CRM stands for customer relationship management, which is any system or approach that helps a business organize and access its customers’ data. In this article we will take an in-depth look at what is CRM software, what are its different types and why it’s so relevant in 2020. We offer a fresh look at the biggest software market in the world. Let’s get started.What is CRM Software?
Simply put, CRM software lets you organize and access data pertaining to your customers digitally. This includes customer information, sales interactions, activities, deal stages, metrics, uploaded files, product sales tracking, marketing and customer support interactions. Inherently, this is all of the information that your business knows about this particular customer. CRM software unites various departments of your company by digesting this data and displaying it in an accessible form all on the same platform. Far from being simply a tool for tracking and reaching your customers, CRM software provides invaluable insight into your own business. It helps build a meaningful relationship between your company, your product and your customers.
No longer only deployed by enterprises, CRM software is now widely used by small businesses and start-ups. The benefits are apparent – from increasing the customer satisfaction by offering personalized customer service to growing your business by engaging the right potential customers in the right way. Here are the 3 types of CRM software.
Best modern CRMs are momentum platforms focused on growing the business. The most important way this is done is by turning sales into building a relationship with the marketTypes of CRM Software
There are 3 types of CRM software – operational, analytical and collaborative. Even though there are 3 distinct categories, most of the popular CRM solutions today cover all 3 or strive to be the all-in-one solution.
Operational CRM connects three main components – sales, marketing and service to streamline the business process of an organization. The most prominent of the 3 types, operational CRMs focus on all stages of the sales cycle. This means entering the contact information for a prospect or converting that prospect into an actual client (sales automation), automating repeated tasks like sending out marketing emails and posting on social media (marketing automation), and finally supporting customers through multiple channels such as phone, ticketing portals, email and FAQs (service automation).
Analytical CRMs systematically analyze and present collected customer data to help business managers and company owners make more informed decisions. The work of an analytical CRM happens behind the scenes. These platforms take the raw customer and market data and then use techniques such as pattern recognition, correlation and data mining to turn it into useful information. This information is vital in customizing the marketing, sales and support efforts for maximum efficiency.
Finally, collaborative CRMs focus on facilitating and promoting communication between your teams and departments, as well as external stakeholders such as vendors and suppliers. Sharing customer information across various teams helps you sell more effectively, improve customer retention and personalize the services offered.
It is fair to say that most competitive CRM solutions in 2020 strive to span all 3 categories and offer operational, analytical and collaborative capabilities on the same platform. Let’s take a broader look at what makes CRM platforms so relevant today and try to see 5+ years into the future.
CRM is quickly evolving into software which provides actionable insights into your own businessThe Best CRM Software Features of 2020
In today’s world even a kid knows that using CRM software leads to higher customer satisfaction, more sales and bigger ROIs. And while simply tracking and analyzing the data is important, the best modern CRMs are momentum platforms focused on growing the business. Perhaps the most important way this is done is by turning sales into building a relationship with the market.
CRM software is quickly evolving from being the customer-facing and the customer-touching software into a platform which provides actionable insights into your own business. Data and interactions served across the platform are key in solving managerial challenges. This is the insight into your sales, marketing and support teams, this is the insight into your brand and the product of your hard work reaching the customer. No longer just for managing customer relationships, CRM helps manage relationships within your own company.
We have compared and researched a multitude of CRM options available today and analyzed the most recent trends of 2019. With AI and machine learning expected to make an even bigger impact on CRM functionality in the next 2 years, here is what you want your CRM to have under its hood in the near future.The Future of CRM
As the uses of CRM continue to grow, there is an emergence of platforms which combine CRM and client portal together with task management, KPI and OKR tracking for complete all-in-one business management solutions. This makes sense: if the biggest player in your business is the customer, why not unite your customer data and your company data on the same platform?
Tracking deal stages and customer interactions is vital to building successful relationships, but wouldn’t setting and tracking your team and company objectives from the same portal also facilitate growth? What good is customer data if you can’t make it work towards helping you decide on the next objectives for your departments?
This is the way we see the future of CRM: there will be a move towards uniting the CRM and client portals with business management and planning tools for an all-in-one, AI-driven business operations portal. The whole company will execute sales, interact with clients, see yearly objectives and update weekly tasks in the same app.
Scalable. You want software that can anticipate your growth and be ready to offer features for a seamless transition from size S to MBest CRM Software for Small Business
Growth and excellent brand and customer relations are the top priorities for small businesses. Let’s take a look at a few key points small businesses look for in CRM software:
Low budget. Small business owners and start-up founders are always looking for most value for the lowest price, and CRM software is not an exception. Some companies also offer pricing plans for completely free CRM software
Great customer support. With little time to spare for dealing with frustrating technical difficulties, knowledgeable and attentive customer support is key. Surprisingly, customer support has been the Achilles’ heel of many CRMs (not surprisingly)
Easy to learn and use. The software should be intuitive and easy to navigate, master and maintain without a dedicated IT team
Scalable. You want a platform that can anticipate your growth and be ready to offer the features you need for a seamless transition from size S to M
Integrations and customization. Being able to connect your favorite tools to your CRM is great. What’s even better is being able to tell your CRM which data to track and analyze so as not to flood your dashboard with useless metrics.
If the biggest player in your business is the customer, why not unite your customer data and your company data on the same platform?Best CRM Software for Real Estate
We have just reviewed the top CRM software features for small businesses. Let’s take a look at a sector where CRM software is becoming increasingly popular – the real estate.
The need to be customer-centric is the lifeline of any real estate operation, whether commercial or residential. CRM software can help establish these critical customer relationships. As the relationships often last beyond the sale, it is important to pick a CRM solution which allows for multiple integrations (with your service desk, accounting and facilities management software) as well as for sharing of data across various teams. Look for cross-platform uniformity and mobility – you want the CRM to be accessible and manageable on both desktop and mobile platforms, as a lot of work with the CRM will be done in the field.
There are several CRM platforms which are specifically designed for real estate operations. However, it is also possible to use regular CRM configured for a real estate scenario.
Web application development is set to evolve as we’re at the dawn of a new decade in 2020. There are so many things that could change the way people access web applications.
Before 2002, we only knew desktops & laptops as the mediums to access the internet and its web applications. Then came mobile phones, and we had a new way to access the web. However, the mobile web was untidy and at times, inaccessible. There seemed to be no fitting way to use web applications in mobile phones until the iPhone joined the fray.
Since the launch of the first Apple iPhone and the subsequent smartphone revolution, the way we interact with web applications has completely changed. Today, we interact with web applications through mediums which were never considered possible once.
So what trends will evolve web application development in 2020?1. Rise of Voice-based web searches
A 2017 research by ComScore suggested that over 50% of web searches will be voice-based by 2020. Well, 2020 is already here. What have we got?
What does all this mean for web application development? It means that the days of scrolling through the web to find answers to web queries are nearing their end. Though the prediction by ComScore could only be proved or disputed by the end of this year, it is absolutely clear that voice-based searches are increasing.
Voice-based web application accessibility makes interaction almost as intuitive as human conversations. It’s exactly that peak we’re aiming for.
Chatbots have been trending for well over a decade now. But with more advancements in AI and Neural Language processing, we are coming closer than ever towards the utopian future envisioned through mass chatbot adoption.
They will be the ideal medium of communication between customers & businesses. There is another bold prediction about chatbots that has been making waves recently. Gartner predicts that 85% of customer interactions with businesses will happen through chatbots by the end of 2020.
As of now, over 30% of interactions indeed involve chatbots in one way or the other. Whether it’s an online chatbot helping customers through basic queries, or smart chatbots translating languages for us, we’ve come far ahead.3. Web application speeds
The world’s top search engine, Google already recommends that web pages must load in as quickly as 3 seconds to give users optimal browsing experience. This speed is blazingly fast when compared to the 3G speeds we were used to around 5 years ago.
Now that we’re closer to 5G speeds, we’re not far from a time when web applications will load at the same speed as some of the offline applications we access today.4. Streamlined workloads through API First-design
The more connected our world becomes the more APIs are required for every web application. Now, with the rise of the IoT, even our mobile devices, homes, cars, gaming systems, wearable tech, and laptops are all connected.
While all of this is a great convenience for end-users, they could spell some trouble for developers if they start building such applications from a bad starting point.
In traditional methods of web application development, developers design the user application first and then back-end developers start adding the respective APIs. Once done, these are given to the front-end team for QA & testing purposes.
During this process, the front-end team is also simultaneously working on building SDKs for testing and verifying API activities.
Did you see the problem here? I’ll tell you. In this process, the front-end developers are waiting for the back-end team for adding the APIs. This wait is obviously time-consuming.
The only way to not have the front-team team wait for the back-end developers would be an API-first design, such as using a headless CMS platform.5. Motion-UI
Research says that the global human attention span is just 8 seconds as of 2013. This is a drastic decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds as reported in the year 2000.
Most experts attribute this change to the ever-growing use of smartphones & social media, and the boundless ocean of content served to users. Having unlimited access to all types of content on the internet, people are used to diverting their attention to everything they witness within a span of seconds.
So how will businesses deal with this problem? Enter motion UI! Motion UI in web application development refers to interfaces that move, show you a moving story with every single scroll.
I don’t think words will be enough to define this. Here, have a look at an example of Motion UI.
Motion UI makes website content so much more engaging and ultimately results in them taking their time and attention to focus on what your web application offers. In this way, Motion UI is one of the newest emerging trends that most B2C online businesses will follow in 2020.6. Modular website designs
We all love the concept of having separate modules combined to build single powerful cohesive units. We have seen this in computers, cameras and a lot of other devices we come across in our daily lives.
Unlike the traditional approach using templates, modular design helps developers reuse components and modules to create a web page. From a visual perspective, modular design is a huge evolution above templates. Such blocks can display content & information in more powerful and engaging ways.
Since the smartphone revolution and its mass adoption, people are finding it more comfortable to use mobile phones to access the internet. This change became obviously evident Google, the king of the internet itself became mobile-first.
This meant that every business leveraging SEO has to make its website suitable for mobile devices on a priority basis. Now that businesses are prioritizing mobile device communications over everything else, we will soon witness a new mobile-first web, where the best experiences using the web will be tailored for smartphones and other portable devices.8. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is becoming pervasive across all industries, so the web application development space is no exception. AI is behind some of the best drag & drop website builders such as Wix, and it also has a crucial role in the development of other low-code development platforms.
In 2020, we’ll be seeing more of web applications deploying AI & machine learning algorithms for various purposes- to predict user activities beforehand, understanding their interests and giving them the best possible recommendations, and effectively (also ethically) using their data to provide them with an immersive, intuitive navigating experience.9. Finding ethical ways of using Data
2019 has seen a lot of data theft scandals becoming known to the public eye. As if Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal wasn’t enough, we’re now seeing giants such as Google and Amazon being accused of misusing user data.
In 2020, we’ll see companies trying to fight off such accusations and giving their customers better clarity about how their data is being used. One of the best ethical examples I can find about good use of data is how Apple does it.
Apple indeed collects user data. But instead of sending the data to their servers, the data is analyzed locally (on the device) and any benefits using the data are made available to the user directly, on their device itself.
This way, their’s no fear of data being sent to unknown sources, as everything is stored safely within the device of the user. I predict we’ll see more companies trying to do the same with their web applications and change the way they collect and use data.10. The continued onslaught on Ads
Advertisements in 2020 have become like the common cold. We know it’s a problem, yet it’s never given enough attention and then it goes away by itself.
People have gotten used to ignoring online ads, so much so that businesses are now seriously questioning its potential to generate user interest. In fact, Google itself is trying to find something to gain revenue besides advertisements.
This year, we’ll likely see the onslaught continue as user feedback propels businesses to focus more on the UX than delivering advertisements. Perhaps we might even see a parallel trend wear businesses will find new ways to serve ads to users without interrupting their web browsing experience.Which Web Application Development trend are you prepared for?
So these were the most exciting web application development trends in 2020. I am personally excited about new advancements in voice search and Motion UI. I feel these two are the trends that will truly move the market, and shape how we access the web applications in the future.
So you want to find out more about surveys, what they entail, how they compare to similar data-collection methods, and how to get started creating one? Then this is the perfect guide for you.What is a survey?
Here’s the simplest and briefest definition: A survey is a structured way to collect information or feedback. Surveys can be used to gain insights on just about anything, from all kinds of audiences. You can get a more in-depth answer to the What is a survey? question here, along with a few other FAQs.
For the most part, surveys are fairly simple to create and carry out, but there are a few things you need to be aware of to get high-quality results. We’ll cover all that and more in the following chapters.Chapter synopsis
Remember to bookmark this guide for later reference. When you get stuck on methodology or question generation, you’ll want a handy link to the insights presented below.How to create a great survey: Tips and tools
Creating a well-rounded survey takes more than just picking a random tool, typing a few questions, and hitting send. It takes critical thinking, planning, and patience. While we can’t necessarily help you with the patience part, we can help you think critically and plan your survey with the tips and instructions below.Review these tips before creating your survey
There are many more tips where these came from. In fact, we had to write two separate guides to discuss them all:
Now that you have a good idea about survey creation, let’s take a look at the various types of surveys.Types of Survey
Surveys come in all shapes and sizes and can be delivered in a multitude of ways. To give you a broad sense of the different approaches you can take with yours, we cover the major survey types below — categorized by purpose and distribution method.Survey types by purpose
When your target audience is customers, there are a number of options you can use. If you have a service-based company, you may want to gauge your customers’ satisfaction with your service offerings. You could also determine their satisfaction with the employees they interact with or their overall satisfaction with your company.
Alternatively, if you have a product-based company, you could ask for feedback from a select group of customers about different products they’ve bought?—?what they like, what they don’t like, and what aspects of the product could be improved. Such feedback could lead you to either modify the product or create an entirely new one.
Tangentially, you could ask a wider selection of customers whether they would be interested in a new product that encompassed the feedback you received from other customers.
Much as with customers, employees also offer many opinions on internal matters?—?whether it concerns their work environment, peers, or company happenings.
Employee engagement is an important aspect many companies focus on. Engagement in this context can mean different things, but it generally refers to employees’ happiness, connectedness, and feeling of being valued in the workplace.
This is an important factor since organizations with high engagement have lower absenteeism and turnover, fewer safety incidents, and fewer quality incidents when compared to organizations with low engagement. Thus, regularly assessing employee engagement through surveys can help you keep a pulse on engagement levels and address potential issues before they become big problems.
It doesn’t stop at engagement, though. You can survey employees to help make company decisions, such as moving locations or adding new perks to your employee benefits package.
Sometimes you need opinions from people your company hasn’t interacted with before. Because your customers and employees have engaged with your business, they may not be able to provide the unbiased feedback you’re looking for. Alternatively, you could be looking to feel out the market for a new line of business. Or you may want to get input from a general sampling of people for any number of other reasons.
Market research allows you to do just that?—?whether you want to launch a new product, gauge brand awareness, or see how you stack up against competitors. With a market research survey, you choose who you want to target based on criteria like demographics, lifestyle, product usage, and geography. Surveying the segmented group you identify will provide you with data to help inform your business decisions, so you don’t have to rely on assumptions and guesswork.Survey distribution methods
Ranking by far the highest in participant cooperation, surveys conducted via face-to-face interviews generally produce very detailed responses. That’s because the interviewer can ask follow-up questions and dig deep into the reasoning behind responses, unearthing greater insights for decision-making. However, this method can be costly, time-consuming, and difficult to arrange due to geographic restrictions or limited availability.
