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Freelance tips

How to Choose a VPN Service for Your Own Business

top vpn services 2014Freelance developers are not a rarity anymore these days, and more and more, freelancers are having to consider what they do as a business. While freelancing is rather different from having a day job, if you want to go legit and actually make a profit, treating what you do as a business is the route to go.

If you’re actually in that stage already, you know that there are so many things to consider. Having your own freelancing business is cool and all, but you always have to make sure that you have a good return at the end of the month. One of the things that you always bear in mind then is how to save on operating expenses. You are probably always on the lookout for money-saving tips for freelancers already.

Guess what? Using a VPN service gives you that advantage – and then some. More →

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Freelance tips

How To Go It Alone In The Freelance World

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If you’re looking to start a new chapter in your career – whether you’re dissatisfied with your current

employer or feel that you’re able and ready to tackle some tough challenges on your own – then

going freelance might be the booster to your confidence and CV that you need.

There are a number of things to consider when you’re ready to make the leap from employee to

being your own boss, so be sure to have the following in mind before you start writing that epic

resignation speech.

The Paperwork

If going freelance you’ll need to set up your financial status as such – this will mean registering

as self-employed, if the bulk of how you pay your bills comes through acquiring your own work.

You’ll need to visit the HMRC website to set yourself up for income tax and national insurance

payments, as well as a VAT registration if you’re turning over £79,000 or more per year. Fill in your

self-assessment form and – this is very important – keep hold of every scrap of paper you’ve got

involving payments, receipts and the like. You’ll need them as evidence to keep the taxman happy.

The Client Base

Once you’re settled on what it is you’ll offer that separates you from other companies – whether

it’s a fresh approach to copywriting or some edgy web design that’s got people talking – you’ll have

the basis to start approaching prospective new clients for their business. In the short term it might

be advisable to offer to work for free or a low rate on smaller projects to give your contacts an idea

of what you can do with a proper budget and more turnaround time. Once you’ve established a

portfolio of projects and figured out what you can achieve on a full-scale project, start dialling and

emailing!

Insurance

Be sure to take out the right forms of insurance in order to retain your sense of professionalism –

clients in high-risk fields won’t work with anyone who doesn’t have professional indemnity insurance

to protect them from giving erroneous data or communicating fraudulent information on the client’s

behalf. Any mistakes you made are just that – mistakes – but they could end up costing your client a

significant financial or reputational hit, which means you could be liable for thousands. Having this

protection will give you and the client peace of mind that you take your duties very seriously.

Time Management

Now that you’ve got the calls coming in on a regular basis you need to find out which projects you

can afford to turn down and which will keep you ticking along nicely. Just like a proper business

you should think about having some ‘opening hours’ if only to keep the work/life balance properly

adjusted – but that doesn’t mean you need to live the 9-5 life. Plan some milestones with your client

so they’ll know when they can expect to see a finished product, and stick to a schedule; a more

urgent job might get in the way but keep on top of what your priorities are and make sure to keep

them at the top of your list

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Data

Web Hosting Meets the Cloud – How Will This Affect the Industry?

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A 2013 report by Parallels showed that 22 percent of small to mid-sized businesses use cloud-based services and infrastructure tools to manage their business. As a result, it’s more important than ever that web hosting and web development companies be aware of how to integrate the functionality of the cloud into their designs. As companies rely more on the cloud, the distinction between web hosting and cloud services will become less obvious. More →

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Publishing

The Technical Side of Blogging

Views about blogging differ depending on who is looking. Many see it as some form of online diary where they are free to write anything, at any time, at any place. While this is essentially true, it is not accurate to say that bloggers are free as well from the technical challenges of maintaining a site. Whether a site is for personal or commercial use, owners will realize soon enough that there is the technical side of blogging to think of.

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There are actually many resources for writers easily available online. The subject of blogging is very much tackled by experts and newbies in the field mostly about the hits and misses that could help make professional bloggers out of aspiring writers. A blogger does not only write. He or she is expected to have reasonable basic technical skills and hopefully progress from there through time.

