News dév web

5 Steps to Protect Your Brand Online

Noupe.com - 21 octobre, 2020 - 13:58

Few things have been so beneficial and transformative for small businesses as the internet. Within a click, you can connect to global audiences, do product research, find new employees, and much more. 

Unfortunately, the internet isn’t all great. While it may take years to build up a good reputation in the digital world, it only takes seconds for it to come crashing down. Bad reviews, hacks, and website hacking are just a few of the things that can go wrong. 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide of the five essential steps you need to follow to protect your brand. Read on to learn everything you need to know. 

Why Protecting Your Brand Is Vital 

You don’t have to think too long about all the things that can go wrong. As business people, we all know it’s just a matter of time. 

But it’s important to stress just how sensitive businesses are to these things. Let’s take one of the most damaging events that could happen—a cyber-attack. Did know that 60% of businesses fail within six months of a cyber-attack. 

There are many reasons for this. First and foremost is the reputational damage that occurs. If you’re lucky, the cybercriminals didn’t directly do anything to damage your brand name like a post inappropriate. But you still have to deal with the huge blow to your customer trust. 

It’s not fair the businesses should be blamed for being victims, but, at the same time, everybody knows the risks of the digital world. That’s why even huge names like Marriot and Equifax are still having a difficult time recovering from the damage. They are the lucky ones, however. They have billions at their disposal and built-in customer bases, so they’ll be fine. 

On the other hand, small businesses are the ones who struggle in the aftermath of one of these attacks. 

Even though you know it’s important to protect your brand, don’t delay any longer. There’s too much to lose. 

1. Get Serious About Account Security 

Admit it. You recycle some of your account passwords. Everybody does it. In a personal setting, this is already dangerous. You’re putting your email, social, and other accounts at risk. 

But in the business world, it gets even more damaging. Hackers are clever. It doesn’t take much for them to figure out ways to break into your network or devices. It’s easy enough for them to guess that if you have a password in one place, you might use it or a variation of it elsewhere. 

With brute force techniques, they can guess thousands of password combinations in seconds and crack into account. The worst part is, you don’t know when your original password might become exposed. 

Hackers generally aren’t lurking behind you watching what you type. Although that is possible, they generally obtain login credentials by hacking insecure websites and databases. 

That’s why you need a unique, lengthy, and secure password for each of your online accounts. It cannot be anything somebody would guess like “I Like Pizza.” Instead, it should be a unique combination of numbers, letters, special characters, and upper and lower case like “FpTsB@44xEHF.” 

Naturally, you might be thinking, “how on earth would I ever remember that?” This is where a password manager comes in. Password managers help you create, manage, and store passwords in a highly secure digital vault. Best of all, however, you can use them to make logging into your accounts even easier. It’s a total win-win. 

With a password manager combined with biometrics and 2FA, you can rest assured your accounts are much safer. While you’re at it, invest in other cybersecurity tools like VPNs, antimalware, firewalls, and everything else you need to stay safe. 

2. Keep A (Digital) Eye Out 

The average business might be listed on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, and so many other places. This is all-important for increasing your visibility. But you also need to pay attention to these platforms since they’re among the first things people see when searching for your company. 

This is why you need Brand Monitoring software. There are tons of great options out there. They all share an overlapping ability to monitor the web and social media for any mention of your company so you can react accordingly. 

This might be responding to a negative review, answering feedback, or even finding a new backlinking opportunity. 

Quickness is key, so be ready to respond at a moment’s notice. As a bonus, you can also use these tools to keep an eye out on your competitors. 

3. Trademark Your Brand 

Trademarking seems like something only the biggest companies would do. You don’t want a hacker or competitor to get a hold of your brand. And here’s the thing—trademarking isn’t very expensive. 

You can get the whole process done for a few hundred dollars. That’s not much to pay for protection. You don’t want to be like Google, which couldn’t even use “Gmail ” for its name in the UK since somebody already owned it. Ouch! 

The same also goes for web presence. You’ve got to secure it .com, .net, and other variants of your domain. If your business is really starting to scale, you should also consider the naming variants. One example where Google got it right was purchasing domain names like “Gooogle.com and “Gogle.com.” 

4. Get Serious About Rankings 

As a business, you probably know a thing or two about SEO. While you definitely want your site to be optimized and want you to rank for your keywords, don’t forget about your business itself. 

Many people will interact with your site through direct URL input but via Google search. If you’re not on the top listing or worse on the front page of results, then it not only will be difficult to find you but will also look suspicious. 

You also need to pay attention to your competitor’s PPC strategies. It’s extremely common to bid for other company’s names so their ads will show up above your organic listings. Imagine somebody wants to go to your page only to get swept away by one of your rivals.

Work hard to include your brand name throughout your site and keep an eye on PPC ads. It may be worth it to spend a few bucks to keep your brand intact. 

5. Be Proactive and Responsive to Threats 

The worst thing you can do is nothing. If somebody is threatening your brand, it is unlikely they will go away. Naturally, prevention is the best medicine. If you’ve followed the first four steps, then you should already be in pretty good shape. 

But there are also cracks in the armor that fraudsters know how to exploit. You’ll have to assess risks on an individual basis. But you do need to respond to all of them. 

The biggest question is whether you pay to have something stop. Reporting these bad actors to the authorities likely won’t too much. You’re on your own. 

In general, it’s not a good idea to pay. Once you do, you’ve opened yourself up to even more attacks and may even become complicit indirectly in illicit activity. 

The best bet is to work through the channels available. It will take time to undo the damage, but it can be done. But be transparent with your customers and partners. They should find quickly so they can take steps to protect themselves. In fact, if you do fail to disclose this information, you may eventually be liable for any damages that occur. 

Protecting Your Brand in The Digital World

We’re not here to scare you, but the threat is real. SMEs are the most common target for cybercriminals often because they have so much to lose. 

That’s why you need to get serious about brand management. Own your digital channels, invest in security, be proactive. This is how you ensure the safety of your brand now and in the future.

Photo by Maxim Zhgulev on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Top 7 Best Free WordPress Paypal Plugins in 2020

Noupe.com - 20 octobre, 2020 - 16:32

PayPal was born in 1998, over two decades, it has become the most popular online payment method in the world. Currently, there are over 4 million live websites using PayPal as their payment gateway.

Whether you’re selling physical, or digital products, one-of-a-kind services or you’re seeking donations for your non-profit organization, PayPal makes it super easy for you when it comes to money transactions. PayPal has already taken care of the entire transaction for your store including credit card processing, security issues, or PCI compliance

However, you still need to find a way to integrate your WordPress site with PayPal to provide your customer with a necessary tool for a smooth payment process. Fortunately, A WordPress PayPal plugin would be the best option for merchants who are currently using PayPal and looking for an ultimate solution for PayPal check-out. 

In this article, we gathered the top 7 best free WordPress PayPal plugins for you to optimize the payment process for your website. 

Our list of 7 best free WordPress PayPal plugins:

  1. PayPal Buy Now Button     
  2. PayPal for Digital Goods
  3. PayPal Events
  4. PayPal Donation
  5. WPForm
  6. WP Easy PayPal Payment Accept
  7. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart 
What is a WordPress PayPal plugin and how can they support your business? 

A WordPress PayPal plugin helps you to link your WordPress website to PayPal so buyers can easily buy your product by using their PayPal account in just a few clicks. A great plugin comes with custom built-in payment forms, a ‘Buy Now’ or an ‘Add To Cart’ button inserted anywhere in your store along with multilingual and multi-currency support. A PayPal plugin provides customers with a better experience in the check-out process as well as increases the conversion rate of your online store. 

To choose the 7 best out of hundreds of plugins out there, we based on these key elements: 

  • A simple, lightweight add-on but have enough functionalities to support your website
  • Highly compatible with WordPress and your email marketing services
  • Super easy to use when it comes to set up the Shopping-cart button
  • Custom styles for PayPal button
  • Multilingual and multi-currency support
  • In-context check out
Top 7 best free WordPress PayPal plugins 1. PayPal Buy Now Button

This WordPress PayPal plugin offers you a great opportunity to approach customers. It allows merchants to add the Paypal Buy Now button anywhere on your websites such as pages, products, or even blogs. The main power of PayPal Buy Now Button lies in its simplicity, you don’t need to spend hours and hours to make a WordPress online store to sell your products. Just put in a small Buy Now button for your buyer to click in – simple but extremely effective.

One more factor to consider whether or not you should go with PayPal Buy Now Button is its features. Currently, PayPal Buy Now Button is supported in 18 languages (PayPal supports 18 languages) as well as 25 currencies (PayPal supports 25 currencies). This plugin surely helps you reach customers all around the internet. Additionally, it lets you choose from 4 different PayPal button designs – This ability to customize can be considered as a strength. 

The downside of this PayPal Buy Now Button is that it doesn’t let your customer stay on your website while the payment is in progress. As a result, it partly lowers your conversion rate.

Overall score: 7/10     

2. PayPal for Digital Goods

If you are selling digital products and looking for a tool that assists shoppers in payment with PayPal, this convenient plugin is perfect for you. PayPal For Digital Goods provides you shortcodes to generate a customizable PayPal payment button. With this simple plugin, you can keep your customers on your site while they pay through PayPal. The whole procedure takes place in just a small pop-up window. Moreover,  PayPal’s Express Checkout API/Gateway which is applied gives buyers a lean payment process system.

In case you’re wondering how you can send the digital goods to your customers, don’t worry, PayPal For Digital Goods gets it covered! It allows a user to automatically download the file once the purchase is complete via PayPal. 

This is a great plugin for merchants who are interested in a simple, secure, and efficacious payment method. 

Overall score: 8/10

3. PayPal Events

Unlike tangible or digital goods, E-ticket refers to tickets for concerts, conferences, or events. This type of product requires different steps when fulfilling and delivering your order. PayPal Events is designed to solve this problem for merchants. The plugin strongly integrates with WordPress and enables you to view the tickets sold in your WordPress admin. You can easily minimize the payment process to several simple steps by adding simple codes. Plus, this plugin can connect to your WordPress email marketing. After a customer bought a ticket, it will automatically send your customers an email that contains the e-ticket along with its QR code.

Furthermore, since this WordPress PayPal plugin supports 20 languages and 25 currencies it is easier for merchants to reach potential buyers all around the world. Besides, the customization of the button inserted is also a plus. It gives you 7 different PayPal Buy Now button templates and lets you choose how your PayPal window opens.

Although the plugin doesn’t bring you in-context check-out, other conveniences still help PayPal Events become one of the best PayPal plugins for selling E-ticket on WordPress.    

Overall Score: 8/10

4. PayPal Donations

Let’s start reviewing this plugin by check out the honest feedback of someone who uses PayPal Donations before:

“Very easy to use plugin. I had a technical problem and the developer was very responsive and updated the plugin to fix the problem. Awesome!”

Customer feedbacks for PayPal Donations

Just like most WordPress PayPal plugin, this plugin allows you to add a Buy Now button with just a simple line of code. The special point of this addon comes from the attached utilities that make your online donating process more convenient. The plugin lets you view donations in your WordPress admin as well as set up your dropdown menu to limit the amount of donation that is available.

Moreover, this official PayPal Partner is also highly customizable. You can choose from 7 different PayPal donation buttons. Also, you can decide how your PayPal window opens. 

This WordPress plugin has everything you need for the purpose of taking online donations by PayPal. Plus, it grants users various flexibility to make it your way.

Overall Score: 9/10 

5. WPForms

Launched in 2016, over 3 million WordPress sites have been using WPForm. WPForms is brought to you by the same team that built several famous WordPress plugins such as WPBeginner, OptinMonster, or  MonsterInsights. Store owners prefer this add-on for its beginner-friendly drag & drop interface.

For those who need PayPal online payment, WPForm integrates with PayPal and all popular email marketing services. All you need to do is to create a form, connect with PayPal and your email marketing then add a landing page for your customer after finishing the payment process. 

WPForm also gives you great customization. You can design your payment form using more than 100 WPForm templates available. The plugin also provides a drag and drop form builder so you can make your own form. Besides, it provides a Spam Protection system that automatically prevents spam submissions and helps you avoid unnecessary interruptions from a spam email.

This is a great way to set up a PayPal payment solution for your website. It’s simple, super easy to use, and has great customization.

Overall Score: 9/10

6. WP Easy PayPal Payment Accept WP Easy PayPal Payment Accept

WP Easy PayPal Payment Accept is an all-in-one solution for payment through PayPal. With this plugin, you can easily create online PayPal payment for all kinds of goods from tangible, digital, service… The main core power of WP Easy PayPal Payment lies in the customization. Users can create the payment buttons on the fly and embed them anywhere on the site by applying a shortcode. You can also add many different payment widgets for services or products.

With WP Easy PayPal Payment Accept, you can even set up variant options of the same product or service. Moreover, for donations, you are able to let the users pick an amount they want to pay. Thus, this gives your customers better shopping experience.

Overall Score: 9/10

7. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart

You’re in need of a WordPress PayPal plugin that has everything for your customer to check-out with PayPal. But you don’t want to slow down your website loading time? WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping is a lightweight solution (with a minimal number of lines of code and minimal options). The plugins allow you to add a shortcode to display the shopping cart on any post or page or sidebar. It also shows your shoppers currently available products in the cart and let them change the quantity or remove the items. 

If you’re a bit unsure whether or not you should use this plugin, the addon offers you time to test it out with PayPal Sandbox to see the result. Additionally, WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart is also integrated with the NextGen Photo Gallery plugin to accommodate the selling of photographs from your gallery. Hence, it will be so much easier to find a good image for your store.

WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart is a good option considering the tons of benefits this lean, smart, and rich-features bring to your business.  

Overall Score: 8/10

Conclusion

The payment method is always a big part of any online business. As a shop owner, you should be aware of the importance of a WordPress PayPal plugin as well as the risks that come along with it. 

We hope this article can help you decide which plugin is suitable for your website. If you wish to find out more about WordPress plugins and other best website builders platforms, simply click the link.

If you’re looking for a way to migrate your website to WordPress, you can contact LitExtensionthe best migration tools that automatically transfer your data to the new website builder platform. You can look for the migration services here!

Good luck!

Catégories: News dév web

Figma Vs Adobe XD: Which is Better for UX Prototyping

Noupe.com - 19 octobre, 2020 - 16:01

The designers of the design interfaces have their gears-on in contesting for leveling up the current state of the art tools for prototyping as well as design. The two game-changers that came into existence were Adobe’s XD and Figma.

They gained exponential popularity amongst the designers with their specific hold on interface designing apparatus. They are considered the best prototyping tools.  

Previous options and why they didn’t work

Earlier options were Photoshop, which was not intrinsically made for user interface design, and Sketch, which was limited to Mac version only. Designers soon jumped to Figma and XD but then the question arose of choosing between them. 

Which one to choose Figma or Adobe XD

Though the choice is purely based on the personal inclination towards a particular work environment, here we are trying to jolt down one to one feature difference, keep in mind that we have a clear lens, not fogged by prejudice or perception to any particular stage.

Comparable features 1. Web-based vs software

 The most important point to mention is that Figma is web-based and needs not to be installed as a software whereas Adobe XD is a software. Figma supports Mac, Windows, Linux and Chrome OS and XD has Mac and Windows versions.

2. Collaboration

a) Real-time collaboration is possible while working on Figma with team members or the clients who may not be having the specific software for design in their systems, the collaboration also allows anyone with access to edit, reshape, and co-design. 

The shared link allows us to control the permissions as well as contributions, making it easier to track the progress.

b) Adobe XD provides the familiarity of the Adobe ecosystem proving to be a much stronger prototyper.  As far as sharing is concerned, the files can be saved and handed off to someone but need an update every time any changes are made.

3. Pricing

When the pricing is concerned both of these work on the ‘freemium’ model which means they have a free “starter” plan and paid add-on plans. The packages are different for different purposes which makes this point harder to balance with the services provided.

The paid versions are for teams as well as for individuals and also for the different subscription periods.

Figma costs $12/15 per person for the team and $45 per person for the enterprise plan. XD charges $9.99 to individuals and $22.99 to businesses.

4. Specs

In a UX design agency, for sending designs to the developers Figma users can share the link (specs are embedded within the file) and the receivers can edit or can only view depending on the permissions you give to them.

Adobe XD, a feature known as design specs allows to share the design properties via a link, also specs can be password protected. The ability to privately invite the developers to avoid any unauthorized access as well as to download the assets from the shared link is provided by XD developers. 

5. Functionality

The people who have hands-on both the programs say that Figma is much better than Adobe XD when considering functionality, allowing developers to make different styles of vectors.

Adobe  XD allows us to design screens, make buttons, make form elements, etc.

6. Adjusting screen size

Screen size matters while designing the interface, constraints are used for screen responsiveness, the two approaches used by the two programs are:

  • Percentage by Figma: A specific percentage of the screen is selected for a specific component, changing the screen size automatically changes the component size keeping the percentage constant.
  • Auto by Adobe XD: it automatically predicts the component size according to the screen size.
7. Components

Designing using symbols makes the user experience much simpler and increases the productivity of the designer. A feature known as components is introduced by Figma which is similar to symbols but more flexible.

 They can be edited and linked to the original components, afterward, symbols are synced to the team library for future use. We can use both the edited as well as the original components. 

Adobe XD also uses components but whenever any change is made to the ‘instance’ symbol the master symbol changes as well and they will stay synced throughout the project.

8. Asset management system

Keeping track of the fonts and colors becomes crucial to maintain uniformity throughout the working period. The asset management system allows the keeping tab of all the text styles and palettes and symbols we are using. They can be uploaded to the cloud and synced across the files.

  • Figma has real-time sync of all the assets which wins the point for it as it is super easy to have everything in front of the eyes while working.
  • Assets can be used on a single project or can be used from the Creative Cloud library in Adobe XD. if symbols are to be used across the projects they can be used by copying and pasting, but can’t be synced to a library, same for color, text styles, etc.

Also in Adobe XD assets can be imported only from Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, you lose if you don’t have these programs. 

9. Third-party add-ons

 The plugin allows adding more functionality, Adobe XD offers a rapidly growing plugin bucket that allows playing with dummy data and designing using other components export and artboards. This opens up many possibilities for developers to mix and match and to recreate something new.

Figma, however, offers plugins per se but API to do fun stuff by integrating with programs like Principle, Zeplin, and Dribble.

Here, the +1 point is given to Adobe XD.

10. Prototyping

This one feature is the same in both Figma and Adobe XD, they use connections and hotspot to create prototypes with slight variations in terms of services, Figma provides a hover trigger, horizontal scrolling, URL link, and more.

Adobe XD provides auto-animate, which prototypes the screen and voice and also the ability to record the prototype.

11. Grid and columns

Figma allows adding grid, columns, and rows, and when the gutter is set to 0, it automatically switches from showing filled columns to showing lines only.

Adobe XD allows using a square grid or a column grid. 

Overlaying grids on the top of our artboards help in using them as guides.

Conclusion

These were the differences and similarities between Figma and Adobe XD, choice remains personal and can be switched depending on the requirement. Both of them are optimal in performance and cant be compared based on fast efficient performances.

Catégories: News dév web

Highly Influential Art Gallery Websites in 2020

Noupe.com - 19 octobre, 2020 - 13:38

Art galleries are great places to visit to get inspiration and get your creative juices flowing. They are incredibly well designed and aesthetically pleasing. What you might not be aware of is that most art galleries have their own websites, and they are as aesthetic as the real thing. 

Art galleries and art gallery websites are designed that way to bring the attention more to the art piece, making it stand out and making it all about the artwork itself. Therefore, art gallery websites have a minimalistic approach to their whole design, color schemes, and fonts. 

Visiting art galleries are hard these days with everything that’s going on in our world. Not only, that’s why visiting the art gallery websites is a great way to appreciate the artwork out there and get inspired, but also art helps with anxiety and depression that you may be facing in these difficult times.

Also, if you are an aspiring artist to showcase your art to the world you can get great ideas from these wonderful art gallery websites. That’s not just for the artists too, you can get inspiration for your new product website as well!

So without further ado, here are a few of the best-looking art gallery websites!

Art Gallery Websites
  1. Unravel Van Gogh Amsterdam
  2. The Unit London
  3. Pace Gallery
  4. Victoria Miro
  5. The Goldfinch
  6. Simon Lee Gallery
Unravel Van Gogh Amsterdam Source: Unravel Van Gogh Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum at Amsterdam has the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works. The website, Unravel Van Gogh Amsterdam is incredible, the design illustrates the story of Van Gogh and his works in full glory, and better yet, the whole thing is incredibly user-friendly with small text boxes indicating the mouse actions that you need to take. There are various features of the website that make it unique. One of them is a slider feature which enables you to see the differences between the original work and its current state. 

The Unit London Source: The Unit London

The Unit London is a great contemporary art gallery in London established with the “desire of breaking down the barriers of elitism and to include all people in the contemporary art world.”. Their website is amazing as well. The design is pretty straightforward with a simple menu, headline, and a high-resolution background image. 

Pace Gallery Source: Pace Gallery

Pace Gallery is a world-famous contemporary art gallery representing the most significant artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The website design is minimalistic, and it looks great. The animations provide smooth transitions. The homepage features the upcoming exhibitions and there are news, journal, library & archives sections. Make sure to check out the online exhibitions as well. 

