Business Startup

Start Up Help

Tips & Guides

Latest Posts


iStock 541975802 1 750x500 750x410 - Overcoming Dyslexia In Business

Overcoming Dyslexia In Business

Dyslexia is seen in the mainstream as a negative condition. Given the issues it raises for those with the reading disorder and how it affects them it’s easy enough to see why, but what happens to those with the condition and how does it shape them as they grow from children into adults? Could the problems it creates for those with this difference actually be used in such a way to turn them into a series of advantages?

The Golden Rule – turning a weakness into a strength

For all entrepreneurs, turning a weakness into a strength is commonplace. So how do those with dyslexia turn what we see as their weaknesses into their strengths?

They already know about living in the face of adversity. They’ve had to learn how to adapt to learning as a bigger challenge than those around them, often needing additional support for basic tasks that the majority perform automatically.

The first step is to know the real differences between how those with dyslexia and those without the disorder operate. Running a business means the dyslexic either has to find a way to perform the same task by overcoming the disorder, or alternatively to find somebody else who can take on the task and resolve it for them. You may also want to see Dyslexia support from companies such as CPD Bytes.

Knowing the difference

The following are a few points into how the dyslexic can overcome an issue and turn it into a strength involved in operating a business.

Someone with dyslexia will often be a slow reader. They will have to learn to pick out the important areas of a text as efficiently as possible. This can give them an obvious edge in analysing information from a body of text, for what the important areas are straight away, instead of getting side-tracked and lost in the padding.

Those with dyslexia have also learned to think on their feet since day one. Overcoming problems that didn’t affect others meant implementing new systems and doing it quickly just to get by. Fast thinking problem solvers in business? They’re going to be the ones to get the job done.

Communicating

Due to the nature of dyslexia being a reading and a writing disorder many of the current day to day ways of communicating become a hindrance to someone with the condition. In a world of email, online business networking, written correspondence, minutes, notes and memos; these can all cause extra work digesting and understanding a problem, brief, or the basis of the questions being asked.

Better listeners

For the dyslexic the tool to overcome many of these problems can be something as simple as a telephone call or a face-to-face meeting. A simple conversation will be their prime option.

Can you remember far back enough to when we used to have conversations? Before the days of texting, Messenger, WhatsApp, emails and a myriad of cloud based business team communication tools such as Slack, Bootcamp and more…? It’s all very easy to joke about but one simple phone call can outline everything needed to understand and garner immediate responses to an initial request. It’s in these areas someone with dyslexia can shine. They are often much better listeners because talking about the problems that need attention is far preferred to sifting through documents and letters that will cause the very problems they’re trying to avoid.

Asking the right questions

With heightened listening skills it gives those with dyslexia a far better understanding on what the problem really is, how to troubleshoot and problem solve it, and then ask for a response in whether the solution is likely to be an appropriate one.

By becoming better face-to-face communicators (or via telephone) this will build better relationships with clients and suppliers alike. By utilising real conversations over messaging and mail you are building personal relationships in business. These are truly important because people buy from people. Consumers will often buy the person over the product or service. In a world where there isn’t often much difference between a selection of products it can often boil down to who you trust and just as importantly, who you like.

Being more persistent

Growing up with a reading disorder will have given the dyslexic additional challenges to someone of a standard level of reading. They will have been challenged into different ways of learning that could often be more frustrating, more time consuming and inevitably upsetting to a child surrounded by children who glide through the same process without issue. For those who overcome the challenge, not only in that one area but over and over again, it will have ingrained a persistency, and a second nature to not give up when things get hard. Again, a great tool for the entrepreneur. It’s a must if we’re being honest.

Handling disappointment

Going back to how someone with dyslexia handles themself through their school years, adding additional pressures to studying, taking tests and exams, soaking up information and regurgitating it out onto paper, the whole system seems stacked against them. It makes gaining good and acceptable grades more difficult. The first few knocks will be disheartening at having to work so much harder given the same time constraints and allowances as other students, only to find that the chances of achieving the same results will be a far greater challenge. Learning to handle the constant disappointments of lagging behind and not achieving the same results of others, the dyslexic starts to learn to become comfortable with failure, at least in their own eyes, and being able to adjust and deal with this personal disappointment also makes it easier to face other situations where failure is inevitable; and even when it isn’t, it would instil in them an ability to bounce back much faster, to re-asses and succeed on the second, third or fourth attempt. How many of us would give up at the first hurdle? Certainly not the successful entrepreneur.

Born leaders

Another result of often being segregated or isolated from typical students could cause someone with dyslexia to create their own safe space. A world where they would be comfortable in themselves despite their differences. Being an entrepreneur will often require that same way of thinking; an insular mind-set, away from the mainstream, coming up with forward and different ways of thinking.

Knowing your weaknesses and learning to delegate

Having had so-called weakness pointed out since childhood they will have had to get used to not only understanding but also accepting why they are different and how to cope accordingly. Being able to understand these differences can open them up to seeing other differences, often unassociated to their disorder, and not as a weakness but simply as another problem to overcome.

Spotting our own weaknesses makes it easier to see them as a strength that others posses. Putting a team together means choosing those that have supporting strengths. Delegating tasks to those who will excel becomes its own strength instead of the previous view of a lack of ability, and by learning to trust other staff members are there to help achieve your goals creates better and more positive working relationships – and they’re the foundation of any good business.

