Category: Development

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DevelopmentInsights

Student’s Guide: How to Start Learning Coding

The technology industry is one of the most important industries in the world. We use technology daily to keep us better connected, yet we know little about how it’s all created. As much as it may seem like magic, it was actually made by coders, programmers, and other computer science geniuses.

In this fast-growing industry, you might be wondering how you can get started and become part of it? It may seem difficult to find your initial bearings, but once you make that leap, it will be life-changing.

Why Learn to Code?

There are many benefits to learning to code, here are a few that we think should spark up an interest;

  • It is a booming industry so a lot of related jobs are in demand. Whether you are looking to work for a company or freelance, there are lots of opportunities.
  • When coding you’ll find new challenges and be continuously learning. This really boosts your problem-solving and logic skills, giving your left side of the brain a proper workout.
  • It’s fun! Nothing is more rewarding than seeing your technological creations come to life before your eyes. After you’ve passed the initial stages of getting started you can delve into specific parts you are more passionate about and be more creative.

What Languages are Best for Beginners?

Coding is a vast subject, where there are hundreds of different coding languages, each with a different purpose to what they can do. It’s not always easy to figure out what’s the best one to start with and that’s really because there is not just one answer. There are multiple different languages that work well in the beginning, but it’s best to start with the one that fits in with your coding goals. Below are some coding languages that beginners often start with and a little summary of how they can be helpful.

  • HTML – used as a foundation of the internet, and can set up content for web pages. HTML is a great starting block for beginners and often you’ll find even when you are more advanced you’ll be referring back to HTML.
  • CCS – HTML and CSS go as a nice pairing, so often you can learn them together. However, CCS handles the colors, sizing, fonts, and layouts of web pages. If you want to sparkle up a page, this is the one for you.
  • JavaScript – JavaScript helps make web pages more interactive. You can learn how to add videos, maps, and animated graphics.
  • Python – Python is another good option to start with as a lot of its code reads more like English so it’s easier for beginners to get a good grasp of. It isn’t built for a specific task, it instead helps build websites and software, automate tasks, and conduct data analysis.

Don’t feel that you have to keep to just one of these, you can switch between a few, and in the next section, you’ll learn more about how best to learn these.

Coding Tutors

The best way to learn to code thoroughly and quickly is with your very own coding tutor. In a one-to-one environment, your tutor can focus on key areas specific to your needs, track your progress, and you will be able to learn at your own pace. Tutor House, a top online tutoring platform, provides online coding lessons for students. Their tutors are highly experienced in many coding languages, and you can opt-in for a free trial call to find out how they will help achieve your goals. Learn at a time convenient to you and get personalized feedback to see a positive improvement.

Online Tutorials

If you prefer to go the longer route and be self-taught, there are numerous online coding tutorials and resources out there for you to pick up on. Tutorialspoint is a coding channel that carefully explains concepts to you and provides beginner tutorials for many different languages such as HTML, CCS, and Javascript. Self-teaching can be tricky, so make sure you go through these tutorials and resources at your own pace and practice each point thoroughly before moving on to the next. This will move you in a positive direction where you can track your own progress.

Books and Podcasts

Books
A young girl has a lot of books to read in the short time period

There are many books and podcasts that can help educate you on topics on coding. Books are a great way of learning more about coding history and how people have developed in the tech industry. Podcasts can inform you on current and specific topics on coding; such as cyberwarfare, and the socio-economic impact of artificial intelligence. This will help you have a deeper understanding of your discipline and find interests in particular areas in your free time. It’s especially useful to read about topics that are difficult and it helps you see things from a different perspective.

Mini Projects

Most importantly, learn coding by doing. Start yourself up on a mini project and challenge and see how well you can adapt. Whether that is through your lessons with a tutor, an online course, or learning with friends. Sometimes it’s easier to learn when you have a particular motivation to create. The more action, the better the results, and it builds up your problem-solving skills along the way.

Have You Learned The Secret Language Yet?

Like with traditional language learning, to learn a coding language, you need to be passionate, you need to be patient, and you need to practice. There is so much you can do and learn in the coding world, you’ll never get bored. That’s why often coders, new and old, can learn from each other as each person learns with a whole new perspective. Coding is worthwhile to learn – don’t miss out!

Coding
DevelopmentSaaS

Why Unit Testing is Important in Software Development?

So finally you have decided to delve into the software development world, great start! I hope you won’t miss out on the penultimate step that is supposed to be taken before the launch of the software product to the market. I am talking about none other than software testing!

Of course, till now it has been pretty common for businesses to ignore this step due to enormous reasons such as it is not budget-friendly or it’s fine what we need is a properly developed software. More or less, I have heard many people saying that this would lead to no major consequences. Well, what you may miss out on is software testing is a must-do thing as it offers a plethora of benefits ranging from enhanced product quality to improved security, detect compatibility with different devices and platforms and a lot goes more.

However, I am not going to get into the details of what software testing is or why one must look into finding relevant software testing services as I am pretty sure there are many posts written on a daily basis.  The following post focuses on what unit testing is and why unit tests are a significant aspect of the software testing space. So without any further ado, let’s begin!

Define Unit Testing?

As the name implies, unit testing can be considered as a subset of software testing where components are being tested individually. In any software testing life cycle model (STLC), unit testing is the very first level of testing and it comes prior to integration testing. In other words, I would say that unit testing is a white-box testing method mainly performed by the developer. However, this is not true for each and every case as of now, developers due to time restraints are unable to conduct relevant tests due to which QA engineers have to barge in. 

As mentioned earlier, unit testing emphasizes individual units of the software being tested separately. For example, one can test different computer modules to ensure whether they are fit to use or not. This is mainly done to check whether it’s the developer’s mistake or not. Moreover, you can consider it an approach to check how functionally appropriate these modules are individual. 

So what is the main objective behind conducting unit tests?

  • A part of code can be separated 
  • To check whether the code is correct or not
  • Thorough check through functionality for smooth procedures
  • Fix errors and easy debugging process to save time, money, and energy
  • Enhance code reusability

Types of Unit Tests

The ultimate objective of unit testing as mentioned above is to double-check whether things are working as they are supposed to in the first place. But this type of testing is more detailed checking every module individually. You see, the entire system works wonders only if the individual parts are working in great condition. Now there are two types of unit testing: one is manual testing and the other is automated testing.

