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Microsoft SharePoint is an online platform and a cloud-based tool used by businesses and individuals. SharePoint can be used for various things, for instance, managing, storing documents, and team collaborations. There are two types of SharePoint servers. One of the servers is run by your company, and the other is hosted by Microsoft 365.

In Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint is available in three versions:

SharePoint Online: the best solution for small businesses, hosting intranet sites on Microsoft servers.

SharePoint Server: The complete version with intranet addresses completely customizable and pages hosted on local private servers.

SharePoint App: This a free app available on your smartphone that allows you to access all SharePoint sites

With SharePoint, you can set up a webpage for your team. In this article, we will discuss SharePoint Online.

Benefits of using SharePoint

Share and manage content.

Quickly find information.

Creates an Online intranet page to collect news.

Provides profound control over and sensitive information and communication.

Introduction to SharePoint for beginners

SharePoint Online can be acquired by a SharePoint plan or any Office 365 subscription.

To access the SharePoint site, go to the Office website.

Login Page

On the Login Page, enter your login information.

It will appear on the main intranet page.

Quick Site list

On the left, there is the Quick Sites list.

The Quick Site list consists of Following, which is sites you are following on your SharePoint, and Recent, which are sites you currently visited. These sites are SharePoint sites you are a member of.

On the top of the main page is the Search Bar that you can use to search for sites you are a member of or sites you created.

Create Site & Create News Post

Above the quick site list on the left, you will see two features: the Create Site and Create News Post.

The Create Site feature is the site that you want to create for your team members, and Create News Post is the post that is shared on the SharePoint site either by you are your team members.

The first option is Team Site. The team Site is used to share documents, have conversations with your team members, manage tasks and keep track of events.

The second option is the Communication Site. The Communication site is used to publish content to people in your organization; to update them on topics, events, and projects within the organization.

Team Site page

The Team Site will require you to enter the Site Name; once the site name is entered, the site name will automatically appear in the Group Email Address, Site Address, then enter a Site Description, set a Privacy Settings, select a Language.

It will take you to another panel to add a Co-owner for the SharePoint team site and Add Members.

You will appear on the Team Site page you have just created.

On the page left, you will see the Navigation Pane, which consists of the Home Page, Conversations, Documents, Notebook, Pages, Site Content, Recycle Bin, and Edit.

On the first top pane of the Team Site page you have created, you will see the site name on the left, and on the right, you will see if the group is Private or Public; if you are following the group and how many members the group has.

On the second pane, you will see the New button that will display contents that you add to your sites, such as List, Document Library, Page, New Post, News Link, Plan, and App.

Page Details feature

Then there is the Page Details feature that gives you a view of the Page Description, Thumbnails, and Custom Properties.

The second pane also displays Analytics which showcases metric displays about the page viewers, Page views, The average time spent per user, and Page traffic.

On the right of the second pane, it showcases that the team site is Published and Edit to edit the Team Site.

In the middle of the page the section News, you can add News Post or News Link to the Team Site to share with all your members.

Below the News section is the Activity section which displays the recent activities on your site.

You can even Upload a Document in this section and Add a List.

On the Quick Link section of the page, you will see two links, Learn about the team site and learn how to add a page.

You can add a New Folder and documents from Microsoft Office suites such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote in the Document section.

You can also select All Documents, and in the drop-down list, you can choose how you want to display your documents, such as in a List and Compact List and Tiles.

The list also displays All Document, Create new list, Save View As, and Edit Current View.

Read: How to create a Page in SharePoint.

Communication Site

If you select the Communication Site, it will require you to enter the Site Name; the name you enter into the Site Name box will appear in the Site Address box also enter the Site Description and Language.

It will appear on the Communication Site you have created.

The Communication Site has a different setup from the Team Site.

The first pane on top of the Communication Site page is the Navigation Pane which consists of the Home Page, Documents, Pages, Site Content, and Edit. To the right is the Share button to share your site.

Below the first pane consists of the New Button, Page Details and Analytics, and Publish and Edit on the left.

Below the page, you can add News Post and Link, Events, and Documents.

We hope this introduction for beginners helps you get started with SharePoint.

Related: How to recover & restore a deleted file in SharePoint.

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Conversion Rate Optimization (Cro): How To Get Started

If you’re getting your fair share of them, congratulations – you’re on the right path. But just getting visitors to your website isn’t enough, particularly if you’re running any type of business.

No, you need to convert those visitors once they end up on your site. And you need to do this effectively and efficiently.

One of the best ways to do that is by implementing a conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy.

In this piece, we’ll dig deeper into CRO, discuss why you should care about it, and provide some best practices for maximizing your conversion rate. 

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of users and visitors who take a specific action on your website, social channels, or other online marketing campaigns.

