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7 Best Learning Management Systems for 2021


Online learning has never been more popular as a result of Covid-19 shutting down traditional schools. However, it was already mainstream before the pandemic struck. Learning management systems allow institutions to deliver high-quality education to online students.

Today, I have assembled the best (LMS) learning management systems for 2021.

What Are Learning Management Systems?

Learning Management Systems are pieces of software that allow for the delivery of educational courses or training programs in a variety of formats. They allow educators to handle every aspect of the learning process from grading to document distribution.

Each piece of LMS software is built to deliver a specific solution for educational institutions. They are also built for specific learning levels like K-12, higher education, vocational learning, training programs, and more.

They also support very niche markets as well. However, some are more customizable than others.

Many of these systems include ways to not only track assignment progress but also how students or employees are engaging with the system. This can help you learn if they are enjoying the courses you put together and what areas you can improve.

Thus, you need to find the best learning management systems for your field.

Note: There are a variety of names for LMS around the world. Some of them include the learning experience platform (LXP), e-learning management system, online learning system, training management system, learning activity management system, and many other terms. Regardless of their title, they will be included in this list.

The Best Learning Management Systems (LMS)

1. Moodle

Moodle

Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, or Moodle, allows you to build your very own website with all of the tools you can expect with an LMS. It has by far the most customization an educator or business can have over their LMS solution.

Of course, you will need an excellent web host for your creation.

However, other than web hosting fees, Moodle is completely free because it is open-source. This also means that you are responsible for every element of your website. You will not have the benefit of a quick setup or a support team standing by.

Instead, you’re essentially creating your own LMS solution, but don’t let that scare you. Moodle is one of the simplest platforms to build a website on. In fact, if you’ve dabbled in WordPress before, you are more than capable of using Moodle.

Benefits of Moodle

  • An open-source platform that has a huge library of helpful tools and guides
  • Supports real-time messaging to improve communication
  • It is modular (plugin) based, which makes it easy to add features

Price of Moodle

  • Moodle is completely free, but you must have a web host

2. Canvas

Canvas

Canvas is one of the most well-known names in learning management systems. It currently has the largest market share in the LMS space at a whopping 31%, and it has been gaining traction since it surpassed Blackboard in 2018.

And there’s a very good reason for its surge in popularity; everything is streamlined.

Canvas understands that whether you are a staff member at an educational institution or if you are a student, accessing and using an LMS can be very annoying and not something you do voluntarily. As such, this platform was developed with simplicity in mind.

In fact, the ease of use is the reason that many colleges and universities are switching over. Of course, it has plenty of options for businesses with its Canvas Corporate plan. This allows you to build terrific training programs for employees in any position.

Benefits of Canvas

  • A streamlined UI to make navigation a breeze
  • Course creation is simple but highly customizable
  • Built to support multiple education environments and business needs

Price of Canvas

  • Canvas does not make its pricing information public. You must contact them for a quote.

3. Blackboard

Blackboard

Blackboard sat at the top of the LMS industry for 20 years but has recently been on the decline. This allowed Canvas to surpass it. One of the main reasons for that decline was how obtuse the platform was to use and that the design was extremely dated.

However, I am here to say that those concerns can be put to rest because Blackboard has gone through a huge overhaul.

The redesign of Blackboard has streamlined the platform and the addition of cloud-based SaaS introduced Ultra course view. As a result, Blackboard has never been more user-friendly and educators can take advantage of the tools this LMS giant has produced in its long history.

Of course, Blackboard is not only used by schools. Businesses can take full advantage of this LMS to build effective training programs. Not only can you build training programs, but you can even put together full certificate or certification training.

Benefits of Blackboard

  • Supports web conference and collaboration
  • Mass notification system to easily alert students and employees alike
  • Sales training and other specific business solutions

Price of Blackboard

  • Blackboard does not disclose its pricing information. Contact them for a quote.

4. Google Classroom

Google Classroom

You might be surprised to learn this, but Google does, in fact, offer a free LMS called Google Classroom. While it is far from the best LMS on the market, what it lacks in feature is made up by various integrations.

YouTube, Google Docs, and many other Google services have options available.

Now to be fair, the “management” aspect for Google Classrooms is close to non-existent, but it has its uses. It allows educators to post materials, assignments, and quizzes, and thanks to the integration with YouTube, you could record an entire lecture and integrate it with your classroom.

While it is too basic for our education system, it is perfect for tutors and small businesses trying to save a few bucks. You can create simple courses to help train employees in an online environment, which is critical due to the state of our world.

Benefits of Google Classroom

  • Takes less than an hour to learn
  • Reuse documents or rubrics in future courses
  • Easy to use grading system

Price of Google Classroom

  • Google Classroom is completely free to use

5. Lessonly

Lessonly

Are you looking for a corporate learning management system that was built specifically for businesses? If so, then Lessonly is exactly what you are looking for as it provides solutions to small teams and businesses.

And remote training has never been more important for growing businesses.

Lessonly at its core is training software. It is ideal for any business looking to improve their employee’s skill set by providing training that can help them learn and practice new techniques to improve sales.

Over 1000 companies utilize Lessonly in their training programs because not only are they easy to set up, the software is compatible with a wide range of tools and services. There are solutions for remote workers, sales teams, customer service, and much more.

Benefits of Lessonly

  • Integrates with Slack
  • Set up scenarios for team members to practice
  • Sale representatives are more likely to hit quotas

Price of Lessonly

  • Lessonly does not make its pricing public. You must contact them for a quote.

6. Schoology

Schoology

While most learning management systems are more prevalent in higher education, that’s beginning to change. Schoology focuses on providing online solutions to K-12 institutions and it has been very successful.

And from a student’s view, you might even be able to mistake this learning tool for a social media website.

That’s right, Schoology breaks the mold with a more creative UI tailored for the young learners of today. And it even has integration with social media platforms to boot. However, don’t mistake these features as a gimmick. Schools can track more information about students and improve security as a result.

