“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe — and my camera is my passport,” says famous American photographer Steve McCurry. Whether you’re a professional photojournalist snapping pictures on the front lines or a novice photographer just starting out, there is something inside that drives people to dedicate their time to photography.
People become photographers for different reasons — a passion for aesthetics, an eagerness to tell stories, a desire to better understand the world around them, or maybe just a simple but unexplainable passion for capturing moments on film.
How do you become a professional photographer?
Before starting, we would like to remind that you can also download the PDF version of this photography business guide for free!How to know if photography is right for you
Before embarking on photography as a career, you’ll want to make sure this is absolutely the right field for you. That’s because, at the end of the day, photography demands passion and sacrifice — of course, those sacrifices can yield rewarding outcomes. You will have to spend time, energy, and probably some money to get really good at it. So before you dive in, it’s worth taking the time to evaluate whether or not you have the right personality for the world of photography.
Are you ready for the long hours and possible frustrations that come with photography? Are you passionate enough to withstand the ups and downs a beginning photographer faces? Answer those questions, and you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not photography is right for you.Knowing yourself
Who are you? OK, that’s a pretty big question. To make things easier, here are three slightly more specific questions:
Together these questions get at what motivates you and how you behave in certain situations. Your answers may be broad — and some of them might be only vaguely related to photography or not related at all. For instance, maybe your answer to the first question is “your family.” Although this answer isn’t directly related to photography, it might hint at what motivates you to start a photography business. You may want extra funds so that you can better support your family financially — and maybe you’re passionate about capturing other families’ memories with your camera.
None of your answers to these questions specifically qualify or disqualify you from becoming a photographer. Instead, answering these questions prepares you for what’s ahead. They make you aware of the strengths and weaknesses that you bring to photography. If, for instance, you said you’re “impatient,” you’ll want to keep that in mind as you learn photography. Are you a procrastinator? Again, good to know.
Your working habits and how you relate to your work are also helpful to understand. For instance, maybe you’re someone who thrives on outside validation. You need someone beside you to keep you going and remind you why the work you’re doing matters. Unfortunately, photography can be a bit lonely — spending late nights in the darkroom or hours alone on your laptop editing. You’ll need to go out of your way to get feedback from others and set up a support system both inside and outside of the photography world. These topics — getting feedback and creating a network — we’ll discuss later.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,” said Aristotle. It’s a wisdom that will come in handy as you embark on your budding photography career. Get ready to work hard — and reap lasting rewards.Choose photography because you love it
Many people come to photography as a way to make some money. It’s no wonder why: Many people around the world support themselves with photography, turning it into a lasting and fulfilling career. Countless advertising agencies and publications need photographers to provide them with content — and they pay handsomely. It’s also a perfect “side hustle,” allowing you the freedom to make your own hours and earn sizable hourly income on a freelance basis. To top it off, photography engages your creativity in a world where creative careers are harder and harder to come by.
Unfortunately, becoming a photographer merely because of the money likely isn’t enough of a motivator. You also need to you love photography. Getting those paychecks and turning photography into a lucrative career is only possible if it’s guided by a real passion for the art. You’ll only be able to put in the time and energy needed for photography if you’re motivated by respect for your craft.
Feeling passionate? Ready to turn photography into a life-changing creative career? Then let’s get to it — because there’s quite a bit to learn about how to become a photographer.
A tourist on 57th Street sees a musician getting out of a cab. He goes over and asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without pause, the musician replies wearily, “Practice.”
Everyone can take pictures. Who hasn’t snapped a pretty picture of a sunset during a hike? Or taken a particularly cute picture of their dog? And almost everyone in the world has taken a selfie at this point. When you take a picture like this, you are technically a photographer. But being a professional photographer — someone who gets paid for their work and sees photography as more than just a pleasant pastime — is entirely different. Take a real-world use case as an example and learn how famous photographer, Jeremy Cowart, made it big.
What sets professional photographers apart is practice. Pros have honed their craft. They’ve labored over photographs, becoming masters (or near masters) of every step in the photographic process. And still, they’re always looking to improve, researching the latest photographic technology, updating their equipment, and taking on new projects that will stretch their skills and take their mastery further.
In this section we’ll stress the importance of practice and explain why it’s such a crucial element of becoming a professional photographer. We’ll also explain how to practice — and how to find time to practice.Practice makes perfect
Photography is a craft — just like metallurgy or shoe cobbling or any other old-timey occupation you can think of. Crafts require practice. It’s no wonder there are so many photography apprenticeships. These apprenticeships pair a seasoned professional with a novice so that the master’s wisdom can pass on to the student.
People often confuse “practice” with “learning.” Learning is obviously useful. Reading a how-to book about photography is immensely valuable, as is looking through a book of photographs and evaluating them on a formal level. But practice involves doing. It means going out into the world with your camera and taking lots of pictures — then developing them, editing them, and engaging with every part of the photographic process.
Along the way you’ll make mistakes; that’s good! Mistakes help you learn. Pushing yourself and solving new problems is the best way to develop crucial skills and become a more well-rounded photographer. In fact, going out of your comfort zone and setting yourself up to face challenges is perhaps the most useful means of acquiring new skills.
Create goals for yourself. What skills do you want to improve? How are you going to track your progress in terms of developing this skill? And on what timeline are you planning to improve? Laying out your goals clearly is important, and tracking your progress is just as vital. Keeping a journal or a personal blog where you can chart your progress privately or publicly can be useful. Then it’s a matter of determining how you’re going to meet these goals. As we said, the best way to learn is by doing, and the best way to do is by tackling lots of projects.
Create projects for yourself. Tell a friend you’re taking them to the park and photographing them. They’ll probably be flattered. Sure, this might be something you’ve never done before. But now you’ll have the chance to practice composition, getting the lighting right, and working face-to-face with a client. Not to mention the practice you’ll get editing after the fact. Sitting down and saying, “I’m going to practice landscape photography” can feel too abstract. Creating a project for yourself forces you to tackle real-world problems and engages lots of different skills all at once. The goal is clear, and it’s up to you to meet it.
As we’ve discussed, becoming a professional photographer doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices along the way. Here are three that stand out:
Time: From idea to finished product, taking a photograph can be quite labor intensive. Great photographers are often detail oriented. They might spend hours trying to perfect a single element of a photograph. So as you tackle projects and dedicate yourself to improving your craft, you might find that you’re dedicating quite a chunk of time to photography. That’s just a reality of photography: You sacrifice lots of time along the way. If you love what you’re doing, the time will fly by. You might look up from your laptop after an epic editing session and realize it’s 3 a.m. It’s up to you to determine if the time you’re spending is worthwhile and to create an environment where you can improve as a photographer while keeping up with your other responsibilities.
Energy: Between traveling to gigs, networking, and running a business — not to mention the actual act of taking photographs — photography will take some energy out of you. Don’t burden yourself too much early on, or you might end up getting burnt out. Pace yourself, and realize it’s OK to ask for help.
Money: Photography is a pretty expensive endeavor in the early going. Getting the right camera — not to mention lenses, lighting equipment, etc. — can make a dent in your paycheck. There’s no real way around this, though you can start out slow. Maybe wait to invest in a top-of-the-line camera. Technology has come a long way, and you can find an affordable camera that meets almost all of your needs. You can even learn a lot from taking photos on your smartphone camera. There are also some very cheap and even free versions of editing software online. So while there is a financial sacrifice involved in becoming a photographer, you have some control over just how much money you spend early on. And ultimately, the money you spend is a worthwhile investment in terms of advancing your career.
Having a solid photography education tends to separate hobbyists from professionals. Sure, there have been plenty of successful photographers with only a minimal educational background. But for most, taking classes and working with an instructor enable you to hone your technique and gain valuable experience.
How much can you self-teach? You often hear about “self-taught masters” — people who ignored the classic paths laid out by academic programs and forged their own way to photographic mastery. And self-teaching could very well be the first step you take. There are countless instructional articles and videos online that can give you a basic understanding of the techniques professional photographers use every day. The downside of this approach is the mentorship you lack from not working with an instructor and the inability to give and receive feedback, which having classmates allows you to do.
How do you know you’re ready for more education? Maybe you’ve been working as a hobbyist photographer but have decided to take your skills to the next level. But are you even good enough to take a beginner class? You should never be afraid of taking the next step and educating yourself about photography if you have a passion for it. There are classes out there designed for complete beginners. Even many photography programs consist of students who have only cursory knowledge of photography.
What’s your budget? Of course, there are logistical concerns. After all, education requires time and money. Though we’ll discuss this more, you’ll want to be aware of how much money you’re willing to spend on your photography education. There are a wide range of options, from pricey graduate programs to more affordable online courses. You simply need to assess your goals and decide what provides the best value for you.
Now that you’ve decided to embark on a formal photography education, it’s time to explore your options. The types of photography instruction available are diverse. Here are the three worth focusing on:
What exactly do photography classes teach you? At the heart of every photography class is an exploration of the fundamentals of photography. Beginner courses will cover
One fundamental principle of photography that you’ll learn is the rule of thirds. This rule helps you carefully compose photographs and can be applied to many different types of photography. It’s one of the first things you’ll learn in a beginner photography class — and something you’ll keep in mind throughout your career.
Just about the best part of working with other students in a classroom is getting regular feedback. This feedback comes from your classmates as well as the instructor — and both provide valuable criticism that you can use to make your photographs better. Here are a few things to keep in mind when receiving feedback:
Listen first. When you receive feedback, you’re learning. You’re seeing your work through someone else’s eyes, cutting away your personal connection to the work so that you can understand it from a new perspective. That’s why you need to sit back and listen. In fact, most workshops will wisely have multiple students chime in with feedback before letting the photographer respond. This places the focus on those who are looking at the work rather than the creator of the work.
Ask the right questions. Once you’ve listened to what your classmates and instructor have to say, it’s time to respond with questions that will help you improve. For instance, if any feedback felt vague (e.g., “This photo didn’t really have an impact on me.”), ask for clarification. What about the photo failed to strike a chord? Ask tactical questions. See if any of your classmates have favorite photos that might have come to mind when they were assessing your photos, and then take a look at those photos.
Let your instructor’s feedback motivate you. In an ideal setting, your instructor will become something of a mentor for you. So you will naturally look forward to their feedback the most. In fact, you’ll probably earn a letter or number grade from them. While grades can be stressful, they’re a great way to motivate you and enhance your work. If you got a lower grade than expected, let this be an inspiration to improve. If you got a high grade, you’ve raised expectations — now it’s up to you to follow up on these expectations.
Don’t take it personal. Receiving feedback isn’t easy, especially if it’s negative. You’re bound to feel vulnerable. Suddenly the spotlight’s on you, and people aren’t afraid to call out the flaws of your work. It’s stressful — and takes a thick skin. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t take criticism personally. See honest criticism as a gift. When someone tells you exactly how they feel about your work, you’re getting a valuable glimpse into the way the world responds to your work. You can use this information to adjust and optimize. After all, this criticism is focused on your work — and says nothing about you as a person.
Enter photo contests. Want to guarantee some feedback outside of the classroom? A photo contest is a great option. It puts your work in front of a panel of judges who will not only tell you what they think of your work, but also potentially reward it, often in the form of money (not a bad deal, eh?).
If you aren’t in a class, find ways to actively seek out feedback. Turn to friends, family, and anyone else whose opinion you respect to hear how they feel about your work. Doing this consistently will teach you and help you become more aware of the impact of your work.Learn how to self-edit — and self-criticize
You won’t always have access to a roomful of classmates willing to give you feedback. When you’re going over your photos alone in the darkroom or editing them on your laptop, you’ll find it’s time for some self-editing. This tends to be more difficult than getting feedback from an outside source. You often have personal feelings wrapped up in your work. So how do you go about effectively self-editing so that you can improve your work?
Remove your personal attachments. You spent hours getting a photo just right. The labor that went into this photo might make you more protective of its quality — and keep you from being honest with yourself about it. Or you might come down too hard on this photo if you’re disappointed in the final product. Regardless, self-criticism is all about removing your personal feelings and looking at your work objectively. Depersonalize so that you view your work in the same way a classmate would. This takes practice.
Focus objectively on the fundamentals. Where should you focus your criticism? On the fundamentals. Recall what you learned in class (if you are taking or have taken a class). Go through the basics of exposure, composition, and lighting. What works well, and what could be improved? What do you think your instructor would say about your handling of the fundamentals? What fundamental of photography do you think you need to focus on improving when taking your next photo? Keying in on the fundamentals will keep your self-editing objective and turn the process into a powerful learning experience.
Be your own worst critic — but be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless with your self-criticism. For many artists, this is natural. Being your own worst critic can be a valuable tactic. It can help you to strive to improve and never feel complacent about your skills or the work you’re producing. But if you are going to be hard on your work, make sure you cut yourself some slack. If you’re a new photographer, remember that you’re still improving. Some work you make will be disappointing. All that matters is that you don’t lose motivation and you move onto the next project with enthusiasm and confidence.
Enter workshop mode. Sometimes looking at a photo and assessing your response to it isn’t enough. Many people find it helpful to reflect on their photo out loud, as though they’re speaking in workshop. You get out of your own way a bit when you do this and have the chance to speak objectively. Alternatively, writing a few sentences about your response to your photo is a good way to organize your thoughts. Saving this written feedback can be valuable, as you can look back on your work with some distance and see how your reaction to it changes over time.
As we’ve discussed, you have plenty of options when it comes to your formal photography education. And as we’ve seen, most classes tend to focus on similar fundamental concepts. As you decide on your educational path, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
What are your goals? Where do you want photography to take you? Do you want it to be a full-time job? An especially rewarding hobby? A fun and lucrative side hustle? Knowing your goals and scaling your educational path alongside your goals is a good way to decide on the right kind of program.
Who are your idols? There’s probably someone out there in the photography world who has a body of work or career that you admire. See what they did in terms of education. You don’t have to copy them. But knowing who you look up to and understanding how they got where they are is a good way to decide on the right educational path.
What is your current life situation? Maybe you’re at a point where entering a graduate program is out of the question. That’s OK. You need to be realistic. Maybe you take an online course, earn an online photography degree, and make some money as a photographer for a few years before you have the earnings and confidence to pursue a more advanced photography degree at a college. It’s not always a straight line from “beginner photographer” to “professional photographer.” Embrace the detours while keeping your overall plan in mind.
What kind of photography do you enjoy the most? Different classes and programs focus on different things. Are you looking to do commercial photography? More artistic photography? What kind of earning potential are you looking for? Do you want a class that touches on photographic history and art criticism? These are all things to consider when choosing a class.
Before signing up for or applying to a class, reach out to any valuable resources. These could be admissions officers, former students, or instructors. Explain your goals and see if the class content matches up with those goals. Go on a tour of a photography school and do plenty of online research. You’re making a big, exciting decision when you decide on an education path. Take it seriously and weigh your options carefully.
