Industry Buzz

New SSL Standard Hooks for cPanel & WHM Integrators!

cPanel Blog -

Hello, all you lovely people out in third-party developerland! Don’t you hate it when you’re installing an SSL certificate through a script or API calls, but there’s some action that you want to take before or after the installation? Well, thanks to the hardworking folks on the Development Team, cPanel & WHM Version now includes a Standardized Hook for the SSL Installation event. What is a Standard Hook? Standardized Hooks are our way to help developers trigger events ...

Welcome Atavist! A Groundbreaking Publishing Platform Joins the WordPress.com Family

WordPress.com News -

Today we’re announcing that Atavist, a multimedia publishing platform and award-winning magazine, will be joining WordPress.com parent company Automattic. This news is exciting to me on a few levels — eight years ago I had my first introduction to Atavist when I met a journalist named Evan Ratliff for coffee at Housing Works in New York. He showed me the first pieces of what became a bold new platform for long-form storytelling, which he created with co-founders Jefferson Rabb and Nicholas Thompson. At the time I had just started Longreads, so we shared an interest in seeing a revival for long-form journalism on the open web. Fast-forward to today and we’re thrilled to have the Atavist and Longreads teams now together under the WordPress.com banner. Atavist’s publishing platform will be moving over to WordPress, and its award-winning magazine The Atavist will continue to serve up outstanding in-depth storytelling with a new feature each month, under the editorship of Seyward Darby. Also joining the team is Atavist CEO Rabb and head of product communications Kathleen Ross. I chatted with Rabb, Darby, and Ross about what’s next. Jeff, Seyward, Kathleen, we’re excited you’re here! You’ve had a terrific run over the past eight years — leading innovation around the design and process of multimedia storytelling, winning many awards along the way — what are your hopes and priorities for Atavist moving forward? RABB: Thank you, I’m thrilled to be here! My number one hope in joining [WordPress.com parent company] Automattic is to bring everything we have built and learned to an audience that is orders of magnitude larger. I’ve spent the past eight years honing a toolset and sensibility for digital journalism, and now I’m excited to put this to use for a mass audience. When these are integrated into WordPress, I am hoping we will have an unbeatable product for storytelling and journalism. There are many fascinating challenges and problems in journalism today, and now more than ever I want to be part of the solution. DARBY: I’m also excited to be here! I’ve been at The Atavist Magazine for the last 15 months, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. The list of things I love about our publication is too long to include in full, but some highlights are the intimate collaborations with creators, the anchoring belief in the timeless power of cinematic storytelling, and the commitment to nurturing the next generation of long-form writers. Certainly, we work with big-name journalists, but we’re also a magazine that supports up-and-coming narrative writers who want to take a swing at a really, really big story. I love nothing more than helping someone crack the code on a 15,000-word feature’s complex structure. (I’m a big fan of Post-It notes and story trees, and of fist-pumping to no one in particular when an article section falls into place.) Moving forward, the magazine’s foundational priorities will remain the same: We’ll tell great stories, design them beautifully, treat our collaborators well, and have a lot of fun in the process. My hope is that, by combining forces with WordPress.com, we’ll get to push the boundaries of our projects: dive into more multi-part narrative investigations, produce more original video or audio where it makes good sense, improve the diversity of our roster of writers and artists, and provide journalists with the resources and time they need to report the hell out of topics they’re passionate about. Winning awards and getting our stories optioned for film/TV, which we also have a strong track record of doing, will be goals, absolutely, but never at the expense of providing a quality experience to every person who contributes to or reads The Atavist. Tell us about some of your favorite stories you’ve hosted. DARBY: I’m proud of every story I’ve shepherded as the executive editor, so it’s hard for me to pick favorites. The most successful Atavist stories share the same key ingredients: a propulsive, satisfying narrative, rich characters, and scenes that make readers feel immersed in the world the writer is describing. At first blush, Kenneth R. Rosen’s story “The Devil’s Henchmen,” about what is being done with the bodies of the ISIS dead in Mosul, doesn’t seem to have much in common with Amitha Kalaichandran’s “Losing Conner’s Mind,” about a family’s quest to save a child from a rare, fatal disease; Allyn Gaestel’s “Things Fall Apart,” about an over-hyped art installation in Nigeria; Mike Mariani’s “Promethea Unbound,” about the tortured life of a child genius; or David Mark Simpson’s “Not Fuzz,” about a millionaire hotelier who moonlights as a serial police impersonator. Yet these stories all have compelling plots about everyday people whose lives are shaped by sheer will and unpredictable circumstance. You can’t put them down because you want to know what’s going to happen. As for Atavist stories that predate my time at the magazine, I’ll award a few superlatives. Quirkiest goes to Jon Mooallem’s “American Hippopotamus,” about a bizarre plan to alter the national diet. Most Lyrical goes to Leslie Jamison’s “52 Blue,” about the world’s loneliest whale. Most Ambitious goes to Evan Ratliff’s epic “The Mastermind,” about a crime lord whose empire spanned pretty much the whole world. (It’s soon to be a book and TV show.) And Couldn’t Get It Out of My Head goes to Will Hunt and Matt Wolfe’s “The Ghosts of Pickering Trail,” about a family living in a haunted house. I’ll stop there, but I really could go on and on. ROSS: Before I worked for Atavist, I actually worked right down the hall, so I have been reading the magazine for a long time. To me, the best Atavist Magazine stories are transporting: in “Welcome to Dog World,” Blair Braverman shows us Alaska; socialites head to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for an early feminist victory in “The Divorce Colony” by April White; and James Verini’s “Love and Ruin” (the title story of our 2016 collection) is a romance and historical epic all in one, and I think about Nancy Hatch Dupree’s library in Afghanistan often. “A Family Matter” may be one of the most important stories we’ve done. Finally, I love stories about spectacular failures, so I have to mention Mitch Moxley’s article “Sunk,” which is about a disastrous attempt to make an epic movie about mermaids; plus, the piece has some excellent moments of maximalist design, including pixelated fish that bob across the page. RABB: I have a soft spot for the very first stories such as “Lifted,” “Piano Demon,” and “My Mother’s Lover.” In addition to being great pieces of writing, they were the petri dishes in which our experimental approach to storytelling was born. They included ideas such as pop-up annotations, maps, and immersive sound elements. Even though the way we distribute our articles has changed dramatically since those stories were published—back then, they were exclusively on the Atavist mobile app and Kindle—many of the concepts and approaches in them formed the DNA of our company’s product. Developing those first few stories was an exciting and vital time for me. Finally, I’m wondering what you think about the state of storytelling on the open web today. Where do you think things are headed? DARBY: There are so many stories being told in the digital space right now, in so many ways, and to so many different audiences. Take SKAM Austin, which D.T. Max recently wrote about for The New Yorker. It’s a teen drama told entirely through Facebook posts, Instagram stories, texts, and other digital scraps and marginalia—a story crafted for its young target audience, based on the way they consume information and communicate with one another. That project is fictional, but there’s similar experimentation happening in the non-fiction space. Certainly, publications are pushing the envelope on transmedia (multi-platform storytelling) and rethinking story structure based on how events now unfold in real time in the palm of your hand. I’m thinking of projects like WIRED‘s story on police brutality, “How Social Media Shaped the Three Days That Shook America,” and National Geographic‘s partnership with ProPublica, “How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico.” Recently, I was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Lab, an incubator for storytellers who work with emerging technologies like VR, AR, and AI. It was incredible to hear the ways that this diverse group is reimagining how to create and deliver narratives. I can’t wait for all of the projects they were workshopping to be out in the world, and I hope to bring what I learned there to bear on my work at Automattic. That said, I’m a journalist first, and when it comes to technology, I always have this nagging fear that form might compromise substance. No one should tell a story entirely via social media or VR or video just because they can; they should do so because there’s actual benefit—to the story itself, to the audience reached, and so on. I’m reminded of my very first job out of college, back in the aughts. I was a journalist in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and I also conducted research on media training needs in the region. I met lots of aspiring journalists who said, “This international NGO helped me set up a blog, but I don’t even really know how to conduct an interview or fact-check. Can someone help me with that?” The experience has always stuck with me as a reminder that the basics of great journalism should apply no matter the platform. At The Atavist, we like to say that story comes first, and by that we mean plot and accuracy, then form and reach.

