GoDaddy Blog

Not feeling so creative? Schedule for burnout

Burnout is real. Even if you’ve never had a problem with doing your work, you face a risk of eventually running out of creative steam. The problem is worse if you build your business around a creative pursuit — if you write, design, or otherwise depend on your ability to come up with new ideas every day, feeling blocked or worn out puts your livelihood at risk. Worse, if you aren’t taking steps to avoid creative burnout, the pace most entrepreneurs stick to will push you towards burnout even faster. You can take steps to minimize burnout, like balancing your workload with relaxation or fun projects. But even if you’re careful about managing your creative endeavors, odds are good that you’ll face a case of burnout eventually. With that in mind, you can plan for a period when you’re feeling burnt out so that you can come back stronger and better than ever. Pay attention to your own patterns Sometimes, you can see a spell of creative burnout coming — at least if you’re paying attention to your own work habits. Personally, I’ve noticed that I usually have a seasonal dry spell at the beginning of winter. There’s just something about the days getting shorter that makes my work harder. We each have different patterns in how we work. For some people, doing the same sort of project over and over is incredibly draining. For others, burnout is just the final stage of launching a new product. If you can notice these patterns in your work, however, burnout doesn’t have to be so bad. You can schedule time off as the seasons shift or at the end of each launch, so that you don’t have any obligations to deal with when you’re most likely to feel creatively fried. And then you can return, feeling rested. Build a burnout fund Just as you might set aside money to cover your expenses if you were to feel physically unwell, make sure you have the money to manage a time when you might feel mentally drained. Having savings gives you a buffer to choose not to take on new work, to hire someone to fill in for you, or to try out something new. This sort of budgeting, by the way, becomes even easier if you know that you can save up for a goal of a vacation during that next time you expect to feel burnt out. Especially as entrepreneurs, it’s easy to slip into a mindset where you think that you can’t afford to step back — that losing even a day’s worth of work will make your company crumble. And that can be true if you have no savings. But if you can shoot for enough in savings to cover even a few weeks worth of work, you’ll be able to remove one of the sources of stress that can make burnout even worse. Keep growing your business in sustainable ways Creative burnout is to be expected, but you don’t want to obsess over it. As long as you’re taking steps so that you’re prepared to step back and recuperate, you’ll be okay. Beyond that, you need to focus on growing your business. Looking for ways to sustainably build your business — especially in such a way that it keeps operating even if you need to take a few weeks away — is where you should focus the rest of your attention. Of course, doing what you can to structure your business to reduce creative burnout is always good, but even if you just concentrate on being able to take time out of the office, you’ll be ready when you need a break. The post Not feeling so creative? Schedule for burnout appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Turn up the heat: 5 ways to fight sluggish summer sales

Summertime is a traditionally sluggish season for both large and small businesses. Clients are on hiatus, projects are pushed back until the fall, kids are on summer break, and many people are spending their money on summer vacation getaways. So how are you supposed to keep business booming, even in the midst of a lazy, languid summer? By getting creative, engaging your audience, and giving your customers fresh incentives to try your products and services, of course! Here’s how: 1. Increase engagement Engagement is the name of the game on social media. Engaging with your customers not only builds relationships, it keeps you at the forefront of their minds on a daily basis. While many people might be away from their desks (and their work email) off and on during the summer months, just about everyone has their smartphone with them. And you can be sure they’ll be checking their social accounts while they’re poolside, oceanside, or wherever they might be soaking up the sun. Increase engagement by letting your customers make decisions for you via social. When choosing between two designs, two event dates, or two different potential contests, ask your customers what they want. People love to give their opinion, and choosing between A or B is a quick and easy way to engage, especially on Facebook®. 2.  Hold a contest Use social media or email marketing to engage customers with a contest. You don’t have to give away $1 million. You don’t even have to give away an iPad®! Simply offer something your target market needs and wants. That could mean discounted products or services from you, a lifetime membership or subscription, or something as simple as featuring their photo on your website. Get creative and don’t be afraid to “go small” — it’s not about the prize, it’s about keeping your fans involved with your brand during the quiet summer months. 3. Give something away You can give something away to a select group of contest winners, or you can create and share a giveaway for all of your customers to enjoy. Consider doing a physical mailing of product samples, or offering an additional 30 minutes of your time for free. Your customers will gobble up the freebies, and you’ll be building brand loyalty and solidifying relationships for later in the year when things pick back up. 4. Re-energize your affiliates If you don’t already have a team of affiliates promoting your products, what are you waiting for? Create an affiliate program to increase your summer sales and grow your business exponentially. If you already have affiliates working on your behalf, increase their commission during the slow summer months, and make sure they have the tools they need to be successful. Need inspiration? Here’s some info about GoDaddy’s Affiliate Program. 5. Slash prices If all else fails, consider slicing your pricing — temporarily. Hold a sale or offer a discount for a limited time, and make sure your customers understand that these prices are for summertime only. The last thing you want to do is create a perception of lessened value for your products or services, so … When you cut prices, don’t do it regularly and predictably. If you have a “sale day” each week during the summer, your customers will simply wait until that day to make their purchase. Keep price-slashing sporadic and you’ll keep your business revved during the lazy summer months. Photo: Capt Kodak via Compfight cc The post Turn up the heat: 5 ways to fight sluggish summer sales appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

