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Blogging has become probably the most popular way of communicating with the internet users. There are many great reasons why you should start your own blog. If you plan to do it as a hobby, it might improve your writing skills, bring some extra cash, and others may find inspiration in your work and start writing down their own thoughts too. Or, perhaps you wish to start a company blog in hopes that you’ll promote your online or offline business that will make you stand out from your competition. Regardless of the reason, the first real step in starting a blog is choosing a suitable platform for your site.
Here’s a short list of some of the biggest (and the best) blogging platforms. Read more and find out which one would be the best choice for you.
Being used by more than 25 percent of the web, WordPress is by far the most popular solution if you want to create your own website. Not surprisingly, it’s consistently found on lists of best blogging platforms and it’s the one that most users recommend without hesitation. The reasons are many. This CMS (content management system) is free, open-source and very flexible – you will find countless available themes and plugins for it (over 40,501 plugins, to be precise).
WordPress will certainly give you the freedom to design your site any way you wish. Since it allows access from any location, you can update your content anywhere, anytime – quickly and easily. Its simplicity, besides customization possibilities, is praised as one of the greatest advantages. Although WordPress.org (self-hosted version) is free, you’ll need to pay for its hosting (unlike Wordpress.com that includes free hosting). However, Wordpress.com doesn’t include many free plugins and themes.
A micro-blogging platform and social network, Tumblr is often described as a mix of WordPress and Twitter. It’s used for posting public and private blogs and over 312.2 million blogs is hosted on this platform. Its pros are unlimited storage, numerous HTML and CSS customization options and the ease of use. It has a solid app that enables bloggers to post their content directly from their mobile devices.
On the other hand, this blogging platform has certain disadvantages as well. The import of content from other platforms is not quite simple. As a popular social network, it’s been criticized for the amount of the adult content found on it, and the security issues are relatively frequent. It’s best to use it if you need a free solution, not many plugins and if you don’t expect your blog to be a source of income as the monetization is pretty difficult.
The name tells it – Blogger is another free blogging platform, owned by Google Inc. It’s entirely free, easy to use, and it comes with access to other Google tools (Analytics, AdSense etc.). Thanks to the ads, the ratio between invested and earned money can be quite favorable if your blog is popular. If you’re a beginner and want to start your blog without capital, this solution might be perfect for you. Another pro: its speed and simplicity are tough to beat.
However, don’t expect much flexibility. You have access to HTML code, so the customizations are possible, but Blogger has fewer themes and plugins than WordPress. Also, there’s no self-hosted option and you’re 100 percent dependent on Blogger’s service. You might want to have a look at the comparison of Blogger and another free solution such as WordPress and see which one you should start with. Since there are no upgrade options, many writers outgrow Blogger pretty quickly and it’s not suitable for growing businesses.
TypePad is a platform that is suitable for boosting your business and it’s popular among professional bloggers. This platform is not free and all blogs are hosted on their server. Since there are numerous themes and plugins to choose from, one of its advantages is that it provides a unique and professional looking design. However, editing their HTML coding requires some additional skills and customization options are not limitless.
So, if you’re an experienced blogger, want a website that will give your business some credibility, and don’t mind investing money - TypePad might be a good choice for you. Although you’re dependent on TypePad servers, you’re still the owner of your blog, and this platform provides unlimited storage space.
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When you start a new business, there are various things that go through your mind. Obviously, you will need office furniture and you have to invest in office equipment. By office equipment, we need items like computers, printers, software, network equipment and fax machines. While it is vital to know exactly what customers want and develop really great products, the choice of office equipment is something that should never be neglected. Whether you buy equipment through options like Promocodewatch or any other store, the following business essentials will be necessary for most startups. Obviously, based on business operations, other gadgets may be needed.
A Business Telephone System
Telephones stand out as the main communicating mediums with vendors and customers. You have to look at the different phone systems available on the market and choose something that is 100% suitable for your business. This may seem simple but different mistakes can happen. Establishing a proper telephone system will make companies work in a more efficient way.
Software And Computers
One of the really important parts of the business is always information. Leveraging that information automatically means that you have to implement proper software and computers for the entire company to use. A computer is really important for communicating too. That is because of the use of email.
We recommend that you always invest as much as necessary to back up business data and explore available possible systems. You can easily find some online services that are going to aid you to have everything available no matter what happens to your system. Make sure that you always invest in services that are reliable when referring to backup. This does include equipment and software.
Your Internet Connection
Obviously, most businesses from around the world need to be connected to the internet. You have access to so much business equipment that would be useful for your company at the moment. Just make sure that you always buy all that is needed. There is a pretty good possibility you will need a router and some switches for the larger offices. Ethernet cabling is quite recommended in many cases. Do be sure that the Internet plan you choose is always the best one possible based on how much internet usage will exist in your office.
Nowadays, the serious businessman automatically needs to have a very good smartphone. At the same time, this is a device that is necessary for many in the company. It is really important that you arrange mobile communication channels for most of the company. Time is always money so the smartphone will help you to be more effective on the market you operate in.
We should also mention that tablets are quickly becoming very important for companies as they manage to offer more options every single month. Tablets have a larger screen than the smartphone and would allow more operations. This is something that helps a lot more than what you think at a first glance. You will want to be sure that such a purchase would appear with many startups.