In many ways, mastery in photography is about mastery of tools. It’s a craft that forces you to understand machinery on a deep level: How does a different lens alter the way a photograph looks? What lighting equipment do you need to evoke a specific mood?
Having the right equipment makes everything easier. But finding the right equipment isn’t simple. Different types of photography call for different tools. There are certain cameras that transcend type and work in a variety of settings. And when you’re starting out, it’s probably best to go with equipment that is fairly general. After all, you’re still exploring and learning your way around a camera. So it’s best to choose a camera that helps you explore as widely as possible.
Another complicating factor is the evolution of different technologies. It feels like there’s a new cutting-edge camera released every day, but it’s best not to get caught up in the latest technological advancements. Always looking for the “next best thing” in photographic equipment is usually a waste of time and can put a real dent in your bank account. Instead, find the camera that’s right for you and learn how to use it inside and out.
As your photography skills grow, you’ll find that you aren’t just buying a camera. You’re instead buying a collection of photographic equipment that works together to help you produce your best work. You want a camera, photo editing software, and a laptop that all work for you, as well as a host of other tools that help take your photos to the next level. In this section we’ll explore this equipment and outline which tools work best in which contexts.Choosing a camera
Choosing a camera is one of the biggest decisions a new photographer makes. And as you grow, you’ll likely need to seek out new cameras. That’s why learning how to choose a camera can become a skill unto itself. While this might feel like a high-pressure decision, choose which camera to buy the same way you’d weigh any other purchase — by carefully weighing your needs against your options.
For instance, when you buy a mattress, you probably consider what type of sleeper you are. Do you sleep on your side? Do you tend to toss and turn? Do you run hot or cold during the night? These are all questions that tease out what kind of sleeper you are. Once you know the answers — and have a budget in mind — you’re ready to search for a mattress. When buying a camera, you’ll similarly want to ask yourself what type of photographer you are and conduct your search accordingly.
What are your needs? You’re likely just starting out. In that case, you probably want something that allows for versatility. You also don’t want to make too dramatic an investment off the bat, so consider aiming for something in a medium price range. If you think you’ll need to change lenses frequently, you’ll probably want to go for a larger camera like a DSLR instead of a compact camera. Do you need high shutter speed? Powerful autofocus? Do you want something lightweight, or are you OK with something bulkier? These are the questions you need to answer.
What are your options? Compact cameras, DSLRs, and mirrorless cameras are the three main types worth investigating. They each have different pros and cons in terms of features and price. Luckily there’s flexibility within these categories — you can find some expensive and advanced compact cameras and cheaper, more basic DSLRs.
Do your research. The most important thing is comprehensively researching your options. Read reviews online. Familiarize yourself with different brands. Go into a photography store and see if they’ll let you test out a camera yourself — many will. Watch plenty of YouTube videos and collect as much information as possible. All the resources you need are out there, ready to help you find the best possible camera for your needs.
Once you know your needs, it’s time to assess your camera options. As a beginner, you probably don’t want to break the bank right away. But you still want a camera that allows you to explore, make mistakes, and grow as a photographer.Use some of these popular online photography tools
Not every photography purchase involves going to a store. There are also plenty of tools for photographers online. These include photo-editing tools, useful instructional resources, and more that will help you advance your skills.Finding the right laptop
When you think of photography, you probably imagine holding a camera to your face and composing beautiful images. But that’s only one part of the process. You also have to edit tons of photos. Luckily, advances in technology mean most laptops are able to give photographers everything they need to succeed. But some laptops offer features that are more aligned with the needs and lifestyle of a photographer. What should you look for when seeking the best laptop for photography?
It’s easier than ever to find a laptop that works for a photographer. Advances in technology mean that most brands offer pretty vivid display. You also no longer need to worry about storage, as external hard drives and the cloud have made it easy to store tons of image data. So do your research, weigh your options, and seek out a laptop that works for you.
It’s not just about your camera. You also need plenty of other equipment if you’re looking to create professional photos. Fortunately there are plenty of options out there that can work for just about any type of photographer. Here are the other pieces of equipment you’ll need and the things to consider when purchasing them:
Taking photos is only half the battle — editing is the other half. And becoming a master of photo editing can take your skill set to a whole new level. You know the tools you need for editing (Adobe Elements and Lightroom primarily), so now it’s time to find the educational resources out there to help you master photo editing.
Tools: While you’re growing as a photo editor, always make sure you’re using the right tools. For instance, maybe in the beginning you’ll use a free online photo editor like GIMP. While several free editing programs are powerful and offer plenty of features, they do have limits. So as you progress, know when it’s time to graduate to a new program. And be aware that changing tools and learning a new set of controls can be tough. So attempt to make your first editing program your “forever program.”Setting up your photography business: Where to start
Once you’ve leveled up your photography skills, the natural next question is how do you monetize these skills? Don’t worry. Even as Instagram leads everyone to believe they’re a photographer, there’s still massive demand for actual professionals who can take stunning photos.
The options for starting a photography business are varied — and there are plenty of paths to success. In this section we’ll explore the different types of photography businesses, outline the different ways of building a loyal following, and explore the ins and outs of how to start a photography business.
At their heart, photos are about capturing memories. So when an important event happens, a photographer is usually there. And it’s not just events — photographers create art, capture nature’s beauty (such as flower photography, tree photography, waterfall photography or silhouette photography), and convey important information. There are many types of photography you can pursue.
It’s time to turn these photography skills into a business, but how? Luckily it’s not as difficult to get started as you may think. Here are the steps you should take.
Identify the most monetizable types of photography. Some types of photography make more money more consistently than others. A few that stand out as particularly lucrative are wedding photography, family photography, maternity photography, real estate photography, commercial/stock photography, pet photography, product photography, and boudoir photography. Again, this list isn’t comprehensive, and money can be made in just about any subcategory of photography. One area that’s trending is aerial photography, which uses drones to snap pictures from a bird’s-eye view. Keep in mind your own interests. For instance, the best wedding photographers are able to tap into the palpable excitement of a wedding — and that passion comes through in the photographs. If you find weddings silly, you probably won’t be very successful in that field.
Assess the market around you. When one suburban mom realized her children were constantly having their photos taken — for graduation, sports, prom, etc. — she realized her town had a major market for youth-based portrait photography. The best business plans often come from organic market needs. For instance, if you’re in an area with lots of real estate turnover, there’s probably a need for real estate photographers. And someone looking to get into fashion photography will likely have more luck finding clients in Milan than they would in, say, rural Kentucky. So before you dive in and commit to a type of photography, ensure that your community has a need for that kind of photography.
Focus on one or a few types — and practice. Now that you know the types of photography that make money and have a better idea of the market around you, it’s time to decide on a path — and start practicing. There are lots of ways to practice before diving head first into a business. If you’ve decided on portrait photography, for instance, you don’t need a bunch of human subjects to practice the fundamentals.
Learn from the best. Who are the best wedding photographers out there? Who is absolutely nailing it in the world of pet photography? Gather as many role models as possible and learn from them. Set your sights high with some of the industry’s greatest and see how they manage to produce such great work. Then try to find more humble businesses that are in the early stages but finding success. Ideally study photographers who are working in a market similar to your own. Focus not just on their work, but also on their business model. Keep these resources at the ready as your business launches.
Develop a marketing strategy. Getting the word out about your photography business is crucial. Clients can’t find you if they don’t know about your business. So start drafting a marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate off the bat. Just know the channels you’re going to invest in. For instance, some photography businesses get off the ground with a stunning Instagram. It’s free and just takes a small investment of time. As you get closer to really launching your business, you can start to home in on a detailed marketing strategy — which we’ll discuss later.
Drones are becoming a bigger and bigger part of photography. As technology advances, drones are being used for beautiful aerial photography. Want to know the best drone for photography? Or the features to consider when selecting a drone?Promoting your photography
Once you’re serious about your photography business, it’s time to get your name out there. This is where developing an effective marketing strategy enters the frame. In short, there’s no “correct” way to promote your photography. People use all sorts of different tools and methods to get their work out there and show prospective clients what they’re capable of. All that matters is getting people’s attention.
Build a portfolio. What’s your best work, the work that really shows off all you’re capable of as a photographer? That’s the work you’ll want to include in your portfolio. Of course, your portfolio can be as big as you want it to be. But the best portfolios are discerning, showing just the work that’s necessary without wasting the viewer’s time or including photography that is subpar or insignificant. Furthermore, you should make sure your portfolio isn’t full of duplicates. Literal duplicates are obviously unnecessary. But even having multiple portrait shots from the same angle and with the same lighting and composition can be unnecessary. Pick the best one and let that photo do the talking!
The internet is your friend. It can be hard to imagine how photographers promoted their businesses before the internet. And as computer displays improve, there’s no reason the web shouldn’t be your own personal showroom. Between a personal website and social media feeds, you have so many opportunities to show off your work in an easily accessible way. And while many photography businesses grow via word of mouth, don’t be afraid to invest in some social media advertising. Facebook ads are an affordable way to draw people to your work and find clients.
Make your work sing. But don’t just put your work online — put it online in a way that makes it look as good as possible. Too many photography websites have clunky templates that detract from the portfolio on display. Opt for a minimal template. Web hosting platforms like WordPress usually offer templates that are specifically designed to showcase photography. There are also widgets you can add to your site that allow visitors to zoom in on pictures and view them in an easy and illuminating manner.
Build relationships. Having an online presence will definitely get your name heard. Posting about your business on social feeds and getting your own domain puts your work out into a rich ecosystem of potential clients. Still, word of mouth can be effective. Work on face-to-face interactions where you can build relationships. One client can turn into three clients down the road if you deliver great photographs, great service, and encourage referrals. For instance, offer a free photo shoot to anyone who refers a friend. You’ll quickly find your client list growing.
It takes creativity and curation to promote your work. Find what you do best, display it, and find creative ways to turn the viewers of your work into loyal customers. At the end of the day, the best way to grow your business is to consistently deliver fantastic work to your clients while being a joy to work with.
Sure, business cards may seem old-fashioned. But entrepreneurs have been relying on them for self-promotion for centuries. In fact, they’re thought to have originated in 15th-century China. Even today, 600 years later, business cards stand the test of time as a great initial way to promote your brand.Setting up a portfolio and website
Setting up a portfolio is one of the most crucial steps in promoting your photography business. A portfolio puts your skills and style on display. Here are a few easy things to consider when creating your portfolio:
Once you’ve learned how to set up a photography portfolio and are ready to show it off, it’s time to set up a website. You can get started easily with one of these HTML templates. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Pick a simple domain name. Don’t overthink your domain name. Plenty of photographers just use their first and last name then tack on a .com. If you’re working to brand your business around a certain name (such as your last name followed by “Photos”), that can also work as a domain name and should figure prominently on your website.
Have an about page and a contact page. When people get to your website, they want to learn a bit about you. What are your credentials? Where did you study photography? Who have you worked with in the past, if applicable? What are your specialties? What is your general workflow (e.g., scheduling, quotes, etc.)? Include all of this on a concise but informative about page, which can be accessed easily from your website’s homepage. In fact, many websites just include this information tastefully on the homepage. Then include all of your contact information. This means your phone number, email, and social media profiles. Give your potential clients many diverse ways of reaching you.
Let your photos do the talking. Now that you’ve explained who you are and how to get in contact with you, it’s time to let your photos do the talking. Your photos should figure very prominently on your website, either on the homepage or on a separate “gallery page” that you can get to very easily from the homepage. The page where you place your portfolio should be very minimal — think a white background that is free of text. This way, people can focus on the photos and not be distracted by a busy background.
Categorize your photos if necessary. Within your portfolio, you should divide your photos by type. For instance, if you have both still life photos and portrait photos on your website, sort them accordingly instead of mixing everything together. You can include a dropdown menu that allows you to easily navigate between photos or tag each of your photos by type so that your portfolio is organized and easy to navigate.
Add some character. Sure, your website should be pretty straightforward — some quick personal info combined with your portfolio. But don’t be afraid to include some character here and there. After all, you want to brand your business and enable it to stand out from the pack.
Social media thrives on photo sharing. Instagram and Snapchat are all about pictures — and pictures figure prominently on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest too. Plan on making social media one of the cornerstones of your marketing strategy. Here are a few things to consider as you use social media to promote your photography business:
Carefully curate Instagram. Instagram is the central hub for many photographers. It’s an especially good place for fashion photography, travel photography, and food photography — though just about anything works. Think of Instagram as your personal portfolio that’s ever-evolving and growing. You might just find that some prospective clients show up in your comments and direct messages.
Be interactive. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat all allow you to have stories. These are a great way to interact with customers on the go. See a pretty sunrise on your morning commute? Snap a photo of it and upload it to your story. This is a great way to keep your brand chugging along — and it shows prospective clients that photography is your passion at any hour of the day. When you aren’t making stories, be sure to respond to comments and messages when people interact with you on social media. It’s a great chance to connect and show some personality.
Be aware that social media skews younger. This is one of the great bonuses of social media. You have a large audience of generally younger people who love to share content and interact. So always be sure to share content that is fresh and in step with internet culture. Don’t try too hard — and no, don’t share memes! — but do try to create a space online that is fun while still maintaining a level of professionalism.
Periodically post your business information. Don’t spam friends and family with your contact information every day. But every few months, post a story or photo that reminds people of the services you offer. It doesn’t have to be intrusive — it can just be a friendly reminder to connect with you and spread the word.
Advertise on social media. The world of social media advertising can also pay off big-time if you do it right. Buying ads on Facebook, for instance, is a great way to push your brand in front of a wider audience. Of course this costs money, so be sure this is a worthwhile investment and within your budget.
Social media is a hub of photographic content. And because you’re a skilled photographer, it’s somewhere you can stand out and draw lots of attention. Post good content consistently and you can be pretty confident that people will find it and want to work with you.
Connecting with other photographers is a great way to grow your client list. Yes, you are technically in competition with other photographers for clients. But there is still a nice level of solidarity within the community. Other photographers care about their craft — so they always like to see other photographers producing great work.
Join photography communities. There are all sorts of online message boards and social media groups specially designed to connect photographers with others in their profession. These are a great way to get feedback, learn about the newest technology, and potentially find collaborators.
Go to festivals and expos. In-person networking events are naturally a great way to meet people in your industry. Going to a photography festival can also introduce you to new cameras and equipment that might benefit your business. These events are also a great chance to hand out your business card and find people to work with down the road.
Volunteer. Sometimes organizations need photographers for events but don’t have the funds to pay for photography. This is where you come in. Not only does volunteering feel great — capturing memories for people on a pro bono basis — but it’s also a chance to meet other photographers or simply get your name out there in the community.
