What Is Social Media Strategies & Donor Cultivation For Non-Profits

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Non-profit entities are essential to almost every slice of life. Whether talking about an organization that provides relief for disaster victims, promotes health and comfort for the less fortunate, initiates educational opportunities for impoverished youth, or furthers artistic pursuits and funds enrichment institutions; non-profit groups are responsible for bringing to life countless worthy projects around the world. The most important issue facing today’s non-profit organizations involves building and maintaining a level of support that will make possible the noble causes to which they aspire.

Though the tried-and-true methods of raising support for non-profit groups can still be a fruitful source of donations, the Internet provides a wealth of new opportunities that can allow organizations to reach more potential donors and secure greater levels of support than ever before. Among these new ways of garnering support over the web are the slew of opportunities available through social media. Social media allows non-profit groups to deliver an appeal for support across a greater landscape as well as serve as a rallying point for like-minded individuals to pool their resources to reach fundraising and awareness goals.

In order to maximize the awesome potential that social media outlets afford non-profit agencies and causes, these vital topics should be examined and addressed thoroughly. For more info visit SEO Agency London

Establishing a social media presence.

Getting started on social media is a critically important step in establishing a flourishing cog in the fundraising wheel. Unlike beginning a personal social media profile, day one for a non-profit should involve establishing a presence that mirrors the mission of the group above all else.

One way to ensure a solid start is by taking the time to first define the group and its mission. If the non-profit organization is new, establishing this mission before opening a social media account is made easier by the fact that a mission statement and statement of intent and goals can be geared toward the unique parameters that are dictated by social media; meaning, creating a more succinct message to appeal to the constructs of the most popular social mediums such as Facebook and Twitter.

If the organization is already established and venturing into social media as a way to augment its support outreach, crafting an online presence through social media will entail boiling down the organization’s mission to be more “postable” in the various forums the online avenues provide.

Using social media to its full potential.

Once the social media profile has been created and steps have been taken to attract those who are most likely to support the cause, managing those new relationships becomes the most important aspect of the venture. These keys are essential to maintaining a thriving donor stream using social media:

A. Keep followers in the loop related to ongoing projects and goals.

B. Deliver news related to progress in specific areas of the group’s cause.

C. Recognize the support of donors and deliver “thank you’s” to those who have helped.

D. Define the ways that supporters can help (other than through basic monetary nation).Cultivating donors and calling supporters to action.

A social media platform is best used when it educates supporters on the benefits of their assistance. Using the platform to inform donors on the ways their support has helped and showing appreciation for past support – in as specific of terms as possible – encourages further support. Defining other ways supporters can help the cause, through sharing and urging others to join, is a way to build a social media following and encourage more donations.

The most important part of any fundraising appeal is a call to action. While some supporters will be motivated to act regardless of the post, many others will need a call to action to get involved.

Social media can be a significant help in increasing an organization’s donation stream. Utilizing all that social media has to offer will enable a non-profit group to accomplish its goals and allow for new frontiers of its mission to be envisioned.

Resources:

www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2014/jan/23/how-social-media-can-change-fundraising

www.exacttarget.com/blog/5-simple-tips-for-fundraising-with-social-media/

www.slideshare.net/See3/3-ways-to-use-social-media-for-fundraising-slideshare

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What Is The Importance Of Paid Social Media Campaign

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Paid social media campaigns are important to make an impact on your audience. Organic posting is no longer enough for businesses to be seen.Social Media still feels like the wave of the future. However, understanding how to use it to grow your business is essential in reaching your maximum audience.

The amount of people using social media is increasing daily, and trying to keep up with every new app can be difficult for companies to tap into. Does this mean you have to do this alone? Of course not, hiring a company to manage and run your social media accounts allows your company to really reap the benefits of being social media savvy. For Digital Marketing Companies Check Vivid Digital

Measuring success, is translating into likes, views, and conversation, for example cable companies used to judge shows based on ratings. Since streaming channels have become the source of entertainment, and measuring ratings has become difficult, cable companies now judge a show’s success on how many people are talking about it on social media.

Similarly, small businesses can really find success in social media campaigns, gaining the publics interest and trust outside of personal interaction, is online. Customers love to rant and rave about their experiences to their friends and families, and the fastest way to do so is on social media. So, why not start the conversation?

Starting a paid social media campaign can seem scary. You might ask yourself where do I start, and how different can it really be from an average campaign? Well, what is interesting about all of these social media outlets is their drive to help companies reach a larger audience. For SEO Agency in London visit here

Sites like Facebook, and Snap chat really thrive on business interest. More importantly, it is cost-effective, and flexible to any budget. Campaigns can become really creative, with all of the technology at the disposal of social media. Sites are realizing the strong interest and are making themselves more accessible, for companies to expand their brand.

