Web Host Blogs

Do I Need Domain Privacy?

HostGator Blog -

The post Do I Need Domain Privacy? appeared first on HostGator Blog. When you register a new domain name, with most providers, one of the first options you’ll see during the checkout process is whether or not to select domain privacy protection as an add-on. You’re already spending money on your domain and web hosting, so naturally before you agree to one more expense, you want to know for sure: is domain privacy worth it?  While the cost for domain privacy protection is fairly low (it’s $14.95 a year with HostGator), money is money and you don’t want to pay for anything you don’t need. When trying to decide if domain name privacy is necessary for you, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know.  What is Domain Privacy Protection? Domain privacy protection, sometimes called WHOIS protection, is an add-on service with domain name registration that allows you to keep your name and contact information private.  Every time someone registers a domain name, the domain registrar you go through is required to provide details about who the new website owner is to the ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) WHOIS directory.  That ensures if a website does anything against the law, there’s a way to track down the website owner. But it means that every person who owns a website faces the possibility of exposing important personal information to the whole wide web, including your physical address, phone number, and email address.  For anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable with that, domain privacy protection provides the option to have your registrar submit their contact information in place of yours. It keeps you on the right side of ICANN’s requirements, without exposing your personal information to the world.  Is Domain Privacy Worth It? Each website owner can decide for themselves whether domain privacy protection is needed, but many people decide it’s well worth the cost for a few compelling reasons.  1. You don’t want strangers to know your physical address. Strangers on the internet aren’t always harmless. Usually trolls like to stay hidden behind a screen, but they don’t always stay there. If your physical address is published publicly on the web, anyone who finds your website can find you in person.  This benefit is especially important for website owners that don’t have a business location. If you’re using your home address, do you really want to make it easy for strangers to be able to track you down online? Even if your website is on a topic that’s mild (but especially if you’ll be publishing anything at all controversial), that’s a real risk. For businesses that can use a company headquarters as their listed location, the risk is smaller, especially if your address will be listed elsewhere around the web. In those cases, this particular benefit may not be worth much, but the others may still be.  2. Domain privacy protection means less spam.  How many times a day do you get phone calls from unidentified numbers? How about emails selling products you’d never dream of buying at all—much less from a cold email? Spam is an unfortunate part of life. It’s bad enough without putting your email address and phone number out there where anyone can find it. Listing your contact information in the WHOIS database basically guarantees that you’ll see an uptick in spam calls and emails. It makes you an easy target. And while there are certainly worse things in the world than spam, who wants to spend their time deleting spam emails or fielding robo-calls? Domain privacy protection may not keep you from dealing with any spam, but it means getting a lot less of it.  3. Domain privacy protection keeps your contact info out of the hands of scammers.  Spam is one thing, but people selling something you don’t need is mostly just annoying. If there’s one thing worse than spam, it’s scams. Having your contact information widely available gives scammers an easy way to contact you.  But that’s not the only concern. Scammers are always out to get as much information on people as possible. When they know a lot about you, it makes them seem more convincing.  The WHOIS directory doesn’t just provide contact information, it also includes information like who your domain registrar is and when your domain is due to renew. A savvy scammer could use that information to pose as your domain registrar to get you to pay a renewal fee to the wrong company.  Domain privacy protection is the best way to avoid being the target of scams like that.  4. Domain privacy hides your information from competitors. Anyone who has a business or is thinking of starting one will likely do market research into the industry. Competitor research is a typical part of that process. Including your details in the WHOIS directory makes digging up information about your company that much easier for competitors.  If you own multiple websites especially, the WHOIS directory is an easy way for people to make the connection between them. If you’d rather keep your brands separate in the eyes of competitors, or you simply don’t want to make it easy for them to find out more about your company, domain privacy is worth it.  5. For all the benefits you get, it’s cheap.  Maybe none of these benefits would be worth it if they came with a hefty price tag, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to increase privacy and reduce spam. Domain privacy protection is very affordable, considering the benefits. At around $15 a year, you can keep yourself and your brand safer, while saving yourself the annoyance of more unnecessary contact attempts from spammers. That’s probably less than you spent the last time you went out to eat.  Domain Privacy Protection Is Worth It  Even if you’re on a tight budget, there’s a good chance you can afford the cost of domain privacy protection. For what it can save you in time fielding spam calls and emails, the cost is already worth it. But add to that the risks it protects you from, and the cost of domain privacy looks a lot more reasonable. HostGator customers can easily add domain privacy protection when registering a new domain, or to a domain they already own within just a couple of minutes. It’s quick, it’s affordable, and it offers real benefits.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

11 Last-Minute Website Changes You Can Make Now to Boost Holiday Sales

HostGator Blog -

The post 11 Last-Minute Website Changes You Can Make Now to Boost Holiday Sales appeared first on HostGator Blog. Is there ever enough time to plan for the holidays? Not really, especially when you run an eCommerce store. If you feel like you’re falling behind before the season even begins, don’t stress. Here are eleven things you can do over the next few days to get your site up to speed for more holiday sales.  1. Upgrade your hosting plan. Start the season by heading off eCommerce disaster. Traffic spikes on peak sales days can crash your site, cost you sales and damage your brand. Case in point: J. Crew’s 2018 Black Friday site crash cost the clothing retailer an estimated $700,000 in lost sales. It also generated negative press and lots of customer complaints on social media.  An online retailer’s worst-case Black Friday scenario That’s no way to ring in the holidays. Check now to make sure your plan can accommodate your estimated peak traffic, and upgrade for more capacity if you need to. 2. Reuse what worked last holiday season. Look over your sales and site traffic data. What were your most popular products and promotions? Feature them again. Which days were your busiest? Tease your best deals for those days. What search keywords led to the most conversions? Make sure they’re part of your holiday section. 3. Set up your holiday section now. Build your Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing, category and product pages now. Test them for load time, display and function on desktop and mobile. Use the keywords that your holiday shoppers searched for most last year, plus any that are trending now. Make sure navigation between your store’s holiday section and the rest of your shop is seamless. Once you know it all works, put it up for your early bird shoppers. Game, a UK-based retailer, consistently gets kudos for its well-designed Black Friday landing pages. Here’s its Black Friday preview page from 2017: Deals sorted by console, a newsletter opt-in and holiday keywords (Christmas gift ideas, Xbox deals, PS4deals). Nice! Here’s what Game already has up for 2019, more than two months ahead of the big day: Game is serious about Black Friday 4. Put your holiday gift cards front and center. Gift cards were the most sought-after kind of present during the 2018 holiday season, and shoppers love them, too. Make sure visitors to your store can find them fast—especially once the shipping deadline passes for Dec. 25 delivery. National Retail Federation 2018 survey results 5. Don’t skimp on deals. “Getting a great deal” was the top priority for 74% of 2018 holiday shoppers surveyed by Deloitte. Discounts are by far the most popular deal, but free shipping, bonus gifts and rewards points are popular, too.  Deloitte 2018 Holiday Survey of Consumers Promote your upcoming deals early. Forty percent of shoppers have already started buying gifts by Nov. 1. 6. Show off your shipping options. Yes, you should offer free shipping deals, because online shoppers love them—see the chart above. Also, make sure customers know about your free shipping deals, plus your other shipping options and the deadlines to ship for holiday arrival. A crystal-clear holiday shipping deadline notice Don’t be subtle. Make a big, easy to see statement and include it on your homepage, product pages and checkout. Remember, shoppers are busy, most are on their phones, and they don’t want to dig through your site to find shipping deadlines. 7. Step up your customer service game. More than half of online holiday purchases in 2017 were made on smartphones, Google found, as busy shoppers worked through their lists whenever they had a few spare minutes. Be ready to quickly answer customer questions about products, deliver times and deals. You may need to scale up or outsource your human or chatbot customer service capacity during the holidays to meet demand. Facebook Messenger for Business is an easy and inexpensive always-on customer service option, too. 8. Check your social sharing capabilities. Make it easy for customers people to share your products, deals, holiday content and promo codes on social media this holiday season. If your social share plugin doesn’t integrate with Google Analytics, you’re losing data that could help you create more effective promos and posts. AddToAny includes lots of social platforms, lets you customize more and delivers the analytics you need. 9. Serve up fun holiday content. Now’s the time to update holiday content that did well for you last year or create something new. Stuck for ideas? Consider a gift guide that features your bestsellersa “customer picks” list that features the products with the best customer reviewsholiday recipesfavorite charities and nonprofits for holiday givingholiday tips—for travel, entertaining or decoratingtrend pieces that focus on what’s going to be hot in the year ahead Uncommon Goods has more than two dozen niche gift guides Include your social share buttons on this content and include links to your holiday products and landing pages. 10. Protect your holiday revenue from fraudsters. Read up on common holiday eCommerce scams that target stores’ shipping practices to steal merch for resale. If you typically have a huge surge in orders that slows down your approval process during the holidays, talk now to third-party fraud prevention services about outsourcing your overflow during the holidays. And consider upgrading your SSL certificate for stronger protection against man-in-the-middle attacks that can steal your customers’ payment data.  11. Buckle down on backups. Black Friday site traffic surges, hacker antics and unexpected problems can knock stores offline right when they should be doing peak sales. If that happens, having a recent uncorrupted version of your site backed up and ready to install can make the difference between a banner day and a big loss. Check now. Does your web hosting service offer automated daily backups, like HostGator’s Managed WordPress hosting plans do? If not, it’s time to add that capability through a service like CodeGuard. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Introducing Your New and Improved Customer Portal

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Our new customer portal features a mobile-friendly design, new navigation interfact, and relevant content only a fingertip away. Liquid Web is committed to ensuring that every one of our customers has a great interaction with our customer portal and we are excited to announce the launch of my.liquidweb.com on Wednesday, October 30th, 2019. We have fully rebuilt the portal to feature a new, sleek design. This redesign is not only easy on the eye but reworks the navigation to be much easier to use. We are really excited about these upgrades because they were made with direct input from many customers’ points of view. This launch is a beta release, with about 70 percent functionality of the current portal. We will continue to add functionality as time goes on, but we didn’t want to hold something back this good for too long! The current portal will also remain online so that you can easily switch back and forth between the old view to the new view. Some updates you can expect to find: Mobile-First Design – Same great experience on tablet or mobile phone! Active Incidents and the Latest News on the Login Page Topical Help Articles on Every Page List of Recommended Actions so You Can Get to the Place You Need Fast View of Open Support Tickets From the Home Page New Invoice – Simpler and Much Easier to Read and Understand The new portal has improved navigation and has more relevant content readily available. Mobile-first view makes it easy to manage your server and account from your phone or tablet. The new my.liquidweb.com portal will be available to all our Hosting and Cloud Sites customers on October 30th, 2019. Customers can access the newly improved portal either by directly going to my.liquidweb.com starting on October 30th, 2019, or logging in normally and clicking the My Liquid Web Beta button. Managed Application customers can request access to the Beta via ticket. As always, the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting™ are standing by for any questions you may have. Reach out to us by phone, chat, or ticket. We are here to help! The post Introducing Your New and Improved Customer Portal appeared first on Liquid Web.

