Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

How to Boost E-Commerce Sales Through Social Media

13-Experts-Share-Their-Views-on-How-to-Boost-E-Commerce-Sales-Through-Social-Media-3

When many businesses think of online marketing, they first consider social media. It’s the best way to reach customers, since it has a measurable impact on customer purchases, especially for millennial.

However, the platform seems to be most effective in building brand awareness and driving local sales. E-commerce businesses have an ongoing challenge to drive traffic to their websites, where they turn visitors into paying customers. Read More

Sitemaps Its importance to Websites Zestard Technologies

Sitemaps – Its importance to Websites

A sitemap is a list or diagram which represents the hierarchical structure of the HTML pages in the website. It is a website designing planning tool. In other words it is a way to tell Google and other search engines about one’s website pages which might not be discoverable otherwise. The main aim of creating a sitemap is to make sure that Google knows about all the pages including URLs which might not be discoverable via the normal crawling process of Google. They are also known as URL inclusion protocols as it advices what to crawl. Also it provides valuable metadata associated with the pages listed in the sitemap.

Sitemaps  Benefits / Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:

·         Site has contents which are dynamic in nature.

·         Site has pages that are not easily discoverable during the crawling process.

·         Site is new with few links to it.

·         Site has a large archive of content pages that are not linked to each other at all or are not correctly linked.

Thus in the simplest form it can be said that a sitemap is a document containing all the URLs which the user needs it to be crawled on the website. It also details additional information such as the date a page was last modified, the frequency at which a page changes and the priority a page should be given or not over others. Specific sitemaps can be created for each type of content. For example, one sitemap for blog posts, another for videos and so on.

The importance of Sitemaps should not be downplayed. They help search engines navigate user’s website more easily, which helps search engines index user’s content better. If one thinks website as a building, then the sitemap is a blueprint that informs search engines exactly where everything is located. Click here for More details on helpful SEO tips by our SEO experts.

REST API BenefitsZestardTechnologies Blog Post

REST API Benefits

Before understanding what REST API is, we need to understand these two words separately. First of all we need to understand what REST is?

REST stands for Representational State Transfer. It depends on a client server, stateless, cache able communications protocol and uses HTTP protocol in all cases. It has lower barriers to entry, has a lightweight  approach to things and is a good performer.

REST is an architecture style for designing networked applications. It uses HTTP to make calls between machines rather than using complex mechanisms. REST uses HTTP to Create, Read, Update, Delete operations (CRUD).

Now the next we need to know is about API. API stands for Application Programming Interface. It can be company’s greatest asset. It is intuitive (easy to learn), documented and opinionated (camel case, Ids).

As of now we have understood the meaning of REST and API separately. Now we need to understand what REST API is. As per the definition of Wikipedia REST API is “Web services APIs that adhere to the REST architectural constraints are called RESTful APIs. HTTP based RESTful APIs are defined with these aspects: base URI, has an internet media type for data, standard HTTP methods, and hyperlinks to references.

To list some of the advantages:

  • It is simple.

  • High load can be handled through HTTP cache and proxy server.

  • Complex application can be organised into simple resources.

  • It makes easy for a new client to use other’s application, even if it wasn’t designed specifically for it.

  • It is cleaner and easier to understand and discover.

  • While synchronising data with website, it is easier to use REST as it depends heavily on code.

  • Provides ubiquitous access by using standard HTTP method call-outs to make requests and retrieve information.

  • Provides standards-based security by utilizing the OAuth protocol for authenticating your REST calls.

  • User can gain access to the same data model and standard objects as those in SOAP-based Web services.

  • It provides flexible formats by serializing data in either the XML or JSON format.

We hope it becomes easier to understand what REST API is, its benefits and use at the same time.

Although we have both SOAP and REST in our toolbox, – You want to improve performance by caching web service request results at some point between the service and the consumer.
Caching on the URI of a service is very easy using REST API.

Importance and Need of CRM tools for your Business-1

Importance and Need of CRM tools for your Business

CRM Tools are one of the most necessary software tools to companies which are constantly under pressure of dynamicity and ever changing business environment, where the root cause of this is customer’s needs and requirements and to deal with these critical situations CRM tools tends to be very useful.

Now-a-days many new products enters market every day, businesses in all industries face greater cut-throat competition than ever before. With the marketplace changing at a greater pace a business cannot be at an advantage for too long by just offering a service or a product similar to competitors. A  Product and service offerings are becoming more and more similar with chunks of companies targeting the same customer base. With ample of options to choose from, customers are increasingly fickle and prone to churn. Not only do they scrutinize products and services before spending on them; with the advent of social media they are more capable now to influence the purchasing decision of others as well.

