Blog Posted In Business, eCommerce, Marketing, Retail, Tech

Shopify Review: How To Start Your Online Business In 1 Day


By | source: Aug 31st, 2020

Technological advancements have brought on a new era of business ownership – the online business owner. Having an online business means that you get to save money on traditional business costs, like rent for a warehouse or utilities. 

So, let’s say you decide that you want to set up your online store. How easy, or difficult, is it really to start an online business? Can you go from 0-100 in just one day? You can, if you use an online store hosting platform like Shopify. Keep reading to find out how you can start an online business in just one day. 

What is Shopify?

home page of shopify website

Shopify is an eCommerce subscription platform where business owners create their website using the site’s servers. This means that you can build and manage your online store, without the hassle of maintaining your own domain. No need to upgrade servers or update software – Shopify is globally supervised, so the site is monitored 24/7. 

Shopify has over one million users in 175 different countries. And these users aren’t just small-time business owners. There are dozens of big-name companies, like Heinz, Red Bull, Harper Collins, Nestle, and Hasbro that have websites hosted through Shopify. Even these major brands understand the benefit of outsourcing website management responsibilities. 

How does it work? 

question mark written in white chalk on black chalkboard

Using Shopify is relatively simple. If you already have a domain name, you can connect your existing domain to Shopify using two methods. This is possible whether your website is fully operational or still in the developmental phases.

  1. Transfer your domain

A domain transferral gives Shopify full management of your site. Once transferred, you will pay for and renew your domain through Shopify, and not the previous host site. You also will be able to adjust your domain settings directly from your Shopify admin account.

  1. Connect your domain

If you prefer to keep your domain hosted elsewhere, you can simply connect it to Shopify without the need for a full transferral. The payment for your domain, its renewal, and settings will continue to be facilitated through the third-party.

If you have not already purchased a domain for your business, you can purchase one through Shopify. Your domain will be registered for one year and can be renewed yearly until you move hosting from Shopify or delete the domain. The domain is yours to keep, even if you decide to cancel your account.

How to set up your Shopify account in one day

red and white old-fashioned clock sitting on a wooden table

There are various ways to use Shopify, so it can be a bit difficult to determine which use is best for you. To decide how to utilize the site to its full potential, you can ask yourself a few questions:

  • What type of products or services am I selling?
  • Do I plan to sell only on my site or also in person, an online marketplace, and/or social media?
  • Will I be selling my own products or dropshipping?
  • What payment providers are available in my country?
  • Will I package and ship my items myself?
  • What is my budget for a monthly pricing plan?
  • How many staff members do/will I have?

Once you have these base questions answered, you can choose the Shopify pricing plan that both suits your budget and your needs. But – let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Follow the four steps below to kickstart your journey to a fully functioning online store.

Getting started

Step One: Signup for a free trial

signup form for shopify free trial

Shopify starts off every user with an automatic 14-day free trial. This means your first two weeks will be commitment-free! All you have to do is head to the Shopify homepage and click the Start free trial button in the top right corner. 

You’ll be directed to enter your name and email address and sent an email confirmation. Confirming your email will open a separate window where you’ll have to answer a few questions to help Shopify customize your store.

Step Two: Answer basic store queries

shopify's 'about your business' questionnaire

This section is critical for your store, so take your time as you answer each question. Shopify will ask you questions such as ‘Are you already selling?’, ‘What is your current revenue?’, and ‘Which industry will you be operating in?’

Some answers will cause additional options to pop up, some of them about your logo, brainstorming names for your business, and signing up for business webinars. If you are interested in any of the additional options, you can click to select them and move on to the next question. 

Step Three: Add your address

shopify address questionnaire

The next page is where you’ll need to enter your address. Even if you only plan to work online, without entering your address you can’t be paid. So this part is important! If your business is already registered, you can click the box in the lower-left corner to indicate this.

Step Four: Explore your admin page

admin page of a sample shopify store, Jane's Flower Shop

After you’ve entered your address, your administration page will load and appear. This page is directly reflective of the way you answered the questions in the first step. You’ll see prompts offering to help you complete actions such as finding products, customizing your store’s theme, setting up local delivery, and adding online tipping. 

You’ll also have access to Shopify Compass, a free training offered (one-on-one!) to help you set up your store. Using Shopify Compass will help speed up the learning process and make your one-day setup goal all that much easier.  

Customizing your store

free customizing theme options for a shopify store

Once you’ve made it to the admin page, you’re well on your way to finalizing your store. Shopify will automatically create a domain name for you that will look something like your-store-name.myshopify.com. Your next big step will be to add a customizing theme to your online store. 

Shopify has 70+ beautifully designed themes in its Theme Store to choose from, each of which is fully customizable. If you’re tech-savvy and feeling a bit creative, you can even edit your theme using HTML and CSS codes. All you need to do is choose a template, add some unique personal touches, and then you’re ready to launch! 

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about your store’s inventory. Adding your products and services is the next step.

Adding your inventory

shopify product addition page

After you’ve designed your store to your liking, you’ll need to add your products. This process may be the most time-consuming, so block out a few hours – just in case.  

First, you’ll need to upload your product images. Thankfully, many of the nitty-gritty’s of this section (like resizing product photos) are automated for your convenience. After upload, fill out the item’s detailed description, like its title, price(s) and available size(s), and color(s). You can even import your inventory in bulk from eBay, Magento, and/or an Excel or CSV file.

Indicate in the shipping section whether your product is physical and if so, its size and weight (if you know it). This section is also where you’ll need to state if you plan to ship your items yourself or use a fulfillment center. 

If you need to add a dropshipping option to your site, you can do so now using the Shopify App Store. There are over 200 dropshipping apps and services available! Just create an account on the dropshipping platform of your choice and head back over to Shopify to integrate the platform’s app. 

Setting up your payment processing

shopify payment provider explore page

You’ll need to add a payment provider to your site so you can receive customer payments. The way to do this is to enable the payment providers you wish to accept. Shopify Payments is a payment system that removes the need for adding a third-party provider. If you’d like to use Shopify Payments, you can create an account with your business details and banking information.