Victoria Miro Source: Victoria Miro

Located in London, Victoria Miro displays the work of both established and emerging artists from the USA, Europe, and Asia. With the help of a slider, you can smoothly see the art exhibitions that are currently on display. As you go further down the homepage, there is a what’s happening section which includes the latest news from Victoria Miro artists around the world. Below that, there is the in-focus section, and at the bottom, you can see the news coverage about the exhibitions of Victoria Miro’s artists. 

The Goldfinch Source: The Goldfinch

Painted by Carel Fabritius, The Goldfinch is a very well known painting. The painting is about a life-sized goldfinch that is chained, and it’s now in the collections of Mauritshuis in the Netherlands. The website dedicated to The Goldfinch is very creative and elegant. Not only the visual elements are greatly utilized, but there is a great use of audio as well. And with the great animation transitions, you learn more about the story of the bird and the painting. Stunning!

Simon Lee Gallery Source: Simon Lee Gallery

Simon Lee Gallery is an international art gallery representing over 35 established and emerging contemporary artists and estates. They represent artists of diverse generations ranging from sculpture, painting video, and architecture. On the homepage, we see the current exhibitions that are being held. The hero section is divided into two fields, one being a photograph from the gallery and the other is the exhibition’s name and the dates. As you go down the website, you can find the news about the exhibitions and walkthroughs of various exhibitions.

There are many more art gallery websites where you can look for inspiration or just to appreciate the artworks of artists and famous illustrators. We’ve tried to put together a list of our favorites. Let us know which ones are your favorites in the comment section down below!

Catégories: News dév web

8 Best WordPress User Engagement Plugins

Noupe.com - 19 octobre, 2020 - 09:30

So, you’ve successfully managed to drive significant traffic to your website! What do you do next? Let things happen in their own way? No, that’s definitely not going to help! While driving traffic to your website/blog posts is a great battle, making sure that your visitors stay is another battle! 

A recent study revealed that more than 80% of websites were not able to engage visitors the right way which in turn increased their bounce rate and left them with little or no conversions! And if you’re looking forward to a solution, you can simply install WordPress plugins to increase user engagement! 

Yes, you heard that right! Installing WordPress plugins for interaction not only helps you reduce your website bounce rate but also gives you a huge number of benefits that are being mentioned below! 

Benefits of Installing WordPress User Interaction Plugins

As I said above, let’s look at the benefits of installing a WordPress engagement plugin on your website.

1. Increased Website Conversions

Put in an informal way, when your website visitor is taken good care of, he/she might end up doing what you wanted them to do in the first place. And in this case, it could be asking your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or purchasing your product!

Whatever your end goal might be, when you install a plugin that creates extra engagement, you don’t have to worry about the conversions! 

2. Increased Average Session Duration

This is one of the most important SEO metrics that help improve your website’s authority. When Google gets to know that your website audience are having a good time, you can witness a significant increase in traffic! 

And installing a WordPress interaction plugin can help you do just that with ease! 

3. Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-Mouth Marketing has been one of the highly-reliable organic ways of growing a business. Assume your website has a WordPress gamification plugin installed and one of your visitors gets prize money worth $30! The word eventually spreads and don’t be surprised when your webpage is flocked with more visitors!

But make sure you don’t forget where it all started – when you installed a WordPress plugin for interaction! 

4. Opportunities to Improve

The audience are always the king and there’s nothing better than a hearing suggestion from them! Installing WordPress plugins for interaction helps your visitor voice out their opinion and on the other hand, you can use the same for the betterment of your website! 

WordPress forum discussion plugins or WordPress popup plugins that collect feedback should help you get the job done! 

Though there a couple of other benefits, the above-mentioned are the most prominent ones! And now that we’ve seen them, let’s start taking a look at the plugins that have grabbed their place in this read! 

Best WordPress Plugins for Increasing User Engagement 1. Replyable

Though the default WordPress comments section is quite engaging, Replyable takes it to a whole new level! Replyable is a WordPress plugin for increasing user engagement that helps visitors get notified about the comments thread they are much interested in! 

Developed by Postmatic, Replyable has grabbed its name as one of the most popular user engagement plugins. You can easily allow your website users to subscribe/unsubscribe for comments and users get the notifications via their email. 

What makes Replyable even more special is that it works both offline and online. And even automatically stops sending email notifications when the thread becomes increasingly chatty. Your users can simply re-enable the notifications without having to move a muscle. Also, your users wouldn’t have to worry about the spam issue because all emails are delivered via the servers of the plugin and they comply with all international spam laws. 

Pricing

As for the pricing, you can start using this plugin by paying as little as $20 per month and plans can go up to $95 per month! 

Download Replyable

2. Optinly

Just what you should be looking for! Optinly is a WordPress gamification plugin that helps increase your user engagement to a great extent! Optinly comes with inbuilt spin the wheel popup templates that are both responsive and highly customizable. 

You can also use Optiinly as a WordPress popup plugin to display feedback popups and know what your user’s feedbacks are. With options to trigger popups when you want (exit intent triggers, page-based triggers, time-delayed triggers), this is one of the best plugins you should have on your marketing shelves! 

You can also choose which devices you should be displaying your popups. Use Optinly’s gamification popups to engage visitors by displaying offers, deals and most importantly, the essential fun that’s needed! 

P.S. You can learn how to create a WordPress popup in this read! 

Pricing

Optinly is a free WordPress gamification plugin. You can also go with the paid version that costs you $25 per month. The paid version comes with advanced triggering options and additional premium popup templates. 

Download Optinly

3. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Let’s assume your reader is reading an article about “the disadvantages of having an increased bounce rate”. And when they are shown a relevant article like “proven tips to reduce website bounce rate”, chances are very likely that they might start reading the suggested blog post as well! In fact, most of the top websites and bloggers make use of this practice to a wide extent. And YARPP is just the plugin that can help you do this!

When it comes to related posts plugins, YARPP is definitely the first choice, thanks to its huge number of positive reviews. You can display related posts on your webpage either in the form of thumbnails or lists. This helps meet your website theme’s appearance.

You can also customize the appearance of your relevant posts and tweak the algorithm to display posts according to the article title, tags and categories. YARPP supports HTTPS and comes with advanced shortcodes (to display related posts on your website). The team makes sure that they come up with regular updates. 

Pricing

YARPP is a free related post WordPress plugin and it seems that they’ll be releasing the Pro version soon. 

Download YARPP

4. GeoTargeting WP

Targeting audiences according to their location and displaying relevant services and offers has helped businesses grow their revenue to a great extent. It’s because personalization plays an important role and doesn’t matter what your niche is! And personalization doesn’t stop with products and services. Content also plays a major role in personalization and Geotargeting WP helps you crack this! 

If you’re a blogger or your business has rich content that needs to be targeted to the right audience, Geotargeting WP can help you do that! You can simply show/hide your blog posts to the audience from selected regions. Assume you’re running a food cuisine blog, you can show Asian cuisine style blogs only to the audience from the specific countries.

Also, this acts as a multilanguage WordPress plugin by redirecting your user to his/her respective language pages (works only if your website is multilingual). The plugin also makes sure that it automatically combats and fixes spam. 

Put in a few words, if you’re a blogger or an international business, Geotargeting WP helps you induce the personalization factor with ease! 

Pricing

You can start using this plugin at $9 per month and the advanced plan costs you $199 per month. 

Download Geotargeting WP

5. Better Click to Tweet

Enthusiastic audiences would never fail to share potential pieces of information when they come across one! And when your website doesn’t have that feature, your audience would not only be disappointed but they’ll also prevent coming to your website the next time! In order to avoid this from happening, Better Click to tweet is the kind of plugin you should be having on-board. 

This plugin makes the process of click & tweet extremely easy for your audience. All you’ve got to do is, create tweetable content and place it within your blog post. And your audience can share the respective quotes with a single click. 

The plugin is Gutenburg ready and you can add premium templates if you’re quite not sure with the WordPress technical part. The opinion to submit/pull requests at the Github repository makes this plugin one of the best. 

Pricing

While this a free plugin, you can include Add-ons for $71 per site. 

Download Better Click to Tweet

6. WP Quiz

What’s better than having a WordPress quiz plugin for your website? Quizzes are known to be one of the best methods to engage your audience irrespective of their age! I mean, who wouldn’t want to test their knowledge for a couple of minutes? 

WP Quiz allows you to create polls and quizzes with which you can fulfill two important purposes like entertaining your audience or collecting feedback from them. What’s special with WP Quiz is that you can create an unlimited number of quizzes (and every single one of them is responsive) and comes with power-packed features like quiz templates, animation effects, social media sharing options, and more. 

The team has developed the plugin with the WordPress guidelines in mind and you’ll face zero issues when using this plugin. Also, you can integrate with email marketing services like MailChimp and payment gateways like Paypal in the Pro version. 

Pricing

You can start using this WordPress quiz plugin for free. And the paid version costs $77 for 3 sites. 

Download WP Quiz

7. YASR – Yet Another Stars Rating

Users often love to engage with pages or posts that have high credibility and reviews, especially when it is from people in a similar community. 

The plugin allows your users to rate a post when they visit your website. The plugin is compatible even with the new Gutenberg editor. You can choose where to display reviews on your page – either at the top or at the bottom of your post. 

The plugin is extremely simple, easy to use, and comes without any bloat or excessive features. Also, you can migrate data from WP-PostRatings, kk Star Rating, and Multi Rating with ease! 

Pricing

There’s a free version available and the paid plan starts from $3.99 per month! 

Download YASR

8. Accelerated Mobile Pages – AMP

Page load speed is one important factor why users abandon your webpage, especially when they surf on mobile devices. Stats say that an average load time of more than 2 seconds might create an annoying experience for your users which eventually leads to abandonment. And a plugin like Accelerated Mobile Pages proves a great deal in this particular scenario! 

You can improve your website’s mobile page performance using this plugin. Also, this plugin supports “native theme mode” which eliminates the need for you to come up with AMP-enabled pages. Inheriting your theme style can be done with the click of a button. 

The plugin can be used with ease by both developers and non-developers and comes with effective validation tools in case you face any issues. Since the plugin is built with a user-centric approach, you should be able to increase your page loading speed and user engagement factor to a great extent! 

Pricing

This site enhancement plugin is free to use and you can directly download it from the repository. 

Download AMP

Final Few Words

Coming up with a great website is only the initial start whereas making sure that your users are engaged plays a greater role when it comes to business growth!

Because, what good is coming up with a website when your audience wouldn’t want to stay there for more than a couple of seconds? 

We’ve come across some of the best WordPress plugins that should help increase user engagement in this read! Right from enhancing your user experience to promoting special offers, we’ve covered it all! 

P.S. Here are some of the best tips that can help you keep your website safe from hackers.

That’s it for now! Start increasing your website’s user engagement factor today! 

Thanks! 

Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

How to Make a Memorable Freelance Portfolio

Noupe.com - 16 octobre, 2020 - 16:36

No matter whether you’re already a skilled professional or you’re only starting out in your freelancing career, you’re probably familiar with the many benefits of working as a freelancer.

Aside from allowing you to work at your own pace, many home-based freelance careers can also replace minimum wage jobs by a long mile. According to some freelance statistics, 31% of freelance workers are earning more than $75,000 USD annually.

That being said, it’s not that easy to reap all the benefits right from the get-go. Freelancing is a highly competitive industry, which means you need to do your best to distinguish yourself from others. And creating a unique and memorable online portfolio can go a long way in getting you noticed by potential clients

Regardless of your profession, there are some general rules you should abide by if you plan to upload a selection of your work online. Here are some tips to create a remarkable freelance portfolio that will stand out from the crowd.

Create Your Portfolio Using a Flexible Website Platform

When it comes to building an online portfolio, a good presentation of your work is almost as important as the work itself. Therefore, you should strive to create a clean-looking portfolio website that is easy to navigate and capable of emphasizing all your strengths

You can always hire a professional web designer to do this for you if you aren’t really confident in your website building skills. However, with the help of the right website platform, you can easily build your online portfolio all by yourself. 

Personally, we recommend using WordPress for this task. Not only is this popular CMS platform extremely easy to use even if you have no prior coding experience, but there are also so many predesigned freelance WordPress themes you can choose from and adjust completely to fit your vision. These themes usually contain everything you need to build a unique portfolio website that will complement your works – from differently styled portfolio layouts to various interactive elements and effects.

And since WordPress itself is very flexible and allows for plenty of room for customization, it is also possible to add any extra elements and functionalities you deem appropriate alongside your theme. You can change colors, upload your own logo, style your own layouts, and add custom fonts to make your portfolio as unique as possible. If you want, you can even install one of the many available portfolio WordPress plugins to further enhance your work.

Be Selective – Include Your Most Relevant Works

While it is important to signal to potential clients that you’re experienced in your field, filling up your portfolio with every single work you’ve ever done can easily defeat the purpose. The reality is, people who browse your portfolio probably plan to view dozens of other portfolios as well. They won’t have the time to look at every small detail you put up, no matter how valuable you think it is. So, more likely than not, they will check out only a couple of most noticeable pieces before they decide whether they’re interested in hiring you or not.

When setting up your portfolio, our advice is to prioritize quality over quantity and include only the best work you’ve done so far. Make sure to play to your strengths and add a select few, but effective pieces that you’re most proud of. That being said, the newer these works are, the better. Obviously, this also depends on the nature of your work, but in the digital sphere where things are constantly evolving, it’s best not to put up any works that are more than a few years old – of course, unless the project itself is particularly noteworthy. Showing off your best assets is important, but only if they’re relevant, both quality and time-wise.  

Introduce Yourself 

Striving to dazzle visitors with your skills is practically mandatory when creating your portfolio. But, more often than not, revealing the person behind the talent is actually what can make all the difference. Though it’s totally legitimate to let your works speak for you, we highly recommend adding an “About” page in your portfolio where you can include some information about yourself. By doing this, not only can you win over the trust of your potential clients more easily, but you can also make yourself appear more approachable and distinguish yourself from the rest.

Don’t forget that you are building a professional portfolio with the goal of someone hiring you, so you should definitely mention the most relevant info regarding your past working experiences and career-related accomplishments. But while aiming to present yourself from a professional perspective is totally fine (and even expected), you shouldn’t hesitate to show off a bit of your personality in there as well. People in the creative industry often seek and value unique individuals, so feel free to be yourself and use your own words when telling your story

With all this being said, you shouldn’t go overboard when talking about yourself either. It’s best to find a balance between being concise, relevant, and informative while still letting your personality shine through.

Also, some visitors can be easily put off by a website with no face behind it, so consider adding a picture of yourself somewhere in your bio while you’re at it. Connecting your creations with an actual person will “humanize” your portfolio and ultimately, it can drive more people to hire you.

Provide Some Context to Your Works

One of the best ways to communicate your creative passion and work ethics to your visitors is to include case studies in your portfolio. After you select the best quality pieces you wish to showcase, start giving some perspective about how you created them. Describe the way you developed your ideas. Display some of your initial drafts and early sketches to demonstrate some progression. Go further in-depth and break down the entire process, step-by-step. If you want, you can even mention your clients’ original requests and goals and explain how you managed to meet them. After all, it is your work that you’re presenting, so you can be as thorough as you like. 

No matter how much info you provide, telling the story of how your works came to be will only serve to emphasize all the creative effort you put into making them and allow your professionalism to shine through. 

Make it Easy for People to Approach You 

If people like what they see in your portfolio, they will most likely want to get in touch with you as soon as possible. Or, at the very least, they’ll be curious to know where else they can find you online so they can keep an eye on you for more of your works in the future. However, if you don’t provide them with any means to do this quickly, they may flee your website forever, taking away the possibility of landing yourself a great business deal. 

To prevent this from happening, you must put a call-to-action somewhere it can’t be missed. We recommend creating a separate “Contact” page where people can fill in their own info and send you an email. Also, consider adding your name, email address, and social media links in other highly noticeable areas of your site, like at the very top of your portfolio page, or in the footer.

Speaking of social media, you should integrate links to all social accounts related to your work (such as Instagram, Facebook, Behance, Dribbble, etc.). Many employers prefer this contact method when hiring people, which makes your presence on social networks not only important but practically necessary. Plus, by including social media buttons in your portfolio, you can build stronger connections with your clients and keep them up to date with all your future projects while boosting your online visibility at the same time.

Include Testimonials

While work that you’re presenting can be a solid testament to your skills, adding extra credibility to your portfolio by including actual client recommendations won’t hurt. Even in the digital era, testimonials remain a powerful way of gaining people’s trust, which is why you should consider including them somewhere in your portfolio. 

Contact your previous clients and ask them to write a review about their experience doing business with you, or simply check if you can quote them in case you already have their positive message related to your work. Putting up recommendations of people you’ve previously worked with can not only give you a boost of authority and land you more freelance gigs, it can also help you maintain relationships with past clients.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a graphic designer, illustrator, marketer, or you’re set on building your career in freelance writing, an online portfolio can be a valuable asset for you. While there are many other things you can do to make your portfolio stand out among your competition, the tips we shared above are a good starting step towards grabbing the attention of potential clients. Just remember to be yourself, showcase your best work, and ensure that your portfolio website is easy to navigate and that it looks perfect on all devices. And if you need some additional portfolio inspiration, you can always browse the web and find some stunning portfolio site examples. 

We wish you all the best in your future freelance endeavors! 

Photo by Anete L?si?a on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Halloween Bash: 20 Spooky but Sweet Halloween Party Invitation Ideas for 2020

Noupe.com - 16 octobre, 2020 - 14:12

The social event of the entire year, Halloween is just around the corner. Celebrating Halloween might get a little depressing this year. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t at least try to host a socially distanced, germ-free but fun Halloween bash.

There’s nothing more exciting than opening your mailbox and finding a Halloween party invitation around this spooky season. We all have a childhood memory of seeing a creepy Halloween invitation and thinking about the party that we are about to attend.

Halloween is an excellent opportunity to throw a dramatic party. During this quirky holiday, you have a ton of possible options to make this creepy night even more remarkable. When it comes to choosing a theme, your imagination better please your guests.

Remember how many times you attended a lame Halloween party with a theme, that is quite cliché. Common themes like backyard horror movie night, haunted house party, and vampire & pirate dominated gatherings are going to be fun either way but who wouldn’t want to leave an unforgettable impression by hosting an original Halloween theme party?

There are plenty of Halloween themes to choose from. You can decide to go with a classic gothic theme, full of ghouls and ghosts, get nostalgic with a Stranger Things inspired 80s horror party, or get even more creative by turning current events -we all know what it is- into a post-apocalyptic pandemic adventure.

from the movie “28 Days Later”

Once you’re done with deciding on a theme, it’s time to start pondering on what kind of invitation you are going to send to your guests. There are two main elements when it comes to creating the perfect Halloween party invitation, wording, and design. When a spooky wording meets a creepy but fun design, there you have your perfect Halloween invitation. 

During this special time of the year, designing your Halloween party invitation can be quite exciting, especially if you are feeling crafty. Igniting excitement at first blush with your well-designed invitations is the perfect way to impress your friends and set the tone of your party.

Whether you decide to go for a classic adults-only Halloween dinner party with a classic theme, or something whimsical, we’ve got loads of design inspirations to help you plan a splendid Halloween party and choose your perfect Halloween party invitation.

Halloween Party Invitation Ideas Johnny Miller Shelterness Shelterness Brooklyn Limestone manionamor Lia Griffith Sweetly Said Press CABCstudio
Brooklyn Limestone Johnny Miller Little Elephant Crafts William Abranowicz Stephanie – Brooklyn Limestone Magpie Meadow Handmade Shelterness Sugar and Cloth letteringartstudio StillRiverPress Sarah Lofing Gwen Moss

No matter the circumstances we’re currently in, Halloween is too exciting to just skip and binge-watching horror shows at home. As long as you take the necessary precautions and keep your distance by hosting an open-air, backyard Halloween party you can still have fun this year. And when it comes to getting the grand announcement your party deserves, we hope these Halloween invitation ideas help you plan your perfect party. 

Catégories: News dév web

5 Reasons It’s Not Too Late to Start Your Email Newsletter

Noupe.com - 16 octobre, 2020 - 14:06

Have you been meaning to start a newsletter for a while? Below are 5 reasons it’s not too late – read this and craft your first edition today.

Your mind can play tricks on you. You don’t want to exercise because it’s not the new year. You avoid calling that person because you don’t want to feel awkward. Speaker and author Mel Robbins is a proponent of “the 5 second rule.” If you get the impulse to act on a goal or something that you know you need to do, you must physically act within 5 seconds to make it happen. 

Our ideas flow through the mind like a school of fish in a roaring river. How can you keep track of just one idea? Maybe you’ve had the idea to start your email newsletter. Well, that’s a good idea, but let’s set the wheels in motion.

Whether you’ve been saying you need to get an email newsletter started for the past 5 weeks or even 5 years, there is no time like the present. Within the next 5 seconds, strengthen your resolve to get the newsletter first by continuing to read this article. When you finish, don’t delay – begin to sketch the first edition.

Here’s 5 reasons why it’s not too late and the time to begin is right now. 1. You can start getting a good ROI with your email newsletter

One of the reasons to get your newsletter off the ground is that it pays. You’re not wasting your time creating and sending out emails for your subscribers. On the contrary, you’re contributing to the success of your business. According to the Data & Marketing Association, the typical ROI on email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent.