5 benefits of SSLs for small businesses

We’re always trying to demystify the mystery behind cryptography — that oh-so-impressive name for the technology the drives a website security tool that’s usually named with three simple letters: SSL. That’s because it’s so important for you, as small business owner, to understand every tool at your disposal to protect your website and its visitors (your customers). And this is a big one. Especially if you collect sensitive customer information on your website. Let’s start at the start We all know that one of the greatest things about the Internet is the possibility to easily send and receive information online. If that information is not confidential, then security precautions might not be necessary when transmitting it. But it’s critical to do whatever you can to secure sensitive personal information against unauthorized viewing. You wouldn’t want someone with less-than-noble intentions getting a hold of your customers’ credit card info, right? That’s where Secure Socket Layer (SSL) comes in. It’s a mechanism that works between a user’s browser and the website the user is connecting to. In its software, the website has an SSL certificate issued by a trustworthy authority. Web browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer®, Firefox® and Chrome™) recognize these certificates. When confidential info needs to be exchanged, SSL is used to encrypt the information before it is sent, and then to decrypt it at the other end, when it has been received. Online shoppers and website visitors know about this stuff. Banks, for instance, have warned them to check for the small padlock icon that appears on their browser screen when SSL is in use. Savvy online shoppers know to verify that the Web address in their browser starts with https// (note the extra “s”) before entering any sensitive data. Benefits for businesses Unfortunately, no security system is completely infallible. If you publish information on your website without a password, for example, SSL alone won’t prevent unauthorized viewing. But SSL is sufficiently robust and effective for users to associate the presence of an SSL connection with the trustworthiness of the website at the other end. This leads to a number of possible benefits for small businesses: Look more professional. Any business that wants an SSL certificate for its website must be checked by the certificate authority issuing the certificate. Increase visitor loyalty to your site. If your site uses account logins with personal data, then you should have an SSL certificate in place anyway. Visitors who know their information is protected are more likely to keep coming back. Attract more shoppers. If you are selling online, then expect your shoppers to check to see if you have SSL. Without it, they might not even stay long enough to see what you have to offer. Make more sales. At your online checkout, SSL clinches the sale. If you are using a reputable checkout system, it will offer SSL to your buyers for you. But remember, you may still want your own SSL in place for the other reasons listed here. Protect your own information. Whether it’s an exclusive promotional code or voucher you’re sending to your website visitor, SSL protects the information you both send and receive. Having an SSL increases your chances of gaining and retaining customers who come to your site. Want to learn more? Check out Website Security 101 and Website Security 201. The post 5 benefits of SSLs for small businesses appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Golden name: 3 reasons to choose a premium domain

Let’s talk marketing strategies. You’ve taken the time to invest in your business — you’ve read the various articles on how to get found online and how to find customers on the Web, but you’re still not attracting as many customers as you’d like to your small business website. What gives? In addition to working on standing out via social media, you might need to examine your domain name. A domain name is, often times, the first point of contact a customer has to your business. Do you have a nice and succinct domain? Is it short and memorable? Does it help you drive customers to your site through different search engine optimization (SEO) tactics? Don’t let availability and cost alone drive your domain name decision. More often than not, people end up choosing domain names based primarily on their availability. That’s unfortunate. Sure, you want a domain name now. You’ve got stuff to do. But staying true to your brand — not to mention making it as easy as possible for consumers to find you on the Web — is key to success online. A premium domain might be the answer. Already registered and owned by someone else, but available for sale in the domain aftermarket, a premium domain name might be just what you’re looking for to perfectly express your online brand. Check out these three reasons to choose a premium domain name: 1. Trust, credibility, and branding Short, sweet, and to the point. Imagine owning a domain name for your business that succintly says what you’re all about. Wouldn’t it be cool to direct your customers to YourBusinessName.com rather than YourBusinessNameLocatedInYourCity.com? Because of the vast number of domains in existence today — more than 250 million and counting — it’s almost impossible to grab a name that is completely reflective of your business and your ideas of how to portray your business. Especially if you’re set on a .com. Snagging a premium name shows the world (and your competition) that you’re super-serious about your venture. It shows the world that you’re a force to consider. 2. Search engine optimization and marketing Google® currently doesn’t use a domain name to determine search results (although that could always change), but keywords definitely matter. A premium name that has keywords already built in can naturally boost your organic SEO rankings. Isn’t it your objective, whether you’re just starting out or well-established, to attract as many customers as possible? There’s no guarantee when it comes to search engines, but investing in a premium domain name might help drive more traffic to your small business website. 3. Return on investment While “regular” domains are priced at about $15 a year, a premium domain might cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand bucks for the first year. After that, however, it defaults to roughly a $15 annually to keep the domain active.The reasoning for the higher initial investment is simple: these premium names have traffic tied to them — they already have a history of keyword searches via search engine giants like Google®, Bing®, and Yahoo!®. Additionally, they have a sense of simplicity. A premium name is usually easy to remember upon first introduction. And that’s priceless. Ready to search for your dream domain? Click here. The post Golden name: 3 reasons to choose a premium domain appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Get Insty with it: How to embed Instagram photos on your WordPress site

If you’re among the estimated 150 million people active on Instagram® every month, you realize the potential this increasingly popular social networking site holds for your small business. Recent stats show that 17 percent of all online adults use Instagram. That’s a pretty big number, considering, but what about the 83 percent who don’t filter and tag? If you’re a big Instagrammer and your fans aren’t, they might be missing out on a fun, visual part of your brand experience. You don’t want to spend your marketing resources on a social platform that a large contingent of your fans will never see, do you? Luckily, there’s an easy way to rescue your Insty pictures from your phone app and share them with the world, especially if you’re a WordPress® user. Pin a badge on it This is one of the simplest ways to share your Instagram account with your website’s fans, but also one of the least visually appealing. A badge basically encourages your users who already have Instagram accounts to follow you. That’s great for the 17 percent, but for the rest… Embed a single photo If you’re blogging about an event or find a photo from your Instagram account to be the perfect complement to a blog post, then you can embed a single photo into a post, or even into the design of your WordPress site. Take advantage of WordPress plugins As with most things WordPress, plugins are where the real robust features hang out. Apparently plugin developers are real Instagram fans, because they have concocted a few ingenious ways to share everything from a single picture to your entire Instagram feed on your WordPress site. With a plugin, you get more than just an occasional image to insert into a post. There are plugins to create image sliders, to back up your Instagram photos to your WordPress database, or to place a small gallery of photos in your sidebar; others do even more.” ~ Virginia Debolt The ever-helpful Virginia Debolt over at Web Teacher delves into some of the basics of adding Instagram to a WordPress blog in this handy tutorial, which calls out four plugins you should check out: DsgnWrks Instagram Importer — Import and back up Instagram photos and video Instagram Picture — Add Insty images to just about anywhere on your blog Instagram Slider Widget — Shows 20 latest Instagram images Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram — Retrieves up to 100 photos and does a lot more Virginia’s post is a great place to start if you want to learn how to embed funky tiled Instagram backgrounds, informative slideshows, and even back up your Instagram feed to your blog should it ever — gasp! — go down. No longer do your perfectly filtered photos need to be hidden away where 83 percent of Web users will never see them. For more great tips, check out the GoDaddy Tool Kit on BlogHer. Photo: //schneehage via Compfight cc The post Get Insty with it: How to embed Instagram photos on your WordPress site appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Curb the bounce: 5 best practices for email distro lists

