International stories and articles from our Flipboard mag.

JUN
26

9 Web Design Mistakes that Harm your SEO

9 Web Design Mistakes that Harm your SEO

Your website is the virtual front door to your business, and for that reason having a website that manages to engage and retain customers is vital. But what about attracting customers?

That’s where SEO comes in. Even though you may have a well-designed website, that’s not enough. If it’s not optimised for SEO, you’ll fail to attract high quality traffic. In an increasingly competitive digital landscape, it’s essential to perform well in the search results, for your targeted key terms.

To help boost your SEO, make sure you avoid these 9 web design mistakes:

A website needs to do more than just look good. While it’s important to maintain consistency in your web design with your brand image, not every web design choice will positively impact your SEO.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your website and content to increase search engine positioning. Implementing an effective SEO strategy helps to drive more high-quality traffic to your site.

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JUN
24

Use Google Autocomplete as an SEO Tool

The author's views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Google Autocomplete (often referred to as Google Suggest) is one of the first Google search developments that appeared on SEOs’ radar.

Many years ago, Google Suggest was what powered Google Instant results, making a huge impact on users’ searching journeys. SEOs have been using it as a free keyword research tool.

Yet there’s much more to this search feature, especially after all the updates Google has introduced, turning Google Autocomplete into a smart and predictive platform of its own.

What is Google Autocomplete?

Google Autocomplete allows users to easily complete their query by suggesting possible extensions of what they are currently typing:

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JUN
18

This hidden iPhone feature takes your portraits to the next level

This hidden iPhone feature takes your portraits to the next level

Being able to blur the backgrounds of iPhone photos (and unblur them) is a godsend for anyone interested in portrait photography. One of the most important aspects of portraiture is obtaining a separation between the subject of your photo and their background. Blurring the background does this, isolating the subject against a distraction-free backdrop, allowing the viewer to focus solely on the person in the portrait. 

That said, blur isn't the only technique used in portraiture, and you might not necessarily want it in your photos. Sometimes, for example, a photographer wants to encapsulate a subject within their surroundings, if the background is of contextual importance to the photo or to who the subject is as a person. Either way, blur or no blur, what's important when shooting portraits is having the ability to control what's going on in the background. 

On a full-sized DSLR or Mirrorless camera, you'd do this by adjusting the aperture of the lens, which is measured in 'f-stops'. The wider the lens aperture (opening), the lower the 'f-stop' value and shallower the depth of field, resulting in greater background blur, and vice versa. On the best iPhones, there's a super easy but not too obvious trick to let you do the same. 

In Portrait mode, there exists a depth control slider to let you tailor the background blur of your images. It's not actually controlling the physical aperture of the iPhone's lens like an aperture control ring would do on a camera lens, and is instead using software to add or remove blur to give the effect of a changing depth of field. That said, it's a nice way to give you as a photographer control over your images and make them feel more professional.

This is just one of the reasons why the iPhone shows up on our best camera phone list. Whether you own an iPhone 13 or an older iPhone, here's how to blur the background of an image on iPhone.

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JUN
18

Pentaform launches AbacusBasic, the 'world's most affordable PC'

Pentaform launches AbacusBasic, the 'world's most affordable PC'

Forgive me if I’m over here, in the corner, having vibrant flashbacks to the Commodore 64, my very first computer. Today, Pentaform launches its AbacusBasic, a computer built into a keyboard. It comes with Windows 10 and everything you need to do computer-y things. You still need a monitor, but there are a few solutions for sorting that out, including a VGA or HDMI output, so you can shanghai almost any TV or computer display into a display solution.

The computer doesn’t exactly flex big muscles, but for the target audience, it doesn’t need them. This is a typewriter or YouTube watching machine, not a gaming rig or a video editing computer. Focusing on being a functional computer with the smallest possible environmental impact, the AbacusBasic aims to make computing accessible, positioning itself to help make online learning, job hunting and accessing health information available.

The whole computer is roughly the size of a computer keyboard, and even includes the keyboard itself. In an impressive feat of miniaturization, the makers essentially squeezed everything you need for a “computer” into a keyboard, and stuck a $150 price tag on it. The computer comes with a quad-core processor with up to 4GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, a set of USB ports, an ethernet port, HDMI and VGA outputs, a built-in speaker and an integrated track pad. The computer comes with Windows 10 pre-installed, and supposedly supports displays with up to 4K resolution. Not bad at all!