Since PayPal is one of the most trusted global payment providers, Shopify has made it default for each store. Another perk to setting up Shopify Payments? If you have a Shopify Payment account, you won’t be charged any additional fees when transacting through PayPal. 

Not interested in using Shopify Payment? You can deactivate this feature and accept credit card payments from over 100 credit card providers. If you decide to do this, just note that this may decrease your customer base, since credit card use is limited in some parts of the world.

Managing your domain

two woman seated and pointing at laptop screen

A vital part of your business lies in establishing a domain for your site. Although Shopify generates a generic URL when your site is created, you’ll want to get a little more personal. Having a personalized domain also assures customers that your business is trustworthy and credible. 

shopify domain explore page 

As mentioned previously, you can buy a domain through Shopify or connect or transfer an established domain. If you have a subdomain, you also add this to your site. A subdomain is essentially a part of your primary domain and can direct your customers to your website’s store. 

Rather than directing to a page on your primary domain, a subdomain allows you to create an entirely new website subsection for your store. An example of this is store.yourwebsite.com – the ‘store’ portion is the name of the subdomain, hosted on the ‘yourwebsite’ section. 

Editing your site’s Content Management System (CMS) 

shopify 'add page' section

The ‘About Me’, ‘Contact’, and ‘Home’ pages of your site shouldn’t be overlooked. You can get creative with the way you title these sections of your site. Instead of an ‘About Us’ page, you can have a ‘Getting to Know Us’ or ‘What We’re All About’ page. 

These small changes can help set your site apart from your competitors, in originality alone. You should add descriptive text and links and visually appealing photos and videos to these pages to aid your customers in understanding your brand. 

Setting up shipping details 

shipping and delivery options with shopify

How you set up your shipping will depend on where your store’s items are shipping from. If you are in the US or Canada, you have access to Shopify Shipping. Shopify Shipping can be managed from within your admin and provides you with predetermined rates and shipping labels for your items. With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about managing shipping once your business grows. You can ship items from up to 20 different locations!

If you are outside of the US or Canada, you can add your local shipping option instead. Just head to the Shopify App Store to find shipping providers in your country that meet your criteria. Remember to create shipping zones only for locations you are willing to ship to. Want to attract more customers to purchase items? Consider using basic shipping strategies, like free shipping over $100, to encourage customers and help finalize sales. 

Understanding taxes and billing

black calculator and pen resting on paper with numbers and calculations

As an online business owner, you are responsible for maintaining your own tax information. You may be new to handling your own taxes, but the Shopify Compass portal can help guide you in the right direction. Shopify helps to automatically calculate these taxes by using default tax rates from around the world. 

You’ll do well to check with your local tax authority or an accountant to ensure that you are complying with your country’s tax laws. Making a mistake on your taxes can cost you greatly in the long-run, so be sure you are well-informed about the payments required of you.

Launching your store!

woman standing next to shelving on homepage of shopify store

When you have finally made it through the last stages of site planning, you are ready to launch your site! Shopify has a “test order” option where you can simulate a real order to ensure that all your features are functioning. You’ll need to activate a paid Shopify plan to actually do the test order, so now is the time to choose one. We’ll talk about the options for plans in the Pricing section of this article a little later. For now, let’s cover the launch essentials. 

There are three ways to create your test order: using Shopify as a ‘bogus gateway’, using an actual payment provider, or using Shopify Payments. You’ll get further guidance for this test order when you get towards the end of the Shopify Compass video guides.

When you’ve done your checks and balances and your store is ready for launch, the process is swift and easy. Your site is automatically password-protected so that it can’t be accessed by customers while you’re still constructing it. To remove the password protection, head to Online Store, Preferences, and then Password protection. Click the check next to Enable password to turn off the feature and save the changes to complete the action. 

And, just like that, your new Shopify site is officially launched and live to customers! You can keep updating and editing your site as needed, but customers can now browse your site and place orders while you continue your site’s evolution. 

Five reasons why eCommerce shop owners use Shopify

numbers one, two, three, four, and five on a red background sitting above legos

#1 – You don’t have to worry about choosing the ‘perfect’ server – Whether you choose to transfer your domain or buy it through Shopify, your hunt for the ‘perfect’ server is over. Unlike with many third-party servers, Shopify is designed to be the optimal online store hosting platform. Shopify has features for every site detail you can imagine – you’re guaranteed to have the best server possible for your online business.

#2 – The Shopify App Store connects you with 1,200+ useful app integrations – The Shopify App Store is utilized by over 80% of Shopify users to integrate different applications to their stores. These apps often make managing your store much easier, and help you focus on growing and building your business. 

Install apps for everything from social media marketing, to dropshipping, to inventory management. Apps are both paid premium and free, so you can choose which options fit both your budget and your needs.

#3 – Server security and reliability are almost guaranteed – When you manage your own site, its reliability is completely up to you. Many business owners know nothing about website management, and have to hire costly web developers to handle the more tricky, technical aspects. Security updates, software upgrades, and data analytics are all handled with Shopify – which leaves you free to manage your business.

#4 – The size of your online store isn’t a factor – You don’t need to have 100,000+ site visitors or hundreds of inventory items to have a successful online store. Shopify gives you all the tools you need to thrive as a business owner, even with a smaller-size store. You may only be selling three or four products and you’ll still have access to all the same amazing features, and benefits as larger stores. 

 #5 – Shopify’s interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate – Your customers need a website that isn’t overly complicated. No matter how great your product is, if your customers have a hard time navigating your site, they’ll likely never make it to the ‘submit payment’ stage. Shopify stores are all optimized for mobile use, so customers can comfortably shop from any of their devices.   

Shopify pricing vs Competitor pricing

woman counting money in her hand while sitting at a black table with a notebook and pen

Before you decide to put all that effort into setting up your Shopify account, let’s compare its pricing plans to those of its competitors.

So, who are some of Shopify’s major competitions? There are quite a few, but we’ll be focusing on the top three most popular options: Wix, BigCommerce, and Squarespace. 

