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Magento vs WooCommerce: How Opposites Attract

Nexcess Blog -

Choosing the right ecommerce CMS is important. Not only does it influence what you’re able to do, it also allows you to set expectations in terms of development costs and timeframes.  In this showdown, we’ll be taking a look at Magento vs WooCommerce. Both are used by an impressive number of stores. WooCommerce has over 3 million stores using it as a platform, while Magento has over 200,000. Both also offer great feature sets that can be expanded easily with extensions, and both have incredibly supportive communities. So why would you choose one over the other?  This article takes a look at exactly that, by pitting Magento and WooCommerce against each other. If you’re a merchant that still needs to make this choice, then keep reading to find out more.  Magento vs WooCommerce Summary Magento Pros and Cons The first application we’re taking a look at, Magento, is a powerful ecommerce platform capable of empowering merchants to create storefronts unlike any other. Originally released March 2008, it has since grown and inspired the release of a new version, Magento 2, in 2015. This version has gone on to become the perfect ecommerce platform for storefronts with a global reach. Pros A powerful ecommerce platform capable of creating unique user experiences Offers more customization options that WooCommerce An incredible community that, despite being smaller than WooCommerce’s, manages to easily hold its own True hosting optimization through an optimized Magento hosting provider Both free and paid Magento extensions are available Cons Requires a developer to create a fully functioning storefront Costs more than a WooCommerce implementation   WooCommerce Pros and Cons As a plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce comes armed with features that make it great for managing both content and ecommerce. Originally launched in 2011, it has grown to become the most used and versatile ecommerce platform around, with over 3 million active installs worldwide.  Pros Easy to use and get started with A huge range of templates and themes for merchants without any coding knowledge Allows for better integration of the ecommerce and content sections of a site Both free and paid WooCommerce extensions and plugins are available Cons Doesn’t afford the same level of customization as Magento Doesn’t allow for the creation of unique buyer experiences to the same degree as Magento Lacks some of the truly powerful integrations available     Interested in other ecommerce options available to merchants? See our comparison of the best ecommerce platforms or check out our Magento vs Shopify showdown.    Performance Questions about speed and power are usually some of the first questions merchants ask. Most of the time, merchants need to prioritize one. That especially holds true when pitting Magento vs WooCommerce. While Magento may offer more in terms of power, it also requires more resources to deliver the same experience as WooCommerce. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a very lightweight and fast platform, but it lacks a lot of the functionality you’ll find with Magento.  WooCommerce Is Lightweight We’ll say it again: WooCommerce is lightweight. This means the same hardware and resources can serve more customers with a WooCommerce store than with a Magento one. Take a look at our SIP and SIPWOO plans to see what this means in terms of real numbers.  Magento WooCommerce Daily Visitors 5,000 10,000 *Based on a SIP 400 server build. Despite meaning more customers, the lightweight WooCommerce platform has comparatively limited functionality. When creating a Magento store, merchants are empowered to create integrated, omnichannel journeys, where their online storefront is just a part of the buyer’s experience. With WooCommerce, this just isn’t the case.  WooCommerce lacks an out of the box ability to track activity through other channels and deliver a personalized experience. This feature can be added by installing several plugins. However, any store overloaded with plugins is then going to suffer in terms of performance. Magento Requires the Right Host For Magento, it’s important to host with a provider that offers optimized infrastructure. While several providers state that they offer optimized hosting, the reality is that only a handful truly optimize their infrastructure for Magento. Nexcess is known to offer a truly optimized hosting foundation. Here are four reasons why.  In addition to finding the right hosting provider, the quality of the code used to create a Magento store can also have a significant impact. Poorly edited code and unoptimized extensions can easily cause any server-side optimizations to lose their significance. If you’ve tried everything else and your store is still crawling, it may be a good idea to start a code audit.  Poorly edited Magento code and unoptimized extensions can easily cause any server-side optimizations to lose their significance. Two Different Performance Bands Like much of this comparison, Magento and WooCommerce fall into two different performance bands. WooCommerce is a lightweight contender, with comparatively less power behind it, but it is quick and nimble. Magento has much more power behind it, but it needs a lot of support from behind the scenes. We’re calling this a draw, with the better application’s performance-based specific use cases and what they need: power or speed.  Functionality Magento has long been known as the ecommerce king of functionality. Not only does it allow for the creation of unique and personalized user journeys, but its integration capabilities are second to none.  With that said, a savvy developer can still get a lot out of WooCommerce. When looking at Magento vs WooCommerce in terms of development functionality, they are surprising evenly matched. Both applications come with REST API, allowing developers better management of products and orders. This also provides flexibility for developers to build an API that meets the needs of diverse merchants.  The WooCommerce REST API documentation (including hooks, endpoints, filters, and more) can be found here. Similar documentation for Magento can be found here.  WooCommerce Requires WordPress While the use of REST API with WooCommerce does give it an edge in terms of functionality, the ecommerce platform still isn’t on par with Magento. WooCommerce requires WordPress. With that comes design and functionality limitations you won’t find with Magento.  For most merchants running WooCommerce, this shouldn’t be a problem. While the limitations exist, this hasn’t stopped a lot of merchants from creating unique storefronts that appeal to large customer bases.  Coffeebros.com, for example, has created a storefront that includes discounts, calls to action, and a clean, easy to understand buying experience. Weber.co.za, the grill provider, has also created an easy-to-use store that integrates both their ecommerce and content recipe sections seamlessly. This is one of the biggest pros for WooCommerce: it lets merchants integrate the content and ecommerce sections of their site seamlessly. This process can be a lot more difficult with Magento.   Magento Powers Global Commerce Magento powers some of the biggest ecommerce stores in the world. There’s a reason for this: the functionality it offers global retailers.  Magento allows for Global storefronts with regional differences. HP transformed their selling experience in the Asian Pacific through Magento. They launched five different stores on a single platform, with regional differences and global similarities. This allowed them to meet local requirements for payments, fulfillment, language, and order technicalities, while also optimizing site management with global consistencies.  Rubik’s also managed to create a strong global online presence quickly, using Magento to expand worldwide. Magento’s functionality made it easy for them to spin up new regional storefronts and landing pages. Something which would have been a lot more complicated with other platforms.  Not only does Magento allow for easier access to international markets, but it also enables more in-depth customization of the buyer’s experience. Just take a look at the difference between a typical Magento site and a typical WooCommerce site.  Still the King of Functionality: Magento It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this category goes to Magento. Its ability to customize the buyer’s experience and create unique, international storefronts is something you just can’t do in the same way with WooCommerce. Moreover, with Adobe’s integrations weaving themselves into the Magento ecosystem, its functionality is only going to improve.  Security Security for an ecommerce store is vital. Not only does it help prevent loss of customer PII, but it also ensures that merchants remain in compliance with the Payment Card Industry standards (PCI Compliance) needed to sell effectively online.  While both applications offer environments backed up by security teams and vigilant communities, WooCommerce suffers from one major disadvantage: WordPress. As a plugin, it is vulnerable to the same exploits as its parent application. In 2018, 57% of web application vulnerabilities identified were from WordPress. This doesn’t mean Magento doesn’t have problems of its own. In research conducted by Astra Security, 62% of Magento stores have at least one security issue. That’s still lower than the 73% of WooCommerce stores reported by EnableSecurity, but only by 10%. These are not complex vulnerabilities, but are easily detected using free automated tools.  So why such large numbers? For many sites, it is because they are out of date. Clunky update processes or simply forgetting are two of the biggest reasons for security vulnerabilities across modern websites.  73% of WooCommerce stores have at least one security issue. For this reason, one of the best security features offered is the ability to easily update. Magento security patches aren’t easy to apply when compared with the WooCommerce update process. With WordPress, you can set updates to occur automatically.  Despite this, Magento does have a lot of positive security features going for it, including: Enhanced password management  Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack prevention Flexible file ownership and permissions Non-default Magento Admin URL Two-Step Verification The Magento 1 End of Life Impact on Security Magento can be split into two versions: Magento 1 and Magento 2. Each is largely unique, in that moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 requires replatforming. Currently, a large percentage of Magento stores are still on Magento 1.  In June 2020, official security support for the Magento 1 platform will cease. This means security will become a pressing concern for merchants still on the platform. If you’re a Magento 1 merchant looking for alternatives, we recommend reviewing your options and downloading the After M1 guide.  Security Compromises Security is never simple. The nature of vulnerabilities means that every application’s community needs to remain vigilant. WooCommerce offers some great security features for automating the update process and keeping everything up to date. However, it also has a lot more vulnerabilities to begin with thanks to running on WordPress.  Magento has better security tools and features, despite patches being hard to implement and take full advantage of.  Despite its flaws, Magento wins this category due to providing a better security experience overall, but WooCommerce is a close second.  Design and Templates Before a site can go live, a merchant needs to decide on design. Without design there is no site (at least, not an attractive one). With WooCommerce, this is an easy process. There is a large selection of templates and pre-designed themes available. Taking these and tweaking them to individual requirements is a quick process, making the time from ideation to creation much faster than with Magento. Magento does have a limited number of templates. However, these are relatively simple when compared with what Magento can do. They also are not particularly attractive. To take advantage of the platform, most merchants will need to hire a developer to design and code their site.  Headless Possibilities Design becomes a lot more complicated when headless implementations are considered. For Magento merchants, the application’s API makes implementation a relatively simple process. There are several headless Magento sites already using headless architecture to deliver unique user experiences.  Two examples of headless Magento implementations are the Magento 2 PWA Venia theme and the Magento 2 PWA Tigren theme.  Headless architecture allows for stores to utilize an optimized ecommerce API and flexible front-end design. For examples of live Magento sites currently using PWA, you can take a look at Alaskan Harvest or Soomzone.com. Both of these sites effectively leverage the Magento API to create unique JavaScript front-end experiences. With WooCommerce already being a plugin, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use it in a headless implementation. Instead, it may make more sense for merchants looking towards headless WordPress to opt for something like BigCommerce instead.   WooCommerce vs Magento: Template vs Design WooCommerce, with its huge library of themes, is much better in terms of templates. Magento, with its expansive functionality, is ultimately much better in terms of design (with the caveat that you need a developer).  If you’re a small business with a limited budget, we recommend using WooCommerce and taking advantage of its themes and templates. If you’re a medium-sized store though, Magento’s design capabilities offer a lot of advantages in terms of UX and improving your bottom line.   Extensions and Plugins While an application needs to have great out of the box functionality, it’s also important to be able to expand and customize it with plugins or extensions. Today, almost all CMS offer plugins or extensions in one form or another; WooCommerce and Magento are no exception.  In terms of numbers, WooCommerce wins due to having access to the WordPress plugin library. However, these plugins are not all optimized for WooCommerce.  Magento, on the other hand, has over 4,700 plugins optimized specifically for its ecommerce platform. Not only that, but Magento’s extensions provide a lot of in-depth customization that you can’t find with WooCommerce. Magento extensions allow for merchants to: Upgrade internal search functionality Build custom checkout experiences Improve sorting and categorization functionality Create up-sell and cross-sell campaigns Customize shipping and fulfillment options Dedicated WooCommerce extensions are relatively light. They provide some useful social and payment integrations, some basic enhancements, and a few useful shipping and fulfillment extensions. Overall though, the options are not as powerful or diverse as Magento, despite growing quickly.  When it comes to extensions, Magento is still the better application in terms of functionality, with a huge range of diverse extensions available to suit all merchant needs. However, like most things Magento, they also come with a much larger price tag than their WooCommerce counterparts.    Product Management Managing an ecommerce store means managing products. That includes how, when, and where they are delivered to customers. Many ecommerce stores today deliver personalized buyer journeys, setting the bar high. It’s Magento’s advanced functionality that shines here. In addition to offering merchants the ability to provide regional deviations in product delivery, it also allows for the creation of unique journeys within a specific area. This includes up-sells and cross-sells. While this functionality can be added to with the use of extensions, the default feature is powerful in its own right.   WooCommerce doesn’t offer the same flexibility. What it does provide are: Categories Attributes Types Extensions can be added to provide more functionality, but in terms of user journeys, the same level of personalization can’t be reached with a WooCommerce store. For smaller stores with a limited number of SKUs, this is fine. For larger stores with a lot of SKUs, this can lead to a drastically reduced conversion rate.  Magento vs WooCommerce: A Summary Magento Is Great for Medium-Sized Stores Looking for Great Functionality It’s pretty much a fact that Magento does what it does best when a merchant wants a custom implementation. It allows for unequaled exploration of the buyer’s journey and creates personalized sales funnels tailored right down to the individual.  Unfortunately, this level of customization and functionality has meant that it requires a development team to support its full range of capabilities. Implementing its best features needs to be planned down to specifics. So while it will likely increase your bottom line and lead to a surge in sales, it also takes investment to get you there. As a result, we recommend Magento for medium and large-sized businesses looking to continue growth. If you’re interested in getting started, take a look at our Magento cloud hosting solutions and talk to a member of the Nexcess team today.    WooCommerce Is Great for Smaller Stores Looking For Ease of Use  WooCommerce really shines in how easy it is to get started and manage. Not only does it provide a great ecommerce storefront, it also provides and equally create content management tool.  However, it doesn’t provide the same level of store customization as Magento. For that reason, we recommend WooCommerce to smaller stores. If you think that means you, see our WooCommerce cloud hosting solutions.   The post Magento vs WooCommerce: How Opposites Attract appeared first on blog.nexcess.net.

