The 23 Best Motivational Speeches of All Time

It was halftime during one of my 7th-grade football games. And we were losing 14 – 0. With our knees planted in the grass, my team was quietly huddled, drenched in sweat and defeat. We all knew the game was over.

That’s when our assistant coach bursted through our circle and shattered our pity party, delivering one of the best motivational speeches I’ve heard to this day.

I can’t directly quote him because he said some things that are inappropriate for a blog post (and, in hindsight, probably for a bunch of 13-year-olds too). But the point is, he harnessed the power of words to rejuvenate a physically and emotionally drained team. And we came back clawing to win the game.

Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

Just like in sports, being motivated at work is crucial for your performance. This rings especially true when you have a looming deadline, an important meeting, or colleagues or customers depending on your performance.

To help you stay motivated, no matter what your job throws at you, we decided to compile 23 of the best motivational speeches from business, sports, entertainment, and more. If you want to get fired up for a project, watch these videos.

Trust me, I was wiping my eyes after I saw them. And while the messages vary from speech to speech, they will put you in the optimal frame of mind for tackling and crushing your next big challenge.

(Disclaimer: Some speeches — *cough* Al Pacino *cough* — may contain NSFW language.)

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The Best Motivational Speeches of All Time

1. J.K. Rowling: “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” (2008)

Theme of Speech: Failure

In J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech, the Harry Potter author explored how two phenomena — failure and imagination — can be crucial to success. While failure can help you understand where your true passion lies, and where you should focus your energy moving forward, imagination is what will allow you to empathize with other people so you can use your influence to do good.

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

2. David Foster Wallace: “This Is Water” (2005)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

From the opening minutes of David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech, in which he questions commencement speech conventions, it’s clear that Wallace has some serious wisdom to share. The crux of his speech: Many of us are oblivious to our own close-mindedness. We picture ourselves as the centers of our own, individual universes, instead of seeing the bigger, more interconnected picture.

If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important, if you want to operate on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you’ll know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer hell-type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred — on fire with the same force that lit the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.”

3. Fearless Motivation: “It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It” (2018)

Theme of Speech: Perseverance

 

Fearless Motivation is primarily a musical artist, but its library of inspirational messages is hard to ignore lately. The group’s most popular speech is the video above, and it preaches a powerful lesson about staying positive when things all seem to be negative. The final line is as powerful as the quote from the speech below — “Keep going. Your future self is begging you.”

It’s easy to be positive when everything is working out. It’s much harder, much much harder when nothing is working out. But that’s when we need it the most … Everything is worth the prize.”

4. Jim Carrey: Commencement Speech at Maharishi University of Management (2014)

Theme of Speech: Taking Risks

Jim Carrey might make a living as the goofiest comedian around, but in 2014, he combined classic Carrey humor with unforgettable insight at Maharishi University of Management’s graduation ceremony. Jim Carrey opened his speech dishing punchlines, but he eventually opened up about his upbringing and the role fear plays in our lives. You can actually hear the amazement in the students’ reactions in the video above.

“I learned many great lessons from my father — not the least of which is that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

5. Brené Brown: “The Power of Vulnerability” (2013)

Theme of Speech: Failure

The video above is an animated excerpt from researcher Brené Brown’s speech, “The Power of Vulnerability.” In the speech, Brown explores how our fear of not being good enough (among other fears) drives us to shield ourselves from our own vulnerabilities. The alternative to wearing this emotional suit of armor: Embrace vulnerability through empathizing with others.

Empathy is a choice, and it’s a vulnerable choice. Because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. “

6. Steve Jobs: “How to Live Before You Die” (2005)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

Considering the YouTube video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech has 24 million views (not counting the 10 million+ additional views from duplicate uploads), it’s likely that you’ve seen this one already. In the speech, Jobs plays on two themes: connecting the dots (anecdote: how taking a calligraphy class helped inspire the design of the Mac) and love & loss (anecdote: how getting fired from Apple helped inspire his greatest innovations). Perhaps the most memorable part his speech comes at the end, when he quotes the (now-famous) lines from the final issue of his favorite publication, The Whole Earth Catalog:

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

7. Ellen DeGeneres: Tulane University Commencement Speech (2009)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

Ellen’s speech, as you might expect, has its humorous moments. But it also explores some of the very personal and tragic episodes in her life that helped push her into comedy in the first place. Two key themes of DeGeneres’speech: overcoming adversity and being true to yourself. ForDeGeneres, that meant pushing onward with her career after her sitcom was canceled in response to her publicly coming out as gay.

Really, when I look back on it, I wouldn’t change a thing. I mean, it was so important for me to lose everything because I found out what the most important thing is … to be true to yourself. Ultimately, that’s what’s gotten me to this place. I don’t live in fear. I’m free. I have no secrets and I know I’ll always be OK, because no matter what, I know who I am.”

8. Sheryl Sandberg: Harvard Business School Class Day Speech (2012)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

In her speech to the HBS class of 2012, Lean In author and tech executive Sheryl Sandberg deconstructed the idea of the “career as a ladder.” For Sandberg, a career is about finding opportunities where you can make an impact, not about chasing titles and planning out a meticulous path. “If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career,” she commented. What’s more, Sandberg eschews the traditional wisdom of keeping emotions out of the workplace. For Sandberg, you need to care not only about what you’re working on, but also who you’re working with.


“If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind. I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time … It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.”

9. Dan Pink: “The Puzzle of Motivation” (2009)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

Commissions, bonuses, other incentives … in the business world, these are the things that motivate people, right? According to Dan Pink in his 2009 TED Talk, such extrinsic motivators (a.k.a. “carrots and sticks”) could actually be doing more harm than good. The most recent sociological research suggests that the real key to producing better work is to find intrinsic motivation inside of yourself.

There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. And what worries me, as we stand here in the rubble of the economic collapse, is that too many organizations are making their decisions, their policies about talent and people, based on assumptions that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science.”

10. Denzel Washington: “Fall Forward” (2011)

Theme of Speech: Failure

In his 2011 UPenn commencement speech, Denzel Washington highlighted three reasons why we need to embrace failure in order to be successful. First, everybody will fail at something at some point, so you better get used to it. Second, if you never fail, take that as a sign that you’re not really trying. And third, at the end of the day, failure will help you figure out what path you want to be on.

Fall forward. Here’s what I mean: Reggie Jackson struck out twenty-six-hundred times in his career — the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs. Fall forward. Thomas Edison conducted 1,000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didn’t know that—because #1,001 was the light bulb. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.”

11. Elizabeth Gilbert: “Your Elusive Creative Genius” (2009)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

Following the extraordinary success of her book, Eat, Pray, Love, people began asking author Elizabeth Gilbert the same question over and over and over: How are you going to top that? In her 2009 TED Talk, Gilbert explores that question while also examining how our ideas of genius and creativity have shifted over the generations. While once seen as separate entities or states of being that anyone could tap into, genius and creativity have increasingly become associated with individuals. And according to Gilbert, that shift has been putting more and more pressure on artists, writers, and other creatives to produce great work.

I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel, you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It’s like asking somebody to swallow the sun. It just completely warps and distorts egos, and it creates all these unmanageable expectations about performance. And I think the pressure of that has been killing off our artists for the last 500 years.”

12. Charlie Day: Merrimack College Commencement Speech (2014)

Theme of Speech: Taking Risks

Best known for his role in the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, actor Charlie Day had lots of wisdom to share during the 2014 commencement speech at his alma mater, Merrimack College. Day explained to the audience how college degrees are inherently valueless, since you can’t trade them in for cash. Instead, it’s you, your hard work, and the risks you take that provide real value in life.

You cannot let a fear of failure or a fear of comparison or a fear of judgment stop you from doing the things that will make you great. You cannot succeed without the risk of failure. You cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism. You cannot love without the risk of loss. You must take these risks.”

