Industry Buzz

How to Design Better Buttons

Reseller Club Blog -

The sole purpose of any promotional copy – be it the copy of an ad, an email, or a website, is to lead the reader towards that shiny, interactive, and most often, a rectangular clickable UI element i.e., the button. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons not only hold every marketer’s hopes of winning at conversion techniques, but also a psychological effect that has the potential of reflecting your brand’s image. How can a mere button do that, you ask? Well, CTA buttons being one of the most crucial elements of any user interface can convey sophistication and class through its intelligent design. Long story short – the most basic purpose of an effective CTA button is to be click-worthy. CTA buttons vary in shapes, sizes and also messaging basis the end goal associated with them. Read on further to learn about some simple design tricks to get the most out of these click magnets! #1: Make them discoverable As a result of long exposure to specific shapes that are associated with specific colours, our minds tend to get used to reacting to them in specific ways. Our perception of colours and shapes have the capacity to affect our moods and emotions. A traditional CTA button would ideally be a horizontal rectangle. While it may be a little too ambitious to experiment with abstract shapes to denote a button, it shouldn’t mean that you stick to the good old rectangle.  When it comes to colours, it is recommended that designers use contrasting colours for the buttons, and stick to shapes that can be easily identified as buttons. Having said that, tweaking them to a safe extent so as to make them look contemporary is definitely a safe path to tread. For example, designers can try softening the corners or curving the sides of a rectangle to make the button look sleeker. #2: Add some shadow  Buttons have existed in different types of design – three-dimensional design, skeuomorphic design, flat design and drop shadows, to name a few. The interplay of light and shadow has inspired several streams of design, making them look more alive. Adding a soft, blurred drop shadow to a button gives it more depth and prominence. However (and this is a pretty big ‘however’), it is much too easy to overdo these light-shadow effects. Designers tend to add one effect after the other without pausing to think whether these effects are simply good-looking or truly necessary. So, add your shadows, but keep them subtle. The best practice is to match the colour of the shadow to that of the button, keep the opacity under 40%, and let the shadow be smaller than the button #3: Lay emphasis where it’s required People typically follow the Z-pattern while scanning website content as they scroll down. Same goes for buttons that are placed adjacent to each other. The button that you want your website visitors to click must be placed towards the right-hand side. That’s where the user’s gaze ends and stays. For buttons that are vertically stacked, it makes more sense to place the high priority button at the bottom, for the same reason stated in the previous sentence.  When these high priority buttons are placed at the left-hand side or at the top, it can disturb the readers’ natural scanning direction, and ultimately, the flow of their attention. Designers also generally use ghost buttons to deter users from clicking those. #4: Let the icons help a little Buttons don’t have to be an arrangement of two words written on a solid coloured rectangle. Much like pictures, icons too can speak a thousand words. It is completely okay for text buttons to make use of icons in addition to text. No, it doesn’t mean that you are adding too much in too little space. It simply means that you are making your message more emphatic. However, make sure that you don’t go overboard with the colours. It is necessary to ensure that the colour of the icon matches the colour of the text. Also, it may be safe to stray from icons that have a colour fill or too many details. Again, the key is to keep it simple and stick to outline icons. #5: Remember the 8-point rule Leave your buttons some breathing space. Avoid leaving too much or too little blank space around your buttons. The ideal way to go about this is to follow the 8-point rule. Essentially, the 8-point rule states that all the elements in a design, including the height, width as well as the space around, follow multiples of 8. You may be wondering why 8 specifically? The explanation is that the average screen size of a majority of popular devices is easily divisible by 8. Hence, scaling the design (size and spacing) by increments of 8 helps in maintaining a consistent rhythm across all the design elements. This, in turn, ensures consistency across all your website pages. You can read more about this concept here. For buttons that are placed adjacently or stacked vertically, maintain the same 8-point distance on all sides of the button. Since we are talking about space, designers must also remember to pay close attention to the letter-spacing. Maintain optimum spacing between each letter of your text, depending on the density of the letters, to ensure ease of reading. #6: Buttons exist in different states  No, we don’t mean geographically, of course! But it is important to remember that any CTA button goes through different states of appearance – idle, hover, and clicked. Making use of visual effects such as adding a drop shadow, a glow effect, a change of colour, etc. can help achieve a distinction between each of these states. A lot of brands are pushing the envelope with this aspect of UI button design and it is going to be amazing to see where this goes.  These are just a few of the many ways of making the button really shine on your website pages. But no matter how well-designed your buttons may be, it all comes down to two ultimate requirements – placement and messaging. If your copy has brought your website visitor to a point where he/she is ready to make a decision, but the button is spaced too far away from reach, or worse, it doesn’t speak just the right words for making him/her click, then you’ve lost your deal right there. There are a hundred things that can go wrong with poorly designed buttons. However, designers can only learn through trial and error. To make this learning journey easier for you, we will continue to write more of these UI design-specific articles. We hope that you keep reading! .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post How to Design Better Buttons appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How to Start Your Own Food Blog: An Expert Guide

DreamHost Blog -

Admit it — you know your way around the kitchen. Whether you’re wielding a whisk, perfecting paella, or creating the next culinary chef-d’oeuvre, it’s clear: Food is your gift, talent, and passion. And if you’re ready to take your compliments-to-the-chef recipes online, it’s time to set up your own blog. But where to start? Don’t get your garlic in a knot. We’ve got you covered. In this handy food blogging guide, we provide all the technical know-how you need to get your own food blog up and running, plus first-class advice from experts in the blogging biz. What’s more, we’ll share the best website builder tools for WordPress and all kinds of resources, so you can start showcasing your culinary chops and drool-worthy photography to bring in some dough. You provide the ingredients, and we’ll make your food blog restaurant-ready. Blog More with Managed WordPress HostingOur automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on creating great content.Check Out Plans Why Start a Food Blog? Food bloggers are some of the most influential people on the internet. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the stats: More and more, people are ditching grandma’s recipe box and seeking food info on the web. It’s estimated that 50% of consumers now use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to learn about food, while another 40% learn from websites, apps, or blogs. A massive 89% of consumers go online for recipes; 79% trust blogs for recipes and food information. Food bloggers are the cool kids on the block, boasting four times as many followers than any other niche. 59% of 25- to 34-year-olds head to the kitchen with either their smartphones or tablets. Consumers are not only consuming food content online — they’re sharing it. Fifty-four percent say they share info and recipes with friends, family, and strangers. Food blogs have rapidly become popular, credible, and sharable ways for talented, passionate (and normal) people to share their passion for food and recipe creation — and to make big $$$. Food bloggers influence consumer food trends and social discussion and are pioneering the modern food experience. Many have even used their taste-ful content to ink cookbook deals, score cooking show hosting gigs, and amass large and loyal followings that share their content globally. So if you’re a dish-developing foodie who wants to own a digital presence while becoming an influential voice in food conversation, there’s potential for you. It’s time to bring your kitchen online. How to Start a Food Blog (8 Steps) Let’s break it down. What do you even need to create a food blog, grow your traffic, and start making money with your recipes? Consult our handy guide below! 1. Determine Your Niche When you’re ready to get busy in the kitchen, what’s your go-to creation? Do you specialize in vegan creations? Excel in gluten-free goodies? Are you the queen of 30-minute Instant Pot meals for busy moms? Whatever you do best — and what you enjoy most — is where you want to start. Finding your niche allows you to distinguish yourself from the millions of other bloggers out there and identify a target audience — which, in turn, helps you understand how to market your content and build a following. Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman discovered her niche and developed a wildly-popular blog following by appealing to down-home, comfort-food eaters. “… blog about what you are passionate about. Don’t start your blog because you want to make money off it. Start your blog because you feel like you have something unique to share with the world. If you truly have the passion and drive, and you are constantly looking for ways to make it better, your blog will eventually succeed and hopefully, turn into a career.” — Tieghan, blogger at Half Baked Harvest 2. Create a Blog Name Time to get those creative juices flowing. What do you want to call your blog? Take time to brainstorm ideas, keeping in mind some typical internet behavior. Your best bet is something memorable and unique, but easy to find (and type) online. It should be related to your niche or help establish your brand. Dana Shultz of The Minimalist Baker distinguishes herself as a food blogger by choosing a blog name that clearly identifies her target audience — cooking enthusiasts who want simple, easy-to-follow recipes. 3. Choose your CMS A content management system, (as the name implies) manages the creation and modification of digital content, making your dream of running a food blog dream a hassle-free reality. As far as CMS options go, we heartily recommend WordPress — and the love is mutual. At DreamHost, we wear our own WordPress-approved badge with pride. This powerhouse blogging platform fuels more than 30% of the internet and can power your blog, too. Related: What Is WordPress? 4. Purchase your Domain Name and Hosting Listen up. Getting a domain and choosing a web host are some of the most crucial decisions you’ll make when you start a blog. Your domain is an essential building block of search engine optimization (SEO), and a good domain name helps you get found online. Domains should match your blog name and can be purchased through a registrar. Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Domain Registration Or better yet: pair the purchase of your domain name with web hosting service. Your hosting plan will provide you with server space to store your files so online browsers can visit your site. WordPress hosting plans through DreamHost combine the best of tech, tools, and service at a budget-friendly price to help make creating your food blog a snap. Plus, DreamHost isn’t just a smart option for all the behind-the-scenes setup. Our customers get access to WP Website Builder an easy-to-use drag-and-drop site builder tool for WordPress that simplifies the process, allowing you to customize without coding and make the perfect food blog fast. *chef’s kiss* With WP Website Builder, we include a suite of premium themes, tools, and plugins — built by our friends at BoldGrid — to help simplify the start-up process and make it easier to edit and manage your website as it grows. Rest easy because you don’t need to start from scratch. Starter content is packed into every beautiful, responsive, and customizable design. 5. Setup To get started, you’ll need to select “WP Website Builder” as an option during your DreamHost purchase. Then, we’ll automatically install WordPress and website builder tools, BoldGrid’s Inspirations and Page and Post Builder, for you.  Once you’re logged into WordPress, you’ll see the Inspirations setup page. Three simple steps? We knew you’d like the sound of that. And it really is that simple! Click Let’s Get Started! to continue. At this stage, you’ll select a theme. You can narrow your options by specific industry-related categories or browse them all to find your perfect starter site. (Hint: There’s even a collection of food-tailored themes under the Restaurant category.) For this guide, we selected the “Hifidel” theme. Related: Tutorial: How to Install a WordPress Child Theme Next, you’ll decide on basic pages and add the functionality you want. You can also view how this theme looks on other devices, like smartphones and tablets. The easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editing paired with design blocks (over 100 options!) helps you build faster and edit easier. It’s simple for beginners, with advanced options for seasoned professionals, making it possible to create the perfect site. Now, you’ll click Next and enter additional details that help populate your website with social media icons and contact info. Then, click Finish and Install. Easy as (your famous cherry) pie, right? Installation is now set up on your WordPress account. From your dashboard, you can continue customizing your website. You’ll want to adjust your site design and add essential elements. For increased functionality, you’ll also want to install useful plugins. We install a handful of valuable plugins, like SEO, Gallery, and Backup, but you should consider additional tools, like plugins for controlling spam or building forms. (There’s even one for recipes!) Be sure to check out our list of the most essential plugins this year. With a form-building plugin, you can set up a simple contact form to help you turn your traffic into an email list — a powerful (and critical) way to market your blog content to readers. Related: How to Create Your First WordPress Plugin (With a Minimal Amount of Coding) 6. Create Content This step is where it gets really gets good. Time to enrich your website with your one-of-a-kind recipes, heartfelt blog posts, and gorgeous food photography. Your food blog isn’t going to do you much good if it’s empty, so prioritize high-quality content. Set up a blogging schedule to continually outfit your blog with fresh, consistent, relevant, and yes, delicious content — and to keep yourself organized. Content is what’s going to draw readers to your site, so make it good and keep it coming. When it comes to content, you should always be cooking up a fresh post (or repurposing an oldie but goodie). Hint: Kate of Cookie + Kate has a bunch of excellent food blogging resources here. “You have to publish high-quality content every single day. Readers hitting your site for the first time should see consistently updated, fresh content, and they should know that if they come back the next day, there will be something new to read. That’s the only way to get people returning to your site several times a day, checking to see if you’ve updated yet. These can’t be throwaway posts, either; everything you publish to your site needs to be a carefully crafted, professionally-photographed piece of content that will either teach or inform. Then, the next day, you need to do it all over again, and be comfortable with pushing the previous day’s work out of the spotlight after just a brief 24 hours.” — Julie, blogger at MealHack 7. Spread the Word Promote your blog by creating content that’s optimized for search engines. Market your content through an email list and social media, such as an Instagram account, Twitter, Facebook, and even a YouTube Channel. You can also consider pay-per-click (PPC) ads. And don’t forget about increasing traffic through SEO improvements (we can help with this — the WordPress website builder has on-page SEO tips built right in!) There are lots of hungry people out there looking for your unique expertise — plan a marketing strategy that helps them find you. “SEO isn’t black magic; it’s about making your quality content findable. It’s important to understand and implement the basics. Here is Google’s SEO starter guide [PDF] and Bake Your Day’s SEO For Food Bloggers Guide.” — Kate, Cookie + Kate 8. Monetize It’s true — your blog posts can make you money. But likely, it will take time and lots of stellar content. So keep producing. Advertising, networking, affiliate marketing programs, and pitching are all ways you can bring in $$ from your blog. Hint: Julie of MealHack has great info on monetizing your blog. Related: 25 Legit Ways You Can Make Money Online “I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to make money off your blog, but don’t align yourself with a brand or project that isn’t a good fit. You are the company you keep. Focus on producing your best content and building your audience, and the opportunities will come.” — Kate, blogger at Cookie + Kate Starting a Food Blog: The Last Course For all you foodies looking to share your culinary talents with the world, it’s time to get blogging! We make starting a blog easy. Sign up for WordPress hosting through DreamHost and take advantage of WP Website Builder to enter the food blogging scene with an appetizing (and easy-to-whip-up) site. The post How to Start Your Own Food Blog: An Expert Guide appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