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Every single industry in the world is embracing technology. This is definitely something that is normal since so many tech advancements make things a lot easier. We also see this in real estate. Agents from all around the world are now using technology to a full potential, trying to constantly implement the best possible systems. It does not matter if the real estate agents are focused on foreclosures or represent sellers. Technology can easily make everything better.
Developing a Transaction Management System
Going paperless is definitely a really good idea since you can get rid of processes that do take a lot of time. A transaction management system for real estate agents means uploading documents and organizing all the contacts. At the same time, it helps to make guests access systems in order to share necessary clients.
Going digital means investing money in software that would make the work easier for the agents. In many cases taking advantage of the cloud is the best possible approach because prices are lower and the applications can be accessed from any corner of the world with the use of all gadgets that can connect to the internet.
Creating Inbound Marketing Campaigns
When compared to outbound marketing, inbound marketing has many interesting advantages. It does cost less and will attract interested customers. You do not have to project the agent image to many prospective customers that are going to simply ignore your services. You basically attract the customers that are now interested in services of the type you offer. That means that conversion rates will be really great, which is what you want at the end of the day.
Using Social Media
Real estate agents now have sites, blogs, and well-managed social media profiles. It is really important for the modern agents to be active and connect social media with inbound marketing. Around 90% of the agents, these days have social media profiles and use them for personal reasons. Over 90% of them also utilized smartphones. Because of this, it makes sense to combine them. To make everything even more interesting, we are talking about something that is free or incredibly cheap.
Database Management Systems
One of the most important parts of the work done by the real estate agents is keeping records about everything that is done. This does include the current list of available properties represented and the clients that are looking for properties. Managing the database in a proper way automatically means that it will be really easy to find matches when they are available. Buying software is something that helps out a lot since many of the research tasks associated with databases are automatically handled. For instance, if you enter some details in the system like budget and location, the available properties can appear instantly. On the whole, we are faced with a huge increase in speed, which is definitely something that the real estate agents want. Do be sure that you seriously consider making the database management system as efficient as possible when working in real estate.
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Every business will experience a time of distress with low sales, poor cash flow, abysmal market share, and lack of innovation. This situation may be caused by internal forces such as poor financial controls, inefficient sales management, project failure or incompetent management. Other external forces including economic recession, government regulations, natural disasters may also contribute to company failure. However, the CEO must brace up to the task of managing the recovery of the company or seek for help from a turnaround manager or expert who has a track record in business recovery. The following ideas can also help business owners to turn their struggling company into an outstanding success.
1. Do a Thorough Assessment of the Company
Before you can turn a failing company around, you need to understand the reasons for the decline of the business, identify the major problems, and assess the chances of survival. This can be done through a careful assessment of all business operations. During the assessment, you will discover the reasons for the poor cash flow, low customer patronage, and rising debt profile of the company. Then, it will be easier to focus on the most important areas that you work on to restore the confidence of customers, creditors and investors.
2. Focus on Measurable Financial Facts
Many companies fail because they have poorly managed accounting systems and financial controls. So it is vital to set up a robust financial accounting system that will provide accurate data on income, expenditure, assets and liabilities. For the recovery process to be successful, you must engage the service of accountants with the relevant experience and knowledge. These professionals will be able to communicate effectively with the bank as well as other creditors to restore their confidence. This communication may be done through weekly or monthly financial statements that show improvement in the company's financial health.
3. Cut Costs and Increase Cash Flow
Increasing income and reducing costs is an essential step in any turnaround operation. Evaluate all operating costs and develop news of reducing them. In some cases, debts may have to be rescheduled so that the company can have more money to do business and serve more customers. Similarly, some departments may be merged or scraped while staff that are idle or redundant could be laid off or assigned to other duties. Every dollar spent must serve as a means to make more money for the company.
4. Create New Cost Effective Service Delivery Models
It is important to create new ways of offering service to a wider customer base. In some cases, this will require outsourcing of certain support functions or operations that are not really part of the core business of the company. For instance, instead of spending a lot of money to maintain a fleet of vehicles to bring in supplies or to deliver products to customers. It may be more economical to outsource this operation to one or more courier companies that have the competence, expertise and capacity to meet the needs of the business at a lower cost.
5. Engage Your Employees
No company turnaround strategy can succeed without the full co-operation of all employees, from senior management to the most junior workers. Employees will ultimately make or break a business so they must be well-informed and motivated to participate in the entire process. New incentives should be provided for employees and some of their wages may be tied to their performance or achievement of corporate goals. Employees should also be carried along in all major decision making processes so that they can take ownership of the transformation process from the beginning.
6. Develop Long-term Success Strategies
For sustainable growth and long-term profitability, you need to set clearly defined long-term goals that will enable the company to delve into new markets and make new partnerships with other successful companies. Take definite steps to raise product quality and enhance customer service. You should also secure long term financing and get more investors interested in the company. All these steps will position the company to continue to grow regardless of changing economic circumstances.
Turning your struggling business into a highly profitable venture may not be an easy task. But it can be done if you commit yourself to applying the ideas provided here. You should also seek for professional help and maintain a positive and disciplined attitude that will help to persevere until you succeed.
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Business growth in the modern business environment is connected to a multitude of factors. We are no longer faced only with staff and office space problems as being the biggest ones you would need to deal with. Technology is nowadays vital and there are so many big problems that can appear because of not properly understanding exactly what has to be done. You would need to take as much time as possible to be sure that every single decision you will make will be a suitable one.
