The mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are horrific tragedies. In the case of the El Paso shooting, the suspected terrorist gunman appears to have been inspired by the forum website known as 8chan. Based on evidence we've seen, it appears that he posted a screed to the site immediately before beginning his terrifying attack on the El Paso Walmart killing 20 people.Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Nearly the same thing happened on 8chan before the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The El Paso shooter specifically referenced the Christchurch incident and appears to have been inspired by the largely unmoderated discussions on 8chan which glorified the previous massacre. In a separate tragedy, the suspected killer in the Poway, California synagogue shooting also posted a hate-filled “open letter” on 8chan. 8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate.8chan is among the more than 19 million Internet properties that use Cloudflare's service. We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time. The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.We do not take this decision lightly. Cloudflare is a network provider. In pursuit of our goal of helping build a better internet, we’ve considered it important to provide our security services broadly to make sure as many users as possible are secure, and thereby making cyberattacks less attractive — regardless of the content of those websites. Many of our customers run platforms of their own on top of our network. If our policies are more conservative than theirs it effectively undercuts their ability to run their services and set their own policies. We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we draw the line at platforms that have demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design. 8chan has crossed that line. It will therefore no longer be allowed to use our services.What Will Happen NextUnfortunately, we have seen this situation before and so we have a good sense of what will play out. Almost exactly two years ago we made the determination to kick another disgusting site off Cloudflare's network: the Daily Stormer. That caused a brief interruption in the site's operations but they quickly came back online using a Cloudflare competitor. That competitor at the time promoted as a feature the fact that they didn't respond to legal process. Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting. They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. They are no longer Cloudflare's problem, but they remain the Internet's problem.I have little doubt we'll see the same happen with 8chan. While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online. It does nothing to address why mass shootings occur. It does nothing to address why portions of the population feel so disenchanted they turn to hate. In taking this action we've solved our own problem, but we haven't solved the Internet's.In the two years since the Daily Stormer what we have done to try and solve the Internet’s deeper problem is engage with law enforcement and civil society organizations to try and find solutions. Among other things, that resulted in us cooperating around monitoring potential hate sites on our network and notifying law enforcement when there was content that contained an indication of potential violence. We will continue to work within the legal process to share information when we can to hopefully prevent horrific acts of violence. We believe this is our responsibility and, given Cloudflare's scale and reach, we are hopeful we will continue to make progress toward solving the deeper problem.Rule of LawWe continue to feel incredibly uncomfortable about playing the role of content arbiter and do not plan to exercise it often. Some have wrongly speculated this is due to some conception of the United States' First Amendment. That is incorrect. First, we are a private company and not bound by the First Amendment. Second, the vast majority of our customers, and more than 50% of our revenue, comes from outside the United States where the First Amendment and similarly libertarian freedom of speech protections do not apply. The only relevance of the First Amendment in this case and others is that it allows us to choose who we do and do not do business with; it does not obligate us to do business with everyone.Instead our concern has centered around another much more universal idea: the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law requires policies be transparent and consistent. While it has been articulated as a framework for how governments ensure their legitimacy, we have used it as a touchstone when we think about our own policies.We have been successful because we have a very effective technological solution that provides security, performance, and reliability in an affordable and easy-to-use way. As a result of that, a huge portion of the Internet now sits behind our network. 10% of the top million, 17% of the top 100,000, and 19% of the top 10,000 Internet properties use us today. 10% of the Fortune 1,000 are paying Cloudflare customers.Cloudflare is not a government. While we've been successful as a company, that does not give us the political legitimacy to make determinations on what content is good and bad. Nor should it. Questions around content are real societal issues that need politically legitimate solutions. We will continue to engage with lawmakers around the world as they set the boundaries of what is acceptable in their countries through due process of law. And we will comply with those boundaries when and where they are set.Europe, for example, has taken a lead in this area. As we've seen governments there attempt to address hate and terror content online, there is recognition that different obligations should be placed on companies that organize and promote content — like Facebook and YouTube — rather than those that are mere conduits for that content. Conduits, like Cloudflare, are not visible to users and therefore cannot be transparent and consistent about their policies.The unresolved question is how should the law deal with platforms that ignore or actively thwart the Rule of Law? That's closer to the situation we have seen with the Daily Stormer and 8chan. They are lawless platforms. In cases like these, where platforms have been designed to be lawless and unmoderated, and where the platforms have demonstrated their ability to cause real harm, the law may need additional remedies. We and other technology companies need to work with policy makers in order to help them understand the problem and define these remedies. And, in some cases, it may mean moving enforcement mechanisms further down the technical stack.Our ObligationCloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet. At some level firing 8chan as a customer is easy. They are uniquely lawless and that lawlessness has contributed to multiple horrific tragedies. Enough is enough.What's hard is defining the policy that we can enforce transparently and consistently going forward. We, and other technology companies like us that enable the great parts of the Internet, have an obligation to help propose solutions to deal with the parts we're not proud of. That's our obligation and we're committed to it.Unfortunately the action we take today won’t fix hate online. It will almost certainly not even remove 8chan from the Internet. But it is the right thing to do. Hate online is a real issue. Here are some organizations that have active work to help address it:Anti-Defamation LeagueGen Next FoundationPerspective API7 CupsOur whole Cloudflare team’s thoughts are with the families grieving in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio this evening.
Businesses need to advertise to survive. Without advertising, no one will ever know you exist, let alone what products you sell or who you’re trying to sell them to. Getting word out, getting exposure, and bringing in an audience is the single largest challenge for any business.
It’s no surprise that there are dozens of ad networks out there aimed at facilitating this process. Everyone seems to want to get in on the game, from Google and Facebook to small channels aimed at niche audiences. The question is, which of them is best for you?
In order to determine the best ad network, you need to look at a bunch of factors. An ad network is only as good as its publishers, right? With Facebook, Facebook itself is the publisher, and they have one of the largest audiences in the world. Google is similar, combining their own site and their entire display network.
Other ad networks have smaller networks of publishers. The question then becomes: are those publishers high quality? If they have ten million websites in their network, but all of them are spam sites and PBN sites with zero traffic, your ads don’t do anything. If you’re not reaching actual people – and if you’re not reaching people on relevant content – you’re paying for nothing.
You also have to consider whether the ad network caters to B2B or B2C companies. Most ad networks do both, but some lean heavily one way or the other. A B2B network is generally going to focus on audiences with a business emphasis; on sites that write for business owners or on sites that offer business services. A B2C network, by comparison, is targeted at “regular” people, regular consumers who are more likely to have an interest.
Every network has average performance rates. These are determined by pressure from both the advertiser and the publisher. If publishers are low quality, advertisers don’t want to pay much or put much effort into ads. If advertising is low quality, publishers don’t want to run the ads. It’s hard to tell what kind of ads and performance a network has, though, so you may want to do some research.
A Note on Effectiveness
Before I get into any specific list of ad networks, remember that my advice is by necessity generic. I have a wide variety of different business owners and entrepreneurs reading my content, so I try to avoid writing specifically for one niche or another, outside of targeted blog posts. A post about ad networks like this one is going to be broad.
What this means is that, when I recommend an ad network, I just mean it’s likely to be a good place to start. You need to do your own testing to make sure it’s actually a viable ad network for you to use.
How can you perform that testing? Well, you’re going to need a budget. Register for any ad network that interests you, set up your account, and run some ads. Ideally, you will know the basic information necessary to appropriately target those ads. Specifically, you want some audience demographic and interest information. Facebook Insights helps a lot with this, assuming you have an engaged audience. Otherwise, you need to figure out your buyer personas.
I recommend spending at least, say, $100 on these testing ads, and running them for a couple of weeks. The numbers may vary, however. You need to run them for however long it takes to get a statistically relevant amount of data. Then you can make a determination as to whether or not it’s worth investing more heavily into the ad network.
Be sure to calculate your raw number of conversions as well as your conversion rate and the cost per conversion for your ads. You can optimize these later, but if the baseline isn’t good enough, the network might not be worth the effort.
