GoDaddy is typically where you should start when looking for a place to host your website and pick your domain name. They have a variety of options and try to make things as easy for you as possible. You can pick your email address, use a variety of marketing tools to increase the reach of your website, and access a robust customer service system. All of their services are paid, but worth the investment if you’re looking to take your business or hobby seriously. It will pay off in the long run if you stick to your website and brand.
Host Your Website Through GoDaddy
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GoDaddy is typically where you should start when looking for a place to host your website and pick your domain name. They have a variety of options and try to make things as easy for you as possible.
Pixels Agency is a storytelling-driven digital marketing firm in Mumbai that specializes in creating unforgettable online engagement. Started by Nikesh Masiwal in 2006, Pixels helps startups and established businesses design delightful digital experiences that engage and influence their customers. Today, Pixels provides their clients with services across the digital marketing spectrum, from SEO to social media marketing, and they continue to grow. Their highly skilled team continually learns and adapts to keep up with evolving technology. This includes staying abreast of the latest developer tools.
Pixels started to realize its full potential a few years ago when they began serving customers overseas, along with growing their Indian client base.
Developer tools ease client management
To manage clients remotely, especially those in the U.S., Nikesh frequently used GoDaddy’s delegate access which allows a user to manage another person’s account. Seeking a more efficient solution, Nikesh came across GoDaddy’s Pro Program on the GoDaddy blog, which he regularly reads.
“We scaled fairly quickly owing to the value brought to us by GoDaddy and GoDaddy Pro.” — Nikesh Masiwal, Founder of Pixels Agency
GoDaddy Pro is designed specifically to serve the needs of web professionals and includes:
- Automated tools to manage and monitor customer accounts.
- Seamless monitoring of multiple sites.
- Dedicated support.
The program made life and work much easier for Nikesh right away. Joining was easy — he just filled out a form with some basic information, which was quickly verified to complete his admission to the program.
It isn’t called pro for nothing
Nikesh is quick to call out all the advantages of the Pro program.
Account management across clients is effortless — you can do it all in one place via a single login, without juggling between client passwords.
Some of Pixels’ favorite features are the program’s:
All are bundled into the GoDaddy Pro tool. The site uptime monitor sends an automated email from GoDaddy Pro in real-time in the event of a service outage — for even a single minute.
The client reporting tools send out periodic emails to website owners about analytics, performance, uptime and security of their sites. Nikesh says their clients appreciate these regular updates that enable them to make data-driven decisions. The updates save the agency time, too, since they no longer have to manually generate reports.
”We are pretty sure that we’ve signed retainers with most of our clients because GoDaddy Pro Program helps us manage them well.”
GoDaddy Pro also lists services of web professionals on its website, which helps agencies like Pixels showcase their work and sign on clients without spending on marketing. “We have received multiple inquiries via GoDaddy, and a lot of these clients have referred us further,” said Nikesh.
Customer kudos make it all worth it
Pixels Agency is particularly proud of the impressive customer base they have established with the help of partners like GoDaddy. “We have been able to build strong relationships with our clients and the GoDaddy team as well, who have constantly supported us,” adds Nikesh.
Nikesh is quick to recount several instances where GoDaddy Pro support saved the day.
Recently one of their clients had a service outage in an Amazon EC2 server. Because Pixels uses the Pro Program’s uptime monitor, they were notified the minute it went down and were able to take action immediately. The client really appreciated the quick resolution of such a critical issue.
“I interact with the GoDaddy team fairly often, and they update me with all the upcoming products and events. Sometimes they call me just to say hello and make sure that we’re doing well. I consider them a part of my team,” said Nikesh.
The post How GoDaddy’s developer tools helped Pixels Agency grow appeared first on Blog.
Safe drinking water is a basic human right. This is the premise of Smaat India, a company that started in 2006 in Hyderabad with an aim to develop cutting-edge technologies to provide user-friendly and affordable water solutions to everyday people. For Smaat, reducing water scarcity in India is a driving passion.
India is projected to be a water-stressed nation by 2020 and ranks 120th among 122 nations in the availability of potable water.
Smaat India’s impact and influence are clearly visible from their impressive numbers. Today, more than 250 employees serve 16,000 satisfied customers across 33 countries, processing millions of liters of clean water per day.
As a result of its innovative work, Smaat India has received more than 230 national and international awards and accolades. These include:
- Three President awards through MSME
- Three UNESCO national awards through water digest and NDTV
- The 2012 NABARD Rural Innovations Award (out of 1,430 nominations PAN India)
- The 2014 Bihar Innovation Forum Award (out of 1,700 nominations)
Making clean water plentiful
With the mission to reduce water scarcity in India and across the world, Smaat India set up their first website in 2000. After a change in company name, they launched Smaat India in 2014.
The website plays a crucial role in the company’s operations.
“Our website serves multiple purposes,” says Mr. Karunakara M Reddy, founder of Smaat India. “It helps to showcase our products and services, serves as a brochure that can be updated regularly and, therefore cost effectively, and allows people across the world to search for us and learn about our company in their own time.”
Mr. Reddy adds, “Businesses gain credibility by having a website. Without one, potential customers will just go to your competitors.”
With high expectations for its website, the company’s “window to the world,” Mr. Reddy was keen to work with a trusted online partner. References from friends for GoDaddy, its reputation as the world’s largest and number one domain registrar, and its great service made the choice easy.GoDaddy helped us to be available online 24/7 to anyone who wishes to reach us or learn more.
