Corporate Blogs

Why You Should Care About Your Business’ Mobile Strategy

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

How did you find this post? What screen are you reading it on? What connected device is with you most often? When you grab your phone, where do you go first? Mobile adoption and market penetration trends are headed up and to the right; ecommerce companies and marketers realize that mobile strategy is increasingly important. Studies show that mobile phone users spend 20 percent if their time in a browser and 80 percent in apps (if my Twitter and Feedly habits are to be any gauge, that’s likely generous to the browser). Not recognizing changing consumer habits can lead to online retailers (or any business) leaving money on the table. Now the question looms, “where do we focus our efforts?” On this Thursday’s Office Hours Hangout, we will discuss that question. There is value in responsive websites, freemium apps, mobile advertising and much more, but there is a factor that is often missed. Native apps are always going to perform better than web apps. Building on the iOS or Android platform can inherently provide you with a better result as you have taken the limitation of the browser out of the picture. Developers are in the digital trenches when it comes to building a mobile strategy that works, and have a lot to teach us on the benefits of mobile app vs. web app, while users just want their interactions with your online presence to be quick and painless. In the context of mobile, you want to remove any transactional friction so that you incentivize users to convert to customers. If I decide, on the spur of the moment, to do something sweet for that special someone like send flowers, the longer the selection and payment process takes the more time passes where I can get distracted by a notification, text or green light (don’t tell my special someone). Organizations can’t afford to let their mobile strategy create transactional friction for their users. Developers need tools they can leverage to deliver that ideal mobile experience, to avoid browser bottlenecks slowing down the user experience and limiting the mobile conversion rate, as well as more API-driven services, like our own Rackspace Cloud. Today, it’s easier than ever to enter the mobile marketplace. We will discuss mobile strategy and more on Thursday for our first in a series of Hangouts on the mobile approach and how Rackspace can help you get the most out of your hosting dollars. Join us at 1 p.m. CDT with your questions and comments! You can join the conversation here:

Developer Spotlight: Botanicalls

The Twitter Developer Blog -

It’s always great to discover a product that implements the Twitter APIs in creative or unexpected ways, especially when it enables communication with objects that normally don’t have a voice. Botanicalls is a perfect example: letting plants notify their owners via Twitter when they are in need of water. As the Twitter platform becomes an increasingly integral part of everyday communication worldwide, this kind of application fosters a more playful side of engineering. Image courtesy of Botanicalls In the early days of social media, Rob Faludi, Kate Hartman, Kati London and Rebecca Bray created a unique product known as Botanicalls. It was a device embedded in plant soil that allowed household plants to “place” a phone call when they needed additional moisture. The group has now applied a more contemporary solution to this common gardening concern, via a DIY printed circuit board that enables thirsty plants to communicate via Twitter. While Botanicalls once had to rely on an overly complicated telco channel, houseplants the world over can now speak to their owners with a Tweet. Regarding the project’s origin, Kati London says, “We wanted to draw people into a conversation with nature, and use technology to give other forms of life a voice. Botanicalls was created to bring things that you care about in the real world into your social media conversations.” The homebrew kit helps developers explore physical computing firsthand. It’s a great example of how Twitter can be used on small, embedded systems. All of the needed components are included in the kit, but you’ll need to dig out the old soldering iron to assemble the parts. If your soldering skills leave something to be desired, this kit could be a good place to start. Once you’ve built your Botanicalls device, simply plug in the power supply and an ethernet cable to start the cross-lifeform conversations. The board should be fully operational from the get-go, as it ships preconfigured with the @botanicallstest Twitter account. A quick press of the “Test” button will send out a Tweet like this: Current Moisture: 0% Needs water! [bff6-1] — botanicallstest (@botanicallstest) April 9, 2014 The software is written in Arduino and takes advantage of the Twitter Library for Arduino. You can also download the source code and customize your device even further — for example, you can provide an OAuth token to tweet from your own account or define the Tweets that are sent by the plant to read, “I could really use a drink of water!”The next time you get the hankering to tinker with an amusing bit of technology that leverages the Twitter Platform (or you just want to improve your relationship with your Jade plant), I’d suggest taking a look at Botanicalls. Perhaps it will even inspire you to develop your own new means of interacting with the world via Twitter. As we endeavor to reach every person on the planet, why not talk to our plants, cars and homes as well?

#Pinspiration Chat: travel the world with Gary Arndt

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

Thinking about packing up your bags and seeing the world? We teamed up with travel blogger and photographer, Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere this Monday for a Pinterview and are joining forces with him again this week for our Twitter #Pinspiration chat. This theme is all about travel and we want to hear how you’re planning your next trip locally or around the world. Tweet a question (Where’s the best place to swim with sharks? Where’s the world’s highest zip line?) with the hashtag #Pinspiration to @Pinterest and @EverywhereTrip this Friday, 5/23 between 10-11am PST. We’ll be talking about weekend getaways, packing tricks, international destinations, and more travel tips. We look forward to globe-trotting with you on Friday.

