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WP Engine “Represents” at Diversity and Inclusion Happy Hour

WP Engine -

At WP Engine, we believe in creating a workplace that fosters diversity and inclusion. We know this belief is intrinsically tied to progress and performance, it traces back to our Core Values, and it’s been a guiding light for our company since our founding in 2010. In an effort to enshrine this belief across our… The post WP Engine “Represents” at Diversity and Inclusion Happy Hour appeared first on WP Engine.

An Introduction To Email Marketing For New eCommerce Retailers

Nexcess Blog -

Online retailers can bet on two facts. First, every customer has an email account. Second, they receive hundreds of marketing emails every week, most of which go unread. The first fact makes email a perfect marketing channel for eCommerce. The second fact means retailers have to work hard to get their customers to open marketing… Continue reading →

Best Practices for Changing Servers

InMotion Hosting Blog -

There are many different reasons to change a website hosting server. Some people want a new, better host or just a plan upgrade from a shared server to a dedicated server. Whatever your choice is to switch servers, it’s imperative that you plan out the switch. A switch in website hosting servers can cause a massive drop in visitors, bugs on your website that you didn’t have before, or even a website that is broken beyond repair. Continue reading Best Practices for Changing Servers at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Protecting Project Galileo websites from HTTP attacks

CloudFlare Blog -

Yesterday, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Project Galileo. More than 550 websites are part of this program, and they have something in common: each and every one of them has been subject to attacks in the last month. In this blog post, we will look at the security events we observed between the 23 April 2019 and 23 May 2019.Project Galileo sites are protected by the Cloudflare Firewall and Advanced DDoS Protection which contain a number of features that can be used to detect and mitigate different types of attack and suspicious traffic. The following table shows how each of these features contributed to the protection of sites on Project Galileo. Firewall Feature Requests Mitigated Distinct originating IPs Sites Affected (approx.) Firewall Rules 78.7M 396.5K ~ 30 Security Level 41.7M 1.8M ~ 520 Access Rules 24.0M 386.9K ~ 200 Browser Integrity Check 9.4M 32.2K ~ 500 WAF 4.5M 163.8K ~ 200 User-Agent Blocking 2.3M 1.3K ~ 15 Hotlink Protection 2.0M 686.7K ~ 40 HTTP DoS 1.6M 360 1 Rate Limit 623.5K 6.6K ~ 15 Zone Lockdown 9.7K 2.8K ~ 10 WAF (Web Application Firewall)Although not the most impressive in terms of blocked requests, the WAF is the most interesting as it identifies and blocks malicious requests, based on heuristics and rules that are the result of seeing attacks across all of our customers and learning from those. The WAF is available to all of our paying customers, protecting them against 0-days, SQL/XSS exploits and more. For the Project Galileo customers the WAF rules blocked more than 4.5 million requests in the month that we looked at, matching over 130 WAF rules and approximately 150k requests per day.Heat map showing the attacks seen on customer sites (rows) per day (columns)This heat map may initially appear confusing but reading one is easy once you know what to expect so bear with us! It is a table where each line is a website on Project Galileo and each column is a day. The color represents the number of requests triggering WAF rules - on a scale from 0 (white) to a lot (dark red). The darker the cell, the more requests were blocked on this day.We observe malicious traffic on a daily basis for most websites we protect. The average Project Galileo site saw malicious traffic for 27 days in the 1 month observed, and for almost 60% of the sites we noticed daily events.Fortunately, the vast majority of websites only receive a few malicious requests per day, likely from automated scanners. In some cases, we notice a net increase in attacks against some websites - and a few websites are under a constant influx of attacks.Heat map showing the attacks blocked for each WAF rule (rows) per day (columns)This heat map shows the WAF rules that blocked requests by day. At first, it seems some rules are useless as they never match malicious requests, but this plot makes it obvious that some attack vectors become active all of a sudden (isolated dark cells). This is especially true for 0-days, malicious traffic starts once an exploit is published and is very active on the first few days. The dark active lines are the most common malicious requests, and these WAF rules protect against things like XSS and SQL injection attacks.DoS (Denial of Service)A DoS attack prevents legitimate visitors from accessing a website by flooding it with bad traffic.  Due to the way Cloudflare works, websites protected by Cloudflare are immune to many DoS vectors, out of the box. We block layer 3 and 4 attacks, which includes SYN floods and UDP amplifications. DNS nameservers, often described as the Internet’s phone book, are fully managed by Cloudflare, and protected - visitors know how to reach the websites.Line plot - requests per second to a website under DoS attackCan you spot the attack?As for layer 7 attacks (for instance, HTTP floods), we rely on Gatebot, an automated tool to detect, analyse and block DoS attacks, so you can sleep. The graph shows the requests per second we received on a zone, and whether or not it reached the origin server. As you can see, the bad traffic was identified automatically by Gatebot, and more than 1.6 million requests were blocked as a result.Firewall RulesFor websites with specific requirements we provide tools to allow customers to block traffic to precisely fit their needs. Customers can easily implement complex logic using Firewall Rules to filter out specific chunks of traffic, block IPs / Networks / Countries using Access Rules and Project Galileo sites have done just that. Let’s see a few examples.Firewall Rules allows website owners to challenge or block as much or as little traffic as they desire, and this can be done as a surgical tool “block just this request” or as a general tool “challenge every request”.For instance, a well-known website used Firewall Rules to prevent twenty IPs from fetching specific pages. 3 of these IPs were then used to send a total of 4.5 million requests over a short period of time, and the following chart shows the requests seen for this website. When this happened Cloudflare, mitigated the traffic ensuring that the website remains available.Cumulative line plot. Requests per second to a websiteAnother website, built with WordPress, is using Cloudflare to cache their webpages. As POST requests are not cacheable, they always hit the origin machine and increase load on the origin server - that’s why this website is using firewall rules to block POST requests, except on their administration backend. Smart!Website owners can also deny or challenge requests based on the visitor’s IP address, Autonomous System Number (ASN) or Country. Dubbed Access Rules, it is enforced on all pages of a website - hassle-free.For example, a news website is using Cloudflare’s Access Rules to challenge visitors from countries outside of their geographic region who are accessing their website. We enforce the rules globally even for cached resources, and take care of GeoIP database updates for them, so they don’t have to.The Zone Lockdown utility restricts a specific URL to specific IP addresses. This is useful to protect an internal but public path being accessed by external IP addresses. A non-profit based in the United Kingdom is using Zone Lockdown to restrict access to their WordPress’ admin panel and login page, hardening their website without relying on non official plugins. Although it does not prevent very sophisticated attacks, it shields them against automated attacks and phishing attempts - as even if their credentials are stolen, they can’t be used as easily.Rate LimitingCloudflare acts as a CDN, caching resources and happily serving them, reducing bandwidth used by the origin server … and indirectly the costs. Unfortunately, not all requests can be cached and some requests are very expensive to handle. Malicious users may abuse this to increase load on the server, and website owners can rely on our Rate Limit to help them: they define thresholds, expressed in requests over a time span, and we make sure to enforce this threshold. A non-profit fighting against poverty relies on rate limits to protect their donation page, and we are glad to help!Security LevelLast but not least, one of Cloudflare’s greatest assets is our threat intelligence. With such a wide lens of the threat landscape, Cloudflare uses our Firewall data, combined with machine learning to curate our IP Reputation databases. This data is provided to all Cloudflare customers, and is configured through our Security Level feature. Customers then may define their threshold sensitivity, ranging  from Essentially Off to I’m Under Attack. For every incoming request, we ask visitors to complete a challenge if the score is above a customer defined threshold. This system alone is responsible for 25% of the requests we mitigated: it’s extremely easy to use, and it constantly learns from the other protections.ConclusionWhen taken together, the Cloudflare Firewall features provide our Project Galileo customers comprehensive and effective security that enables them to ensure their important work is available. The majority of security events were handled automatically, and this is our strength - security that is always on, always available, always learning.