Building classes is extremely simple thanks to the drag-and-drop interface. Teachers can drag a variety of files and media into their lesson plans. These include videos, which can be a powerful tool in a remote learning environment.

Benefits of Schoology

  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Detailed student analytic tools
  • Assignments through Google

Price of Schoology

  • Free for individuals
  • Free for educators in public and private education
  • Paid licenses are available for institutions and businesses

7. Prosperity LMS

Prosperity

Prosperity LMS is another powerful tool businesses can use to train their employees. This system was designed to help businesses of any size and that integrates nicely with corporate HR and training programs alike.

And almost all of the features are customizable.

One of the biggest problems, when a business adopts an LMS, is the time it takes to get started. Unlike other solutions that may take weeks or even months to properly set up for use, Prosperity LMS can be set up in a matter of days.

This makes it perfect for businesses looking to switch quickly.

The LMS provides solutions for a wide array of industries that include corporate training, industrial, manufacturing, safety/compliance training, transportation, and much more. It really is a one-size-fits-all training program perfect for business.

Benefits of Prosperity LMS

  • Integrates with SalesForce
  • Built-in courses that can be customized to save time
  • Easily scales as your business grows

Price of Prosperity LMS

  • Prosperity LMS does not make its pricing public. You must contact them for a price quote.

Not Just For Schools

One of the biggest mistakes is to assume that learning management systems are just for educational institutions. That simply isn’t true, and smaller websites or businesses can take full advantage of the features they offer.

For instance, you could integrate an LMS with your business to build a full training course for specific positions in your company. In fact, this type of usage is a great way to help new remote workers get used to their working conditions.

Especially if they are a brand new employee.

Another terrific use of an LMS is to create a certificate program for a service you offer.

Of course, regular websites can take advantage of this by building free or paid courses about specific courses. For example, you could build a website about teaching people to cook and provide a full course on how to prepare each dish.

There are many examples of websites embracing the best LMS has to offer and building something really special.

Make It Easy to Learn

At their core, the top learning management systems, or LMS all help educators create a better environment for students or employees.

While you might be able to create a good foundation in certain fields without utilizing one, nothing can compare to the level of creativity and effectiveness that these platforms bring to the table. There is a reason that virtually all colleges or universities utilize an LMS.

And it’s because they work.

What LMS do you plan to use on your website?





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7 Best Billing and Invoicing Software of 2021


Small businesses need a solid, cost-effective way to manage finances. With that being said, it can be difficult and time consuming to try and find the best billing and invoicing software for your business. With so many options, where do you start?

Below you will find a list of some of the best invoicing software available for small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

There are a lot of different choices out there. With this list, you will have a good starting point. From here, you will be able to see features, learn a little about small business invoice software, and make a solid decision based on the needs of your business.

What is Billing and Invoicing Software? 

Simply put, billing and invoicing software can be used to easily and efficiently organize and automate the entire billing and invoicing process. This helps small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs by ensuring that there is a timely and consistent collection of payments from clients.

Since there is such a wide range of industries that these invoice programs serve, most of them are highly customizable and have the ability to support various business models, pricing structures, and payment types.

A good example of this is the difference between a law firm and a freelancer. A law firm may bill for total time on a project, while a freelancer may bill for goods and services as well as time spent.

For these reasons, it is always a good idea to make sure you understand what invoicing software has the features and functionality that work best for your needs. Remember, the invoice program you end up choosing should be tailored specifically to your needs.

Let’s take a look at some of the best billing and invoicing software available today.

Best Billing and Invoicing Software

1. FreshBooks

FreshBooks invoicing software

A long-standing top choice for small businesses, self-employed individuals, firms, agencies, and consultancies, FreshBooks is a complete, all-in-one tool for invoicing and accounting. 

Create a professional invoice in just a few seconds. All you have to do is use the built-in invoice generator to choose a template, add your logo, and personalize an email. The system is very easy to run and has almost 25 million users.

FreshBooks also has an integrated payment system as well. You will be able to easily accept credit cards and ACH payments at any time.

As if that wasn’t enough, the software comes fully equipped with a ton of automation features including recurring invoices, send payment reminders, and the ability to charge late fees automatically. 

You can also use FreshBooks to do things like customize payment terms, add due dates, and automatically calculate taxes. FreshBooks comes in at the top of our list because it really does have everything you need. 

With tools for time tracking, expenses, payments, projects, and reporting, you are going to be very hard-pressed to find better invoicing software than FreshBooks.

Features

  • Unlimited customizable invoices
  • Add late fees automatically
  • Notifications when clients receive and pay invoices
  • Accept payments, create invoices, and send bills in the mobile app
  • List time worked and expenses directly on invoices
  • Use invoices to request deposits
  • Send invoices in any language 
  • Accept payments in multiple currencies

2. Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice

Looking for something that is well-organized and easy to use? Look no further than Zoho Invoice. It is a cloud-based software solution that is best suited for small to medium-sized businesses. The platform comes with a number of great features that make it simple the navigate and use, and easy to automate.

One of the standout points of Zoho Invoice is that it offers its own report generator that is run through the cloud. This means that you can access and update it through available apps.

Another great thing about Zoho Invoice is that it is easily integrated into the entire Zoho Suite of apps if needed. So not only do you get a great solution for managing invoicing, billing, quotes, contacts, and expenses, but you can also easily integrate it into other Zoho products.

This includes things like Zoho Mail, Zoho CRM, and Zoho Books.

Finally, as is the case with a lot of the Zoho products, you can use this software with up to five free users. This is very useful if you are trying to test a product out, or if you have a startup business looking for a free invoice and billing solution.

Features

  • Easy to use templates
  • Automated reminders
  • 11 payment gateways available
  • Bill international clients
  • Automatic recurring invoicing
  • Customer portal
  • Expense tracking
  • Very well-priced

3. Wave Invoicing

Wave invoicing software

Wave might not have quite all the bells and whistles that a few of the other invoicing software platforms on this list have. However, it makes the list because it is completely free to use. That’s right, the billing and invoicing is 100% free. 

