The Unstoppable Power of WordPress

For businesses looking to gain the most flexibility, power and affordability in their websites, WordPress is unmatched.By Frank Wazeter September 27, 2021Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I’ve been a professional developer since 2005, which has given me the experience to create just about any custom code I want. Yet, when it comes to real-world business applications, WordPress is my go-to in nearly every situation because it almost always makes the most sense for businesses.

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Internet Blackout: What will really happen this September 30

Millions of computers and smartphones will become obsolete? Here we tell you.By Alto Nivel September 28, 2021This article was translated from our Spanish edition.This story originally appeared on Alto Nivel

Various media have reported that on September 30 there will be an ” internet blackout ” with which millions of computers, smartphones and other devices connected to the internet, such as video game consoles, will no longer be able to connect to the network.

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5 Leadership Mistakes That Can Break Your Company

Leaders need to be concerned with their current trajectory rather than their current results.

When you start a business, you face increasing complexities and various challenges at different stages of your company’s growth. Having founded, led and sold a start-up and now advising several founders and CEOs, I know a little bit about the mistakes that can completely derail your future. Regardless of how much money you have raised or how promising your product or service is, committing these blunders and not having the awareness to change can lead to the downfall of your company. Let’s take a look at the five no-no’s.

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The 5-Minute Habit (Based on Neuroscience) That Will Change Your Life

It’s true that in order to live our purpose in this world, we’ve got to have a vision and a plan for achieving our dreams. We must be tenacious in working toward our goals, and we might occasionally have to sacrifice a little sleep for that dream. However, our “hustle at any cost” culture has convinced us that this means choosing between success and quality of life (e.g. health, happiness and fulfillment). This either/or mindset is not just inaccurate — it actually threatens our bottom lines and secretly sabotages success.

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Social Media Seems Like the ‘Holy Grail,’ But This Marketing Strategy Is Even More Important

The often overlooked tactic enhances reach, raises brand awareness and drives new customers and clients to your business.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Picture the scene: It’s 2021, and the enormity and popularity of digital marketing is providing entrepreneurs with a plethora of opportunities and the ability to tap into an audience of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential customers, all at the push of a button.

When Facebook first launched back in 2004, it really was the first of its kind. Before that, we had MySpace and a few other platforms I’ve never heard of (Friendster or Hi5, anyone?), but none of them had managed to make the impact that Facebook did, and still does.

Since Facebook, we’ve seen the launch of Instagram in 2010 and TikTok in 2016, plus the addition of Instagram Reels in 2020. Not to mention other platforms such as Snapchat and Clubhouse, all giving us access to a wider audience.

In the past 19 years, we’ve all had the luxury of being able to communicate directly with our fans, customers and potential customers in a way that has never been possible before. But before the advent of social media, businesses and brands were built the “old fashioned” way, using more traditional marketing techniques, such as advertising and face-to-face networking.

Related: Here’s How You Can Have a Perfect Digital-Marketing Plan

Social media seems like the Holy Grail 

When the world became more digitized, tools such as online advertising, pay-per-click and email marketing grew in popularity and gave entrepreneurs and brands alike the chance to reach an even wider audience. Data was easier to track and metrics and insights enabled you to calculate your return on investment.

For many entrepreneurs and startup businesses, social media seems like the Holy Grail. Not only do you get to build an audience and interact and engage with your followers, but it’s also completely free at the point of entry. Of course, you can now invest in adverts across all social-media channels, but for someone completely new to the business world, social media is a sensible place to start.

Yet there’s a missing piece of the puzzle here. A modality that’s as old as time, but a powerful force when it comes to sharing messages, raising brand awareness and building on the know-like-trust factor. And that’s public relations

Everything you say and do is PR

Public relations exists so that you can communicate with your audience. If you Google “public relations,” you will find Wikipedia’s definition: “Public Relations is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or organisation and the public, in order to affect the public perception.” 

