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6 Quick SEO Wins That You Can Implement in a Single Afternoon

Best practice search engine optimisation is many small things done well. A major part of maintaining your website’s optimisation is making minor adjustments along the way. Here are six small wins to help your SEO performance.

1. Find broken links

The internet is an ever-growing and shifting entity. Domains change ownership and disappear, businesses rebrand and change hands. This means the outbound links you once had pointed to relevant resources and references may now go nowhere. Or worse – somewhere you don’t want to send your visitors.

Broken and misdirected links can be harmful in two ways:

  • They provide a poor user experience, which can negatively impact conversion rates, time on site and bounce rates. Broken links can undermine trust and leave visitors with a poor impression of your site and business.
  • Broken inbound and outbound links can adversely affect your search engine ranking. Search engines expect anchor text to link to pages that are relevant. If it doesn’t find a page that makes sense to the algorithm, contains multiple redirects or stops at a 404 error, it can count against your site.

The simplest way to check the quality of your inbound & outbound links is to use a tool that scans your domain, such as Screaming Frog. This will produce a list of URLs that you can systematically check.

2. Add internal linking

While you’re dealing with linking, internal links are easy to add and will strengthen your site’s optimisation. Your site relies on the search engine crawlers reading your content and they need a crawlable link structure to find all the pages on your website. The best way to provide this is to create a network of links throughout your site – from your blogs to your landing pages to your product pages and back again.

Choose a phrase that sits naturally in the blog or landing page text and create a link to the product, product category or relevant target page that matches your selection. For example, if your blog mentions the benefits of advanced business web hosting, then you can link to that page (see what I did there!). You don’t need to overdo it and adding two or three links from blogs and landing pages to products and services is a good start.

3. Optimise your meta descriptions

At the end of 2017, Google increased the maximum length of meta descriptions (or snippets) from 160 characters to 320 characters. When was the last time you updated yours? Meta descriptions are often overlooked or done once and never again but outdated meta descriptions could be harming your click through rate
(CTR).

CTR is a major SEO signal and convincing users to choose your site means guaranteeing you have what they want. A strong meta description is engaging and answers the user’s query in just a couple of sentences. While it might be tempting to make your description vague with the intent to encourage people to investigate further, it’s more likely they’ll keep looking for a site where the description gives them the information they need. Meta descriptions are a chance to plainly state what a user will find and assure them their click won’t be wasted.

4. Reduce your file sizes to improve page speed

Publicly, page speed became a ranking factor for mobile search in July 2018 with the rollout of Google’s “Speed Update.” In reality, page speed has always been directly related to user experience and time on site, two important ranking factors and conversion drivers.

One of the easiest wins is reducing file sizes. Images that aren’t optimised will add critical seconds to your load time. You should aim for a file size of no more than 300kb with about 100kb being the sweet spot. In pixel terms, the width of a screen is roughly 2000px and most of your images won’t need to be that wide. Think about what portion of the screen the image needs to cover and resize them accordingly.

It’s also important to compress the image quality where possible.

5. Audit your content

A big part of SEO success is a dynamic, up-to-date website with relevant, regularly expanding content. However, this doesn’t mean that existing content gets a free pass on quality because “content is king”. Top-quality content is important to your site and pages that are out of date, poorly written, too short, disproven or irrelevant should be pruned.

Working on the content is a bigger overall job but creating a list of pages you can add to is a great first step. Once you have your list you can decide what pages you want to improve, refine, repurpose or delete.

6. Upgrade your hosting

Congested, slow or unreliable hosting can impact your page speed and SEO performance. Just like your health insurance or power company, sometimes a switch can give you more for your money. When looking for a new hosting service, the two standard options are:

Shared hosting – Shared hosting is often all many small to medium businesses will require. These plans vary widely in affordability but you get what you pay for generally. Low-cost web hosting is often much slower and less reliable as providers cram many websites on one server to make their money.

A dedicated server – Your own dedicated server provides more reliability and faster speeds as you’re never sharing with another website. This also means a greater cost. Again, the quality will vary with the price but for large businesses and ecommerce stores, a dedicated server is essential.

Author Bio

David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organisations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.

SIXGUN focuses on scaling organisational growth and building sustainable results for the long-term, with a data-driven approach to developing strategy. As a Melbourne based digital marketing agency, SIXGUN focuses on Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.

David is passionate about seeing organisations grow while working on his mission to support meaningful causes.

Why You Should Consider Kentico for Your e-Commerce store

Kentico positions itself as a feature-complete platform for digital experiences, a jack of all trades solution for organisations that need an enterprise product at a more affordable entry point than alternatives such as Sitecore or Adobe’s offering.

