Industry Buzz

Expert Advice: How to Make a Great Website for Your Small Business – Webinar

WordPress.com News -

Whether you already own a small business or are exploring the idea of starting one, you’ll come away from this free, 60-minute live webinar with a wealth of actionable advice on how to maximize your digital presence. Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020Time: 11:00 am PDT | 1:00 pm CDT | 2:00 pm EDT | 18:00 UTCRegistration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/4215849773038/WN_at0PB64eTo2I0zJx-74g2QWho’s invited: Business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and anyone interesting in starting a small business or side gig. Hosts Steve Dixon and Kathryn Presner, WordPress.com Happiness Engineers, have many combined years of experience helping small-business owners create and launch successful websites. They’ll give you tips on site design, search engine optimization (SEO), monetization, and mobile optimization. You’ll be able to submit questions beforehand—in the registration form—and during the live webinar. Everyone is welcome, even if you already have a site, and even if your site wasn’t built on WordPress.com. We know you’re busy, so if you can’t make the live event, you’ll be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel. Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

Keeping Your Business Afloat During An Economic Downturn

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Every business—big and small—is never more than a breath away from economic hardship. Facing an unexpected downturn is a dreaded day for all, but they are a fact of life. Small businesses will be hit hardest when the numbers go south. But there are ways to mitigate the effects. Remember, there are different kinds of economic downturns: some you can prepare for and others you cannot anticipate with any degree of accuracy. Among the downturns you can prepare for, you should always take account of seasonality and new trends. Continue reading Keeping Your Business Afloat During An Economic Downturn at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Tips to Share Your Insights and Experiences on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Official Blog -

In this new world of social distancing, it's easy to feel alone. That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep connected with one another and identify ways you can help by offering your experiences. We’ve seen sharing on LinkedIn increase, with members discussing topics like remote working, online learning and collaboration, indicating there’s a desire and need to understand how people are adjusting to new routines.  No matter what industry you’re in or where you are in your career,  it’s a... .