“GoDaddy has lived up to its reputation of being a trusted service provider,” says Mr. Reddy. Today, SmaatIndia.com receives more than 400 visitors per month, with the bulk of its business inquiries coming through its website.
A one-stop shop
Smaat India found everything they needed to go online at GoDaddy’s online store. In fact, they decided to transfer all their domains to GoDaddy and to use GoDaddy’s hosting services for their group websites, too.
The process of buying GoDaddy products online was seamless. By visiting in.GoDaddy.com, they could search and register a domain name within minutes. Smaat India knew they wanted to register a .com domain to reinforce their global presence.
Hosting services from GoDaddy provide the confidence of 24/7 uptime and timely service.
The promise of quick and responsive service has helped cement Smaat India’s confidence in their chosen online partner. Smaat India reached out to GoDaddy Customer Support on several occasions for help with hosting and the transfer of domains.
“Service levels are very good,” says Mr. Reddy. “The customer service team resolved all our questions immediately,” he adds.
Ending water scarcity in India
Despite the amazing progress that Smaat India has already made, they still have a ways to go, says Mr. Reddy. Smaat India aspires to be one of the most admired brands in India and among the top 10 environmental companies across the globe by 2025.
Smaat plans to open more than 1,000 Smaat Zone franchise stores across India in the coming years.
Recognising that their online presence keeps them connected to the world, Smaat India is confident in their march forward with GoDaddy as their dependable online partner.
Article first appeared in Entrepreneur India on 6 September, 2017
The adage “Content is King” has been true in the field of marketing for well over three decades now. It continues to grow in relevance, led by the multiplicity of channels – both online and offline, disruptive new business ideas, and changing customer behaviors – especially shortening attention spans, which makes separating the signal from the noise difficult for brands, yet critical for business success.
For any business — small or big — content can be many things; video clips, blogs, quizzes, whitepapers, surveys, PR, infographics, content updates on social platforms, advertising creative, are all content types.
As an increasing number of people increasingly seek out information on products and services, a business getting relevant content at the right frequency in front of its audience is critical to change behavior and inspire participation in favour of the brand.
Therefore, getting the fundamentals right is key to raising the level of trust with your audience, even before she has made the first contact with the business.
It is important for businesses to pay heed to the following to effectively leverage the opportunity afforded by sound content marketing.
Identify your audience
Sharply define business goals– whether they are attracting talent, or signing up more partners, or selling to more customers. This will help identify the relevant audience for your content marketing campaign, and also guide the content itself.
Understand your audience
Having identified the relevant audience, it is important to define the audience persona in detail. It is critical to understand their sweet spots that can help engage with them more actively.
Look at your existing customer behavior to drive a deeper understanding of the audience. Address questions about your target audience’s interests, current content consumption patterns, content preferences, ways and means of accessing different content types, including information on products and services of interest to them.
Document your content marketing strategy
Not having a strategy that answers the question ‘why and how’ will make your content marketing plan ad hoc. Define how you will measure the ROI on your campaigns. Map content to your identified target audience. Determine the frequency of your content outreach, and establish how generic or specific your content needs to be. Then focus on creating the relevant content, and finalizing the content distribution strategy to ensure your desired reach.
Content marketing is about continuous active engagement and building a relationship, and requires a long-term outlook for successful outcomes.
Through this process, you become a credible resource for your audience and it helps your business be top of mind. This can result in a response towards your business at the right time as a relationship of trust has been built.
Think like a user, not a business owner
Ask yourself, “why should the target audience view my content?” It must be contextual, useful and helpful. There can be distinct content categories such as Hero content that helps drive thought leadership and enhance customer engagement.
Don’t underestimate your existing content library. A lot of it can often be effectively repurposed to reinforce certain messages in your target audience.
Measure to improve
If you don’t measure the outcomes of your content marketing efforts, not only will you not be able to determine the impact, but also lose out on the opportunity to improve and accelerate your efforts.Content marketing is an iterative process.
Content marketing is an iterative process, and by analyzing the data such as click-through rates, unique visitors, time on page, likes, shares and subscribes, bounce rates, conversions, on a regular basis, you will be able to make informed choices of what is and what isn’t working and help to refine your content strategy over time.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The post Why content marketing is important for active customer engagement appeared first on Blog.
Article first appeared in Businessworld on 5 September, 2017
Among the several channels that marketers have used to take their brands to the customer, email marketing is perhaps one of the oldest in the digital world. Email marketing, when used in effective conjunction with other channels such as social media marketing, can drive customer engagement, thereby affording more opportunity to increase conversion rates. Regardless, in this fast-moving digital world, the focus should be on the customer and her journey, instead of choosing email or social.The channels of communication are merely means to an end, and not the end itself.
This shift in thinking is critical to driving growth for your business.
In using digital channels to further your marketing efforts, it is first imperative to define the goal as that will ascertain the appropriate channels. It would be important to answer these questions prior to proceeding. For example, does your business model require a large base of small-ticket orders, or a small base of high-value customers? Is customer LTV your key target metric, or is the order value — irrespective of new or existing customer, more important? Depending on the goal you wish to pursue, either a broad-reach or a targeted outreach approach needs to be adopted.
Let us look at these two approaches, and where email marketing fits in.