So, essentially, everything you say and do is PR, but the platform in which you share your message changes. The tools you use to share your message changes. But the message remains the same. Your audience, generally, stays the same, yet where they hang out may change, based on the launch of new platforms, or the increased popularity of existing platforms, such as YouTube and podcasts.

YouTube first launched back in 2005 and podcasts launched a year earlier in 2004, yet they’ve only really exploded as a business tool over the past few years, giving entrepreneurs and startups the chance to create easy-to-share and easy-to-digest content that their ideal clients will love  content that can then be repurposed across social-media channels.

Related: Want to Do a Public Relations Push? Focus on Social Media First.

Back in 2004, when I first started my career in PR, there were really only three types of media outlets to pitch to: print titles, TV and radio. Online titles were seen as the poor relation to print, so we rarely bothered pitching to them as clients didn’t see the value in them  oh how times have changed!

However, because there was less choice, it made it easier to build relationships with journalists and work on features and content ideas with them. Over time, the media landscape has changed, and online started to make a huge impact and podcasts and YouTube channels became prime real estate.

Now, there is way more choice when it comes to gaining exposure, so while you may not consider social media, YouTube or podcasts your typical media outlets, they’re still consumed by your ideal clients, still covering topics that complement what you do, and they still have a ready-made audience of loyal fans that you could (and should) be tapping into. How? Quite simply, by pitching.

One piece of content can be shared and shared again

The way you’d pitch yourself to a podcast host is the exact same way that you’d pitch yourself to a journalist. That is a PR tactic and a skill that publicists have been honing for decades. Now, one of the utterly brilliant, yet often overlooked, powers of PR is that you can take one piece of content and deliver it to millions of people in one go. No other form of communication enables you to do that.

It may take time to build and execute your PR plan. You may not see anything published or broadcast for three to four months, but when it lands, it’s well worth the wait, as your content has the potential to be seen or heard by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential ideal clients and customers. Just think about the circulation of a print publication, then triple it to get an average reach.

Think about the audience size of a podcast, then think how many extra people you can reach by sharing it across your social-media channels. And then think about how many extra people you will reach when the host shares it across their social-media channels. All of a sudden, one piece of content can be shared and shared again, leaving behind a digital footprint and breadcrumbs that can lead even more people to your business.

Related: How to Utilize Public Relations Without Sacrificing Your Own Narrative

This is another reason why PR is such a powerful and influential tool  because what you do now is searchable forever. PR isn’t always easy to measure, which potentially adds to its downfall in the ROI stakes, but it’s still a tactic that should be employed, and a muscle that should be flexed, as part of your communications strategy.

PR is yet another way of transporting your business and your expertise to a wider audience, an audience that has been built up and cultivated for decades, that already knows, likes and trusts the outlet and the content they produce.

So, next time you decide to put all your eggs in one basket and focus all of your attention on one particular marketing tool, or one particular platform, ask if there’s a more efficient, more effective way of sharing your message to drive hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new customers to your business. The answer, in case you missed it, is PR.

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3 Growth Strategies Small Businesses Can Learn From Google

To perfect your growth, emulate the successful strategies of industry giants.

When it comes to running a small business, you have to do much of the legwork yourself. For better or worse, you are the master of your fate, and the success of your organization lives and dies depending your ability to make strategic growth decisions.

You may own a small business now, but planning for long-term growth means considering the possibility that you will not always be a small business. With the correct planning and execution, the entrepreneurial seed you plant today could grow into the multinational conglomerate of tomorrow. To plan for successful growth on that scale, it helps to look to the shoulders of other giants who began as small businesses.

One especially ubiquitous small-business-turned-next-generation superstar is Google. Combined with its parent company, Alphabet, Google is worth an estimated $1 trillion. The company is so influential that the term “Google” is now a verb in the dictionary.

If you’re a small business owner looking to emulate the success of Google and other major growth-oriented companies, the following three tips will help your business replicate the Google playbook to achieve growth, attract investment and foster organizational success. 

