business owners

Learning About Customers Through Site Engagement

| Business | No Comments

More than a decade ago, Bill Gates made an ominous prediction that, by the end of 2002, any business without an online presence would no longer be in business, as reported by Entrepreneur. Despite the rush of users to the Internet—nearly 79 percent of people in North America are online, according to the Internet World Stats website—amazingly enough, some operations can be successful without being online. Local diners, childcare facilities and retail stores still manage to do business quite well through drop-in visitors and word of mouth alone.

Learning About Customers Through Site Engagement

The ability of the Internet, however, to help a business grow is unsurpassed. A consumer survey conducted by business review website Yelp found that 85 percent of consumers use the Internet to get information on local businesses. A company that’s online will be able to draw in a greater audience, but, perhaps more importantly, having an online presence also makes consumers visible to a company. This allows a business owner to learn more about current customers, potential customers and where the business’s services are most in need.

Physical Location Data

Let’s say a restaurant is located in a trendy neighborhood where a select group of locals come to shop and hang out on weekends. Enough of them pass by from Friday night through Sunday afternoon to make weekend sales the backbone of the business. The rest of the week, between paying staff and utilities, the restaurant only breaks even, despite the killer two-hand tacos that come out of the kitchen. There just isn’t enough interest in chowing down on the best Mexican in town from Monday through Thursday. Or is there?

Some of the website analytics and statistical data that can be garnered from online traffic will tell you where site visitors are geographically located. Plug-ins that record this type of statistical data are available even with the simplest (and freest) of website frameworks, such as WordPress. If that Mexican restaurant in the trendy neighborhood gets enough hits from IP addresses assigned to a college 10 miles away, it indicates a high level of interest in that area. Might it be worth opening a branch near the college, or even moving operations? Or is it already in the ideal location?

The point of any business is to convert curious site visitors to customers, and knowing where a business is drawing interest can be a game changer when it comes to keeping a full house every night of the week.

Virtual Location Data

The physical location of site visitors is just one important facet when it comes to analyzing online traffic. How a user found your site is equally important. If half the traffic on a site gets there from a specific review page on Yelp or Citysearch, that’s a good place to expand company information or even to advertise. By knowing how users found their way to the site, a business owner knows where to focus attention.

Increasing Exposure while Gaining Vital Information

Although some businesses can take their chances on surviving without it, having a solid website means being visible to those who rely on the Internet to discover local businesses. In the example of our Mexican restaurant, an online presence can help the place expand its profitability by introducing it to potential customers on the other side of the city who may be willing to drive out of their way for the best taco in town.

Keep in mind that a website doesn’t need to be complex. A basic WordPress site with a good WordPress hosting company that ensures minimal downtime will get the job done. Just make sure your site is easy to navigate and provides useful information, such as contact information, business hours and info on products and services. An effective site will achieve two goals for your company simultaneously: help consumers find the business and help the business learn more about its consumers.

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Dealing With The Nightmare Of Patent Trolls

| Business | No Comments

For the young entrepreneurs, amongst many other business problems is the threat of patent trolls, which is surprisingly rising in United States currently. There trolls are actually those active group of companies, which are on a constant look-out for the entrepreneurs who can be threatened in the name of a law breach. These companies have so far made a devastating profit out of the businesses online.

These troll cases have been reported to have committed the crime using breach of patent, that they claimed from the business owners as a compensation. The legal documents which they forward as the threat initiation for filing the lawsuit are generally very vague. The new entrepreneurs are an easy prey to this. Here is a little insight to this prevalent crime and the steps to secure the start-up against these threats.

Dealing With The Nightmare Of Patent Trolls

How do the Patent Trolls Operate?

These are a few companies who have bought the patents with a malicious purpose. These companies generally buy the dormant patents from the past, and never use those to make a product of their own. Instead, these patents are used to sue the other companies of breaching their rights. Most f the times, the business owners fall prey to this in an attempt to avoid the legal proceedings. They settle and pay for the compensation to these trolls.

