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As practitioners in the tech space, we are often expected to deliver consistently under the pressures of data growth, system complexity, and high user expectations. Central to this challenge is the effective management of our databases, which are, in essence, the lifeblood of our applications. MySQL, an open-source relational database management system, is at the forefront of many of our applications, powering the robust and dynamic data interactions that fuel today’s tech ecosystems. However, as we are acutely aware, the success of our endeavors isn’t always about the raw power at our disposal, but rather the finesse with which we wield it.

Every database comes with its own quirks and intricacies, and MySQL is no exception. Even a seemingly well-tuned MySQL environment can often be further refined, resulting in dramatic improvements in response times, throughput, and overall system performance. This article aims to delve deeper into these aspects, providing you with proven strategies and techniques for optimizing your MySQL performance.

We’ll explore the various facets of MySQL optimization, from adjusting server settings and refining schema designs to the artful crafting of SQL queries. Whether you’re dealing with a heavy load database serving millions of transactions per minute or a smaller setup looking to squeeze out every bit of efficiency, these tips should provide a valuable guide on your path to MySQL mastery.

Remember, a well-optimized MySQL database is not just about bolstering performance, it’s about reducing costs, improving customer experience, and ensuring that your technology continues to serve as a solid foundation for your applications in the rapidly changing tech landscape.

1. Choose the right MySQL storage engine for your needs

Optimizing MySQL performance starts with selecting the right storage engine tailored to your specific needs. Storage engines are the underlying components of MySQL that manage how data is stored, retrieved, and manipulated. Each storage engine has its unique features, strengths, and weaknesses that can significantly impact your database’s overall performance.

There are two primary storage engines you should consider: InnoDB and MyISAM. Let’s dive into their key differences and when to use each one.

InnoDB

InnoDB is the default storage engine for MySQL since version 5.5. It offers a robust set of features, including:

ACID Compliance: InnoDB ensures data integrity by following the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties. This means transactions are reliable and can be rolled back if needed.

Row-level Locking: Instead of locking an entire table during updates or inserts, InnoDB allows concurrent access by locking only the affected rows. This improves performance in multi-user environments.

Foreign Key Support: InnoDB allows you to define relationships between tables using foreign keys, which helps maintain referential integrity and simplifies complex queries.

Crash Recovery: In case of a crash or power outage, InnoDB can automatically recover unsaved data from its transaction logs.

In general, InnoDB is best suited for applications that require high concurrency or involve frequent updates and inserts.

MyISAM

Full-text Indexing: MyISAM supports full-text indexing for efficient text-based searches in large datasets.

Table-level Locking: While this may be a downside for some use cases, table-level locking can be beneficial for read-heavy applications with minimal concurrent updates.

2. Optimize MySQL queries and indexes for better performance

Optimizing MySQL queries and indexes is a crucial step in enhancing the performance of your database. By fine-tuning your queries and strategically creating indexes, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to execute queries and retrieve data. Here’s how you can improve the performance of your MySQL queries and indexes:

Refine your SQL queries

Limit the number of retrieved rows: Use the LIMIT clause to fetch only the necessary number of rows, minimizing the amount of data returned by a query.

Avoid using wildcard characters: Instead of using SELECT *, specify only the columns you need to reduce data transfer.

Use proper join operations: Opt for INNER JOIN over OUTER JOIN whenever possible, as it tends to be faster.

Minimize subqueries: Replace subqueries with joins or temporary tables when feasible, as they can be resource-intensive.

Create efficient indexes

Choose appropriate index types: Understand the differences between primary keys, unique keys, and regular indexes to select what works best for your specific use case.

Index frequently used columns: Columns that are often used in WHERE, JOIN, or ORDER BY clauses should be indexed for faster query execution.

Avoid over-indexing: While indexes can speed up searches, they also slow down insertions and updates. Strive for a balance between indexing important columns and maintaining write performance.

Optimize existing indexes

Analyze index usage: Tools like MySQL’s built-in EXPLAIN statement or third-party applications like Percona Toolkit can help you evaluate how effectively your current indexes are being used.

Remove redundant or duplicate indexes: Review your existing indexes and eliminate any that are unnecessary or overlapping to save storage space and improve write performance.

Consider covering indexes: A covering index includes all columns required by a query, allowing the database to retrieve data from the index itself, rather than accessing the table.

Monitor and adjust

Track slow queries: Enable MySQL’s slow query log to identify queries that take longer than a specified time to execute. Analyze these queries for potential optimizations.

Test different approaches: Experiment with different indexing strategies and query structures to find the most efficient solution for your specific use case.

By following these guidelines, you can optimize your MySQL queries and indexes, resulting in better overall database performance. Remember that optimization is an ongoing process; continue monitoring and adjusting your strategies as your application evolves and grows.

3. Use proper data types to reduce storage and improve query efficiency

Using proper data types in MySQL is essential for optimizing storage and improving query efficiency. By selecting the most suitable data type for each column in your database, you can significantly reduce storage requirements and improve the overall performance of your queries. In this section, we’ll discuss how to choose the right data types and offer some tips for making the best use of them.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that MySQL offers a variety of data types to store different kinds of information. These include numeric types (such as INT and DECIMAL), string types (like CHAR and VARCHAR), date and time types (such as DATE and TIMESTAMP), and more. Each type has its own characteristics, storage requirements, and performance implications.