Unlike face-to-face or telephone surveys, online surveys provide the greatest opportunity to reach the most people without being limited by location or time zone. Online survey participants can generally complete surveys from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection and an appropriate device, and can complete the survey within your set time limit. Additionally, it’s generally cheaper and faster than the other options, and there are many survey tools available that make distribution and response collection simple.
Surveys conducted via phone offer a compromise between face-to-face interviews and surveys distributed online. While these surveys face similar issues to face-to-face ones (lengthy to conduct, language barriers, limited availability, etc.), they are less costly and aren’t restricted by geography.
Phone-based surveys also allow for an active and personable conversation between the interviewer and participant. George Kuhn, president of Drive Research, adds that “much like face-to-face surveys, phone surveys allow interviewers to ask additional questions and give respondents the opportunity to explain their answers in greater detail. This results in higher-quality responses, especially from respondents who would otherwise answer differently due to the lack of anonymity of a face-to-face interview.”
So you’re clued in on the wide array of survey types, but what differentiates surveys from other data-collection methods? We answer this question in the next chapter.What differentiates survey from other data collection methods?
When designed correctly and distributed to a carefully researched demographic, surveys can provide a wide variety of data points that are ripe for insightful analysis and corresponding action.
For example, ProjectManager.com conducted a paid time-off (PTO) survey of full-time employees across several industries. Responses provided information about how certain age groups felt about PTO and how well their feelings about their company’s PTO plan aligned with the company’s intentions.
“The insights from the 400+ responses were enlightening. Plus, the corresponding white paper we created was well received and shared across social media, driving attention to our software products,” says Kris Hughes, the company’s senior content marketing manager.
But are there other ways to collect data? And how do they compare to surveys? Keep reading to find out.How surveys compare to other data-collection methods Survey vs questionnaire
The best way to think about the distinction between a survey and a questionnaire is to consider a questionnaire as one part of a survey. A questionnaire is simply a set of questions, while a survey is the entire lifecycle of research — questions, the delivery or distribution of those questions, and the analysis of responses to those questions.
Other than using a questionnaire for pure input purposes, such as asking people for their email address, it will always be part of a survey.Survey vs poll
The biggest difference between a survey and a poll is length. Unlike surveys, polls are extremely short — typically only one multiple-choice question. When you use a poll, you’re trying to quickly and simply gather information about one specific thing. “Surveys provide more actionable data points than polls since polls have no wiggle room,” says Hughes.
Robyn Bolton, founder of MileZero, says polls are useful for clarifying details. For example, if you’ve created a new product, you may want to determine which features to include as standard versus optional. Or you may be trying to choose a color. “For simple questions like these,” Bolton says, “a poll can be useful to understand an absolute preference, while surveys can be useful to understand relative preferences.”Survey vs census
The main difference between a census and a survey is the sample size. While a survey queries a segment of a given population, a census attempts to capture information for the entire population. In other words, a survey is meant to only represent the population, but a census is the population.
Understandably, a census is a much larger and longer undertaking than even the most complex or sizeable surveys, though its results are more reliable and accurate than a survey. It’s no wonder the U.S. Census is only conducted every 10 years.Survey vs focus group
A focus group is a qualitative research method that involves questioning a small group of participants simultaneously, usually together in the same room or via video conference. A moderator presides over the group.
“The moderator’s job is to guide the discussion and gauge participants’ honest thoughts and reactions to the subject at hand, such as your product, service, or brand,” explains Larissa Murillo, marketing manager at MarketGoo.
Surveys differ from focus groups in that surveys take a more quantitative approach. They mostly deal with numbers or easy-to-quantify responses that can be analyzed on a spreadsheet. “While the numbers may give you clues, they don’t tell the whole story,” says Jim Jacobs, president of Focus Insite.
Jacobs notes that the error rate on a quantitative survey tends to be much higher than a qualitative method like a focus group or even an in-depth interview. “An experienced moderator or interviewer can quickly get to the root of a response and dig up additional details — something that won’t be revealed by simply checking a box on a standard survey,” he adds.
Is a survey the right tool for your purposes? With comparisons out of the way, let’s take a deeper look into surveys, including the methodology behind them and the pros and cons.
Recall that a survey queries a sample of a given population, such as a subset of your customer base or employees within a certain department. Identifying and selecting that population sample is part of your survey methodology. Other aspects of survey methodology include evaluating and testing questions, determining the method for posing questions and collecting responses, and adjusting survey estimates to correct for errors.
But how do you know if your processes and methods will produce the insights you’re seeking? Consider the advice below to help ensure you’ve done the due diligence needed to set you up for success.Survey methodology: How to draw meaningful conclusions
First, ensure you’re following best practices for survey data collection. In that section, we cover several tips to prepare you for collecting survey data and maximize your chances of getting high-quality results.
Second, get your population sample right. “Your population sample must represent your target audience, and it should be large enough to have statistical significance,” says Claire Shaner, content marketing specialist at BestCompany.
Here’s the example she gives: If you want to survey your employees on their feelings about the human resources function, but you only get 10 responses from interns, that’s not sufficient to generalize the feelings of your entire workforce. If you’re curious about what sample size is appropriate, check out this handy sample size table.
Last, when you get the results, be methodical as you review the data. Pay close attention to the questions you identified as being most important to achieving the goal of your survey. Cross-tabulate, filter, and graph responses to those questions among any subgroups and analyze your findings.
Assuming your sample size is large enough and representative of your target audience, you should observe fairly accurate trends as you manipulate the raw data. Formulate your own conclusions and test them by systematically bringing in and comparing the responses to your other questions.Pros and cons of survey research
Surveying is generally considered a reliable and useful approach to information gathering, but there are some challenges to overcome as well.Pros
Now that you’ve learned more about surveys, it’s time to put that knowledge into action by creating your own survey. Start with one of the survey templates below.Examples of JotForm’s surveys
Once you’ve identified your survey goal, read up on best practices for survey data collection, and determined how to draw meaningful conclusions from your surveys, what’s next? Creating your survey, of course.
To create your survey, you’ll need to develop the right questions, identify the most appropriate responses, and choose the right tool to distribute and collect the surveys. But why start from scratch when you can follow in the footsteps of the countless researchers, marketers, and consultants who came before you?
These survey creators have already done most of the hard work for you by building survey templates on JotForm. They come in two formats:
Whether you’re looking to conduct market research, gauge patient satisfaction, or anything else, JotForm has a vast library of survey templates ready to suit your needs. Check out some of our most popular survey templates to see if one fits the bill.
This is our most popular survey template. It’s been cloned over 17,000 times and includes a few quick questions about an attendee’s experience at an event. You can send this to attendees after the festivities are over to get their take, and then use their feedback to improve your next event.
Questions in the template cover previous attendance and attendees’ satisfaction levels with different aspects of the event, like location and content. Also included is space for attendees to detail ways they feel the event could be improved.
This multi-question survey is for gauging your customers’ feelings about the food and service provided at your restaurant. You can use it to ensure there are no issues with food preparation and quality or staff performance.
As expected of a restaurant survey, questions deal with order accuracy, cleanliness, speed of service, and overall experience. There’s also an open-ended question for general comments and suggestions.
If you’re looking to get opinions from a specific group of people for market research, such as for a new product line, you’ll need to filter out those who don’t fit your criteria. This form gives you a great start with demographic questions like gender, age, household income, and more that you can easily modify. Then just add your specific questions and distribute accordingly.
Similar to the event satisfaction survey, the patient satisfaction survey is brief and gauges how patients felt about their doctor’s visit. You can use this for any healthcare setting, whether it be a hospital, clinic, or other facility.
Survey questions ask for a patient’s gender and birthdate, as well as their sentiments about the doctor, nurse, and general visit experience. The survey ends with a free space for patients to share their thoughts on how the facility could improve its service.
The product survey is more in-depth than the previous ones. A big distinction is that it asks for respondents to identify themselves and provide contact information. If you’re looking for deep insights into how and why customers use your products, this is the right survey template. You can use the contact info to follow up with customers via phone.
The survey queries respondents about how long they’ve used the product, how it compares to competing products, and more.
Are you looking for feedback on the training you’re delivering to customers or employees? This form offers the perfect starting point for creating an insightful survey. If you want to keep things simple, use the template’s basic questions concerning participants’ overall satisfaction, sentiments about various training aspects, and whether they’d recommend the training to others.
Any one of the above survey templates (or hundreds of others) should give you a great head start in building a survey that will help you get the information you need. Good luck!
If you are planning to build a website, then the first two things you need to purchase, a domain and web hosting.
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet and web hosting where all your website’s files are stored.
There are over hundreds of domain extensions available. The cost of a domain name depends on extensions which are called top-level domain. These domain extensions are used for different purposes. For example, a .com domain is mostly used by commercial businesses, the .org domain is used for no-profit organizations.
Before registering a domain, you need to know the difference between domain extensions, for example, .net vs .com.
In this article, we will discuss what is a domain, how much does a domain cost and how to get a domain name.
Don’t have a website yet? Read our guide on how to start a website in a few minutes.What’s in a Domain Name?
Each of the domain names contains two parts: the top-level domain; another one is the second-level domain.
As an example, in “Apple.com,” “.com” is the top-level domain, “Apple” is the second-level domain.
Let me explain:
The top-level domain: The top-level domain, also known as a domain extension, is a part that comes after the dot. The most popular domain extensions are .com, .org, .net, etc.
These domain extensions are used for different purposes, for example, .org extension is used for non-profit organizations, .edu is used by educational websites.
However, if your business is located locally, you can use country-specific extensions, such as .us for the United States, .co.uk for the United Kingdom, etc.
Second-level domain: The second-level domain is found before the dot sign. This is basically your website’s address. For example, in the domain “Apple.com”, “Apple” is the second-level domain.
Now, let’s see how to get a domain name.How to Get a Domain Name (Step by Step Guide)
Getting a domain name is a very straightforward process. First, you need to choose a domain name that you want to use for your website. Then, purchase your domain from a domain registrar.
A .com domain costs around $10-$14 per year. And you need to pay $9 per month for web hosting. It’s expensive for beginners who are just getting started.
Fortunately, Bluehost offers a free domain registration with their hosting plans. The best thing about Bluehost is that its hosting plans are so cheap and it starts from only $2.95 per month.
Here is the step by step guide how to register a domain:
Choose a domain registrar: The first thing you need to check their domain prices. We recommend you to register your domain name with popular registrars like Bluehost, NameCheap, Domain, etc.
Search for a domain name: Most of the popular domain registrars offer a domain name availability checker tool, such as the one from Bluehost, which you can utilize to determine if a domain is available to register.
The advantage of the accessibility checker is that it will provide you suggestions for alternate domain names if yours is currently taken.
Enter your contact details: Once you select a domain, you need to enter your contact details such as your name, address, email, phone number. Each individual needs to enter their contact details in order to complete their account for the general public “WHOIS” database.
During domain registration, you can add domain privacy so that your contact details wouldn’t be visible to anyone.
Pay for your domain: Generally, a domain costs around $8-$14 for a year. It depends on the web hosting or registrar; you may be able to obtain a domain totally free by purchasing a web hosting plan from Bluehost.
Link domain and your web hosting: This step is for those who bought a domain and web hosting separately. For this, you need to link your domain with your web hosting.
Go to the domain manager, enter the CNAME details that you received from your web hosting. If you can’t find your CNAME records, you can ask your web hosting company.
If you bought a domain and hosting from the same company, you don’t need to link anything.
Install a CMS: Once purchased, you need to install a CMS like WordPress to make sure the website is working under your acquired domain. To do so, open a browser window as well as enter your domain.Cost of a Domain Name
On average, domain name expenses are $8-$ 14, depending on several factors.
Top-level domain: Generally, high-level domains are much pricier than others. As an example, .com domains are usually much more costly than .info or.co domain names.
Most popular names: Sometimes the domain prices also depend on the most popular names. These domains are called premium domains which cost $1000-$500000.
If you find a domain that is too expensive, consider choosing another name or go with other extensions.
Domain registration time-length: Usually, signing up a domain name for one-year expenses in between $6 and $16. Registering for a longer period will lower month-to-month prices. When registering your domain, try to sign up for a couple of years for a bigger discount.
Add-ons: During domain registration, you will be asked to add add-ons such as privacy protection. And of course, you need to pay an extra fee for that.
Getting a domain that somebody owns: It is possible to get a domain that is currently owned by somebody else in a bidding process, but this will cost you a lot.
Domain discount: Sometimes domain registrars offer massive discounts on certain domains. For example, GoDaddy offers a .com domain at just 99 cents throughout a special discount, where the regular price is around $14.What’s the difference between a domain and a website?
A domain name is basically your website address on the internet. This is what people type on their web browser to reach a website. For example, Apple.com is a domain name.
On the other hand, a website is a collection of webpages organized together in a single domain name.
There is no doubt that domain names are very important for your business’s success on the internet.
A top-level domain usually costs around $8-$20 per year, where you can save a lot of money if you buy a domain and hosting together. In this case, Bluehost offers the best price and they also offer free domain registration with their hosting package.
In this article, we have shared what is a domain, how much does a domain cost and how to get a domain name.
Did we miss any steps or do you have any recommendations? Do let us know in the comment section.
The Droste Effect is used to classify images or photos that are recurring within themselves. On paper, this goes on forever but in reality, it only goes as far as the resolution allows.
The term stems from the Dutch Cacao brand with the same name. In 1904, the Droste used an image of a nun holding a tray of hot cacao and a box of Droste Cacao which had the same image on it. It was created by the artist Jan Misset. It quickly became the signature design of the company and later on any recurring image or photo was called as Droste.
Interestingly, it wasn’t the first time recurring imagery was used but the Droste Powder Cacao was when it was first named. The Droste effect was used in some art pieces in medieval periods as well.Famous Droste Powder Cacao package
Creating the Droste Effect used to be a little complicated but thanks to tools like Photoshop it’s relatively simple to do. There are some tools other than Photoshop dedicated to the Droste effect but usually, they also break the images and the outcome is less than ideal compared to Droste Effects created with Photoshop.Spiraling Droste Examples Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Plain Droste Effect Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr Source: Flickr
Bonus for Classic Rock Lovers: Pink Floyd’s First Double Album from 1969 Ummagumma’s CoverSource: Pinterest
Get ready movie buffs and cinephiles because the 92nd Academy Awards are just around the corner. There is now less than a month left for the short, buff and golden guy to find himself in somebody’s hands.
The nominees for the Oscars 2020 were announced last week and people have already started their own “And the Oscar goes to..”s among themselves. It’s going to be a tough year to guess who is going to win what with so many beautiful pieces like Joker, Parasite, The Irishman, Marriage Story, etc. The bets are on and folks are waiting for the big night over at the Dolby Theatre to see who will actually take home the Oscar statuette.
The Oscar winner contests have started already with attractive prizes on the end. JotForm is giving away a cool iPad Mini for guessing the most Oscar wins correctly, you can test your movie skills and win an iPad Mini with the form below
There have been many mind-blowing movies that won some hardware throughout history. An amazing designer from Mumbai, India, Nirav Khant, (Dribbble, Instagram) went through the alphabet & numbers with the related movie title and created amazing illustrations.
