Industry Buzz

Russia Will Require its Citizens’ Personal Data to be Hosted Locally by 2016

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

All online personal data collected from Russians must soon by law be hosted in Russia. The Russian Duma passed the amendment to an existing law governing personal data on Wednesday, which will likely require all domestic and international online services operating in Russia to store data on servers in Russia. The post Russia Will Require its Citizens’ Personal Data to be Hosted Locally by 2016 appeared first on Web Hosting Talk News.

.FISH, .REPORT, and .VISION Are Now Available for Immediate Registration with 1&1!

1&1 Online Success Center -

Adding to its growing list of new top-level domains (TLDs), 1&1 Internet has released three more industry-specific domain extensions for immediate registration. The three new TLDs launched today are a great addition for businesses looking to establish a more effective domain name, or to add to its existing domain portfolio. To browse the many new TLDs available currently, the 1&1 Domain Showroom is an informative resource for current and upcoming domain names. The three brand new TLDs are: .FISH – With many of these new TLDs, the official use of the name is up to the creativity of the business. In this case, .FISH could be used for a specific market, a seafood restaurant, or a business that sells fishing equipment, for example. No matter which business can use it, .FISH can be registered for $19.99 for the first year. .REPORT – Similarly, .REPORT can be used by many businesses that provide reporting as a specific service, or even by a blog or news website reporting on a specific media sector. For the first year of registration, .REPORT can be registered for $14.99. .VISION – The simplest use of this new TLD would be for optometrist offices or other businesses specializing in vision care. However, all businesses could utilize this domain name as an extension to their domain portfolio, directing to a page that showcases the company’s vision for the future, for example. This domain can be registered for $19.99 for the first year. Photo Credit: ©istockphoto.com/pixelfit

Gold Mine Websites to Download Stock Photos & Royalty-Free Images

BigRock Blog -

Whether it is for your personal website or commercial project, stock photos are important for your design needs. With copyright laws becoming more and more stringent everyday you will need to ensure that you either pick royalty- free images or get paid subscriptions to stock images for your projects. We have prepared a list of 5 websites that have some awesome stock free images that will be super handy for any of your creative work. So let’s take a look at them. PicJumbo: It’ been less than a year since this website kicked off but has already managed to get more than 4,24,000 image downloads. Photos are available for free and can be used for any kind of project, commercial or non commercial. You are not required to provide attribution, but based on their awesome work, it is the least we can do to help them out. Alegriphotos: Founded in the year 2010, this website now has a collection of over 3000 free images in its database. The photos available on the site can be used for personal and commercial use under the creative common license. A Digital Dreamer: This website has royalty free stock photography collection of over 1000 images that can be downloaded. The stock photos are 100% free for you to use for any kind of project, including commercial related ones. The developers of the site have mentioned that the images should not be used for anything offensive like hate or pornography. FreePixels: With more than 5000 free high-resolution photos to choose from, it is rare that you will not find what you are looking for. Their photos have already been downloaded more than 3 million times and can be used with any personal or commercial projects. Photorack: With over 25000 free stock photos available for download, this is probably one of the best sources. This website allows you to use their photos for personal and commercial work, even better is that you don’t need to link back to them. The images are available under well defined categories making it easier to find a particular image. So that’s our awesome list of websites that you can use for all your design needs. We bet you can’t wait to check them out all. Drop a comment below to suggest any other websites that could help others download free stock photos.

Email For Ecommerce: Marketing Emails

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

In this blog series, we walk you through some of the dos and don’ts of email for ecommerce. Last week, we talked about transactional email. This week we dig into marketing emails. Email has always been a simple medium for one-way marketing communication to your customers. For ecommerce shops, it was a way to blast into the inboxes of customers and potential customers with the push of a button. And then spam filters started to recognize the patterns and relegate marketing email to the spam abyss. Still, email remains a key medium for marketing activities, but it is more important than ever that marketers do it right. Here, I’ll walk you through some of the ways to use email as a marketing tool without angering your customers and getting tossed into the spam folder, or worse, being dropped by an Email Service Provider (ESP) altogether. First, with marketing emails, let your customers opt-in. Tell them what you plan to send them and how frequently they can expect emails. That will reduce the element of surprise and the chance of recipients deleting before reading. You should also send a confirmation email with a link that verifies the email address (a “double opt-in”). This protects your reputation and reduces the likelihood of spam complaints. A double-opt in is a great way to confirm that someone wants your emails. Because they’re willing to take a small extra step – click a link – to receive them. Many marketers are scared of double opt-in emails. “But my list will be smaller!” they say. This is true, but it misses the main point. If you send a marketing email to 100,000 people, and 1,000 complain of spam, that is a 1 percent complaint rate. A 1 percent complaint rate is high enough for major ESPs like Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail to block ALL of your emails entirely. We’ve seen this happen. Imagine, though, if this ecommerce shop had practiced double-opt in. Its list might be smaller, say 70,000 instead of 100,000 emails, but because spam complaints would be close to zero, this sender would end up getting many more emails through to its end users. It’s also important to personalize marketing emails. Let me repeat myself: personalize, personalize, personalize. Not all of your customers want the same brand of socks; so don’t market the same thing to everyone. For successful email marketing campaigns, use data about your customers to target offers toward them. While some may want socks, others might want cufflinks. Knowing your customer and tailoring your email to them will increase engagement. Another key component of marketing email is tracking. Marketing emails tend to have higher complaint rates than transactional email, so it’s imperative to set up tracking to know who your most active customers are. You should make sure that your active customers make up the bulk of your send. You want ESPs to see that your users are engaging with your emails to ensure maximum inbox placement. You can always sprinkle a small portion of inactive customers into the mix to make sure your overall reputation doesn’t suffer. And again, I can’t stress this enough, you should make unsubscribe and change preferences links highly visible and ensure that they work, lest you harm your email reputation. While most people think content is king, the look and feel of your email is also incredibly important. Does it reflect your brand? Is it consistent with the look and feel of your ecommerce store? Are you using aesthetically pleasing images, fonts, etc…? If it’s ugly, it won’t get read, no matter how good the content is. Finally, and importantly, ask for feedback. There’s no better way to know if you’re hitting the right chords than going straight to your customers for their thoughts. Asking your customers to suggest changes, make a comment or tell you what they like and don’t like can help you build a better email marketing campaign the next time around. Are you gearing up your next big email marketing campaign? I hope email has helped. That concludes our email for ecommerce series. Thank you for reading and learning more about how best to leverage email in your ecommerce business.