To make the most out of these data types, you should:

Be specific with your numeric data types: Instead of using a generic INT or BIGINT for all your numeric columns, consider using smaller numeric types like TINYINT, SMALLINT, or MEDIUMINT when possible. This will help reduce storage space while still providing enough range for your values.

Use variable-length string columns wisely: VARCHAR columns are great for storing strings with varying lengths since they only use as much storage as needed for each value. However, be cautious not to set excessively large maximum lengths for your VARCHAR columns; doing so can lead to unnecessary storage overhead.

Consider the trade-offs between CHAR and VARCHAR: While CHAR columns have a fixed length and can be faster than VARCHAR in some cases, they may also waste space if you’re storing short strings in a long CHAR column. Assess the nature of your string data to determine which type is more appropriate.

Optimize date and time columns: Use DATE or TIME columns when you don’t need both date and time information in a single column. This will save storage space compared to using DATETIME or TIMESTAMP columns.

Choose appropriate ENUM and SET types: These special data types can be efficient for storing a limited set of distinct values, but they may not be suitable for columns with a large number of unique values or frequent updates.

By carefully selecting the right data types, you can optimize your MySQL database for storage and query efficiency. This will not only help reduce the amount of storage required but also improve the performance of your queries, leading to a more responsive and efficient application. Remember that it’s always a good idea to review your data type choices periodically as your application evolves and its requirements change.

4. Configure MySQL server settings to match your hardware and workload

Optimizing MySQL performance requires fine-tuning server settings to align with your hardware and workload. By adjusting various configuration parameters, you can achieve better performance and resource utilization. In this section, let’s explore some key aspects of configuring MySQL server settings.

First, assess your hardware capabilities, such as memory (RAM), CPU, and storage (disk space). Knowing the limitations of your hardware helps you make informed decisions when configuring MySQL settings. For instance, if you have ample RAM available, you can allocate more memory to caching mechanisms like the InnoDB buffer pool.

Here are some essential MySQL settings to consider:

InnoDB Buffer Pool Size: The buffer pool is where InnoDB caches table data and indexes in memory. A larger buffer pool allows more data to be cached in memory, reducing disk I/O operations and improving query performance. Set the innodb_buffer_pool_size parameter according to your available RAM and workload requirements.

Table Open Cache: This setting controls the number of open tables that can be cached by the server. Higher values for table_open_cache reduce the need for opening and closing tables frequently, which can improve performance on systems with a large number of tables.

Query Cache: Enabling query cache stores the result sets of SELECT statements in memory so that identical queries can be served faster without re-execution. Configure query_cache_size based on your available RAM and query patterns.

Sort Buffer Size and Read Buffer Size: These settings determine the memory allocated for sorting and reading data, respectively. Adjusting sort_buffer_size and read_buffer_size can improve performance for specific query types, such as large JOIN operations or complex sorting tasks.

Remember that every environment is unique, so it’s crucial to test and monitor the impact of configuration changes on your specific system. Tools like MySQLTuner or Percona Toolkit can provide valuable insights into your server’s performance and suggest configuration optimizations.

5. Implement caching mechanisms like query cache, buffer pool, and key-value stores

To optimize MySQL performance, implementing caching mechanisms is an essential step. Caching can significantly improve the efficiency of your database by reducing the need to perform expensive operations repeatedly. In this section, we’ll discuss three types of caching mechanisms: query cache, buffer pool, and key-value stores.

Query Cache

Query cache is a built-in feature in MySQL that stores the results of frequently executed SELECT queries. By caching these results, MySQL avoids executing the same query multiple times and reduces the load on your database server. To enable query cache, you need to set the query_cache_size configuration variable to a non-zero value.

However, it’s important to note that query cache may not always be suitable for all scenarios. For instance, if your database has frequent write operations or if your data changes often, query cache could lead to stale data being served. In such cases, you might want to disable it or fine-tune its settings using variables like query_cache_limit and query_cache_min_res_unit.

Buffer Pool

InnoDB storage engine uses a memory area called the buffer pool to store frequently accessed data pages and index pages. The buffer pool helps in reducing disk I/O operations by keeping frequently used data in memory. You can configure its size using the innodb_buffer_pool_size configuration variable.

To get optimal performance from your buffer pool, consider allocating as much memory as possible without causing swapping on your system. Additionally, monitor metrics like buffer pool hit rate and page read/write ratio to fine-tune its configuration.

Key-Value Stores

Key-value stores are external caching systems that can be used alongside MySQL for faster data retrieval. Popular key-value stores include Redis and Memcached. These systems allow you to store frequently accessed data in memory with an associated key for quick lookups.

Using key-value stores can offload some workload from your MySQL server by serving cached data directly from memory instead of querying the database. To implement key-value stores, you need to modify your application code to read and write data from the cache before accessing the database.

6. Monitor performance metrics using tools like MySQL Performance Schema, InnoDB Monitor, or third-party tools

Monitoring performance metrics is a crucial aspect of optimizing MySQL performance. By keeping an eye on various metrics, you can identify bottlenecks, diagnose issues, and fine-tune your database for better efficiency. In this section, we’ll discuss the use of tools like MySQL Performance Schema, InnoDB Monitor, and third-party tools to monitor performance metrics.

