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How to Write a Small Business Shipping Policy

Liquid Web Official Blog -

A small business shipping policy is key for eCommerce success, but often overlooked. See tips for creating your own, and examples from industry leaders. Shipping and return policies are vital to the bottom line of an eCommerce business. Many eCommerce stores create their small business shipping and return policies the way people sign their names after a credit card purchase — without much thought (and pretty much just because they have to). Not only do they impact purchasing decisions on the customer side of things, they also have a ripple effect on your inventory and supply chain management. And the effect of a good (or bad) policy is often overlooked. That’s why we’re sharing all the details for why all eCommerce businesses need a successful shipping and return policy and how to create one for your store. Why You Need a Clear Small Business Shipping Policy Shipping for small businesses should not be treated as an afterthought. There are three major reasons you need a shipping and return policy that’s clear and easy to find. 1. Your Customers Are Looking for It You might think that customers don’t want to read this boring section on your website, but the opposite is actually true. Customers shopping online care a lot about shipping and return policies, and they’re likely to seek out yours. According to the National Retail Federation, as much as 65% of customers actually look up a store’s shipping policy before adding anything to their cart. 2. Bad Shipping Policies Are a Culprit for Cart Abandonment The dreaded phenomenon of customers leaving a store without following through on buying their cart items happens at a rate of about 75%. Two of the most common reasons for cart abandonment are related to shipping and returns: Either there’s no clear option for express shipping or the return policy is deemed “unsatisfactory.” 3. A Good Shipping Policy Saves You and Your Customers Time When a customer can’t find your shipping policy, your policy is hard to understand, or it just doesn’t give enough information, two things can happen: The customer can leave your store, or they can contact your company to get answers. While the second option is definitely preferable, it means that your team will be spending a lot of time fielding question after question about shipping and returns. That’s time they could be spending on more profit-driven activities. Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter for more ways to increase profitability for your store. How to Write a Great Shipping Policy You could resort to a small business shipping policy generator or download a generic shipping policy template that’ll cover your bases. But, if you’re here, you probably want to write a great policy, which requires more thought and effort. Here’s what you can do to write a great shipping and return policy. Prioritize Customer Service When Creating Your Policies When it comes to creating the “meat” of your policy (i.e., what’s allowed and what’s not), it’s best to think of your customers first and the bottom line second. You’ve heard that it costs five times as much to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one, right? One of the best ways to keep customers who are already buying from you is to have as generous a shipping and return policy as you can. Of course, you still want to make sure your policy makes financial sense. Look for Ways to Do Better Than Your Competition Just like any aspect of running your business, you should be aware of how your competitors are handling shipping and returns. From there, look for ways that you could improve on what they’re offering. This doesn’t have to mean offering a more generous shipping and return policy (though it could). It may mean just communicating the policy better, making it easier to find, or going above and beyond with the information provided. Consider the Questions You Have About Shipping and Returns When Buying Online You’ve bought things online before — probably plenty of times. So when you sit down to create your shipping and return policy, go back to the moment when you were shopping at an eCommerce store, and remember what doubts and questions you had. Likely, your customers will have similar questions for your store. At the very least, you probably wondered: If you could return the item if you didn’t like it When your item would arrive If you’d get shipping updates Who would be delivering it Make sure you answer all the questions in your own policy. Write a Clear Small Business Shipping Policy in Your Brand Voice If your shipping and return policy sounds like a lawyer wrote it, your customers will, at best, be a little frustrated trying to understand it. At worst, they’ll find it disingenuous or scary. It’s not a bad idea to have a lawyer review your policy before publishing, just to make sure there aren’t any loopholes. However, it should still read like the rest of your website content, and be written conversationally and in your brand voice. The 5 Signs of an Amazing Shipping and Return Policy Do you have a shipping and return policy already? Make sure it meets the following criteria. 1. It’s Easy to Find Don’t hide your shipping and return policy from customers. Put it where they’ll expect to find it. Usually, that’s in your website footer (like in the example below from The Yoga Warehouse). Bonus points if you include it at checkout or on product pages as well. 2. It’s Easy to Read and Understand Keep language simple, sentences short, and the information organized. Great policies are visually designed to be skimmable. That might look like putting the information in a table, using headings and subheadings, or a FAQ format. 3. It Sets Clear Expectations Because small stores don’t have the credibility of huge brands, shipping for small businesses is extra important to get right. Preemptively answer any questions your customers may have so there are no gray areas. Common Questions to Answer in Your Shipping Policy Where do you ship? Do you ship internationally? How long does it take for items to arrive? How much is shipping? Do you offer free shipping? Can you combine shipping on more than one item? Do you put receipts/invoices in the package? Common Questions to Answer in Return Policy Do items need to be returned in the original packaging? Who is responsible for paying the S&H? How many days from delivery can items be returned? What happens if items arrive damaged? 4. It’s On-Brand Don’t miss the opportunity to infuse your policies with your brand voice. This is a great way to build more trust with your customers. The policies will feel familiar to customers rather than like scary legalese. Also, customers recognize that you put time into crafting the policies — and believe you care about their experience. 5. It’s Actionable and Honest Make sure that whatever you write in your shipping and return policy, you’re able to follow through on it every time. Otherwise, word will start to spread that your store is not trustworthy. Admirable Shipping Policy Examples From Small eCommerce Businesses If you’re still stuck finding the right words or format for your shipping and return policy, we’ve shortlisted the 4 shipping policy examples we love for inspiration. 1. Minted Here’s what this artist-designed stationery brand does right: They introduce their shipping page with a special, on-brand tagline: “Great design delivered right to your doorstep.” They provide easy-to-find tabs for “U.S.” and “International” shipping since that information is different. They include different shipping costs for different sized items — with clear labels. They spell out how their products are packaged because some items are fragile. They explicitly mention that no invoice or pricing is included in the package because it might be a gift. 2. Dearborn Denim & Apparel This American-made denim company also does a few things right: They offer a reminder of the company’s main value proposition that their clothing is crafted by a small team of experts: “Your order ships directly from our sewing floor, not a dropshipper or warehouse.” They use humanizing language to address concerns: “Some orders may be delayed due to a temporary shortage of a specific style or size. Rest assured we will be working hard to get those items through production and on their way to you as fast as possible.” 3. Will’s Vegan Store A vegan shoe and clothing company in the U.K., this store has an excellent shipping policy: They arrange their three shipping options in an easy-to-read table. They include the dates packages would be expected to arrive, depending on the shipping type (instead of just saying 2 to 3 weeks). This way, the customer doesn’t have to do the math on their own. They use an interactive drop-down menu to make it easy to change the ship-to country for accurate details. They make sure to highlight their environmentally friendly mission in their shipping policy: “All our shipping & returns are Carbon Neutral and plastic free. We do not use plastic bags or plastic packaging. All the materials in our deliveries are environmentally friendly, sustainable, and can be recycled.” 4. Heart Coffee Roasters This eCommerce coffee bean company does one big thing to make their shipping and return policy customer-focused: They organize their entire policy into FAQs with detailed explanations for why their policy is as it is. This means they can share a ton of information without it being daunting for customers. Don’t Assume a Shipping Policy for Small Business Isn’t Important Hands down, the biggest mistake eCommerce companies make when creating a shipping and return policy is not treating it as important. Instead, they craft a policy or download a shipping policy template simply to have one without putting their own spin on it or considering the customer journey. These basic policies won’t delight customers or build trust with your brand, and they’re likely to lead to higher cart abandonment rates. So if you haven’t already, make sprucing up your shipping and return policy a priority for this quarter. Hopefully, you’ve found plenty of inspiration in this article to make the job a bit easier. Learn How to Generate +1,000,000 on Your Store The post How to Write a Small Business Shipping Policy appeared first on Liquid Web.

4 Marketing Metrics Your CMO Cares About

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When it comes to data, marketing executives are frequently under the microscope. According to research by Gartner, the average company spends more than 10% of its yearly revenue on marketing, and the majority of CMOs expect that percentage to increase in 2020. Due in part to these typically large budget allocations, CMOs are consistently asked… The post 4 Marketing Metrics Your CMO Cares About appeared first on WP Engine.

What Is a Dev Site?

