Software Recommendations

2013 Payment Gateway Comparison: What's Best For Your Business?

Whether your business transactions occur exclusively online or you're just taking the steps to allow customers to place online orders, you'll need a way to securely accept customer payments. The majority of businesses on the web are using a third-party provider for payment gateways. These payment gateways offer a variety of options, allowing your business to make the most of their services and use what works for your business. Our good friends at Formstack created this helpful infographic that breaks down the process of choosing a payment, including fees and features that will help you make the right choice. 2013 Payment Gateway Comparison Infographic The bottom line? Here's what you'll want to keep in mind: Keeping the cost low The first thing you are likely to look at is the fee breakdown for the gateway. Many charge some mix of a flat or monthly fee, plus a fee per transaction that would either be a flat fee or a percentage fee. If you don't have an online transaction history, it's hard to know how many transactions you'll have and which work best in relation to cost. It's important to choose a gateway that will allow you to switch to a higher or lower fee, depending on the volume of sales. To card or not to card? You'll need to know what types of credit or debit cards are accepted by your payment gateway. Some gateways even allow non card payments into their system, allowing you to report transactions without any hassle. It also allows your customers to choose how they'll pay instead of having you choose for them. It's worth looking into, with so many options available. Managing integration Some gateways will collect payment on-form, which will allow customer to pay without going to another page. Others will re-direct customers to their server for payment. Because of this, you'll need to integrate payment processing with your website. Keep in mind you’ll also need to make sure that any gateway you are considering can integrate with your website’s software, since your customers will be sent to the gateway's payment page to complete their transaction.

3 Video Testimonial Tool Features To Look Out For

 3 Video Testimonial Tool Features To Look Out For Integrating video testimonials into your marketing strategy doesn't have to be difficult. Finding video testimonial tool features, with only so many hours in the day, can seem daunting. It all boils down to knowing what you're looking for. So, what are you looking for? There's a lot to choose from out there, and we picked 3 features that will make receiving video testimonials easy on your business, and the clients who are providing them.

Mobility

Mobile is key. Some old school employers don't understand the necessity of mobile optimization. They'll sit up and take notice when you mention that over 1.2 billion people access the web through their mobile device. That number is nothing to scoff at, especially when you consider that it's growing all the time. Consumers can easily access content from their tablets, or smartphones - and that includes recording and watching video. If you're not reaching out to over 1.2 billion people by incorporating mobility - you're clearly missing out in a big way. With so many people taking technology on-the-go, it's a key factor in keeping up with them.

Recording on site

Keep consumers on your website with the use of a widget - allowing them to record, view, and send video testimonials right then and there. It's convenient, and they're most likely to be inspired when they're faced with other testimonials for them to add to. It's important to keep the process simple, and allowing them to record right from the site accomplishes that. If there are too many steps involved, even the happiest client will be turned off by the process. Keep your clients happy and you'll find they're very willing to provide that credibility boost for your brand in the form of a video testimonial.

Embedding

Where are you looking to place videos? If you want to place them on a website,or tweak the placement on social media pages, make sure you can embed. Placement is a huge deal with video testimonials. They generally do well on pages where consumers are expected to make a buying decision, but it's important that you can re-locate them and track their success. Each business is different, and video will do better on some pages than others. With the ability to embed them, you can see what works best for your business and adjust accordingly. The right video testimonial tool features can be the difference between an easy, streamlined process, and one that makes receiving videos more difficult than it needs to be. Mobility and on-site recording address shifts in technology that make it easier than ever for consumers to connect with your brand. Embedding reflects what's needed on the business end of things, by providing you with the ability to adjust with what works best for your brand. At the end of the day, it boils down to making the process easier on your business, and getting you the results you're looking for.

