How to Create a Custom Site UX

Websites are designed for the visitors. But all visitors aren’t equal. There are UX best practices that make sure your website is user-friendly. But best practices also have their limits. No matter how you design your website, half the people will have a different opinion regarding the details.

Do you have a sleek and beautiful dark theme on your website? Someone will find that it’s too dark for their eyes. You have created a sign in option so that your customer can save their preferences? Wait till you meet the ones, who will refuse to buy from you simply because they don’t want to remember another username and password.

You might settle for what 80% your potential viewers would like. But there are several problems with that. First of all, how would you know what they like? Running an A/B testing for every element of a site would be an overkill. Also, why would you want to annoy the rest 20%?

It may seem like there’s no way out of it. Actually, there is. At least to some extent.

What about you let the visitors customize your site according to their preferences? It that possible?

We all know your visitors are not web designers. And (even if some of them are) they have neither the time nor the inclination. We are not talking about customization in a broader sense.

There are some elements of a website that you can safely leave to the hands of your visitors. In other words, you can let them customize some features of the UX.

Let’s see how.


Many people find light themes tiring and stressful on the eye. If your site has a lot of content that you want your visitors to read then it’s best to have two colour themes for your site. One light and one dark.

Now, you may think it’s almost like designing two different looking sites. But it’s not. If you begin with the double theme idea from the start, the design process won’t be that difficult. If planned in a proper way, some simple CSS rules would suffice to change the theme of your site in just one click.


If you have an eCommerce site you definitely want your customers to create an account. That way you can store their preferences, send them customized offers, gather data about product popularity and what not. But some of your customers may not like it.

For them, you should add the option of checking out as guest buyers. It’s good if your customers sign up but don’t push them if they don’t want to.

In general, if your site requires creating profiles, let your users decide whether their profiles will be public or private. The more privacy customization you offer to your users the more they will trust you and feel comfortable on your website.


The size and type of fonts matter a lot in terms of usability. So letting the user change those can be a good customization feature for your site. It’ll be especially helpful for blogs.

You don’t need to give the users too many options regarding font type. Font size is more important. One serif font and another sans-serif font with about 3 / 4 size options should be enough. A small floating toolbar is a great way to show these options to the users.


Not all sites need to have multi-language. But if your site has more than one language, let your users chose the language they want. In other words, don’t predict. Many multilingual sites determine the language to display by the location of the users. This is no longer a good UX practice. What if your visitor is using a VPN? Or what if someone is visiting your site from France but wants to see it in English?

One way to get around this issue is to the ask the users to select a language when they visit your site for the first time. Another way is to place the language options at a prominent place on the site. So that, if someone wants a separate language than what is displayed by default, they can change it easily.


It wouldn’t be practical to let the users change the way your site places different elements. But there are some things that you can let them arrange in their own ways.

We are talking about the presentation of information here. For example: In an eCommerce site, you should let the visitors arrange the products according to item type, release date or any other criteria. Similar customized sorting options can be provided for other information on your site.

Making a website customized requires you to plan early. If you design your websites keeping customization in mind from the beginning, it won’t cause that much extra effort. But it will definitely improve the UX of your website.

This article is a guest post by Amio Galib Chowdhury. Amio is a content writer for WebAlive, a team of Melbourne web designers and developers. You can follow us on Twitter @webalive

How To Use Dropshipping To Quick-Launch Your Business

The decision to launch a business should never be taken overnight. It is important for an entrepreneurs to weigh all the pros and cons and assess the potential risks before taking the plunge. While proper planning is without doubt essential for launching a successful business, it is also true that one of the key differences between “wantrapreneurs” and “entrepreneurs” is the latter’s ability to take the plunge without wasting too much time in deliberation.

That however can be tricky because it is not always easy to set up the various systems and processes required to start your business. If you are an eCommerce retailer, you may be required to establish partnerships to source your products, find distributors and work out your logistics well before you sell your first product online. That can be several months of work. For a bootstrapped entrepreneur, this can be a huge barrier to entry.

