Internet surfers have much in common with surfers who take to the waves in the ocean. They flock to the venues they’ve heard the most about, the ones that have made the headlines and been passed around by word of mouth. For years, the words at the end of most of popular online surfing spots have been “dot com,” “dot net,” “dot info” and “dot org.” These are the most commonly known venues, the ones with the reputations that bring the surfers to their shores.
Just as there can only be so many North Shores of Hawaii, Jeffrey’s Bays of South Africa and beaches of Bali in the world, though, there are only so many domain names that can be created with a .com, .net or .org tag. These well-known, generic top-level domains have been the pinnacle of online surfing – the beaches surfers have heard about. When the water is filled to capacity, however, those who want to make a splash have little choice but to seek new places. Some up and coming top-level domains (TLDs) are becoming new beach front for surfers all over, giving businesses a place to set up shop away from those more familiar destinations.
Check out our new infographic to see how these new TLDs are taking the internet by storm.
The post All About New Top-Level Domains: Infographic appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.
Have you ever wondered what determines how fast your website loads? The answer lies in a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs deploy a number of servers across multiple data centers around the globe to house Web content – including your website’s pages and additional data such as videos, downloadable documents and ecommerce applications – to the millions of people who want to access them.
How it Works
A CDN creates a cache of your website’s most commonly accessed content – for example, images used across multiple pages of your site or your static footnote information. This is then transferred to all of its servers worldwide. When someone wants to visit your site, they are directed to the server that is closest to their physical location, which ensures the site loads as quickly as possible. In the event of a heavy server load, CDNs also speed things up by rerouting some visitors to another server in order to keep everything running smoothly. With this in mind, it is critical to consider what your hosting provider offers to ensure you have a fast-loading website for your business.
The 1&1 Solution
1&1 provides its own dedicated CDN powered by CloudFare®. CDN powered by CloudFare® promises fast loading times by delivering your content to no less than 23 data centers across the globe to ensure your visitors are not left waiting for your site to appear. It is also packed with top-notch security that analyzes the traffic your website receives, blocks any malicious visitors, and protects you from spam. 1&1’s CDN is constantly evolving to improve performance and security. For example, it now includes MirageTM technology that detects the type of device a site is being viewed on, and then delivers images to your visitors in the ideal size and resolution for that device. Also Railgun™ technology compresses all static content on a website when sending which results in up to 700% faster loading times.
Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/henrik5000
Does your Web hosting provider have your back when it comes to security? If your site contains sensitive data like customer details, and you do not want it to be at risk of possible hacker infiltration, you need to protect yourself. 1&1 SiteLock actively combs through your website to look for potential weaknesses that could put your site at risk from hackers or data theft.
This tool performs daily scans for tell-tale signs of malware, and ensures that your domain has not been blacklisted, which would cause emails to your customers to be blocked and your search engine ranking to be adversely affected. SiteLock checks the validity of SLL certificates, as well as performs scans of your website applications, SQL injections and cross-site scripting (XSS) for vulnerabilities and possible security breaches. Basic users can perform one of each scan a month, while SiteLock Premium allows you to perform daily scans if needed.
Using the Tool
With SiteLock assigned in your 1&1 Control Panel, six types of scans are available: security recommendations, Web apps, malware, SQL injection, SSL encryption and cross-site scripting (XSS). Scans take anywhere from several minutes to several hours to perform. Once a scan is complete, a results summary is displayed – this may rank recommendations into categories (High, Medium or Low) or display a list of infected and non-infected files. You can also see when the most recent scan was performed and when you can perform your next scan (daily or monthly depending on your package). You do not need to stay on this page to find out if your site is compromised – by default, you are signed up for email notifications of any security advisories that may occur.
Finally, you should let your site visitors know you are protected. Create a 1&1 SiteLock trust seal for your website from the same Display Results page, and then copy and paste the generated HTML code into your site.
Did you know Typepad is on Pinterest? It's true! We love pinning and repinning great content from Typepad blogs in every genre, and we're always looking for great, inspirational content. Are you on Pinterest? Drop your link in the comments, and don't forget to follow Typepad right here! If you're not on Pinterest yet, check it out - it's a great way to promote your blog and connect with others!
Want some inspiration? Check out our featured pinner, Retro To Go!
Retro To Go is your guide to all things hip and retro. If you have an appreciation for mid-century design in fashion, interior design, architecture and more, David and Suzanne are here to share their treasure finds with you!
FOLLOW: Blog | Pinterest
Want to promote your pinterest account on your Typepad blog? Just go to Blogs > Content and add the Pinterest Widget to your Sidebar via the center menu. While you're there, make your blog posts "pinable" by adding the Pin It button to your post footers.
Want even more? Learn how to promote your blog on Pinterest and follow Typepad at www.pinterest.com/typepad.
This week, we unveiled a downloadable DevOps e-book, talked more about DevOps adoption and the CALMS framework, gave an update on Cloud Metrics and much more. Take a look in this week’s digest.
