customer Acquisition Tool for Small Businesses

Chicago - November 26, 2017

Marketing is tough. Business development is difficult. Customer acquisition is an uphill battle. Add to this the fact that you are a small business and you have to navigate through the myriad nuances of digital marketing.

With the continuous growth of technology, business owners can not afford to sit on their hands and expect sales to grow. Fortunately for business owners, there is a tool that can be utilized quite inexpensively and that has proven results. SEO refers to the  practice of developing your online presence (Website and Google Business listing for example) to ensure you are visible in the search results found by search engines such as Google, Bing, and others. These search engines have primary search results, where web sites and other content such as documents, videos or local business listings are publicized and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.

SEO as a Customer Acquisition Tool

Relative importance of SEO, Social Media, and other marketing tools, in customer acquisition

Source: HubSpot

As shown in the graph above from HubSpot, SEO out-performs all other customer acquisition strategies.

If you run anything from a hotel to a construction company to a restaurant, you should be using SEO to make your business more successful.  Having an up-to-date, and well-designed website show casing original content that is both appealing to your target market and credible (Testimonials, Reviews, Case Studies) is the perfect place to start when dabbling in SEO. By having just these few basic optimizing points, your small business is going to be attracting more than just a potential customer - an ideal potential customer leading to a sale.

The importance of SEO lays firmly behind its proven track record.

·        80% of consumers will not look past the first page listed on any search engine

·        90% of people perform some type of online research before making any large purchase.

·        75% of traffic goes to top 5 positions.

·        80-90% of customers check online reviews prior to making a purchase.

 

Don't be left behind

For a small business in today's world, it is vital to have an SEO strategy. In order to achieve the top listings in search engine results, your online presence must be optimized. Being able to have your website show up within the first five listings when a customer searches, for example, “Motel in Chicago” is going to play a key role in acquiring those customers. Even if your small business is in a development phase and a website hasn’t been created, SEO can still drastically change the traffic driven towards your business. By simply having your business address and number in an online directory or Google My Business, while working in parallel with a well thought out SEO plan, a larger amount of your targeted customers will be reached, leading to increased sales.

How can Cago help you with SEO?

Here at Cago, we specialize in assisting small businesses grow the right way, the first time. By working with you closely in all forms of digital marketing, a brighter future for your small business is just around the corner. Give us a call today so we can discuss how to incorporate Cago’s SEO service offering in your business !

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How a Modern and Mobile Ready Website Will Help Your Business

Chicago - November 16, 2017

It is the 21st century, and in order for a business to survive, an online presence is crucial for any kind of success or longevity. We live in a world where the rapid growth of technology can either make or break a small business.

Would you like to be left in the dust of other thriving small businesses and become a statistic, or would you prefer to succeed and grow your business to heights you never thought were possible? The answer is obvious, isn’t it?

If you are a business owner and want to cash-in on what the World Wide Web is offering, a website portraying your products or services has been proven to increase sales, and in some cases, lower overhead costs, therefore producing a more profitable business. This is because the Internet has been used by more than 3.5 Billion people this year, and that number continues to grow alongside the amount of people accessing the internet through mobile devices. That is over half the human Population. We bet your local flyers and shop window ads don’t have that kind of reach!

History and Growth of the Internet (2009-2017) Internet World Stats

What other benefits are there of having a Website for my Business?

The Credibility of Your Business: With how important and integrated the Internet has become with our everyday lives, customers have grown to expect to see a professionally made website for the company they wish to do business with. Many customers or clients will simply move onto another competitor if they see you either don’t have a website, or your website is poorly made and out-date.

Exposure and Presence: You and family are on a road trip and arrive into an unknown town late at night, looking for somewhere to rest your head. Fortunately for you, the Internet exists and you can quickly search for a local Motel / Hotel with a vacant room at a price you desire. This is because of having a website, your business is available to anyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing a presence even after usual business hours. Again, opening more opportunities for potential sales that the business wouldn’t have had before.

Benefits of also having a Mobile-Friendly Website

Have you ever needed to book a hotel room while you’re out and about, all from your smart phone, to then see that the Hotel's website is not rendered to fit the size of your phone? Unfortunately, this is a widespread problem many customers face. Often, the customer will become frustrated from having to continuously zoom in to be able to tap the button they want. Leading to the customer eventually taking their business elsewhere because of how hard the website was to navigate. Enabling your website to render to the correct size for smartphones will help capture a larger portion of the market as the number of smart phones being used to purchase goods and services continues to increase.

How can Cago help grow your Business?

Here at Cago, we specialize in kick-starting the online presence for your business, by providing a professionally designed website made specifically for the needs of you, your business, and your customers. We don’t stop there! We are with you every step along the way, to produce the website and online experience you are after, with our monthly maintenance services to make sure your website can keep up with the growth and change your business requires.

Be the business you want to be, and take the step today.

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SOS SERVICES: ?

