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Showing posts with label Digital. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Digital. Show all posts

Thursday, June 18, 2020

How Much Money Should A Startup Allocate To Digital Marketing


Digital marketing has become one of the cornerstones of brand development and cultivating user knowledge of your existence. With so many people connected on the web, it’s easy to see why more and more businesses rely on digital marketing to boost their exposure – even more so right now during the coronavirus pandemic.

The reality is that if you’re operating a startup at the moment, you’re likely working with a shoestring budget in order to stay afloat. Maybe your ‘doors’ aren’t even permitted to be open. Regardless, when considering your budget, you’ll need to allocate sufficient capital for digital content creation that will capture the attention of your target demographic. 

The difficult part is figuring out just how much capital is necessary to build and maintain a solid marketing plan for your startup. Because buyer behaviour is constantly morphing in response to how the current situation develops, you need to maintain a high level of flexibility in order to react.

Every dollar counts and online advertising is where it’s at least for the foreseeable future. Here’s how best to get started with your budget strategizing.

Evaluate Your Revenue 

Before making any rash decisions on how much money needs to be spent on digital marketing, you need to figure out the revenue and projected income of your business. This is the first step in crafting a great living budget.

By default of being a startup, you’re likely going to be just a tiny spec on any user’s radar at present. This means that now more than ever, you’ll need to allocate some additional funds to marketing. You haven’t yet made a name for yourself, so you’ll have to dish out a bit more in order to have an impact.

According to a recent CMO Survey, on average companies that make more than 10% of sales online allocate 13% of their total budget to marketing. It varies greatly by industry. But since you’re the new kid on the block, you may want to up those numbers in the beginning (if at all feasible).

Spice Up Your Social Media Marketing

This brings us to our next stop – social media. It’s something you really can’t afford to go without in the modern business world. There’s honestly such a massive audience, especially now while many people find themselves quarantined at home.

Over 90% of businesses in the United States use social media for their marketing. Let that sink in for a moment. When going about social media marketing strategy, you’ll have to work extra hard to stand out from all the noise.

You can do most of the digital marketing yourself, but it can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavour. If your budget allows, it’s worth it to consider hiring a professional specifically for this purpose. 

If you go down the route of a marketing strategy consultant, a social media management package may cost you anywhere from $600 – $2,500 a month depending on your business’ needs. You may be able to find cheaper freelancers or higher-end companies, depending on your revenue realities.

At the end of the day, though, leaving it to the pros and freeing up your time to focus on all the other tasks on your ever-growing agenda can work wonders.

Optimize Your Website

In order to stay competitive in the digital age, you can’t effectively conduct business without a proper website. Along with your social media, this helps you get established in the online community. We’re talking digital marketing, after all.

Maybe you have a basic understanding of web technology, and you’d like to attempt to build your website or start a blog from scratch. But if not, it may be wiser to outsource this job.

On average, an all-inclusive website costs around $3,000 – $6,000 if you rely on a professional’s help. And, of course, prices can vary greatly from your location, and how experienced your website engineer is.

You need to be incredibly careful when dealing with website design. While ensuring users experience an interactive onboarding walkthrough, you also have to be sure that everything is mobile-friendly. 

More and more people access the internet and do their browsing on the move. If you don’t create a mobile friendly online environment for them, you’ll miss out on valuable traffic.

Carefully Curate Content 

Content is the ketchup to your digital marketing hotdog. Valuable content is essential for creating user engagement on the web. Your website, social media pages and guest blogs are all outlets for content, so they must be curated properly to garner the right audience and foster interaction.

Again budget-wise, you’ll need to allocate to this depending on you and how hands-on you want to be. You can attempt to go it alone and rely on top content marketing tips from the pros, or you can again solicit the help of outside content consultants.

A regular flow of evergreen content will help establish your startup as thought leader customers and prospects turn to. Increased traffic and more page views will, in turn, result in Google indexing your site more often. A win-win if there ever was one.

Bear in mind that “Youtility” is the name of the game. Instead of focusing on grandiose marketing campaigns, try to hone in on the creation of consistently useful and usable content. 

If going the outsourcing route, small scale content creation agencies tend to charge anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000 for content strategy and creation. But as with everything else, these are just estimates and can vary depending on your situation and location.

Hit the Ground Running

As I bet you’ve gathered, digital marketing does come with a cost. It can be done with the minimal capital requirement, but for more effective results, you will need to sink some cash into it. See what works well with your budget and go from there.

