The 23 Best Google Search Hacks

Google’s search engine is impressive and allows you to get all the answers you’re looking for if you’re willing to spend hours entering different keywords and search phrases, or you can use these 23 great search tips to get BETTER information in minutes instead of hours!

1. Use specific words or phrases for your search

Doing a search using words or a phrase in quotes will show only the pages with the same word or phrase exactly as you typed it. When you put your search parameters in quotes, it tells Google to search for the whole phrase. It’s a simple trick but can be very useful when you need to find results containing a specific phrase.

2. Use an asterisk with your search words

When you search using an asterisk as a placeholder to replace the words you’re not sure of, Google will search all variations of the phrase you typed. This is helpful if you’re searching for the lyrics of a song which you can’t remember the words for.

3. Use hyphens or minus sign to exclude unwanted results

You can use hyphens or the minus sign to eliminate results in a search, so Google excludes that word from the search. For example, ice cream recipe -milk and Google will give you a list of recipes for ice cream recipes that have no milk. It’s a simple and effective trick if you’re looking for something specific.

4. Including and excluding keywords

To indicate which keywords are the most important you can include a plus sign in front of your search words/phrase which will force Google to include your keywords in its logic.

5. Search specific websites

If you want to search for something on one website, use the “site:” function so Google searches for only a particular website. This is great if you want to find things that are in certain places without having to search everywhere for the content. For example, if you want to see every instance where TIME.com mentioned Google, use the search “Google site:TIME.com”.

6. Use the tabs

A good way to search Google is to use the tabs. On the top of every search are a number of tabs; you’ll see Web, Image, News, and More. You can define what kind of search you need to do by using those tabs. If you need images, use the Image tab. If you are looking for a recent news article, use the News tab. You can cut search times dramatically if you use the tabs properly.

7. Search news archives

Google News has an option which allows you to search over 100 years’ worth of archived global newspapers going back to the mid-1880s. But you can also search within a specified time period.  After you’ve run a search on Google, click Tools and then the Any time drop-down menu to limit the results to more recent hits.

8. Use “DEFINE:” for meaning of words

You can use Google search as your personal dictionary. Ask Google to define a word, for example, “DEFINE: mortgage” and the meaning of the word will be provided. You can even get the meaning of slang words. Or you can wait for the autofill “meaning” to get the same result.

9. Search two things at once

To search for two things at the same time you can use the word OR between two search terms. This can be helpful if you want to search for multiple terms at once, or if you’re not entirely sure what you need to search for.

10. Use search history

You can use your search history if you need to find something you’ve searched for before and want to find again. To do this you need to have a Google account (you will automatically have this if you use any Google service such as Google Play Store, Gmail, Google+, etc.). go to http://google.com/history and you will see all your prior searches. This is a great way to find your prior searches without doing it all over again.

11. Find similar websites

Trying to find sites with similar content can be difficult and time consuming. You can use the related: operator on Google to do this by typing related: and the website address to get a list of similar websites.

12. Limit search to location

Entering the postal code of a location after your keyword will yield results from that particular location. You can also type in the location.

13. Search within the body, title or URL

If you want to narrow your search to the body of an article, a headline or the actual URL itself, there are three operators which you can use:

  • Use inurl: to limit the search results to only those with the terms actually in the URL.
  • The operator intext: searches for the terms inside the body of text.
  • And intitle: looks for the search terms in the title of the article or page.

14. Searching number ranges

When searching for products within a specific price range that you feel comfortable with, enter the item name and a price range e.g. $60..$100 and this will narrow the results to the items within your price range. Bear in mind that with products that have more complex pricing, like tech products, the results may be hit or miss.

15. Use “context” search terms

If you want to help the kids with homework and you’re not sure about a math problem, you could do a search which would yield lots of results; but if you add the term “tutorial” your search you may get more relevant results faster.

There are many “context” terms that will help you better pinpoint a search, including words such as “lesson,” “background,” “summary,” “define,” or “history.”

16. Use words that websites would use

When you do a search on Google you would normally search for things using the words or phrases you use when speaking. Websites don’t say things the way we do; they use language which sounds professional. Here are a few examples:

“I have a flat tire” could be replaced by “repair a flat tire.”

“My head hurts” could be replaced by “headache relief.”

So, when searching, you should try to use terminology you would find on a professional website as this will help you get more reliable results.

17. Google search shortcuts

You can use a number of commands to give you instantaneous results. Google can immediately give you the information you need, displayed at the top of the search results. This can save you time and effort so you can avoid clicking a bunch of bothersome links.

Here are a few examples of commands you can use:

  • Weather *zip code* – This will show the weather in a given zip code.
  • What is the definition of *word* or Define: *word* – This will display the definition of a word.
  • Time *place* – This will display the time in whatever place you type in.
  • If you type ‘~’ followed by a word, Google will expand its search to include not just the word you keyed in but also words similar in meaning.
  • You can check any stock by typing its ticker name into Google. If you search for GOOG, it will check the stock prices for Google.
  • If you are on the Google search page and need to alter your query, simply press / to get back to the search box; this saves time and you don’t have to scroll up to find your way back to the search box. The cursor will be positioned at the end of the existing query and the suggestion list will drop down in case you want to make a fast selection.
  • If you have done a search and want to quickly get back to the search box because you want to search something different, on the desktop after you have finished your search, just press / to get back to the search box.

These quick commands can help you take a web search which would usually be multiple clicks and condense it into a single search. For information that you search for regularly, this can be very helpful.

18. Add search shortcuts to browser address bar

Save yourself precious time when searching by creating a short keyword for bits of text which you search for regularly. For example, if you search for content on Times often, instead of typing site:nytimes.com every time, you can just type nyt in your browser’s address bar, add your search terms, and get results right away.

19. Move Multiple Tabs Simultaneously

Google has introduced improvements in tab management with features such as groups or quick search. Because many users tend to have a number of open pages in a single window, these improvements are helpful. If you want to manage several active tabs simultaneously, hold down the Control key and select all the tabs you want to move, then drag the group to the window or area of your choice.