If you are seriously looking into long-term blogging, it would be advantageous to have a working knowledge of the following:

Human Language

Writing to express thoughts or provide information in a blog requires some technical knowledge of the language being used. Technical knowledge in a human language such as English would pertain to grammar, syntax, structure, and the rules observed for its effective use. There is not much problem with this as the study of a language starts very early at childhood. Challenges may present themselves though if the language being used is not the mother language of the author. The remaining thing to do is to study for specific requirements such as in creative or highly technical writing, when it is necessary.

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Computer Language

Computer language is an all-together different thing. Most would need to learn and understand this. Fortunately, most blogging platforms have made it possible for the least techie people to create and manage their own blogs. There are ready made templates to choose from. If a blogger is pretty set on what kind of blog to come up with, then everything can be set in a matter of hours.

Web Designing

Knowledge in web designing is a must for bloggers except if there is someone else paid to do it. The use of CSS and HTML as well as the ability to create graphic images are musts for those seeking to be professional bloggers. Other knowledge areas that should be considered include search engine optimization, social media participation and networking, and attracting traffic. There is so much to be learned about blogging especially because of its continually evolving nature. Experience is still the best teacher. It is impossible to blog without getting a trace of techiness in you.

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Mobile

App vs. Mobile Website: What Will Help Your Audience The Most?

app vs mobile

Many businesses that offer services online struggle with this decision eventually – should your organization offer a proprietary app or build a website optimized for mobile devices. There are many nuances to both options, when it comes to access, connectivity, and sharing capabilities. There’s no fast and easy answer to this question. You’ll need to look over the following considerations and see if your organization will benefit the most from an app or a website optimized for mobile devices. More →

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Strategy

4 Tips to Personalize E-Commerce Websites

E-Commerce

It takes a lot of work and an aesthetic eye to create a well-designed Web site. It also takes expertise to present your e-Commerce story in a way that will attract customers and traffic to your website. With quality images, a simple but transparent check-out process, customer service options and a user-friendly navigation mechanism, personalizing e-Commerce sites with today’s tips is a way to become more competitive in your field of business.

First impressions

For a new e-Commerce site, it’s important to put your best foot forward. This means that everything you do in design should not only be pleasing to the eye, but functional. Web designer have to constantly code a brand’s website with the customer in mind. The site should be hassle-free. Any confusion caused by an ill-thought-out design could cause you to lose customers. There are too many options and too much competition to even lose one customer. It’s the Web designer’s obligation to never create any doubt in the customer’s mind as to how to navigate properly, or, more importantly, how to complete a transaction.

Social integration

By adding the brand’s social network icons to the page, you’re telling customers that you are not only current with today’s Web 2.0 technology, but also that you would like to engage them. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest are mainstays for customers who want to provide brands with feedback on an ongoing basis. Additionally if the e-Commerce site also features a blog page, it shows they are thought-leaders in their field.

Search Engine Optimization

If an e-Commerce site has a large number of products that frequently change, it’s important that the Web designers adhere to the “white hat” search engine optimization rules. These include targeted page titles and meta descriptions. According to SEO experts, “One of the fundamental rules of SEO for an e-Commerce site is you should treat every page on your website as a landing page focused around performing for a single SEO search term and converting the resulting traffic.”
Fastest route between two points

Everyone knows that the fastest route between two points is a straight line. This applies to e-Commerce sites as well. It’s a fact that the quicker a website can get the customer from the landing page to a completed order, the more likely it is to keep the customer. Well-designed e-Commerce Web sites always have that goal in mind.

