Does your digital presence matter?

Google has confirmed that a whopping 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses. Yes, you read it right. That means almost all of the customers like to check out the web to find nearby vendors. Now, if the vast majority of your potential customers are online, you should be, too. No matter what size your business is or what industry it belongs to, having a digital presence is crucial.

Having said that, it is not just about making any web page and putting it up there. Your site is your storefront. Tend to it on regular basis and weed out all the hiccups that may drag you down. 

4 reasons your online presence matters:

  1. It is either you visible to the customers or your competitors

The market has literally shifted online. Your current and potential customers and even your competitors are online. If you still want to have a successful business, there is no turning back to digital presence. Deploy all digital marketing tools too to gain an edge over your competitors.

  1. It is your first impression of your business.

Now since you are online, your potential customers or clients will definitely check you out online, even look for reviews, before making the purchase. Put your best foot forward and turn this to your advantage by having a tastefully designed digital storefront.

  1. Your customers are self-educators.

The customers are no longer just relying on the information you put forward or convey through the sales reps. They seek to educate themselves on your products or services through the internet. By not using online content and digital marketing to outreach prospective clients, you fall short to furnish the self-educated consumer with the knowledge essential to go for you.

  1. It is a powerful customer service tool.

It is not only the priority of the sales team to managing your online presence, but it is also an obligation of customer service. Again, consumers use social media or digital portals to connect with brands in case they have a question, concern, or problem with a product or service. This is where the customer service team comes into play. A swift, worthwhile response to their online inquiry builds the brand image. By neglecting this area, you will be missing out on a chance to provide quality customer service.

So when you choose to execute a digital brand development plan, pay attention to the following points:

  1. Web hosting

Don’t let cheap hosting slow down your business. Search and choose the best-managed hosting solution that would fulfill your needs. Select the one supported by world-class experts. Your digital business is your storefront and hosting is equivalent to the physical location of the store.

  1. Website security

It is again linked to how you host the website. It is best to secure your site with SSL certificates; it is easy and includes all the plans. You can add SSL certificates with a single click in your user portal on WordPress Engine.

  1. Faster loading

Global content delivery network (CDN), routes local requests to the nearest servers and quickens the loading speed. Studies have shown that a customer waits for just 10 seconds on an average for the content to load, before moving on.

  1. SEO and digital marketing

Better SEO and stark digital marketing get you more visitors. Keep your website updated to serve the customers faster and boost visitor retention and conversions.

  1. Regular backup

Needless to say, opt for a service that provides daily automatic backups. The best service provider will have your data encrypted in transit and at rest, stored in redundant, off-site data centers to give you peace of mind in case you run into any site issues.

If you are thinking about getting a website for your business, this article Things to Consider Before Hiring a Website Development Company will help you get started.

Final Thoughts

Times have shown that businesses that adapt to change at the right time, write a success story. So as per the need of the hour, use the Internet to influence, engage, generate leads, and present a call to action.

Digital transformation

The Right Way to Bring about Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has changed the underlying economics of markets and also how we all go about our day. Businessmen are acknowledging this and are adapting accordingly quickly. It is again a revision of the concept of demand and supply. A huge chunk of buying and selling, customer service, and education is being done online. Although the fear of digital disruption is an impending danger, most executives are adapting to changing trends to avoid missing out on new technologies. 

Every bout of technology change comes with pros and cons. On the one hand, new technologies threaten already established businesses, they also bring a plethora of new unprecedented opportunities. Real winners are those who modify themselves to adapt to the new ways. Some executives cite the risk of disruption as the impetus for transformation; that risk is certainly real. But the matter of fact is that more businessmen are varied about missing out on opportunities to make big, rather than being forced into oblivion. It is not a digital disruption that impels companies to change, it is digital “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out).

Having said that, still, most corporations do not comprehend the vastness of digital transformation. First of all, digital transformation is not a standalone vertical. Broadly classified, there are four types of digital transformation:

  • Business Process
  • Business Model
  • Domain
  • Cultural/Organizational

It is very common among corporations to be focused solely on the process or organizational transformation. Owing to this approach they are not able to scoop up the benefits of digitalization entirely. Again, it has to be a team effort for the complete digital transformation of the business. Everyone should be on board with its execution mainly being chaperoned by the CEO, with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Strategy and Business Unit Executive leading the way. It is vastly erroneous of many corporations to believe that digital transformation must begin with cultural/organizational transformation. But it has proved to have a greater success rate if corporations first pursue business transformation initiatives. This can then be followed by teaching the organization to be more innovative, agile, and digital.

Continue to read up to know all about the four types of transformations in more detail and get the most out of it: 

Process Transformation: Corporates are focusing significantly on business processes for revamping using data analytics, APIs, machine learning, and other technologies. Digitalization provides valuable new ways for lowering production and maintenance costs, reducing cycle times, better-integrating core systems, or increasing quality. British Airways relied on process transformation to drive more customers by shifting their booking process to a digital base. They were able to beat even the competitors offering lower airfare by providing ease-of-use. Everyone is aware of the hugely successful process transformation in customer experience by Domino’s Pizza. They completely re-imagined the food ordering process; allowing customers to order from any device, live tracking, and even voice command. This innovation increased customer convenience so much that it pushed them way ahead of the competition. Although they are led to success by a CIO or CDO as these transformations tend to be focused efforts around specific areas of the business, required adjustments are to be made in every department for a seamless transition.   

