5 Impressive Blockchain Applications for Small Business Owners

It is an era of smart gadgets, cool apps, and big data. In this time of emerging technology, do you often wonder how you can tap into the right technology to empower your small business?

This article will put light on one such technology which could completely change the way you manage your business affairs: Blockchain!

Started as a public transaction for bitcoin, blockchain has now evolved into a technology used for dynamic purposes — from cloud computing & storage to business contracts and from payment methods to supply chain management.

No wonder the community of entrepreneurs, businesses, and enterprises, all are trying to grab hold of this innovative technology for its benefits.

Multiple blockchain applications can help you boost your business while being easy on your finances. But, before we dive into that, let’s first get a solid grasp of what exactly is blockchain and how it can benefit small business owners.

Simply put, blockchain is a growing list of records called blocks that are linked using cryptography. It is a time-stamped series of record data that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. These blocks are secured and bound to one another through cryptographic principles.

Some of the features of the blockchain application include: 

  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Enhanced Security
  • No Transaction Cost
  • Decentralized Technology
  • Distributed Ledgers
  • Faster Settlement

In the coming years, your business can escalate towards success if you get on board with implementing these 5 most impressive blockchain applications:

1. Payments and money transfers

The massive inflow of cash can make your banking experience a mess. And often, you are expected to pay hefty transactional fees to banks to transfer a lump sum amount of money.

In such a scenario, blockchain emerges as a warrior that can defeat your adverse banking experiences while giving you a smooth and secure transaction method. Having its roots in cryptocurrency, this seems to be the most prominent and beneficial application of blockchain.
Through blockchain technology, you can instantly transfer funds in an extremely secure manner without any intermediaries or extra fee.

It also comes in handy while paying wages to international/remote employees and contractors. Abra, Bitwage, and Coinpip are a few companies that are leading the path of transferring funds or handling payrolls via blockchain technology.

2. Smart Contracts

Be it starting a new firm with fresh contracts or entering into new terms in your existing business, documenting fair and reasonable contract often becomes an uphill battle. And to add to your problems, there are always middlemen or third parties making the situation more complicated.

Now imagine if self-automated computer programs could carry out the terms of any contract. It isn’t a far-fetched dream — it is precisely what “Smart Contracts” is.

The term “smart contract” may sound like a newly coined technological jargon. However, you’d be surprised to know that the term has existed since 1993. It was only after a decade that “Smart Contract” became the buzz in the business world. The credit for this goes to the Ethereum Project, which “is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.”

Blockchain Technology will allow you to form self-executing contracts, i.e., smart contracts, while eliminating the need of a third party. It will not only save you a decent amount of money (which your lawyer would have vacuumed out of your pocket), but it will also enhance security, traceability, and accountability.

3. Cloud Storage

Are the various cloud hacks in the news making you question your cloud storage charges? Do you often wonder if the price you paid for your cloud storage solution worth it? Its exorbitant fee can become overbearing for your business as they lack security and transparency.

However, it is practically impossible for a firm to store data without these clouds. It is where the introduction of blockchain can prove to be beneficial. Blockchain cloud storage solution takes the user’s data and breaks it up into small chunks.

Further, it adds an extra layer of security and distributes it throughout the network. Each chunk of data is stored in a decentralized location. This method makes it impossible for hackers to gain access to your complete data. If intruders try to hack into it, they first get encrypted data and then get only a chunk of the data. It makes blockchain cloud storage solution one of the safest options while being easy on your finances.

4. Supply chain management

Today’s consumers are curious and well informed. They are attracted towards a business that can provide them the complete details of their products-from manufacturing to sale. However, it isn’t an easy task to keep full track of each transfer of your goods.

This is where you can rely on blockchain supply management to help you get real-time information of your data. It would increase transparency and visibility, improve inventory management while reducing delays and frauds. Tracking the supply chain and digital trail information would help you to build trust among your consumers.

5. Raise Capital Globally

If you are willing to raise more capital for your business via global investors, blockchain is the way to go. As digital currency operates independent of geographic boundaries and can be transferred easily without any international fee, it gives every business an equal opportunity to raise funds.

Summing it all up

These blockchain applications will help you scale up your business and gain maximum profit by optimally utilizing the blockchain technology. With blockchain, you don’t have to worry over things like data breach and lack of privacy anymore — your business transactions are protected by a system that you can rely on.

On top of that, with blockchain, you don’t require a central hub anymore; it serves as a bridge between vapors devices and help you carry out transactions at low cost.

Author Bio:

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Right Mix Marketing Blog. She specializes in writing about content marketing, SEO and social media. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling. You can follow her on Twitter at @rightmixmktg.

Tips To Create A Mobile App For Your Business

Mobile apps have become a part and parcel of our lives. This modern technology is strengthening its hold in the business world too. At this point, apps are becoming a part of every conceivable business.

While developing an app can be a challenging task, it has become increasingly essential for businesses to have one. It becomes all the more necessary if you are running your business on a website because you are missing out on a lot of opportunities as the potential audience is spending more and more time on mobile apps. HostingFacts states that 52.2 percent of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices now.

How to create a Mobile app for your business

There are many business mobile apps that increases productivity and offer you a platform to conduct a variety of business processes at a single place, for example, promoting your product, earning revenue by advertising, offering coupons and discounts and if your customers find your app engaging they will spread the word and grow your brand awareness in the market. Due to its countless benefits for businesses, let’s have a look at various things to keep in mind when developing a business mobile app :

1)Identifying the problem

The first step to creating an app for your business is to identify the problem that your app resolves. You need to identify the potential of your business idea by looking at the market needs. Also, you need to decide the message which you are communicating to your audience through your app and the marketing channels you will use to do so.

