3 Ways Holiday Parks Can Benefit From Social Media

As a small business owner, you’ve no doubt been trying lots of different ways to get your holiday park out there and build up a client base of dedicated customers.

And, whilst traditional forms of marketing and websites can be effective in doing this, many business owners are missing one vital trick: social media.

Whether you love it or you hate it, social media is a massive part of everyday life and looks like it’s here to stay. As a result, it’s essential that you use social media to your advantage and grow your holiday park through the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Whilst you don’t need to become a social media whizz overnight, we’re looking at 3 ways social media can be used to benefit your holiday park.

social media

Get the word out

One of the most important reasons to use social media is to get the word out about your holiday park and increase brand awareness on a large scale. With over 2 billion people worldwide having an active social media account, using social media platforms gives you access to an unprecedented audience.

And, with a varied demographic across social media, you can reach people of all ages and from all locations, meaning your holiday park can be found across the world.

Social media is also ideal for reaching your ideal target audience: with cost-effective social ads (which often work out cheaper than other online ads), you can target ads based on location, interests, and behaviours, meaning you can reach your potential customers more directly.

This blog by Hootsuite gives you more information on social media for business.

Gain valuable customer insights

Social media also gives you the chance to improve your holiday park and make strategic business decisions based on customer insights. Social media offers a much more dynamic relationship with customers, encouraging two-way conversations.

Customers can use your accounts to find out more about your business and talk to you directly, whilst you can find out who your audience is, what they like and how they feel about your business. This means you can cater your park to customer needs.

You can also use social media as your customer service tool: as customers can message your social media accounts, you’re able to reply more directly and have regular interactions with your target audience.

These regular interactions create brand loyalty with your holiday park. By sharing information about your business and allowing customers to take part in it, like running competitions or suggesting names for your caravans, you become a more humanised business, allowing people to trust and relate to you.

This has also been found to improve conversions, where nearly 75% of companies that engaged in social media reported an increase in sales in 2015. Social media can generate more leads, and increase bookings to your holiday park.

Improve website traffic and rankings

Finally, social media can be used to support your wider marketing aims. With a social media profile that includes your website address, you can direct more people to your site and improve click-through traffic.

And, due to the ease of sharing social media activity, you can also improve your search engine rankings: the more your posts are shared, the higher you rank, as long as your profiles are set to public.

For more hints about social media, visit this post by Constant Contact.

When an effective social media profile is combined with a successful management system like Elite Parks, you can capitalise on social leads and grow your holiday park into a thriving business.

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Essential Screen Recording Tips for Social Media Tutorials

Do you want to make a quality screen recording for tutorials, which can be used to show clients or employees how to improve their social media? Here are some great tips on how to do create better social media tutorials.

Make An Outline

To make sure that the video flows well you should take the time to make an outline on the topics that you want to cover and in what order, similar to what you would if you were going to do a live presentation. You’ll want to consider what the audience is hoping to get from the video. You should take time to identify any unique problems that you want to solve for your viewers. It is those things that you’ll want to focus on throughout the video.

It’s important to remember that the quality of the audio is every bit as important as the visual aspects of the video. In fact, many would say that it’s even more important. Try to invest in the best quality microphone that you can afford. It will mean that when it comes time to edit the video it will be easier and less time-consuming.

Try to eliminate those things that could cause background noise during the screencast. Some examples would be barking dogs, phone’s ringing, and the kids playing or making noise. There are many cases where it’s actually easier to do the audio recording separate from the creation of the video. Very often those who are making the video, especially if they’re brand new at it, find that clicking and changing the scenes in the video while trying to talk at the same time is difficult.

Get Your Desktop Clean

If your desktop is full of icons and you’re doing a screencast it’s not going to look good and it will be very distracting to viewers. You can either clean up the desktop by making the fewest possible apps show or you can consider setting up a computer user that is exclusive for screen recording that has no app or icons showing on the desktop. Before you begin your screencast you should close all the applications that you won’t be using during the video and turn off any notifications such as Skype or Facebook, etc.

social media

Be Confident

You know the material that you’re going to be covering in the screencast so project that confidence. Let people see how experienced you are. If you’re a fast talker consider talking a bit more slowly and precisely during the presentation. Pace yourself and don’t forget to breathe. It’s always possible to go back and edit the video but if you can try to get through it on one take you’ll find that it saves you a lot of time.

