Corporate Blogs

Collaboration During Coronavirus

cPanel Blog -

Are you as ready as we are for these challenging times to be over and for COVID-19 to be a thing of the past? Despite much of the situation we face together being out of our control, we are trying our best to support you and your business as the world continues to grapple with the effects of the global pandemic. In the past few months, we’ve expanded our Technical Support to an office in Barcelona to help provide ...

Hosting Live (Virtual!) Events: Lessons from Planning the WordPress.com Growth Summit

WordPress.com News -

Back in January, my team at WordPress.com was busy planning another year of exciting in-person events — community meetups, conference keynotes, booths, and in-person demos — at large exhibit halls and hotels around the world. Then world changed overnight, and because of a global pandemic, our Events team — just like many of you running your own businesses — had to rethink everything about how we connect with people.  So we went back to work. We’ve learned so much in just five months, and it culminates in the upcoming WordPress.com Growth Summit — our first-ever multi-day virtual conference. It’s going to be a jam-packed program full of expert advice from business leaders and entrepreneurs. We’ll also have breakout sessions with our own WordPress experts, the Automattic Happiness Engineers, taking you through everything you need to know about building a powerful, fast website that works great for SEO, eCommerce, and growing your business.  In the lead-up to the Summit, we wanted to share everything we’ve learned so far about running virtual events, from YouTube to webinars to Facebook Live and ticket sales. There are dozens of great solutions for staying connected to and supporting your audience — here’s what’s been working for us:  Live webinars  In April, we launched a series of daily webinars, 30-minute live demos and Q&As direct from our Happiness Engineers, five days a week. These webinars walk people through the basics of getting started with WordPress.com. We also launched a few topical webinars — deeper dives into specific topics: eCommerce 101, growing an audience, using the WordPress app, and podcasting, to name a few. We chose Zoom to host these because it’s a popular platform that allows for key webinar elements like pre-registration/signups, screen sharing, and Q&A. We pulled these together quickly, so going with a familiar solution was key for us and our audience.  To expand our reach, we also streamed to our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels. This was a simple integration that Zoom offers already, and we saw our viewership grow exponentially.  Pre-recorded vs. live instruction  At virtual events, one question always comes up: pre-recorded or live? We prefer a combination! Live is great when possible; it gives attendees an opportunity to interact with speakers, speakers can personalize the content based on questions being asked, and attendees can interact with one another, forming connections with like-minded content creators and entrepreneurs.  Live content also has challenges: internet connections can cut out, computers can shut down unexpectedly, and there are more opportunities for interruption (does anyone else’s dog bark the minute you get on a live video?). It also requires all participants to be online at the same time, which can be logistically challenging. Our advice: Test, test, test! If a speaker isn’t comfortable presenting live, there is the option to do a combination — a pre-recorded session with a live Q&A in the chat. We’ve found it to work really well, and it gives attendees the same access to the presenter. The Growth Summit  We helped folks to get online quickly with our daily webinars and dove into deeper topics each month, and now we want to help you grow your site. Enter The Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, happening next week, August 11-13. We gathered frequently asked questions over the past few months, listened to your requests for live sessions across more time zones, and found inspiration from users that we felt needed to be shared widely.   The Growth Summit takes a deeper dive into topics and offers hands-on WordPress training for anyone looking to get online. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live, connect with speakers, visit our virtual Happiness Bar for 1:1 support, and connect with other attendees during the networking breaks.  Some key highlights from the agenda:  Using the block editorCustomizing your siteGrowing your audienceImproving your content ranking (SEO)Creating a marketing plan Expanding from blogging to podcasting Making money with your siteAnd so much more…  We wanted a platform for this event that would act as an immersive event experience. There are many great platforms for this, including Accelevents and Hopin. We’ll be experimenting with many of them in the coming months (Remember: test!). A few key features we looked for:  Ease of self-productionAbility for simultaneous sessionsOverall user experienceFlow of the event — central location for agenda, speaker bios, networking, and moreNetworking featuresAudience engagement — polling, live chat, and moreAnalyticsRegistration within the platformAccessibilityCustomizationSpeaker (virtual) green rooms The best part? This event is being offered twice a day so that we cover all time zones. And if you can’t join us live, attendees will have access to all content from all time zones, after the event. Register for the WordPress.com Growth Summit Today!

Hosting Live (Virtual!) Events: Lessons from Planning the WordPress.com Growth Summit

WordPress.com News -

Back in January, my team at WordPress.com was busy planning another year of exciting in-person events — community meetups, conference keynotes, booths, and in-person demos — at large exhibit halls and hotels around the world. Then world changed overnight, and because of a global pandemic, our Events team — just like many of you running your own businesses — had to rethink everything about how we connect with people.  So we went back to work. We’ve learned so much in just five months, and it culminates in the upcoming WordPress.com Growth Summit — our first-ever multi-day virtual conference. It’s going to be a jam-packed program full of expert advice from business leaders and entrepreneurs. We’ll also have breakout sessions with our own WordPress experts, the Automattic Happiness Engineers, taking you through everything you need to know about building a powerful, fast website that works great for SEO, eCommerce, and growing your business.  In the lead-up to the Summit, we wanted to share everything we’ve learned so far about running virtual events, from YouTube to webinars to Facebook Live and ticket sales. There are dozens of great solutions for staying connected to and supporting your audience — here’s what’s been working for us:  Live webinars  In April, we launched a series of daily webinars, 30-minute live demos and Q&As direct from our Happiness Engineers, five days a week. These webinars walk people through the basics of getting started with WordPress.com. We also launched a few topical webinars — deeper dives into specific topics: eCommerce 101, growing an audience, using the WordPress app, and podcasting, to name a few. We chose Zoom to host these because it’s a popular platform that allows for key webinar elements like pre-registration/signups, screen sharing, and Q&A. We pulled these together quickly, so going with a familiar solution was key for us and our audience.  To expand our reach, we also streamed to our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels. This was a simple integration that Zoom offers already, and we saw our viewership grow exponentially.  Pre-recorded vs. live instruction  At virtual events, one question always comes up: pre-recorded or live? We prefer a combination! Live is great when possible; it gives attendees an opportunity to interact with speakers, speakers can personalize the content based on questions being asked, and attendees can interact with one another, forming connections with like-minded content creators and entrepreneurs.  Live content also has challenges: internet connections can cut out, computers can shut down unexpectedly, and there are more opportunities for interruption (does anyone else’s dog bark the minute you get on a live video?). It also requires all participants to be online at the same time, which can be logistically challenging. Our advice: Test, test, test! If a speaker isn’t comfortable presenting live, there is the option to do a combination — a pre-recorded session with a live Q&A in the chat. We’ve found it to work really well, and it gives attendees the same access to the presenter. The Growth Summit  We helped folks to get online quickly with our daily webinars and dove into deeper topics each month, and now we want to help you grow your site. Enter The Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, happening next week, August 11-13. We gathered frequently asked questions over the past few months, listened to your requests for live sessions across more time zones, and found inspiration from users that we felt needed to be shared widely.   The Growth Summit takes a deeper dive into topics and offers hands-on WordPress training for anyone looking to get online. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live, connect with speakers, visit our virtual Happiness Bar for 1:1 support, and connect with other attendees during the networking breaks.  Some key highlights from the agenda:  Using the block editorCustomizing your siteGrowing your audienceImproving your content ranking (SEO)Creating a marketing plan Expanding from blogging to podcasting Making money with your siteAnd so much more…  We wanted a platform for this event that would act as an immersive event experience. There are many great platforms for this, including Accelevents and Hopin. We’ll be experimenting with many of them in the coming months (Remember: test!). A few key features we looked for:  Ease of self-productionAbility for simultaneous sessionsOverall user experienceFlow of the event — central location for agenda, speaker bios, networking, and moreNetworking featuresAudience engagement — polling, live chat, and moreAnalyticsRegistration within the platformAccessibilityCustomizationSpeaker (virtual) green rooms The best part? This event is being offered twice a day so that we cover all time zones. And if you can’t join us live, attendees will have access to all content from all time zones, after the event. Register for the WordPress.com Growth Summit Today!