You can start by looking for insights and stats and asking questions on forums. Then you can go on to build a lean version of your app, also known as Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and collect the feedback from people.

2)Conducting Market Research

Market research determines the feasibility of your app. Many apps fail miserably simply because the developers skipped market research. Therefore, you need to develop a feasibility report before developing an app.

Your app needs to satisfy two goals :

  • Your business Goals
  • And the goals of your ideal users

Keeping these objectives in mind while developing a feasibility report helps you to develop your app according to the market scenario and increases its chances of being successful over the competition.

3) Defining your business model- freemium

There are many ways to monetize your apps but people increasingly prefer free apps. That’s why the freemium model is quite a successful model to grow your user base. You can always monetize later with in-app purchases and other advertising methods to generate revenue.

While every business model has its benefits and drawbacks you can start by looking at what your competitors are doing right and also what they might possibly be doing wrong.

Not every app has to generate large amounts of revenue, sometimes apps that are designed to solve an enterprise problem helps the business by cutting operational costs and saving time in processes.

4)Provide Features of value

Do not think of your app as a copy of your website, think of it as a separate product. You need to develop an idea that reflects your core business values and build your most prominent app features around that.

At first, the abundance of features might seem like a good idea but its usually not. Users need the simplest way to solve their problems. You need to have a clear vision about your core features because with each added option your app will become more complex and more expensive.

5)Choosing the Right Technology

An app’s quality is directly related to its success and to make an impactful app you need to decide the technology that best fits your requirement. For example, developing for iOS provides better monetization opportunities while it’s difficult to get more downloads and revenue from android apps.

That’s why you need to select the right technology, and there are three main options you can choose from

  • Native apps – Apps that are coded for specific platforms i.e.either for Android or iOS.
  • Cross-platform Native apps- Apps that share common software development kits but can still run natively.
  • Hybrid apps- Apps that are compatible with all operating systems and devices.

6)Creating A Simple And Intuitive UI/UX

Expecting the users to learn to navigate through your app is counterproductive. Instead, you should strive to make a user interface (UI) that is intuitive and provides good user experience (UX) and makes them come back to your app.

Adhering to simplicity is the way to go when designing your app as a simple yet effective design ensures that users will stick to your app and are more likely to recommend it to new users. Bottom line is that you need to follow the KISS principle – “Keep it simple, stupid.”

7)Providing Security

An unprotected app poses an imminent threat to the data of your users.

If your app handles personal data like banking information, medical records and other sensitive information it becomes more critical that you have safeguards built around to protect the data.

Use encryption, cryptography, token validation, and safe communication standards to make sure that the data is not leaked to a prying hacker.

8)Maintaining Regularity

Do not forget about making constant improvements and communicating with your customers.

Users are happy with providing constructive feedbacks and you should fix the bugs or problems with your apps accordingly.

Moreover, Apple and Google update their operating systems every year you need to ensure that your app is coherent with the recent changes in the OS.

Wrapping Up

Creating a mobile app for your business will help you to grow your stronghold among your niche audience. It makes your business processes simpler and helps you to drive more revenue and engagement. Design an app that reflects your business and has all the required features.

We hope the above tips help you with creating an effective app for your business.

Stay Tuned!

Author Bio:-

Twinkle is the product head of MobileAppDaily and keeps a close eye on the latest and trending tech releases. With her wise taste of the tech industry, she has single-handedly created a recognizable brand image.

What Features You Need In A Sales Team Collaboration Software

Sales is one of the few departments in an organization that is considered a profit center – that is, they bring money to the company while other departments like HR, operations or IT is mainly focused on sustenance and operational  activities.

Not surprisingly then, business managers seldom think twice before investing in software applications that can make their sales team better. While this inevitably helps your sales teams do better, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

New software tools come with their own learning curve. Investing in multiple software applications would then mean a lot of time that is spent in learning how to do stuff. A lot of times, the software you invest in may not be the right one for your team. This means a lot of time is also spent in unlearning and relearning.

Why your software tools is not the right one for your team

There are two reasons why business users change their software tools. The first and the most common reason is poor needs assessment. Decision makers in the company use internal surveys to gauge needs and pick a tool accordingly. However, the results of these surveys are heavily influenced by the questions you put up. Consequently, this is a case of ‘Garbage in, Garbage out’ – poor surveying results in misleading results which cause the team to pick the wrong tools.

The second reason is evolving business needs. Let’s take the example of a startup team that has grown from a dozen SDRs (Sales Development Reps) to a 100 in over a year. Software tools that are handy for a small team does not work for large teams. If you have signed up a lengthy contract with the service provider, you are likely to be using apps that are ill-fitting to your business needs. The result is an inefficient sales team that does not perform to its potential.

Finding your business needs

There is a reason why many businesses fail to demonstrate results even with the best and most expensive apps. The first rule of business is to pick software applications that will complement your processes and not supplement them.

To put this in other words, the software you pick must help you carry out processes much in the same way as you normally do; only more efficiently. Expecting your sales team to change their ways or processes in order to use an app can be a disastrous decision.

There is another reason why this is important. As we pointed out earlier in this article, there are several reasons why a business has to switch from one service provider to another. Picking an app that requires your sales team to change their working process would mean disrupting their routine each time and this requires a lot of unlearning and relearning. This is a productivity sink.

That being said, what features should your sales team collaboration software need? Here are a few points.

Conversation consolidation: This is by far the most important feature that your sales team needs; especially big ones where a prospect talks to multiple contacts over the course of the sales cycle.

For instance, a prospect may have left a message on your website and may have talked first to an inbound sales agent. They may have passed the contact to a sales associate in charge of gathering requirements. Once the requirements have been gathered, the prospect may then be transferred to  the Operations rep in charge of proposing a solution.

