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Split Delivery: G Suite Business Email

Hey there! My blog post this time, is to address a query you might have had about split delivery from a single domain. I’ve seen this being discussed on a couple of online forums so I thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on the topic.

What is split delivery?

Split delivery means emails will be delivered to the same domain but to two mail systems simultaneously. With split delivery, an incoming message is delivered to either a Gmail inbox or a legacy system inbox, depending on the recipient.

This method works well if some of your users use Gmail, and others use a different mail system. For example, you might need to implement special handling for certain types of email, such as messages to the Legal department.

This method also works well if you are migrating to Gmail from a legacy mail server, and you want to run a test with a subset of users.

 

G Suite and Business Email

G suite now comes with an innovative feature of Split and Dual deliveries. Below are the steps to attain Split Delivery keeping Google as the primary server. Split Delivery, as the name suggests, allows you to split the entire mail delivery function of a single domain into two different servers.

This works on the logic that for the same domain some IDs will run under Google as the primary server and some IDs will run on other secondary servers.

 

Host Settings

Let us now get through the steps to build up a Split Delivery configuration.

 

  • Log in to Admin Console

  • Click on Apps >> Gsuite >> Gmail >> Advance Settings

  • Create a Host

 

 is to address a query you might have had about split delivery from a single domain Split Delivery: G Suite  Business Email

 

  • Click on Save

 

Routing Settings:

Once the host details are saved, we need to proceed with adding the routing settings.

 

  • Click on Apps >> Gsuite >> Gmail >> Advance Settings

  • Under General settings >> Scroll down to Routing >> Besides Routing >> Click on Configure.

 is to address a query you might have had about split delivery from a single domain Split Delivery: G Suite  Business Email

  • Now scroll down to Route >> Click on Change Route >> Now select the Host name that was created in the previous step.

    Eg: In the host settings we created a host with the name “Business email routing”.

 

 is to address a query you might have had about split delivery from a single domain Split Delivery: G Suite  Business Email

 

  • Scroll down >> Click on Show Options >> Now under Account types to affect >> Select Unrecognized / Catch -all

 

 is to address a query you might have had about split delivery from a single domain Split Delivery: G Suite  Business Email

 

  • Click on Add Settings.

This completes the split delivery setup for your domain name. Going forward if any email is sent, the email will be first routed to your Gsuite package. If the account exists under Gsuite the mail will be delivered successfully.

In case the email account does not exist, the mail will be routed to your Business/ Enterprise Email server and the message will be delivered to the intended recipient.

 

Sending Emails:

  1. While sending emails there are multiple instances where the emails are delivered to the Spam box of the recipient.
  2. In order to avoid this, we need to add the SPF records for the email servers in the current dns of the domain. An SPF record identifies which mail server is permitted to send email on behalf of your domain.
  3. SPF helps mail servers distinguish forgeries from real mail by making it possible for a domain owner to say, “I only send mail from these machines.” That way, if any other machines try to send mail from that domain, the mail server knows that the ‘From’ address is forged.

 

DNS Records:

  1. Only one SPF record can be added for a domain name, In this case, since we are using multiple email servers we will have to club the SPF records.
  2. Identify the correct DNS Zone for the domain name and add the mentioned record in the current dns zone.

SPF Record:

v=spf1 include:_spf.mailhostbox.com include:_spf.google.com all

 

Conclusion

I hope this article was able to clear out your confusion about split deliveries. While G Suite is a fantastic cloud-based emailing solution with 30-GB storage, enhanced security and real-time collaborations, Business Email comes with a branded SSL certificate, 99.99% uptime, anti-virus protection & more. Can’t choose? No problem! Just keep both now! At ResellerClub, we offer both solutions to our customers at affordable rates. With our products, our customers enjoy security, a pricing advantage and 24×7 support!

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Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You

Without a doubt, Magento remains a popular solution for millions of e-commerce owners globally, because of the exciting features it offers to streamline the process of managing an online store.

Developers also find that building an e-commerce site with Magneto is an efficient way to manage time, especially when they are using the right hosting solution from a trusted provider.

However, the recent upgrade of the Magneto e-commerce solution to 2.3.0 has left a lot of users very excited and others worried, about any setbacks that may be associated with it.

In this article, you will find out what experts think about the upgrade and also what breaks when upgrading to Magento 2.3.0.

 remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You

Magento 2.3.0 was released on the 28th of November and there are many new features like Merchant tool enhancements, improved developer experience, substantial security enhancements, core bundled extension enhancements and a few others. Some of the upgraded features are:

  1. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)PWA is a software application that helps deliver an app-like experience to users. However, it is practically written in the web platform and runs in the browser, unlike mobile apps.The PWA enhances a faster online store usage and of course better shopping experience for customers. PWA comes with attractive features like push notifications, fast page load and, offline mode.The image below shows how PWA helps you as a Web Pro: remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You
  2. Multi-Source Inventory (MSI)The MSI helps merchants assign their products to various sources and track inventory at every location. There is an API for source operations which allows managers to customize inventory actions; the MSI also contributes to enhancing the conversion rates by saving inventory reservations for high performing checkouts.  remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You
  3. Page BuilderThe Magneto 2.3 comes with a Page Builder which allows the admin to create complicated content and leverage APIs to provide content across multiple third-party platforms. Magento‘s introduction of the drag-and-drop editing tools and intuitive interface will conveniently help store owners produce new content and even thoroughly do a review of their work before publishing.  remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You
  4. Beta ReleaseThe upgraded Magento beta creates an engaging and innovative shopping experience by incorporating new and enhanced functionality like new payment processing, import or export functionality, transactional emails, configurable swatches, and others.Especially with the payment processing (Magento Payments), Magento has combined technology from PayPal and Braintree to enable store owners to accept a wide variety of payment methods. This offers a more seamless and secure payment experience than the former interface.
  5. SecurityThe Magento 2.3.0 upgrade will be introducing Google reCAPTCHA and Two-factor authentication; this will help to keep robots away from main store pages. Malicious activities and spam attacks can be easily detected with the new built-in mechanism. The Teni-factor authentication will provide admins with different methods besides the usual password and username.
  6. GraphQL SupportA data query language which was publicly released in 2015, the GraphQL allows the user to be able to define the structure of the data needed and the server returns only the data requested. It is used for building faster frontend. Performance related improvements and increased coverage for entities like products and categories can be expected in the near future. remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You
  7. Amazon IntegrationThis feature creates the ability to synchronize a Magento store and its data with Amazon. This option comes handy for e-commerce developers whose clients heavily rely on the Amazon affiliate marketing programme to generate profit.Adding the Amazon integration extension to Magento will allow you to synchronize your store’s supplies with Amazon’s existing stock, create fulfilment orders and automatically monitors your inventory from Magento’s dashboard.

    All these enhance drop shipping opportunities, improves shopping, ensures faster delivery and so on.  remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You

What Do Magento Experts Think About The New Functionalities?