As a business, you have spent significant resources — time, effort and money — in building a mailing list of prospective customers, which adds onto your existing customer list. You have a broad understanding of their interests and preferences.
It is now important to segment your audience list in line with the clearly defined goal— specifically, the action you want them to take pursuant to your email campaign.
Is it to increase the awareness of your brand, or for a specific product? Is it to get information on the latest trends, or their account activity? Or is it to renew, activate or enhance usage of your product?
While building out email marketing campaigns, it is important at the outset to pen down the follow-up strategy. It is useful to track metrics such as opens, click-throughs, and follow-up action for these sub-sets within the respondents. Other metrics of relevance are email deletes and time spent on emails. These will help improve your message quality, and also help choose a more effective time of day/day of the week.
Your email content should be relevant and aligned with what your customers want, to ensure that they stay subscribed, and to give you valuable feedback to refine your marketing efforts based on what works or doesn’t.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hot topic currently, particularly in the B2B domain, as they prioritize the acquisition and continuous engagement of high-value customers through personalized and relevant communication— email is an important channel here.
ABM strategies are deployed to both accelerate the sales pipeline, and once converted, to engage the existing customers to fuel growth. With ABM, your objective is typically to build authority of your brand, grow the number of leads, drive revenue and grow value. This approach is quite the opposite of traditional lead generation model; here, you flip the funnel and focus on customer experience. Through effective email campaigns, you give yourself a good shot at meeting these objectives.
Overall, whether you use account-based marketing or traditional email marketing totally depends on your business goal.
The discussion today needs to move from comparing email marketing with social media marketing to driving customer experience through the customer journey.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house (Businessworld). Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
Article first appeared in YourStory on 26 November, 2017
India ended 2016 with nearly a third of its population online. At 422 million, India’s online population outstrips the entire population of the US, and is behind only China. What’s more, this figure is estimated to touch 730 million internet users by 2020.
Impressive as these numbers sound, a large part of the population continues to remain outside the digital fold.
As per KPMG, India has over 51 million small businesses, contributing over one-third of the country’s GDP, and employing nearly 40% of its workforce. Around 32% of these businesses are online. As per industry estimates, 10 million of these can be considered as technology-ready and under a million currently have a website. India has a domain penetration ratio of 1.1% with approx. five million domain names, compared to 43.6% in the US.
What is keeping the rest of the market, and a sizable one at that, from fully leveraging the power of the internet?
Internet awareness and education
A few concerns – some of them ill-founded – seem to be driving this reticence. For starters, there is the perception that the internet is meant for big businesses, and small businesses tend to believe that the internet is “not-for-me.” This highly misplaced and unfounded notion reflects a lack of awareness regarding the potential of the internet in driving business growth– irrespective of business size.
Even in cases where small businesses are aware of the internet and cognizant of its potential, they shy away under the misconception that getting online is inherently a complex and expensive procedure. The entire process of buying a domain name, setting up a website, promoting the website, etc. can seem intimidating to small businesses. Add to that the perceived notion of it being expensive. This perception tends to keep small businesses away from getting online.
Though there are several initiatives and campaigns like the Internet safety campaign, Digital India, Skill India and the Internet literacy campaign for rural women focused on education and awareness, they are, however, sporadic and fragmented. So on most occasions, small business owners often do not know whom to turn to for help and how to get started with their journey of getting online.This is where an ecosystem comprising of technology companies and their partner network can play a big role.
Intensive educational and awareness drives are the need of the hour – they can convey the benefits of using the internet for doing business, the ease and convenience of getting started, and a clear understanding of the costs and the value. And a vernacular approach would ensure maximum penetration and SMBs coming on board.
The entire ecosystem needs to play a part in fostering a conducive environment that small businesses can rely on, and have their confidence in the role of online in improving business reaffirmed.
Barriers to internet adoption
The second part to this problem is the adoption of internet and the execution. India is largely a Do-it-for-Me (DIFM) economy, where small businesses tend to rely on runners, vendors, and partners to help with a multitude of tasks.Whereas a more balanced approach would be to spread more education on internet so small businesses too have the right tools and skills to go online.
In the present scenario, a lack of availability of digital skills, and limited knowledge about the internet and IT are deterrents, which force SMB owners to rely heavily on the web developer ecosystem.
Threading the needle
This is where the government and technology companies must come forward and offer well-rounded and basic training programs and certifications. Such initiatives will empower small businesses with technical and IT skills that can aide them to start their online journey. Also, creating a larger pool of developers and web experts can accelerate the pace at which SMBs go online.
Training and learning should not only be limited to just technical skills and knowledge but also about the business and operational benefits of small businesses being online.
This can go a long way in dispelling the myths of high cost and complexity of internet adoption.
Even with the right skillsets, small businesses need simple, easy-to-understand and hassle-free solutions. The sheer number of solutions, modules, and options available can overwhelm a small business owner. Providing easy-to-start and bundled solutions that contain multiple alternatives can make getting online easy and hassle-free. Tools like a website-builder, with great user-experience, intuitive interfaces allow small business owners to understand the solutions better and test the waters.
It is also important that small businesses have the right support and assistance as they take their first steps into the online world. This is where great customer support comes into the picture. Apart from detailed tutorials, guides, checklists, and other content in regional languages, technology companies, and solution providers need to provide 24×7 support, with representatives who can speak in vernacular languages, making it a hassle-free process for small businesses.
But the buck doesn’t stop there.
