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Is your website slowing you down?

speed

We live in a fast-paced world, we demand everything now; fast food, fast news and next day delivery. And we expect to be able to order all these things anywhere; on mobile, on tablet or any other device with an internet connection come to think of it. Partly because we have busy lives with little downtime and partly because improvements in technology have spoilt us. Instant gratification is a buzzword of the 2010s.

Online speed is a hotly debated topic, from broadband speeds to the importance of page loading time for search engine optimisation, where, it seems, a couple of seconds can make all the difference.

Test your speed

First thing’s first, test your desktop and mobile page speed with Google’s PageSpeed tool. The closer to 100 your score is, the better. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get a perfect score though, even ‘google.co.uk’ only gets 96/100! The tool will also give you some recommendations to improve your site’s performance.

The speed of your site and UX

According to Tony Haile, an average visitor will spend less than 15 seconds actively on a page. That’s just 15 seconds to capture their attention, create interest and persuade them to click. And that’s if they even make it on to your website.

Page loading time is a huge contributing factor to page abandonment and crucial in keeping visitors’ attention on your site. Simply put, slow page loading will turn off potential customers. It seems users have even less patience when it comes to mobile browsing, with most participants in a Kissmetrics survey saying they only wait 6-10 seconds before abandoning a page.

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less

40% will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load

52% of online shoppers’ state that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty.

A one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year

Alongside a multitude of factors including page relevance, domain age and number of inbound links, page loading time is recognised as key in google search rankings. First announced in 2010, the speed at which a user can reach the page content from the google search results is a deciding factor in where google will rank the page.

Research by Moz found it was the back-end performance (including web servers, their network connections, CDN (content delivery network) and back-end application and database servers) that had the biggest impact on search engine ranking, with websites that could quickly deliver pages gaining a higher position than those that were slower.

How does web hosting impact site speed?

Your website’s hosting should be optimised for speed, just as the website itself is. SSD, CPU, memory, server location, network speed and load balancing all have their part to play in the smooth running of your site. Choosing a good web hosting company like Certa Hosting can’t guarantee you’ll reach page one of google, but it does mean you’ll avoid the penalties of hosting your site with the wrong one. Choose carefully and don’t base your decision on price alone.

10 things you can do to speed up your site

  1. Minimise HTTP requests by reducing the number of elements on your page
  2. Minify resources
  3. Optimise images
  4. Enable compression of large pages
  5. Reduce the number of plugins on your site
  6. Choose a reliable web host
  7. Ensure your site’s scripts are up-to-date
  8. Minimise redirects
  9. Fix broken URLs
  10. Use a CDN (content delivery network)

A fast site that gives a great UX will start generating its own SEO in the resulting backlinks from recommendations and online conversations about the brand.

Conclusion

If you want your users to have a great experience and tell others about it, pay attention to both the front and the back end of your website. Once they are harmoniously working together you will reap the rewards of a fast, user-friendly website that can keep up with your business ambitions. 

Thank you Jeremy Rose, director at Certa Hosting, a premium web hosting services provider.

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Tech

5 Benefits of Custom Business Software Applications

people office

As companies continue to invest in their technology and processes, it is becoming apparent, one size does not fit all. The same goes for investing in business applications through out of the box software packages, software consultancies or application frameworks. While business owners may choose generic software applications, there are many benefits to developing custom programs. In this post, we will cover how those custom applications can drive growth for your business.

Flexible Applications

Surely, custom applications have the maximum amount of flexibility. You can program everything just the way that you work. With a completely custom business solution, you have the ability to create any process, workflow or application that your company needs. Moreover, an off the shelf application will have a hard time meeting the level of flexibility of applications design specifically for your processes.

Improved Security

Especially if you have a good team, a custom program will have higher levels of security. Since custom applications are unique to your organization, there is a much lower chance of hackers learning the ins and outs of your software. Compared to mainstream business solutions that cyber criminals can test against, the unique development of your software is less likely to get targeted. Absolutely, a security conscious business that wants to prevent hackers could benefit from custom built applications.

Direct Integration

Moreover, custom business systems directly integrate with your existing processes. If you already have other software running for various company departments, it’s easy to keep them. Your custom applications can pull and push data as needed to create the perfect solution for your organizational needs. This makes the integration process easier, giving your company time and resources to grow.

Web Based Management

In addition to integration benefits, custom built systems allow you to build fully web based management tools. According to Unim – Business management system, custom web applications are replacing bloated project management and CRM tools. Best of all, they are accessible to your team members, partners or clients from any web browser. With a custom web-based application, you have full control over what is accessible online.

