5 Ways to Market Your Business without the Power of Social Media

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

In this day and age, the idea of not having any kind of presence on social media seems unthinkable and outrageous. For many businesses, their social media presence is a major part of their brand image. While it may be hard to imagine a marketing campaign without social media, it is not entirely impossible.

So let’s get down to business.

Here are some tips to get you started with building a brand name without depending on social media at all.

Be very precise when identifying your target market

Before you can start with your marketing campaign, you need to decide on what the right channel for your business is. Even the smallest details of your campaign are dependent on the type of people you are planning to target.

For example, if your business needs to appeal to youngsters, perhaps you could start a marketing campaign based on online ads. If you want to aim your marketing at stay-at-home elderly people, you could easily go for the simple and classic television ads.

Pay attention to your customers

For a business with an existing customer base, it is very important to not ignore its clients. Make sure that you check up on them from time to time via whatever means you see fit. Perhaps you could schedule a call to them every once in a while to make sure they are happy with your services. An email could work too.

Depending on the type and size of business you own, you could also choose another option to show your customers that they matter to you: the slightly more expensive strategy of paying your clients a visit in person.

Whatever activity you choose, be sure to carry it out in a consistent manner.

Set up a website and/or blog site

Many businesses, especially those who operate on B2B models, do not rely on social media to a great extent. However, they do set up websites for their businesses. You need a platform where you can exhibit your products and services, and a website is the perfect place to do that.

There is also a second way you can put your website to good use. Blogging is an up-and-coming trend in the corporate world. It has been around for a long time but now, many more people are starting to take it more seriously. Running a blog on your website means you need to create some interesting and useful content for your website visitors. There is now a whole science behind content marketing. It is largely focused on SEO practices, where your website’s search engine rankings are boosted via various techniques. The content you post on your blog includes not just large amounts of text but also other formats such as images, videos, and interactive content such as polls and user feedback in the form of comments. Thus, the website also doubles as a platform where you can have important two-way communication with your existing and potential customers.

Setting up a website is quite simple these days. You need no previous coding knowledge or any technical expertise. You can either hire a professional website developer to make a website for you, or you can go for ready-made yet highly customisable websites called ‘Content Management Systems’. WordPress is a popular example of a CMS.

Work on winning email subscribers

Emails are an excellent method to hit two very important birds with one stone:

  • You can easily interact with both your existing and potential customers. Emails are an easy and convenient channel for conducting two-way communication.
  • You can personalise your approach towards your customers. Send them welcome or thank you emails. Address them by their names. Ask them how they are doing. Encourage them to ask questions if they have any. This will help your brand gain their trust.

Email marketing is especially successful for clients in the corporate sector (that is, if you own a B2B business) because a major part of the communication here happens via email. You can easily set up an email rapport with members of your existing and potential clients by inviting them to subscribe to your web content, blog or periodic newsletter by submitting their email addresses.

Be so good that you can rely on word of mouth

No matter what area your business operates in and what market segment it caters to, spoken word gets around quite fast. But that is only true if your customers are thoroughly satisfied with the kind of job you are doing. Thus, it is important to maintain high-quality service if you want your happy customers to do the advertising and marketing for you.

Wrapping Up…

While the purpose of this article was to show how social media marketing is not the only way to establish a brand in the market, you now know countless other marketing strategies as an added bonus!

You can now employ a combination of these strategies and create a better, much more successful marketing mix for your brand.


avatar

Emily Williamson is a Technical Writer at Goodcore Software. It is a bespoke software development company in the UK. We focused on helping entrepreneurs, small, and medium businesses create competitive and winning software. I’m passionate about exploring and writing about web development services, technology innovation, mobile apps and software solutions.

The post 5 Ways to Market Your Business without the Power of Social Media appeared first on SiteProNews.

5 Ways to Market Your Business without the Power of Social Media

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

In this day and age, the idea of not having any kind of presence on social media seems unthinkable and outrageous. For many businesses, their social media presence is a major part of their brand image. While it may be hard to imagine a marketing campaign without social media, it is not entirely impossible.

So let’s get down to business.

Here are some tips to get you started with building a brand name without depending on social media at all.

Be very precise when identifying your target market

Before you can start with your marketing campaign, you need to decide on what the right channel for your business is. Even the smallest details of your campaign are dependent on the type of people you are planning to target.

For example, if your business needs to appeal to youngsters, perhaps you could start a marketing campaign based on online ads. If you want to aim your marketing at stay-at-home elderly people, you could easily go for the simple and classic television ads.

Pay attention to your customers

For a business with an existing customer base, it is very important to not ignore its clients. Make sure that you check up on them from time to time via whatever means you see fit. Perhaps you could schedule a call to them every once in a while to make sure they are happy with your services. An email could work too.

Depending on the type and size of business you own, you could also choose another option to show your customers that they matter to you: the slightly more expensive strategy of paying your clients a visit in person.

Whatever activity you choose, be sure to carry it out in a consistent manner.

Set up a website and/or blog site

Many businesses, especially those who operate on B2B models, do not rely on social media to a great extent. However, they do set up websites for their businesses. You need a platform where you can exhibit your products and services, and a website is the perfect place to do that.

There is also a second way you can put your website to good use. Blogging is an up-and-coming trend in the corporate world. It has been around for a long time but now, many more people are starting to take it more seriously. Running a blog on your website means you need to create some interesting and useful content for your website visitors. There is now a whole science behind content marketing. It is largely focused on SEO practices, where your website’s search engine rankings are boosted via various techniques. The content you post on your blog includes not just large amounts of text but also other formats such as images, videos, and interactive content such as polls and user feedback in the form of comments. Thus, the website also doubles as a platform where you can have important two-way communication with your existing and potential customers.