Chicago - September 6, 2015

Imagine being stuck in a moving car’s trunk, not being able to see where you are, and not knowing whether you can contact somebody without others hearing your voice? We all have seen these situations on TV and in movies and have prayed this does not happen to us. And hopefully it will not. But it is very reassuring to know that if we are ever caught in a situation where we have our phone with us and we need to alert someone of our location, we are able to do so, with the press of a button.


Smartphones are proliferating all age groups – children, adults, seniors. New use cases are being found where smartphone apps can add value. Personal safety is one of them. One can also extend the use case to natural disasters – earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes.

Many smartphone apps claim to provide “SOS” or “Alert” functionality – app developers call them by different names. Essentially they all attempt to provide you a way to reach friends and family when you are in danger. And also provide your location coordinates, so you can be reached.

What constitutes a good SOS app?

Reliability

Since the user will most likely use the functionality only when they are in trouble, it is imperative that it work that one time – with 100% reliability. It should not be the case that the app has not been updated for the past two years, and unfortunately is not compatible with the new version of the OS on the user’s smartphone. Or a myriad of such reasons. The user will also not do a test run of the SOS functionality on a routine basis. Therefore it falls on the app developers to make the SOS functionality foolproof.

Ease of use

 In an emergency, the user will not have a lot of time at their disposal. A few seconds maybe? A minute at the most. SOS functionality should not require pressing multiple buttons, passcodes, or confirmations like “Do you really want to send this SOS”? At the same time, it should not get triggered by mistake.

Method of delivery

Should an SOS message me sent via Email? Or WhatsApp? Or posted on Facebook? What’s the quickest means to get your friend’s attention when you are in trouble? An SMS is universal and can be delivered to all kinds of phones – even non-smartphones. But it also depends on your friend circle who you are trying to reach. It could be that they are most responsive to WhatsApp.

There are many other considerations – what should be the frequency of alerts, how many times to send the alerts (is indefinitely a good idea?), how many emergency contact should be allowed (not more than two or three?), should it be easy to turn the alert off (after all if a “bad” guy wants to do it, they could just smash your phone or simply turn it off from the power button) – to name a few.

Regardless of the SOS app used, it can never replace emergency response services like 911. Nor should anyone intend to use an SOS app to replace emergency response services.

At the end of the day, is that these SOS apps provide a peace of mind, some kind of reassurance? And most importantly - confidence. They are a good compliment to emergency response services.

Watch out for abuse – it is never a good idea to abuse a valuable service.

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Travelers need a guiding star

Chicago - July 14, 2015

While traveling on business to Virginia, I was excited about the opportunity to explore and work in a new location, even if only for a short time. What made the trip even nicer was that a good friend and colleague was on the same assignment I was and got to travel with me. On the day we were scheduled to leave, I intended to rely on my GPS device to get me back to the airport, as I had used this stress saving device throughout the trip. However, the airport was in Washington D.C., and I was in Virginia. The GPS device could not recognize my location and was trying to take me in the opposite direction from the airport. My “accurate” device was not so accurate anymore. I was stressed at the idea of not being able to find my way or missing my flight, all while still not being entirely familiar with the area. Fortunately my colleague got to the airport before me. I called her and explained what was going on.  I described where I thought I was, although I was not entirely sure. I am lucky that she remembered the route (mostly) and gave me directions.

Most travelers are not as lucky as I was to have someone there who can guide them when lost. Many travel alone and the closest person they know is states away. Had my colleague not been there, I do not know what I would have done.

A location sharing app like CagoMama would have saved me. Even if the closest person you know and trust is hundreds of miles away, you can still instantly and accurately share your location with them and have a map of where you are. 

Here is another incident, from a close friend, in her own words:

I was in Western Europe a couple of weeks ago for a pilgrimage with my Mom. We were with a tour group where the day-to-day schedule was kind of intense. The tour guide was really strict in sticking to the schedule. One day, me and my mom were running late. We came down to the hotel lobby and to our surprise, our tour group had already left! Good thing that I had asked our tour guide the day before to install CagoMama and enter my number as a “trusted” contact. So I gave her a call. She did not answer, but no worries, because the app sent me the tour guide’s location immediately and me and my mom were able to catch up with them.
— Timmy, who carried CagoMama on her smartphone, during a recent trip to Portugal, Spain, and France, with her mom

Getting lost while traveling happens all the time. Remember to install CagoMama and use it often during your trip so that traveling and navigating in a new territory can be stress free!

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Checking in: How often is too often?

Chicago - July 3, 2015

Tomorrow your child is going to an away game for their team. Or maybe they are going to their best friend’s sleepover. Many parents may have some level of anxiety in being able to trust their child is always safe and sound. The need to know exactly where they are and who is with them is of upmost importance; this is where the need for children to “check in” became necessary.

As a pre-teen and teen, I remember my mother always asking me to call when I arrived and when I was leaving anyplace outside of going to school. One of my friends had to call to check in every hour she was out. Some of my other friends only had to let their parents know when they arrived at their starting location. Other friends never had to check in at all.