Following the introduction of the latest Magento version, some of the Magento experts were interviewed and these were their responses;

  1. Sergey Uchuhlebov a Magento Developer at MageWorx said that the PHP 7.2 support, GraphQL, and Declarative Schema are a must have. He expressed his displeasure about the absence of support of backward compatibility.

    Profile Link- https://twitter.com/2_a1d  remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You

  2. Syed Muneeb Hasan a Magento Developer and Blogger at Magenticians said the Integration off Google reCAPTCHA, Two-factor Authentication and GraphQL API will add a lot of value for the Magento Community because the merchants could offer more security without spending more on Magento store development. He said the GraphQL will help get the required data without increasing the overall number of API calls.Profile Link- https://twitter.com/syed_muneebb remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You
  3. Oscar Recio Soria a Magento Master and Certified Technical Director at Interativ4 said the GraphQL will become a revolution in the Magento ecosystem. He said the functionality of the Declarative DB will allow developers to get Zero Downtime deployments in all the deployments to ensure customers get their new features easily.Profile Link- https://twitter.com/OSrecio remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You
  4. Muhammad Fayyaz Uddin Khattak, a Magento Community Manager at Cloudways said he admires the idea to put significant enhancement to Magento’s native CMS using Page Builder. He also mentioned the ElasticSearch which empowers search capabilities of Magento platform which gives a better search experience to buyers.Profile Link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fayyaz-khattak

  5. Aron Stanic Head of eCommerce Sales Team at Inchoo spoke about the Page Builder saying it is probably one of the most anticipated features because it will help with marketing. He said the PWA studio has been a buzzword for a long time and it remains to be seen whether the official product is something that agencies can rely on as “The go-to solution for their clients’ needs.Profile Link- https://twitter.com/aronstanic remains a popular solution for millions of e Magento 2.3.0 – What’s in Store for You

What Breaks When Upgrading To Magento 2.3.0?

While a lot of developers are probably excited about the upgrade of Magento, below are some of the issues that may arise while trying to implement the upgrade on your e-commerce stores:

  • New Composer PackagesDue to the presence of many features, there is an introduction of more composer packages. Each of the upgraded features will need corresponding modules. Installation of any of the features could lead to version conflicts.
  • Optional ModulesIt is possible to replace modules with composers; this can be done without a need for new modules.
  • No Requirement for PWASome developers believe the PWA studio is not a requirement, it is usually essential for frontend developers who want to work with it.
  • Upgrade to Declarative SchemasWhen upgrading to Magento 2.3, you have to keep in mind that it will be almost impossible to downgrade back to 2.2
  • MySQL Search

    Magento 2.3 deprecates the MySQL as a search engine while it introduces the ElasticSearch. Although Magento has not made any changes yet, it is essential to know this.

  • Saving ProductsSaving products are likely to cause unexpected issues, developers can inform customers of possible issues after the upgrade.
  • customerData Conflicts With AJAXThe customerData prevent duplicate AJAX calls to be made.
  • Zend FrameworkIn the Magento 2.3.0, the Zend Framework 1 dependencies have been removed.

Should you upgrade to Magento 2.3.0?

Before you make the big call as an eCommerce business owner or web expert, it is important to take into consideration the kind of software you’re already using. Magento 2.3.0 comes with new upgrades as stated above which will definitely improve user experience as it will help improve the online stores and applications.

All the minor issues faced by users while shopping before like navigating through the store, checking out difficulties, even security issues will be eliminated when using the Magento upgrade.

I hope after reading this blog you can decide if you want to upgrade to Magento 2.3.0 and why you need to because upgrading might be a great choice but not for everyone.

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Marketing

E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!

If I say, the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate, I would not be wrong. Why? Because establishing an e-commerce store which is effectively reachable to the customers worldwide has become a lot easier than setting up a physical store which is just limited to the consumers of the local area. So, it is automatically understood that if you have an online business, the competition isn’t going to be any easier. Therefore, to outshine this competitive space you need to have your brand name imprinted in the minds of your target audience.

To accomplish the same, you have to be smart enough to work your e-commerce SEO strategies so as to ensure your product lists on the top of the search engine page. The question that might have crossed your mind is why enhance SEO practices? The very simple and straightforward answer is the facts and data representation –

  • Almost 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine – a study released by Pingup
  • The first result in Google search receives 33% of the total search traffic. – A study from Search Engine Watch.

Therefore, tweaking your e-commerce SEO practices is the most appropriate way of reaching your target audience and capably compete against the giants like Amazon, Walmart, etc.

The below explained are the areas focusing on which you can improve your e-commerce SEO and see a change in your sales.

  1. Proper Keywords Research the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!

    How would it be if I said, you rank top on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking but not for the right results? It is not going to do a lot of good. This means you are required to do proper keyword research for your e-commerce. First of all, identify those keywords that can potentially drive customers to your online store or that are relevant to your business. Getting familiar with the keywords that customers use the most can provide you with a more precise idea of how to target your customers.

    Implementing LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords is an important factor of SEO strategy. These keywords are not synonyms but are related to your target keyword. This helps to accomplish higher search engine’s ranking, increases content credibility, improved on-site browsing time, decreased bounce rates, etc.

    For instance: we have a content that concentrates on “on page SEO” so the LSI keywords related to it can be-

    • On page SEO optimization
    • On page SEO techniques
    • On page SEO checklist
    • On page SEO strategies

    You can see the main keyword ‘on page SEO’ remains intact in all the keywords. Apart from this, your keyword search should be related to specific products on your website.

    Have a look at the diagram below to know how to find relevant keywords with Google Keyword Planner.

    Step 1– Insert the relevant target keyword to find additional relevant keywords. the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business! Step 2- Take a look and carry out a thorough analysis of the keyword’s performance with the help of a factor, i.e., search volume.

     the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!

    Step 3- Select relevant keywords from the list offered below by the Keyword Planner based on its average monthly searches and competition.

     the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!

  2.  Focus on Content Publishing

    After you get proper knowledge of what keywords to use, the best way to improve the ranking of your target keyword is to make the content real, informational and interesting. Now include SEO keywords in the content and title to frame the topic that answers the questions of the customers. Creative, interesting and unique content attracts the audience whilst compelling them to give more time and thought to your brand.Another important thing is to post relevant content on a regular basis so that your audience get to know you and your brand. It is observed that websites with content marketing have a higher conversion rate than those without it. Your site and blog both should be SEO optimized to enhance better customer engagement.

  3. Structure Your Website
     the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!
    Source

    Content is undoubtedly important for your website but unstructured and scattered content works against your efforts to enhance organic traffic. This is because search engines prefer structure while it searches and goes through your website. Internal linking is one of the most appropriate ways to refine the structure of your website, i.e. you can link the product or services page of your website or to your own content. Your site structure should not go beyond three levels, i.e., categories, then subcategories, and the products as it is easy for the visitors to navigate and find the required product or service on your website. Too many levels leave the visitors bewildered and compels them to jump off from your website.