As cost-effective as paid social media campaigns can be, simply paying $5 on Facebook to reach x amount of people isn’t enough to make an impact. Paid social media campaigns take time, and social media allows companies to be flexible in the sense that they get direct feedback from consumers and adjust accordingly.

It comes down to the measurements, sure you paid so much money, but if it doesn’t translate into an increase of views, likes, and conversation then you haven’t really maximized consumer interest. At the same time if you aren’t spending some money then you are not exhausting the full potential your company can have. As blogger Justin Lambert said, “Brands have an ultimatum: pay to play or forfeit the game.”

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Top Features of Virtual Phone System you will need in order to Ensure your business .

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A virtual PBX system is implemented through a switching network or Internet protocol medium. The system operates from the service providers’ site itself, so the customers are not required to buy, install or maintain any equipment. Since the virtual phone system is shared among numerous users, compared to the traditional PBX system its service cost is low. Moreover, a hosted VoIP system has all the features that the business telecommunication systems of large companies boast of. 

If you are considering an effective communications system for your home business, you can never go wrong with a virtual phone number. Not only is it the most affordable solution available, but it will provide you with all of the features you will need in order to ensure that your business endeavor is a success.

Affordability

New home business owners are concerned with their expenditures—and for good reason. Getting started can certainly be expensive, and without an effective means of money management, it is highly unlikely that a business will succeed. A virtual phone system is truly inexpensive when compared with the alternatives, and not just on a monthly basis.

There are no jacks to install and no expensive software to purchase, making the start-up costs practically non-existent. To compare monthly costs, a landline with all of the features and unlimited long distance can cost between $75 and $100 per month while a virtual system that is loaded with features aimed toward home businesses may cost as little as $20 per month.

Landline vs. Virtual System

While landlines are still considered the most traditional form of telecommunications for homes and businesses, they are certainly not the most effective. Most landline companies do not offer discounts to homeowners who choose to install second lines, and they do not offer all of the features that a virtual phone system can provide.

The virtual system will allow you to separate your telephone numbers so that one is dedicated to personal use while the other is strictly for the business—without all of the added costs associated with multiple lines of service. On the same note, most of the features you need to be successful are included in the price associated with a virtual system; you may be asked to pay extra for certain features with a landline company.

Features

One of the most prominent features associated with a virtual phone system is the ability to set up an information hotline on an extension. If you are running a home business, this can save you precious time. An information hotline is available 24 hours a day, and is essentially a recorded message for your callers who are interested in learning more about the products or services you offer. It can also be used to record directions and hours of operation for your customers to hear.

Mobility

Almost all phone service providers will give you the ability to take your telephone number with you through the use of the call forwarding feature, but landline and mobile phone providers often charge for you to forward your calls. With a virtual phone system, you can easily forward your business telephone number to your mobile phone, or home or office landline if the situation calls for it.

This makes you available to your clients and customers all the time, regardless of where you need to travel for personal or professional reasons.A virtual phone system is a great way for you to ensure that your home business is successful because it saves you money, provides you with features that will lend to your productivity, and allows you to be available to your customers 24 hours a day with call forwarding and information hotlines.

 

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The Virtual Phone Systems Have Sophisticated Features For Business

Voip services

Instead the PBX system will be maintained at the service provider’s site. You can add new features and expand the system with ease.An efficient PBX system is a compelling necessity for a company’s business communication more so for incipient businesses. Any ineffective communication system can cripple an incipient business and retard its growth.A Virtual or Hosted PBX system operates through a service provider. A Virtual PBX service provider caters to a number of companies and hence utilizes multiple PBX systems with redundant components. They have the technical personnel to provide you uninterrupted 24×7 services.

Setting up new branch offices and appointing new staffs to operate the business in a preferred location may not sound economical to small business entrepreneurs. Creating virtual offices is the ideal option in such a circumstance. You can stay in touch with your customers located cities apart at low cost with the aid of virtual office phone systems. These systems enable entrepreneurs to manage their offices from anywhere – even a car, home or hotel room – thus giving a high degree of physical independence. For virtual phone system check Ubvvn

State-of-the-art Phone Features

Virtual office phone systems are best suited for small businesses and medium businesses as they enable them to project a big business image. These phone systems are implemented through dedicated connections. Virtual PBX systems have many sophisticated features that are not found even in the latest business phone systems. The features include virtual receptionist, auto attendant, find me follow me call forwarding, call transfer, voicemail, fax mail and so on. The auto attendant system presents a menu of options such as dial by name directory, dial by extension, zero out to operator and group dialing to the callers.

