Category: Insights

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A/B Testing: Why Is it Not Working for You?

Most companies nowadays rely on A/B testing in order to achieve growth. But what is A/B testing, really?

According to Wikipedia, “A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of a single variable, typically by testing a subject’s response to variant A against variant B, and determining which of the two variants is more effective”.

So, when it comes to growth, A/B testing is the most reliable way to determine exactly what will work for a business, using correct data.

Of course, A/B testing-much like any validation tool-needs to be used correctly, otherwise it won’t really work. So, if you’ve tried using it and you’ve reached an impasse, then perhaps you did something wrong.

You tried to test too many items in one go

Let’s assume that you wanted to optimize a landing page. You went ahead and changed your copy, your CTAs, the pictures on the page, all that just to save some precious time. Well, that was not a very good move.

Seeing as the objective of A/B testing is to make decisions based on data in order to achieve growth, you have set yourself up, as you cannot determine which change is responsible for the results you got.

That’s why more and more SaaS tools like Elementor’s WordPress theme builder, Unbounce Landing Page Builder, as well as email marketing software platforms like Moosend and Mailchimp integrate A/B testing within their products.

Your sample was too small

It doesn’t take an expert to understand that, while 95% is a strong percentage, the bigger the sample, the more valid the results.

There is a huge difference between 90% of ten people and 90% of 1000 people, even if we’re still talking about a percentage of 90%.

If your website doesn’t gather the desired traffic or doesn’t score enough sales, chances are that A/B testing won’t work for you yet, seeing as the best option may seem to be the best, but your data won’t exactly be valid.

You didn’t get to know your target-audience first

Too many businesses rush to get into the A/B testing game and forget one key aspect: research on their target audience.

What is their behavior? What do they like? What makes them tick?

Make sure that you are specific when it comes to your prospects.

For example, not all travelers have the same traveling style.

Two mothers will, in theory, search for the same travel hacks, but what happens when one is the mother of a toddler and the other one is the mother of a moody sixteen-year-old?

Since the decisions need to be data-driven, the first thing to do is to get the right data, then design tests and extract the correct data from those tests.

So, next time consider running a survey first and an A/B test later. You’ll get far more accurate data that way.

You run the test for all the wrong reasons

This may sound crazy, but it really is not.

There is a high chance that you just didn’t have the correct hypothesis-or maybe that you didn’t have a hypothesis at all.

Let’s take the traveling example a bit further and assume that your A/B testing had to do with a promotional email on some holiday offers.  

Make sure that you asked yourself the following questions and monitor the following KPIs:

  • How many people actually opened your email?
  • How many people made use of your website?
  • What would you change, based on your analytics’ data?

Your hypothesis-and, of course, the A/B testing of said hypothesis-will give you insight on what to change.

Maybe you needed better content, maybe you packed your email with CTAs, maybe your cold email was a bit too cold or maybe your subject line didn’t work as well as you would’ve wanted.

You were impatient

How long did you test your hypothesis for? As we’ve already mentioned, your results are only as good as your data.

If you run your tests for only a week, then you are not really done testing. Percentages differ not just day-to-day, they can change any minute.

Therefore, you’ll need more than a couple of Monday-to-Friday percentages to ensure the validity of your data.

But we’re not done here. Did you take into account the time period you tested for?

Let’s use the holiday offer email again. This email will reach an all-time high during pre-high seasons like April or November when everyone is trying to book their summer or Christmas holidays respectively.

What do you think would happen if you decided to run tests during the first week of October?

Wouldn’t the test results be a lot more accurate if you decided to take your time and test your hypothesis during the last couple of weeks of October and the first couple of weeks of November?

Conclusion

Of course, these are not the only factors that may make your A/B testing fail.

Maybe your timing was not exactly the best or maybe you ran one too many tests, maybe your growth marketing strategy was a wee bit off in general.

But this is nothing to worry about.

What mistakes did you make when you first started?

What insight did your A/B testing data give you?

Let us know in the comments!

InsightsProducts

An Extensive Guide to Personal Loans and Money Lending options for Entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur is a risky task, and you need some courage to stand out for your talents. There might be many things that can de-motivate you and either it is your friends, relatives, parents and even your society that doesn’t respect your talent and make you feel low. You don’t need to stop and if you are wondering about how your expertise can stand out and how you can plan a successful start-up plan then here is everything that you need to know about financing your startup.

