Category Archives: News

Must-Have Cloud Storage Features for Startups


Perhaps you’ve thought that your startup business could benefit from the cloud, but didn’t know how it could serve your particular needs. Well, business in the cloud means having online automatic backup services and easy, automatic file syncing and sharing. This doesn’t even include being able to access any file from anywhere in the world at any time. When your business is cloud based, saving money becomes an automatic perk, as well.

The following are just a few more reasons why your startup business needs the cloud.

IT

Companies spend a lot of money on hardware, software and hiring and maintaining an IT staff when first starting their businesses. Fortunately, using the cloud can now change that. Your cloud service provider installs, manages, troubleshoots and takes care of all ongoing support for your IT staff. It also takes less hardware to run your business from the cloud, which helps to free up IT resources.

Storage

Your business consists of databases, documents, presentations, audio and huge amounts of files. Until now, this all has been physically stored on flash drives, network attached storage (NAS) and external hard drives, but these kinds of storage options make your business extremely vulnerable to loss. This way, your data can be stolen, your office can flood, your building can catch on fire or your system can suffer a devastating crash that wipes out your drives, destroying all your data.

On the other hand, the cloud is like a giant external hard drive that is conveniently located in one easily accessible online location. This way, you won’t have to worry about losing files. Furthermore, free online backup can be customized to be done at a time you specify. Zip Cloud, for instance, is a cloud service provider that has unlimited file storage no matter the size for only $4.95 per month.

Mobility and Sharing

Being able to access your entire business anywhere is priceless. Through the cloud you can share and access information wirelessly, which is one of the cloud’s biggest benefits. For example, Dropbox is a great way for employees to share documents, presentations and photos with each other. It also helps to eliminate time-consuming emails because everyone can see what is being worked on in the cloud. And, all files can be synced between all devices from smartphones to computers.

Customer Service and HR

Customers are your bread and butter; therefore, exceptional customer service is needed for a business to survive. The cloud provides various features for your customers such as giving them real time personalized video support, which they can access through any of their devices. They also can use the cloud to get quick answers to their questions 24/7. Salesforce, for instance, has always-on customer service, personalized service and multichannel support. Furthermore, the cloud gives you tools such as bookkeeping, invoicing and payment processing so you can deal with customers, employees and projects.

Cost-Effective

The cloud is cost-effective in many ways. For example, you don’t have to pay for training courses or software licenses, which can be expensive if you have a lot of employees. And, since you don’t need a physical location to store and backup your data, you save money on office rent.

Being a subscriber to a cloud service provider means free software updates and upgrades. Due to SaaS (software as a service) and API (application programming interfaces), a company’s programmers can write their own programs to be compatible with other programs and thereby save on application and program expenses.

One of the best benefits of the cloud is that many providers have pay-as-you-go payment plans. This means you only have to pay for what you use, and there is no long term contract to worry about.

How E-Commerce Websites Can Avoid the 4 Most Common SEO Mistakes


How E-Commerce Websites Can Avoid the 4 Most Common SEO Mistakes
When writing web copy for SEO, there are certain mistakes that many e-commerce websites make. These mistakes can cause a big drop in website rankings and a subsequent drop in the number of visitors the site enjoys and may cause other problems related to search engine rankings as well, explains this article on SearchEngineLand.com. Avoiding these four easy and honest SEO mistakes can help any e-commerce provider enjoy a hearty amount of productive internet traffic.
Mistake #1: Reciprocal Linking

Reciprocal linking is the SEO equivalent to reciprocal backscratching in which both parties help each other gain a better outcome. The only problem with doing this is that it can lead to problems with manual penalties with the search engines. Having too much traffic linked from one site decreases an e-commerce website’s rankings. The problem is especially problematic for reciprocal linking done through footers. Any e-commerce site considering reciprocal linking should think carefully before proceeding. The best way to get around a footer link is to use an actual link.
Mistake #2: Improper Affiliate Linking

While some affiliate links can help e-commerce with SEO, too much of a good thing is a big mistake. Putting in affiliate link after affiliate link causes an e-commerce site to lose site integrity. In order to avoid problems with affiliate linking, e-commerce proprietors should create a dedicated landing page for affiliate links. At least once each month, e-commerce website managers should test all affiliate links to ensure they are working properly. Finally, e-commerce websites should clearly state their relationship and what they get out of the affiliate linking process.
Mistake #3: Low Authority Influences

Businesses in specific niches, such as health and wellness, use internet marketing and SEO to improve their site rankings and reach more customers. E-commerce websites in a particular market niche often reach out to the major influencers in that realm and ask them to place links back to their website. Unfortunately, if the links are created by other websites with a low domain authority, this could demolish the e-commerce website’s SEO rankings. Too many influencer websites or websites that use the same wording for the links can negate any benefits of the added website traffic. Any e-commerce website that plans to initiate an influencer campaign should take action by providing the correct coding for links, thoroughly researching their targets and creating a specific landing page for the links from the influencers.
Mistake #4: Spammy Guest Blogging

