Earlier this year, we honored Webby for Good nominees using WordPress to bring positive changes to the world. On November 15th, 2018 industry experts and technology innovators from across the EU will meet for the Webby’s European sister show, The Lovie Awards. Winners are selected for creating a stunning overall digital experience as well as…
The post WordPress for Good: Relieving Fatigue appeared first on WP Engine.
My first experience with virtual reality was First Contact: an interactive orientation to Oculus Touch. I put on the headset and my new surroundings snapped into focus. I found myself in a cluttered workshop surrounded by nostalgia-inspiring objects like old computers and game consoles. I spent the next 10 minutes interacting with a friendly robot guide who handed me an assortment of floppy disks. While I had never experienced anything like this before, I knew what to do. I inserted the disks into glowing drives and familiar objects materialized in front of me. I held out my hand for a pixelated butterfly to land on, twirled a noisemaker and launched a toy rocket across the room.Oculus First ContactMy mind was buzzing after I took off the headset. As a content strategist at Facebook, I use language to create clear, consistent and compassionate experiences for the people who use our products. Content strategists often communicate through words displayed on a screen in the form of dialogs, notifications, calls to action and other interface components.What I’d just experienced felt more immersive than any interface I’d encountered before. And, while the experience was a completely new one, it had felt strangely intuitive. It became immediately clear to me that virtual reality represents a new and exciting challenge for content strategists. How do we bring clarity and simplicity to an experience when we move beyond the screen and the interface is all around us?Several months later, I had the opportunity to investigate this question for myself. I worked with the Facebook Spaces team on Facebook’s first social VR app. It’s a virtual environment where people can spend time with their Facebook friends. They can watch videos, capture photos, play games, work on art projects and experience 360 media together. There was a lot to explain and no screen on which to do so. I was going to have to approach this from a different angle.Creating a language systemSocial VR represents a new kind of conversation with the people who use our products. We didn’t want to introduce a lot of text into an immersive experience. We knew we’d have to make the most of the limited opportunities to explain all the features and functionality, like creative tools to make 3D art and media players to experience 360 photos and videos. I felt that the best way to do this was to help people form a clear mental model of the virtual space we’d created by anchoring the experience in simple and familiar concepts. To do this successfully, we needed to make careful decisions about how to label the concepts in this experience.We had a long list of placeholder names and labels for various features. In Content Strategy, one of our core principles is to name things only when it’s absolutely necessary, so I did a quick audit of our list with that in mind. The goal was to choose names that would clearly communicate the purpose and potential of features, and they had to make sense all together. We put together a set of guiding principles to help us identify the names that felt unhelpful, inconsistent or unclear:Avoid names where interactions are intuitive. We decided not to name something if its function or purpose was immediately obvious. For example, when a person was in a virtual space in the app, we didn’t need to explain to them that the surface they were standing on was like a floor — it was intuitive and familiar enough a concept that it needed no explanation.Don’t label design decisions. One important feature of the Spaces app was the ability to show media, like photos, to others in the space. Facebook Spaces supports both regular (2D) photos and 360 photos, and the team had created different designs for each of these. In Spaces, 2D photos look like a flat tile you can grab with your fingers, while 360 photos look like a sphere you can hold in your hand. We’d taken to calling these “photo tiles” and “photospheres” during the product development process, but it felt unnecessarily complicated to have multiple names for what was essentially the same concept. To simplify the experience, we chose to focus on the concept and choose one name (“photo”) rather than name each form.A 360 photo in Facebook SpacesQuestion the use of metaphors. Metaphors can be useful as feature names when they clarify the purpose of an object or the intention of a part of the interface. Prior to the launch of Spaces, we were using a lot of these kinds of names for features to tie features to objects in the physical world. But taken together, placeholder names like polaroid, tool shelf, dressing room, picture frames, props and selfie stick painted a jumbled and confusing picture of the environment we’d created. We needed to make sure that any metaphors we did use were clear and supported people’s understanding of the product. And I felt we shouldn’t close ourselves off to future functionality or localizability by getting too specific with the comparisons we were drawing between real life and this virtual environment. As we started to assign more names to features in Spaces, it felt necessary to clarify additional guidelines around when and how to use metaphorical labels for