1
Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?
2
5 Big Mistakes Agency Owners Often Make!
3
7 Awesome Reasons You Should Switch To Drupal 8
4
Valentine’s Day: Why Choosing Your Outsourcing Partner Is Just Like a Date?
5
How to Manage Micro-sites with Drupal 8?
6
7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team
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How Drupal 8 Can Boost Your Business?
8
12 Marketing Events Agencies Should Attend in 2017
9
Busted: 7 Myths of Working with Remote Teams
10
Why Do Small Businesses and Agencies Fail at Social Media Marketing?

Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?

Remote hiring is something which is slowly being accepted more and more as we edge into the future. Shunned earlier by many companies owing to the lack of clarity regarding the entire process, remote workers are now gradually being inducted into the workforces and task teams of various companies. This is contributing to the growth of workplace expansion beyond the physical confines of the office. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this trend is being quickly adopted by smaller companies, especially start-ups.   

There’s good reason behind people getting excited about remote offices. It is, first and foremost, quite cost-effective, saving money by not having to invest in the physical expansion of the workplace. The cost of office furniture, broadband internet connection, computers, air-conditioning, etc., is really difficult to muster for most start-ups. So, it is logical that the trend of remote working from different locations would come as a blessing in disguise for them. There are plenty of jobs that do not require the daily physical presence of workers in the office. A few examples would be a biochemist, a biomedical engineer and construction engineer. If you are planning to set up a firm that is primarily centered around these (or similar) jobs, then you’re at full liberty to forgo the office set-up. Instead, you would conduct business from your own home (or any other ‘headquarter’ location you choose). and a few decentralized locations scattered across various geographical locations.

Now, the question that arises out of all this is: Is it possible for start-ups to completely bank upon a remote team instead of an office team?

The answer is multi-layered. There are several things that ought to be kept in mind while beginning to work with a remote team. The first thing is the culture of the workplace. Remote workers that are being hired should first be tested for cultural compatibility as well as the speed of task completion and work ethics followed. The second thing is the structure of management. If you have a work supervision and employee productivity tracking system that depends on the physical presence of the employee in question, then problems are bound to arise. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are certain kinds of jobs that people can hold without having to actually travel to an office. If a start-up is made up of people who would be working chiefly from home or other remote locations, then an office would not be required in the first place. On the other hand, if a huge part of the company’s staff consists of people in traditional office-based roles, then that company would need a separate work building. It really depends upon the kind of industry the company is part of, and the type of work the company does.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a start-up and want to utilize a remote office:

  • Don’t use e-mail for communications; make use of Skype or Slack. The only place where you should use e-mail for communications is when you are notifying your employees on an official communication made with another organization. Another instance would be when you’re sending out official invites for a conference call. If you have a very small staff, you may have no need to communicate via technology.
  • You could make use of, as we have already stated above, real-time communication technology such as Flow, Skype, Skitch or Slack. These not only help in interpersonal and inter-group communication but also have live video chats and can also be used to keep track of employee progress. When it comes to keeping all work progress recorded centrally, there are few alternatives to cloud storage mechanisms such as Dropbox. It not only keeps all files stored in one place, sorted according to size, date, priority, and employee, but it also has the provision to bring back a deleted file by clicking the “undo delete” button (Note: This can be done within 30 days of deletion).
  • Create a position that is Two-in-One: Office Assistant and Manager. You could have the same person who has the responsibility of office secretary also carry the responsibility of the event scheduler. They would not only assign you the tasks to be completed but also fix meetings, book flights, carry out transactions with banks and other similar work. Thus, you could have a person handling your projects who knows the details and schedules of the company inside out. Having a position like this can help with better task coordination and optimization time. This position, acting as a schedule manager, is also an able observer of the company’s progress. Owing to their deep knowledge about the work mechanism and schedules of the company, they would be able to provide valuable inputs regarding the work to be completed.

In general, there are many good reasons for a start-up to go completely remote. It is definitely worth the time and effort to explore this as a possibility if nothing else.