It’s not well known for eCommerce and most etailers would look at Magento or BigCommerce first. What most people don’t know is that Kentico’s eCommerce functions have matured quickly with the latest two versions, and can be boosted by third-party solutions such as Ucommerce. Under the hood, the .NET framework allows developers to build bespoke functions.

Let’s have a look at some of Kentico’s key eCommerce features:

  • Custom product types, variants and options
  • Downloadable products
  • Discounts and product bundles
  • eCommerce Business API
  • Shipping calculations
  • Tax calculations
  • Multiple currencies

Learn more about Kentico’s eCommerce features here and if you have requirements for multiple stores, languages and price points look at Ucommerce too.

Kentico’s eCommerce advantage isn’t… e-commerce

Building an eCommerce store is half the battle — you need people to find it and buy. They need to be delighted by a great experience that goes beyond the design and usual conversion optimisation tactics.

Marketers can leverage powerful tools out of the box, including email marketing, marketing automation and content personalisation. These are the ingredients they need to deliver what converts more: the right messages to the right people and the right time.

Here is what Kentico can achieve in terms of personalisation, verbatim from their website:

Kentico comes with a Content Personalization functionality that delivers the right content to the right person at the right time, based on individual browsing history. Analyzed factors include:

Demographics – address, age, job title, gender, etc.
Behavior – visited pages, downloaded content, purchased products, campaign clicks, searched keywords, etc.
Customer context – purchase stage, location, time of the day, used browser or device, etc.

Read more about conent personalisation on Kentico’s website.

Make your IT Manager happy with an all-in-one platform

One of Kentico’s USPs is that it offers a comprehensive set of features that are built on an extendable framework. If you can tick all your requirements off with one platform you’ll avoid having to use a second one, and intergrate them. This reduces cost, complexity and the number of moving parts that go wrong.

Kentico: Power to the People

We’ve published a white paper titled Kentico: Power to the People, that covers the factors behind e-commerce experiences that help bring customers back again and again, as well as the tech to build those experiences.

This includes the need for speed as slow customer experiences increase drop off rates and impact brand negatively – folk will warn their peers to avoid a website altogether.

Download the white paper here.

If you’re considering Kentico for your business’ website and /or e-commerce store have a look at our Kentico Hosting packages that have been designed specifically for the platform and with security and performance in mind.

Enter the CRN 2019 Australian Technology Impact Awards

In March of this year, CRN, the technology magazine, will give out its CRN Impact Awards for the most influential Australian technology providers in 2018 that delivered the best customer experiences, and to those companies who are leading the way in technological innovation.

This is the third year for the awards and CRN will be using the same format as in the prior two years. One of the main rules, though, is that technology providers must have customer testimonials available or their chances of winning are decreased. Entering the awards is free and can be done online, but CRN recommends that the submission should be prepared beforehand.

CRN is an internationally respected technology news outlet with a local focus on Australian technology of news and business analysis for IT resellers, system integrators, managed service providers, and IT solutions, distributors, and vendors. It is active in print, online, awards, mobile media, and webinars. CRN’s concentrates its efforts on breaking news in and around the world of information technology.

There are three main areas from which the judges will be making their selections. They are “Project,” “Innovation,” and “Distribution.” “Project” has seven categories, “Innovation” has three categories, “Distribution” is a standalone category. Click here to read more details about the categories and the type of elements judges are looking for.

The “Project” area awards are for projects that delivered solutions for a specific client in seven categories. The categories are as follows:

  • Digital Transformation
  • Workforce Empowerment
  • Modernizing Infrastructure
  • Trusted systems
  • Network Evolution
  • Customer Experience
  • Working Together

The “Innovation” area awards honor Australian companies like software startups and independent software vendors who have successfully “commercialized their own intellectual property,” which means they’ve had good fortune marketing and selling their brand. The categories here are “Exporting Innovation,” “Emerging Innovator,” and “Evolving Innovator.”

The “Distribution” award highlights a distributor who ran a unique project, campaign, or initiative in support of a vendor or a distributor that is offering a new service not available in the marketplace before.

Submissions for the CRN Impact Awards are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 1st, 2019. Finalists will be posted online in April with the winners recognized at an awards ceremony in Sydney on Thursday, May 23rd during the CRN Pipeline Conference.

An Overview of Consumer Data Rights for Australia

For years, corporations have controlled the data usage consumers see on their billing statements. The end result is that consumers were in the dark about services these companies offered, or what they would really be charged for, and were forced to blindly pick, for instance, a bank to open accounts with, phone and internet data plans, or see the amount of energy their home used each month.