Setting up a website is quite simple these days. You need no previous coding knowledge or any technical expertise. You can either hire a professional website developer to make a website for you, or you can go for ready-made yet highly customisable websites called ‘Content Management Systems’. WordPress is a popular example of a CMS.

Work on winning email subscribers

Emails are an excellent method to hit two very important birds with one stone:

  • You can easily interact with both your existing and potential customers. Emails are an easy and convenient channel for conducting two-way communication.
  • You can personalise your approach towards your customers. Send them welcome or thank you emails. Address them by their names. Ask them how they are doing. Encourage them to ask questions if they have any. This will help your brand gain their trust.

Email marketing is especially successful for clients in the corporate sector (that is, if you own a B2B business) because a major part of the communication here happens via email. You can easily set up an email rapport with members of your existing and potential clients by inviting them to subscribe to your web content, blog or periodic newsletter by submitting their email addresses.

Be so good that you can rely on word of mouth

No matter what area your business operates in and what market segment it caters to, spoken word gets around quite fast. But that is only true if your customers are thoroughly satisfied with the kind of job you are doing. Thus, it is important to maintain high-quality service if you want your happy customers to do the advertising and marketing for you.

Wrapping Up…

While the purpose of this article was to show how social media marketing is not the only way to establish a brand in the market, you now know countless other marketing strategies as an added bonus!

You can now employ a combination of these strategies and create a better, much more successful marketing mix for your brand.


avatar

Emily Williamson is a Technical Writer at Goodcore Software. It is a bespoke software development company in the UK. We focused on helping entrepreneurs, small, and medium businesses create competitive and winning software. I’m passionate about exploring and writing about web development services, technology innovation, mobile apps and software solutions.

The post 5 Ways to Market Your Business without the Power of Social Media appeared first on SiteProNews.

4 Reasons Why You Fail to Get Job Interviews (And What You Can Do About It)

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

So you’ve been job-hunting for quite some time now. 

You heavily revised your resume, shot an email to your former colleagues, and spent every ounce of your energy to make sure your application is free from pesky typos.

But—

Things aren’t clicking. You check your mailbox every day (including the spam folder), but nothing slips by. If things go on like that, you’ll soon end up in a jobless vortex and start living on Ramen noodles.

Don’t stress. 

You’re about to learn what could be hurting your job search and what you can do to flip things around.

Not ATS-Optimizing Your Resume

Here’s the thing:

Most job applicants machine-gun their resumes at whatever comes their way in hopes of getting the callback.

Problem?

These days, before a resume reaches a pair of human eyes, it first has to go through an ATS (applicant tracking system.)

It’s a special piece of software that rips through resumes, compares them against the job description, and scores them for relevance.

As a result, only the most fitting candidates make it to a recruiter’s review.

Why use ATS? Because the majority of big companies get a mind-boggling 250+ resumes in response to a single job posting and ATS helps weed out bad applicants on autopilot.

So—here’s how to ATS-optimize your resume and make sure you’ll get noticed by recruiters:

First, put the job ad under the microscope and highlight keywords that have to do with duties and required experience.

Next, pepper the keywords from the job ad into your resume summary/objective, skills, and experience sections where appropriate. Also, it’s a good idea to use power words to give your resume some boost.

Do the three, and you’ll be ATS’ best friend.

Pro tip: Don’t keyword-stuff your resume. Once you pass the ATS hurdle, an actual recruiter will check your application. If he thinks you tried to cheat the system, things can go south.

Not Robot-Proofing Your Cover Letter

So far so good.

You know recruiters use ATS to pre-screen resumes.

But—

Did you know that they also let ATS rip through cover letters and check them for relevance?

That’s because most companies use an ATS called Taleo, which treats cover letters just like resumes (according to Jobscan’s research.) 

Wait. 

Aren’t cover letters dead in 2019? Not according to the stats.

In fact, around 26 percent of hiring managers still read cover letters and consider them essential when making a hiring decision. Another 56 percent of recruiters want job seekers to attach a cover letter to their resume.

So—to land a job, you need a solid cover letter that’s ATS-tweaked. 

Here’s how to do it:

Just like with resumes, scan the job ad and look for keywords, responsibilities and requirements. 

Then, sprinkle your cover letter with the keywords excavated from the ad. It’s as simple as that.

Pro tip: If you can afford it, consider test-scanning your cover letter via Jobscan’s premium feature. It’ll help check your cover letter match rate.

Not Having a Killer LinkedIn Profile

Did you know?

A whopping 40 percent of recruiters won’t interview you if they can’t find you online.

So—having a LinkedIn profile is no longer a matter of choice, it’s an absolute necessity.

But if you just create a blank profile, it might have the same impact on your application success rate as a fly on the windshield. 

Here are three rapid-fire tips to help you improve your online branding and grab recruiters’ attention:

  • Get a custom profile URL. When you first create a LinkedIn account, it’ll come standard with a nauseating mix of characters and numbers that will look bad in your resume’s contact info section. So—make sure to get a custom profile URL.
  • Let recruiters know you’re open. If you’d like to land a job without lifting a finger, signal to recruiters you’re looking for a job. It’s as simple as navigating to the Career interests bar in your profile and flipping the switch from Off to On.
  • Make your LinkedIn profile hulk-level strong. Once you’re done with the basics, fill your profile out. Write a summary, add certifications, skills, etc. For help, check this guide.

Not Having Experience Under Your Belt

Now—

What if you can’t land a job because you’re fresh out of college and you simply don’t have any experience?

If that’s the case, there’s at least a thing you can do to skyrocket your early hireability and show you’re serious about your future career.