Your CRM application must serve to consolidate conversation across all these different stakeholders. This allows anybody in the team to track progress and plan the cycle for your client.

Process alignment: Your sales team is just one cog in the wheel of all business operations. As such, it is important to ensure seamlessness between the processes followed by your sales team and those followed by other departments in your organization.

The core objective of using a business process management application is to take a step back and ensure business process alignment among various teams. Ensure you pick a BPM software that allows this alignment to happen without a substantial change in processes.

 

Remote working: Sales teams across large enterprises are spread over several zones and geographies. A lot of  these teams in smaller zones operate remotely with no real “office”. Collaboration among team members in such a setup needs to be planned after considering the impact it has on remote workers.

An ideal digital workplace is device agnostic and can help sales teams effectively collaborate over any device through a multitude of communication channels like chat, email, video conferences and phone call.

Centralized document management: Sales processes come with a lot of repeatable tasks like creating proposals, sharing product samples, sending follow up emails, and so on. Efficient knowledge management processes would require organizations to create optimized process and templates for each step of the journey. This way, an individual SDR does not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating a sales pitch that converts the best.

In addition to this, it is also important for an organization to have a centralized document management system for all departments. This allows a marketing team to share content that will aid an SDR in closing the deal. Similarly, this helps a sales  team member transition the prospect to the team in charge of onboarding a customer.

Pick file sharing tools that are on the cloud and work across different devices. They must also let users quickly search for specific files and folders from across the entire repository. Most importantly, you should use a tool that integrates with your existing home directories so that it does not disrupt your current work process.

We are merely scratching the surface here in terms of the features that a sales team might need for collaboration. However, they establish a strong fundamental for collaboration which is essential to a highly productive workforce.

 

150+ Almost Free and Essential Products To Start Your Business

Are you a newbie to the startup world? If yes, then you must be definitely knowing that starting up a business is no cakewalk. It is one of the toughest tasks and involves a lot of risks. Especially, if it’s a startup, you come across a lot of roadblocks that you never thought would ever crop up. Factors such as budget, limited manpower and time can also affect your business or startup when the workload starts piling up and the bills come rolling in.

But fret not! With the help of right tools and an effective team you can easily come over these hurdles and can reach your business potential. There are many tools and products available out there which can prove to be super beneficial for your business in the long run. Below mentioned is a curated list of some important products that every business must use, irrespective of its size, in order to take your business to new heights over the course of time:

Domain name suggestion

Booking the right domain name is the first step of any startup launch. But it is very difficult to get a desired .com domain name under your budget, however, you can try some hacks and find the domain name that best fits to your business name.

  • domainwheel(generate different variations of your desired domain name)
  • domainhack(take advantage of different TLDs and hack your domain e.g hy.pe)
  • agiledomainsearch(generate domain names by adding some random but related word)
  • domaindart(Generate domain name by adding prefix or suffix)

Domain Name Booking

Booking domain is not free but privacy, email forwarding and DNS can be free. Consider these free resources before selecting registrar.

Create Logo

Logo designing charges may vary from $10 to $10,000 but here is options to get one for free.

Create website by yourself

If you are not a web developer or a designer but need simple websites, then you can make it yourself for free or at a nominal cost with the help of these products. You don’t need to worry about hosting and setup also.

Create blog

Blogging is an important way to grow your business online. These tools can help you pull in your target audience.

  • wordpress(self hosted cms, you need to pay for server or hosting)
  • Managedwordpress hosting, free with wordpress.com sub domain
  • WP Buffs – Managing WordPress websites with 24×7 support
  • medium( $75 on time for custom domain)
  • tumblr(use with your custom domain for free, limited features)
  • blogger(everything is free. use your domain, customize theme.)
  • jekyll-now(host your blog on github)

Create Ecommerce Website

You can use open source software and host on your server, but must have prior knowledge of server management and PHP & Mysql.

If you don’t have technical background you can start from these hosted version of e-commerce platforms.

Host for free

Hosting your website can result in a recurring cost since many of the shared and cheap hostings are not able to provide more than 99% uptime but you can opt for some reliable hosting services for your needs that are free or almost free. It requires some technical skills to deploy your website.

Communicate

Interact with your team or clients.

Lead Generation

If there are any details which are missing from your lead you can get more details by name, company name or email Id

Get Work done

These all services are paid starting from $5

Analytics & Tracking

 

Website Traffic Monitoring

Having a good statistics package working in the background is important for your site. You must know what works and what doesn’t and also the trends that will make your website the next stop for visitors every day.

Track Email

Scheduling and tracking emails is important, especially if your clients are in different time zones.

Track Link

Tracking links of your competitors and those of your web pages is an essential part of SEO strategy.

Create Awesome Social media Posts

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, so make it stand out with the help of these tools.

Manage Social Media Accounts

Social media management tools can help you make the most of your social presence  and reach a wide number of audience.

Create Promotional Video

Create engaging online promotional videos affordably with these tools.

Launching Startup

Get your startup enlisted in these communities and create a good audience base.

Note Taking

In order to build a personal knowledge database, the good old note taking is undoubtedly one of the best ways.

Project & Task management

Managing projects and tasks can be a little difficult. But don’t let anyone tell you this. Manage everything on your own with these tools.

File Hosting & Sharing

Share and host files seamlessly with these tools.

Work Automation

These tools come with a wide range of applications and are ideal for those who are mostly digitally connected workers.

Create Forms

Forms can be a great asset for your business sites. Create one for yours with any of these:

Transactional & Newsletter Emailing

All the email services are paid but they offer a free tier until you start growing

Chat & Support

There are many chat service providers for your website who offer free plans but restrict the contact limits. Here I am mentioning the options which do not restrict them.

Get Payments

These tools help you receive payment from any corner of the world. These are safe and secure to use.