By the same token, businesses have always been limited to what they can know about consumers when developing their products. With the Consumer Data Rights (CDR) policy for Australia developed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), all that is about to change. So, here’s what the new policy is, the elements of it, and what it means for companies, consumers, and Australia. 

What Does the CDR Mean for Australia

The Australian Consumer Data Rights policy dictates that consumers will be able to access particular aspects of their data (specifically in a digital format like a .pdf, possibly). Consumers then can give permission to a business to share that data with a third party. Businesses will also be allowed to access certain user data in order to develop better products and services, so consumers can choose to contract with them or not.

Implemented by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), the first sectors to be affected by the CDR will be banking, telecommunications, and energy starting in July of 2019. While many areas of this policy have been discussed, it’s important to note no hard standards have been agreed upon as of yet.

CDR’s Affects on Banking, Telecommunications, Energy

While the CDR is a positive for consumers, no one is really sure how this policy will affect businesses or consumers. Right now, it is purely hypothetical how it will pan out for both. But overall, the CDR policy could impact the Australian economy for the next 20 years, if not longer. For the telecommunications industry, the CDR will mean consumers could see their usage data and how it directly affects their budgets. The CDR will also drive and influence the National Electricity Market as consumers access and share energy usage data.

As far as banking is concerned, there may come a time when consumers can tap their smartphones to compare banks in order to obtain the best interest on personal accounts. Since the banking industry will be the first sector to feel the CDR change, what it means for both consumers and businesses alike could be seen after the policy has been in effect for a while after July of 2019.

How the CDR Policy Would Work

While the standards around the CDR have not been explicitly defined, here are some of the elements around its implementation. First off, organizations must be accredited, which means the organization or individual has to be recognized by the ACCC. Secondly, the data that becomes available to individuals or businesses has to be generated in “machine-readable form” so that the process of transfer allows for automation.

In order for businesses to participate in the CDR program, they will have to go through a consultation process. This step is important as banks and other types of businesses will want to evolve their business processes. The last element is that the data will be presented as “rread-only” which means businesses and third parties can receive, directly transfer, or copy the data. Future governmental changes may allow for a “read/ write” parameter so a third party can act on a consumer’s behalf. For example, it could transfer funds from one account to another.

Technology Consideration of the CDR

But all these changes to be implemented by the CDR will affect the four major banks in Australia first, and specifically the financial technology that supports them. Overall, the ACCC’s framework would ensure accreditation and require data recipients to have systems in place to protect information and privacy and to also help prevent data breaches. Those who do not follow these rules could be subject lawsuits.

With no set standards yet, the ACCC has said it might allow data to be transmitted to non-accredited sources. But the ACCC states if this path is chosen, the consumer data falls into unprotected territory and the CDR policy would not cover it. Yet, the ACCC states it might allow for an “intermediary model” where financial technology companies don’t collect bank data but still get insights into after it has been collected.

Global Tech Can Access CDR Data

It seems as long as an institution has gone through the steps of obtaining accreditation, it might be able to access usage data. Such is the possibility for global tech firms. However, their belief is that they could do this without sacrificing any of their own customer data. But the ACCC points out that while these firms may desire access, the CDR is first and foremost about the consumer. So, in order for these large global tech companies to access new customer data, they will need consumer consent.

Data Sharing on Fintech Sites

With hacking and data breaches a real possibility for financial technology sites and banking sites, the major issue with the CDR is if consumers will be able to conduct transactions on a fintech site. The banks want these transactions to occur on their sites, of course. The main reason for this is that banks claim it is safer.

Banking Websites Improvements

The ACCC has stated that banks cannot charge consumers fees for any kind of account access. This goes for former, current, and new customers.  Of course, this point means banks will need to improve their websites, APIs, and the security behind them. Additionally, banks will have to make improvements to their data portals so consumers can view all aspects of their accounts, especially any access granted for others to see their data.

Conclusion

The Consumer Data Rights policy created by the ACCC is an excellent idea and is really a win for both consumers and small to large businesses. Consumers need to feel they are getting the best deal when it comes to the services they pay for, and it is not a stretch to say that most businesses want to provide them. The CDR will definitely allow for a clearer picture of what consumer needs are and for consumers to feel safe working with a business, whatever that might be. In the end, transparency guarantees satisfaction for customers and better business models in a highly driven service economy.

Business Catalyst: Time To Migrate To Another Platform

Business Catalyst will be out-of-business soon, and users are advised to start migrating to another platform. But where to start?

