Category Archives: IT Industry

How to Use an eGift Card and Stay Safe

Buying gifts can be a wonderful way to express gratitude or appreciation for another person. But when you don’t know the recipient very well, it can be a problem. Putting thought into your gift and getting something that will be liked and used is great, but sometimes you don’t have a clue where to begin. Wrong gifts can create an awkward situation. eGift cards are the perfect solution – that way the recipient can choose something they will truly enjoy. But is it safe to use eGift cards? Here are some tips on how to use them without compromising your security.

Buy from Legit Sources

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how easy it is sometimes to be lured by fake offers. If an offer seems too good to be true, believe your instincts. Whether you are buying or receiving the card, only do so if it comes from a trustworthy, reputable site. Furthermore, there are some regions that are seen as more reliable (less fraudulent) than others, which is why, for instance, issuing a co-branded prepaid card in Hong Kong, may make it somewhat more credible. If you receive a text or email saying you got an eGift card, make sure that the link actually leads to the official online store of the company in question. Check carefully to see whether there are any spelling mistakes in the URL – if there are, it’s likely a fake. The gift buyer should always have the courtesy to let the recipient know they got them a card, and let them know which store it is from.

Don’t Brag Online

Taking pictures of everything in our lives and posting them on social media is such an ingrained part of our daily lives that we sometimes forget to use common sense. Posting a picture of your eGift card is a big no-no. By doing this, you are essentially giving everyone all the information they need to use your card. Beware strangers lurking over your shoulder too, don’t lend other people your phone, or leave it lying around if it’s not locked with a complex PIN number. Basically, an eGift card is just like cash, and you should treat it as such. You wouldn’t leave your wallet unattended, so don’t leave your card information either. Cybercrime is very much real, but it is also something that can be avoided if you act reasonably.

Don’t Use Shady Apps

When it comes to apps you can use for eGift cards, it’s best to stay on the safe side. Your best bet is to use official store apps. The process is simple: you create an account on the official website of the store, then download their app and log in with your account username and password. After that, you can use the app to make your purchase. The recipient of your gift will typically receive a notification email with a barcode. Official apps are also the safest way for recipients to save their cards. Alternatively, there are a few reputable apps that you can also use for storing the gifts, such as the Google Wallet, Apple’s Passbook, and the Gyft mobile app. Wallets like the Google one and GoWallet have their own scam and fraud monitoring systems, which brings added safety. These security systems ensure that no transactions can be made without the owner’s authorization. If fraud is detected, the account is immediately suspended for the user’s protection.

The most important thing is to be vigilant and reasonable. In case your phone gets stolen, lost, or if you suspect it has been in any way compromised, it’s best to be prompt. You need to pause or suspend your account before the eGift card is redeemed. However, if you follow the few simple security rules we’ve mentioned, you will surely be able to enjoy giving and receiving gifts without any trouble at all.

Future-Proofing Digital Marketing of Your Website

One of the main traits of black-hat marketing lies in the fact that they prefer to exploit loopholes in the system in order to give one a competitive edge. The problem with this method lies in the fact that these techniques only work until the next patch, after which they become completely void. So, in order to future-proof your marketing and avoid the need to reinvent your entire digital marketing strategy after every algorithm update, you need to take the path of the white-hat. Here are several tips on how to do this most effectively.

1.      Quality content

The first thing you need to recognize is the fact that quality content brings you leads, followers and promotion. This is why one of your first decisions should be to make a blog and fill it with the above-mentioned quality content. If people like your content, they’ll use it as a reference in their article which will generate backlinks. People on social media are going to share it and it will drastically increase your reach. Aside from this, quality content will make people come back for more, which means that they’ll turn into return visitors, perhaps even return customers, at one point.

2.      SEO

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that the visibility of your website and your content affects its maximum potential reach at any moment. In fact, about 95 percent of all searches end on the first page, while about 33 percent of people click on the first link that pops up. This is why you have to get to the top. This boost in your website’s SEO comes in two parts, on-site and off-site optimization. While it’s preferable to hire an expert to deal with your SEO, you would be surprised at just how much you can achieve through do it yourself SEO, provided that you have the right platform on your side.

3.      Become active on social networks

It’s completely natural for your business to be represented on social networks in 2018, however, in order to achieve your goals, you need to be as active as possible. Try posting something every day, even if it’s not original content. This will remind your vast audience that you’re still out there. Remember, your competitors won’t just sit idly, which is why you shouldn’t do this either. It would also be smart to do some research on the optimal posting time on various networks so that you get the maximum out of your online activity. The reason why this method will stand the test of time is due to the fact that social media only grow in prominence and influence with each passing day.

4.      Share other people’s work

You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours; this is one of the oldest rules of the business world. It transferred pretty well into the digital environment, as well. This is also what makes it so ideal for our list, seeing as how no matter what change happens in Google’s algorithm, the good old tit for tat strategy is bound to work. Nowadays, you can do this effortlessly by promoting other people’s content, commenting on them and promoting their business, in general. Fortunately, this method also transfers well into most other types of digital marketing, as well.

5.      Google local business

Another trend that we see, which is bound to pick up its pace in the future is one of the local registries. People looking for a local business are more likely to turn towards a platform like Yelp or at least look for an answer in the Google Local Business directory. There are other such lists that you need to get your website and business on, so don’t hesitate to look for them on your own.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, in order to understand the direction that you should take, you need to understand goals and objectives and Google as a company. Their main goal, since the very beginning, is a better user experience, which means that every time you take a step in this direction, you’re aligning your website with their agenda. This inevitably leads to future-proofing of your business. It really is that simple.

5 Tips to Organize a Memorable Business Trip

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee assigned to a client abroad, things can get rather monotonous when the time comes for you to represent your company in your official capacity in a different city or country. From the hours you’ll spend at the airport, all the way to long meetings, it takes effort and dedication to leave the right impression, but also to make the most of your journey. So, why not do it with style and enjoy as much as you possibly can, since that will boost your productivity?

