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Earlier today, David Silversmith highlighted the importance of using images in your blog and using those images to convey information to the readers.
However, capturing and editing images can be a time consuming task. Not only is grabbing a screenshot something of an art unto itself, manipulating it and uploading it can seem to be more trouble than it is worth.
Fortunately, Mac users have a single application that can do all three functions within the same windows. It’s name is Skitch and, best of all, it is completely free during the beta period.
If you have a Mac, take screenshots and haven’t tried Skitch, you need to do so right now.
When Skitch is minimzed, there are three different image capture modes, a full screen capture, a crosshair capture and a webcam capture. Each of them have a designated function and ideal use.
- Full Snapshot The full screen capture simply takes a picture of the entire screen, including your dock, open windows, etc. and then puts it as an image into Skitch for further editing. This is most useful for taking images of your desktop.
- Crosshair Snapshot: The crosshair screenshot tool lets you select the area you want to capture, ranging from just a few pixels to almost the entire screen. This is great for grabbing images of logos, grabbing portions of a Web page or taking a screenshot from an online video clip.
- Camera Snapshot: The camera grab works with your webcam, either built in or external, to take pictures from it and drop them into Skitch. This feature is not very robust but works well for quick grabs from your webcam to send to friends or post online.
- Frame Snapshot: Finally, there is a “hidden” feature of Skitch called the frame capture, this is found under the Skitch menu in the main window. What it does is allow you to take an image of a specific size, for example if you need it for layout purposes, and is great for taking images for thumbnails, avatars or anything that has to be a specific size.
No matter which type of snapshot you use, once the image is taken it is opened up in the main Skitch window, where it is available for editing.
Skitch provides a variety of tools for quickly adding information to an image. Though is is not a replacement for Photoshop or another dedicated image editor, most simple edits to an image can be done in Skitch including cropping, adding text, drawing on the image (boxes, lines, arrows, etc.) and erasing/transparency.
What Skitch can not do, at least not that I’ve been able to find, is merge multiple images together or in layers. Every snap and every paste is treated as a new image. This means that, while Skitch will be able to help grab a series of logos, it won’t help create a collage of them or overlay other images on top of them.
However, it is trivial to use Skitch to highlight a significant portion of an image by drawing a box or a circle around it, using arrows to illustrate an important element, write text over the image or color over portions that you don’t want to show (such as personal information).
As light as the editing tools are, they can still go a long way to adding some character and information to your images.
Finally, once the image is ready, Skitch is capable of exporting the image into a variety of formats, including PNG, JPG, GIF and more, and then either saving it to your computer or uploading it straight to your server.
Skitch works with its own Skitch.com service, FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Flickr and MobileMe. The only major providers missing are Amazon S3, Photobucket, Picasa and, perhaps, ImageShack. Best of all, if you set up the accounts correctly, Skitch will know the URL of where you uploaded the image and can copy it to your clipboard, meaning that all you have to do is paste the URL into your your blog post, email or IM.
For uploading images, Skitch is truly an elegant solution, simplifying the process almost as much as is physically possible. Not only do you avoid having to use your FTP program, but you even avoid using WordPress’ or MovableType’s uploader. All of this is done inside Skitch with the click of a mouse.
Skitch is something of a rare bird in that it does one thing and does it well, but in that process it actually handles three different tasks, screen capture, image editing and file upload.
The power of Skitch is that it takes what was a long process involving three different applications and turns it into a streamlined system involving just a single program. It can save a great deal of time and, given the cost of many of its competitors, a great deal of money as well.
If you’re a blogger that takes a lot of screenshots but aren’t using Skitch yet, it is definitely worth giving it a try. Though it has some limitations, especially in the editing department, it can take a lot of the hassle out of getting images on your site.
5 Tools to Kick-start Your Coaching Blog
If you are a coach and you do not have a website it is about time to create one. You might think that it is hard, requires programming skills and takes a lot of time. Moreover, people might tell you that it is not worth it or isn’t cost-efficient. However, I can assure you that these days having an online blog for your business is a crucial thing. Nowadays, there are various tools which allow you to create your own website without any prior programming experience or huge sums of money in the bank. People have created hundreds of applications to help one kick-start his or her online business website in a matter of hours or even minutes.
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If you still think that this is unmanageable and difficult to do, I encourage you to try. For this, I collected 5 amazing tools which will lend you a hand and make your blog creating experience faster and easier.