virtual objects.Governing the use of metaphorsMetaphors are useful as feature names when they clarify the purpose of that feature. They’re a handy way to make a direct comparison between a virtual object and something familiar from the physical world. For example, calling a glowing, blue oval a “table” is a clear and concise way to explain to someone that they can place things on top of it or gather around it, without having to actually say all of that. It seemed wise to use metaphors sparingly, as giving people too many to keep track of could create a confusing experience. I worked with the team to create a set of principles to help us make quick decisions around which metaphors worked and which ones didn’t:Keep them consistent: The metaphors in a product need to make sense together. For example, it’s confusing to mix live theater metaphors with home theater metaphors, or futuristic metaphors with retro analog ones.Make sure they’re relevant: We needed to make sure that metaphors we included could make sense to anyone. This meant avoiding any metaphors that had specific cultural meaning and might not be relatable for people from different locations or backgrounds. In a pre-launch version of Facebook Spaces, people would change the appearance of their avatar in what looked like a room with heavy velvet curtains. Two names that were top contenders for this place were “backstage” and “the dressing room.” These theater-themed metaphors felt problematic for a number of reasons. First, they implied that your space was a place of performance rather than a place where you could spend time with your friends. Second, it was a metaphor that might not make sense to everyone. We eventually decided it was simpler to not to name this part of the experience at all.Maintain flexibility: Because we intended to continue to build more functionality into this new app over time, we needed to choose names that afforded us the flexibility to change functionality as needed. “Projector” was the working name for the feature that you’d use to show photos or videos to other people in your space. The name “projector” drew a comparison between this feature and a specific piece of analog technology. It suggested that this affordance had one specific function: to project images on the walls of the space. This felt problematic because there was a chance that it would eventually do other things, too. We decided against this restrictive metaphor and, instead, focused on explaining how it worked (“Place a video here to display it” or “Show photos and videos to other people in your space”).Testing concepts and labels in conversationWith Spaces, we were giving people a new kind of space in which to have new kinds of conversations. People would talk to each other in real time about what they were experiencing, so the language needed to work in conversation, not just in interface elements. We brainstormed things people might say to each other:“Hey, could you pass me that photo?”“Play that video — just put it down there and it’ll start.”This was a great way to stress test our decisions. It helped us see how a name (or the absence of one) would fit into the conversations people might have in the app.Summarizing the takeawaysHere’s a summary of the guidelines that were useful to our team:Content strategists are often called upon to name and label new features, but we can do a lot more than just assign names to features once a product’s design is complete. A content strategist is uniquely positioned to contribute to the formation of concepts in a new product.Prioritize natural, descriptive language that works in spoken conversation. The stakes are high when you’re naming new concepts and features, especially in an interface that supports actual conversation — you’re giving people the words they’ll use to discuss their experience with each other.While names are necessary sometimes, avoid labeling every design decision or novelty in an experience. In other words, not everything needs a new name. This gets tricky when placeholder names have been attached to features during the product development process. It’s important to discuss which features deserve a name and why, and testing those decisions with examples.Don’t rely too heavily on metaphors as feature names. They’re an easy way to tie a feature to a familiar object or concept from “the real world,” but they can be restrictive or confusing. Choose names that are inclusive and will age well. Make sure you’re thinking holistically about how all of the terms you choose will work together as a cohesive system.Identify the guiding principles that help you make your terminology decisions. This will help others understand the philosophical underpinnings of your decisions and show that they’re not arbitrary. Principles will also help inform future naming decisions and ensure that they’re consistent with your approach.Thanks to Sara Getz and Jasmine Probst for their feedback and support.A Content Strategist’s Journey Into Social VR was originally published in Facebook Design on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
If you’re like me, life hacks are always welcome when you’re strapped for time. Here are a few quick ways to ensure you are making the most of your settings on LinkedIn so that the next career-changing conversation comes to you. For example, tweaking your notifications can trigger conversation starters with key connections. And, deciding if your email address is visible to your connections can give them another way to reach out to you. LinkedIn is a place where you can focus on the...