20. Filter search results for recipes

If you have dietary restrictions, you can use the search tools to filter recipes for your favourite foods based on ingredients, calories and cooking time.

21. Search images using images

If you come across a familiar image and want to know where it came from, save the image, and then search for it on Google Images (with the camera button), this will allow you to see similar images on the web.

22. Compare two or more things using “vs” between the keywords.

If you want to determine whether eating one thing is healthier than eating something else, “vs” will let you compare the two.

23. Keep it simple

Google Search has had a lot of improvements over the years to fill in the context for you. If you try to search for things too specifically, then you’re not putting those improvements to good use. Try using simple wording for your searches; Google will usually know what you’re getting at. As the old saying goes, “less is more.”

How To Leverage Your Customers To Grow Your Business

How To Leverage Your Customers To Grow Your Business

Many companies have found themselves in a bit of an economic rut during the pandemic. This challenge has only increased the need to scale your resources to generate attention and stay afloat. You may not have millions of dollars lying around, so what cost-effective strategies can you use to grow your business? Well, a great place to start is with your customers. Customers have proven to be a formidable force in spreading the word about a company. 

Ask clients for referrals

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Satisfied clients will be more than happy to recommend you to their friends and family. It is ok to ask your customers to leave positive reviews on your website or Yelp. The reason is that people hold their friends’ and family’s opinions in high regard and are more likely to purchase from businesses recommended to them. Personal recommendations from family, friends, or coworkers are a trusted source of information for many buyers, with 84% saying they believe these suggestions entirely or somewhat. According to a study, nearly 77% of purchasers said they would buy a new product recommended by friends or family.

See if the clients want to upgrade

Before you go ahead and launch a new product or upgrade, ask if your customers want it and are willing to purchase it. If you’ve recently updated your service, you can set up recurring billing to relieve your customers of the burden of paying or subscribing all over again. Not only will you get a steady flow of cash, but you can make revenue projections and budget accordingly. Concentrate on the clients that enjoy what you have to offer and are enthusiastic about working with you.

Loyalty program

Loyalty programs are brilliant ways to leverage your customers to build your business. Aside from boosting revenues and many more, loyalty programs can also bring in new clients. Offering discounts and rewards to people who sign up for your email list or purchase items can attract new customers and please your existing ones. Clients are attracted to straightforward programs and even juicier incentives, so be creative in your approach. 

Social media

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Encourage your customers to publicize your company on their social media accounts. Take it up a notch by creating a hashtag for your company to track posts and see what others are saying about it. Also, be genuine in your interactions with clients; people can sense a fake person from a mile away on social media. Leave thoughtful comments on their post or feature them on your social media accounts. Your aim should be to build a loyal customer base and not just gain followers on social media. It’s a win-win situation. Your clients will receive a reward in exchange for promoting your business to their friends and family.

Leveraged growth has always been feasible, but most organizations have barely managed to utilize their resources to build their businesses. Luckily, the advent of social media has helped companies to interact with customers on a much deeper level. Customers rule in the marketing space, and you should get in on the action. One inexpensive way is to take advantage of your customers’ experiences to raise brand awareness and engage new prospects and leads. 

4 Best Emerging Trends to Give Your Business an Edge

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Recently, markets and industries have undergone monumental and dynamic changes. This includes omnichannel marketing, adoption of analytics, and uber targeting. And when the COVID-19 pandemic happened, it acted as an intensifier and accelerant. 

The markets are volatile, and the future of businesses is uncertain. But there are emerging trends that can scale your business to the global market. 

They include: 

E-commerce 

E-commerce has been great, but the coronavirus pandemic accelerated its growth. In May 2020, global e-commerce sales reached a high of $82.5 billion, a 77% increase from 2019. E-commerce has lower running costs since you don’t pay for a physical store. 

E-commerce sites offer more promotions and discounts, making the price of commodities lower than traditional brick-and-mortar store prices. Consumers can easily order goods from the comfort of their homes.  

As a business owner, going online eliminates the need to employ more staff members. Marketing your business using social media platforms and Google Ads is much cost-effective than the offline advertisement. 

Selling online gives you access to customer data, which is inaccessible through traditional stores. You can get the client’s name, phone number, email address, demographic data, and consumer behavior. 

The internet opens your business to different niche audiences worldwide. This will boost your sales and increase revenue. Selling online means your business is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, throughout the year. 

Automation ensures the sale process is constantly flowing and clients can buy at any time, any day. 

Tap Into Blockchain 

In most cases, blockchain is associated with Bitcoin. Undeniably, Bitcoin introduced the world to blockchain technology. However, this is just one of the blockchain applications.

Blockchain technology has various applications, such as banking, mining, education, entertainment, and automotive.  There are also blockchain solutions to improve logistics and transport. With blockchain technology, the data cannot be deleted or altered. 

Blockchain can disrupt the existing business models and drive operational efficiencies. 

Contactless Payment Options

The social implications of Covid-19 limit in-person contacts. This has led to widespread contactless payment options. To put it in simple perspective, cashless payments have increased since the pandemic started. 

This mode of payment is faster and convenient than traditional cash transactions. Speedier transactions keep consumers happy, which may make them buy more. Going cashless will reduce hefty queues, especially during peak times. 

Mobile and contactless payments are convenient for clients. It eliminates the need for clients to find ATMs or head to bank halls for cash withdrawal. 

Remote Work on the Rise 

Both large and small businesses have shifted from a 9-5 pm working routine to a full-time remote work arrangement. Depending on your business, you can consider the remote work option. It’s convenient, cost-effective, and easy to operate. 

Remote work adoption comes with flexibility, which increases the morale of employees. With lower operating costs, the business will realize more revenue. 

The Bottom Line

The adoption of the best technology will give your business an edge in a competitive world. Newer concepts, technologies, and personalized approaches are meant to build better and solid relationships with clients. These trends enable businesses to focus on giving employees more flexibility and empowerment. 

Tips To Boost Your Customer Service Ratings

Did you know that over 90% of consumers now check online reviews before making a purchase or contacting a business? If you run a company and you’re looking to boost your customer service ratings, this guide is packed with ingenious ideas. 