Don’t rush when deciding whether to go with the DIY approach or hire consultants. Do your research carefully and be sure of your choice. Given everything that’s going on, it’s completely understandable if you just do the best you can when you can.

However, if you can afford it, hiring an experienced professional can save you tons of time, money and stress. Stay safe and choose wisely!

How To Bring Digital Transformation To Marketing


Every large-scale organization today has employees separated into different teams and scattered across the business (often across geographies). Many of those people are now working from home and more disconnected than ever.

If teams aren’t careful, fragmented information and disconnected processes can quickly hamper progress. According to an analysis by McKinsey, in an average workweek, employees spend 20% of their time “looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.” That’s why it’s important for members of the organization to come together with shared tools, knowledge and processes to achieve common goals.

Many organizations are turning to digital strategies to foster cross-department success in business growth and customer service — particularly now that physical sales and marketing events are off the table. While it’s true that digital transformation can have far-reaching implications across a company, marketing arguably has the most to gain. According to Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 “Top End User Priorities in Digital Transformation” report, which surveyed 1,636 IT decision makers, more than two-thirds of organizations believe sales and marketing departments will be most impacted by digital transformation.

What Will Marketing Gain From Digital Transformation?

For most organizations, the twin goals of digital transformation are increasing organizational efficiency and improving customer experience. In fact, these goals should be directly linked: increasing efficiency in order to improve customer experience.

While the implications of this notion are far-reaching for marketing, one key ramification is ensuring organizational cohesiveness, consistency and responsiveness. From marketing messages and materials to customer journey and touch points, each disparate business line or geography should speak with one voice and engage customers with a consistent experience.

The larger an organization, the more important this brand consistency, yet, the harder it becomes to maintain. Digitalization, thus, becomes a dual-edged sword for marketing: It can supercharge the ability of disparate teams and geographies to “roll their own” chaotic approach in tweaking digital assets, campaigns, customer engagement, etc. Versioning challenges, inconsistent approval processes, local or individual preferences, and different (and often incompatible) systems and software can all contribute to the mayhem.

Conversely, digital can be a transformation for global marketing. Materials can be easily findable, rapidly propagated and consistently delivered, while customer experience can be cohesive across systems, offerings and geographies. Best practices and successful campaigns can be quickly identified, iterated and disseminated across teams. The overall result can be a dramatic improvement in organizational cohesion, agility and responsiveness. 

Breaking Silos

One important roadblock to consider for any digital transformation is the existence of silos. Whether those are organizational, geographic or systemic, they will hinder the drive for consistency and efficiency. From a marketing perspective, those silos might be at the team or business level, driven by geography, or they might be a reflection of disparate systems and procedures.

The right approach to digital transformation can eliminate silos without the need to scrap everything and start from scratch. The answer lies in the use of automation to wrap and connect silos so that their existence no longer matters — not so much “breaking them” as making them disappear. For marketing, this might take the form of a unified content repository/dissemination, or automation that pulls and presents data insights from various tools, or process automation to route a customer journey through various systems.

In all cases the key consideration is that this automation eliminates the delays, errors and inconsistency that exists in manual approaches and disconnected silos.

Centering Excellence

Every transformation is a journey, and like any journey, it’s necessary to get and stay on track. For digital transformations, many organizations look to maintain bearings using what’s known as a center of excellence (CoE), which Gartner describes as “concentrating existing expertise and resources in a discipline or capability to attain and sustain world-class performance and value.” For marketing transformation, this means centralizing and sharing best practices across teams and identifying potential opportunities for digital media and technology to better meet marketing goals.

In creating a CoE, it’s important to begin holistically with the business’ long-term goals. What is marketing trying to achieve, and how does it support the larger business plan? How does marketing collaborate with and support other parts of the organization? Outlining specific objectives and best practices will guide team members within the organization in sharing resources and streamlining processes.

Since we’re talking about digital transformation, the members of that CoE must embrace agility and innovation. This isn’t about the digital technology itself as much as the business transformation; it means identifying change, understanding risk and moving rapidly to adjust and improve.

With objectives and teams in place, it’s important to identify how to measure success. This means not only establishing the key performance indicators (KPIs) but also the metrics relevant to the CoE itself (resource utilization, best practice propagation, etc.), along with assigned responsibility for achieving each goal.

The CoE should encapsulate a library of go-to marketing materials to drive consistency and efficiency. These materials could be as simple as document templates (for case studies, e-books, etc.) to branding kits or process guides. Clear and centralized assets and processes lead to faster iteration, as members across the organization gain visibility into successful campaigns. Without this insight, teams might duplicate efforts or wander in directions that don’t match the overall business plan.