As officially announced in March, Adobe is shutting down Business Catalyst (BC) with the end-of-life (EOL) to take effect on 26 March 2021, giving partners and customers an ample of time to move their data to another platform. After which date, all data will be deleted permanently.

To give BC users peace of mind and for a smooth transition, we have put together a migration strategy. So, let’s get to work:

A little background about Business Catalyst

Business Catalyst is an all-in-one SaaS (Software as a Service) solution for building and managing large and business websites. It offers a large variety of tools, including eCommerce must-haves and email marketing tactics. It’s especially beneficial to web designers since the rich features are quite useful for them. Not only did it make the process of developing a website from scratch a whole lot simpler, it also spared the designers the trouble of the back-end coding.

Established in 2004 by two Australian entrepreneurs, the company offered astonishing services for almost 15 years. BC was acquired by Adobe System Worldwide in 2009 and had been positioned as an entry-level solution for businesses not quite ready for the enterprise products they sell.

From SEO-optimized online stores, payment gateways, built-in CRM to web forms — you name it, BC had most tools a small business would need out of the box.

Time to bid adieu to Business Catalyst

As all great things come to an end, the glory days of Business Catalyst are fading. As mentioned earlier, EOL is scheduled for 26 March 2021 and upgrades to paid version will be until 27 August 2018. However, all developments for BC are already discontinued as of 26 March 2018.

The demise of this company will definitely be a hard blow, especially for those who relied on BC on a daily basis. We need to find a way to move on, and what better way than to find an alternative as great (if not better) as its predecessor.

It may be difficult to put your faith in any software other than BC but there are several splendid Content Management System (CMS) platforms that are guaranteed secured and dependable.

Let’s take a look at the alternative CMS platforms

Bearing in mind that there are many, many more options available. These are some of the more popular.

WordPress

WordPress is used by over 30% of all websites, making it the natural choice for most people looking for an alternative. It’s very user-friendly and highly customisable — it has an extensive repository of plugins and well-made themes.

Once you get to pass through set up, managing your WordPress website and extending its functionality will be easy.

One big advantage WordPress has over the competition is that there are thousands of developers supporting it, as well as agencies specialising in specific aspects of the platform: maintenance, security, eCommerce, etc..

Drupal

Although it is not as successful as WordPress, Drupal is another popular CMS due to its enterprise-grade security system. Drupal has a smaller share of the market than WordPress but still powers millions of websites, including many Government ones. It offers a large number of free themes and has been in business for almost two decades now.

Joomla

We also have Joomla as a fair alternative since a lot of users prefer to optimize it on a daily basis. Like WordPress, Joomla is also an open-source software and written in PHP. It has been downloaded over a million times and a favourite amongst developers that prefer to stay away from WordPress.

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine is a CMS created by EllisLab, a globally renowned software development company. It’s written in PHP and uses MySQL for storage purposes; however, its scope is not as broad as the other top CMS platforms. It works well for small websites and for users who don’t need a lot of plugins or extensions.

The problem with SaaS platforms

Popular SaaS solutions which you may use, or have heard of, are Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. Designed to be easy to use, they promise a hassle-free approach to building and managing a website and offer a wide range of functions to cover most requirements.

However, the minute you need something bespoke to address a specific use case, that’s where you hit the wall. You won’t be able to develop the function within the platform. A SaaS solution is not as powerful and scalable as an open source CMS such as WordPress.

You also need to consider ownership of the code, content and data.

Business Catalyst’s current state of affairs is a big concern. You’ll need to determine what the risks are to you if the SaaS platform hosting your website decides to shut shop. What if this happens overnight?

Your checklist before migrating from Business Catalyst

Step 1

You need a plan before shifting your resources from BC; that part is obviously not a cakewalk. You cannot just click a button and boom, you’re all set. If you have no clue as to what you’re going to do next, try appointing a professional developer to assist you (it may cost you a few dollars).

Step 2

Decide which platform you are going to opt for. Word of advice: Go for the one which offers everything you require now and that can be extended in the future as your requirements change.

If you opt for CMS, you are going to require the best of breed web hosting to power up your website and deliver web content over the internet.

Step 3

Migrating from one platform to another gives you the opportunity to fix broken functions, detect and delete unwanted content, and even re-design the entire output from scratch.

Step 4

Backing up your entire data is the most important step of all. Your data is your most crucial asset. You don’t want it misplaced during the migration. Back everything up so that you can easily get optimized with your selected platform without any worries and fuss.

Step 5

Utilize Agile to help accelerate your website rebuilding and then you can push your website live as quickly as possible.