If you want to be sure that your business will be cognitive and that technology problems will not appear, remember the following really important things.
Problem 1 – Not Knowing All Options
Simply because one company uses a specific technology does not mean that you have to do the same thing. There are many different things that you will need to remember. Have patience and do understand absolutely all the available opportunities. This relates to practically everything from the large machines that you could use in production to the software that you utilize at the desk of the receptionist.
In many cases, we see business owners that do not want to talk with someone that is experienced in technology growth. You should not make that mistake. Focus on finding someone that can analyze your business and that will be able to make really good recommendations. In many cases, it is better to pay a little more in order to receive services of a higher quality.
Problem 2 – Not Considering Staff Training
It is a shame to see this happen but the truth is that it will be common in practically all parts of business these days, not just with technology. As an example, you might end up investing in Betterment to get more funds for your business without knowing how the platform works. In a similar way, you can end up buying something that the staff will not be able to use.
Whenever trying to implement new technology, the first thing to do is to see if the employees actually manage to keep up with what will be used. You need to be sure that you consider potential staff training prices as a failure to do this will lead towards more money being lost by the company. Also, we see the unwanted case in which the staff will need to learn how to use technology alone. That is even more problematic as it will lead to a much lower productivity than possible.
Problem 3 – Improperly Choosing Between New And Used
When it comes to machines, this problem should be quite obvious. In the event that you choose something used but you really need something new, problems will appear. The exact opposite is also the case. When looking at software that is to be used, a similar problem appears when using an older version than what would be best. It is really important that you focus on making a good choice for quick growth.
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In an age where Wi-Fi has become nearly ubiquitous in developed nations, it's a wonder that consumers are even still using wired technologies in their homes at all. Unfortunately, there are many receivers that still require annoying Ethernet and coaxial cabling to be run through and around the home. Dish Network's Wireless Joey is part of a new wave of wireless receivers that make it possible to receive the signal from your satellite with no need for cables or wiring. The Wireless Joey™ system carries all of the same capabilities as a conventional receiver, including full Hopper functionality.
First Pay-TV Receiver to Use 802.11ac Wireless for HD Video
Wireless Joey is the first system to take advantage of ultra-fast 802.11ac wireless technology, which facilitates data transfers at speeds three times faster than the leading competitors, which use older wireless technologies such as 802.11n and older. The older networking standards are known for having some slight signal degradation problems, which normally doesn't present an issue when you're just transferring web pages and standard video, but when HD or Ultra-HD content is playing it can become noticeable. Thus, the new Wireless Joey system from Dish Network is the first pay-TV receiver that is capable of consistently delivering HD content without hiccups.
Wireless Joey Specs and Installation
With a 900MHz BCM7418 processor, the wireless networking operates in the 5GHz band using an 802.11ac BCM4360 chip from Broadcom. The system is also equipped with internal antennas and an automatic frequency selector. If you compare these aforementioned specs and features to the leading competitors' receivers, you'll see that this one is clearly the most advanced. Being that it's a completely wireless system, it's also perfect for any home regardless of the density of the walls, the number of stories, or other construction characteristics.
Relocating Televisions Made Easy
With a conventional Joey, you would have to move the wiring around to suit the new location of your television. With the Wireless Joey, you're free to pick the receiver up and move it to any room in the house as long as a strong Wi-Fi signal can still be reached. Not only will you no longer have to fiddle with wiring every time you move your set, you'll also be able to set it up literally anywhere, regardless of proximity to coaxial or Ethernet cable.
When Would Another Type of Receiver Be Better?
While the Wireless Joey is an ideal option if you want to be able to clearly stream all Dish Network Channels (including HD channels), if the television is located far enough from the Hopper to be out of reliable Wi-Fi range, then your best options would be to opt for a regular wired Joey for that particular set. It's also important to note that a wired Super Joey will still be needed to incorporate additional tuners into the setup. You can find out more about the Wireless Joey and its many benefits at Dish2U.
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It's no secret that online shopping has driven up the competition and is making it possible for people to find cheap deals on everything, and it seems this effect has trickled down into the car insurance industry as well. Prior to the advent of the many insurance comparison sites that you can now find online, a consumer would typically meet with a local agent or call a hotline to discuss their options. Nowadays, that process is streamlined and there's much more transparency, making it easier than ever for people to find the absolute lowest price at any time.
On Demand 24 Hour Comparisons Worldwide
In the dark ages before the dawn of the great internet, there were hours when it was impossible to compare all available care insurance plans. Now you can visit any number of car insurance comparison sites at any hour of the day or night, regardless of where in the world you are or which language you speak. For example, Comparaencasa is a popular insurance comparison site for Spanish speakers. This makes the comparison process less urgent and therefore takes away the exclusivity factor that used to pressure consumers into buying overpriced plans.
Easier Access to Information
In addition to providing a number of comparison platforms, the internet is also an invaluable research tool that helps build more savvy consumers in every industry. People no longer get trapped into horrible contracts en masse, because most of us take the time look up our options online before making a significant commitment, like which car insurance provider we're about to be using for the next 6 months to a year or longer. Furthermore, regulatory authorities have taken advantage of this transparency to place limits on the amounts that insurance companies can charge policyholders, so the likelihood of being the victim of price gouging in this industry has gone down significantly in today's internet-centric era.
