Negotiation Skills

Introduction
Negotiation is something that we do all the time and is not only used for business purposes. For example, we use it in our social lives perhaps for deciding a time to meet, or where to go on a rainy day.
Negotiation is usually considered as a compromise to settle an argument or issue to benefit ourselves as much as possible.
Communication is always the link that will be used to negotiate the issue/argument whether it is face-to-face, on the telephone or in writing. Remember, negotiation is not always between two people: it can involve several members from two parties.
There are many reasons why you may want to negotiate and there are several ways to approach it. The following is a few things that you may want to consider.
Why Negotiate?
If your reason for negotiation is seen as ‘beating’ the opposition, it is known as ‘Distributive negotiation’. This way, you must be prepared to use persuasive tactics and you may not end up with maximum benefit. This is because your agreement is not being directed to a certain compromise and both parties are looking for a different outcome.
Should you feel your negotiation is much more ‘friendly’ with both parties aiming to reach agreement, it is known as ‘Integrative negotiation’. This way usually brings an outcome where you will both benefit highly.
Negotiation, in a business context, can be used for selling, purchasing, staff (e.g. contracts), borrowing (e.g. loans) and transactions, along with anything else that you feel are applicable for your business.
Planning and How to Negotiate
Pre-Negotiation
Before you decide to negotiate, it is a good idea to prepare. What is it exactly that you want to negotiate? Set out your objectives (e.g. I want more time to pay off the loan). You have to take into account how it will benefit the other party by offering some sort of reward or incentive (explained later).
What is involved (money, sales, time, conditions, discounts, terms, etc)? Know your extremes: how much extra can you afford to give to settle an agreement? Although you are not aiming to give out the maximum, it is worth knowing so that you will not go out of your limits.
Know what your opposition is trying to achieve by their negotiation. This is useful information that could be used to your benefit and may well be used to reach a final agreement.
Consider what is valuable to your business, not the costs. You may end up losing something in the negotiation that is more valuable to your business than money. It could be a reliable client or your company reputation.
Negotiating
It is important that you approach the other party directly to make an appointment to negotiate should it be in person, writing or by phone (not through a phone operator, receptionist, assistant etc) as this will allow you to set the agenda in advance, and improve the prospects of the other party preparing sufficiently enough to make a decision on the day. Try to be fairly open about your reason for contact or they may lose interest instantly and not follow up on the appointment. Save all your comments for the actual appointment- don’t give away anything that will give them a chance to prepare too thoroughly: it’s not war, but it is business!
So, it’s time to negotiate and you’ve prepared well. What else must you have? Two things: confidence and power. Your power will come from your ability to influence. For example, you may be the buyer (but not always a strong position), or have something that the other party wants, or you may be able to give an intention to penalize if the other party fails to meet the agreement (as is the way with construction). As briefly mentioned above, you may be able to give a reward or an incentive. For example, you may be selling kitchen knives and as part of the package you are giving a knife sharpener and a storage unit away free as an incentive.
It is always important that you keep the negotiation in your control: this can mean within your price range, your delivery time or your profit margin. If you fail to do so, you will end up on the wrong side of the agreement, and with nothing more out of the deal other than maintaining trading relationships.
When negotiating, aim as high as you feel necessary in order to gain the best deal for yourself. The other party may bring this down but it is a good tactic, as it is always easier to play down than to gain.
Make sure that you remain flexible throughout the negotiation in case the opposition decides to change the direction of the agreement (they may want different incentives or even change their objectives). This is where your preparation comes to good use: knowing your limits and the other party’s needs. If you’re a quick thinker then you’ve got an advantage. You’ll need to turn it around quickly if things start to go against you without putting your objectives at risk.
Confidence comes from knowing your business, your product, what its worth, and being able to communicate this well to the other party: these people are almost impossible to get the better of, as some of you will know only too well.
Coming to an Agreement in Negotiation

Coming to an Agreement
Once you have come to a final agreement, it is important that you have it down in writing along with both parties’ signature: this is not always possible or practical. Before it is signed, or formally ordered, it is wise not to say anything about the terms agreed because your next sentence could break the agreement: the best sales-people never over sell – well, not until they have to!
If it is a sale/purchase that you are making, then officially, it isn’t a sale until you/they have actually ordered the product/service. Usually, this will be an Order Form with a purchase order number. In most other negotiations, one party sending a letter and fax to the other in which the agreement is outlined (to a sufficient degree) will form a legal basis.
If the other party then amends the conditions in the agreement in writing to you, those amended terms then become part of the agreement, UNLESS you disagree in writing, and so on…
Summary
We use negotiation in everything we do but you have to be sure that it is done in the best way possible to achieve maximum benefit. The most important part is planning: preparing well will give you an advantage when negotiating.
Only use the knowledge and experience you need to achieve your objective: having the business owner negotiating the supply of pencils is over-kill, and leaves you little room to power-bargain with the same supply company when you want them to supply you with, say, colour photo-copiers.
Have confidence and be sure that you can keep control at all times. Aim highly, but don’t underestimate the opposition. They too may have just read the same advice. If you’re selling something, be persuasive and offer some incentive to keep the customer interested.
Don’t close an agreement until you are happy. This could be difficult if you have been put in a ‘corner’ but this would perhaps be an effect of poor preparation.