Subdomain vs Domain

HostGator Blog -

The post Subdomain vs Domain appeared first on HostGator Blog. When you’re searching for a domain name, there are all kinds of terms that you’ll come across. All of this can be a little overwhelming when you’re just getting started.  All you want to do is build a website as quickly as possible. But, by taking the time to learn a little bit about the technical elements of your website, you’ll make it much easier to manage, build, and troubleshoot your website.  For most people, the quest to get a website online will begin with choosing a domain name.  Below you’ll learn the differences between a subdomain vs. a domain so that you can make the right decision for your next online project. Although they both serve different purposes on the web, domains and subdomains are related, as you’ll soon learn below.  What is a Domain? To have a website that lives on the internet, you’re going to need a domain name. Without a domain name, there’s no way for visitors to access your website! Before domain names were invented, you needed to type in the IP address for a given website to access it. Today, domain names act as a placeholder for the complex string of numbers known as an IP address. So, instead of typing in a series of numbers like 32.222.46.1 you type in hostgator.com into your browser. This makes things much easier and makes the consumer internet much more user-friendly. When you’re trying to find the perfect domain name, you’ll not only have to come up with the perfect domain name, but you’ll need to choose a domain extension as well. This is the “.com,” “.net,” “.org” portion of a domain name. The domain name extension you choose will influence how your visitors perceive your domain, so choose wisely.  When Do You Use a Domain? Luckily, this question is easy to answer. If you want to have a website that’s accessible via the internet, then you’re going to need a domain name. The most challenging part about the process is choosing a domain name you like and finding the right domain name extension, or top-level domain (TLD). In some cases, you can get away with using a subdomain to build a website. For example, when you create a free website using WordPress.com, Tumblr, or Blogger, you’ll be doing so with a subdomain. This might work if you’re playing around and experimenting with a new platform. But, if you’re serious about your website, or building an online business, then you’ll want your own domain. Overall, a domain is an inexpensive investment that claims your piece of virtual real estate on the internet.  What is a Subdomain? A subdomain is an add-on to your primary domain name. For example, when you’re using the site Craigslist, you’re always using a subdomain like reno.craigslist.org, or sfbay.craigslist.org. You’ll automatically be forwarded to the subdomain that corresponds to your physical location.  Essentially, a subdomain is a separate part of your website that operates under the same primary domain name. For example, your primary domain name could be “bestwebdesigner.com,” while you could add a subdomain to that domain called “blog.bestwebdesigner.com.” However, to create a subdomain, you must first have a primary domain name. Without a primary domain name, there’s no way to add a subdomain onto it.  Subdomains give you the freedom of creating an entirely new website, while still using the same domain name. Plus, you can usually create an unlimited number of subdomains for every domain you own.  As you’ll soon learn below, there are a few scenarios when using a subdomain makes sense.  When to Use a Subdomain There are a ton of different reasons to use a subdomain. However, here are the most common  situations where utilizing a subdomain makes sense: 1. Creating a Site Resource or Support Page If your website requires an extensive support, documentation, or a tutorial section, then you might find a subdomain useful.  When you’re trying to create and structure a ton of different content, you’ll need to think about how you can organize this content, so it’s easy to access and digest.  For example, you’ll find a separate support section at Google that’s using a subdomain.  Other types of websites might create a separate tutorials section, a knowledge base, or any other aspect of your site that requires extensive content management outside of a traditional blog.  2. Hosting a Company Blog Some website owners may want to isolate their company blog from the rest of their site. Usually, this is done when the main website isn’t equipped with the right features or software to effectively manage a blog. For example, maybe your main website is built around trying to get people to download an app. But, you want to create a company blog for content marketing purposes. The only issue is you don’t want to redesign your website with a new framework. In this case, using a subdomain makes sense. Just create the subdomain of “blog.myappsite.com,” and you can install a CMS like WordPress on your new subdomain. Then, your only goal should be to try and mirror your existing design as close as possible.  This is a common approach that a lot of startups take. The blog isn’t the main focus of their company, so they operate it like a separate entity. For another example, we can check out the Grammarly app. The main site is located on the primary domain, but the web app uses a subdomain. Here’s what the homepage looks like when you visit the site: And here’s the backend when you’re logged into the grammar editor. Notice the change in domain up at the top: 3. Creating an eCommerce Store eCommerce stores require more strict security guidelines and protocols in place to protect sensitive financial information. This might require that you install specific software, or even upgrade your SSL certificate. You might not require this across the rest of your site, so you can host your eCommerce store on a subdomain instead, like “store.mydomain.com” or “shop.mydomain.com.” By hosting your eCommerce store on a subdomain you also give yourself the opportunity to design a high converting storefront. By being able to pick an eCommerce specific theme you’ll have an online store that’s built from the ground up to help you sell more products. Instead of having to hack together a presentable design from your existing site.  4. Redesigning Your Site When you’re going through a website redesign, it can be helpful to be able to see a live version of it. To do this, you can create a subdomain that allows you to build a new website entirely from scratch. This way, you’ll be able to insert links, images, videos, and more and see how your website works completely in real-time. You can even send traffic to your subdomain to see how users interact with your new site as well. Gaining real-time user feedback can be invaluable and help you avoid launching a new site that doesn’t align with their needs and expectations.  When you’re ready to make your new site live, just transfer over your redesigned site to your primary domain.  You can even password protect the subdomain you’re using to redesign your site, so your visitors won’t be able to view your unfinished site accidentally.  5. Testing New Products/Features Do you have a new market you want to expand into, a new product you want to test, or a new idea you have for your site, but want to check it first? Whatever your reason, a subdomain allows you to do all of these things and more. When you create a subdomain, you’re giving yourself a clean slate. You essentially have a brand new website to work with, without the hassle of setting up a new domain. Now, you can create a mini-site to test your new idea. Then, if it works, you can add this section to your existing site. A subdomain can give you creative freedom without having to sacrifice the existing user experience.  Subdomain vs. Subfolder Another common distinction you’ll need to make when it comes to subdomains is the difference between a subdomain and a subfolder.  By now, you already know what a subdomain is, but a subfolder is a bit different. With a subfolder, you’re adding a folder to your existing domain.  So, instead of creating a new subdomain for your blog like “blog.mysite.com,” you’ll use a subfolder instead “mysite.com/blog.” For example, here at HostGator you can access the blog by navigating to “https://hostgator.com/blog” , not “blog.hostgator.com”. When you’re thinking about using a subdomain, you should really view it as creating a separate website. Although subdomains branch off of an existing domain name, they do take more work to build, grow, and maintain. A subfolder is a way to organize your site more easily. Think of it as creating categories for your blog and blog posts. If you have a sports website, you could create subfolders for each sport you cover. So, you’d end up with a URL structure something like the following: “sports.com/basketball,” “sports.com/football,” “sports.com/hockey,” and on and on. Each page could operate as its own separate sports-specific blog with each page filled with unique content about that sport.  Domains, Subdomains, and URL Structure Now that you have a better understanding of what domains vs. subdomains are let’s examine how they work together. Your URL structure should be something you take into account whenever you’re building out your website. With the wrong URL structure, you’ll make it much more difficult for your site to rank in the search engines, plus you’ll make it harder for your visitors to navigate as well.  For example, let’s say you want to start a new blog. You’ll have three different options regarding your domain name. Create an entirely new website: mynewblog.comUse a subdomain: blog.mywebsite.comUse a subfolder: mywebsite.com/blog By using the first option, you’re going to have to register a new domain name and build an entirely new website from scratch. If you’re creating a blog that’s part of your existing website, then it probably doesn’t make sense to utilize an entirely new domain.  So, we have options two and three left. We’re either going to host our blog on a subdomain or use a subfolder. By choosing a subdomain, we’ll have more freedom to design the layout of the blog, select a new CMS, and more. We’ll be using the trust of the main domain to create a separate site.  The final option is using a subfolder. A folder helps to organize your site better and make it easier to navigate. In terms of SEO (search engine optimization), this will help to pass more trust from your primary domain.  Overall, the strategy you choose will depend on your goals and the reason you’re thinking about creating a subdomain in the first place.  In Closing: How Domains and Subdomains Work Together As you can see the domain name ecosystem has a ton of different moving pieces. Taking the time to understand how it all fits together does take more time, but it’ll give you a leg up on the rest of your competition. Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of how domain names and subdomains work, as well as the situations when you’ll use a domain or subdomain. To put things simply, you’ll need a domain name whenever you want to create a website that’s accessible via the internet. Subdomains are an extension of your primary domain name and are used for site organization or redesign purposes, or even to host your blog or eCommerce store. Whenever you’re choosing a new domain name make sure you do you research, as a great domain name is a crucial part of your online brand. Once you’re done brainstorming the perfect domain name, see if it’s available for your new project right here at HostGator.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