Liquid Web’s Server-Side Performance Tops Amazon, Rackspace and DigitalOcean

Liquid Web Official Blog -

For the 3rd year, Cloud Spectator affirms Liquid Web’s Server-Side Performance Tops Amazon, Rackspace and DigitalOcean LANSING, Mich. – June 21, 2018 – A study by performance analyst firm Cloud Spectator finds that Liquid Web LLC, a managed hosting provider focused on SMBs – and the designers, developers and agencies who create for them – beats rivals Amazon, Rackspace and DigitalOcean when it comes to website and cloud application performance. Liquid Web’s virtual machines (VMs) exhibit faster processing and disk speeds, while performing more transactions and sustaining more requests per second. The results show that Liquid Web offers a competitive solution for Website hosting needs on platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, or other commonly used CMS and eCommerce software. “Website performance is often taken for granted when selecting the right Cloud hosting provider”, said Melanie Purkis, Liquid Web Managed Hosting Product Leader. “Faster Cloud virtual machine (VM) performance will lead to a better Website experience for users and performance of the same virtual machine sizes are not equivalent. Website performance is largely impacted by the hardware components that make up the system the website is running on and Liquid Web is investing in the most up-to-date platforms and technologies to deliver faster website and application performance, giving people an all-around better experience, especially those with mission-critical sites.” In order to measure performance of websites for this study, Cloud Spectator examined both the performance of Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), along with each piece of the LAMP stack. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. These LAMP components work together to serve a Website’s content to its visitors. The quality of a user’s overall website or application experience begins with the quality of the LAMP stack performance. Cloud Spectator ran a series of processor-intensive tasks across Amazon, DigitalOcean, Liquid Web, and Rackspace VMs. The results show Liquid Web leading in the rankings for single core vCPU performance. Study Results Liquid Web’s entry-level Cloud VM outperformed the larger, compute optimized VMs from Amazon, DigitalOcean and Rackspace. Liquid Web’s VMs demonstrated faster processor performance and higher disk IOPS than competitors Amazon, DigitalOcean, and Rackspace. Liquid Web’s VMs sustained the highest number of requests per second for an Apache Web server. “All hosting isn’t created equal,” said Purkis. “When your business revenue depends on your site, store or application, your hosting provider matters. At Liquid Web, we’re focused on Web and Cloud professionals. That focus translates to products, services and support designed specifically for mission-critical sites, stores and applications.” Methodology Cloud Spectator collected data on entry-level VMs across Liquid Web, Amazon, Rackspace and DigitalOcean for a period of 48 hours. In that two-day time frame, they ran multiple iterations of performance tests, and the median results were used in this report. About Liquid Web Liquid Web powers content, commerce, and potential for SMB entrepreneurs and the designers, developers and digital agencies who create for them. An industry leader in managed hosting and cloud services, Liquid Web is known for its high-performance services and exceptional customer support. The company owns and manages its own core data centers, providing a diverse range of offerings spanning from bare metal servers and fully managed hosting to Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce Hosting. The company owns iThemes and continues to evolve its service offerings to meet the ever-changing needs of its web-reliant, professional customers. As an industry leader in customer service*, the rapidly expanding company has been recognized among INC Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for ten years. Liquid Web is part of the Madison Dearborn Partners family of companies. For more information, please visit http://www.liquidweb.com/, or read our blog. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date with all Liquid Web events. *2017 NPS Score of 66 Contact: Todd Terwillegar, tterwillegar@liquidweb.com The post Liquid Web’s Server-Side Performance Tops Amazon, Rackspace and DigitalOcean appeared first on Liquid Web.

Bookmark Posts with Save For Later

WordPress.com News -

Maybe you’re reading a blog post while sipping your morning tea when you suddenly realize it’s getting late, or you’re browsing on the bus — but you just got to your stop. The WordPress.com Reader is a great for to catching up with your favorite blogs or exploring interesting new reads. And now, you can save those posts and resume reading at your leisure with Save For Later. How does it work? First, make sure you have the newest version of the  WordPress app on your phone or tablet — version 10.2. Open the app, and head into the Reader. Saving content for later Whenever you find a post you’d like to save for later, tap the bookmark icon (). The icon will change from an outline to a solid color () so you know the post has been saved. Repeat the process as many times as you like! You can save posts from your list of Followed Sites, Discover, Search, or My Likes — anywhere in the Reader. Reading your saved content When you’re ready to read, open the app again, go back to the Reader, and select Saved Posts. Everything you saved will be waiting for you there, even if your device is offline. Once you’ve read a post, you can remove it by tapping the bookmark icon again. A few other notes In this initial release, images aren’t guaranteed to be available offline. More importantly, Saved Posts is currently a device-specific feature — saved posts aren’t synced between devices or the web, so they’re only available on the device where you saved them. Logging out or uninstalling the app will delete them. Give feedback and get involved The WordPress mobile apps are free and available on both Android and iOS. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to our in-app support team by tapping Me → Help & Support → Contact Us. If you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the project, learn how you can get involved. Happy reading, now or later!  

