The limited-edition pre-launch of The Practice

My new book ships in two weeks.

It’s about the human process of shipping creative work, regardless of what sort of job we have. It’s about trusting yourself. Mostly, it’s about getting back to becoming the person you seek to be.

You can find details on the book (and links to pre-order) here.

For the true fans, I’ve put together exactly 400 sets of limited-edition swag. If you order the special 12-copy set of the book from Porchlight, you’ll also get a large handful of cool stuff, including a hand-lasered writer’s block, a set of letterpress hand-printed pages, six (of 12) collectible storage packs and a magical surprise that contains actual magic.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to go first, or wants to share a book with your peers, today’s the day. There aren’t many…

 

 

 

How to Use Conversion Optimization to Improve Your Blog

Assuming you’re able to attract a decent number of regular visitors, blogging can be a valuable way to make money. You can use advertising or affiliate links to generate passive income, or more popularly, you could use your blog as a vehicle to sell something else—you could sell merchandise or premium content related to your blog content, or you could point people to your online store. 

If this is the case, you’ll need some kind of conversion optimization strategy to improve your results. 

What Is Conversion Optimization? 

Let’s start by defining conversion optimization. A “conversion” is any desired action taken by a visitor on your website. For example, common conversions include purchasing a product, filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, and watching a video. Oftentimes, the point of conversion can be a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your blog post, a form that pops up during the visit, or a specific landing page for your readers. 

Your conversion rate is the number of visitors who convert, often expressed as a percentage; for example, a conversion rate of 2 percent means that 2 percent of people who visit a page of your site ultimately “convert,” taking your desired action. Conversion optimization is a set of strategies intended to increase your conversion rate, increasing the total number of conversions you receive. 

Landing Pages and Sales Funnels

According to ClickFunnels, two of the most valuable assets in your arsenal will be your sales funnel and your landing pages. 

Your sales funnel is a construct that hypothesizes and plans the “ideal” journey your visitors take on their path from being merely aware of your brand to becoming full-fledged customers. For example, you might win your visitors over with a compelling blog post, guide them to a landing page with a specific CTA, push them to a sales page, then finalize the deal. 

Your landing pages are specific pages designed and written to achieve a conversion—or possibly, to push a visitor to the next stage on the path to conversion. These are valuable opportunities for conversion optimization, since you can tweak many variables related to their design, writing, layout, accessibility, and functionality. 

Strategies to Increase Conversions 

There are countless viable ways to increase conversions on your blog, including: 

Make your CTA obvious.  First, make your call to action (CTA) obvious. If you have a button that users can click, make it stand out with a bright color and clear font. Otherwise, use powerful action words to drive users to the next phase of conversion. 

Add a pop-up.  Pop-up ads can be obnoxious, but a small, noninvasive pop-up requesting a signup can help you earn a higher conversion rate. 

Make it easy to convert.  People will abandon forms and shopping carts if it’s too hard or if it takes too long to convert. Keep your forms simple and use as few fields as possible. 

Make it more rewarding to convert. Conversions are typically a form of exchange. For example, you might give your users a piece of premium content in exchange for signing up for your newsletter, or more simply, you might give them a product in exchange for money. You can encourage more conversions by increasing the rewards; consider throwing in an additional bonus or offering a discount. 

Add elements of social trust.  People will be more likely to convert if they trust you, so consider adding things like trust badges, user reviews, testimonials, and brands you’ve worked with in the past. Any form of social trust can boost your conversion rates. 

Strengthen your headlines.  Your headlines and bullet points need to be compelling and concise if they’re going to succeed. Tweak them to capture the essence of your message and appeal to specific people. 

Increase urgency.  Many conversion opportunities fail because a user procrastinates; they decide to complete their purchase at some point indefinitely in the future, rather than right now. Combat this by creating a sense of urgency with limited-time offers and/or countdown timers. 

The Importance of Experimentation

There are some strategies that seem to work well in increasing conversions for a wide variety of websites, but some audiences may not respond well to them—and every situation is unique. For this reason, conversion optimization is both a science and an art.
It’s essential that you commit to ongoing experimentation to learn which strategies work best for your blog and your target audience. With the help of AB tests, you can create multiple versions of your conversion optimization strategy, and study the variables that are most likely to lead to your success. Over time, you can throw out the tactics that don’t work and invest more heavily in the tactics that do work, polishing your strategy to perfection.