How to Intelligently Invest in High Availability

Liquid Web Official Blog -

What is High Availability (HA)? In the simplest of terms, high availability is the reduction of downtime in favor of overall uptime. You want your infrastructure—whether that’s web apps, an eCommerce store, end-user systems, inter-company communications, or archiving, among a lot of other things—to be up and running (without interruption) as much as possible. A more complex definition of high availability involves various systems that comprise an IT infrastructure (hardware, software, and personnel) that are put in place to maximize uptime by minimizing, mitigating, and recovering from failures. This includes physical redundancies, virtual redundancies, data replication, automatic failovers, load balancing, disaster prevention, disaster recovery, data security, and an IT department (or a third-party host) with the expertise to implement and run it all. Why Is It Important? Any time you have downtime, it’s going to be a bad time. Whether it’s an interruption in the workflow, an impediment to your data, a degradation of the end-user experience, or a total stoppage of productivity, downtime is going to eat into your enterprise’s mission. Seriously. How Do You Measure It? Have you heard of the 9s? It’s a relatively common way of measuring availability. Simply put, the more 9s you have—from 90% uptime (one 9) to 99.9999999% (nine 9s)—the less downtime you’re experiencing. Obviously. “The gold standard is five 9s, or 99.999% uptime, which adds up to 5.26 minutes of downtime a year, 25.9 seconds of downtime per month, and 6.05 seconds of downtime a week.” While five 9s are incredibly efficient, a more reasonable goal is three 9s, or 99.9% uptime, which adds up to 8.76 hours of downtime per year, 43.8 minutes of downtime per month or 10.1 minutes of downtime per week—this falls right in line with the amount of downtime 81% of business said they could tolerate, according to Information Technology and Intelligence Corp. Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter to get the latest on high availability technology sent straight to your inbox. How High Availability Will Save You Time and Money Ok, so, you’re on board for high availability (HA). It’s a no-brainer, right? I mean, we’ve covered the topic more than once—here, here, and here. So, you know that less downtime equals more money. It sounds great in theory, but there’s more to it. You have to ultimately consider the price of high availability against the revenue safeguarded from its implementation. The good news is component parts in a high availability system are steadily declining, making the investment in high availability increasingly worth it. But, if you are hosting your website or database on your own servers and they are your only point of contact with your clients, downtime will be disastrous. In this case, you absolutely need to invest in HA. It’s imperative that you understand your needs, your tolerances, your pain points, and your IT infrastructure. Once you do, you’ll be able to make smarter (more economical) decisions about the implementation of HA. What High Availability Options are Available Even the simplest of infrastructures have a lot of working parts and points of failure. The goal of an HA infrastructure is to eliminate single points of failure and create subsystems, routines, and procedures that reduce downtime in the inevitable (no system is ever 100% available) event of a failure. To that end, there are a vast array of components (hardware, software, and human) that make up a high availability system. “These include physical redundancies, virtual redundancies, automatic data replication, automatic failover systems, load balancing, disaster prevention, disaster recovery, data security, and personnel.” Physical & Virtual Redundancies Sure, everyone knows you need redundant hardware, software, and storage (servers, firewalls, switches, routers, etc.), but what about redundant power? Without the proper power backups—including separate paths for separate feeds; battery backups; uninterruptible power supplies (UPS); and in some cases, generators—you’re creating a single point of failure. You may even consider creating redundant systems in separate geographical locations in the event of a disaster of some kind. This is especially true for natural disaster-prone regions such as the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and Hawaii (hurricanes); the Great Plains and the Midwest (tornados); and the Pacific Coast (earthquakes, mudslides, and fires). Having redundant physical locations hosting your redundant systems might just keep your enterprise from experiencing significant downtime when mother nature knocks down your door. Automatic Data Replication At the very heart of high availability is data replication—the same data stored on multiple devices. An HA structure with data replication will write to multiple instances in real time and will protect databases, websites, cPanel configurations, etc., ensuring consistency between each device in the infrastructure. A typical configuration will have two, identical primary volumes that are backed up by two more physical volumes, which will be backed up by two more virtual volumes. Each volume will (again, typically) be Distributed Replicated Block Device (DR:BD) volumes that will perform selective, synchronous data replication. DR:BD volumes rewrite and backup blocks of changed data, as opposed to rewriting and backing up entire volumes. This saves a tremendous amount of time and money. Automatic Failover An automatic failover is a system procedure that monitors the health of your infrastructure and will, in the event of a system failure (network, hardware, software, power, etc.), perform an automated role reversal of the primary and secondary node. Any time a piece of equipment stops operating—or even begins to perform below its expected values—a failover will be triggered. An automatic failover system is ultimately where the rubber meets the road. Once you’ve set up your redundancies, crossed your T’s, dotted your I’s, and prepared for the worst, the only thing left to do is wait. If you’ve done everything right and failure does occur, your automatic failover procedure will kick in, and there will be a seamless, no-downtime transition to a redundant system. Load Balancing A load balancer is a device (hardware, software, or a combination of the two) that evenly distributes website traffic, stabilizing performance and preventing crashes. A load balancer can also act as an automatic failover device, making it an essential component in a high availability system. Typically, load balancing works by way of an algorithm that distributes users between servers. “There are 9 common algorithms/methods—the round robin method; the least connections method; weighted least connections; source IP hash; URL hash; the least response time method; the bandwidth and packets method; custom load; and least pending requests (LPR).” This is not a complete list. It’s possible that you could work with your IT or hosting service to come up with another method that best suits your enterprise. Disaster Prevention Way back in 2003, IT Pro Today (specifically Kalen Delaney) took an interesting—and somewhat unique—approach to considering disaster prevention: Delaney wrote, “…while I was planning for this article and trying to determine which activities constitute disaster prevention and which constitute disaster recovery, I found that the line between the two isn’t a neat one. I also realized that to distinguish between disaster prevention and disaster recovery, you need a clear definition of “disaster” for your organization.” Despite the fact that Y2K was nipping at the heels of this article, the reasoning is still sound today. As such, this blog (since it’s all about HA) is considering a disaster anything that creates downtime. “Downtime, after all, is to high availability as Thanos is to the Avengers.” This means anything that helps facilitate uptime is a key component to disaster recovery in an HA infrastructure. This includes everything covered up to this point—redundancies, data replication, failover systems, and load balancing. Disaster Recovery Disaster Recovery is not just about technology and data, but people too. A very real, very human plan needs to be put in place in the event of a catastrophic failure. So, what’s your plan? While it has its own set of problems, the very biggest companies run redundant, parallel, geographically separate data centers so that if one goes down the other can come up with little to no interruption in service. However, that’s an ideal situation and hardly a sound strategy for the majority of businesses. What’s reasonable is having a conception of what your business can shoulder in terms of downtime amongst your various IT systems, understanding the various scenarios that could compromise those systems, and having a plan in place to reinitialize those systems in a reasonable time frame. “Your IT infrastructure is comprised of 5 points of vulnerability—housing (server/computer room, climate control, and electrical supply), hardware (networks, servers, computers, and peripherals), ISP (fiber, cable, wireless), software (productivity, communication, website, etc.), and data. You, as a company, have to decide what you are going to do in case one of these five pain points goes down. Do you have another space for your equipment if the first space is compromised? What about your servers? Do you have unused backups or have a plan in place to order emergency equipment? Who is your ISP? Do they have a plan in place in case your service goes out? Disaster recovery is about working with everyone (personnel, vendors, technicians, etc.) to formulate a plan of action, one that makes priorities crystal clear—if your website is down, you want to prioritize getting it back up, not restoring your tertiary power supply. That can wait. Oh, and you want to make sure this disaster plan is organized, disseminated, and stored in multiple locations; some of which should be offsite. Data Security HA can be completely compromised by external (sometimes internal) attacks on your infrastructure—malware, viruses, DDoS attacks, etc. The best, and maybe most obvious, safeguard against these kinds of breaches is a well designed, well managed, redundant high availability system that can be switched over quickly. However, there are preventive security measures that can be put in place to defend against attack; anti-DDoS routers, for example. Working with your vendors, personnel, ISP, and engineers to make sure your data is adequately encrypted and your systems are protected can go a long way toward maintaining HA. What’s High Availability Options are Right for Your Enterprise What’s right for your company ultimately comes down to the cost of more 9s versus the losses taken as a result of downtime. If getting another 9 is going to cost you $90,000 annually, but will only prevent $30,000 is losses annually, the cost is probably not worth the savings—it’s better to simply write off the loss. You also have to consider whether or not your workflow actually has any systems that truly impact your productivity. For example, if your workflow is entirely third-party (Facebook, G Suite, Slack, etc.) you have no need for high availability implementation because it’s their responsibility. Or, maybe you use your own email server for inter-office communication, but everyone is also on Slack. If the email server goes down it will be inconvenient, but not crippling—everyone in the office will just have to talk to each other on Slack until the email server is fixed. All of this gets particularly complicated if you’re designing, buying, and implementing your own infrastructure. With complex tax codes, unanticipated hardware and systems failures, and your changing needs, pinning down high availability expense versus high availability revenue benefits becomes a moving target. What’s right for you is a company question, one that is going to require staff-wide input and consideration—technicians, engineers, management, accounting, and other personnel are all going to have to weigh in if you want a complete picture of your operation’s needs and tolerances. However, using a vendor to manage your infrastructure—a vendor that specializes in high availability systems—takes a lot of the guesswork out of deciding whether or not HA systems implementations are worth the investment. While your operating costs may increase, a managed hosting provider that has its eye toward high availability will ultimately lower your capital expenses while offloading much of the legwork it takes to keep an HA infrastructure at peak performance. A quality managed host will have a number of options that will weigh your company’s unique needs against cost, will perform consistent maintenance and upgrades on all hardware and software, and will ensure your company against revenue losses as a result of downtime. “For small to midsize companies that need to make high availability a priority, a managed host is an excellent option.” Take Action, Win the Day In today’s always-on, 24/7/365 economy you can’t afford downtime. Your company can’t afford it. You need those 9s. So, while high availability infrastructure may sound complex—with all that talk about pain points, tolerances, 9s, algorithms, 5515-X firewalls, and Y2K, it’s bound to drive one simple ethos: create a system that stays on, and if it can’t, make sure there’s a backup to take over. The best way to make sure you’ve got an almost-always-on system and an infrastructure with plenty of redundancies is to know your configuration. Know where your power, connectivity, and data is coming from and know where it’s going. The better picture you have of your infrastructure, the better equipped you are to make sure it’s operating optimally, to make sure it’s HA. The post How to Intelligently Invest in High Availability appeared first on Liquid Web.

