The thought of creating your own website may seem overwhelming.
You might even think this task is impossible for anyone but a developer or a person with a background in web design.
Well, I have good news for you — there’s a software out there that’s so easy to use, virtually anyone can successfully create a unique and professional-looking website for their business, blog, or portfolio. It’s called WordPress.
This ultimate guide will cover a basic step-by-step process of creating your own WordPress website as well as a list of tips and tricks to remember while working with WordPress.
But first, let’s answer the question most people have when they begin thinking about their new WordPress website: What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
The difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com has to do with who is actually hosting your website.
You host your own website or blog on WordPress.org, through a third-party hosting provider. You also have to download your WordPress software, buy a domain name on a third-party site, and manage your server. It’s a much more hands-on experience than with WordPress.com. Also, your URL with a WordPress.org site will look like this: www.mywebsite.com.
WordPress.com offers to host your website for you. You also don’t need to download any software or manage a server. If you choose WordPress.com, your website’s URL will look like this: www.mywebsite.wordpress.com. However, you have the option to also upgrade your WordPress.com account and buy a custom domain from a third-party provider (meaning your URL will look like this: www.mywebsite.com).
You may be wondering whether WordPress.org or WordPress.com would be a better fit for you. Let’s review a few more of the pros and cons that come with both options, so you can make an informed decision.
WordPress.org is ideal if you want full power over customizing and controlling your website. However, there is a lot more responsibility that comes with managing a WordPress.org website. You have to purchase and set up your own domain name, upload and install all of your custom plugins and themes, edit your website’s code, and manage your website’s security. WordPress.org is free to use, but you have to pay for everything else that goes into having a website.
WordPress.com is preferable if you’re looking for an option that has most of the hard work done for you. You’ll never need to manage your server, pay for your hosting, or buy a domain. There are also a number of customization options that come with a WordPress.com plan to help you make your website look the way you want it to.
WordPress.com has a free and paid version. If you stick with the free version, you can’t upload any custom themes or plugins, and you will have a WordPress subdomain. However, there is always the option to pay for premium upgrades and other plans that provide you with even more features and control, as well as the option to buy a custom domain through a third-party site.
WordPress for Beginners: How to Use WordPress
There are a number of ways for you to create your dream website with WordPress. Users generally find the software easy to use, but getting started can be understandably intimidating if you’re completely new to the process.
That’s why we have built this “WordPress for Beginners” guide. Below, we will cover how to start creating your website.
WordPress is one of the most popular CMS options available today according to TechRadar. Its ease of use and versatility enable the majority of users and business owners to create a website that works for their needs with the software. Here’s how you can do the same.
1. Select a WordPress plan
To begin creating your website, select a WordPress plan. As stated earlier, with WordPress.org, you only have one (free) plan option — but it requires you to buy your domain, hosting provider, plugins, themes, and everything else related to your WordPress site.
When it comes to WordPress.com, you’ll have to choose between the five plans they offer.
The main differences between the plans include the monthly fee, types of site customization, and access to marketing tools.
2. Set up your domain name and hosting provider
Setting up your domain name and choosing your hosting provider for WordPress typically happen around the same time in the website creation process.
Before we talk about how to complete those tasks, let’s cover the difference between your domain name and hosting provider.
Think about your domain name as your home address — it’s how your visitors are able to locate your website on the Internet. Your hosting provider is where your website is actually stored. Without a hosting provider, your site wouldn’t have space on a server to “live”.
Imagine your domain name is your home address and your hosting provider is your house. Your data files, which make up your website, are the furniture in your house.
Source: WP Engine
How to pick domain and hosting providers
Again, WordPress.org requires you to create your own domain and find a third-party hosting provider for your website. WordPress.com allows you to decide whether or not you want a custom domain depending on the plan you choose, but you will still have to find a third-party hosting provider.
There are hundreds of third-party hosting services, such as GoDaddy or Bluehost, that provide you with the ability to create custom domain names. Your hosting provider is important because it impacts your website’s speed, security, and reliability.