The CoE also plays a critical role in keeping the transformation on track and constantly adapting. This is one journey that’s never done, and an iterative methodology ensures relevance as the organization evolves. Done correctly, the CoE helps enforce consistency, currency and collaboration.

Automation And Excellence In Action

The combination of automation and a CoE can drive cohesive transformation, ensuring a company’s digital assets are available to everyone, ready for use as needed. This can allow marketing leads to proactively monitor what is being used inside and outside the organization, and understand where to concentrate for continuous improvement.

Most marketing departments are ripe for digital transformation. Done correctly, it can have an outsized impact on the organization as a whole.


How To Make A Career Transition Into Web Development


Over the past ten years, there has been an explosion of interest in web development, and the number of people looking to make a career transition into the field.

The 2008–09 financial crisis caused millions of young adult workers to lose their jobs and rethink their entire careers from scratch. From the ashes of this crisis, web development has become the darling of the job market.

An increased number of companies, small and large, have turned to the wonders of web development to disrupt or adapt to the new “web 2.0” environment. These companies know that without a web presence, their businesses are doomed to be ignored.

The spike in interest in web development has led to millions of young adults thinking of it not just as a skill to learn, but as a career to adopt. But for those who have already gone through college and spent a life worth of savings to get their degree, switching their careers to web development seems like a tough proposition.

If you’re in this position, the questions are hard. Do you have to start all over again, taking expensive and lengthy classes to learn the skills? Or can you jump ship from a traditional career to web development and still make it until you get a well-paying job?

The answer is, no, you don’t have to go back to college to become a web developer. And yes, you can make a career transition to web development if you prepare yourself for it.

People from all backgrounds have been able to switch to a career in web development. Their advice will shine a light for those who want to do the same without having to sacrifice everything in the way.

To say that it is possible to become a web developer through self-education may have seemed like alchemy 20 years ago. In 2020, self-education appears to be the rule rather than the exception.

The 2016 StackOverflow annual survey found that almost 70% of its respondents considered themselves as “self-taught.” Whether they learned to code entirely on their own or partially is something the survey left out. However, it still shows the relevance self-education has for professional web developers.

For someone who wants to become a developer, learning on their own is more of a pragmatic obligation than a moral one. Without a formal degree, self-education is the only path to acquire the skills necessary to launch a web development career.

The question, however, shouldn’t be focused on whether self-education is a good idea or not. What truly matters, according to several developers, is to pick the right language and put all energies available into mastering it before focusing on a specific framework. It seems, unlike what the business saying goes, that it’s better to put all the eggs in one basket than to spread them out.

For Lexis Hanson, a former finance professional turned developer, mastering a programming language first — one based on her needs — and focusing on frameworks and libraries second was critical to her self education.

[Mastering a programming language first] forced me to stay focused on getting extremely comfortable with vanilla JavaScript before diving into frameworks, which made that next step significantly easier.

Putting language over frameworks may be the smart decision, but it still doesn’t help to pick the right one. One solution that can shine a light on the issue is to pick a personal project. The specific technical needs required to fulfill your project will guide your choices better.

One self-taught developer who’s in favor of this approach is Avi Flombaum. Instead of picking the first language that pops into a Google search, he explains:

Beginners shouldn’t care about the languages they’re using. They should care that their chosen language matches their goals, if they’re getting expertise and depth and in it — and, of course, if they love using it.

A personal project will foster your passion for programming, and it will help you decide on the language you should consider to build it. Some common ideas include:

  • a static website
  • a basic app, like a to-do list
  • an automation script

  • Another vital aspect to consider before settling on a specific language is to think about your natural problem-solving methodologies. How do you break down problems? How do you think about their solutions?

    In the case of Hanson, she wasn’t sure whether to choose a language based on object-oriented programming or functional programming. But instead of going with the wisdom of the crowds and picking a popular language, she thought about the way she solved problems in general. Based on that introspection, she chose the programming paradigm that best suited her (which happened to be JavaScript).

    Functional programming resonated with me (you might have other preferences), and I challenged myself to approach problems from a “functional-first” perspective. In my opinion, this forced me to think more flexibly about programming and how functions and components should “compose” with one another.

    As you learn the basics of a language, consider reading its documentation, especially if you’re already toying with a specific framework. At first, this may seem hard, but the more you practice your skills, and the more you read the documentation, the more sense it will all make.

    Angular - Career Transition Into Web Development

    Vinicius Brasil recommends using GitHub to find and read production code in the language you’re learning. He adds, “If you are confident to contribute, that’s even better.”