Business Model Transformation: Traditional business models are making way to new unprecedented business methods through digital transformation. Business model transformations are aimed at the fundamental building blocks of finding a new purpose in the industry. We are well aware of groundbreaking business ideas like Netflix’s reinvention of video distribution, Apple’s reinvention of music delivery (I-Tunes), to Uber’s reinvention of the taxi industry. This kind of transformation is occurring all around. China’s AIA Group has moved beyond insurance to become a wellness company, whereas Dutch electronics giant Philips has largely divested its legacy lighting business to focus on healthcare technology. They have been hugely successful. 

Strategy and/or Business Units play an important role in business model transformation. Such opportunities are quite complex and require out of the box strategies. By changing the fundamental building blocks of value, corporations that achieve business model transformation open significant new opportunities for growth. More and more companies are investing to pursue this path.

Domain Transformation: Stating in simple terms, domain transformation is inventing a new field of business that has never existed before. It may seem like an impossible task as generally, one can find retailers in every imaginable domain. But new technologies are redefining products and services, blurring industry boundaries, and creating entirely new sets of non-traditional competitors. These new technologies have unlocked wholly new businesses for their companies beyond currently served markets.

The best example of domain transformation is demonstrated by the online retailer, Amazon. Amazon used its existing resources to launch Amazon Web Services (AWS), now the largest cloud computing/infrastructure service. What Amazon really did was tap into its strong digital capabilities like built-in storage, computing databases to support its core retail business coupled with its robust base of thousands of relationships with young, growing companies that progressively demanded computing services to grow. Once again, AWS is not just a business extension for Amazon, but a completely distinct business in a fundamentally new market space. It has met with so much success that AWS alone now contributes to nearly 60% of Amazon’s annual profit.  

An executive of a non-tech business may view this story skeptically as these tech giants have more ability to acquire and leverage technology than other companies. But truth be told, it is as easy for any other company too to access and acquire the new technologies demanded to unhinge new growth; that too quite cheaply and efficiently. Technology gaps are no longer a barrier. All you need is a vision. We see marvelous innovations taking place in the growing startup ecosystem. Companies that understand the need of the hour and can smartly leverage this innovation efficiently, showing faith in new sources, are making the most of new bounds.

Entering domain transformation involves re-defining business boundaries. The strategy department and CEO mainly are the brains behind pursuing these opportunities.

Cultural/Organizational Transformation: To have a complete and long-term digital transformation, it is essential to redefine organizational mindsets, processes, and sourcing new talent & upgrading capabilities for the digital world. All the top-drawer corporations have recognized the important parameters to bring out this change; they include agile workflows, a bias toward testing and learning, decentralized decision-making, and a greater reliance on business ecosystems. Home Depot invested a significant amount to digitally update its infrastructure and this decision led to significant revenue increases. Similarly, a century-old postage equipment company, Pitney Bowes, embraced the technological transition. Led by its CIO, the company promoted a “culture of innovation,” and shifted company values to focus on customer-centricity.  

All these companies focused initially on building digital mindsets and agility into the organization, backed by concrete initiatives to drive innovation and growth. Both Home Depot and Pitney Bowes began their transformation with a primary focus on enhancing customer-facing offerings and matching pace with the fast-changing technologies. It in exchange guided the teams to adopt digital workflow practices but in doing so demonstrated the power of digital to change old organizational norms. Pitney Bowes CEO Mark Lautenbach shared with Fortune that, “As you’re thinking about transforming a company… try to realize those cores, those gems that you have that you can pivot off of to create that next chapter”. Progress on business initiatives dragged organizational change like agile development and innovation along. Cultural/organizational change plays a huge hand in the long-term requirement of success, but it is merely a product of, rather than a prerequisite for, business transformation initiatives. 

To reiterate, advancements in technology will continue to force industries to change. Corporations that understand and pursue digital transformation in a multi-dimensional way will find greater success than those that don’t.  

We are here to help you embrace digital transformation for your business.

How Investing in Gym Management Software can Increase your Revenue

Are you trying to hunt out effective ideas for growing your business because 2020 has been a year that has forced numerous fitness clubs to shift to a defensive business strategy or a proactive one that saw them divest into areas which they never previously considered to maintain income during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Implementing unique and creative fitness marketing ideas will facilitate your growth in gym revenue, boost profitability, and attract more members to the gym or fitness club. From reducing expenses like downsizing on staff and cutting down on advertising, to taking their fitness classes online and selling “online memberships” to accommodate restrictions imposed by governments, the incredible strain of the virus has forced gym businesses around the world to create difficult decisions to even sustain rather than aiming for profitability.

While big fundamental shifts like those outlined above could even be necessary to urge your club to manage within the green, there are still a variety of smaller tweaks you could make to the configuration of your gym management software which is in a position to even have a positive influence on your club’s bottom line. The aim of this text is to stipulate a spread of these to fabricate your business with some additional tools to carry on your club’s functioning with low costs.

Using gym management software you minimize workload additionally as you increase clients.

Our step by step fitness marketing ideas will help get more members in your gym. Gym and fitness management software has proven to enhance revenue by 33% and even increase customer retention by 25%. It saves almost two hours each day within the admin time. Handling a bunch of processes might be tough for you at the same time, and more time-consuming. Using the software you’ll be able to save time and also like money and increase the customer satisfaction level. Build your brand, attract new customers & keep existing ones loyal.

Here are a few features of Gym Management Software that can lead your business towards success.

