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The 7 Issues Of Free Virtual Receptionist & How Free Virtual Receptionist Work

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The Virtual Receptionists then sent a prompt reply or message to the right person in the company or outside of it.The power to send calls and messages is completely in your hands. Through this software, getting work done becomes quicker and easier.

The jobs can easily be sent to the VR with just a click of a button.Free Virtual Receptionists use specific software’s that is connected to your phone system and computer. You can re-route the calls or mails to the receptionist just as you would to a traditional one.

Issues with free VRs

However, it is important to note that since most VRs are paid, a free VR may not be as useful as one on contract. And that is why there are certain cons that are associated when using a free VR to tend to business needs. For more info on Virtual Receptionists visit Linkedphone

Some of these are as follows:

1 Reliability

The reason why free virtual assistants are not too reliable is because they are, well, free. And free is often associated with cheap.

Therefore, the service may not be as top-notch as one would expect it to be. Plus, most that are available in the market are trial versions. Which means you won’t be entitled to its complete services.

2 Poor response

Most companies that provide free VR services may not be as dedicated to your business as a paid VR. That is because a VR depends on many resources which cost money. And since these resources are more or less reserved for businesses who really need them, a lack of response on their part can be expected.

If it is for a trial, then it may be beneficial for you. Otherwise, you may want to spend money and settle for a paid VR service.

3 Does not provide the complete picture

Picture this. You are a new company and would like to hire a VR for his services. However, you are also short of money and do not really know how a VR works. So, you settle for a free VR or a trial version of an original one and you end up being dissatisfied with what you receive.

It can change your perspective and that may not be a good thing. Times are changing, and smart business strategy is the key to growth. But if you get stuck on a particular notion, then your business can take a bad hit.

4 Logistical short comings

Physical collaboration will always have a greater impact than technological interactions because of one simple reason – physical interaction cannot be disrupted during an important meeting. Technology has a tendency to fail, no matter how small the chances might be.

But in a physical interaction, the only way something can disrupt the communication is if a major problem occurs.Meetings are based on timings and communication and when both do not take place smoothly, businesses take a hit.

5 Dealing with the language barrier

Free VRs work from a number of countries around the world and sometimes, miscommunications occur due to language barriers. It’s not just restricted to grammar and diction but also includes cultural and social nuances as well.

Although the Virtual Receptionists cannot be blamed for such shortcomings, these problems do exist and you as a leader must find a way to work around it. Also, keep in mind that free services are often not the best option to entrust communications.

6 Risk of data security

It is possible that a free VR won’t be as dedicated to your campaign as other employees within the organization. And even when he does there is a risk of the data getting leaked out to the public.

After all, VRs will be in charge of sensitive information and some of it might be enough to put the company at risk.

7 Research before you Hire

It is always important to do a background check before hiring a free VR. Job experiences and recommendations are a plus. A VR with credible background is easier and safer to work with than a new one.

 

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Some Of The Top Advantages For Business Phone System

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There are been tremendous technological advancements in the field of telecommunications that today small businesses can avail sophisticated phone system with an array of valuable features.The market is flooded with many types of small business phone systems in a variety of configurations with a range of features and concomitant benefits. We are today living in the Internet age and most small business phone systems run on Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

There are several kinds of telephone systems today for all types and sizes of business enterprises. The different systems enable personnel in a business house to communicate both within the organization and outside to their customers and associates.

The primary types of business phone systems are the Private Branch Exchange (PBX), Key System Unit (KSU), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and mobile devices.Check for Some Of The Advantages For Business Phone System in Linkedphone

Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Telephone System

The most common and traditionally popular telephone system is the PBX system, which is appropriate for organizations with at least 40 or more employees.

The PBX system is suitable for expansion in case of business growth, and usually comprises most of the features needed for general communication.

PBX systems have certain features, such as one central number and extensions to reach various personnel, automatic call distribution and answering, and customised greetings to callers.

Key Service Unit (KSU) Telephone System

The KSU system consists of a multi-line telephone service that includes the phones, wires, jacks and other necessary hardware, plus a central unit that is a special computer referred to as the Key Service Unit (KSU). This is the size of a normal medicine cabinet and is usually attached to a wall with an electrical outlet positioned nearby.

The KSU system enables users to manually control and direct incoming calls. This type of business phone system is suitable for organizations with 10 to 40 employees. It is usually less costly than a PBX system and can handle fewer connections.

Among its various standard features and functions, the KSU system permits interoffice dialing, and shows lines that are already engaged.

The VoIP Alternative

A new addition to the range of business phone systems is the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system. An innovative system that does not need too much software or hardware, the VoIP alternative is now gradually replacing the traditional methods of telephony with reduced costs and many additional features.

The hosted VoIP system eliminates infrastructure costs to a great degree because calls are diverted to virtual software that is known as a “softphone”, which functions as a phone interface. Using headset and microphones, company personnel can make and receive calls through the Internet.

This system cuts costs substantially. Expansions and other modifications are possible without incurring additional hardware and other additions.

The VoIP system also enables calls to be directed to mobile devices, so company employees can conduct business while away from the office location. Wireless communication allows users to connect to the Internet, check mail, and do anything they would do if connected to the Internet at their offices.

 

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What Is The Future Of AI In Social Media

SEO Company in Hyderabad visit Vivid Digital

 

There’s been nothing more rampantly spreading itself, than AI in the digital space. Be it computing to machine learning; marketing via chatbots to building industrial robots; gaming to NLP, and so on so forth. Before talking about the future of AI in Social Media, let’s step back, and first see what does AI mean, and then draw its relevance to Social Media.

Artificial Intelligence is a way of making a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently, in a similar manner an intelligent human brain thinks. It is based on the study of how a human brain thinks, and how humans learn, decide, and work while trying to solve a problem; and progressively make themselves more intelligent by learning from the past. It’s a self-feeding process. For Digital Marketing Companies Check Vivid Digital 

Now, let’s look at social media. It is all about humans connecting with each other; sharing information and interacting; making their presence social, and impacting each other in a good way or bad. It is only straight forward that AI, which is based on, and learns the human tactics, will be an inherent part of how social media evolves into social ecosystems that exhibit intelligent behaviour, learning, demonstrating, explaining, and giving advice to its users. We will witness a sea change in the social platforms, methods of sharing, services offered, benefits to people, benefits to brands, and of course to the society at large.

