15 Hacks to Get More Instagram Followers

15 Hacks to Get More Instagram Followers

Discover how easy it is to increase the number of your Instagram followers.

As of June 2018, Instagram has 1 billion active users per month. That’s obviously a lot, and many companies are quite salivating over the prospect of marketing and advertising to that many people. If you can increase your Instagram followers, you can then foster a stronger community for your brand, boost the number of views on your blog and website, and increase your sales.

But how do you get more Instagram followers in the first place? You can start with these 13 effective ways. They’re super easy, but they’re sure to work!

1. Start with Liking Other People’s Pictures in Your Niche

You need to get your name out there, and this starts with liking other people’s photos. Each night finds some accounts in your niche and like at least 5 photos. You can check hashtags and check out the profiles of the followers of the most famous Instagram accounts in your niche.You can also send a real (non-fake) comment and you can give them a follow. This ought to let other Instagram users discover your account.

2. Ask Your Followers in Other Social Platforms to Follow You in Instagram

If you’re using Instagram, chances are that you’re also using other social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t assume that they’re following you on Instagram too. So when you post on Facebook or put out a quick tweet, you can sometimes just encourage your followers on those platforms to follow you on Instagram too.

3. Link to Your Instagram Account on Other Platforms

It does help to have your followers on other social networking platforms to follow you on Instagram if you make it easier for them to do so. So don’t forget to put in your Instagram username in the profile section of your other social accounts. You can also just include a handy link to your Instagram account as well. That ought to work.

4. Create a Theme for Your Instagram

With the first 3 tips, you should have a fair number of people checking out your Instagram account. So your account must be good enough to hold their attention. It helps if you set up your account with a nice theme. You should have an interesting bio section as well as a neatly organized page of photos linked to a particular subject matter. Your theme should, of course, be related to your business, so that your company can grow and profit with the growth of your Instagram account followers.

5. Be More Sociable

You’ve already learned about posting genuine comments for the photos on other accounts, so that these people may notice your own account. At some point, they may visit your account and post comments on your own photos as well. When that happens, try to respond to the comments you receive. Be more sociable and authentic, instead of just posting “Thanks” for their comments. This fosters a more engaging relationship

6. Don’t Forget Your Hashtags

Lots of Instagram leaders have long known that using hashtags is one of the surest ways to gain followers. You can use up to 30 of them in your photo description, so get to it. It does help when the hashtags you choose are actually relevant to your niche, and they get a lot of interest every day. Most users tend to search photos based on the hashtags, so they’re crucial in getting your photos discovered. With lots of hashtags, you get lots of opportunities to attract attention, and you can get more likes. This can rank your photos even higher.

7. Come Up with a Unique Hashtag

While a popular hashtag is always great, a unique hashtag has its own benefits. It should have a specific purpose, and then you can ask other people to use it. This helps you build your community. Also, you can repost the photos using that unique hashtag while giving proper credit, and that means you can easily get new content for your Instagram account.

8. Brand Your Images with Your Account Username

It’s great if your followers repost your images, but it will help you a lot of these photos also feature your account username somewhere in the small text. This can entice others who see the photos to check out your account when they really like your photo.

9. Suggest Actions for Your Followers to Generate Engagements

If it’s not clear yet, when you’re in social media you should make clear what you would like your followers to do. So ask them to “like” your photo if they appreciate it. You can also ask your followers to tag a friend.

One technique for holiday goers on Instagram is to post where they are currently, and then they ask their Instagram followers to tag a specific friend that they would like to share their vacation with if they’re where you are. This can elicit lots of comments, and the tagged friends can come in and become followers on your account.

10. Geotag Your Photos

This again helps when you’re posting photos of exotic locations in your travels. Geotag those photos, and the people who use the same geotag can then see your photos. They may follow you if they have something in common with you or your location. They may have been there too, or they may be planning an upcoming visit.

11. Keep Posting What Your Followers Like Most

You need to tweak your content so that you mostly post photos they like. You can find out which of these photos are simply checking which ones have generated the most comments, likes, and tagging of friends.

12. Partner Up with Influencers in Your Niche

You can reach out to a well-known Instagram account and work together on contests and giveaways with your followers. You can also just post a photo from each other’s account so that the followers of one can learn about the other.

