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Atiba’s Top 10 Holiday Tech Gifts Guide

It’s been a long year but somehow we’re almost at the end of a 2020 none of us expected. As the holidays rapidly approach, everyone is on the hunt for the perfect gifts to end 2020 on a high note. And this year, perhaps more than ever, tech gifts just make a lot of sense. We’ve all come to depend so much on our tech this year. It’s been our bridge to work, family, and friends.

This year, we compiled a list of tech gifts that make the most of tech’s entertainment, work-from-home, and socializing abilities. The entire Atiba team chipped in to help create this year’s Atiba Top 10 Holiday Tech Gifts Guide. From nostalgia to cutting edge, the list has something for everyone.

  1. NVIDIA GeoForce RTX 3080 10GB GDDR6X PCI Express 4.0 Graphics Card

This is a very cool techy gift for the techy gamer in your life. If this were jewelry, it would come in a little blue box. This little powerhouse provides exceptional gaming performance. It drastically improves graphics processing to boost speed, which any real gamer will appreciate. It’s definitely a gift for a real techy but if that’s who you’re shopping for, they’ll be seriously impressed you found this. From the reviews, this gift can be hard to get your hands on so snap it up if you find it in stock and make someone’s holiday!

Buy Here Link

 

2. Unicomp Ultra Classic Model M Black Buckling Spring 104 Key USB Keyboard (AKA World’s Noisiest Keyboard)

This one is a trip down memory lane. This keyboard is modeled after the keyboards designed by IBM over 20 years ago. Remember sitting in class, playing Oregon Trail, and hearing the clickity-clack echoing all over the room as your fellow 5th graders floated across rivers and lost family to dysentery? Well, that clicking you remember wasn’t from wagon wheels, it was from those old keyboards with spring-loaded keys.

And while many of us moved on to quieter, rubber dome models, many folks miss the old style. The old design was intentionally loud and spring-loaded. The design helped improve accuracy and reduce the impact on your fingers as you type. For the techy who knows the history and design intention of these retro keyboards, they’ll appreciate the thoughtful gift. And who doesn’t enjoy a little nostalgia? These can be hard to find in stock so if you’re in the market and find one, snatch it up!

Buy Here Link

3. GALAXYCOVE Projector 

When we’re spending so much time at home these days, it’s nice to have anything that refreshes our space and gives us a little escape from the ordinary. This little gadget can transform a room into a sea of stars and color. It comes preloaded with 6 constellation settings but you can also sync your favorite music to create an absolutely immersive light and sound experience in your own home. It’s a very cool gift for the techie in your life, young or old.

Buy Here Link

4. PlayStation 5 

This one doesn’t need much explaining. We all know what makes a PlayStation 5 an awesome tech gift. It’s fun. It’s powerful. There are games for the whole family to enjoy together or solo. And, added bonus, this console won’t look hideous in your living room. The sleek and modern design is as beautiful as the gameplay graphics. Even the accessories embody sophistication and elegance. We’re all spending a lot of time at home right now. And as temps drop, you’re going to love having this hub of entertainment literally at your fingertips as you snuggle under a blanket on the couch while hunting ogres, racing cars, or whatever you love in a video game. Techie or not, there aren’t many people who wouldn’t love unwrapping this gift. Find it, buy it, love it.

Buy Here Link

 

5. Samsung Space Saving 32-Inch 4K Monitor 

A lot of us have crammed our offices in our homes this year. And if you found that all that work stuff is taking up a lot of valuable home space, you’re going to love this gift. This clever monitor design takes up minimal space and easily adapts to the surroundings. And it does that without satisfying quality.

the monitor has a very usable 32-inch display, rich with 4K graphics. It also has a frameless bezel screen on 3 sides, making the most of space by showing screen, not frame. It looks like work-from-home is going to stay part of our working lives for a long time. For the person in your life who needs a little more home and a little less work, this is a fantastic, thoughtful gift.

Buy Here Link

6. TC-Helicon GO XLR 4-Channel USB Streaming Mixer with Voice FX and Sampler

Whether it’s for work or play, there are a lot of audiophiles who found themselves locked out of their sound booths this year. If you have a creative techie in your life who wants to create high-quality radio, podcasts, or other audio files from home, they’ll absolutely love this gift.

It’s the command center a home streaming audio setup needs. Complete with a mute switch for coughs and a censor button for words not fit for the holidays. Easy to set up, the small but powerful hub integrates with mikes, PC line audio, gaming consoles, and more. It’s the ham radio for the modern creative.

For the techie in your life who wants to sound professional while at home in loungewear, this might be the perfect gift.

Buy Here Link

 

7. Raspberry Pi 400

This gift is as cool as its name is cute. It’s a complete personal computer built into a keyboard. That’s cool, right?! It’s a great gift for anyone who wants a portable but powerful solution for computing. Just plug into a screen or dock and jump in. It’s a thoughtful gift that’s perfect for the whole family. It’s an easy to use, easy to carry, easy to store solution for shared spaces, small enough for your 2nd grader, and powerful enough for your home office, it’s made for many users.

Just plug into your monitor, or with their dual display output your dual monitors, and get to work. It makes sharing desk space easy while also creating a great pc experience. And with its quad-core 64-bit processor, 5GB of RAM, wireless networking, dual-display output, and 4K video playback, it’s loaded with all the bells and whistles we love. You have the option to purchase the kit, complete with mouse, power supply, HDMI to HDMI cable, and SD card. But if you have all that gear already, you can buy just the keyboard. Everything about this cool gift is designed around flexibility and accessibility. It’s thoughtful and cool and we think it’ll make a great gift.

Buy Here Link

 

8. LapGear Designer Lap Desk with Phone Holder and Device Ledge

Good things have a way of sticking around. While the lap desk isn’t a new concept, this design is updated with your tech in mind. Many of us found that working from home really meant working from the couch. And while it’s cozy, it isn’t always functional to work without a desk. This design has thousands of positive reviews for its comfort and durability. It comes in two sizes (15.6 – 17.3″ laptops) and multiple colors and prints. It’s comfortable, it’s classic, it’s functional. It’s a great gift for your tech user.

Buy Here Link

 

9. Chromecast with Google TV

If this year hasn’t made a streamer out of you nothing will. But in case you have someone in your life who hasn’t made the switch yet, a Chromecast with Google TV is the perfect gift. Even those with low tech skills can install and use this streaming device. And with all the cool integrations with Google Home and other Google services, it can turn any home into a smart home.

It’s designed for almost any user but smart enough to customize. It even makes personal recommendations and has a voice-enabled remote. How cool is that?! And you don’t have to worry about switching from app to app to find your favorite content anymore. Chromecast puts everything on one screen making browsing easier and watching faster. Techy or not, they’ll love this gift.

Buy Here Link

 

 

10. Apple Pencil

This might be the coolest Apple accessory out there. The Apple Pencil just doesn’t get enough credit for making apple devices cooler and better to use. Like all Apple products, it’s thoughtful design and beautifully crafted. While touchscreen has changed so many things for the better, for anyone who loves to draw or take notes, the tech was missing that function for a long time. The Apple Pencil feels and works like pencil on paper, taking into account pressure and tilt, with almost imperceptible lag, and impressive precision. It’s also easy to keep up with and charge with it’s magnetic attach and wireless charging.

In short, it’s really cool and makes a great tech gift.

