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In the year 2017, e-commerce websites are actually going to be mobile websites. Web designers may start thinking of their website design as perfect for mobiles and they may adjust the design to desktop and laptop screens. We may even predict Material Design of Google, which was initially built for mobile. Web designing is a time-consuming and slow moving process. Influential sites like Apple, Google, IBM or Amazon will first introduce a web design concept and designers will then incorporate the concept very soon.
Hence, when we describe web design trends for a year, we actually take a snapshot of the present state of the entire web designing industry and then we realize which aspects of that state will grow in importance. Check out some of the best e-commerce web design trends that you may follow in order to design a solid e-commerce website.
- Larger and bigger backgrounds: Video backgrounds and larger pictures have already become an ongoing trend of current e-commerce websites which were designed in 2015. However, there are few more stores which need to follow this trend. This actually helps brands in telling their product stories and also attracts the attention of the users towards some special service or product. It is, therefore the best practice to customize backgrounds for each unique customer as per their preferences.
- Images are more important than text: These days people are overwhelmed with information from different sources and it is well known that customers are more attracted towards pictures as they don’t have enough time to read. Hence the initial reaction and the emotions of the customer while browsing your website are the most vital factor while making a purchase. This is truer with the gift shops and fashion industry websites. Being able to see the right pictures can always make a difference.
- Long scroll: This has also been a trend for quite a long time now as more and more customers have got accustomed with long scrolls due to the mobile devices. Although clicking on mobile devices can certainly be an issue but people have got so much habituated with scrolling that they grasp it very easily. This technique will work especially well for those sites which lead their users through stories and interaction.
- Animation: Animation is one of the coolest and newest trends in e-commerce web designing industry. You ask professionals from any Austin Web Design Firms and they will also tell you the same. This is an indeed beautiful and amazing way of demonstrating and displaying your product using animated pictures. This offers your customers an unforgettable shopping experience. Industries like gift shops, fashion jewelry should definitely include motion animation to please their customers.
- Responsive design: This is a prerequisite feature for any online store and it is extremely necessary for the website to be not only mobile-friendly but it should also be displayed perfectly on any smart device. Browsing through high-resolution devices and shopping through them has become the latest trend and hence your website design should perfectly open on all sorts of browsers and devices.
- Material design: This is the visual language and the design philosophy which was the brainchild of Google. Material designing has become a bit more structured and after promotion from its creators, it has become a style-changer.
Hence if you own an e-commerce website or you’re about to create one and make it go live in 2017, make sure you follow the above-mentioned website design trends so that you can stay ahead in the cut-throat competition in the industry.
The cloud is transforming the world of business, and if your business isn’t yet on board, you’re running late for the revolution. The cloud harnesses the potential of always-on connectivity and lightning-quick responsiveness, and it has created a space in which a new industry of cloud services are thriving.
Companies the world over are leveraging the advantages that these new services have to offer, and they’re seeing returns in virtually every aspect of their operations. If you haven’t yet made a move to the cloud, here’s a look at what you’re missing.
Cloud services take advantage of the principles involved in economies of scale. Economies of scale are, put simply, the reduced costs that come along with spreading the costs of an enterprise over a large area – as a cloud service increases its client base, the cost per client decreases.
Thus, instead of investing in a network infrastructure capable of handling your company’s computing and storage needs, cloud services allow you to subscribe to a demand-based system that allow you to pay only for what you use. Whether it be additional features or added storage capacity, the monthly price scales up or down based on demand.
Cloud services also take on the responsibilities – and the associated costs – of system and software updates and upgrades. Not only does this shift the duties away from your in-house IT department, but it also dramatically speeds up the rate at which they’re deployed.
The same principles that reduce the costs of cloud services also enhance the quality of the services that they can provide. Cloud services are typically capable of offering a level of security far superior to that which any one of its clients could achieve within the confines of its own staff and budget.
Major cloud-based service providers utilize hardened data centres to ensure the protection of its clients’ data. These facilities employ state-of-the-art firewalls, leading-edge encryption techniques, and even armed guards.
This protection extends to the integrity of the data as well. For example, Praktika provides you with automated backups that eliminate the need to backup and store your data locally, further reducing the hardware costs and payroll hours associated with these vital, yet time-consuming tasks.
Cloud services are based on a software delivery model called Software as a Service – also known as SaaS. In this model, the software is maintained in a single location and accessed remotely using a standard web browser. As they utilize interfaces similar to any typical web application, employees typically require very little training to become proficient in their use.