Alright, with all of that out of the way, let’s look at the top ad networks you can use as a B2C company. I’m going to give you a bunch of different networks to explore, in the hopes that you can find a few that work for you.
It should come as no surprise that the top two ad networks for pretty much anyone are going to be Facebook and Google. As such, I’m only going to cover them in brief. You’re familiar with Facebook ads, and if you’re not, well, you should be. Facebook ads are cheap, they’re effective, and they have best-in-class targeting options to use to optimize. There are so many different levers to pull that if you’re wasting money, it’s your own fault.
Again, Facebook and Google are the best in class. Google has an immense display network and almost as many targeting options as Facebook, though the operate in a different way.
Even if Google isn’t right for you, you should at least be investing a minimal budget into them, to reserve your space, target your own brand name, and capture interest from one of the largest audiences in the world. You’re just leaving exposure and conversions on the table if you don’t.
BSA is one of the largest third party ad networks out there, and they’re able to maintain that position because they’re largely hands-off with their network, outside of filtering the worst of the worst. It’s a self-service ad platform, where publishers can put up their site statistics and get bids from advertisers for their ad space. As an advertiser, you can pick and choose the sites you want your ads to show on, and you can be as discerning as you want. This is called media buying.
Picking the right sites to target with BSA is a combination of art and timing. You need to find sites that have open space and reach them at the right time, and you need to develop a feeling for which sites are going to work and which are going to waste your time and money. I’m not going to lie here; it can take a while to develop this sense. For that reason, I would consider BSA to be either an intermediate or advanced-level advertising network.
PopAds is a pop-under advertising network. I’m always a little wary of recommending these kinds of ads, because they tend to come across as spammy for many users, and it’s not necessarily something you want your brand to have as an association. On the other hand, they can be quite effective, especially if the ad network filters for actual spam and maintains a relatively high quality level for their network.
PopAds is a CPM model network, meaning you pay for the display regardless of whether or not this results in a conversion. CPM ads have the potential to be extremely lucrative, but you need to have a compelling ad, which may take a lot of optimization.
Rather than recommend more pop-under advertising networks, I’ll let this one speak for itself. If it’s a model you’re interested in pursuing, feel free to read this post with more recommendations for networks you can try. That post is aimed at the publisher side of things, but the advice holds true for both sides regardless.
Oath is the company that owns Yahoo, AOL, Tumblr, and a whole host of other properties related to those brands today. Oath’s ad network, then, displays across a variety of different web properties and formats. In particular, they have a large mobile ad network. If you’re particularly targeting mobile users, or app users, you can get a lot of benefit out of using a network like Oath.
Oath is another large network, but large networks are what you want. Smaller niche networks can be useful for small businesses, but generally the limited exposure means limited growth. With large networks, the sky is the limit. As long as you have money to spend, you can get more out of it. With smaller networks, there’s a maximum saturation point you can hit. Thankfully, Oath is not one where reaching saturation will ever be a concern for most businesses.
Speaking of mobile advertising, have I mentioned that it’s really good? Mobile advertising is pretty much essential for modern business. Over half of all web traffic is on mobile today, and that number is only going to keep growing as mobile devices become more powerful and more prevalent. Meanwhile, companies like Google are pushing mobile-first narratives, apps are doing more and more of our business, and the benefits just keep growing.
At the same time, mobile ad blocking is limited, and mobile offers new and novel formats for advertising, including push notification ads. There’s simply a ton of benefit to be had from mobile advertising, which makes mobile ad networks something to look into.
Airpush is one such mobile network. They have ad formats ranging from push notifications and overlays to in-app banners and videos. They also have great targeting options, programmatic buying options, and a huge network of over 150,000 apps as publishers. What’s not to love?
AdRecover is an interesting network in that it bridges the gap between traditional display ads and intrusive advertising. Ad blocking apps are so prevalent today that it’s difficult to see returns with a lot of traditional display advertising. Anti-blocking technology exists, but is often intrusive enough that it drives users away from publishers entirely. Other cases of anti-blocking scripts are just blocked themselves.
AdRecover finds a sweet spot in between these two extremes. When an ad is blocked, the space it leaves behind is, well, advertised. AdRecover works to recover this lost inventory and provides another channel for advertisers to try. It works best with minimally intrusive advertising, so it’s worth experimenting as a relatively new and novel format.
A Note on Cryptocurrencies
To round out the end of this post, I’d like to make a quick mention of cryptocurrencies and their role in advertising. While many people tout the benefits of crypto as a currency, it’s undeniable that it has a lot of issues. It’s a relatively new and untapped space, so there are a ton of companies popping up to make a quick buck and drop it when the going gets tough. Since crypto is riddled with scams and has very little regulation or recourse for those who lose money, it’s very much a “take your life into your own hands” niche.
There exist a variety of ad networks that accept cryptocurrencies for payments or that pay out in crypto. Unfortunately, turnover is high, so anything I recommend to you now is likely to be gone a month from now. If you’re interested in crypto for the payment side of advertising, feel free to explore these options, but don’t bother if you’re not already invested.
Finally, before I wrap things up and hand it all over to you, I’d like to draw your attention to this old post. It’s a list of over 100 different ad networks you might be interested in looking into. Some of them may be dead by now, since the post was published four years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer relevant. There are plenty of options you can choose from, if you want to do a little digging.
So, that’s the scoop! Now let’s hear from you. I know you all are playing around with different ad networks, so which ones have proven to be the best for you? Let me know in the comments.
The post Which Ad Network is Most Effective for B2C Businesses? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore details of the FTC settlement agreement with Facebook and what it means for marketers with special guest […]
The post Facebook and the FTC: What the Agreement Means for Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
On the surface, hackathons give people the opportunity to create original projects, and, if you get lucky, some of them might even alleviate pain points and bring value to the business. But, when you take a closer look at what hackathons entail—teamwork, creativity, innovation, and optimism—the additional benefits they bring far exceed the final product. …
The post 48 Hours Later: Intern Hackathon 2019 appeared first on WP Engine.
Writing out a detailed content calendar will help you develop a timely posting schedule and decide what type of content...
The post How to Create a Content Calendar appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.
Running a business means you’re probably always on the lookout for new customers. This can be tough online, where there’s so much content vying for your audience’s attention. Even if you’ve built a beautiful website, it can be difficult to get visitors to stick around and interact with it.
That’s where a lead capture form comes in!
These marketing gems can be used in many ways throughout your website. In particular, they’re especially useful for gathering valuable data about your leads and increasing conversion rates.
In this article, we’ll look deeper into what lead generation forms are. We’ll also discuss why you should include them on your site, and how to get site visitors to click on their Submit buttons. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to Lead Generation Forms and Why They’re Beneficial
Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably filled out dozens of lead generation forms. Some common examples include user registrations, contact forms, opt-in forms, and email subscription sign-ups. They’re the entry points to your site’s “lead capture funnel,” which means they gather the information you need to convert visitors into customers.
According to Kissmetrics, 96% of people who go to a website don’t go with the intention to buy something right away. Building high-quality lead generation forms that follow best practices can do a lot to help boost your conversion rate and turn your visitors (think of them as “qualified leads”) into customers.
Although they may seem like small details, lead generation forms are key to any site’s success. For example, getting visitors to register on your website can make them feel as though they’re part of an online community. This helps build brand loyalty that may steer them towards your site when they’re ready to purchase a product or service you offer.
Related: How to Create a Loyalty Program for Your Website (And Why You Should)
Similarly, contact forms that enable users to make inquiries about offers can streamline the conversion process. By putting you directly in touch with leads, these forms allow you to easily respond and seal the deal.
Finally, email marketing is still a highly effective strategy. Building your email list and collecting information to craft targeted content is a vital part of a successful marketing plan. High-quality lead generation forms can help with that.
How to Get Visitors to Fill Out Lead Forms on Your Website (5 Tips)
Designing a great sign-up form is only half the battle. Getting people to actually fill them out without abandoning them can be a bigger challenge! Let’s take a look at five tips for getting site visitors to follow through.