Here’s a quick table breaking down the three main tiers of pricing at each platform (in USD). 

 

Shopify Wix BigCommerce Squarespace
Basic $29 $17 $29.95 $26/annual

$30/month

Standard $79 $25 $71.95/annual

$79.95/month

Premium $299 $35 $269.96/annual

$299.95/month

$40/annual

$46/month

 

As you can see, the Shopify and BigCommerce plans are comparable in cost, while Wix and Squarespace have similar pricing. This is likely due to the fact that both Shopify and BigCommerce cater to customers interested in scaling their businesses. 

Online store owners who intend to increase their revenue without increasing costs (which is what ‘scaling’ entails) need specialized support and features to do so.

Wix and Squarespace

Both Wix and Squarespace are website hosting platforms that allow an online business website, but neither is directly designed for eCommerce. Their pricing is much lower than Shopify or BigCommerce to reflect less advanced features. A less complicated interface is certainly a positive for beginners, which is why both platforms are still solid Shopify competitors.

A significant downside? Both platforms offer less backend control than Shopify. This means that while your site may be easier to create, you have decreased flexibility in terms of your site’s functionality. 

BigCommerce

BigCommerce has a complex interface that both attracts and deters users, depending on how tech-savvy they may be. As an eCommerce platform, BigCommerce is formatted for online business owners that want a more streamlined start-to-finish service. In contrast to Shopify, BigCommerce is a fully integrated platform – removing the dependence on apps.

Although it sells itself on integration, BigCommerce has a complex interface that isn’t suited for beginners. The learning curve is a bit steep, but if you are more advanced or willing to put in the effort, it can be worth your while. 

Are there cons to using Shopify?

frustrated woman sitting in front of laptop while throwing her hands up

No platform is without downsides.  Shopify is no exception to this rule. If you are looking for a cheap online store-building option, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Shopify also can be a little complicated to navigate without the help of its many tutorials and guides. Other platforms may offer more design themes than Shopify, which are easier for you to customize and add your own personal flair. 

Here’s a shortlist of some of the main points of contention that users have expressed about Shopify:

  • Shopify Payments is only available when selling from certain countries
  • Transaction fees are unavoidable when using third-party payment providers
  • Only nine of Shopify’s 70+ design themes are free – the rest require a one-time payment of $180 for use
  • The apps in the Shopify App Store often come with their own associated fees
  • No free version available, only a 14-day free trial
  • 24/7 tech support is available through live chat and email, but some users find these services slow and have to rely on community forums 
  • Changing your store’s theme requires you to reformat your site since many of your formatting is not automatically integrated

So, is Shopify the right hosting platform for you? 

hands scrolling on laptop with assorted photos on its screen

In the grand scheme of things, the downsides of Shopify are minor when compared to its benefits. You’ll need to be comfortable investing more money into your company than the average eCommerce platform might require, but the payoff is a powerful platform at your fingertips. 

Do you need to start an online business in just one day? Then Shopify is the easy, hassle-free, user-friendly eCommerce platform for you. There are plenty of other online business hosting platforms, but Shopify wins in the areas that matter. It continues to outperform its competitors in design flexibility, help and support, sales features, and customer satisfaction.

Your online business deserves the best backend and frontend development possible. Shopify offers you amazing, state-of-the-art web development services, perfect for setting up, launching, and growing your online store. 

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Blog Posted In Entertainment, Recreation

The Most Popular Games at the Online Casino


By | source: Mar 15th, 2021

Due to the assistance of advanced technology and demand for thrilling games online, the online gambling market is worth billions of dollars.

In 2019, the market amounted to $53.7 billion and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% to $127.3 billion by 2027.

Modern technology, changes in legislation, and shifting attitudes towards gambling have also helped the market progress. For instance:

  • 4g connectivity and the recent roll-out of 5g will make iGaming platforms faster and more convenient to use.
  • Countries, states, and provinces' opinions of gambling are changing. With the prospect of increased employment opportunities, tax funds boosting the economy, and the prevention of illegal gambling. More governments are making room to legalize and regulate online casino games.

Other factors that make online casino games more attractive than land-based casinos games include:

  • Generous signup offers, including matched bets, free spins, and sometimes free cash to play.
  • iGaming platforms eradicate the need for players to travel to their local casinos.
  • Instant access online, from many locations across the world, means players can spin the reels or analyse their hand in poker without the fear or pressure of onlookers watching over their shoulder.
  • Casino companies invest extensively in perfecting online casino games to ensure the aesthetics, sound effects, and gaming variation is appealing and exciting for gamers.

Online casinos in the west are growing in popularity with many citizens in the United States now being able to access casino games online due to the relaxation of laws. Online casinos have been popular for a while in Canada with their laws allowing citizens to gamble with offshore providers. Here is a list of some the most popular casino games Canadians are playing at online Casino Canada courtesy of 888:

Slots

popular online casino games slots

Slots tend to occupy a large portion of an iGaming platform's collection. The demand for slots is unprecedented, primarily because they are cheap and straightforward to play.

Plus, the unreal animations, sound effects, and of course, the potential to win a jackpot prize add to the appeal.

Slot games online are available in every theme imaginable, from imagery and sound effects depicting ancient Egypt to film themes such as Jurassic Park.

Traditional slots have three reels and a smaller combination of pay lines, with symbols such as cherries and the number 7 on-screen.

However, the introduction of modern slot games with five pay lines and multiple symbols that trigger bonuses and free spins. Has increased the popularity of the slot gaming genre.

Poker

popular online casino games poker chips

For individuals who enjoy a game requiring strategy, focus, and commitment, the sport of poker is a choice game for the highly competitive.

In 2019, 100 million people were playing online poker. Most with a view of succeeding their opponents, building a career in poker, and earning a cash prize. Some are even striving to join official tournaments such as the world series of poker (WSOP) with dreams of becoming a bracelet winner.

