Feeling a bit confused by trademark registration? You’re not alone. Whether you’re a small business owner, a solo entrepreneur, or part of a growing start-up, it’d be worth your while to learn about trademarks now rather than later. In the end, it probably isn’t as confusing as you think and it could even help out your brand in the future.
Below you’ll find some information about trademarks and the registration process as well as how to keep tabs on your trademark.
What’s a Trademark?
A trademark can be a mark that represents your business. It’s a form of intellectual property that can take the form of a brand name, logo, design mark, or expression. A telltale sign of a trademark is a superscript TM symbol right after a brand name or logo. This is how it looks: ™.
A trademark can belong to a business or a personal brand that is run by just one individual. You see trademarks regularly on the packaging, websites, or corporate documents. Those two little letters let you know that this is a piece of intellectual property, something that the brand invested in because they believed in what they were doing.
The Importance of Securing a Trademark
If you’re serious about your business, then it’s in your best interest to secure a trademark. The same applies to anything related to your business.
If you went through the administrative struggle of setting up your business, creating a brand with a unique selling point, designing a logo, and attracting valuable talent, wouldn’t you want to protect your intellectual property? That’s why a trademark is important.
A registered trademark can include your company name, slogan, specific services, and/or logo. The peace of mind that comes with having a trademark, as well as the clout that it gives your business, is worth the investment.
It’s easy for smaller businesses to write it off as something that’s nice to have but not necessary. This attitude could end up biting them later on as they are leaving their companies open to infringement. They say that mimicry is the greatest form of flattery but as a business person, you don’t want anyone trying to operate under the guise of being your company.
If others were to pass off their goods and services as yours, what kind of effect would that have on your clients? You would probably lose their trust or, at the very least, confuse them. Consistency is key in business and that means keeping a regular brand image in your marketing, products, and interactions with customers. Infringement can seriously mess that up.
That’s where a registered trademark can help. With a registered trademark, you have the power to take legal action against anyone who tries to use your business name as their own. It can be the difference between securing your reputation with customers and becoming just another muddied small brand in a saturated market.
Registering a Trademark
When you decide to apply for a USA trademark, you’ll need to do so by adhering to the legal process set forth by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). You can hire an attorney to represent you or you can go about the process on your own.
Before you can register a trademark, you should be able to precisely identify your business’s purpose, including the nature of its products and services. You should also be sure that the name you’re choosing to apply with is not already in use by another entity. Mistakes such as these can delay the application process, which is why some businesses choose to hire an attorney.
Once you have decided which name(s), logo(s), and/or service(s) you wish to trademark and you’ve checked the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System, you can review the registration timelines and fees. Timelines will vary depending on what kind of company you are and where you’re filing from.
Fortunately, all of this is laid out on the USPTO’s website. As for fees, the initial trademark filing fee ranges from $225 to $400 depending on the class of goods. You’ll also be required to make your payment at the time of filing so come prepared. The application can be done online too.
If your business is not located in the United States, then your application process is going to vary. First of all, you will need the support of a U.S trademark attorney to serve as your representative to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. These applicants will probably need to show additional documentation and they have the choice of using the Madrid Protocol (an international trademark system that includes the U.S.) or an attorney to file.
Things to Remember
This may be a lot of information but it’s important and it’s better to learn it now than discover it later the hard way. Now that you know more about how the trademark registration process works, there are a few more details that you should keep in mind.
Once the application procedure is complete and you have had your trademark approved, you can set your focus on monitoring your trademark from time to time. You don’t have to check on it every day but a monthly review will let you know if anyone is trying to register your trademark as their own.
By searching through the USPTO’s trademark database, you can see the company names that are currently going through the trademark application procedure. New names that enter this database can be disputed for 30 days, including yours when you file. This means that checking the database every month will help you keep ahead of any infringement risks.
Hopefully, these tips helped to clarify trademark registration and its importance a bit more.
How to choose an accounting firm for your business?
Tax laws undergo changes and additions every year. All these changes tend to confuse businesses, trying to find what each change means for them. It is the role of accountant firms to keep track of all these changes in the tax laws. And thus, rescue businesses from getting trapped in financial hassles and tax liabilities. Accounting firms expertise in managing day to day accounts and advising companies on complex financial matters.