Email Marketing for eCommerce: Your Guide to Getting Started

HostGator Blog -

The post Email Marketing for eCommerce: Your Guide to Getting Started appeared first on HostGator Blog. Did you know that email marketing has the highest return on investment (ROI) out of any other digital marketing tactic? It’s true. The median ROI for email marketing is 122%. That’s four times higher than all other digital marketing channels. The high likelihood of capturing additional website traffic from your email marketing efforts is the reason you should start building your email list as soon as you launch your website. If you’re new to email marketing, and the process sounds daunting, don’t worry. This quick guide to getting started with email marketing will cover: How to find a reliable email service provider (ESP)How to capture subscribersThe best WordPress plugins for email marketingHow to set up your welcome campaign By the end of this post, you’ll have the knowledge you need to get started with email marketing and to attract your first batch of subscribers. How to find a reliable email service provider Long gone are the days of sending bulk email messages to a giant list of subscribers. Today’s email marketing technology makes it possible to create highly personalized and automated messages that convert. Here are just some things you can do with one of the best ESPs on the market: Automate the process of capturing subscribers. ESPs allow you to create unique forms that send subscribers right to your designated email list. You don’t have to do any manual work. Send emails to a large list. Did you know that free email services (e.g., Gmail, Outlook) have caps on how many recipients you can include in an email, and how often you send large emails? ESPs don’t. Track emails. Every good ESP comes with tracking, analytics, and reports. These tools will help you see things like what content is converting, what your open rates are, and what links are most popular. Automate campaigns. Why send one email when you can send a sequence of emails? ESPs allow you to set up a series of emails that are sent out automatically, based on things like subscriber behaviors, date, etc. Customize email templates. If you’re not a designer, you don’t have to worry. The top ESPs come with various proven and well-designed templates that you can customize. Using a template is a much better option than a plain text email. Segment your lists. With the help of an ESP, you can create various lists and only send relevant content to specific customer profiles. For example, let’s say you sell shoes. You could create two lists based on gender. Then, you can send your men’s shoe collection to your male subscribers, and your women’s shoe collection to your female subscribers.  Create emails with dynamic content. Dynamic content is another big advantage of an ESP. Instead of creating two emails, you also have the option to switch out content blocks based on subscriber data. Sticking with the shoe example, you could create a unique block of content with the new men’s collection that appears to your male subscribers and another unique block of content with the new women’s shoe collection that would appear in the same place for your female subscribers.  These are just some of the advantages of using an email service provider. Keep in mind, when choosing an ESP, you have several options, but not all options are created equal.  At HostGator, we recommend Constant Contact. Not only does Constant Contact integrate with HostGator, but it is also easy to navigate, has robust features, and the reporting is phenomenal.  How to capture email subscribers for your eCommerce site If you already have some email contacts, that’s great! If you are starting completely from scratch, don’t get discouraged.  Constant Contact, and other ESPs, make it easy for you to build your email list via your WordPress website. How? These services provide a unique email form code to paste into your website.  When you paste this code into your website and refresh your website, you’ll see a gorgeous email subscription box. Every time someone enters their email address, the new email address will be added to your designated list in your ESP. When you sign up for Constant Contact and have a WordPress site, the process is even easier. Here is how it’s done. How to create a Constant Contact subscriber form in WordPress Step 1: Install the Constant Contact Forms plugin for WordPress. If you don’t remember how to install a WordPress plugin, here is a quick tutorial. Step 2: Sync your contact list or create a new list. You can sync your contact list by clicking on the “Constant Contact” icon in the right dashboard, and selecting “Sync Lists with Constant Contact” button on the top. You can create a new list by selecting “Add New List” and naming your list. Image source: Constant Contact Step 3: From your WordPress dashboard, click “Contact Form” and then “Add New Form.” Image Source: Constant Contact Step 4: Name your form and include a description of why visitors should subscribe to your list. Step 5: Select the Constant Contact list you want to add new subscribers to.  Image Source: Constant Contact Step 6: Edit your button text, personalize any other text, additional fields as desired, and design your form. Step 7: Press publish. As soon as you publish your form, you can add it to a webpage or blog post on your eCommerce site. Let’s quickly cover how to add your new form to a webpage and to a blog post. How to add a subscriber form to your web page in WordPress Let’s say you want to add your subscriber form to a static page on your website (e.g., your contact page). Here’s how you do it. Step 1: Navigate to your WordPress dashboard and click the “Constant Contact Form Icon” and choose all “All Forms” from the menu. Step 2: Turn your attention to the form page and copy and paste the shortcode of the form you want to put on your static page. Image Source: Constant Contact Step 3: Navigate to the dashboard and click “Pages” and then “All Pages.” Step 4: Find the page where you want the form and click “Edit.” Step 5: Click on the plus sign in the content box and choose “shortcode” from the options. Step 6: Paste the shortcode you copied earlier. Once you paste the shortcode, you’ll see the subscriber box on your static page. How to add a subscriber form to a blog post in WordPress One of the highest converting places to put a subscriber form is directly in a blog post. If someone finds your blog post, likes what you wrote, and wants to keep hearing from you, they can subscribe to your email list right after they read your blog post.  Here’s how to add a subscriber to your blog posts with the Constant Contact plugin. Step 1: Navigate to the dashboard and click “Posts” and then “All Posts.” Step 2: Click “Edit” on the blog post where you want to place your subscriber form. Step 3: Click “Classic.” Step 4: Place your cursor where you want your form and click “Add Constant Contact Form.” Step 5: Select your form from the drop-down menu. Step 6: Click “Insert shortcode.” Once you are ready to publish or republish your post, click “Publish” or “Update,” and you will see the Constant Contact subscriber form in your blog post. The best WordPress plugins for email marketing While the Constant Contact plugin for WordPress is an awesome tool, it’s not your only email marketing plugin option.  Here are some additional email marketing WordPress plugins to consider when setting up an email marketing strategy for your eCommerce website. Sumo This email marketing plugin helps you set up subscriber forms on your website in the most strategic places.  Here are some of the top places where you can place a Sumo email list subscriber form: A smart bar that appears at the top or bottom of your website.A list builder popup that shows up one second after page load.A list builder popup that is embedded within an article.A list builder popup that shows up after the user hovers the mouse over the address bar.A list builder popup with a call to action button that appears one second after page load.A list builder popup that shows up after a user clicks the button below the first paragraph.A scroll box that will show after page loads and upon user scroll.A welcome mat that will show up after the page loads and appear above page, and many other welcome mat options.And more! It’s easy to install the Sumo WordPress plugin, connect it to your ESP, and include forms in various strategic places on your website. Sumo also offers share buttons to help you boost your social media presence. MailPoet MailPoet is another cool WordPress plugin that allows you to get subscribers, set up automated welcome messages, and build newsletters from excellent templates right within your WordPress dashboard.  Additionally, you can set MailPoet to automatically notify your lists whenever you publish new content. Some other notable MailPoet features include: Customizable sign-up formsRemoves inactive subscribersSegmentationWooCommerce customers email subscription at checkoutAbandon cart emailsSMTP for WordPressAnd more! One of the best things about MailPoet is you can handle your email marketing right within the WordPress platform.  It doesn’t matter whether you use the Constant Contact plugin, the Sumo plugin, or MailPoet. What matters is that you sign up for one of these services, create your first list and sign up form, and start your first eCommerce email campaign. How to set up a welcome email campaign for your eCommerce website There are many different email marketing campaigns you might create, including promotional campaigns, holiday campaigns, product launches, and more. But, one campaign every eCommerce website owner will use is a welcome campaign.  A welcome campaign is the first email your subscribers will see from you, so it’s critical to make a good impression. Here is what you want to address in your welcome email: Build a relationship. If someone signs up for your email list, the first thing you should do is focus on them. This can include a warm welcome, a quick congratulations, or a reaffirmation that they made the right decision. Focusing on the customer from the get-go is a great way to go. Set expectations. Someone just subscribed to your email list, but they aren’t quite sure what that entails. Don’t leave your subscribers hanging. Instead, outline what being part of the email newsletter means, including when to expect content and what type of campaigns to expect. Address spam filters. Spam filters are so good these days, they sometimes even mark safe content as spam. It’s smart to ask your users in your welcome email to add them to their list of trusted contacts.  Include an offer. What screams “welcome to our online store” better than an introductory offer? People love discounts and special discounts, so give them one as a reward for joining the list. Thank your new subscriber. Thank yous go a long way. Do as your mother taught you and thank your subscribers for joining your list. Here is a good example of a welcome email from Bombas. This Bombas email is well-designed, it welcomes the subscriber into the Bombas family, and it provides a discount code so subscribers can start shopping immediately. Good work, Bombas. The process of setting up a welcome email is different for every ESP or WordPress plugin, but should be fairly intuitive, regardless of what you’re using. Here is a quick-reference guide to how to set up your welcome email if you’re using Constant Contact. Getting started with email marketing for your eCommerce website Email marketing is a must if you’re looking to boost website traffic and increase conversions. Thankfully, it’s easy to get started with an email service provider and insert your subscriber forms into your eCommerce website and any relevant blog posts. At HostGator, we recommend making the process easy by using Constant Contact. We also offer a free 3-month trial of Constant Contact. Get started today! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Network-layer DDoS attack trends for Q2 2020