So, “think about email marketing as a great investment of time,” says Mehdi Hussen, Digital Marketing Manager at SalesHandy. “It’s one of the best ways to reach your customers with relevant content and keep them up-to-date about your products or services. Just make sure to keep your emails entertaining and informative, and not too self-promotional,” Hussen advises. 

What’s more, you can start to see the results quickly. It’s not too late to start a newsletter and get a great return on investment that makes a difference to your business.

2. The sooner you start, the sooner you get results

Procrastination not only makes you feel bad, but also makes you disappointed in yourself. Also, it delays you from achieving the results you want. The longer you delay your first issue, the more you lose. 

Once you start your newsletter, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that will only motivate you to continue and improve. You’ll learn most of all by doing, so why not begin the learning process sooner and get results while you’re at it?

So, ask yourself: “When am I going to start a newsletter?”  If the answer is “someday,” it may as well be never. So, write down a deadline for this week. The sooner the better. Too far in the future and you’ll simply brush it aside and forget about it.

“In this day and time, anyone can start an email newsletter and see results from it. Many companies allow you to use their tools for free,” says ZeroBounce COO Brian Minick. “So, don’t postpone,” he adds. “It doesn’t cost you anything to begin.”

2. You’ve got a chance to make your customers happy

If a customer came into your shop, you would do anything you could to make them satisfied. You can do this online as well, and sending a newsletter is one of the easiest ways.

Every interaction, whether online or in person, is a chance to strengthen your relationship with customers. Starting an email newsletter gives you more opportunities to make them happy, wherever they are.  Even if you’ve been putting it off for a long time, you can instantly be providing value to your base.

This last part, though, is vital to your open rates and overall success, Josh Brown of Helpjuice confirms. “Your newsletter has to provide a service, solve a problem, and do so in an entertaining fashion. It’s the best way to get people to subscribe. Think about what you can create or give your clients and get that first newsletter out there,” Brown offers.

It’s not too late to make a positive impression with your emails. You’ll still be ahead of so many! 

3. It builds an intimate relationship

Picture the people in your audience and how they use the Internet.

While social media can be endless scrolling about a dizzying array of subjects and puzzling time-wasters, email is just you and them. You’ve got their attention because it’s the perfect medium for a conversation. 

If you’re feeling nervous about your first email, you can encourage reader feedback. Nobody likes to feel like they are just being sold to, so invite your subscribers to respond and tell you what kind of emails they prefer.

“While you’re building your relationship with your readers, you can even encourage them to share your newsletter with their friends and family, who may subscribe themselves,” Uwe Dreissigacker of InvoiceBerry recommends. “It’s an easy method to grow your email list and expand your base” he adds.

Include a link to subscribe in every email you send, along with a reminder that they should consider forwarding it to relevant and appreciative people.

4. Send your newsletter regularly

Everything matters in the way your newsletter performs, but one that stands out is consistency. If you’re about to start marketing through email, this is something you should know.

Your newsletter can be more than just marketing, although it is great for that. By sending it regularly, your readers come to expect and look forward to receiving your messages. Furthermore, it’s less likely to be categorized as spam. 

Sending regularly, such as on the same day of the week or at the beginning of every month, improves your deliverability score. 

Every email sender has this score, which Internet email service providers use to determine who is a spammer and who is legitimate. A low score could mean your readers never see your emails at all. Since you’re starting a new list, it’s best to get in the habit of validating it regularly to keep invalid or bad email addresses off. You can even get an email validation API for your email signup form to keep these low-quality addresses off the list, to begin with. 

5. Email isn’t going anywhere

Of course it’s good to invest in your social media channels, but many of these social media websites vary in their reach. In an era where people are prone to swearing off Facebook or deactivate their Twitter in a huff, one thing that is almost unheard of is someone giving up on email. Chances are, you don’t know anyone who is without an email address. 

Because of email’s longevity and a promising future ahead, it’s smart to begin collecting email addresses now and making the most of them. 

Email is a long-term investment that will continue to yield year after year. Not unlike saving for your retirement or getting in an exercise routine, it’s never too late to start your email newsletter. Don’t think about the time that has passed, rather think about the tremendous potential that lies ahead. 

Photo by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Best Practices for Running Great Virtual Business Meetings

Noupe.com - 15 octobre, 2020 - 16:46

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more and more managers to have to learn the ins and outs of running a successful remote work environment. Of all the adjustments they’re making, one stands above the rest: learning the virtual meeting best practices that will make everyone in the company feel included, even from a great distance.

With in-person meetings disappearing over the past few months, virtual meeting etiquette has become a point of emphasis for many companies, on par with robust sales funnels, company growth, and aggressive innovation. The problem is that best practices for virtual meetings isn’t something that you’re likely to learn in business school, or even on the job, assuming that your company’s pre-COVID setup was based in a group office setting.

Virtual Meeting Best Practices

Here then are some of my best tips for conducting a remote business meeting, learned through years of experience, trial and error, and finally, success:

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

No matter how much money and effort you put into technology, there’s still a good chance that some kind of tech-related delay will occur over the course of a company meeting. Maybe your head of product development suddenly has her Internet conk out on her. Or your VP of Marketing’s cat knocks over a can of Coke, causing catastrophic failure to his laptop (the VP Marketing’s laptop, not the cat’s, though if Sir-Meows-A-Lot’s brand new MacBook Air gets fried, that’s no less tragic).

However it happens, the likelihood of a tech mishap delaying or interfering with a virtual meeting demands that you be on point with every aspect of that meeting. Taking the time beforehand to map out a clear agenda and ensure that all the key points get covered is the essence of virtual meeting best practices.

2. Don’t Be a Dictator

Preach, cajole, and demand all you like…none of that will guarantee that every single remote worker in a virtual meeting will sit in rapt attention for every single minute of that meeting. There are bound to be a few remote workers who answer email during your virtual meeting, while others run to the kitchen for coffee or scold the dog for eating an entire wheel of cheese.

Virtual meeting etiquette thus ironically demands that you not get too caught in each individual’s etiquette. As long as the main objectives of the virtual meeting are met and the key players whose attention you require are engaged long enough to process what you’re saying, you’re good. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

3. Keep People Engaged

Just because you’re patient and understanding when people tune out or step away doesn’t mean that you feel just give up on keeping your remote workers engaged. Virtual meetings can already feel disconnected just by being virtual. It’s on you as the manager to recognize that, and seek ways to hold people’s attention for however long your virtual meeting lasts.

One of the most important tips for conducting a virtual meeting, then, is to try to get everyone involved. Assuming your team isn’t too enormous, you can loop in quick check-ins from everyone at some point in the meeting. At DistantJob, our Monday morning planning meeting includes catchup sessions with each member of the team on how they spent their weekend. Not only does that loop everyone into the conversation…it also helps everyone get to know each other better, by gaining a little window into people’s lives outside of work.

4. Be Inclusive

It’s hard enough to get introverted employees to speak up at a meeting that takes place in the office. It’s even tougher to do so during a virtual meeting, where technological barriers can make your shyest employees even shyer. 

Be mindful of that potential reluctance, as well as those barriers. Strategize ways to include those employees who might be least inclined to speak. It’s unfair to those remote workers to be left out. Moreover, your company could miss out on some great insight if these intelligent but introverted employees don’t feel empowered to speak up.

5. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Although some companies have switched entirely to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies that employ remote workers count only a fraction of their employees as being remote, with the rest still working out of an office. Or if that’s not the case now, it likely will be once governments loosen coronavirus-related lockdowns and office restrictions. That means you’ll still have access to your office’s conference room.

This is a huge asset not only for the people actually in the room, but also for your remote workers. On the most basic level, you can use simple video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams to loop remote workers in with the people sitting in the physical conference room.

But really, you can and should do better than that. One tool that takes the inclusivity of remote workers to the next level is Kubi. Essentially a telepresence robot, Kubi is a tablet that rests on a moving arm that you control. This moving arm enables virtual team members to feel like they’re actually in the room with you. There are also revolving webcams such as Owl, which pan around the physical conference room to show everyone in attendance, so that remote workers can get to know everyone’s faces.

If you want to go even further, consider a tool such as Polycom’s Immersive Studio conference room. Immersive Studio shows multiple people on multiple different screens, with crystal clear screens and high-quality audio making everyone feel like they’re truly sitting side by side. A solution like Immersive Studio (or those created by Polycom’s competitors) can run about $100,000 to install and implement. But given how quickly technology adapts to new trends, how COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we think about remote work, and how prices inevitably come down once a tech solution starts to become more popular, it’s not hard to imagine sleeker, simpler apps in the near future that will come at a much more attractive price tag.

These are just some of the best practices for virtual meetings that I’ve been able to pinpoint over the years. Whichever steps you take, just remember this: Your remote workers are every bit as valuable as the employees who sit a few feet away from you in your physical office. Treat them accordingly.

Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Dos and Don’ts of fruitful bulk communication

Noupe.com - 15 octobre, 2020 - 15:54

Bulk text messaging and email campaigns can be great for marketing and staying in front of your target audience.  But it can be tempting to send bulk communications without “doing your homework” first, so to speak.  

Businesses generally communicate through emails and SMS for effective bulk communication but social media is on the rise.

With so much technology to communicate at our fingertips, it’s hard not to get excited and overshare the love we feel for our businesses.

However, by not following best practices for this type of communication we can alienate current and prospective buyers, or even land our business in hot water for solicitation.

Here are some dos and don’ts for effective bulk communication to help businesses connect with their subscribers and stay aligned with their company’s mission and vision.

Do: Get Consent

Make sure your target audience has opted-in to your email or marketing SMS campaign before adding them to your bulk communications list.  This means getting express consent and offering a simple opt-out solution.

Using an opt-in list will help ensure that you maintain regulatory compliance with CAN-SPAM laws and that your IP address won’t be blocked.

Simply collecting the phone number of a prospective buyer does not mean you’ve gotten express consent to send SMS messages, so make sure this process is very clear for both parties. 

Consent must be given in writing. Think of this as pitching a deck (think: proven communication templates) to a potential investor.

Dot all of your ‘i’s and cross all of your ‘t’s when it comes to written consent. Providing your subscribers with information on how often you plan to message them, or if data rates may apply, for example, will help ensure you stay compliant and help instill trust in your subscribers.

Don’t: Solicit or “block the exit”

Many consumers state their number one reason for not trusting businesses as gathering information without their consent, then using this information to send unsolicited communication.

It is also imperative to provide an exit or “opt-out” option on every communication. No one wants to feel forced to receive unwanted messages with no way to unsubscribe.

Incorporating prompts to get customer feedback in your copies can be a great way to find out if your cold leads are wanting to opt-out.

Do: Mind the frequency and timing of your communication

While there is no universal rule for communication frequency, texting or emailing too often may just annoy your subscribers and make you come across as a spammer.

When it comes to communication the timing of your content also matters.

Who is more likely to read a text message at 3 PM over the summer – a college-aged student on a break from classes, or a working mother?  

On another note, infrequency can also hurt your communication efforts.  

If you are planning on sending an email campaign and are just getting started or have been inactive for some time, it’s important to “warm-up” your IP address before sending a massive amount of marketing emails out of the blue. Otherwise, you run the risk of having your IP address blocked. 

Warming up your IP address is normally a fairly natural process when your company is still in its growth phase, but if you haven’t sent a mass of emails in a while, start slowly.

Don’t: Spam your subscribers, especially at odd hours

Too many emails and messages is a sure-fire way to get your audience to hit the “unsubscribe” button.

Furthermore, text messages are normally read within minutes.  So avoid sending messages early in the morning or late in the evening of your subscribers’ day, as this will only cut into their personal time and negatively impact their view of your business. 

If you especially are in the business of using a VoIP, you need to know the imaginative boundaries of reaching out to your customers/leads.

Do: Make sure your bulk communication has a universal appeal

There’s almost nothing less appealing to a subscriber than receiving messages that are completely off-base and not related to them at all.

Having multiple personalities (think: The Minds of Billy Milligan) when it comes to drafting copy’s is not what we call universal!

Remember to keep your messaging broad enough that it would appeal to anyone opting in to receive communication from your business.

Don’t: Waste your communication on useless or boring “filler” content

Have you heard the phrase “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?  Your subscribers expect to be treated with this same logic.

If your subscribers checked the box to opt-in, it means they are expecting the inside scoop at the very least.  Keep your marketing content fresh and creative, and offer your subscribers something of value every time.

Not providing valuable information or deals worth their time is a sure way to lose them. Also paying attention to communication barriers early proves to be lucrative. 

Do: Add a clear call-to-action

Sometimes in the haste to communicate, we forget why we wanted to in the first place – to ask for our subscribers’ business.

If your subscribers don’t know what they’re supposed to do next, you may as well have sent them a daily cat fact for all the good it will do your business!

Adding a clear call-to-action (CTA) will help guide your subscribers to take the desired action, whether it’s to take advantage of an amazing deal or to attend an event that will drum up more business for your company. Always provide all of the necessary details, such as links or promo codes.

Most importantly – adding a CTA means nothing if you do not appropriately identify your brand!

Don’t: Leave them hanging

Not adding a clear call-to-action may only confuse or even annoy your subscribers. An ill-timed message with no clear purpose is sure to grow your unsubscribe list.

If emails are your go-to method then you should look into Gmail extensions that provide you with a plethora of services like reminders, email tracking, to-do lists, and more. 

Bulk communication is an integral part of your customer service experience.

Following best practices when it comes to bulk communication will strengthen your customer relationship which will, in turn, allow you to stay in front of your competitors while ensuring you remain compliant with regulations. 

This will also allow you to gain the trust of your subscribers, in turn helping you bring your business’ vision and goals to life.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

What is FERPA?

Noupe.com - 15 octobre, 2020 - 14:22

According to a federal law called FERPA, educators, administrators, registrars, and other school employees in the United States are responsible for securing the student data that passes through their hands. But what is FERPA, exactly?

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which mandates certain privacy rights regarding education data for students and their parents. The law states that parents have the right to access their children’s education records. It also forbids the sharing of that data without a parent’s written permission. When eligible students turn 18 or graduate high school, these rights pass to them.

Violations of the act can restrict access to Department of Education funding, so compliance with FERPA is a crucial concern for schools at every level (with a few notable exceptions, which we’ll discuss in Chapter 3). If you work with student data, it’s likely that you’re responsible for protecting it, but the details of FERPA make things a little less clear-cut. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the background, intent, and concrete requirements of the law, as outlined in the following chapters.

Note that, while this article introduces FERPA and provides a few starting points for compliance, nothing here is intended as legal advice. For guidance on a specific situation, contact an attorney who specializes in privacy law.

What is FERPA? Chapter synopsis
  • Introduction.
  • The history of FERPA. When was FERPA passed? Why do we need this type of privacy law? This chapter discusses the history and purpose of the act.
  • FERPA requirements and exceptions. Learn about the rights and responsibilities the law guarantees students, parents, and educational institutions. We’ll also cover exceptions to some of these requirements. 
  • FERPA compliance. What do you need to do to make sure your facility fully complies with FERPA? Here are some resources to get you started. 
  • FERPA violations and consequences. Here, we’ll introduce common FERPA violations and the potential penalties they can incur. This is also where you’ll learn about the U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office, which enforces FERPA. 
  • FERPA training. The best way to protect your institution from FERPA violations is to provide comprehensive training for all relevant staff. We’ll discuss what that looks like. 
  • FERPA waivers and forms. This chapter goes into greater detail on the subject of “written consent,” describing the forms — both digital and print — that may allow the sharing of limited student data.    

Feel free to skip directly to Chapter 3 if your main concern is FERPA compliance, but bookmark the whole guide before you do. Questions about FERPA have a way of popping up unexpectedly, and you may need other chapters sooner than you think. 

The history of FERPA

Prior to FERPA’s enactment, unsecured student data led to real-world problems, says Millicent Kelly in her FERPA Training for Educators online course. 

“By the early 1970s, almost anyone with a badge could obtain personal and academic records of students. Oftentimes, the files contained medical and mental health information, which could result in a student being removed from one program and placed into a program for children with special needs. This could take place without so much as notifying a student’s parents or guardians.” 

Despite transgressions like these, FERPA would have to wait for a broader concern over privacy rights to sweep through the nation. This occurred in the mid-1970s when national events brought privacy abuses to the forefront of public consciousness.

When was FERPA passed? 

You can draw a direct line between FERPA and Watergate. Strange as the connection may sound, the Nixon Administration’s secret data collection during the scandal created a strong appetite for privacy protections in the legislature in the early 1970s.  

Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. Less than two weeks later, on August 21, President Gerald Ford signed FERPA into law. By the end of that year, the 93rd Congress would follow FERPA with the much broader Privacy Act

“This gives you a sense of what must have been going on back then,” says LeRoy Rooker, senior fellow at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). “There was an obvious heightened concern for protection of information on individuals, and this included parents and students.” 

Rooker is the leading authority on FERPA. As a senior fellow at AACRAO, he conducts FERPA training and consultation. Prior to joining AACRAO, Rooker spent 21 years as director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO), the agency that administers the law and investigates alleged violations.  

The purpose of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 

The purpose of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is to protect access to educational records for students and parents, while preventing that access for unauthorized third parties. When FERPA was passed, there was little to compare it to — but that soon changed. It’s essentially a data security law, related to the Privacy Act of 1974 and the later Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. 

In fact, there’s often some confusion within schools about whether FERPA or HIPAA take priority in the case of student health records. Here are a few things to know about how FERPA and HIPAA interact: 

  • When school nurses keep records of student health in elementary and high schools, those records are typically covered by FERPA, not HIPAA
  • This means school nurses can share health data with other school staff when there’s “legitimate educational interest” — a topic we’ll cover in Chapter 2. 
  • Once a student of any age enters post-secondary school (like a college or university), or that student turns 18, FERPA no longer covers any of their health records. In this case, HIPAA or other state or federal privacy laws take precedence. 

For more information on the difference between FERPA and HIPAA, see our coverage here. We’ll discuss the details of what sort of data is protected in Chapter 3. For now, let’s look at how FERPA governs the activity of education staff at relevant institutions. 

FERPA requirements and exceptions

The full text of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Subtitle A, Part 99. It contains more than 13,000 words of dense legislative language, and there’s a 45-year case history that influences its application. In other words, there’s a lot to learn. 

We’ve pulled a few main details every parent, student, and school representative should know about FERPA. At the end of this chapter, we’ll discuss FERPA exceptions — like the fact that, in cases of legitimate educational interest, FERPA may allow data to be shared without consent. 

FERPA rights for eligible students and parents

The rights guaranteed by FERPA belong to students and their parents, but not necessarily both at the same time. Parents hold these rights until a student turns 18 or begins post-secondary education. So if you graduate high school at 15 and enter college at 16, these rights belong to you, not your parents — and schools can violate FERPA by sharing data with a parent after a student becomes the holder of these rights. 

Mirroring FERPA’s language, we’ll call any student who has become the rights holder in this case “eligible.” In other words, an eligible student under FERPA is one who’s 18 or older, or whose education is continuing past high school. Broadly speaking, FERPA guarantees three basic rights to eligible students or their parents: 

  1. Institutions cannot disclose education data without written permission from the rights holder, except in a few narrowly defined instances. 
  2. The parent or the eligible student has the right to access that student’s education records.
  3. If the eligible student or parent disagrees with the content of a record, they can request a change. 

This third scenario has the potential to get complicated. In cases where school officials refuse to grant a requested edit to a document, eligible students or their parents have a right to an official hearing. If the hearing doesn’t convince the school that the data should be changed, the student or parent can then enter a statement detailing their complaint into the record.   

While the student’s right to data privacy is at the heart of this law, in some instances, institutions can share educational data without written permission from the rights holder. Here are a few of the most common examples. 

FERPA exceptions for educational institutions

If you think you’re in a situation where FERPA allows you to share student data without signed consent, be careful. While there are a handful of exceptions to this key rule, they are both rare and narrowly defined. 

“Exceptions where an institution doesn’t need consent are very specific,” Rooker says. “There’s one for a health or safety emergency, and one for audit evaluation by the Secretary of Education. But as a general rule, students have to consent, or parents have to consent, to records being disclosed outside the school or institution.”

Even when FERPA doesn’t require signed consent in order to share information, institutions, erring on the side of caution, may ask for that permission before releasing any records. The safest bet is to ask the eligible student or parent for a signed form, Rooker says. 

All the official FERPA exceptions are in Subpart §99.31 of the act. We’ll go over the most common ones here. In addition to the carve-outs Rooker mentions, you may not have to obtain signed consent before sharing student data if 

  • The data constitutes “directory information.” You don’t need signed consent to disclose the kind of identifying data you’d find in a yearbook. According to the law, “directory information” in this context may include “the student’s name; address; telephone listing; electronic mail address; photograph; date and place of birth; major field of study; grade level; enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time); dates of attendance; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; degrees, honors, and awards received; and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.”
  • The data is going to another school in which the student plans to enroll. “Generally, if a student is applying to another institution, you wouldn’t need signed consent to send a letter of recommendation,” says Rooker, citing one example of student information that can sometimes be shared without signed consent. “Now, if they were sending a letter of recommendation to a potential employer, then they would need consent because there’s not an exception that lets them provide information from the student’s record to a potential employer.”  
  • Financial aid providers need the data to determine the eligibility; amount; or conditions of the grant, scholarship, or other education funding. Note that this financial aid may have already been granted to the student, or they may be in the application stage. Either way, data can occasionally be shared if it helps students pay for school. 
  • The data is requested as part of an eligible study. Universities, educational agencies, and others can sometimes access student data in connection with a study to “develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; administer student aid programs; or improve instruction,” according to the act. 

