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A Guide in Picking The Best WordPress Host

According to Google’s Best Practices, a website should load in 3 seconds or less. Any longer, and visitors may click away from growing impatient. According to research, a 9-second increase in page load time increases mobile bounce rate by 123%. Now that we know that, it’s more important than ever to optimize your website.

This starts from the ground up when choosing your hosting provider. What’s more, it has never been more important than now to have a well-functioning website for your business. Here are a few ways you can give your website a boost in curb appeal.

The Types of WordPress Hosts

WordPress is the most popular open-source content management system available. With that comes many types of hosting.

Shared Hosting allows multiple websites to be stored and run on one server. This is done using the shared server resources, such as CPU and RAM. In contrast, Dedicated Server Hosting stores each site on its own server. In this type of hosting, site owners and administrators are able to control all aspects of their hosting.

With Cloud Hosting, resources are spread across multiple servers so that applications can use combined computing resources. However, the most complex form of WordPress hosting is Managed WordPress Hosting.

Managed WordPress Hosting is a concierge hosting service where all technical aspects of WordPress (speed, security, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime, scalability) are managed by the host.

Technical aspects are so important because they speed up your website. As mentioned before, speeding up your website can improve your user experience. However, this isn’t the only benefit of a zippy landing page. High load speeds can increase your domain’s conversion rates, as well as improve its search ranking.

The Key Factors Contributing To Speed

site speed

External scripts are a primary influencer of reduced site speed. Removing ads, font leaders, and similar external scripts may help your site load faster. Furthermore, bad plugins – such as fragmented codes or expired plugins – can do a great amount of damage to the speed of your website. To prevent this, make sure your plugins are properly installed and optimized.

Also contributing to speed is how your WordPress website has been configured. For example, pages failing out to cache can go on to overload your servers. This may ultimately cause your website to run slow – or crash completely.

Similarly, page size can show effects on the speed of your website. Any busy, overcrowded pages – or pages with too many elements – are more prone to load slowly. As a precaution, remove any extra fat from your landing pages.

Finally, you’ll want to assess your web host itself. Generally speaking, shared hosting is optimal for allowing others to consume the resources your site needs.

Choosing The Right WordPress Host

As a rule of thumb, the key to a quick-loading WordPress website is to find the right host. To do so, you’ll first need to pinpoint the needs of your website. Every host will offer different features, so making a list of what your website needs will help you sort through the hay. However, there are a few basic features that every WordPress host should offer to keep your eye peeled out for.

For example, pre-installed WordPress software. This way, you can administrate your website regardless of the device. Additionally, automatic nightly backups are a common feature most WordPress hosts should offer, as well as automatic updates for WordPress. Other features to keep an eye out for are 24/7 security and tech support, expert support, and web services built specifically for websites hosted on WordPress.

In your search for a host, you’ll also want to compare the prices offered by each various provider, as well as take advantage of any free trial periods offered. This way, you can try the host out for a spin.

More commonly unbeknownst, but not to be confused with features, WordPress hosts typically offer many services. When you’re down your options, compare the subscription price in correspondence to the services the host is offering.

Examples of WordPress services include hardware and software setup and configuration, hardware maintenance and replacement, software patching (and updates), and technical support and monitoring. Services such as these can be helpful all around the board. In this day and age, it’s not only important to have an optimally running website, but also a secure one.

The Host of Your Choice

choosing the best wordpress hosting

At this point, you should have all you need to make a decision on a WordPress host. Once you’ve done so, as well as configured your plugins and themes, give your site a few speed tests. IsItWP, Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Time To First Byte, to name a few, provide reliable results. Additionally, the quiz on WordPress Beginner can help you pick the best WordPress host.

Tip: Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to produce faster-loading images, and consider using AMP to optimize your mobile experience.

Websites are the new real estate. Has your site found a home?

Please include attribution to WPBeginner.com with this graphic.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting in 2020

The post A Guide in Picking The Best WordPress Host appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Best Chrome Extensions for Keeping Organized

Though it was necessity that caused most people to move to a remote workplace due to the restrictions put in place by the pandemic, many experts predict that remote work will continue long after a vaccine is created and we, as a whole, can go back to what was normal before quarantine. With that, staying organized at home can be more difficult than in an office, but technology is aplenty when it comes to helping you do so.

Here are 10 extensions that Chrome offers to help you keep your home office organized and secure.

Win the Day

Though admittedly not the most powerful tool on this list, starting said list with “Win the Day” seemed appropriate. This extension allows users to set goals and deadlines and keeps them organized on your desktop. You can sectionalize your goals with sub-goals, as well.

Google Keep

chrome extensions for productivity google keep
Via chrome.google.com

Google Keep is an extension for the organization of data. Data used to be utilized, primarily, by a data analyst at a given company, but now everyone should have a firm grasp of how to collect and manage data feedback.

Papier

This extension is to help organize your brainstorm sessions, even the ones with just you as the participant. It’s very easy to use, and with machine learning it can organize all of your brainstorming thoughts just how you like them, after a few weeks of you doing it manually.

LastPass

LastPass is a password manager extension that securely saves your login credentials across all of your devices. Rather than having a folder on your desktop that can be easily hacked, LastPass advertises itself as a “password vault” that only you can access when you need to quickly reference you means of accessing a website.

Productivity Tracker

Another encompassing extension, this helps users track their work, their financial plans, and even their personal goals outside of work, like walking every day, or keeping tabs on caloric intakes. It also tracks all of your clicks and scrolls in Chrome, so you can evaluate what you’ve been wasting your time on.

Save to Pocket

This nifty extension helps you organize your time and information by allowing you to quickly save something that you want to read right from your desktop to your phone. With this, you can make sure your time spent at the desktop involves actual work, and then when you’re in transit you can “check your pocket” for the story you want to get wise to.

Clockify

chrome extensions for productivity clockify
Via clockify.me

Clockify leans a little more towards time-management than physical organization, but organizing your time is as important as organizing your “stuff.” Clockify can be programmed to make sure you don’t get lost in a wormhole of a website like social media, that can not only waste time, but also cause security issues if logged in for too long.

TodoBook

With some similarities to Clockify, TodoBook is a way to self-inflict focus on your wondering mind. When you use this extension, it automatically shows you your to-do list every time you login to facebook or another social media site in order to keep you on task and mentally organized.

Diigo

This one is more geared towards those who need to organize and recall large amounts of research. Called a “web collector,” Diigo makes it extremely easy to collect, site, and even make notes directly on web pages that you can reference later.

Just Read

Last but not least, is more for in-the-moment organization, and that is the Just Read extension that allows users to block out everything on a page that isn’t the meat and potatoes. Ads, links, etc. are “muted,” allowing users to focus on what they came to the page to see.

Happy Chroming!

The post 10 Best Chrome Extensions for Keeping Organized appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for your Student Blog

If you are in the learning industry, you’re probably looking forward to using your website to organize your teaching materials. WordPress offers various plugins to assist you to build, sell subject lessons, or turn your page into an education hub.

The plugins help you customize multiple aspects of your website that are important in your lesson management. They can also be used to put in various elements on your webpage to improve its overall performance. Plugins can enhance your website’s operation usability and accessibility. Here are numerous WordPress plugins that you can use to enhance your student blog.

Learn Press

learn press
Via wordpress.org

Learn Press helps you to develop free or paid lessons through Stripe and WooCommerce incorporated. This plugin enables you to develop a powerful module administrative system with WordPress. Thus, you can access the details pertaining to how your users are utilizing your materials.

It allows you to outline various sections for questions and lessons for each segment. Furthermore, the full-screen editor can also help you set enrollment numbers, session duration, plan for retakes, and present the lesson prerequisite. The tool can also be used to upload student’s assignments for grading, bring in multiple instructions, and assign progress points for each and every task you have.

Learn Dash

This is another incredible all-around administrative plugin that can help you create various learning sessions and questions. This tool can help you produce mobile adaptive information so that students can access classes using their mobile phones. You can use it to create questions via videos, images, or audios. You can also schedule the course session’s time using this plugin.

It gives your users a chance to either pay per course or through subscription. The quizzes also have a built-in feature that gives certificates based on performance and even provides a scoreboard for top students. Its analytical feature gives you a breakdown of the individual student’s performance. Aside from that, this plugin also allows you to set prerequisite conditions for your students to be accomplished prior to proceeding to the next lesson.

Buddy Press

For those who wish to create a virtual community in their educational pages, they can opt for the Buddy Press plugin. This plugin enables WordPress site members to register, make social connections, create profiles, communicate, and interrelate with other members of the group.

If you are offering various courses, this plugin allows you to separate students belonging to different groups based on their levels. The students can, thus, easily access help from their peers if need be. Besides, it also adds interactivity to your website.

Badge OS

Do you wish to add some game mechanics in a classroom online journal to increase participation? The Badge OS is an ideal plugin that gives away award badges to your students after completing assignments successfully. It’s a great way to boost the learning process to motivate students to complete tasks on time.

This plugin can help you create assignments, award points, and display leaderboards for top students. The plugin also has additional features where you can create various learning groups or exhibit a visual progress map that indicates goals accomplishments. Furthermore, you can create a pop-up congratulation menu after the student achieved a set objective.

Sensei

sensei wp
Via wpmayor.com

Sensei enables you to register students, charge for lessons, and use your WordPress dash to set preliminary conditions. Additionally, it can also help you gauge your students’ individual performances as this plugin can give you an analysis of individuals undertaking your class based on their performance. You can even produce and sell your educational lessons as an independent contractor at WooCommerce incorporated.

You can use several extensions to enhance the overall plugin features like the ability to produce certificates upon course completion, attach files, or aid in scores sharing through social media platforms.

WP Courseware

It’s a complete education control system that can help you produce lessons, offer multimedia sessions or online quizzes, and conduct surveys. After students turn in their assignments, you can leave written feedback to help them improve their performance better. It has a drag-and-drop function to help you create logically engaging lessons. It can also help you create questions with limited retake chances and time deadlines.

With this tool, you can also make open-ended or multiple-choice questions and upload files to accompany your instructions. It also helps develop an educational program to help you switch between lessons swiftly and also enables you to monitor course progress. Furthermore, this plugin can help generate modules and course completion certificates.

Questions and Answers

This WordPress plugin can help you develop joint study conventions and knowledge base lessons to help your students interact better. It also allows you to create a single panel for each specific discipline and offers an excellent exam delivery where students can send in their private attachments.

It also comes with other excellent features such as personalized email notifications, student progress tracker, and educational programs. Furthermore, it helps you create varying question types, be it true and false, multiple-choice, or open-ended questions. This plugin also allows your students to upload a file as their answer.

LifterLMS

LifterLMS offers you an opportunity to produce, sell, and protect your lessons online. It helps develop media-enhanced content that contains audio, video, and texts to cater to a wider variety of learning styles.

Furthermore, this plugin features a shopping cart component that allows you to sell your courses. It also has gamification, which improves students’ engagement, automatic email integration, and analytics to track course progress.

StudyPress

StudyPress can help you produce an interactive media teaching blog that you can post in your WordPress site in slides form. It allows you to come up with unlimited lesson ideas. This plugin can also be used to integrate additional elements to help you add quizzes, access automatic grading, and student ratings in different tests or lessons.

CM Video Lesson Manager

The plugin helps manage YouTube or Vimeo video courses displayed on your WordPress site. With this plugin tool, you can be able to charge users viewership on various content in a limited time. Also, this plugin allows both users and administrators to take notes, mark favorites, and track progress. With the pro version, you can access additional features like students’ notes and payment options. You can also view the individual students’ progress reports and share their level of individual advancement to them.

