Business

10 great sites for those interested in Bitcoin

If you’ve sussed the basics of Bitcoin and are ready to dig a little deeper into the world’s favourite cryptocurrency then you’re in the right

How To Find The Right Domain For Your Business

When you are starting out on a new venture online and are looking to set up a website, one of the biggest decisions you make

How to use branded video to hack your customer’s brain

Has video massively increased your customer conversion rates? If the answer’s no, it’s because you’re not using it properly. That might sound overly bold, but instead of

8 ways to build a better working relationship with your manager

There’s an old adage when it comes to difficult relationships – they say “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family!” –

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10 great sites for those interested in Bitcoin

If you’ve sussed the basics of Bitcoin and are ready to dig a little deeper into the world’s favourite cryptocurrency then you’re in the right place.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 great sites that make for an interesting read – whether you’re an still finding your feet or a seasoned pro…

CryptoPotato

Crypropotato is a great resource site for anyone starting out in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. It’s got some fascinating articles that span right back to the beginnings of certain currencies, as well as guides that will be helpful whether you’re a beginner or a hardcore investor.

As well as a ton of great resources, it’s got a unique Initial Coin Offering (ICO) list – a run down of investment opportunities in soon to be launched currencies – along with some unique metrics that will help you work out what’s the right thing to consider channelling your money into… 

Bitcoin Wisdom

This might be one that’s more aimed at those with a deeper interest in Bitcoin and other cryptos – but in terms of comprehensiveness, you’ll struggle to find a better price monitoring site.

When you visit the site you can view the price of currencies over several exchanges – and if you’re a trader or into analysis of the market, you can check out pricing trends and much more. If your role, or level of interest demands it – you can plot lines over charts that will help with some intensive analysis.

Ledger

Ledger are the go to hardware wallet provider, combining an excellent product with a price that’s justifiable even for someone just starting out in crypto.

Their site is a useful resource – owing to the huge range of tutorial videos they have on their site, walking you through every step of using their products. A word of warning though – you won’t always find their products available on their site as they produce them in limited numbers and ship them out – so be prepared to do some searching if you plan to buy ledger nano or ledger blue wallets.

Bitcoin.org

No list of informative and useful cryptocurrency sites would be complete without the original home of the most well-known currency out there.

Here you’ll find a blow by blow account of how Bitcoins work – along with a detailed explanation of the ‘blockchain’ – the technology that underpins many cryptocurrencies. There’s some great information whether you’re an individual with an interest, a developer looking to integrate Bitcoin or blockchain tech – or businesses looking to become more involved.

Bitcoin Wiki

If you’re looking for the deepest Bitcoin resource out there – you won’t go far wrong with Bitcoin Wiki – an enormous resource that’s maintained by prominent and knowledgeable members of the Bitcoin community.

From the most basic overviews – to complex in-depth breakdowns of the most technical elements of Bitcoin – you’ll find it here amongst the 1,136 pages of content that have been around since the earliest days of Bitcoin.

We Use Coins

There’s no getting around the fact that some of the technical info surrounding cryptocurrencies is very difficult to access if you’re a keen newbie coming at Bitcoin or altcoins with little or no technical knowledge.

As such, We Use Coins aims to bring down some of the barriers to entry – stating that their site is dedicated to making Bitcoin more accessible for all. Whether you’re planning on getting involved with using a cryptocurrency – or ‘mining’ to support the community and your bank balance – you’ll find tons of information to get you started here.

Bitcoinx

If you’re planning on draining your local electricity grid of all it’s power by firing up your own Bitcoin mining rig then this is the site for you!

Mining Bitcoin is no mean feat – and you’re going to need to know if you’re profitable before you get the show on the road. To help you work this out, Bitcoinx considers the current mining difficulty level, how many Bitcoins there are to each block, hardware costs and much more – helping you work out how quickly you could move into profit.

It’s not just guide on the financial side of mining that the site provides either – there’s some great reviews of mining hardware and software for you to reference before you part with any of your hard earned cash.

Blockchain.info

Blockchain.info is a great resource that’s owned and operated in the UK – unlike many other Bitcoin and crypto resources.

If you’re interested in actually looking into the blockchain then this is the place for you – you can get information on the most recently mined blocks, up to the minute information on crypto economies and a massive array of statistics and resources for users and developers.

The site’s been around since Bitcoin’s early days too – so you can be sure that what you’re reading as stood the test of time and the sometimes harsh critiquing of the cryptocurrency userbase.

99bitcoins

99bitcoins’ has a clear mission – to ‘translate bitcoin into plain English’ – and they do a great job of it. From written buying and mining guides – to a vast range of wallet and exchange reviews – the site’s got you pretty well covered.

It’s also one of the places that’s got a top 100 Bitcoin ‘rich list’ – which makes for fascinating reading – but probably one to avoid if you struggle with feelings of envy – especially since it lists the fattest Bitcoin wallet in the world as containing around 133,000 Bitcoins. That amount is worth somewhere in the region of £943 million as of December 2017…

Bitcoin Talk

Bitcoin Talk is the first Bitcoin dedicated forum – and it’s by far the largest.

It’s a great place to hang out if you’re keen to keep track of the latest Bitcoin and crypto news – and also provides something of a ‘street’ you can keep an ear to if you’d like to gauge the health of the currency prior to your next trade.