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What Does Collateral Mean?

Strictly speaking, collateral is fairly straightforward: It’s the assets you own that can be leveraged to borrow when buying something new, a car or home, for example. But the collateral definition speaks nothing of the wide ranging value of your assets as leverage to continue growing a portfolio of value.

Collateral is one of your most powerful assets when working toward a bright financial future, but you have to learn how to leverage it to its full potential.

How to Use Collateral

Most often, collateral is used to complete a home loan application for those with a less than stellar credit history. Some borrowers can procure unsecured loans for new home purchases—that is, a loan without collateral attached. However, even if your financial institution is willing to extend a line of credit to you without any additional skin in the game, there are some significant advantages to including some of your physical assets as a part of the deal anyway.

Attaching additional contingency items to a loan application adds the benefit of reducing the interest rate you will have to pay or extending the lifetime of the loan so that you can pay less each month. This is particularly helpful for buyers looking to rent or flip houses for immediate cash profit. The less you pay out each month, the less your upfront costs will be before you start receiving a monthly check from your tenants or a payout from a buyer. You will owe back whatever you end up borrowing, so the less you are forced to pay out of pocket before the revenue starts streaming in the better off you will be.

How do you build a reservoir of collateral?

Collateral is a funny thing. It takes money to make money, but cash is the only thing that can’t be used in this way to secure a collateral loan. This means that your income—whether derived from a traditional paycheck or through investment vehicles—needs to go toward building capital in two primary silos. On the one hand, investing in stocks and more traditional savings products will build a cash reserve that you can fall back on in times of hardship or when you retire. On the other hand, it’s also important to begin collecting items of fiscal value that can be leveraged in order to build more capital down the line. Buying collectibles in certain arenas might be a great way to start on this. Another great investment choice is in gold bullion. Gold operates just as any other investment product and fluctuates in price, however, a stockpile of gold can be leveraged for additional purchasing power, whereas stocks or cash reserves cannot. And collateral is only in as much risk as you allow it to be. If you maintain payments, ultimately clearing the loan, then no transfer of ownership must be made. You are simply offering your tangible assets in the event of non-payment.

Real estate is often one of the first pieces of collateral that an investor seeks to put up in order to reduce interest payments. Real estate is a versatile type of collateral and is easily valued by a bank or insurance investigator—unlike a collection of vintage wine, guitars, cars, or baseball cards. Real estate is immediately transferrable and easily resalable, making it a favorite among lenders who can judge exactly what they are being offered without much speculation or specific market-related insight. Building a formidable stable of real estate or other tangible financial instruments in order to leverage better borrowing terms in the future is an essential consideration for any serious investor. It’s a good idea to diversify your portfolio and using collateral to obtain mortgage loans can be a good way to do so.

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5 Ways to Manage Your Business Technology

Technology has completely transformed how businesses operate. Every entrepreneur is on the hunt for IT systems and tools that will make business operations efficient. While that is the case, most technologies, especially advanced ones like machine learning, predictive analytics, big data, can be quite challenging to manage and implement for small businesses. Sadly, you can only benefit from tech if you use and manage what you have at your disposal in the right way. Let us take a peek at some great tips to help you manage your business technology for improved functions. 

Make use of cloud-based tools

One great way of managing your business technology is by utilizing cloud-based tools for better security. Remember introducing any new technology comes with risks; however, using the cloud for business can mitigate those risks. These tools are accessible, scalable, cheap, and secure. All you need to do is find those that fit your business needs.

Keep your software updated

Software updates are important in keeping your tools and machines running smoothly. They often include critical patches to security holes. In addition to security fixes, software updates usually come with new or enhanced features, better compatibility with other devices, and improved stability. Updating your software improves your experience and ensures you get the most out of your investment. For example, if you are using Mac for your business, then upgrading to the new Big Sur 11 for better features and security will be a good move for your business. Luckily, this installation update and pretty much most of them are quite easy. Your software vendor will avail updates often via notifications and you can simply click to install them. Beware that some updates can lead to glitches that can hurt your operations. 