bingbot Series: Introducing Batch mode for Adaptive URL submission API

Bing's Webmaster Blog -

We launched the Adaptive URL submission capability that allowed webmasters to submit up to 10,000 URLs using the online API or through Bing webmaster portal (Submit URLs option). Since the launch we have received multiple requests from webmasters for the ability to submit the URLs in batches. As we are actively listening to the webmaster and their needs, we are delighted to announce the Batch mode capability for Adaptive URL Submission API which will allow the webmasters and site managers to submit URLs in batches, saving them from those excessive API calls made when submitting the URLs individually.   The Batch URL Submission API is very similar to the individual URL Submission API (Blogpost) and hence integrating the Batch API is very easy and follows the same steps.   Example requests for the Batch URL Submission API for the supported protocols can be seen below JSON Request Sample  POST /webmaster/api.svc/json/SubmitUrlbatch? apikey=sampleapikeyEDECC1EA4AE341CC8B6 HTTP/1.1 Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8 Host: { "siteUrl":"", "urlList":[ "", "", "" ] } XML Request Sample POST /webmaster/api.svc/pox/SubmitUrlBatch? apikey=sampleapikeyEDECC1EA4AE341CC8B6 HTTP/1.1 Content-Type: application/xml; charset=utf-8 Host: <SubmitUrlBatch xmlns=""> <siteUrl></siteUrl> <urlList> <string xmlns=""></string> <string xmlns=""></string> <string xmlns=""></string> </urlList> </SubmitUrlBatch> You will get a HTTP 200 response on successful submission of the URLs. Meanwhile the URLs will be checked to comply with Bing Webmaster Guidelines and if they pass, they will be crawled and indexed in minutes.   Please refer the Documentation for generating the API key and Batch URL Submission API for more details. Do note that the maximum supported batch size in this API is 500 URLs per request. Total limit on numbers of URLs submitted per day still applies.   So, integrate the APIs today to get your content indexed real time by Bing and let us know of what you think of this capability. Please reach out to if you face any issue while integrating.   Thanks ! Bing Webmaster Tools Team

Get Ready for WordCamp Europe 2019

WP Engine -

WP Engine is excited to attend WordCamp Europe in Berlin, Germany next week (June 20-22). The event will take place at the Estrel Hotel and Congress Center and includes two full days of sessions (June 21-22) as well as  a Contributor Day (June 20) .WordCamp organizers have also teased a possible guest performance during the… The post Get Ready for WordCamp Europe 2019 appeared first on WP Engine.

The state of cyber security in 2019: A half-year retrospective Blog -

By Sam Bocetta For most of North America, approaching the middle of the year means going on summer vacation, preparing for the Atlantic hurricane season and enjoying warmer weather. For many information security specialists, the half-year mark involves looking at how cyber threats have unfolded since January and detecting patterns that may suggest the direction that […] The post The state of cyber security in 2019: A half-year retrospective appeared first on Blog.

New Features To Help You Start Conversations and Build Community on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Every day, millions of people and companies are talking on LinkedIn: helping each other to find new opportunities, discussing the latest news that affects their jobs and careers, and sharing their own ideas and experiences with others. We’re always working on new and better ways to help you talk with each other and wanted to share some of the latest: Share a photo and tag people, so others can get to know them too. Think you recognize someone in the photo? Or just want to make sure your... .