There are hundreds of hosting providers to choose from, but the good news for you is we put together a list of 19 of the best WordPress hosting providers to help you decide what will work best for your own website. All 19 of these providers meet WordPress’ three hosting requirements (listed below). If you still have an interest in looking at other hosting providers for your site, make sure they meet the following criteria:
- PHP version 7.3 or greater
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.1 or greater
- HTTPS support
For the sake of this guide, let’s assume you do not have a domain or hosting provider at this point. Here’s how to start creating your website on a third-party hosting site like Bluehost.
First, head to Bluehost’s website and click “Get Started”.
From here, you’ll be taken to Bluehost’s pricing page to choose from four different plans.
Once you choose your plan and click “Select”, you’ll be taken to another page to sign up with a domain name.
Once you select your domain name, you’ll be brought to a page to complete your account and billing information for your purchase.
After confirming your account and purchasing your domain, you will gain access to your hosting dashboard where you’ll be able to install WordPress.
If you are using a hosting provider outside of WordPress, you’ll need to install the CMS to connect your new domain to your website.
This time, let’s use GoDaddy as an example. (Don’t worry, no matter the hosting provider you choose, this process looks similar.)
To start, log into your GoDaddy account, click “Web Hosting”, and then “Manage”. You will be brought to a screen with your account details.
Scroll down and under “Options & Settings”, you will see an area titled “Popular Apps”. Click on the WordPress app to begin the installation.
After installing WordPress, there will be a few questions to answer related to the domain you want to use, the directory where you want to install WordPress, and your admin information.
After about 24 hours, your website will be installed to your hosting account, and GoDaddy will send you an email confirmation.
Now that you have your domain set up and WordPress installed, we need to set up your “Primary Domain” within WordPress, so your visitors are see your website when they search your URL.
In WordPress, go to “My Site” and click “Domains”. Select the custom domain you want to make primary.
Then, click “Make Primary”.
Confirm you meant to make this change by clicking “Update Primary Domain”.
Verify the update was successful by looking for a green box with a checkmark that says “Primary Domain”.
Onto step four — making your website look nice.
Side note: If you choose to use a managed WordPress hosting service like WP Engine or Kinsta, you won’t need to go through this process as those services were built specifically for WordPress and will have WordPress installed for you.
4. Choose your theme
You can customize your website using WordPress’ themes and templates, which contain a multitude of layouts, formatting styles, colors, fonts, and other visual options.
WordPress automatically provides you with a default theme that looks rather plain. Sure, you can keep it, but your website visitors may not be so impressed. A custom WordPress theme, whether it’s paid or free, will make your website appealing to your buyer personas as well as ensure it looks professional.
Similar to the wide range of hosting providers available, there are also hundreds of themes and templates to choose from. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to 20 of our favorite themes and templates and categorized them by purpose. Whether you’re looking for a theme versatile enough for multiple different business types, or one suitable for your ecommerce site, portfolio, blog, or niche business, there’s a theme that will work for your specific needs. If you can’t find one that’s right for you, you can build a custom website using a tool like Elementor.
To find a theme that works best for you in WordPress.org, head to your admin dashboard. Click “Appearance” and then “Themes”.
You will then be brought to another screen to browse all available themes or search for a specific one you have in mind.
Once you discover the perfect theme, simply “Install” it to begin customizing it and adding your own content, posts, and pages. Each theme has different steps required of you during the customization process, so be sure to follow them closely. Each theme’s website (which are often accessible through the WordPress theme and template library) has helpful information as you work through the customization process.
5. Add posts and pages to your website
When you add content to your WordPress website, it’s displayed in the form of posts and pages.
Posts (or “dynamic pages”) are typically used for blogs and portfolios because they automatically place your newest website content at the top. Pages are static which is why they often appeal to business owners — the added content always remains in the same place.
Start by deciding whether you want a post or page to serve as the homepage (or any page) of your website. To add a post to your website, go to the admin dashboard, click “Posts” and then “Add New”. You can add a title for your post, insert photos, or change the format.
Source: First Site Guide
Click “Save Draft” to save your changes as a draft or click “Publish” so the post immediately goes live.
If you’re looking to add a page to your website, you’ll work through a very similar process. In your admin area, click “Pages” and then “Add New”.