5 Ways To Negotiate More Effectively

“What’s your best price?”
“That’s too expensive.”
“Your competitor is selling the same thing for….”
Most salespeople and business owners hear statements like this every day. That means it is important to learn how to negotiate more effectively. Here are five strategies that will help you improve your negotiation skills and drive more dollars to your bottom line:
1) Learn to flinch.
The flinch is one of the oldest negotiation tactics but one of the least used. A flinch is a visible reaction to an offer or price. The objective of this negotiation tactic is to make the other people feel uncomfortable about the offer they presented. Here is an example of how it works.
A supplier quotes a price for a specific service. Flinching means you respond by exclaiming, “You want how much?!?!” You must appear shocked and surprised that they could be bold enough to request that figure. Unless the other person is a well seasoned negotiator, they will respond in one of two ways; a) they will become very uncomfortable and begin to try to rationalize their price, b) they will offer an immediate concession.
2) Recognize that people often ask for more than they expect to get.
This means you need to resist the temptation to automatically reduce your price or offer a discount. I once asked for a hefty discount on a pair of shoes hoping to get half of what I asked for. I was pleasantly surprised when the shop owner agreed to my request.
3) The person with the most information usually does better.
You need to learn as much about the other person’s situation. This is a particularly important negotiation tactic for sales people. Ask your prospect more questions about their purchase. Learn what is important to them as well as their needs and wants. Develop the habit of asking questions such as;
•    “What prompted you to consider a purchase of this nature?”
•    “Who else have you been speaking to?”
•    “What was your experience with…?”
•    “What time frames are you working with?”
•    “What is most important to you about this?”
It is also important to learn as much about your competitors as possible. This will help you defeat possible price objections and prevent someone from using your competitor as leverage.
4) Practice at every opportunity.
Most people hesitate to negotiate because they lack the confidence. Develop this confidence by negotiating more frequently. Ask for discounts from your suppliers. As a consumer, develop the habit of asking for a price break when you buy from a retail store. Here are a few questions or statements you can use to practice your negotiation skills:
•    “You’ll have to do better than that.”
•    “What kind of discount are you offering today?”
•    “That’s too expensive.” Wait for their response afterwards.
•    Learn to flinch.
Be pleasant and persistent but not demanding. Condition yourself to negotiate at every opportunity will help you become more comfortable, confident and successful.
5) Maintain your walk away power.
It is better to walk away from a sale rather than make too large a concession or give a deep discount your product or service. After attending my workshops, salespeople often tell that this negotiation strategy gives them the most leverage when dealing with customers. However, it is particularly challenging to do when you are in the midst of a sales slump or slow sales period. But, remember that there will always be someone to sell to.
Negotiating is a way of life in some cultures. And most people negotiate in some way almost every day. Apply these negotiation strategies and you will notice a difference in your negotiation skills almost immediately.

Leadership Qualities

Leadership is nothing but the quality which makes a person stands out different from other ordinary employees. It is associated with such a person who has aggressiveness in speech and action, love for the employees, and who can handle pressure under different circumstances and a person who is always ready to fight for the rights of employee. A leader is useless without followers. It is the followers who make a person as a leader and if required overthrow him.
Leaders play a critical role during change implementation, the period from the announcement of change through the installation of the change. During this middle period the organization is the most unstable, characterized by confusion, fear, loss of direction, reduced productivity, and lack of clarity about direction and mandate. It can be a period of emotionalism, with employees grieving for what is lost, and initially unable to look to the future.

In addition to forecast and amiability, the characteristics that leader must have are ability to recognize employees’ talents, the know-how to make teams work and an open mind.

Leadership does vary to some extent as per the positions i.e. it may be slight different for manager and different for a union leader but the basic qualities of leadership does not change.

1. Good communication skill
Communication is the key to be a great leader. The reason for this is simple: if he possesses the other nine leadership qualities but if he fails to communicate well, he will never be great leader.

What he can do is communicate with others in the organization about what IT can do to move the company forward. In other words, good communication is the key for developing good business relationships. If he can’t establish a good business working relationship, he is not going to be that leader, that team player. He will not be able to communicate how IT can add long-term value to the company. The modern leaders must therefore be equipped with good communication skill and use new ways to do effective communication.

2. Honesty
The most valuable asset of a leader is honesty. He must be honest with both his employees and the management committee. Another part of his features is integrity. Once a leader compromises his or her integrity, it is lost. That is perhaps the reason integrity is considered the most admirable trait. The leaders therefore must keep it “above all else.”

3. Visionary outlook
Leadership qualities are different for different position. For a CIO he must be thinking for stabilizing the current business and always looking for future scope of expansion. He has to be able to look beyond where we are today, know where the business is going, and be able to use that vision to move the company forward. Being able to do this is a rare skill indeed.

4. Selecting a good team
A good CIO although he possesses sound technical skills he assures that the team he selects is efficient enough to back up any skill he lacks. Choosing the best people for such team is a skill. A CIO after all is a human being and does not have answer for everything. But by working together he creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect; the team then always find the best solution.

5.Action speaks louder than words
Managers must be able to put aside their concerns to listen to (and appear to listen to) those around them. As a result, they come know what is going on, and know what is both said, and said between the lines. They have the knack of appearing to know what people need even if those needs are not expressed directly. However, knowing what is going on, and identifying the needs of those around them is not sufficient. The responsive manager also acts upon that knowledge, attempting to help fulfill the needs of employees, superiors, etc. Responsive managers wield influence to solve problems for those around them, often before even being asked.

6. Ability to motivate people around
A good leader must always keep motivating his team mates for good work and should maintain healthy environment. He must give first priority to safety of workers and see that they are not exploited by superiors.

7. Consistency
Leadership effectiveness is impossible without consistency. Every leader has an approach that is unique to them. Don’t change your personal style radically after all; it got you in a leadership position. Modify the rough spots but take care not to confound your staff by displaying inconsistency. Your expectations, though subject to modification based on ever-changing business needs, should remain as constant as possible. The business world is confusing enough without you adding unwelcome surprises into the mix. Keep things simple and consistent.

8. Ability to stand against critics
As the success rate increases your critics multiply and become louder. Come to peace with the fact that you will always have a camp of people who critique every decision you make. They are generally the ones who are excellent problem-identifiers rather than problem-solvers. Develop your skills of repelling such critics so that they do not diminish your confidence or enthusiasm.

It takes focus and confidence not to be adversely affected by criticism. Strong leaders learn the art of listening to critics, but ultimately making decisions for the good of the department, not to simply please the critics. The following quote sums it up nicely: “Some of the most talented people are terrible leaders because they have a crippling need to be loved by everyone.” As rightly stated by James Schorr.

6 Ways To Control Your Fear of Public Speaking

You are standing on stage. The floodlights are bright and all focused on you. There’s nothing else on stage with you except a lectern, a glass of water, and a microphone.

Out beyond the lights over 200 pairs of eyes are all looking at you. And they all have their own individual expectations.

On top of those 200 different expectations, there is your own expectation that you need to excel. And the one way you know if you’ve excelled your expectations is if you see some type of approval from those 200 pairs of eyes out there.