Are You An Entrepreneur? Your Next Tax Deadline May Be Sooner Than You Think

TaxesThis guest post is brought to you by Outright, the simplest way to manage your small business finances online. Sign up today for a less taxing tax time! One of the gripes we hear most from our customers at online accounting app Outright is that tax time seems to come around so much more often when you’re self-employed. In fact, another quarterly estimated tax (QET) due date is right around the corner, on Monday, September 16. To help you make QET time much easier, here are four things you can do today to prepare better. While they won’t eliminate the fact you still have to file these taxes regularly, they can make the whole matter much less painful. 1. Get Organized One of the biggest problems small business owners run into with QETs is scrambling to find all the necessary paperwork when you need it. When you’re running your business you may not stick to a strict filing system and just stick papers wherever you can find space. However, that doesn’t do you any favors when it’s time to deal with QETs. So before tax time actually gets here, figure out a filing system that works for you. It’s easy to think “well the system I have now works ok,” but try to imagine one that’s even better. Instead of those boxes of papers in your closet, digitize everything so it’s not only easier to find but also searchable. 2. Stay Organized It’s easy to let everything you’ve done to prepare for this tax season slip when the next tax season rolls around. However, the real key to beating the QETs is staying on top of them at all times. Once you get a real system going they just become another part of your business ritual. One tip is to get an account at Outright. This way you don’t have to track how much you’re making and spending yourself. Instead, it’s all right there in front of you 24/7. And if you’re an Outright Plus customer, we’ll even calculate how much you owe in quarterlies without you having to lift a calculator. 3. Figure Out Your Deductions Do you work out of your home? Do you spend a lot of time on the road for your business? How much do you end up spending on materials for your company? If you’re not taking deductions on your taxes you’re paying way too much to the government. Look up which ones you may qualify for to help lower your responsibility. For example, if you work from home in a dedicated office room, you most likely qualify for a home office deduction. 4. Sign Up for EFTPS Filing via paperwork can take forever and might also lead to human error. This is the age of the computer; why not take advantage of it for your taxes? The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System is provided free by the Department of the Treasury and allows you to file online in no time flat. You don’t need any extra information that you would need if you were filing by paper. Just sign up, input the relevant info, and pay what you owe. Now you can move on with your life instead of worrying about your taxes all the time. Even better, since you’ve also performed the previous steps, next time will be a breeze as well!

Choosing A Video Testimonial Recorder That Compliments Your Marketing Strategy

Choosing A Video Testimonial Recorder That Compliments Your Marketing Strategy What challenges come with finding a video testimonial recorder that works for your needs? We know that clients are more than happy to speak on behalf of their favorite brands, whether it's by word of mouth, or taking the time to record a testimonial that will appeal to other consumers. The easy part is asking for videos, and working with clients to receive them. The harder part is finding a recorder that meets your needs. We're here to simplify the search for you. Here's what you should look for: Location Where are you going to collect video testimonials? The more direct you are about the process, in terms of placement, the better. Clients won't want to be re-routed to film their testimonial, so it's better to keep them from having to navigate to multiple pages. Two places to start are on your website, and Facebook account. Both locations lend themselves to client interaction, and make them the perfect spot for asking and receiving video testimonials. Keep in mind - your recorder should also allow clients to record from a mobile device. The use of tablets, and phones to access the internet has been on the rise. Not just on-the-go, but even at home, consumers are using them more and more, accounting for a large online presence. The video testimonial recorder should reflect that usage. Content placement Once you have the content, where's it going? Placing it on a website testimonial page is a no brainer. Video testimonials do well when paired with text to establish a connection with consumers, and promote trust in the brand. Where else are you looking to place them? They'll do well in multiple areas on your website, including pages where consumers experience anxiety about entering personal information, or making a purchasing decision. Look for a recorder that will allow you to display content where it fits. Embedding will allow you to make changes to your placement instead of limiting where content is going. Utilize your options The great thing about video content is its capacity for variety. You want video testimonials to accomplish what text endorsements can't. Video has shareability, and allows consumers to relate to the person who's speaking - and that's something text can't do for marketing. Video testimonials aside, there are a variety of other ways you should be able to use your recorder. For example, will it lend itself to collecting entries for a Facebook video contest? How about using recordings in blog posts? If you want to film a product demo or collect demonstrations or feedback from clients, and integrate it into your blog, your recorder should enable you to do that instead of holding you back. It's important to keep in mind that marketing strategies aren't going to remain the same. Marketing is always shifting, evolving toward future goals as they change, and re-direct. Video testimonials are an excellent addition to your marketing strategy. At the same time, it's key to keep the future in mind, so your recorder helps, and doesn't hinder your marketing strategy.

Video Testimonial Plugin: 3 Must-Have Features

Video Testimonial Plugin We already know about the power of customer recorded testimonials. Before you get started, you need to take a look at video testimonial plugin features to find what will keep up with your video needs. Here are the must-haves for your video testimonial recorder plugin.