Bouncebacks are good when you’re talking about some impressive recovery, as in, “Wow, can you believe the bounceback in sales since last quarter?” or, “Dude, your bounceback from that wipeout was sick.” Bouncebacks are bad when you’re talking about email. Nobody wants to see a nasty error message in their inbox. You know, one that reads something like, “Recipent not found” or, worse yet, “This message has been rejected due to content judged to be spam by the Internet community.” Ouch. In technical terms, when a mail server can’t send or deliver an email, it generates a bounceback message that describes why delivery failed. Maybe you misspelled an email address. Maybe you forgot to add an “opt-out” option to your monthly e-newsletter. Whatever the case, your email was rejected and returned — and it’s now at least a time-consuming hassle and at most a ding to your email reputation. Nobody wants to be tagged as a spammer. Instead of spending your time dealing with bouncebacks after they happen, it’s a good move to take measures to prevent them. Check out five best practices for sending emails to distribution lists: 1. Get consent. You should be transparent about what you’re sending, and then get consent from recipients. Display a clearly worded notification to advise recipients what they’re consenting to. Keep this notification available when people opt in and for future reference. Follow-up confirmation messages to recipients are a good idea, as well. 2. Make it easy to unsubscribe. Keep the process for unsubscribing from your emails simple, and quickly follow up on unsubscribe requests. It’s also a good practice to display which distro lists are included in the opt-out. One-click unsubscribe links are great. Adding them is actually pretty easy. 3. Develop a good reputation. Establishing a good reputation means researching, and then adhering to, all the rules and regulations involved with using email. You should check with any Internet providers and domain registrars, who usually define ways to identify and authenticate types of email communications. 4. Perform maintenance. Because spammers rarely invest many resources in their schemes, repetitive delivery errors can raise red flags. You should quickly address errors — such as timeouts or too many connections — to avoid looking like a bot pumping out spam. For example, a real person wouldn’t continue emailing an address that throws back a permanent delivery error. But a bot would. 5. Seek resolution. When errors come up, you should go the extra mile to figure out what happened and how to keep it from coming up again. A great place to start is our Support Home Page, where you can get help online or over the phone. Photo: demandaj via Compfight cc The post Curb the bounce: 5 best practices for email distro lists appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Share the love: How to create an affiliate program

Let’s say you make and sell handmade soaps, perhaps from a website called something like myamazingsoap.com. You make amazing soap. People love it. If only you could figure out a fairly easy and inexpensive way to reach more potential customers. Setting up an affiliate program might be a strong option. An affiliate program is basically a referral system that allows other people to promote your physical products and gain a commission on any sales made from people who are referred. For example, you could reach out to a few bloggers who write about handmade products — and who have decent followings — and ask them to consider promoting your amazing soap. If someone goes to the blog, sees the mention of your soap and clicks on the link — which includes a special tracking code given to the promoter by the affiliate cart system — they would land on your website. They’d see your products just like anyone else visiting your site. The only difference is that if that same someone who clicks on the affiliate link purchases some amazing soap from your site, the blogger who sent them over would get a commission. True win-win-win, right? What’s the prep? Before you launch your affiliate program, it’s wise to do a handful of things in order to be fully prepared: 1. Ensure current prices will work with affiliate commissions. If you aren’t pricing your products for growth then you definitely need to consider raising your prices in order to make up the difference on the commission you’ll hand out to your affiliates. 2. Choose your system and set it up on your website. Make sure the affiliate management program you use is compatible with your website or the e-commerce platforms you sell on. Spend some time doing your research to pick the best program for your needs. Here’s a good place to start. 3. Create a mailing list to correspond with affiliates. You need to have a way to correspond with your affiliates before and after your program gets underway. Better to do this in advance and add to it as you go. You’re going to be busy! 4. Set your program terms and create a dedicated page on your website. Once you’ve got the techy stuff finished up, it’s time to determine your program details. You’ll need to set guidelines you can share openly with affiliates, such as: The commission they’ll earn per sale, such as 10 percent or $1 per sold item When you pay out commissions, such as the 1st of the month or every 45 days Rules that are important for them to know, such as you not allowing incentives 5. Contact people of interest and invite them to your program. Once you’re ready to launch your program, start putting feelers out by contacting people you think would be a good fit as an affiliate. Don’t be discouraged if you’re turned down — just keep working at it and try to bring on as many people as you can within your comfort zone. Setting the stage for success Once you’ve set up a great foundation for your program and are finally starting to see your hard work pay off, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and optimize your program for even more success. Here are some tips: 1. Continually pitch new affiliates. You can’t count on one superstar affiliate forever, and even with a good handful of people who have said “yes” to promoting your work, you should always look for new people to invite. 2. Remain consistent with email correspondence. Since every new person who joins your affiliate program will be added to your mailing list, you need to be in correspondence with them often enough to keep their interest in promoting your work. You might even consider an affiliate newsletter. 3. Keep looking for ways to improve. As your affiliate program grows, you’ll notice little things about it you’d like to tweak, so this tip is a friendly reminder to do that as soon as you can. 4. Slow down if you can’t meet the demands. Keep in mind the demand you might face if you get too many affiliates on board. Can you keep up? (OK, so this is sort of good problem to have.) Setting up an affiliate program can seem like an extra challenge, especially on top of the demands of an e-commerce business. But you’ll likely find that the increase in income and product popularity will be totally worth the initial effort. Photo: Liz Grace via Compfight cc The post Share the love: How to create an affiliate program appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

WordPress and tamales: Food for website design thought

Wow, you really did it — started your own business. Feels good, right? Maybe even great? Possibly a little scary. But you need your website looking good and representing you and your brand. You’ve heard that WordPress® is the way to go, especially if you intend to blog to keep your audience engaged. I remember my first website. Investigating hosting options, making the purchase, and then installing WordPress for the first time. But then I found this dashboard with so many options! Where to start? Do I begin just writing like crazy? Do I customize it? What are themes and plugins? What do they do? I had so many questions. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I didn’t ask for help. I just dove in headfirst and created my first site. And I was so proud of myself! I sent the whole family my domain name and asked them to give me their opinions. It was funny — suddenly nobody answered their phones or returned my texts. A few days later, my daughter sat me down and gently said, “Mom, your site looks awful. Do you need some help?” HTML isn’t short for hot tamale That’s when I discovered people like Julie Deneen take the time to break it all down to make it easy for anyone to get a WordPress site up and running in no time (and with no uncomfortable conversations with family members). In “22 Ideas to Help Your WordPress Website Look Customized and Professional,” Julie has compiled some of the best tips I’ve seen online to date. For instance, I never knew that Jetpack did all the things that it did. I sort of thought it made your site run faster, hence the name Jetpack. As Julie explains it: Jetpack is a backpack of plugins that help bring functionality to your site. One of the modules, called SHARING, allows you to add the most common share buttons at the bottom of your posts. If you go into Settings > Sharing, you’ll see a spot for your Twitter handle. Paste it in and that way people don’t have to guess what your name is on Twitter!” Now I’m really glad that Jetpack was included in my WordPress installation. And speaking of sharing, Julie recommends having social media buttons in more than place. Smart. And shows you how to create a custom 404 page. What’s that? It’s a page that you create to kindly tell people they have gone to a page on your site that doesn’t exist. Or, as Julie says, A 404 page is a must for those bad links you don’t have control over.” I like to think of those links running rampant while you’re not looking. It’s the little things that make a difference, but aren’t inherently self-evident. For somebody like me who originally thought HTML was short for hot tamale and RSS for Really Serious Stuff, I really needed Julie Deneen and her 22 ideas back then. Information like this can make the difference between a blog that your daughter will read out of pity and a blog that will draw in your audience. Photo: joshbousel via Compfight cc The post WordPress and tamales: Food for website design thought appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Get Paid in TechCrunch: New product promotes payday

