If you want your business to be competitive, you have to say ahead of the curve. As we approach 2017, there are some trends on the horizon that will determine how effective your website is, and how high you can show up on those inclusive Google search ratings. Video and mobile optimization are two of the biggest terms websites need to be on the lookout for with the new year if they want to be successful.

How Video Optimization is Changing

Live mobile optimizationResearchers expect for mobile live video usage to increase tenfold by 2020. This is largely due to the fact that platforms such as Facebook allow companies, businesses, and individual people to live stream their own broadcasts. It is easier than ever for the average person to host live video. This, of course, is in addition to the ever increasing popularity of video entertainment and news options.

One reason why video is so effective is because it catches the attention of the viewers. Studies show the average human attention span is just above eight seconds. Video content is able to engage viewers more effectively, thereby reducing bounce rates. Every company needs to be ready to embrace the flexibility of video.

Mobile Optimization

Responsive web optimizationFor the first time in history, people are using their mobile devices to access the Internet more than traditional laptop or desktop computers. Companies need to be mobile-friendly in order to reach most of the internet traffic. Scaleable browsers and quick loading content are crucial to appeal to smartphone users.

Planning ahead can ensure your business’ success in the coming year. When you’re making your plans, don’t forget about video and mobile optimization.

MessengerFacebook Messenger took both Android and iOS users by storm when it arrived in 2011. By March 2015, the app reached 600 million users. Less than two years later, the app has over 800 million users.

Facebook isn’t content at stopping there; it wants to become the everything app. The company has huge ambitions for the app, saying that it’s a mere 1% done with what they’re planning on doing with it. Given what they’ve recently begun, that number seems to be a fair estimation.

Messenger for Business

Messenger businessFacebook, which has nearly 1.5 billion users, obviously wants their users to utilize Messenger more fully and integrate it into their daily lives, but it’s not going to be solely for individuals anymore. They have recently unleashed Messenger for Business, which provides businesses with a valuable tool to keep in contact with their customers.

The app works both for customers and for businesses. For customers, it allows individuals a way to communicate directly with customer service, similar to a live chat feature found on many websites. For companies, the new Facebook Messenger allows them to contact a type of mailing list when special promotions or events of interest arise.

Of course, companies must determine what counts as useful information and what constitutes spamming.

AI Chatting

Companies seem to be toeing this line very carefully, letting customers engage more with them than vice versa. One way they are accomplishing this is through utilizing chat bots as Imperson is doing.

Imperson is a company that utilizes AI to engage customers in simulated conversations. Over Messenger, they have begun to utilize this app to full effect, engaging users with characters from Back to the Future and Unfriended. In the case of Unfriended, they were able to virtually chat with Laura Barnes, a disturbed teenager from the film, prior to the film’s release. Upon the release of the film “Laura Barnes” would notify them, as well as when the movie was released on DVD.

This strategy has been touted as an important and effectual tool for marketing. The core idea of engaging a customer in a fictional world isn’t a new one. The television show Lost was famous for developing “alternate reality games” where viewers were able to engage with extra materials and unearth new stories related to the series, rather than be a passive viewer.

It is in this way that Messenger is being utilized by companies like Imperson to offer a give and take experience with the customer, rather than having a customer be somewhat of a passive participant in the product or service.

With such innovations from Facebook will certainly come more innovative solutions from businesses regarding how to capitalize and further engage with customers.

ChromeLet’s face it – Google Chrome is the fastest browser of them all. This is all due to the multi-process architecture which gives it a lot of flexibility, and a light core which prevents it to be a base for plugins (something that Firefox and the Internet Explorer can relate to).

Chrome is the Go-To Browser

Obviously, the speed and seamless user experience have been the major reason why Google Chrome has been a top choice browser on the marketplace for extensions. If you are using a different browser, you should know that Google Chrome is currently the fastest. But more importantly, you should know that it will become even faster!

How?

Due to a new data compression algorithm that the teams have been developing over the past few months, every Chrome user is expected to get a boost in the performance of the browser and see faster loading times than ever. The increase speed is all due to the algorithm named Brotli, which launched in the last stable Chrome release.

As Google says, Brotli is an algorithm that is able to speed up Chrome from 20 to 26 percent and make it more efficient than ever. The science in this algorithm leverages a compression feature which ‘zips up’ sites faster and results with faster page loads.