Let’s see how you can leave stress out of the equation, simplify your time management and organization, and plan a memorable trip that will ultimately boost your business!

1.      Plan and book ahead

Whether it’s your responsibility, or that of your company, to pay for your airplane tickets as well as accommodation, think in early-bird terms. The sooner you start looking for the best, most affordable, as well as suitable stays and travel options, the better your chances are of finding what you need at fair prices.

That also means you won’t have to squeeze your flight to be too close to your key meeting, thus risking you miss the event altogether in case your flight is cancelled or delayed. Always plan to arrive a day early, so that you can prepare in the comfort of your hotel room, and rest before the big event.

2.      Look for reliable services

From the moment you arrive until the final moment of your business trip, you will need to rely on a whole range of different services that will either make your stay smooth or turn it into chaos. For example, if you are expected to take your clients or business partners to a dinner, you should look into restaurants that have suitable menus – perhaps there’s a vegan among your guests.

Then again, a part of your professional image entails arriving everywhere on time, and in style. That is why booking corporate cars in Sydney and other major cities has become a staple of business travel, as it combines convenience and luxury with reliability. This is equally important if you’re not traveling alone, but with a team, and relying on the local public transport may result in late arrivals and other inconveniences.

3.      Stick to carry-on

If possible, it’s best to be a minimalist traveler who can pack all of their essentials into a single bag. This is especially wise if you’re going on a short trip for only a day or two, where you’ll need only a single business attire and few other basics for grooming and style.

This means you won’t have to worry about any lost luggage or think about transferring your heavy bags to the hotel in case of bad weather.

4.      Limit your workload

The leitmotiv of your entire trip is business, so there’s no need to bring all of your daily chores with you if you can delegate to others at the home office. It’s important that you can focus on the key objective of your journey, and plan for achieving your goals without worrying about other, less relevant issues.

Make sure that your colleagues have all they need to take care of your business back home, while you either filter your calls and emails or postpone responding to them for the duration of your trip. There’s no need to add more stress to your trip since traveling can be enough taxing as it is.

5.      Make time for fun

If you have planned for your trip in time, booked the right accommodation in the best location for your needs, then you will notice a number of useful gaps in your itinerary that are just waiting to be filled with a fun, rewarding experience!

Spending a few hours exploring a new city will give you plenty to talk about with your clients, it will help you clear your mind for the important meetings, and serve as a stress detox. Ultimately, adding some fun time will help you present yourself in the best possible light even during professional events.

Top 4 Tips for Success in E-commerce

While selling on platforms like eBay or Amazon may seem like the easier way, creating your own e-commerce website is always a preferable option. Apart from the obvious reason of cutting out the middleman, you are also branding your business and providing your products with more legitimacy. Still, just making an e-store is not enough for success. In order to get there, you need to learn the rules of the game. With this in mind, here are top four tips that can ensure your e-commerce platform is on the right path from day one.

1.      Don’t despair over high shopping cart abandonment

A lot of people in the e-commerce business obsess about the issue of shopping cart abandonment.  However, you should be aware that about 17 percent of all people who leave your store are just conducting research and plan to return at a later date. Dismissing all of them simply because they left without making a purchase is a preposterous concept, which sometimes makes people eager to fix problems that aren’t there in the first place.

On the other hand, not a single person from these 17 percent will return if they find a better offer elsewhere. In order to make them come back, you need to make sure that A) your prices are competitive and B) you offer special shipping offers. These two ideas alone can be enough to propel you to the very forefront of the industry.

2.      Focus on the visual

Think about traditional resale for a moment. Even with live-testing and showcasing, the only way for you to check the quality of the product is to buy it and test it yourself. So, how do people try to evaluate which product is the better quality one? Well, sometimes they look at the brand name, other times, they read reviews. Some people look at the price, assuming that the more expensive product is always of higher quality. In most cases, however, the product that looks better tends to be evaluated as the superior one. Therefore, you need to focus on the visuals.

For an e-store, this means creating quality photography and knowing how to present your products in the best way possible. Needless to say, for this, you need someone who is both an artist and a marketer. You would be surprised at just how much of a difference flatlay photography can make for the appeal of your products. On the other hand, when selling a clothing item, you can achieve much more with the ghost mannequin technique. It’s all about creating a context.

3.      Be transparent about your prices

Even though tricking people by making your prices appear lower might compel them to make a purchase, you can achieve so much more by being transparent about your prices. One of the tactics that often gets used by e-commerce retailers is showing the price without the tax and the cost of shipping. Earlier on, we talked about the shopping cart abandonment rate. Well, about 25 percent of all people who leave your store without making a purchase do so over an unexpected shipping cost.

Being transparent about your prices might lose you some one-time patrons, however, it also stands to earn you some repeat customers. Price transparency boosts your credibility and even increases the overall user experience, and in turn, this causes your audience to come back at a more consistent rate. Seeing as how 40 percent of all your profit is a result of purchases made by only 8 percent of your regulars, this is definitely an idea you shouldn’t underestimate.

4.      M-commerce is the future

Finally, you need to keep in mind that mobile users are currently the fastest growing demographic online and, as such, should never be forgotten or neglected. In fact, an average adult spends about 59 percent of their total time online on their phone. Therefore, make sure that your platform is optimized for mobile browsing and shopping. In fact, the simpler the checkout system is, the more appeal your e-commerce website has for your audience.

Conclusion

While having a great product might provide you with a bit smoother start, you need to keep in mind that your price, retail infrastructure and your ability to showcase what you’ve got might carry more weight than the quality of the product itself. Furthermore, you need to learn to accept that sometimes, bad metrics (such as high shopping cart abandonment rate) do not necessarily mean that your business is not on the right track.

