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You have the data to drive the CX program you want to create. But that data needs to be presentable. Bit-sized. Attractive. You need tools that present your data in a way that’s pleasing and simple to understand.
It’s time to visualize.
Gone are the days of whiteboards and posters. In the digital age, there are countless tools that make this job much easier and more efficient. But in a sea of technology, which tools do you choose? Here are our picks for data visualization.
Qlik boasts 45,000 customers worldwide who use its intuitive platform for data visualisation, analytics, reporting and more. Qlik offers a couple different option for data visualisation and analysis: There’s QlikView, one of its original products, and Qlik Sense, a newer offering. Both share a number of core capabilities but serve different customer needs. Qlik offers a simple comparison to help enterprises determine which product is best for them.
Qlik is one of the leading players in the market and is the biggest competitor to Tableau. Qlik uses an intuitive, user-friendly platform to make data analytics more accessible across your company. Regardless of a team member’s data literacy, Qlik should make visualisation a quick and easy process. Qlik has an active community, and there are many third-party resources available online to help upskill user and integrate it in their projects.
Qlik is also easily scalable and isn’t hardware bound. You can work from any device, with no limitations even on mobile versions. That flexibility is a big part of what makes Qlik an appealing choice for business owners and managers today, who tend to work from a variety of devices.
And for even greater flexibility, pricing is determined on an individual basis. Personalized quotes are designed for enterprise use of Qlik services, meaning there’s an option for every budget.
Tableau is one of the leaders of the business intelligence and data visualisation industries, and once you try it, you’ll see why. With a simple, clean, intuitive interface and some of the broadest analytics tools available, it’s clear what makes Tableau stand out from the pack. Tableau provides many features to make it quick and easy to dive into data and supports multiple data connection types, and it’s particularly well suited to massive and fast-changing datasets thanks to integrations with Hadoop, Amazon AWS, My SQL, SAP and Teradata.
Like Qlik, Tableau is usable on any size device, from desktop to tablet to mobile, giving you the freedom to access and analyse your data from wherever you are. It also offers scalable cloud-based solutions that make it easy to collaborate with other members of your team and work with your data from anywhere.
Tableau offers comprehensive training resources to make sure all customers are getting the most out of what they pay for the service, including more than 100 training videos, a community for users and more. A free trial will allow you to take Tableau for a test drive before you commit, and then tiered pricing ensures there’s a plan — and price point — customised to include only the necessary features and tools and to fit every business’ needs. Join the ranks of Honeywell, LinkedIn, Lufthansa, Lenovo and more and try Tableau today.
Founded in 2011 by the San Francisco Bay area Looker has experienced massive growth and has developed into a leading data platform company. Looker enables organisations to make better business decisions by providing real-time access to data. Looker analytics integrate with any SQL database or data warehouses, such as Amazon Athena, Greenplum, and Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
Looker removes barriers to entry in the data visualisation world and does not require analysts to have SQL knowledge. It removes complicated coding. Users can drill into the data across tables and charts regardless of experience. The platform includes self-service functions such as filtering, pivoting, and the creation of dashboards and visualisations. Similar to Tableau and Qlik, Looker has many features to enable collaboration between workers allowing easy sharing of dashboards and insights via URL or email and can integrate with excel, google docs and numerous third-party products.
Unlike other data platforms on the market, the deployment is faster than most tools available on the market. Instead of waiting weeks or months, Looker customers can have their platform implemented in hours, due to the platform being packaged in a .jar file. Looker also provides comprehensive training on the platform, with a first-rate customer service team guiding end users and training them to explore their data sets. Looker analysts will assist companies in building models on their data.
FusionCharts transforms bland data into delightful visualisations in your business dashboards. It can produce 90 different chart types and integrates with a large number of platforms and frameworks giving a great deal of flexibility. A standout feature is the user’s ability to pick from a range of live example templates by plugging in their own data sources as needed enabling new users to set up in less than 15 minutes.
Power BI is a business intelligence tool released by Microsoft in 2015. Power BI can help your company turn data to insight in minutes. It does a great job of combining powerful user analytics and data visualisation capabilities with a highly intuitive UI making the learning curve remarkably short.
Power BI provides numerous integration with a suite of third-party of tools ranging from MailChimp, Salesforce and Redshift meaning you can run power queries aimed at multiple apps. Users can share their dashboards company-wide to consume on the web or mobile devices.
Customers have a choice between a limited free version or the professional version which is $9.99 per user per month. The free service offers 1(GB) of storage along with daily refresh cycles. The professional version offers 10(GB), faster data refresh cycles (hourly) and impressive collaboration features. It’s a strong competitor to Tableau and is one of the best BI tools on the market.
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If you’re a B2B (business-to-business) company and you don’t have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place with your customers, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to improve customer retention and satisfaction. SLAs are contractually agreed upon terms between a company and their customers that ensures the services provided meet certain thresholds (i.e. uptime, responsiveness, etc.). This can mean guaranteeing servers will have 99.9% uptime for your product or that all customer service inquiries will be responded to within a 24-hour window.
