Tag Archives: Industry

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10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

An estimated 240,000 ecommerce stores use Magento for their online operations, which accounts for nearly 30% of the ecommerce platform market.

Unfortunately, this not only makes clear that Magento is a worthwhile program, it makes clear something else: It’s a focus area for cyber criminals across the globe. Add to this the fact that it’s an ecommerce platform, and it’s clear how critical security for any Magento e-store would be.

Magento keeps on releasing security patches to keep client websites secure; however, the responsibility of doing everything possible to secure your Magento store also rests with you, the customer.

There are several customizations, security settings, and additional best practices that you need to be aware of in order to make your Magento based e-store secure. This piece will run through 10 tips that can help you make your ecommerce store more secure than before.

From very technical suggestions to secure your admin access, to general security practices that will keep your store secure, below covers it all.

The obvious: Make sure you have a strong password policy in place

The biggest sin that most Magento e-store administrators and owners are guilty of is having a routine, weak, and easy to crack password. It’s expected, though, considering your entire focus is on getting things off the ground when you set Magento up initially. However, in the absence of any automated password policies via Magento, you need to implement your own. Below are best practices to remember:

  • Your password must be 10 or more characters long
  • The password must include at least one symbol, one number, and one capital alphabet
  • Don’t include your company name, or any dictionary word in your password
  • Change the password every 90 days, or sooner

This can also be improved with secure two-step authentication. This helps you cover your bases if you ever give your password to another employee who may need administrator privileges at one point in time.

The not-so obvious: Modify the admin path

Chances are you have never bothered with the admin/default path. However the default path, unfortunately, makes it a lot easier for cyber criminals to crack your login credentials using brute force techniques. By changing the default admin path, you add another layer of protection to keep your store’s login credential secure. Here are ways you can change the default admin path.

1. Go to admin backend. Here, go to System, and then Config. In the options, click on Admin, and then Admin Base URL. Select the option to ‘Use Custom Admin Path’, and click on Yes.

2. The other method involves manipulating some code in your Magento store’s local.xml file. You can access the local.xml file by going to the following path: app/etc/local.xml.

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

Open the file, and look for the following code.

<admin>

<routers>

<adminhtml>

<args>

<frontName><![CDTA[admin] ]</frontName>

</args>

</routers>

</admin>

Here, you need to replace [admin] with the new path. Once done, save the file, and refresh the cache and you’re done!

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

Keep a strong watch and control on admin users

For all admin users who have admin privilege roles assigned to their IDs, you need to devise a mechanism to view their activity logs, and must remove their privileges if you detect anything unusual. This can be done within Magento from this path:

System > Permission > User and Roles

Make sure that you only provide admin privileges to a user only when absolutely necessary, and only for a necessary period of time.

Encrypt critical pages

You just can’t afford to send any sensitive information, such as your credentials, over unencrypted connections considering how common it has become for hackers to steal information over unsecure connections. The solution to this grave problem – secure URLs. Magento provides you a setting to help here.

Go to System, then Configuration, and Web. Here, select the Secure tab, and specify a Yes for the options to ‘Use Secure URLs in Frontend’ and ‘Use Secure URLs in Admin’.

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

Finally, remember that it’s mandatory to have secure URLs for processing financial transactions. Magento lets you add SSL for your web store, so make sure you make use of it.

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

Ask yourself: Am I using the most secure, upgraded, and patched Magento version?

Remember, it’s your responsibility as well as requirement to deliver 100% secure shopping experiences on your e-store. The kind of brand tarnishing that a customer data leakage brings can break your business’ back. To make sure you don’t leave any security gaps, it’s important that you always upgrade to the latest Magento version whenever such upgrades are rolled out. In addition, between version upgrades, Magento keeps on pushing out security patches when needed. It’s critical that you install these security upgrades as soon as they’re available because they’re precisely offered to combat the latest security threats.

Path: System -> Magento Connect -> Magento Connect Manager

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

10 tips to make your Magento online store more secure

Of course, you will get notifications when there is a critical security patch on offer, or when there’s a version upgrade. You can also check on Magento’s website for word on any planned upgrades and security patches.

Ensuring security of server environment

Secure server environment is critical for the wholesome security of your Magento website. However, it’s one of the often ignored aspects of security for Magento websites. For starters, talk to your web hosting provider and understand the kind of security protocols in place. No unnecessary software should be running on the server. Then, make sure that only secure protocols are in use for communications (protocols such as HTTPS, SFTP, and SSH).

The ports in the server must not be opened all at once because of the high attack surface it creates. Magento comes with .htaccess files that help in system file protection when Apache web server is in use. However, if you’re using a web server such as Nginx, ensure that directories and files are protected.

Here’s an experiment – try to access this address: https://www.yourMagentowebsite/app/atc/local.xml.

If it’s accessible, your site is at risk and you need to change the server settings. Access to cron.php file should be very restricted; remember to use the system cron scheduler to execute the command, always.

Use a reliable mechanism of running scans for your Magento website

Imagine a situation where a 3rd party plugin causes a security risk in your Magento website, and the server scanner is not even able to detect it! To avoid such problems, it’s important to run routine scans on your Magento website. Online scanning services such as MageReport and ForeGenix scan your Magento website completely and send a list of the potential issues, apart from the scan report, to your email id. Below is a screenshot of how a typical MageReport scan report looks like:

Use reliable security extensions for Magento

There are just too many security risks for all kinds of websites, let along Magento e-stores. Thankfully, Magento offers some time tested and proven effective extensions that can take care of all kind of security issues. Explore the most highly rated extensions for functions such as blocking security threats, scanning for vulnerabilities, blocking malicious codes, log activities, enforce strong password policies, and implement firewalls. Some of the reliable Magento security extensions worth checking are:

  • ET IP Security: Offers IP based access limitations for website access.
  • MegaSecure: Scans your Magento store for vulnerabilities
  • Spam Killer: Integrated with Akismet to deliver world class spam comment removal
  • Mega Firewall: Blacklist security violators, implement NinjaFirewall’s security rules, and block all kind of web attacks.

Note: Always run every extension through antivirus checks. Magento extensions could easily infect malware into your website, especially if you’re not sure of the source or the reliability of the developers. To avoid such as mess, make sure that you run each extension through your operating system antivirus before installing it.