There are also exceptions to FERPA’s signed consent requirement for the legal world. Judicial orders and subpoenas can overrule the need for consent, and states have their own laws regarding student data and the juvenile justice system. 

The list goes on, but there’s one FERPA exception that we need to discuss in more depth because it requires a detailed definition of an unfamiliar term: The case of “legitimate educational interest.” 

When an institution can prove legitimate educational interest, FERPA may allow data to be shared without written consent

According to FERPA, data holders can share student information with “school officials with legitimate educational interests” without prior consent. So what exactly constitutes legitimate educational interest? The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, says that it’s up to schools and agencies to establish their own criteria

The NCES does suggest including the following factors in a FERPA-compliant “legitimate educational interest” policy: 

  • The data in question must be necessary for a school official to complete the tasks described in their job descriptions or contracts.
  • The data must be relevant to a proper educational goal.
  • Any education records shared between school staff must only be used for education, not for outside issues.
  • School staff must use the student data for the reason the data was kept in the first place.

You can see why FERPA training is such an important part of establishing student privacy protocols. Go to Chapter 5 to learn more about this training, or keep reading to learn a few key facts about FERPA compliance.

FERPA compliance

Some of FERPA’s provisions are fairly straightforward. To comply with FERPA, educational institutions must 

With plans and permissions in place, it’s simple enough to comply with these three requirements. But FERPA compliance can get trickier when it comes to sharing student data. What counts as education data under the law? What level of digital data security is needed to comply with FERPA? We’ll get deeper into these questions in this chapter. 

Does FERPA apply to your educational institution? 

Not all educational organizations are bound by FERPA. There’s one simple way to tell: If your school receives funding from programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education, it must comply with FERPA or risk losing those funds. 

The educational agencies and institutions that typically receive funding through the Department of Education programs include 

  • Public elementary (or primary) schools
  • Public middle and high (or secondary) schools
  • Colleges and universities (or postsecondary schools)

According to the Department of Education, private or parochial schools below the postsecondary level usually don’t receive funds from programs that bind them by FERPA’s rules. Such institutions are often exempt from FERPA compliance. 

Even private colleges and universities, however, are likely to accept payments through federal programs administered by the Department of Education: Pell Grants and the federal guaranteed student loan program are two examples. So most institutions of higher education must comply with FERPA to accept federally assisted tuition. 

Once you determine that FERPA does apply to your institution, you’ll need to spread awareness of the law’s details to all relevant staff. You may want to get FERPA certification. If you do, understand that there’s no official certification program from the Department of Education. 

Institutions often certify their own employees or seek certification from third-party organizations, but there’s no national standard. To increase FERPA awareness among school staff, you’ll need FERPA training. We’ll discuss that topic in detail in Chapter 5 of this guide. 

Because many FERPA violations are the result of mishandling education data, it’s important to discuss what that data is and how schools can maintain it in a FERPA-compliant manner — whether it’s on paper or in the cloud. 

What are “education records” according to FERPA? 

Under FERPA, school employees are forbidden from disclosing information from “education records” without an eligible student or parent’s written consent. But not every word jotted down by a teacher counts as an education record. Here’s how education records are defined in the Act:

  • According to 34 CFR § 99.3, education records are “directly related to a student” and maintained by the “educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.” 
  • These records can take any form in any medium: paper, digital, audio, video, etc. “FERPA is technology neutral,” Rooker says. “It doesn’t say, ‘You have to create records in this format only.’ It says, ‘It doesn’t matter the format you create the record in — your institution is responsible for protecting it.’ ”
  • For the most part, then, all data your school retains about students can be considered education records — with a few exceptions: 
  • Notes for personal use don’t count as education records, so teachers can write down memory aids about students without concern.
  • Student information that’s created and maintained by or for law enforcement agencies is not considered an education record under FERPA.
  • Records a school receives after the student leaves that school don’t qualify under FERPA unless they concern the student’s earlier attendance at that school.   

As Rooker explains, both paper and electronic student records must be protected under FERPA. For paper files, restricting access to a few authorized employees and keeping files under lock and key are traditional methods of protecting student data. The question of digital security requires a bit more unpacking. 

FERPA compliance with digital student records

“Electronic records are no different than paper records when it comes to protecting the privacy of these documents,” Rooker says. “You have to make sure that whatever security you have works.”

Unfortunately, FERPA doesn’t prescribe a particular type or level of digital security. It simply states that the data must not be disclosed without signed consent. Both data-collection and data-storage systems must be protected from accidental disclosure and malicious attacks. 

Complying with industry security standards is a great place to start with digital FERPA compliance. For example, JotForm provides secure transmission of its online forms with the highest available levels of data security, including 

For more information on data security, see our comprehensive guide

In addition to these basic protections, however, FERPA compliance also requires school officials to authenticate the identity of eligible students or parents before providing access to digital records.   

Establishing a “reasonable expectation of authentication” for student data

FERPA compliance requires strong identification procedures to make sure you’re actually interacting with the eligible student or parent before disclosing protected information. “If you’re giving access to your student information system, there has to be a robust process in place for establishing a secret PIN or password,” Rooker explains. He advises that education officials learn from the banking industry, which shares these identification concerns. 

Rooker says, “If you forget your ATM PIN, you can’t call up the bank and say, ‘Hey, can you give me a new PIN?’ They won’t do that. They’ll say, ‘We’ll send you one to your address on record. It’ll come through the U.S. mail and you’ll get it that way.’”

Educational institutions should use a similar process to establish what the Department of Education calls a “reasonable expectation of authentication.” That doesn’t have to be a PIN sent in the mail; it may take the form of displaying a driver’s license on a video call, mailing a notarized copy of state ID, or other, more novel approaches. 

But taking the caller or emailer’s word as proof of identity is not enough. “There needs to be a robust identification process before you give access to education records,” Rooker says. 

With security protocols in place for both physical and digital student records, you’re one step closer to full FERPA compliance. But what happens if you fail to fully comply with the act? In the next chapter, we’ll go deeper into the subject of FERPA violations — and how to avoid them. 

With security protocols in place for both physical and digital student records, you’re one step closer to full FERPA compliance. But what happens if you fail to fully comply with the act? In the next chapter, we’ll go deeper into the subject of FERPA violations — and how to avoid them. 

FERPA violations and consequences

“FERPA violations run the gamut from denying the student access to their education records to improperly disclosing information,” Rooker says. “Institutions disclosing information without consent or without meeting one of the exceptions to signed consent are big ones.”

Improper disclosure can occur in lots of ways. To illustrate that point, Rooker shares an example of a real-life FERPA violation he investigated while at the Department of Education.

The institution provided a web-based portal that gave eligible students online access to their own education information. This access was protected by the student’s password, which could have been acceptable under FERPA rules — except that the system only required a social security number and date of birth to reset the password through the website. 

Rooker describes how that system violated FERPA, and how this violation was uncovered: 

“In this particular instance, it was the [eligible student’s] father who went to the records website, clicked a button that said, ‘I forgot my password,’ and put in his son’s social security number and date of birth, and then got access to all of [his son’s] records. The son became aware [of the breach] because his parents were going through a divorce, and his records ended up in court as part of the divorce proceedings.” 

The school officials in this story made one major mistake. They failed to establish a reasonable expectation of authentication. But the broader implication is that they failed to fully understand the law. They weren’t thorough and intentional about FERPA compliance. 

“You have to make a reasonable effort to protect student records, and that school’s effort clearly was not reasonable,” Rooker says.

Often, FERPA violations involving improper disclosure occur in a moment of absentmindedness. Without training and constant attention, it’s easy to make mistakes. Consider these other FERPA violation examples:  

  • Emailing protected student information to everyone in the class
  • Including social security numbers on shared documents
  • Posting grades and identifying information in public
  • Publicly disclosing a student athlete’s academic status

For more examples of FERPA violations from the field, read our blog on the subject. 

If you do get caught violating FERPA and refuse to come into compliance, here’s what might happen.  

FERPA violation penalties

The most extreme consequence for violating FERPA is the loss of federal education funds. To get to that point, however, would take willful disobedience of the Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO). 

Prior to banning institutions from receiving federal funds, FPCO takes a number of steps. Most FPCO investigations begin as complaints or are self-reported — and FPCO encourages schools to self-report since the ultimate goal isn’t punishment but rather voluntary compliance with FERPA.

Upon discovery of a violation, the FPCO first offers to help schools come into compliance with FERPA. If the institution still fails to fix the problem, FPCO may take punitive steps. According to training documents from the Department of Education, potential FERPA violation penalties include 

  • Cease and desist orders
  • Freezing payments from Department of Education programs
  • Denying eligibility for Department of Education funding

Again, these dire consequences won’t enter the picture unless an institution refuses to work with FPCO to improve its procedures. You’d have to completely ignore the law to risk the most serious penalties. “Ultimately, they could take away Department of Education funds,” Rooker says. “But that would take an institution not coming into compliance with FERPA after an investigation.” 

The best way to avoid FERPA violations, of course, is to provide adequate training for all relevant employees. We’ll discuss what that looks like in the next chapter. 

FERPA training

“The best protection for education records is training,” Rooker says. “There’s no substitute for that. You’re not going to know if your records are secure unless you’re really steeped in [FERPA].” So how do you provide FERPA training for teachers and other school staff? Many organizations provide FERPA certification programs; here are some of the top options:  

  • Conduct FERPA training in house. University registrars often provide FERPA training for teachers and other employees themselves. Initial and refresher training courses from experts at your institution can help reduce the likelihood of violations. Many postsecondary schools operate in-house FERPA certification programs for staff, including Purdue University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Washington State University.        
  • Online training modules from the Department of Education. Free, introductory online training courses are available from the Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center and the Student Privacy Policy Office. Courses may change and/or grow, but for now, they offer modules called FERPA 101: For Colleges & Universities, FERPA 101: For Local Education Agencies, and FERPA 201: Data Sharing under FERPA.     
  • FERPA compliance training from AACRAO. AACRAO offers FERPA training for faculty and staff at colleges and universities, both online and on campus. Rooker conducts interactive FERPA training through AACRAO and tailors each session to match the audience’s needs. During AACRAO FERPA training, “I start at the beginning of the regulations, hit the highlights, and, in the process, generate questions. I tell stories about investigations we did when I was at the Department and give vignettes about the way violations can happen,” Rooker says. “A lot of the training content is generated through interaction with the participants and answering their questions.”  

The goals of any FERPA training should include raising awareness among staff, covering compliance basics, and answering staff questions. Teachers as well as any employees with access to student data should receive FERPA training on an ongoing basis. 

Two questions that often come up at FERPA training sessions involve the transmission of digital data and the proper use of signed consent forms. The next chapter provides introductory guidance on the use of these instruments, which we’ll refer to collectively as “FERPA forms.” 

FERPA waivers and forms

If you work in education, odds are you’ve heard the term — but what is a “FERPA form?” In most cases, it’s a document that provides signed consent for the release of education records to anyone other than the parent or eligible student. Other common terms that refer to signed consent forms under FERPA include 

  • FERPA waiver form
  • FERPA release form
  • FERPA release authorization
  • FERPA consent form

They’re all essentially the same thing and serve the purpose of providing signed consent to disclose the records FERPA protects. “The consent requirement is part of protecting the privacy of the record,” Rooker explains. “The student has a right to determine who can be given access to those records.” 

A FERPA signed consent form for an eligible student (one who’s 18 years old or attending a postsecondary school) should contain, at minimum, the following elements:  

  • Student name and identifying information (student ID number, date of birth, etc.)  
  • Student contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) 
  • Institution name and identifying information 
  • Authorized recipient name, contact information, and relationship to student
  • All records the form gives permission to release (e.g., transcripts, application documents, recommendation letters, etc.) 
  • A statement of permission to share protected education records
  • Student signature and date

Depending on the institution and the application, FERPA signed consent forms may require other information than what appears on this list; again, it’s always best to check with a privacy attorney about specific questions. 

FERPA release forms for parents

For students under 18 years of age and in elementary or high school, a parent must provide the signed consent to release education records. A FERPA release form for parents should contain essentially the same information listed above, along with 

  • Parent name and relationship to student (mother, father, legal guardian, etc.) 
  • Parent signature and date
  • Parent contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) 

Note that an eligible student may wish to provide signed consent to release education records to their own parents. This is the student’s right; when they become eligible, students have power over their own education records, and school officials cannot release those records to parents without the student’s signed consent form. 

A signed consent form permitting a parent to receive an eligible student’s grades is another type of “FERPA release form for parents.” Typically, though, the term refers to forms signed by the parent for an ineligible student. Learn more about FERPA forms in this blog post. 

Online FERPA release forms from JotForm

Remember that FERPA is technology neutral. The law doesn’t state that signed consent forms must be paper and ink — and there are a lot of good reasons to choose online forms. Not only are they more convenient and incredibly secure, but online forms reduce paper consumption, which helps the environment. 

Online FERPA forms from JotForm meet the highest standards of data security to safely protect student records during transmission. And JotForm has a long history of working with educational institutions to simplify all sorts of processes, both in the classroom and in administrative offices. We even offer a 50-percent discount on paid plans for educators. If you’re ready to start collecting FERPA signed consent forms digitally, sign up for JotForm today

Catégories: News dév web

Weighing Up The Essential Triad For Effective Conversions: UX, SEO & CRO

Noupe.com - 14 octobre, 2020 - 07:56

As you create a presence for your business online, the marketing strategies that you adopt must be fine-tuned to help you achieve your goal of facilitating conversions. SEO is imperative in generating interest in your products or services, but factors like search compliance and content accessibility have to be considered too in order to really make a name for yourself online. 

SEO has become an all-encompassing force in digital marketing. However, plenty of businesses fail to acknowledge that Search Engine Optimisation isn’t the be-all and end-all of building an online presence, and companies can often be left wondering why their efforts are failing to generate traffic or create the conversions they anticipated. 

The best online marketing strategies are multifaceted and committed to the triad of effective conversions. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), combines with User Experience (UX), and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) to develop a comprehensive strategy that’s primed for leveraging sales. 

SEO-driven content may justifiably be the most effective way of generating exposure for businesses, it will only ever lead traffic towards the direction of your front door. UX helps them to cross the threshold while CRO helps them to decide to make a purchase. 

To build online conversions, it’s vital to find a balance within your SEO, UX, and CRO strategies and fine-tune them towards creating a marketing ecosystem in that each approach compliments each other. Let’s take a deeper look at the triad of effective conversions and delve into the data that quantifies the value that can be found in SEO, UX, and CRO marketing. 

Building on SEO Foundations (Image: Backlinko)

Search Engine Optimisation is the name given a collection of approaches that are designed to aid websites in becoming more visible to audiences using search engines like Google. As the chart above shows, businesses that position themselves in the first place among Google’s results attracts, on average, over 400,000 clicks, as opposed to websites positioned outside of the top 10, which can struggle to muster a fraction of this figure. 

Search engines send out crawlers to help to explore your website and better understand its content. This means that it’s important for you to make it as easy as possible for these little helper bots to communicate back to the likes of Google the topics that you’re attempting to cover within your pages. 

Vitally when it comes to SEO, crawlers can explore the quality and quantity of the links you build and the types of keywords that you use within your content before deciding where to place your content within the results pages of search engines.

Naturally, Google is the most popular and powerful search engine operating today. With this in mind, let’s focus primarily on how SEO helps websites to gain prominence within Google’s SERPs. Google’s job is to offer accurate results for every query that’s submitted to the engine. To supply users with accurate results, Google instantaneously studied the query being made and then read the pages of a website in order to deliver the most fitting results. Content accuracy and domain authority come into the mix here to deliver added relevance. 

By determining the type of query that’s being submitted, and whether it’s informational, navigational, or transactional, Google can display results based on the relevance of the content. 

What are Transactional Queries?

Transactional queries can indicate the intention of a user to complete a transaction (make a purchase). 

For instance, if a user enters ‘buy Bluetooth speakers’, Google’s results will be populated with ‘transactional’ results (shops that sell smart speakers). 

Despite the fact that many of the websites shown on the results pages will have fewer links pointing to them than, say, a more information-based piece such as “The 15 Best Bluetooth Speakers for Under £50,” transaction-based results will typically appear higher within search results. 

What are Informational Queries?

When a user is looking for information and/or specific answers, these queries are categorised by Google as ‘informational.’

Unlike transactional queries, informational queries are typically more content-heavy pieces. 

The example above illustrates the type of informational queries that Google receives in relation to iPhone questions. 

What are Navigational Queries?

Navigational queries are heavily brand-based. In these instances, users type in a brand name (e.g. “eBay”) with the sole aim of visiting eBay’s website. 

Besides the type of search query, there’s an innumerable amount of different factors that Google weighs up when considering its list of results. This is to an extent where SEO is extremely difficult to master even for the more experienced practitioners out there. An SEO’s job involves identifying relevant keywords and phrases to craft quality content that generates traffic. 

The real challenge for SEOs, however, is to identify and create content that’s capable of driving traffic and ultimately conversions. 

This is where some of BuzzSumo’s core features come into play: 

BuzzSumo’s Content Analyser helps users to identify and research the best performing content for specific keyphrases.

The analysis tab offers up further metrics such as engagement by network or engagement by content length. 

The Keyword Discovery feature allows users to dip into the ins and outs of specific keywords.

In terms of digital marketing, SEO provides businesses with the volumes of traffic that they need to successfully operate online. If audiences can’t find your website online, it’s going to be extremely hard to make conversions happen. 

(Image: Improve Marketing)

According to findings from BrightEdge, over half of all visitors navigate onto websites via organic search queries. These figures dwarf the expensive roles that PPC, advertising and social media campaigns can play in generating interest. This shows just how essential it is for businesses to invest time in SEO campaigns. The chart above illustrates that even in varying industries, organic search traffic consistently outperforms all other means of generating traffic. 

Evaluating The Power of UX (Image: Akamai)

The true value of gaining a strong UX model for a website is illustrated within the chart above. Conversion rates tend to form a strong correlation with page load times – this means that the slower a website is, it’s likely to see fewer conversions. 

Free website performance analysis tools like Pingdom and Finteza can offer users a valuable “waterfall” inspection of various assets that may be slowing down their websites. 

Another feature which is relatively unique is a map of a given website’s loading time in all other countries globally without the need of analysing each one individually. This can be useful when a user’s website attracts visitors from various countries across the world.

SEO has the power to lead users to a website, but it’s a site’s UX model that can help to mould their interest to an extent where making a purchase or signing up to a newsletter, or making a service enquiry becomes achievable. 

Building a website that’s unappealing to target audiences and offers little in the way of the usability will lead to more visitors navigating away than making a purchase. Poor on-site experiences can even go as far as developing a negative brand perception among some prospective customers due to the levels of inconvenience suffered as a result.

Operating with a positive UX strategy means designing a usable interface that works just how visitors would expect. Interactions with pages would be convenient, informative, and wholly unintrusive. One of the more effective ways of building a strong UX involves creating a site so that users won’t need to exert any effort in navigating as they continue their journey towards a conversion. 

To design a website efficiently with UX in mind, it’s vital to consider all visitors as customers who are simply waiting to make a purchase. This means that the messages, displays and plugins on-site all need to complement its branding and subtly lure traffic towards on-site sales funnels. Valuable user experiences will always ensure that visitors will continue to return to a website, and this enables continuous engagement long into the future. 

Weighing up the Influence of CRO (Image: Econsultancy)

The final piece of the essential triad focuses on Conversion Rate Optimisation. As the table above shows, there are plenty of similarities to be found between CRO practices and that of both SEO and UX. 

In a nutshell, CRO relates to the act of optimising your SEO and UX with the intention of optimising conversions. 

CRO can involve many different factors, such as fine-tuned Call-to-Action landing pages, multivariate A/B testing to see which approach leads to more sales, optimising content strategies, and utilising visual assets more effectively within a sales funnel. 

(Image: Invesp

Some marketers may mistakenly believe that CRO consists primarily of quick fixes designed to leverage sales. But there are some small changes in the realm of CRO that can ultimately amount to significant differences in respective sales funnel performance among websites. However, it’s worth noting that many of these changes could require heavy investigation before it’s worth taking decisive action. 

On the whole, CRO needs plenty of analysis and research to work comprehensively. It’s difficult to optimise on-site appeal if a user isn’t aware of what cues best help customers to gain the confidence to make a purchase. 

Marketers may see SEO and CRO as largely interchangeable when it comes to leveraging conversions. While SEO and CRO do share some similarities, SEO is wholly intent on bringing traffic to your site, while CRO converts said traffic into sales. 

Through various CRO techniques, it’s possible to add much more value to each visitor that’s attracted to your site through SEO strategies. Instead of recording each arrival as a click-through, they could be identified as genuine prospective customers by utilising the right combination of UX and CRO approaches. 

CRO may also aid businesses in staying one step ahead of their more SEO-based industry rivals. With the right level of marketing, the quality of traffic that it’s possible to gain may heavily outweigh the number of competitor visitors. 

Triads Based on Research

The best SEO, UX, and CRO triads are based on the foundations of research and acquired knowledge. There isn’t much point in running A/B tests on pages or choosing to rank for specific keywords when you haven’t yet realised who your audience really are.

