Google’s Mobile-First Index: 5 Steps You Can Do to Prepare Your Website

Google's Mobile-First Index: 5 Steps You Can Do to Prepare Your Website

Though we aren’t exactly sure when Google will roll out the mobile first index, we have an indication that it is happening soon. As such, everyone in our space needs to prepare by ensuring their website is responsive before the rollout.

There are indications from Google that you should make sure your website is mobile responsive since it helps to make sure your mobile pages are equivalent to your desktop pages and Google wants you to do this before it goes live with the mobile first index.

If your website still uses an m-dot (m.domain.com) to handle your mobile traffic, this applies to you. The following information explains the basics of the update and walks you through the steps you should take to get ready.

STEP 1: Migrate your M Dot Site to Responsive Before Mobile-First Launches

Unless you have already stopped using an M-dot on your domain to handle your mobile traffic, you need to migrate through to a responsive design before mobile first launches. You can do this with any number of responsive WordPress themes. Many are available for free although there are a variety of attractive premium themes available as well.

If you want to verify that your site is indeed responsive already, you can use this tool to take a look at how the website is displayed on the desktop, laptop, and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Changing your website to a responsive theme will automatically make all content adjust to the screen size it is viewed on, so you can delete the M-dot portion of your website. However, don’t delete it just yet.

STEP 2: Make Sure Your Mobile Content is the Same as Your Desktop Content

Once you have made the switch to a responsive design, take the time to make sure your desktop content matches your mobile content. If your mobile website does not match the content on your desktop site, you may see a negative effect on your SEO. If your mobile site has less content than the desktop version, you may not rank as high because Google will prioritize the mobile-friendly version of your site.

A search engine’s number one priority is to keep their customers happy by delivering relevant content for each search query. While creating quality content does need to remain a primary concern, it is also important for the search engines that their users can easily access the content they deliver in the results. This means your responsive website should also be designed with user experience in mind. Make sure the content is easy to read and the website is easy to navigate. If you need to, use CSS and other frontend languages to make adjustments to improve the user experience.

When you believe your mobile responsive website is ready, check to make sure that Google can see these changes by using the Fetch and Render tool that’s available in the Google Search Console. All you have to do is specify that the user agent is a smartphone and you’ll be able to see how Google delivers your website to a user that’s coming from a smartphone.

STEP 3: Setup the Necessary 301 Redirects

If you are switching from an m-dot website to a responsive website, you need to set up 301 redirects from the m-dot version on the domain to the full version of the domain. This way people who are used to going to the m-dot will be taken to the correct page on your website automatically which will then adjust for the mobile device.

Your 301 redirects must be done on an individual basis, pointing each mobile URL to the equivalent responsive URL to prevent anything from breaking. This is why you don’t need to delete the m-dot version from your server as soon as the responsive version is ready. If you need a refresher on how to set up 301 redirects, you can check out this post.

STEP 4: Remove Any Mobile URL Specific Configurations Your Site May Have

If your website has any mobile URL specific configurations such as a vary http header or conditional redirects, you need to remove these.

STEP 5: Setup Canonical URLs on Responsive URLs That Point to Themselves

Next, you want to set up rel=canonical on all responsive URLs that point to themselves. This ensures that Google recognizes the pages are the same so you avoid any kind of duplicate content issue. You should also do this on an individual basis to make sure you don’t accidentally overlook one or more of the URLs that need the tag.

When Can I Expect Mobile-First to Launch?

There is no set date or timeline for mobile first to launch. It’s speculated the rollout will begin sometime in early 2018, and it will happen gradually, on a site-by-site basis, or in batches. This is why it is important to act quickly so that you’re ready whenever Google decides to begin making changes.

Failure to ensure you are off the m-dot separate site and on a single responsive site means that you could see a decline in rank. Why? Because Google will index all the m-domain and URLs, so your migration will take longer since they aren’t just updating the URLs, but also the content and signals found within your pages, too.

What if I’m Using Dynamic Serving and Want to Move to Responsive Design?

If your website uses dynamic serving and you want to start using responsive design, Google says you do not need to do anything in terms of redirects.