    Angular - Career Transition Into Web Development

    Whenever you get stuck, don’t panic. Web development is a friendly skill whose practitioners share solutions to common problems. Stack Overflow is the most popular place developers go to ask questions and share advice. And when you can’t seem to find a solution, remember: “Google is your friend.”

    Stack Overflow - Career Transition Into Web Development

    Among the many challenges self-educated developers often face is getting accustomed to the rather strange way of writing code. Many experienced developers will tell you that the way you write a string of code is as important as what that code is meant to do. The truthfulness of such a statement is a discussion of its own, and it has its merits, but for a beginner developer who’s learning on the side and with their own resources, writing perfect code is more of a luxury than a necessity, at least in the beginning.

    Such is the case of Jeremy Gunter, whose “learn first, clean later” mentality became the greatest boon to his confidence during the early days of his self-education. His methodology consisted of using pseudo-code to make his code work and then Googling how they are supposed to be written.

    Instead of going mental trying to remember method names, I focused on what action I needed to perform. When I wanted to add an item to the beginning of an array, I found it easier to google the phrase “add item to beginning of array JavaScript” than to try and use my own memory to differentiate between shift(), unshift(), and pop().

    Any experienced developer will probably grind their teeth at the idea of using pseudo-code over syntax. Still, for the self-educated folk, Gunter’s approach resembles more to Mark Zuckerberg’s “learn fast and break things” mantra than to Tim Peters’ “beautiful is better than ugly.”

    All in its time, Mr. Peters, all in its time.

    Build a Network

    College education is often seen as a mechanical process where a student acquires all the required knowledge to become a professional in their chosen field. Under this mentality, anything that doesn’t imply studying and memorizing technical concepts is secondary.

    This simplistic idea leaves a significant advantage that college-educated developers have over self-taught ones, and on which the latter must work if they want to be in an equal position to the former. That is, the professional network college provides to its students.

    A professional network is built upon a web of mentors, professors, job seekers, and classmates. Some of these people will eventually become colleagues, and some will act as referrals and references for job prospects, both critical elements to succeed in any professional career.

    To dismiss the importance that a network like this has over web developers is to undervalue one of the most prominent advantages colleges bring to their students. Thus, anyone who is considering switching to a career in web development must prioritize building this network while they develop their skillset.

    As a self-educated developer, you may not have professors or job seekers around you. The work, then, should be focused on building strong relationships with those developers who may help you in your journey.

    To start, you need to consider participating in local development events and meetups. Whether these meetings are general or language-specific isn’t important. What matters is that you proactively meet other people and become a part of the community.

    Nnena Ndukwe, a college dropout and former tanning consultant, explains the usefulness of attending meetups throughout her self-education journey:

    Having these conversations about tech with people in the field helped me gain more knowledge about opportunities for work, organizations to volunteer for, and tech or social events to attend that would be fulfilling. One opportunity always leads to the next via networking.

    To prove her point, Nnenna says she got her first development job through a bootcamp she heard about in one of the meetups she participated in. Whether meetups generate jobs directly or indirectly isn’t relevant. The point is that they compound the opportunities available for switching to a web development career.

    The most popular site to find local meetups is Meetup.Com, but you can also use Facebook events and Eventbrite. A quick search in any of these sites will bring you dozens of meetups in your area.

    MeetUp - Career Transition Into Web Development

    Just like Google is your friend when it comes to learning to code, you can also use it to find events in your area. You can use a general search query like “web development” plus your city, or a more specific one like “Python” (or any other language or framework you want) plus your city, and you’ll get many events close to you.

    Google - Career Transition Into Web Development

    You can both participate as an attendee and use the networking available to meet others who can help you, or you can give a talk on your self-taught process.

    Most attendees will be surprised and glad to meet someone who’s trying to make the switch without a degree. You may even meet others who happened to achieve your career switching goal and who can give you feedback and support on your journey.

    Another option to build a network is to participate in online communities. There are dozens of Slack chats for developers, and these will provide you with a great deal of information about the latest news, ideas, and people to connect with. You can even search for developers in your area you can meet for a coffee.

    These events and meetups aren’t just useful for meeting colleagues. As Nnenna Ndukwe attests, they are also effective for meeting potential clients or employers as well.

    Leverage the Gig Economy

    There will be a point in your journey to becoming a web developer where you’ll start to consider the idea of getting a job. No amount of studying will prepare you for the responsibilities of a real job, regardless of your educational background. When should you start sending applications?