Sweet child (theme) o’ mine: Creating your first WordPress child theme

GoDaddy Blog -

If the WordPress® themes you’ve seen are almost, but not quite, what you want, they can be customized by using a child theme. What’s a child theme? According to the WordPress Codex… “A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme. Child themes allow you to modify, or add to the functionality of that parent theme. A child theme is the safest and easiest way to modify an existing theme, whether you want to make a few tiny changes or extensive changes. Instead of modifying the theme files directly, you can create a child theme and override within.” Sounds great, eh? So how do you do it? Virgina DeBolt has created a simple, step-by-step guide on how to create a WordPress child theme. She writes: “What kind of theme do you want? You might be looking for a responsive design that will work on any device, you might want a certain number of columns or a certain layout. It’s often easy to find something that’s almost what you want. Maybe you don’t like the colors or want different fonts, but it comes close to what you want. That kind of theme is a perfect candidate to customize with a child theme.” Virginia then gets into the details, including: Picking a parent theme to modify Creating the child theme folder Adding new style rules Activating the child theme Finding the right CSS selectors Overriding the selectors and writing new styles Beyond the basics noted above, Virginia also gets into more advanced customizations, such as modifying the header.php or functions.php files. If you have some familiarity with CSS and you’re not afraid to get your hands (a little bit) dirty, child themes are quite often the way to go. Want to learn more? You can check out the original post here. The post Sweet child (theme) o’ mine: Creating your first WordPress child theme appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

1&1 Now Offers Over 80 New Domain Extensions, Including .LUXURY

1&1 Online Success Center -

Five new top-level domains (TLDs) were launched this week, bringing the total number of new TLDs available for immediate registration to 81! Starting today, users can immediately register the following domain extensions: .DANCE – Own a dance studio? Consider the new .DANCE domain to show your current and potential customers exactly what they can expect when visiting your website. Registration of this TLD is $14.99 for the first year. .DEMOCRAT – During the pre-registration phase for this TLD, many political activists showed interest in branding their websites with a .DEMOCRAT domain extension. Immediate registration is $19.99 for the first year. .EXPOSED – Customers in the pre-registration phase have taken advantage of this TLD to display a more journalistic approach to uncovering the truth about hot-button issues via their websites. For the first year of registration, this TLD is $14.99. .FOUNDATION – Charitable organizations, for example, can take advantage of new branding opportunities by securing a new .FOUNDATION Web address for $19.99 for the first year of registration. .LUXURY – Perfect for high-end brands and businesses that cater to specific tastes, the .LUXURY TLD is a great way to allow your domain name to showcase the value of products or services you offer. A .LUXURY domain name can be registered for $799.99/year. The 1&1 Domain Portal offers valuable information on how to secure your desired domain name, as well as news and updates on which TLDs are available. Photo Credit: ©

Footloose: Or Why A Good Environment Makes All The Difference

HostGator Blog -

The post Footloose: Or Why A Good Environment Makes All The Difference appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing. Kevin Bacon fans and film buffs (as well as pretty much anyone of a certain age) are all familiar with the ever-popular Kenny Loggins song “Footloose,” originally released in 1984. This classic image of Kevin Bacon in his beat up Nike’s is instantly recognizable and immediately associated with the song. It isn’t so much the song itself that we’re going to discuss here, but what it is that the song actually offers. With its upbeat, dance-inspiring tempo, this particular song affords far more than just entertainment; it actually serves as a means of creating an ideal environment, believe it or not.   Tap Those Toes! What this song does is makes those who want to hear it move about, getting stuff done, and it is that motivation that becomes key. When working, many people find that music helps them to accomplish the tasks that they have set for themselves, regardless of whether or not they are still consciously listening to the music at all. The music serves as a means of providing a method for the brain to tune out all other distractions, allowing the individual to concentrate on the task at hand.   Why Does It Matter? By working to distract one’s brain, the individual is working to ensure that they are able to get their assigned tasks completed within a reasonable amount of time. In serving to provide an environment that is conducive to working, individuals are able to accomplish far more than they would otherwise, and are able to do so in less time than normal.   What Does This Mean For You? This doesn’t mean that you need to turn your workplace into an 80’s montage video, (though if you do, I’d love to see it!), but what it does mean is that the environment in which individuals are working is just as important as matching up the right individuals to the right tasks. While Mr. Bacon’s shoes may not particularly motivate you to tap your toes, chances are that there’s a song out there that does, and that when you have that song playing, you’re able to really get in your groove, knocking out tasks quicker than before. Your employees have songs like that as well. Find the right mix, get things moving forward, and maybe you too can have the time of your life while working, getting things done while enjoying yourself and increasing office productivity all in one fell swoop!   Image Source: (2014). Footloose. Retrieved from web hosting

Make the Most of Who’s Viewing Your LinkedIn Profile with ‘How You Rank’

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Who’s Viewed Your Profile is one of the most popular destinations on LinkedIn – after all, we all secretly love to see who’s been checking us out. For many savvy professionals, Who’s Viewed Your Profile is more than just a glimpse of who looked at your profile, it’s a rich treasure chest filled with customized insights designed to help you build your professional brand, generate new opportunities, and manage your network. Today we’re introducing a new feature as part of Who’s Viewed Your Profile to help you see where you stack up relative to those in your network. With the new “How You Rank” tool, you can now see where you stack up to others in your network with profile views. Take a look at the top profiles in your network to gain inspiration for changes you can make to your own profile, or content you can share to increase views to your profile and drive opportunities for advancement. Or, take a look at the suggestions LinkedIn offers on the right-hand side of the page for ways you can begin increasing views to your profile immediately. You can click here to see your rank and get personalized recommendations on how to lift your visibility. Whether you’re a job seeker or a student, there are many ways to take advantage of the insights available through Who’s Viewed Your Profile, here are some tips to get you started: For job seekers: Recruiters at some companies receive hundreds of applicants for a single position. If you’ve submitted a resume or LinkedIn Profile already, try taking a look at the profile of the recruiter managing the position. If they see you’ve looked at their profile, they’re more likely to look at yours. Nearly 80% of candidates today are found through networking – so if you notice a recruiter at a company you’re interested in has viewed your profile, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. For consultants and business owners: Professionals come to your LinkedIn profile from all over the web, but rich data insights such as the keywords that led people to your profile, can help you determine how to effectively position yourself to attract new business and make valuable new connections. You can now also use the “How You Rank” tab to better understand who in your network can help increase visibility for your business. For students and new graduates: Students in search of their first job or trying to thoughtfully build their network can use Who’s Viewed Your Profile to attract the attention of recruiters or connect with potential mentors. Find alumni that have graduated from your school, view their profile or reach out and say hello. If you notice someone viewed your profile from an industry you’re interested in joining, don’t be afraid to reach out, introduce yourself and see what words of wisdom they may have for someone just starting out. Learn the best practices for crafting a rich Profile by browsing the most-viewed Members in your network in the “How You Rank” tab. For sales professionals: Curiosity leads many of us to view the profiles of those professionals that have viewed us. Sales professionals that use that knowledge to their advantage treat Who’s Viewed Your Profile as a way to generate warm leads. If someone has viewed your profile, and you share commonalities – it’s a great icebreaker for a potential new business opportunity. We know that no two professionals are alike and by seeing how you rank relative to your professional peers, we believe you’ll have the added information and incentive to help you put your best foot forward on LinkedIn.