Dropshipping is a fantastic model that helps entrepreneurs do away with all the red tape and launch a business quickly and efficiently. This is essentially the use of third party businesses to make and sell your products. In other words, your job, is to merely promote your dropshipping business and get the sales going. The responsibility of making the products and fulfilling these orders lies with the dropshipper.

How To Start A Dropshipping Business

The biggest challenge in launching a dropshipping-based eCommerce business is finding a good and reliable dropshipper. This is because the reliability and trustworthiness of your dropshipper can directly make or break your brand. You could start by searching Google for dropshippers for your industry. Alternately, you may also look up for suppliers on websites like Alibaba and ThomasNet and call them up to know if they can dropship your product. It’s a long, boring process, but can be done.

Alternately, you may also make use of third party tools to look up dropshippers for your industry. Shopify recently announced the acquisition of an app called Oberlo that makes it extremely easy to click and add dropshipped products to your eCommerce store. This can bring down the time spent in researching dropshippers from several hours (or days) into a matter of minutes.

Once you have identified the right products to dropship, it is merely a matter of aggregating these products on to your eCommerce store. You are ready to promote your business from here.

Promoting A Dropshipping Business

Promoting a dropshipping store is not very different from marketing any other type of business. But there are a few caveats to keep note of. Firstly, your brand equity hinges a lot on the dropshipper you work with. If you are sourcing products from a Chinese supplier, you must be aware of the lengthy shipping times from China to your customer in the US, UK or any other part of the world. It is important to keep your customers in the loop about the shipping time in order to protect yourself from high number of chargebacks.

If you see a steady number of orders from your customers, a good idea is to hire a domestic freight forwarding company to hold the inventory from your dropshipper and fulfil orders from this domestic warehouse. This can increase your costs and in a dropshipping model where your margins are already thin, this strategy is however not recommended to all dropshipping businesses.

A lot of eCommerce entrepreneurs look at dropshipping as a stop-gap measure before they procure and fulfill orders themselves. But it needs to be pointed out that eCommerce can be a logistical nightmare that can suck in a lot of working capital and bring down your profits significantly. Dropshipping can keep your overheads low and help you scale your business seamlessly. As an entrepreneur, you must however keep an eye on your contracts and make sure that you get a price that is commensurate to the order volume. This is the only way to scale up a dropshipping business while increasing your margins at the same time.

Author Bio: Andrew Morris is the founder of Flicmedia, a UK based business marketing agency that helps small and medium businesses improve online reputation and grow their business.

How to Run an Effective Startup on the Road

With a world full of opportunity and beauty, it can be difficult to not want to hit the road indefinitely. Unfortunately, the priorities of life tend to weigh us down and keep us in our place our entire lives. However, with technology making many of these aspects of our lives far easier, the prospect of full-time travel whilst pursuing a career is finally attainable.

Despite telework making the average employee’s traveling dreams possible, many young entrepreneurs still worry about how consistent they can be when running their own startups, starting a company from nothing, and traveling full-time. Although it isn’t impossible, it is highly important that these young individuals are aware of what it means to be a traveling startup company owner so that they can not only run their businesses but actually make them successful and profitable.

With this said, although there are many things to consider, five of the most important aspects of travel and business are:

  • How connected you are
  • Whether you can communicate with clients
  • How you can deliver and receive items
  • The reliability of your mode of transportation
  • What exactly makes digital nomadism an ideal and viable choice

Once you have analyzed these aspects thoroughly, you can begin to prepare for your life of adventure and excitement knowing that you are fully prepared and braced for the many changes needed to succeed.

Internet: How to Stay Connected, Even in “the Dead Zone”

For any startup, the internet is the golden ticket to gaining traffic, creating a fan base, and receiving payment. When it comes to internet on the road, there are three main ways to ensure you don’t ever find yourself facing a dead zone during a crucial business engagement. The first one is satellite, which is typically the most effective choice. The reason for this is that it allows you to camp in national parks and other areas where other internet options simply can’t be utilized. Furthermore, although a satellite setup is the most expensive ($700 to $1500) in comparison to the other two options, it is also the most reliable by far.