Building The DevOps Mindset: Agile Collaboration At Work
The goals of DevOps may sound beneficial, but how does all this play out in the real world? The Rackspace-sponsored, free downloadable e-book, The DevOps Mindset, answers this question by featuring interviews with tech professionals who are putting DevOps into action. Each discussion focuses on essential components of the approach, the challenges of getting started and recommendations for other companies.
Quantifying DevOps Capability: It’s Important To Keep CALMS
DevOps doesn’t need a 400-page operating manual, but at minimum it needs a scaffold to hold together key components and concepts so you can assess your capability, compare yourself to your peers and build clear programs to manage deficits. This framework already exists in the community in the acronym we know as CALMS.
Free, Blazingly Fast Disk I/O Gives StreetLight Data An Edge
StreetLight Data offers its customers dynamic analytics for marketing, location planning and more that help them better understand who visits certain areas and when; and the company uses the Rackspace Managed Cloud, including Cloud Block Storage, to quickly deliver that data.
Cloud Metrics: Working Toward A Public Launch
An important part of Rackspace’s monitoring pipeline is the metrics that we gather in the process. We have a small team called Cloud Metrics that is dedicated to these metrics. We are otherwise known as the Blueflood team since we authored the blueflood.io project, which is the technology at the heart of our Cloud Metrics service. We’ve been hard at work improving this part of our business and some changes are underway that I think are worth sharing.
We’re Collaborating With Chameleon To Enable A New Future For Cloud Computing Research
Last week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a consortium of researchers announced funding for two cloud testbeds, named “Chameleon” and “CloudLab,” that will power academic research. Rackspace is participating in the Chameleon testbed.
Five Reasons Why Migrating Virtualized Workloads Can Be Easier Than Expected
While it may seem that migration would require significant changes, selecting the right service provider and platforms can dramatically minimize the risk of operational disruption. This is particularly true for organizations seeking to migrate workloads to hosted VMware environments.
With Labor Day coming up fast! Check out Part 2 of the major “Dos and Don’ts” for preparing your business for the holiday season from seasoned social media and small business expert, Ben Fisher.
Deadly Sin 4 – Circles Not managed
Every brand should have an email list, and email marketing should be a major component of your holiday marketing strategy. On social media, you should encourage followers to sign up for your email list as well. But on Google Plus, there is a unique opportunity to combine social with email marketing techniques, and we call them “opt-in circles.”
Want some interesting facts on email marketing? Read some here.
TIP: Ask your Google Plus audience if they would like to opt in to receive notifications when you post certain types of content. Place those interested into a circle. When you post that type of content, be sure to add that circle to the selected audience. There will be a checkbox that says “Also send an email to [Name of circle].” Make sure you select this box.
Deadly Sin 5 – Not Using Hangouts
Google Hangouts on Air is a live video broadcast that is recorded to your company’s YouTube channel (where you can further optimize it). The associated Google Plus Event can be promoted anywhere, and those who RSVP “Yes” or “Maybe” can have the event added to their Google Calendar (along with reminders if they have their settings set up that way).
Nothing is more powerful than being able to communicate visually with one another. With face-to-face, live interaction, we can read body language, listen to vocal inflections, and connect with our audience more deeply than through traditional broadcasting and advertising formats.
In addition to having your own Hangouts, you can offer your expertise and be a guest on other people’s Hangouts. This exposes you to their audience, as an expert! By being on other people’s shows, you gain company mentions, personal mentions, links to your website and broaden your brand. If the host of the show repurposes their content, you could gain links, and citations from SoundCloud, iTunes, other blogs, Slideshare (ok you get the point). Link earning is the point.
TIP: Hangouts can be turned into a lot of re-purposed content, a few ideas: Create a highlight reel – post on YouTube or Vine, have it transcribed for a blog post, chunk out a few minutes for golden nuggets that can be posted as well.
Deadly Sin 6 – Do Not Have A Strategy
Every post in Google Plus can show in Google.com search. Every Hangout On Air is archived on YouTube and visible in search, every post has a format – with a visible link in the four lines, an image posts can get great engagement. These are all fine and dandy, but in the end you need a strategy that will achieve results.
Tip: Define your goals ahead of time, setup Google Analytics to track those goals, and create a posting strategy that will lead those you engage with to that end. This way you know what success is, and can feel great about the investment you have made.
7 Step plan to be ready for the holidays on Google Plus
1. Run a Brand Page Audit and fix any errors with Steady Demand Google Plus Audit Tool
2. Start engaging, now, on your own posts, posts of others, and within communities.
3. Create circles of engagers, industry media outlets and bloggers, and start to build relationships with them and their content.
4. Periodically ask your followers if they would like to opt in to a circle you notify of special announcements.
5. Appear as a guest on Hangouts on Air shows.
6. Run your own Hangouts on Air to showcase products and build an audience.
7. Create and execute on a strategy.
The most important thing is to start now, to build up your targeted and engaged audience. Those are the people who will want to buy from you anyway, and spread the good news of your products when the holiday season is upon us.