Magento vs WooCommerce: How Opposites Attract

Nexcess Blog -

Choosing the right ecommerce CMS is important. Not only does it influence what you’re able to do, it also allows you to set expectations in terms of development costs and timeframes.  Two applications you’ll be introduced to early on are Magento and WooCommerce. Both are used by an impressive number of stores. WooCommerce has over… Continue reading →

How to A/B Test Your Website [Step-by-Step Guide]

HostGator Blog -

The post How to A/B Test Your Website [Step-by-Step Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog. With over 181 million active websites on the internet, it may seem impossible to build a website that stands out in the crowd. But don’t let that big, generic number scare you off from taking your website seriously and giving it your all. Not only is it possible to run a successful website in a sea of other websites, but it’s possible to design your website in a way that pleases your target audience, increases conversions, and edges out your competitors. Does this like a secret you want in on? The big secret is simply A/B testing your website instead of making decisions based on a “feeling” or your own preferences. A/B testing is a powerful way to learn exactly what appeals to your customers and what small decisions boost conversions. Don’t believe it? Studies show that simple decisions (e.g. where to place your CTA button, what colors to use, what copy to include, etc.) can increase conversions significantly. For example, remember when a red CTA button beat a green one with a 21% increase in conversions? A/B testing is the perfect way to build a high-performing website, and this guide will give you all the ins and outs of how to get started. What Is A/B Testing And How Does It Work? A/B testing is a randomized experiment that tests two variables, A and B. In plain English, and as it relates to websites, A/B testing is when you test two versions of your website to determine which one performs better.  This testing process takes the guesswork out of website creation and optimization. Rather than relying on your own preferences or your gut feeling, you can make data-based website decisions that generate winning results. So, how does A/B testing work? With A/B testing, you modify one element on your website and create a second version. Then, you randomly show the original version to 50 percent of your audience, and the modified version to the other 50 percent of your website visitors.  Once you’ve run your test long enough to determine statistical significance, you measure engagement results. Whichever version performs better provides you with your data-informed answer. Keep in mind, you should only change one element of your website at a time during an A/B test. For example, you may be interested in learning which call-to-action (CTA) button drives more conversions. Variations could include color, copy, and size.  If you tested color, copy, and button size all at the same time, you would have no clue as to which change is influencing engagement. When you test only one element at a time, you know exactly what had an effect on visitors’ engagement.  Why A/B Test Your Website? It’s kind of like this. Your dad is 100 percent sure it’s a good idea to go out wearing crew socks and open-toed sandals. When he walks out of his closet and asks the rest of the family if he looks okay, you do something he thinks is unfathomable. You tell him to march right around and put on some close-toed shoes, so he’s not the next subject of ridicule on the nearest teen’s SnapChat account. It’s similar with A/B testing a website. You may be absolutely sure you know what works best on your website, but chances are, you’re wrong. Similarly, what works well for you might not resonate well with your target audience, especially if there is a demographic difference between you and your website visitors. When you A/B test, you get the inside scoop from your audience to find out if your website is wearing metaphorical mom jeans and needs some adjustments. In short, A/B testing is a data-driven way to collect insightful feedback on your website. With this information, you can implement careful changes to your website all while collecting data on the results. And, here’s the best part. Not only does A/B testing help you make better design and messaging decisions, but it ensures you’re making business decisions that align properly with customer preferences from the get-go.  This is solid for business since 79% of US consumers say they only consider brands that show they understand and care about “me.” Not to mention, 56% of US consumers say they feel more loyal to brands that show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences.  A/B testing your website is a surefire way to lean into audience preferences and show your visitors that you “get” them. What Should a Novice A/B Test? While it’s true that nearly everything on a website can be A/B tested, it doesn’t mean you have to, or even should, A/B test everything. After all, you want to get your website up and running sooner rather than later. A good rule of thumb is to test anything that can influence visitor behavior or directly affect conversion. For example, you could A/B test whether the “About” section should come before or after your “Services” section on the navigation menu. Since this element of your website doesn’t carry much weight over how your visitors interact with your site, it probably doesn’t matter too much, and you can stick with the standard. Here’s what to test instead. 1. Copy Did you know that compelling copy draws 7.8 times more site traffic and produces brand recall, which leads to higher engagement rates? Top-notch copy is key to the success of your website, so it’s smart to find out what copy your target audience likes most. Here are some copy elements you should be A/B testing: Headlines and Subheadlines. Your headlines and subheadlines are what your visitors will see first. Test to find out which headlines are leading your visitors down the conversion funnel. Copy Length. Do your website visitors prefer short and snappy quips or do they need more information to help them engage? There is only one way to find out. You guessed it: A/B testing. Tone. Your copywriter can take several approaches when it comes to tone, but only your audience can tell you what tone works best. A/B testing will give you insight into what tonal direction your website needs. 2. Images & Videos If pictures are worth a thousand words, then you need to choose the right images and videos for your website. With the perfect imagery on your website, your visitors will only need a quick glance to understand what you’re trying to convey. And, A/B testing will tell you which images get the job done best. To give you a better idea of how image and video A/B testing works, let’s look at a recent split test from Zagg. Zagg wanted to know what type of images led to higher conversion rates, so they conducted A/B testing for a static image, a 360º product image, and a video on their product page, and the results were astounding. Zagg first tested the static image against the video. They found that the video yielded a 27% increase in revenue per visitor. This told the team that video yielded better results than a static default image. But, remember how they also wanted to test 360º product images? In a second A/B test, the team tested the video against the 360º image on their product pages. The results were interesting. They found the 360º image produced an additional 12% increase in revenue per visitor. Video Version of Zagg’s Image A/B Test 360º Variation of Zagg’s A/B Image Test Simple A/B testing of a static image, a 360º image, and a video provided Zagg with valuable insight into how to boost revenue based on customer preferences.  You can do the same. 3. Call To Action (CTA) The call to action button is arguably the most important thing to A/B test on your website. Your call to action button can make the difference between a conversion and a user clicking out of your site. When it comes to A/B testing your CTA, here are some things you can test: Copy lengthCopy phrasingCopy lengthSize of buttonColor of buttonPlacement of button To give you an idea of how testing a CTA can work wonders, here are some interesting results from experts: Helzberg Diamonds saw a 26% increase in clicks by adding an arrow icon to their CTA buttons, according to Marketing Tech Blog.ContentVerve saw a 90% increase in click-through rate by using first-person phrasing: “Start my free 30 day trial” as opposed to “Start your free 30 day trial.”SAP found that orange CTAs boosted their conversion rate over 32.5%, according to QuickSprout. As you can see, A/B testing your CTA button makes a difference, and it’s a great place for beginners to start. What Is the A/B Testing Process? Now that you know what to test, let’s talk about the process of setting up your first A/B test. The first thing to remember is you don’t have to go it alone. There are several tools on the market that will guide you through the A/B testing process. Tools like Optimizely, VWO, and Omniconvert provide intuitive tools that help you create variations of your pages. The best part? You don’t need to know how to code. You just point-and-click. Once you have settled on an A/B testing tool, here is a basic framework that will guide you through the process. 1. Identify Conversion Goals.  Before you start testing, it’s imperative that you know what you want your website users to do. Subscribe to an email list? Sign up for a seminar? Buy a product? Your conversion goals will help you determine what you need to test. 2. Write Down Your Hypothesis. Congratulations! You officially have conversion goals. Now it’s time to generate A/B testing hypotheses for why you think specific changes will be better than what you already have on your website. Again, these ideas will help you know what modifications to make before you start your testing. 3. Create Your Variations. Now it’s time to make the desired changes to your website and get ready for testing. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone or strain yourself too hard to create your variations. There are several A/B testing software tools on the market with visual editors that will help you create changes and run your test. You can even use the drag and drop features in your website builder to help you easily modify your site. 4. Run Your Test. This is the exciting part. Once you initiate your test, website visitors will start to participate. A/B testing works at random, so you won’t know which website visitors will see which variation. All you need to know is 50 percent of your visitors will see one variation and 50 percent will see the other.  5. Keep Your Test Running Long Enough. There is no magic set number for how long you should run your A/B test. The general rule of thumb is to run your test long enough to determine statistical significance. This will vary from website to website depending on how much traffic you get. Thankfully, most A/B testing software has a built-in calculator that will determine this time frame for you. 6. Analyze Your Results. Once the time frame is up, take a look at your results and see where there is statistical significance. Again, this process is automated with the help of an A/B testing software tool. All you’ll have to do is login to your dashboard and look at the results. Your dashboard will show you whether your control (option A) or your variant (option B) has greater statistical significance. And, that’s it. Rinse and repeat until you have a solid idea of what website design, copy, and engagement elements to implement. Make A/B Testing Work For You It’s true that A/B testing requires hard work and patience. However, when done correctly, it always pays off in the end. When you have a strong understanding of what your website visitors like, you’re one step closer to accomplishing your goals. For more information about starting your website, check the Gator Website Builder. The website builder makes it easy to drag and drop elements, so A/B testing is a cinch. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Which Programming Language Should I Use in 2019 for my WordPress Sites?