Web Hosting is just as important

First and foremost, do not go for cheaper alternatives when it comes to web hosting. Contrary to what you may think, web hosting is very crucial for your website. If you opt for a low-paying web host, your website will be slow with frequent downtime.

Don’t ever compromise the quality and functionality of your website. Go for a web hosting provider that offers high availability, security and active support.

Conclusion

It’s very upsetting indeed that Business Catalyst is closing down. At this point, if you’re a BC user, it’s only smart to have your resources sorted out and seriously consider migrating to another system. There are plenty of amazing alternatives, like WordPress, Joomla, etc. They offer hundreds of plugins, extensions and even grant several free themes to the users — and budget wise, they’re worth every penny.

Get in touch with us and let us help you sort out your web requirements so you can make your final decision and initiate data transfer to a more reliable platform.

 

ClientFlow: Shared Inbox and Project Management In A Single Platform

ClientFlow is a project management tool conceived around client’s favourite communication channel: email.

It’s been said that good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity, and teamwork is the heart of great achievement. In so many ways these strings of words are true, particularly when working on collaborative projects. After all, making sure a client is satisfied is the major goal (and the best strategy) when you’re in the business sector.

The primary challenge in collaborative projects is achieving its desired results while dealing with all the constraints, such as the scope of the project, manpower, deadline and budget. Not to mention your client’s untimely demands and design alterations. You’ll be doing the planning, coordinating, controlling and monitoring a team project. You have to disseminate the tasks equally to each member of the group and track their progress. You also need to regularly touch base with your client, keeping them in the loop.

Yes, it’s quite a handful if you don’t have an efficient, well-structured project management solution – like ClientFlow. Modelled based on email client functions, the software includes features that improve group and client conversations. It allows you to create customized emails to be sent to your clients and let them respond quickly without having to sign up a new account.

To aid you and your team, here’s a rundown of the essentials of project management to have a well-organized, productive and successful collaborative project:

Client communication

There are instances when a leader butted heads with a client because of miscommunication – missed email, delayed response, overlooked instructions or just because one is feeling neglected. There’s no excuse for that. Good customer experience means more leads. Thus, you need to take care of your client, keep them updated on the progress of the project and listen to their suggestions.

ClientFlow helps you to have a constant conversation with your client. It has a standardize Client Approval Request process and will route each communication straight to your inbox. The mail tracking function lets you know if the client has opened and read your message(s).

Shared inbox

Your team members are not always a tap away or just seated right next to you. Sticky notes aren’t always useful – they can be misplaced or blown away. And with all the emails coming into your inbox and rush jobs, anything can sidetrack you. You need to filter emails and pick up which ones are for the collaborative project that you’re part of.

Team correspondence is simple and efficient with ClientFlow’s Shared Inbox feature. Each group or department can have their own group email for personalized communication. Get access to client’s messages, leaving no information unnoticed.

Team collaboration

When you’re collaborating with a bunch of people, regular correspondence is crucial. You need to check each other to see if you are still on the same objective. What’s been done? Which requires improvement? How many assignments are completed? These things have to be streamlined and known to each member of the team.

Thanks to ClientFlow’s Team Collaboration feature, you can easily send and receive feedback from your teammates. You can create internal discussions, comment, follow conversations and stay on track with the progress of the project. No more resending of messages and backreads for you.

Project management

With all the constraints (scope of the project, stuffing, deadlines, funding, resources, etc.), it’s inevitable to lose track in the process if you don’t have an efficient work method. The project is a team’s endeavour. You need to draft, plan, execute, control and finalize the project on schedule and within budget.

Hence, ClientFlow offers a Project Management tool that enables you to organize and allocate the tasks to your team members so you can keep an eye of the development. You can also see if there are any holds up and updates by participating in conversation threads and by looking at the task status and notifications. The Kanban Board provides the overview of the team tasks.

Time tracking

When working on a collaborative project, time is of the essence. You have other clients to deal with just as your clients have other business activities to attend to.

That’s why ClientFlow has a Time Tracker to make sure your team is on schedule, the tasks are completed on time and there are no backlogs. It’s a flexible, easy-to-use feature to help you manage and budget your time wisely.

So, there you go. ClientFlow gathers all the necessary elements to have a successful collaborative project and then organized them into one platform. No more going back and forth from one software to another. It’s a simple, feature-rich suite of project management tools. And ClientFlow will have an Invoicing tool soon to simplify payments and invoice processes.

Go ahead, sign up for a free trial and let us know in the comments what do you think of this project management software.

Adobe Ceases Business Catalyst Operation, EOL in March 2021

The shutting down of Business Catalyst is for Adobe to concentrate on products that resonate the most with their customers.

