Freshbooks post

FreshBooks Accounting Software Product Review

Overview:

You haven’t heard of humble beginnings until you’ve heard of FreshBooks. One, innocent day in 2004, CEO Mike McDerment was sledding about his business when he incidentally preserves over an invoice and lost his total work. Thwarted with juggling Word and Excel documents, McDerment decided there must be a better invoicing solution. Collectively with co-founder Joe Sawada, McDerment created FreshBooks–an invoicing and billing software solution.

For three years, FreshBooks was operated out of McDerment’s parents’ cellar. For the first 24-month stretch, the company only had ten customers buying into the software at $9.99/mo for a total profit of $99.99/mo for a team of four. But despite the difficult financial situation, McDerment and his staff believed in their product.

Today, FreshBooks has over 500,000 users, 200 employees, and operates in 120 countries. The company keeps a professional, yet very fun vibe. It has been featured in Forbes magazine as the second most used accounting software company in the US (Quickbooks is the first). Countless awards has been presented to Freshbooks for its customer service. This staff lives the words, “We’re more than just a program that they use, we’re people who care.”

Excellent customer service and a robust feature set, including invoicing, costs, time tracking, contact management, client portals, expenses, and light inventory, help FreshBooks to stand out from the competition. Extras like snail mail invoicing options, customer credit, and over 35 integrations are just icing on the cake. The five scalable plans fit nearly any size business. However, there is one huge drawback about FreshBooks–it’s not actually accounting software.

FreshBooks does not use double-entry accounting (a big no-no), offers limited reports, and has a very indigent banking reconciliation capability. For corporations looking for powerful accounting features, FreshBooks might not be the best choice. That said, if you’re looking for reliable invoicing and billing features, unique time tracking and client management tools, and some light bookkeeping/accounting functions, FreshBooks is unquestionably worth considering. The customer service alone makes this software worthwhile.

Pricing:

FreshBooks offers a free 30-day trial, no credit card or banking information required. There are five pricing options which fit nearly any business size. Payments made monthly, and with no contract necessary, you can cancel the service at any time.

  • Sprout: $12.95/mo – All plans include unlimited invoices, expenses, and time tracking. Allows you to bill up to 5 clients.
  • Seedling: $19.95/mo – Allows you to bill up to 20 clients.
  • Evergreen: $29.95/mo ($26.96/mo with a yearly contract) – Allows you to bill up to 200 clients.
  • Mighty Oak: $39.95/mo ($35.96/mo with a yearly contract) – Allows you to bill an infinite amount of clients. Adds one additional staff member and team timesheets.
  • Redwood: Call for Pricing – The Redwood plan is for bigger businesses and enterprises that send a lot of invoices, work in teams, and bring in about $10k in online payments every month. Look here for more information about what this plan contains.

FreshBooks’ referral program gives users one free month of service (up to $39.95) if the friend they recommend upgrades to a paid plan.

Note: The Sprout, Seedling, and Evergreen program only support one user. Additional users cost an extra $10/mo each. There are user permission options for these additional users; however, each user must sign in with the same login (a feature that could stand to be improved).

Web-Hosted or Locally Installed:

Web-Hosted. No downloads or installation required.

Hardware or Software Requirements:

As a cloud-based software, FreshBooks can be accessed anywhere at any time (so long as you have internet access). FreshBooks also has an app for iPhones/iPads (iOS 8+) and Androids (4.2+).

Specific Size of Business:

FreshBooks is one of the most scalable software providers I have seen. With five different pricing options, FreshBooks is a good fit for any business from freelancers and micro businesses to large enterprises. If you want a software that grows with you, FreshBooks is an excellent choice. The only thing to keep in mind is that the cost of other users can add up quickly.

Accounting Method:

Both accrual and cash basis accounting.

Ease of Use:

Overall, FreshBooks is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. The UI is visually appealing and customizable. You can add your logo in place of the FreshBooks’ one, and you can customize the colors to your taste as well.