The registered patents are in general so broad and vague, that those hardly refer to a specific invention. Using these patents to claim the infringement from thousands of companies at a time is the main business of these patent trolls.

In the past, in void of such a business, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had not been very attentive to the details of the patent. Those patents where there is a scope of ambiguity and the language refers to a broader level of spectrum are chosen as the weapon. There is hardly a way to have an eye on those out of millions of such patents lying idle.

The Harm to the Start-Ups

Other than creating an unwanted stir and consuming most of the start-ups precious time in handling such claims, there are two major roadblocks to company’s growth:

The start-ups generally have limited funds in the initial stages. The claims from the patent trolls force the companies to invest their capital in legal and litigation fees. Many small businesses struggle to carry on with their businesses, while looking for a way to mitigate this problem. It even goes to the extent where the financial crisis gets deeper and a new business shuts down.

The threat from the patent trolls also keeps the company from getting involved into any further innovation. The broader perspective of the infringement claims apply to usually everything that they think of. This leaves them with no choice but to ground the idea.

How to Deal with the Patent Trolls?

There is not much answer to this at present. The experts advice the companies to spare the resources in case such a legal claim hits them. This is not to pay the undeserved licensing fees to the trolls, but to pay the legal fees in fighting the case till the very end. Other than that, the start-ups are advised to secure their intellectual properties by buying the licences of their own. This grants them more security and compensation in case a false infringement sues them.

The U.S Patent and Trademark Office is making parallel attempts in refining their technology, which can deal with the fine details of the newer patents coming in. The forthcoming patent documents are likely going to be more specific and detailed in the near future.

Evans is associated with GroupChesterField. He has written several articles on Chesterfield Offshore in BVI.

Importance of Children Party For Any Kid

I Use Virtual Server Hosting… I’m In The Cloud, Right?

| Web Development, Web Hosting | No Comments

So often — too often — the terms “VPS” and “cloud hosting” get used synonymously. A cloud host can offer virtual private servers (VPS), but owning a VPS does not mean the company gets cloud hosting. Confused? The difference is important for business and is as follows.

Virtual Private Servers

I Use Virtual Server Hosting… I’m In The Cloud, Right?VPS emulates a dedicated server instead of hosting on one physical server. The VPS is sandboxed from other VPS customers on the same physical machine. But unlike shared hosting, VPS offers a way for businesses to control the way its server functions. For instance, web services typically need customized settings on the server. With shared hosting, the host rarely changes configurations for one customer, especially if it might affect any other sites hosted on the same server. All sites share the same resources, so web hosts keep shared servers standard across the board.

VPS eliminates the problem of one site affecting another, so the business is given complete control over the server interface. If the business crashes its VPS, it does not affect any other customers’ VPS services.

VPS has several additional advantages over shared hosting, even if it’s not true cloud hosting. First, VPS gives the webmaster better control over server functionality, configurations and added software. If the business has licenses for software such as SQL Server, the webmaster can install the software without going through the cloud host provider. If the webmaster needs to add some Windows server functionality, log in to the console and change the settings. The webmaster can even reboot the machine at-will and won’t affect other customers.

Cloud Hosting

Although cloud hosting has some similarities to basic shared hosting, it’s more powerful and gives businesses a way to serve millions of web requests without ever harming performance. Cloud hosting also offers the power of data centers and content delivery networks. Combined, these resources have a more powerful backend for enterprise businesses with big data and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps.

Cloud hosting also offers infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). IaaS is a service for businesses that need more server resources, storage devices, hardware or networking components. This cloud service is generally used when the business needs more resources but doesn’t have the real estate or IT personnel to handle massive additions to the network.

VPS Versus Cloud Hosting

VPS is a more expensive route than shared hosting, but it offers a dedicated server environment without the dedicated server costs. Small businesses and individual site owners get the most benefits from VPS. VPS is more personalized, and the webmaster can host several sites on the same virtual interface. Bloggers with high traffic spikes, small ecommerce stores or businesses with several websites can take advantage of VPS.