1. Offer Incentives to Attract Visitors to Your Forms
Most people enjoy receiving discounts or free products. Many are willing to “pay” for them by giving you their email addresses or signing up for an account. This makes coupons and other special offers smart ways to incentivize your lead generation forms.
Take ThredUp, for example. This online thrift store offers a pop-up for a 50% off coupon in exchange for your email address.
Some other potential incentives include free trials, e-books, online courses, or sample products. At CrazyEgg, users receive a free heatmap for submitting their website address. All are workable options as incentives you can offer site visitors in return for filling out your capture form.
2. Review the Length of Your Forms to Prevent Abandonment
Generally speaking, website users like to complete tasks quickly. Keeping your forms short and simple will likely yield the highest conversion rates. That said, you also want to gather as much information as possible about your potential customers.
Elements such as progress bars can help extend users’ patience when it comes to filling out multi-step forms. Breaking up questions into sections and tabs is also a way to make forms feel shorter.
For instance, BrokerNotes has a 46% conversion rate through their “un-form,” which provides an interactive experience for users guided by helpful breadcrumbs. It gathers a lot of information, while also providing users with incentives along the way.
3. Leverage Social Media to Promote Lead Generation
Incorporating social media might seem like a no-brainer when it comes to marketing. However, it can also boost access to your lead generation forms via tools such as Facebook Lead Ads.
Additionally, enabling users to create accounts using their favorite social platforms can increase your registration count. In fact, 77% of users think social login is a great idea and wish all sites offered it.
By shortening the registration and sign-in processes, social logins can help combat “account fatigue” and increase the likelihood of visitors becoming members. Additionally, this strategy makes it easier for you to gather information on your users, which you can then use to improve your marketing strategy.
4. Test Your Forms to Find and Fix Errors
Once you dive in and design a lead capture form that suits your goals and branding needs, you’ll want to make sure it actually works. Regularly testing your forms can help avoid a high bounce rate, incorrect information, and user frustration.
High-quality forms often follow basic web design best practices, but there are a few exceptions and considerations. You’ll want to review your content and structures for elements such as title consistency, error message language, button content, and more.
You might also consider instituting A/B testing. This process involves creating two versions of a form and trying them out to see which one works better. Just remember to be careful when setting this system up for your forms, as there are some technical aspects to consider that could cause the test to fail.
5. Eliminate Distractions and Friction to Decrease User Frustration
When users try to fill out your lead capture form, they shouldn’t feel like they’re working. The best way to avoid this is to reduce “friction” such as error messages, data that fails to load or send, and unclear instructions.
To do that, keep vital elements such as form field labels, layout, placement on the page, and even Call to Action (CTA) color choice in mind. Doing this will help point users in the right direction to complete your form.
Similarly, distractions can also cause a dip in your conversion rate. Distractions include anything that prevents your visitors from engaging in the action you most want them to take. The closer a user gets to completing the desired action, the fewer elements you should have on the page to draw their attention away from the ultimate goal.
Tools for Adding Lead Generation Forms to Your Website
If you’re using WordPress, you’re one step closer to taking advantage of lead generation forms. There are several plugins available to help you incorporate them into your site; one of the most popular is OptinMonster.
OptinMonster enables you to create popups to re-engage visitors who are leaving your site and encourage them to fill out your lead generation form. The tool also makes creating different form layouts easy. Pairing this and other tools with a fast, reliable WordPress host can improve your site’s user experience and increase your chance of capturing leads.
Do More with DreamPressOur automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on conversion rate optimization.Check Out Plans
Lead Nurturing to Increase Conversions
Building a client base can be challenging. However, knowing that your lead generation forms are consistently converting at a high rate can provide you with some comfort as you grow your business.
Are you ready to add lead generation forms to your landing pages? Combining these key takeaways with lead capture plugins and our fully-managed WordPress hosting plans can help you start working towards a higher conversion rate!
The post How to Get Visitors to Fill Out Lead Forms on Your Website appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.
The post Does Your Small Business Website Have the Cybersecurity Basics Covered? appeared first on HostGator Blog.
Think your business is too small to be targeted by hackers? Think again.
Last year, 43% of all reported data breaches affected small businesses—and the costs of recovering from a breach are high enough to force many small businesses to close.
So, if you’ve recently launched your SMB website or are getting ready to launch, make sure you’ve got these 8 cybersecurity basics nailed down.
1. Domain Privacy
There are so many things to love about the internet, but spammers, identity thieves, and stalkers are not among them.
You can protect yourself with a domain privacy plan that shields your name, email, mailing address, and phone number from people who look up your site in the ICANN’s Whois database.
2. SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is a must-have if you run an eCommerce store or collect visitor information on your site. That’s because an SSL certificate proves that any data your visitors send to your site is encrypted, so hackers can’t see it while it’s in transit. (You can read a more detailed SSL explanation here.)
SSL certificates also keep visitors from seeing a browser warning that your site may not be secure. Plus, they may also help your site rank better in search results.
3. Automatic Site Backups
If your business website site is hacked, or if an update crashes it, you need a way to get up and running again fast so you don’t miss out on customers.
Get an automatic site backup service like CodeGuard, and you can quickly restore the most recent uncorrupted version of your site if something goes wrong. Make sure that whichever service you choose runs daily backups, so you don’t have to go back to an out-of-date site version in case of a crash.
4. Automatic Malware Scans and Removals
Thanks to cybercriminals armed with botnets and malicious code, all sites are continuously at risk for malware injections that can steal data and let criminals take over sites. This means site owners need to monitor their sites closely for attacks. And the only practical way to do this is with automatic scans.
A site-scanning tool like SiteLock gives you daily protection from new malware and botnet attacks. SiteLock also seeks out vulnerabilities on your site, so you can fix them before hackers exploit them.
5. Automatic Domain Renewals
Domain registrations don’t last forever. At some point—anywhere between one and 5 years from when you first sign up–you’ll need to renew. If you don’t, you can lose control of your business domain name, and anyone who comes along and buys up your expired domain may be able to access the email accounts on it. That could open you and your customers up to data theft and fraud.
The best way to prevent this is to enable automatic renewals, either when you register your domains or during your next renewal. You may also be able to switch to automatic renewals now by logging into your domain registration account and adjusting your billing preferences. (HostGator customers, here’s how you can renew your domain registration.)
6. Automatic WordPress, Plugin and Theme Updates
On the internet, you have to stay up to date. That includes WordPress software and the plugins, themes, and addons you choose for your SMB site. Why not stick with the old versions if they’re working for you? There are lots of reasons, but the main one is security.
Some updates are designed to patch flaws that hackers have shown they can exploit. So, when updates are announced, you need to install them right away. But updates don’t always come out on a schedule, and if you have a large site with lots of plugins, updating manually can be a hassle that’s too easy to postpone.
The solution is to set WordPress and everything else on your site—themes, plugins, etc.—to update automatically. You can do this within most apps, or you can use a WordPress security plugin like Easy Updates Manager to handle it all for you.
7. Seriously Secure Passwords
One of the simplest ways to protect your SMB website is to use a unique, secure WordPress password that would-be hackers are unlikely to guess. Make sure that any employees or contractors who have access to your site use secure, unique passwords, too.
You might think this goes without saying, but even in 2019, too many people are still using passwords like 123456, monkey, and blink182.
8. Site Login Protection
Login forms on your site make it easy for customers to sign into their accounts with your store or business. These forms also create potential weak spots where attackers can break in. In simple terms, a bot-powered brute force attack can try thousands of possible login credentials to try to get past a login form. If they find a way in, they can unleash malware, ransomware, or other mayhem to disrupt your business.
To keep bad actors and botnet attacks from experimenting with logins until they find a way in, add some layers of protection to your sign-in forms.
One option is to limit the number of login attempts a user can make in one session. For example, after three failed attempts, the user is locked out of trying again until they contact your tech support team for more guidance. This lets legitimate customers get the help they need and prevents bot-powered brute force logins.
Another option is one you probably see every day. Ask visitors to prove they’re not a robot when they sign in with a reCAPTCHA tool. The Contact Form 7 plugin lets you enable reCAPTCHA, or you can install a different reCAPTCHA plugin for the forms on your site.