Take Breaks

If you feel that you’re talking too fast then pause the recording and take a break. One of the nice things about doing a screencast versus something live is the fact that you have that kind of control to make sure that you make the best possible video. Sometimes it’s a matter of just improvising to get the video recording that you want. As an example, when something goes awry, you can try to go with it instead of stopping or rewinding, etc.

Go For Good Enough and Forget About Perfection

Don’t get too caught up in the small mistakes that you might make. Small mistakes and gaffes are normal and people will simply overlook them.  When you have finished a recording then step away a bit before making the next one.

Edit It And Complete It

Give yourself a day after you’ve completed the video to clean it up and get it fully edited. Use quality screen recorder software, as it will give you plenty of options. This will help it look better.

Whenever possible, have someone take a look at the final product before you consider yourself finished just in case they spot something you have overlooked. Make sure to get it done and upload it so that you have a sense of completion.

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How to Use Social Media for Trade Shows

Even in today’s world, trade shows should be an essential part of a B2B company’s marketing plan. The thing is that this can be a huge financial burden on some companies, considering the cost of designing displays, renting booth space, booking accommodations and getting all of the marketing materials in order. This is why it is not surprising that many cities are offering a large number of incentives in order to attract more trade show participants. It plays a very large part in boosting their economy.

To boost awareness and increase the return on their investment (ROI), many companies are using social media to make their trade shows more successful. Here are some pointers your marketing team can use to increase your success.

  1. Make Sure That People Can Find Your On Social Media

Before you begin your trade show campaign, it is important that you establish a solid social media presence. No one likes to arrive first when there is a party, and this applies to connecting with companies on social media.

A few years ago, Youtube, Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook were the only channels people used for social media marketing, but this has changed. The growing popularity of Pinterest and Instagram show that people are looking for new and innovative ways to connect with others online.

  1. Update All Of Your Social Profiles

You have to be a step ahead if you want to do well at conferences, trade shows and other marketing events. If people head to your profiles on social media and they see outdated posts, this can leave a big blemish on the face of your company. An updated profile makes people see you as a complete professional. It helps people connect your online presence and all of the things that make your company what it is. It also helps people connect with your brand differently than ever before.

  1. Use Social Media To Create Buzz Prior To The Show

Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and Twitter are the best tools one can use when they want to spread the word about trade shows. The best thing to do would be to avoid generic announcements and typical press releases and focus on the attendees, free giveaways and what people can expect if they decide to visit your booth. The goal is to create as much foot traffic as possible.

One solid strategy is to break up a press release into many small parts. You can post them on your social media accounts regularly until the day of the event. Creating small campaigns where you only offer limited information is a great wat to get people interested. Make sure that the information you offer is valuable enough that people will feel compelled to share it with others. These 2nd-degree connections are an essential part of being successful with your social media campaigns. They can give you more reach than you could have ever imagined.

  1. Use An Official Hashtag Or Create One Of Your Own

Using hashtags is a great tool when it comes to creating buzz and keeping track of what people are saying about your brand and the event in question. It is a great way to make solid connections with other people who will be part of the event, including speakers, presenters and other participants. If you are planning to have an exhibit at a trade show, check around to see if there is an official hashtag being used. Make sure to add them when you post for maximum effect. It used to be common to see these being used on Instagram and Twitter only, but now they are more popular on Linkedin, Google+ and Facebook.

If there is no official hashtag and/or you are the creator of the event, make it a point to create a unique hashtag that will keep people buzzing. Make sure that this hashtag is not already being used by another company. You should also add caps at the beginning of each word so no one is confused.

