ecommerce data entry company a product management specialist for online retailers 720x380 - Online Business Laws for E-Commerce Sites

Online Business Laws for E-Commerce Sites

Online Business Laws for E-Commerce Sites

One the most popular forms of online businesses is that of an e-commerce site. Regardless of whether you’re supplying niche products or specializing such as offering bookings for G license classes near me, you need to be sure that you’re fully aware of the restrictions and regulations in place when planning your business from a legal standpoint.


There will be some e-commerce platforms that operate solely in the US, while others may offer a global service. The way that taxes are displayed can vary depending on the demographic you’re marketing towards

Customers is the US will be used to seeing price that exclude taxes, however Australian customers will be used to seeing an all-inclusive price. There is no right or wrong way of displaying the prices, but you need to consider where your customers will be coming from, to ensure that they’re met with a pricing structure that they understand.

There are other factors that need to be looked at when running an e-commerce store in relation to taxes that are state-specific, so research is key. An example of these taxes are as follows:

  • Any plastic bottles sold within California will incur a $0.11 recycling fee in addition to any other relevant taxes.
  • Those looking to sell clothing within New York will be taxed within the state.

Although these are only slight differences, not being aware of these regulations could have ramifications later on, so research is vital before launching the business.

Payment Gateways

When customers are purchasing products online, clarity is key. The last thing customers want to experience is a misunderstanding, especially when it comes to how payments are processed.

As well as ensuring that the personal details of the customer are protected when placing an order, an e’-commerce store also needs to ensure that the payment gateway being used isn’t going to be intercepted by unsavory third-parties.

Fortunately, there are a series of payment gateways available, albeit with their rules and regulations in place.

  • PayPal
  • Square
  • WorldPay
  • FirstData
  • Stripe

On the surface, the providers offer a similar service, but business owners need to ensure that they’re only using the solution that benefits the business and its customers.

Understand the Difference Between Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights

Those starting a business for the first time will probably hear about trademarks, patents and copyrights and assume them to be one in the same, but there are some differences you need to be aware of.

  • Trademark: A trademark will be a word, phrase, symbol or design that represents and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others.
  • Patent: A property right that relates to an invention. Patents are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.
  • Copyright: Generally used to protect creative works such as art, writings, music, media and photography.

Although obtaining a patent, trademark or copyright may not be relevant to your business model, it’s certainly worthwhile double-checking before launching your e-commerce store.

Shipping Restrictions

Those who run an e-commerce store will often have to use a shipping provider, depending on where the goods are being sent to.

Just like payment gateways offer different solution, so do shipping companies. As such, you should carry out some research as to whether the shipping company you’re planning to use has any restrictions placed on the items you’re looking to sell. Some of the more conventional restrictions are as follows:

  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Ammunition
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Nail Polish
  • Perfume
  • Poison
  • Explosives
  • Cigarettes
  • Perishables

There can be instances where a shipping company will be able to shop restricted items, albeit with paperwork and an additional fee.

How Inventory Will Be Stored

When running an e-commerce store, there will be different ways of how you supply goods to your customers. Some may be choosing a dropship option, which is when a product is sold on behalf of another company, or you may be holding inventory.

If you plan to store inventory at home during the initial period, then you need to ensure that your lease allows for it.

How the Website Will Use Customer Information?

When launching a website, the owner needs to ensure that its safeguarded and using customer information in the right way. There may also be requirements to ensure that there is an age-verification in place to ensure that the right product is being sold to the right people.

It’s also important to ensure that the website complies with the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA.) There are several regulations to consider in relation dealing with young online users, but the most important is the restriction that a company from collecting personal data.

If your business has a young audience, then it’s vital that business owners brush up on the COPPA act before launching their website, otherwise they could find that there are ramifications.

Ensuring the Website is PCI DSS Compliant

Being PCI DSS compliant can be the most important aspect of any e-commerce store. PCI DSS is an abbreviation for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and is relevant to any company that stores or transmit credit card data to maintain an environment that’s secure.

Even companies that accept orders over the telephone need to ensure that they’re conforming to the guidelines put in place.

Again, those who are unsure of whether their business offers sufficient security protocols when processing information need to review their current structure as soon as possible.


8 Ideas for Encouraging Customer Loyalty by Mobile Apps 720x380 - 9 Simple Ways to Establish and Maintain Customer Loyalty

9 Simple Ways to Establish and Maintain Customer Loyalty

Here’s one of the simplest but most overlooked business ‘hacks’ you’ll ever hear:

Keep hold of your current customers.

 That’s it! Do that and you’ll save yourself the hard work and heartache involved with complex sales processes, performance monitoring, quoting, meetings – and much more. Why’s it so simple? These people or companies already love (or at least like) what it is you do for them – you may even be taking money from them each month anyway.

 So why do they leave? Why do we release them back into the marketplace? And what can we do to make sure we hold onto them?

 We’ve put together 9 things you could be doing to make sure you only ever lose customers in exceptional circumstances…

1.    Speak their language

It doesnt matter if you’re a small cafe or a local pool company such as there are countless platforms through which you can communicate with your customers. Does your contact prefer email? Skype? Phone calls? WhatsApp? Or any one of the million other possibilities?

Don’t underestimate the importance that people put on communicating with people in the way they wish – and definitely don’t underestimate how useless people can be at communicating if you force them to use a medium they don’t like.

