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How To Maximise Your Current Automation Marketing Strategy (Infographic)

Social Media Marketing Flat Illustration

Automated marketing is notoriously known as the “wrong” way to market your brand.

However, the fact is, automated marketing is not as bad as you might think. Digital marketing is constantly changing and getting higher in terms of online advertising, as what worked yesterday might produce no results today. Therefore, it becomes very important to stay ahead of your leads and predict the next step of your buyers’ behavior.

Marketing automation will allow you to do this. By knowing their practice and behavior well, or by sending them the relevant information and shoving them down the channel, you will surely end up with a positive rate of return in your overall digital marketing strategy.

automated-marketing-infographic

Infographic credit: Adecco Creative & Marketing

How To Know What Your Audience Base Really Like Before Taking The Plunge

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The internet is practically flooded content. Take a look at WordPress, for instance. Every month, users produce 59.3 million new posts and 48.4 new comments!

Needless to say, creating content that stands out00 from the crowd and resonates with your audience is a serious challenge. Your task is getting harder as more brands finally realise the potential of content marketing and start creating new content themselves.

One way you can guarantee that your content gets noticed is by perfectly aligning it with the expectations and needs of your target audience. Still, how can you learn what they’d like to read and talk about? Here are 5 smart tactics to help you learn what your audience wants and use these insights to power your content marketing strategy.

1. Engage your audience in comments

If you’re on the lookout for insightful information about your audience, comments are an excellent place to start – especially if you’re a B2C business. By comments it’s not only those left by users on your website, but also those that appear on forums and other websites.

Platforms like Reddit have comment threads that run into hundreds of thousands. People looking for particular solutions are likely to ask others in dedicated discussion boards, so these spaces are just great for mining new content ideas.

Browse through these forums and use monitoring tools to learn which topics can gain you most traction. If you spot an interesting subject that few people are talking about, don’t give up on it – this might be an opportunity to create content that places you on the leading edge of the industry.

2. Check which keywords users search for

Even if it’s an old strategy, it’s still trustworthy. Google Trends offers insights on the level of interest users show about a specific item. By picking generic keywords of your niche and looking up these trends, you’ll be able to understand what’s trending in your sector. Equipped with this data, you can identify specific keywords and then build topic ideas on their basis.

Google’s Related Keywords is one good tool for starting your research. You’ll find them at the end of each search page – if you spot a long-tail keyword, pick it up and delve into it. If metrics like search volume or competition promise user engagement, produce your content around that keyword.

While short keyword phrases are often generic and don’t offer any kind of valuable insight for your topic ideas, long-tail keywords indicate what people really want to talk about. If you happen to find a group of such related keywords, you can easily design your entire content strategy around it.

3. Identify common pain points

Do you know what issues your audience struggles with? What kind of problems they experience? And is there any way you could provide them with a solution? Identifying common pain points of you audience can become the foundation of very powerful content.

How to find that type of information? Check surveys and industry trend reports published by recognized research centers. These surveys are often conducted with professionals in mind and show things like common challenges or powerful industry trends which can easily become an inspiration for engaging content.

Have a look around the web – from trade publications and association newsletters to regular magazines and newspapers, you can use all these as important sources of data on what’s happening in your niche.

4. Organise a survey

The thing about surveys is that they’re boring and many users click past polls without a second thought. However, if you’re got resources on your hands and an engaged user-base, a survey might be a good idea.

If you’ve got thousands of users, a few hundreds will probably respond – and those are usually engaged with your product or interested in something particular. The results of your survey will provide you with a funnel where a targeted group of users gives you a selection of smart ideas about what to cover in your content.

5. Don’t forget about social networks

When it comes to personal opinion, nothing beats social networks. If you know where to look, social media can become a great source for content ideas. For Twitter users, hashtags are the best place to start. Look at what industry experts and thought leaders are talking about by tracing the hashtags they use – they’re at the forefront of the sector.

If you’re thinking of Facebook, it makes sense to get a little interactive and encourage users to share their thoughts about your product. Capitalise on insights gathered from these comments and you’re practically guaranteed that whatever you create will resonate with your audience.

Learning what your target audience looks for is crucial if you want your content to engage and convert, bringing your brand to the forefront of your sector and generating a substantial ROI that keeps the management happy. Therefore, always try to learn what your audience wants and when you do – go for it with all you’ve got.

YouTube Kids is Launched in Australia

youtube-for-kids-australia

Australian parents who are worried whether their kids are stumbling across inappropriate content on YouTube or just watching entirely too many ‘unworthy’ videos, now have a good solution in their hands.

The new YouTube Kids app has been launched in Australia for iOS and Android devices. Broadcasting content that has been pre-screened and deemed age-appropriate for lovely little ones, the app is now available for free download from Google Play or App Store.