With many companies already striving for a high level of service, what is the importance of Service Level Agreements in the B2B industry? Here are the key reasons so many companies rely on SLAs for their profitability…
They strengthen the customer relationship at its core – From a customer’s perspective, entering into a new business relationship has a lot of risk. A bad relationship can lead to operational issues, impacting the bottom line and even their professional career. SLAs are the safety net of accountability that businesses use to alleviate these fears. They ensure customers won’t be forgotten after they sign on the dotted line by holding everyone fully accountable for their actions. Some SLAs even offer financial and product “kickbacks” to customers should a business not hold up their end of the agreement, eliminating even more potential concerns.
A good SLA strategy can increase new business – Too often, customers will leave a competitor because they are inattentive. Issues and requests slip through the cracks, creating even more problems and chaos that can only be solved by terminating the relationship. Your prospective customers are often looking to start a new professional relationship because they’ve experienced poor service and are looking for a partner who will listen and respond to their needs. With this in mind, leveraging business SLAs can be an incredibly powerful sales tool. However, you can’t just promise great SLAs over the phone; instead make sure prospects ask current customers about their experience with your SLAs while performing their due diligence. Hearing about the success and impact of a thriving SLA program can make or break a deal, especially for a prospect with an experience of poor service delivery in the past.
SLAs create clear and defined communication boundaries – While defined SLAs provide clear guidelines for employees to communicate with customers, the benefits of SLAs aren’t completely one-sided. A carefully constructed agreement can also be leveraged as a resource by your employees for difficult conversations. For example, many companies have that one customer that doesn’t hesitate to follow up several times a day to check in on the status of their issue. When this happens too often, an SLA can be a key document in reaffirming communication guidelines. You can refer to the SLA and let the customer know that they agreed, in writing, to allow for a 12-hour response period for a non-severe issue. This reminder usually makes the customer back off, increasing productivity and improving staff morale.
Rock solid SLAs go a long way in retaining customers – When evaluating your unique business-customer relationship, it’s important to remember that every customer you have has similar relationships across different industries. Because of this, you are constantly being compared and evaluated not only to your direct competition but also other companies that a customer works with. One way to stand out from all other companies is by providing excellent customer service reinforced by rock solid SLAs. Take the time up front to negotiate these agreements so they meet your customer’s exact needs but are also fair to your business. Shining in customer service not only leads to happier business relationships, but it also reduces churn and increases your referral rate.
In short, Service Level Agreements are so important in the B2B industry because they can turn a good company into a great one. They create a formalized communication process that both a business and its customers agree upon so both parties can be as efficient and successful as possible.
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Dreamforce 2018 is going to deliver 2,700+ sessions to help you succeed by learning from thousands of trailblazers from around the world.
This is a four-day event with hands-on opportunities to experience and be inspired by global leaders in their field. And the return on investment for attending Dreamforce has been spectacular.
Past attendees have used what they learned from Dreamforce to get a 38% increase in sales productivity, a 20% increase in customer retention, a 32% increase in employee productivity, a 29% increase in marketing campaign effectiveness, and 58% faster integration.
Dreamforce 2018 is going to be held in San Francisco from September 25-28. And as usual, there will be luminaries from the entertainment, business, sports, music and other industries.
Register by clicking the red box and don’t miss out on this great event.
Featured Events, Contests and Awards
CouchCon by Wistia: The Free Virtual Deep-Dive into Marketing
August 14, 2018, Online
Save your seat for CouchCon – a virtual conference on all things video marketing. Wistia’s lined up 13 industry leaders who’ve used video to solve some of their biggest marketing challenges and are eager to share how you can do the same. From creating successful video campaigns to engaging with your audience, each session is designed to help provide marketers like you with advanced techniques to take your video marketing game to the next level. Whether you’re watching CouchCon from your living room, the local coffee shop, or the office, it’s all completely free. That means you can get access to all sorts of awesome video marketing content without spending a penny or leaving your couch! Join thousands of other marketers and register today.
Browsing via mobile devices has overtaken and now exceeds desktop computer browsing. Sadly, most marketers and business owners still look at their company web presence using desktop devices – but that’s not what most of their visitors are seeing! Visitors are seeing it through mobile devices. In this webinar we’ll explore how users find and get to businesses using mobile devices. We’ll look at the latest trends, and whether your business needs them or should ignore them, including:
AMP (accelerated mobile pages), progressive Web apps vs true mobile apps, mobile templates vs responsive websites, the search engine “knowledge panel” for your business, the mobile-first Google index, leveraging third party reviews and their impact on mobile visitors, and much more. Join us on August 15, 2PM ET (11AM PT) by registering today!
Growth & Success Con
September 17, 2018, Online
This small business virtual conference is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs at all stages who are stuck in the daily grind of building their businesses and struggle to get solid advice and guidance. An amazing panel of experts in various disciplines and business coaches will share tips & tricks on topics including Growth, Marketing, Management & Business Building for Success. Register today!
September 25, 2018, San Francisco, CA
Every year, the world’s most innovative minds come to Dreamforce to inspire, excite, and motivate attendees. Past speakers include Michelle Obama, Taraji P. Henson, Klaus Schwab, and Susan Wojcicki. With 2,700+ sessions to help every role in every industry succeed, opportunities to get hands-on with the latest product innovations, and thousands of Trailblazers to learn from, Dreamforce is not to be missed. Register now to lock in your spot and blaze your trail to the best Dreamforce ever!