Conclusion

Don’t let the idea of switching from m-dot to responsive stress you out. While you do need to plan for the mobile-first index, Google will definitely let us know well in advance about how we should prepare for the rollout. If you need help with adjusting your website, the team here at Sachs Marketing Group is glad to be of assistance, so get in touch today!

Here are 6 reasons to use a graphic designer for your website.

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SEO virtuoso and CEO at Sachs Marketing Group. Always focused on being of service to business owners, to help better position them in the eyes of their audiences.
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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.
×
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.
×
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 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

6 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

You’ll need a different mindset if your website is primarily designed for mobile users.

It’s funny when you think about it, but there was a time when websites weren’t really designed for smartphone screens. They were designed for the much larger monitors of desktop PCs. Of course, when you shrink those web pages you can hardly read and see anything, which became a problem when mobile Internet surfing became more popular. So the more farsighted website owners created their websites for PCs, and then they tried to have a different version for smartphones.

Nowadays, most serious websites have both a PC and a mobile version. In fact, more websites are actually being built for mobile surfing first, before a desktop PC version is created. That’s because more people are going online using the smartphones rather than their desktop PCs.

So how do you build a website that’s more focused on serving the needs of mobile visitors? Here are a few tips that can start you on your way:

1. Strip Your Pages Down

When you’re determined to build a website that’s actually geared for smartphone users, you can’t use overly complex webpages. You have to simply your web pages instead.

There are good reasons for this. One, with a small screen to work with you don’t want to overwhelm the user with too many details. A simple layout works much better so they know what to do. Two, with too many complex elements it’ll take too long for a web page to load, and we all know how impatient mobile surfers are. If it takes more than 3 seconds to load a page, chances are good they’ll press the back button and try another website.

2. Plan for Your User’s Needs

Will they be tapping buttons on the web page? If so, you need to make those buttons visible, and they should be large enough so that they can be tapped easily enough. Will they have to input a username and password? If that’s the case, you’ll have to put in a keyboard interface as well. What if they’re looking for a particular section? You may want to feature a clear outline of your site, and a search bar can certainly help.

You have to put yourself in your website user’s shoes. Pretend you’re the user and you need to find something on your website. You’ should then realize what kind of helpful elements you need to put in.

When you’ve designed your web pages, try them out first. You have to know for sure how they would work within a mobile browser.

3. Don’t Forget about Laptops

When you’re designing with a smartphone user in mind, at least you have a touchscreen working for you so your users can simply swipe along the way to navigate your site. But that’s not exactly the case when your mobile user is actually using a laptop. In some instances, they don’t have a mouse either.

What this also means is that you have to plan for various resolutions to make sure your web pages appear at their best. Laptops are often limited to 1024 x 768 resolutions, and that’s what you need to plan for. In fact, check out the various screen sizes of the most popular laptops so you can have a different version for each resolution.

4. Going with Responsive Layouts

Some people would rather opt for a responsive layout, rather than have a different type of website for each type of Internet device. With a responsive design, your website morphs to fit whatever type of resolution your website user is using.

This can be quite convenient for you. You’ll have the same HTML markup that works on all screens. You won’t have to go with specific stylesheets for different types of devices.

Since you’re focused on mobile users first, at least with this approach you take care of the needs of those using smaller screens. Of course, there’s a good chance that you won’t get an optimal look when you’re website visitor is using a desktop browser. But those are bugs that you can fix later. These guys aren’t your top priority after all.

To help you see just how responsive websites can work for different devices, you ought to do some research on the various responsive sites that are currently in operation these days. Just Google for them and you should find them easily enough. You can then cherry-pick the features that you want to appear on your own responsive website.

5. Don’t Forget about the Navigational Requirements

If you’ve been designing websites all this time with a focus on desktop users, then you’re probably more used to people who can just use a mouse to get around a webpage. That’s not going to fly with a mobile website.

For most website designers, the simplest solution here is to just have your page sections cascade down. Your visitors can just swipe downward to see more of your content. You can also have your links appear constantly at the top or at the bottom of the screen so that they can get around your site more easily.

Just don’t go overboard and put in too many links on your navigational menu bar. Just go with the basic root items instead.

