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5 Awesome Benefits of Studying Online

Have you been considering distance learning?  Online degrees are a great choice!  They’re now offered by dozens of top universities and almost every course you can imagine can be studied over the internet.  And, as the popularity of online degrees continues to rise, more and more employers are looking at them in the same way as traditional degrees.  If you’ve been looking at the South Dakota online degree programs and wondering whether you should make the leap, read on.  We’re going to give you five awesome reasons to study online.

1. Study from Home

Not everyone has the luck to live close to a university.  And, not everyone can afford to give up work to attend university classes for four years.  When you choose to study online, you can do so from any location and at times that suit you.  This means you can remain in employment while you study.  You can also choose to become an international student without leaving the country if you want to!

2. It’s Flexible

Online degrees are designed specifically for self-study, so you can study during the hours that suit you best.  You won’t be expected to work to a fixed timetable, so can learn at your own pace and take as long as you need to complete your course.  Online degree lessons can also be replayed as often as you like, so long as you save your lessons when you first watch them.  This can be a huge help when it comes to studying for your final exams.

3. Choose from a Range of Topics

You can find online degrees on pretty much every topic these days.  Whether you want to study business and management, data science, sports, or even nursing, you can do all of these and more online.  You can study for bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even vocational courses, all from the comfort of your own home.

4. Admission Is Easy

Unlike traditional college, admission to an online degree program is easy.  Open universities tend to accept students of any age and any qualifications.  And, even the top universities don’t require as high grades as they do for their traditional courses.  If you are interested in applying online, check out the university’s admissions page or give them a call to find out if you will be accepted.  Make sure you find out about financial aid too.

5. You’ll Receive Lots of Support

Many students are put off online learning as they think they will be required to study completely on their own.  However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Most online degrees are designed in such a way that you’ll receive feedback and support from university tutors.  This will help to keep you focused on your studies.  You can also arrange a personal appointment with one of your tutors if you feel like you are getting behind.

As you can hopefully see from this article, studying online for a degree is a great option.  With so many benefits, there is no reason not to study online.

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A Look at Some of the Best Business Project Management Software of 2017

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As projects become much more complex in a variety of industries, whether that’s construction of a new building or a marketing strategy – they are harder to manage. However, with the integration of good project management software, it’s now much easier and more efficient to manage any project, whatever its size. Here are a few of the software leaders in project management.

Microsoft Project

It’s no surprise to see yet another Microsoft software product competing in another industry. Microsoft Project is an advanced solution for those needing more out of project management. With the ability to collaborate with other colleagues remotely and the scheduling features that ensure tasks are completed on time, Microsoft Project has it all to ensure projects are completed efficiently. If you have a masters in project and program management degree obtained from an online MSMPP program – consider Microsoft Project as your top choice for software and you’ll not be disappointed.

Trello

Trello isn’t anything like Microsoft Project, nor is it a popular choice for project managers at this moment in time. However, if you really need an easy to use project management solution, they don’t come much better than Trello. Of course, Trello isn’t technically a piece of software. Rather, it is a web-based project management tool. But, it does have a host of features that can help project managers organize and complete projects quickly.

Mavenlink

Mavenlink is, again, a web-based project management solution, but it’s definitely got the features needed to help project managers thrive under pressure. The tool itself has a host of features from time and resource management to business intelligence and team collaboration. It’s the go-to product if you’re looking for something easy, fast, and feature-rich that can make any project work like a dream come true.

Celoxis

Celoxis is a very simple solution for those project managers who only oversee basic projects. Celoxis is also web-based and doesn’t take much time to learn, so it could be an option if you want a quick solution to help better manage projects of small to medium size. Celoxis is fully secure, has risk management, project tracking, manual scheduling, and many other features that make any project easy to manage.

AceProject

For a powerful project management solution, AceProject could be the answer for your business. While it’s not quite as feature-rich as some of the other software products on the market, it does still have a handful of unique features that make management much easier. With drag and drop functionality, an easy time management feature, manual scheduling, and much more – AceProject should be on your shortlist if you’re looking for a fast and cheap alternative project management solution.