This ease of use has significant advantages when it comes to their adoption and deployment – processes that once took months to complete and were often followed by intense periods of training and troubleshooting – but that’s only the beginning. Productivity is noticeably improved by systems such as these.
It’s not hard to see why – employees are able to access the service from any location with Internet access. Whether they’re at home or on the road, team members can communicate and collaborate in real time in the same virtual space. The boardroom has gone digital, and the conference table is now nothing more than a tablet.
The Cloud is Rising
The era of cloud computing has only just begun, but businesses are already clamouring to gain the competitive advantages that it offers. Indeed, there are burgeoning businesses that are basing entire business models upon the availability of cloud services.
This, of course, should be a clear warning to any company that hasn’t yet begun to consider the advantages of the cloud. Its benefits can be leveraged for you, but they can also be used against you.
Indeed, the biggest of companies are taking even bigger steps into the world of cloud computing. Entire infrastructures are being designed and deployed to serve as private clouds, complete with business-centric software solutions and in-house development teams..
The days of inflated licensing fees, bug-ridden software and long-delayed patches are over. Efficiency and agility are the name of the game in the world of cloud computing, and the cost reductions are simply too significant to overlook.
With expenditures on cloud computing expected to clock in at over $106 Billion in 2016, competition between cloud services will only continue to improve their costs and capabilities. There’s no better time than now to take a step into the cloud.
Modified on by pentago
KVM guest performance can be improved knowing and selecting the guest caching mode that is the best for your environment. It will help the operating system to maintain the page cache so that the storage I/O performance can be improved.
When the data gets copied on the page cache the write operations to the storage system are considered to be completed. If the data requested to read is present in the cache then page cache can satisfy its read operations.
fsync(2) is used to copy the page cache to the permanent storage whereas page cache is bypassed by the direct I/O. while using the environment of Kernel-based Virtual Machine page caches can be maintained by both, the host and guest operating systems, to provide two copies of data to the memory of the system.
Normally one of these page caches is bypassed to improve KVM guest performance. For instance, if the direct I/O operations are used by the application running in the guest then it will be better to bypass guest page cache.
If no cache is set in the guest then to turn all the I/O operations from guest to direct I/O operations on the host it will be better to bypass host page cache.
The performance of write operations to the storage system can be improved by planning the disk write cache. Even though the data is not physically transferred to the disk media but still the write operation is considered to be completed by just reaching to the disk write cache.
But there is a risk of losing the data by the disk write cache if the cache is not supported by battery backup and there is a power failure. The applications must issue fsync(2) to ensure the actual transfer of write data on physical disk media.
Normally the write performance gets significantly improved by enabling disk write cache but incase of power failure the protection and integrity of the data can be ensured only if the storage stack and the applications correctly transfer the cache data to the permanent storage.
On the other hand the write performance may suffer if the disk write cache is disabled in case of power failure but it will considerably lessen the risk of data loss, which is a good point.
Some resources regarding KVM guest performance:
Usage of Virtio device drivers
I’ve been able to improve my agency’s VPS (FreeBSD guest) performance before we turned to MacquarieTelecom’s secure hosting for government agencies.
Information about the caching modes used by Red Hat enterprises using Linux 6 for improving KVM guest performance is provided hereunder.
This default caching mode enables the host page cache for the guest but disables the write cache for disk. As a result this caching mode keeps the integrity of the data safe even if it is not properly transferred completely to the permanent storage by the applications and storage stack by using file system barriers or fsync operations.
The read performance is generally better for applications running in the guest as the host page cache is enabled in this mode. But the disabling of disk write cache adversely affects the KVM guest performance in write operations.
This caching mode enables both, the disk write cache and the host page cache, for improving the KVM guest performance. Though it improves the I/O performance for applications running in the guest but there is a risk of data loss as it is not protected from power failure. Thus this caching mode is recommended to use where potential amount of data is not required to be transferred to permanent storage.
This caching mode enables the disk write cache for the guest but disables the host page cache. This caching mode improves the KVM guest performance to its maximum because the host page cache is bypassed by the write operations and the disk write cache directly receives the data.
The integrity of data can be ensured with this caching mode if the disk write cache is supported by battery backup or the data is properly transferred by the applications or storage stack by using file system barriers or fsync operations.
But the KVM guest performance with this caching mode may not be improved to the level of the modes with enabled host page cache due to its disabled host page cache.