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Manage expectations

One of the main reasons customers mark businesses down is because they fail to match the client’s expectations. When you provide a service for customers or you sell products, it’s beneficial to manage expectations and to ensure that you communicate clearly and make promises you know you can deliver on. If you are offering next-day delivery, personalization or an emergency 24-hour call out service, for example, make sure you have the means to follow through. If you run out of stock, you don’t have the necessary logistics contracts in place to provide rapid delivery, or you don’t have sufficient staff to tend to urgent requests, there is a risk of letting customers down. Always aim to exceed customer expectations. 

Work with reliable suppliers and outsourcing partners

Many businesses depend on other companies or suppliers and distributors to provide the best possible service for their clients. Whether you run a cafe, a store, an organic farm, a construction business or a healthcare practice, it’s essential to make sure that you choose reputable, reliable suppliers and partners. From food products and gas oil to medical supplies and building materials, it’s crucial to have a stable, dependable supply chain in place. If you plan to outsource, it’s also essential to research agencies and companies thoroughly and to take your time to find the most suitable partners. You want partnerships to enhance your reputation and improve the service you provide. 

Use feedback

Customer feedback carries a lot of weight in 2021. Positive reviews can help you attract new customers but both good and bad comments can help you improve your business, address issues and make your brand more appealing to customers. Use feedback, listen to ideas and try to tackle any problems or complaints that arise promptly. Read comments and invite your customers to offer suggestions. This can provide a valuable insight into what your customers want and how they think you could take your business to the next level. 

Engage and communicate

Technology affords incredible opportunities for businesses to engage and interact with customers. As a business owner, you can build strong relationships, improve lead conversion rates and boost client retention through communication and customer support. Use personalized emails, social media and your website to get to know your clients, to share news and updates and to collect ideas and feedback. Ensure that your customers can contact you if they have questions or concerns, and provide a responsive service. Live chat is an excellent addition to your website and social media instant messaging can also facilitate open communication outside of normal working hours.  

Customer service is essential in an age where people are more likely to share reviews and recommendations than ever before. To boost your ratings, take these tips on board today. 

4 Guaranteed Ways To Build Up Business Leads

Are you struggling to build up your leads numbers and generate new leads in your business model? There could be a few things that might be going wrong here so let’s dive into some of the best ways that you will be able to build up more business leads. 

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Think About Your SEO Campaign

First, you need to make sure that you are hitting the right boxes with your SEO strategy. It’s important that you don’t end up in a situation where you’re going to struggle because your SEO isn’t getting the level of traffic you need. The more traffic you have, the more chances that you’ll be given to get those leads for your business. If you speak to an SEO specialist, they will help you understand the right steps to take with your marketing campaign. This should include off-page and on-page SEO tactics for your company. 

Use The Right CTAs

Once you have managed to get users to your site, you then need to make sure that they engage with your business. Often this is the case of leading your customers down the right path and that can be quite difficult to do, though certainly not impossible. You just need to make sure that you are using the right CTAs. There’s a certain art to creating calls to action that customers and users want to follow. We recommend that you use A-B testing to find out which CTAs are more effective. Remember, even small changes can matter here such as the color of the font that you are using. 

Getting Active On Social Media

You might also want to consider the best ways that you can use social media to your advantage as part of your business model when you are building leads. For instance, you could decide to reach out to influencers. Influencers have more power than you realize and it could help ensure that your company can reach the heights you hoped for. You just need to find the right influencer that will fit with your business brand and your own individual goals. 

Use Old Tactics

Finally, you should think about using older marketing and promotional tactics that you might have dismissed. Some examples could be email marketing. You have probably heard that the open rate for emails and specifically marketing emails is quite low. While this is certainly the case, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to see the results that you hoped for here. If you want to hit the right mark, you need to ensure that your email marketing tactics are personal and designed to reach the individual rather than a specific target group. That way you will increase the chance of them engaging. 

We hope this helps you understand some of the best ways that you can build up your lead numbers in your business. The more leads that you generate, the greater the number of chances you have to make the right sale which is always going to be fantastic for the future longevity of your company

How to Boost Profits for Your E-Commerce Store

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Every commercial business has one overriding aim, and that is to make money. As much as you love being an entrepreneur, the chances are you don’t want to do it for free. As well as covering your running costs, you also want to see a return on the time, effort, and hard work you put into your e-commerce business. There is plenty of money to be made online, but you need to increase your profit margin to earn your share. Here are some ideas to help you begin boosting profits for your e-commerce store:

Analyze Your Sales

Closely monitoring your sales and interpreting sales data play a vital role in boosting profits. Establishing which products are your biggest sellers and working out the profit margin will provide valuable insights. You may be able to buy these best-selling products in bulk and reduce the wholesale price you pay, which will elevate your profits further. Carrying out an inventory will also help you establish which products are not selling; you can then decide whether to reduce them and sell them off to claw back some cash and reclaim storage space in your warehouse. Selling these items off will help free up extra space to order more profitable products you know will sell well and boost your bottom line. 

It can be tempting to buy up items you know will be popular right now but are just a passing trend. If you think you can accurately predict demand, this could provide a great return. But, if you do not judge it right, you could be left with a warehouse full of surplus stock once the trend has passed.

Cut Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping goods to customers can be a drain on your business. One option is to pass this cost onto your customers, but this could result in lost sales and complaints. A better option is to look for alternative options that save you money on your shipping while still offering a reliable and prompt delivery service. Looking for affordable international UPS shipping prices should help you reduce your delivery costs and maintain fast and efficient shipping of your goods to customers. 

Perfect Your Promotions

Increased sales mean a bigger profit, which is why promoting your business in the best way is so vital. There are many methods to boost your sales, and if you measure your results carefully, you should be able to establish which ones are most effective. Offering discounts to customers on their next order is a great way to keep them buying more from you and becoming loyal customers. Sharing new products on social media can be an excellent opportunity to attract interest in your site and more visitors. Add-on sales are also a helpful way to increase the value of each transaction. ‘You may also like’ suggestions are a great way to encourage add-on sales, as are product bundles. It is surprising how small changes such as these can make a big difference to your profits.