While there are clear benefits of going online, it is important to ensure it becomes more than posturing and SMBs are relayed the true potential of digital technology and how it can effectively improve business performance. So knowledge imparted should be free of segment or field constraints. Wherein players should put equal focus on every area that SMBs stand to gain in, such as finance, commerce, operations, etc.
The internet offers a world of opportunities for small businesses in the country! The support of all stakeholders can truly open up a new realm of growth and play a pivotal part in the growth of the Indian economy.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
The post Why we need to empower small Indian businesses to fully leverage the power of the internet appeared first on Blog.
Article first appeared in ET Rise on 16 September, 2017
Small and medium businesses form the backbone of our economy. Amidst a challenging business environment, Indian SMBs have displayed remarkable strength and resilience by maintaining consistent growth, creating livelihood opportunities for many and becoming a driver of socioeconomic development in the country.
According to the annual report published by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, India is home to over 51 million SMBs in the last count, and this number is growing rapidly. They have contributed immensely to the Indian GDP and manufacturing output, and employed over 117 million people, next only to that in agriculture.
Challenges aplenty for SMBs
Despite being a critical component of India’s growth story, the SMB ecosystem faces several challenges. Lack of adequate capital and credit, poor infrastructure, inadequate access and constraints on modernization hamper their ability to improve profitability and grow at scale.
At the same time, the economic landscape for SMBs is changing rapidly with a fast-rising
consumer demand curve. The ecosystem has transformed in a big way over the past
decade with the rise of digital technologies and a more evolved consumer. With 400 million active internet users and 250 million more set to join in by 2020, Indians are morphing fast into digital customers who know how to look for products and services online.
As it continues to tackle these challenges, the key to meeting consumer demand and solving the problems of profitability and scale, come down to technology, and how they leverage it.
Internet and the great opportunity
It’s never been easier for SMBs to take the plunge, take their businesses online and launch their own digital presence. There are clear benefits in taking a business online that we are witnessing already. Digital SMBs grow twice as fast, can cater to a larger geographical market and generate more revenue when compared to their offline counterparts.
We are seeing great examples of SMBs leveraging digital technologies to cater to customers who access content via mobile, consume content in local languages and via formats like videos. This opens up the outreach channels for Indian businesses that can now set up their digital presence in native languages and offer multimedia content to take their offerings beyond urban and English speaking customers.
With the rapid growth of cashless and paperless services, and payment solutions such as mobile wallets, the focus on digitizing financial transactions is definitely helping SMBs take their commerce online. During the recent demonetization drive, we all saw instances of roadside vegetable vendors accepting payments using digital wallets.
Indian SMBs are also exploring online commerce at a time when the business models for the use of SMAC technologies (Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud) are relatively stable. Investing in technology like cloud and mobile is helping small businesses reduce costs and scale faster.
Today, one can get a domain name, develop and host a website at a very low cost without any hassles.
The recent GST implementation requires businesses to upload all their business invoices in a digital format to the government portal every month and has started a mini digital revolution. These push and pull factors support rapid adoption of Internet and digital technologies in SMBs and propel them towards tremendous growth.
However, a whopping 68% of Indian small businesses are still offline, according to a recent study by KPMG India and Google that analyzed the impact of digital technologies on Indian SMBs. There is a clear lack of access, awareness, exposure and adoption that currently stops them from starting their digital journey.
While small businesses have an understanding of what an online presence can do, many do not realize the importance or value of taking their business online. Limited knowledge, insecurity and false notions of high complexity and high costs often act as barriers for them. There have been several initiatives launched by the government and the private sector that aim to address these challenges.
As we move forward, it is important for technology players to help small businesses overcome the barriers to adoption and embrace the potential of the Internet and its possibilities. The next wave of growth is on digital.
Article first appeared in Small Enterprise India on 2 November, 2017
India is in the midst of an incredible digital revolution. With close to 400 million active Internet users, India is home to the second largest Internet user base in the world. The recent government push towards Digital India has seen the emergence of several classes of SMBs and entrepreneurs. We are witnessing the rise of social entrepreneurs, lifestyle entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and members of the young digital generation, who are starting on their own. The number of Indian ‘netizens’ is now expected to double by 2021, according to a report by Cisco.
A combination of factors like lower data cost, easier access through smartphones and growth in rural penetration is contributing to this rapid growth.
As India’s Internet audience continues to grow and evolve, it also paves the way for the growth of small and medium business (SMBs) in the country. India has the second highest number of small businesses in the world; 51 million SMBs contribute to more than 17 percent of the GDP and employ over 117 million people. So it’s not surprising that the SMB sector is vital to the economic growth and development in the country.
The Internet has opened up new horizons and opportunities for SMBs in India, with new business models, disruptions and new ways to run and manage operations, connect with customers and meet increasing demand.Online businesses have consistently exhibited faster growth, higher profitability and better scalability, when compared to their offline peers.
However, only 32 percent of Indian SMBs are online, according to a study by KPMG, and not many have a website or use the Internet to run or support their businesses. This indicates that there is tremendous potential for the SMB sector to grow much faster by embracing technology to help their businesses grow. It is a market reality that even though we have a significant number of small businesses in India, only a small percentage of them are online.
Digitization is often perceived as a complicated process, which is not true at all.