7 WordPress Appointment Booking Plugins

HostGator Blog -

The post 7 WordPress Appointment Booking Plugins appeared first on HostGator Blog. Booking more customers is essential to growing your small business revenue. However, the process can be a hassle with the constant back and forth to schedule the perfect date and time with a customer. WordPress scheduling plugins offer a solution to manage all of your meetings, bookings, and reservations. WordPress plugins are especially helpful for the small business owner who can’t afford a full-time assistant. Find the right WordPress booking plugin to boost your business. Here are seven plugin solutions to help you maintain a competitive edge. 1. Appointment Booking Calendar A recent survey found that 42% of patients would rather book appointments online. This scheduling convenience holds true for customers booking appointments in other industries, too. Give your customers this added benefit with Appointment Booking Calendar. This plugin allows you to create a booking module on your website. It includes several built-in features, like booking time slots, PayPal payment processing, and confirmation emails to your customers. The sync feature lets you export appointments to iCal, Google Calendar, and Outlook. This plugin also protects you from unwanted spam. It includes captcha validation within the appointment calendar form. You also can print your entire list of bookings.  Appointment Booking Calendar is customizable to fit your needs, from changing the form interface to editing the notification emails.  2. Bookly Bookly is your choice for a responsive scheduling tool. You can use it for several types of businesses, including beauty salons, fitness centers, and professional services. The plugin allows customers to quickly schedule with your business. Your customers also receive email and SMS notifications to confirm their appointments. Miron Yumanau, a Bookly user, gave this plugin five stars for customer support and wrote the following review:  “Very good product. It has a lot of functions and possibilities. Great booking system for growing business. Sometimes I had some issues, but the support team always helped. Especially, thank you to Julia for the great support.” Bookly offers a premium version with more features, including a mobile-friendly booking form, an unlimited number of booking forms, and payment integrations. 3. Booking Calendar Your customers are online 24/7. Even after closing your small business for the day, you need a tool to help you book appointments in your absence. Booking Calendar is what your business needs. Do you manage an apartment complex? Your tenants can check the availability of a property. Do you provide a service? Your customers can book a time slot on your schedule. So, say goodbye to double bookings and gain confidence with an accurate calendar.  Booking Calendar offers an easy-to-use admin panel to handle booking management. You can search and sort your bookings with the filter feature, and you can approve or decline specific bookings. The plugin also sends email notifications to your customers for confirmation. More calendar control means more opportunities to create a better customer experience. 4. Amelia Lite Amelia Lite is an automated booking system on your WordPress website. Its single-page-app approach works efficiently without page reloading. Plus, it takes less than five minutes for you to set up. The premium version boasts a full feature list, from custom fields for booking forms to service photo galleries. You can even offer discount coupons for bookings. Give Amelia Lite a test run and experience its intuitive design. It’s a powerful automated booking specialist that fuses well with your current small business processes. 5. Booking Calendar Did you know that more than 40% of bookings are completed online? The days of calling your service provider by phone to book an appointment are steadily declining. Customers like the convenience of scheduling their appointments online. Let’s not frustrate your customers. Instead, install the Booking Calendar on your website. This appointment booking system makes it easy for you to create any type of scheduling calendar.  Customize it to your preferences with unlimited themes, unavailable weekday selections, and date format choices. The plugin is also configured to provide instant approval and send email alerts to customers about their appointment or booking status. If you upgrade to the Pro version, you gain additional features, like redirecting customers to a new page after a booking submission and upgrading your user permissions. These benefits give your customers a better brand experience. 6. Modern Events Calendar Lite Modern Events Calendar Lite is a practical tool to get more customers signed up for your events. This plugin offers a well-designed user experience with different views, including a carousel, countdown, and timetable. No more stressing over event management. Need help getting started? The plugin creators provide elite customer service to answer all your questions. You can scroll through their knowledge base articles or submit a ticket to get one-on-one assistance. 7. Ultimate Appointment Scheduling Last but not least, there’s the Ultimate Appointment Booking & Scheduling plugin. This tool gives you the flexibility to create appointment locations with different opening hours. You also can accept PayPal payments during the booking process. This plugin is a good match for businesses with one-on-one or one-to-many services, such as medical professionals, event venues, and corporate training sessions. You can set up an unlimited number of unique appointment services for your customers.  If you purchase the paid version, you can prevent spam by requiring customers to log in before creating an appointment. You’ll also get the ability to customize the look of your form to fit your brand’s colors and style. Book More Customers with WordPress Booking Plugins WordPress scheduling plugins add more functionality to your website. Try these booking tools to improve your productivity and streamline the way you do business. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

6 Magento Alternatives You Should Be Considering After Magento 1

Nexcess Blog -

Magento 1 (M1) will be sunsetting June 2020. While the eCommerce platform will still be accessible and usable by both merchants and devs, it will no longer receive official support from either Magento or Adobe. That means that for the 180,000 merchants running M1, the hunt for Magento alternatives is on.  Are you unsure where to go once M1’s life draws to a close? Here, we’ll cover some of your options, along with the pros and cons of each. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer idea of where your next step on your ecommerce journey will take you.  Don’t have time to read this now? Download the After M1 eBook for a complete list of your best options – for when you do have time. WooCommerce You may be surprised by the first alternative on this list. You’re probably thinking that WooCommerce just doesn’t have the capabilities you’re looking for in a Magento alternative. This is especially true if you have any experience in WooCommerce and the WordPress space. And you may be right; WooCommerce isn’t as functional as Magento. However, it does have its advantages.  WooCommerce sits perfectly between being a SaaS product like Shopify, and being a self-hosted ecommerce CMS you have full control of like Magento. It plays a fine line between ease of use and feature sets, and it does so brilliantly. You may be surprised by the types of stores that are on WooCommerce. It’s not all small businesses.  In 2018, WooCommerce looked into its user base in more detail. They analyzed stores to see where they are coming from and their size. What they found was surprising.  WooCommerce is not the ecommerce platform of small merchants some developers think it is. There are a number of larger stores using it as well.  A large number of WooCommerce stores actually fall between the $100,000 to $500,000 range, with some extending as far as $1 million in annual revenue. Brands that have made WooCommerce their ecommerce platform of choice include Blue Star Coffee, Weber, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Singer. WooCommerce is not the best choice for large stores that involve a lot of moving parts. But it is a great Magento alternative for smaller and medium-sized stores looking to take control. Why use WooCommerce instead of Magento? It’s very easy to use, while still offering impressive flexibility for developers It offers a large number of plugins to increase functionality It has a large selection of themes and templates It’s lightweight, so can load content faster Why use Magento instead of WooCommerce WooCommerce, while flexible, doesn’t have the ecommerce functionality of Magento Magento is better for growing merchants Magento has a great community that supports ecommerce specifically   Stay on Magento 1 Your second alternative isn’t an alternative, and comes with a question. Why make the move at all? Have you thought you need to make the move because of the warnings you’re seeing from the community and in your installation?  Sentiment regarding the Magento 1 End Of Life is split in the community. Fears regarding security vulnerabilities, loss of PCI compliance, and more are on one side. While devs offering continued support and security updates are on the other.  As a hosting provider, we will continue to support merchants that wish to stay on Magento 1, by making sure to keep our web application firewall up to date to help with security. We’ll also continue to maintain server-side performance optimizations for the first version of Magento.  Staying on Magento 1 means doing everything you can to secure your site. From hosting to development, don’t cut corners when the future of your store is at stake.  If you decide that staying on Magento 1 – even if just for the time being – is the right move for your store, then there are a few things you’re going to want to do. Firstly, upgrade your store to Magento 1.9. Unlike replatforming, this does not require much work or expense and is a simple patching process. You’re also going to want to upgrade any other software you’re running as part of your application stack. This includes your PHP, MySQL, and Apache versions, along with any other applications you’re running as a part of your stack. The Nexcess support team can help with this. Get in touch and we’ll make sure your hosting environment is as secure as possible.  Finally, don’t forget to communicate with your developer (if you have one) about what they think staying on Magento 1 means for your store. Some developers will try their best to accommodate you and put in place safeguards so your store isn’t exposed to vulnerabilities.  Why Stay on Magento 1 instead of moving to Magento 2? Download and read After M1 to find out more detailed reasons for why staying on M1 may be the right option for your store.    BigCommerce (For WordPress) Perhaps WooCommerce isn’t the right fit for your store. Maybe Staying on Magento 1 is out of the question. Where do you go next?  BigCommerce started out as a SaaS application but has since expanded into the headless (decoupled) market. We offer this as an option in the form of BigCommerce for WordPress. The Advantages? Merchants can use both the backend of BigCommerce for ecommerce management and the frontend of WordPress for displaying it.  This means is more flexibility, better potential user experiences, and the ability to ramp up your content marketing strategy. Remember, content and product SEO are different, so don’t charge in head-first if your not as experienced with content SEO.  BigCommerce is the Magento alternative for merchants looking for both great content and product management capabilities. BigCommerce for WordPress also comes with premium support from both Nexcess and BigCommerce. In the event something goes wrong on either the application or the hosting side, you’ll immediately be able to reach out to a relevant member of the support staff to resolve your problem. The faster it’s resolved, the quicker you’re going to be able to start selling again.  Why choose BigCommerce instead of Magento? It offers both great ecommerce and content functionality Both BigCommerce and your hosting provider are able to offer support Why choose Magento instead of BigCommerce? Magento still offers more in terms of functionality BigCommerce charges transaction fees BigCommerce is a closed source application without the development community of Magento   Sylius Perhaps you’re a developer or merchant that loves to live on the bleeding edge. Maybe you’ve always prided yourself on staying up to date with the latest and greatest. Or perhaps you’re all about taking the reins when it comes to functionality.  If that sounds like you, then Sylius is probably your platform of choice.  Sylius is an open source ecommerce platform that runs on Symfony. That means more customization, more functionality, and stronger alignment with dev best practices. Plus, with it being open source, the community for support only continues to grow.  Currently available in standard and enterprise forms, Sylius is a good option if you’re looking to stay ahead of trends in web development. However, if your store needs to remain reliable, then it may be better to look elsewhere.  Why choose Sylius over Magento Sylius is cutting edge in ecommerce web development It allows merchants to create a heavily customized ecommerce experience Why choose Magento over Sylius Magento has a longer history and is a more secure foundation There is a larger selection of extensions for Magento You may be limited by your programming expertise   Shopify On the other end of the functionality spectrum is Shopify; a SaaS application built to make ecommerce easy.  Shopify is one of the more popular options around, and it’s easy to see why when you take a look at its ease of use. For small merchants, the process of going from store idea to selling is quick and easy. However, this ease of use isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – especially when a store starts to grow.  Shopify is a good option for merchants getting started in ecommerce, but as they grow its limitations become increasingly apparent.  Shopify comes with a number of limitations that can ultimately hurt a merchant’s bottom line.  One of the most significant of these limitations is transaction fees. While alternatives like WooCommerce and Magento let merchants use a number of different payment processors without needing to pay transaction fees, Shopify only allows you to avoid them if you use Shopify’s payment service. This can cause problems with lock-in once you start needing an alternative.  Other limitations also start to appear when considering Shopify SEO. These include: A rigid URL structure Limitations to meta titles and descriptions A locked robots.txt files An inability to edit tag pages No good way to handle duplicate content For merchants that want their store to rank for important search terms, these SEO limitations can quickly outway the advantages that come with Shopify’s ease of use – especially if you’re a merchant with a lot of products.  Why choose Shopify over Magento? It’s easier to use and get started with It comes with a large selection of templates and themes Why choose Magento over Shopify? Magento offers more in terms of flexibility and functionality Magento doesn’t have transaction costs Shopify has some serious SEO limitations   Prestashop Prestashop is another option that works well for merchants looking to leverage a platform that offers ease of use.  Originally released in 2008, Prestashop comes in both self-hosted and SasS forms. While the user base for both has diminished over the last few years, it’s still a strong competitor for small stores. Moreover, perhaps because of its self-hosted background, when compared with other SaaS platforms, it manages to hold its own in terms of functionality. Some of the main reasons you may decide to use Prestashop include:  Easy to use and intuitive interface A good selection of themes and templates Over 3,900 extensions for expanding functionality A lightweight platform that is usually fast Despite these advantages, Prestashop, like Shopify, just can’t compete with some of the bigger players in terms of functionality and flexibility. For medium stores or those that expect to grow, it quickly becomes a bottleneck that prevents continued growth.  Prestashop is a good option if you’re looking for a platform that offers ease of use. But it trails behind some of the more powerful options in terms of functionality.  Magento, for example, offers a number of complex options and tools for managing omnichannel customer journeys and multi-site stores with localization requirements. This is an advantage that can particularly help stores with international customers. Localization with Prestashop doesn’t offer the same level of detail or a truly “local” experience.  Prestashop – just like Shopify-  also falls down in terms of SEO. In fact, stock Prestashop doesn’t even have some SEO features you would expect to see, like meta titles and descriptions. To gain access to that functionality you have to download an extension.  Overall, Prestashop isn’t the best option on this list. It does, however, offer a suitable alternative to Magento for merchants looking to simplify their commerce experience.  Why choose Prestashop over Magento? Prestashop is easier to use and develop with.  Prestashop offers a large number of themes and add-ons Why choose Magento over Prestashop? Prestashop has terrible SEO features Magento offers more in terms of features and functionality   The post 6 Magento Alternatives You Should Be Considering After Magento 1 appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