  • Setup – Setting up your FreshBooks account is easy and doesn’t take too long either. Each account receives a unique login URL. Once you’ve opened your account, there are a lot of preferences to fill in, but they’re all pretty self-explanatory. You begin by adding your company’s information and setting up payment gateways. (If you are unsure which payment gateway you want to use, read this article.) You can then add clients manually or by importing a customer list from a .csv file. One of the coolest preferences found is under emails. Here you can customize templates with specific messages for different types of emails including payment reminders, recurring invoices, welcoming new clients or staff members, and more. . I recommend signing up for the free webinar, which completely walks you through the setup process. The webinar takes about an hour, and I found it worth the time. It shows you some preferences and tips you might not find on your own. However, by spending some time in settings you can easily hop in right away and set up everything yourself.
  • Organization – For the most part, FreshBooks is well-organized with tabs marking Home, People, Invoices, Estimates, Expenses, Time Tracking, Reports, and More. Almost everything is where you would expect it to be, though occasionally I had to search for a certain preference or feature.
  • Instructions and Guidance – If you can’t find something you need or can’t figure out how a feature works, have no fear, FreshBooks is here. The first time you open a tab (like Invoicing, for example) FreshBooks provides a quick video explaining the feature in detail. In addition to the free webinar mentioned above, there is a getting started video you can access at any time. FreshBooks also offers incredible support, so you can just give their customer service team a call and you’ll go right through to a kind and helpful representative.
  • Problems – There is very little to complain about in terms of the interface design, other than a few minor annoyances. However, there are a few key features missing for a cloud-based accounting software.
  • Lacking Features –FreshBooks claims to be an accounting software, but does not offer typical accounting capabilities like accounts payable. It also does not use double-entry accounting, which could be a big drawback for some businesses looking for true accounting.
  • Invoice Designs Limited – While the invoicing feature is well developed and offers some incredibly unique features, I was disappointed by the lack of customizability. You can customize much of the written content on an invoice, but there are only two invoice designs. Furthermore, the only design choice you can control is the option to add a personalized logo.
  • Could Be Streamlined – Though generally intuitive, there are times when a feature wasn’t where I expected it to be. For example, when creating an estimate or invoice, you can’t add a new sales tax from that window. Instead of having an “add new” option on the invoicing window, you have to go all the way into settings to create a new sales tax.

Features:

  • FreshBooks covers most basic invoicing and billing features, but takes these basic features to a new level by adding unique features like customer reviews and snail mail invoice options. There are so many personalized touches that set FreshBooks apart I could never cover them all, so for a full list of FreshBooks’ features go here.
  • Dashboard – The home screen displays well-organized, and appealing charts and gives you a quick view of your business’s activity and financial health. These charts include: invoices and expenses, outstanding invoices, active projects, recent activities, and reports. As I mentioned earlier in the review, at the top of the screen there are multiple tabs (Home, People, Invoices, Estimates, Expenses, Time Tracking, Reports, and More) for quick navigation of the interface. Each tab has secondary tabs below when clicked on. There are also settings and help buttons on top for quick access to the FreshBooks Help Center.

Freshbooks

  • Invoicing – FreshBooks offers two invoicing templates. Each invoice can customize with notes to clients, discounts, taxes, etc. You can set recurring invoices and a default Terms and Conditions message. FreshBooks tracks when invoices are received and read. Invoices can be sent by email or snail mail—though the mail delivery time is the farthest thing from snail-like. When you choose the snail mail option, your invoice will be sent to a FreshBooks facility that takes care of absolutely everything – and I mean everything – for you. Printing, packaging, mailing, done. Each invoice is delivered first class within one business day and includes a return envelope. All you have to do is pay for the stamps (see postage pricing here).
  • Estimates – Estimates are easy to create and turn into invoices. You can customize views with separate Terms and Conditions default. There is no snail mail option for ratings.
  • Client Portal – FreshBooks has one of the best customer portals I’ve seen. It’s straightforward and appealing. Clients can view their current invoices, estimates, and projects, as well as their history. They can request changes and make payments directly from the Client Portal. There is also an auto-billing feature they can enable.

Freshbooks

  • Customer Review – One of the unique features in FreshBooks is the option to request reviews from their clients after completing business with them.
  • Contacts Management – You can manage a detailed client list from FreshBooks. These features essential consumer information and private, personal notes that the customer can’t see. You can also add multiple contact names per business, which seems so valuable and natural I wonder why more software companies don’t offer this function.
  • Time Tracking – This is where FreshBooks shines. FreshBooks is ahead of most of its competitors in terms of time tracking. Time tracking is available on every plan (unlike with most software companies, which make you pay extra for this feature). You and your employees can enter time manually or with the built-in timer and apply them to any task or project. You also have the option to allow your clients to view the hours you’ve logged on a project. Timesheets can be generated into invoices easily.

Freshbooks

  • Payments – FreshBooks tracks online payments, but you can also add cash payments manually. FreshBooks offers the unique option of adding a credit to a client; just select a client name, add a new item called “Pre-Payment,” and apply the item to a future invoice when ready.
  • Expenses – FreshBooks allows you to use live bank feeds, import bank files via .csv, or enter expenses manually. The latter option is a little annoying because the price shown does not include the taxes you pay, which can be very misleading. You can look at the tax summary report to see your total taxes, but this seems like a lot of time wasted. You can also use mobile apps to take pictures of your expense receipts for quick importing on the go, and any of these expenditures may be assigned to specific clients. Reports – FreshBooks offers 24 reports total, including your average profit and loss statement, balance sheet (you’ll have to enter many of the fields), and tax summary, though some businesses may want more year-end tax reports and traditional accounting reports like accounts payable. Some of FreshBooks’ most notable reports include timesheets, customer reviews, and a quarterly report card. All reports can be exported to a .cvs or .xls file or shared with an accountant. Also, you can choose to receive a weekly overview report via email.
  • Inventory – FreshBooks offers a light stock option located under Invoices > Items > Add New. Just check the track list option when you are adding the item’s information, and it will keep track of your inventory. This feature is pretty limited compared to most cloud-based accounting competitors as there is no way to track inventory value or set low inventory alerts, but it’s better than nothing.
  • Sales Tax – FreshBooks allows for great default tax settings. You can add as many sales tax options as you need and can apply different sales taxes within the same invoice if necessary.
  • Multi-Currency – FreshBooks supports multiple currencies and multiple languages. If you change the language for a client, your single screen will remain in English. Only their side will be affected by the modification.
  • Open API – FreshBooks has open API for developers.
  • Other Resources – The actual Freshbooks website features a free Business Name Generator tool, a free invoice creator, and a free customizable and downloadable invoice template.