Make Social Media A Part Of Your Email And Website Marketing Plan

Unfortunately, it is still very common for people to have emails and corporate websites that do not have any evidence of social media channels on them. This is a huge mistake and it means that brands are allowing their customers to walk away without connecting with them and staying abreast of any company information.

If you have not done this yet, have your web and email team compile a list of all the social media channels you use and find a way to integrate this into the templates you use regularly.

  1. Leverage Real-Time Marketing

In a world that is connected by technology, information is easily shared with the click of a button. Things can change rather quickly, so it is important for you to take advantage of any opportunities as they arise. The Oreo tweet that was posted during the Superbowl in 2013 is an example of using real-time marketing in order to create buzz for your brand.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the most common social platforms because their apps are mobile friendly, their content streams around the clock and they are very popular with the younger generation.

One cool effort we saw recently was where a business that hired a photo booth company called Booth Boy got people to publish their images online with a hashtag of the company and event in return for a competition entry.

Depending on the number of people who you plan to bring along to the trade show, make sure there is one person who can be in charge of social media. This person should create updates, post eye-catching photos and engage with people who try interacting with the brand. This is a great lead generation technique because it allows people to connect your online presence with the image you try to project offline.

  1. Remember That Social Media Is A One-On-One Marketing Strategy

Many people believe that social media should be used as a vehicle for communicating with the masses. In some ways, using your account to make broadcasts is quick and efficient, but the most effective strategy is the direct communication you have with members of your audience. Engaging one-on-one with fans and prospects is a great way to boost the popularity of your brand.

Keep in mind that people are quick to air their grievances on social media sites when they are unsatisfied with a brand. Making sure that your team offers a solid customer service experience and conflict resolution skills that are unmatched. They can take negative feedback, respond courteously and turn enemies into friends.

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How to Use Social Media for Boring Topics, Industries or Companies

Social Media and Social Media marketing is pretty much mainstream now and every company at least has a Facebook and in some cases have a Twitter or Instagram. However, even if you have just started or are trying to start one social media account for your company or brand sometimes it can be tough if it’s a naturally “boring” or uneventful industry.

So we came up with these examples and tips to help you think outside the box and still use social media for any company, brand, or topic with these tried and true strategies and ideas to get you on the right foot.

Use Visuals

For example, if you were an RV Dealer or Wholesaler and buy RVs to people looking to Sell their RV or just sell new and used RVs the best thing you can do is take pictures and/or videos of your inventory especially the RVs you have listed for sale, at a special price, and even “discounted for social media buyers” that like, comment, tag or share the picture you just posted.

Not only is this creating awareness of your business it can possibly be shared with other potential buyers that were thinking about buying a New RV or selling their  RV.

As a dealer you might think, “posting pictures or videos everyday of your inventory is boring or redundant” and it can be but start taking pictures and videos of your product (RVs in this case) with different backgrounds, or scenery behind them and mix it up. Social Media is a very visual place so showing off your product, company, or business with photos and visuals definitely create a more exciting approach to your social media vs. a boring text update of a “special this weekend”.

social media

Tell a Story

Whether with video or pictures you can build a “story” of sorts and take it piece by piece by keeping people wanting to learn more. For example if you were a music production school you can over a day, week, or even month highlight a music production student taking a class or going through your music production program.

If the student is ok with it you can get them involved in your social media pictures, videos and updates on Facebook or Instagram and Twitter and share their insights about your school or business. As well as highlighting the “day in the life” of a student or even an employee to really tell people the story of your brand and business.

Although, you may think “music production” might be boring “music” is a universal thing so you bits and pieces of  your business or in this case music production school to show the “non boring” parts that you think everyone can relate to. Including behind the scenes or the finish product and results of a music production school or class.

Show Results

People love to see what something can do or the results of using something. For example another boring industry could be medical billing software and even a specific solution like Medisoft. However, you have to think about the “audience” so it may be boring to a the general public but if you think about the audience of people that would be interested in Medisoft or any medical billing software would be independent physicians that want a proven practice management solution that can either save them time or save them money (or both).