There are many ways in which you can do that, and if you go out in the market, then you will get to know about a lot of schemes that let people start up a business with their idea. Many things do matter when it comes to choosing up a personal loan and even the debts that you will get into with it. You need to plan up each and everything before you apply for some money lending procedures. Anyways, in this guide, you will get to know about everything related to money lending. So, let us get started –

Lenders to Choose to Finance Your Business

There are many of them out in the market and as an entrepreneur; you need to choose up the most convenient and the most reliable that work just perfect for your work. There are many things that you need to know and being a business owner, and you need to be smart enough to know almost all about the market and the money lenders. Here are some of the most convenient ways to get the much-needed money for your business. So, let us get to it –

1. Traditional Lenders

These are the banks and all other professional and more time taking lenders. Well, you can get money on the low cost of interest, and there are so many other things that are related to the traditional lenders. You can get the loan quickly, but still, there is a lot of struggle that you need to go through. This is all that you need to know, and these traditional lenders can help you if you apply with a little more approachable. You need some time to get the money, and this is one of the popular ways to get easy money on easy installments.

2. Government Lenders

The Govt lenders are just like the traditional one but they are a little more understandable, and it is only for the entrepreneurs that are out there looking for a new business. These lenders contain the Small Business Administration (SBA). This type includes fewer risks, and it is a more convenient way for an entrepreneur to get the much-needed money for the startup.

You need to keep up with your research and all other things that are related to the new programs giving out loans and easy money for required startups. You need to come up with a strong business idea, and you will see no one that will stop you getting the loan, and there will always be easy money in the market for you with a firm plan.

3. Loans

This is one of the best investments that are worth applying for as you will get 85% of the repayment guarantee. This is the best loan for entrepreneurs as there is no problem with the collateral. You are not forced to give real collateral, and all you need to come up with is the idea for the startup. It is all that you need to have, and this is hard to get the loan, so you have to lower your expectations for the loan. Get a loan today at zero interest from https://www.libertylending.com/

4. Venture Capitalist

Just like any other agency and the innovators in the business world, the venture capitalist is one of the most famous innovators that are out there helping so many entrepreneurs to stand their start up quickly. They are looking for some entrepreneurs for funding them, and this is so far the best thing that you can get as an entrepreneur.

There are so many companies that are collaborating with venture capitalist and giving out scholarships for entrepreneurs. Not only the money, but they will also give you proper knowledge of the market, and this thing will surely help you out in the best way possible for your business.

What are the risks associated with small businesses?

Risks are everywhere, and the life of entrepreneurs is full of dangers. You need to get over these risks and this doesn’t mean you can stop the risks but this will make you prepared to cope up with the risk, and that thing can help you to get over the risk or if you are lucky enough then you will get over the risk easily. Here are some of the risks that are associated with small business ideas of entrepreneurs.

1. Financial Risk

The financial risk is one of the biggest fears of an entrepreneur mainly. You need to have a backup plan for that, and if you are already on loan, then you need to get a continent way which can help you in the bad times.

2. Legal Risks

These are the most unnecessary risks that can be involved with your business. There are many things that people can do to your startup idea, and for that, you need to get business insurance. It is better to stay away from the business risks and getting insurance is the best thing for you.

3. Staffing Risks

Well, it can be risky for you when you start acting bossy all the time. As an entrepreneur, you need to understand the way you should handle your team, or you will end up losing your staff. This means no work in your company and your startup can get to an end if you continue doing such things. Never infringed your employee’s rights or you can get into a state of high risks.

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How Can Small Businesses Improve Their Financial Performance

Nowadays, one of the biggest issues small businesses oftentimes struggle with is finances. Ensuring financial health for your small business while trying to compete on an overcrowded market may seem next to impossible.

Aside from that, financial pitfalls are quite common in the business world and numerous small business owners oftentimes make a financial mistake even though they were trying to avoid them, in the first place. However, ensuring good financial performance for your small business doesn’t have to be that much difficult.

If you’re well organized and if you monitor your finances regularly, you can eventually identify the mistakes you’re making and fix your financial problems. Even if you do, in fact, make a mistake, you can mitigate and minimize the damage with the right approach in place. With that in mind, here are a few ways small businesses can improve their financial performance.

Reduce operational costs

Operational costs are the most important business expenses that eventually yield a return on investment (ROI). In other words, operational costs are investment expenses required for your business to become profitable.

Reducing these costs, without sacrificing product or service quality, can be quite challenging. However, if you manage to do so, you will vastly improve your company’s business performance. Operational costs include manufacturing, labor, marketing, and other similar expenses. That being said, here are a few ways you can reduce operational costs for your business.

  • Outsource business operations.
  • Hire freelancers or part-time workers whenever you can.
  • Negotiate better deals with suppliers.
  • Opt for efficient technology.
  • Get rid of inefficient systems.

The more operational costs you manage to reduce the better your financial performance will be. Just don’t overdo it to the point where your products and services start to lack their original quality. The main reason is that your customers will undoubtedly notice and you’ll face a consumer outrage.