Don’t Forget About Mobile

brotliOk, and where is the mobile part in all this?

Apparently the mobile viewers are getting a revamp with Brotli as well. Using Chrome on a mobile device is a seamless experience, but will be among the software getting better by benefiting every user with lower data transfer fees and reduced battery use.

Kill Two Birds with One Stone

Yes – both mobile and desktop users will be expecting minimum time to load up pages, switch between tabs and minimize Chrome. The main point we can take from all of this is that Google knows their way of improving the user experience.

And the best part?

You can optimize the Brotli as well – whether it’s for your Mozilla or any other browser. The secret in this lies in the open-source code, which can be used by everyone – and in any competing browser.

So in the end, is there anything we can say but thanks, good guy Google?

Like many small businesses, your organization may still be using a personal email address (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, SBCGlobal.net, and others to send communication to current customers and prospective clients.

It may not be a stretch either to assume you’ve noticed many limitations to what you can and cannot do using these email accounts. One of the biggest limitations of using a personal account is the design of your communication, and visually showing what you want readers to understand.

Other limitations may include messages bouncing or being unfound in a spam folder; manually keeping track of newly obtained email addresses or removing people who have asked to be taken off your list; lack of suitable analytics to track who has and has not opened your email.

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Email Marketing Service

The evolution of Constant Contact and Vertical Response have brought on new, more powerful email software programs designed to make it easy to create and automate beautiful emails that drive real business results. Until recently, Constant Contact and Vertical Response were the go-to programs to create your custom emails, send them at a specific time, and allow you to track the results.

Recently, a better tool has been made available to offer much, much more than that. Our program will allow you to automatically import new contacts from Gmail, Yahoo!, etc into the system without wasting your precious time. Your contacts can receive automatic emails that you can set each week or month, and better tracking results to see in-depth reporting tracking important metrics like opens, clicks, and shares for your emails.

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One of the best ways to see how our email marketing service can benefit your business is to try it for yourself, FREE!

Still have questions about why an email marketing service is right for you? Here are 5 things you’re missing out on by not using our service for your email marketing.

  1. You’re not prepared to send bulk emails

Many email accounts and most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) limit the number of emails that you can send at one time. This means that as your email database grows, you could run into more and more problems with getting your emails delivered.

Email providers like Constant Contact work diligently to maintain strong relationships with ISPs and establish reputations for sending permission-based emails.  As a result, our customers see more of their emails delivered to their recipients’ inboxes, and less emails in the spam folder.

  1. You’re putting relationships at risk

When someone joins your email list, they trust you to protect their information. They also trust that you’ll respect their privacy and give them the option to opt-out.

A mistake is failing to offer an easy way to unsubscribe. This can not only damage your reputation as a business, but can also put you at risk of violating email laws, which require an unsubscribe link in every message you send out.  Our templates automatically create this unsubscribe link, letting you concentrate on other things.

  1. Create professional-looking emails that match your brand

With an email marketing service, you’ll have access to potentially hundreds of professionally-designed email templates that make it easy to create great looking emails, or, you can create your own using HTML/CSS.

Now, we don’t expect you to code – we handle the design work for you.  All we need from you is to select your colors, the images you’d like to include, and your content. These templates will make your message look great in any inbox, whether someone is reading on a desktop or a mobile device.

  1. See who opened or clicked

Using an email marketing service like our program gives you complete access to in-depth reporting to see key metrics like emails sent, opened, who opened, who clicked through, and which links they clicked on. You’re also able to see important details like spam reports, bounces, and opt-outs.

This will allow you to see what’s working and identify opportunities to make improvements, or identify potential issues that could put your business at risk.

  1. Get the newest tools and features

Here at eBizUniverse, we have a team of people who are focused on staying on top of the latest trends in the industry. We provide regular updates and new features to enhance functionality, comply with the law, and optimize email delivery though ISPs.

Email marketing services like ours are responsible for ensuring that your emails are compliant with these legislations. We provide the tools you need to follow the laws, and let you know when there’s a change that could impact your business.

Don’t wait to make the switch.

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Mobile phones have changed the way small businesses do business. The right iOS Apps can increase your employees’ productivity, decrease spending, and directly contribute to more sales.