All of the content you will have created along the way will also help you get found in Google search, since every post on Google Plus is indexed, and may even rank.
Will all this take time? Of course it will, but there is hope. First, all the hard work placed into Google Plus have a long-term effect on your presence across Google, their products, and services, long after your display advertisement buys are gone.
Now that you’ve learned about the elements of a successful email marketing campaign, let’s go over the types of emails you’ll be sending out to your subscriber base.
The range of topics at your disposal when sending out an email is practically limitless. From product promotions and company news to interesting tidbits about an employee’s work experience, there is an array of options.
One email you may want to think about sending is a process email – if someone orders a product on your website, you can create an automatic ‘thank you’ reply email. Acknowledging the sale will be reassuring to your customer – they’ll appreciate the responsiveness.
Naturally, the content within the email will be the determining factor for the type of email you’re sending out. You should not be pushing sales language in the middle of a general information email, for example. However, perhaps you can implement a teaser towards the end which links to a complimentary product!
Some examples of the wide variety of email types include:
Sales: Standard for anyone who sells a product, these cover any current special offers as well as new products in your portfolio.
Product Lifecycle: These are informational emails about a product currently in the customers’ account. For example, if a customer has product X, they will receive a series of emails about different tips and tricks to use in their package.
Referral: A Referral Program encourages existing customers to be an advocate for your business and your products – if a friend makes a purchase, they earn a commission.
Affiliate: An Affiliate Program allows users to promote your products via a banner, etc. on their website for commission opportunities.
Process: Automated emails which can be sent after certain actions, for example: order confirmations, order cancelations, and more.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the effectiveness of each type of email. To have an impact, it is of utmost importance for you to think like your recipient. In sales mailings, we can see a lot of variation by industry – let’s say, for example, you are a restaurant owner. You will likely be sending out emails with information on menu specials, events, and/or containing coupons. The end goal, of course, is to bring traffic into your location either for dine-in or take out. A sales mailing such as this one can be deemed effective not only by selling the product, but also by creating some buzz about your business.
In the case of a product lifecycle mailing, it is important to acquaint yourself with the product you are providing information about. Think like a new user – what are the most common things they will be looking to accomplish? Are there questions that most new users of the product will have? Be sure to relay this information in a simple and clear manner.
Referral and affiliate emails are relatable to one another, because in both, your main goal is to encourage people to recommend your products to others. If you are utilizing either, put yourself in the shoes of the advocate – provide them not only with valid reasons on what makes the product great, but also with an incentive. Utilizing giveaways or incentives instills motivation to actively market your products.
Finally, with a process email, think about your own online experiences with other companies, and what left a favorable impression on you. If you made a purchase, were you reassured by the order confirmation email? Did it provide you with supplemental information to your purchase? If a service was adjusted (whether manually or automatically), was a response provided that clearly detailed the action?
By establishing your ultimate goal, and thinking like your recipient, you are on the right path to choosing the email type that best suits you. The content is sure to follow!
Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/baks
Setting Up Google+ Circles for Business Success One of the fundamental differences between Google+ and the other social networks is how it handles relationships and connections. When a business understands how to harness this it can be an invaluable prospecting tool that is far more effective than any other social network. We’ll start with the […]
We are launching a preview of a new, resource-style API model for the AWS SDK for Java. I will summarize
the preview here, and refer you to the AWS Java Blog for full information!
The new resource-oriented APIs are designed to be easier to understand and simpler to use. It
obviates much of the request-response verbosity present in the existing model and presents a
view of AWS that is decidedly object-oriented. Instead of exposing all of the methods of the
service as part of a single class, the resource-style API includes multiple classes, each
of which represents a particular type of resource for the service. Each class includes the
methods needed to interact with the resource and with related resources of other types.
Code written to the new API will generally be shorter, cleaner, and easier to comprehend.
Here is the old-school way to retrieve an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) group using the
AmazonIdentityManagement iam = new AmazonIdentityManagementClient();
GetGroupRequest getGroupRequest = new GetGroupRequest("NeedNewKeys");
GetGroupResult getGroupResult = iam.getGroup(getGroupRequest);
And here is the new way:
IdentityManagement iam = ServiceBuilder.forService(IdentityManagement.class)
Group needNewKeys = iam.getGroup("NeedNewKeys");
The difference between the old and the new APIs becomes even more pronounced when more
complex operations are used. Compare the old-school code for marking an outdated
access key (oldKey) for an IAM user as inactive:
UpdateAccessKeyRequest updateAccessKeyRequest = new UpdateAccessKeyRequest()
With the new, streamlined code, the intent is a lot more obvious. There's a lot less in the way
of setup code and the method is invoked on the object of interest instead of on the service:
The new API is being launched in preview mode with support for
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and Amazon Glacier. We plan to introduce resource APIs for
other services and other AWS SDKs in the future.