Yes, it’s an extra step for your site visitors, but one that can keep your visitors and your business safe from bot-powered data theft.
Now that you know the cybersecurity basics, are you ready to set up your site?
HostGator’s Managed WordPress Hosting plans come with CodeGuard, SiteLock, and SSL certificates for free and make it easy to buy domain privacy services.
Find the post on the HostGator Blog
The post 10+ Best Free Gutenberg Ready WordPress Themes appeared first on HostGator Blog.
There are hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes on the market. A lot of them are free while some cost more than a few hundred bucks. Finding a theme that suits your WordPress site’s style and is compatible with all the plugins you use is very difficult.
If you want to use WordPress’ new Gutenberg editor, then you need a theme that is compatible with it. With thousands of themes to choose from, most of which aren’t compatible with Gutenberg, I wanted to make it easier for you to find the perfect theme.
So, here’s my collection of the best free Gutenberg-ready WordPress themes right now.
What is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is the latest page/post editor that comes with WordPress. If you are a fan of the original, the classic WordPress editor, then it might take you a few minutes to get comfortable with the new editor.
Gutenberg is WordPress’ attempt at creating a drag and drop page builder that can make it easier for beginners and novices to create beautiful looking pages.
If you want your website to stand out, you need your content to stand out in your niche. The easiest way to do this is by improving the design of your blog’s content. Now, if you hire a programmer to do it, it will cost you well over $500.
But with a tool like Gutenberg, you can do it all by yourself within minutes… for free.
Why you need a Gutenberg compatible theme?
If you want to use the new Gutenberg editor and take advantage of all the wonderful tools and widgets it has to offer, then you need a WordPress theme that is compatible with Gutenberg.
Most themes on the market, even the premium ones, aren’t compatible with Gutenberg. If you use a theme that isn’t compatible, most of your pages will break in unexpected places.
If you don’t want your blog to break right when you catch your big break, then you should only use a theme that is compatible with Gutenberg.
To make it easier for you to find the perfect theme, we have made the following list of the best free WordPress themes that are Gutenberg-ready.
Best Free Gutenberg Themes
Best suited for: All types of websites, is a Multipurpose theme.Sites having this theme activated: 200,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/generatepress/
GeneratePress is one of the most popular WordPress themes out there. Unlike some other themes on this list, this is a multipurpose theme. That means, you can use it to build almost any type of website you want.
Whether you want to use it on a travel site or cooking blog, you can easily customize this theme to suit your niche. You can customize almost all elements of this theme without writing a single line of code.
This theme is made to be a lightweight kickstarter for any kind of a project based on WordPress.
They offer a big library of importable templates for all types of websites including travel, cooking, and personal blogs. You can also use this theme to build an eCommerce site and sell your products online.
Clean minimal design that is suitable for all types of websites.A huge library of hundreds of design templates available to choose from.Easily customize almost all aspects of the theme’s design.Compatible with all page builder plugins on the market including Gutenberg and Beaver Builder.Translation ready and supports over 20 languages.A lightweight theme that won’t slow down your website.
2. Gucherry Blog
Best suited for: Personal Blogs, Travel Blogs, and blogs that display large images.Sites having this theme activated: 700+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/gucherry-blog/
GuCherry Blog is a beautiful free WordPress template designed for blogs. It offers a very clean, minimal design that focuses the user’s attention on the content. If you are looking for a theme for your personal blog, then this is one of the best options.
You can easily customize this theme to suit your personal style by changing the colors and typography of the design. It comes with full support for page builders like Gutenberg. It is optimized for speed and is translation-ready.
This theme is perfect for bloggers who want to start a blog, build an audience online and stand out in their niche. It offers a simple design and comes with everything you will need including social media share buttons and a lot of built-in widgets to choose from. It is also SEO optimized so that you can focus on creating content without worrying too much about the search engine bots.
GuCherry blog is designed to be fast and offers lots of space placing advertisements on your blog. You place ads on your blog with just a few clicks in many different places without editing any code.
A minimal design that will help you stand out in your blogging niche.Lots of places to place ads on your blog to earn a side income.Optimized for SEO and fast load times.Easily customize everything from the colors to typography.Built-in support for page builders like Gutenberg.Translation-ready and supports RTL languages.A theme best suited for bloggers.
3. Getwid Base
Best suited for: Startups, Digital Agencies, and Portfolio websites.Sites having this theme activated: 700+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/getwid-base/
Getwid Base is a free WordPress theme that is designed specifically to work with Gutenberg. Getwid Base theme is a part of Getwid, a bundle of multipurpose blocks designed for Gutenberg.
To get the most out of this theme, we recommend that you install the Getwid plugin but even without the bundle, this theme has all the features you will need. It offers a beautiful, minimal design that is compatible with Gutenberg.
It is best suited for digital agencies, startups, and portfolios. Although it is designed for digital agencies and startups, you can customize it to suit whatever niche you are in and change the design to suit your brand style.
A theme that is built specifically for Gutenberg page builder.Customize the theme easily with just a few clicks without touching code.You can add more blocks and widgets compatible with this theme by installing the free Getwid Gutenberg bundle.It comes with a simple design that looks great on all devices.
4. Page Builder Framework
Best suited for: Agency Sites, Portfolios, and Service Businesses.Sites having this theme activated: 10,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/page-builder-framework/
Page Builder Framework is a free WordPress theme that is designed to be super fast. It is a lightweight theme that weighs less than 50 kb and doesn’t slow down your website.
If you need a clutter-free, minimal design that you can customize yourself without editing code, this theme is a great option. This theme is designed for page builders like Gutenberg and Beaver Builder. You can easily customize all aspects of this theme’s design to suit your personal style.
This theme scores 99% on all speed test tools like YSlow, Pingdom, and GTmetrix. It loads in less than 100ms.
This theme is built for speed and will never slow down your website.Customize all aspects of this theme’s design with just a few clicks.Designed to be compatible with all page builders including Elementor and Gutenberg.Responsive design that works on all screen sizes.WooCommerce support, if you want to build an eCommerce store.
5. Mission News
Best suited for: News and Magazine sites, and sites with lots of content.Sites having this theme activated: 3,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/mission-news/
Mission News is a free WordPress theme designed for news and magazine websites. The design is clean and makes your website look like a classic news site. It’s fully responsive and looks great on all devices no matter the screen size.
The layout of this theme is minimal, clean and focuses attention to the content. It is fully compatible with Gutenberg, Elementor, and some other page builder plugins. It also offers WooCommerce compatibility so that you can build an online store within a few minutes.
This theme is optimized for speed and loads really fast.
WooCommerce support allows you to build an eCommerce site without writing any codeEasily customize all aspects of your website’s design using the customization options.100% responsive and looks great on all devices.Compatible with Gutenberg and Elementor.
Best suited for: Personal Blogs, Story Blogs, and Author Blogs.Sites having this theme activated: 1,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/storytime/
Storytime is a theme designed for authors and creatives. If you are a writer or really want to showcase your work, this is the theme for you. This theme comes with hundreds of customization options. You can choose from 2 blog layout options and 10 sidebar options.
It is fully compatible with Gutenberg and is designed with the tool in mind. It also comes with its own built-in Gutenberg blocks you can use to improve your content.
The theme offers a fully responsive minimal design. It offers a beautiful layout design that focuses attention on the content of your blog. If you are starting a personal blog and want to stand out in your niche, this theme is one of the best options.
Fully compatible with page builders like Gutenberg.Comes with additional built-in Gutenberg.Easily customize the theme using WordPress Theme Customizer interface.Hundreds of customization options so you can customize the design to suit your brand.2 Blog layouts and 10 sidebar positions to choose from.
7. Music Lite
Best suited for: Music artists, Bands and Musicians.Sites having this theme activated: 2,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/music-lite/
Music Lite is the free version of Music Pro. The free version of the theme comes with dozens and dozens of customization options. If you want more customization, then you can always upgrade to the pro version.
