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The 4 Best Accounting Blogs to Find Free Expert Advice

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One of the biggest challenges many business owners face is finding quality expert accounting advice and information. Although it’s always best to find and work with a qualified accounting professional, there are a number of free accounting blogs online that can also be extremely helpful. We’ve compiled a list of four of the best accounting blogs around, to help you find answers to questions, learn accounting principles and keep up to date on important accounting topics.

Writer: Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

What makes it awesome: Averkamp’s accounting blog is different than most: He has developed an entire curriculum to help small-business owners, bookkeepers and accounting students learn accounting concepts in an easy to navigate course-like format. Rather than providing articles like a typical blog, his site includes accounting tutorials and extensive Q&A about each topic, along with practice quizzes and puzzles to reinforce your knowledge. There is also a paid version that includes cheat sheets, flash cards and formal tests on each topic.

Who it’s for: Anyone struggling to learn accounting concepts such as debits and credits or accrual vs cash basis accounting. Or if you are looking to learn how to read financial statements or reconcile a bank account.  A cool feature on this accounting blog is that it allows you to search for accounting terms and sort by various uses of each concept.

Editor: Dennis Jajjar, CPA, CGMA

What makes it awesome: Accountingdepartment.com publishes content from various contributors that includes actionable advice that you can use to improve the bookkeeping and accounting practices in your business. Types of topics covered on this accounting blog include understanding the various settings and workflows in QuickBooks accounting software to best practices in billing and collections. In addition to the blog, you can register for live webinars that tackle topics like job costing and how to analyze your P&L statement to identify discrepancies and areas of concern.

Who it’s for: Small-business owners, bookkeepers, controllers and other accounting professionals looking for tips and resources about bookkeeping workflow procedures, proper accounting treatment of certain transactions and the use of accounting technology.

Editor: Veronica Wasek, CPA

What makes it awesome: What’s so amazing about Wasek’s accounting blog is that she keeps her articles short and succinct, and is able to simplify even the most complex accounting concepts. She writes about topics such as how to find and hire the right bookkeeping or accounting professional, how to close the books in QuickBooks Online or how and when to write off a bad debt — just to name a few of her articles. Her tutorials are straightforward, easy to follow and include lots of screenshots and infographics. She even includes video tutorials to go along with each article!

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to learn ways to save time on their accounting processes or looking for tips on how to record a tricky transaction in their QuickBooks software.

Editor: Stephen King CPA, CGMA

What makes it awesome: The GrowthForce accounting blog focuses on providing tips and advice to help small-businesses identify and understand financial and other metrics in their business that can be used to make better business decisions. You’ll find a wealth of information about managing your cash flow, finding and retaining the right employees and other topics that are relevant to any business owner. I adore how easy it is to navigate the blog, there are three ways to search for topics – by keyword, category or author. This makes it super easy to find what you are looking for. Some of the categories you can browse are Accounting System Design and Optimization, HR Profitability and Growth and Financial Intelligence, Reporting & KPIs.

Who it’s for: Small-business owners and others who are looking to take their financial literacy to the next level and learn to dig deeper into their company’s financial metrics. Controllers and CFOs can find some great articles about what’s happening in the accounting industry here, too.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

Paylocity vs. ADP 2021 Comparison Review

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Both Paylocity and ADP are cloud-based payroll systems, meaning you can access your account anywhere you have an internet connection. Whereas ADP offers several different plans based on the number of employees and features you’re looking for, Paylocity doesn’t have plans per se; rather you can choose from a variety of features and work with the Paylocity team to create a custom plan for your business. Here’s what to know.

ADP Payroll

Do It Yourself, Run, Workforce Now

Quote-based

Quote-based


Payday preview, payroll adjustments, new hire templates

Tax filing, new hire onboarding, employee discounts, HR assistance

Mobile app


Yes; Android and iOS


Yes; Android and iOS

Free trial


Do It Yourself plan only

Integrations


300+ across 20 product categories

Paylocity features and pricing

Paylocity doesn’t have different plans like ADP does; rather they offer a variety of services that you can choose from. They also don’t offer upfront pricing for their services. While this makes it more difficult to compare to other services, you can expect to build a custom plan with Paylocity based on the number of employees you have and the features your business needs. In this way, you can ensure you’re not paying for any tools you won’t actually use, which can often be the case when you have to choose a premade plan.

However, as far as pricing for payroll and HR services go, you can probably expect to pay a monthly base price plus an additional monthly cost per employee. With that said, let’s explore some of the features you can utilize with Paylocity.

