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Michael Johnson

Getting Creative with A Secure Crypto-Wallet In The Digital Age

While it’s an incredible feat that the world is deep into a digital age from a technology point of view, it is probably not headline worthy anymore. Unless affected directly, not many however attribute the same importance to the risks involved. Cybersecurity is a hot topic across countless industries, but none more than that of finance and with cryptocurrencies working their way into more mainstream use – or at least recognition – having efficient security is vital. If you own cryptocurrency, then you’ll already know about wallets, but what about those looking to invest? Here, we’re exploring crypto-wallets, and just why it’s important to keep them secure.

What Is A Cryptocurrency Wallet?

At a basic level, a cryptocurrency wallet is similar to a normal wallet, however, it is only available digitally. Within these wallets, you can store, send and receive different digital currencies including industry leader Bitcoin and any other altcoins on the current market. There are multiple wallets available on the market, however, most coins will have an official option where possible and though these do tend to be the most secure, don’t always assume this is the case. Some coins might not have their own wallet, but instead, a few suggest third-party choices that you can choose from, and it’s always important to do your research before delving into them.

How Does It Work?

Remember how we said that cryptocurrency wallets essentially worked like a normal wallet? Well, this isn’t strictly true. In fact, the coins that you own aren’t actually stored in the wallet at all. Instead, your wallet stores your private key which can only be viewed by you and your wallet and will allow you access to your coins. A public key also comes as part of the wallet, and this is the key that is connected to a certain amount of the cryptocurrency. In other words, your wallet is the storage point for your private key, your public keys works as a ledger for your transactions, and allows you to send and receive your payments as you so wish.

How To Secure Your Wallet

Whether you’re looking to store your bitcoins, or you’re delving into an alternate cryptocurrency, ensuring that your wallet is secure at all times is vital in an increasingly digital world. Of course, most cryptocurrencies are naturally secure regardless, but increasing the wallet security never hurts. Here are just a few tips to get you started:

  • Always Have More Than One Wallet – Have two wallets, if not more, regardless of how many coins you own. This will give you the opportunity to use one to store your savings that will remain untouched, and the other will be for trading or transactions. This will be the most active of your wallets, and is at the highest risk were a hacker to be successful, so make sure you follow our other tips to be safe!
  • Do Your Research – Some wallet providers will have better security options than others and making sure that you do your research into which are the best will help you pick the most secure option. It can be tempting to rush into a decision when you’re focused on creating your wallet, but making sure that the encryption and optimization are at a high-level standard is a must.
  • Don’t Use Public WiFi – This is a bit of a given for any kind of data, but if you can avoid it, never use public WiFi when making your transactions. Risky WiFi networks could be the difference between a secure wallet, and one that is easily hacked, especially during your transactions.
  • Turn Off Auto-Updates – The cryptocurrency world is still fairly new, and as a result, bugs are rife. This is especially true for new updates that haven’t had a chance to have their full run yet. By turning off auto-updates, you can check to see if anything is going wrong through other people’s reviews and complaints, as opposed to having to deal with these bugs and faults yourself.
  • SSL SecuritySSL Security is the most important thing you need to keep an eye on when it comes to cryptocurrency wallets. If your wallet doesn’t have SSL security or the wallet you’re sending or receiving from doesn’t have it, then stop the transaction altogether. It’s simply not worth the risk!

The Most Secure Wallets Available

The right wallet for you will ultimately depend on the cryptocurrency that you are looking to invest in, but for the sake of giving you a few examples, we’re looking into some of the most secure and highly rated on the market.

1. Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin core was the original Bitcoin client, and as a result is still highly popular with Bitcoin users today. Being the first doesn’t necessarily mean the best in most cases, but with Bitcoin Core, it’s safe to say it’s certainly kept the high quality it was initially known for. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and with its ‘full-node’ properties (meaning it downloads the entire Blockchain), it means that hackers are less likely to find your coins which ultimately makes it more secure. Of course, this means that you’ll likely need a lot of space, so only those with beefy computers or secure external hard drives can use this wallet.

2. Jaxx

This wallet is perfect for those looking to delve into multiple cryptocurrencies. Developed in 2014, this wallet gives you the opportunity to host multiple cryptocurrencies at the same time, while keeping everything secure and safe. The simple interface makes it beginner friendly, however it’s important to remember that while it is a secure wallet, it can still have it’s vulnerabilities, so keeping a backup is a good idea.
Hopefully, this has given you an insight into crypto wallets and just why we need to keep them secure. The potential behind cryptocurrencies in the future is too great to pass up, and now is a great time to invest.