How to Set Up an eCommerce Site in WordPress

HostGator Blog -

The post How to Set Up an eCommerce Site in WordPress appeared first on HostGator Blog. You’re finally doing it. You’re turning all those dreams of entrepreneurship into a reality and starting an eCommerce store. With consumers spending over $2.3 trillion on products online, it’s a lucrative industry. And if you use an intuitive content management system (CMS) like WordPress, the barrier to entry is low. You don’t have to learn to code or train on any complicated software to get started, you can dive right in. For anyone building an eCommerce site in WordPress, this guide covers all the main information you need to know to get your website up and running.  Phase 1: Start Your Website. Before you can get into the website building phase, you need to complete a few preliminary steps that provide the basis to getting started.  1. Create your brand. The first step to starting an eCommerce business is working out the basic details of your brand. A lot of the decisions you’ll make when building your eCommerce website will depend on the choices you make during this stage, so do this part first.  Clarifying your brand includes: Selecting your products What are you going to sell on your eCommerce website? Will it be items you craft by hand, or products you buy wholesale and resell through the website? Figure out what you want to sell, and how you’re going to get the inventory that will become the basis of your website.  When choosing your products, make sure there’s a throughline in everything you select. Selling t-shirts for skateboarders alongside dinosaur toys for little kids would make for a weird mix. Choose inventory that makes sense to group under one brand. Amazon can get away with selling a huge variety of products now, but even they started out with a focus on books and grew over time.  Researching competitors Competitor research is important for figuring out how to position your brand and determine your pricing. And it can provide useful inspiration for marketing tactics and approaches to use. Your competitors have already done the work of researching your audience and testing out what works for them, you can borrow some of their insights and start out ahead.  Choosing a name What’s your business going to be called? Go with something easy to remember that you like the sound of. Bonus points if it communicates what your business does, and includes a popular keyword for it. This step is a good one to combine with our #2, choosing your domain.   Developing your unique value proposition (UVP) Your UVP is what sets you apart from other brands in the space. It’s a brief statement that encapsulates what you offer to customers, and why they should choose you over similar options. A good UVP is the foundation you’ll build the rest of your website and marketing on.  2. Register your domain. If possible, don’t settle on a name for your brand until you’ve confirmed the domain for it is available. You can find available domains using HostGator’s free domain search tool. A .com is ideal if you can get it, but if it’s easier to grab a relevant domain at .net or .biz, that can work too. Once you’ve found the one you like, it only takes a couple of minutes and a few bucks to register it.  3. Sign up for web hosting. Web hosting is a prerequisite for having any website online. All the files that make up your website must live on a hosting server that delivers them up to each person that visits a web page.  eCommerce web hosting plans cost around $5-$20 a month. When choosing your provider, look for a company that promises consistent uptime, compatibility with WordPress, and reliable customer service. In eCommerce, how accessible your website is ties directly to how profitable it is. A provider with inconsistent service will cost you in lost sales.  4. Install WordPress. The particular details for this step will depend on which web hosting provider you chose. For HostGator clients, follow our one-click install instructions for WordPress. For other providers, check their support materials and follow the instructions provided.  Phase 2: Build Your Website. Now you have everything in place to move into the next phase of building your WordPress eCommerce site.  5. Create a design plan. You have two main options for designing your ecommerce website: Hire a professional designerDo it yourself  Hiring a professional is a good idea for anyone that has a specific vision for their eCommerce site, but limited skills to pull it off on their own. Doing it yourself may seem intimidating if you don’t know anything about web design, but using WordPress means you can skip learning code and still create your own website. With a good website builder, you can even create a professional website within hours—and some of the premium themes we highlight below function much like website builders. Even simpler themes give you a good starting point, you’ll just need to change up the text, images, and colors to match your brand.  Whichever approach you decide on, use this stage to figure out what tools, training, or people you’ll need to design your website. Figure out a rough idea of what you want it to look like, and sketch out a plan for bringing your design to fruition.  6. Choose and install your eCommerce software. WordPress doesn’t provide all the features you need to run an eCommerce website out of the box. For that, you need to install an eCommerce plugin that provides necessary eCommerce functionality. That includes: A shopping cartSecure payment processingInventory managementeCommerce themes Add-ons that provide any additional functionality you wantIntegration with marketing, accounting, and analytics products There are a lot of different ecommerce software options compatible with WordPress.  3 Top WordPress eCommerce Plugins to Consider WooCommerce – The most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce is run by the same company that owns WordPress. WooCommerce is free and easy for beginners to use. Because of how ubiquitous it is, you can take advantage of a lot of compatible themes, add-ons, and integrations. WP eCommerce – Another free and popular option, WP eCommerce is also open source, which means developers are always working to create improvements and add-ons that extend the functionality. It’s easy to use, but they also offer dedicated support for a fee for any website owners that could use the extra hand holding. Easy Digital Downloads – For any infopreneurs planning to sell digital products rather than physical ones, Easy Digital Downloads is the primary eCommerce platform designed for that express purpose. Since it pares down features to just those you need for information products, it’s simpler to use for that purpose than the other options. Since WooCommerce is by far the most popular option for setting up an eCommerce store in WordPress, most of our instructions below will cover how to use it to build your website. If you opt for another eCommerce plugin, the vendor should provide clear instructions for how to complete these steps within it.  7. Choose your WordPress eCommerce theme. WordPress themes are the basic design template you build a WordPress site on. And because WordPress is such a popular CMS, you have thousands of eCommerce theme options to choose from. Some are free, and some come at a cost.  When perusing themes for your website make sure you find one that’s compatible with the eCommerce software you chose, responsive, and well suited to the website you have in mind. If you work with a graphic designer to build your website, they’ll likely have favorite themes to recommend. Where to Find WordPress eCommerce Themes The easiest place to find WordPress themes is within WordPress. Click on Appearance in the menu on the left side of the screen, then on Themes right beneath it. You can search for “ecommerce” to limit your options to themes built for ecommerce stores.  If you want to go with a free WordPress theme for your website, it’s imperative that you choose a theme from within the WordPress library. All of these have been vetted to ensure they’re legitimate and secure. Choosing another free option could put your website at risk of getting hacked.  In addition to the many themes available within the WordPress library, a number of companies offer premium themes. Some of the best places to find premium WordPress eCommerce themes are: Envato MarketElegant ThemesAthemesCSS IgniterThemeFuseThemeIsle 3 Great Free WordPress eCommerce Themes If you’d like to skip browsing, here are a few popular options to consider. Astra The Astra theme has a perfect 5-star rating, with over 2,000 votes from users. It’s WooCommerce compatible and touted as the “fastest-growing theme of all time.” OceanWP OceanWP is free, has a perfect 5-star rating from nearly 2500 users, and provides WooCommerce compatibility.  Rife The Rife free theme offers 7 demo layouts to choose from. It works with WooCommerce, and has a perfect 5-star rating from over 70 users. 3 Great Premium WordPress Ecommerce Themes  Divi Divi from Elegant Themes is one of the most popular themes in the world due to its intuitive visual editor. It has drag-and-drop functionality and makes it easy to build a responsive web store. Customers get access to ecommerce layout packs that provide specific templates for different types of stores.  Shoppe Shoppe from Themify comes with a drag-and-drop website builder and useful ecommerce features, like a wishlist function and gallery option. You can choose from different “skins” that provide a particular look and feel to start you with.  Avada Avada bills itself as the #1 selling theme of all time. While it’s not exclusively for eCommerce websites, it can absolutely be put to that use. It comes with a number of pre-made web page designs and a website builder that makes customization easy.  Those are a tiny sampling of the many eCommerce themes available, so if they don’t meet your needs, get out and do some browsing. But if you’re overwhelmed by all the options available, they’re a good place to start. 8. Determine your site structure. A well organized website is important for providing an intuitive experience to visitors. And that counts extra for eCommerce websites. You want it to be as easy as possible for visitors to find the products they like—since that’s the first step to buying them. Developing a good site hierarchy also helps with search engine optimization (SEO), which increases the likelihood of people finding your website in Google when they search for what you sell.  By defining your site structure from day one, you can keep it simple and straightforward. Figure out the main categories and subcategories (if needed) to divide your products into. Decide which pages and categories are the most important, and should be highlighted in your main menu. For an eCommerce website, that may include your Home page, About page, top product categories, and possibly a blog or Resources category for content you create.  9. Create your main pages.  The theme you chose will supply a basic look and feel for your pages that you can customize for your brand. Two of the most important pages to create for your eCommerce website are Home and About.  Your Home page should quickly communicate to visitors what your brand is and the types of products you sell. This is a good place to put your UVP, alongside high-quality images that communicate something about your brand. It can also be used to promote your best products and highlight any promotions you have going on.  The About page is your chance to humanize the brand. You can share information about the people behind the brand, and why you do what you do. It gives you a way to connect with customers, which makes them more likely to come back and keep buying from you.  Pro tip: Optimize both pages for SEO. Give particular attention to your Home page, since it’s the most important one to rank. 10. Create your store. The specific steps to take here will depend on which eCommerce software you chose. For those using WooCommerce, the plugin wizard takes you through the setup process step by step.  Simply provide the requested information on each page of the setup process. This will include: Choosing your preferred payment method. The main options are PayPal and Stripe.Providing shipping details. You can choose between offering free shipping or charging a flat rate within the WooCommerce app. If you want to charge full price for shipping, an additional extension is required. You’ll also get the chance at this stage to easily link your WooCommerce with some recommended integrations, including an automated tax calculation app, MailChimp (for email marketing), Facebook, and Jetpack.  11. Add your product pages.  Each product page on your website has an important job to do: it’s where your customers decide whether or not to click that “Buy” button (or more likely, an “Add to Cart” one, but same idea). Within WooCommerce, as soon as you finish setting up your store, the plugin suggests creating product pages as your next step. If you have your product information already saved in a csv file, you can import them. Otherwise, click the pink “Create a Product” button. That will take you to the backend of your product page, where you’ll find fields for: Adding your product nameLoading images (the “Add Media” button)Filling in the text of the pagePrice informationSKU numberStock statusShipping details (weight and dimensions) If you’re already familiar with WordPress, the page to create a product will look similar to what you use to create a new page or blog post, with an added section toward the bottom for specific product details.  Fill in all the relevant information for each product. Pro tips: Optimize for SEO – Figure out the best keyword for each product and optimize the page to rank for that keyword. Write customer-focused product descriptions – Find out what your customers care about by reading reviews of similar products. Add high-quality images – In eCommerce, people can’t see and touch items in person before buying, so a photo is the next best thing. Always include at least one high-quality image for each product. More is better. 12. Cover your bases. As a new entrepreneur, it’s easy to get excited and overlook some of the more legal aspects of running a business. Don’t do that! Meet with a lawyer to help you get the wording right for a Terms of Service page on your website, as well as a privacy policy. Also work on a shipping and return policy to add to the site, so your customers know what to expect anytime they want to send an item back.  And absolutely invest in the proper tools to keep your website secure. Get an SSL certificate (they come free with many hosting plans). Purchase security software, such as Sitelock, that adds an extra level of protection. And make sure the payment processing option you choose delivers top-notch protection.  Any website that accepts sensitive data from customers like credit card information is a potential target for hackers. Do what you can to protect your business and the customers that trust you.  13. Set up Google Analytics. Running an eCommerce business is an ongoing learning experience. Each new visitor and purchase tells you something about what works. In order to learn and improve as you go, you need access to rich analytics. Luckily, Google Analytics is entirely free and provides extensive data on how people interact with your website.  Adding Google Analytics to a WordPress site is simple. Simply set up your Google Analytics account to get your tracking code, install a Google Analytics plugin like MonsterInsights, and make the connection.  Phase 3: Launch! The first two phases involve a lot of work, but you’re just getting started. Running an ecommerce website can be profitable and rewarding, but only if you’re prepared to put the time and effort into it.  Once you publish your ecommerce store to the web, making it successful means committing to a whole new list of steps.  Pro tips: Stay on top of WordPress updates – Both WordPress itself and most of its plugins release new versions every so often. These usually provide security updates, as well as new features. Make a habit out of updating every time a new version’s available to protect your website. Do price testing – Pricing is one of the hardest parts of a new eCommerce business to get right. But there are a few different testing strategies you can try out to see what pricing level produces the most profit.Figure out the best shipping options – In the age of Amazon, finding the right shipping strategy is also important. If your shipping costs look too high to customers, it can lead to cart abandonment. Test out different shipping options to find the right combination of affordability and speed that keeps customers buying, but still leaves profit margins. Create an online marketing plan – Selling online is competitive. People will only find your website if you do online marketing. Put together a strategy using tactics like SEO, PPC (pay per click), social media, and content marketing to ensure your website reaches the right people. Provide customer support – Making the sale isn’t the end of your job—you want that customer to keep coming back. Make it easy for customers to get in touch when they have questions or problems and hold yourself to a high standard for customer support.Use your analytics to improve – A great benefit of eCommerce is that it’s easy to track things online. Regularly check Google Analytics, along with the analytics of any marketing tools you use. Use the insights they provide to improve your website design and refine your marketing strategy. Start Making Money with Your WordPress eCommerce Site Being an entrepreneur used to require a much bigger investment in upstart capital. The rise of eCommerce, combined with the accessibility of tools like WordPress and WooCommerce has lowered the barrier to entry.  That doesn’t mean running a successful eCommerce business is easy. You have to be willing to do your research and put in the work required to get your new business off the ground, then keep it successful over time. But if you have the gumption, work ethic, and at least a little money to invest to start out with, you can build an eCommerce website with WordPress and start selling.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Building a WordPress Agency Into a Media Brand

