Tag: common

The 3 Common Self-Destructive Habits Among Video Slots Players


One of the biggest mistakes that slot players make is playing slots. And while there’s some truth behind that statement, you’re never going to win a jackpot by sitting on the sidelines. Having said that, video slots have their fair share of pitfalls and are notoriously infamous for putting punters on the path of self-destruction.

Gambling Fast

Probably the fastest way to exhaust your bankroll is by picking up the pace at slots. Modern video slot machines spin every few seconds and at this rate, punters can easily exceed 600 spins an hour. When you think of it this way, the cost of playing video slots per hour is more expensive than some of the most popular table games.

online gambling

However, at the first glance, a $2 spin seems more enticing than a $10 blackjack wager. The true odds are only unearthed when you think of it in detail. Say a slots machine offers 92% RTP, which means the casino’s keeping the remaining 8%. So, at $2 per spin and 600 spins an hour, you’re investing $1,200. But the standard return is only $1,104.

Selecting the Wrong Video Slots

Video slots aren’t all created equal and the RTP varies considerably depending on an eclectic mix of reasons. While amateur punters are often mesmerized by high-end graphics, gameplay, and soundtracks, veterans keep a keen eye out for RTP.

While this might sound like individual preference, if you’re looking for a massive payout, higher RTP is good news. In fact, slot machines with lower RTP will inadvertently wipe out your bankroll much quicker.

If you want to explore high RTP slots, don’t forget to visit here.

Falling Asleep in the Middle of a Game

Slot animations are notorious for drawing players in a state of trance. The exciting and colorful animations, coupled with bright lights and loud sounds easily lure players, and if you’re sitting in front of the screen for too long, you might enter a deep state of trance with complete disregard for time or money.

Slot machines are designed with this exact purpose in mind and players will often sit and lose for hours. Another reason for the trance is losses disguised as wins. How this works is the machines periodically payout small wins less than the player’s original betting amount. Thus, creating an illusion of a win.

Poor Bankroll Management

While poor bankroll management isn’t exclusive to video slots, the latter is far less likely to cash out their winnings and walk away. The allure of winning massive jackpots is far too great to overcome and the moment you chase the big win, you’re bound to be doomed.

Casino games are cleverly designed with the explicit purpose of slowly siphoning your bankroll with time. If video slots have fallen in your favor so far, the tide could turn at any given moment. Hence, do yourself a favor and cash out when you still can.

About The Author

vipul

Vipul is a professional blogger and online advertiser based out of Bengaluru, India. Always in a quest for new ways to make money, Vipul detail out all possible opportunities that can help anyone to earn passive income online. You can connect on Twitter, Linkedin & Facebook



Common Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid in 2020


Customers are the most important people to keep happy when you want to grow your business greatly. If they are facing a problem or issue with your product or services, they should be able to reach and contact you quickly to gain the required assistance, help or guidance to get rid of the issues as soon as possible. It is all about providing them with excellent services whenever and how they want. No business or organization can underestimate the significance of quality customer services. The ability to make your customers delighted with your services and making them feel valued is a golden rule to make your business flourish. 

Here is how you can make your customers pleased by getting rid of common customer service mistakes. Otherwise, they have plenty of options regarding with whom to do business. 

Not making smart and data-driven customer services decisions

In this era of analytics and data science, giant brands and companies leverage different types of customer service data to provide their customers with great services. Use of a customer service software is the best way to gain data analysis not only about your customers but to evaluate the performance of your customer care team. In this way, you can have insights on which customer services agent delivers great services and what areas need to be improved. Thus, don’t only rely on software to make decisions but also encourage your team to use their professional skills and expertise to provide users with personalized services experience.

Forcing customers to use a specific medium

Everyone has own communication preferences and you shouldn’t be forcing your customers to use a particular communication channel to contact you. For instance, if you export LinkedIn contacts and reach your connections to convert them into customers, don’t force them to communicate within LinkedIn but provide them with multiple options so they can conveniently reach and interact with your business. Limiting your customer service mediums gives your competitors a chance to grab your customers.

Surface-level understanding of Customers

Most of the businesses just contact their customers to make sales and then forget. Smart business owners and companies take time to get to know the customers more and gather more details about them like what they do, how they prefer to interact and what their corporate culture is. The more you know your customers, the better you will be able to present your products or services that fit their needs. 

Only communicating when something went wrong

A dialogue or conversation shouldn’t always have to be started by the customer. Don’t wait until something go out of order to interact with customers but keep talking with your customers often to make them feel special and valued. The only communication with customers when things are out of order is known as reactive service. Smart businesses focus more on proactive customer services to build strong and trusted relationships with customers. 

Impersonal Response

Using automated responses or common messages saved in your software is no doubt a smart way to save time on typing and respond to customer queries instantly. But you should remember to personalize each message before sending it to provide customers with a personalized experience. You can personalize a saved message within moments by adding the customer’s name in it. Commonly used customer service phrases annoy the customers more. So, try to send personalized responses to make customers feel special. 

Inconsistent customer experience

If your customer care department is quick to pick up calls but the IT team is not there to respond to emails or social media messages, then your customer services are bitty and inconsistent. Customer interaction via different communication mediums should relatively be consistent for each of your customers and the attitude of the customer service agents should also be positive and assistive. Sometimes customers are unable to use a particular channel to reach your business for help or assistance, and they opt for another option to contact your customer care team to get a quick and positive response. Responding to your customers in real-time no matter what medium they are using ensures that you value your customers and are always there to resolve their issues as soon as possible. 

