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Simple Changes To Speed Up Your Business Website

Simple Changes To Speed Up Your Business Website

The speed with which your website loads and responds can seriously affect your conversion rate. If a site takes more than a few seconds to load, if you can’t immediately scroll down, or if it keeps sticking or crashing, then most people will give up and go elsewhere. Even if they stick with you, it will be a frustrating experience that will not endear your brand to them and so will dissuade them from spending their money. Website speed is also a ranking factor in Google algorithms, meaning that a slow site is less likely to show up in a keyword search.


Bear in mind that many users of your site may have a slower connection speed than you do. Many may still be using dial-up rather than broadband. Even for these people, a loading time of more than five seconds is unacceptable. Two seconds is the maximum loading time that you should be aiming for, and ideally, you should try to get it down to under half a second.

Change Your Server or Host

Your site may be hosted on a crowded shared server that is slowing it down, or it may be built on a platform that is not correctly optimized. You might also want to consider hosting your site on a server local to where most of your users come from. This will be faster than sending them to the other side of the world unnecessarily. For domain name registration in Canada for example, consider

Reduce Image Size

A common cause of slow loading time is having unnecessarily large images on your site. Images are usually the “heaviest” object on a webpage and so are most likely to slow it down. The larger an image is, or the higher resolution it is, the heavier it is. Yet many images are loaded at a much larger size than they appear on screen. Similarly, the average computer screen shows images at 75 dpi, yet many images are loaded at print quality: 200-300 dpi. The code needed to reduce the image down to a manageable size also eats into your website’s performance.

The answer, of course, is to shrink or compress your images before loading them to your site. In Photoshop, click “save to web” and reduce your image size to 70%. Download your existing photos and save them at a much smaller size and lower quality, then re-upload them. Text files can also be compressed.

Remove Unwanted Code

Old or unused scripts, CSS files, external tools, and plugins can also slow your site. These may have become redundant when replaced by newer versions but are still hanging around. If you have disabled add-ons that you never use, they can still be loading, so delete them. With some files and codes however, it can be difficult to know if they’re necessary or not. It may be worth hiring a professional to regularly update and optimize your site. These experts can command sizeable salaries, so think twice as to whether it’s worth keeping them on full-time.

Your website speed is one of the most important elements in providing an excellent customer experience. This should be any business’s highest priority. Optimizing your site speed can begin with just a few simple steps. Act today.


How Have The Web And Social Media Opened Up International Markets To Small Business?

How Have The Web And Social Media Opened Up International Markets To Small Business?

In the days before the internet, small businesses used to be exactly that: small and local. We would be talking about mom and pop stores or goods suppliers that traded almost exclusively with customers in their neighborhood, town or city. For some, word of mouth, mail order and traveling sales teams might mean that they were able to establish a national network of clients and customers, but trading internationally was almost unheard of outside of a few specialist areas.

The internet changed everything, but not overnight. It took a while for the technology to develop to the point where it was possible for small businesses not just to have an online presence, but to thrive in the internet environment. In recent years, we’ve also seen the internet rolling out across the developing world, bringing emerging economies into the picture. Now we are starting to see a truly global marketplace, and small businesses anywhere in the world are as well placed to take advantage of this as the established multinational firms.


Instant Connection

Small businesses are increasingly turning to e-commerce in order to reach an international market without the need for an expensive overseas sales team. The internet connects the business to the customer in an instant, and at a fraction of the cost of having to travel to them or set up a foreign branch or office.

Websites can easily be translated into another language, and even the hiring of freelance translators and web designers to do this is facilitated by the internet. A different site for each country gives the impression of an online local store, thus encouraging customers in that country to browse and buy. Specific national customs and currency can also be easily supported.

Spreading opportunity

The growing demand for modern telecommunications in emerging economies can also provide opportunities for entrepreneurs. Ehsan Bayat returned to his native Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban to establish the Afghan Wireless Communication Company in collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Communications. Afghan Wireless founded the first effective and affordable mobile phone network across Afghanistan. This gave local businesses the opportunity to compete on an international level, as well as providing an invaluable way for ordinary people in remote areas to improve the quality of their lives. Bayat has won several awards in recognition of his contribution toward the rebuilding of Afghanistan, and also launched the Ariana radio and television network to further spread communication, information and opportunity across his homeland.