Train your employees

Training your employees is crucial in managing your business technology. If you think about it, your employees are the ones who are going to use the technologies you have implemented.   Imagine what happens if they are not trained to handle them? You will be forced to fix the mess and incur costs that were meant to be sliced by investing in technology. Every time you make changes or have new software, make sure to train your employees adequately.  

Invest in a CRM system 

As your business grows, it might become difficult to keep up with customers and continually serve them better. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. The system is integrated with software that allows you to collect, organize, and manage all customer information. It allows you to treat each customer individually rather than a group by taking note of their specific needs. As you know, better customer service fosters loyalty, which is a recipe for growth.

Business intelligence tools will help!

If you do not know the power of business intelligence tools, it is time you got acquainted. The business intelligence tools can collate data from different sources, including websites, blogs, apps, and the likes. They then help you create actionable reports. Have you ever heard of Microsoft BI, Sisense, Tableau, Google Data Studio? These are just some of the tools that you can look into to manage your business technology and improve operations.

Final thoughts

Technology is an investment that should be managed and maintained to get the best returns. Managing business technology simplifies and smoothens business operations. It will in turn translate to better services and growth.

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SEO – Is It The Forefront of Marketing?

Marketing is an industry encompassing, well, frankly, quite a lot. There’s the high-level strategy and all the many varying marketing tactics falling into categories such as sales, advertising, and the vast world of its own that is digital. 

The world has gradually been moving online for years upon years. Now, you can hardly find one person without a smartphone with some sort of internet access. If any brand hasn’t already moved into internet marketing at this point, they have fallen severely behind. 

For the modern marketing era, internet marketing is simply a must. And one of the best forms of marketing on the internet is search engine optimization. 

Our question today is whether SEO might be the tactic that drives the future of marketing. What does SEO mean to the modern marketer?

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is much more than just pressing a single, simple button and then declaring that your website is optimized. There are actually a wide range of different tasks, from the technical aspects of a website to the creation of quality content, that contribute to the optimization of a website. 

It requires a lot of work on various aspects in order to get on the right side of search engine algorithms. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s what’s necessary to compete in the current marketing landscape. 

Just the right SEO strategy is needed for a brand to get found by any customers that are online. Since almost every single customer is now online, SEO’s importance simply cannot be denied. 

SEO’s Journey to Being One of the Top Marketing Practices

Now, obviously, it has not always been this way. Considering the internet’s own youth, it must be understood that SEO is still a fairly new strategy. 

Yet, SEO has quickly emerged as one of the best options for those pursuing a better marketing strategy in our world of always-growing competition. As soon as the internet captured attentions, SEO took no time at all making itself known as well. 

The Emergence of SEO Strategy

The internet, at the first moments of its invention, did not come with search engines. The first methods of navigating this new world were nothing like we would recognize as the search engines of today. 

It began, in a way, with directories. Think in the vein of the Yellow Pages, that ancient thing we knew as a phone book, not anything like the internet directories we are familiar with today. Breaking into these was also a very different game than today’s process of SEO, and it was just about impossible for small businesses

When the very first search engines appeared, it was definitely a game-changer. Yet these were nowhere near as sophisticated as what today’s continuously-evolving algorithms offer us. With some very simple actions, the first efforts in the name of SEO, the early engines were quickly manipulated. 

The problem was that the ranking was almost purely based on keywords on a page, with no safeguards in place to fight against those just looking to hack the system. Nothing stood in the way of keyword-stuffers winning the top spots on the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

At that time, a successful SEO strategy didn’t require real skill to craft a quality website. And even as search engines got updates, growing better at separating the high-quality sites from the spam, SEO tricks were adapted. 

Yet Google and the other big players eventually got wind of this black hat SEO as well. With more and more endeavors on the part of the search engines to stamp it out, SEO has had to truly evolve. 

It is not what it used to be. It is not an easy strategy that you can succeed at with tricks or hacks, but it’s really something better now. 

As the sphere of SEO has grown and matured, its place in the marketing world has only further become cemented. Moving forward, it is certain that we will see SEO move into the forefront of the entire marketing industry. 