9 Considerations For A Successful Migration

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Most system administrators are not only concerned with improving IT capabilities, but also how to best transition to a new environment. “How do I get my app, website, database or development environment onto a new infrastructure, with the least amount of hassle?” Every day, Rackspace assists our customers with hundreds of migrations‑from websites, to applications, to databases. Here are some of our key best practices for a successful migration. 1. Gather Performance Statistics Improving performance is one reason to migrate, and if you don’t have a clear picture of the server resources currently being utilized, you run the risk of post-migration performance issues. Gather performance statistics for physical servers or hypervisors – you’ll need CPU usage, memory usage, network throughput, and disk input/output. Make sure you gather at least six months of data so you can identify peak usage requirements and trending data. Project your needs for the next year and build in a performance buffer. For instance, if your performance stats indicate average usage will increase by 50 percent over the next year, and peak usage demand spikes two times over average usage, you will want to build in a performance multiple of at least three times in order to comfortably handle performance needs. 2. Identify Opportunities to Virtualize Virtualization can save money and reduce complexity by more efficiently using hardware. Our statistics indicate that a physical server costs between two and 10 times more than a server as a VM. Do you have servers with low resource requirements, are under-utilized, or have workloads running on aging hardware? These might be candidates for virtualization. 3. Inventory Your Physical and Virtual Assets Determine the specific assets, architecture, and size of the infrastructure for migration by taking inventory of your current assets. Failing to take everything into account could result in additional costs and time to get your environment up to capability. For physical servers, note the server model, operating system or hypervisor used, number of CPUs and cores, amount of RAM, amount of storage in use, and storage configuration. For virtual environments, gather operating system, number of virtual CPUs, amount of RAM, and amount of storage assigned. Be sure to also identify which hypervisor the virtual machine is assigned to so you can allocate the right amount of resources to each VM. 4. Categorize Your Servers by Business Need Match the right server environment to the workload you are migrating. This will provide you with the best capabilities for the job, without over-paying for what you need. Identify which servers provide business critical, business impacting, and non-critical functions so you can segment these into different environments based on the specific requirements (such as high availability for business critical workloads). 5. Define the One Overall Goal of the Migration Identifying the main goal of your migration will help you decide what is really necessary, and what is nice to have. Improving application availability, reducing cost, upgrading operating system, or gaining operating system support are all examples of migration goals. 6. Record Your Bandwidth Utilization Your end users will expect an equal, if not better performance level post-migration, so you need to ensure that you’ll maintain the same level of network performance. Monitor your current bandwidth utilization and identify whether WAN connectivity is sufficient, both in terms of throughput and latency. WAN circuits may need to be expanded to sustain current public traffic plus the added load of accessing remote applications. 7. Identify Aging or Obsolete Software Is it time to upgrade to a newer version of your operating system? If you want better capabilities and performance, it might be. Hardware and operating systems usually need more resources to manage as they age. Security vulnerabilities can become more frequent. The bottom line is your total cost of ownership (TCO) tends to sharply increase with age, while the return on investment (ROI) decreases. Migration can lower the TCO and raise your ROI. If you do upgrade, verify your application’s compatibility with the newer OS. For example, organizations are moving from Windows Server 2003 as it approaches end of life (read this blog post for more). Some older apps will require an update to run on Windows Server 2008 or 2012. 8. Determine New Technologies Available Can you leverage cloud or SaaS applications to take the place of your existing app? This could be an opportunity to fundamentally change your infrastructure for the better. For example, some of our email customers initially want to migrate Exchange Server into a hosted environment. After further exploration, some have instead moved into a Hosted Exchange environment and offloaded the ongoing management to Rackspace. 9. Think Long Term (and then Longer Term) The last thing you want is to outgrow your environment a year after migration. Consider the long-term TCO when making purchasing decisions. Less expensive choices today can end up costing more down the road if you have to change environments often. The key is to build into your infrastructure for both scale and flexibility capabilities so you can handle unexpected demands. Consider options like Managed Hosting with paths for future growth. So Now What? Rackspace provides both DIY and supported resources for migrations. Reference Architecture Tool - Plug in your Windows requirements and this tool will provide you with a customized infrastructure reference architecture. Go to the tool. Download the Rackspace Cloud Assessment Tool - For Windows migrations, use the Rackspace Cloud Assessment to help you determine your requirements Rackspace Migration Services - Rackspace provides complimentary migrations for simple like-to-like migrations and comprehensive support for complex migrations. Go to the Rackspace Migration page for more information.

