How to Convert MP4 to MP3

The way content is generated, distributed and promoted has changed in the last few years. With the plethora of information available, new storage formats have been developed to cater to the constant incoming supply the market. One such format is the MP4 format which is a popular choice in the world of content storage. It is mostly perceived as a video storing file format yet has the ability to host any type of data including audio, images and even subtitles.

Whereas, an MP3 file format can only store audio records. This standard technology can compress a sound sequence into one twelfth the size of the original file. The best thing about this type of file format is that while being extra storage friendly, there is no compromise on the standard of quality.

Fortunately, there are plenty of methods by which you can convert MP4 files to MP3 formats such as http://www.freemake.com/how_to/how_to_convert_mp4_to_mp3.

There are also several tools that can be downloaded free of cost on your desktop or be used directly within your browser.

Following are the three most feasible file converters from our list, along with the instructions for converting MP4 to MP3.

Freemake Video Converter

This software lets you extract the audio from your favorite video in a user-friendly manner. It also enables you to convert tons of MP4 files to MP3 at once without any limitations.

You only have to follow a few easy steps that are mentioned below.

STEP 1: Install the software

There are two versions available for installation. One is for online usage and the other is for offline consumption. The offline version can be downloaded from the website and installed on the computer.

You will have to follow the installation steps. The software will start after you’ve clicked the finish button.

STEP 2: Add MP4 video

There will be a “+ video” button available on the top right corner. You have to click that button in order to add your clips for conversion. Make sure your videos don’t have any sort of protection because the Freemake software doesn’t support protected media.

STEP 3:  Select to MP3 format

Now you will have to find the required format and select the ‘to MP3’ from the buttons. You can also add this format to your favorites by clicking the star sign right next to it.

STEP 4: Make final changes

You will be provided with a quality choice list (320kbps, 256kbps, etc.) after you’ve clicked the format button. Choose the required quality and proceed to the next step.

STEP 5: Converting the files

You will have to select a folder for your media file. You can also use the “export to iTunes” option to add your track to iTunes media library.

Now you just have to click the “convert” button and it will do the task for you.

Any Video Converter

This software will enable you to convert your videos into audios with bolting speed for free. The quality of the resulting audio will not disappoint you. Following are the steps you will have to follow in order to convert your videos using this software.

STEP 1: Install

You can download the software from the AVC website and then follow the installation steps for it to run on your computer. You should choose to “customize” your installation as there is bloatware included as well. Make sure to uncheck any unnecessary boxes.

STEP 2: Start the software

After installation, the software will be available in the Start menu on a indows computer. If you are using Mac, you can search for the program in spotlight or access it through the Application Menu.

STEP 3: Adding Videos

Click the “Add video(s)” button on the top left corner of the program. A pop-up window will appear where you will have to browse the clips you want to convert. You can also add multiple videos at the same time.

STEP 4: Selecting the format

Click the drop-down menu on the top right corner. A list of options will appear. Select the “common audio format” with a black music note symbol. Then select Mp3 audio and save your desired location for the resulting audio. Also set the audio bitrate from “audio options” in the bottom right corner.

Unfortunately, the freemium MacBook version does not allow audio output customization like it does for windows. However, to convert the MP4 files to MP3 click the profile option on the top right corner, choose the headphones icon and then select “MP3 audio” from the list.

STEP 5: Converting from MP4 to MP3

A “convert now” button will be present on the top right corner, adjacent to the presets option. Simply click that.

On a Mac, the same button will be present at the bottom right corner. All the clips that you’ve inserted will be then converted to an MP3 file format.

Cloud Convert

Cloud convert is a cloud-based service that will require you to make a free account online. Along with MP4 to MP3, Cloud convert provides conversion between a 100 file formats. It is completely web-based.

With a free account you are limited to upload files that are less than 1 GB in size, with maximum 25 conversion minutes per day and 5 concurrent conversions. A paid account definitely more advantages, but if you want few and smaller files converted per day, you’ll be fine with the free account

STEP 1: Selecting Files

Head to the cloud convert website. There will be a “select files” option in the center of the page. Click that. A pop-up window will show up. Search the videos you want to convert from your computer. You can also select the desired video from your Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or your Box account.

STEP 2: Selecting Format

After adding the MP4 videos, click the “select format” button. After that a drop down list will appear. Select “audio” and then “MP3” from the list. A wrench icon is located right beside the file. Click that icon if you want to adjust the audio bitrate, frequency, normalization or channels. You can also trim any undesired audio from the file.

STEP 3: Download Options

With Cloud Convert, you can either download the resulting audio or have it sent directly to your Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or Box account. For the latter, you will have to check the top box.