CloudFlare Blog -

In the first quarter of 2020, within a matter of weeks, our way of life shifted. We’ve become reliant on online services more than ever. Employees that can are working from home, students of all ages and grades are taking classes online, and we’ve redefined what it means to stay connected. The more the public is dependent on staying connected, the larger the potential reward for attackers to cause chaos and disrupt our way of life. It is therefore no surprise that in Q1 2020 (January 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020) we reported an increase in the number of attacks—especially after various government authority mandates to stay indoors—shelter-in-place went into effect in the second half of March.In Q2 2020 (April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020), this trend of increasing DDoS attacks continued and even accelerated:The number of L3/4 DDoS attacks observed over our network doubled compared to that in the first three months of the year.The scale of the largest L3/4 DDoS attacks increased significantly. In fact, we observed some of the largest attacks ever recorded over our network.We observed more attack vectors being deployed and attacks were more geographically distributed.The number of global L3/4 DDoS attacks in Q2 doubledGatebot is Cloudflare’s primary DDoS protection system. It automatically detects and mitigates globally distributed DDoS attacks. A global DDoS attack is an attack that we observe in more than one of our edge data centers. These attacks are usually generated by sophisticated attackers employing botnets in the range of tens of thousand to millions of bots.Sophisticated attackers kept Gatebot busy in Q2. The total number of global L3/4 DDoS attacks that Gatebot detected and mitigated in Q2 doubled quarter over quarter. In our Q1 DDoS report, we reported a spike in the number and size of attacks. We continue to see this trend accelerate through Q2; over 66% of all global DDoS attacks in 2020 occurred in the second quarter (nearly 100% increase). May was the busiest month in the first half of 2020, followed by June and April. Almost a third of all L3/4 DDoS attacks occurred in May. In fact, 63% of all L3/4 DDoS attacks that peaked over 100 Gbps occurred in May. As the global pandemic continued to heighten around the world in May, attackers were especially eager to take down websites and other Internet properties.Small attacks continue to dominate in numbers as big attacks get bigger in sizeA DDoS attack’s strength is equivalent to its size—the actual number of packets or bits flooding the link to overwhelm the target. A ‘large’ DDoS attack refers to an attack that peaks at a high rate of Internet traffic. The rate can be measured in terms of packets or bits. Attacks with high bit rates attempt to saturate the Internet link, and attacks with high packet rates attempt to overwhelm the routers or other in-line hardware devices.Similar to Q1, the majority of L3/4 DDoS attacks that we observed in Q2 were also relatively ‘small’ with regards to the scale of Cloudflare’s network. In Q2, nearly 90% of all L3/4 DDoS attacks that we saw peaked below 10 Gbps. Small attacks that peak below 10 Gbps can still easily cause an outage to most of the websites and Internet properties around the world if they are not protected by a cloud-based DDoS mitigation service.Similarly, from a packet rate perspective, 76% of all L3/4 DDoS attacks in Q2 peaked up to 1 million packets per second (pps). Typically, a 1 Gbps Ethernet interface can deliver anywhere between 80k to 1.5M pps. Assuming the interface also serves legitimate traffic, and that most organizations have much less than a 1 Gbps interface, you can see how even these ‘small’ packet rate DDoS attacks can easily take down Internet properties.In terms of duration, 83% of all attacks lasted between 30 to 60 minutes. We saw a similar trend in Q1 with 79% of attacks falling in the same duration range. This may seem like a short duration, but imagine this as a 30 to 60 minute cyber battle between your security team and the attackers. Now it doesn’t seem so short. Additionally, if a DDoS attack creates an outage or service degradation, the recovery time to reboot your appliances and relaunch your services can be much longer; costing you lost revenue and reputation for every minute. In Q2, we saw the largest DDoS attacks on our network, everThis quarter, we saw an increasing number of large scale attacks; both in terms of packet rate and bit rate. In fact, 88% of all DDoS attacks in 2020 that peaked above 100 Gbps were launched after shelter-in-place went into effect in March. Once again, May was not just the busiest month with the most number of attacks, but also the greatest number of large attacks above 100 Gbps.From the packet perspective, June took the lead with a whopping 754 million pps attack. Besides that attack, the maximum packet rates stayed mostly consistent throughout the quarter with around 200 million pps.The 754 million pps attack was automatically detected and mitigated by Cloudflare. The attack was part of an organized four-day campaign that lasted from June 18 to the 21. As part of the campaign, attack traffic from over 316,000 IP addresses targeted a single Cloudflare IP address.Cloudflare’s DDoS protection systems automatically detected and mitigated the attack, and due to the size and global coverage of our network, there was no impact to performance. A global interconnected network is crucial when mitigating large attacks in order to be able to absorb the attack traffic and mitigate it close to the source, whilst also continuing serving legitimate customer traffic without inducing latency or service interruptions.The United States is targeted with the most attacksWhen we look at the L3/4 DDoS attack distribution by country, our data centers in the United States received the most number of attacks (22.6%), followed by Germany (4.4%), Canada (2.7%) and Great Britain (2.6%).However when we look at the total attack bytes mitigated by each Cloudflare data center, the United States still leads (34.9%), but followed by Hong Kong (6.6%), Russia (6.5%), Germany (4.5%) and Colombia (3.7%). The reason for this change is due to the total amount of bandwidth that was generated in each attack. For instance, while Hong Kong did not make it to the top 10 list due to the relatively small number of attacks that was observed in Hong Kong (1.8%), the attacks were highly volumetric and generated so much attack traffic that pushed Hong Kong to the 2nd place.When analyzing L3/4 DDoS attacks, we bucket the traffic by the Cloudflare edge data center locations and not by the location of the source IP. The reason is when attackers launch L3/4 attacks they can ‘spoof’ (alter) the source IP address in order to obfuscate the attack source. If we were to derive the country based on a spoofed source IP, we would get a spoofed country. Cloudflare is able to overcome the challenges of spoofed IPs by displaying the attack data by the location of Cloudflare’s data center in which the attack was observed. We’re able to achieve geographical accuracy in our report because we have data centers in over 200 cities around the world. 57% of all L3/4 DDoS attacks in Q2 were SYN floodsAn attack vector is a term used to describe the attack method. In Q2, we observed an increase in the number of vectors used by attackers in L3/4 DDoS attacks. A total of 39 different types of attack vectors were used in Q2, compared to 34 in Q1. SYN floods formed the majority with over 57% in share, followed by RST (13%), UDP (7%), CLDAP (6%) and SSDP (3%) attacks. SYN flood attacks aim to exploit the handshake process of a TCP connection. By repeatedly sending initial connection request packets with a synchronize flag (SYN), the attacker attempts to overwhelm the router’s connection table that tracks the state of TCP connections. The router replies with a packet that contains a synchronized acknowledgment flag (SYN-ACK), allocates a certain amount of memory for each given connection and falsely waits for the client to respond with a final acknowledgment (ACK). Given a sufficient number of SYNs that occupy the router’s memory, the router is unable to allocate further memory for legitimate clients causing a denial of service. No matter the attack vector, Cloudflare automatically detects and mitigates stateful or stateless DDoS attacks using our 3 pronged protection approach comprising of our home-built DDoS protection systems:Gatebot - Cloudflare's centralized DDoS protection systems for detecting and mitigating globally distributed volumetric DDoS attacks. Gatebot runs in our network’s core data center. It receives samples from every one of our edge data centers, analyzes them and automatically sends mitigation instructions when attacks are detected. Gatebot is also synchronized to each of our customers’ web servers to identify its health and triggers accordingly, tailored protection.dosd (denial of service daemon) - Cloudflare’s decentralized DDoS protection systems. dosd runs autonomously in each server in every Cloudflare data center around the world, analyzes traffic, and applies local mitigation rules when needed. Besides being able to detect and mitigate attacks at super fast speeds, dosd significantly improves our network resilience by delegating the detection and mitigation capabilities to the edge.flowtrackd (flow tracking daemon) - Cloudflare’s TCP state tracking machine for detecting and mitigating the most randomized and sophisticated TCP-based DDoS attacks in unidirectional routing topologies. flowtrackd is able to identify the state of a TCP connection and then drops, challenges or rate-limits packets that don’t belong to a legitimate connection.In addition to our automated DDoS protection systems, Cloudflare also generates real-time threat intelligence that automatically mitigates attacks. Furthermore, Cloudflare provides its customers firewall, rate-limiting and additional tools to further customize and optimize their protection.Cloudflare DDoS mitigationAs Internet usage continues to evolve for businesses and individuals, expect DDoS tactics to adapt as well. Cloudflare protects websites, applications, and entire networks from DDoS attacks of any size, kind, or level of sophistication. Our customers and industry analysts recommend our comprehensive solution for three main reasons:Network scale: Cloudflare’s 37 Tbps network can easily block attacks of any size, type, or level of sophistication. The Cloudflare network has a DDoS mitigation capacity that is higher than the next four competitors—combined.Time-to-mitigation: Cloudflare mitigates most network layer attacks in under 10 seconds globally, and immediate mitigation (0 seconds) when static rules are preconfigured. With our global presence, Cloudflare mitigates attacks close to the source with minimal latency. In some cases, traffic is even faster than over the public Internet.Threat intelligence: Cloudflare’s DDoS mitigation is powered by threat intelligence harnessed from over 27 million Internet properties on it. Additionally, the threat intelligence is incorporated into customer facing firewalls and tools in order to empower our customers.Cloudflare is uniquely positioned to deliver DDoS mitigation with unparalleled scale, speed, and smarts because of the architecture of our network. Cloudflare’s network is like a fractal—every service runs on every server in every Cloudflare data center that spans over 200 cities globally. This enables Cloudflare to detect and mitigate attacks close to the source of origin, no matter the size, source, or type of attack.To learn more about Cloudflare’s DDoS solution contact us or get started.You can also join an upcoming live webinar where we will be discussing these trends, and strategies enterprises can implement to combat DDoS attacks and keep their networks online and fast. You can register here.

Making Money Online: A Guide on How to Earn Money From Home

Reseller Club Blog -

One of the primary reasons people want to make money online is because there is little or no cost involved. Unlike brick and mortar businesses, online money-making has made the lives of the people a lot simpler. But that doesn’t mean making money online sitting at home is simple. It takes time and effort, but if it’s done the right way, then there is no turning back.  With this article, we will talk about how to earn money from home, debunk certain myths about making money online, and what kind of ideas can you think of to make money online. So, here goes-  How to earn money from home to get more income First of all, you need to understand that, to make money from home, you will need to leverage a skill. Now, this can be blogging or content writing, becoming a stock trader, becoming an affiliate, or even starting your own business online. You can pick or choose any one that you want, but today if we talk about good money from home ideas as a topic, some key parameters have to be taken into consideration. Here are some-  While making money from home, it is better if you have a skill set to leverage. This will not only be of massive advantage to you but also to the people who want to make the most out of your ability, which you can get paid for. You need to give this time. There is no quick way or shortcut to do this. In the sense that you have to understand that making money won’t happen overnight unless you garner a bit of experience. Patience is key.  Play to your strengths. This will help you in the long run. If you think giving information about something you like to talk about is your essential strength. Take up blogging or content writing.  Now that you know some crucial aspects of making money online, here is how you can actually start making money from home: Start your blog- Bloggers earn money working from home. And it has become a good side gig for a lot of people. If you have a topic to talk about, let’s say motorbikes. You can start writing about bikes and slowly and gradually increase the visitors on your blog. Once that happens, you can make money from home with Google’s ad sense, which will place relevant ads on your blog, and you can earn money as a publisher. Another option if you start your own blog is that you can give blogging as a service to several content marketing agencies and brands as a freelancer. This will provide you with a steady income working from home. If you want to get started with the same, you can read in detail about how to start a blog and make money here.  Become a YouTuber- Just as a blogger writes content on blogs, you can become a YouTuber and make money by actually talking about the same content by converting it into a script. YouTubers create their own channel and talk about their favorite topic and earn money from home through YouTube or by partnering with a brand. This has become one of the best ways of making money for those who don’t want to necessarily stick to the format of writing a blog. Buy and Sell domains – Buying and selling domains has been a tried and tested way to earn money from home. However, understand this, to buy and sell domains you will have to get in touch with a domain and hosting company that allows you to resell domains at a markup price. This will help you make profits and sell the domain under your brand name through your blog or website.  Become an affiliate- Becoming an affiliate is one of the most profitable ways of making money working from home. To start with, you will need a blog/website or a YouTube channel of your own where you are dedicatedly posting or creating content around the category or subject of your niche.  Now, in order to be an affiliate, you will need some amount of traffic and traction on your blog, website, or even your YouTube channel for a brand to leverage it so that it pays you for every sale that is made through your assets. Hence, it is recommended that you create such properties online, build them over time, and then become an affiliate with a brand who’s niche is relevant to what you do. In this way, the partnership will be profitable for both of you. If you want to become an affiliate and want to make money online, here is a step by step guide as to how you can be one. Start your own online store- You can set up your own online store selling electronics, jewellery, clothes, etc. It is a very novel way of having your online business and making money from the same. All you need to do is get a hosting package and a website/blog that sets it up and lists the products on the website. Marketing may take some effort, but mostly it is possible if you dedicate time and energy to the same.  So, now that we have understood how to make money online, we would like to tell you that to make money from home, you will, and you can have as many ways and means as possible. But one thing stays, and that is putting time and effort in creating content and giving information related items that are relevant so that users find value in what you do. In closing, we would like to thank you for reading this article about how you can make money from home. If you have any feedback for us, do let us know in the comments section below. We will try to answer your queries as far as possible.  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Making Money Online: A Guide on How to Earn Money From Home appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Working It Out, Together.