1. Differentiate, differentiate, differentiate

Before you can sail off into the sunset with a small business idea that will net you millions, you need an idea. But not just any idea. It would help if you had a business model that stands out from competitors for offering something others are not.

Think about Google. It’s certainly not the only search algorithm out there. Other big names in the industry include Bing, Yahoo!, Ecosia, Ask, and many others. At the same time, none of these companies do what Google does nearly as well. That’s because Google differentiates itself with a search algorithm that is constantly learning, evolving and growing. Its goal is simple: to provide users with the absolute best results instead of the most results.

Google’s playbook is about quality, not quantity. As such, they become rewarded for their attention to a market need that improves lives and solves problems for billions of people every single day.

Like Google, your product (and the very nature of your business) does not have to be entirely new. What’s important is that you develop an aspect of your business that is new. Instead of simply replicating previously successful businesses, create elements of a new model that will anticipate a market need that does not currently exist. If you can do this, you’ll be on the path toward steady growth in no time. 

Related: Use These Growth Strategies to Build a 6-Figure Business

2. Expand into new areas

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spread across a variety of industries and owns some surprisingly big names: YouTube, the GPS app Waze, the exercising wearable textile brand Fitbit and more.

The aforementioned is an integral part of any business playbook model. As an entrepreneur, it’s important not to put all of your eggs in one basket. If your small business revolves around a single product, business model or selling strategy, what will you do when the market need for that product, model or process stagnates?

Unfortunately, this is how many businesses fail. Startups that receive angel investment with hopes of turning their idea into a budding national company often flounder after spending all of their funds on a single, unattractive business model. Instead of relying on one vision or strategy, consider diversifying your business and solving a host of needs for your specific audience.

Google isn’t the only player that knows the value of expanding. Amazon began as a bookselling outlet, and Uber was not always a food-delivery service. Elon Musk started as the creator of PayPal — now his space exploration company has its sights set on Mars.

When it comes to running a small business, no dream of expansion is too big. In truth, expanding when the time is right is quite possibly the best thing you can do for yourself and your business. 

Related: 4 Mindset and Growth Strategies to Help You Grow Your Business Revenue

3. Excel at your market niche

Google knows that diversification and expansion are essential. Still, it never loses sight of its actual value as a business: providing top-notch search results for countless people every day.

The point of expansion and diversification is to safeguard yourself against the potential of an idea that does not pan out. However, once you’ve found an idea that does work and you connect with an audience that wants more of it, it’s essential to hone in your niche and become a top market player.

Becoming the best at what you do takes time, practice, investment and innovation. It’s probably the most rigid tip to replicate, and it’s not a “get rich quick” scheme. Simultaneously, if you pay attention to your craft, focus on building your business and create a business model that genuinely excels, you’ll set yourself up for positive growth in both the short and long term.

The biggest takeaway for entrepreneurs itching to replicate the growth strategies of Google is simple: Growth is all about learning. The more you study the growth patterns and systems of market giants like Google, the more prepared you will be when your business is ready for its next growth spurt. By differentiating your business model, expanding into new markets and excelling at the services and goods you provide, your business seed will grow wonderfully — and profitably.

Original Article Here

3 Creative Ways This Startup Survived and Thrived During Uncertain Times

Sometimes the key to keeping a business moving forward requires a spark of creativity and having a lot of fun.

At the height of the COVID-19 health crisis, businesses of all kinds, all over the U.S. were shutting down—either temporarily or permanently. Brick-and-mortar restaurants and food shops were hit especially hard. However, there were many bright spots despite all the bad news. Take Jennifer Green and Gigi Pascual of Dough & Arrow for instance. They cooked up some creative solutions to keep their Costa Mesa, Calif.-based custom cookie and coffee shop moving forward.

With an open, colorful storefront on a bustling street, Dough & Arrow opened in 2017 with eye-popping cookie displays throughout the store, perfect for selfies, boomerangs and photo ops to celebrate cookies. Pre-pandemic, the goal was to be a high-quality foodie destination that attracted people from all over Southern California.