Given around four or five per cent of society will experience dyslexia it’s no surprise that many of our high achievers in business have had to not only overcome it but also excel from what it has taught them. They have learned how to keep striving for better not because of it but in spite of it. We can all learn something from those who have excelled in such a manner, and admire them for what appears to be doubling up on their achievements.

b 9 750x410 - 5 Effective Ways for Entrepreneurs to De-Stress

5 Effective Ways for Entrepreneurs to De-Stress

To be an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be hard-working and driven. Days can be filled with any number of tasks, from contacting influencers and tracking potential growth, to attending business meetings and ploughing through emails. Keeping on top of so many tasks can be a challenge, and will include a fair amount of stress.

So, what can you do to combat this stress? How can you save yourself from burning out? Here are five easy ways to give yourself a bit of TLC, and keep your business on the right path.

  1. Meditation

According to Dr Herbert Benson, something as simple as breathing exercises can reduce stress. It works by putting your body in a more relaxed state, where your worries will simply melt away. You’re in a state on involuntary attention, where something is holding your attention but you’re simultaneously able to reflect on things.

Studies have shown that meditation can help by decreasing stress levels as well as boosting emotional well-being, so you’re much more able to deal with stressful situations in the future, too.
There are meditation sessions springing up in cities across the globe, so have a quick browse online to see what’s happening near you.

Alternatively, you can undertake an online course, or even just go through a playlist of guided meditation sessions on Youtube. It’s advised that you meditate at the time of day for each session, so add it into your routine and block out a part of your schedule. You can try meditating first thing in the morning or as you get into bed at night, or even take a break during your workday to reset your mind.

  1. Taking Breaks

No-one can work non-stop for eight hours at maximum productivity. Instead of trying to power through the times when you feel like you’ve hit the wall, give yourself a small break to rest and recharge.

When you’re busy, the thought of taking a break may cause you more stress as you don’t feel like you have the time to spare. However, a short rest can actually give you a moment to breathe, before you begin ploughing through work once more.

If you’re just looking for a quick break, give yourself an allotted time of the day when you’re allowed to scroll through social media, or to check your personal emails. Or, have a snack at the ready that you can nibble on. Healthy snacks will fill you up and make you feel nourished, so go for something like nuts or a hard-boiled egg.

Having a snack that’s good for you will also involve being kind to your gut. As the gut is the largest organ in the immune system and stress effects the brain and immune system, eating something can further help you de-stress!

For a more substantial break, why not go for a brisk walk or grab a coffee from a nearby café? For entrepreneurs who work alone, a break is an excellent chance to get some human interaction and think about something else for a short while. Even if you do end up talking about work, getting complaints off your chest can help lower your stress levels, anyway.

  1. Pamper sessions

If you’re in danger of burning out, reset your stress levels with a full-blown pamper session. Treat yourself to a trip to the salon, have a hair treatment or even head to the spa. Massages and facials are great for curing stress, and are also an excellent way to cure any aches and pains or skin issues that are a result of your stress levels.

Numerous studies into human contact have shown that a caring touch can release oxytocin, which counteracts the stress hormones. That means that a pamper session can help you feel more confident about your appearance, while also having a positive effect on the chemicals in your brain!

If you’d rather add a bit of pampering into your workday without leaving your home or office, there are options for that too. Why not buy yourself a foot massager, and let the machine work it’s magic while you plough through your to-do list.

  1. Music

Whether it’s taking some time out of your busy schedule to listen to some music, or performing difficult or repetitive tasks with a playlist blaring in the background, there are multiple ways to de-stress with music. Classical music in particular is known for relaxing listeners, as your heartbeat slows to match the calming music. Meanwhile, a playlist of your favourite songs will have your brain releasing dopamine, giving you a feeling of comfort.

Begin your day with a stress-busting exercise, and find two or three songs that you really enjoy. Then, spend the next ten minutes in the zone enjoying the music and having a little (or big) dance. Some companies even implement a morning music session into the daily schedule, as they understand the importance of keeping employees happy and stress-free. Join the fun and give yourself a morning wake-up dance, too.

  1. Unplug

Undoubtedly, a large portion of your work is conducted online. With the internet also providing a medium for socializing, you can begin to feel as if you’re tied to your laptop or phone. As an entrepreneur, you may be using technology to cover both of these jobs, as social media often plays a part in an entrepreneur’s daily responsibilities.

However, being ‘plugged in’ for so much of your life may be causing you stress. Soon, you’ll begin associating stress with the use of technology, rather than just the duties you’re performing online. What’s more, it might make you feel like you’re disconnected and missing out when you’re not online, driving you to stay online for even longer.

Giving yourself allocated hours during which you turn off all technology can be great for your mental health. It’ll also give you some perspective, so you can identify the source of your work stresses and find a way to avoid further issues.

5a0ef935150000250085895a 750x410 - Should I Invest in Bitcoin? - All You Need To Know

Should I Invest in Bitcoin? – All You Need To Know

The online world has allowed many amateur investors to take their first steps into investment. As well as there being many online platforms, there are also a series of dedicated apps that allow us to play with dummy money, as well as investing in real stock should we want to take the plunge.

The variety of platforms available often leads to the question “where am I best making an investment?” In recent years, Bitcoin has made the ears of budding investors prick up due to the alluring qualities it is able to offer. However, there has been fluctuation in the Bitcoin market that could cause to stray away from the digital currency.

The truth is that any investment is a risk, so it’s important that we are only investing what we can afford. However, if you’re doing your research, then there’s very little reason as to why you can’t benefit from investing in Bitcoin.

How Are You Looking to Invest?

The word “investment” is a broad term, and can relate to several types of investing. For example, you may be wishing to invest in companies that deal with Bitcoin, or are you looking to purchase Bitcoin in a bid to make a profit. It may not seem important in the first instance, but having an idea of what you’re trying to achieve will mean that the process is a made a lot easier.