PS - To learn more about Resource APIs, read the
full post on the AWS Java Development Blog
Building a website people will want to visit can be a daunting task, but 1&1’s website building tool has your back. Once your basic content and design is in place, 1&1 MyWebsite makes it easy to add all kinds of useful extras to your website, from contact forms and social media buttons to embedded videos and a handy map for locating your business.
All of these features are bundled up as Web Apps – convenient little page elements you can drag on to your site and then tweak to your personal satisfaction. Add these from the “Add Web Apps” button, then use the “Insert Elements” button to insert them to your site. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be showcasing different types of Web apps, but to get you started, here’s 10 great apps that demonstrate the kinds of things you can do with your site.
Selling your own merchandise is incredibly simple at cafepress.com, where all you need to do is provide your own logo or illustration, allowing you to sell all kinds of products – from clothes to bags and gifts. This app lets you link up your CafePress store with your website using your Shop ID.
Share files stored in your Dropbox account with visitors to your site with this useful Web app – once set up, simply upload the files you wish to share to the folder inside your Dropbox account.
Ebay to Go
This app allows you to point your site visitors to Ebay items or shops that may be of interest to them – use it to point towards related products mentioned on your blog, or even use it to promote your own Ebay products.
Bring your social updates directly to your website – Facebook Wall is one of a number of Web apps that lets you integrate the updates you make to your social network on your website.
This app lets you embed a map into your website – perfect for directing customers to your business location or friends to a party, for example. You can include a link providing a convenient means of getting directions to the venue, plus choose which maps controls to embed.
Showcase a product or service in the best possible way by transforming it into an interactive brochure: all you need to do is provide the original brochure in PDF format, then give it a title and description and the app transforms it.
This funding platform is the place to go if you’re trying to gain financial support for a project, and once you’ve set things up on Kickstarter.com, you can then integrate your campaign quickly and easily into your website.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to communicate is through Skype, and this little widget lets you place a simple button on your site that tells visitors when you’re online and available to chat. You will need to tick “Allow my online status to be shown on the Web” under the privacy settings in Skype’s options before it will work.
Social Network Bar
This essential Web app makes it easy to place all your social networking profiles in one place, along with bookmarking links to share the current Web page via a variety of social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit and more.
This little widget lets you embed a YouTube video (or video from your own website) into your site, complete with playback controls and full-screen options. All you need to do is provide the link to your video.
From Twitter embeds to Vimeo multimedia there’s an entire ecosystem of tools that can serve as powerful (and free) add ons to your website, online store or blog. Lets take a look at a few of our favorite services that only take a few minutes to setup and implement with the embed code element. Hello Bar Hello Bar is a very useful service that lets you add a horizontal call to action bar on any page of your site. You can use the bar to attract extra attention to important actions or offers on your site. Whether you’re driving signups, downloads or just better visitor engagement, Hello Bar is exceptionally versatile. The bar itself is completely customizable, giving you direct control over content, design elements and completion events. Yogapeutics uses Hello Bar to promote e-Book downloads for its yoga studio website. The bar looks professional and doesn’t detract from the brand while still capturing attention with an offer targeted directly to visitors. Behind the scenes, Hello Bar provides a variety of helpful performance metrics to help optimize your conversion efforts. You can run A/B tests and target mobile visitors, while tracking progress closely along the way. All it takes to get running is a simple multi-step onboarding process from Hello Bar homepage, which will spit out your embed code that you can place directly on your pages with the embed element. MailChimp MailChimp offers plenty of free email marketing tools, but the Newsletter Signup form is one of our favorites. The form’s embed code is relatively easy to create and implement on your site, allowing you to build a robust mailing list for future email marketing and visitor engagement.Strauss Vintage Shoppe does an excellent job implementing MailChimp’s signup form on the contact page. The shop’s form represents modern design features that augment the site’s personality. Our new columns behavior makes it easy to position the signup form next to text or image elements on your site. SnapWidget SnapWidget provides an elegant solution for embeddable Instagram content feeds. You can generate the embed code in minutes by adding your Instagram username and various display adjustments like hover style and photo padding directly right from the site without ever logging in or providing additional information. Elefant Snowboarding uses SnapWidget to promote it’s action oriented brand with a homepage Instagram feed. We hope this wrap up of interesting embeddable services provides some extra inspiration for your next big idea. What are your favorite embeddable tools to use with Weebly?
In the emerging business world, concepts like Disaster Recovery are often swept under the rug due to the added cost, but the reality is that downtime is a far worse consequence and the price of a modest Disaster Recovery plan in the cloud is marginal compared to what that downtime could cost your business.
Disaster Recovery’s objective is simple: stay afloat in the midst of a crisis or, at minimum, expedite recovery after a crisis hits. To achieve a solid plan it is important to understand some of the major causes of outages and how the cloud can help to mitigate them.