Starting off in the US in February, the app has been downloaded more than 10 million times globally. All content on the app is grouped into four categories, “Shows,” “Music,” “Learning,” and “Explore,” and franchise material is mixed with kid-friendly videos made by YouTube’s own content creators.

Australia has its own top-notch material for kids, and fortunately, YouTube Kids will let you support it. From ABC Kids, it has Play School, Jemima’s Big Adventure, and Giggle and Hoot. In addition, it will host clips from the astronomically popular Australian sisters, Charli and Ashlee, of the Charli’s Crafty Kitchen YouTube cooking channel, as well as Bounce Patrol and Hi-5 TV. The platform will include ads. However, these ads are meant to be family-friendly and will not include click-through links.

While YouTube Kids has plenty of parental controls built-in so the adults can decide exactly what their children watch, the app has also been designed for toddlers in mind. Featuring large icons and voice search, your four-year-old should find it easy to navigate, while probably they are already better at using the Internet than you. The app even comes with a timer that can automatically limit a kid’s screen time.

Tourism Australia is Targeting China Citizens with Their UGC Strategy

tourism-australia

Tourism Australia is looking for ways to spread user generated content push to China.

Currently, Tourism Australia is finding ways to handle the government firewall and roll out its user-generated content strategy into China. Tourism Australia’s Head of Digital, John MacKenney, said that TA was exploring technology solutions with content marketing and engagement platform Livefyre, which it already works with in Australia.

“We are looking at platforms there, particularly Weibo, and rebuilding our whole social media journey on austalia.cn. But there are significant challenges posting this stuff on the other side of the Chinese firewall and getting access to social media accounts. We can’t show Facebook and Instagram, but it’s a big part of our future.”

China is Australia’s largest inbound market in terms of spend, injecting $7 billion into the economy in the 12 months ending June 2015, a rise of 32% on the previous year. In January, Tourism Australia partnered with Livefyre and Adobe to aggregate user-generated content from social media.

MacKenney said prior to launching its UGC strategy in January Australia had a perception problem, losing market share on search across key markets including the UK and US. Since launching the campaign on Australia Day it has seen a 65% increase in dwell time on australia.com and a 77% uplift in leads sent to Australian tourism businesses and destinations.

70 Practical Digital Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business

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In today’s post, we’ve prepared a list of the top digital tools to grow your business.

It makes sense to think that the “best” ways to get job done is by constantly relating it in regards of ROI. However, how many of us actually consider ROI on everything we do?

With that in mind, here is a collection of tools to grow your online business. The list ranges from social media management, Instagram, forms, market research, SEO, and so much more. Some of the tools are a given, while others will be new to you. Some have free plans and some don’t. When reading the post, keep in mind that finding free tools was not the goal, rather to find ones that are worth your time and energy. Let’s start with:

Blogging Tools

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Do you spend too much time trying to find the right contacts or end up not reaching the right contacts when you do outreach? These should all change that, and also help you measure the return on your efforts.

1. Ninja Outreach: The leading blogger outreach software is perfect for influencer marketing. Ninja Outreach makes is easier to contact and track interactions with different social media “stars” on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

2. InkyBee: With their solution you can search a database of over 1 million blogs, manage a campaign to to reach out to the influencer, and the cherry on the top is the option to monitor the traffic from blogs you are targeting.

3. Buzzstream: The important features you need to know about in order to reach out to the “big dogs” include, “Link Prospecting” (finding the right blogs via Google and not an interior directory), run your email campaigns from the platform, and it also automatically tracks your social conversations so you don’t forget or a miss a conversation.

Email productivity

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Want to spend less time on your personal or business email account? If you want more productivity, to reach inbox zero, and to get more emails answered, then these tools are worth taking a closer look at.

4. Sidekick: Curious if your emails are getting opened? With this tool, you can know who opens your emails, when, how often, and from where.

5. Unroll.me: Tired of an inbox so full you can’t stand it? Sign up, see a list of all your subscription emails, unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want, get a digest of all of your remaining subscriptions.

6. FollowUpThen: Ever forget to follow up with a contact? Just send an email to [anytime]@followupthen.com and you will be reminded when you need to follow up with the contact [anytime (tomorrow, five days, 31st of December, etc)].

7. Boomerang: Do you ever work on the weekends or late at night, but want the email sent at a better time? Here’s the email tool you need that lets you, among other things, schedule when your messages are sent.

Social media management

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Be more efficient with the time you spend on social media, by scheduling your content at the right times, interacting with the right people, and never missing a conversation.

8. Buffer and Hootsuite: Create your content or curate (whatever works for you), and then use these two smart scheduling tools to make sure you are getting the content to the masses. We’re big believers in using both of these solutions.

