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Venus Williams loses, Andy Murray advances at Australian Open

first_imgVenus Williams tried to rally, winning two games and getting another break-point chance after falling a set and 5-0 behind, before her 16th trip to the Australian Open finished in a first-round loss to Johanna Konta.The 35-year-old, seven-time major winner trudged off Rod Laver Arena, waving to the crowd at 1:55 p.m. on the second day of the tournament following a surprising 6-4, 6-2 loss to the No. 47-ranked Konta, a Sydney-born British player who was making her debut in the main draw at the Australian Open after losing twice previously in qualifying.Andy Murray opened with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 win over Alexander Zverev, sand remains very much a round-by-round proposition at Melbourne Park, where he has lost the final four times. He had Amelie Mauresmo, a new mother, back in his coaching corner for the match and was happy not to get any mid-match news from home. He has said he’ll leave immediately, regardless of the stage of the tournament, if his wife, Kim, goes into labor in London with their first child.”I’m more excited than nervous now,” Murray said of the pending arrival. “I don’t have any news because I’ve just come off the court. I’m hoping my phone hasn’t been buzzing in my bag. But Kim will message my team if anything’s going on during the matches, and I’ll see what happens.”Williams had a career comeback last season, winning three titles, finding some consistency after a long struggle with illness and finishing the year in the top 10 for the first time since 2010. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian and US Opens – the first and last majors of the year.advertisementIn 2016, she’s 0-2 after also losing in a warmup tournament at Auckland, New Zealand.It was the eighth time she’s lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament and the third in Australia, where she reached the quarterfinals in her first appearance in 1998 and lost the final to her youngest sister, Serena, in 2003.Konta was really going for her groundstrokes in a high-risk, high-reward approach that kept Williams, who had wrapping on her left leg, on the defensive.”When the draw came out and I saw who I was playing I was like ‘Well, ok, I just hope to stay out there more than an hour,'” Konta said in a post-match TV interview, apparently as surprised as anyone after her straight sets win over the No. 8-seeded Williams.No. 3 Garbine Muguruza needed exactly an hour to beat Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit 6-0, 6-4, No. 11 Timea Bacsinszky advanced over Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 7-5 and No. 15 Madison Keys, a semifinalist here last year, had to save set points in the first before beating Zarina Diyas 7-6 (5), 6-1.No. 18 Elina Svitolina, No. 19 Jelena Jankovic and No. 21 Ekaterina Makarova, who beat Venus Williams in the first round here in 2014, also advanced.On the men’s side, No. 13 Milos Raonic followed up his win over Roger Federer in the final of the Brisbane International tune-up event with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Lucas Pouille, No. 18 Feliciano Lopez beat Daniel Evans 6-1, 6-0, 6-4 and No. 32 Joao Sousa beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.No. 5 Rafael Nadal was playing fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in a rematch of the epic semifinal here in 2009.last_img read more

Glassdoor’s Top 25 Universities To Work For (2013)

first_imgWith colleges and universities back in full swing this fall, various reports have ranked what it is like to attend schools across the country, but school isn’t back in session just for students – university employees are back to work, too. In its third annual report, Glassdoor is revealing the Top 25 Universities to Work For (2013), offering an inside look into what it’s really like to work for some of the largest universities and colleges across the nation, entirely based on employee feedback over the past year.In addition, Glassdoor is showcasing its annual University & College Report Card, shedding light into how more than 100 of the nation’s colleges and universities compare by employee satisfaction and by president/chancellor approval ratings.Texas Tech on Top: Highest Rated UniversitiesThis year, the state of Texas takes top honors with six Texas-based universities cracking the Top 25 including the #1 university to work for, Texas Tech, with its 4.4 (very satisfied) rating. Carnegie Mellon University (4.3) ranks #2, up from #5 on last year’s report, followed by Brigham Young University (4.3), last year’s #1 university, University of Texas at Austin (4.3) and Iowa State University (4.3). Ratings based on a 5-point scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied.Employees at the top three share what it is like to work for highly-rated universities:“The people there are very laid back. The campus is beautiful. The pay is competitive with other universities. You are free to do your own thing, just be ready at the deadline.” – Texas Tech Instructor (Lubbock, TX)“Strong work/life balance, staff is engaged and in and proud of the CMU environment and reputation, ability to attract talented staff, strong focus professional development, nice campus.” – Carnegie Mellon University IT Manager (Pittsburgh, PA)“They are always willing to work with you when special circumstances arise. Offer consistent raises. They have a high-integrity work policy. Honesty is expected always, and dishonesty is not tolerated. Great hardware and software to work with. Always up to date with the technology and processes. Always moving forward and looking to improve.” – Brigham Young University (BYU) Accounting Clerk (Provo, UT)A Perfect Score for Florida State’s Eric Barron: President & Chancellor Approval RatingsRanking #9 among the Top 25, Florida State University’s Eric J. Barron comes in with a perfect score according to employees with a 100% approval rating. University of Michigan’s Mary Sue Coleman ranks #2 with a 97% approval rating, followed by Notre Dame’s Rev. John I. Jenkins and University of Southern California’s C. L. Max Nikias in a tie for third with 96% approval ratings, respectively.Two Ivy Leagues Crack the Top 25While Ivy League universities are often ranked as top schools to attend, just two crack the Top 25 this year, both falling shy of the Top 10 and behind top schools like MIT (#7) and Stanford (#9). Cornell University comes in at #12 with a 4.2 rating (very satisfied) followed by Yale University (4.2) at #13.See this year’s Top 25:Check out this year’s complete results in Glassdoor’s University & College Report Card:Do you work at a college or university? Share a review and let others know what it’s like to work in higher education.last_img read more

​McCauley confident Leicester target Evans will stay at West Brom

first_imgGareth McCauley is confident his West Bromwich Albion teammate Jonny Evans will not depart the club.Evans was the subject of a £10m bid from Leicester City last week that was rejected by the Baggies.But McCauley – who is Evans’s centre-back partner for both club and country – believes that captain Darren Fletcher’s departure to Stoke means Evans is as an untouchable asset.”Jonny’s been linked but I don’t think they will sell. They will be looking to build a team around him,” said McCauley via Sky Sports.”Fletch was a big, big player for us on and off the pitch. He was our captain and I was a little disappointed he has moved on but people come and go in football all the time and I am sure the club will work hard to try and find a suitable replacement.”last_img read more

Ex-Udinese coach Iachini says Everton target Zapata ready for Premier League

first_imgFormer Udinese coach Giuseppe Iachini can see Duvan Zapata succeeding in England.Zapata played on-loan at Udinese last season from Napoli and his form has caught the eye of Everton chief Steve Walsh.Iachini told Sportitalia: “Things are going to happen for Zapata.”I think he is a good footballer. He is a physically strong striker, he could be in the Premier League in the future.”Everton have asked Napoli about a price for Zapata in the past week.last_img

Exciting Plans Underway: Young Champions of Maternal Health Change Summit to be Held in Delhi!

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on August 5, 2010November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Later this month, Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force will host the Young Champions of Maternal Health Change Summit in Delhi, India. The Change Summit will take place between August 29th and September 6th—and is being held in conjunction with the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010.The several-day event will bring together the Young Champions of Maternal Health (marking the beginning of their 9-month fellowships), the Changemakers prize winners, the Maternal Health Blog Contest winner, Ashoka Fellows, and numerous maternal health experts from around the world. The Young Champions will engage in a number of networking activities and training sessions.Summit highlights:Training through case-studies in innovation and problem solving for maternal healthTraining in “Telling Your Story” with traditional and social mediaNetworking lunch to introduce the Young Champions to leading experts in maternal healthSite visit to local maternal health projects in nearby communitiesThe Young Champions will also be attending sessions at the Global Maternal Health Conference—as well as presenting on a panel at the conference where they will share their winning innovative ideas for improving maternal health in communities around the world. Their panel presentation will take place on August 31st from 15:30 to 17:15 (Delhi time) and will be live-streamed.Stay tuned for blog posts from the Young Champions of Maternal Health as they embark on this journey to hone their skills in health innovation and develop the next generation of ideas for improving global maternal health!Share this:last_img read more

New Project Links Facebook+SMS in Support of Maternal Health in Crises Settings

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on April 21, 2011June 20, 2017By: Mari Tikkanen, Managing Director, Marketing for International Development Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The following post is contributed by Mari Tikkanen, Managing Director of Marketing for International Development (M4ID), which designed the platform for the Mama project with the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC). To read a blog post from the WRC on Mama, click here. This post also appears on M4ID’s blog and is posted here with permission.A new M4ID-designed Facebook and SMS communications initiative, Mama: Together for Safe Births in Crises, was launched today in New York by the Women’s Refugee Commission. The project addresses an important information gap for maternal health workers in emergencies, as identified by WRC research.Through Mama, health workers are now able to identify themselves as maternal health champions within humanitarian organizations or in the field and to join a community of practice. Maternal health practitioners will, though five innovative applications, be able to seek advice from fellow members, share best practices and lessons learned, assess their own practices/skills level and test their knowledge of the MISP (minimal initial service package). Mama also offers rewards through digital badges for actions taken as well as a ‘Lives Saved Counter’ application through which the community can register when they enabled a safe birth, showing the positive impact of their work.Mama is also an unprecedented initiative as it addresses the isolation faced by many health workers in the field through the use of new technology. For the first time, practitioners who may not have access to the Internet or smart phones will be able to send their questions/comments about maternal health to the Facebook community via SMS. This text message is posted to the Mama Facebook wall through a Facebook application. The other community members can reply to the question and the answer is sent as a text message back to the practioner. The answer is filtered by the community before it is sent back, and has to be recommended by three members before it is sent.The project also involves Mama Mentors who provide knowledge on technical updates and answer specific questions. The community will focus on different technical/programmatic themes each month and new mentors will be invited to join in and support discussions.We are very proud of this innovative project and look forward to providing continued support to Mama and WRC!Share this:last_img read more

