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Five Ways an SMB Can Use Instagram For Their Website and Marketing

Instagram is a photo-sharing network that gains tens of thousands of users each month in a variety of demographics thanks to their mobile application. While the concept can be confusing at first, there are several ways you can use the site to promote your business.

Promote Your Products

While Instagram is a great tool to assist in the marketing of your products, its purpose can extend far beyond a catalog for your business. If you manufacture your own goods, consider giving your customers a peek at the process. This can be anything from the equipment you use to the design and building process. Your customers will appreciate getting a chance to see your products outside of the standard retail setting.

Share Company News and Updates

Whether you want to unveil new products or make other business related announcements, everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words. Consider using creative means to convey your news to your customers. They will more than likely be receptive to news conveyed through non-traditional mediums.

Show Who You Are

While it’s important for any business to put faces behind the company name, this concept is especially vital for smaller ventures. Your potential customers want to see that you are tied into the community, and giving them a look at your offices and your staff is a great way to show who you are. If possible, try to capture the mood of your office through the pictures you post as well.

Connect With Your Audience

Your customers want to be kept in the loop regarding all aspects of your business, including promotional offers, new product offerings and any special events you may be attending or sponsoring. Instagram is a great way to quickly share this information with them, be it through a promotional flyer or a look-in at the event itself.

Encourage Participation

Social media is a great way to engage your customers and target demographic, and no outlet has realized this more than Instagram. Use the platform to encourage customers to pin sightings of your products on their pages or hold contests for the most creative pictures taken. Whatever you do, just make sure you give people reasons to keep checking back.

Five Features of the Open-Source Revolution That Have Benefited SMBs

Many businesses may be reluctant to go with open source software in lieu of commercial brands that have been tested by the market and possess a notable, trustworthy name. Still, open source programs are continuing to prove their viability, with one of the more notable examples being the success of Mozilla Firefox. To help encourage businesses to consider open source programming, below are five benefits of opting for them over regular proprietary software.

1. Direct Modification

By definition, open source programs give you direct access to the source code. While not every company will have the IT staff with the time and knowledge to constantly modify a piece of software, for those that do this is an amazing benefit.

2. Reduced Software Costs

Open source software is freely redistributable and the licensing terms are extremely tilted towards sharing the product. If your business opts for open source, then the only further costs you risk are updates and tech support from the developers. This means an open source option will be extremely inexpensive, if not completely free.

3. Innovation

There is no overarching body monitoring open source software and deciding what features are worth the time for developers to work on, forcing an overall theme, or demanding certain methodology. This allows the software to have be more flexible in bringing about innovation and change.

4. Outside of Market Control

Inevitably, a company will be purchasing or acquiring software to help in its operations. Just like any form of business, software is subject to the whims of the market. If a software company goes under, a business may find itself having to replace a deeply integrated piece of software. Even if it is not immediately necessary, the software is liable to soon become out of date and acquire flawed compatibilities with current technology and suffer from security failures. Open source software benefits from communities that continue working on it even if it is ‘officially’ over, never dying until people stop using it.

5. Greater Number of Options

Once a piece of software has been released on an open source license, anyone who wishes to do so can modify the program and redistribute a version they find to be better. This feature results in a large number of related pieces of software, each tweaked to specific settings, which makes finding the perfect option for your company that much easier .

Easily Manage Your Website With cPanel Hosting Dashboards

cPanel is the world’s most familiar web management interface, offering a set of tools that allow website owners to manage website files, databases, email accounts, SSL security certifications, FTP file transfers and more. It is one of the most popular web interface dashboards because it offers ease of deployment, a variety of features and speed. The following are just 5 reasons why cPanel is the preferred web management interface.

1 – Ease of Use

cPanel is a web-based control panel that allows web administrators to quickly manage websites, hosting accounts and domain names. It offers easy visual buttons that give users immediate control over many web functions such as:

• Databases

• Website files

• Email accounts

2 – Easy Installation

cPanel developers have gone out of their way to make uploading and managing website files easy, even for people that are unfamiliar with website management. The dashboard offers an easy “Getting Started Wizard” that walks you through the initial file transfers and email setup processes. New users find the step-by-step tutorials extremely useful, and are guided through every process in the wizard.

3 – One-Click Applications

cPanel offers easy-to-use options for both experienced and non-experienced web developers. For instance, users can easily install applications such as WordPress by simply pressing a WordPress install button located in the dashboard. This means no PHP code changing, and no need for downloading or manual FTP upload of WordPress files. This type of one-button installation is convenient for both novice and experienced users, as it is easy and quick.

4 – Easy Database Access

cPanel offers easy database management tasks. Create databases, edit tables, allocate space to a database and other functions can be performed through the visually clear cPanel buttons. Those web developers who need extensive database management can easily access MySQL databases and even add PostgreSQL options.

5 – Backups

Most experienced web developers will tell you that a website without a backup is as bad as having no website at all. cPanel makes it easy to backup all your files. You just have to click the “Backup Wizard” button and cPanel will walk you through the process of backing up your database, email and website. Once the backup is performed you can download it to your computer or send it to another server.

Conclusion

The primary reason cPanel is so popular is because the dashboard offers well designed visual elements that help web administrators of all experience levels manage their websites and domain names with a simple one click process or through one of the easy to use wizard options.

Five Elements of HTML 5 That Will Make Visiting Websites More Fun and Enjoyable

The Internet is a regular part of everyday life and business in the modern world, so any updates to an important language such as HTML can have a significant impact. Here are a few of the most impressive new features making websites fun, beautiful, and useful offered by the latest update to HTML, HTML5.

1. New HTML5 features

A slew of new elements added to HTML5 focus on media elements. Two of the more notable ones are simple and clear to understand: audio and video. Source and track further expand media capability by combining video and audio sources. Other tools allow for easier usage of databases and structure, giving web developers the tools they need.

2. Canvas – Drawing on the fly

The canvas element is so powerful and useful that it deserves mention on its own. It allows the website developer to draw graphics on the page, though JavaScript or another language is necessary in some cases to get the most out of it. Still, the canvas tool enables web pages to actually utilize changing graphics that it generates.

3. Web-based applications

Being able to create advanced applications that are usable from a browser will begin to rapidly improve the capability of devices with less power and storage. For example, one website has designed a 3D calculator completely from HTML5 elements. Another offers a DJ turntable.

4. Games

Inevitably, advances in programming capabilities will result in game development. The markup language used in browsers is no exceptions, and HTML5′s new features have already resulted in games such as a pool simulation. While HTML needs quite a bit of development before the latest games would be feasible, the simple and addictive games that people enjoy will find their way to browsers without the need of tools like Flash.

5. Innovative Layouts

The design and structure of a website plays a large role in how enjoyable browsing it is. The structure tools provided by HTML5 allow for some interesting designs such as “20 Things“, an eBook created by Google using the language. Other examples of websites experimenting with the capability of HTML5 abound, and it is likely only a matter of time before ways to utilize the layouts effectively find their way into the world of business.