9. Commun.it: Their intuitive dashboard shows you your most valuable relationships, new followers, suggestions for people to unfollow, missed conversations you should reply to, interaction, and your most important keywords.

10. start A FIRE: This relatively new tool makes sharing content from other brands rewarding. Your own links are shared with every one of their links, so that when someone enters a third party’s site, they are still reminded of your content. Highly recommended!

11. Meet Edgar (in Beta): Edgar, like Buffer and Hootsuite, is a great solution to manage what you share. Edgar though takes scheduling a step forward by enabling the system to choose what content to share (with your help).

13. Agora Pulse: If you are a hardcore social media marketer with tons of daily interactions on different platforms, then this might be your lucky tool. Manage all social media messages in one place, schedule and publish content while getting relevant reports on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

14. Pablo 2.0 (from Buffer): Ever find yourself scrambling to find an image to share with your latest blog post or some type of quote? Pablo is the easiest and fastest tool to use to get high-quality graphics for social media. This is in the “social” category as the software is targeted toward creation for sharing.

Instagram

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Yes, a category just for Instagram! If you have not joined yet, now is the time to start creating a plan, and then engage your fans on the image-focused platform.

15. Layout from Instagram: Are you trying to create a stronger, and more engaged Instagram community? Layout from Instagram is a simple app that lets you create collage-type images so your images can do more work (if one picture is worth a thousand words, what is a layout worth?)

16. Iconosquare: Instagram is going to become a leading player in social commerce. Now is the time to optimise your Instagram efforts. With their solution you can learn what images engage the most, easily promote your account elsewhere (on your site, Facebook etc.), and run contests that work for you.

17. ScheduGram: Are you posting multiple times a day on Instagram? If so, why not make you life a little more efficient by scheduling your posts?

File storage and sharing

Cloud Computing Walking

You are probably familiar with both, but at the same time there are probably those still not using them. So we’ll repeat.

18. Google Drive: Is there really a need to have Microsoft Office on your computer? Get on Drive, and start sharing and saving every file you need, from regular documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms. Welcome to the 21st century.

19. Dropbox: Cloud storage is here to stay, and you need to get your business’ documents on it so you can work more seamlessly from anywhere and anything (any device).

Project/task management

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There are too many options to mention in this category, and most of us have our own personal favorites, but here’s a short introduction to a few of our favorites.

20. TeamWork: This is one of the diamonds in the rough of collaboration. TeamWork has a simple and intuitive platform that enables simple communication and sharing between teams. Consider using this or Slack (listed below).

21. Trello: Trello is an absolutely awesome collaboration, workflow planning, to-do list managing tool. With Trello you can share ideas, schedule and assign tasks, create workflows, and just about anything else you would need to plan in your business.

22. MindMeister: If you need to brainstorm ideas, but creating a list just isn’t for you, then this solution is for you. Go back to the 90s and map out your ideas so that you can get a clear (and visual) understanding of your ideas.

23. Google Keep: Do we really need to get complicated apps for to-do lists? I don’t think so, and if you are with me, then Google Keep is your best bet for staying on top of daily/weekly/etc to-do lists.

24. Slack: We all heard about slack in 2015! Is it for you? Slack’s goal is to make your work-related conversations simpler. Instead of back and forth emails, you can use this platform for a cleaner conversation flow. Don’t forget that it integrates with many other tools so all of your information can be in one place.

Social and competitor monitoring

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Want to find out where your competitors get their traffic from, which social channels are most effective for them, which websites send them traffic, and more? Start here.

25. Mention: As they say, people are talking about you, it’s time to join the conversation. With Mention you can get instant notifications whenever your keywords are mentioned online (that includes social media and websites). The number of conversations we’ve been able to join put a big smile on our face when talking about Mention.

26. Alexa: Aside from seeing the Alexa traffic rank, you can also see search analytics which will show the top keywords driving traffic to the site, and also show you “before and after” shots of a site then and now!

27. Moz Toolbar: This is a simple, and effective plugin that you can use to analyse competitor’s websites. Some of the results you’ll be shown include Page Rank, Domain Rank, and inbound links.

Market research

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There’s a reason people say, “knowledge is power.” Businesses that have thrived and grown year after year have got one thing down right: taking time to research their market. Aside from all the daily tasks that go into the day to day operations, time should be set aside so you can get to know the market’s behavior.

Quora and Reddit are not “tools” but they sure are great platforms that you can use to get more information on what people want and are looking for. If you don’t want to create survey forms, then you should be asking your market research questions to the folks on both platforms.

28. Survey Monkey: Want to find out what your customers themselves think? This solution comes with a variety of pre-made surveys that you can use to find out what your customers think of your business, your ideas, and general thoughts on the niche!