Of course, payroll services will be one of the most important aspects of whichever software you choose. With Paylocity, you can expect:

  • Preview, correct and verify your register prior to processing payroll.

  • Option for employees to access a portion of their paychecks before payday.

  • Expense reimbursement tools to track and organize expenses, automate reimbursement and simplify approvals.

  • Data integration for benefits like 401(k).

Paylocity also features a compliance dashboard to help you stay compliant and manage your taxes with Paylocity. They also offer tax filing services as a registered reporting agent and can file your payroll taxes for you, including IRS Form 941 for quarterly taxes.

ADP Payroll plans and pricing

Like Paylocity, ADP is also a cloud-based payroll and HR management software platform with quote-based pricing.

ADP does, however, offer separate plans based on the number of employees you have and the features you need. While this can make it easier to compare your options, you can also likely work with ADP to add or remove features to customize your plan. Let’s take a closer look at ADP’s solutions for small and midsize businesses: Do It Yourself, Run and Workforce Now, as well as the plans within each of these.

Of course, if your company has 10 or more employees, the DIY plan won’t work for you. The next step up is ADP Run, which is designed for businesses with one to 49 employees. Within the Run program, there are four plans for you to choose from.

Each plan increases in features, building on the previous ones and adding even more functionality. The Essential and Enhanced plans cover mainly payroll, while the Complete and HR Pro plans also include HR features. Again, each plan is quote-based so you’ll have to work with ADP directly for pricing information. Here’s a rundown of the features you can expect with each of the four ADP Run plans (remembering that as you move down the line, the upper-level plans include all of the features in the previous plans).

  • Direct deposit.

  • Payroll delivery.

  • Robust reporting.

  • General ledger interface.

  • New-hire reporting.

  • W-2s and 1099s.

  • Tax filing.

  • Mobile app.

  • ADP employee access.

  • HR tips and newsletter.

  • State and federal forms and resources.

  • HR checkups.

  • Check signing and stuffing; secure check.

  • Poster compliance.

  • State unemployment insurance (SUI).

  • Garnishment payment services.

  • ZipRecruiter.

  • Employee handbook wizard.

  • HR HelpDesk.

  • New-hire onboarding.

  • Background checks.

  • Job description wizard.

  • HR forms and documents.

  • HR training and toolkits.

  • HR compliance database and alerts.

  • Document vault.

  • HR tracking.

  • Alerts and notifications.

  • Enhanced employee handbook support.

  • Enhanced HR HelpDesk support.

  • Employee discount program.

  • Work-life employee assistance programs.

  • Training for employers and employees.

  • Legal assistance from LegalShield.

As you dive into the higher-level ADP plans, you go from a simple payroll solution to an all-encompassing HR management tool to cover everything from hiring and onboarding new employees to administering payroll and benefits company-wide.

Paylocity pros and cons

Any product has its pros and cons, most of which will depend on your individual business and what you’re hoping to get out of this software. That said, here are some highlights and lowlights of Paylocity to consider.

Paylocity pros

  • Integrations: Paylocity offers over 300 integrations across 20 product categories, including applicant tracking, insurance, time and attendance and more. This means you’ll likely be able to link any other business management systems you use to share data between platforms and reduce the need to manually import anything. This also allows you to further customize your software to get the most out of it.

  • Streamlined processes: Beyond their standard offerings and integrations, Paylocity also has a push notification feature known as webhooks, so you can create a custom notification system triggered by certain events, including new hires, termination, time-off approvals or other changes. This means less manual work for your team, as well as less of a chance that something falls through the cracks.

Paylocity cons

  • Pricing: This is actually a con for both Paylocity and ADP as neither provides upfront pricing on their websites. While it’s wise to be wary of quote-based pricing since there’s no way to know whether you’re getting the same price as a similar-sized business with the same HR needs, it may be to your business’s benefit to work directly with the provider to create a custom solution. However, we recommend getting quotes from several sources before you decide on one to ensure that you are getting a competitive price.

  • Customer support: Even users who rave about the Paylocity product say their customer service can be lacking. Users note that it can take a significant amount of time for a customer service representative to get back to you. And as any business owner can tell you, if an issue causes your payroll to not go out on schedule, you’ll definitely want a quick solution.

ADP pros and cons

Now, let’s explore the pros and cons of using ADP.

ADP pros

  • Scalability: For businesses with fewer than 10 employees all the way to enterprise-level companies, ADP will definitely be able to scale with your company. Their products are designed with business growth in mind and can easily grow with your business, making them a potential lifelong partner.