PeachDish - Login, Pay, Cook, and Eat With AWS

Amazon Web Services Blog -

PeachDish is an AWS-powered dinner delivery service! After you sign up, you receive a nicely packed box full of fresh ingredients and complete cooking directions for two generously-proportioned meals for two people. Each pair of meals is shipped in a box that measures exactly one cubic foot. The perishable ingredients are packed in an insulated container and chilled with an ice pack while in transit. In order to write a full and accurate blog post, I subscribed to the service and opened up a brand new AWS Test Kitchen in my home. My wife Carmen agreed to help out with this post and was kind enough to model for the photos! PeachDish Architecture PeachDish makes use of a multitude of AWS and Amazon services. Here's a sampling (diagram courtesy of PeachDish): Amazon Route 53 - A Route 53 hosted zone manages the DNS records for the peachdish.com domain. Amazon S3 - Application code and static objects are durably stored in S3. Amazon CloudFront - Static content from S3 and dynamic content generated on EC2 instances is made available with low latency via CloudFront. AWS Elastic Beanstalk - The application is deployed and scaled through Elastic Beanstalk. It manages an Auto Scaling group comprised of a collection of Amazon EC2 instances and also manages code deployment and rollback. Amazon RDS - Hosts the MySQL database and read replicas. Several of the outside services that work with PeachDish drive a substantial amount of read traffic. Amazon Payments - PeachDish uses the new Login and Pay feature of Amazon Payments to simplify and streamline the process of subscribing to the service. The developers at PeachDish made good use of Elastic Beanstalk's version management facility. In their own words: We work in a different time zone than our tech team. They will generally deploy a new application version after midnight EST. If our customer service team finds a bug sometime in the morning, they can use the AWS Console to initiate a rollback very easily, with no effect on our customers. We also use this feature when we switch the Login and Pay sandbox into production mode. As part of the process, we can do a temporary rollback while the new site gains entrance to the Login and Pay whitelist (usually a matter of a couple of seconds). They also had a good story to tell about their discovery of read replicas for Amazon RDS: We began to see some load issues when we ran our MySQL-powered reports. Because we are a startup and don't have any database experts on staff, we were not sure how to address this issue. Fortunately, we logged in to the RDS console and saw the following message: We read the RDS documentation to learn more about read replicas and realized that we could solve our load problem by moving the heavy queries to a read replica! We never imagined that we could create a read replica with just a couple of clicks, without having to spend several days building a test instance and working through all of the technical details. AWS was our technical expert. In this case, they encoded all of their technical knowledge behind a couple of simple clicks. This allowed us to solve the problem quickly so that we could focus on what we are best at. Login and Pay In order for a subscription-based service to succeed, it must be easy for potential users to subscribe and pay for it. Ideally, they can do so with a couple of clicks, and they can do it using a payment system that is already familiar to them. Login and Pay with Amazon Automatic Payments is ideal for this purpose. It provides a simple and seamless customer experience and allows the owner of the site to control and customize the overall site experience and presentation. Customers can login with their existing Amazon credentials and initiate their subscription in minutes. Here is the signup flow for PeachDish. Note that Login and Pay supplies the content and the widgets, and that I remain on the PeachDish site throughout the entire process: When I click the Pay with Amazon button I get to choose a shipping address and a payment method. This content, along with the subscription summary, is supplied by Login and Pay: Login and Pay integrates with your site using a set of widgets and APIs. The login feature makes use of OAuth 2.0. Once the customer has logged in, their name, email address, and zip code are provided to the client site to aid in the account creation process. The Login and Pay with Amazon Integration Guide contains the information that you will need to implement the payment and subscription features on your own site. How Does it Taste? With all of this infrastructure in place to deliver the fixings for a good meal to your kitchen (or at least to your doorstep), the final question is, how is the product? We unpacked everything and laid it out on the counter (this is for two complete meals): Carmen and I followed the directions with care and ended up with a meal that actually fed three hungry adults: Our dinner tasted as good as it looked: As you might be able to tell from our kitchen, we are somewhat fanatical about our food. We shop daily and grow lots of stuff in our backyard. With that said, we were very happy with the four PeachDish meals that we received, cooked, and devoured. The recipes were easy to follow, the ingredients were fresh and plentiful, and everything came together really nicely. -- Jeff; PS - Are you a startup company interested in integrating Login and Pay with Amazon? If so, You're in luck! There is a limited time special offer that provides free processing on your first $10,000 or $100,000 transactions over 12 months. Visit the Amazon Toolbox Exclusive Offers and mention the AWS Blog!