Now what happens is software testers most of the time tend to choose the automated method. The reason being it’s quick offers accurate results and best when it comes to performance. Here developers are initially asked to write a specific section of test code so that functions can be tested automatically. On the contrary, The manual approach is a bit time-consuming as here one needs to follow a specific procedure for everything to work effectively. 

Importance of Unit Testing in Software Development

Now, why is unit testing important? Well, unit testing offers a wide range of benefits in the entire software development process. Hereby performing unit testing software developers won’t be just going through the components of the software individually but also can spot errors in the unit testing phase. Further in case of any error occurs, developers can debug it right away! 

Now many of you often get confused between unit testing and test-driven development. Well, there is a difference! There is no specific way of conducting unit tests. I mean one can write them before the code is implemented and even after that. Now when it comes to test-driven development, many of you have this misconception that it is a testing technique. It’s not! This can be considered as a software development practice where different tests are being implemented just to define the code functions. These codes haven’t been written yet!  Unlike unit tests, the main goal of test-driven development is to improve the code right on during the development process. Not to mention that unit testing ensures the creation of bug-free code.  Now without any further ado, let us begin why it is important to conduct unit testing

1. Unit Tests enhances the code quality

Software developers generally do is they write unit tests first and then write the code. This happens most of the time while conducting test-driven development. And you know what’s the best part, if the code somehow doesn’t meet appropriate requirements or specifications then the code won’t be added. Moreover, here developers can easily modify the code. Yes, even after such modifications there is no change in the functionality of neighboring units. Everything stays the same yet different. 

In case, if something happens to the code, nothing can stop developers from identifying the root cause in the given time. Yes, they no longer will be asked to unwieldy go through the codebase to spot the issue. This is the pure magic of unit testing.  Now does this mean the code adheres to specified standards? Absolutely! 

2. Makes the Agile Software Development Process

Another crucial advantage of unit testing is it makes the development process more agile. Now in a general scenario what happens is when developers try adding more and more features just to make the software more attention-grabbing, they likely or unlikely are asked to change old design and the code. Now, this is a lose-lose situation. On one hand, you are changing the code and on the other hand, you are running out of your budget. As a solution, to refactor things accurately, it is advisable to conduct unit test cases in place.

Unit testing and agile programming are more like chocolate and peanut butter. So to conduct safe refactoring, choose this combo right away! 

  3. Documentation

Software
Software is physically represented in form of the disc that comes within the box

Of course, documentation is extremely important whether it’s unit testing, integration testing, or any other software testing type. And unit testing offers very detailed documentation to assist professionals conducting the software development process. In case, if the developers get stuck or misguided, the developers can go through the document at any point in time.  

4. Early Detection of software bugs

Issues found at an early stage are the best way to conduct the development process. Now since unit testing can be conducted before and after code is implemented. It becomes pure bliss for developers as they can find issues, fix them and all this happens without interfering with other pieces of code.

5. Changes and Integration Made Easier

Refactoring the application code, Another crucial benefit worth considering here. Here, once unit tests are conducted by professionals can decipher the code that might be hindering the overall app development procedure. By conducting unit tests, the scalability and maintenance of the code automatically improve.

6. Software Is Tested Prior to Delivery

As a developer what is the prime need while writing the code? To ensure that it operates in the best manner possible. And Unit Testing is one such way that can make this happen! 

7. It significantly lowers development costs

Now have you ever wondered what happens if the errors are detected later on? Of course, first of all, high loss of money! Then you have to make several system changes. It may quite interest you to know that the price of detecting an error in a unit test is way lower than the price of doing everything right from spotting to fixing errors on other levels of testing. Performing unit tests is all about high-end savings whether it is in the context of time, money, and energy. 

8. Design

Psychologically speaking, writing the tests compels a developer to think hard. Most of the time, the life of developers becomes monotonous and they just start working on the process before writing the code. Unit tests won’t let this happen!  Apart from making them think, developers can focus more on creating intimidating designs. You only get to know its worth unless it is being tested in time. Similarly, what is the code’s responsibility? This should be your prime concern before you even begin developing. 

9. Unit Test improves Performance

Performance
A schematic representation of the performance

What would any business expect from software? That it has to be best in regards to performance, right?  And conducting frequent unit tests definitely results in enhanced performance of the product. 

10. Provides a Chance for Continuous Integration

Software development is a continuous process where we see a team of software developers working on several features which are cross-cutting concerns. Now if by any chance a developer makes a breaking change and other members are unable to figure that out what could happen? Fortunately, we have a CI server. 

CI servers are pretty much beneficial because it not only handles the merging and compilation precisely but also can run your tests whether it’s a functional, unit, integration, etc.

Conclusion

Again I would say all about the software testing realm is very subjective though it does have a brighter side there are certain situations where it might not be a good fit. At the end of the day, it’s the way you make things work. So that’s all for now! In case you have any doubt or issues, feel free to mention that in the comment section below.

test code, unit test cases, unit testing phase, unit testing ensures, code unit testing, documentation unit testing

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DevelopmentInsights

Exit Interviews to Reduce Employee Turnover and the Role of Leadership

1 in 4 people quit their job in 2021. The number continues to grow and is not likely to subside this year.1 As the “Great Resignation” upsets companies across every industry, employers are searching for ways to reduce employee turnover.

The interest in turnover is more relevant than ever. Unemployment levels and job openings returned to pre-pandemic levels. Losing trained workers requires the organization to invest significant time and money to recruit, interview, train, and onboard new hires. Turnover disrupts an organization because it requires managers, peers, and human resources to divert resources and takes time away from the organization’s primary service goals.

As the pandemic played a huge role in upheaval, more workers now cite on exit interviews the desire to stay working remotely as a reason to resign. The contrast is universal. Many worked increasingly long hours at home. At the same time, higher numbers than ever claim less work-life balance as a result of being “always-on”. The lack of opportunity and growth many employees experienced contributes to the mass exodus from current employers. Whatever their specific reason for leaving, workers are confident enough in their job prospects to try something new. What more than 50% don’t want to change, is going into the office.

