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attracting-candidates

Are You Attracting the Right Candidates? 6 Expert Tips

With a large amount of job seekers in the market and fierce competition from other companies, it can be tough to find the right recruits for your business. With that in mind, it is vital to be able to choose the right method to find the people who are the best fit for your organisation.

These days there are a lot of options available for recruiters. Consider the following six methods and choose the ones best for your business to cut through the white noise of the job market and make a successful appointment.

1. Use a specialist jobs board

Rather than advertising on huge jobs board like TotalJobs, you can get better quality responses from more specialised jobs boards. For example, a website like Engineer Board allows recruiters and companies to advertise directly to a market of engineers. You can further narrow down your field by only looking for applicants who have certain qualifications – something that these sites can filter out.

2. Headhunt through LinkedIn

You may have used LinkedIn for developing your network or professionals in the past. However, it can also be a valuable tool in recruitment. It allows you to find people with the right skills and approach them directly to see if they’d be interested in a role with your business. LinkedIn allows you to see the skills that people have – as well as the experiences, achievements and endorsements they have to back that up.

3. Advertise locally

An old one but a good one. Using older channels of communication like classified ads in newspapers or adverts on noticeboards can still be effective as many jobseekers still look at this as part of their search. Companies that need temporary workers or people who can start in a hurry might benefit from this as they’ll narrow their search to the local area.

4. Use your own website

Using your own website is a cheap and effective way of advertising your job vacancy. It also gives candidates no excuse not to have researched your company and have found out about your values and priorities. That should weed out some unsuitable applicants in its own right too.

5. Ask your employees

This is by far the easiest and cheapest method and is easily overlooked. If you have a trustworthy workforce you can ask them if they have any friends or ex-colleagues looking for work who might fit your role. Be careful of poaching though, as this article points out.

6. Leave it to the professionals

In business, it sometimes pays to leave some functions to the professionals. It’s fine to admit that recruitment isn’t your forte and leave some of the hard work to the people who know what they are doing.

General recruitment companies like Reed, Hays can be a big help to take this weight off your shoulders. Or more focussed companies like EduStaff, who only recruit for jobs in education, will be able to help you find the right candidate for your role and handle all the vetting and legal checks you might need.

social-media

6 Ways to Inject Creativity into Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is an effective and cost-efficient way to attract positive attention to your company, product or professional services. With the right strategy, you can interact directly with customers and industry leaders globally. On the other hand, the careless use of social media can damage your business or career in a matter of days. To ensure that you avoid these common pitfalls, we’ve put together 6 ways you can incorporate social media creatively into your business’ marketing strategy.

1. Use the tools

Make use of social media’s plethora of marketing tools such as commenting, sharing and likes. This not only encourages user participation, but also collects relevant engagement data. Keep track of current trends and patterns in both your personal and industry-based social media data, in order to benchmark your progress.

2. Build a community

Build your very own online community by tapping into existing networks, with the use of strategies such as a newsletter. As well as this, each time you hold an event, collate an attendance database to further grow your outreach potential.

3. Use promotional products

Incorporating fun and relevant promotional items into your social media strategy is a great way to include several marketing techniques in your overall business plan. There are many ways you can do this. Promotional products can be used as part of the prize for social media competitions, or as a random gift for valued customers or relevant bloggers.

4. Incorporate all platforms

The most successful businesses incorporate as many social media platforms as are relevant to them. A good tip is to observe how your competitors and similar businesses use social media. For example, some companies use Twitter and Facebook to offer coupons, promote causes, and share photos and videos. Others use social media to spotlight their customers, call attention to case studies and blog posts, or start online communities.

5. Give people a reason to engage

It’s important to remember that the most popular people on social media networks aren’t always talking about themselves. They recognise and help others, including customers, businesses journalists. Encourage people to engage with you and your brand by:

  • Asking your customers for advice
  • Conducting surveys and contests
  • Offering coupons or incentives
  • Retweeting others’ posts
  • Being nice to others (they might just return the favour!)

6. Measure the results

Attracting a high number of fans and followers isn’t the best way to measure success if your followers can’t help your business. On the other hand, if you connect with one influential thought-leader or an investor with deep pockets, then it may not matter whether you have 100 followers or 1000. How you measure the results of your social media efforts will depend on the goals you set at the beginning.