Buy Here Link

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Well, that’s our list. We think there are some really cool tech gifts out there and these are just a few of our favorites. We’ve been spending a lot of time at home and these gifts should make it a little more fun and functional to work, play, and get through the rest of this crazy year. Whether you’re shopping for a super techy or just someone who needs better tech, these gifts are a great way to show you know them, love them, and want to bring them a little happiness. It’s why giving is better than receiving. That’s what we hear.

As we move out of 2020 and into a new year, we can’t wait for more cool tech. Even when things get tough, tech stays cool and offers new ways to connect, work, and play. We love being part of it and we’re so glad you’re along for the ride!

Why Server Management is Critical for Your Business

why server management is important

As sleek and attractive as tech has become over the years, it’s easy to forget that the backbone of almost all systems, networks, and business IT are non-descript server boxes, humming away on a shelf in a room. Whether that server room is on-site at your business or in a warehouse owned by a hosting service, all server systems require management. It almost goes without saying, but server management is critical for your business.

What is Server Management?

The basic definition of server management is monitoring the components of a server to ensure it functions securely and effectively. In order to that properly, you must focus on four main areas:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Security
  • Backups

These four areas are the core of any server management program and having solid knowledge of these areas will help you maintain your server.

In addition, there are three basic tasks that must be followed when maintaining and managing your servers.  These break down into monitoring, updating, and setup. In reality, there could be more but those services and tasks will vary depending on the needs of your business as well as the capabilities of your server managers.

managing your server

Hardware

Inside the little black boxes humming away on shelves in a server room are some basic components. All servers have processors or CPUs. You can consider those the brains of your server as they do all the computing work. You’ll also have a temporary memory (RAM) and permanent memory (Hard Drive).

All three of these components have limits. Too many processes running at one time can hurt your RAM while a lack of permanent memory can hurt performance.

When those limits are near or at capacity, the performance of the entire server can suffer.

CPU (Central Processing Unit) 

For those of us working from home, distractions may have increased. The TV in the adjacent room, the living room floor in need of sweeping, or kids running around. With so many distractions, it makes it much harder to focus on important tasks. CPUs operate in a similar way.

It’s important to monitor not just how much bandwidth is being used on your CPU but it’s also worth seeing what that volume is composed of. You can probably ignore the TV easier than a curious child shuffling papers on your desk. In a similar manner, some programs are a greater strain on your CPU than others. It’s worth checking how that CPU is being utilized and ensuring it’s the best use.

If you do find that your CPU is near or at capacity and your server performance is suffering, there are always forms of upgrading your CPU. But it might be cheaper, easier, and faster to identify and eliminate unnecessary usage. Running an audit on your usage is vital

There are also physical considerations with your CPU that we’ll discuss in the environment section below.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM is your temporary memory. Your system uses RAM because it’s faster than utilizing permanent storage and not everything needs to be stored permanently, anyway.  How much you need depends on how you use your server. The number of users, the amount of traffic, your security profiles, etc. all determine how much you’ll need.

Like the CPU, being close to or at the limits of your RAM will negatively impact server performance. The most likely symptom of overloaded RAM is sluggish performance. And while systems are designed to add or remove RAM, your software and CPU likely both have minimum and maximum limits. Knowing your system’s limitations ahead of time will help you manage RAM.

Hard Drive (Hard Disk)

hard drives servers

The hard drive is your system’s permanent memory. Data stored in your hard drive is there even when the machine is shut down.

Like RAM and CPU, when you approach or reach capacity, the performance of the server suffers. Creating space by deleting unnecessary data, adding additional hardware, or supplementing with cloud storage are a few options to improve hard drive capacity. Depending on your system, you may also have options to check the general health, reformat, and make repairs to your hard drive.

SSDs or HDDs?

Although SSDs have been around for quite some time, they are still far from the norm. Many businesses find themselves asking which would be better, a hard drive or a solid-state drive?

SSDs have a number of advantages. They are faster, consume less energy, and take up less space. They are, however, more expensive.

HDDs, on the other hand, are slower, consume a bit more energy, and are larger. But, they’re cheaper.

For many, the answer is both.

Many businesses use SSDs for their high-performance applications or boot drives. HDDs can be used for large data storage that doesn’t need a high-performance application to run properly.

Environment

The environment of your servers is important if you choose on-premise servers. Unlike many modern electronics which increasingly are designed to survive all kinds of environments, servers have pretty specific needs.

Servers generate a lot of heat and require a reliable power source. Which means you’ll need a well ventilated, likely air-conditioned space (unless you’re rubbing elbows with polar bears), and a battery backup in case of power outages.

Creating and maintaining an environment where servers are powered and cooled isn’t necessarily complicated but it is important that it’s done correctly. Your whole system likely depends on it. Failure to keep your CPU at the proper temperature, for example, could result in serious and permanent damage. Ouch.

Software

Even if you do everything right with your hardware, failure to maintain your software means you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Software running on your servers also requires regular maintenance in the form of monitoring performance and completing any updates. All users with admin profiles should be educated on and expected to perform necessary updates.

Assigning oversight and responsibility to an IT administrator or manager can also ensure that sweeps and audits keep software in good shape. A dedicated IT professional can also pair software and hardware that complement each other as not all software and hardware work well together. A knowledgeable and qualified professional can help you find the best software and hardware partnerships.

Security

There’s no overstating the importance of a good security strategy for any business IT system, least of all servers. Since servers are literally where your data is stored in RAM and Hard Drive memory, you can’t do enough to protect it. Ransomware attacks and other security breaches can cause serious damage to your business.

Your server security plan should include antivirus software, firewalls, password policy, access control software, and encryption. Ensure that you also have a system in place to report and record system activities (otherwise known as SIEM – security information and event management). You should always have a way to monitor what’s happening on your servers, by who, when, and where.

Backup

backing up your servers

You’ll likely put a lot of time, money, and effort into creating a server system to support your business. In the event something nefarious or catastrophic happens to your systems, a backup ensures that the irreplaceable data your servers house isn’t lost.

Here are a few things to consider when creating a backup strategy:

  • What is getting backed up?
  • Where is it getting backed up?
  • How often is it getting backed up?

Obviously, the more data, on a more frequent schedule, and the more places all provide the best outcomes if servers ever fail. Another option for backing up your data is to migrate over to the cloud.

And if you keep your servers in-house, don’t forget a battery backup for your power source. A power outage in your server facility can put a serious cramp in business, creating delays, gaps, and even larger system outages.

Creating a Server Management Strategy

Now that you know the basics of what needs to be monitored to manage a server, let’s talk about how to actually put a management strategy together. There are three questions you can ask yourself to create your server management strategy.

  1. Will our servers be in-house?

    • If you choose to have servers in-house you’ll need to ensure you have enough appropriate space to house them. You’ll also need a qualified IT tech to help you buy and install your server systems.
    • You need to plan and budget for equipment upgrades, repairs, and replacement. Most estimates consider server lifespan to be around 5 years. While upgrades and part replacement may extend server life up to 10 years, you may find that it outlives it’s cost-effectiveness long before it quits functioning.
    • If you choose a virtual cloud solution, make sure you find out how often you can upload and download data from your servers, what the cost of uploads and downloads is, and what their options are to grow or shrink your service as your needs change.
    • You should also investigate ways to migrate any existing data and/or services to a cloud solution. You may find that professional help is the best way to accomplish a migration with the fewest complications.
  2. Will we have employees, contractors, or vendors manage our servers?