5 Quick Website Updates You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less

HostGator Blog -

The post 5 Quick Website Updates You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less appeared first on HostGator Blog. This article is part of HostGator’s Web Pros Series. In this series, we feature articles from our team of experts here at HostGator. Our Product Managers, Linux Administrators, Marketers, and Tech Support engineers share their best tips for getting the most out of your website.  So you’re working from home now. The kids are finally busy working on a craft project and the barking dog fell asleep.  You’ve got less than an hour before the “you know what” hits the fan again. And you want to do something that can quickly move the needle for your business.  Here are 5 quick website updates you can make in 30 minutes or less.  Note: You can’t do all of these things in 30 minutes. But one task at a time, with 30 minutes at a time, you’ll get it done! 1. Update your business hours on your website & on Google My Business. Maybe your city has gone on lock down that required your physical location to go on revised hours. Or maybe you’re temporarily closed on a week-by-week basis. Make sure your customers and clients know your new, current operating hours by updating your contact page.  Consider adding a “current as of X date” tag or a note that calls out “our current hours during COVID-19” so customers know they are truly seeing your current, updated hours.  You may also consider a call out banner on the homepage so your customers can easily find this information.  Next, update your temporary business hours on your Google My Business listing. This is important because it will populate the store listing that customers see when searching for your physical location on Google Maps app.  Recently I was out for a late night run to the local drug store and looked up the hours on Google Maps. The hours listed regular hours and then this week’s hours. Sweet! They’re still open 24 hours. I arrive, and JK, the store is closed and there’s a sign on the door with early closing hours. Super frustrating! There are three ways you can update your business hours on Google My Business. Check out the “holiday hours” option.  2. Review & update your metadata.  Meta what? This is a search engine optimization thing. And we all need those positive SEO vibes right now.  Metadata is what appears in the search engine results when your website comes up for a query. Like in the example below.  If you don’t have metadata set up, the search engine will create this for you. But it will likely not be what you want and the meta description will be truncated by character limit.  If you’re on a WordPress website, you can tackle this 30 minute SEO task by setting up the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast makes it easy to change the page title and meta description directly within the editor of each post.  Another added bonus – you don’t have to remember the latest standards for metadescription length. Yoast will highlight the text in red, yellow, or green to let you know how much space is remaining.  Got more than 30 minutes? Watch our Intro to SEO webinar to learn more about metadata.  3. Add your phone number (or preferred contact method) to your site header.  Now more than ever, your website should be easy to use so people can quickly find the information they need.  Consider adding a phone number or your preferred method of contact to your website header so people can easily see it. If you have a form or an informational update they should see first before contacting you, draw attention to that as well.  Southwest Airlines used this method by listing important links in the top header and a “High Call Volumes” notice so customers know what to expect. I was quickly able to find their policy about cancelling a flight in the “information for you” links, and didn’t even have to call! I’m sure they’ll appreciate one less phone call in these crazy times.    4. Write a blog post and share it on social media.  A blog post is a great way to show that your business is still up and running. Need an idea for a quick post? Write about your top selling item of the year.  Got an item or service that could help people during these challenging times? Write a product highlight in a blog post and share it on your social channels. This doesn’t have to be long, but make it informative and helpful.   5. Review and update your navigation menu.  Now is a great time to review the buttons and options in your navigation menu. Are these items still relevant to your customers or shoppers, given the current environment?  On the HostGator blog, we’re working hard to pump out a lot of content to support our customers during the new state of work. I wanted to be able to point website visitors to one link where they could see all this great content. And so it doesn’t get lost in our steady stream of new articles that are publishing each day.  So I added “COVID-19 Business Tips” to the main navigation. Now this content – which is currently our priority focus – is highlighted and easy for people to find.  While I was in there, I also changed “Resource Library” to “Webinars & More.” This seemed more descriptive of the content and would catch attention while people are coming to our site to learn new things about going online.  Wrapping Up… When you want to make some meaningful changes to your website on a time crunch, these ideas will get you started. Now, hurry up! Pick your fave and get it done before the dog wakes up! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Why Website Architecture Matters To SEO

Pickaweb Blog -

Without some kind of organised structure, websites would become a random assortment of web pages that would be impossible for both users to navigate. What ties these pages together is a URL hierarchy that is manifested through the websites navigation, usually in the form of nav bars, drop down menus and icons and links to The post Why Website Architecture Matters To SEO appeared first on Pickaweb.

Ways To Refresh Your Email Marketing Strategies In 2020

Pickaweb Blog -

Every business uses email to communicate with their clients. There are Skype, Slack, and other communication channels, but businesses still revolve around email. Email Marketing is a part of digital marketing. It helps to bring your product or service knowledge to your reader’s attention, and generate leads through emails. Nowadays, social media marketing, quick tips The post Ways To Refresh Your Email Marketing Strategies In 2020 appeared first on Pickaweb.

How to Create LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ads: A Walkthrough

Social Media Examiner -

Want to try LinkedIn advertising but don’t know how to get started? Wondering which ad type you should try first? In this article, you’ll learn why LinkedIn sponsored content ads are perfect for your first campaign. You’ll also find a walkthrough for setting up and launching your own ad campaign for website visits. You’ll discover […] The post How to Create LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ads: A Walkthrough appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

WordPress 5.4 RC4

WordPress.org News -

The fourth release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is live! WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to land on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time! You can test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the release candidate here (zip). For details about what to expect in WordPress 5.4, please see the first release candidate post. RC4 commits the new About page and updates the editor packages. Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.4 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.4. The priority in testing is compatibility. If you find issues, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure them out before the final release. The WordPress 5.4 Field Guide is also out! It’s your source for details on all the major changes. How to Help Do you speak a language besides English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Coming Together During COVID-19

cPanel Blog -

First, we want to assure you that we are here to support you and your business during this time of uncertainty. We are implementing our tested plans to keep operations up and running, and our goal remains to continue with uninterrupted operations and service to our Partners and customers. Adjusting to the current COVID-19 situation has been a task that everyone across the world has had to deal with. cPanel has been no different, and we ...