2018 #FlipMyFunnel B2B Marketing and Sales Conference
August 08, 2018, Online
Small Business Expo San Francisco 2018
August 09, 2018, San Francisco, Calif.
Small Business Expo 2018 – SAN FRANCISCO
August 09, 2018, San Mateo, Calif.
August 11, 2018, Newport News, Virginia
SILICON VALLEY FINTECH WEEK 2018
August 13, 2018, Online
Nashville Lifestyles Women in Business
August 14, 2018, Nashville, Tenn.
IoT Forum on Logistics
August 16, 2018, East Palo Alto, Calif.
TECHSPO Singapore 2018
August 19, 2018, Singapore
National Ergonomics Conference and ErgoExpo – August 2018 – Paris Las Vegas
August 21, 2018, Las Vegas
TECHSPO Sydney 2018
August 22, 2018, Sydney, Australia
DigiMarCon New Zealand 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
August 22, 2018, Sydney, NSW
DigiMarCon Australia 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
August 22, 2018, Sydney, Australia
Culture Talk: Culture and Cultural Identity
August 23, 2018, Online
The Sales Development Conference San Francisco August 30th 2018 Tenbound
August 30, 2018, San Francisco
TECHSPO London 2018
September 05, 2018, London
DigiMarCon Europe 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
September 05, 2018, London
DigiMarCon UK 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
September 05, 2018, London
HR Technology Conference and Exposition
September 11, 2018, Online
DigiMarCon India 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
September 19, 2018, Online
DigiMarCon Asia Pacific 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
September 19, 2018, Singapore
Public Vote to Crown America’s Most Unique Small Business Underway
November 08, 2018,
This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.
You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.
This article, “San Francisco Dreamforce 2018 Event Offers Great ROI for Attendance” was first published on Small Business Trends
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Any email that begins with “hey ladies ” should be viewed as a harbinger of taxing social obligations to come. While bachelorette parties can be credited as the original cause for ‘hey ladies’-ing, there’s another, less talked-about — but actually far more common — reason your inbox is regularly flooded with these groan-inducing missives: the birthday extravaganza. Or, as we’ve christened it, the Big Deal Birthday (BDB).
Whether it’s an out-of-your-price-range dinner with a group of people you haven’t spoken to since college (for very good reason) or just a forced-fun night out at the klerb, you’ve likely been a victim of the BDB. Perhaps you’ve even sent an awful “hey ladies” invite of your own.
29-year-old Chastity, for example, admits she “used to be ridiculously over-the-top” when it came to her birthday, going as far as to create special hashtags to be used during the festivities, much like many couples do for their weddings. While she says she’s since chilled out, she told Refinery29 via email: “I hired an event planner to bring my dream of a sit-down dinner with friends to life. There was a photographer, cupcakes, special menus — the whole nine. On top of that, my friends did have to pay for their meals (which, in my defense, was outlined in my invitation) but as I found out later, that didn’t make too many people happy.”
Chastity, while seemingly far more self-aware than many, is not the only person to get extra about their birthday. Thanks in large part to social media, there’s an increasing need to top whatever you did last year, not to mention what others on your feed might be doing. A writer and influencer recently chronicled for The Cut how she managed to throw an entirely sponsored birthday event for herself that included free booze, a custom dress, and a stay at the trendy 11 Howard hotel in Manhattan. Meanwhile, party promoter services like New York-based Birthday Bottle Service ensure that anyone willing to throw down enough cash (bottles at the venues they work with tend to be in the $300-$500 range) can party in the luxurious, premium vodka-soaked manner of a tabloid sensation circa 2007. No high follower count necessary.
22-year-old Clare, who spoke to Refinery29 over email, tells the story of a college pal who not only took her birthday way too seriously, but expected everyone else around her to do the same. “She began planning far in advance, assigning different roles for friends, ordering custom decorations with her name, renting professional cameras, a Snapchat filter, and custom dessert. I volunteered to help let people in, make sure music was playing, and just in general ensure the party was going well. However, the rest of our friends weren’t filling out the ‘expectations’ of their roles.”
Clare says the group was yelled at during the party by the birthday girl for not fulfilling their duties, but that she assumed the tension would then blow over since, you know, it was a party. It didn’t exactly pan out that way, though. “For the rest of her party, which I spent months enduring endless questions about guest lists, party themes, catering and more, and spent hours helping to plan and set up, she was ignoring me,” she recalls. “She had the photographer take pictures of her with all of our close friends except for me and was gushing to everyone about how some of these friends were so great and helpful, while I was in the background helping clean up. It was probably (definitely) alcohol-induced, but I left early with a friend so I could cry.”
Birthdays are a big deal for small children, largely, I would wager, because they’re still coming to grips with the passage of time and their own existence within the cycle of the universe. A year feels unfathomably long when you’re ten. But when you’re 26? Or 35? Not so much. I don’t know about you, but it feels like yesterday to me that Lemonade dropped. Guess what: That was over two years ago! Anyway, when you’re a kid, birthdays are huge, but they’re also relatively low-commitment (unless, of course, you’re the adult who has to throw one, but that’s another story). You do an activity, you sing a song, you have pizza and soda and cake, and then you go home with a sugar high and a goodie bag. It’s a great deal for all involved (minus, again, the adults in charge). And since time feels to you like it’s slowly lurching forward rather than slipping away with each passing minute, and you don’t have anything else to do except youth sports and homework, you really don’t mind going to a different one every weekend.