Digital Transformation From Someone Who’s Lived It

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

I’ve had plenty of IT leadership roles — at AIG, Earthlink, American Cancer Society and now at Rackspace. While the organizations have changed, my goal has always been to deliver: systems, applications and solutions that lead to better growth, higher customer retention and improved cost efficiency. Digital transformation is a buzz phrase du jour right […] The post Digital Transformation From Someone Who’s Lived It appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Kubernetes Explained for Business Leaders

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

As companies increasingly rely on emerging technologies — not to mention spend more — it’s more important than ever for business leaders to have a deeper-than-basic understanding of those technologies to power their organizations. Yet when technology discussions turn to concepts like “containerization” and “orchestration,” the honest truth is, many line-of-business leaders can find themselves […] The post Kubernetes Explained for Business Leaders appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

How to Add Instagram Action Buttons to Your Business Profile

Social Media Examiner -

Want to sell tickets or take reservations on Instagram? Looking for a way to let customers purchase from you without leaving Instagram? In this article, you’ll learn how to set up Instagram action buttons to let customers do business with you via your Instagram business profile. What Action Buttons Are Available on Instagram? Instagram has [...] The post How to Add Instagram Action Buttons to Your Business Profile appeared first on .

Just bought your first shared hosting package? Use Softaculous to settle in with ease!

Reseller Club Blog -

What is the Softaculous Apps Installer : Softaculous is an app installer that saves you the time and effort of setting up your dream blog, website or ecommerce store. Particularly loved by Shared Hosting customers, the Softaculous app installer makes getting started with a website, a piece of cake. Here’s how Softaculous helps customers, especially those that are new to the web industry (usually Shared Hosting customers) ease into the workings of web infrastructure. All the apps you need for your web business, in 1 place The Softaculous apps installer allows a user to easily install more than 400+ apps in just a few clicks, covering every major app that you need to successfully run a web business in categories such as: E-commerce Content management Forums Image galleries Social networks Ad managers Analytics tools Email management Project management ERP Customer support Database management Video File managers SEO tools Financial managers and more. Softaculous also offers popular scripts such as: WordPress Joomla WHMCS Drupal OpenCart Dolphin Zen Cart Magenta SugarCRM phpMyAdmin MyWebSQL Vtiger You can also request for scripts you don’t find- If you manage to find a script Softaculous does not have, the team will review your request and add it to their script library.   Fast installation You can get your website up and running very quickly as the Softaculous apps installer takes care of the entire installation process and any possible issues. You are spared from downloading and uploading zip files or trying to find out why an installation failed, etc.   Easy access The Softaculous app installer is offered in several major web hosting panels such as cPanel, Plesk, CentOS, Interworx, ISP system, DirectAdmin, H-Sphere and Hosting Controller and is also available through API. ResellerClub offers Softaculous with every Shared Hosting package. The app can be found under ‘Software’ in cPanel   Zero maintenance Software updates are well-tested before release to ensure you face no issues. Also, you do not have to worry about server maintenance as updates are downloaded via a CRON process which runs automatically on the server.   Ease of use Considering that a Shared Web Hosting package is usually what most people just starting out with their online business usually begin with/are introduced to, Softaculous is designed such that anyone can  navigate through it. There are several helpful hints and tips throughout the interface to help you. A look inside Softaculous   Install scripts in your own language The Softaculous app installer allows you to install scripts in over 50 languages. This saves you from downloading translation packages!   Ratings, reviews and demos of scripts If you’re unsure of a particular script, Softaculous lists the script’s ratings, reviews and even links to demos for users to make an informed decision. A view of the demo option inside Softaculous   Scripts continuously updated The Softaculous app installer continues to add newer scripts to their library everyday. User reviews for WHMCS listed in Softaculous   Testing Softaculous also allows you to clone your website to test changes before you install it on the live site. We hope you found this post useful. How were you introduced to the Softaculous apps installer? If you haven’t used it yet, try out our Shared Hosting package to launch your online business in minutes with Softaculous.

Rackspace Announces VMware-based “Pay-As-You-Go” Private Cloud as a Service

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

SAN ANTONIO – June 20, 2018 – Rackspace today announced that it has partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to launch the industry’s first Private Cloud-as-a-Service (PCaaS) powered by VMware, with pay per use infrastructure. This solution is an expansion of Rackspace’s industry-leading managed private cloud portfolio, designed to create the optimal platform for enterprise applications. […] The post Rackspace Announces VMware-based “Pay-As-You-Go” Private Cloud as a Service appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Rackspace Launches Industry’s First Pay-As-You-Go Kubernetes Private Cloud

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

SAN ANTONIO – June 20, 2018 – Rackspace today announced that it has expanded its private cloud-as-a-service portfolio by collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to launch Rackspace Kubernetes-as-a-Service (RKaaS) with pay per use infrastructure in a private cloud environment, an industry first. With this offering, enterprises can consume Rackspace Kubernetes-as-a-Service with pay as you […] The post Rackspace Launches Industry’s First Pay-As-You-Go Kubernetes Private Cloud appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