Customer Service and Support:

There’s a reason FreshBooks has been cited many times for award winning customer service. One person said: “No matter the issue, big or small, the FreshBooks Support Team is your tiny army of helpful humans just waiting to make your day easier”—and it’s true.

FreshBooks support is by far the best I have seen. All of my test calls went straight through to a real person, and I was never put on hold (if we’re honest, I called their support more times than necessary just because I was so pleased by it). Emails receive quick, informative responses. And since FreshBooks is such a large company, it offers many other resources to its customers. These resources include:

  • Phone – FreshBooks phone support operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EDT. US and Canadian users can call toll free at 1-866-303-6061. For worldwide support call +1-416-481-6946.
  • Email – Contact support@freshbooks.com. When you sign up, you also receive an email from a personalized customer coach with whom you can set up a free orientation.
  • Contact Form – FreshBooks has an online contact form here.
  • Webinar – My favorite support option is the free introductory webinar FreshBooks offers. Sign up here to learn about the software—and if you’re lucky, you just might hear some awesome Batman jokes. Help Center – The Help Center features lots of how-to articles when you need them. The sheer amount of articles can be a bit overwhelming, but the articles are categorized and there’s a search bar to make your life a little easier. Although, when I had questions I turned to the phone support and YouTube video demonstrations first.
  • Blog – Much like the help center, the FreshBooks’ blog has a bunch of articles, which offer business advice and introducing product updates.
  • YouTube – Freshbooks’ YouTube channel features how-to videos, set-up demonstrations, advice for small businesses, and customer testimonials. I found the how-to videos particularly helpful.
  • Social Media – FreshBooks keeps an active Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts mostly point to new blog posts and updates. Instagram features motivation quotes, customer stories, and contests, while Pinterest has interesting boards on how to save on taxes, set up a productive workspace, and host cool company parties.
  • In-Software Support – There is a help tab accessible from inside the software itself.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

For the most part, FreshBooks receives positive reviews across the board, although there are a few complaints that stand out:

    • Not Accounting Software – Despite the name, FreshBooks simply is not “cloud accounting” software. One customer said, “the ‘books’ part of the name ‘FreshBooks’ led me to believe it would work on my entire book. That’s weird to me that it doesn’t.” FreshBooks does not use double-entry accounting, managing your bills is limited, and bank reconciliation is below par compared to other software (you can only import expenses and while there are live feeds, these “live feeds” only get updated once a day and deposits are not recognized). FreshBooks also does not have important accounting reports like accounts payable, general ledger, or balance sheet (there is a balance sheet report in FreshBooks but you have to fill in the majority of the fields yourself). For some smaller companies this may not be an issue, but for customers looking for true accounting software, this could be a huge drawback–especially because without double-entry accounting and the ability to reconcile income as well as expenses, there is no way to get a real look at your total financial state. A few customers just want FreshBooks to be called what is truly is, an invoicing or billing software.
    • No Integration With Quickbooks Online – A few customers complained about the lack of integration with Quickbooks online.
    • Lack of Feature Updates – Some customers feel that FreshBooks has stalled on updates lately and that their suggestions are not being listened to. Some of these suggestions include: a better inventory feature, a mileage tracker, more accounting reports, more invoicing templates, separate shipping and billing addresses, and the option to send estimates via snail mail.
    • No Forever Free Plan – A few customers complained about the pricing of FreshBooks, particularly that their forever free plan apparently wasn’t forever as it is no longer offered.
    • However, FreshBooks pricing has dropped lately. The Mighty Oak plan is $40 cheaper a month than the last time we reviewed this software.
    • Limited Users – Some customers would like to see more users supported per account (without the extra $10/mo charge per new user). They also want to be able to set stronger user permissions.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Overall, customers seem to love the FreshBooks product. FreshBooks has an A+ rating with BBB and receives 4.7/5 stars on GetApp. Besides, the mobile apps are highly functioning with the iPhone app awarded 4.5/5 stars and the Android app 4.2/5 stars. Customer testimonials can be found on the FreshBooks site or their YouTube channel, in addition to reviewing sites on the web.