There are several reasons for the low adoption of the Internet by SMBs, and the biggest of them revolve around the three As – Awareness, Access and Affordability. Many small businesses do not understand the benefits of going online. A lack of technical knowledge, misconceptions about high complexity and “return on investment,” and a perceived lack of support and guidance acts as hurdles for them.
GoDaddy is a champion for small businesses and entrepreneurs and is committed to contribute to the growth story of Indian SMBs, helping them grow and driving to eliminate the online barriers that prevent them from getting online.
First, we want to create awareness through our campaigns and case studies. Second, give small businesses the right access and provide right training to help ensure they get the right support during their initial days. Third, affordability; offer attractive pricing for our products and services.
GoDaddy has launched several educational initiatives and programs, content and campaigns that are focused on building awareness among SMBs and entrepreneurs on the benefits of being online. In fact, our communication to small businesses has always focused on highlighting internet adoption as a better alternative to grow revenues and improve productivity.
Our latest 360-degree campaign, built on a simple message – ‘Internet ko kaam pe lagao’ or ‘Make the internet work for you,’ focuses on educating audiences on the importance of having an online identity, the ease of launching an online presence and how they can supplement their efforts with a website as a way to promote themselves and realize the benefits of the internet for their business.
Over 60 percent of the overall Internet growth is now coming from tier-two and tier-three cities conversing in their local languages. GoDaddy’s regional language campaigns help to eliminate this language barrier and make the Internet easy to embrace for the non-English speaking SMBs.Access is a key issue for small businesses.
At GoDaddy, we provide award-winning customer support to help small businesses at every stage along the way 24×7, which is an intrinsic part of our India vision. Hence, along with localizing our website, product offerings and awareness campaigns, and customer support, we place a lot significance on our commitment to small business owners across India.
Our GoDaddy local customer support representatives can help answer questions or provide support small businesses may need at hours that meet their busy schedules. An expert conversant in their choice of language will be available to walk them through the process of creating a website or other support they require to help manage their online presence in over six regional languages.
As a part of its five-year India anniversary celebrations, GoDaddy has set up a ‘Customer Engagement Program’ to get first-hand feedback from small business customers on new and existing products. As part of this Program, GoDaddy meets customers’ in their own environment to be able to better discover unique behaviors, wants and needs of the Indian SMB market.
This approach helps us gain meaningful insights and will help pave the way for the future, building innovative solutions to help SMBs create and grow their digital presence.
Small business owners often have a misconception that going online is not affordable and involves high costs. GoDaddy offers price points for different services that are affordable for SMBs. Today, one can get a domain name, create and host a website, and use professional email to engage with customers, with little or no technical know-how at an affordable cost as part of GoDaddy’s Get Online Today package.
Local bundles that bring integrated solutions and tools together also make online adoption more affordable and help to reduce the number of steps for customers. Our message is that as a technology provider, we really want to be a part of the journey of success for small businesses. We want to help them grow profitably and to do that we look at it, not as a one time transaction, but as an entire journey.Small businesses should start looking at technology as a way to leapfrog their business cycle.
It eases out the investment level and their fears around it, because it is not as difficult as it looks.
Third is affordability and we are providing that. The broad message is that we are working in partnership with all stakeholders to help overcome all these barriers, whether they are around costs, skills development, awareness, data storage, structure or the ecosystem.
For Indian SMBs, the future of growth is on digital. To help reap value and maximize returns in this hyper-connected world, going online is a key to business growth and GoDaddy is committed to support small businesses achieve their dreams by helping them leverage the Internet for growth.
The post GoDaddy: Helping SMBs leverage the Internet for growth appeared first on Blog.
Article first appeared in ET Rise on 7 October, 2017
Today, our mornings are not just about a morning run or a cup of coffee. They are about the smart devices kept under our pillows that we pick up before getting out of bed, and then voila, the day starts there. These smart devices and their increasing affordability has encouraged millions of small businesses to leverage this platform to enhance their business.
Businesses globally are recognizing the need to go multichannel. Well-informed, digitally savvy customers expect personalized, consistent and seamless interaction no matter how they approach the business, and companies are learning to be flexible and omnipresent to meet these expectations. Moreover, businesses failing to adopt multichannel strategies find themselves struggling to attract new customers and retain existing ones. The retail experience has changed disruptively as customers now turn to their phones, tablets and laptops for their shopping needs.
For small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India, adopting an online and mobile strategy for growth is no longer just a good opportunity, it is an imperative.
Having overtaken the US as the world’s second largest smartphone market with over 300 million smartphone users (as of December 2016), India’s galloping internet penetration and an increasing younger population are making it clear where businesses will find their next wave of customers.
The shortest distance to the Indian customer
It is not just the urban young in India who prefer mobile phones as the means of looking for products, services or even information. Farmers, small traders and even homemakers in tier II and III towns and rural areas are learning to use their mobile phones as gateways to convenience and knowledge.
According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and market research firm IMRB International, 77 percent of urban Indians and 92 percent of rural Indians consider mobile phones as their primary means to access the internet.
What’s also interesting is that while internet penetration in urban India grew at a rate of 7 percent between October 2016 and June 2017, rural areas saw a rise in internet connectivity at the rate of 22 percent in the same period.
What SMBs need to bear in mind when considering an online strategy is that for most non-urban Indians, smartphones are a way to leapfrog over the expenses of a computer to connect to the internet. This makes the use of smartphones to access the internet a long term trend that will only see greater traction in the years to come.
