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Four hacks to get consumer insights for your brand

Most marketers put in a lot of effort to generate and nurture promising leads and push them down into the sales funnel. While developing new clients through different marketing strategies is a crucial step to generate revenue, it is also essential to keep track of your existing customers. Your current users can help you in more ways than you can imagine.

An existing user gives you an insight into how your business relates to them. You can understand your brand value and brand awareness through your current customers and understand the areas of your marketing strategy that requires improvement. This information is referred to as consumer insight, which is an important SEO and marketing tool. It can be easily extracted through one of the consumer insight platforms available in the market.

People use several consumer insights platforms to determine how their consumer feels about their business and use that information to develop their marketing campaigns. For instance, Revzu is a great B2B solution for your business that can help you gather consumer insight and integrate it into your SEO strategy.

A consumer insights platform can help you quickly gather all the information you require and segment it to provide only relevant data. Typically, collecting this data takes even months, and these platforms can do it in a matter of hours. A consumer insight platform is a one-stop solution for you to understand consumer behavior.

While several platforms can help you obtain consumer insights, it is essential to understand where they come from. These are few hacks that you can use to gain consumer insights for your brand.

●  Social Listening

You can obtain consumer insights from several places like forums, reviews, and opinion sites. You can find relevant data from websites that have the same genre as your own brand.

Social listening acts as an alternative for companies to obtain consumer insights in real-time. Every day, several people share their experiences when interacting with a brand. When they see a brand’s new advertisement, they immediately start sharing their opinion about it and its effect on them.

This information is beneficial for consumer-dependent industries such as retail, consumer goods, insurance, banking, and healthcare. Any company can gain a significant edge over their competition if they utilize this information and develop creative marketing campaigns.

Social listening helps several business departments, such as product development, operations, marketing, and helps in international growth of the brand.

●  UGC

User-generated content (UGC) has become an essential part of any business’s content marketing strategy. Due to the recent growth of the social media industry, people rave about any brand’s products and services online. All the hype, negative and positive comments about any brand is known as user-generated content. Any content that a brand’s user generates can be used to get a consumer insight.

When a customer talks about any product or service online, they are sharing their experience of interactions with the brands. They share the good and the bad about their experience, which helps you gain insight into how the brand performs in the market. This type of content is unbiased and directly generated by consumers. User-generated content is considered to be the most authentic and honest consumer insights any business can obtain.

UGC acts as the social proof for your brand’s image, and it works even better than the word of mouth strategy. It can reach a larger audience and help boost the brand’s overall image on a large scale.

●  Call Centers

Call centers are the oldest and among most used ways to collect consumer insights. You gain an understanding of consumer behavior by directly contacting the customer and asking about their experience with the product or service. This technique has been used since traditional marketing because of its effectiveness and is still relevant in today’s world.

By contacting the consumer directly, you can ask about their experience first-hand and gain insight. You can even ask them particular questions about what you would want to know. Using this data, you can collect information about the sales trends, product or process issues, and negative or positive feedback.

●  Live Chat / Chatbots

Live chat can be a useful tool to gain consumer insight because, according to a study, 90% of the customers prefer to converse with the support team using a live chat. Whenever a customer faces some issue or has any question, they contact customer support.

You can collect this data and information shared by the customers to understand your services and products deeply. You can understand where the user is facing the most problems and provide a permanent solution to them.

Providing a quick solution to your users through a live chat will not only resolve their queries but also help build a working relationship with them. You will be able to gain the user’s trust and confidence and ensure a long-term relationship.

Conclusion

Consumer insight is vital for your business as it helps you to understand consumer behavior deeply. As collecting all this data manually can be a tedious task, you can use consumer insight platforms to make it easier for you. Collecting consumer insight data, you can make educated and creative marketing strategies for better conversion statistics.

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Articles Technology

6 reasons why you should use OpenAPI specification for your APIs

If the term “API Specification” seems intimidating for newbie developers, take comfort in the fact that the idea is not necessarily an unfamiliar one. Simply think of an elaborate toy car or toy robot model that comes with instructions for assembly, as well as individual parts. A well-written, well-designed blueprint for one of these will allow you to custom-build a model that looks and works exactly how it’s meant to. That also makes it a joy to do extra modification work, like painting parts or adding decals, to get the model to your liking.

In truth, the principle behind OpenAPI Specification, which is the API industry’s most popular specification format, is the same. OpenAPI Specification is meant to act as a blueprint for describing REST APIs, or APIs that follow the representational state transfer style of software architecture. Since its first iteration as Swagger, for the online dictionary service Wordnik, OpenAPI Specification has become the industry standard for similarly sophisticated web services. And that’s for good reason, as it has some special qualities that other API specification formats do not. Using this specification can help you design a REST API of top caliber, which in turn keeps your end users satisfied.

Here’s why you should actively use OpenAPI Specification for your API design, courtesy of the folks behind the powerful Stoplight OpenAPI editor. Read below to learn about this adaptable specification format and how it’ll improve the design work on your forthcoming REST API project.

It’s Both Human-Readable and Machine-Readable

The first major selling point of OpenAPI Specification is its compatibility. OpenAPI Specification is a format that’s both machine-readable (structured enough for a computer to read) and human-readable (interpretable by human users). Even without access to its source code, both human users and the machines at their disposal can decipher how the API is meant to work. They can also use OpenAPI Specification to determine what the API’s current range of abilities is. That’s a definite plus, as excellent design work done by humans and corollary work done by machines, like auto-generating code, is possible through OpenAPI Specification.

It’s Language-Agnostic

Another great quality of OpenAPI Specification is that it’s language-agnostic. The format can be used to describe REST APIs in a variety of programming languages, like JavaScript or Python. That means that you don’t have to suddenly learn a new programming language just to be able to design your REST API with OpenAPI Specification. Chances are, the format will accommodate you in your comfort zone.

It’s the Specification of Choice for the World’s Top API Mindshare

One important thing to note about adopting an API specification is that you won’t be the only one using it. It’s good to be involved in a community of users who can help you learn how to use the technology. Ultimately, the members of such a community will motivate you to do even better design work on your REST API. That’s definitely the case for the OpenAPI community, which houses some of the API industry’s most brilliant minds and most supportive peers. Your fellow OpenAPI developers can introduce you to new OpenAPI-related tools and show you the ropes on building excellent REST APIs using OpenAPI Specification.

It Gets Easier to Work with Time

It’s true that using OpenAPI Specification the first few times may be a little difficult. The format has a bit of a learning curve, especially for newbie developers. But few argue about it for very long, and they eventually get into the rhythm of coding their REST API with the format. What matters most is that OpenAPI Specification will provide you with a consistent, dependable system for describing APIs. Once you’ve gotten familiar enough with it, you’ll have a baseline for doing work on all types of REST API.

It Makes API Mocking and API Testing Efforts Twice as Efficient

Coding work isn’t the only task that OpenAPI Specification can help you with. It’s also great for evaluating your REST API’s performance before it hits the market, particularly for tasks like mocking and testing. Instead of creating new mocks from scratch, you may be able to use your OpenAPI editor to auto-generate mock responses or mock API servers. The same applies for auto-generating API tests—you can immediately come up with tests that actually match what’s stipulated in the API contract. You’ll be able to survey your REST API thoroughly and make the necessary adjustments. Best of all, this could take you half the time that it would have if you’d set up your own mocks or tests.

It Streamlines the Work of Making Awesome API Docs

One of the most popular uses for OpenAPI Specification is compiling API documentation, or reference materials that show consumers how to use the API. Your OpenAPI editor may be able to auto-generate parts of your API documentation, like its metadata, with exceptional speed and accuracy. It will save you a lot of trouble in putting reliable documentation together, and you’ll instantly have something good to show for your new product.