Be warned, it’s a community that’s not afraid to speak frankly – and there’s more than a fair share of trolling – but even if talking isn’t for you, there’s a host of information and expert opinion to read through…

How To Find The Right Domain For Your Business

When you are starting out on a new venture online and are looking to set up a website, one of the biggest decisions you make is one that will follow you around for a long time and that is the finding and choosing the name of your website.  It is possible that you will already have some ideas in your head, but there are some important things you should keep in mind when it comes to actually registering a domain name.

According to Serpchampion who have had a lot of affiliate website success, a domain name is so important because of the incredible impact they have across the web and even when it comes to offline forms of marketing.  Therefore, it is crucial that you follow the tips below to find the right domain for your business.

Make Sure It Sounds Like A Brand

What we mean by this is, the moment a potential client or customer hears or sees your domain name, they think it sounds like a brand.  As opposed to a website they are not interested in.  This is why, generally speaking, numbers, hyphens and other symbols are problematic.  Simply because they sound more generic or odd, rather than like memorable brands.

Make Sure It Is Pronounceable

It might strike you as odd that with something that people will predominately be typing into their computers or clicking a link, we are suggesting it should be pronounceable.  The reason why it is crucial though involves what is known as processing fluency.  This is a human cognitive bias where we remember more easily things we can easily think about and say.  This means pronounce-ability in our own minds.

While this will vary from region to region and language to language; the basic ruling is that if the name can’t be said easily, it will be less brand-able, memorable and you will lose processing fluency.

Shorter Is Better

The next tip follows on nicely from the above and is involves keeping your domain name as short as possible.  It makes complete sense that the two go hand in hand.  The smaller a domain name is, the fewer characters it is made up of, the easier it will be to say, type and share and the less likely it is that it will be shortened in search results and on social media sites.

Make Sure It Is .Com

Well, make sure it is .com or the appropriate TLD for the location of your target audience and market.  Although it may seem silly that this far down the line we are still putting a lot of importance on .coms.  The reason is that it is still the most accessible and widely recognised TLD in the world.  There are many people still out there who are completely new to the internet and know that .coms exist and therefore trust them more.

Stay Away From Trademark and Copyright Infringement

The thing you need to bear in mind when you are trying to create a domain name that avoids any trademark or copyright issues is not that you consider your domain name to be similar to another; it is whether a judge might think so.  Further to this, even without any legal issues coming up, it can create brand confusion that will affect the brand-ability of your domain name and business.

Consider Existing Domains That Have Expired

One easy way to find a great domain that is good for your business is looking for existing domain names on domain auctions and taking over the ownership.  As well as cutting out much of the time-consuming brainstorming and other parts of the research and creation process; it could have additional benefits.  If in its former existence, if a domain name was particularly successful, and acquired powerful links over the years then this will save you a lot more time, compared to having to build links from scratch to improve your new websites rankings. 

Make It Unique

It is important to ensure that your domain name is unique as it can be.  Remember, your domain name may be the very first thing potential customers and clients see and hear in relation to your brand and business.  Therefore, you want to make sure it stands out from the sea of competitors operating in your niche.

Think about what makes your own brand different from the competition and use that to ensure that your domain is the first people click on or type into their computer. 

Make It Easy To Type

This has already been covered in terms of making your domain name pronounceable, but it bears repeating.  Simply put, if the domain name for your business is tricky or confusing and hard to type, people will give up typing it or looking for it.  The easier it is to type, the more likely people will want to type it.

Use Keywords

Domain names with keywords will not only help with the cognitive fluency bias we mentioned early but also with SEO too.  Although Google has been moving away from showing bias towards domains with partial and exact keyword matches, the anchor text you get from your domain name could help.  If it is possible to place a keyword in your domain that makes it completely clear what you and your site are all about, definitely do it.  However, keyword targeted or keyword rich domains are just not as successful as they used to be and often have negative associations with both search engines and users.

You Can Modify And Append It

If you discover that the domain name you are looking for is not available, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon ship and completely change the name.  You can simply add a prefix or suffix to it, or find a different TLD extension.  It is definitely a good idea to be a little creative when it comes to your brand online if you need to.

For instance, if your brand name is SweetSweaters, but you discover that SweetSweaters.com is already taken, you can try and alter it slightly.  SweetSweatersStore.com would be a perfectly sound option, as would OurSweetSweaters.com and SweetSweaters.net.

10 Awesome Websites From Food & Drink Brands

All kinds of businesses have websites, but few can rival the creativity and diversity of food and drinks brands. A love of food and drink is one of the few things I can confidentially say everyone one Earth as in common because there’s such a rich variety isn’t there?

This is reflected on their websites! There are many amazing food and drink brand websites out there, some are pretty famous while some are more hidden, and they are all very different. Let’s take a look at my top ten favourites, shall we?

Nicholson Original London Dry Gin

With a long history dating back to the 1700’s, there is a lot of history behind the Nicholson family gin and it’s all proudly displayed on their website. What may appear to be a rather minimalistic and modern website is actually hiding a wealth of content.

A lot of thought has gone into the website’s design because it doesn’t want to overpower the viewer. The menus are kept to a minimum but are easy to locate and scroll through and the photos perfectly capture the elegance of the drink.