Cache transfer operations are completely ignored with the unsafe caching mode. This caching mode is recommended to be used for temporary data transfers only where the risk of data loss can not disturb the quality of operation, as its name suggests unsafe. Though it can be used for speeding up the installation of guests but to improve KVM guest performance you should opt for other caching modes.
To conclude, I recommend using one of the caching modes (depending on your scenario) that enable the host page cache like writethrough mode to improve the KVM guest performance for local or directly attached storage.
This mode can ensure the integrity of the data due to their acceptability to the I/O performance for applications, especially for the read operations, running in the guest.
As modern society grows ever more reliant on technology for servicing all its needs, the dangers of hacking become increasingly hard to ignore. From identity theft to natural security breaches, there are numerous ways in which hacking can have a negative impact on our day-to-day lives. In fact, people can even obtain valuable personal data through social engineering alone, let alone actual coding. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to protect your laptop or computer against intruders. To that end, here are five of the best security strategies you can employ right now:
1. Install dedicated software
Hackers often use viruses or malware to worm their way into your computer. While both Microsoft and Apple laptops nowadays come equipped with integrated firewall software, you may want to go the extra mile and opt for a dedicated service that regularly updates itself. For best results, go with a cutting edge antivirus program that can also be used to scan any external hard-drives or USB sticks that come into contact with your laptop.
2. Employ passwords that are hard to guess
Passwords are some of the most easily compromised security features, and can often be uncovered solely through the use of social engineering techniques. Therefore, your best bet to improve the security of all your Internet accounts is to use multiple passwords that are difficult to guess. You should also consider giving out counterintuitive answers to routine security questions, answers that no one will ever be able to guess through sheer logic or reasoning alone.
3. Do not trust public networks
It's no secret that most people will occasionally resort to using the Internet offered by coffee shops or an airport waiting rooms. But such networks are even riskier than usual, since other people who are also connected can use various programs to eavesdrop on your e-mails or steal your data. Avoid this by using a virtual private network or VPN, which encrypts your data and prevents it from being intercepted. While rarely free, you can find many companies that offer this kind of service for just a few dollars per month, a small price to pay for Internet security.
4. Prevent webcam meddling
Camera hacking can be an extremely debilitating procedure, since it can give intruders control of your video feed without you even knowing of it. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent this. First off, make sure you update your camera's firmware frequently, then proceed to enable encryption within the camera's administrative tools. Finally, if you want to be extra cautious, you can even purchase a camera cover that simply blocks your webcam when you're not using it.
5. Practice smart surfing
Things like avoiding dodgy sites or not clicking on dubious links can save you from a lot of headaches down the road. Pay extra attention to phishing websites, which may seem legit at first site but are actually fake pages specially designed to steal your data. You can usually tell them apart on account of their incorrect URL addresses, but don't hesitate to install the anti-phishing add-on provided by your browser for extra security.
This concludes our quick rundown of the five best security strategies that anyone can employ to deter hackers. Always keep in mind that preventing an issue is much easier than fixing it, so don't delay taking all necessary precautions even if you don't have any safety concerns at the moment. Chances are you'll be thanking yourself later on.
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As time goes on, cell phones become more and more engrained in our daily lives. Smartphones are inherently much more personal and intimate than a desktop or even a laptop computer, however, which can make it difficult to truly stay up-to-date on whether or not your spouse, your child or even your employee is engaged in questionable activities. Whether you're trying to enact parental controls on a device like an iPhone or if you want to monitor an employee's cell phone to confirm certain suspicions you may have, there are five key gadgets you're going to want to take a look at.
Paraben iPhone iRecovery Stick
The Paraben iPhone iRecovery Stick is a device that was built with employers, spouses and parents in mind. It can recover ALL data from iOS devices including voicemails, social media messages and more – all without leaving a trace. It has been built to work with all of the latest versions of Apple's popular iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.
Paraben Android Recovery Stick
This amazing little device is essentially the Android equivalent of the iRecovery Stick – it still lets you recover all data from Android devices (including deleted data) in a way that won't leave a trace. Compatible with all current Android software, this powerful little device works for smartphones AND tablets as well.
Sim Card Seizure
If you're worried that someone in your life may be up to no good and want to take a closer look at the text messages they may be sending, the Sim Card Seizure device is for you. Both fast and easy to use, this device retrieves all sim card data from popular smartphone brands. It doesn't just let you read all text messages but also shows contact information, call history and other data as well.