How to Do Keyword Research for Your WordPress Blog

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“iPhone repair near me.” “Easy dinner ideas.” “How to create a website?” A key way to get traffic to your website? Understand how people search for things on the internet. By tapping into search behavior, you can help optimize your website for high rankings in search engines. With a well-positioned search engine spot, you have a better chance of getting found by internet audiences. Keywords are vital for search engine optimization (SEO). Doing some research into the things people are searching for will not only help you better understand your target audience but also to plan and utilize high-value keyword phrases in your blog posts to earn better rankings in search engines. In this guide, we’ll show you how to conduct smart keyword research, then how to use those target keywords on your site to boost your organic traffic and earn prime search engine rankings. Let’s get started! Optimize Your Site with DreamPressDreamPress' automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on keywords and not kernels.Check Out Plans What is Keyword Research? First, let’s talk about what a keyword is. When people are searching Google for something, they use certain words to find what they’re looking for. Those words or phrases are keywords. Doing research into the keywords people use when searching online can help you optimize your website for those keywords — helping improve your blog posts and increase your traffic. The great thing is, you don’t need to take a stab in the dark at guessing the keywords people are using to search the internet. There are actually smart keyword research tools available to help you make data-driven, effective decisions when it comes to accomplishing essential tasks, such as: Identifying the keywords people are actually using Creating relevant content that ranks well Understanding your audiences (and adjusting your offerings to meet their needs) Scoping out your competitors’ SEO strategies Earning more web traffic Building a loyal audience Long story short: Making keyword research a part of your content strategy will help you build visibility and, ultimately, grow your site. Of course, optimized keywords aren’t the only way to earn your content prime search engine real estate, but it’s an essential building block for SEO, increased conversions, and rush-hour e-traffic. Plus, if one of your overall goals is to monetize your site, you need to embrace SEO as the foundation of your site’s content. The numbers prove it: 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making purchases. How to Get Started with Keyword Research Now that you know how vital the keyword research process is, let’s get into the real nitty-gritty: how to do keyword research for your WordPress blog. The obvious place to start is Google. Today, Google handles more than 100 billion searches every month — around 60,000 every second. But even with billions of searches and the abundance of available info on the web, 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results, so the ranking of your site in search engine results matters. Most SEO-focused keyword research for WordPress focuses on Google — the powerhouse search engine fuels more than 76% of all global desktop search traffic, and over 94% of the mobile/tablet searches. Plus, Google’s free Keyword Planner is one of the most popular keyword research tools, allowing you to identify the most searched keywords, and use that essential insight to better your blog’s visibility. Before really diving deep into keyword research, it’s important to understand a few terms: Search Volume: The number of times or volume of searches that are conducted for a particular keyword during a specific time-frame. Search Traffic: The number of visits to a website measured by search results clicks. Search Intent: The reason why a consumer is conducting a specific search. It indicates what they’re looking for — whether that’s information, a particular brand’s webpage, an answer to a question, or a product they intend to purchase. Understanding these terms is critical, as they indicate different data that you can use to do better keyword research and content development. Some keywords might get a high search volume — meaning, they get searched a lot — but don’t receive a lot of search traffic, meaning the number of clicks. The search volume for this query is likely higher than the search traffic — because it displays an answer box, the results might not receive as many clicks because the searcher has to take no further action to find what they’re looking for. In that regard, search volume can be misleading. In addition to volume and traffic, it’s essential to understand not only what keywords people type in a search engine, but also what their search intent is — meaning, what they’re actually looking for. Don’t worry — search intent doesn’t require any mind-reading, as most search queries can be separated into a few main, easy-to-identify categories: Informational: How-to or what-is searches, (i.e., “how to make tea”) Navigational: Branded searches, (i.e., “Facebook login” or “Capital One”) Commercial: Specific attributes queries (i.e., versus or best queries, “women’s plus size dresses”) Transactional: Searches directed toward a purchase (i.e., buy, download, etc.) There are generally certain types of content that are displayed in the results for each search intent category; for example, informational search intents might include guides, and commercial investigations will likely include comparison articles. When planning and creating content for your site, you’ll want to gear it towards what the searcher is looking for — their search intent — so that you can meet a need and create value. Additionally, when competing for keywords (more on this later), you’ll want to investigate the content types of the top-ranking pages so you know how to build your own content. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up How to Do Keyword Research for Your Blog — in 3 Steps If you’re just starting out and looking for a free or very low-cost keyword research tool to get you going, we’ve got you covered: Soolve: a simple but great tool for building a keyword list from multiple search sites. Moz’s Keyword Explorer: a comprehensive keyword research tool that analyzes keywords by search volume, sorts by predictive keyword metrics, performs competitive keyword analysis, and allows you to review SERP details by keyword. In addition, you can find keywords in question format and access Moz’s proprietary Keyword Difficulty score that shows how easy (or hard) it is to rank on each SERP. Requires an account setup and allows 10 free queries a month. Keywords Everywhere: a paid browser extension that’s easily installed on Firefox or Chrome that offers valuable data on monthly search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on multiple websites. This tool works by credits; 1 credit = 1 keyword, $10 for 100,000 credits. Ubersuggest: This tool goes beyond simply offering keyword suggestions, extending its capabilities to competitor insight, top SEO pages reports, valuable backlink data, and deep dives into well-performing content pieces. If you’re looking to up your SEO game, check out a few above-and-beyond paid keyword research tools, like MarketMuse, BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. As we mentioned, Google has a great (free!) tool — called Keyword Planner — that helps conduct keyword research for your WordPress blog. While its features are geared primarily toward PPC advertisers, the Keyword Planner is still an excellent platform for identifying keywords that will help you build a strong SEO strategy. Because we think Keyword Planner is the best place to start, we’ll focus on how to use this particular tool in our guide. 1. How to Use Keyword Planner First, you need to get set up with a Google Ad account — if you don’t already have one. Click on the “Tools and Settings” button, then under the Planning Tab, click “Keyword Planner.” Then, click “Discover new keywords.” In the search box, you’ll enter words and phrases related to your business and/or enter your site URL and click “Get Results.” You can adjust or add keywords, or add filters to refine your search. Let’s say you enter a few keywords related to your niche — for example, “custom smartphone cases.” The resulting data displays additional keyword suggestions, along with a broad, average monthly search range, competition level (how many people have bid for that particular keyword in Google AdWords), and bid price ranges for specific keywords (this can help you judge the commercial intent of a searcher). You can analyze and utilize the data by filtering results, downloading keyword ideas, adding keywords to your plan to get detailed forecasts, accessing visualizations broken down by categories, and searching volume data. When conducting keyword research, start by searching broader keywords, then gradually narrow results down to identify keywords with low competition and more search volume. Focus on selecting keywords that answer your customers’ questions and aid them in making smart buying decisions. With the tool’s results, you can see your own keyword performance and then compare it with your competitors. With the displayed results, you can build a list of potential keywords for use on your site. You’ll likely want to target those keywords that earn high search volumes in order to bring crowds to your blog. But don’t forget about long-tail topics — a way to smartly utilize keyword research. Long-tail keywords are search queries with a low individual search volume, but as a group, they usually have a large total search demand. Targeting long-tail keywords can help you rank well and drive traffic to your blog. The easiest way to identify long-tail topics? Scout out your competition’s traffic-generating pages. Related: 10 SEO Tools to Optimize Your Website for Success in 2019 2. Incorporating Target Keywords on Your Website Next, incorporate your list of keywords into your WordPress site. Essentially, you need to include those keywords on your site — on landing pages, documentation, in content like articles and blog posts, as well as in titles, descriptions, and categories for products you sell. Keywords are vital for helping you create better content that meets your audiences’ needs and get found by your target consumers. Now, you’ll want to take your keywords and incorporate them into your site to start optimizing your site for search engine rankings. Start by adding your strongest keywords to your site’s title and tagline. To do this, go to the Settings tab on your WordPress dashboard, then click General. An important caveat: this is more appropriate if you’re just launching your website. In fact, it’s the ideal time to make SEO decisions about your domain, title, and tagline. If you’ve got an established site, proceed carefully with rebranding. You’ve likely already built a following and should avoid whiplashing your visitors with sudden changes. If you’re still looking to boost your SEO — and every website should be — focus on adding your keywords in other places. Outfit your header, slider, and individual page headings with customized keywords. Make sure your site’s images have descriptive alternative text and don’t skimp on writing a solid meta description for each blog post — take advantage of every opportunity to include relevant keywords on your site. Then, add optimized keywords to your individual posts and pages. Try to add targeted keywords at the beginning of each blog post in a natural way. Meaning, they should fit the content and not confuse, annoy, or distract your audience. An SEO-specific WordPress plugin — like our fav, the Yoast plugin — can help. Related: The Top 11 SEO Best Practices for Domains 3. Analyze Your Efforts Now, it’s a good idea to get analytical. Meaning: review the success of your keyword research efforts. How do you know if your keywords are earning you prime search engine real estate and successfully driving traffic? Tap into the Google Search Console and Google Analytics by using a tool like MonsterInsights on your WordPress blog to track analytics and user engagement from your keyword implementation. The results can help you adjust your strategy as necessary. Google Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site. The tool gives you an overview on search and site performance, helping you check indexing status and optimize the visibility of your website. The Coverage section is particularly important, giving you insight on which of your site pages Google can and can’t index, as well as intel into keyword queries. It alerts you to technical issues that need to be resolved in order to earn better site SEO. While Google Search Console is used to improve and optimize your site, Google Analytics is another valuable resource that gives you data about the performance of your site, including information on the number of visitors to your site, where visitors are coming from, how much time they spend on your site, what devices they’re using, and other useful insights. Under the Acquisition tab, you can identify which channels bring visitors to your site. The “site search” section under the Behavior tab can show you what users are searching for on your site —  this can also help you develop valuable content ideas and improve the usability of your navigation. Bounce rate is another important metric that can clue you in to the UX of your website, as well as the success of your keywords. Understanding analytics can take some time. But utilizing Google’s free tools to improve upon even the smallest aspects of your site can boost your website’s visibility in search engines. Keep working! Searching High, Not Low Strong SEO begins with smart keyword research. Targeting smart keywords and optimizing them on your site helps you to not only attract more traffic to your WordPress website but also to build authority and trust with your audience. The ultimate goal for your site? Get more traffic by providing what people are looking for. Keyword research helps you target the correct keywords and gives you insight into how to utilize those keywords on your site and in your content, in foundational ways that will improve your SEO and bring searchers to your site. When they find you, your site should wow them. With our award-winning services, DreamHost can help bring your WordPress site to the next level. Check out our web hosting solutions today. The post How to Do Keyword Research for Your WordPress Blog appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