How to Make Your Telecommuting Efforts Efficient with These 5 Tech Tools

Nowadays, technology has allowed various businesses to expand their reach and employ workers from all over the world. That means that companies are no longer limited to their location, country or even continent for that matter. Instead, they can look for top talents and employees most suited for their company culture across the globe. However, managing remote workers isn’t an easy task.

There are many challenges to overcome, such as different locations, time zones and many more, in order to ensure that your remote teams are efficient and that they feel like a valuable part of your company. Luckily, technology provides aid yet again. There are plenty of tools out there designed to improve the efficiency of telecommuting efforts for businesses that have remote offices and employees. The key is in finding the tools that suit your needs best. Here are a few tech tools that will help you improve your telecommuting efforts.

Project management

Project management tools are simply essential for every organization that has a remote workforce. Basically, these tools help gather everyone together on a single platform, as well as improve collaboration and communication company-wide. Tools, such as Basecamp, Trello, Active Collab and others help you assign specific tasks to different teams or individuals and set clear deadlines.

What’s more, each member of your organization can have a better understanding of the scope of the project with a project management tool. In addition, your employees can communicate and share information, while you monitor their progress.

Employee monitoring

Tracking your employee activity and productivity isn’t easy even when everyone is in the same office building, let alone when they’re scattered across the world. However, monitoring your employees is important, in order to ensure that everyone is doing their job and that they’re right on schedule.

With an employee monitoring solution, such as WorkPuls, you can track when your employees come to work and when do they leave, as well as track how productive they are during working hours. Moreover, you can track their time spent on individual tasks and have an insight into the applications they are using. You can even schedule screenshots regularly to effectively monitor your employees’ progress.

Communication

Establishing an effective line of communication with your remote workers is of the utmost importance. If you don’t communicate with your employees, there’s no way to encourage them to be more productive, drive engagement with your workers or know what kind of issues they might be facing. Furthermore, employees need to be able to communicate with each other and with managers as well.

That way, no important information will be lost and everyone can share data, as well as simply chat in order to feel cozier. For instance, Slack is a good example of a communication tool. It allows employees to chat in real time and you can set up channels for every team. Most importantly, Slack gives away a feeling of being present in the office, which is important for remote employees’ morale.

Video conferencing

It’s crucial to have face-to-face time with your remote workers. The main reason is that it prevents them from feeling isolated from the rest of the company and it’s a good way to improve their motivation, as well as their productivity. Moreover, your remote employees can attend meetings as if they were actually present in the office.

That’s why it’s important to establish means for good video conferencing. Tools, such as Skype and Google Hangouts can be invaluable for live video communications. After all, it’s important to meet up with your remote workers in person, so to speak, and allow them to meet the rest of the team as well. It helps build relationships and it also improves teamwork.

File sharing and storage

One of the most important things you need to take care of is ensure both your in-house and remote workers can store and share files and documents. Tools, such as Google Docs, Google Drive and Google GSuite for businesses, are a perfect fit for organizations with a remote workforce.

If you have any of these, not only will your employees be able to work on the same file, but it will also be safely stored in the cloud, which means no more lost files or broken hard drive issues. What’s more, creating spreadsheets and important presentations is easier than ever. Also, your remote workers can effectively collaborate and share files no matter where they are.

Telecommuting is an important aspect of any business that employs remote workers. In order to make the best out of remote work, you have to ensure that communication and collaboration between employees and managers alike is it its best. That’s why you should utilize various tools to make remote work more seamless and your telecommuting efforts more efficient.

4 Simple Tips to Get Your Online Trading Business off the Ground

Every start is hard and when it comes to business, it can become incredibly risky. Sometimes, a single bad choice can result in you losing the money you’ve been saving for years, gained through a loan or acquired by selling an asset. This is why you shouldn’t venture into such an endeavor head first. With this in mind and without further ado, here are four simple tips that will help you get your online trading business off the ground while exposing you to as little risk as possible.

1.     Position or day trading

The first major choice you will have to make as a beginner online trader is the question of whether to become a position or day trader. The major difference here lies in the fact that day traders make massive decisions based on the daily fluctuations on the market, while position traders invest their money and wait for weeks or months in order to make a sale. Needless to say, while both of these styles are completely legitimate, for a beginner, day trading might be a better choice, seeing as how it gives more opportunities to learn right away.

2.     Trading and investing are not one and the same thing

Another thing that every ambitious trader needs to learn in time is that investing and trading are not one and the same thing. A lot of people may confuse position trading with investing but even here, there is a massive discrepancy in long-term expectations. You see, with investments, you want to create a passive stream of income, which is why most investors prefer to diversify their investments. On the other hand, online traders only pick those stocks, commodities and currencies they believe will become more valuable in the nearest future.

3.     The right digital tools can make all the difference

The next thing you should keep in mind is the fact that with the right digital tools on your side, you can make a huge difference. Nonetheless, this means that you have to look for the right online forex broker and a platform that is capable of providing several important features. Needless to say, your first priorities are some technical issues like latency and execution. After all, you don’t want to make the same purchase twice only because the platform lagged and failed to register your first order right away. Apart from this, you might want to look for a platform offering a demo trial, or at least one that has been covered by numerous reviews.

4.     Investing more than you’re willing to lose is bad practice

Finally, with the right attitude and a cunning use of stop-loss order, you can still make money even if most of your trades are unsuccessful. For this, you would have to set your stop-loss order low (under 1 or 2 percent of your total net worth) and your stop-gain at a decent percentage (6 percent is more than reasonable). While it may appear that setting these orders here may be a bit restricting, keep in mind that you’re not in this line of work for the thrill but for profits. This is also why you should never invest more than you’re willing to lose, hoping that you could get rich overnight.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, one of the reasons why online trading is so popular is due to the fact that it allows you to set the game on your own terms. Different styles, strategies and commodities customize your trading experience to the extent where you won’t even be able to recognize the game. So, by adhering to these four simple principles, you will be able to adjust the game to your own needs and habits. Keep in mind, however, that it’s your money that’s at stake, which is why safety should be your No. 1 concern.