If it comes down to the finer detail you don’t want to lose a great customer simply because your competitor is happy to Skype when you prefer to email.

Ask what they like, review it now and again – and stick to it.

2.      Understand what great service means to them

Just like ‘good communication’, ‘good service’ means something different to everyone. Does ‘good’ mean quick? Accurate? Cheap? Great customer support? Or something else?

Unless you ask your customers, you’re just guessing – and when you guess, you’re liable to lose out to someone who’s taken 30 seconds to hear about what’s important.

When you learn – make sure you make a note on your customer lead management system. This information is absolutely priceless when it comes to retaining customers – so it’s important that your whole team knows it.

3.      Don’t forget to keep in touch

You might communicate strictly work-related information frequently – but don’t discount the fact that people, generally, like to deal with real people, so talk like humans now and again too.

Keep it business-like and semi-formal until you know where you stand, but don’t forget, even the most high-flying executive still appreciates being acknowledged as a person. You might want to just review where your business relationship is once every now and again – then again, you might want to ask about their recently holiday and less work-related topics.

When you connect as people, you become more than just numbers on a spreadsheet – which is important, as people value real connections, even if a lower price comes along.

4.      Say thank you for repeat business

It’s easy to take customers for granted when you see the money coming in and the product going out each month – but take a break from that now and again to acknowledge what they put into your business.

Perhaps it’s something simple like a discount every now and again – or an occasional gift to let them know you appreciate their custom. Again, these human touches set you apart from the companies that trade entirely on price.

5.      Take money on their terms

Just like allowing communication on your customer’s terms, you should really aim to accept payment on their terms too

For everyone who likes to pay immediately with a credit card, there’s another person who prefers 30-day terms (and probably plenty who like 90 day terms!). You don’t have to accept their terms if they don’t work for your cashflow – but if you can afford to, letting them call the shots will sometimes be the difference between keeping their business and letting them find someone who can accommodate their needs.

6.      Remember the important stuff

Do you want to go above and beyond what other companies are doing? Learn some of your customer’s important dates and send them cards, flowers or gifts when the time comes around.

It’s not for everyone – but sending a Christmas, birthday or other celebration card will set you firmly above most other companies they deal with. If that sounds a little intrusive, then why not send a card that celebrates the anniversary of the first time you did business together?

These are little touches – but backed up by the psychological fact that people feel somewhat loyal to people and companies that give them something above and beyond what they’re expecting.

7.      Refer people to your customers

If you’re a business to business operation, then keeping customer details up your sleeve in case of referral opportunities is a really great move.

Instead of remaining as a service provider, you can establish yourself as part of their network – and if you refer customers who might need their service, then you’re suddenly offering a huge amount of more value by simply having a conversation and passing on a number.

8.      Make sure they’ll get less elsewhere

Ask yourself – what can you do to add value to the product you provide?

For many people, this means becoming an authority on the service you offer – don’t just offer marketing consultancy, but offer insights into their market that they just won’t get elsewhere.

Always be thinking ‘added value’ – what can you do that offers more than just the base-product?

9.      Offer incentives for referring customers to you

People love to talk to other people about what a good deal they’re getting – it’s a fine display of business acumen if you get boast about what a great deal or service you’re getting from a supplier.

So why not encourage people to have those conversations? There’s no need to ask – just tell them that if they do, there’s some kind of reward for them. It might be a bottle of bubbly as an informal thank you – or it could be something more contracted, like a sliding scale offering discounts when people join with referral codes or contact details.

Whatever you decide on, you get the added bonus of someone being less likely to walk away if they’ve sung your praises to someone else – incentivised or otherwise…


20160426154606 business plan 720x380 - Do I Need A Business Plan?

Do I Need A Business Plan?

Do I Need A Business Plan?

Business plans are very useful, but do you need one? With many things getting faster and faster including setting up a business some entrepreneurs both old and new find the whole process of a business plan to be a bit of a slog. But does that mean you shouldn’t bother with one?

Opinion is pretty split while many people do agree that business plans are very useful it can’t be denied that they are very time-consuming. The length and complexity of formal business plans as led to the rise of shorter, simpler versions.

So, while planning your business is very important (in fact it’s critical) does the old-fashioned formal business plan still have a place in today’s more rapidly involved business world? I’d argue that it does but that doesn’t mean your business needs one.

There are a lot of variables you really need to consider, if your business is in a more complex field like technology then a formal business plan would seem like a very valuable asset. However, if you are only building a small business in a less complicated field then a business plan might not be needed right?

Well, that’s for you to decide but before you make your decision let’s take a look at the pros and cons in more detail.

The Advantages of A Business Plan

Business plans come in many forms but the one you’ll most commonly see is the traditional formal business plan, these documents are very long and complex. But while they are time-consuming to create they do offer businesses many advantages. Let’s take a look at some of them in more detail.

It’s A Valuable Strategic Tool

A plan is always going to come in useful, there’s a reason why people usually plan something out before they do it isn’t there? And when you consider how complex building a business is a business plan just seems like common sense doesn’t it?

With a formal business plan, you’ll be able to better plan out your businesses strategy and you’ll always have something to refer back to. Many start-ups struggle when it comes to building an effective business strategy and formal plan can be a big help. 