LinkedIn Official Blog -

2020 has arguably been one of the most challenging years in our lifetimes, and certainly the most unusual that many of us have experienced in our careers. Companies around the world switched – almost overnight – to remote working, and people have been relying on technology to stay connected to their professional network. This shift has impacted how our members interact on the platform and we have seen countless examples of the community sharing their stories, finding new jobs, upskilling with... .

WordPress 5.5 Release Candidate 2

WordPress.org News -

The second release candidate for WordPress 5.5 is here! WordPress 5.5 is slated for release on August 11, 2020, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.5 yet, now is the time! You can test the WordPress 5.5 release candidate in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the release candidate here (zip). Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the Beta releases and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing every release and a great way to contribute to WordPress. Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.5 and update the Tested up to version in the readme file to 5.5. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums, so those can be figured out before the final release. For a more detailed breakdown of the changes included in WordPress 5.5, check out the WordPress 5.5 beta 1 post. The WordPress 5.5 Field Guide is also out! It’s your source for details on all the major changes. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.5 release schedule. If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, fill one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – A Step by Step Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Reseller Club Blog -

Most bloggers and YouTubers start off by talking about their niche or topic of interest, thinking that they will make their channel/blog a vast community and earn some money. In a bid to do the same, they rely on Google’s AdSense or YouTube, which, in the very beginning, helps them make money to some extent. However, these sources have their very own limitations, which may reduce the scope of any passionate blogger or Youtuber to earn more money online.  Hence, most bloggers and YouTubers choose to become an affiliate by partnering with a renowned brand and market their products online by talking to the relevant audience, which is why, in today’s day and age, affiliate marketing is picking up and how! Interesting right? Which is why it becomes even more critical for such enthusiasts to learn affiliate marketing.  This article seeks to give a step-by-step guide to affiliate marketing for beginners, basics of affiliate marketing, its benefits, some tips for affiliate marketing for beginners, and the best way to start affiliate marketing. It will also cover other aspects such as dos and don’ts, when you become an affiliate marketer and how to become one with ResellerClub. So, without much delay, let us understand-  What is affiliate marketing?  Affiliate marketing is nothing but a modern interpretation of an old school idea- get a commission on a sale. It is the very basic of affiliate marketing. You are affiliated with a brand to promote their products or services. So, as an affiliate, your job is to introduce the brand’s products and services relevant to your readers by leveraging your expertise. And based on a sale, you get a commission from the brand. It is that easy! But how does it work?  Your blog or website already talks about something, right? Let’s say hosting or domains or any other product or service. All you need to do is place a unique affiliate code given by the brand/company to you on the article or content that they want to promote after you sign up for their program. When your readers are interested or attracted to the content and click on that link to buy the product, they will be redirected to the brand’s products and services. If they like the offerings and buy something, the brand will know that the sale has happened through your website, and that’s how you end up getting the commission. Brilliant, right?  Great! So what are the things I need to be aware of before I become an affiliate? So, like we said, as an affiliate, you need to introduce a brand’s offerings that are relevant to your audience. But, before you become an affiliate, here is what you need to know-  You and the brand should ideally get into an informal agreement, an affiliate agreement, where you decide the terms and conditions both parties agree to- commissions, payouts, percentage slabs on performance, legalities, etc. You might read about these terms and formalities at the brand’ s/merchant’s website under their affiliate program.  This was at a basic level of what affiliate marketing is and what you need to know before becoming an affiliate. Apart from making money online, there are many advantages of affiliate marketing per se. Here are some-  Benefits of affiliate marketing Affiliate, for beginners, grew as a channel, but later with time, it started becoming a part-time career for many people around the world. Apart from the fact that it acts as another source of income, here are a few advantages: Affiliate marketing is a low investment deal for affiliates- This holds because all you need is a blogging platform or a youtube channel to talk about, and getting either of the two is free or requires very little investment.  It’s a major marketing channel that is used by the biggest of the brands. Affiliate marketing is a very flexible and independent business- This attracts many professionals and freelancers because they don’t have to set up anything or even be at their desks all the time. Post your content with the code, and the rest is taken care of. Marketing kit is right at your disposal- The brand/merchant usually provides you with all the collateral required to promote their offerings.  The best way to earn passive income- As we mentioned before, this is perhaps one of the easiest ways to make money.  Surely with this, becoming an affiliate sounds great, right? So why don’t we understand how to become an affiliate. Allow us to give you a step by step guide to affiliate marketing for beginners-  How to start affiliate marketing for beginners 1. Choose a platform- In theory, you can choose any platform that you want to when you want to become an affiliate marketer. It could be Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or even your blog. If you already have a good amount of traffic or subscribers on your platform, you can start by putting affiliate links. But ensure that your blog or YouTube channel is also optimized for the search engines because that will inevitably help you get more traction.  2. Decide your niche for content – It is true that the affiliate space is crowded. So, to stand out, choose your niche wisely. Talk about what interests you but also make sure that it grabs the eyeballs of a specific audience. This way, it will be easy for you to rank better in the search engines. Also, you need not be a subject matter expert. You can read about the topic and document what you learned. At times documented content is the best content, so ensure that you have decided on your niche first and then start. 3. Finding the right program- There are different types of affiliate programs. Some have high payouts, but the low volume (of customers), some are low paying but have high volume, and some are high volume high payout programs. Before choosing a program based on the affiliate structure of volume/payout, check what your niche is all about and it’s kind of traction. Based on this, you can choose an affiliate program for yourself.  Also, check the product’s reputation and the brand that’s offering the product by searching about it on Google before selecting an affiliate program. One of the best ways of affiliate marketing for beginners is to join bigger affiliate networks if you want to. This will help other brands notice you and understand what you have to offer. It also serves as a great platform to hunt different clients for affiliates.  Another option you may want to try out is by personally reaching out to companies. By all means, you have many options for getting in touch with a brand that understands your niche.  4. Creating content and driving relevant traffic to your site/channel- As we mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be an expert on the topic. In the best-case scenario, talk about it interestingly. That is more likely to get you the commissions you need.  Create content that excites users. Make your content actionable and ensure that you answer the 5Ws and 1H (what, when, why, where, who, and how) to understand your audiences’ wants and desires. Provide content that educates and entertains your readers and not just talks about the product or the brand per se. There has to be a final takeaway for your audience. This will lay the foundation for your content and then also help you understand where and how you need to plug-in the product or service.  You can use different marketing tactics to get more traffic if you want, such as SEM or SEO or some such. The bottom line is you can do this by yourself without really needing any special knowledge about the topic.  5.Clicks and sales conversion Once you are done writing or talking about your content, it is of utmost importance that you place the product links correctly. That will eventually drive sales and commissions for you when it comes to affiliate marketing. So here is what you need to do if you are writing a blog, always talk about the product or service in this way-  Today, I will be reviewing hosting products that you can buy from (brand name) at USD 30. They are productname1, productname2, and productname3.  This format is easier, and also, the readers or viewers can understand better, and if they need to click on it, they can.  Most importantly, ensure that you are placing the right promo code and linking it to the right product of the brand you are promoting.  Setting yourself up as an affiliate Now that you have understood the basics of affiliate marketing with a step by step guide that we shared, here is the best way to start affiliate marketing and set yourself up with basic dos and don’ts-  Things you will need- As mentioned, you will need your platform to start as an affiliate. It could be a blog, YouTube channel, or even social media handles. Apart from this, you will also need the content/campaign promo material, promo code, and collateral from the brand that needs to be advertised on your channel.  Do’s and don’ts- Always promote a product you like talking about or have a strong liking or passion for because that seeps into your content, and it becomes easier for you to sell and even promote. Don’t just do it for a commission, which you won’t get if a sale is not made. Also, understand the terms and conditions of your brand partner/merchant’s services and ensure that you understand each other’s expectations.  Also, don’t overdo the banners or collateral material shared with you thinking that you will get more commissions. It is always sales-based, and the better you present your content, the higher the chances of conversion.  We hope this article informed you of everything you needed to know about becoming an affiliate. If you want to kickstart this process, you can also become an affiliate with ResellerClub and promote their hosting products and services on your blog, YouTube channel, or social media.  Some of the benefits of becoming a ResellerClub affiliate are as follows Timely payouts- Based on the deal you have with our team, you will be given payouts based on the decided commission.  Dedicated affiliate manager- This person will be there to co-ordinate and help you with what products need to be promoted, etc. In this way, you will have a single point to contact to take you through everything.  Amazing tracking system- One of the key areas where most affiliate marketing faces hurdles is tracking and attributing the traffic and sales coming on the merchant’s website. We have those checks in place, thanks to Impact Radius, that helps us track the performance of our affiliates. Ready collaterals for promotion-  All the marketing material you need will be available to you.  Thank you so much for reading Affiliate Marketing for beginners- A step by step guide to affiliate marketing. With this, we hope that we have addressed every aspect of affiliate marketing, right from the basics of affiliate marketing to a step by step guide to affiliate marketing as well as how to start affiliate marketing for beginners. If you have any other doubts with respect to affiliate marketing or even with accordance to how to start affiliate marketing for beginners, please leave your queries below or reach us at affiliates@resellerclub.com .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – A Step by Step Guide to Affiliate Marketing appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How Will COVID-19 Impact eCommerce This Holiday Season? (3 Predictions)