    • When making this decision, you’ll be weighing your day-to-day needs versus cost. The average salary for a server administrator expert is around $61K a year. For businesses with only monthly and incidental server needs, an in-house server admin might not make sense.  A contractor agreement might provide more flexibility and cost less than you think.
    • You might also consider contracting help to develop your server system and processes with an agreement to take over management after setup.
    • If you choose in-house employees to manage your server system, make sure they’re staying educated on current trends and threats. Tech is a moving target and experts need to stay current to stay, well, experts.
  3. How will we know when we need to change or grow our server system?

    • Server management tools provide ongoing usage reports and alerts for irregularities on servers. Work with a qualified IT tech to find the right server management tool for your system. It’s important to find one that provides root cause identification so that when problems occur you know how to fix them.
    • Set thresholds for when you need to add memory, processing, and even more servers. You might also consider having a plan in place for when to change your server strategy in general, maybe for when it’s time to move from in-house to cloud, or contracting to employee support. Working with an expert will help you identify what those thresholds should look like and what actions to take when you hit them.

The Benefits of Server Management Services

Now that you know what server management is and what questions you should be asking, what are the primary benefits of using this service?

For one, having dedicated experts means you’re going to be getting the most out of your server. Software will be updated accordingly and your server will be taken care of properly.

Having dedicated experts take care of your servers means fewer mistakes and fewer errors, which means more savings for you. Any errors that do occur will be dealt with quickly and you won’t have to worry about long-term effects. Plus, that takes away any worry for you and allows you to focus on other business matters.

Lastly, with a dedicated team taking care of your servers, you’re going to have 24/7 availability and troubleshooting. Emergencies don’t wait until the sun has risen to arise themselves and you need someone available that will solve issues no matter what time it is.

Conclusion

Business IT systems that depend on servers support everything from basic day-to-day activities like word processing and email, to customer services like apps and point of sale platforms. As more businesses depend on reliable, dynamic, and always available systems, effective server management is crucial. Any downtime is going to cost you money and cause a headache that you don’t need.

If you need help creating a server management plan or a partner in ongoing server management, Atiba’s team would love to help. Reach out today for a free quote!

SEO Specialist Employee Spotlight

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?  Jake Peterson - SEO Specialist and Content Marketing Guru

I joined the Atiba team in May 2020 as the SEO specialist and content marketing virtuoso on the digital marketing team. Web design has been part of the fabric of Atiba for over 20 years, so it only made sense to bring in an SEO specialist to complement the web design side.

Atiba is based in Nashville, but I’ve been in Madrid, Spain for almost seven years now taking remote work to the next level. That makes me, unofficially, the self-appointed King and Emperor of Atiba’s European Division.  

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?  

Culture is one of those buzzwords that gets tossed around, but you can really tell there’s something special about Atiba’s culture. Everyone is understanding, empathetic, encouraging, and team-oriented. I also love the flexible work hours Atiba offers as it can be challenging to juggle working from home and parenthood. 

What motivates you to wake up and go to work? 

When it comes down to it, I really enjoy what I do. In college, I studied history and have always loved writing and research which is what got me into content writing. On the SEO specialist side, the job borrows a lot of things from many different disciplines. You have to find the right balance between being analytical, technical, and creative while also being very, very patient. 

What makes you a geek? 

I’m a big video game, tech, and fantasy geek. I’ve built my own PC a number of times and always try to optimize it for my favorite games. I listen to a few Dungeons and Dragons podcasts and love listening to data-centric, analytical sports podcasts.  

Jake Peterson - SEO Specialist at AtibaWhat’s the best vacation you ever took? 

My wife and I went to Sardinia for our honeymoon and that was a blast. We had to take a ferry from Barcelona to the island. We took our car and then spent the rest of the week driving around the island, visiting small towns and going to beaches. It’s still the clearest water I’ve ever seen. 

What’s your go-to snack during the day? 

Spain is wonderful for a lot of things, but they severely lack in the snack department. I miss trail mix from back home, so I have to make my own here. Usually, that just involves peanuts, raisins, and smashed up dark chocolate but I’ll sometimes mix other nuts or add some extra flavor. It’s easy to make and decently healthy. 

 

 

Deciding if a Hybrid Mobile App is For You

hybrid mobile app use

While all apps may seem the same from the outside, different types of apps are designed differently depending on the operating system, target audience, and overall function. There are hybrid apps, native mobile apps, web apps, and more.

Today, we’re going to be focusing on just one of those: the hybrid app.

Hybrid apps have slowly become the more popular option amongst developers and businesses alike, according to a 2017 survey. Their flexibility and ease have catapulted them to the top, slightly above native apps.

Even with the growing popularity, are they a good choice for your business? Should you take a journey down the hybrid app road?

We want to cover what a hybrid mobile app is, why it’s becoming so popular, and what benefits they have over other apps.

What is a Hybrid Mobile App?

One of the easiest ways to start is simply going through the definition of a hybrid mobile app.  Here at Atiba, we pride ourselves on being the half geek, half human tech company. It’s important to look at any tech term from both the human and geek point of view.

And to preface these definitions, native apps are apps developed in the code of the device it will be used on. For example, if you want an app that will work on iOS and Android you need two source codes, one developed for iOS and one for Android. Web apps are accessed through the web browser and not found in the app store. That means you only need to write the code once since it’s based on browser language and not device language.

The Geek Definition

Let’s get all nerdy first.

A hybrid mobile app is an application written using a standard web programming format like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. However, the web elements (also called the WebView) have a native shell specific for either iOS or Android.

What does the shell do? Essentially, it allows the app to access certain mobile phone functions like GPS, camera, sensors, and even provide notifications. We’ve all seen those “allow this app to make changes” pop-up messages.

Hybrid apps are similar to native apps in the sense that they must be installed and updated from the respective app store. They can run offline and cannot update data but can use previously stored data in order to run correctly.

The Human Definition

Putting it in plain language for the rest of us…

A hybrid mobile app is an app that uses one source of code and can be downloaded to multiple devices, like iPhones and Android phones. They are the one-size-fits-all option for many app developers. They need to be downloaded and updated from the respective app store.

Hybrid apps can vary depending on the device they’re being used on and usually lag a bit behind other apps in terms of speed and functionality.

How Does Hybrid App Development Work?

The steps to creating a hybrid app are few but that doesn’t mean creating a hybrid app is simple.

First, the app itself must be designed. Depending on the OS you’re using, this means choosing between various scripting languages as well as different tools.

Once the design is complete, you have to go through the mobile framework process. Once again, this will vary greatly on your app’s goals and the OS you’re going to be using.chrome devtools for hyrbid mobile apps

Next, however, is a pretty standing part of the application work: testing. You can test many of the apps through your local server browser, cutting down development time. If you want, you can also test through a local webserver. Chrome DevTools is also quite handy for testing, allowing you to view everything in your browser.

You’ll have to package your application in a native wrapper. This will act as a connector between any APIs and the app itself.

Now, we’re ready to go ahead and test on a device. The weatherman has to make sure it’s not raining before forecasting a sunny day, right? While you can test the app on your browser, in order to test the app’s functionality with APIs, you’re going to have to use a device.