You’ll Learn More About Your Market

Marketing is the key to success especially for start-ups and a formal business plan will help give you an insight into your main demographics before you have even started setting up your business. Of course, you’ll still have to ensure you work on your marketing, but a formal business plan will be sure to help give you a head start.

It’s Great For More Complex Industries

One of the main perks of a business plan is that it gives you a guide to your day to day operations this includes a detailed outline of who is responsible for what, the director’s details, your business structure and much more.

While this is undoubtedly useful for any business it can’t be denied that businesses in more complex industries like technology will find it more useful. Having a way to more quickly check your business strategy and see who is responsible for what will be very helpful in more complicated and competitive industries.

It Helps With Legal Issues

A start-up business will be tasked with a lot of legal issues when setting themselves up and a formal business plan will help you ensure all the legal issues are dealt with. And according to Jones Whyte who are not only trusted conveyancing solicitors but also work with many local startups, forgetting even a small step could cause big problems down the line and with a formal business plan you can keep track of everything you need to do to set-up your business.

The Disadvantages of A Business Plan

So, now we’ve taken a look at the advantages let’s look at the flip side of the coin and see why some people think writing a business plan is a waste of time.

They Are Time Consuming

One of the drawbacks of a formal business plan is that they are very time consuming to create sometimes they can even take months to draw up. You could create your business plan alongside setting up your business of course, but it will add more to your workload. However, some entrepreneurs have set-up a business later one once their business as already been established to help guide them.

It Can Stifle Growth

In a rather ironic twist of fate, some entrepreneurs have found business plans to be very stifling, rather than help nurture growth you and your partners might feel like you have no flexibility because of your business plan.

There’s also the risk that having a business plan could make you a little too rigid, after all, isn’t it important that entrepreneurs know how to act fast? It is, and this is especially true in the early days of your business’s operation.

Getting too caught up in your business plan is a real issue and one every entrepreneur should be aware of. In certain industries like technology, for example, acting fast and knowing when to take a risk can pay off so you don’t want to risk a business plan making you to inflexible. 

They Might Not Really Be Needed Yet

The above statement really goes against everything you might have heard about a business plan, but it’s true that you might not really need a business plan just yet. The yet is the key part of that sentence because you will likely need some form of plan eventually.

But if you have a good idea of what you want your business to do then why write a plan? You could simply create a small document or PowerPoint instead to act as a guide and then build a more detailed plane once your business is established.

So, Do I Need A Business Plan?

It can’t be denied that there are a number of benefits to having a business plan it can help guide your business and will be useful for dealing with those notoriously tricky legal issues. However, a traditional formal business plan can usually wait unless you have the time to properly commit to writing it. I would advise having some form of a business plan, but you can usually wait till your business is more established and developed till you tackle the big formal one.

The Impact of Workplace Environment on Employee Productivity

OneWorkPlace Photo%C2%A9BruceDamonte 15 - The Impact of Workplace Environment on Employee Productivity

When your workers typically aren’t productive, it’s no news that you shed cash. Many companies think that employee productivity is the single duty of the employee. While there are many areas that an employee can improve on to enhance their productivity in the workplace such as obtaining more rest, consuming morning meal, and the likes, there are likewise roles you have to play as an employer to increase your workers’ productivity.

Hence, regardless of your business, you should never push under the rug matters relating to the health and productivity of your staff members. Producing a favourable job environment can aid workers to improve efficiency and drive your organisation to prosper.

What variables influence employee efficiency?

Several variables can impact an employee’s efficiency and productivity in the workplace. A few of those aspects consist of workplace hygiene, temperature level, lights, and sound. So what especially makes your staff members more or much less productive?

Following research by the American Society of Interior Designers, physical workplace design is among the leading three aspects that influence an employee’s efficiency and love of the job. Furthermore, research by the Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management uncovered the following about workplace productivity:

  • Lights are the crucial element that impacts the productivity of workers.
  • Temperature level has a higher impact on female staff members than on male staff members.
  • Male workers are immensely influenced by workplace furnishings.
  • All forms of lighting are essential to make the most of employee productivity.
  • Spatial organisation of workplace furnishings is essential to productivity.

Below are some of the best ways to raise employee productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Workplace hygiene

If your team suspect your lack of interest in the workplace hygiene, they may lose interest and turn their attention elsewhere. You could see your personnel turnover rise which is something no company desires to see if this goes on for long enough.

Take the initiative to motivate a healthy workplace hygienic set of values; incentivising cleanliness and making sure people recognise the significance of maintaining the workplace in high order. You could also check into using a cleaning agency, a dedicated office cleaner and a pest control services based in Carlisle to take on those larger tasks and make sure dust does not accumulate in overlooked spaces.

Workplace lights

Staff members find that being close to windows encourage them to feel more concentrated and comfortable. Maintaining bright lights in the workplace helps to produce a more joyful state of mind and assists with productivity. Furthermore, if your workplace is either too cold or warm, your staff members will find themselves sidetracked.

Workplace morale

You want your firm to assist staff members to develop their uniqueness and feel valued. Producing a favourable job environment that urges workers to build networks and give their all makes it possible to generate a feeling of belonging.

Workers who feel valued and pleased in their professions are more productive than those who never fairly strike their stride. As a research study by the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick discovered, miserable workers are 10 percent much less productive than other staff members.