Social media networks can provide a powerful channel to increase your brand awareness, enhance brand appearance plus attract and retain customers. Taking full advantage of your presence on the web could easily mean the difference between being memorable and landing an opportunity, or just being another brick in the wall. Adhere to these 6 helpful tips in order to maximise your business’ reach and thus overall success.

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Creative Ways to Inspire Your Employees

Many employers assume that the only reason their staff shows up every morning is so they can score a paycheck at the end of the week. Of course, that may well be true in a few cases, but often it takes a lot more than cash to motivate people. Great managers are able to inspire their employees to go above and beyond the call of duty. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to keep employees motivated and productivity levels high, even if you are the world’s best manager. Here are some tips to help you motivate your employees.

Provide Training Opportunities

training-employeesEducation and training are essential. If you provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills, they will be more productive and engaged. For example, a Six Sigma master black belt course is a highly intensive learning experience, but the rewards for the employee and the company are immense. Research consistently shows that investing in learning benefits everyone.

Encourage Creativity

creativitiy-employeesPeople thrive in creative environments. Large companies like Google and Microsoft recognize this, which is why they offer creative workspaces where people can throw ideas about and come up with exciting new products. Encourage your employees to think outside the box and explore new ways to solve old problems. Your business will flourish as a result.

Recognize Achievements

awards-employees
Employees want their efforts to be recognized, so if someone has done a good job or put in extra time to complete a task, let them know you are pleased with their effort. We all like to feel appreciated, so give them a pat on the back.

Treat Your Staff as People Not Robots

frustrated-employee
Employees are real human beings. Sometimes they have bad days and occasionally things go horribly wrong in their personal lives. Whilst you should always maintain boundaries, it is important that you show empathy for your employees. Show an interest in their personal life – ask after their kids and organize a birthday cake every year. A little thought goes a long way.

Be Flexible

family-employees
Try to be as flexible as possible. If an employee wants to change their working hours to fit around family commitments, go with the flow unless it affects the business. Flexibility cuts both ways, so if you give a little, so will they.

Come Up with Creative Ways to Unwind

office-employees
Workplaces can be incredibly stressful at times. Try to come up with fun ways to beat the stress and encourage employee bonding. Have a cupcake day or a fancy dress day. Organize a night out once a month, perhaps down the local bowling alley for a friendly competition. You could even let employees bring their dog to work once a week!

Offer Productivity Incentives

flex-employees
Incentives are good, as they encourage productivity. They don’t need to be financial. You could offer a voucher for a local store in return for smashing a sale’s target or give extra vacation days. Make the goal achievable and people will strive that little bit harder to win it. If you inspire your employees, they will always go the extra mile for you.

classroom-future-infographic

Classroom of the Future Intro [Infographic]

Would you have enjoyed school if you’d been swiping around an interactive screen rather than copying off a dusty old chalkboard? Preferred a virtual reality headset to a textbook? Created masterpieces with a 3D printer instead of a sheet of tracing paper? Well, with recent and predicted advancements in technology, that’s something that our children and grandchildren could well be looking forward to…

Hope Education (one of the UK’s leading suppliers of educational resources) has developed an interactive tool called The Classroom of the Future, designed to illustrate just how space-age schooling is going to get. With game-led learning, feedback delivered through the Cloud and designated coding workstations, it seems that future generations are going to have a blast when it comes to preparing for their exams. Think it sounds too good to be true? Check it out for yourself…

Click on the image below to start the Infographic

The Geek-Apocalypse
Provided by Hope Education

magazine-use

6 Unusual Uses For Old Magazines

Are you guilty of hoarding old magazines? You’re not alone! Sometimes, our favourite glossy mags are too good to part with, but there’s no doubt that they can begin to take up more room than you can spare. So, if you’ve had a magazine subscription for a while, here are six unusual ways to use them!

Scrapbooking

scrapbooking
Featured image: Ate by Ate Scrapbooking
Select cut-outs from magazines have some kind of meaning to you – for the image, the colours used, or the text within an article – and have a go at arranging them into a scrapbook. You might end up with a finished book that you can pass down to younger generations in your family to serve as a time capsule of life in the early 21st century!