STEP 4: Converting from MP4 to MP3

After completing the above steps, click the red “start conversion” button on the right side of the page. There will be two bars, yellow and gray, which will notify you about the conversion status of the files. There will also be an option to cancel the ongoing conversion.

STEP 5: Completion

It will take some time for the conversion to be completed depending on the size of the files. After the successful completion, click the green “download” button and save the resulting audio in your desired location on computer.

 

A Geeks Guide To Buying Bitcoin

The following is a basic introduction into what bitcoins are and how you’d go about buying them.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin was introduced as a brand new digital currency in 2009. It is produced by a mathematical formula that is run on specially built computers using a specifically written piece of software. In effect this software solves a maths problem which in turn creates ‘bitcoins’, a digital currency that are then used to trade for services and products in much the same way as a normal fiat currency (i.e.: US dollars, Euros, Pounds Stirling etc.). This is known as bitcoin mining and the coins created, which only exist in the digital realm, are added to an open ledger where all bitcoins are registered. This open ledger is called the blockchain.

The clever thing about Bitcoin

The way traditional currency (money) works is that from time to time in its physical format money can be damaged, lost or destroyed. This means that the government has to regularly produce more bank notes and coins to replace them. The more money that is printed means that each unit, each pound, Euro or dollar, becomes devalued. To balance this drop in value the government has to introduce inflation onto the cost of properties and services. If the value of money never dropped inflation would cease to exist. Because the maximum amount of bitcoins to be created would only ever be 21 million then this means that bitcoin is immune to inflation, and that’s what makes bitcoin such a special currency.

The blockchain

When bitcoins are created or when they are moved from person to person, each transaction or movement is registered on a cryptographic open ledger that anybody can access. Using strict security encryptions to prevent hacking and fraudulent changes every bitcoin transaction is added so that at any one time traders can see where the bitcoin is currently registered and where it has been.

This works just like a bank’s ledger, only without any staff needed to regulate it or carry out the payments. This means payments are faster, cheaper and much safer than with regular money.

How to buy bitcoin

To buy bitcoin you will need to know a few basics to get you started. You will need another currency to pay for the bitcoin, a wallet to store it in, and an exchange to make your bitcoin purchase from.

Bitcoin wallets

A bitcoin wallet is a piece of software on your computer or mobile device where you store your bitcoins – much like you’d store actual money in an actual wallet.

Without a wallet you can’t buy bitcoins because, quite simply, you’d have nowhere to put them. You can download a wallet to your mobile phone, tablet or install one on a PC, either on a network or offline. Wallets connected to the internet are considered ‘hot wallets’ because there is always a very small risk they could be hacked, so it is generally considered wise to only hold the amount of bitcoin in one that you would need for your daily spend – just as you would your real wallet. Any hackers who would try and steal your bitcoins are the equivalent to a mugger or a pickpocket who would steal your wallet from you in person.

A ‘cold wallet’ is one where you would keep the bulk, or the remainder of your bitcoins. This wallet shouldn’t be on a network or connected to the Internet. It’s like having a bank without any doors. If no one can get in then they can’t steal your money. That’s as safe as it gets. However, if you lose your wallet, for example by changing hard drives or losing a USB stick where your wallet is stored, then you are in danger of losing your bitcoins too if you don’t have a backup or the means to restore that wallet to another location.

There are also online wallets where your bitcoins are stored by a web-based service, and also multisig wallets that require more than one person’s permission to validate a transaction – much like a business or a joint bank account.

Cryptocurrency exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges are websites that you can visit to buy bitcoin and then transfer to your wallet. You can buy bitcoin using fiat currency (existing government based currencies, i.e.: US dollars, Euro, Pounds Stirling) or exchange them for other types of cryptocurrency, also known as altcoins.

Not all exchanges deal in fiat currencies. Others will trade bitcoin only for other cryptocurrencies. If an exchange deals in trades using fiat currencies they choose the methods that are preferable to them and also at a rate they believe fair for the service; they can offer to using various payment options from credit or debit cards, bank transfers, to PayPal and more.

Some exchanges will sell you bitcoin direct and act as a broker, deciding for themself the price of the bitcoin and its exchange rate, where others will offer a system where traders can buy and sell from each other through a peer-to-peer system.

Many exchanges will require you to verify who you are and your account before allowing you to trade with them. Some do not require verification but will only allow you to trade a minimum amount each day. Security for cryptocurrency exchanges is paramount so always seek out a renowned and reputable exchange before taking any risks with your money.