The sophisticated interface presented to the callers can make your business appear a flourishing one. You can even customize the auto attendant to greet the callers with their own professional greeting messages. One can receive local and toll free numbers for the desired locations from the virtual PBX service providers. The calls can be routed to the appropriate person’s mobile number or residence phone number, whatever has been provided in the phone number list, irrespective of the person’s present location. If nobody is there to attend the call, the callers will be diverted to a voicemail system, where they can leave their messages. Customers can receive their faxes in their email account using the fax mail.

Handy Phone System

Traditional PBX systems are expensive and require heavy equipments to be installed at the company premises. That is not the case with virtual office phone systems. These do not require any hardware or software to be installed at the user’s site. All the equipments are maintained at the service provider’s site itself. Moreover, these systems are scalable to a large extent; users need not worry about the additional equipments and phone lines needed while expanding their business, since all these are maintained at the provider’s location itself.

 

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SOME OF THE TOP KEY FACTORS THAT EVERY SUCCESSFUL WEB DESIGN NEEDS

Teamwork is so important. Growing up, every team sport and group project was touted as a “team-building experience” that we needed as we got older. As you entered the workforce, you realized that teamwork actually is as important as advertised in your youth.I believe teamwork is at its finest when you have a wide spectrum of very different roles come together. That is what attracted me to inbound marketing and web design in the first place. Just like basketball (or any other team sport), you have a set of individuals, each with their own specialty and role, working toward a common goal. For Digital Marketing Agency Check Vivid Digital 

 HERE ARE SOME OF THE TOP KEY FACTORS THAT EVERY SUCCESSFUL WEB DESIGN NEEDS ARE AS FOLLOWS :

UX Designer

An Agile web design process always begins with the team’s involvement in scoping and prioritizing elements of the project. Your team should always include a UX designer.The UX designer is like an architect and helps formulate the website strategy by conducting initial research on a client’s current website and analyzing it to help craft buyer personas, set goals and create a blueprint for the new website. Every step following the strategy is in place because of this role.

The designer is also responsible for bringing the pages to life using the wireframes created to mock up each page. The designer focuses on creating site concepts as well as developing templates and the graphic design for the website.The UX designer works in tandem with the team, and in particularly close collaboration with the content specialist.

Content Specialist

Content is such an important part of your website, but it doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves. Too often, the task of writing gets delegated to someone who is not a professional writer, which can cause poor conversions and project delays.

A great web design project needs to have someone spearheading content creation. This person should have experience in writing web content, educational marketing copy and persuasive conversion offers. In this role, the content specialist uses the personas for direction to create content for each page of your website.The content specialist should have an eye for detail and be able to use their writing to persuade your audience.

Marketing Strategist

The marketing strategist plays a key role in the long-term success of your website. This individual works to ensure the success of the client and their team. The marketing strategist sets expectations, makes sure the team and budget are on track, and works with the rest of the roles involved to set realistic deadlines for the web design project. This person routinely checks in with the team and helps team members overcome any obstacles, relaying information to the client as necessary, while also ensuring all project stakeholders stay on the same page.  SEO Companies in Hyderabad visit here page. 

The marketing strategist should also understand the latest internet trends and know how to optimize a website for the best conversion rates in the long term. Often, this person collaborates with the content specialist to create offers, blog posts and other content to attract and convert website visitors.The marketing strategist’s involvement doesn’t stop after the website launch. This individual focuses on bringing your ideal customers to the site and converting them into leads and sales. As such, the marketing strategist plays an important role in maximizing your website’s ROI.

Editor

It’s important to have a great editor as part of your website project. A professional editor ensures that everything on your website is working, complies with brand guidelines and is error-free. The editor tests workflows, calls-to-action, internal and external links, and more. The difference between having a nice website and a great, professional-looking website is often the work of a strong editor.

Website Developer

Strategy, content and design are all key, but without a team of developers to tie all those pieces together, your website will never be built. The website developer (or development team) uses the web strategy, content and design to build out the website. In this role, the developer builds out the code for the website, performs multiple tests and ensures any bugs or issues are dealt with accordingly. The backend developer builds the website.

Building a successful website takes teamwork. Trying to redesign your website without the expertise of the roles above can prove to be a difficult process, which may call for partnering with an agency.

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Some Of 9 Ideas To Instantly Making Your Website More User-Friendly

Websites have evolved into something so much more than just text and information on a page. Users today expect your website to entertain them, deliver quality and offer an intuitive, comfortable overall experience. Everything from the aesthetic of your site to the placement of your CTAs can impact how long visitors stay on your page. Fortunately, it is easy to make your website more user-friendly.