29. Tally.tl: If you don’t want to spend too much time creating a survey, and you only have a question or two, then this might be the tool for you. It’s very simple, and within a minute you’ll have a survey.

Image optimisation and editing

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Image optimisation is not only key to conversion rates, but also an important aspect in your SEO. From here on out, you will only upload optimised images and keep your web store’s loading time from reaching sky high.

30. Pixelz: Instead of taking the time to optimise the images yourself, this platform just wants you to upload the images. The rest is history, as they optimise your product images for e-commerce.

31. Pixc: If you don’t feel like dealing with the background of your images personally, then here is another great option to have others get the job for you. Within 24 hours, you have images with the right background. A time saver, and hopefully, a conversion rate optimiser.

32. BeFunky: This is an easy to use option to edit your images yourself (without needing Photoshop). Added on to the normal/mainstream options, there are also some super easy features to touch up your photos (recommended for those photos with models).

33. Compressor.io, Tiny PNG/JPG, and Dynamic Drive: Need to shrink your images without losing their high-quality? Feel free to use all three, just like I do, or if you find one that is hands down better than the rest, go with that. Your SEO will thank you for shrinking your images with these tools.

Stock Video and Images

In 2016, you should not spend more than the minimum on stock photos and video elements. With all the free stock items available (these are just a few free resources), you are bound to find something valuable 99 percent of the time.

34. Coverr, Videvo, and Mazwai: If you need video clips to create a video for your brand, then these solutions each offer different elements that might help you create something engaging. Coverr adds new videos every Monday.

35. Pexels and Pixabay: Free and attention grabbing stock photos. If you can’t find the right photos on either one of these, then turn your attention to this curated list of image resources.

Forms

Not all forms were created equally. Although it is not something you play around with everyday, you might want to check up on your current forms and see if maybe one of these options gives you better value.

36. Best Contact Form: StoreYa’s free contact form tool enables you to add a contact form to your site, or to even pop up the contact form to your site visitors. Maybe it’s time for forms to be part of your lead generation?

37. Google Forms: The most diverse solution that enables you to create, for free, a form for every purpose, and not just contact forms.

38. 123 Contact Forms: 123ContactForms is another great form creator. With the free plan you can create five forms and collect 100 submissions per month.

39. Wuffo: Their easy to use HTML form builder helps you create online web forms: contact forms, online surveys, event registration, and more.

40. Jotform: This may look like a form creating tool from the 1990s, but its functionality is just like any modern day tool. This is a personal favorite for creating forms (contact, survey, RSVP, etc.) when I am down on time.

Business operations

Running your business is time consuming. Running your business when there are a 101 mistakes is a headache. There are no shortage of e-commerce businesses loving all of these solutions.

41. QuickBooks: This is one of the more popular accounting solutions for e-commerce businesses, with complete integration with several different eCommerce platforms.

42. FreshBooks: Another great solution for online accounting, this cloud based platform also has very small business friendly prices, with plans starting at $9.95.

43. Wave: Free—yes free—features and tools with Wave. The free tools include an accounting tool, invoice services, receipt management, and a general financial tracker.

44. Slimvoice: Would you like to be able to create, manage, export, and send unlimited invoices for free? If you answered yes, come on down and get started.

45. ShipStation: Tired of spending too much time on shipping issues and trying to track down your sent out products? Want to offer a more user-friendly shipping system? If you answered yes to either of those, or just want to improve your shipment process, then this is a must-use.

Customer support

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With the bevy of options now available to customers when shopping online, customer service has become just as important as your pricing, shipping, and web store. These tools will help you keep interactions straightforward and hopefully keep you on the positive PR side.

46. Intercom: If one of your goals in 2016 is to interact with more of your paying customers, then this is the tool for you. Intercom’s smart technology, enables you to interact with customers personally—or at scale.

47. Zopim: Their live chat app is one of the best on the market because it lets you, the business, act in a more active manner. Great customer service is not passive. Zopim chat has automatic triggers that you can set to cause an action on your end when the customer takes a decision (or doesn’t take an action).

48. Zendesk: Have you ever forgotten to reply to a customer’s question or do you find your inbox packed to the brim every morning? If you answered yes to either one, then this customer service platform is for you. Manage all of your customer service related conversation in one place.

49. Appointlet: If you frequently set up phone meetings with customers then check this out. This software enables you to accept appointments from your website 24/7 without needing to manage a thing (syncs with your Google Calendar). All you need to do is set your working hours, and Appointlet will display the available times to your customers.

50. Groove: Like Zendesk, Groove is another help desk that helps you offer awesome support. If you are a smaller business (and are not a tech guru), then Groove might be a better option for you than Zendesk.