Liquid Web Official Blog -

The following article is with Lee Jackson, Founder of Angled Crown, a leading WordPress development agency and media brand with a mission to help agency owners focus on and engage their true strengths as they build reputations as the “go-to leaders” in the communities they serve. We sat down with him to find out about his success growing his business through content. (Jan) Hey Lee, thanks for being on board with us to chat about growing a WordPress agency through media and content marketing. Can you give us a brief intro of who you are and what you’re doing? (Lee) I’m on a mission to help de-stress agency owners through services, education, and community. So to facilitate this I’ve been running Angled Crown for the last few years as an outsourced development house for agencies that want to offer digital services. We’ve built up a great reputation developing whitelabel themes and plugins for agencies around the world. As we are all geeks, we LOVE that we can focus on the code while the agencies focus on what they do best which is the visuals. Like this interview? Subscribe now and have more WordPress content just like it sent straight to your inbox. (Jan) We’ve been in touch for a couple of years now and one thing I admire the most about your work is how consistently you’re creating content. Your main business is running a white-label WordPress agency, so why are you spending so much time on content? (Lee) Our mission has been clear from the beginning. We want to help others. We can offer services to only a few agencies at a time, but we can help countless thousands by creating online content. This is a one-to-many relationship. The podcast now gets thousands of downloads a month and we’ve been able to grow a huge and supportive community on Facebook which has been a wonderful experience and has helped drive the direction of the content we create. This has the added benefit of raising our profile in the industry which helps us attract higher quality leads. This doesn’t necessarily mean higher-paying etc. We gauge the quality of the lead based on the experience of the agency owner. Our target client is a very experienced person who has a good grasp of the online world, marketing, and can communicate well. By helping others, we are attracting like-minded clients. Everyone’s a winner. (Jan) How did you come up with the content strategy that you’re currently following? There are countless articles on the best times to post on social media, what media types to use in content, etc. Does all of that really matter? (Lee) We decided to be consistent. Show up on the day we say we are going to. Yes, there are many articles telling you what works best. We found that simply showing up at the same time every Monday helped. With regards to WHEN to post we did the research ourselves because every audience is unique. Our audience is global and we were finding afternoons here in the UK and the late evening was a better time to post content out for most locations. THEN the algorithms changed on most platforms where time no longer seems to matter so rightly or wrongly, we just stick with the original times we decided to post stuff out at and we focus on ensuring we are showing up with good quality.  If I am brutally honest we don’t follow stats, we measure direct engagement. That means who’s connecting with us and reaching out. Do we get messages in our group, do we generate questions and conversations. Do people reach out on DM or email? (Jan) In my personal experience, creating content so consistently is challenging. As a developer and agency owner myself, I have to spend time working on my client’s websites and managing my team. Do you have some magical hacks that help you free up time for content creation? (Lee) Absolutely. Batching. That is it!  Yesterday I recorded three new episodes back to back. Today I will be spending a couple of hours writing up the show notes, titles, doing the artwork and scheduling them. That gives us three weeks of content in the can. The day after I will do the social posts and schedule those and I can set and forget. (Jan) You’re everywhere in the WordPress world, being featured on all sorts of podcasts and websites. What challenges did that growing publicity bring into your world? (Lee) I literally can’t think of any challenges. It’s been a wonderful experience where I’ve made so many friends. I guess my Facebook messenger is SUPER busy as a result but I welcome fresh connections. I’ve always shown up as myself which helps, so people are getting to know the real Lee. That takes a lot of pressure off. In my past life, I used to try and project a professional exterior and dress as such. Hated every minute of that. (Jan) When it comes to using WordPress for your business, how do you turn your raving audience into leads and clients? Can you share some of the tools you use? (Lee) As the personal brand has grown, people have naturally wanted to align themselves with my journey. This leads to listeners and guests reaching out to do business with our agency direct without any particular push from myself. We also use retargeting to put out messages to people that visit the podcast pages and this allows us to serve specific ads on the different offerings we have. My mission has always been about reducing/removing stress from agency life. The podcast is a one-to-many resource for me to support people around the world. This has also lead to the buildup of a paid community where we have weekly calls and I produce workshops to help agency owners. We’ve also launched a live event which I’m super excited. You can find more of what I am about in my recent episode 200. This drives everything I do. (Jan) Lastly, I’m wondering about the business side of the results that your content brings… in keeping up with that amount of traffic, public exposure, requests and the (I hope) growing number of projects – how did your day-to-day business change? (Lee) Our business has shifted a lot. Although we still do the day-to-day theme and plugin development for our clients we also now create a lot of content and provide a lot of consulting.  Growing the podcast, the YouTube channel, and other resources have allowed us to talk the talk, walk the walk, and attracted people that want help along the way. Showing up to the community you serve and adding tons of free value helps raise your profile and generates amazing opportunities. Life will never be the same. If you are an agency needing help with social media, content, metrics, testimonials, plus more, download our “14 Strategies for Your Next WordPress Post Launch Plan” book to help your agency grow. The post Building a WordPress Agency Into a Media Brand appeared first on Liquid Web.

How to Get Started With YouTube Ads

Social Media Examiner -

Want to market your products or services on YouTube? Wondering how to set up a YouTube video ad campaign? In this article, you’ll learn how to run ads on YouTube via the Google Ads dashboard. #1: Link Your YouTube Channel With Google Ads Before you start your YouTube video ad campaign, you must link your […] The post How to Get Started With YouTube Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

WordPress.com and Fiverr Partner to Launch “WordPress.com Fundamentals” Course

WordPress.com News -

Getting your new business website ready for launch? Want a little hand-holding — a step-by-step tutorial on setting up a WordPress.com site from start to finish, that you can work on at your own pace and on your own time? “WordPress.com Fundamentals,” a comprehensive video course created with our friends over at Fiverr, walks you through all the fundamentals in 90 minutes. The course covers the basics of setting up a business website, but anyone new to WordPress.com can benefit from lessons on how to create an account, set up a site, customize a theme, publish content, and share it on social media. It was developed by WordPress.com Happiness Engineers with years of experience guiding thousands of new WordPress.com customers in chat, email, forums, and concierge sessions, so you know you’re getting expert guidance from people who know every WordPress.com tip and trick. The entire course is just $31, which includes unlimited access to all the course materials, quizzes, and downloadable resources. Take it all at once, or learn at the pace that works for you — the course is divided into bite-sized chapters that you can refer to as many times as you need. Students are also eligible for a discount of 25% on WordPress.com plan upgrades! So if you’ve been hesitating to explore the advanced features in the Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans, the course gives you both a great introduction to the ease and power of WordPress.com and a lower-cost way to try them out. To get started, head over to the course page on the Learn from Fiverr website. Click on the green “Buy Course” button, and follow the prompts to create an account and purchase the course. And until the end of September, get 30% off the course fee by entering coupon code learnwordpress at checkout. And if you do take the class, let us know what you think. Fiverr will send out a survey to all students after completing the class, so be sure to fill it out. We want to know what works for you, what you’d like to see more of, and where we can improve.