13. Use Paid Posting in Top Niche Accounts

Of course, for the really big guns, you can’t work with them for free. You may have to pay for them to post a photo for you in their Instagram accounts. These people tend to ask people to email them if they have “business inquiries”, and they generally mean paid to post.

Check out these 13 tips and discover why they’re so effective. They’re actually easy, but with these, you can grow your Instagram followers from a handful to a teeming horde!

14. Don’t oversell your product or service

A visual comparison is: when you date someone, you need to generate interest in the other person before ‘converting’. Same happens in social media: Customers might take a while to trust your brand in order to end up converting. For this reason, generate great engaging content and be strategic on how often you post what we call ‘aggressive call to action posts.

15. Track your performance and pivot to your best engaging practices

Instagram gives you basic reports, but growth hackers have tools to get even more out of it. Get an expert (e.g. Go Global Agency) to help you extract valuable reports from your account. Measure results and pivot if necessary. There are many variables that can be measured: engagement, audience demographics, best performing hashtags, etc.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

The Best Apps for LA Residents

The Best Apps for LA Residents

Everyone has a smartphone these days, and there are plenty of apps you can download and use to make your life easier and less boring. If you’re a resident of Los Angeles, you can also find some extremely useful apps that can make life in LA just a tad less intimidating.

The more obvious apps you need to get include Uber, Waze, and Google Maps. You probably have these apps already, and if you don’t you better get them now. After downloading these apps, you can then get the following:

Roaming Hunger

If you’re a fan of food trucks, then you need this app on your smartphone. Roaming Hunger can help you find the food trucks close you where you are. You can find the schedules for these trucks, plus you get menu information and reviews of the various food trucks as well. Download iOS

The Infatuation

This is the grandmother of all LA restaurant apps. It covers just about every restaurant in Los Angeles, and no other app is as comprehensive as this one. You get reviews for each restaurant, along with ratings, links to the menus, and even photos of the food. You also get maps to the restaurants too. Even the design of the app is undeniably elegant, and it’s a pleasure to use. If you have a bunch of friends trying to decide where to eat, this app can really help you guys out. Download iOS

Polis Assist

It’s long been known that you can’t live in LA without a car. But that means parking can be a headache for you. After all, LA does have some rather weird parking signs in so many places.

But you can download Polis Assist, and you get a lot of help. This app can tell you the times when you can or cannot park in certain LA streets, as sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for the schedule. This can save you a lot of parking tickets, plus the app can even tell you how much the parking meters cost in the various areas. Download iOS

ParkMe

Here’s another parking app, and it’s for those who are tired of planning meticulous routes through the city only to spend half an hour looking for the most affordable parking option.

ParkMe shows you all the different parking lots in LA on a map. You’ll know how much each of these parking lots will cost you and whether they accept credit cards. The app even tells you how full the parking lots are. You can find out when they open and at what time they close, or if they have covered parking. You can even use the app to pay in advance in some cases. Download iOS

Our Malibu Beaches

One of the perks of living in LA is that you get to visit Malibu. That’s an area encompassing 21 miles of terrific beaches. These are actually open to the public according to the California Coastal Act, even if the entitled homeowners in the area put in gates and post security guards. Some of these people even put up No Parking signs!

These homeowners can make it hard for you to get to Malibu, but the Our Malibu Beaches app can help you navigate around these obstacles. It’s designed by environmental activist Jenny Price, and it shows info on 43 beaches in Malibu. You get to find out how to get to the beach you want, how you can get in, and where you can park. It even shows you all the illegal signs you may encounter and safely ignore. In addition, the helpful info includes tips on where you can put your blanket and where the bathrooms are. You even get a nice history of the beach. Download iOS

5 Every Day

Are you feeling bored with no exciting idea of what to do while in LA? Download this extremely minimalist app that will give you suggestions—5 of them—so that you can explore LA and find a bit of fun and excitement. These suggestions all come from longtime LA residents who love the city and want you to love it too. Download iOS

Modern Hiker

This is the app for LA hiking, even if the website is a bit buggy. The mobile app version is terrific though, and you can use the app to find great hiking paths. You can also use the app to make sure you’re keeping to the right trail so that you don’t get lost. Website