HostGator Blog -

The post How Will COVID-19 Impact eCommerce This Holiday Season? (3 Predictions) appeared first on HostGator Blog. Retailers know that winter holiday gift shopping is what keeps the industry going, and until this year, holiday sales figures were on a roll, steadily climbing year after year.  Now, though, many consumers say they’re not sure if they’ll spend as much in 2020 as in years past. Some are already committed to spending less. And many say they’ve made big changes in how they plan to shop for holiday gifts this year. Here’s what small online retailers need to know now about consumers’ holiday 2020 spending plans, popular gift categories and potential changes to major sales days. Use this info to plan your holiday season marketing, product selection, pricing, and promotions. eCommerce looks different this year. Ordinarily, the holiday season is the big event retailers spend all year preparing for. The sheer volume of site traffic, orders, and fulfillment requests pushes many sellers to their limit. Think of it as the big marathon you’ve been training for. But things are different now. What’s changing? With many stores closed and people sheltering at home, everyday eCommerce volume is way, way up over previous years. Every day in April, for example, eCommerce sites overall had more traffic than they did on Black Friday 2019, the most popular shopping day of the holiday season. That’s like running a marathon a day since shutdowns began. What do the changes mean? Does this mean your holiday season will be even bigger than in a regular year? Or will consumers tap out their budgets before the holidays? No one’s really sure yet, because factors like pent-up demand from consumers who’ve so far escaped financial damage may drive holiday sales.  However, it’s a safe bet that if your customers are already price-sensitive, they will be even more so this winter. In early 2020, 42% of consumers said they made their 2019 online purchases based on price, and 24% said they never paid full price online. That survey was taken when unemployment was at a 50-year low. Now, it’s close to 11%.  What you can do now Review your metrics to see if  Your bestsellers have changed from more to less expensive items.Your discount offers are getting more conversions than during the same time last year.The price points on your customers’ most recent wishlist items have dropped. This data can show you if your customers are scaling back their spending and searching for more deals. If so, they’ll probably expect great deals and the lowest possible prices during the holidays.  Focus on products that fit your customers’ price range and wishlist trends. And start planning your discount offers, free shipping, and other promotions to keep your holiday shoppers happy. The holiday sales calendar might get weird. In previous years, more than a third of consumers started their holiday gift-buying before November. But the long weekend that includes Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday accounted for a huge proportion of eCommerce and retail sales. This graph from the 2019 National Retail Federation holiday consumer survey shows how things usually go: What’s changing? In-store Black Friday sales almost certainly won’t be anything like the crowded events of yesteryear. Macy’s, and presumably other retailers, are looking at buy-online, pickup-curbside options to reduce in-store crowding, and more shoppers may stick to buying online instead of returning to physical stores. That could mean even more website traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The biggest unknown right now is when Amazon Prime Day will happen. From 2015 until last July, Prime Day was the biggest online shopping event of the summer, racking up more than $7 billion in sales in 2019. This year, the eCommerce giant has postponed Prime Day until the fall, possibly in early October.  What do the changes mean? What happens when you move a $7 billion, single-retailer sales event to the month before Black Friday? No one can say for sure, but if shoppers grab holiday gifts then, they may spend less on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What you can do now Watch for Amazon’s announcement of its 2020 Prime Day date. Start thinking about promotions you could run at the same time as Prime Day, to encourage your customers to stick with you.  If you’re not already offering your products on Amazon as well as your own website, consider getting started so you can get in on the Prime Day frenzy, whenever it happens. And now’s a good time to make sure your hosting plan can scale up to accommodate any surges in traffic this holiday season. Bestselling product categories may change this year. Some of the products that seem to always make the top 10 list for holiday gift-giving may not do as well this year. Consider this list from the NRF 2019 holiday consumer survey: Clothing may still do well because of seasonal shifts and holiday traditions. Now more than ever, we need matching flannel pajamas for lounging at home in style, for example. Books and media, toys and food all seem like safe, comforting bets for holiday gifting. What’s changing? Jewelry sales haven’t fared well since the start of the pandemic, with retailers ranging from Kay to Tiffany reporting big sales drops. It’s unclear whether shoppers will shift gears and treat their loved ones to jewelry during the holidays. Demand for cash has been dropping, too, since the CDC recommended that retail workers avoid handling it.  What do the changes mean? To avoid gifting cash, shoppers may buy more gift cards this holiday season. Gift cards are already gaining popularity with shoppers looking to support their favorite local businesses. Google has even added a way for shoppers to buy gift cards from retailers’ Google My Business profiles. As for jewelry, sales aren’t down in all markets. Chinese shoppers are the bright spot for jewelry and other luxury brands right now, according to CNN Business, as their economy starts to recover from the initial impact of the pandemic. What you can do now Keep tabs on sales trends for each of your product categories as the holidays approach. Think about discounts and promotions that could boost slower-selling items you have in-stock. Offer gift cards and plan gift card promotions for the holidays.  If your store offers products that are selling slowly at home but faster abroad, you may want to start selling across borders to boost your revenue. International marketplaces can be an easy tool for  building a customer base overseas. What else do consumers expect when they shop for the holidays? Online stores that load fast, don’t crash and protect their data. If you need to upgrade your hosting plan, now’s the time. Get started with HostGator today. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Cloudflare Network Interconnection Partnerships Launch

CloudFlare Blog -

Today we’re excited to announce Cloudflare’s Network Interconnection Partner Program, in support of our new CNI product. As ever more enterprises turn to Cloudflare to secure and accelerate their branch and core networks, the ability to connect privately and securely becomes increasingly important. Today's announcement significantly increases the interconnection options for our customers, allowing them to connect with us in the location of their choice using the method or vendors they prefer. In addition to our physical locations, our customers can now interconnect with us at any of 23 metro areas across five continents using software-defined layer 2 networking technology. Following the recent release of CNI (which includes PNI support for Magic Transit), customers can now order layer 3 DDoS protection in any of the markets below, without requiring physical cross connects, providing private and secure links, with simpler setup.Launch PartnersWe’re very excited to announce that five of the world's premier interconnect platforms are available at launch. Console Connect by PCCW Global in 14 locations, Megaport in 14 locations, PacketFabric in 15 locations, Equinix ECX Fabric™ in 8 locations and Zayo Tranzact in 3 locations, spanning North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. What is an Interconnection Platform?Like much of the networking world, there are many terms in the interconnection space for the same thing: Cloud Exchange, Virtual Cross Connect Platform and Interconnection Platform are all synonyms. They are platforms that allow two networks to interconnect privately at layer 2, without requiring additional physical cabling. Instead the customer can order a port and a virtual connection on a dashboard, and the interconnection ‘fabric’ will establish the connection. Since many large customers are already connected to these fabrics for their connections to traditional Cloud providers, it is a very convenient method to establish private connectivity with Cloudflare.Why interconnect virtually?Cloudflare has an extensive peering infrastructure and already has private links to thousands of other networks. Virtual private interconnection is particularly attractive to customers with strict security postures and demanding performance requirements, but without the added burden of ordering and managing additional physical cross connects and expanding their physical infrastructure.Key Benefits of Interconnection PlatformsSecureSimilar to physical PNI, traffic does not pass across the Internet. Rather, it flows from the customer router, to the Interconnection Platform’s network and ultimately to Cloudflare. So while there is still some element of shared infrastructure, it’s not over the public Internet.EfficientModern PNIs are typically a minimum of 1Gbps, but if you have the security motivation without the sustained 1Gbps data transfer rates, then you will have idle capacity. Virtual connections provide for “sub-rate” speeds, which means less than 1Gbps, such as 100Mbps, meaning you only pay for what you use. Most providers also allow some level of “burstiness”, which is to say you can exceed that 100Mbps limit for short periods.PerformanceBy avoiding the public Internet, virtual links avoid Internet congestion.PriceThe major cloud providers typically have different pricing for egressing data to the Internet compared to an Interconnect Platform. By connecting to your cloud via an Interconnect Partner, you can benefit from those reduced egress fees between your cloud and the Interconnection Platform. This builds on our Bandwidth Alliance to give customers more options to continue to drive down their network costs.Less OverheadBy virtualizing, you reduce physical cable management to just one connection into the Interconnection Platform. From there, everything defined and managed in software. For example, ordering a 100Mbps link to Cloudflare can be a few clicks in a Dashboard, as would be a 100Mbps link into Salesforce.Data Center IndependenceIs your infrastructure in the same metro, but in a different facility to Cloudflare? An Interconnection Platform can bring us together without the need for additional physical links.Where can I connect?In any of our physical facilitiesIn any of the 23 metro areas where we are currently connected to an Interconnection Platform (see below)If you’d like to connect virtually in a location not yet listed below, simply get in touch via our interconnection page and we’ll work out the best way to connect.Metro AreasThe metro areas below have currently active connections. New providers and locations can be turned up on request.What’s next?Our customers have been asking for direct on-ramps to our global network for a long time and we’re excited to deliver that today with both physical and virtual connectivity of the world’s leading interconnection Platforms.Already a Cloudflare customer and connected with one of our Interconnection partners? Then contact your account team today to get connected and benefit from improved reliability, security and privacy of Cloudflare Network Interconnect via our interconnection partners.Are you an Interconnection Platform with customers demanding direct connectivity to Cloudflare? Head to our partner program page and click “Become a partner”. We’ll continue to add platforms and partners according to customer demand."Equinix and Cloudflare share the vision of software-defined, virtualized and API-driven network connections. The availability of Cloudflare on the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric demonstrates that shared vision and we’re excited to offer it to our joint customers today." – Joseph Harding, Equinix, Vice President, Global Product & Platform MarketingSoftware Developer "Cloudflare and Megaport are driven to offer greater flexibility to our customers. In addition to accessing Cloudflare’s platform on Megaport’s global internet exchange service, customers can now provision on-demand, secure connections through our Software Defined Network directly to Cloudflare Network Interconnect on-ramps globally. With over 700 enabled data centres in 23 countries, Megaport extends the reach of CNI onramps to the locations where enterprises house their critical IT infrastructure. Because Cloudflare is interconnected with our SDN, customers can point, click, and connect in real time. We’re delighted to grow our partnership with Cloudflare and bring CNI to our services ecosystem — allowing customers to build multi-service, securely-connected IT architectures in a matter of minutes." – Matt Simpson, Megaport, VP of Cloud Services “The ability to self-provision direct connections to Cloudflare’s network from Console Connect is a powerful tool for enterprises as they come to terms with new demands on their networks. We are really excited to bring together Cloudflare’s industry-leading solutions with PCCW Global’s high-performance network on the Console Connect platform, which will deliver much higher levels of network security and performance to businesses worldwide.” – Michael Glynn, PCCW Global, VP of Digital Automated Innovation "Our customers can now connect to Cloudflare via a private, secure, and dedicated connection via the PacketFabric Marketplace. PacketFabric is proud to be the launch partner for Cloudflare's Interconnection program. Our large U.S. footprint provides the reach and density that Cloudflare customers need." – Dave Ward, PacketFabric CEO