Volunteer work.

It’s a great way to pick up new skills you can put on your resume and get that necessary professional experience that employers seek.

Need proof?

According to 76 percent of career advisers, volunteer work can significantly improve your chances of landing a job. What’s more, 41 percent of recruiters consider volunteer work equal to a paid job (based on a LinkedIn study.)

So—

If you’re a junior candidate, volunteer work can 11x your application success rate.

So—What Do You Think?

There you have it. 

A whopping four reasons why you might be failing to get job interviews and what you can do to help it.

Now—

What’s your recent experience with job hunting? What job boards do you like to use the most to find juicy offers?


avatar

Max Woolf is a career expert at Zety. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and traveling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.

The post 4 Reasons Why You Fail to Get Job Interviews (And What You Can Do About It) appeared first on SiteProNews.

4 Reasons Why You Fail to Get Job Interviews (And What You Can Do About It)

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

So you’ve been job-hunting for quite some time now. 

You heavily revised your resume, shot an email to your former colleagues, and spent every ounce of your energy to make sure your application is free from pesky typos.

But—

Things aren’t clicking. You check your mailbox every day (including the spam folder), but nothing slips by. If things go on like that, you’ll soon end up in a jobless vortex and start living on Ramen noodles.

Don’t stress. 

You’re about to learn what could be hurting your job search and what you can do to flip things around.

Not ATS-Optimizing Your Resume

Here’s the thing:

Most job applicants machine-gun their resumes at whatever comes their way in hopes of getting the callback.

Problem?

These days, before a resume reaches a pair of human eyes, it first has to go through an ATS (applicant tracking system.)

It’s a special piece of software that rips through resumes, compares them against the job description, and scores them for relevance.

As a result, only the most fitting candidates make it to a recruiter’s review.

Why use ATS? Because the majority of big companies get a mind-boggling 250+ resumes in response to a single job posting and ATS helps weed out bad applicants on autopilot.

So—here’s how to ATS-optimize your resume and make sure you’ll get noticed by recruiters:

First, put the job ad under the microscope and highlight keywords that have to do with duties and required experience.

Next, pepper the keywords from the job ad into your resume summary/objective, skills, and experience sections where appropriate. Also, it’s a good idea to use power words to give your resume some boost.

Do the three, and you’ll be ATS’ best friend.

Pro tip: Don’t keyword-stuff your resume. Once you pass the ATS hurdle, an actual recruiter will check your application. If he thinks you tried to cheat the system, things can go south.

Not Robot-Proofing Your Cover Letter

So far so good.

You know recruiters use ATS to pre-screen resumes.

But—

Did you know that they also let ATS rip through cover letters and check them for relevance?

That’s because most companies use an ATS called Taleo, which treats cover letters just like resumes (according to Jobscan’s research.) 

Wait. 

Aren’t cover letters dead in 2019? Not according to the stats.

In fact, around 26 percent of hiring managers still read cover letters and consider them essential when making a hiring decision. Another 56 percent of recruiters want job seekers to attach a cover letter to their resume.

So—to land a job, you need a solid cover letter that’s ATS-tweaked. 

Here’s how to do it:

Just like with resumes, scan the job ad and look for keywords, responsibilities and requirements. 

Then, sprinkle your cover letter with the keywords excavated from the ad. It’s as simple as that.

Pro tip: If you can afford it, consider test-scanning your cover letter via Jobscan’s premium feature. It’ll help check your cover letter match rate.

Not Having a Killer LinkedIn Profile

Did you know?

A whopping 40 percent of recruiters won’t interview you if they can’t find you online.

So—having a LinkedIn profile is no longer a matter of choice, it’s an absolute necessity.

But if you just create a blank profile, it might have the same impact on your application success rate as a fly on the windshield. 

Here are three rapid-fire tips to help you improve your online branding and grab recruiters’ attention:

  • Get a custom profile URL. When you first create a LinkedIn account, it’ll come standard with a nauseating mix of characters and numbers that will look bad in your resume’s contact info section. So—make sure to get a custom profile URL.
  • Let recruiters know you’re open. If you’d like to land a job without lifting a finger, signal to recruiters you’re looking for a job. It’s as simple as navigating to the Career interests bar in your profile and flipping the switch from Off to On.
  • Make your LinkedIn profile hulk-level strong. Once you’re done with the basics, fill your profile out. Write a summary, add certifications, skills, etc. For help, check this guide.

Not Having Experience Under Your Belt

Now—

What if you can’t land a job because you’re fresh out of college and you simply don’t have any experience?

If that’s the case, there’s at least a thing you can do to skyrocket your early hireability and show you’re serious about your future career.

Volunteer work.

It’s a great way to pick up new skills you can put on your resume and get that necessary professional experience that employers seek.

Need proof?

According to 76 percent of career advisers, volunteer work can significantly improve your chances of landing a job. What’s more, 41 percent of recruiters consider volunteer work equal to a paid job (based on a LinkedIn study.)

So—

If you’re a junior candidate, volunteer work can 11x your application success rate.

So—What Do You Think?

There you have it. 

A whopping four reasons why you might be failing to get job interviews and what you can do to help it.

Now—

What’s your recent experience with job hunting? What job boards do you like to use the most to find juicy offers?


avatar

Max Woolf is a career expert at Zety. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and traveling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.

The post 4 Reasons Why You Fail to Get Job Interviews (And What You Can Do About It) appeared first on SiteProNews.