How has workplace culture changed today?

The days when managers simply “command and control” employees are gone. Organizations have changed. Employees bring different needs, wants, and expectations than just two years ago. As people rethink what work means to them and how they are valued, how they spend their time has greater consequences. There are not enough people to replace the retirees that permanently left the workforce. The common goal for any company today is to retain the valued employees they have. Managers, even unknowingly, can create an environment that cultivates or hinders employee morale, undermining the investment HR or leadership makes in benefits, reward programs, and training.

Managers are hired for both their subject matter expertise and also their “soft skills”. As stressors rose for them as well, some were not able to translate those valuable assets into managerial communication or employee motivation.  A study by Life Meets Work found that 56% of American workers claim their boss is “mildly” or “highly toxic”.2 The staff enduring high-stress situations can suffer from emotional exhaustion and recurring anxiety, significantly decreasing performance, creativity, and problem-solving. With strong exit interview reports that compare and contrast microculture experiences, disconnects are clearer to see. A microculture is a mix of demographic and organizational aspects that form a unique cultural envelope for a given population. A single company can have dozens of unique experiences that exit interview analysis reveals.

For example, when employees feel supported at work, they are more likely to indicate a highly fair work environment. According to Gartner, creating a better employee experience will be the most important initiative for HR executives in 2022. “To do this, organizations need to go beyond policies and develop philosophies.” (Brian Kropp, Chief Researcher) One of the challenges is not knowing if these manager breakdowns exist, or where they are most prevalent. Organizations that conduct exit interviews with meaningful exit interview questions about direct supervisors, can unlock hidden insights.

Exit interview
Schematic representation of the procedure of the exit interview

Consider…How well do existing employees trust their manager?

How do those same employees feel about your “employer being a good place to work”?

The negative correlation is high. Employees that don’t trust their manager are less likely to promote that employer to others.

What manager insights are built by conducting exit interviews?

 Why do so many great employees leave their job?

Only 27% of those who say they have “good managers” are thinking about quitting in the next 12 months, versus 63% of employees who have a “bad manager”. Manager relationships can more than double the intention to leave.

So, the best exit interview questions include and inform specific manager actions and unearth areas for which an underperforming manager can see gaps to develop. Most helpful on an exit interview template include:

  •  Accessibility
  • Fairness and equality
  • Trust
  • Respect / Appreciation
  • Nature of feedback
  • An inclination for career development

The role of supervisors is key to an employee’s job experience. They control the degree of structure and potential conflict in the work itself. Managers provide informal and formal feedback to staff on their work behavior and control rewards and even the job security that the employee may enjoy. All these parts of the job experience are particularly important to employees who are trying to adjust themselves in a volatile environment.

Millennial employees are especially less tolerant of mismanagement. Those who feel stifled by their manager are far more likely to quit. They desire an environment that allows them to grow, accept, and use their ideas. Millennials desire greater freedom and trust, and consistently quit jobs when they don’t feel that with their manager.

How can you prevent staff turnover with exit interviews?

What can exit interviews do to slow staff turnover and retain top talent? Those exit interview questions are a crucial step in the offboarding process. An employee’s experience contains valuable information and is the cornerstone of any long-term retention strategy. Good exit interview questions anchor the data that can drive specific changes across:

  • Benefits
  • Compensation
  • Staff Training
  • Recruiting
  • Recognition Programs
  • Manager Coaching

Exit Interview Action Items

Employee turnover triggers a complex chain of events within organizations. When similar exit interview trends are reported across departments, titles, locations, divisions, we have a compelling argument for change. How do the managers of those departments or locations compare?

Learning the precise gaps in management skills allows leadership to fill those gaps with targeted training and support tools. Helping managers to master interpersonal skills gives them the ability to hone their positive influence as well as curb negative impact. Increase the chance that your managers are one of the 27% who is “good managers”.

Author Bio: 

Reka Barna is a Senior Talent Management Associate at Retensa, the world’s leading innovator of employee retention strategies, that provides the tools to predict and prevent breakdowns across the Employee Lifecycle. Her work at Retensa focuses on supporting retention consulting projects on staff turnover, employee engagement strategies, and composing Talent Management research. She is a graduate of Touro College School of Health Sciences, New York, and pursuing her master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 

References:

  1. Viser. (2021). Outsmart. Retrieved from Four Things We Learned About the Resignation Wave- and what to Do Next: https://www.visier.com/blog/trends/four-things-we-learned-about-the-resignation-wave-and-what-to-do-next/
  2.  Abbajay, M. (2018, September 7). Harvard Business Review. What to Do When You Have a Bad Boss: https://hbr.org/2018/09/what-to-do-when-you-have-a-bad-boss
  3. Retensa. (n.d.). Blog. Avoiding Managerial Dysfunction in your Workplace: https://retensa.com/blog/avoiding-managerial-dysfunction-in-your-workplace/

Everett Spain and Boris Groyberg ( 2016, April) Harvard Business Review. Making Exit Interviews Count: https://hbr.org/2016/04/making-exit-interviews-count

Bulb
DevelopmentInsights

How Technology Can Help Your Business Stay Environmentally Friendly

Globalization embodies growth and progress but it also has major negative impacts on the environment. The production, importation, and exportation of goods produce waste, carbon emission, and pollution, and consumers are being alarmed by this matter, now more than ever. This amplifies the need for conversation and action towards becoming environmentally friendly, from the smallest ways to bigger commercial and industrial-scale initiatives.

From a macro perspective, major corporations have been making pledges to be more environmentally friendly, especially in cutting their carbon emissions. But the pressure is also on smaller startups, who must consciously work to avoid increasing the carbon footprint. Ambitious goals like going green can be costly but have become a necessary consideration for businesses to serve customers in a way that does not harm the environment.

How Technology Can Help Businesses Stay Environmentally Friendly

  1. Go Paperless

About 399 million metric tons of paper was consumed globally in 2020, and these numbers are projected only to increase yearly. As wood is required for more paper production, going paperless and saving trees can help reduce emissions.

