Stop Drowning in Paper Waste With This Essential Office Organisation Guide

Take a look around your office. What do see? Stacks and stacks of papers, forms, letters. And on the shelves? Archive boxes filled with invoices and notes. And what’s in that bin by your feet? More waste paper, scrunched up doodles and failed ideas.

No one likes to see paper waste taking over the office. In fact, just the sight of a large stack of papers is enough to make someone’s stomach churn and persuade them to turn around and run for the hills. Getting rid of the paper waste will help your business run more efficiently and cheaply.

Get Some Proper Storage

Buy a simple filing cabinet and you’ll have an easy to organise box where you can stuff whatever papers you want. Buy a couple of labels, slap them onto the folders, and it’ll be almost impossible to run out of organised space to store all your documents.

Using lots of shelves? Then at least get some archival boxes and use them properly. They have labels for a reason, so get a nice thick pen and write in big letters what you’ll be putting into it. Bills, invoices, ideas, drafts—whatever it is, make sure it’s clear what’s inside so you don’t end up make several boxes with only a few sheets of paper in each.

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Every table in your office needs a paper tray. They’re usually cheap and made of plastic, so it’s light and easy to buy in a bulk. Get stackable ones so that your employees can organise whatever incoming and outgoing papers land on their desk. It makes it easy for them to sort, and it makes it easy for you to pick up whatever you need from their tables.

Hire a Helping Hand

Sometimes the amount of paper and documents we have are just too much to handle. There are times where document management is best left to professionals if you’re in too deep. Sure, you might need to pay a little extra than hiring a couple of your employees to do some overtime, but what makes you think they are capable of sorting thousands of paper documents without it affecting their regular work? It just doesn’t work.

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Don’t Be a Technophobe—Go Digital

Ask yourself how you got into the position of being swarmed with paper documents, and chances are you’ll realise it was because you were stubborn and didn’t want to switch to electronic alternatives. Invoices and other billing services can be done completely online on the cloud with software. Why waste time, effort and money on physical media? It eats into your company budget, and it’s actually more convenient for your clients and customers when you give them online options.

The same can be said for note taking, sketches, and drafts. They can all be done on a computer and it saves money on pens, ink, pencils, and of course paper. An investment into a tablet device is worthwhile if you find yourself spending hundreds on physical media. Digital alternatives are also easier to send around the office and give to people over the internet.

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Is Your Website a Failure? Fix It Now!

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A lot of people say that failure is a dangerous, dirty word. And I can see the logic behind that. Focussing too much on how something is a failure can lead you to think pessimistically. And optimistic thinking is definitely important when it comes to succeeding in business! But let’s face it. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta call it how you see it. Sometimes, there is such a thing as failure. And if there’s one thing small businesses often fail at in tremendous fashion, it’s their website.

Never underestimate the importance of your website. This is foolish. Your website is, for the vast majority of people who will hear about you, the first impression your business gets to make. You need to ensure that your website is a thing of beauty. At the very least, it needs to not actually turn people off. And this is precisely what so many small business websites do. They actually make visitors click them away as soon as possible. And just like that, you’ve put them off your business.

If you’re not getting the attention you want from your website, then there are several ways you can improve on it. Here are improvement suggestions for the most common problems on small business websites.

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A design overhaul

Sometimes, you come across a website that you’d wish you’d never laid eyes on. I’m talking really bad. Chances are your website isn’t the eyesore than any of those websites are. But if your website isn’t aesthetically pleasing, then people aren’t going to hang around for long. You need to look into a professional design overhaul. If you designed it yourself, you may want to consider getting someone else to help! You can actually find affordable solutions here. Look into pay monthly websites if you want affordable design!

Tasty content

Okay, so maybe the design of your website is great. But what about the actual content? A sexy website can only take you so far. You want people to actually spend a decent amount of time on your website. And to achieve that, you need to have content. Sometimes, your business won’t lend itself to a website filled with content. That’s why you have to look into features like a blog. This encourages you to create content frequently, keeping you on the tips of people’s tongues. Of course, you need to ensure that the content is actually good!

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Keep the focus on the user

Business owners often want the website to focus on the business more than anything else. This mindset often seeps into the way the website actually feels for the end user. The fact is that you need to make sure the website is actually easy and pleasant to navigate. Before you launch a website, you need to make sure you get a fresh pair of eyes on it. See how someone interacts with your website. It needs to be intuitive. If a user wants to see a particular feature, it should be obvious for them how they can accomplish that. They shouldn’t be deluged with ads. There shouldn’t be any slowdown. The user experience needs to be amazing!