RDAP is Replacing WHOIS: What That Means For Your Website

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The post RDAP is Replacing WHOIS: What That Means For Your Website appeared first on HostGator Blog. Let’s say you finally landed on your dream domain name. You went to purchase the domain but found that someone else already owns the domain.  Instead of throwing up your hands and giving up in frustration, you could look up the domain registration information via WHOIS. This year, however, WHOIS was replaced by the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP). Don’t worry. This won’t change the way your website functions, just how to access information related to your domain.  Below we’ll dive into why this change happened, and give you insight into what it means for your website and domain name.  The End of the WHOIS Era WHOIS has been the primary way to lookup domain name registration information or IP address details for the past 35 years. It’s been pretty much the only game in town.  Whether you wanted to know who owned a specific domain, or what the associated IP address was you would do a WHOIS lookup. You could do this through a website, or even via the command line. It was a simple and straightforward process. The data wasn’t always perfect, but the process worked.  However, the internet, its purpose, and how it’s used is continually changing. What worked twenty, thirty, or even ten years ago, probably doesn’t function as well today. Just think of how different websites were just five years ago. Recent changes and awareness of data privacy, brought to light via the GDPR legislation, have helped to propel the development of RDAP.  Although WHOIS suited the needs of the internet population 35 years ago, it’s starting to show its age. Below we get into the limitations of WHOIS that RDAP seeks to address.  Limitations of WHOIS Like most technologies that were started decades ago, they’re going to be a little dated. This was especially true regarding the domain name system. Currently, there are over 350 million domain names that are registered. That’s a lot of domain name data that needs to be managed. The original WHOIS protocol definitely wasn’t engineered with this future in mind. Below we look at the biggest drawbacks of the existing WHOIS protocol that are fixed with the RDAP protocol.  No standardized format. The output data is text-based and will have a different result depending on each registry. This makes data parsing very difficult. Lack of data authentication. There is no authentication for who is accessing the data, so privacy issues might arise. RDAP seeks to address this.No international support. As it currently stands there’s no way to make sense of different country/language data. Lack of security protocols. Security standards across the web are rising. Data obtained from WHOIS isn’t very secure, as there were no verification, encryption, or authentication protocols in place.  What is RDAP? RDAP stands for Registration Data Access Protocol. It will eventually fully replace the existing WHOIS protocol. The change won’t happen instantly, but the rollout is taking place as we write this article. Over time, RDAP will be the only way to access domain registration and IP address information, and WHOIS will fully be a thing of the past. RDAP will deliver domain registration information just like WHOIS has done in the past, but it will do so in a different format (which we highlight below) that’s also more standardized across the board.  Right out of the gate RDAP has certain advantages over WHOIS, such as providing a secure way to access and request data, support for international data formats, and the ability to provide differentiated access to registration data. On the surface, not much changes with the implementation of RDAP. Since RDAP will just return data, and it’s up to the registrar how that information will be displayed, so it could look exactly the same as the WHOIS source you’re used to.   Core Features of RDAP RDAP was designed to help solve the existing problems of WHOIS. As it stands now here are some of the core features provided by RDAP: Built-in security. Connections will be forced over HTTPS, so it’s automatically more secure. Authentication is also built-in to the protocol.  Standardized query, response, and error messages. All data that’s delivered will be in a standard format, the display of the information will be done on the end of the registrar. Authoritative server access. The protocol will quickly find the correct and most authoritative server, so the resulting data should be higher quality.   Why is RDAP Being Implemented? The existing WHOIS system worked for a while, but due to the vast changes in how the internet functions, along with increased security and privacy being a must today, it no longer serves the purpose it once did. The issues with WHOIS have been known for over a decade, but replacing such a widespread system takes time. Deficiencies like no international support, lack of secure data access, lack of differentiated access, and no support for a standardized query, response, or error responses have been known for some time. In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names (ICANN) was advised to evaluate and adopt a replacement protocol. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) was the organization that began to create the replacement protocol.  Recently, ICANN has been working with registrars to implement RDAP. Since there are so many different registrars across the globe, adopting this new protocol will take a while, but it is currently underway. If all the above acronyms and organization names were confusing, here’s a quick rundown: WHOIS has been around for so long it’s not as effective, and there are glaring drawbacks.ICANN has known about these issues since 2011 and was working towards the alternative.The alternative RDAP is now being implemented with registrars across the globe. What This Change Means for Website Owners For most website owners, this change won’t mean a lot. Your website and domain name will function the exact same way as they used to. Think of this as a behind the scenes change that doesn’t directly affect your website in its present form. This is a much different situation than the recent GDPR rollout, which did impact websites and how they dealt with and stored data. The only thing the move to RDAP will change is the type of data that you’re able to access. In the past, you would use WHOIS to lookup registration data associated with a given domain. Now, the process is the same, but you’ll have access to higher quality data that’s more secure. You’ll still access domain registration and IP address information the same way. The only type of websites that this does affect are existing registrars. If you’re running a domain registrar, you would have known about this change a long, long time ago. But since it’s a protocol, it won’t change any data that’s currently being stored. It’s just a new way to access the data. The only thing that might change is how the resulting data might display, but this format will be more user-friendly anyways. As you can see, the changes that RDAP brings into effect don’t really change much on the surface. Think of it as an upgrade to how domain registration and user data is accessed, making it much more secure and standardized moving into the future.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Flywheel and WP Engine Come Together for All Hands Omaha

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Last week, members of the WP Engine team traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to join their counterparts at Flywheel for the first-ever All Hands Omaha. All-Hands is a bi-annual event where WP Engine employees meet to engage, collaborate, and establish a shared company strategy. This year’s All Hands themes is “Challenge-Accepted,” which is a nod to… The post Flywheel and WP Engine Come Together for All Hands Omaha appeared first on WP Engine.

WP Engine at WordCamp Dublin 2019

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WP Engine was a proud sponsor of the most recent WordCamp Dublin, which took place from October 18th – 20th. The event showcased speakers from throughout Ireland and Europe, and attendees had the opportunity to take part in a full-day workshop on WordPress, followed by two days of presentations and breakout sessions.  A group of… The post WP Engine at WordCamp Dublin 2019 appeared first on WP Engine.