Should you Apply for Jobs at IT Startups?

Working for an ITstartup sounds attractive. Their job descriptions usually include things like “room for rapid improvement” and “fun and casual work environment”. Joining a startup can be a smart, fun, or even a life-changing move, but not all startups have the budgets or ambiance of large tech companies, nor they are run by genius visionaries. However, a new business can offer a great opportunity to learn everything about building a company from the ground up.

In many cases, working for a startup means hard work with less pay, but it can eventually pay off handsomely. It’s no secret that it involves a lot of risk, because 3 out of 4 startups fail, according to the Wall Street Journal. But even if your startup fails, you can still gain valuable skills and experience to add to your resume. Are you thinking of applying for a job at a startup? Let’s balance out all the pros and cons related to working in such young companies.

1. Are you comfortable with change?

Developed companies have well-defined procedures and processes, as well as tens and hundreds of employees that repeat the same actions every day. IT startups, on the other hand, are able and prone to make quick changes. They frequently change things from job titles to reporting structures to project plans. Some startups move their offices sever times in a few months. If you’re a type of person that needs to get acclimated to the place of work, these constant changes can be frustrating, but if you want to succeed in a startup environment, you should be afraid of the chaos. You have to embrace it. IT startups aren’t afraid of personnel shake-ups and have their eye on picking motivated, young professionals.

2. Skills and experience

Startups differ from large corporations because there are no specific job descriptions that can limit one’s duties, requiring from you to adapt and move between sets of duties. If you’re not intimidated by the startup “sink-or-swim” attitude, then this can be a wonderful opportunity for you to gain various valuable skills. Due to frequent change in job descriptions and assignments, you’ll wear a number of shoes and learn things on the fly. If things don’t work out, you’ll have added things to your resume to make it more impressive.

Working at a startup also gives chances to be a part of projects you might not get near to at another company. These projects are often high risk, but high reward, affecting the startup’s overall success. Since the entire startup culture is focused on fast growth and success, you’ll learn new skills fast. You’ll learn to do different jobs, so expect to take on more than what you were hired to do. The advantage of taking on multiple positions is learning things much faster than you would in any corporate position. In case your startup succeeds, the payout can be huge in the end.

3. Work-life balance

What makes most people stressed, when it comes to their work life, is the inability to achieve a good work-life balance. The startup culture is often presented as laid-back and relaxed, with people riding scooters to work where they’re awaited by positive and good-humored colleagues and a cup of good coffee on their tables. The truth is, startups need people that are passionate about seeing a product/service come to life, which often means working odd or long hours. Every individual is expected to be dedicated, without the assurance that they’ll have their jobs for years to come, which is not seen at a big business or corporation. The long-term success of your startup can greatly depend on each individual employee’s hard work.

Startups are quick to hire and quick to fire, so working for a startup is probably not the best choice for you if you’re looking for long-term stability. In case you are looking for something more stable, you might be better off at an established company in a stable industry, such as Youi.

However, startups are fast-evolving and dynamic work environments that value initiative, which is great for personal growth. It’s the place for all those who want to excel, grow, and find out that they’re best at.

IT startups are filled with people who are willing to have dinner while working on a project and go the extra mile, working late nights, weekends or odd hours. If you thought that you were spending a lot of time working when employed at another company, it’s nothing compared to the work you have to put in when building a startup from scratch.

4. Benefits and salary

The workload may be massive, but at least the payout isn’t huge. Hmm, wait a minute. If you don’t get paid enough for such work, why should you consider applying for a job at a startup? Money is often tight because startups are working in order to get funding. This prevents them from paying employees competitive salaries that other companies are paying to their employees. Many startups manage to counterbalance the lack of benefits and potentially low pay with different perks. For example, some startups may offer free meals and lunches, the option to work remotely from your home, or an open leave policy. On the other hand, benefits can be more abstract, and come from the satisfaction felt after a job well done.

Startups combat low salaries by offering benefits that are more intangible, such as a piece of equity in the company or the chance to build something from the ground up. Despite all these downsides, if the company goes well, there will be rewards to reap. For instance, startups often give their staff stock options early on, which will be valuable if the company takes off. If you were with the company from the beginning, there’s a potential to be promoted to a better position, which means you could become a company executive in just a few years. In businesses with a conventional hierarchy, this can’t be done that easily.

People working in startup companies are often very talented in their respective fields, and are there because they want to build something valuable. The startup becomes their life, turning a simple job into something more of a mission. Regardless of the fact that there are so many things they could do that offer better remuneration and security, they choose to do something they believe in. They take the risk and find it inspiring.

Startups aren’t for everyone. What you find as cons other person may see as pros. Before you make a move, evaluate where you see your future and what you want out of a company. A great number of startups fail, so the chances of success a low, but you’ll definitely walk away with more experience and skills that will help you find your next job.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

 

Spending your working hours in an office may involve your dream job. However, it can still be difficult to maintain productivity in such an environment, and even harder to boost your performance. Therefore, it’s important that you put some effort into your own mental and physical health as well as the way your working area makes you feel. The following tips may sound simple, or too good to be true, but they actually work wonders for improving your concentration and productivity at work.

