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StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Three SEO Considerations When Choosing Your Next Hosting Company

Let’s start with a couple of statements about hosting. True: hosting companies do not generally affect your organic ranking. False: hosting companies have no bearing on your SEO.

Many business owners aren’t aware that cost and convenience aren’t the only consideration to make when opting for a new hosting company. While these two points are valid and extremely important to growing organisations, what can’t be underestimated is the impact on website SEO that the correct – or incorrect – provider can bring to your site.

Whether your company is trampling the competition, or you’re looking for ways to save money while maintaining a great service, there are many reasons why you may wish to switch your hosting company.

For some businesses, loyalty means ease and convenience – and that works for them, but it’s not always the best option. For one thing, you could end up improving your services dramatically – and at no extra cost. Some brands may even find their hosting costs reduce when they switch, because plenty of operators are looking for new business and offer attractive incentives to the right customers.

So what should you look out for in a service provider? And what could the pitfalls be? Read on to find out the three major considerations you should make before making the commitment to change your hosting company this year.

Speed

Site speed is a huge ranking factor – and it may well be the case that you are considering a hosting move in order to create a more rapid site with better performance. Ranking improvements are definitely seen when a website greatly increases its speed and useability – and that’s simply due to the fact that Google loves to see websites that are slick and ready for customers to use as soon as they click.

Of course, there are ways you can control some of the factors that slow websites down, such as the content, coding and application of imagery and widgets, but a lot of the blame can often be portioned off to your host. So, you can rest easy that you’ve done nothing at all wrong.

The speed of your website can fluctuate normally, so the best and most accurate way to measure your current site speed is to take a look at it, as often as you can, to observe any changes or stalling points that concern you.

Once you’ve double-checked your site’s speed and you still feel it could benefit from being faster, start shopping around to see if your host (or a competitor) can offer you a better service.

The best results for a speedy website will come from migrating a website to a server that’s closer to you and your customer base. This doesn’t necessarily mean in the same town, but swapping a stateside server for one in the UK (if you’re based in England) could make a huge difference. Other host-related factors you can look into are the availability of a Content Delivery Network (CDN), or simply the type of hard drive technology used. It may also be worth asking if the server you’re being linked to is optimised to your content management system – such as WordPress or DNN.

Security

The safety of your site is a huge consideration, and should be taken seriously from initial build to the development of further mini-sites, as and when your business grows. SEO can take a huge hit if your website ranks low on the secure rating, and can end up being hugely damaging if left to deteriorate.

If your website isn’t deterring hackers, they can easily create spam pages and generate fake backlinks that can swoop underneath the radar for months. Google hates this sort of activity as it can be damaging to users’ experience, and so guess what? It penalises without mercy. Poor security can be fixed manually, but often this takes time and the harsh penalties may already have taken effect.

If your website is not hosted on a truly secure server, your site may also be open to malware attacks, infecting your website and putting your visitors at risk. Not only is this a huge inconvenience to your visitors, it also opens you up to having a security warning shown by your results – a huge turn-off for potential customers – or even being blacklisted by search engines completely. And no one wants this for their website; trust us!

To avoid any of these potential headaches and heartbreaks, make sure you talk through the security options available with your web host and request information and costs for any malware removal support, and other hacker defenses they offer to protect your website from attacks. Entrepreneur.com also suggests requesting information about data encryption, to ensure your information is being held and shared securely.

Technical Support

There will come a time that you will need the professional support of a web hosting specialist. Don’t get stung with a huge bill when you really need the help; make sure you’re prepared from the start with a package that includes support right from the off.

Web hosting comes with a variety of potential pitfalls and even if this isn’t your first time at the start of a big project like moving servers, there are many ways in which small things can be overlooked. And small issues will no doubt lead to bigger issues further down the line. The best advice – as with most things – is to seek out a professional’s opinion wherever you can. Or even better, seek more than one opinion to make sure the advice you’re getting is sound and relevant to your particular needs.

Should your website go down – heaven forbid – you need to know that the support is there to get you back up and running quickly and with minimum upheaval or stress. Make sure your web hosting company offers 24/7 technical support to get those issues fixed quickly and have your website back on track in as little time as possible.

To give yourself even more peace of mind, delve into the experience and qualifications of the staff you’ll be working with whenever you contact your web host. Will you have a specific team assigned to your website? Do you know their names and their credentials? All of these things will help you to gain a better relationship with the people who can fix any of your issues quickly and will give you a better idea of the expertise you are paying for, too.