24X7 Gym Access Control

Integrating the 24X7 Gym access control ups the user experience and aids in gym member retention. Boost your gym’s revenue without adding more staff and overhead costs. It’s a secure and automatic solution that blends the tracking system and thus the door access hardware.

Manage your gym even once you are not available within the gym and save time and energy with this gym management software cost-effectively. Be a tough competitor and provide a more satisfying user experience.

Integrated Billing

Mostly gym management software follows the concept of integrated billing. With which, the management becomes very seamless, and it doesn’t allow you to stress about any administrative stuff.

This system can automatically manage inventory variations. Moreover, it’s often combined with several accounting systems to abolish the double-entry of knowledge.

The cloud-driven approach can easily support the bills and services on a recurring basis with additional operations. Even it offers discounts, refunds, one-off transactions, renewals, and free trials. This billing system can handle the income more effectively as contrasted to non-automated counterparts. Also, the full process reduces the number of errors, gathering costs and quotes, and then forming invoices.

Reporting

Study the performance of your fitness center with hassle-free analytic service and reporting that the gym management system offers. You’ll be able to check every single detail of the payments done by the purchasers (payment date, membership, and thus the payment gateway). It assists in tracking the commissionable sales of your staff.

In the reporting area of payments, expenses, payment dues, customer attendance, and memberships, etc. you’ll be able to send notifications to the members if they need pending payments and details about their recurring payments.

Point of Sale (POS)

Sell your gym products in bulk with gym management’s POS system. Maintain the import and export of information and enable or disable the features per your customer’s requirements.

Track your inventory, staff members, and sales with the customizable gym management software. The POS allows you to integrate the payment processing to sign a relief from the burden of handling the manager and accounts.

Focus on retention

Lastly, to some extent that has been revisited numerous times in our previous posts, but a retention focus should be at the forefront of your mind when running your club – especially after you are looking to cut back your costs. In general, it’s considered that acquiring a greenhorn customer costs 8 times over what it does to retain an existing one.

Restructuring your website? 301 Redirects can save the day

Everyone is familiar with status code 404- Not Found. You do not want visitors to your website to encounter this error. In case you are upgrading your website to a new URL, you can forward the visits to the new location through the server, using a 301 redirect. 301 redirects come in handy in case you are upgrading, redesigning, or moving your website. It is not that these redirects are complex to implement, still many website owners and developers simply forget about them. In the process, this causes a serious hit to SEO efforts and can completely wipe away ranking in search.

To avoid something like this to happen, make sure it is incorporated into the to-do list for each project plan. Creating and managing 301 redirects is like brushing your teeth, simple but very important. It should be a core part of website design and development.

Time and again, we find frustrated website owners and bloggers reaching out on social media in case of failure. They have been on the receiving end due to a lack of 301 redirects which should have been done while updating or redesigning the websites and blogs.

So developers and SEO experts need to educate themselves on the importance of 301 redirects, which are really easy to implement actually.

Let’s do a quick recap on what 301 redirects are and few ways to go about it.

What is a 301 Redirect?

Simply put, a 301 redirect takes the visitor from the old web page location to a new one when it has been moved permanently. A user may input the old URL. If 301 redirects are applied, the server will send back the status code 301 – Permanently Moved, and then redirect you to the new location. This happens in just a couple of seconds so that a user does not see the process behind it. You will simply find yourself on the content you were looking for, but if you will look closely, the URL has changed automatically to the new one.

Other than redirecting the server, 301 redirects are also linked with the SEO of the post/page. Search engines like Google or Bing can be redirected to the new destination to access prior SEO visibility. This way ranking of the page is not affected and you can still reap the benefits of organic traffic.

When to Use a 301 Redirect

  1. You’ve changed a URL and you want your traffic and SEO history, from the old URL rerouted to the new URL.
  2. You’re merging two websites and want to make sure that links to outdated URLs are redirected to the correct pages.
  3. There are multiple URLs to access your web page and you want all of them to land on a single destination. You can choose one of them as a canonical/preferred URL and apply 301 redirects on others to land at the same destination.

Setting Up 301 Redirects

You have a lot of options as to how you want to proceed with setting up 301 redirects. Some are high-end and more suitable for developers, while others are more user-friendly can be easily implemented by the end-users. We will discuss three methods here to use and recommend:

  1. .htaccess file for Apache

The most followed procedure for websites that are hosted on servers running Apache, is to edit your site’s .htaccess file. You can locate this file in your site’s root folder.

Here are some snippets of code for adding common types of 301 redirect via .htaccess file:

  • When you are just “moving” a site to a new domain. Place this on the OLD site:

  • When redirecting a single page:

  1. Redirection Plugin for WordPress

Are you using WordPress? Make use of the free Redirection plugin to set up 301 redirects right from within your dashboard. This plugin is very intuitive and even website owners or bloggers can use it easily. This is how it would look like:

  1. WP Engine Dashboard

It is very easy with WP Engine hosting too. 301 redirects are linked right within your WP Engine dashboard. Again this whole process becomes very innate and every regular joe can venture into their account easily and go about adding the necessary 301 redirects. It is sufficient to go through the quick tutorial about the 301 processes to get you started.

Final Thoughts

We have discussed the usability of 301 redirects in terms of SEO history and PageRank. You just need to keep a few points in mind while redirecting. Firstly, do not redirect to a page with a different intent than the original one. For example, it may infuriate a user who wanted to access your home page but lands on the blog of your website after the redirect. Also, it is better to create a redirect first before migrating your website content so your site doesn’t lose traffic and SEO ranking in the process.