Because the exchange rates will change from website to website it’s always worth researching which exchange to trade with to get the best value for your money. As well as the exchange rate you will also want to research any additional fees incurred during the transaction. Some exchanges will charge you to deposit your fiat currency or existing bitcoins into your account where others will charge you purely on your trading transaction for more information we suggest you also look at these cryptocurrency exchange reviews.

In the same way you can buy your bitcoin from a cryptocurrency exchange you can also sell them. Again, the exchange will have its own rates for buying bitcoin as it will for selling them. There may also be associated fees for transferring the money back to your bank account.

Another way of buying bitcoins that is gaining in popularity is via a Bitcoin ATM. You deposit the required amount of cash into the Bitcoin ATM and it scans the QR code created by your mobile wallet app to transfer the bitcoin into your account. At present Bitcoin ATMs rates are higher than the rates offered by the more popular and well used online exchanges.

Finally…

This is a very basic introduction into buying bitcoin and how the process works. For those interested in making their first purchase in the bitcoin market your next step should be to research wallet systems and which cryptocurrency exchanges are right for you. There are many to choose from and all will have their own advantages and disadvantages. You may also want to research the many different cryptocurrencies, the pros and cons of investing in each of them and their market values.

Whatever you decide, cryptocurrencies are going to be making a bigger impact on how we buy and sell both online and in the outside world. They have expanded into a billion dollar business since their introduction less than ten years ago and stand to become more and more popular with both traders and vendors alike in the future.

Mobile Design Trends You Should Be Concentrating on in 2018

Design trends are nothing new, so it should come as no surprise that 2018 has some new trends on the horizon. The mobile Internet space is quickly becoming more popular than the desktop, as such past trends have been focused on mobile users, and 2018 is no different. With this in mind we had a chat with the team from Internet Creation who offer web design in Fife what they thought would be some of the biggest trends to look out for in 2018, and here’s what they had to say…..

Mobile App Prototyping

While not necessarily a new trend, the use of mobile app prototyping is something that many web designers are just becoming familiar with.

The use of mobile app prototyping allows you to try out the app before its released to the public, and save you some money in the process. What’s more, having a prototype to hand will make things much easier for a developer, contributing towards a quicker app rollout.

Prototyping won’t eliminate every bug and glitch, but it will ensure that there aren’t as many problems as there would have been had you chosen not to prototype the app.

Material Design is Preferred Over Flat Design

If you’re an avid follower of design trends, then you will have noticed that there have already been several changes in the last decade that has seen design trend encompass skeuomorphism and flat design.

It’s worth noting that design trends change every couple of years, and 2018 will be a year where material design will be dominant.

Flat design features clean and crisp edges and open space, akin to the layout seen in the Windows 8 layout.  However, Google rolled out guidelines in relation to material design, which many web designers have taken notice of. However, there are designers playing catch up, and 2018 is the year to ensure that material design is instilled in your projects moving forward.

If you’re just getting to grips with material design, then it could be advisable to read over the guidelines put forward by Google. They effectively contribute to a universal visual language that invokes good design with technology and science.

Logging into Apps Will Be Easier

We only have to look at our current devices to see how logging in has evolved. With the latest iterations of smartphone encompassing new technology such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition means that users no longer have to remember a series of passwords, while still ensuring that unwanted third parties cannot enter the app.

Mobile designers looking to add an additional layer of security can offer something like Google with Two Factor Authentication (2FA.)

More Support for Smartwatches

When smartwatches first entered the fold, people were unsure of what relevance they held other than a sleeker digital watch. However, smartwatches have proved their worth and there are a series of different devices available, regardless of your preferred operating system and style of watch. While there’s no sign of smartwatches overtaking smartphones anytime soon, they are used in partnership with many devices every day.

While your designs won’t always offer an opportunity to incorporate the features a smartwatch can offer, it’s still a slow-burning trend that should be acknowledged when considering options for your next project.

More Focus on Virtual and Augmented Reality

We’ve already had a taste of what VR and AR can offer, but the truth is that current app incarnations are still young, and while apps like Snapchat and Pokémon Go have showcased what is possible, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Like any form of technology, AR and VR are two sectors that will continue to evolve and gain popularity, so it’s important that web designers are taking notes and making consideration for future projects.

Augmented reality can add some additional flair to a brand’s app, or VR technology can take viewers on guided tour, or give them an overview of a job role without ever having to leave the property. The possibilities are ended.

The world of web design is one that is constantly changing, and there can be times when we’ve spent a great deal of time learning to work in a certain way, only to find that we’re having to head in a new direction.