1. Shopify’s Online Logo Maker
Every new online business needs a nice and simple logo. Having a beautiful, sleek and appealing logo is crucial for your brand. Keeping that in mind, Shopify has created an Online Logo Maker just for you. This tool allows you to create a logo without requiring any prior design knowledge. This online logo maker will not only save your time but also will not break your budget because it is free to use. Moreover, as the tool has many options for fonts, icons, and frames you will be able to make a unique and stunning brand logo in no time.
Shopify’s online logo maker will not require a lot of time, money, and effort from you. It will enable you to easily create an amazing logo for your online business and you will be able to focus more on the important things.
2. Lighten WordPress Theme
Also, for your website, you will need a content management system as well as a theme for it. The most popular and probably the best choice for the CMS is WordPress. It has a friendly user-interface and it costs nothing. For the website design, you ought to choose the Lighten WordPress theme. It is probably the best life coach wordpress theme for female coachers.
This theme will provide you with the possibility to easily sell your coaching programs as well as services online. The beautiful design will definitely be appealing to all of your visitors. It contains all the features you might need. The theme supports WooCommerce, has a responsive design and it is optimized to be successful audience capture tool.
For better blog marketing and user data collecting, you will need some kind of form plugin for WordPress. Here, comes the CaptainForm. Their slogan says “Turn WordPress Form Building Into a Super Power”, and it surely does what it says.
This WordPress form plugin will easily let you create forms for your newsletter sign-up widget and will allow adding more functionality to your regular WordPress forms. It has a drag-and-drop builder, which lets you build your forms right within your WordPress form plugin dashboard without any hassle. Furthermore, the CaptainForm provides you with more than 30 free form templates, easy data management possibilities and advanced security options for your form with SSL encryption, password protection or CAPTCHA.
4. Word Counter
In writing your blog post or social media post you will need to know the number of words and other things. For this problem, WordCounter.io is a great solution. This online tool, as you might have already understood, is word counter. Nevertheless, it has many more useful features.
The tool itself is easy to use and provides you with statistics on the character, word, sentence, paragraph or word count in real time. You can either copy paste all the text there or write directly in their text box. Moreover, this word counter provides you with statistics of your keywords in the text which is pretty useful in doing SEO. Besides the counter, their website is filled with useful tips and blog articles on writing which might be useful to see for everybody.
Another key thing in your coaching blog is how you are presenting yourself. One of the most important things for people in choosing a mentor is their qualification. To show your competence you can build a resume, and a Novoresume guide to the resume format might lend you a hand in making the best one.
This resume format guide will help you to understand main principles of the resumes as well as provide with some useful tips to improve yours. You will get to know what kind of types of resumes are there. Consequently, it presents the advantages and disadvantages of one another. Finally, will help you to decide which one is the most applicable to you.
How Business Analytics Can Help Your Online Business Grow
Starting a blog on the internet is easy enough, but what starts to happen when your site makes real money and turns into a nice little side business of its own? When it comes to this point, you may want to start considering your options with better analytical data and understanding who your audience is. At the same time, with data analytics so accessible these days, it would be foolish to not take advantage of the many different software solutions and business management tools now available.
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When you own a business, it’s important to make sure you take the time to do everything you can to ensure it succeeds. Using real-time analytics to track the progress of your business can be a great way to know if there are issues that need to be addressed within your business and how the business is thriving. The following guide walks you through a few different types of business analytics that can be used to ensure the success of a business.
Statistical analytics is the practice of using software to track statistics for a company so that finances and production can be accurately accounted for. The same can also be said of site traffic and usage, thus provided through solutions like Google Analytics. Not all statistical data needs to be in reference to finance or have a monetary valye, however, hnowing how much money is coming in and going out every month helps you track future financial decisions. You can also track which things you are doing that work for the business and which ones you might need to improve upon.
Prescriptive analytics use different forms of simulation to help you learn what the outcome might be of a specific decision you are considering. This can help you see consequences you might not have thought of and then determine if the benefits of that decision outweigh the risks. There are many times when analytics of this type can help business owners realize that there are more risks involved with their decision than they originally thought.
Descriptive analytics help you learn how business is going for other companies. You’ll be able to learn if the way they handle their business has helped them to be profitable and what strategies they used to be successful. The studies help to determine if you are making mistakes that other businesses have made in the past so that you can avoid similar outcomes, as well.
A good example of description analytics in action, is to take a look at an existing email marketing campaign and having the ability to measure where your ROI is, then reporting such data to your clients and advertisers. For more information on this, you can view this list of top ways to monetize an email list through remarketing. Again, the more data you have, the better you can track your audience and campaign performance, to ultimate create and serve the best campaigns possible.