Economic Growth

By 2013, 70% of internet users were located in developing countries thanks to the increasing ubiquity of cheap smartphones. This is only possible if an effective infrastructure is in place, and a reliable telecommunications network establishes that a country like Afghanistan is ‘open for business.’ Established multinational companies will invest in the country, seeing it as an untapped market, while local businesses will also gain the means to compete on a global scale. In both cases this leads to local job creation and economic growth.

The Future Is Online

Running a business online can significantly reduce overhead as there is no need for a physical shop or even extensive office space. An increasing number of startups are trading online exclusively, as the risk and investment involved in establishing their brand on the high street seems less worthwhile. Small businesses are able to take advantage of a wide range of tools and resources online, many of which are free or of marginal cost. This gives them a competitive edge over established traders. As many high street giants find themselves on the brink of collapse, there is little doubt that ecommerce, with its benefits to both the trader and the customer, is the future for businesses both large and small.

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How Online Degree Courses Are Helping Business Owners

How Online Degree Courses Are Helping Business Owners

Distance learning used to be something that was not well accepted by employers who valued the college experience themselves and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to not partake in it.

However, with the changes over the last five years in how people live their everyday lives, searching for information, shopping and studying online have now become far more commonplace. YouTube multi-part video clips, online video training courses, and other methods of short form study have become much more frequently used. With this growing acceptance of online study as a viable method that won’t be looked upon negatively, online degree courses begin to be something that makes sense.


Online Degree Courses Save Time

Important employees do not wish to lose 1-2 hours a day commuting from the office job to the college and back again. When classes are being taken several times a week, it can end up that the employee is out of the office quite often, which isn’t convenient for employers either who need to find a way to cover the role during the employee’s absence.

Online Degree Courses Can Be Taken On the Weekend

Some courses and studies that are not too extensive can be studied over a longer period of time. The more colleges that are likely to offer this option, the happier business owners will be. Weekend online study options mean the employee can reduce their reliance on weekday college classes or just study on the weekend.

Employees Can Study On the Premises

Rather than lose the physical presence of the employee, they can stay at their desk and study on designated days. This provides some educational opportunities whilst they are still available for urgent matters, to answer questions, help locate reports, and so on. This ensures a best of both worlds scenario which is helpful for the business owner who’ll then be more likely to agree to their online degree course. The business owner may even pay for the course for valued employees who plan to study something relevant to their work, perhaps like a bachelors in health science.

Online Course Lists Expanding

Respected universities and colleges are often slower to pick up on trends and respond to them. With online degree courses, only some of the more progressive educational institutions are already offering online versions of their established degree courses.

Online Degree Courses Not Always the Full Product

For other institutions, they may wish to claim that they offer online courses, but usually they are not the full course and do not contain the same material. It takes time, patience and investment in hardware and software to be able to convert all course materials into online documents, videos of lectures, and so forth.

Security Is A Concern

There is also the security aspect for the intellectual property that the educational establishment offers via their teaching which is placed online. Universities and colleges have to be convinced that the value of their product won’t be compromised in any way.

Business owners should truly embrace all opportunities for employees to learn via online degree courses and other types of shorter courses that can teach new skills and new ways of thinking to employees who have the potential to grow. This instills greater loyalty in the employee and can help the company fill gaps in its corporate skill set.

Seeing Santa In The Store Makes Holiday Shopping Better

Seeing Santa In The Store Makes Holiday Shopping Better
By Dennis Armbruster

Seeing Santa in the store with children enhances the holiday shopping experience for nearly seven out of ten (66%) U.S. shoppers, according to our LoyaltyOne nationwide survey that provides timely data on the consumer mindset.

The survey results also indicate that Santa’s in-store future is safe in the hands of young millennials. Seventy-one percent of consumers age 18-24 said encountering Santa in the store enriches the holiday shopping experience. That exceeds the 66% score for the general population (18-65 and over) and rivals the 65-and-over age group (72%) for the highest score among all demographics surveyed.


But Santa takes a back seat to another venerable holiday tradition when it comes to putting cheer into the seasonal gift buying excursion. No less than 76% of all consumers said that hearing carols and other holiday music in the store enhances their Yuletide shopping trip.

Shoppers’ good tidings and cheer, however, do not mean they’re willing to cut retailers any slack when it comes to poor service. Just over seven out of ten consumers (72%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: I am more understanding if a salesperson is rude during the busy holiday sales season.

In fact, 81% of consumers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: I am more offended if a sales person is rude at a time when he or she should value my business.