  • Customer support: Unlike Paylocity, ADP has fairly well-received comprehensive customer support. They offer support 24/7 to both employers and employees by phone or email.

ADP cons

  • Pricing: Once again, the lack of transparent pricing available from ADP is a drawback — unless you’re interested in their DIY plan, which does have upfront pricing.  Again, we recommend getting quotes from several products to fully compare your options.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

How to Accept Credit Card Payments Without a Merchant Account

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If you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible to accept credit card payments without a merchant account, the short answer is yes.

It would be more accurate, however, to say that you can accept credit card payments without a dedicated merchant account — meaning without a merchant account that’s unique to your business.

In order for your small business to accept credit card payments without a merchant account, you’ll have to work with a payment service provider, also known as a third-party payment provider, payment facilitator or processing aggregator. These providers, like Square and PayPal, allow you to accept credit cards through their payment service, which includes a built-in merchant account — meaning they aggregate all of their customers’ funds into one merchant account which can then be transferred into individual business bank accounts.

How it works

When you have a merchant account, the process of accepting a credit card payment — whether in-person, online or using a virtual terminal — looks like this:

  • After you’ve accepted a credit card payment, your payment processing company transmits the data to your merchant account.

  • As this is happening, your payment processor consults your customer’s bank, the issuing bank, before the payment information is accepted or denied.

  • If the customer’s bank approves the transaction, then you can accept the payment and complete the transaction.

  • Once the transaction is approved, your payment processor will deduct any fees and then deposit the funds in your merchant account.

Ultimately, you do need a merchant account to be involved in this process, however, it doesn’t have to be a merchant account dedicated to your business. Instead, you have the option to work with a payment service provider, sometimes referred to as a third-party payment provider, payment facilitator or processing aggregator.

Accept credit card payments using a payment service provider

If you think you’d prefer to accept credit card payments without a merchant account, you’ll want to explore the different payment service providers on the market to find the one that will work best for your business. Whether you need to accept credit cards online, or in-person, using an e-commerce platform integration or point-of-sale system, you’ll want to look for the payment service provider that will fulfill that specific need.

Generally, many payment service providers will include some kind of hardware or software with their service, in addition to payment processing. Payment service providers will also typically charge flat-rate transaction fees and very limited additional fees.

If you’re looking for a payment service provider, you’ll want to compare your options in terms of both features and pricing. Once you’ve found your preferred provider, you’ll more than likely be able to apply for an account online and, depending on your payment acceptance method, start accepting credit cards almost immediately.

In this case, the actual procedure involved in accepting and processing payments will look exactly as described above, except the merchant account in question will belong to your payment service provider. Then, once the funds are deposited in your payment service provider’s merchant account, they’ll transfer the appropriate funds to your business bank account.

Payment service providers vs. Merchant account providers

Let’s dive deeper into the possible advantages (and disadvantages) of working with a payment service provider, compared to working with a traditional merchant account provider.

Working with a payment service provider

Why would you choose to accept credit card payments without a merchant account by using a payment service provider?

First, the process of signing up for and receiving service from a payment service provider is usually quick and easy compared to a merchant account provider. With merchant account providers, you generally have to go through an underwriting process, as the provider wants to ensure that you’re not going to pose substantial risk for them by granting you a merchant account. Comparatively, as a payment service provider is working with a larger group of merchants within one single merchant account, the risk isn’t as influential.

Another benefit of using a payment service provider is that they usually offer an all-inclusive platform where you can choose the specific solution you need. As an example, if you work with Square, you can choose from their multitude of payment options: Square Point of Sale, Square Invoicing, Square Payments, Square Virtual Terminal, depending on how and where you need to accept credit card payments. Regardless of the particular solution you choose, you receive access to the Square dashboard, as well as their PCI compliance and other security measures.

Another of the top reasons that business owners choose to work with a payment service provider is that compared to merchant account providers, payment service providers charge significantly fewer fees — and the fees they do charge are much more transparent. Most payment service providers will charge a flat-rate transaction fee based on the type of transaction, but won’t charge contract or early-termination fees, setup fees, refund fees or PCI compliance fees. Any fees that they charge are typically laid out clearly on their website.

Although merchant account providers may be able to offer interchange-plus pricing for processing (arguably the most affordable type of pricing), they also generally require complex contracts, charge a number of additional fees and aren’t completely clear with said charges.

Still, working with a payment service provider to accept credit card payments without a merchant account has its downsides as well.