Seeing the Evolving Benefits of Doing SEO

SEO requires a lot of effort to really get it right, but it is absolutely worth it. The benefits that embarking on an SEO strategy can bring are numerous. 

Without requiring a huge investment, an SEO process can get your website seen by increasing its visibility on search engines. And each new visitor to your brand’s website is another potential customer that you can profit from. Considering how many people now discover brands in this way, through the internet, this seems like too big of an opportunity for anyone to miss out on. 

We’ve gotten to the point where businesses need SEO. It has left being an option behind to become vital. And that is why SEO is the forefront of marketing. 

Search Engine Optimization as The Forefront of Marketing

It is really time now that the marketing world makes way for its latest champion: SEO. Its dominance can no longer be doubted. 

For all that the process of SEO offers businesses and beyond, it can be declared to be the forefront of marketing. 

The Best Way to Get Found Online

Organic search engine traffic is the number one way brands get discovered online. Search engine optimization tasks make that happen more consistently for the brands implementing them. 

Here’s how it works. 

SEO experts work on the website, optimizing content to better match the keywords that are being typed into search engines, improving the overall website itself to make it appealing to those that do arrive, and performing a variety of other tasks like link-building and meta optimization to rank higher and pull in more ideal potential customers. All these items, the small and the big, add up to a brand’s website showing up more and more often to the internet users that are most likely to be interested in the business. 

Take Wag! For a good example of this successful SEO plan in action. A dog owner who has any question about their dog, whether it’s on their behavior, health, or another advice topic, can find the answer on Wag!’s comprehensive blog. Yet, straight to this blog is not where most people would turn. Wag!’s blog is filled with posts on a variety of topics because when that dog owner turns with their question to every internet user’s most trusted friend, Google, a link to Wag!’s website (specifically those blog posts) will show up as one of the top results. And, of course, if you are asking about these dog topics, it can be assumed that you are a dog owner who might be interested in one of this company’s many services. 

What this example showcases is that SEO works. It gets brands found online, through those most-loved tools, the search engines. 

As getting found is that very first critical step, this power of SEO alone shouldn’t be taken for granted. Neither should SEO itself be

One of the Most Important Marketing Techniques Right Now

There are other marketing endeavors that you can use, that you should use, if you really want to get your brand out there and in front of customers. But the valuable strategy of SEO supplements all these other methods. 

All other advertising mediums intersect with and feed into good SEO. When prospects see and engage with any type of traditional advertising that you put out, SEO is often the next tactic to lure them. Consider it: Is the next step after viewing a billboard or television commercial not to then visit that business’s website?

Having potential customers on the website can also then allow you to lead them into other marketing methods. By getting them to submit their contact information to join the mailing list or encouraging them to follow your social media accounts, you can lengthen their consumer journey. In this way, it won’t end at its search engine beginnings, though it does all come back to SEO. 

With the whole world online, a business’s website couldn’t be a more important asset. Websites enable customers to get to know a brand, to stay in contact, and to make the purchase. SEO is what powers these websites. 

SEO is one of the most important marketing techniques there is right now.  

A Smart Strategy Moving Into the Future

SEO is not going anywhere any time soon. It will continue evolving, sure. Just as the SEO of the past is not now the SEO that we know today, the SEO of tomorrow will also be something completely different. Still, it will be there. 

In fact, SEO’s changes moving forward may only provide us more opportunities. We can already see the direction that’s being moved in, with AI, mobile, and voice search shining bright as the modern technologies of our future. These are what SEO experts will have to adapt to as the industry grows. Yet with more ways for customers to find their new favorite brands online, the more opportunities there are for SEO to give your brand the best fighting chance. 

Never Stop Investing in SEO

SEO is not a marketing method you will want to neglect at any point, now or in the future. It is the forefront of marketing. Only with SEO can every brand find its success. 

Author Bio: Dmitrii Kustov is founder of Regex SEO. Currently, as Internet Marketing Director for Regex SEO, he is helping businesses and entrepreneurs grow their presence online. Due to his experience and background, he has been able to share hands-on knowledge about the following topics: Internet marketing (SEO, paid advertising, social media, content marketing, etc), statistical analytics, web development, and entrepreneurship.