Cloud hosting is beneficial when the business needs more power. The business only pays for the resources used, but it’s generally more expensive because of the large data centers and web farms available. Load balancers control traffic to the business’ website, so the website never falters. Cloud hosting offers 100% uptime, so businesses that rely on website revenue at all hours of the day benefit from cloud hosting.

IaaS and SaaS are also cloud-hosted benefits. Small web services can run on VPS, but VPS is still one server, so it cannot handle the massive amounts of traffic that cloud hosting can manage. VPS is a solution for small businesses or personal websites, but when the business depends on performance, cloud hosting is a solution that has endless scalable resources.

This is a guest post by Jennifer Marsh. Jennifer is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for open cloud company Rackspace Hosting.

The Benefits Of A Dedicated Server: Dependable, Fast and Scalable

| Business | No Comments

Shared hosting may be fine for a fledgling business at its inception, but after some success has been achieved, the need for a more robust solution will become apparent. Although a larger shared hosting plan can work for a period of time, a growing company will soon need a better solution, and this will likely be in the form of a dedicated server.

Advantages & Points to Consider

The Benefits Of A Dedicated Server: Dependable, Fast & Amp; ScalableHere we’ll outline some of the benefits offered by dedicated servers and some things to keep in mind when choosing a provider:

  • A good dedicated server can handle far more than a shared hosting plan allows. With a shared plan, you’re literally sharing a server with several other businesses. Therefore, the machine’s resources are capped and divided. With a dedicated server, you get the entire thing to yourself.
  • Dedicated servers can provide faster response times. Since you can use all the server’s resources instead of having to share, it may be able to render your Web pages much faster than a shared host could. One caveat: Beware of “cheap” dedicated servers that are so stripped down they aren’t any more powerful than what you’d get with a shared plan. Cheap servers can be great for people who just want to play games, but they’re not enterprise-level solutions.
  • Dedicated servers don’t have as many limitations. Although most dedicated server providers impose some restrictions, this is mainly to ensure basic security and to prevent activities such as email spamming. You’ll be able to run pretty much any kind of software you want.
  • Consider server security when deciding between managed and unmanaged dedicated servers. Maintaining security involves technical activities such as installing update patches on server-side software such as Apache and PHP, setting access permissions, logging activity and more. If you don’t have the qualifications to handle these tasks and don’t want to make errors while figuring it out, go for a managed dedicated server. That way the server company can do all that for you.
  • The original provider doesn’t always offer the best deal. Sometimes it’s cheaper to go through a reseller because some resellers are so big they get volume discounts. Make sure to check all the options rather than making assumptions.
  • Don’t assume a single server will always do the job. A site like Amazon, for example, has enough servers to fill a data center of its own! Therefore, you should choose a solution that makes it easy for you to add capacity as needed.
  • Keep scalability in mind. The dedicated server provider should be able to upgrade and downgrade your machine to meet your changing needs without any hassle. It should also be easy to add or remove machines from your package. This is good for more than long-term business growth. Many ecommerce sites, for example, experience a traffic spike during the holiday season. You don’t want to have to permanently add capacity just to cover a two-month period of high demand.

Choosing the Best Provider

These are just some of the things you should consider when deciding on a dedicated server. Don’t forget about business basics such as the host’s reputation, the length of time it’s been in business, and the location of its data centers. Once you consider all these factors, it should be easy for you to find the dedicated server hosting solution that will meet your needs now and in the future.

Mistakes We Do On Social Media

| Social Media | No Comments

Humans have a natural inclination on emphasizing on the good things they do and how close to perfection they are. Let’s reverse  state for the sake of depressive negativity in our soul and explain the mistakes that we do on social media.

Everybody knows that online social media is the de facto communication method for several years, and more and more people discover it, and the people that are on it are adding more content and getting other people to join it. Statistics show that social media usage has grown a whooping 238% since 2011 and it is not stopping in the growth.

This stated, there are a lot of people that do not know about social media and it’s usage much, so they make some natural errors that we will try to get rid of and repair in this article.