This is a fantastic option for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses that are trying to find something low-cost or free to use. You will be able to create and send an unlimited number of invoices to as many clients as you would like.

The templates are also fully customizable and very easy to use.

Furthermore, you will have the ability to manage your invoices from anywhere by using the available Wave app on the iOS and Android platforms. You may think there is some sort of string attached here but there isn’t. As a matter of fact, Wave also offers accounting tools and receipt scanning for free as well.

The only thing you pay for in Wave is their payment solution, which is integrated. However, those fees are comparable to any payment gateway feature, so you still come out way ahead. 

Credit card processing costs 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. American Express payments cost 3.4% + $0.30 per transaction. ACH payments are available as well for a 1% fee.

Honestly, Wave rivals most paid invoicing and billing software.

Features

  • Invoice in any currency
  • Send out estimates
  • Turn estimates into invoices once approved
  • Follow-ups with accounts past due
  • Automatic payment reminders
  • Recurring invoices
  • Drag and drop line items
  • Customize payment terms
  • Track all partial payments
  • Cash flow insights

4. Xero

Xero

Another great all-in-one accounting and invoicing tool designed for small businesses is Xero. This is also a cloud-based company, so you can easily manage your invoices and the rest of your financials from anywhere.

Want to create professional and personalized invoices? In Xero, all you have to do is choose a template, add your branding, and upload a logo. From there, you are ready to start sending all the invoices you want to your clients.

It should be noted that Xero is one of the platforms on this list that does not have a built-in payment processor. However, they do work with Stripe and GoCardless for credit, debit, ACH, and digital wallet acceptance. So there are some choices, including the very popular Stripe option.

Last but not least, Xero easily integrates with over 800 other apps and tools. This includes platforms like Gusto, Insightly, Expensify, PayPal, Bill.com, Square, and Shopify.

Features

  • Automatically set up recurring invoices
  • Bulk invoicing
  • Mobile invoicing
  • Instant payment with the “Pay Now” button
  • Oncharge billable expenses
  • Replicate previous invoices

5. Sage

Sage invoicing software

Sage offers business accounting and invoicing cloud services, and they take care of all the most important invoicing and billing features for you. This saves time and allows for tons of automation, which is something that you should be looking for when researching any invoicing software.

Some of the things that set Sage apart from the rest of the products on this list are their user-friendly dashboard and accounting reports. The interface is clean, smooth, easy to use, and easy to understand.

Once you sign into the Sage dashboard, you are shown everything you need to know in one place without having to click around. This includes information like outstanding and overdue invoices, quotes and estimates, and net sales.

If you need to act like an accountant, but you aren’t one, then Sage may be the right choice for you because of the clarity of the dashboard.

Features

  • Reduce invoice prep time
  • Create, edit, and send invoices from anywhere
  • Easy customization
  • Terms and credit control
  • Invoice in different currencies
  • Discount items
  • Print packaging slips
  • Quotes and estimates
  • Available mobile and tablet app

6. Sunrise by Lendio

Sunrise by Lendio

Sunrise by Lendio is a little different than the other billing and invoicing software on this list. Not only do you get access to the basic billing and invoicing service, but they also provide complete bookkeeping services. 

They also provide what is called a “self-service plan,” that allows you to start unlimited invoicing and sync your bank account.

Sunrise doesn’t actually make much money on their invoicing service, though. Where they make their money is by offering high-end bookkeeping services. 

If you are interested in that, they give you a dedicated bookkeeper that will record all your transactions and close the books on a monthly basis. The price of this service is based on the number of transactions you have per month.

Features

  • Free unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited bank transactions
  • Cash flow reports
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Payment collection
  • Expense tracking
  • Estimates and quotes
  • Financial reports
  • Tax compliance

7. Simplybill

Simplybill invoicing software

Another one of the best billing and invoicing software platforms out there today is Simplybill. It should come as no surprise that the name pretty much says it all. This is a simplified billing and invoicing system that includes all the basic features anyone needs to get easily set up and start sending invoices.

You can easily set up automatic tax rates (even for other countries) and the product runs in the cloud. This means you can easily access your account on the go from anywhere. Another feature is to elect to receive push notifications from the mobile app for things like an overdue invoice.

One main drawback of Simplybill is that there is no support for payment gateways as of yet. That being said, it does allow for PayPal subscription links. It is also very well-priced and a great solution for those who want to keep it simple and need a place to start.

Features

  • Tons of invoicing templates
  • Domestic and international tax rates
  • Back provide redundancy against accidental deletions
  • Mobile app
  • Pay for the number of invoices and not the number of clients

What Billing and Invoicing Software is Right For You?

There really are a lot of great options out there. In order to narrow down what might be the best billing and invoicing software for you, you should try to focus on certain features that each software program offers.

Here are some things to consider when narrowing down your choices:

Number of Clients

This is probably one of the most important things you want to examine. How many invoices will you be sending out each month? Remember, many of the invoicing software programs on the list above will limit the number of invoices you send out based on the plan you choose.

There is also the issue of gaining new clients. Finally, are you able to send estimates? Make sure the invoicing software you choose can scale as your business grows.

Automation

One of the things you want to consider when finalizing your choice is does the invoicing software make life easier? The answer, it should!

Look for specific built-in automation tools that will make billing and invoicing less of a time-consuming hassle. Recurring billing, follow-ups, late fees, payment reminders, and tax calculations should all be automated.

Payment Collection

As most of us know, sending invoices is only half the battle. The other half (the harder half) is actually getting paid. The best billing and invoicing software will have integrated payment processing tools.

If the tools are not built-in, then you should at least have the option of adding in third-party means. You will also want to consider fees for invoicing. The best platforms don’t charge you any processing fees. You should only be paying a fee to the payment gateway you are using.

Accounting Tools

Last but not least, consider the accounting options that are provided by the different invoicing software programs out there. A lot of them brand themselves as “all-in-one counting solutions.” Many others provide options for bookkeeping and tax services via a third-party provider partnership.