To successfully improve your conversion rate, you must deeply understand your users. You need to understand how they navigate your website, interact with your content, and ultimately take action.

Examples Of Conversions

Conversions can be any number of things, but some of the most common are:

Making a purchase.

Filling out a form.

Signing up for a newsletter.

Adding a product to their shopping cart.

Downloading a piece of content.

Turning an occasional customer into a regular customer.

In other words, a conversion can be any action a user performs that results in you collecting their information, making a sale, or otherwise gaining insight into how they interact with your campaigns.

Key Benefits Of Conversion Rate Optimization

Okay, you might be saying right now, I get the importance of CRO as an overall part of a digital marketing strategy, but what does this have to do with SEO?

A lot, actually, both for SEO professionals and the businesses they work for. 

Some of the benefits of CRO include:

Increased User Engagement

Conversion rate optimization improves the way visitors interact with your website and within your campaigns, leading to better engagement and, ultimately, conversions.

An increase in engagement metrics can provide valuable insights into your campaigns’ performance and what entices users to take action.

Better ROI

It allows you to land more customers without necessarily generating more traffic or increasing your marketing budget.

Valuable User Insights

The process of CRO requires you to develop a better understanding of your audience. And this, in turn, improves your overall marketing efforts and content.

It helps you be better prepared to reach the right types of customers with the right messaging at the right time.

Enhanced Customer Trust

Many conversions require users to provide their contact information (email address, name, phone number, etc.) in exchange for content like an ebook or information about your services.

But before they’re willing to hand over their info, they need to trust your site. CRO helps you build customer trust and leaves a positive impression on potential customers.

Scalability

Even the biggest markets only have a finite pool of prospects you can tap into – and the more specialized your niche, the smaller that pool is. CRO allows you to make the most of your existing audience (i.e., traffic) to attract new customers.

By improving your conversion rate, you’ll scale your business without running out of potential customers.

How To Calculate Conversion Rate

Before we can get optimizing, we need to first discuss how to arrive at your conversion rate. Don’t worry – no higher math is required.

The conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of users or website visitors, then multiplying this figure by 100 to generate a percentage.

For example, if your website generated 20 contact form fills and 1,000 visitors in one month, your conversion rate would be: 20 / 1,000 = 0.02 x 100 = 2%.

Calculating your conversion rate enables you to set a benchmark for how your webpage or campaign is currently performing.

This means you can compare the results of any changes you make and the corresponding results you generate to your original conversion rate, letting you know what’s working – and what isn’t.

What’s Considered A “Good” Conversion Rate?

There is no single, universal figure that qualifies as a “good” conversion rate. What’s even considered an “average” conversion rate varies across industries, niches, campaigns, and specific conversion goals.

Depending on who you ask, however, a rough global average is anywhere from 1-4%.

This might not necessarily be true for you. In reality, the best measure of what’s considered average is to calculate your past and current conversion rates and compare them to future results.

Instead of obsessing over what’s considered a “good” conversion rate (most businesses don’t publish this information, anyway), you’re better off digging into what drives your particular audience – and then delivering the value they’re searching for.

What Is The CRO Process?

Now that we have that all out of the way, let’s talk about the CRO process.

Conversion rate optimization is the process of optimizing your website, landing page, or marketing campaign to improve the probability of a user taking a desired action.

This optimization process is informed by past user behavior, customer insights, and CRO best practices.

The basic process is as follows:

Audience Research

Surveying your audience and digging into past customer behavior analytics to understand what users are interested in, what they’re struggling with, and how they interact with your brand.

Optimization

Using these new insights to optimize your campaigns or webpages for conversions.

These might include writing more compelling web copy, adding enticing calls-to-action, redesigning your site for better user experience (UX), or removing bottlenecks from your sales funnel.

A/B Testing

Most CRO changes are not one and done. You will want to measure your adjustments against different components to see which ones truly move the needle.

For example, you may test one call-to-action versus another to see which performs better (i.e., has a higher conversion rate).

It may be tempting to skip this step, but don’t – that can lead to false positives.

Let’s say, for example, you changed your CTA like we just described, but you also changed your product descriptions. Which one do you attribute your sales increase to? A/B testing lets you know.

Measurement

Use analytics software (like Google Analytics) to measure the success of your campaigns.

Create goals to track conversions and then calculate your conversion rate by comparing this to your total traffic numbers.

Ongoing Adjustments

Monitor your analytics to track the success (or failure) of your campaigns or webpages. Make adjustments as needed to improve your conversion rate.

Components Of Successful CRO

CRO is a comprehensive process involving various components, from the design of your landing page to the contact forms you use.

A successful CRO campaign requires an in-depth analysis of your target audience, multiple tests to measure performance, and ongoing optimization to ensure maximum results.