How to Write Product Descriptions That Really Sell: 8 Simple Tips

DreamHost Blog -

Congratulations! You’ve done the hard marketing work to lead your target customer right to your product pages. They are currently reading through a product description to decide whether or not they will purchase something from your e-commerce business. The million dollar question: will they buy what you’re selling? The answer, in large part, depends on how much time and effort you put into your product description. It may seem drastic to weigh product descriptions so heavily, but stats show that a well-written product description is a surefire conversion tool. Here’s a closer look: 87% of consumers ranked product content extremely or very important when deciding to buy. Millennials are 40% more likely than other adults to say product content is extremely important to their purchasing decisions. Consumers purchasing clothing and online groceries ranked product descriptions as the second most influential factor in their decision to buy — just after price. 20% of purchase failures are potentially a result of missing or unclear product information. The stats don’t lie. If you want to increase sales, it’s time to polish your e-commerce product descriptions. Shared Hosting to Power Your PurposeWe make sure your website is fast, secure, and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan 8 Ways to Write an Excellent Product Description But what actually makes a good product description? In this guide, we’re giving you eight tips (along with winning examples) that provide a comprehensive look into what makes an effective product description. Let’s go! 1. Identify Your Buyer Personas It can be difficult to write a product description if you don’t know who your target audience is. To successfully write about product features that resonate with your potential buyers, you have to know who they are. This means you need to reference your buyer persona(s)  — a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research. If you don’t already have a buyer persona to guide the copywriting on your website, the time to create one is now. A buyer persona should answer all of the following general questions: What is the demographic information of your buyers? What are their interests? What is their native language? What kind of language appeals to them? (e.g., Does industry jargon appeal to them or turn them off?) How do they spend their free time? How do they find your website? Why are they interested in your store? If you have the luxury of big data at your hands, collect data on your current customers to also understand: Product preferences Behavioral patterns Purchasing patterns Access to this data will help you fine-tune your buyer personas. Once you know who you are selling to, it will be easier to write product descriptions that resonate well with them. Related: How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Website 2. Focus on Product Benefits and Features As crucial as it is to speak the language of your buyers, your buyers don’t come to your page to connect. They come to learn precisely what your product can do and how it will meet their needs and fulfill their pain points. To accomplish this, you need to write an extensive list of your product’s features and benefits. Start with the features. For example, if you sell shoes, include size information, material, color information, the weight of the shoe, etc. Your features section should be comprehensive and tell consumers everything they need to know about what makes your product special.A list of features is a great start, but it’s only half the battle. Potential customers also want to know the benefits of your particular product. And, this is where your product description can shine. With the shoe example, benefits would include things like comfort, flexibility, odor-resistance, wet and dry traction, etc. Allbirds does a fantastic job showing off the benefits of their shoe without being verbose. Their advantages are spelled out in short, sweet blurbs that get right to the point. Allbirds clearly identifies its products’ main benefits for customers. Benefits are your main selling points, your differentiators, and the reasons why customers will end up selecting your product over your competitors. Don’t neglect clearly identifying them. 3. Stay True to Your Brand’s Voice If your brand’s voice is professional, your product descriptions should be professional. If your brand is snarky and sarcastic, then your product descriptions should match. Is your brand funny? Be funny when writing your product descriptions. Everyone is familiar with the hilarious Poo-Pourri advertising videos. You know, the videos that took Poo-Pourri from a $10 million company to a $30 million company almost overnight? Poo-Pourri has a unique brand identity and tone of voice, which they stay true to even when describing their products. Poo-Pourri stays true to their brand’s unique voice in product descriptions. 4. Tell a Full Story Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Unless, of course, you’re one of the writers on Game of Thrones, but I digress. With product descriptions, the formula for good writing is no different. You need to present a complete story that engages your readers. This doesn’t mean you need to write a novel, but at the same time, your product description shouldn’t just be a list of features and benefits either. Instead, show (not tell) your customers how the product will improve their lives. Help them visualize a real-life scenario where your product solves a problem. The goal is to create a narrative arc in which the reader is the hero and your product is the tool that enables them to succeed. For example, check out the impressive product storytelling of Malicious Women Candle Co. Customers aren’t just buying a candle at Malicious Women Candle Company. They are purchasing a product that promotes empowerment with a side of hustle and energy. Now that’s a product story. 5. Use Active Language to Persuade Buyers Your mom was right; the words you use make a difference — especially with product descriptions. The truth is that some words are just more persuasive than others. In fact, experts have roadtested all kinds of language to come up with 189 words and phrases that actually improve conversion rates. Consider these 20 tried-and-tested words recommended by David Ogilvy, the proverbially ‘Father of Advertising’: Suddenly Now Announcing Introducing Improvement Amazing Sensational Remarkable Revolutionary Startling Miracle Magic Offer Quick Easy Wanted Challenge Compare Bargain Hurry The common theme? Persuasive words encourage consumers to take action. Jon Morrow of has his own list of 600 power words that will tap into your customer’s emotions, making them more likely to engage with your message. Sample of Jon Morrow’s 600-word list Since many companies use awe-inspiring (see what we did there?) power words in their product descriptions, it’s easy to find good examples — even for seemingly bland products. Here’s one about shaving cream from Ulta Beauty. Ulta Beauty utilizes power words to make shaving cream seem swanky. When writing product descriptions, take a moment to scan through your copy and make sure each word is pulling its weight. Related: 7 Tips for Writing Winning Calls to Action for Your Website 6. Make Text Scannable with Bullet Points Making your text scannable is one of the most critical elements of writing a good product description. Studies suggest humans have an attention span that’s shorter than that of a goldfish — a bleak eight seconds. This means it’s essential to make your content easily digestible. The solution to packing a narrative punch in a relatively small space? Create a bulleted list. J. Crew does this well. Customers can click on a picture to see the item of interest and quickly read the scannable bullet points for more information. Bullet points make it easy for J. Crew customers to scan the fine print. The more you can do to make a product description scannable, the better. 7. Optimize Copy for Search Engines Copywriters have a unique challenge when it comes to writing product descriptions. They must persuade readers, but there’s another audience to keep in mind too: search engine algorithms. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — including identifying and using the appropriate keywords for your products — should be a critical part of your product description writing process. The SEO world is constantly changing, along with Google’s algorithms, so what works one day might not be ideal the next. However, there are still some keyword strategies that stand the test of time, such as avoiding duplicate content and including keywords in the following places: Page title Product title Meta descriptions Alt tags Product descriptions The keywords you use in your copy help Google and other search engines identify what the page is about. This information then used to determine how to rank your site on the search engine results page (SERP) so that relevant results to served up to people imputing related search queries. For example, when you type “shaving cream” into Google, Google offers a list of products. Google displays popular products when you search for ‘shaving cream.’ There are literally hundreds of shaving cream products on the market today, but these five products have the best SEO keyword strategy. Take Cremo Shave Cream, for example. When visiting their product page, it’s clear they have maximized the use of keywords, such as shave cream and shave. Cremo focused on incorporating keywords into its product descriptions. Additionally, when you check out the page source, you can see the back-end (e.g., alt tags) are optimized with the keyword as well. 8. Add Images and Video It should go without saying that a great product description must include images. If you need extra persuasion, remember that 63% of consumers believe good images are more important than product descriptions. If your e-commerce store can afford to hire a product photographer, awesome! If not, there are lots of DIY product photography tutorials to help get you started. Of course, good photos start with good equipment, including: Camera Tripod Nice background White bounce cards made of foam board Table Tape Once you’ve gathered your gear, you’ll need some tips on how to actually take stellar photos. This guide from Bigcommerce provides beginner-friendly tips at budget-price: how to shoot exceptional product photos for under $50. Suggestions include: Using a light-colored backdrop so it’s easier to touch up images. Creating your own lightbox to distribute light evenly. Using a tripod to steady your camera. Retouching images before posting them. If you don’t think a smartphone will do the trick, think again. All you need for affirmation is to take a gander at some of the DIY photographers on Instagram. Jennifer Steinkop of @aloeandglow, for example, uses an iPhone 8 Plus, the Lightbox app, and some of the tips mentioned above to create gorgeous beauty shots. @aloeandglow Instagram account Looking for a more corporate example? iRobot has excellent product photography on its website. The company includes at least four images and often a video (bonus!) to show consumers exactly how the product works. iRobot’s Roomba i7 product page. With a few clicks of a button in a second or two, consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy a Roomba. Another tip courtesy of iRobot: consider adding customer reviews to your product description. In addition to quality imagery, social proof can be hugely motivating for prospective buyers. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up How to Create a Product Description Template While we’ve just outlined eight tips for writing product descriptions that really sell, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s because all products have different features, benefits, and selling points. However, if you have a list of similar products and you don’t want to start from scratch every time you write a product description, it can be beneficial to create a template. There are lots of handy product description template examples you can download from e-commerce websites. To really maximize their value, though, we’d recommended you focus on the 8 tips we outlined above. Start by asking: What are your buyer personas? What are the pain points of your customers? How does your product solve customer pain points? What power words can you use in your copy? Do you have a unique story or brand voice? Is your language accessible and free of industry jargon? What are the main features and benefits of your products? Do you have an image and video library? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can tweak your template and test it with your audience. If you find a specific template is outperforming others, then you’ve found your winner. Your Products, Our Hosting Ready to revolutionize the way you write product descriptions and how you display them on your website? At DreamHost, we offer low-cost shared WordPress hosting, and a variety of other resources to help you build the perfect custom website for your online store. Check out our shared hosting plans today! The post How to Write Product Descriptions That Really Sell: 8 Simple Tips appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