On Site Search

For the times when you want to allow your visitors to search on your website or your database.

Track Competitors

Having an insight of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses can help you create a good strategy

  • mention(Starts from $29 / month)
  • alexa(most popular website ranking probider)
  • builtwith(check what third party technology powering a website. free , paid plans starts from $295)
  • whatruns(Discover what runs a website, when you open a website.)

Security

These tools help make your business fast and safe.

Bookmarks

Lets you save important stuff that you need to get onto later.

Engagement

Good engagement tools help your product grow in the best possible way.

Free Stock Photographs

Finding good images is difficult. These tools make your work of finding them an easy task.

Influencer Marketing

Instead of directly marketing to a large group of your consumers, you can get or hire influencers who can do the work for you or on your behalf.

Others

If you find anything that we have missed, then please let us know in the comments.

Article contributed by Vijay Nagar, marketing manager at BetaPage, a startups & early adopters community

Mobile Applications Powered by React Native

What is React Native?

React Native has been a trending name for quite some time now. Startups and fortune 500 companies have been racing to implement the new technology in their software. React Native is a JavaScript framework that uses the ReactJS library, developed for mobile apps creation.

Why the big fuss?

UI is quite a big deal for any website or application. In a nutshell, no matter how innovative and robust your solution is, if it doesn’t have the appropriate UI things won’t just work out.

The thing about React is that provides speed, simplicity, and scalability. These factors are important for creating a user captivating user experience that would promote the software’s business and expand its market.

So let’s take a quick dive into React native’ features.

Why React Native is awesome

React is quite simple to grasp right away. The plain use of JS makes React pretty easy to learn and use. It also makes writing JavaScript code easier using an HTML like syntax called JSX. Of Course, you can write plain JavaScript, but JSX facilitates the code writing a lot. React has got a lot of documents and a great active community of developers who support each other. For this reason, we have a number of ReactJS tutorial supporting sites.

One of the key strengths of React Native is its code sharing. Very often, the application would become overdeveloped on one platform and not as much on another. That of course, is due to the fact that development for these platforms is made separately. With React Native, developers are able to develop native apps for Android and IOS at the same time just by writing JavaScript. More than 75% of the written code is shared across Android and IOS and it sort of brings the entire development team on the same page. It’s also fairly easy to learn if you know how to use React and JavaScript. Since it uses the ReactJS library, React Native contains all ReactJS’ features as well.

Now that we established how cool React Native is, let’s take a look at how popular it’s been getting lately.

#1. Facebook

Facebook uses ReactJS for the website, as well as React Native for their mobile application, with both Android and IOS. Facebook is where React originated, and it was created to answer their needs. Facebook wanted to bring the web development power to the mobile development scene. Namely, the fast iterations and the ability of one team to create the whole thing. After testing React Native with their application, numerous factors like startup time were improved by almost a factor of two. This is really important to create the ideal user experience Facebook is looking for. You can check their entire journey here: https://code.facebook.com/posts/895897210527114/dive-into-react-native-performance/

#2. Instagram

For a software with simple UI like Instagram, integrating React Native was not a complex task, but it certainly paid off. Instagram uses the powers of React very effectively when it comes to its features like the geolocations, search engine optimization, and accuracy. Instagram is letting its fan take a deep dive into the robust power of ReactJS, and they are very well enjoying its features.

#3.Skype

The telecommunications giant, Skype, uses React for both its Android and IOS versions. It sort of flows into the picture of how major companies are all opting to use React in the solutions they provide. This came as an answer to the numerous problem the prior versions had.

#4 Walmart

In a chase to upgrade their current application, Walmart has adapted React to their software. They talked about the numerous factors that React has managed to touch on. They talked about how the developer’s experience has been awesome using React. For example, the code in IOS and Android is almost 95% shared, which is quite a huge number. Their team became more productive using React, and the application itself improved a lot, from smoother animations to platform-specific UI.

#5 SoundCloud Pulse

SoundCloud Pulse is an application that helps creators to monitor their work and keep up with the humming of their community. It’s a great tool, which uses React Native in its solution. When the team first developed the application, they actually went short of IOS developers, and after making the research, they decided to go for React Native. The code sharing solved the problem and provided them with the IOS code they needed for IOS platform. The team’s experience was positive, and they found it quite easy to deal with React native. More on their journey here:https://developers.soundcloud.com/blog/react-native-at-soundcloud

#6 Bloomberg

Bloomberg is one of the big applications, especially for aspiring and highly productive individuals. It provides global financial use and allows for personalized content. However, ever since its creation, the developer team talked a lot about how it was somewhat inefficient to develop the application for IOS and Android almost separately. When they started to use React, the development process literally shifted gears, and they were able to develop for both platforms simultaneously.

#7 Airbnb

Airbnb is one of the big names who started to use React Native, and they currently have around 60 developers on their team working on it. They pointed out how the process was enhanced by the reusability and the simplicity of React that spread satisfaction among their team.

#8. The Facebook Ads

The Facebook ads application created under Facebook’s roof has been the first application to use the React Native for Android.We can sort of say that Facebook designed React for that purpose. It suited their business logic very well and allowed them to create a cleaner interface and better UX. It touched on many critical spots and the result: A faster and smoother captivating application.

#9. Gyroscope

Gyroscope integrates with HealthKit, and it allows you to see your complete life story. From tracking your heart rate, weight loss, productivity. Simply put, it’s a great stream of data flowing into the application to provide you with all the juicy information. For such application, the developers opted to use React Native since it enhances the UI rendering even with such huge amounts of data flowing in. And the users just love it.

#10 Discord

Discord is following Skype’s footsteps, and they are using React to their application. However, it’s only the IOS version that uses it.