You’re more likely to experience account holds or termination with payment service providers. Although you can much more easily apply and receive payment service from this kind of provider, the provider reserves the risk to monitor your account and freeze or cancel it if they deem your business too risky. Therefore, one of the biggest criticisms of providers like Stripe or Square is these types of service interruptions.

Another notable downside you’ll see with payment service providers is customer service issues. Even when payment service providers offer customer support solutions in a variety of different ways, business owners often report that they’re not particularly accessible or helpful, especially in situations regarding account freezes or closures. On the other hand, when working with a merchant account provider, you typically have greater access to support representatives who know about your specific business and activity.

Working with a merchant account provider

It’s worth mentioning why some business owners ultimately choose to work with a merchant account provider, like Fattmerchant or Payment Depot, instead of a payment service provider.

First, whereas payment service providers are often criticized for account freezes and closures, you’re less likely to suffer these types of issues with a merchant account provider. Overall, your account is more stable in this case because of the more in-depth qualification process you went through when signing up for a dedicated merchant account through this kind of provider.

Additionally, with merchant account providers, you can receive a more personalized service. This applies to customer service as well as pricing and scalability. Many merchant account providers offer interchange-plus pricing, as opposed to flat-rate pricing. Although this pricing model may not be as clear on the surface, it’s typically considered the best for merchants and offers the cheapest credit card processing fees. Plus, many merchant account providers will allow you to negotiate your rates and pricing structure.

Moreover, because working with a merchant account provider means you’re receiving your own dedicated merchant account, you’re less likely to see limits on processing volume or transaction amounts, which you will see with some payment service providers.

Top payment service providers to choose from

If you’re interested in accepting credit card payments without a merchant account, you might consider working with one of these providers:

Square

Square is perhaps one of the most well-known payment service providers. By working with Square, you can accept credit card payments without a merchant account in the way that works for your business. Square offers a POS system with different hardware and software options, an online payments platform, a virtual terminal and more.

You can sign up for a Square account for free online and start taking payments almost instantly. Square charges flat-rate pricing, with Square fees for in-person payments starting at 2.75% using a card reader terminal. Additionally, when you work with Square as your payment service provider, you receive a free Square magstripe reader, access to the Square dashboard and app marketplace, PCI compliance, security and fraud monitoring and customer support. On the whole, Square only charges transaction fees and doesn’t require a long-term contract or charge setup fees, account fees, batch fees, refund fees or chargeback fees.

Square is known for their flexibility, variety of options and ease of use. Therefore, as a payment service provider that allows you to accept credit card payments without a merchant account, Square is always a top option to consider.

Stripe

Another option for payment service providers is Stripe. While Square offers greater solutions for businesses that need a POS system, Stripe is more-focused on online payments. Nevertheless, with Stripe, you can sign up for a free account online and start accepting payments in minutes.

Stripe’s payment platform allows you to accept credit card payments (as well as other payment types) without a merchant account. You can accept payments online with an embedded checkout, payment page on your website, recurring invoices and even in-person with the Stripe terminal. For all online payments, Stripe charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Like Square, Stripe does not charge monthly fees, setup fees or refund fees; they do, however, have a $15 chargeback fee.

On the whole though, Stripe’s service includes data security, PCI compliance, reporting, dashboard access, a developer platform and integration options and 24/7 customer support. Like Square, Stripe is known for their usability, flexibility and advanced technology.

PayPal

Finally, you might also consider PayPal as a top option for accepting credit card payments without a merchant account. As one of the most well-known names in online payments, PayPal provides a number of business solutions that allow you to accept the full range of payment methods.

You can use PayPal to accept payments on your website, to connect to your e-commerce platform, by invoicing customers and to accept in-person payments using PayPal Here. Like Stripe and Square, PayPal makes it simple to get started, allowing you to sign up online and accept payments quickly. PayPal charges flat-rate transaction fees, 2.7% for in-person payments and 2.9% plus $0.30 for online payments and invoicing.

Once again, just like Square and Stripe, PayPal does not charge setup, termination or other monthly fees — unless you choose to utilize one of their specialty services, like PayPal Payments Pro. Regardless of the method you choose to accept payments with PayPal, you’ll receive fraud protection tools, hundreds of integration options, customer support and more.

With all of the different options Paypal can offer, they’re a particularly noteworthy payment service provider for online-based businesses, as well as those who typically accept payments online but would benefit from an occasional in-person payment option.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

Best Coffee Shop POS Systems

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The coffee shop industry is hot right now, with a market valuation of over $45 billion and an expected annual growth rate of nearly 3%. Capitalize on America’s coffee craze with these top five coffee shop POS systems for any type of coffee shop.