The second option is to open your settings so it will connect to any open Wi-Fi hotspots in the area. The issue with this is that it significantly reduces the amount of places you can actually visit due to the fact that most national parks, tourist attractions, and rural locations have very few spots with reliable hotspot access. Furthermore, this also means that you are opening yourself up to various types of cyberattacks, including malicious hotspots, snooping techniques, and other compromised devices. This is why it is important to consider fraud prevention techniques if you do intend to use this option before hitting the road.

Lastly, it is also possible to connect to your phone’s hotspot as well, depending on the phone service you have. Some service providers have very reliable mobile hotspots that can help you get internet without a satellite. The only big issue with this is that there will still be certain places that will not be available, and if you intend on traveling through national parks and other areas that tend to lack Wi-Fi service, this option is once again not as viable as a satellite would be. On a related note, the next thing to consider when looking to hit the road is your phone service and what provider can be trusted in what places. 

Phone Service: Coverage Maps and Reliable Providers

The ability to talk to clients at the drop of a hat is highly important when starting a new business. Personal connection and charisma are the backbone of any successful new company, and a lack of communication is exactly the kind of thing that could significantly alter the perception clients have of you and your business in a highly negative manner.

Therefore, it is important that you weigh the odds and choose a reliable network before hitting the road. Keep in mind that most service providers have coverage maps which will help you to see firsthand what providers are reliable and which are not for comparison. Currently, one of the most reliable networks is T-Mobile due to the fact that John Legere, CEO of the company, recently invested over $8 billion to make their network even more reliable than those of their various competitors.

On top of this, they not only have a super impressive coverage map but also have various incentives, such as gas discounts and free food provided by T-Mobile Tuesdays that could prove to be very valuable when on the road. Finally, T-Mobile also provides its users with ways to call via Wi-Fi which enable its users to make phone calls virtually anywhere. This means that the fear of not having service or missing important phone calls on the road is a thing of the past — and that your company will not be affected by a lack of service ever again.

However, if T-Mobile is not your first choice, as long as the phone service provider has Wi-Fi calling opportunities and provides you with a mobile hotspot, you should be fine. Another viable source is MetroPCS as they are both reliable and affordable. Their coverage map is also extremely reliable but does show signs of a few weaker spots in the northwest, however. Despite this, they are still fairly reliable for the price and also have many cheap phone options likewise which make them an affordable alternative to some of the more widely recognized carriers out there.

Once you have chosen a quality carrier, the next step is to figure out how to receive more than just calls and texts. For this, it is vital to consider what you intend on receiving and how you intend on receiving it.

Mail Delivery: A Vital Part of a Startup Made Easy

One of the most common problems entrepreneurs have when on the road is how to send and receive mail. Although many companies have online options for payments and shipping processes, younger companies tend to not have fully fleshed out sites, which means that a lot of the processes happen in the mail. Therefore, it is vital that you know how to receive and deliver mail even when you have no set address.

Despite there being many options out there, the most reliable and simple option is to use online postal services. The reason for this is that they will receive all of your mail for you at a set location (your new address according to clients) and then ask you where they can actually send it to for you to receive it. The best part is that these services allow you to go anywhere as they can be delivered anywhere in the world for varying fees. You can also track them online, which means that you will never wonder when mail will arrive either.

With all of these issues addressed, it is now time to move on to the first and most crucial step needed to begin your new life on the road — transportation. After all, if you intend on traveling via RV or any other form of vehicular travel, the quality of your vehicle will directly determine not only where you can go but also how far you get before you find yourself stranded or unable to move without paying to repair the issues.

Transportation: Getting Stranded Isn’t an Option

It’s not enough to simply want to travel. The form of transportation you take must be reliable and efficient when on the road. For instance, when looking at various different RV options, you may want to first look at whether or not you want a Class A, B, or C motorhome as well as whether or not the gas mileage is fair, the motorhome can be easily repaired when on the road, and can carry all you want to bring with you likewise.

For many young individuals, motorhomes simply are not as effective as other options such as travel trailers and truck setups. The reason for this is that most motorhomes truly are hard to work on, you are literally left with nothing to live in if they break down, and they tend to be far less spacious than the average travel trailer likewise.