Porn Detection Stick
If you're worried that your child or your employee may be looking at pornography or other questionable images that you object to, you can find out for certain with the Porn Detection Stick. This device works for PCs AND cell phones, provided that you can connect the phone to a computer via a USB cable and scan it like an external hard drive (as is the case with Android devices, for example). It will quickly search through drives, detecting even deleted images and videos that are pornographic in nature.
Hawk Mobile Monitor
Perhaps the ultimate parental control device is the Hawk Mobile Monitor, which currently supports both iOS and Android devices. Not only can you view contact information and call histories, as well as read all text messages that have been sent from the device, but it can also help track the location of a smartphone (and by association, your child) via GPS monitoring. It even allows you to effortlessly keep track of multiple cell phones at the exact same time via a unique combination of both hardware and software. You'll never have to wonder about your child ever again.
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The web design landscape is continually getting better. If you try to look back, you can realize how much has improved. However, what we have right now will soon become history, and the trends now are soon going to be ancient. If you are wondering what we can possibly expect in the future, the following are the possible things we can look forward to.
1. Micro and Micro Experiences
In a site, there are tiny portions to do various things. These can collectively contribute to the users’ overall experience. For example, a checkout experience is a part of the general experience a user can have with a site, and there are many other micro-experiences that need to be taken into consideration.
In the future, we can expect that these micro-experiences will be delved into deeper by future designers, given how every single aspect of a website is a vital factor to boost traffic and drive conversion.
2. Material Design Outstrips Flat Design
Material Design is starting to gain traction. However, in the future, it still has more potential to outstrip flat design on the scene. Material design, with its shadow effect, depth, and movement, ooze a realistic feel that users can appreciate. Because of its simplicity, it can be part of the future web design trends we can expect to pop in time.
3. Responsive Design and More Mobile-friendly Efforts
Although the push towards enabling a totally mobile-friendly digital world has already been set, there are still many issues that designers are struggling to address. Once these basic issues are addressed, we can expect that in the future further enhancement for advanced features and SEO strategies will be focused on. In fact, SEO Services Sydney has begun to address these issues to improve their efforts in getting the higher ranking.
4. Hand-drawn Custom illustrations
Hand-drawn custom illustrations are great design alternative. They release a quirky yet friendly vibe that can add value to the design elements. The custom drawing illustrations are a great way to establish further a brand that is relatable and engaging.
5. Engaging Storytelling
Users’ attention is best grabbed when the design implies a story. It’s an interactive way to make users draw closer to your brand and get curious as to what will happen next. In the future, we are sure to see more web designs with a hint of storytelling and better engagement.
6. Use of Cinemagraphs
Cinemagraphs are pictures with moving some parts. This creates an illusion of a moving person or object. It sets a light mood on the site and makes the users feel at ease. Unlike videos, cinemagraphs take less bandwidth. And it’s way better than plain photos and texts. Brand messaging is surely better with cinematographs in the future.
7. Better Loading Time
Let’s face it. It’s still a struggle for most designers to keep the website’s performance blazing fast. With all the design elements, clients request and all the components that have to be integrated, it’s a challenge to keep the loading time optimised. In the future, designers will have the creative freedom to add whatever design element they want without having to worry about speed optimization. For sure, more tools and approaches to address this problem will be within reach.
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Customer satisfaction is crucial for the success of your entire business. It does not matter if you run a brick and mortar establishment or an online company. You want to reduce customer support costs at all times. The easiest way to do this is to improve the satisfaction of the customers. The trick is to have good interpersonal skills and establish a conversational experience in which the clients can receive what they want and then if problems appear, they can be solved as quickly as possible.
If you want to improve customer satisfaction in a meaningful way, here are some simple ideas to take into account.
Treating Customers like Bosses
This approach may sound cliché but it’s effective. You want to ensure your employees understand that their salaries are paid by the customers. Have them think of the customer as the boss. Many things can be done in order to create this effect. Examples include:
- Helping customers while at the store
- Doing more than is expected for customers
- Thanking customers for the business brought in
- Offering consistently great service
- Always keeping promises
Statistics show that 91% of unhappy customers will never buy from the company they were dissatisfied with again. This makes measuring customer satisfaction absolutely essential if you want to earn repeat business.