Going digital can be a huge adjustment for any company considering the time, cost, and learning curve. But it doesn’t have to be a major leap. There are simple tools and solutions for a business to transition from paper to paperless. Starting with easy-to-use web-based project management and customer relationship management systems can help reduce the need for paper forms and files. 

There are also communication solutions that leave minimal physical paper trails in processes, especially cloud-based telephony systems or VoIPs. To learn more about how VoIP is used in business, a quick search on what is VoIP lists its numerous advantages. 

  1. Work Remotely to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Almost 25 percent of the global carbon emission comes from the transport sector, and among the major contributors are cities with business districts and heavy traffic. One way to reduce your business’s carbon footprint is by considering remote work—even if it’s once a week. Eliminating the need to commute to work also reduces the usage of office facilities and energy while also empowering your employees to support a significant cause.

  1. Use Renewable Energy

Any business in almost all industries requires power to operate and produce products or deliver services. However, electrical energy, which is commonly used globally, negatively affects the environment, but there are several alternative sustainable energy sources. 

Renewable or clean energy basically comes from sustainable sources or materials that do not deplete. This includes solar, wind, water, and biomass. These energy sources generate electricity with lower carbon emissions. It may need a significant investment, but switching to clean energy is an ideal step if the goal is to be eco-friendly on a larger scale. It can also help cut costs on energy bills, generating a long-term benefit for a business.

There are renewable energy systems that can be used in today’s businesses, like wind, solar, and geothermal power, but this will depend on your business’s location. It is also important to note that some jurisdictions require regulatory and legal permissions before using or installing renewable energy technology. So be sure to plan and research what renewable energy will work best for your business.

  1. Improve Office Recycling
Office paper is ready to be recycled

Among the most known ways to be environmentally friendly is the “3 Rs”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Even in business, this still applies and must be employed. Prioritize implementing responsible waste disposal and strengthening recycling initiatives in the workplace. You can invest in waste management technology, like bins with sensors, and this can make recycling more interesting for employees, encouraging more enthusiastic participation. 

Using recycled products like pens and notepads for your daily business needs also encourages the eco-friendly efforts of others. It just needs mindful planning and research to find the materials that will work best for your business.

Committing to becoming an eco-friendly business requires long-term efforts. More than the potential positive impact on your brand, making your business more environmentally friendly is also a social responsibility. Studies suggest that environmental and climate issues will only progress as time passes. The combined efforts of individuals and businesses can drastically slow down climate changes. And as you grow your business, relish the opportunity to be part of the solution in facing and addressing environmental issues today.

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DevelopmentMartechProducts

Five Ways to Learn More About Tech

Are you in the technology business? Do you simply want to learn more about technology to improve a business that doesn’t involve tech directly? Whatever you are doing, learning about technology, engineering, and mathematics is always helpful. It can really supplement your overall knowledge and open the door to new opportunities. Technology is the future of our society. It is changing the way we live and augmenting modern life. Below are five ways you can learn more about technology.

Learn about Computer Programming

When it comes to computer programming, you can learn a lot on your own. You don’t need to go to college to learn how to program. First, think about what you are doing and how knowing a little bit about programming will help you grow and improve. You can take an online course, read up on blogs, and practice coding and programming at your home. Some people don’t need to know how to program, but it will facilitate your life if you are working in the business of technology.

Take Online Math Courses

If you are like a lot of people in the United States, you didn’t get a great education in mathematics. When you are in technology or are trying to get into the business of it, you should know more about math. There are plenty of options for learning mathematics. Taking a linear algebra online course will supplement your knowledge on the subject. Whether you’re a physicist, an engineer, or a technologist, knowing math is pivotal. Even if it doesn’t directly apply to what you are doing, taking online math courses will facilitate the process of learning more about technology.

Work with Engineers

Technology takes a lot of engineering. If you aren’t trained in the field, you should work with engineers and learn from them. It’s imperative to learn more about engineering if you want to learn about technology. There are all kinds of sectors in engineering. Employ engineers, network with them, and ask them questions. If you’re an engineer yourself, you know that it’s invaluable to gain knowledge from engineers in other areas of the field. Whether you’re trying to become a huge technology company or are specializing in a niche, working with engineers is very important.

What About Marketing?

Technology and marketing are colliding, converging. Marketing is no longer simply tangible; it is increasingly digital. Search engine optimization (SEO) is becoming more and more vital in the age of digital marketing. SEO is the process of creating content and using metadata to land web pages as high up on search engines like Google and Bing as possible. 

By using keywords, hyperlinks, and engaging copy, companies of all kinds can inform their customers, direct them to contact and purchase hyperlinks and use keywords to be seen when people type them in on search engines. If you are in tech, you should use it to learn more about who is successful and why. SEO provides education in all that is technology marketing. It will teach you a lot.

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Network
Schematic display of the network

Finally, if technology is our culture, machine learning and AI are at the forefront of it. The ability for machines to teach themselves new things without humans is incredibly valuable. Can they automate on their own to produce results and find new solutions to problems? Your whole company and outlook on tech can be changed by this. When you are interested in tech and know a lot about it, the final frontier is AI and machine learning. If you learn about these subjects, you will be able to create success. A good place to start? AI writing software and apps that can make your life easier. 

Technology is evolving. Life is changing. Things are moving. Whatever you are interested in and whatever you do for work, learning about technology will enable you to get more done. Whether you want to create a game-changing tech business or want to use tech more effectively in your non-tech company, doing your best to learn more about it will do you a lot of good. What are you waiting for? If you need to learn more about technology, it’s time to get started. It is the future of modernity and, as they say, the future is now. The longer you wait, the more of an uphill climb it will be. 

Wind Power
DevelopmentInsights

The Different Types of Renewable Energy and Why They’re Important

Researchers have been warning that if we don’t reduce emissions, our actions will have a permanent, irreversible impact on the environment. Fossil fuels commonly used worldwide are responsible for much of these emissions linked to rising temperatures.  

As companies and governments emphasize solving the climate crisis, demand for clean energy is on the rise. It’s estimated that renewable energy sources will account for 90% of the increase in the world’s total power capacity this year. Renewable energy sources provide a cleaner alternative to non-renewable sources like fossil fuels.  

Read on to learn about the different types of renewable energy and why they are beneficial.   