But once you and your pals leave behind your teenage years, where slumber parties and Sweet Sixteens abound, and then pass through the foggy threshold of legal drinking, it starts to get repetitive. Not only can your own annual celebration begin to feel like it’s occurring exhaustingly often, but you really can’t believe it’s Megan’s birthday again and you have to drop another $150 to fake laugh your way through another dinner with her cliquey work friends.
In addition to the forced socializing — often with people we may not know very well — a primary complaint about BDBs is that they get expensive. A weekend away or a dinner at a fancy restaurant plus a night of raucous drinking afterwards adds up quick, especially if you have multiple friends with birthdays that fall around the same period. “My roommate wants to go on a trip to a five star resort in Florida for her birthday this year and wants us to all split the cost of the resort, rental car, and gas. I want to go and be there for her but I honestly can’t afford it,” confesses Syrena, who spoke to Refinery29 via email “I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. I’m sure she’s going to be pissed if I don’t go so I might just have to dip into my savings.”
“It was probably (definitely) alcohol-induced, but I left early with a friend so I could cry.”
Surely you aren’t obligated to attend these events every year for people who aren’t family or very close friends, right? Well, that depends on how much you value those relationships. According to etiquette expert Myka Meier, who was trained by no less than trained by a former member of Queen Elizabeth II’s Household: “It’s absolutely fine to tell the person you are unable to attend, and it’s up to you and your relationship with the person to decide if or how you want to communicate the reason why.”
“A distant friend might be fine with an RSVP that simply says you are sadly unable to attend without giving a specific reason, but a close friend may ask why,” she tells Refinery29 by email. “For a close relationship, hopefully, you can be honest and say it’s hard for you to take off the time from work or that it’s out of your means.”
And yet, it’s not always that simple. Lauren Wannermeyer told Refinery29 via Twitter: “I have people in my life who insist on celebrating their birthdays like 3-4 times a month. And I’ve caused irreparable damage by missing one and I DON’T GET IT.”
Meanwhile, Shakira, a 22-year-old who spoke to Refinery29 by email, thinks the worst birthday demand one person can make of another is not forced spending or multi-day celebrations, but “expecting them to bake a cake when they cannot even boil water!”
It’s hard, because for those of us who don’t have an abject hatred of our birthdays, when it’s our big day, we want to feel special and celebrated — and probably also get a few really good Instagram shots out of the deal. But when it comes to celebrating others, particularly people we’re not as close to or who tend to be especially demanding, we often find we just don’t have the time, money, or energy.
“I think any situation where your friends have to spend large amounts of money is unfair,” Syrena added. “So, trips, music festivals, anything that would cost a lot for them to participate. Also expecting them to be able to dedicate multiple days/weeks to celebrating with you is too much. People have lives and things to do.”
Meier echoes this sentiment: “It is presumptuous and can be considered rude to plan an event with the thought that your friends will chip in. I recommend planning a celebration that you can afford so that you don’t put your guests out of pocket.”
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with having a BDB for birthdays that are actually, you know, a big deal. If you’re turning 25, 30, or 40, for example, those are major milestones that are worth celebrating, and the people who care about you will probably want to help you do so. After all, most of us enjoy an excuse to put on a cute outfit, eat a nice meal, and get a little drunk. People just don’t want to feel obligated to do it once a year for every single person they’re sort of friends with. And they definitely don’t want to be forced to help plan a big party, only to be yelled at during the event for not doing enough.
As long as you’re being relatively chill about it, there’s an argument to be made for leaning into a little birthday extraness while you can, before kids and work schedules and all the other boring trappings of adult life begin to get in the way. But as with bachelorette parties and other events, it’s crucial to be respectful of varying financial situations. Just because you can afford to spend three figures on dinner doesn’t mean everyone in your social circle can (or wants to). So unless you’re in a position to pay for everybody or are okay with certain people not being able to swing it, maybe pick a spot or activity with a more reasonable price tag.
While it’s tricky if you and most of your friends have tiny apartments, one formula that rarely falls flat is the house party. Not only does it allow for flourishes like cute decorations, a customized cake, and special cocktails, but it’s rarely expensive and allows people to come and go as they please. If that doesn’t feel special enough, consider adding a theme: “We decide to throw a glow in the dark house party and it was LIT *no pun intended*,” recalls Chastity of her cousin’s 24th birthday party. “So much glow in the dark paint. So many people. So much music.” Now that sounds like a BDB we can get on board with.
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The beauty of SUP is that speed is often optional. In many case, simply being on the water is pleasure enough. In fact, many paddlers feel the slower you go, the more you can enjoy your surroundings. The more meaningful the experience becomes.
That being said, there are times when you’re trying to cover a large distance in a limited time and faster speeds are needed. Competitive races are the obvious examples of this, but it could also be as simple as trying to paddle back to your car in time to make it to your best friend’s wedding ceremony (we’ve all been in situations like this).
