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First 5 Steps to Secure Your New Website

July 14, 2019

But, you should never roll out a personal or business website without properly securing it first. Not only is dealing with the fallout from being hacked a headache, as the owner of the website, you are responsible for the content on its pages as well as the mechanisms that people will use to interact with it.

If you plan to store user information, such as passwords or phone numbers, then it is critical that you safeguard that data appropriately. How critical? You could be subject to data breach fines under certain legislation.

Here are the five most important steps that you need to take to secure your new website.7/14/2019 10:00 am

1. Choose a reliable host.

In the early days of the World Wide Web, individuals and companies would obtain and maintain their own servers in a localized data center or office. The cloud computing movement radically shifted that model and the majority of websites are now hosted through a third-party provider.

Cloud computing reduces overhead costs and responsibilities for website owners, but it brings some security concerns along with it. Essentially, you have to trust an outside organization with the data on your website as well as with its overall stability and reliability.

If you choose the wrong cloud hosting provider, it could leave your website exposed to an array of different vulnerabilities. The provider could suffer a data breach or its entire data center could go down, in which case your website might lose critical information.

Not to scare you off of cloud computing, but it’s not risk-free.

2. Obtain an SSL certificate.

If you plan to transmit any sensitive user data on your web servers, then a secure sockets layers (SSL) certificate is a necessity. SSL is an encryption protocol that occurs at the browser level and …

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How to Use Conversational Interfaces to Build Websites of the Future

July 12, 2019

Have you ever wondered what the world’s first website looked like? Who created it and when? Well, the world’s first website was launched by Sir Tim Berners Lee in the year 1991. It was a simple webpage having some texts and hyperlinks. You can have a look at it by clicking on this link.

From that modest beginning back in 1991, we have come forward 27 years where some extraordinary transformations have taken place in the world of web design. Whether, it is the launch of the first browser in 1996 by Microsoft, or the introduction of CSS and Flash (both in 1996) and in the recent years, the need of responsive design, all played their role in the evolution of web design.

Now, we are moving into the future of web design and conversational interfaces will be the key that will power up modern mobile first websites.

What is conversation UI?

Conversation interface has been rightly referred to as the “UI of the future.” Global leaders like Google, Amazon and Apple are already developing smart websites that will handle customer queries using conversational interfaces.

In fact, a few years back Google developed a chatbot that could debate the meaning of life with users – its developers didn’t build it through code but used a machine-learning algorithm to study existing conversations – namely movie conversations to teach it to respond to queries from users contemplating the deeper meaning of life.

Conversation interfaces are platforms that have the power to mimic a conversation with a real human. This means, users can interact with a machine in the same language as though they are communicating with a human. This happens with the help of Natural Language Processing which allows the computers to understand, analyze and create meaning from the words entered …

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How To Implement SEO Tactics Before Your Website Launches

July 11, 2019

The key is in properly optimizing your website for search engine optimization so you can be sure your content gets the attention it deserves. When it comes to implementing SEO, there are a few key things you should do to get the best results and reach success, including:

  • Creating an optimized coming soon page

  • Optimizing for mobile users

  • Increasing site speed

  • Using long-tail keywords

  • Creating an XML sitemap

Here is more on the different ways you can use SEO to your advantage before even officially launching your website. 

Create an optimized coming soon page

Did you know it’s completely possible to build an email list and a loyal following before your website’s official launch? If more marketers knew and took advantage of this, they’d start way ahead of the game before ever making a sale.

If you can decide who your target market is and what interests them enough to hand over their valuable information, you’re already on your way to earning loyal visitors. With this information in hand, you’re able to create an optimized coming soon page that collects email addresses and other details you need to boost your lead generation and engage with your audience. 

Based on your niche and industry, add researched keywords to your coming soon page so Google can crawl your new website and make it easy for your target audience to find you. Use this opportunity to build your brand. To set the right tone, be sure to use the right images and visual content.

How exactly do you go about creating a coming soon page that people are excited to engage with? You could use a handy tool like SeedProd to be the face of your website so that every time someone visits, they see that your site is almost ready for the …

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What Digital Adoption Means for Business in 2019

July 11, 2019

It’s just as much a part of the world of business, but not all companies have fully embraced what digital adoption would entail. As a result, they might not only be leaving bigger profits on the table, they may also be doing a disservice to their customers. Digital adoption is more than just migrating away from the analog.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at how digital adoption is quickly making a name and presence for itself in the world of online business – and why and how businesses must start using it to their advantage in 2019 and beyond.

Beyond the basics of digital adoption

Let’s start with a fundamental definition. If you are not already familiar with the term “digital adoption,” you would be forgiven for thinking it simply means that a company has adopted digital tools as part of its day-to-day operations.