There is no substitute for proper server security, but despite your best efforts there is always the chance that your server could be compromised. The extent of the compromise will determine how you react, but in these situations Cloud Backups and Cloud Images will be invaluable. With proper images and backups in place, you can quickly spin up a new server or rebuild the existing one with known good data. Ideally you should keep the old server online so that your developers can perform an internal investigation and patch the vulnerability that led to the compromise in the first place.
Distributed Denial of Service attack, aka DDoS
A common threat in the Internet age is the dreaded DDoS attack. In general, DDoS can be divided into two groups: malicious and self-inflicted.
A malicious DDoS is when your server is actively being targeted with the intent of making the website inaccessible. In order to mitigate this type of attack, it is best to sign up with a service like CloudFlare that can proactively monitor all traffic going to the server and drop any traffic indicative of a DDoS. CloudFlare offers a variety of packages and they all offer DDoS protection, even the free package!
The name may sound silly, but this is by far the most common reason for delayed outage. A self-inflicted DDoS occurs when you run a promotion or receive publicity that results in increased, legitimate traffic and your server(s) simply cannot cope. Because you want people to visit and have a good experience on your site, there is no quick way to alleviate this. The only solution is to have a known good plan to scale your application that you can execute. It is important that you proactively develop this plan and test it to ensure everything works as intended. The simple truth is that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to scaling your application as needs vary. Before you run any promotion be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
Can my server(s) handle the increased traffic?
If the server(s) fail to handle the traffic, how will I react?
Despite everyone’s best efforts, there is always the looming threat of the unforeseen. Anything from a wayward update to your application/server or an issue with the underlying hardware can cause outages. This is where Cloud Images and Cloud Backups truly shine. The ability to quickly spawn new instances or revert to old ones will be of the utmost importance when trying to restore your web presence.
Mapping out a Disaster Recovery plan on paper is a good start, but unless you test it periodically and ensure that it can be executed on demand, it is purely theoretical. Be sure to know your point of contacts and liaise with your support team regarding your DR strategy.
September brings us the International Day of Peace on the 21st of the month, marking its 30th anniversary with this year’s theme of “Right of the Peoples to Peace,” which is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and people. Cartoon icon Scooby Doo, King Richard the Lion-Hearted, Olympian Jesse Owens and HG Wells were all born in September. The New York Times was first published in September 1851, and Google was incorporated in 1998. And, in the words of poet Helen Hunt Jackson, “By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.”
Within the startup movement, there are plenty of events happening globally in September 2014. The Rackspace Startup Program is here to keep you up to date with valuable information on events and happenings inside the global startup community. What follows is a partial list of global startup events complied by the contributors of StartupDigest:
The WELL Conference
MiniTrends 2014: Insight, Innovation & Strategy
Barcelona Mobile Tech Seminar 2014
Next Bank Europe
Startup Safary Berlin 2014
Lange Nacht der Startups
Design Psychology, Design Culture, and UI Trends
New Tech Boulder
Startup Weekend Ribeirão
Desarrollando America Latina . Ideacion
7th SA Innovation Summit
Silicon Cape Startup Academy with Aaron Marshall
Lean Innovation: Past Evolution; Present Application; Future Trends
Welsh Apps Showcase
Startup Grind Chicago Hosts Logan LaHive of Belly
App Strategy Workshop: Gain and Engage Users
Startup Grind Hosts Liz Lessner of the Columbus Food League
SharkMeet – Presented by Kickstart Columbus
Student Startup Internship Fair
Effective Go Denver
Denver Startup Week 2014 Kick-Off Breakfast with Dave McClure
Node Conf EU
UF Small Business Mentoring Initiative
6th Annual Gainesville-Alachua Employment Law Seminar
Hackergarage’s Beer & Code
Lean Startup Machine
12min.me – Expat Talks
R Meetup: R And C++
First Tech Meetup in Kaposvár
Startup Grind hosts Shouvik Roy of NCR (New Delhi)
Digital Money (Mumbai)
Geektime Conference 2014
Lexington Venture Club
Startup Weekend Louisville
RE.WORK Technology Summit
Santa Monica New Tech #25
What Problem Are You Solving? | Followed by Lean Startups & Fatty Stone Crabs
Startup Grind Montreal Hosts Andy Nulman of Just For Laughs
Beyond the Code
New York City
Startup Boost: Starting a Startup the Smart Way
Orlando Open Coffee
3D Printer Weekend
Paris Startup Job Fair
OpenAccessPHL September 2014 Convening
PACT Thursday Networking Series
Makers Festival Manila 2014
ROOTCON 8 Hacker Conference
FutureTalks Summer Series with Eryn O’Neil: “Programmers Can UX Too”
Startup Your Startup: Documentary Weekend
Triangle Entrepreneurship Week
NC Datapalooza Pitch Event
Designers of Things 2014
Product Forge 2
Startup Weekend Women Seattle
ZZIF: ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum
Big Data Revealed Conference
Startup Weekend Women Stuttgart
Phillip Kotler: Winning at Innovation
Jordan Belfort – The Wolf of Wall Street – LIVE in Tampa
Startup Asia Tokyo 2014
Moxtra SDK Tour – Toronto
The Next 36 – 2015 Cohort Early Application Deadline
Call to Action Conference
The Lean Entrepreneur Program 2.0
Startup Grind Washington DC Hosts Chip Paucek from HookedOnPhonics
MobileUX Camp DC
Startups…get involved with the movement and participate in an event in your community. There is no better time than now to build or strengthen your network. Networking with other entrepreneurs allows you to form and maintain a strong circle of contacts that will serve you well for years to come. If you are an entrepreneur with a new idea in cloud computing, an application that makes people’s lives better or the next big thing online, contact the Startup Team and let us know about it
We have a new free theme to announce today: Goran!