    Let us have a look at the benefits of internal linking explained above-

    • It keeps everything organized
    • It let Google crawl your pages easily.
    • You can easily cross-sell and upsell products to your website visitors.

  4. Establish Brand AuthorityIt is said that SEO and backlinks also known as inbound links go together hand in hand. The number of backlinks indicates the popularity of your website. These links are very essential for SEO as search engines like Google give more priority and credit to the websites that have a good number of quality backlinks. When Google analyzes the relevance of a site to a keyword, it considers the quality and number of inbound links to that website. It helps in establishing your website’s authority.Another prominent way to build brand authority is to implement influencer marketing as it offers credibility to your story. How? Let us give you an example– If you had to buy sports shoes online, would you directly go to any random website and buy? Or would you prefer listening to the reviews of some popular personalities on the type of shoes you are looking for? I am sure you would go for the latter one. The trust that you put on the influencer will make your buying decision more firm. The same principle applies to the customers who visit your website, if they see their favourite influencers talking about your product or services, they would immediately respond.
  5. Take Advantage of Product Reviews the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!Customer’s reviews on products are the most impactful elements that can be included in an e-commerce product page. Positive reviews and feedback act as a brand image enhancer and also they provide your site with SEO value. These reviews are valuable pieces of content as they add fresh content to your website which provides you with a high value in Google ranking. And not only this but your website gets keyword rich content which helps to boost your website’s search engine ranking.
  6. Schema Markups can Improve your Rankings

    It is a bit of HTML code that you put on your website to help the search engine provide more informative results to the users. So, when you add schema markup to a webpage, it generates an explanatory description that appears in search results. the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!In simpler words, it tells search engines what searchers will understand about the website before even clicking on the link. These schemas make it easier for the search engines to find and display your content. Results enhanced by schema are more appealing and get more clicks. More clicks can bring more sales.

  7. Keep a Track of Page Loading Speed the popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid rate E-commerce SEO: Tips to Boost Sales of your Business!

    The time is taken by your website to load plays a vital role in customer’s staying or leaving your website. If your website takes more than expected time to load it is more likely to face customer abandonment. A study by Search Engine Land shows says that Google has announced, that page speed will be strictly taken as an important factor in ranking consideration for mobile searches. Therefore, no matter how interactive and user-friendly your website is, speed will matter. According to Seeking Alpha, many platforms like Shopify have been working diligently on their speed to offer 40% faster check out than their competitors.

Time to Ace the SEO Game!!

The time and effort you put to improve your SEO practices advance your e-commerce site which can further help in boosting up sales and discoverability of your products or services. If you think your competitors are moving way faster and ranking better in Google search, then probably they are following more than these 7 tips for their business. You need to start good and strong and get an edge over your competitors. You should take advantage of the above-explained strategies to acquire appreciable results. But as they say, “Rome was not built in a day”, you need to be patient enough and keep working on your goal as you are making difference with every SEO strategy you apply to your business.

So, what are you waiting for? There are various reasons to optimize your site for search engines, it all depends on your decision- if you want to stay at the same place or move ahead. Experience an increase in sales due to an increase in quality traffic with your strategic e-commerce SEO practices. Make the most use of these tips to boost the sales of your e-commerce site.

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Understanding Email Open Rate and Tips to Optimize it for your Newsletter

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think your subscribers open your emails? The answer is simple, very less, probably as low as 1 to 3. According to the DMA’s Email Benchmarking Report 2018, the email rates over the past one year have increased by at least 0.5%, with an average of 18.1% for the entire year. However, this is still below the 20% mark.

The question that lingers is, is the average rate the accurate representation of your open rate? No, definitely not as it may vary from business to business. In that case, can you as a business do something to increase the open rate of your newsletter, if yes, what?

In this article, our focus will be on understanding what open-rate of an email is, does the design of your newsletter matter, and how to increase the open rate of your newsletter.

 

Understanding Email Open Rate

Email open rate is a measure that helps you understand how many subscribers have opened the email you sent them. It is one way to know how successful your email marketing campaign has been. The email open rate can be calculated easily by means of a mathematical formula,

Email Open-Rate = Unique Open / (Number of Emails Sent – Bounced Emails)

where,

Number of Emails Sent = Total emails sent

Unique Open = Distinct number of recipients who have opened your email

Bounced Emails = Undelivered emails

Now that we’ve seen what is open rate, let us move on to seeing how we can improve it. After all, an improved open-rate means you have raised your level of user engagement.

 

Does the design of the newsletter matter?

Just like website design helps enhance the user experience thereby helping boost sales of your products similarly, newsletter design too matters. On first glance, designing a newsletter might seem simpler as there is not much to consider, however, it should not be taken lightly. The more appealing the design the more it will increase performance.

One of the most important things when it comes to newsletter design is the content. Engaging and attention-grabbing content especially, the subject line is the deciding factor if a subscriber will hit open or leave the email unread. However, you need to invest your time carefully crafting the newsletter in a strategic manner.

Two things you need to take care of when designing a newsletter are:

  1. Content: Keep the content minimum but sufficient. A concise and content-rich newsletter is vital to increasing your open-rate.
  2. Graphic Design: A clutter-free easy to navigate newsletter is not only visually appealing but also helps grab the reader’s attention.In fact, based on our own experiment of modifying the existing design of our blog newsletter, we have seen an increase in the open rate of our blog newsletter campaign. On that note, if you miss reading our article then you can subscribe to our blog and get updated via our monthly newsletter.

Having concluded that the email newsletter design is imperative when it comes to aiding the increase of open-rate, let us see other ways to increase the open rate of your newsletter.

 

4 Ways of Increasing the Open Rate of your Newsletter

  1. Optimizing the subject line

    According to a report, 47% of the email recipients decide to either open the email or not based on the subject line. And as seen above, engaging content is the key to improving open rates.An optimized subject line that is in line with your business aids the subscribers to click the open button. When thinking of the perfect subject, remember ‘Less is More’ your subject should have less number of words, however, make sure it conveys all you want to say. Read this article for a detailed guide.

  2. Adding sub-header

    Sometimes your subject line is short and if you don’t have a sub-header then chances the content displayed is directly the start of the newsletter. This can dissuade the reader from not clicking ‘open’.Instead, a better option would be to use a different line that aids in your cause. For example, if it is a promo newsletter then a good sub-header would be something along the lines of the sale. Eg: Click now to avail the exciting offer/ Sale ends in 48hrs/etc.  how much do you think your subscribers open your emails Understanding Email Open Rate and Tips to Optimize it for your Newsletter

  3. Mobile friendly newsletter

    Today majority of the users access your website through their mobile phones. And thus, it is safe to say they would even open their emails on the same device. In fact, as per a study by Return Path, 55% of emails were opened through a user’s mobile. The growth has been tremendous and we are to only see a rise in it.Going with these statistics, it is important to have a mobile-friendly newsletter so that it adjusts the content properly with smooth navigation.