One of the hardest parts about testing on a device is debugging on the device itself. Fortunately, we’ve got a number of handy tools for that.

Once testing is finished and everything is given the thumbs up, it’s time to take it to the store. Approval can vary widely, but generally, apps are approved in under a week. That part is completely out of our and your hands and the waiting must begin.

Hybrid Apps vs. Native Apps vs. Web Apps

hybrid vs native vs web app

Source: Pexels

There are three major different types of apps that you will find for your phone: hybrid, native, and web. What are the major differences between all three?

Web Apps

Responsive web design is the process of designing a website to fit the device it’s being used on. For example, web designers want their sites to look great and functional on an iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and a 34-inch desktop. The website will switch its size depending on the device.

Web apps operate with the same principle. These apps will adjust their size depending on the mobile device they’re being used. These are built using popular programming languages such as Java, PHP, and HTML5. They cannot, however, be sold on any app stores or use mobile device hardware.

Native Apps

As their name suggests, native apps can only be used on one device. If the app developer wants to make an app for iOS, then the app will only be available for iOS devices. Native apps do have a few advantages, as they are often more robust than hybrid apps.

Since the app was designed for one platform and one platform only, it can run quicker and operate at a higher level.

Believe it or not, many popular apps are actually native apps. Facebook, Pokemon Go, and Spotify, for example, are all native apps as they had to be developed for different operating systems.

Hybrid Apps

As discussed above, hybrid apps are for multiple systems. Many businesses go the hybrid app route as they are ways to save on resources, time, and money while casting the widest net.

Hybrid App Pros

Let’s talk about why people choose hybrid apps when developing their solutions.

Code that Works Everywhere

That’s a huge advantage. From cost savings to the simplicity of maintenance, there are lots of reasons why having only one code developed is a huge advantage. Since you don’t have to write multiple forms of code, it costs less and takes much less time to write. And when you need to update, you see the same kinds of cost and time savings.

Lower Costs

Generally speaking, hybrid apps are much less expensive than their native app counterparts. Some estimates claim that companies could save up to $100,000 over the development lifecycle of the app.

Plus, the time to create a hybrid app is less than that of a native or web app. If you’re looking to push something onto the app store sooner rather than later, then you’ll definitely want to consider hybrid apps.

Easier Development Languages

What I mean by that is that because hybrid apps are written to run in a web browser they’re written in common code languages like HTML and CSS. That means that you’ll find more developers who can help you create and maintain your app.

Native apps, by comparison, are written in OS-specific language that is less common and therefore less offered by development teams. This means that once you find a developer, you may have to wait in line for their help and you’ll likely pay more for their expertise.

Expanded Reach

Your business may be choosing between publishing your app on Android or iOS. Why not both?

If you’re going after a hybrid app, then you’re able to increase your reach by getting your app on more devices and in front of more eyeballs.

Hybrid App Cons

You get a little, you give a little. There are some things hybrid apps don’t do as well as web and native apps.

Data Collection

As any good marketing team will tell you, you need data and information to know how to better reach your customers. Hybrid apps make this step a bit more difficult than native apps. With a native app, a user already has their information stored and ready on the device.

With a hybrid app, you’re going to have to ask people to create an account if you want accurate data collection. That might turn some users off but it’s a necessary step for usage and performance metrics.

Uneven Performance

It makes sense that the more layers (or steps) you need to go through to perform a task, the longer it’ll take. For some kinds of apps, like gaming apps, that loss of performance may be noticeable. While the performance issue may only affect high-resource apps, it can still come into play with smaller apps.

Many users will note that the app doesn’t have a seamless feel as compared to a native app. User experience is a huge part of any client-facing app and sometimes hybrid apps can diminish performance and experience.

Update Delays

hybrid app delays

Source: Pexels

Your app store and apps need updates. When Apple or Google releases a new update to their respective platform, hybrid app developers often need more time to add the necessary support. This could affect app performance or make it unusable until a proper update comes through.

Deciding You Need a Hybrid Mobile App

Now that you have a basic understanding of hybrid apps, let’s talk about how you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Answering these questions will help you in determining if a hybrid mobile app is a right choice for your business. 

Where will your app be used?

If you know that the only place your app will be used is on one device, then maybe a native app makes more sense. But, if your app is for customers who might use your app on numerous devices, you might not have the bandwidth or budget to create code for all those platforms and devices. In that case, a hybrid app might be the best option for you.

What are your performance requirements?

If the value pull of your app is super fast rendering graphics and gameplay features, you need to seriously consider a web or native app. High-performance and demanding apps tend to be native but that doesn’t mean that you should instantly discount hybrid apps.

Hybrid apps can still work offline, which is a big plus in the eyes of many users.

What’s your budget?

Development is just part of the equation here. If you choose to develop a native app, you’ll spend more time and money just to develop multiple source codes. But you’ll likely also spend more time finding a qualified developer and that developer may charge more for that expertise. And when the time comes to update your app, you’re in the same boat. So think critically about how much time and money is really in your budget for the app.

Hybrid App Frameworks

Here at Atiba, we’ve used plenty of the frameworks necessary to build the ideal hybrid app. Below are some of the main ones that we use.

  • PhoneGap-this web-based framework platform allows your app to access features on your phone like the camera and vibration sensor.
  • Appcelerator Titanium-a mainstay on the market, Titanium is JavaScript-based and roughly 10% of apps run on it.
  • Xamarin-one of the most popular options out there, Xamarin used C# for its hybrid framework.

We also use React Native, Ionic, QT, and more.

Conclusion

If you’re considering a hybrid mobile app, then you’ve come to the right place. Not only are we mobile app development experts, but we’ve been helping businesses making hybrid apps for years. You can read more at our mobile apps page or if you’re looking for more detailed info, reach out and get in touch with us today about your upcoming project.

Nashville WordPress Developer

wordpress nashville

Nashville’s Leading WordPress Development Company

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on Earth for website development and management. It’s estimated that over one-third of websites around the world run on WordPressAtiba is Nashville’s top WordPress development company. We love to work with WordPress and our designers and engineers have such a deep knowledge of the options WordPress presents, we can make your website look and function exactly the way you want.

What Our WordPress Experts Can Do

Plugin Management

One of the best things about WordPress is the number of plugins it has. While phones seem to have an app for everything, WordPress has a plugin for just about everything you can think of.

But, you want to make sure all your plugins are running correctly. That means using plugins that work with your theme, avoiding plugin conflict, and updating plugins at the necessary times. We can also work to remove any plugins that are bloating your system and slowing down your site.

Ongoing Maintenance

Everything may be going well now, but what happens when your site slows to a crawl or is broken? We work to find the problems before they happen and make sure you stay running smoothly.

Emergency Support

Downtime on your site is not only frustrating for you, but it’s incredibly frustrating for your users. Plus, it can cost you valuable revenue with every minute that passes. That’s why our developers are available for emergency situations to make sure you don’t lose out on valuable opportunities.

Expert Design

The back-end is incredibly important to any WordPress site, but all of that may go to waste if you don’t have an outstanding looking site.

When it comes to designing a beautiful, one-of-a-kind site, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of designers will make sure you have a site that won’t only put a smile on your face, but will wow any users who visit.

SEO Help

Although not part of the development team, our SEO experts know how to get your site ranked on Google and help bring in valuable leads. Using a number of tools both in and outside of WordPress, they work with our team of developers to make the ultimate team.