Here are 9 ideas to get you started on making your website more user-friendly are as follows :

1. Accept online orders

Online shopping is a way of life now. People don’t like to be limited by store hours or location and don’t want to be bothered to have to go somewhere or call someone to place an order. Promo Search has full e-commerce capabilities, so visitors can easily place an order directly on your site. This gives your clients the freedom to do business when and where they want. It also expands your list of potential clients to the World Wide Web. Digital Marketing Companies in Hyderabad visit Vivid Digital

2. Improve Your Site Layout

Keep in mind that many users are now accessing websites via mobile devices. About 80% of internet users own a smartphone and they are spending more and more time accessing the Internet via their phones, especially as data costs come down and unlimited data is the standard.With that in mind, having a responsive layout becomes even more critical. Does your site look good on both desktop and mobile? It doesn’t necessarily have to look the same. It is more important that mobile users can see things without having to zoom in every few seconds and navigate easily throughout the site.

3 ..Make content easy to skim

People rarely read anything word for word, but they’re more likely to read and understand the content on your website if it’s clear and concise. The best way to do this is by employing bulleted lists. That way, your website visitors can easily skim your website for the information they’re looking for.

4 Pay Attention to CTAs

Do you have strong calls to action (CTAs) on your pages in locations that make sense? Site visitors who decide to buy or register for your newsletter want to know how to take the next step. Make this simple by using a strong CTA that’s easy to locate.Look at what payment processing platform Square does with their CTA button. They consider both a color that will pop against the background and even the wording of the CTA, which simply reads “sign up with Square.” They have also chosen to place the CTA button above the fold and additional information underneath. This allows the user to find the button from the minute he lands on the page.

5 Add search functionality

Have you ever been on a company’s website and left out of frustration because you were unable to find what you were looking for? Don’t let this happen to your web visitors! Adding search functionality makes it easy for visitors to quickly find exactly what they’re looking for.

6 Beef Up Your Contact Page

If you don’t have a straightforward way for consumers to contact you, you risk losing the trust of those who land on your page. About 51% of people state they believe complete contact information is something many websites are missing. If your contact is simply an email, consider beefing up this information. The more ways you allow a user to contact you, the better. Consider adding a toll-free number, a live chat option, a knowledge base, and user forum. These factors all add credibility to your site. For SEO Services Check here

7 Include your social media icons

A strong social media presence is a must for businesses who want to be successful now and in the future. If you have active social media accounts, add them to your website to grow your following. Your web visitors will love being able to connect with you in this less formal environment and you can keep them up to date on specials, hot new products and more via your social channels.

8 Choose Color Carefully

Choose the colors for your website carefully. You need a perfect balance between beauty and clarity. Not only does your color palette need to make sense for your industry, but the contrast between the background and text needs to be enough that the visitor can read text easily and not strain the eyes.Look at the bold colors the Van Gogh Museum uses on its website. The pop of red and the vibrant colors in the painting used for the background draw the eye of the user. Because the industry is art, the site can get a little more creative in the colors they use, combining colors for a palette that a more conservative industry, such as banking, wouldn’t use. This combination works well for this particular site. Although the white text on the partial cream background does not work well, the rest of the site is spot on.

9 Don’t make someone pick up a phone to get information

The more digitally dependent people become, the less we like having to do something as manual as making a phone call. Most of your visitors’ questions will be about products. They’ll want to know the material, the available colors, the imprint size and countless more answers. You could manually add all of this information and make sure you’re continuously keeping it up to date. Or you can use PromoSearch and all of the products from the SAGE database will automatically be added to your site, along with all of the product information.

Make Your Website User-Friendly

These eight things will instantly make your website more user-friendly, but the key to a site with good UX is to make improvements consistently. Take the time to ask your customers what tools would help them and add those to your site. Remember, the tools that are useful for an ecommerce site will differ from those that are useful for a blog.Test everything and try to see your site through the eyes of your target audience. Eventually, your site will become easier to use for your particular site visitors and potentially lead to more sales or new clients.

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12 Rules for Professional JavaScript in 2016

Cory House

Disclaimer: I speak in absolutes below for brevity. Yes, nearly every “rule” in programming has exceptions.

JavaScript is hard. It moves so fast that it’s often unclear whether you’re “doing it wrong” at any given moment. Some days it feels like the bad parts outweigh the good parts.Yet there’s no point in fighting it. JavaScript is eating the world. So we might as well do it right.

Here’s my take.