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7 Tips For Keeping Your Data Safe on Apple Devices

Do you know how to keep your data safe on your Apple devices? Have you been taking data security seriously?

If you own an Apple device such as a Macbook or an iPhone then it’s important that you do everything you can to keep it secure. It’s important to protect your data from hackers and intruders and to take steps to prevent sensitive data from being uncovered.

Fortunately, we’re here to help with that. Below we’ll tell you how you can keep your data safe and secure on Apple devices.

1.  Set Strong Passwords

One of the best ways to keep your Apple devices safe is to make sure you’re using passwords and passcodes whenever possible.

Setting a password to log into your Macbook or a passcode to log into your iPhone is essential. When setting up passwords, however, make sure that you choose them wisely. Ensure that the passwords you set for your devices aren’t easy to guess. Instead, use a combination of letters and numbers to make your passwords more resistant to intruders.

Additionally, make sure that you enable two-factor authentication for your devices as well to add an extra layer of protection.

2.  Install Anti-Malware Software

Another great thing you can do to secure your data is to install malware and adware protection software on your Apple devices. Installing antivirus software on your Macbook and on your iPhone can provide a lot of extra protection and will make it less likely that your devices will be hacked. It will prevent spyware, adware, and viruses from being installed.

Ideally, get malware protection software that monitors your devices 24/7 and be sure to run malware scans regularly to check for malicious code.

3.  Back Up Your Devices Regularly

One of the very best things you can do to keep your Apple data safe is to get into the habit of making regular backups. Backing up your data is important and will help ensure that if anything ever happens to the data on your computer or on your other Apple devices you’ll be able to recover it.

Backing up your devices can be helpful in case your computer or mobile device ever gets physically damaged or if malware infects your device and ends up corrupting important data. Be sure that you learn how to back up my iPhone or Apple computer if you want to be fully prepared for the possibility of data loss.

4.  Update Your Software

To keep the data on your Apple devices safe and sound, one of the top things you can do is to make sure you always install software updates in a timely manner. Updates often help to fix vulnerabilities in the software on your Apple devices, so by keeping it updated you’ll ensure that your system remains as secure as possible.

Be sure that you go into system preferences and set the software on your Macbook and on your other Apple devices to update automatically whenever there are updates available. This will help ensure that any software vulnerabilities are fixed as soon as possible and that you’ll have a better chance of keeping your data secure.

 5.  Start Using a VPN

Using a virtual private network (VPN) client is another great way you can more fully protect the data on your Macbook, iPhone, or other Apple device. A VPN helps to encrypt your connection with any public Wi-Fi networks that you’re using and will give you greater privacy, preventing anyone else who is connected to the network from seeing what you’re doing.

If not protected with a VPN, a hacker could potentially see sensitive data and personal information over the wireless connection. A VPN client will help to prevent this and will help keep your data more secure when you use your devices in a public place.

6.  Remember Physical Safety

While there are many things you can do to keep your data safe, it’s important to remember that you should keep your devices physically secure as well.

If you’re using your phone or your computer in a public setting, you should never leave it unattended. Be sure to always keep an eye on your devices and ensure that it is never far from your reach. If your computer or phone is stolen, sensitive data and personal information that is on the device will be compromised and this could lead to big problems.

By always being mindful of your devices and knowing where they are you’ll avoid problems and will ensure that your data is kept secure at all times.

7.  Locate Your Device

Apple understands the potential for devices such as MacBooks or iPhones to get stolen or lost from time to time, and because of this, they have a service called “Find My” that lets you easily track your device and find out where it is.

Before anything happens to your device, you should make sure to protect it by going into your iCloud preferences and setting your Find My app settings up. You can this for any of your Apple devices.

Once the Find My app is set up properly, you’ll be able to track your device and even view a map of where it is. This can be a lifesaver if you ever experience a worst-case scenario and a device gets lost or stolen.

Using These Tips to Keep Your Data Safe

If you want to keep data safe on your Apple devices then it’s important that you have a gameplan in place. Be sure that you make use of the tips above to protect your sensitive data and to block intruders from stealing your personal information.

Looking for more helpful technology tips? Explore our blog now to find more tips and advice for making the most out of Apple technology.

 

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What can I do with my English degree?