You don’t have to go anywhere else, Atiba is your one-stop-shop.

Tell Us About Your Website Project

Our Favorite Things About WordPress

wordpress web developmentFlexible and Customizable

WordPress is an open-source platform which means that thousands of developers around the world are continually creating, testing, and refining updates and plugins. At last count, there were more than 50,000 plugins available for use. Because of that, what started as a simple, free blogging platform has evolved into a full-fledged website design and management system that we can use to build your website exactly the way you want it.

Ease Of Use

Very few websites remain static, meaning the content never changes. Businesses evolve and you want your website to change to reflect that evolution. With a WordPress website, you don’t have to come back to Atiba for support to make changes or post to a blog. When we handoff the website, we’ll walk you through the simple steps for making changes. Also, when those plugins have updates available, you can usually do that with one click of a button. There is no programming knowledge required.

Safe and Secure

While WordPress was developed for ease and user-friendliness, it was definitely made with security in mind. The internet is a crazy place and attacks can happen when you least expect them. WordPress not only has taken plenty of active measures to improve security, but they offer plenty of resources to help ensure that you are following the most secure steps.

A Large Community

With WordPress being the most popular CMS in the world, there is a large community of users and developers. That allows both us and you to tap into the power of the people, so to speak. Those who make WordPress plugins respond quickly, there are always new tips and tricks, and it helps to have great support as well.

nashville wordpress developmentMultiMedia Friendly

WordPress makes adding any type of media to your website simple. The days of needing help to post anything but text are gone. Now WordPress can easily handle audio, images, and video content. Want to embed a video you just posted to YouTube or Vimeo? It’s as simple as pasting in the web address URL, and WordPress does the rest.

Choose Atiba for Your WordPress Developers

We work with a wide range of CMS and we consider ourselves pretty agnostic when it comes to technology, but we do have to say that we love WordPress. Its ease of use, popularity around the globe, and a bundle of features definitely knock it up the rankings in our book.

If you’re looking for a WordPress developer in Nashville, then we are your go-to team. We’ve been working with WordPress as long as it has been around and would love to help you get your site up and running or take your current site to the next level. Reach out to us today, we can’t wait to talk!

 

Nashville PHP Programming Services

nashville php developer

One of the most popular open-source scripting languages in the world is PHP. Primarily used for web development, it can easily be embedded into HTML. Atiba has been working with PHP since 1994 and we are Nashville’s leading PHP programming company.

We take the Half Geek Half Human approach helping clients on both the technical side and business side to meet their goals. We’re geeky enough to stay around and code all night but we know that your business deserves a personal approach.

Reach out to us today for a free quote!

Computer Consultants Nashville

Have a Tech Problem? Solve It

As Nashville’s leading PHP programming company, we’ve run into our fair share of issues. But, our combined experience and intimate knowledge of PHP make us your go-to for all things PHP-related. We’ve built some of Nashville’s largest PHP and MySQL-based sites and we can do the same for your business.

How Have We Become Nashville’s Custom PHP Programming Leader?

Same-Day Response Times

We know that things move quickly in the business world. When it comes to making a decision, you often don’t have time to wait around. That’s why we guarantee we’ll respond to your doubt or inquiry within one business day. Our goal is to match your pace and make sure we’re keeping up with you.

Proven Experience

Atiba was founded in 1992 and PHP came around in 1995. Even though we’re three years older than PHP, we think of it as the scripting language we grew up with. Since we’ve been around so long, we can reminisce about the good old days of the original version of PHP yet still know to complete a project in the latest version.

We’re ready to take on any project you’re got in store for us.

Continued Support

In case you haven’t noticed, tech things tend to run into bugs every now and then. With Atiba, we’re going to be with you from the development stage and onwards. Our proactive approach means we’ll be on the lookout for errors and try to squash them before they become a problem.

Plus, we’ll be there for any advising and consulting as your business grows.

Scalable Options

We’ve grown from a one-man-band to a small business to a medium-sized business. We know that every business has unique needs and goals. That’s why we pride ourselves on being scalable and flexible. If you have a rapidly growing business, we’ll match your pace. If you’re just starting out, we’ll change our approach.

We’re a client-centered business that knows you don’t need a cookie-cutter option when it comes to your business solutions.

Our Favorite Things About PHP

nashville php developer

Since we’re so familiar with PHP, it’s not hard for us to list out some of our favorite things/

Increased Loading Speed

Studies have shown that consumers are likely to leave your site and head to a competitor if it takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s not a lot of wiggle room. PHP has shown to provide faster loading times than similar web development technologies. Keep your customers coming back to your site and keep them happy.

Top-Notch Compatibility with HTML

A match made in heaven, HTML and PHP are like the peanut butter and jelly of the development world. They are easily integrated and don’t interfere with each other, making projects simpler and more coherent.

Cloud Services Compatability

We’re big fans of the cloud here at Atiba and PHP applications are supported by numerous cloud services, such as the ever-popular AWS. It is incredibly easy to implement or deploy a PHP application into the cloud.

 

PHP Programming Services at Atiba

  • PHP programming
  • Symfony
  • Laravel
  • PHP Troubleshooting and Debugging
  • PHP  Performance Optimization
  • Security Audits
  • 24/7 Technical Support
  • Emergency Support
  • WordPress Development and Custom Plugins
  • Drupal Development

 

If you’re looking for a Nashville PHP developer or just have some questions, please reach out and contact us today for a free quote. We can’t wait to hear from you!

AWS vs Oracle Cloud Services: Who Comes Out on Top?

oracle vs aws battle

In the tech world, we often play front row to several battles amongst giants. Some are ongoing and will be fought until the end of time, like Sony’s PlayStation vs. Microsoft’s Xbox. Some have already been decided, like HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray. Others seem to descend into legal battles, like Facebook vs. any country.

When it comes to AWS and Oracle, this is definitely one of those battles that is ongoing. It’s hard to see Amazon going anywhere anytime soon and Oracle is a global power in its own right, having been around for over 40 years.

Both of these companies offer cloud services so when it comes to choosing one for your business, which one should you go with?

We’re going to run through the pros and cons of each service and help you decide which one you should choose.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

aws logo

Amazon Web Services has been around for almost 15 years now as a subsidiary of the eCommerce giant, Amazon (maybe you’ve heard of them). Thousands of companies around the world use AWS, such as GE, Expedia, Kellogg’s, and even Time Magazine.

AWS prides itself on being secure, compliant, and scalable to fit needs. Although their customers listed above are giant corporations, AWS can scale down to meet the needs of small businesses and even individuals.

It is used across a wide number of sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, fitness, real estate, healthcare, gaming, media, and more. Can you use it for your business? Let’s find out.

AWS Pros

Name Recognition

Just to get the obvious point out of the way, AWS comes with name recognition. There’s a reason that Amazon, as a whole, has become a global trillion-dollar company. With such name recognition, AWS has built up a great deal of trust.

Not only does it come with the Bezos stamp of approval, but AWS has compiled the most compliance certifications for its cloud services. Sure, it’s been able to become a powerhouse because of the name, but its past track record has helped it stay as one of the top cloud services in the business.

Ease of Use

Some cloud services can be a bit tough to understand, especially if you’re not used to working in such a sector or have relative experience. AWS, on the other hand, is oft-raved about because of its simplicity.