Connect on social media. Follow other photographers on Instagram, Twitter, and any other platform they use. And don’t just follow — interact. Cheer them on with positive comments or chime in with an intelligent question about the camera or equipment they used for a certain photo. This is a great chance to build relationships with others in your field.Optimizing your business — and making more profit
Let’s face the facts: Photography isn’t a cheap profession. Cameras and equipment cost a great deal of money. So photographers are always looking for tools that can save them money while making their jobs easier.
That’s where JotForm comes in. JotForm boasts plenty of features that can make photographers’ lives easier. JotForm’s wide array of data collection tools can make booking and scheduling clients a snap. Many photographers have used JotForm to ease their workflow — and it’s enabled them to affordably provide great service for their clients.How can JotForm help you optimize?
A lot of information needs to be exchanged before a photo can be taken. Client information, schedule information, payment information, and, potentially, release forms. And that’s just before the photo. Afterward you might send proofs so your client can let you know which photographs they like.
If you aren’t organized, this entire process can become a huge headache for the client and a time suck for you. If data collection becomes a pesky bottleneck in your workflow, you could potentially alienate the customer and lose time that could be spent working with other clients.
Online forms can prevent that from happening. Over the years, JotForm has found that photographers rely heavily on forms to exchange information. JotForm has the tools to help photographers optimize their workflow. Here’s how:
It’s no wonder big-time photographers have a fleet of assistants — being a photographer calls for plenty of paperwork. Luckily, JotForm makes the entire process easier, digitizing the collection and sorting of online forms so that all of the information you need is in one easy-to-navigate place.Saving time and money with JotForm
There are plenty of expensive photography tools out there. And when running your business, you can easily run up your costs by investing in workflow software that doesn’t do a whole lot to make your job easier. If that isn’t enough, you may need to hire an assistant to keep track of all of your administrative materials.
Luckily it doesn’t have to be this way. Online forms can help you save money and time, cutting out the need for expensive software and added staff. Here are the different ways JotForm can save photographers time and money:
Time really is money when you’re running a business. Saving time with JotForm will help you handle more clients, conduct business efficiently, and provide service that keeps clients coming back over and over.Common photography forms
Photographers use online forms for all sorts of tasks. Here are a few JotForm forms that are particularly popular among our clients who run photography businesses:
If you need to collect information, there’s a pretty good chance JotForm has a form for the job. Throughout the entire transaction — from booking, signing, paying, and leaving feedback — JotForm is there to make the process easy so that you can focus on taking great photographs.
You always want to make sure you’re offering your clients the best possible service. But it’s not always easy to get their feedback. For photography, there isn’t a ready-made way for clients to leave reviews the way they do for other businesses. So how do you get an idea of what went well in a given photo shoot and what needs improvement?
It all comes down to customer feedback outreach. You can easily ask for feedback with JotForm’s extensive array of feedback forms. These forms enable customers to give their thoughts — and then send that feedback straight to your JotForm dashboard and email.
How do you get started? Getting started with JotForm feedback forms is simple. Just explore the library of templates and find the form that best suits your needs. You probably want to include a mix of number rating (on a scale of 1-10) alongside text fields for qualitative feedback.
Get ready to customize. You’re able to get under the hood and customize our forms to your liking. In short, you want to make sure you’re getting a detailed evaluation from the customer filling out the form. At the same time, you don’t want to make the form too lengthy. Otherwise the customer might feel like you’re wasting their time. Keep it concise but in a way that will still be useful for you.
Make the most of your feedback. After you’ve gotten plenty of feedback through your online form, use this input to improve your business. Do customers like the finished product but feel the actual photo shoots could be more organized and run more smoothly? Internalize that feedback and apply it to future clients. And if you get your client’s permission, don’t be afraid to use some positive feedback as testimonials in marketing materials, such as your website.
Remember in photography class when you would get feedback from your instructor and classmates? Well you’re now a professional photographer with clients — and you’re getting feedback in the real world. This feedback serves the same function as it did in school: to give you the tools to improve. Because, after all, you care about your craft, you always want to get better at what you do, and you’re absolutely determined to become a master of the photographic arts.
Shopping today is easier than before with the rise of e-commerce. You can make a purchase with just a few clicks and you don’t even have to leave the house!
E-commerce continues to grow and brick and mortar stores are beginning to adapt. They now have organized websites which are easy to navigate around and feature their products as prominently as possible.The H&M E-Commerce Shop
The stores now have the task of making the product look appealing in-store and on their online store. However, displaying products for an online store is different compared to a physical store.
Many online shops face a major challenge because the customer can’t touch the item they want to purchase. When online shops establish their stores they need to create ideal photos to appeal to the browsing customer.
Keeping the customer’s attention does not require expensive studio lights or the fanciest equipment. You can make your products look more presentable on a budget with items you might already have with you:1- Use a Smartphone Camera to Take Your Photos
There is a popular misconception that you always need a fancy, expensive camera to take photos of your products for e-commerce. This is not true. Your photos can be taken with a smartphone and you can still end up with an excellent quality product photo.
When you are on a budget you can use your smartphone to take photos of your products. Many smartphones today create high-quality photos without the need for an expensive DSLR camera. Popular smartphone brands such as Apple, Huawei, and Samsung invest in the cameras of their phones so you don’t have to rely on cameras to create great photos for your e-commerce products.
Good lighting is the key to making your products look good. Having bad lighting can make your products look bad because shadows would display your products in a bad light.
One easy solution to your lighting problems is to have a lightbox. You can choose from a variety of premade lightboxes but, they can become costly.
In order to save money, you can make your own lightbox. A DIY lightbox will save you a lot of money because most of its parts can be found at home.
The base of the box can be made from any cardboard or plastic box you can find at home. You can use desk lamps to light up the box. There’s no need to spend a fortune on a box that only has one purpose.
There are online videos that instruct you on how to create your own lightbox. Making your box from scratch will save you a lot of money compared to purchasing a pre-made lightbox.
When you’re looking for lighting in your box you’re not limited to the desk lamp you are using. Natural light is a good alternative to the artificial light provided by desk lamps.
Using natural lights involves placing your product near a window with the sun shining through. This means you won’t have to use a lightbox to create your image.
An alternative to your lightbox can be a plain white sheet of paper, a platform to place the product and paper and a few clips to keep the paper in place.
Go to Amazon or any other online retailer and you’ll see that there’s a pattern to a lot of their product pages. Almost every online shop uses a white background to display their products.
Here are three reasons why you should use a white background for your online-only store:
The kind of picture you want to display will be up to you as a photographer. There is another aspect that is even more important to make your products look good.
No matter how you shoot a photo of your product, there will always be some flaws that you can miss. This is where photo retouching comes in.
Photo retouching is an activity that involves cleaning up your photos by removing flaws so you can display your products in their best form.
Spotted a smudge on your product? You can use photo retouching to fix that? Want to add more copies of your product in one photo? Retouching can do that.
You can find an array of photo retouching tools online but the most popular retouching tool is still Adobe Photoshop. There are a lot of techniques you can use to improve your photos but, there are three techniques that stand out above the rest:
If you’re featuring a model with your product, you might spot a blemish or a scar that the makeup could not cover. Using a healing brush will alleviate your problems. Choose a flawless patch of skin on the model and use that as a basis to remove the flaws on the rest of their skin.
There’s a tool called Dodge and Burn that lets you darken or brighten parts of your image. Dodge and Burn help with adjusting your photo’s exposure. The exposure of an image determines how bright or how dark your image will look like.
One way to make your photo retouching easier is by using a RAW file format. Unlike a JPEG file format, the RAW file format gives you the freedom to adjust the settings of your picture without compromising the quality of the photo.
Using a JPEG file requires you to make a new copy of the picture every time because once you edit the picture, the quality of the photo becomes worse.
The RAW file format gives photo editors more freedom to play around with the settings of the photo because they don’t have to worry about a misplaced edit in one section. Using a RAW file means you can reset the settings of the photo back to how it was when you shot the image.
For more detailed instructions on dodge and burn and other features, you can visit the Adobe website. Their website explains all of the photo retouching features you can use on their software such as Photoshop.
Photoshop is just one of the many photo editing programs you can use to make your products look their best. There are other alternatives such as GIMP, Paint.Net and many others. The important thing is to make the image look good to the customer at first glance.
A study by Shopify mentioned that a buyer’s first impression is generated within 50 milliseconds before they leave a page. In order to capture the audience’s attention, you should look for instructional guides by companies that conduct e-commerce photo editing services such as the Paper Boat Creative.
Their website features guides on photo retouching and they even have a section dedicated to product photography so you can have a better understanding of how you can make your products look their best and keep the customer’s attention and, hopefully, make a purchase.
Creating the ideal e-commerce photo does not have to be expensive. Sometimes, the items you need will come from a small sheet of paper or a box you already have at home. Learning how to retouch your own photos will help you understand how to make your photos look excellent enough that customers can stay long enough on your page and make a purchase.
E-commerce photos can be created without spending a lot of money. All it takes is a few items you have at home and learning how to clean up your photos by yourself.
With roughly 55,000 WordPress Plugins and Services to choose from, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one or more that can take your business to the next level
The answer is “No”.
Sifting through all 55,000 tools and services will not only take up a huge amount of your valuable time, but after a while, everything will begin to look alike. You could pass by something that could really help you, and even end up with nothing to show for your td trouble.
In this article, we’ve shared our expert pick of “must-have” WordPress tools and services for websites in 2019. You should have no problem finding a game-changing tool or service in hardly anytime at all.
Let’s start with:
If you’re in dire need of improving your design workflow and speeding up your production time Elementor, the most advanced WordPress page builder on the market can provide a solution to those problems and several others that could be getting in your way.
Are you spending too much time coding, or finding yourself limited as to what you can accomplish because of a lack of coding skills? Elementor’s powerful drag and drop page builder lets you create professional WordPress pages and sites without having to produce a line of code.
Furthermore, since Elementor works with any theme and any WordPress plugin you can avoid a couple of other common problems. More than a few themes place design constraints on you and many plugins have a nasty habit of slowing your sites down. Not so with Elementor. When this amazing tool helps you avoid problems like these, it can pay big dividends in time saved.
You also have the option of working with super-useful widgets if you prefer to start a project from scratch or select among hundreds of pre-designed templates and special effects to build your pages.
Page and website-building tools can be intimidating. The Brizy WordPress website builder is exactly the opposite. If you’ve been yearning for an easy-to-use drag and drop website building experience, Brizy delivers it in spades. No coding is required, nor do you need any design or special skills to work with this exceptional tool.
Since you get 150 layouts, 16 popups, and 240 pre-made building blocks right out of the box, you’ll have no problem figuring out your page structure and putting together a website in mere minutes. 4,000 icons are also included with the package and working with colors and fonts is super easy; With Brizy it’s easy to control how your site will display on tablets or mobile devices.
Since Brizy is free to download you can start using it right now and create websites for free with no strings attached.
Newt Labs takes a proactive approach in supporting your up and running WordPress websites so you can stop worrying about WordPress issues that might affect their performance and impact your reputation with your clients down the road.
The Newt Labs team will be more than happy to dedicate their extensive resources to help you with small website fixes, manage possible effects of WordPress updates on your sites, and provide security monitoring and backups. Newt Labs even provides WordPress optimized hosting.
When an agency that specializes in WordPress like this one does is at your fingertips, you can sit back and relax and attend to your other business chores knowing that potential problems are being addressed and any real problems will be quickly attended to.
Looking for a better (and easier) way to optimize your content? The WordLift plugin’s AI technology is way ahead of the game. WordLift translates the content of your pages and articles into machine-friendly content that allows your website to literally talk across many devices to help site visitors and consumers take action.
In this, the year of voice search and AI-powered content discovery platforms, you can rely on WordLift to act as a powerful ally to connect with your audience.
Goodie is a software development platform that directly connects end-clients with experienced web developers. With Goodie, you can avoid costly middlemen, save time, avoid communications bottlenecks, and have your website completely coded for the special price of $999.
Just provide the Goodie team with your design and sit back and relax. This service is ideal for small business owners and web designers in need of a clean and carefully-coded website.
Tips to Make Your WordPress Site Secure
Choose a Good Hosting Company
Update WordPress regularly
There you have it. 5 tools that can help take your site-building experience to a new level, and 4 tips you should make a habit of practicing to keep those sites safe and secure.
You don’t have to worry about plowing through a few thousand WordPress tools or services to take your work up a notch. Any of the 5 products and services listed here are more than capable of doing that for you.Sponsors
Customers do not trust businesses. And why would they? There are reports of new security breaches on the news almost every day.
And more commonly we’ve all experienced the terrible disappointment of opening up an order and not getting quite what we expected.
The research backs this up. According to Salesforce Research, 59% of customers believe their personal information is vulnerable to a security breach. Furthermore, over half of the consumers don’t believe that companies have their best interests in mind.
How do you stand out from the crowd and convince you’re customers that you’re worthy of doing business with? Your website can be a strong indication of your trustworthiness. In this article, we’ll share five tools and practices you can implement to stand out as a trustworthy online business.Why is it important that customers trust you?
People don’t want to spend money with businesses they don’t trust. This isn’t a crazy idea – if you’ve ever bought a car, you’ve considered the trustworthiness of the person selling it to you. Can you believe what they say? When you give them your money, will you get what you expect in return? Trust is a big factor in our decision-making process.
For online businesses, this is even more important. In-person you can touch the product you’re buying. You can speak directly with the person you’re buying from. When you purchase something online, you have to trust that it will be in good condition when it arrives. Trust is an important consideration for shoppers across industries; 90 percent of shoppers would only purchase financial services products from a known, trusted brand. The same idea holds true for medical expenses (91 percent), consumer electronics (83 percent), and even lower-priced items, like shoes (66 percent).
Trust isn’t just important for gaining new customers – it also helps businesses retain the customers they already have. Salesforce found that 95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust. Furthermore, 92% are more likely to purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses.5 Tools and Practices to Build Trust with Customers
Fortunately for online businesses, there are best practices that can help you build trust with your customers. The way you design your website can help reassure customers that you’re a legitimate business with their best interests in mind. Read below for five strategies you can employ to build trust with customers.Make it easy to contact you
When customers have questions, it’s important that they are able to get in touch with a real human who can help. It doesn’t have to be a phone number. Something as easy as making an email address or live chat available can make customers feel more at ease with purchasing. That way, not only can they get their questions answered upfront, they also know you’re there if something goes wrong (such as a lost delivery).
Offering live chat is one of the most effective customer service contact channels because it provides immediate, personal, conversational help. Customers feel like they are connecting with a real human, and that makes them feel a connection with your brand.
In fact, when Intuit launched proactive chat at important decision points on their website, they increased their conversion rate by 211%.Show Customer Reviews
Customers trust online reviews almost as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends and family. If you’re looking to build trust, displaying authentic customer reviews is a great way to do so.