Sometimes you get what you pay for. Often with web hosting, you’ll be better off paying more for a better service if it means keeping your SEO ranking high, your customers safe and your website up and running efficiently and quickly.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Bedroom to Boardroom: Transforming Ideas Into Fully-Fledged Businesses

Think you have what it takes to be a masterful entrepreneur? Do you think that you’ve got a brilliant idea that no one has ever thought of? Are you confident that you could do a better job than other entrepreneurs you’ve met or heard about?

If you agreed to any of the questions above, then you’ve probably wanted to start your own business for a while. Those ideas stewing in your head need to go somewhere, but do you have any clue how to actually fund your idea or get it started? There are plenty of people using platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to crowdfund their projects, but many of these have failed spectacularly because the owners just didn’t know how to handle their ideas.

If you want a safe and reliable way to turn your ideas into actual businesses, then this article will provide you with some practical advice on how you can achieve your dreams with ease.

Study your industry and learn the necessary skills before doing anything

Let’s start with a hard truth; you won’t get anywhere without some knowledge, training, and skills. The days of trial and error are long gone and if you want to start a business now, there is just so much information out there that can teach you how to do it successfully the first time. Failing once is fine, failing twice is acceptable, but failing for the third time’s just asking for trouble and it’s clear that you haven’t done enough research or put enough effort into your ideas.

Start with online courses. There are plenty of online learning platforms and you can study virtually anything. From an online OSHA training for construction to learning how to paint and draw, there are a countless number of courses online that can help you learn about the industries that you want to get involved with. Not only will you learn the necessary skills to run a business in said industry, but you’ll also pick up plenty of valuable tips regarding the industry itself, how it operates and also how to take advantage of it.

You’re going to need money and a source of funding

The most popular way for people to save money on their startup investment is to crowdfund their project. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on selling an electronic device, setting up a service or even designing a video game–crowdfunding is one of the most popular and straightforward methods of getting the funding you need.

There are, of course, other ways to secure money. You could always approach investors and other entrepreneurs to give you a chance, but you could also consider using your own money. Let’s face it, starting up a business isn’t exactly cheap but there are plenty of ways to make it less expensive and more accessible as long as you’re willing to experiment a bit. For instance, starting as a home-based business is absolutely fine and you can get by with having no employees for a decent amount of time. However, no matter what the starting point for your business is, you’ll eventually have to hire staff to work for you and also pay for more expensive tasks such as marketing and design.

Getting people excited by using social media

One of the most interesting ways to get people talking about your business idea is to use social media. It’s fascinating because the way your intended audience reacts to your business can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. For instance, they might love your idea because another company that offers a similar product recently went bust, or your product might be completely different to what is offered in the mainstream, thus creating a loyal following that is dedicated to your cause or your product.

Hopefully, this article has given you plenty of practical advice to use for your next business idea. Being optimistic is good, but there should be a limit to how confident you are. There will always be a need to ground yourself in reality and starting a business or becoming your own boss is one of those times where it helps to be realistic. We’ve all got high hopes and dreams, but it pays to be logical as well. If you’re absolutely dedicated to your idea and you want to show the world just how special your business is, then you need to take the long route and do everything the proper way. Just remember that there are no shortcuts.

StrategyDriven Budget Management Article

A Comprehensive Guide To Saving Money In Business

Saving money in business can be done in numerous ways. Just about any business owner could look at their business and find ways to save when using the tips in this guide. You might think that you’re already saving as much as you possibly can, but don’t leave yet – take a quick look through the advice below and see if you can use any of the suggestions.

Don’t Hire – Outsource

Hiring comes with a whole host of responsibilities that you need to be aware of – one of them being that you have to pay your staff regardless of the money they earn for you each month. This is why it’s a good idea to look into outsourcing instead. If you’re unsure of whether you’ll need things doing consistently, outsourcing gives you fewer responsibilities while still getting the work done. If it turns out that you do need the work full time, you can then hire. Until then, outsource so you can be sure and save yourself any hassle.

Learn How To Negotiate With Vendors

Negotiating with vendors is key if you want to save money. You likely need to work with multiple vendors to run your business, so take advantage of this and practice your negotiating skills if you can. You also have the option of seeing if you can pool with other businesses to buy in bulk, which can further help you to save money.