MySQL Performance Schema

Performance Schema is a built-in feature in MySQL that collects detailed performance data about your database server. It helps you understand the internal workings of the server and provides insights into query execution, resource usage, and other vital information. Some key benefits of using Performance Schema include:

Low overhead: Performance Schema has minimal impact on server performance.

Flexibility: You can enable or disable specific instruments or consumers to focus on the data you need.

Rich data: It offers a wealth of information about various aspects of your server’s operation.

To get started with Performance Schema, ensure it’s enabled by setting the performance_schema system variable to ON. Then, use SQL queries to access the data from its tables.

InnoDB Monitor

InnoDB Monitor is another built-in tool specifically designed for monitoring InnoDB storage engine performance. It provides valuable information about InnoDB internals such as buffer pool usage, transaction status, and lock contention. To use InnoDB Monitor:

Enable the innodb_status_output system variable by setting it to ON.

Query the information_schema.innodb_metrics table to access InnoDB-specific performance data.

Third-party Tools

There are numerous third-party tools available that can help you monitor MySQL performance metrics more conveniently. Some popular options include:

Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM): An open-source platform for managing and monitoring MySQL and MongoDB performance.

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA): A commercial tool that offers detailed analysis and optimization recommendations for various databases including MySQL.

VividCortex: A cloud-based monitoring solution that provides real-time insights into database performance.

These tools typically offer user-friendly dashboards, alerting mechanisms, and in-depth analysis features that make it easier to monitor and optimize your MySQL server.

7. Optimize table structures by normalizing or denormalizing data when appropriate

Optimizing table structures in MySQL can significantly improve the performance of your database. This process often involves normalizing or denormalizing data, depending on the specific requirements of your application. Let’s dive into the details of these techniques and explore how they can enhance your database operations.

Normalization

Normalization is a technique used to eliminate redundancy and improve data integrity in your database. By breaking down complex tables into smaller, more manageable ones, you can reduce the amount of duplicate data and ensure that each piece of information is stored only once. This approach not only saves storage space but also makes it easier to maintain and update your data.

To achieve normalization, you’ll need to follow a series of steps known as normal forms (1NF, 2NF, 3NF, etc.). Each normal form imposes specific rules on how data should be organized within tables. As you progress through these forms, you’ll create a more efficient and reliable database structure.

However, keep in mind that normalization can sometimes lead to increased complexity in queries and decreased performance due to the need for additional JOIN operations between tables.

Denormalization

Denormalization is the process of intentionally introducing redundancy into your database by combining multiple tables or adding calculated fields. While this may seem counterintuitive at first, denormalization can actually boost query performance by reducing the number of JOIN operations required to retrieve data.

By carefully considering which parts of your database would benefit from denormalization, you can strike a balance between storage efficiency and query speed. It’s essential to analyze the specific needs of your application and weigh the trade-offs before deciding whether to normalize or denormalize certain aspects of your table structures.

Finding The Right Balance

Optimizing table structures in MySQL involves finding the right balance between normalization and denormalization based on your application’s requirements. To make an informed decision:

Analyze query patterns: Identify frequently executed queries and determine whether they would benefit from a more normalized or denormalized structure.

Assess data update frequency: If your data is updated frequently, normalization can help maintain consistency and reduce the risk of update anomalies. On the other hand, if updates are infrequent, denormalization might be more suitable for improving query performance.

Evaluate storage constraints: Depending on your hardware and storage limitations, you may need to prioritize reducing redundancy (normalization) or minimizing JOIN operations (denormalization).

8. Utilize partitioning and sharding techniques for large databases to improve query performance

Utilizing partitioning and sharding techniques for large databases is an effective way to improve query performance. These techniques allow you to manage and store data more efficiently, ultimately leading to faster query execution times. Let’s dive into the details of partitioning and sharding, their benefits, and how they can be implemented in MySQL.

Partitioning

Partitioning is a technique that divides a large table into smaller, more manageable pieces called partitions. Each partition is stored separately and can be accessed and maintained independently of the others. This means that when you execute a query, MySQL only needs to search within the relevant partition(s) rather than scanning the entire table.

To implement partitioning in MySQL, you’ll need to define a partitioning scheme based on one or more columns in your table. Commonly used partitioning methods include range, list, hash, and key partitioning. The choice of method depends on your data distribution and access patterns.

For example, if you have a table containing sales data with a timestamp column, you might choose range partitioning based on the date. This would create separate partitions for different date ranges (e.g., monthly or yearly), allowing queries that filter by date to only search within the relevant partitions.

Sharding

Sharding takes the concept of partitioning one step further by distributing data across multiple database instances or servers. Each shard (or server) contains a subset of the data and is responsible for handling queries related to that subset. This helps distribute workload evenly across all shards, resulting in better performance.

Sharding can be achieved through various strategies such as horizontal partitioning (splitting rows), vertical partitioning (splitting columns), or functional segmentation (based on business logic). The choice of sharding strategy depends on your application’s requirements and access patterns.

To implement sharding in MySQL, you’ll need to set up multiple database instances or servers and configure your application logic to route queries to the appropriate shard. This can be done using built-in MySQL features like the MySQL Fabric framework or third-party tools like Vitess.