Smart and sophisticated the Nicholson Original London Dry Gin website is not what many people think an alcoholic drink’s website will likely be like, is it? But they beautifully played against expectations and created a charming, modern website with a wondrous design.

Cadbury Chocolate

If you live in the UK then there’s going to be one brand of chocolate that everyone will know, it might not be your favourite but at will at least have your respect. Cadbury’s chocolate is many things to many different people and its website does a great job and balancing all these different expectations.

Unsurprisingly purple is the dominant colour and while there is plenty of cute graphics for children and a playful text style Cadbury’s rich history is also proudly displayed. The scrolling timetable complete with pictures and small bite-sized bits of text perfectly breaks down the Cadbury’s history and it’s without a doubt my favourite feature on their website.

Ribena

Colourful and creative the Ribena website is beautifully eye-catching and easy to navigate, it perfectly captures the fun and flavour or Ribena drinks and is perfect for children looking to find out more about their favourite drink and let’s be honest the adults who love it as well. Quirky and fun the Ribena website perfectly captures the character of the drink.

Heineken Beers

The stats show that Heineken beers is the most popular beer website on the internet right now and with over 20 million likes of Facebook its social media power is perfectly equalled by its web presence, so let’s take a look at the website.

The Heineken website is beautifully designed, the colour green is wonderfully used and it’s easy to navigate. Finding out about Heineken’s history, browsing drinks, shopping for beers and much more can all be done easily.

Kelloggs

Famous for their great variety of breakfast cereals the Kelloggs website effortlessly jumps between child-friendly features and more adult based information. The Kelloggs website is pretty simple but the way it manages to display dozens of brands in one easy to navigate way is a testament to its innovative design.

Coca-Cola UK

The Coco-Cola UK website is an intriguing one because it really isn’t what you think it’s going to be. The website is very busy and looks more like a news website, the latest news section outlines the top ten blogs and the menus at the top make the site easy to navigate.

There’s also an expansive picture gallery and some very eye-catching banners at the top of the website. The website is very busy but that’s exactly why I like it because it plays against expectations with Coco-Cola you expect a more modern and glamorous website, but this is very different, and I really like it.

Warburtons

The Warburtons website is warm and colourful and another example of a website that perfectly captures the character of the brand. Warm oranges make the website very easy on the eye and while the layout isn’t anything truly out of the ordinary it does make navigating the website easy. Although the featured “recipe section” is a nice added touch that adds some extra character to the website.

Russian Standard Vodka

The Russian Standard Vodka beautifully uses photography and graphics to create an amazing eye-catching site. The text is kept to a minimum and instead, photographs and graphics do the talking for you, although if you want to find more information you can go to more in-depth articles with just the click of a button.

The website is effortlessly cool and perfectly captures the brand’s identity they say a picture is worth a 1000 words and this website shows that’s true.

Mr Kipling

You know it’s a little odd that out all the sites I’ve looked at two that are very similar are the previously mentioned Russian Standard Vodka website and Mr. Kipling. The cake and sweet brand are selling a very different range of products, but the two sites follow very similar designs when it comes to their websites.

Mr. Kipling again uses a minimum of text and lets images and graphics do the talking and their range of cakes and sweets a beautifully captured. There is more to do and see on the Mr. Kipling website as you can explore blogs and take part in competitions as well.

Nescafe

Coffee is celebrated on the Nescafe website, it perfectly captures the modern and trendy style that the Nescafe brand caters to and I particularly love the “Coffee Culture” section. Which uses dozens of images instead of just listing links to various sections.

It’s bold and simple but certainly on trend and pleasing to the eye. Navigating the website is simple and easy and there is a surprising amount of content packed into it. Including blogs, promotions, social media links and much more. Fashionable and stylish the Nescafe website is sure to please coffee lovers. 

How to use branded video to hack your customer’s brain

Has video massively increased your customer conversion rates?

If the answer’s no, it’s because you’re not using it properly.

That might sound overly bold, but instead of thinking about us as pointing out errors – consider it a message wrapped up in a love for converting customers, maximising your productivity and fortifying your brand. You deserve to be successful at those things – and the chances are, your video strategy only needs a couple of tweaks to get it right.

The reason is simple:

Video is powerful. I mean, really really powerful.

Video marketing taps into more than one of the senses – it’s a chance to immerse your customer in your message. Video gives you a chance to really get into your customer’s brain and press exactly the right buttons.

We got a psychologist and a video marketer from Antes.me who offer video production services in Leeds into a room to discuss video marketing – then made a lot of notes. The following 6 tips and observations are direct from that conversation – with some hints around how you can apply the info to your own practice.

#1 – “People trust video because it’s hard to fake”

The idea of something being ‘photoshopped’ has really tainted people’s trust in static images.

So much so, studies into trust levels associated with brand created image have plummeted since around 2007.

And you know what? People are right. There are so many stock images available – and filters, tweaks and adjustments that can be very easily applied to make an average product look awesome.

People trust video – but the message is, it has to be authentic. There’s a balance to be struck of course, shooting a high-end product video on your phone might not be ideal – but neither is having Michael Bay come along and make a £5 million advert for you.

When you create video, do it well – but don’t over produce if you want to keep it ‘real’ and trustworthy.