Pricing is important but it’s not everything. This research underscores how critical it is for retailers to make the overall holiday shopping experience memorable and delightful. Results are illuminating, I think, for retailers who are unsure about the significance that consumers still attach to traditional elements of the holiday shopping experience, such as Santa and seasonal music.

Additionally, this research should dispel any notion that a customer’s encounter with a sales person is less of a high risk touch point during the holiday season hustle and bustle. Retailers that fail to address poor service during the holidays jeopardize customer loyalty and risk significant revenue losses.

Other highlights from this month’s survey of consumer attitudes reveal differences in millennial sentiments versus the general public on in-store holiday shopping:

  • – At 78%, young millennials (18-24) scored higher than any other age group for appreciating in-store carols and seasonal music
  • – 40% of young millennials and 31% of older millennials (25-34) said they had a poor shopping experience last year that ruined their holiday mood, versus 20% of the general population
  • – Just 53% of young millennials said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: I am more understanding if a salesperson is rude during the holidays, compared to 72% of the general population
  • – At 65%, older millennials were less patient with sales person rudeness than young millennials, but more patient than the general population
  • – 42% of older millennials and 37% of young millennials said an encounter with a condescending sales person would prevent them from returning to a store for holiday shopping, versus 32% for the general population.

In other highlights from the in-store holiday shopping research:

  • – Among the general population, 50% said an encounter with a sales person who took a “that’s not my department” attitude would prevent me from returning to a store, followed by 32% citing a condescending sales person, followed by 18% who said they would not return to a store after an encounter with a sales person who knew nothing about the item they were seeking
  • – Nearly one in three consumers (29%) said that each holiday shopping season there is at least one store that loses their business due to a rude salesperson or poor service.

The survey results are based on an online survey in November 2015 of 1,267 American consumers. The margin of error is +/- 3% at the 90-95% confidence level.

Dennis Armbruster is Vice President of consulting services at LoyaltyOne.


What Playing Card Games Can Teach Us About People and Personalities

What Playing Card Games Can Teach Us About People and Personalities

If you’re anything like this writer, somewhere among your childhood memories you’ll find scenes of sitting around the table as a deck of playing cards was shuffled and dealt.

Indeed, one of my favorite nostalgia flashbacks involves playing card games with my family and friends. Like, I suspect, many of you, it started out with the basics; Old Maid, Go Fish, Hearts, even the classic childhood favorite, a simple game of Snap. When adolescence rolled around, the typical need most of us feel in our teen years to grab a taste of adult life saw the kids’ games replaced by the likes of Gin Rummy and Poker.


Cribbage and Bridge got a look in too, but for me it was always about the Poker, and not just because of the potential monetary gains to be had. The more I played, the more I realized what a fascinating insight into people and personalities could be gained simply from sitting around a table and playing cards.

You’ve probably noticed this yourself without ever actually paying much attention.

The Personality of Poker Players

Think back now to the last time you got together with your friends or relatives, either for a trip to the casino or a simple games night at home.

You can probably recall that one buddy who went into a sulk when a certain hand didn’t go his way, or the second cousin who held their cards so close to their chest, it displayed a level of privacy that skirted on the verge of paranoia. While people may think they play differently, their natural personality comes out in how they bet, joke and banter while playing. Then there’s the aggressive, in-it-to-win-it types, the ones for whom the whole experience is pretty much useless if they don’t walk away with the winning hand.

For the most part, these are personality traits that we may not see, at least to such an extreme degree, when we’re spending time with these people in other circumstances. After all, if we did, we might perhaps question when we’re even friends with such competitive, aggressive, overly serious people in the first place.

No, for the most part, we see our friends as pretty normal, well-adjusted folks most of the time, but through them into a competitive environment, especially one where there’s a cash prize hanging over them like the proverbial carrot on a stick, and you soon start to get a glimpse into the kind of character traits even those closest to us do a pretty good job of keeping to themselves.

Moving Toward Mindfulness

Of course, keeping an eye on how our fellow Poker players behave and interact isn’t just a fun social experiment, it can also have tangible benefits when it comes to experiencing the kind of peace of mind and happiness many of us crave.

Once the game is over, there’s every chance that you’ll pick up on those aggressive, competitive traits of your friends that for the longest time you’ve simply overlooked. Sure, you may still love them just the same, but as you continue your journey moving toward mindfulness, it may be a good time to examine what kind of impact these negative traits are having on you.

Playing The Hand We’re Dealt

If that impact is detrimental, it might even be a smart move to reconsider who you’re spending the most time with and look for those who reveal largely positive characteristics during your card game session.