Benefits of Partitioning and Sharding

Both partitioning and sharding offer significant performance improvements for large databases:

Reduced query execution time: By dividing data into smaller chunks, queries can be executed faster as they only need to search a subset of the data.

Improved maintenance: Smaller partitions or shards are easier to manage, backup, and optimize.

Increased parallelism: Multiple queries can be executed simultaneously across different partitions or shards, leading to better resource utilization and faster response times.

9. Regularly perform database maintenance tasks such as defragmentation, index rebuilding, and data archiving

Maintaining a well-performing MySQL database involves performing regular maintenance tasks, such as defragmentation, index rebuilding, and data archiving. These activities help ensure that your database runs smoothly and efficiently. Let’s dive into each of these tasks and explore how they contribute to optimizing MySQL performance.

Defragmentation

To defragment a table in MySQL, you can use the OPTIMIZE TABLE command. This command reclaims unused space and reorganizes the table’s data to improve performance. For example:

OPTIMIZE TABLE my_table_name;

Keep in mind that running this command on large tables may take some time and could temporarily lock the table. Therefore, it’s essential to schedule defragmentation during periods of low database activity.

Index Rebuilding

Indexes are crucial for speeding up queries in a MySQL database. However, just like with table data, indexes can become fragmented over time due to frequent updates or deletions. Rebuilding indexes helps maintain their efficiency by updating their structure based on the current data distribution.

To rebuild an index in MySQL, you can use the ALTER TABLE command with the FORCE option:

ALTER TABLE my_table_name FORCE; Data Archiving

As your database grows over time, it accumulates historical data that might no longer be relevant for day-to-day operations but still needs to be preserved for reporting or auditing purposes. Archiving this old data helps reduce storage requirements and improve query performance by keeping only the most relevant data in your active tables.

To archive data in MySQL, you can create separate tables for storing historical data and periodically move old records from active tables to these archival tables. Alternatively, you can also use MySQL’s built-in partitioning feature to automatically manage the separation of historical and current data.

10. Keep MySQL version up-to-date with the latest stable release for improved performance and features

Keeping your MySQL version up-to-date with the latest stable release can significantly improve performance and offer new features that help optimize your database. By regularly updating, you ensure that you’re benefiting from the latest improvements, bug fixes, and security patches.

Why Update MySQL?

MySQL developers are continuously working to enhance the performance of their product. Each new release typically includes optimizations to the query execution engine, storage engines, and other components. These improvements can lead to faster query times, better resource utilization, and overall better database performance.

Additionally, new features introduced in recent releases can simplify tasks or provide more efficient ways of handling specific use cases. For example, MySQL 8.0 introduced support for window functions and common table expressions (CTEs), which can greatly improve the efficiency of complex analytical queries.

How to Update Safely

While updating your MySQL version is essential for optimal performance and access to new features, it’s crucial to do it safely to avoid potential issues:

Backup your data: Before updating, create a backup of your entire database. This ensures that you can quickly restore your data if something goes wrong during the update process.

Read release notes: Familiarize yourself with any changes or known issues in the new version by reviewing its release notes.

Test in a staging environment: Set up a staging environment that mirrors your production setup as closely as possible. Update MySQL in this environment first and thoroughly test its functionality before deploying it into production.

Monitor performance: After updating in production, keep a close eye on performance metrics to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Staying Informed

To stay informed about new MySQL releases and updates:

Subscribe to the MySQL Community Server Announcements mailing list.

Follow MySQL’s official blog for news on updates and best practices.

Regularly check the MySQL Release Notes for information about new features, improvements, and bug fixes.

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5 Tips For Optimizing Your Startup Financials

You are exceptionally good at what you do. You’ve hired the best employees and you treat them well. Customer satisfaction is through the roof. You’ve found ways to outwit and outshine your competitors at every turn. Surely you are destined for long term growth and success. Aren’t you? Maybe not.

The truth is, almost all startups fail with a couple of years, and it usually has nothing to do with any of the factors mentioned above. All too often, when a startup crash lands, it is because of financial troubles. You can know the ins and outs of your niche, but if your financials are not optimized, the truth is, you are going to get into trouble quite quickly. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, check out these 5 tips for optimizing your financial assets early on.

Hold On to Your Equity

Securing investment funding can be tricky for a startup. Then, when you do get the ear of investors, the idea of paying back the funds you get with interest can be extremely intimidating. After all, how can you pay them off when you are concerned with keeping the lights on.

Unfortunately, many investors realize this and will tempt you with offers involving gaining equity in your business rather than requiring you to pay them back. Approach these offers with care. Giving up 5 or 10 or 15 percent might not seem like a big deal now, especially in return for the funding you desperately need, but as your business grows that’s going to become pretty significant. You may be better off holding onto your equity and taking simple interest based investment offers.

Tighten Your Belt

Until you are out of the startup phase, and are at the very least ready for round 2 financing, both you and your startup should live as leanly as possible. This means no frivolous business trips, paying yourself a minimal salary (or perhaps none at all), and backing away from all but the most necessary purchases for maintenance and growth. This will put you in a better position financially, when you are eventually ready to invest in assets and activities that will help you get to the next level.