Noise levels

Noise is typically one of the most significant interruptions in the workplace, and it can also be among the most significant reasons your workers usually aren’t productive. Some people function much better when there’s noise, while other staff members perform much better when it’s hushed. Strive to develop a room in your workplace where workers can go when they require a peaceful area to function.

Sorts of furnishings

Make sure your workplace furnishings are comfy, mainly if you have staff members that rest for lengthy periods. Doing this can aid to make your workers feel more loosened up and much less stressed out, therefore supporting them to be more productive.

Colleague interaction

By developing a welcoming environment, your staff members will feel more involved, which inevitably results in higher levels of productivity. A few of the modifications are quicker to adopt than others, but making an initiative not only makes your staff members better, but it can also aid to raise your profits.


The following are more things you can do to develop a sustainable workplace culture.

Produce opportunities for employees to advance.

Only a handful of career-minded specialists intend to remain in the same setting for life, especially if they possess extra abilities. If inspired staff members get the feeling that they’re in a dead-end task, they’re bound to feel stuck and get irritated, causing heartache and reduced productivity.

In comparison, developing possibilities for staff members to breakthrough tends to urge positivity, leading to much less turnover and far better productivity. While an internal advancement/promotion is the ideal instance of employee development, a promo isn’t the only way to spread out positivity.

Consistently dish out feedback.

If you use workers responses only throughout their yearly evaluations, you’re missing out on many possibilities to enhance efficiency, motivate development, and construct a favourable workplace. Rather than holding back comments, urge supervisors to give comments frequently, mainly when it’s appropriate to an existing problem. While unfavourable responses are unavoidable periodically, aim to concentrate on overall outcomes, and strive always to do better.

Along the same lines, bear in mind that workers enjoy obtaining acknowledgement for their successes, but they do not consistently require intricate benefits. Rather than handing out rewards for work well done, put in the time to provide thoughtful, favourable responses and acknowledge your workers openly.

Maintain an open door policy.

If you have ever worked in a business where the employer was mainly unnoticeable and continued to be behind shut doors for much of the day, then you know this can be a big turn off for staff members. As an increasing number of millennial get in the workplace, they progressively demand openness. While they do not often anticipate in-person meetings with the CEO, they nonetheless want open lines of interaction with stakeholders.

You can motivate openness and interaction by developing an open-door policy for people throughout your company power structure. Applying this method can also aid in developing a dependable and favourable workplace you’re pursuing.

Establish healthy workspaces.

In your quest for a productive workplace, you must be ready to do more than encourage positive emotions. You must be willing to make your workers feel excellent and contribute their best to the company. You should likewise see to it they feel healthy and balanced.

In the workplace, you can satisfy this objective by establishing healthy and balanced offices. This initiative can consist of every little thing from permitting workers to pick furnishings and tools they prefer to keeping a comfy temperature level and utilising appropriate illumination.

branding 668x430 668x380 - The 6 best strategies for sustainable business growth

The 6 best strategies for sustainable business growth

If you’ve got a startup venture off the ground you probably thought you were past the tough bit of owning a business – but then there’s the need to grow your business!

Growth isn’t easy – if it were, we’d all be at the helm of billion pound organisations.

That said, with some solid foundations in place you’re likely to find growing your operations far easier. We’ll look at what those foundations are and how they can be used as part of a sustainable growth strategy…

  1. Work with solid principles

When it comes to running a business you’re either going to forge your own path or get swept in various different directions with the changing needs of your business, your finances, customer requirements and so forth.

While some business agility is a good thing, if you want to create sustainable growth you’re going to need a roadmap – and not just one that charts your projections and goals.

Instead, think about doubling-down on the principles that underpin exactly what it is that you do. Maybe offering exceptional content is the thing that make your business who you are? If so, create more, delve into what people are looking for and answer their needs. Maybe the materials you use are ethically sourced? Shout about it, get accreditations that rubber stamp what you’re doing or write a book about how other people can follow in your footsteps.

Passionate principles are contagious – pursue them and watch customers become passionate about what you’re doing too.

  1. Create a solid and powerful brand

There are many local and small companies doing branding really well, for example, Atlas Ceramics – but they’re only doing the same fundamentals that you can also do with your brand.

Let’s take Apple as an example:

When you see that symbol you know what to expect from the product or material it’s attached to; simplicity, exceptional usability, style, innovation – to name just a few. It’s well documented that Apple have done this by sticking to their solid principles and using them as checkmarks against which EVERYTHING they do is measured.

Have you ever seen an Apple product that doesn’t tick all of the above boxes? Unlikely – and you can do the same with your brand. Consider the most important principles at the core of your business and make sure they’re communicated in everything you do – not least your actions.

  1. Find people you can rely on

When you’re recruiting or looking for partnership companies, you might put experience and knowledge at the top of your list – and to some degree that’s understandable. However, when it comes to having the right people to help you grow your business, there could be a better way.

Next time you’re talking to a job candidate or subcontracting company, talk to them about the service you want to deliver – and about the values you’ve built your business on. When you find people that respond to your questions with the passion that you have for those subjects – those people are likely to fit in well to the environment you’ll need to grow in the right direction.

That’s not to say that should ignore experience completely – but understand that it’s a lot easier to teach skills than it is to reshape a person’s attitude.

  1. Hold on tight to your current customers

When you talk about growth in business most people envisage some kind of graph with an upward arrow and ‘sales’ somewhere on the page. Selling more of your product is one idea – but there’s another that’s easier to deliver:

Retain your current customers.