It’s a difficult time to be a student or graduate. The current pandemic has brought around economic uncertainty and there are fewer jobs out there. However, it’s important to remember that this will pass. A successful career is still very much achievable.

 

If you studied English at university, it can be difficult to know what career to pursue. While you learn and develop a number of useful skills studying English, your career path might not be as obvious as someone studying business or medicine, for example. Here are some ideas if you’re feeling a little stuck.

Marketing

Marketing is a growing industry with plenty of career options. It’s a great career for an English graduate as plenty of roles rely on good writing abilities. You might be crafting email campaigns, writing social media posts or creating slogans. This means that marketing companies are often looking for graduates with excellent written abilities and an understanding of English language. There are plenty of entry-level roles or internships in marketing companies where you’ll be working on a range of digital marketing services. You could find that you become a marketing guru.

Teaching

There are many benefits to becoming an educator. Teaching can be an extremely rewarding profession. You get to meet bright and enthusiastic young people and influence the way they think. Most of us can remember at least one of our school teachers and the way they encouraged us to think differently. Teachers need to have good written abilities and an understanding of grammar – especially if they’re teaching English. Your English degree will put you in good stead to go into do a PGCE or other teaching course.

Writing

If you studied English, you probably enjoy writing, right? Becoming a writer might be the most obvious career path for an English graduate. But it can also be the hardest, too. You might want to become a professional freelance writer, writing your own novels, screenplays or poetry. It’s a great career choice with the option of being incredibly creative, but you’ll need to work hard. Freelance writers have to find their own work and network widely to ensure they can make a living. However, as an English graduate you probably love writing and have the motivation to follow this exciting career path.

Law   

All lawyers need to have some kind of law degree. However, English graduates are well suited to do law conversion courses, as studying English teaches them the right transferable skills. Lawyers need to be excellent linguists; knowing how to use words to persuade and convince. They need to analyse information and rely on numerous sources to get information. And they need to work hard and know how to study. Most English graduates understand this. They will have spent their degree reading, analysing, writing and gaining an understanding of language. So, if you want to take on interesting cases, meet new people and become and expert in your field, a career in law might be just the ticket.

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5 Crucial Business Password Management Practices

Password management is the building block of security for your business. While there are many aspects of staying safe online, maintaining a strong password is the best and easiest way to ensure your business doesn’t suffer a data breach

There are five crucial business password management practices that can protect your company.

1.  Use a Password Manager

By far the easiest and best investment is to use a corporate password manager. Companies like Keeper Security specialize in keeping your business safe.

Password managers implement a single sign on system where all of your individual passwords and account information is stored under one master password. This allows for individual passwords to be used on each application, which is standard password protection protocol, without the hassle of trying to remember which password goes to which application.

Gone are the days of having to sit on hold with IT while they perform yet another password reset of your most used applications because you forgot your password.

2.  Encryption is Essential

Password Management Companies offer more than just password storage. They also have encryption practices that secure your data so that in the event of a breach, all the hackers are receiving is a file of scrambled characters.

Unscrambling encryption is something even the most advanced hackers won’t have the ability to do in the time before passwords change and the information is useless. This is an easy and effective way to keep secure information safe.

Encryption is especially important if your company handles protected health information, social security numbers, or banking and credit card details. Not only is it important, but not having encryption means you are out of compliance with laws such as HIPAA.

3.  Limit Password Sharing

While there may be one or two times where sharing a password may be necessary, for the most part, you should never share your password with anyone. Even the employee who seems to have your best interest at heart should not be privy to your password.

Passwords are confidential for a reason. Sharing your password with one person could seem harmless. But if they do not share the same confidentiality as you, they can easily pass that information on, even unintentionally.

There is no easier way to have a security breach than to just hand out your password.

4.  Implement Two-Factor Authentication

Utilizing two-factor authentication protects you from someone who may be able to guess your password actually being able to enter your accounts. When you enable two-factor authentication, it sends a text with a code to your phone. You must enter this code before the system will let you continue.

Without the code, you are locked out and you won’t be able to access any of the information. If someone is able to hack into your account and not complete the two-factor authentication, you will be notified and will be able to change your password on your next login. It is a great tool in keeping you safe.