Keep your cash flow positive

Positive cash flow is one of the most important factors in your company’s financial performance. The main reason is that cash is your most liquid and thus your most important business asset. Without cash, your company can easily go bankrupt even though your company is generating profits and good revenue. Here’s an example.

Imagine you get paid via invoices and your invoices are due in 120 days. That means your company has generated both revenue and profits but you won’t have the cash for the next 120 days. During that time period, you still have expenses to cover, such as bills, utility taxes, employee salaries and so on. If you don’t have the cash to cover those expenses, you’ll have to look for external funding.

For instance, affordable payday loans could cover employee salaries and a bank loan could cover the rest. On the other hand, if you don’t secure external funds, the only thing left to do is declare bankruptcy. That’s why it’s very important to always have a positive cash flow, otherwise, your financial performance may not be so good.

Cut down your overhead spending

Overhead costs are similar to operational costs. They are also important for your small business operations yet they don’t yield any ROI. In other words, they are a necessary money drain that can be reduced in order to improve your company’s financial performance.

Overhead costs include bills, legal fees, taxes, utilities, maintenance, rent, travel expenses and so on. They are the expenses that are more or less necessary for smooth operation of your small business but that doesn’t mean you have to overspend on these costs. Fortunately, cutting down overhead expenses is much easier than reducing operational costs.

For instance, get rid of a land line if you’re not using it regularly. Also, you can move to a smaller office with cheaper rent or get rid of an office altogether if your employees can work from home. Another thing you should consider is going paperless. In a digital world, spending money on paper documents and paper waste is simply a waste of resources.

Improve your accounting

Most financial mistakes originate from the willingness of small business owners to manage their company’s accounting themselves, without having the proper knowledge or skills to do so.

Yes, you may save a few bucks by avoiding hiring or outsourcing an accountant or a bookkeeper, but the financial mistakes you might make in the process can cost you a lot more than what you would have spent on accounting services. There are firms with proper payment solutions for accountants that you can opt for, and that provide convenience to both parties.

Having an accountant to manage your finances is crucial for your company’s financial performance, so don’t think that by avoiding paying one’s services you’ll be able to save money in the long run. Furthermore, an accountant doesn’t just manage your books or your taxes. As a matter of fact, an accountant is also a financial advisor who can give you valuable advice on how to improve the financial performance of your company.

Managing the financial performance of a small business can be quite challenging. Your company’s profitability pretty much determines its overall success. With that in mind, having the right strategy in place and planning ahead can greatly help you out, not just managing your business finances, but also improving the financial performance of your company.

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Focus on Credit Score Improvement for Better Finance and Debt Management

When you want to manage your debts well in order to keep your finance on the right track, you will not only need to take out the right type of debt but also make sure that you take it out at the lowest interest rate. This is especially required when you want to take on a debt consolidation loan which ideally is the best way to get rid of your multiple debts, especially credit card debts.

Typically, a debt consolidation loan simplifies your monthly billpaying but it has to be done correctly. You will have to consider several factors such as:

  • The debts you want to consolidate
  • The rates each debt carries
  • Your financial condition so that you do not default down the line and most importantly
  • Your credit score as that will determine the loan amount as well as the rate of interest it will come with.

In general, the problem is in the interest rates on debt consolidation loans because it may vary wildly. Depending on the type of loan you wish to take out this rate of interest can be anything from a low 5% to an incredibly high 36%. On average it is found that consumers using a debt consolidation loan to pay off their multiple credit card debts typically pay about 20% in interest on those specific cards.

Therefore, the bottom line is that no matter whichever method you choose to consolidate your debts you will need to find a loan with an interest rate that will eventually be half or less than the combined rate of interest of all your existing debts. A rate of interest in single digit will help you to pay off your debt faster.

So how do you get that? Simple, improve your credit score! This will give you a lot of confidence when you visit a bank or https://www.nationaldebtreliefprograms.com/ or its likes for that matter.

Need to improve your credit score

Before you move on to the ‘steps to improve your credit score’ you must first know what the need to improve your credit score is.

  • There are lots of benefits of improving your credit score but the most significant of all benefits is that it will make you eligible for any type of loans.
  • You will get easy approval and instant ones at it if you apply for a loan even online.
  • Whether it is a zero-percent interest balance transfer credit card or home equity, you will be better off in getting such a loan.
  • A good credit score will also enable you to get a loan at a much lower interest rate and more favorable terms.

Generally, you will need to maintain a credit score well and above 700 to qualify for a loan. Therefore, make sure that you keep a check on your credit score by taking out a copy of it from time to time from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus namely Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Steps to improve credit score

There are a few specific steps to follow to improve your credit score and make sure that it is 740 or higher and nothing below 660.