If you’re looking to invest in Bitcoin directly, then you will not be investing in stock or a company, but a currency. For a currency that doesn’t physically exist, this can be a little off-putting for some. However, it’s important to recognise Bitcoin as a digital currency as opposed to a physical one.

The popularity of Bitcoin can be cited thanks to the placement of dedicated ATM machines. Sure, these aren’t recognised around the world, but it does show just how much traction Bitcoin has made since being introduced back in 2009.

What Makes Bitcoin Investment Worthwhile

Of course, there is no secret algorithm that can be used to determine the future of any currency, as there will always be different factors to consider. While the rise of Bitcoin has been a profitable one, this doesn’t mean it hasn’t dropped in value. In some instances, can decrease in value more rapidly than other commodities. However, Bitcoin has seen a steady, albeit slow, increase in value.

One of the reasons Bitcoin is so valuable is because the masses use it. This alone can add value when investing in Bitcoin, but it can mean playing the waiting game. While a quick profit isn’t impossible, it’s not something that should be relied on.

This isn’t to downplay the popularity of Bitcoin, but we can never truly know what lurks around the corner, especially in the financial world. As such, we should treat a Bitcoin investment like any other, and approach it with care and caution, whilst being sure we’re not placing all our eggs in one basket.

Making an Investment

Those who wish to invest in Bitcoin will be effectively buying currency, and holding onto it hoping it will increase in value. The right time to do this can depend on several factors. The most important factor is timing. If investing in Bitcoin is something that you’re constantly putting off, then you could be missing out on a golden opportunity. Making an investment in any kind of stock or commodity means doing our homework, and knowing the best time to buy and the best time to sell.

When purchasing Bitcoin, it’s important that we only use a reputable exchange. I would always suggest that you visit https://bestcryptocurrencyexchanges.net/ before deciding which exchange you want to use. While for the most part, the Bitcoin community is nothing but welcoming and helpful, there will always be those who try their luck with newcomers. Not knowing your surroundings means that you could be paying over money for a Bitcoins that don’t even exist.

Fortunately, newcomers can avoid such pitfalls by only dealing with a reputable exchange. Depending on the exchange you use, there will often be a fee. The right kind of platform to use can depend on your personal preferences and goals, so it can be worth having a good look online before committing straight away.

You will also need to ascertain how you plan to store the Bitcoins. If you’re new and wish to save some money in the interim, then a paper wallet is for you. This is effectively an online wallet that holds your Bitcoin currency. There are also hardware wallets available, which are essentially physical drives that store the currency.

If exchanges aren’t for you, then there are other options available. If your fortunate to live in an area where you have access to a Bitcoin ATM, then you can use this method. There is also an offline solution in the guise of platforms that pair buyers with those who want to purchase Bitcoin. This approach needs to be used with caution, in that you should only meet strangers in public places.

The truth is that Bitcoin has seen a steady growth that doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. However, you should still carry out research and not carry out kneejerk reactions. Like any investment, how much you make can depend on timing and the quantity you purchase.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAApvAAAAJGJmM2Q1Mzc1LWM3MGItNDA5Yy1hYTdlLTBhNDBmZjgzMDQ2MQ 750x410 - Build Your Own Personal Brand Online

Build Your Own Personal Brand Online

When starting a business, there are several avenues we need to consider to ensure that we’re able to make an impact online. While the Internet has allowed a plethora of companies to spread their wings and find success online, this means that there is more competition. As such, a business has to ensure that it’s able to build a brand that consumers can trust and invest in. To be able to do this, a business has to brand its company.

While some assume this means a large investment, there are some steps you can take in the online domain to ensure that your business is striking the right chord with your online audience.

Your Business Needs to be Visible

When trying to appeal to the masses, you will often have to deal with a lot of technical aspects, such as search engine optimisation. However, today’s online world means that there are several methods a business can employ when it comes to building a personal brand.

Networking is one of the most popular forms or promotion a company can undertake. Not only does it allow you for you to become more acquainted with other professionals in your chosen industry, but you could also find that a company is a position to share your business details should a suitable project land on their desk,

Networking isn’t the only way of making your brand visible, even interacting on social media platforms can mean that you’re being introduced to more potential customers.

Don’t Underestimate Social Media

We’ve already touched upon how social media can help your business become visible online, but there’s so much value that social network platforms can offer that make them such a wise investment of time.

If you’re sat on the fence when deciding as to whether you should employ the use of social media or not, it may be worth considering that as of the beginning on 2017, the number of social media users was an astonishing 39 million, with an expected rise of 52 percent.

The most popular social network is Facebook, but this doesn’t mean that your business has to only adopt these platform, as there are many social media networks available, depending on the type of business you run.

For example, if you run a wedding photography business, then why not compliment your Facebook profile with an Instagram profile, which will showcase your past work to users of the social network.

If you regularly engage with your customer, the Twitter can be a great way of stating in touch with customers and letting them know of great deals. You may not notice a lot of activity in the first instance, but once you gather momentum, there’s no reason as to why your brand can’t benefit from social media

Research Your Audience

To be able to make the right kind of impact with your audience, you’re going to have to ensure that you’re familiar with how you audience operates. In some instances, this can be a fairly straightforward process. However, some industries may need to look at more complex solutions.

How you research your audience can vary. For example, those looking to make sales of products online would need to look at what entices them to buy, and what they expect from a transaction. It’s also about research different marketing methods and ensuring that the right customer is getting the right kind of marketing material at the right time.

In the days of old, it would be normal for a business to send standard marketing material to an email subscriber list. While this would have a positive effect, just imagine if you were able to tailor each piece of marketing to appeal to a certain type of customer.