Remember, not all businesses need a full-blown accounting solution built-in. However, if you are running a business that does, then some of the tools you want to have added are expense management, financial reports, receipt uploads, time tracking, bank reconciliation, and reporting.

Conclusion

So, what are the best billing and invoicing software available today? Well, the answer to that question will depend on who you ask. Remember, different businesses are looking for different things, so the one you think is best suited for you may not be best suited for someone else.

You can’t go wrong with any of the invoicing software options from the list above. They are all solid choices with a ton of built-in features and functionality. Use the list above as a starting point and compare features, pricing, and anything else you need in order to make a final decision.





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Here’s What Major Environmental Rollbacks Happened On Day 1 of the Biden Administration


The Biden administration promised environmental rollbacks on day one, and the administration did not disappoint. On his first day in office, President Biden signed 17 executive orders on a broad range of issues including climate change.

Here are the 3 major environmental rollbacks that occurred on President Biden’s First day in office.

Note: There were various other rollbacks like automobile fuel standards, so be sure to check out a full breakdown of the executive orders.

1. Rejoining the Paris Accord

The most well-known and impactful change was the United States asking to rejoin the Paris Accord. This will begin a short process that will allow the nation to rejoin the agreement with nearly 200 other nations.

This will put the United States in a position to help lead other nations to go green as it begins the process itself.

2. Revoke the Keystone XL Pipeline Permit

The Keystone XL pipeline was held up in court for years, but the previous administration granted the permit. The administration was quick to overturn this and construction on the pipeline will halt.

This is a serious blow to the oil industry because transporting the oil around the country is integral to the industry.

3. Temporarily Halting Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

One of the most controversial decisions has been allowing oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While that has ended in failure because no oil company showed up for the auctions, the possibility remained.

However, a temporary halt is in effect. This will prevent any drilling in the refuge for some time.

Green Energy Is the Future Of America

Green Energy

One thing that these executive orders have made abundantly clear, is that there is no room for oil in America’s future. The new administration is committed to pursuing green energy sources and transitioning our electric grid to zero carbon emissions.

However, that plan will take some time.

The current plan is to prepare the nation for the change and set it up to reach that goal by 2035.





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7 Best Online Survey Tools for 2021


Collecting feedback is one of the most important things a business should do. And online survey tools are the best way to do it. Luckily, there is no shortage of tools to choose from, which provides businesses with a lot of options. Thus, I have assembled a list of the best online survey tools for 2021.

What Is An Online Survey Tool?

An online survey tool allows businesses to build surveys in a variety of forms and present the information in an easy-to-read format. These tools aid businesses in collecting information from their userbase and help them improve the customer experience for existing products and services.

They also help businesses find new opportunities and create content their customer base is interested in.

Surveys come in a variety of forms that include customer satisfaction, event/conference, product, human resource, net promoter score, and much more. As you can tell from this list, surveys are not only for customers but for employees as well.

The most important aspect of these tools is how they collect information. Being able to perform market research after the results have been collected is the entire point of an online survey tool. As such, you can expect a plethora of data collection and parsing features.

The Best Online Survey Tools For Your Business

1.  SoGoSurvey

SoGoSurvey

SoGoSurvey is one of the best online survey tools for small businesses that are looking to create surveys for the first time. The toolset it offers is easy to use and offers great analytical tools that help you track and analyze the results.

After all, the data you collect is useless if you can’t use it.

One of the best parts of this tool is its incredible UI, which is there to help you every step of the way. It lists the steps you will need to design and distribute your survey to the world. Everything from the creation process to the analytics side is easy to use and straightforward.

One thing that may seem simple, but is often overlooked, is this tool’s ability to allow you to switch between reports. This makes it simple to compare the results from multiple surveys all at once, which can be extremely important if you run a variety of similar surveys.

Benefits of SoGoSurvey

  • Perfect for beginners and small businesses
  • View multiple reports at once
  • Export results to Microsoft Excel

Price of SoGoSurvey

  • Plus plans start at $25 per month
  • Pro plans start at $66 per month
  • Premium plans start at $99 per month
  • Enterprise options are available upon request

2. Google Forms

Google Forms

When it comes to online survey tools, many businesses expect them to break the bank, but that isn’t true. There are many free survey tools to choose from, and Google Forms is one of the best ones. In fact, its features can compete with premium tools.

And as you might expect, it works with other Google features.

Google Forms provides everything you need to build terrific forms for your business including a variety of theme options, the ability to add custom logos, insert images and videos within a survey or poll, and directly embed the survey on your website or in an email.

As a result, putting forms together has never been easier. And unlike many free options, there are no restrictions on the number of surveys you can build or the number of responses it will receive.

Thus, it’s just as powerful as any premium option.

Benefits of Google Forms

  • All responses are neatly organized
  • Create forms with other collaborators
  • Forms work on any device

Price of Google Forms

3. Qualtrics

Qualtrics

Qualtrics was built for research use in the academic field, but can easily meet the needs of larger businesses. As a result of the intended audience, the pricing is not standard and is far pricier than other options on this list.

However, the services it offers are top-notch.

One of the best ways to explain the versatility of this tool is to highlight the fact that you can create 8 different question types. These include a standard text question, displaying a graphic, multiple-choice question, matrix table, text entry, using a slider (perfect for on a scale of 1 to 10 questions), rank order, and side-by-side questions.

As a result of these options, you can ask your question in any form. All of the data can then be analyzed through the powerful analytical tools this service offers. You can view all of the information in a variety of charts, which makes sorting through surveys a breeze.

Benefits of Qualtrics

  • Extremely powerful and perfect for large market research
  • Over 50 pre-built survey templates
  • Filter through reports to compare with others

Price of Qualtrics

  • Pricing is not made available on their website

4. Formidable Form Builder

Formidable-Form-Builder

If you utilize WordPress for your website, then you should take a look at the plethora of free survey plugins available. And among all of these, the Formidable Form Builder plugin is a terrific choice to build a wide array of surveys.

And let’s not forget its main focus, building contact forms.

Unlike all of the other tools on this list, Formidable Form Builder allows you to view the results of your surveys directly from your website. For most business owners, this can save a huge amount of time from not have to visit another website to check on the results.