What Every Website Owner Needs to Know About ADA Compliance

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The post What Every Website Owner Needs to Know About ADA Compliance appeared first on HostGator Blog. No matter your industry vertical or the type of online business that you run, it is a universal truth that you want to provide the best user experience possible. Websites with loud music that plays automatically upon loading will anger many site visitors. Sites that load too slowly will frustrate many more, just as websites that render horribly on mobile devices will simply lead to a bad first impression. This all goes without saying, regardless of the type of website that you have. In the past, web accessibility was often overlooked. However, web accessibility has quickly risen to become one of the top priorities for online business owners, site builders, service providers and agencies alike. More specifically, web accessibility standards have not only become increasingly codified, but they have also served as the basis for significant legislation and legal action. Indeed, many companies have faced costly ADA lawsuits as a result of not offering adequately accessible websites. Website Building Is Easy. Website Accessibility Isn’t. If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that it’s changing all the time. Often for the better, but sometimes with complications as well. One simple and easy benefit that we can point out, is how easy it is to now create a website or blog in a matter of minutes. This is especially true with advancements in web hosting solutions, such as the WordPress platform. Not only does WordPress make the site and content creation process extremely fast and easy, it also allows for a much faster site, improved security, and complete customization based on the needs of your site, brand, or business. WordPress has completely changed the way websites, blogs, and content creation takes place on the internet today. In short, it’s also eliminated the need to learn how to program, design graphics, and code websites. For example, HostGator offers easy one-click solutions for adding WordPress to your hosting plan, which makes it easy for anyone to get started in a matter of seconds—versus spending hours trying to figure everything out. However, one of the finer points of the changing and progressing internet is the continuing regulations and standards that site owners and online businesses must comply with. Whether it be privacy settings, mobile optimization, or making sure your site is accessible to all audiences, website owners must stay current and comply with recent legislations and compliance regulations. It’s not only important for making a great first impression — sometimes there are legal issues and consequences associated with them as well. The Importance of Web Accessibility One such example of an audience engagement and legal issue that comes to mind is ADA website compliance. In short, ADA compliance requires site owners and businesses to have the necessary standards in place to make sure their website content is accessible by everyone. For a single online company running just a single website, this can be problematic enough. If the text on your website doesn’t offer a suitable level of contrast against the background, for instance, the text can be very difficult to read for individuals with impaired vision. If the website serves as your primary point of contact with customers, as is the case with many eCommerce businesses, this can lead to devastating lawsuits. For business owners, the problem is compounded exponentially, as every potential client is becoming increasingly concerned about offering a fully accessible website that complies completely with prevailing standards and legislation. If an agency cannot guarantee to its clients that it’s able to build fully accessible and ADA compliant websites, those clients are very apt to take their business elsewhere. Put simply, every website owner must catch up on web accessibility practices immediately, or risk losing clients. Even above and beyond potential legal action, there is an even bigger reason why you need to make your website accessible to people with possible disabilities: to provide the best possible user experience to the broadest range of potential users. The good news is that there are solutions out there that can make the process of ADA website compliance and user engagement implementation into your site a whole lot easier. Below you can see an example from accessiBe. This tool shows your website in normal form, with the option for adjusting your website to meet the needs of any users who might have visual, hearing, or any other limitations when trying to access your content online. A potential customer who cannot adequately navigate your website using keyboard commands alone, for instance, will just as quickly leave your online store for a competitor who more adequately addresses his or her needs. In turn, agencies who do not make accessibility a priority miss out on clients who do value accessibility for their websites. What Does Web Accessibility Even Look Like? To better understand the modern climate of web accessibility, we must first take a step back to look at accessibility a little more broadly. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA for short, became law in 1990. This civil rights law dictates that public and private spaces open to the public cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities. To most people, this law is perceived in a physical sense, such as Braille on elevator buttons. ADA has since been extended to the digital realm of the Internet. Individuals with disabilities must have equal opportunity to access, engage with, and use online resources, just as much as individuals without disabilities. The understanding of how companies and businesses should approach web accessibility has been standardized in the form of the WCAG 2.1. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 outline how a website should be designed such that it is reasonably accessible to all users. These standards outline such considerations as offering media alternatives, providing minimum contrast for navigational elements, giving enough time to interact with site elements, ensuring that the site experience is predictable, and so on. Related to the ADA and WCAG 2.1 are other legislation and documents, like Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the US and EN 301 549 in the EU. In the case of the latter, the standards outline “accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe.” Accessibility is an international concern. The Easiest Approach Is Hands-Off Needless to say, wrapping your head around all of these official laws, rules and guidelines can be incredibly overwhelming, even for the most experienced of web developers and designers. By trying to force their designs into fitting with these standards, you might feel like your site design choices are being limited. However, that doesn’t need to be the case at all. It can actually be much easier than that — as previously highlighted in the example above with accessiBe. Maintaining ADA and WCAG compliance can seem very daunting, especially in the case of websites with frequently updated content or dynamic interaction on the part of the user. That’s why it makes much more sense to leverage a technology solution that not only can be implemented right into your existing site, but also adapt to any new changes or content that is added along the way. Through the use of artificial intelligence, platforms can automatically scan and analyze websites to make sure they are fully compliant with ADA, WCAG 2.1, Section 508, and EN 301 549 standards. Trying to accomplish such a feat in a manual process would not only be timely and tedious, it would likely also lead to more mistakes and human error. In fact, while the average person might not be aware of the ADA compliance and limitations associated with the internet, it’s definitely something that is growing in size, reach, and funding all the time. Microsoft for example, even has their own project for AI for accessibility — which is focused on sharing information and technology to support independence and productivity. As always, the internet is changing all the time — and for website owners and businesses, these changes will often fluctuate between good and bad. The most important thing to stay aware of, are the ongoing changes in compliance and how they might be affecting your own sites or those in which you are designing for clients. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Migrate from cPanel to Interworx

Liquid Web Official Blog -

We give the exact steps and preparations you need to make to complete a migration from cPanel to Interworx, Liquid Web’s newest control panel. InterWorx is poised to be a game changer for cPanel users. With good feature parity and a non-scaling license cost, SMB customers who do not use the edge case features of cPanel can potentially save money by switching to InterWorx. Additionally, InterWorx has an import feature that will take backups from cPanel servers and restore them as valid InterWorx accounts, making migrations to the platform simpler. This article will show you how to prepare for an easy migration, and final testing, to Interworx. Potential Blockers Even though the core features are similar, there are some potential blockers that could prevent clean import of cPanel accounts. Most importantly, database prefixing is required in InterWorx, as this is the mechanism used to map databases to accounts inside of the control panel. Most cPanel databases should already have username prefixing, but some may not, depending on when they were created. Additionally, because of a difference in mail software, single character mailboxes are not permitted (though single character aliases are). Further, though the panel supports multiple concurrent PHP versions for different accounts and domains, the oldest available PHP version is currently 5.4, so sites utilizing older versions may need to upgrade their code in order to function well using InterWorx. Preparing Your cPanel Accounts In order to restore cleanly into InterWorx, any issues discovered as listed above will need to be addressed. The database naming will be one of the most important, and can be accomplished using WHM’s ‘Manage Databases’ and ‘Manage Database Users’ features (found under ‘SQL Services’). Databases and their users can be renamed here, but any configuration files that connect to these databases will need to be altered to use the new names. For instance, let’s say we have an account called ‘maria’ which uses WordPress. Because database prefixing is disabled in our WHM install, it’s database is ‘wp29’ and the user is ‘wpuser’. Using the Manage Databases tool, the database will need to be renamed to ‘maria_wp29’, and using Manage Database Users, the user will need to change to ‘maria_wpuser’. Then, in the wp-config.php file for maria, which would be at /home/maria/public_html/wp-config.php, the DB_NAME and DB_USER will need to be updated to the proper new values. This rename can also be accomplished through the command line using whmapi1’s rename_mysql_database and rename_mysql_user tools. Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter and get more content on infrastructure optimization sent to your inbox weekly. Packaging Your cPanel Accounts Once any potential restoration conflicts have been taken care of, cPanel accounts can be packaged for transfer. This is best accomplished through the command line pkgacct tool, by passing the username of the account you wish to copy. These packages are full backups of individual cPanel accounts, and you should make sure you have enough free disk space to store such a backup for each account you will be copying. In our example, we will package the user ‘maria’: /scripts/pkgacct maria /home/ This should place a file called cpmove-maria.tar.gz into your /home/ directory on the cPanel server. Repeat this procedure for each account on your server you wish to migrate to InterWorx. Once you have all of the packages you need, they can be copied to your InterWorx server. Log into the InterWorx machine as root and run this command to copy the packaged accounts from your cPanel server (assuming IP address 123.45.67.89): scp 123.45.67.89:/home/cpmove-*.tar.gz /home/ This will log into the cPanel machine, grab all of the cpmove files we made before, and put them in /home/ on the new server. Restoring Your cPanel Accounts Now that we have all of the cPanel data in packages on the new machine, we will start restoring them to create hosting accounts in InterWorx. Here is how the command will look: /usr/local/interworx/bin/import.pex --control-panel cpanel --ipv4 11.22.33.44 --archive /home/cpmove-maria.tar.gz | tee -a /home/maria.import.log It’s a bit of a longer command, so let’s break it down. First, there is the command itself, which is import.pex. This is the InterWorx account import script, which will actually accept backups from a few different control panel types. This is why we have to declare the control panel source in the next flag, which in this case is cPanel. Next, the script has to know what IP we want to restore the domains to, which is 11.22.33.44 in our example. This should be a shared IP on the InterWorx server if you are restoring multiple accounts. Finally, we want to give the restore script the path to our cPanel backup file, which is /home/cpmove-maria.tar.gz for the ‘maria’ user. After all of that, there is a ‘pipe’, which puts the output of the import.pex command into another command we can use to create a log file. In this case, the command is ‘tee’, which will duplicate the output, put one of the copies onto your screen, and another copy into /home/maria.import.log. This way, once the restore is done, you can still reference the output at that file, in case you need to review any errors. The full command will extract the file that we passed, use its cPanel logic to restore all of the domains, email accounts, SSLs, databases, database users, and so on contained within, and then start hosting that (those) domain(s) on the IP address we specified. Testing Your Sites After the import command completes, you’ll be able to test the sites on the new server using your favorite testing method. Mine is hosts file editing, which you can read about more at our Knowledge Base article. This is a much more accurate method than most other available options. Generally, you would create a line like this for each of your domains: 11.22.33.44 marias-website.com www.marias-website.com …and then add that line to the end of the hosts file on your workstation or computer. Then, you should be able to test the site by browsing to it, without having to affect public DNS or use a less accurate proxy service. Check out the link above for more detailed instructions for your OS. While testing the new server, generally you want to be sure that sites load and aren’t missing any elements or giving any errors. If you do find some errors, the global apache and php logs are located at /etc/httpd/logs/, which can give you more details on what the problem might be. There are separate logs for https traffic (ssl_error_log) and non-https traffic (error_log). Additionally, every domain can write to its own local error log. These are stored at /home/maria/var/marias-website.com/logs/error.log for our sample account. These logs are combined for https and non-https traffic. You are also free to reach out to our support team with any issues or questions you might have, 24/7. Going Live To shift traffic from the old cPanel server to your new InterWorx server, all that is needed is a DNS update of all of the records that are referencing the old machine. In most cases, there is a single A record that points to the IP address of the source server (123.45.67.89 in our example) which will need to be altered to the new IP (11.22.33.44). Before we can change any records, you will need to discover where your DNS is hosted. There are many possibilities, but I’ll highlight a few of the common ones. First, you might use Liquid Web’s shared nameservers, in which case you can update DNS through manage.liquidweb.com under the Domains > DNS tab. You might also use some 3rd party nameservers, such as at your registrar or at CloudFlare. In that case, you would do the same thing, except through their interface: log in, locate the DNS zonefile for the domain, and then change all of the IPs to the new one. The final common possibility is that you have DNS hosted on the source cPanel server itself, with custom nameservers. While the main process of logging into WHM and changing the zonefile is similar, you will also need to affect the Nameserver Glue records at your nameserver’s main domain’s registrar. Otherwise, DNS will continue to be hosted by the cPanel server even after the new server goes live, and terminating the old server would cause your sites to go down. The process varies depending on where you registered your nameservers, but every registrar should be able to help you make glue record changes, so that the InterWorx server can start hosting DNS for you. And, that’s it! After A records are updated, traffic should start flowing to the new server, completing your migration. Looking for a VPS with InterWorx pre-installed and ready to go? Try our Liquid Web VPS packages or chat with a specialist today! The post How to Migrate from cPanel to Interworx appeared first on Liquid Web.