The use of content management systems (CMS) allows business to review their marketing, the kind of impact it has had, as well as allowing for adjustments where they’re needed. A CMS solution can also ensure that you time your marketing material for a greater turnover.

Those who are new to CMS software will evidently need to learn the ropes, but once you’ve managed to grasp the basics, there’s no reason as to why you can’t craft marketing material that makes the desired impact.

Make Your Website Matter

When it comes to building an online profile, a website is an obvious choice. But simply having a presence on the web isn’t enough anymore. While in the past, a series of text and images was fine, today it’s about so much more.

Content has to be craft that appeals t to customers, while still making use of keywords. The most popular form of content offers customers some form of advice or help, or it could even highlight how the product the business is selling can benefit the customer.

When design a website, you should also offer portals to other areas of your online presence. Whether you’re looking to design the website yourself., or call upon the services of a professional who can also provide custom logo design services, there are a series of tools and plugins that can ensure visitors to your website are made aware of other online platforms your brand is engaging with.

Of course, you also need to ensure that your website can be found online, which is more than just about SEO. The modern-day user is often mobile, so will expect to navigate a website with great ease, especially if they’re using a smartphone or tablet. With this in mind, it’s important that your site is optimised for both mobile and desktop users, or you could find that several potential customers choose the competitor instead.

Depending on your goals, the building of an online profile of your brand can be time-consuming, but it something that needs to be done if you’re looking for more brand recognition. Remember, there is no reason t undertake the whole task yourself. If you don’t have employees that contend with the task, then why not consider outsourcing the work to a professional.

Blog - 10 Ways To Improve Your Offices Work Environment

10 Ways To Improve Your Offices Work Environment

Your office is your home away from home or just your home if you have a big job on, so you’ll be spending a good portion of your day there and wouldn’t it be nice if your office actually helped promote a better working environment rather than hindered it? Sure, it would, you’re probably thinking but I don’t have thousands to spend on a luxury office, but you don’t need to.

Many big businesses have amazing offices that go far beyond what the average business today can offer. But you don’t need all those fancy extra-additions to create a great working environment, you just think you do.

Sure, having the budget of Google or Apple would help, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to improve your office, in fact, you might not to spend any money at all. Because not every way you can improve your office can be done with material goods. So, let’s take a look at ten great ways you can create a better working environment in your office, shall we?

office - 10 Ways To Improve Your Offices Work Environment

Make Your Office Cosy

All to often is the plain minimalist office showcased and I always wonder why, an office should be comfortable of course that doesn’t mean it should be full of pictures of cushions but there’s got to be some leeway. Simply adding a few nice extra additions like fresh fruit at breaks or some artwork on the walls can make your office feel more comfortable and that will go a long way towards promoting a better working environment.

Get Your Hiring Right

This is important for all businesses but particularly smaller ones because you’ll be dealing with fewer people, so you need to make sure everyone is happy. This isn’t always easy in fact it rarely ever is but that’s why you should take your time, and this doesn’t end once you’ve made the hire either. You need to make sure they adjust to their working environment and feel comfortable.

Talk Regularly With Your Employees

Whether you run the whole business or just a small part of it it’s important that you aren’t disconnected from your team. Everyone as a different style of leadership and that’s fine but if you want a healthy work environment you should at least be recognisable to your employees, so get your face out there and talk to them every so often.

Natural Lighting Works Wonders

No one wants to work in a dank, dark office, do they? Natural light has been scientifically proven to help improve people’s mood, energy, and productivity so it will be beneficial to any office. Now, of course, this might not always be possible but if you have to use more artificial light then do it, it might not be as beneficial, but it will certainly help.

office2 - 10 Ways To Improve Your Offices Work Environment

Keep It Clean

A tidy office is a better office? OK, that might not be the best mantra but it’s true all the same if you want a productive and happy office then it needs to be kept clean and tidy. Sure, it may get messy on occasion, but you’ll need to do your best to manage the mess. So, make sure there are plenty of bins and air fresheners on hand as the last thing you want is having to call in a local pest control company such as Pest Control Company in Edinburgh

Plants Are Powerful 

Plants have a lot of beneficial properties and just like natural light they have been proven to work wonders in offices. They also help keep the air clean and can make people feel calmer and happier, they are certainly going to be beneficial in a busy office and can even help add a splash of colour to the place. The only thing you need to be mindful of is if any employees you have suffer from allergies.

Breaks Are Essential 

The working lunch as unfortunately become common for many people, some people even enjoy it but whether people have their lunch at their desk or not you should make sure your employees take regular breaks throughout the day.

Any office should have a break or staff room, so people can spend some time away from their computer screens. This will help them stretch their legs and reduce neck and back strain but will also help break up the day and give their eyes a rest as well.

So, make sure everyone is scheduled for breaks throughout the day you can either give everyone a fixed time or be a little more flexible about it, the important thing is people do have time to take their breaks.

office3 - 10 Ways To Improve Your Offices Work Environment

Praise Your Staff

If your team is doing really well or even if everything is just running smoothly make sure your team knows you’re happy with their performance. All too often office managers will fall into the trap of not bothering to praise their staff and just assuming they know they’re doing a good job.

But praise will certainly help promote a better office working environment so don’t be afraid to give some out. You could do this in person, send a quick email or make it a part of staff meetings there is no right or wrong way it really all depends on the situation.

Keep A Balanced Temperature

This could be really easy or really hard depending on your location, climate and the time of year! But keeping a balanced and cool temperature will really help promote a happier more productive office and make sure you have some heaters and fans ready for those really cold and really hot days.