For social media, this means AI can provide aid with anything from bespoke product ideas based on earlier arrangements, to appearance and voice identification, to profound sensitivity investigation. Facebook’s facial recognition tool recommends which friend to tag in a picture by analysing the photo. This can be extending to brands by recognising places in the photos. Brands can ask fans to post pictures with their stores, for example. AI can recognise the store and give instant discount coupons. Wouldn’t that be brilliant for a marketer to reach out to the audience and make an impact? For SEO Companies in London visit here

Another challenge brands face, and so do social media agencies, is deciding on which content to publish at what time to get the maximum reach and which influencers to use to give that right push. AI can come to your rescue by sifting through the large content bank of posts, influencers, audience behaviour on social media; and then recommend and publish just the right content at the right time, and bring in the most suitable influencers to pump up the reach.

Not to leave behind customer service. Today, people prefer the easy way of chatting with businesses than talking over telephone. This is a huge area of opportunity, and I have written about the use of chatbots in various industries such as hospitality, service, healthcare, etc. AI is only going to be increasingly used to provide instant customer service ranging from redressal of issues to recommendation of the right product to purchase, to guiding them to the nearest store to buy it. There’s a plethora of things that can be done by integrating AI seamlessly into social media channels.

The professional network LinkedIn uses AI to offer far better job-applicants bouts for both companies and job hunters by evaluating the users past appointment patterns, along with account situation, past work knowledge and replacements in job portrayals. One can only imagine to what great heights AI can take this platform to.

Look at Pinterest. Machine learning isn’t the first thing that comes to one’s mind. Pinterest has evolved from a mere bookmarking platform to a huge e-commerce arena. It is now investing in deep learning and serving up personalised recommendation. Pinterest is no doubt on its journey to become an even more robust e-commerce engine, by suggesting products based on content pinned on the network. The paybacks to the system, to name a few would be: object acknowledgment to boost a particular Pin and product references; boost ad performance and significance expectation; and identify spam consumers and content.

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What Is Real Impact Of Social Media

SEO Company in Hyderabad visit Vivid Digital

However, social media are the waves of an activist campaign in the top named social media network. There are different social media sites like that Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Google+, YouTube, etc.Often said, they are the sign of success and have a real impact on firms today. It is clear that social media are playing the important role in the marketing to the ads.Meaning of social media is the method of connecting and reconnect the people to each other. In today era, the use of social media has increased much more.

Here are seven ways the impact of social media is felt by individuals and social groups:

1. The Effect of Social Media on Politics

A new study from Pew Research claims that 62 percent of people get their news from social media, with 18 percent doing so very often.In comparison to other media, social media’s influence in political campaigns has increased tremendously. Social networks play an increasingly important role in electoral politics — first in the ultimately unsuccessful candidacy of Howard Dean in 2003, and then in the election of the first African-American president in 2008. For Digital Marketing Companies Check Vivid Digital  

The New York Times reports that “The election of Donald J. Trump is perhaps the starkest illustration yet that across the planet, social networks are helping to fundamentally rewire human society.” Because social media allows people to communicate with one another more freely, they are helping to create surprisingly influential social organizations among once-marginalized groups.

2. The Impact of Social Media on Society

Almost a quarter of the world’s population is now on Facebook. In the USA nearly 80% of all internet users are on this platform. Because social networks feed off interactions among people, they become more powerful as they grow.Thanks to the internet, each person with marginal views can see that he’s not alone. And when these people find one another via social media, they can do things — create memes, publications and entire online worlds that bolster their worldview, and then break into the mainstream.

Without social media, social, ethical, environmental and political ills would have minimal visibility. Increased visibility of issues has shifted the balance of power from the hands of a few to the masses.The flipside: Social media is slowly killing real activism and replacing it with ‘slacktivism’While social media activism brings an increased awareness about societal issues, questions remain as to whether this awareness is translating into real change.Some argue that social sharing has encouraged people to use computers and mobile phones to express their concerns on social issues without actually having to engage actively with campaigns in real life. Their support is limited to pressing the ‘Like’ button or sharing content.

This is a very human reaction when people are given options that absolve them from responsibility to act. A 2013 study by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business found that when people are presented with the option of ‘liking’ a social cause, they use this to opt out of actually committing time and money to a charitable cause. On the other hand, when people are allowed to show support in private, they are more likely to show meaningful support in terms of making a financial contribution.The researchers found that a public endorsement is an action meant to satisfy others’ opinions, whereas people who give in private do so because the cause is aligned to their values. For SEO Agency in London visit here

3. The Effects of Social Media on the World of Work

Social media has had a profound effect on recruitment and hiring. 19 percent of hiring managers make their hiring decisions based on information found on social media. According to CareerBuilder’s 2016 social media recruitment survey, 60 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates.Professional social networks such as LinkedIn are important social media platforms for anyone looking to stand out in their profession. They allow people to create and market a personal brand.

4. The Impact of Social Media on Commerce

The rise of social media means it’s unusual to find an organization that does not reach its customers and prospects through one social media platform or another. Companies see the importance of using social media to connect with customers and build revenue.Businesses have realized they can use social media to generate insights, stimulate demand, and create targeted product offerings. This is important in traditional brick-and-motor businesses, and, obviously, in the world of e-commerce.

Many studies suggest implementing social networks within the workplace can strengthen knowledge sharing. The result is to improve project management activities and enable the spread of specialized knowledge. Fully implementing social technologies in the workplace removes boundaries, eliminates silos, and can raise interaction and help create more highly skilled and knowledgeable workers.

The flip side: Low number of social ‘shares’ can lead to negative social proof and destroy business credibility

Interestingly, although the use of social sharing has become the norm rather than the exception in business, some companies, after experiencing first-hand some negative effects of social media, have decided to go against the grain and remove the social sharing buttons from their websites.

A case study of Taloon.com, an e-commerce retailer from Finland, found that conversions rose by 11.9% when they removed share buttons from their product pages.These results highlight the double-edged nature of the impact of social media. When products attract a lot of shares, it can reinforce sales. But when the reverse is true, customers begin to distrust the product and the company. This is what Dr. Paul Marsden, psychologist and author of ‘The Social Commerce Handbook’, referred to as ‘social proof’.

5. The Impact of Social Media on Training and Development

Job candidates who develop skills on the latest and most advanced social media techniques are far more employable.

A 2013 survey by Pearson Learning Solutions reported a significant increase in the use of social media in learning. Over half the educators who were interviewed agreed that social sharing encourages interaction, providing an environment that fosters learning.

Blogs, wikis, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and podcasts are now common tools for learning in many educational institutions. Social media has contributed to the increase in long-distance online learning.Despite issues of lack of privacy and some instances of cheating among long-distance learners, this has not deterred social platforms from being used in education.

6. The Impact of Social Media on Personal Relationships

One of the effects of social media is encouraging people to form and cherish artificial bonds over actual friendships. The term ‘friend’ as used on social media lacks the intimacy identified with conventional friendships, where people actually know each other, want to talk to each other, have an intimate bond and frequently interact face to face.