BrightLocal did an experiment where they created two versions of the same business website: one with customer reviews and one that only included the business’ reassurance that they were trustworthy. Respondents rated the website that included customer reviews substantially more trustworthy than the website without.
Which website are you more likely to trust? One that is riddled with typos and grammatical errors or one that looks professional? Your content says more than you think it does.
To gain the trust of your readers, spend time proofreading or hire a professional copyeditor to look over your site. If English isn’t your primary language, this is still important – your visitors could be coming from all over the world. Having a well-written website makes you look more authoritative.
It’s also important to provide references for any stats you use and cite any quotations that you’ve found on other sites. Secondly, linking to trustworthy sites (for example, well-respected news outlets) can help boost your TrustRank score as well. When readers know that they can believe what you’re saying, they will trust your sales claims too!Consider using a Trust Badge
A surprising 70% of shoppers cancel their orders or abandon their online purchase just because they don’t trust the website. Trust seals or trust badges can help reduce this issue by signifying that your website is committed to the security and privacy protection.
A trust badge is purchased from a third-party company to indicate a certain level of security. Trust seals need to be earned and verified before they are displayed – you can’t just copy and paste an image from a Google search.
“A trust seal verifies to visitors that a website is legitimate. Data is collected by the third-party trust seal company that confirms that the business is authentic.” – Marie from CrazyEgg
SleekNote has done a good job of gathering all the data around how adding a trust seal can help improve conversion rates. But the TL;DR is that it really, really works. Clean Energy Experts boosted their conversion rates by 137% with a Verisign trust seal. Blue Fountain Media saw a 42% increase in sales with the addition of a trust seal to their checkout page. It’s worth considering how a trust seal could work for your business as well.Conclusion
While all of these tools will help you build a closer, more trusting relationship with your customers, nothing can compensate for shady behavior. Ultimately, your actions will speak louder than your words. Ensure you’re acting with integrity, doing what you say you will and delivering a consistently excellent customer experience.
While your website design can help build trust, one misstep will result in losing it all. Work tirelessly to deserve the trust your customers put in you, and enjoy a lifetime of success.
Mobile Apps have become a go-to tactic for businesses around the globe.
There won’t be any organization in the world who hasn’t invested in this sector. Nowadays, mobile apps are not a fashion symbol; it has become a necessity. Those who don’t have mobile apps for their business will fall behind the competitors.
You can say that mobile apps have revolutionized every sector of the industry.
Therefore, it becomes essential for all of you to be aware of its latest trends.
Now, in the last few years, there is another innovation which took place.
People know this innovation as Chatbots, and it has taken the world by storm. Chatbots have become a real buzzword in the last few years or so.
There won’t be anyone who hasn’t heard of Chatbots & its functionalities.
According to a survey by Gartner, 85% of the customer relationship will get maintained without any human intervention by 2020. That’s where Chatbots will play a massive role.
Therefore, it becomes vital to have in-depth knowledge about this trending technology. The Beginner’s Guide To Chatbot can be helpful in this regard, without any doubt.! Recently, Mobile Apps and Chatbots have emerged as two of the most significant players.
There is a massive debate going on the industry about which is the most impactful player. Experts believe that Chatbot is where the future belongs. So, you should know about it.
Chatbots vs. Mobile Apps has been one of the ongoing debates around the industry. Most of the people are favoring Chatbots over the Mobile Apps are in this aspect.
The question is, Why Chatbots over Mobile Apps? So, let’s analyze that aspect.
In this section, we’ll provide you with a list of reasons for which Chatbots gets preference over Mobile Apps.
It will also help you to understand why experts are favoring Chatbots in the Chatbots vs. Mobile Apps contest.
So, let’s get the show started right here, right now.!
Messenger Apps have become the talk of the town in the last few years or so. Facebook Messanger has been the most successful in this aspect. It has over 1 billion active users. These people use messenger to communicate with any brand. For that, Chatbots come into the picture.
Chatbots helps customer to know about the brand. It can also assist customers and solve their burning issues. Due to all these reasons, Chatbots have gained massive popularity among the audience. Nowadays, customers prefer talking to bots compared to representatives.
The reason behind that is the ability of Chatbots to understand the context of the question. It can provide intelligent answers as well. That’s why people have become a fan of messenger apps. So, you will see Chatbots beating mobile apps in the future. So, start working on this aspect soon.
Mobile Apps have been around for a long time. Therefore, many experts believe that the saturation point is nearer. People have become bored with various apps. Unless you get an out of the box app, people are not going to use it. There are more than two billion apps for Android OS.
Add that to some million iOS app, and you will get crazy about that aspect. Most of the apps nowadays are complicated. You need to download them, and they take a chunk of your phone’s memory as well. Managing the smartphone memory has also become a massive issue for users.
For solving all those issues, Chatbots come into the picture. For using a Chatbot solution, you don’t need to download anything. It also doesn’t compromise your smartphone’s memory as well. That is the prime reason why Chatbots are going to replace mobile apps sooner rather than later.3. Chatbots Bring Human Touch
Mobile Apps help you to solve all your daily routine problems and make your life easier. But, it can’t bring human touch into the picture. Chatbots can understand the human language, and based on that; it can provide accurate answers to the questions of customers. It could work well.
Chatbots make use of Natural Language Processing (NLP). The NLP-Based Chatbot Services can understand the syntax as well as the semantics of the human language. It can also understand what would be the reaction of the customer in a particular situation. So, that is an added advantage.
Now, when you talk about mobile apps, users have to navigate through the menu to find one option. That’s not the case with Chatbots. For using any bot, you don’t need to manage a lot of stuff. You have to install the software once and then; you can enjoy the benefits out of that.
One of the most significant benefits that you with Chatbots is that you don’t have to download anything for using bots. One time installation is good enough to get things started.
When it comes to Mobile Apps, that’s not the case. Therefore, you all can say that Chatbots are simpler and faster.
Chatbots brings us to an earlier era of computing where the command line was the need of the art. The only difference between those years and now is that the user can enter the command in natural language. The Chatbot can also help you to save a lot of precious time as well as money.
In today’s day and age, when life has become busy, people can’t afford to waste a second. That’s where Chatbots can rise above all. It can help you to perform the daily task in a matter of minutes. That is the reason why experts believe that the future will belong to Chatbots, for sure.
If you think of the cost of developing, deploying, and maintain a mobile app for your business, then it would be massive.
The average price of developing a full-fledged mobile app is around $10000. If you also consider the platform for mobile applications, then that would add up to the budget.
On the other hand, Chatbots can help you to save all this money. It can learn and upgrade their system by analyzing the user inputs. Therefore, you can reduce the cost factor significantly. In addition to all that, there are a lot of readymade Chatbot solutions available in the market as well.
The user can utilize those services, and he/she can enjoy its benefits. Therefore, people are starting to move towards Chatbots instead of mobile apps in recent times. You should also start preparing yourself for the future. It will help you to become standout from the rest, for sure.
Nowadays, when there is a lot of demand for Chatbot as well as Mobile Apps, it becomes essential for all of you to be aware of the best option for your business.
Taking this idea into consideration, we have decided to write this blog. Here, we have provided you with the reasons which will help you to analyze the Chatbots vs. Mobile Apps comparison.
We hope you had a great time reading this article. If you’ve any questions or suggestions related to this blog, then feel free to ask them in the comment section. Thank You.!
Do you have a transport company and want to use AI techniques in your business to grow it?
Are you willing to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in your logistics business?
Here, in this blog, you will get answers to all such questions. Let’s start!
The excitement around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning continues to grow and the business applications are quite fascinating. In the present time, business leaders are trying to integrate AI into their organization’s workflows and decision making.
Before moving ahead, let’s have a look at some stats related to AI:
Hence, it is quite clear that the use of AI is going to enhance with time and the need for machine learning services by software companies will increase manifolds.
Now, let’s discuss some of the uses of this amazing technology i.e. artificial intelligence (AI) in the logistics and transport industry.Use of AI in the Transport Industry AI making Advanced Warehouses
Various eCommerce firms have already initiated the process of using robots to automate the procedure of sorting of products and their packaging. Robots are instructed in such a way that they pack a product and sort it according to the delivery requirements.
Warehouses use Artificial Intelligence for automating and interconnecting the internal processes inside. Several advanced methods such as geocoding and locating intelligence are being used for optimum performance. The B2B and B2C sectors use AI enabled systems for allocating vehicles and selecting the best route for cars.AI helps in finding the Quickest Delivery Route
Logistics sector faces a big traveling salesman problem. Here, the biggest problem is to find out the shortest path to deliver the item to the customer. Hence, there is a need to analyze the information associated with the task of completing deliveries.AI assists in Last-Mile Delivery Image Source
Creating a personalized experience for the customer is the last mile delivery here. Once a customer places an order, an executive will look after it and process it and then they need to give an Estimated Time of Arrival for the delivery based on the data they have. It is really very tough to manage this data.
Here, the role of Artificial Intelligence comes in. This technique has the potential of using the most complicated dataset in an effective way. Using AI, it will be easy for you to leverage data platforms and make datasets for the purpose of regulating patterns.
Mostly, data patterns are based on predictive analysis. Moreover, the use of AI enabled drones for last mile delivery can be seen in various parts of the world.Voice Assistants
Amazon’s Alexa is an example of a Voice assistant that helps customers to track their orders placed with logistics partner DHL. A customer asks Alexa about its package and Alexa tells the exact location of the product.
Moreover, If a customer is facing problems with the package, Alexa can route calls to the customer support of the courier. Also,Use of AI in the Transport Industry Public Safety
With the help of Artificial Intelligence, companies in the transportation industry to make sure the safety of the public at the time of using their services. With tracking crime data in real-time, it is possible to enhance the safety of citizens in the urban area that uses public transport.
Moreover, it will also help the police to enhance their efficiency by patrolling and keeping the citizens safe.
Nowadays, the self-driving car is a new buzzword in the transportation sector. These cars use several Artificial Intelligence techniques to function and make calculated decisions on the road.
These autonomous vehicles show up to be a big opportunity to reduce the number of accidents on highways and enhance productivity.Pedestrian Safety
With the help of the amazing potential of Artificial Intelligence, It is quite easy to forecast the path of pedestrians or cyclists. This will ultimately help in reducing the number of accidents. It will enhance the usage of transportation.
Traffic flow puts a big impact on transport. If artificial intelligence is used in the traffic flow data, it will result in efficient traffic patterns. Moreover, it will reduce congestion considerably.
Also, it is possible to manage higher and lower traffic patterns in an effective manner by using real-time tracking and AI enabled traffic light algorithms. However, this technique is also used in public transport for optimal scheduling and routing.
AI can help a transport company to simplify its planning procedure. The road freight transport system can use accurate prediction techniques to predict their volume with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
Moreover, various decision-making tools for the transport industry can be designed with the help of Artificial Intelligence. It will put a large impact on investments made by the companies in the future in an effective way.Conclusion
I hope that now you must be quite clear about how AI can be helpful to your logistics & transportation industry.
Autonomous vehicles are quite helpful to the transport industry. Besides, voice assistants serve big to the logistics industry.
If you want to use AI in your business, you can contact a firm that works on Artificial Intelligence. In case, you have any feedback or suggestion, please leave a comment below.
The e-commerce world is growing.
These days, it is impossible for a business to survive without an online presence. Therefore, as part of your brand’s digital marketing strategy, every design element should serve its purpose.
Every element ? from usability to visuals ? is essential to the overall customer experience. Each has a significant impact on your brand to attract new customers and retain old ones.
In this post, we are going to talk about the seven ways web design can help you reinvent the customer experience. Also, why this impact can boost your site design, helping you reach its full potential.It captures the audience’s attention
Do you know that you only have approximately 8 seconds to capture your audience’s attention once they land on your site? That means you only have 8 seconds to show them how great your brand is, and compel them to buy something from you.
If all users see is how poor your design is the moment they land on your page, there’s no way that they will notice what you have to offer them.
So, how do you make the first few seconds count and compel visitors to continue exploring your site? Well, take note of the following elements:
While what we have discussed are not the only things that you can do with your homepage, they are a great starting point to build an excellent first impression.It renders a professional presentation
According to Sytian Productions, a Philippines web designer, “An excellent design gives a professional presentation with your audience, as well as your prospects. That’s why it is crucial that you establish yourself as an authoritative presence in your industry.”
Think about all the websites that you have visited recently. Chances are, you would immediately know those companies who hired a professional web design agency from the ones who do not.
Having a site that is professionally designed helps build trust with your audience in the long run. They already know that you will not waste their time by giving them the best service that you can give.It creates a sense of trust
If you want to win over a potential customer’s trust, start with excellent web design. It is one of the most influential factors that help users form an opinion about your business.
Having a high-quality web design boosts your conversion rates. When you regularly update your site such as your headings and images to make it more modern, it has a positive effect on your prospects. As a result, prospects are 2-3 times more likely to turn into paying customers.It increases functionality
Aside from having an excellent presentation, a good web design should also have great functionality.
When you are aiming for a responsive site, you are taking into consideration how your site will look across different devices. You have to ensure that your site will look the same across different devices, and still deliver excellent user experience no matter what device they view your site on.It has an impact on your credibility as a company
For a lot of users, their introduction to your business is through your website. That’s why one of your main goals is to instill a sense of trust as soon as they land on your website.
But how do you inspire trust with your audience instead of skepticism?
There are two main factors to consider when it comes to building the credibility of your site: Expertise and trustworthiness.
Your website has to convince the prospect that your knowledge and experience is enough and that the data that they find on your site is trustworthy and reliable.
That way, there is a greater chance that you will be influencing their behaviors and attitudes towards your brand. It is easier for them to give you their personal information, revisit your site, and hold positive opinions about your brand.
On the other hand, if your site lacks credibility, then you will receive the opposite effect.
The reality is, a lot of users will only bank on your site if they trust it and the people behind it. So, let’s say you are an e-commerce site that deals with users’ personal data. Then you have to put the extra effort on your web design to gain your users’ trust.It helps users to navigate your website efficiently
Navigation is key when it comes to designing your site. Ideally, it acts as a map that features the core places that users can visit. It is how your customers explore and move on your site.
Therefore, at its core, it needs to be intuitive and easy to use.
There is nothing worse than seeing a site that is highly disorganized or has confusing navigation. It is crucial that users can easily find whatever they are looking for.
Your site’s navigation comes in various styles:
Both types of navigation can effectively work together to create an optimal user experience. For instance, you can include a drop-down menu on your homepage. When somebody clicks on the homepage drop-down menu, you can utilize the breadcrumb navigation so that you can easily guide your users on their way back.
If web users cannot easily find whatever they are looking for, then there is no reason to stay on your site anymore. Chances are, they will simply bounce and will move on to your competitors that offer an excellent user experience.It establishes a visual hierarchy
When a user visits your site, and you present them with a lot of information that is not organized, they will leave immediately.