5 Big Mistakes Agency Owners Often Make!

Running an agency successfully is not an easy task. Not everyone knows what it takes to master the art of running an agency.  There are many factors that you must keep in mind, but the most important thing that you can do is to learn from mistakes that others have made. If you know what the common mistakes that agency owners make are, you can avoid making them. Without much ado, let’s check out the list of mistakes you should avoid as an agency owner.

Lacking a Speciality

Most of the agencies generalize their services and ignore focusing in on a specialty. They offer multiple services to any or all clients hiring them. This generalization restricts their working area. Thus, they only work with local clients or with those clients who have a pre-existing relationship with the agency.  Specializing your agency is very important. Industry experts suggest that to be successful as an agency you should be proactive rather than being reactive. You should draw your roadmap and go after those of whom you think will make your perfect clients, rather than cater to all those who appear at your doorstep.

Agencies are often afraid to focus on a specialty due to three main reasons. They are as follows:

  • Agencies think that they will not be able to find their perfect clients as they don’t know the desired characteristics of their perfect client.
  • Most agencies do not want to turn away the clients who show up at their door offering them work.
  • Many agencies operate from a fear that they will end up choosing the wrong specialization.

One common trait of most successful agencies is that they all have a clear roadmap of what they want and where they are going. This clear map helps them to establish authority and credibility in the industry they choose.

If you are willing to leave your fear behind and choose perfect clients for your business, all you have to do is analyze your past and existing projects. You make note of the projects that were profitable, easy to work on and that delivered great results. These are the projects you must target for the future. When you and your team are satisfied with a  project, productivity will increase.

If you are not willing to choose certain projects and, therefore,  leave some behind, you can choose a narrower scope of service or technology instead.

Relying Too Much on Word-of-Mouth Referrals

While word-of-mouth leads are considered to be the lifeblood of most agencies, relying only on such referrals is a mistake that you will regret later.  As discussed in the previous point, agencies should adopt a more proactive approach rather than being reactive. Relying on word-of-mouth for leads is problematic as you are reliant on something that is not directly in your control. You can never be assured of lead generation. It might happen or it might not happen. The fate of your agency should never be in the hands of other people.  You have to adopt a proper system to generate new business.

Internet marketing can help you generate leads and to place control into your own hands. Inbound marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your website.  Attracting targeted traffic to the landing page and capturing the leads by nurturing them through good content is no longer a secret. Content will help you to find your perfect clients. This leads us to another common mistake that agency owners make.

Wrong Content Marketing Strategy

Having the wrong content marketing strategy is so common that almost every agency has done it. Many agency owners spotlight their portfolio, testimonials or case studies thinking that they would get an overwhelming response from their clients, but they fail to develop their agency blog in a proper manner which, in the case of most agencies, has more appealing content.

If you constantly write about yourself instead of content that the user finds useful, you will turn the reader away instead of converting them into clients. The content should be such that it helps readers to solve a problem.  Using generic calls-to-action is another mistake that most agency owners make on their website.  You should pay close attention to the calls-to-action and your content marketing strategies if you want to succeed.

Not Interacting with Other Agency Owners

When it comes to being an agency owner, “No man is an island,” as John Donne said. This is an excellent adage to follow. Agencies are one of the toughest businesses to run and it becomes more difficult if you adopt a strategy to go alone. If you think no one else knows how to run a successful agency, this is a wrong attitude.

Instead of bearing the entire burden on your shoulders alone you must learn to delegate. Talking to other agency owners can prove to be therapeutic for you. You can learn about the things they are doing right, and gain a sense of community.

Avoiding the Learning Process

Learning is an ongoing process which most agency owners avoid. This could spell disaster for your agency business, especially digital agencies. Clients expect digital agencies to constantly stay involved in the learning process so that they have knowledge of the latest market trends. You should never stop your learning process as an agency owner.

These are some of the most common mistakes that agency owners make that can hinder the success of their business.  Make sure that you avoid these mistakes to ensure your ability to be a successful agency owner.