Conclusion

You will find numerous WordPress plugins in the market today for anyone who wishes to create students’ blogs. Remember to do further research before choosing the WordPress plugins you will use to help meet your goals for your student blog. For greater functionality, you can opt for pro versions. You can try one or a few of the plugins mentioned above to enhance your site and engage your learners.

The post 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for your Student Blog appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tools to Help Your Employees Work from Home

Working from home has become the new normal, but it’s something that not all businesses and individuals can immediately jump into. There are things to consider, such as new technology and employees used to working on site.

The transition can take time if your company is not prepared for it. Sometimes, situations like this cause confusion and uncertainty among the workforce. However, technology is always one step ahead, so there’s no need to worry.

There are numerous tools available online, both free and paid. These make the process more convenient for you and your employees.

Whatever it is you need, there’s almost always a tool available for it, like video conferencing tools, audio tools, productivity tools, and even project management templates.

Choosing one from the many is challenging, so it’s vital first to find out your choices. Here are some tools to help your employees make working from home more comfortable.

Tools for Productivity

productivity tools for remote work

One of the things businesses worry about when working from home is employees’ productivity, and several tools can help with this.

● Google Online Suite

If your employees use Microsoft Office for many of their tasks, Google Online Suite is what your business needs. It’s Office’s online version, and it has Google Drive, Forms, Sheets, Calendar, Docs, Hangouts (now Google Meet), Slides, and Gmail. It has everything your employees need to be productive.

Google Online suite also makes it easy for teams to communicate, share, and collaborate.

● Trello

Teams tend to achieve more when using a collaborative task management tool like Trello. With its easy-to-use dashboard, monitoring your employees and their progress is simple. There’s an editorial calendar that shows what all the tasks teams are working on – writing, designing, editing, and publishing.

● ProofHub

ProofHub allows you and your teams to work together in one central place. Its main difference from some of the other project management tools is that you and your employees can also communicate and collaborate with clients.

Communication Tools

Most work from home tools have communication components, but using a tool intended solely for communication is essential. Here are some choices to consider.

● Skype

There are now numerous communication tools available online, but Skype is still popular and used by many businesses. It’s highly functional and equipped with a variety of features that help make communication convenient between teams and individuals.

Aside from chat and video conference functions, Skype also works efficiently for online interviews and meetings. Sending photos, videos, and files are likewise easy.

● Intercom

Intercom is another online messaging tool for you and your employees. It’s not as popular as Skype, but it’s just as useful. It’s not only for communications; it’s also an app for customer acquisition. Your employees get to answer clients’ queries, work on email campaigns, and perform various functions.

Video Conferencing

video conference tools for remote work

Video conferencing tools are different from chat or communication tools because they allow you to perform tasks you usually do when you’re in a meeting or conference with your employees. Here are some choices to consider.

● Zoom

Zoom is probably the most-used video conferencing tool nowadays. It’s simple to use and comes with features that make an online call look like it’s happening inside the conference room.

There are two ways to use Zoom – for free with no time limit but with only 100 participants, or paid with unlimited time and up to 1,000 individuals. It has tons of features like scheduling calls/conferences, text chat, recording conferences, and sending individual private messages.

Zoom also allows users to share their screens, either a part of it or the whole screen.

Even if you or your employees have internet connection problems, Zoom will keep working, albeit at a reduced quality.

Zoom is compatible with iOS, Android, macOS, Web, and Windows devices.

● Google Meet

The best reason for using Google Meet is your free access to and use of Google apps such as Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Classroom, Slides, and Gmail. Likewise, you can schedule video conferences ahead of time and mark them on Google Calendar.

Google Meet is available for free or for a fee. Some of its most exciting features include live stream support, real-time captions, 250 participants at once, call recording and mic muting. It’s also easy to share your screen whether you want the participants to see your entire desktop, one window, or a tab.

Social Media Management

Social media plays a significant role in ensuring business success. There are several tools to choose from.

● Hootsuite

Hootsuite is probably the most popular among all social media management tools. Its features include content management, filtering social conversations, analytics, and reports. It works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most social media networks. Hootsuite is also easy to understand and use.

● Buffer

Buffer is an intuitive social media management tool used by reputable businesses, individuals, agencies, and brands. It’s perfect for collaboration, engagement, publishing, and analytics.

Helping your employees transition to working from home is not a walk in the park, but using the right tools helps make the process easier. Spend some time studying which options are best for your business before settling for one or two (or more).

The post Tools to Help Your Employees Work from Home appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Android vs iOS: Which is the Best Platform to Build Your First App?

Android vs iOS – which is the best platform to pick for your first app development? This is a question that is here to stay. After all, developers around the world continue to craft top of the line apps. It’s a debate that every potential digital startup goes through, picking the right platform as per your target. Arriving at a decision requires extensive research and understanding of the audience and revenue.

While Android and iOS are operating systems that continue to rule the world app industry today, both have their pros and cons. It eventually falls in the hands of developers to analyze every possible aspect like the geographical location, their budget, the target revenue, and so on.

Through this exclusive article, we aim to reach a conclusion on the ongoing gaga over Android and iOS – whether which one is better for mobile startups today – by discussing certain factors that affect the overall success of either Android or iOS apps.

Factors to Keep in Mind Before Picking Either Android or iOS for First App Development

android app development

Here’s our take on the factors that eventually determine whether to go for Android or iOS first.

The Audience Reach

One of the biggest differences when it comes to Android vs iOS is the user reach of both operating systems. As per the latest statistics, Android currently holds an edge over iOS in terms of the global market share with a staggering 87% of the share as against the 13% of iOS. In fact, this number is set to go to 87.4% by the year 2023.

As for iOS, the majority of its users are located in geographic areas like Australia, North America, Western Europe, etc. These are the demographic sectors where iOS has over 70% of the share against Android.

Hence, for an app developer targeting the global audience, opting for Android is the best option. While for those aiming for any particular locations like Australia and Western Europe, opting for iOS has to be the go-to pick.

Revenue Generated

Revenue, at times, becomes a major talking point for app developers targeting to generate a certain amount from their apps. While Android has a considerably low stat in terms of revenue generation, iOS gains new leads in this aspect.

According to the reports published in the year 2018 by tech giants Apple and Google themselves, the Apple App Store generated around $12 billion in the third quarter of 2018 while the Google Play Store generated $6.2 billion by the play market, which is only about 50% of the revenue generated by iOS.

In fact, the Apple App Store generated nearly 80% more revenue than the Google Play Store in the first half of the year 2019. Have a look.

The reason behind this is perhaps simple to understand. On average, the annual salary of an iOS user is above $50,000 while the salary of an Android user is above $37,000. Hence, iOS users are generally amongst the riches and spend more on the App Store market.

Timeframe and Budget of App Development

Another crucial factor to consider while hunting for an answer is app development timeframe and budget. Let’s understand it in this way – the longer it takes to develop an app, the more costly it gets.

Besides, owing to the simple guidelines by Apple, developing an app for iOS can be done much quicker than Android. Since iOS devices are few in number, developers have no compulsion of adapting their app to various screen parameters. On the other hand, when it comes to Android, developing an app takes about 40% more time than iOS as there are more than 24,000 different types of Android devices around the world.

Hence, for developers working with a minimal budget and time-frame, opting for iOS app development isn’t the worst option today.

Flexibility of Customization

One of the biggest gains that developers get from Android app development over iOS is the flexibility to customize their app the way they want. Since Android comes with open licensing, developers have endless opportunities to play around with the functionalities, customize their UI/UX, or make use of multiple frameworks and plugins.

As for iOS, opportunities for customization are minimal due to the limited choices of development tools, pre-crafted frameworks, and solutions.

The Level of Security

The protection of data from cyber threats is a critical talking point amongst app users around the world. For banking and financial organizations aiming to develop their app, iOS edges ahead of Android owing to the security levels that the platform provides. It is a platform that provides automatic security from any kind of hacking.

On the other hand, nearly 95% of the Android apps are at the risk of being affected by any kind of malware today. As per a report published in the year 2016, Android took over iOS in terms of mobile vulnerabilities reported and the trend has continued since then.

Hence, developers considering developing secure apps, especially in the case of finance and banking, can opt for iOS over Android.

See Also: 13 Security Tips for Your Android Phone

Android vs iOS: Summing Up

ios app development

So, which is the best platform to work with first for app development? Whether to opt for Android or iOS platforms depends on multiple factors. Ultimately, it comes down to the developers to pick the right one according to their user reach and target.

As for the above-discussed points, they portray how factors like audience reach, revenue generated, and ease of customization play a vital role in determining the go-to platform for app development. We can perhaps sum up the discussion with some key takeaways.

Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways from the above-discussed points.

  • Android has more global reach while iOS is dominant in particular geographic areas. Hence, developers can pick the platforms according to the audience they are targeting.
  • If generating the maximum revenue is the target, then opting for iOS app development should be the name of the game.
  • Android app development is more time-consuming and costly when compared to iOS app development.
  • Opportunities of customization are endless with Android apps as compared to iOS where there are limited choices of tools and solutions.
  • iOS is a platform that offers exceptional security against bugs and malware while Android is more prone to cyber-attacks.

Hence, if you’re an app developer pondering which the best platform to build your first app is, the aforementioned points can help you to analyze each factor and come to a conclusion as to which platform is the one that aligns with your target best.

If you have any questions for us or want to share your thoughts on the subject, feel free to get in touch with us through the comments section below.

See Also: How To Design The Perfect Icon For Your Mobile App

The post Android vs iOS: Which is the Best Platform to Build Your First App? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Best 11 Marketing Automation Software to Boost Startup Branding

Once you get your company off the ground, there’s so much responsibility to take on, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and torn apart. Marketing, sales, financing, customer support, and other tasks are nearly impossible to handle without assistance.

In such cases, most startups have minimal resources to hire a large team of specialists for every task above. That’s where marketing automation is coming through the whole affair like a breath of fresh air.

Marketing automation has fast become a staple of most bootstrapped startups. It lets the technology work as the marketing team, making it easier to manage repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

In today’s digital era, if you are well-versed with the right software, you can single-handedly automate your marketing activity while you’re sitting at your desk sipping coffee.

The following is a list of top marketing automation software that is tailored to the limited resources and the unique needs of startup firms.

Hubspot

hubspot marketing tool

Hubspot is one of the most widely used and powerful marketing automation software in the digital sphere. This software provides all-in-one inbound marketing tools, including a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM. It brings your entire marketing funnel together into one platform for better control and superior results.

With the help of this software, you can effortlessly manage impressive customer support. It also has useful analytics and reporting features to help keep your startups performance on the track.

The all-in-one marketing software can unleash tons of automation possibilities that would be painful if you use separate tools. Also, its easy-to-use interface makes it easier for you to craft simple or highly sophisticated conditional workflows.

Mautic

Mautic provides you with an open-source to automation software at an affordable price. Its modern approach to marketing automation makes it easier for you to automate personalized communications across all your digital channels.

This software automates the process of getting and nurturing leads generated from landing pages and web forms. It manages email, social media monitoring, website visitor tracking, real-time reports on key metrics, and even integrates with your CRM and other technologies.

With a high level of integration and deep audience intelligence, it takes actions and automates them based on your target customers’ behaviors and needs. It helps you to develop a meaningful connection with your potential customers– which is the key to making them convert to loyal customers.

This is one of the best marketing automation software you should consider if your startup is on a tight budget, but determined to create a marketing automation pipeline effectively.

See Also: 9 Signs You Are Doing Your Email Marketing Wrong

Drip

Drip is a feature-packed marketing automation software purposely designed for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. It’s mostly known for the visual email marketing campaign building. This software allows you to create personalized emails to first-time buyers or returning customers, develop a visual workflow of your campaigns, and handle your leads.

It supports different types of marketing emails that suit the different promotional and campaign needs of individuals and businesses. With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, you can seamlessly send targeted emails and personal communications to a handful of subscribers.