When it comes to easy business wins, it makes absolute sense to make your current customers feel valued and loved – thus repeating the repeat business rewards of doing so – than it is to go out and find more people who’ll order with you.

Instead of focusing your salespeople on getting more business from new sources, consider an incentive that encourages them to cement and maximise the relationships you have with your current customers.

  1. Build around your current products

If you’ve got a solid brand and a great team who are keeping your customers onboard, it might be time to think about diversifying your product somewhat.

Now, which direction you move in is totally up to you – but we can almost guarantee that there’s scope for taking your brand somewhere new and doing another service or product just as well as you are your current business focus.

Let’s carry on with the Apple example:

Were Apple to create an office chair – would it sell?

You’re absolutely right it would, by the truckload – because the principles of design and function that Apple has become synonymous with would give office workers the world over the impression that their aching back was about to be gone forever.

Understand what people expect from your brand – and which products that it would give you a head-start with were you to expand your offering.

  1. Be ready to truly lead

There are a lot of distinctions between someone who just manages and someone who truly leads – not least the impact that the two approaches have on your company’s ability to grow.

You’re one mind – and while you might have some great ideas, there’s a chance that you employ people who get a very real understanding of what your particular coalface is like every day they show up.

If you want to know what your customers want – do less guessing and more listening to the people who are talking to them each day. There’s an old adage about the customer being king – and frankly, it’s wrong. If you make your team the most important thing in your business, your customers will feel that automatically, owing to the new levels of expertise, support and care they receive at the hands of a valued group of people.

Unfortunately for you, being a decision maker and empowering your team means you’re going to have to start taking a lot less credit when things go well – and potentially supporting them by absorbing the flak when things don’t go to plan – but that’s all part of being a leader and having a team that’ll help your business grow.

Will online media be the death of printed news 720x380 - Will online media be the death of printed news?

Will online media be the death of printed news?

Last year, the Independent surrendered to the weight of its ever-shrinking print readership and turned off the printers for good, trusting the future of the publication with its online audience.

In the past, newspapers were known to hold companies and indeed governments to account. Today, their numbers are vastly depleted. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of the jobs within the news industry have disappeared in the last 15 years.

There’s been a steady decline of 2% for print newspapers for a rather long time, so what has changed? What has caused the breakneck speed of print publications losing their readers? What one thing has grown so exponentially in the past 15 years to become an intrinsic part of everyone’s life? It’s the internet, and online subscriptions such as course.


Where’s the evidence?

The effects of the internet on printed publications can be further seen when we look to other pieces of evidence. You see, it isn’t just the rich world newspapers that have suffered the change. Across the western world, newspapers and magazines alike have felt the shift towards online media.

Celebrity gossip mags like Hello and Closer have seen their readership fall and fall, while music reviewing mag NME has also suffered the changing winds. Meanwhile, in the developing world, where a steady internet connection is more a luxury than an expected right, the newspaper still reigns supreme over digital news. In fact, readership figures for print publications in India are booming.


The Effects of Advertising

Most revenue generated by a magazine comes from its advertising. This is especially true for the free dailies, who rely solely on advertising revenues to finance their business.

For the publishers, this only doubles the pressure. They no longer have to focus on holding onto their readership for dear life, they’ve also got to worry about financing their efforts.

But the advertisers are too busy chasing readers out to the door. According to the Pew Research Center, this is an inevitable truth for the news industry. In 2005, advertising revenues generated by printed papers in the US topped $50bn.

Ten years later, figures had fallen to $20bn. In contrast, the revenues created from newspaper websites grew from $2bn to $3.5bn. It’s a sharp decrease for print and a small victory for the web, but the numbers are indeed there.

So why have advertisers chosen to throw in their lot with digital media? The first reason that springs to mind is consumer matching. For an advertiser, the internet is bursting with information about customers.

That’s because everything we do on the internet is recorded. Google will kindly track your browser history for you, recording the sites that you’ve visited, how often you’ve done so and how long you’ve spent on each site per session.

Creating user profiles on news websites (and indeed other sites) provides data about your age, your location and perhaps your interests. Advertisers are then able to collate all of this data to find out:

  1. The demographics of the people who normally purchase their products.
  2. Where to find more of these people so they can be tempted to buy their products.

Web users have become so accustomed to this personalised form of advertising that it’s almost expected. For an advertiser, this is the holy grail. They no longer need to place expensive adverts in newspapers and presume their efforts are making a difference. Now, sellers and buyers can be brought together, and every checkout completion can be traced.


What do the readers want?

Simply put, they want to the news and they want it now. The internet is full of real-time action. You can stream videos live, update people on your location and fight with strangers in 140 characters or less. With everything being so readily available at everyone’s fingertips, it stands to reason that the news should follow suit.

No longer are we waiting for days to find out about a sign being stolen for the village hall or that there was an accident on the motorway last week. Everything is available as it’s happening. In turn, this has led to an increase in journalism.

Well, sort of. Now, everyone with a keyboard can share the news. It causes a lot of slander and bias to leak into reporting, but newspapers are often associated with political parties or owned by conglomerates, so the bias is hardly something new.

Readers also want their news for free. Millennials in particular, it seems, have grown accustomed to having access to so much information, that they no longer deem the news worthy of being paid for. Some printed publications have cottoned onto this trend, and have changed their business model to centre around the free dailies.