Did you miss the April tax deadline? File NOW, even if you can’t pay

first_imgThis article has been reproduced with permission from the IRS. Subscribe to IRS tax tips here.While the federal income tax-filing deadline has passed for most people, there are some taxpayers who have not yet filed their tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service encourages them to file now, even if they can’t pay to avoid potential penalties and interest.There are many ways the IRS offers help to taxpayers facing this situation. The IRS offers these simple tips for handling some typical after-tax-day issues:For those who didn’t file by the April deadlineThere is no penalty for filing late if a refund is due. Penalties and interest only accrue on unfiled tax returns if taxes are not paid by April 15 — the tax filing deadline this year in most states. Because of local holidays, the deadline for taxpayers living in Maine or Massachusetts was April 17, 2019.Anyone who did not file and owes tax should file a tax return as soon as they can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest. IRS Free File is still available on through Oct. 15 to prepare and file returns electronically.Some taxpayers may have extra time to file their tax returns and pay any taxes due. Some disaster victims, military service members and eligible support personnel in combat zones, and U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico, have more time to file and pay what they owe.For taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year, the IRS provided penalty relief. This means that the IRS is now waiving the estimated tax penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 80 percent of their total tax liability during the year through federal income tax withholding, quarterly estimated tax payments, or a combination of the two.What happens to those who wait to file?Filing soon is especially important because the late-filing penalty and late-payment penalty on unpaid taxes adds up quickly under the law. Ordinarily, the failure-to-file penalty is 5 percent of the tax owed for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late; However, this penalty is reduced for any month where the failure to pay penalty also applies. The basic failure-to-pay penalty rate is generally 0.5 percent of unpaid tax owed for each month or part of a month. For more see if a return is filed more than 60 days after the April due date, the minimum penalty is either $210 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax — whichever is less. This means that if the tax due is $210 or less, the penalty is equal to the tax amount due. If the tax due is more than $210, the penalty is at least $210.In some instances, a taxpayer filing after the deadline may qualify for penalty relief. For those charged a penalty, they may contact the IRS and provide an explanation of why they were unable to file and/or pay by the due date.Additionally, taxpayers who have a history of filing and paying on time often qualify for penalty relief. A taxpayer will usually qualify if they have filed and paid timely for the past three years and meet other requirements. For more information, see the first-time penalty abatement page on taxes or need to make a payment?Taxpayers who owe taxes can view their balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply online for a payment plan, including an installment agreement. Before accessing their tax account online, users must authenticate their identity through the Secure Access process. Several other electronic payment options are available on They are secure and easy to use. Taxpayers paying electronically receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment. Also, with Direct Pay and the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), taxpayers can opt in to receive email notifications about their payments.”Where’s My Refund?”Taxpayers who are due a tax refund can track it at “Where’s My Refund?,” available on, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. To use this tool, taxpayers need the primary Social Security number on the tax return, the filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, etc.) and the expected refund amount. The tool updates once daily, usually overnight, so checking more frequently will not yield different results.Changing withholding?Because of the far-reaching tax changes that went into effect last year, the IRS urges all employees, including those with other sources of income, to perform a paycheck checkup. Doing so now will help avoid an unexpected year-end tax bill and possibly a penalty. The easiest way to do that is to use the Withholding Calculator, available on to fix an error on a tax return?After filing their return, taxpayers may discover that they made an error or omitted something. Usually an amended return is not necessary if a taxpayer makes a math error or neglects to attach a required form or schedule. Normally the IRS will correct the math error and notify the taxpayer by mail. Similarly, the agency will send a letter requesting any missing forms or schedules. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant — Should I File an Amended Return? — to see if they should file an amended return or make other changes.File an amended tax return to change the filing status or to correct income, deductions or credits shown on the originally-filed tax return. Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, must be filed by paper and is available on at any time. Those expecting a refund from their original return should wait until after they receive it to file the amended return.Then use “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool to track the status of an amended return. Normally, status updates are available starting three weeks after the amended return is filed. Allow up to 16 weeks for processing.Need help responding to an IRS notice or letter?An IRS notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give instructions on how to handle the issue. Most questions can be answered by visiting “Understanding Your Notice or IRS Letter” on Taxpayers can call the phone number provided in the notice if they still have questions. If the issue can’t be resolved with the IRS through normal channels, contact the local Taxpayer Advocate Service office or call 877-777-4778.Taxpayer Bill of RightsTaxpayers have fundamental rights under the law. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights presents these rights in 10 categories. These rights protect taxpayers when they interact with the IRS. Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, highlights these rights and the agency’s obligation to protect them.Watch out for scamsTaxpayers should remain vigilant year-round about tax-related scams. The IRS will never make an initial, unsolicited contact via email, text or social media on filing, payment or tax refund issues. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. Any email that appears to be from the IRS about a refund or tax problem is probably an attempt by scammers to steal personal or financial information. Forward the e-mail to read more

7 Tips to Enjoy Debt Free Holidays This Year

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedHow to Keep Your Budget in Check this Holiday SeasonOctober 25, 2018In “Budgeting”How to Afford the Holidays this Year: The Skip and Stagger ApproachOctober 24, 2019In “Saving”How to Plan Your Budget for the HolidaysOctober 3, 2018In “Budgeting” Post navigation How much money are you planning on spending this year during the holidays?For the average American family, it’s a good chunk of change. During the 2017 holiday season, Bank of America found that of those surveyed, they spent on average $1,143 for purchases.Another survey found that respondents spent over $600 on gifts for friends, family, and coworkers.While being generous is a fantastic quality, some families are struggling to stay debt-free during the holidays.Stay Debt Free This Holiday SeasonThe good news is that you can spend time with your loved ones and create cherished memories without having to rely on credit cards to cover the bills.You’d not only be saving money, but you’d also be reducing stress as you don’t have that debt hanging over you after the celebrations.Want to know how? Here are seven ways you can skip the debt this year!Create a Budget for the HolidaysDid I really start this list with making a budget?When people hear budgets, their first thought is typically restrictions, but that’s not true.A budget is simply a way to prioritize your time and money so you’re getting the most out of both.As parents, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a ton of different invitations to different parties.When you have a firm number, you’re better able to keep your spending in check and avoid unnecessary debt.Better yet, you can make things even easier on yourself by creating a goal on Mint to automatically track your spending so you can see if you’re getting close to your limit.That frees you up to focus on the big picture.Don’t Procrastinate on ShoppingDon’t let advertisers dictate when you buy your gifts. If you’re planning on purchasing gifts, start shopping now if you haven’t already.Black Friday can snag you some deals, but it’s also a trap for you to get stuck in long lines and extra spending. That’s a recipe for more stress, which you don’t need.Take off some stress and pressure by pacing your purchases. If you created your budget, go ahead and break it down by paycheck.That allows you to pick up gifts at more quieter times and give you time to really think about what you’d like to give.Become a Deal HunterBlack Friday is the best-advertised sale by far during the holidays, but you can still snatch up some fantastic deals.If you’re shopping online, use apps and sites like Honey and RetailMeNot to find promo codes and coupons to save even more.If you’re a fan of a particular brand, joining their newsletter may give you some additional access to sales and a heads up on steep discounts.And once the shopping season is done, you can use a service like to unsubscribe to all those newsletters!Think Personal GiftsI don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s important – There’s no rule that you have to buy your gifts.Have you thought about instead getting supplies and setting aside a weekend or two to craft something special? You don’t have to be the king or queen of crafts to make something special.A personal note with some sweets for your co-worker can be a more meaningful gift than the regular random $20 gift.One of our hobbies was homebrewing. Not only did we get to enjoy our work, but we shared. We used to make batches of our friends’ favorite brews as gifts and came up with fun names using inside jokes for the brews.Suggest a Gift ExchangeA trend that’s really helpful with keeping your budget in check are gift exchanges.Every person gets assign one gift to buy instead of several small ones for every person in the office or family.It’s much less stressful as you’re able to focus on finding a gift for a specific person rather than running around several stores to hit everyone on your list.And on the environmental and minimalism side, you’re also reducing the amount of clutter and stuff around the house.Keep Travel CheapMany people visit their loved ones during the holiday season and if you have kids, it can get pricey quick.Add in that you’re traveling during the popular season and it can be a recipe for a budget disaster. You have to wise with your reservations.Use sites like Priceline, Kayak, and Trivago to scour deals and save even more money on your hotel and flights.Google Flights can make finding flights much easier as they can track trends with prices and offer suggestions about when to buy.When I shared how we snatched up a hotel for $50/night in Los Angeles on Twitter, someone asked how we were able to get it.The short answer is we shop around and make sure we take advantage of every deal feature we can find.Many travel sites will price match and more are offering express deals with hotels. With this one-two combo, we’ve been able to minimize expenses while still finding wonderful hotels to stay in.Take a Frugal and Fun Road TripOut of the estimated 54 million Americans traveled during the holidays, the vast majority did theirs by car. This year will most likely be the same.Apps like GasBuddy can help you while you’re on the road to find the best deals on gas. If you’re doing a long trip, that can be a big cost saver.When you have kids snacks can slow you down and be a big budget buster if you’re making several stops. The best way to keep costs in check is by packing smart.Grab those bigger bags of chips, granola bars, and whatever you enjoy before you leave. You’ll get a much better price than what’s offered at those gas stations on the road.Taking along reusable cups can also keep costs down and your car cleaner with less junk in the back seat!Your TakeHowever you wrap up this year, please enjoy it! I hope these tips help you have a fantastic time with your loved ones this year while skipping the debt and reducing the stress. If you have any tips, you’d like to add, please let me know!last_img read more