7 Awesome Reasons You Should Switch To Drupal 8

Drupal is essentially open-source content-management software for websites. It’s written in PHP and is currently the backbone for more than 5% of websites throughout the world. It is capable of managing a variety of content, such as government sites, political sites, corporate, not-for-profit and personal blogs.
Drupal allows businesses the chance to look at the huge number of possibilities online. Ever since the time of its launch, Drupal has brought about a sea of change in the way CMS websites were designed and developed. When we look at all the versions, Drupal has presented its users with a number of opportunities. With the 8th version, Drupal brings before you a total of 200 improvements and new features. Below are six reasons why your website should be upgraded to this brand new version of Drupal, Drupal 8.0. Here goes:

  • Easy: Drupal 8.0 is extremely easy to use, just like its predecessors. In fact, ease of use is one of its biggest strengths. Apart from not being overly technical, it’s features and functions are easily explained to whoever uses it. The interface is user-friendly, as a result, the admins, editors, and moderators of any forum (created using Drupal) are able to edit very easily and perform the foundational tasks in a fluid manner.
  • User Guide: The new Drupal comes with a user guide that contains books, video tutorials, and forums that explain the entire platform at length. They also have troubleshooting portals to help users work through difficult challenges and questions.
  • Inbuilt Modules: In the new version, there are fifty-nine inbuilt core modules, for example, Entity API, CKEdition, and Jquery Update. It has Twig, which is a PHP-based theme-creation engine that is fast, secure and flexible. It has mobile-friendly themes that can fit into a mobile version of the website. Here you can edit the text on the page without having to redirect to the edit form. There are provisions for integrated views that allow the users to create pages, administrative sections for forums, restricted access pages, and blocks. There’s the automatic packaging feature which assists admins in performing site analysis and packages the configuration.
  • Configuration Management Interface: There is a built-in configuration management interface which exists at the level of the file system. Configuration elements as content category, fields, tables, rows, thread views, can easily be migrated from the local development to the server. There is also a version control system that can be used to manage and control the version of the website and track the configuration. Additionally, all data regarding configuration is stored in a separate database table than the website and its content.  The Drupal Module Upgrader brings about a simplification in the migration process from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. The entire code is scanned by the upgrader to aid in this process.
  • Scalability: With the new version, the scalability has been improved and is more dependable.  As all of us know, scalability is a huge factor when expanding a business.  If a website is small and has only a few widgets and pages, then it will not be easily upgraded to handle a huge number of additional elements and big (large in size) files. Your website can become slow because of this. In order to prevent this issue from happening, designers have provided Drupal with features that provide the quality of seamless scalability to your website. This protects your site from being weighed down by too many media elements. As a result, your website will be dynamic and will run smoothly.
  • Advanced WYSIWYG: With Drupal 8.0, you get an advanced WYSIWYG editor to help you out. With this tool, you can simplify the process of posting content through the panel of the admins. Additionally, there are several marketing tools and content authoring tools. There are also better translation tools provided in the WYSIWYG editor.
  • Responsive: And last, but not the least, Drupal 8 is completely responsive. With it, you will not have to worry about the responsiveness of the website across various user platforms and devices. It is great on desktops, laptops, Smartphones as well as tablets. This is possible since all the themes present in Drupal are responsive by default.

After reading this list, one can hope that no questions would be raised with regard to the effectiveness or awesomeness of Drupal 8.0.

Valentine’s Day: Why Choosing Your Outsourcing Partner Is Just Like a Date?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it is easy to feel the love in the air. Business operations are nothing less than love as both are complex and need your attention. Needless to say, both business and love are rewarding. You can express your love for your business by choosing the right outsourcing partner. Outsourcing allows you to get the benefits of skilled professionals without even the hassles of hiring them. As love fills you with content, outsourcing also does the same by providing high-quality work at reduced cost resulting in increased profits. Choosing your outsourcing partner can be just as confusing as planning a date for your Valentine. Here are some similarities between the two and some tips to select your outsourcing partner.

A Match Made in Heaven

Just like choosing a life partner, choosing a partner for business operations should also be a match made in heaven. When you are choosing an outsourcing company, you must make sure that the company is a fit for the needs of your company. They should offer the exact set of services that your business needs, neither more nor less. This is to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. For example, if you only want SEO service, you should not be forced to pay for other services that you don’t need but must take as there is no other option. This also means that the SEO service that you choose should be complete and beneficial for you.