1. Keep your desk tidy

Never let clutter take over your desk, working area or your desktop/laptop. In general, you want to make sure that everything you need for work is neatly organized in your drawers and your desk surface. The same goes for your icons and folders on your computer as well. When you have to go through a mess in order to find that one thing you need at that moment, your productivity is bound to drop. After all, this will break your focus. Moreover, clutter is known to increase stress, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

2. Organize your tasks

Has it ever happened that you simply forgot to tend to all the tasks you had planned for the day? If it has, and it affected your work performance at some point, it’s time you organized yourself better. In fact, this is nothing too difficult. You can take some time during the weekend to write out everything you need to get done during the following week. Of course, beside work-related tasks, include all your responsibilities outside of work that you can recall as well. You can write everything in your planner, or you can use post-it notes on a corkboard when you go to work on Monday. This is a great way to keep all your tasks in check and never forget what you have to do. What’s more, this will help you plan out your days properly, so that you have time for everything. It is definitely a sure way to improve performance.

3. Healthy lifestyle

You may not like hearing this, especially if you have to sit at a desk, in front of a computer for hours, but the undeniable truth is that a healthy lifestyle is key to maintaining and boosting productivity, as well as good mood. In that respect, adding fruits and veggies to your diet, ditching foods that are obviously not good for you, and exercising regularly is a must if you want to be up to the task of staying productive. Remember, even 5-10 minutes of regular physical activity is enough. There are also plenty of deskercises that you can try out while at work.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

Positive energy that will boost your productivity and overall performance is not the easiest thing to come by. Therefore, you have to create the perfect conditions for yourself in order to be able to enjoy your time at work. Together with décor, music can make a world of difference when it comes to focusing and putting more effort into the task at hand. With that in mind, make sure to find the tunes that work the best for you personally. Obviously, you mustn’t disturb other people, so make sure to get a pair of good-quality and comfy in-ear headphones that will help you relax, but also achieve the focus you want.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

5. Make your work space your own

Sterile and impersonal work environment is never going to boost your performance and productivity effectively. While it’s true that you don’t need plenty of knick-knacks and accessories lying around, as they will just make a mess and distract you from work, you should still try to make your work space your own. Stationery that you like, a photo of your loved ones, comfy seat cushion and a plant you find pleasant to look at can actually do wonders for how you approach work and handle all the tasks.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

In order to improve your work performance, it’s important to realize that work is not everything you’ve got. Don’t forget to take the time to relax and enjoy your hobbies outside of work as well, in order to feel accomplished, fulfilled and ready to make the most out of every day.

Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

No matter what kind of work you do, you should always aim at making the most of your workday and ending your day with a sense of accomplishment. However, a workday can easily spiral out of control and make you procrastinate. If you want to avoid this, you should try to do everything you can in order to increase your productivity at work. We came up with five ways for increasing productivity that might be exactly what you need.

Take regular breaks

There’s no need to say that sitting in front of the screen the entire day isn’t the best way to make sure you make the most of your time in the office. In fact, if you spend all of your work hours behind your desk, chances are you’ll start experiencing eyestrain and backache. And issues like this are only going to hurt your productivity. Therefore, make sure you take regular breaks and spend them away from your desk. You can use your breaks to talk to your co-workers or make that phone call you’ve been delaying for so long. Taking a walk around the building in order to keep your body moving and get some fresh air is also something you can’t go wrong with.

Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

Eliminate all the clutter

Nobody enjoys working behind a desk that’s full of things that rarely get any use. Not only that clutter can make it more difficult for you to focus on your work but it can also make you fear that you’ve skipped a meeting or missed an important deadline. Luckily, there are tons of things you can do to make your desk clutter-free. Firstly, you should try to make the most of your drawers. Move all the stuff you rarely use into one of your drawers and keep them there until you actually need them. You might also want to store all the contracts and other documents on a flash drive, instead of having a desk full of crumpled pieces of paper.

Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

Design your office carefully

Your office design is another thing that’s always going to affect your productivity at work. So, no matter if you’re working from home or in an office, you should try to create a place that will allow you to focus solely on your work. For example, you might want to put your desk next to a window so that you can take a look at the world outside your office from time to time. On top of that, you should also make sure your office is as comfy as possible. This means you’ll want to get a rug for your office and invest in an ergonomic office chair. Hanging a few motivational posters is also a great idea.

Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

Stop multitasking

People believe that if they multitask, they’ll be able to get more work done. However, tackling two tasks at the same time can actually do more harm than good. First of all, multitasking can actually slow you down. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Utah has shown that drivers who used their cell phones while driving took more time to reach their destination than those who were focused only on the road. Moreover, multitasking can also stress you out and only hurt your productivity. For example, a California-based study has shown that employees who don’t have constant email access tend to have lower heart rates and be less stressed out about their work.

Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

Invest in your career

One of the best ways to be more productive is to invest in your career. Today, there are so many online courses and seminars you can take that are going to help you become better at what you do. Of course, you don’t only have to aim at taking courses and seminars that are closely related to your niche. In fact, there are certain skills that can be quite helpful for people working in just any industry. For example, you might want to think about signing up for a foreign language class or a touch-typing course.

Follow these five ways and you’ll be guaranteed to get more work done. However, this doesn’t mean you should always keep looking for some innovative ways to increase your productivity at work.

 

Tech Tools to Boost Productivity in the Digital Environment

Tech Tools to Boost Productivity in the Digital Environment

A happy and stress-free worker is a productive and focused worker. Happy workers finish around 12% more work than unhappy ones, and it all comes from their better motivation. But, since motivation is influenced by wages, office culture and most of all good office optimization, you must concentrate on providing your workers with tools and gadgets that will boost their productivity and increase their motivation. Here are some of the best and most efficient productivity boosters in the digital environment today.

Dual monitors

One of the best investments for productivity boost in the digital environment is dual monitors. With dual monitors, a person can have more browsers displayed at the same time. This feature is particularly useful for programmers who work with code, designers and any sort of research scientists. It’s also practical for people who have to fill out various tables and forms or compare critical information. Dual monitors have many benefits and the worker will get a chance to make their work easier, faster and more comfortable.