Employees Working Remote?Cybersecurity Checklist for Small Business Owners

HostGator Blog -

The post Employees Working Remote?Cybersecurity Checklist for Small Business Owners appeared first on HostGator Blog. Millions of Americans are “working from home” due to the COVID-19  pandemic. However, the sudden transition to working at home leaves many businesses vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.  But new cybersecurity threats could shut businesses down, hold their data for ransom, and cost them big in stolen funds. As if you didn’t already have enough to worry about, am I right!?  Big businesses have the resources and IT staff to help secure their remote workforce. But most smaller organizations don’t—and hackers know it. If your SMB recently transitioned to remote work or is about to, here’s a cybersecurity checklist to keep your business safe.  First, why should SMBs worry about remote work security right now? There are 3 big reasons why SMBs need to focus on cybersecurity as their people work from home.  With every new device and network used to access your company’s data, your attack surface grows. What that means is that there are more potential ways for hackers to break into your systems. For example, if your payroll manager logs into your accounts from a phone over a public Wi-Fi network, hackers could steal their login credentials and get into your accounts, too.Cybercriminals profit from chaos and stress. Our current reality delivers both, which is why fraudsters are launching all kinds of coronavirus-related scams aimed at businesses, consumers, even hospitals. When your administrative assistant gets an urgent email from you directing them to make an online donation to a COVID-19 charity in the company’s name, they might do it without question—without realizing the email came from a scammer impersonating you to steal company funds.Most of us are less cybersecure at home than at work. Even if your cybersecurity game is perfect in your workplace, out-of-date or unpatched software on an employee’s home computer could give hackers the security gap they need to worm their way into your business.  OK, so how can you protect your SMB while your people work remotely? Here are 7 security steps to make your business more secure while everyone’s working from home. 1. Talk to your employees and leadership team about phishing Even before the coronavirus emerged, scammers were sending out 3.4 billion phishing emails every day, per TechRadar and Valimail. Now, scammers are targeting remote workers with COVID-19 related: scams designed to steal their login credentials to Office365, OneDrive and other cloud data storage services “urgent” email impersonations of company leaders requesting that employees transfer funds, pay invoices or make donations online. For real. It’s even happened to us at HostGator.messages that encourage recipients to click on a link or attachment for COVID-19 information, only to download ransomware. To help keep your employees from getting phished, David Johnson, Chief Information Security Officer for HostGator, recommends reminding them to watch for emails containing: Mismatched or misleading informationFake shipping or delivery notificationsFake purchase confirmations and invoicesRequests for personal informationPromises of rewardsCharity or gift card requestsUrgent or threatening language (like “your account will be terminated”) Unexpected emails Encourage (and frequently remind) your employees to  Check the email header to see if the sender’s display name and their email match. Scammers can set up a free email account with any name they choose—even yours—so it’s important to check the address.If the email appears to come from a fellow employee, manager, customer or vendor, verify the sender via voice, text or video chat before you follow “urgent” instructions, especially requests for money. Be cautious about clicking links, opening attachments or putting information into pop-up dialog boxes. When in doubt, don’t.Report suspicious emails to you or your IT person.  2. Protect your website from crashes and takeovers Because ransomware attacks are on the rise, it’s also important to make sure your website has regular backups and continuous malware scans.  Check with your IT person or your web hosting provider to make sure you have automated site backups at least once every 24 hours that include file and database backups. That way if your site goes down, you have a recent version you can bring back up while you sort out the problem. You’ll also want to check to see if your site gets regular scans for malware infections and the kinds of vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to inject malware into your site. The quicker these problems are spotted and removed, the better. HostGator customers can add CodeGuard and SiteLock to their websites for regular backups, scans and protection from bot attacks.  3. Protect company equipment from hacking and theft If your employees are using company-issued computers and mobile devices, make the rules for safe use clear.  