Taco Locator

Do you like tacos? Who doesn’t? This app shows support for your taco fetish by finding the taco places nearest to where you are, along with photos and reviews. It’s a simple app with a simple function—finding the tacos! Download iOS

Ecology Center’s Farmer Market Finder

Are you looking for a farmer’s market near you? Visit this website (the mobile version), and you get a map to all the farmer’s markets in LA. You also get a schedule as to when they’re open. It’s technically not an app at all, but then it’s super-useful for those who want fresh ingredients for home cooking. Website

MyLA 311

This is the official app of LA, and surprisingly it doesn’t suck at all. This app lets you do various stuff, like pay your DWP bill and request removal for graffiti or bulky items. The app also lets you report a sidewalk repair problem or a pothole, and homeless encampments too.

Of course, if you’re a cynical fellow you may think that this is just an app for show and the officials won’t actually do anything. But astonishingly, these officials actually address most of the problems reported here. When you fill out a report about a problem, you get a ticket number and even an email when the city has dealt with the problem. Download iOS

To be fair, there are lots of apps available for LA residents. But many of them are embarrassingly useless and terrible. Try out these apps instead, and you may find LA life much easier and more to your liking!

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

A 30-Point Checklist for Your Startup

A 30-Point Checklist for Your Startup

Do you want to make sure your new startup succeeds? Here’s a nice list of what you have to do for your startup.

Everybody seems wants to do a startup these days. But before you’re dazzled by the prospects of billions of dollars, here’s a list of what you really have to do first:

  1. Find out if your business is actually viable. It’s not enough to say that you’d buy something you offer. You have to determine with utmost honesty if you’ll have enough customers to actually make a profit.
  2. Come up with a business plan. This will help guide your path. Make sure you have financial projections in there so you know if you’re still in the right path.
  3. Deal with the financing. Figure out how much money you need to get your business started. Then see where you can get that money.
  4. Pick your business name. It should be original and memorable.
  5. Get your family to support you. It’s going to be hard enough to start a business, and it’s harder when your family thinks it’s going to fail.
  6. Set up your legal structure. You may need a lawyer for this. Incorporating your business is essential, so you can protect your personal assets.
  7. Apply for an Employer Identification Number. Don’t worry; EIN numbers are free. This number will be needed when you incorporate or open a bank account solely for your business. You can also use this in lieu of your social security number.
  8. Apply for a business license. Check with the SBA for what to do.
  9. Open a business bank account. You ought to separate your business and personal finances ASAP.
  10. Choose an accounting program. You don’t want your books to be a mess.
  11. Register a domain name for your business. Make sure it’s a real commercial domain name. A website with free hosting looks to amateurish.
  12. Start building your website. Nowadays, not having a website for your business is suspicious.
  13. Set up your social media profiles. You need to reserve your brand ASAP. You also get ready to market on these social media channels later on.
  14. Begin generating revenue immediately. Don’t wait until things are perfect. You’ll need that revenue to add to your financing.
  15. Determine if you need an actual office. If you can do everything online, then you can use your money for other expenses as you hold off getting an office. But you’ll need an office if you expect customers to actually meet with you.
  16. Get some business cards. They’re nice and handy marketing materials, and they’re helpful for networking.
  17. Define the responsibilities of all cofounders. These should be in writing, so there are no disagreements as to who has to do what as time passes.

After your launch, make sure you then do these things:

  1. Access free advice. Consult with friends who’ve started their own businesses, check with the local SBA, and find other online resources.
  2. Find the right business apps. These can help while you’re on the go.
  3. See if you need insurance. Your business may need health insurance, workers’ comp, or liability insurance.
  4. Hire an employee. Sooner or later, you’ll find that you can’t do everything yourself if you want your business to grow.
  5. Set up your source of inventory. You may also need suppliers and service providers.
  6. Get legal advice on patents and trademarks. Your lawyer can again definitely give good advice on this topic.
  7. Enhance your network. Tell your family and friends about your business. This doesn’t mean you nag them into buying your products. But they can introduce you to people and they can recommend your business to their own friends.
  8. Focus on making sales and attracting customers. Hold off on chasing business partnerships in the meantime.
  9. Practice your elevator pitch. You need to be persuasive when you encounter financiers, potential customers, and new hires.
  10. Back up your IT. You need to protect your sensitive information contained on your computers.
  11. Consider a salesperson. You may be the head salesperson of your startup at first, but you need someone to focus on day-to-day sales while you concentrate on other aspects.
  12. Pay attention to customer feedback. What your customers have to say can help improve your products and your approach.
  13. Try to find a mentor. Find someone who has already succeeded in your niche to help you out. Their advice can be tremendously helpful.