Conclusion: A Must-Have Piece of Technology for Developing REST APIs

For a greater guarantee of purposeful, consistent, and easily replicable design work on your REST API, consider adopting OpenAPI Specification. The technology continues to be relevant today, and will likely serve as the backbone for the next generation of model REST APIs. Count your project as OpenAPI’s next big success story and try out the specification for your upcoming API work.

Author Bio:
Monica Mendoza is a content writer and marketing professional based in Manila, Philippines. She spends a lot of time studying how technology continues to transform lifestyles and communities. Outside the office, she keeps herself busy by staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and reading about the newest gadgets out on the market.

Read Next: How Digital Transformation Starts with Software Development?

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Articles Technology Website Development

Top 10 web design trends in 2021

Who doesn’t want a great website design that stands out in the online world? Of course, everyone wants to get a creative showcase for their products and services.

Adobe surveyed 2,000 consumers few years back, and found that:

  • 73% of respondents prefer that the content “should be displayed well on the device.”
  • 66% of respondents crave content that is beautifully designed vs. simple and plain.
Image: Adobe

These figures show how important a good website design is, to stay on top of the game. An attractive website is the key to get new visitors and retain existing visitors. So, if you’re someone looking for ways to improve the design of your website, read this article to learn about the top 10 web design trends in 2021.

Top 10 Web Design Trends in 2021

Here are 10 web design trends that will help you make 2021 brighter.

01. Bold Colors

2021 is the year to use bold, bright, and saturated colors in your web design

A bold and bright color stands out from the background and vibrates with energy. Be creative and combine the colors properly to enhance your overall message and enhance the mood of the customers visiting your site.

Color shades that can help you add bold and bright effect to your website are:

  • Lime Green – refreshing and balancing
  • Fire Red – reveals strong emotions, enthusiasm and energy
  • Yellow – bold and positive
  • Black – Classic
  • Blue and Teal – health, calmness
  • Orange – extraordinary
Combination of bold, bright and saturated colors – bubly, the sparkling water company.
web design trends
Website – ToyFight
web design trends
Website – Bose

Another color trend that is being liked a lot is: vintage-inspired colors. Inspired by magazines and TV, designers are mixing vintage colors combined with contemporary styles to add a nostalgic touch to the website. Examples are sites like Charles the Bold and Banger’s.

The key is: Choose the right color per your brand and be consistent across your website.

02. Soft Animations

The animation trend in web design is growing in popularity. This works wonders especially when there is a need to showcase any important topic on a web page in a simple yet attractive way.

So, do not be afraid to break the boundaries and add fun and vitality on your web page this year by incorporating visuals that are animated.

How can you use animation in web design effectively?

  • To highlight a feature or critical information, for example, icons, photos, Call to Actions (CTAs) or price of the product
  • To reveal hidden or dropdown menus
  • To add mouseover effects for micro interaction, such as on gallery items
  • To make the banner image creative

Some examples of cool and astonishing animation are on these sites:

03. Neumorphism

Neumorphism is new in the UI design world. This design trend is the evolution of skeuomorphism, which involves integrating the real-world objects into UI designs. In simple terms, it means that you design a familiar object in such a way that it looks exactly like the real object. For example: the interface of the calculator on your computer.

Neumorphism is also about the color palette of the entire screen, which when you apply it to your design, provides a completely unique experience for the users.

web design trends
Neumorphism design from Filip Legierski

You can combine the neumorphism design on your website in this way:

  • Use highlights and shadows to give depth to the design
  • Use solid and gradient backgrounds
  • Use mild and subtle effects

04. Large Images

Think bigger in 2021! Use oversized, full-screen images on the main page with text overlay to make a statement and captivate your visitors.

Yes, you read it right. It might sound too loud but when used in the right manner, this style will make your web design look striking. Many websites use a detailed picture to express the company’s motto. When visitors see the image and it looks attractive to them, it forces them to stay on the site, explore options, and read more.

When choosing an image for your website, consider your brand goals first, find a picture that’s close to it, enhance the picture, and display it. Remember, it is not important that you use image in the entire background, you can just use it in your header and still look expensive.

See some great examples below:

web design trends
Website – Munesh
web design trends
Website – Local Adventure
web design trends
Website – The Children’s Society

05. White Spaces

White Space has been among the web design trends’ list for last few years. White Space in a website refers to the blank spaces in between your design components. Its main purpose is to provide well-balanced feel to your visitors, making it easier for them to navigate and read content. See example screenshot:

Image – Fraemohs Homes

Remember not to overdo the white space design. It is important that you keep a balance between white space and content because if it is not done right, then all the design elements and any text on it will seem to be disconnected, making it difficult to scan the page, which will ultimately reduce the attention of the users.

06. Variable Fonts

In the web design trends in 2021, variable fonts are in. It gives web designers a variety of options within a single font. You can expand, condense, add space, change width of the font to create the best look for your design.

They allow you gain more control while reducing your page loading speed. With this, you can expand your typography creativity and create energetic and dynamic forms in ways that were technically not possible before.

07. Geometric Patterns and 3D Graphics

A website with little or no visual design feels like a wall of content to the viewer. A site can provide all the necessary information, but without any visible interest, it may fail to create a conversion.

Modern designers are using geometric patterns and 3D elements to add uniqueness to their site, including flat shapes like diamonds, triangles, rectangles, polygons, gridlines, etc., as well as some modern elements like 3D shapes and floating objects.

This website uses 3D elements, floating objects and simple geometric lines – The Artery
web design trends
Example of geometric design in a website – The Imagineers

Level up and stylize your website this year with 3D and geometric designs.

08. Sliders are out of fashion

Image sliders look outdated now, and worse? They slow down your website loading speed and are less compatible with smartphones.

Then what? Videos are in.

Use a single image or video to display the best message to users instead of using multiple messages. The use of video in headers has proven to be the most attractive form of online content, therefore, it is no surprise that older sliders are losing their grip in upcoming web design trends.

Example: Altermind

09. Loading Speed and Accessibility

According to a Web Usability survey, most of the visitors (42%) would leave a website if it takes more than 10 seconds to load.

Thus, the functionality of a website is now an important aspect of web design. When designing a website, take care of the website loading speed, page responsiveness, and accessibility.

10. Dark theme

For some time, web designers continued to use white backgrounds to create free space in websites and mobile apps. Soon, the Dark Theme began trending and gained widespread recognition. We look forward to seeing this trend in 2021 as well.

See how Apple has used dark theme on its website which changed the entire look of their website.

web design trends
Website – Apple

How to design a beautiful website?

The web design trends in 2021 will involve bold, classic designs with minimalistic 3D effects, clean look, fast speed, and high performance.

Hope this article will help you design an attractive website by choosing and combining some upcoming trends as mentioned.

If you want to transform your website into a pretty one, ThemeChilly is a great option. They have some amazing modern ecommerce themes that can help you create a website that you don’t have to work upon from scratch and that your users will love.

Have we missed any web design trends that you know are going to be big in 2021? Let us know in the comments section!

Read Next: Top 11 Cyber Protection Solutions for Businesses – a comparison

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Articles Your Story

How does a day in the life of a CEO looks like?

The job of a CEO is difficult yet important. Though it is rewarding and fulfilling, it never comes easy. As a tech CEO, I have a team of 100+ employees; followed by dedicated customers and partners. My professional life revolves around working in the best interest of the stakeholders of my company. But I have a personal life as well – a beautiful family, a passion for cycling, and other activities that I perform daily to help me grow as an individual.

As a mentor and certified speaker in TiE – a non-profit organization for entrepreneurs and IAMCP – World’s largest community of Microsoft channel partners, I often come across this question – How do you spend your day as a CEO? To break it down – how I manage my day and strike a balance between my professional and personal life.

One day, when I was surfing the internet, I came across an article by HBR (Harvard Business Review) that talked about a survey of 1000 CEOs and how they spend their day. I was surprised to know that – about one-quarter of CEOs’ days are spent alone (on-average); another 10% is spent on personal matters; 8% is spent traveling, and the remainder (56%) is spent with at least one other person. I will share its link at the end of the article for you to have a look.