SEO

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If you take a look at the world of online business, three channels lead the way for customer acquisition (getting tons of traffic and sales): email, social media, and Google. If you know how to use each one of these (recommended), you’ll find yourself winning at the game of Google.

51. SEMrush: You can use and should use SEMrush if you are tired of being beaten on Google by your competitors. Using this, you can discover, among other things, what keywords your competitors are using to get traffic, which keywords they are targeting for their PPC ads, and how their traffic has grown over time.

52. Google Trends: There is no reason to overlook the obvious. Use this constantly to make sure that the keywords you are targeting are not losing steam. You’ll also be able to get suggestions for other valuable keywords.

53. Google Keyword Planner: First things first, this is the tool to find out how good/popular your keywords are and to help you find new, relevant ones. On top of that, you’ll also be able to find keywords that have a high search volume, but a low-key amount of competition. People are searching for these words, but there aren’t many businesses focusing on them.

54. SEO Site Checkup and WooRank: Just like you go to the doctor every once in awhile to make sure everything is up to par, your site should too. SEO Site Checkup is a free resource that quickly gives you an update on the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding your site’s status.

55. Google Webmaster: This is your customer support help desk, but for your SEO. Here you’ll find various bits of data and information regarding your site. One unknown or less used feature is the “Search Queries” function that actually shows you what keywords are working for you.

56. Keywordtool.io: This is a great solution to use alongside Google Keyword Planner to get better, more precise results. It is free to a certain extent (recommend using their keyword list in Google’s tools).

57. Spyfu: Get all the keywords that your competitors are using. If there is a way to be James Bond on the internet, then this may be it.

Content

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If you still don’t have a blog for your e-commerce site, then this is the year to launch it. There is no need to blog everyday or even once a week. The goal is to create valuable content for your brand. That content can help you increase your social reach and engagement, improve your SEO, and at the end of the day, sell more.

58. Buzzsumo: Knowing what people are talking about is very valuable when it comes to producing content. At the end of the day, you are writing for people (and not just Google’s computers). You can use Buzzsumo to find what is being shared and gain insights on who is sharing what.

59. Feedly: Create your own personal feed of all of your favorite and go-to content providers in one place. Now you can save time, clean out your inbox, and still get all of your content on time.

60. Pocket: This is one of my personal favorites and one that I use almost daily. Ever stumble across a blog post you felt that you had to save? Meet pocket, the service that lets you “pocket” content for later.

61. Hemingway: Isn’t it a shame to find out that your site’s copy is less than flattering? We are human, and as such, sometimes we will make a grammar mistake. Use this app to make sure you don’t publish nonsense (grammar wise).

Design

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If you add these tools to your toolbox, you can forget about needing to hire a designer for every single task you undertake.

62. Power Banner: Create clickable web banners for your site in minutes.

63. Canva: We’re all familiar and for good reason. Canva is a top tool when it comes to creating and editing graphics for your site and social media posts.

64. Pixlr: There are two different editing options, based on what you need done (and based off of what skills you have): Editor and Express.

65. Type Genius: All you do is enter the main text that you’d like to use, and the system tells you exactly which text you should use with it as the subtext font.

66. Snappa: Similar to Canva, Snappa enables you to create beautiful graphics without the need to hire a graphic designer. I personally feel like Canva is the better option for quick projects, but Snappa may offer more freedom to create graphics when I’ve got plenty of time on my hands.

Marketing automation

67. IFTTT and Zapier: With these two tools, you can automate social sharing, get on top of to-do lists, make sure your team doesn’t forget deadlines, and so much more. All of it is done via automation so all you have to do is complete the one-time setup, and then let it work for you.

Analytics

68. Google Analytics: You can probably do just with Google Analytics. The amount of data that you can take away from taking time to understand what you are seeing in irreplaceable.

69. SumAll: This is a great analytics tool for anyone looking to better monitor the growth of their social audience (and at the same time keep an eye on actual paying customers). One could say that this is the Google Analytics for social media ad campaigns.

70. Kissmetrics: The bottom line is customer lifetime value. Their analytics service tracks individual and group visitor behavior from their first anonymous visit (before they’ve become a customer or a lead) and through each conversion, to tell you more about the customer lifetime value and several other key financial data sets.

120 Top Resources for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Whether you are starting a new business or scaling your business to new heights, these are some of the most useful entrepreneur resources you will ever need.

In this post, you will find a great resource list for all your entrepreneurial needs. This is a huge list of blogs, tools and general resources that could be useful for every entrepreneur. Let’s start with:

Great business blogs and resource sites

1. Inc. Start-up: Advice for founders of start-ups and start-up entrepreneurs on writing a business plan, running a home-based business, naming a start-up business, how to incorporate, financing a start-up, buying a small business, and starting a franchise.