You may also like this list of 21 Excellent Productivity Apps

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Trust doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to Blockchain

Blockchain’s primary value proposition is decentralization, the idea that the “truth” can be validated without 3rd party intervention in a trustless environment.  As technology has proliferated over the last several years, we have seen the infrastructure incorporate many different types of protocols:

  • Public  – Fully open blockchains with no barrier to participating (eg, Bitcoin, Ethereum)
  • Permission – Private blockchains where a central entity controls access (eg, Orderers in Hyperledger Fabric)
  • Federated – A consortium of entities controlling the blockchain (R3 comes to mind)

Each of these options has a different take on “trust.”  There are some in the crypto space who feel the only groundbreaking solutions are the public, or “permissionless,” solutions.  Their argument is that a protocol is only decentralized when it is fully public, and only then can it reach the full potential of the blockchain.

It’s a fair point, to be sure.  How can you be decentralized if one or more entities are entrusted control access to the blockchain?  However, it occurs to me that this is a very binary view of trust – in reality, trust is more nuanced and multi-layered, like a set of qubits more than a simple 0/1 representation.

Every single day we maintain simultaneous levels of trust at the same time.  I trust my wife implicitly (I hope that is wise), while I have much less trust in the Lakers’ ability to win a title without LeBron.   I have varying degrees of trust in my employees based on past performance, while I have no trust in the cars speeding along my neighborhood street when I walk the kids to school.

Our entire day is defined by a cascading array of trust, depending on our situation.  We understand and accept this because trust is a tool we use to maximize our benefit in specific situations.  I’m not going into a conversation with my wife about whether to have a 4th child (spoiler alert – not happening) from a lack of trust, because the conversation would be utterly pointless.  Conversely, I’m not going into a startup pitch from a place of trust, because it would eliminate the healthy skepticism I’ll need to evaluate the opportunity.

Why wouldn’t the same concept apply to blockchain?  Does every system need to be fully permissionless to add value?  The security and decentralized nature of Bitcoin works great for payments between people who don’t know each other, but in certain environments, organizations can still benefit from blockchain with a degree of centralization, provided there is a healthy level of trust.  For a tight supply chain of organizations with the right incentives to work together, a federated or permission solution would do just fine.

Ripple uses roles to establish specific participants to act as transaction validators

I’ve heard the argument that blockchain technology isn’t needed in situations where a centralized approach is acceptable – a central database would do just fine.  Sure it may be fine, but why not use blockchain when the technology provides other value propositions out of the box – namely, transparency and immutability?

My point is this: because trust is a multi-layered concept in our daily lives, and blockchain can handle trust in many different ways, we should embrace its implementation to support more than just the no-trust situations.  Let’s not limit blockchain’s potential while we still shaping this exciting new technology.

Is Blockchain Truly Decentralized?

Chad Hahn
Contributor
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.
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Chad Hahn
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.

22 Best Invoicing Software for Startup

25 Best Invoicing Software for Startups

Whether you’re a startup or a freelancer, you need a good invoicing app that simplifies the invoicing process that saves you time and money. There are plenty of invoicing software options available today that allow you to easily send out personalized invoices. Also to make sure you get paid on time, without losing track of the payments that you are owed.

We scoured the web to find the best of the best invoicing app for you.  We looked for an app that, first and foremost, lets you make an invoice more quickly than you could in your word processor and ideally lets you get paid online or mobile.

When testing apps, we also considered pricing and usability, and we looked for apps with either unique or extensive features; those that do something no other app offers or handle everything from invoicing to accounting to project management and estimation.