An excellent design not only helps break up the content, but it also creates a visual hierarchy. Ideally, the content should be digested easily, and all the important data should be highlighted on the page.
Here are some excellent elements in the design:
Having a visually appealing site is an excellent way to capture the attention of a prospective customer. After all, it will be the first thing that they notice.
There are several budget-friendly tweaks that you can do to make your web design compelling:Go for a clean and modern design
Your goal should be to build a site that is modern and clean. If it looks outdated, has terrible formatting, and too busy for users, it will look unappealing.
Instead, you want a site that is laid out strategically and has plenty of white space. Utilize trending design elements such as parallax scrolling, where two elements scroll at various speeds.Utilize Multimedia
Remember the quote, “a picture is worth a thousand words”?
Use multimedia for your design. Tell potential customers about your product, and how to use it to boost customer experience.
Utilize full-width “hero” images to feature products, or even integrate interactive media, and videos. Using multimedia “above the fold” of your website has a greater chance of catching users’ attention.Pick Colors Carefully
Whenever you are choosing a color scheme in your web design, you have to choose colors carefully.
Why? Well, for several reasons.
One of those is the psychological effect of colors. For example, blue is linked to dependability and trust, while green is closely linked to health.
Another reason you need to choose a color scheme with contrasting colors is that it can help you easily direct users. For example, using contrasting colors on your call to action buttons or CTAs (such as “buy now,” “learn more,” or “sign me up”) easily catches a user’s attention. Thus, it is easy for you to prompt them to follow through.Make it Easy
When making your design, you need to figure out what the user needs from your site.
If prospects are looking forward to making a purchase or making a booking on your site, then you have to ensure that functionality is there.
Aside from functionality, you also have to ensure that your site is easy to use.
The three areas that you can use to enhance your customer experience is through your navigation, organization, and search. The search functionality should be developed so that users can search directly via your site.
Your site’s organization should be logical and predictable. Aside from that, you should also utilize headers, product categories, bold fonts, and so on.Build an Emotional Connection
Never underestimate the power of your website. Besides the fact that it lets people purchase your products and services, it also gives you credibility.
Again, users tend to trust a web page that looks professionally designed over a crappy one.
Here are ways how you can establish an emotional connection with your audience:Tell a Story
A great way to cultivate positive emotions for your brand is through the power of visual storytelling.
If users experience positive feelings from your website, such as joy, excitement, happiness, and so on, they are more likely to convert. Having a well-developed story about your brand gives people a reason to explore and understand your brand a lot better.
Your website gives you an excellent platform to create a story about your brand and products. Over time, a lot of new and returning customers will be drawn to your brand’s values.Use Human Faces
Scientific evidence has shown that the human eyes are instinctively drawn to human faces, no matter what type of content it is.
When strategically placed, photographs with human faces helps build a connection with your audience. As a result, it is a lot easier to build your brand story.
So, it is time to start using human faces on your About Us page, to show the people behind your brand.
If you are selling something, use faces of humans that interact with your products. That way, prospective customers can relate to your brand and products better.
Remember that although making these changes may sound simple, they can have a significant impact on how users view your website and experience your brand.Over to You
If your website is not getting the kind of traction that you are expecting, then maybe it is time to take a step back. Then, do a critical evaluation of your web design.
These tips are pretty straightforward to implement. Also, if done correctly, not only will it provide great customer experience, but it will also improve customer engagement on your site. These can be translated into online and offline sales.
So, take note of these tips on how to revamp your web design. That way, you will be giving both your customers (and your business) the best experience possible.
Hopefully, you will have a better picture of how web design can have a positive impact on your customer experience. Note that web design is more on the visual side of things. So it’s up to you on how you can make your customer’s journey more positive.
An affiliate program for making money is a great way to generate passive income, especially in unstable times. Everyone can create their own website and profit from it.
In this article, I will consider in detail how to create a site for making money specifically for an affiliate program and what types of sites can be used for this: blog, single page and portal (listing).
Before I begin to describe each of the site types, I would like to highlight the common features inherent in all of them.Affiliate marketing website. What’s it about?
Before you start to run a blog or website, you need to think about a topic. This way, you will find it easier to navigate in the future, and there will be no problem of “blank paper” when there’s nothing to write about. Write down topics that would be of interest to you, e.g. you can make a niche resource and write only about blogs (how to create one, where to start, post ideas, etc.) or sites. Mashable’s blog started its career back in 2005 and focused only on social networking news. Now it is one of the largest foreign portals of the IT industry.
You can also pay attention to hosting services, domains, Internet earnings, and many other topics that somehow relate to the World Wide Web and everything in it.
Blog at Entrepreneur.com is a great example of the fact that you can write not only about hosting and domains but about the Internet and offline businesses in general. Detailed lessons, news, tips, and much more for all novice entrepreneurs and businessmen.
Don’t forget to check your competitors’ activity. Make a list of sprites, similar in topics, and, perhaps, that’s where you will get some ideas or a future “signature” of your resource. However, copy-pasting post ideas and topics are never a good thing to do, as no one will be interested in reading something they have already read somewhere else.Choose the right domain name
The general rule that still applies today is to use a keyword or phrase in the domain. If you have chosen a hosting or social networking topic, you can use these words or phrases with them in the domain. When you select a domain, you can use a free assistant that will tell you which names are already occupied and which are ready for registration.
Now let’s consider what site to create in more detail. There are several types of sites that can help us in promoting affiliate links, and we will start with the simplest way – creating a blog.Affiliate marketing blog
In general, a blog is a type of website, preferably consisting of text content. Recently, blog posts can contain any multimedia content. Blogs are used for both personal and business purposes. You can use this type of site for yourself, namely, get additional income not only from an affiliate link but also to writing custom articles or install banners.Blog platform
Many people choose WordPress or Google Blogger as their blog creation platform or CMS (Content Management System). This is a great option for people who are not very good at web design or do not want to pay for a domain/hosting. By the way, in general, 27% of sites on the network are managed by WordPress.
To start working with WordPress, you need to decide whether you want to be able to fully customize your blog or standard services are sufficient.
If you are not going to buy a domain and hosting and just want to try to work with a blog, then register at WordPress.com which already includes hosting WordPress and the ability to choose your custom site link.
In just 4 simple steps, you will have your own ready-for-work blog. It is worth noting that in the free version doesn’t let you choose the design, download high-quality video files or add plugins.
If you are ready to register a domain and buy hosting, then you only need to download WordPress and transfer it to hosting. Don’t be scared, everything is easier than it seems, especially if you use an auto-installer. All you need to do is fill in the blank fields and wait for a little, it will do everything automatically for you. You can also contact tech support on the site.
This platform has very flexible settings, as well as a lot of plugins that will not only improve the work of your blog but also help to promote it. For example, you can download the “All In One SEO Pack” plugin and optimize your posts as needed for search bots. You can also purchase design templates for an extra charge.
Another advantage of working with this system is that, unlike WordPress, it does not require a separate hosting.
After registering your blog, you can start writing your first post.Writing exciting content
We’ve come to the most interesting part – the content for the blog. Despite the fact that this blog is created exclusively for earning on an affiliate link, you should not neglect the quality of content. Here are a few tips to follow for writing a good text:
An alternative tool to promote an affiliate link is a single page site.
A single page, also known as a landing page, is a custom page – a site aimed at selling any products, in our case an affiliate link. Typically, it’s about the specific interests of a particular target visitor. Such a site has one full page with content which makes an ordinary reader a buyer. The advantages of such a site are that it can be relatively quickly made and filled. You can use a free site designer.Creating a landing page
In order to create a single page, you can use the help of WordPress. This CMS, thanks to the flexible options and set of special possibilities, will help you make a site for earnings literally in a few minutes.Landing page content
In general, creating a single page, there is a wide range of topics for content, as well as options in terms of earnings. You can create a site with a table comparing hosting companies, i.e. you can earn not only on an affiliate program but also with the help of other similar programs. An example of such a site is a single page Top 10 Web Hosting. Here you can find the ratings, rate, and read all the detailed information about a company. By the way, when you click “Visit site” button and automatically get to a provider’s site via an affiliate link.
Also, any step-by-step guide, e.g. how to make your own site, how to sell an e-book or an online course, can be used as a basis for creating a single page. One of the items can be a step-by-step guide on how to buy a domain, e.g. Websitesetup.org and startbloggingonline.com work on such a principle.
As for the site’s content on a website, a text that will be on a single page is called “selling text.” It is written according to certain rules. For example, there is a model of writing text as AIDA (Attract – Interest – Desire – Action). Many advertising booklets and articles are written based on this principle. If you are not sure that you will be able to apply this formula, then the task of writing a text can be given to a professional author, specialized in writing texts for target pages.
To wrap it up, I’ll leave 5 most useful tips when creating content for a landing page:
Another way to promote an affiliate link is a portal (listing). The portal is a very large site with several sections (forum, blog, chat, etc).
To create a high-quality portal, you can ask for help from specialists that deal with any types of sites. Naturally, not for free. In this case, the price range starts from $20. And don’t forget that you can always use a CMS like mentioned WordPress.Portal topic
So, you have dealt with the tech part and now the portal has to be filled with content.
Wpbeginner.com offers a very large list of providers and their services. The site is filled with a number of reviews, ratings, comparisons, and reports that help users decide who to work with, and who is better off.
The well-known Businessnewsdaily.com also has some helpful information on hosting providers and how to choose the best one.
As you can see, there are many ideas for creating this type of site. By the way, it is through the portal that you can get the maximum income by placing not only affiliate links but also banners or other ads.
A huge advantage over other types of sites is that thanks to the communication of a large number of people on the site, they themselves can later generate new content by offering their own news, topics for discussion, or other information that can be used on the page.
As for posts and articles, they can be made with the help of pictures, videos, and infographics that you can create on your own or order from professional designers. The more visual and useful content in the article, the more credibility to your site, and, therefore, the more willingly people click the link.
Also, when creating your text for a site, enter keywords that will help to quickly “promote” it in Google.
Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me, I am editor-in-chief of reclinerfaq.com.
Startup advice can be seductive. From motivational quotes to magazine profiles, there’s a persistent narrative that if you follow your passion, log 80 hours a week, and “hustle hard,” you’ll create the next Amazon or Airbnb.
It is possible.
We all know that hard work can produce incredible results. But the prevailing rise-and-grind mythology often pushes founders into business before they’re ready.
Many smart, ambitious people feel pressured to quit their jobs and go all-in. They work around the clock, sacrificing their health and happiness to chase a startup dream.
For every founder who’s battling exhaustion and surviving on protein bars, I’d like to suggest a different path.
It’s the same path that enabled me to build JotForm in a wildly competitive industry, where even Google is vying for our market share. Since 2006, we’ve grown to serve 4.2 million users and create a team of 130 employees?—?and we’ve done it without taking a penny in outside funding.
JotForm isn’t an overnight success story, and I certainly don’t have a private jet. But, I’ve built a business I love, while maintaining my freedom and a rich personal life.
Bootstrapping can be a great path for entrepreneurs of every kind. Here’s what we’ve learned?—?and how it can help you to achieve success on your own terms.Why small is the new big?—?the case for bootstrapping
Many founders think venture capital is a prerequisite for success. Reports of record-breaking funding rounds and billion-dollar valuations can certainly make it seem that way.
But investment isn’t the only way to fund a business.
A growing number of founders, or “bootstrappers” are building their companies with little or no outside funding. They don’t have to fuss over investment decks and most could care less about reaching the top of TechCrunch . Very few worry about creating personal brands on Instagram?—?especially in the early stages. They’re more concerned about serving real customers, who support their ideas with hard-earned cash.
They might not be as visible as entrepreneurs who spend a fortune on PR agencies, but in every industry, you’ll find independent, self-funded companies that are also wildly profitable. For example:
MailChimp co-founder and CEO Ben Chestnut needed to create email newsletters for his design consulting clients. He built a tool to streamline this tedious process, and created a business worth $4.2 billion , with $600 million in annual revenues.
Todoist is a market leader in productivity, used by over 10 million people and organizations including Apple, Starbucks, Google. Amir Salihefendic launched its parent company, Doist, in 2007 and says “we’re running a marathon, not a sprint.”
Basecamp started in 2004, when Jason Fried and his web design firm needed a project management app to keep them organized. They built an internal tool, started using it with clients, and now have nearly 2.2 million customers and employees in 30 cities worldwide.
These are just a few businesses that are racking up customers and profits to rival their VC-backed competitors. One key difference? They get to call the shots about when, where and how they work?—?and grow. Many of the founders also build their empires quietly, with more concern for creating great products than generating market buzz.
Clearly, bootstrapping isn’t for everyone. Not every business can be self-funded, and sometimes, outside investment is exactly the right choice. We all need to chart our own paths. But bootstrappers remind us to question the prevailing startup narratives and ask, “Do we really need to raise VC money?”
It’s well worth taking a breath, setting the pitch deck aside for a moment, and considering an alternative route.Self-funding vs raising money: pros and cons
Starting a business isn’t easy. There are risks, challenges, and complications, whether you leverage your own cash or you pursue venture capital. Reading headline after headline about record-setting funding rounds, however, can make VC backing look glamorous?—?and perhaps even necessary.
Most of us can name the well-funded success stories: Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, Alibaba, Rent the Runway, Uber, and more. But for every famous brand, there are thousands of VC-funded firms that quietly grew and then fizzled. That’s why it’s good to take a clear-eyed look at the statistics.
Research by Harvard lecturer Shikhar Ghosh reveals that about 75% of VC-backed companies in the U.S. fail, meaning they don’t return the investors’ capital. If we define failure as not delivering the projected return on investment, however, then more than 95% of startups fail, says Ghosh.
Just like a bicycle, a startup requires some speed to stay upright. But once a founder accepts outside cash, the clock really starts ticking.
Here’s another way to think about it. If VC funding is the fabled hare, then bootstrapping is the tortoise. It’s slow and steady, but it keeps on going (and going and going).
We know that premature scaling is the number one cause of startup failure. Eager new founders often drain their cash on big offices, the latest technology, splashy PR and marketing campaigns, and hiring full teams?—?long before they’re ready or even need the support. Sometimes their investors push for these outward signs of accomplishment.
Bootstrappers rarely face the same pressures. They don’t have to meet arbitrary timelines or show hockey stick growth charts. Instead, they have the freedom to set their own targets. They make the rules, and, most importantly, they decide what “success” looks like?—?even if that definition is constantly evolving.
Clearly, bootstrapping doesn’t eliminate all problems. To grow a business without external funding, you have to swim, or you’ll sink fast. You have to be creative and strategic, but that can also make you a better entrepreneur. Here are three more advantages of taking the self-funded route.You learn by wearing all the hats
It doesn’t matter if you’re a designer, product engineer, developer, or a UX specialist. As a bootstrapped founder, you’re probably also shipping packages, answering calls, and writing social media posts. That’s how it goes. And while spending precious time on the “other stuff” can be frustrating, it ensures you understand every corner of the business. Once it’s time to hire someone for that role, you know exactly what to look for and what to avoid.