Liquid Web Official Blog -

May 27, 2003: this date marked the initial release of WordPress as it was made publicly available. Sixteen years later, WordPress is still growing in popularity and depending on the source, 34 percent or more of all websites on the internet use WordPress. Like with anything else, age and increased popularity bring the need to adapt to stay current. Agencies and developers are getting smarter in what to use for specific scenarios and needs. WordPress still serves its classic use-cases well, as a blogging platform or a Content Management System (CMS), but there are some new trends to pay attention to. Let’s take a look at these WordPress trends to get a glimpse into which WordPress programming language you should use to extend your latest WordPress sites: Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter to get more insight into upcoming WordPress trends. WordPress Programming Language #1: JavaScript One of the more interesting ways WordPress is being used is as a headless content management system (Headless CMS) using the WordPress REST API introduced a few years ago. This can be done using JavaScript, APIs, and Markup architecture (a.k.a. “JAMstack”) or server-side using a specific JavaScript framework like React.js or Vue.js. The site reads content from the WP REST API, then uses a framework such as Next.js or Nuxt.js to render it. For less-frequently updated sites, Gatsby.js is also a popular solution for serving a statically-generated site. Going headless bypasses the need for traditional WordPress themes and allows developers to utilize WordPress for content management while keeping the look and feel of the website controlled by a favored framework. Even if you still need plugins for specific parts of your site, the functionality is still there to be utilized, while clients are able to manage their content in the familiar WordPress interface. Gutenberg Since the release of WordPress version 5.0, WordPress has shipped an alternative editor as a plugin by the name of “Gutenberg”. If you still aren’t convinced about going headless, I can confidently suggest JavaScript for this editor alone. Gutenberg Blocks are built using the React JavaScript library. While it is still in its infancy, you can expand and modify what Gutenberg offers you right now. Understanding the core of JavaScript goes a long way in picking up React.js or any JavaScript framework. While you can still use the “Classic Editor” until (at least) December 31, 2021, using the Classic Editor plugin, it would be a great idea to start learning Gutenberg now if you plan to use WordPress in the future. Here are some reliable sources to help you begin your JavaScript journey: https://www.codecademy.com/catalog/language/jav\ascripthttps://guide.freecodecamp.org/javascripthttps://www.liquidweb.com/blog/wordpress-gutenberg/https://www.liquidweb.com/blog/real-world-guide-using-gutenberg/ WordPress Programming Language #2: PHP If you are fine with how WordPress is currently working for you and are not ready to use WordPress outside of its classic setup, that is fine as well! With that in mind, if you have not learned PHP already then it is essential to learn now in order to develop anything inside the WordPress ecosystem since all of it is written in PHP and JavaScript. PHP frameworks like Laravel can also be used to make a decoupled WordPress site. This would collect and send data from the same REST API that JavaScript would use. Since PHP is run on the server and JavaScript is generally in the browser, you can use both for some really great results. Take the time to learn PHP standards that apply to PHP versions 7.1 and beyond. The reasoning for this is PHP5.x up to 7.0 is already end of life. Learning older standards would only apply if you were to work in a legacy environment. You can still utilize older versions of PHP on Liquid Web Servers with cPanel, Managed WordPress, and Managed WooCommerce servers for the time being. Do understand that learning a PHP framework is quite a bit more complex than learning to make a theme for WordPress, for instance. Learning programming principles will go a long way towards understanding concepts outside of the WordPress ecosystem. Here are some reliable sources to help you begin learning PHP: https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-phphttps://www.w3schools.com/php/ Final Thoughts Designing sites using WordPress is certainly a useful skill to have. Learning PHP, JavaScript and how to develop a WordPress site may also lead to more job opportunities. JavaScript is in the top three sought-after skills in 2019, so taking time out of your life to learn these skills can be extremely valuable. Keep in mind that it is always good to stay ahead of the curve with new technologies around WordPress. If you already have a workflow that allows you to produce quality work for a large number of clients then that is great. You likely do not need to change much. If you wish you could provide a bit more to your clients or feel like you have grown stagnant, changing things up by learning a new framework or a new language might be something to consider. Managed WordPress Can Help Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting takes care of image compression, automatic updates for plugins and the platform, automatic daily backups, automatic SSL, and staging environments. It also includes access to developer tools, which leaves you with more time to learn a new programming language. The post Which Programming Language Should I Use in 2019 for my WordPress Sites? appeared first on Liquid Web.

Terminating Service for 8Chan

CloudFlare Blog -

The mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are horrific tragedies. In the case of the El Paso shooting, the suspected terrorist gunman appears to have been inspired by the forum website known as 8chan. Based on evidence we've seen, it appears that he posted a screed to the site immediately before beginning his terrifying attack on the El Paso Walmart killing 20 people.Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Nearly the same thing happened on 8chan before the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The El Paso shooter specifically referenced the Christchurch incident and appears to have been inspired by the largely unmoderated discussions on 8chan which glorified the previous massacre. In a separate tragedy, the suspected killer in the Poway, California synagogue shooting also posted a hate-filled “open letter” on 8chan. 8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate.8chan is among the more than 19 million Internet properties that use Cloudflare's service. We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time. The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.We do not take this decision lightly. Cloudflare is a network provider. In pursuit of our goal of helping build a better internet, we’ve considered it important to provide our security services broadly to make sure as many users as possible are secure, and thereby making cyberattacks less attractive — regardless of the content of those websites.  Many of our customers run platforms of their own on top of our network. If our policies are more conservative than theirs it effectively undercuts their ability to run their services and set their own policies. We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we draw the line at platforms that have demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design. 8chan has crossed that line. It will therefore no longer be allowed to use our services.What Will Happen NextUnfortunately, we have seen this situation before and so we have a good sense of what will play out. Almost exactly two years ago we made the determination to kick another disgusting site off Cloudflare's network: the Daily Stormer. That caused a brief interruption in the site's operations but they quickly came back online using a Cloudflare competitor. That competitor at the time promoted as a feature the fact that they didn't respond to legal process. Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting. They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. They are no longer Cloudflare's problem, but they remain the Internet's problem.I have little doubt we'll see the same happen with 8chan. While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online. It does nothing to address why mass shootings occur. It does nothing to address why portions of the population feel so disenchanted they turn to hate. In taking this action we've solved our own problem, but we haven't solved the Internet's.In the two years since the Daily Stormer what we have done to try and solve the Internet’s deeper problem is engage with law enforcement and civil society organizations to try and find solutions. Among other things, that resulted in us cooperating around monitoring potential hate sites on our network and notifying law enforcement when there was content that contained an indication of potential violence. We will continue to work within the legal process to share information when we can to hopefully prevent horrific acts of violence. We believe this is our responsibility and, given Cloudflare's scale and reach, we are hopeful we will continue to make progress toward solving the deeper problem.Rule of LawWe continue to feel incredibly uncomfortable about playing the role of content arbiter and do not plan to exercise it often. Some have wrongly speculated this is due to some conception of the United States' First Amendment. That is incorrect. First, we are a private company and not bound by the First Amendment. Second, the vast majority of our customers, and more than 50% of our revenue, comes from outside the United States where the First Amendment and similarly libertarian freedom of speech protections do not apply. The only relevance of the First Amendment in this case and others is that it allows us to choose who we do and do not do business with; it does not obligate us to do business with everyone.Instead our concern has centered around another much more universal idea: the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law requires policies be transparent and consistent. While it has been articulated as a framework for how governments ensure their legitimacy, we have used it as a touchstone when we think about our own policies.We have been successful because we have a very effective technological solution that provides security, performance, and reliability in an affordable and easy-to-use way. As a result of that, a huge portion of the Internet now sits behind our network. 10% of the top million, 17% of the top 100,000, and 19% of the top 10,000 Internet properties use us today. 10% of the Fortune 1,000 are paying Cloudflare customers.Cloudflare is not a government. While we've been successful as a company, that does not give us the political legitimacy to make determinations on what content is good and bad. Nor should it. Questions around content are real societal issues that need politically legitimate solutions. We will continue to engage with lawmakers around the world as they set the boundaries of what is acceptable in their countries through due process of law. And we will comply with those boundaries when and where they are set.Europe, for example, has taken a lead in this area. As we've seen governments there attempt to address hate and terror content online, there is recognition that different obligations should be placed on companies that organize and promote content — like Facebook and YouTube — rather than those that are mere conduits for that content. Conduits, like Cloudflare, are not visible to users and therefore cannot be transparent and consistent about their policies.The unresolved question is how should the law deal with platforms that ignore or actively thwart the Rule of Law? That's closer to the situation we have seen with the Daily Stormer and 8chan. They are lawless platforms. In cases like these, where platforms have been designed to be lawless and unmoderated, and where the platforms have demonstrated their ability to cause real harm, the law may need additional remedies. We and other technology companies need to work with policy makers in order to help them understand the problem and define these remedies. And, in some cases, it may mean moving enforcement mechanisms further down the technical stack.Our ObligationCloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet. At some level firing 8chan as a customer is easy. They are uniquely lawless and that lawlessness has contributed to multiple horrific tragedies. Enough is enough.What's hard is defining the policy that we can enforce transparently and consistently going forward. We, and other technology companies like us that enable the great parts of the Internet, have an obligation to help propose solutions to deal with the parts we're not proud of. That's our obligation and we're committed to it.Unfortunately the action we take today won’t fix hate online. It will almost certainly not even remove 8chan from the Internet. But it is the right thing to do. Hate online is a real issue. Here are some organizations that have active work to help address it:Anti-Defamation LeagueGen Next FoundationPerspective API7 CupsOur whole Cloudflare team’s thoughts are with the families grieving in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio this evening.