It is built on a responsive framework to make sure it always looks good across different devices. It is also retina-optimized to look good on a large screen and high resolution displays like Apple’s products
It comes with a tour dates page that you can easily customize and change dates on for your fans and followers. The theme comes with custom page templates that you can use to build your whole website in only a few minutes. It also comes with multiple column layouts.
This theme allows you to easily customize the logo, the header, and even the background without writing any code.
The design is built on a mobile responsive framework and works on all screen sizes.Tour dates pages where you can list your tour dates with just a few clicks.Easily customize the theme using WordPress’ Theme Customizer tool.Custom page templates.The theme comes with multiple column layouts to choose from.
8. Portfolio Lite
Best suited for: Photography Portfolio, Creative Portfolios, Freelancer Portfolios.Sites having this theme activated: 2,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/portfolio-lite/
Portfolio Lite is a portfolio theme for creatives. It offers a very unique design to help you stand out of the crowd. The design is very minimal to focus the attention on the portfolio items. If you are a freelancer and need a site to show off your work, this is the best theme for you.
It comes with a sidebar menu on the left to allow for easy and minimal navigation. This theme will allow you to build your portfolio online in only a few minutes. This theme is best for portfolios with lots of images. It is best suited for people who wish to show off their designs or photography.
It comes with a few different page templates to choose from for your portfolio items. You can easily create a slideshow for your portfolio within seconds.
A clean minimal layout to show off your creative portfolio.Showcase large images in a beautiful layout.Different page templates for portfolio items to choose from.Get more features by purchasing the premium version of this theme.Dozens of customization options and support for WordPress Theme Customizer.Support for Gutenberg and other Page Builders.
Best suited for: Personal Blogs and sites that are more focused on the content.Sites having this theme activated: 3,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/davis/
Davis is a minimalistic WordPress theme that you can either use as a framework to build your own theme or you can use to build a superfast website that scores high on all page speed test tools like Google PageSpeed. It is super lightweight and weighs only 61 kb.
This theme offers a super minimal design that focuses the attention on the content. It is fully responsive, looks great on devices, and comes with a dark mode option. It also supports featured images, and aside post format.
This theme is built to be fast and minimal and to be used as a framework to build upon and as such doesn’t offer many options or customization features. It is pretty minimal.
Fully responsive design.Super minimal, clean design.Super lightweight theme that weighs only 61kb and loads really fast.Comes with full support for Gutenberg and other page builders.
10. Block Lite
Best suited for: Creative portfolio sites and photography portfolios.Sites having this theme activated: 1,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/block-lite/
Block Lite is a theme that is built for the Gutenberg editor. It comes with dozens of customization options that you can use to customize all aspects of the theme. It offers a responsive design that is minimal and looks great across all screen sizes.
This theme is best for showcasing your creative portfolio. If you are a designer or a photographer, this theme will allow you to focus the visitor’s attention on your portfolio items. It is retina optimized to make sure the design looks great on even large-resolution displays.
Block Lite’s premium version offers dozens of more customization options and features.
Easily customize the design of this theme using WordPress Theme Customizer.Customize the Typography and use any of the free Google Fonts you like on your website.A clean, minimal design best suited for showcasing creative portfolio items like pictures and designs.
11. Atomic Blocks
Best suited for: Blogs and websites that need a minimal design.Sites having this theme activated: 2,000+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/atomic-blocks/
Atomic Blocks is a free WordPress theme that offers a simple design. It is fully compatible for Gutenberg page builder. This theme is a part of the Atomic Blocks plugin. The plugin adds more blocks to the Gutenberg builder.
With this theme, you don’t need to download a hundred different plugins. It comes with blocks for everything including pricing table, newsletter sign up forms, post grid blocks, call to action blocks, testimonial block, sharing block and much more.
Although this theme offers a minimal design and is best suited for blogs, it can be easily customized and used to build any type of a website.
Add dozens of new blocks to Gutenberg page builder by installing the accompanying Atomic Blocks plugin for free.Simple, responsive design.Dozens of theme options to help you customize the design without touching a single line of code.Fully compatible with Gutenberg and other page builder plugins.
Best Suited For Minimal, basic portfolio sites.Sites having this theme activated: 600+Download/preview link: https://wordpress.org/themes/richone/
Richone is a clean, beautiful portfolio theme that is compatible with Gutenberg editor. It offers a super minimal design that looks clean and focuses attention on the portfolio items. This theme offers full support WooCommerce so you can create an online store on our own.
This theme comes with dozens of customization options so you can customize everything from the typography to the color scheme of the design. It offers a widget sidebar at the bottom.
WooCommerce ready so you can build an online store in minutes.Fully compatible with Gutenberg.Comes with custom page templates so you can build your website in minutes without any code.This theme is optimized for SEO, so you can focus on creating content.Fully responsive minimal design that focuses attention on the content
All of the themes in this list support Gutenberg and will help you create content that stands out of the crowd. Most of these themes not only support Gutenberg, they also support other page builder plugins like Divi and Elementor, and others.
If you are still having trouble deciding which theme to go with, let me make it super easy for you:
If you need a theme that loads up really fast, then go with GeneratePress. It’s mostly a theme framework to help you build super fast websites. It comes with dozens of customization options and is really lightweight.
If you produce a lot of content on your website, then go with Mission News. Although it’s a theme built for news sites, it is fully customizable, so you can easily customize it to suit your needs.
If you want more Gutenberg blocks than the defaults, then go with the Getwid theme and download the accompanying Getwid plugin to add more blocks to the Gutenberg editor for free.
Are you using a free Gutenberg compatible theme that has been left off this list, and you think is worth mentioning? If so, we would love to hear all about it in the comments!
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Most online retailers and eCommerce businesses rely on numerous sales channels to drive conversion and revenue. This is called a multi-channel attribution marketing strategy. But, there’s a problem.
How do you make use of all the conversion data that those channels generate? Do you have to manage the data separately on every channel, or is there a way to bring it all together in one comprehensive reporting tool?
If you’re asking yourself these very questions, there’s a good chance that multi-channel attribution modeling and reporting is your answer. So we’ve put together everything you need to know about multi-channel attribution and Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reporting.
What is Multi-Channel Attribution?
Multi-channel attribution is a term related to analytics. In theory, it refers to the rules that a business owner has in place to gauge the performance of (or the sales generated by) every different marketing channel.
In practice, multi-channel attribution involves assigning a value — often dollar amounts — to every sales channel and customer touchpoint that occurs throughout the buyer’s journey. As you follow revenue back through your conversion paths, you can see which channels are contributing to the most conversions.
You can also track these conversions with multi-channel attribution. In this context, conversion is considered any action or consumer behavior that’s deemed “valuable” and moves the consumer further into your conversion funnel. For instance, you can assign a conversion value to emails acquired from potential customers who requested a PDF download. Ultimately, the purpose of multi-channel attribution is to determine which of your channels and touchpoints have the greatest effect on consumer behavior, conversion, and revenue. It’s a way to read massive amounts of data and find out what returns you’re getting on your marketing investments.
Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter for more help with analytics and tracking your marketing campaigns.
Understanding Multi-Channel Funnels
Google Analytics takes a lot of the work out of multi-channel funnel reporting. Once you have Analytics installed on your eCommerce store, the platform collects data to show you the role that your sales channels play in converting leads into customers.
Let’s take a look at how multi-channel funnels are represented in Google Analytics with these terms to know.
In Google Analytics, acquisition channels are labels used to group or categorize your sales channels and customer touchpoints. As you use multi-channel funnel reporting, you’ll see a number of acquisition channels referenced throughout the different reporting menus, including the following: Paid Search, Organic Search, Direct, Social Media, Email, and Affiliate.
An assisted conversion is when a channel or touchpoint moves a customer further into your conversion funnel. In Google Analytics, assisted conversion reflects how the points of engagement that occur along a prospective customer’s buying journey contribute to conversion. All but the final interaction in a conversion path are considered assisted interactions.