Nexcess Blog -

Changes to your website are inevitable. Whether refreshing your theme or applying a critical security update, sites are living environments that can react unpredictably to well-intentioned changes. Any change, small or significant, can disrupt or even break your site when carelessly applied. Such disruptions torpedo both your sales and your customers’ trust. Properly executing these changes can be the difference between an unnoticeable hiccup and a prolonged outage.  If you already enjoy the services of a knowledgeable web developer, then you’re likely all set. If you’re not – or if you have reason to suspect their qualifications – read on. Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst Dev sites give web developers a way to test under-the-hood changes to a website with far less risk. It is a separate, private version of the live site that for safe testing of new code and features.   One common scenario is the discovery a critical security vulnerability in your CMS (Magento, WordPress, Drupal, what-have-you). A patch is quickly released, and every minute you delay applying makes you a bigger target for attack. Pressed for time, you immediately apply the patch to your production (live) site. The patch breaks your site. Worse, the lack of preparation makes reversion painful, and the outage extends into hours. You lose time, money, and customers. As usual, the best solution is prevention. Making changes to your live site is, at best, a roll of the dice. Don’t hope your site functions after a patch or major update – know it by testing changes before making them live. Not Just for Developers It’s not uncommon to hear “dev” and “staging” used interchangeably. This is fine, provided your developer knows the difference. Even if you have no need of a developer, a functioning dev or staging site acts as a buffer between uncertainty and reliability.  In the traditional model of web development (dev > staging > production), dev servers are essentially a web developer’s sandbox. They often live on local machines, rather than servers. This is where developers experiment with new features and code, or other changes that aren’t ready to glimpse light of day. Sometimes, they function as approximate, non-public copies of your production site, while other times they bear little resemblance at all.  Staging acts as the bridge between dev and production, and is usually a private copy of your live site. It is hosted on a server and likely mirrors the resources and hardware used by your production site. As such, it will keep you from breaking your site by updates to:  Code Themes  Plugins Security patches Features Store inventory Applications Quality assurance User experience Better with Backups If your site breaks, having a current backup makes it much easier to revert. Full backups take considerable time and space, but these are usually required only when your team is uncertain of the changes’ scope. Patches and upgrades fit this bill. Small changes, such as those that edit a single file, may require only the backing up of a single file. Regardless of scope, these backups will accelerate any and all recovery attempts down the road. As detailed in our Backup Policy, we provide automatic 30-day backups, but urge our clients to maintain a deeper and more current history. Redundant backups are the ultimate failsafe. Flexible Dev Sites with Nexcess Cloud For minimal cost, Nexcess Cloud clients can create a dev site at the touch of a button. We designed our dev site functionality to be flexible enough to meet the needs of any client or development process. Nexcess Cloud dev sites mirror your production site and environment, including your database. The dev site-creation process replaces personally identifiable information (PII) with placeholders, which means you can hand off development work to agencies without having to worry about the security of your customer’s data.  Creating Dev Sites in the Nexcess Cloud One of the many great things about  Nexcess Cloud Services is the ability to deploy Magento and WordPress dev sites at the click of a button for a small additional cost. For more details, see How to create dev sites in Nexcess Cloud.   For help matching a hosting solution to your needs, please contact our sales team between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern time (ET), Monday – Friday. The post What Is a Dev Site? appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

10 Tips To Improve Your Website Mobile Experience

Liquid Web Official Blog -

More people view websites on mobile devices than desktop computers. Learn what to consider when designing your website mobile experience. Responsive design has become the new normal. When building a new website or redesigning an existing site – especially now that mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage on a global scale – the new site has to be mobile first. As business owners better understand the visual Instagram generation, and retailers realize more and more eCommerce purchases are happening on smartphones, they are investing in responsive, mobile first approaches to design. The problem is that creating a responsive website is no longer enough. To compete in today’s media-centric, information-abundant, over-crowded, always-on digital landscape, brands must move past the basics of responsive design to craft beautiful, simple, and easy to use website mobile experiences.” That means designing specific, well-thought-out website mobile experiences that consider even the tiniest of details. Creating a Website Mobile Experience Here are ten things to consider when designing your website mobile experience: 1. Logo The person your logo means the most to is you. No one cares about your logo as much as you do and it isn’t going to convince someone to pay you on its own. In 99% of all cases, the logo never needs to be bigger. Instead, consider displaying your logo at the smallest size possible while retaining legibility so visitors can get to the content faster. Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter for more ideas on how to make your WordPress site experience even better. 2. Navigation Menu Before you stake your navigation design on the hamburger menu icon, consider whether your audience knows what it is—it could work better to use a button labeled “menu.” Also think about what happens when the navigation menu opens and how to close it again. Does the menu slide in from the side or drop down? Does it cover the entire screen? Are there drop downs in the menu that are easy to access? Is closing the menu simple and intuitive? 3. Headlines How many times have you visited a website and had the headline take up your entire screen? If you’re anything like me, far too many times. While giant headlines may look great on giant monitors, they have no place on mobile websites where real estate is at a premium. Ideally, the headline should be large enough to stand out and stand apart, but small enough to allow visitors to get to the content with as little friction as possible.” 4. Body Copy When it comes to the primary content on the page, readability is of the utmost importance. It can be hard to get readability right for every situation as people view websites through numerous devices and browsers with their screens at varying levels of brightness. Luckily there are a few solid rules of thumb to follow: 16pt type is fairly standard for body copy for mobile, while many websites are moving toward 18pt and 20pt sizes for large desktop screens. Because different typefaces, even when set to the same size, may visually look like different sizes, the size and line height will also be different. If the line height is too tight, it will be difficult for readers to find the start of the following line of type. The wider the content width (measure), the larger the type and line height must be. Ideal content widths range from 65-80 characters. When calculating line height, aim for 140-150% of the type size. 5. Images When it comes to images and website mobile experiences, anything that is set to align left or right could potentially produce weird gaps of empty space alongside the image. Consider setting all images to align center on mobile devices and whenever possible, set them to display at the full content width.” 6. Buttons, Links, and Forms Have you ever visited a website and wanted to fill out a form or click a button and couldn’t because it was too small or didn’t work right? Did you have to zoom in and try again? That happened because the form was designed for a desktop experience. For a superior website mobile experience: Make sure all links are underlined and easy to see. Make sure all buttons are large enough to click easily and leave enough space around them to ensure visitors don’t have trouble clicking on the right thing. Make sure all form fields display large enough to accommodate fingers and be filled in easily. 7. Margins And Padding One of the fastest ways to spot an amateur developer or DIY website is by evaluating the margins and padding on a mobile devices. Gobs of beautiful white space may look beautiful on a desktop monitor, but scrolling past big blank blocks on a website mobile experience creates a poor user experience. Similarly, wide margins and narrow content widths may simplify the design and reduce distractions on large screens, while on mobile devices, wide margins will pinch the content width and make it harder for visitors to engage with your content. Website real estate on mobile screens is at a premium, which means you need to make use of all of the space available. Aim to keep the content width as wide as possible and evaluate vertical margins to ensure the correct content is grouped together.” 8. Footer The footer includes content that is last in the hierarchy of website content. This means the content in the footer needs to be smaller and less pronounced than the rest of the content on the page, while still being easy to find and read. If you implement a feature like infinite scroll, remember that visitors will not reach your footer until they run out of content unless you limit the number of posts that show at a time and use a “load more” button. 9. Moving Elements Be careful of anything that moves or rotates. Movements that may seem small on desktop may disrupt the website mobile experience. Features like rotating testimonials may be cool on large screens, but on mobile devices, if the testimonials aren’t all the same length, they can cause the website to “shake” or “jiggle” vertically each time the testimonials rotate. 10. Sidebar Content Sidebars, when used correctly, can enhance a website’s user experience. The problem is that most website owners don’t use them correctly and fail to consider what happens when the sidebar stacks underneath the content on mobile devices. For example, if a website includes an opt-in at the end of a blog post and at the top of the sidebar, on mobile devices, visitors will see two competing calls to action right next to each other. That is both confusing and frustrating for a visitor on a website mobile experience. Take Your Time Developing Your Website Mobile Experience Remember, your website needs to be beautiful, simple, and easy to use for the best possible mobile experience for visitors. As you can see, it takes a well thought out strategy to ensure this happens on both desktop and mobile, and must be considered from all angles (literally). Discover 6 Ways to Improve Web Conversions Using Content The post 10 Tips To Improve Your Website Mobile Experience appeared first on Liquid Web.

A Complete Digital Solution: The Building Blocks of an Open Source DXP

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Today’s technology decision makers are looking for innovative ways to integrate various marketing technology (martech) tools and processes together, under the umbrella of a single platform. Early iterations of solutions such as Web Content Management (WCM) tools or Content Management Systems (CMSs) promised some of the needed marketing integration today’s businesses require in order to… The post A Complete Digital Solution: The Building Blocks of an Open Source DXP appeared first on WP Engine.