What do you feel? Sweaty palms? A squishy feeling in your abdomen? A little light headed? A dry mouth? Some tenseness in your shoulders and neck?

Welcome to the wonderful world of public speaking.

In all of our training programs we use some form of public speaking to help our participants learn how to think under pressure, handle audiences expectations on the fly, and to enhance their ability to communicate with people in a variety of situations. This means everyone in our training programs has to get up in front of a group and deliver a presentation of some type.

In all instances, everyone that we have worked with has felt the symptoms described above at some point during their training experience and speaking career. It doesn’t matter if they’ve never stood in front of a group before or if they are skilled public speakers. Everyone, including the instructor, has those same feelings from time to time.

It lets you know that you are alive and that you are about to embark on a new experience. It says that you are excited and ready to go.

So how do you turn that public speaking fear and anxiety into enthusiasm and excitement? Here are 6 activities you can perform to turn your next public speaking performance into a masterpiece:
Know Your audience.

You are going to have to do a little bit of research here. In many ways, the public speaker is like a sales person. Your ideas have to be what the audience is ready to hear.

If you are speaking to entertain, you don’t want to stand in front of a group that is looking to expand their knowledge. If you are speaking to a group of manufacturing workers, you don’t want to talk about management issues and solutions.

In order to get the attention of the audience and hold it, you have to talk about what is of interest to them. Do your research up front to determine what type of audience you will be speaking to and tailor your presentation accordingly.
Prepare, Prepare and Prepare Some More.

As with any performance you undertake in your career, you must be ready. Doesn’t matter if you are standing in front of a group of managers preparing to deliver a motivational speech or if you are standing at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Preparation breeds confidence. And when you are confident in your skills, you can perform to the best of your abilities.

Rehearse your speech in front of a mirror. Record your presentation and listen to it. Listen for vocal inflection. Listen for volume and intensity. And listen for places where you can place emphasis to drive your points home.

How much preparation you need depends on your individual circumstances and skill level. However, here is a rule of thumb I learned when I was a member of Cupertino Toastmasters. For every minute you are speaking, have 45 minutes of preparation under your belt.
Know The Purpose Of Your Speech.

In general, there are four purposes for speaking in front of a group. Those reasons are to convince, to inform, to motivate, and to entertain. While your speech may have a mix of those four reasons, one will stand out more than others.

For example, when a sales person stands in front of a group of decision makers presenting a solution, the main purpose of their speech is to convince the decision makers that this is the right solution to address their challenges.

On the other hand, if you’re a manager speaking to your team on getting a particular project finished on time, your main purpose for speaking to them will be to motivate your team into action.

When you are doing your research on your audience, or if an event planner calls you in to speak to their team, identify the purpose of your speech to insure that you are on target.
Don’t Memorize Your Speech. Know It So Sell, You Own It.

One of the coping tactics I’ve seen with beginning speakers at Toastmasters groups is that they try to recite their speech from memory. The challenge here is that when you memorize the speech, you aren’t free to engage the audience. You are stuck in your head reviewing your presentation.

For the majority of speeches you will deliver, the fate of nations won’t hang on the meaning of every word that you say, so you won’t need a teleprompter. Nor will you need to memorize you speech. Your audience will be looking at your authenticity, your ability to engage them, and your passion for your ideas. You can’t do any of that if you are trying to recite your speech from memory.

Instead, structure your speech around your basic ideas. Practice talking about those ideas until you know them so well that someone can wake you up in the middle of the night and you can still have a coherent discussion about them.

Trying to memorize your speech will only increase your level of anxiety and fear. You’ll constantly be worried that you’ll forget something. Know your presentation. Own it. Deliver it. Live it.
Know More About Your Subject Than You Need To.

Another challenge I often see in first time speakers is that they pick a topic that they know absolutely nothing about and try to give a 5 to 7 minute speech on it.

In one week, they cram 6 hours of prep (remember 45 minutes of prep work for every minute you are in front of the group) in addition to their work during the day, time with their family, eating, sleeping, and general life maintenance tasks. And now they have to include research time for the topic of their choice.

In our programs, we encourage participants to speak for 2 minutes on a topic that they know extremely well, usually themselves and their experiences. When you pick a topic to talk about, chose a topic that you know something about and then enhance your knowledge even more. Develop reserve power for your talk.

This extra information gives you added confidence when you stand in front of the audience and will prove invaluable when you see that the audience needs a point further developed.
Prepare And Rehearse Your Opening And Close.

Yes, we have said that preparation and rehearsal are necessary in public speaking. But you want to pay particular attention to your opening and your close.

As with a sales situation, your opening is the most important piece. That is what grabs your audience’s attention and keeps them engaged. As in a sales call, if you can’t get their attention, then it doesn’t matter what else is in your speech. Your audience isn’t with you.

The second most important piece of your presentation is the close or your call to action. This is the point where you tell your audience what you want them to do or the action you want them to take. Again, like in the sales call, if you get through your presentation and you fail to provide a clear call to action, they will leave your event feeling like something was left on the table, that there is unfinished business.

Rehearse your opening until you know you can get your audience’s attention smoothly and easily, and rehearse your close until you can leave your audience with a definite, succinct and clear call to action.

5 Ways to Improve Organizational Communication

1.  Use Multiple Channels for Organizational Communication – One of the most effective ways to ensure that people get your message is to send it across multiple channels.  Some of the more effective channels include meetings, face-to-face talks, e-mail, faxes, telephone conversations, bulletins, postings, and memos.  The key is to make sure you always employ multiple methods to disseminate your message, and never rely on a single channel.

2.  Make Important Messages Repetitive – In addition to using multiple channels, you can improve organizational communication by repeating important messages from time to time.

3.  Focus on Listening – This is vital during individual (i.e., one-on-one) communication.  The biggest reason that most of us are poor listeners is that we don’t take the time to actively listen.  You can do this by utilizing reflective listening skills (paraphrasing what your speaking partner has said to confirm understanding), using good nonverbal behaviors and body posture (e.g., face your communication partner with an open stance), and focusing on your partner by making a conscious effort to listen first instead of trying to get your message across first.  Do this by saying to yourself, “for the next three minutes, I am only going to listen”.