By avoiding all the above-mentioned customer service mistakes you can provide your customers with an excellent and faster experience to keep them engaged with your business for longer.



7 Common Remote Job Interview Questions And How To Answer Them


If you’re looking for a remote job, eventually you will have a remote job interview. And, while interviews in general are a little daunting, it can be more intimidating to interview virtually — especially if it’s your first remote interview.

As a Certified Professional Career Coach, my standard advice I give to clients is to prepare and practice for a remote job interview. Doing so helps calm nerves and increases confidence. How’s that for a win win?

Plus, it makes for a more successful interview. On average, you’ll be up against four to six other professionals once you make it to the interview round of hiring.

The best way to get a job offer is to interview better than your competitors. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it can be if you plan ahead and prep answers to common remote job interview questions in advance.

Preparation is Key

As a job seeker in general you’ll face common interview questions. These are the same ones we all come across regardless of job type, industry or position. But, as a remote job seeker, you’ll likely have to answer remote-specific questions that will help a hiring manager determine whether or not you’d be a successful remote worker.

This is how you can help yourself stand out against the competition. Remember, the four to six candidates being interviewed all have similar skills and abilities — that’s how they got the interview. But as a savvy job seeker, you’ll get the job based on how well you present yourself as a remote job seeker.

Make yourself seem like the perfect hire that you obviously are by coming up with smart answers to common remote job interview questions.

7 Common Remote Job Interview Questions

1. Do you have experience working remotely?

If you do, great! This is the perfect chance to highlight previous remote work experience. Someone who has already successfully tackled remote work is a ‘safer’ hire than someone without any remote experience.

However, if you’ve never worked remotely a day in your life — don’t panic. You can still answer this question in a positive way.

Explain that while you don’t have direct experience as a remote worker, you do have skills needed to be a successful remote worker. Then highlight common skills needed to work remotely related to communication, technology, organization and time management.

From there, you can mention specific programs you’ve used that remote teams commonly use like Slack, Google Drive, and Trello.

The more you can demonstrate you’ve got what it takes to work remotely, the better.

2. Why do you want to telecommute?

If you’ve never worked remotely before, the hiring manager will want to know why you’re drawn to remote work now. Someone who has had a successful office-based career for years that suddenly pivots to remote work will need a solid answer to this question.

Maybe you’re more productive when working from your home office. Perhaps you live in a rural area where job opportunities are limited. It may even be as simple as the company/job you’re applying for just happens to be remote-friendly and you are excited about the opportunity.

Don’t overthink your answer to this one. Simply state what it is about remote work that appeals to you. Remember, there are tons of remote work benefits to choose from!

But never ever mention what you hate about office work — annoying coworkers, office politics, cubicle dwelling, daily commutes, fluorescent lighting, etc. This just makes it seem like you’re looking for an escape rather than a new opportunity.

3. What is your home office setup like? Can you describe it?

Whether or not you have worked from home previously, your interviewer wants to know you are serious about remote work. A candidate that has an existing home office or has considered how they will create a home office is already a step ahead of most.

Be sure to note anything that will contribute to your overall productivity and efficiency like a quiet and private workspace and high-speed reliable Internet.

4. How will you communicate and collaborate effectively with your coworkers?

One of the most important traits companies want in their remote workers is the ability to communicate effectively. That’s because you won’t be able to collaborate in the same space with your coworkers or have in-person sessions.

Instead, remote workers rely on collaboration tools and written communication to manage workflow and work together to get things done. Needless to say, you have to be an effective communicator in order to work well as a remote employee.

As an aspiring remote worker, you should be aware of common ways to keep in touch with coworkers. These include Trello, Slack, Zoom and Google Drive. It’s also a good idea to mention traditional communication channels like chat, phone, email and video.

5. What do you think your biggest challenge will be as a remote worker? How will you deal with this challenge?

You probably already know the dreaded interview question, “What’s your greatest weakness?” Well, this is the remote interviewer’s equivalent of that.

Let’s be honest, remote work comes with unique challenges. The person interviewing you wants to know that you’re aware of this and ready to overcome them if and when they happen.

Distractions, technical problems, engagement, motivation and productivity are some common pitfalls of remote work. Think of ways you will combat these as a remote worker.

When you have answers prepared you come across as an honest and realistic aspiring remote worker. If you fail to answer this question or try to spin this into a positive, i.e., “My biggest challenge as a remote worker is that I will get lost in work since I’m more productive at home” you come across as disillusioned about remote work or dishonest.

6. How do you handle distractions?

Distractions happen as a remote worker. Your doorbell rings. Dogs start barking. Neighbors come and go. Spouses, significant others and kids may be in and around your workspace.

How you handle these common distractions tells a lot about your work ethic as a remote worker. Your interviewer wants to know that you are aware that distractions are going to happen and are already prepared to tackle them head on.

7. What are some ways you prioritize tasks and stay motivated?

Before you’re hired, the company wants to know you’ll put in a full day’s work even when no one is looking. To build that level of trust during the interview, you will likely be asked how you manage your time and stay motivated.

Now is the time to illustrate just how you manage yourself and stay on top of task

Think about your own preferences when it comes to staying organized, focused, and productive. Be sure to note how you prioritize tasks and manage to get things done daily.

Practice Makes Perfect

Remember, these are just some of the most common interview questions remote job seekers face. Of course, every company will have their own set of questions they’ll ask potential hires.

But you can expect to encounter some of the above questions or similar variations. That’s because remote work is unique and it is not for everyone. Companies want to make sure they hire someone who will thrive as a remote worker and fit in with the current remote-friendly culture.

