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Is your website slowing you down?

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We live in a fast-paced world, we demand everything now; fast food, fast news and next day delivery. And we expect to be able to order all these things anywhere; on mobile, on tablet or any other device with an internet connection come to think of it. Partly because we have busy lives with little downtime and partly because improvements in technology have spoilt us. Instant gratification is a buzzword of the 2010s.

Online speed is a hotly debated topic, from broadband speeds to the importance of page loading time for search engine optimisation, where, it seems, a couple of seconds can make all the difference.

Test your speed

First thing’s first, test your desktop and mobile page speed with Google’s PageSpeed tool. The closer to 100 your score is, the better. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get a perfect score though, even ‘google.co.uk’ only gets 96/100! The tool will also give you some recommendations to improve your site’s performance.

The speed of your site and UX

According to Tony Haile, an average visitor will spend less than 15 seconds actively on a page. That’s just 15 seconds to capture their attention, create interest and persuade them to click. And that’s if they even make it on to your website.

Page loading time is a huge contributing factor to page abandonment and crucial in keeping visitors’ attention on your site. Simply put, slow page loading will turn off potential customers. It seems users have even less patience when it comes to mobile browsing, with most participants in a Kissmetrics survey saying they only wait 6-10 seconds before abandoning a page.

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less

40% will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load

52% of online shoppers’ state that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty.

A one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year

Alongside a multitude of factors including page relevance, domain age and number of inbound links, page loading time is recognised as key in google search rankings. First announced in 2010, the speed at which a user can reach the page content from the google search results is a deciding factor in where google will rank the page.

Research by Moz found it was the back-end performance (including web servers, their network connections, CDN (content delivery network) and back-end application and database servers) that had the biggest impact on search engine ranking, with websites that could quickly deliver pages gaining a higher position than those that were slower.

How does web hosting impact site speed?

Your website’s hosting should be optimised for speed, just as the website itself is. SSD, CPU, memory, server location, network speed and load balancing all have their part to play in the smooth running of your site. Choosing a good web hosting company like Certa Hosting can’t guarantee you’ll reach page one of google, but it does mean you’ll avoid the penalties of hosting your site with the wrong one. Choose carefully and don’t base your decision on price alone.

10 things you can do to speed up your site

  1. Minimise HTTP requests by reducing the number of elements on your page
  2. Minify resources
  3. Optimise images
  4. Enable compression of large pages
  5. Reduce the number of plugins on your site
  6. Choose a reliable web host
  7. Ensure your site’s scripts are up-to-date
  8. Minimise redirects
  9. Fix broken URLs
  10. Use a CDN (content delivery network)

A fast site that gives a great UX will start generating its own SEO in the resulting backlinks from recommendations and online conversations about the brand.

Conclusion

If you want your users to have a great experience and tell others about it, pay attention to both the front and the back end of your website. Once they are harmoniously working together you will reap the rewards of a fast, user-friendly website that can keep up with your business ambitions. 

Thank you Jeremy Rose, director at Certa Hosting, a premium web hosting services provider.

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Can Phone Screens Be Replaced?

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Even with a protective case and screen protector, there are some situations which will inevitably result in your smartphone’s screen being damaged. From dropping your phone in water to dropping it on concrete, your phone’s screen may eventually need to be repaired or replaced.

Thankfully, there are ways to service your phone without spending a lot of money or sending your phone to the manufacturer in the mail. If you simply search for “cell phone repair near me,” you’ll be able to choose from dozens of local third party services. Here is a quick rundown of the types of situations in which you’ll need to replace your phone screen.

Broken or cracked screen

Fixing a cracked screen is one of the most common phone repairs performed. Generally, this procedure involves removing the broken screen glass and replacing it with a new piece of glass. While you may be able to buy a repair kit online, it’s generally advised that you take your phone to a professional to fix its screen.

This ensures that the repair is done correctly and that you don’t accidentally make matters worse and cause other issues with your phone. A third party service can perform a screen repair quote quickly, allowing you to get back to using your phone in no time at all.