Drip also integrates with Facebook Custom Audiences for more targeted, effective advertising. Now it becomes easier to create custom ads with Facebook and manage them within Drip.

If you’re looking for a marketing automation software that reaches your Facebook audience, Drip is worth considering.

AdRoll

AdRoll offers you a precise segmentation of your potential customers through its location, behavior, and interest. With its industry-leading automation and personalization, you’d be able to structure, measure, and sync your marketing efforts seamlessly.

It provides you with reliable data you need to get a grasp on why some of the potential customers convert and why some don’t. That way, you’ll understand their preferences and set better plans to draw them down the marketing funnel and convince them to buy.

One of the best features of AdRoll is dynamic retargeting. So when a potential customer visits your website, they get targeted with your ads on other platforms (including social networks) once they leave – based on their pools and interest. If you have a retargeting marketing campaign to run, AdRoll is one of the best ways to go.

MailChimp

mailchimp marketing tool

MailChimp is a reliable marketing automation and email marketing tool. It helps you to create a customized email to market your products, find the prospects, and convert leads into sale.

With the automation features, you can send out an auto-respond message to welcome new customers. You can wish them a happy birthday or even remind them when they abandon a shopping cart. That way, you can engage your customers and make them stick around longer.

This software also allows you to monitor your startup email marketing performance by showing you interactive graphs about how many emails were sent, what percentage of customers opened the emails, and more.

If you’re looking for a solution for automated marketing software to leverage your email campaign efforts, MailChimp is worthy of being in your toolbox.

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft combines your CRM with marketing automation, e-commerce, social network, and payment collection. It allows you to record sales, capture leads, and send automated emails. So, it makes it easier for your startup to streamline communication and boost the brand building.

More than just an automation software that saves your time and energy, Infusionsoft helps you map out each step of your marketing strategy to improve your sales pipeline while developing personal relationships with your customers.

Using this tool, you’d be able to see which prospects and leads that are actively engaged with your brand. That way, you can easily adjust and adapt your marketing effort cost-effectively. This software is highly recommended if you’re looking for an easy way to organize all the customer interactions and their daily activities in one place.

SharpSpring

SharpSpring is a cloud-based marketing automation software specifically designed to help you target leads with behavioral-based communication that turn them into sales. It provides you with feature-packed tools for lead management, lead distribution, sales management, contact management, and analytics.

With this software, you can create powerful automation based on your lead’s behavior. With the Drip Campaigns feature, you can effortlessly personalize and automate emails. It makes you keep up with customers much easier and targeting new leads much more effectively.

Also, there are dozens of stunning landing page templates designed to convert. It lets you create personalized landing pages based on behavioral information — taken from your lead data. If you’re a startup that’s aiming to improve lead nurturing with marketing automation, SharpSpring comes in handy.

Zapier

Zapier allows you to create interconnectivity between several business apps or software and integrates them (even when there’s no native integration) without requiring any coding. It means that if you write a new blog post on WordPress, it will trigger an action in other apps – depending on the conditions that you set up.

That way, you can easily automate data flow from one software to another, eliminating redundant and time-consuming manual data entry. Also, there’s social network automation you can use for sales and marketing. It supports major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, making it easier for you to assist your social media campaign.

If your startup emphasizes on a marketing software that can automate data integration between thousands of business apps, then Zapier is the solution.

Act-On

Act-On is a feature-packed marketing automation software that helps you to create quality marketing materials with ease. It connects your email operations to other lines of business, including CRM, website visitor tracking, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and many more.

It also offers automated program templates that you can easily customize to meet your startup needs in driving leads into your marketing strategy. With a drag-and-drop interface, you can create a top-notch looking email, landing pages, and forms.

One of the best offerings of Act-On is that you can integrate almost any leading CRM available in the market, as well as webinars and online event planning. If you’re looking for any full-featured marketing automation software with minimal IT involvement, Act-On may be an ideal one.

Marketo

Marketo is an excellent automated solution to create professional, rapid-fire content such as emails, landing pages, forms, social posts, and any marketing campaigns that are tailored to leverage digital marketing efforts.

With its focus on various aspects of digital marketing, it offers essential features like lead generation, leads nurturing, CRM integration, analytics, and report.

This software receives much praise for its usability. With a simple, straightforward interface, the features and tools are easy to get used to. It also has a native Salesforce integration, as well as other popular software to keep your marketing and sales database in perfect harmony.

If you have pretty straightforward automation needs, Marketo is a must-have in your marketing tech-stack.

Pardot

Pardot is designed for organizations that mainly focus on B2B sales and marketing automation. It features lead management, a landing page builder, an automated drip campaign, ROI reporting, and real-time sales notifications to align marketing and sales team functions.

As a Salesforce product, Pardot offers native integration with the CRM. With the integration, it allows your customer service team to seamlessly add a current customer to drip emails and review them.

However, one thing to be mindful of is that this software is quite pricey in the market. But, if you have an extra budget to ramp up your startup marketing efforts with some robust technology, Pardot should be on your list of options.

Wrapping Up

Marketing automation software not only saves you a ton of time, money, and energy, but it also helps you streamline and speed up your marketing processes. If you’re considering jumping into marketing automation for your startup, it’s crucial to understand your business needs and how it affects your marketing performance. Choosing the right marketing automation software that covers all your business needs increases your chances of developing your startup’s brand cost effectively.

The post The Best 11 Marketing Automation Software to Boost Startup Branding appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Creating Your Personalized Productivity Tool Kit: Top 10 Tools to Consider

Wouldn’t it be great if you complete a task that usually takes 20 minutes, within a fraction of seconds? It would surely save your time, which further can be utilized for other important tasks. Needless to mention, when you complete more tasks on a daily basis, your business is likely to enjoy exponential growth. You can improve your chances of success by exploiting personal productivity tools.

Arrays of software are available in the market that allow professionals to automate most of the tasks and keep track of everything. These tools offer outstanding features that aid in creating tasks, setting timelines & reminders, performance tracking, time tracking, creating reports, team collaboration, file sharing, etc. Simply put, these features will take your team’s productivity to another level.

With so many tools around, you may wonder what is the most popular personal productivity software to boost time management skills? We have sorted out the following personal productivity tools that will help skyrocket your productivity.

ProProfs Project

best productivity tools proprofs project

It is a robust online project management software that boosts productivity by simplifying most project-related tasks.

Features

  • An intuitive dashboard helps in managing and organizing project-related tasks, tracking progress, collaborating with the team, delegating tasks, and creating reports.
  • Task dependencies to save time and meet deadlines.
  • File sharing and internal commenting to discuss particular tasks or projects.
  • Gantt charts to check out the progress of each project.

Pricing

It is free for a lifetime in the basic version. Its premium version starts at $19 per month.

TickTick

It is an intuitive and effective personal productivity software or app that can aid in scheduling and managing your tasks.

Features

  • With this personal tool kit, you can classify your work according to deadlines, make notes and checklists, prioritize your targets and sort your goals in accordance with priority, date, and title.
  • It works as a productivity planner and enables you to achieve your goals.
  • No matter whether your goals concern shortening project completion time or sharing a to-do list with team members, TickTick is a one-stop solution to all your problems.
  • As this personal productivity software is intuitive and user-friendly, you can add reminders and tasks swiftly and effortlessly.

Pricing

Starts at $2.99 per user per month.

Google Drive

best productivity tools google drive

You prefer to work smarter, don’t you? Google Drive is one such productivity management software that helps you work smartly and be more productive in accomplishing tasks in your daily life.

Features

  • It is cloud-based software to add files (docs, sheets, and presentations) and works on them in real-time.
  • All Google account holders get 15 Gb storage space for free.
  • You can save your attachments, keep your files and documents in a particular folder, and even make presentations on this drive.
  • You can share your saved files with your colleagues and friends so that they can view, download, and edit them.

Pricing

It is free until 15 GB. Subscription for Google Drive starts at $1.99 per month.

Evernote

Gone are the days when you take your notebook out and take notes about work schedules, deadlines, etc. Thanks to technological advancements, we can now use an application for taking notes. Evernote is an easy-to-use software that enables its users to make notes and create to-do lists online.

Features

  • Save all your files and notes in real-time by using this cloud-based software.
  • You can use a smartphone, computer or tablet to access this user-friendly application, which can be synced across all devices.
  • It serves as a productivity management software, which offers help regarding note-making, archiving, organizing, and task management.

Pricing

It is free for a lifetime. Its premium version starts at $7.99 per month.

Last Pass

You might have to keep all the passwords in your head and use them as and when required. But have you ever thought what would happen if you lose these passwords or forget them? It will hamper your workflow. This is where Last Pass steps in to release the pressure.

Features

  • Last Pass is a personal productivity software that helps to keep and protect all passwords.
  • Creating an account on LastPass is as easy as creating an email ID. All you need to do is to set login credentials to access your LastPass Account.
  • You can even generate passwords for your business accounts by using this software.
  • You just need to remember the master password of the LastPass account, and this application will do the rest for you.
  • It supports auto-filling the app logins and web browsers.

Pricing

Free, Premium pack for $2 per month, and a family pack for $4 per month

Beeminder

best productivity tools beeminder

Have you ever come across any tools that help you in visualizing your goals? Beeminder is one such tool that aids in the visualization of goals and sets measurable targets for accomplishing them.

Features

  • Whether it is about hitting the gym, learning a new skill, spending time on a project with a strict deadline, or anything else, this app can help you focus on your targets.
  • It keeps track of time and sends notifications to keep you updated about new changes in the project’s success.
  • The software helps in keeping all distractions at bay.

Pricing

Starting from $15 per month.

Toggl

Online time tracking software, Toggl is extremely helpful for consultants, graphic designers, and freelancers. So, how does this software help?

Features

  • It keeps track of time spent on each task and also reviews concerning prudent use of time.
  • You can access this software through your computer, tablet, or smartphone and keep a tab on the number of hours spent on a particular project.
  • You can convert Toggl time tracking data into insightful reports, which further can be exported in PDF, Excel or CSV format.
  • A powerful dashboard helps in monitoring the progress of the project.

Pricing

Starting at $9 per month.

Todoist

Todoist is a robust productivity tool that helps in organizing all your tasks. It helps in creating tasks, delegating them, setting deadline and tracking tasks.

Features

  • It reminds you about preset deadlines from time to time.
  • Subtasks can be created for better organization and prioritization.
  • You get timely notifications when team members add comments, begin a task, or complete it.
  • It shows daily and monthly reports.

Pricing

It offers a three-tier pricing, which are as follows: free, premium, and business. Pack available from $29 per year.

Spark

Spark App is an email management app by Readdle that keeps your productivity up by syncing and organizing your emails.

Features

  • It is loaded with built-in capabilities that allow this tool to analyze your emails and help you classify them according to the priority.
  • This tool groups the emails in categories such as personal, newsletter, and notifications.
  • The app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows users.

Pricing

Starting from $9.99 per month.

Any.Do

best productivity tools any do

Any.Do is a popular productivity tool among users, as it comes with multiple functionalities from task management to to-do lists. This tool allows you to remain organized, thereby, maximizing productivity.

Features

  • It is a very robust tool that combines tasks, calendars, lists, and reminders.
  • It keeps you stay on track, which enables you to plan and manage your tasks effectively.
  • The app is accessible from multiple devices

Pricing

Starting from $4.99 per month.

Create your personalized productivity tool-kit by picking any software from this list!

No matter what your profession is, automating your life with these useful tools is necessary to enhance your experience and maintain a balance between your professional and personal life.