7. The Moral Challenges of Social Media

Social media has been blamed for promoting social ills such as:

A. Cyberbullying

Teenagers have a need to fit in, to be popular and to outdo others. This process was challenging long before the advent of social media. Add Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram into the mix and you suddenly have teenagers being subjected feeling pressure to grow up too fast in an online world.

Michael Hamm, a researcher from the University of Alberta conducted a study that showed the effects of social media on bullying. 23% of teens report being targeted and 15 percent said they’d bullied someone on social media. Teenagers can misuse social media platforms to spread rumors, share videos aimed at destroying reputations and to blackmail others.

B. Lack of Privacy

Stalking, identity theft, personal attacks, and misuse of information are some of the threats faced by the users of social media. Most of the time, the users themselves are to blame as they end up sharing content that should not be in the public eye. The confusion arises from a lack of understanding of how the private and public elements of an online profile actually work.Unfortunately, by the time private content is deleted, it’s usually too late and can cause problems in people’s personal and professional lives.

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Creating Social Media Editorial Calendar

icps2016.in There’s no possible way that you can spend every waking moment managing your brand’s social media presence—at least not without suffering from some serious social media burnout. Even if by some miracle you could stay at the computer all day every day, why would you want to?There are so many different tools and strategies out there that can save you precious time on social that you can use to take care of other important things, like sleep.One of the best ways to save your limited time on social is to create a social media editorial calendar for efficient scheduling and posting of your social content. For Digital Marketing Agency Check Vivid Digital 

If your company is new to the idea of setting up an editorial calendar for social, or if you want to take a look at a unique way of setting one up, here’s a simple four-step process for implementing and maintaining an efficient social media calendar for your brand:

1.Decide On How Often to Post

This step depends on a handful of different things like the company, your audience, the campaign, and the social networks being used. Always keep your audience in mind and ensure you’re not bombarding them with posts that are irrelevant or inappropriate.

If you’re looking for some basic standards, though, Constant Contact wrote a post containing guidelines on how often to post to social. Here are some of the highlights:

A. Facebook: 3-10 times per week

B. Twitter: at least 5 times a day

C. LinkedIn: 2-5 times per week

D. Google+: 3-10 times per week

E. Pinterest: 5-10 times per day

There’s a great chance your post frequency will depend on the amount, experience and authority of your social media team, so don’t feel like you have to send out less than stellar content to meet these guidelines.Again, your brand’s analytics can be extremely helpful here. You can use Vivid to see how often you post on each social network.Then compare that against how much engagement you received over that same period of time.Look for trends between publishing rate and engagement. The screenshots above are from our Facebook analytics report, but you can do the same for Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn posts as well.

2. Fill up Your Social Media Editorial Calendar

You’ve got the process in place, now it’s time to fill up your editorial calendar. You’ll want to use a tool that allows you to schedule your social messages and visualize your entire content calendar. Vivid Social built powerful publishing tools for just this purpose. Check out a completely free trial and schedule a months worth of content today.

Fill in the calendar with links to relevant content, resources and your own posts. These social messages will ensure you’re providing your audience with smart, useful content and give them a reason to follow you. Additionally, you can find relevant holidays or events–from Thanksgiving to National Ice Cream Day–that you can tie in with your business. In fact, Vivid Social created its own hashtag holidays calendar so you can keep track of all the eccentric holidays. These timely events will help populate you calendar and bring personality to your feed. For SEO Companies in London visit here

Think through your must-haves, whether it is a product release or scheduled company announcement, and develop content to promote those initiatives. Additionally, make sure you’re planning out how much promotion each initiative warrants; some large releases should have multiple social posts while others only warrant one.

3. Create or Source Great Content to Share

Once you have an idea of what kind of content your audience enjoys and how often you need to post, it’s time to find links to share. If you don’t have enough of your own content to fill your calendar, use these tools to curate relevant content.

A. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo allows you to type in any website domain or keyword string and the platform returns the most socially shared content around that subject. For example, if Vivid Social was looking for quality articles to share we might type in a keyword like “Instagram marketing.”

B. Feedly

Feedly aggregates all of the publications you care about into one stream, allowing you to easily scale your content discovery process. It also plugs in to various social media platforms, like Vivid Social, which makes the article scheduling process that much easier. After connecting your Feedly account, you can share the latest articles from your feeds right from Vivid.

C. Content Suggestions

Another way to find content to share in the Viviod platform is through our Content Suggestions feature. Content Suggestions crawls social media to find highly shared content. Then all the content is categorized based on the topic. You can sort through all the suggested content by relevancy, share count and a specific date range.

Once you find the content you want to share, you can schedule it right from Vivid. This makes it simple to fill your social media calendar with content that has already been shown to perform well on social.

D. Stumbleupon

Stumbleupon is an amazing tool for finding relevant content to share across your social profiles. You can select categories you’re most interested in, and Stumbleupon will surface relevant articles from around the web that you can “stumble” through one after another.

4. Figure Out What Content Resonates

Before you start searching for content to share on social, you need to figure out what your audience actually likes. A fantastic way to do that is to look at past social media posts to see which were most successful. We’ve written an in-depth article on how to find your successful posts by conducting a social media audit, but the easiest way is to access your analytics.

Make sure you’re sorting your messages by the metric that is most important to you, whether that’s clicks, responses or total reach. Once you have an idea of what kind of content works best, you can move onto the next step.

Lastly, pump up the personality of your editorial calendar by planning out posts that highlight company culture or showcase who you are as a brand.

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Build & Curate Engaging Social Media Content And Engage With Your Audience

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Did someone say content? It’s no lie–social media content is extremely important to your marketing strategy. However, it’s best to follow the previous steps before planning out content (we caught you, blog skippers!) so you can start building more effective themes.

For starters, we recommend creating content that fits to your brand’s identity. This means you should avoid things like reaching out to your unpopular demographics without a complete strategy in place.It’s necessary to find the perfect balance between target content and being overly promotional as well. In fact, 46% of users say they’ll unfollow a brand if there’s too many promotional messages. Additionally, 41% of users say they’d unfollow a brand that shared too much irrelevant content.

Video Content or Bust

How important is video to your social media marketing strategy? Extremely–approximately 90% of online shoppers believe product videos help them make a purchasing decision. Additionally, the average online video is completely watched end to end by 37% of viewers.These type of stats should only enforce your reasoning to invest in social media video content. Brands can reach users through Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and other in-the-moment media. For Digital Marketing Agency Check Vivid Digital

Build Content Themes

One of the toughest challenges to visual content is creating it on a day-to-day basis. A Venngage infographic showed 36.7% of marketers said their No.1 struggle with creating visual content was doing so consistently.