13. Orlando Scampington: “The Pillars of C.L.A.M.” (2015)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

Sometimes humor is the best motivator. So here’s an INBOUND Bold Talk from self-proclaimed author, thought leader, dreamer, cat owner, visionary, and “believer in unlimited human potential,” Orlando Scampington. As you’ll soon realize upon reading the quote below, it’s hard to explain what his speech is actually about — so I think it’s better that you just dive in and enjoy.

“Culture is the bitter drunken coachmen lashing motivation into the ungrateful workhorses, so they drag the wagon of growth down the road of success. I think that’s a very apt analogy.”

14. Vera Jones: “But the Blind Can Lead the Blind…” (2016)

Theme of Speech: Perseverance

Last year at INBOUND, Vera Jones told a moving story about the life lessons she’s learned from raising her blind son. She explains how having faith in your future and letting it lead you toward your true purpose will help you overcome blinding obstacles. She also discusses how following your passion and trusting your vision develops empathy, which is a critical leadership skill.

“Passionately play your position no matter how bad things get. You are significant. Why we are here is not for our own glory. Ultimately, we’re here to lead and serve everybody else. By doing that, we encourage others to do the same.”

15. Jim Valvano: ESPY Speech (1993)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

Less than two months before he lost his battle to cancer, Jim Valvano delivered one of the most impactful and timeless speeches about living life to the fullest. My words can’t do it justice, so be prepared for some laughter, tears, and thought.

“I just got one last thing; I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day, and Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm,” to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.”

16. Kal Penn: DePauw University Commencement Speech (2014)

Theme of Speech: Life and Career

In 2014, Kal Penn delivered an uplifting speech that DePauw University will never forget. He advised graduates to strive for success but to not let it loosen their grip on the things that actually matter, like staying connected with loved ones, being adventurous, and acting selflessly. He also comforted millennials everywhere, convincing them that their futures are full of potential and promise because their generation’s identity is rooted in innovation.

“Opportunity is all around us. You’re graduating at a time where youth unemployment is high. And yet your peers are refusing to sit idly by. You’re the most active, service-driven generation, the most imaginative, the most tech-savvy. You’re creating opportunities, inventing gadgets, placing an emphasis on social responsibility over greed. So stop worrying so much. Why are you worried?”

Famous Short Speeches With Inspirational Takeaways

17. Charles Dutton: Speech from Rudy (1993)

In the film Rudy, Sean Astin’s character, Rudy Ruettiger, quits the Notre Dame football team because he has to watch one of his last games from the stands. After two years of grueling practices and never once being apart of the team on the sidelines, he’s done dealing with the humiliation. But his friend Fortune — played by Charles Dutton — flips the script on him. He shows Rudy that he shouldn’t be humiliated. He should be proud because he’s proven to everyone that his perseverance and heart can carry him through any challenge. He just needs to realize that himself. And the only way he can do that is if he stays on the team for the rest of the season.

“You’re 5 feet nothin’, a 100 and nothin’, and you got hardly a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years. And you’re also gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this lifetime, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody – except yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.”

18. William Wallace: Speech From the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297)

OK, I’ll admit it: I couldn’t find a recording of the actual speech Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace gave at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 (the historian I spoke with said something about “nonexistent technology” and me “being an idiot,” but I digress). Historical accuracy aside, there’s no denying that Mel Gibson’s version of the speech from the 1995 film Braveheart can help get you pumped up.

“Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!!!”

19. Al Pacino: “Inch by Inch” (1999)

Yes, this speech is from a football movie (Any Given Sunday), but trust me: This isn’t your stereotypical rah-rah-go-get-’em sports speech. It’s deeper than that. It’s about life, and loss, and … gosh darn it just listen to Al Pacino, he’s pouring his soul out!

Either we heal as a team or we’re gonna crumble, inch by inch, play by play, till we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And we can stay here and get the $&#@ kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell, one inch at a time.”

20. Sylvester Stallone: Speech from Rocky Balboa (2006)

I had to put this one next since it plays along the same themes as Denzel Washington’s UPenn speech. In the scene above, from the 2006 film Rocky Balboa, the title character (played by Sylvester Stallone) is having a heart-to-heart with his son. The advice he gives him: Don’t let your failures or the adversity you face slow you down. Keep. Moving. Forward.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

21. Frank Oz/Yoda: Speech from The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

This speech fromThe Empire Strikes Back felt like a natural follow-up to Charlie Day’s speech. In the scene above, Yoda — voiced by Frank Oz — is teaching Luke the ways of the force. One of his key teachings: Whether or not something can or can’t be done (e.g., lifting an X-Wing out of a swamp) is all in your head. So instead of doubting yourself, believe in yourself.

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”

22. Will Smith: Speech from The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Here’s another speech from the big screen, this time from the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness. In the scene above, Will Smith’s character explains to his son why he shouldn’t pursue basketball (because he’ll end up being “below average”) before having a major change of heart.

Don’t ever let somebody tell you … you can’t do something. Not even me. All right? You got a dream. You gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”

23. Kurt Russell: “This is Your Time” (2004)

The Miracle on Ice is still considered the biggest upset in Olympic hockey history. And for good reason. The Soviet Union won six of the last seven Olympic gold medals, and the U.S. team consisted only of amateur players. It was obvious the Soviets were better. But, in the movie Miracle, which told the incredible story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, Kurt Russell’s character — Coach Herb Brooks — knew that this game was different. The U.S. was better than the Soviets that day. And his speech conveyed such a strong belief in his team that they pulled off one of the greatest sports moments of the 20th century.

“If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game… Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players, every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time.”

Want more? Read How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Absolutely Exhausted.

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33 Free Online Marketing Classes to Take This Year

I don’t know about you, but I miss taking classes. I miss taking notes, studying, and most of all, learning a ton of new skills.

That’s not to say I don’t learn a lot on the job here at HubSpot — because I absolutely do. But sometimes, there’s nothing quite like listening to a lecture, taking notes, and doing homework.

Given the frequency at which new technologies and software are developed, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up your knowledge by only reading blog posts and ebooks. That’s where self-paced online learning comes in.

I’ve taken a few awesome courses and certifications through HubSpot Academy, including an inbound marketing certification and a content marketing certification. These classes helped me be better at my job, so I started making a list of other classes I could take to learn more skills. When I finished the list, I realized that you, dear readers, might have similar skill gaps, so I wanted to share it in a blog post.

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Below are 33 free online courses you can take to beef up your skill set. These offerings vary in time commitment, but many are self-paced so you can work on your own schedule. Below are the topics these courses cover:

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Social Media Marketing
  3. SEO Marketing
  4. Other Digital Marketing Courses

A brief explanation of each course creator accompanies their first mention on the list.

Content Marketing Courses

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers certification and training courses to teach people how inbound marketing and HubSpot software work. Classes are often taught by marketers at HubSpot and are made up of video lessons, quizzes, and tests. Most HubSpot Academy classes are available free of charge, and if you pass the certifications, such as the two below, you get a nifty certificate and badge to share on your social media profiles. Check out mine on LinkedIn:

HubSpot Content Marketing Certification badge

1. HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification
2. HubSpot Content Marketing Certification
3. SEO Training Course

Copyblogger

Copyblogger is a content marketing company that creates content about content (so meta). Its blog provides a ton of great resources about digital marketing, and this class, “Internet Marketing for Smart People,” is made up of ebooks and emailed lessons and other course materials. Copyblogger espouses four pillars of content marketing success, which it delves into over the course of this class.

4. Internet Marketing for Smart People

Coursera

Coursera offers MOOCs (massive online open courses) created and taught online by universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California system. These courses start at various times throughout the year, so browse the catalog to see when one lines up with your schedule. Below are a couple courses that are perfect for content marketers — here’s what a module for #4 looks like:

Coursera content marketing course list

5. Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content
6. The Strategy of Content Marketing

Udemy

Udemy is another online learning platform that focuses specifically on courses related to skill building for working professionals. One thing to note about Udemy: The classes we’ve highlighted are free, but it offers a myriad of other paid options for as little as $10, in some cases. If you have a good experience with a free course, it could be worth a small investment to deepen your skills, too.