Don’t Be Afraid To Remove Toxic Workers

This one is without a doubt the most difficult but it’s essential if you want a happy and productive office that you are confident enough to manage difficult situations and employees. I think every office manager will be faced with a difficult employee at some point in their career and it’s important that you act confidentially.

Toxic workers can come in all kinds, some people might not even realise they are upsetting other people, office gossip does have a nasty side to it after all. And dealing with a toxic worker or situation doesn’t always mean you need to fire somebody it’s often more complicated than that.

But you can’t let problems with employees carry on you need to know how to deal with them and act fast and while it’s a worst-case scenario you do need to be prepared to fire people. Ensuring a happy team is the best way to guarantee a happy office after all.

Blog2 1 - Do’s and Don’ts of Affiliate Marketing

Do’s and Don’ts of Affiliate Marketing

There’s no denying that the job market is one that is very volatile. Sure, there are roles available, but these can be minimum. As such, many will look online to see if there are any opportunities that can help them build a career from the comfort of their own home. One of the more popular methods of making money online is those who undertake affiliate marketing. The concept of affiliate marketing is for a person to make a referral to goods or services in return for a commission.

The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it can be done by anyone. There are many companies that are looking for budding marketers to promote their product or service, so it’s very rare there is a niche you can’t take advantage of.

Affiliate marketing will normally involve the running of a blog, but other methods can be used, such as social network pages. However, to be a success in affiliating marketing, there are some factors you need to consider.

DO

Consider Your Areas of Expertise

Much of the success involved with affiliate marketing can be attributed to the knowledge the marketer has. When it comes to commission-based income, it can be tempting to opt for the most profitable. However, if we’re not fully knowledgeable, then we could be making much less. Looking at your expertise allows you to start promoting what you know. There’s nothing stopping you researching other avenues while you set up your first campaigns. For example, if you have family you may want to create a blog that provides reviews around some of the top products for family’s and children such as this blog which over reviews of the umbrella stroller maclaren

What Avenues You Will Use for Promotion

As noted, the most popular way of affiliate marketing, but this can also be used in tandem with other platforms, such as social media. In some instances, social media pages may be more popular than the website, so some may feel that this is most viable platform. Depending on what you’re marketing, the can be a series of platforms you can make use. And just because one doesn’t gain as much traction as the other, doesn’t mean a sale can’t be made.

It’s also worthwhile ensuring that the program you’re using allows for paid advertising. For example, if you’re using the free version of WordPress, then your options can be limited. However, opting for a self-install on your own server, you’re free to sculpt your content as you see fit.

Adhere the Rules and Regulations Set out By the Affiliate Company

When a company offers a service or product, it makes sense that there will be certain industries that they don’t want to be involved with. Such companies also want to ensure that the right kind of message is being portrayed when marketers are promoting their goods. As such, there will be instanced where a certain affiliate program will have terms and conditions attached. It’s important to adhere to these guidelines, otherwise you could find your partnership cut short.

affiliate - Do’s and Don’ts of Affiliate Marketing

If you read through the terms and conditions, and still have questions, then make sure you reach out to the company. In most instances, it’s only too happy to offer clarity to ensure that he correct procedures are being followed.

DON’T

Sign Up for The First Program You Come Across

In our excitement to secure a role in affiliate marketing, it can be easy to be persuaded with the first offer that comes our way. However, research is vital to be deemed a success in affiliate marketing. Even if you have an understanding of the product you’re looking to promote, you should ensure that the affiliate partnership is realistic and fair.

Expect to Make a Fortune Overnight

When reading success stories related to affiliate marketing, it can be easy to become misguided in our expectations. Affiliate marketing can offer a series of rewards, but it can take a huge investment of time, and sometime finance.

It can be worthwhile looking at our goals and then looking at the process we’re looking to use to get there. A business plan can be a great of doing this. From here we can sure our expectations are realistic which in turn means we’re less dissuaded during more turbulent times.

Spam Your Affiliate Link

When you sign up for an affiliate program, you will often be issued with an affiliate link. This link will often be in the form of a web address that includes your affiliate link. While it can be tempting to promote the address in forum links and comments, it’s important that you do this in the right way.

If you’re offering a valuable answer with your link offered as a resource, then this is fine. However, just randomly posting the link will often make you seem unprofessional, and probably won’t get the attention you’re looking for in any event.

Focus Solely on Sales

Although there is need to generate a profit when dealing with affiliate marketing, it’s important to ensure that we’re presenting visitors with a hardcore sales pitch. While there is nothing wrong with offering content that outlines the benefits of a product or service, it still needs offer valuable content for the reader. Hitting them with a sales pitch as soon as they hit the website will only deter them for venturing any further.

While there are some considerations to make when affiliate marketing, if it’s carried out in the right way, there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t be able to carve a successful career out of it.

Blog3 - Lessons learned from the Equifax security breach

Lessons learned from the Equifax security breach

September 2017 saw one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, Equifax, admit that they suffered a security breach, which went unnoticed for almost three months. During this period, over 143 million accounts had been violated, with hackers stealing identifiable information such as social security numbers and dates of birth. This kind of data breach is particularly damaging because the information stolen can be used for identity theft and other crimes.

When personal data is in the hands of the people that it actually affects, the consumers themselves, there is a lot that can be done to protect it and most people are actually very good at keeping private details, well, private. When it comes to service providers, we trust them to have the same level of diligence. Trouble with that is, hackers are unlikely to attack individuals when they know that service providers have a veritable treasure trove of data that is infinitely more valuable, meaning that they are far more likely to come under sustained attack.

Of course, none of that exonerates Equifax and nor should it. Companies of that size have not only have the means to implement the latest and greatest security measures, but they also have a legal and moral obligation to do exactly that and more.