If you are starting your own business, you must be considering consulting an accountant firm for your finances. You don’t know when you’ll need them, and it is totally normal. Right now, you’re focused on transforming your idea into a settled business. And while you do that, we’ll take you through some essential tips on how to choose an accounting firm for your business.
Experience in the field
Several people have CPA credentials and can perform an audit for your business. But the critical factor is who has worked in your specific industry. A person or a firm which has dedicated years in handling nuances of your sector knows what will work best for you. They will be able to offer solutions for your problems more quickly and thus, manage your finances better. A sector like technology has companies with massive and complex accounting structure and investors having high expectations.
Similarly, some accounting firms have thorough expertise in the audit. But your company requires immediate assistance in taxation. Hence, it is essential to talk to the CPA about their proficiency in your sector and knowledge in different tax laws.
How much do they charge?
A fee is a vital aspect to consider when hiring an accounting firm. It is obvious that different firms charge differently. Large firms, like Deloitte, will charge massive numerations in comparison to a boutique accounting firm in your city. The fees also depend on the kind of assignment they are getting. There are firms which set special rates for every task while others offer a full year service and charge for the same. The prices per job depend on the task they get like preparing profit and loss statement, personal income tax filing or collecting a statement of net worth.
Some accountants write bills on hourly services. If that is the case, then you need to know the standard hourly rates and if these rates change often.
How important is the location?
Before the dawn of technology, having an accountant near me was important. But now, the boundaries of communication and collaboration have shrunk significantly. As technology advances, working with firms abroad through cloud-based technology is just as simple and effective as working face-to-face. There are cloud accounting features that allow you and your accountant to work on your finances and taxations using real-time data. It diminishes the confinement of location and thus, allows better search of services for your needs.
But the decision still lies in your hands. Your decision will be based on your finances and how to handle them. Honestly, while technology allows collaboration through the internet, there are certain situations which require face-to-face intervention.
Opt for a certified or chartered accountant
Several countries have governing bodies that check qualifications and maintain high accounting standards. In different countries, accountants are known with different names like Certified Public Accountants or Chartered Accountants. CPAs or CAs are highly qualified individuals who have completed degree-level studies with professional internship programs.
Hiring a certified or chartered account makes sure you get the right service and financial advice. Their qualification adds value to your business. It means to make sure your company grows from the word “Go!” you must hire a professional accounting firm from the start. Several tax preparation firms employ and train preparers to help clients through income tax filing. But when it comes to catering to more significant accounting needs, you’ll be better off with firms employing CPAs.
Can they grow with you?
When you invest in a business, you make it clear that you’re ready to enter the big leagues and with zest. To make this happen without any glitches, you need to have a CPA firm that has the human resources and expertise. Your CPA must stick with you to see you grow from a start-up to IPO or exit phase. There are countless things to consider: does the firm have the expertise to stick with you, does it has the staff for the job, or they are facing their acquisition? If any of this is true, you’ll have to go through the whole process of finding a new firm once again.
It might fine at the moment when you’re working with an accountant for small business. But once you start growing, you can’t waste time on finding a new CPA when you should be focusing on your business.
The team assigned to you
When you hire a firm to do an audit, you are buying the communication style of the team undertaking the service. An experienced team doing the audit will save you resources when they utilize their expertise and tools at hand. You need to ask the firm questions on who will be handling your case and if they will be a part of the meeting. Ask them about their previous experiences with other clients and how the following team works on-field. You must be sure that the team you are assigned is the best one.
Converse with government and business entities
Several countries stress on small businesses since they boost a significant share of their economies. To help small businesses grow, the government rolls out plans, packages, and assistance. If you are a small business owner, you can use this assistance and network of business entities to get an accountant.
Whichever accounting firm you choose for your business, remember that they will have access to your sensitive data. So, do your research and take your time to finalize one. Talk with your fellow business associates to get a picture of how accountant firms deal with clients. And since you have the power of the internet in your hand, use social media to dig in deeper. Trust is key!
How to Advocate For Yourself as a Woman at Work
For women in particular, the office can be a difficult place to navigate. In an effort to appear easygoing and likable, it’s sometimes easier to stay quiet instead of advocating for yourself or your needs.