Time-limited

Consumers want to know what users are saying. If we're being mindful about customer service, we want to know what they're saying, too! What's being said in testimonials can be a wonderful tool for meaningful change from the inside, but quite a bit of power rests in what it can do for other consumers. It's essential that clients stay on track during their video testimonial. Content should be able to convey the necessary information in a concise, efficient manner. Rambling testimonials won't be as effective because viewers are prone to clicking away if they're attention isn't captured and held. If you're using a plugin, you can keep users on track by placing a time limit. That way, they can nail their talking points without you having to worry about editing the content down to a reasonable time. Consumers have a delicate attention span and this will be a huge help.

Mobile compatibility

Mobile usage is soaring. Across the board, users are  taking their online presence on-the-go. Shopping, surfing, checking in with their favorite brands - all easier than ever. Even if users are at home a huge part of their time online is facilitated through a mobile device. In order to be able to really connect, you want to make sure they can submit testimonials via smartphone and tablet. Mobility isn't expected to slow down. If your plugin isn't allowing you to receive submissions from devices, it's not going to do much for your business.

Playlist options

Chances are, you're not going to display every testimonial you receive. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some testimonials will pertain to a specific initiative. Or maybe you receive a handful over time that are not on par with the content you want on your website. Whatever the reason, a playlist allows you to stream the videos you want others to see. This also means that you can adjust which videos you're using over time. There will be new video testimonials, different campaigns - all an opportunity to display what's relevant at the time. As far as re-vamping your marketing strategy - video testimonials are an excellent starting point. They build trust, which is one of many steps toward maintaining a healthy image as your brand grows. Video connects consumers, brings them together for meaningful conversations that might take place at a distance from the brand. Video testimonials also bring together short and long term goals. If you keep in mind where you're heading for future marketing efforts, video will be an important step in getting you there.

Does The Video Testimonial App You Use Have An Embed Function?

Video Testimonial AppWhy does it matter?

I think it's fair to assume that you want to be in control of your video testimonials. This includes everything from how you receive them, to where they're placed, and keeping track of content you receive. Video testimonial apps can do a lot of work behind the scenes to make it easier for you to receive content, and easier on the clients providing it. Let's check out how.

Embedding 101

Embedding gives you the ability to place video on your site. Instead of limiting your options to the page where the video is uploaded, you can move it from your site to a blog, or wherever you like prospective clients will check it out. Embedding is as easy as copying a code and pasting it into your blog or web software, which is pretty handy with video testimonials since they can be placed in a variety of locations.

What your app should be doing:

Automatic organization: How great would it be to have your testimonials and other campaigns organized by subject matter? Instead of having to sort through content, apps can keep everything straight, organizing each campaign so it's a breeze to skim through. Organization isn't everyone's strong suit. And if it isn't yours, an app can mean no more digging through or struggling to come up with a way to keep things in order. Customer reach: Improve your reach by hitting up customers where they hang out. Apps allow you to reach out and engage through social media, email, and more. Instead of relying on them to come to you, you go to them. It makes sense on multiple levels to find out where your target audience is so you can be there, too. Convenience: We know consumers and even our most devoted clients get turned off when they have to jump through hoops to make something happen. Apps promote convenience that consumers appreciate. It can be as easy as shooting the video and submitting the testimonial via phone app. Rather than requiring them to go to multiple sites, they can shoot and submit. Keeps it simple and stress-free! You have control: Not every testimonial will make the cut. Sometimes the video quality is an issue, or there's just a better video to showcase your brand being good at what you do. You app should give you the control to approve which testimonials are seen on your website and other outlets. You can also choose to include a custom logo, and make other decisions about what's best for your brand.

The takeaway

A video testimonial app should help your marketing efforts instead of hindering them. Before you make the decision to go with one app over another, it helps to keep in mind convenience, control, and the other factors that are important to you. On the other hand, if you already have an app and find that it isn't working so well for your needs, it can also mean checking in and re-evaluating what it could be doing better.

The Best Video Testimonial WordPress Plugins

Video Testimonial WordPress PluginIt's a great time to be in the market for video testimonial WordPress plugins that can make your life easier. You can easily achieve a clean, simple looking design that allows viewers to focus on what you want them to. At the same time, you don't have to abandon organization. A lot of us have trouble staying orderly on the back end of things. That doesn't have to be an issue with plugins that are designed to keep you on track. Here are some video testimonial WordPress plugins for you to check out:
Easy Testimonials
From the site:

"Easy Testimonials WordPress plugin works with any theme and looks great. Convince your visitors in the greatness of your business by showing of nice looking testimonials. Some other features of this WordPress plugin are as follows."