The female Viagra: An electric shock on the ankle hits a key nerve which boosts women’s sex drive

first_imgFlowers and chocolate used to be the best options for men angling for a night of passion.But there’s another way to put the spark back into their love life – giving their partner’s ankle a little electric shock.Doctors have discovered a key nerve in women’s bodies that can heighten their desires.It runs from the soles of the feet to the bottom of the spine, but is most easily accessible at the ankle, where it can be zapped with electricity. Women given a small electric shock there with a tiny needle experience no more than a mild tingling sensation.However it has been found to also boost blood supply – apparently acting like a female version of Viagra. Doctors pioneering the therapy believe that it could help women whose sex lives may have lost their drive.Tested on laboratory rats, it improved the blood flow of most within 25 minutes, and American researchers are now giving volunteer women a three-month course of weekly treatments lasting half an hour.Tim Bruns, a biomedical engineering expert who is leading the research at the University of Michigan, said: ‘We are really hopeful this could help many women who suffer with sexual dysfunction.‘Some studies say 10 per cent of adult women have arousal disorder but others report it’s as high as 28 per cent.’Scientists became interested in the ankle therapy after women having it to cure bladder problems also reported improvements in their sex lives.Many said they were more interested in sex. This may be because the tibial nerve running through the ankle meets the nerves which supply the pelvis within the spinal cord.A zap to the ankle may therefore boost blood flow to a more intimate area, creating the same effect as a night of passion. It offers an alternative to drugs, which have mixed results and can have side-effects. The research on rats, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, showed three out of four saw significant improvements in blood flow.The same US researchers are running a trial on 30 women with so-called arousal disorder.The results are expected to be released later this year.Professor Bruns said: ‘If the stimulation is repeated multiple times, it could lead to better blood flow and stronger nerve connections to the genitalia. This would improve the symptoms of genital arousal disorder.’Up to 45 per cent of women are believed to have a dysfunction that lowers their sex drive. Sourcelast_img read more

A COP21 Surprise: Brazilian States Commit to Restore More than 3 Million Hectares of Degraded Land

first_imgIn a surprise announcement at the Initiative 20×20 Launchpad at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris, the State of Mato Grosso announced it would eliminate illegal deforestation by 2020 and and restore 2.9 million hectares (7.2 million acres) by 2030. The announcement is highly significant, since illegal deforestation recently rose by 40 percent in the state. The state has already registered most of the potential areas for restoration in the Rural Environmental Registry system (CAR), a database to assist in restoration planning, showing its commitment to the new plan.  From right to left: Ana Luiza Avila Peterlini de Souza, Secretary of the Environment of Mato Grosso State; Patricia Iglesias, Secretary of Environment of São Paulo Estate, and; Marcos Sossai, Manager of Reflorestar Program of the Espirito Santo State.Restoring Degraded Landscapes in BrazilBrazil’s development model has taken a significant toll on its forests and landscapes. During the last decades, Brazil has been the global leader on deforestation. This process also resulted in more than 40 million hectares (99 million acres) of degraded lands. Restoration is key to for restoring life to those areas—creating wildlife corridors, increasing water security, absorbing carbon form the atmosphere and creating a new climate economy.The new commitments from the three Brazilian states could go a long way in restoring and reforesting the country’s landscapes:The State of Espirito Santo reaffirmed its commitment made at the Second Global Forum on Sustainable Growth earlier this year in June in Santiago, Chile. Through Espirito Santo’s “Expansion of Forest Cover State Program”, called Reflorestar, the state aims to restore 80,000 hectares (198,000 hectares) by the end of 2018, which means increasing the native forest cover of the state from just 10.5 percent to more than 15 percent.  The State of São Paulo has also organized several programs to commit to restore an ambitious target—300,000 hectares (741,000 acres) by 2020. The strategy can help landowners comply with national conservation laws while also reducing  the risk of future water scarcity crises.  More and more decision-makers and civilians are understanding the environmental and economic gains associated with restoration. The new commitments from Espírito Santo, São Paulo and Mato Grosso demonstrate the kind of political will necessary to drive a large-scale movement of forest restoration in Brazil.What is perhaps most striking about these commitments is that they’re more than just words on paper.  Inherently built into these state commitments is a process to expedite the CAR and build Environmental Adjustment Programs (PRA) to offer better conditions for farmers to comply with conservation laws. Ecological landscape analysis will also be necessary to estimate where it is most likely for natural regeneration to occur and, consequently, where it will be cheaper to restore. In addition, restoration models must be adjusted to provide economic returns, making the practice more attractive to landowners and potential investors.Turning Commitments into ActionThese commitments won’t be easy to implement, especially considering the current economic and political situation in Brazil. But the important point is that it can be done and has been done, to great success. Brazil can draw inspiration from successful examples of restoration across the world, such as projects in countries like South Korea, the United States and Costa Rica. These countries and others demonstrate that with ambitious, large-scale forest restoration programs, it is possible to solve environmental problems, while also boosting the economy and improving livelihoods. Espirito Santo, which covers 4.4 million hectares, is covered by Mata Atlantica biomes. The area gained 214,351 hectares of forest cover in the last decade, but lost 237,664 hectares, according to the GFW platform. The total forest extent is 1.83 million hectares. Click image to enlargecenter_img While much of the time spent in negotiations at COP21 was meant to help deliver a plan for the future, countries around the world are already committing to actions they’ll take now. Three Brazilian states in particular made major announcements regarding the future of their forests.In an event organized at the Global Landscapes Forum, local leaders from Brazil’s Espírito Santo, São Paulo and Mato Grosso states announced they would restore 3.28 million hectares (8.1 million acres) of degraded land as part of Initiative 20×20, a campaign to restore 20 million hectares of land by 2020 in Latin America and the Caribbean. These new Brazilian commitments already fulfill a quarter of the restoration goal set forth in Brazil’s national climate plan (INDC) to restore and reforest 12 million hectares (29.7 million acres) by 2030. São Paulo, which covers 24.9 million hectares, is covered by two biomes, Cerrado and Mata Atlântica. The state gained 767,237 hectares of forest cover over the last decade, but lost 690,533 hectares, according to GFW. The state’s total forest extent is 6.6 million hectares. Click image to enlarge Mato Grosso, which spans 91 million hectares, is covered by three biomes: Amazonia, Cerrado and Pantanal). The state gained 432,562 hectares of forest over the past decade, but lost a significant 8.5 million hectares, according to GFW. The total forest extent is 75 million hectares. Click image to enlargelast_img read more