The holidays are coming and that means now is the time to prepare. It’s too late to build promotions and streamline your site and sales pages when the busy season hits, so we’ve compiled a list of holiday ideas designed to boost your e-commerce sales.
Mobile Site Conversions
Adobe Analytics found that online shopping sales hit a record $108.2 billion last holiday season. That’s more than a 14% increase from last year.
Continue reading Holiday Ideas to Boost Your eCommerce Sales at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Content Delivery Networks (CDN) have been around for years, and as long as they’ve been around, there has been some confusion as to what they are and their purpose.
In today’s post, we will show exactly how a CDN can help your business by looking into how Cloudflare implemented this technology.
What Is a Content Delivery Network?
A Content Delivery Network, also known as a CDN, is a network of geographically disbursed devices (nodes) which are used to deliver content across the globe more quickly.
Let’s start with the basics.
When a client pulls up your website, they’re making a connection to your server and downloading the content. Their web browser then displays this downloaded content. This process means our client is downloading every word, every image, every video, everything rendered in their browser.
As you have likely witnessed when trying to load content-heavy web pages, this can quickly get out of hand. What’s worse, a web page whose content has stretched too far can easily cause the dreaded long load times, one of the worst mistakes a site owner can make. This situation is exasperated when a client is hundreds or thousands of miles away.
There are several ways to help combat this, like minimalizing your front page or using thumbnails or lower resolution images on content-heavy pages. Another way is to employ a Content Delivery Network.
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The CDN’s network of devices, called nodes, are used to cache your content, so it’s geographically closer to your end user. Because these nodes are located all over the globe, your client’s request has a much shorter distance to travel. This shorter distance makes for quicker load times and a better experience for your user, and hopefully more engaged prospects and customers for you!
How Does the Content Delivery Network Work?
Despite its appearance, the steps for this super technical function are pretty straightforward. The process relies on a master/copy relationship, referred to as Origin/node.
Your server is the Origin. It holds all your content for your website. Employing the Cloudflare Content Delivery Network will never change this fact. Once you start using the CDN, its network grabs a copy of your content while it’s en route to customers. A request for your website from a client in, say, Australia is directed to the geographically closest node. If the content is not on that node, the node allows the request to process as usual. The Origin server, hosted on Liquid Web’s network, receives the request for content. The node then serves that content to the requester, but now that content is cached on the requesting node. That means any subsequent requests for that content will no longer have to traverse the ocean. It automatically learns how to best serve your clients wherever they are!
Your content is now half-a-globe closer to your end user, which drastically shortens this transaction and lowers your page load time. This could translate into lower bounce rates, more engagement with content, and hopefully more sales!
Also, because of this Origin/node relationship, your site’s management never changes. You manage your site’s content on your server the same way you always have, so there’s no need to learn a whole new content management interface.
How Does the CDN Know How to Serve My Content?
The request, caching, and delivery of your content rely on DNS. To start using the Content Delivery Network, you have to point your DNS at Cloudflare Name Servers, making them the Authoritative Name Servers for your website’s DNS.
You’ll make this change at your registrar, in the registration configuration portal. Under the Authoritative Nameservers, you’ll state that Cloudflare’s Name Servers are authoritative and so they have the most accurate IP information for that domain name.
If you’ve used Liquid Web to maintain your domain registry, one of our Helpful Humans can handle this part for you.
Again, this doesn’t change any aspects of your website or your domain name registration. You’re still using Liquid Web as your host, and you’ll still be using your same registrar. All you’re doing is announcing to the internet that Cloudflare’s CDN is now the means to request content, not via the Origin directly.
What Kind of Content Is Cached in the nodes?
The Cloudflare Content Delivery Network is configured to cache requests for static content. Static Content is just a fancy way to say content that doesn’t change. All manner of file extensions are cached including images (.gif, .jpg, .ico, .bmp, and more), several types of document files (.pdf, .doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx) as well as most of your site’s style controllers (.css, .class).
Some of these file types can be pretty weighty, so you can start to see how caching these types of files can help with serving content more quickly and, thereby, speed your page’s load times. If you’re curious you can find a full list of cached extensions. These are only the extensions cached on the free account type. If you’d like more file types cached, they’re available, but it may require upgrading your account. One of our Sales Team Members can easily help with that.