You Complete My World

The outsourcing partner you select should be the answer to all your requirements. An outsourcing company must provide you quality work that helps your business to grow. The company you choose should be reliable and genuine. A company that has been around for a longer period of time and has experience in handling projects is a better choice than one that has just been established. An experienced team is also an important deciding factor.  You should research the company to verify whether they have been consistent with their quality and meeting deadlines.

I Can Always Count on You

If you can count on your outsourcing partner and you know that your partner is always there to watch your back, life is a little easier. An essential reason to have an outsourcing company that understands your business and risks involved and helps in the growth of your business.  Apart from maintaining quality and delivering output on time, your outsource partner should also be ready to handle any sort of emergency situations. If you choose the right outsourcing company, you will know what they are capable of.  Make certain you choose a company that has highly qualified and experienced professionals who know their job.

Many outsourcing companies do not have a transparent payment structure. A good outsourcing company lets you know their work procedures and rate structure. This ensures you are not paying extra money in the form of hidden costs or useless jobs.

No One Understand Me Like You Do

A good outsourcing company maintains a great level of communication.  The team members that handle your project must interact with you throughout the procedure. This helps you to keep track of how your work is being done, who is doing the work and how much work is left. It also facilitates better delegation of responsibilities and sets up a level of accountability for those working on the project.  

A reliable outsourcing company gives you advice on the amount of work your business might need and answer all your queries. A well-established outsourcing company has staff that can communicate well in English.

You Treat Me Like I Am the Only One in the World

Last, but not least, your outsourcing partner should value the needs of your business as client satisfaction should be their prime objective.  A good outsourcing service provider customizes their services to meet the needs of the client. They support the client from the order to the finish and even beyond that.

These are all points that you consider while choosing an outsourcing partner. A good partner is beneficial for your business and this relationship is the perfection that will last forever.

How to Manage Micro-sites with Drupal 8?

Numerous situations might come about where you may be tempted to create a series of microsites for the organisation or business you own. It can be anything—launching a new product, starting a new service, advertising an event etc. And when you’re with Drupal, the list of benefits and advantages are endless. Below are the detailed advantages of launching and running microsites with the help of Drupal.

Ever since its original version came out Drupal has ingrained a feature for the sake of running multi-sites. This involved the running of many sites from one single code-base installation, which means that they share the same core system and contribute various themes and custom modules. Every single multi-site has a database, configuration, settings, content etc. This means that it is possible to carry out more than one update. Therefore, multi-sites could actually be an option.

There are reasons micro-sites should be used. For example, it is quite a compelling option to have a single database to maintain. It would be useless to use forked codebases since they would become unloved too soon. Also, using multi-sites would imply that only a single hosting platform needs to be maintained. This also construes a huge advantage.

Secondly, if you do micro-site installations,  they would be able to make much better use of resources in the server, physical, personnel, and the financial fields. Because micro-sites of a single entity would share a common core and other modules, that code would only need to go once into the Op-code cache. By this, server resources are saved to a greater extent.

It should be noted that several proposals have already come forward to decrease support for micro-sites in Drupal, maybe even eradicate it completely. The basic argument is that micro-sites are old-fashioned. However, this is rarely true, especially where the developments by Git and Composer are concerned. This is the modern approach to multi-sites: The same code with different sites. This is what makes them so popular with website creators.

However, using Drupal is not completely free of problems. It is difficult to handle traffic spikes in one channel when it spills over to the others. Micro-sites usually make use of a common database server which often tolerates a huge amount of load. If one database is heavily loaded, then it may cause a domino effect, slowing down other databases. Running updates is also an issue. However, there are a lot of mechanisms to mitigate those. They are as follows:

  • Do not employ or use a code which has not been tested out in a full-fledged manner.
  • Always include staging and quality assurance phases as part of the release process. By following these two phases, you allow yourself more opportunities to detect and correct errors.
  • Whether it is a shell script or continuous integration tool, it is always the best idea to automate every tool.
  • The database codes should be designed so that they would be able to take care of the intervals before the database is updated. With more volatile updates, it is important that the time and day of the week are chosen carefully.  
  • Every single micro-site would require a different database, so you really could not manage all the content from a single site. That would involve a lot of posting and pulling of content from one place to another.