Paris Agreement: Getting Closer to “Entering into Force” this Year

first_imgOver the past two months, Cameroon, Brazil, Iran and Ukraine took important steps domestically to formally join the Paris Agreement, following the 20 countries that have already done so (Peru joined on July 26). If an additional 23 other nations follow through on their promises to join this year, countries representing about 54 percent of global emissions will have joined the Agreement, putting “entry into force” well within reach. The Paris Agreement takes effect once 55 Parties representing at least 55 percent of global emissions join. What Recent Actions Have Countries Taken to Join the Paris Agreement?Before countries officially join the Agreement by submitting their “instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval” to the UN Secretary General, they must complete whatever domestic approval processes are required by their national constitutions and laws. Cameroon, Brazil, Iran and Ukraine recently completed these steps:Cameroon’s National Assembly approves ratification: On June 10th, members of Cameroon’s bicameral National Assembly adopted the bill authorizing the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, to join the Paris Agreement. Although Cameroon accounts for only 0.45 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, once it deposits its instrument of ratification, it would be the second African country to formally join the Agreement, following Somalia. Brazil’s House of Representatives unanimously approves joining: The House of Representatives (the lower house of Brazil’s bicameral National Congress) unanimously approved the country joining the Paris Agreement on July 12th. Next, it will go to the Senate, where if approved by an absolute majority, it will take the form of a legislative decree. Legislative decrees are the last formal step required, but in accordance with custom it is likely a further Decree of Promulgation will be issued by Brazil’s Acting President Temer. This process could be completed this year, enabling Brazil to deposit its instrument of ratification and formally join the Paris Agreement. Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest emitter, and accounts for 2.48 percent of total global emissions. Iran’s Cabinet of Ministers ratifies the Agreement: Iran’s Cabinet, headed by President Hassan Rouhani, ratified the Paris Agreement on July 13th and sent it for final approval to the Majles, Iran’s unicameral legislative body.  Once it receives the approval of the Maijles, the requisite instrument must be signed by the President and deposited with the UN. Iran accounts for 1.3 percent of total global emissions. Ukraine adopts law to ratify: On July 14th, 279 members of Ukraine’s unicameral legislature, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to adopt a law ratifying the Paris Agreement. All that remains is for the country to deposit its instrument of ratification. Ukraine accounts for 1.04 percent of emissions.Crossing the 55 Percent ThresholdEven with the addition of these four nations, as well as the 20 nations that already joined and the 23 that have publicly committed to join this year—including major emitters like China, United States, Mexico, Canada and Australia–the world would still be 1.05 percent short of the 55 percent threshold.So where could the remainder come from?In addition to those that have committed to join this year, a number of other large emitters have sent positive signals in national statements of their intent to join in a timely manner. These include India, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. If a combination of these countries were to join this year, we would easily exceed the 55 percent of emissions needed for the Agreement to take effect. Explore the Paris Agreement Tracker to identify different possible combinations to reach this threshold.Furthermore, if the 55/55 threshold is reached by October 7th of this year, the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement would be held in conjunction with COP22 in Marrakech in November. Parties would then need to determine a process for adopting the key procedures and guidelines to implement the Paris Agreement.Such rapid entry into force would continue the momentum created at Paris last year, help spur early implementation, and reinforce the global commitment to building a zero-carbon, climate-resilient future.last_img read more

Don’t Panic – Why RSS Subscribers Stats Fall During Holidays

first_img 12/19 (Wednesday)2,006  1/3 (Thursday)2,008You can clearly see that we used to have over 2,000 subscribers, but now we have 1,851.  Oh no!!!  What happened?  The answer is simple, and you should not be worried if you see this for your blog.  Because most tools measure RSS subscribers by the number of people per day that request updated information from the feed, subscribers are only counted if their RSS reader actually requests new information that day.  If a subscriber does not open their RSS feed reader (because their computer is not turned on, for instance) they are not counted.When does this happen frequently?  Well, during holidays and vacations.  Guess what?  We just passed through a period where lots of people tended to be taking time off.  That explains our 7% drop in RSS Subscribers.Don’t Worry if RSS Subscribers Fell During the HolidaysI am sure starting next week you will see it grow back to the level you were at before.  We publicly publish our RSS Subscriber number on the top right side of this blog, so check it out today, or even after January 8 once everyone is back at work.  And do the same with your own subscriber data. RSS is an anonymous technology that allows people to subscribe to updates to any information you publish in a structured format.  This means that you get a lot less data about your subscribers than if they are on an email list.  But it is another technology that gives customers control over how they consume information (just like caller ID and TiVo) and the use of RSS is growing quite quickly.But, you can get some basic RSS subscriber data.  They way that most tools track and measure RSS subscribers is to count the number of unique “pings” they get from each user per day, and then show you an aggregate number of the total subscribers to your RSS feed daily.  The problem with this information is that it can be scary if you don’t completely understand it.  For instance, look at this recent data for the HubSpot Marketing Blog.  12/25 (Christmas)1,834 Social Media Engagement  12/28 (Friday)1,972 Topics:  12/30 (Sunday)1,851 Originally published Jan 3, 2008 2:32:00 PM, updated October 18 2015  DateRSS Subscribers  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Sophisticated Foursquare Users Don’t Post Checkins to Twitter and Facebook

first_img Do you post your location-based checkins on Facebook and Twitter? data, I analyzed the difference in users who post all of their checkins to Facebook and/or Twitter. Through this analysis I found that users who post Foursquare checkins to Facebook and Twitter tend to have fewer friends, badges and mayorships. Originally published May 27, 2010 7:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Free Download: Marketing Data: 50+ Marketing Charts and Graphs Using HubSpot has complied over 50 marketing charts and graphs on topics including Lead Generation, Blogging and Social Media, Marketing Budgets, Twitter and Facebook Download the ebook now!center_img Square Grader to have access to these charts for use in your own presentations Topics: Foursquare Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

6 Easy Twitter Hacks for Schmoozing Journalists

first_img Originally published Dec 1, 2011 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Twitter Marketing So your company is doing more with Twitter. Awesome! Here’s something I want you to try. Twitter is a great way to gradually get to know someone, build up trust, and possibly create a relationship where there wasn’t one before. Most of what I’m about to tell you works in creating and improving many different kinds of business relationships, but I’m going to tailor this around public relations and getting to know journalists.Here are 6 simple steps — that anyone can follow — to build credibility and relationships with journalists using Twitter. Done right, your publicity efforts can literally become inbound: journalists coming to you for quotes, interviews, and information. Here’s how to tackle the first steps…6 Simple Steps to Build Relationships With JournalistsStep 1: Find and follow. Find and follow journalists who cover beats or work for publications that are relevant to your company. Even if you can’t find the exact journalist you’d like to eventually know, start with someone close to them. Lucky for you, my favorite tool for this, Muck Rack, just re-launched with a better design and a range of professional tools that enable you to build your media list, listen for journalists tweeting about your company, or identify links to stories that mention you. (Can you tell I’m excited about Muck Rack Pro???) Step 2: Listen. This is the MOST important step, and it might require a LOT of patience on your part. But really, how are you going to get to know journalists’ interests, questions, needs, and ideas if you don’t listen first? Check out which blogs they read, what kinds of articles they tweet, etc. Pro Tip: you can add them to a focused Twitter list that you watch more closely.Step 3: Get on their radar. The best way to get started with this is to simply say nice things (sincerely nice things…nobody likes an apple shiner) about their work. Maybe this means tweeting an article they wrote and including their Twitter handle in the tweet. Maybe it means thanking them for an article they wrote that was particularly helpful. If you find something tweet-worthy in their stream, include their Twitter handle (again with a thank you or a “HT” or “TOTH” for Hat Tip/Tip of the Hat) at the end of your tweet when you tweet it. Step 4: Make yourself useful. Has a journalist asked a question that you can answer? Do you know a good source for a story they’re working on? As long as you’re not being spammy or stalkerish, feel free to offer it. I once hit the mother lode on this one, when a journalist I really wanted to get to know tweeted that she had installed a Twitter app with really invasive location settings. The default was to broadcast your exact latitude and longitude to the entire world. I was immediately able to tweet her and warn her to fix that default setting and protect her privacy. This was the first she’d ever heard from me, and it immediately established my credibility as an expert on Twitter apps.Step 5: Fish where the fish are. There are some terrific standing “chats” on the topic of journalism. Did you know that the very first official “Twitter Chat” was #journchat? @prsarahevans wanted to bring together journalists and PR professionals for an open dialog about their industry.Step 6: Ask. Note the order of these steps. Most people get it wrong and jump straight to this one without building any kind of credibility, familiarity, or social capital beforehand. BIG mistake. Also, the first time you ask a question, make it about them instead about you. Make it a genuine question, not a request, favor, or (shiver) demand. They may or may not answer you, especially at first, but if you ask intelligent and relevant questions, you’re taking a big step toward establishing an actual relationship.Once you’ve worked through all of these steps, you are bound to have some attention and credibility with the journalist in question. If not, move on. The object is not to hunt them down and bother them — the object is to build a relationship. Remember above all that relationships don’t have a guaranteed yield. They may cover your story one day, or they might never. But if you’ve selected wisely, building a relationship with a smart journalist is never a bad investment.Warmly, @PistachioImage Credit: NS Newsflashlast_img read more