Custom Is Scalable

Over time, the needs of your business will change. A custom software will support your business growth rather than limit it. Compared to “one-size fits all” software, the capacity to change, automate and scale your software is critical to organizational growth. It will meet the needs of your current business processes while adapting or evolving to the needs of the future as well.

Growth should be a major priority for your business. If so, then integrate custom business systems into your future plans. The flexibility of the technology will allow your employees to work smarter, not harder. Your systems will be more secure while integrating with existing processes. On top of that, custom business apps offer the option for web based access or limitations. Finally, your custom business system will help your business grow now and then adapt to the new needs in the future. Positively, a custom business application can give your company the added resources to accelerate growth.

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Finance

Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies What’s All the Fuss About

cryto currency explained

“Blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” are among some of the most-searched terms in Google recently thanks to news about BitCoin’s price surging. Most people don’t have a clue about what these terms are (hence the searches) but they do know that cryptocurrencies are a form of investment like forex. Unfortunately, while the principle is similar because cryptocurrencies are a traded form of currency, the way BitCoin works is completely different to any kind of currency pair that you can find.

To help you out, we’re going to talk about blockchains and cryptocurrencies to help you achieve a better understanding of what it’s all about.

Defining Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies

Let’s start with the basics and explain what these two terms mean.

  • Blockchains are essentially digital edgers where transactions in cryptocurrencies are recorded. It’s a form of technology that enables cryptocurrencies to exist in the first place. Think of it as a gigantic database where every single transaction is kept in chronological order. You don’t need to understand how it works if you’re interested in BitCoin or another cryptocurrency, but it’s nice to get a general overview of what it implies.
  • Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that utilize encryption techniques to safely regulate their value and also validate transfers. These cryptocurrencies are independent of banks and they’re generated digitally. Two good examples of popular cryptocurrencies are BitCoin and Ethereum. There are many different advantages to both the currencies and their values fluctuate drastically over the years. Ethereum, for instance, was worth $10 per unit in 2017. Currently, they are quoted at around $800. Ripple is another popular cryptocurrency that has recently grown in popularity.

Now that you have a basic understanding of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, let’s see what the fuss is all about and why it’s making waves in the news.

Advantages of Cryptocurrencies

So why use cryptocurrencies over regular currency? Here are just a couple of the most popular advantages:

  • Lower transaction fees. Unlike other currencies, there are lower fees involved when making payments with cryptocurrencies.
  • Immediate transactions. Transactions are immediately resolved when using cryptocurrencies unless a third-party is involved.
  • No risk of fraud. Cryptocurrencies are completely digital and, unlike paper money, cannot be counterfeited.
  • No risk of identity theft. Since your personal information isn’t handed out when making payments with cryptocurrencies (unlike credit and debit cards) you’re not at risk of identity theft.
  • Decentralized currencies. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized which means that there isn’t a single source or authority that governs it.
  • Universal use. Virtually every country can adopt cryptocurrencies because they are not bound by various rates like exchange rates. They can be universally used as long as a cash system supports it.

Industries That Use Cryptocurrencies

As you might expect, cryptocurrencies are slowly becoming more mainstream and being used in all kinds of different industries. One of the first industries to adopt the use of cryptocurrency is the technology industry. Early uses of cryptocurrencies involved being able to purchase goods on the internet or trade digital items and pay for services. There are now many uses for cryptocurrency on the web, such as being able to make donations with it or accept crowdfunding payment.

Nowadays, the use of cryptocurrency is widespread and marketers are all over it, using social media, blogs, lead generation pages to spread the word. So which industries are using it right now? Some car dealerships offer vehicles for BitCoins and there are even some realtors that accept BitCoin payments. With the use of BitCoin expanding so rapidly, don’t be surprised to see your local coffee shop offering goods for cryptocurrency in a few years or even months.

Here’s some information on two of the most popular cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and Etherum and why you should take notice of Ripple…

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the world’s first and top cryptocurrency that had gained popularity and a huge increase in value. It was created in 2009 by a person under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Its main feature is that transactions can be made without the middle man – meaning that no banks are involved!

You can use Bitcoin to book hotels, pay for Xbox games, and buy furniture. But most of its hype has recently come from people trading it. As of now, its price is $8207.77 whose price used to be past the $10,000 mark in 2017.

Another reason why Bitcoin is amazing is because it can be mined. A person (company or group) can mine Bitcoin through record-keeping and advanced math. This is how it works, when someone sends Bitcoin to someone else, the network records it and then records the other transactions and places them on a “block.”

Miners use powerful hardware and specialized software to convert the blocks into code sequences known as “hash.” Once a new has is made, the miners who found it are awarded in Bitcoin. As of now, miners can obtain 12.5 Bitcoins which worth around $225,000 at this time.