  4. Testing your newsletter campaign before hitting send

    Finally, always test your newsletter campaign before hitting send. This is important so that you check how your newsletter looks in term of design, if the links embedded work properly or are broken, as well as, is the font and colour of the newsletter are previewed.A point to remember, a preview is different than a test campaign. First, you preview then you test and once satisfied you send the newsletter.Several tools like Campaign Monitor, MailChimp etc help in sending customized newsletters to your audience. Another advantage of using such tools is that they even help you to test your newsletter as they enable you to preview your design before hitting the ‘send’ button.

 

Does the Sender Email ID Matter?

Email addresses reflect the essence of your brand. A professional email address helps in forging a bond between you and your customer. Not only this, a professional email address adds to your credibility.

Take, for instance, you receive an email two brands endorsing their products. The following are the email address of each brand:

Brand A = fashionapparel@gmail.com

Brand B = clothing@fashionapparel.com

As a user, which email are you most likely to open? The answer is probably, Brand B.

Thus, a professional email address not only aids in increasing the open rate of your newsletter but also in conversion and revenue generation. An Email Service Provider (ESP) helps you get a professional email representing your business along with features like abundant email storage space, reports on email – delivery rates, read rates and link click-through rates. However, choosing the right ESP is a task as it should be reliable. Here are some of the features you should check before finalizing your ESP.

We are Resellerclub, provide business email services that cater to a wide variety of audience. Our email service is open source, abundant storage space and plans priced, as low as, Rs. 20. You can check our plans here.

 

Wrapping up!

So here you have it, some ways to help you in increasing the open-rate of your newsletter. A good open-rate not only means success for your campaign but is also a way to keeping your subscriber engaged about your business eventually enhancing your brand and its revenue.

We hope you found this article useful and if you have any tips of your own that you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below!

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Varnish Cache vs. NGINX Cache: Performance Comparison

If there is one common thing that every website owner tries to achieve today, it is essentially a fast loading website. Needless to say, the loading time largely contributes to retaining your site visitors, as well as, better search engine rankings. By adopting various techniques like optimizing images, integrating a Content Delivery Network (CDN), using the right caching server etc. site owners constantly endeavour to boost the page loading times of their sites. While all these measures are collectively beneficial, the point of discussion of this blog article is to particularly look at caching. Varnish Cache and NGINX Cache are two important and popular caching solutions that can help improve the speed of your business website.

While both have their respective benefits, a detailed study of each and comparison of their features might help you decide which one you should choose.

What is Varnish Cache?

If there is one common thing that every website owner tries to achieve today Varnish Cache vs. NGINX Cache: Performance Comparison

 

Varnish Cache is a front-end web accelerator that allows dynamic and content-heavy websites to handle high traffic influx. It is a reverse caching HTTP proxy that caches both static and dynamic content from the server and improves the site visitor’s experience. This boosts the speed of your website considerably.

Varnish Cache also allows developers to configure rules and set policies by using the Varnish Configuration Language, commonly called VCL. In simpler words, a VCL is a program that lets you (the site owner/developer) direct Varnish as to what it should do with your site traffic. Thus it allows you complete control over what you want to be cached and how. Leading social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or content-rich sites like Wikipedia, among similar others, use Varnish Cache to manage their content caching.

This, in short, is what Varnish Cache is all about. Now, let us understand the workings of NGINX Caching.

What is NGINX?

If there is one common thing that every website owner tries to achieve today Varnish Cache vs. NGINX Cache: Performance Comparison

 

Released in 2004, NGINX is an open source web server and can be used as a proxy server. It often uses a mail proxy, a reverse proxy, load balancer, and HTTP cache, micro-caching etc. which helps reduce the load time and improves the performance of your website. Most high-traffic websites, especially with multi-application environments, are known to use NGINX caching. NGINX is known to be efficient and effective in handling concurrent connections.

With the basic understanding of each of these caching solutions out of the way, it is time to make an in-depth assessment of which one works for your site.

Varnish vs. NGINX

In practicality, it is difficult to draw a comparison of Varnish vs. NGINX. Because the basics of Varnish and NGINX are quite similar; both can be used as a reverse proxy and load balancer for your server. However, if we go deeper into their technologies, there are few specific aspects of Varnish vs. NGINX Cache performance that can be placed against each other.  

Flexibility

The most important thing that anyone looks at when using a certain technology solution is its flexibility. One of the key features that give Varnish Cache an advantage over NGINX, is the flexibility that it offers with its configuration language. As we mentioned before, Varnish allows developers to use the Varnish Configuration Language to create a caching structure that is tailored to the needs of the website, thus making it customizable. You can set guidelines on how to handle incoming requests, what content to extract from the server and share with the end-user, which source to use, and how to alter the user responses, if the need be. In short, Varnish Cache allows greater flexibility and creates more complex caching structure, as compared to NGINX reverse proxy.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Support

From 2018, SSL Support for websites has become an essential feature that site owners need to look at. In July 2018, Google rolled out a mandate that states that all website that has not migrated to HTTPS will be marked as ‘not secure’. This eventually will also affect the site rankings on the search results.

SSL certification helps encrypt sensitive information like important data, passwords, credit card details, etc. It also ensures that you are sharing and receiving information and data to and from trusted sites. This will make your site visitors and user to trust your site more and consider it to be authentic.

As such, owners need to look at servers which offer SSL Support. This is one of the features where NGINX wins over Varnish Cache by offering native SSL support for your site. Varnish Cache, on the other hand, does not come with an integrated SSL Support. However, if you have a good hosting provider, you can avail the benefits of SSL Support while using Varnish Cache.

Static Content Management

When it comes to managing static content on the web server, NGINX performs better in content management, especially if NGINX proxy and the static files coexist on the same server. While using Varnish Cache, on the other hand, you might need to add more functionalities to be able to manage similar content. But when it comes to the purging of content, the roles of each of these caching solutions are reversed. NGINX, being an open source server, has its own limitations. That is why the basic NGINX- OSS does not offer content purging option. You can always opt for the NGINX Plus plan and avail the Fast CGI Cache Purge feature. In comparison, Varnish Cache is integrated with an inbuilt mechanism that allows you to purge static content as, when, and however, you need.

Summarizing

Looking at the above detailing on Varnish vs. NGINX, it becomes quite clear that Varnish offers more advanced features that are specific to the functionality of caching, while NGINX can be used as a caching server. However, each of these caching solutions has their own benefits and suitability in specific situations and scenarios. For instance, if you are an e-commerce website or a media website, which runs on heavy content, high traffic, and are seeking high-end performance, then you might need to opt for Varnish Cache. Otherwise, an open-source web server like NGINX works for you.