Codero Introduces Serious Support Simplifying and Expanding Its Support Offering

Codero Blog -

Codero, a global provider of value-added cloud-based technology and hosted infrastructure solutions, announced today that it has unified, simplified and expanded its managed service and support offerings under the consolidated brand of Serious Support™. Created to address the fact that no two production environments are exactly the same, Serious Support™ provides a highly customizable framework that enables customers to choose…

What is DRBD?

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Implementing a Linux DRBD can be highly complex, but enables High Availability systems that can save businesses money. Find out how DRBD works. Did you know that it is possible for your server to crash while your website remains online? Highly reliable databases are critical for online services to function in the event of a catastrophe. Therefore deploying dedicated High Availability Databases ensures they remain available, even if one node crashes. DRBD: A Highly Available Tool That Can Help This is where tools such as Distributed Replicated Block Device (DRBD) come in, enabling automatic failover capabilities to prevent downtime. With a Distributed Replicated Block Device, whenever new data is written to disk, the block device uses the network to replicate data to the second node. Through redundancy, businesses can protect themselves from downtime and financial loss, and get minimal to zero interruption during software and framework-related operations. High Availability Database Hosting is ideal for mission-critical databases such as healthcare, government, eCommerce, big data or SaaS. Complex infrastructures can be hard to manage, but a DRBD delivers improved resiliency and optimizes disaster recovery, making them worth a significant investment. In traditional architectures, all it takes for hardware shutdown is for one component to crash.” In a High Availability environment, when a server crashes due to a hardware or software failure, the second server where all data has been replicated becomes active and takes over the workload. Thus, the hot spare ensures full redundancy and resilience. Learn more about how HA infrastructure can help your business. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Different Types of Highly Available Storage DRBD is Linux-based open source software at the kernel level, on which High Availability clusters are built. It is a good solution for data clusters to replace solid state drives (SSD) storage solutions with low capacity. Easily integrated in any infrastructure including cloud, DRBD is used to mirror data, logical volumes, file systems, RAID devices (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) and block devices (HDD partitions) across the network to multiple servers in real time, through different types of replication. The other hosts need to have the same amount of free disk space in the hard drive disk partition as the primary node. DRBD uses a block file to synchronize a number of tasks, including the two independent HDD partitions in the active and passive servers for read and write operations. When the hot standby takes over, there is zero downtime because it already contains a copy of all data. Remember, high availability is all about removing single points of failure from your infrastructure.” What is a Hot Standby or Secondary Node? The hot server is a backup that allows load balancing to remove single points of failure. In active/passive mode, read and write (access or alter from memory) operations are run in the primary node. An all-round tool, DRBD can add high availability to just about any application. DRBD can also work in an active/active environment, in particular as a popular approach to enabling load balancing in high availability (HA) cluster configurations. In this mode, servers run simultaneously so read and write operations are run on both servers at the same time, a process also known as shared-disk mode. DRBD is an enterprise-grade tool that simplifies the replacement of data storage and increases data availability.” DRBD supports both synchronous and asynchronous write operations, which will be further discussed below in relation to the three protocol setups. In synchronous data replication, notifications are only delivered after write operations are finalized on all hosts, while in asynchronous replication applications receive notifications only of locally finalized operations, before the process moves on to other hosts. Primary and Secondary Nodes Commonly, in a small-scale High Availability two redundant node-scenario, one is active (primary) and one is inactive (secondary), also known as a hot standby that already has a copy of the data through network mirroring and replication provided by DRBD. They are both connected to a single IP configuration, which means the hot spare will immediately take over operations in case of hardware failure. The switchover does not affect the High Availability databases, which remain 100% available. How Does DRBD Replication Actually Work? DRBD architecture is made up of two separate segments that ensure high-availability storage; the kernel module for DRBD behavior and user administrative tools to operate DRBD disks. Because this architecture enables database mirroring and data replication through both synchronous and asynchronous write operations, DRBD is a flexible, virtual block device that can run on three replication protocols, known as Protocol A, Protocol B and Protocol C. All data replication is network transparent (invisible) to other applications using the same protocol. Protocol A constitutes asynchronous replication that can generate some data loss if host failover is forced. As previously explained, asynchronous data replication means that local write operations on the primary node (active/passive server situation) are considered achieved when local write operations are finished, and the mirrored data is available in the send buffer of the TCP transport framework. This setup is more common in replicating stacked resources in a wide area network. Protocol B involves memory synchronous (semi-sync) replication. In this deployment, no data is usually lost in failover. Local operations on the primary node are considered achieved once local disk write is complete, and the replicated data is available in the second node. Finalized write operations on the primary node may be deleted, however, if both nodes crash and data storage on the primary node is destroyed. This protocol is a variation of protocols A and C, and an example of how versatile DRBD can be in replication modes. Protocol C covers synchronous replication of local write operations and is the most popular scenario in production data replication. In this case, replication operations are considered achieved when replication confirmation is received on local and remote disks. DRBD is configured to use Protocol C by default, therefore to change the protocol setup reconfiguration in the file is necessary. To confirm that the two hosts are indeed identical and all data was replicated, DRBD moves hashes and not data, which saves time and bandwidth. In “split brain” situations in which node communication failures result in two hosts both being mistakenly identified as the primary hosts, DRBD leverages a recovery algorithm that ensures there is no inconsistent storage. Managed Hosting Can Help With Complex Infrastructures and DRBD High Availability DRBD is workload agnostic and a great open-source tool with features that enable it to work as a kernel module, certain userspace management applications and shell scripts. Organizations interested in DRBD virtual disks can take advantage of the open-source status and alter the software to accommodate their needs and applications. Managing a complex infrastructure is not a task many businesses want on their plate, but Liquid Web can build and manage custom hosting environments to ensure peak performance, reduce team effort spent on configuration and achieve business objectives. Not all companies have the proper resources to configure DRBD for their infrastructure, however they can always rely on a managed service provider like Liquid Web to do the heavy lifting for High Availability, especially when its product offering includes enterprise-grade tools such as DRBD software and Heartbeat. Get Your Free High Availability Checklist Today The post What is DRBD? appeared first on Liquid Web.

The top 5 global tech issues so far in 2019

Name.com Blog -

By Sam Bocetta Sometimes I miss the days when writing about tech issues involved writing about … well … tech. Ten years ago, a list of the top 5 tech issues would have focused on encryption, the advances being made in website builders, and predictions about the failure of the smartphone. Today, tech is a part […] The post The top 5 global tech issues so far in 2019 appeared first on Name.com Blog.