3 Digital Security Tips for Your Small Business

HostGator Blog -

The post 3 Digital Security Tips for Your Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog. 3 Simple Tips to Keep Your SMB’s Digital Assets Secure While most news stations report only on the attacks and data breaches of large organizations, your small business is just as much at risk, if not more. In 2017, 61 percent of SMBs have experienced an attack and 54 percent have experienced a data breach, according to a report from Keeper Security. Your company may be small, but that’s what makes it more vulnerable. To an attacker, that means you’re less likely to have a solid security strategy in place, and even less likely to have a cybersecurity team monitoring your digital assets. Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you have to accept this potential security threat. Instead, protect yourself against an attack or breach with the right insurance, knowledge of what’s most vulnerable, and better employee security management.   1. Identify Vulnerable Assets Only 37 percent of small businesses feel very confident about the security of their digital asset storage. In such a remote and collaborative culture, assets need to be readily available to a large number of employees, if not most or all of them. This makes keeping them secure challenging. The good news is, not all assets should be of concern. An old press release or recent product photos aren’t likely a target for hacking or breach. The following assets are vulnerable to attack, however, and should be protected as such, according to Leonardo Cooper, CEO of VaultOne: Domain name registrar: You may not even consider your domain name as an asset, but it is, and it’s one of your most vulnerable. “Management should put access to the domain name credentials in a vault or safe place, and never discuss passwords or usernames via email with colleagues. Access should be limited to a select few team members whose role dictates they need access to the DNS, and passwords should be changed frequently following basic password safety rules,” suggests Cooper. Backup systems: Cloud storage is extremely vulnerable, with some of the largest corporations worldwide experiencing breaches to data stored here. Your best method of protection for this is twofold: make a regular habit of backing up all assets in the cloud to an external hard drive and create an emergency plan, in case the worst happens. Secure your HostGator website with daily, automatic backups from CodeGuard. Third party payment services: While it may seem safer to use a third party payment processor, it’s hard to be sure what their security practices actually are. Don’t let your data, or that of your customers, fall into the wrong hands by using one simple technique: two factor authentication (2FA). This adds one extra layer of security by requiring another password, a specific code, or the use of an app like Google Authenticator, making it harder to hack.   2. Bolster Your Cyber Defense There are many ways to ensure you have a strong defense to protect your business in case of an attack. Here are two simple ways to bolster your current security measures. Cyber Liability: You insure your business to avoid expensive legal issues with employees or customers, but do you have insurance for cyber liabilities as well? Update your current insurance plan to protect your digital assets: “Some general business owner policies will include specific provisions protecting a business in the case of a cyber attack. Depending on your specific policy and business, you might need errors and omission insurance, which protects your company from liabilities arising from mistakes made by you or your employees, or even specific cyber security policies,” explains the guide, Cyber Liability: How to Protect Your Business. This added protection can likely be included with your current policy, making it easy to update quickly. Better Protection: If you don’t have a security team, your next best option is to work with a service provider who can monitor your domain and assets for breaches or vulnerabilities. Choosing a service provider can be confusing. Steve Bassi, CEO of PolySwarm, shares some suggestions for vetting products and teams: “Companies shouldn’t look at any one tool, rather how is the service provider protecting them with defense and response in depth. Put another way, how does the service provider plan to layer defenses and man them with experienced technical folk?” Don’t forget to ask the right questions, referring to specifics like automated monitoring and threat detection. Bassi continues, “A good provider here will provide tools that automate the detection of attackers on employee’s machines and across servers. Good examples of this are tools like Carbon black, which does something very simple: if it sees an application executed that has never been seen before in the enterprise it reports it. That’s one layer of defense but a good service provider should analyze any foreign applications and see if they look malicious.” Protect your website from malware and digital threats with SiteLock: 3. Address Your Biggest Threat: Employees Your greatest cybersecurity threat is not outside attackers, but the people working for you—or former employees. While in some cases their intent is not to harm the company, employees have access to a wide range of assets that can be breached or attacked due to lack of strong passwords or poor sharing and security management. In many cases, even former employees may still have access to these assets. In fact, the 2017/18 Kroll Annual Global Fraud and Risk Report found that 71 percent of businesses that reported a security incident cited insiders as the perpetrators. More importantly, they found that 39 percent of those perpetrators were junior employees and 37 percent were former employees. There are two ways to combat this in your small business: Create a culture of security, where all employees are empowered to be safe in their interactions, and requirements like 2FA for all employee logins are enforced. Follow a specific procedure when employees are fired or quit. Even when leaving on good terms, your assets are vulnerable if that employee can still access them. In general, it’s wise to create a culture of security within your small business, which encourages employees to take ownership of their security and that of the business. TechBeacon shares six great tips for making this happen with your team: Remind employees: security belongs to everyone. Focus on awareness. Create a secure development lifecycle. Reward employees that do the right thing for security. Create a security community. Make security fun and engaging.   Get Serious About Digital Asset Security Cybersecurity is no joke for small businesses. With so many digital assets being created, used and shared, this is an important vulnerability to address. Luckily, there are a number of ways to protect your business from breach or attack, including working with a security consultant, creating a culture of security and identifying and protecting the assets that are most vulnerable. Learn more about securing your small business website with our free Website Security Checklist. 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Speeding Into the Future, Agency Style