Introducing Cloudflare Network Interconnect

CloudFlare Blog -

Today we’re excited to announce Cloudflare Network Interconnect (CNI). CNI allows our customers to interconnect branch and HQ locations directly with Cloudflare wherever they are, bringing Cloudflare’s full suite of network functions to their physical network edge. Using CNI to interconnect provides security, reliability, and performance benefits vs. using the public Internet to connect to Cloudflare. And because of Cloudflare’s global network reach, connecting to our network is straightforward no matter where on the planet your infrastructure and employees are.At its most basic level, an interconnect is a link between two networks. Today, we’re offering customers the following options to interconnect with Cloudflare’s network:Via a private network interconnect (PNI). A physical cable (or a virtual “pseudo-wire”; more on that later) that connects two networks.Over an Internet Exchange (IX). A common switch fabric where multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet networks can interconnect with each other.To use a real world analogy: Cloudflare over the years has built a network of highways across the Internet to handle all our customers' traffic. We’re now providing dedicated on-ramps for our customers’ on-prem networks to get onto those highways.Why interconnect with Cloudflare?CNI provides more reliable, faster, and more private connectivity between your infrastructure and Cloudflare’s. This delivers benefits across our product suite. Here are some examples of specific products and how you can combine them with CNI:Cloudflare Access: Cloudflare Access replaces corporate VPNs with Cloudflare’s network. Instead of placing internal tools on a private network, teams deploy them in any environment, including hybrid or multi-cloud models, and secure them consistently with Cloudflare’s network. CNI allows you to bring your own MPLS network to meet ours, allowing your employees to connect to your network securely and quickly no matter where they are.CDN: Cloudflare’s CDN places content closer to visitors, improving site speed while minimizing origin load. CNI improves cache fill performance and reduces costs.Magic Transit: Magic Transit protects datacenter and branch networks from unwanted attack and malicious traffic. Pairing Magic Transit with CNI decreases jitter and drives throughput improvements, and further hardens infrastructure from attack.Cloudflare Workers: Workers is Cloudflare’s serverless compute platform. Integrating with CNI provides a secure connection to serverless cloud compute that does not traverse the public Internet, allowing customers to use Cloudflare’s unique set of Workers services with tighter network performance tolerances.Let’s talk more about how CNI delivers these benefits.Improving performance through interconnectionCNI is a great way to boost performance for many existing Cloudflare products. By utilizing CNI and setting up interconnection with Cloudflare wherever a customer’s origin infrastructure is, customers can get increased performance and security at lower cost than using public transit providers.CNI makes things fasterAs an example of the performance improvements network interconnects can deliver for Cloudflare customers, consider an HTTP application workload which flows through Cloudflare’s CDN and WAF. Many of our customers rely on our CDN to make their HTTP applications more responsive.Cloudflare caches content very close to end users to provide the best performance possible. But, if content is not in cache, Cloudflare edge PoPs must contact the origin server to retrieve cacheable content. This can be slow, and places more load on an origin server compared to serving directly from cache. With CNI, these origin pulls can be completed over a dedicated link, improving throughput and reducing overall time needed for origin pulls. Using Argo Tiered Cache, customers can manage tiered cache topologies and specify upstream cache tiers that correspond with locations where network interconnects are in place. Using Tiered Cache in this fashion lowers origin loads and increases cache hit rates, thereby improving performance and reducing origin infrastructures costs.Here’s anonymized and sampled data from a real Cloudflare customer who recently provisioned interconnections between our network and theirs to further improve performance. Heavy users of our CDN, they were able to shave off precious milliseconds from their origin round trip time (RTT) by adding PNIs in multiple locations.As an example, their 90th percentile round trip time in Warsaw, Poland decreased by 6.5ms as a result of provisioning a private network interconnect (from 7.5ms to 1ms), which is a performance win of 87%!  The jitter (variation in delay in received packets) on the link decreased from 82.9 to 0.3, which speaks to the dedicated, reliable nature of the link. CNI helps deliver reliable and performant network connectivity to your customers and employees.Enhanced security through private connectivityCustomers with large on-premise networks want to move to the cloud: it’s cheaper, less hassle, and less overhead and maintenance.  However, customers want to also preserve their existing security and threat models.Traditionally, CIOs trying to connect their IP networks to the Internet do so in two steps:Source connectivity to the Internet from transit providers (ISPs).Purchase, operate, and maintain network function specific hardware appliances. Think hardware load balancers, firewalls, DDoS mitigation equipment, WAN optimization, and more.CNI allows CIOs to provision security services on Cloudflare and connect their existing networks to Cloudflare in a way that bypasses the public Internet.  Because Cloudflare integrates with on-premise networks and the cloud, customers can enforce security policies across both networks and create a consistent, secure boundary.CNI increases cloud and network security by providing a private, dedicated link to the Cloudflare network. Since this link is reserved exclusively for the customer that provisions it, the customer’s traffic is isolated and private.CNI + Magic Transit: Removing public Internet exposureTo use a product-specific example: through CNI’s integration with Magic Transit, customers can take advantage of private connectivity to minimize exposure of their network to the public Internet.Magic Transit attracts customers’ IP traffic to our data centers by advertising their IP addresses from our edge via BGP. When traffic arrives, it’s filtered and sent along to customers’ data centers. Before CNI, all Magic Transit traffic was sent from Cloudflare to customers via Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) tunnels over the Internet. Because GRE endpoints are publicly routable, there is some risk these endpoints could be discovered and attacked, bypassing Cloudflare’s DDoS mitigation and security tools.Using CNI removes this exposure to the Internet. Advantages of using CNI with Magic Transit include:Reduced threat exposure. Although there are many steps companies can take to increase network security, some risk-sensitive organizations prefer not to expose endpoints to the public Internet at all. CNI allows Cloudflare to absorb that risk and forward only clean traffic (via Magic Transit) through a truly private interface.Increased reliability. Traffic traveling over the public Internet is subject to factors outside of your control, including latency and packet loss on intermediate networks. Removing steps between Cloudflare’s network and yours means that after Magic Transit processes traffic, it’s forwarded directly and reliably to your network.Simplified configuration. Soon, Magic Transit + CNI customers will have the option to skip making MSS (maximum segment size) changes when onboarding, a step that’s required for GRE-over-Internet and can be challenging for customers who need to consider their downstream customers’ MSS as well (eg. service providers).Example deployment: Penguin Corp uses Cloudflare for Teams, Magic Transit, and CNI to protect branch and core networks, and employees.Imagine Penguin Corp, a hypothetical company, has a fully connected private MPLS network.  Maintaining their network is difficult and they have a dedicated team of network engineers to do this.  They are currently paying a lot of money to run their own private cloud. To minimize costs, they limit their network egress points to two worldwide.  This creates a major performance problem for their users, whose bits have to travel a long way to accomplish basic tasks while still traversing Penguin’s network boundary.SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) models look attractive to them, because they can, in theory, move away from their traditional MPLS network and move towards the cloud.  SASE deployments provide firewall, DDoS mitigation, and encryption services at the network edge, and bring security as a service to any cloud deployment, as seen in the diagram below:CNI allows Penguin to use Cloudflare as their true network edge, hermetically sealing their branch office locations and datacenters from the Internet. Penguin can adapt to a SASE-like model while keeping exposure to the public Internet at zero. Penguin establishes PNIs with Cloudflare from their branch office in San Jose to Cloudflare’s San Jose location to take advantage of Cloudflare for Teams, and from their core colocation facility in Austin to Cloudflare’s Dallas location to use Magic Transit to protect their core networks. Like Magic Transit, Cloudflare for Teams replaces traditional security hardware on-premise with Cloudflare’s global network. Customers who relied on VPN appliances to reach internal applications can instead connect securely through Cloudflare Access. Organizations maintaining physical web gateway boxes can send Internet-bound traffic to Cloudflare Gateway for filtering and logging.Cloudflare for Teams services run in every Cloudflare data center, bringing filtering and authentication closer to your users and locations to avoid compromising performance. CNI improves that even further with a direct connection from your offices to Cloudflare. With a simple configuration change, all branch traffic reaches Cloudflare’s edge where Cloudflare for Teams policies can be applied. The link improves speed and reliability for users and replaces the need to backhaul traffic to centralized filtering appliances.Once interconnected this way, Penguin’s network and employees realize two benefits:They get to use Cloudflare’s full set of security services without having to provision expensive and centralized physical or virtualized network appliances.Their security and performance services are running across Cloudflare’s global network in over 200 cities. This brings performance and usability improvements for users by putting security functions closer to them.Scalable, global, and flexible interconnection optionsCNI offers a big benefit to customers because it allows them to take advantage of our global footprint spanning 200+ cities: their branch office and datacenter infrastructure can connect to Cloudflare wherever they are.This matters for two reasons: our globally distributed network makes it easier to interconnect locally, no matter where a customer’s branches and core infrastructure is, and allows for a globally distributed workforce to interact with our edge network with low latency and improved performance. Customers don’t have to worry about securely expanding their network footprint: that’s our job.To this point, global companies need to interconnect at many points around the world. Cloudflare Network Interconnect is priced for global network scale: Cloudflare doesn't charge anything for enterprise customers to provision CNI. Customers may need to pay for access to an interconnection platform or a datacenter cross-connect. We’ll work with you and any other parties involved to make the ordering and provisioning process as smooth as possible.In other words, CNI’s pricing is designed to accommodate complicated enterprise network topologies and modern IT budgets.How to interconnectCustomers can interconnect with Cloudflare in one of three ways: over a private network interconnect (PNI), over an IX, or through one of our interconnection platform partners. We have worked closely with our global partners to meet our customers where they are and how they want.Private Network InterconnectsPrivate Network Interconnects are available at any of our listed private peering facilities. Getting a physical connection to Cloudflare is easy: specify where you want to connect, port speeds, and target VLANs. From there, we’ll authorize it, you’ll place the order, and let us do the rest.  Customers should choose PNI as their connectivity option if they want higher throughput than a virtual connection or connection over an IX, or want to eliminate as many intermediaries from an interconnect as possible.Internet ExchangesCustomers who want to use existing Internet Exchanges can interconnect with us at any of the 235+ Internet Exchanges we participate in. To connect with Cloudflare via an Internet Exchange, follow the IX’s instructions to connect, and Cloudflare will spin up our side of the connection.  Customers should choose Internet Exchanges as their connectivity option if they are either already peered at an IX, or they want to interconnect in a place where an interconnection platform isn’t present.Interconnection Platform PartnersCloudflare is proud to be partnering with Equinix, Megaport, PCCW ConsoleConnect, PacketFabric, and Zayo to provide you with easy ways to virtually connect with us in any of the partner-supported locations. Customers should choose to connect with an interconnection platform if they are already using these providers or want a quick and easy way to onboard onto a secure cloud experience.If you’re interested in learning more, please see this blog post about all the different ways you can interconnect. For all of the interconnect methodologies described above, the BGP session establishment and IP routing are the same. The only thing that is different is the physical way in which we interconnect with other networks.How do I find the best places to interconnect?Our product page for CNI includes tools to better understand the right places for your network to interconnect with ours.  Customers can use this data to help figure out the optimal place to interconnect to have the most connectivity with other cloud providers and other ISPs in general.What’s the difference between CNI and peering?Technically, peering and CNI use similar mechanisms and technical implementations behind the scenes. We have had an open peering policy for years with any network and will continue to abide by that policy: it allows us to help build a better Internet for everyone by interconnecting networks together, making the Internet more reliable. Traditional networks use interconnect/peering to drive better performance for their customers and connectivity while driving down costs. With CNI, we are opening up our infrastructure to extend the same benefits to our customers as well.How do I learn more?CNI provides customers with better performance, reliability, scalability, and security than using the public Internet. A customer can interconnect with Cloudflare in any of our physical locations today, getting dedicated links to Cloudflare that deliver security benefits and more stable latency, jitter, and available bandwidth through each interconnection point.Contact our enterprise sales team about adding Cloudflare Network Interconnect to your existing offerings.