Think about those players who approached your last game with a carefree attitude, who were quite happy just to be involved and took each round as it came. Doesn’t that say a lot about their approach to life in general? Doesn’t it bring to mind a phrase that’s often used simply as wise advice, but here takes on a more significant meaning?

Those who seem to play their hands with a “whatever will be, will be” attitude are surely worth spending more time with, don’t you think? Indeed, who knows what we could learn from them as we continue our on our own journey to mindful living?

Playing Just For The Fun Of It

Naturally, not all of us want to turn our every card game into some covert experiment in psychoanalysis, for some of us, we just want to play cards, and probably win a few bucks en route. If you’d much rather do that, you could do worse than looking for Indian rummy. In my own experience, removing that face-to-face contact and replacing it with a certain level of anonymity (even if that only extends to the fact that nobody can see you behind the screen) eliminates the opportunity to really study our fellow players.

If you want to understand people better, you should try to play cards with them. You will soon understand their moves, and even their strategy, which often helped me in life, business and even in love. But if you’re looking for the simple ease of playing, without complicated personalities, check out a casino site with online slots.


Lethal CRO Mistakes That You Need To Avoid

Lethal CRO Mistakes That You Need To Avoid
By Christopher Meloni

If you want to build a successful online business, then it is important to have Conversion Rate Optimization – CRO. With the help of CRO, you can bring down the cost of marketing and improve a site’s performance from content based sites, to SAAS, to ecommerce. When used properly, CRO can help you to benefit more or it can also effect you in the wrong way. CRO when poorly used not only wastes money and time, but also effects your business.


When it comes to testing and optimizing mistakes, they are very common. It can cause wastage of thousands of hours of time and millions of dollars of money. But once you understand how to use it, it becomes very easy to spot the problem and fix it.

Problem One: Focus On Conversion Rather Than On Experience

Most of the time marketers concentrate on a particular landing page and keep on optimizing its conversion without looking at the big picture. The process of optimizing a page for lead generation without thinking how those leads will help in the long run is the biggest mistake. You should stop considering all customers in the same way.

The true growth takes place only when the visitors are converted into customers by you. They should love your products and should come to a situation where they can’t do without it. For this, you need to bring the visitor on the site and make them familiar with the important components of the product. Such visitors will visit the site regularly and will buy the product. Such visitors turned into customers will become shocked once they find the product missing from the site.

Simply, an optimized page by itself will not give you a number of engaging users. On the other hand, you need to opt for the conversion rate optimization on the entire sales funnel. An unfocused optimization technique for getting visitors may not be good for business, even if it gains you superficial conversions. The only way to have proper growth is through applying correct CRO.


The foremost thing that you need to do is to look out for the steps which are slowing the visitors movements on the site. It is necessary to maintain only the important sections by removing the others. Check the sales funnel and see where visitors drop off from the site. Go for user surveys and heat maps to know about the troubled areas.

Problem Two: Always Thinking Small

Don’t go for the small things like button color change. The main issue with such an approach is that you can keep on testing small features again and again. By doing so you would have improved the quality of the page a little bit, but in the end, you have done nothing of much importance.


Instead of testing with the buttons and taglines, it is indeed good if you start testing the landing pages and look out for the user flows. Once you have tackled all the major issues, then you can look out for the minor ones.

Problem Three: Not Understanding Your Visitor Before Testing

Most of the time, the testing process is carried out by some random ways. At times it is carried out by some of the questions asked by the boss. In short, they are done without understanding the intention of the visitor for visiting the site. It is true that you may get some results from this method of testing, but most of the time you will get nothing. And it will lead you to frustration and improper data.


Before carrying out this kind of testing, try to know what your visitor wants to have by coming to your site. Look out for the exit rates and the bounce rates, which one has increased due to visitor confusion. Try to learn through surveys what was the result after your visitor visited the site. Now try to solve the issues based on this feedback.

If you want to grow from conversion rate optimization, you need to carry out testing based on the understanding of customers. Keep your goal intact when you are planning a build up of your own conversion rate optimization plan. Once the visitors are impressed by the experience they get on the site, then you will grow not just by optimization, but also by word of mouth.

Christopher Meloni is a Marketing Manager at a fastest growing online coupon industry. Apart from his profession, he also has a passion for the ecommerce industry and it’s branding and likes to explore new and innovative methods of marketing within his field.

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