The first thing to know is that you will need to maintain a highly disciplined and strategic way to keep your credit score high and manageable. For that, you will need to make sure that you:

  • Pay all your monthly bills on time
  • Pay off the balance every month when possible and if not at least make the minimum payment
  • Set up automatic alerts and payments to know when your payments are due and you do not miss out on one
  • While using your credit card, make sure that the balances on the credit cards are less than 30% of the credit limit of each
  • Do not sign up for any new credit cards when you are in excessive debt and
  • Look out for mistakes you made in your spending and make rectifications as soon as possible

Also, make sure that you get the free copy of your credit report as that will help you to know whether or not there are any disputes in it and make formal complaints about it to the relevant authority for immediate rectification.

However, these things are easier said than done but if you can do it effectively and diligently, it will surely raise your credit score which in turn will lower the interest rate you have to pay on a consolidation loan you wish to take out.

Get more options

When you have a healthy credit score you will get more options to choose from to conquer your debts as well as manage your household finance in a better and more productive way. There are ideally four major methods to consolidate debt and each one has pros and cons associated with it. Therefore, examine each of them closely to know about it as well as the penalties or fees for things such as late payments, early payoffs, and balance transfers.

  • Bank Loan – This is comparatively the simplest way to consolidate your debts. The bank will lend you enough money at a lower interest rate to pay off all your debts. You will now have to deal with only one creditor, the bank.
  • 0% Interest Credit Card Balance Transfer – This is the best way to pay off credit card debts only. However, you will have to pay off the balance with the introductory period or face incredibly high interest henceforth.
  • Debt Management Program – This is a service provided by a nonprofit credit counseling agency working with your creditors to reduce the interest rate and the monthly payments. You pay the agency once in a month for 3 to 5 years and they distribute it among all your creditors. However, consistency is the key here.
  • Personal Loan– You can even borrow money from your friends and family with or without interest but make sure that you do not take advantage of the situation but treat it like a business transaction.

However, in all these cases your credit score and your spending habits will play an important role.

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Guide For a Procrastinator to Manage Debt and Finances

The fact that most of the debtors find them in the vicious cycle of debt is primarily because they fall prey to their own devices. One such bad habit is procrastination from time to time. Most people think that they will repay a loan easily and on time and take on a loan but seldom find things happening in their favor or as they wanted to.

This is because most loans, especially the credit card debts carry on huge rate of interest that is accrued on the principal balance. The most worrying part and the most overlooked one as well is that this interest gets accrued at a compound rate that eventually results in a debt amount as high as the sky.

This is when people look for alternative options to repay their debt and get rid of those annoying and often embarrassing collection calls. In such situations they find that there are two most favorable options available:

  • One is to consolidate their debts with a bigger loan at a lower rate of interest and longer terms and
  • The other is to settle the debt for a reduced amount and pay it off one time or in installments is the creditors allow doing so.

Now, given the fact that the outstanding loan amount will be significantly reduced, most people opt for debt settlement without even knowing much about it or going through the debt settlement reviews to look at the bigger picture and its consequences. This is another mistake that is often committed by the debtors who love to delay debt payments.

Therefore, when it comes to managing your finances you must make sure that you avoid delaying so that things do not quickly become too expensive for you to handle.

Give up procrastination

This is basic. Since your life is busy you will find less time to deal with your debt given the fact that there are lots of things such as the due amount and due date to remember. However, there is no denial of the fact that you will have to pay the price for your delay or forgetting to pay your bills on time by having to pay enormously in the end.

Irrespective of whatever is the reason behind your procrastination, it will lead to a financial mess eventually. Make sure you move it to the forefront of the to-do list. Even if you are a habitual procrastinator, you must make sure that this is a doable thing by espousing a few small changes in your habits to achieve far bigger results down the line.

Better automate things

If you are predisposed to procrastination it is best to automate things as much as possible. This will keep your payments on top of all things and save you from feeling overwhelmed. This is the best approach to take especially if you have multiple creditors to pay every month.

Automating your payments will also help you to avoid late fees and charges. Therefore make sure that you:

  • Set up text or email alerts to know when the payments are due
  • To know when there are any changes in the minimum payment amount.

You can set up such automatic payments with the lender directly or through the bill pay tool of your bank. All you have to do for this is to make sure that you have enough money in your account so that there are no deficits of funds to cover the amount you owe.

Consolidate your debts

This is one best way for the habitual procrastinators to pay off their multiple bills. This approach will have several benefits to offer such as:

  • Your multiple bills will be reduced to only one
  • You will have lower payment to make to one single creditor only and
  • You will avoid miss outs and therefore accrued interests and fines.

This will make life as well as your finance management much easier offering you a lot of mental peace and lots of sleep at nights.