Online casino sites use live video recording to provide players the opportunity to indulge in games such as poker in real-time through their screen. With the ability to see the dealer and chat with other players on screen. In turn, poker has, for many, become an immersive experience for players.

Popular variations of poker include:

  • Texas hold'em
  • Pineapple
  • 5-card draw

Roulette

most popular games online casino roulette

At first glance, roulette may seem complicated. However, it's one of the easier casino games to learn and play.

The wheel is the centrepiece that players observe patiently in hopes their chosen selection of numbers wins a return. The quick turnaround of each game is a captivating aspect for players who are eager to see if they've won a return.

There are a wide variety of roulette games to choose from, such as:

  • European roulette
  • American Roulette
  • French Roulette
  • Mini Roulette
  • Multi wheel roulette
  • Live roulette

New iGaming Variations

While physical casinos are restricted on space to house new and exciting games slots or table games, creating and adding games to an iGaming site is easier.

Which often means online casinos have hundreds of more games to choose from than physical casinos.

iGaming Innovations of The Future

Over the years, casino owners have successfully used modern technology to evolve the casino from a land-based activity to the online realm.

From harnessing the internet in the early '90s. To crafting user-friendly apps for touch screen phones and creating multiple variations of casino classics to sustain engagement from members.

Technology is a significant driving factor allowing the online casino sphere to reach new heights in popularity and prosperity.

popular online casino games poker worldwide

 

It's expected the development of virtual reality tech and the integration of blockchain technology will present newer and safer varieties of iGaming for customers.

Other advancements expected to transform online casino gaming include:

Facial recognition: Biometric software will allow games to create digital representations of players to personalize the iGaming experience.

Voice Recognition: Voice commands will become an integral part of casino gameplay. Meaning users will not need to touch a controller or screen to place bets or spin the slot reels.

Wearable Gaming Gear: From glasses to smartwatches, wearable gadgets that incorporate programs related to, for example, fitness will redirect some of their efforts towards offering entertainment, which could include gambling.

For gamers unsure what sites and popular casino games to try. Head for licensed sites with a generous signup offer and try out different games of interest.

For the apprehensive online casino newcomer, a slot game is an excellent place to build experience and confidence in the iGaming world.

But, for those wanting to dive in at the deep end, by all means, join a game of Texas hold 'em, but don't forget to read up on the rules of the game first!

 

 

infographic world

Blog Posted In Education, Lifestyle

Understanding the Differences Between Traditional Learning and Online Learning


By | source: Mar 12th, 2021

Education has changed significantly over the decades. Every few years, there is a noticeable shift in how most things are done. We are talking about the techniques used in teaching and the tools used in the classroom. The job market has also transformed and, as a result, led to a skills gap.

This has forced learning institutions to be agile and conform to ways to prepare learners for the market. Classrooms have become smart, with a wide range of educational technologies being used to deliver information.

Learner-educator engagement has also taken a different shape; there is increased accessibility. The changes experienced in this sector have improved the quality of education, with a rise in the graduation rates realized over the years.

There has been a change in perception of education, with people embracing the modern classroom and choosing flexibility. This has seen the rise of online learning, and hence the debate on which one works better the traditional or online education.

A comprehensive comparison of the two will shed light on the benefits and drawbacks of both models.

1. Location

school chairs learning

This is where the primary difference between the two lies.

Online learning takes place over the Internet, and it can take different approaches. Classes over the Internet can occur in the presence of a moderator or educator. Alternatively, learners can use pre-recorded material to get information.

Learners can also find their learning materials and work through a course outline and prepare for examinations. There are no face-to-face interactions with lecturers or their peers. However, communication over digital devices and collaboration can take place.

Traditional classes take place in a physical location, be it a lecture hall or classroom. The educators and tutees have a face-to-face interaction whereby educators play the vital role of guiding the classroom. The instructor directs the flow of information to the students and often creates the lesson and study plans.

Online learning has some benefits over the offline model. It allows the students to attend classes anywhere and anytime. The traditional setting can be limiting as the learners have to work with their instructors' schedules even if it does not work for them.

2. Teaching Materials

Online classes provide room for the utilization of a wide range of learning materials. Be it videos, podcasts, softcopy notes, infographics, write essay for me platforms, and other audiovisual mediums. The resources used in the modern setting are interactive and can be personalized depending on individual academic needs.

A traditional academic setting relies on hardcopy notes for the transfer of knowledge. The approach has been working for a long time, but not without significant challenges. The rigid system denies the instructors the opportunity to utilize practical tools for effective knowledge transfer.

E-learning programs continue to provide a versatile platform that both instructors and students can use to transfer and consume knowledge. Traditional classrooms do not provide the teachers many options unless they decide to integrate blended learning.

The interactive resources used in online classes are more engaging and keep the learners motivated.

3. Cost

traditional vs online learning cost

Studying has never been more affordable. Online schools don't have hundreds of staff to pay at the end of every month. There are no recurring overheads to pay. This way, they don't have to factor in school fees, making education cheaper.

Students are also spared from living expenses incurred when staying on campus and commuting costs.

Running a traditional school is generally expensive. The institutions can have hundreds or even thousands of workers, depending on how big they are. There are numerous overhead and administrative costs that affect the tuition fees.

Conventional learning materials are also costly to purchase. Online learning has seen a significant drop in the cost of acquiring education, enhancing equality in the sector as more people can afford school.

4. Access

This has everything to do with location. Online, or distance learning, as the name suggests, allows students to attend lectures from wherever they are. Be it from their homes, a different state, or even different continents. All that is required is a computer and the Internet.

Traditional classes require the learners to go to where the educators are to get knowledge.

The modern approach eliminates all the restrictions brought about by distance. Students don't have to be under the same roof as their professors to learn. This can be done on the go and anywhere.

On completing their assignment, all they need to do is make another click to submit. The access benefit mainly came in handy after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the lockdowns and other covid-related restrictions, students could still attend lectures online.

5. Learning Approach

student online learning ipad

Online learning focuses on the self-education approach. The model is featured by sustainable education, whereby the learner is independent in their academic life. The model provides flexibility whereby the student is free to design their study schedule and plan.