More importantly, always choose an extension after reading its reviews, and making a smart judgment based on the reputation and previous record of the developing agency. Make sure you choose extensions made by developers who seem committed to their work, because a few years down the line, you wouldn’t want to be stuck with an important extension that is not supported or upgraded anymore.

Prepare backup

To make sure that your website remains up even when a security breach happens, take regular backups and store them on the cloud, as well as in the form of an offline copy, so that you can quickly take your website back to a known good state from the very recent past whenever needed. You can easily find reliable Magento extensions for this.

The takeaway

Your Magento store deserves all your attention, not only from a business development and management perspective, but also a security perspective. In the highly volatile and uncertain cyber security environment of today, the responsibility of your Magento website’s security rests completely on your shoulders. Trust these 10 practices discussed above to secure the most critical aspects of your e-store.

Is there anything you would add to the list? Have you had a personal experience with your Magento store? Let us know your thoughts and your story in the comment section below.

 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for NoRiskSEO, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her services at amandadisilvestro.com.

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How advertisers can score big on the next device launch

On the cusp of the latest iPhone release, columnist Purna Virji from Bing offers insights to help advertisers cash in on new device launches.

We’ve all seen the news headlines. They queue, they camp, they chant. And sometimes, they even stampede. Just to get their hands on a new device.

And while these are the more extreme cases, it’s clear that consumers love technology, ready to cast off last year’s phone for one with a better battery, more pixels, and a blush-gold case.

But of course, the decision journey begins long before launch day, creating a significant opportunity for retail advertisers – as long as you get in on the action at the right time.

What makes this new device season even more interesting is the rise in opportunity for brands outside of Apple.

iPhone users are becoming less loyal to Apple over time, according to research by UBS analysts Steven Milunovich and Benjamin Wilson.

This chart is particularly surprising because it shows that Apple’s customer retention rates are heading toward parity with Android phones, including those made by Samsung (which suffered last quarter due to the recall of its flagship device, the Galaxy Note 7).

How can iPhone retailers win back sales? And how can other brands benefit from this launch season? Here’s your optimization plan based on research compiled by Bing Ads (disclosure: my employer) into the customer journey that surrounds new device launches.

Before the announcement

Bing Ads research shows that 33 percent of users start their device journeys well before the official announcement – around 90 days before the official release date – with phone searches peaking on the announcement day.

What does that mean for you?

Pre-launch announcement, your advertising campaign should focus on providing and linking to helpful, informative content and reviews that detail the features and benefits of the device or device plans.

Research and awareness is the name of the game, and your focus right now should be on building up the all-critical top of mind awareness.

After the announcement

On the day of the announcement, Bing Ads data shows that searching peaks, with about 32 percent of searchers starting their research that very day.

Looking at last year’s data, we saw that the announcements impacted behavior across all demographics, with most searches coming from the 35-49 range and women searching far more online than men.

How advertisers can score big on the next device launch

Microsoft internal data, search volume, in selected categories related to iPhone new device launch – all devices, U.S., September 1, 2016 – October 31, 2016.

1. Be sure to layer on demographic bidding on top of your existing bid modifiers.

2. Your next order of business is to make it easy for shoppers to pre-order, upgrade, trade-in, and find accessories for their new device. Key tips:

  • Bid on non-brand and competitor brand keywords to capture switchers.
  • Update keywords and bids periodically as new phone information is revealed to capture incremental traffic volume.
  • Use Sitelink Extensions that point to different phone and plan options.
  • Best of all, for wireless carriers that subsidize the price of phones with contracts, Bing Shopping Campaigns will now accept $0 price products for mobile and tablet devices that are paid for in installments or as part of a contract.

3. You’ll also want to give searchers the ability to comparison shop. Bing Ads research shows that device shoppers like to compare new-to-new, new-to-old, and old-to-old models as well as brand-to-brand. As a frame of reference, last year’s top 10 iPhone-related comparison queries were:

  • iphone 7 vs iphone 7 plus
  • iphone 7 vs iphone 6
  • iphone 6 vs 6s
  • iphone 6 vs iphone 7
  • iphone 7 vs 7 plus
  • iphone 6s vs iphone 7
  • iphone 7 vs galaxy s7
  • iphone 7 vs iphone 6s
  • iphone 7 vs samsung s7
  • iphone se vs iphone 6s

When the device goes on sale

Devices typically go on sale a week or so after pre-order begins.  Once that happens, shoppers are usually ready to buy, so you’ll want to make it easy for them to purchase online (or in-store).

  1. Test out shorter ads with clear calls to action that take shoppers directly to the item for purchase.
  1. Be sure to run Local Inventory Ads as part of your Shopping Campaigns to make it easier for nearby shoppers to find local store information.
  1. When you’re setting up your campaign, be sure to set bids in anticipation of peaks when the device announcement hits. As a frame of reference, here’s how CPCs and CTRs were impacted during last year’s launch:

How advertisers can score big on the next device launch

  1. To drive foot traffic for in-store purchases, be sure to use location extensions and targeting.

When pre-orders ship

Once the device starts to ship, you’ll want to continue advertising the device, plans, and accessories.

You’ll also want to have budgets ready in anticipation of competing device launches. For example, the research shows that iPhone searches spiked when the Google Pixel was announced.

Continue to test ad copy and image variations. And be sure to go above and beyond to populate your feed with as many recommended attributes as possible for each product offers.

In summary, use the data from last year to help shape your strategy most effectively this season. For more information, the full Bing Ads insights deck includes a handy new device launch checklist and many other valuable tips and insights.

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What does Web 3.0 mean for search?

The signs of fundamental change are all around us.

Digital assistants reside within our living rooms, we consume Internet-based services everywhere, and we are creating data every second of the day.

A sense pervades of being constantly connected through devices that communicate with each other. The experience of using the Internet is therefore markedly different to what it was 10 years ago.

What we don’t quite have is a universally accepted label for this era of digital development.

The phrase “Web 3.0” was first coined back in 2006. Viewed by some industry insiders back then as an “unobtainable dream“, the idea of Web 3.0 has remained elusive.

However, as technology catches up and the tech giants figure out ways to make sense of the reams of unstructured data we create every second, the dream seems much more obtainable than ever before. In fact, many argue it is already a reality.

So what exactly is Web 3.0? What makes it so different from Web 2.0? And what do marketers need to do today to prepare for this revolution?

What is Web 3.0?