Features:
  • CSS/JS only, no images used for effects
  • Clean and lightweight code
  • Works with any theme
  • Three display modes with autoplay
  • Easy to install and use with Shortcode system for easy display of testimonials anywhere you want
  • Dedicated support from plugin author
Testimonials by Aihrus
From the site:

"Testimonials by Aihrus lets you randomly slide or list selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with images or videos on your WordPress site. You can insert Testimonials content via shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and having multiple display options such as random or specific ordering."

Features
  • API to manipulate testimonials output and selection
  • Admin interface to add, edit and manage testimonials
  • Fields for source, testimonial, image, title, location, email, company and URL details
  • Minimalist CSS styling for easier theming
  • Multiple paging options for testimonials listings
  • Schema.org microdata format for improved search engine results
My Content Management
From the site:

"My Content Management creates a suite of custom post types, each with a custom taxonomy and a set of commonly needed custom fields. A single common interface to create popularly desired content tools.

In addition to the default custom post types and custom field groups, you can create new custom post types, create new groups of custom fields, and edit the post types and custom field groups that are built in."

Testimonial Rotator
From the site:

"This plugin creates a testimonial and a testimonial rotator custom post type, complete with WordPress admin fields for adding testimonials and assigning them to rotators for display. It includes a Widget and Shortcode to display the testimonials.

It's designed with minimal CSS so it will blend with your theme and can easily be updated to match your theme by your developer."

  Which plugin features would you find most helpful for displaying video testimonials? There are a ton of options that can help you out. From display and the way you want things to look for viewers, to the trickier organizational stuff that we could all use a little help with. It's mostly a matter of knowing what you're looking for!

3 More Video Editing Tools to Enhance Your Testimonial Footage (Part 2)

3 More Video Editing Tools to Enhance Your Testimonial Footage (Part 2)Video testimonials are an important way of showcasing your business, since they show examples of real, satisfied customers enjoying your product or service. Because they show real people talking about your products in their own words, video testimonials are typically more credible than many other types of advertisements. While it's important your video testimonials maintain that authentic feel, occasionally a few light edits to your testimonial footage may be needed. We recently posted some great options for video editing software, but those aren't the only ones out there. Here are a few more video editing tools worth considering:
AVS Video Editor (Windows)
This Windows-based video editing software by Online Media Technologies allows you to modify, combine and edit user videos, with built-in support for a variety of file formats, resolutions and video compression algorithms. AVS Video Editor is offered as an unlimited free version. (You can also purchase it for $59 to gain access to the manufacturer's other software products.)
Final Cut Pro (Mac)
This famous video editing software for Mac provides easy, seamless editing of videos. Final Cut Pro works well with any video format that is compatible with QuickTime. Because the software is from Apple, Final Cut Pro integrates well into the Apple "ecosystem." Final Cut Pro costs $299.
Lightworks (Windows, Macintosh, Linux)
Lightworks is one of the few video editing systems that's compatible with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. The ability to work with so many operating systems is a benefit to companies where different employees use different kinds of computers. In addition to the usual video editing capabilities, Lightworks offers multi-cam editing and a selection of real-time effects. Lightworks works with a wide variety of video formats and is available in both free and "Pro" versions. Video testimonials are a great way to build customer trust in your business. Whatever your needs may be, there's a video editing software available to you.