Here are a few all content marketers will find useful:

7. Copywriting Blunders: Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes?
8. Blogging: Generate 100s of Blog Topics and Headlines
9. Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises

QuickSprout

QuickSprout is Neil Patel’s content and business marketing blog, and QuickSprout University features a ton of helpful videos breaking down and explaining a myriad of concepts and best practices. Each video also includes a transcript in case reading is more your learning style than watching a video. Here’s what one course video looks like:

Quicksprout content marketing course

10. Content Marketing

Social Media Marketing Courses

QuickSprout

13. Social Media
14. Paid Advertising

Wordstream

Wordstream is a search engine and social media marketing software company that helps marketers drive the greatest ROI from their paid search and social media campaigns. These free guides and ebooks distill learnings and best practices for users with varying levels of expertise running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Here are some of its topics and offerings:

Wordstream social media marketing course on how to run PPC campaigns

15. Wordstream PPC University

edX

edX is another MOOC provider that features courses offered by top-tier universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. Like Coursera, classes are taught online and start at specific times throughout the year. Here’s a class we think you’ll find valuable:

16. Social Media Marketing

ALISON

ALISON offers free online classes in various professional skills users can take at their own pace. In the Diploma in Social Media Marketing course below, students can get into the nitty-gritty and big picture views of different skills of different topics — just check out one of the many modules:

ALISON digital marketing course module

17. Diploma in Social Media Marketing

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that offers free trainings (plus a paid certification course) to help marketers beef up their social media skill set. Hootsuite Academy offers courses at varying skill levels and features video lessons and step-by-step breakdowns of how to use different software.

Hootsuite social media marketing course

18. Social Marketing Training

Facebook

At this point, you probably already know what Facebook is and what it does. What you might not know? It has a training and certification program. Facebook Blueprint offers self-paced and live e-learning courses for marketers seeking to grow their organizations using Facebook. Blueprint offers classes in different languages on how to use Facebook and Instagram — here’s a peek at the course catalog.

Facebook Blueprint social media marketing course catalog

19. Facebook Blueprint

quintly

quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers courses through quintly Academy. The self-paced course provides an overview of social media analytics, benchmarking, and goaling using downloadable written materials and video lessons.

20. Social Media Analytics

Buffer

Buffer’s Social Media Week of Webinars isn’t exactly a course — it’s a series of live webinar recordings on YouTube — but the videos are chock-full of current and valuable information for social media marketers from the experts. Topics include Instagram and Facebook marketing and how to do public relations on social media.

21. Social Media Week of Webinars

SEO Marketing Courses

Google

Google is another company you’ve probably heard of before, and its digital marketing course offers a ton of valuable information if you plan to advertise and rank on the search engine. You can even take a Google AdWords certification at the end of the process that helps you beef up your resume (and your Google+ profile).

22. Google Digital Marketing Course

Udemy

23. SEO Training Course by Moz
24. Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy

QuickSprout

25. SEO

Other Online Digital Marketing Courses

HubSpot Academy

11. HubSpot Email Marketing Certification
26. HubSpot Growth-Driven Design Certification

QuickSprout

12. Email Marketing

Codeacademy

Codeacademy offers free, interactive coding classes that take you from lesson one to building a fully-functioning website. The courses we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the courses; Codeacademy offers many more, depending on your organization’s needs. Codeacademy classes feature lectures and a workspace in the same browser window so you can see the effect of your work live, as it’s created.

Check it out:

Codeacademy digital marketing course workspace

Source: The Next Web

27. Make a Website
28. Learn Javascript
29. Learn Ruby
30. Learn Python
31. Learn HTML & CSS

General Assembly

General Assembly offers live and online paid and free courses for a variety of technical skills and disciplines. General Assembly’s Dash offers a free online coding class that teaches the fundamentals of HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript — watch the course overview below:

32. Learn to Code Awesome Websites

Canva

Canva helps people easily make beautiful images for web design, and Canva Learn offers design courses that are valuable for any kind of storyteller. The Creativity course explores the challenges of constant creation and innovation and how to do it well — with visuals, of course.

33. Creativity

Start the free Content Marketing Certification course from HubSpot Academy.

The Inventory Management Guide for Ecommerce

Here’s a basic math question for you: Sammie has 50 sprockets. She sells eight of them. How many sprockets does she have left?

Now, here’s another question: Sammie has 50 sprockets. She receives an order for eight sprockets and ships four of them out to customers. How many sprockets are in Sammie’s inventory?

These types of questions aren’t just relics of elementary school — they’re also challenges inherent to inventory management. And it’s the reason Sammie has 42 sprockets at the end of the first question but 46 sprockets at end of the second.

Inventory management goes beyond simple arithmetic. Sammie has 46 sprockets in her inventory because she only subtracts four of the eight sprocket orders until the other four are delivered to customers. It’s this kind of contingency that makes organization, automation, and technique crucial when you have so much product to keep track of.

Find out how to keep customers from abandoning their shopping cart when  browsing your online store.

To help you dive into inventory management, let’s explain what inventory management is in the ecommerce world, the software that supports this ongoing process, and some common techniques for managing inventory successfully.

Inventory Management Definition

Inventory management is the act of overseeing the volume, diversity, pricing, and location of a business’s available products. If a product is in stock, it’s counted as part of the business’s inventory and managed as it moves through the supply chain.

The product’s availability is then noted on the item’s purchase page online.

This is why, in our example of Sammie’s 50 sprockets, she still has 46 sprockets after selling eight. Knowing what’s currently in her inventory, how many units of her product have been ordered, and how many units her inventory is shipping and receiving is all part of basic inventory management.

Inventory management does not include company property, manufacturing equipment, and other forms of business capital. It can, however, include separate parts of a product that has not yet been assembled for a customer. How these parts are counted in relation to the finished product depends on the form in which the product is delivered to the customer.

Inventory Management Software

As your business grows, it will inevitably become harder to manage inventory manually — especially if you sell online, where your customers expect to see a product’s availability and status at every point in the buying process.

Luckily, there are numerous inventory management tools on the market today that integrate with an ecommerce website and help you monitor your supply chain. To make your software choices easier, we’ve listed seven of the best solutions for ecommerce businesses below.

Delivrd

Price: Free

Delivrd inventory management software

Delivrd is a free cloud-based order-fulfillment solution for businesses of all sizes. The platform tracks your inventory, prints barcodes, analyzes each product’s profitability, and even bundles unfulfilled orders together to consolidate future shipments.

Notify Me

Price: Free

Notify Me inventory management software

Notify Me is a free inventory manager for ecommerce businesses who use Shopify as their sales channel. In addition to watching over your store’s available products, Notify Me uniquely allows you to set automated alerts for when items go out of stock. Shopify users can download the web app here.

Oberlo

Price: Free up to 50 orders/month

Oberlo inventory management software

Oberlo is one of the best inventory management services for dropshipping stores — or those ecommerce businesses that deliver products directly to the customer from a manufacturer, without storing any product on-site. You can create rules for when to reprice products, sort products by their delivery times, track shipments, change product suppliers, and more. Oberlo also has a web app for Shopify users.

Ordoro

Price: Starts at $25/month

Ordoro inventory management software

Ordoro is a cloud-based shipping tool for managing inventory at every point in the sales process. The service automates shipping requests, dropshipping, barcode scanning, and supplier management — and can provide revenue data in real time. Ordoro integrates with more than two dozen sales channels and shipping carriers. It also has a web app for Shopify users.

inFlow

Price: Starts at $69/month

inFlow inventory management software

You get a lot for what you’re paying when you use inFlow. This cloud-based inventory manager organizes bills, barcodes, work orders, product serial numbers, product destinations, and more — whether the item is in your inventory or in transit. In addition to working offline, inFlow also offers robust Windows and Android apps to manage your inventory from your mobile device.