*Quick tip: At JotForm, we hire and grow slowly. And we hire someone only when we have their entire first-year salary in the bank. It’s a simple rule of thumb that has helped to keep us on track.Needs override wants
The classic (or clichéd) startup office is a former industrial space with exposed beams and high ceilings. It’s bright and it shows the company is Doing. Big. Things. Until a business truly needs that kind of space, however, it’s not a smart expense.
It’s easy to get distracted, but bootstrappers can make strategic choices, like using open-source software and upgrading later, if necessary. Or working from home, renting a desk in a co-working space, and doing the PR and accounting until you can afford to get help.Remaining lean allows you to pivot
In the early stages of a startup, the business is still pliable. You can release a product, gather user feedback, and adapt to real market needs. That’s an advantage.
New founders should release their products as soon as possible. Don’t even try to make it perfect. Hundreds of startups have adapted and pivoted their way to success:
When startups work obsessively to create the “ultimate” first release, they can also be tempted to argue with their customers?—?even when customers share honest feedback about what they want and need. That’s why staying lean and flexible can be a major business advantage.How to get started with bootstrapping 5 Essential Stages You Have To Consider Before You Bootstrap a Business
After college, I spent five years working as a programmer for a New York-based media company. I learned so much there: how my mentors accomplished their goals and how to collaborate with team members. I also saw how micromanagement destroys staff motivation. Most importantly, that’s where I got the idea for JotForm.
Both startup press and social media often advise founders to leap blindly into business as soon as they have an idea. That approach can work, but it’s a tough slog that kills lots of promising companies. Instead, there are five steps you can take?—?right now?—?to lay the foundation for lasting success.1. Keep your day job
Writing a manifesto and leaving your job with a flourish, Jerry Maguire-style, might seem like a badass entrepreneurial move. Unfortunately, it didn’t even work for Jerry.
Most bootstrappers test the waters with a side project while they hold down a full-time gig. They leave the safety of a regular paycheck only when that side hustle can provide viable, long-term income. SpaceX, Apple, Product Hunt, Trello, WeWork, Craigslist and Twitter all started this way.
Never underestimate how much you can learn and accomplish in a 9-to-5 job?—?and let’s all agree to stop saying “day job” like it’s a four-letter word. Getting paid to sharpen your skills at a healthy, productive company can provide a great foundation for whatever you’re building.2. Start a side project
At Google, employees can spend 20% of their time exploring new ideas or creative projects. This 20% time policy is well known in tech circles, but it’s a concept we can all apply to our work lives.
We can build entire businesses by tinkering on the side, but most importantly, side projects boost creativity. When there’s no pressure to meet a revenue target (or make any money at all), we’re free to play, explore and learn. It’s a great way to decide whether the project truly captures your imagination, and to gauge outside interest.
In fact, side projects should be stupid, says ex-Spotify product designer Tobias van Schneider:
“The only way a side project will work is if people give themselves permission to think simple, to change their minds, to fail?—?basically, to not take them too seriously.
When you treat something like it’s stupid, you have fun with it, you don’t put too much structure around it. You can enjoy different types of success.”
We should never be afraid to invest time and energy into something that excites us; something that gets the blood pumping and our creativity flowing. Follow curiosity and see where it leads.
And if enabling “stupidity” doesn’t work, trying looking at the side project through a more scientific lens.
Don’t focus on the outcome or how the experiment will be received. Just start.3. Share what you create
Even before it’s done, and long before it’s “ready,” we need to share our ideas. Show people what you’ve been working on?—?this was one of the strategies that helped us to land our first 1,000 users. Take them inside the experiments you’re running, no matter how early or unpolished.
Today, there are so many different and inexpensive ways to share. Pick your favorite platform?—?the one that feels natural, and where you spend time anyway. It could be a YouTube channel, an Instagram account, a podcast, or even a blog. I have my blog on Medium but it could be whatever other network that works for you.
The simple act of sharing can help you to:
As we collect that paycheck and play with new ideas, it’s the perfect time to learn. Never before have there been so many expert voices and resources, right at our fingertips. We can take online courses, read blogs, watch videos, attend meetups, listen to interviews, and read books. Find mentors (both real and virtual) and soak up every bit of knowledge possible. Then, apply what you lean and keep experimenting.4. Always pursue problems, not passion
Contrary to prevailing wisdom (and motivational quotes), the best startups aren’t driven by passion; they solve problems. We built JotForm to eliminate a friction point that I experienced firsthand, while working at the media company.
Back in the late ’90s, building custom web forms was tedious and time-consuming, so I envisioned a drag-and-drop tool that anyone could use. I knew people wanted the product, because it solved a problem we struggled with every day.
Investor and Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham says the most successful business ideas share three common features: They’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing.
“The verb you want to be using with respect to startup ideas is not ‘think up’ but ‘notice,’” writes Graham. “At YC we call ideas that grow naturally out of the founders’ own experiences ‘organic’ startup ideas. The most successful startups almost all begin this way.”
What problems have you experienced in the world?
What problems do you have with products, services, and even yourself?
Problems need smart solutions. Passion is just the icing on the cake.Who needs this now?
The RXBar also came from a personal need. Company CEO and co-founder Peter Rahal wanted a deliciously simple protein bar free of chemicals or synthetic ingredients. So, he developed a nutritious bar that would satisfy the CrossFit-going, paleo-eating crowd?—?and himself.
Rahal and his business partner, Jared Smith, scratched their own itch. As Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson write in their bestselling book, Rework, “the easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use.”
Once you have a prototype, it’s time to ensure you have an eager customer today , not sometime in the future.
If you can’t answer the question, “who needs this right now?” it might not be a viable business. For example, Rahal kept re-mixing his recipes until they tasted incredible. He didn’t stop until he knew people would pay for the product?—?and he tested that threshold by selling the bars door to door, packaged only in Tupperware.5. Stay close to your product
Using what you create can be a game-changer. And it sounds so simple; after all, who wouldn’t use the product they built? But a startup has so many moving parts that founders can quickly become detached from their original mission.
Once a product or service is shipping, it’s important to stay close to the heart of your offering. Use it, consume it, order it, and dig into the details. Engagement puts you back in the customer’s shoes, so you experience any problems firsthand. It also keeps the team (no matter how small) on its toes.
Additionally, If the startup was built to scratch your own itch, there are always more opportunities to extend the solution. Ask yourself:
How else could this product serve me, personally?
What would make this solution more valuable?—?both to current and potential customers?
Very few problems in life are tackled once and solved forever. Startups aren’t stagnant, either. They need to evolve with needs, culture and markets. When you keep mining the problem (and the solution), it can keep the business fresh and vibrant.Should you commit to a co-founder?
Sonny and Cher. Bert and Ernie. Calvin and Hobbes. Thelma and Louise.
Pop culture loves a good duo. So does the startup world.
Investors like Paul Graham often want to back businesses run by partners with complementary skills. Apple, for example, paired the late, sales-savvy Steve Jobs with Steve Wozniak, who focused on technology.
But when co-founders don’t gel, the results can be disastrous. “Startups do to the relationship between the founders what a dog does to a sock,” says Graham. “If it can be pulled apart, it will be.”
According to Noam Wasserman, a professor at Harvard Business School, 65% of high-potential startups fail due to conflict among the founders. Wasserman studied 10,000 entrepreneurs for his book, The Founder’s Dilemma, and suggests that multiple founders bring more skills to the table, but they also have more potential for disputes over money, strategy, leadership, credit, and other issues.
It makes sense. Multiple founders can get behind the wheel, but they have to agree on the destination, plus everything from who’s in the back seat to the best driving route. Many founders also have a strong desire for freedom, which can quickly feel stifled when someone else weighs in on every detail.Sign on all the dotted lines
Ravikan makes a bold statement. Not everyone would agree that the partnership matters more than the product?—?or the market. But starting a business is a massive commitment. You’re picking someone with whom to share your life’s work. You’ll also share money, space, risk, and a whole lot of time.
The right partnership is powerful. Working with the wrong person can feel heavy and frustrating (at the very least) and, in the worst case, it can destroy the business.
That’s why a founders’ agreement should be excruciatingly detailed. Hire an experienced lawyer, if you go this route, and plan for everything: equity breakdown, vesting schedules, intellectual property, termination clauses, and more. Ensure that everyone is clear on the terms and feels fully protected, should the partnership go south.You can go it alone
If you’re not sure about a potential co-founder, there’s no reason to rush. As I explained in Why you don’t need a co-founder to start your own business , take your time and see how it feels to work on your own.
Forget what the VCs say?—?especially if you’re prepared to bootstrap. As Ravikan says, “if you’re compromising, keep looking. A company’s DNA is set by the founders, and its culture is an extension of the founders’ personalities.”
Entrepreneurs who do trust themselves to go solo are often rewarded with the ultimate freedom. Spanx founder Sara Blakely, for example, built a global company without a co-founder or any outside investment. At age 41, she became the youngest self-made female billionaire?—?and she still owns 100% of the company.
Entrepreneurs, of all people, should know that rules are meant to be broken. That’s half the fun. So, partner up or stay solo, but do it on your terms, with your eyes wide open.Slow growth is the new hockey stick curve 4 Reasons to Grow Your Business Slowly
Most startup experts worship at the altar of rapid expansion. They even have a pattern for it, called “hockey stick growth,” which occurs when revenues start out flat and then quickly shoot up to create that iconic curve.
“Aiming for hockey-stick growth, while being aware of the predictable stages of growth, is exactly what successful entrepreneurs should do,” writes entrepreneur Bobby Martin, author of The Hockey Stick Principles .
Investors dream about rapid growth, too. They want to recover their money fast, so they often pressure companies to expand quickly.
A hockey stick looks great on paper, but it typically requires the business to grow revenues first and figure out profits later. That can put the company at risk. Bootstrappers take the opposite approach. They sort out profits first and stay focused on that key goal.
Slow growth takes patience and a good dose of bravery. It’s normal to feel some FOMO as you watch other firms double, then triple their staff overnight. But slow growth can provide stability. It also enables founders to sleep well at night, spend time with the people they love, and create products that attract loyal, satisfied customers.
Here are four more reasons to take the slow road.1. Focusing on profits creates freedom
Bootstrapping math is pretty simple: spend less than you earn and you can grow at your own pace. It’s simple, but it’s not effortless.
When we celebrate companies that raise millions and post huge vanity metrics, like user acquisitions, that math can seem almost too simple.
Glorifying hockey stick growth also implies that you can chase flashy numbers now and worry about profits later. In today’s market, it’s not uncommon to hear the question, “how, exactly, do they make money?”
But profits provide freedom?—?even when they’re modest. Make decisions that keep your company in the black, right from day one. After all, a bootstrapped business needs to work, because there are no hefty bank deposits to fall back on.2. You can build the right team, not a “right now” team
Newly-funded companies often face pressure to fill every seat?—?immediately. “Hire fast, fire faster” has even become a startup mantra. There’s a sense that Christmas is coming, so Santa better hire as many elves as possible. It doesn’t matter if they’re out of work by February.
Building the right team is essential. These are the people who will build and nurture the product. They’ll implement new ideas and interact with customers. As Todoist founder Amir Salihefendic says, “Optimize on output. Don’t optimize on the number of people you hire.”3. Moving slowly can make customers happy
Caring about customers is good for business. That’s not a tagline; it’s an effective way to bootstrap. VC-backed companies often start out with deep knowledge of their audience. Over time, though, it’s easy to confuse what customers want with what investors want.
If you believe that growth reigns supreme, then it will quickly become the primary focus.
“Traction and product development are of equal importance and should each get about half of your attention,” says Gabriel Weinberg, a successful CEO and the author of Traction. “This is what we call the 50 percent rule: spend 50 percent of your time on product and 50 percent on traction.”4. There’s time and space for learning
Very few people are born knowing exactly how to lead?—?or to design, code, market, sell, and build. Aggressive growth can quickly highlight those knowledge gaps, which are totally okay. Most people launch businesses to create a smart solution, not because they want to run staff meetings.
Growingly slowly enables you to learn alongside your team. You can learn how to manage and motivate those people, too. Mistakes can also be smaller when you’re not feeling the heat from investors, or you suddenly see 50 new faces in the office, all eager for direction. Take your time and you can:
Customers. As we focus on funding options, it’s easy to leave end users out of the conversation. Even the term “users” dehumanizes the people who will buy what we create. But bootstrapped companies ultimately answer to their customers, not to investors. We have an obligation to listen closely to customer needs , feedback , and ideas?—?and that’s a good thing.
Even criticism is great for business, because it pushes the team to stretch and innovate. Customer-funded growth keep us honest; they ensure we don’t stray off track. That’s a powerful advantage.Test and change. Then test again.
Never assume you know what customers want; you have to look at the data. We’re lucky to live in an era where we can create a hypothesis and then test it without overt bias. Making a product change? Release it to a small group and establish a clear way to measure user reactions. Apply what you learn and test again.
Testing doesn’t mean you’re beholden to customer whims, either. You create the “what,” and customers help to show you “how.” For example, Airbnb’s mission is to create “a world where people can belong through healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable.” How, exactly they do that is still up to the smart people running the company.Get serious about customer support
According to surveys conducted for American Express:
The numbers are clear: customer service matters deeply. Support teams do much more than resolve tickets and answer tedious questions; they have a massive effect on company growth.
Sexy customer acquisition stats usually get the spotlight, but it’s better to spend time, energy, and money on satisfying existing customers than winning over new ones. In fact, data shows that it’s anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one.
Extraordinary customer support doesn’t even require extraordinary efforts; you just need to consistently exceed expectations:
Bootstrapping is not a great way to get PR. And most self-funded entrepreneurs are too busy refining their product to worry about landing on magazine covers.
A little publicity certainly never hurts but what does the attention really do?—?especially if it’s about the business, not the product itself? Most customers don’t read industry or tech publications anyway. Once the attention fades, you’re still left with the same mission and the same challenges.
Highly-publicized funding rounds can also put you under a microscope. For example, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso made headlines in 2016 when her fashion brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after raising $65 million over 10 years.
Now that she’s launched a new venture, called Girlboss, both critics and fans are tracking her every move. Many other founders have been in Amoruso’s shoes, too. Well-funded startups that crash and burn often make headlines. With serious money often comes serious scrutiny.
Big-time investments can supercharge the startup (for better or worse), but slow growth can ensure you have a sane, happy personal life?—?even as you build a thriving business. Here’s why.More downtime = better results
Most people think success requires 16-hour days. Typically, the opposite is true. Busy and effective are not the same thing?—?even though “busyness” has become a modern-day status symbol.