Think About Pensions and Retirement Now

Paying fair salaries is only one way that employees remain assured that you have their best interests in mind. They also want to know that you care about your futures. These reasons and regulatory compliance are why you want to auto-enroll in a smart pension plan. The initiative is already well-adopted in the UK with chúng tôi and is steadily getting traction in the US. Consider creating a similar scheme within your company instead of the standard 401K to retain the most valuable talents.

Simplify Your Accounting

Unless you are an accounting or financial management startup, chance are that accounting is not your specialty. Unfortunately, if you aren’t on top of your accounting, you can make some very costly mistakes. To avoid this, find a way to simplify your accounting system and to foolproof it from any mistakes that you might make. Fortunately, there are many automated accounting packages to choose from. There is usually a fee for using these packages if you are a small business, but it is well worth the investment and peace of mind.

Be Ready for Emergencies

Inevitably something is going to happen that is going to throw you and your business off track. This could be anything from a shift in the market that you didn’t predict, to a lawsuit from an angry customer or vendor, to an illness or accident. If you are prepared for this, you can survive such things. If not, you are in deep trouble. To be ready for disaster, start an emergency business savings fund to keep things afloat for at least 9 months to a year. Also, consult an insurance agent to ensure that you have all of the right insurance policies in place in case something goes horribly wrong.

Living lean, thinking strategically, planning for emergencies, and staying on top of your accounting are keys for long term survival. Follow the 5 tips above and your business just might be one of the few that survived the tough startup years.

How To Optimize Android Phone – 7 Tips For Improving Performance

The important part is that you really do not have to do much. Some basic actions can optimize your Android phone for speed and performance. Want to know all about them? Well, that’s what this guide on how to optimize your Android phone is all about. Continue reading to discover more about this topic!

1.   

Update Your Phone to the Latest Android Version

Before anything else, you need to check whether a new version of Android is available for your device. This update does two things. First, it addresses any security issues that may be present in the previous versions. Secondly, it will make your Android phone’s software optimized for performance.

2.   

Consider Installing a Custom ROM

The thing about phones is that they eventually reach their end-of-support (EOS) status at one point or another. And when the Android phone reaches that status, manufacturers stop offering Android or security updates to that specific device. However, this doesn’t necessarily prevent you from running the latest Android version.

When your device reaches the EOS status, you can opt for custom ROMs. There are tons of performance-optimized ROMs out there. For example, you have LineageOS, Pixel Experience, and ParanoidAndroid (one of my very favorite custom ROM).

3.   

Restart Your Android Device Often

Now, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to manually close the background processes. Yes, it’s possible. But in most cases, you can not close all the background tasks running on your Android phone. For that reason, rebooting is the quickest option.

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4.   

Free Up Storage Space on Your Android Phone

Your device needs enough storage space to run the apps correctly. In fact, according to Google, you are more likely to face performance issues when the Android phone has less than 10% storage left. Wondering why? When there’s less storage space, apps fail to store cache files.

The cache is basically information stored from apps that makes reopening the apps faster. But how do you free up storage space to optimize your Android phone? Well, we have a dedicated guide in this regard. But if you are in a hurry, the easiest way to declutter your Android phone’s storage is to use the Files by Google app.

5.   

Uninstall Unused Apps

It’s quite normal to get tons of apps installed on your Android phone. You never really know when you will need one of them. But did you know that the apps you barely use are taking up storage space and slowing your device’s performance? Yes!

Some may even run unnecessary background processes and clog up your phone’s RAM. And when there’s a shortage of RAM, your Android device will offer a very slow performance.

So, what’s the easiest way to uninstall unused apps on your Android phone? Well, you do not need any apps. Instead, go to the Google Play Store, tap on your profile, and tap “Manage apps and device.” You will see a “Manage tab” in which apps are filtered by “least used.” Uninstall the unnecessary apps from there.

6.   

Install Lite Editions of Apps

Most of the essential apps have lite versions available. For example, you have Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite. These lite versions of apps are not as resource-intensive as their full-fledge alternatives. As a result, your phone does not have to work as hard as the regular apps to run them. So, you get faster performance while running those apps.

7.   

Adjust the System Animation Speed of Your Android Phone

For this, you need to enable developer options from your Android phone’s Settings. Then, head to the developer settings, and scroll down to animation scale settings. Change each of the settings to .5x to see faster animations on your device.

10 Tips For Mastering E

According to a recent study conducted by Compass, the average conversion rate for e-commerce stores is just 1.4%, with top performers achieving around 3%.

While this may come as no surprise to anyone who manages or markets an e-commerce store, the reality is that the average marketer sees only one sale delivered from every 100 visits.

Do you want to be just average? Or do you want to be better than the rest? Better than your competitors? If so, you need to ensure that your conversion rate is better than average and converts as many visitors into purchasers as possible. You need to aim to achieve a conversion rate which exceeds 1.4% and comes in closer to 3%. Achieving higher may be possible in some industries, however for the most, 3%  should be seen as the upper target.

Luckily (or perhaps unluckily), most e-commerce stores suffer from some common issues. Issues which, in many cases, are relatively quick and easy to fix.

Here are 10 tips for mastering e-commerce conversion rate optimization:

1. Never Underestimate the Power of a Search Box

First, ensure that you clearly display a search box in a prominent position in your store. That means that it shouldn’t be hidden away in the footer of the site or even below the fold. Make it easy for those looking for it to find your search box and don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

The search box should, in most cases, sit within the header section of your site. However it’s not uncommon for this to now be the primary above-the-fold focus on some stores. Why? Because it’s disruptive and does a fantastic job of leading a consumer on their journey through your store. What could be clearer than offering the opportunity to search for products rather than trying to navigate menus?