Inexperienced paddlers sometimes think that speed comes from churning the water with rapid paddle strokes. In reality, this just tires you out and doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere faster.
To really boost your speed, you need to experiment with both your stroke distance and stroke rate. Depending on your build, board and paddle, there will be a combination of those two factors that will achieve the best results.
Here are some other tips that can help you refine your technique and get the best results.
Avoid wide paddle turns
You’ve probably been driving around town and seen trucks that warn, “Caution: makes wide turns.” When big, lumbering trucks turn, they lose most of their speed and take up a large area in the process.
The same can be said for paddling. When you’re bringing your paddle forward from the back of your stroke, time is of the essence. Every second that passes will cause your board to lose momentum. Plus, a wide swinging motion will consume extra energy and tire you out quicker.
Remedy this by keeping your paddle closer to the board. It’s more efficient all around, so you can move faster in the water and conserve precious energy.
Maximize your strokes
Remember how important stroke distance is? Focus on extending your reach or you could be shortchanging yourself with every stroke. The caveat here is that you shouldn’t reach further than is comfortable. You don’t want to injure yourself.
Once you’ve reached the front of your stroke and your paddle hits the water, dig deep. Use your whole body to power the paddle, not simply your arms. This is where you take full advantage of your reach and really see results.
Know your surroundings
It always helps to get the lay of the land (even on water). Identify landmarks and keep your eyes peeled for hazards. Talk to someone who is familiar with the area. If you’re racing, preview the course on your board before the action begins. The more intel you have, the more you can focus on your paddling and play to the strengths of the specific water you’ll be paddling.
Plan a course
Once you’re familiar with the area, it’s important to decide on your route. This is most important with racing, but also applies to any time when you want to improve your speed. All the advanced techniques in the world won’t help you if you don’t know where you’re going and the best way to get there.
There you have it – four simple tips to increase your paddling speed. For more tips, subscribe to our monthly newsletter!
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The Complete Anatomy Of The Gutenberg WordPress Editor
The Complete Anatomy Of The Gutenberg WordPress Editor
It seems that Gutenberg has been a term of controversy in the world of WordPress lately. Hailed as the most significant change to WordPress 5.0 this year, the Gutenberg editor has received a mixed response from web developers and regular folk alike. All of this chaos is making it difficult to see Gutenberg for what it really is. So, I’ll try to put some of the confusion to rest once and for all.
In this article, I will cover the following:
What is Gutenberg?
More Than Just An Editor
What Does Gutenberg Change In WordPress?
Exploring Gutenberg At Length
Pros And Cons
Understanding Compatibility Issues
Gutenberg Is The Future
Latest News And Further Resources
Named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the mechanical printing press, Gutenberg was introduced to the world by Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Europe in 2017. In essence, Gutenberg is a new WordPress editor, with dozens of cutting-edge features. It simplifies website creation and editing for the average non-technical user.
It has earned several accolades, from “WordPress’s new publishing experience” to “the future of website creation”. Some skeptics think it is the nail in the coffin for WordPress. All this babble aside, Gutenberg is going to be way more than just an editor for WordPress (which I will discuss next).
It allows website creators to build a website using blocks, which are small drag-and-drop units. Thus, it replaces the current inconsistent and distracting customization process. It also enables HTML tags such as section and figure, outputting solid HTML. At the time of writing, Gutenberg is still a plugin. However, the community is planning to merge it with WordPress 5.0 this year.
Getting workflow just right ain’t an easy task. So are proper estimates. Or alignment among different departments. That’s why we’ve set up “this-is-how-I-work”-sessions — with smart cookies sharing what works well for them. A part of the Smashing Membership, of course.
Gutenberg is more than just an editor because it allows you to handle website content in customizable chunks or blocks. You don’t need to be fluent in HTML or write shortcodes. You can control a website’s entire layout (both back end and front end) from a single console.
This new editor attempts to combine the best features from both page-builder plugins such as Divi and Visual Composer, as well as do-it-yourself platforms such as Medium, Wix and Squarespace. So, just like those page-builder plugins, you can handle multi-column layouts through a single interface.
Does this spell the end of plugins such as Divi and Beaver Builder? That’s a topic for another post, but the short answer is no. Gutenberg is unlikely to replace those plugins completely. You can continue to use them even once Gutenberg becomes the default editor.
The sole purpose of the Gutenberg editor is to provide an alternative to the current open text editor, not to mention the difficult-to-remember shortcodes, with an agile and visual user interface (UI). So, unlike the current WordPress editor, you don’t have to:
import images, multimedia and approved files from the media library or add HTML shortcodes;
copy and paste links for embeds;
write shortcodes for specialized assets of different plugins;
create featured images to be added at the top of a post or page;
add excerpts for subheads;
add widgets for content on the side of a page.
In short, Gutenberg doesn’t change how WordPress functions. It does, however, change the way website owners (or creators) interact with it. Instead of a whole lot of shortcodes and meta boxes, you will be using simple blocks.
What Are Blocks?
Consider a block as the most basic (therefore, smallest) unit of the new editor. They will be the building blocks of WordPress 5.0. In other words, everything—including content, images, quotes, galleries, cover images, audio, video, headings, embeds, custom codes, paragraphs, separators and buttons—will turn into distinct blocks. Because you can drag and drop each block, identifying these items and placing them on the page becomes a lot easier.