Everybody likes payday. And GoDaddy is making getting paid faster and easier for small businesses with the release of our new Get Paid product. It’s really cool, and you can read all about it in TechCrunch. As reporter Ingrid Lunden writes: Get Paid will let users, most of whom had not been taking payments electronically before, accept credit cards, debit cards, eChecks (ACH) and PayPal transfers, and it will be available first to GoDaddy’s 9 million users in the U.S.” Paper invoices? So passé. “The check’s in the mail.” Not anymore. Get Paid enables users to send invoices in minutes, take bank payments online, and scan credit cards on their mobile phones. Even better, their clients don’t need special accounts or logins to pay. Stephen Aldrich, our SVP of applications, explains that Get Paid fills a payment void for small business owners: They were using a hodgepodge of different methods to collect payments. Less than half of our users accept credit cards, some would invoice, some would take sales over the phones. Small businesses were losing track of who paid what and who owed money, rather than just getting paid then and there. When you are talking about businesses that may only be pulling in $40,000 per year, every dollar makes a difference.” GoDaddy partnered with PayPal®, Dwolla® and Stripe®, leveraging the popularity and unique strengths of each payment company to best meet the varied needs of small biz customers. That’s what I call collaboration that makes cents. The post Get Paid in TechCrunch: New product promotes payday appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Honey, I shrunk the database: Clean up your WordPress database with this one weird trick

First off, if you’re not regularly backing up your WordPress® database, go do it right now. Seriously. The words here will wait. Backed up? Good. Ahem. Now then, if you’re managing your own WordPress site, you definitely want and need to keep it cleaned up and in optimal form. Part of doing this is getting rid of the cruft that accumulates in your WordPress database. Spam comments and other digital detritus can cause your database to balloon in almost no time. Just as you sometimes need to recharge to get your brain back in tip-top shape, so you need to clean out the junk that accumulates in your database over time, just from use.” ~ Luvvie Ajayi Luvvie over at Awesomely Techie has written a great tutorial called “How to Optimize your WordPress Database,” and it’s definitely worth checking out. Using a couple of tools like the WP-Cleanup plugin and some judicious tweaking of the database (again, careful!) with phpMyAdmin, Luvvie was able to get rid of tens of thousands of rows of data that were gumming up her database, and was able to shrink her database by about 70 percent. Your milage may vary, of course, but if you want to try it yourself, check out Luvvie’s post. For more great tips, check out the GoDaddy Tool Kit on BlogHer. Photo: DanBrady via Compfight cc   The post Honey, I shrunk the database: Clean up your WordPress database with this one weird trick appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Stay in shape with a .fitness domain

I’m a normal girl. I eat, sleep, go to work, and occasionally, I’m lazy. When I’m not tuning in to TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and obsessing about the exact right shade of blue to perfectly accent the vintage dress that I don’t even have yet, I like to visit the gym. Nothing is better than that post-workout high — you know the one I’m referring to, where your heart rate is so escalated that your fingers tingle, your breathing is heaving, and the redness in your cheeks is not from rouge but the sheer determination to push yourself to the limit. It is that sense of accomplishment that makes a workout breathless. Plus, if I ever expect to fit into that sample size dress by Pnina Tornai, I need to make my fitness my priority. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an athletic individual. I was a competitive swimmer before I could even walk (or so my mom tells me) and when I wanted a change of pace, I started rock climbing. And then competitive ballroom dancing. Oh, and somewhere in there I did a stint of softball and soccer. All in all, I enjoy fitness and activity like so many others. For those of us whose lives revolve around fitness, whether it’s a business or just a hobby, it might be time to share your joy with a .fitness domain name. Custom domain for fitness buffs When I was swimming, my mother took countless pictures of me cruising through the water. Granted, most of them were blurry and more focused on the splashes of water rather than the stroke, but they were memories nonetheless. What better way to share those images with fellow athletes than a site focused on my sport, say swimming.fitness? Nothing is better than a truly custom domain name that says everything about you and your site without filling your domain name with hyphens just to make it custom. You wouldn’t want irregularities in your workout, so why add them to your domain name? A domain for a lifestyle Anyone who visits the gym on the regular knows that being fit is a lifestyle — one that anyone can benefit from. It’s more than a routine. It’s more than reps and barbells and treadmills. You can take respite in a good workout, so why not share that with the world? Even though you are focused on your fitness, keep in mind that search engines like Google® won’t necessarily focus more attention on .fitness domain names over other domain extensions (more on that here). Keep your eyes on the prize by focusing on strong website content — like the amount of raw eggs needed in that protein shake — to bring more interested people into your fit world. .fitness isn’t just a domain name — it’s a way of life. Showcase your toned abs or your nutritional information and so much more to help others see what they can do with a little fitness in their life. Post information about the hottest new trends (like CrossFit). Share a competition schedule for all those bodybuilders out there. Or help girls like me with some great cardio routines that will make dropping dress sizes that much easier. Don’t be afraid to break a sweat with a .fitness domain — accomplish something big and put down the weights, just for a moment, to share your passion with the world. Click here to learn more about registering a .fitness domain extension. The post Stay in shape with a .fitness domain appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