Here are the 23 best invoicing apps you can try today.

1 Intuit Quickbooks

QuickBooks is a simple web-based accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit. QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses and offer on-premises accounting applications as well as cloud-based versions that accept business payments, manage and pay bills, and payroll functions. We use Quickbooks for our company, it’s a great app.

2 Xero

Founded in 2006 in New Zealand, Xero is one of the fastest growing software as service companies globally. A beautiful cloud-based accounting app connects all of your staff anytime, anywhere, on any device. Give your staff access to the areas they need to do their job. And invite your advisor to collaborate with you on your business in real-time. Xero backs up your data and protects it with multiple layers of security including industry-standard data encryption and secure data centers.

3 FreshBooks

A cloud-based small business accounting software that enables you to quickly send invoices, track time, manage receipts, expenses, and accept credit cards. FreshBooks is simple and intuitive, so you’ll spend less time on paperwork and wow your clients with how professional your invoices look. One of the things we love is that FreshBooks integrates with lots of apps you already use to make running your business a breeze, here’s the list.

4 Bill.com

Bill.com is a US-based accounting software system, provided as a software as a service (SaaS) that integrates with accounting and banking systems. It enables you to easily get invoiced electronically, or drag, drop and enter bills yourself. And, send ACH Payments, or we can mail paper checks to vendors & contractors for you.

5 Chargify

Chargify is a web-based billing software for all of your Recurring Billing needs. Chargify manages billing for thousands of businesses and supports a wide range of billing scenarios from B2B to B2C. While the common business segments include SaaS, subscription boxes, agencies, consultants, and Web hosting, Chargify can handle any industry need that requires recurring billing.

6 Square

Square is a cohesive commerce ecosystem that helps sellers start, run, and grow their business. Square combines sophisticated software with affordable hardware to enable sellers to turn mobile and computing devices into powerful payment and point-of-sale solutions. Its tools help sellers make informed business decisions through the use of analytics and reporting. Sellers can manage orders, inventory, locations, and employees; engage customers and grow their sales, and gain access to business loans.

7 Wave

Wave is a company that provides a suite of financial services and online software for small businesses. Wave is headquartered in the Leslieville neighborhood in Toronto, Canada. Wave enables you to get paid on time, every time. You can set up recurring invoices and automatic credit card payments for your repeat customers and stop chasing payments. And, enables you to switch between automatic and manual billing whenever you want. Pretty cool feature.

8 Quaderno

Quaderno manages sales tax, VAT, and GST for you, automatically. It handles thousands of receipts every month from businesses of all sizes, all around the world. What’s cool about Quaderno is that it automatically calculate the correct tax amount for each customer and their location. And, Quaderno sends automatic receipts after every payment. Issue credit notes with every refund. Comply with local rules everywhere, including the US, Canada, Australia, and the entire EU.

9 Simple Invoices

Simple Invoices is the easiest way for freelancers to send invoices and get paid on time. Simple Invoices enables you to accept credit cards and PayPal payments in seconds. Freelancer friendly, try it.

10 Cushion

With Cushion, you can send invoices to clients by either downloading a PDF, copying a link, or sending an email directly from Cushion. On the surface, Cushion can generate and track invoices, but underneath, it can do so much more; like saving tax rates, so when you click to enter an amount, a helper will appear with a list of your saved tax rates. And, Cushion uses dates to track your invoices and visualize them in the schedule graph. Slick!

11 Zipbooks

ZipBooks is free accounting software that sends invoices, tracks time and expenses, integrates with your bank & lets you process credit cards. Simple, beautiful, and powerful, ZipBooks gives you the tools and intelligence to take your business to the next level.

Zipbooks enables you to customize your invoices according to your needs by adding your logo, specific colors, and contact info. Stay up to date by keeping track of customer payment and invoice history, overdue balances, and taxes collected. See when your customer has opened an invoice, and prepare and view receipts.

12 Accounteer

Accounteer is a cloud-based accounting platform for small businesses. It enables you to create invoices, track expenses and follow up on their finances with ease. Accounteer integrates with external services like banks, e-invoicing platforms, and e-commerce. You can quickly create sales invoices and offers with ease. With a few simple clicks, you can create your documents and send them digitally to your contacts reducing both time and cost. Using Accounteer out of the box reports you can easily track your receivables and make sure you get paid in time.