A conversion path is a sequence of channels and touchpoints that reflects a prospective customer’s buying journey. Typically, there’s a first interaction, assist interactions, and a final interaction which is the last touchpoint before conversion.
Custom Channel Groupings
Google Analytics separates sales channels and customer touchpoints into groups. The default channel groupings fall in line with the standard acquisition channels which include Paid Search, Organic Search, Direct, Social Media, and Email, and Affiliate.
However, you have the option to create custom channel groupings of your own. Therefore, custom channel groupings are when you add to or replace the default channel groupings in Google Analytics.
Multi-Channel Funnel Reporting With Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides several useful reporting options for your multi-channel funnel. These reporting options take the data you’ve collected and turns it into a visual so you can see clear insights into your conversions.
When it comes to Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reporting, there are five options to know. To access each of these different reporting options in Google Analytics, navigate to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels.
Overview provides a snapshot of your conversion data. With Overview, you’ll get a representation of how your sales channels and customer touchpoints work together to convert leads. One of the main elements is a line graph that shows your conversions over time. By default, you’ll see your conversions over the past 30 days. Additionally, you can compare your conversions to other conversion-related metrics.
Overview reporting is also where you’ll find the Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer, a Venn diagram-esque representation of how your sales channels interact and overlap. By toggling channel groupings on and off, you can hone in on the data you need.
In Google Analytics, an assisted conversion refers to when a channel or touchpoint aids in the conversion process. All touchpoints in the conversion path, other than the final touchpoint, are considered assists.
The Assisted Conversions feature offers performance data for your channels, showing how often they are converting. From there, you can get quite specific with the reporting. For example, you can see which specific landing pages and URLs are assisting in the most conversions by selecting the appropriate primary dimension under the “Other” tab.
Under the Assisted Conversions menu, channels and touchpoints are broken down according to whether they initiated, assisted, or completed a conversion. This is useful for determining where your channels and touchpoints tend to fall in your conversion paths.
Top Conversion Paths
The purpose of Top Conversion Paths reporting is to show you which conversion path(s) convert customers with greater frequency.
Each line item on the list is a unique conversion path, consisting of one or more channel groupings. So if, for instance, the top conversion path shows as Organic Search, Social Media, Direct Search, then you can deduce that the most conversions are coming from an interaction that looks something like this:
Someone discovers your business in a non-branded Google searchThey follow your business on social mediaThey eventually visit your eCommerce store through a direct Google searchThey make a purchase
Time Lag reporting tells you how much time the conversion process takes for your customers. In other words, the length of time that spans between the point of first contact with a lead and when the purchase is made. This tells you how long it takes for your customers to convert. If the conversion is quick, then the channel or conversion that preceded the purchase has much more value than if conversion takes many days.
Path Length reporting shows how many interactions (with your channels and touchpoints) it takes to convert leads into customers. When conversion requires just one interaction, then the channel or touchpoint that converted the customer is extremely effective at converting and has immense value. Conversely, when numerous touchpoints are necessary to convert, then individual interactions have less value.
How to Set Up Multi-Channel Attribution
Basic multi-channel reporting is built seamlessly into Google Analytics. However, if you’re looking for more advanced reporting, you may need to do some additional setup.
Follow these steps to ensure that all your data is included and organized appropriately in the Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reports.
Link Your Pay-per-Click Campaigns
By default, pay-per-click campaigns don’t show up in Google Analytics. For pay-per-click campaigns to be reflected in Analytics, you need to link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account. Once the two accounts are connected, Google Ads campaigns will be counted under the Paid Search channel grouping.
The process is rather simple.
Log into Analytics and open the Admin panel, then navigate to the property you want to link the AdWords account to. In that property’s column, click Google Ads Linking, then click New Link Group.From there, select the Google Ads account you want to link and follow the prompts to complete the linking process.
Create Custom Channel Groupings
Google Analytics has default channel groupings, referred to as “MCF Channel Grouping.”
The default channels are:
DisplayPaid SearchOtherOrganic SearchSocial NetworkReferralEmailDirect
For many business owners, these default channel groupings are sufficient. However, custom channel groupings might be necessary for certain situations.
A prime use case for custom channel groupings is separating branded from non-branded keywords.
This addresses an increasingly common way that people use search engines, which is to use a business name as the search query. For this reason, separating branded from non-branded keywords minimizes the amount of direct traffic that could be mistakenly categorized as Organic Search.
The option to create custom channel groupings is available in most Multi-Channel Funnels reporting menus. When available, the option appears as a dropdown box.
Select the Create a Custom Channel Grouping option. This will bring up a window where you can customize the names of the channel groupings as well as how they’re defined. When finished, click Save. Then your custom groupings will show in your conversion reports.
Manage Your Data Points
It’s important to track the right data in Analytics. When you’re tracking the right data points, you can make extremely useful and insightful inferences from multi-channel funnel reporting. However, when you’re tracking the wrong data points, the picture you’re getting from the conversion reports won’t be accurate. If you’re basing your decisions on inaccurate data, it can create a host of other problems.
For example, while it’s useful to track visits to your store’s website as points on a conversion path, you shouldn’t qualify a visit to your store’s website as an actual conversion.
In other words, users who visit your store online shouldn’t be considered “converted” under most circumstances. Similarly, visits to a specific product page probably shouldn’t count as conversions either.
The data points you track should depend on the goals you set for your business, whether it’s converting prospects into leads, converting leads into customers, or some other goal.
Segment Your Data
In Google Analytics, segmentation is how you isolate and analyze specific data points related to your conversion. There are a number of situations where you might need to create a conversion segment. For example, you could filter instances where the first interaction in a conversion path was with a paid advertising campaign. With conversion segmenting, you can hone in on the most pertinent or relevant data that wouldn’t otherwise be visible in the default reporting options.
Segmenting your conversion data can be done with the Conversion Segment builder in Google Analytics that is accessible from any of the Multi-Channel Funnels reporting menus.
At the top of the page, click on Conversion Segments, then click Create New Conversion Segment. After naming the new conversion segment, use the conversion segment builder to customize which conversion paths you want to be included in your segment. This is achieved by defining the conditions of your desired conversion path.
For example, if you wanted to create a segment that shows instances when a specific website served as the first interaction in a conversion path, then the conditions would look like this: [Include] [First Interaction] from [Source] [Containing] WebsiteURL.com.
Once you’ve completed these basic setup steps, you’ll be able to track your multi-channel attribution using the reporting options in Google Analytics.
Make Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting the Foundation of Your Conversion Funnel
A multi-channel marketing strategy can only be as strong as the eCommerce store where your leads will shop. If your store relies on a low-quality hosting provider, then all your efforts to implement multi-channel attribution will be for naught.
Fortunately, there’s Liquid Web, your premier hosting provider for eCommerce. With Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting, you’ll have everything you need to run (and grow) a successful eCommerce site. In fact, we have created more than 20 different performance tests to ensure that your site can handle any amount of traffic coming from all your sales channels. Best of all, Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting is available in tiered plans, so there’s Liquid Web WooCommerce hosting for virtually any budget. To learn more about our Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce Hosting, visit our product page today.
The post How to Understand and Set Up Multi-Channel Attribution and Reporting appeared first on Liquid Web.