The students have control over their learning environment. Taking online classes, they are responsible for their academic progress and success.

The traditional model endorses dependent learning, whereby students learn from their teachers and peers. They are barely responsible for their lesson plans and have to follow the lead of their professors.

Online learning promotes the overall development of the learners. It eliminates instances whereby students feel like they are being coerced to learn. It encourages lifelong learning, boosts confidence, and increases motivation.

6. Flexibility

Online learning has addressed the issue of flexibility which has been affecting learners for decades. The approach has made it possible for the working population to advance their knowledge and skills. People with jobs can enroll in programs without the need to quit or take academic leaves.

They don't have to worry about making it to class on time as they can attend lectures from where they are. Learners also have the freedom to design their course schedules, which made it easy for this category of students to achieve a work-life balance.

Traditional learning doesn't provide that much flexibility as the students and educators have to be in the same space for learning to happen. It is therefore challenging to find a time that will be convenient for all learners.

The rigidity of the traditional approach has posed a challenge to working individuals or persons with families to go back to school and advance their skills and knowledge. Those who can enroll end up having a strenuous and demanding academic life.

7. Technical Skills

student technical skills online learning

E-learning requires certain technical skills to be able to learn. Basic computer and Internet knowledge and skills are needed for the students to navigate the online learning platforms. Unfortunately, the model may not work for audiences that don't have the skills.

Online learning will, therefore, work for students who have reached a certain level of education and will be a bit challenging for the lower grades.

Traditional schooling works for everybody, even for students who do not have advanced technical skills. Though learners still need to be able to document and print their assignments using computers, they don't need to know how to use complicated software and do other tasks associated with online education.

Which Education Model Is More Effective?

effective education model traditional online learning

It may be wrong to say that one model is better than the other. A significant share of the world's most educated people attended traditional schools. A new generation of equally educated persons that have studied online is also on the rise.

The success of the two models can only be determined by how effectively education has been delivered. The learners' focus and commitment to studying also play an important part in their academic success.

Worth noting, however, is that e-learning is an excellent alternative to conventional education. It offers the much-needed flexibility that students struggled with before. Now, work or a health condition is not an obstacle to receiving a quality education.

It has also addressed the issue of the cost of acquiring education, as it is more affordable. Students can also take part-time jobs to take care of their expenses while still studying.

Accessibility has significantly improved as students and teachers don't have to be in the same classroom to exchange knowledge.

Both models have their advantages and drawbacks. However, the rise of online learning has provided students with a wider range of options. They can now choose what works best for them, unlike initially where strategies were imposed.

Final Thoughts

Which approach works best for you will be determined by several factors. The first aspect is your budget. The course or topic will also inform your choice. Will you better understand the topic through independent learning or dependent learning? Which materials do you prefer to work with? Is it audiovisual content or hardcopy books?

The other question you need to ask yourself is how much time you have for learning. If you have a job, then you might want to consider e-learning. If you have all the time, then a traditional school will work for you.

The skills you intend to develop and the time you want to spend on the program will also inform your choice.

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Blog Posted In Education

11 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed the Life of an Average Student


By | source: Mar 3rd, 2021

Since March 2020, many countries have enforced lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19. These measures have affected most sectors, including education. For the first time, learners put their studies on hold to watch how everything unfolds. Thankfully, many governments have worked out ways to ensure learning continues. The result is a paradigm shift in the average student's daily life.

Interrupted Learning

The pandemic's major impact was a suspension in educational activities across all levels. Before, learning went on as usual, with scheduled lessons, exams, and school breaks all planned. Pre-COVID-19 times were marked with certainty, and there was a sense of direction.

A few months later, everything changed. Many learning institutions closed their doors, hoping to reopen in a few weeks from March. Weeks turned to months, and before the dust could settle, half the year was gone. These unprecedented events changed the lives of students globally.

Nothing was certain anymore. International students had a challenging time facing lockdown away from their homes. Some had to postpone their courses as they hopped on flights back to their countries.

Massive Shift to Online Learning

In recent years, online learning has gained popularity globally and is now a major player in the education sector. The public's massive uptake of technology has given a lifeline to remote learning. Educational institutions were already experimenting with digital learning, either full-time or part-time. Choosing to study online or attend classes was a matter of personal preference for the average student.

After the onset of the pandemic, the shift to online learning has been on a scale larger than seen before. For the first time in years, learning institutions stared at the possibility of indefinite closure. A few months down the line, most schools took measures to organize online classes and ensure students can pick up from where they left.

It was no longer about choice, and everyone had to embrace digital classes. Even with the reopening of schools, many institutions continue to educate people online. The demand for online essay writers is also at an all-time high, given that instructors don't lower their expectations.

ways corona virus changed life of students

Isolation and Less Interaction

Many learners look forward to school to meet and interact with their peers. The average student spends at least eight hours of their day in school. They make friends and form their first social networks. Sports tournaments and national competitions went on as usual before COVID-19 reared its ugly head.

After the pandemic began, students had to contend with many changes. Apart from limiting movement, these measures meant that one stays at home and does all learning from there. Isolation and lack of social interaction are problems that many students had to face during lockdowns.

Real-Time Feedback

One of the challenges of traditional learning models is giving timely feedback to the students. For effectiveness, teachers need to address any concerns as soon as possible. Depending on the class size, instructors faced significant difficulties regarding feedback. As a result, students also had a hard time getting the most out of their classroom experience pre-COVID-19.

Post-COVID-19 lessons shifted to the online space and brought positive changes in terms of giving feedback. Using the corresponding platforms and communication tools like Zoom and Google Docs, it is possible to comment on a student's performance in real time. Analyzing individual work and sharing information is much easier due to these apps.

Online Examinations

Before their closure, most educational institutions had a traditional approach to examinations. Main exams took place in school, and instructors strictly monitored them to deter cheating. Generally, there was consensus about the feeling of inclusivity among students. Grading was straightforward since everything was transparent.