What Is Renewable Energy?  

Non-renewable energy comes from sources limited in capacity. They take such a long time to replenish that they are gone for good once we run out. Types of non-renewable energy include coal, oil, and natural gas.  

Renewable energy comes from Earth’s natural sources that are constantly replenishing, like wind and sunlight. These types of energy do much less harm to the environment than their non-renewable counterparts.  

Types of Renewable Energy  

Although we think of renewable energy as the power of the future, it has been around for centuries. But, recent advances in technology have once again put it at the forefront. The most common types of renewable energy sources include the following:  

Solar Power 

Solar power harnesses the limitless supply of sunlight and turns it into electricity and heat. Solar power uses photovoltaic cells to convert light into energy.  

Solar power has become accessible renewable energy in the consumer market as individuals can have solar panels installed on their homes from companies like Blue Raven Solar. Solar panels can provide clean energy to a single building or an entire neighborhood.  

Wind Power 

Wind power harnesses the wind to turn the blades on a turbine, and this motion then powers a generator to produce electricity. Wind turbines are often located in rural areas but are also placed offshore. Although wind power doesn’t generate any emissions, people do find the large turbines noisy and unsightly.  

Hydroelectric Power 

Hydroelectric power station
A hydroelectric power station is located in the natural environment

Hydroelectric power uses fast-moving water in rivers to turn a turbine and power a generator to produce electricity. Dams often have these turbines to make hydroelectric power. Although dams produce renewable energy, they aren’t considered clean energy because they divert natural waterways and negatively impact animals and humans.  

Geothermal Energy  

This type of renewable energy captures the heat released naturally by the Earth to heat water and bring it to the surface to turn turbines. To reduce its environmental impact, geothermal plants pump water back underground.  

Tidal Power 

Tidal power is a newer form of hydroelectric power that uses the force and motion of the tides to generate electricity. It is a reliable and relatively constant method of generating power. Energy is often collected in tidal barrages, which are like dams.  

Benefits of Renewable Energy  

Renewable energy sources aren’t all clean since they do produce some effects on the environment. But, many of these sources produce no emissions. As the world becomes more reliant, we can reduce the impact our emissions have on the climate.  

In addition to the environmental benefits, the growing renewable resource industry creates more jobs to develop and install renewable energy sources.  

Renewable Energy Is Here to Stay  

Renewable energy has sparked a revolution in the energy industry as the world attempts to solve the climate crisis. Rising demand has led to advancements in the industry. With so many types of renewable energy, we have many ways to change how we get our power.  

Are you looking to keep up with the latest renewable energy news? Check out our website for the latest technology news and trends. 

Laptop
DevelopmentMartech

Skyrocket Your Sales With These 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

Boosting your conversion rates is no walk-in in the park.

You’ll need to apply the right strategies, leverage the best-fitting tools, and learn a thing or two from others in the industry to convert more of your prospects into paying customers. 

While there are many tactics to optimize your website for conversions and increase sales, this guide narrows down some of the tried and tested ways into five tips. 

Read on to learn these five conversion rate optimization hacks to help amplify your existing marketing and sales efforts and grow your revenue. 

1. Use popups

When used properly, popups can help you convince your casual website visitors to sign up to your email list and, ultimately, buy your products. 

The key is to implement a strategy to ensure your popups help showcase your offer’s value to your potential customers instead of annoying them and driving them away. 

Learn from these tips to use popups effectively. 

  • Consider providing several offers such as premium content, PDFs, free stuff, and other products and assess which ones drive the most conversions. 
  • Time your popups properly and avoid setting them to trigger as soon as visitors land on your page. Give shoppers a chance to explore first and get an idea about your brand before displaying your popups.  
  • Ensure visitors can easily close your popups. The goal is to entice prospects into acting on your offer and not “trap” them into agreeing to subscribe or other actions. This can frustrate your visitors, causing them to abandon your website.
  • Configure a cookie, so your popup only appears once for each user. Again, the goal is to offer value and encourage conversions with your popups, not drive your potential customers away. 
  • Emphasize your offer’s benefit so visitors can immediately see it. Doing so shows shoppers your product’s or service’s value instantly, enticing them to sign up or buy. 

This popup from Frank & Oak is a classic example of a popup highlighting the offer with “Get instant 15% off.” 

A young man with the hat

Some of the popular, easiest e-commerce platforms to use offer built-in popup features (or integrate plugins) you can easily customize and run.

2. Strengthen your headlines

Landing pages have great potential to drive conversions and sales. If you’re not optimizing them properly, visitors might not read further than the headline and immediately leave. 

You can miss tons of conversion opportunities, hurting your company’s profitability. 

An excellent approach to ensure your headlines help you convert visitors is to wrap your entire sales pitch into a single bold sentence.

Use impactful headline types that can help you generate leads better and drive conversions, such as:

  • Direct headlines
  • Command headlines
  • Instructional or How-to headlines

Additionally, use headline analyzer tools such as Sharethrough. The tool scores your headlines based on engagement and impression. 

Headline quality score

The tool also shows the strong aspects of your headline and provides recommendations to improve it. 

Create headlines that catch your visitors’ interest, solve a problem, answer a question, or offer information. 

3. Leverage trust elements

The hard truth is, you need to establish trust with first-time website visitors before they buy from you.

After all, new visitors don’t know your brand and your product’s quality yet. Some might have heard of your brand but need a bit more reassurance that your business is legitimate and trustworthy. 

The solution? Leverage trust elements across your website with these tips. 

  • Keep your website up-to-date. A modern website design helps indicate that your website is active. This helps reassure customers that you’re a legitimate business and nurture trust.
  • Display contact information prominently. Show your potential customers how they can reach you. It’s one way of reinforcing that you’re a real business. 

You can also configure Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots for customer service to assist visitors in contacting you or answering common questions.

Providing support is an excellent way to nurture trust and generate conversions. 

  • Show security seals. Display trust badges such as Norton and other security seals. This helps assure customers that their personal data, such as credit card information, are secure when they transact on your site.  
Guaranteed safe checkout
  • Leverage media mentions. Show mentions of your brand by other companies and well-known institutions to enhance your brand’s credibility. These act as testimonials and social proof, helping you build trust with your prospects.  