A Definitive Guide to App Marketing with Social Media

Reseller Club Blog -

Businesses today are fighting for not just customers but their attention as well. They need instant conversion just like how their customers need instant support and gratification. This is the age of on-demand products and services and any company in this economy needs an app to reach out to its customers. Through native or hybrid apps, companies are looking to get more users onboard through apps and using them as avenues to offer better services and interaction. But getting to that stage isn’t easy. App marketing requires a separate framework and you need to include a number of different approaches to take your app to the masses. With the market becoming increasingly cluttered as well, it is difficult to stay visible without a systematic approach.  So, how do you market your product? How do you make revenue out of your game-changing idea? Well, that’s where targeting comes in. Targeting is finding out who your potential buyers are, where they hang out, their demographics, income and expense levels, requirements, and more. With the market being cluttered, the more refined your targeting is, the better you would be able to take it to your potential customers. And if your product is an app, this becomes more daunting as there are over 5 million apps available for download. The Android market has a share of 2.46 million apps and the Apple market has a share of over 1.96 million apps. As we speak, more apps are being developed and uploaded. So, where will yours be? On the cloud or in your users’ devices? This article is all about pushing your app from app stores to your users’ devices. With definitive tips and proven strategies for using social media for app marketing, let’s get that cash register ring now. Pre-launch Promotion Okay, rule number one — you do not wait until you launch your app to market it. Start talking about it right from its development stages.  Make use of your website to keep talking about your app. Launch your website with more descriptive information about your app.  Start by making official accounts of your app on multiple social channels.  Make an announcement about its launch date and what it’s about, release a teaser,  Share interesting developments, talk about who dropped by your office for trial and create hype. The number one reason why Endgame managed to pull even the most hardcore fans of DC into cinema halls was because of the hype. Make as much noise about your app right from the early stages. It will only increase after you launch your app. Also, make use of your offline social circle. Reach out to your friends and family to promote your app and recommend it to their circles. Why? Because over 50% of users discover new apps through recommendations from their friends and family. Facebook Ads Paid ads are best if quick leads or downloads are your goals, especially on Facebook. Facebook is where users log in for leisure, as a retreat from their professional life, seeking personal growth or entertainment.  Regardless of their requirements, make sure you appear before your target audience with your app along with the download link. Facebook allows multiple types of ads like a carousel, a single image, and even videos.  Go for what is most appropriate and come up with a quirky copy to captivate readers. Give them a video explaining how it would solve the concern it addresses or how entertaining their free time would be. Treat it like a crowdsourcing campaign and pay attention to the smallest of details. NatureBox is one of the brands that has been nailing its Facebook ads.  Instagram Posts While running Facebook ads, you can automatically select Instagram for paid adverts as well. But, you can also run standalone posts on the platform that will help you connect with your target audience closely. From the official account you’ve created, talk about your app through images, videos, and even IGTV videos.  Run giveaways or exclusive competitions here and generate buzz. For inspiration, follow brands and study their approach. Remember that the intention with Instagram is to engage with audiences and lure them towards your app and not directly fishing for downloads. It’s leading to it. Also, we can’t skip the importance of hashtags when we’re using social media to promote our apps. Hashtags are modern-day phrases that have the power to connect instantly with users and go viral. Campaigns like #shareacoke or #letsdolunch are all prime examples of this. When you’re using hashtags, consider these best practices: Do not combine more than 2 or 3 words Look for trending ones Use some keywords Stay away from controversial hashtags like political. Don’t jump to all trending hashtags. Understand why it is trending. This will help you to find related hashtags as well.  Consider your target audience and demographics. For example, if you are running an eCommerce portal for woman clothes in New York, you should target women in New York.  Don’t give them a tongue twister Don’t forget Twitter Brands like Wendy’s, Slack, KFC and others have been directly interacting with their potential customers through Twitter.  To do this, you can use the advanced search feature of Twitter to hunt for keywords, locations, users and hashtags that are relevant to your app. For instance, if your app lets entrepreneurs connect with investors in their vicinity, you can search in terms of the words in their bio, accounts and their mentions, place and more to refine your search. With the results, you can then directly tweet or message them introducing your app and its purpose. Go Live Today, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube allow you to share content in real-time. Going live with your app on social channels yields multiple favourable results. With multiple approaches, you can make use of this chance to: Introduce your app and personally talk about it to viewers and push downloads Talk about features in your app that users might not have noticed Discuss additional applications of your app in elevating their lifestyle Share the benefits of in-app purchases if any Announce updates that are on their way Address feedback that users share immediately Turn your users into evangelists by giving referral codes One interesting statistic reveals that over 25% of the apps that get downloaded never get used more than once. So, as a developer, your focus shouldn’t just be on downloads but engagement and usage as well. Use the live option to push this. Social Sharing   Sometimes, we tend to get excited about some apps and immediately want to share it with our friends. Your app should be prepared for such times with fully-functional social sharing buttons. Despite the intention to spread the word about your app, they won’t care to copy the link of your app from app stores and share it with their friends. They’ll do it only if there’s a one-click solution to it. Give it to them. Also make social sharing of your app available on your website. YouTube Videos Content generated on YouTube can be used for diverse purposes and nail a presence on the streaming website. So, make sure you come up with as many interesting videos about your app as possible for social repurposing and recycling. Here’s a good example of how to go about this.  Some other interesting ideas could be: Teasers and promotions about your app Tutorials and how-to videos on installing your app and using it A rendezvous session with your developers or founders sharing what drove you and them to come up with the app Review with a social influencer (more on this next) Success stories from your customers YouTube ads and more With videos, the possibilities are abundant. You need to simply understand your market and generate content accordingly. Social Influencers Okay, two reasons to collaborate with social influencers. Over 70% of teenagers trust influencers over celebrities and 86% of women take to social media/influencers for purchase recommendations.  Influencers are inevitable today because they can spread good or bad things about your app. From hunting for next vacations to food suggestions, it’s the influencers’ voice that backs people’s opinions. So, look for influencers in your niche or industry and approach them for a shoutout. In most cases, you would have to give them exclusive or premier access to your app. What they would do is talk about it on their social profiles through posts, stories or even videos. With them, you get brand awareness, new downloads, and opinions from experts in your market. Apart from these approaches, you can also establish a presence on Snapchat. Numbers reveal that over 78% of its American users are millennials, under 25. This, again, boils down to what your app is about, its purpose and its target audience. If your app is relevant for Snapchat, having a presence would fetch you results. Now, all these can appear daunting but brainstorming for content, strategies, meeting new people are all exciting. The intention of social media promotion is to let the world know how much fun you had developing something that you felt the world needed. It’s about transferring the excitement that you have over to your users. If you can think of other ways, share them on your comments. Like we said, your approach to marketing your app should be a balance of two things — pushing downloads and reducing uninstalls. Good luck! .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post A Definitive Guide to App Marketing with Social Media appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How to Write a Small Business Shipping Policy

Liquid Web Official Blog -

A small business shipping policy is key for eCommerce success, but often overlooked. See tips for creating your own, and examples from industry leaders. Shipping and return policies are vital to the bottom line of an eCommerce business. Many eCommerce stores create their small business shipping and return policies the way people sign their names after a credit card purchase — without much thought (and pretty much just because they have to). Not only do they impact purchasing decisions on the customer side of things, they also have a ripple effect on your inventory and supply chain management. And the effect of a good (or bad) policy is often overlooked. That’s why we’re sharing all the details for why all eCommerce businesses need a successful shipping and return policy and how to create one for your store. Why You Need a Clear Small Business Shipping Policy Shipping for small businesses should not be treated as an afterthought. There are three major reasons you need a shipping and return policy that’s clear and easy to find. 1. Your Customers Are Looking for It You might think that customers don’t want to read this boring section on your website, but the opposite is actually true. Customers shopping online care a lot about shipping and return policies, and they’re likely to seek out yours. According to the National Retail Federation, as much as 65% of customers actually look up a store’s shipping policy before adding anything to their cart. 2. Bad Shipping Policies Are a Culprit for Cart Abandonment The dreaded phenomenon of customers leaving a store without following through on buying their cart items happens at a rate of about 75%. Two of the most common reasons for cart abandonment are related to shipping and returns: Either there’s no clear option for express shipping or the return policy is deemed “unsatisfactory.” 3. A Good Shipping Policy Saves You and Your Customers Time When a customer can’t find your shipping policy, your policy is hard to understand, or it just doesn’t give enough information, two things can happen: The customer can leave your store, or they can contact your company to get answers. While the second option is definitely preferable, it means that your team will be spending a lot of time fielding question after question about shipping and returns. That’s time they could be spending on more profit-driven activities. Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter for more ways to increase profitability for your store. How to Write a Great Shipping Policy You could resort to a small business shipping policy generator or download a generic shipping policy template that’ll cover your bases. But, if you’re here, you probably want to write a great policy, which requires more thought and effort. Here’s what you can do to write a great shipping and return policy. Prioritize Customer Service When Creating Your Policies When it comes to creating the “meat” of your policy (i.e., what’s allowed and what’s not), it’s best to think of your customers first and the bottom line second. You’ve heard that it costs five times as much to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one, right? One of the best ways to keep customers who are already buying from you is to have as generous a shipping and return policy as you can. Of course, you still want to make sure your policy makes financial sense. Look for Ways to Do Better Than Your Competition Just like any aspect of running your business, you should be aware of how your competitors are handling shipping and returns. From there, look for ways that you could improve on what they’re offering. This doesn’t have to mean offering a more generous shipping and return policy (though it could). It may mean just communicating the policy better, making it easier to find, or going above and beyond with the information provided. Consider the Questions You Have About Shipping and Returns When Buying Online You’ve bought things online before — probably plenty of times. So when you sit down to create your shipping and return policy, go back to the moment when you were shopping at an eCommerce store, and remember what doubts and questions you had. Likely, your customers will have similar questions for your store. At the very least, you probably wondered: If you could return the item if you didn’t like it When your item would arrive If you’d get shipping updates Who would be delivering it Make sure you answer all the questions in your own policy. Write a Clear Small Business Shipping Policy in Your Brand Voice If your shipping and return policy sounds like a lawyer wrote it, your customers will, at best, be a little frustrated trying to understand it. At worst, they’ll find it disingenuous or scary. It’s not a bad idea to have a lawyer review your policy before publishing, just to make sure there aren’t any loopholes. However, it should still read like the rest of your website content, and be written conversationally and in your brand voice. The 5 Signs of an Amazing Shipping and Return Policy Do you have a shipping and return policy already? Make sure it meets the following criteria. 1. It’s Easy to Find Don’t hide your shipping and return policy from customers. Put it where they’ll expect to find it. Usually, that’s in your website footer (like in the example below from The Yoga Warehouse). Bonus points if you include it at checkout or on product pages as well. 2. It’s Easy to Read and Understand Keep language simple, sentences short, and the information organized. Great policies are visually designed to be skimmable. That might look like putting the information in a table, using headings and subheadings, or a FAQ format. 3. It Sets Clear Expectations Because small stores don’t have the credibility of huge brands, shipping for small businesses is extra important to get right. Preemptively answer any questions your customers may have so there are no gray areas. Common Questions to Answer in Your Shipping Policy Where do you ship? Do you ship internationally? How long does it take for items to arrive? How much is shipping? Do you offer free shipping? Can you combine shipping on more than one item? Do you put receipts/invoices in the package? Common Questions to Answer in Return Policy Do items need to be returned in the original packaging? Who is responsible for paying the S&H? How many days from delivery can items be returned? What happens if items arrive damaged? 4. It’s On-Brand Don’t miss the opportunity to infuse your policies with your brand voice. This is a great way to build more trust with your customers. The policies will feel familiar to customers rather than like scary legalese. Also, customers recognize that you put time into crafting the policies — and believe you care about their experience. 5. It’s Actionable and Honest Make sure that whatever you write in your shipping and return policy, you’re able to follow through on it every time. Otherwise, word will start to spread that your store is not trustworthy. Admirable Shipping Policy Examples From Small eCommerce Businesses If you’re still stuck finding the right words or format for your shipping and return policy, we’ve shortlisted the 4 shipping policy examples we love for inspiration. 1. Minted Here’s what this artist-designed stationery brand does right: They introduce their shipping page with a special, on-brand tagline: “Great design delivered right to your doorstep.” They provide easy-to-find tabs for “U.S.” and “International” shipping since that information is different. They include different shipping costs for different sized items — with clear labels. They spell out how their products are packaged because some items are fragile. They explicitly mention that no invoice or pricing is included in the package because it might be a gift. 2. Dearborn Denim & Apparel This American-made denim company also does a few things right: They offer a reminder of the company’s main value proposition that their clothing is crafted by a small team of experts: “Your order ships directly from our sewing floor, not a dropshipper or warehouse.” They use humanizing language to address concerns: “Some orders may be delayed due to a temporary shortage of a specific style or size. Rest assured we will be working hard to get those items through production and on their way to you as fast as possible.” 3. Will’s Vegan Store A vegan shoe and clothing company in the U.K., this store has an excellent shipping policy: They arrange their three shipping options in an easy-to-read table. They include the dates packages would be expected to arrive, depending on the shipping type (instead of just saying 2 to 3 weeks). This way, the customer doesn’t have to do the math on their own. They use an interactive drop-down menu to make it easy to change the ship-to country for accurate details. They make sure to highlight their environmentally friendly mission in their shipping policy: “All our shipping & returns are Carbon Neutral and plastic free. We do not use plastic bags or plastic packaging. All the materials in our deliveries are environmentally friendly, sustainable, and can be recycled.” 4. Heart Coffee Roasters This eCommerce coffee bean company does one big thing to make their shipping and return policy customer-focused: They organize their entire policy into FAQs with detailed explanations for why their policy is as it is. This means they can share a ton of information without it being daunting for customers. Don’t Assume a Shipping Policy for Small Business Isn’t Important Hands down, the biggest mistake eCommerce companies make when creating a shipping and return policy is not treating it as important. Instead, they craft a policy or download a shipping policy template simply to have one without putting their own spin on it or considering the customer journey. These basic policies won’t delight customers or build trust with your brand, and they’re likely to lead to higher cart abandonment rates. So if you haven’t already, make sprucing up your shipping and return policy a priority for this quarter. Hopefully, you’ve found plenty of inspiration in this article to make the job a bit easier. Learn How to Generate +1,000,000 on Your Store The post How to Write a Small Business Shipping Policy appeared first on Liquid Web.