There are a limitless number of things you can experiment with to optimize your conversion rate. Still, throughout this process, you’re likely to address a few core elements, regardless of industry:

Design

How your website and landing pages look plays an important role in CRO. An aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-navigate design will improve usability and make it easier for users to convert.

When designing your landing pages, work with a web designer who understands CRO and how users typically navigate a website.

Your site should be responsive and accessible, making it easy for visitors to find what they want. Your fonts and include interactive menus should be easily readable to anyone.

Site Speed

Fast website load speed is an essential part of both SEO and CRO. The longer it takes for your website to load, the more likely users will drop off and go elsewhere.

Ideally, your website should load in under three seconds on both desktop and mobile devices. Decrease image file sizes and remove slow-loading website elements to ensure fast load time. This alone can increase conversions to your site.

Copy

Web copy refers to the words users read on your website and landing pages. Skilled copywriters can craft copy that speaks to the unique needs of your target audience. It’s not enough to simply write “off the cuff” and hope for the best.

This is another place where audience research comes into play. If you know what your audience is struggling with and the solutions they’re looking for, you’ll be able to communicate the value of your offer.

Ultimately, you’re trying to convince users that your service or product is the best solution for their needs.

Call-To-Action

A call-to-action is an often short, concise appeal to users to take some sort of action on your site. The most commonly seen phrases are things like “Contact Us,” “Buy Now,” and “Work With Us.” However, you can get as creative as you like as long as you’re asking the visitor to perform an action.

For example, if you know your audience is interested in a particular offer, your CTA can be more obvious, like “Buy X Here” or “Download Y Now.”

Navigation

Your site’s structure should be built with the primary goal of making your website easy for users to navigate. You should have a logical layout of where your pages exist on your site and how they interact with each other.

Consider how a typical user might navigate your site. Even better, look at a content drill-down report of your site to see how users journey from one page to another.

This might look something like:

Home.

Services page.

Individual service page.

Contact page.

Goal completion (form fill).

Or, for an ecommerce site:

Home.

Products page.

Product category page.

Individual product page.

Add to cart.

Cart checkout.

Thank You page.

Overall, creating an easy-to-navigate website is key to increasing conversions, building customer trust, and improving customer loyalty over time.

Forms

Contact forms are the most popular tool website owners use to collect user information, particularly for service and agency sites. Ecommerce sites, on the other hand, might have individual product pages and a typical shopping cart function.

Your contact forms should be functional and easy to use. By this, we mean that users should easily be able to submit their information. These form fills should be collected within your website to ensure quick follow-up.

Here are a few CRO best practices for using contact forms:

Consider customer privacy. With the introduction of GDPR and other consumer privacy laws, it’s become increasingly important to let users know how their information will be collected and used. You should always include a disclaimer that states what users are subscribing to, how you will be in contact with them, and whether they can unsubscribe at any time.

How To Measure Conversion Rate

Several quantitative tools allow you to collect data to track conversions on your website. These include general analytics tools like Google Analytics, website heat map tools like Hotjar, sales funnel tools, and contact form analytics tools.

Basically, any tool that allows you to:

Track conversions or goal completions

See website traffic data (which can be used to calculate your conversion rates).

By measuring your conversion rate, you’ll have data on how your site has performed in the past and how it’s performing now.

Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices – Do They Work?

CRO best practices are, by definition, practices that have worked for businesses in the past. This means that the quick CRO “hacks” may not necessarily apply to your business, nor might they be relevant to businesses in the modern day.

With this in mind, businesses should be wary of adopting any CRO best practices without proper measurement and an in-depth understanding of their target audience.

For example, it’s commonly believed that a few simple tweaks are all it takes to improve conversions. These “tips” often include:

A/B testing headlines.

Changing the color of CTAs.

Including contact forms on every page.

Always adding customer testimonials.

Offering discounts.

Just because something worked for one business doesn’t mean it will work for yours.

Your best bet is to focus on what’s working with your particular audience and then use your own creativity to make adjustments that will improve your conversion rates over time.

Uncommon CRO Tactics

Today’s most progressive brands aren’t following trends – they’re setting them.

To stay ahead of the curve, you might want to adopt some uncommon CRO tactics and measure their impact on your business.

At the same time, keep a close eye on how users interact with your site and use these insights to make adjustments over time.

For example, some CRO-related technology and tactics to look into include:

AI-driven CRO tools.

Keyword research tools.

On-site customer surveys.

Mouse tracking and website heat maps.

Personalized product suggestions.

How To Improve Your Conversion Rate

By this point, it should be clear: CRO depends on carefully monitoring your customers, tracking their behavior and how they interact with your site, and comparing that information over time.

And while there are tools available for measuring traffic, engagement, and goal completions, no single CRO strategy will work for every site.