This truly shows how important highly-visual content is to marketers and the people they want to reach. That’s why building content themes is a great approach to sectioning out your content. Instagram is one your premier channels to work off visual themes.Anthropologie does an amazing job at keeping their Instagram feed consistent, colorful and eye-popping. Work in content themes to ensure you have a consistent schedule of excellent content to publish.

Engage With Your Audience & Don’t Ignore

Social media channels are built as networks. This means their main purpose is to be a space to converse, discuss topics and share content. Your brand can’t forget these core elements of “networking” and it takes effort to ensure conversations or engagement opportunities aren’t left unattended.

Through social media, you gain respect as a brand by just being present and talking to your audience. That’s why social customer care is so important to brands wanting to increase audience awareness. It’s all about engagement.

For example, Seamless does a wonderful job of not only responding, but showing customer care is priority. Through the right social media monitoring tools, you can find instances across all your channels to interact, respond and gauge customer service inquiries.Designating teams to specific tasks can help your staff run like a well-oiled social media team, whether you’re a group of one or 100. For SEO Services in London visit here

Post at the Best Times to Engage

When is your brand available to engage and interact with customers? You might see some recommending times to post late in the evening. But if your brand isn’t there to communicate, what’s the point of posting at the preferred time?

Instead, try to ensure your social media or community managers are available and ready to answer any product questions or concerns when you tweet or post. It’s smart to learn the best times to post on social media, but it’s just as critical to engage after posting.

According to our Index, a brand’s average response time is around 10 hours. But did you know that most users believe brands should respond to social media messages within four hours?

With all the updated algorithms, organic content has a tough time reaching the majority of your audience. The last thing you want to do is ignore those who engage and lose out on sending more down your marketing funnel.

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Create Amazing Audience for Your Ads

Whether you’re building your seed audience or you just want to grow your current one, contests and giveaways are a great marketing tool. Get out there, launch a contest and start raking in those leads, customers, social followers, and custom actions. 🙂

Hopefully, at this point, you have a few ideas on what type of contest you could run with your business, or even what you might be able to give away to attract your ideal audience. You should also have a huge list of ideas on how to market the contest and the exact steps to start with Facebook ads

A data-driven testing strategy is the only way to accurately, purposefully grow ROI. It’s not so much growth hacking as growth crafting. Build your audience by setting precise goals, testing tactics, and spotting what pushes the needle. It sounds less exciting than “hacking,” but it actually enables you to be more aggressive and confident in your strategy. For Digital Marketing Companies Check Vivid Digital

Some of the ways to build audiences for your ads sustainably are shown below :

1. Go where your people are

Beats’ top objective for its Super Bowl campaign in 2017 was to maximize reach without breaking the bank. To help identify the best media mix to achieve this goal, Beats and PMG started by taking a close look at the trends behind how live sports videos are viewed.

“We’ve seen a fundamental shift in how live sports content is consumed,” Hwang said. “Each and every day, more and more consumers cut the cord on sports and switch to various digital streaming options instead.”

When it comes to watching Super Bowl ads they may have missed, YouTube is where most viewers turn. “This insight led us to make YouTube our MVP for the Super Bowl moment, and amplify with posts on other social platforms,” Hwang continued.

2. Select Channels to Target Based on Those Personas

Using your descriptive customer profile as a starting point, choose channels for your ads that your customer would encounter and engage with during the course of his or her day.

Every channel requires a different strategy, so it’s important to select which channel you’re targeting before crafting your ads. Targeting a relevant channel is what fills your audience with the right kind of people—the people who are likely to become your loyal advocates.

When you consider that 96% of B2C companies choose Facebook as their main social media platform and 93% of B2B companies choose LinkedIn, you can see how critical platform choice can be for getting in front of the right people.

3. Leverage Platforms to Grow Audiences Further

SEO tools allow you to examine your audience’s search habits and connect more directly with them. Use these tools to find out what interests your audience, and then let that knowledge power your advertising.

Google Keyword Planner is a great example. Google’s massive store of data is at your fingertips—use it to discover precisely what your audience is looking for, and deliver it back to them in the form of meaningful keywords. Use Keyword Planner in conjunction with Google’s other audience-building tools (like AdWords and Google Analytics) to test and measure how keywords are performing with your chosen personas.

When you pair this knowledge with the right channels, you’ll start carving the internet into your own personal showroom. For SEO Agency in Hyderabad 

4. Plan ahead so you can be nimble as a quarterback during the game itself

When time is of the essence (as it is with any live event), having scenario plans is key. No matter if it was going to be a win or a loss, having Tom Brady in the Super Bowl was an opportune moment for Beats to have a timely reaction. The faster they could react, the better. But fast reactions in the moment require plenty of pre-game preparation.

As Hwang put it, “You can never predict the outcome with live sports, but you can always build out various game plans to be ready no matter what happens. Had several social posting plans prepared so they could pivot our execution a number of different ways in real-time to match what just happened in the game, ready for anything, but got lucky. Serendipitously for both Brady and Beats, we got to activate our social posting strategy for the most exciting scenario could have hoped for—the scenario of Tom Brady leading the Patriots to victory, with the biggest Super Bowl comeback in history.”

5. Create a Super Audience

Once you’ve mastered the science of creating lookalike audiences, you can level up by layering interests to create a super audience. You’ve proven that certain ideas work well for a particular group of people, so now you can hone in further by testing additional interests that might turn already hot leads into loyal advocates.

For one Ladder client, they created a persona targeting people who loved using discounts. By targeting this persona, we built a list of 1,000 emails, fed it to Facebook, and created a lookalike audience of deal lovers. We then layered the “deal-loving” interest on top of that lookalike audience to build a super audience. It earned us record-breaking acquisition numbers.

Once you’ve located an audience ripe for your ads, play with your lookalikes. Experiment with how specific the interests should be, test out a new ad on 5% or 10% of your audience, and see what happens.

Building a data-driven customer acquisition strategy is not magic—it’s better. It allows you to know exactly how and why your audience-building actions are working. Every part of your strategy, from landing pages to welcome emails, can be fine-tuned for success.

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How To Choose Credential Evaluation Service

There are roughly 195 countries in the world, and only about 53 of them list English as an official language. Many people speak English as a second language–and for many it is their third or fourth!

No matter their first language, people around the world strive to better themselves through education. They might migrate to different countries and even continents in pursuit of a great education. The United States offers the biggest education market in the world, and therefore draws a huge number of international students from all over the world. This diversity of applicants and their respective education systems necessitates a common ground for evaluating educational credentials. Check for Credential Evaluations in UT Evaluators

This is where credential evaluators play a part. They work according to a well-formulated ethical standard in the field of foreign educational evaluation in order to serve people who have completed part or all of their education outside of the United States and who are seeking further education (or even professional licensure or employment in the USA). There is no government agency that particularly monitors these foreign credential evaluation services, therefore most of them are certified, recognized or affiliated with various boards and associations.