Guest blogging can be a fun way for an e-commerce website to add interesting content and spruce things up a bit. However, when guest blogging is done as a primarily link-building endeavor, it can knock down the e-commerce website’s rankings with SEO. Guest bloggers who write blogs here, there and everywhere can lower an e-commerce website’s rankings. So can guest blog content related to a historically problematic online industry such as internet gambling. To avoid problems with guest blogging, e-commerce website operators should choose their guest bloggers carefully, including taking the time to ensure the guest blogger doesn’t do too many posts or include too many links.

New Console? How to Safely Kick the Old One


According to Bloomberg.com, video game hardware purchases like gaming consoles reached their highest peak in three years. And in the last year, hardware sales increased 28 percent to topple $1.37 billion in sales. Whether you’re a gaming addict or just love to game, there’s always a new console or system coming out ready to master. Create a plan of action to get rid of your old console before you add a new one to your list this holiday season. Don’t simply throw it out; this entails a risk of identity theft and a missed opportunity to earn a little money or give back to your community. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of what to consider when getting rid of your old console.

Back Up Your Old Console

Consoles like the Xbox can be backed up with their cloud storage system or USB. Their cloud storage requires a paid subscription to start. For USB back-ups, you’ll need a large drive with 1GB or more of space. There’s no rule you have to back-up your old system, but it can keep important games and information at your fingertips to possibly transfer to your new console as needed. Currently, Xbox doesn’t replace MP3 songs you download, and recommends burning them to a CD or hard drive instead.

Check your gaming console’s online support to find out how to back it up. PlayStation’s Backup Utility feature can back-up all of your data from your system Hard Disk Drive on a USB, memory stick or other removable storage device. But PlayStation makes it even easier. Unless you purchased videos, all other content purchased through its store can be re-downloaded and doesn’t even need to be backed up.

Get Rid of Personal Information

Your gaming console has personal information stored that could be compromised. Wipe all of your information off the old console before getting rid of it. For a console like PlayStation 3, go to the “System Settings” and click on the restore system option to delete everything on your system’s hard drive. Connect your gaming console to your computer and run a program like “Eraser” to get rid of all personal information. The fact is, personal information is plastered on the internet, on all your devices and is easily accessible. If you still feel uncomfortable getting rid of your ex-gaming system, you might find peace of mind with a service like Lifelock, which keeps an eye on credit, finances and sends up a red flag when anything is suspicious.

Sell It

Unload your old console and get some cash at the same time. Sites like CashForGamers.com, Craigslist and eBay all regularly sell consoles. Check the sites to see what similar consoles are going for and set your prices accordingly. Don’t forget about calling small retailers in your area and pawn shops to see if they’re interested in a trade-in for credit or cash.

Donate It

Believe it or not there are deserving charities that will gladly accept gaming consoles and video games. The Get Well Gamers Foundation serves hundreds of children’s hospitals to bring its young patients entertainment and fun. The idea is that while many children’s hospitals have the best in cutting-edge technology and research, they lack real fun for the kids. Tax-deductible receipts are also available upon request.

Recycle It

Simply throwing away your old console in the trash can have disastrous effects on the environment. Instead, find a qualified recycler who will properly dispose of your gaming system for you. Sites like e-Stewards.org offer information on registered recyclers meeting specific qualifications. If you come up empty, remember that sites like Craigslist also have a “Free” section. Post an ad offering it to anyone willing to pick it up and get it out of your house to make room for a new one.

Making successful investments: What’s your strategy?


When there is a little extra money in the bank, or when monthly earnings exceed monthly expenditure, it is wise to resist spending everything on treats. Instead, consideration can be given to investing the extra capital. There are many ways to do this, but the successful investor, who adds to their holdings each year, usually follows a pre-defined investment strategy.

The appeal of investing

In investment, the cliché that time is money can be true. The appeal of investment is that hard-earned money can, over time, produce further wealth by itself. The ideal is for the investor to sit back and watch their savings grow; however, especially in challenging economic conditions such as at present, a little more input is generally required. The investor needs an investment strategy that is in line with their aims and aspirations.

Why it can be difficult to find a successful investment strategy

For an ambitious investment strategy, it is not always simple to find a rate of return above general bank interest rates. A savings account at a high-street bank offers a safe haven with fairly low levels of interest, but also low levels of risk. Achieving higher rates of return requires more knowledge of the investment markets concerned. It also includes an acceptance of some risk. This means that an investor should set out the goals for their investment, and act accordingly. Market analysis from the likes of financial guru Ken Fisher identifies some of the hot investment topics currently, and can help even novice investors to better understand the present financial climate.