48 Hours Later: Intern Hackathon 2019

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On the surface, hackathons give people the opportunity to create original projects, and, if you get lucky, some of them might even alleviate pain points and bring value to the business. But, when you take a closer look at what hackathons entail—teamwork, creativity, innovation, and optimism—the additional benefits they bring far exceed the final product. … The post 48 Hours Later: Intern Hackathon 2019 appeared first on WP Engine.

How to Get Visitors to Fill Out Lead Forms on Your Website

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Running a business means you’re probably always on the lookout for new customers. This can be tough online, where there’s so much content vying for your audience’s attention. Even if you’ve built a beautiful website, it can be difficult to get visitors to stick around and interact with it. That’s where a lead capture form comes in! These marketing gems can be used in many ways throughout your website. In particular, they’re especially useful for gathering valuable data about your leads and increasing conversion rates. In this article, we’ll look deeper into what lead generation forms are. We’ll also discuss why you should include them on your site, and how to get site visitors to click on their Submit buttons. Let’s get started! An Introduction to Lead Generation Forms and Why They’re Beneficial Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably filled out dozens of lead generation forms. Some common examples include user registrations, contact forms, opt-in forms, and email subscription sign-ups. They’re the entry points to your site’s “lead capture funnel,” which means they gather the information you need to convert visitors into customers. According to Kissmetrics, 96% of people who go to a website don’t go with the intention to buy something right away. Building high-quality lead generation forms that follow best practices can do a lot to help boost your conversion rate and turn your visitors (think of them as “qualified leads”) into customers. Although they may seem like small details, lead generation forms are key to any site’s success. For example, getting visitors to register on your website can make them feel as though they’re part of an online community. This helps build brand loyalty that may steer them towards your site when they’re ready to purchase a product or service you offer. Related: How to Create a Loyalty Program for Your Website (And Why You Should) Similarly, contact forms that enable users to make inquiries about offers can streamline the conversion process. By putting you directly in touch with leads, these forms allow you to easily respond and seal the deal. Finally, email marketing is still a highly effective strategy. Building your email list and collecting information to craft targeted content is a vital part of a successful marketing plan. High-quality lead generation forms can help with that. How to Get Visitors to Fill Out Lead Forms on Your Website (5 Tips) Designing a great sign-up form is only half the battle. Getting people to actually fill them out without abandoning them can be a bigger challenge! Let’s take a look at five tips for getting site visitors to follow through. 1. Offer Incentives to Attract Visitors to Your Forms Most people enjoy receiving discounts or free products. Many are willing to “pay” for them by giving you their email addresses or signing up for an account. This makes coupons and other special offers smart ways to incentivize your lead generation forms. Take ThredUp, for example. This online thrift store offers a pop-up for a 50% off coupon in exchange for your email address. Some other potential incentives include free trials, e-books, online courses, or sample products. At CrazyEgg, users receive a free heatmap for submitting their website address. All are workable options as incentives you can offer site visitors in return for filling out your capture form. 2. Review the Length of Your Forms to Prevent Abandonment Generally speaking, website users like to complete tasks quickly. Keeping your forms short and simple will likely yield the highest conversion rates. That said, you also want to gather as much information as possible about your potential customers. Elements such as progress bars can help extend users’ patience when it comes to filling out multi-step forms. Breaking up questions into sections and tabs is also a way to make forms feel shorter. For instance, BrokerNotes has a 46% conversion rate through their “un-form,” which provides an interactive experience for users guided by helpful breadcrumbs. It gathers a lot of information, while also providing users with incentives along the way. 3. Leverage Social Media to Promote Lead Generation Incorporating social media might seem like a no-brainer when it comes to marketing. However, it can also boost access to your lead generation forms via tools such as Facebook Lead Ads. Additionally, enabling users to create accounts using their favorite social platforms can increase your registration count. In fact, 77% of users think social login is a great idea and wish all sites offered it. By shortening the registration and sign-in processes, social logins can help combat “account fatigue” and increase the likelihood of visitors becoming members. Additionally, this strategy makes it easier for you to gather information on your users, which you can then use to improve your marketing strategy. 4. Test Your Forms to Find and Fix Errors Once you dive in and design a lead capture form that suits your goals and branding needs, you’ll want to make sure it actually works. Regularly testing your forms can help avoid a high bounce rate, incorrect information, and user frustration. High-quality forms often follow basic web design best practices, but there are a few exceptions and considerations. You’ll want to review your content and structures for elements such as title consistency, error message language, button content, and more. You might also consider instituting A/B testing. This process involves creating two versions of a form and trying them out to see which one works better. Just remember to be careful when setting this system up for your forms, as there are some technical aspects to consider that could cause the test to fail. 5. Eliminate Distractions and Friction to Decrease User Frustration When users try to fill out your lead capture form, they shouldn’t feel like they’re working. The best way to avoid this is to reduce “friction” such as error messages, data that fails to load or send, and unclear instructions. To do that, keep vital elements such as form field labels, layout, placement on the page, and even Call to Action (CTA) color choice in mind. Doing this will help point users in the right direction to complete your form. Similarly, distractions can also cause a dip in your conversion rate. Distractions include anything that prevents your visitors from engaging in the action you most want them to take. The closer a user gets to completing the desired action, the fewer elements you should have on the page to draw their attention away from the ultimate goal. Tools for Adding Lead Generation Forms to Your Website If you’re using WordPress, you’re one step closer to taking advantage of lead generation forms. There are several plugins available to help you incorporate them into your site; one of the most popular is OptinMonster. OptinMonster enables you to create popups to re-engage visitors who are leaving your site and encourage them to fill out your lead generation form. The tool also makes creating different form layouts easy. Pairing this and other tools with a fast, reliable WordPress host can improve your site’s user experience and increase your chance of capturing leads. Do More with DreamPressOur automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on conversion rate optimization.Check Out Plans Lead Nurturing to Increase Conversions Building a client base can be challenging. However, knowing that your lead generation forms are consistently converting at a high rate can provide you with some comfort as you grow your business. Are you ready to add lead generation forms to your landing pages? Combining these key takeaways with lead capture plugins and our fully-managed WordPress hosting plans can help you start working towards a higher conversion rate! The post How to Get Visitors to Fill Out Lead Forms on Your Website appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

Does Your Small Business Website Have the Cybersecurity Basics Covered?