While it takes time and hard work to establish trust with your potential customers, using trust elements strategically can help reinforce your efforts and ultimately boost your conversions. 

4. Utilize categories to showcase your products

Creating product descriptions that convert can help you reach your conversion goals and increase your sales.

You can take this to the next level by optimizing your product categories for conversions. 

The key is to ensure you don’t bombard visitors with individual products on your homepage. This can overwhelm your potential customers, leading to a negative user experience.  

Instead, design product categories to deliver seamless shopping experiences with these quick tips. 

  • Display your top-level product categories as visual navigation elements. This helps visitors browse your site with ease and find the products they want quickly.  
  • Show the number of available items under each category. This can instantly tell visitors you have the item they’re looking for. Ensure this doesn’t create clutter and overwhelm your users. 

Optimizing your product categories helps show your products’ breadth and depth without visitors going through hoops to find the items they want. 

Note: If you find integrating product categories into your online store too technical, get a web design agency to help you out. 

They can create and organize your menus without ruining your site’s navigation. They can also assist in your overall strategy to optimize your product page and categories for memorable shopping experiences.

5. Create persuasive CTAs

A clear call-to-action helps tell your visitors what to do next while enticing them to act on your conversion goals. 

This makes it crucial to create CTAs that your visitors are more likely to click than ignore.

Here are some tips to help you create irresistible CTAs. 

  • Consider using only one CTA on each page. A single CTA reduces confusion and distractions, helping visitors focus on performing the action you want them to do. 
  • Adopt web usability best practices. This helps you provide user experiences that most visitors are familiar with, simplifying navigating your site and responding to your CTAs. 
  • Run split tests of your CTA elements. Test variations of your CTA button’s color, size, and shape. For instance, you can test which CTA button color variation drives the most conversions and tweak accordingly for better results. 
  • Make your offers clear through proper context. People are more likely to convert when they know exactly what to expect from your offer. It also helps to apply scarcity to make your CTAs more persuasive, encouraging conversions. 

For example, if you’re running a webinar on summit vs. conference, you can include “Register now before slots run out” on your landing page. 

Ready to drive your conversions through the roof?

Increasing your conversion rate requires strategy and creativity.

Put in the hard work now, and you should see some significant improvements, helping you grow your sales and business.

Kickstart your conversion rate optimization efforts with the tips in this guide and assess which ones get you the best results. 

Two monitors
DevelopmentSaaS

Progressive Web Apps: Future Of Web Development

Introduction

Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have changed the way that many people access the internet.

According to Statista, there are 7.1 billion smartphone users in the world now, which indicates that 80.76% of the world’s population owns one.  These numbers show that a huge amount of internet users are now connected via mobile devices.

A very important challenge faced by businesses is how to reach out to both mobile and desktop customers without having to create and manage both a mobile app (iOS and Android) and a responsive website.

With so many people using mobile devices to browse the web, developers have started designing more simplistic websites for users who don’t have time to download bulky applications. 

These websites are called Progressive Web Apps (PWA), and they behave like native mobile apps but can be accessed from almost anywhere with an internet connection. Because of this, PWA is the latest trend in web development.

In this Progressive Web Apps post, we’ll cover what PWAs are and the difference between Progressive Web Apps and native apps. We’ll also go over some of the benefits of developing a PWA and how organizations use PWAs.

What are progressive web apps?

Computer
As seen on monitors, the new website is developed

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications that use modern web capabilities, such as service workers and push notifications, to deliver an app-like user experience, such as working offline or push messages, making them more user-friendly than traditional web apps.

Components of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) include a website, which is the basis for your application; service workers, which allow PWAs to work offline or on low-quality networks; and a web manifest file, which describes the web app to the browser so it can be displayed full screen on launch.

Website

The first step is to create a website that will serve as the basis for your application. It should adhere to responsive web design principles and be as small as possible: the first interaction should be quick and painless. There is no need to install a development environment because PWAs are created using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, just like any other website.

A website that uses different technologies (e.g. web app manifest, push notifications) to make it act like an app. The web app works like a normal website, but once saved to the device home screen, it can send push notifications and work offline.

Service Worker

A service worker is a script that runs in the background of your application. It is only active when you’re online, which allows you to send push notifications and keep data synchronized even when the web app is closed.

Website Manifest File

A manifest file is a simple JSON file, which tells Chrome how your web application should look once installed on the user’s device. It provides information about the application’s name, its icon, where to start or activate it, and more.

Top benefits of progressive web apps

There are many advantages of using PWAs over traditional native applications, and they include:

Smaller and lighter

The average application is about 25MB, while PWAs are usually less than 100kb. This is because the only file required to run a PWA is the manifest.json, which can be as little as 4kb in size.

Budget-friendly

They are a cost-effective way to engage with your existing user base and gain new users as they can be saved to the device home screen. It is also possible to send push notifications to both Android and iOS devices without building two separate applications.

Easy to maintain

Because PWAs are web-based, there is no need to update them separately. Instead, they can be updated as and when required, directly from the server. This means no additional storage space on the device is used as well as the user requires less effort as they don’t have to download a new application after an update.

Low bounce rate / increased customer engagement

PWAs provide a way for users to engage with your website even when they’re offline. For example, users who add your web app to their home screen won’t have to wait for it to load each time they open the browser, which leads to lower bounce rates resulting in higher customer engagement.

Offline mode

PWAs also work offline and can be used even when the device is not connected to a network. This is because the data required to use the application is stored locally. This means that your site will still be accessible even when a connection isn’t available, ensuring continuity of service and making it an attractive option for users with poor or no internet connectivity.

No app store submission

There is no need to go through the app store submission process and wait for approval. The Google Chrome store automatically detects changes made to the manifest file, allowing you to distribute updates directly from your server without resubmitting your app or making changes on a developer’s end.

Use of hardware features

PWAs can be used to access a device’s hardware, such as the camera or microphone, without going through the app store submission process. This is useful if you want your users to take photos and upload them directly to your website – something that would otherwise normally require an app store submission.

Mobile like behavior

PWAs behave like mobile apps and load instantly on devices. They can also send push notifications to users, which means you can stay in touch with your customers without them having to manually check for updates.