WP Engine -

EBQ is a professional sales and marketing agency that offers a variety of services to assist their clients in the marketing and sales process. They began to build out their marketing strategy on behalf of their clients in 2015. This included the optimizing their website. At the time, the website was on an early version… The post Speeding Into the Future, Agency Style appeared first on WP Engine.

Git Version Control Series: Git Problems and How to Fix Them

cPanel Blog -

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts around Git and a new feature in cPanel & WHM Version 72, Git Version Control. In case you missed the others, there is a list at the bottom of this post. Keep watching for a new one every Wednesday!  If you follow our feature request site, you already know about our upcoming feature, Git Version Control. We have designed it to make hosting repositories …

Gamification in UX to enrich User Experience and Engagement

Reseller Club Blog -

We have all played games as a kid. Be it indoors or outdoors – games have challenged us, rewarded us and helped us be a better version of ourselves. The more engaging and interactive a game is, the more it motivates us to keep playing. If we apply this technique to our design, it could help achieve simplicity which, in turn, would enhance the user experience. In this article, I’ll walk you through what gamification in design is and how you can use it to enrich user experience and engagement. What is Gamification? Gamification in simple words means using game principles in a non-gaming environment. More often than not, most people confuse gamification with game design. However, gamification is used to help design websites and apps for an interactive feel. The more engaging the user interaction, the more the user feels involved and interested. Gamification helps you tap into the psychology of the user by offering them rewards, recognition, a sense of competition and achievement, etc. For example, consider the Starbucks mobile app that has a built-in reward feature. Whenever a user purchases a coffee or any other item, some points are added to their account. So say, you’ve purchased 9 coffee’s then your 10th one is free. You can customize orders based on your rewards, so on and so forth. In a nutshell, each customer has a unique experience when using their rewards. Reward-based activity trigger users to return to your website/web app once again. Let us look at three gamifying mechanics that can help boost your UX: Leading Statistics Challenges keep people glued to your app as it fosters a competitive spirit. As a web designer, you can set the right parameters for users to reach their goals.If your website/app is about users attempting quizzes, then selecting the right answers helps them score more points. The more the number of levels a user has navigated, more the badges they earn. Designing a leaderboard that tells users the level at which they are is a good motivation. Interland an initiative by Google is an educational website filled with simple games designed to teach users how to be safe on the internet. It is primarily made for young kids. Rewards Rewards and recognition are very important when it comes to enriching user experience. As a user progresses in his/her journey on your website, there should be some form of reward system.For example, if you have a gaming app, then you can give users bonus points, stickers or badges to be displayed on their profile. Otherwise, if you’re an e-commerce website, based on the customer purchases, sign-up etc. you can add some reward points to their account which they can use later for some product purchase on your site. Another example is that of Uber, where both the driver and customers give ratings to each other. These ratings are visible on their respective profiles and tend to make the users happy. Even though the customers aren’t drawing any salary (like the driver whose pay and progression depend on such ratings), they too feel proud of themselves. Source: Jorden Jenkins Incorporating this gaming mechanism in your design not only makes the customer feel valued but also keeps them coming back to you. User Journey A user’s journey is a very vital part of the success of your web design. Each user is most likely to be in different stages, and these could change over time depending on their needs. The right progression can help improve user engagement and interaction with your app. Thus, a user journey can be described as the stage/levels the user progress with respect to the time he/she has been using the product.User journey can be broadly classified into four different aspects. These aspects are in line with the usual web design approach. Start: This is the stage where the user signs up on your app. The start or the onboarding journey should be such that the user is compelled to explore. One tip is to present information in a clear persuasive manner so that the user explores the app further. This stage is usually informational and instructional. Source: Moinul Ahsan Scaffolding: Scaffolding is the second stage in a user’s journey. In this stage, you can present the user with features and possibilities of using your product. This stage is the most crucial one as it decides whether a user will continue being on your app or not. Try to keep this stage as interactive as possible and minimal too. Source: Menu Schedule Screen Progress: Progression is a very important feature of any journey. If a user is stagnant, then he/she may not be motivated enough to continue using your web app anymore. Providing users with timely progress bars, feedback on how they are doing so far or what awaits them once they accomplish a goal is very important. An e-commerce portal can give stats to users on how many items they purchased and how much they saved. Educational apps can tell how much they’ve learnt as a part of their curriculum etc. Progress stage helps a user to self-evaluate themselves, and this is the best form of motivation ever. Source: Patient Rating & Notification Screen End: The end stage is the final stage of any web app. However, this doesn’t mean that users stop using your app or you have no end to your product, and it runs in an endless loop. If your design has these features, then you’re most likely to lose your customer base as users can get bored with the repetitive features. One way to engage experienced users is to give them loyalty awards or badges. This, in turn, would encourage new users too. Conclusion: With so much of competition in the market, you need to know how to gain that extra edge to win the hearts of your customers and more importantly, keep them coming back for more. Every business should also work from an ‘emotional appeal’ than just a ‘logical one’. Even the chance of winning a chocolate that costs next to nothing makes a whole group excited to find an answer or solve a riddle. Applying these emotional aspects of rewards and recognition can enhance user experience and engagement, eventually leading a business to a long way of customer loyalty and retention.