Furniture Upcycling

upcycle-furniture
Featured image: CraftHubs
Why not use your old magazines for a spot of decoupage? Decoupage is the act of cutting out pieces of art (in this case, beautiful images or inspiring passages of text in your favourite magazines) before applying them to an object and covering it with several coats of varnish to seal it. You can upcycle any piece of furniture in this way, so why not begin by trying it out on an old mirror, a set of drawers or even just a jewellery box?

Inspiration walls

You know how you’re forever adding inspiring images to your Pinterest boards? Why not create a real life inspiration wall? Dedicate an area of your home that you often look at (such as the wall opposite your bed), fixing on the most inspirational cut-outs from your old magazines. Whether it’s a travel destination, fashion accessory or featured home, pulling together an inspiration wall like this will give you the motivation to work towards achieving your dreams.

Quirky Wallpaper

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Featured image by: House-Nerd
Take your most loved magazine issues and put them precisely where they belong for future reading… in the downstairs toilet! Using old copies as quirky wallpaper works best in small and unexpected rooms like this, meaning all you need to achieve a fantastic finish is a regard for the best reads at eye level. Your guests will never want to leave!

Garland decoration

If you’re living in a rental property it can be hard to decorate your space while honouring the conditions of your lease. So, why not use your old magazines and cut them into bunting triangles before stapling each one to a piece of string to create a fashionable garland? You could try cutting up your favourite Jimmy Choo or Chanel advertisements, securing the garland to the wall (gently – without leaving a mark!) to brighten up your space and add a little bit of luxury.

A gallery wall

magazine-wall
Featured image: In the news blog
Do you have any issues of old magazines that contain iconic adverts? Carefully tear out the page and mount each advert into a classic black frame before arranging the finished pieces artfully on a gallery wall. This works best for truly memorable adverts, or magazines that are genuinely vintage: old artwork, typography and fashion make a great statement and look beautiful when placed in a stylised order with one another.

wordpress-history

A Short History Lesson on WordPress in 600 Words

There are more than 280 content management systems in the world of which WordPress is the most popular one. By January 2015, it was the platform that hosted over 23% of the top 10 million websites. By February of this year, it was the choice of over 25% of all websites in the world and powers 70 million websites in total!

Can you believe that WordPress gained its market share in only 13 years? Quite amazing right? I decided to write up a quick history lesson on WordPress to educate you on where the platform started and what it has evolved into in the past 13 years.

WordPress, a Successor of b2
b2-cafelog
Before WordPress was released, b2 or cafelog was a simple-PHP based blogging software for users to publish content. However, in early 2003, users found out that the main developer of b2, Michel Valdrighi, had disappeared and no support was being provided for b2 any longer.

Matt Mullenweg, one of b2 users, was concerned that no more support was provided and had an idea to create a new platform by integrating the “cool stuff” in b2, since b2 was built under GPL and he could use the source code of b2. He posted the idea on his blog and soon saw interest from other people, like Mike Little.

matt-blog

Finally, on May 27, 2003, with the efforts of a few developers, WordPress came into being. The rest is WordPress history.

WordPress History

WordPress 0.7
This is the first WordPress version that Matt released on May 27, 2003 with features like Texturize, manual excerpts, a new admin panel, new templates, etc. This version also comes with WordPress Links manager, via which users can create blogrolls.

Actually this version is still a successor of b2 and 0.7 is a number close to the last release of b2, 0.6. Until December 2003, Matt decided to change file names from b2 to wp. Fancy building your own WordPress blog? Check out best web hosting for WordPress here.

WordPress 1.0
In January, 2004, Matt released a major WordPress update, 1.0. This version was added with a number of great features, including dead simple installation and upgrade, multiple categories, a faster posting interface, search engine friendly permalinks, Atom support, XFN support, etc.

WordPress 1.2
On May 22, 2004, WordPress 1.2 was launched with Mingus. This version improves user experience on publishing content. It supported sub-categories, automatic thumbnails, post preview, comment moderation, etc. Most importantly, WordPress 1.2 integrates with Ryan Boren’s plugin system. Thereafter, WordPress users could install plugins to level up their websites.