These pipes are clean: Native mobile app vs. responsive design smackdown

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my buddy, The Plumber. No, that’s not his actual name, but I thought it would look cool to capitalize it and make it a proper noun. It makes him sound like someone out of a Tarantino movie. “You know who you should be afraid of?” “No. Why don’t you tell me?” “The Plumber.” “I should be afraid of the plumber?” “That’s right. Uppercase. Proper noun. The Plumber.” “I ain’t afraid of no plumber.” “You will be, dude. You will be.” Anyway, I was talking to my buddy, The Plumber, and he had a legitimate question for me about his website. He was wondering if he should have a website that automatically resizes and reformats for smartphones and tablets, or should he have someone make a mobile app for his business. That’s a legit question. Should you have a responsive website or a mobile app? Well, we’re in luck. There are a lot of really great discussions about this already happening online. Here, here, and here, for example. Each of these articles weighs the pros and cons, and reaches some similar conclusions: You have to have a mobile-friendly presence to reach customers. If you can afford both, go for it. Make sure you measure what’s working before you decide. It depends (doesn’t it always?) on your business goals. With my buddy, The Plumber, I took a more direct, a more evolutionary, approach. For most small businesses, especially very small business, this is the way to go. Trust me. It allows for growth and keeps your options open. 1. Start with a responsive website design No exceptions. If you’re just getting started or you’re in the process of redesigning your website. Build one that will automatically resize and rearrange based on the size of your browser window. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out 50 Examples of Responsive Web Design. Open up one of the websites and then resize your browser window. Better yet, look at one of the websites on your computer and then on your phone. Even this website works that way. Try it. If you’re reading this on your phone, try it on your computer. If you’re reading this on your computer, try it on your phone. Not bad, eh? Custom website, either way. If you have a website that’s not responsive, think about a redesign. And if you don’t have the design chops to do it yourself, don’t worry. A lot of the do-it-yourself tools out there now make it easy to make a responsive website. GoDaddy’s Website Builder does it for you, and there are hundreds of responsive WordPress® themes out there. Take a look, I bet you’ll find something you like. 2. Think about a custom mobile landing page Once you have a responsive website up and running, you might want to create a custom mobile home page for your website. Why? Well, let’s say you want a different, more direct call to action when someone pulls up your website on their phone. Instead of “check out our menu,” you might want them to “call and place your order.” Instead of “learn more about us,” you might want them to “stop by today.” It’s your call. Not sure how to pull all of this off? It’s not hard. Many content management systems have plugins that make it a snap. You basically create a new home page, name it something like “mobile.htm” and add some code to the top of your site that redirects visitors if their window size is smaller than 699 pixels. Check out this quick tutorial at CSS-Tricks for more information. Now, I say you might want a custom mobile home page because maybe things are really working well for you without it. Maybe the call to action on your website stays the same no matter what device someone is using. Call me. Stop by today. Contact me. Order now and save. There’s no pressure. Maybe all you need is a responsive website. 3. Then debate building a mobile app I have to admit, I’ve seen some pretty cool business apps on my iPhone. I can order pizza, schedule a haircut, and read my favorite designer’s latest musings. But, I’m not sure it’s worth it. A well-designed website takes care of all of those things. In almost every case, I can do the same thing on their website. And, in almost every case, I do. Because when I search for the best pancakes in Boise and the results come up in Google® or whatever I’m using, I click through to their website—not their app. If you decide you have to have a mobile app, these are some things to keep in mind: You need one to three versions of your mobile app (iPhone, Droid, Windows). You should manage and respond to app reviews and ratings You will spend more money to develop and maintain apps A mobile app might be perfect for your business, just make sure you know what you’re getting into, you’ve got a strong business case, and you’re ready to commit to it. Wrapping things up So, if you’re Starbucks and have the money, go for it. Build all three of them. But even then, I’d recommend a staged approach. Crawl, walk, run. Take an approach that lets you measure and then decide what to do next. Start with responsive design, create a custom mobile page, and then make that killer unicorn and lasers app. I get it. You’re excited. The Plumber—he’s willing to pay for everything. He wants the latest, greatest, coolest whatever. Me? I like The Plumber. I just want what’s gonna work for him. And I want what’s gonna work for you, too. The post These pipes are clean: Native mobile app vs. responsive design smackdown appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Website security: Double the factors, double the fun

When you go to an ATM machine to withdraw cash, you need two pieces of information: your debit card and your PIN. Can you imagine how at risk you would feel if you didn’t need to enter your PIN to use your card? Anyone who got access to your card would have access to your bank account. Why wouldn’t you also want that extra layer of security for your small business website? Enter two-factor (aka two-step) authentication — a security process that can help you protect the valuable information on your website. How does two-factor authentication work? When you have two-factor authentication activated, you need two pieces of information to get into your account: 1. Something you know — like a password 2. Something you have — like a smartphone Why is two-factor so effective? It’s pretty easy for bad guys to guess weak passwords — especially with all the personal information available today via social media. But hackers will have a heck of a time obtaining that something you have — such as the hardware or software security token or mobile phone you’ve authorized for verification texts. You need to have that mobile phone or token in hand to get the information you need to access your account. At GoDaddy, we offer that additional layer of security for U.S. customers who’ve requested Two-Step Authentication by texting them a validation code that they must enter whenever they log in to their account or make important account changes. You can learn more about our Two-Step Authentication here. And be sure to check out this awesome guide to enabling two-factor authentication on 50 top websites, courtesy of our very own Chris Carfi. Your customers trust you. They need to know their personal information — including sensitive account information — is safe on your website. And you’ll appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re doing all you can to protect your site. Photo: monsieur paradis via Compfight cc The post Website security: Double the factors, double the fun appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Hiring a contractor: Time to pay the piper