7 Deadly Blogging Myths: BUSTED

first_imgEven though blogs have been around for years — decades even — people still have a ton of misconceptions about them. They’re too hard to write, they say. Blogging’s only for people who’ve majored in English, they cry. I have nothing to blog about, they complain. I’ve had enough. These statements — and many more about blogging — aren’t true at all, but somehow people continue to spread them. It’s time to put these to rest, once and for all.To help set the record straight and maybe push a few more folks into taking the blogging plunge, I gathered some of the top blogging myths I hear every single day on the job, and debunked them. So keep on reading … maybe you’ll decide to start a new post by the end. ;)7 Blogging Myths We Need to Put to Rest1) Blogging is just a fad.Blogging’s been around for decades … and it’s not going away anytime soon. Why? It’s not just a cushy job that only super successful, Fortune 500 companies can employ. Blogs can drive actual business: According to a HubSpot study, B2B companies that blog only 1-2X per month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog. So think about how you can begin blogging for your business — it could have a huge impact on your business’ bottom line.2) Your posts should never be over 500 words. False, false, false! Though most people flaunt that readers’ attention span won’t hold past 500 words, lots of publishers have actually seen an up-tick in interest in long-form content, even on mobile. Bonus: having in-depth articles on your blog can actually boost your search engine rankings. Instead of worrying about your word count, focus on being valuable to your readers in whatever length you need to properly cover a blog post topic. 3) If you can’t write well, you can’t blog.You don’t have to have an English degree to be a blogger — trust me, my spelling is probably the worst at my whole company. What matters more is that you can get your point across to your reader and teach them something they need to know. Writing well can help you get your point across more easily, but it’s an added value to a post, not a necessity of blogging. That being said, if you’re looking to improve your writing skills, check out this guide to writing well. 4) You won’t have enough to say to fill a blog post.Lots of people freeze up when they hear they need to write a blog post. You mean it’s going to be public? Other people can dissect my writing? Our blogging team hears that all the time from contributors. Our trick? Ask them to explain a concept over email … and chances are, it will be a compelling blog post. If you can explain a concept to your colleagues in writing via email, you can explain that concept via blog post. So don’t freeze up just because you’re writing a “blog post” — focus on explaining something to another person via writing and it’ll be much less scary. 5) You have to post every day. Sure, after you’ve scaled your marketing team to have enough content to fill every single day of the week, you can think about publishing every single day … but when you’re first starting out, blogging a few times a week is very okay. As long as you are focusing on the right topics (usually questions that your prospects, leads, and customers have about your business), you’ll start to see traffic and leads pour in. In fact, we’ve found that companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog. Do the math, and you’ll realize that that breaks down to a few posts per week. Not too shabby, huh?6) If you aren’t seeing immediate success, you’re not cut out for blogging. I won’t lie to you: when you first start blogging, it’s going to be painful. You’ll write a post, publish it, and get hardly any traffic or social shares. But after you start blogging for a month or so, you’ll see things pick up a bit. You’ll notice that traffic and leads are steadily growing, and only then, will you realize that your hard work has paid off. If you need some more convincing, IMPACT’s Marketing Director, John Bonini, has a great post on setting your expectations when you’re first starting to blog.7) You can’t write a blog post in an hour.Last, but certainly not least, I had to debunk this myth. Every blog you write doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Some will be 1,000 words. Some will be 100. As long as they are serving your audience and helping your business grow, you’re good to go. So if you’re not concerned with word length, writing, editing, and publishing a blog post in an hour is entirely feasible. Hey, if I can do it, so can you! ;)What other misconceptions have you heard about blogging? Help us debunk a few more myths by adding your favorites in the comments.  Blogging Mistakes Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jan 23, 2014 12:58:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

How to Create Secure Passwords You Can Actually Remember

first_img“I always use my passwords for positive reinforcement. So, for example, if I’m going for a salary raise, I’ll change my password to something I aim to do with that raise, like “20dwn0pymnt00.” Or, if I have a personal or professional goal I want to achieve, I use my password as a daily reminder of that goal.”Do make them long.It’s more important to create long passwords than it is to create complex ones. Here’s why: If every character of your password can be chosen from 62 possible characters (any of the letters “a” through “z,” uppercase “A” through “Z,” and any number — and that’s even discounting symbols), then a 12-character password has 62¹² possible combinations. The number of possible combinations ends up being a 28-digit number, and will make a high-end password cracking system work really, really hard. Add one more letter, and you have a 30-digit number, and so on. The longer the better. I know, I know, it’s a lot to remember — it’ll be easier if you use a mnemonic.Do have different passwords for every account.A Microsoft research study found that, for the majority of people, their “growing herd of password accounts is maintained using a small collection of passwords. For a user with 30 password accounts, the problem becomes not remembering 30 distinct passwords, but rather remembering which of 5 or 6 passwords was used. This appears to be done using a combination of memory, pieces of paper, trial and error, and password resets.”Don’t settle for default passwords.Default passwords are the ones vendors send you when you open your account or reset your password. Usually, these passwords are sent to your email address for your to reset — meaning your archived emails are a jackpot of passwords.To find these rogue passwords, search your email account for emails containing the word “password” and delete all the results. Search for “login” and “username,” too. Do use a secure password management tool.Do you reset a password at least once a month? You’re not alone. It’s really hard to remember more than a few passwords, especially if you’re following all of the rules I’ve told you about here. That’s where getting a password management tool comes in. Password managers with good reviews are 1Password, LastPass 3.0, and KeePass.Do take extra measures to protect your most important passwords.This includes your bank, investment accounts, and personal and work emails. Make these passwords the longest and most complex of all your passwords.Until we can do DNA scans to authenticate every account we have, multiple, long, complex passwords are the best we can do. Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll build more secure passwords — and remember them, too. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack How many total passwords do you think you have? Five? Ten? Thirty? Now think: How many of the same passwords do you use for entirely different accounts?That number might be equally as scary. But who could blame you — from Frequent Flyer numbers to your brother-in-law’s HBO GO account, you’re probably overloaded with a few too many passwords.You’re not alone. According to a 2013 study by Ofcom, more than half (55%) of adult internet users admit they use the same password for most, if not all, websites.Though it is easier to remember, using the same password for all of your accounts makes it incredibly easy for hackers to get into your accounts. And if that one password is too simple, it’s even easier for other people to access your accounts. You can do better — and we’re here to help. Below are some tips for toughening up your password security.Unlock tips, systems & recommended resources to stay ahead of the tech curve.How to Strengthen Your PasswordIn October 2013, Adobe experienced a major security breach that affected over 48 million of its users. Here were the 10 most common passwords cracked from Adobe, followed by the number of users who had that password:123456 – 1,911,938 users123456789 – 446,162 userspassword – 345,834 usersadobe123 – 211,659 users12345678 – 201,580 usersqwerty – 130,832 users1234567 – 124,253 users111111 – 113,884 usersphotoshop – 83,411 users123123 – 82,694 users(“Password”? Really guys?)But we can’t make too much fun — ours may not be much better. A truly secure password is still more complex than your license plate number or mom’s maiden name appended with her year of birth. Password strength is a function of length, complexity, and unpredictability. Here are some tips from the experts for making your passwords stronger.Don’t use real words or any identifying information.The simplest of password cracking tools could guess a password that uses real words — forward and backward. You should also avoid using proper nouns (including your dog’s name), keyboard patterns (qwerty is the obvious one, but any keyboard patterns are easily guessable), letter or number sequences, romantic connections, or biographical information like your date of birth. Words with numbers added to them like “RedSox34” are also easy to crack.Do use mnemonics.A mnemonic password is a password that uses a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that help you remember it better. We did an anonymous survey of password mnemonic techniques, and here were our two favorite mnemonic ideas to replicate:”I use the same, short sentence for every password, except with one variable word that changes depending on the first letter of the domain. I also replace some letters with their lookalike numbers and add an exclamation point at the end. So “i like ___ in the morning” becomes: 1l1k3____1nth3m0rn1ng! which becomes 1l1k3FRU1T1nth3m0rn1ng! for Facebook, 1l1k3T045T1nth3m0rn1ng! for Twitter, and 1l1k3GR1T51nth3m0rn1ng!” for Gmail. Topics:center_img Business Tools Originally published Aug 11, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated October 08 2019last_img read more

A Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting Ads

first_img Retargeting Static images are rejected if they feature a “play button” that will confuse it for a video. Image size is 1200 x 628 pixels Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Once you have everything set up, go ahead and click the green “Place Order” button in the bottom right of the screen.7) Tracking Your ProgressCongratulations, you’ve now created a conversion-based retargeting ad on Facebook! Now you can track website clicks, reach, CTR, CPC, and total spend to match them up to your initial goals.You can get a glance of how your Facebook retargeting campaigns are doing by going to your Facebook Advertising home page. If you want to dive further into the ad’s metrics, you can go into the ad set where you’ll see information like clicks and spending per day. It is also easy to make edits to your ad from this screen, such as extending the budget, schedule, and creative assets.If you’re using HubSpot, you can look at the performance of your destination URL to track views, clicks, and submissions back to specific retargeting campaigns. Images can only contain 20% text. How to Retarget on Facebook:Create a list or existing contacts, or gather group from pixel on your website.Add list into Facebook’s Audience Manager.Determine your Destination URL.Segment your Ads for specific audiences.Set your budget.Create your ad.Track your campaign’s progress. Originally published Nov 20, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 09 2017 Topics: We’d all like to think that every single person that comes in contact with our business follows a very straight and orderly path to purchase. Someone visits our site for the first time, then fills out a form to download an ebook, then becomes interested in talking with a sales rep, all in one session on your website. Minutes later, the sales rep reaching out to this lead, and before you know it, the lead is becoming a customer, handing over their credit card to purchase something from your company. But in reality, the buyer’s journey is probably not so linear. People pop over to your website then leave. Two months later, they discover your latest blog article, and then decide to download that ebook. A few days after that, they decide to check out another blog post. Maybe a week later they decide to get in touch with Sales, and it takes several more weeks of meetings and discussions to come to a decision to buy. Same end result, but the process is a little more convoluted.So marketers need to be prepared to help their buyers through that convoluted process. One great way to do that is with retargeting ads. Download our free guide to ad retargeting here to learn how to increase leads and awareness with retargeting campaigns.What is retargeting?Unlike typical banner ads, retargeting ads are a form of online targeting advertising and are served to people who have already visited your website or are a contact in your database (like a lead or customer).If you’ve never used retargeting before, don’t worry — in the following post, we’ll go through all the basics of how retargeting works, explain how you can use it to support your larger marketing goals, and even outline an example of a Facebook Ad retargeting campaign. Let’s dive right in.How Retargeting Campaigns WorkThere are two main types of retargeting: pixel-based and list-based. The way each works is slightly different, and each has different advantages based on your campaign goals. Pixel-based retargeting is a way to re-display your material to any anonymous site visitor. This is probably the most common type of retargeting. When someone comes to your website, an unobtrusive piece of JavaScript (often referred to as a pixel) is placed on their browser — making their browser “cookied.” When they leave your site to surf the web, that cookie notifies retargeting platforms to serve specific ads based on the specific pages they visited on your website.Image credit: RetargeterThe advantage of pixel-based retargeting is that it is timely (they can be retargeted pretty immediately after leaving your site), specific to a particular page on your site, and behavior-based. Downsides to this method are that there is a lower volume of people in the campaign at any given moment in time since it’s all based on how often people are coming to your website, viewing certain pages, and leaving. It also can be complicated or time-intensive to implement the JavaScript on many website pages.List-based retargeting works after you already have someone’s contact information in your database.You can also use lists of your existing contacts for certain types of retargeting ads. The way that works is you upload a list of the email addresses to a retargeting campaign (usually on a social network like Facebook or Twitter), and the platform will identify users on that network who have those addresses and serve retargeting ads just to them. Though it’s a little less common than pixel-based retargeting, list-based retargeting allows you to have highly customizable criteria for your ads because it’s based on more than behavior — you’re choosing who goes in which list. On the flip side, it’s possible that a person in your list gave you one email address and the social network another — and in that case, they won’t see your ads. This happens quite frequently: according to MediaMath, match rates can vary from 70-80% down to as low as 20-30% for some platforms, so you’ll need a fairly large list to make this type of retargeting effective. And because you are in charge of uploading and maintaining the list, list-based retargeting also is less automatic and timely than pixel-based retargeting.Which Goals You Should Have for RetargetingNow that we have the background for how retargeting works and the different types of audiences you can segment by, we can focus on the goals you should aim for. The main types of retargeting campaigns you should consider running are those for awareness and those for conversion. AwarenessAwareness campaigns are useful when you want to re-engage website visitors and tell them about relevant products, features, or announcements. These ads are usually served to pixel-based lists. The obvious drawback to awareness campaigns is that you’re serving less targeted content to people who haven’t engaged heavily with your brand. They’re not in your contacts database, and often, there are lower expected clickthrough rates than other types of campaigns.However, since the goal is to make prospects aware of your business, impressions and engagement are acceptable metrics to track. Often awareness campaigns are precursors to a much more effective campaign goal: conversions. ConversionConversion goals are just that — you want to get people to click on your ad and take a next step, such as filling out a landing page form. Conversion campaigns are best used to align a specific list with a clear next step in the funnel, and can be measured with typical conversion metrics like website clicks, form submission, and cost per lead (CPL).The best thing about a conversion campaign is that you can use it for multiple parts of the funnel. You can use pixel-based ads to generate leads — the ads will direct people to landing pages where they can give over their information. You can also use list-based ads to better qualify those leads — the ads will appear to contacts who gave you limited information and lead them to longer forms with additional fields. You can also use retargeting to move those qualified leads closer and closer to the bottom of the funnel. For example, you might use retargeting to send a list of contacts that have downloaded an ebook to sign up for a free trial of your product.Regardless of your goal, it is important to align the positioning, creative, and next step in the conversion process — whether that’s an offer landing page, site page, or request for more information — with the list you’re showing it to. Remember, list-based retargeting can have low match rates (users synced with accounts on each platform, usually by email address), so you’ll need to make sure you’re fueling your retargeting activities with lots of top-of-the-funnel inbound activities. Choosing a Retargeting Platform and ToolTruthfully, you’ve got quite a few options for actually implementing your retargeting. There are tons of third-party platforms to do web and social retargeting, such as PerfectAudience, AdRoll, Retargeter, Bizo, and many more. You can also do retargeting through specific platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.While each platform you use to implement your ads will be different, there are some advantages and disadvantages for choosing ones that serve up social media ads or elsewhere on the web. Social media retargeting often works well since people are more likely to share, reply, and discuss your content on one of these well-known platforms. They are also can see the ads are posted from a real account, as opposed to a small web banner ad with little text that could be posted by anyone. That being said, web retargeting works well for impressions since the ads follow your targeted audience throughout the internet, not just on a few specific social media sites.Want to see how setting up a remarketing campaign is like? We’ll walk through a step-by-step process on setting up a retargeting campaign and measuring its success.How to Set up a Retargeting Conversion Campaign on FacebookFor this example, we’ll pretend we’re setting up a remarketing campaign for HubSpot. To drive qualified leads to a free trial, we’ll set up a mock Facebook retargeting campaign for leads in our database who we know are interested in marketing automation. Here’s how we would set up that campaign.1) Creating a ListFirst, you’d would need a list of leads to retarget to. In HubSpot (or your marketing software of choice), you’d compile a list based on two criteria: 1) their lifecycle stage, 2) their interests based on the topic of their most recent download. If this list is sufficiently large, you can move on to the next step. If it’s not, you should revisit your segmentation properties and/or type of retargeting to implement.2) Uploading the List to Facebook’s Audience ManagerOnce our list is processed, we can export the .CSV file and import it directly into Facebook’s Custom Audience manager to match up email addresses with Facebook Profiles. (There are other third party-platforms that also sync these lists on social media and across the web, so feel free to pick which upload/sync option works best for your company.)Once you hit “Manage Your Ads” on Facebook’s advertising home page, click “Audiences” on the left toolbar. This will allow you to create a customer list by uploading a .CSV or .TXT file and you can sort by user ID’s, phone numbers, or emails (which we recommend). Make sure to give your list an appropriate naming conventions to easily find it later, and leave at least a few hours for it to populate — if you try to create an ad immediately, the audience may not be fully loaded yet.3) Determining Your Destination URLTo create a new campaign on Facebook, hit the green “Create Ad” button in the top right of the ad platform home screen. This will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign, such as sending people to your website, promoting conversions on your pages etc. Whatever option you select (we recommend one of the first two to get people to click through) it is important to include a UTM tracking code — a little snippet of text added to the end of your URL — to help you track success and attribute clicks and conversions from your campaigns. For example, we would create a campaign called “Retargeting” and our URL for the free trial would look like: http://offers.hubspotm/free-trial?utm_campaign=retargeting&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebookOnce you enter your URL to promote, the next step is to rename your campaign directly underneath the URL textbox. Try to keep similar naming conventions for your campaigns — this will make it easier to track if you have multiple running at the same time.4) Segmenting Your AdsAt this point, you can select your custom audience that you uploaded earlier and set the geographic location you want to target. The location is an “AND” setting, meaning if your list contains leads from all over the world and you only select “United States,” some people won’t be served your ads. Depending on your buyer personas, you can also segment by interest, behaviors, age, and other demographic settings which can help you get even more targeted. For conversion campaigns, you’re retargeting to a specific list of contacts already interested in your product, so including other Facebook categories might not make sense. 5) Setting Your BudgetBefore even starting the campaign, you should have a set budget for paid tactics, broken out by channel. For Facebook campaigns, you should set a lifetime budget for the length of the campaign, then monitor and adjust accordingly. Most beginners should leave the bidding to “Optimize for Website Click.” You can also name your ad set at this stage, which is helpful if you’d like to differentiate lists, creative, budget, etc. for different ad sets in the same campaign (i.e. leading to the same page).6) Creating Your AdEach ad can have up to six images associated with it, so you can test which ones perform the best and get the most people to click and convert. It’s critical to be clear and concise with your positioning as the headline underneath the image can only be 25 characters long and the text above the image is capped at 90 characters. You can also include call-to-action buttons such as Shop Now, Learn more, Download, etc. on the bottom right of the ad.Some important details on Facebook ads: By default, ads are shown on mobile newsfeeds, on the right column on desktops, and in partner mobile apps. Depending on where you’d like your customers to see these campaigns, you may want to turn one or all of those options off to only display in the desktop News Feed.  Under “Advanced Options” you can write a News Feed link description up to 200 characters to better explain your ad. Retargeting is a great way to keep your prospects engaged and interact with people who have already shown interest in your company. While it may sound like a simple enough concept, there are many aspects of a retargeting campaign that must be worked out before you make the ad copy and creative. Be sure to give enough time to make your lists, set goals and types of campaigns, determine the platforms your ads will run on, and tie the whole conversion path together. Have you ever run a retargeting campaign before? What other tips would you add here? last_img read more