4.  Get Your Message Across – After you listen and fully understand your communication partner, you must make sure you can get your message across in the exact way it is intended.  To do this, speak openly and honestly, and be as straightforward as possible (i.e., no “beating around the bush”); speak inclusively and use terms that will be understood and respected by a diverse array of individuals; and check for understanding to make sure your message has been received accurately.

5.  Handle Communication Problems – Finally, we must become more effective at managing the communication problems that will inevitably arise during human interaction.  Such problems include conflict, difficulty in resolving problems, misunderstandings, dealing with difficult people and managing cultural differences.  I will address these issues in future posts.

How to Motivate Employees

Make sure you’re setting a good example of productivity and cheerfulness. Don’t let your own moods distract other employees from their work.
Develop your listening skills. This means using active listening to its fullest potential, not just pretending interest.
Be clear about the purpose of the job, and the big picture of the company’s mission and goals. Foster pride in working at that company, whether it is designed to make the world’s best sandwich or build the world’s best bridge. Make sure everyone knows the big picture and where their department and individual jobs fit in.
Don’t let your personal likes and dislikes blind you to who is actually productive on the job. Be fair.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have a good worker who is frequently 10 minutes late, let them know that you expect them to be on time, but don’t belabor the point if their work is otherwise above average. Employees are human beings with strengths and weaknesses, not worker robots.
Set goals and reward the staff when the goals are achieved. The reward can be as simple as a star on the calendar and a bigger reward at the end of the month if there are enough stars for each day.

At the end of year, rewards in the form of certificates can be given.
Be open, friendly, and professional with the staff, they’re your hard workers and deserve to be treated with respect.
Make it an atmosphere where doing a good job is recognized and appreciated.
Encourage communication among people who have to work together. People may feel blocked in and unable to relate to coworkers when they’re hidden in a cubicle. Ask the staff how they would like to see the workspace organized and set up opportunities for people to work collaboratively.
If you have a problem employee, do not avoid the problem. Talk to that person and make sure they know what they’re doing wrong, as well as what they’re doing right. Make a plan and a time chart to correct problem behaviors. If the employee will not or cannot improve after several performance meetings, and it is in your power to do so, terminate their employment. It is very demoralizing to the other staff members to have a fellow employee who isn’t pulling their weight.

5 Ways to Get Out of Startup Mode And Grow Your Business

Entrepreneurs stay in startup mode way too long. Keeping a small business in startup mode requires you to stand on the brake. If you keep telling people you’re “just a startup,” you will never take actions for real growth.

It’s time to move from startup to grown up mode and from planning to doing. In two years, you want to look back at your startup phase as an important part of your thriving business’ history. You want to say,”I remember when I was sitting on my floor packing boxes myself. Now I employ over 100 people.” This is the mindset to move towards and here are five ways to do it:

1. Delegate. When you’re in startup phase, you are handling everything. To become a going concern you have to start investing in people to do tasks you can no longer do. Three quarters of all small businesses have zero employees, which underscores the resistance people have to delegating. You have to grow your business. It is a misnomer to think people cost money. A lack of production and failure to grow your business costs far more.

2. Pick your battles. Don’t get wrapped up for a week deciding on a logo when it ultimately doesn’t matter. Your brand will evolve as your business evolves, so your logo is likely to change. There are more important things to obsess over — gaining customers and making money. When you are hunting big game, don’t swat mosquitoes.

3. Get attention. The single biggest problem every startup has is becoming known. Your most important task is to get attention for you and your company. It’s the gateway to every dollar you raise. Muhammed Ali told the world he was the greatest long before anyone knew him. He got attention and infuriated people. But he proved himself, which turned criticism into world admiration. Get attention. Get critics. Then get admiration.

4. Change your pitch. Instead of saying “I own a small web design company,” say “I own a web design company like none other that guarantees your company increased sales.” Notice the difference? The first makes you seem small and insignificant. It makes no claim. The second makes you seem unique, confident and capable of being a money maker. Know how to pitch yourself and your business. Be ready to quickly explain what your company does that is better, faster and of value to the marketplace. Then, make big claims to the world.

5. Create urgency. If you start a business venture without setting specific timelines for action and achievements, you will be stuck forever with excuses. One of the biggest mistakes I have made in business was not operating with enough urgency. Being an entrepreneur is a marathon activity with lots of sprints. Win a lot of little races and you will provide your people and company with momentum. We recently shot a television show at my office and I told the editing staff that I wanted rough cuts in half the time they thought necessary. Then I called everyday for a progress update. This pressure to perform doesn’t lead to inferior products; it get products to be finished. Urgency is key to getting things done.

Remember: Your vision is not improved by staying in startup mode. It’s time to accelerate and become a going concern that is grabbing market share from the other bigger more established players. It used to be the big who ate the small. Today, it is the fast who eat the slow.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228748#ixzz2tklNhpx8

How to Improve Website Design

To design a website you must watch your customers from the time they first entered into website till they become customers. You should watch out for the needs and satisfaction of the clients. You must keep track of what are your customers preferences like what pages they want to view , the content they liked to read, this information would be highly helpful to you  for the betterment of website design and growing your business and retaining clients. It’s all about answering right questions in right order.  Enhance your understanding about your current customers and how they went from a visitor to a customer from to map out your strategy.

You are going to find that certain elements on your website are going to detract from the value and message you’re trying to convey. You definitely don’t want to be that one site still using flash. Did you get the memo that it’s 2013?

One think you’ll definitely want to remove from your website is complicated animations. You might be wondering, why? There are a few reasons. It could be causing your website to load at a slower rate than your competitors.

With an audience that only has an attention span of 8 seconds, don’t give them an additional reason to visit your competitors website. Also, most browsers don’t display flash.

Any media or animation should be used to support your content.

The other element you want to limit the use of on across your website is jargon. No one likes that gobbledygook. Those terms will either mean nothing to your visitors or you’ll make them roll their eyes.

Avoid using these words: next generation, flexible, robust, scalable, easy to use, cutting edge, ground breaking, best of breed, mission critical … those are all words that have over used by hundreds if not thousands of companies.

Make it easy for your audience and visitors to follow and share your content. The only way is to include on every page of your website. And by every page I mean your homepage, landing pages, blog articles, and marketing emails.