Let’s enjoy his great artwork!Oscar Illustrations for letters through A-Z The Artist Source: Dribbble Ben-Hur Source: Dribbble Chicago Source: Dribbble Dunkirk Source: Dribbble E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Source: Dribbble Forrest Gump Source: Dribbble Gandhi Source: Dribbble The Hurt Locker Source: Dribbble Inception Source: Dribbble Jurassic Park Source: Dribbble King Kong Source: Dribbble The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Source: Dribbble Mad Max: Fury Road Source: Dribbble No Country for Old Men Source: Dribbble On the Waterfront Source: Dribbble Pan’s Labyrinth Source: Dribbble The Queen Source: Dribbble Rocky Source: Dribbble Schindler’s List Source: Dribbble Titanic Source: Dribbble Unforgiven Source: Dribbble Vice Source: Dribbble Whiplash Source: Dribbble X-Men: Days of Future Past Source: Dribbble Yankee Doodle Dandy Source: Dribbble Zootopia Source: Dribbble Oscar Illustrations for numbers through 0-9 Zero Dark Thirty Source: Dribbble One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Source: Dribbble The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble Born on the Fourth of July Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble Five Easy Pieces Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble The Sixth Sense Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble Se7en Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble The Hateful Eight Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble District 9 Source: Nirav Khant Dribbble
What do you think about these amazing illustrations about the all-time great Oscar winners? Who you got for Oscars 2020? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below :)
If you’ve read or listened to any social media guru, you’ve heard this: consistency is key.
Consistency in how regularly you post. And consistency in what you post. The social media gurus are right about consistency. It makes you successful in life and on social media.
But, freelancers, social media managers, and anyone else tasked with consistent social media content production know that all that consistency is a lot of work.
Then there’s the issue of getting the most bang for your working buck.
Fortunately, there are solutions to both of these problems: a creative social media marketing calendar and video content.
Here’s how to use both of these to keep your social media content flowing and get results with all that content.Use a creative calendar
Noupe already covered using a scheduling tool for planning and automating social media posts. It’s good advice. You should absolutely use technology to remove the manual labor of posting regular content and keeping the social media algorithms happy.
However, the pre-made creative calendar addresses a different issue: the content creation itself.
We’ve all run into this problem: you’ve blocked out time to create social media posts and upload them to your scheduling app. The time comes. You sit down to whip up some posts. And… You can’t think of anything to say.
Creating a week or month’s worth of content can feel like a high-pressure situation. But, producing your content in batches is the best way to take advantage of your social media scheduling tools.
Your creative calendar helps you get over the hump by providing quick inspiration for each day. You can build your own creative calendar if you want. Simply choose a theme or topic for each day, and plug that into your calendar. Then, refer back to your calendar as a sort of creative to-do list when it’s time to create social media content.
Just choose topics that are relevant and interesting to both you and your target audience.
If you need inspiration for creating your creative calendar, or if you want to save time, use a premade creative calendar. Almost every day of the year has some sort of theme or holiday (did you know October 1 is International Coffee Day?).
All you need to do is put your own spin on the theme for the day, add your post to your scheduling app, and go get some coffee.
Obviously, you’re not beholden to your premade creative calendar. If you’ve got a great idea or something important you need to post ASAP, do your thing. But, your calendar is a bank of ideas that will help keep you out of that creative hole.
Before we wrap up this section, here are two things that will help you get the most from your social media marketing calendar:
One of the biggest (and easiest) mistakes is just going through the motions with daily themes, without using the topic as the base inspiration for something more meaningful to you and your audience.
This will keep your creativity flowing from day to day and keep your social media scheduling tool packed with planned content.Use video
There are loads of video marketing statistics that show why video is so effective on social media and everywhere else. But, the stats aren’t our focus right now. Suffice to say video gets better engagement, more shares, and more attention on social media than text and photos.Image Source
Text and images have their place. But, the video will get you the best results for your time and money.
The most common reason that people don’t use more video is because they think their videos have to be amazing, and they don’t have the budget for amazing videos. The truth is that the threshold for the video quality on social media is surprisingly low.
And, a low budget video can be amazing.
So, here’s how to use video on social media, without spending a fortune:
You can shoot both of these on your phone. Informal content works great in stories and lives broadcasts. So, there’s no need to get fancy. If you want something more formal, a simple tripod for your phone works wonders.
The thing that makes stories and live videos so powerful on Facebook and Instagram is the organic reach. Instead of paying for space on people’s feeds through ads, you can grow your audience, build a following, and, yes, make more money with consistent live video and stories.
And, you can get started with a budget of zero dollars. So, it’s a great strategy for everyone.
Creating social media videos can be affordable (or free). But, it takes more time than snapping a picture and adding a few words as a caption.
Maximize the return on your time investment by repurposing your video content. With a simple video editor, you can cut and trim your video footage and recorded live broadcasts to create daily content. Use templates to make this process fast and easy.
Also, you can simply post recordings of your live broadcasts on Facebook for those who couldn’t make it to the live showing.
The content will be new to many people, because they missed the live broadcast or didn’t see the story while it was posted. And, this saves you a ton of time.
Obviously, keep producing new videos. But, you can fill gaps in your content calendar and keep your daily posts going with repurposed video from your stories and live broadcasts.
One of the easiest ways to build an audience for your Facebook and Instagram live videos is to schedule your broadcasts. Then tell everyone about them through your daily content.
This way people know when to show up and your broadcasts will gather an audience faster. Then, the algorithm gods will grant your broadcast more organic reach and help you gather an even larger audience.
Also, why have the calendar and scheduling tools if you’re not going to schedule your content?
These three steps will get you some quick wins in your social media marketing. Once the train is chugging along, you can start producing more professional content and running paid video ads. Or, you can keep rolling with more personal, lower-cost videos that match the social media landscape. That all depends on your brand and how you want to grow it.
But, if you consistently post good video content, your brand will grow. So, set up your social media content marketing calendar, and start building your brand with video.
When the European Union ratified its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards in 2016, it sent a shockwave through much of the world. Any business that handled the data of an EU resident would have to comply by the time the law went into effect two years later. But it also created an expectation that GDPR would inspire similar privacy legislation in other parts of the world.
The EU laid the groundwork for general privacy laws designed to protect an entire population group. And now California has followed suit, using many of the ideas and concepts in the GDPR to create the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
The legislation was ratified in 2019, and it went into effect on January 1, 2020. Enforcement won’t begin until later in the year, though.
California is the first state to put this kind of privacy legislation in place, and it may set a precedent for state or even federal laws in future years.
More details on this process will follow later in the guide, but the rapid move to put the CCPA in place highlights a key issue to keep in mind: This legislation was developed with a sense of urgency.What does the CCPA do?
Fundamentally, the CCPA is designed to ensure that consumers have visibility into and control over the ways businesses share and use their data.
Think about what typically happens when you go online. You use a search engine to find something you’re interested in. The search engine company then shares that data with advertising software.
You’re also tracked as you shop online, visit media sites, and otherwise interact with brands and content. Companies share this data with each other using apps and services that aggregate this information.
From there, businesses use the information for targeted advertising. This is why, if you browse cars online one day, you’ll likely see ads for cars the next day.
This is just one example of how businesses leverage data about user behavior to create value for themselves. There’s an entire economy made up of businesses collecting and monetizing user data. Most organizations argue that they’re trying to offer better, more personalized experiences to users.
The problem with all of this is that many consumers don’t know when their data is being collected, who is gathering it, or how it will be used. This lack of transparency makes consumers vulnerable to potential manipulation or even exploitation if unscrupulous organizations gather their data.
The CCPA legislation is designed to prevent this by mandating that organizations collecting a certain amount of consumer data tell their users about their data-collection practices. This includes informing them about how the information is used and giving them the chance to opt out of sharing their data.
That transparency and the opportunity to make a choice are essential parts of CCPA compliance. Check out the rest of the guide for more details about how the law works so you can ensure your business is compliant.What exactly is the CCPA?
If you want all of the specifics, you can check out the CCPA text. But if you’d rather avoid poring over detailed legislation, unpacking legal terminology, and making sense of the regulations for yourself, here’s a look at what the act covers.What is the CCPA?
At its core, the CCPA is a privacy regulation. This is a key point to keep in mind, as regulatory issues often require technology changes. While this is the case for the CCPA — businesses will need to update their data handling practices and solve a variety of infrastructure issues to comply — the act primarily addresses consumer privacy and choice.
Because of this focus on privacy, you aren’t going to find much in the way of guidance on how to comply within the law itself. There aren’t rules about the type of infrastructure needed or similar guidelines that set a technical baseline. Instead, the law focuses on four rights for consumers in California. A CCPA Fact Sheet from the state’s government highlights these rights:Right to know
The CCPA declares that consumers have the “right to know what personal information is collected, used, shared or sold.” The act mandates that businesses provide visibility into both the broad categories of information they gather (i.e., collecting web browsing data to recommend products) and the specific personal information they collect.Right to delete
Under the new act, consumers have the right to delete their personal information held by businesses and service providers. This doesn’t mean consumers can access business systems; instead, they can request that a business delete their data, and the business must comply.Right to opt out
If consumers don’t want their data to be sold, the CCPA gives them the right to opt out of that practice by asking a business to stop selling their personal information. What’s more, businesses must get opt-in consent for children 16 and under. A parent or guardian must give consent for those who are 13 or younger.Right to nondiscrimination
The CCPA explicitly prohibits businesses from any form of discrimination relative to a consumer exercising their privacy rights.
These are the fundamental elements of the new CCPA act that you’ll need to think about. The implications are far reaching.What does the CCPA mean for businesses?
Some context is necessary before we go into more detail about why the CCPA exists and what it’s trying to achieve. Here’s what the CCPA means in a nutshell:
Qualifying businesses (we get into qualification details in this chapter) must inform consumers that they collect users’ personal information, educate those individuals about what the data is used for, give consumers the ability to opt out, and, upon request, delete information that the organization holds.
In theory, it’s simple. In practice, things are going to get complicated. In fact, the state’s CCPA Fact Sheet estimates that compliance costs will add up to between $467 million and $16.454 million from 2020 through 2030.
Because of the impending cost and complexity of CCPA compliance programs, it’s worth looking into why this kind of legislation is increasingly necessary in today’s digital economy.The CCPA’s emergence The CCPA’s origins in the GDPR
The CCPA’s origins, in many ways, go back to the GDPR standards in Europe. The GDPR is a set of privacy laws dictating how businesses handle the data of European Union residents. It covers everything from transparency in sharing information with third parties to putting adequate protections in place to keep the information secure.
But the content of the GDPR — regardless of how important it may be — isn’t the revolutionary part.
The law sets a precedent for consumer privacy, but the most transformative precedent may be that the GDPR doesn’t just apply to businesses operating in the EU. Instead, the law mandates that any business gathering any personal information about an EU resident must comply. This means that a major government entity is legally demanding groups outside its primary jurisdiction comply or face consequences.
This set off an immediate chain reaction in the privacy space. If businesses outside of the EU have to comply with GDPR, then why shouldn’t other privacy-concerned governments put similar laws into place?
The CCPA is, on some level, a reaction to this development. Of course, California isn’t establishing the new privacy law simply because GDPR shows that it’s possible. The state government has a reputation for being progressive on digital issues, perhaps in response to the state’s role as a leader in digital innovation.
The CCPA is emerging in part because there’s now precedent for this sort of act, but also because the scale of the digital data-sharing economy has become so large that some sort of reaction is widely deemed necessary to protect consumers.Why the CCPA is necessary and what it aims to achieve
Sharing data has become a critical source of income for many businesses. From marketing teams that purchase data to target potential customers in more personalized ways to lenders gathering consumer data to better understand the risk of lending to an individual, the applications are nearly limitless.
This data-sharing economy is growing quickly, and it can leave consumers uncertain as to where their data goes when a business collects it.
For example, data-driven marketing is a common practice. It involves analyzing large quantities of consumer data to inform marketing decision-making. This can mean anything from identifying big-picture trends across demographic groups to providing highly personalized content to specific users when they visit a website.
A landmark 2015 study from Data Marketing & Analytics, an organization that studies the data-driven marketing sector and advocates for best practices, found that this segment was responsible for $202 billion in revenue in the U.S. economy. It’s also behind 996,000 jobs — with more than 128,478 of those positions located in California in 2014.
The data-sharing economy has only grown since then, and those figures point to just one segment where data sharing occurs. The practice is common in a wide array of sectors. With so much revenue on the table, it’s no wonder that businesses want access to this data. Consider what can happen to a single piece of consumer data:
Throughout this process, many parties are buying and selling your data. The practices themselves are not inherently predatory. They certainly can be, but many of these parties are simply vying for your attention, not necessarily trying to manipulate you.
Regulations like the CCPA are not meant as an indictment of data sharing between businesses. Instead, what the CCPA addresses is the fundamental problem that most of this activity happens without consumers’ knowledge.
The CCPA and similar regulations are considered necessary not so much to curb the data-sharing economy but to give consumers insight into the specifics of how their data is used and allow them to choose how they’ll participate in the practice. That choice is at the center of the CCPA.How the CCPA came to be
The CCPA was initially signed in June 2018, marking the beginning of what is typically a long and complex process.
Major regulatory laws like this usually go through a few years of back and forth between legislative bodies and industry stakeholders. During this period of discussion, individuals in the affected sectors highlight potential problems presented by the legislation, while both the government and private sector analyze the implications of the law and make amendments based on what they learned.
Regulatory laws will usually go through a few versions as changes are made before the law actually goes into effect. Once the law is active, organizations impacted by the guidelines are typically given a period of time — often a year or multiple years, depending on the scale of change — to adjust to the new standards.
For example, HIPAA and HITECH — prominent healthcare industry regulations that protect patient information — went into effect gradually over many years, and the deadlines for meeting specific regulatory benchmarks occurred at different times.
The CCPA has been an exception to this relatively slow and measured process. There was a comparatively short period for discussion in late 2018 and much of 2019, but the state resisted efforts to ease the laws contained within the CCPA.
While many businesses were concerned about the costs and challenges of implementing the CCPA — and potentially worried about losing value from sharing data freely — the state held firm to the scope of the legislation. And it set January 1, 2020 as the go-live date for the law. Enforcement is expected to begin in July 2020.
This represents a rapid, highly accelerated move to not only get the law in place but to begin enforcing it. The rush is expected to lead to a great deal of disruption for companies scrambling to comply.
To further complicate matters, there’s plenty of uncertainty around how different parts of the law will be interpreted and applied. Some of these issues will be ironed out in the months leading up to the enforcement date, while others will be addressed in court cases involving compliance breaches.
The entire process surrounding the CCPA regulations has been unconventional, with a clear sense of urgency to get the rules into place to protect consumers. This means that businesses need to not only move quickly to start preparing for compliance but also continue paying attention to the headlines about the CCPA to stay up to date on changes.
The coming months won’t be easy as businesses and lawmakers work to adapt, but California believes that protecting consumers’ personal information is worth it. After completing a Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment, the state estimated that the CCPA guidelines will end up safeguarding approximately $12 billion worth of personal data used for advertising.
The scale of the CCPA is huge, and its rapid adoption can put your business in a difficult place. If you’re not based in California, that doesn’t mean you can tune out. The regulations apply to qualifying businesses handling the data of consumers located in California.