No, what works for your website depends entirely on your target audience, what you’re promoting, and user experiences.

For example, you wouldn’t expect a target audience of upper-middle-class men shopping for luxury sedans to behave like teenage girls looking for hoodies.

So, what works for the first audience may have no impact on the second, and vice versa.

But I will promise you this: If you fine-tune your UX, implement A/B testing, improve your website copy, and experiment with CTAs. Eventually, you’ll hit on the conversion formula you need.

More Resources:

Featured Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock

It’s Time For Your 2023 Fitness Journey—Here’s How To Get Started

A new year is always a fresh opportunity to start your fitness journey. This can mean anything, whether you’d just like to get off the couch more often, want to run a 5K, or are hoping to win a bodybuilding competition by 2024. 

You may not be sure about how to achieve your goals, but that’s ok. Having the motivation to get out there is half the battle, and we want to help you along your way. 

PopSci has a number of science-backed fitness stories to guide you in this new era. You’ll learn how to make the best of your workouts, how to get gains safely and consistently, and how to keep your body healthy along the way. 

Understand how to build muscle

Fitness novices might think getting buff is just about lifting heavy objects over and over again. In a nutshell, it sort of is, but there’s a lot more to it. Learning about muscles and how your body builds them will help you understand concepts like hypertrophy and failure, and allow you to get the most out of each workout. 

Our guide on how to get muscle gains will walk you through that process and explain how resting is as important as going to the gym, and how protein is a crucial element your body needs to build more mass.

[Related: You should definitely rotate your workouts]

Food restrictions like veganism can seem like an added layer of difficulty when it comes to including enough protein in your diet, but getting those gains doesn’t require you to become a carnivore. If you need guidance, head on over to our vegan guide on how to get muscle gains and learn about the foods that will give you the nutrients you need to achieve your fitness goals.  

Don’t forget to warm up

Whatever sport or discipline you choose, one of the most common mistakes fitness noobs make when they start working out is to skip warmups. They can seem boring and pointless because you may feel like you don’t actually need them, but trust us: your body does. Warming up properly before you go for a jog or start lifting will help you perform better and prevent injuries in the long run, which will allow you to take your fitness journey even further. 

But before you repeat the same stationary stretches you might remember from PE class, give dynamic warmups a try. These exercises will not only tell your brain it’s time to move—which is especially important after sitting at a desk for a while—but will also prepare your body for physical activity by getting your blood flowing and your heart rate up.

Help your body recover

You may think that when it comes to exercise, more is better. And since you’re already motivated and proud of your effort, why not keep going? Well, giving your body time to recover is also essential to your fitness journey. 

But other than resting, there are other techniques you can use to help your muscles feel better after a heavy workout. That annoying and painful soreness you feel around 24 hours after your last gym session is a result of muscle damage, and recovery techniques can help you handle the pain and help tissue heal faster. 

From classic stretching to foam rollers, ice baths, and massages, our guide on what works when it comes to recovery can be exactly what you need when your muscles are so sore that getting off your chair comes with excruciating pain. 

Eat to win

Once you’re at least a couple of months into your journey and have made a little progress, you might find yourself hitting a wall that makes results harder to come by. This is normal and happens to a lot of people as their bodies change. To get back on that progress train, you might need more data about what you’re putting into your body, and tracking your nutrition can be incredibly useful for that.

Knowing your maintenance rate—the number of calories you burn simply by existing—can give you a baseline to adjust the number of calories you eat every day to keep the muscles growing and fat-burning going. 

It’s important to know that monitoring your food can be a slippery slope to unhealthy habits, so make sure to do it only for short periods of time, and to follow experts’ recommendations regarding calorie surplus and deficit. And if you don’t know what those are, don’t worry—it’s all in our guide. 

Measure progress

Data not only shows you how much to eat but also how far you’ve come. Gathering information about your workouts will make it easier to measure your progress, and you’ll be able to celebrate even the smallest victories so you can push yourself a bit further. 

Getting a fitness tracker can help compile all the statistics you need to keep going and improving—all you need is to put it on and go do your best. And if you don’t know which wearable to get, we have some recommendations that might lead you in the right direction. 

The type of device you get will highly depend on your budget and your preferred activity, but there are a lot of options to choose from, and they can all give you that extra motivation you need to face another day of your fitness journey.  

Try getting a little help from supplements

Nutritional supplements can help get your body what it needs to perform better, stay healthy, and build muscle. But a quick trip to your local drugstore is enough to get anyone incredibly confused. The market is saturated with options, so which supplements actually work?

[Related: The three strength exercises everyone should do]

When it comes to building muscle and improving performance, science has only found two supplements that will help. Learning how to take them and how they work for your body will help you have a better understanding of your process. Keep in mind that you may need to consult a doctor before you start supplementing your nutrition, and also remember supplements don’t do miracles. Moving, resting, and, above all, patience, will keep you on a good path to your fitness goals. 