This can be frustrating, but it’s important to look at the benefits on offer from an evolving online world. The more technology that is being embraced means there is more scope for interaction, and more choice for web designers. Not only do online users get access to apps that are tailored to them, but businesses are able to expand their reach, simply by making use of new technology.

Keeping track of trends means that web designers can embrace change as it happens, meaning that the design process can be tailored as opposed to cancelling the project and starting again.

How Tech Can Help Students With Dyslexia

 

Dyslexia is a very misunderstood learning disability, many people think that dyslexia solely affects people’s ability to read and write. And that is true to a point but in many ways, it is an over-simplification. Dyslexia also effects phonological awareness, verbal memory, and a person’s verbal processing speed.

It’s a complicated learning disability that is often over-simplified and misunderstood which can make it very difficult for people to get the support and guidance they need. While many businesses may have things in place to help support dyslexic employees many are letting the new and improved technology that could help go by the wayside.

This is a real shame but one particular area that is struggling is schools, colleges, and universities these three establishments support a wide range of students and many of them will suffer from dyslexia and are seeking further help through a number of means, including dyslexia courses. It’s important that students of any age (but especially those that are younger) get the help and support they need to ensure they get a high-standard of learning despite the challenges dyslexia brings.

Technology can help you achieve this in many ways and there is a great array of resources that schools can use. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how you can help students with dyslexia in more detail using the great technological resources available.

Text To Speech Tools 

Have you ever watched a science-fiction movie or TV series and noticed how many of the characters just talk to the computer to get things done? Thanks to recent advancements like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana the future seems a lot closer now, doesn’t it?

While these are virtual assistants and not text to speech tools in the traditional sense they do show the versatility and flexibility of text to speech. Text to speech programs might not be the most prevalent software programs but they are seeing an increase in popularity.

You’ll find many free text to speech programs online and plenty of smartphone and tablet apps, but the free price does come with a few issues. While they definitely range in quality some are probably not going to be all that helpful, however, there is some professional text to speech programs available.

Dragon speech recognition from Nuance is one of the leading names in text to speech software and will be a big help to any dyslexic individuals. With text to speech programs reading and writing is going to be a lot easier for people who suffer from dyslexia and they can ensure much more accuracy.

With text to speech programs dyslexic individuals will be hearing information instead of reading it, this will make it much easier for them. They can also use text to speech software in a wide variety of different tasks which will make studying much easier as well.

Built-In Accessibility

Computers today and indeed even in older models have a wide range of built-in accessibility options that will make a big difference for people who suffer from dyslexia. Many people don’t realise that these accessibility options even exist which is a shame because with just a few clicks of your mouse you can much using a computer much simpler and easier from someone who suffers from dyslexia.

There are a lot of different ways you can use these built-in accessibility options to help make using a computer easier for dyslexic people and it will differ from person to person, so before you do anything make sure ask the student if it helps or not. But some common accessibility tips are laid out below.

    Tinting the screen.

    Making text bigger.

    Changing the text style or colour.

    Increasing visual aids and much more.

A lot of research suggests that dyslexic people are sensitive to the glare of a white or block coloured screen, which is why many of these tips involve adding more colour and reducing screen glare. It might seem strange that a simple thing like changing the screen or text colour can have such a big impact but when it comes to dyslexia even small things can make a big difference.

One tip to ask dyslexic students is whether the screen looks like its flickering or if the text looks like it’s moving slightly. If they say yes, then changing the text style and adding a splash of soft colour can make a big difference.

Digital Textbooks

One easy thing any school, college or university can do to help their dyslexic students is to provide digital textbooks. With a digital textbook, students can change the text size, font and in some cases even the colour. This can be a huge help to dyslexic students because many of them will find reading a traditional textbook difficult.

If you can also make these materials available to students on a virtual learning platform it will also give students more customisation options. With a digital textbook you can do things that would be impossible on a traditional paper alternative, so try to get your students access to digital alternatives whenever possible.

Use Built-In Templates

Not all the ways you can help dyslexic students require you to buy new software or to be blunt mean extra expense, there are many tools available on a number of standard software programs. Take Microsoft Word, for example, there are dozens of built-in templates dyslexic students can use which will make it easier for them to carry out their work.

Microsoft Office programs in particular offer a great variety of templates that are perfect for dyslexic students, but whatever software program you use you’ll often find templates available.

These will provide a great shortcut for dyslexic students and make carrying out work a lot easier for them. Even simple touches like setting up a bigger font size by default can make work easier for dyslexic students.

Dyslexic students face a lot of challenges at all levels of their education, but you can do a lot to help them along the way. Technology has had a huge effect on the way students can learn and study and it has made it much easier for dyslexic students.