WordPress 1.5
On February 17, 2005, WordPress 1.5 was released. This version came with vital changes and a heavier focus on user experience. By WordPress 1.5, users could manage static pages as well as a template system. They have more freedom to customize their sites since headers, footers and sidebars have separate files.

WordPress 2.0
On December 31, 2005, a major WordPress version 2.0 was released. This time, the developers had more focus on writing experience by coming up with rich editing, image uploading, faster posting, etc. The Akismet plugin also made an appearance in WordPress 2.0.

Then from 2007 to 2009, there were WordPress version releases from 2.1 to 2.9 with some major new features, like widget support, native tagging support, CodePress editor, built-in image editor, etc.

WordPress 3.0
On June 17, 2010, another major WordPress version was launched. It offered a new theme API, multi-site administration features, lighter admin UI, etc.

After WordPress 3.0, we see a series of WordPress 3.x with new improvements on WordPress, which brings better user experience.

WordPress 4.0
On September 4th, 2014, WordPress 4.0 was born by leveraging media management, writing interface, embeds, compatibility with PHP 5.5 and MySQL 5.6, etc.

Similarly, we check out the WordPress 4.x series and the latest version is WordPress 4.5 released in April 12, 2016.

As a matter of fact, a large number of developers contribute to WordPress updates on a constant basis. Now almost every 120 days, you can expect a new WordPress release, point or major. And there are more stories about WordPress, you can visit this blog at BigCheaphosting to get more.

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The Most Basic Things That Many Websites Forget

There are millions websites out there and each of them was launched with a different intention. Some website owners want to promote their business, others focus on providing various online services, while some decide to provide its readers with latest news and happenings.

However, even though not all website can be placed in the same category, there are several basic things that website owners often fail to include or develop, but that are crucial for the site’s reputation. Countless number of times we’ve visited a site that fails to express its purpose on the homepage or provide contact details. These seemingly silly mistakes can cost website owners a lot and therefore we decided to make a list of the most basic things that every website must have in order to look professional, trustworthy and, of course, attractive.

Informative Home Page

homepage
The homepage is possibly the most important page of any website. This is usually the first thing visitors see and if they don’t like its design or can’t get enough information about the purpose of the website, they’ll probably just leave.

Therefore, if you are trying to sell shoes, make that obvious right from the start by including promo banners, mascots and catchy phrases. Also, don’t forget that the most important part of the homepage is the one that initially fits on the screen, since visitors are less likely to scroll down if this part is not appealing to them. So, any magic tricks you have for making people stick around should be used exactly on that part of the homepage.

For example, if you are offering certain bonuses to those who will join your website, similarly to these options available in South Africa, it’s highly recommended to include a promo banner that will catch visitors’ eyes the very second your homepage is loaded.

Contact Details

contact
How many times have you visited a website and when you wanted to ask a question or send feedback you couldn’t find any contact details? Were you irritated? Did you feel the need to never visit that site again? Well, that has happened to all of us at least once and hence we know that contact details are crucial for website operators that want their visitors to be able to get in touch with them.

No matter whether you’ll include the Contact Us link in the footer or in the main menu, make sure it’s visible. Also, your Contact Us page must include an e-mail address. Additionally, if you’re offering services or promoting your business, it’s crucial to include your phone number as well as business address.

The latest trend connected to Contact Us page are Google Maps add-ons that show your exact location and help people find you. That’s also a smart move if you have, for example, a shop, a travel agency or any other brick and mortar business.

About Us Page

about-us
Would you trust a website that reveals nothing about its history, owner and so on? No, you wouldn’t and the truth is – nobody in the world would. The about us page may seem like something not that important or something that can, but doesn’t necessarily have to be incorporated into a website. However, visitors love learning more about their favourite website and thus you should always give them the needed information.

What things should be included on the About Us page? Well, this depends on the purpose of the site, but some basic info that can do the trick for all websites are year of foundation, vision, biggest accomplishments and future plans.