“Hustle might move you forward, but it doesn’t set you up for sustainable success,” says Kyle Young, author of QuitterProof. “Good habits are formed through consistency and repetition, not mindless effort.”
Many of the world’s greatest innovators (past and present) dedicated large amounts of time to simply thinking. Reflecting. Strategizing and planning. Bill Gates originally made the Think Week famous. Now, other founders, like Skillshare’s Mike Karnjanaprakorn, have adopted this practice. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Ferrriss have also followed suit.
Taking a digital sabbath can also keep you feeling rested and ready to play the long game. On Saturday, Sunday or another day of your choice, avoid technology in all forms. For example, power down your laptop and place it safely out of sight. Shut off your smartphone and hide it in a drawer. Change your Netflix password?—?and then try to forget it. Give your brain the gift of peace, and the time to reflect and generate new ideas.Remember that “overnight success” is a myth
51: That’s how many games Mikael and Niklas Hed created before they launched Angry Birds , which saved their company, Rovio, from bankruptcy.
25: That’s how many publishers rejected Tim Ferriss’ The Four-Hour Workweek before Harmony Books offered him a contract. The 2007 title has now sold over 1.3 million copies to date.
9: That’s how many months Anna Wintour spent at Harper’s Bazaar before she was fired, apparently for producing photo shoots that were “too edgy.” Wintour went on to become one of the most powerful women in fashion, serving as Vogue magazine’s editor-in-chief for over 40 years.
Founders are often hungry for success, but it takes time. Often, lots of time. A sustainable business model gives you the freedom to enjoy the ride. You can focus on building something you love, and that truly serves your customers, instead of racing toward empty growth targets.How to play (and love) the long game
“So, what’s your exit strategy?”
Entrepreneurs often hear this question before they’ve earned a single dollar?—?and it can be disorienting. When you’re still building a business you love, why would you think about selling it?
Just as there are marked differences between bootstrapped and VC-backed founders, “exit strategies” often divide entrepreneurs into two camps: those building to sell, and those who are in it for the long run.
Either scenario has merit. Business is personal, and we all need to make our own choices. Although some bootstrappers will eventually sell their firms, they rarely begin with this goal in mind.
“What’s better than an exit strategy?” says Todoist founder Amir Salihefendic. “It’s a long-term mission that your company truly cares about. It’s focusing on building a company that can outlast you and creating something of true value.”
Create value first and valuation will follow. Bootstrapping forces you to develop a product that’s worth paying for instead of trying to reach the top of TechCrunch or building a house of cards on a shaky foundation.
As I mentioned in Building my startup for 12 years: how to win the long game , you can retain your values, freedom and flexibility. You can learn from a slow-burning journey. You can focus on the long-term rather than the short.Sustainable growth = survival
A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that unicorns (private companies valued above $1 billion) are roughly 50% overvalued. They’re not generating billions of dollars in revenue, but thanks to deep-pocketed investments, paper valuations swell to reach that 10-figure sum.
Relying purely on estimates can be risky, because a sky-high valuation demands rapid scaling. And if the sky suddenly falls, VC-backed startups are often left in a vulnerable position. As Warren Buffet once said, “It’s only when the tide goes out that you can see who’s been swimming naked.”
The media may glorify fast movers and big wins, but playing the long game is another type of victory. In fact, slow growth doesn’t have to be a mere consequence of bootstrapping; it can be a smart, deliberate choice.
If you measure success against lofty goals, it’s easy to feel discouraged along the way and devastated if you don’t reach them at all. Instead, each new milestone can be something to celebrate.
“There is power in small wins and slow gains,” says James Clear. “This is why average speed yields above average results. This is why the system is greater than the goal.”
It’s worth exploring asking yourself:
For many bootstrappers, a harmonious work culture, plus total creative and financial freedom is the ultimate compensation.Nurturing a healthy culture
In the hard-driving startup world, “culture” can be a cliché topic. Tech companies became infamous for installing foosball tables and offering craft beer on tap in exchange for gruelling work schedules. Superficial perks don’t foster culture?—?or a healthy work-life balance.
At JotForm, we aim to work in a way that’s sane, friendly and open. We keep normal hours and try to treat each other with deep respect. We also believe actions speak louder than words.
Enron Corporation?—?the American energy, commodities and services company?—?had four stated values: respect, integrity, communication and excellence. But those “official” values didn’t save the company from a high-profile bankruptcy and auditing scandal that sent several top executives to prison.
Culture grows through big choices, like team structure, transparency, and product-focused goals. It also emerges through smaller actions, like when the founder preaches balance and leaves the office by 6 pm every night.
As you begin to grow and hire a team, here are five ways to encourage a rich, healthy startup culture:
Bootstrapping is just one way to build a business. Capital-intensive industries such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, and brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants often require funding. VC backing might also be the best way to achieve your business goals and personal ambitions.
For anyone who’s eager to control their entrepreneurial destiny, bootstrapping can be an excellent choice. It worked for me, and I hope it can work for you, too.
Yes, it takes patience, drive, and determination. But the payoffs can include freedom (both financial and personal) and a better sense of work-life balance. You can grow at a sane pace and maintain a healthy personal life.
A self-funded business can also achieve great financial success. It might take more time, but the journey is often far more enjoyable. You can develop a product that improves people’s lives and build a top-notch team to help you along the way. You don’t have to feel like an imposter, either, because there’s time to learn and evolve with your business, not in spite of it.
Slow, sustainable growth is possible.
Stay focused on your product, trust in your abilities, and ask for help when you need it.
You can do this.
Originally published at https://www.jotform.com on July 8, 2019.
According to a Statista report, e-commerce sales are expected to hit $4.8 trillion in the year 2021. In the US, e-commerce accounts for up to 15% of retail sales, and this number is expected to grow steadily!
No wonder that e-commerce offers a lucrative business option to many. However, with escalating profits come the escalating demands of customers who want personalized experiences and round-the-clock connectivity.
To meet these demands, you need a robust e-commerce software at the core of your online store. Such a software makes it easier to manage everything, from your inventory to calculating taxes and shipping costs automatically. Besides, good e-commerce software features an easy-to-use interface, ensuring that even non-technical personnel can manage the platform easily.What Is the Role of E-commerce software?
The job of e-commerce software is to facilitate the smooth running of your online business. Through various integrations, such software allows you to carry out all the functions required in the day-to-day running of your business from a single place.
Some of the standard functions you can expect from your e-commerce software are automated shipping and tax calculations and end-to-end order management for your business. This includes payment processing, keeping transaction records, managing customer information, generating bills and invoicing, and also offering smart business reports based on analytics. Easy product and inventory management help you keep your store updated. You can also set auto-notifications for low stocks so that you are intimated in time if any product is depleting fast and needs replenishing. The right e-commerce software will also help you simplify marketing through built-in SEO that helps your online store rank higher in SERPs.
The benefits of using an advanced e-commerce software are many.
These include lower costs, elimination of manual errors in billing and inventory, as well as a better customer experience. Especially in present times, when most retailers are competing on customer experience rather than service, price, or quality, a robust e-commerce software could help your customers find what they need, quickly and efficiently. Many hosted solutions also offer website management to ensure a stellar online shopping experience for your customers at all times.Types of E-Commerce Software
In case you are wondering, there are mainly two types of e-commerce software that you can use for your online store. On-premise e-commerce software is installed on-site and can be customized to suit your business manually. On the other hand, you can subscribe for a SaaS solution, which is relatively cheaper and can be launched online in minimal time.
Besides choosing on-premise or SaaS, there are other questions you must ask yourself before choosing an e-commerce software for your business, such as:
Below we discuss some of these crucial points in detail to help you choose the right e-commerce software for your online business:The Total Cost
All good things come at a price. However, the charges may vary for different platforms, and also for different services on a particular platform.
When you select an e-commerce software, you will pay an initial fee. In addition, you may be required to pay a fixed monthly fee or pay for individual services, such as credit card transactions. However, it is important not to judge the software only on the cost. Many providers charge hefty fees but offer several useful features that can significantly upgrade your e-commerce experience, leading to enhanced profits.Service Limits
As we previously mentioned, all e-commerce software are not the same. Some may allow you to sell unlimited products, while others may have a limit on the number of products you can sell on the platform, charging you more for any additional products. Besides, an e-commerce software may be designed for a specific kind of product. Thus, it is vital to select a software that supports your product, the size of your inventory and charges a competitive fee.The Overall Design
Shopify happens to be a popular choice with business owners as it offers a variety of professionally designed themes to customize the appearance of an online store. In addition to the look and feel of the store, your software must allow third-party integration with various apps, payment getaways, and social networks to enhance the customer experience.
Another essential factor to consider is the security of the platform. It is recommended to choose a platform that offers multi-layered security with at least some level of PCI compliance. Monetary transactions must also be secured and mandatorily ask for CVV (and a virtual pin, if possible) on card payments.Customer Service
According to a study, 44% of consumers prefer the option of talking to an agent in the middle of an online purchase. Thus, offering your customers real-time support across multiple channels could boost your business significantly. Another survey indicates that over 50% of consumers prefer Live Chat software to connect with a business and are comfortable buying from a Chatbot. Additionally, it is predicted that by 2021, brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase their revenue by up to 30%.
Clearly then, you need a dynamic platform that is designed to offer real-time support to your customers if you wish to make your online store a success.Conclusion
A robust e-commerce software can spell the difference between a failed startup and a thriving online business. However, in addition to the features, you must also test the interface to ensure that non-technical members of your team can also manage it.
Is there anything else that you would like to add to this list? Please leave your comments below – we’d love to hear from you.
There’s a host of things to decide, manage, try, and keep track of while building a portfolio. Text for example has to catch people’s attention and inform them, without shifting the focus away from the works being showcased.
There are plenty of themes on the market that have the tools and features necessary to create a decent portfolio website. There are so many in fact that settling on one that you believe will meet your needs can be a challenge; and, finding one that has the features necessary to create a portfolio website that’s far beyond “decent” can be a far bigger challenge.
You need a theme that makes it easy to organize your work, one whose features provide you with the all the flexibility and extendibility you’ll ever need, and enables you to create a portfolio website you’re eager to share with the rest of the world.
These 8 creative WordPress themes meet these criteria in spades.
1. Be Theme
Be Theme has the web-building tools, functionalities, and design options web designers need to create top-quality portfolio, blog, and eCommerce websites, and any other website type or style. Thanks to Be’s library more than 450 professionally-crafted and customizable pre-built websites and 200+ shortcodes plus a shortcode generator, it’s possible to create a portfolio website in as little as 4 hours without any need for coding.
Be Theme’s pre-built websites cover more than 30 industry sectors, a host of small but popular business niches and all website types, from one-pagers and online shops to blogs and portfolios. For individual artists, photographers, agencies, or businesses looking for an efficient, effective, and easy to work with portfolio building tool, this multipurpose theme will be an excellent choice.
The BeAgency pre-built website is especially popular with businesses and agencies, but there are many others as well. Browse Be’s library to find what works best for you. Be Theme is flexible, SEO friendly, responsive, and provides first-class support.
You could call Kalium purposeful and powerful, intuitive and innovative, versatile and vast, or all the above; and throw in elegant as well. It’s easy to use for website portfolio building, and as it was built by coders for coders, Kalium is extensible and developer-friendly.
There are 30+ different portfolio types and styles to work with, consisting of 7main types and a variety of options and sub-options. You should have no problem creating a stunning portfolio website to showcase your work the first time you use Kalium and do so without any need for coding.
Highest rated among the top themes, Kalium provides endless website building beyond portfolio websites. Simply clone and customize the content you need from any of Kalium’s demos. A selection of layout designs, plugins, premium fonts, and drag and drop design elements is at your fingertips to create a stunning portfolio website or any other website type.
Although Uncode, one of ThemeForest’s all time top sellers with more than 50,000 sales to date, is in all respects a creative multipurpose theme, its strongest point could well be the features that enable its users to create one high-quality, pixel-perfect portfolio or blog website after another.
Uncode is extremely easy to work with, requires zero coding, and is fully integrated with WooCommerce. If you can envision a portfolio layout, you’ll have no problem creating it. Uncode offers a variety of layout modes, including Masonry and Carousel and, thanks to Uncode’s adaptive grid system, “impossible” layouts as well.
It’s also worth noting that Uncode’s cascade options system gives you total control over your layouts and its adaptive imaging system ensures your portfolios will display correctly on any device. Visit the Uncode website and browse the library of user-built websites to see what Uncode can do for you. You’ll be impressed.
4. The Gem
Portfolio website builders will benefit from TheGems’s more than 20 flexible portfolio layouts that feature flexible grids, gaps, and column widths, pagination and loading options, and hover and animation effects.
TheGem is often referred to as an incredible WordPress toolbox, or the ultimate toolbox. Either way, it has anything and everything you need to showcase your works to the world.
Hello is lightning fast and friendly. It is in fact the fastest WordPress theme ever created, and it’s so user friendly that the name “Hello” almost seems too formal. Since Hello is open source its flexibility and extendibility are virtually limitless, plus it supports all the popular WordPress plugins and doesn’t conflict with any of them.
Hello is the ideal theme for Elementor users; and it’s free.
Bridge is another ThemeForest best-selling creative theme. Its perfect for beginners and pros alike, and for any website building purpose.
Bridge’s 376+ demos accompanied by a wealth of design aids, modules, and other features at your fingertips practically guarantee that with only a modest amount of effort you can create a portfolio website that’s a true piece of art.
As is the case with others on this list, Pofo is a premium multipurpose theme that places a particularly strong emphasis on portfolio website building. Pofo’s features include more than 200 demo pages you can import with a single click, 25+ home pages, and 150+ pre-built design elements. Pofo is flexible, super- fast, and SEO optimized and the WPBakery page builder is extremely easy to work with
MOVEDO can be so much fun to work with you may be sorry to see a project completed, and there’s no rule that says you can’t have fun when creating something exceptional. Your portfolio website can feature images that seem to move when they actually don’t, typography that’s super moldable, and a host of other good things such as ultra-dynamic parallax.
In other words, MOVEDO rocks!
When you’re faced with a hundred or more multipurpose themes that have just the right features you need to create a decent portfolio website, finding the best of the bunch can be a challenge. You might even have to resort to trial and error before finding just the right one.
It’s much easier if there are less than a dozen to choose among; in this case 8. There’s still a challenge involved since each of the 8 themes listed here might appear to be better in some respects than any of the others. Still, you’re faced with a can’t lose proposition. Pick one that looks to be the right one for you and you’ll be fine!Sponsors
Imagine you want to buy a new phone. You have several interesting models in mind, but you’re not sure which one of them suits your needs in the best way.
How are you going to make a decision?