This has become almost commonplace in the travel industry, with hotel and flight searches taking center stage.

It’s not only seen in the travel space, however, and there’s becoming a real justification to do something a little different and offer this sort of search option when selling everything from fashion to electronics.

Take a look at these eight great examples of great e-commerce site search on the Lemonstand blog.

Secondly, ensure that your site search returns relevant results. All too often, users search for a product only to be returned no results. This is a surefire way to pass your hard-earned traffic over to your competitors.

2. Offer Universal Free Shipping

Charging for shipping (especially when your competitors aren’t) can be a conversion killer for e-commerce stores. It’s absolutely vital that you regularly monitor what your competitors are offering in order to be able to at least match what they’re doing or, ideally, better it.

Not all stores will be able to offer completely free shipping as this, of course, depends on upon the products being sold and the costs associated with dispatching an order. Where possible, however, take the time to experiment with the effect which removing all shipping costs has upon both revenue and profit.

Offering free shipping allows consumers to make purchase decisions based solely upon the price of goods and makes it far easier to compare the total cost of an order between different retailers. This can be an especially useful tool if you offer the lowest total cost and are retaining low-value consumables.

In instances where you are unable to offer free shipping on all orders, test the effect of decreasing the ‘Free Shipping Over…’ threshold.

In short, keep a close eye on what your competitors offer on this front and explore ways to not only match but better their pricing.

3. Implement Independent Reviews

As a consumer, reviews collected by a retailer themselves often raise a slight concern as to their authenticity. At the end of the day, if you read a review directly on a merchant’s e-commerce store, what’s to say that it is genuine and hasn’t been left as a result of gifting or offering financial incentives? Trust is one of the reasons for a poor conversion rate of an e-commerce store.

Whilst many retailers have recently claimed that less than 2% of reviews are spurious, experts suspect that the actual percentage could be far higher.

It’s important that marketers give consumers a reason to trust the reviews and ratings left by previous customers and the easiest way to do this is to sign up an independent reviews platform. While Trustpilot is perhaps the most established and widely-used option available, both Feefo and Reviews offer comparable solutions, all of which work in the same way.

Reviews and ratings can still be embedded and shared on your e-commerce store and consumers love the fact that, in most cases, the platforms are automated while allowing independent, third party, reviews to be collected.

4. Offer Live Chat Support

Love it or hate it; live chat can work wonders for e-commerce stores looking for additional ways to engage with potential customers and clients and to be there to answer quick and easy questions from those who would prefer not to pick up the phone or wait for an email reply.

If a user has a quick question which they want answering before completing a purchase, they may not have the time available to pick up the phone or await an email response. Live chat, however, can usually deliver an answer in these cases within just a few minutes.

If you’re not offering answers to questions within product descriptions and fail to offer a simple solution to allow these to be asked, there’s a chance you’ll lose the sale.

The likes of Zopim or Olark offer completely free of charge plans which can be a great way to test the water and establish whether live chat works for your business and can help to drive an increase in conversion rate.

Be sure to allow your users to leave a message at times when your support team is offline.

5. Communicate Your Value Proposition

Perhaps the one question you need to ask yourself when considering ways to improve the conversion rate of your e-commerce store is, “What sets you apart from the competition?”

Too many stores fail to communicate their value proposition to potential clients and customers; that is, making it easy and straightforward to understand what makes them different and why someone should purchase from them and not their competitors.

Your value proposition could be your own products, your price point, your knowledge, and experience or even your ability to have purchases delivered faster than anyone else, but if users aren’t aware of it, how can they use it to make a purchase decision?

If your e-commerce store isn’t effectively showcasing the ways in which you add value to customers, take the time to make changes to ensure that it does so in a clear and concise manner.

6. Improve the Quality of Your Product Images

According to a recent infographic by NuBlue which looks at ‘The Anatomy Of A Perfect E-Commerce Store,’ customers no longer want to browse a website, they want to experience it.

This, in many ways, couldn’t be closer to the truth and is one of the reasons why we’ve seen a real transformation in the quality and creativity of product images in recent years.

To get straight to the point; if your product photos are low quality and unimaginative, you will lose sales.

Consumers want to see not only the very highest quality images alongside a product, but also those which present it in an in-use setting. You can no longer get away with product images which showcase your goods on a white background – you must take the time to show them being used.

Invest high-quality, creative images and you’ll undoubtedly get this investment back in a higher conversion rate.

See below a great example of pillows depicted primarily in a bedroom setting rather than using the product pack as the main image:

7. Take Time to Perfect Your Product Descriptions

Whilst it may be common sense to most; you’d be surprised at how many e-commerce stores simply use stock product descriptions supplied by the manufacturer of a product.

Not only does this present duplicate content issues, it also offers a less-than-optimal user experience.

There’s a good chance that a user has already touched upon a manufacturer’s stock description at some stage during their buying cycle and for that reason it pays to take the time to perfect your produce descriptions. Yes, a great copywriter won’t come cheap but the resultant increase in conversions from getting descriptions right will outweigh any costs.