Global ISPs File Complaint Against UK GCHQ to End Spying

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

Seven ISPs filed a legal complaint on Wednesday with the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal, an organization founded in October 2000 as a result of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. This agency fields complaints about powers used by intelligence services, public authorities and law enforcement agencies. The post Global ISPs File Complaint Against UK GCHQ to End Spying appeared first on Web Hosting Talk News.

Golden name: 3 reasons to choose a premium domain

GoDaddy Blog -

Let’s talk marketing strategies. You’ve taken the time to invest in your business — you’ve read the various articles on how to get found online and how to find customers on the Web, but you’re still not attracting as many customers as you’d like to your small business website. What gives? In addition to working on standing out via social media, you might need to examine your domain name. A domain name is, often times, the first point of contact a customer has to your business. Do you have a nice and succinct domain? Is it short and memorable? Does it help you drive customers to your site through different search engine optimization (SEO) tactics? Don’t let availability and cost alone drive your domain name decision. More often than not, people end up choosing domain names based primarily on their availability. That’s unfortunate. Sure, you want a domain name now. You’ve got stuff to do. But staying true to your brand — not to mention making it as easy as possible for consumers to find you on the Web — is key to success online. A premium domain might be the answer. Already registered and owned by someone else, but available for sale in the domain aftermarket, a premium domain name might be just what you’re looking for to perfectly express your online brand. Check out these three reasons to choose a premium domain name: 1. Trust, credibility, and branding Short, sweet, and to the point. Imagine owning a domain name for your business that succintly says what you’re all about. Wouldn’t it be cool to direct your customers to YourBusinessName.com rather than YourBusinessNameLocatedInYourCity.com? Because of the vast number of domains in existence today — more than 250 million and counting — it’s almost impossible to grab a name that is completely reflective of your business and your ideas of how to portray your business. Especially if you’re set on a .com. Snagging a premium name shows the world (and your competition) that you’re super-serious about your venture. It shows the world that you’re a force to consider. 2. Search engine optimization and marketing Google® currently doesn’t use a domain name to determine search results (although that could always change), but keywords definitely matter. A premium name that has keywords already built in can naturally boost your organic SEO rankings. Isn’t it your objective, whether you’re just starting out or well-established, to attract as many customers as possible? There’s no guarantee when it comes to search engines, but investing in a premium domain name might help drive more traffic to your small business website. 3. Return on investment While “regular” domains are priced at about $15 a year, a premium domain might cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand bucks for the first year. After that, however, it defaults to roughly a $15 annually to keep the domain active.The reasoning for the higher initial investment is simple: these premium names have traffic tied to them — they already have a history of keyword searches via search engine giants like Google®, Bing®, and Yahoo!®. Additionally, they have a sense of simplicity. A premium name is usually easy to remember upon first introduction. And that’s priceless. Ready to search for your dream domain? Click here. The post Golden name: 3 reasons to choose a premium domain appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Get Insty with it: How to embed Instagram photos on your WordPress site

GoDaddy Blog -

If you’re among the estimated 150 million people active on Instagram® every month, you realize the potential this increasingly popular social networking site holds for your small business. Recent stats show that 17 percent of all online adults use Instagram. That’s a pretty big number, considering, but what about the 83 percent who don’t filter and tag? If you’re a big Instagrammer and your fans aren’t, they might be missing out on a fun, visual part of your brand experience. You don’t want to spend your marketing resources on a social platform that a large contingent of your fans will never see, do you? Luckily, there’s an easy way to rescue your Insty pictures from your phone app and share them with the world, especially if you’re a WordPress® user. Pin a badge on it This is one of the simplest ways to share your Instagram account with your website’s fans, but also one of the least visually appealing. A badge basically encourages your users who already have Instagram accounts to follow you. That’s great for the 17 percent, but for the rest… Embed a single photo If you’re blogging about an event or find a photo from your Instagram account to be the perfect complement to a blog post, then you can embed a single photo into a post, or even into the design of your WordPress site. Take advantage of WordPress plugins As with most things WordPress, plugins are where the real robust features hang out. Apparently plugin developers are real Instagram fans, because they have concocted a few ingenious ways to share everything from a single picture to your entire Instagram feed on your WordPress site. With a plugin, you get more than just an occasional image to insert into a post. There are plugins to create image sliders, to back up your Instagram photos to your WordPress database, or to place a small gallery of photos in your sidebar; others do even more.” ~ Virginia Debolt The ever-helpful Virginia Debolt over at Web Teacher delves into some of the basics of adding Instagram to a WordPress blog in this handy tutorial, which calls out four plugins you should check out: DsgnWrks Instagram Importer — Import and back up Instagram photos and video Instagram Picture — Add Insty images to just about anywhere on your blog Instagram Slider Widget — Shows 20 latest Instagram images Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram — Retrieves up to 100 photos and does a lot more Virginia’s post is a great place to start if you want to learn how to embed funky tiled Instagram backgrounds, informative slideshows, and even back up your Instagram feed to your blog should it ever — gasp! — go down. No longer do your perfectly filtered photos need to be hidden away where 83 percent of Web users will never see them. For more great tips, check out the GoDaddy Tool Kit on BlogHer. Photo: //schneehage via Compfight cc The post Get Insty with it: How to embed Instagram photos on your WordPress site appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Six Ways to Supercharge your Contests with Social Media