Typically, CEOs are believed to be working 24/7 – spending most of their time alone thinking about how to grow their companies and meet the high expectations of various stakeholders of the company.

But, for me, I am making a conscious effort that this should not be my truth.

To help you get an idea of a day in my life, I’ve compiled a rundown of my daily routine – what I consider as a day in my life as a tech CEO.

The morning – starting the day right

4:30 am – My day starts at 4:30 am. It can be 4:00 also if I have something important to tackle during the day. I am a morning person. For me, beautiful mornings pave way for a productive day ahead.

The first thing I do after waking up is to have my detox tea. It instantly energizes me.

Next, I get ready for cycling. Cycling is a constant part of my daily routine like I shared in my previous blog. You can read that here – Life is at its beautiful best when you have a cycle: Musings by a passionate cyclist. I believe that morning is the best time to give some exercise to your body. Whether it is a long walk, jogging, yoga, aerobics, or any other physical exercise. Exercising can instantly boost up our serotonin levels – the key element that stabilizes our mind and gives us a sense of happiness. You can choose any exercise that suits you – for me, it is cycling.

We (me and my cycling buddies) plan the destination a day before and decide a meeting point as well as the distance to be covered. Depending on the distance covered, cycling takes up, on an average, two hours of my day.

These hours also include some chit-chat sessions with Sabari (the COO of ZNet and my dear friend) and team; stopping for our morning chai (tea)/coffee; and listening to some audiobooks. I shared a list of books I completed during my morning cycle rides. You can check them here.

I always stress the importance of learning. Learning practically has no limit. You can never learn enough. I like listening to leadership strategies, productivity hacks, technology, and life skills. I mostly use LinkedIn Learning and Blinkist app for this.

As an entrepreneur, you should keep abreast of everything new and add things to your knowledge.

“You should be teachable. Be ready to learn new things and have the curiosity of a child.”

08:00 am – Post cycling, I reach home by 8 am. I take a quick shower and then eat my breakfast. I make it a point to have breakfast with my family. Even if it’s for 15-20 minutes, this time helps us connect. Like they say, ‘the family that eats together, stays together’.

I am a propagator of having a powerful morning routine. We all have 24 hours to our disposal, even the world leaders. It depends on us how we make use of these hours. It is important to steal some extra hours from your day, especially if you are a CEO. I do that by getting up early. It allows me to pursue my passion for cycling.

Setting the right morning routine is my mantra to stay mindful and control my day, rather than letting the day control me.

The workday

08:30 am: Once I am done with my morning routine, I head off to work. Due to COVID-19, I work from my home office for now. I reach my work desk by 8:30 or maximum by 09:00 am.

From here, starts my workday.

The first thing I do as soon as I am on my desk is to take out my planner and jot down the most important tasks of the day. Planning is integral if you want to achieve your goals – whether they are your life goals or professional goals.

Writing down your goals on a piece of paper or via any online planner tool – gives a kind of tangibility to them.

In your mind, they might just come and go, and you may miss out on some tasks. When you write them down, you can tackle them easily.

Apart from meeting my daily tasks, being a CEO I also have to spend time on meeting the various stakeholders of the company. This may include review meetings with the sales team, marketing team, or tech team. I mostly participate as an observer. I believe in giving enough freedom and space to my teams so that they can perform their level best.

Post review meetings with different teams, I have an hourly discussion with the leadership team and board members. These meetings are not formal. We sometimes discuss these points over a cup of coffee at the nearest shop.

Apart from these regular tasks, I have a habit of reaching out to our partners and clients over a quick video or audio call. I reserve 15 to 30 minutes in a day for this. For me, it is the most productive and efficient way to gather feedback on my company.

It helps me to understand the business more deeply and know the pain points of our clients. After all, at the end of the day, everything boils down to the customer. The feedback I receive from them has a huge impact on my company’s future strategies.

As I shared at the beginning of this blog, I am also an active member of TiE and IAMCP. As a certified speaker and mentor, I train budding startups and entrepreneurs. It usually consumes 4-5 hours of my week.

I try to finish my professional commitments by 7 pm.

The evening – winding down

7:30 PM: After winding up my workday, I reach home by 7:30 pm. After freshening up, I join my family for dinner. It is the time of the day which I spend with my kids. I don’t bring any gadgets or electronics at the dinner table. I like listening to my kids with full attention. They have a lot to share, trust me.

My family – my wife, Kranti and my children are my biggest support. Being a CEO, I have a lot of responsibilities. And she understands this perfectly. There are days when I get immersed in work and miss out on family time. Though rare, such instances cannot be completely ruled out when you have a company to lead.

Despite this, we steal some moments to spend quality time together. I also cook her favourite meals sometimes (to make up for the lost time).

I go to bed by 9:30 pm. To be an early bird, you must go to bed on time. For a peaceful sleep, this is the time when I recall all the happy memories from my childhood or the best moments I spent with my colleagues, friends, and family, during the day.

Gratitude to the almighty is a part of both my morning and night routine.

During any typical day, I also have the habit of noting my achievements – what I achieved yesterday, what I achieved today, and what I plan to achieve tomorrow.

Achievements are what keeps you going in life. Even if it is a small one. A call from a client sharing how ZNet helped them solve a problem or improve profits, is an achievement for me. When my son comes to me and shares his day or things that are troubling him – the trust he has on me is also an achievement.

Weekends

Weekends are something which we all look forward to. It is the time to recharge your energies, pick up a weekend activity, or invest time in learning a new thing. At weekends, mostly on Saturdays, I start my day a bit early. It may sound strange, but for an enthusiastic person like me, weekends are no excuse for staying in bed for longer hours.

I wake up at 4:00 am and plan for longer cycling rides. I also participate in various cycling challenges.

Recently, I completed the Pinkcity trail challenge. The kind of adrenaline rush you experience by being a part of such challenges, cannot be explained in words.

Other time, I plan some outing with my family and run a few errands too. I look forward to spending more time with my family. No matter how successful you are in the business world, if you can’t spend time with your loved times, everything is a waste. Returning home to the smiling faces of my kids and wife takes away all my worries.

Before entering the new week, I create a weekly plan. It helps me have a clear vision of – how my week would look like? If it’s the last weekend of the month, I also make a monthly plan – for a broader view of the month. It may sound tiring but planning works for me. Since the start of my career, planning has helped me reach my goals faster. Most importantly, it helps me move in the right direction.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur or a CEO, I hope that you can take one or two tips from my daily routine. I would also love to know how you spend your day or do something that leads you to achieve better results.

HBR article link: https://hbr.org/2017/10/a-survey-of-how-1000-ceos-spend-their-day-reveals-what-makes-leaders-successful

This article has been penned by Munesh Jadoun, CEO, ZNet Technologies Private Limited. It was first published on munesh.coffee and LinkedIn.
If you too are passionate about something and wish to see your story featured on DHN, please send us a mail to contact@drive.com.
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Articles Domain

Top 7 domain name registrars in 2021

Understanding what is a domain name, extensions and their significance

In the age of internet marketing and online branding, the foremost need of almost every business is to be online as 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making any purchase (MineWhat.com). However, for being found on the web, a business requires a digital address and this is essentially the reason why domain name is required.

So, domain registration is the first task in building an online presence – a website and choosing a hosting plan is second but in some cases, it can be vice versa as some hosting plans offer free domain name along with the hosting plan itself. But remember, none of the steps can be skipped!

What is a domain name?

A domain name is an address that internet visitors use to reach a website. In general, a website address is a numeric address – a string of characters called IP address that is difficult to remember. So, a domain name is a part of a link called URL (Universal Resource Locator) that can be read by human beings and functions as an easy to remember the link to the respective IP address.