Source: The Hard Refresh
First, add a title to your page. Next, you can insert photos, embed videos, and add content. Follow the same steps to create multiple pages for your website.
Source: The Hard Refresh
Don’t forget to click “Save Draft” or “Publish”.
6. Customize your website
There are a number of ways to further customize your website. Let’s review a few of the options.
First, create static or dynamic pages under the “Settings” tab in your WordPress admin page.
Consider using a static page if you’re a business owner who prefers having content remain in one place on your website. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for your “About Us” page to contain content that moves around — you’d want that content to remain in one location for consistency. Consider using a dynamic page if you’re a blogger who prefers having your newest content appear at the top of your pages. This way your visitors can easily find your latest posts.
On the left side, click “Settings,” then “Reading.” Choose between your latest posts or a static page.
Your site title also can be customized — to do this, head to your admin dashboard. Under the “General”tab in “Settings”, add your website title and tagline.
The navigation bar is customizable, too. This enables your visitors to easily find information on your website.
You can add a navigation bar by going to your admin dashboard, clicking “Appearance” and then “Menus”.
From here, you can determine how you want your bar to look, how many pages you want to include, what you want to title those pages, and what order you want them to be listed in.
Click here for more information on your WordPress site settings and customization options.
Plugins are pieces of software that add functionality to your website. They also enhance the user experience. With over 55,000 available plugins, there are options for most every type of website and user. Some of the most popular plugins available include WordPress Contact Form, Yoast SEO, TablePress, The SEO Framework, HubSpot Conversion Tools, and Pixel Caffeine.
To begin installation, head to the “Plugins” section in your admin dashboard.
Click “Add New”.
Browse or search for your desired plugin and then click “Install Now”.
8. Optimize your website to increase page speed
Website performance is a critical part of the user experience. If a page takes too long to load, your visitors will move quickly to another site. So, you don’t want to frustrate visitors with slow speed times.
You can improve your website’s performance by enabling browser caching. Browser caching is storing your website’s data to your visitors’ browsers. That way, your content doesn’t need to be processed for it to appear, which increases the website speed.
To enable caching for your website, install and activate a caching plugin. There are more than 1,900 available under Plugins > Add New.
Let’s install and activate WP Fastest Cache. On the plugin’s page, click the box next to “Enable”. Then, click “Submit” at the bottom of the screen.
That’s it! This caching plugins will help increase your website’s performance.
9. Get inspiration from WordPress website examples
As you begin to customize your website, you may feel overwhelmed by all the possible options. No worries, you can grab some inspiration from other highly engaging WordPress websites.
In the example below, 99% Invisible is a popular podcast that focuses on design and architecture. Their website is a sleek, modern design. It offers easy navigation for visitors to quickly access each podcast episode.
Source: 99% Invisible
The Houston Zoo’s website displays its main attraction on the homepage. The magnifying glass icon on the top menu bar makes searching the site effortless.
Source: Houston Zoo
Awesome Motive, the creators behind several WordPress projects, engages their visitors with a polished, yet simple website. It features subtle animation to grab people’s attention.
Source: Awesome Motive
There are a number of WordPress tips and tricks to make your website as impactful and user-friendly as possible — we’ve listed 20 of them below to help you do just that.
1. Focus on the basics and create a great user experience with a WordPress theme that complements your business and website content.
2. Use dashes and not underscores when naming your files in WordPress. Google looks as underscores as joiners, meaning your file will look like one big word. That won’t help you with your SEO. Use dashes to make it obvious there are separate words. (For example, use www.example.com/this-is-an-example, not www.example.com/this_is_an_example).
3. Use WordPress’ online support for any questions or concerns you may have while creating or using your website. There are a number of forums and ways to reach out to WordPress experts listed on their website.
5. Keep your sidebar as organized as possible. Stick to the essentials and think about what your website visitors and buyer personas really need quick and easy access to.
6. Back up your website regularly, so if you ever lose access or have technological difficulties, you have everything you need to completely restore your content. There are a number of plugins, such as Snapshot Pro, made specifically for backing up your WordPress content.