It doesn’t grow on trees, you know

GoDaddy Blog -

  Editor’s note: This post is brought to you by Shoeboxed, the fastest way to turn a pile of paper receipts into digital data for effortless expense reporting and bookkeeping. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to determine what’s making your business thrive and what’s holding you back. You’ve probably asked yourself: Why are my customers buying one product, and not another? Why aren’t we attracting more leads online? What could I be doing differently to make more money each month? You can find the answers to these questions (and more) in these six common small business money mistakes that most entrepreneurs don’t even know they’re making: 1. Charging too little Many small business owners make the mistake of charging too little for their products and services, thus missing out on hundreds, even thousand, of dollars each month. Unless your brand is known for being “dirt cheap” and your goal is to appeal to the largest common denominator of customers, raise your prices. The psychology of sales states that people will automatically perceive your brand to be of a higher quality, simply because it costs more. You’ll then attract the type of customers who aren’t afraid to spend money to get what they want, and boost your revenues in the process. 2. Using archaic accounting methods Keeping track of your books using hard copy spreadsheets and receipts wastes hours of your time — hours that could be spent increasing your cash flow! Use a receipt scanning service to go paperless and get organized. With a service like Shoeboxed, you can digitize all of your data and store your information in a secure online account. From there, you can create expense reports, share financial information with your tax professional, and never waste another second scrounging for a lost receipt. 3. Not outsourcing Many small business owners refuse to outsource because they believe they can’t afford it. However, wearing too many hats and working too hard is a surefire way to waste money through wasted time and poor productivity. Instead of spending eight hours designing a graphic, hire a freelance designer to do it in one hour. The nominal cost paid to the freelancer is more than worth it because it gets you back to running your business (and making money!). 4. Failing to make quarterly tax payments Be sure you’re setting aside 15 to 20 percent of everything you make for taxes. Many small business owners either don’t do this at all, or end up dipping into their tax savings to pay for business expenses. By paying quarterly taxes, you’ll protect yourself from hefty IRS fines and interest rates come tax time. 5. Forgetting about your business credit Your credit as a business is separate from your personal credit, and needs to be cultivated from the get-go. Open a small business credit card and checking account, and look into taking out a small business loan. Strong credit will save you money on future business purchases and give you perks like lower interest rates. 6. Skipping out on insurance Like outsourcing, purchasing insurance can feel like spending money on something you don’t need. But insuring every aspect of your business — from your employees’ health to your office space — will protect you from enormous payouts in the event of an emergency. The post It doesn’t grow on trees, you know appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

New Web Apps Available for 1&1 MyWebsite!

1&1 Online Success Center -

1&1 recently launched three new Web apps for its popular website building solution, MyWebsite. Web apps allow users to design an attractive website by implementing functionality from hundreds of third party applications and websites. In this article we will briefly explain the newest elements. Please note that in order for most Web apps to function properly, you may need an account with each third-party service. The new Web apps available for customers of 1&1 MyWebsite: EventBrite: This app offers a simple way to display and promote events on your website and throughout the Internet. With the Eventbrite widget, MyWebsite customers can share events on their website with additional features such as ticket forms, calendars, and a countdown clock. BandsInTown: This online service is a top-rated concert discovery tool providing users with information about upcoming events and music. By integrating the Bandsintown Web app, MyWebsite customers can promote their music and keep website visitors up-to-date about upcoming events. is one of the leading websites for QR codes and QR code marketing. With the Web app, MyWebsite customers can create QR codes for various data or social network profiles, and embed them as an image file on their website. These are simply three new additions to the already extensive library of Web apps available for 1&1 MyWebsite. To learn more about what is available, visit the 1&1 website for more information.

SEO for Beginners – (Part 3) – SEO Tools

BigRock Blog -

We all know, what ‘visitors’ mean to every website owner. If you are a beginner in the arena of website building, you probably must be craving for more eyeballs for your website. That’s when most of us turn to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Don’t worry; if you’re new to it, we’ve got this two post guide to help you understand the basics of SEO. SEO for Beginners – (Part 1) SEO for Beginners – (Part 2) For our SEO gurus in the making, we’ve compiled a list of top 5 free SEO tools that should help BIG time 1] Google Analytics: If you ask anyone with SEO experience about their no.1 tool, you would probably get to hear about Google Analytics most of the time. Google Analytics gives you data that helps you understand your visitors and how they interact with your website. The reports that are provided via this tool are so extensive that it can help you make regular improvements to your website. Here are the key reports that you can use Real Time: Gives you a real time view of what’s happening on your website. Audience: Get a report of age, gender, location, language and browser type of the visitor. Acquisition: Use this to find the source of your visitors (social, ads, organic, direct, etc) Behavior: Find out your top pages on your website and other user behavior on your website’s pages Conversions: Want to find out how your newsletter sign ups, sales etc are working out, then this report will be of great help. Ecommerce websites just love this section of the reports. 2] Google Webmaster Tools: Unless you are one of the lucky few who are blessed with type in traffic, you should see most of the traffic come by from popular search engines and most likely Google. This means you will need to understand how Google is treating your website. The Google Webmaster Tools is a medium for Google to communicate with you about your website. Malware on your website, Google crawl errors, website not indexed on Google are just a few things that you can find using this tool. 3] Google Adwords Keyword Planner: True SEO experts will agree with us when we say that all SEO campaigns should begin with keyword research. Built for paid search advertising campaigns, the Google Adwords Keyword Planner is also very handy for your SEO efforts. Use this tool to identify keyword that get most searches on Google and then plan your SEO activities around such keywords. 4] GTmetrix: One of the newest and most important factors for ranking higher in the search engine rankings is Page Speed. Don’t think of it is as just bonus points as a slow loading website is not something that anyone will tolerate these days. This tool will run a speed test for any page and give you a very comprehensive report of where it stands and what elements are causing it to slow down. You can also find out the Page speed and Yslow Grade of your website using this tool. 5] SEO Book: This website has several useful SEO tools that you will need at some stage of your SEO efforts. You just need to create a free account with them and you have access to their tools. Some of them are important tools like Keyword Density Analyzer, Link Suggestion Tool (Suggests keywords to search for to find relevant link sources), Spider Test Tool (View your web page like a search engine spider), Keyword List Cleaner etc. This website is truly worth saving as a bookmark. So there you have it, five really worthy tools that will support your SEO efforts for your website. Give them a test drive and let us know how it went by dropping a comment below.