The Shark Tank Effect: How to Prepare Your Website for a Traffic Influx

first_imgHave you ever watched TV while simultaneously surfing the internet on your phone?I do it all the time — and my guess is that a lot of you do, too. Nowadays, the majority of American consumers own multiple internet-connect devices like high-definition TVs, smartphones, tablets, and computers, and Nielsen finds that it’s fundamentally changing the way we watch television. We’re using our phones, tablets, and laptops as “natural extensions of the programming [we] watch.”Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignOf course, this is probably true for some shows more than others. I’ve found Game of Thrones requires my full attention, so I make a point of putting my devices away when I watch. But for shows like ABC’s hit series Shark Tank, watching is an interactive, multi-screen experience for a lot of people.Think about it: Shark Tank is a show featuring entrepreneurs who pitch their young businesses to investors. Many viewers watch it while simultaneously searching for and checking out those businesses online. So, on the day an episode airs, some percentage of the seven to ten million people watching will land on those businesses’ websites.Can you imagine the traffic influx these businesses receive — and the damage it could do to their websites if they aren’t prepared?While the featured entrepreneurs can certainly be happy about the exposure, many of them actually struggle to prepare their businesses on the back-end for the huge increases in traffic, social media mentions, and sales. Many young businesses’ websites aren’t equipped to handle huge percentage increases in traffic. In fact, to the web servers, an increase this sudden can look like an attack. Slow load times are bad enough, but if your servers think your website’s being attacked, your website could shut down entirely.That was a big concern for business owners Brittany Hodak and Kim Kaupe when they heard they were going to be on Shark Tank for their superfan experience company ZinePak.Source: Inc.comTheir two biggest concerns were:How do we prepare our website so it doesn’t slow down during (and after) the show’s airing?How do we make sure our mobile website is fully responsive so that all those people looking us up on their phones have good experiences?I had the chance to chat with Co-Founder Brittany Hodak about the sprint, as well as with Kevin Barber, founder of Lean Labs, the design agency that helped her prep on the back-end. Let’s take a look at how they prepared ZinePak’s website for the traffic boost.Knowing the StakesThough the ZinePak founders filmed their Shark Tank episode last September, it didn’t air until April 24, 2015 — and they were given only three weeks notice of the air date. With a quick deadline looming, Hodak and Kaupe found themselves kicking into high gear.They didn’t just make a few tweaks to their website over the next few weeks. They ended up completely redesigning and rebuilding it — homepage, landing pages, everything. The first thing Hodak and Kaupe did? Research what kind of traffic influx to expect. They got their information from Shark Tank producers, news reports, and other business owners who’d previously appeared on the show.”We read news reports on people who had 1,000-2,000% increases in traffic,” says Hodak. “We had friends who were on the show who told us they were getting five to nine orders per minute for days after the show aired. We took the numbers everyone was giving us and decided to prepare for the highest one.” One reason for this? Their episode happened to be airing right before the interview with U.S. Olympian Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce) on her gender transition, which they knew would garner a huge live audience.After hearing from friends and learning of other Shark Tank contestants (like CordaRoys) whose websites crashed or were difficult to navigate on a mobile device, Hodak made her website a top priority. An unresponsive, slow website is the last thing you want during one of the most important moments in your business’ lifespan.”When a successful, young entrepreneur puts herself out there on a very public forum, one of the most important things she’s thinking about is whether the website’s working,” says Hodak. “If the website didn’t work, that would’ve been a serious issue.”Finding the Right PartnershipIt was important to Hodak and Kaupe to work with design and engineering professionals from the get-go so they didn’t have to worry about trying and failing to tackle issues they didn’t know much about.”Kim and I are entrepreneurs,” says Hodak. “We like to do what we’re good at — which is marketing, entertainment, and creative packaging, not understanding what back-end support goes into keeping a site going across however many servers given however much traffic.”The pair ended up looking at our service marketplace and hiring the HubSpot-certified web design agency Lean Labs.Their to-do list with Lean Labs? Completely redesign, build, and launch their website in time for the airing of their Shark Tank episode.The morning after Hodak first called Lean Labs to explain their situation, the agency presented her with the very first wireframe for their new website and a project plan. “It’s really easy to burn a week on planning a project out,” Lean Labs’ Barber told me. “So [getting a project plan together] is the first key, especially if you have a tough time frame.”Here’s how Lean Labs outlined the timeline:Day 1: The first wireframe was delivered.Day 3: A detailed project strategy was agreed upon.Day 4: The first mockup was delivered.Day 6: The portfolio mockup was delivered.Day 8: All changes and revisions were loaded.Day 12: The first version of all pages was presented.Day 15: The final version (version 5) was delivered.Day 17: Coded pages were delivered and approved.Day 21: Key pages of the site were built.”Normally, I do weekly huddles to keep clients on the same page,” says Barber. “Sometimes twice a week. For this project, we met every single day. We got on GoToMeeting every afternoon to look at the day’s progress.”It helped that Hodak and Kaupe knew what they wanted content-wise on their website thanks to having a deep understanding of their brand. They were able to provide the visuals without having to go through rounds of revisions, which made a design project that might’ve normally taken months fit into a much shorter time frame.Now, let’s take a look at how the ZinePak website was redesigned to withstand the traffic influx expected from Shark Tank.How They Designed a Website to Withstand a Large Traffic InfluxMost companies preparing for a high-traffic event won’t be in a position where they need to completely overhaul their website design, but there are some design tips that can apply to anyone preparing for a high traffic event. For ZinePak, a total redesign was a major part of the process — and it actually gave them the advantage of being able to design the site specifically to handle high traffic.If you’re preparing for a traffic influx, the extent to which you prepare will depend on the robustness of your content management system. Full disclosure: ZinePak is a HubSpot customer. Because the HubSpot Content Optimization System can handle a lot of simultaneous traffic (1,000 requests per second or 3.6 million requests per hour), they were likely going to be okay. But, of course, everyone agreed that taking extra precautions could only help.Here’s some insight into how to design a website to handle large traffic influxes. 1) Used a good hosting platform to begin with.It should go without saying: Don’t expect a small hosting provider to be able to handle high-traffic events like a Shark Tank episode. These hosts might be able to do 15 requests per second before starting to run into issues. Instead, use a platform that’s backed by a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for handling high traffic loads and easily routing traffic based on where your visitors are coming from.2) Used high-quality images with compressed file sizes.If you go to ZinePak’s home page, you’ll notice there are a lot of visuals. A simple design with large graphics, large and succinct text, and distinct call-to-action buttons meant anyone checking out ZinePak’s site on a smartphone could read and interact with the content without having to pinch andzoom. This was all part of their larger mobile strategy to create a good experience for all those Shark Tank viewers looking them up on various devices.The issue you can run into with large graphics, though, is slower page load time — which can frustrate people and make them leave your site. To combat this issue, you’ll want to compress the file sizes of all the graphics you put on your website. Ideally, you should keep your images under 1 MB. But if you have an image that needs to be larger than that — like for the background image on ZinePak’s home page — then you need to reduce its file size as far as possible.Since ZinePak is a HubSpot customer, they didn’t need to do anything to compress their home page graphic to 2.6 MB (it was originally 4 MB) because images uploaded into the HubSpot Marketing Platform are compressed automatically. Non-HubSpot customers can run graphics through a free online tool called TinyPNG to compress and optimize them.3) Combined external JavaScript and external CSS.To speed up page load time, Lean Labs loaded style sheets and JavaScript in external files where possible. The result? Less code needed to be called each time a page on ZinePak’s page loaded.Here are two more coding tips to help with page load issues:Put JavaScript files in the footer of your webpages. That way, they load in the background and don’t delay the appearance of the content (i.e. the meat) of the page.Use asynchronous JavaScript whenever possible so that, when a page loads, it’ll continue loading while simultaneously reading and running the JavaScript. Stopping the page load to read and run the JavaScript can cause a blockage and lead to problems.4) Used browser caching.Lean Labs used a tactic called browser caching to allow users to move around ZinePak’s website faster. How? When a browser caches a website, it stores a copy of that site’s images, style sheets, and JavaScript so that the next time the user visits that page, the browser doesn’t have to download it from scratch. Instead, it can pull it from an archive.5) Kept the site as static as possible (temporarily).A static web page is basically a series of HTML blocks representing a physical page of a website and delivered to the user exactly as it’s stored, instead of being generated by a web application. In the early years of the World Wide Web, this is how all websites were built. While they’re easier to create and control and can load very quickly, they’re also less flexible, less interesting, and way harder to update.But Lean Labs had an idea that would improve page load speed on ZinePak’s website. They decided to launch a static temporary version of the website that was built exclusively in HTML and minimized dynamic content. This version would last only for the duration of the Shark Tank episode and for the several days afterward as people watched reruns and caught up on recorded versions. They changed the site to be more dynamic and interactive within a week.Launched the Homepage in HTMLWhen Barber and the Lean Labs team put the homepage into the content management system, they took an uncommon approach: launching it in straight HTML rather than building it out using a template builder or custom code.”I didn’t make the content editable specifically for the purposes of Shark Tank,” says Barber. “The reason for that was that I figured there was no way a web page can load faster than when it doesn’t need any index look-ups. By putting the home page in statically, it loaded in less than one and a half seconds.” Why wouldn’t you want your page in HTML all the time? “Because you’d lose a lot of the power behind your content management system,” says Barber. For example, you can’t edit text that’s identical across multiple pages without editing each individual page. It’s a grueling, manual process, and one prone to errors.Minimized Dynamic ContentFor the vast majority of projects, dynamic content has the best pay-off. Each part of a web page is separate, making it a lot easier to update something once that changes content across multiple pages. Plus, it allows you to create custom, relevant experiences for your visitors. But if you’re preparing for a high-traffic event, you might consider temporarily limiting the amount of dynamic content on your site.”When you’re going to go on national TV,” says Barber, “it’s not a good time to have smart content on your home page because the server will have to look things up for every single person visiting the page. Whenever you have to hit the database to look stuff up for different people, it takes more time. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance.”6) Did a load test (after checking with their provider).Load tests help you figure out how much simultaneous traffic your website can handle by simulating up to tens of thousands of simultaneous virtual users from different locations around the world. It’s perfectly fine to do some load testing on your website to make sure it’ll load efficiently during the traffic influx you’re preparing for, but here are a few important tips to consider before you do one:Research the quality of the load test. Many of them will simulate virtual users from one machine, which doesn’t replicate a real-life scenario. While any of these tests will never be the same as the “real thing,” you want to find a test that brings you as close to reality as possible so you can get somewhat accurate numbers. Ask a developer which load tests they recommend. Here at HubSpot, many of our developers use JMeter by Apache, but this is a pretty technical tool that’s not ideal for someone who’s new to the concept.Notify your provider that you want to perform a test. Think about it: If your site is suddenly getting hit by thousands of requests out of nowhere, then it’ll look like a DDoS attack to your provider. In many cases, actually, it is a DDoS attack officially — and can even be considered illegal. Many providers (including HubSpot) consider an unauthorized load test a violation of terms of service. So be sure to make your host aware you want to do a test before you actually do it.Bonus: Taking Advantage of Traffic for Lead GenWhen you’re anticipating a big increase in traffic, ensuring your website doesn’t crash is one thing — but preparing your website to take advantage of all the potential leads is another.The folks at ZinePak wanted to capture as many consumer leads as possible, so they decided to create a Shark Tank-themed campaign specifically made to capture leads from the event. They called the campaign “Shark Tank Sweepstakes” — people could click on one of the many CTAs on the ZinePak website and enter a contest to win lots of prizes. Here’s what the landing page for that contest looks like:Overall, this campaign was a great way to take advantage of the Shark Tank effect to quickly build up a targeted, opt-in consumer email list.The LaunchZinePak’s website launched in beta two days before the Shark Tank episode aired. Hodak, Kaupe, Barber, and a few HubSpot engineers spent those two days playing around with the site and making a few tweaks. The site officially launched on the morning of the airing: Friday, April 24, 2015.That evening, Hodak and Kaupe held a viewing party in New York City with over 150 friends, clients, and members of the show’s team. “We watched the show, and then spent two hours after the show visiting with people. We’d occasionally check our phones to look at the stats and see how many people we had visiting the site,” says Hodak.And their site never wavered.”We made it home in time for the west coast airing of the show so we could tweet along with people and encourage them to visit our site,” says Hodak.Over 7.89 million people watched ZinePak’s Shark Tank episode during the hour it aired for the first time. That doesn’t count reruns, syndications, or recorded episodes.The result? ZinePak saw a 1,489.37% increase in traffic from April 23 to April 24, the day of the first airing. Here’s what that traffic increase looked like, broken down by source:What’s more, 55.54% of their traffic came specifically from smart phones, so all the work they did with Lean Labs to cater to mobile users was not lost one bit.Lean Labs ran a test during the height of traffic during the episode’s airing — it boasted an upload speed of 900 milliseconds. Barber says 1.5 seconds is average, so 900 milliseconds for such a graphical page is very, very impressive.As for their Shark Tank sweepstakes campaign?”The landing page had a conversion rate of more than 70%, and we collected thousands of emails,” Hodak reported. “It also gave us a great way to retarget to those consumers, both with an immediate entry confirmation email — which contained product links — and also later, based on the genre preferences they self-reported.”So, not only did ZinePak manage to completely redesign and pull together a Shark Tank-proof website in under three weeks, but they were also strategic in taking advantage of all that traffic for lead generation. Talk about an ideal scenario! Topics: Originally published Jun 2, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! 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7 Ways Freelancers Can Start Earning More in 2017