Some of the features customers love most are:

  • Saves Time – This is one of the most common praises. Users like that FreshBooks is simple to use and saves them time on expenses tracking, invoicing, and billing.
  • Intuitive Interface – Many users find FreshBooks easy to learn, and they enjoy the practical and appealing organization of the software.
  • Fantastic Customer Service – FreshBooks customer service is highly praised by users, who appreciate that they can talk to the friendly phone support staff after only one or two rings.
  • Active Mobile App – Despite a few reported glitches, most users find the mobile apps convenient and well-designed. While not capable of all desktop functions, FreshBooks seems to have one of the most developed mobile apps in the cloud accounting world.
  • Advanced Time Tracking Feature – The time tracking featured is well-loved and much used by FreshBooks subscribers. Users mainly comment on the built-in timer function.
  • Company’s Values – One customer encouraged others to research more about FreshBooks because they are such a cool company with an amazing story–and I agree. How many corporations do you know who partner with a nonprofit like Girls Learning Code and turn their whole office space into a camp for a week? Or whose CEO’s office is made of transparent walls, so his work and his cute dog are always visible? Watch this video to learn more about girls learning code, or read this article to hear about Freshbooks’ values and office vibes.

 

Final Verdict:

FreshBooks has an impressive number of features, and I am particularly intrigued by how each feature offers something unique, especially in a software environment where every company can start to look the same. FreshBooks has highly customizable email settings, snail mail capabilities, strong time tracking features, customer review requests, a powerful mobile app and a client portal.

These features can fit the needs of nearly any sized business. The plans are incredibly scalable and since dropping their prices and adding more integrations, FreshBooks has become an even more compelling invoicing and billing option.That said, I am hesitant to tout it as a viable accounting option.

Despite their logo, FreshBooks has fallen behind on the “cloud accounting” half of its title. There’s a reason I didn’t include bank reconciliation in the features section–there isn’t a bank reconciliation feature, at least not one that can compare to what you find in other software. Without a proper reconciliation feature and the ability to perform double-entry accounting, FreshBooks fails to balance the books.

While this may be a huge drawback for some companies, FreshBooks still has an impressive number of features with unique capabilities. The customer service is unbeatable and the mobile apps are far above those of the competition. To see if FreshBooks is a good choice for your company, try out their free 30-day trial and let us know what you think.

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How To Find The Right Web Designer

How To Find The Right Web Designer

QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A WEB DESIGNER

Web designers are almost indispensable in today’s world since websites have become a serious platform for marketing and advertising goods or services. A website designer is basically the creator of a website. He or she is charged with the task of developing the layout and the overall look of the website. The designer is therefore someone with broad knowledge about many concepts since he needs to work with the entrepreneur to pick appropriate colors and appealing logos which match with the activities or the theme of the business. It is also his responsibility to discuss layouts of the website pages and create suitable mockups.    

 

However, choosing a web designer for one’s business remains very tricky even though there exist hundreds of thousands of websites advertising web design services. Nobody wants to recruit an incompetent designer who is unable to add value to a business or service. If you are looking to hire a web designer, you need to settle for one who will meet your needs without you losing your mind in the process. You don’t just need someone who is good at taking pretty pictures. You rather need a person who is able to organize your site’s content and set up layouts which meet the goals or requirements of your website. That said, it will be best for you to look up the differences between a designer, a developer, and an implementer because knowing them makes you determine the type of professional you are really in need of. Often, some entrepreneurs think that they should hire a website designer whereas what they are actually in need of is a website developer. Now let’s examine some qualities entrepreneurs should consider when hiring a web designer for their companies;

The Designer’s style

The designer’s style is a very important factor to take into consideration when hiring a web designer for your company. You need to find out if the designer’s style matches what you anticipate your site to look like. That said, you will need to go through the designer’s portfolio and note the items that catch your eyes. You should be able to know whether or not you are satisfied with the designer’s choice of colors, layouts or even logos. You don’t want to hire someone whose design appears off. Also, you can’t possibly have a modern website by hiring a web designer whose portfolio looks a bad episode of back to the future.

 

 

Site maintenance and Upkeep

Before you hire a web designer for your business, you need to be able to answer these two questions;

  • What is the kind of maintenance and upkeep my website need?
  • Can I do the maintenance myself or do I need to hire someone?

If you are hoping to make millions of dollars through your website, then its maintenance should be a continuous process. You do not want your website to appear archaic, inaccessible or unpleasant to users and visitors. You rather want your website to always be up to date especially if they require plugins or software to function. To put it simply, websites require constant attention and you obviously need someone for its maintenance and upkeep. Thus prior to hiring your web designer, find out whether or not he will be available to provide maintenance services for the website. You can equally opt to hire someone else for the website maintenance or in the worst case learn the tricks and do it yourself.