All of the data is neatly organized and can be viewed in a variety of ways including graphs. You can even export this data to Microsoft Excel to further analyze it. There is also a pro version of the plugin that grants more features.

Benefits of Formidable Form Builder

  • It builds a variety of other forms, not just surveys
  • Fully complies with GDPR regulations
  • Drag and drop interface makes survey creation a breeze

Price of Formidable Form Builder

  • A free WordPress plugin is available
  • Basic starts at $74 per year
  • Pro starts at $149 per year
  • Business starts at $299 per year
  • Elite starts at $599 per year

5. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is one of, if not the biggest name in the online survey tools industry. It offers a strong product that is easy to use, and you can even try it with the free version.  Just keep in mind it is limited in scope compared to the paid version.

However, for what SurveyMonkey is offering, it’s worth the price of admission.

This tool streamlines the survey creation process by providing a clear and concise order. The tool is there every step of the way to make sure you never get lost. It has plenty of pre-built templates and most notably, a huge question bank to speed up creation.

You might even find some questions that are presented better than your own. All of the data can be analyzed through various lens and filters including pie charts, line charts, and other report filtering options. It’s an all-in-one tool that excels at surveying.

Benefits of SurveyMonkey

  • Supports exporting data to Microsoft Excel
  • The UI is customizable to make it more user-friendly
  • Used by 98% of Fortune 500 companies

Price of SurveyMonkey

  • A free version is available
  • The Team Advantage plan starts at $25 per user per month
  • The Team Premier plan starts at $75 per user per month
  • Enterprise options are available upon request

6. Quiz and Survey Master

Quiz and Survey Master

Another great WordPress plugin to consider using is the Quiz and Survey Master plugin. It is a free survey creator and is solely focused on creating surveys and quizzes to help website owners and businesses understand their userbase.

And it’s completely free to start, with paid add-ons available.

This plugin supports a variety of question types that include multiple-choice, radio buttons, true or false, drop-down boxes, checkboxes, fill in the blank, and many more. As a result, you can collect data about the same topic in a variety of ways.

A nice feature the plugin offers is sending a follow-up email to visitors that take part in a survey or quiz. You can use this to display a result for a quiz or to say “thank you” for participating. It’s also a good place to add any rewards for participating, like a discount code.

Benefits of Quiz and Survey Master

  • Integrates with other services like MailChimp
  • Has a variety of features to make quizzes more exciting, including leaderboards
  • View survey results in WordPress

Price of Quiz and Survey Master

  • A free WordPress plugin is available for use
  • There are a variety of premium add-ons to consider

7. Zoho Survey

Zoho-Survey

Closing out this list is Zoho Survey, but don’t let its placement fool you. It’s one of the best on the market. Zoho offers a wide variety of different options to collect information and, most importantly, it’s easy to use.

It also offers a robust collection of analytical tools to examine data.

The creation process is very simple thanks to the UI. As a result, even if this is your first time, you should have no trouble creating an awesome survey. It utilizes a drag-and-drop format, and the tool supports up to 25 different question types.

This survey tool also supports team collaborations. You can build surveys in a group and have members give their input and check them for typos. After all, if customers catch a typo in a survey, they may question if they should answer.

Benefits of Zoho Survey

  • Supports multilingual surveys
  • See responses in real-time
  • Supports pop-up surveys

Price of Zoho Survey

  • A free survey maker is available
  • Plus plans start at $20 per month
  • Pro plans start at $25 per month
  • enterprise plans start at $60 per month

Understand Basic Statistics and Graphs

For the most part, these tools do a fantastic job of displaying the information you gather from the surveys.

However, even in its most basic form, this information may not help everyone. Analytical experts analyze this data in a variety of ways, which is how they are able to make great choices. Even doing just a little research can go a long way.

A great resource I recommend checking out is the Qualtrics analysis of statistical analysis methods. It goes over just about everything you need, and it’s easy to understand.

If you don’t understand what the information is telling you, you could end up coming to the wrong conclusion.

Don’t Be Annoying

I have no doubt that at some point, you were asked to take a survey. For many people, it’s annoying.

Of course, for a survey to be successful, people do need to take it. But you can easily drive away customers by constantly asking. For example, one of the most annoying things a company can do is constantly send emails that specifically ask you to take a survey or provide feedback.

Instead of being annoying, you need to get creative.

Make sure to include links to feedback surveys with every receipt or invoice you send. It provides the information they want to see and it makes sense to include the link. It is also common to offer a reward by taking a survey, such as a small discount code.

Keep in mind that you should also have a feedback page on your website, which can be a useful link to share on social media.

Understand Your Customers

Survey tools exist to help businesses, big and small, learn about their customer base. If you understand what they are looking for and how to provide a better experience, it can help ensure customers keep coming back.

It can also open up new business opportunities that you can examine.

What online survey tools do you use?





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Biden Looks to Overturn 100 Environmental Policies From the Last 4 Years


During the last 4 years, the Trump administration has rolled back countless environmental policies and regulations. Now, Biden is looking to overturn 100 of these rollbacks as he seeks to put the United States on track to fight climate change.

These rollbacks will come in the form of an executive order that intends to address public health and climate change. The list of rollbacks range from lightbulb efficiency all the way to fuel standards for new cars.

Making these changes will help lower emissions and protect our environment from pollution.

List of Major Environmental Policies Rollbacks

In total, the Trump administration rolled back 104 regulations, with 20 currently still in the process of reform.

Here are just a few of the major ones that are likely to change:

Obama-era Automobile Fuel Standards

Fuel Gauge

For years, automobiles have strived to use less gas. Not only does this provide an environmental benefit, but it also helps the auto owners. The specific rollback allows for cars to emit an extra billion tons by lowering enforceable fuel standards on new cars.

Oil Companies No Longer Need to Report Methane Emissions

One of the more controversial changes was no longer requiring oil companies to report methane emissions. Methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas, which is much more potent than CO2.