The main types of investment available

For many people, investment beyond a bank account is linked to the stock market, however, while this is a key investment area, it is not the only one, and there are several ways of approaching it. To start with, a beginner in stock market investment may be well advised to consider a mutual fund for the initial investment. Such a fund places the management of capital in the hands of investment professionals, who seek to gain the best return within given strategic parameters. More experienced investors may venture into choosing specific company stocks themselves. These choices can be made according to, for example, the foreseen growth of a company or the anticipated regular dividends paid out on well-established stocks. Alternatives to stocks include commodities like gold and silver, or government and corporate bonds, which can be based on fixed interest returns.

Where to find more information

An investment advisor or stockbroker can provide expert guidance on investment choices. However, there is also a wealth of information available online, from which investment guidance can be drawn. To make the most of such advice, it is important to explore fundamental concepts, such as the terminology of investment. Without understanding ideas like price-to-earnings ratio, or without being able to read a graph of stock-market performance, making the right investment choices becomes even more difficult.

The risks associated with investing

All investment carries an element of risk. While some risk is minor, such as a bank going out of business, other risk is more significant, such as the stock on an unproven company losing value. It is necessary to understand the risks associated with a chosen investment strategy when setting financial strategies and goals.

Strategies that are likely to be successful

One of the key words in managing risk and building a successful investment strategy is diversification. An investor who holds a range of different stocks, plus a range of different bonds, plus some cash and commodities, for example, has a few advantages. One advantage is that the risks associated with one element of the investment strategy may be balanced by the other elements, so that not everything is risked on one market segment. For example, returns on bonds tend to increase when returns on stocks fall, so a wider portfolio is more balanced. Another advantage is that this diversification can help to take advantage of unforeseen growth, if one element of the portfolio proves to be unexpectedly profitable.

Tips on how to succeed and avoid failure

These, then, are the fundamental tips behind a successful investment strategy.

  • Follow current market trends such as those outlined by Ken Fisher, and be aware of potential consequences.
  • Learn some of the basics of market terminology and how to read market data.
  • Set investment goals and choose investments that can help to reach these goals.
  • Think of diversification and don’t put all your eggs in one financial basket.
  • Take professional guidance when it seems necessary.

By putting all these tips into place, even uncertain times like the present can provide opportunities for investment and financial growth.

Steppingstones to a successful tech career


Anyone about to graduate will probably already have an eye on a career. With a whole generation of the brightest and best now being computer literate, the world of hi-tech is increasingly attractive.

One of the reasons why tech is popular as a career is the number of opportunities available. These include programming/application development, software development, project management, tech support, mobile applications and device management, database administration, as well as security compliance, and that list is not exclusive.

The opportunities for those wanting to come into tech are extensive, particularly for those trained in programming and coding. And with the world of computing now involved as much in leisure as it is industry, there are exciting prospects available in gaming and entertainments IT.

By having a natural interest in computer tech skills and receiving the necessary education and training, the sky can be the limit for those entering the profession. However, before anyone embarking on a career can even dream of success they have to take those first steps.

The first steppingstone for the vast majority is to be recruited by a company involved in computer technology. Here the natural interest, a good grounding, and IT education is crucial in securing that first job. As the novice gains experience and begins to display his talents even more, then opportunities may arise for the advancement within the company, or elsewhere. However, there is another option for those who want to enjoy increased success and gain even more personal and professional satisfaction within the tech industry, and that is by going freelance and becoming a contractor.

The contractor hires out his/her services to companies needing them. A major plus here is that this kind of work can be potentially lucrative, but on the downside the freelancer/contractor is no longer earning a regular wage. By the same token the contractor, no longer constrained by the demands of an employer, has the freedom to exploit his skillset to the maximum. Being a freelancer/contractor also means the professional tech enthusiast no longer faces the daunting prospect of being stuck in a “dead end” job that is likely to suck the joy and enthusiasm of his work out of him. Computer tech is an ever developing industry and by “going it alone” the professional has the opportunity to secure the benefits to the maximum.

However, no one should embark on the world of the contractor with their eyes closed to the realities. They should firstly have the capital available to ensure their new enterprise gets off the ground. Secondly, they should be ready to handle the demands of accounts and taxes. Unlike the company employee, the freelancer or contractor will not have his taxes deducted at source. Accounts also need to be kept and this can be a time consuming task.

There is a way around this thru using the services of an umbrella services company such as can be found at www.atlantic-umbrella.com.

The steppingstones of a successful tech career involve a real passion for the subject, training and experience in the chosen specialty, and the crucial decision to remain an employee and enjoy a secure salary, or take the big step and become a freelancer/contractor where the prospects can be lucrative.