How To Get Started With Linux: A Beginner’s Guide

The world of Linux is ready to welcome you, with a shower of free open-source software you can use on any PC: hundreds of active Linux distributions, and dozens of different desktop environments you could run on them. It’s a far cry from the one-size-fits-all, this-is-just-what-comes-with-your-PC vision of Windows.

Choose and download a Linux distro

The first step is choosing the Linux distribution you’ll want to use.

Fedora Linux with the Gnome Shell desktop.

Unlike Windows 10, there’s no single version of Linux. Linux distributions take the Linux kernel and combine it with other software like the GNU core utilities, chúng tôi graphical server, a desktop environment, web browser, and more. Each distribution unites some combination of these elements into a single operating system you can install.

DistroWatch offers a good, in-depth summary of all the major Linux distributions you might want to try. Ubuntu is a fine place to start for former (or curious) Windows users. Ubuntu strives to eliminate many of Linux’s rougher edges. Many Linux users now prefer Linux Mint, which ships with either the Cinnamon or MATE desktops—both are a bit more traditional than Ubuntu’s Unity desktop.

The Cinnamon desktop environment running on Linux Mint 18.2.

Choosing the single best isn’t your first priority, though. Just choose a fairly popular one like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, or openSUSE. Head to the Linux distribution’s website and download the ISO disc image you’ll need. Yes, it’s free.

You can use the Universal USB Installer to easily create a bootable thumb drive using an .ISO image of a Linux distribution.

You can now either burn that ISO image to a DVD or USB. Note that booting from USB 3.0 is faster than booting from DVD these days, and more versatile given that most laptops and many desktops no longer include a DVD drive. 

Fedora’s Media Writer utility is a thing of beauty and can run on Windows or Mac OS. It’s the easiest way to make a bootable Linux USB stick.

For most desktops and laptops, the above instructions will suffice. However, if you want to use Linux on a Chromebook, Raspberry Pi, or another type of device, there are special instructions you’ll need to follow.

Running Linux live off an external drive

If you’re not sure whether you’re running UEFI or BIOS, you’re probably running UEFI, unless your PC is five years old or more. To enter your BIOS or UEFI on a desktop, you’ll generally have to hit the Del or F12 key during the POST process (before Windows starts booting). 

On younger Windows PCs running Windows 10, you may have to disable Secure Boot before booting Linux. (Secure Boot has been a headache for many Linux users.) Most of the larger Linux distributions will boot normally with Secure Boot enabled, but others won’t.  

Your Linux distribution of choice probably allows you to use it in a “live” environment, meaning it runs entirely off the disc or USB drive and doesn’t actually need to be installed to your computer’s hard drive. Just use the Linux desktop normally and get a feel for it. You can even install software, and it’ll remain installed in the live system until you reboot.

Fedora’s Live CD interface, like most Linux distributions, lets you choose to run the operating system from your bootable media or install it to your hard drive.

Even if you don’t want to use Linux as your everyday operating system, having this Linux live DVD or USB drive around can be useful. You can insert it into any computer and boot Linux whenever you want. Use it to troubleshoot Windows problems, recover files from a corrupted system, scan an infected system for malware, or provide a secure environment for online banking and other important tasks.

To leave the live Linux system, just reboot your computer and remove the disc or USB drive.

Use Linux in a virtual machine

With free virtualization tools like VirtualBox, you can have multiple virtual machines (VMs), complete with their own boot sequences and isolated storage. One of the most popular things to do with virtual machines is to run different operating systems on one computer without needing to reboot.

It’s pretty easy to create a VM on Windows to create a virtual environment to run Linux in. VMs are easy to manage, and when you’re done using them, you can delete them. You can even back up copies of the entire virtualized (guest) operating system if you need to.

You can use VirtualBox to test different Linux distros while running Windows or Linux. Here, Debian 9 (the guest) is running in VirtualBox on Arch Linux (the host).

In addition to a performance hit, virtual machines generally won’t have direct hardware access to things like video cards.

Your Linux desktop environment

The Fedora 25 desktop running GNOME’s Software and Nautilus applications.

Ubuntu 16.04’s Unity desktop can be quirky, but it’s packed with useful features you’d never find on your own, like the HUD. If you’re going with Ubuntu 16.04 or earlier, be aware that Ubuntu will be abandoning its Unity desktop in future versions. Ubuntu dropped Unity in favor of the GNOME shell that comes default on Fedora and other distributions. If you want to try Ubuntu, we recommend trying Ubuntu GNOME, which uses the GNOME desktop instead of Unity.

Additionally, be sure to enable virtual desktops (most modern Linux desktops have disabled them by default) and give them a shot, too.