13 FreeAgent

FreeAgent is cloud-based accounting software targeted at freelancers, micro businesses and their accountants. FreeAgent lets you set up recurring invoices that can send themselves automatically, and nudge those pesky late-paying clients with automated reminders. It’s hands-free invoicing!

14 Due

Due has helped thousands of companies and freelancers get paid faster and increase their cash flow while offering a professional, branded approach to payment requests. Due also offers a wide range of payment options, including eCash, eChecks, and ACH, and domestic and international credit card process, as well as a digital wallet to store payment information and funds.

15 And Co

And Co is a company that develops and markets services as products for small businesses and freelancers. You can create an invoice in 20 seconds or less. AND CO automatically creates invoices based on your projects and contracts, alerts you of their payment and more.  Slick app!

16 Hello Bonsai

Bonsai is an online freelancing platform that helps companies and independent talent invoice better and faster. Bonsai enables you to create and customize invoices in seconds or generate them automatically from any proposal, contract or time sheet – this will save a ton of time. Try it today.

17 BallPark

Ballpark’s estimates and invoices help you streamline your process and make it easier for clients to pay you for your work. Ballpark enables you to create detailed estimates and send them to your clients for approval. Ballpark lets you know when clients have accepted or rejected your estimates so you can get to work.

18 Invoice2Go

Invoice2Go is a simple mobile and web app for invoicing, expense-tracking, and reporting tool for micro and small business owners. Say goodbye to hours of digging through files and boxes for receipts. Simply snap a photo to safely store it. You’ll thank yourself at tax time when you can export all of your expenses in seconds.

19 Momenteo

Momenteo is a cloud-based app that allows freelancers to easily manage their clients, invoices, expenses & travels while having a clear portrait of their financial health. It’s a fairly simple app to use – Invoicing is a streamlined 4 steps process: Prepare, Design, Send, Follow-up. Add your work done to an invoice, customize it to your tastes, send it to your client, add some payments.

20 Harvest

With Harvest, you can easily and quickly create invoices, customize logos, and invoice in different currencies. What’s great about Harvest is that it integrates with QuickBooks Online or Xero – it automatically copies all of your invoices over to them. Great for freelancers and young startups.

21 Invoicera

Invoicera is a cloud-based invoicing application with unparalleled features for various customer types, flexibility, scalability and flexible licensing powering more than 2M+ users and over 25 Enterprises generating more than 200M+ invoices each year. Invoicera comes with a range of features to manage a business effectively and efficiently. Here are 5 great features I like:

  • Easily convert purchase orders into invoices
  • Invoices are hyperlinked to the original sale and purchase in inventory module
  • Receive invoices and estimates from your vendors in one dashboard for hassle-free account payable management
  • Track invoice status in real time
  • Automate late fee and payment reminders to get paid quicker

22 OneUp

OneUp is an excellent online accounting software to run your startup.  OneUp is flexible, allow you to quickly create invoices from Quotes, enter Invoices by hand, or enter Sales Orders to fulfill customer POs. If your business uses Square Register, you can even connect to OneUp and your transactions will automatically appear in OneUp. When your invoice is ready, use OneUp’s built in the email system to put it directly in your customer’s inbox. I like the beautiful UX on the dashboard layout.

Find out how ZestFinance uses machine learning technology to help companies make accurate credit decisions.

 

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

6 Easy Steps to Optimizing Your Voice Search – And Why It’s Important

6 Easy Steps to Optimizing Your Voice Search - And Why It's Important

Interacting with artificial intelligence may still seem like an idea from science fiction, but several companies have turned that idea into reality sparking the need to know how to optimize for voice search.

Is voice search really that important?

Yes, because it’s revealed something about us … we really, really like it.

When people have questions, they turn to the web for answers. If you want to learn more about a restaurant, the weather, or the score from last night’s game, you’ll probably turn to the web for the answer in most cases. It’s fast, efficient, and you can access it with your phone.

With voice search, you don’t even need your phone.

So, what does this mean for business owners?