Affiliation with a selective association is an important indication of the quality of a credential evaluation service and an assurance that the evaluations it performs will be reliable. It is important to note that many universities have their own credential evaluation department which independently carries out their own evaluation of documents, and that these universities may not accept credential evaluations from other evaluators, even if they are part of recognized associations.

Choosing a foreign educational credential evaluation service is similar to choosing other professional service providers.

Questions to ask when choosing a credential evaluation agency

  • The first and most important question is: Is the credential evaluator a member of any of the following associations? It’s important to note that the U.S. Department of State recognizes only AICE and NACES as member organizations which credit evaluation can be requested.
    • National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
    • Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)
    • American Evaluation Association (AEA)
    • European Association of International Education (EAIE)
    • American Translation Association (ATA)
    • NAFSA: Association of International Educators (NAFSA)
    • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
    • America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc. (AMIDEAST)
  • Does the evaluator offer the type of credential evaluation required for the pertaining course and/or documents?
  • Are the credential evaluation reports presented in the necessary format for the intended purpose?
  • How competent are the fees for these credential evaluation reports?
  • What is the average time taken for these credential evaluation reports? What kind of rush period/emergency policies does the credential evaluation agency have?
  • Credential evaluators on an average may take anywhere between one to four weeks to issue an evaluation report.
  • Does the credential evaluation agency have a quick and efficient setup for answering customer queries?
  • Is the credential evaluator able to provide genuine client references/reviews? How good and reliable are they?
  • How long does the credential evaluation agency keep their records?
  • Is it possible to obtain more copies of the credential evaluation from the evaluator if needed in the future and what is the procedure to obtain the same?
  • How long has the credential evaluation agency been in this business?
  • What is their refund policy in case of withdrawal of the evaluation application?
  • Can the type of evaluation request be changed once placed? What sort of penalties apply?
  • What policy does the credential evaluation agency have to handle disputes?

The internet has made this process a lot easier, as most credential evaluation associations provide a list of credential evaluators affiliated with them on their site. Additionally, the websites of these credential evaluators often list the details necessary for choosing an appropriate credential evaluator. Some of the most commonly used evaluators in the United States include International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF), Academic Evaluation Services (AES), World Education Service (WES), Educational Credential Evaluators, and Inc. (ECE).

Customer satisfaction is held in high priority by most well acclaimed credential evaluators. If a student disagrees with an outcome of a credential evaluation, or seeks any sort of clarification, these credential evaluators oblige by providing responses with explanations entailing methods, procedures and other considerations involved into the credential evaluation process.

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(Deliberate) practice makes perfect: how to become an expert in anything

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The human race is out-doing itself.

We’re faster, smarter, stronger, more emotionally-intelligent and artistically-gifted than ever before.

Take a look at any profession in the world today.

From music to maths to track running, the previously-impossible is being achieved every day.

Where does this continuous, steep upswing in the standards of excellence come from?

No, there hasn’t been a surge of extraordinarily talented people being born.

The myths of mastery How long does it take to become a master of your craft? Is talent something you’re born with, or something you acquire through learning? And what do highly-skilled people do differently from the rest of us mortals? Researchers have been searching for answers to these questions for decades. And recently, they made a surprising discovery.

The crème de la crème — or ‘expert performers’, as they’re officially known — all have something in common.

(And it’s not 10,000 hours.)

Debunking 10,000 hours In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he pinpoints 10,000 as the ‘magic number’ of hours a person needs to devote to their craft to become an expert.

He cites people like Bill Gates and the Beatles, who famously invested vast amounts of time to sharpening their skill-set.

His theory is based on the research of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology who has pioneered the study and science of peak performance.

But Ericsson does not entirely agree with Gladwell’s conclusions. In fact, he calls them:

“… a popularised but simplistic view of our work … which suggests that anyone who has accumulated a sufficient number of hours of practice in a given domain will automatically become an expert and a champion.” According to Ericsson, becoming an expert in something isn’t just a matter of clocking up thousands of hours. What distinguishes a virtuoso violinist or an Olympic athlete from the rest of us is how they spend these hours.

Enter deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice is focused, consistent, goal-oriented training. It favours quality over quantity. It knows not all practice is created equal. Natural talent is overrated

There’s a common assumption that talent is something we are, or aren’t, born with.

But Ericsson believes that genetics play less of a role than we think.

Take Mozart. Almost anyone would consider him to be a musical genius. But according to Ericsson,

“If you compare the kind of music pieces that Mozart play at various ages to today’s Suzuki-trained children, he is not exceptional. If anything, he’s relatively average.” He claims that Mozart achieved mastery not due to inherited talent, but because he practiced long and hard from a very young age. For website design company visit Vivid Designs

“The belief that one’s abilities are limited by one’s genetically prescribed characteristics….manifests itself in all sorts of ‘I can’t’ or ‘I’m not’ statements.” So is a conviction that we lack the necessary talent the only factor holding us back from being the next Steve Jobs?

Not quite.

There is significant evidence to show that working memory is heritable, and that cognitive ability as a child plays a role in adult achievement.

But no matter a person’s genetics, expertise can’t be built without working hard — and smart — over many years.

Why regular practice isn’t enough Typically, repeated practice takes us up to a medium level of success. After an initial spike, progress stalls, plateaus — then grinds to a halt.

Because when you reach an average level of competence, your ability stops being a work-in-progress and starts being a reflex.

That’s why repeating a skill regularly over many years alone — cooking, driving, exercising — doesn’t lead to expertise.

You’re maintaining a skill, not building on it.

And for most areas in our lives, a baseline level of skill is enough. But if we want to truly excel, we have to push past this complacency and out of our comfort zone.

People who continually improve never slump into auto-pilot.

Instead, they keep taking apart the pieces of their skill and putting them back together to create something better.

Rather than treading water, they take their practice to the edge of their ability, and then step (or leap) beyond it.

The five-hour rule Author and entrepreneur Michael Simmons discovered a common denominator that ties in with Ericsson’s research.

Simmons refers to this as the ‘five-hour rule’: one hour, each weekday, devoted to highly-concentrated learning.

And it’s these consistent, intense bursts of effort that sets them — and other highly-accomplished people throughout history — apart.

Benjamin Franklin kept a strict daily schedule and set aside time for focused learning, reflection and reading. He tracked his progress and set small goals. Theodore Roosevelt devoted a couple of hours each day to intense study, a habit he started at university and continued into his US presidency. Elon Musk is known for his deep commitment to learning and self-improvement, and often reads two books a day. Sounds a bit more manageable than the 10,000 hour rule, doesn’t it?

But it’s not always easy.