Final Thoughts

The list actually goes on with Myntra, Uber Eats, and Yeti Smart Home. Etc..

The promising power of React Native is sort of dictating that it’s going to reign where it’s peers has fallen. The community is ever expanding, and the adaptations of React Native is exponentially growing over time. Facebook recently declared that they are about to release a new version of React called the React Fiber. It’s very probable that we are about to witness a great improvement in the field of developed that is deemed to reflect upon the user experiences in general. Designing better user interfaces will only lead to public satisfaction and better user experiences. The future of React Native is certainly bright, at least from where it currently stands right now.re

3 Beginner Tools to Understand Customer Data

It’s hard to believe that in 2017, there are industries in which customer data isn’t valued at its true worth. The good news is things are changing. According to Forbes, 60% of business owners believe in the revenue power of data within their companies. And 83% feel that data increases profitability among existing products or services.

It’s hard to believe that in 2017, there are industries in which customer data isn’t valued at its true worth. The good news is things are changing. According to Forbes, 60% of business owners believe in the revenue power of data within their companies. And 83% feel that data increases profitability among existing products or services. Even so, some industries out there still lack severely in the customer service sector. Government offices, Healthcare, Airlines, Retail, to name a few. The full list and percentages are available in this infographic by Statista.

Customer support Customer data is crucial to your sales and marketing strategy if you want to:

  1. Understand what your customers need before you upgrade your products and services;
  2. Develop loyalty programs for your buyers;
  3. Apply design thinking principles (innovation) in your line of work;
  4. Attract a new audience and diversify your clientele;
  5. Be one step ahead of your competitors. And more…

Working with customer data isn’t easy especially if you are a beginner in the field of analytics. Or a content marketer with little knowledge in working with stats. But with these 3 beginner tools, no customer data will be left behind.

SEO Tools for Excel

Let’s start with the basics. Before you consider customer data and the sales process, you need to understand what is happening with your website behind the scenes. How people find your website. Who mentioned your website/product/service. Links. And ranking performance. I’m sorry to remind you again, but search engine still matters, and I don’t know of a business who isn’t peeking at competition every now and then.

If you want to discover the current Google cache for a web page, that’s easily manageable by typing “cache:www.websitename.com” into your web browser. But for multiple pages or the entire website, this is time-consuming. Imagine if each product has a dedicated page, and you have about 1,000 products displayed. Not cool, right?

That’s why the Excel SEO tool is useful because it allows users to simply apply a formula to return the data (in this case, the formula is =GoogleCacheData(“URL_TO_CHECK”). There is a basic option (ad supported, free, but with reduced functionality) and a pro version (where you can connect your other accounts, such as Moz, Ahrefs, GA, SEMRush, Majestic), which pulls data directly into Excel, without having to manually transfer it. This guide explains all about the uses of Excel in SEO and marketing, so you might want to check that out. Meanwhile, I have requested permission from AcuityTraining to use some of their screenshots to showcase the tool’s functionality.

Installation Tips and Examples How to Use the Tool

Installation is simple: Go to the SEO Tools for Excel website, and simply download it. This only works for Windows users, and you will need to check compatibility of Office version with Windows version (32 versus 64 bit).

Excel SEO

Here are a few formulas you can use to speed up your analysis. There is a series of string tools that help with text variables (in case you didn’t know, more advanced tools as SPSS, for e.g., do not run an analysis on a string variable, so you must compute the variable from a string into numeric. Which takes up time and energy). But SEO tools in Excel is friendlier with beginners.

To remove spaces from the text, use the “=Normalize()” function. To remove blank spaces in a string variable, use “=StripWhitespace()”.

SEO Excel tool

You can also use the tool for spidering and pull current data for multiple pages. The Spider icon in the upper left will generate a dialogue box that needs to be filled in every section. Add a report name of your choice. Specify the website to crawl, and level of crawling required. Specify data required per page. Highlight the options (you can choose up to 51) in the left-side column. Click Add. Data will be generated in the right-side column.

SEO Excel tool

Clicking Generate will display a table with multiple columns, such as URL, GoogleCacheData, and LinkCount. Or any other metrics of your choice (based on your previous selection from the left column options).

SEO Excel tool

Web stats are a great way to understand what is happening behind the scenes on your page/website. If you have this figure out, it’s time to proceed to the next level: customer specs.

Website Call Conversion Tool

Conversion testing is nothing new. Almost anyone is familiar with A/B testing of channels, for e.g., to see which one drives more traffic, leads, sales. This Hubspot article shows how inbound marketing and sales combine one another.

Recently, more attention has been paid to custom web data reports that showcase what the customer journey is, and how their interaction with your service or product impacts the decision-making process. Call conversion is linked to both customer journey and conversion testing. If you think this isn’t an important subject, think again, as Google Analytics has been allowing phone call tracking since 2016, with phone calls being a marketing channel. Users can simply add the GA code to their websites, and either setup Events and Goals (free option) or opt for an integration software (paid) to track phone calls.

Using Nextiva Analytics: Short Guide

Nextiva is a call conversion software (premium), which offers around 225 report combinations to analyze real-time data and historical data using graphs and tables. Below, you can see an example of Summary for Calls (Total Count, Count by Day, Hourly Average).

Nextiva key features

Besides summary reports and other technical features, call group reports are also available. This how a call group report looks like with graphs (right) showcasing call channels, and scatter-plots (left), displaying count by day.

Nextiva call group

For e.g., if you want to analyze the target group “company employees” with a final objective of understanding the business needs, you can create a custom report and dashboard. An example of the custom dashboard is listed below. This type of report allows you to compare users, sales numbers, call duration, and clusters (i.e. Summer sale promotion team; Sales team; Mike’s calls, Support team).