The road to multichannel
For SMBs already daunted by the thought of setting up a website and the resulting overheads and effort, the concept of going multichannel may seem even more farfetched. This is an unfortunate misconception about online channels and often keeps businesses from realizing their full potential.Full-service platforms today offer hosting and website creation tools, enabling entrepreneurs to launch their online business presence literally in hours, at minimal costs and with no administrative or technical hassles involved.
The technology is advanced enough for the sites to be pre-configured for mobiles as well as desktops SMBs do not have to do anything extra to have a mobile-channel enabled business presence either.
Launching an online and mobile presence for the business is, however, only the first step. SMBs also need to master the art of marketing on these channels, which often involves understanding a little more of their target audience’s internet usage habits.
For example, the non-English speaking Indian population uses the internet largely to access multimedia and local language content. So for a business catering to such an audience, short demo videos or animation ads might be a great way to reach out to prospective customers. The use of messaging apps like WhatsApp has also become very common to send out promotional material in local languages, either in text or multimedia formats.Mobile presence is not just about having your mobile website in place.
It is a medium to increase sales through push notifications, offering special discounts to customers and promoting the business to highly-targeted audiences. Moreover, smartphones are carried everywhere and thus the chances of small businesses expanding the reach of promotion exceed tremendously.
Another strength of online and mobile channels is the ability to offer strong customer support service at very low costs. With transparency and accessibility being the first two building blocks of consumer trust, making it easy for your customers to reach out to you using SMS, email or messenger apps can make a significant difference in conversions.
The percentage of Indian SMBs with at least an online presence is fairly low today at around 32%. However, Internet access in India is growing at a scorching 51% per annum, with a great chance that a majority of the new adopters will be smartphone users. Will SMBs’ adoption of multichannel manage to keep pace?
The post Why SMBs should have a dual strategy to expand their reach appeared first on Blog.
Article first appeared in ET Rise on 4 November, 2017.
The India Risk Survey 2017 report ranks ‘Information & Cyber Insecurity’ as the biggest risk facing Indian companies this year. Indian organizations, both public and private, have witnessed over 27,000 security threat incidents, from January 2017 till June 2017 alone. Phishing, scanning/probing, website intrusions and defacements, virus/malicious code, ransomware, Denial of Service attacks, and data breaches are some ways in which hackers attack business websites, which can cause operational disruptions and potentially steal sensitive information.
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) , unfortunately, have been seeing rising incidences of cybercrime.
Growing digitization of business assets and access to sensitive customer information, while driving rapid improvements in business, are also making them more vulnerable. Shops, clinics, community centers, and small manufacturers have all been attacked in the recent past. In fact, 70 percent of cyberattacks occur at organizations with lesser than 100 employees. Reports also say that half of the attacked small businesses close down within six months as a result of the loss of customer loyalty and reputation.
Forewarned is forearmed
In the words of Arne Josefsberg, Chief Information Officer of GoDaddy:
“Perhaps the most important thing is to treat security threats seriously and to proactively assess your security measures. Many companies do not take security seriously enough until something bad happens. It is generally a lot more expensive to clean up after a security breach, than addressing it proactively.”
Cyber security is more than just about running additional antivirus software and building firewalls — it needs to become a state of mind for the business and be made a part of all business processes. Let’s look at some must-have cyber security measures for SMBs:
Basics still matter and are some of the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Assess the assets that are most at risk data, servers, network and ensure that the systems are updated with the latest security software, web browser, and operating system. Implement firewall security and run antivirus software after each update.
Cyber security culture
Human vulnerabilities play as important a role as software loopholes. Mandate basic security practices and policies for all employees, such as 2factor authentication, internet use guidelines and create and enforce rules on handling and protecting sensitive data. Conduct frequent training to sensitize employees about opening suspicious emails, encrypting their data, using strong passwords on their devices, installing security apps, and limiting activity over public WiFi. Implement and enforce incident reporting to help ensure that even the smallest breach is reported to management as well as IT teams.
Business continuity plans
Ensure regular backup of all critical data whether stored inhouse or on the cloud. Run scheduled attack drills and stress tests to identify vulnerabilities and ensure that data restoration and business continuity are executed as planned.
After the recent WannaCry ransomware incidents, small businesses have learnt the potential harm and legal ramifications of an attack. Consider investing in cyber liability insurance to help cover liabilities arising from theft, loss of data, breach of security and privacy.
With many of a businesses’ assets either being hosted or managed by external service providers be it your web hosting service or cloud hosting service working closely with your vendors on a comprehensive plan for risk mitigation is critical. Take the time to understand the vendors’ security certifications, encryption measures, business continuity plans, emergency contact information, etc., to know exactly the level of risk your business is exposed to and how they protect your business assets.
Even as the boundaries of business assets blur with anytime, anywhere digital access, constant vigilance has to become the mantra of all entrepreneurs and small business owners. Cyber security needs to be brought out of the domain of ‘IT’ to make it a strategic focus area, right up there with the growth and development of the core business, to help ensure a long term stability of the business and its reputation.
Regardless of recent advancements in web technology, at its core the internet is still based on sending data from one place to another. However, this is no longer the sole domain of computers. We’re now seeing web technology seep into all aspects of everyday life. And that’s when the Internet of Things and WordPress enter the conversation.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rather vague term used to describe interconnectivity between various web-enabled everyday objects. For example, phones were one of the first devices to be connected to the internet, but now we’re seeing watches and even entire houses powered through the web.