Deliberate practice makes perfect Performing skills you already know is satisfying — but this won’t enhance your skill level.

So, deliberate practice isn’t just about continued repetition.

It’s structured. It’s thoughtful. It’s strategic.

You aren’t just mindlessly practicing. You’re intensely engaged. You’re teetering on the edge of what you are and aren’t capable of doing.

It shouldn’t feel comfortable.

Like a rubber band, you’re constantly stretching yourself to your outer limits. There needs to be constant pressure and impetus for change.

And if you aren’t clearly moving forward with one technique, you go back to the drawing board.

In other words, if you achieved something yesterday, you must do more than achieve it again today.

There’s no standstill.

That’s how growth happens.

Deliberate practice in 4 steps Developing proficiency in any skill is not always fun, or even enjoyable.

I’ve learnt this firsthand over the 12 years (and counting) it took me to build my company, JotForm.

I’ve been with my product, fed up with myself and fed up with grappling with yet another issue.

What’s made me hang in is visualizing where the time I spend developing a new or greater understanding will take me.

And by listening to my resistance instead of fighting it, I was able to grow JotForm to almost 4 million users without any outside funding.

Still, to push through these feelings, day in, day out, you’re going to need to build smart systems to support you.

Here’s how to get the ball rolling.

1. Set small goals You need to keep your eyes firmly on the prize to keep up momentum.

That’s why wishy washy goals like ‘getting better’ won’t be compelling enough to propel you past your current abilities — on their own, at least.

And as I’ve written before, lofty goals will intimidate — and throw you off track.

The alternative? Bite-sized, clearly-defined, achievable steps in the right direction.

Small goals are foundation of deliberate practice. They should take into account your current knowledge and push your limits, little by little, towards meaningful change.

This means distilling your general, long-term goal — improvement — into a series of concrete building blocks.

Long-term goal: become an expert runner

Medium goal: run the 2019 marathon

Small steps to get there: reduce your running time by 5 minutes every week.Web development

Identify main areas for change. Write them down. Make a checklist. Rooting goals in specificity will encourage action. Once you have a clear system in place, everything else will slot into place. Web designing services in Mumbai

2. Be consistent Prolonged, sustained effort is often uncomfortable or frustrating. And that’s the whole point.

Deliberate practice isn’t necessarily enjoyable: you’ll need to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term success.

This dilemma applies to most things in everyday life. Take me as an example.

When people ask me how I was able to grow JotForm to a company of 110 employees without any investment, many of them want me to talk about passion or tell inspiring stories.

The truth is, I’ve never been super passionate about building forms. I didn’t follow my dreams.

I just showed up and put in the boring work every single day over the last 12 years while I watched countless competitors enter & leave our market.

It wasn’t always fun, especially when you try to build your startup in one of the most competitive industries around: online forms. Even Google Forms stepped into the ring and remains one of our toughest competitors.

But it’s pushing through this frustration that leads to significant improvement. It’s getting on with it especially when you’re too tired and can’t be bothered.

Deliberate practice is only effective because of its regularity.

So commit to your hour per day, and protect it at all costs. Soon, action will become habit and there will be no decision left to make. That’s where the magic happens.

3. Track and measure To progress in any area, you need to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses to identify problems and solutions.

How many stories are you publishing per week? How many miles are you running? Be methodical, and keep track of your progress everyday.

It’s also crucial to seek out regular feedback: from existing experts and peers as well as through self-assessment. An honest perspective is essential for gaining a realistic view of your progress.

Write it down. Record it. Measure it. Repeat.

4. Recharge Deliberate practice requires your full, undivided, 1000% attention. That’s why it can only be sustained for short periods.

Experts have capped optimal practice time at one hour per day, three-to-five days a week, with reduced benefits after two hours.

So keep it short and sweet, however tempting it might be to push on when you feel like you’re nailing it. Set an alarm, and be strict on yourself to duck out when the hour is up.

Why? You need to recharge.

Extreme focus is a tough mental workout, and you’ll only feel its benefits if you give yourself time to recover. Counteract the intensity of deliberate practice by doing nothing at all.

Your body, and your brain, will thank you.

Small goals are foundation of deliberate practice. They should take into account your current knowledge and push your limits, little by little, towards meaningful change. This means distilling your general, long-term goal — improvement — into a series of concrete building blocks.

Long-term goal: become an expert runner

Medium goal: run the 2019 marathon

Small steps to get there: reduce your running time by 5 minutes every week.

Identify main areas for change. Write them down. Make a checklist. Rooting goals in specificity will encourage action. Once you have a clear system in place, everything else will slot into place.

Prolonged, sustained effort is often uncomfortable or frustrating. And that’s the whole point.

Deliberate practice isn’t necessarily enjoyable: you’ll need to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term success.

This dilemma applies to most things in everyday life. Take me as an example.

When people ask me how I was able to grow JotForm to a company of 110 employees without any investment, many of them want me to talk about passion or tell inspiring stories.

The truth is, I’ve never been super passionate about building forms. I didn’t follow my dreams.

I just showed up and put in the boring work every single day over the last 12 years while I watched countless competitors enter & leave our market.

It wasn’t always fun, especially when you try to build your startup in one of the most competitive industries around: online forms. Even Google Forms stepped into the ring and remains one of our toughest competitors.

But it’s pushing through this frustration that leads to significant improvement. It’s getting on with it especially when you’re too tired and can’t be bothered.

Deliberate practice is only effective because of its regularity.

So commit to your hour per day, and protect it at all costs. Soon, action will become habit and there will be no decision left to make. That’s where the magic happens.

To progress in any area, you need to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses to identify problems and solutions.

How many stories are you publishing per week? How many miles are you running? Be methodical, and keep track of your progress everyday.

It’s also crucial to seek out regular feedback: from existing experts and peers as well as through self-assessment. An honest perspective is essential for gaining a realistic view of your progress.

Write it down. Record it. Measure it. Repeat.

Deliberate practice requires your full, undivided, 1000% attention. That’s why it can only be sustained for short periods.

Experts have capped optimal practice time at one hour per day, three-to-five days a week, with reduced benefits after two hours.

So keep it short and sweet, however tempting it might be to push on when you feel like you’re nailing it. Set an alarm, and be strict on yourself to duck out when the hour is up.

Why? You need to recharge.

Extreme focus is a tough mental workout, and you’ll only feel its benefits if you give yourself time to recover. Counteract the intensity of deliberate practice by doing nothing at all.

Your body, and your brain, will thank you.