3 Video Editing Tools to Help Enhance Your Testimonial Footage

3 Video Editing Tools to Help Enhance Your Testimonial FootageSo you have hours upon hours of footage detailing all of the wonderful things your product or service does in the form of customer testimonials. However, you can't always just throw all that unedited video up on your website and call it a day. And while unedited video testimonials can appear more authentic, sometimes a few minor tweaks are needed before uploading or promoting your content. That said, here are three video editing tools that can help you create your finished product.
1. Microsoft Movie Maker
If you have a tight video budget, an advantage to using Movie Maker is the free software download. The software itself is fairly rudimentary. Once you upload the unedited footage, you can perform basic edits such as splitting and cropping footage and rearranging clips. Adjusting the volume of the audio in the raw footage is simple, but your audio controls are also limited. This software does allow you to add a single track of audio for background music and add transitions between clips.
2. iMovie
Another tool for a tight budget, iMovie comes free on newer Mac computers and only costs $14.99 for older models. Similar to Movie Maker, iMovie provides all of the basic editing you would expect in an editing software, including cropping, splitting, and rearranging. However, iMovie also offers a green screen effect. The effect is simple to use and can help add some depth (or humor) to your videos. iMovie is also available as an app for IOS devices, but the app is much more limited than the desktop version.
3. Camtasia
Camtasia is available for both PC and Mac, but it costs $299.00 for Windows and $99.00 for Mac. One of the major advantages to using Camtasia over the free software is the editing options. Not only do you have a green screen effect, you also have visual tools that allow for manipulation of light, size, and orientation. Other features are multiple track options which allow you to layer video and audio. Even with the advanced options, the layout of the program is fairly user-friendly. No matter which tools you choose, remember to keep that raw, authentic feel to your videos in order to resonate with your prospects. Less is more!

Are You Getting the Most out of Your Video Testimonial App?

Video Testimonial AppEven if you're aware of your needs and how they'll change as you grow, checking in to determine if you're getting the most out of your video testimonial app is always a smart choice. There are some features that you might know that you need, right from the jump. Others, you'll come to appreciate with more experience working with a video testimonial app and testimonials in general. Here's the rundown of what your video testimonial app should be doing for you.
Ease of use
This is one of the most basic aspects, but still an important one to consider! On the back end - is navigation easy? Does the layout feel too clogged or confusing? You should have a streamlined layout that allows you to get all the behind the scenes work done without having to wade through unnecessary clutter. On the front end, it's important that clients and employees can download the app and use it on the go. If an employee asks for a video testimonial at a conference or other gathering where industry peers will be in attendance, you want to know they'll be able to grab a quick, quality video that can be uploaded without a problem.
Customization
Having a variety of customization options means you can keep up brand continuity. Why is brand continuity important? It means consumers can put a name to who you are based on a logo, color scheme, or other choices that are unique to your brand. As soon as they see it, they think of you. It's important that you extend that recognition to your testimonials.
On-site recording
Not everyone who wants to give a testimonial is tech savvy, or maybe they're under a time crunch and want to record it and send it right from your site. Whatever the case may be, it only makes sense that you'd have the option directly on your site. This makes the process that much easier, which means your clients will be more likely to repeat the process if you ask them to.
Organization
How is your app on organization? If you're like me, and not the best at keeping an orderly system, an app that allows tagging and editing options is a must. Tagging means that you can group testimonials in a way that makes sense to you, and makes it easier for viewers to comb through. Having a variety of editing options means you can correct mistakes easily and without too much hassle.

The Best Video Testimonial WordPress Plugins [Updated for 2015]

The Best Video Testimonial WordPress Plugins [Updated for 2015]The right video testimonial WordPress plugins can make all the difference when it comes to displaying customer reviews on your website. 

But with all of the choices available, it can be difficult to research and find those that suit your needs. 

A while back, we listed some of the best Wordpress plugin options for displaying and organizing customer testimonials. Not only are these still our favorites, they also have several new features available to make adding video testimonials to your website even easier:

Testimonials Widget

Testimonials Widget

Features:

  • Admin interface to add, edit and manage testimonials
  • Fields for source, testimonial, image, title, location, email, company and URL details
  • Simply styled for easy theme adaption
  • Multiple paging options for testimonials listings
  • Built-in Review schema improved search engine results
  • Recent testimonials widget
  • Shortcodes and theme functions for listings and rotation
  • Widgets for testimonial's archives, categories, recent, slider, and tag cloud
Testimonial Rotator

Testimonial Rotator

Features:

  • Rotator setting options
  • Add testimonials to multiple rotators
  • Star ratings
  • Ability to make custom templates
  • Pagination in list format
  • Dedicated support
Easy Testimonials

Easy Testimonials

Features:

  • Responsive themes
  • Easy-to-use interface for managing, editing, creating, and deleting testimonials
  • Category function to organize testimonials
  • Display ratings with testimonials
  • Easy to install and use with Shortcode system for easy display of testimonials anywhere you want
  • Dedicated support from plugin author (Pro version only)

Have you used any of the plugins above? What features did you like best or wish were included? Comment below and let us know!