What Not To Sell On Your eCommerce Site

It’s easier than ever to start an online eCommerce store, especially with Prestashop development experts who can create the site for you or at least give you plenty of information and advice about how you should do it. However, just because you can open up an online store, that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and sell whatever you want to. Some items are just not worth the trouble, and some are never going to be sold in the numbers you need to make this a viable business. 

Finding the right products for your eCommerce store is crucial, but when you’re looking for the right products, it’s vital to stay away from the bad ones, even if they look tempting and you think they might be popular. Remember, this is your business, and you must run it correctly to stand a chance of doing well. The wrong products are not going to help you do that. With that in mind, here are some products you shouldn’t sell on your eCommerce site. 

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Counterfeit Goods 

We understand that counterfeit (fake) goods might look like a good business idea. They are cheap to buy, you can make a good profit, and people want to buy them. Unfortunately, not only is selling counterfeit goods against the law, but it’s also bad for business. 

If you’re upfront about the fact that you’re selling fakes, the authorities will soon come down hard on you, and you could lose everything you’ve built up until that point. If you’re not honest about how legitimate the products are, you’ll get in trouble with your customers, especially if they’re paying high prices. Your reputation will plummet, and again, you could lose it all. It’s just not worth it for the small reward you could gain. 

Age-Restricted Items 

As you delve deeper into the different rules and laws in place around online sales, you’ll discover that a lot of items are age-restricted. In other words, you have to be of a certain age to buy them, and as a seller, you need to see age verification before you can safely sell. Some of the products that are included in this are alcohol and knives. 

In a physical store, age verification is hard enough, but on an eCommerce site, when it amounts to someone telling you their age and you having to take their word for it, it’s impossible. The challenge is not one many new entrepreneurs want to think about because the penalties for selling age-restricted items to underage buyers are large fines and the closure of your business. 

Niche Items 

You can set up an online store to sell almost anything, but just because you have a store, does that mean people will buy from it? In the case of niche items, you might find that there just aren’t enough people interested in what you are selling to make a difference.

In general, niche items are a good idea since they will ensure your site is unique, and those who want to buy will come to you. However, if the niche is too small, then the profits will be small too, and even if you’re making sales, it will never be enough to make your site a viable business. 

Four Great Ways To Get To Know Your Customers

Every single business out there assumes that they know their customers. The thing is, they may be familiar with the image that they portray and the general opinion from customers, but they don’t truly KNOW their customers well. If you want to be the sort of business that learns what’s meaningful to its customers, you are going to be in better stead with the people that you know.

Finding out who your customers really are is important and if you are already implementing techniques like KYC checks, you are already halfway there. Your customers are going to have different personalities and identities, and as a business owner, you need to get to know these identities and understand what you could be offering to people. When it comes down to it, if you don’t know who your customers are, you’re going to struggle to be able to offer them anything. With this in mind, here are four great ways that you can start getting to know your customers better.

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  • Collaborate. You are in a unique position as a business owner. You can learn about your customers in all kinds of ways but one of the best is in your collaboration with them. The more you work together, the better you can immerse your clients in your creative process. It may well work for you to do this, and it will certainly help you to build up a rapport with your customers that can help you to sell new ideas. You can give your customers a slice of ownership in your business processes, too, as they will want to work with you to help you to understand what they need from you.
  • Social Media. You need to be on social media as a business if you want to enable your customers to see you and join in the conversation with you about what you need. There are plenty of firms out there that won’t use the information that is in the palm of their hands, but you can get so much from your customers when you are on social media. Don’t just stick to Facebook, either. You need to get onto a range of social media sites so that you can maintain relationships and a strong social media profile. These can empower you to do more with your customers.
  • Ask. The best way to get to know your customers is to simply ask for feedback and get to know what they want from you. You have to be bold and ask your customers what they want from you and then you can work to deliver it. It’s better to be direct and know that you are getting the right information from the people who are paying for your service.
  • Serve. Lastly, you need to serve the needs of your customers. Once you know what they want, and you better understand their wants and needs, you can get on board with ensuring that you have gathered the right information to serve customer needs.

Writing Blogs That Generate Engagement & Impressions

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Blog writing has become an instrumental part of business for many companies around the world in recent years. Offering an excellent way to encourage search engines like Google to give your website more time in the sun, writing blogs has become a key marketing tactic over the last few years. Of course, though, writing blogs that generate engagement and impressions can be a challenge. To help you out with this, this article will be exploring some of the key elements of this process to help you to find success.

The Title & Description

The meta title and description that you add to your blog posts are crucial. This is the data that search engines use when they display your website, rather than simply taking content from the page. The best titles are those that ask questions and include numbers, while descriptions give you a chance to give your keywords some coverage. There are loads of tools around the web that can be used to make sure that you format these parts of your work correctly.

The Images & Videos

Once you have your metadata sorted out, it will be time to think about the images and videos you use in your posts. Images are particularly important, with many bloggers using the same pool of stock photos for this. Paying for stock photos can be a good way to stand out, but it will be even better if you’re able to take your own photos to show alongside your posts. Not only will this make you look more unique, but it will show your readers that you care about their experience on your blog.

The Content

It will take some time to nail the areas above, but this gives you a good window to practice writing. The content you create needs to be well-written, grammatically correct, and interesting to your readers. Most bloggers will pick set themes for this kind of work, ensuring that they can keep their content consistent and relevant to their readers. Of course, though, alongside this, it also makes sense to work hard to make sure that you are producing content that stands out from the crowd.

The Website

Finally, as the last part of this, it’s time to think about the website that you use to host your blog. Building a good website can be very difficult, with tools like Wix and Squarespace lacking the freedom that people want when they are going through this. Working with a professional website design company can be a great way to solve this problem, giving you the chance to make a truly stunning blog that will keep your readers coming back for more.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of writing blogs that are able to gain a strong audience. This process can be a challenge, but this is a big part of running a blog, and it is what makes your success all the more fun.