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The post Does Your Small Business Website Have the Cybersecurity Basics Covered? appeared first on HostGator Blog. Think your business is too small to be targeted by hackers? Think again. Last year, 43% of all reported data breaches affected small businesses—and the costs of recovering from a breach are high enough to force many small businesses to close. So, if you’ve recently launched your SMB website or are getting ready to launch, make sure you’ve got these 8 cybersecurity basics nailed down. 1. Domain Privacy There are so many things to love about the internet, but spammers, identity thieves, and stalkers are not among them. You can protect yourself with a domain privacy plan that shields your name, email, mailing address, and phone number from people who look up your site in the ICANN’s Whois database.  2. SSL Certificate An SSL certificate is a must-have if you run an eCommerce store or collect visitor information on your site. That’s because an SSL certificate proves that any data your visitors send to your site is encrypted, so hackers can’t see it while it’s in transit. (You can read a more detailed SSL explanation here.) SSL certificates also keep visitors from seeing a browser warning that your site may not be secure. Plus, they may also help your site rank better in search results. 3. Automatic Site Backups If your business website site is hacked, or if an update crashes it, you need a way to get up and running again fast so you don’t miss out on customers. Get an automatic site backup service like CodeGuard, and you can quickly restore the most recent uncorrupted version of your site if something goes wrong. Make sure that whichever service you choose runs daily backups, so you don’t have to go back to an out-of-date site version in case of a crash.  4. Automatic Malware Scans and Removals Thanks to cybercriminals armed with botnets and malicious code, all sites are continuously at risk for malware injections that can steal data and let criminals take over sites. This means site owners need to monitor their sites closely for attacks. And the only practical way to do this is with automatic scans. A site-scanning tool like SiteLock gives you daily protection from new malware and botnet attacks. SiteLock also seeks out vulnerabilities on your site, so you can fix them before hackers exploit them. 5. Automatic Domain Renewals Domain registrations don’t last forever. At some point—anywhere between one and 5 years from when you first sign up–you’ll need to renew. If you don’t, you can lose control of your business domain name, and anyone who comes along and buys up your expired domain may be able to access the email accounts on it. That could open you and your customers up to data theft and fraud. The best way to prevent this is to enable automatic renewals, either when you register your domains or during your next renewal. You may also be able to switch to automatic renewals now by logging into your domain registration account and adjusting your billing preferences. (HostGator customers, here’s how you can renew your domain registration.) 6. Automatic WordPress, Plugin and Theme Updates On the internet, you have to stay up to date. That includes WordPress software and the plugins, themes, and addons you choose for your SMB site. Why not stick with the old versions if they’re working for you? There are lots of reasons, but the main one is security.  Some updates are designed to patch flaws that hackers have shown they can exploit. So, when updates are announced, you need to install them right away. But updates don’t always come out on a schedule, and if you have a large site with lots of plugins, updating manually can be a hassle that’s too easy to postpone. The solution is to set WordPress and everything else on your site—themes, plugins, etc.—to update automatically. You can do this within most apps, or you can use a WordPress security plugin like Easy Updates Manager to handle it all for you. 7. Seriously Secure Passwords One of the simplest ways to protect your SMB website is to use a unique, secure WordPress password that would-be hackers are unlikely to guess. Make sure that any employees or contractors who have access to your site use secure, unique passwords, too.  You might think this goes without saying, but even in 2019, too many people are still using passwords like 123456, monkey, and blink182. 8. Site Login Protection Login forms on your site make it easy for customers to sign into their accounts with your store or business. These forms also create potential weak spots where attackers can break in. In simple terms, a bot-powered brute force attack can try thousands of possible login credentials to try to get past a login form. If they find a way in, they can unleash malware, ransomware, or other mayhem to disrupt your business. To keep bad actors and botnet attacks from experimenting with logins until they find a way in, add some layers of protection to your sign-in forms.  One option is to limit the number of login attempts a user can make in one session. For example, after three failed attempts, the user is locked out of trying again until they contact your tech support team for more guidance. This lets legitimate customers get the help they need and prevents bot-powered brute force logins. Another option is one you probably see every day. Ask visitors to prove they’re not a robot when they sign in with a reCAPTCHA tool. The Contact Form 7 plugin lets you enable reCAPTCHA, or you can install a different reCAPTCHA plugin for the forms on your site. Yes, it’s an extra step for your site visitors, but one that can keep your visitors and your business safe from bot-powered data theft. Now that you know the cybersecurity basics, are you ready to set up your site?  HostGator’s Managed WordPress Hosting plans come with CodeGuard, SiteLock, and SSL certificates for free and make it easy to buy domain privacy services. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

10+ Best Free Gutenberg Ready WordPress Themes

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The post 10+ Best Free Gutenberg Ready WordPress Themes appeared first on HostGator Blog. There are hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes on the market. A lot of them are free while some cost more than a few hundred bucks. Finding a theme that suits your WordPress site’s style and is compatible with all the plugins you use is very difficult. If you want to use WordPress’ new Gutenberg editor, then you need a theme that is compatible with it. With thousands of themes to choose from, most of which aren’t compatible with Gutenberg, I wanted to make it easier for you to find the perfect theme. So, here’s my collection of the best free Gutenberg-ready WordPress themes right now. What is Gutenberg? Gutenberg is the latest page/post editor that comes with WordPress. If you are a fan of the original, the classic WordPress editor, then it might take you a few minutes to get comfortable with the new editor. Gutenberg is WordPress’ attempt at creating a drag and drop page builder that can make it easier for beginners and novices to create beautiful looking pages. If you want your website to stand out, you need your content to stand out in your niche. The easiest way to do this is by improving the design of your blog’s content. Now, if you hire a programmer to do it, it will cost you well over $500. But with a tool like Gutenberg, you can do it all by yourself within minutes… for free. Why you need a Gutenberg compatible theme? If you want to use the new Gutenberg editor and take advantage of all the wonderful tools and widgets it has to offer, then you need a WordPress theme that is compatible with Gutenberg. Most themes on the market, even the premium ones, aren’t compatible with Gutenberg. If you use a theme that isn’t compatible, most of your pages will break in unexpected places. If you don’t want your blog to break right when you catch your big break, then you should only use a theme that is compatible with Gutenberg. To make it easier for you to find the perfect theme, we have made the following list of the best free WordPress themes that are Gutenberg-ready. Best Free Gutenberg Themes 1. GeneratePress Best suited for: All types of websites, is a Multipurpose theme.Sites having this theme activated: 200,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/generatepress/ GeneratePress is one of the most popular WordPress themes out there. Unlike some other themes on this list, this is a multipurpose theme. That means, you can use it to build almost any type of website you want. Whether you want to use it on a travel site or cooking blog, you can easily customize this theme to suit your niche. You can customize almost all elements of this theme without writing a single line of code. This theme is made to be a lightweight kickstarter for any kind of a project based on WordPress.  They offer a big library of importable templates for all types of websites including travel, cooking, and personal blogs. You can also use this theme to build an eCommerce site and sell your products online. Features: Clean minimal design that is suitable for all types of websites.A huge library of hundreds of design templates available to choose from.Easily customize almost all aspects of the theme’s design.Compatible with all page builder plugins on the market including Gutenberg and Beaver Builder.Translation ready and supports over 20 languages.A lightweight theme that won’t slow down your website. 2. Gucherry Blog Best suited for: Personal Blogs, Travel Blogs, and blogs that display large images.Sites having this theme activated: 700+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/gucherry-blog/ GuCherry Blog is a beautiful free WordPress template designed for blogs. It offers a very clean, minimal design that focuses the user’s attention on the content. If you are looking for a theme for your personal blog, then this is one of the best options. You can easily customize this theme to suit your personal style by changing the colors and typography of the design. It comes with full support for page builders like Gutenberg. It is optimized for speed and is translation-ready. This theme is perfect for bloggers who want to start a blog, build an audience online and stand out in their niche. It offers a simple design and comes with everything you will need including social media share buttons and a lot of built-in widgets to choose from. It is also SEO optimized so that you can focus on creating content without worrying too much about the search engine bots. GuCherry blog is designed to be fast and offers lots of space placing advertisements on your blog. You place ads on your blog with just a few clicks in many different places without editing any code. Features: A minimal design that will help you stand out in your blogging niche.Lots of places to place ads on your blog to earn a side income.Optimized for SEO and fast load times.Easily customize everything from the colors to typography.Built-in support for page builders like Gutenberg.Translation-ready and supports RTL languages.A theme best suited for bloggers. 3. Getwid Base Best suited for: Startups, Digital Agencies, and Portfolio websites.Sites having this theme activated: 700+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/getwid-base/ Getwid Base is a free WordPress theme that is designed specifically to work with Gutenberg. Getwid Base theme is a part of Getwid, a bundle of multipurpose blocks designed for Gutenberg. To get the most out of this theme, we recommend that you install the Getwid plugin but even without the bundle, this theme has all the features you will need. It offers a beautiful, minimal design that is compatible with Gutenberg. It is best suited for digital agencies, startups, and portfolios. Although it is designed for digital agencies and startups, you can customize it to suit whatever niche you are in and change the design to suit your brand style. Features: A theme that is built specifically for Gutenberg page builder.Customize the theme easily with just a few clicks without touching code.You can add more blocks and widgets compatible with this theme by installing the free Getwid Gutenberg bundle.It comes with a simple design that looks great on all devices. 4. Page Builder Framework Best suited for: Agency Sites, Portfolios, and Service Businesses.Sites having this theme activated: 10,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/page-builder-framework/ Page Builder Framework is a free WordPress theme that is designed to be super fast. It is a lightweight theme that weighs less than 50 kb and doesn’t slow down your website. If you need a clutter-free, minimal design that you can customize yourself without editing code, this theme is a great option. This theme is designed for page builders like Gutenberg and Beaver Builder. You can easily customize all aspects of this theme’s design to suit your personal style. This theme scores 99% on all speed test tools like YSlow, Pingdom, and GTmetrix. It loads in less than 100ms. Features: This theme is built for speed and will never slow down your website.Customize all aspects of this theme’s design with just a few clicks.Designed to be compatible with all page builders including Elementor and Gutenberg.Responsive design that works on all screen sizes.WooCommerce support, if you want to build an eCommerce store. 5. Mission News Best suited for: News and Magazine sites, and sites with lots of content.Sites having this theme activated: 3,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/mission-news/ Mission News is a free WordPress theme designed for news and magazine websites. The design is clean and makes your website look like a classic news site. It’s fully responsive and looks great on all devices no matter the screen size. The layout of this theme is minimal, clean and focuses attention to the content. It is fully compatible with Gutenberg, Elementor, and some other page builder plugins. It also offers WooCommerce compatibility so that you can build an online store within a few minutes. This theme is optimized for speed and loads really fast. Features: WooCommerce support allows you to build an eCommerce site without writing any codeEasily customize all aspects of your website’s design using the customization options.100% responsive and looks great on all devices.Compatible with Gutenberg and Elementor. 6. Storytime Best suited for: Personal Blogs, Story Blogs, and Author Blogs.Sites having this theme activated: 1,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/storytime/ Storytime is a theme designed for authors and creatives. If you are a writer or really want to showcase your work, this is the theme for you. This theme comes with hundreds of customization options. You can choose from 2 blog layout options and 10 sidebar options. It is fully compatible with Gutenberg and is designed with the tool in mind. It also comes with its own built-in Gutenberg blocks you can use to improve your content. The theme offers a fully responsive minimal design. It offers a beautiful layout design that focuses attention on the content of your blog. If you are starting a personal blog and want to stand out in your niche, this theme is one of the best options. Features: Fully compatible with page builders like Gutenberg.Comes with additional built-in Gutenberg.Easily customize the theme using WordPress Theme Customizer interface.Hundreds of customization options so you can customize the design to suit your brand.2 Blog layouts and 10 sidebar positions to choose from. 7. Music Lite Best suited for: Music artists, Bands and Musicians.Sites having this theme activated: 2,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/music-lite/ Music Lite is the free version of Music Pro. The free version of the theme comes with dozens and dozens of customization options. If you want more customization, then you can always upgrade to the pro version. It is built on a responsive framework to make sure it always looks good across different devices. It is also retina-optimized to look good on a large screen and high resolution displays like Apple’s products It comes with a tour dates page that you can easily customize and change dates on for your fans and followers. The theme comes with custom page templates that you can use to build your whole website in only a few minutes. It also comes with multiple column layouts. This theme allows you to easily customize the logo, the header, and even the background without writing any code. Features: The design is built on a mobile responsive framework and works on all screen sizes.Tour dates pages where you can list your tour dates with just a few clicks.Easily customize the theme using WordPress’ Theme Customizer tool.Custom page templates.The theme comes with multiple column layouts to choose from. 8. Portfolio Lite Best suited for: Photography Portfolio, Creative Portfolios, Freelancer Portfolios.Sites having this theme activated: 2,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/portfolio-lite/ Portfolio Lite is a portfolio theme for creatives. It offers a very unique design to help you stand out of the crowd. The design is very minimal to focus the attention on the portfolio items. If you are a freelancer and need a site to show off your work, this is the best theme for you. It comes with a sidebar menu on the left to allow for easy and minimal navigation. This theme will allow you to build your portfolio online in only a few minutes. This theme is best for portfolios with lots of images. It is best suited for people who wish to show off their designs or photography. It comes with a few different page templates to choose from for your portfolio items. You can easily create a slideshow for your portfolio within seconds. Features: A clean minimal layout to show off your creative portfolio.Showcase large images in a beautiful layout.Different page templates for portfolio items to choose from.Get more features by purchasing the premium version of this theme.Dozens of customization options and support for WordPress Theme Customizer.Support for Gutenberg and other Page Builders. 9. Davis Best suited for: Personal Blogs and sites that are more focused on the content.Sites having this theme activated: 3,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/davis/ Davis is a minimalistic WordPress theme that you can either use as a framework to build your own theme or you can use to build a superfast website that scores high on all page speed test tools like Google PageSpeed. It is super lightweight and weighs only 61 kb. This theme offers a super minimal design that focuses the attention on the content. It is fully responsive, looks great on devices, and comes with a dark mode option. It also supports featured images, and aside post format. This theme is built to be fast and minimal and to be used as a framework to build upon and as such doesn’t offer many options or customization features. It is pretty minimal. Features: Fully responsive design.Super minimal, clean design.Super lightweight theme that weighs only 61kb and loads really fast.Comes with full support for Gutenberg and other page builders. 10. Block Lite Best suited for: Creative portfolio sites and photography portfolios.Sites having this theme activated: 1,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/block-lite/ Block Lite is a theme that is built for the Gutenberg editor. It comes with dozens of customization options that you can use to customize all aspects of the theme. It offers a responsive design that is minimal and looks great across all screen sizes. This theme is best for showcasing your creative portfolio. If you are a designer or a photographer, this theme will allow you to focus the visitor’s attention on your portfolio items. It is retina optimized to make sure the design looks great on even large-resolution displays. Block Lite’s premium version offers dozens of more customization options and features. Features: Easily customize the design of this theme using WordPress Theme Customizer.Customize the Typography and use any of the free Google Fonts you like on your website.A clean, minimal design best suited for showcasing creative portfolio items like pictures and designs. 11. Atomic Blocks Best suited for: Blogs and websites that need a minimal design.Sites having this theme activated: 2,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/atomic-blocks/ Atomic Blocks is a free WordPress theme that offers a simple design. It is fully compatible for Gutenberg page builder. This theme is a part of the Atomic Blocks plugin. The plugin adds more blocks to the Gutenberg builder. With this theme, you don’t need to download a hundred different plugins. It comes with blocks for everything including pricing table, newsletter sign up forms, post grid blocks, call to action blocks, testimonial block, sharing block and much more. Although this theme offers a minimal design and is best suited for blogs, it can be easily customized and used to build any type of a website. Features: Add dozens of new blocks to Gutenberg page builder by installing the accompanying Atomic Blocks plugin for free.Simple, responsive design.Dozens of theme options to help you customize the design without touching a single line of code.Fully compatible with Gutenberg and other page builder plugins. 12. Richone Best Suited For Minimal, basic portfolio sites.Sites having this theme activated: 600+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/richone/ Richone is a clean, beautiful portfolio theme that is compatible with Gutenberg editor. It offers a super minimal design that looks clean and focuses attention on the portfolio items. This theme offers full support WooCommerce so you can create an online store on our own. This theme comes with dozens of customization options so you can customize everything from the typography to the color scheme of the design. It offers a widget sidebar at the bottom. Features: WooCommerce ready so you can build an online store in minutes.Fully compatible with Gutenberg.Comes with custom page templates so you can build your website in minutes without any code.This theme is optimized for SEO, so you can focus on creating content.Fully responsive minimal design that focuses attention on the content Wrap Up All of the themes in this list support Gutenberg and will help you create content that stands out of the crowd. Most of these themes not only support Gutenberg, they also support other page builder plugins like Divi and Elementor, and others. If you are still having trouble deciding which theme to go with, let me make it super easy for you: If you need a theme that loads up really fast, then go with GeneratePress. It’s mostly a theme framework to help you build super fast websites. It comes with dozens of customization options and is really lightweight. If you produce a lot of content on your website, then go with Mission News. Although it’s a theme built for news sites, it is fully customizable, so you can easily customize it to suit your needs. If you want more Gutenberg blocks than the defaults, then go with the Getwid theme and download the accompanying Getwid plugin to add more blocks to the Gutenberg editor for free. Are you using a free Gutenberg compatible theme that has been left off this list, and you think is worth mentioning? If so, we would love to hear all about it in the comments! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Understand and Set Up Multi-Channel Attribution and Reporting