Furthermore, because you can choose what truck you want to get, you can also save money on gas mileage and have a more eco-friendly vehicle likewise, which looks good from a business angle. On top of this, you can also carry more, which means merchandise can be packed in the trailer likewise allowing you to attend conventions and even deliver certain items yourself. However, it is important that you calculate how much weight your vehicle can pull before packing everything up, as a flipped trailer could lead to the end of your startup and adventures in no time at all.

Now that you have ensured communication on the road is taken care of and your vehicle is efficient and reliable as well, it’s time that you reflect on why this is a great decision and how it can not only help your company but your own well-being as well. 

Also Read: Benefits of video marketing

Endless Opportunity: An Adventurous Life with A Job To Match

The truth is that travel is the key to happy employees, and, as a startup owner, your happiness is an integral aspect regarding the success of your business as a whole. When you finally hit the road, you will be able to actually live a life free from the drudgery of normal everyday life. This exciting new world also encourages creativity and makes you want to learn and push forward to bigger and better things each and every day.

As new experiences occur and new lessons are learned, you and your business will continue to grow, and your clients will be able to see just how effective making the world your office can be. In the end, life is one giant adventure, and your career path is a journey worth trekking — so why not put both hand in hand and live your life to the fullest?

6 Ways Leaders Can Help Their Team Do Better

We often talk about all the ways employees can be better, or ways that leaders can improve their interpersonal skills. But ultimately, one of the most important jobs of a leader is to lead their team. If a leader flounders, the team is going to struggle to keep up. Let’s look at a few ways that leaders can support their team and help them to be more productive, proactive, and support the overall company mission.

Rearrange The Office

Is the current layout of your workspace conducive to collaborative work? Does it offer separated space for those who need to recharge away from the team? Is it laid out in such a way that those with mobility aids can use them easily, without bumping into other people or feeling like an imposition?

If the office isn’t laid out for the functional use of individuals and teams, the team overall isn’t going to be as productive as it can be. Taking a hard look at how to better organize your office space, with input from your team, can be incredibly helpful. This can also improve morale, as employees feel like they own more of the space.

Be Consistent

As a team leader, it’s important to be consistent. You need to do what you say, and say what you’re doing. You need to treat everyone roughly the same, and make sure that when you set a goal or an objective, you are clear and consistent about roles and delegation.

That said, it’s important not to let consistent blur into rigid. More and more research is showing that leaders who flex for realistic life situations have better teams than those who demand that everyone meet exactly the same standard at all times.

For example, if someone has a sick parent, spouse, or child that they need to care for, allowing them to work from home should be treated differently than someone who chronically does not complete their work. Everyone who chronically does not complete their work, however, should be treated the same way.

Set Achievable Goals

Few things demoralize a team faster than setting goals that are unachievable from the start. Setting a goal and being unable to meet it is frustrating, but it happens. Knowing from the first moment that a goal will not be able to be achieved and being forced to try anyway is discouraging.

This is commonly seen when businesses try to improve metrics by demanding teams do more instead of looking at what is limiting teams.

Provide Specific, Positive Feedback

Do you know how to compliment your employees? The answer isn’t “Great job,” as you walk past their cubicle. The answer is also not the same for every employee. Some team members would love public recognition at the next staff meeting; others would hugely prefer getting an email detailing what was well done on their last project.

Whatever method is the best for team feedback, make sure you’re specific. Instead of just telling the employee that their work was good, tell them why it was good. Tell them what happened because of what they did. We do these things instinctively when we’re offering constructive criticism, but forget them entirely in this situation. They are just as necessary when giving compliments.

Share Credit, Accept Responsibility

This is a simple truism in the leadership world. When your team does well, share the credit. When your team does poorly, accept responsibility. Too often, poor leaders do this backwards, taking credit for a team’s wins while shifting blame onto other team members. The team notices, and they resent it. They won’t work as hard for a manager who follows this model, so don’t be that leader.