Social Media Examiner -

Do you want to promote your company’s mission and vision to your target audience? Are you wondering how to get the most out of your contests with social media? In this article you’ll discover how Intuit QuickBooks used social media to supercharge their Small Business Big Game contest, promoting their mission and vision to their [...]This post Six Ways to Supercharge your Contests with Social Media first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

How to Use Facebook to Increase Leads

Social Media Examiner -

Do you want to make Facebook a profitable marketing medium for your business? Is Facebook bringing you the leads you’re looking for? A few simple tweaks to your Facebook marketing can bring in more business. In this article you’ll discover four ways companies are using Facebook to increase leads. #1: Optimize the Cover Photo There [...]This post How to Use Facebook to Increase Leads first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

ElastiCache Update - New M3 and R3 Instance Types

Amazon Web Services Blog -

You can use Amazon ElastiCache to add a scalable caching layer to your application. As you may already know, you can use ElastiCache to create a Memcached or Redis Cache Cluster comprised of one or more Cache Nodes. Today we are making ElastiCache even more flexible by adding support for two new types of Cache Nodes. The M3 Cache Nodes provide a balance of compute, network, and memory resources and are a perfect choice for general purpose use. The Memory-optimized R3 Cache Nodes provide the best price per GB of RAM and high memory performance. Here's the full set of new instances: cache.m3.medium - 2.78 GB memory cache.m3.large - 6.05 GB memory cache.m3.xlarge - 13.3 GB memory cache.m3.2xlarge - 27.9 GB memory cache.r3.large - 13.5GB memory cache.r3.xlarge - 28.4GB memory cache.r3.2xlarge - 58.2 GB memory cache.r3.4xlarge - 118 GB memory cache.r3.8xlarge - 237 GB memory You can launch these new types of Cache Nodes today in the following AWS Regions: US East (Northern Virginia) EU (Ireland) Asia Pacific (Singapore) Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Asia Pacific (Sydney) US West (Oregon) US West (Northern California) South America (São Paulo) - M3 only. China (Beijing) - M3 only. You can launch Cache Clusters from the AWS Command Line Interface, the ElastiCache API, or the AWS Management Console. Here's the first page of the console's launch wizard: For pricing and other details, please take a look at the ElastiCache Product Details page. -- Jeff; PS - If you want to learn more about the process of adding a Cache Cluster to your application as part of an exercise in performance optimization, take a look at the article Develop, Deploy, and Manage for Scale with Elastic Beanstalk and CloudFormation.

