Small Business Website Essentials

Ever wondered why some businesses end up generating more sales and revenue – despite their size, while others continue with mediocrity – even when they offer top-notch services? The answer is the website. In today’s day and age, where going digital is not an option but a necessity, it is not enough for any business to simply have a website – they must see to it that their website is optimized the right way i.e. it ticks the right boxes to be the most accessible as possible to its customers.

For small business, having a proper-functioning website is even more essential. Websites that do not utilize the best of optimization to offer a good customer experience end up losing out on revenue and potential customers without even knowing it. And yet, we often get to see poorly made sites that lack copy, have bad design, or even fail to feature basic information.

In such circumstances, one might ask “What does a small business website need to succeed?

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Below we explore ten essentials that any small business website must have to offer their visitors a great experience thus earning their business.

#1 – A Simple Domain Name

When it comes to websites, the domain name is a very important part of the brand. As a small business, you must remember that the best brands are the ones that stay in people’s memories. The best practice here is to default to your company name, along with a “.com” domain address, or a “.org” domain address in case your business is a non-profit organization. Secondly, make sure to avoid using punctuations (such as hyphen and underscore), numbers, or heaving stylizing. Doing so would only  make it difficult for potential visitors to remember.

#2 – A Good Hosting Platform

One of the worst nightmares for any business is to have their online information compromised by hackers. Not only does it lead to data loss and logistical issues, it also promotes untrustworthiness among your customers, who would then think twice before even considering visiting your website. It is therefore imperative that you use a hosting platform that is safe, secure, and can block cyber-attacks.

#3 – Simple Navigation

A successfully designed website is one where the visitor can easily navigate through its various pages without getting the feeling of being lost in a sea of content. While it may sound very obvious, many websites do fail to incorporate the basic elements needed to create a good user experience.

Must-haves to create an intuitive design include adding and/or combining colors that are easy on the eye, making sure the navigation bar remains at the top of the page regardless of the position (which is also called a ‘sticky navbar’), seeing to it that the navbar has the links to reach every important page in a single click, and finally, ensuring that the company logo on the navbar takes the user to the homepage.

#4 – A Concise and Clear Introduction

No one wants to visit a company’s website to conduct investigations on who they are and what they do. It is only sensible for companies looking to gain traction to clearly state the company’s purpose and range of activities.

For starters, the website should clearly state the name of the company, along with bullet points of all the products and/or services they offer right on the homepage. This will allow visitors to decide if they need to go further at a glance. This should be followed by the ‘About’ page, which should give a little background on the company, explain their “why” and elaborate on the elements mentioned in the homepage.

#5 – Knowledge of SEO Basics

In times when almost everyone utilizes searches to find what they are looking for, you need to make sure that your company comes up on top of the list. In the world of search engines, this can be achieved through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Basically, this refers to the practice of designing your website and its content in a way that it gets indexed higher for searchers looking for a company like yours.

SEO best practices change with time and include both on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO elements include using the key words in correct positions, adding backlinks, and using high-grade multimedia, such as videos, images, and interactive staging. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, is more about the coding of the website, and the naming of the URLs and page titles.

#6 – Links to Social Media Pages

When it comes to the web, there are many places where your potential customers can engage and interact with your brand. Social media is one of the best place for this. Make sure that your website visitors know that you are active on social media by adding links to popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also go a step further and add widgets to your website. These show a small preview of your social media posts, which shows your engagement in the community.

#7 – Quality Content

For any small website to add value, having good quality content is a must. When someone visits your website, they are looking for something. Through your content, you can give them exactly what they are looking for, and even give them a reason to come back for more.

There are many ways you can go about it. For starters, make sure that your core content (i.e. the copy on your homepage and about pages) are on point. Next, you can build a body of content by adding relevant and authentic blog posts that centre around your industry and expertise. Last but not the least, you can add the occasional “content bonuses” such as eBooks and interactive quizzes. Make sure to update your content regularly and utilize the right short and long-form keywords for SEO.

#8 – Testimonials and Customer Reviews

Having trust is key when it comes to establishing a relationship with your prospects. When your prospects see other customers describing their experience of working with you, it makes your products and services more tangible to them. Adding reviews and testimonials from customers helps them relate to those who have already been in their shoes, which in turn helps in building trust.

#9 – A Clear Call to Action

No matter how many features you have on your website, at the end of the day you are here to sell your products and/or services. It is, therefore, essential to include a ‘call to action.’ You must keep in mind that the attention span of visitors is of all but a few seconds, and subtly reminding them by inviting them to reach out is a great way to remind them.

This can be done in many ways – by adding messages to reach out for a free quote, adding products to their shopping cart, signing up for exclusive offers, and even participating in seasonal sales. Make sure to highlight your suggestions by highlighting the texts or using special buttons or even animation.