Every desktop environment has a set of tools to help you customize the look and feel how you want it to. Here, Cinnamon’s System Settings running on Linux Mint 18.2 shows the options available.

If you ever get lost, there is plenty of help online. Generally Googling your distribution’s name followed by the question will lead you in the right direction. If you prefer a more structured help environment, the Ubuntu and Fedora documentation websites are great resources. While the Arch Wiki is written with users of Arch Linux in mind, it is a great in-depth resource for Linux programs in general.

Install Linux, or not

You have choices about when and how to install Linux. You can leave it on a disc or USB drive and boot it up whenever you want to play with it. Play with it several times until you’re sure you want to install it. You can try several Linux distributions in this way—you can even re-use the same USB drive.

The big reasons to install Linux instead of just running it from a USB drive or disc are productivity and convenience. Unlike running Linux live, installed Linux will remember your settings, keep your installed software, and maintain your files between reboots.

Want to stay up to date on Linux, BSD, Chrome OS, and the rest of the World Beyond Windows? Bookmark the World Beyond Windows column page or follow our RSS feed.

Of course, you can always choose to install Windows in a virtual machine as well.

How to install more software

OpenSUSE’s YaST software management tool.

Software installation on Linux works very differently from software installation on Windows. You don’t need to open your web browser and search for applications. Instead, look for the software installer on your system. On Ubuntu and Fedora, you can install software using GNOME’s software store application (aptly called “Software”).

Software managers aren’t just fancy interfaces for downloading software from the web. Your Linux distribution hosts its own “software repositories,” containing software compiled to work with it. This software is tested and provided by the Linux distribution. (If you choose a rolling-release distribution like Arch or openSUSE Tumbleweed, the newer software can cause problems. If you prefer stability over the latest-and-greatest versions of software, stick to a “versioned” Linux distribution to start out.) If security patches are necessary, your Linux distribution will provide them to you in a standard way.

GNOME Software is an application that uses store-like interface to browse for and install software. GNOME Software is available on Ubuntu and any distribution that uses the GNOME desktop.

While most major distributions offer GUI programs to help you install software, all distributions have command-line tools that can do the same thing. Though it can be intimidating for newbies, we recommend users familiarize themselves with how to install applications from the command line, even if they prefer using the GUI. If an installation fails for some reason, using the command line will offer hints as to why the installation failed.

Some applications—particularly closed-source applications like Google Chrome, Steam, Skype, Minecraft, and others—may have to be installed from outside your Linux distribution’s package manager. But check your package manager first—you’ll be surprised what apps may be available through your distro’s repositories.

If you can’t find the app you need, you can download these applications from their official websites, just as you would on Windows. Be sure to download the installer package designed for the Linux distribution you’re using.

Contrary to widespread belief, you probably don’t need to install hardware drivers manually when you install the operating system. Most of the hardware drivers you’ll need are built-in on Linux. There are a few closed-source drivers you might want—the Nvidia and AMD drivers for optimal 3D graphics performance, or Wi-Fi drivers to make your Wi-Fi hardware work right. However, most of the hardware you have (even touchscreens) should work out of the box. 

It’s worth mentioning that while Nvidia’s proprietary Linux drivers are great performance-wise, Nvidia’s proprietary drivers don’t always play nice with the open-source community. (Linus Torvalds, the guy who wrote the Linux kernel, famously gave the finger to Nvidia on camera because of this.) If you’re not planning on doing a lot of gaming on Linux, Intel’s integrated graphics (which is present on pretty much all non-enthusiast Intel Core CPUs) will do the job just fine.

The Software Manager in Linux Mint 18.2’s Cinnamon desktop has a user-friendly interface. 

Ubuntu and Linux Mint will recommend drivers to you via their hardware driver tools, if necessary. Some Linux distributions may not help you install these at all. For example, Fedora doesn’t want to endorse closed-source Linux drivers. If you need specialized drivers, check your distribution’s documentation. Most distros have help pages for people who have AMD or Nvidia video cards, for instance.

Now you have the basic knowledge you need to get started using Linux. Happy exploring!

5 Simple Ways To Get Started With An Inbound Marketing Strategy

In this post, we’ll cover the details you need to know about inbound marketing, like:

What inbound marketing is.

How inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing.

Why your business needs to invest in an inbound marketing strategy.

The five most important elements of an inbound marketing strategy for your small business.

What Is an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

Inbound marketing creates a funnel of new customers by attracting people to your business (and often, your business website) by providing content and experiences they find valuable. An inbound marketing strategy can include content marketing, video content, search engine optimization (SEO), PPC, and landing pages on your website.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: What’s the Difference?

In contrast, inbound marketing strategies allow you to attract prospects who are likely more interested in what you have to offer and engage them with your marketing by informing or building a connection.