They also set a precedent for U.S.-based privacy law that could end up being a model for other states and possibly the federal government. It’s important to watch the CCPA closely to determine if it applies to your business. With that context top of mind, let’s dive into some CCPA specifics.What does the CCPA protect?
The four fundamental rights of the CCPA — the right to know, the right to delete, the right to opt out, and the right to nondiscrimination — are the core of the legislation. The act is designed to protect consumer choice.Beyond choice: Detailed CCPA protections
While choice is the fundamental element of the CCPA’s provisions, the decision to protect the consumer’s right to opt in or out of data sharing results in a variety of more subtle protections. The specifics may vary because how the protections are applied will depend on how the act is interpreted.
Here’s a closer look at some of the specific protections offered by the CCPA.Protection from data surveillance by business
Tracking a consumer’s activities and collecting that data is a form of surveillance. Regardless of intent, it gives a business a way of tracking what a consumer does and using that information.
The CCPA provides protection against this form of data surveillance by mandating that businesses offer notice of data collection before it’s performed. This notice must be “visible or accessible where consumers will see it before any personal information is collected,” according to the privacy law.Protection from data misuse
The legislation dictates that businesses must clearly communicate how they use data and disclose that at the point of collection.
For example, many digital personal assistants — think Amazon’s Alexa — capture your voice requests. Human workers (not AI machines) then analyze those requests and how the digital assistant interpreted it to troubleshoot problems and improve the AI software. That kind of data collection will need to be communicated.
Likewise, if the person reviewing that data identifies an alternative use for that information and wants to use it differently, they would have to alert you to that change. The CCPA will protect consumers from having that information misused in any way by giving them a degree of control.Protection from unknown data sale
Imagine you opt into data collection knowing that your information will be sold to a marketer. You don’t mind personalized ads and sometimes even find them helpful. But then a marketer who didn’t collect your data sells it to somebody else. You’ve now lost control of your personal information and, theoretically, could be vulnerable to its misuse.
CCPA regulations include provisions against such practices, requiring businesses that sell, but don’t directly collect consumer data, to alert individuals before their information is sold and allow them to opt out.Protection from manipulation
We’ve all seen it happen. A business gets into the data-sharing economy and finds that the data it sells to a third party is used in a negative way. This can be destructive to consumers and businesses alike.
The forced transparency created by the CCPA — companies must organize and document their data flows, and communicate with consumers when data is shared — provides a safeguard against manipulation by ensuring all parties have a clear idea of how consumer information is being used.Visibility leads to privacy in the CCPA
There are other nuanced protections we could get into, but the major areas of security and data privacy we’ve discussed highlight how the legislation functions. It’s designed to provide visibility to consumers, promoting privacy and protecting all parties from the adverse elements of the data-sharing economy.Which companies are affected by the CCPA?
The CCPA standards don’t apply to every business. By design, the legislation is meant for larger companies because any sort of issues these organizations have with consumer privacy would be far-reaching.
An organization will be expected to comply with CCPA regulations if it meets one of the following conditions:
If any one of these is true, the organization has to comply with the CCPA. On top of this, any business that handles the data of 4 million or more consumers will face stricter reporting regulations to ensure compliance with the regulations.
Research performed by the California state government found that businesses in a wide range of sectors will be impacted by these new standards, as they are both far-reaching and broad enough to apply to companies in disparate industries. In total, current estimates predict that between 15,000 and 400,000 businesses will be affected by the CCPA.CCPA enforcement
The American Bar Association provides a thorough rundown of some of the practical legal implications of the emerging CCPA standards, and it highlights how enforcement will work. There are two primary ways that businesses may face punishment for noncompliance:
These methods of enforcement come into action in the event that a breach occurs. California will monitor businesses to make sure they comply with the law. Here’s what that will look like.CCPA reporting
When your organization receives a CCPA-related request, you’ll have a certain amount of time to respond and take action. The specifics can vary depending on whether the matter is an opt-out, deletion, or opt-in request. (We’ll get into those details in the next chapter.) But part of the process is documenting that you’ve informed consumers you’re collecting their data and that you respond to all requests in a timely fashion.
This data must be maintained for 24 months. Every CCPA-related request from each consumer must be on record. Organizations handling information for more than 4 million consumers must also document the total number of requests they receive, of any type, and detail key metrics about how they comply with those requests.
This self-auditing process creates a framework for enforcement by requiring businesses to maintain compliance data in the event that a breach is recognized.How noncompliance could play out
Legal enforcement for regulations like the CCPA is complicated and highly variable until precedent has been set in court. It can be difficult to get a clear idea of what it will look like, making it challenging for businesses to adjust. Here’s a quick look at some hypothetical examples of how CCPA breaches could play out based on the way the legislation is designed:Failure to notify
Imagine that your business built a mobile app a few years ago. It didn’t get great usage and, while some customers like it and you keep it running, you don’t support it much because your website is now optimized for mobile and most users go there.
To prepare for CCPA compliance, you put the necessary notification on your website, telling consumers how you collect their data and what you use it for. You also give them a chance to opt out. You put a similar link in your mobile app.
There’s just one problem: A small feature in your mobile app passively collects user location data for a specific app capability that isn’t replicated on your website. You forgot to include this notification in the app because you used the same link you used for the web.
At this point, your business would be in noncompliance for failure to notify consumers that you’re collecting that location data. You also haven’t explicitly told them how you use that information or set up systems so they can opt out of the program.
This is a tiny detail, but it shows just how complex CCPA compliance is. You need to understand every use of consumer data in your business and make sure you cover communication as appropriate to ensure compliance.Failure to delete
Deleting data is complicated in today’s cloud-driven world. How many apps do your teams use to interact with customers? Chances are, you have a blend of solutions in place that each handle different types of information, often integrating with one another to share data.
This means you have consumer data that is technically yours and under your control, but spread between multiple internal and third-party environments. In many cases, that data will exist in multiple formats — such as if a user downloaded a report and has data available offline for a key app.
If a consumer makes a deletion request, and you handle just about everything perfectly, you can still easily end up with a CCPA breach. If you work with service providers and delete that consumer’s data but don’t know about offline copies of the information, forget about an app that contains affected data, or neglect to delete a file stored in a niche environment, that’s a CCPA breach.
The complexity of today’s data ecosystems makes this type of compliance difficult on a technical level. Businesses need to work with service providers that build compliance into their solutions to make life easier.Failure to report
This type of noncompliance can be particularly frustrating. Imagine you worked incredibly hard to get all of your systems up to the new standards before the go-live date. You get the visibility you need into your data workflows, you have all the consumer-facing content in place, and you’re keeping up with the requests from customers. Then the holidays come around, and you bring on a seasonal administrator to provide support.
At this point, your CCPA practices are strong, and you provide some basic training on compliance. However, that worker misses a key detail and doesn’t properly log request completions. You get to the end of the year, and you have a blind spot in your reports relating to the regulatory standard: During the month or so the temp worker was on staff, you can’t prove that you complied.
If you’re lucky, you can go back and track down each customer request and create the proper log. But if any kind of mistake was made and you can’t self-audit effectively, you could be left unable to properly report on your compliance and find yourself with a CCPA breach.
This kind of issue is often best dealt with through automation so you don’t rely on manual documentation. But regardless of how you solve the issue, training employees who handle consumer data on your internal practices surrounding CCPA compliance is critical to avoiding breaches.Preparing for the impact of the CCPA
These examples of breaches aren’t meant as a scare tactic. However, if CCPA laws apply to your business, you need to be ready. This is a uniquely strict data privacy standard that’s being put into place on a much faster time line than the already established GDPR standards. The American Bar Association report we mentioned earlier went so far as to call the regulations “aggressive” in tone.
The CCPA isn’t isolated. It covers all California residents, and the state government is aware that it presents economic challenges. Consumer protection is the priority, and as the need for data privacy legislation exists across the country, many experts anticipate the CCPA to be a pilot for other initiatives as state and federal entities watch what happens in California to see if they want to take similar action.What are the basic CCPA requirements?
We’ve highlighted what the CCPA is all about, but we haven’t gone very deeply into what it actually asks businesses to do. CCPA requirements are fairly demanding, and you may want to bring in an expert to help cover all of the details you’ll need to deal with. To get you started, here’s a look at the major requirements for businesses.Primary CCPA requirements
The major demands within the CCPA legislation fall into a few categories. Think of this as an entry-level CCPA compliance checklist:Meeting “right to know”
Complying with the right to know standard is all about providing transparency for consumers. You’ll need to let consumers know
To properly notify consumers according the rules of the CCPA standard, you’ll need to
Supporting the CCPA’s regulations for consumers’ right to opt out of the data-sharing economy is a bit simpler. To comply, you must
Things can get complicated on the technical side with these elements of the CCPA. Collecting large amounts of consumer data across systems is challenging, and that’s what you’ll need to do whether you’re trying to inform consumers about what information you have or working to delete everything appropriately.
If a consumer submits a request to delete, there’s a clear workflow. First, you have to verify the person’s identity. If this will take significant time and impact your ability to grant or deny the request, then you must notify the consumer that you received their submission and are going through the verification process. From there, you’ll need to tell them what that process entails.
If you can grant or deny the request quickly because verification is easy, you must respond to the request within 45 days from when it was received. This applies to “requests to know” as well and can be extended with proper notice and explanation.
When responding to a request to delete, once the individual’s identity is verified, businesses must comply by
There’s a similar workflow for right to know requests but in reverse. Basically, if a person requests their information, a business must verify the individual’s identity and, unless disclosing the information creates a clear security risk, disclose that data. There are a few exceptions, including any government-issued identification number, financial account number, account password, or similar sensitive information.Meeting verification requirements
The importance of verifying a user’s identity lurks beneath the surface in all of these regulatory demands. The CCPA sets forth strict guidelines and steps businesses must take to ensure that the person who is requesting to opt out, obtain data, or have information deleted is who they claim to be.
The implications of identity fraud are clear. It’s the kind of issue that highlights just how complicated these types of data privacy standards can be, and is often best handled by services certified for compliance or through internal processes configured with the help of legal and technical experts. The high costs of compliance estimated by the state aren’t an exaggeration.Regulatory complexity in a nutshell
While many aspects of the new CCPA standards are somewhat unique, they retain one common thread that’s similar to most data privacy standards: They tell you the results you need to get, not what you need to do to get there. There may be some clerical guidance on how to communicate with customers and the like, but figuring out how to map your data workflows to know exactly how you use and sell every piece of data you collect is entirely up to you.
This results in a situation that is highly unpredictable — one solution can be vastly different from another, while both are valid — and difficult for businesses to navigate on their own. As such, it’s often best to get some help with compliance. Some things to consider include
Complying with data privacy regulations is expensive, complex, and often overwhelming. But it’s easier with help. Whether you get that from prebuilt solutions that do much of the work for you or by adding to your staff, there are options to help you meet CCPA requirements.How to be CCPA compliant
This section isn’t about the rules you need to follow. It’s about real steps you can take to better position your business to keep up with the demands of a complex regulatory system like the CCPA. You’ll likely need to work with a lawyer or similar expert to really dive into how those laws impact your specific organization.
Instead of getting bogged down in the law, we’re going to focus on best practices you can enact that will make it easier to adjust to the regulations as they stand now, and as they change over time.Automate when possible
Today’s software can automate everything from process documentation to data collection — such as JotForm’s custom forms and survey tools that gather data and automatically send it to the proper destination based on your settings. When you’re dealing with complex regulatory requirements, it’s often easiest to find solutions that align with your needs, create compliant workflows, and automate the clerical tasks that the regulation covers.
Of course, automation is great for eliminating human error, but that’s not all it does well. As you probably discovered when we talked about reporting and enforcement, CCPA laws are going to require you to deal with all kinds of documentation. If you automatically collect that data and use tools that create reports for you, you’ll save hours and even days of labor, and improve your ability to maintain compliance.Work to exceed minimums
Regulations like the CCPA are, at their core, guidelines for the bare minimum you need to do to live up to the standards and the expectations they set forth. If your target is always the least you have to do, then you’ll have a breach the moment you fall short. If you set up your processes to exceed the base requirements, then you’ll have some margin for error.
For example, when the CCPA says you should respond to requests to delete personal information within 45 days, you can design your processes and technical capabilities to handle the process in 30 days. It may be a bit more expensive or time-consuming to put the work in at first, but over time, it’ll give you the freedom to handle compliance with greater ease.Focus on best practices from the start
It’s quite common that a regulatory law may not apply to your business at the moment but will apply in the future. As these types of privacy rules expand, they could start affecting smaller businesses. What’s more, as your company grows, it may reach a point where it needs to comply. Tacking new capabilities onto what you’re already doing is almost always more difficult than starting out with those capabilities.
Even if you don’t need to comply with the CCPA right now, consider getting started. You can do this by choosing apps that are in line with the standards; tracking how you collect, manage, and sell data; and taking similar steps to begin your compliance journey so you’re ready if the regulations apply to you at any point.Take responsibility for your tech
Through a blend of marketing hype and techno-misinformation, many businesses believe that using cloud solutions means they don’t have to worry about data privacy and protection.
It’s true that a good third-party provider makes things like complying with the CCPA much easier. However, most regulatory laws stipulate that businesses are responsible for the data they handle, even if they only pass that information on to a third party. That means you should
In the end, your solution providers can do a lot of the work for you, but they can’t be responsible for your customers’ data. Most regulatory laws consider the business as the entity with ultimate responsibility, not the service provider. Understand what you can do to safeguard data, what your vendors’ limitations are, and how you can ensure compliance.Get ahead of compliance
There typically isn’t a great reason to be surprised by regulatory requirements. Most develop over the course of years, giving businesses lots of time to comply. The CCPA laws are a bit different in how quickly they’re coming into play, but there’s still time to get moving instead of trying to rush in at the last minute.
The old adage “haste equals waste” comes into play here. Getting started on compliance now can buy you time to find the best solution, not just a workable option.
If you’re unsure where to start with the CCPA, one option is to look at what businesses have done to comply with the GDPR, as the laws are fairly similar. As you consider that, here’s a look at how the CCPA and GDPR differ.How does the CCPA differ from the GDPR?
The CCPA has been compared to the GDPR ever since the new regulation was announced. California’s privacy law is a clear response to GDPR and includes a wide range of measures that are similar in intent and business requirements to the GDPR. However, there are a few key distinctions that you should keep in mind.Data mapping
Both regulatory standards expect businesses to fully understand how they manage and store consumer data. This means not only knowing where data ends up but how it gets there. Tracking information throughout its life cycle is only possible if businesses map their data flows and develop a complete understanding of the ways information moves throughout their organization.
In GDPR, this means that businesses need to complete a full inventory of their data and map data flows throughout the organization. This must be done both to support compliant operations and to handle reporting. However, the CCPA actually demands deeper data mapping.
If your business is already mapping your data workflows to support compliance with the GDPR, you may need to take a fresh look at those processes and ensure they meet all of the demands of the CCPA.
For example, if you stop tracking data when it’s sold to a third party because privacy isn’t your responsibility anymore, you may be compliant with the GDPR but not the CCPA. The CCPA isn’t purely about protecting consumer information, and the need to communicate the sale of data means you have to map your workflows across every facet of the data-sharing economy.Request responses
The formalized processes for responding to individual requests for personal information or to requests to have such data deleted are so similar between the two standards that you can use many, if not all, of the systems for GDPR to handle the CCPA.