FAQ’s Page

FAQ
Finally, the last but not the least, is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. People always have questions; how to make a deposit, how to get started, how to register, how to use the site and etc. Instead of giving the same answers over and over again to readers that will contact you, it’s smart to provide them with a FAQ section.

Not only will you save time that can be invested into something useful, but you’ll also make it possible for visitors to easily find the information they need.

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8 Essentials to Designing Online Stores

Many people think that traffic equals sales, so the more people visit your site, the more sales it gets. This seems logical but in reality things don’t work like that. In real life traffic doesn’t necessarily mean sales.

Why does it happen? The thing is that it’s not enough to just attract a potential buyer to your site, it’s also important to make him complete your goal (registration, order, etc.). To make this possible a visitor should find answers to all the questions about you and your products without any efforts. You can achieve that by taking into account some important things while designing your landing pages. Follow the tips below; they will help you to achieve seamless user experience in your store.

1. Logo and name

Create a beautiful and catchy logo. A customer may not buy anything from you but at least he will remember your logo and next time you will already be familiar to him. Moreover, people tend to choose the companies they already know: if they need to choose a product from you or your competitor they see for the first time, you are more likely to get a new customer.

companies-logo-examples

2. Contact information and checkout

Having contact information on your site is a must, no matter whether you sell online or offline. The latter also requires adding a physical address where customers can see your products on display.

If your products can be bought online, you need to have a shopping cart and checkout. Their optimization is a topic for another post, but there is one word that will help you to organize a good checkout process – user-friendliness. Try to always keep it in mind when designing a new website.

contact-info-examples

3. Good slogan

Google gives the following definition of “slogan”: a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising. The key words here are “striking” and “memorable” as a slogan should generate a positive emotional response and be catchy.

A slogan is a small but very important part of your brand building and store in general. It’s not enough to say just “We are the best”. You should state in which sphere you have succeeded and why people should choose you.

Your logo, slogan and contact info should always be visible to customers, so it’s better to place them in the header and/or in footer of your online store.

slogans-examples

4. Noticeable and speaking product names

A product name plays an important role in the process of online shopping. Names like “Item 678” are not likely to generate lots of sales juts because they are boring and not descriptive. Instead you can use the names that promise to solve the problem of your potential client right away. Don’t forget that products URLs should also be clean and descriptive.

headline-example

5. Price

No matter whether your price is low or high, indicate it! Personally I hate navigating through a site offering some service in search of the price. Of course, there are some exceptions: you can have custom plans or wholesale prices for some customer groups or some other terms that can be negotiated. But anyway, it’s better to show the price on your general products to your common customers.

If you have something free, show it too! If you offer a free eBook download or need customers to complete a form, mention that it’s completely free. The word “free” is a magic trigger that can increase your conversions dramatically.

You can also indicate availability of your product if it’s applicable: in stock, out of stock, can be pre ordered, etc.

price-examples

6. Images

Would you buy a car just because somebody says it’s good but you don’t have a single picture of it? I wouldn’t. So think about your customers and provide them with the information they really need.

Product images help to understand how the product looks like and how it can be used. They play an extremely important role in online shopping where customers can’t touch items. Your goal is to sell more so show your products using high-quality and attractive pictures. Don’t forget to optimize them as page speed is also an important factor for visitors and search engines.

images-examples

7. Key benefits

You may be surprised but few people will read full description of your product no matter how good it is. People prefer scanning in search of most important data. You can use by adding bullet points with key benefits of your goods. This simplifies and speeds up navigation and decision-making process.

key-benefits-example

8. Call to action

Things that can seem obvious may not be obvious at all. People know that they can buy a product from your landing page but if you remind them about it, you will get more sales. So don’t forget to add a call to action like “Buy now” or “Register now”, etc.

calltoaction-examples

Final thoughts

Now you know which elements your landing page needs. I’ve enumerated generalized rules that suit all online shops to some extent. First of all, you should think about your users and customers and try to give them what they need.

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A Powerful Online Image will Revolutionize your Business

You have a business. But you know your business is unlike any other business. You know that your business is special. This is a common thought among the many business owners and brand marketers in the world. They have a business, and they want to define the business as offering something special or unique, but they don’t know how because the image they have is not the image that they portray to their audience.