Similar to the way you performed search engine optimization to align your website with the keyword your target customers use, you now need to understand how to optimize for voice search. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this process as well as why it’s important.

How Popular Is Voice Search?

The statistics on voice search definitely shows that it has become a lot more popular, and it will become even more prevalent in the future.

  • Compared to 2008 voice search stats, search queries on Google voice search has increased 35 times by 2016.
  • 4 out of 10 adults now use voice search at least once a day.
  • About a quarter of young adults (ages 16 to 24) use voice search on their mobile devices.
  • By 2016, 20% of searches on an Android app in the US were by voice search.

More and more people are using it. It’s just a fact of life, and it’s a practice that’s bound to increase in the future. It’s been predicted that by 2020, fully half of all searches will be by voice. Desktop users are using voice search more, and home automation and Internet devices are increasingly voice activated.

Top Reasons Why More People are Using Voice Search

There are several good reasons why more people are using voice search instead of typing in keywords into a search bar. One survey discovered the top reasons for resorting to voice search over keyboard tapping:

  • Voice search is great when you’re eyes or hands are otherwise busy at something else. In many cases, this “something else” means driving. But it can apply to many other types of activities and situations. You can be doing chores at home, such as vacuuming or watching TV. You can be working out in the gym. So when your hands are busy, this means you can’t type in the words in the search bar. When you’re watching something else, you can’t see what you’re typing. In both cases, voice search makes more sense.
  • Others use voice search because they appreciate the faster results. Think about it: how much faster is it for people to talk, compared to typing in the keywords? People can type about 40 words a minute, but they can speak up to 150 words per minute. Google can start its search much earlier with voice search.
  • Some people use voice search because it’s easier. In many situations, it can be difficult to type in the words. This is certainly true when you’re on the go. Others aren’t yet well-versed in tapping the right letters on a smartphone screen.
  • For some, it’s about the cool and fun factor. Kids and teens just think it’s a cool way to use Google. But quite a few senior citizens are enthralled by the technology as well. It’s just so Star Trek.
  • Voice search is also a good way to avoid using confusing menus. This is especially true for apps that allow for voice search.

How to Optimize for Voice Search

So now that you know that people are using voice search more frequently, you have to adjust your website to accommodate this new trend. It took too long for some brands and websites to factor in the rising popularity of mobile search in the past, and they paid for it with reduced traffic. Now your website has to account for voice search if you want to take SEO seriously.

So what should you do? Here are some ways you can improve your website so that you can accommodate the needs of people who use voice search:

1 Update your local listings

In many cases, people use voice search to find info regarding brick and mortar establishments. So you need to make sure that your local listings are set up properly and they’re accurate. Put in your business information and pick your categories wisely. Your information should also be consistent with all the listings they appear in.

2 Use natural language keywords

The most common keywords used in voicemail will usually be in the form of long tail keywords and natural questions. You have to optimize your site for those kinds of questions.

3 Have a Q&A section

This is an effective way to have natural questions in your content. At the same time, you can provide the answers right away. It’s best if you don’t limit your Q&A to just your FAQ section. You may want to have your blog posts contain this kind of format. In fact, you can put them on your product pages as well. You have to build your content around questions that people might post on voice search.

4 Optimize for mobile

While it’s true that voice search is even becoming popular for desktop PC, the fact remains that voice search is more often done on smartphones. This means you need to make sure your website looks great on such a small screen. It should also feature navigation features that work best for smartphone touchscreens. Don’t put in links and buttons too close together.

5 Boos your website speed

Many voice search users are on the go. They’re also mobile Internet users, and these people are notoriously impatient. About 40% of all mobile users wait only 3 seconds before they abandon a website. So if it takes more than a few seconds for your landing screen to load, people are just going to tap the back button and try another website instead.

 6 Make your content scannable

Most of the time, people won’t bother to read long articles on their smartphones. They’ve posted a question on their search, and they want to get the answer quickly. So use visual info if possible. For text, you need large fonts for headlines, simple sentences, and short paragraphs.

It’s imperative that you don’t miss the boat on voice search. You have to accept that more and more people are using this to find the website and data they need, and you have to optimize your website accordingly.

 

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

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