8. Create a custom homepage. As mentioned earlier, WordPress will provide you with a default homepage. Take the time to create your own with a theme that works for your business — remember, this is your visitor’s first impression of your business, blog, or portfolio.
9. Keep an eye on your website’s performance and know what is and isn’t working for your visitors. There are a number of useful WordPress plugins, as well as Google Analytics software, to help with this performance.
10. Include an “About Us” page on your website to show your visitors you’re a trustworthy person and/or business. “About Us” pages are known to be the second most-visited pages on websites (after homepages) — so introducing yourself is important.
12. Create custom permalinks. Permalinks are the permanent URLs that you plan to keep static for the foreseeable future. They’re important because they improve user experience and enhance your WordPress website SEO.
13. Create a custom navigation bar (as we reviewed earlier) to make your site easy to use for your visitors.
14. Include excerpts on your blog posts so people don’t land on your blog page and see your entire piece at once. By only including excerpts on your blog page, you make room to list all of your blogs in one location. Visitors can then read the excerpts and click-through to read the posts they are most interested in.
15. Structure your website in a way that makes sense for your business, visitors, and buyer personas. For example, use posts if you’re a blogger and use pages if you’re a business owner.
16. Remove “Comment” and “Share” buttons from specific pages of your website. You don’t need (or want) a “Comment” or “Share” button on your “About Us” page, or any of your service pages for that matter.
17. Consider what your website looks like on mobile. It’s no secret people are searching the Internet while on their phones, tablets, and other mobile devices these days. Consider using a plugin to help you achieve a responsive, mobile WordPress design.
18. Use visuals and video content when possible to break up the text on your website pages.
19. Update your WordPress site and plugins regularly. WordPress will tell you when updates are released. This will keep your website looking fresh and working efficiently.
20. Use social proof to show your new website visitors how many other people have already subscribed to your site and content. There are plugins to help you do this in a matter of minutes.
Having a great website matters. It’s how you connect with your visitors and leads, create a positive first impression with new users, and boost conversions. The good news is creating your own website doesn’t have to be a daunting process … at least not with WordPress.
The easy-to-use CMS offers completely customizable plans suitable for all needs. With no prior knowledge necessary, you can start building your own site for your business, blog, portfolio, or online store immediately.
The High-Tech CMO’s Marketing Imperatives For 2020
Everyone is talking about the importance of customer experience across the marketing landscape, and CMOs in the high-tech vertical seem to be feeling the most pressure. In high-tech, customer experience is fundamental, as it relates to the experience that a company’s products deliver to its users. But these days, customer experience must extend well beyond products to encompass every touchpoint along a customer’s path to purchase and beyond — and must do so in real-time.
High-tech CMOs are expected to make the total customer experience come alive, but the hurdles to these end-to-end experiences are significant. Most high-tech companies today operate in a far more complex environment than other verticals because they are global, multi-product and often cut across both B2B and B2C organizations. Furthermore, high-tech enterprises tend to be disproportionately affected by new data privacy laws, all while maintaining a faster pace of change than any other vertical on the planet.
In pursuing their current transformation agendas, high-tech CMOs are challenged by budget constraints, security risks, lack of resources and an explosion of tech vendor options, to name a few obstacles. But the solution to creating a great total customer experience is not about finding more money or choosing the right technology, but rather prioritizing initiatives for the greatest long-term gains and making the most out of what high-tech marketing departments already have. Let’s take a closer look at the current imperatives for marketers operating in the high-tech space today.
Total Customer Experience Requires Identity
The journey toward a seamless and immersive customer experience doesn’t happen overnight, but high-tech CMOs can make significant progress in the short-term if they commit to mastering customer identity within their organizations. In high-tech especially, identity is a crucial linchpin to delivering a holistic and relevant customer experience, particularly given disparate data sets and privacy law limitations on data use. As the age of the cookie comes to an end, it is critical that a new and stronger foundation is established for effective cross-channel, cross-device marketing that can lead to true competitive advantage.