WordCamp Miami 2014 Recap

InMotion Hosting Blog -

When many users think of WordPress, they think of it as a content management system. While it is indeed that, it is also so much more. To me, it is now a lifestyle, an extraordinary community that is unsurpassed by any other, and a common goal to make the internet a better place. During a WordCamp, nobody is judged based on their financial situation, the size of their company, or how popular they are. Everyone only pays attention to one thing about you; how much you love WordPress. Developers talk with beginner users, and hosts even converse with each other to drum up friendly competition. Seeing so many different people from various backgrounds certainly pushed me further into the WordPress community and showed me that it is much more than a product, but a living, breathing ecosystem. The Arrival As I had a later flight that was further delayed, I was a bit later than everyone else to the party. Although when I landed, I was able to contact Rami Abraham of Maintainn where we immediately decided to meet for some food and drinks. He suggested a destination and we immediately headed toward the Wynnwood area of Miami. Upon arrival, I was greeted by many well-known names such as Shayne Sanderson of Maintainn, and Brad Williams of WebDevStudios with open arms. Although they are quite well known, and I am much lesser known by the community, it amazed me that such big names would be just as accepting of me as they would any of their peers. Although we had never spoken outside of channels such as Twitter or a Google Hangout here and there, I was completely accepted. Thousands of miles away with people I had never met in person before, I felt as if I was at home. Pre-WordCamp On Friday, we made our way over to the Beginners’ Workshop where we wanted to get a good feel of the new users that we may be hosting. While I was unable to learn anything specifically about WordPress, I did gain a significant amount of information about the users. Sometimes, when you get so involved in the development side of things, the basics become lost and you forget what the average user goes through on a daily basis. It was great to chat with a few new WordPress users and see their everyday struggles whether it be with their hosting provider, or maybe just a simple plugin that they can’t see to quite figure out. Day 1 – Usability, Development, and Design Saturday was the first day of sessions for WordCamp Miami. Immediately as I walked in the door, I knew this is where I belonged. There was an immediate sense of overwhelming knowledge, but not in an intimidating way. It was a very humble, helpful environment that my brain loved to feed off of. Even hearing a conversation going on a few feet away is as intriguing as they come. Although I could not attend every one of the presentations as there were several going on at the same time, nor would I be able to describe each one on this post, here are a few that made notable impressions on me:     “Responsify All The Things!” by Tracy Rotton Being that I am a terrible designer, but interested in honing my skills on the front end of things, I decided to attend Tracy Rotton’s talk on Responsive design. Although I am already a bit versed in how responsive design works and the theory behind it, in practice, my skills are extremely limited. I this talk, Tracy went over a bit of the basics for those who aren’t quite as familiar, then jumped straight into some life-saving techniques to help both the novice and advanced designer become a design powerhouse. Most notably, Tracy showed us the element within HTML5 which will allow designers to automatically load the appropriate image for the best possible optimization solution for the particular user’s device. As we all know, serving the same image and simply scaling it is always a bad idea, but with the element in HTML5, loading those various images depending on viewport size is a breeze. Of course, we still run into another issue with it as not all browser support the element in which she also describes the picturefill.js JavaScript library to deliver the same experience to users who do not have the same capabilities. Progressive JPEGs were also discussed in which to the naked eye, appear exactly the same as lesser compressed images but with a much smaller file size. This will save users on bandwidth and I/O usage on the server and also allows a much quicker page loading experience for the user. Previously, I had been using various other methods for my images, but after seeing her example on using progressive JPEGs instead, I don’t think my methods will ever be the same. Tracy brought up a good point that I think all of us in the room thought of as a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment which was that other elements may be placed within <a> tags such as divs. When there are several items on the page aligned within boxes including things like text and images, many times users will have some trouble clicking on a specific link within that box. Why not make that entire box clickable? This can be done by placing the entire div within the same <a> tag so that even a user with the fattest of fingers can click it on their tiny iPhone screen. Overall, Tracy Rotton taught me why responsive design is more important than ever, that it will never go away, and how to provide a better experience to all users with some simple tips and tricks that make a huge impact. If you’re interested in taking a look at the slides from Tracy’s presentation, you may view her slides on GitHub. “Real WordPress Security – Kill The Noise” by Dre Armeda Dre Armeda of Sucuri made some excellent points on how users can better protect their WordPress sites with just a few simple steps. This was targeted more at basic users and reenforced that the WordPress users is the first line of defense against attacks. In this presentation, Dre mentions things like using a stronger password, and keeping everything up to date. At InMotion, the #1 cause of compromised sites are simply because the user either had a weak password, or they were running a vulnerable piece of software in which the issue could have been easily fixed by simply updating their software to the most recent version which closes those security flaws. Of course, there are also other tools that can help further protect your site such as Sucuri CloudProxy which runs between the attacker and the web server. If you’re interested in seeing more about this presentation, you may find Dre’s slides on SlideShare. “Playing Nicely With Other Plugins” by Pippin Williamson If you use any WordPress plugins, you have probably used something by Pippin Williamson. As with any plugins, it is bound to break at some point when introduced to some other plugins. In Pippin’s presentation, he discussed how plugin developers can better suit both their clients, and other plugins that may interact with theirs. The biggest point that Pippin made was that plugin developers should be nice to other plugin developers. Whether this means fixing their own code to interact with another plugin properly, or by fixing the other plugin’s code, they still share a common client base and they should interact accordingly to ensure that everyone has a great experience. Many times, plugin developers will place blame on others for their plugins causing issues when installed alongside others, but in that instance, nobody really really benefits from the experience. By resolving the conflicts between the plugins, plugin developers can ensure a happier experience for both their users, and other plugin developers. Not only did Pippin discuss how a plugin developer can resolve issues after the release of a plugin when they see a conflict, but how they can proactively avoid issues within the development process such as