Do You Think We Have the Best Website Hosting?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Do you think we have the best website hosting? We certainly think so – but we don’t expect you to take our word for it. In this guide, we’re going to go over everything you should look for in a web host so you can make your own decision. By the end, we think you’ll agree with us. Here’s what you need to know: What is a hosting service? Continue reading Do You Think We Have the Best Website Hosting? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

Project Galileo: Lessons from 5 years of protecting the most vulnerable online

CloudFlare Blog -

Today is the 5th anniversary of Cloudflare's Project Galileo. Through the Project, Cloudflare protects—at no cost—nearly 600 organizations around the world engaged in some of the most politically and artistically important work online. Because of their work, these organizations are attacked frequently, often with some of the fiercest cyber attacks we’ve seen.Since it launched in 2014, we haven't talked about Galileo much externally because we worry that drawing more attention to these organizations may put them at increased risk. Internally, however, it's a source of pride for our whole team and is something we dedicate significant resources to. And, for me personally, many of the moments that mark my most meaningful accomplishments were born from our work protecting Project Galileo recipients.The promise of Project Galileo is simple: Cloudflare will provide our full set of security services to any politically or artistically important organizations at no cost so long as they are either non-profits or small commercial entities. I'm still on the distribution list that receives an email whenever someone applies to be a Project Galileo participant, and those emails remain the first I open every morning.The Project Galileo BackstoryFive years ago, Project Galileo was born out of a mistake we made. At the time, Cloudflare's free service didn't include DDoS mitigation. If a free customer came under attack, our operations team would generally stop proxying their traffic. We did this to protect our own network, which was much smaller than it is today.Usually this wasn't a problem. Most sites that got attacked at the time were companies or businesses that could pay for our services. Every morning I'd receive a report of the sites that were kicked off Cloudflare the night before. One morning in late February 2014 I was reading the report as I walked to work. One of the sites listed as having been dropped stood out as familiar but I couldn't place it.I tried to pull up the site on my phone but it was offline, presumably because we were no longer shielding the site from attack. Still curious, I did a quick search and found a Wikipedia page describing the site. It was an independent newspaper in Ukraine and had been covering the ongoing Russian invasion of Crimea.I felt sick.When Nation States AttackWhat we later learned was that this publication had come under a significant attack, most likely directly from the Russian government. The newspaper had turned to Cloudflare for protection. Their IT director actually tried to pay for our higher tier of service but the bank tied to the publication's credit card had had its systems disrupted by a cyber attack as well and the payment failed. So they’d signed up for the free version of Cloudflare and, for a while, we mitigated the attack.The attack was large enough that it triggered an alert in our Network Operations Center (NOC). A member of our Systems Reliability Engineering (SRE) team who was on call investigated and found a free customer being pummeled by a major attack. He followed our run book and triggered a FINT — which stands for "Fail Internal" — directing traffic from the site directly back to its origin rather than passing through Cloudflare's protective edge. Instantly the site was overwhelmed by the attack and, effectively, fell off the Internet.Broken ProcessI should be clear: the SRE didn't do anything wrong. He followed the procedures we had established at the time exactly. He was a great computer scientist, but not a political scientist, so didn't recognize the site or understand its importance due to the situation at the time in Crimea and why a newspaper covering it may come under attack. But, the next morning, as I read the report on my walk in to work, I did.Cloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet. That day we failed to live up to that mission. I knew we had to do something.Politically or Artistically Important?It was relatively easy for us to decide to provide Cloudflare's security services for free to politically or artistically important non-profits and small commercial entities. We were confident that we could stand up to even the largest attacks. What we were less confident about was our ability to determine who was "politically or artistically important."While Cloudflare runs infrastructure all around the world, our team is largely based in San Francisco, Austin, London, and Singapore. That certainly gives us a viewpoint, but it isn't a particularly globally representative viewpoint. We're also a very technical organization. If we surveyed our team to determine what organizations deserved protection we'd no-doubt identify a number of worthy organizations that were close to home and close to our interests, but we'd miss many others.We also worried that it was dangerous for an infrastructure provider like Cloudflare to start making decisions about what content was "good." Doing so inherently would imply that we were in a position to make decisions about what content was "bad." While moderating content and curating communities is appropriate for some more visible platforms, the deeper you go into Internet infrastructure, the less transparent, accountable, and consistent those decisions inherently become.Turning to the ExpertsSo, rather than making the determination of who was politically or artistically important ourselves, we turned to civil society organizations that were experts in exactly that. Initially, we partnered with 15 organizations, including: Access NowAmerican Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)Centre for Policy AlternativesCommittee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)Engine AdvocacyFreedom of the Press FoundationMeedanMozillaOpen Tech FundOpen Technology InstituteWe agreed that if any partner said that a non-profit or small commercial entity that applied for protection was "politically or artistically important" then we would extend our security services and protect them, no matter what.With that, Project Galileo was born. Nearly 600 organizations are currently being protected under Project Galileo. We've never removed an organization from protection in spite of occasional political pressure as well as frequent extremely large attacks.Organizations can apply directly through Cloudflare for Project Galileo protection or can be referred by a partner. Today, we've grown the list of partners to 28, adding:Anti-Defamation LeagueAmnesty InternationalBusiness & Human Rights Resource CentreCouncil of EuropeDerechos DigitalesFourth EstateFrontline DefendersInstitute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR)LION PublishersNational Democratic Institute (NDI)Reporters Sans FrontièresSocial Media Exchange (SMEX)Sontusdatos.orgTech Against TerrorismWorld Wide Web FoundationX-LabCloudflare's Mission: Help Build a Better InternetSome companies start with a mission. Cloudflare was not one of those companies. When Michelle, Lee, and I started building Cloudflare it was because we thought we'd identified a significant business opportunity. Truth be told, I thought the idea of being "mission driven" was kind of hokum.I clearly remember the day that changed for me. The director of one of the Project Galileo partners called me to say that he had three journalists who had received protection under Project Galileo that were visiting San Francisco and asked if it would be okay to bring them by our office. I said sure and carved out a bit of time to meet with them.The three journalists turned out to all be covering alleged government corruption in their home countries. One was from Angola, one was from Ethiopia, and they wouldn't tell me the name or home country of the third because he was "currently being hunted by death squads." All three of them hugged me. One had tears in his eyes. And then they proceeded to tell me about how they couldn't do their work as journalists without Cloudflare's protection.There are incredibly brave people doing important work and risking their lives around the world. Some of them use the Internet to reach their audience. Whether it’s African journalists covering alleged government corruption, LGBTQ communities in the Middle East providing support, or human rights workers in repressive regimes, unfortunately they all face the risk that the powerful forces that oppose them will use cyber attacks to silence them.I'm proud of the work we've done through Project Galileo over the last five years lending the full weight of Cloudflare to protect these politically and artistically important organizations. It has defined our mission to help build a better Internet.While we respect the confidentiality of the organizations that receive support under the Project, I'm thankful that a handful have allowed us to tell their stories. I encourage you to read about our newest recipients of the Project:MajalWomen's March GlobalVOST PortugalBullyingCanadaAnd, finally, if you know of an organization that needs Project Galileo's protection, please let them know we're here and happy to help.