5.  Educate Employees on Safe Internet Usage

While most of these tasks seem simple on the surface, a lot of times employees forget that they are dealing with a company and not just their home computer. Educating your staff on the importance of safe internet usage is essential in keeping your business safe.

Educate on the importance of not opening links on emails where they don’t know the sender. It is much easier in business to want to trust a link from an unknown source thinking they are a potential client or vendor. Ensure that the link you are opening does come from a trusted source and not a phishing scam.

Set up web blocks on sites that employees are not permitted to use. This usually includes all social media sites, unless their use is part of their job. Limiting access to certain websites helps maintain security across sites that are notorious for creating data breaches.

Maintaining a password change schedule can ensure that all of your employees are compliant with constantly changing their password. Instead of suggesting a change, mandate that they change it on a recurring interval. 90 days is a standard timeframe, but some companies opt for 30 to ensure their security.

If you follow these simple steps to password security and invest in a password management system like the ones offered by Keeper Security, you can be confident that you are providing your business with the toughest internet security you can get.

Maintaining your passwords and keeping your information off the dark web will not only help you sleep at night but can save you from a very expensive data breach that could potentially end your business.

Hackers are smart and very resilient, but good security can keep them at bay and your information safe.

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6 Tips to Help Your Business Select the Best Intranet Solution

Running a successful business in today’s environment requires a high degree of efficiency, collaboration, and security. And while there are thousands of apps and tools on the market, a comprehensive intranet solution could be exactly what your organization needs to get ahead.

What is an Intranet?

An intranet is basically a private enterprise network that’s designed for the exclusive purpose of serving the organization by providing a fully integrated digital platform for internal collaboration. 

The first intranets were created in the early 1990s, but wasn’t until the 2010s that they began incorporating social features and advanced elements that make it possible for individual users to have profiles and interact with other users in real-time. 

Over the years, intranets have pivoted from primarily top-down communication to fully collaborative platforms that encourage organic engagement throughout each layer and department of the organization. Think of it like a centralized portal for sharing documents, ideas, and messages.

6 Tips for Choosing an Intranet

The rapid advancement of intranet technology has been fueled by increased competition and innovation in the space. While this is ultimately good news for teams that need intranets, it also creates challenges with determining how to proceed. 

As you conduct your due diligence and compare options, here are some helpful tips that will allow you to choose the right fit for your organization.

  • Know the Different Types

Not all intranets are the same. They come in a variety of types and formats.

There are custom solutions and off-the-shelf solutions. But unless you have deep pockets and highly technical needs, paying a developer to create your very own custom solution isn’t affordable or necessary. Instead, you want to look for a cloud-based option that offers the flexibility to pick and choose the features you want to use.

Cloud based intranets are excellent alternatives to on-premise intranet software (which the organization actually purchases, owns, and hosts in their own data center).

As Happeo explains, “The provider hosts, manages and maintains the intranet software and the user pays for the licensing fee. With data stored in the cloud organizations are able to access their data at any time and from anywhere in the world.”

The easy setup and flexible pricing explain why so many of today’s leading organizations choose cloud-based options like Happeo. 

  • Evaluate Vendors

Think about the vendors behind the platforms. It’s one thing to have an intranet solution with a bunch of bells and whistles, but is there a reliable and trustworthy support team working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly? This is something to consider as you evaluate different vendors.

  • Look for Attractive UI

Don’t ignore the importance of the user interface (UI). It might seem like a tiny detail, but the reality is that you want your team to use the intranet. And the easiest way to encourage them to adopt it with open arms is to give them something that’s aesthetically pleasing and highly intuitive. 

UI might not be the most important element, but it’s certainly not the least. Consider it once you get further into the due diligence process and it may help separate two intranets that otherwise seem to be fairly equal.

  • Think About Integration

Unless you’re starting a business from scratch, your company already has numerous tools, processes, and workflows in place. The worst thing you can do is implement an intranet that’s incompatible with what you’re already doing. 

Think about integration from the very start. (The goal of an enterprise intranet is to make things easier – not more complicated!) If it won’t work with 90 percent of the activities you carry out on a daily basis, it’s probably not the software for you.