Credit card management

Most people have multiple credit cards and use all of them in a month and find them in huge debt in the end. As a prudent person, if you are using credit cards for your purchases, make sure that you keep only two credit cards active at any given time.

  • One of this should be of lower interest rate so that you can use it for bigger purchases and get a scope to revolve a balance and
  • The other credit card to use for anything else including earning rewards.

Make sure that you pay off the balance in full well within the interest-free period.

Assuming that you have multiple high-interest credit card balances, check out whether or not you qualify for a 0% balance transfer. Though most credit card balance transfer will charge you a 3% fee added to your transferred amount, such an approach often makes financial sense, especially if you are prone to procrastination.

Just make sure you create a proper and effective repayment plan to reduce the balance as much as you can within the no-interest period. This will direct all your payments towards the principal till the time the 0% offer is not expired.

Turn to technology

Technology does not only make your work easier and faster but it may also change your behavior as well. This is very helpful for a procrastinator as they find it very difficult relying on their willpower. If you turn to websites and apps it will help you to change your unhealthy behaviors and transform your bad habits into good ones.

There are even a few apps that will aggregate information regarding multiple accounts. These apps will help you to see the amount due and outstanding on a weekly or a monthly basis. Based on the information you can plan your moves accordingly. Just make sure that you set proper reminders so that you can log in regularly.

Remember, dealing with procrastination is difficult but not impossible. All you need to do is break things down into small, simpler and doable tasks to see big improvements in your finances.

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5 Debt Consolidation Myths You Must Know About

With so many debt consolidation lenders online, business owners look out for funding their companies to grow and expand. According to an article published on https://www.entrepreneur.com, for all the genuine and correct advice, you will find numerous misconceptions surrounding debt consolidation. In such a scenario, such myths and misinformation may let entrepreneurs believe that they will not qualify for loans. That does not mean you will not opt for consolidation to repay your small business loans and merge them into a single payment system. You should never let go of the opportunities to ensure financial assistance for your company because of the myths surrounding consolidated loans.

Paying heed to such misconceptions and fallacies will only affect your business prospects. You will not be able to clear your old loans and focus on the operations of your company. It may take you out of the competition if you cannot distinguish between the truth and lies. If you have any doubt about consolidated loans, take some time out of your busy schedule and read books, online resources to learn more about such loans and loan providers. Do your research instead of being carried away by lies. To make things easy for you, here are five debt consolidation myths that you must know about:

1. Consolidation is similar to bankruptcy

There are rumors around that consolidated loans are similar to bankruptcy. That is not true. It is nothing but a fallacy. As far as consolidation is concerned, it is not a borrower’s last resort such as bankruptcy. The truth is far from it and you should learn to separate fact from fiction. Consolidated loans help you to deal with your financial crisis and prevent the debts from accumulating over time. The matter of fact is you can combine all your small loans and merge them into a single payment system with a reasonable rate of interest. This way, you have no complications because you pay to a single lender instead of paying to multiple creditors throughout the month.  A consolidated loan will reduce your monthly interest, making things easier for you. You become financially stress-free.

2. A negative effect on your credit score

It is one of the scariest myths fretting borrowers. As an entrepreneur, if you start believing that taking a consolidated loan for your business will damage your credit rating, you lose half the battle when it comes to paying off your creditors. Whenever you hear such myths, you feel your score is reducing and a consolidated loan will affect your business credit rating very badly and your eligibility to apply for loans in the future. Wrong! The truth is different from the lies. As far as a consolidated loan is concerned, it has a similar impact on your credit score like any other standard loans. Therefore, there is nothing to panic.

The benefit is you will manage to pay your old loans at a reduced rate of interest than the credit card agencies charge usually. You will not miss payments and that will have a positive effect on your credit rating. Therefore, you should choose a lending company that has positive debt consolidation ratings.

3. Debt consolidation and settlement mean the same thing

The two aspects are completely different. When it comes to consolidation, you take out money from a traditional bank or other lenders to pay off your creditors. On the contrary, through debt settlement, you find a negotiator to reduce the amount of loan that you want to repay. The two are different methods to repay your loans. When it comes to settlement, you will need the interference of a professional such as a trustee or an insolvency attorney to persuade your creditors to waive a part of their monetary claim.

Debt consolidation will not help you reduce the amount of the loan. You can use the funds to pay off your creditors at a reduced rate of interest and fast. There is no place for negotiation to reduce the total loan amount. A debt settlement will leave behind signs that credit companies can see. It can affect your eligibility to take credit or influence the conditions accompanying your future loans.

4. Debt consolidation is not accessible if you do not own a home

If you own a property, it has multiple benefits. Then, it is not the deciding factor to opt for consolidated loans. The banks will not ask you to put your house at stake if want to take a consolidation loan. Reputed financial bodies will insist to improve your credit score, boost your payment history and annual earnings so that they can approve your application.