I’m not talking and you can’t make me

What makes the matter even worse is the fact that Equifax is keeping schtum and not even attempting to communicate with its own customers with regards to the data breach. Whether or not you lay the blame squarely at the feet of the company, its lack of communication is simply unforgivable.

The whole affair highlights just how little control consumers have over their own data, and indeed their money, although not all companies are built in quite the same way as our reviews of best credit monitoring services of 2017 shows, some companies are just better at this than others and can actually be trusted – even in the wake of the Equifax debacle.

img1 - Lessons learned from the Equifax security breach

There is just no excuse for not addressing customer’s concern, especially when the situation is so bad that those same customers face the very real possibility of becoming victims of identity theft and all of the repercussions that come with that including, but in no way limited to:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Social Security Number Misuse
  • Passport fraud
  • Driver’s license number misuse
  • Change of address

Any one of these can have very serious consequences for the victim, so when the company that just had your sensitive information stolen is effectively refusing to communicate with their customers, those same customers have every right to be angry. It remains to be seen how this will affect Equifax in the future, but have no doubt their reputation has been very badly damaged, and it’s largely their own fault.

Effective communications systems seem to have been forgone too, although to be fair how is a single entity supposed to manage 143 million phone calls from customers all wanting to know the same thing? That being said, according to an Equifax chief executive ‘only’ around 15 million people tried to access the company website, in the wake of the attack.

Hacks highlight an uncomfortable truth

The security of our information is increasingly being placed in the hands of large corporations and we have no say in how it is used, stored or protected. Trust is a valuable commodity and it takes time to build it to the point where nobody questions it, or at least feel comfortable placing that trust in one company over another.

As consumers we have little choice but to place our trust in these corporations, but we do have the power of choice still and there are plenty of other fish in the sea. More trustworthy fish, as featured and reviewed elsewhere on AAACreditGuide.

There are steps that can be taken, as a consumer, in the event of something like this ever happening again and while it may already be too late for the customers of Equifax, it is worth noting for the future that you can protect yourself if you act quickly. Of course, the ability to react is wholly dependant on the company being forthcoming in the first place, which Equifax failed to do – the hack was reportedly discovered late July, but the company waited until September to say anything at all. It was a wait of a little over a week; plenty of time for the stolen data to be used and too late for customers to do anything about it.

If there is one lesson that companies need to learn from this mess, it’s that they need alert customers immediately so that appropriate measures can be taken, instead of waiting nearly two weeks.

hack - Lessons learned from the Equifax security breach

Protecting yourself in the event of data theft

There is one thing that customers can do, immediately, to stop anyone from using their details, in credit fraud at least.

Placing a freeze on your credit lines prevents anybody, even you until you authorise the agency or agencies to ‘unfreeze’ them, using your information to open new accounts anywhere and opening new lines of credit. Credit fraud is the major goal behind identity theft, so protecting yourself in this way, the very moment you know your details may have been compromised, is going to save you from some incredible headaches later on down the line.

Credit freeze is seen as something of a ‘nuclear’ option, akin to dropping a truck on an ant, but when it comes to protecting yourself against identity theft, until measures can be taken by the various agencies to protect or change details, then it is worth it.

It’s also worth remembering that no company can protect itself from a determined, skilled attack – not even government agencies are immune, which has been proven time and again. The way the company responds however, means everything. The customer must always take priority over the company trying to save itself from embarrassment. Something that Equifax has learned the hard way.

Blog4 - Affiliate marketing – an Easy Start-up?

Affiliate marketing – an Easy Start-up?

Affiliate marketing is one of the big buzzwords in marketing circles right now. It seems every e-commerce operator and dating site has a section dedicated to its “Affiliates” these days, as these types of businesses were amongst the first to recognise that they could drive a lot more traffic if they had legions of third parties out there helping them to sell their wares.

However, one of the other big growth areas in the Affiliate market has been the emergence as Affiliate marketing as one of the key growth channels for the online casino and gaming market. The market is worth over $100 billion globally so it’s no surprise that the operators want as much of this traffic as they can get.

Gaming – is it Global

Online Casinos and gaming is where the real growth is, and this area is tipped to soon overtake the real-world Casino market. However not all territories actively encourage or indeed allow online gaming. The USA for instance prohibits online gaming, as does China. More progressive countries and territories however are welcoming to the concept and the market in Europe, in particular is very buoyant.

af2 - Affiliate marketing – an Easy Start-up?

Is it for Everyone

In essence, if you have an audience of adults, then you have the potential to have a worthwhile affiliate site. Most iGaming operators, and by this we mean the operators of many Online Casino’s and online slots game sites, are very willing to sign up new affiliates. Often this will be on a Revenue-Share model whereby the Affiliate will receive a percentage of the revenue generated by the players they have driven to the site. This can be extremely lucrative and many multimillion-dollar business have been built on the back of this strategy.

Some of the largest sites however have been criticised in the past for taking on affiliates, receiving the traffic and then deciding to abandon their affiliate partnership strategy once they get to a certain size – often at the cost of lost revenue and profit to the affiliate. In this regard, it is therefore worth partnering with small to medium sized casino site operators who have a long-term strategy for growth.

af1 - Affiliate marketing – an Easy Start-up?