Featured image by David Shares

17 Innovation Report Covers for Design Inspiration

Making something like an annual financial report seem exciting sometimes feels like an insurmountable challenge. But one of the most important tools in your toolbox should be your report cover’s design. It’s the first thing recipients see before looking at the information inside-which means it sets the tone for how that information will be interpreted.

A good report cover is unique enough that recipients will immediately take notice of it, but it also shouldn’t be tacky or overcomplicated to the point where it no longer represents your brand in a professional way. Finding the right balance might seem like a tall order. We’ve assembled this collection of 17 inspirational report cover designs to help you out.



Importance of a Good Design for Successful Blogging

Are you wondering what relevance the change of your blog design would have on your site? Many people hesitate to make the right decisions regarding proper designs due to fear of the eventuality. It is not a guarantee that a change in your blogging design would cause negative effects.

In fact, research reveals how important it is to set a good design for blogging and other websites involving business. For your blog, you can increase your traffic and improve your audience with a single decision of choosing the best design your site should depict.

Keeping your blog posts and content as fresh as possible is crucial. This is why most bloggers engage essay writing services to help them curate content and write new articles that fit their audience. This is worthwhile.

However, one thing most people would ignore is making the design of the page as appealing as possible. It is reasonable for you to leave your design intact many years after its inception. Everyone loves change; this is the same with clients and potential customers. If you want to take your blogging experience to a new level, then you ought to choose the best design one could find on the internet. While this may not be a simple task, you can use every avenue you have to make your blogging as thrilling as possible.

A good design can change the entire operation of a business including your blogging. The question remains ‘how can I achieve this?’ The response to this question is simple. You only need to explore and understand your business well. You need to make everything appealing in the eyes of your audience. A good design helps to motivate the client intrinsically, hence, maintaining their focus and energy to get more insights from your writings. If you have never taken time to choose the best design for your blog then you have an opportunity to make critical changes.

Many people who have considered changing their websites or choosing the best design for their blogs are successful. They did not only realize the secret of increasing traffic to their lines but also the best way to motivate their audience irrespective of the time of the day.

In an interview, a famous blogger reveals that the secret to her successful blogging us the day she changed her design. She incorporated all the concepts learned from experts. They taught her how to improve the design of her site. Dieter Rams also acknowledge that a well-articulated content and design tends to attract more people to it. This is a secret towards the constant conversion of new readers into a loyal audience.

Typically, people will be attracted to something that is appealing. This is the same with blogging; don’t let your design scare away your customers.

People need to read your content and refer you to a different person or work. Besides, most of the successful bloggers can testify the significance of a good design reflecting on the business growth and motivation of self. You will feel more energetic to work on a blog post that you know many people are likely to read because of the design. In fact, making it a habit is the best thing you could do.

A good design is important for successful bloggers because of the following:

  • It fulfills the function of your blogging exercise hence creating satisfaction with your decision and work
  • It increases the traffic rate that may be registered
  • It leads to constant conversion of new readwes into loyal customers as they will feel comfortable and strong
  • A good design attracts and motivates the audience and the author as well
  • It also encourages business growth

How can I choose a good design? Who can help me choose the best design to revitalize my blogging exercise? Probably, such are the questions you could be asking yourself. We acknowledge that choosing a design for your blog may not be a simple process. However, with careful consideration of the purpose, goals, objectives, interests, and characteristics of your audience, it will help you make a good choice of the design that will grow your blogging business.

The following tips can help you pick the best design that will make blogging interesting and successful:

Product usefulness

How useful is your design? Does it benefit your blogging exercise? A good design should be useful to you and your audience. If your design enhances the usefulness of the content, the product you have, then it makes the best option you have for a blog design.

Aesthetic value

People love reading blog posts that add meaning to their life. This begins with the aesthetic value, which forms the first impression. It will not only fascinate but also attract your audience, hence, increased traffic.

Intuitiveness

Choose a design that is self-explanatory. Your audience should not struggle to understand what it means in relation to what you do. Instead, they should grasp the meaning intuitively.

User-oriented

Make every effort to select a design that is user-friendly. It does not matter how relevant it is to you. Here, the client is a priority, and they need to be assisted to make the best decision.

User-friendliness

If you want to know if you made a good selection of the design, customers would complain about the unfriendliness of the design. However, where people feel that the design is friendly to make their work easier.

Innovativeness

There are many bloggers on the internet who try to do something similar to what you have to do. Innovate the best design that will show great differences from what your competitors have. Also, make sure your design is appealing enough.