    The most straightforward answer is that there’s never a right or wrong time to do so. You can start applying for jobs soon after you start studying web development or years later. If you’re afraid you’re still not ready to make the switch, one method you can apply to build confidence and experience is to leverage the “gig economy.”

    Sites like Craigslist, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour allow for people like yourself to get paid “gigs” — time-limited, contracted work. Not only do these gigs help you make some money on the side, but they help you get working experience (and maybe even references and referrals).

    Gigs - Career Transition Into Web Development

    According to Walt Schlender, gig jobs are unique in the sense they are —

    too small, too specialized, or too experimental to warrant hiring a full-time employee. The employers they work for hire them because they need to get a temporary job done, and the gig worker is available and willing to do the work.

    The revenue potential from using these platforms is famous for being low—demand, is often cost-oriented, and the offer adapts accordingly, having a large chunk of its user base from low-wage countries like Pakistan and the Philippines. To think it’s possible to make a living from these platforms isn’t necessarily the smartest idea, but for someone who lacks professional experience, this can be a great opportunity — especially for those with a severe case of “impostor syndrome.”

    Self-taught developer and former chef Tania Rascia explains that freelancing on Craigslist helped her build her resume and learn on the go while still making some money on the side. She kept applying to jobs as she studied until she finally got a full-time web development job. As an interesting note, she says:

    The biggest thing that helped me was making a blog to document everything I learned, and I would recommend the same to anyone who wants to learn.

    Other freelancing sites like Upwork and Freelancer are good alternatives for these types of jobs. One individual gig may not be the be all and end all to your career, but over time, they compound. Before you know it, a dozen or more of these gigs in your resume may work as well as having studied in college, especially if you’ve forked everything in your GitHub account.

    What’s more, some of these gigs can transform into bigger jobs. Schlender, who started his web development career through the use of the gig economy, explains:

    I would bill out a gig for 2 hours (the gig actually took me a bit longer) and I would deliver exactly what my client asked me for. The next day the client would ask if I had time for another project.

    Every project I created was another project I could add to my portfolio. Every project also expanded my network. People I met would refer their friends and colleagues to me. Over the years, I ended up working for some pretty big-name companies.

    Another similar (and equally valid) alternative is to give away your skills to non-profits, local businesses, or your network. Free work, if used correctly, is a currency of its own. It may not have monetary value, but it has moral significance. It builds good-will, and if the person or company receiving it knows about your journey and gets value from it, they’ll likely recommend you to people who need a professional developer in their team.

    Companies like Catchafire or donate:code can be the perfect leverage to practice your new skills in real projects that get you experience and build your confidence. As long as you treat these non-profit projects as work and not just a fun thing you do for selfish reasons, you’ll learn a lot, and the organizations involved will benefit greatly. And you’ll also build good karma if you’re into that.

    Conclusion

    Switching to a technical career like web development is undoubtedly a scary proposition. Despite what college can bring you, a deep passion for the field, and a lot of hard work can compensate for most of the advantages educational institutions bring to their students.

    Studying, practicing, and sharing what you learn form a trifecta for success for anyone who’s self-learning any skill. If you embrace it, your new web development career will have a great chance of success. Good luck!

    Ready to begin the journey? There’s plenty more you can do to prepare. Learn how top developers ace job interviews, how to prepare for a remote job search and find the right remote job for you, and how participating in the development community can improve your career prospects.

    And when you are ready, find the best remote jobs in tech on SitePoint Remote.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2020

    How to recover your Android phone


    how-to-recover-android-001

    The term “loved ones” refers to different things to different people. To some, it includes family and close friends. To others, it includes lovers, boyfriends, and girlfriends. And, to many others, it can even include favorite gadgets, such as their Android phones. Regardless of the term’s scope, no one ever wants to lose a loved one.

    But, accidents happen. We lose some, we win some. The loss of a beloved Android phone — either through negligence or through theft — can not only be a sad moment but also a dangerous moment, especially if you keep a lot of sensitive, personal information on your phone. So many questions can run through your head: Where is it? Did someone find it? Is it going to be returned? Has the finder accessed my files yet? What will the finder do with the data on my phone?

    In this guide, learn tips on how to recover your Android phone. But, more than that, learn how to safeguard your phone, set it up for easy recovery when it gets lost, and prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.

    (For a visual guide, you can watch the accompanying video guide near the end of this post.)

    Basic phone security

    Far be it from you to ever lose your phone. But, when accidents happen, you’d want to be prepared. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then securing your phone using its inbuilt security features will be a good first line of defense against data theft. This way, you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that even if you couldn’t recover your Android phone, the person who found it won’t be able to recover your data either.