Square for Restaurants: Best all-around coffee shop POS

Don’t let the name confuse you. Square for Restaurants can work just as well for coffee shops as it can for larger food service establishments. With Square you can accept all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) and payment methods. Square will supply new users with a magstripe card reader for free, but Bluetooth EMV and NFC card readers can be purchased for $49.

In terms of other hardware, Square for Restaurants currently only runs on iPads. You can purchase your iPad and iPad stand (with a built-in magstripe reader) directly from Square to complete your countertop POS.

Once you’re up and running with Square for Restaurants, you’ll have access to a variety of intuitive features designed to make managing your coffee shop easier. Square for Restaurants features a drag-and-drop menu creator, easy to understand tickets, employee time tracking and preset tip amounts.

There’s also multi-location management tools, allowing you to manage all your locations from one account. What’s more, Square offers add-on features like a delivery system, loyalty program and marketing tools.

In terms of cost, Square for Restaurants runs $0, $60 or $299+per month depending on the plan you choose. Square will also charge a flat rate for processing credit card transactions. This combination of price and performance makes it a solid option for any type of coffee shop.

ShopKeep: Best coffee shop POS for high-volume shops

ShopKeeps’s POS systems are designed for merchants in the food service industry. Like Square, you can process all different types of payment with ShopKeep, and ShopKeep also offers a full range of payment features, including partial payments, open tabs, split payments, tip recommendations, refunds, discounts and the ability to print, text or email receipts.

In order to run ShopKeep’s POS software, you’ll need to use either an iPad or Clover POS Terminal. ShopKeep also sells POS hardware kits.

For coffee shop owners, the two kits that would most suit your needs are the restaurant kit (cash drawer, iPad enclosure, kitchen printer, receipt printer, EMV and NFC-capable credit card reader and ethernet cable) and the quick-service kit (cash drawer, iPad enclosure, receipt printer and EMV and NFC-capable credit card reader).

On their website, ShopKeep promises that their POS system will allow you to turn over orders fast and help you make the most profitable menu by identifying your top-selling items.

ShopKeep’s analytics app allows you to monitor your business from a desktop or mobile device, and their integration with MailChimp helps you create email marketing campaigns. Some other notable tools include an employee time clock, scheduling interface, gift card program and multi-store management functionality.

In terms of pricing, you’ll be able to choose from three software plans:

  • Basic: $49 per month.

  • Essential: $79 per month.

  • Advanced: $179 per month.

All of these plans are billed on annual basis — if you opt for month-to-month pricing, each plan is a little more expensive ($20 more per month). That said, ShopKeep includes integrated payment processing with ShopKeep Payments, and you can choose between flat-rate pricing and interchange-plus pricing.

With the flat-rate pricing model, you’ll pay 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person, card-present payments. With the interchange-plus model, on the other hand, you’ll receive customized rates based on your business and sales volume.

Toast: Best coffee shop POS for larger shops

Toast is a leader in the food service POS space — and while it’s a bit more expensive than other POS systems, it’s a great option for growth-minded coffee shops. As with ShopKeep and Square, Toast is capable of accepting all forms of payments, and provides the hardware that will allow you to do so.

When you sign up to use Toast, you can pay $499 to have a Toast representative come on-site and install your POS system, as well as upload a digital version of your menu into the software. They’ll then provide you and your staff with 1:1 training to help you learn how to use your new POS. After you’re all set up, Toast will provide your business with free software updates every month.

Speaking of software, Toast’s POS software comes with all the bells and whistles. You can select the days and times when certain menus become available, add images and descriptions and adjust pricing situationally (i.e., early-bird specials).

Toast’s propriety touchscreen POS terminal (a branded Android Tablet) comes attached to a swiveling stand, allowing customers to punch-in orders themselves, thereby minimizing errors. Once an order is placed, Toast will surface a tipping prompt and notify you when an order is ready. Receipts can be printed, emailed or texted to the customer. If customers opt for a digital receipt, Toast POS will save their contact information to your database, along with their order history.

With customer information saved, you can arrange for Toast to send them customized marketing messages and promotions. On the employee management side, Toast offers user-based permissions, unique employee PIN numbers, a time clock and shift overview reports. Other perks include real-time inventory updates, a gift card and loyalty program and the ability to place purchase orders directly from the POS.

Toast offers quote-based pricing for your credit card processing rate. Your monthly subscription fee starts at $79 for one terminal, plus another $50 for every additional terminal in use.