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Most online retailers and eCommerce businesses rely on numerous sales channels to drive conversion and revenue. This is called a multi-channel attribution marketing strategy. But, there’s a problem. How do you make use of all the conversion data that those channels generate? Do you have to manage the data separately on every channel, or is there a way to bring it all together in one comprehensive reporting tool? If you’re asking yourself these very questions, there’s a good chance that multi-channel attribution modeling and reporting is your answer. So we’ve put together everything you need to know about multi-channel attribution and Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reporting. What is Multi-Channel Attribution? Multi-channel attribution is a term related to analytics. In theory, it refers to the rules that a business owner has in place to gauge the performance of (or the sales generated by) every different marketing channel.  In practice, multi-channel attribution involves assigning a value — often dollar amounts — to every sales channel and customer touchpoint that occurs throughout the buyer’s journey. As you follow revenue back through your conversion paths, you can see which channels are contributing to the most conversions. You can also track these conversions with multi-channel attribution. In this context, conversion is considered any action or consumer behavior that’s deemed “valuable” and moves the consumer further into your conversion funnel. For instance, you can assign a conversion value to emails acquired from potential customers who requested a PDF download. Ultimately, the purpose of multi-channel attribution is to determine which of your channels and touchpoints have the greatest effect on consumer behavior, conversion, and revenue. It’s a way to read massive amounts of data and find out what returns you’re getting on your marketing investments. Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter for more help with analytics and tracking your marketing campaigns. Understanding Multi-Channel Funnels Google Analytics takes a lot of the work out of multi-channel funnel reporting. Once you have Analytics installed on your eCommerce store, the platform collects data to show you the role that your sales channels play in converting leads into customers. Let’s take a look at how multi-channel funnels are represented in Google Analytics with these terms to know. Acquisition Channels In Google Analytics, acquisition channels are labels used to group or categorize your sales channels and customer touchpoints. As you use multi-channel funnel reporting, you’ll see a number of acquisition channels referenced throughout the different reporting menus, including the following: Paid Search, Organic Search, Direct, Social Media, Email, and Affiliate. Assisted Conversion An assisted conversion is when a channel or touchpoint moves a customer further into your conversion funnel. In Google Analytics, assisted conversion reflects how the points of engagement that occur along a prospective customer’s buying journey contribute to conversion. All but the final interaction in a conversion path are considered assisted interactions. Conversion Path A conversion path is a sequence of channels and touchpoints that reflects a prospective customer’s buying journey. Typically, there’s a first interaction, assist interactions, and a final interaction which is the last touchpoint before conversion. Custom Channel Groupings Google Analytics separates sales channels and customer touchpoints into groups. The default channel groupings fall in line with the standard acquisition channels which include Paid Search, Organic Search, Direct, Social Media, and Email, and Affiliate.  However, you have the option to create custom channel groupings of your own. Therefore, custom channel groupings are when you add to or replace the default channel groupings in Google Analytics. Multi-Channel Funnel Reporting With Google Analytics Google Analytics provides several useful reporting options for your multi-channel funnel. These reporting options take the data you’ve collected and turns it into a visual so you can see clear insights into your conversions. When it comes to Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reporting, there are five options to know. To access each of these different reporting options in Google Analytics, navigate to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels. Overview Overview provides a snapshot of your conversion data. With Overview, you’ll get a representation of how your sales channels and customer touchpoints work together to convert leads. One of the main elements is a line graph that shows your conversions over time. By default, you’ll see your conversions over the past 30 days. Additionally, you can compare your conversions to other conversion-related metrics. Overview reporting is also where you’ll find the Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer, a Venn diagram-esque representation of how your sales channels interact and overlap. By toggling channel groupings on and off, you can hone in on the data you need. Assisted Conversions In Google Analytics, an assisted conversion refers to when a channel or touchpoint aids in the conversion process. All touchpoints in the conversion path, other than the final touchpoint, are considered assists. The Assisted Conversions feature offers performance data for your channels, showing how often they are converting. From there, you can get quite specific with the reporting. For example, you can see which specific landing pages and URLs are assisting in the most conversions by selecting the appropriate primary dimension under the “Other” tab. Under the Assisted Conversions menu, channels and touchpoints are broken down according to whether they initiated, assisted, or completed a conversion. This is useful for determining where your channels and touchpoints tend to fall in your conversion paths. Top Conversion Paths The purpose of Top Conversion Paths reporting is to show you which conversion path(s) convert customers with greater frequency.  Each line item on the list is a unique conversion path, consisting of one or more channel groupings. So if, for instance, the top conversion path shows as Organic Search, Social Media, Direct Search, then you can deduce that the most conversions are coming from an interaction that looks something like this:  Someone discovers your business in a non-branded Google searchThey follow your business on social mediaThey eventually visit your eCommerce store through a direct Google searchThey make a purchase Time Lag Time Lag reporting tells you how much time the conversion process takes for your customers. In other words, the length of time that spans between the point of first contact with a lead and when the purchase is made. This tells you how long it takes for your customers to convert. If the conversion is quick, then the channel or conversion that preceded the purchase has much more value than if conversion takes many days. Path Length Path Length reporting shows how many interactions (with your channels and touchpoints) it takes to convert leads into customers. When conversion requires just one interaction, then the channel or touchpoint that converted the customer is extremely effective at converting and has immense value. Conversely, when numerous touchpoints are necessary to convert, then individual interactions have less value. How to Set Up Multi-Channel Attribution Basic multi-channel reporting is built seamlessly into Google Analytics. However, if you’re looking for more advanced reporting, you may need to do some additional setup. Follow these steps to ensure that all your data is included and organized appropriately in the Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reports. Link Your Pay-per-Click Campaigns By default, pay-per-click campaigns don’t show up in Google Analytics. For pay-per-click campaigns to be reflected in Analytics, you need to link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account. Once the two accounts are connected, Google Ads campaigns will be counted under the Paid Search channel grouping. The process is rather simple.  Log into Analytics and open the Admin panel, then navigate to the property you want to link the AdWords account to. In that property’s column, click Google Ads Linking, then click New Link Group.From there, select the Google Ads account you want to link and follow the prompts to complete the linking process. Create Custom Channel Groupings Google Analytics has default channel groupings, referred to as “MCF Channel Grouping.” The default channels are: DisplayPaid SearchOtherOrganic SearchSocial NetworkReferralEmailDirect For many business owners, these default channel groupings are sufficient. However, custom channel groupings might be necessary for certain situations. A prime use case for custom channel groupings is separating branded from non-branded keywords.  This addresses an increasingly common way that people use search engines, which is to use a business name as the search query. For this reason, separating branded from non-branded keywords minimizes the amount of direct traffic that could be mistakenly categorized as Organic Search. The option to create custom channel groupings is available in most Multi-Channel Funnels reporting menus. When available, the option appears as a dropdown box.  Select the Create a Custom Channel Grouping option. This will bring up a window where you can customize the names of the channel groupings as well as how they’re defined. When finished, click Save. Then your custom groupings will show in your conversion reports. Manage Your Data Points It’s important to track the right data in Analytics. When you’re tracking the right data points, you can make extremely useful and insightful inferences from multi-channel funnel reporting. However, when you’re tracking the wrong data points, the picture you’re getting from the conversion reports won’t be accurate. If you’re basing your decisions on inaccurate data, it can create a host of other problems. For example, while it’s useful to track visits to your store’s website as points on a conversion path, you shouldn’t qualify a visit to your store’s website as an actual conversion.  In other words, users who visit your store online shouldn’t be considered “converted” under most circumstances. Similarly, visits to a specific product page probably shouldn’t count as conversions either.  The data points you track should depend on the goals you set for your business, whether it’s converting prospects into leads, converting leads into customers, or some other goal. Segment Your Data In Google Analytics, segmentation is how you isolate and analyze specific data points related to your conversion. There are a number of situations where you might need to create a conversion segment. For example, you could filter instances where the first interaction in a conversion path was with a paid advertising campaign. With conversion segmenting, you can hone in on the most pertinent or relevant data that wouldn’t otherwise be visible in the default reporting options. Segmenting your conversion data can be done with the Conversion Segment builder in Google Analytics that is accessible from any of the Multi-Channel Funnels reporting menus.  At the top of the page, click on Conversion Segments, then click Create New Conversion Segment. After naming the new conversion segment, use the conversion segment builder to customize which conversion paths you want to be included in your segment. This is achieved by defining the conditions of your desired conversion path.  For example, if you wanted to create a segment that shows instances when a specific website served as the first interaction in a conversion path, then the conditions would look like this: [Include] [First Interaction] from [Source] [Containing] WebsiteURL.com. Once you’ve completed these basic setup steps, you’ll be able to track your multi-channel attribution using the reporting options in Google Analytics. Make Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting the Foundation of Your Conversion Funnel A multi-channel marketing strategy can only be as strong as the eCommerce store where your leads will shop. If your store relies on a low-quality hosting provider, then all your efforts to implement multi-channel attribution will be for naught. Fortunately, there’s Liquid Web, your premier hosting provider for eCommerce. With Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting, you’ll have everything you need to run (and grow) a successful eCommerce site. In fact, we have created more than 20 different performance tests to ensure that your site can handle any amount of traffic coming from all your sales channels. Best of all, Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting is available in tiered plans, so there’s Liquid Web WooCommerce hosting for virtually any budget. To learn more about our Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce Hosting, visit our product page today. The post How to Understand and Set Up Multi-Channel Attribution and Reporting appeared first on Liquid Web.