Mobile Apps and Text Notifications
Mobile apps and online communication are two of the best things that the internet has ever spawned, and together they make managing and comparing insurance plans much easier. Instead of having to call a hotline and speak to an agent about a status or to answer a specific question, consumers can now depend on simple text notifications and mobile app interfaces that provide access to critical account information and FAQ sections. It's even possible to open support tickets and handle inquiries from the comfort of your smartphone thanks to the gigantic network of computers we know as the world wide web.
Using the Available Knowledge and Tools to Your Advantage
What good are all of the advancements mentioned above if you don't put them to good use. Unfortunately, just because it's now possible to compare a multitude of options, there are still many people who don't want to spend the time or effort and would rather just opt for the most popular brand they can think of offhand. While that will still get you car insurance, and usually at a decent price, if you're the type who likes to shop around you should be using the single greatest shopping resource on the planet – the internet.
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For every successful app on the market, there are thousands of services and products that simply could not make it. So what’s the secret of a popular app? What makes some app developers struggling to increase their income, and others to make millions instantly? Of course, it’s well worth outsourcing to the app developer with experience and knowhow. One more reason is to understand the monetization strategy behind your app as early as you can. In tandem, the best app developer and great monetization strategy will significantly increase your chances for a successful app.
The vast majority of apps that you can find on App Store or Google Play are free to use. It means that although your initial goal of making your app popular may be accomplished, you are still not making money on it, or at least not as much as you wanted. Pokemon Go is a brand new viral mobile game that can be a great example of how a hip app that is free-of-charge can make a lot of money for its owners as well many other businesses. This mobile phone game is based on augmented reality (AR) technology that employs real world location via your phone’s camera to show virtual Pokemon on a display.
The economics behind Pokémon Go app is free-to-download game. By offering a free app you can easily raise the number of people who use it and create a buzz. For instance, according to Forbes - HootSuite (freemium product), you’ll find 10M results. If you search for Sendible (premium only competitor), you’ll find 160K results. Similarly, if you search for mentions of MailChimp (freemium product), you’ll find 10M results. If you search for Aweber (premium only competitor), you’ll find 718K results. Despite that not every single aspect of such game is completely accessible without paying. It offers you to make some purchases during the game like in-game currency PokéCoins that players use to buy helpful items, such as Poké Balls in order to “catch” Pokémon, and for inventory upgrades. The key issue here is to set up proper and well-balanced incentives for these in-app purchases, as it may become a viable strategy to drive revenue. There are several ways to implement in-app purchases into free-to-download app: user can buy additional time or items in games, functionality or general usage. Worldwide revenue for in-app purchases is expected to hit about $58 billion by the end of 2016 and to skyrocket to $76.5 billion in 2017 according to Statista portal.
Companies widely employ geolocation as an advertising technology, meaning when you walk by a partner business or you are located in a particular part of the city, your app users will see a unique promo message. This is applicable to any kind of app, either a game or business tool. Wouldn’t it be great that your clients receive a pop-up saying that your partner is nearby and can offer his services to your user or a shop nearby offers a 10% discount to those using your app? You can follow suit and use geolocation in your app to provide bonuses or coupons when people enter your partner business.
According to The App Solutions, a mobile app development company, location-based advertising is one of ‘most exciting’ mobile opportunities now because of games like Pokémon Go, location-based ads should get a boost in augmented-reality gaming in 2016 and further on. The data by The AppSolutions shows that that 8 of 10 consumers prefer using their smartphones for making a final decision before purchasing, so it seems that it is worth to consider mobile geolocation technology to drive revenues.
Another way Niantic Inc, the developer of the app, can make money is by creating a companion device that improves the gamers’ experience. If you choose to follow this path to promote your app, then this device, like the Pokemon Go Plus, should be customizable and branded with your app logo for it to be easily recognized. Such feature lets your active app users improve their overall experience and keep using it even more constantly. Many other companies like Fitbit and Nike have used this before, but vice versa. They created a device followed by an app to improve user experience. Whatever way you choose, there is money to be made.
You can also partner up with existing businesses to use their technology or hardware to accommodate your app. Mobile entertainment has always been attached to the mobile devices. But if you look at recent development with the Samsung Gear or Apple Watch, for instance, their wearable technology magnifies the value of the apps on their phones dramatically. So feel free to find a hardware provider you can partner up with and use their wearable tech to improve user experience and make extra money.
Paid app & real life PokeSpots
One more option to monetize your app is to create an app for the app, however crazy it may sound. With Pokemon Go, this task is not that easy like with any of your average apps because it uses the new AR tech. In order to succeed in this game, you have to move around a lot to find your next Pokemon or PokeSpot. The app on its own does not have a map detailing these locations, but there have sprung apps that actually offer a detailed map for a small fee. Creating a paid app for a free app to improve user experience is something not that new but easy to implement.
While using Pokemon Go AR you have to actually move around a lot and visit physical spaces that can be a café, McDonalds, restaurant or mall. Taking into account the viral nature of this app many businesses can order from Niantic Inc. a training ground that can be located on their premises. This draws people who are playing the game in and they can make purchases on the go, or can stay on and battle it out with others on their mobile phones. Sales of snacks, coffee, branded cups and other merchandise can be greatly boosted with such an option.