Start by compiling a list of your ten most popular products and have a professional copywriter work with you and your team (especially your sales team) to refine and perfect the descriptions. Turn your product descriptions into great stories. Track conversion rates over a monthly period, both before and after rolling out the copy and, in the likely event that you see an increase, you’ll have the confidence to go ahead and invest in having each one of the site’s product descriptions rewritten.

8. Invest in Product Video Content

Video is the closest a consumer can get to a product without actually holding it in their hands, and it’s one of the main reasons why those retailers who make the investment in videos are showcasing significant levels of growth.

When a user is able to see a product up close, they are far more likely to convert; even if they’re not able to physically touch it.

Video goes a long way to bridging the gap between online and offline transactions.

It’s strongly recommend that you initially roll out video content across your top performing products in order to be able to justify the production costs associated with filming and producing.

Always ensure videos are prominent and clearly labelled, and work on a page layout which takes this into account.

9. Use Clear Progress Indicators on the Checkout

In 2024, the average basket abandonment rate was 68% – which means that two-thirds of online consumer who add something to their basket are failing to complete the purchase.

ConversionXL  has done a fantastic job of compiling ‘The Ultimate Guide To Increasing E-Commerce Conversion Rates” which highlights some of the key reasons why so many consumers are filling baskets only later to abandon them.

One of the tried-and-tested ways to reduce this, however, is to utilise clear progress indicators on the checkout for your site as this can help to show consumers how many steps are left in the purchase process or, in the case of simple checkout pages, how far through it you are.

10. Offer Multiple Payment Gateways

Last but not least; always ensure that you offer multiple payment gateways.

It may be simpler for you to only accept PayPal, not every consumer wants to use this payment platform and, as such, it’s important that you offer more than one gateway. Look into options to accept credit and debit cards directly as well as considering newer gateways such as Amazon.

By offering more than one payment gateway, you’re effectively covering all your bases and can ensure that basket and checkout drop-offs are not caused by issues relating to accepted payment methods.

The bottom line is that if your e-commerce store doesn’t tick all of the above boxes, there’s more than likely room for improvement and a real chance to generate additional conversions without growing traffic. Conversion rate optimization is not a one-off project, rather something which needs to be baked into your wider digital marketing strategy. Ultimately, increasing your conversion rate means a better ROI from marketing spend and for that reason alone is why it’s something which no marketer should ignore.

If you’re responsible for the marketing of an e-commerce store, do yourself a favour and put in place a plan to action the above tips in the coming weeks. For easy reference, here’s a summary in the form of an infographic:

Image Credits

All screenshots by James Brockbank. Taken September 2024.

10 Tips For Building A Workforce For The Future

The trick to a thriving company not merely means focusing on the clients’ requirements but making certain your workers are well engaged also. People are the most crucial asset of a company.

It isn’t important when you’ve got the very best strategy or merchandise on earth and secured financing — without the ideal men and women that are fulfilled, fulfilled and happy, your company won’t ever achieve long-term success.

Here are few Tips for Building a Workforce for the Future To devise a welcoming environment

A lot of men and women spend over half of their day to the desk in the front of the monitor when working. This kind of act of extended changes, no breaks, without a individual contact may demotivate and produce the employee lethargic.

If you would like to keep everyone engaged and energized, there should be an environment in which the workers would want to develop and become part of the organization’s growth.

This may be accomplished by creating places where workers can unwind, informally socialize with other people, share thoughts, and thereby boost their own productivity. For example: with a sofa place; game room or perhaps rest headroom.

Team building activities which are unrelated to work

If you’re working at a big business, then you have to have realized it is difficult to mix up with individuals from different departments. There may be actions planned that get everybody under a single umbrella, which may help in establishing and bridging relationships.

Serve flexibility for work-life balance

A fast-paced working life has become rather common today, this blurs out the line between home and work. Employers begin expecting more from the workers, thereby creating a pressure that in return, pressure the workers. Flexible hours must be allowed for everybody to discover the ideal balance between home and work.

Employees should not consider work for a goading. It’s imperative to take some time out and talk to the individuals to find that which would help them through which there could be necessary alterations made.

Communication is the key!

Everyone carries their weight of private life. If the organization doesn’t focus on their issues and worries, then it may lead to loss of productivity. Will make the employees feel comfortable and undervalued. For successful communication with the staff, there should be a method created where everybody can associate with you.

Giving constructive criticism may help workers to maneuver in the ideal direction. It’s also very important to find out the fantastic things that they do. Inform them separately and be outspoken which you’re mindful of where they began and where they could go.

Provide growth opportunity

A joyful workplace cannot be achieved in case your people feel as they are stagnating. What feeling will the job make whether there’s absolutely no progress? Career growth is a very important part of somebody’s life.

Should they believe they’re stuck and there’s absolutely no expansion, they’ll begin searching for a new job. By communicating every day and setting goals, there may be a’road map’ construct to triumph together.

To trust your employees and designate work without micromanaging it

Trusting your employees will not only boost their confidence but will also build your relationship with them. Assign more projects to them and ask for their input on issues and ideas that might work.

Also read: 10 Business-Critical Digital Marketing Trends For 2023

Breaks down

It is necessary to work hard but also take time to relax. A break from work allows us to recover mentally and physically from our daily work routine. Taking time out is important because it will help focus and be productive when there is a return.