Don’t Allow Your IT To Let Down Your Business

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One thing that is true for practically every business in the world in the modern era is that there are few things more important to it than IT. We live in a digital world and a business that isn’t willing to embrace digital technology is one that is very unlikely to succeed. However it’s not just a matter of using IT in your business, you need to be sure that you’re using it properly and making the most of it. It’s incredibly common for a lot of businesses to be let down by their IT. So here are just a few ways that you can make sure that doesn’t happen.

Strong infrastructure

Despite how important it is to the functionality of any business. IT infrastructure is something that can often go overlooked for one simple reason. That reason is that when it’s working, IT infrastructure is generally invisible. This is by design. Your IT infrastructure keeps your business moving along and a lot of the time it’s something people only really think about when it goes wrong. However, if that’s the case then you’re leaving your business vulnerable. You should make sure that you’re taking the time to manage your servers and connections so that you can be sure that they’re always functioning properly.

The right support

No matter the size of your business, there’s little doubt that IT can be incredibly complicated and that means that managing your IT is often something that you may struggle to do without some kind of support. Luckily, that support is out there. Getting support from companies that can help you in all of your IT essentials ensures that your business keeps functioning and that any problems can be dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible. The reality is that IT is something that is simply too complex for you to try and handle entirely on your own.

Employee training

The use of technology and IT in your business might be an amazing development but one thing that you should always remember is that technology is generally only as effective as the people using it. This means that you have to be sure that you’re providing all of your employees with all of the training that they need to make the most of the IT in your business. This includes everything from the use of proprietary software to creating a culture of online and digital security on every level of your business from top to bottom.

The truth is that IT is just one aspect of your business but there’s no doubt that it’s a central pillar in any business that wants to succeed in the modern world. Without a strong IT foundation holding up your business, it’s going to be a whole lot harder to make sure that all of the other elements of it are functioning the way that they should. Getting your IT right is the first step to making sure that your business is a genuine success.

Pandemic-Proof Your Business’ Cybersecurity

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Cybersecurity remains a constant threat to businesses, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on cyber threats. As companies were forced to modify their operations swiftly in response to the coronavirus outbreak, hackers found new opportunities to gain access to in-house systems and servers. As a result, a significant number of businesses have been the victims of cyberattacks in recent months and many may still be unaware that they’ve been affected. 

As threats evolve and emerge, it’s vital that businesses implement new security protocols to combat them. This means staying up to date with the latest cyber threats and accessing advanced security measures to keep your data and systems secure. To get a head-start, take a look at these top tips to pandemic-proof your business’ cybersecurity now:

1. Identify Cloud Vulnerabilities

In response to the global pandemic, millions of businesses introduced remote working arrangements. To achieve this, a significant number of firms made hasty transitions to the cloud, often accelerating their planned transition phase to respond to environmental demands. Although cloud computing offers many business advantages, it’s vital that business owners recognize the vulnerabilities that are present. 

Providing effective security protocols are enacted, the cloud can be a secure place to host platforms and store data. However, businesses will need to decide which security measures are right for them and ensure that they’re introduced companywide. 

2. Offer Secure Digital Services

Increasing demand for online services and digital customer care is forcing businesses to consider new initiatives and experiences. Omnichannel customer service is increasingly popular as users expect a seamless, cross-device, and cross-platform experience, for example. 

Businesses will need to increase their range of digital services in order to meet the demands of their target audience, but they’ll need to do with cybersecurity in mind. By providing IT staff with training opportunities, such as the ITIL certification, or working with third-party, specialist IT service providers, companies can ensure that they’ve got the expertise required to develop effective cybersecurity strategies. In addition to this, companies will be able to implement new digital services in a way that complements their existing online presence. 

3. Educate Your Staff

Human error remains a major issue in relation to cybersecurity breaches and the increasing use of social engineering means that many firms remain vulnerable due to a lack of awareness amongst staff. Your employees are a critical line of defense when it comes to protecting your organization from cybersecurity threats, so don’t overlook the role they play. 

By educating staff about the different threats they’ll encounter and teaching them how to spot the signs of an imminent attack, you can ensure that they’re able to respond appropriately when a cyberattack looms. As a result, you can safeguard your systems and your data and mitigate an attack before it takes place.

Making Cybersecurity a Top Priority

Cybersecurity should always be a critical issue for businesses across all sectors. As we continue to adjust to a ‘new normal’ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that companies make cybersecurity a top priority. 

Tips When Using Social Media For Advertising Your Business

Social media has fast become a key place for many businesses to build on their success. Spreading the word and making sure more people are hearing your company’s name and seeing you more often is key. That’s why you should be taking full advantage of what these platforms can offer you. With that in mind, here are some tips when using social media for advertising your business.

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Know Your Target Audience

Before you even consider investing money into advertising your brand, it’s important to know who your audience is. If you can’t list off a page of detailed information about who your customers are, then you’ll want to increase your knowledge where possible. Your target audience is going to be those individuals that will hopefully see your advertisement or promotional content via your social media handles. 

It’s important to remember that unless you have a very niche product or service, your target audience might not be all the same. You may have pockets of audiences that are completely different or only have a few similarities with other customers. It’s important to know the in’s and out’s of your audience so that you are spending your money correctly and not wasting it by it hitting the wrong people.

Learn More About ROI

Return on investment is something to learn more about because what you spend on advertising needs to be worth it when it comes to those conversion rates. What is a CTA? It’s essentially the percentage of visitors to your website that will then convert to sales or actions you’ve set. So when you come to organize these paid advertisements, it’s good to see what social media platforms have better conversion rates for your business. There’s no point in wasting money on one platform if it’s just not working.

Set A Budget

A budget is an important thing to have in place so that you are getting the most out of your money but not spending so much that it hinders your business stability. Spending money on advertising is certainly necessary to improve exposure for the business and to attract customers both old and new, but it’s not everything. Make sure you consider what platforms need hitting and how much things will cost on estimation. 

Always try to overbudget where you can so that if you do end up spending less, it’ll at least feel like you’ve made a saving. Budgeting is especially important for new businesses or start-ups where the cash flow might not be as big as other companies.