The post Creating Your Personalized Productivity Tool Kit: Top 10 Tools to Consider appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Best Kitchen Gadgets for Healthy Cooking You Should Own

We all know that cooking at home is better for our health than dining out. Considering that a full sit-down meal has 1,200 calories on average, we see the reason why. However, our social media feeds are filled with over-the-top recipes that are just hard to copy, particularly if you aren’t an expert in the kitchen.

Staying on track is easy if you stay away from recipes that you know are not good for you and will not make you feel better. It also helps to stock on healthy ingredients. Having the right tools can make cooking a lot easier for you, too.

Although you might already have the essential tools in your kitchen like baking pan and measuring spoons, it doesn’t hurt to add a few kitchen aids. When we say additional kitchen gadgets, these are the tools that can make food preparation faster, easier, healthier, and more fun.

Below is a list of kitchen gadgets for healthy cooking you should consider having in your kitchen:

Spiralizer

Ever heard of Zoodles?

Well, there is a kitchen gadget that can turn your humble fruits and veggies into curly toppings, garnishes, and noodles. These foods taste good and provide an excellent base for whatever sauce you want. Plus, they are also packed with nutrients.

With a spiralizer, you can turn your fruit or veggie into thin curls which you can use in making soups, pasta dishes, and salads. You can use carrots, apples, pears, cabbage, broccoli stalks, and many others.

Salad Cutting Bowl

If you are used to buying salads from the drive-thru and vending machines, here is a good news for you. You can prepare your very own healthy salad with a salad cutting bowl.

You’ll only need to put your favorite combination of vegetables to the bowl-like container. You can use lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, celery, and many other veggies.

With this gadget, you can rinse your vegetables and slice them with just a few turns. In a matter of minutes, you can have your salad ready.

Air Fryer

air fryer
Via reviewed.com

An air fryer is a kitchen gadget that uses convection to circulate the hot air or oil around the food to cook them. One of the claims of the air fryer is that it can fry things with only a fraction of the oil that you need than with traditional deep fryers.

This is a natural and healthy alternative to cooking your favorite fries and chicken fingers.

Grill Cooker

A grill cooker is a versatile kitchen appliance that you can use to cook everything from chicken breasts to vegetables and sausages. The result is healthier because it has less fat, making it an excellent substitute for frying.

The grill cooker can help you cook your meat as you would with a charcoal grill. It has an integrated thermostat, a non-stick surface, and a removable container for the juices. These features make it easy to operate and clean the appliance.

The Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is perfect for whipping up a hearty one-pot meal complete with healthy ingredients like beans and root vegetables. It is also ideal for cooking the more robust and less expensive cuts of meat into tender goodness.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, slow cookers don’t use plenty of energy. It actually uses the same amount of energy as your light bulb.

Aside from the high and low settings, it also has a warm function. You can come home from work with a perfectly healthy home-cooked meal with your slow cooker.

Herb Scissors

Herbs are a healthy alternative to salt and it adds a dose of flavor to any meal. Therefore, instead of reaching for the salt or dried herbs, why not use fresh herbs?

It’s hard to ignore what fresh herbs can do to improve the taste of any dish, like roasts, soups, eggs, salads, and stir-fries. However, chopping with a kitchen knife can be a bit cumbersome.

With a specially designed herb scissor, it is much easier and faster to cut your herb. The 5-stacked blades are made with stainless steel and ergonomic handles. It is easy to snip herbs into the size you want and they won’t be ripped, bruised or crushed. Your herbs will remain flavorful and fresh.

Cast Iron Skillet

kitchen gadget for healthy cooking

It takes a couple of tablespoons of oil or a few pads of butter to grease an ordinary pan. This means extra hundreds of unnecessary calories to your meal, even if you have a healthy cooking dish.

Non-stick pans also serve the same purpose, but the iron skillet does not release cancer-causing toxins much like what these pans do. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should throw out all your non-stick pans away. It’s just better to be safe than sorry.

These are just some of the most important kitchen gadgets for healthy cooking. You can get one or all of them depending on your needs and preferences.

See Also: Foods That Will Help You Keep Your Family Healthy

The post The Best Kitchen Gadgets for Healthy Cooking You Should Own appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Take The Strain Out of Exercise: A Look at The Best Yoga Apps

Working out for that dream body has since become incorporated into many people’s daily routines. There are many different methods of working out. Depending on the end goal, individual workouts will all be different. For example, those who are looking to body build will do different exercises compared to someone toning. One of the best ways to work out is yoga. The good thing is that there are great yoga apps for beginners available.

Yoga has been around for 5,000 years and offers an enduring exercise program. Doing yoga burns calories and tones muscles. It is also perfect for a total mind-body workout that combines a range of strengthening poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation. There are over 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense, while others are gentle and relaxing.

Yoga has since become a popular type of excise for many. There are different types of yoga, such as Power and Hatha, which are two very different kinds of workouts. However, apps offer individuals the flexibility to work out at home or help beginners get comfortable. Luckily, there are many apps available which can help. Here is a list of the best yoga apps for beginners you can check.

Daily Yoga

daily yoga app
Via 4appsapk.com

Daily Yoga is excellent for individuals who are well-versed with yoga or for those who are just starting. It offers hundreds of class plans for all abilities and users can find many asanas. The step-by-step daily instruction guide will help users through every position and movement when doing yoga. It also helps them safely master challenging poses, which they wouldn’t usually be able to do.

As time goes on, the users’ flexibility increases, allowing them to perfect different positions. The app includes more than 50 plans for working out and will help users get fit with yoga. It also connects users to a global community of people who share the same interests to keep them motivated.

Yoga Studio

yoga studio app
Via technologyguide.com

Yoga Studio is an all-in-one meditation and yoga app. It features over 130 videos for yoga users and meditation videos, which range from 5 minutes to 1 hour. The app offers users a carefully curated selection of classes that are catered and tailored for their needs. This means finding what’s right for them is a breeze.

The app also offers classes based on ability, intensity and duration. This allows users to tailor their workout to meet their requirements.

See Also: Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Down Dog

down dog app

Down Dog offers its users over 30,000 configurations. It gives users a new yoga practice every time they step onto the mat. Plus users learn a variety of yoga exercises to avoid getting bored.

Down Dog features a 3-day induction into yoga and practices that are specifically designed to strengthen and stretch the backs. Users can also upgrade a paid feature and gain access to a Boost feature, which targets 12 different areas of practice from seven different yoga instructors.

Pocket Yoga

pocket yoga app
Via healthista.com

Pocket Yoga is like having a yoga instructor inside your smartphone from Smartphone Checker. The app has a very detailed voice and visual instructions that help users and guide them through each pose and every breath.

There are over 200 beautifully illustrated images on the app, which shows users the correct posture and alignment. It also has an included dictionary, which describes the benefits and techniques of different poses. There are 27 sessions to choose from that are designed by experienced yoga instructors. Each pose comes with varying degrees of duration and ability, which makes the app an excellent yoga source.

See Also: Yoga Helps You Love Yourself

5 Minute Yoga

5-min-yoga-app
Via blogs.systweak.com

As indicated by the name, the 5-Minute Yoga app offers users quick and effective 5-minute yoga sessions. They are great because users can reap the benefits of doing yoga while not taking up too much time in their day. Continually using the app daily can help improve flexibility and increase strength. It can also help tone muscles and reduce stress, which clearly makes it one of the best yoga apps for beginners available.

The post Take The Strain Out of Exercise: A Look at The Best Yoga Apps appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Ways VR/AR Technology Integrates Into Your Daily Life

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality aren’t ‘new’ technologies. Both were used in military applications since the 1980s and were later co-opted by the gaming industry.

AR and VR have more to offer humanity, especially now that wearable technology like headsets, data gloves, and other feedback devices continue to improve and go down in price. Additionally, the infrastructure needed to support this immersive technology is slowly finding its place in cities around the world.

As of this writing, there are over 25 metropolitan areas in the US with some access to 5G networks. This includes Dallas, San Francisco, and New York City. The higher bandwidth and decreased latency associated with 5G networks will be like spring rains to immersive tech.

All the crazy possibilities you’ve ever heard about AR/VR are about to sprout up everywhere, such as:

Wearable Heads Up Tech

Yeah, you’ve heard that one before. And yes, Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell did just leave Facebook, throwing some doubt on what’s going on with the company’s long-awaited smart glasses. But there’s still plenty of buzz on tech sites covering Mark Zuckerberg’s determination to create a cool-looking AR wearable that won’t have to be tethered to a watch or a PC.

Just hope that they come up with a different name than “Orion” before the glasses are released to the public.

A Better First Week At Your New Job

virtual reality application

Pilots have been trained using VR for years. Manufacturing and industrial companies were pretty quick to adopt this type of training as well.

But now, even the guy who makes your sandwich at Chipotle is benefiting from VR training. And in an effort to prepare their staff for Black Friday craziness, Wal-Mart has managed to become the largest corporate investor in VR tech training.

Part of this interest in VR training is driven by the results of studies that show VR training decreases errors, improves task time, and improves information recall. Plus, the immersive quality of the training is simply more fun for new employees than old training methods.

See Also: The Future of XR Technology in Various Industries

Therapy Brain Training

Remember when your therapist told you to envision a peaceful place, such as walking on a green meadow at sunset? No? Just me?

Anyway, it turns out that virtual reality can be used to create immersive experiences. Good examples include walking in a field, interacting with penguins on a glacier, or throwing balls at teddy bears to gain points for toys. It could be any activity that can keep your brain too busy to notice and process pain sensations.

VR is used to foster mindfulness that essentially ‘hacks’ your brain into ignoring the pain signal. With some VR sets are now selling for less than $300, this may offer those with chronic pain issues a budget-friendly option for pain relief. It may also help combat the nationwide opioid epidemic.

A Better Looking Real World

Hate furniture shopping?

Many of us do, but buying furniture online seems risky when you can’t get a good feel for how that piece will integrate into your interior. That’s where companies like Wayfair and Ikea have stepped in. They have AR applications that will help you figure out whether you like that furniture in your space before you pay for it.

And AR is not just for furniture shopping. Sherwin Williams will let you try out paint colors on your walls while Sephora Virtual Artist will let you try colors on your face. You can use AR to shop for shoes, jewelry, and even manicures.

See Also: How Augmented Reality Is Changing The Game

Welcome to the Mirror World

application of virtual reality

That 5G expansion mentioned earlier allows for a significant increase in the amount of data moving back and forth between devices. Some people believe this will lead to a PokeMon Go type secondary platform for all reality called a mirror world.

This world will include augmented information about the real world that may give people details about real places, like “list all spots within 1000 yards of my office that have a bench with east-facing views of the river and shade at 1 pm”.

But it may also create an Alice-in-Wonderland type augmented landscape that interacts with our real one. Imagine looking out your window in the morning, not to the side of your neighbor’s house, but to a school of fish swimming past. Or sitting at your desk in the afternoon, working on that last Friday afternoon action report while wild horses stampede across a desert landscape beneath your feet.

There are visionaries who believe this is going to be a reality — at least a kind of reality soon. As 5G networks expand, so will this augmented mirror world. Eventually, some say, it will cover the entire planet.

Sound ridiculous?

Maybe.

But imagine going back to 1995 and telling someone that soon you would be able to virtually walk down almost every street in the world using an online map service with integrated superimposed images. And yet, today you can visually walk Paris, London or even the secondary roads of Thailand using Google.

Using developing technologies, in the next few decades, you may be able to fly to these places on your own private dragon — if the airlines allow AR in-flight, that is.

The post 5 Ways VR/AR Technology Integrates Into Your Daily Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Simple and Quick Ways to Create Short Videos

Videos exist and grow more and more. That’s not really surprising, considering how videos can increase engagement, capture attention, attract reach, and increase traffic. However, for some of us, the idea of being in front of a video camera drives us crazy.