1. JS Belongs in a .js File “C’mon, it’s only a few lines…” Yes, I mean nearly all*. Why? Because it aids readability, enforces structure, and saves bandwidth. Inline JavaScript must be downloaded every time the page is loaded. In contrast, separate .js files are cached. As you’ll see, this rule helps support a long list of other rules below. That’s why it’s rule #1.

2. JS Code Should be Static I’ve seen many creative hacks for making JavaScript dynamic. People use server-side languages like C#, Ruby, or Java to write dynamic JavaScript in a string. Don’t do that. You lose code coloring, syntax highlighting, and intellisense support. And remember, JavaScript belongs in a .js file (see rule #1).

Instead, use JSON to introduce dynamic behavior. I call this the JavaScript Configuration Object Pattern. Here’s how: inject JSON into the head of your application and utilize that data to fork logic as needed. You might be thinking “Hey, this contradicts rule 1!” I view JSON as data, not code, so I make an exception here in order to support static, separate JavaScript files. For Top web design company visit Vivid Designs

StackOverflow uses this pattern. As does Google. So you’re in good company. Just view their source:

As you can see, StackOverflow is injecting personal settings like isNoticesTabEnabled. This simple snippet of JSON provides the necessary data for providing custom behaviors while using static JavaScript code files. To make this happen, serialize a server-side class into JSON and place the result in <head>. Then you can reference this data structure as needed in your static JavaScript code, knowing it will be available because it’s injected in the <head>.

3. JS Should be Minified Minifying reduces file sizes, which speeds page loads. Remember, performance is a feature. And of course, to minify, you need to place JavaScript in a separate file (Again, rule #1). Minification was once a hassle. Today, it’s automated and simple. There’s a dozen ways to get it done, but Gulp with gulp-uglify is a low-friction and automated way to get rolling.

4. JS Should Be Linted Real-time Linting enforces style guidelines, finds typos, and helps avoid errors. There’s a variety of linters out there, but I suggest ESLint. You can run it via Gulp with gulp-eslint. Gulp can watch all your JS files and run the linter everytime you hit save. Oh, and again, you need your JS in a separate .js file to lint it. Starting to see why I made “JS should be in a separate file” rule #1?

5. JS Should Have Automated Tests We understood testing was important on the server years ago. But it’s been largely ignored in JavaScript until fairly recently. Today’s typical JavaScript application has more surface area than you can practically test regularly by hand. With JavaScript handling so much logic, it’s critical to have automated tests.

You can do automated integration testing via tools like Selenium. However, integration tests are often brittle, so I suggest focusing on automated unit testing. There’s a variety of options for automated unit testing. I suggest Jasmine if you’re new to JavaScript testing and Mocha with Chai if you want the ultimate configurability.

6. JS Should Be Encapsulated We learned the risks of global variables years ago. Thankfully, there are many ways to encapsulate JavaScript these days:

Immediately Invoked Function Expressions (aka IIFE) Revealing Modules AMD (typically via RequireJS) CommonJS (used by Node.js, use in browser via Browserify or Webpack) ES6 modules Bottom line, ES6 Modules are the future. The great news is, although they’re not yet supported in browsers, you can use ES6 modules today if you transpile via Babel (and as you’ll see below, you should).

If you don’t want to transpile, CommonJS is likely your best bet for today. Since Node uses the CommonJS pattern, you can use npm to pull down 1,000’s of packages. CommonJS doesn’t run in the browser without a shim, so you’ll want to use a tool that packages it for the browser like Browserify, Webpack, or JSPM.

7. JS Dependencies Should Be Explicit This rule closely relates to the rule above. Once you’ve started encapsulating your JavaScript, you need an easy way to reference other modules. That’s the beauty of modern module systems like CommonJS and ES6 modules. You simply specify your dependencies at the top of the file, much like an import or using statement in Java or C#. JavaScript has finally grown up.

8. Transpile to JS The latest version of JavaScript, EcmaScript 2015 (more commonly known as ES6) was officially released in June. Browsers still lack support for most of the new features, but that doesn’t matter. You can enjoy the long list of new features today using Babel. Babel transpiles ES6 to ES5. And assuming you can live with some performance quirks, you can enjoy the new features today. JavaScript is expected to release new versions once a year now, so we’re likely to be transpiling forevermore. Transpiling gives us the future today. Best web development company in Amritsar

Or perhaps you love the comfort of strong types? Then consider TypeScript which compiles down to JavaScript.

Bottom line is this:

You don’t have to write ES5 anymore. Consider using an abstraction that gives you extra power. 9. JS Should Have an Automated Build We’ve already talked about linting, minification, transpilation, and testing. But how do you make all this happen automatically? Simple: With an automated build that watches files. Again, Gulp is a popular tool to tie all this together via its watch function, but Grunt and Webpack are other excellent options to consider. Or, if you’re a whiz at Bash you can simply use npm as a build tool. The point is, don’t expect people to remember to run these things manually. Automate and enjoy the benefits!