In addition to naming their business websites, people need a domain name with emails accounts too. To be effective, a domain name should be clear, concise, memorable and easy to spread via word of mouth.

Let’s say, anybody searching for trending news and articles reaches this site – https://www.dailyhostnews.com/. Here, dailyhostnews.com is a domain name with .com as the top level domain (TLD) and dailyhostnews as the second level domain (SLD). In short,

SLD + TLD = Domain Name

Be very careful while choosing a domain name as it represents your brand and there are some factors that you need to consider.

Top domain transfers with up to 44% off – .com, .net and more! 
Read about them in detail here: How to choose a good and creative domain name?

What domain name extensions to choose?

TLDs refer to top level domains like .com, .net, .in etc. These appear next to the dot as shown in examples and are available to be registered by anyone, anywhere across the globe, barring few things, with some guidelines. These domain suffixes can be community specific, like fashion website can choose .fashion, gaming sites can choose .game, .accountant, .agency, .art, .blog and more

There are other domain extensions that are country specific (ccTLDs), like .eu for European Union, .in for India and more.

You can choose the best one which represents your business vertical and is expected to establish your brand in the market.

As part of the URL which poses relevance to your business and provides direct information of your products and services, a domain name extension increases the probability of fetching you more relevant leads and thus, increases profitability.

So, choose as per your industry, country or interest.

Where to buy domain names from?

Buying a domain name for a website involves the registration of the chosen and available domain name with ICANN with the help of a domain registrar.

No doubt it is one of the biggest challenges for organizations to find a unique and memorable domain name that can be easily found by their target audience, and optimize the web page for a search.

First, you need to check the chosen domain’s availability and if it’s available, then pay a registration fee for it which may differ from one domain name registrar to another as per the value-added services they provide with a domain name.

This domain name registration gives your website a name for a year and will further require annual renewal at the same or hiked amount, depending upon the registrar. A domain name can be registered for a maximum time period of 10 years. You can renew it after that period as needed.

Read on to get fair comparison of cheap domain name registrars.

Which are the best domain registrars? Why?

If we go by Wikipedia, it defines a domain name registrar as an organization or commercial entity that manages the reservation of Internet domain names.

When it comes to finding out who is the best domain name registrar in the industry, then the domain seller who provides cost-effective top-level domains (TLDs) with ensured security, simple user interface and accountable customer support can be termed as the best and cheapest domain name provider.

There is no doubt that there are a number of hosters offering domain names, but of course, not all can be trusted. So now the question arises which domain name registrar is best?

5 key factors to consider when selecting a domain registrar

There are certain considerations that one must take care of while choosing a domain name registration company.

  1. Accredited – Choose a registrar that has an ICANN accreditation. Working with an accredited registrar will give a sense of security that you are working with a company that has been approved by a regulatory institution.
  2. Customer Support – Support is the backbone of any online business. Check out the availability of the support team, their expertise and the channels of support. Best way to find this is through a web hosting provider’s reviews.
  3. Web hosting support – No hosting, no website. So, look for a domain provider who offers different hosting services like shared hosting, WordPress hosting, dedicated servers and cloud services as well. This will help you opt a hosting service per your needs.

    Suggested reading: Top 10 best managed WordPress hosting providers in 2018.

  4. Security – Compare the safety measures offered by different domain name providers. A registrar should make available different software that you can buy to make your website safer from cyberthreats like malware, phishing etc. You should also go for SSL certificates to secure your data and transactions and gain your customers’ trust.While SSL is not usually free, ZNetLive provides free SSL certificate with managed WordPress hosting.
  5. Pricing – The price difference can be huge with different domain providers. So, shop around and check the annual pricing and renewals also, as some charge less for the first year of domain purchase but may charge differently on renewal.

Other factors to be considered are control panel, ability to set up subdomains, privacy protection, free addon services that come with domain purchase etc.

7 best domain name registrars comparison

A brief overview of pricing for two popular and widely used domain names – .com and .net:

Domain Registrar Price for the 1st year Renewal price
ZNetLive .com- INR 619
.net- INR 695
.com – INR 799
.net- INR 799
GoDaddy .com- INR 299* (*for first year only)
.net- INR 639
.com – INR 959.00
.net- INR 1,159
DreamHost .com- INR 763.27
.net- INR 891
.com- INR 891
.net- INR 891
Google .com – INR 860
.net- INR 860
.com – INR 860
.net – INR 860
Namecheap .com- INR 680.82
.net- INR 820.30
.com – INR 674.45
.net- INR 813.93
Name.com .com- INR 572.56
.net- INR 699.94
.com – INR 827.31
.net – INR 891.00
Bluehost .com- INR 749
.net- INR 749
.com – INR 1498
.net- INR 1498

Now let’s get see a detailed comparison of features of the domain name providers:

  1. Namecheap

    Namecheap is Phoenix based web hosting and domain name registration services provider. This ICANN accredited registrar started its operations in the year 2000 and is a well-known name in the domain name business as it offers all popular TLDs at cost effective prices.

    With every new domain purchase, they offer Positive SSL certificate at $1.99 for the first year. They provide WhoisGuard privacy protection with every domain registration or transfer and free DNS which works as a great backup to DNS servers.

    What you may like?

    • Simple domain setup with clutter free interface and easy domain management system.
    • You get one email account free with domain purchase but for additional emails they charge you some amount.
    • They have a huge DNS server network across Europe and the US and they provide URL and email forwarding.
    • Their additional services include hosting, security and premium DNS services.

    What you may not like?

    • Domain transfers to Namecheap are no doubt free of cost but one has to renew the domain for transferring.
    • You receive WhoisGuard subscription free only for first year with every eligible new domain registration or transfer.
    • DNS features provided by them are applicable only if your domain uses their default nameservers.

    Namecheap Support Review

    Namecheap offers guarantee of quality to its customers and is a trusted name in support. Their trained team of experts deliver top notch and quick support via live chat and support ticket. It also has a knowledgebase to help customers with FAQs.

  2. GoDaddy

    GoDaddy is an American publicly traded domain name and hosting company with a large customer base in India and worldwide. It has a large number of domains under its management.

    This domain provider company is capable of handling all domain needs of its clients. They offer hundreds of top level domains that include country specific domain name extensions and general TLDs. The company is known for its extensive marketing, including TV and newspaper advertising.

    What you may like?

    • Simple to use domain search board.
    • Offers other online services like website hosting, website builder and SSL certificates.
    • Decent pricing structure.
    • They also offer easy domain transfer, bulk domain search tool and domain auctions, where you can bid for existing domain names already registered in the past by others.

    What you may not like?

    • Their initial pricing structure seems to be low but when it comes to renewals they charge heavily.
    • Most of their additional services are paid, like domain privacy protection comes at INR 99 per domain.
    • They have limited hosting services and sometimes their upselling tactics and ads are so forceful that they slow down your actual buying process.

    GoDaddy Support Review

    GoDaddy is known for its award- winning support. They maintain a help page which is one of the most effective channels of dedicated support for their customers. They also have community forums where dedicated contributors come up with a number of tutorials and FAQs. For instant support, you can contact them via phone and chat.

  3. ZNetLive

    ZNetLive is a well-established internet domain registrar and web hosting company, since 2000. Besides domains, they have established a foothold as a managed services and digital transformation solutions’ provider. They are one stop shop for all domain, hosting and managed services’ needs.

    Their services include cloud management services, infrastructure services, Azure solutions, security (SSL certificates) and business productivity tools which they offer at the industry leading prices. ZNetLive is an ICANN accredited registrar with strong customer base in India and worldwide.

    What you may like?

    • Being a customer centric company, they provide cheapest domain registration in India and even cheapest renewals also.

    • You get 2 email accounts, Domain privacy protection and domain locking service free, when you buy a domain name from ZNetLive.

    • They offer fully managed DNS service, domain and email forwarding service along with an easy to use control panel to help you manage your domains.