This is a more contentious question than it might at first seem. Many opinions exist on the topic, but the general consensus is that Web 3.0 ushers in an entirely new way of creating websites, of interacting with them, and of utilizing the data that these interactions generate.

Techopedia’s definition contains a clear depiction of how big this change is:

“Web 3.0 will be a complete reinvention of the web, something that Web 2.0 was not. Web 2.0 was simply an evolution from the original Web.”

Web 1.0 was essentially a repository of information that people could read passively, without being able to shape the information or add their own. The move to Web 2.0 was given concrete shape in everyday aspects of online life, such as submitting product reviews on Amazon or launching a personal blog. People were to become very active participants online, whether on social media or on reputable news sites.

An overhaul in how the Web functions is necessary, if we look at the raw statistics. Global Internet traffic has passed one zettabyte (that’s one trillion gigabytes); over 4 billion people will have Internet access by 2020; over 60,000 searches are performed on Google every second.

All that data creates possibilities, albeit only if we are equipped to harness them. We imagine hyper-personalized, fluid, targeted online interactions between brands and consumers, but bringing this idea to fruition is a very complex logistical task.

By converting unstructured data into structured data (simple updates like Schema.org have helped with this), and by ensuring all databases communicate with each other in the same language, lots of new opportunities arise.

What does Web 3.0 mean for search?

Put succinctly, Web 3.0 will allow us to make sense of all the data that digital devices create.

It can be seen as a Web that thinks for itself, rather than just following commands.

This is built on a decentralized, secure platform that allows much more privacy for consumers than they currently have.

It is easy to spot some threads within this narrative: the use of artificial intelligence, the potential for a blockchain-based solution for storing and sharing data, and the evolution of the semantic web to provide personalized experiences.

We can summarize our definition by identifying five key factors that set Web 3.0 apart from its earlier incarnation:

Artificial intelligence

AI will be used in every walk of life to carry out computational tasks humans are incapable of completing. It will also make decisions for us, whether in driverless cars or in our digital marketing strategies.

Virtual & augmented reality 

Brands are tapping into the possibilities these technologies bring, providing an entirely new way of connecting that goes far beyond what a static screen can provide.

The semantic web

By finally understanding the data each individual creates, technology companies can gain insight into context. This has been a significant push for Google for some time, particularly with the respective launches of Hummingbird and RankBrain. The aim is to go beyond the dictionary definition of each word and comprehend what consumers are using phrases to mean at that particular moment.

Internet of things 

A true defining feature of Web 3.0 is the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) ‘smart’ devices. Examples such as Amazon Echo are well-known, but there are plans to add Internet connectivity to every aspect of our lives.

Seamless connectivity

Until now, data has been stored in various formats and communication between data sets can be challenging. Web 3.0 really comes into its own when data exchanges are seamless and ubiquitous.

This is achieved when Internet-connected devices are omnipresent, from the home to the workplace and everywhere in between; but those devices need to be able to communicate with each other. When that happens, the digital assistant in your car can ask the fridge if you’re out of milk and if so, to order some from Amazon.

How will Web 3.0 change online interactions?

The way we source information and find products is still far from frictionless. For example, consider the planning of an upcoming holiday. We could buy a package deal and that would remove a lot of the administrative tasks, but it would be far from a tailored product.

In reality, most of us will search for deals on flights, research hotels, read travel guides, and talk to people who have been to the destination before via social media.

What does Web 3.0 mean for search?

That is a vast improvement on the holiday-booking process pre-Internet. However, Web 3.0 will take this much further.

Instead of conducting multiple searches in different places, one prompt would be sufficient to pull together all the relevant information. To take our holiday example, we could say to an Internet connected device, “I’m looking for a holiday in Italy later this year with the family, what are my options?” The digital assistant will then dip into its vast interconnected list of databases to retrieve relevant information and organize it, based on your query and provide the best options in one interface.

Everything from flights to meals to cultural attractions will be pulled together into a truly personalized list of recommendations.

How will Web 3.0 affect search marketing?

The example above provides a clear indication of how much things are changing. Optimizing title tags for a higher click-through rate won’t really cut it when an AI-powered digital assistant is bypassing these signals to identify the right content to answer a query.

Search marketers’ focus should shift towards understanding the different preferences of their user base and creating multimedia content that responds to this. As people become more comfortable with using voice-based digital assistants, we can expect search trends to move away from the likes of [italy holidays 2017] and towards more specific, long-tail queries.

Searcher behaviors are deeply entrenched and slow to change, but they do change. Recent research from Google showed the drop-off in “near me” queries as users come to expect that results will be local, without adding a geo-modifier.

What does Web 3.0 mean for search?

Added to August’s news that Microsoft’s speech recognition system has reached a new accuracy milestone, we get a sense that these long-heralded changes are finally coming to pass. Voice search is on the rise, mobile device usage shows no use of relenting, and search engines are using this data to create better interactions.

Search marketers need to keep up. The first step is to ensure that all content is clearly labeled for search engines. Microdata can be used to achieve this and Schema.org mark-up remains just as vital as it has been for the past few years.

The core objective when we create new content should be to facilitate its serving to users, no matter where they are or which device they are using. Keyword targeting still matters, but we need to maintain a more nuanced idea of what our consumers really mean.

Google’s Quick Answers initiative is a particularly telling development in this sense. On the face of it, it seems a rather innocuous and helpful change, but at a deeper level it tells us a lot more. We are moving away from screen-based interfaces that provide lots of choices; consumers want the right answer to their query.

Performance measurement will continue to change, of course. The idea of tracking keyword level ranking positions remains attractive, but its use as an accurate barometer of how a site is performing has waned significantly. SEO goals should be much more closely aligned to business objectives, which can only be a healthy development.

We are moving into an age of flux, where the comforting-but-illusory constants of old are replaced by shifting and slippery notions of ‘meaning’ and context’. Those that are ready to adapt soonest will profit most.

Web 3.0: What do search marketers need to know?

  • Web 3.0 will change how people search, how search engines process their queries, and how results are displayed. These changes have been in process for years now, but they are starting to have tangible impacts on how we find information online.
  • This is driven by improvements in how search engines understand the meaning of queries by harnessing huge amounts of unstructured data and transforming it into something structured and significant.
  • Web 3.0 will also bring with it a new way of creating digital assets. The old ideas of creating a static website will be replaced by hyper-personalized experiences that vary in their messaging and their media formats.
  • AI-powered digital assistants are starting to usher in new behaviors. What search marketers should focus on is creating the right digital assets for their consumers and ensuring that any search engine can locate and serve this content as seamlessly as possible.
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[Report] Who owns the flights market in search?