The 8 Most Common Ecommerce Mistakes When Selling Online

Pickaweb Blog -

By 2021 approximately 1 in every 4 people on the planet will shop online. For ecommerce entrepreneurs that’s a huge opportunity. But the competition for those online buyers will be fierce. To be on the winning side you need to be on top of your ecommerce game. There are common mistakes that can undermine even The post The 8 Most Common Ecommerce Mistakes When Selling Online appeared first on Pickaweb.

What webmasters should know about Google’s “core updates”

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our search results. Most aren’t noticeable but help us incrementally continue to improve.Sometimes, an update may be more noticeable. We aim to confirm such updates when we feel there is actionable information that webmasters, content producers or others might take in relation to them. For example, when our “Speed Update” happened, we gave months of advanced notice and advice.Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.” They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. These core updates may also affect Google Discover.We confirm broad core updates because they typically produce some widely notable effects. Some sites may note drops or gains during them. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.Core updates & reassessing contentThere’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.Focus on contentAs explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.A starting point is to revisit the advice we’ve offered in the past on how to self-assess if you believe you’re offering quality content. We’ve updated that advice with a fresh set of questions to ask yourself about your content:Content and quality questionsDoes the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?Expertise questionsDoes the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?Presentation and production questionsIs the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?Comparative questionsDoes the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?Beyond asking yourself these questions, consider having others you trust but who are unaffiliated with your site provide an honest assessment.Also consider an audit of the drops you may have experienced. What pages were most impacted and for what types of searches? Look closely at these to understand how they’re assessed against some of the questions above.Get to know the quality rater guidelines & E-A-T Another resource for advice on great content is to review our search quality rater guidelines. Raters are people who give us insights on if our algorithms seem to be providing good results, a way to help confirm our changes are working well.It’s important to understand that search raters have no control over how pages rank. Rater data is not used directly in our ranking algorithms. Rather, we use them as a restaurant might get feedback cards from diners. The feedback helps us know if our systems seem to be working.If you understand how raters learn to assess good content, that might help you improve your own content. In turn, you might perhaps do better in Search.In particular, raters are trained to understand if content has what we call strong E-A-T. That stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider.Here are a few articles written by third-parties who share how they’ve used the guidelines as advice to follow:E-A-T and SEO, from Marie HaynesGoogle Updates Quality Rater Guidelines Targeting E-A-T, Page Quality & Interstitials, from Jennifer SleggLeveraging E-A-T for SEO Success, presentation from Lily RayGoogle’s Core Algorithm Updates and The Power of User Studies: How Real Feedback From Real People Can Help Site Owners Surface Website Quality Problems (And More), Glenn GabeWhy E-A-T & Core Updates Will Change Your Content Approach, from Fajr MuhammadRecovering and more adviceA common question after a core update is how long does it take for a site to recover, if it improves content?Broad core updates tend to happen every few months. Content that was impacted by one might not recover - assuming improvements have been made - until the next broad core update is released.However, we’re constantly making updates to our search algorithms, including smaller core updates. We don’t announce all of these because they’re generally not widely noticeable. Still, when released, they can cause content to recover if improvements warrant.Do keep in mind that improvements made by site owners aren’t a guarantee of recovery, nor do pages have any static or guaranteed position in our search results. If there’s more deserving content, that will continue to rank well with our systems.It’s also important to understand that search engines like Google do not understand content the way human beings do. Instead, we look for signals we can gather about content and understand how those correlate with how humans assess relevance. How pages link to each other is one well-known signal that we use. But we use many more, which we don’t disclose to help protect the integrity of our results.We test any broad core update before it goes live, including gathering feedback from the aforementioned search quality raters, to see if how we’re weighing signals seems beneficial.Of course, no improvement we make to Search is perfect. This is why we keep updating. We take in more feedback, do more testing and keep working to improve our ranking systems. This work on our end can mean that content might recover in the future, even if a content owner makes no changes. In such situations, our continued improvements might assess such content more favorably.We hope the guidance offered here is helpful. You’ll also find plenty of advice about good content with the resources we offer from Google Webmasters, including tools, help pages and our forums. Learn more here.Posted by Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search

The August 2019 promo code is a tropical delight

Name.com Blog -

Beat the heat this summer with this refreshing fruit and cool discounts on your August 2019 .com and .net renewals. Use the code MANGO at checkout now through August 31, 2019 to renew your .com domains for $10.99 and .net domains for $12.99. This code does not apply to new registrations or Premium Domains. Monthly […] The post The August 2019 promo code is a tropical delight appeared first on Name.com Blog.

Does Cloud Security Depend on Processor Security Vulnerabilities?

