Category: Insights

DevelopmentInsightsProducts

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.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

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.

DevelopmentInsightsProducts

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.

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaS

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!

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

What’s the Status of Women in Tech in 2019?

It’s no secret the tech field is dominated by men. Even though women now make up roughly 46 percent of the workforce, they only hold 24 percent of computer science jobs and about 11 percent of executive-level jobs in Silicon Valley. Of the women who do make it into Silicon Valley, they make 61 percent less than their male counterparts. That evens out to an average of over $16,000 less per year.

There is no direct reason for the gender discrepancy; however, speculation largely lends itself to the rise of the “male tech geniuses” like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs whose overpowering success overshadowed females in the field. Additionally, women are viewed as too emotional and face the problem of pregnancy bias that men do not.

When a man fails or makes a mistake at work, they are allowed the opportunity to explain themselves and fix their mistake. The same can not be said for women. When high-powered women make a mistake, they are met with a much higher level of scrutiny. Their failings are seen as a reason they shouldn’t lead rather than a simple misstep.

How do women actually stack up?

Although women are not as prevalent as men in the tech industry, that’s not due to lack of skill. On the contrary, female-powered companies have historically performed 3 times better and generated 12 percent higher revenue than those led by men.

Furthermore, in a GitHub study, code written by women was actually accepted 4 percent more often than code written by men. The catch? The coder’s genders were not disclosed prior to the acceptance of their code. Women in the study were in fact, better coders, but only when the judges were unaware they were women.

What is the effect on women?

The turnover rate is more than twice as high for women as it is for men. 41 percent of Women in tech are leaving their jobs as opposed to 17 percent of men. Of those women, 56 percent leave in the middle of their careers; 24 percent of whom leave the tech field completely, 20 percent leave the workforce altogether.

Why? Most often it’s because 30 percent of women over 35 still hold junior level positions while they see their male colleagues moving up around them. Rather than stay in unfulfilling jobs they will never advance in, women choose to leave in search of fulfillment elsewhere.

What are companies doing for women in tech?

Diversity initiatives

Many companies are dedicating time and money to work on diversity initiatives. Though only the companies who are truly diverse tend to be the ones who report, they’ve proven organizations with a more diverse workforce perform better. But that’s not all. High-diversity businesses also have more satisfied workers and a leg up on the competition.

Pinterest has one of the most diverse executive teams at the moment; however that number is only about 8 percent. Google also has higher numbers than the national average with a 30 percent female workforce but that number is still much lower than men. Tech companies are putting in the effort to catch up, but still, have a long way to go in diversifying their teams.

Reducing pregnancy bias

Pregnancy, maternity leave, and motherhood seem to be the largest biases against females in the workforce, especially in the tech industry. The United States is one of the only countries that does not require paid parental leave for businesses. As a result, many women are forced to choose between their careers and their children and leave the workforce. Some companies though, are making a point of actively combatting that.

For example, Netflix provides unlimited paid parental leave for a year following childbirth or adoption. Tech giants Google and YouTube give new mothers 18 weeks of paid leave while also give families $500 to invest in the stock market for their children.

Women still only account for about a quarter of the workforce in the tech field and are often overlooked. However, they have proven to be just as successful as, if not more successful than, their male counterparts. Though the tech industry has a long way to go before bridging the gender gap, they are slowly adapting practices to get there.

 

A big thanks to Amanda Peterson, to writing and submitting this piece to us.

InsightsProductsSaaS

Which Microsoft Azure Services Should You Pick for Your Next Application?

Microsoft Azure, which started its journey as Windows Azure in 2008, is now a digital force to reckon in the cloud computing space. It is one among the enterprise-grade cloud computing platforms that offer the trinity of cloud services – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) under one roof. Each service has several offerings within it making Azure a vast sea of cloud-based services.

Image Credit: Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure also supports a number of third-party systems, programming languages, and frameworks under its ambit of offerings. Additionally, there are 600+ Azure services covering mobile, storage, data management, messaging, CDN, media services, computing and much more. Even the Internet of Things and Machine Learning are available under the Microsoft Azure platform.

In other words, it is a one-stop-shop for digital enterprises that want agility, flexibility, and quick scalability. But, the sheer range of services offered by Microsoft Azure makes it difficult to pick the right service for a business. Also, Microsoft being a continuous innovator keeps changing and updating its Azure offerings on a regular basis. So, a choice made based on last month’s study may not prove to be the right one today.

Although it is challenging, it is not impossible to pick the right Microsoft Azure service. Like any decision-making related to IT, the right Azure service can also be selected for your business by seeking answers to a few specific questions.

How much control do you need?

Each Azure service offers a slightly different degree of control over infrastructure, application calling, load balances and so on.

Image Credit: Microsoft Azure

IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) offers Azure Container Services and Azure Virtual Machines. They provide maximum control but also require you to take care of the updates and infrastructure maintenance. Even ensuring security for the applications would fall on your shoulders. IaaS would prove to be a good choice if you want to run development and test modules, need high-power computing or run isolated applications.

PaaS (platform-as-a-service) gives you control over the applications, all the data and how it will run. But, you will have no control over the operating system nor do you have the responsibility of controlling it.

The last one, software as a service offers very little control over the infrastructure. But, you will be able to derive maximum business value out of the system using applications built and maintained by someone else.