What they would love to see even on social media whether Facebook or Twitter, and Instagram is the results of using a medical billing software like Medisoft.

For example even using a video like this and sharing it on social media channels can help turn something boring into something someone wants to watch or catch their eye.

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6 Ways To Motivate Your Employees

The happier and more content your workers are, the better the productivity for your business. Of course, it begs the all-important question: how can you motivate your employees to do better? Fortunately, very few resources are necessary to keep the morale high in the workplace and motivation going. In fact, it may all boil down to interacting with your employees on a regular basis.

When you’re the proud owner of a small business, you simply can’t afford to lose time when it comes to increasing your revenue as well as the output of your company. To raise the efficiency of your staff, here are a few motivational ideas to get you started:

  1. Hone Communication

Many business owners make the mistake of not interacting directly with their employees, only to become a name on the wall and a face on the newsletter. Your employees are unlikely to want to reach your goals and work harder if you don’t take the time to communicate with them or to show your appreciation for their efforts. In fact, you may come across as someone who believes you’re too good for the working team! When you have something to say, tell your staff in-person face-to-face as it can help motivate them.

  1. Set An Example

Be the perfect example for your employees and allow them to learn from you. You can’t possibly expect your workers to behave a certain way or have an enthusiastic outlook about their work if you’re not following company guidelines or don’t enjoy the work. If you become a positive presence in the lives of your employees, you’ll spread your positive attitude and motivate them to work harder and better.

  1. Delegate Power

It’s important to empower your employees and make it easy for them to communicate their feelings with you on how they can do more efficient work. It’s guaranteed that most people working for you have solid ideas on how they can do their work better, but they may feel intimidated by the idea of approaching you. A good way to get employees to open up is to ask them to share their ideas with you. Provide an outlet for their sharing such as monthly reviews, but also take the time to implement these ideas. Not only will your employees thank you for caring, but they’ll work harder for your company and know that they’re valued team members.

employee motivation

  1. Help Meet Career Goals

Who wants to work a dead-end pointless job? No one in their right mind, that’s for sure! You need to take into consideration that many young staff members want to be able to advance in their careers and move forward, as opposed to feeling like they’re stuck. Provide skills training for your staff regularly and give them opportunities to move forward in the field. This may be at your company, or by honing their skills to place them elsewhere, but either option sheds positive light on your company.

  1. Reward Hard Work

It’s important to boost morale by rewarding the hard work your employees do. Consider providing workplace incentives such as raffle tickets, paid days off, gift cards, or movie tickets that give all employees something to work towards.

If you hope to advance your company and keep all of your employees, motivation is the key. Without motivation, staff members are likely to quit and take their expertise elsewhere.

  1. Decor

The decor of a space can really have an impact on how people feel about it and ensuring your office’s interior is bright, airy and well designed for workers will help create focus and give them a place they can look forward to coming into. Nice desks, ergonomic chairs like these from Posturite and wall decals such as these from Printing Jay all add up to create a fabulous work environment, they can thrive in.

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Top 4 Essential Tips For Internet Marketing Success

Internet marketing takes in a pretty broad spectrum of different things, however the principles of winning in any of them is the same. Understand what it takes to succeed in any of the disciplines in IM and you can rinse and repeat.

So, if you want to get better at an aspect of IM then these tips will help you do just that.

Tip #1 – Work With A Coach Or Mentor

For the fastest results, you should consider finding someone to mentor you as you begin your Internet marketing journey. Working with a mentor is one of the best ways to grow your knowledge quickly. Instead of having to learn everything on your own, you can have someone there to walk you through the process step-by-step. There is absolutely no better way to learn than by working with someone who has already succeeded at whatever it is that you are trying to do.

One of the primary reasons why I choose to work with coaches or mentors is because I understand just how beneficial they can be for the learning process. This doesn’t just apply to Internet marketing. You can work with mentors in other aspects of your life as well. Seeking help from knowledgeable people is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. It can get your Internet marketing career off on the right foot and can give you the tools that you need to succeed. After you achieve success, you can return the favor by mentoring other people, helping them grow their own IM businesses.