Find What Works

When advertising on social media, not everything will work out the way you’d hope it would. Even those who have consistently done paid advertising online will have one or two campaigns that might not perform as well as they’d hoped. With that being said, find out what works for your business and don’t spread your advertising too thinly.

Social media is a great way of advertising so use these tips to make sure your business benefits from the online world.

Improve Your Online Security This Week

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Running an online business is difficult at the best of times; but during a global pandemic we have to up the ante when it comes to our digital presence and capabilities. From setting up your office at home to employing people remotely – there are many elements to consider and ways to make your business succeed during these times. 

Today we want to talk about some of the ways you can improve your online security this year even at home and ensure that your online business prevails. 

Install dedicated servers 

The first thing to consider when running a business at home and remotely is to have dedicated servers for your operations. Servers can be overloaded very easily with a lot of activity and when you have people accessing it from many different locations it can be difficult for it to cope. Install dedicated servers for your business and also ensure that your servers are protected and private to those in your business. Protect your assets and data and keep everything in one secure place. 

Choose better passwords 

One of the most important things you need to do as a small business owner is force your workers to choose strong passwords. There should be no names, birthdays, pet names or anything that can be easily guessed by hackers. Use a service such as LastPass to generate random passwords with lots of letters and numbers as well as special characters and make sure everyone has their own LastPass account where their details are stored securely. You can allow access to certain people in the business and ensure that only those who need passwords will have access to them. 

Choose authority levels 

As well as having authority levels with passwords for accounts, you can also have levels of access for documents and files such as accounting or employee details. These can be password protected and accessed only by those who NEED access. This is an essential thing to do because if you allow access to all company files for everyone who works for you, people could use this as a way to get to their coworkers and it can cause some serious problems. 

Reduce application usage 

Applications such as email, account management, CMS, CRM, photo editing and more are great for business. However, when opening yourself up to hackers these can all be dangerous as they put your information in places where they can be accessed. For example if Adobe was hacked and account details were stolen; your bank details could be taken and used. It is important to only sign up to applications you need, and once you finish using one – delete your account and details. 

Keep everything locked 

It is important to always lock your computer when you walk away from your desk. This is a practice that can be done in the office as well as at home to avoid people getting access to information they shouldn’t. 

Great tips for tabs

Sick and tired of fighting with all the tabs you need open? This great article has great tips to get tabs under control for Edge, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

Internet Marketing Tip: Use (more) videos

Video is not just an engaging content format that’s easy for people to ‘digest’, it’s (now) also easy for you to post on multiple platforms. It’s an effective marketing strategy to build trust by showcasing your personality and expertise and if you can’t create them, leverage existing content to achieve the same outcome as noted (and done) below.

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • Video streaming now accounts for 80% of all Internet traffic.
  • Over 1 billion people use YouTube (Which is ⅓ of all Internet users) 
  • Just including the word ‘video’ in an email subject line, the click-through rate increases by 13%. (Mentioning it’s ‘short’ duration further improves CTR)
  • Research claims video viewers retain 95% of a message compared to 10% when reading text on a webpage.

4 ways video marketing can help you grow your business

1. Improves your all-important SEO ‘ranking’ with Google

Google loves video. A website is 50+ times more likely to be ranked on page 1 of Google if it includes a video. This is because video engages visitors so they are more likely to stay on your site longer, at least the duration of the video. 

2. Establishes trust and builds confidence

Trust is key for online success. Video is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with clients on a more emotional and personal level, this is especially true if you are the primary presenter, but this is not a must IF you collate and curate content that is valuable to your audience.

3. Showcases your unique selling proposition (USP) 

When you decide to post a video, you’re showing your audience who you are and why they should see you as an expert or source of knowledge. Use it wisely.

4. Increases engagement 

Videos generate 12 times more engagement than the combination of text and static images. People love sharing, liking and commenting on good videos because it reflects well on them. It’s win-win-win.

4 examples of the types of videos you can create or leverage 

  1. How-to explainer videos 


2. Demonstrations 


3. Tips and tutorials 


4. Live videos 

This one is longer than usual, but captivating because it’s LIVE and UNEDITED.

Tips for leveraging effective marketing videos 

Before creating or leveraging an existing video, ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Who is the video for (ideally, create a Persona)? 
  • Where are you posting it? 
  • How long should it be? 
  • What is the value for the viewer?
  • Does it add to the conversation you’re having with that audience/persona?

Important video characteristics that make a difference:

– Subtitles: Many people watch videos without sound, subtitles make for a more engaging experience and makes it easier to follow, especially for non-native language viewers.
– Length: Studies show the optimal length for a marketing video is from 60 seconds on Instagram to 2 minutes on Facebook and YouTube.
– The thumbnail: Thumbnails (the still image on the video before it plays) helps entice people to press play and watch – it should give insights about the video content. So make sure you use big, bright and clear fonts or imagery that catches the eye.

Why Is Data Classification Important?

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Data classification is vital for all businesses, especially as we hold more information than ever before, and businesses increasingly open their data networks to external collaborators. Below, we take a look at the different reasons why this is a must for data protection purposes.

What is data classification?

Data classification is a procedure that involves categorising data assets based on how sensitive they are. For example, some categories you may implement are as follows: top secret, regulatory data, highly confidential, public, internal, and such like. By classifying data, both your workforce and you will know how to protect it. You will know the measures to put in place, and how the data in question should be handled. This will reduce the chance of a data breach occurring.

It makes you aware of what the next steps should be with that piece of data

Data classification is imperative because you then know how the data should be handled from a security standpoint. For example, you know whether the data in question needs to have strict access control settings applied, or whether the data is not really confidential, and therefore, does not require protection. This does not only apply to online data either; you may need to invest in document shredding or store documents in a secure place, whereas other documents may not require this level of security and protection.

Do you know where all of your data is right now?
You should.

After all, can you honestly say that you know where all of your data is stored at present? Any data that cannot be accounted for is opening up your business to the risk of a breach, and the statistics regarding data breaches make grim reading to say the least. For effective data protection, classification is a must.