Toast hardware can be purchased individually or as part of a bundle. Bundles start at $450 for a handheld Tablet bundle to $1,350 for a terminal bundle (which comes with a 10-inch terminal, card reader, receipt printer, cash drawer and tablet). Non-bundled hardware is sold via quote-based pricing. Additional hardware items sold by toast include user-facing kiosks and kitchen display systems.

Lightspeed for Restaurants: Most flexible coffee shop POS

Our fourth coffee shop POS system recommendation is Lightspeed for Restaurants. In addition to payment flexibility and features designed to turn orders fast, Lightspeed takes things a step further by allowing you to pick from a wide range of payment processors to integrate with your system.

Payment processors that currently work with Lightspeed include iZettle, Verifone, Yomani/Yoximo with Worldline, Dejavoo with Worldpay, Moneris, First Data, Bridgepay and Cayan.

Lightspeed for Restaurants is designed to run on an iPad. Like Square, ShopKeep and Toast, Lightspeed offers a hardware bundle that comes with everything a coffee shop owner would need: an iPad stand, receipt printer, cash drawer, Liteserver and kitchen printer. Pricing on bundles is quote-based. You can also purchase a kitchen display system and customer-facing display from Lightspeed for an additional fee.

For ordering, Lightspeed boasts a self-ordering app, allowing customers to use your POS terminal to place their order and make payment without having to go through a server. When you download the Lightspeed Self-Order Menu app, your Lightspeed Restaurant menu will automatically populate. You can customize the interface with your business’s branding and pictures of menu items.

Other features include real-time stock counts, a food cost tracker, custom permissions for managers and employees, a time clock, scheduling interface, shift reports and a CRM where you can store customer payment information (with their permission) and track their payment history and favorite products.

Lightspeed Restaurant costs $69 per month for one register. Your payment processing rate is determined by your merchant acquirer.

Loyverse: Best low-cost coffee shop POS

Lastly there’s Loyverse. Loyverse is entirely free to use. Loyverse is a not-for-profit enterprise and can be a big help to coffee shop owners operating on a shoestring budget.

Keep in mind that since Loyverse is free, you’re not going to get all the bells and whistles that you would with the other coffee shop POS system recommendations. However, Loyverse does have software designed specifically for coffee shops, and it can work on both iOS and Android devices. For payment processing, you’ll have to either use SumUp or Worldpay. SumUp will charge you a processing rate of 2.65%, while Wordplay’s rate can be as high as 2.9% + $0.30.

In terms of hardware, you can purchase a variety of compatible receipt printers, barcode scanners, terminal stands, cash drawers and label printers through the Loyverse hardware marketplace. There is also a kitchen display system and customer display system on offer.

Loyverse’s software features are limited, but merchants can still apply discounts, send text and email receipts, track stock counts, set employee permissions and run sales reports. And, as the name might suggest, Loyverse gives merchants a free loyalty program that allows customers to earn redeemable points on purchases.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

Podcast Discovery 101: How to Find Podcasts Easily

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Podcast Discovery 101: How to Find Podcasts Easily

The growth in podcasts is significant for listeners looking for a show that appeals to their individual interests. Plus, it’s great for marketers and business owners looking for new platforms to advertise on and new audiences to reach.

While you won’t find any lack of podcasts, the sheer volume out there makes it time-consuming to slim down your choices and find appealing podcasts.

In this guide, we explore both how to find podcasts as well as how to get your own podcast discovered.

How to Find Podcasts That Interest You

If you’re overwhelmed by the number of podcasts out there, it’s not surprising. How many podcasts are there exactly? The latest research shows there are over 47 million episodes available, and the number is growing.

As an article on Pacific Content states, there are “Too many podcasts. Not enough time.”

Keeping up with new episodes and freshly-launched podcasts are tough enough, and that’s before finding time to read the backlog of podcasts we’ve got lined up.

Even if we don’t listen to a podcast, 75 percent of U.S. adults are at least aware of them, and with mobile devices, I think it’s safe to assume this number will keep growing.

With so many podcasts available, how do you find the ones you want to listen to?

1: How to Find Podcasts by Performing a Discovery Google Search

The quickest and easiest way to find podcasts is Google. Just choose your niche, and type in “business podcasts,” “health podcasts,” “relationship podcasts,” or whichever topic interests you the most. Google isn’t your only choice, though.

2: How to Find Podcasts Using the Search Bar in the Main Podcast Host Sites

There’s no shortage of podcast hosting sites. With a quick search on Google, you’ll find:

  • Buzzsprout
  • Podbean
  • Anchor
  • Riverside
  • Spreaker

There isn’t space to talk you through all of them, so I’ll use Spreaker as an example.