Skubana

Price: Request a Quote

Skubana inventory management software

Skubana connects your ecommerce business with retailers all over the world. The software helps you manage customer orders and your own restocking process, while integrating with the retail brands who might also want to sell your product. Skubana tracks order fulfillment from multiple warehouses and generates demand forecasts that help you grow your product line. It also has a web app for Shopify users.

Unleashed

Price: Starts at $85/month

Unleashed inventory management software

Unleashed is a sleek, flexible inventory management solution that allows ecommerce customers to make big decisions about their product line based on real-time data. The software is perfect for manufacturers, according to Unleashed’s website, and offers the most important inventory information in a convenient sales app for your mobile device.

Inventory Management Techniques

Although a business’s available stock on any given day is just a snapshot of its inventory, managing inventory on an ongoing basis — and comparing multiple periods of inventory to one another — can help an ecommerce business make valuable long-term decisions about its supply chain.

Ecommerce companies can manage their inventory in several ways, but not every method of management will provide the insight you need to help your business grow. Here are a few different inventory management techniques you can try, and the advantages of using each one.

Just-In-Time

This inventory management technique stocks a product each time a customer orders it, so the volume of your inventory is more or less equal to the number of orders you’re filling.

The advantage to the Just-In-Time (JIT) technique is that you’re managing only the products you know you need to ship to customers. Sustaining JIT over the long term, however, requires you to keep a close watch on buying behavior so you can anticipate your inventory needs ahead of time.

First In, First Out

First In, First Out (FIFO) means the first products your inventory receives are the first to be shipped out to their respective customers.

This technique ensures products don’t sit in your inventory for too long before they’re delivered to a customer. FIFO is popular in the food industry, where businesses are up against the expiration dates of perishable items and need to ship food while it’s fresh.

Par Levels

Setting par levels gives businesses a safety net by ensuring their inventory always carries a minimum amount of each product at all times. So, even if a company uses the JIT method, where it only stocks what customers order, the company will always have the product available.

Ultimately, par levels aren’t for emergencies where you’d need a spare product. Rather, they establish a warning line for when it’s time to order more of something. Once your inventory dips below a certain number of a given product, you order more of it.

It’s important to set your par levels based on how long it takes to restock. The product that takes the longest time for a business to make, for example, might have a higher inventory par level than the business’s other products since there’s a greater chance of depleting your inventory in the time it takes to develop the new product.

ABC Analysis

ABC Analysis groups a business’s products into three categories based on a product’s importance. Here’s one common breakdown of these categories:

  • Category A: products that are high in value but low in quantity
  • Category B: products that are moderate in value and moderate in quantity
  • Category C: products that are low in value but high in quantity

Also known as “selective inventory control,” this inventory management technique allows businesses with diverse product lines to easily prioritize the contents of their inventory. Similar to the JIT technique, succeeding under ABC analysis requires a close eye on buyers’ interest in each product, and not every product fits perfectly into each category. Snowboards, for example, might always have the high value of Category A, but inherit the high quantity of Category C during the winter.

Dropshipping

In a way, dropshipping is the anti-inventory. A specialty of Oberlo, an inventory management tool mentioned earlier in this article, dropshipping ships products from the manufacturer directly to the customer without the business ever storing the product itself.

Dropshipping can pose an advantage to businesses who don’t (yet) have their own storage space. But because you’re not managing your deliveries yourself, communication with the shipping party is critical to delivering products on time and keeping customers happy.

Demand Forecasting

Your inventory management software might help you do this, but it’s important to create long-term (or even year-long) forecasts for when sales of each product you sell will fluctuate.

One way to conduct a demand prediction? Look at last year’s sales as a whole and use them as a guideline for when to expect your inventory to change over the course of the current year. These changes might be influenced by market conditions or simply seasonality, but you should always factor them into your product strategy — especially if the software you use to automate your inventory operations doesn’t consider these variables.

Here’s one final inventory management tip to take with you: Nurture your relationships with everyone who touches your business’s product. Whether it’s the shipping merchant or a new employee, the state of your inventory depends on you to have open communication with your colleagues, and to support them as much as you support your customers when they browse your online store.

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How to Clear Your Cache, Cookies, and History on Any Device or Browser

If you’ve had your computer for a while, it might be time you clear some space.

Your browser automatically stores past websites you’ve visited, images you’ve saved, your passwords, and a ton of other information.

While this information might be useful, over time, it takes up space on your hard drive, and could lead to issues like 404 errors (resulting from a corrupted cache).

Plus, do you really need to know which websites you visited in 2016?

It’s insanely easy to delete your cache, cookies, or browser history on any browser or device. In fact, it should take less than five minutes. So let’s get to it.

Desktop browsers

How to clear your cache in Chrome

1. Go to: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData

2. Click “Advanced”

3. Select “Browsing history”, “Download history”, “Cookies and other site data”, and “Cached images and files”.

4. If you want, you can select a time range, i.e. “Last hour”, or “Last 4 weeks”.

5. Click “Clear Data”

6. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache in Safari

1. Go to the Safari menu, and select “Clear History”

2. Select a time range, then click “Clear History”

3. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache in Firefox

1. From the “History” menu, select “Clear Recent History”

2. If you want, you can select a time range with the drop-down menu, or select “Everything” to clear all your history

3. Next to “Details”, click the down arrow to choose which items you wish to clear (or select all)

4. Click “Clear Now”

5. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

Mac or PC

How to clear your cache on a Mac

There are two ways to clear your cache on a Mac — via a cleaning utility system like CleanMyMac 3, or manually.

If you want to clear it in three steps with a cleaning utility system, try this:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac 3
  2. Select “System Junk”
  3. Click “Scan” and then “Clean

However, if you want to clean it manually, here are four easy steps:

  1. Open the Finder Window and Select “Go” on the navigation bar
  2. Click “Go to Folder” in the Go menu
  3. Type in: ~/Library/Caches and hit enter
  4. Go into each folder, and delete everything

If you clean your cache manually, we suggest you remove the inside of your folders, but not the folders themselves — better yet, highlight all your folders and copy everything over, in case something goes wrong.

How to clear your cache on a PC

  1. Go to your “Start” menu and search in the box, “Run”
  2. In the Run box, type “Prefetch”
  3. Select all folders in Prefetch and click “delete”

Mobile Devices

How to clear your cache on Android

While this may differ depending on your device, you can likely clear your data history from your application manager on your Android device.

1. Go to Settings and choose “Apps” or “Application Manager”

2. Swipe to the “All” tab

3. In the list of installed apps, find and select your web browser

4. Click “Clear Data” and then “Clear Cache”

5. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache on Chrome for Android

1. Select “Chrome menu” and then “Settings”

2. Click “(Advanced) Privacy”

3. If you want, you can select a time range with the drop-down menu, or select “All time”

4. Check off “Cookies and Site data” and “Cached Images and Files”

5. Select “Clear data”

6. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache on Safari for iOS

1. Open your “Settings” app

2. Click “Safari”

3. Select “Clear History and Website Data” and confirm

4. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache on Chrome for iOS

1. Select “Settings” in your Chrome menu

2. Select “Privacy”

3. Click “Clear Browsing Data”

4. Choose the data type you want to clear, and click “Clear Browsing Data”

5. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

Let’s Make Money: 4 Tactics for Agencies Looking to Succeed – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by rjonesx.

We spend a lot of time discussing SEO tactics, but in a constantly changing industry, one thing that deserves more attention are the tactics agencies should employ in order to see success. From confidently raising your prices to knowing when to say no, Moz’s own Russ Jones covers four essential success tactics that’ll ultimately increase your bottom line in today’s edition of Whiteboard Friday.