6. Set Up Your Images Properly

Dealing with image content can be problematic when you have such a small screen to work with. One solution is to have a set of images solely for small smartphone screens, while you have another set for normal displays. However, you can’t overlook the need for high-resolution images for iPhone retina displays.

Another solution is to set up all your images to contract and then expand up to the maximum point. This can work just as well for desktop users too. Even HTML5 video supports this setup, so it’s convenient.

It does require a different mindset when you’re building a website that’s more focused on mobile users. The old ways won’t work if you’re used to traditional desktop websites. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to give it a test run on your own smartphone first!

Here are 5 Steps You Can Do to Prepare Your Website for Google’s Mobile-First Index

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.
×
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.

How To Choose High Energy Food That Fuel Your Body For Peak Performance

How To Choose High Energy Food That Fuel Your Body For Peak Performance

You need food and hydration to fuel your body and achieve peak performance when doing outdoor activities like cycling, running, hiking, and swimming.

The best way to fuel your body would be to consume energy foods and energy drinks. These have numerous advantages: easy digestibility, a long shelf life, and they are also easy to bring.

Here are the things that you need to look for in an energy food or drink

  • Exact time to take energy foods and drinks: Be careful, as there are certain items which are designed to be consumed before, after or during the activity itself. Make sure you read the label correctly before buying.
  • Nutrition: When choosing the food and drink of your choice. You need to look at its nutritional contents. Look at the back of the product. Make sure you choose an item that has low fats, low carbs, and high protein.
  • Features of energy food and drink: There are various options like non-GMO foods, gluten-free foods, organic foods, etc.
  • Various Energy drinks and foods: You can choose from bites, jells, bars, chews, recovery drinks, and sports drinks.

The Various Types of Energy Foods and Drinks

  • Bars: Bars are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat. There are lots of bars to choose from and they come in all shapes and colors. It is recommended that you consume energy bars before or after endurance activities. The high-grade crabs in bars help replenish glycogen in muscles. And some energy bars can even be used as substitutes for real meals.
  • Foods and Drinks Taken during Workout: For sustained energy during exercise, it is good to introduce some protein and fat into your diet.
  • After Workout Foods and Drinks: These energy foods can help your body rebuild muscles and tissues. It is also recommended that you drink lots of water or lots of liquids after eating post workout foods.

When Should You Consume Energy Foods and Drinks?

REI reports that energy foods and drinks can fine-tune your nutrition intake. REI also reports that energy foods and drinks are engineered to enhance each stage of outdoor excursion or workout.

  • Before Activity: These energy foods and drinks provide an elevated and consistent energy level, they are formulated to give you the necessary energy and nutrients to perform in peak condition. These energy foods are made from a balanced mix of proteins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Additionally, they should be consumed minutes before the start of an exercise routine.
  • During Activity: These foods and drinks are designed for easy digestion and absorption. They are designed to give you energy while running, cycling, climbing, etc.
  • After Activity: These foods and drinks are fortified with amino acids, proteins and other muscle restoring elements. They are mostly used for recovery and they can also speed up muscle growth and muscle synthesis. These foods usually have a lot of amino acids and a lot of protein.

Some Notable Features of Energy Drinks that you should look out for

  • Gluten Free: Found in some grains including rye, wheat, and barley these products are a mixture of protein and they contain zero gluten.
  • Vegetarian: These products might contain eggs, milk, and honey. Just like the name implies, products with these labels don’t have meat in them.
  • Vegan: This is similar to the label above but this time it has zero animal products in it. That means no eggs and no milk. It’s 100% animal free.
  • Organic: Organic foods aren’t 100% organic though. The law states that at least 70 percent of its ingredients must be organic for it to be labeled as organic. So “organic” products might contain artificial ingredients.
  • Non-GMO: These products don’t contain any GMO foods. It also means that you’re taking in unaltered and all-natural ingredients as well.
  • Energy Bites and Chews: They provide the same function as an energy gel. It is recommended that you take a few sips of water after chewing down bites and chews. You might suffer from indigestion if you fail to follow this advice.
  • Energy Gels: Small and portable energy packs that you can use to refuel and rehydrate.
  • Drink Mixes: A concentrated mix of energy. Be careful, it is essential that you limit your intake to 60 grams per hour. Too much intake may lead to stomach problems.