8 Common Hosting Problems (and How to Avoid Them)

Nexcess Blog -

In our annual State of Hosting, we found that uptime remains the chief concern for most merchants. Uptime, though critical, is one of only many things that can go wrong with web hosting, and the measure of a solid web hosting provider often means more than 99% uptime.  Within, we highlight how to resolve or prevent common web hosting errors like poor uptime, slow performance, and other key areas. Slow Performance Visitors have little patience for a slow site. Your product, customer service, and deals won’t matter much if it makes users wait. Over half of visitors leave a site when a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, and most of them will not return.  A slow site may not always be the fault of your hosting provider, though a credible one will do everything they can, such as: Providing optimized environments for your chosen application (Magento, WordPress, WooCommerce, Drupal, and so on) Current technology, though unproven “bleeding edge” tech can be cause for concern Provide scalable solutions that can temporarily or permanently meet the needs of your growing business What to Do About It If your site sputters, start with your hosting provider’s support team. Competent support teams will investigate the issue and resolve it if they can. If the cause is beyond their control—poorly written website code, an unpatched Magento installation, unexpected surges in your site traffic—they can help diagnose the problem and suggest options for resolving it. Beyond contacting support, you can try: Using a CDN service Limiting your use of dynamic content in favor of static content, especially on your high-volume landing pages Enlisting the services of a developer, or having conversations with your current one Patching the platform running your site Limiting your use of third-party extensions, and make sure the ones you keep are current Simplifying your web design Enabling caching on your content management system of choice, if available Poor Security or PCI Compliance With security, you have enough to worry about on your end without wondering whether your hosting provider is holding up theirs. No security system can claim perfection, but consider any of the below to be hosting provider red flags: Irregular or missing maintenance windows; though sometimes inconvenient, these represent a commitment to providing a secure and stable service Inability to provide secure file transfer protocol (SFTP); FTP is generally considered unsecure Failure to provide their AoC upon request (see below) Support can’t answer your questions about SSL, a fundamental need of nearly every legitimate website Unclear backup policy; while it’s best not to rely only on your hosting provider’s backups, every reputable provider will provide them Outdated versions of PHP or MySQL; your provider should be using versions well outside end of life (EoL).  What to Do About It The best policy here is prevention. Don’t wait until your host fails at security to verify its effectiveness. Ask your hosting provider for their Attestation of Compliance (AoC), and consider any resistance to providing it to be a huge red flag. And always remember that as a merchant, you must do your part for PCI compliance even after rolling with a PCI compliant hosting provider. Learn more about How Nexcess Helps Your Store Stay PCI Compliant. Beyond the AoC, check the hosting provider’s website, followed by their reputation. If they provide a fair amount of original content about PCI and security, then they likely have some experts on their team. If the hosting provider specializes in a particular platform, ask other people using that platform about that provider. People that experience problems with web hosts are rarely shy about sharing their story. Cost  Although “high cost” is a common complaint, it’s usually more productive to think in terms of value. For example, unmanaged hosting is usually cheaper than managed hosting because the former offers little more than a power source, the network, and a secured facility. Support is usually not on the menu. The end result is a low-cost hosting provider. This can suit the needs of some, but others would be wise to consider the value of well-managed hosting, even if it costs more in strict dollars. Managed hosting with a good provider means less maintenance, hands-free updates to server operating systems, and dedicated 24/7 support. What to Do About It If you feel your hosting provider doesn’t provide enough to justify their cost, it’s probably time to find another. Again, word-of-mouth and reputation go a long way here. Talk to others in your community—merchants using the same platform with similar needs—and ask them for suggestions. Go to a convention or two, spend some time on GitHub, or find a forum. Sure, it takes time, but it can save you downtime and headaches down the road. Slow Support When it comes to web hosting, troubleshooting is essential and expected. It is perfectly reasonable to expend your hosting provider to respect your time, and to respond to any service disruption to your service with urgency. Even if an outage is beyond the control of your hosting provider, they should be willing to communicate and sympathize with your situation throughout. Ideally, the more ways to reach support, the better. 24/7 support is pretty much the standard for modern managed web hosting, with reasonable allowances for shopping-season ramp-ups.  What to Do About It Assuming a slow response isn’t an outlier, express you dissatisfaction with a member of support leadership. Even when you have justifiable cause to be upset, keeping your temper in check while expressing your irritation often yields more desirable results. Humans act more efficiently when treated well and support teams are no exception.  However, if they’re grossly incompetent, then it’s time to shop around using the same method described in the above “Cost” section. Unclear Limitations When it comes to hosting, nobody likes surprises. This applies to uptime, bandwidth, storage, scalability, and many other facets of your service. Reputable web hosts will be up front with how they distribute resources and bill for their services, and provide additional details when asked.  That said, take the time to read the provider’s Service Level Agreement, which tends to provide reasonable legal wiggle room in the event of unavoidable disruptions to your service. The presence of an SLA is not in-and-of-itself a red flag—nearly every hosting provider has one—but taking the time to read it can give you a better understanding of what to expect. What to Do About It Prevention does a lot. Do your homework on your hosting provider and ask their sales or support teams plenty of questions. If they break a promise or guarantee, hold them to it! Site outages and downtime Downtime costs you money. Most web hosts recognize this, and adopt proactive measures to minimize downtime as much as they can. “One hundred percent” uptime is strictly impossible, as even the most conscientious web host must perform occasional maintenance, failing upstream providers, and other issues beyond their direct control. You should know about every planned maintenance window capable of affecting your service well in advance. The rare hiccup to your service is inevitable; the real tell is how your hosting provider reacts to it.  What to Do About It The more times you answer “no” to these questions after any given outage, the more you should consider heading for another host. Are disruptions and outages a rare event for this provider? Are they reasonably transparent?  Did they apologize (even if not directly their fault)? Did they respond to you in a reasonably prompt manner? If they proposed a timeline, did they honor it? Did they avoid accusing you of “breaking something”? Did they resolve your issue, or at least guide you toward a solution? If it was an extended outage, did they compensate you somehow? If they required action on your part, did they provide clear instructions? Poor Scalability Ideally, your web host will make it relatively easy for your service to grow with your business. One of the major selling points of cloud services is quick-and-painless scalability. Cloud technology makes it easier to allocate extra resources to your service on-demand, as well as provides a cleaner, migration-free path to permanently upgrading (or downgrading) your service. What to learn more about cloud hosting? ReadWhat Are the Advantages of Cloud Computing (and Hosting)? If you’re married to a non-cloud solution and need to migrate, your hosting provider should be discussing options with you before pushing for migration. Respectable hosting providers look for ways to improve your service before upselling. If migration is necessary, they are transparent about the process, listening to your needs, and keeping you informed every step of the way.  What to Do About It Cloud hosting is the answer in most cases. Yes, it tends to cost a little more than non-cloud hosting, but in exchange you receive flexibility. Your site will respond better to sudden, unforseen surges in traffic and be easier to move when your business outgrows your website. Inadequate Tech Stack  A stack is a bundle of software designed to run a server. They range in complexity and purpose, and not so long ago a Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) stack was considered adequate for hosting purposes. As modern web applications have risen to prominence and in complexity, this is no longer the case. In 2019, stacks also serve to accelerate performance for the web applications running on those same servers. At Nexcess, our cloud web application draws on 20 years of experience to build a stack with components that work together to provide enough resources for modern web applications. While established players like Apache and PHP play undeniable roles, we’ve expanded it with several other technologies, most notably Nginx, Varnish, and for Magento, ElasticSearch. Nginx Nginx is a full-featured, high-performance web server that excels at serving static content. In our cloud stack, it also handles Transport Layer Security (TLS) decryption necessary for HTTPS connections, and does so much more efficiently than other possible alternatives, like the web server itself.  Varnish When properly configured, Varnish takes over caching requests normally handled by Apache and Nginx, and so provides fast delivery of static and dynamic content. ElasticSearch (Magento only) ElasticSearch is a search engine that allows customers to quickly find one product among thousands. Available as part of our Magento cloud service, Elasticsearch is fast and scalable for both structured and unstructured data, with support for 34 languages. Looking to add ElasticSearch to your Magento store? See our website for details. What to Do About It Before drawing any conclusions about a hosting provider’s tech stack, engage with their support or sales team to explore their other offerings. Be wary of any effort that doesn’t ask specific questions about your goals or business. Ethical hosting providers will work with you to identify and fulfill your needs, as opposed to just offering a knee-jerk upgrade. Curious about how we optimize a CMS like Magento 2? Check out our white paper, The Definitive Guide to Magento 2 Optimization. Each content management system had different needs. What works best for Magento often isn’t ideal for WordPress, and so on. Experienced web hosts know the “what” and “how” of these optimizations more than players new to the game. If your store uses Magento 2, ask your provider how long they’ve been hosting Magento 2 sites, and what they can offer you that other hosts can’t.   Need help finding a web hosting solution that works for you? Contact our sales team between 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. eastern time, Monday to Friday. The post 8 Common Hosting Problems (and How to Avoid Them) appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothes

Liquid Web Official Blog -

What the cheapest way to ship clothes? Depends on how you package, how you fold, and the shipper you use, among other factors. See how to keep costs low. When you’re shipping clothing purchases to your customers, there are several considerations that can impact postage price. You’ll need to make some decisions about the presentation of your products, your brand image, how quickly you want products to arrive, and other key factors. All things considered, retailers can make an effective plan for shipping their products quickly and affordably by doing a little research and looking for the right customer experience. Quick Answer: The Cheapest Way to Ship a Shirt and Other Small Clothing Items Comparing different shipping methods for the same basic item allows you to start comparing prices and methods. Let’s start with a quick example. How much does it cost to ship a shirt? For FedEx and UPS, a small shipment like one T-shirt may exceed the envelope rate that is designed for letters, so these pricing comparisons assume you’re using a small box. USPS First Class Mail (generally 2 to 3 Days) large envelope under 1 pound: $2.66 to $5.54 USPS Priority Mail 2-Day Flat Rate 12 1/2 inch x 9 1/2 inch envelope: $7.35 to $8 retail rate USPS Priority Mail 2-Day Flat Rate 8 5/8 inch by 5 3/8 inch by 1 5/8 inch box: $7.90 retail rate UPS Ground (4 Days) for 8 5/8 inch by 5 3/8 inch by 1 5/8 inch box: $11 FedEx Ground (4 Days) for 8 5/8 inch by 5 3/8 inch by 1 5/8 inch box: $11 In this example, we’re sending a shirt from downtown San Francisco to downtown Chicago. USPS First Class Mail is cheapest overall at around the $5 mark, or even less depending on weight. Using an envelope or small box with USPS is roughly equivalent in price. In this case, either the envelope or the small Flat Rate box would get you postage at around $8. The envelope is still slightly cheaper, so If you’re shipping a large number of packages you may save some money using envelopes. That said, there’s a lot more to consider when you’re planning your shipments. Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter for more ways to increase profitability for your store. What’s the Cheapest Method of Shipping Clothing to Customers? Since there are several mail carriers delivering packages throughout the U.S. and internationally, it may seem tough to choose one for your shipping. There’s no one right answer here. Your costs depend on a variety of factors, one of which is the type of apparel you’re shipping. There’s a big difference between heavy, bulky items and lightweight, small items, for instance. That said, it’s a good idea to choose example items and consider what the shipping process would look like for them. For this discussion, we will focus primarily on the three major U.S. carriers, USPS, UPS and FedEx. If you are shipping internationally or to parts of the country where other carriers are of interest, you may want to do more comparison shopping for your shipments. How to Save Money With Your Packaging Your brand and customer experience are another important consideration. For some apparel retailers, part of the buying experience includes receiving a package with thoughtful touches, personalization, and delightful extras. Others pack purchases carefully but with a preference for cost reduction and efficiency. Consider the following 12 tips and pack your clothes with shipping costs in mind: Avoid extra cushioning Choose rigid packaging to protect delicate clothing items Pack inside inexpensive poly mailers Ship items together Weigh your packages as you pack to help you make adjustments Fold clothes carefully before packing Email receipts instead of including printed materials Ship using the smallest package possible Compare “by weight” costs with flat-rate services Consider USPS Flat Rate Priority shipping for distant destinations or heavy packages Look for volume discounts Offer a distinct premium experience as an add-on Even if you do everything in your power to control costs and standardize the packaging process, you will probably still find a great degree of variance in your shipping expenses. This is why you may want to use a shipping service or multiple carriers, depending on your sales volume. Shipping Clothes Through USPS USPS can be more affordable for shipping some items, particularly lightweight items. If your packages are under one pound, you can probably use First Class Mail for your shipments. Your costs may be higher if you send to a more distant recipient or send heavier packages. If you can, look for opportunities to use Flat Rate shipping and get volume discounts. First Class Mail and Shipping Clothes USPS offers a First Class Mail service as an economical alternative for small and light letters and packages. If your clothing orders are small enough, you can probably use First Class for most shipments. Pricing is determined by weight and distance, so keep a small scale handy for weighing your orders before sending them out. Expect to pay more for shipping to a distant “zone.” That’s Post Office parlance for destination distance. To determine how much you’re charged based on shipping distance, the USPS considers the “shipping from” and “shipping to” zones. The furthest possible distance that’s still considered domestic is zone nine, while zone one distances are close to you. You can use your zip code to determine how this is calculated by using the USPS Domestic Zone Chart. If you’re shipping a package that weighs at or above one pound, though, you should consider Flat Rate or alternative carriers instead. USPS only allows First Class shipping for packages up to 15.99 ounces. So if you’re shipping two shirts, weigh the package first. Flat Rate and Shipping Apparel For clothing retailers, there are several big advantages to USPS. It may offer more options and different ways to plan your shipping costs. Flat Rate boxes allow you to ship using Priority Mail and get items to your customers quickly and for a reasonable rate. You have a consistent postage cost for orders and could pass along a discount or incentivize shoppers to order more with the same rate. These rates may compare favorably with UPS and FedEx. How to Get the Lowest USPS Rates on Shipping Apparel Rates may be the lowest with USPS if you’re using the carrier to ship packages that weigh less than three pounds or if you use a volume discount. Using an envelope, you may be able to ship small apparel orders without much of an issue. Volume discounts of up to 40 percent off may be an option if you use a shipping management platform such as Shipping Easy or Pirate Ship and qualify for USPS Commercial Pricing. These prices are normally only available to retailers who send a large volume of packages every year, but small businesses can access these discounts if they use a third party for shipping. Additional Considerations With USPS Shipping However, although USPS does have a wide range of services and rates for shipping, you do have to think strategically about how you use USPS shipping. One example of this is Flat Rate service. The fixed price is a bigger benefit if you’re shipping heavy items than if you’re shipping lightweight ones like apparel. Shipping Clothes Through UPS Another carrier worth considering for shipping clothes is UPS. Their UPS Ground service takes 1 to 5 days to ship a package within the U.S. for what is usually a reasonable cost. You have a wide range of shipping options and pricing, too, if you need to ship internationally or change your shipping speed. UPS can also be a good option for shipping more unusual apparel needs, such as large boxes containing elaborate wedding dresses. Since USPS has specific limits on sizing and weight, and may not offer as many choices on when your items arrive, you may get more flexibility with UPS shipping that may make it easier to provide customers with a unique experience. When you ship clothing items, UPS recommends that you use their time and cost tool to help you determine the best level of service for your shipment. Shipping Clothes Through FedEx Shipping through FedEx is another option, particularly if you want your items to cover a greater distance or arrive quickly. Like UPS, FedEx provides a wide range of shipping options and offers you the choice of having the carrier assist with packaging. Their custom shipping solutions may be worthwhile if you have unique shipping needs. Pricing depends on weight, distance, and the type of shipping service and options you choose. Estimate your shipping rates with FedEx to see how much you can expect to pay. How Should I Pack Clothes for Shipping? Clothes don’t usually require much special handling or packaging consideration. In fact, you can probably pack a lot of your orders in envelopes and keep costs low. That said, there are packing strategies that can help you keep your items more presentable, help you control costs, protect sensitive items, or make the most of your shipping. Packing clothing is largely dependent on the type of item you’re selling. Consider the fabric type, decorative additions, and other details before you pack. Packing Casual Apparel Lightweight, casual fabrics may not require much protection at all. Keep them neatly folded to minimize wrinkles and provide a positive first impression upon arrival. You could use the KonMari Method. If you’re packing several items together, use a box. To pack individual shirts: Carefully fold the shirt to fit the packaging you’re using. You can roll the shirt to prevent wrinkles. A plastic bag should be enough protection for a single shirt. Place it inside the bag. Seal the plastic bag. Tape works well. Place the plastic bag inside a poly mailer. Place a shipping label on the outside of the mailer. To pack jeans or other pants: Fold the pair of pants at least three or four times and make sure you’re not wrinkling them in the process. Use a plastic bag to protect the item during transit. Place the plastic bag in a poly mailer. Choose a poly mailer that’s large enough to fit the item and suitable for the item’s weight. For some products, you may need a box instead. Place the label. Packing Formal Clothes Formal clothing items may require some special handling and protection. Wedding dresses, formal gowns and tuxedos are all apparel items you may need to pack more carefully to ensure they arrive in excellent condition. Expensive items may also need high-touch treatment when packing. In these cases, you’ll probably have to use a larger package with good cushioning. To pack a formal item: Choose a box large enough to contain the item without squishing decorative details or specialized fabrics. Avoid using such a big box that the item has a lot of space to move around in and become damaged. Place the item inside the box. If you fold it first, wrap it in tissue paper. Add packing and cushioning material to protect decorative details. Improve the Customer Experience Behind Your Shipping Free shipping is an increasingly popular promotion for online stores to run, but that doesn’t mean it’s free for you as a seller. If you’re offering free shipping, it’s absolutely imperative that you save money wherever you can. Even if you’re not offering free shipping to customers, it’s important to reduce shipping costs for your clothing items. After all, you don’t want to see customers add your products to their carts, only to abandon the process when they see shipping costs. At the very least, going through the process of researching affordable shipping will ensure that you’re giving customers accurate estimates of what it will cost to ship their purchases, saving money for everyone involved. By shipping quickly and keeping your items in good condition during transit, you can improve your customer experience and keep shoppers happy. Experiment with different packaging, methods, and shipping carriers to see what works best for your brand. In addition to the shipping strategies we’ve listed here, find out the four keys to generating $1,000,000 or more for your store. The post The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothes appeared first on Liquid Web.