Whether you hire a contractor or an employee, you’ve got to pay for the work they complete correctly. While actually making a payment might be just a matter of writing a check or swiping a card, you also need to make sure that you do everything necessary to keep the IRS happy — our government friends want to know what companies and contractors you issue payments to so that they can get their fair share. Luckily, it’s not too tough to correctly report the money you pay to contractors. Compared to all the financial stuff that goes along with paying employees — think payroll taxes and the like — working with contractors is a breeze. Paying your contractors One of the first questions you’ll need to answer when hiring a new contractor is how you will pay them. After all, everyone wants to know what the financial situation looks like when they’re working. You might also find that certain freelancers or contractors will only accept payment in certain ways — such choices aren’t meant to hamper your ability to work together but rather to ensure that everyone’s interests are protected. In general, your payment options are divided between paper and electronic: you can write a check or send a payment online. Even the smallest of businesses can now accept credit card payments relatively easily (PayPal® and other online processors offer a variety of credit card and debit card options). It’s more a question of what makes sense for your accounting and what options the contractor in question will accept. No matter what payment method you agree on with the freelancers you hire, make sure payment terms are spelled out in the contract that you both sign. In addition to describing how you will be sending payment, you should also include payment dates, any invoicing requirements you have, and any other factors that impact your ability to actually mail a check or submit an electronic payment. Do your best to minimize any possibility of misunderstandings — it’s much easier to sort through a communication mistake than it is to resolve a payment problem, especially when a contractor is counting on a payment to come through. Handling tax reporting The easiest option for dealing with the paperwork that goes along with paying contractors is to let someone else deal with it. Traditionally, this has meant working with a CPA who will handle the process of completing and mailing forms for both your contractors and the IRS. However, technology has created some new options. Because of the way PayPal and many online marketplaces are structured, they have a responsibility to report any payments made through their systems to the IRS (at least for U.S.-based recipients). Their obligations actually let you off the hook, because the IRS doesn’t want you to double-report the money you paid to contractors. You’ll still want to check that the numbers are correct and that your contractors receive the appropriate paperwork — trusting anyone blindly with your taxes is a bad idea — but as long as you can issue payments through such a system, you’ll have fewer reporting obligations. However, make sure that your contractors are willing to accept payments through such systems before starting on any new project. Because most of these systems (including PayPal) can take a sizable chunk of any payment they pass along, many contractors are reluctant to use them or will require an additional fee to accept payments through those systems. If you only work with a few contractors over the course of the year and neither a CPA nor a marketplace fit your plans, you can handle the reporting yourself: you can purchase packs of 1099-MISC forms from office supply stores and fill them out either by hand or print them using specialized software. Keeping on the straight and narrow Dealing with the IRS can be a little discomforting. If something goes wrong with your tax reporting, that particular organization isn’t known for their forgiveness or sympathy. But you shouldn’t be scared of working with contractors: the IRS tries to keep the reporting process manageable. You aren’t even required to start reporting payments to a given contractor until you’ve paid out at least $600 in a year. Those numbers mean that you don’t even need to worry about small projects. But you do want to make sure that you’re keeping your records correctly, even for those amounts that are too small to report. In the event of an audit, the IRS can look at every part of your business. Because payments to contractors can be abused, the IRS will look closely at such transactions during an audit. Stick to the straight and narrow on your taxes. Of course, it’s a good idea to consult with a tax professional about your specific business, even if you plan to handle reporting payments to the IRS on your own. There are often opportunities to improve your tax situation when dealing with contractors and you don’t want to run the risk of missing such an opportunity. Even a short meeting could pay off. This article is not intended as legal or tax advice. If you have questions, please contact your legal or tax professional. Photo: YanivG via Compfight cc The post Hiring a contractor: Time to pay the piper appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Sleep on it: Rest easy with help from these apps

Here’s one for all you stats collectors: 44 percent of mobile phone owners report sleeping with their devices beside their bed so they don’t miss anything. The research doesn’t dig much deeper, but I’m willing to bet that many of these perpetually connected people are small business owners. So, in the interest of entrepreneurs and a good night’s sleep, we’ve compiled this list of smartphone apps that can make life a little easier for all you entrepreneurs. Save time with this trifecta Who needs a computer, scanner or fax machine in this day and age? This trifecta of apps replaces common office tasks: TurboScan. This app from Piksoft® allows you to scan a document simply by taking three pictures of it. It’s perfect for scanning a document on site with a client or quickly taking a scan of a signed contract. TurboScan allows you to save your scan to your device or email it in handy .pdf or image formats, too. DocuSign. Chomping at the bit to sign that contract or close on that business loan without further delay? DocuSign® allows you to program in your electronic signature and quickly and easily sign documents without the hassle of printing and scanning. Sign right from your phone! Printer Pro. Have you ever found yourself doing something rather silly, like emailing yourself a link you found on your phone in order to print it? Forget that noise with Printer Pro. It allows you to print straight from your iPhone® or Android®. Silliness averted, you’ll quickly recoup the $4.99 Readdle® charges for this nifty little app. Handle money with mobile ease A business without money is just a hobby. These apps help you manage the dollars and cents of your enterprise: Get Paid. This nifty GoDaddy offering, part of the Online Bookkeeping suite of products, allows you to accept any method of payment with any device. Client wants to pay you on the spot with a credit card? Check. And she’s on the phone with you because she’s halfway across the country? Check. …Or in another country and wants to pay online? Check, check and check. This useful app’s name says it all. Credit Karma. See your credit score right now, totally free, with this mobile app for iPhone or Android. If your finances are moving and shaking – for example, if you’re noodling over taking out a small business loan – Credit Karma™ will also allow you to simulate what your credit score might look like after a big financial move. Watch your score leap up and down after you simulate paying off debt or taking on a big financial burden. SmartyPig. Manage your savings with this free app for iPhone or Android. SmartyPig® allows you to set savings goals and share them with others – even to accept donations. Patient business owners can use SmartyPig accounts to save for necessities like taxes or a business-boosting purchase such as a new logo. Be sure to check out SmartyPig’s gift card and cash back options to make your savings go just a little bit farther. Collaborate with these three apps Our smartphones are the ultimate collaboration device. They can text, send videos and hey, they can even make phone calls. These apps help small business owners collaborate more easily from the office, coffee shop or open road: OneDrive. A storage app from Microsoft (included in Microsoft Office 365® from GoDaddy), OneDrive™ allows you to easily store and share documents, photos, videos and anything else you’d like to access anytime, anywhere, from any device. Never be without your PowerPoint® deck… or that video of your daughter singing “You Are My Sunshine.” join.me. This elegant yet no-frills conference app from LogMeIn® allows you to conference via phone or video, record meetings, and invite up to 250 attendees. Usefu for today’s increasingly global workforce, join.me® has 40+ numbers around the world so you’re not nickel and diming your contacts with long distance charges. Skype. The mobile version of the well-known communication app is available on all major platforms. You can chat, talk or videoconference with clients and colleagues – no matter where they are in the world. (Just check the time difference!) You can now also send video messages and files more easily than ever. Plus, Skype™ is so ubiquitous you can be sure that most of your contacts will have it, too. It might not be possible to run your business entirely from your smartphone (yet), but these apps will get you one step closer to true small business mobility … and a great night’s sleep. Photo: amirjina via Compfight cc The post Sleep on it: Rest easy with help from these apps appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Better living through IFTTT