 

Availability of the designer for website revision

Websites are not static as they need revision from time to time. Before hiring your web designer, it is advisable to find out if he will be available to do changes especially in layout in the long run. While at it, keep in mind that the designer has no obligation to provide you free services which were not included in the initial contract you signed before hiring him. In as much as it is better to stick with one designer for the security of your website, it is equally important for you two to agree on whether or not he will be available to do revision for the website and at what cost. It is also worth noting that the values of services changes over time. Hence you don’t expect to pay your designer the same fee two or three years later.

 

Availability of the designer to develop the website

You should know if your potential web designer will be available to develop your website. This is where knowing the difference between a web designer and a web developer becomes very important. Although many web designers are also competent at web development, some may prefer to limit their job to just designing. They may rather chose to create mockups that will be coded into an actual site elsewhere. Some designers on the other hand may decide to partner with a developer to work in the entire project. Whatever the case may be, you need to choose the option which is suitable and affordable to you.

Type of design files

Your potential designer should open up to you about the types of files he is going to be using for your website. That said, the PSD and Al format mockups are highly recommendable. Also, your web designer should not have any problems giving you editable versions of your logo in either the PSD, AI, EPS, or PDF. Above all, the designer must have a license or permission if he intends to use any premium graphics or fonts in the design. You don’t want to be sued for having unauthorized graphics or photos on your website.

Not the right questions? You may not need a designer!

If you’re reading this thinking, These questions don’t even apply to my project!, it’s possible you need both a designer and developer or an implementer. As I mentioned, those labels can overlap, so there’s no perfect way to tell you what you need. Knowing the scope of your project and what you’ll want in terms of looks and functionality are key in finding the professional who is best qualified to help you.

If you do web work, how do you define yourself? Any tips you can share with those who are looking to hire a web professional?

Dream Design Labs a team of web designers, developers, and digital marketers.

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15 types of content

15 Types of Content That Will Double if Not Triple Your Traffic

Ever wonder why all those blog posts you put up never get any traffic?

What if you consumed nothing but cookies for the next year? Do you think you would be very healthy? Just like people need a balanced diet, your content marketing needs a balanced diet. This is the reason why so many businesses have a Facebook page with blog posts that get zero engagement. Simply applying this will gain you fresh traffic, targeted visitors, higher conversion rates and better SEO.

(If anything, just save this list to create your content marketing strategies)

Type #1 Infographics

An infographic is the display of information or data in a visual way. Info + graphic sums it up.

Infographics get shared more, viewed more, and liked more than most other content types. They are a powerful way to get your data out there in an explosive visual format. One study found that infographics were liked and shared on social media up to three times more often than other posts. The potential is there.

Type #2 Meme

You’ve seen them. They’re easy to make, they’re visual, and they’re hilarious.

That’s one of the great benefits of memes – they’re hilarious. People love something they can laugh at, share and get a kick out of.

Type #3 Videos

There’s a world of variety within videos. I could write a whole separate post on different types of videos. No matter what type it is, however, a good video communicates a message in a succinct and memorable fashion. Done well, a video can be quite persuasive.

Type #4 Guides

A guide is a long detailed piece of content. Think of a guide as a super charged blog post. It goes beyond the length, style, and approach of an ordinary blog post. People want to know what’s in it for me, so gaining knowledge that could improve their life is a very popular type of content.

Type #5 Book Review

A book review is a summary of a book plus your take on it. You recommend good ones, critique some, and talk about the golden nuggets of information you took away from each. Book reviews are great because they help to position you as a thought leader.

Type #6 Rant

This type is much different than most posts, due to the “tone”. You might be used to writing about a well planned blog post. The rant type can be fired off the hip and is more expressive. The more opinionated and polarizing you are, the more it will get shared and commented. (Facebook can’t tell the difference between a good comment and a negative comment. Either one boosts your engagement.)

Type #7 Product Review

Like the book review, a product review can help establish you as a leader in an industry. Every industry has it’s unique products, services, software, etc. When you acknowledge brands, influencers and other high profile products and services, you gain respect. All you need to do is tell your audience your experience and provide a recommendation.

Type #8 How-to

The how-to is one of the most popular, especially in my industry. People are always searching how-to do something, and it’s your job to answer those questions! By answering these questions in your content marketing, you gain their attention and recognize you as an authority figure. Hopefully you will also gain leads through your how-to posts.

Type #9 Lists

You guessed it! Lists. We are hard-wired to love them. Chances are you will read another list (besides this one) by the end of the day. “5 Security Breaches You Need To Know About.” Lists go back as far as the ten commandments! To this day, numbered ideas are as popular as ever. Even top publications like Inc or Forbes use lists, because they work!

Type #10 Link Pages

A link page is just a post that provides links to great resources around the World Wide Web. The great thing about link pages is they spread link love to other sites, provide your own site with authoritative SEO signals, and assert your thought leadership within your industry.

Type #11 Ebook

An ebook is a very long guide packed in a different format, such as a PDF. Ebooks are usually free content websites offer in exchange for an email. Producing an ebook is great for building authority in your field and a powerful way for you to get your message out there.