An Operators viewpoint

We talked to Scott Manford, the CEO of Wizard Slots, one of Europe’s leading online casino operators: “We greatly value our affiliate partners; indeed, we view them as part of our team and a critical part of our overall marketing strategy. We make all of the marketing collateral we have available to the affiliates and make it as easy as possible for them to access this resource as well as being able to view, in real time, the results of the traffic they are driving and of course in turn, how much money they are making. We also ensure that we pay our affiliates strictly on time and often within a few days of the month end – as we realise they are often small businesses and need the cash-flow to help drive the traffic. So, anything we can do to help them also helps us. Many of our affiliates are smaller operations and some of the most successful are run by individuals who are active in particular market segments or are very good at SEO or whatever”

It’s clear then that many Casino site operators view the partnership with smaller affiliates as an important facet to their traffic acquisition and furthermore they see this as a way to get low cost visitors.

The Risk

Affiliate marketing looks like a fairly low risk opportunity for those with the right audience or reach. If you can drive traffic to a site via endorsement or a link or coupon then you can monetise that traffic. The beauty of this for both the casino operator and indeed the want-to-be affiliate is that there is very little cost in the evet it doesn’t work to plan. Whereas if the traffic is sticky and the revenue share deal is equitable then the affiliate can often make as much money, if not more, than the operator. To that extent its certainly worthy of further investigation, for those with a ready stream of traffic.

Blog5 - Craft a Quick Site and Optimize Every Area of Your Online Presence

Craft a Quick Site and Optimize Every Area of Your Online Presence

The overall experience of using your website is largely dependent upon your design and the ability to display your pages and page components quickly. No one wants to wait and attention spans are dwindling. By ensuring that your site is both intuitive and responsive, the risk of losing visitors is minimized while the impact and impression conveyed is one of lasting satisfaction, guaranteeing traffic well-into the future. There are certain aspects of design and configuration which any website speed optimization service needs to attend to. Here we have listed the most common WordPress site speed factors and how they affect your presence online. 

site2 - Craft a Quick Site and Optimize Every Area of Your Online Presence

Page Load Time & The Human Attention Span

The human attention span appears to be on a steady decrease. As the amount of influences and external stimuli increase, people are less and less likely to have their attention drawn to one thing for a prolonged period of time. In the year 2000, the average person had a twelve second attention span. Today it has been measured at just eight seconds, which is just one second lower than a goldfish. It is no wonder than the slightest delay in your page load time results in no less than a seven percent chance of a loss of conversion.  The faster your site, the better the overall user experience, if due to nothing more than keeping their attention.

Improve Your Page Load Time & Improve Your Conversions

Many studies confirm the correlation between page load time and conversion rate. A study of thirty-three retailers across the US showed that once page load time decreased from eight seconds to two seconds, there was a 74% increase in conversions. Given that the US has an average page load time for major retailers of 6.9 seconds, there is certainly ample room to capitalize on this fact. Good website speed optimization services will not only reduce your page load time by means of operations in the backend, but your on-page elements will also be streamlined and focussed towards upping your conversion rate.

Search Rankings and Page Load Time

WordPress site speed affects not only your page access time and the overall usability of your site, but it also impacts your search rankings. While your page load time does not currently have as greater effect on your rankings as other aspects of SEO, over the coming months it will begin to be factored in more and more. Google has been using your speed as a ranking factor since 2010, and since 2017 the speed of mobile pages has also been included in rankings.

site3 - Craft a Quick Site and Optimize Every Area of Your Online Presence

The Importance of Page Speed to Mobile Users

In many areas of the world, mobile users far outnumber desktop browsers. In countries such as Egypt, India and South Africa, more than 50% of browsers are mobile-only users, while in first-world countries the number of mobile users is projected to steadily rise to higher than there are conventional desktop browsers. Given the higher latency of mobile connections (on average), it is becoming increasingly important to optimize your site for a mobile audience. Speed becomes an integral factor in gaining and holding users.

The Effect of Page Load Time on Your Bounce Rate

Your WordPress site speed has a great effect on your bounce rate. Research undertaken by Google shows that when your page load time increases from 1 second to 3 seconds, there is a 32% higher chance of a bounce. From 1 second to 5 seconds, the chance of a user bouncing skyrockets to 90%. A completely under optimized site with a page load time of ten seconds has a bounce rate of 123%. It is therefore critical to employ website speed optimization service(s) to ensure that you aren’t losing visitors simply due to something as trivial as an optimization issue. Independent research confirms these numbers, with a leading web performance engineer at Google, Ilya Grigorik, determining that every second in page load time increases your bounce rate by a minimum of .65%. That alone is far too much and completely unnecessary.

How a Fast Page Load Time Improves Customer Retention

Successful ecommerce hinges on a fast, well-optimized framework to grant great customer retention rates and the delivery of well optimized, highly targeted ads. KISSmetrics has revealed some rather interesting statistics regarding shopping behaviour. Their research shows that 47% of all customers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, while 40% of all customers will abandon your site completely if it takes more than three seconds to load. Poor page load time will deter 79% off all shoppers from returning to buy from the same site again, proving that your WordPress site speed is imperative to holding and growing a customer base.

Google’s Page Speed Reporting Tool – A Basic Analysis

Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a fantastic tool which gives you a good indication of your state of optimization. Yet you can’t take your PageSpeed Insight score at face value, there are multiple factors to be considered which are not monitored and reported on in their entirety. One should of course begin by addressing the primary factors listed by Google’s invaluable tool, while other optimizations such as content caching, the use of a content delivery network (CDN), minimizing third-party content and lowering the amount of blocking requests are steps which only professionals and advanced end-users will begin to implement. 