The platform itself is clear, organized, and very user-friendly. If you’re diving into AWS for the first time, your learning curve isn’t going to be as steep as you might find with other services. With nearly 15 years of experience and thousands of users around the globe, AWS has had the time to refine and refurbish its offerings for potential new users.

Scalable

One of the best features of AWS is its scalability. We already mentioned how large companies such as GE use AWS, but there are also plenty of options for smaller businesses and individuals. In the past, companies were forced to purchase a set amount of data storage. If you were a smaller company, you might find yourself purchasing more data than you needed and wasting money.

Not anymore.

Now, you can find a scalable data option for your business and purchase the right amount. If your business grows in the future, you can adjust your plan and scale to your changing needs.

Speed

When it comes to speed, you’d be hard-pressed to find another cloud service that moves quicker than AWS. Users often find that they can set up an application in just minutes and then dive into work. This will save you time and money, two of the most precious commodities in this world.

Payment Options

While we’ll dig into price specifics later, one thing that users love about AWS is its pay-as-you-go option. This makes payment simple and goes right in line with their scalable options. When you need more data storage, you can pay for it. If you’re using less, you can reduce your costs.

Flexible payment is something that businesses have come to expect from their services and AWS delivers.

AWS Cons

Bill Shock

We ended with a pro on payment, so we’ll start with a con on payment.

While the pay-as-you-go is a plus for many users, customers have reported bill shock ever since AWS’s inception. Usually, this happens when you are using more data than you realize and before you know it, you have a giant bill at the end of the month.

It’s vital that you enable monitoring for your account so you can set alerts and be aware of how much you’re spending and what type of monthly bill you can expect.

Amazon EC2 Limitations

While Amazon and AWS are global, users across different regions will find they have limitations on their services. Unfortunately, AWS sets default limits on resources which could consist of images, volumes, snapshots, and more.

You can request upgrades, but once again acquiring these upgrades may vary from region to region. It’s best to speak with an AWS representative before being 100% positive you’re going to have a set amount of resources.

Outages

Even the most robust systems in the world will experience occasional downtime or outages. Unfortunately for AWS, they seem to have occurred more frequently than with other cloud services.

In fact, AWS has had some very noteworthy outages over the past decade. One of the biggest was in 2016 when storms in Sydney, Australia knocked AWS data centers offline for 10 hours over a weekend. Many businesses were hurt by the outage, including some huge brands and websites.

They have also had similar outages across the US, including the infamous Friday the 13th outage.

Poor Data Policies

Last on our list is the AWS data policy. While AWS will compensate customers for credits when it comes to service outages, there is no such compensation for data loss.

If your business loses out on valuable data, AWS probably isn’t going to compensate you for the issue.

Oracle

oracle logo

Oracle has been in the business since 1977, starting in what is now Silicon Valley. While they may not have the name recognition that Amazon does, Oracle is one of the largest businesses in the world, and its founder Larry Ellison is one of the richest men in the United States.

Like Amazon, Oracle is a global brand and has centers everywhere from Tokyo to Sao Paulo. They have some big-name clients, such as Bank of America, PNC, and Zoom. Like AWS, they can cater to many different users and sized businesses.

Pros

Customization

One of the top features of Oracle is its simple and smooth customization. Clients can enter Oracle and ensure that it meets their unique requirements. Oracle knows that every client is different and wants to ensure that each interaction is efficient and streamlined.

Scalable Options

Similar to AWS, Oracle has scalable options for all types of businesses and individuals. It can work for places as large and global as Zoom and it can also work for small businesses. Just because it’s a recognizable brand with thousands of clients around the web doesn’t mean you should shy away from it.

You can also use as much or as little data as you want and have costs vary depending on your needs.

Solid Technology Stack

Oracle, in a few words, knows what you need. They deliver apps, middleware, and database as an all-encompassing, well-integrated system. With Oracle, you won’t have to be running around and investigating various third-party services to be integrated and becoming frustrated when integration isn’t successful.

Simple Setup

While AWS may take the crown for overall ease of use, Oracle has regularly drawn praise for its easy setup and network integration, meaning there are fewer hoops to jump through and steps to take to ensure a successful setup.

Customer Support

While it may be minor, Oracle has received rave reviews for its rapid and efficient customer service. It’s always good to know that a large company cares about their customers.

Cons

Pricing Options

Many users have noted that Oracle seems better suited for high-end functionalities and services. While Oracle does offer various cloud service options for clients, many have noted that the less expensive, minimal options are often not enough.

They lack some functionalities and processes that the higher-end options have, forcing you to spend a bit more in order to get the most out of Oracle’s potential.

Poor Internet Can Have Big Effects

Of course, the cloud needs the internet to survive and while Oracle hasn’t as high-profile outages as AWS has, Oracle seems to lose significant usage when faced with poor internet connections. Sometimes, something loading or behaving slower can be more frustrating than something just not working at all.

No Mobile Option

We’re always on our phones for personal or professional use and if a service doesn’t offer a mobile app, then that can be frustrating. Unfortunately, Oracle does not have a mobile option at this time.

Even though you’re used to working on cloud-based platforms from a computer, it’d be nice to at least have the option of being able to use the service from your phone.

AWS vs Oracle Pricing

Doing an exact pricing comparison between AWS and Oracle is challenging because both offer flexible options and pay-as-you-go plans. In fact, both services offer so many various options that it makes it almost impossible to present a side-by-side comparison when it comes to exact pricing.

One of the easiest charts, however, is the price per GB per month.

aws and oracle pricing gb per month

As you can see, Oracle clearly has cheaper options than AWS across all regions listed here.

The easiest thing to do, however, is to use their pricing calculators.

AWS has an estimate calculator that will let you examine all of their services while mixing and matching what you may need. A live estimate will be kept at the bottom so you can keep track of your anticipated costs.

Oracle also offers a cost estimation tool, called the Cloud Cost Estimator, which functions exactly like AWS’s calculator. You’ll be able to browse services, mix and match, and a running tally will be kept at the bottom for you.

Both of these tools are necessary before you go investigating the price. As services can vary greatly and business needs will also be different, it’s vital that you make use of these handy tools in finding the most cost-effective option for your business.

What’s the Verdict?

Now that we’re at the end, is there a clear winner? In the battle of cloud services, which one comes out on top?

We hate to disappoint, but we honestly can’t choose between AWS and Oracle.

At Atiba, we pride ourselves on being product agnostic and we’ve seen both services do wonders for all kinds of different businesses. That’s why we offer both Oracle support and AWS support because we know how valuable they can be to different parties.

If you have an AWS or Oracle project coming up or just want help choosing between these two services, reach out to us today for a free quote. We can’t wait to help and provide support along the way.

 

What is Digital Marketing & How do I Get Started?

what is digital marketing

Digital marketing is growing. It’s changing the way people find, share, and patronize businesses. If you have a business, you have a digital presence. Even if you never created a website, social profile, or email address, someone somewhere has found your business and put some footprint online. Don’t believe me? Try typing your business name into Google. If you’re a legit business, chances are that your business will already have a Google My Business page or even a listing on Yelp.

Plus, it may have ratings!