Once your visitors land on your site do they know what to do next? They won’t know what pages to view or actions to take if you don’t provide them with some sort of direction.

Don’t be afraid to ask your visitors to do something. Add a call-to-action.

Tell them to click here for more information, download our sample GamePlan, request an assessment, watch the video, see all inbound marketing services, see pricing are examples of various actions your visitors can take upon visiting your site.

Not every image is going to fit with the type of message you’re trying to show your audience. This has been said over and over but do not use stock photos.

Not only do they look cheesy but also they don’t portray your audience or the people that work for your company.

Use actual images of your employees and your office. Show them working at their desk or talking on the phone.

Your objective should be to create a good user experience. When designing your website, navigation is key. You might want to identify the stickiness factor of your site. Which is how long a visitor is engaged and interested in your brand’s site.

There’s nothing worse than a site where you cannot find anything. It’s important to ensure that your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. You know it’s bad when your visitors have to look through your site map.

According to a recent HubSpot survey, 76% say that the most important element in web design is ease in finding information. If they cannot find what they’re looking for, they have no reason to stay on your site. They will find a company that has the information they’re looking for.

Above the fold is old. Don’t be weary of designing a longer homepage. Consider including key sections of your website on your home.

Don’t stick to the traditional and old school brochure website, don’t confine your visitors to a 1200 x 800 px screen.

Consider adding the following elements to your homepage:

  • Value proposition
  • Video
  • Overview of services
  • About us
  • Testimonials / proof
  • Case studies
  • Resources

The theory less is more still holds true. You don’t need to to fill every inch of your site with text or images. Whitespace is an essential design element. That space will help you break up the page . Did you know that when whitespace is used correctly, it actually gives your site a polished look.

Don’t forget about optimizing your site for mobile. Consider implementing a responsive design. An impressive 80.5% of website visitors are accessing websites through mobile phones.

It’s all about tailoring your site to fit the needs and wants of your visitors. You might want to ask yourself, why would someone access my site on mobile? What things would they look for?

When accessing a site on mobile, most visitors are looking for an address, blog, hours of operation, and etc.

It’s all about getting found. Your site should be search friendly. With that point you should develop an SEO strategy that takes into consideration the search terms your audience would search for to find your product or service.

Develop a strategy that includes creating content that’s relevant to the needs of your visitors. Videos, blog articles and ebooks are all forms of content that will drive visitors to your site.

 

Pros and Cons of Technological Advancement in Communication

Since decades with the advancements in technologies the ways and mediums of communication have changed a lot. In olden times the orthodox means of communication only involved exchange of information through messengers and later with modern age telegraph and telephone came into existence. The advent impacted heavily the lives of people throughout the world.  It completely revolutionalized the way people used to communicate.
With the industrial revolution the way transport and commerce took place a new world emerged. This is called the new world order in which people were replaced with machines. Hence new ways of communication developed far easier and far cheaper.  In modern age the Computer was invented and the whole world indulged into this technological revolution.  From there on there has been a constant flow of information with immense ease and comfort. The invention of internet has taken over almost the whole world now people can communicate with each other without any hassle. Its just a matter of seconds to send a message or your loved ones are just a call away from you which takes time in seconds to connect. The development of wireless devices and social media networking has bring forth  everything available to anyone anytime anywhere. The popularity of cheap smart phones  has enabled every one to benefit from this technological advancement every minute of the second. Social media networking has made online marketing . shopping, relationship building very easy.
On the other hand with this advanced technologies and easier ways of communication people are still going far away from each other. Access is available but the mechanical life style has restricted people to spend time with each other. People are just separated finding no time to even call each other or they are not intended to do so.  Families are getting nuclear and distances are increasing with everyone getting into the race of earning more and more money family values are dying and morality has reached to its lowest ebb.
Hence to conclude technology has benefited the humanity to a great extent no doubt but it has impacted the social life of the people in a very passive way.  People should learn again the lessons of morality and ethics and value relations more than materialistic aspects of life. That’s how we would be able to make the world a much happier, peaceful  and better place for the human beings and other creatures.

Responsive Website Design (RWD)

Responsive Web design (RWD) is a Web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).
A site designed with RWD adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids flexible images and CSS3 media queries an extension of the @media rule.
The fluid grid concept calls for page element sizing to be in relative units like percentages, rather than absolute units like pixels or points, Flexible images are also sized in relative units, so as to prevent them from displaying outside their containing element,Media queries allow the page to use different CSS style rules based on characteristics of the device the site is being displayed on, most commonly the width of the browser.
Server-side components (RESS) in conjunction with client-side ones such as media queries can produce faster-loading sites for access over cellular networks and also deliver richer functionality/usability avoiding some of the pitfalls of device-side-only solutions.
“Mobile first”, unobtrusive JavaScript, and progressive enhancement (strategies for when a new site design is being considered) are related concepts that predated RWD: browsers of basic mobile phones do not understand JavaScript or media queries, so the recommended practice is to create a basic web site, and enhance it for smart phones and PCs—rather than try graceful degradation to make a complex, image-heavy site work on the most basic mobile phones.
Where a web site must support basic mobile devices that lack JavaScript, browser (“user agent”) detection (also called “browser sniffing”), and mobile device detection are two ways of deducing if certain HTML and CSS features are supported (as a basis for progressive enhancement)—however, these methods are not completely reliable unless used in conjunction with a device capabilities database.

For more capable mobile phones and PCs, JavaScript frameworks like Modernizr, jQuery, and jQuery Mobile that can directly test browser support for HTML/CSS features (or identify the device or user agent) are popular. Polyfills can be used to add support for features—e.g. to support media queries (required for RWD), and enhance HTML5 support, on Internet Explorer. Feature detection also might not be completely reliable: some may report that a feature is available, when it is either missing or so poorly implemented that it is effectively nonfunctional.
Luke Wroblewski has summarized some of the RWD and mobile design challenges, and created a catalog of multi-device layout patterns. He suggests that, compared with a simple RWD approach, device experience or RESS (responsive web design with server-side components) approaches can provide a user experience that is better optimized for mobile devices. Server-side “dynamic CSS” implementation of stylesheet languages like Sass or Incentivated’s MML can be part of such an approach by accessing a server based API which handles the device (typically mobile handset) differences in conjunction with a device capabilities database in order to improve usability. RESS is more expensive to develop, requiring more than just client-side logic, and so tends to be reserved for organisations with larger budgets.