In the blogging business, nothing is as difficult as choosing the best design one could have. If you get your selection right, then everything else flows in the right manner that you need. Don’t make hasty decisions regarding the best design to use; take your time to choose the best design; appropriate for your blogging.

Since your customers depend on what you share with them, make the design as attractive as possible to make maximum use of their attention. Choose the most fulfilling design you think will work for you.

Featured image by Andrew Neel

Working At Home: Keys To Success For a Designer

The trend of allowing designers to work at home does not look like it is close to stopping. This added freedom can be an incredibly attractive option and is the ultimate perk. Whether you run your own business or work for a company production is of utmost importance. Failing to produce in the case of working for a company will lead to you losing your job or the opportunity to work from home. In the case of a freelancer not producing can lead to clients dropping you and even blacklisting you. The following are tips to success when a designer is working from home.

Don’t Skimp On Equipment

Designers need high-resolution everything especially if they are designing something that will be in print. The costs of necessary software can be written off on taxes and most companies will provide software for their designers. All designers know what they will need to work to the best of their abilities. Skimping on things like advertising budget can lead to a designer not being able to find enough work. Invest in your home-based business as it offers you a freedom that many people only dream about. Whether you are investing in cloud server hosting for your freelance business or a new piece of the latest software, these are not places to cut corners.

Be Clear With Managers and Clients Via Email

Communication is important for designers for various reasons. A designer not communicating difficulties to a client might produce something the client is not happy with. With all of the screen sharing programs and video calls, there should be no lag between what you produce and what the client desires. If you are managing other designers you need to be as clear as possible in emails. You might be working with some designers that do not speak the best English. A translation program can help a manager give as clear of instructions as possible. Recap emails after having a call are important as clients can refer to it if they have forgotten a specific detail of the call.

Take a Few Breaks

Taking breaks throughout the day even if it is just to take a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood. This helps improve your circulation and has been shown to improve production. Those that live in a city can even take a break to do some good old-fashioned people watching. Pets can be the perfect distraction while you are taking your break. Use these breaks to revitalize yourself and get some caffeine in your system. There is some work from home professionals that also exercise while they are completing work. This could be a stationary bike with a desk attachment or a treadmill desk which can be a bit more tricky to master. Sedentary jobs are not good for your health so mitigating this can also improve productivity as well as mental/physical health.

Work Outside of the Home

There are times where our artistic drive simply is not there. Working outside can give you inspiration and a change of scenery once a week is actually good for production. In warmer climates, there are parks that will allow you to connect to the public internet so you can enjoy the nice weather. Even beachfront restaurants have internet so you can work with a beautiful view. Even a coffee shop can help you ward off distractions as you will have nobody there to distract you (hopefully). Even going to another person’s home to work who also works from home can give you an office vibe as you will not want to interrupt each other.

Sound Canceling Headphones Never Hurt

Those designers working at home understand the distraction an overly needy pet or significant other can be. Sound canceling headphones can help you get into the groove with whatever project you are working on. You don’t even need to listen to music as you will be left alone on account of having the headphones on. There are quite a few brands that have tried their hand in the sound canceling headphone niche, Bose and Beats By Dre being the most popular.

Production for a designer can be abundantly profitable but lacking productivity can lead to an unemployed computer geek. Do not lose the opportunity to work from home as it is the best perk of the job! Do not sacrifice your quality of work simply to meet production goals as you would rather complete a project correctly. Designers have a great opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, take advantage.

Featured image by JD Mason

20 Cool Envelope Designs for Direct Mail Inspiration

Direct mail is still a highly effective form of marketing, but it’s not always as simple as writing a great sales letter and sending it off. The way that marketing collateral is packaged makes a huge difference-and for direct mail, that means creating an engaging envelope design.

Since prospects sometimes receive dozens of pieces of mail in a day, it’s important to use your design to stand out. But there’s a delicate balance between attracting attention and being overly busy in a way that confuses your recipient with too much visual information.
Here are 20 cool envelope designs that you can use to help inspire your next envelope design.

5 Tips to Branding Your Business

In any business, branding is important as it makes one’s company edgy and competitive in the markets. A brand says so much about the business, like what are the products or services being offered and what should the customers expect from them. A brand is what differentiates an individual from their competitors. One requires defining their brand and this requires a branding strategy. This article by Packwire explains what one should consider when branding their business:

1. Be unique

It is very important to ensure that you have your own identity that is discrete and makes you stand out from your competitors. Avoid mimicking the look of big brands. Try and come up with your own brand that is unique. Many consumers are attracted to independent establishments as they are looking for something authentic or original.