These have remained popular, with 22 million copies distributed worldwide and read by 45 million people every day. However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for these print papers, with a string of lawsuits filed against them in Europe. Covering everything from littering concerns to the right for the Metro to be distributed through public transport, the attack on print is ceaseless.


What is the future of news reporting?

Although print newspapers are on the decline, it is hard to imagine that they will disappear completely. Some believe it’s simply impossible, with the likes of John S. Carroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times reporting “Newspapers are doing the reporting. George and Yahoo! Aren’t those people putting reporters on the street in any number.

Blogs can’t afford it.” Simply put, the decline in newspapers means a decline in reliable and researched news. Although newspapers may suffer from a dwindling readership, it is other mediums of news reporting that rely on these companies for their facts and figures. So how do we finance the people putting in the hard graft? “It is the fundamental problem facing the industry” says newspaper analyst, Moreton. Hopefully we will have an answer soon.

The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino 720x380 - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Starting a new business or entering a new industry can create many issues that perhaps were not thought of initially. Most new businesses will begin with a business plan that they believe possesses the Midas touch and see profits instantly soar through the roof.

As any industry veterans know, the business plan gets thrown out the window and it’s often a game of calculated trial and error on the steps you take to success. Today we are going to take a deeper look into the online gambling industry and look into a market that is often greeted by authorities as being an unwelcomed necessity, an advocate of addiction, and by the public, a general misunderstood area.

For operators, the online gambling scene is a competition for web traffic and players and this is a merry dance that can be won through a number of different ‘proven’ strategies. Some of the main marketing methods of the industry are embedded in a finely tuned SEO strategy, pay-per-click advertising and the use of affiliate marketing.

To gain a greater insight into the industry and some of the pressures faced by an unknown name in the gambling world, we spoke to Scott Manford, CEO of Easy Slots “When we initially decided to start an online platform we were heavily invested in our SEO strategy being the main driving force for our web-traffic and marketing technique. That is still very much the case but we have needed to make necessary tweaks along the way.”

“At this moment in time we seemed to have found an SEO and marketing strategy that suits both our requirements and matches nicely with the ever-changing Google algorithms. In respect of this we have also engaged in methods such as pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing. I have a number of years’ experience working across both land-based and online casinos and wanted to take the next step and build a platform that brought together the best of both worlds.” Click here to view his website.

It’s perhaps only with time, experience and error that you can come across the correct ingredients that will aid your success. Outlined below are just a few of the ingredients that can be used and manipulated within the online gambling industry. It explains both some of their pros and cons and real life industry expectations of each.


Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Affiliate marketing is one way of externally generating customers and the resulting traffic to your platform. This operates as a branch effect where a business will have an army of affiliates who will each go out in search of drawing in new customers to the brand. What’s it in for you? You have more customers who are going to be depositing more money onto your site. What’s in it for them? Often the case with affiliate partnerships there’s always some sort of hybrid deal in place that is based on revenue share and something else. However affiliate customer generation can often be temperamental and the quality of the traffic is never guaranteed.



Pay Per Click - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

For anyone who didn’t know, the online gambling industry is met with fierce competition and the volatility of the first page rankings of google for popular keyword terms is often a situation that needs to be monitored constantly. Pay per click is a fast way to shortcut this and pay your way to the top which is a good method to use by the big names in the industry.



SEO - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Search Engine Optimisation is often something that many people overlook because they see it as an intangible expenditure. However, SEO is vital to success in the online gambling industry. Where the first two methods could be argued to be short-term stop gaps for success, SEO can create a lot more stabilised and considered method of marketing. It allows you to create an understanding of your place in the market through intense keyword analysis and research. 

While all three of these marketing strategies have proven to be successful in securing some first-class rankings in the gambling industry they are not exhaustive. To succeed in the gambling industry and the specific niches that exist within it careful consideration must be placed into the keywords you want to rank for and the quality of traffic you want to drive to your site. With Google algorithms constantly changing the market is just as volatile as the 5 reel slot games that exist within the platforms that house them.



How to start your own online business 720x380 - How to start your own online business

How to start your own online business

Setting up a business for yourself has never been easier. This is all thanks to the internet and the introduction of ecommerce and online stores. Some people use it as a way to make sure extra money on the side, along with their current employment. Others may decide that they want to put all their time and effort into running that one business.

No matter what path you are taking, one thing is for sure, you are going to need to set everything up ready to start selling. This may not be the easiest of things to do, particularly if you are not too tech aware, but there are some simple steps to follow in order to have your own online business.

Here to help, we have put together our very own guide to how to start your own online business, and in no time at all be selling and hopefully making some money too.


Figure out who you want your market to be

Figure out - How to start your own online business
Before you can even start to set up your online business, you need to know who you are trying to target. What will your target market want? What do they need? How can you reach them? These are all questions that you are going to need to think about. The better that you know the market, then the more success that you will have when it comes to marketing your products or services.

Some budding entrepreneurs might worry that they are entering a crowded marketplace, but if there are plenty of other businesses all offering the same type of thing, then it is clearly a good market. All you need to remember is that you have to stand out.