To position yourself as this perfect hire, prepare answers to the questions you’re more likely to come across as a remote job seeker. And while it’s good to be prepared don’t be overly robotic or rehearsed. Interviews are also a time to let your personality shine. Your answers should perfectly showcase your professional abilities and demonstrate you’re a great fit for the position.

Remote Interview Help

Need interview help? I’ve got you covered. As a Certified Professional Career Coach I routinely work with remote job seekers to help them fine-tune their remote interview skills.

Learn more about my services and how I can help you ace the interview and get the job.

Happily,

Ashlee Anderson, CPCC

5 Common Problems of Hosting Providers


In 2020, you can host a website without being tech-savvy. Finding a reasonably priced hosting will not be a problem for most people. But while finding a hosting is easy, finding a really good one may take some time.

Many people have to change hosting one or two times before they find the company that works well for them. That may not seem like a lot, but troubleshooting, talking to the support, and migrating websites is too much to deal with when you have a business to run.

Choose a great hosting on your first try to focus on the business. How do you do that? You learn the most common mistakes when it comes to hosting providers.

Security

The biggest problem you can run into when it comes to hosting is security. If a hosting company does not provide automatic backups, doesn’t update SSL certificates on time, doesn’t have protection against DDoS attacks, and doesn’t have a 2fA option, it’s a bad choice. Check if all of these criteria are listed on the price plan you’re opting for before you buy it.

But hosting provider security doesn’t end there. You’d be surprised by how many major hosting providers are vulnerable due to something as simple as poor JSON request validation. That bug let potential hacker access any account on Bluehost or HostGator without ever needing a password.

All companies tested in that experiment have since fixed the issue, but the point remains. You need to look for compromised companies and avoid them.

Also, if the hosting provider has a “Do not sell my information” link on the footer of the website, make sure to visit it and read up on details about how the company treats your personal info. Many companies say they don’t “sell” your information but “give it to third parties for improved performance.” If they do, opt-out of it.

If they don’t have that point on the website, do your due diligence and look for their information handling practices online.

Uptime

If the hosting’s servers are down, visitors can’t access your website and you’re losing money for every moment your website is inaccessible. When you’re choosing a hosting, make sure to pick the one that has decent uptime, preferably 99% and above.

But don’t just trust what the host advertises. Look uptime information at third-party websites. Make sure those websites are not affiliated with any hosting providers and don’t inflate the stats.

A hosting provider may promise 100% uptime but if it encounters a bug in the software, a hardware failure, or a power outage, the promise is broken. What you need in this situation is the money-back guarantee.

Look for hosting providers that have a decent system for reimbursing your losses during downtime. Some providers will pay you for every 30 minutes of downtime, some will credit the money towards future payments, and some will only give your money back if you notice downtime and report on it.

Hardware

Many people who want to host a website are not really knowledgeable about tech. If you can’t tell the difference between Xeon E5-2620 and E5-1650, this doesn’t mean you can’t get anything from the hardware specs page at your hosting provider’s site.

For starters, the site needs to have one. If all you can find is the reassurance that the servers are using “high-quality” components, you don’t even know what you’re paying for. Look for the hardware specs page to see what exactly you’re paying for. Even if the CPU and GPU models don’t tell you much, you know that this provider isn’t hiding anything.

Then, you need to check what type of memory are you getting (SSD is always better than HDD, even though HDD is cheaper) and the amount of RAM dedicated to you on shared hosting. You won’t need more than 512 MB to run a medium-sized WordPress website with 50,000-100,000 visitors.

If you expect more visitors or your website is heavy, you may need to get more RAM. Look for providers that allow burst RAM usage so you don’t run out of it during peak hours.

Server location

To most users, the Internet seems instant, but it actually takes a while for the data to travel from servers that host a website to a user’s browser. If that time is more than 5 seconds, you run a high risk of losing a customer.

This is why you need the servers to be located close to your target audience. If you target multiple countries, opting for a provider that has a content delivery network (CDN) in place is a great choice.

To check how your provider handles requests from other countries, compare VPNs that have servers in different countries and check the response times. If it’s taking too long to load, you may need to change the location of the servers or switch hosting providers. There are also several speed testing tools online that might help you get an idea of the different response times.

Support

If a hosting’s security and hardware are stellar but the support is not working fast enough, you won’t be able to enjoy the first two. Answering a support ticket for two days may be worse than downtime, and you don’t get even get refunded for that.

Look for web hosting providers that have fast ticket response rates and good reviews about their support. Look for this information on the web or try to contact the support and see how fast will you get a response.

Tax Deductions Explained (and Common Ones You Could Claim)


Part of being an American is looking toward Tax Day with either dread or anticipation. Will you have to cut a check to Uncle Sam, or will you get a plump refund? Tax deductions can tip the scales — a lot — meaning you’ll end up sending less money to the IRS.

We all want that, right? 

Read on to understand which common tax deductions you could claim when you file your 2019 return. Note that we use 2019 numbers because these apply to the tax return that’s due April 15, 2020.

What Is a Tax Deduction?

Tax deductions, also known as tax write-offs, lower your taxable income so you’ll pay less overall. You can either go with the standard deduction, which is a predetermined amount that is subtracted from your income, or itemized deductions, which take into account your particular expenses such as charitable donations and some health care costs. 

Tax deductions are different from tax credits. A tax deduction decreases your taxable income, whereas a tax credit lowers the amount of taxes you owe the IRS.

Calculating Your Adjusted Gross Income

Deductions are typically calculated from something called your adjusted gross income, or AGI.