10. Use a Framework or Libraries Pull something awesome off the shelf and get rolling. Need to stay light? Try Backbone or Knockout. Or maybe plain ‘ol jQuery is enough. Want something more full-featured and opinionated? Try, Angular, Ember, or React with Flux.

The point is:

Do not attempt to start from scratch. Stand on the shoulders of giants. React with Flux is my current favorite combo for client-side dev. That’s why I just published a comprehensive Pluralsight course on the topic. In the course I walk through a build process that implements many of the practices above. The starter kit is on Github.

Regardless of which framework you pick, make sure to separate your concerns. Which leads to the next point…

11. JS Should Separate Concerns It’s easy to get in the habit of placing all JavaScript in a single file, or to blindly follow the advice of your framework. Don’t forget the lessons you’ve learned on the server when you move to the client.

By separating concerns, I don’t mean merely separating models, views and controllers like you do in MV* style frameworks like Angular and Knockout. I’m saying this:

Think like a server-side developer when writing JavaScript. Separate your presentation from your business logic and data access. This means AJAX calls should all be in one spot. Create a centralized client-side “data access layer”. This also means logic that doesn’t have to be part of the presentation layer framework you choose should reside in separate “POJOs” (Plain ‘ol JavaScript objects). Business logic modules should contain plain JavaScript — in other words, no framework specific code should reside inside. This makes the logic easy to reuse, easy to test, and it’s not impacted when you decide to move from Angular to the hot new flavor of the month.

12. Use a Starter Kit That’s a lot to keep track of. And it’s silly to start out each new project with a blank slate. Instead, sit down with your team and decide how you want to build JavaScript projects. Build a starter kit that implements a simple example so everyone has a clear, shared vision on how to get things done.

A starter kit should include linting, minification, bundling, a production build, and a few example automated tests. I suggest including a simple example app that puts this all to use. Then provide a command that removes the starter kit and places the project in a state that’s ready for development.

My starter kit is React Slingshot. I build this starter kit from scratch in my new course “Building Applications in React and Redux in ES6”.

And even though my starter kit is specific to React, if you’re in Angular, Backbone, etc, the core principles and features remain relevant. That said, be sure to Google for other starter kits for inspiration.

So why use a starter kit? A starter kit creates a pit of success. It makes following your team’s agreed list of best practices automatic. A good starter kit makes doing the right thing the easy thing.

Well, That Was Overwhelming. Yes it was.

We’ve entered an era where the front-end is complicated enough that we need front-end specialists. Don’t expect everyone on your team to understand how to do all this in detail. Agree on a starter kit that codifies all your decisions. This way, everyone can start with the same solid foundation on your next project.

See things missing? Disagree? Chime in on Reddit.

Cory House is the author of multiple Pluralsight courses including “Building Applications with React and Flux”, “Building Applications in React and Redux in ES6” and “Clean Code: Writing Code for Humans”. He is a Software Architect at Vinsolutions and trains software developers internationally on software practices like front-end development and clean coding. Cory is a Microsoft MVP, and founder of outlierdeveloper.com.

 

 

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Meta Skills of a Software Engineer

Doug Arcuri

Recently, a friend asked a question about the particular skills possessed by software engineers.

What are the unique skills that software engineers practice? Drawing from my experience led me to an opinion. The idea I have come to realize over time is that I enjoy the meta of programming. The skill of learning the meta, or how to do what we do better, includes reading many well known books in context. I took specific examples of what I read over the years, applied it to my own observations practicing in the field and I answered in a way that I believed was most pragmatic.

Me: In my opinion, if we think universally, I would say it is the practice of correctness and pattern recognition*. These are some of the skills that are unique to software engineers. Let’s exam these skills to add context.

Correctness Correctness is very much related to the how and why we build things the way we do. In organizations, it is most closely associated to the correctness of what the business must solve for its customers. Software that is written well follows this thinking. If you are looking for Best Website development services check Vivid Designs

Correctness is seen in engineering as how correct the how is so that the solution for business can continue to be solved with high reliability. It is and must be a balance of strategy (designing) and tactics (execution). The examination of the how’s how in a vacuum appears well in chapter four of Programming Pearls — Writing Correct Programs.