Which brands dominate the US flights market in search?

A new report by Pi Datametrics has analyzed the entire US flights market to discover the most organically valuable search themes and players with the greatest share of voice across the market.

The search data was collected from across Google US with a view to identifying the search terms with the most commercial opportunity over the last four years, and trended to reveal demand peaks and declines across the travel industry.

‘International’ flights: Trended search themes | May 2016 – May 2017

Image source: Pi Datametrics Market Intelligence

So what does the data show, and what can marketers learn from it about the state of the flights market?

The difference between organic value and search volume

Trended search volume data is a strong indication of research and demand phases, but to determine when a search is most likely to actually convert, Pi has applied their proprietary Organic Value Score.

Search volume alone doesn’t always indicate value. Pi’s Organic Value Score averages out all of the metrics critical to conversion – including adword data – to reflect the true value of individual search terms, and their overarching search themes.

Looking at the search volume graph (above) in isolation, ‘Latin America & Caribbean’ appears to be the one of the most important search themes to focus strategy on within the ‘International flights’ market.

But, if we overlay commercial value, the data tells a slightly different story. ‘Latin America & Caribbean’ devalues significantly, while ‘Europe & Middle East’ retains its competitive edge.

Share of voice: Top sites across the entire ‘Flights’ market

[Report] Who owns the flights market in search?

Date: 7th June 2017 | Top 20 sites

Image source: Pi Datametrics Market Intelligence

Using a datapool of the most valuable ‘International’ and ‘Domestic’ search terms, Pi generated a vast snapshot of the entire US ‘Flights’ market (12,286 sites), to reveal the players dominating the industry.

Kayak own the US ‘Flights’ market

Kayak perform best both internationally and domestically, closely followed by Tripadvisor – which has recently transformed into an integrated review / booking site.

Here are just a few key insights:

  • The top 3 performers own 57% of the entire ‘Flights’ category.
  • All ‘Others’ beyond the top 20 own 10.1% of the ‘Flights’ market. Kayak, alone, owns more than double this.
  • The top 11 performers consist of online travel agencies, aggregators or integrated review and booking sites. These sites own 86% of the entire market.
  • An airline doesn’t appear until position 11, and only owns 0.6% of the category.

[Report] Who owns the flights market in search?

Image source: Pi Datametrics Market Intelligence

Which airline groups own the entire ‘Flights’ category?

  • Priceline Group owns 33.5% of the entire market – that’s four times more share than the entire remaining market, beyond the top 20
  • Expedia Inc owns 25.6% of the entire market
  • All ‘Others’, beyond the top 20, own a tiny 7.7% of the market
  • Airline providers can use this market share data to establish the best aggregators to resell their ‘Flights’

When combined, Expedia Inc and Priceline Group own nearly 60% of the entire US ‘Flights’ market. This is astronomical, and has created an ‘illusion of choice’ across the digital travel landscape.

  • Priceline is the 6th largest internet company by revenue ($10.64bn USD).
  • Expedia is the world’s 10th largest internet company by revenue ($8.77bn USD).

These revenue statistics just prove the success of their digital duopoly.

What can marketers and SEOs in the travel industry learn from the data about the most valuable search terms? Knowing their most valuable content gives businesses the foresight to dictate strategy.

From Pi’s trend chart, we can see that Europe and Middle Eastern flights have the highest Organic Value across the US ‘International flights’ market.

Aggregators, airlines and integrated booking sites can use this data to plan marketing activity around the most valuable flights.

Why is the online flights market so heavily dominated by just two companies?

Priceline group and Expedia own significant search real estate, and dominate the flights industry.

We can’t know exactly how these groups achieve their success, but we can presume that each brand prioritizes search throughout the business.

What’s more, these groups have an array of interrelated digital assets, which provide greater opportunity for comprehensive link infrastructures. This would only serve to boost their presence across the search landscape.

Based on the data, we can also see that online travel agencies, aggregators and booking sites decisively outrank airlines themselves in almost all cases. So why is this?

Based on their business offering, aggregators and OTAs offer a variety of content covering all areas of the flights market.

As direct providers, airlines may have less opportunity to match this offering, which could in turn impede market share.

The full report can be downloaded from the Pi Datametrics website.

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Four tools to build a smarter and more up-to-date in-house marketing team

The SEO community has been fighting with low-quality, outdated and simply incorrect content for ages. How can you educate yourself as well as your team in this abyss of misinformation?

It can be overwhelming to be a new SEO because there’s no way to tell a trustworthy article from a misleading one. In many cases, new SEOs are being guided by outdated advice and get themselves intro trouble.

The other problem is the SEO information overload. There are so many click-baiting articles that keep retelling the same advice again and again. It’s really hard to find really valuable guides these days – it’s usually the same repackaged advice over and over.

Here are four tools that can help solve these problems.

1. Zest

What I’d been usually doing to overcome these two problems was creating my own feed list and only reading what those selected bloggers had to say. There are two problems with that method:

  1. You limit yourself to a certain circle of voices and you are very likely to miss new and exciting ideas from emerging bloggers
  2. The quality of many blogs I added 5 or more years ago have deteriorated

I had pretty much lost hope of finding a decent solution to recommend my team members until I came across Zest.is.

Zest.is is a marketing community of curators, moderators and administrators who select marketing content to only publish the very best of it.

It works through a Google Chrome extension: just have it installed and give it a try. You’ll be impressed by the quality of content there. Every single article is a gem! Katya Rozenoer did a good job describing the Zest content quality assurance process here.

You can:

  • Search and filter content by tags
  • Filter your feed by media types to show only Video or Audio content
  • Sort your feed by most recent, clicked, or shared articles

Furthermore, you can share each and every article you come across there on social media (your followers will be thankful) and even add articles to Slack discussions and Trello boards (I found that option especially useful: Read the rest of the article to get a better idea how this option helps team collaboration).

From now on, I am going to recommend Zest to anyone looking for no-fluff marketing content.

2. Serpstat

I have a confession: I don’t believe in learning without acting/playing. You cannot learn anything by just reading; you need to start implementing that advice into action right away. Therefore I love tools so much that I have spent 80% of my blogging career finding and reviewing SEO tools.