Reseller in Focus: Netpick World

Reseller Club Blog -

We, at ResellerClub, have always spoken gladly and wholeheartedly about our customers purely because of how proud their journeys make us feel. Having empowered over 200,000+ resellers across the globe, we only feel contentment when we look at our customers’ journeys in retrospect.  One such reseller that makes us extremely proud is Netpick World, who we’ve been working with for the past 7 years now. We spoke to Nidesh Muthegowda from team Netpick World where he told us all about their experience of working with ResellerClub. Read on to know what Nidesh has to say. Company Name: Netpick World We spoke to: Nidesh Muthegowda Website Link: https://www.netpickworld.com/ Favourite Control Panel Feature: Express Cart Q1: When did you enter the Web Services Industry and where do see your business going? We took our first step into the web presence services industry in 2010, which was 9 years ago. For 2019, we set out with a target of getting 300 clients on board and we’re proud to say that so far, we have passed the halfway mark after having achieved 180 sales deals. We are both excited and positive about our growth in the time to come, and we’re aiming to target 500 closures for 2020. Q2. What do you think is your secret to success and why do customers prefer Netpick World? We believe as a product and/or service provider, it is extremely important to be by your customers’ sides as they begin their journey with your product/service. The idea is to make them feel important and to let them know that you really want the best for them. We’ve been told by a lot of our customers that the primary reason they chose us was the fact that we provided end-to-end support and assistance in order to help them with their queries pertaining to the products they have purchased. Q3. Tell us a little about doing business in India/US. Although we have a few clients in the US, we mainly run our business out of India. India is as diverse as it gets and it’s always exciting to try and figure out what this market segment likes, dislikes and needs. It’s always a fun learning experience. Q4. Is there any advice that you’d like to give others that are still learning the ropes in the industry? I would say from my own personal experience that if you think you see potential in this industry, just start from wherever you are with whatever you have. This industry is kind in a way that it allows even a novice player to start a business without any heavy investments. Especially with companies like ResellerClub that allow domains and hosting resellers to sign up with a bare minimum of INR 1,500, one can take the leap without getting bogged down by the pressure of investments. Q5.  You have been with ResellerClub since 2012. What do you think has changed over the years? When we first started out in 2010, we worked with providers like GoDaddy and BigRock. Later in 2012, we signed up as a reseller with ResellerClub and we’ve had a very pleasant experience from thereon. With time, we got multiple ResellerClub products added to our product portfolio which only enhanced our product offering. The addition of new payments gateways made it much easier for us to sort out payments. As far as customer support is concerned, we’ve only seen it get better over the years. Last but not the least, we’ve had a great time working with Account Managers like Ajeet, Twinkle and Komal in all these years. ResellerClub sets the bar very high when it comes to product quality, service, and pricing. Q6. Could you tell us some interesting stories or anecdotes about your company? How has having ResellerClub as a partner helped your business? Partnering with ResellerClub has to be one of the best business decisions we’ve made so far! We’ve had the opportunity to grow by integrating a wide range of product offerings that ResellerClub offers. The best part is the white-labelled services that ResellerClub offers which enables resellers like us to brand it our own ways and offer it to our customers. Besides, having a dedicated Account Manager to help you guide you with charting out strategies and growth plans is nothing short of amazing. Twinkle has always been extremely responsive and helpful, despite the geographical and time difference. We can always count on her to provide us with the best solutions with regards to products and pricing. She truly made this journey smooth for us. Suggestion: Increase product offerings to provide more cloud hosting variants. That’s all from our chat with Netpick World. Thank you for reading through this post and also, a big shout out to Nidesh for patiently answering our questions.  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Reseller in Focus: Netpick World appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

4 Marketing Metrics Your CMO Cares About

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When it comes to data, marketing executives are frequently under the microscope. According to research by Gartner, the average company spends more than 10% of its yearly revenue on marketing, and the majority of CMOs expect that percentage to increase in 2020. Due in part to these typically large budget allocations, CMOs are consistently asked… The post 4 Marketing Metrics Your CMO Cares About appeared first on WP Engine.

What Is a Dev Site?

Nexcess Blog -

Changes to your website are inevitable. Whether refreshing your theme or applying a critical security update, sites are living environments that can react unpredictably to well-intentioned changes. Any change, small or significant, can disrupt or even break your site when carelessly applied. Such disruptions torpedo both your sales and your customers’ trust. Properly executing these changes can be the difference between an unnoticeable hiccup and a prolonged outage.  If you already enjoy the services of a knowledgeable web developer, then you’re likely all set. If you’re not – or if you have reason to suspect their qualifications – read on. Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst Dev sites give web developers a way to test under-the-hood changes to a website with far less risk. It is a separate, private version of the live site that for safe testing of new code and features.   One common scenario is the discovery a critical security vulnerability in your CMS (Magento, WordPress, Drupal, what-have-you). A patch is quickly released, and every minute you delay applying makes you a bigger target for attack. Pressed for time, you immediately apply the patch to your production (live) site. The patch breaks your site. Worse, the lack of preparation makes reversion painful, and the outage extends into hours. You lose time, money, and customers. As usual, the best solution is prevention. Making changes to your live site is, at best, a roll of the dice. Don’t hope your site functions after a patch or major update – know it by testing changes before making them live. Not Just for Developers It’s not uncommon to hear “dev” and “staging” used interchangeably. This is fine, provided your developer knows the difference. Even if you have no need of a developer, a functioning dev or staging site acts as a buffer between uncertainty and reliability.  In the traditional model of web development (dev > staging > production), dev servers are essentially a web developer’s sandbox. They often live on local machines, rather than servers. This is where developers experiment with new features and code, or other changes that aren’t ready to glimpse light of day. Sometimes, they function as approximate, non-public copies of your production site, while other times they bear little resemblance at all.  Staging acts as the bridge between dev and production, and is usually a private copy of your live site. It is hosted on a server and likely mirrors the resources and hardware used by your production site. As such, it will keep you from breaking your site by updates to:  Code Themes  Plugins Security patches Features Store inventory Applications Quality assurance User experience Better with Backups If your site breaks, having a current backup makes it much easier to revert. Full backups take considerable time and space, but these are usually required only when your team is uncertain of the changes’ scope. Patches and upgrades fit this bill. Small changes, such as those that edit a single file, may require only the backing up of a single file. Regardless of scope, these backups will accelerate any and all recovery attempts down the road. As detailed in our Backup Policy, we provide automatic 30-day backups, but urge our clients to maintain a deeper and more current history. Redundant backups are the ultimate failsafe. Flexible Dev Sites with Nexcess Cloud For minimal cost, Nexcess Cloud clients can create a dev site at the touch of a button. We designed our dev site functionality to be flexible enough to meet the needs of any client or development process. Nexcess Cloud dev sites mirror your production site and environment, including your database. The dev site-creation process replaces personally identifiable information (PII) with placeholders, which means you can hand off development work to agencies without having to worry about the security of your customer’s data.  Creating Dev Sites in the Nexcess Cloud One of the many great things about  Nexcess Cloud Services is the ability to deploy Magento and WordPress dev sites at the click of a button for a small additional cost. For more details, see How to create dev sites in Nexcess Cloud.   For help matching a hosting solution to your needs, please contact our sales team between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern time (ET), Monday – Friday. The post What Is a Dev Site? appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

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