What Niantic Inc and their partners do is not game changing. They use up-to-date viral technology to rake in profits, both passively (by increases in stock prices) and actively (by engaging various revenue harvesting techniques). Most importantly they created a franchise that is a win-win situation for the app owner and their partners, small and large businesses that increase their social presence in their neighborhood or sell hardware to your clients.
This game in its essence is pretty repetitive, so the company will be introducing new features and levels along the way. The same can be true for your app, you don’t need to launch all the monetization methoods instantly – choose the simplest tools and grow along the way.
Utilizing the latest technology like AR combined with different ways of monetization of your app seems to be one of the ways that lead to powerful and accelerating business. Alas, there is no ABC way to do that. Hopefully, the above advices will give you some ground to think about.
The development of technology is literally changing the face of today’s recruiting. Gone are the days of long, drawn-out recruiting processes done over the phone or even solely in person. Today’s recruiting is becoming even faster due in large part to newly developed recruiting apps. So, how do they work and are the actually effective? Today’s companies are turning more and more to recruiting apps to find candidates who are solid matches for their companies, and here is why.
Recruitment apps function in two ways. First, the apps present information about different available candidates to the recruiters. Second, recruitment apps provide information about open positions to prospects. So, in essence, recruitment apps help employers and candidates find one another and make connections. With more than 65 percent of today’s applicants searching for jobs on mobile devices in particular, the support for the further development of these apps is overwhelming.
Why Use an App
To sum it up, these apps simplify the process for recruiters, which enables them to explore a broader, more diverse pool of talent. Likewise, apps streamline the process by enabling companies to skip past the middlemen or headhunters and going to candidates directly. Likewise, apps don’t function based on appointments, so both applicants and recruiters have access to crucial information at any given time, in any place. Additionally, apps are more effective at identifying quality candidates compared to traditional methods for hiring.
How to Effectively Use the Apps
As companies constantly fight to control the current market, many are taking varied approaches to the use and development of their apps. To most effectively incorporate these apps into any hiring system, it’s important to have a little savvy with this technology. The following are a few simple tips to leverage the current market.
1. Understand the process
Knowing the ins and outs of both sides of the process helps recruiters leverage apps more effectively. It is not enough to only use an interface from the recruiting side. Recruiters also need to know how these apps function from the job seekers side to be able to provide the most beneficial information and experience for users. When used to its full extent, this technology can enable recruiters to locate and reach out to candidates in the area providing an authentic connection, such as meeting for lunch, coffee, or drinks.
2. Create a memorable interface and “storefront”
What the user sees is what will attract or detract him or her from your business as a potential candidate. Making sure the interface you use is memorable, easy-to-use, and attractive makes all the difference for attracting new potentials. The interface you utilize as a recruiter must be intuitive for your users and should present a clean, clear picture of what the opportunity looks like for them. Picture the app and the information presented in it as your “storefront,” and make sure it is attractive and clean for users.
3. Make it as direct and relevant as possible
If you’re working in a niche market, make sure the information you are providing and the app you are using reflects that. Consider enabling video posts from your candidates to test their knowledge in the specialized area you are looking for. You may even want to share pseudo-interview questions to get a better feel for your candidates from their responses. Doing so will help you get the best possible connections with your potential candidates.
4. Embrace the social media trend
So today’s market is one where social media is king. Make your company and its opportunities stand out by embracing the trends. Post customized recruitment advertisements through photographs on social media. Or share short videos to intrigue the younger demographic. The more creative you are with your recruiting techniques, the more creative and talented prospects you’ll attract.
The search for talent is literally unending, but that doesn’t mean the process isn’t changing. Today’s trend is toward recruiting apps, and using recruitment software effectively is the best way you can attract high-quality candidates.
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With PayPal being so ubiquitous nowadays it can be easy to think that you don't need to accept any other forms of payment online. After all, doesn't everyone have a PayPal account? Not quite. The last time we checked, while PayPal is certainly the most popular online payment processor, they haven't exactly taken over the internet yet. As we explain below, there are a variety of reasons why every online store should accept more than just PayPal:
Every Legit Business Should Be Able to Accept Credit and Debit Cards
While it is true that most major online stores accept PayPal, they also accept a variety of other payment processors like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and the traditional route of paying by credit/debit card. For this reason, most e-commerce platforms make it possible to accept credit cards as a standard feature. As more people join the ranks of online shopping you're likely to encounter customers who've hardly even heard of PayPal. Imagine being in line in a physical store that only accepts PayPal yet doesn't give any warning – how many customers do you think they'd have to turn away at the register?
Everybody Doesn't Have a PayPal Account
According to PayPal's own statistics, there about 188 million active PayPal accounts worldwide as of the second quarter of 2016. That seems like a lot, but let's put it into perspective. There are about 318 million people in the U.S. alone, and according to Mintel's Online Shopping US 2015 report, about 70 percent of that population (about 222 million people) shops online at least once a month. Thus, even if PayPal were a U.S-only company (and it's certainly not) there would still be 34 million online shoppers without a PayPal account. Scale that up to a global level and it's not unreasonable to estimate that there are hundreds of millions of online shoppers that don't even have PayPal accounts. That's not too surprising since most sites accept debit and credit cards.