The best marketing approaches require measured actions to be taken regarding branding, CTAs, and website responsiveness. If you are unable to effectively map out your visitors’ paths from discovering your site to making a purchase, then you haven’t conducted the right amount of prior research. 

Be sure to optimise your processes by gathering relevant information from different sources, whether they’re from technical audits, user behaviour analysis, data analytics, or multivariate testing. It can be vital to come up with a measurement plan to effectively act on your insights. 

As a marketer, your aim should be to create the best website possible that’s clearly visible through effective content. When users arrive on your pages, it’s then the job of your CRO approach to ensure that they navigate towards a conversion rather than bounce back. 

Peddling Conversions

Unfortunately, in the dynamic world of marketing, there’s no simple solution when it comes to driving conversions towards your website. SEO, UX & CRO can piece together an effective triad to build towards conversions but their application is ultimately down to the type of business that a website is aiming to attract. 

Strategies may vary depending on whether your website is primarily operating to attract sales, software downloads, clients, or mailing list recipients. Make sure you continually lookout for your visitors’ needs and refrain from making assumptions over what they would like to see and read from your business.

Successfully utilising your triad can help to forge a steady stream of sales that can be relied upon long into the future. You may need to constantly review and critique your approaches to get the best out of your triad, but if your website is fundamentally made more visible through an effective SEO approach, your UX and CRO can ensure that conversions will continue to flow over time.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

How to make money online

Noupe.com - 13 octobre, 2020 - 14:31

It’s easier than ever to make money online. Whether you just need to generate some fast cash or want to create long-term, sustainable income — which has become more common as freelance jobs, remote work opportunities, and the ease of selling goods online has increased — there are opportunities out there for you.

According to the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of Americans reported earning money online in 2016. That number is steadily increasing. A study by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics shows that remote work has grown 159 percent since 2005.

Making money online isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but there are plenty of ways to start earning cash fast if you’re willing to work hard. You could take a full-time or part-time job that allows you to work 100-percent remotely, create content or courses that generate affiliate income or sales, become a virtual assistant, fill out surveys, or sell your own products or services. You can even set up your own online business.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to make money online through

  • Content
  • Teaching
  • Online evaluations
  • Media
  • Selling goods and services
  • Apps
  • Remote work
  • Establishing an online business

With so many possibilities, there’s a method that will fit your education and capabilities. This guide covers a variety of ways to get started. Hopefully, one will be a perfect fit for you.

Ways to make money online

There are a lot of legitimate ways to make money online. Depending on your skills and your goals, you can choose just one or several methods.

If your goal is to create a long-term source of income, use as many methods as you can as long as they are sustainable and realistic for you. The more sources you have for earning money online, the better.

For example, some bloggers have generated income from affiliate marketing links and online advertising placements. Then, they’ve written an e-book or e-course and used their blog to sell it, leading to another revenue stream.

Here’s an overview of the eight most popular ways to make money online.

1. Content-based ideas

There are lots of ways you can make money online with content-based ideas. Blogging, freelance writing, becoming part of a content agency, translating, editing, proofreading, and publishing e-books are all viable options. Many people have also found that YouTube can become a source of income. For some content ideas, like blogging or publishing an online newspaper or magazine, you can make money by selling ads or joining affiliate programs.

Jane Sheeba has combined two content-based ideas to earn money. She started with affiliate marketing on her blog. Right after her first affiliate sale, she sold a copy of her e-book. She still relies on affiliate income and sales of her e-book to make money for her business.

2. Teaching-based ideas

If you’re particularly knowledgeable about a subject, you can use your expertise to make money online by becoming a consultant or creating online courses, podcasts, or webinars.

Several people have made decent money with teaching-based ideas. Robert Farrington of The College Investor was able to charge a flat rate for social media and online marketing consulting, which amounted to about $100 per hour, and Joseph Michael of Easy Course Creation has earned over six figures with his e-courses.

3. Online evaluation-based ideas

Believe it or not, some companies will pay you to complete surveys. Sometimes you’ll make just a few dollars or earn points for gift cards. Other times, you’ll be placed in an online focus group that pays upwards of $50 per hour. Most of these surveys can be completed whenever you have a moment, so this method is popular among college students.

4. Media-related ideas

Photographers and videographers can make money online by selling their photos and videos. Sites like Shutterstock and other stock photo and video sites allow you to list your media, and when someone buys one of your photos or videos, you get paid.

Some of these sites pay over $100 per image. The best photographers can earn a 42-percent commission on the images they sell. If photography or videography is one of your strong suits, you could earn a decent passive income through one of these sites.

5. Selling-based ideas

Selling on the internet isn’t new. You can sell tangible items, like unwanted household goods, or — even better — create your own online store. A lot of people start earning money online by cleaning out their closets and listing items for sale on sites like eBay and Poshmark.

However, you can create your own online store for your products, either as a website or on a site like Etsy. For example, if you want to start selling handmade Renaissance Faire costumes, you could make money by taking custom orders. Some people, like Mei Ong of Vice & Velvet, have found success by selling their products — in Ong’s case, vegan soaps and lotions — and have even gotten mentions in major magazines like O, The Oprah Magazine.

6. App-based ideas

Earning money through apps isn’t strictly an online way to make money because it does require you to get into the physical world. This is known as a “phygital” model because it’s part physical and part digital.

If you have a car, you can sign up for Uber or Lyft and make money as a driver, and if you own a bike, motorbike, or car, you can sign up as a delivery person. Airbnb is an option if you want to rent out a room in your home to short-term guests. The average Airbnb host makes $6,000 per year, but hosts like Pol McCann, who earned enough from listing his apartment on Airbnb after six months to buy a second apartment, earns $100,000 per year between the two properties.

7. Remote work ideas

A lot of companies let their full-time employees work remotely, and that’s always an option if you want to make money online. If you’re looking for a side gig or part-time job, you can become a virtual assistant or remote call center agent. Those with graphic design and web design skills can create websites, logos, and or other visual branding items for people and businesses.

8. An online business

If you want to go all in on making money online, you can start an online business. It might not fit into any of the above categories; people have started online businesses that include digital media services, creating custom software, and prototyping and manufacturing a product.

You can try to make a go of it on your own, or you can get a business partner. You might need up-front investment, but if your business falls into some of the categories listed above, you won’t need money to start it.

The next few chapters of this guide take an in-depth look into each of these eight money-making methods. Let’s start with content-based ideas.

Content-based ideas

If you have writing or writing-related skills, you can make money online with content. This may include earning money by blogging, writing freelance articles, working for a content agency, publishing your own online periodical, or publishing e-books. You can also explore related ideas like translating, editing or proofreading documents. If you have video production skills to go with your writing skills, you can make money with a YouTube channel.

Making money online with publications

Creating a blog or online periodical is just one of the ways people make money online. To do this, identify a topic that you’re qualified to write about or are really interested in.

For example, you might be great at woodworking and designing and creating furniture. Your blog or online magazine could include articles and posts about working with different types of wood, using reclaimed wood, and finding the right finish. You could review tools and offer other resources for woodworking fans.

Some people create online newspapers, such as news aggregator sites. You can set up these sites in WordPress. Use a plugin to gather news from various sources and publish the feed on a blog. If you’re publishing an online newspaper about the woodworking industry, you might pull in articles about regulations, industry events and expos, and what large companies are doing in the woodworking space.

How to monetize blogs and online publications

The way people make money from these publications is by selling advertising, using affiliate marketing, and publishing sponsored posts. For advertising, a lot of bloggers and content creators use Google AdSense. This is Google’s advertising network that lets you put ads on your website. Google administers the ads and serves them up to the appropriate audience.

For example, someone might come to your site after searching for paintbrushes. A Google ad for an online retailer that sells the type of brushes they’re looking for will appear on your site. In exchange for visitors clicking on the ads, Google pays you a small amount of money. The only thing you have to do is place some code in certain areas of your site; Google does the rest.

Another monetization method is affiliate marketing. This means you place referral links to products in the text of your posts and articles, or offer a unique coupon code. When someone buys from one of those referral links or uses the coupon code, you get a small percentage of the sale.

Some companies run their own affiliate programs. Others aggregate different retailers that you can link to using special, shortened links. You can set up a form on your website for companies that want to work with you as an affiliate using JotForm. This will make it easier for smaller brands, in particular, to start partnering with you.

Sponsored posts are yet another content-based idea for making money online. This is when someone pays you to post an article they’ve written or pays you to write about a topic and link to them. You can post a contact form on your site for companies that want to sponsor a post.

Freelance content-based ideas

Creating your own blog or publication isn’t the only way to make money online with content. You can also do freelance writing, editing, or translating. One way to do this is to join a content agency, which will pay you to write articles, blog posts, or other materials for different companies. You can also contract directly with companies to provide translating, editing, or proofreading services.

Some people join a platform like Upwork to find one-off projects or build up work with steady clients. Others contact companies directly and introduce themselves, explaining what their experience is and what services they provide.

If you decide to sign on clients directly, you can create a content request form through JotForm, and clients can submit details when they need work done. For example, you might have a client who needs an e-book edited. They can submit the request online and attach the e-book so you can get started.

Selling content online

Another way you can earn money writing is to sell content online. You can create and publish an e-book, then sell it on your site or on Amazon. This can be a standalone effort or something you use to build credibility in your field.

For example, you might create an e-book about woodworking to complement the blog you write, then subtly encourage your readers to buy the book. You can also send traffic directly to the page to buy your book by using an email list, advertising, or social media.

Combining writing and video to make money online

If you have a knack for writing and video production, YouTube may be a great way to make money online. Instead of just writing about woodworking, for example, you could film tutorials on best practices for joinery for different types of furniture. Then, you could upload the tutorials to YouTube and monetize the content.

YouTube has a partner program that allows channels with more than 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 watch hours in the past month to earn money. If that’s not you, you can enable monetization, which will show ads on the bottom of your videos or before your videos begin playing. You can also sell merchandise related to your channels and work with brands to highlight their products.

Whether you create written or video content, you can promote it across social media to drive traffic to your site and earn more money. You might create a Twitter feed or a dedicated Facebook page for your site or YouTube channel, as well as post pictures of your finished products on Instagram and direct people to your blog for more information.

Writing and producing content is just one way to earn money online. You can create your own blog, newspaper, magazine, e-book, or YouTube channel, or freelance for others. But if writing and creating videos aren’t your strongest talents, there are other ways to make money online. In the next chapter, you’ll learn about using teaching-based ideas to get paid.

Teaching-based ideas

Having a lot of knowledge about or passion for a subject may be your ticket to earning some cash. If you can explain something clearly or are good at showing people what needs to be done, you may be able to make money online. As with content-based ideas, you have a few options: becoming a consultant, creating online courses, tutoring, or creating a podcast. 

Earn money online as a consultant

One teaching-based idea is to become a consultant. You don’t have to go out into the physical world; you can run online coaching groups and provide personalized advice from behind your computer screen. 

To be successful, make sure you take the time to build an audience that will find your expertise valuable. You can do this through speaking gigs, writing, or using your previous experience. You might also create a Facebook group to answer basic questions, establish a community that would be interested in your consulting services, and upsell them on premium products.

First, pick a niche that you’re really good at. There are all kinds of online coaches out there: career planning, life planning, debt management, self-publishing, and health and fitness, to name a few. 

For example, you might be a great personal trainer who gets amazing results for your face-to-face clients. You could turn that into a successful online personal training business in which you provide workout routines and meal plans for people around the country based on their goals. 

Creating online courses

You can also use your knowledge to create and sell online courses, either on your own website or on a platform like Udemy or Teachable. To do this, you’ll need to film videos and create webinars that are full of valuable information. 

After you choose a topic, create an outline of the entire course, including the modules in it. Then decide whether the module will be a “talking head” — you on camera explaining something — or a voice overlay of a PowerPoint or similar presentation. Being on camera is helpful if you’re demonstrating something or filming an introduction to your course. Voice overlay is a good choice if your course is mostly text-based, like a course about setting up a business plan.

Successful courses often include handouts that can be downloaded and printed. When you’re creating modules, think about what the key takeaways are for each module and how those can be included in a handout. If one of your business plan courses is about conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, include a downloadable PDF with a SWOT template for your students.

Using webinars for coaching and online courses

When you want to have a one-off class, host a webinar. You can turn webinars into modules for online courses or use them to sell your courses or coaching services. If it’s just you speaking on the webinar, it will be fairly easy to record.

After you decide on the format and create visuals for your webinar, choose a tool to broadcast and record the webinar. Services like Adobe Connect, Webex, and ClickMeeting all have different price points and features, so look for one that will help you meet your goals. 

For example, if you’re promoting your business, the goal of your webinar would be to attract a large audience. This requires a platform that can handle a lot of people logging in. A webinar just for your clients, on the other hand, would be a much smaller audience and wouldn’t require that capability. 

Webinar clues: How to record a webinar

The webinar presentation tool you choose should ideally have a built-in recording feature. That way, you can run your webinar from your computer without having to worry about a separate recording device.

However, if you’re not conducting live webinars and just want to publish a voiceover module for your course or coaching business, you can use the voice recording feature in PowerPoint. In the PowerPoint menu, the Slide Show section has a Record Slide Show option. Once you start recording, speak clearly into the microphone as you go through your slides, as if you’re giving a live presentation.

Make money tutoring online

If you have a lot of knowledge about an academic subject, you can make money online as a tutor. Sites like Skooli and TutorMe connect students with tutors. Set up a profile that includes your qualifications and decide on a rate. You might also set up a curriculum for tutoring if that’s something you’re familiar with. 

Tutoring platforms will usually have a way for you to communicate with the students you’re tutoring, but if you’re setting up your own online tutoring business, you’ll need to choose something like Skype or Google Meet so that you can meet with your students.

Podcasting as an income generator

If you do your best explaining when you can just talk (instead of writing, as discussed in the previous chapter), a podcast may be a great way for you to earn money online. You can set up a podcast as a standalone way to make money by taking sponsorships or ads from companies or by using affiliate marketing tactics like bloggers do. You can also use podcasting as a way to grow your coaching business or sell your products and services. 

As with the content-based ideas and the ideas listed in this chapter, you’ll need to choose a topic for podcasting. Think about who you’ll interview and what you’ll promote on your podcast. 

If you’re going to be interviewing people over the phone, choose a platform with high-quality audio so the podcast won’t sound tinny or have a lot of static, delays, or other distracting interruptions. Once you’ve edited the podcast and published it to a host like Buzzsprout, you can submit it to Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Hopefully one of these teaching-based ideas will help you make money online. If you want to add more income streams, the next chapter will cover how to make money with online evaluation-based ideas.

Online evaluation-based ideas

One fairly easy way to make money online is with website, feature, and search result evaluation jobs. You can also take online surveys for money. If you’re thinking this might just be pocket change, that can be true. However, the website, feature, and search result evaluator jobs can be quite lucrative if you’re able to find them.

Web evaluation jobs

The most common of these evaluation jobs is the web search evaluator, also known as a search evaluator, internet assessor, ad quality rater, or internet judge. These projects usually involve analyzing ad text, images, and content, then reporting on different parts of the ads. 

While search engine algorithms are complex, they don’t capture the human factor, which is where the evaluator comes in. Google — and many other companies — hire people to do this research in the hopes of improving the user experience.

When you get a web search evaluator job, you give feedback on how relevant search results are, as well as ads and website content. You might be asked specific questions about the content, or you might have to write a full report with your feedback. 

Since a lot of search engines are localized, you need to live in the area (or country) that they’re evaluating. You also need to be familiar with the language and culture of the search engine user. Some of these companies require that you have a college degree. As for equipment, you should only need a computer with high-speed internet access and some web search skills to do the job. 

There are a few companies besides Google that hire web search evaluators:

  • Appen is a global company that requires you to be a native speaker of the language in the area where you’re working. The company works in 120 different languages and dialects, and the average independent contractor can get four to five hours a day of work.
  • Lionbridge looks for internet assessors to evaluate web search results, social media search consultants to provide feedback on content quality, internet judges, and online map specialists.

These are both legitimate companies that will pay you to evaluate search engine results, advertisements, map search results, and social media results. 

Online surveys

It’s worth noting that web search evaluation jobs can be big-time commitments. If you’re just looking to earn some coffee money, stick to taking online surveys. Some of these companies will pay you in points that you can redeem for gift cards. Others will pay you small sums of cash. In some cases, you may be asked to test a product, then fill out a survey — so not only do you make money, but you also get a free product.

There are a lot of survey sites out there, but you won’t always get a survey from them. Most people who use online surveys to make money sign up for more than one site so they get a lot of opportunities. The ones with the best reviews are Swagbucks, InboxDollars, Springboard America, Harris Poll Online (which is run by the Nielsen Norman Group, the company that puts out the Nielsen TV ratings), CashCrate, and Toluna. 

If you’re going to take online surveys for money, set up a separate email address just for surveys, to prevent your regular email inbox from being flooded. Also, take as many surveys as possible at the beginning to build up your credibility and get surveys that pay you more in the future. To save time, use the autocomplete feature in your web browser so things like your name, address, and telephone number are automatically populated in the survey questions. 

The most lucrative online surveys are actually online focus groups. These are small groups of people that companies invite to share their opinions on potential products or services. 

Online focus groups are very similar to their in-person counterparts, except you join by online chat instead of going to a location. Some of these focus groups may require you to use video chat software. 

A lot of companies use online focus groups because they’re less expensive than bringing people to a physical location, providing materials, and staffing the group — plus they have a wider geographic range to select from.

As with online surveys, you can find plenty of sites that will hook you up with an online focus group. Respondent.io, User Interviews, 20/20 Panel, Fieldwork, Probe Market Research, FocusGroup.com, and Recruit and Field are all specifically for online focus groups. They pay anywhere from $50 to $400, making this a great way to earn extra money if you qualify for the groups.

Taking web search result evaluation jobs and participating in online surveys are fairly easy ways to earn money. Sometimes they can be time-intensive, but for those looking for a quick way to earn cash without needing to do much legwork to find the jobs, they’re an ideal way to boost your income and pay for things like a night out.

The downside to these gigs is that you have to be actively working to earn money, unlike selling an e-book or collecting affiliate income, as discussed in previous chapters. If you’re looking to sell something online without having to do much aside from uploading the details, you’ll want to read the next chapter, which is all about how you can sell media online.

Media-related ideas

Businesses of all sizes, along with bloggers and other content creators, need images to emphasize their messaging. However, not all of them have the budget to hire a photographer, which is where you and your camera come in to make money online. Selling stock photos and videos on different websites is a great way for photographers to make passive income — income that doesn’t require you to put in constant effort.

Put simply, stock photos and videos are media that you’ve made available on a website that sells them and provides a license to the person or business that buys them. Depending on the license, your photo could be used on a website, in a social media post, on a book cover, in a magazine article, or anywhere else a photo or video is needed to illustrate a point. 

These sites are massive collections of images, and when someone needs one, they search through the site for something that fits their message. More than one person can buy a license to use a photo or video.

Some of these sites let you set the price for your photos, based on how they’re licensed to users. Depending on your photography skills, the license, and where you sell your photos, your stock photo license could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, most stock photo websites will take up to 85 percent in commission, so you’ll have to work hard to create a catalog of stock photos that will make you money.

Getting started with stock photos and videos

If you want to start making money selling stock photos, you’ll need to put in some up-front work and decide what kind of photos and videos to sell. Photographers who make money online selling photos take the time to study different markets and create images that people in those markets will buy. 

For example, if you want to break into the health and fitness market, spend time figuring out what images people are using on health and fitness sites, like action shots of people running or photos of meal prep. To get a better idea of your target market, read industry magazines and blogs. Look at the images that are used; those will be the ones that sell.

Another thing to consider is the style of your photos as they relate to your target market. While some buyers may want to use artistic and unique images, others may be looking for something clear and simple, like a woman drawing a flowchart on a whiteboard.

Quality definitely matters when you’re selling stock photography. As great as mobile phone cameras are these days, nothing beats high-resolution photos shot using a good DSLR camera and the appropriate lens. Ideally, you won’t spend a lot of time in post-processing since most people who buy stock photos just want clear, bright images that are in focus and appeal to a wide audience. 

For stock videos, make sure your footage is about 10 to 20 seconds long. Some sites won’t accept any stock videos shorter than six seconds.

If you plan to use images or videos with people in them, make sure you get a model release. Most stock photo sites won’t accept photos or videos with people in them unless you have a release signed by those people stating that it’s OK to use them in your work. You can create a simple model release using a JotForm template.

Finally, before you start, consider the keywords you’ll use to get your photos found. For example, if you’re shooting a lot of food images, “food” would be too broad a keyword. Instead, include specific keywords like “tomatoes,” “salad,” “healthy lunch,” or anything else that applies to the image you’ve created. 

Consider conceptual tags or tags that describe the mood of your photos. If your photo is of a woman lifting weights, a conceptual tag might be “fitness” or “motivation.” Just be careful not to engage in tag spam, which is using tags and keywords that don’t relate to the image you’ve uploaded.

Where to sell your stock photos

Once you’ve created images and decided on keywords, you’ll need to upload your work to a stock photo site to start making money. There are a lot of sites you can use. Some might require that you work with them exclusively, meaning your photos only appear on their site. It’s worth checking out the terms before you upload your work, especially if you want to reach a wider audience.

Getty Images is the gold standard for stock photos and videos. Joining this site can be difficult, but for photojournalists, it’s a great place to sell your photos. Getty Images started in 1995, and it doesn’t accept every photographer who applies. However, as you hone your craft, you can always reapply. 