You can download the latest version of Gutenberg directly from the WordPress repository. You can also search for it under “Add New” plugins in your WordPress dashboard. I would recommend installing it in your staging environment. However, you’ll need the latest version of WordPress (version 4.8 or later) to install the Gutenberg editor.
Sign into your WordPress admin dashboard.
Go to the Plugins menu on the left side of the dashboard.
Click “Plugins” to open the “Add New” menu.
Type “Gutenberg” in the search box, located in the top-left corner.
You will see the Gutenberg plugin in the results.
Click the “Install Now” button.
Click the “Activate” button to initiate the plugin.
Gutenberg Installation Steps (Large preview)
Once installed and activated, Gutenberg will show an icon in the left menu bar. When you launch it for the first time, you will see a new sample post, titled “Gutenberg Demo.” You can practice on the demo post before creating your own.
Gutenberg Sample Post (Large preview)
A. Add New
Go to “Posts” in the left menu bar of your WordPress dashboard. The new post will launch in Gutenberg first. You can later edit it in both the classic editor and Gutenberg.
Adding a new post in Gutenberg (Large preview)
Go to the “Posts” menu, and hover the mouse over a saved post to see the option to choose between the two editors. Although the classic editor option is available for the time being, it will most likely be removed with the launch of WordPress 5.0.
Editing a post in Gutenberg (Large preview)
C. Switch Between Editors
You can also switch between the two editors when editing a post. Click on the dropdown menu in the upper-right corner to toggle between the visual editor mode and the text editor (i.e. code). Alternatively, you can also use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Alt + M to switch between editors.
The text editor in Gutenberg (Large preview)
The visual editor in Gutenberg (Large preview)
D. Copy All Content
This feature allows you to copy all content in the HTML version with just one click. You can open this feature in both editors by clicking on the dropdown menu in the upper-right corner of the dashboard.
“ The ‘Copy All Content’ tool in Gutenberg (Large preview)
E. Content Structures
This feature allows you to count the number of words in an entire post. You can also see the number of headings, paragraphs and blocks with just a click. Click the information icon (i) in the upper-left area.
Content information in Gutenberg (Large preview)
F. Redo and Undo
You can find these options next to the information icon (i). They allow you to undo or redo the last command.
Undo/Redo Command (Large preview)
G. Page and Document Settings
This allows you to change various page and document settings. You can find it in the right menu bar. You can make the following adjustments:
Make a post public or private.
Change the publishing date.
Select a post’s format.
Add or edit categories and tags.
Upload featured images.
Write an excerpt.
Enable and disable comments, pingbacks and trackbacks.
Page/Document Settings (Large preview)
H. Stick to Front Page
This feature will come handy if you’re running a blog. When you turn this on in the document settings, that particular post will always appear on the front page of your blog. And just turn it off to remove it from the front page.
Making your post stick to the front page (Large preview)
I. Using Blocks
As mentioned, blocks are the fundamental unit of the new Gutenberg editor. To use Gutenberg efficiently, you need to understand how to use these blocks. I will cover the main blocks one by one. Click the plus (+) button next to the redo/undo option to open the blocks menu.
Common blocks allow you to add the elements required to create a rich UI.
The paragraph block comes with a few excellent features, such as custom font sizes, drop caps, background colors and text colors, among others. You are also able to add more CSS classes here.
Gutenberg Text Editor Options (Large preview)
This element comes with a new feature that allows you to toggle between gallery and image layouts. You also get more control over images because you can set particular size dimensions, percentage size ratios, and an alternative text description for each image.
Image Settings in Gutenberg (Large preview)
Other elements include:
As the name suggests, these blocks comprise all of the formatting tools.
Adding a table using custom HTML code was a tedious job. With the table block, however, the task is a lot easier. You are able to add and remove rows and columns of a table without coding.
Table Block in Gutenberg (Large preview)
You can use a custom HTML code in Gutenberg. And the nice part is that you can insert your code and see a preview in the block itself.
Custom HTML in Gutenberg (Large preview)
Other elements include:
Use your imagination to create a stunning layout using this block. Each element in this block comes with excellent features.
You can add buttons such as “Subscribe now” and “Buy now” using this block. It has different options, including alignment and font styles. You can also set the background color and shape of the button.
Button Layout in Gutenberg (Large preview)
Creating columns in the code-based editor is time-consuming and laborious. This block allows you to add text columns. You are able to add one to six columns in a single row.
Column Layout in Gutenberg (Large preview)
Other elements include:
These blocks allow you to add an archive, categories, the latest posts and the latest comments with just a click anywhere on the page. You are also able to adjust these elements without any coding.
With this block element, you can show posts in a grid view or list view, organize them in categories, and order them alphabetically or according to publication date. You can also choose to display the publication date.
Latest Posts Setting in Gutenberg (Large preview)
You can easily access any embeds using these blocks. Whether you want to add a YouTube or Twitter link, it’s super-easy and quick. All you need to do is paste the URL in the given blank space, and Gutenberg will embed the code for you. Here is an example of inserting a YouTube link:
Embed Youtube Link in Gutenberg (Large preview)
Reusable blocks give developers improved usability. You can convert any block into a reusable block so that you can use it in a different location. You can edit the same and save it as a new reusable block again.