Artificial Intelligence Will Reshape Video Games, Here’s How

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

If you have ever played a video game, you’ve surely come across a specific situation that made you fly off the handle. Maybe it was an NPC in, say, the GTA series that got inexplicably stuck in a tree preventing you from going through with a mission. Perhaps it was an infuriatingly hard final boss, like Absolute Virtue in Final Fantasy XI. It could be that you didn’t stand how frustratingly boring an open-world could become, like in No Man’s Sky.

When all that happens, most players like to blame video game developers and their faulty use of artificial intelligence (AI). How come that big companies, seasoned coders, and QA services can’t see what’s happening with the supposed intelligence they are using? Why do so many games still have these many issues? Isn’t the AI used in them, you know, “intelligent” enough to keep those things from happening?

Well, it may come as a surprise, but what you think is AI in action in a lot of the video games you play isn’t artificial intelligence at all. In fact, the logic of most modern games is programmed by developers through complex algorithms. What you see in Dead Cells and its procedural level design uses basically the same principles as some oldies, like Dwarf Fortress, Diablo, and Rogue.

So, if AI isn’t really powering the video games we all play today, what could happen when it starts being used? That’s the question a lot of people in the video game industry are asking themselves. And the answers are starting to appear. Here’s what we can expect from AI and its use in video games.

Why we are NOT using AI extensively today

It might come as a surprise that games that came decades ago use the same logic to create their worlds than its more modern counterparts. However, for game developers, this makes a lot of sense. To understand that, you have to take a look at some basic concepts about video game design.

The first and most important one is the goal of creating video games in the first place. Basically, we can safely assume that all video game developers are out to create an enjoyable and fun experience for players. The objective surely is to bring a challenging game that can keep players hooked and interested but not so hard that it becomes unbeatable. We’ll come back to this in short but first, it’s also important to understand the logic used in video games.

What we all think of as AI in video games is nothing more than a combination of logical components at a base level. When a boss anticipates your movements to prevent you from striking it, when a tactical team ambushes you in a hallway, when a defender tackles off the ball from your forward—all of that is in some sort programmed into the video games themselves. How could that be?

Though it’s a lot more complicated than that, there are two main components that make this happen. On one hand, there’s an element called pathfinding, that allows things in video games to move from point A to point B as required. On the other hand, there are finite state machines, which can be seen as the different states a non-playable character exists at any given time, sort of the possible options for actions in which that NPC moves around.

The combination of these components and their variations is what makes the most of the intelligence you see in games today. The only thing that’s changed since the Pac-Man and Pong days? The fact that developers are using these concepts at bigger scales and pushing their limits thanks to the increased computation power we all enjoy today.

This means that the seemingly intelligent decisions taken by your foes, allies, and NPCs in a lot of video games are more determined by programming than taken on the spot. So, why not enrich those video games with true AI algorithms, capable of making their own decisions and creating a more lifelike experience for players? Wouldn’t this prevent the frustrating issues we’ve mentioned above? Certainly not.

Machine and self-learning techniques used in modern AI would break the experience video games want to offer you. Remember the games’ main objective? Developers couldn’t create an enjoyable and fun experience if they let AI decide to do whatever it wants. That’s because the AI itself (through the characters or the scenarios) could disrupt the story in unpredictable ways.

Think of it like this. What would happen to a director shooting a movie where all the actors are doing and saying whatever they want? First, the director would go insane. But, most importantly, the story could never be told, as all actors involved would do and say what their intelligence tells them to do. That’s precisely what would happen in a video game. 

If a video game, regardless of its genre, would run on AI algorithms, it could lead to an unplayable beast. That’s because the AI would adapt itself to the players to learn how to better defeat them, to the point where it would become impossible for the players to win. Additionally, the game would change scenarios, NPC behavior, and even the story to fit whatever the AI sees fit, throwing the whole experience into the territory of the unpredictable and even incomprehensible. 

In short, the AI could present certain interesting variations on a video game basic mechanics (like new smart ways to team up against you in an FPS or dynamic strategics in an RTS) but the unpredictability would make it highly frustrating for players. That’s because the players could possibly develop ways to beat a machine that’s always learning how to get better and better.

That’s why the use of AI in modern gaming is reserved for other aspects. What we call artificial intelligence in today’s video games is more of an illusion. In other words, the logic programmed underneath is complex enough to feel intelligent but it’s limited to fit a narrative that won’t disrupt the gaming experience.

So, if we’re not truly seeing AI in games today, will we see it someday? Of course, we will! Perhaps it’s not how you are expecting it, but there are a couple of uses in test today that can illustrate how AI will redefine future gaming.

AI in video game development

If artificial intelligence isn’t a good match for a video game’s narrative or characters (yet), then there’s definitive promise in two different fields. On one hand, AI can be used to take the procedural design generation to new levels. On the other hand, AI can be of great aid to develop games, from the fundamentals all the way to QA development tasks.

When it comes to the time to mention some of the best open-world games out there, it’s highly likely that titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild come to mind. It’s hard to argue that both are some of the finest examples of world-building in the current gaming scene. Yet, through AI’s aid, such worlds could be taken even further.

By limiting its application to world-building, AI could power environments that are as closest as the real world as we’re ever going to get. Breath of the Wild’s underlying systems are very complex and very close to real life (in the sense that there are rules of physics and thermodynamics at play). But imagine that those rules change over time, bringing modifications to the game itself. Seasons could change. Constructions could age, decay, and come crashing down. The things you do could bring permanent consequences to the world around you. The possibilities are endless.

In this sense, AI could mean the dawn of the adaptable and ever-evolving game that would take a procedural generation to heights we’ve never seen before. In fact, the ultimate goal would be for machine learning algorithms to be always on the move, bringing change after change every time you play the game, making it feel fresh with every new access. 