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Keep Your Business Going Strong By Protecting It Fully

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One of the most important elements of any business is keeping it protected. Of course, there are many different kinds of protection which are necessary. Some are preventative, such as ensuring that your business stays in line. Others are more about keeping others out. Either way, it is vital that you take them all on board if you want your business to continue far into the future. A well-protected business is one which is much more likely to succeed in the long run so this is obviously an important thing to bear in mind. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the key ways you can protect your business from various troubles. Bear these in mind from the outset, and the business will be much more likely to survive.

Protect Your Ideas

No matter what, this is something which needs a strong amount of protection. Protecting your ideas is essential if you want your business to be a force in its own right. Too many entrepreneurs fail to appreciate the true significance of keeping their good ideas under wraps. The last thing you want is for a competitor to steal your good ideas and use them for their own. With that in mind, learn to keep those ideas secretive until it is time to fully release them.

Look After Customer Data

Your customers’ security is one of the biggest aspects of your business’ security. If you want your business to be taken seriously, this is vital to consider. Your customers need to know that they can trust your business with their personal information. With that in mind, it is essential that you properly protect that data using all the available methods. Otherwise, it can be all too easy for someone to get hold of information they have no right to. And that can lead to a whole host of issues which you would rather not have to deal with.

Work Within Industry Guidelines

No matter what industry you operate within, you need to ensure you are working within any guidelines there might be. It is often the case that business owners forget about these guidelines. When that happens, it can mean that the business gets into serious trouble. Avoid such a fate by getting to know your industry inside out at the start, or as early as possible. Even something as small as the proper use of a service hose can be covered by these regulations, so this is essential to bear in mind.

Understand Intellectual Property Rights

Your business’ information and data is its own by law, and it helps if you understand the various laws associated with this. There are plenty of intellectual property rights, and it helps to know them as well as possible. The more you know about them, the easier it is to protect your business against any potential threats of this nature. It is also worth bearing in mind that different countries have different laws. If your business operates in more than one place, this might prove to be essential information.

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Healthier Employees Are More Productive Employees: Methods To Increase Productivity With Your Staff

What is the most important thing to your clients and colleagues? Their productivity of course! It dictates so many things. It will dictate that your business is being run smoothly first and foremost. Everything relies on your staff working in tandem with each other. So are there ways that you can keep them on the right side of things? Are there methods that you can integrate into the workplace environment to keep employees happy, and healthy?

Introduce Healthier Foods

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It is a very common thing you see in offices. If it’s someone’s birthday, they have cake or a buffet. If the team has done well, pizzas are brought in. Having unhealthy microwaveable meals at lunchtime contributes to an energy slump in the afternoon. And it tends to extend towards the end of the day. How can this be counteracted? By having healthier foods in the canteen, or replacing the sweet treats with healthier snacks like fruit, nuts or seeds. While you cannot tell people what to eat, if you remove the culprits that cause a deterioration in productivity in the workplace, it will start to shift the balance. Resulting in a healthier and more energetic group of staff. Maybe introduce one day a week where the food on the menu is different than the standard burgers or fatty foodstuffs. From there you can build up to healthier days than less in the canteen.

Install Better Seating And Desks

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Sitting down all day will only contribute to long-term health problems. And having old chairs that are not built to support our backs properly will only cause more issues over time. What ways can you combat this? Firstly, encourage regular breaks away from the desk to force people to get up and move around instead of staring idly into space for 15 minutes. With people staring at their computer for almost 8 hours a day this will cause massive eyestrain. There are programmes you can install to reduce the amount of strain, such as F.Lux which is free to download, or you can purchase screen filters. As there is a lot more talk of the dangers of blue light affecting our ability to actually switch off our brains and get proper rest, introducing a filter in addition to adequate breaks will help overall.

The second way is to get seats that are more suited to the contours of our body. Sitting in an unnatural position all day will only cause aches and pains. Throw out your old chairs and replace them with Executive Seating.

Another way to get people moving around more is to install standing desks. It has become more popular to install these, not only for the amount of space that it frees up but also the fact that standing all day does a lot more for your work productivity than you realise. In contact centres, workers are asked to stand up when there is a lull in energy. And it has been shown to actually work. You feel better when you’re up and moving for a short amount of time. So get standing!

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Being A Legal Eagle: What Your Business Needs At The Start To Be Compliant

In the world of startups and small businesses, there are lots of issues that will crop up from time to time that needs to satisfy the requirements of your industry from a legal standpoint. Regardless of how great your business strategy is, and how it will maximise growth for your company, if you are operating outside of the legal red tape, it can cause big issues and delays in getting the company set up. What do you need to do to create a great legal strategy?