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Why Small Businesses Need an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Rather than competing with the volume of content and resources larger competitors are pushing out on a daily basis, your small business can focus on creating specific content that will best resonate with your audience to maximize your resources and build a connection with customers and prospects.

5 Elements of an Incredible Inbound Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

Let’s take a look at how your small business can properly implement an inbound marketing strategy that effectively increases customer trust and make better use of your marketing budget.

1. Use Data to Inform Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

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These tracking and reporting tools are essential to have as part of the foundation of your small business’s inbound marketing strategy.

Insight from your lead management software, such as information on current and previous customer interactions, can help you discover ideas and create a clearer customer profile that you can analyze and use to base content creation and other inbound marketing tactics like SEO.

2. Use SEO to Attract People to Your Site & Your Content

Inbound marketing is all about driving users to your website. So, using proper local SEO techniques to help customers find your small business’s website is one of the most important components of a successful inbound marketing strategy. Without SEO, it’s nearly impossible for searchers to find your website!

So, it’s important that your business is getting found on Google and attracting customers who are interested in your products and services to your website.

Related: Speaking of attracting people to your site…have you heard of attraction marketing? Learn more!

3. Invest in Content Marketing

Content marketing not only contributes to a successful SEO strategy, but it is also an important part of an inbound marketing strategy because it can provide valuable information for your most likely customers and give them a reason to visit your website.

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There’s no denying that it can be difficult to hold your readers’ interest when they engage with your web content. That’s because customers have a multitude of other competitor sites they’re viewing on a daily basis.

It’s also important to vary the type of content that you’re creating and sharing as part of your content marketing. While creating a blog for your business is a great foundation, you should also create and share varied types of content like guides, infographics, videos, and testimonials. This will help you engage customers in different ways and can give you insight into what resonates best with your customers.

4. Share Your Content in a Newsletter

Once your content is created and you’re ready to share it with the world, you need to alert your audience that it’s time to check it out. While social media may seem like the best option for reaching out to customers with new updates, you shouldn’t neglect other outreach methods such as email.

A newsletter is a great example of an inbound marketing strategy because people have opted-in to receive your content, which means that they’re already interested in what you’re creating and sending out.

Here’s an example of an inbound marketing email from WordStream’s weekly content newsletter.

According to online marketer Gary Stevens of Hosting Canada, traditional customer outreach methods such as email remain incredibly effective for engaging with customers, saying, “Email marketing has evolved tremendously in the past half-decade or so and has quickly become one of the primary revenue drivers across every industry. Despite some outcries to the contrary, email is far from dead and is, according to all statistics and expert predictions, actually gaining traction as a marketing modality.”

5. Engage Your Audience on Social Media

In addition to email marketing, you can (and should!) also rely on social media to help share your content and directly engage with and listen to your audience. Like email, social media marketing also gives you the ability to build relationships with customers one-on-one.

Get Started with an Inbound Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

A successful inbound marketing strategy for your small business is all about attracting customers through content and tactics that require as few resources and manpower on your small business’s end.

About the Author Guest Author

Our guest authors are industry experts, marketers, or business owners who cover a range of topics from sales, marketing, data, and entrepreneurship.

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Yes, Little Kids Should Do Chores. Here’s How To Get Them Started.

Not long ago, I heard a radio story talking about how children in many South American cultures are active, engaged, and eager participants in family housework. Of course it made me think of all the times I’ve tried to get my kids to clean their room, clear the table, or help weed the garden and the many arguments, punishments, and tears that followed. 

Talking to my parent friends, this struggle isn’t unique to my family. So many of us, overwhelmed by never-ending housework, need strategies to get the little ones to participate without the added stress of a fight every time we ask. Some days it seems easier to do the work ourselves than to convince the kids to help.  

While we may never teach our children to love doing the dishes, there are strategies psychologists and parenting experts recommend to help them understand the importance of building habits that will stay with them their whole lives. 

The importance of chores in childhood development

Doing chores and learning to be an active part of the household teaches children a number of critical lessons in their development. 

The first and most obvious is practical. Eventually, kids grow up and will live on their own; they’ll need to cook and clean for themselves. As parents, one of our primary responsibilities is to make sure that when our offspring leave the nest, they can survive on their own. The best way for them to learn basic life skills is by letting them practice as children through chores. “You can’t send a housekeeper to college with them,” says Nicole Beurkens, a licensed child psychologist. 

More than practical skills, however, chores also “teach children how to be a member of a family community,” says Ann McKitrick, an early childhood specialist and parenting coach. “Everyone needs to participate in making things work.” Cooperation and shared responsibility will be important in many of their relationships as they grow up, and the more they can internalize those lessons while they’re young, the better. 