Pressure spots or dead pixels

While not as drastic to your phone’s performance as some of the other issues on this list, dead pixels and pressure spots can severely limit your ability to use your phone to its fullest.

A dead pixel occurs when one of the lights in your phone’s LCD burns out, usually leaving a permanently black or white pixel in its place. While one or two dead pixels can generally be ignored, multiple missing pixels can be particularly frustrating, especially if they’re in key areas on your screen.

The same can be said for pressure spots, which are fingerprint sized discolorations that can obscure even more of your phone’s user interface. Sometimes, users will dismiss these problems and treat them like cosmetic defects. However, it’s best to take care of these before they develop into even bigger problems.

Unresponsive touch screen

An unresponsive touch screen is one of the most serious problems you can run into with your smartphone, and it may take some troubleshooting to rule out other issues. For example, sometimes your iPhone or Android might freeze, but you can still restart your phone. Even resetting your smartphone to factory default is worth a try if you’ve backed up your device’s data and are really looking to fix the problem.

If none of these workarounds rule out your problem, it may be time to take your phone to a professional. The touch screen of a phone features complex circuitry and features that make it crucial to be addressed by an experienced technician. That being said, you don’t necessarily have to go back to the manufacturer for these kinds of repairs. Third party services are often much cheaper.

Water damage

While a bit more rare than other screen problems, if water gets between your glass and the circuitry of your LCD touch screen, the results can be disastrous. In most situations, recovery of your phone comes down to numerous factors, which is why it’s best not to get your hopes up if even a little moisture made it to your phone’s central processor or motherboard.

For this reason, third party companies generally won’t charge a fee for the diagnostic work associated with water damage. Instead, a technician will do their best to determine what work might be able to be accomplished to salvage your hardware and, most importantly, your data.

While replacing the phone in its entirety is usually the end result, sometimes replacing the screen and drying out the phone is possible. So it’s always a good idea to have your phone looked at before you throw in the towel.

While the simple answer to the question “Can my phone’s screen be replaced?” is “yes”, the longer answer is that it depends on the issue your phone is facing. If any of the above issues are happening to your phone, take your device in to a professional technician to see how they may be able to service it.

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Court Reporting Versus Digital Recording: Which Is The Better Option?

When it comes to informational accuracy, technology surpasses human intelligence in several circumstances, but are court hearings included?

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When it comes to informational accuracy, technology surpasses human intelligence in several circumstances, but are court hearings included? Surprisingly enough, they’re not.

While some people may go along with the potential obsolescence of court reporters and the deployment of digital recording as a sole reporting method, that may not be fully recommended for a number of reasons. Modern technology and artificial intelligence are optimizing day-to-day tasks and facilitating operations that would otherwise take long hours to be completed. On the other hand, despite their systematized functioning, electronic devices aren’t failure-proof. That’s where the human element makes an entrance.

Digital recording: the latest technology for accurate documentation

Digital reporting or electronic reporting is, in the words of the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, the “use of professional-level audio recording systems to register court proceedings.” Those unfamiliar with the judicial scenery might consider the presence of a human court reporter unnecessary in any case – after all, an electronic device has a faster and stricter capability of collecting crucial information. Still, electronics malfunction, break, and regardless of outside conditions, they’ll only work according to their primary function, which isn’t optimal when you think about it.

When taking human failure rates into account, however, one may find that there’s a high risk of information loss and defective machine performance. In ideal conditions, the recording device would be working properly, and all members would respect their time to speak. Yet, it’s common for litigants lower their voices or speak almost inaudibly in certain instances, which may or may not be caught by a recording device. Additionally, not everyone will keep their speeches stable in court and member will sometimes interrupt one another. When such situations meet poor device functioning, bad audio quality, and human error (e.g. forgetting to press the “record” button), a bunch of missing information could compromise the case and information could be gone permanently.