Post-COVID measures have posed a major challenge to the examination process. Students from various backgrounds face difficulties keeping up with online learning demands. The home and neighborhood might not be conducive to learning for all, and some individuals feel left out.

Consequently, there are mounting concerns about leveling the field for all students to ensure fairness. Online exams are problematic when it comes to cheating. Besides, parents and guardians are wary of surveillance that threatens their privacy.

Social Distancing in School

Social distancing has become synonymous with the pandemic. Previously, regular students didn't mind sitting close to each other. The positional arrangement in class, dining, and school halls reflected normal social relations. Some schools have already been working at full capacity, and the idea of social-distancing was inconceivable.

Many governments have set up guidelines for the gradual opening of schools. Students now sit individually, separated from their classmates, following government regulations. Yet, social distancing poses a challenge for many institutions. Despite the safety concerns, enforcing such rules in learning centers is easier said than done. Some schools have fewer classrooms than necessary to facilitate social distancing.

Wearing Masks

Everybody recalls pre-COVID-19 times when masks were unnecessary for students. Some nations, especially in East Asia, were already wearing masks before the pandemic. Yet, it appeared as a new concept to many other countries. It was even ridiculous or thought-provoking seeing anyone with a mask in learning institutions.

Nowadays, many people appreciate the role of masks in preventing COVID-19. Educational institutions worldwide have made wearing face masks obligatory.

With no end in sight for the pandemic, masks remain an invaluable resource for safer learning. It brings certain discomfort and public uproar in some countries, but the uptake by learning institutions is commendable. It is a small price to pay for saving lives.

Higher Hygiene Standards

Every school had a unique hygiene routine before COVID-19. Most institutions didn't monitor individual students' hygiene habits. Learning went on without much thought on enforcing cleanliness. General cleaning procedures mainly focused on maintaining a conducive environment for all.

In 2020, an emphasis was placed on the high standards of hygiene for all institutions. In particular, hand washing and sanitizers placed at various convenient locations became a necessity. High hygiene requirements are an important preventive measure against COVID-19. Sure, young learners occasionally forget to wash their hands and use sanitizers. However, their teachers can remind them what to do to keep the infection at bay.

covid 19 student life

Increased Parent Participation

Pre-COVID-19 learning was devoid of high levels of parent participation. Apart from occasional calls and school visits, there was little to show commitment in their children's lives. Given the hectic lives modern parents lead, it is clear that they lack time to show support in schoolwork. It is difficult for teachers to engage parents in their child's studying.

With the shift to online learning, parents' support and understanding of children's learning needs have increased. For instance, parents of young learners assist their kids in using online learning platforms during lessons. With such dedicated involvement, children are more likely to attend all classes and register better grades.

Virtual Graduations

Graduation is a big deal for all learners, and it is filled with lots of joy. Parents and students all look forward to this day – the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance. Students get to celebrate it with their family members and close an important chapter in their lives.

Post-COVID-19 graduation ceremonies have taken place online across several institutions. Students dreaming about a normal graduation day had to accept that things have changed. Despite disappointment among them, many still find great relief graduating virtually after a tough academic year. Regardless of its shortcomings, virtual graduation is as life-changing as a traditional one.

life of students during pandemic virtual graduation

Facing Educational Inequalities

Education inequalities are not a new phenomenon. They are prevalent in most countries and constitute a sad reflection of the current world. Students come from diverse backgrounds. Some of them suffer extreme poverty, while others enjoy an abundance of opportunities. Private and public learning institutions provide different education standards despite sharing a curriculum.

Pre-COVID-19 times have made these inequalities much more obvious. More people are aware that there is a discrepancy between the well-to-do and underprivileged individuals in education. For example, disadvantaged students may lack learning resources like online interaction tools and find it difficult to access the Internet.

Despite these challenges, all students pass similar exams. As a result, many stakeholders develop different strategies to promote fairness in the learning environment.

Conclusion

Life before and after the pandemic provided the average student with varied experiences. While there have been some notable gains for the education sector, there is still a need for improvement. Students explored the possibilities created by technology for learners. Despite missing out on the social aspect of learning, they were lucky to attend classes virtually when people worldwide were fighting for their lives.

There is hope for a quicker return to the pre-COVID-19 times with the development of vaccines. The changes brought by the pandemic are hard to erase, and some, like the digital migration, are here to stay. The resumption of learning is a clear sign of human resilience – finding a way to continue thriving in the face of challenges.

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History Of Baccarat


By | source: Nov 26th, 2020

Whether you choose to play at home or at a casino, online or using a physical deck of cards, there are literally dozens of different card games you can learn. While some have practically disappeared with the sands of time, others, like poker or blackjack, have been around for hundreds of years and seem to get more popular with each new generation of players. 

 

Baccarat is a game that lies somewhere between these two, and its popularity has gone through peaks and troughs over time. The game is easy to play, and the set-up and gameplay are ideally suited to the online world. As a result, it is one of the most popular games to play in online casinos right now, and sites like playbaccarat.xyz provide new players with all the strategy tips they might need. But how did we arrive at this position? Let’s take a look back at the history of this intriguing game. 

 

Italian origins and Macao

 

Tracing the very beginning of a game is always difficult, as each game is inspired by something else, and you can effectively go back and back through that evolution of inspirations. Most sources, such as that fount of all knowledge Wikipedia, will tell you that baccarat was first played around 200 years ago in France. The truth is a little more complex.

 

The Italian game of Macao involves trying to make a total of nine, and some people even refer to it informally as Italian Baccarat. However, it could be more accurate to call baccarat French Macao, as there are records of the game being played by Austro-Hungarian soldiers in the mid 18th century. 

 

Even older inspirations

 

Yet there are some who believe the history of baccarat can be traced back even further. The concept of getting a score as close as possible to nine is core to two games that date back to ancient times. The first is Pai Gow, a dominos-type game that originates in China. Pai Gow literally translates as “make nine,” and the game is still popular in casinos in Asia to this day. 