2. OnStartups: Run by HubSpot cofounder Dharmesh Shah, On Startups offers advice and insights for entrepreneurs.

3. For Entrepreneurs: A blog for startups and entrepreneurs, written by David Skok, a five time serial entrepreneur turned VC (now at Matrix. Partners)

4. Startup Lawyer: Ryan Roberts’Startup Lawyer breaks down the legal issues of startups.

5. Mashable on Small Business: Essential business advice for starting and growing small businesses.

6. About.com for Entrepreneurs : Help and advice for going from the idea stage to business plan to the marketplace and beyond.

7. Mixergy: Successful CEOs share their experiences with the masses.

8. Small Business Administration: Find information, links and resources to help you start and grow your business, including SBA-guaranteed loans.

9. Accounting Coach: Accounting coach will introduce you to some basic accounting principles, accounting concepts, and accounting terminology.

10. NYT Small Business: Find breaking news & money news on mortgage rates, mutual funds, the stock market, bonds & notes, company research, earnings reports and market insight.

11. Chris Dixon: A General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch. A seed investor turned VC, Dixon takes a macro view, considering industry-wide trends.

12. Quora (Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs page): Quora’s question-answering website has some fantastic responses from establish entrepreneurs and investors for entrepreneurs.

13. Wall Street Journal’s Small Business How To Guide: WSJ small business guide covering how to start, fund, run and manage your small business.

14. Forbes on Entrepreneurs: Forbes entrepreneur section, specifically on how entrepreneurs are running businesses and advice from entrepreneurs.

15. First Round Review: A compilation of startup-centric content. Case studies on the experiences of individual entrepreneurs and companies.

16. The Funded: An online community of entrepreneurs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide.

17. Paul Graham: Super awesome timeless essays about venture capital and entrepreneurship.

18. Springwise: Your essential fix of entrepreneurial ideas.

19. Big Think: Blogs, articles and videos from the world’s top leaders and thinkers.

20. PSFK: A go-to source for ideas and inspiration.

21. StartupDigest: Free weekly email to help you meet people and learn more.

22. The Startup Toolkit: Tools and guidance for all startup founders.

23. Both Sides of The Table: Upfront Ventures partner Mark Suster’s blog runs the gamut from sales strategies to fundraising and startup culture.

24. Chic-ceo: Slick site for women with the entrepreneur bug, but its downloadable tools makes this a must-visit for all.

25. How-to Guides on Entrepreneur.com: How-to resources for kick starting your new business.

Tools and apps exclusively for startups

Use these startups resources (mostly free) to launch your idea, gather feedback and grow your new business. Whether you are wondering about how to put your idea out there, how to make a good presentation or learn from the best you will find some of these resources useful.

26. GroupTalent: Top teams of developers and designers, on-demand.

27. Docstoc: Discover the best professional documents and content resources to help start and grow your business

28. CustomerSure: Simple, web-based customer feedback software.

29. Crowdvi.be: Get instant answers from over 50 million people.

30. AYTM (Ask Your Target Market): Market research has never been this easy.

31. Term Sheet Generator: Generate a venture financing term sheet.

32. Cofounda: App platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors.

33. Feedbackify: Simple, private website feedback.

34. Appfigures: mobile analytics and sales data.

35. Mopapp: mobile analytics, sales data, rankings.

36. UserTesting.com: Low-cost website usability testing.

37. Prezi: The zooming presentation editor.

38. CircleUp: Like AngelList with a crowdfunding twist.

39. AngelList: A platform for startups. Standardizing the pitch deck.

40. Idea Flight: Get your ideas off the ground.

41. CapLinked: Making private investment easy, secure and social.

42. Go BIG Network: Helps entrepreneurs find funding.

43. Intern Avenue: Find interns. Intern directory.

44. A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC.

45. Startup Weekend: Global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs.

46. LiquidSpace: Airbnb for workspaces. Book last minute or plan ahead.

47. OpenDesks: Find and share places to meet and work.

48. Founders Den: Invite-only shared workspace and private club in SoMa neighborhood.

49. TechHub: A physical space for tech startups in London.

50. Prosper: Prosper can help you get the seed funding you need to launch your own online business.

51. Unbounce: Easy landing page creator and tester.

52. Mobile Roadie: Full CMS, no coding app builder for iOS and Android.

53. Chupa: The marketplace for buying/selling mobile app components.

54. Grow VC: Get visibility with the right investing audience.

55. Appbackr: Crowdfunding for mobile apps.

56. LaunchRock: Setup a “Launching Soon” page in minutes.

57. LegalZoom: An inexpensive, fast, and easy to use online legal document service that can help you file the appropriate paperwork for your startup.