Personalized e-Commerce

Personalized gift shops are a sub-set of e-Commerce websites. While some of the products these sites sell can be purchased elsewhere, their unique advantage to the customer is that they can personalize all orders in accordance with the customer’s preferences. Personalised Gifts Shop in the UK is well-designed website that provided their web designers with a lot inspiration to not only create an aesthetically pleasing design but one that prompts buyers to proceed through the personalization process in a quick and efficient manner. More →

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Design

4 Ways to Make Sure Your Web Development Goes Smoothly

Web development can be one of the most stressful types of projects to manage, and if you’re not careful, such projects can lead to some of the costliest mistakes of your career. Recently, a massive failure to launch a government-sponsored healthcare site in America demonstrated the folly that can follow when you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Web development and still don’t achieve a successful result.

So how can you make sure that your project is a success, not a costly disaster? Here are a few guidelines for framing and executing solid projects.
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General

The Only 3 Things You Need to Get Started with Your Blog

One would think that everyone knows all about blogging these days. After all, it seems that everyone and their mom has his own blog! Even grandparents are occupying the blogosphere. You might be surprised, though, that there are still people who are new to blogging and can use a quick and easy guide to starting a blog.
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If you can relate, or you know someone who might need the right push, then you’re in the right place. There are many factors that come into play, of course, but if all you need is a barebones guide just to get started, here are the only 3 things you need to know. More →

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Strategy

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Make Money

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Social media is here to stay, and it has changed the world as we know it. On the one hand, spending too much time socializing on sites like Facebook and Twitter can be an enormous waste of time and productivity.

But on the other, these connective technologies and communities can absolutely help you accomplish the things you’ve wanted to do this year.
And if making money is one of those things, you’re in luck, because we’ve organized five solid ways we’ve seen people using social media to make money! More →

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General

Running Windows? … the Case for Investing in a Server Cluster Solution

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Windows software is prevalent in the world of business. Employees are likely to be familiar with it from previous jobs and/or in their personal life. Microsoft has developed a number of business application software solutions that fit most, if not all, of a company’s technology needs.

Beyond email, word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, Microsoft has also provided companies with a highly popular platform of business servers. Since it’s designed to streamline IT infrastructure and is based on a platform that practically all software applications are designed to work on, IT admins appreciate the streamlined approach for ease of management.
For security and performance purposes, it’s also best practice for companies to cluster those servers. More →

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Design

Content Management Systems for a Fast Backend

Web designers are not often concerned with the performance of their website. This is often left up to the developer(s) who need to cater both frontend and backend codes. Considering how popular the open source movement has become I wanted to delve a bit deeper into which solutions may provide the quickest user access. I have toyed around with many various CMS engines and there are plenty of ideas worth considering.

But we need to think about which CMS solutions will be most useful to people accessing your website around the world. Which systems are the most stable and easy to install, customize, then keep running for years. It is a heavy burden to manage websites. The job is not physically strenuous but there are many various aspects and problems to deal with.

WordPress

Anybody who has gotten familiar with PHP knows about WordPress as a blogging platform. Over the recent years it has transformed into a major content management system great for managing pages and other custom post types.

The reason WordPress is such a great choice for new launches is because of the vast library of plugins for managing your site. There are free solutions for caching, comments management, user management, contact forms, and practically anything you could need. This is the main reason so many people rely on WordPress and how the system can stay online for years without much trouble. More →

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Design

Rising Trends in Modern Website Design

The field of web design has been growing by leaps and bounds. Over the past 2 years we have seen tremendous strides in the realm of CSS3, jQuery, browser support, and HTML5 webpage elements. Most developers are willing to move towards these trends and build a semantic community based around similar goals and ideologies.

web design html5 speaker conference audience

The Internet has taken the world by storm and we are not letting up. There are more young web designers joining the ranks every day. I think it is a noble cause and provides a means for quickly distributing information. When people first get into studying web design there are a number of common questions which arise. I hope to address a couple of these and provide some relief with newer web developers getting into frontend coding, too.

Cloud Development

One very common trend you will find among designers is to build mockups right within the browser window. A couple popular webapps named jsFiddle along with Codepen are both free for all regular users. Both are an amazing service and I definitely recommend them to any young web designers. It can be great practice for HTML5/CSS3/JS and you do not even need to have software installed on your machine. It doesn’t even need to be done on the same computer!

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