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Have More Finances For Legal Funds Than You Think You Will Need

It is important to never underestimate your legal expenses. Legal costs could be a high amount of money that you could pay upfront which you never took into account. There will be legal communications. Going back and forth. The complicated details of the legalities. As well as the fees themselves. All these little things can always end up being much more than you originally thought. The best way is to give yourself a buffer in your budget at the start. If you need to get a better idea of what these costs are, then you can speak to other entrepreneurs. With costs like license filing fees, bonds and other smaller admin-based costs, you are better off budgeting at the start instead of dipping into funds that you were saving for something else which could contribute to failure.

Factor More Time Into Everything

It is always tempting to strike while the iron is hot. You may have a business idea that could set the world on fire, and it fits into a market need perfectly. But you will need to line up the proper legal details before anything else, and that can take a year or maybe more. So before that you would need to operate the business on a more limited basis. So, you need to know which licenses that you would need and factor more time to obtain the relevant permits and documents.

Have The Right Attorney For Each Specific Task

Having specialist Lawyers for the right field is a point that needs to be hammered home. For example, if you needed to obtain a patent, you would need a patent attorney. They would have years of experience and knowledge in this one field and know the fine details to help you. Always make sure you get the right person for the job. While it is more money upfront that a general practising attorney it will really help in the long term to save you needless business costs.

Make Sure That You Are Not Breaking The Law

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Not having your legal details sorted can have dire consequences, not to mention being very expensive! You could be fined huge amounts of money if you have neglected something. As well as this, the reputation you would have with your customers is tarnished. If you decide to expand into new markets, make sure you have a legal advisor on board to help you operate in the confines of the law.

Operate Your Legal Processes In Parallel With Each Other

Time is money. Instead of waiting for legal permission to come back, start investing or building up areas of the business that do not need legal clearance. The minute a permission comes back, you can then jump on that without wasting any time.

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Speed Up Your Office Today with These Simple Tricks

Does your office feel like it runs too slowly? Having a relaxed workplace is one thing. But allowing this to take over to the extent that it causes a loss of productivity is something else altogether. In the end, this will have a seriously negative impact on the office, the workforce and, ultimately, the business. So, you can’t let it go on any longer. Instead, you should look for ways to bring your office up to speed and make it more productive. Read on to learn more about doing this.

Enforce Rules in a Friendly Way

The first thing you should do is make sure that the office rules are being followed. If people are wasting time or doing things they shouldn’t, that could be the reason why your office is moving slowly. Make sure that everyone knows what the rules are, and do what’s necessary to enforce them. You don’t want to take an approach that is too strong or forceful, though. When you do this, you just cause more rifts and grievances in the office, and that won’t make the situation better. If anything, it’ll make it worse, so take a friendly approach.

Get a Faster Internet Connection

These days, all offices rely on the internet and their computer system. If these things are moving slowly, then it’s no surprise that work is getting done too slowly as well. You should try to find a better internet service provider if your connection is too slow at the moment. Making that one simple switch could be enough to make your office faster and more productive. Companies like leased line can help you with making a switch if that’s what needs to happen.

Provide Suitable Workspaces

Is your office suitable for your employees and the kind of work that you want them to do? If it’s not, then they will never be able to get things done quickly or properly. When employees are crammed into a small space, it puts them under pressure and causes stress. And they will also be more likely to argue when the workspaces are not adequate or suitable. To avoid this problem, change the layout of your office and the furniture you fill it with. If you can create spaces that are adaptable and varied, people will be able to choose where and how they work.

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Give Breaks to Employees

This might seem like a crazy idea when you are trying to make the workplace more productive and speedy. But it’s actually not as strange as it might sound. When your employees are forced to work continually without enough breaks, it’s not good for them. It’s not good for anyone. They start to become drained and tired. They can only look at the computer screen for so long without getting bored and fed up. Whereas, if you give them more breaks, they will have time to get away from the desk. That means they’ll be able to get refreshed and come back with a more positive mindset. Then, they’ll work faster.

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The Secrets Of Handling Customer’s Christmas Orders With Ease

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As Christmas starts to draw nearer, people from all over the world have already started ordering gifts for their loved ones. If you run an online retail store, this could be a good and a bad thing. You might see an increase in sales and traffic to your site as consumers search for the perfect gift. But if you aren’t prepared for this rise in demand, you could find yourself stressed and overworked. If you can’t get your customers orders to them in time, this can leave them feeling frustrated and unhappy. This can understandably have an adverse impact on your company’s reputation. So to remain in control of your customer’s online order this Christmas, follow these tips.