The job of court reporters is still critical for complete reports

Court reporters are highly trained professionals who are knowledgeable about legal proceedings and emergent technologies. Their expertise and dexterity is based on years of training, which qualifies them to document entire judicial processes. Just for reference, a person must be able to type about 225 words per minute in order to pass the United States Registered Professional Reporter Test.

Another major difference between digital recordings and court reporters is that the best professionals have an expedited turnaround of all transcripts, as is the case with skillful Miami court reporters. Some court cases require faster processing and a shorter turnaround time for being more complicated than others, which once again favors the reporters’ set of skills. They won’t simply deliver transcripts on time — they’ll interpret them, clarify misheard sentences with heavy accents, for example, and offer real-time technology so every court member, including the hard of hearing, has instant access to transcripts. Their role makes sure to benefit judges and jurors alike, providing information that can be accessed in person or remotely.

Should one be employed without the other?

Without technological assistance, the job of court reporters would be harder. For this reason, their education and certifications must always meet high standards of innovation and deliver extremely precise transcripts in a short period of time.

For all-encompassing and error-free documentation, digital recordings paired with the proficiency of a court reporter would be suitable. However, reliable and proficient reporters are always up-to-date with the latest technologies to capture hearings accurately, so the extra cost of a recording device might not be necessary. Court reporters are, at least in the predictable future, the best voice-to-text transcriptors courts can rely on.

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What Are the Prerequisites for the CCNA?

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The CCNA is a Cisco certification required for most IT professionals. There are actually a few versions of the exam, but the most common is the CCNA Routing and Switching certification. This exam can be taken at the Associate level, so there aren’t many concerns as far as prerequisites go.

The only real limitations are that a person under 13 years will not be permitted to take it, and a person between 13 and 17 must have parental consent. For those 18 and older, there are no restrictions, as Cisco does not require any previous exams to become eligible for the CCNA.

Still, just because there are no real prerequisites, this doesn’t mean the exam isn’t challenging. It’s a 90-minute test consisting of both multiple-choice and performance-based questions. Anyone taking the exam will have to thoroughly prove their knowledge and problem-solving skills in a limited time. It can be stressful, and it’s recommended to have both theoretical knowledge as well as practical networking experience before taking the test. The following are the best ways to prepare for the CCNA.

Study materials

There are plenty of study materials that can get you started. These range from official study guides, video courses, labs, and more. There is a list of Cisco approved materials for those wishing to follow that path, though there are a variety of options from other vendors as well. Regardless of whether you pursue free or paid options, you’ll need to do your best to cover all of the content that could appear on the exam. The methods you choose will likely depend on your learning style.

In general, it’s recommended to take a self-paced video course, regardless of your knowledge level. These will generally measure your knowledge at the start of the course to ensure you aren’t bored with concepts you already know nor overwhelmed at the beginning with unfamiliar ideas. You’ll likely need some additional materials, however, as it can be easy to miss some ideas when watching videos.

There’s an official Cisco Certification Guide available in ebook and hardcopy forms which many argue to be the best study guide available. It’s also impossible to replace hands-on experience through any number of study guides or lab courses. Luckily, modern simulation tools like GNS3 can let you practice the majority of performance-based content you’ll see on the exam.

Practice tests

To get a better idea of what the real exam will be like, you’ll need to take some practice tests. While no practice test can show the same questions that will appear on the current exam, there are many tutoring packages out there that include a CCNA practice test with real questions from past exams. These questions are obtained directly from Cisco and Pearson and can give you a good idea as to the structure of the exam. If you’re able to complete these in the allotted time, you should stand a better chance at the real thing.

Additional preparation

No matter how you decide to prepare for the exam, you’ll likely be doing some combination of self-study and seeking outside help. External training options like expert boot camps and live courses may be just what you need if you require a more personal touch. These options generally include several hours of live instruction, and boot camps will let you schedule appointments with an expert instructor.

The real key is that you need to understand your own learning style and pace, something you’ll hopefully have good experience with from previous classwork. Luckily, you can have a combination of everything you think will work for you before you attempt your exam.

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