[Related: How to help your kids get over picky eating]

Beurkens agrees. “Chores build a more altruistic feeling in kids and teach them to support other people and the family as a whole,” she explains.

Chores also teach them to tolerate frustration, says Michael Ceely, a licensed family therapist. Life is full of responsibilities that we don’t enjoy. Kids who never have to do chores don’t get used to those unpleasant, challenging, or unfamiliar activities. Making chores a part of everyday life establishes the mindset that children have to push through, even when they’re not having a ton of fun.  

When to give your kids responsibilities

The best time to have children start helping around the house is when they’re toddlers. Little ones love to help you with whatever you’re doing; they’ll think it’s a game and a learning experience. One study in Developmental Psychology found that kids as young as 20 months are intrinsically motivated to help their parents without any kind of extrinsic reward. By starting young, your children can build a lifetime habit of participating in the housework. 

There are of course challenges to putting toddlers to task. The hardest for many parents, including me, to overcome is that young kids are simply bad at getting things done. It takes them longer, they need to be supervised, and chances are they’re going to make some mistakes that need to be fixed later. When my five-year-olds “help” me with laundry, it takes longer than if I’d just done it myself. 

That’s okay.  

One study in Development Psychology found that kids as young as 20 months are intrinsically motivated to help their parents without any kind of extrinsic reward.

Even if it’s less efficient, Beurkens suggests that parents allow toddlers to pitch in on chores. Many 18-month-olds are capable of carrying their plastic cups and plates to the dishwasher, wiping down the counter with a wet rag, or handing you utensils while you’re cooking. These are all simple, safe tasks that kids can do almost as soon as they can stand. 

What’s more, it doesn’t really matter if they do small tasks imperfectly. You can always fix their plate in the dishwasher or wipe down the spots they missed later. What matters is getting them involved. “When you start kids young, it becomes a fun thing working with Mom and Dad,” Ceely says. “They develop this sense of agency and contribution.” 

Tips to get your children involved in chores

If your kids have passed the toddler stage, it’s still not too late to get them involved in housework. 

One of the most important ways to approach this is to give your kids a step-by-step breakdown of the work you’re expecting. Telling them to “go clean their room,” for example, can be an overwhelming and seemingly impossible task. “Don’t expect more than they’re able to do,” McKitrick says. Communicate your expectations clearly, and gradually up the responsibility as they get used to the chore. The first few times, work together to complete the task, talking through each instruction and why you do it the way you do. After your kid becomes more comfortable, start the chore with them and then leave to do something else while they work on it. Come back back at the end to finish together. Once they understand the rules and can complete the task successfully, you can try to have them do it on their own.  

Ceely also recommends having a dedicated “family chores day” when everyone in the household works on age-appropriate tasks at the same time. This creates a sense of teamwork and an understanding that doing work is simply part of being a family. Even if one of your kids is resistant, eventually the peer pressure might convince them to participate.  

[Related: 9 cool ways your family can help scientists collect data]

Setting clear expectations around how long different tasks will take can also help. Children, particularly younger ones, don’t have a great sense of how long duties will take. When I tell my five-year-olds that we need to clean their room, they tearfully object that “it will take forever” and they’ll “never get to play again.” Twenty minutes feels like an eternity to them. Beurkens says that talking explicitly about time and using timers can hold huge value for children.  

Positivity is also critical to keeping your family motivated. So often as parents, we focus on what the kids missed or did wrong. That negative feedback discourages them. Rather than harping on them for putting the plates in the dishwasher backwards, focus on how they loaded all the plates in the tray. When you’re building a practice of doing chores, effort counts more than execution. There will be plenty of time to modify their techniques as they get older. 

Room for personal growth

We all have a vision for the right way to do each chore. But that doesn’t mean our way is the best way, or the way that our kids’ will wind up doing the same task. As you teach your children, adapt your expectations to incorporate their needs and preferences. 

Finally, don’t take your kids’ behavior personally. Set boundaries and establish rules—but don’t expect zero pushback. Our job isn’t to get the young ones to like doing the dishes; it’s to get them to do the work. “Let your kids own their negative feelings about not liking chores,” Beurkens says. After all, you probably don’t like the drudgery either. Communicate your shared frustrations to help them to see that sometimes we all do things we don’t enjoy. 

And when it comes to which chores to really focus your efforts on, McItrick says to pick your battles. List out your non-negotiable items and pinpoint where you can be more flexible. In my case, a room is only clean when every single toy is broken down, picked up, and put away in its proper basket. For my kids, though, the idea of taking apart their latest LEGO creation is unthinkable. So we compromise. Every few weeks, we have to do a full cleanup by my standards. But in between, all we need is to make sure there’s a safe path from the entrance to their beds.

After all, McItrick says, if I get sick of looking at the mess, I can always close the door behind me. 

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