Provide multiple options

Only offering one type of postage and delivery to your customers can be a big mistake to make. If the option you offer is not convenient or doesn’t cater to your customers needs, it can put them off buying from you. To avoid this, you need to be able to provide multiple delivery options for your customers to choose from. You could look into parcel collection points or courier services in addition to standard postage. Your customers might also appreciate next day delivery or tracking codes if you are able to provide them. It can also be worthwhile to hire logistics consultants who can help you plan how to deliver your orders quickly and safely.

Set a Christmas deadline

Setting a deadline for Christmas orders is an excellent idea as it provides some structure to the process. It also gives you some time to process priority orders that need to arrive before Christmas. When choosing a deadline, be realistic and consider the postage and transport required for each order. Try not to leave it too close to Christmas Eve either.

Make sure your deadline is featured on every page on your site and is in a clear and prominent position. You should also remind your customers of the deadline date by using social media as it gets closer. As long as they are made aware of it regularly, customers won’t mind complying with the buying deadline you have set.

Don’t forget about returns

As well as experiencing an increase in orders, you might also find that you get an influx of returns too. If your returns process is too complicated, your customers are unlikely to want to shop with you again in future. So before the rush begins, make sure your returns process is as simple and straightforward as possible. Give instructions on how to return products on your website and on a card inside each order. Don’t forget to provide contact information if your customers have any issues too. You might also want to consider hiring a temp during the Christmas period who can help you process returns. That way you can keep new orders, and returns separate and keep your sanity.

By following the advice in this guide, you can keep your customers happy by getting their orders to them on time. The run up to Christmas day is likely to be your busiest time of year. But with some planning and thought beforehand, you can make it as stress-free as possible.

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What Do You Do If Your Business Goes Bust?

It’s a fate no-one want to think about when they’re setting up a business. When you pour every bit of your soul, energy and effort into it- failure is a difficult pill to swallow. Unfortunately, it does happen (and often too) and so if you have found yourself here then know that you’re not alone. There are a number of legal and practical issues that need to be sorted out, here’s what you need to do.

Sell What You Can

Your remaining stock, business supplies, even office equipment can be sold to raise money to help pay outstanding bills. You are likely to need to sell at reduced prices to get it shifted quickly, but any money you can raise to pay things down is a good thing. Your competitors may also be interested in purchasing your intellectual property too. This includes trademarks, copyrights, and patents plus any works or jobs you have in progress. Your customer lists, company name or product names may also be of interest. There are quite a few aspects of your business that you may not even have considered that can help you to raise money, so do your research.

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Speak To Your Creditors

Once you have raised as much money as you can from your business, you will need to speak to your creditors. Having this lump sum to offer them is helpful, from there you can look into negotiating a payment plan to cover the rest. Sometimes cases are a little more complex, and so if you’re unsure cut straight to the next point.

Hire an Insolvency Practitioner

When you can no longer afford to pay your creditors and have gone bankrupt, or your company has gone into liquidation, you are considered ‘insolvent.’ An insolvency practitioner (who usually has a background in accountancy or law) is licensed to advise on and undertake appointments about your insolvency. As this part of the law can be complicated, and particularly since you will be going through a difficult time dealing with the liquidation of your company, it’s advisable to seek professional help. A company such as Hudson Weir will be able to guide you through the process.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Don’t let your failure deter you from starting in business again in the future. Businesses set up by former bankrupts grow faster and do better than first timers, which makes sense. Think of everything you now know about business. A failure can show you what doesn’t work and put you on a better path for something that will. Evaluate everything that happened in the lead up to your failure and work out what you could have done differently. When you do start up a new venture, you’ll be much better prepared.

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Have you ever experienced a business going bust? What was your next move?

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Getting to Know Your Business Better: Why It’s Useful & How You Can do It

When you own a business, you rely on a team of people. That’s why it’s possible for owners to become relatively detached from their business. But you are still the one in charge, so doesn’t it make sense to know exactly what’s going on and how the business is functioning? Read on to find out why this is important and what you can do to change things.

Why Should You Know Your Business Inside Out?

Knowing your business inside out is a benefit to you and your business in all kinds of ways. For a start, it allows your business to become more adaptable and changeable. When you know what is going right and wrong, you will be able to make specific and pointed changes to how the business is run. This is hugely beneficial because it ensures that the business can always be as good as it possibly can be. You will also be able to build relationships with employees and important people.