“Unlike most technology, the AbacusBasic considers the planet as one of its prime beneficiaries,” wrote co-founder of Pentaform, Joon Sang Lee, in an email to me. “In a world where 4.2 billion people still don’t have access to computers, creating more computers isn’t the answer. Creating better, eco-conscious ones, is.”

The company maintains that the AbacusBasic is designed to last for years with daily use, and explains that it has been designed from the ground up for its end-of-life journey as well. The clever design means that the machine can easily be separated into the outer housing and the inner hardware. The inner hardware can either be repurposed, reused or recycled, while the outer housing (which is injection-molded from a biodegradable polymer) will eventually bio-degrade.

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JUN
17

Microsoft brings Defender security dashboard for 365 subscribers to iPhone and Mac

Microsoft is working to make your and your family’s online experience safer. Today the company is launching its new Defender security dashboard for 365 subscribers. Users on iPhone, Mac, Windows, and Android devices have access to the Microsoft Defender security app that utilizes existing antivirus software or other protections.

Microsoft Defender is simplified online security that meets you and your family where you are by bringing multiple protections together into a single dashboard. It provides online protection across the devices you and your family use. It offers tips and recommendations to strengthen your protection further. And, as you grow your digital footprint by adding family members and devices, Defender grows with you and keeps your defenses up-to-date using trusted technology.  

According to The Verge, Microsoft Defender’s features will vary by which platform. For instance, on iPhone and iPad, Microsoft Defender users won’t have antivirus protection. However, they’ll have some phishing protections alongside their dashboard that features alerts for their other devices.

Additionally, the new app includes security alerts for your devices to ensure maximum protection. While not on iPhone, you can also view Microsoft Defender’s cybersecurity tips on your Mac or Windows computer.

This is just the start. As we look forward, we will continue to bring more protections together under a single dashboard, including features like identity theft protection and secure online connection. Microsoft Defender is simplified online security that grows with you and your family to help keep you safe.

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JUN
17

Here are the Microsoft Office skills your dad never learned — it even comes with an Office license

Here are the Microsoft Office skills your dad never learned — it even comes with an Office license

DealPost

By DealPost Team Jun 17, 2022 1:00 am PDT

StackCommerce

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Original author: Team
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JUN
17

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Branding

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Branding

Branding is critical on social media – a highly-competitive platform where businesses try to attract and keep loyal audiences. Your content needs to stand out for your business to gain a foothold on social media. At the same time, your social media content must be consistent with your brand.

Having a solid brand will make your social media strategy more efficient and effective. Here’s a comprehensive guide to creating a social media brand and implementing it across different platforms.

One key thing to understand is that audiences on social media adopt a different online behavior when on social media platforms than browsing the web or doing Google searches. While a blog post caters to SEO marketing, social media marketing favors more fast-paced instant-impression content.

Source

Shown above is how Airbnb uses Instagram. Airbnb prefers featuring the great outdoors and activities over the properties advertised on the platform, emphasizing the traveler’s whole experience instead of just their stay in the property. It creates the impression that a stay in an Airbnb property is more than just a staycation – it’s an opportunity to create lasting memories.

1. Consider your target audience

First, you need to finalize your target audience before creating a brand identity. You can't market winter clothing to someone in Honolulu, and you probably won’t try to sell swimwear to someone in Minnesota, particularly in the middle of winter.

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JUN
15

Canva Uses This Marketing Strategy To Attract Over 300 Million Visitors a Month

Canva Uses This Marketing Strategy To Attract Over 300 Million Visitors a Month

Canva's marketing strategy helped the Australian startup reach 300 million monthly visitors, 75 million active users across 190 countries, and attain a $40 billion valuation. But this success didn't happen overnight. It's been years in the making.

So how did they do it? 

In this article, we will quickly cover some of the marketing tactics that have helped them become the go-to DIY design destination for people around the world. 