#2 – “Video conveys the real person”

There are varying levels of trust that we put in different types of communication – and it’s all based around how much of an understanding we can get about the person sending that communication.

Harvard university have done a massive number of studies into empathy – a person’s ability to put themselves, metaphorically, in the shoes of someone else. The results show that the more we can empathise with the person who we see, the more we trust that person.

You can apply this in your own video by using real people to convey the messages you want to put out. Don’t be tempted to bring in models or actors – people can associate with ‘average’ folk – and when they do, they’ll trust you and your brand more deeply.

#3 – “People don’t misconstrue or misunderstand video”

There’s an old statistic about how words alone only communicate a 7% of what you’re trying to say – and that in fact, tone, inflection, volume and body language make up far more of the overall message.

Whether or not the numbers are exactly right doesn’t really matter – but what really does matter is the amount of email and web pages that really don’t hit the mark. Even the best copywriter in the world will struggle to get across the passion that a chef has about the signature dish he’s spent 25 years trying to perfect.

Words don’t convey a lot – and if they do, you need to use a lot of them, whereas ten seconds worth of video can make you laugh, dance, cry, want to eat or want to quit your job.

Your communication is clear with video, people aren’t going to misunderstand your intention. Nail the message you’re trying to get over – and deliver it with passion.

#4 – “The brain is lazy – and video is easy”

We have a desire for knowledge – especially when there’s some benefit to us gathering that knowledge.

That said, we also have busy lives and diminishing attention spans. So, as an example – you’re about to start a new hobby of oil painting – do you read a 400-page book on techniques? Or do you watch a 5-minute video about the steps you need to take to get painting?

95% of people would choose the video – because it’s easy. Sure, you might dip into the book later, but almost no one will go cover to cover before they pick up a brush.

Give your customers an easy option – then explain how they can find out more.

#5 – “Video appeals to all learning types”

There’s some professional disagreements about ‘learning types’ – i.e. whether we prefer to listen, watch, read or act out instructions that we’re given – but one thing cannot be disputed – there’s absolutely no harm in giving people options around how the consume your marketing messages.

Video is the only practical way of giving people all four options in one.

Video doesn’t have to just be someone talking into the camera, you can easily add in words, illustrations, explainer animations and much more – easily ticking the boxes for people who prefer reading, listening, watching or copying what they see.

#6 – “Video is still seen as innovative, so people want to share it”

The vast majority of marketing is still done with words and static images – making video the cool new kid on the block.

If you haven’t noticed already, people like to be the first to show you innovative stuff on social media – in fact, a lot of the time people are more bothered about how they look based on what they’re sharing – rather than what they’re actually sharing!

Interesting video is shared over 400% more on social platforms vs. written content.

Make yours short, snappy and engaging – and watch it fly.

What does all this add up to for you?

There are certain holy grail words in sales and marketing – and ‘trust’, ‘engagement’ and ‘understanding’ are up there with the best.

If you use your video marketing effectively, you’re ramping up your levels of all of the above things – ultimately boiling down to one thing – increased customer conversions – whatever that might mean to you.

Oh – and as if that’s not enough – it’s not just humans that love video either. Google’s algorithms see greater engagement with video than they do a lot of other content, and since Google is designed to predict what we want and give that to us – you’re going to see increasing amounts of video returned when you search.

Your customers love video.

Google loves video.

If that doesn’t make you love video – nothing will.

Stop These Bad Habits That Make You Unproductive!

Time is so precious. We have to be efficient and productive in accomplishing our daily tasks. It is very easy if we only set our goals. However, there are various factors that affect our productivity. They hinder us to finish our work and achieve our goals on time.

Here are the 7 bad habits that kill productivity.

Multitasking

To be productive, you should focus on one thing. However, multitasking divides your attention. This only means that you are accomplishing numerous tasks at the same which is very impossible. According to Business Insider, only 2% of the world population are capable of multitasking.

The risks of doing multitasking include poor outputs and lots of failures.

s1 - Stop These Bad Habits That Make You Unproductive!

Lack of Sleep

Sleep is very important at it restores normal body functioning. Without proper sleep, your body will not be productive. According to Harvard’s Healthy Sleep study, lack of sleep can affect mood and judgment, “ability to learn and retain information.”

Your mind needs recovery to work productively. The best solution is to sleep for at least 8 hours every night.

Procrastination

Procrastination is the mortal sin of productivity. According to Psychology Today, it is a kind of thinking in which an individual resists doing chronic difficult tasks and “deliberately look for distractions.” These distractions include impulsive web browsing and eating junk foods.

Procrastinators always want to the do the work later or tomorrow, until they panic and produce very poor outputs.

Too Much Use Of Smartphones

When notifications pop, we immediately check our smartphones. Once we touched our phones, we fall completely in its spell. We cannot control ourselves from checking emails, scrolling social media accounts, chatting with friends and watching YouTube.

Stay away from Smartphones, especially if it is not needed for your work. They distract you and prevent you from being productive.

Snubbing Your Alarm

Guilty? This is a seriously bad habit that most people possess. Setting an alarm means setting an exact time for you to wake up, not an exact time to hit the “snooze” button.

By hitting the snooze button, you are delaying time. This is considered as procrastination or laziness.