Bitcoin is ranked first because it started new concepts such as “decentralization” and “peer to peer trading.” We would see other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum use this concept to help users make apps and trade their currencies at a rate that’s faster than Bitcoin.

Speaking of Ethereum…

Ethereum

Ranked second on our list is Ethereum. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is running on a public blockchain network. While Bitcoin and Ethereum are completely different in technology, their largest distinction is their difference in capability and purpose.

Ethereum’s blockchain is used to run program code for any decentralized application. Instead of miners obtaining Bitcoin, they receive Ether, the main currency that fuels the network.

Ethereum also has smart contracts, which acts like a self-ran computer program that automatically execute once specific guidelines are met. Since they are running on the blockchain, the code can run without downtime, third party interference, and without censorship.

What makes Ethereum a top cryptocurrency is its ability to let startups create decentralized apps. They can receive funding from other Ether owners to help power their app without the long process of seeking a venture capitalist to invest in them. Ethereum is now priced at $857.70, which we can only expect it to grow due to the development apps on its platform.

Ripple

Ripple is the third top cryptocurrency on our list. Like other cryptos, Ripple has a distributed ledger network that allows users to help each other validate transactions. This makes it more efficient and faster than traditional centralized authorities.

What stands Ripple apart is its transaction speed. On average, Bitcoin takes about 10 minutes to complete a transaction. Ripple can accomplish this task in under 60 seconds. This makes Ripple more appealing to a mass market, who needs a faster network to help them pay for goods.

Ripple is currently developed by Ripple Labs. As of now, they have of 100 billion XRP available, as its unable to be mined. Ripple’s current price is now $.73, making it the cheapest option on this list.

While other cryptos are used for separating financial transactions from centralized banking, Ripple seems to do the opposite.

Closing Thoughts

To conclude, we believe that each of these cryptocurrencies provides a lot of value into today’s current market. Not only are they bringing in new financial options for users, but their combined technology helps make transactions safer and faster. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how these cryptocurrencies will act as blockchain technology continues to evolve.

Disclaimer: This post was made to educate users on cryptocurrency. Don’t take it as investment advice.

Sources:
https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-ripple/
https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-ethereum/
http://money.cnn.com/infographic/technology/what-is-bitcoin/
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/what-is-bitcoin/
https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/what-is-bitcoin-currency-crash-10409961

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Tech

Proactive vs. Reactive Live Chat: What are the differences?

live chat

Why Is Live Chat so Important?

Live chat is an important addition to any company website. It makes things easier for everyone. Without any doubt, live chat benefits both the business and its clients. For many online service providers live chat is an absolute necessity. For others it isn’t, but it still can be a great vehicle toward a successful online presence and increased trust.

User statistics clearly show that live chat increases the credibility of a company, helps build better connection with the clients, provides back and forth interaction with the users. In turn, this feedback helps keep the services relevant and aligned with the customers’ needs and helps resolve any potential issues in a timely manner. Lastly, the modern live chat applications of today provide an invaluable insight in the ways people interact with a web page and about their points of interest.

Compared to email or phone support, live chat brings much greater benefits.

The Differences Between Proactive and Reactive Live Chat

One of the things unique to live chat is the fact that it can be offered proactively to the people visiting your web page. Neither email, nor phone are suitable for such service.

These differences between proactive and reactive chat are significant and should be checked carefully. They can be summed up in a few categories. To find out which offers better customer experience, greater satisfaction and potential for conversion, a statistical analysis must be completed.

First of all, reactive live chat is there when the customers ask for it. Proactive, on the other hand, occurs when the communication is initiated by the chat operator, who offers assistance before the visitor has requested help.

When it comes to speed, things are a bit blurry. Reactive is fast, this much is undeniable; on average, a chat request is addressed within 23 seconds. It is infinitely faster than email and considerably faster than phone, in most cases.

Then again, how do you measure the speed of a proactive chat?.

Reactive chat is good for the customers. They usually remain happy, with an engagement rate around 7.8%.

But things get even better for the proactive chat. The engagement rate is only 2%, but customers approached proactively are 6.3 times more likely to make a purchase than those left to their own devices.

Sounds amazing, does it not?

But there is more. If you use proactive chat together with a reactive chat service, the results will be magnificent. The number of satisfied customers and volume of purchases can increase anywhere from 40% to 100%.

All of this is possible, thanks to a few simple implementations, as the best live chat applications can be put to a good use within hours.

It is important to realize just how valuable live chat can be. It is vital to understand fully how it works and what the different types are.

Once you obtain that knowledge, you can use it and achieve great results for yourself and your business.

No matter what your website looks like, live chat has the potential to increase greatly the customers’ satisfaction and engagement. Check out this awesome live chat infographic for more information.

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