So here are some mistakes entrepreneurs do in social media:

Ignoring social media altogether, because they don’t have time to understand its impact. They write it off in the name of focusing on other more pressing priorities — or they misinterpret social media as distractions, silly networks and apps that kids use. Another mistake business owners make is they jump in to all of the hottest social properties without considering the importance of behavior. Let’s stop talking about social media and start talking about how customers can connect, learn, share. Take the time to really think about how you can use social (and mobile) to deliver value to customers and strengthen your brand promise

Talking about themselves too much. Social media is much more of a conversation than anything. A real conversation is a two-way street where people are actively engaging and listening to each other instead of blasting out updates about your newest product or promotion. If you find yourself being too promotional, try being helpful with others in your niche and sharing helpful content not only from yourself, but from other people as well. You’ll find that you’ll start to ‘get’ social media a lot better once you start doing so.

Jumping in but not staying in. If you are going to participate in social media, then you have to maintain a consistent presence. Continually engaging with your followers, contributing to the dialogue, becoming a member of the community. Social media is not a “one and done” vehicle… it’s a living breathing being that you have to commit to.

Thinking that simply having a Facebook page and a Twitter account means they’re doing social-media marketing. A successful social-media campaign requires engagement and dialogue with your audience, and that doesn’t mean one or two “updates” a week. It means participating in discussions and “humanizing” your brand. This is what builds brand loyalty, authority and credibility.

 

Forgeting the “social” part of social media. Yes, social media is another channel, but it’s unique in that it really allows your true voice to be heard. If used properly, social media can be use to “humanize” your brand. Keep it interesting. Share good stuff. Don’t be afraid to let a bit of your personality shine through. People do business with people, not companies.
So these are the mistakes that most people do, keep reading and keep it up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What kind of Web Developer you want to be?

| Web Development | No Comments

Web Development sure is a great field to get in if you like problem solving and doing fast production. The only problem is there is so much stuff (useful and unuseful) that you do not know which place to part yourself to, from the e-commerce SEO guy to the deep thinking clever Web Application Software Engineer that is preying for that huge project to get his next salary in a single little week there is a vast amount of work you can do and things to specialize yourself in.

Today, i will present you them so you can choose yourself which to join.

1 – Web Application Developer

This is the one that i tend to lean to more than every other subset of web development out there.

Do you enjoy creating thing with your own hand? Are you the one to feel good when solving complex problems, doing big things, biting more than you chew and still being able to swallow, and take up on a new challenge at every standpoint?

The Desktop environment is not slowly ,but actually pretty rapidly moving and business owners are slowly realizing that they need a Web Application Developer to write the equivalent of their desktop application on the Web.

They are getting really much attention because of the ” move from the desktop to the web ” trend and i actually have a friend that made 22.000$ this month out of it (he is a Ruby Web Application Developer)

Amazing field, with amazing money, and i would recommend it to the problem solvers out there. You will enjoy building huge stuff and being the big guy while getting a nice paycheck doing something that you are passionate about.

Anyway, enough about this great subset of Web Development, let’s get to the other one, which is:

2 – Web CMS Plugin / Theme Developer

We talked about a big paycheck for Web Application Development projects but we forgot to mention that Web Content Management System Plugin and Theme Development is actually the most profitable online niche right now. Thousands of Blogs and Websites based on WordPress, Drupal etc, now are becoming semi Web Applications thanks to the CMS’s making it available for developers and designers to modify their functionality, and add up more functionality to them.

As i have seen on the freelancer websites, a WordPress Plugin Developer can get himself around 700$, 800$ in a week easily ( Not so bad for someone who only writes PHP code huh? ). For me, it seems really really boring to write functionality for CMS’s but may be a good option for you if you are in for the profit or do think you are going to enjoy it.

3 – Front-End Developer

These are the guys that dress your website in nice clothes and link the back-end functionality with the front-end one (for example the submit button sending information via AJAX to the back-end controller, the front-end guy does this).

Most Front-End Developers have a good feel for UX design so they are really looked for in the Web Development market.

Thanks for the read and keep it up!