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Gravity Forms is a popular tool for sales teams using WordPress

Losing leads? Gravity Forms for Wordpress self-hosted sites helps you create easy-to-use forms for customer purchases, event tickets, and other items starting at $39 per year.

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Making the sale easier for your customers

When starting a new business, one of the most crucial tasks is to make it easy for clients to contact you to engage your services or purchase your product. If your business website relies on an open source WordPress installation, there are a plethora of free and inexpensive forms available as WP plug-ins.

However, you want to be sure to select a form builder that is dependable, robust, and easy to use for both your client and your web developer. Furthermore, turning the data gathered by your web forms into valuable information for your sales team can be a bit cumbersome without the right tools.

Custom forms with Gravity Forms

Meet one form builder to rule them all — Gravity Forms which was released in August 2009, and is in use on over one million WordPress (WP) sites. Gravity Forms allows you to build, design, and embed custom forms on your website through the use of their form editor.

Whether a simple contact form or a multi-page form to separate your order pages from your shipping and payment pages, Gravity Forms can meet a wide range of business needs.

Keep in mind that Gravity Forms is not compatible with the WordPress.com hosted service. You can only use Gravity Forms on self-hosted WordPress installations. Gravity Forms is licensed under the GNU general public license.

Three tiers of plans

With three tiers license plans, you can select the best fit to suit your business needs. The Personal License at $39 per year provides unlimited forms and entries on one site, and you can export entries as CSV files. At the Business License level ($99/year), you can use Gravity Forms on up to 3 sites and have access to basic add-ons that allow you to integrate third party services such as Emma and MailChimp.

It’s the top tier Developer License ($199/year) that opens up a multitude of benefits for your business, with access to more advanced Gravity Form Add-ons on an unlimited number of WP sites and WP Multi-Site. These advanced add-ons include communication tools such as Campfire and and Slack, as well as CRM solutions such as Agile’s Sales Marketing CRM, Capsule, and Zoho. Integrate your invoicing and payment system with add-ons for Freshbooks and PayPal Payments, and many others.

The Developer License includes priority ticket support, while all three tiers of Gravity Forms licenses offer auto-responders, entry export, spam protection, and 1 year of updates and support.

Connected Systems founder and WordPress web developer Rich Plakas states that Gravity Forms is “easy enough for beginners to get started with basic forms.” Plakas has used the PayPal add-on to accept payments for events, and stated that “support has been very good when we needed it.”

Zapier Add-on

Don’t see your preferred solution in Gravity Forms list of add-ons? No worries, there’s the Gravity Form Zapier Add-On that you can install to integrate with the over 200 web services that Zapier is tied into including Salesforce, Basecamp, and Gmail.

Tommy Oddo of Oddo Design stated that he uses Gravity Forms on just about every client project. “As a developer, its drag-and-drop features cut my development time in half— compared to the old way of creating/coding/designing forms. My clients don’t realize it— but my use of Gravity Forms saves them a lot of money.”

Minimize lost leads

Sales teams can appreciate the integration of forms with CRM, although Oddo opines that “they will almost certainly need some assistance from a developer/designer.” Oddo explained the Gravity Forms integration through Zapier in this September 2015 post “Why and How You Should Auto-Send Sales Leads from WordPress to Your CRM.”

Paying $199/year for Gravity Forms may seem a bit steep for some SMB owners, but it can more than pay for itself through its efficiency and minimizing lost leads.

Affiliate program and commissioned sales

Need more incentive? Gravity Forms also offers an Affiliate Program – receive a 20% commission on every sale you generate as an affiliate – but it is temporarily closed and they are not accepting new affiliate applications at this time. Stay tuned to their Affiliate Application webpage for updates.

#GravityForms

Debbie Cerda is a seasoned writer and consultant, running Debra Cerda Consulting as well as handling business development at data-driven app development company, Blue Treble Solutions. She's a proud and active member of Austin Film Critics Association and the American Homebrewers Association, and Outreach Director for science fiction film festival, Other Worlds Austin. She has been very involved in the tech scene in Austin for over 15 years, so whether you meet her at Sundance Film Festival, SXSWi, Austin Women in Technology, or BASHH, she'll have a connection or idea to help you achieve business success. At the very least, she can recommend a film to watch and a great local craft beer to drink.

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Tech News

iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault

(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.

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Woman looking at Apple iPhone representing new iOS 15 beta that will blur nude photos.

In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.

The option to blur nude photos is opt-in, reports The Verge, and does not prevent users from choosing to view the photos in question even after being implemented.

This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”

With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.

Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.

 

Child on electronic device- iOS 15 beta that will allow blur nude photos should protect children.

Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.

While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.

There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.

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Amazon Music debuts synchronized text transcripts for popular podcasts

(TECH) The first feature to hit Amazon Music is auto-generated and synchronized text transcripts for their most popular podcast shows. Sign us up!

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Amazon Music Transcripts

Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.

According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.

Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.

Amazon Music Homescreen

To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.

Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.

So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.

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Tech News

UX design: If you don’t have it, get yourself an audit made easy

(TECH NEWS) UX design is important. By conducting a simple audit to make sure your site is accessible, you can minimize the number of people that quickly go away.

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Two UX design people standing in front of a whiteboard with a UX map.

A good UX design is essential in attracting and retaining customers. A seamless and positive experience will keep customers happy and bring your business many benefits, like increasing audience engagement and sales.

But, how do you know if your user experience is in need of help, so people don’t bounce away quickly? Well, if UX is not your forte, the best thing to do is to hire a good UX designer. Unfortunately, sometimes hiring one isn’t always within the budget.

So, what do you do then? The next best thing is to conduct a UX audit of your website or app. Not sure where to begin? Fulcrum’s Do It Yourself UX Audit kit is one place to start.

According to the website, this DIY UX audit “can help you gain valuable insights about the usability of your product.” The tool detects problems in your UX, prioritizes them for you, and finds out how you can fix any existing issues.

The tool is made out of free easy-to-use Notion templates. These UX audit checklists are all customizable, and you can print them or save them on your Notion dashboard to use later.

Inside each template, there are cards with descriptions and examples. Depending on if you meet certain criteria or not, you drag and drop the card into the “Yes” or “No” column. When you’re finished, you will easily see what issues you have, and you can work on fixing them.

The templates are divided into Junior and Middle-level templates.

The Junior level has templates for things such as field and forms, login, mobile UX, and architecture. Most of these templates help make sure you cover your basic UX bases. For instance, it looks at whether your website is desktop and mobile-friendly, and if each element makes sense and is easily identifiable.

The Middle Level dives in a little deeper. The “Visibility of system status” audit checks if you are keeping your audience informed on what’s going on. Things like battery life, loading, or Wi-Fi connection indicators can make a huge difference. No one wants to stare at a screen with no clue if what they clicked on is working or not.

If you can afford it and want a UX virtuoso to do the work for you, you can get a UX audit from Fulcrum. The experts will conduct a full-fledged UX audit and create wireframes with solutions for your UX issues.

However, no matter how you go about it, a good UX design is important. Higher rate conversions and user retention won’t happen if your product is just pushing people away.

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