Tip #2 – Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

A common misconception that people who are new to the world of IM have is that they are entirely on their own when it comes to getting things done. In fact, however, trying to do too much can actually hold you back. Focus all of your attention on the aspects of your business that will allow you to reach your objectives the most quickly. This Dan Anton Interview is very interesting because it focuses on just that. Dan discusses how he always thought SEO was the only way to reach customers, however now PPC is his best friend. He spread himself too thin and after realizing his mistake saw significant benefits.

Whenever you can, outsource work to other people. That way, you can keep your attention trained on the most important aspects of your business, allowing outside parties to handle the everyday grunt work on your behalf. If you try to do it all by yourself, you won’t be able to succeed as quickly as you could if you were willing to get help. Outsourcing is a great way to grow your business without becoming a slave to it in the process.

internet marketing

Tip #3 – Learn From Freely Available Resources

In the world of Internet marketing, there are a lot of paid products that you can buy that promise to teach you everything you need to know to succeed. While many of these products are worthwhile, the last thing that you want is to wind up spending a fortune on them without getting any results. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens a lot of the time. People get so excited about getting started in IM that they rush out and buy many different products – some of which may have conflicting information. When you try to combine information from multiple sources, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. A much better option is to ask your mentor for advice and choose a single product to learn and master before buying any others.

Adding to that, there is a lot of incredibly useful information that is freely available online. Although it can take time to sort through this information, every little nugget that you read can be added to your collective knowledge, helping you to become an expert in Internet marketing over time. This is another area where your mentor can help guide you toward the most valuable information on the Internet, allowing you to gain knowledge that you can actually use.

Tip #4 – Keep At It

When it comes to Internet marketing, success rarely happens overnight. Although some people get lucky right out of the gate, it usually takes a lot longer to start seeing results. The key is to keep working at it until you succeed. As long as you stay focused and keep your eyes on the target, you will eventually get there. As you go along your journey, it is important to continually evaluate your process to make sure that you are headed in the right direction. You may need to modify your strategy periodically to stay on target. However, as long as you remain committed, you should be able to succeed.

Online success is a matter of working hard and staying focused until you reach your long-term goals. Using the tips above, you should be able to begin building a successful IM business. Even if you aren’t wildly successful right out of the gate, as long as you stick with it and really apply yourself, you will eventually reach the level where you want to be.

Internet marketing takes in a pretty broad spectrum of different things, however the principles of winning in any of them is the same. Understand what it takes to succeed in any of the disciplines in IM and you can rinse and repeat.

So, if you want to get better at an aspect of IM then these tips will help you do just that.

 

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Finding A Social Media Manager: How To Select The Right Person or Business For The Job

If you are in search of a social media manager, there are a few tips that will help you select the right person for the job.

Look For Marketing Experience

Your social media manager needs to be well rounded, which means they should have experience in areas other than social media. Social media platforms help to get people to communicate with one another. However, that is only one piece of the puzzle. The person that you choose needs to know a lot about marketing, public relations, SEO techniques and more.

Seek Out A “People” Person

According to Jake Braun of Kapok Marketing, if you want to get the word out about your business, social media is the way to go. It is a great platform for helping others understand who you are and what you do. The social media manager you hire needs to know how people operate. What do Internet users do when they go online? How do they communicate with each other? What is their response pattern like on sites such as Facebook and Twitter? Your social media manager always needs to be connecting with others and figuring out new ways to get them to respond.

Find Someone With The Right Background

 Ultimately, you want to find a social media manager that GETS it. They need to have experience in doing what you do. They need to know what you are up against so they can help you do your job well. If you can’t find someone with those qualifications, make sure they have worked in your field before. Go with someone who has recommendations from people that you work with, either directly or indirectly.

social media manager job

Make Sure They Know That Content Is King

Content is critically important to what you do. If you want to rise in the search engine rankings and get your audience to interact with you, great content is the way to go. Your social media manager needs to understand this and be able to produce.