This disincentivizes companies to repair small leaks and has led to an increase in emissions.

Open Up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge For Oil Drilling

For over six decades, the drilling rights for this wildlife refuge have been in court. However, the legal battle came to an end when it was part of a major tax reform bill in 2017. Recently, the land was auctioned, and in quite an ironic turn of events, no major oil company showed up.

However, the possibility for drilling remains.

Weakened the Endangered Species Act

The act intended to protect wildlife species facing extinction was altered as well. The change made it harder for animals that were going extinct as a result of climate change to be added to the endangered species list.

This made it harder for the species to receive the protections they need to survive.

Revoked A Rule Preventing Coal Companies From Dumping in Local Streams

That’s right, it’s now not against the law for coal companies to dump mining debris into nearby local streams. Overturning this, and many other coal regulations, were in an effort to keep the coal industry alive. However, that ultimately failed.

The rise of natural gas and renewable energy has permanently made coal undesirable as an energy source.

Change is on the Way

Overturning these problematic environmental policies will help the United States improve environmental protection and meet climate goals.

Most importantly, the nation will begin rejoining the Paris Accord on day one. Currently, it is one of the very few nations not currently part of the agreement and the only major economy that is not a member. And, when combined with the environmental rollbacks, a greener future is ahead.





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8 Best Employee Scheduling and Shift Planning Software in 2021


Dealing with employee shifts and scheduling can be a tedious process. That is why it is a good idea to have the best employee shift planning software available. Not only will you have access to great features and support, but you will also give yourself a way to manage your team’s productivity.

This is an ideal situation for employers. Especially ones that have a larger number of employees to deal with. While there are certain apps for work schedules out there, you want to make sure you are finding the best employee scheduling shift planning software available. 

In this article, I am going to list some of the best staff employee shift planning software on the Internet today. You will able to go through these and see exactly what you may or may not want to use.

What is Employee Scheduling Software??

Shift planning software is something that can make an employer’s life a lot easier. Not only do the best staff scheduling apps make shift planning and employee scheduling much easier, but they can also hold a lot of other details from an employee that an employer may need access to at any given time.

One of the main highlights and features that the best employee scheduling shift planning software has is the employee database. This is a database that holds all sorts of useful information for an employee.

Some of the main things these databases take care of and hold are a worker’s contact information, job title or type, training, or other qualifications. This, along with and their availability (including shift preferences and time-off requests) all work together to make scheduling much easier.

So, how much is solid employee shift planning software worth to you? While you always want to find a reasonable deal as far as pricing goes, make note of this. According to Connecteam, over 140 hours are wasted annually if you have to create a work schedule manually. 

From tracking time-off requests to working around everyone’s scheduling conflicts, scheduling employees manually can be very time-consuming. It can also prevent you from optimizing your labor and payroll costs.

The question really becomes, how much is that extra time worth to you?

A lot of the software below will have functionality like a team scheduler app. This, along with other features, can make the entire process much easier and more forgiving.

Let’s take a look at some of the best employee shift planning software available today.

Best Employee Shift Planning and Scheduling Software

1. Homebase

Homebase employee shift planning

If you are looking for a comprehensive solution for scheduling for a small business, then you will be hard-pressed to find anything as good as Homebase. They provide a very simple drag and drop interface that comes with a lot of great features.

They also have a free plan that is suitable for many small businesses out there, so feel free to take a look at that as well. The basic plan will give you time clocks, time and attendance tracking, employee mobile apps, and the ability to schedule beyond 10 days.

All-in-all, Homebase may be the first and last solution you look at because of all it can offer.

Features

  • Free iOS and Android apps
  • Unlimited employees
  • GPS employee tracking
  • Online scheduling
  • Employee performance tracking

2. SageHR

SageHR

Formerly known as CakeHR, SageHR offers a very wide range of services that come bundled in their employee scheduling tool. Onboarding new employees could not be easier, and automating the HR process is also very simple with this software.

The employee scheduling tool itself is top of the line. It gives you everything you need to quickly and easily adjust hours, approve timesheets, and monitor workload. In addition to employee scheduling, CakeHR offers solutions for timesheets, performance, leave management, expenses, and recruitment.

Features

  • Interactive shift planning
  • Single site support
  • Multi-location support
  • Dedicated shift managers
  • Mobile app access

3. Connecteam

Connecteam employee shift planning

Connecteam makes this list because of the way it is able to handle scheduling details for people on the go. It provides very reliable software with increased functionality that caters to virtual and on-the-go workforces.

The entire scheduling system was built for mobile use. If you are in a situation where scheduling happens fast, on-the-move, and in multiple areas, then Connecteam is definitely one you want to look at.

Features

  • Mobile access anywhere
  • Easy to use
  • Employee engagement features
  • Mobile dashboard is very robust
  • Real-time clock in and out

4. Humanity

Humanity

One of the most popular and recognizable pieces of employee shift planning software available today is Humanity. This platform is used by a lot of the really big companies including Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente, Nike, Yelp, Safeway, and Squarespace.

Where Humanity really excels is the area of cost and margins. The platform allows you to optimize schedules in the most cost-effective way possible. They also take some things further than other platforms.

With Humanity, you will be able to ensure local, state, and Federal compliance in terms of labor laws for things like break frequency, hours worked, and time between shifts. These are important aspects of employee scheduling that should not be overlooked.

Another one of the standout features of Humanity is the ability for employees to easily trade shifts. It does this by using a set of pre-defined values. This allows shift trade approvals to go through with approval with very little (if any) supervisor involvement.

Features

  • Auto scheduling
  • Real-time labor and budgeting
  • Compliance
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Geolocation clock-ins and clock-outs
  • Secure messaging

5. TSheets

TSheets employee shift planning

Another one of the best employee scheduling shift planning software out there today is TSheets, which is run by the familiar name, Quickbooks. I would recommend TSheets as one of the best services on this list for small business employee scheduling needs.

TSheets is basically a mobile timesheet where employers can clock-in and clock-out from anywhere. The app uses real-time GPS capabilities. This, in turn, allows you to hold all your staff accountable for the hours they have been working. 