Do you know how much you make each year? What about the amount you contribute to retirement? The IRS uses this information and more to calculate your adjusted gross income (AGI), which is the starting point for figuring out your tax bill.

Your AGI includes your wages, alimony, dividends, retirement distributions and business income. If you’ve paid student loan interest, contributed to a traditional IRA or paid into a health savings account, those expenses are deducted. What’s left over is your AGI.

Changes From 2017 Tax Reform

In late 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code. The main change affecting everyday Americans was to the standard deduction; before 2018 it was $6,350 for single filers and $12,700 for married couples filing jointly. Under the new law, it nearly doubled: For 2019 taxes, it’s $12,200 for individuals and $24,400 for married people who file a joint return.

While the 2017 changes were good news for some people, they came at the expense of several popular deductions that were eliminated. These include:

  • Job-related moving expenses for non-military
  • Home equity loan interest deduction, unless the loan is used to improve the home
  • Alimony for the person paying spousal support
  • Job search expenses
  • Unreimbursed work expenses

Standard vs. Itemized Deductions

Still, a number of itemized deductions remain in play. Whether you choose the standard deduction or itemize them depends on your personal situation. 

If your potential deductions equal more than the standard deduction, itemizing will lower your taxable income and save you money. 

Here’s another way to think about it: If you’re a young, single person with a full-time job, you’re healthy and you rent rather than own a home, you will almost certainly take the standard deduction because your deductible expenses probably won’t total more than $12,200. 

But if your financial profile is more complex — think mortgage, property taxes, medical expenses — then you might benefit from itemizing.

Popular Tax Deductions for Itemizers

Getty Images

If you’re thinking of itemizing, you need to know what is and isn’t tax deductible. Here are some common deductions.

1. Charitable Contributions

If you gave money or goods to a charity during the year, you could be eligible for a tax deduction. The organization must be designated as a nonprofit by the IRS. Usually these are religious, educational or charitable groups.

There are some limitations on what you can include in this deduction. For example, if you donated to your local PBS station and they sent you a “thank you” T-shirt, you can’t deduct the value of the shirt. So if your contribution was $100 and the T-shirt was worth $10, you can only deduct $90 on your tax return.

Additionally, you can only deduct charitable contributions up to 50% of your AGI. (Most people can’t donate half their income to charity anyway.) But there are additional limits depending on the organization. Donations to churches, hospitals and colleges qualify up to 50% of AGI, but contributions to veterans’ organizations and fraternal societies have a lower cap — only 30% of AGI.

You can deduct expenses from charitable work.

Pro Tip

For example, if you knit hats for a homeless charity you could deduct the cost of the yarn you used. Make sure you save your receipts in case you’re hit with an audit.

2. Mortgage Interest

The interest you pay on your home mortgage can total many thousands of dollars, particularly at the beginning of the loan. Luckily, you can deduct that interest from your taxable income. This is applicable for debt up to $750,000 or $375,000 if you’re married filing separately through 2025 . If you bought your home on or before Dec. 15, 2017, you can deduct mortgage interest on debt up to $1 million or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately.

3. Property Taxes

The 2017 tax reform put new limits on property tax deductions. Beginning in 2018, you can deduct state and local taxes up to $10,000 or $5,000 if you’re married filing separately. Those caps are for state and local income, property and sales taxes combined. 

Let’s say you paid $8,000 of state income tax, $7,000 of property taxes and $6,000 of sales tax. Your deduction is limited to $10,000. Prior to tax reform, you could have deducted each of these expenses in full. 

4. Medical Expenses

If you had significant medical expenses last tax year that weren’t reimbursed by insurance, you could get a deduction. The bills must equal 10% or higher of your AGI to qualify for the deduction in 2019. Even then, you can only deduct the amount above 10% of AGI.  For someone with an AGI of $50,000, that means you can’t deduct medical expenses until they exceed $5,000, or 10%.

Pro Tip

If your state has an income tax, you may be able to deduct a percentage of medical expenses from your state taxes as well, though the amount will vary.

Qualified medical expenses include:

  • Bills paid to doctors, dentists, chiropractors and more
  • Hospital visits or stays
  • Nursing home care
  • Some weight loss programs
  • Addiction programs
  • Prescription medications
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments
  • Acupuncture
  • Dentures, crutches, hearing aids, wheelchairs and service animals
  • Reading or prescription glasses or contact lenses

Deductions You Can Claim With the Standard Deduction

Even if you don’t itemize, there are some valuable deductions you can still claim. They’re known as “above-the-line” deductions.

1. Educator Expenses

In an ideal world, teachers wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for school supplies. In reality, most teachers routinely dip into their own funds to buy pencils, paper, glue and other items for their classrooms. The IRS allows K-12 teachers to deduct up to $250 for educator expenses such as classroom materials. 

2. Student Loan Interest

If you paid interest on your student loans, you can deduct up to $2,500 in interest payments if you earned less than $$70,000 for single filers or $140,000 if you’re married filing jointly. Above that, the deduction phases out, but those earning up to $85,000 as single filers or $170,000 for those who are married filing jointly can get a reduced deduction. 

This only applies for people filing their own tax returns; if you’re still listed as a dependent on your parents’ tax return you can’t claim the student loan interest deduction. You also can’t claim this deduction if your loan isn’t in your name. So, if your parents took out the loan on your behalf, they will get the deduction instead.

3. Moving Expenses for Military

Members of the military are eligible to deduct moving expenses from their taxable income. In previous years, civilians could also deduct moving expenses, but the deduction is now limited to military personnel.