Avoid distractions

The digital world is full of distractions everywhere you click. There’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, memes and all sorts of funny and interesting articles you can stumble upon that can take away the time from actual work. Some people decide to make separate Google accounts for home and work, while some opt for apps that block certain distracting sites. For instance, an app called Self-Control will block all sites you deem distracting forcing you to focus on work and tasks ahead.

Use collaboration apps

Make team communication much faster and easier by using collaboration apps. Apps such as Slack allow you to use a single service for all team communication that can be searched from anywhere at any time. When you combine Slack with other apps such as Asana, you’ll create an ultimate communication platform for your team. Asana allows your team to share, organize and plan tasks as well as track the progress of projects. It’s also possible to use it to create subtasks and assign them to members of your team. You can also combine Slack with Google Drive or Dropbox and eliminate all need to send documents to different individuals by sharing files in-app. These apps will make your team more efficient and more productive because they eliminate many unnecessary steps of traditional communication.

Tech Tools to Boost Productivity in the Digital Environment

Silent peripherals

No matter the size of the office and office culture, it’s a fact that workspaces can get a little loud. Many office workers complain that they are unable to focus because of all the chatting and clattering around them. Luckily, there’s an easy way to block and reduce the noise and make the office a more pleasant space. You can buy headphones for your employees and get silent keyboards and mice to further reduce the noise. When you combine those two, you’ll provide your workers with space that doesn’t destroy focus and provide constant distractions.

Tech Tools to Boost Productivity in the Digital Environment

Smart use of time

No matter how much people love their job, they usually tend to procrastinate with their tasks. Some tasks that can be finished in half an hour sometimes get indefinitely postponed thanks to procrastination. If you want to eliminate that problem in your office, you can try the Pomodoro technique. The tomato timer will divide your work time into 25-minute periods of intensive work combined with 5-minute breaks for stretching and eye recovery. This method prevents burnouts and the guilt that comes with procrastinating. Workers who use Pomodoro technique also take fewer sick days which saves money and makes work more efficient.

There are many great ways for you and your employees to be more productive in the digital environment. You can try some of these individually or combine them for the maximum effect. Your workers will be much more productive, motivated and happy, while you’ll save money and time you can later spend on rewarding your employees and even taking a day off.

 

Did Digital Kill the Traditional Marketing

The omnipresence of internet has sparked a lot of debates about the traditional media, making us wonder: Are the newspaper dead? Is there no more need for the printed books? And finally, did digital marketing defeat the traditional forms of advertising? It makes sense, advertising your product on the web is free or costs next to nothing and it gives you a chance to have a more personalized approach to marketing. However, that doesn’t have to mean that the old-school marketing doesn’t have anything to offer any more. In this article, we will try to determine the difference between the two, the benefits of each of them, and the possibilities of combining the two.

Did Digital Kill the Traditional Marketing

What is traditional marketing?

There are many methods of traditional marketing, and they include tangible advertisements, such as posters, brochures, flyers, business cards and print ads in magazines and newspaper. Commercials on radio and TV are also considered a form of traditional marketing. Additionally, promotional products, referrals, and reward programs can also be classified into this group.

What is digital marketing?

It is difficult to precisely define digital marketing since it grows and develops each day with the advancements of technology. Some examples of this new way of marketing are social media mentions (page, posts, games, etc.), websites, YouTube videos, blogging, as well as search engine optimization and banner ads. Digital marketing is currently more popular because it requires fewer investments.

The good sides of the old-school

Traditional marketing is still something that people are accustomed to, and that’s why they can easily understand and relate to it. This old-school marketing method enables businesses to reach a local audience with ease. Besides, the promotional materials can be kept for future reference, so you don’t have to google for company info every time you want to make a call.

The bad sides of the old-school

One of the primary flaws of the traditional marketing is that there is not enough interaction between the customers and the used medium. The medium is used merely to provide information without asking for feedback. Also, as we have already mentioned, these marketing materials can be very costly. And finally, it is very difficult, not to say virtually impossible, to measure the results of a marketing strategy which employs traditional marketing approach.

The good sides of the new kid in the block

Digital marketing allows you to target an international audience, as well as to tailor your campaign to specific properties, such as age, gender, location and interest. The audience has a say in receiving the product and they can also provide a meaningful feedback. It is cost-effective and the competition is less relentless. Above all, the results are immediately measurable.

The bad sides of the new kid in the block

Even though it seems like a DIY arena, digital marketing can fool you into thinking you can do everything on your own. However, given that online marketing includes a multitude of fields and potential strategies, that is virtually impossible. Fortunately, there are plenty of experienced expert companies, such as The Pipeline, to which you can outsource your marketing sector, at least until you get the hang of it.

Can they work together

In spite of being completely different, you shouldn’t be exclusive when it comes to these two methods of marketing; rather, always try to combine them. Since this is a mostly digital-based world, it makes sense to invest more in an online marketing campaign and use hard copy materials to support your online efforts or reach an audience which is not very tech-savvy (e.g. senior citizens). Also, there is one twist on the traditional marketing which rose in the ‘80s, but reached its true potential only today, and that is guerrilla marketing. Some of the biggest successes include UNICEF’s “Be a mom for a moment” campaign, IKEA’s “Everyday Fabulous” and The Sopranos taxi stunt.

Did Digital Kill the Traditional Marketing

There is no doubt that the world is changing and that we need to try to catch up. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will renounce everything we are used to. We don’t have to abandon the principles from the past, they just need to evolve and be complemented with innovative methods.

Learn How to Use and Exchange Digital Currencies

The most popular and well known digital currencies these days are Dash and Bitcoin. However, the focus of this text will be on Dash as it has a lot more advantages over all other digital currencies. In general, the simplest explanation is that Dash is digital money; you can trade and exchange it for products. It’s also a lot more secure and safer to use compared to other digital currencies. You may remember that Bitcoin has been really difficult to get and manage but the times they are a-changin’, so that’s no longer the case.

