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ChartBeat: Analytics Go Real-Time

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Chartbeat LogoWhen it comes to statistics, there are countless applicaitons that will let you know what happened last week, yesterday or even last hour, but few will give you a clear picture as to what is happening on your site right now.

That is a void that ChartBeat is hoping to fill.

The premise behind ChartBeat is very simple. Rather than telling you how many visitors and pageviews you had on X day and time, it is going to tell you how many people are on your site right now, what they are doing and where they came from.

But while the idea sounds pretty cool, it ends up falling a little bit flat and it shoots itself in the foot in several places. It’s a premise with potential, but many failings between the point of concept and its execution.

Still, it is a service well worth taking a closer look at and seeing if it is right for you.

How it Works

Fundamentally, ChartBeat works the same as any other analytics application. Once you sign up, you have to insert two snippets of HTML code into your theme, the first goes in the head and the second right before the closing body tag.

Once configured successfully, ChartBeat will begin displaying information about your site including the number of visitors who are on your site, what they are doing (reading, writing or idle), what pages they are on, where they are from, how they arrived at your site and how fast your site loaded for them, among other tidbits of info.

This information stays very fluid and is constantly updating. You can leave it in a tab and check in on it every so often to see how your site is doing. You can also access it via an iPhone app or use it to add SMS or email alerts for when your traffic reaches a certain level, your site is down or your average pageload rises above a certain time.

And really that is about all it does. It constantly updates your information but doesn’t provide any historical metrics beyond the ability to “replay” past events.

For this, ChartBeat charges $9.95 per month for a basic account that allows up to 1,000 concurrent visitors. There is a thirty-day free trial but it requires a credit card to sign up and a cancellation within 30 days to prevent it from being charged.

The Good

ChartBeat looks incredible. Its interface is clean, easy-to-read and conveys a lot of information very quickly. Clearly a great deal of thought went into the design and it shows. Even a total analytics newbie will have no trouble understanding ChartBeat.

Also, a lot of the information provided is fairly unique to ChartBeat. The ability to see, in real-time, how fast pages are loading for visitors and what they are doing at that moment is pretty neat. You’ll likely find that most of your visitors are idle and that page loading times fluctuate wildly, but it still works amazingly well and you can filter easy by just about any criteria.

It can also be pretty neat to watch ChartBeat right after you take action on your site, such as publishing a new post or sending out an email newsletter, as you can track the response as it comes in, making it easy to understand exactly how people are reacting to what you put out there.

But as neat as it is in places, it’s difficult for me to say that it is really worth ten dollars per month, Not only is it lacking any kind of historical perspective on its data, but there were several problems I encountered while trying to use the service.

The Bad

The first sign of trouble with ChartBeat came when trying to set up an account. Since ChartBeat requires a credit card for the free trial, I provided my business one but the site wouldn’t take it. I re-entered it several times before it finally worked. However, when I logged into my account, I noticed that ChartBeat had charged my card for ten different $1 test purchases.

Though I suspected that the purchases would all be voided, as is typical with these “test” purchases, I wanted to ask and make sure. However, when I sent an email to their support account, it bounced back to me. I was eventually able to get ahold of them on Twitter and resolve the issue that way, but the experience unnerved me, even though they were able to fix the email bouncing issue.

But even ignoring the credit card problems and difficulties in getting support, I can’t openly recommend ChartBeat. Without historical analytics, you’ll need another stat package to get a complete picture of your site. However, other packages, most notably Woopra but also recently Clicky, offer robust real-time information AND historical data at a fraction of the cost. In fact, Woopra offers more real-time data and has a fairly robust free account that may be adequate for many bloggers.

However, it is worth noting that Woopra and ChartBeat report much different numbers, with Woopra’s figures being much lower, usually only a fraction of what ChartBeat reports. This is likely due to differing standards on what is an active visitor.

In short, the main thing that ChartBeat has going for it is a very sexy interface and a single-minded target. Though it’s not enough for me to latch onto though it might be for some.

Bottom Line

Through it all, my end attitude is that ChartBeat just wasn’t for me. Though my site is active enough to have a good stream always on the site, many won’t be. If you don’t get at least a thousand visitors per day, you probably won’t see enough activity to make ChartBeat all that interesting.

However, if your site is busy enough you can get better, more complete analytics elsewhere. I personally recommend Woopra, though I admittedly have a bias as I am friends with many of the people who work on it.

Couple all of that with the issues I’ve had both with my credit card and with getting support and it seems like ChartBeat just isn’t quite ready for prime time. It’s a neat idea with a ton of potential, but it needs to make some improvements before it is worth the price and I would feel comfortable signing up for a paid account.

Maybe it will be there some day, but it’s not quite there today.

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5 Tools to Kick-start Your Coaching Blog

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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.

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.

3.       CaptainForm

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.

5.       Novoresume

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.

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How Business Analytics Can Help Your Online Business Grow

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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.

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

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

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

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 Analytics

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.

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5 Types of Online Businesses That Need Cyber Insurance ASAP

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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.

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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