This is definitely where TSheets excels, but it also comes with a number of other tools and features. They make it very easy to create and assign shifts from a computer or smartphone while employing a drag and drop scheduling interface.

  • Free mobile app with GPS
  • Real-time reports
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Time-clock facial recognition
  • Geofencing

6. 7Shifts

7Shifts

7Shifts is on this list because even though it is industry-specific, this employee scheduling software is excellent at its niche. More than 250,000 restaurants around the world use this software. So if you are in the business of serving food, then you definitely want to take a look at 7Shifts.

Not only are there incredible built-in employee communication tools like group chat, direct messaging, and announcements, but the software also allows owners to save time and reduce overall costs.

7Shifts also gives total access to a weekly labor and budget tool. This, along with the detailed reports, intuitive dashboard, and POS (Point of Sale) integration, allows you to easily manage your scheduling and payroll system.

Features

  • Unlimited scheduling
  • Time locking
  • Notifications
  • Free mobile app
  • Labor budget tool
  • Manager logbook
  • Integrated task management

7. Paycor

Paycor employee shift planning

If you are looking to optimize the efficiency of your scheduling, then Paycor is a platform that you need to take a look at. This software gives managers the ability to quickly and easily go through a scheduling process, while at the same time, making the best decisions for the business.

Create clear and visible schedules in advance. This keeps everyone informed and on the same page. You will also have the ability to create templates for faster scheduling. All you have to do is drag and drop employees to assign new shifts in just a few clicks.

Paycor also gives employees some control as well. It allows them to set day and time availability in advance. This means that managers can more easily schedule around certain needs and preferences.

Features

  • Schedule optimization
  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • HR and benefits
  • Time and Attendance

8. When I Work

When I Work

Rounding out our list of the best employee shift planning tool is When I Work. This platform offers a ton of features and functionality. However, the software excels because it offers a fantastic free version that most businesses can use.

Aside from the free version, when I Work is used by over 100,000 businesses, including some really big names like Dunkin Donuts, Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Stone Creamery, and Jamba Juice.

Needless to say, the platform has everything you need to properly schedule employees.

Features

  • One-click scheduling
  • Shift coverage confirmation
  • Labor forecasting
  • Overtime control
  • Payroll integration

What Types of Employee Schedules Are There?

The answer to this question is based on the type of business you are running. Some businesses will have a fixed schedule, while others may employ variable or rotating shift schedules. A good example of this is the healthcare industry.

Someone may work three days on and three days off, or some other variable or rotating schedule.

The type of employee scheduling software you choose from the list above will be based on what is the right choice for your situation and business. Remember, one-size doesn’t always fit all. It is important to review all the ones that seem like they may be the best fit.

From there, you can pick the one that supports your business needs the best.

How Much Does Employee Shift Planning Software Cost

There are actually some good free options if you have a very small business. However, for most businesses out there considering this type of software, certain features and functions need to be built-in.

Naturally, you will need to pay for this type of functionality. 

Most of the services above come in different pricing structures. An employee based service will charge you a set amount per employee. A subscription-based service will charge a flat subscription rate based on the number of locations.

Others may vary in price ranges and setup, but the two above are the most popular types of pricing structures.

How to Make the Right Choice

There is a solid list above for you to choose from. That being said, there are still multiple software plans that you have to narrow down. There are, however, some specific things you want to look at when you are in the process of choosing the best staff scheduling apps.

Consider some of the following:

  • Business Size: The number of employees or the number of locations you may have is going to impact your final decision. A company with 10 employees is going to be looking for something much different than a company with 100 employees.
  • Industry: The industry you work in is also something you need to consider. Someone scheduling hours for a small restaurant is much different than someone scheduling shifts and hours for a hospital.
  • Mobile Access: An important aspect for any business today is mobile access. When choosing the right employee shift planning software, remember how important mobile access is going to be for you. Some companies offer better mobile access and functionality than others.
  • Time Tracking: You may think, yeah, isn’t time tracking part of the deal? Actually, not all of these scheduling apps offer time tracking in a way you may need it. Make sure this is part of the deal.
  • Price: We touched on this a little above, but it is definitely going to be a driving point for most. You need to figure out which platform gives you everything you need, while at the same time offering you the best pricing.

Conclusion

Figuring out the best employee scheduling shift planning software does not have to be difficult. Once you have a place to start, then you can scroll through the list and shop around for what you are looking for.

You can’t go wrong with any of the employee shift planning software listed above. Go through them, shop around some, compare all the features, functionality, and pricing.

Match that up with what you need and you will have a new and improved way to schedule employees in no time at all. Good luck!



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Biden to Rejoin the Paris Accord on the First Day


Among a slew of other plans for his first days in office, President-elect Biden will be signing an executive order to rejoin the Paris accord. This will begin the process for the United States to rejoin the agreement, which 197 nations are a part of.

While the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is long, returning is quite easy. All it requires is for the nation that wishes to join to send a letter to the United Nations and after 30 days, the United States can rejoin.

This action does not require any action from the House or Senate, but this is the easy part.

Making America Green Won’t Be Easy

The United States has a huge emissions problem, and many of the regulations that have been put in place over the last 4 years have made going green much harder.

A starting point will be reversing many of these regulatory changes, which could take quite some time. For example, lightbulb efficiency regulations were cut for no good reason. These regulations ensure lightbulbs use less energy to save money on your power bill.

In the case of businesses, it can save thousands each year.

America has also invested heavily in natural gas. And in hindsight, it was a huge mistake when looking at the current price of oil. This industry has been decimated with most oil companies looking at multi-billion dollar losses.

With many of these facilities being recently built, it will be hard to replace them so quickly with renewable energy sources.

However, for the United States to meet climate goals, something must change.

Covid-19 Recovery Plan Is Key

2021 Recovery

As the United States plans to rejoin the Paris accord, it must also focus on recovering from Covid-19.

Creating an economic recovery plan will be critical and not just for America. Every country around the world is in a similar situation, and many are integrating going green with recovery plans.