By allowing employees such relief, they will be more productive and return to work with a focused mindset. Encourage everyone to use their annual leave.

Switch up the routine

A change hurts nobody. As firms have a set schedule as to the way to operate and fixed working routine, it may make your employees feel more comfortable and be productive.

New ways of accomplishing the very same tasks ought to be encouraged. This will definitely make them more active and alert. Frequent tasks can be achieved using different strategies.

To observe both private and professional landmark

Also read: Top 10 Job Search Websites of 2023

Be consistent

If you want a smooth functioning of an organization then you should ensure continuity in your efforts. Connecting with employees and acting as friends is philosophical and guiding when it is called for.

But it is also necessary to correct undesirable and unproductive behavior by sending a firm message on time. Employees should see consistency and fairness in a boss.

A successful, long-lasting business requires making your organization a happy place to go to work.

10 Tips And Tricks For New Iphone Se Owners

With the new iPhone SE a reality, folks who haven’t owned an iPhone in years are sharing their tips for using the handset. We’ve rounded up a few common tips we think new iPhone SE customers will love. Watch our hands-in video walkthrough and learn something new today!

Seasoned iPhone users are probably familiar with these tips. We’re not expecting this tutorial to satisfy every single person, nor is that the point. The point is to surface some of the best new features of the 2023 iPhone SE and offer a few quick tips for how to use them effectively.

Video: 10 iPhone SE tips

Watch the below hands-on video walkthrough from our videographer Harris Craycraft.

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List: 10 iPhone SE tips

If you didn’t have the time to run the six-minute video, here’s everything it covers.

Touch ID

Register up to five different fingers to make unlocking your iPhone easier. In order to improve the reliability of fingerprint recognition, scan the problematic finger again in a new Touch ID slot. Want to add more than five fingers to Touch ID? Be sure to tap the Home button with different fingers during a single Touch ID enrollment process.

Quick Camera mode changes

Instead of going to Settings to change shooting resolution and frame rate, you can do that from the Camera app (this requires at least the A13 Bionic chip that your iPhone SE has).

Swipe to Video at the bottom of the stock Camera app, then hit the video resolution label in the upper-right corner to switch between HD (1080p) and 4K recording. To cycle through the supported frame rates, tap the adjacent label to flip between 30 and 60 frames per second.

You can also swipe to Slo-Mo at the bottom, then tap the frame rate label to switch between HD (1080p) slow-motion recordings at 120 or 240 frames per second.

Show/hide Camera buttons

Due to its smaller form factors, the stock Camera app does not display the top and bottom row of icons all the time. Some of the common shooting features, such as LED flash and Live Photos, can be toggled on or off by tapping their respective icons near the top of the interface.

To reveal other options including crop settings, filters, timer and so forth, simply swipe up and down on the camera interface with one finger or hit that chevron at the top.

QR code scanning

Yes, the new iPhone SE lets you scan QR codes with the built-in Camera and get relevant popup actions, like visiting the encoded URL, without having to use third-party apps. You can also scan QR codes and documents from the Home screen or through the Control Center, as well as use the QR code scanner to join Wi-Fi networks, scan documents in the Notes app and more.

Export Live Photos as videos

Like the previous tip, this one works on older iPhones as well. To export a Live Photo as a video, select it in Photos, hit the Share button and choose the option Save as Video.

Gesture typing

iOS 13 lets you type by swiping when using the stock keyboard (Slide to Type must be on in Settings → General → Keyboard) As you slide to type, you see suggested alternatives to the word you’re entering rather than predictions for your next word. To enter accented letters or other alternate characters, tap and hold a key and then slide to choose one of the options.

Precise cursor positioning Invest in fast charging

Due to its compact 4.7-inch design, the iPhone SE lacks enough space inside to accommodate a massive battery, which means you’re probably going to be charging it once or twice per day, depending on your particular use case. Thankfully, the phone supports fast-charging, giving you 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes — if you have the right charger and cable.

Apple puts the regular, tiny five-watt charger in the box, but it only supports super-slow charging. To fast-charge your iPhone SE, be sure it’s connected to an 18-watt or higher USB-C Power Delivery charger via a Lightning to USB-C cable (if you own an iPhone 11 or a recent MacBook model, you already have a very capable USB-C charger that can fast-charge your iPhone SE).

Disable Auto-Brightness

Your brand spanking new iPhone SE defaults to automatic brightness control to preserve battery life. If you don’t want the iPhone SE screen brightness to change automatically according to your surroundings, simply disable the Auto-Brightness setting in Settings → General → Accessibility → Display Accommodations (which should show as “On”).

Move multiple apps at once

You’re probably familiar with this one: tap and hold an icon on the Home screen until the icons start jiggling. Now use another finger to tap other icons to collect, which you can then move to a different position on the Home screen, or to another Home screen, as a bundle.

Force-restart iPhone SE

You shut down your iPhone SE like you would any other Touch ID-enabled Apple smartphone, by holding the Power button until your shit-down options appear. Force-restarting an iPhone SE is, however, slightly different from the iPhone 6s and older phones.

To force-restart your iPhone SE, quickly press the up volume button and then the down volume button and then hold the power button pressed until the phone force-restarts.

For more information about the iPhone SE, check out the official technical specifications.

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