You can run your firm more effectively and you will know who is accountable for any issues

Data classification is also beneficial because it ensures that your employees are accountable for their actions and that they are actively involved in protecting your firm.

Although data classification may seem like an extra hassle and expense, it can actually lower costs at your company

Other benefits include reduced expenditure in ensuring adequate information security, as well as more efficient business activities. Data classification also forms the basis for effective protection techniques, including incident response plans and identity access management. It basically establishes the foundations for everything you do to protect your firm’s data.

As you can see, the need for data classification is evident. No matter what type of business you run – no matter the industry you operate in or the size of your company – you will handle data, and you need to make sure you classify it appropriately in order to protect it. If you are not sure about how to go about this yourself, there are businesses that specialize in data classification, so there is help available should you need it.

Top Tips to Boost Your Conversion Rates

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Online retail has been going from strength to strength for many years now, while, unfortunately, bricks and mortar stores are finding business increasingly challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen internet sales skyrocket as shoppers have turned to e-commerce to purchase goods while the stores were closed. It is plain to see why online shopping continues to grow in popularity when you can pick from millions of products worldwide and have them delivered directly to your door.

Now is the time for e-commerce stores to enjoy a boost in success. Hopefully, you will be experiencing an increased demand for your products and an uptick in sales on your website. If this isn’t the case, and your conversion rates are not as healthy as you would like, why not try to implement some changes to capitalize on the increased demand for online shopping?

Website Health Check

Before you start to introduce changes, it is helpful to assess where you stand right now. To ensure that your website changes provide you with a healthy return on your investment, you need to know the breakdown of vital stats such as the number of page visits your site receives and, of course, the conversion rate. Once you know this information, you will be able to figure out the areas that need the most improvement.

SEO

Before you even begin to think about conversion rates, you need to attract a healthy number of visitors to your website. Effective SEO is the tool that will help to increase your web presence by boosting your search engine rankings and getting your business seen by your potential customers. SEO requires specialist knowledge to achieve results, so hiring an SEO expert such as PK Seo is a wise idea to ensure that your business gets noticed and for its rankings to be improved.

Product Descriptions

While shopping online is super convenient and offers an excellent range of products, there is one distinct disadvantage. When you shop online, you cannot physically hold the products and examine them in person. To overcome this issue, you will need to ensure that your product descriptions and product imagery are as straightforward as possible and contain all the relevant specifications. Having a comprehensive product description and high-quality photos can play a crucial role in helping to convert customers.

Detailed Delivery Information

Providing clear, but detailed delivery information is needed to make it as simple as possible for customers to buy from you. Having delivery and returns information readily available on your website provides potential customers with the reassurance that they can buy with confidence from your store with no nasty surprises such as expensive delivery charges.

Chat Bots

Chat bots are becoming increasingly popular and can offer a highly effective method of increasing conversion. A chat bot can help to reduce the number of abandoned baskets your company has by providing website visitors assistance before they navigate away from your site. This can help to increase sales and give your conversion rates a healthy boost.

Social Media Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

Social media is, undeniably, the strongest collection of platforms when it comes to marketing online. More people are connected to at least one social media account than ever before and it offers businesses an unparalleled level of direct access. However, every social media platform is a multi-faceted discipline, meaning that marketing on them incorrectly is actually fairly easy. For that reason, we’re going to look at some of the mistakes you want to avoid as best as possible.

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Posting too much, too often

There is some benefit to making sure that you’re posting regularly. A feed that updates rarely does not leave a good image for customers who expect businesses to be there to respond to their needs at almost any time of the day. Furthermore, there is no denying that a higher frequency of posts means that your account is more likely to be seen throughout the day. However, if you’re aiming for quantity over quality, you are going to start annoying your audience members more than anything else. Try to space out your posts using social media scheduling tools to ensure that you’re posting often enough but not too often and that your posts are more evenly spaced out to times that they’re more likely to be seen.

Posting text only

Text posts can help you deliver a lot of information in an effective way, but a feed that is only text will fail to engage users as regularly as they should. There is plenty of data to support the fact that images and videos tend to get more clicks and engagements on average. Aside from using relevant imagery and posting interesting videos, you can use infographic generation tools to turn your written content into a more visually elaborate and generally interesting form.

Only posting your own posts

The “social” part of social media is an important distinction that separates it from advertising and other direct marketing methods. It’s not a one-way channel, it’s a communal experience. As such, there is a lot of goodwill to be had by sharing posts from both your own community as well as other adjacent brands. Similarly, there is a lot of bad will to be fostered by having a feed that doesn’t offer their platform to their community now and then. Make sure to curate content from other users, as well as to share relevant posts from members of your own audience to benefit from more positive social proof.

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Using the wrong social media platforms

There is a convincing case to be made for the benefits of all of the major social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, and so on. Each of them may be able to offer some value to your business, but trying to manage all of them is simply not possible for the majority of businesses. As such, you need to prioritize and decide which platforms are most valuable to you. For instance, Facebook and Twitter have the largest userbases, meaning that most businesses will want a presence on at least one of them. However, others fit more niche needs, such as how LinkedIn tends to better suit business 2 business companies who are looking to speak to an audience of professionals, while the visual nature of Instagram makes it a better fit for lifestyle products that sell on aesthetic, like fashion and home businesses.

Being unfamiliar with your platform

Aside from using the wrong platform, there are also inherent risks to using platforms that you don’t know how to leverage effectively. You can learn to use any social media platform as an effective marketing tool, of course. However, if you want to hit the ground running and start building an effective marketing strategy, choosing one that you’re unfamiliar with can hold you back. Does this mean you should not use the platforms best suited to your business simply because you’re not familiar with them, however? No. With the help of teams like a Facebook marketing agency, you can ensure that you’re still making great use of a platform, even if you don’t know how to use it well. By watching and learning, you can develop the skills to better use those platforms on your own, too.

Not making use of your analytics

Are you blindly posting into the aether, hoping that your posts will stick without any ability to intuit what might or might not be successful? If so, why? Practically every social media channel available (or at least those that businesses most commonly use) provide a lot of data. Web-users produce an immense amount of data every minute. A lot of this data, at least the most relevant data, is collected and collated through analytics tools that come free with most social media accounts. These analytics can help you watch not only trends and important marketing metrics over time, but the performance of the individual posts that you make, allowing you to better see what does and does not work for your audience.