Nexcess Blog -

Readers with long memories will recall the suspicion the cloud was greeted with when it was first introduced more than a decade ago. Site owners who managed their servers doubted that cloud vendors could do a better job, especially where security is concerned. Who knew what lurked beneath the virtualization layer? In subsequent years, as… Continue reading →

Is Your eCommerce Website Ready for Back to School?

HostGator Blog -

The post Is Your eCommerce Website Ready for Back to School? appeared first on HostGator Blog. Winter holidays may be peak money-making time for online stores, but don’t overlook the back to school season. Parents and students spent more than $82 billion on back to school purchases in 2018. That’s more than shoppers spent on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day combined. Today’s back-to-school must-haves include much more than jeans and school supplies, which means your eCommerce site may have a bigger audience than you think for back-to-school offers. And just about any business can offer a back-to-school themed deal. The National Retail Federation says that back to school (defined as shopping for K-12 students) and back to college spending will hit record highs this year. The average household with K-12 kids will spend $696 on back to school. The average household with kids in college will spend $976.  Want your online store to capture some of that spending? Here’s how you can get your eCommerce site ready and for back to school and back to college shoppers. Do You Have What Back-to-School Shoppers Need? If your store sells kids’ clothes, shoes, backpacks, or school supplies, you’re probably already on top of your back to school marketing game. However, electronics are also hot sellers for back to school. More than half of shoppers for K-12 kids said they’ll buy at least one new electronic device for back to school this year. The top electronics items for K-12 kids are computers, cellphones, and calculators.  The back to college market includes even more categories. School supplies, clothes, and shoes are all big categories for these young adults. So are personal care products and food—more than 70% of students surveyed said they’ll be stocking up on these items when they do their back to school shopping.  More than half of back to college shoppers also plan to pick up some college-branded gear (which can be anything from shirts and hats to décor and gifts), electronics, and furnishings. More than a third of back to college shoppers—presumably parents—plan to stock up on gift cards, too. Can You Offer What Back-to-School Shoppers Want? Let’s say your store doesn’t sell any of the items mentioned above. You can still ace back to school season. Here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm your own offers: Gardening supply stores can offer deals on seeds and tools for teachers who want to plant school gardens.Online travel agencies can offer weekend packages for parents who need a little kid-free time after summer full of family togetherness.Pet supply shops can run deals on treats and toys for companion animals whose pals are at school all day.Board game, sporting goods, and toy sellers can promote deals on items that families can enjoy together on the weekends.Stores that sell any sort of cleaning products have a perfect tie-in. Back to school is the perfect time for a deep cleaning of the house and car. Understand the Back to School Shopping Timeline School shopping season starts sooner than you think and lasts longer than you may realize. About half the households surveyed in early July by the NRF said they’d already started shopping. And the big sale event that budget-conscious back to school shoppers wait for has already passed this year. Amazon Prime Day and its competitors’ sales draw a lot of attention from parents, teens, and college students.  However, the other half of households surveyed at the beginning of July hadn’t started shopping yet, because they’re waiting for the best sales. If you want their back-to-school business, you’ll need to serve up a great sale. What Makes a Great Back to School Sale for eCommerce Sites? Price. Now’s the time to offer coupon codes and flash sales on your site to appeal to parents and teens—and to stay competitive with your competitors’ deals. Most back to school shoppers are price sensitive, a trend that’s persisted for years. However, tweens and teens are spending more of their own money on back to school purchases. That may translate into a few more splurge items (the average teen is kicking in about $36).  Show some deal love to the teachers who shop with you, too. Teachers often spend out of their own pockets for classroom supplies—a big expense on a typical educator’s salary. Most major retailers offer special back to school deals like coupons, freebies, and extra rewards program points for educators. Your store will be more competitive if it does the same. And you don’t have to sell school supplies to make a teacher deal work. You can give them a deal on whatever you sell. Free shipping. There’s no way around this one. The NRF survey found that “90 percent of K-12 and 85 percent of college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping.” Already offer free shipping? You’re good to go.  If you don’t, now might be a good time to start. One popular approach is to offer paid shipping for your fastest delivery option and free shipping for slower delivery. These budget-conscious shoppers generally won’t mind waiting a couple of extra days in exchange for free shipping.  Before you add free shipping to your store, you may need to adjust your product prices. Factor in your expected shipping expenses, so you don’t lose money on those orders. Now is also a good time to review your online store’s shipping guidelines to see if they need updating before the holiday rush. Promotion. Create a campaign for the parent and young adult segments of your store’s email list that shows off your best back to school offers. Update your store’s blog with news about new back to school items or upcoming flash sales, and then share those posts on social media. You can create coupon codes for your email list and social media followers, too. Nearly 20% of internet users say they always use coupons when they shop, and another 26% use them “very often.” Give them what they’re looking for. Post Back-to-School Steps Review your site traffic and sales numbers to fill out your back to school season report card. Make notes and put back to school prep on next year’s marketing calendar. Then take a breath and start getting your online store ready for the holidays. Good luck! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Data Security: HIPAA vs PCI

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Struggling with understanding HIPAA vs PCI Compliance? Want to make sure that your business is compliant? When dealing with sensitive information security is paramount. That is why HIPAA and PCI regulations are required in hosting. The aim of this article is to provide insight into these topics, and hopefully, make it easier for you to do your part in protecting patient’s and/or customer’s data. Let’s start with an overview to see how the two connect. What HIPAA Compliant Hosting and Why is it Important? HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. Although the act also offers additional protections regarding insurance and other issues, the focus of this article is in relation to the privacy and security of data. HIPAA compliant hosting is, therefore, hosting that utilizes additional security measures for Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI). It’s important to protect patient’s medical data not only because most people don’t want their medical data publicly available, but also to avoid heavy fines. HIPAA violations cost your practice. Federal fines for noncompliance can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation (or per record) depending on the level of perceived negligence within your organization at the time of the HIPAA violation, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for each violation. So, if you can’t do it for the patients, do it for yourself.  Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter to receive more tips straight to your inbox on hosting compliance for your business. What is PCI Compliant Hosting and Why is it Important? PCI compliant hosting refers to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) and is often shortened to PCI Compliance. PCI compliance refers to a set of standards designed to keep credit card information that is accepted, processed, stored, or transmitted securely at all times. It started in 2006 with a Council founded by American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa Inc., who share equally in governance and execution of the work. Before this time, each credit card network had its own standard, making compliancy difficult for users. When the major Credit Card companies standardized rules to ensure data security, it greatly simplified securing Credit Card data, because it allowed businesses to track a single standard. PCI compliance is important not only for the ease of doing business, but it is also important to protect the customers’ data.  There is a high price to pay for noncompliance, with fines ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per month for the merchant and are at the discretion of the card brands and acquiring banks.  According to a Ponemon Institute study, the average total consolidated cost of a data breach is $3.8 million. Each lost or stolen record costing an average $174, so even having 500 compromised payment records can cost the merchant over $75,000 in liability.  So, if you can’t do it for your customers, do it for yourself. Now that we have a better understanding of what HIPAA compliance and PCI compliance are, let’s look into what is needed for each. What’s Required for HIPAA Compliance? HIPAA compliance is an ongoing process, so after you obtain HIPAA compliance you also need to maintain compliance. Liquid Web is responsible for hardware and network security, while the customer is responsible for making sure that their application is secure and maintained. Customers must hire a third-party HIPAA compliance auditor who will work closely with them since they are trying to become HIPAA compliant. Liquid Web can also sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) that outlines our responsibilities and ensures that your hosting environment is HIPAA compliant. For us to guarantee that your hosting environment is HIPAA compliant, we provide you with a traditional dedicated server, locked cabinets, a hardware firewall, and also offer encrypted offsite data backups. What is Required for PCI Compliant Hosting? PCI compliance is also an ongoing process that also requires maintenance. Below are 12 steps to PCI compliance: Objective: Build and Maintain a Secure Network 1. Configure, install, and maintain a firewall to protect cardholder data 2. Make sure to change system passwords and other security  Objective: Protect Cardholder Data 3. Safeguard cardholder data that is stored 4. Maintain encryption of cardholder data across open, public networks during transmission Objective: Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program 5. Regularly update and use anti-virus software on all systems commonly affected by malware 6. Maintain and develop systems and applications that are secure Objective: Implement Robust Access Control Measures 7. Classify respective business groups for access to cardholder data 8. For each person with computer access, assign a unique ID 9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data Objective: Regularly Monitor and Test Networks 10. Monitor and track all access to cardholder data and network resources 11. Test security systems and processes regularly Objective: Maintain an Information Security Policy 12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security While Liquid Web does not offer full PCI compliance certification, we do offer a separate service that scans your server to see that PCI-DSS requirements are met. This is a great tool during the compliance process. Our PCI scanning is updated with the latest threat intelligence and certified annually to meet all the PCI Security Standards Council requirements. If vulnerabilities are identified you are presented with details about the vulnerabilities and remediation steps that can be used to address them. We also check for false positives and rescan if needed. Comparing HIPAA vs PCI Compliance Both require additional security measures to be taken on the customer’s side as well as by Liquid Web. HIPAA compliance tends to be broader and requires physical barriers to be in place for security measures, such as attestation of physical, on-site security. PCI compliance is more technical and requires scanning on various public ports. How Can Liquid Web Help? Liquid Web can help your business achieve is HIPAA compliance by signing a BAA, and fully managing your HIPAA servers. We also maintain internal policy enforcement and documentation of our administration of your HIPAA servers. You can choose from pre-configured solutions, or we can custom build one to suit your needs. We also offer PCI compliance scanning, and everything is backed by Support from The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting. The post Data Security: HIPAA vs PCI appeared first on Liquid Web.

9 Blogs on Information Security to Keep You Safe from Cybercrime

Pickaweb Blog -

According to a report by RBS, it took only 12 security breaches to expose more than 100 million sensitive personal and corporate records. These breaches accounted for a third of all the security breaches that happened in 2018. What is interesting is that hackers are not the only ones responsible for this problem. Namely, human The post 9 Blogs on Information Security to Keep You Safe from Cybercrime appeared first on Pickaweb.

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