If you are in the planning stage of your project, just incorporate them into your to-do list. You just need to take the time to create and load them anytime you delete content, move content, or restructure your website.

Flutter: A Futuristic Hybrid Mobile App Development Platform

For decades Objective-C and Java had dominated mobile application development for both Android and iOS. Lately, Kotlin was used widely although it is still a java based programming language. 

But recently in May 2017, Google launched Flutter. It is quickly becoming a hot favorite with mobile app developers. Flutter uses a flexible system that allows you to call platform-specific APIs whether available in Kotlin or Java code on Android, or Swift or Objective-C code on iOS. It makes developing multi-platform apps a ton of fun. The best part is that it lets you craft beautiful, user-friendly extensible mobile, web, and desktop applications from a single codebase. 

Flutter seems to be a very promising step forward and here are a few different reasons to believe this.

Powered by Dart

Flutter uses the client-optimized Dart language developed by Google. Dart is quite similar to Java in terms of syntax so most of the developers find making the switch effortless. With the exception of the syntax, Dart is a rather different language.

One of the most helpful attributes of Dart is support for asynchronous operations. Dart has come up with a way to make it exceptionally easy.

You will end up using it all the time if your Flutter application needs to do IO or other time-consuming operations such as querying a database. It is well known that without asynchronous operations, any time-consuming operations will cause the program to freeze up until they complete. To prevent this, Dart provides us with the async and await keywords that allow our program to continue execution while waiting for these longer operations to complete.

Single Platform for both Android and iOS

This is what makes Flutter a favorite among the developers. Mobile apps development was considered a time-consuming operation as you need to use a different codebase for Android and iOS. Thanks to SDK like Flutter, now you have a single codebase that allows you to build your app for both operating systems. On top of that, you can run them completely natively. Scrolling and navigation adapt accordingly to the OS being used.

As an added boon, Flutter simplifies building and running your app for testing. All you need to do is keep your device or simulator running, the rest of the process can be navigated simply by clicking a button.

UI Development

UI development is where many of the developers sweat. Creating something useful and aesthetically pleasing comes as a huge challenge. Once again, Flutter comes to the rescue.

It offers an array of widgets that can be combined and modified as per the requirement. It is amazing how customizable these widgets are, so you’ll always end up with exactly what you’re looking for. For the base layout of the UI, you have widgets such as Row, Column, and Container. For content, you have widgets like Text and RaisedButton. There are a lot more interesting options available. Let your imagination run free and create something captivating.

Everyone wants to maintain a standard theme for their app. But when you are using already coded widgets, there can be a mismatch for fonts and colors. Manually changing the fonts, colors, and looks for everything one by one, would take way too long. Flutter has incorporated a solution for that too. Flutter provides us with something called ThemeData that allows us to set values for colors, fonts, input fields, and much more. 

This way you can keep the look of your app consistent by setting the values once.

There is an exception though. The text styles have to be set manually for each text widget, but it’s still simple.

Hold your breath for the next feature. Flutter can hot reload apps. It is every developer’s dream come true. You don’t need to restart it every time you make a change to the UI. You can now make a change, save it, then see the change within a second or so.

Libraries

To make things even more efficient, there is an extensive number of libraries available for Dart and Flutter. You will find libraries for putting ads in your app or more new widgets too.

You may even create your own library. Flutter allows for easy sharing too with the rest of the community. Adding libraries to your project can be done by adding a single line to your pubspec.yaml file. After adding it to the file, run flutter packages get and you’re good to go.

Backend Development

Backend development too is easy when using Flutter. Flutter apps are made using Dart, and Dart is great when it comes to backend development. You get the best quality in the most convenient way. It’s incredibly simple to create data-driven apps, for beginners and experts alike.

You may choose a database of your liking by using appropriate libraries. For example, deploy the SQLite database by using the sqflite library.

Let’s shed a little more light on how Flutter simplifies heavy-duty backend operations. It quickens the process and avoids redundancy through singletons. We can access the database and query it from practically anywhere without needing to recreate an object every single time.

After retrieving data from a database, you can convert that to an object using a model. Or if you want to store an object in the database, you can convert it to JSON using the same model.

Again Flutter comes packed with widgets such as the FutureBuilder or StreamBuilder for displaying the data to the users. 

Flutter has provided a fun twist on creating data-driven apps that are rich in quality and loaded with features.

Final Thoughts

With all these tricks up its sleeve that lets you create even a super extensive app in a breeze, Flutter is bound to gain popularity. With Flutter, the possibilities are practically endless. Its innovative and futuristic features, will make you fall in love with it as well and tingle your creative side. It is here to revolutionize the development industry.

How to Create an Effective Gym Website – A Case Study

The top gym and fitness center websites have charming presentations just like their actual centers. Any seasoned developer knows that to have an extraordinary website design, you need to rise above just aesthetics; user experience and usability matters too. There are a few tips and hints from our designers, we would like to share. These are to help you get the maximum benefit from both aesthetics and usability. Hope that they inspire you and help you understand what it takes to craft a brilliant gym website design.

The best practices for gym website design

Who is the best source to find out what’s behind a successful web design? Designers and business owners of course. So we got helpful insights from the clients regarding what has been working best for them. Our designers too shared what thought was put behind the successful designs and what are the best practices for the gym website.