58. VCgate: Venture capital firms, angel investors and private equity firms directory.

59. Envestors: Pay-to-pitch investor network.

60. Startup Compass: Benchmark your startup’s KPIs against more than 10k internet startups.

61. Startup Tools: Complete list of startup tools by Steve Blank

62. KickoffLabs: Find new customers with a viral landing page in less than 60 seconds.

63. RocketHub: Launch, fund and fly.

Mobile app development tools

These are some of the best mobile app development resources out there that guarantees stunning app for mobile devices. These tools offer drag-and-drop interfaces, fast and easy mobile prototyping with support for designing some of the best Android, iOS and Windows mobile apps.

64. Ooomf: Create a beautiful landing page for your iPhone app in minutes.

65. Appcelerator: Mobile app platform for building on Android, iOS and mobile web.

66. GameSalad Creator: Create, test and publish your own game. Drag and drop.

67. Parse: Add a powerful and scalable backend to your app in minutes.

68. Mobile Roadie: Full CMS, no coding app builder for iOS and Android.

69. Proto.io: Silly-fast mobile prototyping.

70. StackOverflow: Question and answer site for programmers.

71. Kendo UI Mobile: Build HTML5 apps that look native on any device.

72. Tiggzi: Cloud-based mobile app builder.

73. Verious: A mobile app component marketplace.

74. justinmind: Rich interactive wireframes to define mobile apps.

75. UXPin: User experience design tools for professionals.

76. Chupa: The marketplace for buying/selling mobile app components.

77. Distimo: Providing valuable insight into the app store marketplace.

78. App Annie: App store analytics and market intelligence.

79. Kontagent: User analytics for the mobile web.

80. Applingua: iOS app localization (translation) service.

81. AppMakr: Point and click solution for building rich content based apps.

82. Flurry: Analytics, traffic acquisition and monetization.

83. Crittercism: Gives you real-time, actionable crash reports for mobile apps.

84. PhoneGap: Easily create apps using well known web technologies.

Incubators & Accelerators

Incubators and accelerators can be a great option for any young company or even idea to get off the ground. These programs offer everything from funding, connections with top investors and mentors and collaborative work environments.

85. Y Combinator: Has funded over 380 startups (3 months).

86. TechStars: Mentorship-driven seed-stage investment program (3 months).

87. The Brandery: Accelerating startups by building powerful brands (14 weeks).

88. KickLabs: Ready to start acquiring customers? (3-6 months).

89. i/o Ventures: Early-stage startup program focused on mentorship (3 months).

90. Capital Factory: Entrepreneurs like entrepreneurs (10 weeks).

91. NYC SeedStart: Focused on advertising, ecommerce, digital and mobile (12 weeks).

92. Tech Wildcatters: Mentor-driven and led by entrepreneurs (12 weeks).

93. Seedcamp: Early stage mentoring and investment program (1 year).

94. Excelerate Labs: Amazing mentors, Chicago resources, high-profile demo (3 months).

95. Springboard: Mentorship-led accelerator program (13 weeks).

96. Dreamit Ventures: Helping build great companies.

97. The ARK: Mentorship-driven tech startup accelerator (3 months).

98. Betaspring: Mentorship-driven accelerator focused on tech and design (12 weeks).

99. InnoSpring: Start in Silicon Valley, grow in the US and China.

100. BizSpark: Microsoft accelerator for Windows Azure (3 months).

101. Media Camp: Startup academy camp for media innovations (12 weeks).

102. Founder Institute: Helping founders to build great companies (4 weeks).

103. AlphaLab: Funding, mentorship, education and more (20 weeks).

104. 500 Startups: Provides early-stage companies with up to $250K in funding.

105. Startup Chile: Apply from anywhere in the world, start in Chile. $40k grant per project (24 weeks).

106. MEST: Entrepreneurial program designed to foster the growth of tech companies in Africa (24 weeks).

Crowdfunding resources

If you can’t find funding from angels, how about seeking help from the crowd.

107. Seedrs: Equity-based crowdfunding platform.

108. Crowdfunder: Equity crowdfunding for your business.

109. CircleUp: Like AngelList with a crowdfunding twist.

110. Grow VC: Get visibility with the right investing audience.

111. appbackr: Crowdfunding for mobile apps.

112. Kickstarter: World’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

113. Indiegogo: Fund your passion.

114. Crowdtilt: Group fund anything.

115. Invested.in: Raise money, reach goals, build community.

116. Funding Circle: Online marketplace where people lend to businesses.

117. Sponsume: Fund your project through social networks.

118. RocketHub: Launch, fund and fly.

119. SellAnApp: Make app ideas happen.

120. Petridish: Crowdfunding for science startups.

The Biggest Photography Trends in 2015 (Infographic)

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The trends that evolved within 2015 signify well for the art of photography, with there being an increase in true photographic styles such as street photography and an identifiable decrease in social phenomenons such as the ‘selfie’.