Top 20 Small Business Tools for Online Entrepreneurs

Post Planner -

I love finding the best online tools for entrepreneurs. That’s why I interviewed over 500 entrepreneurs to ask them about their favorite tools. In this post I share the small business tools they recommend. Many of the tools were new to me, including: TextExpander for Chrome — a tool that lets you create custom keyboard shortcuts AwesomeScreenshot — a free Chrome extension that lets you take & edit screenshots ScheduleOnce — a free scheduling app that hooks you up with a personalized calendar URL But these 3 are just a taste of the small business tools recommended by these entrepreneurs. Below I share their top recommendations by tool category. So scroll down & enjoy! And if you want the full list, you can get my book from Amazon. Top 20 Small Business Tools for Online Entrepreneurs 1. Accounting & Legal YouNeedABudget.com Personal budget & finance software for individuals, couples & small businesses. Track your income, expenses, debt, and more in an attractive & intuitive interface. The software is $60 after a 34-day trial. >> Click to Tweet 2. Calendar Management ScheduleOnce Free, integrated, online appointment scheduling tool. Syncs with Google Calendar & you can block off certain times each week as available for meetings. Premium features start at $5 per month & include multiple calendar options & meeting reminder emails. >> Click to Tweet 3. Communication & Meetings Skype Free voice & video calls. Now owned by Microsoft, Skype is the leader in VOIP calling. It’s a tool I use every day to communicate with team members, contractors, podcast guests, and other entrepreneurs. Premium features include calling landlines & cell phones — along with screen sharing. >> Click to Tweet 4. Content Creation (tie) PicMonkey Free online image editing tool. Another one that’s new to me. PicMonkey is very easy to use & helps make fun, shareable graphics for blog posts & social media. You can unlock premium fonts & other features for $33 per year. Scrivener Word processor for authors. Scrivener makes it easy to map, outline, research, compose, and edit your long-form book projects. Because not all writing takes place linearly, traditional word processing programs like Word make it difficult for longer writing projects. The cost is $40. >> Click to Tweet 5. Customer Relationship Management Infusionsoft Robust CRM software. Infusionsoft helps businesses automate their marketing processes, manage emails, organize their efforts, and sell online. Infusionsoft starts at $199 per month. >> Click to Tweet 6. Ecommerce & Payments (tie) Gumroad Shopping cart software for digital products. Gumroad is checkout software that easily installs on any website. Its look & feel promotes high-converting checkout processes, and the software can automate delivery of digital goods & support pay-what-you-want pricing. Gumroad is free to set up & charges 5% of each transaction. Shopify Build an online store. Shopify is a leading ecommerce service provider, allowing customers to integrate a shopping experience directly on top of their own website. Shopify helps with inventory management & order & payment processing. Shopify starts at $29 per month, plus transaction fees. >> Click to Tweet 7. Education Google Leading search engine. I hesitated to include Google because I take it for granted. The search engine got several votes & for good reason, it’s probably the online resource I use more than anything else. >> Click to Tweet 8. Email Rapportive Shows contact details & social connections in your inbox. Rapportive is a free Gmail plug-in that replaces your sidebar with relevant details of who you’re emailing with. You’ll see a picture, their location, their social media links, and even your past email conversations with them. It’s a handy tool that can even be used to guess email addresses for strangers using common email structures (like firstname@companyname.com). If Rapportive shows a name & picture, you know you’ve got a match. >> Click to Tweet 9. Entertainment Spotify 20 million songs on demand. Spotify is a free streaming music player app for computers, tablets, and smartphones. Listen to the latest hits, your classic favorites, or discover up-and-coming new artists. >> Click to Tweet 10. File Sharing & Storage Google Drive / Google Docs Web-based office software & file sharing. Google Drive is Google’s cloud-based file storage system, and it integrates seamlessly with the file sharing & collaboration tools inside Google Docs. I relied on Google Docs extensively while compiling this book project because it meant my virtual assistant helpers & I could all work on the same file at once. Drive is free for up to 15 GB of storage. >> Click to Tweet 11. Health & Wellness Gratitude Journal Improve your happiness. Science says people who keep a daily gratitude journal are happier than those who don’t, so why wouldn’t you? It takes just a couple minutes a day, and this Happy Tapper app costs just $0.99. >> Click to Tweet 12. Marketing Moz Suite of online marketing tools & content. Moz (formerly SEOmoz) offers an array of products, services, and content for the online marketing professional. Find out how to rank your site better in the search results & beat your competition. A Moz Pro subscription is $99 per month. >> Click to Tweet 13. Networking Meetup Local events matching your interests. Use Meetup.com to find local gatherings & networking events in your niche. Meetup is always free for attendees, and if you want to host a group it’s just $5 per month. >> Click to Tweet 14. News Flipboard Curated news app. Flipboard (which acquired Zite) is a free news app for tablets & smartphones. It has a beautiful user interface & will pull in stories from your social media connections as well. You can easily flip through the stories & read in more detail those that interest you. >> Click to Tweet 15. Outsourcing Fiverr Marketplace for goods & services starting at $5. Fiverr is a tremendous resource for small business owners – no it’s not just for prank calls & silly dances. You’ll be surprised at the variety & depth of truly useful $5 services. I’ve gotten WordPress help, articles written, graphics created, ebook covers made, and more. >> Click to Tweet 16. Productivity Evernote Powerful, free cross-device note-taking app. Create an “external brain” with Evernote & share & sync notes & files in the cloud. Any flash of inspiration can be saved in Evernote. Just create a notebook & save the notes in there. The tool has numerous features, including sharing, file attachments, reminders, and voice memos. Evernote Premium is $5 per month or $45 per year. >> Click to Tweet 17. Social Media LinkedIn Professional social network. I was surprised to see LinkedIn as the most recommended social media resource, a strong indicator that LinkedIn is an overlooked tool for entrepreneurs. Use LinkedIn to highlight your accomplishments, share your content, and connect with other professionals. You can also use LinkedIn groups to make connections with like-minded people & to share content. Premium accounts start at $24 per month. >> Click to Tweet 18. Team & Project Management Asana Teamwork without email. Asana is a web-based project management system. Asana has become an integral part of life for many entrepreneurs. Users can create & assign tasks to themselves or other team members, and all members can have access to the tasks & comment & update their progress. Asana is free for teams of up to 15 people. After that, premium plans start at $50 per month. >> Click to Tweet 19. Travel (tie) Airbnb Peer-to-peer lodging network. Airbnb is the high-flying startup that’s making waves in the hotel industry by giving individual homeowners the chance to rent out their spare bedrooms & couches. Prices vary by location & amenities, but generally range from $50 to $200 per night. AroundMe Find out what’s nearby. The free AroundMe smartphone app helps you discover nearby restaurants, cafes, ATMs, parks, and other attractions. You can also search by keyword or store name for more specific results. TripIt Travel organization tool. Forward your travel confirmation emails to TripIt & the free service will build a personalized itinerary that you can access from any device. A pro version is $49 per year, which unlocks mobile alerts & the ability to automatically share your itinerary with the people you choose. >> Click to Tweet 20. Websites, Blogs & Podcasts Entrepreneur on Fire Your daily dose of inspiration. Entrepreneur on Fire is a daily interview podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas. Seven days a week he talks through an entrepreneurial journey with a new guest, including their successes & failures, favorite tactics & resources, and more. >> Click to Tweet Your Turn What’s missing? What are your favorite small business tools and resources? Leave a comment below & let us know! The post Top 20 Small Business Tools for Online Entrepreneurs appeared first on Post Planner.