You can also see a preview of a reusable block. All reusable blocks are available under the “Shared Block” options. Most importantly, you can turn one back into a regular block anytime.
Reusable Blocks in Gutenberg (Large preview)
Under this option, you will see the most used blocks, for quick access. Alternatively, you can use the search box to find a block by name.
J. Edit Block
To edit any block, open the dropdown menu by clicking in the upper-right corner of the block. You will see different options, including to edit as HTML, duplicate and add to the reusable blocks.
Edit Block in Gutenberg (Large preview)
K. Insert Blocks
Using this feature, you can insert a new block anytime. When you bring your mouse over a block, you will see a plus icon (+). Click it to insert a new block.
Inserting a block in Gutenberg (Large preview)
L. Slash Autocomplete
The Slash Autocomplete feature is available in Gutenberg 1.1.0 and later versions. Chances are you are already familiar with the similar feature in Slack. It was added to reduce the amount of pointing and clicking required to create new blocks.
When you open a new block, just press / (slash key) on your keyboard to select any of the autocomplete options. It works in the default paragraph block only, but it might become a part of other types of blocks in the future.
Slash Autocomplete in Gutenberg (Large preview)
M. Move Blocks
Gutenberg enables you to move each block up and down. You can use the arrows (on the left side of each block) to move them vertically.
Moving a block in Gutenberg (Large preview)
No technical skill is required to make a custom layout for a blog post or website. It works like Medium, so people looking for that kind of style and user-friendly editing experience will love it.
It allows you to create a consistent and advanced design without relying much on TinyMCE.
Furthermore, blocks are an excellent concept. They allow non-developers to intuitively craft complex layouts. If you are new to WordPress or have no knowledge of it whatsoever, you are still going to love it.
The Gutenberg editor itself works well on mobile (it’s responsive). Unlike its predecessor, it allows you to make quick edits on the go. In fact, mobile-savvy developers can manage to do more than just a few quick edits.
The increased screen space is proving to be a less distracting user experience for many developers.
Hardcore developers can still create customized reusable blocks using HTML5. So, it seems like a win-win for both geeks and non-technical users.
For the time being, there is no Markdown support in the beta version of the WordPress editor.
It still doesn’t support responsive columns. You will need to do some custom coding to make this feature responsive. So, using this feature on mobile isn’t an option right now.
The design layout options are inadequate at the moment.
Compatibility issues could be a significant concern for some WordPress users.
You get only partial support for meta boxes. For now, it only supports Yoast SEO. So, using most custom plugins in Gutenberg is not possible. However, developers are working hard to extend meta box support.
Backward compatibility is going to be a primary concern for most developers. It will destroy current plugins and themes, especially ones that require integration with TinyMCE.
Despite its simplicity and agility, Gutenberg might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Most WordPress developers might find it difficult to work with, especially in the beginning. They will need to retrain their reflexes to get used to the new UX.
Owing to the backward-compatibility issue, you will need to update many plugins and themes to ensure they are fully compatible with the new editor.
For the time being, blocks are more focused on content. As a result, Gutenberg lacks precision and control over the layout of custom websites.
Shortcodes are replaced by shortcode blocks. However, you will still be able to add shortcodes from the widget block.
Meta boxes will be available under a new name and a new UI. Conflicting meta boxes are likely to lead to the classic editor, instead of Gutenberg, with an alert. While this system might prove helpful, some meta boxes will not be supported in Gutenberg.
Custom post types are supported and remain backward-compatible in Gutenberg.
You won’t be able to turn off Gutenberg once it is integrated in WordPress core. However, you can disable it using the official plugin anytime.
Contrary to popular opinion, Gutenberg is not a replacement for the current text editor. It is a new way to build websites. I like to think of it as Facebook for WordPress.
You don’t need to be a computer geek to publish things on Facebook or any other social media platform. Gutenberg is just a way to bring this simplicity and flexibility to WordPress, so that people don’t need to code in order to create and publish websites. That’s why I think it is going to be the future, not only for WordPress, but for the web in general.
Granted, Gutenberg has a long way to go. People (including me) have had issues with its implementation, but soon we will have Gutenberg-ready themes, plugins and tools surfacing everywhere. Nevertheless, you have to start somewhere. So, you might as well be a part of this change from the beginning.
If you are interested in riding the Gutenberg train from the beginning, here are a few links to find the latest buzz. Keep in mind that none of these websites are officially endorsed by WordPress.
For official updates and news, you can try the following:
“Gutenberg, Or The Ship Of Thesus,” Matías Ventura Bausero
“Editor Technical Overview,” Matías Ventura Bausero, WordPress.org
“Design Principles,” WordPress.org
“wp-post-grammar,” Dennis Snell
“#gutenberg (Dev Chat Summary: June 27th),” Jeffrey Paul
“Introduction To Gutenberg,” WordPress.org
Whether you like it or not, Gutenberg is coming to WordPress 5.0. Do try to be a part of the ongoing discussion about it on the web. It will certainly help. In fact, while you’re at it, try to speed up the development process with your skills. Meanwhile, let me know if this post has shed some light on the topic. Drop your queries and suggestions in the comments section. I would love to keep the conversation going.