Company devices should be used for work only. Many companies mandate that company computers should be used for company work only, not as a personal computer. But the employees may not think about how using company tech for personal tasks and leisure creates risk. All it takes is one wrong click for your company data and logins to be hacked. Company devices should be securely stored when not in use. When company laptops and phones get stolen from people’s cars, the data on them gets stolen, too.  4. Keep everyone’s apps and OS up to date Remember that huge Equifax in 2017 data breach that affected more than 143 million people? They could have prevented that by keeping their software patched and up to date. Instead, they let a known vulnerability in one of their apps sit unpatched for weeks, and hackers exploited it.  Keeping your company’s software updated, and patching vulnerabilities as soon as patches are available, are easy ways to keep hackers from walking right into your system.  The need for real-time updates also applies to company-owned devices that your employees are using at home—and to their personal computers and phones if they’re using those to work remotely.  5. Make employees’ remote connections as secure as possible How your employees access company email, databases and files matters, because unsecure connections are another potential entry point for bad actors. Let’s look at connection methods from least to most secure. Public or free Wi-Fi and computers. This shouldn’t be much of an issue right now, because so many of us are confined to home. But just in case, it’s wise to make clear that no employees should be logging in to work from public Wi-Fi or public computer terminals.  Home networks are safer than public Wi-Fi, if they’re set up correctly. Encourage your employees to make sure their home Wi-Fi network password isn’t easy to guess, and that it isn’t used for any other accounts.  If your workforce is at least moderately tech-savvy, you can encourage them to change the default password on their home router. Often, it’s “admin/admin” which makes them vulnerable to hackers who use search tools to scan IP addresses on the web, find those with default router credentials and hijack them. Read our guide to setting a secure password. Your company’s VPN. If you already have a virtual private network (VPN), make sure it’s up to date and require your remote employees to use it.  Don’t have a VPN? Now’s the time to invest in one. A VPN encrypts the data that moves between your company’s system and your remote workers so there’s no way to steal it en route. Not sure where to begin? TechRadar has business VPN recommendations.  6. Have everyone use the same tech tools Even though everyone’s out of the office, they should all be using the apps and services you’ve selected for your company—or alternatives you approve. When employees start using new apps to do their work without an OK from the company, that’s called “shadow IT.” It can result in “serious security gaps,” according to Cisco, in part because shadow IT increases your attack surface. For example, if your company shares documents, slide decks and spreadsheets through Google Drive, no one should also be using Dropbox or OneDrive to share company data. If you’re using Slack for work conversations, employees should stick to Slack and not break off into Skype or Hangouts groups to work.  7. Encourage good password hygiene Reminding your employees to use strong, unique passwords may not seem like an important security step. After all, we’ve been hearing that advice for years but people still use terrible, insecure passwords like 123123.  But terrible, insecure passwords are an easy way for hackers to get into your employees’ accounts and then into your business. One way to ensure better passwords is to use a password manager service for your SMB. With this kind of tool, you can require strong passwords, require two-factor authentication if you like and schedule required password changes. You can find a guide to SMB password managers at InformationWeek’s Dark Reading.  How can you get your employees to follow these recommendations? Too many recommendations at once may overwhelm your people. A more workable approach is to focus on one security task per workday or per week, depending on everyone’s bandwidth. With a planned approach, you can make your business more secure and give everyone one less thing to worry about. Ready to make your SMB site more secure? Get daily site backups with CodeGuard and regular malware scans with SiteLock.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Marketing in Times of Uncertainty: Tips From Top Marketing Pros

Social Media Examiner -

Are you unsure how to approach your marketing during a crisis? Looking for wisdom from well-known marketers? To help you make wise decisions during trying times, we tapped the minds of top marketers to answer these questions: #1: Your Business Must Sell to Survive: Daniel Harmon The Question: Should I continue to promote my business […] The post Marketing in Times of Uncertainty: Tips From Top Marketing Pros appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Creating Your First WordPress Plugin

