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The pros and cons of Freelancing

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Forbes magazine states that “Careers are dead”. Some experts are of the opinion that 50% of the population would be independent contractors by 2020. That is what freelancers are: independent contractors. Like every job, there are some benefits and negatives of freelancing. Take a look at them and then decide whether you are ready to make the brave choice.

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Flexibility and Independence

Like stated, freelancers are independent. There is a lot of flexibility in the working hours. There is an upside of being able to negotiate pay, timing, location and working style. People can work in their own unique ways instead of taking the corporate lead.

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No Boredom

Because of the variety of work that a freelancer gets, there is hardly any room for getting bored. Freelancers can pick and choose between time, bosses and payment. This is why many people preferred to remain freelancers instead of going back to jobs after the recent recession.

 

Income Streams

There is a chance to maintain source of income even if the freelancer is having trouble with an employer. A permanent job can sometimes be a misnomer especially in countries where there is a lot of unemployment and political trouble. There is lesser chance of being exploited by employers if you are a freelancer.

Despite these attractive benefits, there are disadvantages of being a freelancer. To be very honest, the disadvantages surpass the advantages for many people. That is what makes them go back to a 9-5 job.

Harder Business Development

Friends might joke with freelancers about working in PJs. Husbands might not take the commitments of their wife seriously just because she is working from home in her night suit. Despite that, it is a hard job to keep the work coming in. With so many freelancers available, why would any employer bear late submissions, poor quality of work and procrastination? Impressing current clients and keeping the new ones coming is thus a hard job.

 

Cashflow

That is the biggest problem with freelancing in my opinion. Some websites have a lower limit of cash before which you can’t withdraw. If you are not reaching that limit because of not getting paid further, what you have already earned will remain stuck for weeks. When dealing with big companies, there are issues like getting payment through accounting cycles. This delays the payment and disturbs cashflow.

This situation can best be managed by setting up different payment times with multiple employers. This will keep the money coming though the monthly average could remain low even after you do this.

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Cash Management & Benefits

Money keeps coming and you keep spending it. With freelancing, saving for pension, retirement fund etc. is hard. Also making a budget is tough because you do not know how much the next payment would be. It all depends on how much you work and there is an upper limit to that as well. Also there are downtimes like the Christmas Season where there is little or no work.

Inaccessibility to Potential Mortgages & Loan Packages

Because of the way freelancers work and earn, they are not the kind of fish that mortgage and loan companies seek. It would be hard for freelancers to get either.

 

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2014/04/21
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What is UX web design and why your website needs it?

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UX is the difference between a good website and a bad website. UX designs will focus on the customer from the very first phase of the website which is creation. The philosophy behind the creation of website would be human centered. The challenge would be to step into the shoes of the customer in order to observe what makes the customer tick. The user experience strategy is not created in isolation. There is a whole lot of teamwork behind the mapping of strategy. It is created in collaboration with the business team, the sales team and the technical team.

It is important that during the designing of the website the flow of the user is taken into account. User centric approach is not concerned with the effects of the implementation. It is concerned with the user’s flow. User research is incorporated through surveys, questionnaires and other measurable data to assess when, where and how much is needed by the user of the website. Qualitative tests of the data will help the designers understand why what is needed, is needed.

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UX design ensures that the core of the website is defined by those who are creating the design. Core is the reason why users come to your website. It is very important to understand the core because you will be able to assess how much the need of the user is being fulfilled once they are coming to the website. Dr. Susan Weinschenk writes that 50% of a programmer’s time is taken up by rework which unfortunately had been avoidable in the first place. Failing to create a UX design results in abandonment of 15% of IT projects. Sometimes using immature technology and inability to handle a complex project will result in mistakes regarding the design and creation of the website.

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The basic benefit that you would get out of a UX design website is improved productivity of the product. Once you know where you are and where you want to be, you will set up realistic goals and figure out better ways to measure how close you are to the finishing line. In this age of technology there are millions and billions of websites on servers. Many people will switch between one product and another because they would think that the latter was created while keeping them in mind. Though it is difficult to create a unique product in this world, but giving the user an experience to access your product easily will give you an edge.

If you have a UX design in mind, you will end up in getting a product that the users need and not what you think they need. Strategies that are based on assumptions fail drastically sometimes, resulting in significant losses. A lot of time, which would otherwise be spent on development, will be saved if you keep in mind the needs of the user. You don’t want a pretty website that has such an unfriendly interface that people never come back, rather you are looking for appeal in content and not in appearance.

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2014/04/15
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The Pitfalls of Internet Marketing

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Internet marketing means using promotional content on the web to deliver messages to consumers. There are many categories of internet marketing like engagement, blogging, viral marketing, social media marketing and so on. I will discuss all these means of internet marketing briefly and then state why is it that either or all of these fail for some businesses and brands, while some flourish through using them.

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Blogging is a very effective technique even though many potential buyers don’t have the time to go through content on the internet on a regular basis. Still blogs fail and that is because of not making entries in the blog on a regular basis even if your readers don’t read regularly. They will start to do so once they know they are missing out on something. Some people just start blogging without an objective. They don’t know what they want to accomplish and they are unaware of who their target audience is. Blogs will also fail if the blogger does nothing except selling. People want to know about other related things besides how good your product is and why they should buy it.