How To Do Keyword Research for Your eCommerce store

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Keyword research forms the core for web content. Keywords are the words and phrases people use when they’re searching for information. In the e-Commerce world, this means describing products and services offered from the cloud. You want keywords and phrases in your content that are: Used in search, and Accurately reflect what you’re selling Sprinkle these words and phrases throughout your content. Because your content will be descriptive rather than informative, keywords should be reflected in the categories you use to sort products on your site and in the URLs as well. Why Research Keywords? If you keep up on SEO trends, it’s easy to wonder why anyone should bother with researching keyword. Google absolutely hates keyword stuffing (the overuse of keywords and phrases) and will downgrade sites it feels are guilty of doing this. What it wants is authoritative, well-written content that’s relevant to the search. But take into account the way Google and other search engines–including those embedded into social media platforms–operate: they send out bots to crawl over the web, looking for clues that indicate potentially good resource. Keywords are one way to let the bots know when they’ve found one. So it’s logical to put keywords and phrases within content. Just do it sparingly. Keyword Research is More Than an SEO Tool Although keyword research is part of an SEO strategy, the two impact websites in very different ways. Keywords and long-tail phrases describe the products and services delivered by an e-Commerce site. They including descriptions of the service or product(s), the intended target audience, and especially unique aspects that differentiate from similar businesses. As the SEO guru Neil Patel observes, keywords are the blueprint for all your digital content–sales and marketing content, social media messaging, even photos and videos you post on your site and social media. SEO is a collection of steps that boost a website’s visibility in the search process. Page download speed, site navigation, and use of images, are among the thousands of items within the every-changing Google algorithm. Keywords and content don’t affect all SEO, but they are essential to boost aspects of content including these two areas writers may overlook or not have access to boost: Images should always be captioned, preferably with a keyword. Alt content, which is read aloud to sight impaired people to describe an image, should also include a keyword, although the content should be different from the caption. These seemingly steps can help get those bots’ attention as they populate search engine response pages, or SERPs. Keyword Research Begins With Putting Yourself in the Customer’s Seat Think about how customers can find you who don’t know you by reputation or recommendation – or even those who have heard of you but can’t remember your business name. Or consider someone who’s buying the type of product or service you sell for the first time. What keywords do you think they will use to find you? General keywords tend to only be helpful for general knowledge. For example, let’s say you sell calculators. It won’t help you much to use the keyword “calculator” because you will be probably be buried by Texas Instruments wholesalers. Plus, most customers probably know if they need a specific feature on a calculator, so they search in what amounts to long tail keywords. In fact, just about all web searches are conducted with two or more words. So you’ll want to add more description to your keyword, creating long tail keywords, or keyword phrases like these: Graphing calculator 3D graphing calculator Best graphing calculator engineers — using the word “best” will pull up reviews Graphing calculator app Be sure to create a keyword phrase for special services you might offer, such as videos on how to use different calculator. This could be a selling point to parents of middle school math geniuses who don’t understand why such an expensive calculator is necessary! There are no hard and fast rules for long tail length. Generally, four to five words will do the trick. Anything longer might not even exist as a search term. Where to Find e-Commerce Keywords You may already be familiar with keyword research. However, it’s a somewhat different exercise for e-Commerce, although the same tools are used. What you want are keywords that will convert a searcher into someone who visits your website or a landing page you’ve created if you’re running an advertising campaign. You want keywords that really spur action. A Google Analytics account for your e-Commerce site will identify the top ten search terms that are being used to find your site. If you don’t have an account, it’s free; all you need to do is establish a Gmail account. Then link your e-Commerce site to Google Analytics, and it will begin gathering data. If you already have a Google Analytics account, go to it and look for Acquisition on the left side toolbar. Click on Queries, and you will see the top ten search terms used to get to your site. Here are ways to identify, create, and test keywords and keyword phrases for their potential. 