Where do you want to run your application?

Azure offers an elaborate cloud setup that can accommodate all your application requirements. But, there could be instances when you have to strike a balance of utilizing Azure Cloud as well as public cloud facilities.

If you want the application to run purely on Azure, then you have to opt for services like Azure Stack, Azure Public Cloud, or on-premises.

The extent of application usage

The extent of your application usage is another decisive factor in your choice of Azure service. Your application could be running round the clock (like a website) or could be a serverless application that runs on request. The infrastructure requirements for both scenarios are different.

In the always-on mode, you need to pick the classic model which has to be maintained and paid on a monthly basis. It will prove to be a good fit for applications that need to be up and running round the clock, like an online store or a customer service portal, etc. where customers are expected to check in at any time.

But, if your application is used rarely or during specific times which can be predicted, as a background application, then the serverless model is recommended. It is also charged on a monthly basis, so you won’t have to pay much to use the resources on a random basis.

Match your service functionalities to the app requirements

Apart from the control and usage, you also have to consider the functionalities each service offers to make the right choice. For instance, IaaS offers functionalities like VM ScaleSet, Virtual Machines, and Container Service. Platform as a Service offers App Service, Cloud Service, and Service Fabric. App Service will fit better for CMS like WordPress, Umbraco, Joomla, Drupal, and the likes. If running microservices is your requirement, Service Fabric which offers round the clock availability, containers, multi-cloud support, and scalability should be your choice.

The Final Choice

Making the right choice from the vast spectrum of Azure services is not an easy task. You will have to figure out all your requirements elaborately and in fine detail to find the right fit. In fact, there are several other types of requirement categories that you can explore like, analytics using Azure, securing applications using Azure, running applications using Azure and so on.

What we have explained above should help you get around making a fine choice of Azure services. 

Author Bio

Digital Marketing Manager with 7 years of experience. Passionate about the latest trends in Digital Marketing, Technology, Cloud Computing, Healthcare Development, and App Development.

InsightsProductsSaaS

Applying Automation Testing on Real Devices Vs. Emulators

There are a few differences between automated testing on real devices versus emulators. Majority of the companies consult automation testing companies for this purpose. Let’s do a comparison to evaluate the best way for your company to take with respect to your test automation practices.

Keeping this scenario in mind, we are presenting you the list of pro and cons of automated testing on real devices and emulators.

Benefits of Real Devices

  1. Testing actual world situations (network, location and weather etc.) are very simple and offer a deeper understanding of app functioning in various situations.
  2. Picture brightness in various lighting scenarios, screen resolution etc. can be very easily tested.
  3. Interoperability testing is much simpler with a real device.
  4. Device performance is quicker than conforming virtual frameworks. This means that assessing app performance will produce more accurate outcomes.

Drawbacks of Real Devices

  1. Conducting automated tests on actual devices is a relatively expensive affair, which would hinder projects that are restricted by time and budget
  2. Because of the wide range of platforms and devices, it is difficult to efficiently carry out testing in a limited time period
  3. In the app development phase for unit testing, actual devices are very difficult to link to the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) in comparison with emulators, which would stifle the project.

Benefits of Emulators

  1. In the circumstances with extreme deadline pressure, attaining access to actual devices might be difficult. Therefore, emulators serve as a realistic alternative for testing in such scenarios.
  2. Budget constraints can influence the team’s decision to capitalize on actual devices. Virtual environments help to save time and money by permitting testers to continue with their tasks without spending on devices that may not be completely suitable for the specific tests they want to implement.
  3. Emulators are easily downloadable and open source.
  4. Web app testing can be done conveniently with the emulators.

Drawbacks of Emulators

  1. For protracted periods of evaluation, emulators are not suitable because protracted usage can be evaluated best on an actual device.
  2. The costs perhaps increase when your team notices that their emulator may be unsuited with certain app elements or apps. In such scenarios, they might require to invest in software patches to enable testing to continue.
  3. Perhaps the emulators support just a restricted number of mobile operating systems. This could render them useless in many scenarios.

After summarizing the pros and cons of everything, let us have a quick overview of some testing tools for the Android platform. This is the most famous mobile operating system these days and has an obvious option to consider.

MonkeyRunner: A famous tool where tests are developed in Python, MonkeyRunner can perform tests on both emulators and real devices. However, an important constraint in this tool is that you are required to write scripts for every device. Moreover, the test requires to be changed every time there’s a modification to the UI of the program being tested.

Ranorex: Can offer wide-ranging reports and pictures. However, the element search facility is a little inactive.

Robotium: Robotium is known as “Selenium for Android” which is a free UI testing tool. Nevertheless, you are required to allocate time with program source code to run your test automation suite. This is not completely suitable for interacting with system software.

Appium Automation framework: Utilizes the WebDriver interface to perform tests, and supports numerous programming languages and mobile web browser testing. Nevertheless, its reporting facility is not appropriately implemented.

In the light of the above discussion, QA teams are required to measure their own project necessities and decide what amalgamation of real devices and emulators would best suit their requirements for a given app, and what sacrifices they would be willing to make when selecting a test automation tool.

Author Bio

Ray Parker is a senior marketing consultant with a knack for writing about the latest news in tech, quality assurance, software development, and travel. With a decade of experience working in the tech industry, ray now dabbles out of his New York office.