How to Enable Cloudflare CDN on your Website

Reseller Club Blog -

A slow-loading website is one of the most common flaws that drive away your customers. Many businesses are unaware of the impact that website loading time can have on SERPs and customer retention. While many reasons may hamper the loading time of your website, the best you can do is use a Content Delivery Network or CDN to boost the speed of your website.    What is CDN? Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a decentralized system of servers spread across the globe that improve the loading time of your website. So how does CDN work under real-world conditions? CDNs are not hosting providers, but merely a middle entity between the host and the visitor. It saves a copy of your website on all these servers across the globe and displays the information to the user from the closest available server. This improves the loading time of the website, thereby delighting your customers.  There are many CDN available in the market, but one of the best and most renowned CDNs is Cloudflare. So, what is Cloudflare CDN, and how does Cloudflare CDN work? Cloudflare CDN Cloudflare is one of the fastest CDN services with minimal response time. Cloudflare functions by caching the website content and loading it from the closest CDN server resulting in faster page loading along with reduced bandwidth and CPU usage. Cloudflare CDN ensures that your website is always available, and if one CDN server fails, it relays the query to the next closest server.  Cloudflare CDN also offers increased security against DDoS attacks and traffic spikes, which is an essential feature as incidences of DDoS attacks continue to increase. With Cloudflare CDN, you also get access to a whole range of apps improving the user experience on the website. You also get in-depth analytics to make changes and improve the metrics.  Enabling Cloudflare on your website.      1. Create an account using your email address and choice of password. 2. Mention the site (domain name) that you want to enable through CF. 3. Select a plan. You can begin with a free one. 4. Review your DNS records 5. Change the Name Servers In addition to basic DNS and CDN services, the free plan lets you use/try many other services like SSL, Firewall, Page Rules, Caching, WAF, Smart Routing, and many more. You can find out more by visiting https://www.cloudflare.com/en-in/plans/#compare-features We recommend enabling CloudFlare to our hosting customers for the following reasons. Some of our Shared Hosting plans and all VPS Hosting & Dedicated Server plans come with limited monthly data transfer. Cached assets of your site such as HTML pages, javascript files, stylesheets and especially images and videos can keep the data transfer low and avoid any penalties (read our AUP/TOS) in extreme cases. Moreover, CF’s DDoS protection can work in conjunction with our default DDoS protection, and thus considerably reducing the chances of downtime during any such attack. Just like network, this can bring down the consumption of other resources for your website on the server. Thus prolonging the need to upgrade to a higher plan/product even when your business is growing rapidly. That’s all from this article! Hope you understood how does Cloudflare CDN work. If you have any doubts or suggestions, then please feel free to share them in the comments section below! .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post How to Enable Cloudflare CDN on your Website appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How to Build an Email List to Increase Your Online Sales

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Email: If you’re like most of us you use it every single day. So, are you taking advantage of that fact to get in front of your audience? We hate to break it to you, but if you’re not, you’re at a disadvantage. In this post we’ll explain why your website needs email marketing and how you can use it to boost your online sales. Email marketing and your website Are you finding that despite your best efforts you aren’t making the profits that you’d like from your website? It’s a tough reality that many business and website owners face. And it’s understandable considering you probably don’t have a six or seven figure marketing budget. How are you supposed to compete with the big guys? We recommend using email marketing and adding a sign up form on your website. According to MarketingSherpa, “More than seven in 10 (72 percent) U.S. adults indicate a preference for companies to communicate with them via email.” There’s a lot of opportunity in that number, so don’t miss out. Why use email marketing? Let’s consider why people are visiting your website in the first place. To start, they have to be interested in you, which is great. They’re visiting your site because they want to learn more about you or they want to purchase from you. By providing an email sign up form on site you’re giving them an opportunity to stay connected with you after they leave. You’re also giving them an easy way to keep you top-of-mind so they can come back to your site in the future. Oh, and did we mention that email marketing has a return of $38 for every dollar that you spend on it? Tips to increase sales using email marketing Here are our three best tips if you want to make the most of email marketing on your site. Make your sign up form easily accessible.Having a sign up form for your email list on your homepage is great. But having it available across all the pages of your website is even better. Many people arrive at websites after finding them in an online search. Oftentimes, these people aren’t taken to your home page, but land deeper within your site, like on a blog post. Don’t miss out on capturing their email addresses by only providing a sign up form on one page of your website.Communicate value.Big, blocky letters that scream, “Sign up for my list!” aren’t cutting it anymore. By providing more context and value in your call-to-action (CTA) for people to join your list, you better the chances that they’ll be interested and driven to sign up. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to sign up for a list that promised, “Discounts, deals, and insider info — for subscribers only!”?Use a template.Consistency is key. You want your subscribers to immediately recognize your emails and know who they’ve come from. Don’t change your colors, logo, and branding on each and every email as your customers won’t know what to expect and may unsubscribe from your emails thinking they’re spam. Pro-tip: Make sure your website name and domain name match, too! The more consistency you can provide for your customers the better they’ll remember you. What should I include in my emails? If you’re wondering what to put in your emails to drive sales, we can help with that. Here are some ideas that you can use to help strengthen your relationship with your email subscribers so that they’ll be more invested in you and your site. Coupons and offersEveryone loves to feel special. Let your subscribers know that they made the right decision to let you into their inbox by giving them a special discount or coupon to use on your site. Expertise and know-howAre you the expert in your field or about what you sell? Show off those smarts! Use your email to convey interesting, valuable information about your products or services to capture your audience’s attention and inspire trust in you. ImagesUse images in your emails to help convey what words can’t. If you’re selling products and talking about them in your emails then showcase a few. Clear CTAUse buttons in your emails to provide clear, distinct call-to-actions. Want someone to purchase a product through a link in your email? Label it “Buy Now” so there’s no confusion on their part about what you’d like for them to do. Email marketing and websites work together to increase business Your website will benefit from email marketing, so don’t hesitate to add a sign up form to your site and start building your email list today. Looking for more advice on your e-commerce site? Check out this post. The post How to Build an Email List to Increase Your Online Sales appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Start Selling Goods and Services Online

The Domain.com Blog -

How frequently do you shop online? If you’re like most people, you’re no stranger to online shopping. Each year the number of online shoppers climbs higher and higher, and we don’t see that trend declining any time soon. According to Statista, “Retail e-commerce sales worldwide are forecast to more than double between 2018 and 2023, surpassing 6.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2023.” Those statistics make starting an e-commerce website pretty appealing, don’t they? And if you need any extra motivation, think about how nice it’ll be to be your own boss, make your own hours, and be able to work from anywhere in the world. Starting an e-commerce website How do you start planning for your online business and creating your e-commerce site? Before we discuss the elements every e-commerce site should have, let’s talk about getting your other ducks in a row. In order to build the best e-commerce website you can, you’ll need to consider: Your ideal customer.Your products or services. Your differentiator, or what sets you apart from the competition and makes people choose you over them. Sourcing your products. Inventory.Shipping.What you’ll name your business and online store (hint: it should match your domain name for consistent branding.) Once you’ve spent some time on those items, you can get down to business creating a website to sell your goods and services so you don’t miss your piece of the e-commerce sales pie. First impressions matter Have you ever landed on a website to browse and do some shopping only to scan it and think, “This doesn’t look legitimate,” and then exited the site? What gave you the impression that the website wasn’t genuine or could be a scam? Typos and bad grammar, no product descriptions or photos, a lack of contact information, an unsecure website connection, and cluttered design are all reasons we’ve heard for people leaving a website without making a purchase. Elements every e-commerce website needs When someone lands on your website, they shouldn’t be driven away by any of the reasons we mentioned above. You want to inspire trust in your site visitors and help them through your marketing funnel so they’ll become customers. What elements does your e-commerce website need to inspire confidence in your site visitors? SecurityThe threat of having your personal and financial information exposed or hacked is real. With SSL, a secure connection is established between your site visitor and your website. That means any information passed from their end to yours (like billing details) is encrypted and kept safe from prying eyes. Cluttered designWebsites are visual things and humans are visual creatures. You can try creating your own website with code, or make life a little easier on yourself by using a website builder. Domain.com’s WebsiteBuilder offers specific themes already optimized for e-commerce and you can drag and drop elements within these themes to customize your site. Product photos and product informationAgain, humans are visual creatures. You need clear photos that accurately represent your products. You also need a clear description of what you’re selling. If not, you risk people not purchasing or purchasing, being disappointed, and leaving bad reviews for your new online store. Here are some tips on how to photograph the products for your e-commerce store. Typos and bad grammarIf your online site is full of typos and errant punctuation, you run the risk of someone thinking it’s a fake site that’s set up to phish for your personal or financial information.  There are many free online tools, like Grammarly, that can help you perfect the spelling and grammar for the writing and copy on your e-commerce website. Contact InformationWe know you’re doing your best. Even so, mistakes can happen. On the off chance that there’s an error in an order, your customers will want to know how to contact you. Make sure that information is apparent and available from the moment you launch your site. From a consumer perspective, your e-commerce site needs these things. Without them, you’re doing yourself and your online business a disservice. Are you ready to start building your online store? Check out Domain.com’s Website Builder today! With WebsiteBuilder, you don’t just get highly-customizable templates. With our business plan you’ll receive dedicated e-commerce features in your builder like: E-commerce shopping cartSell your products across web and mobile devices.Inventory managementTrack your inventory and stock.Payment processingChoose from Stripe or PayPal.Coupon codesYou’ll have the ability to offer coupon codes to your visitors and customers to drive more sales. So what are you waiting for? Get your domain name and start your online store today! The post How to Start Selling Goods and Services Online appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Secure and Protect Your Domain, Website, and Personal Information

