Author Archives: Christopher Jan Benitez

5 WordPress Plugins that Every Online Business Needs

5 WordPress Plugins that Every Online Business Needs

5 WordPress Plugins that Every Online Business Needs

Creating your website and perfecting your landing pages doesn’t end there just yet. You need to consider what it looks like, how fast it loads, or if it’s secured enough to go live.

1. SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization has proved itself way too many times with the success of million dollar websites. Unless you don’t have competitors, you won’t be seen by people looking for products or services that you have. For a beginner, SEO may be too complicated to understand and implement.

One of the top downloaded plugins on WordPress is Yoast – your best buddy when it comes to optimizing your website.

2. Cache

Thinking about caching your WordPress website means you are thinking about increasing its performance. Think of caching as taking notes and saving it for later use. In web science, caching reduces the delay of transferring data from the website the user is visiting its browser. It means, when a user visits your website again, their browser don’t have to redownload your HTML pages, images, scripts, etc. because they’ve already saved some of those in their browsers.

Nobody likes to wait for a website that’s taking forever to load. According to DoubleClick, one out of two users expects a site to load in less than two seconds. Take a look at Design Bombs’ comparison of the best WordPress caching plugins and decide on what you think is perfect for your business website.

3. Security

Your website is the place where you point your possible clients to, losing it may cost your whole business to fall. It is not just smart to install security plugins but is a must if you want to keep your business away from intruders. Even though WordPress itself offers a bunch of security updates, hackers are still persistent to find their way and exploit bugs they come across to.

The most downloaded security plugin – Wordfence, does a deep server scan of your website. Gaining more than 22 million downloads in total and mostly a 5-star rating, it is worth a try to install to your website.

4. Social Sharing

Most of your visitors probably use social media, and a good percentage of them are sharers – people who love to share something they’ve read somewhere on their social accounts. When you see content on your website is shared, it means that your visitors like it. A case study of Fizzle shows that sources of web traffic are mostly from social media websites.

Adding a highly customizable social sharing button like Share Buttons by AddThis increases your chances on being shared easier by your readers.

5. Opt-in Form

Opt-in forms are how your business gets its leads. Most of the time, you will have to offer something of value to your visitor in exchange for their email. These emails are going to be your leads and potential customers. Remember that you don’t just put opt-in forms wherever on your website, try to look compare what you think is the best opt-in form plugin you need to be adding on your website.

Using WordPress is an excellent choice because it offers a lot of functionality, but you’ll be doing a lot better by installing plugins that could help solve your little problems for you. Here are some of the best WordPress plugins every business needs – including yours.

5 Ways to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendlier

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Making your website mobile friendly is not a choice anymore, it’s a necessity. If your site is not mobile-friendly, Google will lower your site’s ranking among search results. This is, in fact, the most recent development in the web’s overall shift to mobile. More and more people are now shopping online using a handheld device. Businesses that are slow to catch up are bound to lose the game.

Building a mobile-friendly website is not that hard, but misconceptions about the process are quite rampant. Making a site mobile friendly means, you are doing cross-platform development. It’s complex, but there are little workarounds that make the whole process a lot easier to comprehend. Here are several such easy ways to make your site mobile friendly and relevant:

1. Choose a Mobile Responsive Theme

Mobile responsiveness means that your website is viewable on screens of differing sizes. Adopting a responsive design can make the process smoother. If you are building your website using a CMS like WordPress, choose a mobile responsive theme. It should be indicated on the theme’s main page whether it is responsive or not. Responsive themes have flexible layouts and images, plus cascading queries. These features enable responsive themes to automatically detect the user’s screen size and orientation to adjust the layout in a viewable manner.

2. Avoid Creating a Separate Site for Mobile

It is possible to create a separate website for mobile users with an m. domain. But don’t. It may have been the norm a few years back, but it is not anymore. Developers used to pick and choose elements from websites to design a layout thought suitable for mobile audiences. The downside in this process is that you cannot determine which mobile content users may or may not like in advance. Also, mobile devices are much more advanced today than few years before and are perfectly capable of displaying many of the content seen on desktops. Plus, Google penalizes sites for duplicate content. So just don’t bother with creating a separate mobile site.

3. Add a Viewport Meta Tag

A viewport meta tag is a piece of code that allows web browsers to understand the scale and the size of the content. This is crucial for rendering content viewable on multiple screen sizes. If your site lacks this code line, then a mobile web browser will be unable to scale your site to a smaller smartphone screen.

4. Choose Font and Button Sizes Carefully

Desktop viewers can read any font size and see even the tiniest buttons. This is usually not the case with smaller handheld screens. So, choose the font and button sizes that are optimal for mobile screens. For the font, 14 is the ideal size. Buttons should be bigger than usual for the user to take notice. But not too big that the button takes the whole screen space.

5. Only Use High-Resolution Images

The latest mobile devices have very high-res screens that may even rival desktop screens. So, low-quality images will be immediately noticeable. If you want to give your users the best experience, always use high-quality and high-resolution images on your website. That would prevent unappealing pixilated or blurry images.