As we near the end of this article, we might just want to take a look at the other kinds of approaches to micro-site building using Drupal. A few are as follows:

Domain Access: To define the ‘domain access’, it is a collection of modules that arm the user with the right tools to run a group of affiliated sites from a single Drupal installation and one shared database. By using this module, you would be able to share content, configurations and user activity across a collection of sites.

Organic Groups: “Organic group” is a tool that allows a person to build a group within the Drupal site. Each such group would have its own user, moderator/s, administrative group, thread list, menu, and content.

Git: This is the best option so far and will give you innumerable advantages, such as independence of sites, design, single codebase and much stronger control over the updates.

Overall, it remains to be seen whether the trend of micro-sites endures the test of time in the near and distant future.

7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team

Employees are the most crucial part of any business or enterprise. If you have a team with good employees, you will have an edge over your competitors due to increased productivity. Leading your employees through the daily business operations requires you to put in the extra effort. Leading a team of remote employees can have its own set of challenges.

The work environment today grants employees the freedom to work from anywhere in the world due to the presence of the internet and computers. They don’t have to be present at a physical location to work.  There are many benefits to having a virtual team of employees working remotely.

The most crucial advantage is that you can hire talented candidates from across the globe, which contributes to taking productivity to the next level for you. You can bring in innovative ideas by hiring virtual employees and save the cost of maintaining an expensive infrastructure. Although there are many benefits of hiring virtual employees, there is one area that can cause concern – leading a virtual team can be tough. This problem is not insurmountable and can be solved if you follow certain tips. Here are seven tips that will help you to manage and lead a virtual team of employees like a pro.

Hire with Care

When you hire a virtual employee, you have to make sure that you hire the right candidate for the job. You must remember that not everyone can tackle the task of working alone. Although you and other virtual employees may be in contact, there are certain times when individual decision-making might be required. There are people who tend to be inclined to seek help from coworkers or seniors when put in that position. Remote workplaces are generally less social than physical ones and it is difficult to be available to the employee all the time. That is why it is important that you choose candidates who fit all the criteria of the job.  

Set Expectations

When your employee is working via a remote location, it is difficult to keep track of who is doing what amount of work. There is always a fear that keeps you wondering whether your employees are working well or abusing the privilege of work from a remote location. Productivity is the most important factor to consider when hiring regular or virtual employees. To maintain the right levels of productivity you must set expectations that are clearly communicated in a remote workplace model.

You can draw the daily output requirements, the time within which the employee should be available to you and other employees and team goals. This will act as a guideline for employees and will also keep a check on their output. If you have hired the right set of people, setting expectations will give you a thriving team that enjoys the privilege of working from home, but does not misuse it.

Use Technology

Communication and connection are the key to maintaining a successful virtual team. There are many technological tools that help you to connect and communicate with your employees and allow the employees to be in touch with each other.  There are tools that allow you to manage tasks and projects.  You can use tools like calendar, time manager, time zone scheduler, file storage, human resource management, etc to increase productivity.  It’s important to take the initiative to encourage your employees to use these tools as well.

Promote Voice Calling

While text messages and emails are formal and good ways of communication, they are often not easily understood and lack tone. By using voice calling on a regular basis, it will be easier to ensure that the entire team is on the same platform.

Video Meetings

Video meetings will help the entire team to connect with each other. You should encourage video meetings not only with yourself but also among other employees in your absence. As everyone is in remote locations, video calling is a better way to promote a sense of togetherness.

Deeper Bonds

Virtual employees want the privilege of working from remote locations and they often want more warm and friendly bonding than the regular working setup. You must catch up on what is happening in the employee’s life. Try to keep a more relaxed relationship with your employees. This develops a deeper sense of job satisfaction. Virtual employees enjoy a good balance between work and life. You can help them achieve that by adopting policies that encourage work-life balance rather than focusing only on your own profit.

Respect and Flexibility

Your employees might belong to different countries, cultures, and mindsets. Make sure you respect them and have a flexible attitude towards them.

These are some of the tips that will help you lead a team of virtual employees and may even help resolve conflicts or problems before they even arise.

How Drupal 8 Can Boost Your Business?