We, at ResellerClub, provide Cloud Hosting plans that are integrated with Varnish Cache so that the speed of your website increases by 1000%. Every website’s requirement is unique and different and you should always run your own trial and error to see what works the best for you. After all, whatever you choose to do with your website will eventually affect your site performance, the experience of your users, and of course, the business. If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them in the box below!

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Domains

4 Steps to Picking the Perfect Domain Name for Your Business

As you work through your long list of things to take care of before you launch your business, you’ll need a website, and of course, a domain name. Consider this your easy guide to choosing the right domain name for your business.

Why Domain Names are So Important

You may have found during your research that you could snag a free domain name (also called a URL) from sites like WordPress, Blogger, etc. But in reality, a free domain name could hurt your business more than it helps. Besides the fact that you’re essentially advertising that brand rather than your own (usually the sites are something like mybusiness.wordpress.com or mybusiness.blogspot.com), there are other reasons why buying your own URL is the right decision.

  • They brand your business:

    If possible, your domain name should either contain your business name or keywords that relate to your brand. Your domain name is like your digital calling card. When people see the URL or you tell it to them, they should get a sense of what your business does, even if they don’t know. When you see the domain name SocialMediaToday.com, you know that the site will deal with social media in some way (it’s a resource for news on the subject). And Amazon.com has become ubiquitous: no need to spell out the domain name! The branding is built in.

  • You’ll use this URL for the foreseeable future:

    Consider your domain name as a tattoo. Sure, you can get it lasered off down the road if you regret it, but it’s a lot of trouble. Once you choose your domain name, you’ll print it on business cards and any marketing collateral. You’ll work on your search engine optimization so that people can find you online. All this work would be for naught if you decided to change your URL in six months.

  • It will make you look more professional:

    It’s easy and cheap to get a free domain with someone else’s brand name in it but it may communicate that you’re not serious about your business. Buying a domain isn’t expensive, and literally takes just a few minutes. But the result is that you now look more professional, and people will be confident in spending money with you.

Now let’s look at what you need to know

How to choose your domain name

  • Start with Your Business Name

    In a perfect world, you could buy a URL with your business name, but these days, competition is fierce. Do a search for your business name to see if others are using domain names that might easily be confused with yours (you might not want to buy PoshPuppyBoutique.net since there’s already someone using PoshPuppyBoutique.com, or you might lose business to them since the site name is so similar).

    If your business name is not available, look for SEO-friendly keywords that relate to what you sell, like SanDiego-Art.org. This will help you rise up search results for that keyword phrase.

  • Make Sure It’s Pronounceable and Short

    Realize that you will be speaking your domain name out loud a lot, so avoid dashes and other things that make it hard for people to find you. It’s much easier for people to process you saying that your site is Pencils.com than Pencil.Collectors_PA.com.

  • Consider your Domain Extensions

    As competition heats up for .com domain extensions, we’re starting to see some interesting ones like .art, .vip, .club. If you can find one that’s relevant to your type of business, you may be able to get the domain name you want with a different extension (and these are usually cheaper).

    Know that some online forms don’t recognize these more unique extensions yet so you may have trouble filling out forms where your website or email address is required.

  • Set Up Your Domain Email

    There’s one final step once you’ve chosen your domain name: setting up your domain email. Using an email address with your domain ending is more professional than using a Gmail or Hotmail account. People expect to get emails from a brand with the domain name (sales@myretailstore.com) so your emails will make it to their inboxes, whereas a Gmail email might not (sales.myretailstore@gmail.com).

    When you choose your email address, make it easy to spell. Something like firstname@website.com is easy to remember and rattle off when people ask you for your email address rather than Sales_and_marketing.retail@website.com. You can also create emails for different departments (even if you’re a one-person show), like sales@website.com or accounting@website.com. Be consistent with the email addresses for all employees, if you have a team.

Your domain name and website are your digital credentials. It’s important that you look professional and by investing a little time and money into the process of choosing your domain name and setting up your website, you can do just that. But once you do, you instantly establish credibility, and that helps get sales rolling in.

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Uncategorized

MEAN stack vs LAMP stack: Choosing the right stack for your business

Development is a crucial part of any online business and choosing the right development stack goes a long way. For a long time, developers have been using the LAMP stack. However, with the advancement of technology and shift in the approach of dealing with web applications, web developers are gradually shifted towards the MEAN stack.

In this article, we will understand what a stack is, the basic difference between LAMP and MEAN stack and figure out if you should be making the switch from one to another.

Let us first try to understand what does a Stack mean.

From a data structure theoretical point of view, a stack is simply a structure of data which can be utilized to store a collection of items or elements. A Stack typically has two features – Push and Pop. Push helps to add elements to a collection while Pop helps remove any element from the collection. However, when it comes to understanding stack from the point of view of your website it mainly includes the operating system, web server, the programming framework, and APIs.

Depending on the kind of project you undertake the components may differ, eventually leading to you choosing one stack over another. So let us begin with learning about the most widely used and known stacks, the LAMP and MEAN stack.

What is LAMP stack?

LAMP Stack is an open source software and a great substitute for commercial software. It stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. With lots of programs under its hat, it provides a great platform to develop applications and servers on the web-based platform.

Historically LAMP has been a highly effective medium to develop web apps at an enterprise level. Also, it provides great room for component customisation and is cost effective. Linux, Oracle, Zend are some of the users of the LAMP stack.

What is MEAN stack?

MEAN stack, on the other hand, has become one of the most widely adopted stacks in recent times. It is also an open source and free of cost stack which helps in quick creation of web-based applications. MEAN stands for MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, and NodeJS.

The USP of MEAN stack is that it uses only one language (which is JavaScript) at every stage of the application. The likes of Google, Uber, and Netflix use Mean Stack i.e all those companies which use a ‘NoSQL database’ like BigTable, MongoDB, Cassandra, CouchDB, etc. make use of the MEAN stack.

Let us now take a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of both the stacks to help in identifying the right one for you:

Pros and Cons of MEAN stack:

 

MEAN Stack Pros

MEAN Stack Cons

  • In MEAN, JavaScript is used for both the server and client alike. Using JavaScript for frontend and PHP for backend helps in coordination within teams.

  • In the case of JavaScript disablement, it may render websites ineffective. This can create issues between the user and website owners.

  • MEAN supports cross-platform operating systems.

  • The MEAN stack is slow and not as scalable as the LAMP stack as it has a non-blocking structure.

  • Owing to the versatility of JavaScript (the core programming language of MEAN), it is highly adaptable for a vast range of web apps.

  • JavaScript tends to make websites slower to load, and this could reduce its popularity.

Pros and Cons of LAMP stack:

LAMP Stack Pros

LAMP Stack Cons

  • The interactions between the end users and the source under LAMP can be altered to suit the needs of the developer as this is an open source software.

  • Developers don’t have control of the libraries that are available. For example, depending on your hosting provider, you can get stuck with the libraries and the versions of those libraries that have been built.