7 Reasons why you should Always Hire a Professional Website Designer Right from the Start

To have a website for your business is a necessity in today’s technological day and age.  There are many different reasons why you might need a website, but if it is to create an online presence for your business, this website will be the online face of your business.  You will want to make it as appealing and professional as possible to obtain the maximum views and visits to your website.

While getting the website up by yourself might be cost-effective, it might not be the best way to represent your business

7 Reasons to hire a Professional Website Designer that will be saving you costs in the long run:

  1. It will save you time: A professional web designer knows all the things you still have to learn about web design.  While you are concentrating on the content of the website, the designer can manage all the things they know, like web hosting, domain name, layouts, coding and much more.  They have the knowledge to create your website efficiently, customizing beyond just templates, and, be quick about it.
  2. Keeping your website unique: On the Internet, there already are millions of websites.  In order to catch the eye, you will need a website that will stand out and show your business in a unique way to make it preferable to others.  It should be easy to navigate, load efficiently, work properly and please the eye.  A professional designer will know exactly what to do to give your website that extra visual attraction.
  3. User-Friendly: A professional can make the navigation of your website easy for visitors.  They will have your visitors travelling around the site without them getting confused.  A professional designer can build your site that it can also be accessed on mobile devices, for instance, on a Smartphone, and tablets.
  4. First Impressions Count: A professionally designed website will make you outshine your competitors.  It will give confidence in your products or services.  Good First Impressions will also always guide visitors back to your site.
  5. Keeping ahead with New Technology: Technology changes continuously.  Together with technology changes come Internet changes.  A professional will be able to teach you how to these constant changes to keep your website up to date.  They will also be able to implement new fresh ways to bring more traffic to your website and keeping you that step ahead of everyone else.
  6. Being Search Engine Friendly: This is a very important factor.  Your website should be available through many search engines.  A professional web designer knows how to best accomplish this.
  7. Keeping your Website Safe: A professional web designer built your whole site from scratch, which includes all codes they use.  No one else has these codes which makes them difficult to hack.  Viruses and adware or other harmful programs can be placed on your website if it is not protected properly.  A secure, safely guarded website will ensure that it runs smoothly and that your clients can browse without any issues.

Hiring a professional web designer to create your website is very beneficial.  It means that you will get it right, right from the start.

Top Tips On How To Clean Your PC

While it might not look like it is harbouring serious volumes of dust, dirt and debris; if you do not keep on have computer cleaning regularly scheduled, a whole lot of disgusting and gross stuff can build up.  Not only is this unappealing to look at, it is also damaging and could even completely destroy parts of your computer. 

Where do you begin and what do you actually do when computer cleaning?  If you are unsure, don’t worry as we have a list of top tips for cleaning everything, including the mouse and monitor.

Keyboard Cleaning Tips

All manner of liquid, food and dust can get lodged underneath and in-between the keys on the keyboard, which can stop it functioning properly.  The following cleaning tips will help keep your keyboard clean and in good working order.

  • Unplug your keyboard from either the PS/2 or USB port.  You will need to completely shut down your PC, if the keyboard is connected to the PS/2 port, before unplugging it.
  • Flip the keyboard upside down and give it a good but gentle shake to loosen and remove any dust and dirt.
  • Use compressed air to clean between and underneath the keys and remove other trapped debris
  • take a paper towel or cotton cloth and moisten it with rubbing alcohol.  Use this to clean the key tops.  Never pour alcohol or other cleaning solutions directly onto the keyboard.
  • Plug the keyboard back in once it is completely dry.  If you are plugging it into the PS/2, you will need to connect it first, then turn on the computer.

Handling Spillages

When a liquid has been spilled onto your keyboard, shut the computer down immediately and unplug the keyboard.  Flip the keyboard upside down and let the liquid drain away.

For sticky liquid spillages, you need to hold your keyboard on the side under a running tap to rinse away the liquid.  Then flip it upside down and leave it to drain somewhere safe for two days to ensure it is properly dry before reconnecting it to your computer.  Although this is the best solution, it could be that the keyboard is unfixable.

As a preventative measure in future, it is advised that you keep all drinks away from your computer.

Mouse Cleaning

There are two basic types of mouse: mechanical and optical. 
While each can be cleaned in essentially the same way, a mechanical mouse is a lot more fiddly.

Mechanical mice are particularly bad for harbouring accumulated dust and other particles and these can get caught in the inner parts and affect how well they work.  If you find that your mouse pointer is not moving as smoothly as it usually does, this could be a sign that it needs to be cleaned.