I had started using SEO tools prior to learning what SEO really was, and I still think that’s the only way to go.

There are lots of great SEO tools out there; I won’t overwhelm you here with trying to list all of them. What you really need for your new in-house SEO team is something that:

  • Can help with multiple aspects of SEO process (keywords, backlinks, on-page, competitor research, etc.)
  • Can enable productive co-working and collaboration for your team to work on a project at the same time
  • Isn’t too overwhelming (Your team members should be able to figure it out without additional training, because that’s the point of it)

I’ve tried different tools that satisfy the above criteria, Serpstat being the most recent one.

Four tools to build a smarter and more up-to-date in-house marketing team

You’ll find their…:

  • Overall toolset pretty huge and comprehensive
  • Their keyword and competitor research tools absolutely awesome. I simply love the selection of keywords I get there as well as the data and filters I can play with.
  • Their on-page report pretty basic but it will work great for newbies because they will be able to see SEO errors in action
  • Their rank tracking and backlink tools quite reliable and well-designed

Overall, it’s a must to have a tool like this to let your in-house SEO team play inside daily.

3. Buzzsumo Trends and Alerts

While Zest will help your team access the highest-quality SEO guides and tutorials, Buzzsumo will help them monitor trends and news.

  • You can set up alerts for common words like “SEO”, “Content marketing”, etc. to get those links delivered to your inbox
  • You can use Buzzsumo’s “Trending” section to see currently hot articles on any topic

Four tools to build a smarter and more up-to-date in-house marketing team

Buzzsumo is using their “Trends score” metric allowing you to spot popular content even before it gets hot.

I wouldn’t offer it to my new team on day one though. They will find too many click-baiting headlines there and will quickly get overwhelmed. Once you have a well-read team who can tell real news from click-bait, it’s time to get up-to-date. That’s when they can start using Buzzsumo Trends.

4. Trello

Finally, it’s important that your team can share links, concepts and ideas in a productive way. Furthermore, it should be encouraged that your team share their findings with each other because it’s in proper communication that true knowledge is born.

I tried using Slack, but somehow the point gets missed in long communication strings there. It’s like a never ending chatroom. Trello is much less entertaining, but it’s much better organized and much more productive.

I like to have a separate Trello board running where all the members can add their must-read URLs as new tasks for anyone else to go through. To keep that list from growing enormous, we keep tasks in the “To read” column for a month before we move them to the archives.

We also keep a separate column for “To-do” items, i.e. articles that inspired some form of action (be it playing in Trello or a quick fix on a company blog). Actionable guides are my favorite articles.

If your team uses Zest for marketing reading, you can add articles to Trello right from your Zest dashboard, which is pretty awesome.

I know Trello is not for everyone. I’ve seen plenty of people who don’t like using it for anything. There are plenty of other productivity tools listed here, so you can pick an alternative.

How do you build an inspired and educated digital marketing team? Please share your resources!

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The best SEO influencers and resources to follow

More than any other digital marketing discipline, SEO is a game of opinions. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy that guarantees success, and that leaves plenty of room for healthy debate.

Given how profitable SEO can be when done well, the industry has spawned a vast array of influencers, dispensing morsels of invaluable insight that businesses can apply to their own strategies. A few of these influencers have even gained something close to celebrity status.

It’s been a tough few months for the industry in that sense, with luminaries like Rand Fishkin, Danny Sullivan and Matt McGee announcing their respective departures from the scene in the near future.

These are all respected figures with a wealth of experience who essentially put SEO on the map. In their wake, there is a need for a new wave of dedicated SEO experts to conduct and share their findings with the wider community. Fortunately, there are plenty of worthy candidates.

Unfortunately, there is also a lot of bad advice out there. SEO provokes conjecture along with healthy debate, and following the wrong advice can have a negative impact on any business.

However, help is at hand. The below is a list of experts and resources that continually provide excellent, reliable, actionable SEO advice.

Backlinko

As the name suggests with minimal subtlety, the site is mainly about link building. This is an essential area of SEO, but yet also the one of the most difficult to master. With Google’s Penguin algorithm now functioning in real time, all SEOs need to make sure their link earning practices are squeaky clean.

Backlinko helps to bridge this gap by providing convincing evidence of the areas that drive performance, backed up by case studies and in-depth research.

The blog also contains exhaustive, permanent resources on non-link building topics, including YouTube ranking factors and a very long list of 201 SEO tips.

Backlinko provides a lesson for all SEO and content marketers. The site’s principal author, Brian Dean, posts as frequently as he has something substantial and of lasting value to share. This flies in the face of the received wisdom that content publication should have a regular cadence, but it seems to work.

For anyone looking to go beyond the usual SEO soundbites and find out what really works, this is an excellent place to start.

SEO by the Sea

SEO by the Sea is a niche blog, focusing on analysis of newly granted patents for companies like Google. It makes for a much more entertaining read than one might expect, with rare insights into the workings of the world’s foremost tech companies.

The site is run by Bill Slawski and provides more substantial information than most other SEO-focused blogs out there. Of course, not all of the patents reviewed see the light of day in product form, so we need to approach them with a modicum of caution. However, as a resource for understanding the technology and methodology behind retrieving and ranking search results, SEO by the Sea is unparalleled.

In combination with the corroborating evidence we can find on sites like Backlinko, this site helps provide a rounded view of how a search engine really works.

The best SEO influencers and resources to follow

Lisa Myers

Lisa Myers is the founder of UK-based agency Verve Search, and is also a regular on the SEO conference scene. She has presented at a wide range of events; most of the presentations can be found here.

Lisa’s presentations have covered some fascinating topics, including the need for SEOs to inject some emotion into their content to cut through with audiences. Many of the decks are focused on how to attract authoritative backlinks through content, which is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and unpredictable areas of our work. Her most recent talk from MozCon 2017 is definitely worth reading for anyone that works in content marketing or influencer engagement.

Lisa Myers is also the founder of Women in Search, another great resource if you are looking for some SEO influencers to follow.

Dr Pete

Dr Pete is the resident marketing scientist at Moz and he has for some time been a reputable authority on the inner workings of search engines.

Recently, he has focused on understanding Google’s ‘featured snippets’, which are another huge opportunity for SEOs, but not one that we can distil to an exact, simple formula. This guide is about as comprehensive a resource on the subject as one could hope for, and following the steps it outlines can help SEOs improve the likelihood they will show up in those coveted featured snippets positions.