As for AI used in gaming development, this could be a serious game-changer (pun intended). Through the use of deep neural networks and other AI-powered software, computational systems could create complete games from the ground up with minimal or no human intervention. Case in point: a system called Angelina that has already created some games you can check out at itch.io.

Of course, these kinds of systems are far from being marketable in their current state. AI systems to create games are in an experimental phase that’s restricted to researchers or indie developers. However, such efforts are leading the way to a new way of understanding gaming and could have a significant impact on the whole industry.

One particular department where it could have the most effect is in testing. You can expect to see AI systems help developers by providing them with QA development services to find bugs and improve the overall gameplay. Additionally, these systems would be embedded in the games themselves, allowing developers to gather important data and insights that could lead to further improvements over time.

Some final words

The days where game studios, freelance designers, and QA development outsourcing teams are replaced by AI-powered software are far from us. Though the technology is taking huge strides in the gaming development world, chances are that we’ll see them collaborate with human teams in the short and midterm rather than replace them—which is a fantastic thing!

AI can bring new insights, suggestions, and directions to game creation. It can aid in bringing more complex and sophisticated worlds, and help in releasing complete games that leave the current, painfully bloated and buggy game releases behind for good. 

All of this could eventually lead to a new way of implementing AI into the game itself. But if we leave the video game’s narrative and inner workings in the hands of artificial intelligence, what will we find once we power up our consoles? Maybe, the introduction of AI at such a deep level will require us to redefine what we understand video games as entertainment experiences. However, seeing that developers themselves aren’t taking this route, you’ll be fine if you leave those wonderings to sci-fi stories


avatar

The post Artificial Intelligence Will Reshape Video Games, Here’s How appeared first on SiteProNews.

Artificial Intelligence Will Reshape Video Games, Here’s How

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

If you have ever played a video game, you’ve surely come across a specific situation that made you fly off the handle. Maybe it was an NPC in, say, the GTA series that got inexplicably stuck in a tree preventing you from going through with a mission. Perhaps it was an infuriatingly hard final boss, like Absolute Virtue in Final Fantasy XI. It could be that you didn’t stand how frustratingly boring an open-world could become, like in No Man’s Sky.

When all that happens, most players like to blame video game developers and their faulty use of artificial intelligence (AI). How come that big companies, seasoned coders, and QA services can’t see what’s happening with the supposed intelligence they are using? Why do so many games still have these many issues? Isn’t the AI used in them, you know, “intelligent” enough to keep those things from happening?

Well, it may come as a surprise, but what you think is AI in action in a lot of the video games you play isn’t artificial intelligence at all. In fact, the logic of most modern games is programmed by developers through complex algorithms. What you see in Dead Cells and its procedural level design uses basically the same principles as some oldies, like Dwarf Fortress, Diablo, and Rogue.

So, if AI isn’t really powering the video games we all play today, what could happen when it starts being used? That’s the question a lot of people in the video game industry are asking themselves. And the answers are starting to appear. Here’s what we can expect from AI and its use in video games.

Why we are NOT using AI extensively today

It might come as a surprise that games that came decades ago use the same logic to create their worlds than its more modern counterparts. However, for game developers, this makes a lot of sense. To understand that, you have to take a look at some basic concepts about video game design.

The first and most important one is the goal of creating video games in the first place. Basically, we can safely assume that all video game developers are out to create an enjoyable and fun experience for players. The objective surely is to bring a challenging game that can keep players hooked and interested but not so hard that it becomes unbeatable. We’ll come back to this in short but first, it’s also important to understand the logic used in video games.

What we all think of as AI in video games is nothing more than a combination of logical components at a base level. When a boss anticipates your movements to prevent you from striking it, when a tactical team ambushes you in a hallway, when a defender tackles off the ball from your forward—all of that is in some sort programmed into the video games themselves. How could that be?

Though it’s a lot more complicated than that, there are two main components that make this happen. On one hand, there’s an element called pathfinding, that allows things in video games to move from point A to point B as required. On the other hand, there are finite state machines, which can be seen as the different states a non-playable character exists at any given time, sort of the possible options for actions in which that NPC moves around.

The combination of these components and their variations is what makes the most of the intelligence you see in games today. The only thing that’s changed since the Pac-Man and Pong days? The fact that developers are using these concepts at bigger scales and pushing their limits thanks to the increased computation power we all enjoy today.

This means that the seemingly intelligent decisions taken by your foes, allies, and NPCs in a lot of video games are more determined by programming than taken on the spot. So, why not enrich those video games with true AI algorithms, capable of making their own decisions and creating a more lifelike experience for players? Wouldn’t this prevent the frustrating issues we’ve mentioned above? Certainly not.

Machine and self-learning techniques used in modern AI would break the experience video games want to offer you. Remember the games’ main objective? Developers couldn’t create an enjoyable and fun experience if they let AI decide to do whatever it wants. That’s because the AI itself (through the characters or the scenarios) could disrupt the story in unpredictable ways.

Think of it like this. What would happen to a director shooting a movie where all the actors are doing and saying whatever they want? First, the director would go insane. But, most importantly, the story could never be told, as all actors involved would do and say what their intelligence tells them to do. That’s precisely what would happen in a video game. 

If a video game, regardless of its genre, would run on AI algorithms, it could lead to an unplayable beast. That’s because the AI would adapt itself to the players to learn how to better defeat them, to the point where it would become impossible for the players to win. Additionally, the game would change scenarios, NPC behavior, and even the story to fit whatever the AI sees fit, throwing the whole experience into the territory of the unpredictable and even incomprehensible. 