WordPress Site Speed – Query Response Improvements

When you employ website speed optimization services, your site will undergo optimization of its database alongside many other adjustments. This in turn improves the responsiveness of queries on your site as well as decreasing page load time. Thanks to having less links cluttering your sitemap, search indexing services will be able to crawl you more efficiently. Your content will be found easier and have a better page rank.

site1 - Craft a Quick Site and Optimize Every Area of Your Online Presence

Enhance The Entire User Experience & Elevate Your Success

When you take the time to implement website speed optimization services, you are not only improving one aspect of your site, but rather enriching the entire user experience. Your WordPress site speed is the number one underlying factor behind building and growing a successful online presence. Countless research has been carried out which serves as a major advantage to anyone crafting the perfect site. Use the insights of others to structure your site as an asset to the online community, while sealing your own success at the same time.

Blog6 - How To Grow Your Company Online With SEO

How To Grow Your Company Online With SEO

With a record number of Google searches taking place, there’s never been a better time to go through all your SEO techniques and look for better ways on how you could improve them. Luckily, this is not such a complicated process. While most people think about creating new personal goals, you should know that it’s also important to make new business goals too!

Here, we will discuss some of the exciting and straightforward techniques to increase traffic to your website. Remember that a perfect SEO presence boosts your blog’s value, authority and ranking. So, which are some of the most attractive and beneficial methods?

We had a chat recently with Keep SEO Simple a leading Scotland SEO company and here’s some of their top tips for growing your business online.

Always Try To Add Value!

Yes, the term might sound simple, but it’s essential that you always generate fantastic content. It should also maintain its level of relevance for the readers and be ‘evergreen’ wherever possible. The crucial point to note here is that it’s not always about writing top quality content. Instead, engaging with your audience is the next essential pillar.

If you’re looking for easy tips to create more value for your content, take a look at some these methods below:

  • Go through your current content and most read topics
  • Get to know your audience to find the issues that affect them- and help to solve them
  • If you can expand your niche area, then go ahead! However, it should still be popular among your target audience.

Controlling The Whole Browsing Experience

User experience is crucial for Search Engine Optimization. In this case, it’s wise to test the manner in which it affects your readers. The user experience begins even before they visit your blog. In fact, 93% of online experience starts with a simple search.

seo1 - How To Grow Your Company Online With SEO

Here, some of the things you need to look at include:

  • Testing your website’s links and fixing the broken ones to reduce duplicate content or error pages
  • Your blog content should be attractive for both the search engines and users. Keep in mind that readability is an issue that needs close attention!
  • Navigation entails assisting the user in browsing through the website pages with ease. From the structure of the menu to that of the links within the text, even a slight detail may affect your user experience
  • The speed of the page is essential, so remember to test it regularly. Of course, your site is bound to get slower at one point or another. Things such as additional scripts and large images are the likely reasons for such an unpleasant occurrence for your users

The Power of Social Media

Google keeps telling the SEO community that social media has little impact when it comes to improving search rankings. Well, we continue proving Google wrong. Social media signals can increase your company’s website ranking with its clientele and other Search Engine Optimization marketers. So, how can you use the tools of social media to boost your SEO?

  • Produce SEO-friendly, high-quality content
  • Make use of tools such as Buzzsumo to get authority social media accounts in your field
  • Compliment their content, their brand, and ask if they could take a look at some of your latest projects. If they love it, then encourage them to pass it through to their audience
  • Ensure that in all their social media posts they put an explicit URL to your project
  • Quality is more important than quantity. It’s better to have a share from just five high-quality Twitter accounts than from over fifty poor-quality ones.

Neville Medhora, founder of Kopywritingkourse.com is a massive fan of using social media to increase the number of people visiting your site. She says that “leveraging the power of social media makes your ranking soar!”

Visual Content Optimization

Nowadays, visual content is a famous blogging technique that can be used to supplement text. It might even go ahead and replace it but most importantly, it dramatically affects SEO. Learning how to use visual content is not challenging, and once you learn how to use it, it only takes some minutes to increase the ranking of your site.

Here are some few tips to put you in the right direction:

  • Think about your titles carefully
  • Don’t forget to include your metadata, keywords and alt text
  • Pay close attention to the size of your files
  • Have a good video transcript to make search engines find your visual content quickly
  • You can even host the video on your site and not just on YouTube
  • Always try to be as unique as possible, and make your blog’s visual content easily shareable.

seo2 - How To Grow Your Company Online With SEO

Concentrate On Topic Depth Instead of Backlinks

Having several links to increase your ranking in Google is now an ‘old school’ type of practice. Nowadays, getting a high ranking on Google hardly depends on the number of backlinks that you decide to use. Instead, it all depends on the depth of your topic. Recent studies by MarketMuse showed some rather impressive results.

The company ran a test between two groups. They analysed words of close to nine million from Magnifymoney.com with just 1.5 thousand backlinks. Interestingly, it outranked getrickslowly.org which had 31 thousand backlinks because Magnifymoney.com had more engaging and in-depth content for its users.

Always Update Your Online Footprint

Your online presence does wonders for your site. However, the problem is that most of us often forget how a good online print may cover those platforms that we tried out in the past and then later abandoned. Yes, it is a good idea to experiment using brand new areas to improve your presence. You only need to make sure that you keep updating them even if you’re not using them.

Let’s say you own a page on Google+ but for some reason, you’ve stopped using it, or you keep forgetting to post. In such cases, you should be asking yourself one fundamental question. Is the information accurate enough to assist users in learning more about your company?

To help you in updating your online footprint, we’ve discovered a simple method. All you have to do is to come up with a simple spreadsheet that takes care of your entire online presence. After a month, you can then check if the data is fully updated.

Conclusion

Acknowledging the above reasons, you can see that increasing traffic to your blog through SEO is not a stressful experience. Keep in mind that the internet keeps changing and the methods we used one year ago are not the same one’s existing today, or that will exist a year from now.

Have you been struggling with boosting your website’s ranking? These proven, modern day tips can give your site a good kick!