The Domain.com Blog -

Do you want everyone with access to the Internet being privy to your personal information? No? We didn’t think so. Read on to find out how people can get your information and what you can do to stop it. Domain Privacy + Protection: Keeping your personal information private If you’re looking to purchase a domain name, or if you’ve already purchased one, you’ve surely seen mentions of “Domain Privacy.” But what does it mean? How is Domain Privacy + Protection any different? Let’s explore that. Whenever a domain name is purchased, the person or company registering it is required to use their legal, accurate personal information. ICANN, the international governing body for domain names, requires every domain registrar, like Domain.com, to maintain a publicly viewable “WHOIS” database. This database displays the personal contact information for every registered domain, which includes phone numbers and email address. It’s important to know who’s behind the websites you visit and trust the most, and where you get your information from, so there is a reason for having that information be available. However, there are a lot of bad actors out there who take advantage of the public WHOIS database and they scrape the base for numbers and email addresses. Has your phone number ever made it onto a telemarketing list before? If not, take it from the rest of us, it’s not pleasant. How about your email address — do you like spam? Ready for some good news? You can maintain the privacy of your information When you purchase Domain Privacy + Protection you’re making the decision to keep your details out of the WHOIS database and instead, provide the database our information. We have the teams and resources to deal with any spam volume that amounts from having our information on the database; this way, your precious time and information remains yours alone. Domain Privacy + Protection can save you a lot of headaches, just take Shiloh’s word for it. Go beyond maintaining privacy with protection Every domain registrar, like Domain.com, offers some kind of privacy product for your domain names. However, we thought we’d take it a step further and provide protection for your domain, too. In addition to keeping your information private, you also have to worry about the threat of hackers and human error to your domain and website. Domain Privacy + Protection helps to keep you safe from both of those things. Our protection services are powered by SiteLock and provide malware scans and blacklist prevention to maintain your online reputation. When domains get blacklisted, their site traffic and marketing will suffer. Stay confident that your domain name has a good reputation by using Domain Privacy + Protection. We’ll alert you if anything should happen so you’re able to take quick, corrective action. You’ll still own your domain name One question we frequently hear is, “Do I still own my domain name if my information isn’t shown in WHOIS?” Yes! You do. You still maintain full control and ownership over your domain name. Domain Protection + Privacy helps to prevent identity theft, unwanted spam, and the sale of your personal information to make owning your domain name a little easier and worry-free. How can I get Domain Privacy + Protection? Although you can add Domain Privacy + Protection before or after registering a domain name, we recommend doing it before. This way, your personal information is never made public in the WHOIS database. If you wait to purchase Domain Privacy + Protection, your information could be made public for a while and there’s no telling who will have seen it. It may take some time for all the WHOIS websites to clear their data caches and remove your information from public view if you choose to purchase it after your domain name. Ready to purchase your domain name and take your idea to the next level? You can do that right here. And let us know if you have any questions, we’re here to help. The post Secure and Protect Your Domain, Website, and Personal Information appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Should You DIY or Outsource Creating Your Website?

The Domain.com Blog -

When it comes time to create a website, you’ll face one of two options: DIY or outsource? Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and that’s what we’ll discuss in this post. So stick around and let’s explore your options for website creation together. Website Creation: DIY or outsource? That’s a great question and we’re glad you’re asking it. It shows you understand how valuable your website is and that you want to create it the best way possible, and rightfully so. Your website is the hub of your digital presence, it’s where customers go to find you, interact with you, and hopefully, convert. (That means they take whatever action you’d like for them to take on your site, like making a purchase or signing up for the email list on your blog) If your website is slow, clunky, or hard to navigate then your website visitors won’t be making any purchases or signing up for any lists; instead, they’ll bounce. If you have a high bounce rate, search engines will take note, and your website won’t show up as high in search results moving forward. So it pays to create a good site with your visitors’ preferences and needs in mind and to maintain your website. If you don’t, your site can get buried in the depths of the Internet. Let’s consider the following points to help determine whether you should DIY or outsource the creation of your website. What’s the goal of your website? Have you stopped to consider your website goals? Now is definitely the time. If you don’t consider your goals, how can you create a plan for success? If you’re a blogger your goal might be to increase the number of visitors to your site and the number of subscribers to your email newsletter. Why? Because those two things can help influence your bottom line by attracting advertisers or companies who’d like to work with you. If you aren’t sure what your goals are, or how to achieve them, you may want to consider outsourcing your website to someone with experience building similar sites so they can guide you. Or do you have clear-cut goals and understand how the layout and build of a website can influence them? If so, it sounds like you’re ready to DIY your own site. Have you created a website before? Creating websites isn’t as difficult as it was 5, 10, or 15 years ago. You don’t need a 4-year degree and a thorough understanding of JavaScript or any other programming language. If you’ve created a website before then we have faith that you can do it again! And if you haven’t, we have faith in you, too! Nowadays, there exists these handy tools called website builders. Website builders, like ours, turn website creation into a quick and painless process. Once you have your domain name and hosting, you can choose a theme for your site. The themes are varied and highly customizable, so you don’t have to worry about your site looking exactly like every other Dick and Jane’s site. You can customize themes by dragging and dropping different elements (like call-to-action buttons or about pages) exactly where you want them. What you see as you build your site is what you’ll get for a finished product. Are you nervous about creating a website? Don’t be. You can practice by using our free website builder that allows you to create a 6-page site (it’s free with every domain name purchase.) If after some practice you decide that you’re a website-building rockstar then good for you! As your business grows you may find that you need a larger site, so you can always upgrade your builder and hosting package and continue rocking those site creation skills. What if you decide that website creation isn’t for you? That’s ok, we can help with our full-service offerings. We understand you may not have the time to devote to a website, so we provide a service that encompasses the following. Professional Website Services Custom 5-page website including content creation for up to 3 pages.Drag & drop site builder so you can make changes to the site if you’d like.Professional branding because you deserve to look like the pro you are.Full website functionality including blog setup, photo gallery, and contact form. And if that’s not enough, we’ll even help with your marketing. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Managed Local Lift — working with online listing publishers like Yahoo! to make sure local customers are finding you.Content marketing. We’ll write articles and create content to support your organic search rank on major search engines. Monthly consultations with an expert because we’re here to help you succeed. Do you understand the time investment and maintenance a website requires? As much as we wish websites were set-it-and-forget-it, they’re not. (Although it’d be great, wouldn’t it — having one less thing to worry about?) Alas, we can’t change the way websites and the Internet work for you, but we do our best to make it easier by providing all the options you’ll need to secure and maintain not just your site, but your domain name, too. There are some bad people and automated programs online and you need to guard your website against them. You can run manual scans and attack the threats one-by-one, but the fact is, there are a lot more automated bots and programs than there are of you. If you’re new to building websites, you might not realize how essential domain privacy and site security are. Domain.com offers SiteLock Security products, domain privacy + protection, and more so that you can keep your site free from danger without needing expert advice. But if you’d rather not take any chances and have someone else worry about it, then outsourcing your website is a good option. A 3rd party can help you to build your site, maintain it as needed, and advise you as to the best security options and plans for your site. If I choose to outsource or purchase a DIFM (do-it-for-me) website package, am I stuck with it forever? It’s a valid question, and we don’t blame you for wondering. No, you won’t be. If you need help getting started with your website, don’t have the time to devote to a website right now, or would prefer someone else maintain your site, then outsourcing is the best solution for you right now. But that doesn’t mean things won’t change. Maybe you’ll hire some new people soon and have more time available to focus on your website and marketing; in that case, you can take ownership over your site again. You can switch plans with us at Domain.com for a self-managed site or make sure to ask any 3rd parties about future arrangements prior to outsourcing your site. There are many ways to build a website With so many options at your disposal, you really don’t have an excuse for not having a site in this day and age. Your website is the heart of your digital presence and your domain name is what leads people there. So don’t delay, get started today!  The post Should You DIY or Outsource Creating Your Website? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Delivering WordPress Security for a Growing Brand

WP Engine -

Envoy Mortgage, an independently-owned national mortgage lender serving retail originators, has been providing customers with a streamlined mortgage process since 1997. While their business has grown over the past two decades, so has their web presence, and along with it, all of the cybersecurity issues that today’s businesses face. With the proliferation of DDoS attacks… The post Delivering WordPress Security for a Growing Brand appeared first on WP Engine.