CRM is the name for any system or model used to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future clients or customers. This system is a piece of technology used to organise, automate and synchronise entire customer facing areas within your company: from marketing to sales to customer service to technical support.

It gives you the time to develop other areas of your business, whilst giving you the reassurance that you’re not letting your existing clients down or responding to new enquiries in an efficient manner.

To successfully implement CRM we need to evaluate and formulate a strategy to go with CRM:

A CRM strategy look at all the aspects of the business processes in all the time frames of organizations lifespan and also with the systems that deal with customers, and other functional units under organization like:  Marketing, Sales, Ordering, Customer care, Technical support and Business intelligence/customer analytics. In addition, it should also span all interaction channels, including call centre, retail/branch/outlets, web and mobile self service and sales and service partners. The CRM strategy needs to optimise all of the assisted and unassisted processes and ensure all channels are using the optimised processes consistently.

As with any strategy, it is critical that you should recognise what your key objectives are going to be, both in the short-term and the long-term.

A successful CRM system is not simply a case of going out and buying magic software that will transform your business fortune. The key to it is, knowing what you want to achieve and understanding your customers before you even think about CRM Tool. It takes good planning, starting with clear and achievable goals and deciding, where you want the business to go? And therefore landing on the best CRM tool required for your business!!

Below listed are some of the best CRM tools available in market:

  • Salesforce
  • InfusionSoft
  • Stage CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Oracle Sales Cloud
  • SugarCRM
  • Workbooks CRM
  • SNAPFORCE
  • BILLHORN
  • Base CRM

CRM is important for a business because of the following:

1.       CRM helps in identifying and targeting the customers, generating sales, implementing marketing strategies with clear goals in mind.

2.       CRM helps in building relationship with customers and providing customer support services in the best interest of the customers along with increasing the profitability of the business.

3.       CRM provides with the latest information about the needs and requirements of the customers according to the latest market trends and thus building long lasting relationship between customers and the business.

4.       CRM helps in keeping the details in a centralised form which reduces the process time and thus increasing productivity.

5.       CRM helps in enhancing the net growth of the business by providing customer satisfaction and increasing their loyalty for the business.

6.       CRM can be implemented in a very cost effective manner. It reduces the need of paper and staff. The technology used cheap and thus lot of cost is saved.

 So for today’s dynamic business environment dealing with existing customers along with targeting new ones, CRM becomes the need. Hence in this era of business every organization should be recommended to have a full-fledged CRM system to cope up with all the business needs.

Zestard Meteor partnership News

Zestard is now METEOR Partner

Glad to announce Zestard’s recent Association  – “We are now Meteor Partner” !

Zestard Technologies had plunged in to Full Stack Development with Meteor for two of our Esteemed Clients this year(2015). This has helped our customers for Faster, scale-able Application development and just after that we started digging more in to Meteor Technology and got our Development team trained for more Meteor App Development Work. We are happy that we are among those few developers from Gujarat,India , who work and represent for such a Fresh and successful technology.

This Strategic Partnership is providing another opportunity for all Zestard’s Meteor Application Development Team to lead to next level and we hope to help our clients more ad more, as we will now have Meteor Community support, encouragement and Code-base for Meteor APPs Development. Since, Meteor gives a radically simpler way to build real-time mobile and web apps, entirely in JavaScript from one code base, we are sure all our app development efforts, Customer stories and  case-studies will soon be shared on to Meteor’s.

Meteor is a cohesive and a complete open source development platform for building web and mobile apps in pure JavaScript. Meteor is very flexible about how you structure the files in your app. Node.js and MongoDB usage in Meteor has led it to the next level of the communication layer where the real magic that binds the client and server together. Hence, we can use the same methods to access your database from the client or the server.

Being fully powered, yet the simplest, Meteor , as a “gateway drug” in the world of modern JavaScript development. It is an open source real time JavaScript web application framework written on top of Node.js (a mature, solid web server tool, that speaks JavaScript natively, a reason why it fits so nicely into the Meteor framework seamlessly). The open source nature of Meteor allows and encourages the ever growing community of developers to contribute to an already rich ecosystem. Among the many advantages of Meteor are that it allows for rapid prototyping which helps understand the nature of the development easily and also that it produces cross platform (web, Android, iOS) code. The goal of the Meteor initiative is to enable developers to build applications that are not only a delight to use but also the fastest that are out there in the open.