Progressive web apps vs native apps: Difference?

Gadets
Progressive web apps are the future of web development and are easy to access

A native app is a non-web program designed for a specific platform, written in a programming language specifically for that platform. This means it can only be run on the operating system for which it was developed, while PWAs work across different platforms, including iOS and Android devices.

A progressive web app uses modern web standards to provide an app-like experience using Application Cache (AppCache) and service workers. These features must be used in combination to take advantage of the “app-like” nature progressive web apps provide.

One of the main differences between a PWA and a native application is that PWAs run on different platforms, while native apps are for one platform only. This means fewer development costs as well as app store fees. Additionally, there’s no need to build or maintain two code bases since they can be built and maintained on one platform.

PWAs run on browser-like websites, while native applications are installed onto a device like traditional software. This distinction makes PWAs more secure, reliable, and faster than native applications.

  • Cost of development and maintenance

Native apps require developers with expertise in the particular platform for which they are intended, as well as a great deal of time, effort, and monetary investment. This means native app development is usually more costly than PWAs.

Due to their browser-based nature, PWAs can be tested on real devices through an emulator or a simple addition of a meta tag on the website’s head section. No installation is required, so it can be tested directly from a web browser. This saves time and lowers development costs since no developer expertise is required for specific platforms.

  • Convenience

PWAs can be easily distributed and updated on the web, while native apps must go through an app store where they need to meet strict requirements set by platform owners. This means that the frequency of updates is greatly increased for PWAs.

  • SEO & discoverability

PWAs are discoverable through search engines, making them a quick way for users to find your app. Since they behave like traditional websites, PWAs also have the advantage of being indexed by search engines as opposed to only those that meet specific store requirements or those that are submitted as per store guidelines.

  • Security

PWAs are more secure than native applications since there is no need to protect the operating system or device from application threats.

  • Installation

A PWA does not require installation like a native application, making it easier and more convenient for the end-user. However, some browsers will prompt users to add the website as an app if they visit often enough. With this method, there is still no need for an application store submission or update process since PWAs can be updated from the browser itself.

  • Performance

PWAs are faster than native applications since they run on a web engine rather than directly on the device. In contrast, they may be slightly slower when compared to a fully optimized native app. However, this difference in speed is offset by their advantage of being updateable from within the browser itself with no outside interference required.

How Do Organizations Use PWAs?

Leading businesses are driving increased support for PWAs by adopting that they are used to their maximum potential. Below are some instances of progressive web apps to demonstrate the growing importance of progressive web apps:

Google is using PWAs in their NewsStand, which offers users the ability to browse various topics, download content for offline browsing, listen to podcasts, and more with little data usage. On top of that, Android users will now see an “Install” button when they search for apps on the Play Store – this feature will be rolled out later this year.

Apple app store functions as a PWA that allows users to search for apps from their browser, then install them from the mobile device itself. This is similar to how Google Search works on Android devices with the Play Store.

Forbes is using PWAs in a way to improve page views and time spent on their site. Instead of visitors having to wait for the web page to load with ads, Forbes has created a PWA that allows users to download content for later use when they have no connection. Additionally, when not online, users can still read articles from the cache version of the website allowing for a more fluid user experience.

Flipkart also uses PWAs in their online shopping experience by keeping track of user preferences and allowing for context-based search results. Customers can also integrate the Flipkart app with the website, so they don’t have to leave the device to check out.

Twitter has been using PWAs for a while now, allowing users to open the app from a mobile browser without going through any extra steps. This has been great for users since opening links from non-native apps fall back to mobile websites.

Conclusion: Are PWAs the future of web development?

PWAs are becoming more and more popular among smaller companies that want to increase their user base but don’t have the funds for a fully-fledged app. They’re also great for larger corporations who are already used to web software which can save them time, money, and effort when it comes to updating content or rolling out new features.

The bottom line is this: PWAs may not be able to replace native apps altogether in every industry – but they offer many benefits that make them worth considering if you’re looking into creating your own mobile application. If you need help deciding whether progressive web applications are right for your business needs, contact our web development company today! Our team of expert developers and analysts will show you how we’ve helped other businesses succeed with PWA solutions.

Small business
DevelopmentInsights

7 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Artificial Intelligence to Boost Their Sales

The need for small businesses to increase their market share in an increasingly crowded business landscape is more important than ever before. One way that small businesses can do this is through the use of various types of artificial intelligence (AI). Here are seven ways that these companies can use AI to increase sales and generate positive ROI.

1) Chatbots

Chatbots are working as they should do

When done correctly, chatbots have the potential to enhance the customer experience by helping customers quickly find answers about products or services. By using a chatbot, companies can provide customers with instant answers when they have questions about inventory, shipping dates, payment options, etc. For example, IBM has developed a chatbot called ‘Smarter Commerce’ which allows customers to communicate with AI-powered agents over live chat to get information about their purchases. This is particularly helpful for customers wishing to purchase high-end products where there are often questions that go beyond the scope of a company’s online FAQ page.

Chatbots can also be used as an early warning system for customer dissatisfaction, allowing companies to proactively address potential problems before they escalate. Using AI, companies can monitor social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook in order to spot unhappy customers who are discussing your brand or products on these sites. Monitoring this commentary allows companies to act quickly when something negative is being said about their company or product by flagging it for immediate attention.

2) Product Recommendations

Product recommendations are one of the most common ways for e-commerce businesses to drive additional sales by encouraging customers to buy more. Using AI, companies can analyze a large set of data about their users in order to make personalized recommendations based on what each individual customer has bought before or is currently browsing. Companies like Amazon and eBates use this tactic for increasing sales by collecting data from past purchases as well as items that are added to a shopping cart but not purchased.

3) Improved Customer Service

One way that small businesses can beat larger competitors is through superior customer service – just think about how Zappos gained a loyal following because of its unmatched customer service standards. Artificial intelligence can be used by small businesses to help them achieve these standards by improving the quality and speed of interactions between businesses and customers through chatbots, intelligent agents, and predictive text.