Read more: smashingmagazine.com
Just a friendly reminder when it comes to CRMs: Buyer beware of the “complete CRM.” Unfortunately this is usually code for a company trying to create a beast-of-a-system from scratch. (And typically not succeeding.)
Instead, you should look for a system that has CRM integrations with other best-of-breed solutions. That way you can integrate all your favorite tools, pull info from everywhere, and connect everyone (your team, buyers, sellers, prospects, everyone.)
Now, here are the integrations you need to optimize every aspect of your business (and save so. much. time.):
Auto-Dialer CRM Integration
When an auto-dialer’s technology is directly integrated into your CRM, you can work much more efficiently, easily call prospects from your CRM database, and use one system for lead cultivation and call handling. Boom.
Eliminate tedious tasks like manually dialing phone numbers and leaving voicemails
Help you connect with more prospects
Are proven to generate more conversations, and set more appointments.
By directly integrating this functionality into your CRM, you can enjoy conversations with cultivated opportunities from your database instead of wasting time calling uninterested prospects. This is what we like to call Smart Propsecting.
For example, BoomTown’s CRM integrates directly with Mojo dialer, and the streamlined call process provides detailed information from the CRM like communication history, contact information, and relevant lead profile details that are displayed for the agent handling the call. Calls and To-Dos are automatically logged and updated, and pre-recorded voicemails are instantly delivered so agents can quickly move from call to call without additional administrative tasks.
Paperless Contract Management CRM Integration
Ah, going paperless. No more messy files, no more lost paper or forms, all your data and tools housed digitally in one place for easy access and total transparency. When it comes to transaction management, there are so many moving parts and different players. Using a digital system replaces the mess with simple form creation, e-sign and a single end-to-end solution, while helping you streamline your business with real-time visibility into your transactions.
When this is seamlessly integrated into your CRM you can:
Say goodbye to the security risks and hiccups that come with linking together multiple solutions.
Stay on top of reviews with workflow tools
Gain real-time visibility into your business, coach team members, and increase productivity.
BoomTown clients can easily connect their accounts with dotloop, the industry’s leading digital transaction management software. This integration provides a seamless hand-off from CRM to transaction management, and when synced, data silos and messy workflows get smoothed out between agents and transaction coordinators, you get extra time to focus on what matters to your business.
Video Email CRM Integration
It’s no secret that video is huge in marketing right now. It’s an easy way to put a face to your brand, humanize your marketing message and really connect with your prospects. Adding video to your emails can seriously boost your results too.
According to BombBomb, the industry’s leading video platform, of the people working in real estate who leverage video in their marketing:
81% get more replies
68% convert more leads
56% report more referrals.
When you have video technology integrate with your CRM it means you can leverage the power of video in your email marketing campaigns, drip plans, and bulk emails. You can also record a new video directly from the CRM that can be used in any way you choose (drop it in an email, text from the mobile app, share on social media, etc.).
In the BoomTown CRM, BombBomb’s video email technology is seamlessly integrated so users can create video campaigns, add videos to drip plans, and use the tool to build trust, convert leads, and get referrals by getting face to face more often.
Inbound Call Tracking CRM Integration
An inbound call is one of your most valuable leads. But in the chaos of the day it can be nearly impossible to make sure you answer every call. Unfortunately this means losing opportunities to the competition.
According to CallAction, 77 billion inbound calls were made by high-intent mobile consumers to local businesses in 2014. Mobile phones are everywhere, mobile use is exploding, and inbound call volume is predicted to grow 110% to 162 billion by 2019.
The conversion rate of inbound calls is between 30 to 50%, so these are HOT opportunities you don’t want to leave on the table. It’s crucial to use tools to help you track and manage them.
BoomTown’s CRM directly integrates with CallAction, bringing their cutting-edge offline lead generation directly into the platform. This means agents are further empowered to productively work their CallAction leads to conversion through BoomTown.
The technology even uses customs SMS text messages if an inbound call comes in unanswered, that way your leads are always engaged with you and won’t run off to the competition because you didn’t answer. And we know what a great channel text messaging can be for many prospects!
Google Calendar CRM Integration
Aside from nurturing your leads, and spinning up new opportunities, one of the biggest benefits to your real estate CRM is keeping you on top of it all. Your appointments, your to-dos, all of it.
So why work off of a separate calendar? Sync your Google Calendar with your CRM and feel like you’re truly running mission control.
Create to-dos and appointments
Leverage your CRM’s task management tools
Sync it all with your Google Calendar
For example, in the BoomTown CRM, if you have a meeting on Sunday at 11:00 with a prospect, you create the event in your CRM via the Google Calendar, and your prospect will automatically be added to the event and emailed a calendar invitation. (Of course you also have the option to add more participants too!).
Bringing it All Together: Real Estate CRM Integrations
The point of technology is to streamline your workflow and help you offload menial tasks. But, it can get overwhelming with so many tools in different places. The future of real estate business optimization is integrating your favorite tools with your CRM, so you can enjoy fewer logins and better insights.
The post 5 Must-have CRM Integrations to Optimize your Real Estate Business appeared first on BoomTown!.
Read more: boomtownroi.com
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