How Does a Clustered Server Environment Help Businesses Save Money?

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Server clusters of different types and numbers of nodes can boost your network uptime, performance, compliance, and scalability. Almost all businesses rely on online services for critical business processes, if not directly for revenue. Downtime and performance disruptions represent lost productivity and sales, along with mitigation, reputation, and other costs. The real cost of tech glitches and outdated technology could mean millions. For this reason, a large and growing number of businesses make a modest investment in upgrading their infrastructure to an architecture based on server clusters. What is a Server Cluster? A server cluster is a unified group of servers, distributed and managed under a single IP address, which serves as a single entity to ensure higher availability, proper load balancing, and system scalability. Each server is a node with its own storage (hard drive), memory (RAM), and processing (CPU) resources to command. A two-node cluster, for instance, means that if one server crashes, the second will immediately take over. Ideally, multiple web and app nodes are utilized to guarantee hardware redundancy. This kind of architecture, known as a high-availability cluster, prevents downtime if component failure hits. This is especially true if the OS fails, which does not have redundancy in a single-standing server. Users will not even know that the server crashed. In addition, there are two usual types of server clusters – manual and automatic. Manual clusters are not an ideal solution because the manual configuration of a node to the same data IP and address comes with downtime. Even a 2 to 5-minute downtime could be critical for a business, let alone cost money. On the other hand, when automatic clusters are deployed, an automatic switchover takes place as a result of previously configured software to carry out the switch. Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter for tips on infrastructure optimization. Why are Server Clusters Deployed? Server clusters are often deployed by businesses in order to avoid downtime and maintain system accessibility, even in the event of a critical hardware failure. For many businesses suffering from performance degradation, splitting off the database server can also enable fast and uninterrupted performance for high-volume workloads. What are the Types of Server Clusters? There are four types of server clusters, each meeting different business objectives and infrastructure needs. 1. High Availability (HA) Server Clusters High Availability (HA) clusters are an optimal choice for high traffic websites, such as online shops or applications, to ensure critical systems remain reliable for optimal, continuous performance. High availability clusters avoid single points-of-failure, because they are built on redundant hardware and software. They are critical for load balancing, system backups and failover, which combine to deliver full-time availability and ensure continuous website operation. Comprised of multiple hosts ready to take over when a server shuts down, High Availability clusters guarantee minimal downtime in case of overload or server failure. High Availability clusters can have two different architectures, either Active – Active or Active – Passive. An Active-Active cluster means all nodes work simultaneously to balance loads. On the other hand, an Active-Passive architecture means a primary node handles all workload, while a second is waiting to take over in case of downtime. When one component crashes, a secondary server, known as a hot spare or hot standby, immediately takes over, because the database from the primary server has already been replicated to other nodes. This is a lower-cost implementation compared to Active-Active. High Availability clusters ensure reliability, seamless scalability, more efficient maintenance and robust infrastructure security. Not only will users benefit from an enhanced website experience, but High Availability clusters help save costs through reduced downtime. 2. Load Balancing Clusters Load Balancing clusters are a server farm that distributes user requests to multiple active nodes to accelerate operations, ensure redundancy, reduce network congestion and overload, and improve workload distribution. Load balancing is a very important use case for server clusters. Requests are handled by the load balancing software, which directs them to different servers, according to a set of rules or an algorithm, and then handles the outgoing response. Load balancing allows for separation of functions and division of workloads between servers to maximize the utilization and availability of resources. High Availability clusters, for example, use a load balancer in an active-active configuration to respond to different requests and then distribute them to all independent servers. Workload distribution, in this case, can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical, depending on configurations and computer performance. In an active-passive High Availability cluster, the load balancer monitors nodes’ availability, so in case one shuts down, it doesn’t send any more traffic to it until it is fully operational again. Load balancing architecture also allows the use of multiple links at the same time, a feature that is very useful in an infrastructure with redundant communication. This type of architecture is extensively deployed by telecommunications companies and in datacenters to reduce costs, optimize high-bandwidth data transfers, and accomplish great scalability and availability. 3. High Performance and Clustered Storage A High-Performance cluster is made up of many computers connected to the same network to perform a task. High-Performance clusters are connected to data storage clusters, and together make up a complex architecture that can process data extremely fast. Storage and networking components have to keep up with each other for seamless performance and high-speed data transfer. Also known as supercomputers, High-Performance clusters are not as common as High Availability and Load Balancing clusters, but they are used by businesses working with resource-intensive workloads to increase performance, capacity, and reliability. They are widely used with IoT (Internet of Things) and AI technology because they facilitate innovation for projects such as live streaming, storm prediction, or patient diagnosis, and provide real-time data processing. They are heavily deployed in research labs, for media and entertainment, and in the financial industry, among many other industries. 4. Clustered Storage Clustered storage consists of at least two storage servers that scale performance, node space I/O (input/output) and reliability. Depending on business requirements and storage demands, clustered storage can be deployed in either a tightly coupled architecture, directed at primary storage and with data separated into very small blocks between nodes, or loosely coupled architecture that is self-contained, doesn’t store data across nodes, and delivers more flexibility. In a loosely coupled architecture, performance and capacity are limited to the capabilities of the node storing the data. Unlike tightly coupled architecture, in this setup scalability with new nodes is not an option. Why Should a Business Invest in Server Clusters? In the long run, investing in server clusters will save money that can be put to great use somewhere else. A clustered environment will manage hardware failures, as well as application and website failures to ensure uptime and availability, saving engineering efforts and potentially drastically reducing the costs associated with system recovery. When functions from network connection to storage all run on an individual server, businesses often deploy a clustered multi-server architecture to significantly improve flexibility and scalability. A single server can be scaled to accommodate increasing resource demand, as it is generally simpler for businesses to deploy an additional node to an existing cluster, particularly with a managed solution that enables them to do so with a phone call. Another key motivation driving investment in cluster solutions are availability and fast response. A clustered environment not only ensures hardware redundancy and uptime with High Availability clusters, but a cluster with a dedicated database server can have a major impact on website or application speed and performance, while also increasing the number of simultaneous connections supported. Certain regulations, such as PCI-DSS, also require databases containing financial information to be stored on a server which does not directly connect to the internet, making a server cluster a practical necessity for compliance. To make sure customers can reach a company’s services at all times, the network needs to have built-in redundancy, and the servers need to act as a single system. A clustered environment will actually lower IT costs and maintain the server fully operational because they provide continuous uptime. The clustered servers are configured to work together on a single network to reduce risk vulnerability and boost network performance. Businesses of all sizes should consider investing in a clustered server architecture because it will help them better manage processes, from networking services to end-user experience and other business workloads. All these workloads are assigned to applications, and they are rolled out on separate servers that communicate with each other and stay in sync in real-time. To eliminate single points of failure, a business can have as few as two and as many as hundreds of servers in the clustered environment. Each company can benefit from a custom-built infrastructure, specifically engineered for its workload. Look for a reputable service provider that offers help from experienced professional to determine the specific architecture that will most cost-effectively deliver the stability and consistency benefits of server clusters. Downtime is Expensive Research firm Gartner announced in 2014 that the average cost of network downtime was $5,600 per minute, resulting in an average hourly cost of more than $300,000. More recent global reports from Statista show that in 2017, 24 percent of respondents spent anywhere between $301,000 and 400,000 on one hour of downtime. An unlucky 14 percent actually ended up spending $5 million or more. In five of the most expensive and high-profile examples of hefty downtime, Amazon.com lost $220,318.80 per minute, Walmart.com lost $40,771.20 per minute, and Home Depot, Best Buy, and Costco all lost more than $10,000 per minute. If there is one lesson to be learned from these events, it’s that CTOs and CIOs should be concerned about downtime, the cost it will generate for their business, and how it will affect their company’s reputation and customer experience. Server clusters are a critical investment any business should consider adding in their budget for 2020, if it depends on reliable IT services. A clustered environment will boost performance, and ensure infrastructure availability, scalability, and reliability. Get a Complete Checklist to Ensure Your Website is Always Online The post How Does a Clustered Server Environment Help Businesses Save Money? appeared first on Liquid Web.

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