If you fall into this group of people, here are some easy ways to break the ice and start creating short videos!

What is a short video?

With short videos, I refer to videos of 1 or 2 minutes of duration that is short, brilliant, and engaging. They don’t include the long, modified, and high-quality ones that you could see on YouTube.

There is nothing wrong with YouTube’s glitzy videos. They always represent a great strategy if you know how to do with videos.

This post, however, only focuses on getting you started on the right foot, trying to get you beyond your “comfort zone”, and removing from your mind the idea of making a video as if you were in a professional studio.

The short is short for a reason: it attracts us and uses those few moments of our attention to increase the engagement.

As you know, visual content captures attention. It increases engagement and is transformed into traffic, sharing, and sales. Why?

We are 44% more likely to interact with visual content.

The best part of short videos is that there are really lots of tools and mobile apps available that can help you create content quickly. Below are four fun and useful tools that will help you get started in creating short videos.

If you want to make a movie on your iPhone, take a look at Videohance and Videolicious. Both are excellent tools for editing on your iPhone. You can also add some very nice effects.

FlexClip

flexclip
Via flexclip.com

With FlexClip, you can create highly customizable animated videos online which are certainly attractive in terms of user engagement. You can add text, audios, and voice-overs. Once finished, you have the opportunity to save your video and share it at a later time.

Legend

legend-iphone-app
Via thebloggerpoint.com

Legend is an application for smartphones (iOS and Android) that allows you to create GIFs by combining texts and images. As for the text to be inserted, the available characters are 100. Afterward, choose the images, take photos or select them from your Flickr account which you can link to the app.

Once you have selected one of the 18 animation styles for your GIF, you will be ready to share it online through messaging apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram. You can also save it in your roll.

Animoto

animoto
Via animoto.com

This tool allows you to create professional quality videos using images and video clips. Animoto can be used from desktops and smartphones, accepting files even from Facebook, Dropbox, and Photobucket. You can then add your own song or select one from the Animoto music catalog (copyright-free).

At the end of production, you can save your video locally or upload it directly to the platform that you have identified as optimal for the content. It can be YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or more.

Overvideo

overvideo
Via topappslike.com

This is a free application for iOS smartphones that allows you to add text and music to your videos. You can choose an audio-visual content from your film or capture a new one with the integrated camera. Then, you can add the images you want and the audio that you think best fits. Lastly, save the video in the roll or share it via e-mail or Instagram.

You can use each of these tools to create videos and of course, you can also rely on Facebook Live and Periscope. Once you start, you will never stop using them!

The only limit will be your creativity! Now, it’s your turn.

Do you like short or live videos? What idea do you propose to increase your confidence or to mix your content? Do you have any other tips on how you can start creating short videos without going crazy?

Let us know in the comments.

The post Simple and Quick Ways to Create Short Videos appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Incredible Little-Known Canva Hacks That Will Surely Surprise You

If you are a startup struggling to establish your brand’s identity, visual communication skills might just be your greatest asset for success. But for the person not necessarily seeking the services of a professional graphic designer, we always prepare pro design tips to set you off just like an expert.

Secret Canva Pro Hacks

In this digital age, there is no denying the importance of well-structured, thoughtful designs.

That’s probably the reason why you often find yourself staring at a blank Canva platform, waiting for inspiration to strike. Some of the questions running through your head being, where to start and whether or not your visual content will be relevant to your target audience.

While we know that kicking off with the design project is the hardest part, it is always important to remember that all of us are capable of creating breathtaking designs, especially with a little help from the experts.

Buckle up buttercup. We have deconstructed Canva to prepare these super incredible hacks that are sure to help up your Canva game.

Unlimited free stuff

canva hack

If you have been using Canva, you probably know that searching for something using the search button loads out both free items and those limited by the in-app purchases feature.
And let’s face it, no one wants to go faffing around with the $ items before getting a feel of the free stuff first.

Ohhh, here comes a goody.

You can get the premium stuff out of your way by just pasting these secret codes on the search button (indicated by the mouse pointer).

>>>Secret code 1: brand:BAAAAP7rQ8M
>>>Secret code 2: brand:BAAMOuJH0Ec

All the pre-set templates can be altered to meet the exact needs of your brand

canva pro

If you are a little edgy when it comes to getting things done with your computer, you could find yourself scrolling and scrolling for hours looking for a template or image directly matched with your campaign. Well, if you have been using Canva and going through the same fate, it comes to an end now!

Every single element of a template or image on Canva can be altered. So, if you like the layout but don’t like the general appearance in terms of the text or colors, you can edit all these elements to your liking.

If you see a plain tea party invite but would like to add a lively vibe to it or probably had a professional coffee talk in mind, you can totally change that as illustrated above.

Get some inspiration from completed designs

canva inspiration

To give their designs a contemporary feel, professional graphic designers are not always seeking to start from scratch. They often seek inspiration from what’s already there.

Whether it’s an image or just a simple font style you stumble upon, consider using it as a base.

Having your inspiration right there when you need it is the best feeling ever. You can always use it as a springboard for an even better result.

Canva is one of those tools with a dedicated inspiration section but undiscovered by many. Right there on the homepage, you will find inspiration-rich photo collages to help set off your imagination.

A text box in a fraction of a second

canva text box

Another goody that we use frequently — perhaps our favorite. Now, it’s pretty absurd to go the long route to get the Canva Text Box.

What you folks need to do is just hit T on your keyboard and voila, a Text Box in less than a second!

Move elements freely with secret keyboard shortcuts

canva shortcuts

It can be really frustrating when you just want to shift the position of an element either up or down but end up expanding it in a different direction (as illustrated in the image below).

Well, here are some keyboard shortcuts that will make you squeal with excitement.

You can lift an element to the front or push it back by using the CTRL+ Up/Down Keys or the CMD (Command) + Up/Down Keys. Alternatively, you can hold down the shift button as you try to move the element with your mouse. This will instantly make the held image free, enabling you to move it up and down as you like.

Grids for neat and orderly designs

canva designs

If you like flawless, neat, and orderly visuals, guiding grid lines are just the way to go. Just hit CTRL + or CMD +, and reference grid lines will be brought up across your design.

So, there you have it. These secret hacks will have you design better visuals and infographics faster and more accurately — just like a pro.

The post Incredible Little-Known Canva Hacks That Will Surely Surprise You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Learning How To Cook Again

More than a quarter of Americans don’t know how to cook, but why?

Today, our lives are busier than they have been since the industrial revolution and convenience trumps health and budget every day of the week. As a result, people spend more on restaurants than at grocery stores and have for several years now.

Kids are learning how to order takeout instead of how to cook and teenagers are opting to become YouTube stars rather than flipping burgers. It’s no wonder so many people just don’t know how to cook. Fortunately, there are apps and gadgets for cooking that can help you in making meals at home.

Food Safety Often Isn’t Taught At Home

food safety

If you ask the average home cook what internal temperature you should cook various meats on, chances are they would not even know that’s an issue.

Today, there are instructions for safe cooking right there on the packages of chicken meat in the grocery store. But who reads instructions anymore?

Working in a fast food restaurant as a teenager has long been the only introduction to proper food handling procedures many people get, but most people are skipping that life experience altogether these days. Some cookbooks cover this, but most people skip right to the recipe they want to cook and skip learning the basic techniques.

Gadgets Can Help Keep You Safe

We all have that one bottle of ketchup in the back of the fridge that has been there since the Regan administration, but we don’t throw it out because does ketchup even go bad? Fortunately, there are gadgets like the Days Ago Tracker that help you know just how long ago you opened it so you know when it’s time to throw it out.

Do you cook chicken to 160 and beef to 140 or is it the other way around? Knowing internal cooking temperatures for a variety of foods isn’t always at the top of the list for home cooks. The Range Dial Grill Pro can help you figure out the safe cooking temperatures of a variety of meats, helping you to avoid food-borne illnesses.

Apps Can Help You Learn New Techniques

Learning to cook is mostly about learning to follow a process rather than learning individual recipes. Once you learn certain techniques, you can apply them to other recipes. Before you know it, you’re already a great cook.

There are some great apps out there that can help you learn these techniques and build on the skills you have already learned.

Project Foodie is probably one of the best examples of this. Celebrity Chef Daniel Holzman walks you through step-by-step instructions on video so you can see, hear, and follow along. That’s something cookbooks won’t give you.

The app can also help you build a shopping list and adjust the recipe for different serving sizes and number of servings.

project foodie
Via itunes.apple.com

Once you have some basic techniques down, you can start using Chef Tap to collect recipes. That way, when you see something you want to try, you can organize it in one place. Then, when you’re ready to try a new recipe, Chef Tap can help you build a shopping list which you can access from anywhere.

Learning The Basics of Cooking Can Be Fun

Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore. Learning the basics from video tutorials of celebrity chefs can actually be a lot of fun. Once you have the basics down, you can build upon them, opening up new culinary possibilities.

If you don’t know how to cook, now’s the time to get started. You can always use a refresher on the basics, especially when it comes to safety.

We all know we are supposed to wash our hands before cooking, but what about after handling raw food, including vegetables? And is it safe to use a marinade after you’ve taken the meat out of it?

Many of us knew the answer at one time but we may not remember until someone gets sick.

Learn more about tech and gadgets to help you cook from the infographic below.

This infographic brought to you by KitchenByte

The post Learning How To Cook Again appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tracking Your Workout Activity: Several Ways You Can Do It

A lot of people struggle with starting a workout regimen. A lot of them lay out several excuses in order to postpone their training sessions.

This is where motivation kicks in.

Depending on the type of your personality, you have to find one specific motivation to get you up and running for your workout program. One of the best and most interesting motivators you can find is technology.

No matter if you are an amateur or a professional, you can take advantage of the latest technologies in order to track your progress. If you love the old ways of tracking workouts, you can always choose to do so as well. The most important thing is that you organize and track your progress.

Why should you track your workout?

When you start a workout regimen, the exercise selection is fairly small and you can easily remember the number of reps per workout you can make.

However, as you get in better shape, the more routines and variations you can make. It now becomes impossible to keep all the information in your head.

This is one good reason why tracking your activity is a necessary step.

Additionally, writing down everything that you do during every workout is going to show how fast you are progressing. It’s a good way to get a clearer idea of what changes and adjustments you need to make. By doing this, you can create a more efficient regimen that is going to bring you better results.

What are the best ways to track your progress?

It’s quite simple to accurately track your progress. First of all, it all depends on your personality. You can focus on a few important details or keep track of all workout-related information.

Here are a few examples:

Calendar

This is the most common way of tracking your workout activity. This type of tracking allows you to plan out the days on which you are going to perform your workouts. Thanks to modern smartphones, you can have a calendar with you at all times.

Electronic calendars can store more information about your workouts. Plus, there are reminders that you could set to notify you about your upcoming workout schedules.

If you prefer an old-school approach, you can hang a calendar on a wall and track your activities with a pen. This is the easiest way of tracking your workout progress. However, it does not a lot of space for details, except your schedule and the number of repetitions you are able to perform.

See Also: 5 Ways to Make a Workout Schedule that WORKS

Online websites

There are lots of great online tools that can help you track your workout progress. One good example is bodybuilding.com. Apart from tracking, the website offers a big community of people who share the same interests as yours. This is a perfect way to acquire new information about different exercises and workout routines.

Another website that offers a lot of tracking details is thesquattingrack.com. In this site, you have to input a whole set of information about your current workout progress. From there,  you can track your personal records, like weight lifting and squatting. You can even track your body measurements and nutrition plan.

Based on all this information, a graph is projected to give you an overview of your progress curve. Since all the data is straightforward, you can easily see what kinds of adjustments would make your workouts more efficient.