You will be the one who is responsible for the success or failure of the business because you own it. So, it makes sense to be fully involved with how the business is run. If you’re not, then this will give you less control. When your business fails, it will be your fault for not playing a bigger and more influential role in the business. Your hands-on approach will certainly pay off, so here’s how to make it happen.

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How You Can Do It

The tips and advice you’ll find below will really help you to change how your business is run. You will know more, learn more and be in a better position to do more for the business. So, once you’ve read the advice below, you can start to put the ideas discussed into action.

Use Data to Track Performance and Efficiency

Using data better is something that any business owner can do right now. There are so many tools to help you with analytics and data tracking. When you use them properly, you can learn more about how your business is performing and how efficient it is. Having this information can help you to make changes to how you run the business, which is vitally important. Cefar Systems can be used for doing that, so use all the tools and equipment out there to learn more about how your business performs. Not knowing will only hide the deficiencies from you rather than solve them.

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Hold Meetings in Smaller Groups

Meetings can often be useless and meaningless. Those kinds of meetings if you want to do things properly. As the head of the business, it makes sense to hold meetings because it helps you to understand what your employees are working on. You can then coordinate their work and give feedback when necessary. To make the most of meetings, however, you’ll need to hold them in smaller groups. When you do this, you can give more precise feedback and get to know people on a one to one basis more easily. This matters a lot when you want to motivate and engage your workforce, so give it a try.

Talk to Buyers and Customers

The people who come at the end of your production process should also be paid closer attention to. After all, they are the ones that matter most when it comes to running a profitable business. If your buyers and customers are not happy with the products or services you’re providing, it won’t be long before they leave you. They can easily try out alternative companies if you’re not giving them what they need. That’s a big concern for you, or it should be anyway. Talk to them, start to understand their thoughts and opinions. Then you can make the changes that will keep them happy.

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Seek Out Wastage

All businesses waste money and resources in different ways. This is something that you will have to deal with if you are going to run your business in an efficient and profitable way. If you run your business from a distance and you’re not fully involved in what it does, you won’t be aware of this wastage. So, by making changes, you can get more involved and seek out these areas of wastage. You will then be able to identify changes that will allow your employees to use resources in a smarter and more efficient manner. In the end, that will turn out to be something that is massively important for the business.

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Add Some Glorious Prestige to Your Business Today!

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Prestige is something that small businesses often have a hard time getting. But it can be essential if you want to ascend to the big leagues. Here are a few tips for those looking for extra prestige!

On the shoulders of giants

A lot of small businesses owners can be pretty stubborn. They want to live this romantic business dream of starting out with nothing and building the business with their own hands. To get any sort of assistance from someone renowned would seem to taint that somewhat. But if you want to add some prestige to your business, this is the sort of thing you need to do.

Networking may reveal to you some very respected organizations or individuals. Teaming up with them can do wonders for your business. This can take the form of getting direct assistance from them, or even partnering up. Their strong reputation will help others see you in a more positive light. Read more about networking at http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/07/28/how-to-network-the-right-way-eight-tips/.

Celebrities

Of course, who is more “giant” than a celebrity? The companies that celebrities choose to endorse have to be chosen very carefully. The kind of prestige that celebrity backing can offer is definitely high. But there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. There are many out there who will see that tactic as a little tacky. And celebrities, of course, generally result in a bill that will make your eyes water. It’s worth considering, but there are probably better ways. Read more about it at http://opendorse.com/blog/celebrity-endorsements/.

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The physical address

So where is your business located? Is it in a popular commercial city, the kind that we see in classic and modern movies? Where it’s all “happening”? Cities like London, New York City, Tokyo, Paris – they all have a certain prestige about them. But not a lot of small businesses are located in such areas!

Unfortunately, a lot of these businesses are often dismissed because they’re located out of the way. A similar business located in a bustling city will always seem more professional and successful than one based on the outskirts. It shouldn’t really be that way, but that’s how it is. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to fight this. Let’s say you’re based somewhere like Bushey or Croxley, in England. Close to London, but no cigar. You could actually get yourself a virtual address based in central London. This can help you a lot in the prestige department! Read more at www.yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk/london-mail-address-business-services/mail-forwarding-london/.

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The not-so physical address

There are an alarming number of businesses out there who don’t have an online business domain for their email. What this means is that they have to use email addresses that name Gmail or Hotmail or Yahoo. This doesn’t exactly look very prestigious!

When you’re emailing people in businesses, you should be using a professional-looking email address. It should read your.name@companyname.com, or something to that effect. If your current web host hasn’t allowed for this feature to be bundled with your current website plan? Then you should probably find a different web host!

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