 

The second link goes back to Ancient Rome. Traditionally, vestal virgins would cast dice and the result would indicate the strength of their faith and their destiny. The best score was eight or nine, meaning she was destined to be a high priestess. Six or seven meant she was not cut out to be a vestal virgin, while any other number, in the typically dramatic style of the times, meant she must walk out into the sea and drown herself. 

 

The similarities with the basic precepts of baccarat are plain to see. Nine is the ideal number, and the further you are from it, the worse the result. However, we can only speculate as to how much influence this Ancient Roman tradition, as well as the game of Pai Gow, had on the creation of baccarat. What we know for sure is that baccarat was first referred to by name in France in the early 1800s, so that is where the trail leads us next. 

baccarat

French baccarat – evolution and revolution

 

Unlike vingt et un, which became modern blackjack, there is little mention of baccarat being played in the pre-revolutionary days, although the game almost certainly existed back in the 18th century. Yet there is not the same history of it being played by the idle rich is the halls of Versailles. The game only became fashionable in the new republic, and in the 1830s, two versions, Chemin de Fer and En Banque emerged. 

 

The first translates as “railway” and remains the most popular version of baccarat in France to this day. The name dates the game with some accuracy, as France opened its first railway in 1832, and this marvel of transportation was being discussed across the nation in the early 1830s. The second version of baccarat evolved into the “punto banco” version of the game that is played in the USA. The two variations are not drastically different, and you can find out more about them in this player’s guide. 

 

Baccarat in the USA

 

In 1871, the New York Times painted its readers a picture of the Long Branch clubhouse, where visitors “flocked around the baccarat board.” That is the first reference to the game being played in America. Fast forward to 1899, and there is a report in the New York Times of 20 Frenchmen being arrested for playing baccarat in what must have been a highly dramatic gambling bust. 

 

These anecdotes disprove the popular theory that baccarat was introduced to the USA in 1911, and demonstrate beyond question that the game reached American shores some time in the mid to late 1800s. Yet despite having clearly been around for half a century, the game was not specifically mentioned in Assembly Bill 98, which legalized gambling in 1931. 

 

When Las Vegas began to take on a life of its own, The Sands was the first casino to offer baccarat on The Strip, when it opened its doors in 1958. Yet the Chemin de Fer on offer failed to capture the imagination. By the 1960s, Punto Banco had gained popularity thanks to Tommy Renzoni, who actually imported the game from Argentina. This is the variation that remains most popular to this day.

 

Renzoni is often credited as the man who brought baccarat to the masses, but he had more than a little marketing help from across the pond. In 1953, UK author Ian Fleming penned a certain novel that would secure the game of baccarat’s place in popular culture. 

 

Popular appeal and the most famous baccarat game ever

 

In Casino Royale, we are introduced for the first time to James Bond. His mission is to take on criminal kingpin Le Chiffre at the baccarat table of an exclusive casino, clearly modelled on Casino de Monte Carlo, and to make sure his adversary loses. Ian Fleming, a keen gambler himself, dedicates page after page to explaining the rules of the game, expounding different strategies and finally talking us through Bond’s encounter with Le Chiffre in minute detail

 

From a 21st century perspective, we could argue that Fleming’s novel would have benefited from a slightly more ruthless editor. But at the time, copies flew from the shelves. Casino Royale became an international bestseller, and suddenly everyone was talking about James Bond and the game of baccarat. 

 

This makes it seem all the more bizarre that when Casino Royale finally got the big screen treatment it deserved, the directors chose to swap the game of baccarat for Texas Holdem poker. The reason for this was changing fashions in gaming. But as we will see when we look at baccarat’s recent history, these fashions can cut both ways. 

 

From WSOP to the online revolution

 

When the World Series of Poker swept the world in the 1980s, Texas Holdem was the only card game that anyone wanted to talk about. Sure, people were still playing blackjack in the casinos, but poker was the game for serious players, while baccarat was considered a throwback to the old days and dwindled in popularity. Nobody would dare dispute that James Bond is a serious player, so from that perspective, Bond director Martin Campbell’s decision makes sense for the time. 

 

If the movie had been made just a few years later, however, baccarat might well have remained the game of choice. As we moved into the 2010s, the internet became flooded with online casinos. In an immensely competitive marketplace, the challenge for the casino platforms was to stand out from the crowd. Offering something a little different is always a good way to do so, and baccarat seemed an obvious choice. 

 

The game appeals to the new brand of online casino players for two reasons. First of all, as a game that is played against the cards as opposed to directly against an opponent, it lends itself to online gaming with a random number generator. Secondly, winning or losing is more about luck and courage than skill. Yes, there is a degree of strategy, but it is more to do with mathematics and betting progressions than the kind of gameplay knowledge you need in poker. 

 

As such, baccarat is a great game for beginners.  A little like roulette, having little experience does not set you at a disadvantage, and you stand as good a chance of winning as someone who has been playing the game for decades. 

 

Baccarat’s online popularity has led to it once again becoming a common sight in the real-world casinos of 2020. After all, when someone visits Las Vegas or Monte Carlo today, they want to play the games they have practiced online. And so, what was seen as a throwback to old times just a couple of decades ago is today once again one of the most commonly played casino games. Why not give it a try for yourself next time you are looking for an online diversion or perhaps exploring the Vegas Strip?

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Blog Posted In Business, eCommerce, Internet, Marketing

Introducing The Most Popular Online Wallets


By | source: Nov 19th, 2020

2020 will go down in history for a whole lot of reasons, and most are ones we will be keen to forget. However, an interesting side-effect to the headline events of 2020 is that this is the year we spent more of our time and money in cyberspace than ever before. Now despite the fact that more of us are doing it than ever, keying in our personal banking details always leads to a certain degree of anxiety. Just who has access to this information, and what will they do with it?

 

Using a digital wallet is an elegant and secure alternative. It essentially provides an extra buffer to protect your hard-earned money, as there is no need to share your main bank account details with third party vendors. Digital wallets are also designed specifically for the digital world. What this means is that transactions are fast, as well as secure. For example, suppose you buy a jacket online, but it doesn’t fit, and you need to return it for a refund. Pay using a digital wallet like PayPal, and your money will typically land back in the digital account almost instantly when the refund is processed. Pay using your debit card, and the processing time can be several days.