In this article, we’ll begin by looking into what the IoT is and how it will impact you, then introduce three IoT platforms that integrate with WordPress. Finally, we’ll sum up how the IoT and the WordPress REST API will soon work together to create bigger and better websites, apps, and much more!
The Internet of Things and its impact on web development
In short, the IoT simply describes how everyday objects connect with each other through the web. For example, a smartphone app could directly control your central heating or lights, or your watch could change channels on the television.The main benefit of the IoT should be clear.
Eventually, everything will be connected. Potential development implications for creative, useful, and unique applications is high. However, there are two other potential impacts worth considering:
- The IoT industry, at this point, arguably has no practical ceiling, so further revenue streams could open up as it grows.
- The security and privacy implications are already causing concern, but still, the potential to build unique applications is exciting.
And then there’s the Internet of Things and WordPress. The IoT can also connect directly with WordPress for a more featured experience. There are already services available to help you do just that.
3 IoT platforms for creating WordPress-specific tasks
IoT-related services are a little hard to find right now — no surprise for a fledgling technology. However, let’s take a closer look at three current services that enable you to control IoT devices from WordPress — or even control WordPress itself.
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a long-standing free platform that connects various services through applets. For example, you could link your social media and WordPress websites so that new content auto-posts when you upload it. There are myriad potential uses for this technology, limited simply by the applets that are available.
The major plus points for the end user center around time and productivity. By connecting services, you’re essentially creating macros to help carry out mundane tasks. In some cases, this will save you countless hours in administration.
Getting started with IFTTT is as simple as signing up for an account, searching for an applet (related to WordPress, for example), turning it on, and then walking through the setup wizard — which will vary depending on the applet. There’s also a dedicated platform if you’d like to create your own custom applets.
Next up is littleBits, an initiative to get children learning about how the electronic devices they use every day work. By purchasing different kits, you’re able to create drum machines, self-driving cars, and even a motion-activated R2-D2!
Going back to the Internet of Things and WordPress, each invention can be connected to the internet, and through a dedicated WordPress plugin, you can link both platforms to give you notifications on your various website-related activity.
This lets you watch for new comments, keep track of your eCommerce sales, or even cause a light to flash when your site goes down.
However, we should point out that the plugin itself hasn’t been updated for a while. In any case, given that the IoT and littleBits are both relatively new, you’ll likely want to customize the plugin’s code to achieve your specific goals.
Finally, we have Particle. This full-featured IoT platform for connecting devices offers practically everything you’ll need to create a safe, secure, and reliable connectivity method using Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), Software Development Kits (SDKs) and much more.
Of course, having a one-stop shop for connecting IoT devices will save you a lot of headaches when setting up a specific application.
In addition, the associated community will be invaluable when working through bugs in your applications.
Particle is free for basic prototyping. However, by purchasing and connecting one of Particle’s hardware solutions with IFTTT, you can create web-enabled buttons in the same vein as Amazon’s Dash buttons. That’s just one example — your possibilities are nearly endless!
How the Internet of Things and WordPress REST API work together
Of course, no discussion about the Internet of Things and WordPress would be complete without mentioning the WordPress REST API. This is a way to make WordPress talk with other platforms and programming languages. As you might expect, the implications for integration are tantalizing.
The REST API provides a standard set of endpoints that make pretty much everything within WordPress available to work with, and this widens the scope for what’s achievable — more so than using IFTTT or Particle.
For example, you could set up eCommerce push notifications, or connect with wearables to display live heath data directly on a WordPress website. In short, the Internet of Things and WordPress REST API will work together to create immensely powerful platforms, websites, and more — so getting up to speed now is key.
While it might seem like a marketing term on the surface, the Internet of Things is anything but that. In fact, it’s the undeniable future of the internet as a whole. When you combine the Internet of Things and WordPress REST API, it will be a major factor in how the web is used moving forward.
In this article, we’ve taken a look at the IoT — what it is, and how it can both benefit your development and impact user behavior. Then we rounded up three platforms that help you create IoT tasks for WordPress – IFTTT, littleBits, and Particle. Finally, we broke out the crystal ball to see how the IoT and the WordPress REST API will likely merge, and what to expect.
The post A beginner’s guide to the Internet of Things and WordPress appeared first on Blog.
With a winning philosophy of “Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” four friends — Rohit Dangayach, Chandan Agarwal, Rakesh Shekhawat and Madhur Bhaiya — got together and started WholesaleBox in 2015. While online buying has become a way of life for India’s netizens, the founders of WholesaleBox saw a gap with retailers being pressed for options to buy in bulk online that would help them save precious time and money.Launched in 2015, WholesaleBox is a marketplace for wholesale buying and selling across India.
It connects manufacturers, or big wholesalers, directly to retailers who can take advantage of its simple web interface to buy products for their retail outlets without having to travel to different cities — or to buy at much higher prices from the wholesalers near them.
Headquartered in Jaipur, today WholesaleBox has offices in Delhi, Surat and Bengaluru. With more than 200 employees, they list nearly 100,000 products and serve more than 20,000 satisfied retailers.
User experience is key
With the ambition to reach retailers both in India and globally, WholesaleBox launched its website in September 2015 and opened for business. With the website as their key channel of outreach to retailers, it was imperative that it deliver on an exceptional experience.Given the importance of their website, the WholesaleBox founders chose GoDaddy as their online partner.