    • They also offer sale on domains to allow you to choose your best one at reduced prices.

    ZNetLive Support overview

    Known for their best and all-time accountable support in the industry. The technical acumen of the support team makes them stand apart from the rest. Support is always a call away. They have multiple channels of support – live chat, phone and tickets. They maintain updated knowledgebase and run informative blogs to help visitors solve their queries.

    Best part of their support is the timely announcement of maintenances and quick resolution of issues.

  4. Bluehost

    Founded in 2003, Bluehost is a leading web hosting solutions provider. It also provides popular top – level domains independent of hosting and they come bundled with hosting plans too.Bluehost allows you to search 15 domains at a time – has a search box column for it. However, with Bluehost, you may not find a voluminous range of domain name extensions as compared to other domain provider companies.

    What you may like?

    You get a number of free addons with every domain purchase – lifetime DNS service, Domain Theft Protection, email and domain forwarding and 2 personalized email addresses.

    What you may not like?

    • With Bluehost, you may not find country specific extensions.
    • Renewals require heavy payments.

    Bluehost Support Review

    Bluehost support can be reached via live chat and phone, anytime. Their support is reliable and trustworthy. You can also create support tickets to raise your concerns, read support articles and walk through their knowledgebase to find answers to queries.

  5. Google

    Google entered the domain registrar business in 2015, launched its own domain registration service which is till now in Beta testing stage.Google gives simplified dashboard to manage your domains, website and other email settings. You get an improved search and suggestion experience with smart and dynamic DNS integration.

    It allows you to register all TLDs and supports 100 subdomains per domain and provides privacy protection, dynamic DNS and email forwarding to any Gmail.

    What you may like?

    • Professional and user-friendly domain dashboard.
    • It gives privacy protection free of cost.
    • It offers simple to use domain management tools.
    • Allows its customers to create up to 100 email aliases with a domain.

    What you may not like?

    • It does not offer hosting facilities, only provides domains.
    • Google is still working to add more features to its service, even as it launches to the general public.
    • Lacks bulk domain capabilities.

    Google Support Review

    Google maintains a help centre to solve customer queries and their support team is available 24 hours over email, chat and phone.

  6. DreamHost

    Los Angles based DreamHost is a web hosting and cloud computing services provider who also provides domains and website creation tools. It also offers managed WordPress hosting and WordPress management tools.DreamHost is an ICANN accredited domain registrar. It offers all TLDs, a few country-specific TLDs and new generic TLDs.

    What you may like?

    • With every domain purchase, they offer a free trial of click-to-edit website builder – Remixer, with 100% customization and upgrade options.
    • They offer free domain privacy and free custom emails are also included.
    • Their auto renewals are also flexible and they allow you to create as many subdomains as you want but you need to host a domain with DreamHost.
    • You also give free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ SSL certificates.

    What you may not like?

    • No doubt they offer cost effective domains but their renewals are expensive.

    DreamHost Support Review

    DreamHost support provides round the clock dedicated support to its customers. They have discussion forums and knowledgebase to help customers with FAQs.

  7. Name.com

    Denver based Name.com is another ICANN accredited domain name provider. It enables you to not only register but also renew and transfer domain easily. Founded in 2003, the company also offers web hosting, DNS, bulk domains, SSL certificates, email services and more.

    What you may like?

    • Every domain purchase comes with free email and URL forwarding, free forwarding to social media and free DNS management.
    • They have clear options to look out for upcoming extensions and expiring domains that can help you in grabbing your preferred domains.

    What you may not like?

    • Hosting services are basic, and you could get a better hosting with free domain from many other hosting providers.
    • Privacy protection is paid.
    • Customer support is average. Live chat support is unavailable.

    Name.com Support Review

    Name.com phone support is available only during their normal business hours and live chat is the recent addition to their support channel (launched in November 2017). However, they maintain a knowledgebase that answers a number of questions. You can contact their support team through social media accounts and also create a support ticket to raise an issue.

Summarizing

It is fundamental that all domain name registrars allow you to register and purchase, renew and transfer domain names but still they differ in their pricing, features and freebies that they provide with every purchase.

So, compare different support services and prices before selecting a web hosting provider to buy domain names.

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How cloud and IoT are making chemical labeling smart?

As the world spends more time working from home, consistency in shipping and labeling is crucial for the safety and well-being of those handling the packages as well as the recipients. No matter what product you are sending out, packaging and labeling matter.

Technology here plays an integral role in making this possible.

Smart technologies like Cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), automation, etc. are simplifying how labeling is done.

The technological integration in smart labeling provides customers ready access to detailed product information with a simple touch of a button. Companies, on the other hand, can benefit from traceable information of the product, enabling them to monitor it from manufacturing to the shelf.

When it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, the advancements in biologics and speciality drugs require thermal-sensitive packing. This further promotes the use of smart labels consisting of temperature control functions.

The following article talks about the technological impact on packaging and labeling, what is chemical labeling, and some do’s and don’ts of chemical labeling.

Technological impact on the labeling sector

With advancements in RFID (radio-frequency identification labels) and barcode labeling, the labeling process and inventory management are benefitting a lot.

From reduced costs of inventory management to automated labeling, smart technology is redefining packaging and labeling.

If we talk in the context of chemical labelng, technology like automation and IoT implementations, can help manufacturers restructure the labeling process and eliminate redundancies in the available data sources. It can further help them save time and costs while adhering to labeling compliance policies.

Source: Unsplash

Conventional or traditional labeling processes are not only complicated but difficult to use and expensive.

Today, several pharma products require certification information, toxicity specifications for chemicals, Kosher, or Halal practices.

Modern chemical labeling processes require modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that offer scalability and agility to the business. It must also align with the changing business needs. Such solutions can help manufacturers to reduce the hours consumed in managing product labeling by increasing accuracy, capturing process efficiencies, and reducing waste.

More than ever, businesses are now embracing cloud-based labeling applications.

The growing demand is driven by a host of benefits offered by the cloud – simplified maintenance and support, mobility, reduced team involvement, and streamlined global deployment.

Here, businesses should eye enterprise labeling solutions that are purpose-built for cloud-based deployments to ensure increased print performance and flexibility.

Similar to the cloud, IoT and automation too, have a profound impact on the labeling sector.

IoT, for example, can connect devices and share information with the users. Consumers can now, with a simple click of a button, check the freshness of the food items stored in their refrigerators.

IoT-enabled smart labels can simplify the tracking of products even at a remote location and at an affordable price.

In chemical labeling too, smart labels can benefit both the consumer and the handlers or distributors of the package. Consumers can check for details like expiration date of the package with a simple bar code scan. Smart labels can also increase the level of security in the packaging of a particular drug kit.

What’s important about getting Chemical Labeling right?

A properly completed and applied chemical label will let you know:

  • What is in the package?
  • a signal word, such as “flammable” or “danger”
  • a hazard statement, such as the greatest risk
  • precautionary statements that include what to do to get it off your skin or what to do if the product becomes airborne
  • the supplier information

If you get a bottle of liquor as a Christmas gift and the bottle breaks, you will just be losing your present, but the delivery driver may be facing a highly flammable substance that can put his life in danger. Proper chemical labeling may seem excessive as long as nothing spills, but if something goes wrong, protections should be easily visible.

What should you do when Labeling to ship?

If you’re transmitting anything that could be hazardous in the event of damage or exposure to heat or pressure, take care to make room in the marketing imagery on the packaging to create appropriate space for safety. If you need to leave one side of the container blank for a hazard label, do so.

Be vigilant about safe packaging from the container out. Yes, your internal packaging will need any required OSHA labels. Additionally, the exterior packaging box or bag will need to include the same safety labels and hazard warnings. Finally, the exterior container will require the same data. Whether your products are going to a business or a private home, it only takes one uninformed person to incorrectly open a container and put themselves at terrible risk.