1. Look at Amazon Product Descriptions to Find Long Tail Keywords. There are a number of tools that help you identify keywords. But first, you want to know exactly where your e-Commerce site falls within your industry. Digital marketing expert Alex Chris suggests going to Amazon, particularly if you’re selling products. There, you can do a deep dive into Amazon’s categories and subcategories to see where you belong if you were selling on Amazon. Look at the product titles and descriptions of items similar to what you sell. They will likely include long tail keywords you can use as well. Also look at the “People Also Bought” suggestions for cross-selling ideas. 2. Identify Keywords and Phrases to Use. Now search your keywords and see what kind of returns you get. In other words, Google it. You’ll notice that Google will try to guess what you’re getting at as you type in the search box. It’s reviewing past searches to see if you’ve used this search or something similar in the recent past. The same will happen when customers search for products and services like yours–Google will look at indications of past preferences. There’s really no way to overcome this, particularly for people who are searching in your industry for the first time. But having the right keywords, great content, and strong SEO practices will make it more likely that they will find you. Google will correct typos or unusual language you put in. This may change some of your assumptions. So many words are spelled and pronounced the same but have two or more meanings. Remember, it’s only been in the past decade that people started thinking of “cloud” as something other than weather-related. You will also see if your phrase is used at all. Phrases that do not show up probably aren’t being used by people conducting searches, or at least not enough to make an impact. Unless you’re really on to something new and exciting, you may want to drop such phrases, at least for now. Be sure to look at the “People also ask” listing that often appears after the paid search results, and the related searches listed at the bottom of each SERP. They can help you refine your phrases. 3. Use a Keyword Tool or Keyword Planner Keyword tools and planners are services that show the search volume, or popularity, of keywords and phrases within a given search engine. The more popular a word or phrase, the more expensive it is and difficult to rank well in it. Like a Google search, these tools and planners will also offer data on similar searches. Many will plugin the current Adword cost, a helpful indicator of how valuable a search term is and whether it’s too closely associated with a given brand. You can incorporate some of this function during search. I like the extension Keywords Everywhere, which works on Chrome and Firefox. It will list the search volume for your keyword or phrase and similar ones, the current cost per click in Google Adwords for each, and a gauge of advertisers (competitors) who are running campaigns on each one, ranked from 0 to 1. (Neil Patel recommends using this in conjunction with Google’s keyword planner.) Keyword tools show how a keyword or phrase is trending for a certain number of days, highlight negative keywords to avoid, and keywords to boost PPC campaigns. Some popular tools and planners include: Google AdWords Keyword Planner — Free with Gmail account; you will have to set up an actual account and create an ad (just don’t activate it and you won’t be charged) WordStream — Free and paid versions Moz Keyword Explorer — Free 30-day trial SEMRush — 10 free requests with registration SEOChat Suggestion Keyword Finder — Free Google’s keyword planner also lets you drop in a URL, so you can see what keywords and phrases people use to find your competitors. You won’t get their statistics, but you’ll get some more insights. Remember to conduct regular keyword research. As Patel observes, it’s a way to “keep your ear to the ground,” — or in this case, to keep your store in the cloud! Want to Learn More? Check out our blog article on Five Common WooCommerce SEO Mistakes and How To Fix Them. You can also subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter for more great content! The post How To Do Keyword Research for Your eCommerce store appeared first on Liquid Web.

State, Local and Educational Orgs Look to Federal Compliance and Security Standards

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In 2017, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal agency within the Department of Commerce, removed the word “federal” from the title of its catalog of cybersecurity and privacy controls. NIST recognized that in addition to the federal agencies that rely on its compliance guidelines, state and local governments, academia and even industry […] The post State, Local and Educational Orgs Look to Federal Compliance and Security Standards appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

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