By 2021 approximately 1 in every 4 people on the planet will shop online. For ecommerce entrepreneurs that’s a huge opportunity. But the competition for those online buyers will be fierce. To be on the winning side you need to be on top of your ecommerce game. There are common mistakes that can undermine even
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Do you want to create successful LinkedIn ad campaigns? Wondering how to get started with LinkedIn ads? To explore how to succeed with LinkedIn ads, I interview AJ Wilcox. AJ is the world’s leading LinkedIn ads expert and author of LinkedIn Ads Demystified. He’s also the founder of B2Linked.com, a LinkedIn ads agency. AJ shares […]
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Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our search results. Most aren’t noticeable but help us incrementally continue to improve.Sometimes, an update may be more noticeable. We aim to confirm such updates when we feel there is actionable information that webmasters, content producers or others might take in relation to them. For example, when our “Speed Update” happened, we gave months of advanced notice and advice.Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.” They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. These core updates may also affect Google Discover.We confirm broad core updates because they typically produce some widely notable effects. Some sites may note drops or gains during them. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.Core updates & reassessing contentThere’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.Focus on contentAs explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.A starting point is to revisit the advice we’ve offered in the past on how to self-assess if you believe you’re offering quality content. We’ve updated that advice with a fresh set of questions to ask yourself about your content:Content and quality questionsDoes the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?Expertise questionsDoes the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?Presentation and production questionsIs the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?Comparative questionsDoes the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?Beyond asking yourself these questions, consider having others you trust but who are unaffiliated with your site provide an honest assessment.Also consider an audit of the drops you may have experienced. What pages were most impacted and for what types of searches? Look closely at these to understand how they’re assessed against some of the questions above.Get to know the quality rater guidelines & E-A-T Another resource for advice on great content is to review our search quality rater guidelines. Raters are people who give us insights on if our algorithms seem to be providing good results, a way to help confirm our changes are working well.It’s important to understand that search raters have no control over how pages rank. Rater data is not used directly in our ranking algorithms. Rather, we use them as a restaurant might get feedback cards from diners. The feedback helps us know if our systems seem to be working.If you understand how raters learn to assess good content, that might help you improve your own content. In turn, you might perhaps do better in Search.In particular, raters are trained to understand if content has what we call strong E-A-T. That stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider.Here are a few articles written by third-parties who share how they’ve used the guidelines as advice to follow:E-A-T and SEO, from Marie HaynesGoogle Updates Quality Rater Guidelines Targeting E-A-T, Page Quality & Interstitials, from Jennifer SleggLeveraging E-A-T for SEO Success, presentation from Lily RayGoogle’s Core Algorithm Updates and The Power of User Studies: How Real Feedback From Real People Can Help Site Owners Surface Website Quality Problems (And More), Glenn GabeWhy E-A-T & Core Updates Will Change Your Content Approach, from Fajr MuhammadRecovering and more adviceA common question after a core update is how long does it take for a site to recover, if it improves content?Broad core updates tend to happen every few months. Content that was impacted by one might not recover - assuming improvements have been made - until the next broad core update is released.However, we’re constantly making updates to our search algorithms, including smaller core updates. We don’t announce all of these because they’re generally not widely noticeable. Still, when released, they can cause content to recover if improvements warrant.Do keep in mind that improvements made by site owners aren’t a guarantee of recovery, nor do pages have any static or guaranteed position in our search results. If there’s more deserving content, that will continue to rank well with our systems.It’s also important to understand that search engines like Google do not understand content the way human beings do. Instead, we look for signals we can gather about content and understand how those correlate with how humans assess relevance. How pages link to each other is one well-known signal that we use. But we use many more, which we don’t disclose to help protect the integrity of our results.We test any broad core update before it goes live, including gathering feedback from the aforementioned search quality raters, to see if how we’re weighing signals seems beneficial.Of course, no improvement we make to Search is perfect. This is why we keep updating. We take in more feedback, do more testing and keep working to improve our ranking systems. This work on our end can mean that content might recover in the future, even if a content owner makes no changes. In such situations, our continued improvements might assess such content more favorably.We hope the guidance offered here is helpful. You’ll also find plenty of advice about good content with the resources we offer from Google Webmasters, including tools, help pages and our forums. Learn more here.Posted by Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search
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Readers with long memories will recall the suspicion the cloud was greeted with when it was first introduced more than a decade ago. Site owners who managed their servers doubted that cloud vendors could do a better job, especially where security is concerned. Who knew what lurked beneath the virtualization layer? In subsequent years, as… Continue reading →
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Winter holidays may be peak money-making time for online stores, but don’t overlook the back to school season. Parents and students spent more than $82 billion on back to school purchases in 2018.
That’s more than shoppers spent on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day combined.
Today’s back-to-school must-haves include much more than jeans and school supplies, which means your eCommerce site may have a bigger audience than you think for back-to-school offers. And just about any business can offer a back-to-school themed deal.
The National Retail Federation says that back to school (defined as shopping for K-12 students) and back to college spending will hit record highs this year. The average household with K-12 kids will spend $696 on back to school. The average household with kids in college will spend $976.
Want your online store to capture some of that spending? Here’s how you can get your eCommerce site ready and for back to school and back to college shoppers.
Do You Have What Back-to-School Shoppers Need?
If your store sells kids’ clothes, shoes, backpacks, or school supplies, you’re probably already on top of your back to school marketing game.
However, electronics are also hot sellers for back to school. More than half of shoppers for K-12 kids said they’ll buy at least one new electronic device for back to school this year. The top electronics items for K-12 kids are computers, cellphones, and calculators.
The back to college market includes even more categories. School supplies, clothes, and shoes are all big categories for these young adults. So are personal care products and food—more than 70% of students surveyed said they’ll be stocking up on these items when they do their back to school shopping.
More than half of back to college shoppers also plan to pick up some college-branded gear (which can be anything from shirts and hats to décor and gifts), electronics, and furnishings. More than a third of back to college shoppers—presumably parents—plan to stock up on gift cards, too.
Can You Offer What Back-to-School Shoppers Want?
Let’s say your store doesn’t sell any of the items mentioned above. You can still ace back to school season. Here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm your own offers:
Gardening supply stores can offer deals on seeds and tools for teachers who want to plant school gardens.Online travel agencies can offer weekend packages for parents who need a little kid-free time after summer full of family togetherness.Pet supply shops can run deals on treats and toys for companion animals whose pals are at school all day.Board game, sporting goods, and toy sellers can promote deals on items that families can enjoy together on the weekends.Stores that sell any sort of cleaning products have a perfect tie-in. Back to school is the perfect time for a deep cleaning of the house and car.
Understand the Back to School Shopping Timeline
School shopping season starts sooner than you think and lasts longer than you may realize. About half the households surveyed in early July by the NRF said they’d already started shopping.
And the big sale event that budget-conscious back to school shoppers wait for has already passed this year. Amazon Prime Day and its competitors’ sales draw a lot of attention from parents, teens, and college students.
However, the other half of households surveyed at the beginning of July hadn’t started shopping yet, because they’re waiting for the best sales. If you want their back-to-school business, you’ll need to serve up a great sale.
What Makes a Great Back to School Sale for eCommerce Sites?
Price. Now’s the time to offer coupon codes and flash sales on your site to appeal to parents and teens—and to stay competitive with your competitors’ deals. Most back to school shoppers are price sensitive, a trend that’s persisted for years. However, tweens and teens are spending more of their own money on back to school purchases. That may translate into a few more splurge items (the average teen is kicking in about $36).
Show some deal love to the teachers who shop with you, too. Teachers often spend out of their own pockets for classroom supplies—a big expense on a typical educator’s salary. Most major retailers offer special back to school deals like coupons, freebies, and extra rewards program points for educators. Your store will be more competitive if it does the same. And you don’t have to sell school supplies to make a teacher deal work. You can give them a deal on whatever you sell.
Free shipping. There’s no way around this one. The NRF survey found that “90 percent of K-12 and 85 percent of college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping.” Already offer free shipping? You’re good to go.
If you don’t, now might be a good time to start. One popular approach is to offer paid shipping for your fastest delivery option and free shipping for slower delivery. These budget-conscious shoppers generally won’t mind waiting a couple of extra days in exchange for free shipping.
Before you add free shipping to your store, you may need to adjust your product prices. Factor in your expected shipping expenses, so you don’t lose money on those orders. Now is also a good time to review your online store’s shipping guidelines to see if they need updating before the holiday rush.
Promotion. Create a campaign for the parent and young adult segments of your store’s email list that shows off your best back to school offers. Update your store’s blog with news about new back to school items or upcoming flash sales, and then share those posts on social media.
You can create coupon codes for your email list and social media followers, too. Nearly 20% of internet users say they always use coupons when they shop, and another 26% use them “very often.” Give them what they’re looking for.
Post Back-to-School Steps
Review your site traffic and sales numbers to fill out your back to school season report card. Make notes and put back to school prep on next year’s marketing calendar. Then take a breath and start getting your online store ready for the holidays.