Nextiva custom dashboard

Operating with agile decision-making processes, the wallboard feature enables transparency and displays critical information. Here’s how a critical process map looks like, detailing all types of calls, duration, and number for each section. I.e. 4,608 dials under Unique calls, 726minutes for International Talks etc.

Nextiva wallboards

The tool itself is easy to handle, and user-friendly. They have a resource center on their YouTube channel, with video guides for Beginners, worth checking out.

Pivot Tables: Sales, Buyer Behavior, and More

For a tool that has been around since before Moses ( the first version of Excel for the Macintosh was launched in September 1985, and first Microsoft version 2.05, in November 1987), you would expect everyone to be an expert at it. For the ‘80s version, probably everybody is. Microsoft developed their Office suite to address its other market segment: businesses. If you’re just starting with customer data, Excel is an excellent tool for beginners.

The simplest, yet useful and powerful feature is Excel pivot tables, which are used to summarize, analyze, explore and present the data through graphs and charts. You can find out how your services and products are performing in an industry, region, segment, by simply grouping the data into designated columns for each variable (i.e. variable “Services”, “Industry”, “Purchases”) and performing the analysis.

Types of Action in Pivot Tables

  1. Summarize your data by finding the average (mean) value of a specific metric/variable. e. Purchases are done per region, per industry, for each product.
  2. Organize the columns of a table. Structure them based on metric/variable/action performed by the customer.
  3. List unique values. You can work here with “outliers” (min and max values, which are outside the mean; call them “particular cases”. For e.g., a customer purchasing your Christmas products in Summer/Fall is natural. But a customer purchasing Christmas gifts in April is peculiar.)
  4. Create dynamic pivot charts and reports that show custom forms and subtotal values. Instead of having a report/graph generated for each segment, you can combine segments, and check for a particular result or for general outcomes.
  5. Filter, sort, and structure your data without formulas or macros. You probably don’t know this, but the main disadvantage of formulas is that you need to carefully follow each function and element/item of the formula. Otherwise, the formula will either not work at all generating error reports, or work in a way, but generate a fake report and false findings. These numbers will affect business decisions. And this isn’t something anyone wants.
  6. Link data sources that are outside Excel and generate pivot reports for this type of data. Think of data such as Google Analytics, tracking stats in email campaigns, surveys, social media data that can be linked to, analyzed, and reported.
  7. Transposition of data from rows to columns and vice versa.

Data sources you can use for a Pivot analysis include GA, Bing, Yandex, surveys, email campaign tracker data, SQL data (website data), external or in-house social media analytics tools, APIs, Internet marketing tools (Moz, Majestic, SEMRush etc).

Example: Customer Devices Pivot Analysis

Let’s say you are interested in finding out if your website should have a mobile-ready version, or it’s enough to have a mobile-responsive theme. You can extract the data from the past year (53 weeks) or from the last 6 months (26 weeks). For this example, I will work with data from the past year, that showcases traffic metrics which came from “All Users” compared to “Mobile Users”.

The steps are: Import Data from GA >> Organize Data in Columns and Rows >> Run Pivot Tables >> Generate Pivot Chart.

SERPiflied pivot table

Based on the results in the pivot table, I see that a third of my customers use a mobile device. I can expect the number to grow in the following year, although I would need to run a predictive analysis to confirm my statement.

However, this pivot chart result is enough, at this point, to convince me to invest is a mobile version of the website, so that my customers can enjoy a fully mobile experience.

More information about pivot tables and user experience is available here.

Takeaways

Remember: customer data is crucial to your sales and marketing strategy. Before understanding your customers’ needs, you need to understand what is happening with the main sales channels. In this case, your web properties and how they rank in the SERPs. For that purpose, the SEO tool for Excel will generate enough valid reports to help you plan your marketing strategy better.

Then, the customer journey and the customer experience are two defining factors in achieving success with your online business. Almost all major e-commerce websites offer call or chat support. Call support helps with conversions. Nextiva has a series of YouTube videos for beginners, explaining how to use the tool and how to get the best out of your reports.

Ultimately, Pivot tables will reveal in a simple, fast, accurate way if it’s worth investing in a mobile-only version for your website. And not only that. Go beyond my example and discover the relationship between sales, purchases, revenue, and trends.

Grab the business insights you need. Data can be turned into calls to action and used for competitive advantages, long-term goals, predictions of future user behavior, success rate analysis, and KPI restructuration. And revisit these examples any time you need.

5 Cloud Collaboration Tools To Increase Team Productivity

In recent years, the professional environment has evolved into an always connected, increasingly mobile place. This shift paved the way for freelancers and remote workers to thrive, and for some, to even become the lifeblood of business.

A Gallup poll says around 37% of workers in the U.S. have at least tried telecommuting, while staying as productive as other employees. The research also revealed that the average worker telecommutes at least two days in a month. Nowadays, work-from-home setups and distributed global offices can be as successful as your regular Wall Street conglomerate.

In order for your business to stay afloat even in the absence of a physical workplace, you need to harness the power of communication tools that places great emphasis on collaboration capabilities. Your usual devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets count as your main tools. Your broadband internet connection and your internet-powered communications provider serve as your actual gateway to your workplace.

If you’re on the lookout for a cloud platform that lets you collaborate with other team members within a virtual office environment, consider the following tools as your options.

Hubbion

Hubbion is by far the only completely free collaboration tool that offers unlimited collaboration among an unlimited number of users with no restriction whatsoever on the file sizes. Also, unlike a number of other collaboration tools in the market today, Hubbion does not restrict communication to one team of users. Instead, users may interact with multiple teams simultaneously and all projects that they are involved as a project creator, assignee or just as a participant are aggregated and may be viewed over one dashboard.