Source: Unsplash

Also, consider any need for tamper-resistant markings and tags as well as tipping notifications to reduce the risk of a dangerous vapor event. If you work with chemicals that become hazardous when exposed to air, your facility is likely set up to reduce risks to your employees and region. Reduce this hazard risk with a tamper-resistant opening and detailed instructions.

What should you not do when creating your Packaging Designs?

Carefully study the rules and regulations to transmit your products via road, air or train. Be aware that there are many flammables and potentially explosive products that can’t be shipped by train or plane.

If you’re sending out large containers of a chemical that will be incorporated into other products, consider including a warning on your label about potential transportation risks. While the chemistry of the next step in their process may negate the risks of an air or train transport, the inclusion of this text could trigger a review of shipping requirements and could avert a disaster.

We can all hope that skilled professionals are going to be the ones unloading and opening our products at the end of the shipment, but hazards abound when transporting materials. Your product may become a critical danger before the product even gets to the final destination, so label appropriately for anyone handling the items.

Read Next: Local Vs Cloud-based POS (Point of Sale) Systems

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5 critical processes an effective AML reporting software should be capable of

As the world continues to shift toward digitization, the effectiveness of a program is no longer simply ideal, but a standard. This is especially important when it comes to fintech applications that are meant to detect and prevent crime, especially for anti-money laundering (AML) protection. Since the success of financial services relies on customer trust and satisfaction, it is a requirement that any bank or agency use some form of regulatory technology to prevent fraudulent activity and protect data.

Some institutions hire their own in-house team to create their software while others outsource and contract the services of companies that specialize in the technology. If you are in the process of selecting or developing an AML reporting software for your company, here are a few processes that you cannot go without:

Integration of Application Programming Interface (API)

Many top companies and agencies are leaders in the financial sector because their AML software remains updated and compliant. This consistency is because of API integration, which automates all scanning processes without human intervention. Having people screen thousands of transactions every day is not only labor-intensive, but it is also costly and can still lead to errors. Automating this process eliminates this problem by expediting the process with fewer mistakes.

The only workforce that may be needed is a team of programming experts who can maintain operations and tune up the system, as necessary. Otherwise, the control processes can be left to operate in the background while the bank’s employees focus on other tasks.

Advanced Search Algorithms

To aid with screening, the software has to be calibrated with advanced search algorithms. Doing so will ensure that any suspicious activity is properly flagged, eliminating any false positives and negatives. This is where a knowledgeable person needs to be involved in improving the software to continually tweak and enhance the match rate determination of the algorithm. It is important to pay close attention to the algorithm so any issues can be corrected sooner rather than later.

While the program may be automated, it still needs to be programmed according to the needs of your company. Otherwise, trivial and mundane bits of information (such as customer info and business names) may be wrongly flagged by the system.

Thorough and Legal Framework

It should go without saying that all your software processes should be legal and do not violate any rules. Given the nature of the finance niche, all AML reporting software must be compliant with industry standards and government regulations. It may be essential for banks and other financial institutions to seek counsel from compliance experts to ensure that whatever software they invest in or develop is effective, updated, and completely legal. This may require experts to be an active part of creating the framework and screening the entire program every step of the way.

Indeed, every country has its own set of laws when it comes to detecting and preventing criminal activity, especially those that involve money. As such, getting insights from compliance experts from time to time helps ensure that an AML reporting system is thoroughly compliant to avoid any fines as a result of breaking the law.

Exhaustive Screening Programs

While the risk of people making accounts for nefarious reasons will never completely go away, the software system can do something to mitigate it. The best way to do so is to develop a scrupulous screening process so that these accounts can be found and reported before the owners can commit a crime. This can come in the form of an extensive identity verification check from the moment someone opens an account with your bank.

Many cybercriminals rely on faulty and shallow security checks to carry out their crimes. A system that deters such individuals from the very beginning ensures better protection for customers and data. In addition to customer portals, you might also want your software to screen for other suspicious activity like sudden increases in transaction frequency, any spikes in amounts transferred, and transfers related to entities with money-laundering history. If your screening program is especially sensitive to these red flags, you can prevent any fraudulent activity from ever occurring.

AML Compliance Monitoring

In the ever-changing world of technology and industry compliance, your software needs to be continually regulated and improved. For employees in charge of said software, they must follow industry practices to ensure any system updates are timely and legal. Even the most advanced automated software will still need human evaluation and judgment for special cases. That being said, having a platform in your system for testing, improving, and investigating errors will make the monitoring process more thorough and effective. That way, you won’t have to spend as much time manually investigating suspicious activity.

Wrapping up

A good AML reporting software always includes the functions mentioned above. Including these processes does more than just increase productivity and efficiency. Doing so also ensures that your software is compliant with rules and regulations. As such, your company and your customers can rest assured that it is working as it should be in crime prevention.

Read Next: Top 11 Cyber Protection Solutions for Businesses – a comparison

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Articles Cloud

Local Vs Cloud based POS (Point of Sale) Systems

POS has been around for a while, and it is providing solutions to making payments, especially in retail stores. It reduces the physical handling of cash, hence minimizes all risks associated with it. It also makes payments faster and record-keeping easier. A POS machine does not only receive payments but also print receipts and keeps records of financial transactions.

If you have been using this system, you sure understand how it works. Even if you are just about introducing it to your business, the basic working principle is pretty easy to understand, even though it is a very complex system. A complete POS system consists of both hardware and software. A typical one you will see in popular retail stores consists of a screen for monitoring transaction progress, a barcode reader for determining the price, a card reader for processing payments, a receipt reader, and a cash drawer. However, the software stores data in two basic ways, either on a local server or in the cloud. The difference is so significant that every retail store owner needs to understand it and decide which one will work best for him before integrating POS into his business.

This article will discuss the two types of POS software, their primary features, and the differences between them. But first, let us discuss the data that are needed to be stored by the software.

What does a POS do?

Everybody knows a POS is used to process payments, transfer money to a bank account, and keep a sales record. A POS, therefore, consists of software that will scan the barcode on the product and extract the product name and price, read the card data, process financial transactions, store the transaction, and print the transaction receipt. Even when we make payments in cash, the cash drawer will facilitate the drawer’s opening and closing and record the sale.

Therefore, with POS, all the sales and inventories can be adequately recorded and classified. But their storage is the significant difference between the local POS and the Cloud-based POS.

As stated earlier, the record of all these activities can be stored in two ways, either on a local server based in the store or the cloud system. So, we will discuss the features of each of the software.

The working principle of a local POS

At the end of each business day, it is normal for the manager to go through the day’s sales record. That means he must have access to the data captured by the POS. For a traditional POS, also called on-premises POS, this data is stored on a server of a computer system that is based in the store.

The business owner only needs to purchase a license to the software from the solution provider and install it on its local computer. That also means he can only access these pieces of information when he has access to the computer on which the software is installed.

The cloud-based POS

As opposed to the local POS, the cloud-based POS stores information in the cloud. Therefore, the information can be accessed on any computer system that is connected to the internet. Hence, you do not have to be physically present in the store before you can check the POS data.

But there are more differences between the cloud-based POS and the on-premises POS than just the way they are configured. Let us look at these differences.

Differences between Local POS and Cloud-Based POS

Below are the significant differences between local POS and cloud-based POS:

  • Data Storage and Accessibility

As earlier explained, the storage is the primary difference between the on-premises POS and the cloud-based POS. While the on-premises POS stores data in a database that is physically present in the store and can only be accessed on the computer on which the software is installed, cloud-based POS stores data in the cloud, hence its data can be accessed on any computer that has internet service. All you have to do is to log in to your cloud account.

  • Data Security

Data is stored on an in-store computer in a local POS solution; therefore, they are at the risk of computer safety. If the computer is attacked by a virus, crashes, or experiences physical damage like a fire accident, then all your data may be destroyed.