By the same accord, it’s perfectly understandable for the concept to be quickly dismissed, because practically every company has adopted some digital tools, of course. You’ve got a website with a contact form, the marketing team interacts with publishers via email, and you might be managing your projects in Asana.

But that’s not enough on its own. Entrepreneur defines digital adoption as “achieving a state in which people reach the capability to use digital tools to their fullest extent.”

Did you catch that last part? Until a company is in a position where both its employees and its customers are able to leverage the digital tools available to them “to their fullest extent,” the company has not achieved the ideal of digital adoption. While many organizations and brands use SaaS and automation to improve their daily workflow and processes, it’s likely that many of them are still not getting the most …

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How to Monetize Your Tech Knowledge

July 10, 2019

I bet you take that knowledge for granted. Technology experts seem to think that just because we know the ins and outs of deploying a virtual machine, installing and configuring software or writing some code.

It’s not true.

We are subject matter experts (SMEs), and the knowledge in our head is valuable. There are lots of people out there that would love to know what you know, and where there is demand, there can be a financial reward, but where do you start?

If you’ve been toiling away in your job your entire life and have never considered creating training content before, the task may seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Whom do I contact?

Write articles.

One of the easiest ways to monetize your knowledge is writing articles like this one. Writing isn’t difficult if you know how to explain yourself and write well. Start blogging to get used to writing. Ask for feedback on your writing from others and pay attention to how other authors write.

Once you’ve built up a portfolio of written content, you will then use this as your resume to potential clients.

Look for sites that publish tech content that you’re interested in and contact them. Some will pay you and some will not.

Compose an e-book.

It’s easier than ever to publish your own book. Although e-books entail a lot more writing than a 500- to 1,000-word article, they can be more financially lucrative because you’re selling copies.

Check out such sites as LeanPub that help authors publish e-books. I’ve personally published my Pester Book on LeanPub, and the rewards have been much more than I had expected.

Record videos.

You don’t have to be an expert writer to produce great content; screencast videos work well too. If you can speak intelligently about …

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How Data Analytics Impacts Small Businesses in 2019

July 9, 2019

  • Deep learning is helping small businesses enhance decision-making capabilities.

  • Machine learning is revolutionizing the way brands market to consumers. 

  • Dark data refers to information assets that companies collect, process or store, but fail to put to use. 

  • Data analytics provides SMBs with incredibly detailed insights into all aspects of operations

With many companies ramping up their digital transformation initiatives, there’s been a massive surge in the implementation of data analytics. Big data adoption increased from a mere 17% in 2015 to 59% in 2018 – a 42% increase in just three short years. 

Data analytics has a nearly-infinite number of uses and can help small businesses become smarter, more productive and more efficient. And when used correctly, it can create a noticeable competitive advantage, while boosting both conversions and revenue. 

Here are three data analytics trends that are having a major impact on small business in 2019. 

1. Deep learning

We generate a staggering 2.5 quintillion (that’s 18 zeroes) bytes of data every single day. Machines are becoming more and more adept at putting that action to use, with deep learning capabilities growing immensely in 2019. 

A subset of machine learning, deep learning utilizes artificial neural networks that learn from vast quantities of data in a similar manner to the functioning of the human brain. This helps machines solve highly-complex problems with incredible precision. As enterprise and cloud expert Bernard Marr says, “The more deep learning algorithms learn, the better they perform.” 

2019 marks a critical juncture where deep learning is helping small businesses to greatly enhance their decision-making capabilities and take operations to new levels. For example, chatbots are developing at an increasingly rapid rate. Through deep learning, they’re able to respond more intelligently to a growing list of questions and create helpful interactions with consumers. 

Deep learning …

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Twelve South’s HiRise Wireless is a super versatile wireless smartphone charger

Twelve South’s HiRise Wireless is a super versatile wireless smartphone charger

July 4, 2019

Wireless charging has been a wonderful addition to mainstream flagship smartphones including the iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy lineup and Google’s Pixel phones. But there hasn’t been a really great option for bringing the benefits of wireless charging with you on the road, while keeping your desktop setup tidy until now, with TwelveSouth’s recently released HiRise Wireless.

The HiRise Wireless builds on the good reputation of the existing HiRise line from TwelveSouth, which includes the Duet, a great combo charger for both iPhone and Apple Watch. The Wireless version, as implied by the name, includes wireless charging of up to 10W, which means you get the fastest cable-free charging rate available for devices that support Qi charging, including the iPhone X, XR and XS, as well as the Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy S10.

The HiRise is unique in that it provides a charging puck that can both mount in the frame (which has a nice weighted base to stay rock solid on your desk) and pop out to either provide a lie-flat wireless charger (which will work with the new wireless AirPods charging case, for instance) or pack away in a bag.