Below are the benefits of using Meteor:

  • Data on the wire – instead of the server sending HTML to the client, Meteor only sends the minimum data necessary to re-render the portion of the page that has changed. This enables building low-latency single-page applications that avoid whole-page refresh.
  • Cross Platform – It produces cross platform code(web, Android, iOS).
  • Easy to learn for beginners – It is one of the easiest one to learn for starters as they don’t have to learn multiple languages and they can begin development even without being an expert in JavaScript and keep learning along the way.
  • Latency compensation – on the client, Meteor pre-fetches data and simulates models to make it look like server method calls return instantly.
  • Full stack reactivity – all layers, from database to template, update themselves automatically when necessary.
  • Simplicity equals productivity – Due to the easy to learn nature of Meteor, it becomes easier for developers to start contributing to the project from the word go and also keep learning on the way.

Click here to know about benefit of using Meteor App Development Services at Zestard

Zestard ‘s Project Manager gave a talk on Meteor at GDGAhmedabad OSS Framework Event on 20th June 2015.

Here are some glimpse of a successful knowledge share activity encouraged by #ZestardTechnologies and supported by #GDGAhmedabad.

#GDGAhmedabad Event Page: https://plus.google.com/events/gallery/coniecg70i5593aimanuie0qisk?pid=6160693151552832930&oid=106261089114347152720

Presentation Slides: http://bit.ly/magnificent-meteor

Black Hat SEO technic Zestard Technologies

Black Hat SEO – with great POWER comes great RESPONSIBILITY

There are always two routes to reach your goal ( be it life’s goal or your Website’s Marketing Goal ), one , being longer, the difficult route but definitely the righteous one, while the other being the shorter, the easier route but also the unethical one. The unethical one would take you to the goal, but the consequent success is short lived whereas the righteous path, even though takes time and is tough, but those who tread it enjoy the fruits of long lived success.

The above may seem to you like a phrase from a spiritual book, but the same analogy is followed when talking about the two types of SEO techniques, namely, Black Hat SEO and the White Hat SEO techniques. The Black Hat SEO techniques offer the shorter, the easier path to a short lived success whereas the White Hat SEO techniques although take time but do pay off in the long run and offer long standing success.

Let us delve a little deeper into the life of Black Hat SEO, the evil twin of the two ,and understand why it seems lucrative to a few while others try and maintain a safe distance from it while dealing with Search Engine Optimization.

Black hat SEO by definition “is a practice that increases a page’s rank in search engines through means that violate the search engines’ terms of service”. It basically refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques & tactics that focus only on search engine results and not the human audience and in the process don’t pay heed to the search engine guidelines. It is also referred to as unethical SEO or spamdexing. The term can be used to describe unethical techniques used by hackers & virus creators. Such techniques can be used by individuals who are looking for short term benefits such as increase in website traffic for a brief period rather than a long term return plan as the use of Black Hat SEO techniques may ultimately lead to your website getting banned, but since the users are interested in only short lived success, such risks are irrelevant to them.

But, how does one realise, that they are treading into restricted territory. The easier way is to ask oneself if their SEO techniques would add value to the user or just increase your page’s rank. If the latter one is your reply, then your technique is more likely to fall under the category of Black Hat SEO techniques. Also there is a list of tactics & techniques, employed by Black Hat SEO practitioners, has been released and openly denounced by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. A few of them are as follows

  • Content Automation
  • Doorway pages
  • Hidden Text or links
  • Sneaky redirects
  • Cloaking

At the end of the day Black Hat SEO is like a sharp knife. It allows you to cut a loaf of delicious bread but it also gives you the power to kill someone. The decision is yours.

To know more about SEO Tactics and Strategy for your website or Web-project, got through Zestard’s SEO Services and Contact Us for SEO Plan and Costing

Why is Software Testing Necessary

Why is Software Testing required?

Software testing is the process of evaluation a software product to detect differences between given input and expected output . Testing assesses the quality of the product or project or task. Software testing is a process of Quality Control(QC) that should be done during the development service or process. In other words software testing is a verification and validation process.

Verification

Verification is the process to make sure the product satisfies the conditions imposed at the start of the development phase. In other words, to make sure the product behaves the way we want it to.

Validation

Validation is the process to make sure the product satisfies the specified requirements at the end of the development phase. In other words, to make sure the product is built as per customer requirements.