Pick your domain name and register it

Pick your - How to start your own online business
A domain name is a unique address, a space on the internet. Just like a patent or a trademark it is all yours. There are ae variety of online domain name registration companies where you can purchase your domain name of choice. You may even be lucky enough to find a company that will also help you with hosting packages. But it is important that you ensure that this is legitimate otherwise you may be left with a domain name that isn’t even yours!

But what name to go with? Some will choice their own name, if their online store will be personal to them. Others will have a domain name that will be reflective of what they can offer. These are often better than trying to think of something that sounds nice, but that gives no clue to what you can offer as a company.


Find somewhere to host your website

Find somewhere - How to start your own online business
As we have already covered, some domain registration companies will offer free hosting, but there are also those that don’t. A hosting service will give you a rented space on their server, which will be to run your website. There are a variety of things to think about when choosing a hosting site for your store.  You will need to think about storage capacity, whether you get a domain based email, is the server secure and how often do they have any downtime.

You will also want to make sure that you have access to customer support, as there are likely to be times when things go wrong and you are going to need help.


Start to design your online store

Start to design - How to start your own online business
One of the things that those setting up an online store will be anxious about is designing their website. If you are feeling creative, or you have access to website building tools, you might want to do this yourself.  However, if you are really not sure on where to start, or what will be best for your own vision for an online store, then it is a good idea to hire a website designer to help you, such as Think Zap who are some of the best web design agencies in Glasgow . They can advise you on the things to think about, the areas to focus on and what will make for the very best website.


Figure out how you will accept payments

Figure out how - How to start your own online business
People want to pay online, this is a simple fact. So, this means that you need to make sure that you have a method to accept online payments. There are a few different ways that you can accept payments and process transactions and the main thing to think about is that they are secure. PayPal has to be the most commonplace online payment option, and this is for good reason. It is easy to use, well recognized and a place that plenty of people trust.


Get yourself some traffic

Get yourself - How to start your own online business
Once your website is up and running, the time has come to think about how you are going to get people to visit it. After all, there is no point designing an amazing website if there is no-one to see it. You are going to need to think about how best to get traffic to your store and then hopefully buying from you.

It is a good idea to register with all the major search engines as a starting point, as at least this will get you on their radar. Next you need to think about things such as social media advertising, direct mailing and maybe setting up a blog to add in a touch of keyword rich content.


Keep an eye on how you are doing

Keep an - How to start your own online business
One of the key factors to a successful online store is one that can be improved and change. You need to keep a track of how your online store is performing. Things to consider include, what are the most popular pages? Where is your traffic coming from? What are the most popular keywords? This information is going to prove vital for the continual success of your online store as well as how you can improve your conversions and draw in more and more customers.

Setting up an online store might not be something that comes naturally to you, but it is definitely something that you should persevere with. After all that hard work and effort, to make your first sale and send out your first order, there really is no better feeling than that!


grow your business online infograph dragonsearch 1 - How to start your own online business

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Apples New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ 720x380 - Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

Apple is always leading innovation and they’ve certainly transformed their image in the last decade. What was once seen as a second-rate Microsoft and a struggling hardware and software company is now arguably the trendiest tech company around.

Apple might be getting headlines now because of their new iPhone models but the iPhone 8 and X aren’t the only impressive new offerings from Apple. Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California have been in development for a long time but they finally opened earlier this year and they hosted their first event just a few days ago.

Originally known as the Apple Campus 2 plans for development started in 2006 but due to a number of setbacks and development issues planning permission wasn’t granted to 2013. The former CEO of Apple Steve Jobs worked on the project a lot before his death and an auditorium was named after him on the new site as a memorial.

With an estimated total cost of 5 billion dollars, the new Apple Park, which is made up of various stone and metal buildings is one of the largest tech offices in the world. It covers 175 acres and can accommodate more than 12,000 people. With numerous amazing features to talk about let’s start by taking a more detailed look at the building’s amazing design.


The Spaceship Campus

The Spaceship Campus - Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

The Apple Park has been dubbed a range of different names over its development but one that as stuck is the Spaceship Campus. The new Apple HQ as a rather quirky circular design that from a distance makes it look like a landing flying saucer.

The designs and plans for the new Apple Park certainly stick true to Apple’s innovative and space-aged approach to design. But it’s not all sleek styles and shapes, the Apple Park is run on 100% renewable energy and as the world’s largest solar-powered farm as well.

There are also large outdoor areas that were designed to reflect Steve Job’s love for walking and nature. There are over 9000 trees of many different types and both an inner and outer courtyard, which together cover more than 50 acres.

The Apple Park is certainly futuristic but it has plenty of natural touches as well, it’s an interesting blend of ultra-modern and traditional. One thing’s for sure the Apple Park would certainly be an amazing place to work.

It’s one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, the roof’s solar panel system alone can power 17 megawatts of power.    

The environmentally friendly approach Apple have taken to their new HQ building certainly shows the growing importance green energy and environmental safety as. But while the Apple Park is certainly an amazing blend of the old and the new what everyone is really wondering is what’s inside the building. So, let’s find out, shall we?


Inside The Apple Park

Inside The Apple Park - Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

The Apple Park is certainly an impressive sight to behold to give you an idea of its size it’s larger than the Pentagon and bigger lengthwise than the Empire State Building. So, there’s a lot of space inside The Apple Park and the question remains what’s inside? Tech companies have an amazing reputation when it comes to offices design so how does Apple measure up?