Optical mice on the other hand, do not need any internal cleaning as they have no moving parts.  They can however, get very sticky and yucky as dust builds up around the light emitter.  This can stop the cursor from moving smoothly or the mouse from working correctly altogether.

Below are some great tips for cleaning your mouse quickly and effectively.

  • Start by unplugging your mouse, from either the PS/2 or USB port.  Remember, if you have it connected to the PS/2 port you will have to switch off your computer first, then remove it.
  • Take a cotton cloth and moisten it with alcohol.  Use this to clean the bottom and top of the mouse. 
  • If you own a mechanical mouse, flip the mouse upside down and turn the ball cover anti-clockwise to remove the tracking ball.  Use the cotton cloth to clean the inside of the mouse and the tracking ball.
  • Allow all individual parts to dry completely before you reassemble your mouse and reconnect it to your PC.

If you are only looking to give your mouse a quick clean-up, take a clean piece of paper and run the mouse backwards and forwards over it.  This should dislodge and remove some of the dust and other debris onto the sheet of paper.

Monitor Cleaning

Dust, fingerprints and dust can all make their way onto the computer screen and make it difficult to read and enjoy the experience of using your computer.  However, it is very easy to clean your monitor screen. 

While there are some monitor-cleaning kits available out there, if you use the wrong one for your particular type of monitor, it could damage it.  The safest way to clean your monitor is using a soft cloth and some water.  Or a solution made of equal parts water and white vinegar.

Important note:  Never use glass cleaner to clean your monitor.  As many monitor screens have a special anti-glare coating, this can be damaged and peel away if you use glass cleaner.

  • Start by switching your computer off and unplug the monitor. 
  • Use a soft clean cloth moistened with either water or a solution of water and white vinegar, wiping in a circular motion to avoid streaks. 
  • Be careful not to spray or apply liquids directly to the screen as these can leak into it and damage its internal components.

Tips For Cleaning Other Computer Surfaces

You should also regularly clean your computer casing as well as the back and sides of your monitor to prevent dirt and dust building up.  Below are some great tips to do this.

  • Dust is one of the biggest problems.  When cleaning the computer casing, use an anti-static cloth and avoid using strong solvents or furniture cleaners.
  • Use compressed air to blow away any debris and dust trapped in the air intake vents.
  • When cleaning computer surfaces – the milder solution, the better.  Ammonia diluted with water, or a glass cleaner that is mostly made up of water and ammonia is acceptable.    
  • Clean the monitor casing and housing with a safe cleaning solution by spraying it onto an anti-static cloth or paper towel and wiping it down from top to bottom.

Keep Your Computer Cool

Prevent airflow around your computer becoming restricted.  As computers generate a considerable amount of heat, the casing includes fans that prevent it from overheating.  Therefore, avoid stacking items such as books, papers and anything else around your computer that could block the fans and vents.

If your computer desk has an enclosed section for the computer casing, consider placing this in a position that means it is not against the back of the desk.  If it has a door, consider leaving this open or removing it to allow for better airflow.

15 simple conversion rate optimisation hacks

What would you say to an increase of a few percent on your current site conversion rates?

Given that conversion rates generally equal money in your pocket (or at least a very big pat on the back from a client) – the answer is likely to be ‘yes please!’

Upping conversion rates is usually one of those ‘easier said than done’ exercises – but it doesn’t have to be.

We recently has a chance to sit down with the team at Think Zap who are one of Scotland’s leading web design companies and they have shared 15 reasonably simple site hacks that that’ll see you conversion rates heading sky high – and importantly, we’ll look at why they work.

Home page video

Having a video on your homepage appeals to our lazy brains. Give your customers the information they need in video format and save them hitting back at the prospect of having to trawl your site for the info they need.

Industry average rates suggest a homepage video will boost your conversions between 75-100%

Guest checkouts

You can expect an increase in ecommerce conversions to the tune of around 50% if you let your visitors check out as guests. The reason is simple – fewer barriers the conversion for your customer – and we all know, fewer barriers, increased results.

Reduce form fields

What do you really need from your customer when they’re completing a form? Ask yourself that question then strip it back to the bare bones. If you’re starting with 10-12 fields and can manage to reduce that down to either 4-5, you can expect to see around 140% more conversions…

Use high-quality images

How does a 62% increase in conversions sound? That’s what you can expect if you go from a lacklustre shot or stock image – to a high quality professional image on your homepage. People have got a nose for stock images – so use something that’s original and you’ll have them converting in increasing numbers.

Video testimonials

How can you be certain that any testimonial you read on a page is legitimate? Well, you can’t – but you stand a better chance of working out if what you’re seeing is genuine if it appears in video format.

