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Every successful business must keep employees, executives, suppliers and customers in touch, empowering them to communicate on any device wherever they go. Modern digital collaboration tools are becoming more and more indispensable. What are some of the most popular solutions?

IT - BusinessBasecamp

A project management website, Basecamp features wiki-like text documents, to-do lists, calendars and milestones, time tracking, file sharing and messaging. The online software connects people to the files and project data that matter, keeping everything in one place. Basecamp is one of the most popular project management tools in the world.

Google Drive

This online office suite is offered by Google (free for individuals). Using a web browser, anyone can create and edit documents collaboratively; all files are stored online. Documents are saved automatically to avoid data loss. Users can create or import documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and export them in numerous different formats. Multiple users can open and edit documents simultaneously.

iDoneThis

This productivity tool tracks accomplishments and motivates employees using a daily email reminder. Team members on a project, using only email, can share and monitor their progress. Each morning, team members receive a digest of everyone's accomplishments from the prior day.

Unified Communications

This term refers to an all-encompassing collaboration suite, such as the Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) solution from Mitel Networks. Such a solution typically combines telephone service, messaging, presence services, and audio/video/web-conferencing. Thus all team members, regardless of location, have all possible communication methods available to them, from one provider.

GitHub

This is a distributed code repository and version control system typically used by developers to store and manage code. GitHub allows team members to work on files simultaneously; the service keeps track of all files and file changes. The online software supports issue tracking to help manage bugs and customer problems. GitHub also features a wiki in which technical documents can be stored.

Evernote

"Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web." This software handles all types of information, which can be uploaded and shared with colleagues. Each bit of uploaded content becomes a note. Notes are organized into notebooks, which can be viewed by other people.

Google Groups

This service from Google affords discussion groups for people wishing to share common interests. Additionally, the service provides a gateway to Usenet newsgroups using the same user interface. As of 2013, a Google+ account is needed to access the Groups. The service functions as an unofficial archive (dating back to 1981) of all newsgroups.

The possibilities for online and mobile communication and collaboration are nearly unlimited -- truly an embarrassment of riches.

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Website LoadingHow many times have you been surfing the Internet only to run across a page that loads like its from the 90s? Let's face it, we are all impatient web surfers and with broadband speeds get faster each day it makes site load time more important than ever. Speedier web pages result in more time spent on the site, higher conversion rates, better search engine rankings and less bounces. Visitors tend to place more trust in sites that load faster as well. If you want the best load times with the most possibility for success you should read on and consider implementing some of these tips.

Choose a Good Host

A website is only as fast as the server it is hosted on. Choosing a reliable web host that features advanced, uncrowded servers is the foundation for speedy pages. If you are a large company going with a dedicated hosting service is extremely flexible because your IT department can choose their own operating system or hardware like a rackmount chassis to store your server. A smaller company that may not have the resource to have their own server can go with shared hosting or even cloud servers. Webmasters should research different hosting services and read reviews to find the right fit as there are many options to go with all with varying degrees of quality.

Use a Content Delivery Network

An easy way to speed up a site is by using a content delivery network, or CDN. A CDN works by offloading objects such as scripts, videos and images onto other servers in different global locations. This allows for the fastest delivery of these objects by utilizing a server closest to the visitor. The CloudFlare CDN is offered free by many web hosts.

Downsize Objects

Once a CDN is in place, the webmaster can reduce the overall number of objects loading on each page. Every call to a CSS file, script or advertisement can slow down loading time. The optimal number of objects on any page should be less than 20. Reducing image file sizes or converting them to a different type can be another great way to eliminate load time. Managing these data stream can go a long way to reducing your website's loading time.

loading timeOrder the Code

An easy strategy to give the appearance of fast loading is placing the images, text and style code at the beginning of the page. Those elements will load first, while more complex objects load in the background. This approach works well when used with the steps already covered. Best practice is to keep the code as simple and clean as possible.

Compress with GZIP

Advanced webmasters can compress JSON, HTML and XML file requests on each page by using GZIP compression. This method is compatible with all modern browsers and will reduce unnecessary space for faster loading times for most pages. GZIP also offers the benefit of lower bandwidth usage for the entire site and server.

If you want to go fast then using the suggestions above will be sure to increase the speed of nearly any website, regardless of size. After you've implemented these things you should be able to keep track of how fast the site is loading, how speed is affecting conversation rate, how long visitors are staying on the site and if there are any bounces. Compare the number and see how loading time can seriously help you business' website.

 

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In a world of increasingly complex technology, many businesses are still playing catch-up when it comes to user interface. The online shopping industry has changed drastically, and you'll need to step up your game if you want to draw in today's savvy shoppers. How do you generate interest for your brand without breaking your marketing budget? Develop a mobile app. Here are five good reasons why your business, even if it is a small one, needs to develop a mobile app.

Increased Networking

Designing a mobile app opens your business up for instant connection with social media sites. Your primary customers are already updating their statuses and tweeting about their favorite brands. You need a mobile app to connect with them where they go. Syncing up an app with social media sites boosts your networking capabilities

mobile appsBetter Visibility

Did you know that most people do their online shopping from their smartphones these days? If your company doesn't have a mobile app, then you're not reaching a large percentage of online shoppers. Your customers want instant access to things like shipping info and store hours; developing a mobile app will enhance their experience with your brand.

On-the-Go Access

Because phones and tablets are so much smaller than traditional electronics, people want easy-to-use versions of the websites they know and love. You've probably experienced the frustration of attempting to load a large website onto a tiny screen. Creating a mobile app allows your customers to access information more easily wherever they may be at the touch of a few buttons.

Cost-Effective Advertising

Building a mobile app version of your website can significantly reduce the amount you spend on overall marketing. Many companies offer affordable ways to revamp your existing mobile site or upgrade it entirely. Expert development companies like SolutionStream can help you find ways to expand your brand by utilizing professional mobile developing services.  Once you have a solid app that your customers enjoy, you will enjoy immediate and continual access to your key clients right where they most want it.  Your initial development investment will yield huge continuing returns.  This will then allow you to ease back on other elements of your marketing budget, if desired.

Special Deals and Incentives

Thanks to increased connectivity with social media sites, your mobile app could open up new possibilities for contests, coupons, and special promotions. Users could take photos on the go and upload them directly to your company's social media page or write in reviews directly from the app. A quality mobile app will encourage people to continue sharing and shopping exclusively with your brand.

From saving you money on marketing costs to connecting you to a whole new demographic, developing a mobile app can be one huge leap in the right direction for the future of your business. Before you attempt to create one yourself, consider letting a professional web development company offer you the tools and tips you need to create a solid mobile experience.