4. Health Savings Account Contributions

Health savings accounts, or HSAs, are accounts you can use to save for medical expenses if you have a high-deductible health insurance plan. A high-deductible plan is defined as one that has a minimum deductible of $1,350 for a single person or $2,700 for a family. 

You can deduct contributions of up to $3,500 if you’re single or $7,000 for a family in 2019. 

5. Self-Employment Expenses

If you’re self-employed, you can deduct quite a few expenses. These include:

  • Home office: You can deduct the space devoted to your home office at a rate of $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet of space. However, you must use this room exclusively as your home office, so you can’t set up a desk next to your spare bed and claim that as your office. You also must use that room regularly for business.
  • Education: As a self-employed individual, you can deduct things like tuition, books and lab fees for education that “maintains or improves skills needed in your present work,” according to the IRS.
  • Car: If you use your car for business, such as driving to meetings with clients or vendors, you can deduct 58 cents per mile as of 2019. You can also deduct things like gas, licenses, tolls and parking fees.

6. Health Insurance Premiums

If you are self-employed, you can deduct your health premiums.

You can also take the deduction, minus any subsidies you received, if you get your health insurance through a state or federal marketplace.

7. IRA Contributions

You could get a tax deduction if you contribute to a traditional IRA as part of your retirement savings portfolio. The maximum contribution for 2019 is $6,000, and $7,000 for those over age 50, and it’s fully tax deductible. But your eligibility also depends on how much money you make and whether you or your spouse has an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Consult the IRS guidelines for those income limits.

Catherine Hiles is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

Common design mistakes ecommerce sites make


As a WordPress Maintenance and Support Specialist at FixUpFox, I manage ecommerce websites on a daily basis. There are a few common mistakes that I see when people are starting up new ecommerce sites that I’d like to go over. Fixing these mistakes before your site is launched means that you’ll be presenting a better experience to potential customers, leading to higher conversion!

Not following design standards

We have a quarter-century of ecommerce design to draw upon when building our own sites. There are many standards and guidelines that exist for how to make a usable site that converts. Most of those standards are evident when you look at what a good ecommerce site is doing and note where things just make sense.

As an example, you’re likely to have pictures of your products to the upper left of a product page, with the product details to the right and description below. In that area to the right, you’re most likely going to find an add to cart or buy now button. You’re also going to be able to navigate through thumbnails if multiple images exist (and they probably should), as well as zoom in on images in some way.

The Petshop WooCommerce theme demonstrates a lot of great design standards, including compelling product images, straightforward navigation, and breadcrumbs to let you easily look at related products.

There’s no reason to stray too far from that layout when designing your ecommerce site. Don’t reinvent the wheel! Having some standards means that your visitors will know where things are, and not have to discover some other method of navigation.

Overly complex navigation

Speaking of navigation, there’s a lot to address there when it comes to design mistakes.

There are many ways navigation can affect your site. You want to ensure that the right customer can get to the right page with the fewest clicks, from entry onto your site to checkout.

Here are a few tips for fixing the navigation of your site.

  • Place less used navigation elements in the footer. You should absolutely provide trust to your customers in the form of a privacy policy, return policy, and terms and conditions. But links like those, as well as other useful but not as important for converting links should go in the footer of the site.
  • Make buttons and links large enough to click on mobile. If something is clickable, it should be clickable on mobile. We’ll talk about more mobile mistakes below.
  • Make search and filtering prominent. Customers don’t always know how to find what they’re looking for, and it’s your job to help them. Place a search bar and icon prominently on the page, and allow filtering if enough products exist to allow for it.
  • Make the shopping cart and add to cart buttons easy to find. This should be a given, but I’ve been on sites where I can’t figure out right away how to add a product to my cart, or how to get to my cart after I’ve added it. This is how sales are lost!

Not displaying related products

You may offer discounts on shipping or products if a customer purchases past a certain threshold. You may have products that go together, even if it’s not immediately obvious from the description that they do. You may just want to highlight the fact that two products are commonly purchased together, or that you want to have people buy.

One way to do this is to display related products on your single product page and in your shopping cart. A cross-sell is a product that would be in addition to the product that you are buying. For instance, if you buy a phone, you may also buy a phone case, which would be the up-sell. An up-sell would be a comparable product, but higher value in some way, like a newer model of a phone than the currently viewed product.

If you are using WooCommerce for your storefront, it’s easy to add related products, as well as cross-sells and up-sells on your store. Check out the WooCommerce documentation for instructions on how to do this.

Having a site that is not mobile-friendly

There aren’t many excuses left to not have a mobile-friendly ecommerce site beyond not wanting to make more sales. For some retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, more than half of their ecommerce site views are from mobile-only visitors.

You should look at a few things when making your website mobile-friendly. Ensure that it is responsive, meaning that all of the content stays on the page, but moves around to fit on the screen and not require sideways scrolling. Allow forms to autocomplete so that customers can easily enter shipping and billing data that they already have saved. Make all buttons and links large and make all text easy to read. Wherever you can, reduce the size of images and files to make your storefront faster to load.

The TeePublic mobile site is easy to navigate, while still displaying graphics for products front and center. Search, filtering, your cart, and navigation are all present and easy to access.

When in doubt, look at your site on a phone or two, as well as a tablet if you have one. Try navigating around and making a purchase or searching for products to see how it feels. If you can’t figure out how to get around your own site, your customers won’t be able to either.

While you’re at it, test your site on a variety of browsers as well. Chrome may be the dominant browser now, but it wasn’t always the case and it hopefully won’t always be. Check out your site on Firefox, in Safari and Edge if you can. Thankfully there are fewer cross-browser weirdness issues than in the past, but it still helps to be sure.