But when you spend 40 hours per week in the same place, you want to make sure you’re comfortable. This means learning to avoid conflict and advocate for yourself by asking for a raise or promotion when you want to.
Communication is key to navigating tricky office situations. It’s important to learn to speak calmly, carefully and with purpose. Rehearsing your input ahead of time can help you be prepared for any meeting, and being direct with your wants can also help you get what you deserve.
Check out this infographic on how to self-advocate in the office.
How to Make a Website for your Business. Step by Step Guide
This post will teach you how to make a website for your business without taking anybody’s help. In this post, you will get several important tips that will allow you to build a perfect website for your business.
Now that you are prepared to make your very first business website, it is time to begin planning, but where exactly should you start?
Initially, let us understand a few things you want to consider before you start building your website.
The first thing you need to do is choose a platform on which your website will be built. For someone who has zero experience in website building, WordPress is among the most well-known choices. It is used by millions of web site owners and developers since it is free, strong, and comparatively user friendly. Even I use it for several of my websites.
Additional Free CMS options are Joomla and Drupal, which are also quite functional, but they require a marginally larger learning curve. Additionally, there are drag and drop choices like WIX, SquareSpace and Websitebuilder.com which provide a completely free version but do charge monthly charges for a fully functional site.
Now let’s dive into this post and learn how to make a website for your business without taking anyone’s help!
How to Make a Website for your Business From Scratch
Purchasing a Domain Name
Before you learn how to make a website, one Of the first things you’ll have to do is purchase a domain name. This is the internet address (URL) of your website.
What’s your focus? What will your website be known as? What’s your site about (your market )?
Use these replies to think of a title. Write down a few and check out online to find out if the one you need is available. You are able to obtain a domain name search on sites like GoDaddy, Namecheap, Domaincheap.com. You might even use a domain name generator, which will spin out titles based on keywords you type in.
It may require a few attempts to find a domain name you like that nobody has already purchased. It’s a great idea to connect with your organization, niche, or subject so that individuals will have a better idea about what your site is all about just by taking a look at your URL. In addition, you need to keep it as brief as possible so that it’s easy to remember.
Purchasing a domain name will probably cost a few dollars for a year. Several hosting service providers provide free domain names if you purchase a hosting plan from them. They provide search functionality where you can search whether your domain name is available or not.
Purchasing a Web hosting Plan
You can not have a site with no server. The hosting agency is where your data will be saved, in their servers. Based on how much space you want now and later on, it may be worth a few more bucks a month to make sure that your
website doesn’t crash or turn off in the future.
Remember that you will find free hosting solutions, which can be good for a personal site, however, they often don’t offer enough bandwidth to get a company site and the majority of them display ads in your pages. If you have a big website and expect it to have a lot of traffic, you should purchase cloud-based hosting. Otherwise, you can go for shared hosting too.
There are several hosting service providers. I have been using Bluehost for my hosting purposes. There are several tutorials provided by web hosting companies that will also teach you how to make a website with ease.
Updating Name Server Details for your Domain
The next thing you need to do is update the name server details for your domain. Go to your hosting account and search for your domain. If you are using BlueHost, you will see something like the image below. There you can see Name Servers.
Click on it and enter the name server details. The name server details can be found by clicking on Name Server Details which is available on the same page. Just scroll down a bit and you will see something like this.
Once you update the name server details, it might take up to 24 hours for it to get reflected. It is possible that these changes are committed within an hour too. Next, let us learn how to install wordpress.
Installing WordPress on your site
This is sometimes set up with one-click from within your hosting accounts. You just need to navigate to the Softaculous app installer and proceed with the steps given below.
Step 1: Go to Softaculous app Installer from your CPanel and click on WordPress
Step 2 : On the next screen click on Install Now
Step 3: Fill the installation details and other details on the next screen. If you want to install the site in the root directory, leave the ‘in directory field empty’.
After you fill all the details, click on Install and within a minute, WordPress will be installed on your site. To go to your dashboard, go to yoursite.com/wp-admin and enter the credentials that you entered in the previous step.