using better classes and IDs within the CSS, checking to see if various libraries are already loaded before loading them, and various other things that can avoid your plugin overriding another plugin, or vice versa. One thing that greatly stood out to me in this presentation was developers arbitrarily changing actions and filters within their plugins. I have personally seen this before and can certainly be an issue for any developer that is using those actions or filters. Pippin gave an example of this in which he simply adjusted a typo in a hook which directly affected one of the users that was using that hook (with the typo), so when that user updated the plugin, it caused significant issues on the site. This issue can be easily avoided by keeping that previous action or filter, as well as the correction both in the plugin for an extended period of time so that users are not suddenly affected by the change and have time to appropriately update their code. If you’re interested in seeing more about this presentation, you can view Pippin’s slides on SlideShare. “WordPress Podcasting: The Panel” Jeff Chandler – WordPress Weekly Brad Williams – DradCast Dre Armeda – DradCast Suzette Franck – WP Unicorn Project Matt Medeiros – Matt Report Pippin Williamson – Apply Filters Brad Touesnard – Apply Filters This panel about WordPress podcasting included several individuals who are well known in the WordPress community for podcasting. Having a panel like this allowed a better look into the podcasting world and how/why they do what they do. I enjoyed hearing that most of these guys (and girl) do not solely do their podcasts for the money itself and do it simply to provide great information to the WordPress community. It certainly helped the reenforce that WordPress is about community first and monetary gain second, although most of us still make a living from WordPress. The consensus of the group seemed to be to have fun and do what you enjoy, and the monetary gain will follow. A ton of questions came from the crowd about how to get started and promote your podcast in which the general response was to just jump into it and provide excellent content that people enjoy. Whether you want to talk about the development side of things like Pippin Williamson and Brad Touesnard do on Apply Filters, or you want to focus more in the business side of things like Matt Medeiros does on The Matt Report, there is plenty of room to gather various content that can greatly affect the WordPress community in a positive way. The Networking Party After the first day of great presentations, we had an opportunity to have a great time networking with various like-minded professionals in a great atmosphere. This took place at Finnegan’s River in Miami and provided the perfect setting to relax at the bar or a table by the water to connect and talk about anything that came to our minds. I met with Suzette from MediaTemple in which we shared our common goals in assisting with the WordPress community in any way we can. I was quite excited that she shared my same excitement about WordPress from a hosting standpoint in which we were able to bounce ideas back and forth to better both of our WordPress customer base to make the WordPress hosting experience a much better experience, regardless of hosting choices. Having common goals like this within competitors is certainly a great way to make all WordPress hosting solutions a much better place. Jeff Chandler and Sarah Gooding were also both there from WPTavern in which it was a great time to catch up with them and have an overall great experience. Having spoken to Jeff almost every weekend co-hosting our WordPress After Hours Google Hangout, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to meet in person and share our ideas and experiences with WordPress. Although I speak to Sarah much less, I enjoyed meeting her and her husband and had a terrific time making jokes and enjoying the atmosphere. We also got a chance to get goofy in a photo booth for some lasting memories with the WPTavern crew. Towards the end of the night, I had some great conversations with Chris Wiegman from iThemes Security, previously Better WP Security. We discussed everything WordPress security, their bugs in a previous release right after he sold to iThemes, and ways that everyone can make a better push to providing simplistic security options for all WordPress users. There has been a lot of confusion about Better WP Security getting bought by iThemes and the impression that I have received from Chris is that it has only become better since the acquisition. With more time and money being allotted to development and user experience, iThemes Security certainly has only growth ahead of them. Day 2 – The Business of WordPress Day 2 was all about business in WordPress. The biggest impact that was made was by Chris Lema. He opened his presentation with a story about walking into a supermarket and buying peanut butter which we can all relate to. I couldn’t even begin to explain it nearly as well as he did, but I’ll post a video here when available. The opening alone was jaw-dropping and there wasn’t a single eye that wasn’t staring intently at him the entire time. Chris certainly knows how to speak to a crowd. Throughout Chris’ presentation, there was a lot of emphasis on why many WordPress developers and designers fail to succeed to the levels that they desire in which it all boils down to confidence in what you are doing. If you’re a designer, don’t try to do the whole package; Just be extremely good at design. If you attempt to do the whole package, you are devaluing your primary skill. Just find what you are really good at, and be the best in your industry. For example, Chris discussed that if you don’t know what to charge, don’t just throw a number out there. Find out the client’s budget and decide if it will work for you. This same point further leads to giving clients “ballpark” estimates. At that point, you don’t know exactly what it will entail so you can’t accurately decide on a price. Learn the client’s exact needs or you will run the risk of devaluing yourself. Another great point that Chris made (out of many, many incredible points) was that clients should always have options so that they can better suit their needs. If you provide them with a single option, they only have the opportunity to say “yes” or “no”, but if you present them with multiple options, they will almost always say “yes”. For example, if we only provided our customers with a single option for hosting, that one option may not suit their needs, but offering many different hosting options allows us to better suit the needs of many individuals. Of course, nothing can compare to seeing his presentation live, and it certainly was the best in my opinion, but if you want to see more about it, check out Chris Lema’s slides from WordCamp Miami on SlideShare. The Experience of a Lifetime Overall, I had the experience of a lifetime. Not only was it my first WordCamp, but it was an incredible one. With 770 attendees, including many big names in WordPress, there was never a boring moment. Connections were made that will take me deep into the future, and memories that will last a lifetime. I made new friends, and connected with old ones in which this experience was unsurpassed by anything I have previously done. It was truly an incredible experience and I was to thank InMotion Hosting for sending me there, all of the organizers and volunteers who have put their blood, sweat, and tears into this WordCamp, and all of those sponsors that provided the funding for such an amazing event. They affected so many lives, including mine, and I could not even begin to express my gratitude to to everyone involved to the extent in which they deserve. I’ll see you next year, Miami.