On Spreaker, go to the “listen” option at the top of the page and click. You’ll then get a list of subheads, including “staff picks,” ”crime,” and “featured,” where you’ll find plenty of podcasts to browse through.

3: How to Find Podcasts Using New and Emerging Podcast Discovery Tools

Regular podcast listeners may well be familiar with some of the newer discovery tools. These tools take the effort out of finding podcasts.

Below, I will outline some of the most prominent tools, explain how to use them, their advantages, and their main features, starting with Listen Notes.

Listen Notes

If you’re trying to find a podcast, Listen Notes calls itself “the best podcast search engine,” but it does a lot more than purely serve as a discovery tool.

To give you a better idea, you could:

  • spot cross-promotion opportunities with other podcasters and use them for networking
  • build podcast apps with Listen Notes API
  • find information about topics for content ideas

The site is packed with features, too:

  • “listen later,” where you create your playlists
  • a “submit your podcast” option
  • a discover tab for finding new podcasts
  • the podcast academy, which provides tutorials and articles
  • hot, best, curated, and “find similar podcasts” search functions
  • classified ads, where you’ll find guest spots and cross-promotion opportunities

Listennotes.com takes you straight to the main search engine, so you can just type in “business growth” or “digital marketing,” or whatever interests you. Doing this will bring up a list of podcasts so you can dive in and see which ones appeal to you most.

It’s also worth typing in “trending” to see what’s happening and what’s capturing other users’ imaginations.

Another way to find podcasts is to go to the “discover” link at the top of the page. Here, you’ll find a drop-down list to select from.

Listen Notes is free, but you can sign up for a paid membership to access the “super” search engine and other features.

The site’s main advantages are its ease of use and navigation, and if you’re just looking for podcasts in your niche, you shouldn’t find any real disadvantages.

Pod Hunt

how to find podcasts - PodHunt

Pod Hunt promises “the best podcasts daily.” When you visit the site, you’ll go straight to the main search engine, where you can start your search.

In the example above, the search term is “technolog.” Once you’ve got a list of podcasts, you can click through to whichever one grabs your attention.

Along the top of the page, you’ll also find:

  • episodes, for a list of recent episodes
  • categories, which show an extensive range of A-Z topics
  • collections, where you’ll discover curated podcasts
  • feeds, where you can find the top podcast episodes

You can also sign up for the site’s newsletter or submit an episode from the main search engine page.

You might find Pod Hunt is not quite as sophisticated as Listen Notes, and there are fewer features. However, it’s a good site if you want to do a quick search.

Podchaser

Podchaser lets you find podcasts, curated lists, ratings, reviews, and guest appearances. The search page brings up a list of the latest episodes, or you can use the white search box at the top of the page to find podcasts in your preferred niche.

The right side of the page shows you the most popular categories, where you’ll find easy access to business, comedy, true crime, and news podcasts, among others. You’ll also find trending creators with well-known names like Barack Obama, Trevor Noah, and Joe Rogan.

It’s free, but if you want to “supercharge your broadcast planning and outreach,” you can request further details.

There are no apparent drawbacks. It’s a simply structured, easy-to-use search site.

Spreaker

how to find podcasts - Spreaker

Spreaker is podcast creation software and app. It organizes, curates, and delivers content through live audio feeds, simplifying everything and making it straightforward to find podcasts and import your podcast library.

Spreaker is also favorable to creators by using RSS feeds for direct distribution and monetization. It’s compatible with the iPhone and the iPad, and you just need to download the app to begin.

Its key features include:

  • short-form audio highlights, enabling you to find podcasts of interest for you
  • a personalized audio feed, which features recommendations
  • a live playlist showing you the latest content
  • nine categories, including “true crime” and “self-improvement”

The app’s biggest advantages are the time it saves looking for the content you want and how easy it is to find podcasts.

Castro

Castro is another podcast app you can download from the Apple App Store. It provides a single playlist known as the “Queue.”

Through Castro, you can manage large numbers of podcasts and choose whether you want to listen to the podcasts straight away or if you want them sent to your inbox for later.

Main features include:

  • enhanced audio options
  • push notifications for immediate listening
  • customized playback speeds and reduced listening times
  • podcast sharing

To use it, just download the app for free, or pay $18.99 a year to unlock advanced features.

Podible

Podible promises “more time listening and less time digging.” Download the free app from the iTunes store, and you’ll find podcasts and discover similar shows.