This poses the question, how often should children “check in” with their parents when they are out? What is the acceptable number of times children should tell their parents where they are? Rather than having a perfectly clear answer, it is determined by the communication expectations between a parent and child. While it is important to ensure the safety of your child, it is also important to allow them their freedom and enjoy themselves while they are out. There is a delicate balance between a child having to incessantly check in, and not having the expectation to have them check in at all. Conversations of what works for parents and children can be established before the child goes out to ensure boundaries that work best for both. Should your child tell you where they are when they arrive at a new location? Should they check in at the time they arrive and leave? Are you comfortable with them only telling you when they arrive at their first location? What do you feel comfortable with?

 Checking in with my mom when I arrived and left a location worked for both of us, while my friend checking in with her mom only at the time of arrival worked for them. Each parent and child scenario will be different.

However often you and your child agree is ok to check in, CagoMama makes this process simple with instant and accurate location sharing…just between you and them. 

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The "Need" for Privacy

Chicago - June 28, 2015

By using the convenience of smart technology and state of the art mobile applications, are we putting our privacy at stake? When we enter our information to register for an app or a social media site, we are merely providing our information to the company, right? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Ever wonder why that pair of shoes you looked at online the other day now has an ad on your search engine or social media site? It’s no coincidence. The information that you provide is actually used to sell to other companies who will use it for data analysis and advertising. Where you vacation, where you shop, whom you choose as friends – is your business and no one else’s. According to a recent news report a social media site is under a lot of heat as it is being taken to court by Belgian privacy commission for breach of privacy and user tracking.

Photo by maxkabakov/iStock / Getty Images


Most of us are not aware of this violation of our privacy and how some sites use our data to fund their business models. A lot of times when we subscribe to an internet service or an app that is ‘free’ – our private information including email and locations frequented or web browsing patterns, is sold to advertisers to generate revenue.

Location sharing information is sold by many services too without your knowledge. Why would you want someone else to know the location of your child? Even if that information is used merely for the purpose of advertisements, you want to keep your private information and away from those who might sell it.

We know that you value your privacy and so do we. CagoMama does not want your data. The location information that you share with your loved ones is hidden from us, so we never get to see it or share it. No data is ever stored on our servers. Your location and the location of your trusted group is your business –we don’t make it our business. 

Remember CagoMama is Location sharing ... just between you and them.

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The "appeal" to locate

Chicago - June 8, 2015

There has been a growing concern about well being of elderly people with dementia and Alzheimer’s condition. With the rise in life expectancy, the number of patients with these conditions is growing at a fast pace and so is the number of memory care facilities.


One of the primary concerns among care givers is to make sure not to lose their patient or a loved one because they wandered away. An article published on June 3, 2015 in Desert News tells the story of a husband’s appeal for help from the communities to locate Alzheimer patients who wander away from home. Stephen Dunham of Clinton, UT said that since 2004 when his wife was diagnosed with this disease, he has been dedicated to the cause of keeping her safe. In spite of his best efforts , Kay has wandered off previously.

People with Alzheimer's are at higher risk of wandering, getting lost

More people are going to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s as 10,000 people a day turn 65 in our country
— Ronnie Daniel, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association Utah Chapter

There have been reports of patients wandering off from care facilities and homes, later found dead due to prolonged exposure to the elements. 

CagoMama is dedicated to help the communities – locate your loved ones with touch of a button. Remember - it's just between you and them.

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The "need" to locate

Chicago - June 1, 2015

Why do we need to share our location? Are we engaged in some twisted game of hide and seek or are we living in  a world full of mazes an demons where we might lose ourselves any moment? I grew up in a time where we played in the fields till the cows came home - my parents would have been worried only if I was not home at dinner time. Those were the days of rotary phones and black and white television ... Did I tell you- I am not old?

I never considered myself an overprotective parent till one day, my daughter did not come back home at her usual time from school. Minutes went by and my anxiety starting forming a knot in my stomach. I called the school office to be told that all the buses left school at usual time and they did not have any more information. Timing was crucial - I did not want this situation to turn into a national amber alert. I finally got a hold of someone at the bus company who raised an alarm after hearing from me. Any attempt to contact the bus driver ended up in no response. Now I had more people worried. As I reached for my phone to call the police, I saw the bus pulling up – an hour late. What a relief! Later I was notified that the delay and lack of responsiveness was a result of some poor choices made by some irresponsible people.

I am thankful that my child is safe. However, that one hour felt like a century and made me wish only if I could locate my daughter or the bus.

In an event when you cannot talk on the phone, but would still care to let your loved ones know where are you – location services come in handy. I am part of her ‘trusted list’ on her CagoMama app now and she lets me know her location in a timely manner.

I have to admit though – a lot of us are skeptical about ‘location services’ – is it the same as ‘tracking services’. I don’t want to be wearing an invisible chip under my skin so my owners can ‘track’ me. A location service designed with consumers' privacy in mind allows you to locate someone only if they have allowed you to do so by adding you to their trusted list.

The times have obviously changed – thankfully there is technology to help us make more happy memories!

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