You can use your home or hold a mortgage to get consolidated loans at low rates of interest. It may have an effect on the sum the bank has provided you for your consolidated loan. However, getting the loan does not depend on the fact whether you own a house or not. Even if you stay in a rented place, you can opt for debt consolidation to pay off your creditors. There is no doubt about the same.

5. The reduced interest rate will not benefit you

It is one of the misleading myths to perplex a small business owner. The greatest benefit of consolidation loans is that it prevents you from paying skyrocketing interest that usually comes with your multiple credit cards. The interest on cards may go up to 20 percent that may rip you off financially. The rate of interest on a consolidated loan is not more than 12 percent subject to your current financial condition. Moreover, you can repay the loan each month for a period of five years, thus making the payments evenly spaced out. It gives you financial relief and liberty. You become stress-free after making payments at the end of each month. Therefore, avoid paying heed to the misconceptions that will only affect your peace of mind.

Conclusion

Now that these myths are debunked, apply for a consolidated loan if you need to clear your old dues and focus on your business without worrying about creditors.

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How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft Online

Identity theft or impersonation is a crime but it is very common these days. And the alarming part is that not many people are aware of the concept of identity theft. Viruses attacking an individual’s laptop or desktop was a primary threat to people in the past. Many telecommunication companies introduced measures like antivirus services as part of their Internet packages to protect consumers from any threat. For example, AT&T offers this feature.

Identity theft is something that individuals themselves have to protect themselves against. Here’s your guide to identity theft.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is also referred to as identity fraud. It is a practice where a person uses another person’s identity or his personal information without permission. This information includes the following:

  • Name
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security number

The criminals would then make use of this information to commit fraud. The nature of the theft is not restricted to one type only. Many different types of identity theft can occur. Because criminals are always in search of new ways to exploit others.

How is Your Identity Stolen?

It is not something that you would know about unless it happens to you. This is a rather scary part. Because the victim does not realize unless it is too late. In fact, in most of cases, you won’t know until you review your credit card history or the like. Which is even more dangerous because the maximum damage occurs by the time you realize about the theft. One thing that you should know is that there are various forms by which the data is stolen. Some of the common types of breaches include:

  • Mail theft
  • Wi-Fi hacking
  • Phishing and spam attacks
  • Malware activity
  • Dark web marketplaces
  • Data Breaches
  • ATM skimmers

Protection against Identity Theft

Here are all the ways by which you can protect yourself against identity theft:

Use of Passwords

You should be very careful about your use of passwords. Make sure that you protect all your digital devices using a password. Many people do not feel that it is necessary to ‘password protect’ their devices. While there are some people who think that it is a hassle, others just believe that there is no need to have a password. Well, seems like they are wrong to think that way.

There are also people (the absolute geniuses) who will use one password across all platforms. I mean the hackers don’t have to do much to exploit their information. It is always a good (read: best) idea to have a combination of passwords. You should have a different password for Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, for example. Note it down somewhere if the information is a lot for you to remember.

Stay Away from Shady Websites

Many crimes take place when you visit a shady website. You should always be very careful about the type of website that you are visiting. In case you are not familiar with what a shady or a skeptical website looks like, let me guide you. Identity thieves usually try to fool you into thinking that a certain website or an email is from your bank, for example. That is a very common trick.

Apart from that, they can even use website links that look similar to your credit card company etc. You need to act alert. In case, you feel that a certain website is not what you think it is, you should report it. Also, do not type your password or your username on any unfamiliar login screen.

Do Not Give Out Your Personal Information

Fraudsters have this common routine of calling various customers and pretending to be a representative from their bank or credit card company. They ask for personal details when they make such calls. You just need to remember one thing. You should never give your personal information to anyone over the phone. Avoid doing so. You never know who is on the other side. And the truth is that no legitimate company will ever call you to ask for your personal information. So no matter how genuine it may sound, do not share your personal information with anyone over the phone.

Conclusion

You have to play safe at all times. Be very careful. In case, you are not sure if the Internet service you have subscribed to offers protection against malware or not, then call the helpline. AT&T Customer service number or whatever the company is in your case is always working for such queries. So do not hesitate when in doubt.

InsightsProducts

How Do You Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt?

If you have too many credit card balances to pay off, then debt consolidation is your best bet. It will provide considerable relief to your financial stress. It does not matter whether you are an entrepreneur, a college student, or an employee; you need money to make both ends meet. Then, you do not have sufficient funds all the time to meet your expenses. You opt for credit cards, multiple of them to meet your financial requirements. One fine day, you realize that managing so many card debts is overwhelming. This is when debt consolidation comes into play. You merge all your credit card debts into one single account and pay just once every month. Yes, it will help you pay off your multiple balances. It simplifies your payment plans and reduces the rates of interest. You pay only one interest rate instead of many.