This was the fifth installment of our Black Friday series. Eager for more tips on optimizing your ecommerce performance? Stay tuned for more posts just like this one featuring industry experts and some of our technical partners. Learn how to improve your website design, conversions, online marketing, and more.  

8 Things High Ranking Websites All Have in Common


Did you know that, on average, the first organic search result from Google gets 32.5 percent of the total traffic share? Did you also know that sites on the first Google search results page receive a whopping 91.5 percent of the total traffic share?

Basically, if you want people to click on your website and see what you have to offer, you need to be on that first page and as close to the top as possible.

Related blog posts and resources:

Getting there isn’t exactly an easy feat, though, especially when you’re part of a competitive market. It is possible to improve your ranking, though.

Read on to learn about eight of the characteristics all high-rank websites have in common. If you can make these improvements to your site, you’ll be amazed at how your position improves.

1. Security and Accessibility

Website security and accessibility play a significant role in how well a particular site ranks on Google (as well as other search engines, for that matter).

One way to indicate a secure and accessible website is the type of URL your site has. If your URL is one that search engine bots can reach and crawl, with ease, your website will be rewarded with a higher ranking.

Some ways you can make this happen are by installing a robots.txt file. This tells Google where it is and isn’t able to look for information about your site. A sitemap that lists all the pages on your website is imperative as well.

Having an “HTTPS” at the front of your URL is better than an “HTTP,” too. It doesn’t hold as much weight as these other factors, but it still can help.

2. Fast Load Times

The best Google sites tend to have very fast load times, too. The faster your pages load, the more likely it is that people will stick around to see what’s on them.

There are plenty of ways to speed up your load times, from getting rid of clutter to compressing images. Talk to your web developer to figure out how you can start to make your site more efficient.

3. Mobile Friendliness

These days, the majority of online searches come from a mobile device. If your website doesn’t look good on a smartphone or tablet, people are going to be less inclined to spend a lot of time on it.

If you want to enjoy a high ranking, make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices. The easiest way to do this is to work with a developer who specializes in this aspect of website building and design.

4. Higher Domain Age

The longer your website has been around, the easier it’ll be to get on top Google sites lists. In most cases, sites that have existed for less than a year are less likely to rank near the top of any search engine results page.

If your website is less than a year old, don’t give up hope. You can still implement these other practices to boost its ranking and help it reach a top spot faster.

5. Technical Optimization

Technical optimization is an often-overlooked component of search engine optimization. It plays a key role in improving search engine rankings, though. Some important technical aspects to consider include the following:

  • The use of keyword phrases in your website’s page titles
  • Using header tags to organize content and create a hierarchy
  • Writing a clear and concise meta description
  • Using keyword phrases in your images’ alt tags

Many people overlook these factors when trying to optimize their sites, but they can make a significant difference in your website’s overall performance.

6. Optimized Content

As stated in the article, Buy Guest Posts On Real Blogs With 1000+ Organic Monthly Traffic, one of the only trustworthy metrics to how much Google favors a website is how much organic traffic that website receives monthly from Google.

Of course, bringing in organic traffic is difficult. One way to increase the number of people visiting your site is to make sure your content is well-optimized.

There are lots of ways to do this, including the following:

  • Including the right keywords in your content (in an organic, non-forced way)
  • Answering common questions
  • Using videos and infographics to appeal to a wider range of visitors

Writing long-form content is also helpful. Posts that are in the 2,000-word range tend to outperform those with lower word counts.

7. Positive Social Signals

Google wants to see how your website is performing on social media. Positive social signals can lead to higher search engine rankings. For example, if lots of people are tweeting links to pages from your website or sharing them on Facebook, that will reflect well and lead to rewards from Google.

8. High Click-Through Rate and Low Bounce Rate

When determining where to rank a website in search engine results, Google’s algorithm will pay attention to your website’s click-through rate as well. This refers to the number of clicks your website receives from people who have typed in a particular search term. The higher your click-through rate is, the better off your site will be when it comes to rankings.

It’s not good enough just to have a high click-through rate, though. You’ll also need a low bounce rate.

Bounce rate refers to the number of people who click the “back” button and leave your website, as well as how quickly they do this after visiting your site. If the majority of people who visit your site click away within a few seconds, that’s a red flag to Google and your site will be penalized.

Join the List of High-Rank Websites Today

As you can see, there are quite a few characteristics that all (or nearly all) high-rank websites share. If you want your website to be counted among this group, you need to know what not to search on Google and, instead, make sure you’re doing what you can to implement these changes and improve your site.

Do you want to learn more about improving your web presence and raising your Google site’s ranking? If so, check out some of our other helpful blog posts and digital marketing resources today.



An Overview of Common Google SERP Features | Google SERP Features


In the ever-changing world of SERPs, it’s important for local businesses to be aware of what features they can make use of. Digital Content Editor at Pi Datametrics Emily Hogarth answers the question, “What are Google’s SERP features?” and explains how you can turn them into visibility opportunities.

Whether you’re a global or a local business, you’ll be wanting to get found online. Your priorities may be different, but with Google’s rich SERP features you can perform across a diverse range of results that suit your objectives and win you more engagement. 

What are SERP features?

SERP features are results on Google which offer richer content than the traditional blue links. These results often take up more space and are far more visual. At Pi, we’ve counted 18 featured snippets in Google, and we track all of these with our digital intelligence tool.

Google’s SERP features

What are Google's SERP features?