  1. Convey a clear message in a readable way

Cut short the jargon and fluff from the website. Just creating pretty pages and not conveying a clear message will not get you anywhere. Design your page around the message you want to portray. Aim for the best user flow with direct and concise content. For better user engagement, present the right message in the right way and grow sales. Here are a few more tips for better readability:

  • Use white space between columns of content
  • Keep features descriptions brief and to the point
  • Using headings and subheadings for easy scan in one glance
  • Organize and structure your content to make it accessible
  1. Make sure navigation is seamless, consistent, and intuitive

Use clear names for menu tabs. Navigation on your website should be seamless and consistent. Cross-check for links and allow external links to be opened in a new tab. It’s important that users find it easy to get anywhere on your website at any time.

There is a reason the majority of the websites have the menu bar at the top. Better still make it freeze at the top of the screen.

All the offers and rewards should be clearly explained for catching the attention. Vague offers pop-ups present the idea of just a publicity stunt.

If your gym features a sauna, highlight it on the home screen and in meta description as it is a premium service.

  1. Choose the right color palette

The choice of color says a lot even before the visitor has had a chance to read the content. Let the color resonate with the owner’s personality. The right colors can convey the right message about your gym, increase readability, make important elements stand out, attract visitors’ attention, and build a successful brand identity.

Essentials of creating a color scheme:

  • Try to portray a cheerful atmosphere through your website. Users will link it to the environment you will have at your gym. Avoid dark colors.
  • Gray and brown are not well received by the majority of the people. Opt for a color palette that best describes the brand personality. Orange is the favorite choice by the gym owners as it suggests ruggedness and excitement.
  • Consistency should be maintained for colors use, Uphold the same color for a particular type of element like text, backgrounds, CTAs, links, etc.
  • Use can draw another advantage from your color choice. Use a good contrast to draw attention to important elements that you want to highlight such as CTAs, offers, and features.     
  1. Images and animations are a great tool

A picture is worth the thousand words.

A catchy image or animation can drive a strong message. Users find them particularly engaging. They are a great way to build the content on your web pages and create flow.

Lets share some handy tips for using images and animations:

  • Do not overuse images and animations. They may slow down your website.
  • Use high-quality and aesthetically pleasing pictures. Prefer the original picture of the gym.
  • Use animations that reflect your brand.
  • Again don’t overload your website with animated elements. Let there be ample white space. If everything is spinning and flying, visitors may feel confused about what to look at first.

There is always a lot to learn and upgrade with the ever changing technology. Happy website designing!

Beginners Guide to Build a Secure Mobile App

App security isn’t just an additional feature or a benefit – it is a core need. You may lose millions of dollars, trade secrets, intellectual property and foremost the trust of the customers. One breach will dismantle the years of trust. Even the most loyal customers with not give it a second thought before cutting the ties. That is why being proactive against this threat is pivotal from the moment you start writing the first line of code.

Every time you install an app, you end up sharing a lot of data even before you start using it. If you think about it, all types of details like your biometric data, important dates, bank details, interests, dislikes, and what not is floating about in the ether, through multiple apps. Hackers, industrial spies, and data thieves are on the continuous probe to exploit all the forms of sensitive data.

Given their pervasive nature in modern times, cyber threats are also becoming more advanced with technology. Other than personal information of the individuals, attackers are constantly on the prowl for applications exchange within big enterprises. That’s where all the sensitive information is available in bulk.

Suffice to say, with money and reputation at stake, mobile app developers need to be proactive while designing. They need to rise above the bare minimum and think ahead to build enduring security into their apps:

1. Start by penning down a Secure Code

Any hardened attacker will first probe the code for bugs and vulnerabilities to break into an application. All they need is to get their hands on a public copy of your app. From there, they will make an effort to reverse engineer your code and modify it according to their malicious intentions. Studies show that poor coding at the beginner level affects nearly 11.6 million mobile devices at any given time.

Keep the foot on the security pedal of your code while developing and make sweeps to harden your code. Your all purpose and intention should be to make it tough to breakthrough. To counterfeit reverse engineering, complicate and minify your code. Invest a lot of time in testing. Bugs are bound to show up. Fix bugs as and when they are exposed. The modular design of coding is beneficial. It will be easy to update and patch. Make a conscious effort to keep your code agile so it can be updated at the user end post a breach. Do not skimp on code hardening and code signing.

2. Persistent Data Encryption

Take all the help from the most significant mitigating factors in a data breach: encryption and automation. Every single unit of data that is exchanged over your app must be encrypted. Encryption renders plain text unreadable and vague words. Only those who have the key will be able to put it back to make sense. Share the key with only those who you trust. Even if the encrypted data is breached, there’s nothing criminals can read and misuse.

Encryption is a very powerful tool. Even the organizations like FBI and NSA seek permission to enter iPhones and access WhatsApp messages. If they can’t break through willfully, hackers sure can’t.

3. Be Extra Cautious with Libraries

It may seem like an easy way out to use third-party libraries at the time. You need to be extremely solicitous and do not skip testing the code before using them in your app. Some libraries may be poorly coded, not timely updated, and awfully insecure for your app. It is best to use controlled internal repositories. You may block direct components download from the Internet to protect your apps from vulnerabilities in libraries.

4. Authorized APIs Only

Don’t use short cuts when dealing with APIs. It is highly recommended to deploy authorized APIs only. The loosely coded ones can inadvertently grant a hacker access to sensitive information. For example, programmers can easily reuse locally cached authorization information when making API calls. However, attackers may use this loophole to capture privileges. It is easier said than done but still only use centrally authorized APIs for maximum security.