Now Available – Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB)

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Given the wide range of data types, query models, indexing options, scaling expectations, and performance requirements, databases are definitely not one size fits all products. That’s why there are many different AWS database offerings, each one purpose-built to meet the needs of a different type of application. Introducing QLDB Today I would like to tell you about Amazon QLDB, the newest member of the AWS database family. First announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 and made available in preview form, it is now available in production form in five AWS regions. As a ledger database, QLDB is designed to provide an authoritative data source (often known as a system of record) for stored data. It maintains a complete, immutable history of all committed changes to the data that cannot be updated, altered, or deleted. QLDB supports PartiQL SQL queries to the historical data, and also provides an API that allows you to cryptographically verify that the history is accurate and legitimate. These features make QLDB a great fit for banking & finance, ecommerce, transportation & logistics, HR & payroll, manufacturing, and government applications and many other use cases that need to maintain the integrity and history of stored data. Important QLDB Concepts Let’s review the most important QLDB concepts before diving in: Ledger – A QLDB ledger consists of a set of QLDB tables and a journal that maintains the complete, immutable history of changes to the tables. Ledgers are named and can be tagged. Journal – A journal consists of a sequence of blocks, each cryptographically chained to the previous block so that changes can be verified. Blocks, in turn, contain the actual changes that were made to the tables, indexed for efficient retrieval. This append-only model ensures that previous data cannot be edited or deleted, and makes the ledgers immutable. QLDB allows you to export all or part of a journal to S3. Table – Tables exist within a ledger, and contain a collection of document revisions. Tables support optional indexes on document fields; the indexes can improve performance for queries that make use of the equality (=) predicate. Documents – Documents exist within tables, and must be in Amazon Ion form. Ion is a superset of JSON that adds additional data types, type annotations, and comments. QLDB supports documents that contain nested JSON elements, and gives you the ability to write queries that reference and include these elements. Documents need not conform to any particular schema, giving you the flexibility to build applications that can easily adapt to changes. PartiQL – PartiQL is a new open standard query language that supports SQL-compatible access to relational, semi-structured, and nested data while remaining independent of any particular data source. To learn more, read Announcing PartiQL: One Query Languge for All Your Data. Serverless – You don’t have to worry about provisioning capacity or configuring read & write throughput. You create a ledger, define your tables, and QLDB will automatically scale to meet the needs of your application. Using QLDB You can create QLDB ledgers and tables from the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), a CloudFormation template, or by making calls to the QLDB API. I’ll use the QLDB Console and I will follow the steps in Getting Started with Amazon QLDB. I open the console and click Start tutorial to get started: The Getting Started page outlines the first three steps; I click Create ledger to proceed (this opens in a fresh browser tab): I enter a name for my ledger (vehicle-registration), tag it, and (again) click Create ledger to proceed: My ledger starts out in Creating status, and transitions to Active within a minute or two: I return to the Getting Started page, refresh the list of ledgers, choose my new ledger, and click Load sample data: This takes a second or so, and creates four tables & six indexes: I could also use PartiQL statements such as CREATE TABLE, CREATE INDEX, and INSERT INTO to accomplish the same task. With my tables, indexes, and sample data loaded, I click on Editor and run my first query (a single-table SELECT): This returns a single row, and also benefits from the index on the VIN field. I can also run a more complex query that joins two tables: I can obtain the ID of a document (using a query from here), and then update the document: I can query the modification history of a table or a specific document in a table, with the ability to find modifications within a certain range and on a particular document (read Querying Revision History to learn more). Here’s a simple query that returns the history of modifications to all of the documents in the VehicleRegistration table that were made on the day that I wrote this post: As you can see, each row is a structured JSON object. I can select any desired rows and click View JSON for further inspection: Earlier, I mentioned that PartiQL can deal with nested data. The VehicleRegistration table contains ownership information that looks like this: { "Owners":{ "PrimaryOwner":{ "PersonId":"6bs0SQs1QFx7qN1gL2SE5G" }, "SecondaryOwners":[ ] } PartiQL lets me reference the nested data using “.” notation: I can also verify the integrity of a document that is stored within my ledger’s journal. This is fully described in Verify a Document in a Ledger, and is a great example of the power (and value) of cryptographic verification. Each QLDB ledger has an associated digest. The digest is a 256-bit hash value that uniquely represents the ledger’s entire history of document revisions as of a point in time. To access the digest, I select a ledger and click Get digest: When I click Save, the console provides me with a short file that contains all of the information needed to verify the ledger. I save this file in a safe place, for use when I want to verify a document in the ledger. When that time comes, I get the file, click on Verification in the left-navigation, and enter the values needed to perform the verification. This includes the block address of a document revision, and the ID of the document. I also choose the digest that I saved earlier, and click Verify: QLDB recomputes the hashes to ensure that the document has not been surreptitiously changed, and displays the verification: In a production environment, you would use the QLDB APIs to periodically download digests and to verify the integrity of your documents. Building Applications with QLDB You can use the Amazon QLDB Driver for Java to write code that accesses and manipulates your ledger database. This is a Java driver that allows you to create sessions, execute PartiQL commands within the scope of a transaction, and retrieve results. Drivers for other languages are in the works; stay tuned for more information. Available Now Amazon QLDB is available now in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Regions. Pricing is based on the following factors, and is detailed on the Amazon QLDB Pricing page, including some real-world examples: Write operations Read operations Journal storage Indexed storage Data transfer — Jeff;

Here’s How to Earn More Holiday Traffic to Your Blog

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The post Here’s How to Earn More Holiday Traffic to Your Blog appeared first on HostGator Blog. It may feel like the winter holidays are a long way off, but in marketing terms, they’re almost here. If you want more visitors to stop by your blog this holiday season, it’s time to get your place ready. Here are five things to do now for more traffic to your blog during the holidays.  1. Define Your Goals Before You Start Before you work on boosting your traffic, know your benchmarks. What’s your average daily/weekly/monthly traffic now? What’s your holiday traffic history? Find these numbers now so you’ll know if your traffic-boosting efforts are working.  Next, decide what you want your new visitors to do. Do you want them to sign up for your email list? Are you hoping they’ll buy your products? Figure out your primary goal now, so you can create calls to action for holiday visitors.Fix up the place 2. Fix Up the Place Next, make your blog space feel welcoming to visitors. It’s a lot like sprucing up your home before a big holiday party. Check your blog’s Mobile-friendliness and page-load speed. About 40% of visitors will bounce if your pages take more than three seconds to load, according to Think with Google research. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insights tool get usability and load-time scores for your homepage, landing pages and most popular holiday posts. Then make improvements if you need to, based on the recommendations Google generates for you.Hosting plan. Can your plan accommodate seasonal spikes in site traffic to your blog? If your plan doesn’t let you scale up automatically or host the kind of traffic you expect, it’s time to upgrade. Post tags and categories. Categories and tags help visitors find what they want. They also encourage new visitors to delve deeper into your content, like when a visitor lands on your post about sugar cookies and clicks the “holiday desserts” category to see what else you’ve got. We’ve got you covered if you want to make sure you’re getting the most use from your blog tags and categories. Holiday “décor.” Just like wreaths and bows can get a little stale-looking in the attic, your seasonal graphics and landing page designs from last year may feel a little dated this time around. Now’s the time to dust them off and update or replace them. 3. Update Your Old Holiday Posts Traditions make the holidays special. If you have popular holiday posts from seasons past, don’t be shy about bring them back out for another year. Freshening up old content is a good move for SEO, and revisiting old posts gives you a chance to update and improve the keywords you include—another way to boost your search results ranking. Here’s an example: Last year, your most popular holiday post was your Sugar Cookies for Christmas recipe. Pull it up, make sure it’s got the right categories and tags, and then reread it. Has any of the information changed? Maybe the brand of flour you recommended is discontinued, or you’ve tweaked the baking temperature based on reader feedback. Make those changes in the copy. Next, see if there are keywords you can add for more search traffic. Lately I’ve been using the free Keywords Everywhere extension for Firefox and Chrome. With it, you can do a Google search and get the most relevant keyword phrases on the results page. You can export them as a CSV file, too. Here’s what our “sugar cookies for Christmas” search delivered: You don’t need to include all these keywords into your post. (Keyword stuffing is an SEO no-no.) Pick one that you can work into the first paragraph naturally, like “this is the perfect sugar cookie recipe for easy holiday baking.” Or replace the “Decorate” subheading in your post with “Decorating sugar cookies for Christmas.”  4. Plan Your New Holiday Content and Promotions New holiday-related content will draw visitors if it gives them what they’re looking for. During the holiday season that’s usually either treats, holiday tips or a look at the year to come. Here are a few types of content to consider: Giveaways. Free stuff is always a draw. If you have product samples or coupon codes from your sponsors, copies of your new book or a new downloadable guide to having an awesome holiday on a budget, start writing those promo posts now, complete with a landing page or opt-in box to collect email addresses for your list.  Tutorials. Last year’s sugar cookie recipe was a hit? Follow it up this year with a new holiday dessert recipe. Did your tech blog get a ton of shares from your post on creating an animatronic holiday yard display with? Maybe this year you write a how-to on creating a “forest” of LED Christmas trees on your lawn. Looking ahead. A lot of us start thinking about the year ahead during time between Christmas and New Year’s. Now’s the time to put on your prognosticator hat and plan a post on the top home automation trends for 2020, resolutions to be a better baker in 2020 or something else that draws on your expertise to help your audience. Start writing your holiday blog content now and your own holidays will be less hectic. 5. Extend and Track Your Blog’s Reach As the holidays get closer, let your readers and potential new fans know about your awesome seasonal content. Promote your holiday posts on social media. Create a holiday-themed email campaign to let the people on your list know what’s in store for them. You’re investing a lot of time and effort in your holiday content. Make sure people know it’s there. During the holidays–and especially after the season wraps up–take a look at your traffic. Compare this year’s numbers to your benchmarks to see which content did best, which social media posts or emails generated the most click-throughs and how much your holiday traffic changes this year. This information will help you plan for next year’s holiday season, which will be here sooner than you think. Ready to start getting your blog ready for the holidays? Talk to the SEO experts at HostGator about optimizing your site for faster loading and more traffic. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Dedicated Server Security: How Can It Keep Your Data Safe