Canva's Marketing Strategy Matches Search Intent

Canva uses two key landing page types based on search intent: 

1. Create landing pages for those who want to design something 

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JUN
14

This hidden iPhone feature could keep you from running out of battery — here's how

This hidden iPhone feature could keep you from running out of battery — here's how

If you're anything like me and you keep your phone on silent pretty much all the time, at some point you'll have missed those battery notifications your iPhone gives you when you reach 20%, 10% and 5% charge. This can be pretty problematic when suddenly you pick up your phone and there's only 3% charge left, and has often left me wondering whether there is a better way to be notified about your battery life when your iPhone is on silent. 

Similarly, I've often felt that even the earliest 20% warning can come a little too late if you know you'll need charge later on — if you have a long commute later in the afternoon, for example, you might find it useful to get an alert at 30% or 40%, so you make sure you charge up ahead of time. 

Well, perhaps unsurprisingly given the iPhone's standing as one of the best phones out there, it turns out Apple has thought of a simple solution to both of these issues. By using a personal automation within the Shortcuts app, you can have Siri verbally warn you when your battery hits a specific percentage, even when on your iPhone is on silent.

Here's how to set custom battery alerts using iOS Shortcuts.

1. Open the Shortcuts app. If you don't know where it is, swipe up from the middle of the screen to open Spotlight and then search "shortcuts". When it appears, tap the app icon. 

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JUN
12

6 Home-Based Business Ideas for Earning Extra Income

6 Home-Based Business Ideas for Earning Extra Income
Looking for some easy business ideas that you can start from home to earn extra money? Here are some side hustles you can consider.
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JUN
11

How to Develop Your Brand Personality

How to Develop Your Brand Personality
Reading Time: 6 minutes

A brand without a personality won’t make it far in the super-competitive business landscape of today. Brands are elbowing their way to the front of the pack to get clicks, likes, and attention from audiences, and that takes personality – in many different forms.

There are countless ways to express personality, of course, and each brand needs to focus on different traits and attributes to set itself apart.

The problem for brand-new companies is forming this personality from scratch and turning it into a lasting entity that stands strong for the long run.

We asked entrepreneurs about how they built their brands’ personalities from square one, and they offered some golden insights you’ll want to keep for yourself.

Start with Self-Reflection

At the start of it all, your brand is a blank slate with zero personality. To put your company on the map, you need to conjure up a fresh, original brand that comes from self-reflection and a clear vision of the future.

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JUN
07

One plug and done: EU to require common way to charge phones

One plug and done: EU to require common way to charge phones

FILE - European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton speaks during a media conference on a common charging solution for mobile phones at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. European Union officials agreed Tuesday, June 7, 2022 on new rules requiring a uniform charging cord for smartphones and other devices, a move that would make life easier for consumers fed up with rummaging through a tangle of cables for the right one. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse, File)

FILE - European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton speaks during a media conference on a common charging solution for mobile phones at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. European Union officials agreed Tuesday, June 7, 2022 on new rules requiring a uniform charging cord for smartphones and other devices, a move that would make life easier for consumers fed up with rummaging through a tangle of cables for the right one. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse, File)

LONDON (AP) — European Union officials agreed Tuesday on new rules requiring a uniform charging cord for smartphones and other devices, a move that would make life easier for consumers fed up with rummaging through a tangle of cables for the right one.

EU negotiators said they inked a provisional agreement on a “single charging solution,” part of a wider effort to make products sold in the 27-nation bloc more sustainable and cut down on electronic waste.

The new rules, which will take effect by fall 2024, mean EU consumers will only need to use a common USB Type-C cable for small and medium-sized rechargeable, portable electronic devices.

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JUN
05

8 Valuable LinkedIn Features You Should Start Using Right Away, Part 1

8 Valuable LinkedIn Features You Should Start Using Right Away, Part 1

Photo credit

Getty Images

LinkedIn is replete with features that will help you build your personal brand and connect with your target audience. The folks at LinkedIn are continuously adding new valuable features for career-minded professionals. The challenge is staying on top of all these exciting enhancements. Some come out as part of a major upgrade to the platform, and others just appear with little notification or fanfare—leaving us to have to discover them accidentally—or through articles like this.

This article and the one that follows highlight some of the lesser-known LinkedIn features that are personal brand builders, time savers and relationship builders.