Some miscellaneous facts on energy foods and drinks

Understanding the basics of nutrition is beneficial for your long-lasting health. Consider the following.

  • Carbohydrates: 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour is the ideal intake. Eating and drinking more than this may upset your stomach.
  • Calories: 200 to 300 calories per hour is considered as a good ballpark figure. Luckily for you, most gels, bites, energy bars, and drinks have this standard.
  • Fat: Relatively, energy foods are low in fats. However, some meal replacement bars designed for endurance athletes might contain more fat than needed.
  • Protein: This is one of the key components for muscle building. It is essential for rebuilding tissues.
  • Potassium: Considered to be one of the main components of electrolytes. Ingredients like potassium citrate are essential for metabolizing carbohydrates which ultimately leads to the proper functioning of muscles. Potassium also keeps you hydrated
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Overall, energy bars have the highest number of minerals and vitamins which your body naturally burns through exercise and activity.
  • Sodium: Just like potassium, sodium is essential in metabolizing carbohydrates for the proper functioning of muscles. It also keeps you hydrated.
  • Sweeteners: Some performance beverages, chews and gels like Stevia, honey, agave. Do not use sugar as a calorie sweetener. Natural sweeteners are ok, but sugar and other artificial sweeteners may damage your health in the long run.
  • Amino Acid Blends: It’s basically a blend of proteins. Proteins like valine, leucine, and isoleucine are added to gels which are further broken down by the body after consumption.
  • Caffeine: It gives you an energy boost. Caffeine is present in most energy bars, chews, jells, and drinks. In fact, it’s rare to find energy with that doesn’t have caffeine.

Here are 16 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier Every Day

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.

5 Best Instagram Tools to Help You Build Your Following in 2019

5 Best Instagram Tools to Help You Build Your Following in 2019

It’s true that it helps to be a celebrity if you want to amass lots of followers and likes on Instagram. The top Instagram accounts belong to celebs Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, and Justin Bieber. But it’s all about making your Instagram feed a lot more engaging, and you can do that with the following tools to boost your following:

1. The Instagram Marketing Mastery Bundle

This is truly a complete package with a 5-way combined method of achieving Instagram fame. This teaches you how to build your presence on the Instagram platform that can reach a wider audience. The various components focus on advertising, affiliate marketing to monetize your success, and engagement techniques to garner greater interest. You have growth tips to boost your user base and content strategy lessons to help you decide on what to post. At $29, this is a steal.

2. Savvant Instagram Optimizer Famous Plan

Knowing what photos to post on Instagram is a crucial skill, and that’s just one of the things you learn with this plan. This is designed to boost your own creativity so that you’re able to pick on your own the most suitable photos and imagery. You’ll learn to come up with the most engaging copy, while you’re also able to pick the right keywords, filters, and hashtags that make your content easier to find. Detail about the plan here.

A lifetime subscription to the plan may seem like a long time, but then at a total cost of only $40 you surely get your money’s worth.

3. Planagram Agency Plan

This time you have to shell out $50, but this plan comes with handy tools that really save you a lot of time and effort. This comes with an automated scheduler so that your posts, galleries, and stories can be aired exactly when you want them to be. They can be posted at just the right time for your audience to see. Detail about the plan here.

It’s a great way you manage your posts, as it can schedule up to 10 images at once. In fact, it can help you to manage up to 25 different Instagram accounts!

4. piZap Pro

Sure, Instagram has built-in editing tools. But that doesn’t give you a leg up since everyone uses them too. With the piZap Pro, however, you get a lot more than the basic editing tools. You get hundreds of interesting fonts with ad-free access and royalty-free stock images. You can do collage layouts, stickers, and filters. There’s even a custom emoji maker so you can make your own unique emoticons. Detail about the plan here.

This is an editing suite with basically everything you need. In fact, you can use the included templates to create YouTube channel art and Facebook and Twitter cover photos.

5. Appz Instagram Assistant

This is a Google Chrome extension, and the lifetime subscription will cost about $40. It’s like hiring your very own personal assistant who’s an expert on building your brand. It can automatically like, comment or follow other posts or users with the same interests as you do. It also shows you a lot of stats to give you an idea of your progress. Detail about the plan here.

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.