“GoDaddy has lived up to its reputation of being a trusted and transparent service provider. For us, as an eCommerce website, this meant a lot. GoDaddy’s products helped us get our business off the ground very quickly and easily. We have been with GoDaddy since we started and are extremely happy with our choice of an online partner,” says Rakesh, founder of WholesaleBox.
Today, more than 20,000 retailers use their website and mobile application to order merchandise across brands from the comfort of their shops. These orders, delivered to their doorstep, help them drive incremental revenue, cut costs, and improve their buyers’ experiences.
A full suite of options
WholesaleBox found everything they needed to go online at GoDaddy. Just as their customers find all that they want on their website, GoDaddy’s website was a one-stop shop for all their online requirements.
The process of buying GoDaddy products on its website was seamless for them. By visiting in.GoDaddy.com, they could search and register a domain name within minutes. WholesaleBox was pleased to have been able to register their business name as the domain name. They chose to register an .in domain name, as it suggests that products that they source are “Made in India.”
They procured online security from GoDaddy to keep their website safe from malware and hacking. As an eCommerce platform with a lot of transactional data, it was an important feature for WholesaleBox to have in order to keep their visitors safe.
Further, to provide users who visit their website with a safer experience, they added an SSL certificate to their site. GoDaddy SSL Certificates are a simple and cost-effective way to protect the confidential information — passwords, credit card numbers, etc. — submitted on a website. These allow customers to transact with confidence, knowing that the information they enter is protected. SSL encryption allows for the safe passage of information, blocking it from any potential third-party access.
A winning partnership
WholesaleBox could not be more pleased with what they’ve achieved in a fairly short time frame. They are cognizant of the role played by all their partners in their journey of success, especially to GoDaddy for keeping their website up and running and safe for all their users. All service calls to GoDaddy have been promptly addressed, preserving WholesaleBox’s positive reputation with its users at all times.
Rakesh recalls how Godaddy helped them roll out their website quickly in the early stage. “It would not have been possible to get things off the ground so quickly without the support of GoDaddy. Within 21 days of website launch, we got our first big order and it was one of our most memorable days.”
The post WholesaleBox brings online convenience to retailers appeared first on Blog.
With today’s widespread adoption, it’s easy to take the internet for granted. After all, some 3.58 billion people presently go online on a regular basis — or almost half the population of the entire world. No wonder people are too busy browsing to look up from their monitors or put down their mobile devices, and then ask the simple question, “What is a domain name?”
Why ask?Learning the details of what is a domain name is foundational for your own online success.
It’s also helpful in case, for example, you have a less-than-technical client who’s less savvy about all things digital. With that in mind, let’s take a moment out of your busy day to slow things down and get back to basics. Let’s learn what is a domain name.
Explaining what is a domain name
One way to explain what is a domain name is to note the term is easily interchangeable with web address. And by that we mean the series of characters you’d enter into a browser in order to visit your favorite website or online store.
While digital devices use IP addresses to navigate the internet, humans would find it much too hard to remember all those numerals.
A domain name is usually a memorable term, making it easy to type out in order to visit an online property.
The easiest way to explain what is a domain name is to look at an example — we’ll use example.com. It’s comprised of two parts, which we’ll examine from right to left:
- .com — This is called a top-level domain (or TLD). There’s a broad range of available TLDs today, making them useful for creating an online identity.
- example — This is called a subdomain. It’s an important component, as it’s typically the longest part of a domain and, as such, presents the greatest opportunity for branding.
Hopefully, this is very straightforward. Now that we’ve identified the basics of what is a domain name, let’s look at some other important aspects to consider.
Finding a domain name
Once you’ve learned what is a domain name, you’re likely eager to secure one for your own use. This you can accomplish by searching with a domain registrar to make sure your desired domain isn’t already in use by someone else, and then registering it — which establishes you as the registrant.
While the process for registering a domain name is quite simple, choosing the domain you want requires quite a bit more thought. For example, .com isn’t the only available TLD available today. In fact, there are a number of these domain extensions — and more become available on a frequent basis.
Getting more from your domain name
Now that we understand what is a domain name, let’s examine how you can go beyond the basics to get more from your investment. Here a few of the most popular ways:
Choosing a TLD
You’ll recall we just discussed the availability of unique TLDs. These, in fact, can be used to designate the purpose of your website. For example, a tech company could use the .tech domain extension to boldly proclaim the nature of their business.
A user of free email might not realize they can replace the TLD and subdomain in their @gmail.com or @aol.com email address to use the domain they just registered. The result — such as @example.tech — represents are far more professional approach to using email.
Imagine if inspiration struck, and you registered a domain based on the name of the mythological Greek goddess of victory. When a certain shoe manufacturer looked to create their website, you’d be in a prime position to sell them your domain for a healthy profit. In fact, domain investing has grown to become its own industry of sorts.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit more to take on once you’ve learned what is a domain name. Like any other purchase, there are many ways you could (and should) maximize its value.
Closing thoughts on domain names
It’s interesting to think that, when pressed, many regular users of the internet might be unable to answer the simple question, “What is a domain name?” LIke any kind of technology, an understanding of the basics provides a solid platform for more advanced use.
Hopefully, this post gave you a basic understanding of what is a domain name, as well as how to get one for yourself, and then maximize its value. Just keep in mind that, like the internet itself, there’s nearly no limit to how much knowledge you can acquire when navigating the digital realm.