Are there Any Other Perks of the Service?
Of course! Cloudflare has built an impressive application on a remarkable network and has worked hard to protect it from much of the malicious traffic across the internet. That protection is built into the network itself, and because the CDN is part of their network, you get to reap those same benefits.
Even before traffic hits the nodes of the CDN, they’ve started inspecting and reporting. Cloudflare has their network configured to block traffic based on several types of identifiers. Identifiers such as:
Known malicious IP addresses
Types of requests that are historically known to cause server issues
Malicious payloads included with the traffic
Frequency the client is causing the request matches malicious patterns
These are all dropped at the initiation of the request which helps keep your site safe. These safeguards are in place for every request that comes through, which helps to protect you from probing attacks and crawlers that are looking for a security flaw but allows well known and legitimate traffic and crawlers through.
Cloudflare’s CDN service also offers a free SSL encryption service that keeps your traffic secured and encrypted end-to-end.
The configuration for Cloudflare’s free SSL encryption is pretty simple via their interface. Once accessed, under the “Crypto” menu, you’ll just select the “Flexible” Certificate and select to activate it.
There’s a twenty-four hour waiting period before the SSL is active, but that’s a short period of waiting given the advantages and security you get from using an SSL.
Ready to Start Seeing More Engagement on Your Site?
Handle traffic spikes globally, reduce load-times and see more engagement with Cloudflare Content Delivery Network. Try it today or contact our Sales Team to get more information.
The post Understanding Content Delivery Networks (CDN) appeared first on Liquid Web.
The financial services and retail industries are being disrupted from all sides, with new contenders on the market, non-traditional players competing for wallet share, and ever-increasing regulatory constraints. Consumers are demanding something new from their service providers – they want context, they want targeted experiences, they want assurance, and they want to feel like their […]
The post The Brave New World of Financial Services appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.
Bloggers tend to be casual about titles of their blog posts, at times. In fact, they write the blog post first and think of the title at the last minute before publishing it. It all happens in a hurry and the title suffers in the process. You might wonder why it’s such a big deal.
The post 5 Smart and Easy Ways to Write Better Titles for Blog Posts appeared first on Pickaweb.
Smart businesses are shifting more and more online, changing from a local business to a world wide business serving customers all over. It’s helpful to understand the different aspects of web hosting before making a choice that will affect the growth of your business down the road.
Use the helpful guide below to help your brick and mortar business establish a presence online, and take advantage of the mass exodus of customers looking to shop on the Internet instead of in person.
Learn more about different hosting plans at Domain.com today.
Before defining web hosting, it is crucial that you first understand the definition of a website. A website is composed of interlinked web pages that are publicly accessible and listed under the same domain name. A website and domain name are different, and it’s important you understand these differences before getting started. These public sites can be viewed by just about anyone on earth with a phone, laptop, or tablet—and, of course, internet access.
Websites can be owned by a person, a company, a group, or governmental organization; and these sites can serve a multitude of different functions. Altogether they make up the World Wide Web (WWW).
The three parts of a website
There are three critical components to any website. They are the domain name, site files, and web hosting servers.
Computers communicate with one another by using numbers known as IP addresses in a similar way to how you might use an address to find where someone lives or a phone directory to give them a call. Because a human’s memory is limited, especially when memorizing large series of random digits, the DNS (Domain Name System) was created to act like a phone book, which would list these IP addresses and the Domain Name registered to that address.
These are the web pages your potential customers actually see when visiting your site. It includes photos, media files, graphics, scripts, and other .html data. This data tells web hosting servers how the page should look. These servers translate the files and then obey the right commands to display the desired website design and format.
Web hosting servers
The physical location of your storefront is not the business itself, if you move, the business moves with you. If you set up shop elsewhere, the new storefront would still be the same business. The same goes for your web hosting.
The simplest web hosting definition is that these web hosting servers are the rental space for your virtual store. All the saved files, data, and information that make up a website need to be securely stored somewhere. Without the hosting services, your files would have no place to exist, so your site would work about as well as a discontinued telephone number.
What are the types of web hosting?