Managed WordPress Hosting vs Shared Hosting: Which is the Best Fit For Your Hosting Needs?

Liquid Web Official Blog -

WordPress is officially the most popular way to build a website. According to data from W3Techs, over 30% of all websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress. That’s a lot of businesses choosing WordPress to build their sites, but the choice of hosting for those sites may not be as simple. If you’ve chosen to utilize WordPress for your website, and you’ve begun your search for the right type of hosting plan, you may be encountering the choice between a managed WordPress hosting vs shared hosting plan. Let’s look at the differences between the two in terms of: Performance Security Support Cost But first, we need some working definitions of exactly what managed WordPress hosting vs shared hosting are. What is Shared Hosting? A shared hosting plan places your websites on a server with a large number of other websites sharing the same resources and bandwidth. These plans are usually the most inexpensive choice you’ll find for hosting a website, but at the cost of limited performance, less security, and fewer features. These plans are best suited for sites with minimal traffic and static content, sites you would consider as the equivalent as an online business card or flyer.  Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter to get the latest on managed hosting sent directly to your inbox. What is Managed WordPress Hosting? A managed WordPress hosting plan places your websites on a server with dedicated resources, built and configured specifically to host WordPress sites. These plans will include many features that assist with site management and development, automating backups, and on-demand technical support with WordPress expertise. Let’s explore the key differences between WordPress hosting vs shared hosting, specifically in reference to the features provided by Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting platform. Performance Speed is critical for websites. In today’s landscape, users expect a site to load quickly, or they’ll just move onto the next one. The main objective of a shared hosting provider is to make their plans as inexpensive as possible. This is achieved by fitting as many websites onto a server as they can. While this approach does pass immediate monetary savings onto its clients, the performance will be severely degraded due to the high number of sites competing for the server’s resources and bandwidth. In other words, your site could run very slowly simply due to someone else’s site on the same server being busy. Or, your own site could get an influx of traffic the shared hosting plan cannot handle due to you only being given a sliver of the server’s processing power for your account. Shared hosting servers will also need to accommodate a wide range of site software, not just WordPress. The servers will not be built or configured with WordPress sites in mind, since they will need to be configured to be compatible with any site type in general. These generic configurations may not be optimal for WordPress sites. The main objective of a managed WordPress hosting provider is to provide a platform specifically optimized for loading WordPress sites quickly and reliably. Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting platform was built by our server experts to utilize Nginx and PHP 7+, features like image compression, and specialized configurations to provide your sites with incredible speed. With the main priority to be the best hosting for WordPress sites to run on, you can expect a managed WordPress hosting platform to continually innovate as WordPress itself evolves. Additionally, with Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting plans, you are given server resources dedicated to your sites so you will not be impacted by the usage of any sites that are not your own. Security Due to the popularity of WordPress, hackers are constantly attempting to exploit it. The developers of WordPress and its plugins are continuously releasing security updates to stay ahead of these attempts. The best way to secure a WordPress site is to keep its installation, plugins, and underlying server applications up-to-date. With our Managed WordPress Hosting platform, all of these are kept up-to-date by our system automatically, with care to push out these releases only once they are thoroughly tested. Keeping plugins up-to-date in particular is crucial, but can be very difficult. Updating one plugin can potentially break compatibility with many others, possibly rendering your site non-functional. Our Managed WordPress Hosting platform makes a copy of your site and tests plugin updates for you every night automatically, so you don’t have to worry about manually doing so. Shared hosting providers are unlikely to include automatic update features for WordPress or its plugins, but if they do it’s even more unlikely that they would include testing beforehand. The sites hosted on their servers would be built using various software systems, not just WordPress, so the handling of WordPress updates specifically would be beyond the scope of their assistance. Support Shared hosting providers may have technical support you can reach out to if their services have gone down, but typically these providers offer no guarantees regarding response time, around the clock hours of availability, or their staff’s knowledge regarding WordPress. For all managed plans offered by Liquid Web, you are supported by The Most Helpful Humans In Hosting. And with our Managed WordPress Hosting plans, that is no different. You can reach out to one of the experts from our Managed WordPress Support team, dedicated to providing support via phone, email, and chat 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week, 365 days of the year. Our Managed WordPress Support team can assist with configuring our premium plugins, providing guidance on performance optimization and securing your individual sites, and can help solve issues that arise such as errors and blank pages. You can read this article for full information on our Scope of Support for our Managed WordPress Hosting platform. Cost It can be tempting to consider shared hosting the more cost-effective solution, as it’s typically the cheapest option you will find for hosting your website. However when factoring in the time you’ll spend manually managing all of the aspects of your sites that a managed WordPress hosting plan would handle for you, shared hosting could turn out to be much more costly in the long run. Opting for a shared hosting plan could require you to create backups and perform backup restorations, keep each site and its plugins up-to-date, create staging sites to test major changes without affecting your live site while visitors are actively using it, and a list of other tedious and complex procedures that would require a lot of time and effort to work through manually. Backup creation and staging tests are all handled automatically by our Managed WordPress Hosting platform. Time is a finite resource, and just like money, we have to carefully choose where to allocate it. If your time is better spent on another aspect of managing your website or business, then letting our Managed WordPress Hosting platform handle the back-end technical aspects for you is a great option. Which Should You Choose? If your business relies on WordPress for its websites, you will find Managed WordPress Hosting far superior to shared hosting. Not only is all the behind-the-scenes performance and security configuration handled by experts, but you are also given access to advanced features for WordPress that shared hosting does not provide. All of our Managed WordPress Hosting plans include premium plugins, full off-site backups created daily, automatic plugin updates, one-click staging sites, 24-hour technical support, automatic free SSL certificates for every site, and no overage fees or traffic limits. Ready to Learn More? Download our Managed WordPress Buyer’s Guide to decide if our Managed WordPress Hosting is the best option for your WordPress hosting needs. The post Managed WordPress Hosting vs Shared Hosting: Which is the Best Fit For Your Hosting Needs? appeared first on Liquid Web.