Workout gadgets

workout gadgets

As consumer technology quickly developed in the past couple of years, an increasing number of people begun relying on various types of gadgets, too. These devices are groundbreaking, as they offer numerous detailed data about a person’s physical activity throughout the whole day.

There are a variety of trackers out there and it all comes down to your personal preference. These are some of the most popular fitness gadgets in the world that are used by millions of people:

Fitbit Blaze is a great choice for people who want to wear a tracker that is also fashionable. This Fitbit product serves its purpose perfectly, just like the majority of their other gadgets.

Garmin Vivosmart HR offers a variety of different notifications for you throughout the day. The optical technology behind this useful gadget is fit for precise measurements of your heart rate. It is a perfect device for those who want to stay in the target HR values to maximize calorie expenditure during the workout.

Jawbone UP2 is a device with a greatly simplified design. It tracks all of your activity throughout the day and the software that it comes with is fairly easy to use. If you prefer having a screen on your tracker, however, this is probably not the best choice for you.

Keep in mind that this device is much cheaper than the competition, despite offering accurate information.

Misfit Shine 2 is a beautifully designed tracker with an incredibly accurate data tracking feature. If you want a device that offers top notch data, this is probably the one you should go for.

These are only some of the trackers that are available on the market today. The thing with wearable technology is that it constantly monitors your body’s state even when you are asleep.

The goal of these devices is to improve your whole lifestyle by providing you with accurate details about your calorie expenditure and activities.

Smartphones

smartphone workout

If you are someone who doesn’t like carrying a lot of different gadgets, you can turn your smartphone into a great activity tracker. These devices are equipped with various sensors that can be used to track your daily activity levels.

The more important part when it comes to using your smartphone as a fitness tracker is picking the right software for your device. If you do your research well, you’ll be able to find the best solutions on websites like CrowdReviews.com.

With the right application on your phone, you can get almost all of the details as the abovementioned trackers have to offer. You can track your heart rate during the workouts as well as the calories burned and distance covered. The majority of tracking apps can also show you graphs of your progress.

Most of the apps are free, but if you want advanced options unlocked, you may need to invest a little bit of money – roughly around $2-5.

If you are satisfied with basic information about your day, Google Fit is a great way to track your progress. Other big companies such as LG and Samsung offer their own fitness trackers that can be integrated with Google Fit.

With so many options, it really comes down to personal preference. No matter what method you choose, the most important thing is that you keep your tracker with you at all times.

Tracking workouts and progress can be quite motivating. It will just depend on how much time you are willing to dedicate to it. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily make plans for your next routine.

See Also: Finding your Fitness Passion

The post Tracking Your Workout Activity: Several Ways You Can Do It appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Best Fitness Tools To Help You Actually Achieve Your Goals

Keeping a resolution can be difficult. What’s even harder is attempting to achieve something when you don’t have the right tools.

If your goal is to improve your health and overall strength and flexibility, here are 7 great fitness tools that will make your goals a little easier to keep.

Gymnastic Rings

gymnastic rings

Gymnastic rings have been nearly forgotten, only remembered as a strange spectacle once every four years as we see them in the Olympic games. However, gymnastics rings are making a big comeback. You’ll find them in nearly every crossfit gym – and for good reasons.

You can do a hundred different bodyweight exercises on these things and work nearly every muscle in your body. They take up very little space, making them the perfect addition to your home gym.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Indo Boards

indo boards

Indo Boards were once popular among surfers and skate boarders as a way to practice balance. Now they’re showing up all over corporate gyms. Primarily, they are used to build balance and auxiliary stabilizing muscles; however, people are coming up with all kinds of great ways to turn them into exercise machines.

Much like using free weights, they provide more stabilizing opportunities in weight lifting than a machine. The balance board allows the use of more muscle groups while targeting specific areas.

Incline Treadmills

Incline treadmills are the latest and greatest in the treadmill market. A 10% max incline is good and quite available. A 15% is even better. But why not consider going all out with a 40 percent max incline? More incline means more calories burned.

An average 200-pound user walking at 2 mph for 20 minutes burns 87 calories. If you increase your incline to 40 percent, that same user burns a whopping 381 calories in just 20 minutes. Not only are you burning more calories in less time, you’re getting a ton more tone in your tush and increased options for use on one machine. If you were to pick just one machine to keep in your home, it should be the treadmill.

Foam rollers

foam rollers

You’ve seen them at the gym and, maybe, even in your friends home. Not only are they great for rehabilitating injured muscles, but foam rollers are a big part of a healthy runner’s warmup and cooldown routine.

They can be used to improve circulation and break up motion-limiting knots in muscles. They can also spare you the pain of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Using a foam roller to roll out your overworked muscles and break up the lactic acid created by exercising will allow you to keep working the day (and second day) after a solid workout.

Jump Rope

jump rope

Jump ropes aren’t just for the childhood playground. They are a serious, effective fitness tool, too. Jump roping puts you in the express lane of fitness.

They can be used to increase the fast-twitch muscle fibers in legs to level up your sprint game. They can increase your cardiovascular strength, too. It’s a very cheap and available means of exercise which is also good for the lymphatic system.

Fitness Apps for Android and iOS

There are countless programs online that can create and guide you through a tailored fitness plan. The C25K app is reaching new heights in popularity.

Use the official C25K app to go from sitting on the couch to your very first 5K. The app and website lay everything out in easy to understand, actionable goals. The way this program works helps even the laziest of runners feel like they’re capable of more.

Another highly rated program is iFit, created by ICON fitness. If you have a machine (treadmill, elliptical, etc.) made by ICON fitness, it’s likely you can pair your device to your machine for great data tracking. iFit provides customized exercise routines, training routes powered by Google Maps, a social network, goals and competitions, and coaching.

See Also: 8 Fitness Hacks That Will Make Your Life Better

Goals are hard to keep when you don’t have the right tools to accomplish them. Before setting out to start on a new goal, gather up the right tools, write down your reasons for the goal you’ve set, and make a schedule for how you plan to achieve it.

 

The post 6 Best Fitness Tools To Help You Actually Achieve Your Goals appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Top 10 Best Mobile Accessories To Carry With You 2017

Whether you are frequently outdoors for business or you simply like traveling, bringing some essential gadgets with you can help ensure not only your comfort but safety, too. However, with so many items to choose from, picking out the most important ones can be tricky. You can end up spending a lot of hours just packing your things.

As a guide, here’s a quick list of the gadgets and best mobile phone accessories you can carry around for your trips.

Phone Power Bank

anker power bank

Despite carrying a lot of advanced features, mobile phones still don’t have an infinite battery life. You’ll have to recharge them from time to time. Since charging points aren’t always accessible, carrying a phone power bank now becomes a necessity.

Devices, such as the Anker Astro E1, are great since they have high capacity despite being the size of a candy bar. They can recharge an iPhone 7 and 6s twice and can add around 80% of battery life to an iPad Mini.

If you are looking for a super fast charging feature, you might want to consider the KMASHI Portable Power Bank. It has two USB ports so you can simultaneously recharge your gadgets.

Flash Drive

flashdisk

Your battery isn’t the only thing that’s limited. Even your phone’s storage may need an upgrade, especially if you like taking pictures and keeping videos.

The Samsung 32GB Bar Flash Drive promises durability, thanks to its high-quality metal casing. It even has a key ring, so you’re less likely to lose it inside your bag. Apart from the high-speed data transfer, the flash drive is also water proof, magnet proof and shock proof.

When you’re on the go, taking gadgets that can keep up with you is a must. Featuring a 115MB/ sec, reading speed, the PNY Turbo Elite Flashdrive is something you shouldn’t miss. It has a capless design with an integrated loop so you can easily attach it to your bag.

Mini USB Cable

mini usb

Leave the long USB cables at home as they can easily get tangled in your bag. Instead, invest in mini USB cables, such as the Startech Micro USB Cable. Although it’s only 6 inches in length, it can support high-speed USB data transfer. Another good option is the one from Griffin.

Mobile Hotspot

mobile hotspot

Most phones now support hotspot mode. Unfortunately, however, they may not be able to support a handful of devices. They also have less security options.

Instead of using your phone, you can invest in devices like the Verizon Mifi. It only weighs 3.3 ounce, which is just right for your backpack. It has an 8-hour battery life and can support up to 10 devices.

Power Splitter/ Surge Protector

belkin surge protector

A power splitter and surge protector may not sound like a must-have item in your bag- until you have to charge multiple devices at the same time. The Belkin Surge Protector has a number of USB and AC ports to accommodate your different devices. It comes with a 360-degree rotating plug for your convenience. The Anker 10-port Hub also makes a good choice. It utilizes a high-power 60-watt adapter for protection and stability.

Headphones

bose headphones

Whether you’re in a flight or just walking around the city, blasting your favorite music can make the activity more worthwhile. Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones is a great option for music enthusiasts. Apart from the good audio performance, it also has the ability to collect noise data and cancel them.

For something you can easily tuck inside your gym back, try Lohi Bluetooth Headphones. It’s made from a sweat proof material and is extremely comfortable to wear, thanks to its soft silicone gel surface.

Bluetooth Speaker

wireless bluetooth speaker blkbox

If wearing headphones isn’t up your alley, your next option is to bring a Bluetooth speaker so you can still enjoy your music from anywhere. Modern Bluetooth speakers are more compact and convenient to carry around. They are now wireless and comes with really innovative features and eye-catching designs.

Beats Pill, for example, only has a height of 2.5 inches and weighs 1.6lb. It has a battery life of 12 hours and can connect to devices that are as far as 30 feet. Blkbox Pop360 is another great device. Apart from the excellent sound performance, it has a built-in LED and rechargeable batteries that can run for 5 to 8 hours.

Organizer

grid it organizer

If you tend to carry a lot of things in your bag, two things can happen. You’ll either get big and weird bulges in your bag or you’ll end up with lots of tangled and jumbled cables. With so many things going on inside, you might even find it hard to find some things inside.

The Grid-It Organizer is one of the best investment you can make if you are a tech enthusiast. It can firmly hold a number of devices. It’s made from elastic bands so you can tuck in any size and shape of gadget. It even has a sleeve which you can use to keep your laptop.

The organizer has a handful of color choices and sizes to fit your preference.

Smart Watch

apple smartwatch

You can easily go without a smart watch. However, considering how much time and effort it can save you from having to open your bag and fish out your devices, it may actually be worth it. You can answer calls, send text messages and check on your email even if your phone isn’t around. Samsung Gear S Smartwatch makes a good option for those using Android devices. For iOS, it’s the Apple Smart Watch.

GPS Tracker

tile mate phone finder

With so many devices in your bag, it’s only right to ensure its protection. One of the best ways to do that is to get a portable GPS tracker, like the Spy Tec Mini Portable GPS Tracker.

Tile Mate is a good option, too. It’s smaller than most GPS trackers and easily hooks to anything you’d like to keep track of. It comes with an accompanying app to make tracking a lot easier. The app automatically keeps a record of where it has last seen your valuables.

If you like daily deals, check out this online store for the best mobile phone accessories.

 

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Tips on Choosing the Best Compass for Hiking

Before you spend a lot of money on what you think is the best compass for hiking, you should take two important steps (that aren’t part of your hike). Learn all you can about compasses and how they should be used, then get a compass and work with it close to home. Once you feel confident at this level, you could be ready to take to the open trails.

With that in mind, there are a few key factors you should consider when shopping for a compass. The first idea has to do with the amount you’re planning to invest.

One old fellow who spent a lot of time hunting, fishing and just wandering outdoors said he always went one step better when buying any equipment. His reason? “It only takes a few pennies more to go first class.”