When you ask the question, “what is web hosting,” it is important that you know the five primary types of web hosting. They are website builder, shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, and cloud hosting.
Website builder services are a type of hosting service made for those people who do not have the technical knowledge to build a website on their own. Perfect for beginners, a website builder is the easiest way to sort out hosting, since everything comes bundled as a part of the plan. Here at Domain.com, our package includes deluxe web hosting, a free domain name, our Drag and Drop Site Builder, and Gmail for work.
Our Drag and Drop builder lets you personalize your own website by simply pointing and clicking. It is easy to pick a background image and color scheme, add logos, create content, features, and design additional pages. Whether you want to start a blog, a wedding website, or an online store, a website builder is a fast, cheap and easy form of web hosting.
We also offer Simple Scripts which is our assortment of quick-to-install applications designed to optimize and improve your website.
Shared web hosting
Shared web hosting is the cheapest type of hosting available since you share a server with several other websites in order to split the cost. If you are a small business with a limited budget and not expecting heavy traffic, shared hosting is a useful method of cutting unnecessary costs. It should be noted that since these servers are shared, there may be website performance issues if one of the shared sites garners a lot of traffic.
Dedicated web hosting
Dedicated web hosting services are when you are the only owner and user of a server. Because of this, your website and its performance will not be altered by another website. This service is more expensive, but it provides better tech resources than you would receive with shared hosting.
Also, security will not be affected by traffic from another site. It is perfect for online businesses or stores experiencing robust, growing sales numbers. It is also ideal for those who need a lot of disk space, such as if you have an extensive email database.
The Slashdot Effect or Reddit’s “Hug of Death”
Once referred to as the Slashdot Effect, and now more often called Reddit’s “Hug of Death,” occurs, “When a large and highly trafficked website links to a smaller website and causes a massive increase in traffic. This overloads the smaller site, causing it to slow down or even temporarily become unavailable.”
Few things can be more disastrous than your website crashing from an inability to handle heavy traffic—especially since it could possibly drive away one-off visitors. This is especially true if you are receiving a spike of traffic from the Slashdot Effect. While such viral traffic is unpredictable, you do yourself a disservice if your site is not ready to handle at least a modest spike of visitors.
VPS web hosting
VPS Hosting stands for Virtual Private Server. This hosting service is a solid pricing middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting. You share a server but have your own definite area, leaving you less vulnerable to slowdowns from other sites sharing this private server. Companies who need an upgrade in their site’s bandwidth due to increased traffic are ideal users of VPS Web hosting.
VPS offer better security, reliability, and ease of use without a large increase in cost. On top of that, VPS offers web hosting flexibility, as you can install your own operating system and add, remove, or modify software applications at your discretion. For a reasonable price, you get a completely customized hosting experience.
Cloud hosting is when aspects of your website are shared across several different servers, which together function as “the cloud.” With cloud hosting, a faulty web server issue is not really a problem since another server can take its place and keep the site running.
Cloud hosting is ideal for people who expect large volumes of traffic and do not want any bandwidth problems. Perfect for a site that projects continued growth and regular traffic surges.
There are two other options for hosting, but each has complications:
Some massive websites with access to their own coders or IT team will use collocated hosting, wherein they buy their own server and simply use a web host’s space to keep the server. These websites are in charge of server maintenance and have the option to install any desired applications or scripts.
Although it is possible to host a website on your own computer, we would never advise it, as it is far more a hassle than it would ever be worth.
Know your hosting needs
Before you select a type of web hosting service, it is essential that you know what will be required from your website. First, answer these questions:
What type of website are you creating?
Is it a WordPress blog?
A virtual storefront?
Do you need e-commerce features?
Do you need a particular type of shopping cart software?
Do you need the ability to handle business transactions on the site?
Do you require technical support?
How much traffic do you expect?
How much growth do you expect?
Do you require a type of script support?
Do you need to utilize Windows applications or distinct software?
Where do you see your company and website in six months? A year? Three years?
Comparing our web hosting plans
While we offer a host of different features with our web host plans, the key features of these plans are:
POP3 (Normal inboxes), where the server grants you space to store emails.