Last 25 March, Adobe announced that they are ceasing all developments that involve Business Catalyst (BC). The decision has been made in order for the company to pay more attention to fresh, innovative and more customer-centric products.

Adobe is committed to delivering exceptional software and services to our customers. It’s in our nature to innovate and try new things, and it was in this spirit that we acquired Business Catalyst in 2009. As we re-focus on products that broadly provide our customers with the most value, we are now announcing the end of life for Business Catalyst. – Adobe’s official statement

Business Catalyst was founded in 2004 by Australian entrepreneurs, Bardia Housman and Adam Broadway, as a software as a service (SaaS) solution for building and managing business websites. It has e-commerce and email marketing tools when it was acquired by Adobe in August 2009.

All developments pertaining to BC systems have ended on 26 March 2018, affecting all existing websites – trial and paid sites as well as partner sites. And customers can no longer purchase new sites or upgrade trial sites to paid version starting 27 August 2018.

Adobe is encouraging users to start downloading their data and export them to other platforms.

Nevertheless, the American multinational software maker affirmed that they will continue to host the affected sites until they are able to migrate to other enterprise-level hosting solutions or up to 26 March 2021 when all BC servers will be taking down.

We are extending the End of Life timeline from 2 years to 3 years, with the end of life now scheduled for March 26th, 2021. We hope this additional year will give our valued customers and partners sufficient time to move clients to a different platform. – Business Analyst update

Even if developments are already discontinued, Adobe and BC will still be doing bug fixes but limited to issues that have a high security or high stability risk.

The company, which is best known for Photoshop, extended their appreciation to BC users and customers for their support and promised to do everything to “make a smooth transition to a third party service.”

For further details, visit Adobe forum.

Drupal Vs. WordPress: Which CMS Is Best For Your Business?

Here we are well into 2018 and you’ve decided it’s time to build a new website for your company, your brand, yourself – and you’re caught between Drupal and WordPress.

Maybe you started out in Blogger and want to get to a real platform. Or, your website is the product of what SquareSpace or Wix provides, and you want more. How do you choose?

One one hand, you’ve heard that WordPress has lots of themes, is easy to use, but has a lot of security issues. On the other Drupal is “better”, but is harder to use. How do you pick?

Let’s compare these two open-source content management systems (CMS) on ease of use, flexibility, cost, security and user experience, and see if a clear winner emerges.

But first, a little history and philosophy

Both WordPress and Drupal got their start at roughly the same time in 2000’s, and both are written in PHP, a scripting language – but there the similarities end. Drupal was envisioned as a website creation engine and able to deliver an entire Web 2.0 site, whereas WordPress was in many ways a reaction to and an outgrowth of Blogging, and to the once-dominant proprietary Movable Type TypePad blog hosting service.

WordPress got its start and its reason for existing from blogging – the then new idea that ordinary people with something to say could create for themselves a “weblog” and publish it on the World Wide Web for all to read and comment on. Blogging is for and about individuals.

Drupal is orientated towards sites that could have thousands of pages and many departments – these tend to be the sites of companies, agencies, non-profits and enterprises.

This difference in orientation – Drupal as an enterprise website manager while WordPress as an individual blogging platform – has coloured the history and development of both platforms. It’s these two different orientations that have to lead to vastly different outcomes when you compare the two, with WordPress the clear “winner” in terms of numbers.

It’s a numbers game, isn’t it?

Comparing WordPress and Drupal numbers; it isn’t even close:

If the numbers are so lopsided in WordPress’ advantage, why are we even having this conversation? Because there’s another number to take into consideration:

All of that WordPress goodness that comes with being first – the multitude of plugins adding functionality and themes providing attractiveness – come at a cost, both in terms of security vulnerabilities and being the biggest target on the block.

Drupal, with its intrinsically more secure modules that do not lend themselves to either themes or plugins, provides more security, but at the cost of ease of use.

Up-front cost vs. on-going cost

While both Drupal and WordPress are free, open-source codebases, buying a particular piece of software is only the first of many costs. There really are several different costs involved in building and maintaining a website:

Development Cost: How much does it cost to go from nothing to 1.0? WordPress’ popularity means there are roughly 10 times as many WordPress themes, theme vendors, plugins and plugin providers and developers as Drupal. And with WordPress, changing themes or plugins is marketed as easy – just activate that new theme or drop in that particular plugin. With Drupal, it definitely takes more and better technical skills to set up a website, Drupal themes are not just “skins” on top of the Drupal core engine, and Drupal “plugins” don’t really exist.