From your dashboard, you can create articles, upload content, and more. There are numerous choices with WordPress you can produce a very simple site with just a couple pages or establish a full-fledged e-commerce website prepared to take earnings.
Start building your website
Installing WordPress doesn’t mean your website is ready. There are a few more steps involved. A WordPress website has a theme that gives a particular look and feel to it.
There are various free themes available. However, it is always better to purchase a theme because they provide various customization options.
There are various websites that sell themes. I prefer buying themes from Themeforest. It is a platform where theme creators sell their themes and plugins.
You can search for a particular theme and the website will throw search results matching your criteria. For example, if you want to make a newspaper website, you just have to type Newspaper in the search bar and you will get several options to buy from.
Check the review of different themes and the kind of support they provide. Try the live demo there and after you are satisfied, you can purchase the theme there.
Once you purchase the theme, you will get the installable files in the download section. You simply have to download the zip file and upload it to your site by going to Dashboard->Appearance->Themes and upload. Once the theme is installed, you will see various options to customize.
If you understand just a bit of programming, you may use HTML or CSS to alter the webpage to
look as if you need them to.
All these measures will operate for Joomla and Drupal too. In case you choose to choose a drag and drop builder, then they ought to supply you with the tutorials and documentation that you want to get your site up and running.
Fine-tuning the details of your site.
Even though you’re designing your site pages, it is a fantastic idea to maintain the”big picture” in your mind. It is the detail that can make or break your site. They are what distinguishes a fantastic site from a single which people click from after a number of seconds. When Readers see errors a few of them might overlook these, others might provide you an opportunity to fix them but the majority of folks will just proceed to another site.
That is true for everything from spelling mistakes to pictures that don’t load fast. If you’d like your visitors to stay around, then you need to have a web site that’s both practical and aesthetically pleasing. You might also need to ask a trusted friend to check out your job from a customer’s perspective to come across any mistakes you might have missed.
Here are a couple more tips that will assist you to create your site user-friendly.
Before you proceed with this guide on how to make a website, you need to know what is a sitemap.
What is a sitemap?
Simply put, a sitemap is a list of all the pages of a website.
A site map can be a list of pages with links that are organized by say topic, or an XML document that provides instructions to search engine crawl bots. A sitemap is very easy to generate. If you are using Yoast plugin, the sitemap is automatically generated.
A sitemap URL will look something like this yoursite.com/sitemap_index.xml.
Once you build your site using the method given below, you have to visit google search console and submit your sitemap. Once you submit your sitemap there, your site’s pages will be indexed by Google from time to time as the crawler will be able to detect your pages from time to time.
Do not attempt to place everything on the same page. While, you might have plenty of relevant images that you need to show, however, they won’t communicate the desired result if they’re all in 1 spot. People will not have the ability to look at them correctly if their attention is diverted. It is going to also create your page’s load very slowly. Rather use a lightbox or distribute them out on multiple pages.
Take care of spelling Mistakes
Check for spelling mistakes. Spelling mistakes increase the time one has to spend on reading. Moreover, spelling mistakes create the impression that you have uploaded the content without going through it and probably you are yourself not interested in what you are doing.
Do not be scared to utilize material breaks. It’s a challenge for the readers to concentrate on a lengthy piece of content.
If you’d like visitors to read, make sure you include, keywords, sub-headings, bold typing, and bullet points. This way they will concentrate much better.
It is the gap between at least two components on your own site.
By comparison, it is possible to create attention and direct the interest of your customers to specific locations in your own pages. The material on your pages combines together if there’s no comparison to split up things and draw the attention. This is going to make your site more visually pleasing to the attention of your customers.
Now we are going to discuss the value of creating your site responsive.
Earlier, the only way sites were visited was out of a desktop computer. Now, just about everybody has a cell phone or a tablet which means your site must load nicely on multiple platforms.
What’s Responsive Design?
Have you browsed a site via your smartphone and felt that either the text is too small or you don’t have a header menu in place? It is because that site is not responsive.
What responsive layout does is code every page so it automatically adjusts to the stage you are using to see it. If it’s the tablet computer, big smartphone, little smartphone, notebook, or a static desktop, every individual will see the
webpage in an optimized manner for their gadgets.