In an environment that is not safe, even theft can possess a risk to any computer, and that might mean the loss of all the data on the computer. But cloud-based POS solution does not have to worry about an attack on a computer since the data is stored in the cloud. Therefore, your data is always safe and secure, irrespective of what happens to any particular computer.

  • Management and Maintenance

Once you purchase a license from a software provider in local POS and install it on your computer, the rest is in your hand. It is your responsibility to manage your data and your solution system. All maintenance work is in your hand. But if you are using the cloud-based POS system, such as Revel POS, you can employ the service of the solution provider for some system management as well as for full maintenance of the system.

  • Updates

From time to time, every system needs to be updated; and POS systems are not exceptions. However, to update your on-premises POS system, you must hire a professional to do it for you. The technician also has his working hours which will likely be similar to your operational business hours.

This will indeed affect your business as you will not be able to use the POS during the time the business upgrade is taking place. You will also be responsible for the labor cost and any other associated cost. But if your POS system uses cloud-based software, then the system update will come with the software and will take place at a regular interval automatically. The update will be programmed to take place during the off-peak time, hence will not cause any interruption to your business activities.

It will also not incur any extra cost. While you must watch out for updates and decide when to update your system while using the traditional Point of Sale software, you can rest assured in cloud-based POS that your system will be updated anytime updates are available.

  • Computer System

You must install your local POS software on the computer system you want to use to access it. The more system you install the software on, the more you pay for the licenses. Hence, you will have to work with limited hardware.

However, you can work on as much hardware as you like with cloud-based POS software as the only requirement is for the system to be connected to the internet. It is not even compulsory that your hardware must be a desktop computer or laptop. It could be any device that can access the internet, including mobile phones, iPads, and tablets.

  • Cost

To every business owner, the cost is an essential factor. It would help if you critically considered the cost of both before making a decision. There are two categories of the cost involved. The first is the set-up cost, and the second is the maintenance cost.

The set-up cost includes the hardware cost, the license cost, and the installation cost in the local POS. At the same time, the maintenance cost involves the cost of updating or reinstallation. Cloud-based POS software does not require any maintenance cost or license cost. Their set-up cost is usually low compared with the local POS.

 However, they need a monthly subscription. Therefore, essential factors to consider will be the duration you intend to use the service, the number of employees that will be using POS, and the scale of your business.

Differences at a glance

The differences between the traditional POS system and the cloud-based POS system can be summarized as shown in the table:

Conclusion

All POS function in similar ways, except that some store data in a database that is located physically on the premise of the store, while some store data in the cloud. This means that while the traditional POS system can only be accessed while in the store, the cloud-based POS solution can be accessed on any device that is connected to the internet and at any location (source).

This makes the data saved on the traditional POS vulnerable to attack and destruction, but the cloud-based system is relatively safer.

However, while there is little need for further expenses once the traditional POS software has been installed, the cloud-based POS requires a monthly subscription.

Author Name: Aniko A, Marketing Manager
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Articles Cybersecurity

A quick guide to transitioning from IT to Cybersecurity

Making a career change in whatever field can be intimidating due to the fear of failure and uncertainty. However, you can successfully transition from IT to cybersecurity without much hassle if you have the dedication and patience to adjust to a new field.

As technology continues to advance, it brings with it new cybersecurity challenges that make careers in cybersecurity lucrative. If you are interested in a career in cybersecurity and wondering how you can transition from IT and attain your career development goals, this guide is for you. Read on for tips on how to successfully transition from IT to cybersecurity and excel in your new field.

1. Get Training and Certification

After establishing that a career in cybersecurity is right for you, you need to identify the skills’ gaps that exist so that you can fill them and become eligible for the job. The best way to attain the necessary skills is by enrolling in cybersecurity training. There are numerous resources to help you learn more about cybersecurity and gain the necessary skills. Fortunately, general IT and cybersecurity share a lot of transferrable skills such as networking and programming which means you already have the foundation to build your new career on.

You should also get a certification to supplement your qualifications and show that you are capable of handling the duties of your new job. Some of the cybersecurity certifications you should consider include:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CompTIA Security +
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security,
  • Certified Information Security Manager

You should also cultivate soft skills that are important in cybersecurity such as the ability to solve problems, excellent communication skills, analytical thinking, and attention to detail.

Suggested Reading: Top 11 Cyber Protection Solutions for Businesses – a comparison

2. Look for Work Experience

Although academic qualifications may get your foot in the door, relevant work experience hastens the transitioning process. After ensuring that you have the necessary knowledge and skills, you need to gain work experience by putting your knowledge into practice and solving real-world problems. There are various ways that you can gain work experience.

You can start by self-learning where you practice securing your computer and then hacking it to reveal security loopholes. Other ways to gain work experience on your own include creating open-source projects and engaging in cybersecurity training games and contests. You can also find vulnerabilities on open-source projects and sites that have bug bounties. When you do this, always document your work and findings so you can use them as leverage.

Other than self-learning, also consider volunteering and internships. Note that some of the internships may not offer payment but they give you valuable work experience. By taking up cybersecurity jobs whether paid or unpaid, you hone your skills and gain work experience that will help you land the job you want much faster.

3. Build Your Resume

With knowledge and work experience in cybersecurity, you are ready to start looking for a job in your area of interest. Create a resume that highlights your skills and depicts you as the ideal candidate for a cybersecurity position. When writing your resume, ensure that you include both hard skills and soft skills, academic and professional certifications as well as any relevant work experience related to IT security.

The work experience on your resume does not have to be formal employment and may include volunteer, internships as well as apprenticeships. Don’t forget to include your IT achievements like awards, certificates, and even scholarships. A resume is the first interaction that your potential employer has with you. Therefore, you should ensure that it makes a good first impression.

4. Network

Networking helps you build meaningful relationships with people who can make your transition from IT to cybersecurity successful. As you transition, find professionals in cybersecurity who share the same interests as you and connect with them. You can do this by attending cybersecurity seminars and events, meeting people through others, as well as through social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

The people you connect with can support you during your career transition by offering you advice on how to go about the career change. They can also help you get a job by recommending you when they come across opportunities. As you network, find a mentor who will hold your hand as you transition to cybersecurity to ensure you do it right. This should be a cybersecurity professional with more experience than you who can guide and support you as you transition.

With the above tips, you can seamlessly switch from IT to cybersecurity and find employment in the industry of your choice. Take note that cybersecurity requires continuous learning as technology continues to advance. To achieve career development, you should continuously update your knowledge and skills to help you stay relevant in the ever-changing world of technology.

Read Next: Security is topmost requested service customers want from MSPs: Acronis-Omdia report

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Learn UI UX design: Preparing for a course to develop your UI UX designer skills

The dynamics of career and learning have changed drastically over the last eight to ten months. The pandemic has wreaked havoc over the world economy, with thousands of people losing their jobs, lakhs of them enduring excruciating pay cuts and a multitude of businesses shutting down. Those who have managed to stay afloat are now looking at careers that could self-sustain in the coming months when the economy would be trying hard to recover.

This general air of instability has led many to take a closer look at their skill sets and find courses that could prepare them for a sustainable career. One such subject, that many people are looking at, is to learn UI UX design. Through a comprehensive and practical course, one can easily develop UI UX designer skills to bag some lucrative and challenging jobs.

As with any technical program, there are many myths surrounding the UI UX design program. Articles ranging from how to learn UI UX design to what kind of job, salary as well as the depth of knowledge required, are explored on the internet. However, what isn’t clear in any of those articles, is how to prepare for a course. People who wish to pursue a career in UI UX design would go to the internet to search for courses that would help them learn. However, what is also important is to find someone who already has an established career in the said field, who can guide you to the correct path, without getting side-tracked by the various wrong ideas.

As you are preparing for a career change, you cannot blindly take the plunge. You need to research each and every aspect of the UI UX design thoroughly, assess your current skill sets, find out what new skills you need to learn and develop and then look for a course that specifically caters to your needs as well as is affordable to you. In short, before you even start to search the internet to learn UI UX design, you need to prepare for it.