Some People Strongly Dislike PayPal
Not only are there plenty of people who don't have a PayPal account, there are some people that vehemently despise PayPal and would be strongly against shopping at any online store that only accepts their least favorite form of payment. Out of the millions of people who use PayPal, tens of thousands have had bad experiences, and while that's still a decent rate of customer satisfaction, that's also a pretty big chunk of e-commerce that you don't want to be turning away by default.
Making it Easy for Customers to Give You Money
In closing, why should you make it difficult for people to buy things from your company? In fact, that's the silliest thing a growing business can do. Here you have a customer trying to make a purchase and you're unable to profit from it because you were either too lazy or too committed to one payment method to compromise. Overall, the goal should be to ensure that every customer who makes it to the checkout screen is able to get their money into your account one way or another.
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One of the latest and biggest innovations in the manufacturing sector has everything to do with a technology called 3D printing. Originally developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1990s, 3D printing is derived from an earlier form of additive manufacturing called rapid prototyping. It basically works by melting different types of plastic filament to create solid objects in several steps. Any object fit for 3D printing first starts out as a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) file created through various 3D modeling software programs such as TurboCAD or Trimble. The software slices the digital design into many layers and sends them out to the 3D printing machine, which prints them out and assembles them in real time.
The great thing about 3D printing lies in the various uses and applications that this still-emerging technology will soon be able to fill. Even at this early stage, however, 3D printing is responsible for a great many wonderful innovations in the tech sector, for example. Here are just some of the ideas that have been brought to life by the magic of 3D printing:
The mainstream automotive industry has so far taken a liking to the idea of 3D printing, especially when it comes to prototyping parts for their vehicles. General Motors, for example, has been using the technology to generate parts that can improve their 2014 Chevrolet Malibu. Ford has also gotten in on the game, with 3D-printed prototypes of many parts in their vehicles, including brake rotors, shift knobs and cylinder heads. But it's small independent companies like Kor Ecologic that have really made strides in this department, including designing and assembling an entire functional vehicle called the Urbee 2.
2. Consumer electronics
With the advent of 3D printing technology, the future of consumer electronics may very well lie in customization and self-innovation. Already, the PolyJet technology can lead to the production models with very thin walls of 0.6mm or less, which are ideal for designing small devices with densely-packed miniature components. Ever since 2013, when the first 3D printed consumer electronic device was created in the form of a fully functional loudspeaker, the technology has rapidly advanced until today, when it seems like it's only a matter of time before 3D printed smartphones become a reality.
3. Toys and models
One of the first things that 3D printing has proven useful for is to create real-life models of fictional characters. Popular with children and adult enthusiasts alike, such models can already be designed and ordered online, but industry giant Mattel has already taken things to the next level with its ThingMaker. This 3D printer works with both an iOS and an Android app, letting its customers design new figurines starting from a few basic blueprints that can then be extensively customized according to the user's imagination. You can also use this technology to create 3D models of 2D photos, thereby bringing to life an old memory or an unforgettable piece of imagery.
4. Airplane parts
One of the more spectacular applications of 3D printing technology is happening right now in the aerospace industry. None other than NASA itself has taken to designing a 3D-printed rocket engine injector that generates 10 times more thrust while still being stable enough to pass a hot fire test. And, with the first 3D printer already serving in space as a mini-factory for the International Space Station, it's safe to say that 3D printing's future is in good hands.
5. Special effects
Finally, another form in which 3D printing has already begun having an effect on our lives is through movies. Rather than building models by hand, filmmakers now turn to 3D printing in order to handle the massive workload of designing various costumes and outfits. Top-notch studios such as Legacy Effects have employed this technique to great effect in Hollywood blockbusters like Iron-Man 2, prompting a renaissance for practical special effects that don't rely as much on CGI as they do on technology-aided craftsmanship.
All in all, there's no doubt that the impact of 3D printing has only begun to be felt throughout the world. As the technology continues to develop and expand in popularity, its still-high costs will continue to decrease, gradually turning 3D printing into a technology that anybody can use. These are the makings of a true revolution that will ultimately have an incredible impact on life as we know it.
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Regardless of your company's size or the industry you operate in, you can't get around the fact that a robust communication and collaboration platform is needed. Many businesses use project management interfaces to complement basic messaging and calling apps (Skype obviously being the most popular). However, an alternative called Slack has managed to triple its user base within the past year, reaching an impressive 2.7 million daily active users (DAU) practically at the speed of light. Surely there must be some tangible advantages that are sparking such a rapid growth rate? If you're wondering how Slack is better than Skype, or vice versa, here's a brief comparison of the two:
Cost and Functionality
In terms of cost, Skype is hard to beat, being that it is always free to use as a messaging app and only charges for voice calling credits. Slack also has a free version, but it has some limitations feature-wise, whereas the free version of Skype is fully functional other than not being able to make calls. With that said, Slack can do a lot more than Skype altogether, which is probably why about 800,000 of its users have opted for the paid version. In terms of simplicity and learning curve, most people are more familiar with Skype's interface, but reading a simple guide on how to use Slack should bring anyone up to par quickly.
Compatibility and Integration
Slack wins in this department hands down, with the ability to allow other software to post messages to its interface. You can even create custom integrations to link the software with any program you'd like. In terms of bringing everything together under one roof, Slack takes the cake, as it even integrates with Skype and Google Hangouts for voice calling functionality. Of course, this year Slack added built-in voice chat and video calls, so you no longer need Skype integration to make voice calls.