Predictive modeling is used to help you anticipate the future of your business. The studies will help you make an educated guess as to where your business is headed financially and if you can anticipate any growth in the near future. You need to be able to anticipate growth to ensure that you plan financially for it. Some businesses try to grow too quickly and end up getting themselves into trouble because they can’t keep up with the high costs of doing business.
Many Companies Use Business Analytics
There are many companies who have to use business analytics on a regular basis to ensure that their business will thrive. Lenders often use predictive modeling to determine if they should give a loan to someone based on the statistical information provided to them. It helps them to determine the likelihood of the person repaying the loan.
When you’re ready to hire a company to help you with your business analytics, you need to be sure to use one that has experience working in the field your business is in. This will ensure that the specific information they provide to you is fact-based and pertains to your business. It’s important to incorporate this information into your business model to better your chances of being as successful as possible.
5 Types of Online Businesses That Need Cyber Insurance ASAP
To the extent that all modern businesses maintain websites and have a presence on some part of the internet, every business is now an online business. Going online exposes a business to hacking and data breach risks that were never fathomed as recently as 25 years ago. The nature of some businesses, however, makes them more susceptible to those risks, and accordingly more in need of mechanisms and insurance to protect against them.
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Ecommerce companies are the clearest example of the type of business that is exposed to heightened cybersecurity risks. For example, hackers breached eBay’s network and accessed the financial and personal information of more than 145 million eBay customers before the hack was shut down. Companies that sell products over the web and collect and store payment information about their customers are tantalizing targets for hackers, if for no other reason than the value of the information that they maintain.
Social media sites are an equally attractive hacking target. Subscribers to these sites often divulge personal information that hackers can use for more advanced identity theft. A business’s social media presence can also provide an easy pathway for hackers to insert malware into a corporate network.
Businesses that rely on services from virtual assistants are similarly at risk. The rise of the freelance gig economy has popularized the use of remote personnel who do everything from answering telephones to finalizing major contracts and agreements. A business might have taken all steps necessary to protect its internal systems, only to discover that a virtual assistant has failed to follow suit.
Online financial services companies are a specialized subset of freelance virtual assistants that face their own cybersecurity issues. Many of these companies use automated financial systems to advise and make recommendations to their clients, typically in response to client data and input. Any company that utilizes another entity’s financial data and profile will naturally be at a heightened risk for cybersecurity breaches, as hackers will focus their efforts on misappropriating that type of data.
A Look at Cyber Security in the World Today
In a recent report and infographic created by Netwrix, it was reported that “65% of organizations don’t have a dedicated person or department responsible for cybersecurity”. At the same time, “87% of organizations do not use any software for information security governance or risk management.”. This in itself is more than enough reasons for hackers to continue their efforts on attacking vulnerable companies, as it seems they simply don’t learn, nor have the precautions in place.
This is one area where bloggers and site owners continually have security and precautions in place. This is usually due to the fact that most sites are running off the WordPress platform and makes it easy to install security plugins like Sucuri, which can help with the following open vulnerabilities and attacks on a site at any given time:
- Sucuri is one of the best defenses against DDoS attacks.
- Sucuri cleans up hacked up websites. If your site has been blacklisted by Google or flagged for malware, these problems can be reversed after you install Sucuri and get the problems resolved.
- Sucuri identifies and disables brute force hacking attempts.
Premium content subscription services are a hybrid of ecommerce and social media companies. These services provide subscribers with regular access to specialized online videos and information in exchange for a monthly subscription fee that is usually $10 or less. Like ecommerce and social media sites, subscription services maintain customer profiles and payment information, as well as personal preferences and interests. This combination is a mother lode of information that will entice every hacker and cyberthief.
Online businesses can implement any number of steps to reduce the cybersecurity risks they face, including:
- Implementing backups and redundant servers to protect against outages due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks;
- Increasing awareness of encrypted cyberattacks that take advantages of known weaknesses in SSL communications;
- Enhancing cyber protection over any Content Delivery Networks that the online business uses to deliver content to its customers;
- Improving awareness of digital fingerprinting technology to avoid cyberattacks that spoof legitimate IP addresses;
- Developing a strategy to respond to cyberattacks when they happen.
This last step of developing a responsive strategy recognizes that preventing every cyberattack will not be possible, and that some data breaches are bound to occur regardless of other protective mechanisms that a business may employ. A business can best protect itself against financial losses and liabilities that result from a successful cyberattack with cyber liability insurance. That insurance can provide financial resources to help an affected business to recover lost data and to replace damaged software and systems. It can also help mitigate liabilities to third parties whose personal and financial information has been lost through a cyberattack, and to reimburse a business for any fines that may be levied by regulatory agencies for failure to better protect that information.
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