Having a single identifier to recognize customers and prospects across the marketing and database spectrum is essential to remaining relevant in today’s fast-paced tech space. High-tech companies have a number of options for pursuing customer identity. Whether they choose to manage it in-house or through vendors, it is vital for CMOs to seek identity partners that are agile and are flexible of the high-tech industry. That means seeking global partners that have expertise across B2B and B2C businesses, a deep understanding of privacy laws and hybrid models that can accommodate the spectrum of outsourcing and in-housing preferences.
Injecting Flexibility Into Sourcing Strategies
Above all, high-tech CMOs must seek solutions that allow them to optimize links across their disparate data sets to create a layer of persistent IDs that can act as a strong connecting foundation for an end-to-end customer experience. That means simultaneously transforming a high-tech organization’s sourcing strategy to inject more flexibility and reactivity into this important process.
Due to the global, multi-faceted, multi-product nature of high-tech businesses, most organizations already engage in rationalization exercises that attempt to bring more consistency to their sourcing abilities. The next challenge is to find partners that can enable organizations to not just rationalize costs and operate globally, but that can also provide options and engagement models that help them transform in a flexible and modular way. After all, the only constant in the high-tech vertical is change. Partners to these companies must likewise be able to adapt constantly and show transformation progress, while simultaneously being able to ensure “business as usual” is getting done.
Today’s high-tech companies are built on foundations of innovation. Because they were the first movers in adopting comprehensive tech stacks, they face an even greater burden when it comes to transforming these stacks to enable a great total customer experience. As competition increases, high-tech CMOs must prioritize the rationalization of both costs and vendor lists. In doing so, they must set their sights on achieving not only scope and depth in their ability to understand customer identity but also the competence and flexibility to keep pace in a landscape where the pace of change continues to accelerate.
Sylvain Panzani is Merkle’s Growth Strategy and Operations Officer. Previously, he served as and SVP and Client Partner in the High Tech Vertical Group, focused on delivering value for a selected set of B2B and High Tech customers. He has extensive experience in both strategy consulting and operational marketing in multinational B2B and B2C corporations. Sylvain has served in multiple leadership and operational marketing roles in diverse areas such as Business Intelligence, Field Marketing, Marketing Operations, Campaigns and Programs, for both B2C and B2C. He is the former head of Marketing for France at Dell for Consumer and Small Business, and of European Marketing Operations for Dell.
Uday Nayar is the Vice President of Client Strategy at Merkle. He serves as the Americas strategy lead for Merkle’s Performance Media and CRM capabilities. Prior to joining Merkle, Nayar held positions in digital strategy and account management at large agencies like OgilvyOne and Digitas, where he led Fortune 500 client engagements across Technology, Financial Services, Insurance, and Retail industries. Nayar holds an Economics degree from the Delhi University, and an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester.
Key insights: COVID-19 continues to impact consumer behavior, marketing spend and the marketing mix
- According to Amperity COVID-19 Retail Monitor, who tracked consumer behavior across categories and channels from 100 North American retail brands, overall retail demand is down 90%.
- eMarketer’s data shows the best use of ad spend at the moment is PPC, followed by email marketing and regional advertising.
- Not surprisingly, a new report from streaming media intelligence provider Conviva – finds that streaming during the pandemic has climbed sharply (26%) in the U.S.
- Global Web Index found that – while almost 45% of global consumers are devoting more time to social media – over 10% are also creating and uploading videos themselves.
- 40% of organizations potentially spending more on software can also be an opportunity for ideally placed vendors to solidify themselves within the longer-term business trends caused by the immediate crisis.
- We have noticed that any of our articles that tackle the topic of coronavirus tend to have over 400% more engagement.
Understandably there is a lot of info out there right now talking about the effect COVID-19 has had on various sectors and businesses and how you should be dealing with it.
Rather than adding to the clutter in your inbox with our own findings we have decided to help and compile all the data out there making the rounds. So here you go:
According to Amperity COVID-19 Retail Monitor, who tracked consumer behavior across categories and channels from 100 North American retail brands, overall retail demand is down 90%. The losses are mainly driven by closure of retail stores, however online revenue is also down 74%.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though as the Health & Beauty has shown consistent growth of 19.28%. There has been a considerable shift towards higher-priced products in health and beauty, which has led to the sector’s strong performance.