5. High-Level and Strong Authentication

Developers may claim that authentication depends on the end users of your application, but as a developer, you can encourage your users to be more sensitive towards authentication.

You can apply validations for your apps to only accept strong alphanumeric passwords that must be renewed every 45 days or three months. Multi-factor authentication is proving to be more secure. User must input a combination of static password and dynamic OTP. In the case of excessively susceptible apps, you may deploy biometric authentication like a retina scan and fingerprints. To maintain extra caution design the app to auto-sign out after a fixed interval.

6. Incorporate Tamper-Detection Technologies

Update your apps with advanced techniques to set off an alarm as soon as an attempt is made to tamper with your code or inject malicious code. Active tamper-detection works as a first and most important defensive wall against intrusion attempts. It renders the code non-functional if modified even the slightest.

7. Use the Principle of Least Privilege

The principle of least privilege dictates that a subject should gather only those permissions it absolutely needs to function and no more. Don’t go on accessing every privilege thinking just in case. Have a definitive list of minimum permissions required for it to function. If you don’t need access to the user’s media files, don’t ask for it. Refrain from making unnecessary network connections. The list goes on and varies depending on the specifics of your app. In short, perform continuous threat modeling as you update your code.

8. Use Token for Session Handling

As convenient the mobile devices are, they are that insecure. Mobile “sessions” last much longer than on desktops. Hence session handling becomes harder for the server. Instead of device identifiers, use tokens to identify a session. You can revoke both access and refresh tokens at any time, making them more secure in case the device is lost or stolen. Other practices that could be exercised are; send tokens over an encrypted channel only and verify the signature immediately upon receiving it.

9. Use the Best Cryptography Protocols

All of your hard work in encryption will pay off only with secure key management. Never hard code your keys. Use of hard-coded credentials saves time upfront but significantly impacts security. Store keys in secure containers on server and never ever store them locally on the client. As storing credentials on the device provides a stationary target. Only use latest and most trusted APIs, such as 256-bit AES encryption with SHA-256 for hashing. Modern security threats have rendered widely accepted cryptographic protocols like MD5 and SHA1, incompetent.

10. Test Over and Over

Securing your app is a never ending process. Novel threats surface and new solutions are required. Leave no stone unturned while testing your apps for vulnerabilities. Invest in penetration testing, threat modeling, and emulators. Keep an eye on new updates, fix them promptly and issue patches when required.

Conclusion

Data breaches are becoming a common occurrence. Latest data breach reported in October 2020 that a hacker had accessed the personal information of millions of Capital One credit card customers and card applicants probably didn’t shock all that many people. Although affecting millions, sadly it is not even in top 10 data breach incidents. Reason again was poor security standards.

Lay equal emphasis on security of apps as usability and aesthetic appeal. It’s time take notice of the importance of cyber security. Hope you will follow above guidelines to keep your apps as secure as Fort Knox.

How to expand your fitness business

For any successful businesses, it’s important to reach new customers and seek opportunities to be as inclusive as possible. Specifically in the fitness business, maintaining the current customer base is as important as enrolling the new customers. But for the exponential growth, you have to be on the constant lookout for the potential customers. This post will guide you and suggest strategies to do just that—to broaden your services, connect with untapped groups of customers, and bring on board those with various needs by providing them the better experience.

You must be all ears by now for these innovative ideas to help grow your business and make your fitness club more of a brand than just a facility.

Try new demographics to find potential customers

You must have been reaching out to a lot of people in a hope that they could be your next customer. Along with quantity, quality matters too. You should explore more around your neighborhood and look for opportunities to attract an increasingly diverse clientele. This means adapting your outreach messaging and expanding service offering to accommodate for those outside of your main demographic.

In short, broaden your horizons so that you can leverage your business. It’s a win for both you and your community.

  1. Connect with older adults

To start with, you may consider reaching out to seniors. They may form an entirely different group than your existing clients and have different requirement set when it comes to fitness. This will surely expand your customer base. Custom designed strategies like the following can help you establish a more welcoming class environment for older demographics:

  • Introduce discounts for those 65 and up. Most of them are on a fixed income and will be happy to save on their membership, classes, or other fees.
  • Design modified programs keeping in mind the older clients so that it is easy for them to take part in class activities; this may include shorter or low-intensity classes.
  • Walking is the most popular and easily achievable physical activity. Establish a walking group combining people of same age.
  • To promote your senior-friendly classes, you may host a pop-up event at a local senior center. They will be more than happy to have some diversity in workout options.
  • Sessions for seniors should concentrate on mobility training like balance and flexibility. Working on all of these is important because it helps you age well. Although it maybe uneasy for them to do much physical activity, but regular exercise will bring them relief.
  1. Consider the needs of families

Being a parent, it is awfully difficult to balance work and personal time along with the needs of a child. Parents crave for someone to understand this and come up with solutions focusing on their needs. Creating and offering classes that take their needs into consideration, can help your business target parents and soon-to-be parents:

  • Present pre- and postnatal classes. Clients who are pregnant or have recently given birth are particularly in need of exercise. Most of them do not find suitable programs around them. Including such classes in your fitness club is a great way to support them.
  • Schedule a “Parent and Me” class every once in a while for customers to connect with their children during classes. Parents will feel as being treated specially and will be your loyal customers from henceforth.
  • Obvious but effective solution for parents is an express class. Parents are always on a tight schedule. They will benefit a lot out of these shorter but action packed classes. They’ll be thankful for abbreviated versions of classes that allow them to pull off their goals.
  • Provide on-site childcare. This is another way to provide peace of mind to parents who’d like to join a class but need to make sure their little one is taken care of. Establish an in-house system or collaborate with a nearby play school. You will be surprised by the turnout.
  1. Develop schemes just for students