Although this challenge has become recently a minor issue, with many of the publishers starting to support responsiveness, one still at least partly existing problem for RWD is that some banner advertisements and videos are not fluid. However search advertising and (banner) display advertising support specific device platform targeting and different advertisement size formats for desktop, smartphone, and basic mobile devices. Different landing page URLs can be used for different platforms, or Ajax can be used to display different advertisement variants on a page.

An alternative to RWD is the method of Adaptive Web Delivery or AWD that is adopted by consumer brands worldwide. Although, it is very similar to Responsive Web Design, with adaptive delivery, the most significant difference is that the server hosting the website detects the devices making requests to it, and uses this information to deliver different batches of HTML and CSS code based on the characteristics of the device that have been detected.

There are now many ways of validating and testing RWD designs, ranging from mobile site validators and mobile emulators to simultaneous testing tools like Adobe Edge Inspect. The Firefox browser and the Chrome console offer responsive design viewport resizing tools, as do third parties.

Cascading Style Sheets

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language. While most often used to style web pages and interfaces written in HTML and XHTML, the language can be applied to any kind of XML document, including plain XML, SVG and XUL.

CSS is designed primarily to enable the separation of document content from document presentation, including elements such as the layout, colors, and fonts.[1] This separation can improve content accessibility, provide more flexibility and control in the specification of presentation characteristics, enable multiple pages to share formatting, and reduce complexity and repetition in the structural content (such as by allowing for tableless web design).

CSS can also allow the same markup page to be presented in different styles for different rendering methods, such as on-screen, in print, by voice (when read out by a speech-based browser or screen reader) and on Braille-based, tactile devices. It can also be used to allow the web page to display differently depending on the screen size or device on which it is being viewed. While the author of a document typically links that document to a CSS file, readers can use a different style sheet, perhaps one on their own computer, to override the one the author has specified.

CSS specifies a priority scheme to determine which style rules apply if more than one rule matches against a particular element. In this so-called cascade, priorities or weights are calculated and assigned to rules, so that the results are predictable.

The CSS specifications are maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Internet media type (MIME type) text/css is registered for use with CSS by RFC 2318 (March 1998), and they also operate a free CSS validation service

HTML 5

For structuring and presenting content  for worldwide web, technology and internet HTML 5 Mark up language is used. It is the fifth revision of the HTML standard (created in 1990 and standardized as HTML 4 as of 1997). Its core aims have been to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia while keeping it easily readable by humans and consistently understood by computers and devices (web browsers, parsers, etc.). HTML5 is intended to subsume not only HTML 4, but also XHTML 1 and DOM Level 2 HTML. Following its immediate predecessors HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.1, HTML5 is a response to the fact that the HTML and XHTML in common use on the World Wide Web are a mixture of features introduced by various specifications, along with those introduced by software products such as web browsers, those established by common practice, and the many syntax errors in existing web documents
It is also an attempt to define a single markup language that can be written in either HTML or XHTML syntax. It includes detailed processing models to encourage more interoperable implementations; it extends, improves and rationalises the markup available for documents, and introduces markup and application programming interfaces (APIs) for complex web applications. HTML5 is also a potential candidate for cross-platform mobile applications. Many features of HTML5 have been built with the consideration of being able to run on low-powered devices such as smartphones and tablets. In December 2011, research firm Strategy Analytics forecast sales of HTML5 compatible phones would top 1 billion in 2013. In particular, HTML5 adds many new syntactic features. These include the new <video>, <audio> and <canvas> elements, as well as the integration of scalable vector graphics (SVG) content (that replaces the uses of generic <object> tags) and MathML for mathematical formulas. These features are designed to make it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins and APIs. Other new elements, such as <section>, <article>, <header> and <nav>, are designed to enrich the semantic content of documents. New attributes have been introduced for the same purpose, while some elements and attributes have been removed. Some elements, such as <a>, <cite> and <menu> have been changed, redefined or standardized. The APIs and Document Object Model (DOM) are no longer afterthoughts, but are fundamental parts of the HTML5 specification. HTML5 also defines in some detail the required processing for invalid documents so that syntax errors will be treated uniformly by all conforming browsers and other user agents. The Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software presented a position paper at a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) workshop in June 2004. WHATWG published the First Public Working Draft of the specification on 22 January 2008. Parts of HTML5 have been implemented in browsers despite the whole specification not yet having reached final Recommendation status.
n July 2012, WHATWG and W3C decided on a degree of separation. W3C will continue the HTML5 specification work, focusing on a single definitive standard, which is considered as a “snapshot” by WHATWG. The WHATWG organization will continue its work with HTML5 as a “Living Standard”. The concept of a living standard is that it is never complete and is always being updated and improved. New features can be added but functionality will not be removed. n December 2012, W3C designated HTML5 as a Candidate Recommendation.[26] The criterion for advancement to W3C Recommendation is “two 100% complete and fully interoperable implementations. In September 2012, the W3C proposed a plan to release a stable HTML5 Recommendation by the end of 2014 and an HTML 5.1 specification Recommendation by the end of 2016.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems.

Adobe’s 2003 “Creative Suite” rebranding led to Adobe Photoshop 8’s renaming to Adobe Photoshop CS. Thus, Adobe Photoshop CS6 is the 13th major release of Adobe Photoshop. The CS rebranding also resulted in Adobe offering numerous software packages containing multiple Adobe programs for a reduced price. Adobe Photoshop is released in two editions: Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Photoshop Extended, with the Extended having extra 3D image creation, motion graphics editing, and advanced image analysis features. Adobe Photoshop Extended is included in all of Adobe’s Creative Suite offerings except Design Standard, which includes the Adobe Photoshop edition.