Customers love video testimonials – they’re hard to fake and tick the same psychological boxes as a friend recommending a product. Some industries see conversion increases of 150%+ when they put video testimonials on their pages…

Add PayPal

Want to make spending money with you easy? Adding a PayPal button will see order increases somewhere in the tune of 35% – and it’s all about convenience. Most of your traffic is now likely to be coming from mobile – and while we love mobile browsers, inputting card details can be a pain.

Reduce those awkward form completions by offering payment with PayPal – and in just a couple of clicks, the customer’s money will be on its way to you.

Add a promo code on your homepage

A promo code is almost guaranteed to draw customers deeper into your site, searching for something that will mean they can redeem the code and save some money. Expect an increase of 6-8% in onsite sales if you offer an appealing code.

Make sure you’re mobile friendly

It’s nearly 2018 – if you’ve not optimised for mobile now you’re really missing a trick. Depending on your industry studies show you can expect an increase in conversions anywhere between 100% and 700% if you’re driving mobile traffic at your site but aren’t catering for smaller layouts and mobile browsers.

Add a contact number

Adding a contact phone number to your site is as much a psychological move as it is a customer service boost. Having a number on your site puts customer confidence through the roof – and when customer confidence is high, customers spend money.

A phone number makes you site look like the front of a real company – meaning support is immediately at hand if there are any issues that your customer needs resolving.

Are you a robot?

Complex captcha is a massive turn off for customers. The occasional ‘tick box’ isn’t too bad – but if you’ve had to identify how many of the squares have street signs/cars/shop fronts in them – you’ll know how tempting that back button looks.

Don’t take the risk that you’ll put your customers off, ditch the captcha and see conversions increase by 3-5%

Share share share

You might think that social share options on product pages will have people circulating your stuff around the globe – but in reality, it doesn’t quite work like that. In fact, removing social share buttons from your pages actually puts conversions up by 12% – owing mostly to the fact that you keep your customer’s eyes on the prize… tunnel vision all the way to the check out…

Live chat

Adding live chat to your page is useful in a couple of ways. It offers the same psychological confidence boost that having a phone number gives – and it also offers your customers a chance to pose a question that they’d otherwise go elsewhere with.

The psychological boost and the second chance to win your customer over will add an increase of anywhere between 20-200% in terms of conversions – depending on how you handle the live chat interactions.

Simple and clutter free

When it comes to landing pages – less is definitely more. A/B testing between image heavy, long landers vs. short and concise pages carrying the same information shows a big preference for the latter – increasing conversions by over 150%.

Follow the logo conventions

People are used to seeing your logo top left – and occasionally top centre. Start getting quirky and your site loses the familiar feel that inspires confidence in your audience. Tick all the ‘conventions’ boxes and you can expect an increase in conversions of around 70%

Speed is everything

So, we’ll finish off with a word of warning – rather than a solid figure.

All this work you’ve put in to maximise your chances of converting your traffic is worth next to nothing if your page doesn’t load in a reasonable time. And by reasonable – we actually mean lightning fast!

Make people wait for more than 3 seconds and you can kiss goodbye to around 20% of the traffic that was heading in your direction. Wait any longer and you’ll start to lose the majority of your traffic. Focus on page load speed to make sure as many people get through the door as possible…

Advice on How to Market your Small Online Business Successfully in 2017

Most businesses, even very small businesses, have a website of some kind.  In our modern age, it is unthinkable that you should run a business without using the advantages that modern technologies provide in 2017.

But, having the website is not nearly enough; you need to know how to successfully use and implement online, marketing strategies to your advantage.

5 Tips to Advice you on Improving your Website’s Exposure, Visibility and how to Generate more Traffic Online to Increase Sales

1. Create a Market Strategy that is Customer Focused: Do research on what your clients want and need.  Listen to what your clients say.  You can use online platforms, social media platforms, apps, etc. to start an online conversation with visitors to your website.  Using the information you gained through these conversations can be used to formulate your customer-focused strategy.

2. Further your Client Optimization through Sending out Online Surveys: Online surveys are used to measure the effectiveness of your products and services.  Surveys do not require direct interaction with your client but will give fast and efficient information.  Information that can be used to better understand your market, your product or service and the clients you serve.

3. Use Different Marketing Strategies: Your customers, clients, are not all the same.  You should not rely on the one-size-fits-all marketing strategy.  Your clients will differ in age, preferences, hobbies, gender and also spending habits.  You need to come up with different forms of advertising in order to attract the attention of different audiences.