  • The LAMP stack is faster and scalable as it has a non-blocking structure.

  • LAMP stack only supports Linux operating systems.

  • MySQL and PHP are easy to learn and can be convenient for beginners. Also, deployment of LAMP is smoother as it utilises PHP as an APACHE module and uploads PHP files through a MySQL Database to an APACHE server.

  • It is challenging to switch between PHP or Python and then use JavaScript or HTML.

The question that arises now is what should you go for – MEAN or LAMP?

If you deal with large amounts of unclustered data or big data, then chances are you would be using MongoDB or databases belonging to the same JavaScript family. In this case, MEAN stack becomes the most suitable stack for you. Whereas, on the other hand, if you deal mostly with developing simple non-high end websites then LAMP is the most preferred choice of a stack.

Most small-businesses usually choose Linux as their base operating system, as it offers innumerable free softwares that work on it. Furthermore, Linux is a preferred choice for hosting and thus, in most cases, Apache is the server. For instance, WordPress Hosting by ResellerClub comes pre-installed with Apache.

Nevertheless, as always the reply to the above ‘MEAN or LAMP’ lies in the customised needs of your business. The one you choose depends on your web application requirement.

We hope this article helped you understand the LAMP and MEAN stacks better. Do you have a preference of your own or a query? If yes, please do leave them in the comments box below!

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Hosting

Is the absence of vital security patches a big concern for Magento sites?

Magento is indeed one of the best platforms for e-commerce websites. Also, the company is doing everything possible to upgrade it and make it perfect for the present generation. The cost-effective solution is ideal for those businesses that don’t have huge budgets.

Magento is conceptualized to be absolutely flexible and scalable. Additionally, the solution is feature-rich. Top features like the capability to manage several stores, as well as, the multi-lingual support make Magento a top choice in the market. Furthermore, the solution is both search engine and mobile friendly, which gives extra advantages to the Magento users.

Why has Magento reached the pinnacle?

Magento has become a favourite of many due to its fantastic features. Some of them are:

  • Mind Blowing User Interface

    Magento is extremely user-friendly, which makes it one of the most usable solutions in the market. The flawless admin panel of Magento has one of the most user-friendly interfaces. The user interface is not only simple but quite interesting as well. Features like out of the box theme ‘Luma’ make Magento a compelling offering for the e-commerce websites. At the same time, the navigations are intuitive and store management is tremendously streamlined. With Magento, you can design interesting websites like Dollar Shave Club.

    Magento is indeed one of the best platforms for e Is the absence of vital security patches a big concern for Magento sites?

  • High scalability and flexibility

    Magento enables users to easily customize almost each and everything, like now, it is extremely easy to insert menu links for web pages of your site like product promotion pages, etc. just with the help of Flexible Menu extension. This feature makes it possible for the users to have complete control over the online store. At the end of the day, you are the owner of the online store, and you need to know how to make changes whenever required. Thus, the open source solution offers complete control over the code due to which, you are free to develop any functionality you that you may require. When it comes to the scalability of the solution, the core aim of Magento is to scale high. The reason why it is being adopted by numerous firms is that it can be used by a firm of any size. Starting from a new startup to a well-established MNC, Magento can be used by anyone!

    Magento is highly scalable. With the modular architecture, you can host thousands of products in very less time. Also, new modules can be added whenever needed.

  • Perfect for testers

    The testing friendly environment makes Magento a top choice of the developers as well. Why? Because they know that they will be able to build a superb solution which can be easily tested for perfection. The 100% testing-friendly environment is powered by a seamless testing framework. This framework is just ideal for performing a variety of tests including the JavaScript Unit Test, Static Test, Legacy Test, Performance Test, Unit Test, Migration Test, Integration Test etc.

  • Security

    Magento 2 is regarded as being a lot more secure. It contains a new directory, named as the ‘pub’. This new directory allows the developers to safeguard the code from a variety of different security breaches. You need to have the best security patches to make sure that your site is safe. However, recently, there have been a few discussions around the security issues related to Magento. It is believed that due to the absence of a few security patches, Magento is prone to cyber attacks. Let’s find out if it’s true in this article.

 

Magento and the security limitations

Although everyone likes the fact that Magento is an open source, at the same time, this has some drawbacks as well. The positive side of Magento being open source is that it allows constant upgrades. You have the option to boost the functionality. Also, you can keep implementing new business ideas and adding more features to your store. On the other hand, when it comes to security, there are a few security vulnerabilities that are regarded as negative elements. The Magento development team has to be careful of the possible security breaches, and they have to be prepared to either avoid them or deal with them.

What is the best way to keep Magento sites secure? 

The best technique to keep any Magento site secure is to first find out the most vulnerable area, and then, find a perfect patch for it. Magento security patches are extremely popular, and most Magento users know about them. They do understand the value of security patches, and they make sure that they have the right security patch for their site. Every user who has selected Magento as their e-commerce platform knows how important it is to review the Security Center constantly. Also, they understand the value of installing the latest security releases. After all, that’s what is going to keep their Magento site trouble-free and keep all their sensitive information, including the customer data completely safe.

Is Magento’s security a talk of the town?

Is a security oversight leading to a security threat in Magento sites in Europe? Are 80% of Magento sites affected in Europe?

Security analysis revealed that 80% of the sites in Europe are at risk of cyber attacks. There are some vulnerabilities which have been identified. However, most of the sites that are still using Magento 1 are at more risk. There are also some reports which suggest that many of the sites are prone to the kind of cyber attacks that can lead to the stealing of credit/debit card information of the customers. This is certainly scary!

Is there a way to safeguard your sites from any attack?

Though, security issues might be spooky for most site owners, if considered carefully, there are many ways to help prevent cyber attacks as well. The security threats are only undermining the confidence in Magento. However, we do have to realize that Magento is coming up with regular updates to tackle such situations.

Also, just a few precautions can turn out to be really helpful for the Magento users. These steps can limit the firm’s risk from criminals.

  • If a company understand the value of regularly patching, and makes sure that they have all the right security patches installed, then such sites are definitely a lot safer.
  • Also, sites should keep altering the default settings on the admin interface.
  • At the same time, you have to make sure that you are using the strongest possible passwords (wherever needed) along with the multi-factor authentication.
  • Lastly, hosting too matters. Choosing Magento Hosting for your Magento powered e-commerce website is vital when it comes to safeguarding your site.

In the end, make sure you have all the things in place to avoid any security risks.

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Design Domains Marketing

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Blog for Affiliate Marketing

Creating a blog which one can use for affiliate marketing is a simple way to make money right at home. No specific experience is needed, but there are several rules one should follow to improve the chances of success.

Affiliate Marketing to Make Your Writing More Profitable

Sharing your experiences and thoughts is now easier than ever. You might think that a blog is just a way to tell people about your interests and maybe find new friends that have the same desire for writing as you. However, nowadays blogs are more than just a writing hobby. They have slowly but surely become a way to make money from home without being an expert in the business. You can promote products and services and monetize your writing with a little effort and a lot of passion.