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Agency tactics

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. I am Russ Jones, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for my first Whiteboard Friday. I am Principal Search Scientist here at Moz. But before coming to Moz, for the 10 years prior to that, I was the Chief Technology Officer of a small SEO agency back in North Carolina. So I have a strong passion for agencies and consultants who are on the ground doing the work, helping websites rank better and helping build businesses.

So what I wanted to do today was spend a little bit of time talking about the lessons that I learned at an agency that admittedly I only learned through trial and error. But before we even go further, I just wanted to thank the folks at Hive Digital who I learned so much from, Jeff and Jake and Malcolm and Ryan, because the team effort over time is what ended up building an agency. Any agency that succeeds knows that that’s part of it. So we’ll start with that thank-you.

But what I really want to get into is that we spend a lot of time talking about SEO tactics, but not really about how to succeed in an industry that changes rapidly, in which there’s almost no certification, and where it can be difficult to explain to customers exactly how they’re going to be successful with what you offer. So what I’m going to do is break down four really important rules that I learned over the course of that 10 years. We’re going to go through each one of them as quickly as possible, but at the same time, hopefully you’ll walk away with some good ideas. Some of these are ones that it might at first feel a little bit awkward, but just follow me.

1. Raise prices

The first rule, number one in Let’s Make Money is raise your prices. Now, I remember quite clearly two years in to my job at Hive Digital — it was called Virante then — and we were talking about raising prices. We were just looking at our customers, saying to ourselves, “There’s no way they can afford it.” But then luckily we had the foresight that there was more to raising prices than just charging your customers more.

How it benefits old customers

The first thing that just hit us automatically was… “Well, with our old customers, we can just discount them. It’s not that bad. We’re in the same place as we always were.” But then it occurred to us, “Wait, wait, wait. If we discount our customers, then we’re actually increasing our perceived value.” Our existing customers now think, “Hey, they’re actually selling something better that’s more expensive, but I’m getting a deal,” and by offering them that deal because of their loyalty, you engender more loyalty. So it can actually be good for old customers.

How it benefits new customers

Now, for new customers, once again, same sort of situation. You’ve increased the perceived value. So your customers who come to you think, “Oh, this company is professional. This company is willing to invest. This company is interested in providing the highest quality of services.” In reality, because you’ve raised prices, you can. You can spend more time and money on each customer and actually do a better job. The third part is, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If they say no, you offer them the discount. You’re back where you started. You’re in the same position that you were before.

How it benefits your workers

Now, here’s where it really matters — your employees, your workers. If you are offering bottom line prices, you can’t offer them raises, you can’t offer them training, you can’t hire them help, or you can’t get better workers. But if you do, if you raise prices, the whole ecosystem that is your agency will do better.

How it improves your resources

Finally, and most importantly, which we’ll talk a little bit more later, is that you can finally tool up. You can get the resources and capital that you need to actually succeed. I drew this kind of out.

If we have a graph of quality of services that you offer and the price that you sell at, most agencies think that they’re offering great quality at a little price, but the reality is you’re probably down here. You’re probably under-selling your services and, because of that, you can’t offer the best that you can.

You should be up here. You should be offering higher quality, your experts who spend time all day studying this, and raising prices allows you to do that.

2. Schedule

Now, raising prices is only part one. The second thing is discipline, and I am really horrible about this. The reality is that I’m the kind of guy who looks for the latest and greatest and just jumps into it, but schedule matters. As hard as it is to admit it, I learned this from the CPC folks because they know that they have to stay on top of it every day of the week.

Well, here’s something that we kind of came up with as I was leaving the company, and that was to set all of our customers as much as possible into a schedule.

  • Annually: we would handle keywords and competitors doing complete analysis.
  • Semi-annually: Twice a year, we would do content analysis. What should you be writing about? What’s changed in your industry? What are different keywords that you might be able to target now given additional resources?
  • Quarterly: You need to be looking at links. It’s just a big enough issue that you’ve got to look at it every couple of months, a complete link analysis.
  • Monthly: You should be looking at your crawls. Moz will do that every week for you, but you should give your customers an idea, over the course of a month, what’s changed.
  • Weekly: You should be doing rankings

But there are three things that, when you do all of these types of analysis, you need to keep in mind. Each one of them is a…

  • Report
  • Hours for consulting
  • Phone call

This might seem like a little bit of overkill. But of course, if one of these comes back and nothing changed, you don’t need to do the phone call, but each one of these represents additional money in your pocket and importantly better service for your customers.

It might seem hard to believe that when you go to a customer and you tell them, “Look, nothing’s changed,” that you’re actually giving them value, but the truth is that if you go to the dentist and he tells you, you don’t have a cavity, that’s good news. You shouldn’t say to yourself at the end of the day, “Why’d I go to the dentist in the first place?” You should say, “I’m so glad I went to the dentist.” By that same positive outlook, you should be selling to your customers over and over and over again, hoping to give them the clarity they need to succeed.

3. Tool up!

So number three, you’re going to see this a lot in my videos because I just love SEO tools, but you’ve got to tool up. Once you’ve raised prices and you’re making more money with your customers, you actually can. Tools are superpowers. Tools allow you to do things that humans just can’t do. Like I can’t figure out the link graph on my own. I need tools to do it. But tools can do so much more than just auditing existing clients. For example, they can give you…

Better leads:

You can use tools to find opportunities.Take for example the tools within Moz and you want to find other car dealerships in the area that are really good and have an opportunity to rank, but aren’t doing as well as they should be in SERPs. You want to do this because you’ve already serviced successfully a different car dealership. Well, tools like Moz can do that. You don’t just have to use Moz to help your clients. You can use them to help yourself.

Better pre-audits:

Nobody walks into a sales call blind. You know who the website is. So you just start with a great pre-audit.

Faster workflows:

Which means you make more money quicker. If you can do your keyword analysis annually in half the time because you have the right tool for it, then you’re going to make far more money and be able to serve more customers.

Bulk pricing:

This one is just mind-blowingly simple. It’s bulk pricing. Every tool out there, the more you buy from them, the lower the price is. I remember at my old company sitting down at one point and recognizing that every customer that came in the door would need to spend about $1,000 on individual accounts to match what they were getting through us by being able to take advantage of the bulk discounts that we were getting as an agency by buying these seats on behalf of all of our customers.

So tell your clients when you’re talking to them on the phone, in the pitch be like, “Look, we use Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, SEMrush,” list off all of the competitors. “We do Screaming Frog.” Just name them all and say, “If you wanted to go out and just get the data yourself from these tools, it would cost you more than we’re actually charging you.” The tools can sell themselves. You are saving them money.

4. Just say NO

Now, the last section, real quickly, are the things you’ve just got to learn to say no to. One of them has a little nuance to it. There’s going to be some bite back in the comments, I’m pretty sure, but I want to be careful with it.

No month-to-month contracts

The first thing to say no to is month-to-month contracts.

If a customer comes to you and they say, “Look, we want to do SEO, but we want to be able to cancel every 30 days.” the reality is this. They’re not interested in investing in SEO. They’re interested in dabbling in SEO. They’re interested in experimenting with SEO. Well, that’s not going to succeed. It’s only going to take one competitor or two who actually invest in it to beat them out, and when they beat them out, you’re going to look bad and they’re going to cancel their account with you. So sit down with them and explain to them that it is a long-term strategy and it’s just not worth it to your company to bring on customers who aren’t interested in investing in SEO. Say it politely, but just turn it away.

Don’t turn anything away

Now, notice that my next thing is don’t turn anything away. So here’s something careful. Here’s the nuance. It’s really important to learn to fire clients who are bad for your business, where you’re losing money on them or they’re just impolite, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn them away. You just need to turn them in the right direction. That right direction might be tools themselves. You can say, “Look, you don’t really need our consulting hours. You should go use these tools.” Or you can turn them to other fledgling businesses, friends you have in the industry who might be struggling at this time.