8 Tips To Make Your Business Mobile

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Embrace the change. Mobile is here to stay. Your 14-year-old niece is using her Samsung Galaxy to post photos of her “nail art” on Instagram and your family is using an iPad to stay connected via Facebook. Meanwhile, your customers are using their smartphones to search for local services while on the subway, tweeting you for customer support while waiting to get their oil changed and getting app recommendations from Apps for Execs during a lackluster conference call. Here, we’ll give you the first four, but if you want to learn all eight tips to make mobility work for your business, register now for an upcoming webinar (Thursday, July 10 at 11 a.m. CDT). A Pew Research Study found that 91 percent of American adults have mobile phones and 67 percent use mobile devices to access the Internet (this number has doubled since 2009). Our lives are mobile, and business is embracing the change. The move to mobile and instantaneous communication mirrors the transition to a more mobile and often remote workforce. Four out of five employees spend at least some portion of their time working outside of the office and at least half of them say they are expected to get work done no matter where they are. Businesses worldwide are embracing the rise of a remote workforce as it has been shown to increase worker morale and retention, accessibility to a wider workforce and productivity in some fields, and lends to a more responsive workforce. But with this autonomy also comes challenges, mainly in overcoming the collaboration benefits of in-person communication.  Here are some tips for making mobile work for your business. 1. Publish mobile phone numbers (and mean it!) This isn’t an “in case of emergency” type of device; this is a productivity device.  If you’re issuing smartphones to your company or allowing your company email to be on your employees’ personal devices, you are embracing the change…mean it! Publish mobile numbers and encourage calls, emails, texts and chats. This doesn’t mean everyone is on 24×7, but it does mean that location and technology can’t get in the way of getting business done. 2. Use integrated apps You never realize how much time you waste switching between apps and copying and pasting information until you don’t have to anymore. Try using an application or two that are meant to work together and that provide a seamless experience from one task to another. And better yet, there could be only one password to remember. Password resets (and frustration) will be minimized. Admins of the world can ya hear me! 3. Tailor your solution. There are too many options available for you to have a “one size fits all” option. There are MANY productivity suites and applications floating around cyberspace. Some are AMAZING and will change the way you do business; some will be amazing for a business but maybe not your business. Let’s face it, some are just hacks. Take some time to read reviews from customers that look like your business  (Spiceworks is always a good suggestion), trial the product and ONLY purchase what you need. Most companies offer a basic application that you can build on once you decide it’s right for you. There’s no reason pay for software you don’t need. 4. FREE trial If you find an app that you think might work for your business, use it! It’s FREE! This is your chance to really test drive the app for around two weeks without financially committing. However, PLEASE set aside the time to actually use the product, call Support and interact with other users to get the full product experience. Otherwise, you’re basing your decision on a pretty interface. Those are just four of the several tips your business can leverage to start cutting the cords and going mobile. To learn more about these tips and hear a few more, tune into our live webinar, “The Rise of the Remote Workforce” https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=5t8zzhz4m6ea at 11 a.m. CDT Thursday, July 10. During the webinar, which is co-hosted by Microsoft, you’ll find it’s chock full of tidbits on how to best embrace the move to a more remote, mobile workforce without sacrificing productivity or breaking the bank.

Hootsuite: “Twitter Ads drive leads at one-third the cost of other paid channels”