If your business is already online, here are a few important questions. Are you involved in it? Are you participating in it? Are you benefiting from it? I hope you answered yes to all those questions because it’s your business, after all. If you answered no to any of those, let’s get you started in your digital marketing program. Because pretending like your business isn’t digital just isn’t an option in this day and age.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a broad term defined in many ways by many people. So we’re going to take our definition from some authoritative figures, the American Marketing Association. Their definition of digital marketing is:

“In a nutshell, digital marketing refers to any marketing methods conducted through electronic devices. This includes online marketing efforts conducted on the internet. In the process of conducting digital marketing, a business might leverage websites, search engines, blogs, social media, video, email and similar channels to reach customers.”

If that doesn’t have your head spinning, then you’re definitely a veteran of the teacups at amusement parks. The broad and dynamic world of digital marketing can feel totally overwhelming.

But don’t let the enormity of the definition scare you off. Below, we have a strategy to help you create a digital marketing plan based on fundamentals, tools, and objectives. The framework will help you create an achievable and effective plan for digital marketing. This plan will focus on identifying, creating, and sharing your story to connect with current and future customers. It’s not everything you’ll ever need to know about digital marketing but it’s a reliable way to start.

Let’s get into it.

Digital Marketing Foundations

digital marketing foundations

Source: Pexels

Let’s start by saying, no plan works for everyone. Different businesses have different needs. Even competing businesses have their own, unique needs. These foundations are designed as questions to ask yourself so you can design YOUR business strategy, not replicate a design.

We’re going to ask ourselves three questions (that may lead to many more questions) to guide you as you create a digital marketing plan. Along the way, we’ll list a few tools and resources that can be quite helpful. And, hopefully, by the end of this article, you’re going to feel empowered with a plan and desire to tackle digital marketing.

Question #1: Who Are You?

While this question may seem both too broad and too simplistic, it’s absolutely the right place to start.

Why?

Well, let’s look at what it isn’t asking. It isn’t asking what you’re selling. It isn’t asking where are you. It isn’t asking who you’re selling to. It’s focused on what your business is. If your business were a person, how would you introduce them?

Why would you think about your business as a person? Because the most successful digital marketers are fantastic at making the cold, anonymous digital world personal, connected, and authentic.

In so many ways, digital marketing is storytelling. It’s creating a persona that your customers can identify and connect with. Your business is more than products and services. Take some time to create an identity for what your business is.

What’s the story of your business? Who are the characters? When you start putting your story together, think hard about how your customer fits in with that story. Even though you’re defining your business, they need to be the protagonist. They may even need to be more than the protagonist. Speaker and marketing professional Ann Handley has always said that you need to “make your customer the hero of your story.”

That can be tricky to pull off.

Finding out who you are also means knowing who your people are. And this is foundational to digital marketing. Being part of a community means contributing and not just taking. It is absolutely appropriate to create a network, join groups, follow others, and be a person, not a nameless bot.

Once you know who you are, you’re ready for question number two.

Question #2: Who Needs to Know You?

who needs to know you marketing

Source: Pexels

Yep, this is the “who is my customer?” question. But it’s a little more than that, too. The internet has changed where we place our trust. For decades, marketers relied on celebrity endorsement and name recognition to create trust and demonstrate quality. Remember the “Got Milk?” campaign. It was just celebrities drinking milk and that was enough to make us think, maybe we should drink milk, too. That just doesn’t work anymore.

So when we think about who needs to know your business and hear your story, we need to think more broadly than just your customers. Who do your customers listen to? Who do your customers trust? The shift away from trusting brands to trusting people has brought on the rise of social media influencers. Influencers are powerful, there’s no doubt about it. And while we think in terms of celebrity status when it comes to influencers, anyone who your customer follows can function as an influencer.

Influencers, whether professional or familial, are part of your story. Who shares a message, endorses a product, likes a post, or otherwise participates becomes part of the story and impacts the reader or viewer. You can’t always control it, but you can educate yourself on user bases to stack your deck a bit.

You Can’t Reach Everyone

You need to think about where your customers and their influencers are and are not. If your business sells women’s clothes and your target audience is women in their 20’s and 30’s, which platforms do you think they’re frequenting?

While Facebook is still the most popular social media platform in the world, Instagram’s main demographic is women between the ages of 18-30. Facebook, on the other hand, has a much older audience on average. Where do you think you’re going to see the best ROI for your efforts?

Setting up specific targets and achievable goals is a difficult but necessary part of digital marketing. While you might think you’re limiting your audience, being able to target them more specifically is going to bring more benefits down the road.

Knowing Your Customers

Once you know who needs to know your story, it’s absolutely worth your time to get to know them better. Understand what they like, what they don’t like, where they spend their time. This goes back to being part of a community. If you join a community and pay attention, you’ll learn a lot about your customers. Don’t discount research and good old-fashion listening skills. Read what your customer reads. Watch what they watch. Follow who they follow.

In fact, it’s almost impossible to successfully advertise on social media platforms without knowing your target base. Places like Instagram and Facebook let you really dive into your customer’s persona and set up targeted ads.

It’s better to come in with a fishing pole and go to one spot instead of casting a wide net.

Question #3: How Will You Tell Your Story?

Once you know what your story is and who needs to see it, you need to actually create it in a format that will reach the intended audience in a way that they’ll actually interact with it.

talking on a podcast

Source: Pexels

You have a lot of options. But here are the most popular choices amongst digital marketers:

  • Social media
  • Blogs
  • Email marketing
  • PPC (pay per click) ads
  • Social media ads
  • Video
  • Podcasts

Deciding which format can be difficult. So ask yourself a few questions.

  1. What kind of format does my customer like? (There may be more than one!)
  2. Are there formats where you have the skill to create the content or will you need help?

Spending time understanding your customer, where they spend their time, what they like to do online, will help you answer the first question. In answering question number two, you may find that the format you’re most skilled in isn’t the format your customers are likely to want. Finding good, affordable tools and help in content creation might be easier than you think. Remember, your goal is always to create quality content that your customer can connect to.

You may decide that you want to create content in several formats to appropriately tell your story and reach your reader. And that’s fantastic. However, I wouldn’t jump into more than one to start. And here’s why. First of all, each format is challenging in its own way. They all demand a degree of skill and talent that you may need to develop or perhaps even hire an expert. And one of the biggest sins in digital marketing is bad content.

So take your time and get help if you need it. Focus on making the right content in the right way for the right person.

Digital Marketing Tools and Resources

Below, you’ll find tools broken down into two sections: creative and structural. The good news is there are plenty of fantastic tools available at almost any price range, even free. Like most things, you can expect to get what you pay for. Some of the paid tools offer some form of a free trial so you can take things for a spin.

Also, don’t limit yourself by what you think you can or cannot do. Even though you thought you’ve never had a creative bone in your body, you may surprise yourself.

Creative Tools

These tools are great, not just because of their functionality, but because they’re so fun! Here’s a shortlist of reputable and affordable creative tools.

Adobe Cloud Creative

OK, so let’s preface this by saying there are lots of features and functions of Adobe products that you need adequate training to use effectively (Photoshop comes to mind). That said, they do offer a wide array of tools, from beginner to expert. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of their product catalog.

If you’re just beginning, check out recommend the Adobe Spark suite of products. They offer free versions (with available paid upgrades) to dip your toes in. And you can be creating beautiful social posts, graphics, and videos quickly.

