We’ve written extensively about the importance of responsive design (and here, here, and here). Increasingly, it’s not enough to just have a website these days. Businesses are expected to have a website that effortlessly formats for wide range of screens and different devices. Why? Because, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’re in the midst of a mobile revolution.
Mobile has now surpassed desktop users. 85% of adults think that a company’s mobile website should be as good or better than their desktop site (Huffington Post) because 67% of users are more likely to make a purchase with a smartphone on a mobile friendly site than on a non-mobile optimized site (Google, Sterling Research and SmithGeigen). Further, 16% of smartphone and tablet users said that if a page loads too slowly or is hard to view on a smaller screen, they give up (Visually). According to a Google Survey from 2013, 48% of users said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphone, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business – now that says a lot.
People are evaluating your business through a 6-inch screen. And if they don’t like what they see, they will go elsewhere. We know, who has the time – or more importantly, the cash flow – to redesign their website? Luckily we’ve been given the gift of WordPress, which is abundant with free and fun responsive templates.
Here are 10 of the best free responsive WordPress themes for 2014.
- SimpleTech – A smart, attractive, and multi-purpose News/Magazine theme. SimpleTech features a rich but uncomplicated administration panel.
- Spacious – Among the most downloaded WP themes of 2014, Spacious offers multiple page layouts as well as six different page templates, and 13 widget areas.
- Vantage – A flexible and multipurpose responsive theme, ideal for ecommerce stores. Vantage is integrated with Page Builder and MetaSlider, and includes a custom background and custom menus.
- Wilson – Puts focus on your content, without sacrificing functionality. The theme features multiple widget areas, custom widgets for videos, and plenty of room to express yourself.
- Simplify – Designed especially for small business, this template is a responsive theme with more than 100 custom options and features.
- Revera – This theme includes a custom homepage template and custom menus, widget-ready areas, portfolio page templates, featured images, customizable ad banner setters, and more.
- Corpo – Clean, simple design packed with tons of features that can work well for any small business
- Flat – Minimalistic… and flat, as its name would suggest. Following modern design trends, this theme offers a clean layout for a straightforward look but it’s not without style.
- Attitude – Clean, responsive, and retina display ready.
- Hemingway – For the artists and bloggers among us, this theme prioritizes images and text. The Hemingway template makes for a stylish look that can be easily customized.
Google revealed a major update for small and local businesses with the introduction of Google My Business. The new service enables businesses to create a single dashboard from which to manage core Google marketing products.
Think rudimentary CRM platform: businesses will be able to easily update information across Google, from listings to map placements, from customer service to marketing outreach. The service will also make it easier than ever before to gain visibility within the Google ecosystem. Google describes the service as a “free and easy way to find and connect with your people, wherever you are”. Of course users will need a Google Account to gain access to the service.
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Google My Business: A New Tool for Local Businesses & Brands
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No small business owner wants to believe employees are stealing from his or her small business—and thankfully, most workers are diligent, hardworking and honest. Nevertheless, employee theft is a major problem for American businesses. U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates put the costs of employee theft at more than $50 billion a year.
What constitutes employee theft? Broadly speaking, it can include everything from embezzling funds and stealing business-owned merchandise or property to lifting twenty-dollar bills from a cash register. As a small business owner, you have to learn to recognize the warning signs that theft or other forms of dishonest behavior is occurring in your business.
Facebook announced Thursday it’s testing a new feature for small and medium-sized businesses across the country. The feature, for now called the ‘Buy’ button, will allow users to purchase products directly from their News Feed, permitting impulsive online shoppers to buy instantly from businesses’ Facebook pages, without being redirected to the merchant’s website or app.
The feature is currently being beta-ed amongst a very, very small group; a Facebook spokesman claimed less than five companies are currently testing the feature. Businesses can embed the Buy button on their Page post or in Facebook ads, the button will be available on both mobile and desktop versions of Facebook.
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Facebook to Unveil New Feature to Empower Small Business
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On Tuesday, Apple announced an agreement with IBM that signals the tech giant’s occupation of the enterprise market. Utilizing each company’s respective strengths, the plan is to build business apps and professional software that matches the quality and simplicity of Apple’s consumer applications. Apple will sell its devices (which will come preloaded with newly developed enterprise software) to IBM’s corporate customers, and also provide on-site support. IBM plans to make more than 100,000 employees available for the Apple initiative, which will develop more than 100 new apps for various industries.
Even though the mobile payments movement is only in its frontier stages, it’s grown rapidly in recent years with worldwide payments reaching $163.1 billion in 2012. That figure jumped to $235.4 billion by the end of 2013 (Gartner). A recent Nielsen report about the state of the industry sheds light on the particularities of this growing trend.
Kickstarter’s democratized, all-or-nothing approach to raising capital has made it a top dog in the minds of startups looking to fund creative efforts. By allowing individuals to pledge unspecified amounts of money toward various imaginative projects, it has become an attractive avenue for startups looking to sidestep the venture capitalist and appeal directly to consumers. Since its launch in 2009, over 6 million people have pledged over $1 billion, backing more than 65,000 Kickstarter projects.
In its brief five-year history, Kickstarter has given the world some gems. Here are the top 10 highest-grossing Kickstarter Campaigns:
1.) Pebble Technology | Smartwatch
In a lot of ways, we’ve become objects of the Internet. Our data and information are scraped, sold, and passed through a continuous pipeline which we lost control of long ago. Although we have little control of what gets said online, we have complete control over how it gets handled. Online reviews will be around for the foreseeable future, and you can’t please all the people all the time. What’s key however, is making sure they do not stain your brand or hold great influence over your audience.
According a recent Gallup poll, most Americans say social media has zero influence on their purchasing decisions. For some of you out there, this may come as welcome news, as many small business owners find managing a business-orientated Facebook or Twitter account to be extremely time consuming… and admittedly quite distracting.
More than 18,000 U.S. adults were surveyed with only 5% reporting that social media has a “great deal of influence” on what they buy. 30% said social media has “some influence”, while a whopping 62% said it has no influence whatsoever.
Newtek, The Small Business Authority®, Releases May 2014 SB Authority Index
Newtek has announced the release of the SB Authority Index of small business indicators for May 2014 which reached 127.41 points. The Russell Microcap Index, approved SBA lending volumes and new business formations led the increase. The SB Authority Index is up 0.37% from April 2014. On a year-over-year comparison, the SB Authority Index is up 7.31%.
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Modest Growth Trend Continues In Small Business Economy
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