The only distinction is that there might be a slight difference in what’s considered personal information. Otherwise, the response processes are the same.Privacy policies
Both the GDPR and the CCPA require brands to create formal, comprehensive privacy policies that describe how users’ information is used. You may need to update existing privacy policies if they’re built to comply with other California privacy laws, but the demands of the GDPR and the CCPA aren’t too different in this case.Service provider contracts
Like the GDPR, the CCPA requires businesses to establish contracts with service providers to handle compliance issues. However, the demands of the CCPA are different enough in this case that the state recommends organizations carefully review the contracts and revise them to reflect the CCPA’s guidelines.The GDPR as a starting point
At the end of the day, if your business has already worked comply with the GDPR, then you’ve already done some of the work to comply with the CCPA. You can focus on the legal distinctions — we cannot overstate the importance of bringing in a compliance specialist — and adjust from there.In addition
For further information on how those two differ, check out our CCPA vs GDPR comparison article.How major companies prepared for the CCPA
Industry leaders in the tech sector can provide great models for adapting to regulatory standards. In many cases, these businesses are large enough that they must comply with the regulations while also providing their customers with solutions to compliance problems.
That’s the case with the four companies we’re about to put under a spotlight. Each has moved quickly to become CCPA compliant while creating tools designed to help other businesses adapt to the regulatory framework.Microsoft
As one of the biggest tech giants out there, Microsoft was sure to be hit hard by the CCPA standards. It handles so much consumer data that the privacy demands were staggering. However, Microsoft responded positively to the regulations.
CPO Magazine reported that the tech leader has embraced the privacy ideals behind standards like the CCPA and GDPR. The result has been that Microsoft is among the leaders in compliance.
Microsoft has gone so far as to become an advocate for privacy laws similar to the CCPA and is already calling for similar regulations to emerge in other states and even from the federal government.
To further support the CCPA, Microsoft is working to make its services fully compliant. The brand is well aware that the many businesses that use their services, such as Office 360, will depend on their ability to comply with the regulations. As a result, Microsoft has updated the terms of their service policies and established capabilities that support full compliance.
In many ways, Microsoft’s rapid journey to enact compliance with the CCPA is a reflection of its embrace of the GDPR. Because the tech giant has worked to differentiate itself as a privacy-focused solution provider, it has emphasized compliance across its solutions. With the GDPR serving as the inspiration for the CCPA, Microsoft’s efforts to respond to the European regulations have made it easier to deal with the legislative changes happening in California.IAB
The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), is an influential leader in the media and marketing industries. The organization is made up of member organizations from those sectors, including more than 650 businesses. The IAB works to provide guidance, advocacy, and professional development for the digital media and marketing sectors, including developing formal technical standards and best practices.
CCPA compliance is a big deal for the IAB. As an influencer and, in many ways, educator for the sector, the IAB can establish models for how media and marketing companies can adapt to regulatory standards while maintaining their business goals.
And that’s exactly what the IAB has done. The organization has created a formal CCPA Compliance Framework for Publishers and Technology Companies, to provide a model that businesses can use to achieve compliance with greater ease.Sourcepoint
While the IAB is an industry association meant to provide a measure of leadership and oversight within the digital media and marketing sectors, Sourcepoint entered those industries with a laser focus on sustainability within the media sector.
Sourcepoint works to create transparency in the content compensation models that underpin advertising and digital content. The company creates products that help brands track this kind of data more effectively and gain a stronger understanding of issues like privacy, monetization, and customer data management.
These overarching brand goals put Sourcepoint in the center of the data-sharing economy and the privacy issues it creates, making CCPA compliance a critical matter for the business.
Sourcepoint has built a far-reaching CCPA compliance solution into its platform. The solution supports the requirements of the CCPA alongside the GDPR, allowing businesses to provide region-specific solutions to users through a consumer-first consent management platform that empowers organizations to handle compliance in more natural, intuitive ways.
This kind of technology can help businesses automate key elements of CCPA compliance. The platform creates software-based workflows that are compliant, reducing user error and automating documentation to log tasks as they’re completed. These types of capabilities make it much easier to support consumer privacy rights while driving stronger engagement with customers as they interact with your brand.OneTrust
In some ways, OneTrust is similar to Sourcepoint. Both companies are heavily focused on user privacy. But Sourcepoint devotes its efforts specifically to the marketing and media sectors, as well as the data-sharing economy that surrounds them.
OneTrust, on the other hand, is an industry leader in the broader privacy, consent, and risk management sectors. Their tools are devoted to helping brands stay on top of risk and promote privacy best practices by not only managing data effectively but also maintaining compliance with such industry standards as the GDPR, ISO27001, and, now, the CCPA.
OneTrust moved quickly to get ready for the CCPA, releasing a new compliance-focused platform for businesses in February 2019, when the act was in the early stages of development. OneTrust’s CCPA platform incorporates modules to help businesses
OneTrust is a prime example of how holistic CCPA solutions are emerging, blending technology with services and informational resources so businesses can keep pace with new demands.Getting help with the CCPA
These solutions illustrate that businesses aren’t alone in working toward CCPA compliance. You may face plenty of challenges adapting, but there’s help. Here at JotForm, we’re hard at work applying our longstanding compliance culture to the emerging requirements of the legislation.Good news: JotForm is CCPA compliant
At JotForm, because we help businesses collect data from their customers, we put a huge emphasis on consumer privacy. If you want to get feedback on a service, we can help you. If you need to create a custom survey, we’ve got your back. If you’re looking for an invoice form that’s just right for your business, we can help you create it.
We’re all about empowering businesses to engage employees and customers through custom digital forms that let them collect and organize data in the most straightforward ways possible.
As you can imagine, this means that the CCPA is a big deal for us. We’ve built CCPA capabilities into our services so businesses using our tools can get the information they need without having to worry about compliance-related workflows.JotForm’s compliance culture
As HIPAA compliance became a growing need for businesses in a wide range of sectors, JotForm stepped up to create HIPAA-compliant forms. These aren’t stripped-down, basic forms but forms and form-creation tools that empower businesses to get the information they need without having to sacrifice data privacy and security.
For example, our HIPAA-compliant forms let users
Many businesses need to collect sensitive customer data. You can’t accept electronic payments without some sort of financial data capture and payment gateway system. That’s why JotForm has worked to become fully compliant with the EU’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2) that went into effect in September 2019.
Our form templates and custom form-creation tools comply with PSD2 by connecting to PSD2-compliant services. Instead of gathering and storing the data on our forms, we link to the payment service providers and banks that the PSD2 regulations apply to, ensuring compliance.JotForm and the CCPA
We have a long history of making compliance easier for our customers through intuitive tools that streamline form creation without sacrificing data privacy and security. We give you the capabilities you need to design your data-collection tools in a way that aligns with regulatory standards.
To find out more about our CCPA compliance solutions, go to our CCPA compliance page. We can help your business improve your digital forms so you comply with the CCPA without having to completely rework your assets.The CCPA is a big deal, but it’s manageable
You don’t need to panic because the CCPA is on the horizon. If your business is big enough to fall under CCPA regulations, chances are you’re also affected by the GDPR. At the very least, you’re already aware of the privacy standard and its potential impact on future legislation, even if you haven’t had to comply.
If you’ve been on top of GDPR and are complying with it, then the move to adjust to the CCPA should be fairly easy. If these kinds of data privacy standards are new to your business, then you have some work to do.
Here are some things you’ll need to think about in terms of CCPA compliance:
In many cases, the more technical problems associated with the CCPA can be resolved through the strategic use of prebuilt solutions, like the ones we highlighted from Microsoft, IAB, Sourcepoint, and OneTrust as well as JotForm’s Form Builder.
There’s actually a lot of help out there for businesses trying to comply with the CCPA. The challenge isn’t so much what needs to happen in response to the CCPA, though the standard is demanding and can be difficult to deal with. Instead, the bigger issue is what happens when other states or federal entities put similar legislation into effect.
Will you have to come up with slightly different compliance and reporting practices for each state where you serve customers? Will you need to deal with large-scale, complex federal regulations? These kinds of questions represent the overarching challenge of CCPA compliance.
No matter what regulations may be enacted in the future, JotForm will be here to help. At their core, our digital form solutions take what could be a complex and technically demanding process and make it accessible even for small businesses without an IT staff. We apply this same focus on ease of use to our compliance measures, making it easy for organizations to leverage solutions in a way that aligns with regulatory standards.
As the regulatory environment surrounding the data-sharing economy continues to change, vendors that support compliance can make your life easier. JotForm is one such solution provider. Reach out today if you’d like to learn more about our offerings and how they fit with CCPA compliance demands.
Social media is the most productive and result oriented form of digital marketing. Initially, Facebook was the only platform being used but with the passage of time, other alternatives are being exercised as well.
Instagram is one of the most powerful social media channel to get in touch with buyers and create brand awareness. The logic is simple and you have to share photos to get likes. As the number of likes would increase, the popularity level of the brand would rise as well. However, this is not as easy as it seems. Only brands that execute the correct methodologies are able to attract a large count to their Instagram accounts. A number of brands even have to close off the presence because they do not get the needed popularity.Tips to increase Instagram Likes
Here are the top 12 tips which brand owners and marketers should use to improve Instagram presence.1. Be selective about the shared snapshots
Having an Instagram account does not mean that it should be stuffed with pictures and Instagram messages those are not related. If you have an account for an online flower shop, no one would be interested in pictures of famous gardens. Be original and share product pictures that are specific to your brand. On the best exclusive pictures get likes. An image that has been downloaded from the internet and uploaded on an Instagram account would surely be overlooked.2. Hiring a professional company for increasing likes
It is commonly said, “Let the experts do the job”. Here are some quality professional options you can consider.
Fluidbuzz is a top-rated company that helps in increasing Instagram likes without consuming lengthy time slots. This company has a very large number of likes and followers. Account owners do not have to make any effort to increase the number of likes. As soon as you sign up for one of the packages, the likes on your account would start increasing on immediate basis. There is no need to research and work for getting each like. When you create a new post, be rest assured that it would automatically get a large number of likes. In other words, you would get the needed popularity without working hard for hours and hours.
This website is quite reliable when it comes to getting a large number of likes on Instagram. There are multiple packages which you can consider according to your requirements. The likes are added instantly as soon as the user registers for one of the packages.
A lot of hard work and planning is needed to get a good number of likes on the Instagram. This is one company that can do it for you. There are multiple packages you can sign up for. Once you are done with the process, the likes would be added to your post instantly. The prices are quite affordable and users do not have to wait for things. Whenever you add a post, it would get likes automatically through this platform.3. Make your Hashtag Popular
People access something that they know enough about. If someone does not know about your Instagram account, do not expect people to Google it. Include it in different areas including visiting cards and product banners. It should act as important as a conventional contact detail. This is a strong strategy to get more Instagram likes.4. The images should form a story
Instagram is a powerful and effective form to get followers through visual methods. However, if you have included a bunch of images that do not connect with each other, people would get confused. To start with, the images should share a connection with each other and form a story. Before uploading an image must use an image search tool to make sure that the photo is unique, and it’s is not used before. If you share pictures of each stage, a connection will be formed. In this way, interest will be developed in the minds of people who view the Instagram account. Unelated individual images do not create a positive impact.5. Over usage of hashtags in the caption should be avoided
Hashtags are the base component of Instagram posts but there is a methodology to use them in an effective way. If you are stuffing the caption with hashtags, it would be hard to remember for the users. Keep the title simple and use spaces between hashtags. It becomes easy to remember a caption if there is a word of text phrase between two consecutive hashtags.6. Regularly update content
Visitors prefer Instagram accounts that are updated regularly. It is good to create an interesting post but viewers would not take interest in it for ever. You should refresh the Instagram account with new posts every now and then so that the interest of the audience is retained. Thus, keep adding new interesting posts so that readers get fresh information every time they visit the Instagram account. In this way, they would not get bored.7. Generate queries with your captions
When a post is created in the form of a question, people mostly stop to check what the content is about. This is a smart strategy for Instagram posts as well. For instance, the caption below is an example.
# what is your meal preference
This is an interesting caption and people would definitely want to check it out. As it has an inquisitive feel, people would want to check the content. Hence, the caption matters a lot. People decide about viewing or not viewing an Instagram post after getting a glance of the title.8. Emojis are a good move
An emotion is worth a thousand words. The use of Emojis is quite effective. People take more interest in them as compared to standard written text. Thus, when you are using them in the Instagram posts, there is every chance of getting more likes. Again, there is a difference between using something and using it unnecessarily. Just like hashtags, Emojis should be used only when they make sense. They should not be included in the post titles unnecessarily.9. The use of Instagram stories helps
It is always good to have continuity in the Instagram photos shared. This is a helpful factor in developing the interest of the viewer. The story can include combination photos and videos. If there is a connection between, the reader would go through the post with interest instead of skipping things. In a nutshell, this is a good tip to increase the number of likes.10. Likes as a method of conducting competitions
Users get attracted to Instagram posts when they are offered incentives in one form or the other. Starting a competition with an announced price would attracts several visitors. In addition to that, liking the post can be a method to enter the competition. Here, the content and quality of the post would matter a lot. Some competitions do not get noticed at all because the content presentation is not appealing. Make sure that the tone is not overly promotional. Lastly, choose the finest snapshots instead of stuffing pictures randomly.11. Creating awareness for upcoming offers
It is a good strategy to get the customers anxious about upcoming offers. This is when they actively start following a brand. If are promoting your brand through Instagram, use pictures of upcoming offers and sales. People are always waiting for upcoming discounted offers. You can also offer an additional 2 to 5% discount on people who like the Instagram post.
At times, discounts promoted on Instagram include a bunch of hashtags. This strategy does not work well. People tend to ignore such posts because they have clarity problems. Hence use hashtags in promotional offers wherever there is a need to do so.12. Promotion on other social media platforms
The number of likes would increase when more people notice an Instagram account. This task can be accomplished by promoting an Instagram post on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other channels. In this way, the people visiting those channels would be redirected to the Instagram account.
A lot of businesses are digitally transforming, that’s because the world is transforming as well. If you don’t want to stay behind, you need to follow the latest trends and make the necessary changes.
Make sure to check out this infographic to learn about the current mobility adaption level, upcoming trends that drive businesses worldwide.
Nowadays, one of the key aspects of optimizing your website through responsive web design is optimizing for mobile.
Since over 51% of mobile users find new companies and products by searching online from their smartphones, making sure your company’s site is structured correctly for both desktops and smartphones is a must.
Google found a way to help with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), which create a faster user experience for those on mobile. But are AMPs really worth the effort in the long run when there are already so many options for optimization?What is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at what AMPs actually do. Basically, AMPs are specific webpages created to make mobile browsing faster with a reduced page load speed. This can be an important feature to consider when higher page loading times mean that less users will be willing to interact further with your site.How Do AMPs Work?
AMPs are open source initiatives, created with streamlined HTML coding in order to render webpages faster. They are compatible through several browsers, and when implemented correctly, have the potential to increase user traffic and improve SEO rankings.
Google ad landing pages are also compatible with AMPs. They are able to be tracked and optimized with many of Google’s built-in protocols and tools. Google has placed a lot of emphasis on utilizing AMPs with landing pages, and for good reason.