The full details on the interior of the Apple Park are not all known yet, after all, it only held its first event a few days ago on the 12th September. But from what we do know about there are certainly some amazing rooms inside.

But before we talk about those one thing that is undeniably cool about the Apple Park is its transportation network. A subterranean bus station is in operation which transports people to the main hub of the park, that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Inside the Apple Park, there’s plenty to see there are reportedly seven different cafes with the biggest being three stories high and with a seating capacity of 3000. The Steve Job’s auditorium is another landmark which is actually underground and can fit 1000 people.

If you want to get a look at the interior of the auditorium you can see it during the press release event for the new iPhone models. There is also a Wellness Centre with a gym, laundry service, shower facilities, changing rooms and much more.

Other highlights include jogging trails and bike paths so there’s plenty of ways to stay fit and green while traversing the park.  Apple has even provided 1000 bikes for staff to use and perhaps the best feature for anyone reading is the Visitors Centre. So, you don’t have to be an employee of Apple to see the Apple Park, well some of it anyway.

The Visitors Centre alone reportedly cost $80 million to build and features a café, information centre, Apple Store and an observation deck that will give you a view of the whole Apple Park. So, if you want to get a taste of the Apple Park head down to the Visitors Centre.    


Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website 1 720x380 - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

When it comes to making a splash in the world of business, many will look towards creating a website. It’s easy to assume that we only need to make sure that it’s eye-catching and easy to navigate, but there can be a series of factor to consider such as hosting!

Companies such as Siteground, who for me are ranked the best web host offer various plans for business of all sizes, however, there are also plenty alternatives which also offer free hosting, but sometimes free that isn’t the best option, especially for your business where you website is a critical tool!

Running a website will often require access to a server. This is because of the number of files that need to be held to operate a website. How much you pay can depend on the kind of service you’re looking for.

Those who are new to the world of business may be tempted by some of the free hosting options available, but is this advisable?


Free Web Hosting is Ideal If You’re Starting Out

Free Web Hosting - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

Whether you are creating a long term business or you’re looking to make money online fast, there are a series of tools available nowadays that allow businesses to create an eye-catching website with very little effort, so all that’s required is some hosting space. If you’re new to the world of creating websites, then using a free hosting account can make for the ideal stomping ground when learning how websites work.


What’s The Long-Term Goal of Your Business?

Whats The - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

To ascertain as to whether free web hosting is for you, you need to consider what you want from your business. While free hosting may seem like a viable option initially, there are many factors to consider. For example, how many people will be visiting the website on a daily basis? Free hosting plans normally have limited bandwidth, so going beyond this could mean that some visitors are faced with a blank screen.

Being aware of the long-term goals allows you to get the right kind of web hosting solution in place first time. In some instances, free hosting may work for you. However, if you’re looking at a busy website, you should look towards paid options.

Just because you may have to pay for your hosting solution doesn’t mean that you will spending a lot. Most providers offer a vast selection of plans that meet both the demands of your business as well as your budget.


Support Is One Of the Most Important Factors

Support Is - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

While companies that offer free hosting plans will offer some form of support, it’s often the case that you could be waiting a couple of days for a response. To some, this may not seem like too long a wait, but you have to put it into context.

Even if your website only has 100 visitors a day, this is 200 visitors who are not able to browse your website, which in turn means they haven’t been able to purchase your product or service. This highlights that although the web hosting is free, it’s cost us more in loss of sales.


Your Business Website Could be Displaying Other Ads

Your Business - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

While there is nothing wrong with placing ads on your website, it helps if they have some relevance to the market you operate in. While not true for all providers, there will be some who place adverts on your website because the hosting is free. The business is simply making its money back with advertising, but this isn’t going to appease customers who may feel such ads are distracting.

Opting for a paid hosting solution ensures that you have full freedom of your website, and that there are never intrusive ads distracting visitors.


There Can Be Domain Name Limitations

There Can - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

The domain name is one of the most important aspects of a website. For a business to thrive online, it should look to have the same domain name as the company, that can be advertised clearly.

Depending on the platform you choose, you may find that the domains on offer are weak, and don’t conform to the identity of your company.

Opting for paid hosting not only introduces you to a robust and reliable platform to host your website, but some also offer a domain search tool, and you can normally register the domain for a small fee.

While this will cost more, it will give the website and the brand more value moving forward. People are more likely to click on an independent domain as opposed to one connected to a hosting company.


Paid Hosting Means Less Hassle Moving Forward

Paid Hosting - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

Many people will look toward free hosting as they feel their website won’t use much data, and in some respects, this is true. However, when dealing with a business website, it’s vital that we look at the bigger picture.

For example, those starting a business will probably have plans for expansion in the future. This can mean more visitors to the website, as well as the website getting bigger. If you’re currently on a free hosting plan, then you may find you need to upgrade to meet the online demands of your website, but this could end up costing you more than it should if you’re choosing to stick with a certain provider.

Looking at your options beforehand allows you to plan for the short-term, while ensuring there are cost-effective options available should you look to expand in the future. This means that you only have to update the hosting, and not look to transfer your website over to another server.

While there is no issue in using free hosting, you need to look at what options are available before signing up. If the company is merely looking to offer you a trial run, and offer some competitive prices, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it out. However, if you feel that the paid options offered by the company are a little excessive, it could be more cost-effective to shop around and opt for something more within your price range.