Type #12 Case Study

A case study explains what your product or service is and how it helped a client of yours. The case study basically says, “here’s what we do, how we do it, and the results we get.” This is a great way to gain new leads and spread the knowledge that your product or service works!

Type #13 Podcast

Podcasts were booming for a while there, and they still are. They are not hard to create, people listen to them during commute or exercise. You have a chance to spread your message farther and better using this format than a lot of other formats.

Type #14 Interview

Every field has it’s leaders. When you’re able to interview a leader, you can gain a lot of respect in your field, not to mention huge amounts of traffic. Interviews are unique. No one else has your information – only you.

Type #15 Research and original data

Most of us work in data-intensive fields, where numbers and metrics hold a ton of value. Sharing your findings is a great way for your to gain traffic, build trust, and establish your authority. When you do the research, which is hard work, people respect that. What’s more, people share it.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many types of content types, and your content marketing strategy needs most if not all of them for a balanced diet. The more you use, the better the results! Content, regardless of its form, speaks to an audience. That audience, in turn, listens, shares, learns, and converts.

What type of content do you prefer and why?

Dream Design Labs’ experts excel in social media optimization!

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INCREASE YOUR TWITTER FOLLOWERS

12 WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR TWITTER FOLLOWERS

  • If you are a blog writer you can use your content as tool to initiate conversation with significant people on twitter. Just include their tweets in your content and ask them to comment. If they respond, that wills be a positive sign to have a conversation with them on twitter and repeat this process.
  • Followerwonk can help you in tracking those who have unfollowed you on twitter.one can check that how many people have unfollowed on any particular day or just on any day and what is the reason behind it.
  • Just to increase the number of followers or friends on twitter does not follow each and every one. Follow those whose content you truly find innovating and matching to your taste. You should always try to maintain a decent follower to friend ratio on twitter.

Must Read- 12 Most Popular Social Media Management Tools

  • Remove or unfollow those who do not even speak your language or have not tweeted in years or may be these people are following 1000,2000 people on twitter and they really do not bother about your tweets.
  • Twitter as a social media platform provides you with immense opportunity to get mingle with people belonging to your industry or with those who are on same page with you. Follow those who have almost equal number of follower’s v/s friends or with high engagement rates, there will more chances that they will follow back.it makes following more purposeful.
  • Followerwonk can help you in keeping track of your success on twitter. it provide the count of people who are following you or not. You can actually compare with your competitors and can do analysis be performing series of weekly experiments be keeping eye on this count.
  • Analyze feature of Followerwonk can help in informing timings and types of tweets people are engage in. This can help in generating and planning proper campaigns for those who are not following you.
  • Relations whether in real life or on social media takes time in building. Instantly following someone and next day unfollowing does not going to be productive in long run. Before unfollowing understand the proper reasons and do proper analysis through social media tools.
  • Tweet meaningful, innovative, fresh ideas every day and focus on the quality of the content which is mostly welcome by followers rather than on number of tweets per day.
  • Fast response to any follower is also one way to keep your name in circulation on twitter. More your name will appear in front of others, more identity building for your brand can be achieved.
  • Communication is the key. Keep significant customers or people on twitter engage and try to end conversation by asking question. Always try to do a positive retweet and do not let conversation die.
  • Try to make twitter profile impressive and tweets fascinating, so that when any person click on your name to know more about you through your tweets, they can find some interesting facts or information which compel them to follow you. Make use of good profile picture too.
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7 Reasons People Don’t Trust Your Website

These days it’s hard to decide which web design advice to believe. Everyone has the magic pill that will increase conversions and retain visitors longer etc… Well, here is an amazing info graphic that explains the importance of having your website up-to-date in order to build trust with your online customers.

7 Reasons People Don't Trust Your Website

http://pin.it/UoxQx7i

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GOOGLE CRAWL ERRORS

TYPES OF GOOGLE CRAWL ERRORS AND THEIR FIXATION

Site Errors:

DNS (Domain Name System) errors implications are huge to tackle. If Googlebot cannot able to connect to the domain of your website may be because of DNS Timeout or DNS lookup issue, its high time to take error fixing action. Fetch as Google Tool which is present in Search Console is a quick way to check DNS connection and you can also check with your DNS provider.

Server Errors happen when servers cannot handle too much traffic and they require urgent action to be taken. Googlebot can only wait for limited amount of time to load your website pages, after that it gives up. Fetch As Google tool can be used to see whether Googlebot can crawl and return homepage content with ease. Servers errors are of different types so do look out the type of error you must be facing.

Robot.txt file erroroccurs when Googlebot cannot retrieve this file located in domain name. Check for all the line of “Disallow: /”, use server header checker tool to check for 200 or 404 errors. Proper configuration is the best way to deal with it.

URL Errors:

Soft 404 errors display page with 200 found and not 404 not found. The content of the page should be such that it informs user that page they are looking for does no longer exist. According to Google, HTTP header response should return page with 404 (not found) or 410 (gone).Live and critical pages should not be listed as Soft 404 pages and they require immediate action. Do not redirect lots of non-existing pages to your home page; redirection should be to the appropriate pages.