Drupal is an open-source software used for the purpose of creating and managing content across a variety of websites. It is used for the creation of forums and message boards, blogs, administrative panels, government information portals, etc. As far as Drupal development companies go, Drupal’s features can all be estimated. One of the greatest advantages of Drupal is that it can update itself with time and make itself suitable for the present day and period. Two years back the most recent version of Drupal, Drupal 8.0, was released. This update has ushered in a sea of new improvements as far as content management is concerned. These are:

  • What-you-see-is-what-you-get type of editing and previews.
  • Modeling content in a comprehensive fashion by making use of fields, views and entities.
  • Content page customization, form customization and customization of most administrative pages by making use of the interface.
  • Translatability and localization in a complete out-of-the-box manner.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Another question is: What are the advantages of building a site by employing the service of Drupal?

  1. The first answer is that you would be able to acquire huge mobile responsibility by it. The themes of Drupal are responsive by default; therefore it doesn’t matter whether the sites are being viewed by means of a PC, tablet or Smartphone. Thus, for any website that is thinking of launching mobile versions of their websites, Drupal 8 is a must-have.
  2. Secondly, you get to speed up. Using Drupal would give you good page load speed which would assist you in improving the rankings of the website in Google SERP.  Once the page has been viewed by the users, there is no need for the pages to be reloaded again and again. Because the system of caching is completely automatic, all the content that you view would be automatically shifted away from the cache and the load would decrease to a great extent.
  3. You also garner more security by becoming more hack-proof. The 8th version of Drupal includes the Twig template engine and the Symfony PHP, which can serve to eliminate any code that might be phishing for your password or may be serving to disfigure/disrupt the site. By using Drupal, hackers would be prevented from intruding into the layer of the theme and encroaching into the database of the company. Since Drupal is an open-source platform, it can detect and remove threats much faster in comparison to paid platforms.
  4. With greater complexity and interactivity, Drupal 8 is far more customizable in comparison to other open-source software. But since the eighth version of Drupal is equipped with good caching, which enables it to run on hardware specifications of lower caliber. Because of this, it is able to handle tremendous amounts of traffic, even when it comes to micro-sites. And this is a huge advantage that it can claim over other systems. The eighth version has the greatest ever automated testing system. It has tests pertaining to PHP units and integration, which are useful for solving the bugs that Drupal previously harbored. Once you run the automated test, these fixes are implemented.
  5. You can forever stay integrated with the help of Drupal 8. Where content management and digital management are concerned, Drupal 8 is right at the top. You can choose and implement whichever technology you desire; it is that flexible. It is also great as far as customer relationship management (CRM) is concerned.
  6. With Drupal, you have built-in user interfaces which could be read and used in any language you program the site to recognize. This is especially beneficial for those businesses that need to have a localized website and the pages need to be translated into numerous languages in accordance with the geographical region in which the business is being advertised.

In conclusion, using Drupal 8 would definitely make you stand out from among your competitors and provide you with plug-ins, additional features and tools. The cutting edge design of Drupal-powered websites is truly what sets it apart from its competitors, as well as the numerous other things mentioned here.

12 Marketing Events Agencies Should Attend in 2017

The year of 2017 has brought forth a host of new promises and hopes. And just like it marks a new beginning for the world and the lives of people who inhabit it, it also heralds a new beginning for the marketing, advertising, and market research industry. For every year, it is essential to note down in a list the various marketing events, such as SEO, digital marketing and tech conferences, from around the world. Below is a list of the various international conferences and events that are an absolute must-visit this year. They are as follows:

HeroConf: This one is by far the only dedicated and paid media conference in the United Kingdom. This place has the greatest quality speakers and the greatest presenters. Here, both speakers and presenters are of the highest quality. Regardless of whether you’re a novice or a veteran, you can glean useful information from it. Date: 24-26th Oct. Venue: London.

BrightonSEO: This is to be held on April 7th and the 15th of September. As the name suggests, it is to take place in Brighton. In this event, talks are offered on a huge variety of subjects by speakers. Every year, speakers are brought in from a variety of fields that fall within the ambit of digital marketing.