Make sure you research vendors carefully too; the cheapest vendor isn’t always the best. You want a vendor that is going to give you top notch customer service on top of a great product. You can look at businesses like Construction Trailer Specialists, Inc. to give you an idea of what you should be looking for when working with vendors. In general, the better the relationship you have with a vendor, the more chance you have of negotiating a better deal with them. Focus on building strong relationships and you’ll be on your way to getting better deals.

Become A Greener Business

Becoming a greener business involves various techniques, but it’s a great way to go about saving money. You may also make more money, as people who are interested in working with green businesses might just come to you! So, how can you create a greener business? Start by cutting back on things like paper, and turn things off when you leave work for the night. Use recyclable packaging, and work with other green businesses to have an even bigger impact. There’s literally a long list of things you can do that will help you to become a greener business. Kinder to the environment and kinder on your bank balance!

Cut Back On Meetings

Meetings take up a lot of time and energy, so cut back on them where possible. Using collaboration software is much more effective, and it’s rare you actually need a meeting to talk about something important. In some cases a simple phone call or stopping by somebody’s desk can do it. Meetings simply aren’t productive, and this means they are costing you money.

Discourage Multi Tasking

Multi tasking in the workplace can trick you into thinking you’re getting more done, but you’re not. For example, checking your emails, updating social media, and working on a project will make you feel like you’re busy, but in reality, you’re getting less done than you would when focusing on one project at a time. Discourage multi tasking as much as possible, and discourage the use of things like social media and email during the day altogether. Have a set time for checking email, and then leave it alone for the rest of the day.

Shop Around For Your Business Utilities

In business you also need to pay the bills. Your utility bills can be a big drain on your finances if you don’t shop around for the best deals. Make sure you shop around for things like electricity so you can make savings – these will really add up over the course of a year.

Make The Most Of Telecommuting

Whether you can embrace telecommuting or not will depend on your type of business, as it isn’t possible for every single business type out there. However, where it is possible, it can be a huge money saver for your business. If you can keep things virtual as much as possible, you’ll be able to save money on overhead expenses and operating costs. Even if you can only find a way to convert at least some of your staff, it’ll make a huge difference.

Start Using Free Software

Using free software can be a game changer in business – it doesn’t all have to be paid to be effective. See what you can use that will help you to make things faster and cheaper. Even investing in some pieces of software could help you to save money in the long run, as you’re saving time and energy elsewhere.

Find Ways To Save On Your Marketing

Marketing is one of the most expensive things that a business will spend money on. Find ways to save on your marketing and you’ll have more money to your name. However, you should only save where you’re not going to hinder your efforts. Going to a cheaper marketing company may mean losing your results entirely. Word of mouth referrals are great forms of marketing, but you can’t buy them. You can create them by giving the best customer service experience that you can muster. You could take care of some of your own content marketing by creating awesome, shareable content, and then taking to social media to get your content out there.

Using social media regularly and taking control of other marketing aspects will help you to both make more money and save.

Find Ways To Get The Most From Your Employees

Make sure you look for ways to get the most from your employees. You can improve their productivity by giving them a great place to work, ensuring natural light and refreshments, and by being a great leader.

Improve Your Business Cash Flow

Improving cash flow within your business can reduce your need for loans and credit which come with interest, thus helping you to save money. Make sure you invoice promptly and send out reminders. Credit checking your customers can also help you to improve your cash flow and save money. If you work with a client with a bad credit score, you’d likely never get paid and end up losing out.

Hire A Professional Accountant

Hiring a professional accountant should be looked at as an investment, not an expense. They will look at your records and can help you to make better decisions, not to mention keep everything in order and ensure you avoid paying more tax than you need to.

Passive Energy Saving Measures

Earlier we talked about saving money on your energy, but there are also passive energy saving measures you can use. You can double pane your windows to keep the heat in, ensure tight seals, and use solar water heaters. Making energy efficient upgrades as your budget allows can save you thousands.

Turn Things Off After Hours

One seriously straightforward way to save money in business is to turn things off after hours. You can easily reduce your company’s electricity bill this way, and if you get the whole team on board, it’s very easy to do. Having personal computers left on overnight, or even over the weekend can suck energy out of your business like no tomorrow. Ensure everybody has turned theirs off before leaving work. If you own a restaurant or something similar then you’ll need to use your common sense; while you should turn off your ovens and similar appliances, you’ll need to keep your freezers running all the time. Looking for star rated energy appliances can further help you to save money.