first_imgLured by the promise of greater flexibility and more interesting projects, more and more people are leaving their traditional office jobs behind for freelancing careers.According to a 2016 study, there are currently 55 million freelancers in the US alone. That’s a pretty significant 35% of the US workforce.If you’re a freelancer, you know how difficult it can be to grow your client base and increase the amount of revenue you earn. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you expand your reach and start earning more. 7 Ways Freelancers Can Start Earning More1) Target a highly-specific niche.One of the biggest reasons freelancers struggle with their new business efforts is because they haven’t clearly defined a specialized niche. According to data released by Upwork, a global freelancing platform, the fastest-growing freelance niches in Q2 of 2016 were all defined by highly-specified skill sets. Here are a few examples of niches that proved lucrative for freelancers in 2016:Shopify developmentSEO writingJava developmentMongoDBNotice that each of these areas is narrowed down to a particular platform or specific goal. Prospective clients aren’t searching for broad terms like “developer” or “writer” — they know exactly what they need, and they aren’t wasting their time by filtering through 500 “freelance developer” profiles.Not only does establishing a freelance niche give you an advantage in getting discovered on search platforms, it can also help you build a reputation as an expert resource in key networks. By defining a unique selling point for your services, you can tap into a community of clients with similar goals and challenges, positioning yourself as the perfect resolution to their exact pain points.2) Don’t guess your hourly rate — calculate it.Are you absolutely sure you aren’t undercharging for your services? Determining your hourly rate can sometimes feel like a high-stakes guessing game without a definitive answer.Ask yourself: are you paying all your bills? Do you find yourself stretched thinly between clients? Are you living the lifestyle you want to be living? If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” it’s probably time to reevaluate your hourly rates.To simplify the process of determining your ideal hourly rate, we created a free tool that does the calculating for you: The Freelance Hourly Rate Calculator. Simply plug in a few inputs about your ideal lifestyle and business goals, and the calculator will give you an fitting hourly rate. It’s an easy way to check if you’re charging clients enough to build a sustainable and profitable freelance business.Once you know your rate, don’t wait to put together an invoice. The faster you get one out to your client, the faster you’ll hear back. Use the HubSpot Invoice Template Generator to put one together in just a few minutes.3) Jump on upsell opportunities with existing clients.Many freelancers overlook one of the biggest potential sources of new business: their existing clients. Concerns about coming off as too pushy or sales-y can cause you to miss out on potentially lucrative opportunities to provide additional value, extend existing contracts, and deepen client relationships.Upselling doesn’t have to feel like a sleazy, aggressive sales process. Opportunities to upsell occur naturally throughout client relationships — you just need to learn to identify them. For instance, conversations concerning future goals or big project milestones inherently lend themselves to discussing new projects.The next time you and your client sit down to unpack a successful campaign or discuss a project’s next steps, don’t be shy about mentioning additional areas you can help their business succeed. Just make sure you pitch new services as ideas, not just upgrades or additional costs without context.4) Explore additional revenue streams.Earning a steady income as a freelancer is no easy feat. Client work can come and go unreliably, leading to alternating periods of stagnant income and burdening workloads. To help avoid the income whiplash many freelancers have come to see as just part of the job, consider building up some more stable forms of revenue that complement your freelancing business.Author David Sherwin advises freelancers to build their own products and content as a way to simultaneously supplement their income streams and gain thought-leadership status in their respective niches — which helps grow business in the long run as well.Consider writing an ebook, starting a blog, participating in a speaker or webinar series, or even building your own app. Whatever your expertise, create content that helps build your audience and offers the chance to earn some additional revenue.5) Leverage your connections and then leverage them again.Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful driver of new clients for freelancers, according to a study published in Harvard Business Review. Among freelancers making over $100,000 a year, 84% of their new clients came from good old word-of-mouth.Image Credit: Harvard Business ReviewTraditional networking remains the overwhelmingly dominant way freelancers acquire new customers. As you can see in the Harvard Business Review chart above, other sources like talent marketplaces and social media don’t even begin to compare. Building a reputation worth talking about obviously doesn’t happen overnight, but all freelancers should continually look to their existing networks to mine for new prospects. 6) Connect with clients on freelance networking sites.Even though traditional word-of-mouth earns freelancers the most new jobs, getting your name out there has to start somewhere. Today there’s a wide variety of networking websites designed specifically for freelancers to connect with potential clients. Check out a few of the most popular networking sites below:Upwork99designsInbound.orgToptalLinkedIn ProfinderFreelance Writing GigsiFreelanceIt can’t hurt to set up profiles on on freelance online communities — especially if you’re just starting out. It gives potential clients another opportunity to find you and seek out your services. If you’re looking for a way to stand out on freelance networking sites, consider getting Inbound Certified. Upwork reported a 68% jump in inbound marketing job postings last year, and recommends HubSpot’s Inbound Certification as a way to show potential employers that you’re up to date on the most recent marketing tactics. 7) Consider joining forces with other freelancers.While we often think of freelancing as an inherently solo endeavor, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. In fact, combining forces with another freelancer (or several others) in an adjacent niche can help everyone involved reach more clients and ultimately earn more.This doesn’t mean you have to launch a startup agency. By sharing resources, referring clients to each other for projects, and even collaborating on large, more demanding projects, you can increase your capacity to take on bigger clients — which increases your earning potential.What’s your freelance new business plan this year? Let us know in the comments below. Originally published Jan 18, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated September 14 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Freelancinglast_img read more