404 error means page no longer exist. This error becomes important when a particular page is been requested by large amount of traffic, or it contains some important URL’s or links and backlinks.to fix it use your content management system for publishing content, ensure page is not deleted, check http v/s https version of this error, work on external links from URL Error section of Google Search Console and ensure whether 404 error is actually 404 error page and not other variation of 404.

Access denied occurs when Googlebot is been blocked from crawling the page at a very first place. Log in and authentication means used by you and hosting providers can block Googlebot.Robot.txt file can also block Googlebot to crawl whole website or any particular folders or URL’s.to fix it remove popup or in-page login from a page which you want to be indexed and gets crawled, check for robot.txt file content, user-agent switcher plug-in can be used or Fetch As Google to see how site appears to Googlebot.

Not Followed error occurs when Google because of Flash, JavaScript, or redirect issues cannot follow a particular page or URL. Lynx text browser, fetch as Goggle tool, user-agent switcher can be used and do not include redirected URL into sitemap, use destination URL.

Having different configuration for certain URL’s in your domain or isolated configuration for individual URL’s can cause Server and DNS errors under URL Errors sections and they need to be tackled in similar way as in Site Errors section.

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Keep your friend close but enemy closer-13 free online competitor analysis tools

The success on the digital media platform is not one-sided, but here you have to track your competitors as well.

BuzzSumo – The free tools allow you to search for content by keyword or entering a competitor’s URL. You can filter the search by published date, content type, and shares across social sites. It also has a trending section for different industries

Alexa -allows tracking global web traffic of your own and competitor websites. “Information is power,” and with tools like Alexa you can get all the relevant data about the competitors and market that would help you in defining your marketing strategy for the success.

Quantcast– The tool provides significant information about the potential clients. It contains detailed reports on: demographics, lifestyle and interest affinities, website, audience insights, and conversion level.

Must Read- How to make Outstanding Content for Your Website

Whatsmyserp – This tool will give you an idea about your average rankings. The tool is also used to learn about the current ranking and status of content as well.

Prisync-  The tool is used to track competitor’s prices and available stock. A wonderful tool for the virtual store owners, the tool generates report automatically. One can create a free account on Prisync.

Complete.com—Sign up for a free account at Compete.com, and you’ll be able to compare up to five sites at a time and create saved portfolios of up to five sites each. The tool proves highly useful when you have multiple sites in different markets and wish to track the competitive landscape of each market quickly.

MarketLeap.com-Its Search Engine Saturation report lets you compare up to five sites and see how many pages each site has listed in the major search engines. See how well your site stacks up to your competitors’.s

SpyFu- will give one an estimate of that competitor’s paid search ad spend, how many clicks it is receiving, the average cost per click, average ad position, and the top organic and paid keywords that drive traffic to its site.

Similar Web– is a freemium tool launched in 2013 and offering free stats on all sites including referrers.

Majestic and Moz Open Site Explorer- has to be the “must use” tools. I think for non-SEOs, the Backlinks History is great for basic benchmarking of competitor success in gaining backlinks although link quality isn’t shown.

InfiniGraph- tracks trends in social media circles. It combines consumer-to-brand interactions in real time and uses targeting to find out what brands and content are popular right now.

Moat- is a multifunctional tool for advertising industry. With it, find out what ads are running for different websites and top brands.

Simply measured-is one of the best aggregators of raw data for social metrics. It helps you to find out how your competitors are doing on trends, branding, traffic, conversions, and more.

 

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Orange County SEO

12 Most Popular Social Media Management Tools: Offering Something for Everyone

Social media is one of the most effective ways for you and your business to get more traffic and generate new leads. Having the right social media management and monitoring tools and a presence on all the major networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn is a necessity these days for any business.

Top 12 Social Media Management Tools: 

  1. Hoot Suite is the most popular social media management tool for people and businesses to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks like Facebook and Twitter from one web-based dashboard.
  2. Buffer is a smart and easy way to schedule content across social media. Think of Buffer like a virtual queue you can use to fill with content and then stagger posting times throughout the day.
  3. IFTTT is a powerful Internet automation site that can save you a lot of time managing social media and other tasks. You can essentially connect any major network or channel together to automate sharing on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  4. Social Oomph is a neat web tool that provides a host of free and paid productivity enhancements for social media. You can do a lot with the site which includes functions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk and your blog.
  5. Tweet deck is a web and desktop solution to monitor and manage your Twitter feeds with powerful filters to focus on what matters. You can also schedule tweets and stay up to date with notification alerts for new tweets.
  6. Tweepi is a unique management tool for Twitter that lets you flush un-followers, clean up in actives, reciprocate following and follow interesting new tweeps!
  7. Klout’s mission is to help every individual understand and leverage their influence. Klout measures influence in Twitter to find the people the world listens to.
  8. Crowdfire is a Twitter growth tool which lets you get relevant followers with features like Copy followers and Keyword follow.
  9. Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and get info on what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on.
  10. BackTweets is a twitter time machine which enables you to search through a tweet history for tweets that link back to your site. As a free web app, BackTweets lets you search through a tweet archive for URLs sent via twitter.
  11. Boardreader allows users to search multiple message boards simultaneously, allowing users to share information in a truly global sense. Boardreader is focused on creating the largest repository of searchable information for our users.
  12. Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard software that helps you monitor and analyze data scattered across all your online services like Google Analytics, Salesforce, AdSense, MailChimp, Facebook, WordPress and more from one single location in real-time.
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outstanding content