4. Keep your Website Updated: Your website is acting as free advertising for your product or services.  This is your businesses’ window to the world.  Make sure that it looks the best it can be.  It should be easy to operate, have great content, be focused and without writing errors.  Your website should broadcast your message in a professional, compelling way to attract visitors and make them clients.

5. Be Social: Build a visible, interacting, profile for your business on social media platforms.  This is a marvellous way to keep in contact with your customers and visitors, socially.  Ensure that they remember you by giving gentle reminders of your business and what it offers them.  Create interesting content and offer discounts and special offers on occasion.  Keep in contact by sending SMS’s and e-mails.  Ask clients to sign up for these.  Do not bombard them.

There are many more ways that you can employ to attract more traffic and possible customers to your Online Business.  Remember to never try to force a client’s purchase.  Rather give gentle nudges and constant, without being overbearing, little reminders that your product or service is a must have or a definitely needed item.

The Many Positive Effects that Technology Left on Our Lives in 2017

Technology can cause both positive and negative feelings and effects on people’s lives and on society.  Focusing on the positive you will find that technology is a very important factor in the growth of humankind in every way possible.  From the very start, technology made life easier for people.  It can also open lots of doors to many opportunities that looked unlikely to be achievable before.

Ways Technology Changed Life for the Better:

Changes in Communication:  Keeping in touch with family and friends can be child’s play in this modern era.  Before the wire telephone, the only way to keep in touch was either visiting or sending a letter, which might take up to three months to be delivered.  With the press of a few buttons, you can speak to anybody, anywhere at any time of the day.

Changes in Business, Trade, and Industry:  Doing business has become so much faster, even when the seller and buyer sit on opposite ends of the world, and their transactions are finalised, electronically, within moments.  More products and services are available to clients.  Calculations are much more accurate today than before and this minimizes the possibility of errors.

Changes in Education:  Technology changed the outlook of education in lots of ways.  Where books will always take an important place in education, almost all educational and learning resources can also be found online.  Studies found that students that have access to technology did better at school.  Research for projects and other studies is also easy to access.

Changes in Medicine:  The skills and dedication of medical professionals, paired with the newest, latest technology can only mean better to the very best in treatment.  Advanced research and modern technology also make it a lot easier to diagnose and treat illnesses.  Even illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Changes in Family Ways:  Technology brings families closer even when they live far apart.  Technology can never take the place of real kisses and hugs, but it can enable loved ones to see each other and speak to each other, even when they live on different continents.  Family can stay connected, give support and share love even when separated by thousands of miles.

Only a few of the positive effects technology have on our lives.  I am sure there are much more when you think about it.

Infographic by: ocdlab.co

5 Tips on Starting your Dream Business Online

To start your own business is a dream for many people.  It is a way to take control, to start making extra money.  You are thinking about starting small, choosing the hours and time you put in, picking the projects you think will suit you.

But, as with most things, most people also have one or two things holding them back.  Things they think might make their dream impossible.  And, many times one of these things is the way you think about business, the ‘why’ you want to do it, where you want to go with it, and what the priorities for doing it all may be.

It always helps if there is someone that can put your ducks in a row and show them where the pool is.  Someone that will be able to help you make the right decisions at the right times for the right reasons.

5 Tips to Jump Start your Online Business Dream:

Starting your Online business can be overwhelming at first.  You should start by deciding what your business is going to be through testing the waters, doing research on how your service or product will be greeted by possible customers.

  1. Choose your Business; whether it is a product or service orientated business such as Vectorcloud who are based in Edinburgh , decide on what you want to do. Then, do research about your specific business or product’s environment.  Understand your market.  Learning what type of clients will favour your products can teach you a lot about how and when to advertise.
  2. Start Building your Website; if you need your website to be a picture of professionalism, to be catching the eye and receive the maximum visits, it might be better to hire a web designer and web developer. They will know how to set up your website.
  3. Do Marketing; there are many ways to accomplish this. Add your businesses’ URL to all your online information.  Add the URL to your e-mails.  Give out business cards, make comments on social media and create accounts for your business through creating social media accounts for it.
  4. Implement a Service for Receiving and Sending Money; this is crucial for receiving payments for your products or services, as well as, for making payments and transferring money internationally. You need to see the exchange rate immediately, to be able to know the exact amounts of money you are dealing with.
  5. Diversify; once your first money is starting to come in, start thinking about how you can expand your product range or service delivery. Do not rely on only one source of income for long periods.  Diversification can be critical for you to survive in the long run.

You can turn your dream of an Online business into a reality through implementing these 5 tips and by keeping the right mindset.  Do not look for excuses to not do something, look for ways to curb those excuses and become Online Business Owner.