If you have a college, university, or other institution of higher learning in your vicinity, you may need to come up with a few strategies to target students. This faction may be working with limited financial resources but they are highly interested in fitness activities. So it’s beneficial to provide specially curated offerings for students. Few of the suggestions are listed below:

  • Again a simple way is to provide student discounts. Offer students a reduced rate on memberships and/or classes against their school IDs.
  • Offer a higher discount on group joining. Students in this age love to hang out with their friends and mostly want to do activities they can participate in collectively.
  • Partner with local schools or educational institutes. You may offer internships or work/trade options for students. Passively this will promote your classes and business on-campus and with parents of the students.
  • Create classes keeping in mind the interests of the students. Young people between 18 to 25 years are most interested in fitness activities like kickboxing, CrossFit, and swimming. Listing these classes and programs in your gym is a great way to strike up a relationship with young adults and students.
  1. Help beginners get started

There are a few things you can adjust in your fitness club to help beginners feel comfortable and confident in starting their journey:

  • Start by something simple as a walking group. Walking is a low-impact exercise, it’s a great way to start moving, especially in the beginning.
  • Information is the key. Educate beginners on all the facilities your business offers. Sometimes, all it takes is a little information to help clients feel better about trying a new class.
  1. Empower individuals who are differently-abled

A few considerate accommodations for those with limitations will go a long way in making your business a success:

  • Make your space wheelchair friendly, including wide doors, ramps, and elevators at your entrances and throughout your facility.
  • Invest in assistive equipment, like straps, adjustable chairs or various weights to ensure that those with physical limitations can comfortably participate.
  • Go an extra mile and get certified in corrective movement. There are separate organizations that specialize in fitness for differently-abled. You may approach them for tips.
  • Recruit an extra instructor designated specifically to assist those with limitations through modified exercises or to help perfect their form.
  • Make an accommodating exercise program for individuals being treated, recovering, or living with chronic ailments.

By reaching out to different groups of potential customers will help you reach a wider audience, be more diverse and inclusive in your brand image, and grow your business.

Less is More When it Comes to Writing Website Content

While writing content for your website, you may feel the need to provide all the options to the readers in a hope that they may find what they are looking for. This usually ends up having a reverse effect. Readers will get easily confused and abandon the search or move on to the next website. Seizing the interest of readers in this exploding digital universe can be very tricky. An average user spends around 15 seconds to scan and look for relevant content on a web page in first visit. This is all the time you got to capture their attention. Filling you website/page with useless jargon can cost you heavily.

You may be tempted to write page after page about your services or product description with pure intention of providing information. But this does not work anymore. Content that is well structured and to the point will do you more good. Good website writing is the key to increase conversion rate. Well-written content that’s optimized for the web rises to the top of search results and holds readers’ attention. Mantra is, “Keep it short, keep it interesting”.

It’s all about them

Is that piece of content there to serve the customer? If it is, have you made it easy for them to access and find? Here again user experience is of utmost importance. They are really not bothered about you and your company or products. They simply want to know what benefits or solution you’re providing for them and how you are better in it than others. Every time you put up content on the website, consider the true purpose of the content itself. This is how you deliver good customer service even before they have made a purchase.

Gain trust

Whatever you put up on website should reflect your trust in it. In return it will gain your readers trust. Content must reflect credibility in what you are offering. Content that is too wordy, has too much marketing ‘fluff’ or just isn’t clear won’t gain you that trust.

Present a clear picture

You may actually be the best in the industry, but if you are not able to present it to the potential customers, it is a lost cause. Overuse of content takes away from the value and quality of your messaging. Either the best messages get lost in the jargon, or your website is repetitive and it causes users to lose interest and they will click away. Repetitive content will also harm your Google rating. Strike once, strike hard!

Guide to concise, user-friendly but quality content

Word Count: Limit the number of words on each page to about 300-400 words (except for blog).

Capture interest with images: Use illustrative images. Visual treat generates interest, but do not overuse images as they may slow down your website.

Start with a brief summary: Write an introduction that is concise, factual and direct, so that visitors will get quick overview. This will also be beneficial for search engines.

Headings: Arrange your content under meaningful headings so that a reader can quickly and easily skim your content and skip to the sections of interest. Use of keywords in your headings will help boost your position in search engine results.

Unique paragraph for a unique topic: Each paragraph should just cover one topic. Most importantly, state its purpose it in the first couple of sentences. So, even if someone skips reading the rest of that paragraph, you’ve already delivered the most important information in those first few sentences.

Sentence length: Maintain simple sentence structure. Avoid cascading multiple points in a single sentence. Keep sentences down to 20 words or less. This ensures that your content is easy to skim in a glance without compromising information.  Don’t be over-wordy, or add fluff pieces.

Use lists for layout: Using bullet points and lists makes content easier to read.

Headlines: Dot your page with an attention-grabbing headline. This is sure remedy to gain readers attention straight away.

Use verbs: Allow users to be clear about the needed action eg, Get, Buy etc. Use more verbs and not too many adjectives in your content.

Testing the content: Get feedback from other people. Let them read your content. You will definitely get insightful feedback and get to know the area of improvement.