Glip

Acquired in 2015 by cloud communications leader RingCentral to complement its already powerful platform, Glip has made it easier for people to participate in team conversations via simple text chat and through typical collaboration capabilities such as instant file sharing, task management, calendars, and more. This online tool offers a free version, but existing subscribers of the RingCentral Office suite can also extend their phone system’s capabilities through click-to-call and quick directory controls that can be used in conjunction with Glip. It earns plus points for its intuitive, dedicated app that runs on virtually everything – on a desktop app, on Android or iOS devices, and yes, even on browsers (for those who hate installing stuff).

HipChat

This tool is particularly geared towards users of Atlassian products (especially JIRA). However, it can also be enjoyed by most collaborative teams since it offers simpler, cheaper pricing than most of its competitors. Users also praise it for its numerous integrations not normally found on other tools and the seemingly unlimited cap on file uploads. The UI also feels pretty much straightforward, and some have noticed how the tool keeps its “web-based” look and feel regardless of the client used. For simple team chats, HipChat could be a top contender.

Slack

On other team collaboration tools, users have to log out and log in each time they want to switch teams. Slack has found a way to address this so it’s become very ideal for freelancers who work on multiple projects or companies at a time using the same email address. Slack also gained the nod of several teams for its powerful search capabilities that even extends to file attachments. To top it off, Slack has a ton of investors behind it. Although this isn’t a product feature, you’re assured that the company behind it has the money for research and development – which usually translates to more features.

Zoho

Zoho offers an array of business productivity tools claiming that it’s your “operating system for business.” It delivers sales and marketing apps and business process apps, but its strength lies in its modular email and collaboration offering that makes project monitoring a whole lot easier. Although its features may sound too high-level, they’re pretty simple to use. You can plan projects with milestones, task lists, recurring tasks, subtasks, and the like. It can be very ideal for complex projects because the tool allows you to break them down into subtasks to make them more manageable. There’s also a dedicated bug tracker so you can tag and fix issues faster, making it more ideal for developers.

As with any other paid business solution, the perfect cloud collaboration tool for your team can’t just be based on what’s popular in the market right now or the cheapest among the lot. Some of the products mentioned above have certain advantages over another, so you have to carefully examine your options and find one that will work well with your existing workflow.

Author’s Bio:

Ronald is a digital marketing specialist for RingCentral, a leading cloud phone system solution. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest on small business trends because of the nature of his work. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

10 Tools You Must Explore For Android App Development

We field tested these tools and believe that they will bring you appreciable, time-saving results and offer real value.

If you are keen to take your mobile app development company to the next level, then it is critical to start building a library of tools with your developers to help streamline the development process. But, mobile tools should be simple to use and add value to the development process. So, if you find that a favored tool does not deliver consistently good results, then it is time to consider other options.

To help you consider your options, we put together a list of the top 10 tools (both free and paid) for Android app development that every mobile app development company needs to know about. We field tested these tools and believe that they will bring you appreciable, time-saving results and offer real value.

GenyMotion

If there is one thing that most Android app development companies can agree on, it is that the official Google emulator is somewhat painful to use. This is where GenyMotion proves useful.

Geny

It is a fast booting emulator with seamless integration with the two most popular development platforms, namely Android Studio and Eclipse. Testing your app has never been simpler

MobiCart

iPhone app development companies have their hands tied when developing sales apps through their platform. We are lucky that Android development is not tied up in the same Apple-related issues. If you have a client who wants to integrate PayPal into their app, MobiCart offers simple-to-use shopping cart integration for Android.

Material Design Icons

As one of the simplest tools for any mobile app service, Material Designs is a useful tool that does exactly what it says on the box: It helps you create your material design icons quickly and simply. It is a multi-platform tool and so it can be useful to iPhone app service providers as well.

Android Debug Database

If you are tired of running your Android app services over and over again to try to find that one glitch, then this is the tool for you. It is incredibly simple and allows you to collate and view your databases and shared preferences right in your browser.

SwebApps

Another tool that is as useful for tracking iOS app services as it is for Android apps, SwebApps allows you to create your app online and then update the content in real time. This is a paid tool and so there is a one-time development fee alongside hosting costs. But, the native tracking abilities are well worth exploring.

LeakCanary

Concerned about memory leaks in your app? Considering hiring a mobile app developer just as a Beta tester? LeakCanary steps into the breach. This nifty tool detects issues in both Java and Android.

Android asset studio

This tool may well prove to be the last asset tool you will ever need as it offers a plethora of options. It can assist you with icon generation, internal app styling, and more, making development simpler, easier, and more satisfying.

UserTesting

UserTesting offers you real-time video feedback from a team of testers assembled by the app. As a Beta testing tool, it performs remarkably well and offers a host of detailed metrics to assist you in the final improvement of your product.

UserTesting

App Annie

If you are not a fan of detailed math, but still want to access all the juicy data hidden in your app’s store metrics, then App Annie is the right Android app tool for you.

You will receive analytics of your app’s performance and downloads alongside the store data. It can also cater to international app stores.

Apptimize

Apptimize offers A/B testing for both Android and iOS, allowing you to securely test your ideas before a public launch. It also offers full Android libraries to ensure a seamless user experience and reports user behavior in real time.

There is no longer a need to hire iPhone app developers just to migrate apps to a safer platform. Android is getting better in leaps and bounds and, with the help of these nifty tools, your custom mobile app development goals have never been easier to meet.

Have you found a particularly useful Android app tool that did not make the list? Why not share it with us below!

Bio:

Shishir is the founder of ChromeInfotech., a well-known name in the Indian mobile app development and designing industry. With years of experience in the domain, he has now acquainted himself with all the nitty-gritties of what goes into making an awesome app in the least possible time.