    Basic security on Android phones include using a security PIN for your SIM card, a lock screen code for your phone, displaying phone owner info, and phone/data encryption. These serve as first-level security against prying eyes and people who may have intentions of snooping into your phone. These also help ensure that nobody will be able to use your phone and your contacts without your permission.

    how-to-recover-android-002

    SIM lock protection

    Activating your SIM’s protective PIN will protect messages and contacts stored in the SIM. When your SIM is protected with a PIN, your phone will ask you to enter the SIM PIN after you power on your phone.

    To protect your SIM card with a PIN, go to Settings > Security > SIM Card Lock > Set Up SIM Card Lock. Tick the checkbox for the “Lock SIM Card” option. You’ll be asked for the default SIM PIN, which should have been provided to you by your network operator. Do not input the wrong PIN more than thrice, or else you could lock yourself out of your SIM and will need to input the PUK code. Once you’ve successfully activated the SIM card lock feature, you can also change the default SIM PIN.

    how-to-recover-android-003

    For extra protection, certain Samsung phones provide a mechanism for alerting you whenever the SIM card is removed or changed on your phone. Most Samsung handsets include this feature, which requires a Samsung account. This feature is included in Samsung’s Find My Mobile. When the feature is enabled, the phone will send a message to the number that you set, notifying that the SIM card on your phone has been removed or changed.

    For users of non-Samsung phones phones that don’t have this feature, you can resort to apps such as SIM Card Change Notifier or SIM Tracker. These apps can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.

    how-to-recover-android-004

    Phone screen lock

    Enabling stricter lock screen security helps ensure that no one can unlock your phone without authorization. Android provides several levels of lock screen security, the least secure of which is “Pattern Lock”, and the most secure of which is “Password Lock”.

    how-to-recover-android-005

    To set up screen lock, go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock. The path/location may be different on other custom OEM skins such as TouchWiz. Among the options for screen lock methods, you can choose from one of the following:

    • None
    • Slide
    • Face Unlock
    • Pattern
    • PIN
    • Password

    how-to-recover-android-006

    Displaying owner info on lockscreen

    On most phones running Android 4.0 or higher, you can also display owner info on the lock screen. Some people opt out of this feature, citing privacy reasons, but I find it a very useful feature. For example, if I’ve protected my phone with a password, the good-natured person who finds my lost phone will not be able to unlock my phone and will have a hard time knowing whom to return the phone to — unless I opt to display my contact info on the lockscreen.

    how-to-recover-android-007

    To set owner info to be shown on the lockscreen, you’ll usually find the option in Settings > Security > Owner Info. Whatever text you enter into the text box will be displayed on the lockscreen. Just make sure you set it to show on the lockscreen.

    Remember to provide essential contact info: owner’s name, address, contact number(s), email address, etc. This way, if ever a Good Samaritan picks up your lost phone and decides to return it, she or he will know whom to return it to and how to contact you.

    I suggest that you also consider attaching an owner information sticker to the underside of your phone’s backplate or on the battery or in the battery compartment. This way, the phone’s finder will still find contact information in case your lost device runs out of power.

    Encrypting phone data

    Apart from setting up basic security settings (e.g., SIM lock, lock screen, owner info), you can fortify phone security further by using encryption. Through this feature, you can encrypt your phone’s internal storage and/or external storage (depending on phone and custom OEM software).

    If you opt to encrypt your phone, you will have to set a decryption password and enter it each time you power on your device. The encryption process is irreversible. To remove encryption, you will need to factory reset your phone — which means saying goodbye to all your phone data.

    Android device manufacturers have different ways of implementing the encryption feature. On most Android phones (including the Nexuses), you’ll find it in Settings > Security > Encrypt Phone.

    On Samsung phones, you’ll find it in Settings > Security > Encrypt Device and in Settings > Security > Encrypt External SD Card.

    On most new HTC phones, you’ll find it in Settings > Storage > Storage Encryption and in Settings > Storage > Storage Card Encryption.

    If you specified a password or PIN unlock code for your lockscreen, the same password or PIN will be used to decrypt your phone. If you use other screen lock methods besides PIN or password, you will need to nominate a password or PIN for decryption purposes.

    Backing up data

    Another big portion of the “ounce of prevention” part is that of backing up your phone data. No one knows the day or hour when one will lose her or his phone, so backup your phone data right now. By backing up your data, you will always have reserve copies of your data if you ever lose your phone.