Alongside Photoshop and Photoshop Extended, Adobe also publishes Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom, collectively called “The Adobe Photoshop Family”. In 2008, Adobe released Adobe Photoshop Express, a free web-based image editing tool to edit photos directly on blogs and social networking sites. In 2011, a version was released for the Android operating system and the iOS operating system, followed by a release of a version for Windows 8 in 2013
Photoshop files have default file extension as .PSD, which stands for “Photoshop Document.” A PSD file stores an image with support for most imaging options available in Photoshop. These include layers with masks, transparency, text, alpha channels and spot colors, clipping paths, and duotone settings. This is in contrast to many other file formats (e.g. .JPG or .GIF) that restrict content to provide streamlined, predictable functionality. A PSD file has a maximum height and width of 30,000 pixels, and a length limit of 3 Gigabytes.

Photoshop files sometimes have the file extension .PSB, which stands for “Photoshop Big” (also known as “large document format”). A PSB file extends the PSD file format, increasing the maximum height and width to 300,000 pixels and the length limit to around 4 Exabytes. The dimension limit was apparently chosen arbitrarily by Adobe, not based on computer arithmetic constraints (it is not close to a power of two, as is 30,000) but for ease of software testing. PSD and PSB formats are documented.

Because of Photoshop’s popularity, PSD files are widely used and supported to some extent by most competing software. The .PSD file format can be exported to and from Adobe’s other apps like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere Pro, and After Effects, to make professional standard DVDs and provide non-linear editing and special effects services, such as backgrounds, textures, and so on, for television, film, and the web. Photoshop’s primary strength is as a pixel-based image editor, unlike vector-based image editors. Photoshop also enables vector graphics editing through its Paths, Pen tools, Shape tools, Shape Layers, Type tools, Import command, and Smart Object functions. These tools and commands are convenient to combine pixel-based and vector-based images in one Photoshop document, because it may not be necessary to use more than one program. To create very complex vector graphics with numerous shapes and colors, it may be easier to use software that was created primarily for that purpose, such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. Photoshop’s non-destructive Smart Objects can also import complex vector shapes
Photoshop functionality can be extended by add-on programs called Photoshop plugins (or plug-ins). Adobe creates some plugins, such as Adobe Camera Raw, but third-party companies develop most plugins, according to Adobe’s specifications. Some are free and some are commercial software. Most plugins work with only Photoshop or Photoshop-compatible hosts, but a few can also be run as standalone applications.

There are various types of plugins, such as filter, export, import, selection, color correction, and automation. The most popular plugins are the filter plugins (also known as a 8bf plugins), available under the Filter menu in Photoshop. Filter plugins can either modify the current image or create content. Below are some popular types of plugins, and some well-known companies associated with them:

Color correction plugins (Alien Skin Software, Nik Software, OnOne Software, Topaz Labs Software, The Plugin Site, etc.)
Special effects plugins (Alien Skin Software, Auto FX Software, AV Bros., Flaming Pear Software, etc.)
3D effects plugins (Andromeda Software,Strata, etc.)

Adobe Camera Raw (also known as ACR and Camera Raw) is a special plugin, supplied free by Adobe, used primarily to read and process raw image files so that the resultant images can be processed by Photoshop.[28] It can also be used from within Adobe Bridge.

jQuery

jQuery is a cross-platform JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML. It was released in January 2006 at BarCamp NYC by John Resig. It is currently developed by a team of developers led by Dave Methvin. Used by over 80% of the 10,000 most visited websites, jQuery is the most popular JavaScript library in use today. jQuery is free, open source software, licensed under the MIT License. jQuery’s syntax is designed to make it easier to navigate a document, select DOM elements, create animations, handle events, and develop Ajax applications. jQuery also provides capabilities for developers to create plug-ins on top of the JavaScript library. This enables developers to create abstractions for low-level interaction and animation, advanced effects and high-level, theme-able widgets. The modular approach to the jQuery library allows the creation of powerful dynamic web pages and web applications.
The set of jQuery core features — DOM element selections, traversal and manipulation — enabled by its selector engine (named “Sizzle” from v1.3), created a new “programming style”, fusing algorithms and DOM-data-structures; and influenced the architecture of other JavaScript frameworks like YUI v3 and Dojo.
Microsoft and Nokia bundle jQuery on their platforms. Microsoft includes it with Visual Studio[8] for use within Microsoft’s ASP.NET AJAX framework and ASP.NET MVC Framework while Nokia has integrated it into their Web Run-Time widget development platform.[9] jQuery has also been used in MediaWiki since version 1.16.
jQuery includes the following features:
•    DOM element selections using the multi-browser open source selector engine Sizzle, a spin-off of the jQuery project[11]
•    DOM traversal and modification (including support for CSS 1–3)
•    DOM manipulation based on CSS selectors that uses node elements name and node elements attributes (id and class) as criteria to build selectors
•    Events
•    Effects and animations
•    AJAX
•    JSON parsing
•    Extensibility through plug-ins
•    Utilities – such as user agent information, feature detection
•    Compatibility methods that are natively available in modern browsers but need fall backs for older ones – For example the inArray() and each() functions.
•    Multi-browser (not to be confused with cross-browser) support.
Both version 1.x and 2.x of jQuery support “current-1 versions” (meaning the current stable version of the browser and the version that preceded it) of Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera. The version 1.x also supports Internet Explorer 6 or higher. However, jQuery version 2.x dropped Internet Explorer 6–8 support (which represents less than 28% of all browsers in use) and can run only with IE 9 or higher.

jQuery is a fast, small, and feature-rich JavaScript library. It makes things like HTML document traversal and manipulation, event handling, animation, and Ajax much simpler with an easy-to-use API that works across a multitude of browsers. With a combination of versatility and extensibility, jQuery has changed the way that millions of people write JavaScript.