Support Employees

Your team members should feel like they can come to you with a problem and get reasonable and helpful feedback, whether that concern is with other team members, upper management, or a situation outside of work that is affecting their performance. Leaders should know policies like flex time, FMLA, and other benefits to help employees know what their options are, long before HR is contacted. It’s also important to be able to represent employee concerns to your own boss, not just to other people on the team. After all, in many organizations, the team leader might be the only point of contact a team member has with anyone higher than themselves in the organization. If you don’t advocate for their needs, who will?

Building a solid, reliable team is a necessary part of running a good business and being a good leader. Companies with great leaders have better retention, better picks of hiring candidates, and are overall more successful.

The Writer’s Guide To Productivity

One of the hardest careers for productivity is writing. That’s because you need to be creative, pull words seemingly out of thin air and make it all sound amazing.

If you can follow the top productivity tips for writing, no matter whether you are an engineer or a photographer – or a writer, of course – you can master productivity.


The biggest problems writers face are distractions. It doesn’t matter whether you work from home or in an office, distractions make writers pull their hair out. These come in two forms. Some are passive distractions, ones that happen to you. For instance:

  • People are chatting in the cubicle next to yours, and you find it hard to put words together.
  • Kids are running around and making demands on your time while you are trying to write.
  • The TV is on in the other room, and the sound conflicts with trying to assemble words in your head.
  • The cat desperately needs your lap, because every other spot in the house is taken.

Then there are active distractions, ones that you initiate (tsk, tsk). For instance.

  • Your stomach speaks, so you go check out what food is lying around in the kitchen.
  • You decide to check your email for the 17th
  • You stop to chat with a colleague, not thinking about how that might also be disturbing someone in the next cubicle.
  • Hey, Twitter!!

The solution is to turn off all distractions. You’ll do best when you put on blinkers, just like a race horse. Well, not just like a race horse. That would look silly. Here’s what to do instead:

First, turn off everything on your computer. Turn off Skype notifications. Turn off Twitter notifications. If it takes buying a separate bargain-basement, stripped down Chromebook just for writing, so be it.

Second, close the door and lock it (don’t try this in a cubicle). Make getting up to check the food on the counter too much trouble to be worth the effort. Make checking the mail too much work to be worth the effort.

Third, put on sound-blocking ear muffs. You won’t be distracted by what you don’t hear.

Fourth, send the cat out on errands.

Get organized

Some writers just start writing.  In fact, most do.  Even I do far too often.  But don’t do what I do far too often. Instead, do what I did for this article. Prepare an outline first.

For bigger projects, create a more detailed outline.

With a detailed outline, it might be clear what research you’ll need for each section. Do the research and plug it into your outline.

If it’s fiction, add character development notes and other items into the outline where you plan to include them.

By the time you are ready to write, all the ideas should be in place. All you have to do is assemble the words.

Peak time of day

I work well first thing in the morning. Well, not quite first thing. I like to start with routine items first. But after a half hour, I’m ready to write! So everybody get out of my way, because I have a world to conquer…until lunch.

The sad thing is that I get drowsy, then hungry, in early to mid afternoon. That is not the time for me to do pro-active or creative work. It’s a great time to do more routine stuff or related activities, such as creating images or proofreading. It’s an even better time to take a nap! I do that once or twice a year.

I find that another peak time is the evening, from about 6:00 to 10:00. My energy level usually drops after 10:00, though.

Learn what your peak times are, and optimize your schedule for the various tasks you have to do.

Writer’s block

This type of problem is unique to creative people. What should I write about? What should I paint? What should I crochet next?

When short on ideas, move on to something else. Wash dishes. Go for a walk. Check to see if the cat is back, yet. Try doodling; that works sometimes.

Let you mind wander freely for a while and see what you think of.

Another trick, is to direct you mind on how it wanders by browsing through related image searches. Or reading related Quora answers.

I get a lot of inspiration from reading comments on related blogs.

You can be more productive

If you are organized and set up the systems you need, you can be more productive. Don’t believe me? Here’s what four other writers have to say. Count how many times the word “organized” comes up.

Author Bio: David Leonhardt’s “day job” is to run The Happy Guy Marketing, which offers ghostwriting of books and screenplays and such, as well as website promotion, such as content marketing and social media marketing. He blogs about self-help topics, including happiness, fitness and nutrition.