The upright angle the wireless charger provides when mounted in the frame is perfect for registering Face ID unlocks when used with an iPhone X or later, and positioned on your desk. That’s a great way to give yourself access to phone notifications without distracting too much from your desktop work. And the puck itself is a lot smaller than most wireless chargers, which isn’t idea for typical at-home charging, but which is terrific for stowing it in a gadget pouch.

The puck also has a rubberized ring bordering the charging pad to prevent your device from slipping around, and it works with a detachable USB-C to USB-A …

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Apple reportedly shifting to new keyboard design in 2019/2020 MacBooks

Apple reportedly shifting to new keyboard design in 2019/2020 MacBooks

July 4, 2019

Apple is set to replace the technology underlying the keyboards found in its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers, according to a new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac). Kuo is frequently accurate in his predictions, which are sourced from within Apple’s supply chain and tend to provide an early indication of forthcoming hardware changes.

In his latest report, Kuo says that the new keyboard designs coming in brand new MacBook Air models set to come out later this year, and new MacBook Pro models which he says won’t be available until 2020, will drop the so-called ‘butterfly’ mechanism design that is used in current-generation versions of both MacBooks. Instead, the new versions will employ ‘scissor switch’-based keyboards, which is what Apple used prior to introducing the ‘butterfly’ mechanism in 2015. Apple’s current standalone Magic Keyboard also still uses scissor switches.

The butterfly switch-based keyboards Apple has used in recent MacBooks have received consistent criticism from users, who report dropped keystrokes and repeated keystrokes, among other issues (I’ve experienced this myself personally on multiple MacBook Pro models since 2015). These can often be resolved using compressed air to blow away any debris under the keyboard, but sometime they require an actual replacement keyboard component from Apple itself.

Apple’s most recent MacBook Pro, introduced earlier this year, features a redesigned butterfly keyboard that employs “new materials” to help mitigate these issues, and it also recently introduced a free keyboard replacement program for MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro which extends to all MacBook models with butterfly-based keyboards. Still, if this report proves accurate, it looks like the company is implementing a more permanent hardware fix that would obviate the need for these other measures entirely.

As always, take any rumors about unreleased products from a third-party with a …

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Integrating Trello with a Database Backend

July 2, 2019

Trello works best for just-in-time work and is a fluid workflow system. When things are changing so quickly, especially in large environments, it’s important to store that data; a great way to do that is to integrate Trello with a database.


To narrow our scope a little bit, let’s first cover one way to integrate Trello with a database backend. I’m assuming that you already have a Trello account and a board or two created with some lists and cards. You now need a database to store information in. One database I highly recommend is AirTable. AirTable is a spreadsheet/database combo service with an easy-to-use API. This will come in handy.

Next, we could build our application or script to update AirTable when changes in Trello are detected, but let’s not reinvent the wheel. To keep Trello and AirTable in sync, I’ll use the automation platform Zapier. Zapier connects thousands of services together and allows you to build some advanced automation. Luckily, it has support for both Trello and AirTable.

Getting set up

Assuming you’ve got accounts with Zapier, AirTable and Trello already set up, we’ll start with creating a zap. If you’re not familiar with Zapier, I encourage you to check out their Getting Started Guide.

To store a database record in AirTable for each Trello card that gets created on a board, use Zapier. Create a trigger to fire whenever a new card is created on a board.

Add a step to create a new record in AirTable. Then create a Create Record step. Using the AirTable step, I can specify fields that are returned via my Trello trigger as you can see below.

Zapier automatically pulled all of the fields that were available in my Partner table inside of my Personal CRM base. …

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An Unexpected Benefit of a Digital Workplace

June 28, 2019

What seems like just an improvement in one area can have dramatic effects on how we look at work as a whole.

Email changes communication

Take email for example. Companies first started using email primarily to eliminate the slowness of interoffice memos and quickly connect people who were in offices far away.

But email changed the entire approach to work. It became the new way of sharing documents (“Email that to me”), organizing tasks, and the entire definition of being on task. Many people spend up to a third or more of their day logged into their email client and consider it “working”.

Google Docs changes collaboration

When Google Docs came on the scene, it was meant to solve the problem of fixing versioning of documents. Instead of suffixing files with NEW_Updated(2), team members could know they were always working on the latest version.

But Google Docs also brought a paradigm shift in how we think of collaboration. A document or spreadsheet can now serve as a launch pad for bringing together people to work on the same idea at the same time. When someone has a new idea, they can draft it, invite others to comment, and invite others to the conversation through tagging. Google Docs introduces the idea that collaboration should be instant and limitless.   

The new horizon for tools

The next breed of tools that will change how we work has arrived. They are called digital workplaces. A digital workplace is a combination of technologies on a single platform that offers your employees an end-to-end experience of completing everything related to work in one place.

Many of the technologies of a digital workplace have existed for years, but they existed as separate applications that required you to jump back and forth between tabs depending on what part …

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