Designed by yours truly, Goran is a functional, responsive, multi-purpose theme that’s a perfect option for your business website.
Learn more about the free Goran theme at the theme showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.Filed under: Themes
The surge of domain names registration has been ongoing since the origin of the internet. Some of the first domain names registrations were created by scientific organizations. Before the internet saw www being used as a prefix for websites, the first domain name to be registered was symbolics.com in 1985. Domain names evolved into unique names that became an identity for websites. From the days of ARPANET to the advent of the new gTLDs, the world of domain names has drifted drastically.
The history of domain names:
In the days of network solutions, the domain name served the purpose of the host’s numerical address which began in the ARPANET era. The network of host files from each computer were mapped as numerical addresses. This soon changed in 1983, with the advent of the Domain Name System or DNS. The domain name represented the IP or the internet protocol of the host computer. Soon there were bifurcations of top level domain names or generic top level domain names and their second-level domain names. Here’s a list of the key milestones that have impacted the world of domain name registrations:
This TLD was registered as the first commercial internet domain name in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The internet revolution:
Since the 1980s, categorization of domain names ensued as country code top-level domains or ccTLDs which were two-letter territory identifications and seven gTLDs emerged. The latter included .com, .gov, .edu, .mil, .org, .net and .int. The right to use domain names is exercised by domain name registrars.
Before the new gTLDs, there were domain names like .biz and .info that saw tremendous popularity. Apart from that, ccTLDs or country specific domain names became a rage for domain owners.
In 2008, ICANN, in its 32nd International Public Meeting announced the availability of new generic top level domains.
The gTLD revolution: .pw and .co
Several countries such as Palau tried to catch on the gTLD revolution. .pw is now synonymous with professional web. With timely rebranding of .pw into the professional web instead of the country’s ccTLD, the domain name is now a namespace for professional individuals and businesses.
Another important domain like .co had been allocated to Columbia. Due to the similarity between .com and .co, the surge in the demand for .co domains increased, which led to the creation of the .CO Internet S.A.S. The latter undertakes the registration for .co domains around the world.
The road ahead…
When ICANN decided to expand new gTLDs to reduce the load on domain names like .com, there were several skeptics who believed that .com strategies would still not budge for several small and big businesses. Yet, within a short time of the announcement of new gTLDs, ICANN witnessed 1930 applications for 1410 unique domain names, in 2012. Some of the applicants were large online businesses like Amazon and Google. Digital marketers caught up fast with the ongoing trend as more and more businesses including regional players joined in. Other experts believe that the year 2014, will witness large transactions in internet history in the new gTLD space which will indirectly or directly impact marketing strategies such as search engine optimization. This could also help in reaching a whole new regional audience within countries. The future of the small entrepreneur seems bright with the ability to grasp the best the internet has to offer and not necessarily be fixated to a .com name.
The Holiday season is upon us, and wow, this year has zipped by so quick. We all get caught up in the day-to-day of our businesses that we neglect what fuels us all year long — MARKETING. Social media, search and display advertising will all work together this holiday season, just as they do every year. And yes, starting your plans now will give you enough time to prepare all the content, ads, and marketing automation necessary to run successful campaigns from Black Friday (This is coming up fast!) through to the New Year.
If Google Plus is not part of your strategy, you are missing out on an incredibly powerful resource to be discovered by your target audience that touches all aspects of marketing.
Google Plus is not a standalone social network. It is a connective layer between your brand andyour website, YouTube, Google search, Gmail, Google Play Store, and even AdWords. Google Plus offers brands a suite of features for content marketing, visual media, and even lead generation. No other social network can offer the depth of features like Google Plus, and below we are going to explore the first three of six sins you may be committing by not using Google Plus effectively in your holiday marketing strategy:
Deadly Sin 1 – Do not have a Google Plus page Setup Correctly
If you are doing business locally and do not have a local Google Plus business page, your competitors probably already do. If you do have a business page setup, then great, you are already on the right track. But, the biggest sin you can make is to not have the proper technical connection between your website and your Google Plus page. There are 7 quality indicators that Google looks at to evaluate your business from a technical standpoint. They are easy to implement, but out of the scope of this article. So use this free tool to audit your Google Plus business page here :http://gplus.ly/1sU2nBD
Deadly Sin 2 – Your Profile Is Not Complete
You have no logo or header image, and your “About” page is not filled out. This is pretty common as most users think of Google Plus as another social network, or a page was created for them by someone and never looked at again. When someone visits your profile, you have them interested, but with no information about who you are or a logo to identify with, they will just move on. They will definitely not visit your website, and more importantly, Google will take note that there was no interaction.