Building a Landing Page that Converts

HostGator India Blog -

Nowadays, almost all businesses are trying to make a mark in the digital space with their customised websites. To make your website noteworthy, it should be genuine, secure and offer the best content to your visitors. There are several ways to make sure your website is worth remembering, and your landing page is one amongst […] The post Building a Landing Page that Converts appeared first on HostGator India Blog.

My living room intern experience at Cloudflare

CloudFlare Blog -

This was an internship unlike any other. With a backdrop of a pandemic, protests, and a puppy that interrupted just about every Zoom meeting, it was also an internship that demonstrated Cloudflare’s leadership in giving students meaningful opportunities to explore their interests and contribute to the company’s mission: to help build a better Internet.For the past twelve weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working as a Legal Intern at Cloudflare. A few key things set this internship apart from even those in which I’ve been able to connect with people in-person:CommunicationCommunityComminglingCollaborationEver since I formally accepted my internship, the Cloudflare team has been in frequent and thorough communication about what to expect and how to make the most of my experience. This approach to communication was in stark contrast to the approach taken by several other companies and law firms. The moment COVID-19 hit, Cloudflare not only reassured me that I’d still have a job, the company also doubled down on bringing on more interns. Comparatively, a bunch of my fellow law school students were left in limbo: unsure of if they had a job, the extent to which they’d be able to do it remotely, and whether it would be a worthwhile experience. This approach has continued through the duration of the internship. I know I speak for my fellow interns when I say that we were humbled to be included in company-wide initiatives to openly communicate about the trying times our nation and particularly members of communities of color have experienced this summer. We weren’t left on the sidelines but rather invited into the fold. I’m so grateful to my manager, Jason, for clearing my schedule to participate in Cloudflare’s “Day On: Learning and Inclusion.” On June 18, the day before Juneteenth, Cloudflare employees around the world joined together for transformative and engaging sessions on how to listen, learn, participate, and take action to be better members of our communities. That day illustrated Cloudflare’s commitment to fostering communication as well as to building community and diversity. The company’s desire to foster a sense of community pervades each team. Case in point, members of the Legal, Policy, and Trust & Safety (LPT) team were ready and eager to help my fellow legal interns and me better understand the team’s mission and day-to-day activities. I went a perfect 11/11 on asks to LPT members for 1:1 Zoom meetings -- these meetings had nothing to do with a specific project but were merely meant to create a stronger community by talking with employees about how they ended up at this unique company. From what I’ve heard from fellow interns, this sense of community was a common thread woven throughout their experiences as well. Similarly, other interns shared my appreciation for being given more than just “shadowing” opportunities. We were invited to commingle with our teammates and encouraged to take active roles in meetings and on projects. In my own case, I got to dive into exciting research on privacy laws such as the GDPR and so much more. This research required that I do more than just be a fly on the wall, I was invited to actively converse and brief folks directly involved with making key decisions for the LPT. For instance, when Tilly came on in July as Privacy Counsel, I had the opportunity to brief her on the research I’d done related to Data Privacy Impact Assessments (DPIAs). In the same way, when Edo and Ethan identified some domain names that likely infringed on Cloudflare’s trademark, my fellow intern, Elizabeth, and I were empowered to draft WIPO complaints per the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. Fingers crossed our work continues Cloudflare’s strong record before the WIPO (here’s an example of a recent favorable division). These seemingly small tasks introduced me to a wide range of fascinating legal topics that will inform my future coursework and, possibly, even my career goals.Finally, collaboration distinguished this internship from other opportunities. By way of example, I was assigned projects that required working with others toward a successful outcome. In particular, I was excited to work with Jocelyn and Alissa on research related to the intersection of law and public policy. This dynamic duo fielded my queries, sent me background materials, and invited me to join meetings with stakeholders. This was a very different experience from previous internships in which collaboration was confined to just an email assigning the research and a cool invite to reach out if any questions came up. At Cloudflare, I had the support of a buddy, a mentor, and my manager on all of my assignments and general questions. When I walked out of Cloudflare’s San Francisco office back in December after my in-person interview, I was thrilled to potentially have the opportunity to return and help build a better Internet. Though I’ve yet to make it back to the office due to COVID-19 and, therefore, worked entirely remotely, this internship nevertheless allowed me and my fellow interns to advance Cloudflare’s mission. Whatever normal looks like in the following weeks, months, and years, so long as Cloudflare prioritizes communication, community, commingling, and collaboration, I know it will be a great place to work.

Press Ahead With WordPress and WP Engine

WP Engine -

The entire digital landscape has shifted over the last few months, making the website the front door for businesses across every industry. From restaurants to yoga studios, and universities to doctors’ offices, engaging online is now the new normal. At WP Engine, we’ve experienced our own digital transformations—engaging with each other in new ways using… The post Press Ahead With WordPress and WP Engine appeared first on WP Engine.

How to Create an eCommerce Subscription Business [4-Step Guide]