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Never boosting your posts

The cost-effectiveness of social media is one of its undeniable strengths. Most platforms are thoroughly free to use, create a profile, and post on. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no benefit to occasionally spending a little money on your own social media presence. If you have a post that is doing very well and generating a lot of traffic towards your website or helping more customers convert, then you can pay to boost it, ensuring that it appears more widely to users outside your own page. You can use targeting functions to ensure that it reaches those most relevant to your business, as well. If you never boost your posts, you could miss a big opportunity to reach even more people.

Complete mastery of social media might be nigh-impossible for the average business owner, but you can at least learn to avoid some of the biggest mistakes made by newcomers to the field and ensure that your efforts are more likely to pay-off right from the get-go.

Keeping your brand in the forefront of people’s minds

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The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with most businesses. The pandemic has posed countless challenges and it can feel exhausting trying to overcome each one as it’s presented to you. Now, running a business has never been easy. But right now, it can feel like you’re constantly treading water to stay afloat. The main two problems that most businesses are facing is that people either don’t have the money to spend with their brand (through job loss, reduced working hours or reduced salaries) or simply don’t want to spend money on any non essential goods (as people want to save in case they lose their jobs, face reduced hours or have to agree to reduced salaries). Right now, you may not be able to generate significant sales and profit, no matter how hard you market your brand. But this doesn’t mean that you simply put your business on hold for the foreseeable future. Instead, you’re going to have to maintain customer interest and customer relationships so that people will be the first in line to buy from you when they do experience better financial times. Brand awareness and brand engagement are going to prove key to your business’ success over the upcoming months. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your company in the back of people’s minds until the time is right!

Entice Sales

Of course, you may need to generate some sales in order to create sufficient profit to keep afloat. To achieve this, you’re really going to have to entice consumers. This may include doing things that you wouldn’t usually. Significant sales tend to be the best way to get even reluctant people to part with their cash. Sure, this means you won’t make as much on your merchandise as usual. But it means you will generate something. Just make sure there’s still a sufficient profit margin to make it worth it!

Continue Sending Marketing Emails

You need to continue sending engaging content in your marketing emails. Marketing mails are literally designed to keep your brand in the back of consumers’ minds and are often successful at this. Rather than sales based mails, really focus on pure useful content. This will prevent people from being scared away by the concept of having to buy something and will encourage them to simply engage with your brand and see it in a positive light. Emails can be encouraging and direct people to your site’s blog. This way, you get people onto your site where they can then go on to browse other areas, but will feel like they’re doing so of their own accord, rather than being pushed straight to product pages.

Engage on Your Website

Have fun elements on your website that will keep people on your website. A Virtual photo booth is a good idea. People love taking pictures of themselves and editing them. The photobooth allows them to do this and can encourage them to share the pictures they take (with your branded logo added) with others, then encouraging others to visit your site too. Getting people engaging with your site makes it more likely that they will then take a look around your products and potentially make purchases. At the very least, it gets people to create positive associations with your brand, making them more likely to purchase with you in the future.

Maintain an Engaging Blog

As we’ve briefly highlighted earlier, you may want to direct people to your website’s blog. Blogs are extremely important nowadays. Not only can they help your site with SEO optimisation, but they can deliver genuinely useful content to your potential customers too! Make sure to fill your blog with regular, useful content. People may become regular readers, which will make visiting your page a part of their regular routine. They’ll enjoy your content, creating positive connections between your business and them in their mind. It also encourages them to browse your goods regularly. This can boost sales and see you generate more profits!

 

Of course, there are countless other things you can do to drive brand awareness and brand engagement. But hopefully, the above digital options can easily be carried out during these unprecedented times and can help to keep your brand in the back of customers’ minds when they’re unlikely to buy. This is all so important to keep in mind as we advance towards a recession – people having positive associations with your brand could really help your company to survive the upcoming months!

Tips to Take Your Ecommerce Business to the Next Level

When you put a lot of time, effort and money into building an ecommerce level, it’s understandable that you want it to be as successful as it can possibly be. Taking your site to the next level is certainly possible, and there are some things you can do to get there. That’s what we’re going to discuss today, so read on more to find out what you can do to put your ecommerce business in a better position than ever before.

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Use a Good Web Host

One of the first things your business should try to do is find a better web host. It’s impossible to take your ecommerce site to the next level of your website is constantly down as a result of bad hosting. It might cost a little more for a premium hosting service, but it’s most definitely worth it if you want to grow your website into something more and something that can’t be ignored.

Make the Site Searchable

The website should be fully searchable because people sometimes want to find very specific things and they’ll be frustrated searching through pages and pages of content. Make life easier for them by letting them search for the things they’re looking for. A simple search bar is pretty easy to add to your site but it’ll make a huge difference to the user experience.

Create Simple Menus

The menus system your site uses should also be as straightforward and simple as possible. Your aim should always be to make it easier for your customers to find what they’re looking for, and a simple menu system will be a huge part of that. Don’t create too many different categories that overcomplicate things because that’s when it all gets too messy.

Start Taking Advantage of SEO Techniques

Making the most of the most up to date SEO techniques will help your business massively when it comes to boosting traffic. SEO companies such as SEO Shark can help with this if it all seems a little too complicated to take on alone. Make the most of these options and start making your website rank higher on search engine results pagse. Doing so will help your ecommerce business to start growing in a more organic way.

Don’t Clutter Your Website

Finally, you should remember the importance of not cluttering up your website with a lot of unnecessary data. People don’t like using online stores that seem to be bursting at the seams. Instead, these days people prefer websites that are very clean and elegant, so that’s probably the kind of aesthetic you should be aiming for. It’ll make the site look so much better.

If you make the most of the ideas we’ve talked about here today, you’ll find it much easier to start taking your ecommerce business to a whole new level. It doesn’t have to involve anything too complicated. Simply adopting these changes and putting them in place will make a huge difference.