As you may know, affiliate marketing is a way to benefit from promoting brands through your posts, placing links in your texts, and monetizing visitors or customers who are led to the brand you are promoting through your blog.

Does it sound challenging? We can assure you that this is much easier than you think. We’ve prepared an easy guide on how to create your blog and start earning money using just your writing skills and a little bit of marketing knowledge.

Step 1. Defining your target audience and the blog niche

Starting from the very beginning implies thinking through your blogging development direction. The first step is to pick a niche and the people you will address your writing to.

  1. Pick a niche. Think of the things you really like or you know a lot about. It can be anything in the world. The main point of blogging is passion and desire to work on something that brings you joy because these two things are the motivating forces that help you improve. The more effort you put, the more money you can earn.Second, narrow your theme to a topic that will be interesting for you but will also have a lot of opportunities for affiliate programs to sign onto. This is the step where you need to conduct research and find how many competitors there are in the field that you have chosen and what affiliate campaigns are available. Pick a niche in which you have a good amount of perspective and not much competition in terms of other blogs at the same time.Quick tip: You can also give yourself an opportunity to expand your niche by picking several related topics. For example, makeup and hair products, travelling and hiking, vlogging and content creation, etc.
  2. Identify your target audience. After you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to clarify who your target audience is. This is not an easy thing to do, but a little research will give you an idea about who your readers will be and what information will be useful and valuable for them.The easiest way to do this is to follow the brands you want to get as your affiliate clients on social media and see who their customers or clients are. You can do the same thing with your competitors.Choose an affiliate program. A quick search will give you an opportunity to identify what affiliate programs you can sign for. Contact brands that might be interested in your service through their cooperation managers.

Step 2. Choosing a blogging platform and the domain name

When it comes to starting your blog, it’s important to pick a suitable blogging platform. There are several platforms you can choose from; the most popular are:

  1. WordPress
  2. Joomla
  3. Wix

WordPress is the biggest blogging platform and offers a lot of opportunities and quick setup. It is designed specifically for blogging purposes and has a lot of different features that come in handy while creating your blog from scratch. Some advantages of WordPress are:

  1. Customizable design
  2. Built-in tools to control your blog
  3. SEO-friendly permalinks and mobile-optimized themes
  4. Multiple widgets are available

Joomla is used for creating websites but also includes an extension for blogging purposes. It’s easy to use and has excellent flexibility alongside with convenience and usability. Wix in its turn has drag and drop templates, user-friendly interface, and free hosting.

Make a choice according to your needs and convenience.

A domain name is something you need to carefully think through as it will be the first thing your readers will see. Make it memorable, short, and related to your topic. Use a name that is well-understood when someone pronounces it – this way it is more convenient for people to remember your site when hearing about it in conversation. It will also be useful for a voice search, which has been progressively becoming popular. Pick a few names and discuss it with your friends and family before deciding which one is the best.

After picking your domain name, you should register it. You will see which domains are available and which are already taken.

Step 3. Designing and structuring

The design of your blog has a much more significant influence on your reader than you probably think. It not only presents your theme but also helps you to stand out from the crowd. If it is done correctly, your blog design makes people stay on your site longer and has a pleasing influence on your audience’s attitude towards your content.

Quick tip: Don’t use very vibrant colours, complex fonts, or a coarse background. Pick the colour combinations that will not distract from your content. Choose fonts that are easy to read.

Structuring your blog is also essential to make it organized. Decide what categories you need or what widgets you want to add. Add images or video-clips you think will be useful for your audience.

Step 4. Search Engine Optimization

SEO is one of the most essential things you should learn in order to run a successful affiliate blog. It helps to get more traffic and boost your earnings from affiliate programs.

There are a few tools you can and should use for your optimization, such as:

  • SEMrush – This software will help you to get insights into your competitors’ strategies in display advertising, organic and paid search, and link building. Also, it provides data on website traffic, backlinks, keywords positions. There are several helpful in-built tools; for example, SEO Content Template gives you ideas to write well-crafted content, optimized for search engines.
  • Moz – A tool that is created to check your ranking score – links authority and the importance of your site in relations to others. Moz rank for each website depends on the number of backlinks, their value, and the domain authority. Moz scores each website from 0 to 10. The higher the value of backlinks is, the higher the score a site gets. An average score for a website is 3.
  • Ahrefs – A tool that helps you monitor and analyze your backlinks and their types. It has its own crawler and provides a complete report on all of your backlinks and referring domains. You can check out your competitors’ backlinks too. That way, you’ll get an idea of what websites you can get backlinks from.
  • Google Trends – A tool that is used to check the level of interest for a prospective keyword and find which keywords are getting more popular. It works the best with Google Keyword Planner. Though they are much alike, there is an essential difference – GT shows the relative popularity, which is the number of particular queries divided by the total number of searches of the same geography and time range.
  • Google Keyword Planner – A software which is designed to build keyword lists for pay-per-click campaigns. It helps to build ad groups and find new keywords that you can add to your ad campaigns.

Try all of these tools out and decide which ones are the most convenient for you to use.

Step 5. Blog content

Good content is key. Every marketer knows that. In order to earn more from affiliate programs, you need to provide valuable and interesting information. The more users read your posts, the more they will follow affiliate links.

Be honest with your audience. Including affiliate links so that they look good in your text, is real mastery. Be truthful when you speak about products and services, and you will get your audience’s trust. Honest reviews are the key to making your content more credible.

That’s why it’s essential to know a lot about the products you promote. If you have the opportunity, try them yourself.

Be careful while using links and keywords. Don’t clutter your text with keywords as they make it clumsy and rough. You want to make your content unique and easy to understand, that’s why writing skills are very important.

Get help if needed. Some bloggers post a lot and use the help of freelance writers for editing texts to make great content every day. You can find such help on platforms like EssayTigers, Freelancer, UpWork, etc.

When putting affiliate links, remember to follow these tips:

  1. Make words or phrases clickable. Add anchor text – the visible clickable text in a hyperlink – to affiliate links; they look much better than a link itself.
  2. Don’t put too many links – it’s better to add one or two links for a piece of content.
  3. Make links more noticeable, using bold fonts.
  4. Make your links look more neat or professional using link shorteners like Google Shortener, Bitly, etc.
  5. Use sidebars to make links more noticeable. However, you should be attentive to keep them user-friendly and convenient. Too many sidebars distract from content and annoy users.

Use visuals. Don’t forget to add visuals to your content. They help make your posts easier to digest even for boring texts. Using images or videos polishes up your blog and gives it a more interesting look.

Final Thoughts

We believe that everyone can start making money from affiliate blogs right at home. Creating a blog is interesting and exciting; making it a profitable hobby is even better.