Liquid Web Official Blog -

When it comes to running a business online it is absolutely critical that your data, and the data of your clients, remain safe and available. But what “safe” means can have many different interpretations: Is the data online and accessible? Is it stored somewhere for ease of retrieval and backup purposes? Is the data restricted and locked down for protection purposes? As a business you have a number of choices to make about your hosting environment and how you keep data safe. However, one choice is certain: dedicated servers provide the most protection for your data. For the continuity of your business in the event of a catastrophe, or even the legal requirements put in place by HIPAA or PCI compliance, a dedicated server gives you the features and protection needed to keep data safe and your business running smoothly. This is accomplished through two primary methods: Physical security Security on the server itself  Liquid Web’s blog is full of useful tips on how to streamline your business. Subscribe now to get the latest right into your inbox. Physical Security Since a dedicated server is dedicated to a single client it allows for additional devices to be placed in-line with your connection that can provide security benefits. These devices, such as hardware firewalls or IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection Systems/Intrusion Prevention Systems) are typically not allowed in front of any type of shared hosting environment (true shared hosting or VPS servers) because of the risk that they might interfere with traffic for another customer. Having a dedicated server allows you to use them without risk of affecting others while providing increased scrutiny of traffic and security for your server and the data you serve to your clients. Ability to Restrict Physical Access to Server Shared environments, such as virtual private servers (VPS) are typically built and clustered together. This restricts the ability to place a host within a locked cabinet. Restricting physical access to your dedicated server ensures that accidents don’t happen with power or network cables and may even be a requirement for your business needs (in the event that you need to be HIPAA or PCI compliant). While all Liquid Web data centers have restricted physical access to employees (and even a subset of employees), having a locked cabinet for your dedicated server provides peace of mind that your machine is one more layer removed from being accessible. This layer helps protect your data from accidental interruption of service which could impact your business and clients accessing your sites. Prevent Outages Interruption or loss of your data can easily be prevented with dedicated servers by using multiple servers in multiple physical locations. Often the same type of product is kept in the same area within a data center (so if you have multiple virtual private servers they may all be on the same parent or on multiple parents very close to each other). This can create an issue if any type of outage occurs. Dedicated servers allow for multiple servers to be located not only within different sections of a data center but completely different data centers entirely. This provides the maximum protection for your data against unplanned outages and accidents. Server Security Physical security is not the only way dedicated servers can keep your data safe. Because a virtual private server is a shared resource it is typically designed around common requests/configurations. Custom Configurations A dedicated server allows for a more customized approach that is data-centric. The most simple configuration change is a RAID 1 hard disk setup that protects your data (this is not a backup). But you can get even more creative with RAID 5 and RAID 6 for even more options of distributed data parity. This kind of customization would not be possible or feasible in a virtual server setup. No More “Noisy Neighbors” Also, the hardware itself is not the only benefit; you also protect your data by being the only client utilizing that hardware. The “noisy neighbor” problem inherent with virtual servers, where another client over-utilizes the shared resources of a virtual server, is not a concern on a dedicated server. This ensures that only your site will be utilizing the disk space, CPU, and memory of your server. This also allows you to tweak your site and applications to maximize your use of the hardware and leverage every bit of performance by knowing that no other user will be “stealing” resources from you and causing issues with your site. Performance and peace of mind from not having to share resources are not the only way your site is protected by having a dedicated server. The isolation from other users extends into security protection as well. Less Attack Vectors Shared and virtual servers are a security risk due to the hypervisor layer running on top of the infrastructure that is potentially vulnerable to escalation attacks. This is compounded by the fact that multiple users, not all of whom may take security measures seriously, are on the same host. Malware and viruses are given a potential avenue to your data when sharing a server with another client. The ability to lockdown your server with dedicated hardware is yet another reason that dedicated servers assist in protecting your data. More Control with Root Level Access Lastly, because a dedicated server is yours and yours alone, you get root level access on the machine. Though some virtual servers allow this as well, there is complete and total control on a dedicated machine for what is allowed, what is running, and what can even come into your machine through the network interface. This ultimate control over your server is one of the best methods of protection for your data because you have the final say on what is or is not allowed on with your machine. Control Your Data with Dedicated Servers Dedicated servers provide a degree of customization that is unparalleled when compared to virtual servers and shared hosting environments. This customization allows you to tailor your server to be as secure as necessary to ensure your data is safe. Benefits such as locked cabinets and multiple physical locations are often only available to dedicated servers. Finally, the isolation of your data from other clients ensures that malware, viruses, and general performance issues have reduced opportunity to cause issues and create downtime for your site. To sum up: When you can control your data, you can ensure it is safe. The post Dedicated Server Security: How Can It Keep Your Data Safe appeared first on Liquid Web.

5 Steps to LinkedIn Group Success: How to Create and Manage a Successful Group

Social Media Examiner -

Do you want to connect with ideal clients and prospects on LinkedIn? Have you considered a LinkedIn group? In this article, you’ll learn how to create a valuable and engaged group on LinkedIn. Why You Should Manage Your Own LinkedIn Group Starting your own LinkedIn group can be a great way to increase your thought […] The post 5 Steps to LinkedIn Group Success: How to Create and Manage a Successful Group appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Understanding Service Design and its Principles

Reseller Club Blog -

Design is an amalgamation of several things as it draws inspiration from varied fields and areas. In today’s day and age, apart from emotions, intelligence and aesthetics, technology too plays a vital role. Service design is one such modern-day design influenced by marketing, project management and user experience to enhance services. Let us see what service design is and its principles in detail.  What is Service Design? The term ‘Service Design’ originated in the year 1991 as a design discipline by Professors Michael Erlhoff and Brigit Mager at Köln International School of Design. Service design is an evolving field with no strict definition. However, in practice, service design can be defined as – ‘The process in which the designer focuses on creating optimal service experiences.’ It can thus be said that service design is a customer-first design that takes into account the needs of the customer, so that the design is user-friendly, competitive in the market, as well as, relevant to the customer.  For example, imagine a Food Delivery App where the primary idea is to connect the restaurant to the client (the one ordering food). Here, there are a host of employees ranging from the delivery agent, head of the delivery app, manager of the restaurant, and waiter. Service design focuses on how the Food Delivery App connects to the restaurant and delivers it to the customer on time. This includes placing the order to the restaurant on behalf of the customer, to onboarding new delivery agents, communication between the delivery agent and the restaurant manager, as well as, manager and the waiter. Each segment plays an important role in the food that is delivered to the customer, even though it is not directly a part of the customer experience.  You can map service design using a service blueprint. Service blueprint helps to visualise processes to optimise how a business delivers the user experience. The 5 Principles of Service Design We’ve covered the definition of service design, let us now move on to understanding the practical application of the design and its principles. We’ll also see, what it is that differentiates service design from UX.  ‘This is Service Design Thinking’, by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider, is one of the foremost books outlining the five basic principles that dominate service design. User-centred – users are the centre of consideration and are to be analysed through qualitative research. Here ‘Users’ are both, the organisation’s employees, as well as customers. Thus, service design considers not just the user/customer experience but also the interest of all the relevant people involved in the process. Co-creative – co-creative is essentially a combination of ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Iteration’. ‘Collaboration’ signifies the process of creation by all the contributors from different backgrounds. Whereas, ‘Iteration’ is used to define that service design is an iterative (continuous) process that’s ever-evolving to keep in-line with the changes in a business. Sequencing – dividing complex services of a customers journey into independent processes. This division of service is usually done logically, visually and rhythmically. Sequencing helps determine the timeline of a project, as it is important for the customer and helps in determining the outcome.For instance, if you have an e-commerce website selling products only in a particular region, it is important to highlight that the deliveries won’t ship internationally right at the start. This saves the customer’s time, and they won’t browse your website, as well as, you would also not need to analyse the journey of the customer who won’t purchase your product.  Evidencing – visualising the service experiences and making them real. Simply put, what this means is that service is usually invisible or intangible whereas the products are tangible items. The idea of service design is to bind the tangible and intangible together so that the invisible becomes real.For example, if you run an organic cafe with all the ingredients being local produce, how would your customer know it is organic? The answer is easy, you let them know. Until you inform your customers about the source of your ingredients, it remains an intangible service for them because they have no idea what’s on their plate or how it differs from another cafe. Evidencing ensures that you’re providing your customers with a quality experience. Which, in turn, helps you build your brand image as an ‘organic’ cafe. Holistic – service design rests on the principle of combining tangible and intangible services. Here the context is important, as well as, taking the entire experience of the service into account. What this means is, every customer is different and as such, would take a different route to complete their journey. As a service designer, it is imperative to think about each aspect, and every perspective to make sure there are no loop-holes. That whichever path the customer takes the end goal remains the same. Tools you can use Now, that we’ve seen what service design is and its principles. Let us move on to finding the right tools to map your customer journey. That being said, service design is still in its nascent stages, and it may take a while to discover specific tools. Nevertheless, the good news is that several UX and marketing tools overlap with service design. Here are our top 3 picks of the tools you can use:  Customer Journey Map: A customer journey map helps you visualise and plot the best and worst parts of a customer’s experiences. The idea is to put the customer’s perspective to paper right from the time they came to your service, to the point where they’ve decided to use your service and reach the end goal.  For example, you have an e-commerce website, and the journey in simple can be divided into – customer browsing your website, adding products to the cart, either abandoning them or purchasing them.   ‘This is Service Design Thinking’ offer a customer journey canvas for you in your design service. In fact, you can collaborate with your stakeholders and customers to ensure your map is co-creative. This is free and available in 7 different languages viz. English, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, German, and French.  smaply:  Smaply is a popular web-based software tool that enables you to visualise Personas, Customer Journey Maps, and Stakeholder Maps. With smaply, you can digitise, customise, share, comment, standardise and present your results with the team in an easy and quick manner.  This is a freemium tool i.e. you can sign up and test it for free for a period of 14 days and later if you like, you can upgrade to a paid version! experiencefellow: Experiencefellow is a tool that uses mobile ethnography to research and collect customer experiences in a digital environment. Ethnography is essentially observing your customers in their natural environment to gain better insights into their overall experience.  With experiencefellow, this research is digitised as it enables customers to document their experiences with a simple smartphone app. As a business, you can then view and analyse your customers’ journey based on the data provided by them on your browser. Even though service design is in a developing phase, there are several tools out there in the market to help businesses cater to their customers better by understanding their journey. Service design is thus, not just for designers but for anyone who wishes to integrate services for a more powerful and effective approach to drive businesses, as it focuses on how customer touchpoints are connected in their journey. In a nutshell, service design aims to understand and visualise the user and their experience to improve the service experience of the user. On an endnote, you can even checkout, Service Design Toolkit and Service Design Tools Website to learn more about implementing service design. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Understanding Service Design and its Principles appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Popular Web Design Services