Unfortunately, there are many who get it wrong. Building a powerful image for your business, especially online can revolutionize your business for the better. Building a strong business image can improve the quality of your leads, improve the conversion to sales and to inspire the advocacy for your brand by consumers.

The online aspect of your business’s online marketing is now integrated as a part of the consumer buying process. This is due to the accessibility of information through the internet on people’s smart devices. Businesses need to manage their online presence well. Should they succeed, the financial rewards and accolades will come on autopilot. But should the business fail to manage their online presence, it could send the business’s brand into a crisis.

Below we discuss steps businesses can take to implement a positive presence online to enhance their brand image profile and to reinforce positive consumer sentiment.

Forge the trust aspect of your brand by engaging with your customers online.

1-brand
With the anonymity available on the internet, people aren’t afraid to speak their minds or to seek out information that is related to your business, both good and bad. It is great to receive positive interaction. However, there will always be those people that will draw on the negative aspects of the business. The catch is that people will believe what they see. That’s why the voice of the brand that must be heard is the one directly from the business and not one of an anonymous internet user.

Potentially, other credible web citations may be influencing your brand presence and reputation. There is an internet joke that says ‘once it is on the internet, it is there forever’. And in a sense, this is true. Once it is there, you need to manage what you can to prevent what is being said about your business to dictate your business outcome. If you had no influence with instrumenting the dialogue towards your web marketing campaign efforts, you need to take action to ensure that whatever message is being communicated to your customers is one that is within your control.

To build this trust, you must be able to demonstrate value to your customers. And you can achieve this by communicating it through your business’s desired message.

Keep and manage your brand identity online

2-identity
A business’s brand image is their identity. It is the business’s most trusted asset and must be guarded at all costs. The brand perception will either enhance the perceived value or reduce it. The loss of positive sentiment to your online brand presence can cost your business thousands or even millions in lost business opportunities. This means the business needs to manage the business presence across the mix of digital marketing channels available. Maximising the positive sentiment across these channels is crucial to the success of the brands online marketing efforts.

The only way to do this is by driving positive digital PR initiatives. Demonstrating your business value by publishing is the key to developing a strong online presence. By publishing brand content, the business will be able to gain a stronger ‘share of voice’ online. Below we have covered three important areas that businesses should manage with their online presence.

Web reviews

This is an area in the online arena that you must have in complete control. Upset customers and frustrated customers are able to publish content that could negatively impact your business, costing you opportunities in lost sales, lead prospects and referrals. Good reviews will further boost your web credibility and can potentially spur positive virality for your business. This leads to more cost efficient promotions and a stronger advocacy for your business.

It is crucial that businesses maintain strong web reviews across platforms that will make or break purchase decisions in the customer’s decision-making process. For example, people choosing to stay in hotel accommodation will check for reviews on Google search results, as well as on vertical search platforms such as TripAdvisor and other hotel comparison websites such as Booking.com and Agoda.com. The customers feedback will make a much stronger impact on the purchase decision than any marketing that your company will do. Work to get reviews in your favour to grow your business on autopilot.

Organic search presence

Businesses need to be aware of where they are in the organic search space. Which keywords are they showing up for and what type of traffic it is bringing to their business website. Furthermore, can those people take or initiate an action that will positively fuel the positivity of the business’s web presence. For example, if a business appears on the search results for a blog post, this allows the person to discover their content. This opens a window of opportunity for the business to pitch their credibility or their sales offer. Businesses realistically need to achieve one of the two. If not, the customer will leave and never come back. The business not only needs to know how to get the people to appear there, but how to keep them there to take action that will influence their actions.

Become an authority in your niche

You can become a perceived authority in your industry by publishing news and revealing new information. By becoming an authority source, you become the perceived expert, and the ‘go to’ business in your industry. Your business becomes synonymous with credibility and trust. You can easily achieve this status by publishing regular blog posts, publishing news feeds and providing regular bulletins via podcasting, YouTube shows and regular newsletters.

Should your business be seeking web profile enhancement services, it is recommended that they seek advice from a digital agency in Melbourne that can best advise them on any digital PR activities that can help the business achieve the desired online profile that they are aiming for.