 

 

If you are thinking of opening up a digital wallet, there are plenty to choose from. Which one is right for you depends on the type of purchases you make and the device you use to surf the net. Here, we will guide you through some of the most popular online wallets. 

PayPal

 

PayPal has the distinction of being the first digital wallet to really hit the mainstream, bringing the concept of digital transactions to the masses before the turn on the millennium. This is thanks to the shrewd partnerships it entered into with websites like eBay. These days, the majority of retailers accept PayPal. These include the majority of fashion brands as well as many health and beauty retailers and tech sites. 

 

PayPal is also a popular payment platform in the freelancer community, especially in the growing gig economy. It’s a fast and straightforward way to make payments in multiple currencies and across international borders. 

 

PayPal has reacted to challenges from new and innovative competitors by always keeping its product offering fresh. For example, its mobile app allows people to use PayPal in the physical world and to pay with a touch of their smartphone. 

 

So is the original the best? Despite its mass popularity, there are a few downsides you need to know about. If you are not verified, there is a cap on the size and number of transactions you can make. Getting verified can be done over the phone, but does involve a fair amount of form filling. Still, you only have to do it once. PayPal also has a habit of freezing accounts without prior warning and with little explanation. Getting the account unfrozen usually involves providing documentary evidence to explain whatever transactions have been flagged as suspicious. Again, it is not usually complicated, but it can take up to 48 hours to resolve.

 

PayPal fees are also something of an enigma. While most retail purchases do not incur a fee, you can be charged for business transactions. There is also a fee of just over four percent for currency conversions.

 

Neteller

 

This e-wallet is massively popular in the igaming arena, and remains the payment method of choice among casino players. There’s more guidance on that specific area here on this site, along with some other useful tips. However, it is important to understand that Neteller is not just for financing gambling. 

 

The wallet is accepted by thousands of online sellers across multiple sectors. It’s a good choice if you make a lot of online purchases, as you will be rewarded points for each transaction. These soon mount up and can be exchanged for gift cards or even cashback rewards.  

 

Neteller has gained a reputation as the most secure payment wallet around. Doubtless, that is part of the reason it is so popular with the high roller casino gamers. The platform holds all funds in secure trust accounts and is constantly updating its security protocols to be right at the cutting edge. 

 

Instant transactions, great rewards and top notch security make Neteller sound like an obvious choice, so what’s the catch? That can be answered in one word: fees. All those good things come at a cost, and you will typically be charged a 2.5 percent deposit fee. Some transactions also incur withdrawal fees, depending on where you are sending the funds. There is also a four percent fee for currency conversions. 

 

The only other area of concern with Neteller is the customer support, or more accurately, the lack of it. While you can, with a little determination and patience, speak to a human at PayPal 24/7, Neteller’s support lines are only manned during office hours, and you will be strongly urged to send an email and wait a day or two for a response.    

 

Payoneer

 

If you make plenty of international, commercial or B2B payments, Payoneer is well worth your consideration. You can open up an account absolutely free and every account holder is issued with a free virtual wallet. 

 

It is touted as the world’s leading online payment platform and offers accounts in all the major currencies, including USD, CAD, GBP, EUR and various others. Payoneer outscores the other providers we have discussed so far when it comes to international payments because of its super low fees for transactions and currency conversion. 0.5 percent is dramatically lower than the amount you will pay to PayPal or Neteller.

 

These factor make it the tool of choice for small business entrepreneurs, freelancers, affiliate marketers and the like. It is also used by the international giants with which many of these people operate. Companies like Airbnb, Upwork and Fiverr all pay their members using the Payoneer platform. 

 

On top of all that, Payoneer offers users a prepaid Mastercard. Here, however, you need to proceed with caution, as it comes with an annual fee, and you will also be charged every time you load it up. There are also some spending limits, although these are only likely to become an issue if you are a business user making multiple transactions in the thousands of dollars. These shortcomings aside, Payoneer is unrivalled for international transactions, and can ultimately save you a small fortune in currency fees compared to its rivals. 

 

Apple, Google and Samsung Pay

 

We will mention these together, as they are so similar – the one you use simply depends on your smartphone preferences and whether you have an iOS or Android device. These are the e-wallets that first broke through to the physical world and made it possible to buy a coffee with a wave of your handset. 

 

For sheer convenience, they are difficult to beat. An exceptionally neat feature is that there is no need to provide additional proof of identity when making a purchase, as all the necessary authentication takes place on the handset. 

 

Despite initial skepticism and rumors, independent cybersecurity experts agree that they are highly secure. Authentication varies slightly between the apps. Apple Pay or Samsung Pay users can authenticate their purchases by either using a PIN or biometrics. Google Pay only requires the handset to be unlocked and you can shop away to your heart’s content. 

 

This does, of course, mean that you need to have good security on your phone, as leaving it unattended and unlocked is tantamount to leaving a purse or wallet lying around bursting with cash. However, it is worth noting that if the worst happens and your phone is lost or stolen, all three services can be remotely disabled with immediate effect. This will also wipe all your financial information and transactions from the handset. 

 

Some people are still a little unsure about the security of these apps, but let’s put it this way – they are certainly far safer than carrying a billfold of notes in your pocket. In the final analysis, if you typically make your online transactions using a mobile device, there is really no need to look any further.  

Choosing your wallet

 

Business or personal, regular or occasional, retail or B2B, domestic or international, mobile or desktop? These are some of the important questions that you need to ask yourself in order to find the online wallet that is right for your purposes.

 

There are plenty more beside the ones we have discussed here, but these are among the most popular among very specific groups, and with good reason. Today, digital transactions are all around us, and they will become still more commonplace over the coming months and years. Set yourself up with the right online wallet now and you can make transactions in the virtual world in confidence and safety, future-proofing yourself and your finances against whatever the world might throw at us in 2021 and beyond. 

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