Deadly Sin 3 – You Are Not Active
You are not posting about your company or sharing information that I want to see as a potential buyer.
Most companies treat Google Plus like Facebook – drop a link and go. For Google to understand the relationship between you and others you must communicate. If someone comments, you should reply. If they share your content, thank them. Engage with those who have taken time to engage with you.
TIP: Drive engagement on your Google Plus posts by replying to as many commenters as possible, asking follow up questions, and genuinely being social. Very few brands do this, so you will stand out. If you care, do not be afraid to show it.
Stay tuned for more tips about how to best prepare your business for the holiday rush.
We hate traffic except for the ones that lead to a website and we’re sure that you second this thought too. Our SEO tips have always worked wonders for us in terms of getting traffic and continue to do so even today, but we all want more. So we began our search to find ways to get more traffic to our blog.
The Search: Our research began with Google Analytics where we scanned through almost 2 years of data, week by week. What we noticed was that a newsletter had resulted in a tremendous spike in traffic. That’s great news right? We just send all our blog posts via email to our customer base and we’re going to get traffic. But you don’t want your email to be considered as spam, so you’ve got to be cautious in the way you approach this method.
Another key finding during our research was the spike in traffic when we shared our blog articles on social media. A Facebook post or a tweet on twitter has a certain life; this means that posts made on social media channels will only be visible to a few people who are online at that time. There’s a lot of hard work put into each of the articles and the kind of visibility with each social post was not justifying the hard work.
The Plan: Getting visitors by simply spamming our users via email and social media is an option that we will never take. Our main objective was for people to read more relevant content hence we worked out the following plan.
Email: We figured that if the audience likes an article, they will eventually want to read more. So we picked an article that people would like and prefer reading and send it across to the entire mailing list.
Social: Social media is great for promoting content, but there’s always this innate flaw where once a post is shared it will reach out only for a certain period of time. This means that not everyone gets to view your content. In order for our post to be viewed by everyone or atleast the majority of our audience, we’ll need to repeat the promotion of that particular post at a different date and time altogether. This will ensure that people who login to social media channels at different times of the day will be able to see the post.
Executing the Plan: We now had the gun and the bullets and the only thing left was to take the shots.
For email we decided to stick to a text mailer than the usual html format. There are two reasons why we opted to do the text mailer:
Text mailers are compatible with all email clients.
HTML mailers sometimes end up in the promotions tab of Gmail (most used free email service), which is not viewed by everyone.
The body of the text just contained the initial few sentences of the article which was more than enough to spike curiosity levels and for someone to click on read more. This would get the reader to the blog where he or she would get access to the entire article.
For Social we decided to promote an article on social media channels the day it was published. We then repeated the promotion for the same article for the next week at a different time of the day but only limited it to Facebook and Twitter this time. We then repeated the promotion of the same article on Twitter and Facebook after a month and not to forget, at a different time of the day.
The Results: The email and the social strategy worked wonders for us. We now generate 260% more traffic each week when we compared it to our average week before we executed the strategy. The graph on our analytics dashboard just seemed to climb upwards with every passing day. We started getting comments on the various blog posts, which got us super busy and nevertheless super excited.
What we learnt: We had a lot of customers appreciating the content and also asking us more about our products [potential leads ]. We must be honest to tell you that this revelation would not be possible without data. There are a lot of things hidden within data, just waiting to be explored.
You can try these little secrets of ours and see how it works for your blog or website. Just remember to not overdo it as people might just consider it as spam.
Love it or Hate it but don’t forget to express how you feel about this article in the comments section below.
When it comes to your online business, having the right copy is as important as the products themselves. Having poor messaging can turn potential customers away from your business for good. So how do you know if you have the right messaging? Take a look at your website and then ask yourself these questions:
Do you list your features and explain why these are better than your competitors?
Does the site explain a particular problem your product solves for your customers?
Do you have clear instructions and “call-to-actions” informing the customer on what to do next?
If you were able to answer “yes” to all of the questions, then good job on your website. Your content makes it easy for shoppers to clearly distinguish the advantages of your products over your competitors. It also makes it easy for your customers to either checkout, or find a way to get a hold of you for more information.
However, if you answered “no” to some or all of these questions, then now is a good time to go back, review your copy, and make the proper content changes. Here’s breakdown of each question and why they are important.
List Features and Explain Them That Your Competitors Don’t Have
When shoppers come to your site, it needs to be clear to them that your product is superior. A way of doing this is listing out your features and then explaining these features. You should also do some research to get ideas about what your competitors are doing.