Getty owns iStock, which pays anywhere from 15 to 45 percent in commissions. You’ll still need to apply, but it’s more accessible to new photographers and videographers.

Shutterstock is also a popular site to sell photos and videos. You can sign up for free. New photographers typically earn $.25 to $.80 per download. Eventually, you can make up to $120 per download, depending on the license and your photos.

If you’re just getting started and having trouble getting accepted at other stock photo sites, you can sign up on Pixabay. Theoretically, you might not get paid because all of the photos are available for free to people who want to use them. However, Pixabay has a donate button called “coffee money” that lets people who appreciate your work give you a tip. At the very least, you’ll make some pocket change while you improve your photography skills.

So far, we’ve covered how to sell content and expertise, but what if you want to sell actual, physical items to make money online? The next chapter will teach you how to sell tangible goods on the internet.

Product-based ideas

Selling content or your expertise can help you make money online, but if you want to sell tangible goods, there’s also a big market for that. There are so many opportunities for you to sell your own products, especially handmade items. This chapter is all about how to turn your hobby into actual money.

When most people hear about selling stuff online, they tend to think of an online garage sale. Cleaning out your closets and listing unwanted items on eBay, Poshmark, or in an online group on Facebook or Nextdoor is definitely a way to make some extra cash, and it’s ideal if you just need a onetime cash infusion.

However, if you want to make an actual income selling your products online, you can set up a storefront. This may seem a little intimidating. 

Sure, you can fire up the Cricut machine and make custom tumblers for your friends and family, but would anyone buy tumblers with the designs you’ve created and painstakingly applied? The answer to that is yes, and you can make good money doing it.

Jordan Lee Dooley started an online Etsy store, SoulScripts, when she was still in college. She hand-lettered quotes onto mugs and journals, which gave her an online platform to start building her business. She’s since transitioned to blogging and writing, but having SoulScripts gave her a foothold in the online world.

Other examples of handmade goods you can sell include jewelry or custom clothing, including costumes. If you find that you’re making a lot of a particular type of costume and taking orders for people you know, you can easily transition that to an online store. 

If you’re already part of a community — like a group that attends Renaissance Faires or Comic-Con regularly, a Civil War reenactment club, or a live action role-playing (LARPing) group — you may have already made costumes or props for those events. In other words, you know what you’re doing.

Selling artwork online is another great way to make money. Artists use platforms like Etsy or their own website to sell their original works.

Listing your handmade items

While an online marketplace like Etsy makes it easy to get started selling handmade items online, if you want to take it to the next level and have more control over your orders — and not have to pay a commission or fee to your host site — you can start your own website. When you create your own site, you have full control over it, as well as any money you earn. It takes more work to set up, but you don’t have to worry about someone else hosting your content or changing their terms at any time.

To be successful, consider using social media to help boost interest in your items, regardless of where you list them. For example, you could create an Instagram account and post pictures of bolts of fabric you’ve bought, finished items, and behind-the-scenes videos of you attaching just the right amount of trim, then link to your shop in your Instagram profile. 

Pinterest and Facebook can also help generate sales, and all three of these platforms offer a way for interested people to shop directly from your posts. Having this extra presence beyond your online store will help generate excitement for your products. Remember, there are a lot of people selling handmade items, so you need to make yours stand out.

When you list products online, pay attention to two big things — how you present the products visually and the search engine optimization (SEO) keywords you use to attract customers. 

Take a lot of high-resolution images of your goods, and if you sell clothing, take pictures of a model wearing the clothes (or a customer, if they’re OK with that). The idea is to show people what your handmade products look like when they’re in use, whether it’s something they wear or an item like a throw blanket, which you can drape over a chair or sofa. 

Keywords are very important. People will use certain words to look for products like yours on Google or in other search engines. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to help you find the right keywords to use in your product headings, titles, and descriptions, as well as in social media and website meta descriptions. For example, if you’re posting a listing for a custom Uhura costume, include keywords related to the original Star Trek series.

Using order forms to sell handmade items online

Something you’ll definitely want to consider is how you take orders for your items. If you’re using an online marketplace, they handle it for you. But if you’ve taken control and set up your own website, you’ll need order forms for different things, like buying a single item that’s already listed or commissioning a custom piece. 

Since you’ll likely be selling a number of different items, including custom pieces, there is no one order form that will work for everyone. JotForm has more than 150 templates you can use to create a custom order form. The forms integrate with Square, PayPal, Stripe, and other payment methods so that you can collect money directly through the form and don’t have to email the buyer. 

For example, if you just sell a few different premade products, you could create a simple order form that allows your customers to check off what they want to order. If you sell custom products, create a form that lets the customer specify what they want so you can contact them.

If you integrate your order forms with a trusted payment method, you’ll sell more of them. Make sure you include the basics on your order form: name, shipping address, email address, and a phone number in case you have questions.

Whether you sell your items on a marketplace or on your own website, setting up shop for the crafts and handmade goods you create is a great way to make money online. You can extend your physical world into the virtual world and reach a larger audience. 

In the next chapter, we’ll talk about bridging the physical/virtual gap to earn money with app-based ideas.

App-based ideas

Thanks to the proliferation of apps that connect people with the services they need, you can make money by combining the physical and digital worlds — also known as “phygital.” These app-based ideas for making money online aren’t strictly online; there is some physical work involved that requires you to leave your home. If you want to learn how to make money online with apps, this chapter is for you.

Earn money online with your car (or bike)

A couple of the best-known examples of phygital ways to make money are taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. If you have a car in a certain condition (typically 20 years old or newer) and a clean driving record, you can make money in your spare time, on your own schedule, by ferrying people around. 

To sign up for either of these, you need to meet the age requirement for your specific region, pass an online DMV and background check, and have a smartphone so that you can use the app. It helps to own your car, and you have to provide proof of insurance. If you don’t have a car and you want to be a regular Uber or Lyft driver, both of these companies can connect you to one of their partners to lease a vehicle.

If you’re not comfortable driving people around, you can also become a delivery driver for services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, or DoorDash. These services all have different requirements for delivery people, but in some cases, you won’t even need a car, particularly if you live in a city like New York or Boston. In those areas, all you need is a bike to transport food orders. 

You have to be able to lift up to 30 pounds, pass a background check, and be at least 18 years old. For those that do scooter delivery for these sites, you need a motorized scooter under 50 cubic centimeters that’s 20 years old or newer. For car delivery, you’ll need a two-door or four-door car that’s 20 years old or newer. You’ll also need a valid driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

Amazon Flex is another way to make money with your car in over 50 metropolitan areas. You can sign up to deliver items from different Amazon services like Prime, Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, Instant Offers, or Store Orders.

Earn money with your skills

If you don’t have transportation, that doesn’t mean you can’t earn money with apps in the physical world. Apps like TaskRabbit can help you make money by connecting you to people who need your skills. You can do these tasks in person or remotely. 

Some of the things people need help with are putting together IKEA furniture or installing a light fixture in their homes — and those are just a few of the tasks people ask for help with on TaskRabbit. For those who have a knack for handyperson skills, TaskRabbit can be a viable way to earn money in the phygital world.

You can also earn money on Airbnb leading what they call “experiences” or “adventures.” If you’re really familiar with your city, or you can give people lessons on something related to your locale, you can sign up to give tours or classes on Airbnb. 

For example, if you live in a beach town and are an experienced surfer, you can give surfing lessons to visitors who book with you. You could also lead a themed food tour or a guided tour of street art, or lead a group on a hike.

Make money when you run errands

Getting out of the house to run errands can pay off. You can make money online when you sign up for some apps, including Gigwalk, Shopkick, and Field Agent. All you need is a smartphone. 

With Gigwalk and Field Agent, you take a picture or record data when you’re running errands (or just out for a walk), basically confirming that merchandising displays are set up correctly. Shopkick gives you points that can be redeemed for cash when you complete tasks at retailers, like scanning items and buying things that you might have already planned to buy. 

These tasks are fairly easy to do and a good way to put a little extra cash in your pocket.

Make money with your home

If you travel a lot or don’t mind someone sleeping in your spare room, you can also make money by listing your home or spare bedroom on Airbnb. To host your home on Airbnb, check your local regulations to make sure it’s OK. If it is, all you have to do is sign up on Airbnb’s site and list your property. You set the price and availability. 

For those who would rather host four-legged guests, the app DogVacay matches dog owners to host homes. You can host local dogs while their humans are on vacation, again setting your own rate and availability. You can also limit your services to specific breeds, so if you really don’t like Chihuahuas, you can exclude them. 

Dogs get to stay in a home and get lots of attention, and you get to have a furry friend. DogVacay recently teamed up with Rover, so you can also sign up as a dog walker if you don’t want to host an animal in your home but still want to earn some money while spending time with pets.

It seems like a dream come true — earning money online for activities you do offline. From putting together furniture to renting out your spare room, there’s an activity that can help you make extra money just by logging into an app and accepting a booking. In a lot of cases, you don’t need any special equipment or up-front investment. And in some cases, you get to turn something you’re passionate about — like street art or caring for pets — into a source of revenue.

Remote work ideas

There are lots of jobs you can do from anywhere, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection. For those who want to make money online, remote working opportunities can provide a steady part-time or full-time income and a flexible schedule. 

According to remote worksite FlexJobs, 43 percent of U.S. workers worked remotely, at least occasionally, in 2017. Thirty-eight percent of full-time staff are predicted to work remotely in the next 10 years — and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions to in-home offices.

Many companies are hiring remote workers to save on overhead, and small business owners often look for people who can handle tasks remotely on a regular basis. Graphic design, web design, and data entry are just a few of the many ways to make money online as a remote worker.

Virtual assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) is someone who provides help for businesses and entrepreneurs from a remote location. They handle a variety of tasks, like managing social media, managing calendars, responding to emails, booking travel, or doing some light research. Using a VA saves companies time and money.

If this sounds interesting to you, polish up your resume and sign up on some freelance marketplaces, like Upwork and Freelance My Way. Upwork provides skill tests for you to take, and when you complete them, a badge will appear on your profile for prospective employers to see. You can bid on VA jobs as they’re listed, or someone can contact you directly to interview for a VA job.

Customer service or tech support

Another popular remote work option is providing tech support or customer service, either by email, chat, or phone. Companies often want to provide 24-7 support for their customers, so if you want to work outside typical business hours or are in a different time zone, you can likely find a job doing this. 

If you have a background in customer service, marketing, retail, or communications, you might be an ideal fit for a customer service job. Those who understand the technology and have the patience to explain it to someone who doesn’t (i.e., “Have you checked to make sure all the lights on your router are on?”) can excel at remote tech support. All you need is a computer and a reliable internet connection.

Web and graphic design

A lot of people make a decent living as web or graphic designers. They might work for a specific company or work as freelancers for several companies. 

Freelance graphic designers may work on everything from new logos for small businesses to package design for large consumer packaged goods companies. Web design work ranges from creating new websites to revamping existing ones. You can do this work on a flexible schedule, as you meet deadlines.

Website developers have a related role. This is someone who creates websites on specific platforms, like WordPress or Wix. To do this, you’ll need website design skills as well as specific knowledge of the platform you’re building on. 

To get started working as a remote web or graphic designer or as a remote web developer, simply reach out to companies that might need these services.

Data entry and other remote work opportunities

There are many other opportunities to make money online by working remotely. Data entry is a perfect remote option because most companies don’t require you to be onsite for this work. You just need to get the work done, be detail-oriented, and type fast without making errors. Companies like Clickworker, Dion Data Solutions, and SigTrack offer remote data entry opportunities.

Another way to make money online is as a research assistant. Often, universities or research institutions need someone to handle large volumes of background research. If you have expertise in a particular field, this might be a great opportunity to pursue.

Transcription is also a remote opportunity that can pay off. If you have a good ear and can type fast without making mistakes, there’s definitely a need for your services. You could end up transcribing phone calls and dictation. If you’re familiar with medical terminology, you could take on medical transcription gigs as well. Companies like Babbletype, Daily Transcription, and AccuTranGlobal all hire remote transcriptionists.

If you’re good at remaining neutral in the face of heated arguments, you might want to explore moderation and community manager opportunities. These remote jobs require you to review online forums and pages to make sure they’re free of specific content, like personal attacks, or sensitive information like people’s home addresses. LiveWorld and Crisp Thinking are just two companies that hire community managers.

Those in the medical field can earn money by taking online medical coding jobs. If you have a degree and experience, you can find jobs where you assign certain medical codes to health diagnoses. 

One last remote working opportunity that this guide will discuss is app and software development. If you have a background in computer science or software engineering, you can find jobs designing, coding, or troubleshooting mobile apps and software programs.

The benefits of remote work

Remote work has a lot of benefits. In addition to having a flexible schedule, remote work eliminates your commute, reducing your carbon footprint. Of course, a lot of remote workers will also say that being able to work in comfortable clothes is a bonus. And employers don’t have to procure office space and run electricity and HVAC systems for these workers. 

To get started with remote work, all you really need is a computer and a reliable internet connection. Some of the remote work tools you might use include project management tools like Basecamp, collaboration tools like Slack, and cloud storage like Google Drive and Dropbox. 

You may also need to use remote work tools, like Teamwork or Hubstaff, to track your time and online videoconferencing software like Zoom. Other remote work tools you might want to use include task management tools like Todoist to keep your to-do lists organized, time zone converters, and Evernote to take notes.

No matter what you decide to do, there are plenty of remote work opportunities that can help you make money online. This chapter only scratched the surface of what’s out there, so if you have a particularly useful skill, it’s worth exploring potential remote jobs that make the most of your experience.

Setting up your online business

If you have a great idea, make it a reality by setting up your own online business. This is something you can do all by yourself or with a group of friends or business partners. First, map out your ideas on a piece of paper or in a blank word processing document and figure out if they’re viable.

To come up with some great online business ideas that will help you make money online, think about some of the problems that you or others face in daily life. For example, Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick founded Uber in 2009 after they had difficulty hailing a cab in Paris one evening. They realized a ride-sharing app could make the service more affordable and accessible, and the idea of being able to order a car via an app was born.

Your idea might be on a much smaller scale, like finding a way to keep track of your to-do list, car maintenance, or your child’s allergy shot schedule. If there’s something you’re having trouble with, others probably are, too. That makes it a profitable business idea; you just need to figure out how to bring the business to life.

One of the first things you have to do is figure out how you’re going to fund your business idea — from setting up a minimum viable product to see if there’s a market for your idea to actually launching the product to the public. Every business will have different needs, and depending on your idea, you may be able to fund the entire startup yourself. Other times, you’ll need outside help.

Funding your business with venture capital

Investors, in the form of venture capital or VC investments, are one way to raise money for your business. With this funding model, people or companies give you money to start your business. In exchange, they get a share of the company along with a say in how it’s run. Typically, a venture capitalist will invest in high-growth companies and will take bigger risks. 

If you choose to fund your business with VC, you can either go to an individual or a company. Research who you approach for funding to make sure they’re trustworthy and have experience working with startups (where the risks are greater). Investors will want to see a business plan and review who’s on your management team, as well as your corporate documents and financial statements. 

Crowdfunding your online business

You don’t have to go the formal VC route to fund your online business. Crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter can also be a great way to raise money to develop a prototype and get your business running. 

Unlike using VC, people who contribute to your crowdfunding effort don’t expect a share in the business. They’re not technically investors. They do often expect to get a “gift” from your company, like the first run of your product or their names in the credits for your app. 

If you want to keep full control over your business, crowdfunding may be a good option, particularly if you don’t need a ton of money.

Getting a small business loan

Another option that lets you maintain control of your business is a small business loan. Typically, you’ll need a business plan, an expense sheet, and financial projections for the next few years when you apply for a loan. A lot of banks offer these types of loans, so it’s worth it to shop around for the best rate. If you live in the U.S., you can also consider U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, which tend to be granted to companies that traditional banks may be wary of lending to.

Self-funding or bootstrapping

If you have the money to do it, you can always self-fund, or bootstrap, your business. This simply means that you use your own money to get your business off the ground, or you ask your family and friends for some help. You can also tap into savings accounts or even your 401K if you’re confident enough about your business idea.

The advantage of bootstrapping is that you don’t have to give up control to anyone, and you only have yourself to answer to when it comes to financials. However, you could easily spend more than you planned. 

Bootstrapping is a viable option for a business that has a low entry point, like doing graphic design to make money online. In a scenario like that, you just need a computer that can run standard graphic design programs, along with the software, an internet connection, and some basic marketing materials, like a website. You can most likely pay for these with your credit card.

In fact, some of the ways to make money online that we’ve discussed don’t require any prior investment at all. If you already have a computer or a smartphone, you likely have most of what you need to get started. 

For example, even if you’re considering an online custom-made clothing business, you likely already have everything you need — a sewing machine, a mannequin, a smartphone to take pictures, and a computer to list the items. For a business like that, you can request a deposit up front from customers to cover materials, and you’ll have to pay very little out of your own pocket to start.

Funding your business may seem like a difficult proposition, but with a great idea and some creativity, you can find the funding to make it a reality. VC, loans, crowdsourcing, and bootstrapping are all viable options to explore.

Once you’ve found the funding, make sure your business is a success. In the next chapter, you’ll learn about the principles of successful online businesses so you can move your online side hustle into a full-time, income-generating machine.

Successful online business principles

As this guide has discussed, there are a lot of online money-making methods you can pursue. Some of these can be side gigs for pocket change, while others could turn into full-fledged businesses that allow you to set your own hours and work from home. 

There are also a lot of successful online businesses that you can build, both individually and as an enterprise. This chapter will focus on successful online businesses and the principles to sustain them.

One example of an online business that was so successful it spun off into a second business is Oh My Dog Supply. This business began when Eric Shannon had difficulty finding a comfortable dog bed for his 92-pound labrador retriever and basenji mix who had hip dysplasia. 

After spending hours looking for the right bed for his large dog, Shannon started his own company to sell high-quality dog products. Customer requests for dog beds that could fit Great Danes, mastiffs, and golden retrievers quickly increased, and Shannon expanded his online business into Big Barker, which creates therapeutic mattresses for dogs.

Solve a problem

Oh My Dog Supply was able to succeed and grow because it filled an unmet need. People weren’t able to find high-quality dog beds for their large animals, and at first, Oh My Dog Supply focused on sourcing these and other dog supplies. However, Shannon realized that there was an even bigger need for therapeutic beds, and Big Barker grew from that. 

Collect and organize customer feedback

The second successful online business principle that Big Barker followed was collecting customer feedback and keeping it organized. At Big Barker, customers send in video reviews in exchange for a gift card. The company uses JotForm’s integration with Slack so that staff are immediately notified of new reviews and can take action quickly. They store reviews on Google Drive for easy access. 

Not only does collecting customer feedback help Big Barker improve its products, but it also gives staff easy access to testimonials they can use in their own advertising. And when a customer does have an issue, they’re able to respond quickly.

Be prepared to change course

As mentioned, Big Barker spun off from Oh My Dog Supply in response to a need. Shannon’s willingness to grow by taking a different course proved successful. In this case, it was to start a new business that focused solely on one product.

Make it easy to order from you

Second Use is a Seattle-based nonprofit that salvages and sells reclaimed building materials to help the environment. It also sells t-shirts and calendars online. 

To make it easy for people to order its products, Second Use added an order form that integrates with Stripe, its preferred payment platform. This not only makes it easy for someone to order from the company, but it also provides the security that Stripe offers and eliminates manual payment processing.

Ensure your product is easy to use

If your online business is something like an app, it needs to be intuitive enough so people can use it. This applies to both businesses and consumers. 

For example, Repair Pricer, a service that generates repair estimates based on home inspection reports, needed to be simple enough for the company’s partners to embed it on their websites. Since it can be daunting to add code to websites, Repair Pricer used JotForm to create an auto-generated embed code for its partners — a single line of JavaScript that they can paste into their websites. 

As you develop an online product, look for ways to simplify how it can be used.

Know what’s valuable about your business

What do all these companies have in common? They know why people want to do business with them, and they leverage this in their marketing. 

For example, Repair Pricer knows that people who use its site have just gotten a home inspection report back and want to figure out how to negotiate the purchase price of the home based on the repairs needed. They also know it’s a time-sensitive matter. Their marketing materials stress that getting an accurate repair estimate is fast and easy.

As an online business itself, JotForm is a good example of how to succeed. JotForm has made creating online forms as simple as choosing a template and dragging and dropping questions into it. 

But JotForm has taken it one step further by creating a comprehensive library of resources for business owners, everything from how to create a contract to data management. The takeaway is that, when you start your own online business, create a value-add for your customers. It might be directions on how to style a particular item of clothing you’ve made for them, or it could be some light keyword research you’ve done to go with the marketing plan you created for a client.

The bottom line is, a successful online business works hard to meet the needs of its customers and asks for their feedback. It makes getting in touch simple and provides extra value for the customer in some way.

Conclusion

From ways to earn coffee money to building an entire business from the ground up, the internet has made it easier than ever to make money. Creating content, sharing expertise, and opening an online storefront are just three ideas, but there are many more. 

In addition to content-based ideas, like blogging and freelance writing, you can leverage your knowledge to teach others online. You can also take surveys and evaluate search results. 

Photographers and videographers can earn money online by selling stock photos and videos. And, naturally you can sell physical goods online — in particular, handmade goods. 