There are thousands of products to choose from when it comes to project management, but many of them aren’t feature-rich and nor do they have the right security features to ensure safe project management. However, if you’re looking for a solution that you can quickly implement, consider the above popular software/web-based solutions and you’ll find project management much easier to contend with.

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Be Smart: How to Invest in Your Business

In business, you need to spend money to make money. There’s no denying it. If you do not pay for the right employees, technology, marketing or even office space, your business may be more likely to fail. However, when starting up, spending too much money could be just as damaging. How do you find the balance, though? Harmony in business can be tricky to figure out. Sometimes it’s trial and error, but too much risk can make an irreparable fault. You need to start small – invest in small quantities – and continue building with regards to your revenue and profit. Once you’re making a name for yourself, your investments can become bolder. Here’s how you can invest in your business – big or small.

Reinvest in the Existing

Start-ups will have invested in employees, technology, office space and certain business processes depending on industry – but in a small degree. Once your business is growing, though, consider reinvesting in these matters and improving what is already working. You can either do this with the profits you are currently making, or you can use companies such as Betterfunds for a small business loan.

Examples of reinvestment could be: expanding certain teams such as marketing or content, providing better, state-of-the-art equipment, and ironing out and creases in your business’s infrastructure.

Digital Marketing

Traditional and digital marketing are essential, however, digital marketing is always a smart investment due to the shift in priorities. Nowadays, people are most likely found online. While TV or magazine advertising can still be effective, social media, content and SEO are the real money makers. However, digital marketing needs to be executed properly, otherwise it can be detrimental to your business’s success. Hire those who fully understand how to track online trends, and those who practice white-hat SEO. You need to invest in employees who are social media savvy, and you need to invest technology and software that will allow them to perform their best.

Location

Entrepreneurs can rarely afford the perfect location for their business, and so they have to settle on ‘the next best thing’ which may not be ideal for your employees or even yourself. However, once you’ve generated more funds and are starting to build a solid empire, you can consider relocating to a more preferable location and office space. If you want to expand your team, then you’ll need an office which can withstand the extra desks. If you try to squeeze too many people into too little space, then your employees won’t perform to the best of their ability. Additionally, moving to a better location, whether it’s closer to transportation links or in a town or city, means you’re more desirable to anyone who may be applying to your business.

Yourself and Your Team

Invest in your, and your employee’s, knowledge and skill set. Hire mentors and coaches to come in and provides wisdom to your company; provide training and expand your employee’s skills in their own fields and complete new ones. If you expand your horizons, then you can improve your chances of building a budding empire and even grow into different sectors. Also, your employees will be happy to acquire new skills because it shows you care about their work – increasing their productivity while improving their loyalty to your business.

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Beginner’s Guide to SEO: 6 Steps for a Solid Online Foundation

To help any business meet its full potential or for anyone to successfully build their personal brand, the business or brand must have a strong online presence. In order to get your business or brand the exposure it needs and the long-term community engagement it strives for, you must first ensure that its online channels are optimized for SEO.

1. Choose the right domain name.

Your domain name does impact your SEO, but no longer in the way of the past. Using keywords for the domain name itself (an exact match domain, or EMD) used to be all the rage. For example, if you were creating a site for runners in the Phoenix area, for better search results you would make your domain name something like PhoenixAreaRunners.com.

Now, however, your main focus when choosing your domain name should be in making it brandable and memorable. Keep it concise and relating to your business name, as well as easy to spell, type, and say so that people will get to it without error.

2. Identify your target market.

Any content from your brand that you are putting on the web needs to cater to your brand’s target market. You want the content to be of interest of them so that they are more likely to find it as a result of the searches that they would most typically be making online.

If you are unsure as to who exactly your audience is, conduct market research to find out. By knowing the makeup of your primary audience, you can better work your chances of giving the people in it what they are looking for online.

3. Learn about your audience and narrow your focus.

Use any market research you conduct to do more than simply identify the demographics of your target market. Learn about who they are as individuals, too. Know their likes and dislikes (pertaining to your brand), and through which channels they typically access information online so that you are able to narrow your focus and make your website and web content more likely to reach them.