As much as possible, jump out of your bed when your phone or clock alarms. Do this until you get used to.

s2 - Stop These Bad Habits That Make You Unproductive!

Saving The Hardest For Last

It is a common misconception among individuals that they can save more time if they start working on the easy ones and reserve the hardest to the end of the day. According to self-control researcher Roy Baumeister, “the longer people have been awake, the more self-control problems happen.” Therefore, your brain works more actively during the mornings, perfect in accomplishing harder tasks.

No Structured Routine

You can be productive by following a work routine every day. Without a proper schedule, your mind is filled with unorganized thoughts. It is not healthy if you depend on your mood or the environment. Be in control of your productivity. Do things in order, again and again.

What do you think are the other bad habits that kill your productivity?

8 ways to build a better working relationship with your manager

There’s an old adage when it comes to difficult relationships – they say “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family!” – true enough, but it’s also highly unlikely you can choose your manager either.

We spend a lot of time at work – around 100,000 hours over the course of an average person’s life – and that’s a LOT of time to be spending with bosses you struggle to get along with. If you’d like to change your current manager/employee relationship – or you’d just like to make sure you’ve got the skills to keep your boss onside in the future, we’ve got you covered…

  1. Practice your empathy skills

It’s going to sound condescending to say this – but the company you work for doesn’t revolve around you. Now, we realise that you don’t really think that – but it’s important to remember that you’re one cog in a complex machine for your boss, the more you understand that, the more you’ll be able to put yourself in his or her shoes.

If you find yourself feeling short tempered or frustrated with your manager, take some time to think about all the metaphorical plates they’re spinning – when you realise how complex their role is, bundled upon all the life stuff most people take to work – you might be able to cut them a little more slack.

  1. Understand HOW to communicate with them

It’s easy to think of a boss or manager as just a job role – but they’re a real person with the unique likes and dislikes of anyone else. It’s going to pay off if you can learn what they are when it comes to communication.

For every person in the world who likes a brief overview of what’s happening on a project, there’s another person who likes a detailed PowerPoint presentation with annotated diagrams. If you can find out what your boss prefers and deliver your information in that way, you’re either going to stand out as someone who listens and applies that knowledge – or at the very least, someone who doesn’t annoy them!

  1. Understand WHEN to communicate with them

There’s a subtle difference to tip number 2 here – once you’ve worked out their preferred method of communication it’s really helpful to work out when it’s appropriate to communicate with them.

Now, don’t misunderstand, if you’ve been asked to call we wouldn’t suggest putting it off because you’ve got an inkling they don’t like Monday morning calls – but for non-requested communication you should act tactically.

Some people like to talk on the phone when they’re travelling, others prefer evening emails so they can digest them without distraction – then the next person is up and replying to emails at 5am. If you can work out when and how to communicate, you’re on to a winner.

  1. Show value

There’s every chance that your boss is someone who sees a lot of financial figures that relate to your company or department – and even though people matter an incredible amount to any good organisation – money and time also speak volumes.

It can be tempting to get your feet under the desk and assume that treading water will keep you afloat – but don’t be fooled, if you’re not contributing value of some kind then you’re likely to be a bit of a thorn in your boss’s side – something that’s never good for the relationship!

Reference your job description as much as you can and ask yourself if you’re ticking all the boxes to a decent level – if you’re not, up your game to make sure you stay onside.

  1. Make them look good

It might sound counter-intuitive to make your manager or boss look good rather than taking the praise yourself – but if they’re happy and you’re the person they’ve got to thank for that, then it’s highly likely that you’ll be happy too!

This isn’t just about passing praise upwards though – it’s also about showing some tact and discretion when you’re communicating with your boss with others around. You might not agree with everything that’s being said – but rather than shoot him or her down in flames (even if you’ve got good reason and the temptation is there!) hold off until you can pull them aside and discuss with them privately.

No one likes to lose face, if they know you’re not someone who puts up big challenges when their bosses are around, you’re building a strong working alliance.

  1. Show interest

It’s not always possible or preferable to be friends with your boss – but that shouldn’t stop you from being friendly. If you know it’s a special occasion or there’s something noteworthy happening for them outside of work – ask them about it.

Whether you’re small business owner or a top-ranking CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you’re still a human who for the most part will enjoy interaction with others. As long as you’ve sussed out how and when to communicate with your boss, some polite and interested conversation will go a long way.

  1. Offer your help and support

Although delegation is desirable skill for managers everywhere – it doesn’t mean they’ve got that skilled really dialled in! There are millions (no exaggeration) of people who don’t like to delegate – whether that’s because they feel they’ll do a better job or they just feel like they’re putting on you to ask.

There are few people who turn down the offer of support when the going is getting tough – if you’re the one asking then you’re scoring metaphorical gold-stars in the professional relationship stakes!

  1. Under-promise, over-deliver

When your manager’s asking you when you’ll have a report back to them – it can be tempting to dutifully reply with “lunchtime!” even though you know that’s going to involve living in an imaginary world where the phone doesn’t ring, emails don’t exist and your office has no distractions.