According to an article published on https://www.entrepreneur.com, you need to do some homework before consolidating your credit card debt. Weigh the pros and cons. Make sure you have enough means to repay the amount you borrow on time and without fail. Decide whether consolidation is the right option for you depending on your current financial situation. To help you understand better, here are a few pointers to consolidate your credit card debt:

Know your choices

If you have a good credit score, look for credit cards that offer low interest rates. Inquire whether you can transfer the high-interest card balances to a single card with a reduced APR. This way, you can save your hard-earned money with respect to monthly financial fees as you keep paying off your debt. You will find many credit card balance transfer options with low interest provided you have a healthy credit rating.

If you are fortunate, you can become eligible for a zero-interest rate for a year or 18 months. Knowing your choices is crucial if you want to pay off your debts on time. Therefore, take some time out of your busy schedule and research on card balance transferring options with the best interest rates. There is no hurry. Make a list of five options and choose the best among them that meets your financial needs.

Look at your scores and credit reports

Make sure you check your credit score and reports without much ado. It is the first thing you should do before considering consolidation. You may find errors in the entries in your credit report. These mistakes may prevent you from applying for a consolidated loan. If you feel that there are erroneous entries, challenge the authorities. Make sure that you get the errors rectified as soon as possible. Once you are through with it, your credit score will improve and you can apply for credit card debt consolidation.

There are a few agencies from where you can get your free credit report annually. These include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Besides, you can research on the other sites that will help you figure out what is inside your credit report. You will also become eligible for two free credit scores. The moment you know your score and where you stand financially, you will have the required information to help you ascertain what credit card debt consolidation program is best suited for you. Explore websites such as nationaldebtrelief.com or similar ones to look for the consolidation options and interest rates.

Do some arithmetic

If you are good at number crunching, it will help you compute and understand fees and charges in a better way. It is true that credit card debt consolidation saves your dollars but it does not come free. You need to shell out a balance transfer fee. Therefore, assess whether the costs associated with consolidation will outweigh the benefits or not. Your goal is to pay off your loan with a reduced rate of interest and on time. When it comes to promotional rates of interest, they will expire in a year’s time of a zero percent on a balance transfer credit card. Therefore, ensure that you have the potential to pay off the amount within 12 months. If you do not have the means, then taking a consolidated loan is not a wise idea. In such a case, there will be no savings at all because when you fail to make payments on time, and end up paying more than necessary due to the delay.

Check whether consolidation affects your credit score

When it comes to credit card consolidation, it can affect your credit rating in many ways. It depends on what strategy you adopt. For instance, if you are merging too many balances onto one card, you will not like to max out the credit card’s limit, as that will damage your credit utilization rate. It means how much debt you have at present in comparison to the total credit limit.

If you plan to close all your cards, it can affect your score adversely. When you decide to keep the old credit cards open, you are not reducing your credit utilization. The credit utilization contributes about 30 percent of your score. Therefore, you need to keep the same in a low ratio. Make sure you keep it below 30 percent and ideally less than 10 percent of your credit limits, on individual cards as well as overall.

When it comes to a debt management plan, it has an adverse impact on your credit during the tenure of the program. You might be asking why. Well, that is because your creditors will suspend or close your accounts when in the plan, thus harming your credit utilization.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to consolidate your credit card debt, make the most out of it. It is meant to lower your financial burden rather than increasing it. Until you pay off all your existing debts, do not apply for new credit. It will make you miss payments due to lack of funds, and you will end where you have begun. You will have no money to pay off your creditors because lenders will not offer loans due to your new credit and poor score.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

Web Development Best Practices to Set Yourself Up for Success

Website development is one of the most successful businesses in the digital era. The age of information in the new millennium has helped countless businesses take over a significant portion of the market. From brands like Nike to Apple, Amazon to Netflix all of them has utilized the power of creativity in design for their company. Look at these larger than life companies initiate a sense of optimism and awaken hope for a web development firm that everything will go as planned without any glitches.

While a positive mindset may help you achieve your goals, it is often not enough to help you succeed. In particular cases like the web developing industry, the market is too saturated for its own good. Competition is ideal for any industry, but a plethora of options even in the rarest of niches sets the present companies in the market for disaster.

Web development and design is the field of creativity, innovation, and for people who strive to achieve complex goals. Finding success in any field is possible by following the right steps and remaining motivated on the path. So if you are in the web industry and are aiming to succeed, here is a list of the top practices that will help you out.