Interface and Features
There's no question that Slack has a larger feature set than Skype – another reason why it is now being compared to such an established app. The bottom line is, you can do more with Slack than you can with Skype, as the latter is purely a chat/calling app, whereas Slack is a complete communication, storage, and collaboration solution that integrates with all of your major services like Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, Trello and more.
Ultimately, it all depends on what you're looking for and how much your business needs to operate efficiently. If you're just looking for a basic messaging and calling app and have no need for additional functionality beyond that, you can always start with Skype as a preliminary solution for your business, and then as your needs expand try a more inclusive, overarching approach with Slack. Fortunately, making the transition from Skype to Slack is typically easy thanks to streamlined integration that basically lets you use Skype features within Slack. Which one do you prefer?
There is no doubt that technology has changed a lot in the way we do most of our day to day tasks. Learning has not been spared and in an effort to elevate our learning experience to even greater heights we may have encountered many new gadgets and software platforms which boast of cutting edge technologies and advanced tools to deliver excellent results. The outcome is that we now have many eLearning platforms which many people do find to be very interesting. Streamlining of learning goals and objectives have now been made easier as it is now very simple to obtain course learning blocks which we could only imagine about a decade ago. Taking into consideration that technology innovation never seems to be having any kind of break, the year 2016 has presented us with many eLearning technologies and we find the following 5 picks to be really unique.
Cloud Platforms for Easy Access and Storage of ELearning Materials
Cloud platforms do provide a perfect environment for any eLearning experience. Nowadays many people do prefer to move most of their digital data into cloud and it is usually for a good reason. Cloud-based eLearning tools are highly favoured in that they enable for remote access of the given data which might be of interest. Besides this, it is also possible to form highly effective collaborations with other members who may be sharing a similar eLearning cloud-based platform and this helps to add more to the general learning experience. The other advantage is that many organizations now prefer to have most of their digital content stored in the cloud-based tools and the benefit that arises from this kind of move is that we can see massive cost-savings and productivity boost when it comes to online training and learning.
Wearable Tech Gadgets
Wearable technologies have found most of their use in aspects such as monitoring health fitness and gaming technologies. The eLearning is one platform which can also greatly benefit from the unique advantages those wearable technologies offers. For instance, wearable tech gadgets like smart watches allows for quick online access of eLearning resources like training modules, interactive modules, or access to an online scenario as dictated by the eLearning platform being used. Besides this, wearable technologies make it possible for the eLearning resources to be moved to wherever a person may be. This way it is possible for an individual to gain the relevant skills and training without being confined to a particular location. It is also possible to narrow down any eLearning experience to a specific geographical location and this ensures that those who have enrolled to a particular eLearning resource have the chance of receiving materials which are culturally and socially appropriate within a given location.
Virtual Reality Headsets and Glasses
Virtual Reality has been a hot topic for discussion especially in the gaming industry. We have had many companies giving out test trails for virtual reality gadgets and the immersion concept that these gadgets are operating on has been likened to something out of many sci-fi movies. This concept has however transformed and many people see the opportunity of it being used for applications like creating complex engineering designs or simulating real-life experiences which would otherwise prove to be dangerous if tested directly. The VR concept can make eLearning to be even more interesting as teaching presentations made using this concept usually make learners to be even more appreciative of what is being delivered.
Automated Development Platforms
ELearning does require significant investment both in terms of times and money especially of the learning objective is to have some element of interaction. In 2016, we have seen many automated development platforms being developed and most of these are offering pre-simulated templates, graphics and interactions which correspond to the learning topics of interest. This aspect helps in cutting down the development time and creates an environment where any interaction process required for eLearning gets to be automated.
For best results any learning experience has to be reinforced with elements like discussion. This is one area where training telepresence has been of great help and this technology works by providing more of a social gathering for members who sharing a similar eLearning platform. Leraners from any part of the world can engage in online discussions and collaboratively engage with one another without having any kind of geographical limitation being imposed. Training telepresence makes use of high definition cameras, audio materials and simulated space which makes learners feel like they are actually sharing a common physical space. Some researchers have suggested that eLearning can get even better if training telepresence is combined with some elements of virtual reality. This will help create a highly immersive environment which can make any online discussions to be worthy and thus add more the overall objective of any eLearning.
Learning Management System (LMS)
An LMS offers a unique advantage in that it is able to meet the eLearning needs of many government and enterprise organisations. A learning management system like LearnFlex is an excellent platform when it comes to flexibility, adaptability, scalability and overall effectiveness.
Not many years ago, information technology programs across Australia showed booming registration numbers. Those numbers have been declining in recent years according to the findings in a report sponsored by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. At the same time, the number of people who are enrolling in health care related courses is steadily on the rise. Why are fewer people choosing to study information technology in Australia?
Several factors may be behind the decline in IT enrollments. Foremost among them is the perception that technology simply evolves too quickly for university programs to be able to keep up. The information found in textbooks becomes outdated as soon as those books go to print. Moreover, there may be a prevailing impression that instructors who are not actively working in the IT field cannot possibly have a grasp on the latest developments. Many prospective students may believe that they can do better by obtaining on-the-job experience rather than delaying employment in favor of more education.