Source

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Migrating from PHP to Node.js

Matt Quinn

I’ve been developing web apps in PHP for years but recently have been building more iOS apps. When I move back to web development I really miss the elegance of Objective-C and it’s MVC structure. I was able to find a similar structure for my client side JavaScript but my server side code was left to the confines of my comfort zone and PHP. The great thing about PHP is its ubiquity and low barrier of entry. You can get a web app up and working in almost no time however the code itself can quickly devolve to a mountain of spaghetti code. After almost every job I do using PHP I tell myself it’s time to start working smarter. I’ll then start investigating new frameworks for PHP and think about jumping ship completely to new stack that uses Java, Ruby or Python. I’ll start tinkering with the new approach and build out simple apps. What inevitably happens though is a new job comes in and I resort back to my domain knowledge of PHP. This is partially due to me, but at the same time its problem of the platform I’m trying to learn. I’ve found the entry points to make solid apps using other languages much higher than I did with PHP. This is partially why PHP is such a monster in the industry and why Rails and Django are typically relegated to the purists.

On top of all the popular alternatives to PHP there is a relatively new kid on the block called Node.js. When I started tinkering with Node a few years back it was refreshing to lean on the JavaScript knowledge I had to create server side code. However Node never seemed like it would be a realistic competitor to the big languages when it came to writing complete server side code; it was just too new and unproven.

Recently I took another look into using Node as my primary server side language and I was blown away with it’s progress and community. It has matured enough to be used as a essential tool for any web developer, but especially for UI/front-end developers. It was time to dig into Node again and see if it would break me away from PHP once and for all.

Node 101 Getting Node up and running on my MacBook was as simple as you could hope. Here is how the OSX install looks:

After that you’re ready to run JavaScript code on your server. The Node ‘Hello World’ app shows the basic code structure while at the same time illustrates that it’s a very capable web server. With only 2 lines in the terminal you’ll have all the power of JavaScript at your disposal and a web server to boot. Try it out, open a text editor and put in this code:

Save your file as app.js and from the terminal run:

Load up your browser and goto http://localhost:1337 and voila!

This gets you to where you might ask, “ok, now what?” At least that’s what I did when I first gave it a crack. I didn’t know or understand how to apply any of my existing knowledge on how to build out a real proper web app from this example.

NPM Node gets really powerful when you start adding to it. The Node Package Manager* or NPM is included with the install of Node. The community has created some invaluable apps, tools, frameworks and middleware to help UI developers focus on the key tasks at hand; making great user experiences. If you are experienced with composer when building your PHP web apps then using NPM won’t be much of a reach for you. There are some great sites out there to help with understanding the ins and outs of NPM so I’ll just mention a couple of key things. NPM uses a file called package.json to outline the metadata of your app and most importantly your web app software dependancies. You can edit this file manually and fill in the dependencies on your own just like you would with composer’s composer.json file. You can also install packages from the command line like so:  If you are looking for website design for your project visit Vivid Designs

npm install <package_name> –save I typically add the ‘— save’ option so the package gets added to the dependency list in my package.json file.

Beyond your web app, NPM houses some really great server side apps that you will want to use to make your life easier. You can install packages within your local app directory or you can choose to install packages globally on your system. Installing them globally will give you access to the package from the command line (you will have to add the NPM bin folder to your terminal’s PATH). Installing a package globally looks like this:

npm install -g <package_name> After learning how to manage packages there are some essential ones you’ll want to install before getting your feet wet with Node.

Building and Porting Websites I haven’t been playing with Node for too long but I have come across some essential things to get me moving in the right direction. Here are a selection of the ones I found most helpful.

Express Perhaps the single most important component of building successful web apps in Node is Express. It’s a middleware package that builds on the foundations of Node by adding some all important structure to building web apps with it. Node itself delegates a lot of the web server responsibility to the programmer. Express builds upon a middleware package called Connect that fills in this gap so developers don’t have to worry about the little details of parsing input and serving pages. On top of that Express provides a very nice framework for a developer to follow and create rich and sustainable code upon. Express has become the de-facto standard for building web apps in Node. I won’t be building a web app without it. There is a fantastic guide over at ExpressJS.com to get going: http://expressjs.com/guide.html

Note: I was informed that there is a new framework being built by the Express team called KoaJS. Definitely worth checking out: http://koajs.com/ Thanks @jeswin!

On the Express homepage there is a link to a very helpful book as well. It’ll run you through a very in depth overview of Node and builds up towards making web apps using Express. I found it very helpful in understanding the barebones of Node before jumping into Express. Have a look: http://www.manning.com/cantelon/

Nodemon Running and testing a Node app is quite a lot different than building one in PHP. Typically with PHP you hack through some code and then head over to the browser and refresh. Every now and then you might need to modify the Apache config and restart the web server. The process in Node is quite a lot different. Since the web server and application are bundled into one tight little package, changing the code meant having to restart the whole web app; which also meant restarting the web server. When I was learning how to build the basics it seemed like there was an endless amount of killing the process, hitting the up arrow to goto my last command and then hitting enter to restart the app ([Ctrl+C][Up][Enter] cycle). This quickly became a giant pain in the ass. For people to make meaningful work in Node this had to improve. Fortunately this is where Nodemon comes to the rescue. Install Nodemon using NPM globally and instead of starting your app using:

node app.js us the following:

nodemon app.js This app will monitor changes in the code and automatically restart Node for you. Very straightforward and very essential. Have a look at the git repo for more details: https://github.com/remy/nodemon

Swig When I built PHP web apps my template engine of choice was Twig from the good folks at SensioLabs. It was a component of the Symfony framework and made putting together front end HTML a breeze. Twig was an essential tool for me and if I was going to port any of my existing projects to Node, I had to re-use the view templates I already had. Swig made this transition incredibly simple. Almost every part of Twig that I used was available in Swig. I had to make a couple minor modifications to the template code, but overall it was ready out of the box. It’s completely compatible with Express and has a very helpful guide to getting going here: http://paularmstrong.github.io/swig/docs/.

There is a direct port of Twig to Node but unfortunately that project has stalled. Swig is very actively updated so I opted to use it going forward.

Note: I assume others might find this helpful given Twig is one of the most popular template engines in PHP. Beyond Swig there are numerous template engines available for Node. All of the popular ones have the same or similar functionality; it’s just about syntax differences for the most part.