Of course, you’re going to look them up online. Read specifications. Compare features. Most importantly, you’ll want to see what other users think about different models. You probably wouldn’t want to buy a phone with an endless list of negative reviews. And this precisely is the typical purchasers’ thought flow in a large number of cases.
So, truth be told your potential customers and other people trust online reviews more than they should, especially true when it comes to millennials. Furthermore, the millennials are primarily impacted by negative reviews, which is one of the major concerns for a large number of businesses.
Accordingly, the impact of negative reviews on millennials in the workplace may significantly change your business results. That’s why in this article we’re discussing why negative reviews are so important to millennials, and how you can handle negative reviews to reduce their effects on your business performance.Why Do Millennials Look For Negative Reviews?
According to the Medallia Institute, three out of four Millennials do thorough research before they make a purchase. Moreover, the reviews impact their purchase decisions three times more than Boomers’ shopping choices.
But what makes them so interested in negative reviews? Well, some of the main reasons for their increased interest in previous bad experiences lies in their skepticism about the way companies treat customers.
On the one hand, research performed by The Drum has shown that the majority of Millennials think that brands put no effort in the creation of an emotional connection with them. That’s why they feel unmotivated to stay loyal and do precisely the opposite, considering negative reviews as reasons to search for another brand, that will appreciate them more.
On the other hand, it’s more than likely that negative reviews will influence the Millennials if they refer specifically to customer service satisfaction. For instance, 66% of millennials consider the speed of social media supports an important factor for building a lasting relationship.
So, it’s not surprising that they try to inform themselves about this business aspect scrolling through the reviews. So, if previous feedback is negative and shows them your support system is weak, they will look for a more customer-oriented brand.Steps That Can Help Business Overcome Negative Reviews
As stated by Neil Patel, negative reviews can increase your conversion rate, if you deal with them in the right way. So read on, because we’re listing some great tips on how to reduce the damage caused by negative reviews and turn them into an advantage, instead.#1 Manage online reviews quickly.
Leaving a review unattended for a while will make your website visitors think you don’t care. So, make sure to provide relevant feedback as soon as possible. Giving instant feedback
Even if you cannot solve the issue promptly, you can explain that you’re working on it and ask for some patience. Once everything’s fixed, you can provide the final feedback. But don’t make the customers wait.#2 Do not use template-based feedback.
The only thing that shows that you don’t care about customers more than an unattended review is general feedback that doesn’t even focus on the pain points presented in the review. Avoid automated, cold, and formal templates that don’t lead anywhere. They may worsen the image of your brand.#3 Show understanding and empathy.
No matter whether the customer is right or not, the best response to negative reviews is based on a compassionate approach. Don’t make them feel guilty.
Instead, be genuine, polite, and try not to use an argumentative tone. You don’t want the public to read your verbal fight but to show that you care even when it’s not your business’ fault. The fact that a customer is wrong doesn’t mean you are allowed to be condescending.#4 Use a survey to collect feedback.
There are also some things you can do to prevent negative public feedback. Two most effective ones are:
With a live chat tool, you can reach out to your customers as soon as they’ve purchased products. You can either ask them to fill in a survey or ask them to tell you if they had any issues during the purchase process. This way, if they have any frustrations, they will share them directly with you, provided that you’ve implemented live chat software. At best, that will be enough for them, and they won’t feel the need for leaving a negative public review.
When it comes to email surveys, they are the ideal way of collecting feedback both when it comes to potential customers that use a trial version of your product and to those who have already bought the product. All you have to do is to ask for their feedback. You can create your set of questions or refer to survey question examples available online. By acting proactively, you may avoid giving them time to leave potentially negative feedback.
Of course, you can also use the data collected by live chat software and email surveys to create customized feedback that you’ll promote publicly. Use the positive segments of feedback provided by customers to make a special review and testimonial section.#5 Offer compensation for an unpleasant experience.
If you realize that your staff did mess up attending a customer, you should be ready not only to say sorry but also to do something to show you are sorry.
By this, we’re suggesting you offer a gift pack, a discount, or any special condition that will make your customers’ trust you again. Of course, make sure to show your generosity by making a public offer, right under the negative review.
This way, not only will you prevent from losing a specific customer, but you’ll also show the potential new ones that you know how to handle unpleasant situations.Millennials And Negative Reviews: How To Handle Them?
Long story short, to not make millennials leave owed to negative reviews, you should take care of two crucial aspects:
1. Try not to give them a reason to leave a negative review: provide effective live chat support, follow them through the purchase process, and catch up with them after a while
2. Take care of all reviews in a timely, constructive, and polite manner
What makes the negative review less dangerous for your business performance is the way you reply to it. What you should remember is to avoid using pre-made generic templates. Also, try to turn negative feedback into a challenging marketing space where you will show that you can show compassion and make up for poor service.
A visual drag and drop editor is great for building a website quickly and easily, but the final product will only be as good as the design elements that were drag-and-dropped into it.
The Visual Composer Hub is a colossal library of content elements, blocks, and templates that make web design faster and easier and the final products better.
You don’t have to settle for what happens to be available. Since all the Hub content is personalized, “what’s available” is virtually anything you want or need.
Sounds great? Maybe its time to take a close look and see what the Hub is really all about.
What is Visual Composer Hub
The Visual Composer Hub is a cloud-based repository of templates, content elements, and more. It’s a virtual marketplace of website-building goodies, and it’s connected to your Visual Composer account.
Among other things, the Hub takes the place of all those plugins you had to invest in and/or the custom code you had to write to get what you wanted. With the Hub, you can search for ready-to-use content and download it directly into your Visual Composer Website Builder account.
Once in your account, the content is ready to drag, drop, and put to practical use.
The Visual Composer Hub Library
The size of the Hub’s library of content is amazing. It’s so enormous that you’ll find everything you need for any project. The content is completely compatible with any theme, including favorites you may already have used or intend to use.
If you want full access to all the Hub’s content along with unlimited downloads, you’ll want to subscribe to and unlock Visual Composer Premium. In any event, you can always view all the content in the forever-free Visual Composer Hub.
What’s Inside the Visual Composer Hub
First of all, downloading material from the Hub is as easy as it gets since its built right into the Visual Composer live-preview website builder. This easily accessible and downloadable material consists of these 4 main types of content.
1. Content Elements
The content elements in the Hub’s colossal library are first class and searching for them is a simple and slick process.
There’s plenty to choose from among the Content Elements; anything you’re likely to need in fact. What you’ll find are:
Since you can personalize what you select, there’s never a need to resort to coding to build an awesome, unique site. There will always be more to come too, since the Content Elements on the Hub are constantly updated.
And not to forget; with Visual Composer Premium there’s no limit on the number of Content Elements you can download.
What can you do with a Content Element once you’ve downloaded it into your account?
You can also Use advanced features that include turbo-powered editing flexibility, creating content “types” for organizing and hierarchy-building purposes, and leaving notes to compatriots. Some of these advanced features are only available with a Visual Composer Premium account.
Here’s a quick peek at what Visual Composer Hub Premium unlocks.
2. WordPress Templates
Page templates make up an important section of the Hub library. There’s a WordPress template to match any theme and whichever template you select will be fully editable.
It’s simply a matter of finding a template that fits your website look and feel and clicking download to place it in your account. Edit or tweak it to fit your needs and you’ll have a beautiful page in minutes.
There’s plenty you can do in the Hub WordPress template section to make designing a site easy. You can for example:
You don’t even have to be a designer or possess impressive design skills to create awesome pages. Instead, you can rely entirely on drag and drop design backed up by this Visual Composer comprehensive and unique designer template library. It’s your cloud-based solution to building beautiful websites.
3. Block Templates
For the finer details, the Hub’s Content Elements section is the solution, and for fast and easy website builds it’s the Hub’s WordPress templates.
But, what about “in between”? For that “sweet spot” the Block Templates library is where you’ll want to go. Block Templates represent the Goldilocks standard for achieving custom design using easy drag-and-drop functionality.
With a Visual Composer Premium subscription, you can unlock and enjoy the ease and flexibility of using Block Templates.
4. Stock Images
The Unsplash library of stock images is super-cool, it’s seamlessly integrated into the Hub, and your Hub downloads whichever images you select right into the Visual Composer Website Builder. How’s that for efficiency?
Best of all, you can view and select the images you want right from the Frontend editor.
If you come across an image you really like and would like to see what else its author may have contributed, simply hover over the image and click the author’s name. It’s one good way to give your website a more unified look and feel.
It’s true, the best drag-and-drop visual website editor you can find won’t get the job done if your choice of content elements is too narrow. You need a very large library with editable content elements and page and block templates, along with stock photography to make web design fast and truly simple.
These then, are the basics of what you’ll find in the Visual Composer Hub. We weren’t kidding when we said the library is colossal. There are add-ons and additional premium hub elements to check out too.
May we suggest you log in now to the free version of the Visual Composer Hub. There’s nothing to lose, and you have literally everything to gain.Sponsors
Do you remember the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” scene where Holly Golightly was standing in awe in front of Tiffany’s window?
While Tiffany & Co., without a doubt, is an established and recognized brand, it still has to take care of its showcase decoration so the product display corresponds to the brand image.
So why should things be different from your e-commerce store?
Unlike physical stores, online shops cannot offer the customers an opportunity to try or touch the products. Hence, online stores rely on design heavily in order to instantly grab the shoppers’ attention and showcase the products in the best manner.
However, it’s easy to miss certain things in design when optimizing the whole store and fine-tuning its performance. But these little things can actually have a big impact on your conversions and revenue. Let’s have a look at the biggest design mistakes that many e-commerce stores make and see the ways of fixing them.Poor theme choice
The e-commerce theme is a landmark of the store.
The moment the user lands on the site, they will be either immediately attracted or will prefer to leave. And this depends on the first impression a lot.
A theme comprises a variety of elements (e.g. banners), the overall layout, navigation, and much more. The biggest things to look for in a theme are:
The e-commerce merchant can choose either from a ready theme from a Marketplace or a custom one that requires development from scratch.
While readymade themes are usually responsive and can be used right away, they may not necessarily correspond to your brand and may have problems with performance. Custom theme, on the other hand, can be tailored precisely for your brand but usually have high cost and demand more time for development.
An important point here: consider the e-commerce platform that powers your store. Shopify, for example, is not very customizable and it might be better to choose from available pre-designed themes. Magento, on the other hand, is known for its high level of customization. So it will make sense to address a Magento development company to create a perfect theme that will not let you down in terms of looks and performance.Poor images quality
You want the shoppers to fall in love with your products and buy from you. And for that, you need to present the products in the best manner.
The quality of product images is an absolute must for any e-commerce store. As well, keep an eye on the images’ behavior on different devices and different browsers.
What some e-commerce stores do is providing a zoomed-in product image so the shopper can see the product details. This contributes to increasing the product’s value and keeping the customer interested.Poor CTAs
We all know call-to-action buttons. They are responsible for encouraging customers to perform certain actions on the site: add the product to the cart, proceed to the cart, view offers, etc.
CTA buttons are basically the beacons of an e-commerce store that navigate the users and help them reach the desired point in the best manner.
However, some e-commerce stores have problems with their CTAs. The most common issues are:
The main rule of a good CTA: make it noticeable. Use bright colors, avoid ghost buttons, and place the CTA near the important page elements (like price or product image).
As well, try personalizing your CTA buttons. People are tired of clichés like “Shop now” – instead, try incorporating your products into the CTA message.Complex navigation
The UX part of your design is aimed at helping the shoppers discover the products in a convenient and easy manner. Unfortunately, many e-commerce stores have complex navigation that serves as a major reason for shoppers to leave the store.
The issues with navigation include complex filtering, incorrect categories organization, confusing CTA buttons, incorrect organization of the homepage, and much more.
The main thing to remember about navigation is that it has to create a seamless and frictionless sales funnel. And for that, you need to think about the customer’s journey and outline the main points of interaction between the user and the site.
To analyze the performance of your store and identify problem areas, use Google Analytics. This tool will help you see which pages see the highest bounce rate and how the shoppers behave on your site.Lack of search optimization
Search can be referred to navigation issue but we shall look at it separately.
One of the biggest issues with search is no return of results.
There may be different reasons for no search results: the user incorrectly typed the product name or the product may be out of stock. But whatever the reason is, do not leave the user with “Sorry, no matches found” message.
More and more stores started adopting the strategy of placing their best-selling or relevant products in the results return. This lets the stores upsell or cross-sell and increase the chances for conversion.
A good idea would also be to incorporate the autocorrect for your search to eliminate the risk of no results found and add a popup with product suggestions.
And the last tiny advice on search UX: replace search icon with a search bar and place a hint text in it. Though seemingly simple, a search bar actually generates more conversions and encourages shoppers to use it.Non-optimized checkout
Shopping cart abandonment is a big problem for almost all e-commerce stores. With an average cart abandonment rate of 75.6%, the e-commerce stores have to double-check their stores for the problem areas that discourage users from making a purchase. And checkout is the most sensitive area in the whole sales funnel.
Checkout is the place where the transaction happens and the order is placed. The user may roam your store forever but as soon as “Place the order” button is hit, there is no way back.
Or is it?
Lack of checkout optimization is what contributes to a high cart abandonment rate and leave you with a decrease in sales. Here is what users hate the most about the checkout:
A user-friendly checkout has to have a minimal number of clear and justified steps. As well, add an option of a guest checkout so users can decide between registration or quick checkout process via an email or social media profile.
Many checkouts have too many fields that can be easily eliminated. Do you really need to have two address lines or one will be enough? As well, replace the “First Name” and “Last Name” fields with a “Full Name” one – the UX Playbook by Google claims that this change actually impacts the shoppers’ behavior.
Another thing that can help you raise the conversion is by adding security badges to the site. The presence of security badges builds trust and helps the users make a purchasing decision.Non-responsive design & lack of mobile optimization
Different people prefer different browsers and devices – your task is to make the store design suitable for them all.
Of course, you don’t need to adapt the store for the first version of Internet Explorer but do some research and see which browsers and devices are the most popular with your target audience. The store should look and perform equally well on all needed browsers and devices.
Another issue is mobile optimization. Considering the rise of mobile e-commerce and mobile-first indexing, introduced by Google, it seems like all e-commerce merchants should understand the importance of mobile and optimize the store correspondingly.
Yet, we can still go to an e-commerce store from a mobile device and see crooked images, lack of text alignment, or non-clickable elements.
So for all the e-commerce merchants out there, mobile optimization is a primary issue to resolve. And don’t forget that mobile UX is different from a desktop one: images have to be of exceptional quality, size of certain elements like CTAs should be bigger and the navigation has to be ultra-intuitive.Final word
A good design of an e-commerce store implies that the store is user-friendly and aims to deliver an excellent customer experience. After all, your products may be beyond awesome – but how can customers know that if they are not even able to proceed to the category pages?
By taking care of your store design, you automatically take care of the customers too – and this will not go unnoticed.