Call to action: This is what everything trickles down to. Have a simple call to action on your page that does not require much effort from the readers. No one will sit around filling long forms. It is best to have one-click action button. Get them to sign up, get a free quote or whatever so that readers stay with you after they’ve left your website.

Walk, Gym or Swim; But keep yourself active for a healthy life

The best thing you can do for your health is to exercise daily. Short term effects of exercising are visible quickly through controlled appetite, boosted mood, and improved sleep. This wonderful habit rewards with multi-fold benefits in long run too, it reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, depression, and even many types of cancers. Even moderately intense exercises like brisk walking, stretching session etc, will do the trick. Although everyone in general is well aware of these points, still we find people shying away or lazying out from following this regime.

But studies have shown that people who join a group or specifically a Gym, have more success rate in making exercise an integral part of their daily routine. Community in gym workouts is the top motivator for consumers to go to gyms. The data are not clear whether the social motivator for going to gyms is the obligation to a trainer or class or whether the social interactions consumers have with fellow members is the catalyst or whether it’s just having other people around.

But a social experience at gyms is by far the highest motivating factor for joining and going. Having a professional setup in a gym is also rated highly.

Ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches.

Few of the well-known advantages of regular exercise are listed as follows:

  • Weight loss and weight control
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some cancers
  • Strengthen bones and muscles
  • Improve mental health and mood
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls
  • Increase your chances of living longer

We’re all taught from an early age that any healthy lifestyle should include regular exercise. More specifically, the NHS (National Health Service, UK) recommends moderately intense physical activity for 150 minutes of a week for an average adult. If broken down, it only comes down to around 22 minutes per day. Not too much to ask, right? However, bear in mind that consistency is key. Doing 150 minutes of exercise one day and nothing for the remaining week isn’t the best for your health – but it’s better than doing nothing at all. A conscious effort should be made to reduce time spent sitting or lying down. Modern facilities and work culture has lead us to a more sedentary lifestyle. Break up long periods of not moving with some activity. Let the blood circulate through your body.

Another side effect of modern day lifestyle is a lot of stress. Ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. Best way to give your body and mind a healthy break is to go for some exercise.

Effects of exercising: Short and Long Term

When we exercise, the body goes through many changes. Most often, immediately after physical activity you may feel like you’re fatigued, and even sometimes nauseous. There is no need to worry as these are healthy signs that we’re working hard. You may not feel the effect of exercising straight away, but by being consistent, you’ll benefit from all of the great things our body does while being physically active.

  1. Make You Feel Energised

It might sound contradictory, but by exercising, you’ll find that you have more energy on a daily basis. Of course, you should expect to feel pretty tired after physical activity, but that’s only short term. The reason behind feeling full of energy is that by exercising you’re increasing the blood flow around your body. In short, your blood will absorb more oxygen resulting in you feeling more energetic. Ten minute walk on a treadmill or attending an aerobics rejuvenates you thoroughly.

Physical activity helps keep our hearts healthy and improves its strength in the long run. It is highly recommend getting a heart check-up, especially if you don’t exercise, smoke regularly and are overweight.

  1. Fight depression and anxiety

When you exercise, the brain releases endorphins which contribute towards a positive feeling of mental wellbeing. Exercise is a great excuse to take a break from usual hum-drum of life. The time spent doing physical activity can give you some clear-thinking time away from anxious or depressive feelings. Self-image can also play a part in anxious thoughts and exercise is a fantastic way to boost body-confidence. You get to meet new and different people at gym or fitness clubs. Social interactions brighten the mood.

  1. Improve overall quality of life

It is even advised by doctors to maintain an active lifestyle. Regular physical exercise can help towards reducing the likelihood of developing major illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A cardio session or simple yoga done regularly keeps your cholesterol in check and promotes proper circulation of blood in all body parts. You tend to intake more water. This in turn flushes out toxins in form of urine. So it’s a win-win in all scenarios.

  1. Weight loss or weight control

Alongside smoking, obesity is one of the biggest causes of cancer. Many types of cancer could be avoided if people maintain a healthy weight. Vigorous physical activity like circuit training or a few minutes spent on cross-trainer will help you to lose excess body fat and stay in shape. Couple this with a healthy diet or get customized diet plan from the dietician at your gym.

  1. Better sleep

Although scientists have not been able to pin point why exactly this happens but daily exercisers sleep better. Once you have had a good night sleep you feel fresh and full of energy the next day. More or less you can say that exercising in form of aerobics or swimming rejuvenates your brains and you get to enjoy deep sleep.

Some Easy Ways to Get Started With Exercising

  1. Start with an activity or exercise that you enjoy doing the most. It may be as simple as walking, cycling, outdoor sports or swimming. Again stick with it and make it a habit.
  1. For those who need a little more push, join a gym, fitness group or a club. Having someone to share the journey with you and guide you, may help you to continue. They create a very positive experience.
  1. Set yourself realistic targets. It is not a sprint but a marathon. Don’t expect extreme results and drastic changes. This way you are just setting yourself for failure. Also it is dangerous if you push your body trying to reach them. Scales may take time to show results but your body will be much healthier on the inside.
  1. Substitute bits and pieces of your routine with exercise. Walk while talking on the phone, cycle to work, taking a stroll after lunch break; it all helps. If your place has a gym you can train at – even better!
  1. If you’re really struggling and spend most of your day chained to your office desk,  there are desk exercises that you can utilise.