I’ll tell you a quick example. We don’t have much time, but many, many years ago, we had a client that came to us. At our old company, we had a couple of rules about who we would work with. We chose not to work in the adult industry. But at the time, I had a friend in the industry. He lived outside of the United States, and he had fallen on hard times. He literally had his business taken away from him via a series of just really unscrupulous events. I picked up the phone and gave him a call. I didn’t turn away the customer. I turned them over to this individual.

That very next year, he had ended up landing a new job at the top of one of the largest gambling organizations in the world. Well, frankly, they weren’t on our list of people we couldn’t work with. We landed the largest contract in the history of our company at that time, and it set our company straight for an entire year. It was just because instead of turning away the client, we turned them to a different direction. So you’ve got to say no to turning away everybody. They are opportunities. They might not be your opportunity, but they’re someone’s.

No service creep

The last one is service creep. Oh, man, this one is hard. A customer comes up to you and they list off three things that you offer that they want, and then they say, “Oh, yeah, we need social media management.” Somebody else comes up to you, three things you want to offer, and they say, “Oh yeah, we need you to write content,” and that’s not something you do. You’ve just got to not do that. You’ve got to learn to shave off services that you can’t offer. Instead, turn them over to people who can do them and do them very well.

What you’re going to end up doing in your conversation, your sales pitch is, “Look, I’m going to be honest with you. We are great at some things, but this isn’t our cup of tea. We know someone who’s really great at it.” That honesty, that candidness is just going to give them such a better relationship with you, and it’s going to build a stronger relationship with those other specialty companies who are going to send business your way. So it’s really important to learn to say no to say no service creep.

Well, anyway, there’s a lot that we went over there. I hope it wasn’t too much too fast, but hopefully we can talk more about it in the comments. I look forward to seeing you there. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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The 17 Best Photoshop Filters & Plugins of 2018

There’s no denying that Adobe Photoshop is a powerful photo editing tool, with loads of built-in features and effects. In fact, if you’re a marketer with little (or zero) photography or graphic design experience, Photoshop can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.

However, if you’ve spent years learning the ins and outs of Photoshop, you might now be arriving at a point where you feel like you’ve exhausted all of Photoshop’s built-in benefits.Explore Adobe Photoshop CC basics through quick tips, video explainers, and  custom photo filters here.

Regardless of your experience level, there are free Photoshop filters and plugins that can help. As a beginner, these free add-ons can help simplify complex editing processes. As an expert, they can help expand your available Photoshop tool set even further, and help lead you in new artistic directions.

Keep the following steps in mind when downloading the Photoshop filters and plugins we’ve included below. Each file must be saved in a specific location on your computer.

Marketers-Guide-to-Photoshop-Interactive-Form

Free Photoshop Filters

Note: The filters below are technically Photoshop “actions” (.ATN files). An action is a pre-recorded series of steps that allows you to apply effects — in this case, filters — automatically.

1. Dramatic Sepia (via Efeito Photoshop)

Price: Free

Sure, you can easily create that classic, reddish-brown sepia effect in Photoshop manually by selecting Image > Adjustments > Photo Filters, and then choosing “Sepia” from the dropdown menu. But if you’re looking for a sepia filter that’s a bit more — well, dramatic — the free Dramatic Sepia action from Efeito Photoshop is a popular option.

Dramatic Sepia, a Photoshop filter

Image Credit: Romenigps

2. Blue Evening (via Photographypla.Net)

Price: Free

Opposite the warm tones of the sepia filter above, Blue Evening cools down your photos with a pretty blue hue. This Photoshop filter adds a dose of solemnness to your images. You can also use it to soften a sunlit photo and emphasize a cold temperature outside.

Blue Evening Photoshop filter

Image Credit: Photographypla.Net

3. Old Photo (via DeviantArt)

Price: Free

If sepia is a bit too much for your taste, but you’re still trying to create a nostalgic, old-timey feel, the Old Photo action has got you covered. The action will adjust the color and contrast of your image, transporting it back in time (visually-speaking).

Old Photo, a Photoshop action filter

Image Credit: sakiryildirim

4. Nightmare (via Shutter Pulse)

Price: Free

Did you ever want to give your photo a haunting look? The setting of your shot only does so much to affect how people perceive the image. For added creepiness, you have the Nightmare filter. Download this Photoshop filter to make any photo look like it came from a horror movie.

Nightmare photoshop filter

Image Credit: Shutter Pulse

5. HDR Tools (via DeviantArt)

Price: Free

HDR Tools is a set of four “actions” that transforms dull backgrounds to reveal intense, eye-catching details. You can turn natural grey tones into beautiful backgrounds that create a contrast against the foreground you didn’t have before. The duller the image, the heavier the HDR filter you should apply.

HDR Tools, a Photoshop filter action

Image Credit: Forfie

6. Dream Blur (via DeviantArt)

Price: Free

As its name suggests, the Dream Blur action adds a filter to your image that creates a subtle, dream-like atmosphere. Specifically, the action produces a dark, blurry vignette at the edges of your image while also upping the saturation levels.

Dream Blur, a Photoshop filter action

Image Credit: JoshJanusch

7. Vintage (via DeviantArt)

Price: Free

Unlike the Old Photo action from earlier on this list, the Vintage action does more than just visually transport your image back in time — it also adds a distinctive neon effect (perfect for giving your next project a groovy feel).

Vintage Action, a Photoshop filter

Image Credit: beckasweird

8. Lithprint (via DeviantArt)

Price: Free

The Lithprint action imitates the vintage look produced by the black-and-white lith printing process. But compared to the other vintage filters on this list, Lithprint is much more drastic. In addition to adjusting contrast, highlights, and shadows in your image, it adds a gritty texture.

Lithprint Hard Boiled, a Photoshop filter

Image Credit: rawimage

Free and Inexpensive Photoshop Plugins

9. virtualPhotographer

Price: Free

If you’re struggling to produce particular effects in Photoshop (e.g., black and white, high contrast, polarization, etc.), virtualPhotographer by OptikVerve Labs could be the plugin you’ve been looking for. VirtualPhotographer’s primary claim to fame? It allows you to add complicated effects to images with a single click.

virtualPhotographer Photoshop plugin

Image Credit: optikVerve Labs

10. ON1 Effects

Price: Free

Like the virtualPhotographer plugin, ON1 Effects is a free Photoshop plugin that makes it easier for you to add complex effects to your images. What sets ON1 Effects apart is that it boasts a library of filters — including vignette, adjustable contrast, and HDR look — that you can stack on top of each other, allowing you to easily build layers of different effects.

ON1 Effects Photoshop plugin

Image Credit: ON1

11. Snapheal

Price: $20

Snapheal is one of the best ways to remove unwanted flaws and blemishes from your photos. Cleaning up a person’s headshot or the background of a scenic shot? This photoshop plugin helps you polish your work in three steps: Upload your photo, remove unwanted objects, and enhance the final product.

Snapheal Photoshop plugin

Image Credit: Snapheal

12. Ink

Price: Free

This tool is a detail-oriented person’s best friend. Ink is a Photoshop plugin that allows you to see additional information on a design you’re creating — this includes text size, font name, color codes, and the size of your image in pixels. It also gives you grid lines to help you center and level your artwork.

Ink Photoshop plugin

Image Credit: Chrometaphore

13. Flaticon

Price: Free

Wish you could sort through thousands of free icons and add them to your projects without having to leave the comfort of Photoshop? Then Flaticon by Freepik is definitely worth a look. The free plugin’s icons are available in .SVG, .PSD, and .PNG formats.

Flaticon Photoshop plugin

Image Credit: Flaticon

14. RH Hover Color Picker

Price: $16

Photoshop’s color palate has been known to irritate users — especially those who need a more customizable dashboard to capture the color they need when editing and designing. RH Hover Color Picker is the solution. This photoshop plugin by Rico Holmes (hence “RH”) acts as a convenient flywheel that you can simply “hover” over your image as you perfect your illustration. It even gives you the RGB code of the color you’ve selected so you can easily find it later.