Efficiently hosting a WordPress site

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Hosting a WordPress site is easy, but efficiently hosting a WordPress site is the hard part. Sure, you could easily just install WordPress, install a theme that looks good, maybe install a few plugins, and leave it there, but efficiently hosting and maintaining a WordPress site can be more difficult. If you want to get the most of of WordPress, and keep system resources, costs, and your visitors’ page load times low, you will need to build and maintain that site as efficiently as possible. In this post, we will show you some ways to ensure that your WordPress site is running in top shape at all times. Keep your WordPress installation updated at all times WordPress, just like any other widely used and open source content management system is subject to bugs and security flaws. The majority of issues that I see on a daily basis are simply due to out of date WordPress installations. WordPress now includes the ability to automatically update itself for any maintenance releases. While this does not apply to major releases such as 3.9 to 4.0, it will update your site automatically for minor and maintenance releases such as security issues. Clean out those themes and plugins Often, users will simply deactivate plugins and themes instead of fully removing them. Although deactivated, the files are still there and can lead to various bugs and security issues. When not using a plugin or theme, be sure to fully remove it. You can always reinstall it if you find a need for it in the future. Avoid bloated themes and plugins Many users will go for a single plugin that does everything but the problem with that is that there are a lot of other options within the plugin or theme that they will never use. Avoid plugins or themes that are an “all in one” solution and instead of going for something that does everything. For example, if you just need to display a small Twitter widget, go for a widget that does just that, not something that includes various other things such as extra share buttons in your post or an entire page of Twitter posts. While those elements are not being shown, the code itself will usually use more system resources. Some themes and plugins may also be poorly coded in which they will use up more resources than necessary. Although they may be attractive, there is most likely a theme or plugin that will look just as good, but use half the resources of a poorly coded theme. A good starting point in this would be to only purchase themes from reputable sources. More and more caching Caching can be critical in improving the performance of your site. Caching simply allows dynamic elements to be run a single time and then serve static elements to all of the users allowing for less system resources, and a quicker page load time for all visitors. Plugins such as W3 Total Cache can easily configure caching for you with just a few simple clicks. Use a CDN for all static content A CDN will allow you to serve your static files from various locations depending on your visitor which will allow much quicker page load times. Aside from the user’s perspective, your server will also be able to offload those resources to another service that is specifically tuned to do exactly that, allowing a lower effect on server resources. Services such as MaxCDN are able to cheaply boost the performance of your site, and are very easy to set up within plugins such as W3 Total Cache. Make regular backups Ensure that you always have backups ready to go if anything were to happen to your site. If something happened to cause you to lose all of your data, or you made a change that completely breaks your site, you will have a backup ready to go. Most users don’t understand the need for backups until they need them, so proactively make backups when changes are made, as well as incremental backups every week, month, year, etc. Several plugins such as BackUpWordPress will be able to easily back up your WordPress site with just a couple clicks. In addition to making regular backups, be sure that you are also storing them off of the server. Many times when a user is compromised, it will also affect the backups as well. Storing the backups in a location such as Google Drive or Dropbox will ensure that your backups are always readily available. Maintain like a madman Of course, once you have everything set up, be sure to continuously maintain your site at all times. Even if the site is a purely informational site that isn’t updated much, keep checking up on it to ensure that everything is running smoothly often. Sometimes you may notice a small issue that if discovered early, can drastically affect whether that small issue turns into a big one later down the road. Running a website is much more than simply tossing it up and leaving it there. Treat it like a pet that continuously needs love and care.

Team Member Profile: Jeff Matson

InMotion Hosting Blog -

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } -->Hometown: Laconia, NH Position: Customer Community Team Member InMotion Hosting team member since August 2012 How did you get started in the web hosting field? My initial exposure to hosting was when I was around 13 years old when I picked up a book on HTML and learned how to make some basic websites. Of course, I needed hosting so I chose a host that would suit my needs. A few years down the road, a mentor of mine named Adam Fisher gave me my first introduction into affiliate marketing and I used those basic skills to become profitable down the road. Operating several websites, I became familiar with the hosting aspect of things. I later became interested in Linux and started maintaining my own servers along with my websites so that I could have further control of things on the back end. This gave me a great overall versatility at a very young age. I was always looking for a more efficient way to develop my sites and already had skills in PHP, so I moved things over to WordPress where a lot of the work was already done for me as opposed to building things from scratch. My first true role in terms of hosting larger enterprise-class sites as when I joined a large manufacturing/wholesale company as a developer and SEO manager. I quickly moved up the ladder to become the Head of eCommerce in which I saw all direct interaction between customers, businesses, and hosting providers. Jumping to several years later, I am now part of the Customer Community team here at InMotion Hosting, specializing in WordPress. I have further evolved that role to become a direct point of contact between WordPress users and InMotion. What’s your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it? My current role is as part of the Customer Community team in which I specifically specialize in WordPress-related news and tutorials. My position has greatly evolved over the time that I have been part of the team to become a direct point of contact between WordPress users and the hosting side of things. I absolutely love every aspect of my position here. I have the opportunity to interact and make lifelong friends within the WordPress community. Without WordPress, I would not be where I am today so the ability to give back is priceless. When you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about? The coolest gadget that I own would be my custom-built arcade machine that I built around a month ago. While it’s not quite where I want it to be in terms of appearance yet, the functionality is complete so there are a lot of fun nights playing arcade games with my friends on a full sized machine. One thing that I do not yet own, but hopefully will in the future is Google Glass. With all of the things on my plate that I am constantly monitoring and working on, I feel like a huge burden would be lifted in terms of productivity. Anyone who knows me sees that I am constantly checking Twitter, email, WordPress news, and other things on my phone, so the more opportunities to leave my phone in my pocket, the better. What would you like to tell us about yourself? I love WordPress and enjoy getting active in the community. If you use WordPress, be sure to search for WordCamps or WordPress meetups in your area. What’s one word that would describe your personality? Quirky