HostGator Blog -

The post How to Create an eCommerce Subscription Business [4-Step Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog. Did you know the eCommerce market is growing by more than 100% a year, and that subscription-based services are increasing at unprecedented rates? Data shows that by 2023 as many as 75% of direct-to-consumer brands will offer subscriptions. The subscription-based business model is booming right now, and consumers are responding positively, especially amid the COVID-19 crisis.  Research shows that approximately 20% of consumers purchased subscription services during the pandemic, so they wouldn’t risk running out of specific products. If you are a current store owner that wants to add subscription options for your products, or if you’re going to start a subscription business from scratch, now is the perfect time to get started. This post will cover everything you need to know to create an eCommerce subscription business. Step 1: Source and package products You know what you want to sell online, but how do you get started? The first step is finding out where you’ll source your products and how you will package them. Let’s cover how this works. Where can you source products? There are three main ways people source products to sell online, including: DIY creationWorking with a manufacturerDropshipping DIY product creation If you are creating your own products, bravo! It takes a lot of talent to make your own products, physical or digital, and bring them to the market.  While it may be a lot of initial work to get your handmade product off the ground, the benefits are robust. You will have full control over the quality of your products, your startup costs will be low, and you can scale your business at your own pace. Working with a manufacturer When you are ready to scale your business, or if you want to hire someone to create your products, you’ll need to get in contact with a manufacturer.  The best way to start is to research manufacturers online and see what options you have. You can also ask a trusted friend in the industry for recommendations. Once you have narrowed your list down to three or four contenders, start doing your research. Compare how much it will cost to use the different manufacturers, look at their previous work, ask them about successes and failures, and make sure they have legal and ethical business practices. Drop shipping If you build an impressive online following, you may not even need to create your own products. You may be able to make money by purchasing relevant products from another vendor and selling them in your online store. With drop shipping, you make the sale, and the other vendor takes care of inventory, packaging, and fulfillment. If you grow a successful blog or website and work to increase your traffic, drop shipping is a stellar option. How do you handle product packaging? Once you have product creation settled, it’s time to determine how you will package your products.  With the rise of the unboxing experience on social media, it’s critical to put thought and attention into your packaging. Here are some things to consider: Hire a product marketer to give you insights into how to best package your products.Your product packaging is the equivalent of a customer walking into your store for the first time, so invest in making a good first impression.Use your product packaging as another branding opportunity by placing your logo and website on the box.Take necessary precautions to protect your products, including using bubble wrap, looking into dry ice packs, shrink wrapping your products, or anything else that helps you protect your merchandise.Encourage additional purchases by including a coupon code in the box. For more information on product packaging, check out this guide.  Step 2: Build your online store Now that you have solidified your product sourcing and packaging, you’re officially ready to build your online store. Hopefully, you already have a website. If not, don’t worry. With HostGator’s WordPress hosting, it’s easy to get a WordPress website set up and running in less than a day.  All you have to do is choose a web hosting package, install WordPress, and choose a WordPress theme to customize. For more info, read our step-by-step guide to setting up your WordPress site. If you already have a WordPress website up and running, it’s easy to add an online store. Not to mention, you have several awesome options. Here are some of the best WordPress plugins for building an eCommerce store. WooCommerce – WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform built specifically for WordPress. With WooCommerce you can set up your online store without having to know one line of code. It also allows you to sell affiliate products, offer digital and physical products, and capture recurring payments with WooCommerce subscriptions. Subscriptio – Subscriptio is a stellar WooCommerce extension that helps you sell subscriptions on your website. This extension adds the capability to accept recurring payments on WooCommerce sites. If you’re looking to sell something like a magazine subscription, online subscription, or a subscription box, checkout Subscriptio.WebToffee – WebToffee is another great option for adding a subscription payment option to your WooCommerce site. With WebToffee, you can create simple and variable subscriptions, offer a free trial, and provide recurring discounts. WebToffee also supports synchronization. WebToffee is a paid plugin, but the extra functionality may be worth it if you’re serious about setting up and scaling your online subscription store. It’s worth it to look into each of these WordPress plugins to determine which one is right for you. They all are easy to use, have multiple features, and will help you set up your online store. What you end up choosing will largely depend on your preferences. How to install a WordPress plugin Now that you know about the top WordPress plugins, let’s quickly review how to install and activate a plugin in WordPress. Here are the steps you need to follow: Login to your WordPress site.Turn your attention to the navigation bar on the left side of the dashboard screen.Click on “Plugins.”Click on “Add new.”Search for the name of the plugin in the keyword box.Press “Install Now.”Click on “Activate,” which will send you back to the plugin page.Find the Shopify plugin and click on “Settings.”From here, Shopify will guide you through the steps of setting up your account. After installing your favorite respective eCommerce plugin, you can follow the steps and start adding your subscription products to your store.  Step 3: Set your prices Before you finalize your store, you’ll need to decide on a pricing model. With an eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce, you can price your subscriptions in different ways. Here are some options. Sell individual products that you deliver regularly Selling single products as part of a subscription service is a solid way to ensure repeat business and customer happiness. You are offering an unlimited supply of products your subscribers love, and you can count on repeat revenue every month. Double win. If you sell a perishable product (e.g., dog food, make-up, toilet paper, cookies, etc.), this model is an excellent choice. Madison Reed is a great example of a company that uses this model. Madison Reed guides customers through a series of questions and comes up with the perfect hair color product, based on the answers. Of course, Madison Reed allows the customer to make desired changes, but the questions are a great way to provide guidance and lead customers down the sales funnel. Once a customer decides on a hair color kit, they can sign up for a subscription, so they never run out of hair color. What’s particularly cool about the Madison Reed subscription model is they allow customers to choose how often the recurring deliveries happen. Since hair grows at different rates, this is an excellent way to keep control in the hands of the consumer and avoid cancellations. Offer a subscription option Another option you have for your eCommerce store is to offer one-off products with a subscription option.  In other words, a customer might come to your website to buy one of your homemade cookies, but why not include a pricing option where they can opt to get cookies from you every week via a subscription. To incentivize customers to subscribe, you can offer a slight discount for subscribing. At first glance, it may seem that offering a discounted price for something customers intend to buy often would result in lower sales. However, research shows the opposite. Stats show that subscription businesses increased revenues nearly 5 times faster than S&P 500 company revenues and U.S. retail sales. Additionally, 61% of SMBs report more than half of their revenue comes from repeat business.  If you’re planning on offering one product, take the time to add a subscription option as well. It will pay off in the end. Sell a subscription box It seems like there is a subscription box for everything these days. Books. Dog food. Makeup. Even skulls — seriously, check it out: And, it’s with good reason. Not only are subscription boxes a surefire way to boost revenues and encourage repeat business, but they are also a killer social proof marketing tool. I mentioned the “unboxing phenomenon” earlier. As a quick overview, unboxing is when a social influencer gets a subscription box, and opens it in front of all their subscribers.  As of 2015, 35.3% of consumers had seen an unboxing video. In 2017, this number increased to 36.8%, according to Dotcom Distribution, and there are little signs of this trend slowing down. Providing awesome products in beautiful packages via a subscription model is a great way to capture sales and increase brand awareness. Bundle your subscriptions Let’s say you offer multiple individual subscriptions. Another fun pricing model is to offer a discount when someone bundles their subscription. This model encourages more purchases and boosts your sales. The best example I can think of for subscription bundles is streaming services. For example, you can subscribe individually to Disney+, and Hulu, and ESPN+, or you can pay $12.99 a month for all three of these services in a bundle. Step 4: Set up shipping The last step in the process is setting up shipping. If you offer digital products, then all you have to do is provide a download after customers pay. Every eCommerce platform makes the delivery of digital assets easy. For shipping physical products, you have more factors to consider. You’ll need to investigate the following: Whether or not you want to handle shippingWhat shipping carrier works best for youHow much you want to charge for shippingWhether or not you want your eCommerce platform to handle shipping for you If you have a small brand, you may be able to handle shipping yourself. But, it’s also critical to be wary of this option. If you start to get more sales or become an overnight success, running to the post office with orders will quickly get overwhelming. It makes sense to look into a shipping service connected to your eCommerce platform (e.g. WooCommerce Shipping). Using an eCommerce service is an easy way to create shipping labels right from the comfort of your own home. It’s Time to Start Your eCommerce Subscription Business Setting up an eCommerce subscription store is an awesome way to grow your business. The subscription model is exciting, customers love subscriptions, and it helps ensure steady revenue. With HostGator, it’s easy to set up a WordPress site, and quickly install an eCommerce subscription plugin.  To get your store up and running, you don’t have to know a single line of code. You can follow the intuitive instructions in WordPress and in your eCommerce plugin and have your website up in no time. Visit the HostGator website today to get started. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

The Month in WordPress: July 2020

WordPress.org News -

July was an action-packed month for the WordPress project. The month saw a lot of updates on one of the most anticipated releases – WordPress 5.5! WordCamp US 2020 was canceled and the WordPress community team started experimenting with different formats for engaging online events, in July. Read on to catch up with all the updates from the WordPress world. WordPress 5.5 Updates July was full of WordPress 5.5 updates! The WordPress 5.5 Beta 1 came out on July 7, followed by Beta 2 on July 14, Beta 3 on July 21, and Beta 4 on July 27. Subsequently, the team also published the first release candidate of WordPress 5.5 on July 28.  WordPress 5.5, which is slated for release on August 11, 2020, is a major update with features like automatic updates for plugins and themes, a block directory, XML sitemaps, block patterns, and lazy-loading images, among others. To learn more about the release, check out its field guide post. Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Gutenberg 8.5 and 8.6 The core team launched Gutenberg 8.5 and 8.6. Version 8.5 – the last plugin release will be included entirely (without experimental features) in WordPress 5.5, introduced improvements to block drag-and-drop and accessibility, easier updates for external images, and support for the block directory. Version 8.6 comes with features like Cover block video position controls and block pattern updates. For full details on the latest versions on these Gutenberg releases, visit these posts about 8.5 and 8.6. Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Reimagining Online WordPress Events The Community team made the difficult decision to suspend in-person WordPress events for the rest of 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has also started working on reimagining online events. Based on feedback from the community members, the team decided to make changes to the current online WordCamp format. Key changes include wrapping up financial support for A/V vendors, ending event swag support for newer online WordCamps, and suspending the Global Community Sponsorship program for 2020. The team encourages upcoming online WordCamps to experiment with their events to facilitate an effective learning experience for attendees while avoiding online event fatigue. The team is currently working on a proposal to organize community-supported recorded workshops and synchronous discussion groups to help community members learn WordPress.Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog here, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a Meetup or WordCamp, visit the handbook page.  WordCamp US 2020 is canceled The organizers of WordCamp US 2020 have canceled the event in light of the continued pandemic and online event fatigue. The flagship event, which was originally scheduled for October 27-29 as an in-person event, had already planned to transition to an online event. Several WCUS Organizers will be working with the WordPress Community team to focus on other formats and ideas for online events, including a 24-hour contributor day, and contributing to the workshops initiative currently being discussed. Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word (which typically accompanies WordCamp US) is likely to take place in a different format later in 2020. Plugin and theme updates are now available over zip files After eleven years, WordPress now allows users to update plugins and themes by uploading a ZIP file, in WordPress 5.5.  The feature, which was merged on July 7, has been one of the most requested features in WordPress. Now, when a user tries to upload a plugin or theme zip file from the WordPress dashboard by clicking the “Install Now” button, WordPress will direct users to a new screen that compares the currently-installed extension with the uploaded versions. Users can then choose between continuing with the installation or canceling. WordPress 5.5 will also offer automatic plugin and theme updates.  Further Reading: The Block directory is coming to WordPress with the 5.5 release. Plugin authors can now submit their Block plugins to the directory.The Core team has opened up the call for features in the WordPress 5.6 release. You can comment on the post with features that you’d like to be included, current UX pain points, or maintenance tickets that need to be addressed. August 20 is the deadline for feature requests. Editor features such as the new Navigation block, the navigation screen, and the widget screen that were originally planned to be merged with WordPress 5.5 have been pushed for the next release. The Theme team is inviting proposals on whether to allow themes to place an additional top-level menu link in the admin.BuddyPress 6.2 beta is out in the wild, and the team will soon release the stable version. The update includes changes that will make BuddyPress fully compatible with WordPress 5.5.WordCamp EU 2021, which was being planned as an in-person event in Porto, Portugal, is moving online. The team is considering an in-person WordCamp EU in 2022. The Polyglots team has prepared and finalized a Translation Editor & Locale Manager Vetting Criteria to provide more clarity on how global mentors assign PTE/GTE/Locale Managers and to help locale teams set their own guidelines. The document, which was finalized after a lot of discussion, is now available in the Polyglots handbook.Members of the Community team are discussing whether WordCamp volunteers, WordCamp attendees, or Meetup attendees should be awarded a WordPress.org profile badge. The ongoing discussion will be open for comments until August 13.The WP Notify project, which aims to create a better way to manage and deliver notifications to the relevant audience, is on to its next steps. The team has finalized the initial requirements, and is kicking off the project build.The WordPress documentation team has banned links to commercial websites in a revision to its external linking policy. The policy change does not remove external links to commercial sites from WordPress.org and only applies to documentation sites. The decision is intended to protect documentation from being abused, and to prevent the WordPress project from being biased.  Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

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