Food & Beverage declined by 20.38% after panic-buying slowed down.
Social sees 2-day improvement, overtaking email as the most resilient non-organic marketing channel.
According to a forecast from eMarketer, global worldwide ad spend is currently down $20B from the beginning of the year.
However, rather than stopping ad spend, marketers need to refocus ad spend on key areas of streaming, gaming or online food delivery.
eMarketer’s data shows the best use of ad spend at the moment is PPC, followed by email marketing and regional advertising.
Global streaming during COVID-19
Not surprisingly, a new report from streaming media intelligence provider Conviva – finds that streaming during the pandemic has climbed sharply (26%) in the U.S.
The increase in daytime viewing more clearly reflects the boost in stay-at-home behavior: the 10AM to 5PM window increased 39 percent between March 9 and 23.
Early morning hours are also up 26 percent, and pre-primetime fringe rose 20 percent. Interestingly, the only drop – a negligible 2 percent down – was in primetime.
For streaming video providers and advertisers, a key question is whether these bumps will carry over in any degree once the pandemic subsides.
“We anticipate streaming providers will retain new viewers long after the coronavirus has ended,” Conviva CEO Bill Demas said in a statement, “as viewers embrace the variety and flexibility of the medium.”
From the Conviva report
Messaging strategy during COVID-19
Messaging strategy remains important. As per research American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As):
- 43% of consumers find it reassuring to hear from brands they “know and trust” as COVID-19 pandemic spreads.
- 40% want to know how companies are responding to the coronavirus pandemic
- 15% say they don’t want to hear from companies at the current time
- 43% of consumers believe coronavirus messages from retailers sound too similar and “are losing their impact.”
Companies especially need to be cautious about communicating with inactive customers and customers they have not communicated with recently.
Potential mediums to communicate with stakeholders (in addition to email) are Social media, online video and podcasts.
Global Web Index found that – while almost 45% of global consumers are devoting more time to social media – over 10% are also creating and uploading videos themselves.
Brands can help people as they turn their homes into offices, schools, gyms, restaurants, leisure and entertainment spaces to learn, laugh and live in.
Brands can amplify the ‘stay at home’ message, in a correct and creative way. – esp. in places like the UK and US where there are lots of restrictions.
It is important to have a human-first rather than consumer-led approach in your messaging.
How COVID-19 will impact B2B tech spending?
According to new research by TrustRadius, many companies in the tech industry are bracing themselves for a broader economic decline. 18% anticipate that their companies will be spending less on software—a surprisingly low figure given the disruption to personal and professional lives that coronavirus has caused already.
The fact that 66% of respondents expect unchanged or increased spending is more positive than many in the tech industry would expect. (This could of course change as the economic impact of the pandemic is better understood.)
40% of organizations potentially spending more on software can also be an opportunity for ideally placed vendors to solidify themselves within the longer-term business trends caused by the immediate crisis.
Speaking to the Executive Director in Corporate Technology of an American multinational cosmetics company, we found that remote working is making them finetune their tech communication on the internal and external front.
The entire notion of having a 360 degree view of the consumer is front of mind for them and current tech projects are in play to look at the best ways to capture this. They are currently investing in consulting tech and paid media.
What are people reading on ClickZ?
Obviously COVID-19 remains the most sought after topic right now. We have noticed that any of our articles that tackle the topic of coronavirus tend to have over 400% more engagement. People are keen on getting insights on COVID-19 and its impact on various sectors, businesses, verticals.
Our readers are also interested in content that can help them optimize performance and conversions. Another topic which our readers seem to love at the moment is the death of the third-party cookies and how business will survive after it is phased out.
As of this month, Google has implemented a new secure-by-default model for cookies, enabled by a new cookie classification system.
This system will stop sending third-party cookies in cross-site requests unless the cookies are secure and flagged through SameSite, which is meant to prevent the browser from sending the cookie along with cross-site requests.
While SameSite is not a particularly new concept, this will be the first time a secure cookie flag will be a requirement for those using Chrome — not just a best practice, as it has been up until now.