Nowadays there are a lot of tools that will help you to start your affiliate marketing blog and run it yourself without struggling. Even if you have no knowledge of creating websites you can easily make yourself a blog page with customized design and necessary options. Use our guide to start to monetize your writing right now without too much effort.

If you are looking for an affiliate program, check out the ResellerClub affiliate program. It allows you to choose and promote the products you want through your blog, website, or social media and get a commission for every referral. You need to invest nothing but your time. Start getting your commissions today!

 

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Marketing

Empowering Your Project Teams with Data Analytics

 

Data runs this world. Numbers are what help any businessman make sense of exactly how his concern is performing. Growth cannot be proven if there are no numbers suggesting the same. People place their faith in numbers, even though some agents might misuse numbers to state a point. Hard data is the lifeblood of business processes. And with the increasing abundance of data, it becomes all the more important to derive the right insights from it.

There is an overwhelming surplus of data present in our shared digital universe today. We’re currently generating about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day and it needs to be made sense of. Which is where analytics comes in. The presence of staggering amounts of data does not mean that your business will benefit from it. You need to extract useful insights from the abundance of data you have at your disposal. Data analytics makes it possible for organizations to extract trends and insights from business data and convert it into tools for strategic decision-making.

Why is Analytics Important in Project Management?

Big data and analytics have proven their capacity to streamline humongous amounts of data into actionable insights, bridging the gap between data and actual business outcomes. And this goes for businesses of all sizes. Despite what their names suggest, Big Data and Small Businesses can and do go hand in hand. In this article, we will attempt to shed some light on how small businesses can make use of the right data analytics to improve their project outcomes.

First things first, how does big data impact project management? Broadly, analytics enables project managers to avoid tunnel vision by providing a complete picture of the project so far. It takes the project data generated from various sources including project management software and turns it into a strategic asset for the project team. Here are some of the main ways in which data analytics empower project managers and teams.

  • Project Viability Studies

    Analytics makes a feasibility/viability study for a project more precise. It can use past data from previous projects and predict whether your project plan is likely to be successful.

  • Risk Assessment

    The next step is assessing the risk associated with the project. Analytics can assist the project manager in identifying and evaluating the biggest risks. It will eventually enable him to come up with a proper action plan to control/combat these risks successfully.

  • Predictive Analytics

    Analytics can predict a number of things about your project based on past data, and the present ongoing work on the project by capturing the work rate. It can predict whether your project will be completed in time, whether it will go over budget, etc. It’s like a continuous, ongoing assessment which will help keep the project on track and help project managers take proactive action for the same.

  • Project Performance Analysis

    Are your project KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) being met?

    Data analytics gives project managers a 360o view of the project in real-time. This enables them to take preventive measures for any possible upsets, and ensure that KPIs are being met. This is one of the main reasons that more businesses are investing in project management software equipped with data analytics capabilities.

  • Strategic Decision Making

    As previously mentioned, analytics converts raw data into strategic assets that can be used for making the right decisions at the right time. Ultimately, the decisions taken with regard to your project determine the final quality of the deliverable. Analytics helps managers control the quality of this deliverable with continuous analysis of relevant metrics.

Analytics will very soon be an indispensable feature of project management in all industries. Better to be an early adopter. That being said, let’s take a look at how project managers across various domains have been using data analytics to improve project outcomes.

  • BitMar Networks, a small media streaming platform, used data analytics to study customer preferences, especially when it came to support. Analytics revealed that a majority of their customers preferred to talk to one another rather than with official tech support. So, the company built a self-help platform for the customers, which allowed users to help themselves. It cost next to nothing and increased customer satisfaction to boot.
  • The American agrochemical company, Monsanto, started using machine learning for predictive analytics and prescriptive recommendations. Its models leveraged statistics and past data in order to prescribe the best time to plant and the best place to do so. It increased yields while reducing land utilization. The marriage between learnings from Agriculture and advances in IT really paid off for the company; it was able to save $6 million, while also reducing its supply chain footprint by 4%.

To tie it all up, here are some excellent tools that your business could invest in right now. Harness the power of big data for your small business with these specialized tools which have analytics capabilities dedicated to SMBs.

  1. Qlik Sense

    Qlik Sense is a web-based tool which quickly highlights patterns or trends in data. Its visualization features allow you to pull in different views, annotate them and present the compilation without the need for Powerpoint or other presentation tools. Data visualization and discovery are its major selling points.

    How will it help you a Small-medium business: It is flexible and scalable, allowing your small business to explore complex data to find all possible associations, even as the business continues to grow. It can unify data from various databases and document management software. It can be integrated into new applications for automated data capturing.

    Pricing: Get started for free with Qlik Sense Cloud Basic. You can upgrade to Qlik Sense Cloud Business, starting at $15/user per month.

  2. TIBCO Spotfire

    Spotfire provides everything that a good data analytics/BI tool for SMBs should have: dynamic dashboards, visualization, and robust mobile access. Teams can collaborate on their smartphones entirely if the need arises. So, it’s a great option for businesses which have remote teams or offsite team members. It integrates easily with existing databases (including Excel) and with other software such as the CRM or ERP.

    How it can help your small/medium business: It connects all your data points, making reporting effortless. Its multimodal interface allows you to interact with data the way you want to and delivers lightning-fast insights. Like Qlik Sense, it is scalable. With its robust AI capabilities, you can spot trends, patterns, and outliers in any data.

    Pricing: You can opt for a 30-day free trial. The Tibco Cloud Spotfire Business Author plan starts at $65/ user per month or $650/user per year, making it a pricey option for smaller businesses. However, its evaluation capabilities more than make up for it.

  3. SAS Visual Analytics

    The most well-known and also the costliest of the lot, SAS Visual Analytics might not be the first choice for an SMB looking for an analytics solution. However, its features justify its cost. To start with, It has data access transformation, data mining, visualization, and reporting capabilities. It is the market leader because of its top-notch statistical and predictive models. If you feel that your core business growth is undoubtedly going to be heavily reliant on data analytics, then this is a viable option for you.

    How it can help your small/medium business: Apart from the usual self-service data preparation and analysis capabilities, SAS can go as far as analyzing text over social media and show you whether the sentiment is positive or negative. You can create interactive reports and dashboards, summarizing key metrics for your team in a way that each member can comfortably comprehend.

    Pricing: SAS follows quote-based pricing for all its products and you can rest assured that it’s going to be a significant investment. If you feel that your core business growth is undoubtedly going to be heavily reliant on data analytics, then this is a viable option for you.

In Conclusion

Businesses of all sizes and in all domains can benefit from the use of data analytics. This holds true for small businesses as well. However, small businesses must go out of the way to ensure that the data analytics tools they choose are of reasonable cost, easy-to-use, and reliable. Empower your project teams with a good data analytics tool to augment the existing project management software and, in turn, the project outcomes. It is only a matter of time before this becomes the norm, be ahead of the curve!

 

 

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