Greater conversion rates
People are not static and neither is their device. Somebody who wishes to take a look at a product on your site to compare a cost with something that they see in the shop needs an immediate reaction. A mobile-ready website lets them click a couple of buttons and purchase the lower-cost product that you offer rather than paying more
at the shop.
For somebody who uses their phone 90 percent of their moment, this is enormous. They could make dinner
reservations, create appointments, book a hotel, and even a store, from their telephone using sites that have implemented responsive layout.
Utilizing Reactive design from the start lets you concentrate on the most crucial facets of your website and send that to audiences on a smaller stage. From that point, it’s a lot easier to add more information for bigger devices.
Better search engine ranks
Make Google pleased with responsive layout web pages. It’s precisely the identical site but optimized for seeing on various devices. However, there are various other aspects to Search Engine Optimization. If you are tight on budget, you can read these SEO hacks.
Now, let us take a look at a number of mistakes you should avoid.
The first thing that your visitor would like to understand when they go to your site is the way to get around. They require a ‘map’ to navigate. Menus should be clearly visible and self-explanatory.
Even though it may look to be a fantastic idea to use tricky words as menu hyperlinks, you should keep things simple. Additionally, it is an excellent idea to produce a site map with a list of all your webpages and place a link to it into your site footer.
It might appear cool to utilize a Victorian style font onto a costume website, but to the customers, it might not be very pleasing. Fancy fonts are tough to concentrate on and it is important to remember that simply because you’ve got the font on your computer, you don’t have to really use it. Simple fonts that are clearly visible should be preferred.
You may get as many pages as you want on your site. Everything does not need to be packaged on precisely the exact same page. Carefully organize your website’s content into pages posts etc. without having too many of them. It makes it a lot easier for the customers to consume your content.
It’s necessary your site has the perfect level of contrast. This may apply to more than just the colors on your website. It may incorporate different font, headers, and graphics sizes which you use in your own pages. For example, a dark font on a dark background or dark pictures using a dark ribbon will not be easy for the customers to see and that they will probably leave your website after a couple of moments.
Pictures and color schemes should broadly be same for your website. From page to page, change the content and images but not the color scheme to offer continuity. A lot of styles mixed together provide a chaotic feel to the whole website and visitors will end up being distracted.
Now, we’ll go through a few methods you may adopt to keep your web site fresh, which means that your customers will keep returning for more.
Search engines love regularly updated websites and therefore it increases your traffic. A visitor who proceeds to see the same old articles or graphics in your pages will eventually, stop coming.
Adding brand new content frequently solves this issue by enticing people to check back frequently. Moreover, it creates the search engines interested and enables your site to get indexed easier.
To keep people returning, the best practice is to provide what they need. The very first place to begin is by upgrading your website with new content on a regular basis. Consistency counts. If it’s daily, weekly or by-weekly it is a fantastic idea to place a schedule and adhere to it.
A Blog is a good way to do that. If you’re using WordPress, then you have got this. Not only does this make it simpler to keep your website fresh, it is an excellent way to interact with your crowd, which also helps with your search engine positions. You may use your site to exchange thoughts; declare new product launches; server polls; get opinions, etc.
A site’s blog could be updated more frequently than your product listings and supply readers with something fresh to digest every time they return.
Creating Content may be a full-time occupation for the best author, so occasionally you have to become creative. It is especially challenging if you’re publishing regularly.
It is also important to create SEO friendly posts. For that, you can either research on your own or you can hire freelancers from platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. In any case, just ensure that the content is SEO optimized.
Check out the contest
If You get stuck for ideas, check out your competitors to determine how they are keeping people attracted. Are they supplying incentives? Do they create competitions, article polls, or promote social sharing?
Visitors are generally more than pleased to talk about their opinions. In reality, a lot of men and women go online only to look for reviews and comments on items that interest them. Be certain that you’re supplying your visitors with a means to socialize with you and offer you feedback. This may be as straightforward as enabling comments on your site, utilizing surveys, or utilizing surveys as I said previously.
Consistently strive to stay relevant to your audience, and you’ll not have any trouble keeping them interested in everything you need to give!
You are free to contact me should you have any queries regarding how to make a website. I’ll be happy to assist!
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