Creating a plan of action

This may seem like common sense, but quite often, ambitious web designers fail to look at the bigger picture before starting the work of coding and creating. Constant rewriting of the website code is a waste of time and energy that can be easily avoided by having a prior plan in place. It is suggested that you must understand your priorities. A keen understanding of purpose is necessary to find success.

Prioritizing the user experience

As a professional creating custom web design, you must be aware of crucial user experience is to any site. Smooth navigation, throughout the design, and creative elements, make any website look genuine and often attract a higher rate of return on investments. Three-fourths of your project is the research and design while only a quarter equals programming.

The user experience needs to have a balance of blatant promotions and subtle clues. Since the customer today defines the market, it is compulsory of the web designer to understand the target audience to the nth degree. Any negligence in the research can lead to significant loss of time, energy and resources.

Be smart with the code. Instead of overwriting in an effort look clever, we suggest web developers to spend their time writing a simple, yet powerful code that works well for the audience and the company. In other words, your job as a web designer is to prioritize the customer through the lens of the client. Each line of your code must have a definite cause to be written. Unnecessary coding is an invitation to devastation. Hence we would reiterate the importance of brevity in the code for the umpteenth time.

Remember that progress is a process

The ideas always considered shippable are quite often the ones that lead to break downs. Letting a huge feature hold you back is like dreaming of an Apple watch before the development of the first computer. The use of Lean, Agile, Scrum and XP is a safe bet.

Since development is not an event but a process, there’s no harm in continuous trial and error. Incremental changes throughout the project would reduce the chances of major pitfalls. Hence we suggest our readers be practical and score singles, instead of wasting precious moments to hit the grand-slam of a home run!

Write to the present

It is only natural to try to predict the future trends of your market to succeed in the critical competition. However, that does not mean that the developer over engineers for an undetermined future trend. Disregarding the trends of today in favor of a futuristic possibility is like closing the bakery at lunchtime while hoping to make sales in the snow!

Depending too much on a hypothetical situation may leave a negative impact on your user interface which will inevitably worsen the user experience? Create backends that you can either fall back on or give yourself enough space to improve with the trends of the time. Leave sufficient flexibility in your web design so that you don’t necessarily have to do a complete overhaul; which is not only expensive but also tedious. We suggest our readers test the code that they create.

We believe that testing is a crucial element in the process of serious web development. Writing overcomplicated or illegible code is an error no professional should do. It is your responsibility as a creator to ensure that your code is updated and has undergone severe tests.

To conclude this article, remember to continue practicing and growing. The more you exercise your skills the likely you are to get better and improve your own mistakes. Your experience in the field of coding and creating will get you the insight no one shares. Keep reading, keep learning!

About the Author

Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health-related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

How to Create Kickass Interactive Content

Before you rush into seeing the infographic, consider this. Interactive content is reported to have 2 times more conversion than passive content. Moreover, 88% of marketers feel that interactive content helps them stand out from their competitors. With such overwhelming support in its favor, it’s only fair that we hand out tips on how to create it. Here is an infographic by Outgrow to help you learn more:

Now that you know how to create it, let’s talk about your option. And let’s face it, you have many. What are the types of interactive content you can create? We have listed most of them here for you.

1. Interactive Quizzes- Graded and Outcome

Interactive quizzes can be of two types- Graded or Outcome. The graded quiz is like a surprise test.  Only much more fun.
The lead/user attempts the quiz and is marked on the basis of answers that you have marked as correct. Here is an example:
Suppose you are a marketing agency that provides social media marketing solutions. You can create an effortless graded quiz like this one. Moreover, you can boost your lead generation by upselling and providing a free FB marketing ebook to people in exchange for contact information.

On the other hand, Outcome Quiz is meant to give personalized results. to the potential lead according to the answers they have input. Much like personality quizzes!

2. Interactive Calculators

Calculators can be best used to collect the email addresses of the middle of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel leads. They provide value to the lead/user determined by determining the quantitative value of a question they might have. How much will your legal fees be? How much should you spend on paid advertising? All you need is an interactive calculator!

3. Survey/Polls

According to some sources, the average response rate for the survey is 24.8% Add the magic of interactivity in it, and the percentage increases exponentially. You can use polls like this to build buyer personas, provide better customer experience, or just to have fun!

4. E-commerce Recommendation

Here’s how this works.

Potential leads can enter inputs according to their needs and personality. Each question is mapped to a certain response. The quiz provides the product results for those users accordingly. Here’s an example.

5. Chatbot

A chatbot is a tool that allows the company to conduct conversations with a user without the need for human personnel. Basically, it handles all the grunt work so the employees can use their time for more productive purposes. Here’s an example.

There is abundant potential in using interactive content. We hope that through this article we have prepared you to tap into it.

So, what are you waiting for?

Interact away!