Why is it important to perform for SERP features?

In these now crowded search results, with a large portion of Google’s page 1 taken up with feature boxes, classic links are hardly going to make your site stand out. 

That’s not to say that they’re no longer important, but if you’re looking to take up as much SERP real estate as possible, you’ve got to go for the big boys.

More information

SERP features are bigger than classic blue links, meaning they show more copy and more information. Offering more content, in some cases, could result in an increased click-through rate as searchers get a taste of how relevant your content is. 

They’re usually much more visual as well, catching the searchers’ eye and interest. 

You’ll also be able to get more information on page 1, as in a lot of cases you are able to take up two spaces in the SERPs; position 0 and your original position. This may be changing as Google is testing the removal of the second link – but as of today, it is still an advantage.

Brand awareness

There are those rich snippets that can make a user’s click obsolete. For example, the answer card may pull your site’s content directly on to Google to answer the query outright. 

Google seems to be shifting towards clickless queries more and more, but this doesn’t mean these particular features aren’t worth performing for. 

Sitting at the top of the SERPs (‘position zero’), they’re perfect for boosting brand awareness. If your site is the first that a searcher sees, and you manage to answer their query right away, your authority on the subject is strengthened. 

Moreover, as voice search increases in popularity, owning ‘position zero’ could result in your content being read out in people’s homes – another amazing brand awareness opportunity. 

Featured snippets

Featured snippets are typically found at the very top of the SERPs in ‘position 0’. There are a range of possible queries that return a featured snippet box, but the main aim of them is to provide enough information within the results page that the user does not need to click into a site – providing quick and relevant answers to the searcher. 

Answer cards 

Google Answer Card

 

An answer card is a type of featured snippet that aims to answer the question of the user, picking out and displaying information from a site that Google think bests responds to the query. Find out how to win an answer card.

Sports results

Google sports results

This appears when a sports-related query is searched, i.e. searches for a particular football match. When big sporting events are happening, this result appears more often, with a search for a specific team returning sports results.

Finance box

Google finance box

When a query for conversion rates or information on stocks is searched, an interactive finance box appears. Information can be entered here and you can even toggle between graph views.  

Carousels

A Google carousel shows a number of search results, and an arrow allows you to scroll through the results returned.

Carousel

Google carousel results

Google’s carousel appears directly under the search box for entertainment queries such as ‘2019 films’. This can also return occasionally for local hotel or restaurant searches.

Top stories carousel

Google top stories

Typically a feature for publishers, this carousel collates the most relevant articles on the searches’ subject. If you perform here, you’ll want to make the top three in the carousel as they are likely to result in more engagement than if you’re on the second or third rotation of the carousel. 

Video carousel

Video carousel Google

Returns up to 10 results of the most relevant videos.

Twitter cards

Twitter cards in results

Google has full access to Twitter’s streams and this carousel returns the most popular tweets for your query.

Images and videos

Google is bringing more media types to the SERPs without a user having to go to Google Images or the Video tab.

Images

Google image results

This feature appears as a box showcasing a sample of Google images that return for the query.

Video links 

Video link SERPs

This feature resembles the classic blue links, but a video image sits to the right-hand side of the link.

Video box 

Video box

If a video is the main returning URL (for things such as movie trailers) a video box will appear. This feature looks like the video is embedded in the search results, however when clicking the video window to play you are taken to its site of origin.

Informative features

Features that offer information usually don’t require clicks, pulling a broad range of details directly to the results page. 

Knowledge panel 

Google knowledge panel

This is the panel that appears on the left-hand side of the screen offering a full outline of all available information on a query. For example, a company search may return a knowledge panel, complete with contact information, reviews, stock price, CEO name, social profiles and more! These panels are great for brand awareness.

People also ask

Google people also ask

These features provides the searcher with questions related to their query, in an accordion-style box. You can use these questions for some pretty clever marketing – scrape the questions and using them in your content in a bid to perform in this accordion feature.

Maps

Google Maps results

When a search has geographical intent, such as ‘near me’ queries for shops or restaurants, a map feature returns. Underneath the main map is information about the companies highlighted on the map, along with a link to their site.

Mobile features

App packs

App pack

This feature is currently the only ‘mobile-only’ SERP feature. If your mobile search is relevant to an app on Google’s app store then an app pack will return.

Blue link features

Blue links still make up a majority of the SERPs, maybe not in space, but definitely in returning sites. 

Classic links

Classic links Google

These are the classic blue links that we all know and love. 

Site links 

Site links

These links appear below your main site’s classic link, offering more links to certain areas of your site. This makes it easier for users to jump to relevant landing pages. 

Paid features

Differing from organic search results, which are based on SEO, paid results can be bought by businesses. Google has been clear that these paid results do not affect your organic performance in any way.

Product listed ads

Product listed ads

Appearing at the top of the SERPs, these ads are similar to a carousel, showcasing an image and price, and – once the arrow is clicked – more products.

Text ads 

Text ads

This feature is the classic PPC ad, appearing either at the top or bottom of the SERPs.

Performing for rich features

With so much new opportunity in the SERPs, and more developments every week, businesses need to have an understanding of these rich features and identify the most valuable places to perform. 


5 Most Common Workplace Injuries for Women – ShoeMoney

300 million women run businesses across the globe in select countries. These women are brave. They face cultures that do not traditionally celebrate women in the workplace.

Their bravery, however, doesn’t keep them safe from harm. The workplace can be hostile to women and sometimes more so than for men.

Here are a few of the most common workplace injuries for women and how to avoid them if possible.

1. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment should never be tolerated in the workplace. Unfortunately, some men do not understand what might be considered sexual harassment. This is no excuse.

Does the law see ignorance as an excuse? Never. You must obey the laws of the land and it’s your responsibility to understand and follow them.

Similarly, it’s your responsibility to understand what sexual harassment looks like and avoid it at all costs. If you’re experiencing sexual harassment, protect yourself by knowing what it looks like. Also, know it’s imperative you report harassment as soon as you feel willing and able. Harassers will continue to harass other people if left alone.

Harassment can become an assault. Between 2011 and 2017, we saw a 60% increase in workplace assault toward women. Let’s decrease those numbers by reporting abusers and harassers before they hurt someone.

If you are assaulted, Google “a lawyer near me” to find a lawyer who can help you through the legal process. There is no shame in prosecuting an abuser.

2. Homicide

This one might come as a shock. 19% of workplace injuries for women are homicides. That’s right. One of the top injuries for women in the workplace is murder.

Security is key. No matter how friendly the establishment, put in place security protocols.

Cameras aren’t enough. In a fast-food restaurant, it should be difficult to go around the counter. In a warehouse, employees should have badges and be checked in by a guard.

This isn’t just for the safety of women. With mass shootings on the news, anybody in any organization could be at risk. Take steps to secure your location now.

3. Roadway Accidents

Another 19% of workplace injuries involve roadway accidents. And until we have self-driving cars, we won’t fully solve this one.

You need to take driver’s safety if you are in a job that requires you to operate a vehicle of any kind. Ask your employers or your insurance if they’ll pay for you to take driver’s safety.

4. Falls, Slips, and Trip

It’s not a rhyme, it’s one of the most common workplace injuries overall. It’s easy to trip when you’re carrying boxes or looking at your cell phone.

While OSHA standards can minimize these risks, you should be extra cognizant on what might cause injury in the workplace. Employees get too comfy in their workspace and become less aware. Remove any obstacle you can to their work.

5. Truck by Object

The stock room is one of the most dangerous places in the office. We tend to stack things too precariously and things stacked precariously will eventually fall.

Heads aren’t meant to take the brunt of a swiftly falling box. Appoint someone to organizing the stock room and ensuring everything is secure. This will minimize unnecessary risk.

Debunking Common Myths about USDA Commercial Loans


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced its business loan program primarily to boost economic activity and improve business climate among rural areas in the country. By providing loan guarantees, rural entrepreneurs can access funding to grow their ventures and contribute to their local economy.

If you are a
business owner from the countryside who is looking for financing to level up
your venture, you may have heard of USDA commercial loans and the many
misconceptions surrounding them. To help you with the facts, here are some of
these myths and the truth behind each one:

Myth
1: USDA Lends Money Directly to Entrepreneurs

USDA helps rural borrowers secure enough
funding for a variety of business purposes by providing guarantees to reduce
the risk of lending parties. The agency doesn’t lend money directly to business
owners, but rather, partners with lenders and financing entities to provide
loans to entrepreneurs. Given the agency’s guarantee, it will be easier for
rural ventures to obtain loan approval.

Myth
2: USDA Business Loans are for Agribusiness Only

While the agriculture department manages
this financing program, USDA business loans are not strictly for the
agricultural industry alone. This program is open to various business entities
such as individuals, partnerships, cooperatives, non-profit/for-profit
corporations, public organizations or tribal groups from a wide variety of
ventures, such as: 

  • Manufacturing companies
  • Sales industries (wholesale or retail)
  • Service businesses

Myth
3: The Credit Limit for USDA Business Loans is small

USDA commercial
loans offer loan guarantees of up to $25 million, which is significantly much
higher than conventional loans. Note that the most loan limit provided by the
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is $5.5 million only. Given its high
loan limit, USDA loan guarantees are more suitable for projects that require a
sizeable amount of money.

Myth
4: The Loan Purpose for USDA Loan Guarantees is Highly Restrictive

Contrary to this misconception, you can
use USDA loan proceeds for almost all businesses like the following:

  • Business construction, expansion,
    conversion, repair, or development
  • Improvement of commercial property
  • Procurement of business equipment,
    machinery, fixtures, or supplies
  • Business capital for startup or
    expansion
  • Loan refinancing

Myth
5: USDA Business Loans are for Small Businesses Only

USDA loan guarantees have no business
size standard. It can get utilized for both small and large ventures provided
that their facilities are situated in rural areas and meet other loan
requirements.

Myth
6: USDA Commercial Loans Do Not Require Collateral

While other government financing
programs do not require collateral, USDA business loans require rural borrowers
to put up one. The value of the collateral should be at least equal to the
amount of the loan applied for.

Myth
7: Businesses outside Rural Areas Can Seek USDA Loans with the Right Connection

As a general rule, USDA loan guarantees
are for business owners in rural areas. Note, however, that there are two
exemptions to this rule. Cooperative facilities outside rural locations may
avail of the USDA loan program under specific conditions. For instance, the
funds should provide jobs for people in rural areas. Business projects in urban
locations can also secure USDA funding if the business has a role in the
processing, storing, or marketing of agricultural food products that support
the development of rural communities, among others.

Before you make the same mistake and
readily dismiss this government financing initiative as an option, make sure to
learn more about it from credible sources and not through rumors.

About The Author

vipul

Vipul is a professional blogger and online advertiser based out of Bengaluru, India. Always in a quest for new ways to make money, Vipul detail out all possible opportunities that can help anyone to earn passive income online. You can connect on Twitter, Linkedin & Facebook