Here are the top 10 iOS Apps to look into for your small business:

Fuze

FuzeFuze is an HD videoconferencing app. It’s a cloud-based conferencing app that lets you hold online meetings across all devices, including tablet, laptop, and more. With this iOS app, you can connect with business partners, customers, and remote employees without additional expensive conferencing equipment. All you need is your own iPhone and the app itself!

Evernote

EvernoteEvernote is an iOS app that lets you take notes, track work, organize tasks, and more. Even better, plans for Evernote start out free, allowing your business to try it out before you commit to a bigger plan.

Square Register

SquareSquare Register is the mobile payment app that directly links to the Square device. When you need to collect digital payment, but don’t have the money for a full POS, this app and device work together to allow you to take credit and debit card information directly in front of your customer.

PayPal

PaypalPayPal is another convenient way to collect payment and calculate costs within an app. If your small business conducts ecommerce, you can set up a PayPal account to let your customers pay securely online, from your website. From your app, you can track payments, issue refunds, and conduct other critical financial functions.

ZenPayroll

Do you need a cost effective and easy way to manage employee payroll? ZenPayroll is an iOS app that securely calculates payroll and income taxes across your organization.

Dropbox

DropboxDropbox is a cross-platform app that lets you upload and download files to a secure cloud. Dropbox for work allows multiple users to contribute to the same Dropbox, letting your employees share files remotely, wherever they are.

FreshBooks

FreshbooksThis mobile app is a full-service accounting app that lets you take your important numbers with you. You can record and track your small business’s expenses, revenue, and profits.

Toggl

TogglIf you need an easy app that lets you and your employees track your time from any platform, use Toggle. This app integrates into one account, centrally managed by the account owner, and lets your employees track how they spend their time at work. Use it to track productivity, projects, and more.

Addappt

AddapptAddappt is an iOS app that helps busy small business owners keep their address books up to date. It organizes contact information in a way that’s optimized to the needs of small business.

Asana

AsanaUse the Asana app to create and keep track of projects, from start to finish. Within the app, you can assign tasks, keep track of due dates, and update project statuses. Even more importantly, Asana is managed from a central account, so you can access it on tablet and desktop as well as mobile.

Scan Pages

Scan PagesEven in this digital age, paper still plays an important role. This app allows you to take high quality scans of paper documents and upload them to a secure cloud.

Services for Small Business

You need to know the best tools, practices, and strategies to grow your small business, and we have the expertise and resources to help. Contact a small business growth specialist at eBizUniverse for more information on our methodologies today.

Black FridayAs the 2015 holiday deals season gains momentum, everyone looks to your website for deals on products and services you offer. Millions of small businesses around the world do not have a physical location to visit, requiring them to sell goods and services via their company website. However, with the increase in holiday hits, can your website handle the extra web traffic?

Events, blogs, images, and videos are great for your website.  But what about high value shopping days (Black Friday, Cyber Monday)?  Both holidays bring a big test e-commerce websites. The Google Webmaster Central Blog says “[This] can cause a rapid increase in traffic to websites that provide relevant information, and may even cause sites to crash at the moment they’re becoming most popular.”

Prepare a “Lightweight” Version of the Website

Everyone knows if your website requires more than a few seconds to load, either a large influx of visitors will overload your server’s ability to deliver resources to each inquiry, or will simply leave.  It’s a good bet to have a “lightweight” version of your website prepared with lower density, leaner graphics and applications. This will allow your website to load faster and with fewer resources, while still being fully operational.

Have a Capable Back-End

Admin panel for WordPressIf your website is hosted in the cloud, congrats, you’re strides ahead!  But if your website is supported exclusively on your company servers, you might be inviting trouble.

If a great influx of visitors visit your website at the same time, it can overload the local server on which your website is hosted. If you website is hosted on a cloud server, the data is spread out over several servers, all sharing resources to support the extra traffic.

Prepare Your Website

Fact: a sudden surge in web traffic can cause your website to crash.

Let us help you get ready for circumstances like these. Your website is a tool that helps your business grow, and it needs to shine when it’s needed most. A website that frequently freezes or crashes at the moment a new visitor visits is a surefire way to ensure they never return.

Call eBizUniverse at 1-800-379-2829 for more information about our professional website services today.