Faster load speed on mobile devices can lower your bounce rate, or how long someone views an ad before navigating away from it. A more responsive user interface will make users more likely to click on your ad (otherwise known as the click through rate), which can increase your number of conversions.
And that’s really the goal of AMPs overall – optimizing the user experience in order to increase web traffic, and in the process, helping to generate mobile leads.
AMP by Google was first released on October 7, 2015. In February of 2016, Google announced that AMPs would be integrated into mobile search results, giving new challenges to SEO marketers optimizing for mobile.
However, December of 2018 marked an important moment, where WordPress partnered with AMP and Google to release an official AMP plugin. While this didn’t do much for everyone else, it certainly gave a leg-up for WordPress sites.What You Gain with AMP
The basic premise of AMPs is simple: faster-loading speed for mobile web pages can exponentially increase your mobile web traffic. Since over half of users are both browsing and consuming from their smartphones, this can be crucial to your bottom line.
But here’s how:Improvements in Responsive Web Design
The goal of responsive web design is to ensure that webpages are designed to maximize the user interface. In other words, responsive web design creates a clearly navigable sitemap that can be accessed from any kind of device: desktops, iPads and tablets, and of course, mobile devices.
It also ensures that webpages load quickly, are well organized, and are easy to read, so it goes to reason that AMPs can help improve responsive web design as a whole.Enhanced User Experience
UX design, also called user experience design, focuses on improving the user experience. It incorporated structured and clear hierarchies of information within webpages and the sitemap to help people access and better understand the information on your site.
But again, this involves both mobile optimization and page loading speed, along with responsive web design to create an excellent user experience. AMPs can go a long way to expedite that process.Potential Drawbacks of Implementing AMP
While the benefits of AMPs look extremely promising, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind when it comes to implementing AMPs into your mobile content strategy.AMP Coding
AMP coding may utilize a stripped-down version of HTML, but in order for the pages to be rendered correctly, there are certain HTML tags that just won’t work with AMPs. Script, base, embed, and frame tags are all examples of these.
According to GitHub’s guide to AMP HTML coding, “XML-related attributes, such as xmlns, xml:lang, xml:base, and xml:space are disallowed in AMP HTML.”
Though of course, there are also tags that must be included for AMPs to work within your site, like AMP boilerplate code that helps form the basic structure of the page. Other common tags that have their own specifications in AMPs are:
While GitHub’s guide has some pretty helpful notes about attributes, stylesheets, and other properties, AMP itself has an extensive table of contents on page markup guidelines. It details information on:
Once the AMP is created, it must be validated using a built-in developer tool in Google Chrome. Any issues within the page will be highlighted for you to fix.
As you can see, there’s a lot to work with, and web developers have a heavy task ahead of them when it comes to creating functional AMPs that still retain the same design themes, style, and tone of your site.
The question remains: jump on the AMP bandwagon, or not?The Case for Mobile SEO
Even though the process of creating and integrating AMPs within the rest of your web content may have a learning curve, the fact of the matter is, loading speed is directly linked to developing good SEO—both for mobile and non-mobile platforms.
Your mobile search rankings could improve exponentially with an increase in mobile user traffic, and sites with higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), ultimately, make more conversions.The Case for Google Ads
AMPs are also easily made compatible with paid ads and landing pages. Google makes them simple to optimize, as well as to track clicks and conversions with specialized tags.
With so many tools at your disposal, measuring ROI on AMP data becomes that much more straightforward.
Customer experience is the backbone of any industry which interacts with the consumers directly. Your reputation will be directly known by how well your customer is dealt with. This means from initial sales, returns, troubleshooting and any other aspect which relates to the customer must be dealt with clearly and concisely.
In the online era, the website is now the front line of the battle for good customer experience. In order to navigate this challenging new frontier, there are several important techniques and keys to arranging and managing an effective website for your business.Defining Customer Experience
Customer experience isn’t the same thing as customer service. It’s a bit broader than that. Essentially, customer experience includes every interaction a customer has with your business, whether you’re directly involved or not. Customer service tends to revolve around how your staff handles interactions with customers while customer experience is how a customer feels about ANY interaction they have with your business, from ads to viewing web pages, marketing, or direct contact.5 Customer Experience Boosting Tips for WP Sites 1. Make Customer Service Really Simple
The first key to solving any customer problem is to create simple and easy pathways to reach the correct channels to assist them. There are many different options to achieve this goal, but both a good mix of automated systems and human interaction tends to work well for most businesses.
Effortless steps such as adding different plugins to your WordPress site can create easy access to avenues of communication. Add click-to-call buttons, live chat, and other instantaneous customer service options for people to get answers to their questions or problem resolution immediately.
According to GetVoIP, chatbots can improve your customer care as well. They make it possible for people to still get personalized responses even when your customer service team isn’t available. Not everyone likes chatbots, but bots are getting better every day and providing a good filler for the gaps.2. Install Secure Payment Portals
The end goal of any business is profit. In order to achieve this, it typically helps to have revenue coming in. If you’re getting paid online, you need an incredibly easy payment option for customers. All of the work put into creating an appealing and easy to navigate a website for your customers hardly matters if for whatever reason they’re unable to complete their purchase.
You need a lot of payment options & a secure platform so that anyone making a purchase can do it easily and safely. If your customers do not feel that the payment method is convenient or trustworthy then that could be a hard-earned sale turned away at the last second due to an easily avoidable mistake. There are dozens of reliable and extremely safe plugins which are not only incredibly useful but very user-friendly and easily recognizable to the customer.3. Personalization Is Key
One of the foundational principles of excellent customer service is individualized customer service. The first step in creating an individualized experience for all customers and visitors comes from building an understanding of them. It’s crucial to install an analytics system into your website to give you feedback about users: Where they clicked, how long they stayed, key search words they used, and several important demographic details.
Information like this is helpful in designing your website, giving you ideas on how to change the landing page or when to modify the location of tabs. It also assists you in designing customized email campaigns, which can target specific groups of customers to share information they’ll be more personally interested in.4. Develop a Page Flow
In today’s extremely competitive environment with dozens of businesses fighting over even the smallest niche markets, once you secure a customer and bring them onto your website any amount of time they spend is valuable for your business. This is why it’s pivotal that you add additional links, connections, and directives which encourage your customers to continue surfing through your website.
Any page that crashes into a dead-end can easily be changed from an abrupt ending into a “Related Products” page or some other link that leads that person to another page. Each page on your website should have something that leads people onward instead of being a dead end. This can be product recommendations, related reading, contact pages, call-to-actions, or pretty much anything that gives them a path forward.5. Clean Up Your Website Design
Nearly every one of your competitors has a website. With this technologically savvy generation, simply having a website does not earn any sales. Now, it’s all about having the BEST website possible. This means everything from the content to the structure of the website should stand out and provide a top notch experience for your customers.
Since many of your customers will never have a face-to-face interaction with your staff or yourself, it’s important that your website displays all the same qualities you stand for as a business.
Even small kinks such as delays, lag, or a clunky system, in general, can derail any potential progress you could make with your customer before it even begins. Using a reasonable number of pictures, readable font, and user-friendly stylistic features will help maintain or even grow customer interest in your product. Keep in mind that the loading speed of your website is hugely important and certain structural changes to your website could affect this.
Your goal is to build a website that allows people to focus on the content in each page rather than the way the pages function. Good design and useful content play a huge part in this.
WordPress is a highly versatile web builder that gives you a lot of options to improve customer experience. Every little thing you can do to positively impact customer experience is an investment into future conversions and customer relationships.
Reaching and engaging your email subscribers with incredible email marketing automation campaigns is every eCommerce business’s secret weapon to success.
Apart from your amazing eCommerce platform, email marketing automation is the second sharpest arrow you need in your marketing quiver to promote your growth and get loyal customers.
While mastering the art of creating amazing email marketing automation campaigns is a bit difficult at first, finding the right tools to help you create and distribute them shouldn’t be.
If you want to succeed, then you should try to find the most fitting email marketing automation platform to help you achieve your goals.
Taking a look at some of the best Constant Contact competitors will give you the option to find the platform that suits your marketing needs and help you create high-converting campaigns that will sweep your email subscribers off their feet.
To give you a helping hand, in this article we’ve compiled some of the best email marketing automation campaigns you should send to promote your growth and establish yourself among bigger competitors.The 10 Best Email Marketing Automation Campaigns To Rock Your Store 1. Greet Your New Subscribers with a Welcome Email Series
While having an eCommerce business has great benefits like lower costs and no geographical limitations, one of the things that your online store has to deal with is the lack of face-to-face communication with your customers.
To boost your customer lifecycle marketing endeavors and minimize impersonal communication between you and your customers, you need to leverage one of the most powerful automated workflows that email marketing automation offers, namely welcome emails.
If you want to have the best welcome emails that will make your potential shoppers engage with your store, then you should also create a landing page and link it to your email series for better conversions.
Here’s an amazing example from Bonobos:
While welcome emails are triggered the moment a new subscriber sign-ups, creating and setting up a second welcome email is your golden ticket to ensure that your potential shopper won’t forget to click on your CTA.
Here’s Bonobo’s second email:2. Kiss Cart Abandonment Goodbye With Abandoned Cart Emails
Cart abandonment is a reality that you will have to deal with sooner or later.
With the annual online shopping cart abandonment rate worldwide reaching 69.57% in 2019, you need a powerful ally to help you restore your lost revenue and promote your growth.
In this case, email marketing automation can give you one of the most powerful workflows to combat the problem and turn your abandoners into loyal supporters of your brand.
To leverage abandoned cart emails you need to create an automated workflow that will be triggered moments after a customer leaves a product in their cart without completing their order.
Triggering the right campaign at the right moment, though, won’t guarantee its success without the right elements.
As the reasons for cart abandonment are primarily high extra costs, slow loading websites and complex steps, infusing your abandoned cart emails with irresistible CTAs is your way to reduce your abandoners and kiss cart abandonment goodbye.
Here’s an amazing example from MAC:3. Reward Your Customers with Loyalty Program Emails
To power up your eCommerce store, you should find a way to reach your customers in a more personal way that will show them how much you value them.
So, if you want to give your online store a boost, you can combine your email marketing automation with your customer loyalty program to get the most out of both.
To create the best email marketing automation campaign that will increase customer loyalty, you need to set up an automated workflow that will be triggered each time one of your customers buys a new product.
Then, when your customer has reached a specific number of purchases, you can set up the second part of your workflow and, judging by how qualified your customer is for a reward, deliver a personalized message that will incentivize them to click on your CTA.
Combining your marketing automation with your loyalty program is your secret weapon to enhance customer experience and have engaged customers who will support your eCommerce store no matter what.
Here’s an amazing example from Michael Kors:4. Boost Your Sales with Amazing Special Offer Reminders
What your subscribers love more than buying a great product is buying it at an amazing price that will make them feel like it’s a steal.
However, not every single one of your website visitors will seize the opportunity to buy from you despite the special offer either because they didn’t fully realize its true value or because they forgot about it.
In this case, your eCommerce store can take advantage of another powerful email marketing automation campaign to get these “absent-minded” visitors to re-check your special offer and make a purchase.
Attracting attention to your offer pages through emails is your best chance to convert your subscribers into loyal supporters of your store. So, next time you want to boost your sales, make sure to send an incredible special offer reminder as MOO did:5. Celebrate the Holidays With Unique Seasonal Emails
The holidays are an amazing time both for shoppers and eCommerce businesses.
According to a report by eMarketer, holiday eCommerce spending in 2019 will rise by 13.2%, more than three times the rate of total retail spending growth.
With Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday email marketing being the best way to reach your customers and incentivize them to buy more from you, it’s absolutely necessary to get your eCommerce store to send incredible seasonal campaigns.
If you want to rock your seasonal campaigns try not to make them too sales-y. Instead, focus on promoting the holiday spirit by offering an amazing CTA that will make their holidays better.
Here’s a great seasonal campaign from Fossil that has the right amount of holiday spirit, personalization and promotion all at once:6. Improve Your eCommerce Store with Customer Feedback Emails
While you might think that your store has the best products out there, sometimes customers can pinpoint certain things that gave them a not-so-perfect experience.
If you want to be on top of your game and deliver the best customer experiences that will show potential shoppers that your eCommerce store is worth their time and money, you need to collect your existing customers’ feedback and use it to improve certain aspects of your products and operations.
To collect feedback you need to set up an automated workflow that will be triggered after a customer buys a product offering them the opportunity to take a survey regarding their latest purchase.
Here’s a simple yet effective way to ask customers to take a survey to help you measure the overall customer satisfaction your eCommerce business offers from Ubisoft:7. Improve Customer Retention With Replenishment Emails
Retaining customers is one of the most crucial things you need to do since it is less expensive than acquiring new customers.
Since high customer retention shows that buyers prefer your brand over another product or business, getting them to consider you the best brand out there is your way to achieve long-term growth and get ahead of your competitors.
To get the most out of your email marketing automation platform and power up your customer retention efforts, you need to target customers who make frequent purchases and set up an automated workflow that will send them a replenishment email after a specific date is reached.
Replenishment emails can be your secret weapon to boost your customer retention and give your already loyal customers more reasons to buy from your store.
Here’s an example from Rockin’ Wellness:Source 8. Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences with Birthday Emails
Personalization plays a major role in creating an effective email marketing strategy that will lead your potential and existing customers a step further down your marketing and sales funnels.
If you want to target your customers better, then you need to use email marketing automation to break free from the impersonal mass-sent email and deliver content that will be personalized and tailored to your customer needs.
After you capture their birthday dates and set up your automated workflow, then it’s time to send them the ultimate personalized message that, according to these actionable email marketing statistics, will give you better open and click-through rates.
Here’s Nintendo’s amazing campaign:9. Enhance Your Engagement with Re-engagement Emails
Unfortunately, the market is so vast that your customers are constantly bombarded with offers by other brands with similar products as yours.
As a result, shoppers might forget about your store and find another company to fulfill their needs.
To avoid that, you need to deliver an irresistible re-engagement email that will not only help you nurture your leads but also get your customers further away from your competitors.
Setting your workflow a few days or a week after their last visit is your best chance to get your customers to re-engage with your store and, ultimately, make a purchase.
Here’s how Paul Mitchell does it:10. Increase Your Average Order Value (AOV) With Upsell Emails
Getting your customers to buy something from you is great, but do you know what’s better than that? Getting your customers to buy more than one item every time they make a purchase.
Now you might wonder how can you get your shoppers to add more items in their cart and skyrocket your revue.
The answer is with upselling email campaigns.
Upselling is a clever sales technique that you can leverage to get your customers to purchase more products and boost your average order value (AOV).
For successful upselling emails, here is an incredible example from the Dollar Shave Club:Takeaway
With email marketing automation, your e-Commerce store can create and send timely, and personalized emails that will incentivize your target audience to buy from your store, increase your lead generation and end up with a loyal audience that won’t hesitate to buy more from you.
So, next time you need to come up with the best email marketing automation campaigns, take a look at these 10 campaigns to get you inspired and help you create your own amazing ones for the future.
Your business plan can be an exceptionally useful tool if you take the time and care to ensure it is complete, accurate, and well-thought-out.