In short, the AI could present certain interesting variations on a video game basic mechanics (like new smart ways to team up against you in an FPS or dynamic strategics in an RTS) but the unpredictability would make it highly frustrating for players. That’s because the players could possibly develop ways to beat a machine that’s always learning how to get better and better.

That’s why the use of AI in modern gaming is reserved for other aspects. What we call artificial intelligence in today’s video games is more of an illusion. In other words, the logic programmed underneath is complex enough to feel intelligent but it’s limited to fit a narrative that won’t disrupt the gaming experience.

So, if we’re not truly seeing AI in games today, will we see it someday? Of course, we will! Perhaps it’s not how you are expecting it, but there are a couple of uses in test today that can illustrate how AI will redefine future gaming.

AI in video game development

If artificial intelligence isn’t a good match for a video game’s narrative or characters (yet), then there’s definitive promise in two different fields. On one hand, AI can be used to take the procedural design generation to new levels. On the other hand, AI can be of great aid to develop games, from the fundamentals all the way to QA development tasks.

When it comes to the time to mention some of the best open-world games out there, it’s highly likely that titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild come to mind. It’s hard to argue that both are some of the finest examples of world-building in the current gaming scene. Yet, through AI’s aid, such worlds could be taken even further.

By limiting its application to world-building, AI could power environments that are as closest as the real world as we’re ever going to get. Breath of the Wild’s underlying systems are very complex and very close to real life (in the sense that there are rules of physics and thermodynamics at play). But imagine that those rules change over time, bringing modifications to the game itself. Seasons could change. Constructions could age, decay, and come crashing down. The things you do could bring permanent consequences to the world around you. The possibilities are endless.

In this sense, AI could mean the dawn of the adaptable and ever-evolving game that would take a procedural generation to heights we’ve never seen before. In fact, the ultimate goal would be for machine learning algorithms to be always on the move, bringing change after change every time you play the game, making it feel fresh with every new access. 

As for AI used in gaming development, this could be a serious game-changer (pun intended). Through the use of deep neural networks and other AI-powered software, computational systems could create complete games from the ground up with minimal or no human intervention. Case in point: a system called Angelina that has already created some games you can check out at itch.io.

Of course, these kinds of systems are far from being marketable in their current state. AI systems to create games are in an experimental phase that’s restricted to researchers or indie developers. However, such efforts are leading the way to a new way of understanding gaming and could have a significant impact on the whole industry.

One particular department where it could have the most effect is in testing. You can expect to see AI systems help developers by providing them with QA development services to find bugs and improve the overall gameplay. Additionally, these systems would be embedded in the games themselves, allowing developers to gather important data and insights that could lead to further improvements over time.

Some final words

The days where game studios, freelance designers, and QA development outsourcing teams are replaced by AI-powered software are far from us. Though the technology is taking huge strides in the gaming development world, chances are that we’ll see them collaborate with human teams in the short and midterm rather than replace them—which is a fantastic thing!

AI can bring new insights, suggestions, and directions to game creation. It can aid in bringing more complex and sophisticated worlds, and help in releasing complete games that leave the current, painfully bloated and buggy game releases behind for good. 

All of this could eventually lead to a new way of implementing AI into the game itself. But if we leave the video game’s narrative and inner workings in the hands of artificial intelligence, what will we find once we power up our consoles? Maybe, the introduction of AI at such a deep level will require us to redefine what we understand video games as entertainment experiences. However, seeing that developers themselves aren’t taking this route, you’ll be fine if you leave those wonderings to sci-fi stories


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The post Artificial Intelligence Will Reshape Video Games, Here’s How appeared first on SiteProNews.

The Right Ways of Going About an Investment

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Investment decisions are seldom easy and often tricky. First comes in the factor of learning all that there is about investing, the types and ways to go about it; and then comes in the element of understanding what the returns would be on your investment. You need to think long before you decide to invest your money in any one investment portfolio. The ones who have already aced the investment game would know how the market works and the best route to follow while going about a particular financial endeavour. However, for people who are quite new to the entire domain, you must understand every angle associated with investments and only then think about opting for one or more investment plans. With this thought in mind, we shall now discuss the factors you must always keep at the back of your mind before you invest, so that chances of you going wrong with the plan minimises. Should you require some more insight into the topic of investment, check >Marketreview.

Assess Your Financial Status

Awareness about yourself must be on top of your list when you are deciding to go about any particular investment. Every financial decision, whether it is about investing, saving or buying, must be based off how much you earn and how much you are capable of spending. These monetary situations differ from people to people. Therefore, it would be a mistake on your part if you were to think that you could make a decision about your financial future taking after others. Assess your financial standing and only then decide on what you must be doing, which portfolio you must be opting for, and how you should be doing whatever it is that you are choosing. Trying to go out of your way will only land you in the hot waters of legal troubles. Therefore, you must be cautious about every move you make and not go beyond your budget constraint.

Understand Your Ability To Take Risks

The ability to take risks is not a universal concept. The factor that might work for your friends might not work for you too. Evaluate what your tolerance for taking up risks is. That is how you can make the best out of an investment situation. There is no denying that every investment ever involves a certain level of risk. You could be an amazing analyst or might know all that there is to the financial market. But that still does not guarantee that you would be cushioned against every risk that governs the financial market. In a bid to take up risks and gain more, you must not keep raising the stakes and then lose everything at once. You might not be able to handle the psychological and financial repercussions as well as your other friends and relatives. Therefore, understand the kind of risk that you are cut out for.