12 Ways to Make Outstanding Content for Your Website

  1. Adding visual content-video content is a sure-fire way to make an audience fall in love with your content. An article in The Guardian noted many of these findings, including Cisco’s research that suggests that video will account for 69 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2017,
  2. Free takeaways-takeaways might include a white paper, eBook, slide presentation, video, an app or software tool, or research material. The charm of freebies always work, it make the target audience more receptive to your messages.
  3. Influencers-Social media stars have more influence on what people buy than traditional marketing tactics. The content will surely get more exposure when Internet stars such as Wesley Stromberg, Tanner Patrick and Kenny Hamilton share it.
  4. Addition of some competitive games in the content-apps like Challenged or the contest generator on Facebook to add a social cause component, as well as link participants to celebrities, companies or their friends to deepen the engagement or trust in the brand or products for whose content is been written.
  5. Focus on current topics or trends in the content-Whatever the reason, people crave information on what is current, “hot,” and popular.
  6. Headlines Matter-include number in the headlines, offer solution to the problem in the content and ask questions from the readers.
  7. Go for long writing-Studies have shown that long blog posts that are at least 1500 words minimum have a higher ROI than short blog posts.
  8. Taboo topics-Are there any taboo topics in your industry? If so, embark on such topics on your blog. Such topics always create excitement among the readers and they are more interested in reading as well as participating in such blog post discussions.
  9. Do your homework/research-Whatever chosen topic you are posting about, always do your research. It is perfectly OK to give opinions, but doing research makes you look much more credible.
  10. Target audience-Whenever you write a blog post, keep your audience in mind. You don’t want to use a lot of industry jargon if your customer is in the research phase.
  11. Build loyal readers through content-Your first step toward content loyalty, is to define your goal post (e.g., visits per an allotted amount of time), then optimize for the attributes that lead to that goal. For your brand, it might be content length or number of ads or GIFs or videos.
  12. Moz Context API -using the newly created Moz Context API, you’re able to extract the most relevant topics for your site. It can tell you what topics and what keywords are the most relevant for your site and across the web.
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seo-company

FINDING THE PERFECT SEO FIRM IS POSSIBLE AND NECESSARY: FACTORS AFFECTING SEO SUCCESS

Choosing SEO firms:-first step should be visiting the SEO firms in person. Talk to their executives and if possible upper management people for complete peace of mind about how they work with SEO tools. It would be a bonus for anyone if a person is able to interact with the clients of SEO firms who have used their service in past.

Quality has its cost:-SEO firms that genuinely working with brands have their reputation at stake. These firms believe in building long term relationships with the clients. They always provide quality work to the website owner by undergoing lots of analytical research work, conversion tracking and measurable data. But they are definitely going to be more expensive than some degradable quality options.

Broad SEO services coverage:-one should always look for that SEO firm which not only provide basic SEO service but also deal in some complimentary services like conversion rate optimization, public relations and social media. Normally, at present most of the reputed SEO firms provides services like content marketing, link building, local SEO and international SEO, website architecture etc

Grill the SEO firm from time to time:-yes, keep asking questions about reports generation, double-check mathematical calculations and keep viewing SEO firm’s results. SEO firms should as badly interested in client work as client themselves.

Communication is the key:-SEO firm and client both should always remain aware about campaigns updations, SEO firm should always try to resolve the clients problem as soon as possible and clients themselves should also try to work on the ranking of it website project with the help of firm.

SEO is a complete project:-SEO work just like any software project has to be managed by professional project management tools. Ask SEO firms about the tools they are going to use; famous SEO management tools include Majestic, Moz, BuzzSumo, SEMRush, Ahrefs, etc.

Report generation: – reports should show number of positive movement in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for certain keywords related to a particular URL. Don’t worry if the client’s name, URL, and keywords are redacted. That’s pretty normal…

Case studies of SEO firm are their report cards:-few SEO firms allow clients case studies to be read by other clients. That show how they helped their clients succeed.

Years of existence of firm:-it’s usually a safe bet that if a company has been around for a while (or at least the owners have), it’s because the company knows what it’s doing.

Time to sign contract: – a month-to-month contract is the best option and pretty standard in the industry right now.

In-house expertise:-person should ask about the account managers allotted to one client, specialists going to work and how company will handle digital marketing?

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