Many entrepreneurs see a business plan as a required deliverable when pitching investors. It can certainly be used for that purpose, but it is also a valuable resource and road map for your business.
Of course, the value of your business plan depends entirely on its contents. If you write a fundamentally good business plan, it will be an asset to you as you launch your business. To do that, make a dedicated effort to avoid the following mistakes.Failing to Produce a Polished Final Copy
Your business plan is a working document. In fact, you may find yourself making changes to it even after you launch your business. In spite of this, it’s important that you maintain quality and editorial standards for your document.
Obviously, if you plan to distribute your business plan to potential investors, it should be edited and printed on quality paper stock. Even if it is not, you should still take care that your business plan isn’t sloppily written and full of mistakes. This is one of your founding documents, and it’s imperative that you take it seriously.it takes very little time to proofread your document. Don’t forget to double-check your calculations for accuracy.You Fail to Bolster Goals With a Strategy
Everybody wants their business to be the best and most successful of its kind. That is a lofty goal, but ultimately useless without a clear strategy behind it. In fact, that’s not even a fully formed idea. That lofty goal needs to be polished and honed until it is a well-thought-out objective. Then, you need to create a strategy to meet that objective.
That strategy should consist of action steps. Then, you must define who is responsible for these steps, when they should be finished, and which deliverables are required. Potential investors don’t need to know what you plan on accomplishing. They want to know how you plan on getting there.You Don’t Show Any Skin in The Game
You cannot expect investors to take a risk with their assets by investing in your company if you’re not willing to take a financial risk yourself. It should be clear in your business plan that you are financially committed to your business as well as dedicating an adequate amount of time to its growth.
Your business plan should detail how much you’ve added to the pot financially to launch your business. If you have partners, that information should be included about them as well. You should also indicate what you have done to raise funds from other sources, and how much funding you have received from those efforts.Your Plan is Too Vague
Investors fear the unknown. If your plan is not clear and detailed, potential investors will worry that you have not carefully considered everything. Avoid using vague terms, and back the claims you make with details, for example, if you say your product is revolutionary, you should be prepared to explain exactly why it’s revolutionary. Show your work, and provide data.
If you don’t plan to pitch your business plan to investors, you should still create a detailed business plan. This document will be a guide for you and your team going forward. You don’t want to have to fill in the blanks a year from now.You Set Unrealistic Goals
Any good entrepreneur is excited about their business, and they hope for the best possible results. However, your business plan shoes reflect a realistic, conservative view.don’t overstate what you think you can accomplish in order to impress your investors. More importantly, don’t allow your business plan to become document peaceful thinking.
Your business plan should be honest above all Else. That means acknowledging current struggles, and struggles you might face in the future. It should contain information about your shortcomings and weaknesses, and about any threats to your success.
Your business plan should be positive, and you should share your goals. Just be certain that investors will see that those goals are based in reality, and that you have a plan of action to complete each goal.
Remember that you will never look bad for doing better than you predicted. You will look bad if you underperformed by failing to meet the goals established in your business plan.Failing to Include a Statement of Purpose
Why are you starting your business? What problem will you be solving with your product or services? Who will your business help? The answers to these questions combined provide an answer to a more comprehensive question. What is your purpose in starting your business?
When it comes to maintaining your focus and motivation, having a clearly written statement of purpose can be a wonderful thing. In addition to that, it can provide clarity to potential investors about your reasons for starting your business, your commitment to it, and provide a framework for your business model. This is important enough that you might want to enlist Studyker to write a clear statement.You Fail to Consider Potential Problems And Challenges
No business is going to launch without challenges. You may be up against established competitors. There may be questions about how you will obtain the supplies you need in order to fill the orders you anticipate. Whatever the case may be, don’t leave these things out of your business plan. Document them in as much detail as possible so that you are the best able to explore solutions.You Show a Lack of Understanding of The Basics
A business plan is a document that contains a significant amount of information about your business. Some of this information might be unfamiliar to you. Others you may understand, but be unsure of how to find and communicate the information you need to. You may wonder:
If you lack business experience, you may struggle here. Unfortunately, these aren’t elements that you can ignore. Potential investors need this information, and they need it to be accurate. Fortunately, you may be able to get help. There are organizations such as the SBA that provide emerging entrepreneurs with the education and mentorship they need. You can take online courses designed for entrepreneurs, and follow successful entrepreneurs for inspiration.Final Thoughts
Your business plan is a valuable document that will help you stay on the right path as you launch your business. As long as you avoid the mistakes listed above, you should be able to use your business plan to attract investors, and clearly communicate your vision.
The nature of employment has changed drastically over the last couple of decades. At the turn of the 21st century most employees were looking for full-time job stability. Now an increasing amount of employees are entering into the so-called ‘Gig Economy.’
The Gig Economy is a termed used to describe what many know as freelance work. It centers around the idea that employees do short ‘gigs,’ rather than working exclusively full time at a specific business. Perhaps the best embodiment of this new employment trend are companies like Uber and Lyft.
The numbers behind this trend are certainly impressive. In the United States alone, 36% of the workforce is in the gig economy in some way. An increasing amount of employees now prefer this type of work. This creates new opportunities and challenges for businesses.
So how can you take advantage of this growing trend? What are the benefits and potential barriers to working with ‘gig’ employees (aka freelancers)? These are some of the questions we explore below to help prepare you to tap into the Gig Economy.Expectations
Before beginning work with freelancers it’s important to have the right expectations. There are some key differences between this type of work structure and the more traditional employee. Some things that you would expect from a 9-5 full-time employee are not realistic for freelancers, and vice versa.
What you can expect:
What you can’t expect:
Working with freelancers provides a high level of flexibility to both the employer and the employee. The structure of gig work encourages this adaptive approach. This makes freelancers a great fit for fast-paced organizations.
On the one hand, you can hire experts for specific limited tasks. This allows you to be more careful with how you use your human resources budget. On the other hand, employees are free to seek out short-term assignments that most align with their interests.
Apart from general flexibility, there are some key benefits to working with freelancers:
When beginning work with gig employees you need to be realistic about the differences with full time employees. For example, a full-time team can easily gather to brainstorm, swap stories, and generally get to know each other. This process is much less likely to happen with gig employees.
Given the short-term nature of the Gig Economy, it’s important to be honest about certain barriers and challenges:
Now that we’ve laid out the expectations, benefits and barriers, it’s time to discuss how best to work with freelancers. Keeping all of the above in mind, here are a few simple steps to help you make the most of the gig economy.
The first step in working with freelancers is knowing where and how to engage them. Luckily there is an increasing amount of websites to help with this. These websites are marketplaces for finding freelance talent. They help make this process as smooth as possible.
Some of the most popular ones include:
These are just three of many options. Each website has its own focus, so do some research and find the right one for your sector and needs.
Once you’ve found and hired your freelancers, the next step is to consider how you will manage them. This can be a challenge since they will likely be working remotely.
The most important first step in management is to set up clear lines of communication. This can easily be done by employing the right communication tool. For example, instant messaging as a business solution can provide you with a secure platform to communicate with your freelancers.
It’s also crucial to set clear expectations for your work together from the beginning. Management challenges almost always comes back to a lack of clear expectations.
Try to answer some basic questions in this regard in order to avoid any misalignment:
These are a few of the questions you should be trying to answer. Provide your freelancer with the answers as well, and allow them to give their input. Once you agree, you’ll have a blueprint for your work together going forward.In conclusion
The Gig Economy is growing at a rapid pace due to employee and employer demand. To take advantage of this trend, it’s crucial to understand it deeply.
Understanding the opportunities, challenges and barriers that the gig economy present is the first step to tapping into it. After that, it’s just a matter of knowing how to find, hire and manage freelancers. With all of this knowledge, you’re well on your way to making the gig economy work for you!
As the Internet has evolved, its road to dominance has been littered by many businesses that were caught flatfooted. When is the last time you called your stockbroker?
Do you even know what a stockbroker did? Did a travel agent book your last flight? And, how many malls did you visit this holiday season as you were finding that perfect gift? If you think that the real estate industry is immune to the long reach of the web, then start looking for another career because if you don’t have a great digital marketing plan, you’ll be left on the side of the road also.I Gotta Call My Broker
In the old days—maybe 20 years ago (!)—most people bought stocks by calling their stockbroker on the phone. Stockbrokers had access to all of the real-time stock price quotes on their computer screens, but you didn’t. Just before the great digital transformation of the equity industry, you could buy this thing,
called a Quotron, that sort of gave you the same access to stock quotes that your stockbroker would have but for a very steep–at the time—price of $250 per month. The Internet quickly displaced this now-antiquated tool, and stockbrokers basically disappeared along with it.I Need a Plane Ticket
Travel agents used to have the keys to the airline reservation systems, and at one time, airlines paid commissions of $25 per flight to travel agents that booked the flights. Travel agents had a computer that displayed the various flights available on a green-lettered black matrix-like display, and individuals had no access to the system. Again, the Internet quickly cut out the middleman, and while some specialty travel agents are still around, the industry has been decimated.Meaning of That History Lesson
The real estate industry has also been affected by the Internet, as the MLS used to be the private playground of real estate pros. Now, there are ways for individuals to access MLS listings.
The six percent commission was also sacrosanct for years, but legit competitors have appeared, and national platforms like Redfin are continuing to attempt to lessen the clout of real estate brokers and agents.
Therefore, you need to get with the program or risk extinction. Yes, you need a website, yes it has be properly formatted, but to really make it work you need to invest in content–and marketing that content– for the following reasons:Brand Definition
Your brand is who you are, what you do and why you do it better. In order to make that clear to potential clients and visitors to your site, you need examples of your knowledge. The easiest way to accomplish this is to have relevant content on your site like testimonials—of course–and articles about common real estate topics among them:
When someone searches for real estate agents on a search engine like Google, certain factors determine which sites will appear first. As you know Google utilizes ever-changing algorithms to rank sites, and one of the most important factors is fresh quality content. A good social media marketer will affirm that content is one of the most important ranking building blocks.Trust
Simply, good quality articles will show that you are trustworthy. A site with four-year-old blogs about outdated subjects will not do anything for your ranking and you’ll probably find your site buried on page 10.Expertise
If you’re online looking for a quality plumber, you want to be assured that the person you are going to let inside your house is an expert and can solve your problem. If you have a tub drain that continuously clogs and you find a site where the plumber explains in detail why this could happen and what can be done to repair and eventually prevent reoccurrence, you will be much more likely to contact that person for your repair.
When a potential home seller arrives at your site, he or she should find articles about everything they want to know form pricing to staging and financing to closing. If it looks like you know what you are talking about, you can be perceived as a real estate expert, and that will drive clients to your door.Current
A nice site with quality content will tell your prospective clients that you understand technology and that you are on the cutting edge of your profession’s use of that technology. This is especially important if you are considering marketing to millennials.
On top of that, if you’re renting apartments, producing rent report content like this one can help you showcase local research and data to attract visitors.Differentiation
A broker is a broker, right? Well, not to you maybe, but in the eyes of a potential client, is the company name on the for-sale sign in front of your home really important? The real estate business has become a commodity business—meaning that many people sell the same product, and that product is not generally perceived as different no matter who is selling it.
Quality content on your site change this perception and set you apart from the rest.Carving Out Your Space
There may be 10 cupcake shops in your city, but one has lines around the block because they have figured out a way to make their business stand out. As a real estate professional, you need to do the same, and through the use of good quality content, you can let potential client know exactly what your niche is—whether it is single family homes, duplexes, difficult-to-finance deals or commercial property sales.Bonus Tip
The easiest way to get great content for you site is to write it yourself—provided you have the talent and skill to be a blog author. You’ll also need to dedicate time to produce the articles. If you don’t have the skill or time, there are many places to buy content—just make sure the writing is worthy of your site’s quality.
Virtual Reality (VR) is a rather new, unexplored yet rapidly growing industry. While it’s mainly associated with games, that’s not all VR is about.
There are some really interesting VR apps that provide the user with an experience they cannot find on any other platform. Whether you have just bought an expensive VR headset or are just stepping into it by using your smartphone, there are numerous VR apps all suited for different tastes and people.
Let’s put on our VR headsets and dive right in! (Careful not to break anything in your living room)Best VR Apps in 2020 Google Expeditions
Remember when Google Earth came out? Everyone was so eager to view their own homes, places they know and places they wanted to visit. Google expeditions carry this to the next level by allowing people to visit famous tourist attractions right from their living room. You can visit famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, or museums such as the Natural History Museum in London. The best part is you can tour around these locations in a full VR experience. You won’t need an expensive VR headset for Expeditions, just put your smartphone inside your Google Cardboard and dive into it.Allumette
While it debuted in 2016, Allumette still holds its relevance as the first VR short movie masterpiece. It’s a full VR Movie experience where you get to explore the story unfolding around you.The story takes place in a beautiful city floating among clouds filled with stop motion characters. You experience the story by walking around, peaking inside houses and following the main character. There’s no speaking in the movie, but there doesn’t have to be any. Allumette with every single one of its aspects is truly a masterpiece that anyone who is curious about VR should watch at least once.Youtube/Netflix
Really? Youtube? You’d be surprised if we told you that Youtube is one of the leading VR platforms. There’s so much content to consume on Youtube that it was worth mentioning among the best VR apps you should check out. Same goes for Netflix as well. Just like Youtube, Netflix has been pumping out massive volumes of VR content without charging its users an extra penny. Experiencing your favorite TV shows by getting immersed in VR sounds and turns out great.Beat Saber
You’ve either heard of or played games like Guitar Hero, Tap Tap Legends. While they were immensely popular for their time, Beat Saber is what those games thrived to be. If you like music, light sabers and/or VR, (you probably like at least one) you have to try out Beat Saber. It’s not as popular as it’s predecessors, but that’s on VR really, not on the game. You simply wield two light sabers in a 3d tunnel where blocks come flying towards you. They are synced with the music that is playing and to fully play the song, you have to slice through these blocks at the right moment. Think of Guitar Hero, but instead of hitting the buttons on your guitar at the right time, you slice and dice with your cool light sabers. Now that’s what we’d call fun.NYT VR
Probably one of our favorite apps in this list. New York Times has been actively working on its own VR content. As far as we have checked it, they have done an incredible job. Instead of experiencing news and articles by watching 2d videos or reading articles, you get the chance to dive right into them and experience them in a way that was unimaginable just a couple years ago.One of the greatest aspects of NYT VR is that it updates daily with new videos. Usually these videos are quite short. On average, you get to watch videos that are only a couple minutes long. But there are tons of them and all of them are done perfectly.Quill
While not for everybody, Quill was the VR app that we got excited the most about. Quill is a VR illustration and animation app that helps designers and artists create stunning and living illustrations and stories. The creation part is done entirely in VR. So rather than designing your piece through an interface, you’re inside your illustration. Now that is as immersive as something can ever get. While Quill can be used through the entirety of your project, it’s also a great tool for concept design, pre-visualization and storyboarding. In simpler words, Quill is the wet dream of any visual artist.Incell VR
Probably one of the most popular VR apps out there, Incell is an educational VR game that on paper helps you understand the human body by making you race through human cells. We say ‘on paper’ because it’s more of a racing game than an educational game. The game is playable in Google Cardboard or has a non-VR version which isn’t interesting at all. The game gives you different missions such as escaping from a virus, vaccinating a cell and it does it with some great humor that, for an educational game, it never gets boring. Incell is both a great game and a perfect entry point into VR games considering it’s quite easy to play. Above all else, it’s free.Within
Within is an entire universe of VR that is waiting to be tapped into. It’s a platform where you can find VR experiences and stories from diverse settings. You can watch animated short movies, delve into peculiar adventures or watch documentaries created strictly for VR. Within provides a solid platform of VR content collected from VR content creators from all across the globe.Aircar VR
Aircar is an interesting one. It’s classified as a VR game. But, it’s not actually a game, it’s more like a demo. Don’t let that discourage you. It’s truly a magical experience. Aircar is not a fully completed because it has no objectives, progress or story. Other than that, its quality surpasses many other VR games.Aircar allows you to pilot a flying car in a Bladerunner inspired city and explore it. The environment, the ambiance of the game is truly unique and immersive. Nothing beats piloting through a cyberpunk inspired city at night while it’s raining. Best part is that it’s for free. So, there’s nothing stopping you from trying it out.Kingspray Graffiti
As you might have noticed by now, we love interesting and immersive VR apps over wave-based shooters which is the prevalent genre in VR. Kingspray is one of the VR games that stood out for us. Simply put, it’s a graffiti simulator. But it’s also much, much more than that. The environments, the controls, and the amount of detail truly are breathtaking. Getting started with the game is quite easy as it’s extremely intuitive. Especially the amount of effort put into making spraying as close to reality as possible has paid off. Kingspray Graffiti is an excellent way to get immersed and lose track of time.Fulldive VR
While not necessarily a VR app, Fulldive is a great platform for anyone who wants to delve deeper into VR. Fulldive VR is a VR app and video platform designed specifically for mobile VR. There are tons of apps and videos to pick from. So, if you use your smartphone as your VR device Fulldive will probably be on your phone.