RH Hover Color Picker Photoshop pluginImage Credit: Rico Holmes

15. Pexels

Price: Free

You might know Pexels as a free stock photography gallery. What you might not know is that you can integrate this free content right into Photoshop. The Pexels plugin has more than 30,000 free images to choose from, and syncs your Liked photos with Photoshop so you can call up your favorite stock photos for quick editing.

Pexels Photoshop plugin Image Credit: Pexels

16. Focus

Price: $60

Focus is “portrait mode” on steroids. A smartphone camera can use portrait mode to blur the background of closeup imagery, but it often can’t handle wide, complex shots where you need to highlight specific parts of the photo. For that, you have Focus. This plugin, now available in the form of Focus 2, allows you to blur backgrounds, set the blur’s intensity, and sharpen the edges of the object you’re focusing on to make it truly pop out of the picture.

Focus Photoshop plugin

Image Credit: Skylum

17. Tych Panel

Price: Free

The free Tych Panel plugin makes it easy for you to create double panel (diptych), triple panel (triptych), and quadruple+ panel (ntych) projects in Photoshop. Just select the number of rows and panels you want, as well as the alignment style, and Tych Panel will format everything for you automatically.

Tych Panel Photoshop plugin

Image Credit: Lumens

Ready to get started? Download some of the filters and plugins above and grab your free guide to photoshop below.

Marketer's Guide to Photoshop

What is an SSL Certificate and How It Can Help Your Website

You might be wondering: “Why is my website showing up as an unsecured site in Google Chrome?”

The answer is because you don’t have an SSL certificate that converts your pages into secure, encrypted HTTPS pages.

Some people may think that there’s no need for an SSL certificate if your website isn’t used to store or process sensitive information, or that an HTTP protocol is enough.

That may have been the case a decade ago, but it simply doesn’t hold true today.

When visitors see the “Not secure” tag that comes along with the lack of an SSL certificate, they’ll be less likely to stay on your site or interact with your company.

Or buy anything from you at all.

In this post, we’re going to cover what an SSL certificate is and how it can be used to help your website.

So what does SSL stand for, anyway?

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL certificates are data files that add a cryptographic key together with a company’s details. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

In layman’s terms, SSL certificates bind a domain name, server name, or hostname together with a company name and location.

When they’re installed on a web server, they activate a padlock that shows that a secure connection is present between a browser and the web server.

These padlocks, which are added to most of your favorite websites, look something like this:

SSL padlocks in chrome

They signify to site visitors that the owner of a website is encrypting connections on the page, which makes for a more secure experience.

Usually, SSLs can be used to secure transactions, logins, and data transfer. In today’s world, it has become commonplace for social media sites to have SSL certificates, too.

Twitter has one:

twitter SSL padlock

Facebook has one:

facebook SSL padlock

And even Reddit has one:

reddit SSL padlock

When you open an SSL certificate up, it usually looks something like this:

SSL certificate information

This particular certificate lists who it was issued to, who it was issued by, and the dates that it is valid from and to. This one is valid until 2019.

That way, site visitors won’t have to second guess if your web page is safe, secure, or legitimate.

The bottom line? If you want your site to be trustworthy, you’ll need an SSL certificate.

Here’s how an SSL certificate works.

How Does an SSL Work

When you access a website, the browser or server requests that your web server reveals it’s identity.

A web server with an SSL certificate sends the browser or server a copy of it for review.

Then, the browser or server will check to determine whether or not it trusts the certificate. If it does, it relays the message back to the web server.

Then, the web server sends back a digitally signed acknowledgment and an SSL encrypted session begins.

Encrypted, secured data is then shared between the browser or server and the web server.

how SSL works

The benefits to using SSL certificates are huge. For starters, SSL makes browsing safer for your customers, builds trust and boosts conversions, and protects both internal and customer data.

They also help you rank higher in Google since they’re made possible with HTTPS.

But what is HTTPS and why is it important?

Why HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is an application layer protocol that was created to transfer and receive data over the internet.

In comparison to plain old Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, HTTPS encrypts all communication between a browser and a website.

difference between http and https

HTTP does not. The added S in HTTPS is much more than a letter.

This means that data sent through an HTTPS connection is converted into a nearly impenetrable code to prevent unauthorized hackers from getting their hands on it.

And even if they do, they won’t be able to understand it or make sense of it. Encryption can take a simple message, like “hello” and turn it into an unidentifiable code, like “6EB6957008E03CE4.”

An application layer protocol doesn’t discriminate when it comes to how information is transferred between sources, so your site visitors will all be treated with equal security.

HTTPS is commonly used by e-commerce websites in order to ensure secure transactions for customers when purchasing products.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance and advantages of the HTTPS protocol that SSL certificates provide.

The Importance and Advantages of SSL

Google’s main goal is to provide users with secure browsing options. That’s why they’re encouraging site owners to make the switch over to HTTPS.

In fact, Google is now marking all non-HTTPS sites as unsecure.

http not secure

And if you’re selling products or services from your site, an HTTPS seal of approval could help you sell even more.

secure credit card payment

Think about it: would you hesitate if you were ready to buy something and you saw a header like “Secure payment?” Probably not.

But if you saw something on a checkout page mentioning that things were “not secure,” you’d probably be gone faster than a toupee in a hurricane.

Once you have an SSL certificate and an HTTPS protocol, don’t be afraid to show it off to your customers and boast about it to help boost sales and transparency.

HTTPS can also help your SEO and conversions.

How SSL Can Help Your SEO And Conversions

Google rewards URLs with HTTPS protocols for being secure, which gives them a minor SEO boost in comparison to sites without them.

This means increased rankings and more referral data.

Referral data is preserved when it passes through HTTPS sites, which can also help to increase your search engine placements.

ssl advantages

Rankings will continue to increase over time if your site operates on HTTPS since visitors can always rest assured that browsing on your site is secure.

But there are several different types of SSL certificates you should be aware of.

Types of SSL Certificates

When choosing an SSL certificate, you need to pick the one that works best for you and your site.

There are three main types of SSL certificates.

  1. Domain Validated (DV SSL) Certificates
  2. Organization Validated (OV SSL) Certificates
  3. Extended Validation (EV SSL) Certificates

DV SSL certificates are issued almost immediately, and no company paperwork is required to obtain one.

No company identity is displayed on this type of SSL certificate other than encryption information, but it is enough to activate the “secure” padlock on your URL.

activated padlock secure https

While there’s no questioning that your information will be encrypted when visiting a site with a DV SSL certificate, there’s no way for customers to verify who is on the other end of the data.

These certificates are the easiest and quickest to get, and they’re also the cheapest. But they’re the least secure of all SSL certificates.

If you just have a small personal website or forum that needs some added encryption, a DV SSL certificate is a solid choice.

OV SSL certificates are more secure than DV SSL certificates but less secure than EV SSL certificates. They’re also usually right in the middle of the two when it comes to cost, as well.

They are issued within a couple of days and require you to:

  • Authenticate your organization
  • Prove your right to request a certification

When you obtain an OV SSL certificate, the “secure” padlock will be added to your URL, as well as some kind of site seal, depending on where you purchase it from.

ssl provider seals

If you have a large, public-facing website that handles some non-sensitive transactional data on a regular basis, an OV SSL is a good certificate to go with.

EV SSL certificates, on the other hand, require several steps before they can be obtained. To get an EV SSL certificate, you must usually:

  • Verify the legal existence of your company
  • Verify that the identity of your company matches official records
  • Verify that your company has the right to use the domain listed in the EV SSL certificate
  • Verify that your company has authorized the issuance of the SSL certificate

EV SSL certificates are harder to get in comparison to other types, but they are more secure than DV SSL and OV SSL certificates.