How to Set Up YouTube TrueView Video Discovery Ads

Social Media Examiner -

Want more people to see your videos in YouTube search? Wonder how YouTube advertising can show your videos alongside related content? In this article, you’ll learn how to promote your videos with YouTube TrueView discovery ads. Why Run a YouTube TrueView Discovery Ad Campaign? YouTube TrueView discovery ads appear in the places where users discover content […] The post How to Set Up YouTube TrueView Video Discovery Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

LinkedIn by the Sea: How We’re Putting the Power of the Community to the Test

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Community. What does it really mean? We come across the word every single day, scrawled on the back of a cereal box, written on the posh paper from our building society, logging into our social media or grabbing a takeaway coffee. Suddenly everyone and everything seems to be part of a community. Even the hit TV show ‘Community’ probably has its own community. Yet the more we use it, the less we seem to know what it means. But why does that matter? Who cares if we’re a bit liberal with our use... .

How to Identify Your Ideal Customer

The Blog -

When it comes to starting a business, or building an e-commerce website, there are some things you must know in order to be successful — like who your ideal customer is. Why is that so important? Well, your business, as great as it is, isn’t for everybody. Some folks will love what you offer and turn into repeat customers, some can appreciate what you offer but won’t commit to a purchase, and others won’t be interested at all. (Sounds a lot like dating, doesn’t it?) How do you market your business to such a wide variety of people who all feel differently toward your business? You don’t. Instead, focus on identifying your ideal customer by creating a customer persona that you can then use to cater your marketing messages for maximum effect. Once you know who you’re trying to sell your products to, you’ll find it easier to design your site and messaging to attract them. It all starts with a great domain. Find yours at Here’s what to consider when creating a customer persona What problem do I solve and what’s my differentiator? When you start a business, one of the first things someone might ask you is “What problem do you solve?” If you haven’t figured that out yet, now is the time. If you aren’t sure what needs your product or service addresses, how can you expect your customers to know? Your customers can’t understand how your product will benefit them if you haven’t taken the time to think it through yourself. Once you’ve identified the problem that you solve, it’s on to part 2, figuring out your differentiator. Do you have competitors who offer the same products and solutions that you do? What sets you apart? Is it your customer support or bonus features? Your differentiator should play a role in determining your marketing strategy and helps you stand out from the crowd. What do current customers say about your product? Feedback is a gift, so ask for it and use it. Use your current customers’ praises and critiques to fine-tune your offerings and make them more appealing to your ideal customer. What are your ideal customer’s demographics? Why do demographics matter? If you’re selling high-quality, fine wines, you don’t want to waste your time and money marketing them to people who refuse to buy anything that isn’t on sale. By understanding your ideal customer’s demographics, including income and preferences, you’ll be able to cater your messaging to get your product in front of the people who will buy it. The role of Google Analytics If you don’t have Google Analytics, or something similar, on your website then you should add it. Google Analytics is a set of free tools that Google created as part of its marketing platform and they’ll help you analyze and understand your website traffic. How does that assist in creating a customer persona? If you can get insight into who is purchasing from your site — where they come from, what device they use, what social media channel they discovered you on — you can start to paint a picture of your online customers. Do the people who purchase from you online match up with your expectations? Is there anything you need to tweak to bring in your ideal customers? It all starts with a great domain. Find yours at Identifying your ideal customer leads to improved marketing When you identify your perfect customer and create a customer persona, you’re also learning about your business. Depending on your business, you may even need to create multiple customer personas. You can use this information to improve and cater your marketing messages for better results, and more sales, moving forward. The post How to Identify Your Ideal Customer appeared first on | Blog.

A Hosting Provider Can Make Or Break WooCommerce Security

Nexcess Blog -

WooCommerce security is a partnership between a hosting provider and a hosting client. The client is responsible for updating their store and taking care which plugins and themes they install. But that’s only part of the work involved in keeping a WooCommerce store safe. A hosting provider and their platform play a pivotal role, but… Continue reading →

What Does ‘Best Hosting’ Really Mean for WordPress Hosting?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Hosting services dedicated exclusively to WordPress can help guarantee the best possible security and performance for your website. But even then, there are dozens of quality options available on the market. How can you possibly know which one is right for you? The key lies in knowing your specific needs and requirements. We’re going to do a deep-dive on how to determine what you need and how to choose the best WordPress hosting service for you. Continue reading What Does ‘Best Hosting’ Really Mean for WordPress Hosting? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.


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