Rather than over promising then falling short – give a longer timescale than you truly anticipate. By doing so you’re setting the bar over which you’ve got to jump – and you can’t lose. Deliver on time and you’re recognised as someone who does what they say they’ll do – and if by some miracle you do get it done by lunchtime, you get to be the person who’s exceeding expectations…

Why So Many Fail at Affiliate Marketing

When it comes to making money online, one of the most popular avenues is affiliate marketing, whether you have created a blog focusing on providing the best electric bike reviews, or simply sending people to a voucher site. With so much opportunity available, it’s not unusual to see many people try their hand at affiliate marketing. Just as there is success, there can also be failures. While there is always an element of risk in any business venture, these risks can be minimised by ensuring that we’re using the correct procedures always. The reason why so many fall the first hurdle when it comes to affiliate marketing is due to the following reasons.

Not Having a Plan

When you get started in affiliate marketing, it’s understandable that you want to get started sooner rather than later. However, jumping in head first could mean that we’re not getting the results we’re looking for. Many people claim that affiliate marketing is a waste of time because they don’t see the desired results.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, you only get out what you put in. As such, you need to ensure you have a plan when it comes to reaching your goals. While you can start out on a shoestring, there will be times when you must invest more if you’re hoping to achieve more sales conversions. Planning in advance will ensure that you’re aware of your goals and what will be needed to achieve these goals.

Relying on One Platform

If we’re used to a certain platform, then it’s easy to assume that we’re best suited to using this one platform alone. While we should be comfortable with the tools we use to promote goods and services, we may need to learn a few new skills to keep up in the industry. The evolving of technology means that the can be series of changes and trends that occur. If we’re not able to contend with these, then it’s likely we’ll lose traction as a result.

If we’re using social media platforms, then we need to understand how much popularity each platform has. While different platforms will be used for different products, we shouldn’t rely on one platform solely because we’re more comfortable with it.

Not Investing Enough Time

One of the most important factors of affiliate marketing is an investment of time. This could be time being invested into research, or the task itself. If we’re looking to be an affiliate marketer for the long-term, then it will involve a lot of work, and trying to take shortcuts will only hinder our progress.

That isn’t to say that your job can’t be made easier. There are several online tools available that look to make your marketing efforts that little bit easier. This includes social media software that helps with the timing of your posts, as well as keyword research tools that helps you target the relevant keywords. Investing in such tools means that you can automate several processes without losing that personal touch.

Overcomplicating the Process

When it comes to making money online, some will state that it’s the easiest thing ever, while others will look to complicate the process. While there are factors that need consideration in relation to affiliate marketing, it’s only as complicated as you make it.

If you approach affiliate marketing head on without preparation, then the process can be more complex, as you have no guidance or plan in place to help ascertain what goals are being met, and what practices are falling by the wayside. Similarly, we may be employing the use of several online tools that are cancelling each other out.

When embracing the affiliate marketing sector, we should be treating it like any other business. This means having a plan in place, and then putting this plan into action.

If you’re struggling with certain aspects of the affiliate program, then you may be able to find the assistance from the company direct. Many will offer a point of contact for any queries you may have, and some even have a forum where you can converse with other affiliate marketers and share tips and advice.

Undervaluing Online Relationships

If you maintain a blog, and have built a heavy influx of traffic, then this is half the battle won. However, it can be tempting to sway visitors who don’t make a purchase within the first few visits. Should you receive any questions or queries, you should approach them all in the same manner, regardless of whether they’re a repeat customer, or just someone that frequents the blog. Different people purchase items in different ways, so never assume that an online relationship has no value. Even if there’s not a monetary return, there may be other benefits to maintaining healthy online relationships, such as cross-promotion.

There’s plenty that can go wrong with affiliate marketing, but there are many of benefits if you’re able to sidestep the potential pitfalls associated with affiliate marketing.

Improve ecommerce site accessibility and improve conversions

Accessibility is something that isn’t given an awful lot of thought when it comes to web design, with the general consensus being that if somebody can access the internet then they can successfully navigate a web page / site. This is true for the most part, except in those cases where the website is just poorly designed. That being said, it isn’t always the case. There are plenty of people that may have difficulty getting around a website, and various reasons due to disabilities or age.

There are around 13 million disabled people living in the UK, and almost 57 million in the US. These are the two largest markets in the English speaking world, and their disabled constituents are being largely ignored by online stores.

Roughly 15% percent of the global population has a disability of some kind or other, and that is a lot of people that you could potentially be barring access to your ecommerce store. Is your business so successful that it can safely ignore roughly 1 billion people? No, thought not.

With this in mind we had a chat with team at SM Design Studio who are specialists in eCommerce website design, here is what they had to say.

Should you embrace accessibility?

The two largest organisations in the world, dedicated to setting and disseminating web standards, already actively advocate website accessibility and have been doing so since the 1990s. Who do we mean? The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and WebAIM, from Utah State University.

For over two decades, the two largest and most influential web standards organisations have been telling the digital community that this needs to be happening, and yet most companies don’t give it a second thought.

We live in a world of increasing inclusivity, as we should, and it’s high time this extended to websites. Altruism aside however, there are other reasons to allow as many people as possible access to your ecommerce store. The bigger of these reasons, and one that no company can ignore, is that increased traffic ultimately leads to increased sales.

To make things easier, both organisations have resources that can help web designers build web designers build websites that are accessible by everybody. The W3C provides extensive WCAG 2.0 documentation that describes Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 requirements and how to meet them.