    There actually are numerous ways to backup your phone data. You can go with local backups (i.e., phone to computer) or cloud-based services (i.e., phone to remote servers). For more info, see our articles on how to backup your Android phone to the cloud and how to make local backups of your Android phone data for more help.

    how-to-recover-android-008

    Samsung’s Find My Mobile

    If you’re a Samsung phone owner, a built-in feature called Find My Mobile can be of great use in trying to recover your Android phone. This one’s a Samsung-exclusive add-on feature that lets you lock your lost phone and/or wipe your lost phone’s data remotely. You can also view your phone’s location and track its movement and whereabouts within the last 12 hours.

    Through the Find My Mobile website, you can also remotely ring your phone, lock or unlock your phone’s screen, retrieve call logs, and forward messages and calls to a number that you specify.

    You can find the Find My Mobile feature by going to Settings > Security > Find My Mobile. For this feature to work, you’ll need to sign in to your Samsung account. Mobile data also needs to be activated on your phone. The feature can be a great time-saver when trying to recover your Android phone.

    Mobile security and tracking apps

    If you don’t have the Find My Mobile feature on your non-Samsung phone, it’s not yet the end of the world for you. You still have several alternative apps on the Google Play Store for tracking and recovering your lost phone, or even of remotely wiping your phone data.

    The important thing to remember about these apps is that you need to install them RIGHT NOW, while your phone is still with you. Choose one that suits your needs best and install it today, BEFORE YOU LOSE YOUR PHONE.

    how-to-recover-android-009

    Antivirus Security – FREE

    When looking for an Android app to help you recover your lost phone, one of the first apps that you can look into is AVG’s Antivirus Security – FREE app. Aside from protection against viruses and malware, you’ll benefit from AVG’s Anti-Theft feature, which can help you locate your missing phone.

    To use the Anti-Theft service, you need to create an AVG account; you can use your Google account to sign up. The Anti-Theft feature is used in conjunction with its web console at www.avgmobilation.com, through which you can remotely manage your phone and send commands to be executed on your phone, including the following:

    • “shout” or setting off a loud alarm,
    • showing the device’s approximate location on Google Maps,
    • locking down the device and showing a custom lock screen message to help the finder return the device to you,
    • unlocking the screen,
    • wiping all data stored on the phone and reformatting the microSD card, and
    • scanning the phone for possible security threats.

    For the above commands to be successfully received and executed by your phone, your phone’s mobile data connection must be active. Otherwise, the web console cannot communicate with your phone.

    AVG SMS commands

    If you forgot to turn on mobile data before your phone went MIA, what to do? AVG’s Anti-Theft service can still help through SMS-based commands. The SMS commands, though, work only if the phone’s SIM hasn’t been removed or replaced, and provided that the phone is powered on.

    You will also need to know your phone’s AVG ID number beforehand. You can find your phone’s AVG ID number by logging in to the web console or by visiting the How to Use Anti-Theft page in the AVG app. Also take note of the commands, which are case-sensitive.

    Using any phone, just send any of the following case-sensitive commands as an SMS message to your missing phone:

    • ScreamMyPhone <missing phone's AVG ID number>
      • Sets off a loud alarm even if the phone is on Silent Profile
    • LocateMyPhone <missing phone's AVG ID number>
      • To locate your phone; you will receive info about your phone’s approximate location
    • LockMyPhone <missing phone's AVG ID number>
      • Locks your phone
    • UnLockMyPhone <missing phone's AVG ID number>
      • Unlocks your phone

    There is no SMS command for remotely wiping your data, so you will really have to use AVG’s web console to do so.

    how-to-recover-android-010

    avast! Mobile Security

    Another app that can help you recover your Android phone is the avast! Mobile Security app, primarily an anti-malware app that also includes an anti-theft feature. The anti-theft feature exists as an add-on module that you need to install from within the app.

    In case of phone loss, you can execute commands remotely from a PC to your phone. Just go to your avast! account page, open the dropdown list of remote commands, and click Send. With avast!, you can mark your devices as lost, lock it, sound the siren, locate the device, erase data, and many more. Make sure to log-in to your avast! account on your device for remote commands to work.

    avast! SMS commands

    If the Web-based interface isn’t an option for you, you can still send remote commands via SMS through another phone. The message is comprised of the avast! PIN that you specified at setup time and the command in all uppercase. Here are some of the commands that you can remotely run on your phone via SMS:

    • LOST
    • FOUND
    • LOCK
    • UNLOCK
    • MESSAGE
    • SIREN [ON|OFF]
    • LOCATE
    • WIPE
    • REBOOT

    Compared to most other mobile security and phone finder apps with SMS remote command support, avast! Mobile Security has the longest list of SMS commands that I have ever seen. There are actually more commands (see the full list in Anti-Theft > Help, System State, About > SMS Commands) such as those for setting the LOCATE interval, forwarding calls and SMS, receiving call notification alerts, getting SMS and contacts, setting owner info, setting a new avast! PIN, and several other advanced commands.