Find Someone That Understands Different Social Media Platforms

Talk to potential candidates about how you can reach your target audience. Each social media platform is a little different. For example, Pinterest is primarily targeted to women. In particular, women that are crafty or interested in fashion and interior design use the site. Therefore, if you manufacture car engines, you wouldn’t spend a lot of time or resources on Pinterest. Your efforts would be better served elsewhere.

Look For Strategic Thinking

You want to hire someone that is interested in your vision. He or she should want to know about your marketing plan right away; if they don’t ask the right questions, move on to someone else. Social media marketing is meant to support your overall goals. It is not an entity in and of itself. Therefore your social media plan needs to be integrated with your business plan.

Seek An Effective, Efficient Worker

Your social media manager should work by your side, helping you every step of the way. You have a lot going on already; micro-managing someone else simply won’t work. Therefore, the individual that you hire needs to be an effective, efficient worker. He or she should get back to you and to your audience quickly. This individual needs to make customer service a priority. It isn’t always easy being kind and patient with a variety of customers. However, your social media manager represents you. If the person you hire is rude, people will think that you are rude as well. That could be disastrous for your reputation.

Look For A Willingness To Learn

While you want someone with experience, you also want someone that realizes they have a lot to learn and is willing to put in the time and energy necessary to educate themselves. Social media is constantly changing. In order to be successful, you have to keep up with all those changes. Question any candidate about how they stay up-to-date with such a changing industry.

Find Someone That Cares About Details

Your social media manager is an integral part of your success. This individual needs to know what your overall goals are and should be able to set social media goals that help you to ultimately succeed. Details are important; this individual needs to understand that.

Hire Someone That Listens

A good listener is essential in this role. The person you hire needs to be able to come up with a plan that works for your business. They can’t go with something generic. Ultimately, they must be creative as well.

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7 Great Tips To Obtain More Twitter Followers

More Twitter followers is the name of the game but doing it can take some work and practice. This piece aims to show you how to increase your follower numbers, quickly and as smartly as possible.

Use Relevant Cover and Profile Photos

Your first step to obtaining more Twitter follower is ensuring you have a high-resolution, clean logo to use as your profile photo along with a cover photo that is relevant.  That way no one will think you are a fake user or spammer when determining whether to follow you are not.  These days there are actually spammers by the hundreds of thousands on Twitter, and one way to tell is usually they don’t bother to upload a profile photo.  So don’t let anyone mistake you for a spammer!

Tweet On A Consistent But Not Excessive Basis

One of our most important tips of all is that it is critical to tweet on a consistent basis in order to engage both new and old followers since nobody is going to want to follow somebody who hasn’t tweeted in many weeks or months.  A good habit to establish and follow is to tweet around 3 to 5 times per day, and space them out evenly about a couple of hours apart.  That will keep you in front of your followers so they are reminded of you.  However, don’t be one of those people who shares very single minute since that clogs up the news feeds of your followers and will get you lots of unfollows.

Share valuable content

This piece of advice is the most important of all.  Provide your followers with resources that are helpful and useful.  Be inspiring.  Be generous.  Provide plenty of links to good content.  Create content that will make your followers look forward to getting more from you and want to pass along to their followers.  That is key to getting retweets.

Twitter Followers

Get an interesting bio created and posted.

Make sure that you don’t leave your profile blank.  Potential followers review this to decide whether or not to follow you. Explain what you do and who you are. If you were a product or brand, what would your tagline be?  Include this in your bio.  You should also be sure to include your city.  If you don’t fill out your bio, full name and username you won’t be included in the search results by Twitter.

Get a custom About page set up.

Your Twitter bio is limited to 160 characters. That doesn’t give you a lot of room to introduce individuals to what you have to offer or tell your story. Create a custom About page and post it on your blog and then provide a link to it on your Twitter bio.  That way when the link is clicked on by a prospective Twitter follower, they will be directed to the page that you have created for them.

 Get a conversation started.