You know exactly who is on the other end of the website with this kind of certificate.

These certificates are usually issued within several days and are the most expensive to obtain. The company name is displayed in the URL next to the “secure” padlock.

digicert SSL

Your address bar may also turn green.

If you are an e-commerce site or you handle credit card payments and other sensitive data regularly, you need an EV SSL for maximum security.

How do you know what the best SSL certificate is for you?

What’s the Best SSL Certificate?

While all three different kinds of SSL certificates are better than no certificate, you have to pick the one that works the best for your budget and site needs.

Most sites that offer SSL certificates, like GoDaddy, Cloudflare, and Comodo, offer all three.

Let’s analyze GoDaddy first.

GoDaddy

All SSL certificates from GoDaddy include SHA-2 and 2048-bit encryption, which is about the strongest out there on the market today.

With a certificate from GoDaddy, you’ll be able to protect unlimited servers, reissue your certificate as many times as needed for free, and reach 24/7 security support.

You’ll also receive as much as $1 million in liability protection and a 30-day money back guarantee.

A DV SSL is $59.99 a year, an OV SSL is $103.99 per year, and an EV SSL is $99.99 per year.

comparison of types of SSL

With Cloudflare, you can get a base SSL for a more affordable price.

Cloudflare

With Cloudflare, you can get the base SSL service for free. There’s no hidden details or fine print.

For more advanced features or SSL certificates, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.

All that you need to implement Cloudflare’s SSL services is create an account and update your site’s DNS records.

Cloudflare’s HTTPS options provide additional services beyond regular HTTS that can help you boost page loading times and site speed.

Cloudflare serves your site visitors a cached version of your site to help make it faster for users.

However, SSL with Cloudflare only encrypts the connection between site visitors and the cached version of your site.

It doesn’t encrypt the connection that exists between your site and your server.

cloudflare ssl

This means that your server connection could still be hacked.

If you want a full SSL certificate complete with encryption for your server, you might have to pay as much as $200 per month per domain for Cloudflare’s Business plan.

cloudflare ssl pricing

Other features included in the Business package include a web application firewall, prioritized email support, and guaranteed 100% uptime for your website.

Comodo SSL certificates are a bit more secure than Cloudflare.

Comodo

A DV SSL certificate from Comodo will set you back about $70.95 per year. A warranty level of $10,000 is included.

OV SSL certificates can cost anywhere from $88.95 to $427.95 per year, depending on the one you choose. Warranty levels are anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 for this SSL.

An EV SSL is $199.50 per year and includes a warranty level of $1,750,000.

Every SSL certificate from Comodo features 128/256 bit encryption, 2048 bit root keys, unlimited reissuance and a 30-day money back guarantee,

Each certificate features HackerGuardian PCI scanning service, as well.

hacker guardian comodo ssl

Once you decide on the SSL certificate that works best for you, get ready to install it.

How to Install an SSL Certificate

Installing an SSL certificate might sound intimidating, but it isn’t anything to be afraid of. Start off by purchasing the SSL certificate of your choice.

1) Purchase the SSL certificate

Be sure to only purchase an SSL certificate from a reputable source.

After all, you don’t want to compromise your company’s security, so don’t just purchase an SSL certificate from anywhere.

You will probably need to upload a copy of your Certificate Signing Request (CSR) when you order the SSL certificate of your choosing.

A finished CSR should look something like this:

begin ssl certificate request

You can find a list of all CSR creation instructions for nearly every platform and operating system here.

Once you’ve purchased your SSL certificate, you’re ready to activate it.

2) Activate it

The method used to activate your SSL certificate will depend on where you ultimately decide to purchase it from. Sometimes, your web host will activate your SSL for you.

For example, if you purchase an SSL from GoDaddy, you’ll have to log into your account, head to “SSL Certificates” and click “Set up.”

set up godaddy ssl

Once you refresh the page, you should see your new and ready to use certificate.

When you have activated your certificate, you should validate it.

3) Validate the certificate

Before you officially begin to use an SSL certificate, you need to diagnose any issues with it.

Use an SSL Checker tool like this one from SSL Shopper to validate your certificate.

ssl checker

Next, install the certificate on your hosting server if it hasn’t already been done by your web host.

4) Install the certificate on the hosting server

The process for installing your certificate on your hosting server will depend on where you’ve built your site.

For example, if you’ve used Duda to build your website, you can navigate over to “Site Settings” and click “Site SSL” to set up a certificate.

click site SSL

Then, click “Generate certificate.”

Note that your SSL certificate should never be removed unless you manually take it off of your site.

Once your SSL certificate is up and running, you need to set up 301 redirects and check your links.

5) Set up 301 redirects and check the links

If you have old google links or dated links to your pages on other sites, you need to set up a redirect so that HTTP requests can be changed to HTTPS ones.

You can do this by adding the following code to the top of your .htcaaccess file located in your root folder:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

Once you’ve added that code, double check that your site is still working well and that requests are being redirected to the new version of your URLs.

You can also use HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to force all connections to become HTTPS links all at once.

http strict transport security

All you have to do is add the code to your site.

For example, if you have an Apache web server, you can add the following code to your .htaaccess file:

# Use HTTP Strict Transport Security to force client to use secure connections only Header always set Strict-Transport-Security “max-age=300; includeSubDomains; preload”

Here’s how to view SSL certificates in Chrome.

How to View SSL Certificates in Chrome

To view SSL certificates for any site (including your own) in Chrome, open Developer tools.

developer tools in chrome

From there, head to the Security tab and click “View certificate.”

view certificate security overview

Then, the full certificate should appear for your viewing.

google ssl certificate

Finally, you need to test your HTTPS to make sure that all web elements are as secure as possible.

Testing your HTTPS

The easiest and fastest way to verify that your HTTPS is working is to head to your website and verify that you see HTTPS: before your site name.

http vs https in browser

If you want a more in-depth test, use an advanced SSL-Check tool like this one from JitBit.

ssl check with root URL

This tool will crawl an entire HTTPS website (and even it’s internal links) to uncover unsecure images, scripts or CSS files that trigger unsecure warnings in browsers.

You can crawl 200 pages of your site for free using the tool if you tweet about it, which is a pretty small price to pay for zero cost HTTPS testing.

Conclusion

If your site is marked as unsecure, you’re losing valuable site visitors every minute.

An SSL certificate can help, since it verifies and encrypts your website, making your pages safe for both you and your customers.

If you think you can avoid getting an SSL certificate, you’re wrong. The HTTPS protocol that SSLs provide is vital if you want to build a trusted and reputable site.

HTTPS tags show up with a padlock and a “secure” tag in visitors’ browsers, notifying them that your site is legit.

And HTTPS can help your SEO and conversions, since HTTPs pages are proven to have higher rankings and more referral data.

There are three different types of SSL certificates to choose from.

These include Domain Validated (DV SSL) Certificates, Organization Validated (OV SSL) Certificates, and Extended Validation (EV SSL) Certificates.

DV SSLs offer the least amount of security, while OV SSLs are more secure. EV SSLs are the most secure form of SSL certificate.

Choose an SSL certificate that works best for you, your company, and your budget.

If you want a reasonably priced SSL with high encryption, try GoDaddy. With Cloudflare, you can get a free DV SSL extension, but it may not be as secure as other certificates out there.

Comodo offers a wider variety of certificates than GoDaddy with similar encryption. However, they’re a bit more expensive.

To install an SSL certificate, you’ll have to purchase one from a trusted source, first.

Then, activate it and validate it. Install the certificate on your hosting server and set up 301 redirects to your new HTTPS URLs. Don’t forget to check the links.

If you want to view SSL certificates in Chrome, you can open them up for any site you visit using Developer Tools.

Finally, to test your HTTPS, use an advanced SSL Checker like the one created by JitBit. Double check that your URLs have a secure padlock, too, just in case.

Which type of SSL certificate are you going to add to your website?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.