4. Utilize keywords and phrases.

The keywords and phrases you use throughout your online channels are what typically directly affect your brand’s ranking with search engines the most. Choose keywords that are relevant to what your website has to offer to searchers.

Also browse the sites of your closest competitors to see what keywords they seem to be utilizing. Including the keywords that they include on their sites will help you to not get left behind in searches that present these competitors at the top of results lists.

5. Use social media to your advantage.

Not only is it keywords and phrases that can help your brand’s SEO, but social media shares as well. The more your brand’s website and web content is shared through social networks, the more exposure it has online and the more likely it is to appear in search results.

Create content for your social media accounts that will engage the social community. Content that attracts people by being beautiful, interesting, entertaining, and/or informative has better chances of being shared by those people it comes in contact with and will lend itself to positively contributing to your brand’s SEO.  

6. Get feedback.

Reviews for your brand are highly important. Similar to the concept of getting your brand’s social media posts shared by your community to boost SEO, reviews left online for your brand give it valuable exposure. Encourage those who buy from or interact with your brand to leave reviews on sites like Yelp or Foursquare. The more reviews your brand is able to get online, the more exposure it has and the better its performance on search engines will be.

Only focusing on whether the content included on your brand’s website and shared on its social media accounts is of good quality and designed well is no longer enough. You must always keep SEO in mind as well. Utilize keywords, cater specifically to your target market, and get your brand shared online in order to boost your rankings within search engine sites.  

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4 Common Mistakes Remote Workers Make

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Remote work is becoming common for freelancers and full-time employees alike. It is also becoming a cause of conflict in the workplace. Here are four common mistakes remote workers make and steps to take to avoid making them yourself.

Ignoring the Legal Issues

If you handle company data on your personal computer and there is a “data spill” with restricted information processed by your computer, will you have to have your personal computer wiped or private internet history reviewed by the company? If this isn’t acceptable, either use a company provided device when working from home or use a computer you would be able to work without if the company confiscates it for a digital brain wipe. Another issue you need to discuss is data retention policies, such as the need to document and store any messages you share with the company or customers. How does the company want you to back up these messages in the manner they are legally required to follow? If your device is bricked, will the company pay for an iPhone data recovery service to recover both personal and corporate data?

Never Disconnecting

Companies are embracing remote work when it results in 24x7x365 support, such as the ability for their best IT staff to work a 10 PM to midnight maintenance window from home and respond to problems on a Saturday afternoon. One of the biggest mistakes remote workers make is never disconnecting from work. Employers and customers will consider you always connected and reach out to you anytime they want to if you don’t set boundaries. A common problem is remote workers putting in more hours than when they worked in the office and having work interrupt family time and down time, increasing stress without resulting in higher pay. Make sure you disconnect from work, silencing the phone, sending emails and instant messages to a folder that you’ll read later. The word for people always on call is servant, not employee.

Relying Only on One Communication Channel

One major mistake remote workers make is relying on one communication channel. Baby Boomers tend to rely on phone calls with some email. The forty and fifty-something workers tend to rely on emails. Those in their twenties and thirties tend to rely on instant messaging and text messaging. This can result in segregation of communications, leaving out whole sections of a team because they don’t follow the conversation in that medium. Remember to shake things up and call a customer to discuss issues too complex for an email or send an instant message to IT for a quick issue instead of a longer email that may take them a few hours to check.

Forgetting a Backup Plan

Remote workers often fail to have a backup plan. What will you do if the power goes out in your apartment? Do you have a backup battery that would allow you to keep working for a few hours or at least a five-minute reserve from a UPS so you can save your work? Do you already know somewhere you could move in case your personal internet connection is down, whether a coworking space or the library?

Conclusion

Determine your legal obligations and risks before you start remote work. Disconnect from work even if connected to the internet personally to protect work-life balance. Don’t rely on a single communication channel and use the medium that works for that person and type of message. Have a backup plan in case utilities or internet goes out at home, but understand how the environment you relocate to impacts your work.

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