Google implemented these new requirements with Chrome 80 on February 4 as the first step in a larger multi-year plan to phase out support for third-party cookies, leaving the ad tech and martech industry with just a few weeks left to make the necessary tweaks to ensure their cookies continue to function properly.
The post Key insights: COVID-19 continues to impact consumer behavior, marketing spend and the marketing mix appeared first on ClickZ.
7 essential tips for managing a newly-remote team [Infographic]
Throughout my almost seven years here at IMPACT, I’ve seen a lot of (positive) change.
A team of 15 is now over 65. A small office has become a big one.
We’ve gone from having everyone work from our headquarters, then in Wallingford, CT, to more than half the team working remote from their homes across the country and even internationally.
I’ve made my way from an intern to an account supervisor and now Director of Operations, managing three people.
Learning how to properly manage a team is a big feat in itself.
Add in the fact that now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, our entire company is working remote and the challenges begin to pile up.
The ease of walking over to their desks, grabbing a room to have a meeting together, or just wanting to take a lunchtime walk has completely disappeared.
A team needs to be able to communicate strongly, report accurately, complete quality work based on documented goals and processes, and — perhaps most important for remote employees — feel like they’re all in it together.
Nutcache’s infographic, “7 Tips for Managing a Remote Team,” (shared below) highlights helpful advice for managing a remote team in a way that ensures everyone is able to effectively complete work and interact successfully.
How to increase your remote team’s productivity and efficiency
Having both the right people and the right tools and processes are extremely important when it comes to managing a team of remote employees. Let’s take at each of these elements:
The right people:
I’ve always envied people who can be productive at home. (I often get sidetracked by Netflix or my dog…) This is part of the reason why working remotely is not for everyone.
When opening up to remote employees, it’s important for your company to hire people who can thrive independently, as well as when working with their team.
The right tools:
Imagine a business world without email, phone calls, instant messaging, and video/screen sharing.
Having the ability to see my team’s faces everyday makes me feel connected to every single of them, and because we’re able to quickly communicate via video or instant messenger, we’re more productive and clear in what’s expected of each other.
In addition to communication tools, project management tools are also essential.
Having a software that the entire team can use from anywhere makes a world of difference when it comes to managing each person’s workload and knowing how that feeds into the team’s overall list of to-dos.
Having company processes in place is important to keeping all teams consistent, so it’s imperative that everyone is familiar with and follows them.
You may also want to develop specific processes for the people on your team that will help keep everyone on the same page when it comes to achieving your goals.
Speaking of goals, it’s not only essential that you have them, but everyone on your team should also know exactly what you’re working towards, what the plan of action is to achieve them, and how your goals feed into the bigger objectives of the organization.
Make sure you’re clearly communicating your team’s goals to each individual member on a consistent basis; talk about them in 1-on-1s, team meetings, and performance reviews.
My team believes in always over-communicating. We use tools like Slack and Zoom to keep all lines open when we need help or things clarified.
We have daily stand-up meetings each morning to ensure we’re all cognizant of what everyone is working on and what impediments may be standing in their way of completing their tasks.
We also hold regular 1-on-1 meetings where we can talk about personal goals, challenges, and accomplishments.
This one goes both ways.
A team needs to be able to trust their manager, and a manager needs to be able to trust their team.
One of IMPACT’s core values is dependability, and that feeds directly into our trust in one another.
If you hire the right people for the job, your communication is strong, and everyone knows what’s expected of them, it shouldn’t be hard to trust that your team will get things done in a productive manner.
There’s so much value in seeing my team in person.
That’s why we make sure our remote employees periodically make their way into the office, so everyone can spend quality time with each other.
Unfortunately, that’s not possible for the foreseeable future.
While we’re unable to make in-person gatherings happen, we have been scheduling video lunches, having after-work virtual happy hours, and game nights to keep our bonds strong and spirits high during this difficult time.
Take a deeper look into the seven tips Nutcache has laid out in their infographic below.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2018. As the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has the entire IMPACT team and more people, in general, working from home than ever before, we found the advice to be timeless. The write-up has been updated and republished to bring this timeless advice to you in a whole new context and light. – Ramona Sukhraj, Head of Editorial Content
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