Some brands don’t engage their users; they only do marketing. Even that fails at times because these people are piggybacking on something that is not their ride. For example, golf channel making use of the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “I Have a Dream”, by stating something like, “Tweet your Golf Dream on the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s speech”. Instead of trending that way, stating something compassionate about the day would engage more people and also do your marketing.

Companies are spending a lot in marketing but if they don’t engage their customers, they are failing because of their ineffective strategies of internet marketing. Highly personalized and emotional communications are two means of engaging people through marketing. Understanding customers to drive engagement is most effective way of doing it so anyone who does not understand their customers is either failing or is going to fail.

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With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and other popular apps, it would be foolish to ignore the prospects of internet marketing through the use of social media. Some brands will make use of the fact that users generate and share content which makes it popular. This is called viral marketing. Now people and businesses can go as far as creating lines that make people queasy (even though they will still share it). So you need to think whether the practice is worth it. Would you damage your brand name just to make a line go viral? KFC did that damage with #Iatethebones which resulted in a more negative than positive impact.

It takes many years to build a reputation and one moment to destroy it on the web. SEO is also one way to drive more people to your website but if there is no content to engage them then the whole lot of money you have thrown on the SEO campaign will backfire.

 

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2014/04/07
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Consider These Top Web Development Trends in 2014

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We all recognize a lot of trends, whether it is in the fashion industry, gaming industry, or even in the gadget industry. Web design and development is not exempted from trends, as web developers have to know what’s IN right now with the design trends.

Why do trends matter? It gives web designers or developers an idea on what people want in a website or what they want the website to look like. After all, aesthetics is a major factor that will make or break your website, so you need to hire someone who’ll make your website that will not only work like it’s supposed to but look good while doing it.

According to Forbes, there are three web development trends to keep an eye out for in 2014.

First, we have Storytelling. This is a design trend that makes use of user interaction and animation. While this trend has been around the web development circle for a time, it only became recently popular because of the animation. The idea of the trend was that the user would scroll down the page of your website and the website would morph/transform in a way that it tells a story as the user scrolls. A good example is https://onlycoin.com/.

Next, we have RWD or Responsive Web Design. Responsive web design has been a mainstay in web design trends for a couple of years now, dating back to before smartphones first made their mark. This design trend focuses on making websites look as good on mobiles as they would in a computer or laptop. We all know that mobile browsing is getting more and more popular simply because the ability to view our favourite websites on our phones or tablets is just too much to ignore. Almost a decade ago, RWD was all about shrinking everything so you have to zoom in and out to view content, but RWD is not about squishing a website into the dimensions of your phones.

Minimalist or simplistic web design is just like RWD. It has been around for a couple of years now and people appreciate a minimalistic website. Minimalism focuses on the philosophy that LESS IS MORE, and this web design trend is just that. By using a plain white, grey, or black background, minimalism is able to capture pure content and convey the message just as it was supposed to without looking flashy or distracting in the process. Facebook has always been a proponent of minimalistic web design. Take away the news feeds and look at your profile without your posts and you’ll see that it is minimalistic because the design doesn’t take the attention away from you. It allows you to focus more on the content. This is why a lot of people love this trend and this will be popular for the next few years.

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2014/04/03
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SEO vs. SEM – Which Should You Use

Should you use SEO or SEM?

 

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This is a big question that may confuse people who are eager to get the ball rolling when it comes to boosting the rankings of their website. But is there a big difference between them or are they just two sides of the same coin?

SEO or search engine optimization is the process of making your website “search-engine friendly” and will allow search engine spiders or bots will gather information for it (via crawling or spidering) and then indexing it. Once the information has been gathered, the search engine will then classify the information based on its relevancy to search terms or search phrases. The more relevant your website is to a keyword or phrase, the higher your chances of being ranked on the first page of Google.

SEM or search engine marketing is like a paid version of SEO, even though it may or may not use SEO in the process. It involves money and will involve paid traffic or what industry experts call “pay-for-traffic”. This involves the use of the following:

  1. Paid inclusion and trusted feed programs
  2. Pay-for-placement management (includes pay-per-click)
  3. Link popularity / reputation development

But let’s set aside the technical jargon for a bit and focus on the practical side. What should business owners use?

SEM and SEO have their own pros and cons when it comes to getting visitors. If you want a website to rank, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you may want to opt for SEO. But if you have tons of money to shell out, you can opt for SEM. Now, the thing with money is that SEM guarantees instant first place ranking. Try going to a search engine like Google or Yahoo and do a quick search on real estate. Do you notice the links on the very top of the other results? Those are paid ads, a good example of SEM. Another example of paid ads are those ads that you see on a blog where you see a bunch of links on a particular side of a website or a banner. However, if you don’t find your SEM campaign, you will lose your ranking or placement. SEO is like the free version of SEM and utilizes a series of techniques that will allow a website to rank in search engines effectively, but the process is time consuming. When done correctly, the rankings will last for a long time.

But which is better?

To be honest, SEO and SEM will both work in their own ways as efficiently as they can without overlapping the other. There will be times where one is better than the other, but this is fleeting. A good balance between both will help drive traffic to your website without having you to spend a lot of time and money.

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2014/03/31

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