The best SEO influencers and resources to follow

You can also follow Dr Pete on Twitter, where he is typically very responsive to any specific questions from the SEO community.

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is an industry veteran and is one of the most reliable authorities on Google updates. He runs the excellent Search Engine Roundtable, which is just about the best site out there for any breaking SEO news. Posts are short and to the point, containing the essential information as it becomes available. The sources for their news stories typically work in the engineering teams at Google, so it as about as reliable as we could expect to find.  

This means that posts are typically quite short and to the point, containing the essential information we need to know. Search Engine Roundtable is therefore a little different to most other SEO blogs, choosing to report on very specific pieces of Google information, rather than in-depth studies. As a result, it’s a site that most SEOs should visit quite frequently to keep abreast of the latest news as it breaks.

Stone Temple Research

Stone Temple is an SEO agency and, like most SEO agencies, they have a blog. What makes theirs stand out from the crowd is their dedication to spending a huge amount of time preparing rigorous studies that tell us something new.

The recent study on how Google might rank videos differently on YouTube versus traditional search is essential reading for anyone in the industry. Past studies have investigated Google’s indexation of Twitter posts over time and the effectiveness of the various digital assistants.

Stone Temple keep a clear focus on content quality, backing everything up with a coherent methodology and a transparent view on their findings. As such, posts are relatively infrequent, but they are typically worth the wait.

Webmaster Central

So, there are lots of different guides and resources out there, but sometimes SEO questions don’t fit so neatly within these categories. Chances are, however obscure your SEO question is, someone has asked it already on Webmaster Central.

This Google help forum provides an opportunity for search professionals to ask and answer detailed questions. Everything from disavow files to international SEO is covered in a huge amount of depth, so this site is worth benchmarking in case you run into any obstacles. In all likelihood, someone else will already have encountered (and overcome) the same hurdle on Webmaster Central.

Marketing Experiments

This is not strictly an SEO resource, but it is worth adding to an SEO reading list nonetheless. Marketing Experiments contains a trove of case studies, mainly focused on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tests. User engagement factors are increasingly important for SEO rankings, so this is not an area of marketing that we can ignore. With the advent and subsequent growth of RankBrain, the worlds of SEO and CRO have converged almost entirely now.

The best SEO influencers and resources to follow

Image via Pixabay

Marketing Experiments hosts a lengthy list of use cases that can provide invaluable data to shape our own hypotheses when it comes to testing landing page variations. The Unbounce blog is also a good place to stay up to speed with the latest in CRO.

Inbound.org

You can bring all of this together, and add a lot more influencers to your own list, by signing up to Inbound.org. Inbound curates a personalized list for marketers based on their areas of interest, with options including PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Data Science.

Inbound highlights trending topics in organic search, but it also serves as a marketing community and forum for people to share ideas. There are always new voices in the SEO industry; this is a great place to hear them first.

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How to escape Google’s filter bubble

For some people the personalization of their news apps and other content feeds online is a manual, conscious decision.

They want to be displayed certain topics due to their interests, which is completely understandable. Cut through the noise by making sure that you get given what you want.

For a lot of us, though, while personalization can make the considerable amount of time we spend scrolling through social feeds more entertaining, most of the automated personalization we encounter on a day-to-day basis is not necessarily requested – and is wider spread than one might initially think.

In a Ted talk, Eli Pariser discussed what he called the ‘filter bubble’. For those who have never heard of the filter bubble, it is a similar theory to that of ‘echo chambers’. Essentially, the focus of providing and consuming content that is closely aligned to your preferences results in the creation of a bubble or chamber, restricting your view of the wider picture.

As our internet ecosystem has evolved, we have shared increasing amounts of personal data with services we use every day, from social networks to search engines. They then use this data to tailor the content they provide us with to what they think will be most appealing, engaging or relevant. Google in particular has gradually increased the extent with which it tailors results to the user with innovations like Hummingbird and RankBrain, the inclusion of social results in search, and semantic search.

To many users this personalization of search results is helpful and convenient, but an increasing number of users are disturbed by the extent to which the sites they encounter are being shaped by forces outside of their control. If you are one of them, you may be wondering: How can you stop this from happening? How do you escape the filter bubble?

In this article, we are going to look at ways in which you can partially escape Google’s filter bubble, as well as how SEOs can penetrate it to make sure their sites are surfaced to as wide an audience as possible.

How do you escape Google’s filter bubble?

Disclaimer: If you want to be completely free of Google’s filter bubble, the only real way is to stop using Google. Know this, though – the rest of your treasured social feeds and news outlets will be no different, and who would want to stop using Google?

Do what you can to hide from the Big G

You can always log out of Gmail, delete your search history/browser cache and use an incognito browser (to prevent a level of browser caching). Again, though, you will not be completely free.

The filter bubble is not just specific to personal activity online; it also takes into personal factors that are not dictated by the individual such as device and location. You are also potentially not free of Google’s own internal bias, shown by their recent fine from the EU.

The outlook appears to be pretty bleak, huh? Well not entirely. Escaping Google’s filter bubble (and to an extent, all other platforms’ bubbles) is less about attempting to erase your internet history or privacy settings, and more about simply being aware of the bubble.

Awareness is critical

Take it upon yourself to find different sources and take an objective view. Let’s face it: echo chambers were around long before Google and Facebook. Newspapers have spent decades reporting the news with their own bias – you only need look at the differences in how The Independent and the Daily Mail provide commentary for the goings on in the world to see this in action.

Depending on how conspiracy theory-led you are, you could argue that this pushing of agendas comes straight from the top at a government level. The point is that the most powerful tool for escaping Google’s filter bubble is one’s own awareness of the situation. If you are researching important information, don’t take everything as gospel and verse. Research, utilize multiple sources, and try to look at the situation objectively.

All of us are culprits, including myself. We use a single news app because it is the easy option, thus our echo chambers are somewhat self-inflicted. That is not to say that we should necessarily start to use Ask Jeeves, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo.

The point is that we should look deeper than the first results, and utilize alternate sources to investigate key topics.

How can SEOs penetrate Google’s filter bubble?

Whichever side of the fence you are when it comes to the personalization of content and its effect on our ability to have complete access to information, the Google filter bubble presents a predicament to SEOs and marketers alike.