4) Improved Data Analysis

Due to the smaller size of many small businesses, they often don’t have access to large data sets that can be analyzed to drive important business decisions. By using artificial intelligence and AIOps, companies can take advantage of the ability of AI algorithms to analyze massive data sets quickly and efficiently in order to spot trends or patterns that may otherwise go undetected.

This allows businesses operating on a limited budget to make better business decisions because they will have access to more data than ever before which will allow them to make smarter choices about their company strategy without needing massive amounts of capital investment.

5) Better Inventory Management

One way that small businesses can improve their return on investment (ROI) is through effective inventory management. Smaller companies often struggle to keep track of inventory because they can’t afford the luxury of dedicated IT personnel who could be tasked with this responsibility. By using artificial intelligence, companies can accomplish tasks that would normally require human intervention, like predicting future product demand by examining current sales or automatically reordering products when inventory has fallen below a set threshold. This type of optimization results in less time spent managing inventory which allows employees to focus their attention on other important business concerns.

6) Automated Employee Scheduling

Another way that small businesses can use AI to improve ROI is through automating processes that are traditionally completed by humans. Using AI, companies can automate scheduling for back-office functions like accounting and customer support but also for front-line workers within specific departments like marketing or sales. Artificial intelligence can be used to track individual employee productivity and use this information to automatically assign tasks throughout the day based on each person’s work capacity.

7) Improved Customer Targeting

Customer targeting is  important for small business

Small businesses often struggle with an inability to target their ideal customers due to limited data about these individuals. By using artificial intelligence, companies can now collect massive amounts of data continuously about consumers in order to find patterns that indicate who their most valuable customers are. A wealth of information collected from social media accounts, online shopping behavior, web browsing history, etc., allows companies to identify customer needs at a micro level which allows them to serve up targeted offers or advertisements through email marketing platforms or social media sites like Facebook & Twitter. One way that small businesses can proactively embrace AI is by partnering with a digital marketing agency that understands the benefits of using advanced technology and can help their clients implement it in order to remain competitive.

Since smaller businesses often do not have dedicated data scientists or machine learning experts on staff, they should look for an agency that offers a team of experts who can guide them through the implementation process and explain how AI can provide a multitude of benefits. With proper guidance, small business owners can understand what types of tools are available to them and how they work so that they can make educated decisions about which technologies would be best suited to their specific company needs.

Though artificial intelligence may conjure up fears of our robot overlords, many forms of artificial intelligence exist today – from chatbots on websites to email marketing platforms that proactively suggest content to send out to customers. As long as businesses are able to understand how these tools work and harness them for their own purposes, AI can be a powerful tool for growing small businesses.

Webinar
DevelopmentSaaS

Why You Should Start Using Webinars for Your Business

Webinars add significant value to any business. In modern companies, webinars are used for marketing, educating, training, or product launch. Whether you want to promote a new business or increase sales of an existing business, webinars are beneficial to get things done.

In this article, we have penned down some of the top benefits every organization can get by using webinars for their business.

Top reasons to use webinars for your business

Position yourself as an expert in your field

Even though you conduct a free webinar, your audience cares about it a lot. And a free webinar doesn’t mean that you cannot exchange valuable content during the webinar. Your audience has to book a slot for your webinar, mark the date in their calendar and give you more than 1 hour of their time to listen to you. It positions you as an expert in your field, even before you start the webinar.

Communicate with people around the world

It is one of the crucial reasons why webinars are considered effective channels of marketing for any business. You can communicate with any number of people around the world, virtually, through webinars. Moreover, both the host and the audience need not move out of their homes or offices to attend the webinar.

Is it possible for every client to travel across the globe to have 1-on-1 sessions? Every business cannot afford 1-on-1 meetings all the time. 1-on-1 meetings in person are more effective in any business than webinars. So, having a remote webinar helps the hosts to connect with hundreds of audiences at once at no extra expense.

Keep your audience engaged with valuable content

A man is attending a webinar session

Webinars are best for two reasons: Scarcity and engagement. In the first scenario, when the audience misses either a part of an entire webinar, they will miss the valuable content you will deliver. Hence, it gives a feel of scarcity to your audience. They feel the pain of missing your webinar.

In the second scenario (engagement), every audience can chat with you, ask their queries, and solve it instantly. When the audience gets their queries answered, they feel more engaged and focused on your content. Ask your audience as many questions as possible and prepare tailor-made content for them. It will help you establish short trust among your audience and generate sales with no or minimal cost.

Generate new leads and build a relationship

Every business runs on leads. A company with high-quality leads never needs to worry about growth. Webinars are one way to generate high-quality leads for any business, as they attract a new set of audiences and ultimately convert them.

For every webinar, registration is a must. When registering, people leave their personal information like email ID, phone number, and address to attend your upcoming webinar. It means that the audience is interested in whatever information you share during the webinar and opted to join.

You can generate new leads for your webinar through organic promotions like referrals, affiliates, etc., or by running paid campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Once you have the new leads generated, it is time to share valuable content in your webinar. You must help the audience understand how your product can help solve their problems. Once they start interacting with you over the webinars, a relationship is established. 

It will create a great first impression among the new leads and help you drive either regular conversions or seasoned conversions.

Invite guests and leverage their audience

Having industry influencers and specialized guests at your webinar will often help you leverage their audience to drive attendees. Webinar platforms like Clickmeeting allow you to invite multiple guest hosts to make your webinar more effective.

Apart from getting exposure for your business, you can also borrow the credibility of your guests. Since the industry expert is associating their name with your brand, you’ll further establish yourself as an expert. The result will be an increase in attendance rates, social sharing, and overall excitement.

Speed up your sales process and ROI

Revenues are significant to drive your business. If you are unable to convert your potential leads to customers, your business cannot grow fast. Webinars can help to speed up this process as it does the initial funnel set up for you. It enables you to build trust, kill your customers’ doubts, and deliver value to them in the shortest time.

For example, if you have spent $5 to run ads and get each signup for your webinar, and your webinar gets $5 average earnings for every audience, then you already broke even. Post webinar, whatever sale you make is considered a pure profit.

Conclusion

Webinars are one of the most potent ways to improve sales for your business. Whether it be increasing sales, generating new leads, or training your customers, webinars prove to be very effective.