#10 – Contact Information

Clearly stating your contact information on your website is an absolute must. Not only will they help your customer get the information to reach you, it will also help you rank higher for local SEO. Besides the dedicated contact page, you must feature your business’ address, phone and fax numbers, and email on every page. Make sure to add the email and phone number on top of the sticky nav-bar as well.

Your Guide to 5G

Among the various hot topics that currently rule news lines across the world the soon-to-be-commonplace 5G technology. A big leap from its predecessor – 4G – 5G, which is at least 20 times faster than the former, is already running pilot tests in major places all over the world and will be the norm in most countries by as soon as early 2020. The technology has a lot of press surrounding it – from being able to process at never before speeds and revolutionize the way we look at data processing to connecting the remotest of areas to the internet to possible health and environment concerns.

While we are yet to know how exactly the future of 5G will unfold, when it will reach different countries in the world, how it will change the way we work, and if there really are any considerable health concerns, it is imperative to know what 5G is and how it works.

What is 5G?

Short for ‘5th Generation,’ 5G is indeed the 5th generation of mobile internet connectivity that promises a more stable connection, faster processing speed, faster download and upload speeds and a level of connectivity that is much wider and broader than the current 4G. With 5G, you can bid adieu to buffering to the highest quality of videos and disruptions when you are sharing your videos – even in the most crowded of areas. And that, of course, is just the beginning. Carrying on from the analog cellular 1G, the TDMA, GSM and CDMA enabled 2G, the UMTS and HSPA 3G and of course the currently running LTE and WiMAX 4G, 5G will take internet speeds to hundreds of megabits, and not surprisingly even gigabits!

How will 5G affect service providers?

Almost all major communication service providers are currently running their 5G pilot programs, or at the very least have obtained their 5G licenses and are making their plans to take the best advantage this technology can offer. 5G will change the data landscape in a way that is similar to how 4G prioritized data plans and packages over phone call and SMS ones. With a much higher rate of efficiency, 5G will enable wireless devices to work at higher speeds, which will, in time, allow them to roll out new services and capabilities that were previously not possible. Of course, we are yet to see exactly what they may be and how they will affect each one of us individually.

Besides wireless technology, service providers using 5G-enabled fixed wireless access will also be providing a much better, never-seen before level of speed and connectivity, making businesses much more efficient and effective at their jobs and at budgeting.

How will 5G affect the world in general?

Whereas technology is concerned, the world is at a stage that was never before thought possible – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and IoT (Internet of Things) are no longer fantasies and theories but the present reality we all live in. Given the speed at which this technology is expanding, we sure enough will need infrastructure that is capable of sustaining them. That’s where 5G comes into the picture. With its exponentially higher capabilities, 5G will not only allow us to take advantage of the current technology, but it will also pave the way to make room for tech that is even more efficient and unlock opportunities that we never thought was possible before.

5G is bound to touch and revolutionize every industry it touches – be it media and entertainment, finance, banking, security or healthcare.

Will 4G be gone for good?

The interesting thing about 5G is that while the other Gs, upon their introduction essentially retired their older counterparts (think 2G memes in 2014), 4G will remain here to stay, even with the proliferation of 5G. First of all because 5G will initially only be used to boost the current Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks as most current devices are in fact not capable of supporting 5G in its proper form. With time, and spread of full compatible hardware, 5G will stand on its own as a service.

And yet, at the same time, advancement in 4G technology will continue to take place – and 4G itself is expected to reach up to speeds of 2 Gigabits per second – which is in fact what the Qualcomm X24 modem, built into most 2019-manufactured 4G smartphones, is capable of.

Have we quietly stepped into a new age of quantum computing technology?

According to reports, Google’s AI Quantum Group has achieved something that many thought could only be science fiction  -accomplishing “quantum supremacy”. Being able to reach levels of speed and accuracy that other machines, and their makers, could never fathom. If this has truly been achieved like it is being claimed, it is indeed a technological milestone and would change the way the world in ways that we cannot yet fully imagine.

It all started when a NASA lab/Google Partner accidentally posted an online report that Google physicists had managed what is unattainable using the world’s current supercomputers. Even though it seemed the milestone of quantum supremacy had been accomplished the create was still not a full-fledged quantum computer.

While both the tweet and the paper were subsequently taken down, screenshots and copies are, of course, still available and moving in various channels of the internet. Unsurprisingly, neither party has responded to any and all questions regarding the claims, sending the whole world into a frenzy of questions and theories and begging the fundamental question whether quantum computing really has been achieved.

While that is still – and will seemingly remain up in the air for some time, let’s know what quantum computing technology really is and why it is the biggest thing ever to happen in the world of science and technology.

What is Quantum Computing?

Essentially, quantum computing is a level of speed and efficiency of computing that even the best and fastest computer right now cannot work at. A breakthrough like none other, computers using this technology will be able to solve the most complex of problems (that could take years or even decades) and solve them in a much shorter span of time.