Twitter is buzzing with activity all of the time, and many of these ongoing conversation may relate to your brand or something that your company offers or does.  Join in on some of these discussions.  There are chats conducted by Twitter on certain days of the week, and if you join in on them it can help to increase your followers and network and help you get in touch with more individuals who have the same interests as you and love discussing similar topics. One good way to get a conversation started is to buy targeted twitter followers. This can lead to buzz around your account and more organic followers.

If you are going to tweet information on a product of yours, make sure your sales pitches are kept to a minimum, so that your conversations are more personable.  If you want to get your audience engaged in a conversation with you start contests, take polls, ask for opinions and ask questions so that your followers will feel like interacting with you.

Use hashtags wisely

When used appropriately, hashtags can help to increase your Twitter followers.  Use hashtags sparingly since you only have 140 characters to work with. In your posts only use 2 to 3 hashtags, because otherwise your post might end up looking quite spammy.  Watch for trending tags,and then when you fin one that relates to your brand or business, sent out tweets with the tag. To ensure that your posts get attention, one thing you can do is retweet other people’s tweets that are using the same hashtags that you are.  If you are starting a new campaign or hosting an event, then create an event or campaign with specific hashtags and then promote them to help users connect easily with you.  To improve your reach, use hashtags that are commonly used and that are highly relevant for your type of business.

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5 Ways to Reap the Rewards of Improved Site Speed

Speeding up your website will help you in many ways. By increasing load times you are likely to lower bounce rates, help your SEO, and create a better user experience for visitors to your site. Here are five smart ways to speed things up.

Utilize CDNs 

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are extensive networks of servers housed all over the world.  If you are not utilizing a CDN, it usually means that your users will need to access your web host’s server at its central location.

This can lead to slow website speeds, particularly when your visitors are located a long way from your server’s central location. If you are only using one server, it may become overloaded and cause your website to crash.

Both of those problems are solved by a CDN. A CDN allows users to access a cached version of your website from a web host that is near their location. Even better, if your server is overloaded, visitors will automatically switched over to a different server location.

This results in faster load time, and leads to happier customers (and search engines).

speed

Keep HTTP Requests To A Minimum

Yahoo reports that 80% of the load time of a page is spent downloading the various parts of the page, including: flash, scripts, style sheets, and images.  An HTTP request is made for each of the elements, so more on-page components means that a page will take longer to render. The fastest way to improve your website speed is to simplify your design.

  • Streamline how many elements are included in your pages.
  • Whenever possible, use CSS rather than images.
  • Combine multiple style sheets into a single one.
  • Reduce your scripts and place them on the bottom of your page.

Always keep in mind that leaner is better.

Pro Tip: Get a campaign started to reduce the components on each page. This reduces the number of HTTP requests that are needed to make the page render – this significantly will improve your website’s performance.

Optimize Database Tables

Optimizing your database tables is similar to changing your car’s oil or defragging your computer – it helps to free up space and ensure that your database continues to run smoothly.

You can manually optimize database tables using either a plugin or phpMyAdmin.

Compress Images

Images are usually the largest files on a website, so it will takes ages for them to load if they are not compressed.

Fortunately, there are some excellent tools available to help you compress your files.

WPMU DEV now manages and supports WP Smush.it, a program that automatically strips data from JPEGs and takes unused colors out of indexed pages.

Another great tool is Tiny PNG, which strips un-used colors from glossy compressions.

If your website has lots of images then you may want to implement Lazy Loading. The Lazy Load plugin enables you to load images above the fold only whenever a new visitor lands on your website.  Images then load after a visitor starts to scroll down the page. In addition, if you improve page speed load times, this technique will also save bandwidth on users who don’t scroll down to the very bottom of your pages.

WP-DBManager lets you restore, backup, repair and optimize your database.

Another database optimization and cleanup tool is called WP-Optimize.  This plugin allows you to remove items in trash, unapproved comments, comments in your spam queue, and post revisions.

Javascript code should be kept at the bottom of the page, and CSS files on the top of your pages.

Finally, be sure that your website’s code is kept neat and tidy by adding CSS files on the top of the code, and Javacript snippets added to the bottom whenever you are working on a raw HTML page.