HostGator Blog -

The post Popular Web Design Services appeared first on HostGator Blog. One of the essential elements of your online brand is your website. It’s going to be the hub for all of your online marketing activities and the place you’re sending all your traffic back to. Whether you’re building a website for your offline business, or creating a totally new site for your online business, this post is for you. There are tons of different approaches for building a website and getting it online. You can decide to use a website builder, experiment with a CMS, or hire a professional web design service. The choice is yours. Below we’ll examine the ins and outs of hiring professional web design services to build out your business website. You’ll learn why having a professional website is so important, the benefits of hiring a professional, and finally how to find the best popular web design service for your needs. Let’s jump in! The Importance of a Well Designed Website There are a ton of reasons you’ll want to create a professional website. It will impact your user experience, SEO, your authority, and even your bottom line. Here are some of the biggest reasons a well-designed website is something worth investing in. 1. You Want to Create a Positive First Impression For Your Website Visitors You only have one chance to make a first impression. The second  website visitors open your website they’re making judgments about the quality of your site. You only have a few seconds to grab your visitor’s attention before they decide to stick around or hit the back button. If you have a low-quality website, you’re immediately creating a poor first impression. Instead of building a connection with your target audience  you’re repelling them away—and decreasing the likelihood that they’ll give your site a second chance.   2. Good Web Design Builds Trust With Your Target Audience One of the main goals of your website is to build trust with your visitors. If your site looks old, spammy, unorganized, then your visitors won’t trust the content on your site, or feel comfortable purchasing any products or services you’re selling. Your design needs to inspire confidence in your visitors so they can trust the information on your site, along with feeling comfortable enough to buy things from your website, or at least opt-in to your email list.  3. You Need a Quality Site to Compete If you don’t invest in a quality website design from the start, chances are your competitors are.  If you want to compete in the increasingly crowded online space, then your website needs not only to meet your visitors’ expectations, but it needs to stand out and have a memorable online presence. If you have an outdated and clunky design, your competitors will surpass you and quickly leave you in their dust. If your competitor’s website is intuitive, easier to use, and offer a great user experience, they’ll be getting all of the leads and traffic that could be yours.  Now, there are sites like Craigslist, which have managed to achieve success and popularity even without an intuitive web design. But, there are other elements at play here, like being a very old site, and already have a massive amount of authority, trust, and traffic. But why risk it? A professional website will go a long way towards making the success of your site much more likely.  4. Design Impacts Your Search Engine Optimization Strategy There are a lot of different factors that work together to influence your search engine rankings. One of those factors is how your website is designed. This structure will either impair or make it much easier for the search engine spiders to crawl your site. It will also influence how easy it is to achieve on-site SEO standards too. The design of your site can make search engine optimization a cake walk or an uphill battle from the start.  4 Benefits of Using a Popular Web Design Service As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into creating a high quality and well-designed website. Doing all of this on your own is possible, but sometimes you’ll want to defer to the help of a professional web design team that can help you improve your online presence. Here are some of the most significant benefits you’ll enjoy by hiring professional website design services. 1. You’ll Get a High-Quality Professional Site You want a site that looks great, functions properly, and features responsive design, so it will display properly on every screen size. Having mobile responsive web design will ensure that all future customers have an enjoyable experience when visiting your site. Oh, and it should be optimized for SEO and intuitive for your visitors to use.  That’s a lot to accomplish all on your own. Sure, there are website builders and popular content management systems you can use, but these all take time to learn. For some people, these tools will be a perfect fit. But, they may not feature all the functionality you need out-of-the-box, and there’s a risk you’ll end up with a design you don’t love.  Those who demand the best and see paying a web design team as an investment in a business asset are ready to take advantage of all the benefits of working with a professional can bring. The site you’ll receive from a professional design team is guaranteed to satisfy all the conditions mentioned above—and with no added work on your end.  2. Your Site Will Be Ready to Rank When you work with a web design professional, your site will be ready to rank right of the gate.  You’ll have a website design that has clean code, is structured the right way, and only requires the addition of your content.  By building your site yourself, you’re not designing with SEO best-practices in mind. You’re just creating a website that looks good enough to launch. But, a professional design team will be able to build you a site that’s been created with SEO in mind from the very start, even during the conceptual and planning stages.  3. You’ll Gain a Competitive Advantage A lot of business owners who end up trying to build their sites do so to save money. But, if you’re willing to invest in a professional, you immediately give yourself a leg up.  Your website will stand out in a sea of crowded websites, and offer your visitors an online experience that makes them want to spend time on your site. Plus, most websites today that are built by professionals will also be crafted with online marketing principles in mind. So, your site will be ready to integrate with existing and new marketing campaigns.  4. You’ll Put Your Company in the Best Light Possible If you’re already a business owner, then you have a lot on your plate. You already have to focus on running your website, so don’t add building a website to that never-ending list of tasks. Same goes for those just starting online businesses. There’s a lot that goes into getting an online business off the ground beyond just building your website. Plus, since your website is the primary source of interaction a potential customer will have with your business, it’s crucial to get right. By working with a web design service, you can ensure that your vision for your site and your business values are properly translated into your design. This will leave you with not only a professional website design, but also one that perfectly represents your business and highlights what makes you unique.  How to Find the Best Popular Web Design Services Although using a web design service to help build a user-friendly website does cost money, there is the potential to generate a lot of revenue for your business. But, to realize this return on investment, you need to find a quality web design professional. Here’s a quick process you can follow when searching for the perfect web design team: 1. Evaluate Your Needs Everyone’s website needs will be different. Some users might be building a massive eCommerce store, while others just need a simple 5-page site for their local business. It’s important to properly define what kind of website you want built, along with the goals you have for your site, before you begin exploring professional options. Here are the three areas of need you’ll want to think about and research before moving forward with a web design agency: Website Technology Needs There are a ton of different underlying technologies that can be used to power your website. You have the option of having a site coded from scratch, or even using a CMS like WordPress. The advantage of having a custom-built theme on a CMS is that is gives you the opportunity to add content to your site, and make small modifications down the road. If you just need a simple three page site that’s completely static, then this might not be a necessity. But, if you want more power and flexibility, and plan on growing your site, then a custom theme is a great approach to take.  Website Design Needs What do you want your site to look like? Spend some time going through competitor websites, or any site in general to pick out design elements you love, and others that you could live without. This will help you communicate more easily with your web designer, and give them some direction to take when building your site.  Generally, the more specific and detailed you can be with your design requests the better the finished product will be. It’s much more difficult for a designer to translate vague requests than ideas that are backed by concrete examples.  Business Needs Next, it’s time to think about how your website is going to end up serving your business. Is your website’s main function to generate leads? Or, will you be selling products and services? Is it more of a digital brochure, or will you be creating tons of articles and blog posts? The function of your website will influence both how your website is laid out, and the technology that it’s built upon.  Also, take note of any existing software you’re using to run your business and see if this needs to be integrated into your website as well.  2. Set Project Scope Finally it’s time to think about the scope of your project. This will include everything specified above, along with your budget and how much you hope to spend. Your budget will influence the types of website designers you’ll get in contact with, along with the platforms you’ll use to find designers. Generally, the worst answer to the question, “How much will you spend?” is “as cheap as possible.” If you want a quality website that elevates you above the pack, then you should expect to pay a fair rate. That being said, no matter your budget, you’ll be able to find a professional web design service that’ll fit. 3. Explore Your Options Now, it’s time to start looking for a professional web design service. Depending on your budget and scope of your project you’ll have a handful of different options at your disposal. You can either hire a web designer via a freelance platform, decide to work with a local design agency, or even hire a web designer through your hosting provider. If you’re looking for quality for a more affordable price, then a recommended option is to go through your hosting provider. The professional web design team here at HostGator, for instance, will provide you with a custom WordPress theme, at a fraction of the cost you’ll pay elsewhere. Take a look at some of the themes we’ve designed for other clients: Since you’re already using your web host for other website services like hosting, and maybe domain management, your total web design costs will be lower. Plus, as a beginner, it can be helpful to have everything under one roof. You’ll be dealing with the same support team if any issues do arise with your site. This is a huge benefit that can’t be understated. Should You Hire a Popular Web Design Service? Ultimately, the choice is yours and depends upon the goals for your website and your budget. Generally, if you have the budget, then investing in the design of your site is always going to be beneficial.  You always have the option to build your site yourself, but you have to consider if it’s worth the time and energy spent. Evaluate your needs and what kind of end result you want from your website. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the approach you’re going to take with your website, and whether hiring a professional web design service will help you reach your business goals or not.  For further questions regarding the design process of a website or our web hosting packages, contact the experts at HostGator today.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Staying Safe on LinkedIn During Your Job Search

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Every day we’re making our professional community a place where everyone can find economic opportunity and pathways to grow their careers. And when it comes to finding that new opportunity, learning a skill or getting and giving career advice, you expect that process to be exciting and maybe a little nerve wracking, but never unsafe. Millions of people use LinkedIn to search and apply for jobs every day -- and when job searching, safety means knowing the recruiter you’re chatting with is who... .