Do Not Invest In Only One Vertical

A rookie mistake while investing would be to invest in only one vertical or any one portfolio. You need to spread out on your investments to minimise risks. Think of more than one option when you are thinking of finances. You could take all the necessary precautions and make educated guesses before you take in the plunge. But forecasting the financial market is not an easy job. Therefore, try not putting all your eggs in one basket. Learn about other plans of investments and have a few alternatives so that if one of the portfolios crash, you always have the others to balance that out for you and look after the financial damages.

Have An Emergency Fund

You could treat this as an extension of the previous point, but this needs special attention nevertheless. The financial area is a tough market, and you need to tread extremely carefully. There shall always be chances of the market crashing down, and if you are not careful enough, you will be left with nothing. Therefore, have a backup fund or an emergency fund, whatever you would wish to call it. Keep the backup fund up and running because you never know when you would be needing it.

Consider Your Age

Yes, age is a serious factor to consider while planning an investment. It is always better to start investing while you are still in your twenties. Once you cross your thirties, responsibilities will begin sitting on your shoulders, and your tolerance for risk shall come down substantially. Start early and reap the benefits for a long time to come.

Conclusion

You need to have a decent knowledge of how the financial markets work even before a mild thought of investment comes into your mind. Though you cannot predict how your decisions are going to pan out in the near future, yet you could at least try to gain some insight into the dynamics of specific financial situations. This way, you can be prepared to take upon the challenges that might come into your way and take necessary actions to beat them.


avatar

Working my way through nebulous numbers and complex calculations for over a decade now, I have seen the financial market close enough to understand the subtleties and volatilities associated with it. A stock market enthusiast by the day and a passionate writer at all other times, I try coming up with pieces that can broaden and enlighten the minds of those who would want to foray into investments and banking.

The post The Right Ways of Going About an Investment appeared first on SiteProNews.

The Right Ways of Going About an Investment

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Investment decisions are seldom easy and often tricky. First comes in the factor of learning all that there is about investing, the types and ways to go about it; and then comes in the element of understanding what the returns would be on your investment. You need to think long before you decide to invest your money in any one investment portfolio. The ones who have already aced the investment game would know how the market works and the best route to follow while going about a particular financial endeavour. However, for people who are quite new to the entire domain, you must understand every angle associated with investments and only then think about opting for one or more investment plans. With this thought in mind, we shall now discuss the factors you must always keep at the back of your mind before you invest, so that chances of you going wrong with the plan minimises. Should you require some more insight into the topic of investment, check >Marketreview.

Assess Your Financial Status

Awareness about yourself must be on top of your list when you are deciding to go about any particular investment. Every financial decision, whether it is about investing, saving or buying, must be based off how much you earn and how much you are capable of spending. These monetary situations differ from people to people. Therefore, it would be a mistake on your part if you were to think that you could make a decision about your financial future taking after others. Assess your financial standing and only then decide on what you must be doing, which portfolio you must be opting for, and how you should be doing whatever it is that you are choosing. Trying to go out of your way will only land you in the hot waters of legal troubles. Therefore, you must be cautious about every move you make and not go beyond your budget constraint.

Understand Your Ability To Take Risks

The ability to take risks is not a universal concept. The factor that might work for your friends might not work for you too. Evaluate what your tolerance for taking up risks is. That is how you can make the best out of an investment situation. There is no denying that every investment ever involves a certain level of risk. You could be an amazing analyst or might know all that there is to the financial market. But that still does not guarantee that you would be cushioned against every risk that governs the financial market. In a bid to take up risks and gain more, you must not keep raising the stakes and then lose everything at once. You might not be able to handle the psychological and financial repercussions as well as your other friends and relatives. Therefore, understand the kind of risk that you are cut out for.

Do Not Invest In Only One Vertical

A rookie mistake while investing would be to invest in only one vertical or any one portfolio. You need to spread out on your investments to minimise risks. Think of more than one option when you are thinking of finances. You could take all the necessary precautions and make educated guesses before you take in the plunge. But forecasting the financial market is not an easy job. Therefore, try not putting all your eggs in one basket. Learn about other plans of investments and have a few alternatives so that if one of the portfolios crash, you always have the others to balance that out for you and look after the financial damages.

Have An Emergency Fund

You could treat this as an extension of the previous point, but this needs special attention nevertheless. The financial area is a tough market, and you need to tread extremely carefully. There shall always be chances of the market crashing down, and if you are not careful enough, you will be left with nothing. Therefore, have a backup fund or an emergency fund, whatever you would wish to call it. Keep the backup fund up and running because you never know when you would be needing it.

Consider Your Age

Yes, age is a serious factor to consider while planning an investment. It is always better to start investing while you are still in your twenties. Once you cross your thirties, responsibilities will begin sitting on your shoulders, and your tolerance for risk shall come down substantially. Start early and reap the benefits for a long time to come.

Conclusion

You need to have a decent knowledge of how the financial markets work even before a mild thought of investment comes into your mind. Though you cannot predict how your decisions are going to pan out in the near future, yet you could at least try to gain some insight into the dynamics of specific financial situations. This way, you can be prepared to take upon the challenges that might come into your way and take necessary actions to beat them.


avatar

Working my way through nebulous numbers and complex calculations for over a decade now, I have seen the financial market close enough to understand the subtleties and volatilities associated with it. A stock market enthusiast by the day and a passionate writer at all other times, I try coming up with pieces that can broaden and enlighten the minds of those who would want to foray into investments and banking.

The post The Right Ways of Going About an Investment appeared first on SiteProNews.

The silent killers of loading time and how to fix them

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Imagine visiting a website that takes more than 10, no two seconds to load. We know that the mouse is going to hover to the top right corner because honestly, no one has the time to wait nowadays. 

A Forbes article mentioned that a mere one-second delay in page load time means a seven percent decline in sales, 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a seven percent loss in conversions. 