Ongoing Cost: But what about ongoing costs? WordPress template, plugins and themes and core code tend to wrap you in a never-ending embrace of incremental updates, all of which can lead to unexpected system issues and security holes. Drupal, on the other hand, is very stable – there’s not the constant “code churn” that means repeated ongoing costs. Stable can look a lot like rigidity and ossification, especially on the Web when the one constant is change.

What’s the bottom line?

It’s easy to forget when trying to pick the “better” technology in general and in the abstract, there’s no such thing: picking technology, like picking nearly everything depends on you.

Are you going to build this site, or hire a professional consultant or developer to build it? Are you going to be spending your Sunday’s updating WordPress plugins and tweaking themes, or will your company, agency, non-profit or whatever be contracting out support for your Drupal site?

And, how important is security to you? Are you comfortable trading reduced security and increased threats of vulnerabilities because there’s’ no real loss other than time, or do you need to build to a higher standard because a single mishap could cost you? Or, your company thousands, tens of thousands of dollars or even endanger the company itself?

There is no one right answer. It’s all about your circumstances, motivations and desires for building a website in the first place.

Top 5 Podcasts: What Australian Entrepreneurs Are Listening To

Are you a business professional, an entrepreneur looking for new ventures and wanting to stay relevant in their industry, or perhaps, someone who wants to enhance his/her business knowledge? Then, tune in to these podcasts.

Podcast has been a growing social platform and now used as a channel to reap fresh ideas and moneymaking opportunities in the financial world. Based on ABC’s 2017 podcast survey, there was a 56% increase in the number of podcast listeners and 44% increase in time spent listening to podcasts. Lately, podcasts have an increasing fan base in the Land Down Under.

Why podcasting is famous

Portability. Listen and still be on track with your daily routine. Even if you’re driving, exercising, bathing, doing home chores, or watching the kids, you can still listen to a podcast.

Variety. Podcasting is packed with a myriad of topics, themes and talks – and even guest hosts. Lend an ear to a show that fits your current mood, feeling or experience.

Costless. Tuning in to podcasts does not cost you any dime but it allows you to stay up-to-date with the trend, learn new stuff and be more business savvy.

Top 5 business podcasts

Business people are time-poor but they are drawn to fresh ideas, avant-garde concepts, promising business ventures, and profitable trades. Hence, listening to digital audio files is a go-to channel.

Here, we have picked out the 5 most in-demand business podcasts in Australia (that you may want to listen to if you haven’t yet).

Customer Experience Leaders

Find out how big brands – Disney, Pandora, Optus and Country Road – build and expand their customer base. The podcast is an interview format focusing on quality customer service, insights, and practical advice.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Web player and other apps

Scale Up

A documentary-type podcast showcasing Melbourne-based startups that are scaling towards global success. Find out how they’ve come this far and learn from their mistakes. Culture Amp was featured in the first series.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Web player and other apps

The Small Business Big Marketing Show

Be a motivated business owner in no time with this interview-based podcast hosted by marketing pro Timbo Reid. The show is centred on smart, tried-and-tested marketing strategies for SMEs.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Web player and other apps

Future Sandwich

Winning the 2017 Australian Podcast Awards for Best Tech, Science & Gaming proves that this podcast is worth listening for. The show is in a documentary format featuring innovations, inventions, new techs and people who have been shaping up the future.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Web player and other apps

My Business podcast: Australia’s leading show for SMEs

Know how the businesses have flourished straight from the founders and operators themselves. Learn how they survive with the competition, their struggles to keep the engine running as well as their inspiring success stories. The podcast is recognised as being raw, honest and unscripted.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Web player and other apps

Bonus

How I Built This

It’s a US-made podcast hosted by Guy Raz featuring the ups and downs of some of the world’s best-known companies, innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists. Dell, Instagram, LinkedIn and Airbnb – just to name a few of the featured companies.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Web player and other apps

These podcasts are among the top 12 by Adam Jaffrey, the Strategy Director of Wavelength Creative, a branded podcast agency that set off high-quality audio stories to facilitate audience growth.

Got any fave podcast that needs to be on the list? Share it in the comments.

There’s More To Blockchain Than Just Bitcoin

If you’ve been laser-focused on a cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin) project for the last six months or so, you might have missed the start of something important – the blockchain.

That something – the blockchain – is quite suddenly turning up in startup press release after press release, and in the pages of the New York Times.

To date, most people have heard of Bitcoin, that government-less digital thing that gone from pennies to a dollar to $19,000 (and some change) for a single Bitcoin. Yes, Bitcoin prices are enormous.