The 2019 Black Friday Ecommerce Prep Guide

Nexcess Blog -

Every year, on the fourth Friday of November, shopping chaos unfolds. Stores cut their prices, customers flock to their nearest outlets, and deals are had by everyone. But not anymore. Thanks to ecommerce, customers no longer have to leave the comfort of their home to take part in Black Friday. Keeping an eye on advertisements and pre-event newsletters, customers can easily turn on their laptop, click add to cart, and checkout as soon as the clock strikes twelve. For customers, this is great. For merchants, it means competition has only gotten more fierce (if you thought that possible). It’s no longer just about having the best deals; it’s about having the best visibility.    Get started this Black Friday with an optimized Magento Platform.  Why Black Friday Matters Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with American shoppers spending a record $5 billion in 2017. In 2018, this number then grew by 19%, with over 14.8 million online transactions recorded. With so much money up for grabs, Black Friday can be one of the most profitable days of the year for some businesses. In some cases, it even defines a stores annual profit.  In the jewelry industry, for example, Black Friday can account for 40% of a business’s annual revenue. With such a large percentage from only a single day, these merchants are often forced to ensure their Black Friday campaigns do better year-over-year. The alternative is something many can’t think about.  Hopefully, your sales are not so dependent on Black Friday. However, there’s still a lot of money available to those savvy enough to take advantage of the digital opportunities available to merchants.  But with more demand and more customers, the chance of something going wrong only increases. If you want to be successful this Black Friday, you can’t treat it like any other sales day, or even any other sales event.  Black Friday Ecommerce Statistics According to NRF, shoppers who took part both online and in-store were up 40% from 2017, with multi-channel shoppers outspending single-channel shoppers by $93. This year, ecommerce merchants can expect to see another huge increase in online shoppers, following on from 2018’s substantial growth. With Black Friday now online, shoppers no longer have to venture outside to chaotic shopping centers and can instead make their purchases from the comfort of their sofa.  This is despite in-store shoppers declining by roughly 1%, and 44% of consumers saying they would shop online in 2017 vs just 42% in 2018.  Industry Ecommerce Benchmarks for Black Friday Prior to the 2018 Black Friday event, Blackfriday.com questioned their users on what they planned to look for in the sales.  Clothing took top spot, with 23% of consumers aiming to score a good deal on fashion items. This was quickly followed by tech, with 22% of consumers looking for their next gadget.  Towards the bottom of the pile was travel. With it being less of an impulse buy, just 9% of consumers aimed to find some travel deals for the coming year. If you’re a clothes or tech merchants, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are going to be the days you want to get ready for.  Getting Your Site Ready for Black Friday Getting ready for Black Friday means getting ready for more than just the products you’re going to sell. Expect to see: An increase in traffic An increase in server strain An increase in the potential for things to go wrong We’ve seen it all too many times. Merchants who wait until the last second to address these potential pitfalls, and as a result: they fall.  Getting yourself ready for Black Friday doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. But it will mean that you’re able to maximize ROI from the event, and secure your place among the Black Friday customer go-tos for years to come.  Get Started Early The earlier you start targeting Black Friday shoppers, the better results you’re going to have. Getting started early means ramping up everything from prep work to marketing strategy.  Some merchants start their Black Friday marketing efforts as early as October, with others beginning to ramp up marketing in early September.  When considering how early you will begin your marketing strategy, take a step back and analyze these factors.   Budget: How much do you have to spend on Black Friday marketing? Where should that budget be spent? Will you increase adwords spend, ramp up email products, or instead focus on more traditional print-media? Resources: November is a resource-intensive time. Christmas is just around the corner, and depending on where you’re located, Singles Day is just a few short weeks ahead of Black Friday. Calculating ROI on resource spend is going to make a huge difference. You don’t want to run out of money before Black Friday has even started.  Potential: While it would be great if we all had unlimited products and opportunities, that’s more often not the case. Perhaps you’re limited in terms of stock or fulfillment processes. The less potential for your Black Friday campaign, the less time should be dedicated to it.    Once you’ve drawn a clear picture of these areas, it’s a good idea to outline the different channels and audiences your aiming to target and assign any associated dates.  Getting Your Ecommerce Site (and hosting) Ready for Black Friday If you’re running a Black Friday sale, that means you can all but guarantee an influx of traffic. That means more opportunities for something to go wrong. Don’t let it be your hosting platform.  As the foundation of your site, hosting problems can mean slow user experiences, broken page elements, and, in the most extreme cases, site-wide outages. Luckily, there are specific steps you can take to ensure a smooth Black Friday experience for your customers and keep those conversions rolling in.  What’s Your Limit? How much can your hosting actually take?  Every hosting package you purchase will have its limits. If your site is seeing more visitors than those limits can handle, then your site won’t crash. Instead, it will slow to a crawl, queuing page load requests until it eventually becomes long enough for the dreaded timeout.  If you’re already seeing traffic hover around your limit, it’s definitely worth upgrading your hosting to the next level. If you’re running on the Nexcess Cloud, you can also enable auto scaling in your Client Portal. Just a flick of a button and you’ll be set for any unexpected (or expected) traffic spikes.  Prepare for International Sales International sales can add a whole new level of complexity to a store. For the merchant, alternate payment options, different order fulfillment choices, and tweaks to content are only the start. On top of those, delivering digital assets to countries halfway around the world presents its own problem.  Yes, digital transfer speeds are fast, but running your website through cables located under the Atlantic is going to lead to some lag, especially if demand is high (like on Black Friday). How can you solve this? For most stores looking to serve international customers, purchasing a CDN add-on for their store will allow static assets such as images to be held in server locations around the world. This way, regardless of where your customers are coming from, they’re going to be able to access high-bandwidth assets from a local location. That means faster load times and more conversions.  Check in with Our Support Techs… Why Not? Our philosophy is that it’s always worth exploring every avenue available to you, to see if there’s something you’ve been missing. That’s why we recommend all of our clients expecting an influx of traffic during Black Friday to check in and see if there’s anything we can do to help. There may not be. Perhaps you’ve already prepared your store for any eventuality. But what if you’ve missed something and it ends up coming back to haunt you? We’ll often reach out to clients we expect to encounter a problem, so keep an eye on your inbox. Or, start the conversation yourself.  At the very least, it’s worth letting the team here know that you’re planning to run a sale over those dates, that way our team can take extra steps to keep an eye on your hosting platform and how it’s performing.  Black Friday Ecommerce Strategy Start Marketing Early Any good Black Friday ecommerce strategy means ramping up interest before Black Friday actually begins. After all, some customers spend weeks looking for deals they’re going to jump on during the sales.  Getting started early means promoting your company’s email newsletter through organic and paid channels. This will give you a lot of leads to follow up with once your really start marketing your discounts.  The earlier you start marketing your Black Friday discounts, the more customers are going to come knocking on the big day. Start promotions with enticing statements about how your sales event is unique. Statements like “Over 80% off this Black Friday, sign up to stay ahead of the curve” work well to draw in subscriptions, especially when they’re paired with tantalizing artwork.  Get Creating Niche Gift Guides You’ve got awesome products so why not let them market themselves? Your Black Friday marketing strategy doesn’t have to only be about target Black Friday shoppers. There’s a whole internet of customers you have access to.  This means creating marketing material that will draw in those interested in your niche, but not Black Friday.  Gift guides are a great way to target long tail ecommerce SEO keywords. They not only target Black Friday Shoppers, but everyone looking for your products.  One of the best ways to do this is by creating a gift guide that suits your target audience. If you sell shoes, how about creating the ultimate gift guide to Men’s Fashion in 2019? If you sell hats, do the same thing. If you have a larger product range, make your gift guide broader. The possibilities are limitless.  Prepare Upsells and Cross-sells With the average person spending $289.19 during Black Friday in 2018, it’s the perfect opportunity to push upsells and cross-sells. This may be grouping items for an improved discount, or providing recommendations for related products during checkout.  Just remember, a good upsell and cross-sell strategy revolves around providing your buyer value. Don’t just indiscriminately group items together, think of how grouping multiple items provides buyers with a benefit.  For example, if you’re selling shoes, shoe care products are a great upsell. They can potentially increase the longevity of a product, fitting perfectly within the buyer narrative of saving money.  If you’re selling a specific type of gift, think about other products that complement it. The more you think about and push the narrative of buyer benefit, the more you’re going to be successful here.  Prepare Your Email Strategy Did you know that 25% of Black Friday sales start with an email? At least, that’s what Custora says.  That means you should be jumping on the email bandwagon if you want to maximize ROI. But how? Great email campaigns start with two things: timing and subject lines.  If you haven’t already, begin testing what times are best for sending emails to your customers. Which days of the week work best and when are they going to check their inbox?  If you spend 1 hour creating the perfect email, spend 2 crafting the subject line.  Then work on your subject lines. These sentences should be the core of your content. If you spend 1 hour creating the perfect email content, spend 2 crafting the subject line. The subject line will encourage opens, click-throughs, and sales.  Learn how to tailor your emails to the customers with our guide to email personalization.  Go Beyond Black Friday There are four days of shopping to be had around Black Friday: not just Black Friday itself. Make sure to target each of these days individually. Then, think about how your Black Friday marketing strategy can continue to bring sales in even after the sales event is over. Use it as an opportunity to increase reach, and audience knowledge of your brand.  Don’t Shrug Off Black Friday in 2019 We’ve seen it all too often: merchants not preparing their stores for Black Friday and then suffering from site slowdowns and outages. Don’t let that be you.  Talking to a sales rep to ensure you’re ready is one of the most crucial steps merchants can make in the run up to November 29th this year. Interested in learning more about how Nexcess solutions can benefit you? See some more benefits we’re offering merchants this year and get 75% off of new services or upgrades with code HolidayPrep19. The post The 2019 Black Friday Ecommerce Prep Guide appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

New gTLD – August 2019

Reseller Club Blog -

With .TOP still retaining its No. 1 position, the month of August saw a 12% hike in the overall registrations. Apart from this, a 260% jump in the registrations of .LIVE in comparison to July helped it secure a spot in the top 5 along with .SITE, .ONLINE, .XYZ, the new entrants .ICU and .BEST made it to the list with impressive numbers.  Let’s take a sneak peek to find out which new gTLDs were trending during the month of August and made it to the top 15! !function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0],d=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=d+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var r=e.createElement("script");r.async=1,r.id=s,r.src=i,o.parentNode.insertBefore(r,o)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js"); New gTLD Report – August 2019Infogram *Registration Numbers Facilitated by ResellerClub It is worth noting that the top 4 new gTLDs have managed to retain their positions from July and continued to top the charts. .TOP: With a total registration share of 33% .TOP continues to outshine its performance in the month of August. This new gTLD was running at a promo price of $ 0.72 and the increase in the number of registrations can be attributed to the China market.  .SITE: .SITE was able to hold onto the second spot in the month of August, as this new gTLD witnessed a 40% spike in its registrations. Even though .SITE was running at a promo price of $4.18, it managed to occupy a 20% share of the total new gTLDs registered. .ONLINE: Following the trend with .TOP and .SITE, is .ONLINE that has been consistent in holding onto a spot in the top 5 of the new gTLDs registered this month. Despite the promo price of $6.18 this new gTLD managed to shine in the global market with a share of 11% of the total registrations for the month of August. .XYZ: With an impressive promo price of $0.68, .XYZ was able to hold onto its fourth spot in the top 5 this month. Overall, this new gTLD contributed 9% to the total registration count.  .LIVE: With a 260% spike in its registration numbers as compared to July, .LIVE was able to move up the rank and acquire a place in the top 5 new gTLDs. The whopping popularity of this new gTLD can be attributed to the promo price of $2.18 and China markets.  Apart from the top 5, there have been remarkable changes among the new gTLDs that made it to the top 15. New gTLDs like .FUN, .STORE, .LIFE and, .WEBSITE were successful in retaining their spot at 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th respectively during August. At the same time, there were new entrants like .ICU and .BEST. In fact, .ICU made it to the top 15 with a 133% jump in its registrations from the previous month.  Here’s a quick peek into the exciting domain promos we’ve got lined up for the month of September Resell  .TOP at a low price of $0.72 and make your profits. Help boost your customers’ business with .SPACE at just $1.18 Expand your customers business to cater across the globe with .WORLD at $2.18 That’s all folks! Check out all our leading domain promos here and help your customer’s get the right one for their online business. You can also head to our Facebook or Twitter pages to get all the updates about our trending domain promos. Just lookout for the posts with #domainpromos. See you there!  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post New gTLD – August 2019 appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Growth Hacking Strategies for eCommerce