Now you will be able to build a highly responsive website and gain an edge over the competition.

Four Tips For Marketing Your New Business

You started a new business and now it’s time to get it launched and let people know about you. For some small businesses, marketing is the hardest part. They don’t know where to start, what marketing tools they should enlist, and they don’t know how they are going to afford all of those tools either.

With the internet it has gotten easier to get your name out there, and it has opened up more free opportunities for marketing businesses of all kinds, and of all sizes. Mainly you just need to put in the time and energy. To get the most out of marketing, here are four tips to consider.

Pay For Advertising

First off, don’t neglect paying for advertising. While you can print your own simple business cards for what seems cheaper at home, paying someone else to do it can give you a more attractive, and professional, looking business card. If you feel as though you don’t have enough startup cash left to cover some small advertising fees, consider getting a small loan.

You can find great paid advertising online, through search engines like Google, and even through Facebook. And advertising with these companies is well worth it. You may also want to consider advertising in your own local papers, especially if your business has a brick and mortar entity.

Get Local

Speaking of local papers, don’t neglect your local crowd. Even if you’re a book writer, you still want to advertise local where you may make more sales simply because you live in the same town. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the novelty of your business venture.

Also, make sure that you are using local keywords when it comes to social media and blogging. If you’re one-of-a-kind in your hometown, that is a great added selling point. But, if you don’t point out where you are from, who’s going to know?

Use Social Media

Social media is an excellent place to use free marketing. It gives you an outlet to get on the same level as your customers and potential clients. They can feel like your business is on the same level since you are both using social media for staying in touch with the world.

Use it to share coupons and sales info, which can help you attract new customers. People love free things, and discounts, so use social media to take advantage of the things that will attract them to work with your business.

Get It On Paper

Business cards are still a must for businesses great and small. They are a compact item that can easily be handed out to promote your business, and allow people to know where to find you when they are in need of your products and services.

You may also want to consider other paper marketing tools, like brochures and flyers. These are great tools whether you use them right in your store or you hand them out to people at trade shows. Brochures are used to completely introduce a person to what your business has to offer them, and you don’t even need to speak a word!

How Important Is Web Hosting For Your Online Business

How Important Is Web Hosting For Your Online Business

When it comes to online businesses, many marketers are preoccupied with aspects of site design, content strategy, and internal link structure. Although these factors are critical, a faulty web host can render all your efforts useless.

Remember that your web hosting solution must not be a rushed decision. Sure, any company can offer a 99% uptime guarantee, 24/7 customer support, and “unlimited” hosting. However, you need to dig deep and find the best host that will suit your specific needs.

Without further ado, here are the important factors you need to consider when picking a web host:

1. Pricing

As you may already know, looking for the cheapest web hosting solution is asking for trouble. Keep in mind that reliable hosting requires top-notch server infrastructure. Furthermore, you need to consider your options carefully when it comes to hosting prices. Popular hosts do not have a huge discrepancy in the monthly subscription price. However, if you look at the big picture, a few bucks in between can have a substantial impact on your budget for the long-term. Triple-check each web hosting package and make sure you are getting the value you paid for.

2. Specialization

Not all web hosts are the same. Some hosts have all the resources for full-fledged online stores, while others are meant solely for blogging purposes. That said, you need to look at a hosting company’s track record and check their experience with particular website types. Aside from checking the host’s main website, a good strategy is to look at customer reviews and identify where they are from.

3. Server Specifications

A straightforward approach in assessing the capabilities of a web host is to check their server specifications. Look for technical details like RAM, CPU, and storage drives; as well as account limitations like additional domains and backups. If you are planning to run a data-intensive site, such as an e-commerce store or cloud-based app website, then you need a hosting solution with high-end infrastructure. You also need to consider the top-tier hosting solutions for sites that accommodate heavy traffic.

4. Customer Support

You can determine the kind of experience you can expect from a host by checking customer reviews and feedback. However, the best way to learn more about a company’s competence in providing support is to test the waters yourself. Go ahead and make a direct inquiry about their solutions and assess whether they do a satisfactory job of providing the information you need. A real question to ask is whether they have a 24/7 in-house staff or if they outsource their support team.

5. Additional Features

At the surface, most—if not all—hosting companies offer the same promises. However, if you look carefully, certain features actually set them apart. For example, one company may use energy-saving facilities to cut monthly costs while another offers a free domain. Just make sure to consider your company’s needs and identify which add-ons are beneficial to you specifically.

6. Email Features

Most hosting platforms should offer a built-in email server. This feature allows you to use your domain name address for sending emails rather than using a third-party email provider such as Gmail or Hotmail. However, you should also check if they have features such as spam filtering and advanced account management.

7. Control Panel Interface

While it is imperative to focus on the experience of your users, you must also consider your experience with a hosting company’s interface. Keep in mind that managing the backend of your website can be stressful, especially if you are faced with a cluttered and disorganized control panel interface. That is why you need a host that makes simple tasks a breeze—from setting up FTP accounts to installing a CMS.