This first article focuses on items that will help you tap your creativity to build and expand your personal brand. In Part Two, we’ll unlock features that will help you reach farther with your network and increase your efficiency as you use LinkedIn.

1. Showcase your area of expertise. LinkedIn’s Creator Mode allows you to identify your top five hashtags and display them right at the top of your profile just below your headline. This new feature (and the regular use of the appropriate hashtags) will make it easier for you to find relevant content and make it easier for the people you seek to influence and impact find you. This helps you convey how you want to be known, and it also helps you get your content seen by the people who are interested in your topic. Use the mobile version of LinkedIn to turn on Creator Mode and then post related content and remember to add all relevant hashtags to those posts. This feature is the antidote to the fact that it can be hard to find what you’re looking for on content-laden LinkedIn.

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JUN
03

Samsung Galaxy A53 review: exceeding expectations

Samsung Galaxy A53 review: exceeding expectations

This year, Samsung has some pretty compelling high-end smartphones with the Galaxy S22 lineup, but let’s be honest, if you’re reading this review, you’re looking for something a bit cheaper or simply don’t need all the bleeding-edge tech packed into those devices. The Galaxy A53 from Samsung is a mid-range sm

artphone with some decent cameras, good performance, and most importantly, a sticker price that won’t break the bank — making it one of the most compelling devices in the mid-range segment this year.

Pricing

Let’s address the price of the phone, right out of the gate. Samsung is selling the A 53 5G for $450. Last year’s A52 was an OK device, but this time around, Samsung has improved pretty much everything while also cutting the price by $50.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy A53 and get the Galaxy Buds2 for FREE!

While there are plenty of devices in the $300-$500 segment, most have far too many compromises. The Galaxy A53 seems to strike just the right balance, cutting high-end features like a metal frame or glass back panel, a dedicated zoom camera, and wireless charging, without sacrificing the overall user experience.

Software

Out of the box, the Galaxy S53 is running on Android 12 with Samsung’s OneUI 4.1. If you’ve used any of Samsung’s phones running Android 12, you should be familiar with the features. The new customization options from Android 12 are fun to play with, but you’ll have to do digging into the phone’s settings to really tell if the phone is running the latest version of Android. For me, OneUI was a good overhaul of Samsung’s software in 2019, but the design feels quite dated already, especially when compared with the Material You design Google rolled out last year.

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JUN
03

How to disable Windows services and speed up your PC

How to disable Windows services and speed up your PC

Knowing how to disable Windows services is an extremely handy yet surprisingly easy task all Windows computer users should know. 

Although Windows 10 and Windows 11 are incredibly efficient operating systems, they can still experience performance slowdown. One way to make sure that your PC delivers its best performance, especially when tackling vital but demanding tasks, is by disabling all the Windows 10 services that aren’t essential. 

Windows services are small tasks and programs a PC runs, usually in the background, to ensure that all the other tools, applications and software run smoothly. That includes everything from basic ones like spooling print jobs to a printer to the more complex ones like monitoring various sensors on your display.

A lot of these services are essential to your day to day. Others, however, aren’t, which means they’re utilizing vital resources that your computer should be allocating to more important tasks. That’s where disabling Windows services comes in handy, and we’ll show you exactly how to do it.

Why should I disable Windows services?

The more applications and programs taking up space and using your PC’s resources, the less likely it’s able to perform at its best. But, some of the Windows services your PC is running aren’t essential, which means they can be disabled without interruptions to its day-to-day operations. 

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MAY
27

The Best Free Software of 2022: See the Free Programs We Can't Live Without

The Best Free Software of 2022: See the Free Programs We Can't Live Without
You want powerful software? You don't have to pay for it. Everything you need to be productive and secure on your PC is on this list, and it's all totally free.
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MAY
26

The Collison Brothers Built Stripe Into A $95 Billion Unicorn With Eye-Popping Financials. Inside Their Plan To Stay On Top

The Collison Brothers Built Stripe Into A $95 Billion Unicorn With Eye-Popping Financials. Inside Their Plan To Stay On Top

It’s just before five o’clock, and Stripe cofounder John Collison is preparing to address his hundreds of Ireland-based employees on the top floor of his headquarters in Dublin’s “Silicon Docks” District.