2. Have a “voice” to reflect on the brand

One should come up with a voice for the business that reflects on the brand. This voice should be able to speak to the customer and the consumer is very aware of what to expect from the service or product. For any written communication, this voice should be applied. Also in the visual imagery whether online or off, the voice should be incorporated.

3. Branding packaging

Packaging serves the sole purpose of attracting the consumer attention. This is very key as it can determine whether a consumer buys the product or not. The product should be packed in such a way that it compels the consumer to pick up the product and have a look at it. When coming up with branding packaging, one should stand out, be simple, trigger emotional engagement and create iconic assets. There are various tools used in packaging designs and they include logos, colors, fonts, and description. Therefore an individual should know the relevant tools to use.

4. Know your consumers

It is very crucial to know your target market as this will help you know the right way to reach them. How you convey your service or product is determined by the potential customers. Knowing your personas will help you know the kind of media that they relate to and you can use it to reach out to them.

5. Consistent social media presence

With the advancement in technology, most people spend their time online on social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can sell your brand easily on these platforms. Once the social media presence has been established, you should maintain it by being consistent in posting about your brand from time to time. Blogging is also an important aspect when it comes to marketing and one can reach out to as many consumers as possible.

With these few steps, one can build their brand easily. It involves creativity and being innovative. For already established business, they can rebrand themselves in order to keep up with the competing markets. For those interested in rebranding, they can read an article by Packwire on rebranding.

Featured image by Brad Neathery

5 Tips to Being Creative with a White Wall

A white wall is not as dull as we are made to believe. It’s just plain and simple. And since it’s a color like any other, it can be customized to reflect your sense of style. As a matter of fact, white walls are very iconic because they stand out when mixed with other colors. Most people assume that white walls are only found in rental houses. There are actually homeowners that insist on painting some of their walls white. The advantage of such a color is that it can’t be neglected because it’s easy to spot patches of dust and dirt. Here are tips that can help you utilize a white wall.

1. Transform it into Dry Erase Board

If there are white walls in your house, you can convert a few of them into whiteboards. Such boards come in handy when kids are studying on their own. All you have to do is buy dry erase wall coating and apply it on top of the white wall. Since most kids prefer to study in isolation, you should consider creating the whiteboard in either of their bedrooms. This type of whiteboard is durable than the portable type because there are zero chances of breaking due to accidental falls. However, you have to give the coat at least 48 hours before it can be ready for use. These whiteboards have of late become popular because they don’t limit your space. They are also easy to maintain.

2. Bring in Colored Furniture

The worst mistake that you can make when you have white walls is to add furniture of the same color. Although the furniture will definitely blend with the white walls, the interior of the house will have a dull outlook. This is because the walls will capture all the focus. It’s therefore advisable you bring in furniture of a different color. This will help in creating a balance. You can even add throw pillows that have bright colors.

3. Add Wall Hangings

A plain white wall can seem idle when it’s not complemented by artwork. It’s therefore recommended you include wall hangings such as paintings, pictures, and mirrors. However, you should make sure that the wall hangings have frames that are either brown or black in color. Mirrors work well in the bathrooms while wall hangings are a preserve of living rooms. You should also consider spreading some rags on the floor just to divert attention away from the walls.

4. Blend with White Kitchen Furniture

If the walls of your kitchen have been painted white, you should consider blending them with white tiles, cabinets, and shelves. When a white finish is complemented with fittings of the same color, it creates a luxurious impression. You can also opt to add exposed patches of the brick wall to give your interior a countryside look.

5. Bring Natural Plants

Live plants do a great job in adding life to white walls. However, you have to put your plants close to the window so that they don’t die due to lack of sunlight. Besides that, you should not put more than two plants because too many of them will congest the living room.

Featured image by NeONBRAND

6 Things Successful eCommerce Brands Have in Common

The internet has made the dream of starting a business more attainable than ever. But staking a claim in the eCommerce landscape requires more than a name, a website, and some patience. Online sellers who want to survive for the long haul must build a brand from the ground up—one that resonates with shoppers and offers an optimal buying experience.

Studying existing eCommerce businesses is one helpful strategy. Consider these six things successful eCommerce brands have in common when you’re designing your company.

Unique Selling Proposition

Anyone with an internet connection and an idea can launch an eCommerce store these days, but it also means you’ll be entering a competitive market. How are you going to set your store apart? The quickest way is to identify your unique selling proposition (USP) and communicate it clearly to customers. If you have trouble summing up why shoppers should choose your company in one to two sentences, it’s time to clarify it.

Your USP can convey premium products, low prices, free shipping and returns, eco-friendliness, 24/7 customer service or any other service you prioritize for your customers. Thinking about what sets you apart from the pack is important to properly brand your store from the get-go.