What makes Dash the best digital currency?

To put it simply, Dash is so popular precisely because you can spend it whenever and on whatever you want. Also, all transactions are private. In a way, Dash is the closest thing to cash even if we are talking about online spending. It’s an easy way to get what you want and need without leaving an obvious trace. In that sense, it’s very similar to cash transactions. Moreover, the payments can be confirmed instantly, which makes it almost impossible to become a victim of double-spending. Quite nifty isn’t it?

Why should you choose Dash over Bitcoin?

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Dash is an anonymous way to perform transactions online, and unfortunately, Bitcoin protocols are everything but that. This is why Dash has gained an incredible popularity over Bitcoin. Moreover, if you have ever used Bitcoin before, you know that the whole process is fairly complex; using Dash, on the other hand, is quite simple.

Dash wallet possibilities

To make the whole thing even more personal, the process of buying Dash involves the use of a Dash wallet. There are different wallets depending on whether you’re dealing with large sums of money or just trying it out for fun. In the first case, it’s recommended that you get a hardware wallet. This is the most secure way to store your online currency over a longer time period. In case you just want to try this digital currency out, Dash mobile and desktop wallets are the best options for you. There are several wallet applications for mobile use, as well as Dash wallet software designed specifically for the computer use. Check the feedback online as well as all the available functions of each wallet option in order to choose the one that suits your needs the best.

Ways to get Dash

There are several different ways to buy Dash. Now that you have your Dash wallet, you can get your Dash through a wire transfer. If you’re looking for the best cryptocurrency exchange options, definitely check out BitPanda, BTC-e, Kraken and AnyCoin Direct. You can also purchase Dash with cash! However, there are very few ATMs that actually have this feature, so this might be a bit trickier. WallofCoins is also a place that allows users to purchase Dash directly. Finally, you can also exchange any Bitcoin that you might have for Dash. Again, there are several exchange sites to choose from. Take a look at ShapeShift, Changelly, Poloniex and Bitfinex in addition to Kraken and BTC-e for a secure Bitcoin-to-Dash exchange.

Make sure you store your Dash

So, you have your Dash wallet installed and you’ve found a way to actually buy Dash coins in a manner that suits you the best. However, there’s also one extra step you have to do. Basically, never leave your Dash coins on the exchange place you used for the purchase. Your coins are not safe there, and you may regret your negligence later on. Make sure that you move all your Dash coins to the wallet you’re using as soon as you can. Only then can you consider your digital coins safe.

To sum up, using digital currency may seem too futuristic to some people, but the future is now. Dash allows you to buy whatever product or service you want quickly and efficiently, which makes it one of the most secure and private online transfers today.

10 Essential Tips and Tricks for Ecommerce Websites

The way people shop changed a lot in the last few years and that’s why each year we’re getting more and more web shops. Nowadays, you can buy practically anything online meaning there’s a lot of competition in the eCommerce business and every good tip matters for eCommerce website owners. Here are the top 10.

Have and use your USP

What sets you apart from your competitors and why would the customers choose you are two main questions to ask yourself. Once you do that, you’ll know your unique selling point (USP) and how to use it. Always keep the customer in mind – your products or services should benefit them, so that can become your most effective tool for advertising.

Provide security

Although internet shopping has been around for a while, people are still dubious about payments and they want everything clean and transparent. Trusted payment options must be on display on your website so make sure you put it alongside the banner. It’s for your customer’s peace of mind – show them they can trust you and they will be yours for good.

Don’t forget about SEO

Having the best site in the world means nothing if people can’t find it online so doing a search engine optimization should be a priority. Do a research on keywords to make sure you use the hot ones on your website, optimize your pages, and be active on social media platforms. Be aware that poorly implemented SEO can damage your business so hiring a professional to do it is a good idea.

Offer live chat

To avoid your business being declared as impersonal you must include live chat on your website as a good alternative to face-to-face contact. Keep your email and phone number on display (and reply timely) but it’s even better to establish a live chat feature and show your customers you’re always there for them. Nothing beats talking to a real person!

Ensure photo quality

Whether you’re selling products or services, making your website visually pretty is essential. No one will decide to buy a product from a blurry or badly photoshopped picture, so pay attention to quality. Your gallery should be easy to navigate while products should be visible from all sides. Zoom option is also great, so keep that in mind when posting your images.

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Leave logistics to the pros

If you’re selling products, your biggest problem will be storage, inventory, packing and shipping your goods and that’s why it’s a good idea to leave it to the experts. Ecommerce logistics experts can receive, manage and dispatch your goods so you won’t have to worry about that. It’ll improve your customers’ satisfaction as well because they’ll know their order is in good hands.

Encourage reviews

You know what they say: only those who did something wrong are afraid of the reviews. But the thing is: real people’s experiences are valuable to your business. Nothing beats a satisfied customer since people will always take other people’s words when it comes to shopping online. It’s good for the SEO as well because reviews make unique content for your website thus making the search engines happy.

Optimize search option

Practice showed that site search users are more likely to convert than the average user so optimizing this feature is a must. The search box should be easy to spot, big enough, and provide autocomplete options for maximum results. There are some other tricks that can make searching your site a better experience, so make sure you take this advice and implement what you can.

Deal with out of stock products

Anyone who has ever shopped online knows that out of stock is the worst thing you can see on the ecommerce website. Knowing how to deal with this is important because that’s the way to address the biggest issue from the customers’ point of view. If your product is no longer available, link similar items to the page or contact link to the manufacturer so your customers will know there’s hope.