Canva

Canva is great for creating graphics, brochures, and other type-based resources. They also offer a free or paid version. Many people start with the trial and quickly upgrade to the subscription. It’s easy to use and even syncs with other development platforms, making it easy to create something useful and beautiful. With its large catalogs of templates, fonts, images, and inspiration boards, you’ll have plenty at your fingertips to create almost anything you need.

Pexels & Unsplash

One thing you’ll learn pretty quickly when creating graphics and social posts are the value of free photography. That’s where Pexels and Unsplash come in. These resources are for grabbing free stock photos. The programs let photographers make their work free to use in exchange for good press and exposure.

You can (and should) give credit and kudos to the artists who share their work. Don’t worry, both platforms make it easy to do it.

Reporting and Automation Tools

using marketing tools

Source: Pexels

These might be less fun than the creative tools but they’re no less helpful.

One of the best things about digital marketing compared to traditional marketing is the ability to track and understand the efficacy and audience of your materials. It’s impossible to overemphasize the value of understanding the ROI on your efforts. Investing in tools that help you understand and leverage that information is absolutely worthwhile. But you only get that great reporting when you leverage marketing automation tools that help you organize, schedule, and follow your campaigns.

Marketing automation tools help you plan your campaigns, schedule activities, create social calendars, and even provide reporting so you understand the impact and value of your digital marketing assets. So don’t skimp or skip these great resources.

They’re really the backbone of a successful digital marketing program.

HubSpot

This resource helps you plan, organize, schedule, and report on all your digital marketing endeavors. From social posts and ads to email campaigns, there’s almost nothing that HubSpot can’t do (besides cook up a delicious breakfast). It’s a workhorse. There’s little surprise as to why it’s the most popular digital marketing tool out there.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

If Hubspot is number one then Salesforce is a strong number two. A true competitor, it’s a powerful and scalable digital marketing tool that helps organize, schedule, and report on digital marketing work while also coordinating teams.

Choosing between these two largely depends on what type of business you have and what your business’ needs are. Generally speaking, Salesforce is a bit more difficult to implement and many companies have to bring in an outside consultant to make the most of it.

HubSpot does have a learning curve, but many people can grasp its full power by going through the HubSpot Academy and using their support service.

Additional popular marketing automation tools you might consider are Marketo (an Adobe product) and Hootsuite. Both are popular and helpful tools.

What about SEO?

You’ve no doubt noticed that a stalwart of our digital marketing outline was noticeably absent from this article. SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial to a good digital marketing strategy. As a foundational part of digital marketing, SEO is designed to help you bring in potential leads.

While an SEO strategy is part of a broad digital marketing strategy, it isn’t necessarily an element of creating and sharing a business story. It’s a tactical and strategic approach to leveraging content to get impressions. We tackle the topic of SEO copywriting in-depth in another article. A topic as wide and robust as SEO deserves its own space.

The story is never finished

Now that you’ve answered the foundational questions, here’s a reminder. These answers may work for you today and not tomorrow. Digital marketing, platforms, tools, techniques, are all dynamic and changing. Just like your business. That means you should keep asking yourself these questions. Keep adapting to changing trends, opportunities, and challenges. As your business and story grow, so should your plan.

If you need help creating a digital marketing plan or content, we’d love to help. Atiba has a talented and experienced team ready to help you succeed in digital marketing. Reach out to Atiba for a free quote today. We look forward to working with you!

Web Development Employee Spotlight

Rachael Ghobrial Web Development Team

As part of a new series exploring our “Half-Human” side, we recently (virtually) sat down with Rachael Ghobrial from our Web Development team.

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?

I started just over a year ago. I joined Atiba is July of 2019 as the Web Development team lead. My main job is to ensure that our team is delivering high-quality website solutions to our clients to meet their business goals. Additionally, you may find me working as a project manager on some of our more complex custom solutions.

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba 

My favorite thing about working at Atiba is being able to build amazing solutions for our clients with a very talented team. My favorite parts of a project are the initial meetings with our clients to get to know them and understand what problems they need solved, so we can make their business and their lives better. Knowing that I can then turn around and execute that solution with such a dedicated and talented team is incredibly exciting.  

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?  

Honestly, the work itself. I genuinely enjoy coming to work, the team that I’m on, and the solutions we get to build. Atiba is a fun, collaborative, and fast-paced environment.  

What was the best vacation you ever took? 

This past year we had a beach vacation to Hilton Head with just my husband and two boys. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it is hands down the best vacation I’ve had so far. All four of us were able to relax and play. It was probably less exciting for the poor starfish that lost a leg. 

What’s one piece of wisdom handed down from a family member that you’ll always remember? 

Stop and enjoy the moment. Outside of work I have a very busy family life with two young boys. One of my favorite things to do after a long day is silence my phone and watch my boys discover life. They are joyous and curious little things and it is always a reminder of my purpose here today. 

If you were to start a blog, what would the blog be about? (Joke) 

“How to be a full time working parent in a global pandemic.”  

Post 1 – “5  Steps to restore your sanity”  

1. Don’t be a parent
2. Don’t have a job
3. Don’t be married
4. Your diet is now all sugar 
5. Cry into your body pillow every night 

Digital Marketing Agency Employee Spotlight

Digital Marketing Agency employee Abby Dawson with son

Continuing our new series exploring our “Half-Human” side, we recently (virtually) sat down with Abby Dawson from the Digital Marketing Agency side of Atiba.

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role? 

Earlier this year, Atiba saw an opportunity to expand their digital marketing agency services. They already offered web design and custom software solutions, so digital marketing was a natural next step. I joined the team in May of 2020 to help grow the digital marketing offerings. It hasn’t even been a year and it feels like a lifetime ago! It was the most unusual start I’ve had in a role, never meeting my boss or coworkers in person. But the culture is so strong and inclusive at Atiba that I really felt welcome and included right from the start.  

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?  

There’s such a creative spirit at Atiba. I think tech people are curious and creative by nature.  They like solving problems and creating new things. I love working with people like that.  

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?  

I feel like my work is really valued, that my ideas are heard, and I work with really smart, fun, hardworking people.  

Abby Dawson with familyWhat makes you a geek? 

I think it was clear I was a geek when I was captain of the debate team and president of the debate club in high school. I capped that off by majoring in Professional Writing and Public Discourse and minoring in Philosophy in college. We’re all surprised I found paid work with a degree like that.  

I love diving down rabbit holes with people and thinking things through. I like asking lots of questions and talking through options. And I’m always asking, can we make it better? What haven’t we thought about? Are we asking the right questions? Are we solving the right problem? Tech is a good place to be for a curious geek.  

If you had to be world-famous for something (not tech-related) what would it be? 

I would love to be a world-famous equestrian. I rode and trained event horses in my early 20’s. Off the track, I trained thoroughbreds to ride dressage, stadium jumping, and open field jump courses. It was the best job I ever had. But the pay is absolutely terrible, and I definitely had a few really bad falls, one that landed me in the ER. But it’s thrilling and rewarding. If I won the lottery tomorrow, that’s probably how I’d spend my time.  

What’s one piece of wisdom handed down from a family member that you’ll always remember?  

I don’t know if it’s been handed down really, but when my husband and I started dating he would say, “There’s always more money.” It’s something we’ve lived by and it’s meant different things to us over the years.  

When we were young and working in restaurants it meant we can always go earn more money if we were willing to go earn it. As we got older, the meaning changed as we started prioritizing family opportunities over work.