How much space you have for your website’s files. At Domain.com, all three of our web hosting plans come with unlimited* disk space.
*”There is no cap on the disk space we provide to deliver the content of your website. As long as you are fully compliant with our Terms of Service and utilize storage for the normal operation of your Domain.com website, you will have access to unlimited space.”
The term that describes the amount of traffic and data your site can handle, is bandwidth . The higher the bandwidth of your web hosting plan, the more traffic your site can handle without crashing. At Domain.com, “We have no set limits when it comes to bandwidth—which is the amount of traffic and data that flows between your website and the rest of the internet—and our architecture was built to support more than 99.5% of our customers’ bandwidth demands.”
Pairing domain registration and web hosting
Although it is more than possible to have your domain registered elsewhere, the optimal solution is to keep your website hosting and domain registration in one place. This is advantageous for several reasons such as:
Bundle your costs – Domain registration and web hosting both cost money to maintain and operate. By keeping these services bundled, you centralize your costs, lower your overall rates, and have an easier time paying your bills.
Link websites and domains – When you utilize Domain.com’s services for both domain registration and web hosting, linking your domain to your website is easy..
Ease of use – Bundling services allows you to oversee, manage, or change any aspect of your web hosting or domain in one, easy-to-reach location.
One aspect many forget to consider is how vital hosting infrastructure is for website hosting. Infrastructure limits the safety, dependability, and speed of your website. Domain.com offers:
Dependability – Our servers undergo ceaseless temperature and humidity monitoring. Fully redundant power and HVAC powered by dual independent power grids. Our locations have the very best in fire-threat detection and suppression systems, paired with seismically braced cabinets and racks.
Safety – We offer 24/7 video monitoring, critical monitoring and secured access to the data center. All of our cabinets, cages, and suites are locked and secured.
Immune to typical failure conditions
Flexible space option, scalable for growth
Redundancy – We offer full network redundancy with data backups and reliable data storage.
Engineering & Design – We have the very best, state-of-the-art data centers, with multi-homed, redundant network connections. We use the best-of-breed, router, server, and firewall equipment and we never stop trying to optimize our network.
Understand web hosting and start growing your business online
Web hosting is often an overlooked component of a website’s ability to succeed or fail. Understanding your web hosting needs is a critical aspect of getting your website off the ground.
Learn more about different hosting plans at Domain.com today.
The post What is Web Hosting: Web Hosting Defined appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.
We’re at a very exciting time for WordPress. WordPress 5.0 is set to be officially released on Tuesday, November 27th and it’s arguably the most anticipated update of WordPress’ 15-year lifespan. The Gutenberg project began in January 2017 and has been worked on, tested, and improved by thousands of members of the WordPress community. Gutenberg…
The post Important WordPress 5.0 Questions, Answered appeared first on WP Engine.
How are IT directors supposed to invest in the future when they’re still paying for the decisions of the past? The challenge The problem holding most organizations back is technical debt, or the true, long term costs of implementing quick, decent enough solutions because the right solution would have taken longer and cost more. While […]
The post 5 Signs Application Technical Debt is Holding You Back appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.
Black Friday is a HUGE day in e-commerce. In fact, many merchants can expect to see three times more traffic than usual. That’s a huge number! To ensure the best customer experience possible, retailers need to be ready to quickly expand their infrastructures to meet demand.
So, do you think your site is ready to take the hit?
Make Sure Your Server is Ready
It’s easy to underestimate the impact Black Friday can have on your server–but don’t make that rookie mistake.
Continue reading Can Your Website Handle the Traffic Volume on Black Friday at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
cPanel’s support teams thrive on customer feedback. We work hard to ensure that we are meeting our customer’s expectations and providing them with the best experience. That begins with us trying to understand our customer’s reactions to the support that we provide. The best means of doing that is via our feedback system. We’ve decided to make a few changes to how customers leave feedback for our Technical Support and Customer Service teams. cPanel …
You may have heard the term “influencer marketing” and wondered what it meant. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that uses key leaders to drive a brand message to a larger audience. Those key leaders have a large amount of “influence” on their fans following on social media and blog. It builds a bridge of trust with people who might otherwise not consider your brand or product.