There are also ways to make money from app-based ideas that combine the physical and the virtual, using apps like Uber — or even apps that let you host people’s dogs in your home to make money. Remote work, including online contact center and virtual assistant jobs that you can do with a computer and an internet connection, can provide a steady source of income as well. 

Last but not least, you can set up an online business. With this guide, you’re now ready to find a way to make money online that matches your skills and interests.

Catégories: News dév web

8 YouTube Alternatives for Video Content Creators

Noupe.com - 12 octobre, 2020 - 14:44

Whether you are a professional video content creator or just an indie production company, YouTube is undeniably the top dog for hosting videos.

Since YouTube went live in 2005, it has garnered approximately 2 billion active users each month. It is also left behind only Google to be the second-largest search engine page. Therefore, YouTube is everyone’s top choice to share their videos effortlessly.

However, with its huge number of active users, it can be so hard to get your videos reachable to more viewers, especially when you are a new creator. YouTube algorithm can either flush you down in the abyss or let you shine after ten years. 

So, is there any way to share your video content to the world wide web without battling hard on the YouTube platform?

Well, there are YouTube alternatives that help you reach and connect more viewers for a first-timer. These alternative platforms are great for building your audience and get a link back to your YouTube channel.

Without further ado, these are the list:

1. Vimeo

This platform has over 100 million active users each month, nothing big compared to YouTube, but it is still a huge number for an alternative. Vimeo has some nice things that the former platform doesn’t have, for instance, a more business layout. With this look, viewers know \what they expect from this platform.

If you are looking for no ads platform, Vimeo is a great choice as it doesn’t have this monetization. It also allows you to choose what next videos are suggested after your video ends. This choice lets you keep your viewers to stay only on your page. This is truly a big deal to build an audience for your business.

Moreover, Vimeo has more advanced analytics compared to YouTube. It lets you know who left a comment, who stopped watching your videos, the number of plays on the embedded video, and many more. 

Vimeo enables you to upload in 4K-ultra HD resolution with a maximum of 500 MB space each week. If you need more space, you could upgrade your plan to get better experiences. 

2. Dailymotion

Not many of us realized Dailymotion has been on board in the same year as YouTube. It is highly popular for its second choice after the latter. But it has something that the red platform doesn’t have.

Dailymotion has more variety of content than the former competitor; it has less strict rules that enable creators to upload almost everything. With its monthly 300 million users, it is easy to get views from this platform. In fact, you can gather more viewers with the same video uploaded on YouTube. So, if you are looking for more viewers, get yourself on set on Dailymotion.

This platform allows you to get real-time analytics to track your video performances. Dailymotion also provides one of the best live-streaming experiences in this industry.

3. TikTok

Unlike its former image, TikTok is no longer a cute app for some random teenagers. TikTok has unsurprisingly collected a whopping 800 million active users just behind YouTube.

This app allows creators to share content and modify it on the spot. It is then directly shared to the users worldwide. It’s also no surprise when a thing can be viral in a short time.

TikTok is also popular among businesses as it enables them to reach out to a broader audience effortlessly. It is a great platform to increase engagement rates besides Instagram, thus, making it the top choice to build an audience. 

4. Veoh

If you are looking for a specific niche platform, Veoh is your go-to place. It allows you to create content based on the niche you choose. Viewers will then find your videos based on their interests.

Unlike other video sharing platforms, Veoh provides both sharing and streaming services. You can find the on-going TV shows on this platform and upload your content at the same time.

If you are on the creator side, connecting with the audience is a great deal. With Veoh, you can add contacts, direct messages to strangers, and even create a group. This way, you can connect directly with viewers and listen to their suggestions. 

5. Twitch

Twitch has over 15 million daily active users making it the biggest and probably the best streaming platform in this industry. Twitch has a very specific niche as a gaming streaming platform that connects gamers around the world. It is mainly used by game companies to market their products.

But, if you create gaming content, Twitch is your best bet to collect massive viewers in a short time. You can connect with them through the add friends button. Twitch provides metrics for you to analyze your streaming content. It also brings many undisputed things YouTube doesn’t have.   

Twitch offers an annual convention (TwitchCon) for game creators and streamers to connect in real life. It allows you to engage with your audience directly and leads you to reach out to more potential viewers that can enhance your gaming channel. 

6. Metacafe

In the opposite of Veoh, Metacafe offers a short-form video for content creators. It is one of the oldest video sharing platforms, making it more viable for boomers who generally come here for short and quick entertainment. 

Metacafe is easy to use and has a straightforward interface. Users can upload videos, create a playlist, and an image gallery on one account. With its unlimited upload, you can basically upload everything here and gather fast viewers from the older generation.

Therefore, many of the videos are driven by advertising from electronics, home appliances, gardening, etc.  

7. Facebook

Long story short, Facebook Video is still rocking in building an audience. You can upload your video content on your Facebook page without having trouble getting no view. It is a great choice when you have established the page beforehand, that means you already have dedicated followers.

You can also make your video into ads to reach a broader audience. By using Facebook, you can embed your original YouTube video or link it back to your channel.

Although Facebook is a social media platform first, you can still share your video content there that is shareable across multiple platforms. Therefore, opting to use Facebook to share videos is another big deal. 

8. Patreon

If you want to make money aside from YouTube, then Patreon is your best deal. Patreon allows you to connect exclusively with your subscribers that other platforms don’t offer. It lets members access early videos on your page and gets more benefits from it.

Patreon itself isn’t a video sharing platform. It is where subscribers enjoy a rare and unique content from creators that are not publicly shared. The biggest fans will directly fund the creators by joining a certain tier in a Patreon. The subscription fees can be as low as $1 per month, making it easier for them to continue the next month.

Closing Thoughts

YouTube isn’t the only option when it comes to sharing your videos. Other platforms have more advantages for video creators than the former has. However, some of them won’t fit your niche content compared to YouTube, which is more friendly to general content.

Either you are an indie production company or just a small content creator, these YouTube alternative platforms can be a massive deal for promoting your content and building a greater audience.  

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Catégories: News dév web

How to Make a Well-Designed Education Website: 4 Quick Tips

Noupe.com - 12 octobre, 2020 - 13:16

In this day and age, nearly every school has its own website to connect with their communities and keep students, teachers, and parents up-to-date. However, many of these education sites are poorly designed and lack some important elements for ensuring high-level engagement. 

Here at Morweb, we know that as schools begin to reopen and continue to adjust to the unprecedented circumstances, having a quality school website is more important than ever. That’s why we’ve created this brief guide to help teachers and administrators build the best education website possible.

By following our carefully curated best practices for school website development, you’ll set your own school up for great success. We’ll walk through these tried-and-true school website-building tips:

  1. Use an education-specific website builder
  2. Prominently display your donation page
  3. Ensure branding is consistent
  4. Look at successful designs for inspiration

Your school website is your most important marketing tool—it’s crucial for communicating with students and families, promoting upcoming events, and maintaining overall high levels of engagement throughout your community. 

Are you ready to learn more about building and maintaining a top-notch education website for your school? Let’s dive in.

1. Use an education-specific website builder

First and foremost, it’s a good idea to craft your school website with an education-specific content management system (CMS). There are many website builders to choose from (for example, WordPress is a popular choice for all sorts of businesses and organizations), but a CMS made specifically for schools provides sector-specific tools that generic website builders don’t.

According to this Morweb guide to school website builders, the best platforms incorporate the following features:

  • Customizable layouts: Pre-built layouts, themes, and templates are one of the most convenient features of a content management system. You can save time by building off an existing layout, while still being able to brand it to your liking (which we’ll discuss in further detail below).
  • Front-end editing: With intuitive school website builders, you can create a beautiful and easy-to-use site with little-to-no coding experience. With front-end editing tools, you can drag-and-drop items in place, edit text directly on the site, and upload images with ease. That makes it accessible for teachers and/or administrators to use and update, without the support of a web developer. 
  • Mobile-optimization: With more than 4.18 billion users accessing the internet from their mobile devices worldwide, you’d be remiss if your school website is inaccessible to mobile users. A mobile-friendly website means that students, parents, and teachers can find the information they need while on-the-go, from the convenience of wherever they are, and whenever they want.

With the right school website builder, you’ll also be able to easily add educational content to your school website such as online courses, quality videos, and digital quizzes. Working with a school-specific platform will provide a seamless experience for your site visitors and make the web development process a breeze.

2. Prominently display your donation page

All sorts of schools depend on charitable donations to sustain operations, including public and private K-12 institutions and universities. This is why school fundraising is a big deal for many of these schools, and having the right fundraising technology in your toolkit can make a big difference!

That being said, it’s important to develop a well-designed donation page that effectively conveys your school’s need for funds. You can link to this form across your fundraising efforts and outreach to parents, alumni, and other members of your community. However, keep in mind that a donation page that’s difficult to navigate or hard to fill out will turn prospects away. 

When designing your school’s giving form, keep these donation page design tips in mind to guide visitors through the process:

  • Ensure your donation page is mobile-friendly. We already touched on the importance of mobile-optimization for your education website design as a whole. This remains true for your donation page. If your donation form is not accessible on a mobile device, you run the risk of losing potential contributions and turning away eager donors. Ensuring a mobile-friendly donation page design is crucial for maximizing donations and creating a positive user experience.
  • Stick with a minimalist design. A donation page with too many elements can distract the user and detract from the overall purpose of the page: to collect donations. Instead, limit the number of required fields by only requesting essential information, such as the name and contact details. The faster a donor is able to complete the process, the more gifts are likely to be submitted. A lengthy or otherwise complicated giving process can often lead to increased donation form abandonment.
  • Incorporate multiple giving options. Be sure to provide flexible giving options to ensure you receive as many donations as possible. For example, it’s a good idea to accept multiple payment methods (such as debit/credit cards and ACH payments), encourage recurring donations, and include suggested donation amounts to raise more.

Qgiv’s fundraising software for education guide puts it this way: “Fundraising software for schools makes online fundraising easier so you can spend more time making connections with the people that are more likely to donate to your cause.” 

In this case, it means having an easy-to-use donation form embedded in your school website so that alumni and other charitable individuals can contribute to your school whenever they’re motivated to do so. This way, they don’t have to deal with cutting and mailing a check or dropping off a cash donation to the school.

3. Ensure branding is consistent

Effective branding is important for any organization, but for a school website, it’s an even bigger deal. Not only does your digital branding remind visitors that they’re on the right site and help form mental connections to your school, but it can also foster a sense of school spirit among visitors!

Here are three key elements to consider for all school marketing materials, especially your education website:

  • Color scheme: Choosing the right colors for your school website is essential. Make sure to build your website with your school’s spirit colors in mind! 
  • School logo: Including your school logo, along with other branded imagery, is a great way to establish credibility and build school spirit. 
  • Font selection: Not only should your font choices be legible, but they should also remain consistent throughout your website and other school-related materials.

Whether your website visitor is a current student exploring details on upcoming events or a prospective parent learning about what your school has to offer, a consistently branded website can go a long way toward ensuring a positive experience for users.

4. Look at successful designs for inspiration

Whether you’re building a school website from scratch or looking to update your current website to meet today’s competitive standards, sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. And to that, we suggest researching some of the most successful designs and going from there.

As you explore other school websites, be sure to look out for these top characteristics:

  • Positive user experience: Is the website simple to use for the average internet user? Is it easy to know where to find the information you need? If your school website is too complicated to explore, students, parents, and teachers will miss out on valuable information.
  • Visually appealing design: Does the website have an overall appealing design? Is there enough blank space to balance out a busy design? Nobody wants to spend a lot of time on a poorly designed website, whether that’s due to clashing colors or indecipherable fonts.
  • Informative resources: Is there valuable information available on the school website? Are you able to find out about upcoming events, class times, and extracurricular activities? Make sure you include information that’s relevant to any potential user, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, alumni, and prospects.
  • Simple navigation: Is there an easy-to-follow navigation menu at the top of the website? Can you find the pages you’re looking for? It should be easy to locate your most popular pages, but including every page on your menu can make it hard to find what you’re looking for. Feature your high-value pages, and add a search tool to help users find any other information they need.

To get started, we suggest checking out this list of top school website designs to garner inspiration and see some of these best practices in action. Note what works well for each site, and specifically look for elements that you’d like to emulate on your own school website.

The Gist

Especially in a difficult and uncertain time like this, having a strategic online presence is more important than ever before to remain connected with your school’s community. With these suggested tools and our tried-and-true best practices, you’ll be equipped to build an education website for your school that will make a big impact. 

In turn, your students, parents, teachers, and faculty members will appreciate the effort you made to develop an easy-to-use school website with highly-relevant content that caters to their needs. Good luck!

Catégories: News dév web

Underrated Link Building Tactics that Work Surprisingly Well – [Infographic]

Noupe.com - 12 octobre, 2020 - 13:03

Now that we live in a digital age, driving traffic to your website should be one of your top priorities, as this means more potential customers and a better bottom line. For this, link building is still one of the most powerful search engine optimization (SEO) practices you can utilize. 

It can greatly improve your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and help you acquire more conversion opportunities down the line. 

To stay relevant in the market, SEO specialists are constantly developing new and creative ways to improve a website’s rankings in the SERPs. Some of those that are known to deliver big results are guest posting, broken link building, and the skyscraper technique. 

Guest posting is writing an original piece of content to help a partner site attract more visitors. By blogging about a timely and relevant topic, more people are likely to click through the page, eventually boosting its domain authority. 

Broken link building is exactly what it sounds like—updating broken links on pages and blogs and providing better alternatives can help a site remain relevant. Finally, the sky scrapper technique is all about refurbishing an existing piece of content. If an old blog post already boasts a large number of backlinks, marketers can use it to their advantage by updating it with current statistics and data.   

Most SEO specialists are still practicing these techniques; however, they are also overused. Website owners have gotten tired of receiving outreach emails, and this is a sign that marketers should find new ways to build links. Apart from what was mentioned, there are other ways to switch up your SEO game. Luckily, you don’t need to play by the book when it comes to link building. Thinking outside the box will allow you to stay one step ahead of the competition. If you’re looking to improve your online presence, then you should make use of these underrated link building tactics to scale your business.

source:  Underrated Link Building Tactics that Work Surprisingly Well
Catégories: News dév web

How to Use Attachments in Your Next Email Campaign

Noupe.com - 9 octobre, 2020 - 14:27

One of the easiest ways of increasing the email value, attracting the attention of your subscribers, educating them, and disclosing more information is to include attachments in your emails.

The profit of attachments in emails is undoubted. They are easy to create and even easier to be attached to an email. 

But are the email attachments really so great? Go on reading and you will learn not only how to use attachments in your next email campaign but also the types of email attachments. Moreover, you will find how to overcome a few difficulties when sending email attachments and not spoil your sender’s reputation. 

Why attachments may be bad for your campaign

Documents, letters, educational videos, entertaining gifs, and pictures, explaining screenshots, and so much more! Email attachments may look like an easy and harmless alternative to plain-text emails with a canvas of text. Yet, nobody’s perfect. 

Therefore, I’d like to share a bit of warning information with you on why using email attachments in your campaign is not the best idea. There are five points in this.

Email attachments influence the email deliverability

Apart from common factors like spam trigger words that influence email deliverability (thus, your sender’s reputation), sending attachments has a negative impact on them too. 

Here’s the thing. Every file makes your email heavier. As a result, it gets more difficult to pass the spam-check by an ESP. As you know, the more of your emails are marked spam, the lower your sender’s reputation is. Low reputation leads to block. So simple.

Studies have also revealed the connection between the email size and email deliverability. Emails that do not exceed the size of 70 kb are Ok. Though a report from Responsys suggests that email size should be limited to 125kb. 

Yet, if we speak about the email attachment size, try not to make it heavier than 10 MB. I’ll show you how to do this a bit later. 

Verdict: it’s more difficult for a heavy email to pass the spam check filters.

What to do: do not exceed the email size of 100 kb. 

Attachments are suspicious

Email remains a popular direction of attack for cybercriminals, hackers, and other internet criminals. This is the reason why both ESPs and people are careful (I’d even say suspicious) with emails that contain attachments. 

I’ve mentioned the tech side of this issue above. So let’s have a look at why email with attachments is suspicious to people. 

One of the rules people stick to is “Trust no one”. So here are two points to be mentioned. Firstly, people do not love emails from people they do not know. Secondly, email recipients are even more suspicious to new senders who send attachments through emails. You will be lucky if they simply ignore or delete your message. In the worst case, they will report spam, and your sender’s reputation will be damaged. 

Verdict: email attachments do not inspire confidence.

What to do: explain your attachment in the email. This will add a bit more trust to it and the email recipients will be more favorable to your message.

Email attachments have a negative impact on the sender’s reputation

Email attachments are really great. But here’s the third reason already that proves the contrary. That’s a complete truth. As stated above, ESP may filter your email, and people may find your message suspicious and mark spam. The result is simple. Your sender’s reputation gets worse and worse until you get blocked. 

Surely, the email attachment is not the only thing that defines your sender’s reputation. But still, this is one of the most popular reasons for the low reputation. 

Verdict: Attachments in general evoke the desire to mark email spam. Heavy attachments get filtered by ESPs. 

What to do: Be patient with attachments. Otherwise, you will evade the low sender’s reputation and block. 

Attachment size limit

Each email client has its own email sending limits. This applies not only to the number of emails you can send per hour or day but the attachment size too. 

You may have noticed that when sending emails with attachments, it’s not always possible to send large files. If you’ve used at least 2-3 email providers, you know that they have different limitations. For example, for Gmail this limit is 25 MB while through 1&1, you can send files of up to 150 MB.

You won’t be blocked. You simply won’t be able to send an email. Just imagine. You’ve spent much time creating and designing some stuff but the result is unfavorable, your recipients won’t see the email soon. And you will have to find a converter or other software to make the file lighter.

Verdict: You may spend time in vain crafting an appealing file that won’t see the world because of the provider’s sending limit. 

What to do: Analyze the market and learn which email provider fits your needs more. 

HTML-file may not display correctly

Consider this type of email as attachments. HTML-emails are great in terms of creating appealing and captivating content. They make the email heavier, thus the deliverability of your message may be damaged too. 

Also, HTML files can display incorrectly as a result of a broken view. It doesn’t matter how much you try, how much time you spend on an email, how much effort you imply. Something may go wrong, and all your efforts will go down the drain. 

Verdict: HTML-emails influence the email deliverability negatively as they are heavy.

What to do: Avoid sending HTML messages. Try plain-text emails instead.

Types of email attachments 

Email attachments come in numerous formats and sizes, you need to be careful with them. 

Firstly, you need to know that there are some file formats that are not supported by email providers (in fact, there are so many of them that I won’t mention each). Secondly, some similar formats (let’s say, jpg, png, or jpeg) have different sizes. As you remember, email attachment size matters. And finally, the email recipient may need specific software to view the sent file. 

Since you are searching for the best methods of including attachments to your emails that would boost your marketing efforts, let me show you a few the most popular types of attachments and help you send them safely. 

Pics

Supported file extensions: jpeg, jpg, png, tif, gif, bmp.

When it comes to entertaining and educational emails, pictures are a savior. With them, you can demonstrate your service, provide a step-by-step guide to onboard new clients, attract attention, and re-engage old customers through an email drip campaign, etc. 

Yet, sending pictures as email attachments grow the size of your message. Thus, the email deliverability and your sender’s reputation are under threat. 

The greatest problem that comes with pictures is the number of pics you need to send. Let’s say, you need to show how your service works. It won’t be that easy to do this with one screenshot only. Mostly, you need at least 3 of them. 3 pictures are a bunch of files already that may damage your reputation. Especially if you want to provide high-resolution photos. Doesn’t sound good, is it?

How to send pictures: Send pictures if they are of the greatest importance and your email doesn’t go alone. If you still need them, keep their size for up to 10 MB. Use editors to reduce the size of your pictures. 

Videos

Supported file extensions: webm, mpeg4, 3gpp, mov, avi, wmv, flv.

Videos may be better for your email campaign than pictures. Surely, you need to send one file only and the recipients will get all the information they need. Yet, videos are heavier compared to pictures and it becomes more complicated to send videos through emails. 

There are a few ways you can do this besides embedding:

  • Send a video as an attachment (remember about the ESP sending limits)
  • Include your video thumbnail image to an email and anchor a link to a video host location
  • Create an animated GIF or a cinemagraph
  • Use a video hosting site to upload your video and send a link to it (you can use Google Drive for that)
  • Send a direct link

How to send videos: Videos are heavy. Use instead of an alternative way to send videos through emails. When sending videos as attachments, make sure you keep the minimum size of it. Don’t forget to preview and test your email. 

Documents

Supported file extensions: docx, zip, 7z, pdf, psd, al, rtf, xls.

While you can interchange videos and pictures, the work with files of other formats gets more difficult. It happens rarely but still. What if you need to send a package of documents, like a bundle of contracts? Surely, zip and 7zip files come to the rescue. One file and no troubles!

Also, you can easily send several types of file formats and your recipients can view them without troubles. Most email providers support viewing files like text documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, and a few other types of attachments.

Yet, you do remember that ESPs and people do not trust attachments in emails and your message may get labeled spam right away. 

How to send documents: The best option is to attach a link to a shared file in the cloud to not hurt your sender’s reputation.

Do it right

As you see, attachments in emails influence both technical and human factors in a negative way. This makes it extremely important to follow the rules of email attachment sending. This will help you go through the spam filters and improve the email delivery rate. Moreover, the received email will have more chances to be read rather than deleted. 