    If the SIM card on your lost phone is removed or changed — which almost always happens in the case of theft — avast! Mobile Security will send a notification to the phone number saved in the app. Once the original SIM card is removed and changed with another one, the app will automatically enable Wi-Fi, GPS, and Mobile Data so that the app can carry out its tracking duties and, hopefully, pinpoint exactly where the phone is. The Settings menu of the phone can’t be accessed as well, preventing changes to be done on the phone.

    how-to-recover-android-011

    Where’s My Droid

    The Where’s My Droid app is a free, ad-supported device locator. It can help you find your missing phone through the use of SMS commands. Unlike other mobile tracker and locator apps, this one doesn’t need you to register for an account to be able to remotely manage your lost phone.

    Alienman Tech, the developer of the app, has also provided a website where you can send remote commands to your lost phone. Just enter your phone’s mobile number and choose its mobile operator from a drop down menu on the website, www.wheresmydroid.com.

    Commands are called “attention words”. Here are some examples of SMS commands that you can send to your missing phone through another phone:

    • WMD Ring
      • Available in free version. Forces the phone to ring even if it’s on Silent or Vibrate Mode.
    • WMD GPS
      • Available in free version. Allows you to find the phone’s location using another phone or by using the website. Phone’s GPS should already be turned on so the app can report the phone’s location through SMS.
    • WMD Camera Back
      • Available in paid version. Takes a photo using the the phone’s back camera and uploads it to a server. The app will text back a URL to the photo.
    • WMD Camera Front
      • Available in paid version. Does the same thing as previous command, but uses the front camera.
    • WMD Lock nnnn
      • Available in paid version. Locks the phone from unauthorized use with a four-digit PIN.
    • WMD Unlock
      • Available in paid version. Unlocks the phone, bypassing the specified PIN.
    • WMD Wipe
      • Available in paid version. Wipes your device and/or SD card data, depending on your settings.

    The attention words are also customizable. So, change the command “WMD Ring” into anything that you fancy, such as “Scream” or maybe “Shout” and the latter new commands become the new attention words for that particular function. Just don’t forget the custom attention words that you set.

    Upgrading to the app’s pro version brings in more features like taking photos using either the back or front camera, remotely locking your device, remotely wiping your phone and SD card data, and more. It also removes ads.

    how-to-recover-android-012

    Lookout Security & Antivirus

    The last — definitely not the least — mobile finder app that I recommend is the Lookout Security & Antivirus app. On top of being an effective shield against viruses and malware, it also safeguards your phone data and aids you in locating your lost or stolen phone.

    For Android phones running on Android 2.2 to Android 2.3.7, you can use Lookout’s Plan B. This is the only phone tracking app that can be installed AFTER you’ve lost your phone. It doesn’t need to be installed beforehand. Sadly, Plan B only works on phones running the said Android versions. For phones running Android 4.0 or higher, you’ll have to make do with Lookout Security & Antivirus.

    Just like the rest of the apps mentioned in this article, Lookout Security & Antivirus also has an online counterpart, www.lookout.com. With an account, you can remotely let your device “scream” even if its on silent, back up phone data, locate the phone, and more.

    Lock Cam and Signal Flare

    Two great things about Lookout Security & Antivirus is Lock Cam and Signal Flare. Signal Flare automatically saves your phone’s last known location to the Lookout server before the phone runs out of battery. Meanwhile, Lock Cam automatically and silently activates the front camera and takes a photo immediately after three failed attempts of unlocking the screen. The photo and the phone’s location are then sent to the phone owner’s email address.

    If you want to be able to remotely lock your phone or completely wipe your phone data (e.g., messages, contacts, logins), you can do so in the premium version of the app. The paid version also lets you backup your photos and call logs; in the free version, you’ll be able to backup contacts only.

    Video Guide

    Know more about securing your Android phone and recovering your lost Android phone:

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    Conclusion

    Never overlook preparedness. Definitely never overlook mobile security. Otherwise, you will be counted among the foolish who regret their oversight later when they could no longer retrieve their data or recover their Android phone anymore.

    Ever experienced losing your phone? What was the experience like? How did you recover your Android phone? Share your experiences in the comments.

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