Compared with the deeper moral arguments surrounding the Google filter bubble, it may seem somewhat trivial to discuss how SEOs can flog more of their wares via Google. However, the filter bubble has a real impact on both consumers’ lives and companies.

So how as SEOs do we penetrate it?

How specific are target search terms?

We did a test in the office here with three different individuals off two different devices each (mobile with wifi turned off, and laptop), all logged in to their Gmail accounts. We tested both broad and more specific search terms, and were not displayed different results.

This is not to say that the filter bubble does not exist, but it did get us thinking. Pariser’s Ted talk used the example of two individuals searching for ‘Egypt’ and being returned very different results. The issue here? Egypt is an incredibly broad search term and whilst SEOs may look to target ‘broader’ search terms within their strategy, the majority will have a very different view of ‘broad’ when compared with searching for ‘Egypt’.

We would bet that the data would show a less powerful filter as the searches become more and more specific, especially for more traditional transactional search terms harbored by SEOs.

Penetrating the bubble

One of the main issues of the filter bubble for SEOs is that it takes users down a self-fulfilling path: the more you engage with a certain website or topic, the more likely you are to be shown similar information. As such, penetrating the filter bubble is the number one priority.

A constant improvement in your site’s authority will help prevent your website being shut out of people’s filter bubbles, but alternate marketing channels should also be utilized:

Social media

Capitalize on highly shareable content to expand your degrees of separation and drive traffic to your website. You will be competing against each social platform’s own version of the filter bubble, but this is somewhat mitigated by the ability to share content.

Paid search and social

If the bubbles are proving too strong to penetrate, incorporating paid search (Adwords) and social media advertising will give you a foot in the door for new prospective customers.

Email

Direct mail is often shunned by those of us that are dedicated to the Inbound Methodology but is another effective way of driving action from consumers. Use behavioural automation to take your campaigns to the next level and drive action.

Trust in the process

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here; what we are saying is nothing new. Trusting in the quality of your campaign and ensuring that you diversify the marketing channels that you employ should be part of the agenda regardless of filter bubbles. It might require a revisit of some of your core pillars but this is something that should be completed time to time anyway.

Really understand your buyer personas – these are the individuals who will become customers. Dig deeper into their drivers and satisfy their queries, questions and concerns. As always, value for the user is at the forefront of what we as SEOs should be providing.

Diversity of content and link building – again, no surprises here. Spread the net a little wider and assess how diverse the content is that you are providing. Is it too specific to a certain buyer persona and therefore somewhat neglecting other (also valuable) prospects?

Furthermore, high quality link building can gain you exposure on relevant sites, therefore widening the net further.

Keep people coming back

All of the above is great for your SEO campaign but don’t neglect the need to keep people coming back. The continual improvement of your user experience and a higher percentage of returning visitors will ensure that your users are furthering their own self-fulfilling Google filter bubble prophecy.

Combine this this with a widening diversity of content, and you put your website in a great place to mitigate the effects of the filter bubble.

 

If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other pieces on similar topics:

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How to Create Sexy, Interesting Content for a Boring Industry by @jeremyknauff

Even if your industry is incredibly boring you can still produce content that is highly relevant to your brand.

The post How to Create Sexy, Interesting Content for a Boring Industry by @jeremyknauff appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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7 things to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform

Ecommerce has been growing steadily in popularity for the last 10 years. Online sales jumped up nearly 15% last year across the board, and they’re predicted to only increase in the future. If you’re starting a business and selling products and/or services, an ecommerce site is crucial in order to capitalize on this explosive online sales growth.

While you could hire a web developer to get your business started, those costs can inhibit your ability to grow rapidly. Opting for an already-developed ecommerce platform saves you time as well as money.

The double-edged sword, however, is that there are tons of options available to you—how do you know you’re choosing the right one? This article outlines some things you’ll need to consider when you’re looking for the best ecommerce platform for your business.

1. Pricing and Payment

The first thing you should consider when searching for an ecommerce platform is the price. Whether you’re a small business just getting started or an already established brick & mortar business moving online, you need to know exactly what you’ll be paying.

Almost all platforms will have a monthly fee. Depending on the type of platform you get (self-hosted vs. hosted) the costs may vary. You should also consider the processing fees that will be associated with the platform. Don’t sacrifice the things you’ll definitely need for a cheaper price. Try to weigh the pros and cons of each to get the best for your budget. Below is a great chart of just a few of the top platforms from Ecommerce-Platforms:

You should also consider how your customers will be paying. Some platforms don’t offer the ability to pay via third party vendors (such as PayPal). This could end up being a huge inconvenience for your customers – a  frustration which can lead to shopping cart abandonment. Don’t take this risk; decide which forms of payment you’ll accept first and remember this when you’re looking at the different software.

2. Integrations

Another factor you should consider when looking at ecommerce platforms is their integrations and plugins. Most platforms, such as Shopify, will have plenty of tools for you to run your business. Your business needs will be a determining factor when deciding on the plugins that will work best for you. When looking at the different platforms, think of what tools you’ll need or already use for your business.  Here are some of the most popular types of plugins that you should look out for:

  • Accounting plugins to help with sales, taxes, revenues, and profits
  • Email marketing tools to help you keep in contact with your customers
  • A platform that helps you reward your customers for using your products
  • Apps to help with shipping your products

3. SEO Friendliness

Ecommerce businesses are not exempt from working on their SEO. In fact, it can be highly beneficial to have your store rank high in search results. You want your customers to find you when they’re searching for products like yours.

Some of the most important factors when looking for an SEO friendly platform include:

  • The ability to add a blog to your website
  • The ability to use your own domain name
  • The ability for customers to leave reviews

You can learn more about SEO for an ecommerce website here.

4. Mobile Friendliness

Did you know nearly 60% of searches are done from mobile devices? Often those searches continue on to a purchase from a mobile device. This means its important to look for platforms that allow customers to easily access your website as well as make a purchase on their mobile device. Below is a great example from Shopify:

7 things to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform

5. Customer Service

A key aspect of any business is its customer service. As the experience provided by traditional brick-and-mortar businesses is based in a physical store, they typically have more control over how smoothly their business runs.

Ecommerce is a whole different ballgame; software outages and server downtimes are often out of your control, and will prevent any of your customers from accessing your business. Odds are that at one point your servers will crash at the worst possible moment. This can affect both your revenue and your brand image.