WebAIM on the other hand, have a ‘section 508’ checklist that designers and developers will also find helpful.

Improving accessibility to boost profits may seem a little hard faced and cynical, but profits are not the only motivators. Actual good can come of moves like this and can make life a lot easier for many people around the world.

As an example, let us consider a blind person that lives alone. This person may need to make a purchase, and life would be so much simpler if they could do it online from the very literal safety of their own home. If the site they wish to make the purchase from is not accessible for this person, they will either have to try and find a site that can help them or they will simply have to go to a physical store.

If the item they wanted to purchase is a specialist item only available online, or is not available locally, then what? Is it right or fair that a section of society is effectively cut off from goods and services simply because of an accessibility issue? Of course not.

Naturally, as a business, the first consideration will be the loss of custom and if making accessibility improvements boosts profits and helps the end user then so much the better, don’t you think?

Providing for the blind and visually impaired

If you read the above and thought, “well, there isn’t much that can be done to make a site more accessible for a blind or visually impaired person”, you may be surprised to learn that there is a surprising amount that can be done.

Here are a selection of common problems that a blind person can encounter when trying to make use of the services offered by a particular website.

Screen readers don’t work as they should

Screen reader software relies on the website being visited to be fully compatible with the browser being used. This software allows the blind and visually impaired to either have text read allowed via a speech synthesizer or, alternatively, a braille enabled display.

The solution to this problem, for the site designer, is fairly straightforward and simply requires that site is designed to be fully compatible with as many mainstream browsers as possible.

Specially built browsers are outdated compared with ‘regular’ browsers

This becomes a problem because the majority of websites make use of many features of modern browsers to best display their wares. Trouble is, browsers that are specially made with the visually impaired in mind are quite a way behind the technological abilities of more mainstream browsers. The upshot of this is that content is not displayed properly, if at all.

A fix for this problem is quite simple, but require a little work. Most websites are responsive these days, and if they aren’t they should be, so adding support for these specially built browsers is an added ‘feature’ that should be considered. When the site script detects the use of one of these browsers, certain features could be toned down or replaced with something a little more user friendly for the visually impaired.

Neither of these challenges pose a particular problem for developers, so if a designer wanted to implement these steps then they could do so quite easily.

When you consider that the vast majority of sites don’t consider even the simplest of implementations, as outlined above, any designer that does is going to be flavour of the month as far as the site owner is concerned when those traffic stats start to ramp up.

Accessibility improvements could even form a part of an ecommerce site’s marketing strategy, to really gain an edge on the competition. Not only will the site designer benefit, but the store owner will too and the end user, the one that will really feel the benefit, goes away feeling satisfied and valued – as they should be.

Great ways to spend $1,000 that don’t involve a cellphone

If you were to jump on Google or Bing (yes, Bing) and enter “iPhone X” you will be inundated with page, after page of (likely) unwanted advice on exactly how you can pre-order the new iPhone so you can have the latest iteration in your hands as quickly as possible after launch. Forget the fact that we know have access to very nearly the sum of human knowledge in our hands, computers smaller than a child’s shoe that are infinitely more powerful than their predecessors that took up entire rooms, and all we use them for is viewing cat videos.

Why are that many search results even warranted? People have a sense of urgency over this phone because Apple are expected to struggle to keep up with demand, which is kind of ironic, as millions are expected to snap up a cat video player that has a starting price of $999, and when sales tax is applied that figure could easily well into the 4 figures.

While you are camping outside the store, freezing cold and possibly in the pouring rain, to buy something else that nobody really needs, it may be worth thinking how that $1,000 could be much better spent on debt reduction, emergencies and retirement plans.

Help eliminate your debt

The average family in the United States has $8,377 credit card debts, with the average balance on a student loan debt being $34,144. Instead of throwing 4 figures at a cell phone, what if you spent it on lowering some of that lingering debt? You may also want to consider looking at some of the best private student loans while you’re at it too, and try and avoid that kind of student debt in the first place.

Let’s say you have a credit card debt of $8,000. If you were to make minimum payments of 3%, at a standard interest rate of %15, it is going to take you exactly 172 months, or 14 years and 3 months, to fully pay off that debt. You will also have paid out $5,370 in interest fees. Now let’s say that you took the $1,000 away from Apple and put it toward your credit card debt instead, and continued to repay at the amounts stated above. You would be debt free 8 months sooner, and pay $714 less in interest.

That new emoji sharing device isn’t looking like such great value anymore, is it if indeed it ever did look like great value for money. New gadgets are great and everything, but there are more important things to think about.

Save up for your retirement

No phone is going to last until retirement, and with iPhone’s track record of easily broken screens, it may not even see out the year. However, if you took that money and invested it instead, in a low-cost ETF then you may see some actual value-for-money returns later.

If at the age of 30 right now, you would earn returns on that investment worth, roughly, 6% every year. If you kept that grand in there until you hit the age of 65, it would be worth $7,686.09. Double your investment and you are looking at a significant amount of money indeed. In fact, if you were to invest $1,000 every year, instead of buying something you quite obviously have no need of, then you would be looking at savings in excess of $121,000 when you retire.