The general belief among the scientific community is that at least 49 qubits are necessary to enter into the realm of quantum supremacy. The notable factor, here, is that qubits function in a way that is very diverse from the “classical” computer’s bits. In case of bits, they exist either as a “1” or a “0.” Computers, therefore, read and work on a single bit during a particular period of time. Qubits, on the other hand, can show combination of “1” and “0” because of peculiar quantum effects where properties such as momentum, particle position, and direction, aren’t solidly defined. A system based on this principle, can therefore solve in multiple states at the same moment – a phenomenon known as quantum indeterminacy.

In simpler terms, quantum computers can read and process “1s” and a “0s” during the same span of time, allowing for faster and better processing of information and allowing the system to act on processed information in real time. This, of course, will speed up the computing process exponentially and allow for speeds much faster than that of the current “classical computers.”

What is Google’s Contribution?

Truth be told, we can never say what is what until we get an official confirmation from the tech giant itself. What we do know, however, is that Google has been the leader when it comes to computing hardware and proved it’s leadership again recently when it unveiled its 73-Qubit processor that put competitor IBM’s 53-Qubit in second place.

That being said, the leaked NASA paper reveals that Google actually used a different – and a 53-Qubit (albeit originally a 54-Qubit) processor called Sycamore to make its demonstrations. The first step of the demo involved a classical computer being used as a ‘simulator’ to generate quantum instructions known as ‘quantum gates,’ the quantum counterparts of the logic gates utilized in classical computers. These were then sent to the quantum computer that would perform exclusively on qubits in pure zero states, and finally made to output samples from the probability distribution obtained from performing on the qubits. This was later cross-checked by running the same operation through the classical computer’s format in order to compare and contrast results. Quite expectedly, Sycamore did take a considerably less amount of time and did not cross the error threshold.

The question that arose here was that if a classical computer could in fact do the same operation, could scientists not tweak them instead of moving to a whole new principle altogether? Not according to Google’s scientist, who clearly published in their research paper that it would take the world’s most advanced computer at least 10,000 years for a computer working on the classic principle to achieve what a quantum computer would do in 200 Seconds – clearly an unmatched competition.

Now, when Google did manage to bring a success case from its 53-Qubit, it would only be a matter of time till it would achieve a similar level of success with its 73-Qubit as well. But the question is – has that already been done? Until Google does come out with it in the open, we can only call it a likely possibility. Right now, it is of course undeniable that Google is indeed leading the pack with its findings, and that its experiment with the Sycamore has made a breakthrough when it comes to computing.

A Bit About Blockchain

The “Bitcoin revolution” has taken the entire world by storm and has brought forward concepts that were previously little-known. Take for instance, blockchain technology – while the technology has been in the news since 2008 (on a concept that is in fact decades old), it is only because of the recent meteoric rise in Bitcoin rates that blockchain has come to the forefront. In fact, Bitcoin would never have gained the reputation it did if it wasn’t for blockchain!

Google search requests for “blockchain” have increased by a record 250% and has put it right beside some of the most famous personalities and celebrities out there. Major companies, retail chains, and even governments are considered incorporating the system in a way that profits them. Ironically, the way blockchain works is still a mystery to many.

So what is blockchain after all? And why is there so much hype around it? This is what we want to explore this time around.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is defined by Investopedia as,

“a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions.”

As the name itself implies, blockchain consists of several “blocks” (each of which contains a record of new transactions – be it a cryptocurrency, or some kind of data), which is added one-by-one like chain, thereby creating a blockchain.

Put more simply, one can explain in it terms of the internet – just as the internet allows free flow of information from one person to another without the need of any third person, blockchain technology allows transfer of cryptocurrency from one person to another without any third party (like a bank).

What makes Blockchain so popular?

The thing that sets blockchain apart from any other means of the transaction is the fact that it offers transparency and security – both at the same time, and without the need for any financial middleman (such as a bank) and even entire governments. Blockchain and cryptocurrency allows every user to track any transaction that they ever made, since they’re all stored in the blocks.

The second thing that makes blockchain ideal is the fact that it is tamper-proof – data once written on a block cannot ever be erased or even manipulated, which allows for easy tracking and prevents malicious activities for gaining any ground.

Does Blockchain have a future?

This is a question that is there on the minds of many. While several banks and even governments claim blockchain and cryptocurrency to be a “passing fad,” it is actually anything but that. The transparency and tamper-proof nature of blockchain technology means that it has the power to disrupt practically any industry that needs to transfer data (monetary or not) from one point to the other. A lot can be stored on blocks – from medical records and confidential files to legal files and evidence, among others.

Last but certainly not least, blockchain is decentralized. This means it requires no “facilitator” to function and also means data is more secure. With data spread out in blockchains, it is harder for hackers to target and access specific bits of information. In short this is good news for anyone who would want a middleman-free transaction with more security. And, who wouldn’t? This may also be the security our society needs in a time of high-level cyber-attacks and hacking but, only time will tell.

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