Ideas for accurately measuring customer satisfaction include:
- Use survey tools to measure satisfaction
- Monitor online reviews of your company
- Focus on the right customer satisfaction metrics
- Use suitable customer support tools
As for the customer service interactions, a recent study by Penn State University shows that responsiveness and empathy are essential for making successful digital interactions between customers and customer service agents. More info on the importance of empathy in customer service interactions can be found here.
Increasing Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is so much more important than what many business managers believe. It is important to create a good loyalty program or at least focus on developing that loyalty. If customers are truly loyal to a business, competitors are not going to easily influence their buying decisions.
Building customer loyalty is possible when you:
- Encourage communication with customers
- Create self-service supporting channels
- Educate customers about your company and products
- Discuss customers’ wants and needs
- Do more than is expected for customers
Making Customer Retention Mistakes
Unhappy customers are going to surface at any company. It’s inevitable. Even those companies that offer ‘perfect’ customer service can end up losing close to 10% of their customers to the competition through no fault of their own.
Since it’s not possible to make sure every customer is happy with your company and customer service, the next best thing is focusing on losing as few customers to dissatisfaction as possible.
Common customer retention mistakes that tend to drive customers to competitors are the following:
- Using boring or long customer feedback surveys
- Taking the customer feedback personally
- Ignoring the feedback coming from the customers
- Deleting negative reviews without responding to them
Surveying Customers in a Proper Way
Customer feedback surveys are always great for uncovering information about what pleases your customers and what they wish you would change. This helps you improve services and products according to customer wants and needs while also identifying what customers really love about your business.
The main problem with building customer satisfaction surveys? Length and barriers to enter. If a customer survey is too long, many customers won’t bother with it and you’ll get fewer responses. If a customer survey has too many “barriers to entry,” or if customers have to create an account, give lots of information, etc. to take the survey, you won’t receive many responses and the survey itself will be rendered meaningless.
Increasing customer satisfaction at your business starts with treating customers like bosses, measuring current levels of satisfaction, improving customer loyalty, avoiding common retention mistakes, and properly surveying customers. Satisfied customers will be more loyal to your business and less likely to defect to one of your competitors. Most importantly, satisfied customers will become repeat customers and promote your business to others through word of mouth.
There is no doubt that order picking is an essential part of a business or commerce workflow. In order to manage a warehouse or a distribution center efficiently, a good system must be put in place. For years, IBM Sterling has been the system trusted by many companies to organize their distribution centers.
Even with the best system in place, there are still ways to push the order picking workflow to its maximum efficiency. We are going to take a look at some of the subtle, simple changes you can make to optimize IBM Sterling Order Management to reach that maximum efficiency.
Add an Address for Individual SKU
The more seconds you can shave from your order picking workflow, the more efficient the whole system will be. The impact goes beyond a faster turnaround time too. When workers can pick an order faster, they are happier and far more efficient in their work as well.
One of the best ways to shave those seconds is by assigning an individual address to every SKU in the catalogue instead of grouping them. This will help workers find the right items faster and more efficiently.
It is also essential to add the address information to the system for better search and picking in general. When an order comes in, workers can see the exact address of each SKU in the order directly on the order completion form.
Increase Pick Density
A management system alone cannot help improve the order picking workflow without the support of the right hardware and infrastructure. This is where pick density comes in. Instead of making workers browse through more than 20 pick locations, a greater efficiency can be achieved through the use of hot zones and the right infrastructure to support them.
Systems like UNEX allow companies to combine an optimized workflow with supporting infrastructure such as carton flow racks and vertical storage systems in order to reach maximum density. The solution can be further adjusted to suit the business’s available warehouse space and other challenges.
It is even possible to automate certain parts of the order picking process with the right infrastructure to support it. Simpler solutions such as tilted-pick shelves are also effective in improving density and speeding up order picking entirely.
Prioritize by Throughput
There are different ways items and SKUs can be grouped, but studies have shown that organizing them based on throughput is the most efficient way to go. Items are organized based on the frequency they are ordered or picked. Each group – low-, medium- and high-throughput SKUs – can then be treated differently by both the system and the infrastructure that supports them.
Low-throughput SKUs, for example, don’t need a high profile position. While it is still important to keep them easily accessible, they don’t need to be placed in strategic locations. Such locations can be reserved for high-throughput items that are picked frequently.
This type of prioritization is also supported by IBM’s own Sterling Order Management. These tips, combined with the use of the right infrastructure, can help maximize efficiency and speed up order picking by a big margin.