New app links SMBs with direct lender focused on small biz

Yahoo! Small Business Blog -

New app links SMBs with direct lender focused on small biz: commercecentral: America needs small businesses to grow its economy, yet small businesses need capital to grow. 98% of U.S. small businesses have annual sales of less than $2 million, and are largely ignored by banks because they are perceived as too risky to lend to, or too small to profitably service. …

You Can Win a .BIKE Domain Name | Ride with Adam Jensen Episode 2 Blog -

When we last left off, we were explaining how you can get a free .BIKE domain name. It all starts…and finishes…with Adam Jensen, support legend and rapidly ascending road bike racer. Every weekend he races, and every weekend he gets closer and closer to victory. And here’s the deal: when he wins a race, the first 20 people to contact jared at name dot com (upon our announcement of the victory on YouTube and this blog) win a .BIKE domain for their website.* The good news for you and Jensen (and everyone vying for victory here) is that this freakishly good racer named Gage Hecht has moved up to the pros. He’s young and like the Justin Bieber of road bikes, but now his success has thrust him out of Adam Jensen’s way–nay!–out of YOUR way to victory. Because when Jensen wins you win! Here’s the latest race from the Colorado chapter of the International Christian Cycling Club. Jensen showcases some awesome speed.** loadYouTube(); *Valued at $34.99 for the one-year registration. You must either have a account or be able to open a account to register the .BIKE domain name. No purchase necessary. Not invalid anywhere (as far as we know.) The first 20 people to respond  to jared at name dot com after the announcement of Adam’s victory will receive credit in their account for the $34.99 to buy the .BIKE domain of their choice. I’m pretty sure we’re not liable for anything ever, other than providing a sweet Internet experience that nets you the best web presence ever. **With much thanks to Galen Stilgebauer who seems to be the preeminent Adam Jensen documentarian.

Amazon S3 Lifecycle Management for Versioned Objects

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Today I would like to tell you about a powerful new AWS feature that bridges a pair of existing AWS services and makes another pair of existing features far more useful! Let's start with a quick review. S3 & Versioned Objects I'm sure that you already know about Amazon S3. First launched in 2006, S3 now processes over a million requests per second and stores trillions of documents, images, backups, and other data, all with high availability and eleven 9's (e.g. 99.999999999%) durability. Since the initial launch, we have added many features and locations, and have also reduced the price (conveniently measured in pennies Gigabytes per month) of storage repeatedly. One notable and popular S3 feature is object versioning . After you enable versioning for an S3 bucket, successive uploads or PUTs of a particular object will create distinct, named, individually addressable versions of the object in order to provide you with protection against overwrites and deletes. You can preserve, retrieve, and restore every version of every object in an S3 bucket that has versioning enabled. You can retrieve previous versions of the object in order to recover from a human or programmatic error. Glacier & Lifecycle Rules You have probably heard about Amazon Glacier as well. Glacier shares eleven 9's of data durability with S3, but offers a lower price per Gigabyte / month in exchange for a retrieval time that is typically between three and five hours. Glacier is ideal for long-term storage of important data that you don't need to access within seconds or minutes. S3's Lifecycle Management integrates S3 and Glacier and makes the details visible via the Storage Class of each object. The data for objects with a Storage Class of Standard or RRS (Reduced Redundancy Storage) is stored in S3. If the Storage Class is Glacier, then the data is stored in Glacier. Regardless of the Storage Class, the objects are accessible through the S3 API and other S3 tools. Lifecycle Management allows you to define time-based rules that can trigger Transition (changing the Storage Class to Glacier) and Expiration (deletion of objects). The Expiration rules give you the ability to delete objects (or versions of objects) that are older than a particular age. You can use these rules to ensure that the objects remain available in case of an accidental or planned delete while limiting your storage costs by deleting them after they are older than your preferred rollback window. S3 & Glacier & Versioned Objects & Lifecycle Rules With all of that out of the way, I am finally ready to share today's news! You can now create and apply Lifecycle rules to buckets that use versioned objects. This seemingly simple change makes S3, Glacier, and versioned objects a lot more useful. For example, you can arrange to keep the current version of an object in S3, and to transition older versions to Glacier. You can get to the current version (the one that you are most likely to need) immediately, with older versions accessible within three to five hours. Depending on your use case, you might want to transition all of the versions, including the current one, to Glacier. You might also want to expire each version a few days after it was created. In other words, this new feature combines the flexibility of S3 versioned objects with the extremely low cost of storage in Glacier, helping you to reduce your overall storage costs. You can create and apply Lifecycle rules to an S3 bucket to take advantage of this new feature. You can do this through the S3 API, an AWS SDK, or from within the AWS Management Console.


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