CodeIgnier

An open source rapid development web application development, to be used in formulating PHP websites. “Its goal is to enable [developers] to develop projects much faster than writing code from scratch, by providing a rich set of libraries for commonly needed tasks, as well as a simple interface and logical structure to access these libraries.” It is based on Model-View- Controller-development pattern. The first public version of CodeIgniter was released on February 28, 2006, and the latest stable version 2.1.4 was released July 8, 2013. While view and controller classes are a necessary part of development under CodeIgniter, models are optional.
Codelgnitor is faster, lighter and the least like a framework. It is most prominent software for its speed. CodeIgniter’s source code is maintained at GitHub, and as of the preview version 3.0-dev, is certified open source software licensed with the Open Software License (“OSL”) v. 3.0. Versions of CodeIgniter prior to 3.0 are licensed under a proprietary Apache/BSD-style open source license. On July 9th 2013, EllisLab announced that it is seeking a new owner for its CodeIgniter, stating lack of involvement as a reason. It is not clear whether CodeIgniter will remain the backbone of its ExpressionEngine software.
CodeIgniter is an Application Development Framework – a toolkit – for people who build web sites using PHP. Its goal is to enable you to develop projects much faster than you could if you were writing code from scratch, by providing a rich set of libraries for commonly needed tasks, as well as a simple interface and logical structure to access these libraries. CodeIgniter lets you creatively focus on your project by minimizing the amount of code needed for a given task
CodeIgniter is installed in four steps:
1.    Unzip the package.
2.    Upload the CodeIgniter folders and files to your server. Normally the index.php file will be at your root.
3.    Open the application/config/config.php file with a text editor and set your base URL.
4.    If you intend to use a database, open the application/config/database.php file with a text editor and set your database settings.
If you wish to increase security by hiding the location of your CodeIgniter files you can rename the system folder to something more private. If you do rename it, you must open your main index.php file and set the $system_folder variable at the top of the page with the new name you’ve chosen.

Angular JS

A single-page application in open source java script framework called AngularJS Which initiated and maintained by Google. Its goal is to augment browser-based applications with model–view–controller (MVC) capability, in an effort to make both development and testing easier. It basically works in HTML that contains additional custom tag attributes; it then obeys the directives in those custom attributes, and binds input or output parts of the page to a model represented by standard JavaScript variables. The values of those JavaScript variables can be manually set, or retrieved from static or dynamic JSON resources. AngularJS is built around the belief that declarative programming should be used for building UIs and wiring software components, while imperative programming is excellent for expressing business logic.
The framework adapts and extends traditional HTML to better serve dynamic content through two-way data-binding that allows for the automatic synchronization of models and views. As a result, AngularJS deemphasizes DOM manipulation and improves testability.
Design goals:
•    Decouple DOM manipulation from application logic. This improves the testability of the code.
•    Regard application testing as equal in importance to application writing. Testing difficulty is dramatically affected by the way the code is structured.
•    Decouple the client side of an application from the server side. This allows development work to progress in parallel, and allows for reuse of both sides.
•    Guide developers through the entire journey of building an application: from designing the UI, through writing the business logic, to testing.
Angular follows the MVC pattern of software engineering and encourages loose coupling between presentation, data, and logic components. Using dependency injection, Angular brings traditional server-side services, such as view-dependent controllers, to client-side web applications. Consequently, much of the burden on the backend is reduced, leading to much lighter web applications.
The AngularJS Boot Strapper
There are three phases of the AngularJS boot strapper that occur after the DOM completes loading:
1.    Create a new Injector
2.    Compile service – The Compile service is like compiling in C or C++. It walks the DOM and locates all the directives such as “ng-app”.
3.    Link phase – The link phase attaches all the directives to scope.

5 Top Ways For Search Engine Optimization

Economists regularly use leading indicators — the measurable economic factors that change before the economy as a whole changes — in order to analyze and predict future performance. Lagging indicators, on the other hand, are factors that change after the economy as a whole does.

Since SEO is typically a long-term strategy, clients tend to gauge success based on what would be more of a lagging indicator (i.e., profits). Proving the worth of a campaign on this sole lagging indicator can be inadequate, as profits will only come in after the SEO channel as a whole has changed sufficiently.

Clients can get antsy as they wait for their goals to be reached, and though a link building campaign may be going spectacularly well from an SEO professional’s vantage point, the time it takes for links to mature may be something many non-SEO folk have difficulty fully grasping.

By borrowing the economist’s mindset and identifying a core set of SEO leading indicators, we can better showcase how things are progressing to clients or senior management. This allows small wins to be celebrated or problems to be identified and understood by the client throughout the life of the campaign.

More valuably, these quick reports will build the client’s understanding of the different KPIs we SEO professionals monitor, and will be great for assuaging impatient clients and sparking a very productive dialogue each month.

In addition to being uber-useful, the five SEO leading indicators outlined below are quick and easy to pull together and review. While SEO professionals might be very familiar with some of these, and may review them in depth, the trick here is to boil them down into the bare essentials (i.e., the top-level view that clients can quickly read and easily understand).
1. SEO Visibility (with Competitive Intelligence)

Want to be able to monitor progress over time, not just for your site, but for your competitors as well? What if you could see this data in a single graph with just the push of a button?

Co-founded by the noted SEO analyst Marcus Tober, SearchMetrics is a phenomenal SEO analytics tool that tracks a vast amount of actionable data and presents it in concise and easy-to-read formats.

Use their SEO Visibility report to track the current trend and historical development of a domain’s visibility in search engines. Essentially, the index reflects how often a website shows up in the search results. You can even add in up to four competitors to track against as well.

Why use this as a leading indicator?

Looking at this historical, top-level view of the site’s visibility in the search engines allows for both problems as well as improvements to be quickly identified.

Additionally, comparing the SEO visibility of thematically similar websites or competitors will provide the most value as industry-wide developments will be factored in and market trends easily identified.

It’s also a great way to benchmark the client against their competitors and show how the campaign has been growing.
2. Links Acquired

Showing how content-based outreach or link building efforts have grown the link profile of a company validates the effort put in and can succinctly convey the success of these efforts.

3. Domain Authority

 

Domain Authority represents Moz’s best prediction about how a website will perform in the search engine rankings. It is a good indicator of trust of the site, quality of the link profile, user behavior and likelihood of a domain ranking higher up in the SERPs.

Note that since domain authority can sometimes fluctuate, it’s not a precise historical measure to use, but snapshots of the score over time can be a good indicator, especially if the score changes by several points

4. Search Traffic

A simple snapshot of organic search traffic trends pulled from Google Analytics provides a useful graph to see how SEO efforts have grown traffic over time.

5. Core Rankings

Often we share with clients large lists of keyword rankings. Especially for clients with very large volumes of keywords to monitor, these reports can get cumbersome and thus ignored far too often. On a twice monthly basis, take the top 10 highest value keywords for the client and run manual rank checks to track progress over time.