Visual elements work better when trying to reach an online audience. We’re seeing an increase in user engagement when videos, photos and images are used as part of a marketing campaign. Aside from videos and memes, infographics are handy for conveying important messages and critical data.
Image credit: Pixabay
Marketing with infographics requires a peculiar approach. Instead of designing the campaign the way you would with photos or other types of visual cues, there are a few extra things you need to do and several more aspects to consider. We are going to take a closer look at those aspects in this ultimate guide to marketing with infographics.
Research, Data and Key Messages
One of the very first things you need to prepare when you’re creating an infographic for marketing purposes is to get your facts straight. There is no room for error in this type of marketing campaign; your viewers will focus on the facts and data you post in the infographic, which means the slightest mistakes will be more apparent.
It is also important to select the right messages to add to the infographic. You don’t have to display everything; in fact, doing so will reduce the effectiveness of the infographic. Focus on key messages and try to create a storyline that viewers can actually follow as they scroll through the infographic.
Style and Design Elements
You have complete freedom over how the infographics are styled or designed. Although there are a number of templates and common forms that can be followed, there is no need to stick to a set of rules. In fact, creative agencies have been very experimental with the way they design infographics for clients.
Spiel Creative, for instance, is pushing forward animated infographics and unique design elements. Other creative agencies are taking different routes to make the infographics they produce stand out from the rest.
Despite the style or design elements you choose to use, always make sure that the infographics are still in line with your branding. Use a limited set of colours and direct focus to the key messages by using just enough visual elements. Don’t add more pictures or design elements unless each of them has a specific purpose.
Keep Your Target Audience in Mind
Similar to written communications, visual cues may have different meanings to different audience groups. It is imperative that you keep your target audience in mind when producing infographics for marketing purposes.
Infographics are meant to be trendy and clear at the same time. You can use slang or visual elements that relate well to your target audience; in fact, this will help enhance the effectiveness of the infographics substantially. Don’t forget that a good infographic must have a narrative that the audience can follow.
At this point, you should be able to design and produce an infographic that works really well as part of a marketing campaign. All you have to do next is share the infographic and promote it in order to reach the right target audience. Be sure to evaluate the infographic before you move to designing the next one. This way, you can continue to improve and have a very powerful marketing tool at the end of the process.
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Implementing cloud computing can easily make small businesses much more competitive because of various advantages that become available. Moving to the cloud is something that has already been used by many small business owners in practically all industries. It does not matter if you run a health product manufacturer or if you want to promote an online e-commerce site like the Yoga Shop. At the end of the day, adopting the cloud can be beneficial. Remember that around 37% of small businesses in the US are now using cloud computing and by the year 2020. we expect the percentage to go as high as 80%. This is because of the reasons we are about to highlight.
Lower Overall Costs
This is the one benefit that is the most obvious for the small business owners. When you use cloud computing you can easily end up with savings that can be quite substantial. Cloud companies will offer all the hardware needed and virtualization will increase physical server hardware values. Businesses end up being able to do more with a smaller capital. You can end up decreasing power usage, requirements from the IT department and rack space. You are faced with costs that are lower for hardware, support, upgrades, maintenance and even installation. The savings gained are simply invaluable.
A Better Collaboration
Small businesses have to be sure that all operations are handled effectively. Cloud computing makes that easy through the many available collaboration tools that are available right now. Many different employees can edit and work on the same project at the exact same time. You can edit, comment, upload and basically modify documents whenever you want to, without a physical restriction. To make it even more interesting, the employers could easily limit the access levels for all employees.
An Increased Flexibility
Cloud computing automatically means that employees can easily access information and files that are work-related, all through any device that would be capable of connecting to the internet. We cannot deny the fact that we live in a world that relies on mobility. Workplaces have to rely on flexible work arrangements and even remote workers. Cloud computing is going to make it so easy to access everything that is necessary even when at home, not necessarily when at the office.
We are faced with an increased flexibility and mobility when using cloud computing. This makes cost savings even more of a reality. The employee can now work on the device that is already owned like laptops or tablets. This means that the company does not have to provide such devices, making savings higher.
A Higher Integration
When you use cloud-based business options you create different integration opportunities. Integration is thus automatically simplified. The cloud was initially created to help the small businesses in integrating things that are needed. Cloud service providers adapted and now offer so much more than what was available in the past. As a business owner, you can take advantage of integration with various back-office operations, ranging from account and marketing to human resources.
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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.