Having someone to call at any time to help you get things up and running again is a huge factor when you’re looking at ecommerce platforms. Take a look at each platform’s customer service—are they available 24/7? How are you able to reach them? How many levels of support are offered, and what does each cost? Think about these questions and make sure you ask them before you decide on your platform.

6. Security

No one want to enter their credit card information on a sketchy website, which is why security is becoming one of the biggest concerns among consumers. While most software today will have robust security as standard, always check to make sure your platform supports HTTPS/SSL for a safe and secure checkout for your customers.

Also, make sure that any platform you choose is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. BigCommerce explains more here, and below is a screenshot that gives you a taste of what it takes to become compliant:

7 things to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform

7. Scalability

All business owners hope their business will grow in the future, but you may not know to what extent. Nonetheless, it’s important to look for a platform that will scale along with your business.

You don’t want to pay for features and storage that you’re not using when you first start out. You also want to keep up with higher demands as your business takes off. Choose a platform that you can scale to your business size and that won’t charge you outrageous fees for doing so.

The Takeaway

Starting any new business is challenging, but moving away from the traditional store front to an online version can be a little daunting—especially with so many options for you to start with—which is why choosing an ecommerce platform is so difficult for many business owners. Figuring out what your store will need as you grow and keeping up with trends is a challenge, but it is well worth it in the end to create processes that work and will scale with your business. Knowing what to look for ahead of time makes choosing a platform an easier process and can help you find success!

What features do you look for in ecommerce software? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for HigherVisibility, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda at AmandaDiSilvestro.com.

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8 ways of using collaborative tools to effectively manage remote teams

The remote workforce is growing exponentially. Corporate global companies and first year startups are all turning to remote teams to get the job done.

The question, however, is how do you manage your remote team as effectively as your in-office team?

This is a question many CEOs, directors, and managers are facing more often as workers want remote possibilities. In fact, a Gallup survey found that 43 percent of Americans already did some remote work in 2016. This number is up from 39 percent in 2012.

Much of the shift toward remote working can in many ways be attributed to the continued rise of the mobile workforce. The advancements in mobile technology has made remote working seamless for companies and workers alike. From smartphones to tablets, remote working has become easier than ever.

The benefits of managing remote teams effectively

The value for companies taking the remote approach is also very enticing, especially when it comes to the bottom line. Most remote teams are more efficient, put in more work hours, and can decrease company overhead by millions.

Did you know that American Express saves $10 to $15 million annually in real estate costs alone due to their remote workforce?

What’s the secret? How can you build an effective and productive remote workforce of your own? They answer lays, unsurprisingly, with emerging tech that facilitates the management of remote teams. “It works best when a company has developed a plan, including the best technology to use,” Alina Tugend of The New York Times explained.

Let’s take an insider techie look at what up-and-coming collaborative technologies you can integrate into your remote plan for growth and success.

1. Use Slack

Bringing the office to your remote teams is easy with Slack. Even though Slack is a messaging app, it can serve up big time communication benefits that ultimately boost team efficiency and productivity.

Having a Slack virtual office space allows you and your remote teams to discuss projects and tasks that are organized and prioritized just for them. Your remote team can also share files, and has the capability to sync other tools with it as well.  Brent Freeman, CEO of YogaClub, shares how using Slack has enabled him to outsource work to freelancers effectively, saving significantly on overhead costs.

2. Remote team Slack apps

Slack certainly has a lot to offer when it comes to managing your remote teams. Another efficiency tool they offer for the remote workforce is team dedicated Slack apps.

You can install internal integrations exclusive to your remote teams, make messages actionable, thus increasing productivity, and define your own permission scopes for each app and user. It is also fairly easy to build a Slack app.

3. Keep up with time zones

Having remote workers or remote teams spread out all over the world can make keeping track of everyone’s time zone challenging. Luckily, you can track time zones a lot easier with online platforms like EveryTimeZone and Freckle.

These little time tech platforms allow you to quickly view the time zones of your remote teams, and the time zones of your clients. This allows you to see who’s schedule fits a client in England, or if you need to have a virtual meeting with your remote team in Spain.

4. Get Glip

Increasing productivity can often seem daunting for managers of remote teams. After all, how do you bring the in-office workflow to the virtual space? Like Google Docs, Glip can facilitate this.

It allows you and your remote teams to share documents, set up deadlines via shared calendars, share documents with clients, start a group chat, and even annotate images. Glip is also compatible with Outlook and Google Calendar.

5. Monitor your remote team

With so much on your plate as a CEO, director, or manager, managing your remote teams effectively can be difficult. What is going on with your developers in Bangladesh? What about the marketing team in Buenos Aires?

To keep track and monitor everyone you can use Hubstaff. It is hailed as one of the best remote management tools on the market. You can monitor specific team member, or entire teams in just one app.

From tracking hours worked in real time to viewing a few screenshots every so often, you can ensure productivity is at its highest. Since it is an app, you can monitor while you are mobile as well.

6. Enhance remote collaboration

When it comes to remote work, collaboration can be tough. Your team is everywhere in the world, on different schedule, living in different time zones, how can you make collaboration happen?

Using platforms like Quip is one option. Like Google Docs, but with far more collaboration capabilities. Compatible with Android and iOS, it is great for your mobile workforce as well.

You and your remote teams can mention one another in tasks and they will be pinged instantly. Team members can also collaborate via chat right in the document, making switching screens a thing of the past.

8 ways of using collaborative tools to effectively manage remote teams

7. Delegate with Asana

Asana offers up some exceptional delegation opportunities for managers of remote team members. You can create projects and organize them for specific teams. This is very helpful if you don’t feel like staying up late to send a project to your SEOs in the Philippines.

You can also use Asana with Google Docs and Dropbox to make file, image, and video sharing even easier. You can also track team progress on projects as well. There is a free option with Asana, but the paid platform may meet larger business needs better.

8. Keep everything secure with LastPass

Have you ever had a remote worker need access to a platform you use in a hurry? Did you have that user and password handy? Probably not, and this is a big issue for many remote teams.

You can have a long-winded excel sheet of usernames and passwords vulnerable to a potential cyber security attack. Or you can use LastPass. You can generate unique passwords for your remote teams and keep you and your clients’ projects safe.

There are numerous emerging technologies available online to make managing remote teams easier. The key is to find the ones that work best for you, your team, and your business. What remote management tools work best for you?