Get an emergency fund started

Over half of families in the United States have under $500 stashed away in case of emergency. Putting the iCash into a bank account, and leaving it there, means that you will be prepared the next time that your car breaks down, there’s a burst pipe, your furnace packs up or the washing machine goes on strike. None of these things are cheap to fix, and having that money set aside is going to pull you out of a tight spot.

An emergency fund such as this will not only save you money, by removing the need to break out a credit card or take out a loan, but it will also provide you with peace of mind because you will know that their is a buffer to cushion the blow should something go wrong. It is though that an emergency fund should represent around 3 to 6 months of all household expenses, $1,000 is an excellent start and is infinitely better than it not being there at all.

So, what should you do?

In the end, it is entirely your decision whether you get the new iPhone or not, whether it is worth being in a debt 8 months longer, or if it is worth losing over $6,000 in interest over the next few decades. Only you can decide, only you can make that call. What is important, however, is that you understand the very real costs that come part and parcel of spending so much money on anything that is going to be obsolete 12 months later, with its manufacturer trying to force yet another unneeded version of it on you when that does happen.

You have the option of going through life with the latest phone, that’s your right if you have the money to spend, but it may well come at the cost of a greatly reduced retirement fund which is going to have a tangible impact on your future happiness – regardless of how sweet that phone looks. Or the one after it.

Great Ways to Earn Money If You’re out Of Work Due To Injury

Suffering a personal injury can affect people in many ways, the effects it will have on your physical and mental health are the most important but there is one other problem that many people don’t like to think about.

The financial impact a personal injury can bring can vary widely but while many people who suffer a personal injury will be able to claim compensation through this website.  In the meantime how will you earn money? That’s not a question that many people like to think about or will even consider but it is important.

If you have only suffered a minor injury or have recovered sufficiently from a more serious one then there are many ways you can still earn money while you’re out of work.

Now, of course, you should only do this if you feel up to it but if you do and you feel fit enough to work there is a variety of ways you can earn money. As long as you don’t exert yourself and work at a comfortable pace the methods we’ve outlined below can help you get active again.

Many people find working again improves their mood and mental health after suffering a personal injury and as a bonus, it will also help lessen the financial impact of being out of work.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn money while you’re out of work due to a personal injury in more detail below.

Freelance Transcription

All kinds of businesses and professionals require transcription services and while it’s not the most exciting job in the world many people do actually find transcription relaxing. Another perk of transcription is that it’s actually easy to pick up and learn, so if you don’t have any experience with transcription don’t worry.

All you need is a laptop or if you feel comfortable enough to sit at a desk then you can use a desktop computer and a program like Microsoft Word and you’re good to go. Freelance transcription is a great way to make some extra income while you’re out of work and there is a number of freelance sites you can use.

Freelance Writing

Blog writing is another much in demand freelance service and you can quickly find work using freelance websites like Upwork or Peopleperhour as well as by offering your services through sites like Gumtree and Craigslist. If you have experience writing, then this can be a great creative outlet for you while you recover.

But don’t worry if you’ve never written blogs or articles before because freelance writing comes in many forms. You could write reports, scripts, presentations or just general copy. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to freelance writing and with a laptop, you can do it from the comfort of your bed.

Freelance Photo/ Video Editing

This is a bit more of a specialist service but if you have experience with photograph and video editing software then by offering freelance editing services you can continue practicing your skills while you recover. Even if you only have some basic experience with editing you could still make some money and help lessen the financial impact of a personal injury.

Freelance Art/ Graphic Design

Creating art can very therapeutic and it’s also a great way to earn some extra income after you’ve been injured. Whether it’s drawing, painting or graphic design there’s a variety of ways freelance artists can make money online.

Logo and poster design, in particular, are very popular so if you have an artistic streak then join some freelance sites because you will probably find some clients quite easily.

Selling Online

Not all the ways you can earn money when you’re out of work due to a personal injury involve freelancing. One of the most popular ways to earn money and help boost your finances after suffering an injury is to sell things online.

If you have any clothes that are just sitting in your wardrobe or some video games, you no longer want to play you can earn plenty of money selling them online. There’s a number of ways you can go about doing this you can use sites like eBay or Amazon or even join social media shopping groups to sell directly to your local area.

If you’re the creative type then you could also create your own goods to sell on online, Etsy is the perfect site for this and as a bonus, and you’ll get to continue your hobbies as you work. Whether it’s sewing, knitting, painting or anything else if you can make crafts you can probably make money.

Renting A Room

If you have space and are able to then renting a room to people through websites like Airbnb can be a great way to make some extra income. The location you live in will play a big part in this, if you live in a big city or popular tourist destination then renting a room will be easier and you will earn more money.

Taking Surveys Online

OK, taking surveys is never going to be much fun, is it? But it certainly becomes more appealing when you get paid for it doesn’t it? There are a number of websites you can use to find surveys and sites like Reddit have their own forums dedicated to it.

Mysurvey.com is one of the most popular websites to use and it even as its own app you can use as well. So, if you’re not very mobile and don’t feel up to more strenuous activity then staying in bed with your laptop, tablet or smartphone while you fill out a few surveys per day can be a great way to make yourself some extra money.

So that’s a selection of ways you can make money online, it will lessen the financial impact of suffering a personal injury but more importantly also help improve your mood and mental health. However, make sure you don’t do too much and ensure you take enough time to recover.

 

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