Declining student enrollment numbers in information technology courses may also be attributed to the impression that there are not enough jobs available in this sector. That's largely because students think that the majority of IT-related jobs are being farmed out elsewhere. Studies show that many IT jobs have been sent to China, India or elsewhere. Labor is far cheaper in these nations, making this an attractive option for many organisations. They may also experience a reduction in operating costs and an increase in productivity.
While it's true that a growing number of computer science jobs have gone overseas, demand for information technology professionals remains steady. That's because there are down sides to outsourcing information technology jobs. The most frequently cited problems are related to security and a loss of control over information and operations. Many companies have also discovered that the quality of work produced is frequently inferior when compared to work by local employees. This means that Australian companies are likely to continue to look for local graduates to fill open positions.
Experts also suggest that while young people are enthusiastic about technology, they are not generally interested in pursuing it as a career. In short, they love what technology enables them to do, but that doesn't inspire them to make information technology their career path.
One of the reasons why students may be staying away from computer science and other related courses is the impression that it is an exceptionally difficult field of study. Many students who take an introductory programming course are put off by the rigid syntax and the unfamiliarity of the structure. They labor intensively to bring about even the simplest of results. The path is easier for students who have already been exposed to programming languages in primary or secondary education. Unfortunately, there are not a great many options available for this subject matter at these levels. When students encounter such difficulty with learning their first programming language, there is a tendency for them to drop out of technology majors in favor of something entirely different.
The U.S. is experiencing a similar decline in information technology program enrollment. Students there seem to cite many of the same reasons for shunning IT degree programs that are given in Australia. However, there are those who argue that the decline and resurgence of enrollment in computer science courses is naturally cyclical in nature. There was a peak in computer science students in 1985, but those numbers declined through the 1990s, increased in the early 2000s and then fell away again. This suggests that perhaps more companies will decide against outsourcing their IT jobs, bringing them back to the U.S., Australia and elsewhere from foreign lands.
If this trend remains true to form, then IT program enrollments may be on an upswing. Perhaps it will be health care education programs that begin to decline in the coming years while information technology begins to see a resurgence. To be ready for it, it seems like an excellent plan to get more computer science education into the primary and secondary education levels. With earlier introduction of basic concepts, new tertiary students will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of computer programming and other technology-related subjects.
Ten years ago, most of us would not have even been able to imagine the existence of 3D printing, much less all of the practical applications of this amazing technology. Some of the exciting new ways in which 3D printing is revolutionizing the world we live in include new applications in medicine, industry, and even the way we use water.
This video demonstrates the potential of 3D printing for improving the lives of thousands by developing high-quality prosthetics for a fraction of the cost. One California company, Not Impossible Labs has taken this technology to war-torn Sudan to help alleviate the suffering of amputees. Training the locals in how to operate the machinery, they created and fit customized prostheses, helping those without resources to regain mobility. In addition to prostheses, researchers are also using 3D printing to develop potentially life-saving implants such as heart valves.
Surgeons have used 3D printing to create substances that replace human bone, and have even successfully reconstructed a severely damaged skull. The possibilities aren't limited to our physical bodies, though. Chemist Lee Cronin believes that one day it will be possible for people to purchase chemical blueprints and ink and print their own medications at home!
According to one article, two thirds of all top manufacturers use 3D printing in some of their processes. The majority of them are using its capabilities to create prototypes of new products because it is faster and less costly. However, 10% of manufacturers have found ways to successfully incorporate it into the actual production process. 3% reported that their products couldn't be made without 3D printing technology. Based on the current growth rate, the $2.5 billion in 2013 is expected to reach $15.2 billion by 2018.
Another article points out that 3D printers can use up to ten different materials simultaneously. The printer can scan the geometries of all the necessary components of a complex item and use that information to print other objects around them. Rather than shopping for the right size case to fit your expensive tablet, it's now possible to have a case printed directly onto it.
All modern water systems utilize valves, and researchers are working on using 3D technology to create new types of valves. Traditionally, precision valves that regulate the flow of not just water, but oil and other liquid substances, have been made through a careful process of first creating a pattern, or "cast" of wood or plastic. 3D printing allows unique valve designs to be created and cast more quickly and inexpensively. Surprisingly, it has also paved the way for the development of temperature sensitive smart valves.
A scientific paper outlines the details of a new ink that can print thermally actuating hydrogels to create a smart valve using a network of alginate and poly N-isopropyl acrylamide. Thermally actuating means that the ink interacts with the environment and responds differently to different temperatures. Experiments have shown that the gels increased in length by over 40% when exposed to heat and then cooled. Using this information, they developed a smart valve that reduces the flow of water by 99% through exposure to heat and increases it with exposure to cold.
Experts predict that 3D printing will make it possible to create fully functioning human organs within the next five years. This is wonderful news for the thousands of people on waiting lists for transplants and their loved ones. They also predict that 3D printers will one day become as popular as home computers, which could result in the same degree of rapid innovation as people transform their ideas into physical realities.
Since powerful new technology creates the potential for abuse of that power, experts also point out the necessity for regulation of the industry. For example, 3D printed firearms may one day be used to commit crimes. Other legal considerations include the effects of 3D printing on current copyright and intellectual property laws. The real challenge lies in achieving a balance between public safety and the rapid innovation that has produced inventions that, ten years ago, would have been considered miraculous. One thing is certain—3D printing will make the future more interesting.