  • Consider Scalability

Hopefully your business grows over time. And if it does, you need an intranet that grows with you. Avoid investing in a cookie-cutter solution that works now, but will no longer be as effective in two, three, or five years. Scalability is a must!

  • Collaborate With Your Team

Finally, involve your team in the decision. At the very least, you should form a team that consists of one representative from each department. This ensures everyone’s voice is heard and that nobody gets the raw end of the deal by being forced to use something that will negatively impact output.

Welcome to the New Age

Every intranet has slightly different features, interfaces, strengths, and weaknesses. As you compare different options, consider how each will impact your business both now and indefinitely. An intranet solution is an investment. Don’t commit until you’re ready.

The post 6 Tips to Help Your Business Select the Best Intranet Solution appeared first on Blogtrepreneur.

Ad Spend, Chatbot & New Google and FB Tools

2020 September 25 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 September 25 MarketingCharts Chart

US B2B Digital Advertising 2020
B2B advertisers are relying more than ever before on paid ads, with a 22.6 percent increase for 2020 in B2B digital ad spending, contributing to a total spend that is expected to top $8 billion in the U.S. alone by the end of the year, according to newly-released forecast data of interest to digital marketers. eMarketer

The ‘Purpose Gap’ Facing Many B2B Brands
86 percent of senior-level B2B professionals see clear brand purpose articulation as important, however just 24 percent see activated purpose within their organization — two of several insights of interest to online marketers in new survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and others. MarketingProfs

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies
88 percent of B2B marketers see quality data as important in executing a successful account-based-marketing (ABM) strategy, while some 27 percent aren’t certain how much of their data is accurate, according to recently-released survey data. Demand Gen Report

Chatbot Usage Has Nearly Doubled in B-to-B Marketing This Year
The use of chatbots in conversational marketing has risen 92 percent year-over-year, while live chat usage expanded by some 35 percent and social media interactions grew by 31 percent over the same period, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook launches Facebook Business Suite, an app for managing business accounts across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger
Facebook has rolled out its tool for businesses to manage multiple Instagram, Facebook and Messenger profiles and pages in a unified location, with the release of its Facebook Business Suite utility, featuring post scheduling, ad creation, and insight data, the social media giant recently announced. TechCrunch

Global brands advance towards ‘holy grail’ of cross-media measurement
An ambitious global cross-media measurement proposal framework featuring a new publisher log-based solution utilizing Virtual ID (VID) has been put forth as part of a major push by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and brands, the WFA’s Cross-Media Working Group recently announced. The Drum

2020 September 25 Statistics Image

Google Combines Custom Affinity and Custom Intent Into Custom Audiences
Google has rolled out changes giving advertisers new Google Ad audience features across display, YouTube and discovery campaigns, refining and combining previously separate audience intent and affinity tools, the search giant recently announced. Search Engine Journal

LinkedIn launches Stories, plus Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams video integrations as part of wider redesign
LinkedIn (client) has rolled out its ephemeral video and photo LinkedIn Stories feature, expanded platform search functionality, and video chat for direct messaging — three of an array of new additions of interest to digital marketers, the firm recently announced. TechCrunch

New open source robots.txt projects
Google has released a specification testing tool for websites seeking to adhere to its Robots Exclusion Protocol, along with a parsing and matching utility for improved robots.txt web crawler indexing information, the search film recently announced. Google Webmaster Central Blog

What Should B2B Vendor Websites Focus on as the Pandemic Affects Purchase Behavior?
68 percent of B2B buyers say that their purchase cycles have lengthened since 2019, with the most common buying journeys lasting between one and six months, while 53 percent consider web search a top research method, followed by 41 percent who consider vendor websites a top evaluation method, according to recently-released data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 25 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “lifestyle brands” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Overwatered Houseplants Hoping Woman Goes Back to Work Soon — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Stop Telling The Same Old Story — Mark Armstrong
  • Nick Nelson — 10 Tips for Changing the Way You Think About Your Small Business — Small Business Trends
  • TopRank Marketing — Why Convenience Is Essential — Forbes

Have you found your own key marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Rising B2B Ad Spend, Enterprise Chatbot Usage Doubles, B2B’s Purpose Gap, & New Tools From Google & Facebook appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.