You might not call yourself a developer. You might just be a designer or an entrepreneur or a markup hacker. But, I’ll bet you’ve developed a few applications in your day. You don’t have to pick up a book on Python or PHP and start figuring our arrays and variables to build an app. You started learning how to do it when you were a kid. Programming is simply a way to make stuff happen. When I push this button or type in this phrase, then something else will happen. Take dominoes for example. Now, I have no idea how to actually play the game of dominoes. I think some sort of math is involved. But, I do know a little something about stacking dominoes side by side by side to create elaborate mazes of plastic that, in the end, can turn on a TV set in another room. As a kid, I’d patiently line them up and test the design. Can I make a marble roll right? Left? How close do the dominoes have to be to make everything work? If it didn’t work the first time, I’d start over and debug the process. I think I spent an entire summer indoors building this contraption and wishing I had an Atari. Programming is a lot like this. It’s based on a simple idea: if I do this, then that will happen. So, imagine my excitement when I discovered a way to program the Internet the same way I lined up dominoes. If ESPN reports that my favorite team scored, then send me a text message. Or, even better: if ESPN reports that my favorite team scored, then send a taunt to my brother who doesn’t know the proper team to root for. Using IFTTT to work smarter, not harder IFTTT (If This Then That) makes this magic possible. If you haven’t played with IFTTT before, I highly recommend you check out this post by Julie Deneen. It explains how you can automate and track your social media activity using IFTTT, and how to set up your first few programs (aka recipes). What I love about Julie’s post is that it explains how IFTTT can help you get more done. It can help you curate content and find ideas that are relevant to your business. It’s like having a research guru on staff. And, once you start publishing and sharing content online, IFTTT can help you spread the word a little further. It can help you remind people what you have to offer. Automatically. Sounds rad, right? That’s some serious power. With this in mind, Julie leaves us with a warning that I think is worth repeating: Automation is no substitute for human interaction. As you can see, I’ve used IFTTT to make some of my redundant tasks easier. I’ve also used it to help me keep track of my own (and others) activity. But I do not use it to thank people and reply to comments, because I value the authenticity of a real human response. Keep this in mind. Automation is meant to free up your time to be human, not to be more robotic. Just because you can automate thank-yous and wishing your loved ones “happy birthday,” doesn’t mean you should. Trust me, I’m still feeling a little guilty for wishing my brother happy birthday — automatically. Here are some ideas to get you started So, there are thousands of legitimate recipes you can play with using IFTTT. A friend of mine can turn off the lights in his house via text message. I know a team that changes the color of their office every time they sell something. A woman I know tracks how much time she spends in the office, automatically, in a Google® spreadsheet. Need a creative reminder to stop eating after 5pm? IFTTT can do that. And if you’re like me and you’re like Julie, you can use IFTTT to keep track of articles and news stories you might want to blog about or share with friends. Connect IFTTT to popular news readers like Readability™, Feedly or Instapaper and every time you favorite an article, you can save the reference in a Google Doc automatically. Or, if you’re feeling a little more aggressive, you could automatically send out a Tweet or Facebook@ post. Or, publish to your blog. Or, send your mom an email. Or, send my mom an email. There are thousands of possibilities. Go. Play. Be smart.   The post Better living through IFTTT appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

For good measure: Getting started with Google Analytics

Take it from the great Peter Drucker: “What’s measured improves.” As such, a key step in improving the business performance of your website is to set up analytics to track its effectiveness. While there are a raft of analytics packages available, we’re going to focus on the most popular, Google Analytics™. What is Google Analytics? Google Analytics is a Google® service providing detailed statistics about a website’s traffic, visitors, conversions and sales. It contains a well-appointed dashboard and a high degree of configurability, and is friendly those with and without technical backgrounds. The service can track those visiting from referring sites, search engines, direct visits and social network referral traffic. Furthermore, it helps you to market your services with pay-per-click networking, email marketing and more. Measuring site activity in Google Analytics produces reports that contain valuable information to let you know how well you are doing. You can toggle between various metrics, set reporting date ranges, and select date ranges for comparison purposes. You can also define dimensions such as city, region and browser. Widely available plugins and add-ons can expand Google Analytics’ reporting features. While static (i.e. daily, weekly) reports are good, sometimes you want to know what’s going on right now. This is where Real Time reporting comes in. This awesome feature shows you how many people are on your site, where they’re from, and just what they’re looking at…now. You’ll know what content is hot and what is not, so you can focus your time improving on those areas that need more work. You’ll know how much traffic a promotion is driving to your website, and which blog brings best results. Millions of sites use Google Analytics because of all the insight — tracking and otherwise — it can provide. And it doesn’t hurt that the basic service is free. How can you get started with Google Analytics? It’s as easy as 1-2-3 to start working with Google Analytics. Check it out: Step 1: Sign up for your account   To open your Google Analytics account, visit the Google Analytics website. Click the Access Google Analytics button and follow the instructions that you see on the screen. Step 2: Set up your account properties How you configure your account will affect how your report data will look. You should read information on the following pages to educate yourself on the best way to perform your configuration: overview of accounts, users, properties, and views. There are a lot of different ways you can slice and dice the data. Step 3: Set up your tracking code in your site You’ll need to include the Analytics tracking ID and code in your website or mobile app in order to collect and send usage data to your Analytics account. You can track multiple properties in the same account, but each property must be set up individually. Follow different processes to set up web tracking and to set up mobile app tracking. Once you’ve completed setting up Google Analytics on your website, you can always return to the Google Analytics Help Center to learn more about managing your account, using your reports, and linking Google Analytics to AdWords™. Photo: Skakerman via Compfight cc The post For good measure: Getting started with Google Analytics appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Biz of blogging: How much does it really cost to launch a business blog?