Analog or Digital

compass

Of course, the traditionalists will almost always purchase the analog compass because that’s what they feel most comfortable with. These compasses have been around for years, because they don’t have a power source (batteries) such as the new digital models have. Analog compasses will last for years if they’re treated with the care that any fine instrument should receive. You’re never going to be without this tool because of a dead battery.

Digital compasses will do a lot of the work for you, but because they rely on batteries, you have to make sure the batteries are charged before you head out the door. You’ll also need a portable charger so you can keep the batteries charged in your vehicle. This is a completely different way of looking at compasses and you should be prepared for it.

Declination is the key to safely and accurately using a compass. You need to know which direction is true north and which direction is magnetic north. One points you toward the North Pole as it stands in geography. The other points you to the magnetic North Pole. They are not the same. Declination is the angle of difference between the two. It can, and does, change.

Be Sure

If you know you’re facing true north, your compass will point you toward magnetic north. It’s an important difference you should understand when you’re in unfamiliar territory.

This won’t be quite so important with short trips and when you’re in an area with which you’re familiar. But as you head out on a long journey, far from home, you could end up missing your destination by several miles. Keep in mind that an inch off line at the start becomes a mile off line if you travel far enough.

The best compasses will help you deal with this difference, adding or subtracting from the bearing. Make this adjustment and you should be able to travel safely and accurately. This may be one of the good reasons for buying a top-of-the-line digital compass if you’re not confident with the use of the analog design.

Of course, you shouldn’t have to work very hard just to see and read your compass, so make sure you have one that you can use in low-light conditions. It’s important to have one that you can use without straining your eyes even in daylight. Consider the word “luminosity” and the word “backlighting” when you’re shopping for a good compass.

Tough Compass

tough compass

You have a compass with you on a journey so that you will not get lost. That’s very simple. You want to know where you are and where you’re going. But if you don’t spend those few extra pennies (as mentioned earlier), you may find a cheap compass doesn’t hold up under difficult outdoor conditions. Buy a compass that is durable and built for real-world use.

If you hike on another part of the planet, you should give some consideration to a compass with a global needle. Compasses can be calibrated for use in certain locations, which may cause your analog needle to drag and give you inaccurate information. A global needle will help you adjust for variances in the magnetic pull depending on where you are.

You should also consider getting a compass with a good quality mirror for sighting, so you can read your compass and see the surroundings at the same time. You’ll also have a good tool for signalling if you find yourself in need of assistance during an emergency.

Some Products to Consider

To give just a few examples: Give serious consideration to Suunto compasses. The MC-2G has a sighting mirror and a global needle. It provides for adjusting declination, has great luminosity and is very accurate. The top of the line with Suunto is the Navigator MC-2. You should be able to purchase this excellent tool for about $60 to $75. When you invest in a compass of this quality, be sure to get a good case as well, for protection and convenient carrying.

You will also do very well with the Silva Ranger 515, which is about the same weight as the Suunto, has a global needle, sighting mirror, magnifying lens and excellent luminosity. It also provides declination adjustment. This one comes in at about $55, depending on your source.

You can buy a usable compass for $15 to $20 but you will sacrifice many of the most important benefits. Stay away from compasses that are no more than accessories, especially if they come on a keychain or as a wearable watch. Some of these might work in basic situations, but they will not be suitable for serious navigation.

Summary

In addition to the factors already mentioned, look for a rotating azimuth ring or bezel with small degree intervals. Look closely at the markings on the baseplate. It helps to have a rule of some sort to measure distance on a map. Look for arrows and lines on the needle housing and baseplate that can help with orientation and navigation as well.

There is a definite bottom line when you are buying a compass for serious hiking and outdoor travel. Take the old guy’s advice and spend a few extra dollars, just to be safe.

See Also: 8 camping hacks that’ll turn you into a super camper (and impress the girls)

 

The post Tips on Choosing the Best Compass for Hiking appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Swift

Swift, as many of you would know, is the programming language for iOS developed by Apple after Objective-C. Swift was launched approximately two years back and it was an instant hit among the iPhone app development services. With a few new releases and version updates, Swift has been able to swiftly and effortlessly replace its predecessor—the Objective-C. Due to the ease of use, it is the first choice made by professionals who offer iPhone app development services.

When I personally started using Swift, it took some time before I got accustomed to it. But then, the more I worked on it, the more I grew fond of it.

In this blog, I will focus on the top 5 reasons why I fell in love with Swift:

Multiple-Features

apple_swift

Swift has a lot of features that provide ease, flexibility, and liberty to be creative. In terms of ease and flexibility, Swift offers short and adept syntax and community support. In terms of liberty, Swift lets you create your own extensions and share them across the community for all associated members. Swift lets you learn by making use of the integrated playground that is your medium to experiment and create new things.

Easy to Learn

Another feature why I fell in love with Swift is its adaptability and easy-to-learn feature. Basic knowledge and working module can be learnt through online videos posted by advance developers.

These posted videos provide some specific ideas on how to go about Swift. The learning is also easy because of Apple’s stringent procedure of approving its product therefore the videos which are posted on Apple’s official eBook can be truly relied on. Swift users are also givers — givers in the sense that they provide details about their hard work and process. By sharing, they make life easier for amateur Swift users.

Futuristic

swift playground

The best part of Swift is that it is futuristic. This feature makes Swift the most used language by developers because it of its ability to solve any task. Swift is in-built with ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) which allows Swift to give proper results by guessing the searched words similar to Google’s auto-complete feature for word searches. It is perhaps the only language which can be used simultaneously with Objective-C.

Swift Development

Swift is really swift. It is perhaps the fastest among all the programming languages. However, it requires iOS 7 or macOS10.9 versions. With the use of Swift, you receive fast results which enable you to overcome any problem in the development stage. It is a huge time-saver.

Debugging

Many programming languages struggle in debugging during development. iPhone app development services providers take utmost precaution to overcome such instances. In contrast, Swift has the ability to debug in the process of development. With use of real eval print loop (REPL), it is easily to debug scripts. Swift is therefore considered to be ideal for quality system programming language.

Conclusion

With Swift, there are immense opportunities and a lot of those rely on your skills. If you are a Swift fan, share your knowledge and the reasons you prefer Swift as your programming language.

 

The post 5 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Swift appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Create a Good Logo — Useful Tips and Services

Launching your own company, blog or website is a challenging task. Crafting your corporate style (including an effective logo) is a major part of this process.

A logo creates the first impression of your brand. It tells customers what business you’re in and what your values and aspirations are. A good logo has the power to separate you from your competitors and boost your name recognition.

Why do you need a logo?

A good logo is a simple, easily identifiable image that visualizes not only your company, website, or blog, but also you as a person. A logo is an integral part of any successful brand. The main goal of any logo is to leave a lasting impression and give the audience the general idea behind your brand. This is why a logo must catch customers’ attention.

Along with other important functions, an effective logo:
– makes your brand more recognizable;
– builds trust between you and your target audience;
– makes you look more professional.

The logo-making process can be entertaining and easy. However, many business people, bloggers, and website owners are clueless about where to begin. In this article, we’ll take you through the first steps of designing your own logo.

What makes an effective logo?

Before you start working on your logo, make sure you know the top criteria every logo must meet. A smart logo is:
1. Simple. A clean and simple design makes a logo memorable. Avoid cluttering your logo with multiple elements and details. In logo design, less is more.
2. Memorable. To make your icon unique and memorable, be concise and avoid overly complicated elements.
3. Timeless. Think about whether your logo will look relevant and up-to-date in a couple of years. Creating a one-day logo is a waste of time and effort.
4. Versatile. A logo must look good across different backgrounds, whether it’s a business card or a billboard. Be sure the logo will reproduce effectively at different sizes.
5. Industry specific. Your logo must fit in your line of business. For example, a logo designed in a style that fits a children’s clothing store will look inappropriate on a travel blog.

Logo types

The next step is choosing the type of logo you want. The three basic types are a text-based logo, an icon-based logo, and a combination mark.

A text-based logo (logotype) features only a message written in a specific font. Text logos come in different forms, styles, and sizes. An appropriate font ensures that your logo stays legible across multiple displays.

Icon-based logos (logomarks) represent your brand via symbols and icons. Avoid complicated, cluttered, and indistinct images. A high-quality logo is a clean and recognizable one.

Combination marks are graphics that combine both logotypes and logomarks. They are the most popular logo designs among companies.

Color scheme

A clever color scheme communicates the mood of your business or blog. Each color conveys a specific emotion. To find the option that best reflects your ideas, you must know the psychological connotations behind colors.

Here are some associations for you to consider:
1. catchy, bold colors (red) are good for drawing attention;
2. muted hues (green, blue, brown) communicate stability, reliability, and trust;
3. black is the color of affluence and luxury;
4. pink channels affection and tenderness;
5. yellow and orange evoke feelings of joy and happiness.

Once you’ve selected the right color to uncover your brand personality in the most accurate way possible, follow these major rules:
1. to be memorable, a logo must incorporate no more than two or three colors;
2. a color scheme must fit with your industry, convey the right message to your audience, and capture your company’s essence and values;
3. make sure your logo looks good in black and white and against both black backgrounds and white backgrounds. You never know how you may use your logo in the future.

Font

Font is crucial in defining an iconic logo. A font characterizes your logo and, therefore, your business. Here are some important tips for making the right choice:
1. Pick minimalist fonts. Your logo must be legible even when it is scaled down.
2. Your font must emphasize your corporate style and market niche. For example, a bank logo needs a font that evokes feelings like trustworthiness and reliability.
3. Use no more than two fonts. Make sure your fonts look good together.
4. Choose a font that will remain relevant throughout the years.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness 

Methods for creating a logo

Now that you have a general idea of what your ideal logo should look like, it’s time to get down to work. There are plenty of ways to create a logo, depending on your time and budget.

To get a one-of-a-kind logo, you can commission a designer or a design studio.

Alternatively, you can follow our guidelines and draw a logo yourself.

You can also use an online logo generator. This is a great way to create a good logo without a large investment of money. On some platforms, you can even download a small-sized logo (perfect for a website or blog) at no cost.

See Also: 6 Tips for Designing the Perfect Logo for Your Brand 

Online logo generators

For those of you who have decided to use an online logo generator, we’ve listed some worthy websites to help with that task.

Logaster

Along with logos, this service can help you design other elements of your corporate style. Submit your company name and line of business to get access to a vast selection of ready-to-use logos. While a small-sized logo is available for free, a full-sized logo costs $9.99. You can edit your logo even after you’ve purchased it. Cyrillic support is a big advantage.

Logotypemaker

An easy-to-use logo generator with a bunch of great editing tools. On the main page, you’re invited to submit the name of your business and industry. Then you can pick any template and edit it as much as you want. To download your logo, prepare to pay $24.99. Along with fee-based icons, the platform offers a limited selection of free logos.

Logogarden

At Logogarden, the logo-making process is the same as that described above. Customize your selected template by changing its size, color, font, and form. The bad news is that free logos are not available.

Hipster Logo Generator

A good website that offers clean, minimalist icons. All you need to do is choose the form and additional elements if needed. The next step is to add text and choose a font. Finally, you must add the right color or use one of the available background hues. A small-sized logo is free. A full-sized icon costs $10.

Tailorbrands

This online generator invites you to create your own logo in 30 seconds. Actually, it takes a little longer. First, you must enter your blog name. Second, you must submit a brief description of your blog. Finally, you will choose the type of logo (logotype or logomark) and the fonts. The website uses this information to generate several logos tailored to your business. All logos are editable. Logo download is available for a fee.

Takeaways

A logo creates a visual and emotional bond between your business and your target audience. It’s important to understand what your logo should look like and what message it should convey. A good logo reflects your professionalism and commitment to your customers or readers.

Check out our cool infographic below. It sums up the tips and steps on how to get your business logo done. Share it with friends, too, especially those who’ve been putting off getting a logo for their business enterprise.