Findings bugs and errors is one part of software testing process, software testing is also responsible for improving the quality of the software and to abide with the compliances, agreed upon. As humans have a tendency to commit, errors and resulting bugs are needed to be ratified and corrected, some of the errors do not impact much on our day to day life and can be ignored; however some errors are so severe that they can break the whole system or software causing a huge business loss. In such kind of situations you need to take care that such vulnerabilities are caught well in advance before deploying the system/software in production environment.

There are various types of testing which can be done on the system /software to check its correctness and accuracy, some of them are listed below:

  • Unit testing
  • Integration testing
  • Functional Testing
  • System testing
  • Regression testing
  • End-end testing
  • Usability testing
  • Load Testing
  • Black Box testing
  • White Box testing 

    As listed above there are many ways to test your software at various phases in software development process, which one to select depends upon your need.

Testing verifies that the system meets the different requirements including, functional, performance, reliability, security, usability and so on. This verification is done to ensure that we are building the system right. In addition, testing validates that the system being developed is what the user needs. In essence, validation is performed to ensure that we are building the right system. Apart from helping make decisions, the information from software testing helps with risk management.

Hence, Software testing is the continuous and mandatory process of  Software Quality Control method which brings along with its number of benefits like Quality, reliability, accuracy, correctness in the end product and so one of the essential processes in software development lifecycle.

GTINs Google Shopping Data Feed by Zestard Technologies

Use GTINs to your Google Shopping Data Feed

Recently google announced on Google+ and googlecommerce post that google will requiring that all Shopping Data Feeds contains GTINs ( Global Trade Item Number ) for product listed in the feeds.

I am damm sure that you all are thinking of GTINs, Let me explain in details.

What is GTINs?

This is the numerical version of the bar code. It is called UPC in the US and EAN in Europe. A unique ID according to international standards. GTIN is an identifier that is created by GS1, an international non-profit organization.

Google has a database with most of the world GTINs. If you include the GTIN for each product in your feed, Google can identify each product and knows all product specs exactly. Also: if you provide the wrong GTIN, Google will know instantly and they will disapprove that product.

Google probably also have a similar database with the combinations of Brand and MPN, but with so many manufacturers in the world, they are not always able to make a perfect identification.

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  • GTIN-12 (UPC-A): this is a 12-digit number used primarily in North America

  • GTIN-8 (EAN/UCC-8): this is an 8-digit number used predominately outside of North America

  • GTIN-13 (EAN/UCC-13): this is a 13-digit number used predominately outside of North America

  • GTIN-14 (EAN/UCC-14 or ITF-14): this is a 14-digit number used to identify trade items at various packaging levels

  • Find GTINs Individually : Take a look at 12 or 13 digit number printed ( bar code ) printed on your product’s packaging.]

  • Find GTINs in Bulk : GTINs are used in many warehouse management systems to identify and manage inventory and can often be exported from this in bulk.

  • Use correct brand : Merchants may mistakenly give us the incorrect brand for a product by using ‘brand’ to indicate that a product is compatible with, or an accessory or replacement part for a product from that brand.

Google’s Identifiers: Brand, MPN, GTINs

Google analyze and understand that which product that you are selling. If they are able to identify each product, They can

  1. Match it with search queries.

  2. Compare it with same products on google shipping.

First, Google wants to know unique identifiers like GTINs and MPN actually exist for your products. most of the products that are manufactured, they do have indeed. so you must have set identifier as “ True “

DFW-Identifier-Exist-720x54.png

  1. Brand : The brand name of each product

  2. MPN :  A unique identifier issued by manufacturer.

  3. GTINs : Numerical version of bar code.

What if you don’t have GTIN?

There is no workaround and adding the right GTIN for each product is the only option. But if you are able to provide Brand and MPN, you can do without the GTIN field altogether.

  • Follow these steps to get your product approved on Google Shipping

  1. In the Products tab, click on the title of the item to view the page for that individual item.

  2. Click the link for “Why is this item disapproved?”

  3. Review the policies related to your item disapproval, and then check the box that acknowledges that you reviewed the information.

  4. Select “Request manual review.”

It will help google to review your product and find the unique GTINs on your product if google find that there is no GTIN available your offer will reinstated.

Hope you all are clear with GTIN and Google Identifiers or contact us for your Google Shopping Data Feed help and other SEO Services.

 

Scrum in agile software development Zestard Technologies Blog

What is Scrum in Agile Software Development?

Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self organizing, cross functional teams. It promotes a self disciplined approach to the process of Project Management that encourages inspection and adaptation on a frequent basis, self organization and accountability, and a perfect alignment between the needs of the customer and the business goals and objectives.

The Agile methodology is based on the Agile Manifesto that states

  • Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documents.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiations.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

Scrum, is the most widely used, light weight process framework for agile development. Process framework here describes a particular set of practices that must be adhered to, for example, pair programming in XP framework. It is lightweight in the sense that the overhead in the process is kept as low as possible, in order to maximize the productive time, that can be used to get the useful work done, hence, Scrum, is in conformance with the Agile Manifesto.

Scrum framework enables the organizations to adjust to the ever changing requirements without having to suffer much and produce a product that meets evolving business goals.

Roles & Responsibilities

Scrum Master

  • He is the keeper of the process.
  • Is responsible, for the smooth running of the process by handling obstacles that would otherwise impact the team’s productivity.
  • He is also responsible for facilitating the critical meetings.
  • Product Owner
  • He is the keeper of the requirements.
  • Is the Single-point-of-Contact (SPOC), for the requirements and also decides on their order of implementation.
  • Acts as the interface between the business, customer and the product related needs on end and the teams requirements on the other.

The Team

  • Self organizing and cross functional groups of people who are directly involved with the development and testing of the product.
  • They are the ones, who decide, how to break the work into tasks and also their assignment to individuals.
    For Instance, in a Traditional Project Management or Hire Magento Developer Program , a developer prepares WBS by himself and confirm schedule and priority of the tasks of Magento Extension Development or Magento Customization on daily or weekly basis with the Customer/Spoke Person.

The Benefits

To the Customer

  • Development requests are welcomed by the vendors.
  • Features are prioritized and are developed and delivered accordingly.

To the Vendor

  • Reduced wastage, as the focus is on development of high value features.
  • Reduced Time-to-Market due to decrease in overhead caused by documentation and increased efficiency.

Please read more on our Project Management and Business Models, as we use Agile Software Development Methodology in our Time & Materials and Offshore Development Business Model at Zestard Technologies.

Agile VS Traditional Project Management Technics

Traditional Project Management vs. Agile Project Management

One of the main factors in determining a Project Management approach for a software development project is making balancing between predictability and responsiveness for a given organization. While each business domain shares similarities, each organization has its own culture, goals, and business drivers which define strategies for success.

In traditional project management approach, each phase of a product’s life cycle takes place in sequence, so that progress flows steadily downwards through various phases like in a classic/linear approach. The traditional project management approach is a linear approach where you try to get it all done at one time. You do a lot of very detailed planning at once up-front and then deliver it in what’s known as the Big Bang.

The Advantages are that it gets stuff done; it has the potential for lower costs, agreement on the end product, highly visible reports, and standardization. The drawback of this approach is that it is not graceful with urgent and dynamic projects. It is very slow, especially if clients are unsure of what they want. Since a change requires going back to square one, and each step must be completed in sequence again, projects with rapidly changing scope or mid-stream technology changes cannot afford this traditional approach.

While Agile methodology, in project Management terms, is a description for project management methods that focus on people, communications, the product, and flexibility. The Agile development tool uses a variety of methods unique to Agile that combine to produce an efficient software development process.

Agile Project Management approach emphasizes on flexibility and responsiveness at the expense of predictability by focusing on continuous alignment and delivery of customer requirements through working software. Agile methodologies are based on rolling wave planning utilizing incremental and iterative delivery where the product features with the highest priority are developed first. By providing working software frequently in fixed time boxes (iterations), an agile project can validate business value more rapidly than a traditional project approach. Agile methods can work well on many types of projects, but are most effective where project risks are high and the project definition is continuously changing.

Having said sot, there are still circumstances in which the traditional method can be suitable let’s say in a situation, where requirements are guaranteed to be unchanging and there is very little uncertainty or if the project if very simple – but those circumstances are becoming fewer and farther these days. Also if an organisation and the people involved in the project are not in a mature enough state for Agile it may be more appropriate to use traditional project management methods.

We suggest, when it comes to special environments and dynamic nature projects, one should move away from traditional project management approach to agile project management, which has benefits of dynamic nature and should look into modern methods that have been specifically developed for such environments and conditions.

Please read more on our Project Management and Business Models, as we use Agile Software Development Methodology in our Time & Materials and Offshore Development Business Model at Zestard Technologies.