With the year of 2015 coming to a close, the learnings from the year with their community as well as anyone with an affinity for photography. The following infographic is split into sections where they first outline the growth/decline of the photographic subjects. The world map is split to show you which types of photography are most prominent around the globe. Take a look at it!

2015-photography-trends-infographic

Infographic credit: EyeEm

We Still Need To Humanise The Big Data

Big Data

Big data is definitely a big deal. However, it’s probably not as big a deal as it’s going to be eventually when we really figure out how to make good use of it.

For now, tech savvies have this point where they understand the value of the data, yet most organisations and governments don’t know how to use that data to its full potential. There are 200,000 datasets from 170 sources posted on Data.gov, the US government’s data sharing website. All of this data has not only made it possible for startups to blossom and flourish, it has also made information available to the public where citizens and watchdog groups can review it and root out corruption. Yet for all the good things listed in the article, the authors admit we are just at the edge of understanding what this data can do, and we need even more publicly available data to help it truly reach its potential.

The big data is not static

This belief raises perhaps because most people put so much faith into technology to solve their problems. They have been led to believe big data is going to help businesses make smarter and more informed decisions. In healthcare, it will help our doctors and medical professionals make better diagnoses and find the most appropriate treatments. In sports, it will help our favorite teams pick the best players. In government, it will open up information and lead us to the transparency promised land where no corrupt government official can hide. And it will help root out those people who are planning to do us harm.

People tend to believe that technology is the answer when it’s just a tool in the hands of humans. As anyone who has watched an episode of Law and Order can attest, you can have the DNA evidence at the scene of the crime, but the detectives still have to do the hard work of finding the person connected to that bit of data. The data is useless without the human element to connect the dots.

The same notion is true for mass government surveillance. You can vacuum up all the data you want, but it’s hard to know what it all means without some good old-fashioned shoe-leather detecting to help figure it out.

This holds whether we are talking about preventing terrorist attacks or finding out how best to compete with the company next door. Data is neutral. It can’t do something for you unless you know how to make the connections. Computers can help you collect and process it faster, but in spite of what we are led to believe, we are still far from the point where the computers can extract meaning for us.

The cooperation between humans and machines

Using technology as a tool, humans can enhance our own capabilities and make the best use of computers and the technology we have created. While the rate of technological change is increasing ever more rapidly, we still tend to overestimate just how advanced we are. Clearly, we still need humans to help make sense of the data we are collecting. If we can learn to do that effectively, it could ultimately help us to be smarter, safer and healthier. We just have to remember that it’s a means to an end, not the end itself.

Domino’s “Easy Order” Button Will Let You Order Pizza In A Push

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Do you still remember Netflix and its “The Chill Button” campaign? Domino’s is presenting a similar theme to its latest campaign.

Recently, Domino’s has been designed a lot of new campaigns for customers to order pizza. From customising pies on an iPad to octocopter delivery service, it looks like Domino’s is struggling hard to bring the most creative campaign to attract new customers. However, its latest delivery innovation is all about speed.

The latest Domino’s “Easy Order” button is a one-click step to getting your favourite pizza as fast as possible. Considering the Amazon Dash button has already brought the “press to order” idea to all sorts of products, people are wondering why it took so long for pizza to get with the program. The button comes in a miniature Domino’s pizza box, and it uses Bluetooth to pair with an app. Just save your address and payment details on the Domino’s website or app, and pizza will find its way to you with a push of the button.

The button will only be in the UK at start, and the target availability date is December. The second batch will be released in February 2016. Currently, he button is only available on UK. If there are plans to roll it out to other markets, those won’t be disclosed until they’re ready to go. Aside of the physical button, customers can also use the digital Easy Order button. It works the same way as the physical button, and you can find it in the Domino’s app for fast tap-to-order functionality.

YouTube Will Make Its Premium Videos Shoppable

promotional video channel

YouTube will soon make its video shoppable. It also announced a new ad unit this week called Shopping ads.

YouTube has clearly been preparing for this moment, introducing Cards for related content (including merchandise) and launching TrueView for shopping, which allows advertisers to turn their Google merchant data into product cards. These features are useful for making advertiser videos more shoppable, but Shopping ads take it to an entirely different level as it brings their functionality to all videos on YouTube.

Google indicated that consumers watching something on YouTube will soon see an info icon on the upper right corner of the video. Clicking on that icon will reveal related Cards, including any product ads, and clicking on the ads will direct the user to the merchant website.

Shopping ads will use an auction model (just like Google’s search ads) and targeting based on context and audience will be available. Since advertisers will only pay when a video viewer clicks through to a website, the program will likely be well received.