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Every entrepreneur dreams of seeing his or her business grow, but business growth doesn’t happen overnight. And it won’t happen without a plan and a strategy. We’ve collaborated with experienced business owners, and gotten their tips to help you learn how to grow your business using the most effective business growth strategies for eCommerce. The growth hacking strategies that are most effective for online and eCommerce businesses are: Market Penetration Strategies Market Expansion or Development Strategy Marketing Strategy Product Expansion Strategy Diversification Strategy Acquisition Strategy Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter for more ways to increase profitability for your store. Market Penetration Strategies The term “penetration” refers to how many units of a product have been sold compared to the total number of potential sales for that market. For example, if a business sells to 20 out of 100 possible people, then penetration would be 20 percent. To grow a business, you must sell to a greater number of people than you do currently. In other words, business growth is correlated to increased sales and market penetration. So if you want to increase market penetration, ultimately, you want to focus on ways to boost sales for your business. Adjusting Prices One of the most frequently used strategies for boosting sales and market penetration is to adjust the prices of your products. In most cases, this means lowering the prices of your products to make them more affordable and attractive to prospective buyers. Increasing Promotion Another way to boost market penetration is to increase brand awareness through marketing and promotion. Depending on the nature of the campaign — whether it advertises a business, a product, or a temporary promotion — these campaigns can facilitate either short-term or long-term sales growth. Broadening Distribution Besides pricing and promotion, you can increase market penetration by adding more distribution channels to your business model. For example, if your products are currently sold at one retail chain, finding another chain to sell your products will likely boost sales. Improving Products Most buyers will periodically upgrade to newer products from older ones; this purchasing behavior mirrors our innate desire for self-improvement. For this reason, bringing even small improvements to your product can also increase sales. Increasing Usage This strategy can be tricky because you don’t have control over how your buyers use your products. However, if you can find a way to increase usage rates for your products — which is easiest with consumable goods — you will likely see a sales boost from customers needing to replenish. Market Expansion/Development Strategy The purpose of expansion is to find new opportunities for growth once sales have peaked. To continue growth, market expansion strategy often sees the business move into a similar or related market. Since the new market is somewhat related to the existing one, the business can mitigate some of the risk that comes with exploring new territory. Market development, on the other hand, is when a business creates a new market or technology. More specifically, the business identifies a trend or consumer need and attempts to capitalize on it. With a market expansion or development strategy, the first step is to conduct research. From there, you can find the best opportunities for growth. After all, you don’t want to target markets that will end up costing money instead of increasing sales and revenue. Targeted Marketing Strategy Marketing is fundamental to owning and running a business so a more targeted approach can be an effective growth strategy. Consumers are bombarded with marketing material on a daily basis. Advertisements clog their inboxes, fill up their social media feels, and interrupt their YouTube videos. But the problem with most of these advertisements is that they’re incredibly generalized. They don’t tap into something with which the audience can relate so as a result, the marketing content is easy for the audience to ignore. Targeted marketing is when you tailor your marketing content to the audience. The idea is to deliver content that’s more relevant to the audience, resulting in more engagement and higher conversion. In turn, targeted marketing drives growth for your business. The best thing about using targeted marketing as a growth strategy is that it can drive growth without requiring potentially risky changes to your business model. In spite of the specificity inherent to targeted marketing, it’s actually a versatile and flexible growth strategy. But the forms of marketing that are particularly effective for driving business growth include influencer marketing, geo-targeted marketing, and affiliate marketing. Influencer Marketing In short, influencer marketing is a way to promote products or services by partnering with social media influencers. How does it work, exactly? Katie Schmidt — owner and founder of Passion Lilie, an ethical clothing boutique — explains the benefit of influencer marketing. “Work with influencers to get your products in front of a wider audience,” she says. “Because the review of your product is coming from a trusted source, followers of these influencers will be … more likely to make a purchase.” In other words, influencers have built trust with their audiences, so you tend to see much higher conversion and business growth with influencer marketing. Meanwhile, you’re targeting audiences to which you may not have had access. Many businesses that are using influencer marketing have seen immense increases in sales. In fact, Mark Tyrol, President of Battic Door Home Energy Conservation Products, saw a 50 percent sales increase from influencer marketing alone. So if you’ve not already considered influencer marketing as one of your business growth strategies, you probably should. Geo-Targeted Marketing The advanced advertising platforms available today give business owners the ability to do geo-targeted marketing. With geo-targeting, you’re able to deliver your marketing content to the right audiences. In practice, it’s about making sure that the people who see your marketing content are the people who are most likely to act on it. For instance, ads for swimwear aren’t going to convert individuals who live in cooler climates. Affiliate Programs Instead of partnering with influencers, affiliate marketing is when you partner with other businesses targeting a similar audience. The idea is to promote mutual growth by referring customers who have converted to partnered businesses while also receiving referrals from those same partners. This arrangement is attractive for those partners or affiliates, because they earn a percentage of every sale they refer to your business. Depending on the strength of your brand and your industry, you could see considerable conversion from affiliate marketing. Product Expansion Strategy There are a number of ways to approach product expansion as a source of business growth, from adding new features to a product to tapping into new audiences. However, every approach comes down to broadening the audience for a product or service. Mark Tyrol boosted sales for Battic Door Home Energy Conservation Products by adding more distribution channels for his products. “Starting initially with my website, I began adding online sales channels and grew sales dramatically,” Mark says. He cited eBay, Amazon, Rakuten, Sears, Home Depot, Walmart, Facebook, Shopify, and other sales platforms that allow retailers to “integrate, manage, and optimize their merchandise sales across hundreds of online channels.” Another approach to product expansion would be to find opportunities to appeal to new markets. A prime example is the Skin So Soft product line by Avon. After discovering the product repelled insects, Avon began marketing Skin So Soft to campers for outdoor activities. Since then, the company started a line of Skin So Soft products that are explicitly designed as insect repellents. Diversification Strategy Simply put, diversification is about not putting all your eggs in one basket. The idea is to find multiple stable income channels to drive business growth. Meanwhile, you’re increasing your reach by broadening the target audience. Mark McIntosh of LocalWear considers diversification to be the “holy grail for eCommerce.” According to Mark, “Some products can be hot at first but lose traction. So a healthy, growing business will have a few different growth drivers over time.” In addition to your products, you can diversify your customer touchpoints, too. For example, adding social media marketing or a live chat feature to your website can drive substantial sales growth. Brandon Ackroyd, Head of Customer Insight for Tiger Mobiles, used live chat to increase customer engagement and sales. In fact, Brandon noted that “the number of people using live chat increased by 400 percent over six months” and of those who use the live chat feature, “20 percent of customers ended up placing an order.” Acquisition Strategy For larger or more established businesses, growth through acquisition is an effective strategy. By taking a separate business — with its product lineup, customers, and workforce — and rolling it into a larger company, you increase your market share. Acquisition might not be a viable growth strategy for every business because it requires considerable availability of liquid capital. However, when it’s feasible, acquisition can drive growth by letting you expand into new markets, diversify your product portfolio, or increase your production capacity. Words of Advice for Growing an eCommerce Business As we wind down this overview of how to grow your business online, we want to leave you with some final advice. The following tips were provided by the helpful business owners and entrepreneurs referenced throughout this piece who have employed many of the above business strategies to great effect. Try New Things Tahnee Elliott — founder and CEO of T.C. Elli’s, a Texas-based eCommerce fashion retailer — considers willingness to experiment essential to business growth. “In 2009, the financial crisis hit my business hard,” says Tahnee. Facing a substantial decrease in foot traffic, Tahnee “shifted gears by reducing price points and opening an online store.” From there, she experimented with digital channels. Advertising on Instagram and a brand ambassador program have been particularly successful for Tahnee’s business. Ultimately, her willingness to adapt and experiment is why T.C. Elli’s continues to thrive today. Be Patient The growth you want to see isn’t going to happen overnight or without time spent creating a plan. So Keval Baxi, CEO of Codal, emphasizes patience. “Even with 100 percent determination, it can be hard without patience or a proper process” Keval says. “Without a proper process for implementation, and the patience to follow that process, businesses will not succeed.” Stability Over Trends Many entrepreneurs have made the mistake of jumping onto the latest bandwagon, but the most successful businesses are those that provide continuous value to stable, consistent markets. “To grow consistently, you need a compelling value proposition that taps into a long-term customer trend,” says Rick Watson. “Think about the things that have staying power [and] will be true for the next five or more years.” Rick owns and runs RMW Commerce Consulting, an eCommerce consulting firm. Build Trust Today’s consumers are savvier than ever and extremely skeptical of market content. For this reason, if you take the time to build trust with your audience, you’ll be rewarded with more sales. Trust is something especially important to keep in mind when it comes to content marketing. “There’s nothing wrong with a little self-promotion,” Katie Schmidt says, “but shoppers grow to trust brands that offer them useful advice [instead of] just trying to sell to them. As consumers come to you for valuable content, they’ll begin to trust your site and make a purchase. Build trust and share knowledge with your audience, and you’ll win yourself some potential customers.” Are You Ready to Grow Your eCommerce Business With Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce Hosting? In addition to the growth hacking strategies we’ve listed here, a great hosting plan can be instrumental to growing your business. Fortunately, Liquid Web has you covered. Our Managed WooCommerce Hosting Plan is ideal for growing businesses. Specially designed to convert more sales, Liquid Web’s WordPress managed hosting for eCommerce is packed with cutting-edge technologies to reduce query load times and cart abandonment rates. Best of all, our plans arm you with more than 20 different performance tests so you’ll know you can accommodate tons of web traffic. To learn more about our Managed WooCommerce Hosting, visit our product page today. The post Growth Hacking Strategies for eCommerce appeared first on Liquid Web.

5 Ways to Measure Your Instagram Marketing Results

Social Media Examiner -

Do you need a better way to report on your Instagram marketing results? Are you looking for ways to measure your Instagram posts and stories? In this article, you’ll learn how to combine data from Instagram Insights and other third-party tools to get a complete picture of your Instagram marketing activities. #1: Compare Your Instagram […] The post 5 Ways to Measure Your Instagram Marketing Results appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Getting Mailchimp to Work with Shopify again: Part 2 – Using Zapier

Reseller Club Blog -

Have you been running flawless email operations on Mailchimp by using the Mailchimp integration for Shopify? For some context, as we mentioned in the previous article, Shopify and Mailchimp have stopped the first-party support for each other’s users. You’ll need to build a new workflow for your emails to revive the operations (and improve it while you’re at it) to keep your store’s most important marketing channel at its pace. Zapier delivers smart workflows in the form of conditional workflows that are termed as ‘Paths.’ You can set conditions that will be applied by your Apps to take different paths for different conditions. Now, let us look at the process for bringing in the Zapier integration: Bringing Zapier between Mailchimp and Shopify In case you’re unaware of how Zapier works – you create a ‘Zap’ which consists of two or more apps wherein one of the apps’ actions acts as a trigger and the other is used to run a preset function triggered by the first app. For example, between Google Forms and Gmail, you could set up a ‘Zap’ on Zapier to send a confirmation email to all the people who RSVP’d ‘Yes’ to an event participation form and more still, we could add as my steps as you like with all the supported integrations Zapier has.  We’re going to walk you through how this works for connecting Mailchimp with Shopify, both of which are integrations supported by Zapier.  Setting up Shopify Triggers To automate Mailchimp operations on Shopify, we’ll have to set the events that trigger an action on Mailchimp – For example, if we want every newly registered user on your Shopify store to be automatically added to a specific list on Mailchimp, ‘New Customer’ will be a trigger on Shopify. Let’s see how to complete setting up the same function. Step 1 Create an account and log in to Zapier.  Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be greeted by the Zapier dashboard.  Once you’re in there, click on  ‘Make a Zap’ button on the top right side of the page.  You’ll be asked to input the trigger app for the Zap. In our case, we’ll keep ‘Shopify’ as the trigger app as we want the automation to be based on events happening on your Shopify store.  Start typing Shopify in the search bar below and you’ll see Shopify appear in the suggestions below – click on ‘Shopify’ to proceed. Step 2 You’ll be asked to select the trigger event, i.e. what event/activity do you want on your Shopify store to trigger the action on Mailchimp. There’s a rather long list of triggers on Shopify – we’ll use the ‘New Customer’ trigger. After selecting the trigger event, we’ll continue to a page that asks to log into your Shopify Store to be able to link your store with the Zap. Continue by clicking ‘Connect an Account’  Step 3 You’ll be redirected to Shopify’s sign-in page, where once you’ve signed in, you’ll be redirected back to Zapier showing your connected store.  Click on ‘Save + Continue’ to proceed. You’ll have to select a sample customer to continue setting up the Zap. Click on a ‘customer’ to proceed. After selecting a Sample customer, you’ll be asked to go to the next step and set an action for the trigger, in another app – in our case, Mailchimp. Step 4 On the next screen, you’ll be asked to add an action step. Click on ‘Your Zap currently lacks…’ to proceed to add Mailchimp as the action App. On the screen that proceeds, you’ll see a search box where you need to start typing in Mailchimp. Click on ‘Mailchimp’ in the suggestions as it appears while typing.  You’ll be presented with the options for actions that need to be performed on the trigger we just set on Shopify. For this tutorial, we’ll select Add/Update subscriber as the action to be performed. So the Zap once set up, will add/update a new user who just registered on your Shopify store to a setlist on Mailchimp – so you don’t need to do this manually. Step 5 On the next screen, you’ll be asked to connect your Mailchimp account. Once you click on ‘Connect an Account’ – you’ll see a Mailchimp sign-in page open up in a new window. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll see your account listed on the next page. Click on ‘Save + Continue’. In the next step, you’ll need to provide specifics with respect to the email list you want to add/update a new user with, along with opt-in, replace and update options. Note – Only two fields are required here (Audience & Subscriber Email) and the rest aren’t – we can totally skip these unless you want the Zap to function any other way. To proceed, click on ‘Continue’. You’ll see a summary of the options you’ve set for Mailchimp, and once you’ve confirmed all of it, you can go ahead and test your settings to see if everything works. Click on ‘Send Test To Mailchimp’ You’ll see the above screen once the test is successful. Once you’re here, click on ‘Finish’ Your Zap is now completely set and will automatically add a new subscriber to your set Mailchimp list when a new user ‘Signs Up’ on your Shopify store. This can be repeated for all the available triggers available on Shopify along with the supported actions on Mailchimp – including sending emails, using ‘Send Campaign’ and ‘Add subscriber to tag’ action steps, depending on how you want to send it. In case you face any problems during the setup process, you can always get the help of Zapier’s awesome customer support. In the next article, we’ll go through the steps to link your Shopify store to Mailchimp using Automate.io – stay tuned! Meanwhile – check out the first article in the series with instructions to integrate Mailchimp with Shopify using Shopsync. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Getting Mailchimp to Work with Shopify again: Part 2 – Using Zapier appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

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