MySQL for Node When you read about Node most of the time it’s paired with a NoSQL type databases like MongoDB. Going forward I will most likely use Mongo simply due to the amazing Mongoose middleware. It makes model management within web apps incredibly straightforward. However, given that I have a few legacy projects to manage and port over, I want to keep as much in place as I could. This meant keeping my existing MySQL schemas and data in place. There are a few MySQL packages available but I found the one by felixge incredibly full featured. Have a look here for more information and usage: https://github.com/felixge/node-mysql

PassportJS Almost all web apps these days has some sort of connectivity with third party APIs. To authenticate with these services has its challenges. Fortunately there are numerous packages available in PHP to make accessing these APIs straightforward. With Node you really only need to concern yourself with PassportJS. It’s an Express compatible package that allows you to authenticate just about anywhere on the web. You can even use it to authenticate your own local login and manage sessions if need be. I found this tool invaluable when authenticating with other services like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. From the software’s wiki, it says it can authenticate with 140 different services. A must have for any web app developer. Have a look at the details here: http://passportjs.org/guide/

Starting the engines After understanding the Node fundamentals and getting familiar with the new stack I was ready to jump in and start creating apps. It took about a day or so to read through the NodeJS in Action book and work through a few examples using Express. With a basic understanding with how the mechanics worked, the next task was getting one of my old projects ported over. For a small to medium sized multilingual site the porting process took about 2-3 days to do. The speed at which I port sites would no doubt increase as I become more familiar with the process and structures of Node and Express. Here are a couple things that are worthy notes for others moving from PHP. Best web design company in Hyderabad

Synchronous vs Asynchronous One of the biggest changes I had to wrap my head around was converting my synchronous PHP code into asynchronous JavaScript code. Since Node is built on a single thread non-blocking event loop system, any action you do won’t wait for a blocking action to return before executing the next line of code. All lines of code are executed immediately one after the other. The idea that the requested data will be available on the next line of code is not a guarantee. This is where your front-end JavaScript experience will help. Just like the client side, events are handled via callback functions and the same goes for Javascript code on the server. To create synchronous code using JavaScript you’ll need to nest your sequence of events in callbacks. Here is an example:

Just what you would expect. PHP will execute and wait for a result of the first query and then use the data received in the second. In Node you would have to nest the queries via the completion callbacks like so:

You might think that this type of code will grow to be absolutely unwieldily when you have a lot synchronous code to execute, and you’re right it does. Using promises solves this “Pyramid of Doom” problem. I won’t go into promises in this article but there is a great package for Node called Q and it gives you an idea of how promises will clean this up. Have a look here: http://documentup.com/kriskowal/q/

Bugs are really bad Since Node is a single thread system it’s important to keep in mind that when your code has an uncaught exception it will bring down Node for everyone not just the person who caused the crash. This is different than PHP and Apache/Nginx because the thread that handled the request dies, not the entire web server process. In a dev environment this is totally fine and probably the encouraged so you can properly catch and fix issues. However in the production environment this can be very disruptive since your web app will be taken down for all users visiting your site. The way around this is to create a listener for all uncaught exceptions and to handle them gracefully (see note below). The code looks like this:

This will ensure your app stays up even when the unexpected happens.

Note: I’ve read a little deeper into this issue and it appears that handling uncaught exceptions this way isn’t ideal. Using domains appears to be the better solution. Read about it in the Node API docs. Another option would be to use a tool like forever to start the app with. It will automatically restart the server when the unexpected happens.

Rewrite Rules One of the powerful parts of web app development is the ability to rewrite messy URLs into nice clean ones. This makes search engines happy and makes your users even happier. With PHP it didn’t care what the URLs looked like, it just wanted input to work with. The re-writing of the URLs was managed by Apache (or Nginx). When using Node to build web apps, Express’ route mapping is the special sauce to directing requests. I found managing routes through my server side app code a very welcome change. After getting comfortable with this idea you’ll never want to write another routing rule through your <VirtualHost> entry ever again. Here is a small example:

RewriteRule ^/blog/([A-Za-z-]+)$ /blog/entry.php?slug=$1 Using Express’ route mapping:

app.get( ‘/blog/:slug([A-Za-z-]+)’, blogController.entry ); No more running around managing request route mapping between your web server and your web app code. <Applause>.

Running multiple Node sites on one server* Since Node is both a processor of code and a web server built into one, it presents a challenge when running multiple sites in a single environment. Running a Node web server requires you to select a port to run requests through. Once you run a site on port 80, you can’t map a second site to the same port. One might just tell you to get a new VPS for each website given they are so affordable these days however in a lot of cases a single VPS is complete overkill for one site. In these cases you can choose to run a standard web server like Apache or Nginx and pass the requests through to Node via proxy. I opted to proxy using Apache rewrites because I use them so often. Here is what an example <VirtualHost> entry looks like:

You can also choose a pure JavaScript approach by using the Node-Http-Proxy package. Use what makes sense for you.

*Note: I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on this topic and most are saying that using Nginx isn’t as big of a bottleneck as I originally made out and in some ways using it as a proxy will help more than it’ll hinder. My point was supposed to be about getting multiple node instances running in the same environment so I’ve re-written this point to be more helpful. I’ll leave the performance debate for the community as I haven’t tested much in a busy production environment. Thx Reddit!

Seek and you shall find One of the most exciting parts about programming with Node is the community that surrounds it. There is such much happening in the space and it’s happening very quickly. When I was porting my first site over I would run into a snag and ask “How do I do this in Node?” I would simply google whatever my problem was and sure enough within seconds I would have answers. I never came across a deal breaker problem that just wasn’t easily solvable using Node. It’s a testament to the progress it’s made. If you run into a problem, just google it, no doubt someone has a solution.

Wrap Up After spending about 3-4 days with Node and its counterparts I was completely blown away with how easy it was to get running and most importantly how easy it was to get to work making things. The barrier of entry for developing web apps using Node is still not as low as PHPs but it’s pretty close! Even saying that, the value you get from understanding package managers and MVC frameworks are essential to be a modern day web developer. Those two concepts are probably the only things keeping Node+Express’s barrier of entry higher than PHP’s. Node+Express force you to learn these concepts before you can get cooking and that is a really good thing for a developer and the code they write.

Finally, I think its important to understand why writing server side code in JavaScript is such a great thing for a web developer and specifically the UI/Front-end web developer.

Full Control Most UI web developers already have an intimate knowledge of JavaScript and it’s nuances. Taking advantage of this knowledge when preparing server side code increases productivity. In addition, my experience tells me business logic/back end developers typically loath putting the UI code together for building web sites. They would rather focus on the engineering of the core functions of the app. Creating apps using Node allows the UI developer to take over the UI portion of the server side app. The business logic can be completely separated from the UI and accessed through API calls. Separating the back-end from the front-end allows each developer choose the stack they want to work with to get their job done.

There is a great article that goes into more detail about the idea and I couldn’t recommend it more: http://www.nczonline.net/blog/2013/10/07/node-js-and-the-new-web-front-end/

Given this recent experience I have committed to moving all future projects to Node (where possible) and committing to a full JavaScript stack for UI development. It’s been an essential language for building amazing user experiences and now it can be fully leveraged to make great server side code as well. I honestly believe it will become the dominate language for building front-end web app code going forward. I applaud and thank the community of developers who put their hard work into making these amazing tools so guys like me can use them to make great web sites.

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