Unbounce—the Call to Action: This conference addresses the issue of attracting traffic to a website and converting the leads from the traffic into actual customers. To be held in Vancouver from 25-27th of June.

SMX Munich: Its content quality is extremely good, and it attracts a tremendous volume of visitors. It is mainly focussed on covering a huge range of search topics. This is scheduled in Munich on March 14th-15th.  

SEOkomm: To be held in Salzburg in the month of November, this one is a single-day conference which is singularly focused on SEO. It is among those conferences which offer the most advanced tracks and content in the world. The great networking possibilities are an additional bonus.

SEO-Day: SEO Day is presently the second largest show in Germany. There are three parallel tracks here, such as the “expert day”.  This event is held in Cologne on October 19th, is a must-attend.

Local Strategy: Mobility is the chief feature of the technology employed for handheld or ‘mobile’ devices. As per the information provided by Google, people usually look for commercial businesses which are near them, (which has necessitated the ‘near me’ mechanism for local search). For this reason, it is imperative that local businesses are run with this target in mind. It is with this target that the Local Strategy event was held on January 28th of this year in Bologna.

AdWorld Experience: Held in Bologna just like SEO-Day (but on the 13th-14th April) Adworld Experience is held in the month of April.  Specializing in the field of paid marketing campaigns, the best speakers are brought in by the organizers every year. Every year, planning for the next session is started after one session ends. Workshops which are run on the first day are entirely worth the prices offered.  Afterward, videos of all the sessions are provided to the attendees, which means that the ROI (Return on Investment) would be increased on the educational budgets of agencies.

Web Marketing Festival: This is one of the most vital industry events in Italy and is held in the city of Rimini. To be held on the 23rd and 24th of April, it attracts over 3000 participants every year. There are about ten parallel tracks held here, on each of which over 100 speakers hold speeches. Apart from high-level sessions on the subject of digital marketing, you also get tremendous opportunities to network.

ClinicSEO: This event is mainly organized in Barcelona, Spain on the 27th of October. This event is geared to give you a better understanding of the way that professionals work. This event is completely held in isolation and is part of a broader expo.

SEOnthebeach: This conference has an informal atmosphere. Held in La Manga del mar Menor in Spain, it attracts talented professionals who share the greatest practices, strategies, and knowledge for two days. This event also provides great opportunities for networking. This is to be held on the 23rd and 24th of June.

QueDuWeb: Held in Deauville, France, on April 27th and 28th, this event is basically a series of conferences on subjects ranging from SEO Audit, Digital Strategy to Growth Hacking. Speakers from a variety of fields in digital marketing attend this event.

This list represents just twelve of the innumerable digital marketing conferences and events scheduled to be held this year.   

Busted: 7 Myths of Working with Remote Teams

With Cloud Storage and Cloud computing becoming a way of life and business for most big organizations throughout the world, it is now slowly becoming more and more common for companies to hire remote employees. That is, employees who would not be working on the company premises, and in some cases, never even meet face to face with the company’s leadership. They would, instead, be hired based on virtual interviews and online tests. This might sound like a novelty, but it is slowly becoming a reality. The most common forms of cloud working are working on mobile, or from a personal computer at home or any remote corner of the world.

There is a reason why remote work is becoming more popular. Skilled employees are now searching for positions which are autonomous and allow for more freedom. This not only helps them to spread their wings but also nets the company good returns. In this article, we’re going to dispel some of the most popular misgivings and myths that surround remote working.