As a result, this can open up a lot of opportunities for the world to be more environmentally friendly.



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The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Auction is A Colossal Failure


The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was approved for oil drilling in 2017’s tax reform bill. And it was decided that a small portion of the land would be auctioned off. However, the ANWR auction ended up being a colossal failure as no major oil company showed up.

There were a total of 22 tracks of land to bid on, and only 11 of them received bids. The kicker was that the majority of the bids were all from the state of Alaska in the form of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA).

These bids were to ensure that the state itself can lease the land for drilling in case any plots were not sold.

Where Were the Oil Companies?

For decades, oil companies and the state of Alaska have been fighting to allow drilling. Thus, it may have come as a shock to Alaskan officials when none were present.

However, it makes perfect sense as this might be the worst possible time for an oil auction.

Oil prices have been down all year as a result of lower demand due to the pandemic. As a result, these companies are down billions of dollars and are even beginning to divest from oil itself in favor of renewable energy.

There is also their reputation on the line. Many of these big oil companies are working on changing their image due to younger investors. Drilling in a wildlife refuge is not going to win them any favors in this department.

And finally, this rushed auction was a result of the administration change in the White House. President-elect Biden has openly said he is opposed to the drilling, which could mean regulatory barriers for drillers.

It’s a big risk and with oil prices so low, the payoff just isn’t there.

Major Banks Are Also Opposed

Banking

To date, every major American bank has stated that it will not support drilling. This cut off an important source of money for any companies interested and could ruin relationships between a company and bank.

As you can imagine, that is a very bad thing.

Thus, there was very little incentive for any major oil players to attend the ANWR auction.



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Una introducción al desarrollo de temas y plugins en WordPress


El pasado Noviembre 2020 se llevó a cabo el WordCamp Mexico 2020 en formato online y Marco Berrocal tuvo la oportunidad de dar una charla para la comunidad.

¿Qué aprenderás en esta charla?

Eco-sistema de WordPress

Hoy aprenderá acerca del eco-sistema de WordPress, conocerás acerca de su enorme repositorio, el cual te abre muchas posibilidades de desarrollo.

Tipos de Desarrolladores

Marco nos comenta que dentro del proyecto WordPress existen diferentes tipos de desarrolladores dentro de la comunidad de WordPress, los cuales son para plugins, temas y core.

HTML5, CSS, PHP, Javascript y MySQL

HTML5 y CSS son tecnologías que van de la mano y que forman parte de WordPress, CSS son los estilos que se utilizan para visualizar lo que usted verá en su sitio web.

Aprenderá que PHP es el lenguaje computacional que WordPress utiliza y por lo tanto es útil conocer cómo funciona. Otro de los lenguajes utilizados que es importante conocer es Javascript, Marco comentara un poco acerca de estos lenguajes.

Así mismo, Marco explicará acerca de MySQL para entender el funcionamiento en cuanto a bases de datos se refiere.

¿Qué necesita saber de WordPress?

Marco mostrará algunas de las cosas que necesitas saber de WordPress, por ejemplo, que WordPress es una aplicación de software y sugiera desligarse lo más que se pueda del uso de plugins.

Aprenderás acerca de la jerarquía de plantillas y donde encontrar más información al respecto. Además, conocerás el funcionamiento de la clase WP Query.

Otros de los conceptos que aprenderá con Marco, es acerca de los contenidos y taxonomías personalizadas y así aprender a organizar nuestro contenido en WordPress.

Conocerá acerca del settings API y dónde se encuentra en nuestra instalación de WordPress.

Por último, Marco dará algunos consejos más, como hacer uso de WP CLI, conocer de base de datos, responsabilidad cuando eres desarrollador y como apoyarse con la gran comunidad de WordPress.



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Creación de una tienda en línea con WordPress y WooCommerce


En este webinar, Ernesto Morales le mostrará qué necesita para crear su tienda en línea.

¿Qué aprenderá?

Hoy aprenderá acerca de la selección y compra de un dominio web através de un plan de alojamient web. Ernesto, mostrará algunas de las herramientas de análisis de dominios para así llevar a cabo la escogencia de su dominio web, así como algunos consejos para seleccionar un nombre de dominio adecuado.

Una de las herramientas que Ernesto sugiera para hacer una búsquedade nombres de dominio y nombres de usuarios en redes sociales es namecheckr.com, la cual permite verificar si el nombre que queremos usar está disponible.

Instalando WordPress

Ernesto le mostrará algunas de las opciones que existen para la instalación de WordPress, una de ellas, es instalar WordPress en un entorno local y así trabajar nuestro sitio web en nuestra computadora antes de hacer uso de un alojamiento web.

WooCommerce

Aprenderá acerca de WooCommerce, la cual es la plataforma para integrar la funcionalidad de comercio electrónico dentro de su sitio web WordPress y así construir su tienda en línea.

Con WooCommerce usted podrá configurar, páginas de producto, carrito de compras, pagos seguros por medio de tarjeta de crédito y otras alternativas, cálculos automáticos de impuestos, integraciones con otras herramientas como MailChimp y Google Analytics, entre multiples funciones más.

Ernesto le mostrará con varios ejemplos de tiendas en línea como es elfuncionamiento de los productos, atributos, categorías y visualización de los productos dentro de una tienda en línea.

También aprenderá cómo instalar WooCommerce desde el repositorio de WordPress y cómo configurarlo. Así como conocer de sitios web donde usted puede adquirir temas o plantillas para la creación de su sitio web.

Por último, una de las plantillas que Ernesto explicará con más detalle será el tema multipropósito para WooCommerce, Flatsome.

¡Espero verte de nuevo en nuestros próximoswebinars!

Nos gustaría agradecer a todos los que sintonizaron nuestro webinar. Esperamos poder ayudarlo a mejorar su aprendizaje sobre WooCommerce y WordPress en general.

Permanece atento a nuestras redes sociales para conocer cuándo estarán disponibles nuestros próximos webinars.

¡Muchas gracias y feliz aprendizaje!



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