Such regular Friday town halls, which are also simulcast to New York, San Francisco, Singapore and anywhere else its 7,000 employees want to tune in from over Zoom, are an almost sacred tradition at Stripe, the payments company that Collison cofounded with big brother Patrick in 2010. With Patrick away getting married, it’s up to John, 31 and with a dusting of gray hair now topping his boyish face, to field questions.

It could get contentious: There’s a social media “kerfuffle” playing out over Twitter this week: Stripe has been accused in a series of (since deleted) tweets by Zachary Perret, the billionaire cofounder of fellow fintech unicorn Plaid, of meeting with his company under false pretenses only to build a competing software tool.

Patrick, Stripe’s 33-year-old CEO, has interrupted his honeymoon to write a memo to the entire company (later shared publicly) warning that such scrutiny—and uncharitable interpretations of Stripe’s motives—will only increase over time. John, Stripe’s president, is prepared for the worst. But the staff question, when it comes, is just about a name. Is calling a new product Financial Connections a sign that Stripe is moving toward more boring monikers from now on? It’s a serious question. Artful names like Atlas (software to help with company formation) and Radar (fraud detection) sound better, John admits. But they’re terrible for search engine rankings. In the end, no one asks about the Twitter dustup. (Plaid declined to comment.)

“We will compete with a bunch of companies, and we’ll partner with a bunch,” John says with a shrug. “Everyone just needs to be a grownup and well-behaved about it.”

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MAY
25

These Things Are Blocking Your Home’s Wifi Signal

These Things Are Blocking Your Home’s Wifi Signal

Photo: Cristian Gutu (Shutterstock)

Your home wifi is your lifeline to the internet, which, by extension, is your connection to the world. With internet companies charging what they do these days, you expect your speeds to be fast and constant, in order to watch 4K streaming or play games online with friends. However, there are plenty of obstructions around your home that can stop your wifi from performing at its peak.

How wifi interacts with your space

In order to understand how certain objects and materials block and weaken wifi, it’s important to know what wifi really is. In short, wifi isn’t the internet itself: Rather, it’s radio waves that allow your devices to communicate with your router, which in turn connects to the internet.

Radio waves, like wifi, can pass through physical objects. If not, wifi wouldn’t be an effective or efficient way to connect to the internet. If wifi was exactly like light, it’d be bright and illuminating until it hit a solid surface—anything behind the surface wouldn’t see any light, while we know you can still connect to wifi from another room in your house.

While wifi can pass through physical objects and still reach your devices, it won’t arrive at full strength. When wifi hits an interference, it diminishes. Depending on the object it hits, the effects can be minimal or impactful. That’s the difference between reaching advertised internet speeds, and experiencing painfully slow, low-quality signals.

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MAY
23

How to tune Windows 10 for laser-focused productivity

How to tune Windows 10 for laser-focused productivity
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MAY
23

Instagram announces visual refresh with brighter icon, new typography, no iPad app

Instagram, the photo-sharing social network that lacks the resources required to develop an iPad app, is now introducing a visual refresh to its app. Apart from a brighter icon, the company has also developed its own typography, while highlighting its focus on creators.

“Our vibrant gradient was reimagined using an innovative 3D modeling process to make it feel illuminated and alive. The Instagram gradient, made up of our brand colors, is the foundation of our complete color system,” says Instagram in a press release. “Through illumination, the gradient signals moments of discovery in our marketing, logo and even in-app as seen in Create mode, stickers and Instagram Story rings.”

With new typography, Instagram Sans will be used from billboards to websites. The company wants to showcase its distinct identity through the typeface. Users will be able to take advantage of it on Stories and Reels.

“While designing this new typeface, our goal was to make Instagram Sans globally accessible. We partnered with language experts around the world to adapt the typeface to global scripts including Arabic, Thai and Japanese. We want to support all of our creators and community members who push culture forward to express themselves fully in any language they choose.”

Last but not least, Instagram says this new design “puts content at the center, with a focus on simplicity and self-expression” by showcasing full-screen imagery. This is not the first time – and certainly not the last – that the company says its focus is on creators. The Head of the app, Adam Mosseri, highlights this almost weekly.

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