  1. The first myth is that people who work remotely are not as productive as the employees who work on a site. However, with the presence of modern-day tools for tracking employee activity and progress, such as Slack, there are a lot of ways in which remote employees can be managed and productivity can be monitored. The key is to find out a stable mode to evaluate and measure the performance of others.
  2. A second misconception is that employees who are remote aren’t as skilled. According to this misgiving, skilled employees prefer a formal office environment. They feel that remote employees would never be able to qualify for lead positions. This is especially true for cases where the employee is an independent freelancer or contractor. This, however, is just the contrary. Hiring remote employees would mean expanding outside of your geographical boundaries and being able to mine for talent in uncharted territories where your business might not be physically present.
  3. A third myth that plagues some businesses is, “It is difficult to find remote employees”. This, while true to some extent, can be remedied by reaching out to talent-listing sites such as LinkedIn. There are also innumerable forums and sites which list independent contractors and freelancers who might be inclined towards remote working. It is also useful to locate retired professionals who might be open to earning some extra money working from home.
  4. Companies often think that it is extremely difficult to manage and communicate with such employees, but in today’s world, where workplaces are empowered with forums and message boards such as Trello and Basecamp, it is no longer difficult for a company to communicate with remote employees. Slack is a real-time communication portal that is very similar to Skype. Here, not just individuals, but teams too can communicate with one another and create the sense of a virtual workplace.
  5. Some people think that remote work has no scope beyond IT and data entry. This was true for a considerable amount of time, but now you see companies hiring remote workforces for product development, sales and marketing and work related to SEO.
  6. There is a common misconception that remote employees can not develop any feeling of kinship with the company or its goals. That, however, would not be true. There are plenty of qualified freelancers who are used to working from home and who commit to a company for the right price.
  7. Last, but not least, remote employees are able to be more flexible with the hours they work. They have no demand or need for changes in their work schedule to suit their own convenience. Their hours can be ensured with a virtual agreement/contract.

These, in short, are some of the common myths about hiring remote employees that now, hopefully, stand busted.

Why Do Small Businesses and Agencies Fail at Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is an integral part of making a site more popular to the target consumer base. There are numerous benefits to placing an advertisement on social media. If you open a fan page of your company on Facebook, for instance, then you can use your personal contacts list to spread the link and gather more followers by means of ‘likes’. The more friends that ‘like’ your page, the more likely your page will be visible around the virtual world. Suppose one person from your Facebook ‘likes’ your page. The people on their friend list would be able to see that the person liked a page and would be curious to check that page out. If the curious person also ‘likes’ your page, the cycle of spreading ‘likes’ goes on and on. If you follow the principles of online PPC techniques,  you can place advertisements on Facebook (and other social networking sites) where a person would be able to view your advertisement if he/she displays a leaning towards the kind of product or service you sell.

Twitter is not far off. The Twitter Analytics feature platform is of huge benefit to business owners. Through it, a business can track the changes in the size of their customer base. In addition to this, they can also see the demographics the followers belong to, and their tastes and preferences.

The question remains: why do small businesses shy away from using social media to their full benefit? The answer is multifaceted:

  • The majority of small companies, especially start-ups, are intimidated by the idea of social media campaigning. To them, a social media campaign is something that requires a lot of time, resources, efforts and energy that cannot be afforded. A lot of these companies are not aware of campaign tracking tools such as Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Omniture, etc. Because these companies want to play it safe, under the notion that social media campaigns only work when a company is well established, they end up depriving themselves of the benefits that online business campaign tracking tools can give them.
  • Many times, a company doesn’t even have a plan for conducting a campaign on social media. They simply enter the space and work randomly, even taking flawed routes (such as bombarding members with spam messages). As a result, their campaigns fail and they end up dismissing the effectiveness of social media campaigning as a whole. Social media marketing requires a plan in order to succeed. Each business needs to target a certain demographic and then develop their campaigns accordingly, instead of simply making a universal appeal. They need to make use of tools, such as market survey tools and holding consumer contests, with special offers to be won as prizes. Yet, all these, for some reason, intimidate smaller companies.
  • There may be companies that feel that the competition is very packed and that the ‘early birds’ have caught all the worms. That is, the bigger or early-arrival companies have already reaped all the benefits from a particular social media strategy and occupied all the niches. While this fear is not totally unjustified, it is also true that sustained and diligent marketing can indeed popularize a company among social media users without even needing to spend much on advertising. For example, if a company sells health products, they can hire people to research health-themed Facebook groups (or other social media communities)  and promote the products of the company. They can participate in discussions on social media groups and share the positive aspects of the products that are being sold by the company. In doing so, you gain popularity within a particular niche.

Thus, it’s mainly a combination of unrecognized potential and a presence of uncertainty regarding social media that prevents small companies from achieving success in social media marketing campaigns. The scenario is slowly changing, but as small and niche businesses become more informed about social media marketing, there’s a promising future ahead.  

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