Other features include:

  • listening to classics
  • podcast recommendations
  • playlist creation

Using the app needs little description: Just install it, and you’ll soon find your way around.

The most significant advantage is the ease of finding podcasts that match your niche, and it gets positive feedback for its user interface.

The recommendations feature needs some work on the downside, and it’s been some time since Podible has updated its social media content.

4: How to Find Podcasts Using Niche Podcast Discovery Apps

Another way to find podcasts is through niche apps. These further refine your search by narrowing it down to niche topics it’s true crime, business, comedy, or tech.

These apps are growing in popularity due to their time-saving abilities. To give you an idea of what’s offered, I’ve highlighted a few below.

Laughable

You’ve probably guessed the Laughable app is the place to go to find comedy shows, but it acts as a gateway to other genres as well. For example, you can discover Oprah’s and Barack Obama’s podcast through the app.

It’s regularly updated, so there’s always fresh podcast content available. Other features worth exploring are:

  • curated episodes and download options for offline listening
  • finding comedians when they’re hosting or appearing as a guest.
  • different playback speeds and the “subscribe” button for listening to actors, musicians, and athletes

Laughable is extremely popular and often rated among the best. Its top feature is the easy search function, where you’ll find podcasts, episodes, and series.

As for negatives, some users would like to see a playlist, and a reviewer felt downloading podcasts was more complicated than necessary.

Pinna

how to find podcasts - Pinna

On Pinna, you’ll find a host of resources to keep children entertained. Pinna doesn’t just limit its content to apps. It’s an ad-free service that offers audiobooks and music.

A yearly fee gives you yearlong access to the shows, and Pinna provides a month’s free trial to begin with.

Once you get on the Pinna website, choose the subheading that most interests you and get exploring.

You’ll find shows like:

  • Hero Hotel
  • The Totally Unauthorized Minecraft Fan Show
  • Opal Watson: Private Eye

Click on whichever show grabs your attention or your child’s imagination, and sign up for the free trial to start listening.

They have various categories of content for different age groups, where you’ll find:

  • bedtime stories
  • car trip stories
  • play along with content
  • learning content

Leela Kids

Leela Kids searches the internet for audio content suitable for children. You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play, and there are three steps to accessing content:

  1. Choose the age group and area of interest.
  2. Check through the results to find suitable content.
  3. Then, click and listen.

You can also opt into emails to get recommendations a couple of times a month.

Like other niche-specific sites, Leela Kids takes the effort to find podcasts online, and its ease of use is by far its biggest advantage.

How to Get Your Podcast Discovered

Maybe you’re a podcaster trying to get your show discovered, or perhaps you’re just thinking about starting one up, and you want to make it easier for others to find your podcast.

It might seem intimidating if you’re not sure where to start, but don’t worry. These next steps will help you promote your show.

Use keywords: You use SEO to get your other content discovered, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t make your podcasts SEO-friendly as well. You can research keywords with free tools like Ubersuggest, the Ubersuggest Chrome Extension, or Google Keyword planner.

When you’ve got your list of keywords ready, include them in titles and descriptions and add them to podcast directories for organic traffic.

Get social: That doesn’t mean just using prominent platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Instead, take advantage of the networking opportunities you’ll find on podcast directories.

Some directories listed in the article have a networking section so you can build relationships with fellow podcasters and get the word out.

Use your mailing list: Existing marketers have a ready audience thanks to their mailing lists. Share snippets and links in your newsletters and other marketing materials to help them find your podcasts.

Start marketing: Don’t just use your existing customer base. Start marketing to a broader audience. Finding guest post opportunities, issuing press releases when you’re doing something newsworthy, and writing guest blogs for your niche are a few ways you can spread the word.

Repurpose your content: The more places you share your podcast content, the better chance people will find the content you’ve created. For example, you could:

  • share part of a transcript in your newsletter with a link to the whole show
  • create short YouTube videos or get your podcast listed on apps
  • make an infographic or meme to share on social media

Conclusion

Podcasts are growing in popularity, and successful shows like the Marketing School give absorbable content for listeners on the move.

However, the sheer volume of podcasts can sometimes make it hard to find the podcasts you’re searching for, which is where podcast directories and niche apps come in; they simplify your search to make it easier to find podcasts that match your interests. You can use similar methods to get your own podcast discovered.

If you want to advertise on podcasts or make one of your own but aren’t sure how. to get started, reach out to our agency. We can help!

Do you listen to podcasts? How do you find podcasts that capture your attention? Tell us below.

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