Your website may be a work of art with awesome features. It can have lightning speed chat responses but with slow loading time, none of that matters. 

Attention spans are growing smaller and patience is thinner than ever. Other than that, slow loading sites impact your SEO because it affects how Google sees your page. Speed is a ranking factor Google uses to measure your page. Sure, content may be king, but speed can change how your content performs in search. 

We’ll dig deep and find the silent killers of loading time – both common and uncommon causes.

1. Uncompressed images and bizarre image dimensions

The quality and size of an image affects its loading time. Having a high-resolution image on every page means your site will load slower.

How you can fix this

A couple of ways we found included installing plugins. The first one is with a jQuery Lazy Load plugin. This plugin allows the images that are only appearing to load “above the fold” or on a part a visitor is currently viewing. 

The second option is by using image optimizers such as Yahoo!’s Smush.it or use the WP Smush.it plugin which compacts images without altering their quality. With the WP plugin, it can be done automatically when you add graphics to your site.

2. Unnecessary plugins

If you have a WordPress site you’ll know that there are tons of plugins wandering around and sometimes you might feel the need to download every one because they’re “helpful” to your site. 

Before you know it, you’ll have plugins running your site and you might even have a plugin for your plugin.

Plugin overload can be a problem because the more plugins your site has, the more work it has to do when it loads. Also, not all plugins are as awesome as they claim to be. Beware of outdated plugins that can slow down your site instead of improving its performance.

What you can do to solve this problem is by evaluating your current plugins to figure out which ones you actually need. You might have multiple plugins that have the same function or have some that you’re no longer using. 

When you’re deleting plugins check to see if

– The plugin is relevant and updated

– Whether it has another similar plugin with same functions

– Whether you’re still using it the respective plugin

You can also check the performance of your plugins using the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) which shows you the impact of each plugin has on your WordPress site load time.

3. An excessive homepage

Your homepage is the face of your brand. So, we get it if you want it to look the best. However, when you try to impress new visitors with a bunch of widgets, content, and state-of-the-art imagery, it’s going to compromise your loading time.

When you want to make an impressive site, keep in mind that a clean design can do wonders. We’re not telling you to ban widgets completely (save them for the end of your blog posts or site pages) but we’re just telling you to keep it simple.

Another thing you can do to speed up load times is by altering the WordPress options to show excerpts instead of full posts and limiting the posts per page by five to seven each.

4. Free third-party WordPress themes

Free WordPress themes may sound like the best thing since sliced bread but free things come with a price tag. When you’re looking for a theme on WordPress, you’re likely to click on those free ones made by a third-party. They’re free anyway, so what can go wrong? Right?

Apparently, a lot of things. Like how free music and movies can come with spyware or malware, free third-party WordPress themes may be one of the causes for your slow website.

How you can fix this

One of the best ways is to only use themes from the official WordPress theme repository. If you want something more personalized, consider allocating less than $100 in a premium theme you can customize to your heart’s desire.

5. Unreliable web hosting

Having a web hosting server that’s not properly configured can harm your loading times. When picking a web hosting server, more often than not, we’ll try to choose the most budget-friendly option. That may be good in the beginning when you’re just starting out. 

However, once the amount of traffic you’re receiving suddenly spikes, your host and server won’t be able to handle a huge amount of users at a single time. Sudden spikes can happen especially during times you launch a new online marketing campaign or a new product. 

Instead of looking for a free or cheap web hosting solution, it’s best to use a well-known host that usually runs between four to eight dollars a month, which isn’t so bad. 

Other than the price, you should also keep in mind how fast the server responds when it deals with problems. Sometimes your site can have emergencies and filling in forms just won’t cut it. Do your research thoroughly and read reviews about the company and its support. 

6. Invisible loading images or videos

When you’re scrolling through a page, there is some content you can’t see immediately. Some are still at the bottom of the page and are visible after a visitor arrives at the exact spot. 

So, how is this a problem? The more images you tell your server to fetch, the slower your site will load. The reality is, the server usually fetches all of these images and videos (even the ones you can’t see yet). This is a huge factor for mobile devices since they have limited speed and data.

This can be fixed with “lazy loading” which means fetching the file only if it’s needed and only when it’s on the screen. A couple of plugins you can use for your WordPress site are BJ Lazy Load and LazyLoad. 

7. Coding issue

Your website is made of code. The more elaborate your site is, the more coding is necessary. Just because you want your website to be ideal, that doesn’t mean the coding should be over the top. Irrelevant or unnecessary code will only slow down your site since the server has to work through more data in order to get to a page.

An example of a coding issue

Unnecessary redirects which happen when the code refers to two different forms of the website URL. Although this seems like something trivial, it makes a huge difference.

When a redirect takes place, a user has to wait for the page to load twice. Using too many redirects means you’re doubling the load time.

To fix this, you need to review your code in detail. Most of the time, the root cause of slow load times could be from a coding issue. This occurs when the code isn’t consistent and causes too many redirects.

8. Not using a content delivery network (CDN)

CDN is a network of independent servers deployed in different geographic locations that serves web content to visitors. Depending on the location of your website visitors, the content requested gets served by the node that’s at the nearest data center. 

The problem with not using a CDN is that many sites can be slow, especially if they have visitors from around the world. Although a CDN isn’t necessary, it can help serve your web content much faster and reduce the loading time.

Now that you’re aware of some of the most and least obvious loading time killers, it’s time to get cracking with fixing them for your website.

Got some more load time killers that you wish to add to this list? Share them in the comments.

Nat McNeely is Digital Marketing Manager of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. 

The post The silent killers of loading time and how to fix them appeared first on Search Engine Watch.