Create buying guides

For each category you have on your ecommerce website, there should be a detailed guide for shopping. For example, if you’re selling clothes, offering style and trend guides to your customers is a nice idea. If you’re selling wallpapers, providing home décor ideas, tips and tricks is a must. This will enrich the shopping experience and leave your customers in delight.

Think of your website as of the heart and soul of your business and make it both pretty and functional. That’s what keeps the customers coming and, more importantly, staying loyal to your business.

5 Traits that Make a Digital Workplace Unique and Productive

Digital workplace
The concept of digital workplace is not strictly tied to a physical space. More importantly, digital workplace is actually an organization strategy, which helps the employees be at the top of their game as they work. Thanks to the digital technologies used, one can break the communication barrier. Moreover, digital workplace is used to boost the motivation and productivity of the workforce. Basically, it can be very difficult to define a digital workplace. In general, it can be said that a digital workplace combines the modern technologies, tools and the whole work environment so that it can bring out the best from and provide the best to its workforce.

1. Better and faster communication

Digital workplace provides easy ways to communicate, exchange information and solve potential problems to everyone involved in a particular work project. This makes everyone’s work a lot more efficient. Colleagues in the office and at home can communicate effectively. Clients and other businesses can be reached instantly regardless of their location. Dynamic situations are encouraged and perfectly implemented into a working day without pressure or anxiety.

 

2. Strong, yet open form of leadership

Thanks to the digital workplace concept, the notion of leadership is getting a bit blurred. Of course, there is a need for a leader. However, the leader is no longer the boss who sits in his own office. Again, modern day digital technologies allow for integrated leadership as well. The “boss” can easily be a part of the team since the team is encouraged to solve problems and make decisions on their own. Moreover, because of the better communication mentioned in the previous paragraph, a lot of issues can be solved before presented to the leader. In that respect, digital workforce operates coherently and dynamically by involving everyone at work equally, which creates a more relaxed and at the same time more productive work environment.

3. There’s no physical barrier

Just like the location is not a problem when it comes to effective communication at a digital workplace, location is not a problem when it comes to work itself. Virtual project platforms, cloud storage and other digital tools make it possible for workers to do their job from any location they want. This is extremely beneficial for companies and employees alike. Companies can hire the best candidates without worrying about their geographical location while employees are not limited to their local job opportunities. Working from home is a great perk for many people, but coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular as well. For example, a Shared Office Space in Melbourne offers 24/7 membership precisely because of the rising popularity of this particular aspect of a digital workplace.

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4. Time-efficient and data-driven

If a digital workplace is completely implemented into the work environment, the need for physical storage will cease to exist. Because of the possibility to quickly store all the important data and information on a cloud, it will be possible to save a lot of space in the physical office. Moreover, any new information will be processed and saved with ease. Because of that, there’s a lot less chance for error as well as less need for time-consuming data organization and filing system.

5. Track your business success

Since digital workplace encourages more independence in problem-solving and decision-making ordeals as well as clearer and more measurable business values together with a better insight into the products and services of the company, digital workplace also allows any business model to be easily tracked and measured. This leaves a lot of room for immediate changes and adjustments where necessary, which saves time, money and resources.

Digital workplace is necessary in this day and age. Technology cannot be observed separately from a workplace or an employee anymore. By combining these elements together and making them work as a whole, the workforce’s creativity, productivity and empowerment will lead the business to success.

How Release Management Helps with Outsourced IT Services

The IT ecosystem within companies is becoming more and more complex as time goes by. This is especially true for large corporations that employ thousands of people and who have a whole number of IT teams working on various projects for the company.

Due to a variety of needs and reasons, many such companies hire outside partners who help them with certain projects and releases. In essence, these companies outsource certain aspects of releasing new software and, unfortunately, things often get messy.

Just an Example

Let’s imagine a company which features a business analytics department. Their analysts will in the vast majority of cases be in-house. They will work using a certain type of software and since the company does not develop its own business analytics software, they have it developed somewhere else (updates included).  The company has its own test managers in-house, but since they do not have the capabilities to run the tests, they outsource this too, to another vendor.

In short, in order for the business analytics department to operate with the latest software and at the fullest capacity, the company employs two outsourced partners. When you consider how many such operations and processes a large company has to handle on a daily basis, the potential issues become very apparent.

For one, there are always potential problems when working with outsourced IT services which can, fortunately, remedied by hiring the services of someone like Globality Consulting who will find you only the best vendors.

However, even when everything goes right, there are simply too many processes and releases to be handled that some kind of release management is simply a necessity.

Release Management 101

Release management was invented for cases like this, where big companies have to deal with a copious amount of various software releases across their operation and where some kind of a unified “headquarters” is a must.

Release management is envisioned as something of an action center where all of the development teams, test managers, their superiors and everyone else involved in development, testing and final release of software can come to find out what is “on the program” and how they should move from there.

Furthermore, with a release management department in place, other important pieces of the company can find out what is happening and voice their opinion. Moreover, they can get better insight into what the different parts of the IT machinery are doing and what is happening with their software.

Of course, the ultimate goal of having a release management team is to streamline all IT processes and ensure software is released in the best possible condition, within the shortest possible timeframe and by using up as little of the company’s resources as possible.

Enabling the Best Release Management

There are a few things that a company needs to have in order to get the best possible release management. For one, they need to find the right people who are, at the moment, still quite rare. These will usually be people with long IT management experience and who have been involved in overseeing a large number of projects at the same time.

In addition to this, the company will also do well to start using some kind of release management software that will help their new team do its job flawlessly. This will involve such subspecialized pieces of software like test management tools, continuous development management and so on.

Finally, the company and all of its most important decision makers will need to understand that release management is there to help them and not simply to add another CC to their internal email correspondence.

Closing Word

Release management is not just a new buzzword. It is a concept that can help large companies save millions in man-hours, test environments, and other company resources.