Following the rules, you will prove your reliability as well as professionalism.

Even though attachments can be a perfect tool for grabbing your recipients’ attention, you need to always be careful with what you do and what you send. 

  • Do not send attachments if your email can go without them
  • Pay attention to the size of each attachment: find out the email attachment size limit your ESP has
  • Use alternative methods of sending attachments
  • Send plain-text emails instead of HTML-ones

Still, one of the most reliable ways to send attachments is to upload them to a shared folder and send a link through an email. The email size won’t be changed much and your sender’s reputation will be under protection.

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Practical ways to Improve the Flow of your Sales Funnel

Noupe.com - 9 octobre, 2020 - 13:47

A sales funnel is the visualization of your customer’s journey from visitor to customer. It’s a handy tool that breaks down the conversion process to make it easier for businesses to convert customers.

A common problem that a lot of firms face is they get stuck, or they specialize in one stage of a sales funnel and don’t pay attention to other aspects. This impedes the flow of the sales funnel and so firms don’t acquire customers according to their potential.

This article will show you what you can do to attract more people in each sales funnel stage, and as a result, acquire more customers.

How to attract visitors to the awareness stage

The awareness stage is when a visitor comes to know your product/service and is introduced to your brand for the first time. This is also when buyers become aware of a problem they want to solve and look for possible ways to solve it.

In this stage, people are usually acquainted with your brand through a blog post through search results, social media posts, ads, or word of mouth. A lot of questions are based around the ‘why’ of things. 

To start adding people to your sales funnel, i.e. make them aware of your product, you can take multiple actions to increase your overall pool of potential customers:

1. Blogging

Blogging is an excellent way to start attracting awareness for your brand. A common eCommerce marketing tactic, people can discover you through your blog posts and share them onwards with their network too. Well written blog posts also start to rank for keywords on Google. This also allows people to find you through search results. 

By blogging, you also inform your visitors what your brand is about through the topics you choose to write about. At this stage, visitors want to feel educated and confident to articulate their problems. 

The content that will serve them best will be pieces that address common problems like ‘why does my light keep fluctuating’ or ‘why is my knee hurting after exercise’, or conversely you can write entertaining pieces which will attract a lot of people. You should note that popular or viral pieces will attract a lot of traffic but it won’t always be the people you want to target.

2. Social media marketing

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and the likes can do wonders for your awareness and add people to the top of your funnel.

To gain traction on social media, you can post entertaining/engaging and problem-solving posts to reel in people. If you create share-worthy content and offer incentives for users to share, you will manage to attract a lot of attention on social media, thus cementing your existence in their minds.

3. Checklists, pdfs and tipsheets

Checklists, pdfs, and tipsheets are examples of lead magnets that can help you attract relevant and interested people to your sales funnel. Let’s say if you’re a Camera Lens brand and you create ‘A checklist for first-time camera buyers’, you’ll attract people who’ll also want camera lenses down the line. When you take their email addresses in exchange for checklists and tipsheets, you can then nurture them and move them further down the funnel.

These are just 3 options from a variety of tactics you can use to add people to the top of your sales funnel. Whatever tactic you employ, it’s important to remember that your approach should be helpful to a general audience and shouldn’t be product-specific.

How to move leads to interest stage

A lot of brands forget this stage. Most companies become adept at attracting awareness but then fail to capitalize on the influx of website visitors and social media followers. This section focuses on how to make these people more interested in your brand.

In this phase of a customer’s journey, people are actively looking for solutions to their problems and they start researching how to achieve their goals. The questions evolve from ‘why’ into ‘how’ and people start looking for products and services that can satisfy their answers.

The biggest consideration in this stage is how to make customers think about you. How will you position yourself so you become a presence in their mind when they think about solving their problems?

The following tactics address this question of gaining interest:

1. About us page 

An important aspect of attracting interest in your brand is establishing trust and credibility.

 A lot of people when they’ll come across your brand through social media or search results may like your content but won’t be bothered to consider you as a solution for their problems if they don’t perceive you as credible or trustworthy.

One way to establish these traits is by designing a comprehensive about us page on your website. 

People want to know who they’re interacting with, and you can use this page to tell your story, establish your value, and propose your unique position in your industry. The way you design this page is upto you, as long as its something that visitors and customers can read and relate to.

2. FAQ section

According to Google, 60% of consumers want to speak to a sales rep most during the interest or decision stage of the sales funnel.

An FAQ page will act as support for your sales reps to not only support them during calls, but visitors can also refer to FAQ sections when reps are offline or no immediate assistance is available.

3. Targeted content

People in this stage are looking for more specific answers to their problems and your content should also reflect this. 

The content most suitable for this stage includes how-to articles in-depth guides, comparison-style checklists, best tips pieces, pros versus cons lists, and other articles that provide insight for your target customer.

4. Webinars

An online seminar (webinar) lets you express your brand and your capabilities without directly being solely in your tone, and it becomes a great way to establish a connection with your audience. Hosting webinars also makes you look authoritative in your domain. 

And it helps to know that on average webinars have a conversion rate of 67.05%

These conversions will help you guide leads into the decision stage of the sales funnel. The next section will cover how to get people there, and what works for such leads.

How to move prospects to the decision stage

In the decision stage, the customer is ready to commit, probably has two or three options in contention, and is paying greater attention to your offers, pricing, and product mix. This is when sales offers are made by using sales pages, calls, etc, and the nature of communication becomes direct and suggestive.

Some methods you can use to pull the customer in your favor, and ultimately take them to the action stage include:

1. Free Trials

Let your leads take your product for a spin.

Offering a free trial shows new customers that you’re confident about your product and people will derive enough value to actually purchase from you. Apps, streaming services, and even subscription-based eCommerce stores, all do this.

A free trial also allows a customer to evaluate your product hands-on, thus giving them greater clarity when they make a purchase decision.

2. Free Consultations

Free consultations serve as an effective way to connect with leads and pitch them in person, its non-committal for the lead and allows you do drive home your offer.

Consultations also show that your company is invested in helping customers because by consulting you are providing guidance and support. This instills confidence and makes them more likely to buy from you.

Good consultations take away a consumer’s anxieties and tackles their problems directly.

3. Exclusive Promotions

Promotions are a great way to improve the flow of your sales funnel as a lot of leads tend to hand around the first two stages of the sales funnel, seeming never ready to buy. Promotions can change that.

Send them discounts, coupons, limited offers, and the like to make them feel special and to incentivize them to take action with your brand.

These tactics are meant to help customers lockdown on a decision (i.e. choosing you as their go-to solution for a problem.) But their journey doesn’t end here. The final step involves inviting action, and then retaining and growing customers. The last section tackles how to take people from the decision stage to action.

How to convert visitors in the action stage

Now your lead is finally ready to buy. You’ve done all the hard work. You built awareness, you attracted interest and desire and now your prospect is going to become a customer. Now your goal is to make the buying experience smooth for them and to set them up for success with your product. You also want to build a relationship with them so they keep interacting with your brand and give them an experience where they share your product with their peers.

1. Request Feedback

By asking for feedback you are not only empowering your customers and giving them a voice, but you can use their ratings and reviews to display on your website to entice people who are still researching your product.

Do note that it’s not just enough to ask for feedback. Listen to what your customers say and improve your product to make them even more satisfied.

2. Welcome emails

Welcome emails have extremely high open rates and allow you to make a valuable post-purchase impression. 

You can use welcome emails to introduce your mission statement, your brand promise, what customers can expect from you, and you can also show related products in your emails to invite customers to shop more from you.

The welcome email can also include links to handy resources that customers can use to get better acquainted with your brand.

3. Newsletters

Newsletters provide your customers with valuable insights and keep your brand fresh in their mind, without being pesky. Couple this with the fact that 58% of workers prefer email as their preferred method of communication, newsletters become a great way to satisfy your customers.

4. Rewards

Offering rewards to customers is a great way to engage them and build loyalty. You can incentivize people to use your products by rewarding them according to:

  • Time since purchase
  • Active time with product/service
  • Their birthdays
  • Holiday seasons
  • Company milestones

Such rewards (in the form of discounts, upgrades and coupons) will keep the customer happy and more willing to shop with you in the future.

5. Last-ditch offers

These come in handy in a situation where a customer is having cold feet right at the moment of purchase. You can ease their worries and have them reconsider by offering them deep discounts or free upgrades which shouldn’t be available otherwise. Reiterate your value and have a sales rep talk and help them close the deal.

When a customer takes action either through a purchase or a sign-up, also make sure to provide relevant knowledge base documentation, implementation tips, guidelines for success, how-to’s for product use, and contact information.

It’s important to state that there might be additional stages to your sales funnel. Your interaction with a customer doesn’t end with a successful stage.

Now with the knowledge of how to keep people moving through the sales funnel, you can create relevant content and employ tactics to attract more leads and convert more customers. It’s important to remember that the sales funnel is a model and real-life interactions can be quite different. 

The sales funnel serves well as an aggregate model but individual behavior will always vary. Some people will buy from you the day they hear about you and others might remain leads for years. It’s important to test your own version of the sales funnel model to optimize it for your unique business.

Photo by Tim van der Kuip on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Designing Your Nonprofit Website

Noupe.com - 9 octobre, 2020 - 13:19

You already know the value of your nonprofit website. Your website serves as the touchpoint for most online engagements and centralizes all relevant information about your organization and mission. 

With COVID-19 pushing many to remote work and with in-person interactions on pause, fundraising has become a challenge for many nonprofits. Your nonprofit website is more important now than ever before, serving as the focal point of many of your current engagements. 

As of July 2020, 4.57 billion people are active internet users, and online fundraising rates only increase year by year. Keeping this in mind, a well-designed website can definitely help your nonprofit take advantage of key opportunities and sustain fundraising during this time. 

Unfortunately, from the way you organize website content to the tools you depend on, there are tons of mistakes you can inadvertently make. In order to best prepare you, this article will walk you through the top pitfalls to avoid when designing your nonprofit website:

  1. Confusing navigation
  2. Unorganized or lengthy donation form
  3. Hidden or missing organization mission statement and goals
  4. Overemphasis on donations
  5. Mobile unfriendliness

The right website will last your nonprofit a long time and be the catalyst to increased online fundraising. Ready to learn more? Let’s begin.

1. Confusing navigation

As soon as someone enters your website, they should know exactly where to go to answer their immediate need. They want to learn more about your organization? They click on your easy-to-access Mission Page button. They want to make an online gift? They make their way to your online donation form through clearly displayed calls-to-action (CTA).

However, with confusing navigation, users won’t be able to perform the tasks that they want. In fact, a website user’s attention span lies somewhere around eight seconds. If they can’t find your online donation page due to an unorganized menu, they might just leave. An easily navigable website is a key element that contributes to your website’s user experience

What does good navigation look like for a website? Consider the following elements:

  • Easily accessible menu with sections divided by audience (volunteers, new supporters, donors, event registrants)
  • A clearly displayed CTA for making an online donation
  • Menu links to popular landing pages like Mission Statement, About Us, Past Accomplishments, Event Calendar, Blog Roll, etc.

Don’t drive users away before they can even explore your website. An easily navigable website will only increase supporter satisfaction and build their relationship with your organization.

2. Unorganized or lengthy donation form

One of the most important processes and engagements on your nonprofit website is online giving. A well-designed online donation page can be the decider between whether a gift is made or the user exits the page thinking it’s not worth it.

Often, the reason why people don’t complete a donation, even if they are genuinely interested and passionate about the cause, is because the donation form is too complicated or takes too long. Think about it—have you ever gone online shopping and filled up your cart to only abandon it because filling out the order details took too long? 

An unorganized or lengthy donation form does the opposite of streamlining the giving process, and instead impedes it and risks turning away the supporter for good. In order to optimize your own online donation form, make sure you include these design elements:

  • Embedded form within website. Don’t send supporters to a third-party page!
  • Suggested donation amounts along with impact. This might even encourage users to give a little more when they know exactly how it’ll help.
  • Minimal questions only asking what’s required. Make sure you can customize your form so that you collect only the information that you need.
  • Integrated payment process. Having the payment form within your donation page ensures that the giving process is smooth and interrupted. Make sure your payment tool is PCI compliant!

Filling out your online donation form should be a quick and easy process. Use the design elements above to ensure you’re not missing out on any key opportunities!

3. Hidden or missing organization information

While your nonprofit website is there to help facilitate your online engagements, it should also serve as a resource for your supporters. After all, your nonprofit website is likely the first place supporters look when they want to learn more about your cause, make an online gift, or register for an event.

When considering the content of your nonprofit website, you have to consider the different types of people who might be visiting it. For instance, many website developers outline user personas to help them best design their site. According to this article on UX personas, “A persona is a tool you can use to create sales and marketing materials that have a specific target user in mind, rather than a generic one.”

In simplest terms, the people who visit your website can likely be divided into potential supporters and current supporters. From there, you can brainstorm the information that those two groups might seek. For example:

  • Potential supporters likely want to learn more about your organization, explore past accomplishments and current impact, and become familiar with recent campaigns and efforts. It’s crucial that your nonprofit website includes dedicated pages and content to meet these needs, like a Mission Statement page, an event calendar, highlights of current accomplishments, and articles on past campaigns. 
  • Current supporters already know about your organization but probably are curious about upcoming events and opportunities, key staff member contact details, and additional ways to get involved. 

The specific user personas that frequent your nonprofit website will depend on your unique organization. Think of who those groups might be and ensure that your website isn’t missing any critical information to serve their needs.

4. Overemphasis on donations

As you’re developing (or updating) your website, don’t make the mistake of thinking your website is only good for increasing gifts. While encouraging donations is a crucial part of your nonprofit website, there are many other engagement opportunities that you should emphasize.

Make sure your website is not only increasing online gift conversions, but also facilitating the following engagements:

  • Fundraising events. Make sure that your event calendar is clearly accessible so that users may explore it. Maybe even create an entire section on your homepage to introduce an upcoming event.
  • Volunteer opportunities. If your organization often deals with volunteers, make sure you have a dedicated page to explain your program and how supporters can get involved. This page should also speak to the volunteer program’s past success and current impact on the mission. Including fun photos of volunteers in action is also a great idea. 
  • Email or text engagements. Your nonprofit website is the perfect place to start engaging with your supporters through email or text. Embed communication forms within your website so that supporters can opt-in if they’re interested.
  • Social media connections. Many nonprofit websites advertise various social feeds to encourage engagement on a different platform. Social media is an effective way to interact with supporters on a closer level and even provides a way for them to meet each other. 

Even without online donations, your nonprofit website is the host to many of your important supporter engagements. Make sure you’re not missing out on any of them!

5. Mobile unfriendliness

With over 61% of all Google searches coming from a mobile device, having a responsive nonprofit website is crucial for your organization’s online success.

Make sure that each page on your website is not only beautiful and easily navigable on a desktop screen, but also on a smartphone or tablet. You don’t want to drive away those users just because your website looks funky on their device. 

Having a mobile-optimized website also ensures that supporters can engage with your nonprofit wherever and whenever. This way they can easily browse your accomplishments (and even make a gift) while they’re commuting on a bus or waiting in line. 

To ensure that your nonprofit website is mobile-friendly, consider the following design tips:

  • Focus on simple designs
  • Make sure your CMS is responsive on all devices
  • Avoid large blocks of text
  • Optimize image size depending on the screen size used

For an easy way to check if your website is mobile-friendly, use the inspect tool when you right-click on a desktop computer. This can show you what your website might look like on a smaller screen and if you have to adjust any design elements.

Your nonprofit website is an increasingly valuable tool, especially in our current circumstances. If anything, its importance will only grow as we continue to spend more and more of our time online. Ensuring you avoid these key mistakes will be integral to your nonprofit’s online success and overall fundraising efforts. Good luck!

Author; Anne Stefanyk
https://twitter.com/Anne_Kanopi
https://www.drupal.org/u/annabella
https://www.linkedin.com/in/annestefanyk/

Catégories: News dév web

4 Content Marketing Hacks to Scale your Online Apparel Startup

Noupe.com - 7 octobre, 2020 - 15:57

Are you a new apparel store owner looking for ways to scale your startup organically? Content marketing, when done right, can give you a great heads up in your eCommerce startup journey.

With the appalling amount of competition present today in the online apparel world, it’s imperative to adopt marketing strategies that would lay a sustainable foundation for your eCommerce business’ journey ahead. According to Google, more than 55% of customer purchase journeys begin via a Google search. This is why content marketing can be a super-powerful marketing strategy to scale your newly found apparel business.

Let’s look at some effective and actionable content marketing hacks that can help you scale your online apparel startup.

1. Curate and Share Latest Fashion Trends

Trends are the most effective and fastest way to drive massive engagement amongst your audience. Everyone wants to stay updated with fashion trends, hence creating content based on the latest trends can be very beneficial for your brand’s reach.

Unfortunately, many online apparel startups end up making the mistake of creating lookbooks, blog posts and curating social media content that they think their users would like. Guessing what you think your audience will like is a risky business, especially when you are starting out.

Source

For fashion startups, the safest way to scale their business organically is to stick to content that is trending. Here’s what you can do:

  • Do extensive research on top brands and influencers in your sub-niche. For example, if your store is about winter clothes, then you can research top brands and influencers who are the most popular in creating trends related to winter clothes.
  • Next, brainstorm and come up with ideas for content such as blog posts, look books, videos, and other types of social media content that can feature your content.
  • Create a content plan and put out content based on your ideas on all possible platforms.
  • And lastly, it is super important to promote your content using strategies such as SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, paid advertising campaigns, and similar more. Remember to use the right hashtags while posting content on social media platforms to gain more followers.
2. Leverage User Generated Content

Using user-generated content can be a brilliant content marketing strategy because you are essentially using content generated by users – something that can seldom go wrong. 

Although user-generated content seems like a no brainer, not every online fashion startup seems to adopt this strategy, probably because it’s not every brand’s cup of tea. Planning your user-generated content marketing campaign requires strategic planning and careful implementation to make it a success.

  • Create a hashtag and a hook to use for your user-generated content campaigns. Ensure that these are captivating, engaging, and create curiosity amongst users who are unfamiliar with your brand.
  • Go all-in on promoting your campaign along with hashtags on your website and all social media profiles. Encourage users to post content along with your hashtags while wearing your products.
  • Shine the spotlight on these users and feature them on your website and social media channels. Make them feel special and valued.

A perfect example of effective use of user-generated content strategy would be Barts, a Dutch fashion brand, that increased their conversion rates by 9.19% and average order value by 20.49% using user-generated content!

Source

A successful user-generated content strategy can increase your brand’s popularity, create a great social media community of loyal customers, understand your audiences’ needs better, and help you quickly scale up your fashion startup.

3. Rope in Top Influencers

Roping in top fashion influencers to create content for your online apparel startup can lead to massive improvements in your business’ growth. The power of influencers, especially in the fashion industry, is huge. Most fashion influencers have a massive following on social media platforms such as Instagram. Hence, just one piece of content on these influencers’ social media can completely transform your brand.

You can either invest in top influencers in the fashion industry, in which case you would have to invest in a sponsorship fee. Or, if you are tight on budget, you even can try to rope in influencers with small to medium-sized followings.

One of the best examples of a fashion startup that relied heavily on influencers to turn into a massive fashion brand today is FashionNova. Through tie-ups with influencers such as CardiB, Kylie Jenner, and 3000 other influencers, the brand has been able to cross $400 million in revenue in 2019! 

Source

Bringin on board even a couple of Instagram influencers to create content for your startup can expose your brand to a whole new set of audience, this, in turn, can help you scale your startup remarkably!

4. Prioritize SEO

Search Engine Optimization or SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website to drive higher quantity and quality organic traffic. SEO is a huge umbrella topic that consists of many smaller strategies on both your website and also outside your website. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, the majority of buyer journeys begin from a simple Google search. By implementing SEO the right way, over time you’ll be able to rank on the first page of Google when users search for terms related to your eCommerce store. 

The first and foremost thing you must do is create a blog for your store. This is because not all buyers will search on Google with purchase intent. Instead, they will most likely search for content related to their interests and eventually end up making a purchase from you.

For example, when users search for “autumn 2020 trends for women in Sydney” on Google, through SEO you can rank your blog posts related to falling 2020 trends. This way, your potential buyers will discover your brand and are likely to make a purchase from your store.

SEO is a vast umbrella topic consisting of many strategies that can be implemented such as keyword research, competitor analysis, on-page optimization, link building, guest blogging, and many more. 

Over time all these strategies will improve your rankings in Google and you’ll start getting more and more visitors through Google. Because of its vastness, creating SEO content might seem overwhelming, hence you can consider hiring an SEO services agency to build a strong foundation for your brand.

Wrapping it Up

To sum it up, creating consistent, high-quality, and trendy content on all the platforms where your target audience is likely to hang out is the best possible way to scale your online apparel startup from scratch to a popular brand.

Do not shy away from making wise, strategic investments in content marketing strategies such as influencer tie-ups, SEO services, and more. In due time you’ll stand out amongst your competitors and emerge as a popular online apparel brand.

Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

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Yves Bresson, ingénieur en informatique, consultant freelance, spécialisé dans le développement web (CMS, PHP, Laravel, Ajax, jQuery, Bootstrap, HTML5, CSS3) et d'applications mobiles (iPhone, Android). Voir le profil de Yves Bresson sur LinkedIn