… keeping code simple is usually the key to correctness. — Jon Bentley Pattern Recognition Pattern recognition is strongly tied to the organization of that correctness by creating the necessary abstractions and component boundaries. Pattern recognition leads to concepts of reuse to modularize and isolate code. We monitor duplication, find areas that can be reused, and refactor complicated parts of code. It is what software engineers do well. Our attention to that detail is vigilant. We recognize knowledge as it is created over and over again. Then we simplify.

Pattern recognition is discussed at length in the community and there are many sources to read up on their techniques. The origins where I learned about this skill reside in chapter two of The Pragmatic Programmer — The Evils Of Duplication.

Make it easy to reuse. DRY — Don’t Repeat Yourself. — Andrew Hunt & Dave Thomas A Teachable Moment Once I gave this response, my friend followed up with another question.

If correctness and pattern recognition are these skills, how do you teach them? Of course, my answer was simple enough.

Me: Locate these books, set the environment, and work through by showing examples. Set the expectation of learning and practicing these meta skills while delivering value to business. Why? Complexity. This is the best investment of learning the skill of balancing complexity that I know of. It also results in engineers who become more confident over time. My mentoring has been focused around these books and around these particular skills. But it made me realize there are few out there that invest heavily in the meta, apart from doing the work without realizing it. The vocabulary of the meta is something I’ve have interest in. My writings on problem decomposition (correctness), and organization (pattern recognition) in the real world were difficult to see when in the heat of delivery. If you are looking for Web development company in Bangalore check Vivid Designs

At about the same time I had thought about writing this brief on these skills, another book was mentioned because I’d been asking around. A professor at Stanford has been teaching a course on the meta and has resulted in a book of some of his course findings. I was shocked when I found out that he has the same gripe as me, I purchased the book and devoured it. From chapter thirteen, A Philosophy Of System Design.

Engineers tend to be very detailed oriented. We love details and are good at managing lots of them; this is essential for being a good engineer. But, great software designers can also step back from the details and think about a system at a higher level. — John Ousterhout** Conclusion In my opinion, correctness and pattern recognition are skills*** that software engineers should strive to understand and do well at. The result is higher quality software. All other unique skills, if there are others to categorize, may very well be based off these. I invite others to share examples of meta skills they have practiced over time.

Fundamentally, correctness and pattern recognition have tie-ins to outcomes of complexity (also known as cognitive load). There needs to be a way to balance both intelligently so that the complexity is mitigated. In essence this is why these skills are, in my opinion, the distillation of what we do.

* What is interesting about correctness and pattern recognition is they also have a strong association to practices around machine learning.

** If you want to know more about what John is doing, take a look at his video.

*** Engineers should also practice high levels of learning and communication. These concepts aren’t unique to software, but have strong associations to the sciences.

 

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Are web design contracts necessary?

For website design company in Hyderabad visit Vivid Designs

In the first installment of the Project Manager’s Guide to Extraordinary Projects, we discussed initial client interactions and how to choose the best client for your company.

Now that you have found that perfect client, you’re ready to dive headfirst into an exciting new project. But wait, there is one last thing you need in place before you start wireframing, open up Sketch, or write that first line of code. The contract.

Unless you are a lawyer, the contract phase is probably the least exciting stop on the road to an extraordinary project. At times I liken the contract stage to waiting on the tarmac at the airport after you’ve boarded the plane and about to take off for a week long vacation. You’re bursting with energy, excited to start living it up. Just then, the captain comes on the loud speaker and says your flight will be delayed due to inclement weather.

Web design contracts and negotiations can be tedious and can dampen the energy of a project. However, they are crucial to success and will protect you and your company if things take a wrong turn during the project.

Are web design contracts necessary? Absolutely! The goal of a contract is to protect both parties in the event that someone doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain. We all wish we could take people at their word. But the reality is you need to take steps to make sure you’re covered if disaster strikes.

Even if you’re doing a small project for a familiar client or even a friend, a signed contract reminds everyone — including you — that this is still a professional business arrangement. For web design company services visit Vivid Designs

Here at 45royale, instead of getting bummed out about having to sort through all the contract’s legal jargon, we look at it as another opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our client.

First off, taking the time to draw up a contract that outlines terms of your agreement can show a client that you are serious and invested in the project’s success. They know you’ll deliver because if you don’t, the contract says you won’t get paid. Simple as that.

Secondly, outlining a project’s scope, requirements, and deliverables in a contract can set everyone’s expectations. The client knows what to expect from you. And you’ll know that they’ll be providing feedback on your work and paying you when they say they will.

When both parties are secure in their arrangement and free of worry and doubts, you’d be amazed at the kind of creativity and energy that can be generated at the start of a project. Where do I get a contract? Now that you are aware of the importance of a contract, what do you do if you don’t have one? If you’re just starting out doing freelance work or thinking about starting your own company it’s likely you don’t have a standard contract.