In this blog, we are going to start with a brief introduction on what exactly UI UX  design is and then go into detail about what kind of preparation is needed to learn UI UX design. Along the way, we will try to bust some myths regarding the courses and find out what exactly is it that you need to know before applying for a job.

What is UI UX Design?

In today’s day and age of the internet, any business that is looking to expand its horizons needs to have a website or application. Even then, a simple website or application can only help so much. To gain maximum reach, approach and recall, the website or application needs to engage the users by giving them a full experience. This is called User Experience (UX).

Once a company has decided that its website is going to be a complete user experience based one, they would hire UI UX designers, who would then set to work upon User Interface (UI) for the website, using various design elements and UI UX  designer skills. A UI is basically how the website functions for the user with respect to making it user friendly, easy and simple. A UX designer will then research, interact with the user to find out what exactly they would like in the company’s website and come up with a wireframe and prototype, which he will then test with a select group of users to find out if it gives them a complete experience.

Based on these interactions, changes would then be made in the prototype. Once the website is up and running, the UI designer will keep a check on whether the user experience he created is being accepted and appreciated, whether users are facing any issues and if so, then work on solving the said issue.

In short, a UI designer works to create a user interface that gives a great user experience. With various companies, products, apps, industry sectors and businesses looking to give a great user experience to their customers, instead of simply selling their products, UI UX designers are suddenly in demand. As the aspects of UI UX design is an amalgamation of various other fields, it is quite easy to transition from almost any career to UI UX design. This has led to a great scramble for courses.

It is also important to know that UI UX design is not just a one dimensional field. It has various subsets, aspects, and specializations, that in-depth knowledge could lead to a more lucrative career. With the right guidance, one can learn UI UX design course well and land a lucrative, creative and challenging job, which has great future prospects too.

Learn UI UX Design with the Help of a Course

If you browse the internet, you will find a plethora of UI UX design courses that would promise you a great career. But before you decide on which one to pursue, you need to do certain things. Firstly, whether you are a fresher or a career person looking for a shift, you need to assess your current skill set. Make a list of all your skills.

Then do your research on UI UX design to see which of your skills could be used in the various aspects. Finally, look for a design course that delves into theory in detail and then lets you work on projects to build up the practical knowledge. It would be ideal if you can find a mentor, an industry veteran to help you in the process of learning UI UX design. An internship with a company who handles practical projects could be an icing on the cake because you could learn so much more from being hands on.

While you are working as a part of various projects and learning the theoretical concepts, you can start building your portfolio. When you apply for a UI UX designer job, nothing more than an amazing portfolio can be a better proof of your skills. This is why there are various courses that let you work on various practical projects in a bid to help you build your portfolio and/or enhance it.

How to Learn UI UX Design

When you are doing your research for the UI UX design course, you would have come across various articles on what you should know before getting into the field. The problem is each article would give different types of information leading to a lot of confusion.

Along with that, the idea that UI UX design being a computer based technical field, knowing certain things like coding or hardware or programming language would be essential, is another source of worry. This might lead to one doubting their skill sets and wondering if additional courses may be required to compensate for these lack of skills.

Let us assure you that simple UI UX design programs, like those from Springboard, are more than enough to prepare you for a great career.

1. Coding Not Required

First and foremost, let us address the most widely asked question. If you are looking to build a career in UI UX design and are looking to learn UI UX design, you do not need to know coding.

If you go to look at companies offering UI UX designer jobs, you will see that they list coding as a skill set. However, it is a fact that most UI UX designer jobs do not require the candidate to know coding. Companies, however, list coding as an additional skill set because it is good if a UI UX designer knows coding. Most companies simply expect you to know the basic principles of coding. Knowing how to write code is simply an additional skill, not a required one.

If you look at the job profile of a UI UX designer or even talk to an industry veteran, you will find that coding is not part of a UI UX designer job. Coding is not required in any day to day aspect of UI UX designing.

If you are looking to change careers, you need to find a course that caters to your skill set. If you are interested, you can learn coding as an additional skill too. Companies appreciate employees donning multiple hats but it is absolutely not a prerequisite.

2. Talk to Other UI UX Designers

If you browse the internet with the intention of finding a suitable program for you to learn UI UX design, you would find tons of material. You would definitely need to research and find your own way. However, in an industry as niche yet vibrant as UI UX design, it is quite easy to get side-tracked. What you need, along with research, is proper guidance.

You need to find and talk to a UI UX designer. If you are able to find an industry veteran, someone who has been in the field for some time, to see a bit of the design evolution, they could guide you through your learning.

They could give you a realistic picture on how the industry works, what skillsets are in demand, how and where to develop them, what kind of courses would help you build your dream career and what kind of specialization you can work on. They can help you with an honest assessment of your skills as well.

Building a portfolio is a huge part of learning UI UX design. Your portfolio is more than your resume when you start applying for jobs. It will showcase your skill, creativity, technical aptitude as well as your strong foundation. So, when you are building your portfolio, a mentor will help you guide in making your portfolio a solid and creative endeavour. He can help you with what the industry expects, what are the trending aspects of design in the industry and give useful tips to enhance your portfolio.

No research would help you as much as talking and taking guidance from a mentor would.

3. Interactive Prototyping

When you start to learn UI UX design, you would understand that wireframe and prototype are two important aspects of UI UX  design. Wireframing basically means that you would sketch the layout of the website or application to make your client understand how things can be. It is usually the first step in the process of designing. Prototyping is where you convert your idea into the actual product to determine if it works for the users. The resultant research and data collected from how the users reacted to the prototype, is ultimately used to enhance the website or product for better user experience.

While most of the prototyping is done using various prototyping tools or via sketching, interactive prototyping has become an integral part of UI UX design in the last couple of years. Interactive prototyping is when you create an interactive prototype to give the user an exact experience the product will give. In short, instead of a sketch or prototyping tool, you use an interactive mock-up of the intended product to gauge the user’s reaction. Interactive prototyping especially works when there is a lot of abstract design involved. Learning interactive prototyping tools like Adobe XD, Axure RP, InVision, JustInMind and Balsamiq, would be an asset.

4. Learn UI UX Tools

The software and tools UI UX designers use, keep evolving. Each designer or company uses certain tools, while some use a totally different tool. How can one become a much in demand UI UX designer? By learning and knowing all the tools.

Tools like InVision Studio, Sketch, Craft, Marvel, Figma, etc. are just some that are currently in use. Having expertise in various such tools can be a great marketing strategy to present yourself as a good UI UX designer to a company. Not just learning them, but as these tools keep evolving, you need to be updated on what new software is in the market and how to use them.

5. User Testing and Research Skills

You may be learning all the UI UX designer skills, software as well as theoretical concepts through the course. However, your interpersonal skills are put to test when you are conducting user testing and collecting data to form your research.

User testing is an important aspect of the interactive design process. After you have created a wireframe and made a prototype depending on your assumptions, it is important to test the prototype through an interactive user testing process. This is where the prototype is handed over to the users, they are asked to undergo the intended user experience and then their feedback is collected through a statistical method. This data is then used to research more about the users and then used to enhance the product to suit the user better. In short, a user testing process decides how your product is going to be designed.

There is going to be a lot of interaction with the users during the user testing process and research data collection. This is where your social skills would be put to use. Users may know what they want, but not how to express it. It is your job to find out what exactly it is that they desire. Once you have collected the data regarding the user experience, you have to use your research skills to convert the data into the actual product.

Developing your interpersonal skills would be a great addition to become a UI UX  designer.

Conclusion

A UI UX designer job is one of the top trending jobs in the world right now. If you are looking to become one, you need to find a program to learn UI UX design, that caters to your specific skill set. These help you gauge your existing skillset, designing a specific practical-approach based program for you to enhance your skills and get a lucrative and challenging job.

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