InMotion Hosting Blog -

There are many reasons why you may, at some point, want to build your own WordPress plugin. The WordPress core functionality gives you all the necessary features of a content management system (CMS). These include a front end process to generate pages and a back end to manage the content you create. There are also functions to protect the site by locking the back end, so only registered users may access the administrative features. Continue reading Creating Your First WordPress Plugin at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Bing adopts schema.org markup for special announcements for COVID-19

Bing's Webmaster Blog -

Bing is adding new features to help keep everyone up to date on the latest special announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to our previously announced experiences for finding tallies of cases in different geographic regions, we will add announcements of special hours and closures for local businesses, information on risk assessment and testing centers, and travel restrictions and guidelines.   SpecialAnnoucement schema markup for government health agencies Bing may consume case statistics from government health agencies at the country, state or province, administrative area, and city level that use the schema.org markup for diseaseSpreadStatistics associated with a SpecialAnnouncement. These statistics are used on bing.com/covid and other searches for COVID-19 statistics. As a government agency determining whether to use this tag for your webpages, consider whether it meets the following criteria, which are characteristics we consider when selecting case statistics to include:   Your site must be the official government site reporting case statistics for your region. Information in the markup must be up-to-date and consistent with statistics displayed to the general public from your site. Your special announcement must include the date it was posted, indicating the time at which the statistics were first reported. SpecialAnnoucements schema markup for COVID-19 related business updates  Bing may consume special announcements from local businesses, hospitals, schools, government offices, and more that use the schema.org markup for SpecialAnnouncement. A label showing your special announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic with a link to your site for more details may be used on web results for your official website and in local listings shown on the SERP or map experiences. This provides an easy link for your customers and community to find your latest information. When determining whether to use this tag for your webpages, consider whether it meets the following criteria, which are characteristics we consider when selecting special announcements to display:   The special announcements must be posted on your official website and refer only to changes related to COVID-19 for your own business, hospital, school, or government office. The name of the special announcement must be easily identified within the body of the special announcement page on your site. Your special announcement must include the date it was posted and should also include the time the announcement expires, if appropriate. SpecialAnnoucement schema markup for risk assessment and testing centers Bing may consume information on risk assessments and testing centers from healthcare providers and government health agencies that use the schema.org markup for gettingTestedInfo and CovidTestingFacility. Searches for nearby testing information may include information on how to get assessed to see whether getting tested is recommended and, if so, how to locate a nearby testing facility and find instructions for getting tested at that center. When determining whether to use this tag for your webpages, consider whether it meets the following criteria, which are characteristics we consider when selecting testing information to display:   Your site must be an official site for a well-known healthcare facility or government health agency. gettingTestedInfo must refer to a webpage that specifies what assessment is required prior to being tested at the given testing location. The testing facility information must refer to URLs and facility locations already associated with your provider or agency. Listing other providers’ facilities is not supported at this time. SpecialAnnoucement schema markup for travel restrictions Bing may consume information on travel restrictions from government agencies, travel agencies, airlines, hotels, and other travel providers that use the schema.org markup for travelBans and publicTransportClosuresInfo. Travel related searches may include information on updated hours, closures, and guidelines for travel. When determining whether to use this tag for your webpages, consider whether it meets the following criteria, which are characteristics we consider when selecting travel restrictions to display:   Your site must be an official site for a well-known government agency, travel agency, airline, hotel, or other travel provider. The special announcement including the travel ban or public transport closure info must specify the location covered by the announcement. The name of the special announcement must be easily identified within the body of the special announcement page describing the ban or closure info on your site. Your special announcement must include the date it was posted and should also include the time the announcement expires, if appropriate. More information on how to implement and use these tags can be found at https://schema.org/SpecialAnnouncement and Bing Webmaster special announcement specifications.  

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