Many sites on the internet offer standard contracts that you can download for free. Sites like AIGA.org have web design contracts that you can download in PDF form and can even include helpful tips about customizing a standard contract to fit your needs.

However, if you’re going to be negotiating a contract more than once, its probably best to help you with a web design contract that suits your needs.

Use my contract, no use mine Once you are armed with a solid contract you can feel more confident about entering into an arrangement with a client. Some companies don’t have consulting agreements already drawn up, so having yours handy can certainly save some time.

But what do you do if your client has a standard contract of their own?

More often than not established companies will come to the table with a standard contract already in hand. While this is expected, you need to be aware that the terms of your client’s contract could be structured in their favor.

As a result you need to review any agreement closely before signing on the dotted line. In particular, web design contracts with larger corporations are usually very detailed and lengthy. It’s quite likely that they have an entire legal department drawing up said contracts. If you are looking for Web development company in Bangalore check Vivid Designs 

Bottom line — if you’re not a lawyer, don’t pretend to be one.

If you’re unsure what a particular clause or section in a legal document means, don’t sign it until you’ve asked your client for clarification and/or had the document reviewed by a lawyer.

The saga continues… While contract delays can stall a project, it’s important that you do your best to protect your business and your work. Once you have your agreement in place you can actually start producing and making your client’s vision a reality.

You both came up with a plan, signed an agreement to work together, and now its time to execute. Well don’t just stand there, get to work!

In Part 3 of the Project Managers Guide to Extraordinary Projects we cover two things that will either make your project or break it. That’s right, we’ll be talking about creating a project schedule and setting project milestones.

Did you like that article? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and we’ll send a new one to you every Friday. 🙌 When you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll get the inside scoop on all the latest happenings around the 45royale camp. More importantly, we’ll send you resources to help refine your own design and development process, harness agility in your creativity, and stay inspired to meet your work with fresh eyes. Sound good? Giddyup!

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Setting Up Your Business for Address and Phone

In the past, clients and consumers were wary of businesses operating from their homes. Knowing this, many home business owners sought ways, many of which were expensive, to hide the fact they worked home. They’d obtain a box at a local mail store and hire an answering service. Today, home based businesses are normal and only a few clients or consumers question it. Further, the options to create a professional identity, have become more affordable.

Setting Up Your Business Address and Phone

Before determining your address and phone, you should decide your business name. Once you know your name and how you plan to set up your business structure (i.e. sole proprietor or LLC), you’ll need to decide on your address and phone. You’ll use this contact information on your business license and other official business documents. You’ll also put it on your business cards, contracts, and other marketing tools.

Business Address Options

Today it’s not considered unprofessional to use your home address; however, you may want to protect your privacy. Your address will be used in many documents, and online, and you may not want that to be public knowledge. For example, the CAN-SPAM law requires that your address be in all your emails. There are two options if you’d like a different address. One is to open a post office box with the US Postal Service.The second is to get a box at a local mail store, such as and UPS store. PO boxes are considerably less expensive than private mail boxes. However, your decision may in part depend on the image you’re trying to project for your business. Some prospects may view your use of a PO box address for your business as meaning it’s small or not fully established, or that you operate a “fly by night” company from your garage.The mail store option can give the appearance of a business with a physical address, that might make some consumers more at ease working with you over seeing a P.O. Box. With a mail service, your address is the mail services address plus you box number. For example: 123 Elm Street, #123. This looks more like a location than P.O. Box 123.

Business Phone Options

Even 100 percent online businesses need a phone. While your clients or customers may not call you, you’ll need it for other reasons, such as for the services you use (i.e. web hosting). Many home business owners start off using their current phone, but there are several advantages to setting up a business line.

1 You can keep business and personal separate. When your phone rings, you don’t want to worry that your child is answering a client call. When a business line rings, you know it’s business, and when your personal phone rings, you know its personal.

2 Phone related tax deductions are easier to track. The IRS doesn’t like comingling of your personal and business accounts. If you use your personal phone, you can only deduct the direct business expenses.

Landline Options

Before cell phones, having a business phone was fairly limited.

You could either add a second number (distinctive ring service) to your existing phone, or have a second line added to your home. The latter option is more expensive, but it is also entirely deductible on your taxes. Using your existing line, you can only deduct business-related services (i.e. distinctive ring).

Cell Phone Options

Today, having a cell phone is easy and allows you to be accessible when you’re not in the office (which can be a good or bad thing depending on how much you work). Like your landline, you can get a business number to your existing phone service, or use an online service to create a business line that forwards to your cell phone.

 

 

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