Like so many food businesses when COVID hit, Pascual and Green had to close Dough & Arrow’s doors and focus on delivery and take-out instead. But they didn’t stop there. They leaned on trusted experts like FedEx Office for high-quality labels, signage and other printing services to help get the word out that, yes, Dough & Arrow was still doing business and in a big way.

“We could no longer have people experience the smell and layout of the shop,” says Green. “We had to pivot our entire strategy.”

Here, Green shares three creative ways Dough & Arrow refocused the business and found success despite uncertain times.

1. Developed new ways to package their tasty products.

The great thing about cookie dough is that you can mold it any way you want. When Dough & Arrow had to close its doors to in-person customers, it was time to reimagine how they’d sell cookies. The solution: Using their cookie dough in a multitude of new forms. One was called Take & Bake Cookie Dough.

“It was a huge hit for us as people were at home,” Green explains. “They were able to enjoy our cookies fresh as if they were in store. It was something fun to do as a family activity.”

They also began repackaging the edible cookie dough they’d offer to customers by the spoonful in the store and sell it by the pint for takeout. Dough & Arrow relied on FedEx Office to print labels and stickers for these new products. “The result was better branding for an innovative new strategy that was eye-catching and fun,” Green says. 

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What are the most reliable high GB external hard drives? How often should I replace my external hard drive?

This is a worthy and very difficult problem. I don’t think there is a perfect answer but I’ll give my viewpoint.

Lets assume that you have a modest number of terabytes of personal data. 100,000 photos, 1000 movies, pretty much unlimited text files, like that.

You need a threat model. The obvious threats are equipment failure, theft, fire, natural disasters, misplaced trust in friends and family, criminal activity, and government activity. You also need to account for user error (you!)

To deal with equipment (drives, computers) failures, you need multiple backups that have independent failure mechanisms. External drives (not plugged in at the same time!) raid storage, cloud storage, things like that.

To deal with theft and fire, you need backups that are not in your house or apartment. Cloud storage might work, keeping backups at your cabin, or a (far away) friend’s house.

To deal with natural disasters, you need backups that are not in a single geographical area.

To deal with misplaced trust, you need to leave backups with at least two different trust boundaries. A friend, a lawyer, a safe deposit box.

To deal with criminals, you need to make sure your data cannot be ransomed. The easy way to do this is offline backups.

To deal with inimical governments, well if you have problems like that you might benefit from professional assistance!

What I do is to use Apple Time Machine to keep two different backup datasets. One is on an external drive and one is on a file server. The copy on the external drive could be encrypted by ransomware, but I don’t think the NAS is vulnerable to simple versions of ransomware. I then pay for a cloud backup service that works independently of Time Machine. I also occasionally copy stuff to external hard drives that I keep on the shelf.

Equipment failures are dealt with by having multiple backups that each keep a history (TimeMachine like). Fires, theft, and disasters are dealt with (I hope!) by having cloud backups. Make sure you keep the passwords and encryption keys somewhere safe!

I am probably not well protected against misplaced trust. I hope I don’t have that sort of problem in my life.

As far as criminals are concerned, I am probably not well protected against a targeted attack by a skilled adversary, but I’m not worried about botnets or script kiddies. They have far easier targets than me! The one time that I know about that I had a server compromised, I erased the whole thing and restored files from an old backup.

I am probably not well protected against a government, but I don’t have problems that I know about. If you do you need to read up on operational security and shouldn’t be keeping online data anyway.

As for things like Bluray, I wouldn’t trust them for archival storage. There are some <very expensive> metal film recorders that might be good for 100 years, but they are not for the average joe. For choosing good hard drives, see the BackBlaze and Google drive reliability reports that come out every few months. It is a moving target.

Doing a reasonable job on backups is the main point. Two external drives and a cloud backup service are about the minimum I would recommend. Plan to pay $100/year for the cloud service and to replace one drive per year. Do keep the old ones but don’t count on any particular drive being usable after even a couple of years on the shelf.


How a Personal Commitment Helps Your Business Grow

A larger purpose can impact your business. Here’s how that’s a good thing.