Why App Reviews Are Essential to Designers

You’ve finally launched your app, and you’re waiting for the five-star reviews to start loading. Why wouldn’t everyone else love your app as much as you do? And with app use on the rise, it makes sense to jump into this market. The only issue- it’s a saturated market.

Both Google and Apple applications have just over 2 million available apps each. So, how can you gain more visibility from your app? One way is through the reviews and ratings you receive. And, despite what you may have seen or heard, the more–the better. In today’s market, consumers have a preference for individualized, real reviews over advertising. Of course, good reviews will make your app stand out even more. Nonetheless, we will explain why app reviews are essential to designers.

For discovery

Reviews and ratings are used as metadata for search. Depending on the types of news stories breaking in the tech world this week, ratings may even categorize your app in search results. When a customer types in a keyword such as “crossword puzzle,” you can imagine that all of the crossword puzzle games–with the most reviews–will start to populate the search engine results.

Moreover, you’ll see the ones with the best ratings on top. Search engines want to provide their users with the best experience–this means giving them the best products and services first.

App Reviews

For downloading

When you search for new apps, which ones do you download? Do you download the one with no reviews or the one with multiple reviews? When two apps are similar, most consumers will download the app with either the most reviews and/or the best reviews.

As those stars light up, so do your chances of getting more downloads. It gets your app noticed. If you have the same or a similar number of ratings as another app, then the average user will download the app with the better ratings.

How reviews affect your app ranking

As an app designer, you might read your reviews on a daily basis. It’s essential to being discovered, downloaded and purchased. Not to mention, reviews and ratings help you to show up for relevant key terms. As a result, apps with ratings lower than 3 stars had a much lower ranking that more highly-reviewed applications. Here is a breakdown of what affects your app ranking in both the Google and Apple app stores:

  • The quality of ratings and reviews
  • Number of uninstalls
  • Number of reviews
  • Number of downloads
  • How much your app is used
  • Landing page keyword density
  • App growth

Ratings by system

  1. Google–Reviews are local but star ratings affect average rating value, regardless of the location of the user. As a developer, you can reply to all reviews and they are visible to everyone in the Play Store. The only caveat is reviews will never expire, even those for an older version of your app.
  2. iOS–Reviews and ratings are version-specific. This means that when you publish an updated version of your app, most of the previous reviews disappear. Reviews are local. This means that reviews given by Japanese users are only visible to Japanese users, for instance. The rating is also local. To illustrate, the same app might be a 3.5/5 in the United States and 3.0/5 in Japan. You can’t reply to any of your reviews.
  3. Windows–You can reply to all reviews. Replies are also private and sent directly to the reviewer’s email address. The average rating is local and only visible to a specific country’s users. Reviews never expire.

App Reviews

Feedback helps to improve your work

Certainly, you wouldn’t publish an app unless you thought it was amazing. If only everyone else felt the same way. While you may have many fans, there will be critics. And, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Your app is supposed to appeal to your target audience. If it isn’t doing so, then you’ll find out quickly. This is especially true if users get specific such as reporting bugs or even having issues with a crashing app and a battery drain. These are important issues that you should fix if you find an overwhelming number of reviews discussing the same problems. Otherwise, you will continue to get bad reviews.

Then, there are the positive reviews. We’re not talking about the one your mom or dad wrote. These are good and real reviews showing you did something right, and you provided something your users actually want. It’s always nice to get positive feedback. Since user retention is so critical in the app world, you might encourage users to return by regularly adding exciting new features.

Final Thought

Even with the best intentions, we can sometimes fall short. On the other hand, we can knock our app out of the park. Regardless of how well your app is received, don’t be afraid of reviews and ratings. You need them for rankings and to help make the most of your work.

Using Movavi Photo Batch To Resize Images Fast In Windows Computers

Resizing photos on Windows computers is something that seems pretty simple to do. There is always the MS Paint option that is available. However, this does not mean that there aren’t better options that are available.

Resizing photos on Windows computers is something that seems pretty simple to do. There is always the MS Paint option that is available. However, this does not mean that there aren’t better options that are available. The big problem with the regular software we use every single day is that resizing many images becomes really time consuming. We are faced with the need to open every single image individually and then we have to manually enter sizes to change the photos. If you take many different images every single day, spending hours resizing is not something you want to do.

The alternative to using the free limited MS Paint is to use an image resizer for Windows 7 or the exact type of OS you are using right now. One that instantly stands out is Movavi Photo Batch. This is a program that was designed especially for the people that take many photographs. Its most important feature is that it allows you to resize the pictures in bulk. The program features versions for both 32 and 64 bit Windows computers and after you download and install it, all you really need to do is follow some pretty simple steps:

    Add the images you are going to resize – this can be done through simple drag and drop or you can manually choose the images to resize if you want to pick something even more specific.
    Reduce image size – you can easily choose out of many different options when wanting to change photo dimensions. A special resize tab allows you to quickly browse through many options that you can tweak if you want to. This includes:

      Scale to chosen width
      Scale to chosen height
      Setting the maximum width and height to resize to
      Scaling to size to maintain original proportions
      Custom sizes to make everything of the exact size desired

    Define the quality and format desired – for instance, choose between JPEG and PNG with the quality setting of 85% of the original
    Export the smaller images – choose whether or not to replace the originals or just export to a different folder

The huge advantage that is offered by Movavi Photo Batch is definitely speed. The speed at which you can easily change the size of many different images at once is much higher than what you would need to go through when looking at options like the above mentioned MS Paint.

To make matters even more interesting, Movavi Photo Batch gives you the possibility to do exactly what you want when you want o edit the size of many different images at the same time. We are faced with a program that is really simple to use and that brings in one huge advantage we cannot neglect: speed. Since you manage to gain a lot of time, you can use that in order to simply edit the images you like the most. Why not take advantage of something like this? Movavi Photo Batch should be considered.