The Twitter Advertising Blog -

As one of the world’s most widely used social relationship platforms, Hootsuite has social baked into our DNA. Four years ago, we were a scrappy startup with very few resources. We had to rely on the most efficient, affordable channels available to us. That’s why, our marketing department was built around content and social platforms. Since then, Twitter Ads has allowed us to scale, increase reach and fuel demand generation. Together with our Paid Social Lead Andy Au (@andy_au), I’ve put together our top four insights for driving real results with Twitter. Tip #1: Use organic success to inform paid strategy. We believe that social advertising is different than media buying for other channels. Paid social needs to be closely integrated with organic social activities. It’s an integral relationship that forms the foundation of our strategy. In fact, our social team manages our Twitter Ads. With all our daily content and demand generation campaigns, we’ll test the content organically first. After sending out a few Tweets, you can quickly see which messages are getting the best click-through rates, the most form-fills and the most conversions. We then take those learnings and create our Twitter Ads. For example, an organic Tweet highlighting a thought leadership piece written by our CEO Ryan Holmes instantly surpassed 30 Retweets. We recognized that people liked it, so we promoted it and the huge engagement continued with an average rate of 4.71% (industry average for B2B is 1%). Facebook may not be the king for much longer. Read about the next big social networks: http://t.co/Yv5rajVSL8 — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) May 23, 2013   Tip #2: Reach the right audience. One of the advantages of Twitter Ads is being able to target audiences quite specifically. We can create one white paper on, say, “Social Selling” and localize it for the Mexican and German markets. Twitter then allows us to use geo- and language-targeting to be very specific about promoting that content in those markets. ¿Tienes una guía de redes sociales para tu equipo de ventas? Nosotros sí: http://t.co/cPAYF0jFfG — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) April 21, 2014 Haben Sie eine Anleitung zum Umgang mit den Sozialen Medien für Ihr Vertriebsteam? Wir schon: http://t.co/RnFegLrTOI — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) May 9, 2014   We take the same approach to verticals. For example, if we have an auto focused e-book, we target our Promoted Tweets to our core audience of automotive marketing professionals — not the thousands of fans of specific brands, like @Ford or @Honda. We would instead target thought leaders within the industry like Scott Monty (@ScottMonty), previously Ford’s Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager. Download the Financial Services Guide to Implementing a Social Media Strategy: http://t.co/QSdqUuAUXS — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) February 18, 2014   We put a lot of resources into this type of targeting because we’ve found the better your list of @usernames to target, the better the quality of leads you get. Tip #3: Focus on qualified clicks for direct response campaigns. We promote two types of content via Twitter Ads: ungated content (free content requiring no email address for access) and gated content (free content requiring an email). Ungated content includes thought leadership, tutorials, how-tos and product launch content. Social media is hard for non-users to understand, so why not make it easy for them? http://t.co/NKmuQ0Koue — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) May 14, 2014 Gated content encompasses white papers and helps us meet our demand generation goals. Because we pay per engagement, we’ve found that it’s really important to be clear about what people can expect on the other side of the Tweet. Essentially, we try to do the opposite of link-baiting. When you are actually putting money behind a Tweet, you want to drive the most qualified clicks or engagement possible. Putting multiple hashtags or links can work against you when you have very specific goals of driving traffic to a landing page. Social customer service is the future of customer satisfaction: http://t.co/mvWuVdEKmf Download our free whitepaper to learn more — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) May 15, 2014   We are able to track the ROI from Twitter leads right down to revenue. Overall, Twitter Ads have been one-third the cost of other paid channels we use to drive enterprise leads. Given the ROI we have seen for demand generation, we plan to allocate increasing budget to Twitter Ads. Twitter Ads have been one-third the cost of other paid channels we use… Cameron Uganec@CameronU Director of Marketing, Hootsuite   Tip #4: Drive business goals beyond demand generation. Although Twitter is very successful compared to other channels for ROI, we rely on Twitter across departments including recruitment and marketing objectives like brand awareness. Help HootSuite find an experienced Social Media/Blog Manager: http://t.co/Bbp7ykUJoq Pass this post on to your talented friends — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) December 4, 2013   One recent purely brand campaign on Twitter was very successful. Leading up to the season premiere of the popular HBO series, we recreated the opening sequence for “Game of Thrones” in a video that reimagines the show’s Seven Kingdoms as the major social networks. What if the Game of Thrones houses were replaced by social networks? http://t.co/yyLZhm6W3y #GameOfSocial — Hootsuite (@hootsuite) April 4, 2014   We were able to drive tremendous buzz (capturing media attention from Time, AdWeek and Fast Company) and over 800,000 views to our video. In the end, that goes back to our core philosophy of sharing great content, watching how it builds organically and then investing some money to further broaden the reach.