There are numerous reasons for starting a business, including pursuing a passion, wanting to set your own hours and wanting to make more money. But if you’re not committed to a larger purpose, all those reasons may not be enough for your business to succeed.

What Is a Commitment?

A commitment can be defined in three ways:

1. It gives you purpose. Let’s define a commitment as a greater purpose for your life that drives you forward every day. Many studies have shown that purpose even leads to longer life for men and women alike.

2. It’s never finished. A commitment is not, “I want to own a successful business,” because that doesn’t give you lifelong purpose. A commitment will never truly be finished, and you’ll work towards it for many years.

3. It’s personal. Although having a purpose in your business is important, your commitment is personal. It will affect all areas of your life, including business, and it will impact how your business grows.Related: Communicating Purpose Can Create a Boom in Business

What’s the difference between a goal and a commitment?

A goal is defined as a result that you aim for, define, plan for and then achieve. You have many short-term and long-term goals in life, but a commitment goes beyond even the most long-term goal. It’s not something you finish doing, but something you constantly work towards.

How does a commitment help your business?

It helps you focus. A lack of focus can be extremely detrimental to your business, not only from day to day but on a larger scale. To succeed in your business and complete each day’s, month’s and year’s goals, you need intense focus more so than a long period of focus.

Warren Buffet’s “2-List” strategy for focused attention is a perfect illustration of focus: defining your priorities and eliminating the rest. You write down your goals, and then circle the top five. Then you don’t just prioritize these — you eliminate the rest.

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SEO How-to, Part 8: Architecture and Internal Linking

This is the eighth installment in my “SEO How-to” series. Previous installments are:

Targeting Shopper Needs

Your site’s architecture impacts organic search performance. The taxonomy — the organization of products and attributes — plays a key role. It determines which pages exist and how they are linked.

SEO performance is strongest when those pages and linking structures reflect the needs of shoppers as expressed in their search queries. Keyword research helps you pinpoint those needs.

For example, you’d expect a jewelry etailer to have categories featuring products by metal type and color, such as yellow and white gold, and platinum. But a look at the top 15 engagement ring keywords below, as reported by Google Keyword Planner, shows that shoppers also want engagement rings by gender, style, cut, and gemstone.

Original Article Here.

The 3 Essentials to Retain Online Buyers after the Pandemic

Worldwide consumers have turned to ecommerce during the Covid-19 pandemic, creating new buying habits that may not revert to brick-and-mortar shopping afterward. In this 30-minute webinar, we’ll address three critical tactics to retain the new customers when the coronavirus passes.

3 Essentials to Retain Online Buyers

  • Understanding the opportunity. New shopping habits are forming. For significant portions of spring 2020, non-essential, brick-and-mortar stores were closed and consumers were staying at home. We’ll address the opportunity — examples — to use these new habits to create long-term customer relationships.
  • Prioritizing customers. Purchase data and customer demographics identify retention priorities. We’ll provide a framework to learn more about your new pandemic-driven customers and, also, how to prioritize — to focus on retaining those buyers that are the most valuable to your business.
  • Critical action steps. The increase in ecommerce transactions may be a boon for many online businesses, but the secret to long-term ecommerce growth is customer retention. We’ll review detailed outreach tactics — automated and manual — to convert pandemic-driven buyers into long-term, loyal shoppers.
  • Original article and to signup for seminar are here.

7 Lawsuits to Watch Out For Right Now

As businesses re-open, many may be opening their doors to legal troubles. Make sure you’ve stayed on the right side of the law throughout the crisis.

We’re living in uncertain times in every sense. But in coming months, one thing to keep a particularly close eye on is how the legal landscape will evolve. In the wake of the global health crisis, there are likely to be many lawsuits filed. And while most business owners have done everything they can just to survive these difficult times, that desperation may come back to haunt them if they aren’t mindful of potential legal issues. Here are some potential allegations to keep in mind as you move forward with recovery.

Original Article Here.