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Struggling with understanding HIPAA vs PCI Compliance? Want to make sure that your business is compliant?
When dealing with sensitive information security is paramount. That is why HIPAA and PCI regulations are required in hosting. The aim of this article is to provide insight into these topics, and hopefully, make it easier for you to do your part in protecting patient’s and/or customer’s data.
Let’s start with an overview to see how the two connect.
What HIPAA Compliant Hosting and Why is it Important?
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. Although the act also offers additional protections regarding insurance and other issues, the focus of this article is in relation to the privacy and security of data.
HIPAA compliant hosting is, therefore, hosting that utilizes additional security measures for Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI).
It’s important to protect patient’s medical data not only because most people don’t want their medical data publicly available, but also to avoid heavy fines. HIPAA violations cost your practice. Federal fines for noncompliance can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation (or per record) depending on the level of perceived negligence within your organization at the time of the HIPAA violation, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for each violation.
So, if you can’t do it for the patients, do it for yourself.
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What is PCI Compliant Hosting and Why is it Important?
PCI compliant hosting refers to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) and is often shortened to PCI Compliance. PCI compliance refers to a set of standards designed to keep credit card information that is accepted, processed, stored, or transmitted securely at all times.
It started in 2006 with a Council founded by American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa Inc., who share equally in governance and execution of the work. Before this time, each credit card network had its own standard, making compliancy difficult for users. When the major Credit Card companies standardized rules to ensure data security, it greatly simplified securing Credit Card data, because it allowed businesses to track a single standard.
PCI compliance is important not only for the ease of doing business, but it is also important to protect the customers’ data. There is a high price to pay for noncompliance, with fines ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per month for the merchant and are at the discretion of the card brands and acquiring banks.
According to a Ponemon Institute study, the average total consolidated cost of a data breach is $3.8 million. Each lost or stolen record costing an average $174, so even having 500 compromised payment records can cost the merchant over $75,000 in liability.
So, if you can’t do it for your customers, do it for yourself.
Now that we have a better understanding of what HIPAA compliance and PCI compliance are, let’s look into what is needed for each.
What’s Required for HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA compliance is an ongoing process, so after you obtain HIPAA compliance you also need to maintain compliance.
Liquid Web is responsible for hardware and network security, while the customer is responsible for making sure that their application is secure and maintained.
Customers must hire a third-party HIPAA compliance auditor who will work closely with them since they are trying to become HIPAA compliant. Liquid Web can also sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) that outlines our responsibilities and ensures that your hosting environment is HIPAA compliant.
For us to guarantee that your hosting environment is HIPAA compliant, we provide you with a traditional dedicated server, locked cabinets, a hardware firewall, and also offer encrypted offsite data backups.
What is Required for PCI Compliant Hosting?
PCI compliance is also an ongoing process that also requires maintenance. Below are 12 steps to PCI compliance:
Objective: Build and Maintain a Secure Network
1. Configure, install, and maintain a firewall to protect cardholder data
2. Make sure to change system passwords and other security
Objective: Protect Cardholder Data
3. Safeguard cardholder data that is stored
4. Maintain encryption of cardholder data across open, public networks during transmission
Objective: Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
5. Regularly update and use anti-virus software on all systems commonly affected by malware
6. Maintain and develop systems and applications that are secure
Objective: Implement Robust Access Control Measures
7. Classify respective business groups for access to cardholder data
8. For each person with computer access, assign a unique ID
9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data
Objective: Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
10. Monitor and track all access to cardholder data and network resources
11. Test security systems and processes regularly
Objective: Maintain an Information Security Policy
12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security
While Liquid Web does not offer full PCI compliance certification, we do offer a separate service that scans your server to see that PCI-DSS requirements are met. This is a great tool during the compliance process. Our PCI scanning is updated with the latest threat intelligence and certified annually to meet all the PCI Security Standards Council requirements.
If vulnerabilities are identified you are presented with details about the vulnerabilities and remediation steps that can be used to address them. We also check for false positives and rescan if needed.
Comparing HIPAA vs PCI Compliance
Both require additional security measures to be taken on the customer’s side as well as by Liquid Web. HIPAA compliance tends to be broader and requires physical barriers to be in place for security measures, such as attestation of physical, on-site security. PCI compliance is more technical and requires scanning on various public ports.
How Can Liquid Web Help?
Liquid Web can help your business achieve is HIPAA compliance by signing a BAA, and fully managing your HIPAA servers. We also maintain internal policy enforcement and documentation of our administration of your HIPAA servers. You can choose from pre-configured solutions, or we can custom build one to suit your needs. We also offer PCI compliance scanning, and everything is backed by Support from The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting.
The post Data Security: HIPAA vs PCI appeared first on Liquid Web.
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The post 9 Blogs on Information Security to Keep You Safe from Cybercrime appeared first on Pickaweb.
When Rackspace founder Graham Weston had the idea to redevelop the empty and decrepit Windsor Park Mall into a new corporate headquarters, most people “pretty much thought I was crazy,” he told the New York Times in 2012. By then, however, it was clear that his vision to turn the mall into unique and quirky […]
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This month has been characterized by exciting plans and big announcements – read on to find out what they are and what it all means for the future of the WordPress project.
WordCamp Asia Announced
The inaugural WordCamp Asia will be in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 21-23, 2020. This will be the first regional WordCamp in Asia and it comes after many years of discussions and planning. You can find more information about the event on their website and subscribe to stay up to date with the latest information.
This is the latest flagship event in the WordCamp program, following WordCamps Europe and US. Tickets are now on sale and the call for speakers is open. Want to get involved in WordCamp Asia? Keep an eye out for volunteer applications, or buy a micro sponsor ticket. You can also join the #wcasia channel in the Making WordPress Slack group for updates.
WordCamp US Planning Continues
The WordCamp US organizing team is excited to announce some new additions to this year’s WCUS in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 1-3, 2019. The first is that there will be an onsite KidsCamp: child-friendly lessons that introduce your young one(s) to the wonderful world of WordPress. You can register your child for KidsCamp here. In addition, free, onsite childcare will be provided at this year’s event – you can sign up here.
Looking for further ways to get involved? The call for volunteers is now open. For more information on WordCamp US, please visit the event website.
Exploring Updates to the WordPress User & Developer Survey
To improve the annual WordPress User & Developer Survey, a call has been made for updates and additional questions that can help us all better understand how people use WordPress.
To improve the survey, contributor teams are suggesting topics and information that should be gathered to inform contributor work in 2020. Please add your feedback to the post.
Gutenberg Usability Testing Continues
Usability tests for Gutenberg continued through June 2019, and insights from three recent videos were published last month. This month’s test was similar to WordCamp Europe’s usability tests, and you can read more about those in the part one and part two posts. Please help by watching these videos and sharing your observations as comments on the relevant post.
If you want to help with usability testing, you can also join the #research channel in the Making WordPress Slack group, or you can write a test script that can be usability tested for Gutenberg.
The Design team reported on the work they did at the WordCamp Europe Contributor Day.The Theme Review Team has released updated versions of their ThemeSniffer tool and coding standards.The Security team is looking for feedback on whether security fixes should continue to be backported to very old versions of WordPress. The Design and Community teams have worked together to come up with official guidelines for how WordCamp logos should be designed.The Core team has implemented a few changes to the PHP coding standards within WordPress Core.The Community Team is looking for feedback on a tough decision that needs to be made regarding the implementation of the licence expectations within the meetup program.The Design team has presented some designs for a Block Directory within the WordPress dashboard.A recent release of WordPress saw an increase in the minimum required version of PHP – the Core team is now looking at increasing that minimum further.The Site Health feature was first introduced in the 5.1 release of WordPress, and at WordCamp Europe this year a new Core component for the feature was added to the project structure.The Community Team has posted some interesting data regarding WordCamps in the Netherlands over the last few years, as well as WordCamps in 2018.The WordCamp Europe team released the results of the attendee survey from this year’s event in Berlin.
Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.