Twitter developer events: Summer 2014

The Twitter Developer Blog -

Summer is now in full swing and like many others, our developer advocates are on the road to meet you at a number of upcoming events. You can track where in the world our Developer and Platform Relations (DPR) Team is through our events page as well as @TwitterDev. Here’s a breakdown of our current summer calendar. Stay tuned, as we’ll continue to add more events to the list. France HTML 5 User Group (Paris, France): July 2, 2014Join our Developer Advocate Romain Huet at the largest web meetup in Paris. He is speaking to the latest innovations in HTML5 and how developers can get connected to the pulse of the entire planet. International Startup Festival (Montreal, Canada): July 9, 2014Real-time data analysis with the Twitter Streaming API and Elasticsearch. Learn how to work with real-time data found in public social conversations. This workshop will include an end-to-end tutorial on data collection, storage, retrieval and analysis. Come meet Developer Advocate Sylvain Carle. Twitter Japan Dev Meetup (Tokyo, Japan): July 10, 2014Join us for our @TwitterDevJP Meetup and come hear from Developer Advocates Ryhoei Miyata and Vincent Isambart. This event is open to anyone in the Tokyo developer community who is interested in learning more about Twitter.  Open Web Camp (San Jose, U.S.): July 12, 2014Join Developer Advocate Ryan Choi as he speaks to people who are focused on open web technologies. ESRI User Conference (San Diego, U.S.): July 14-16, 2014The Gnip/Twitter Data Team will be showcasing new ESRI + Gnip integration tools along with live demos of the connectors in action. Located in the ESRI User Conference Start-Up Zone, the Gnip/Twitter Data Team will share some sample applications showcasing the commercial value found in merging social and geo data. Be sure to say hi to Will Mayo and Developer Advocate Andrew Noonan at the Gnip/Twitter Data booth. Twitter UK Dev Meetup (London, UK): July 14, 2014Come see our new @TwitterUK London office, where we will be hosting drinks and networking conversations with the local DPR Team as well as some other Twitter folks visiting from our HQ. Stay tuned via @TwitterDev for registration details. TwitterHQ: Dev Pod Meetup (San Francisco, U.S.): July 15, 2014Follow us via @TwitterDev for registration details to come. OSCON (Portland, U.S.): July 20-24, 2014The Twitter Open Source Programs Team (@TwitterOSS) is co-sponsoring OSCON this year and will have a booth at the show plus an awesome coding challenge. The Twitter DPR Team will be there to answer any questions, and we’ll have some fun giveaways at the booth. While you’re at the show, also be sure to check out Andy Piper’s talk about Internet ALL the things — a walking tour of MQTT. We’ll also host a Twitter Thank You (#TTY) gathering on Tuesday, July 22. It’s one way to express our gratitude to the open source community. (TTY is a reference to the UNIX terminal, for those not aware.) Ping us via @TwitterDev if you can join us there. #NettyMeetup at Twitter HQ (San Francisco, U.S.): July 28, 2014We want to bring together Netty committers and adopters to discuss their experiences and where the project is headed. Read about how Twitter built Finagle, a protocol-agnostic RPC system, on top of Netty. #SFScala at Twitter HQ (San Francisco, U.S.): July 29, 2014This meetup will be focused on three of the Scala libraries that we developed to make the architecture more scalable and intelligible to engineers. Be sure to also take a look at these blog and Github posts featuring Finagle. Women in Engineering Event (London, UK): July 31, 2014Follow us via @TwitterDev for registration details to come. #MesosCon (Chicago, U.S.): August 21, 2014#MesosCon is an event designed to foster user collaboration around Apache Mesos. The conference brings together users and developers to share ideas as a means for accelerating the growth of the project’s ecosystem. Be sure to connect with Chris Aniszczyk from our team. This list will continue to grow throughout the summer, so be sure to check back on both our events page as well as via @TwitterDev for the latest DPR Team events. Did we miss something that you think the Twitter DPR Team would be interested in joining? If so, please contact Katie Penn or Lauren Schutte with the details of your event. We look forward to hearing back from you!

Cybersecurity Startup Hexadite Receives $2.5 Million Seed Funding as Security Threats Rise

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

Hexadite announced today that it received $2.5 million in seed funding from YL Ventures and former Microsoft Corporate Vice President Moshe Lichtman, who is a general partner at Israeli venture capital firm Israel Growth Partners. The company was founded by Eran Barak, Idan Levin and Barak Klinghofer; all are private…

Meet the New, Smarter Columns

The Weebly Blog -

We’re always looking for new ways to make your site-building life easier by making our tools smarter and more intuitive. With this goal in mind we recently made some big changes to column creation along with some element updates that give you better control over layout and spacing for your website, online store or blog. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; height: auto; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } You can now create columns automatically simply by dragging elements next to each other. The old column limit is gone along with the original columns element, making it even easier to drag and drop elements into sophisticated multi-column arrangements.   The new columns behavior also provides some interesting new layout options. You can copy and move columns with just a few clicks and adjust spacing between columns through the Spacing setting located on the column divider. Dragging the column divider left or right lets you change column width. In order to help maintain a consistent page layout during resizing, columns automatically snap into alignment with other columns on the page. You can disable snapping by holding the shift key while dragging. We heard from many of you that it could be really frustrating to drag on a paragraph, only to later realize that you wanted to add an image to it. So we've made some huge improvements to the way that you can add images into text, or remove them if necessary! We retired the Text+Image element so you can combine text and image elements together directly. Placing images within text is now as simple as dragging your image element into a text box. Text will wrap around the image automatically depending on the placement of the image element. We’ve also added Spacer, a completely new element that allows you to create an empty column or blank space anywhere on a page. After placing the element you can adjust width and height to meet your requirements. Spacer adds an additional layer of control over design and page layout that should help you do even more with your content. These big changes were made possible by your wonderful feedback. From an initial open beta and through multiple rounds of detailed evaluation, you have helped us bring the new improved columns to life, and for that we are truly grateful! When we initially launched these features last week, the rollout wasn't as smooth as we would of liked. Some of you experienced bugs depending on your site configuration, but we've worked hard to resolve all known issues. If you continue to experience any problems, please let us know and we'll look into it ASAP. We have many more updates and improvements planned this summer so stay tuned!

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