When your CSS files are added to the top of pages it prohibits progressive rending. This saves resources that would otherwise be used by web browsers for loading and redrawing page elements.  When Javascript is added to the bottom of your pages it prevents them from waiting for full code execution before they load, and this makes browsing faster.

These are just a few of the various techniques that you can use to speed up your website, and they are among the easiest for you to implement.

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How to Focus at Work and Get More Done

You can find flow at work. Flow is the effortless ability to concentrate on and enjoy a task. You can achieve flow by taking challenges that are manageable but meaningful. If you have a job you love and can maintain a reasonable workload, you can easily achieve flow. However, that’s not always possible.

Here are some tips that can help you stay focused on your work, make the most of your day, and achieve flow, no matter what type of workload you have.

Pinpoint Problems

Why do you lose focus at work? Are you fatigued? Hungry? Or, maybe you have a Twitter addiction? If you figure out the problem, then you’ll be able to take the steps needed to fix it.

Plan Ahead

You should envision what your work day will look like before your day starts. Write down what you’ll need to get done and which tasks you want accomplished before the end of the day. Goal setting can help you stay on track and maintain your focus.

Eat a Good Breakfast

If you want to jump start your metabolism, have a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Studies show that people who eat breakfast have better concentration and attention during the day. That’s why experts say you should eat something in the morning.

meditate

Meditate

Scientists have found that meditation may enhance some brain functions including those linked to attention. Why not try shutting everything off and taking a few minutes to meditate, especially if it can help you get more done during your work day.

Do Your Work Offline

A survey showed that nearly 60% of the disruptions a person experiences throughout their work day come from cell phones, social networks, and emails. Luckily there are some tasks that don’t require an Internet connection. Why not use old-fashioned pen and paper for activities like brainstorming. Switch your phone to silent and check your email less frequently, once an hour should be enough. You should also limit the time you spend on social media. You can “like” your friend’s dog pictures later.

Do Small Tasks

 Psychologists suggest that the human brain works much too hard to be able to process large amounts of information. If you work on one large project it can quickly become overwhelming. That’s why it’s difficult to plan a large work event in an afternoon. Split your projects up into small individual tasks. These tasks will be much easier to accomplish.

Time Box

Rather than working on a project to completion, work on a project for only a specific amount of time. So, instead of answering emails until your reach inbox zero, only write emails until 3 p.m. each day. This way you know that you can work hard at a particular task and at a certain time you can take a break.

Clean Up

You might become distracted by family photos, Post-Its, or even pretzels. Before you work, clear off your workspace. The only thing that should be in your work zone are the things that you need to do your work, like your laptop, notebook, and water bottle.

Try Different Apps

You can discard distractions with some help from technology. There are apps that can block websites and black out your computer screen’s background so you can only view the program you’re working with. You can also find web tools that can calculate the amount of time you spend on websites, like Pinterest. Now, that app could be scary.

Give Yourself a Reward

Why not reward yourself with a cookie after you finish writing that page. A little motivate goes a long way. If you give yourself a reward for accomplishing certain tasks, you’ll see your to-do list vanishing quickly.

Take Small Breaks

You won’t necessarily get more done if you get to the office early, work through your lunch, ignore your breaks, and stay late. If you get the hard work done in short bursts and take quick breaks, you may find it more beneficial than spending long hours at work. It’s better to take a breather. It can keep your mind from burning out.

Use Science

There are plenty of smart ways to work smarter nowadays and these can include smart drugs. These additives are formulated to help you increase concentration like never before and get more done. If you’re wondering what to go for check out this comparison of the two most popular options.

Wear Headphones

At Greatist, we have a “headphone rule.” No one is allowed to talk to a person who’s wearing their ear gear. This is a way to show everyone that you’re working on something important and can’t chat. Sometimes you may not even have music playing.

Try Caffeine.

Tea or coffee can make you feel more alert and better able to concentrate. If you don’t like iced coffee or tea, then try chewing gum, which is also able to increase your alertness.

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