We wish you luck and inspiration!

Source

infographic

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7 Smart Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Develop Their Own Mobile Apps This 2017

You won’t believe how much a mobile app can change your small business.

Over the years, more and more people are getting hooked on mobile purchases. Did you know…69% of millennials purchase from their mobile phones and this projection is expected to increase up to 2020. In addition, 62% of smartphone users have made at least one mobile purchase in the last 6 months.

At this rate, it won’t be a surprise if mobile apps become more than just an extra treat for consumers, but a necessity. No matter how big or small your business is, this is something you have to take advantage of.

If you’ve been considering how to boost traffic or sales, here are 7 of best reasons to convince you to create mobile apps for business this year.

Increases visibility

Compared with a browser bookmark, an app is constantly present on a user’s smartphone. Because of this presence, your business is easily visible to your customers. With good content and a pleasurable user experience, the potential for users to be looking at your products and brand every day is high.

Another good reason why you should spend more effort in building your brand through a mobile app is because a lot of people spend more time browsing mobile apps than visiting websites on the internet. One good reason is that people tend to have less patience when they are reading texts online so an app that can make it easier for them to skim and scan products and services can help boost your sales.

Engages customers

People who are too busy with work and house chores prefer apps that can save them time and make tasks easier. People who dislike missing out on sales want to get updated on the latest discounts and special offers. For people who dislike getting caught up in traffic jams and rush hour, an app that can give them a frictionless shopping experience can spell good news.

By giving people exactly what they are looking for, they are likely to remain interested in your brand. However, for you to achieve that, you need to know exactly who your target audience are. Once you are able to recognize the values and needs of your consumers, you’ll be able to give them a more valuable shopping experience.

Gives you an edge over competitors

Having your own mobile app can give you a leg up on your competitors. However, for you to maintain your lead, you have to develop an app that will differentiate you from the rest.

Start off with an application strategy. Know how your app will work for your business and how it can level up customer experience. Another factor you should consider is your app’s seamless integration. If your customer will purchase an item from your company, you need to make sure that the product gets delivered on time and in good condition. The customer also has to be reassured about how safe their information will be once they make a purchase through your app.

Integrating your mobile app to function with social media can give you an opportunity to expand your audience and promote your brand better. It will also give you the chance to get honest feedback from real customers and interact with them.
Keep in mind that it’s important to generate a good experience from the start as a bad mobile experience can be hard to undo. Once a customer has uninstalled your app, it is difficult to get a second shot.

Boosts sales

boost sales

Most people today do their shopping online since it’s easier and more convenient. Case in point, mobile commerce is now a third of all US ecommerce.

This is not too surprising given how a mobile app gives more accurate information on the things shoppers want to buy, allowing them to make comparisons first before making a purchase. According to recent statistics, 80% of shoppers use a mobile phone instead of a brick and mortar store to look up prices, research product reviews, or look up store locations.

By taking advantage of these needs, you’ll be able to dramatically boost your sales.

If you partner your mobile app with a mobile website, you’ll be able to reach 6.7% more customers, which translates to additional revenue. You can also get the service of a mobile app developer that can get your app in multiple languages so you can also attract international buyers.

Enhances customer service

Compared with the traditional way of addressing customer concerns, your business’ mobile app can make it easier for your staff to resolve customer concerns. The faster the concerns are addressed, the happier and more satisfied your customers will be.

For one, the app can help you easily segment your customers’ requests to the proper departments. This means that, once assigned, your customer support agent can easily retrieve all the information related to the customer’s complaint, including the date of purchase, location and even the records of his other transactions. As a result, your agent can solve and close the ticket faster.

In addition, you can also set your app to automatically send acknowledgment messages and create ticket IDs. For customers, one of the most annoying things a business can do is to make them feel like their concerns are invaluable. Waiting for a response is another story.

Makes marketing easier

The constant presence of your app in your customers’ smartphones conditions their minds to get used to your brand. They’ll be able to recognize your brand from almost any place they go.

A mobile app also gives you a more unique and direct way of reaching out to your customers. Sending push notifications, for example, can easily grab their attention which can then increase your sales. You can also post the day’s special deals as well as discounts to attract customers.

Apps generally have built-in data analytics and metrics which you can use to assess your existing marketing strategies as well as the recent buying trends. You can use these data in optimizing your marketing and internal operations.

See Also: 8 Top Marketing Tips for Small Businesses 

Encourages customer loyalty

loyal customers

As your customers get used to seeing your brand, it becomes a lot easier for you to earn their trust. This trust will make them more comfortable to buy your products instead of the items sold by your competitors.

The experience your customers get from your app can also establish loyalty. If you can give them a top-of-the-line shopping experience, you won’t have a hard time keeping them engaged and interested in your brand.

See Also: 4 Tricks To Turn Your Buyers Into Loyal Customers 

As we usher in the new year, it’s clear that as business owners, we simply can’t ignore our customers who are mobile users especially as they continue to use their smartphones with more eCommerce intent than ever before.

 

The post 7 Smart Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Develop Their Own Mobile Apps This 2017 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Awesome Tools To Help You Newbie Geeks With Your Open Source Project

Every new year welcomes new resolutions.

We probably all want the same thing — to achieve more and feel proud of what we have achieved. For example, Mark Zuckerberg’s is to visit and meet someone in every U.S. state and mine is to keep my website alive for as long as I am living.

If you are one of those passionate IT folks, technical nerds and computer enthusiasts who are still looking for a challenge this year, here may be one that will interest you: an open source project.

So, as you kick-start the new year aiming to achieve and share greatness, here are five easy-to-use tools that can help you.

GitHub

github

John Resig, the creator of jQuery, once tweeted: “When it comes to hiring, I’ll take a Github commit log over a resume any day.” GitHub is undoubtedly the largest developer community in the world. Programmers like yourself go there when it comes to hosting your codes, and sharing and contributing to them.

GitBook

gitbook

GitBook is a simple online and desktop tool for building books. Like GitHub, it is seen as a tool for programmers. But it can be surprisingly useful even for non-tech writers – especially if you want to write your books or documents about your project. You can use Markdown to write, edit and style your content simultaneously. To publish, a simple git push is all you need.

Sublime Text

sublime text

In the question “What is the best programming text editor you are using?”, the answer is usually Sublime Text. It is a simple and sophisticated-looking text editor that comes with color schemes for your codes.

When you switch between different files or search, it is blazing fast, and stable. Not to mention it comes with the best Markdown experience you will ever find, as well as tons of packages like Pretty JSON that will make your use of this tool even richer.

Quire

quire

While being a task management tool, Quire can play a part in your open source project too. If you prefer an interactive place for your milestones or features (which you probably entered in spreadsheet apps like Microsoft Excel and ZK Spreadsheet), tutorial or guide, or even a public forum, list them all out here.

With features like favorites and comments, you can see right away what topics are more popular, have a say in discussions, change the priority of your plan whenever you want, etc. Github commit links can even be found in the comments once you integrate with it.

See Also: 5 Essential Tools And Apps To Build Your Early Startup 

Inkscape

inkscape

Last but not least, where will your project be without design? Seen as a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape is a free (and open-source) vector graphic editor made for you to create illustrations, arts, logos, charts, and paintings. Some say it is way ahead of Illustrator for its better UI, same professionalism, and superior quality features. It has also got a massive community forum where you can show off your work, and contribute ideas to.

See Also: 20 Best Productivity Apps and Programs for 2017

 

The post 5 Awesome Tools To Help You Newbie Geeks With Your Open Source Project appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Choose Headphones That Best Suit You

The sound of music – the sound of life. The projection of sound by a suitable headphone can give so much joy. I have noticed that a lot of people are concerned about the design, weight, and comfort a headphone affords them, which is good because you don’t want to spend more than 150 bucks on something you wouldn’t enjoy after a while. And since this website is all about saving money, let’s talk about how you can properly decide on a pair of headphones suited for you without going for an inefficient trial-and-error method.

A Look at the Drivers

The drivers in a pair of headphones convert electric signals into an audible sound. You can think of it as a tiny loudspeaker.

The size of the driver is useful in gauging its capability in producing good sound. Interestingly, the quality of the driver unit makes a huge difference in the sound being produced. Headphones with dynamic drivers do a better job of producing powerful bass and can achieve the right amount of sound pressure with less power.

Frequency

The human ear can listen to sound between 20 – 20000 Hz and most headphones have frequencies within this range. The first number represents the base end while the last number represents the treble end of the spectrum.

You should note that better frequency response does not always mean better sound quality. However, the frequency response is important because it measures the ability of the headphones to produce all frequencies equally, that is, from the lowest to the highest tones. 

As much as the manufacturers might put up a range of numbers indicating the range over which tones can be reproduced, the best way to know the pair of headphones that suits you is to listen to them. Try to see if more tones are reproduced exactly the same way since it’s not so easy for headphones to reproduce every tone perfectly.

See Also: Hack Your Soundscape To Boost Your Productivity

Consider the Headphone Impedance

dj headphones

This is the reason why headphones sound differently when plugged into different devices. Headphone impedance is measured in ohms. You can choose either low impedance headphones or high impedance headphones depending on what you intend to plug them into. Headphones with high impedance (maybe 100ohms and above) are not designed for portable devices such as your smartphone.

Lower impedance headphones (within 16 – 32ohms) are preferable when your device is portable. Headphones with lower impedance require little power to deliver high audio levels. Low impedance headphones work well with portable music players, phones, and other portable devices. If you use them with powerful amplifiers, they will likely just blow out.

Headphone Sensitivity

Headphone sensitivity works hand in hand with headphone impedance. Sensitivity has to do with how well certain headphones are able to convert electric signals into clear and distinct sounds. The sensitivity and impedance of these headphones must correspond so as to regulate and produce sound without distortion. It is measured in decibels of sound pressure level per milliwatt (dB SPL/ mW). The sensitivity of headphones is within the range of 80 – 125 dB SPL /mW but note that at 120 dB, the human ear begins to replace the sense of hearing with that of pain.

Headphones with lower sensitivity require more power. As such, if you are to use them with portable devices like tablets and phones, this will adversely affect the sound quality as you will need to turn up the volume of your device and hence risk a quick drain of your battery.

See Also: Get “In the Zone” on Command with a Focus Song 

Noise Cancelling Features

The beauty of listening to music without distractions, even in the midst of distractions, is what headphones with noise canceling features afford you. It enables you to listen to music by reducing unwanted sounds around you using active noise control.

You might not want to worry yourself over the details of the process, but headphones have a tiny microphone that listens for unwanted noise, analyses it and reflects sound waves back into your ears. This process zaps out the noise, helping you hear nothing but music. 

These headphones are quite expensive, though. They also require that you charge them up. But keep in mind that they give a pretty awesome listening experience.

Noise isolation is different from noise cancellation because it employs passive noise control. Passive noise control headphones are headphones that are pressed tightly against, or that are completely covering your ears and they cut out outside sound in the process.

Whether you are considering earphones or full-sized headphones, all of the above should be put into consideration. These specifications are essential. Each of them, if correctly understood, can help you make a wise choice as per what headphones to get. So take your time, choose the pair of headphones with a perfect driver, superb frequency, great sensitivity, and moderate impedance for whatever purpose you might have in mind.

Also keep in mind that the more expensive a headphone is, the higher its chances of producing great sound quality due to better engineering and the use of quality materials.

What sure beats any of the above is taking your time to listen via the headphone options you have, to see which suits you well.

You can share your thoughts with me as I am open to discussions, opinions, and questions. 

If you enjoyed this post, here is an infographic you can share with friends. Scroll down for more info on choosing the best headphones.

How to Choose Headphones - List Enthusiast

The post How To Choose Headphones That Best Suit You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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