Strategies for Social Media

Social media has moved beyond an optional perk in the eCommerce world. Customers expect brands to have a dedicated online presence across their favorite platforms. Social media can help deliver responsive customer service, promote useful content and drive traffic. Consider incorporating social marketing and social shopping into your strategy—the former entails engaging with customers, while the latter allows them to complete a transaction without leaving a social media platform.

Distinctive Branding

Before shoppers even have a chance to figure out your USP, they’re making snap judgments based on what they see. How strong is your visual branding? You’ll want to design a logo capable of sparking instant recognition. You’ll also want to carefully choose colors, fonts, and visuals in line with your overall brand image. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, an entire website is worth even more.

Secure, Trustworthy Website

Consumers want to complete transactions on websites they deem trustworthy. If your eCommerce store looks unprofessional, generic or sketchy, chances are customers will pass it up for a competitor. Your eCommerce store must offer a secure, PCI-compliant payment system. You can further boost trust by displaying site security seals, which improve perceived security in the mind of the customers.

Streamlined Checkout

The more steps you place between customers and checkout, the lower your conversion rates. Simplicity is always best. Avoid forcing users to register for an account before they can complete a transaction. While mandating more work may cause shoppers to bail before paying, allowing them to check out as a guest with the option to make an account later will help streamline their experience. Convenience is especially important, as more and more users make the jump to mobile shopping.

Timely Order Fulfillment

Delivery times have sped up in the last few years, and will likely continue to do so. eCommerce stores need to figure out how to offer affordable, timely shipping to satisfy their customer base. Before working with a third-party drop-shipper, make sure they’re equipped to send out packages fast enough to reflect well on your business. If you handle order fulfillment in-house, give customers the options they need to get their goods when and how they please.

These six things successful eCommerce brands have in common will help you build a strong foundation. After all, branding, marketing, cybersecurity and order fulfillment are always going to be important when it comes to launching and growing an online store.

Featured image by Bench Accounting

How Will Digital Marketing Evolve in 2018?

It is hard to ignore the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach the target audience in today’s digital marketing landscape. It is an issue that everyone is facing. The reason behind this increase in challenges is simple; there are more businesses trying to win the attention of the audience, so you have to be willing to do more to stand out from the crowd.

For you and your business to stay ahead of the market, spotting new trends and integrating new strategies and marketing instruments are important, especially as we get closer to 2018. How will digital marketing evolve in 2018? That is what we are going to find out in this article.

Emotional Marketing

One of the biggest shifts that will be even more prominent in 2018 is the move towards emotional marketing. The most successful digital marketing campaigns in recent months are campaigns that won the heart of the audience, not those that target the audience’s reason and logic. This trend is shaping up to be very exciting too.

Campaigns that focus on compelling stories and emotions generate higher user engagement; emotional engagement on a deeper level. The audience are far more involved and marketers – and businesses – can take advantage of that involvement by delivering a series of messages packaged in a captivating story.

Digital marketing is no longer about transactions and bottom lines. It is more about interactions and building a stronger relationship with the audience. The business impacts of such campaigns will come later and the campaign will continue to produce results long after the relationship is established.

It’s a Content-Centric World

Good quality content will continue to dominate the digital marketing landscape in 2018. This is a rather unsurprising trend for two reasons. For starters, the audience is no longer attracted to short messages and cold calls to action. They are more interested in stories, delivered through articles, videos, and other visual elements.

The delivery of the content matters too. Short-form videos, dubbed snackables (meaning the video can be consumed in less than 60 seconds), will be very popular next year. On the other hand, articles are getting longer and are delivered in a more immersive way, with interactive elements and full-page visuals boosting their impacts.

“Content and social media marketing will be the highlights of 2018,” according to George Lee, CEO of Snap Agency, a leading creative agency with award-winning campaigns in its portfolio. “Crafting content that works for the medium is the way forward.”

Time to Personalize

That last remark by Lee about crafting content that suits the medium sums up the last trend to anticipate perfectly. Gone are the days of producing one content for all channels. It is much more important to tailor the content of your digital marketing campaigns to the delivery channels you want to use.

Producing vertical videos that work for Instagram Stories is far more effective than using a cropped 16:9 videos for the sake of convenience. The audience will pick up on the personalized content too; in fact, they will see badly produced or fitted content as signs of laziness in developing a relationship with them.

Prepare your business for these digital marketing trends of 2018, and you will be leading the market without hassle. There is no better time to start making fine adjustments to your digital marketing strategy than today.

Featured image by RawPixel