8. Reputation

To finalize your decision, make a quick Google search about a hosting company to decide whether they are a reputable brand or not. Keep in mind that you are basically putting the growth of your business on the line by choosing a web host. Looking for in-depth reviews and blog posts about a host should offer you the assurance and peace of mind.

Recommended Hosting Sites

To help you in the selection process, here are the takes of experts on some of the most reputable web hosting services in the industry:

  1. SiteGroundWhen it comes to performance and uptime reliability, SiteGround is one of the best options. Perhaps its only downside is the relative costliness of packages as opposed to other alternatives.
  2. HostGatorOne of the most popular hosting companies for bloggers, HostGator offers remarkable customer service as well as an easy-to-use control panel. Their hosting solutions, while not cheap, provide excellent value for stable performance under heavy load.
  3. BlueHost– BlueHost is scalable, fast, reliable, and comes with economical prices. Despite this, you will rarely experience slowdowns and significant downtimes. The only downside is that live support is not as fast as it needs to be.
  4. InMotion – While inexpensive, InMotion does not fail to deliver top-quality performance. You can expect minimal downtimes and consistent speeds all year round.

Conclusion

Picking a web host is one of the earliest decisions that can determine the direction of your website. Hopefully, the points above helped you make a decision and establish a sound basis for a highly successful website.

5 Time-Saving Tips to Boost Workplace Productivity

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Time management problems in your business? With today’s technology, procrastination is always within the reach of anyone, even during hours of productivity. According to statistics, about 89% of employees “waste time” during office hours. 57% of this number spends over 1 hour per day, while the rest loses about 30 minutes.

For managers, these figures call for immediate action. Frankly, you cannot eliminate media consumption – the number one driver of wasted time – as it is embedded in the lifestyle of Millennials. What you can do, however, is to implement strategies that will rally your people and restore the maximum productivity of your team.

Here are some of the best solutions you can do for a more productive workplace.

1. Conduct Online Meetings

An excellent way to improve the time-efficiency of your team is to offer faster options for everyday workplace activities. For example, you can choose to conduct online meetings as opposed to relying solely on face-to-face interactions. Online meetings give your team the ability to participate in meaningful conversations without leaving their workstation. With a platform like ClickMeeting, you can further communication and collaboration without disrupting the workflow of your employees.

ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting is a platform that can help you host online conferences thru video or voice calls. It can also be used to produce webinars that streamline training and knowledge transfer processes, which will contribute to unlock the maximum efficiency of your team. Of course, it can also be used to eliminate location barriers for remote teams.

2. Encourage Smart Use of Social Media

Social media is one of the main reasons employees are wasting time at work. It is, however, a powerful networking tool that can be beneficial to grow businesses. You only need to encourage your tea to use social media the right way.

Keep in mind that your employees are the face of the business. They are your brand ambassadors, and they can extend the reach of your brand through social networking. Just remember to specify the rules that promote the responsible use of social media.

Of course, brief social media breaks allow employees to de-stress and recharge. Breaks will help your team maintain peak performance in prolonged periods. A good rule is to enable them to take 15-minute social media breaks after 90 minutes of intense work.

3. Eliminate Email Use

Many businesses that allow remote workers still utilize emails as the primary medium of communication. Although emails are still useful for sending in-depth messages as well as attachments, emails may not be the fastest option, especially without an app that aggregates your mail like Mozilla Thunderbird.

Trello

Email inboxes are also quickly cluttered with personal messages, newsletters, spam, and other non-work-related items. In other words, their only not ideal if you want to maximize the productivity of an employee. That said, you are better off with an online project management platform like Trello, which can be used to assign teams and deadlines for each task.

4. Minimize Use of Mobile Devices

Even if your employees learn to use social media smartly, they may still be interrupted by random phone calls and text messages. These distractions may come at any time and employees usually underestimate the impact of texting on productivity. This is why you need to enforce policies that can limit their access to mobile phones.

However, a mobile device policy may depend on several variables such as the size of your company, the type of industry you are in, and the weight of the workload. For example, it is imperative to prohibit mobile phones for employees who drive or interact with customers in person. However, for offices, mobile phones may be allowed as long as they do not impede the team’s timeline. Just remember that a mobile phone ban for a particular employee is in order if it led to a delay or missed deadline.

5. Minimize Unnecessary Office Chatter

Last but not least, one of the most common office distractions is none other than a chatty workmate. It is, perhaps, the most annoying and disruptive time waster since it can affect the productivity of other employees.

ChatterBlocker

Dealing with office chatter, however, involves several strategies that may not be easy to implement. Some short-term solutions include posting a sign that discourages chatter and closely monitoring employees during office hours. For the long-term, you can transform the office into a cubicle setup to discourage constant chatting and promote better focus. You can also use a noise masking software like ChatterBlocker to blur out a noisy co-worker.

Conclusion

Remember that a business’ success ultimately relies on the people running it. With everybody’s cooperation, no challenge is too big to overcome. It is only a matter of implementing the right office rules that bring out the best in everyone.