All in all, it is obvious that VR is an exciting field. Although many consider it to be in its infancy, the road ahead seems quite exciting. All of the VR apps we suggested above are quite unique and provide truly immersive experiences. So, what are you waiting for, go ahead and get immersed!
There are thousands of blogs on the internet and trying to get yours to stand out can be really difficult. While your blog should be inviting and interesting to start with, that is not enough to survive today.
What you really need is a strong foundation in SEO or search engine optimization. If you aren’t familiar with SEO, it is essentially what websites use to guarantee that their pages will show up higher in a search engine results page. If you follow these 7 simple SEO tips by Stacey Wonder from Essaytigers, your pages will show up higher and will garner more traffic as a result:1. Do Keyword Research:
One of the most valuable parts of SEO is to use keywords effectively. Think about what you do when you use a search engine. You type in a couple of words that you are interested in, and you get different pages with the keywords that you were interested in. Choosing the right keywords is the first step in getting more traffic to your page. But what keywords should you pick? Often times a good strategy is to enter your topic in google trends to see exactly what keywords people search for. Once you find some suitable keywords, make sure to use them in the title, headers, URL, at least once in the first few sentences, and sporadically throughout the blog post. Just make sure the keyword use makes sense, search engines will penalize your post if you overuse keywords enough that the post becomes meaningless.2. Write Good Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are another important tool that you must use in order to drive traffic towards your page. A meta description is an HTML tag (usually one or two sentences) describing what the post is about. As an example, meta description in HTML code would look like this:
<meta name=”Hamburger recipe” content=”This hamburger recipe is easy to make and delicious addition to any weeknight meal.”/>
Writing the right meta description is key to getting people to click on your blog. When determining if your meta description is a qualitative one, think about the following questions:
If you’re still confused about what makes a good meta description, be sure to read some good ones to find inspiration.3. Make Your Blog Mobile-Friendly
It is no secret that Google prioritizes mobile-friendly pages in search engine results. It has been like this since 2015, so if you still have not made your blog and website mobile-friendly you need to get up to speed quickly. You may be asking how exactly do you make a blog mobile-friendly? One way of becoming mobile-friendly is by using responsive design, or in other words designing your website to be able to adapt to whatever screen a reader is using. The core tenets of responsive design are flexible grids and resolutions based on screen size. You also want to make sure to not use flash player as that slows down the page, especially on mobile devices. You also want to make sure your website is easy to use, so make sure buttons and page links are sufficiently large.4. Use Images With Alt Text
Text is not the only thing search engines look at when deciding what to put at the top of search results. They also look at images to determine how to rank web pages. The key is not to just include images, but to include them with alt text. For those unfamiliar with alt text, it is a description added to the HTML image tag in order to tell search engines what the image is about. The alt text is also what will display if the picture does not load or if the user moves their cursor over the image. If you were paying attention to the first tip, you probably already realized that alt text is the perfect place to include any appropriate keywords!
Topic Tags are what you use to filter different posts around a specific topic. Topic tags can be a great thing, as they inspire readers to check out your other posts on a similar topic. You have to be careful, however, because using the same topic tag too many times can get your website flagged for duplicate content. One idea is to use categories as a way to broadly classify your posts and reserve topic tags for describing specifically what the post is about. An example would be a blog on 401ks having a category of retirement and a topic tag of 401ks.6. Use Intuitive URL Structures
While you want to use your keywords in your URLs, the website’s overall URL structure should be easy to understand. The URL structure is how the URLs of all of your posts are related. For example, let’s say an animal shelter is designing their own website. The URL for their dogs could be “www.pawrescue.com/find-a-dog”. Now let’s say the reader wants to instead look for a cat, it would be a huge missed opportunity to structure the cat rescue URL as “www.pawrescue.com/cats”. This is not intuitive and would prevent most readers from finding the cat pages easily. You want to be consistent in your URL structure to allow your users to navigate your posts more easily, so the better URL for the cat pages would be “www.pawrescue.com/find-a-cat”. You can apply the same thinking to your blog posts to allow readers to more easily navigate through your blog.7. Update Your Blog Posts Regularly
One of the factors that search engines take into account is how “fresh” your blog post is. In most cases, search engines will prioritize posts that were recently posted or updated. Most bloggers take this to mean that they need to constantly churn out new posts in order to keep traffic up. While new posts are important, don’t forget your previous posts. One of the fastest and easiest ways to boost your traffic is to revise and update older blog posts. This will make them more “fresh” according to the search engine. Don’t just add in a word or two and try and pass it off as new, take the time to actually improve the post. Revisiting posts is a great way to find grammatical mistakes, replace older sources with newer ones, remove broken links, and make the post more relevant to the present day. Doing this for old posts will not only drive more users to your site, but it will also improve the content and boost a chance of users coming back to read more.
If you adhere to these simple tips, you’ll improve the user experience of your blog and boost more traffic to your site in no time.
Social media has attracted a lot of audience in the past few years. The introduction of Facebook is considered to be one of the best inventions after television.
There was a time when Facebook was not more than cat and dog videos and pictures of our kids. And people use it just for entertainment and looked forward to receiving good news from their friends’ circle but now it seems too weird.
While users love social media because it keeps them connected with their friends all around the world, brands also started embracing it because of the valuable word of mouth and the interest people showed.Social media is getting too powerful
Over the years, social media has gained a lot of traction and took human communication and interaction in a new dimension. According to research, there has been a worldwide growth of almost 3.5 billion social media users, in 2019. Our lives are no more private. With the online sharing of our information publicly on social media platforms, the person living in one corner of the world is fully aware of the happenings in the other corner.
As per Statista, in 2019, 79% of the population in the US has social media profiles, while in 2018 it was 77%. It equals approximately 247 million social media users in 2019 – close to 80% of the population of the U.S.Anonymity on Social Media – A Loophole
Social media is getting more powerful with every passing day but a significant social media loophole – no accountability for user identity – is providing the opportunity to the bad boys out there to take advantage of people’s innocence and exploit the platforms. Creating fake accounts on social media is not rocket science, anyone can do that easily using bogus credentials. In fact, children have been taking advantage of this anonymity for years and creating profiles with fake information.
As a matter of fact, anyone can create a profile or a page with anyone’s name and there are no accountability measures for it. No one is required to prove their identity before marking their presence on social media. This has made social media one of the biggest threat vectors and is under increased scrutiny of the regulatory authorities. With children’s presence on social media, there have been multiple statements reporting the usage of dating apps and other age-restricted content by children as young as 8, 9 years.
The fake and bot accounts are creating fake news and news over social media, greatly impacting human life. While the efforts are being made by social media platforms, still no one can be assured of the credible and secure online experience.Fake accounts, fake news
No one creates fake social media accounts out of the fun. Be it a child or an organized criminal, every person has some hidden motive behind the creation of a fake profile. Children usually create such accounts to dodge parental checks and use age-restricted apps. Whereas, fraudsters are using the bogus profile to trick the users and making some extra cash fulfilling their malicious intent.
Similarly, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have become weapons of one person against another one. In fact, political parties are superficially using fake identities to spread rumours, hate and fake news against each other.3 Common Social Media Scams
In this data-driven world, data is the new currency. Every information on who you are, where you live, what do you do, what you like, etc. holds a value. The more you make your data public, the more vulnerable you are to frauds. It’s very convenient for fraudsters to trick or manipulate you if they have access to your information.
Though businesses are investing in internet security, one thing can’t be overlooked – the social media scams that are the result of insufficient Facial Recognition. The common ways and scams through which criminals are attacking users include1. Phishing
Phishing and other social media tactics prove to be a very beneficial source of income for fraudsters. Through various phishing techniques, scammers lure victims into exposing their personal information and account credentials. These stolen credentials are later on used by the criminals in account takeover fraud and identity theft. There have been many so many incidents in which the scammers pretend to be your friend and ask for financial help by playing emotional card.
Sometimes, scammers use phishing messages containing malicious links to exploit user accounts and systems. Since these messages are sent from your someone you know, hence opening the link causes malware to download inadvertently.2. Romance Scams
With the increasing trend of dating apps and sites, fraudsters have got another platform to emotionally target real users. In such scams, the scammers register themselves with fake credentials and lure users into committing serious relationships. Once they had built trust, they start asking their partners for money. According to the report of the Federal Trade Commission, people lost around $143 million in 2018 due to romance scams, which is greater than any other consumer fraud loss.
Moreover, in some incidents, it is reported by the FBI that romance scammers are using online daters as money mules. Around 30% of the romance scam victims in 2018have been used as money mules.3. Charity Frauds
Due to anonymity on social media, scammers are using it to their benefit and pretend to be a charity organization or representative by creating a fake page or profile respectively. It is quite to play with people’s emotions on social media. The scammers are continuously tricking users into transferring them funds for a good cause. And most people fell for such scams and end up losing their money.Verified Digital Identities – The need of the hour
Social media is something that must continue to strive but the security of the platform users must be made better. The primary loophole in social media platforms is the “anonymity” only if we are able to overcome this limitation than social media can be secured. Digital identity verification is what social media needs. Will Burns, CEO of ideasicle.com said in his blog
“We can no longer just sit back and allow this to happen, nor can we expect the FBI or Justice Department to catch every fake person or every fake post. Some form of identity verification in social media would guarantee that every account is linked to a registered user.”
Integrating identity verification services with social media platforms can squash the misuse of platforms because of fake or stolen identities. Within seconds, the individuals can verify and authenticate their identities both at the time of signing up and logging in. Also, ID Validation plays a vital role in age verification of the user, hence restricting underage users from accessing these social platforms.
According to a study, minors are who are bullied online are nine times more likely to fall victim to identity theft. In addition, with the stringent COPPA requirements on online platforms, identity verification can facilitate social media to meet the compliance and save themselves from hefty fines.
Digital identity verification plays an important role in combating online trolling and hate speech spread by bot accounts on social media. With identity authentication, the bot, and fake accounts can be easily caught hence, enabling a credible social media experience for users.
Cloud storage providers are also adapting to the latest standards by increasing the security and privacy of your files online. Acquiring HIPAA compliance is certainly a big step for any cloud storage provider.What Is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA compliance or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was put into law by the US Congress back in 1996 during the Bill Clinton presidency. It has been since then updated to reflect all the new technology advancements. The act primarily serves as guidelines which protect sensitive patient information.
The act applies to various companies and organisations that operate in the US. Canada, for example, has their PIPEDA and EU has its Directive on Data Protection. All of these acts make sure that companies and organisations handle personally identifiable information and patient information responsibly and in a secure manner.HIPAA Compliance Within Cloud Storage
The HIPAA applies to cloud storage providers as well. That is if they choose to provide HIPAA compliance to their customers. If you’re a personal user that doesn’t own a business the HIPAA compliance means pretty much nothing to you. It does convey a certain message though. The message is that the cloud storage provider in question truly went the extra mile to ensure the security and privacy of your files. It’s not enough that the provider provides the necessary software and infrastructure. They must also employ lawyers and other employees that oversee the HIPAA compliance, make sure everything is in accordance with the law and handle interactions with businesses that require HIPAA compliance.
Be careful though, most cloud storage providers don’t, in fact, provide HIPAA compliance to personal users. Well, you don’t need it in the first place so why should you care? HIPAA compliance means that your files are handled in a secure manner in accordance with the act. In some cases that means different handling of your files by the cloud storage provider.
The moral of the story, don’t fall for the “HIPAA Compliant” advertisement. In most cases, that is only provided to business users.HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage For Businesses & Organisations
If you are a company or an organisation that deals with sensitive patient information and you operate within the US you will require a safe place to store that data. HIPAA compliant cloud storage providers are one option.Dangers
By moving that data to the cloud you’re ensuring the privacy and security of that data. It’s important to pick the right cloud storage provider that provides HIPAA compliance though. Why would you care about this though? Well, it turns out that it’s not the best idea to let some of that precious data reach the wider public or anyone unauthorised for that matter. Huge fines have been issued to companies and organisations that had a security breach on their record:
These 3 fines were just some of the larger examples over the course of these 3 years. From 2015 to 2019 a total of 94,044,400 US dollars were taken by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services in the form of fines and settlements.
If you’re a business or an organisation you should really take the HIPAA compliance seriously. A fine like this one will not only bury you financially but also leave a big stain on your reputation, a stain that’s very hard to remove.HIPAA Compliance As A Marketing Tool
We live in an era where privacy is pretty much non-existent unless you turn the switch off and live in a forest hut with no water and electricity. Well, you could have both but you know what I mean. The need for privacy is increasing year after year, with social media taking over the world, data breaches happening everywhere and various “spying” affairs popping up everywhere. HIPAA compliance can as such be used as a powerful marketing tool. Even if you only operate within Europe for example, go for a cloud storage that is HIPAA compliant and stick that “HIPAA Compliance Badge” on the front page of your business website. Ensure your customers that their data is safe with you and they will be much more inclined to interact with you and ultimately buy whatever it is you’re trying to sell.How Does A Cloud Storage Ensure HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA compliance is not an easy task for a cloud storage provider. They have to build their service from the ground up in a way to support this level of privacy. That can be achieved with numerous steps:
Uploading ePHI to the cloud storage comes with a few responsibilities. When things go out of control it’s important you won’t be the one standing there taking all the blame. Your business can in this case also be referred to as a covered entity.
Many cloud storage providers offer HIPAA compliance such as:
Having that golden certificate on their website is not enough though. Google Drive, for example, requires a number of steps from your side in order to make storing of PHI truly safe and HIPAA compliant. Feel free to check the best HIPAA compliant cloud storage article to find the best one that requires minimal effort.