Explain the Problem Your Product Solves
When people shop, they are primarily looking for something that solves a particular problem they have. Be sure your content explains this. If it’s not clear what benefits you offer, then chances are potential customers will leave your site.
Clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs) Makes Your Site User-Friendly
“Learn More”, “Order Now”, “Call Today” are examples of clear CTAs. These tell your shoppers what they should next from the page they’re currently on. The purpose of this is to invite shoppers towards an action which hopefully results in a sale. Also, if this is a link, be sure that it stands out since it is the primary action you want your customers to take.
Building Trust with a Blog
Engaging your customers is important, and there’s no easier way to do it than with a blog. Blogs allow you to display your expertise within your industry, keep readers up to date on new products or upgrades, and provide news about your company. Plus, it gives your customers a reason to keep coming back to your website.
If your business does not already have a blog and you want to set one up, then we would recommend WordPress. Installation is easy, its dashboard is well thought-out, and maintaining it just takes a single click. For installation instructions, we have easy-to-follow tutorials depending on the type of hosting product you have.
Our Business Hosting comes with Softaculous which allows you to easily install WordPress with a few clicks. Read more about the installation process here: How to install WordPress using Softaculous.
If you have a VPS or dedicated server, then you will need to do a few extra steps for installation. You can find the installation instructions for VPS and dedicated servers here.
These are just a few simple tips to improving your business website. Of course, these tips alone won’t guarantee an increase in sales. But what it is, it’s a step in the right direction towards making your site easier for shoppers to get information and ultimately lead them to buying your products.
We’re excited to introduce Twitter Flight School, a new online resource designed to inspire creativity and help agencies of all sizes make the most of marketing on the platform.
Increasingly, our agency partners are moving from asking “Why Twitter” to “How Twitter.” Their top questions include: “How do I take my content on Twitter to the next level?” and “How do I use promoted products and other tools to get the right message to my target audience in the right moment?” This input and more inspired the development of Twitter Flight School, our new online learning hub.
Twitter Flight School contains everything agencies need to know to develop high-impact marketing campaigns for clients, and agency learners can even access both the curriculum and additional resources on their mobile devices. We’ve tailored the content and created bite-size modules to address different agency roles and functions, including senior leadership, account planning and campaign management.
Our first participants, including Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), WPP and Omnicom, gave Flight School top marks. Laura Desmond, Global CEO of SMG, our pilot agency partner, had this to say:
“For marketers who want to reach consumers during today’s biggest live, public and conversational moments, there’s no better place than Twitter. Flight School has given us added expertise to leverage Twitter’s real-time marketing platform to create impactful campaigns for our clients in the evolving digital media landscape.”
We’ll regularly update the curriculum to empower agencies to bring the most creative, impactful strategies to their clients. We look forward to seeing many more agencies #TakeFlight and rolling out the program globally over the next six months. To enroll, contact us today.
Neal O’Farrell is one of the world’s leading consumer and small business security experts, a reputation earned from fighting cybercrime and identity theft around the world for more than thirty years. He has served as security adviser to a number of leading security innovators, including SiteLock, a leader in website security.
Did you know that small businesses could now be the top target for hackers? Or that an estimated 30,000 small business websites are hacked almost every single day? If you own a small business, no matter what type of business, chances are you’re constantly a target.
That’s because hackers are using automated tools to scan millions of computers and websites looking for vulnerabilities that the business owners didn’t find. Once they discover any vulnerabilities, they use even more automated tools to commit all kinds of offenses against your business – from loading them with malware that will infect any visitors to the website, to stealing any data they can get their hands on.
And they’re very good at what they do. In the most recent high profile case, a handful of friends working out of a small town in Russia managed to pull off one of the largest hacker heists to date. In addition to stealing more than a billion usernames and passwords, they also stole nearly half a billion email addresses. They started by creating or buying botnets – networks of thousands of computers that were easily hijacked because their owners had very poor security.
They then used that network of compromised computers to search for and infiltrate thousands of unprotected websites – more than 400,000 of them. According to the security researchers who discovered the haul of stolen data, the hackers exploited some of the most basic vulnerabilities around, like poorly coded websites and unpatched software and plugins. In spite of the fact that most of these vulnerabilities are easy to find and fix.
It’s a reminder that so many of today’s hacks and breaches don’t happen just because the hackers are very smart, but because businesses big and small keep making easy mistakes, or simply don’t take security seriously enough.
This hacker haul wouldn’t have even come to light if the researchers hadn’t stumbled upon it, or if the hackers had been just a little more careful. And even though it’s known where all this priceless data ended up, the hackers still have it. It’s not like anyone can call them up and ask for it back.
And what do you think the chances are that your website was among the 400,000? Or won’t be among the next 400,000? Hacking isn’t always hard, but luckily, neither is security. You just have to take it seriously, get involved, and protect what’s yours.
Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/funky-data