Using Your Space Efficiently

As a business grows, it’s natural to dream of moving your business into an even larger space. However, you don’t have to do this if you’re smart; you simply have to make sure you’re using your space more efficiently. At the moment, many businesses tend to have 185 square feet of dedicated office space per worker. Many businesses even report their plans to shrink their footprints to less than 100 square feet of dedicated office space per worker by the end of this year. Things like mobile device usage, collaborative workstations, and multipurpose rooms (for example, conference rooms that can also be used as break rooms) are all great solutions for business owners who want to save money on the rent and make the most of their space.

If you take a close look at your business, you should find that these tips help you to save a fortune over the course of a year. Examine your business carefully and see what you find that can be improved upon. Do you have any tips to add to this guide? Leave your own thoughts and ideas below!

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Do You Have All Of The Tools You Need To Move Your Business Forward?

As a business owner, you are possibly going to be looking at many different ways you can move your business forward. You may be looking at the ideas of where you want your business to be in the next six or twelve month, even looking beyond a year and having your five year plan. The projections are there, the inspiration and the passion is flowing, but do you have the right tools to actually bring it into a reality? I wanted to share with you some of the best tools you can have at your disposal, which will help you move your business forward.

The right data management and software

Sometimes you need to look at the type of management system, software and cloud services you have to ensure that you have all you need to move your business forward. Design software like the Altium designer download, sales tools like a CRM based system to ensure that the relationship is there, and even cloud services offering opportunities for staff and yourself to work and be productive from anywhere. These are fundamental tools that can help you to move your business along.

A fantastic easy to use website

These days so much is done online, that your website needs to be functional and easy to use while still being innovative and striking in looks. Your brand needs to be evident, the right information and copy needs to be present, and your ecommerce element needs to be functional and working. Having a decent website is a fundamental part of business these days, it is often the first stop for potential customers. Make sure it is right by investing in the areas that need work.

Innovative and creative social media platforms

Right now, one of the most popular methods of marketing is social media, and it can work wonders for your business if it is done in the right way. More people are getting ewise and picky with what they have on their social media feeds, so a sales pitch every five minutes just won’t cut it. Be creative with your content, share information and advice as well as your products and services. Engage and answer comments and questions. You will soon see a difference.

Investment to move things forward

You might be thinking about your nest steps, and rightly so. Having the right investment behind you to move things forward means that you can strike when the iron is hot if you see an opportunity or a gap in the market. It might be expanding your products or service or jumping on the prime location for a retail opportunity.

Do you manage your time effectively?

Finally, time management is just as an important tool as some of the physical things like a store or website. How you manage your time affects your business, from your output to what things get done and when. If you need to don’t be afraid to outsource certains aspects of your business while you concentrate on moving it forward. Take a moment to put a value on the time you have and make sure you spend it wisely.

I hope this helps you to move your business forward.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Ensure the Launch of Your App Is a Success with These Marketing Tips

A lot of people spend around six months building an app, yet they don’t even spend five per cent of this time planning the app’s launch. If you don’t spend a lot of time and effort planning the launch and your marketing efforts, your app is going to fall flat, and all of your hard work will have been pretty much wasted. So, with that being said, read on to discover some tips you can use to launch your app successfully…

Before the app goes live, use promo codes – One technique that is not used as regularly as it should be is the sharing of promo codes for an application that is not yet live, but has been improved. This enables you to invite your target audience to look at the final, app store version of your application before it has become available to anyone else. This strategy is successful because it enables press contracts especially to review the application should they want to do a piece on it before the formal launch.

Have a support system ready to go – A lot of app creators do not think about the customer support aspect of marketing. This is a massive error. While you should not just help your users because you deem it a marketing activity, you will give yourself a big marketing boost if you provide outstanding customer service, and so it does go hand in hand.

Make the most of app short links – There will be a number of vital links that you will need to share on social media and send contacts. All links are going to be very long, aside from the one for your website itself. This is why you should use a service like Bit.ly or Branch.io, the latter of which is more app-centric, to shorten and clean up your links.

Put together an app press kit – An app press kit is recommended because it makes it a lot easier for anyone to write about your application. At a minimum, this kit should include app store links, the app store description, app icon, and app store screenshots.

Use a professional service – Last but not least, if you are worried about launching your app and you do not have any experience in marketing, why not use the services of a digital marketing agency? This is a great way to benefit from the peace of mind that your app is going to be launched successfully and that effective marketing methods will be used. Not only this, but analytics will help you to understand improvements that can be made going forward.

So there you have it: some useful tips on how to make sure the launch of your app is a success. You can build the most exciting app to have ever hit the Google Play Store or the iStore, but if you do not market it properly, what’s the point?