Bitcoins are just the first and most famous manifestation of the blockchain. There are now over 1,500 other cryptocurrencies worth as of Wednesday, April 25, 2018: a market cap of $403,494,551,223.

That’s not pocket change anymore.

The Blockchain demystified and defined

What is a blockchain? Let’s start with a definition:

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016).

Banks are ledgers. Put money in, and somewhere in your back, your account is increased. Debit money from your bank for a nice latte and your entry is decreased. Banks, so far, use centralised ledgers to record who has what, who owes what, and who has paid and how much. Being centralised, they make juicy targets for nefarious miscreants who want to hack their way to riches, as long as they’re not caught.

But what if instead of one centralised ledger, every account holder of a bank could have a copy of that ledger that updated itself, was unalterable, and needed a majority of all account holders to agree on each and every transaction? Impossible? Think about those smartphones everyone has and how they contain many orders of magnitude, more computing power than the largest ledger would use.

Blockchain technology is just that – computerised, decentralised ledgers for tracking and claiming economic activity, in this world where everyone and their cat has a computer. Or three, or five.

And blockchains are clever. Instead of decentralising a spreadsheet with each row being a single transaction, blockchains use cryptography to encode a block of transactions based on the block of transactions already encoded. This chain of transactions means pulling one transaction out of the ledger corrupts the entire ledger: a disaster for a bank with a centralised ledger, but no big deal for a network of decentralised ledgers where consensus rules and outliers are automatically depreciated.

And when you get right down to it, an awful lot of everything is about making, adding, and subtracting from ledgers. From the time your Mum and Dad settled the hospital bill when you were born to paying for a solemn gentleman who will dispose of your mortal remains, just about everything is a series of financial transactions made to various pre-Internet ledgers.

Blockchain, quite literally, changes everything.

Three quick examples

Ever wish you could escape economy-class hell because your mileage points were spread over several different “loyalty clubs”?

Surf Air is embracing the blockchain. Surf Air is an alternative to traditional airlines and has started VOY, a blockchain rewards platform for the bulk of the travel industry that is too small to handle their own rewards program. VOY unifies “a fragmented travel industry via the blockchain while protecting customer privacy.”

Originally born as a solution to the internal demand from Surf Air’s members’ need and desire for a rewards program, VOY will provide a loyalty platform for travel companies of all sizes including hotels, restaurants, car rentals, airport lounges and much more that will all be able to access a global network of travelers. Nor is Surf Air just hot air: When VOY launches this summer, it will not only be a blockchain-based rewards programme but a payment option for Surf Air and its preferred hotel partners like the Dorchester collection and the Waldorf Astoria.

“While blockchain is best known as the technology behind bitcoin, it is simply a mechanism for creating an immutable, decentralised ledger of transactions, shared across a network of participants,” said Richard Jordon, President of VOY.

“This removes the need for explicit trust-based relationships between all parties in the loyalty ecosystem and allows even small companies to have programs that scale tremendously. The blockchain lets VOY empower businesses to break out of the old loyalty program mold, of narrowly defined one-size-fits-all programs and limited redemption options.”

So the blockchain is only for high-flying airlines with cryptocurrency aspirations? Nope. Propy.com – a global property market and decentralised title registry – has seen first-hand how blockchain, as a millennial-friendly technology, will bring a younger generation back to homeownership. For some reason or another, millennials don’t exactly trust banks: maybe it was the financial crisis of 2008.

Millennials do trust the blockchain because, by its nature, it can’t be hacked.

Consider blockchain and the educational industry. One company, Excelorators, a provider of education services to overseas students and executives in the United States is building ODEM, a blockchain and marketplace.

“We’re strapping blockchain technology on Excelorators’ network of more than 200 professors at top universities,” said ODEM CEO Richard Maaghul. “By reducing the role of intermediaries, we strengthen the relationship between those professors and students. Both sides of the equation have more power to affect positive educational outcomes.”

The blockchain-powered cryptocurrency and marketplace ODEM has the goal of making it cheaper and faster to get an education: no centres of higher learning, just students who pay their professors in the ODEM cryptocurrency, and professors who issue certificates recorded in the ODEM blockchain.

You may not care about the future, but the future cares about you.

So maybe all this blockchain stuff is just another chase for a shiny new thing, and despite the billions of dollars that have rushed into the rapidly burgeoning “blockchain sector”, it’s all a big con. Maybe.

But the next time you take an Uber instead of a cab, or stay at an Airbnb instead of a hotel, or talk on your mobile instead of finding (if you can find) a landline, consider this:

Remember the saying that the future is distributed unevenly? Blockchain is a major part of that future, and its coming sooner than you think to your life as well.