Without a doubt, publishing a blog can pay off for your business. This creative online marketing tool can help you build deeper relationships with your customers, increase your rankings in search engine results, and even educate the buyers you’re hoping to attract. That’s all great stuff. But you have to invest in a business blog to get that level of value back out of it. Blogs take relatively little cash to set up (especially compared to other marketing tools) but even if a blogger keeps upfront costs to a minimum, she’ll still need to spend time building up the blog. Consider these real costs of launching a new business blog to help you decide whether a blog is a smart investment for your business. The (relatively) minimal setup costs Technically, you can have a new blog up and running for free and in a matter of minutes. This is one of those cases, however, where you’ll get what you pay for. Because it’s so easy to set up a free blog on one of the many sites that exist only to provide free blogs to users, blogs that run on those sites aren’t always considered as authoritative as blogs on their own domain names or operating as part of a company’s website. You’re better off either adding a blog to your existing website or buying a new domain (along with hosting) for the blog. While there are several different options for blogging software,WordPress® is one of the most widely used options — to the point that with the right hosting (such as Managed WordPress), you can have a new WordPress blog up on your own domain in minutes. All in all, you can usually buy a new domain name and hosting package for just a few dollars a month. In order to effectively brand your new blog, you’ll probably want to have the website designer who created your site come up with a design for your blog that will match your overall branding. Pricing for that sort of work varies by designer. The higher costs of content You can save a lot of money in the process of setting up a new blog, but you should plan on investing money, time, or both into creating the content that will make your blog stand out. Before you start looking for shortcuts, think of it this way: There’s no point to posting new content — articles, videos, memes, etc. — unless it’s better than most of what your prospective customers are already viewing. Creating compelling blog posts is a skill. If you’re not an experienced writer, creating posts is a skill that you or one your team members can learn — though there will be a learning curve. You can expect to spend a few hours on each blog post until you get some experience blogging on a regular basis. Then, you might be able to crank out an awesome post in 30 minutes or less. If you choose hire a freelance blogger, the cost will depend on factors like how complicated a topic you’re dealing with and how much additional work (such as finding royalty-free images) you expect the blogger to complete. At minimum, you should expect to pay about $50 per post. While some bloggers charge less, they usually won’t be experienced enough to provide great posts without a lot of guidance. For specialized posts of extremely good quality, you might see rates as high as $1,000. Before you click publish Once you’ve got a good blog post in hand, you’ll need to consider a few additional steps before publishing it: Finding images to run with the post Editing the post If you’re in a regulated profession, ensuring the post complies with those regulations Promoting the post so readers actually see it You can handle each of these steps in-house or outsource them to a professional blogger — some of whom will even handle each of these steps as a part of their per-post rate. But you can also learn to handle each of these tasks if that’s the right place for you to spend your time. Chances are, you’ll like it. The post Biz of blogging: How much does it really cost to launch a business blog? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Like what they see? Try these WordPress CSS hacks for visual branding

When you think of a company’s visual brand, what do you think of? A stylish logo, perhaps? Maybe the home page of their website? As with most things business, it turns out there’s a lot more to visual branding than first meets the eye. Take the way that a brand handles images. You might have noticed that Apple’s® images always have a clean look on a white background. Or that AirBNB’s® home page always features landscape-orientation photos of distinct living spaces bathed in natural light. These brands have recognized the importance of a consistent visual branding style and because of that, their customers — and even non-customers — recognize these brands wherever they show up. Why visual branding counts Why is it so important for your visual branding to be recognizable and consistent? 1. Your customers will recognize and trust you. By keeping your visual brand consistent, your customers will know your products, posts or online content at a glance. When your creative content is instantly recognizable, your customers trust that it comes from you and you stand behind it. 2. You can create faster. When you have a distinct visual style, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you want to create a new piece of content. Consult your style guide and go. 3. You prove you have invested in your brand. Many small businesses are “reactionary” content creators, but when you release new branded content as you go, you can easily lose consistency. A coherent visual brand strategy proves — to you, your customers, your investors and your competition — that your business is a “brand,” not just a fly-by-night operation. Branding shortcuts for your WordPress website How do you create visual branding for your company? It’s not as hard as you think to get started. In fact, you might only need a few website tweaks. Changing the way your photos display can make a huge difference in the feel of your site.” ~ Erica Mueller If you’ve got a WordPress® website, you’ll want to check out this post by our friend Erica Mueller. (How can you not like a Web pro who also writes music reviews?) In “Top 3 CSS Tricks for Images in WordPress,” Erica outlines her top three stylesheet shortcuts for image editing — including how to round image corners, customize captions, and automatically resize for mobile. That last one’s a good one, huh? Be sure to click through to find out how you can easily tweak small aspects of your WordPress website to make a big impact on your viewers and your brand. For more great tips, check out the GoDaddy Tool Kit on BlogHer. Photo: e_monk via Compfight cc The post Like what they see? Try these WordPress CSS hacks for visual branding appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Apps overload: Define a process to evaluate Web apps options

Business software changes every day. There are apps on the market this morning that didn’t exist a week ago and a few available today that won’t be here a month from now. Keeping up with the different options for your company is a Herculean task. But failing to update your tools might give your competition an edge. The answer? A process that lets you easily compare and contrast new Web-based applications with your company’s current software. Try this one on for size. 1.  Note your pain points. If you have a combination of Web apps that generally works for you, it’s tempting to stick with what seems to be working. For the short-term, that approach isn’t a problem because you don’t want to spend the grand majority of your time testing software. But you probably do have some concerns about what is and isn’t working with your current suite of apps. Whenever you run into a major bug, add it to the list. Whenever you find you need a new feature from your existing apps, write it down. Whenever you have to handle a large amount of repetitive work (the kind a computer might be able to manage), make a note. 2.  Build a list of your preferred integrations. Connecting one app to another can mean the difference between having to copy data over to a new location manually and having your data move automatically between the software you rely on. One of the biggest benefits to working with Web-based apps is that you can often integrate your tools to make them more powerful. Maintaining a wish list of software integrations can speed up your decision whether or not to even consider a given app. If you can’t connect a new app to the tools you’re already using, the hassle of moving your data around probably won’t be worth the switch. It’s also worth looking at whether a new app integrates with Zapier, IFTTT, or another service that provides additional integration between web apps. Even if a particular app hasn’t built in integrations on its own, there are now companies that serve just to integrate other companies’ apps. 3. Read up on app news. If you aren’t staying familiar with the tools that are on the market, you’ll have a harder time deciding what to test. Maybe you can keep up to speed just by reading a trade publication or two, but you might want to add a few tech blogs to your reading routine to make sure that you’re hearing about new apps when they’re still new. You might even be able to find reduced prices or competitive edges from using apps that aren’t available to other businesses yet. 4. Set aside testing time. Before you decide to commit to a new app — and pay the costs to completely move your business to a new platform — thoroughly test it. Testing doesn’t mean setting up a dummy account and clicking around for 15 minutes, though if you can decide quickly that a given tool isn’t a good fit, so much the better. Invest some time and bring over some real data if you can. Many apps will give you a free trial period, which will allow you a little time to treat that new software like you might as a regular user: you can come back over the course of a few days and see how the software in question really performs under regular use. That way, you’ll be 100-percent sold on the software before you sign up as a full-fledged user. The post Apps overload: Define a process to evaluate Web apps options appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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