Brands rely on these influencers to provide recommendations to their audience, and one of the best and most stable ways to do that is through blogging.
Continue reading Blogging is the Key to Influencer Marketing at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
In the last few years, podcasts have evolved. Once a niche interest, the most popular podcasts are listened to by millions of people. Anyone with an internet connection, a microphone, and something to say can publish a podcast. Businesses use podcasts as part of their content marketing strategy. Popular podcasts attract a significant amount of… Continue reading →
Is your WordPress site loading slow? Many factors can slow down WordPress, but luckily you do not need to be a tech-expert to fix them. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the most common bottlenecks that slow down WordPress and present a solution to each one.
You can (and should) follow along with this guide even if your site is just for your hobby or if you don’t have any monetization strategy for it. Having a fast website not only is shown to increase revenue but performance also matters to retain users and to get more people to read your content.
As Jeremy Wagner says in one of his articles for Google Web Fundamentals:
“Performance plays a significant role in the success of any online venture, as high performing sites engage and retain users better than poorly performing ones.”
You will find various statistics about how reducing the page loading time helped businesses increase conversion rates in their shops, increase the time visitors spend on their websites, and ultimately added more revenue to their bottom line.
A fast website will help your content get noticed and consumed – and that’s all that matters.
How Fast Is Your Site Currently?
Tools for Analysis: GTMetrix, Pingdom, Google Pagespeed (only use for server response time), “Speed Suggestions” tab in Google Analytics (Behavior -> Site Speed -> Speed Suggestions)
To understanding what slows down your WordPress site, you first need to analyze how fast your site is loading. Therefore we can utilize a number of free tools and services that provide interesting insights into the loading process. By running your site through the platforms I’m about to mention, you’ll be getting an idea of which of the common bottlenecks is slowing down your site.
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One of the most powerful tools for analyzing your site’s loading speed is GTMetrix. It’s a platform where you can enter your site’s URL and then get a detailed report on its loading process. I highly recommend you sign up for a free account, as that’ll give you additional information you can’t see as a guest user. Click here to find out how you can get the most out of GTMetrix.
This is an example for my own website, WP Mastery. As you can tell, GTMetrix is showing my site takes 4.6s to load, which is quite long (I’ve got some work to do!). Since I’m logged in as a free user, I can also see the Timings tab. In that tab, I can see that my hosting could be a factor slowing down the site. The TTFB (click here for an explanation) is quite slow, there are entire sites that load within 0.7s!
You can browse around in your GTMetrix report and gather ideas what you can work on to remove bottlenecks from your site.
Pingdom is another speed analysis provider, similar to GTMetrix. You can create similar reports with Pingdom and it’s a good idea to check both tools to uncover bottlenecks. Relying on just one speed analysis report might leave things in the dark, as each platform has proprietary algorithms to check your site.
As you can tell, Pingdom shows the loading time of my site to be 3.62s instead of 4.6s. That’s a difference of 22%! But way more interesting is the part where Pingdom shows the timings:
Even with CloudFlare CDN enabled, the first request shows a waiting time of 1.8s! That’s, of course, a big problem in my current setup. I’m sharing this openly, even though I’m providing WordPress maintenance and speed optimization services. Why? Because I want to show you that everybody, even “an expert”, relies on services being set up properly.
That’s why I’m considering moving to Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting plan. Their infrastructure is optimized to make WordPress sites load fast and they take the basic maintenance tasks like backups and updates out of your hands too.
As we’re seeing in the first two reports already, your hosting provider plays a big role.
Google PageSpeed Insights
The last tool I want to share with you is Google’s PageSpeed Insights. I want you to be careful with not getting caught up in the scores Google is showing – PageSpeed Insights is a tool for developers only.
My main reason to include it is that it shows whether your hosting performance is a bottleneck. It’s super simple to understand if your server response time is slow or not.
In my own site’s results, you can see that PageSpeed Insights is suggesting to reduce the server response time – confirming what GTMetrix and Pingdom already indicated. I don’t worry about the scores though, as they do NOT reflect the user experience on my site. For example, the “Leverage browser caching” suggestion sometimes is impossible to implement. In my case, Google suggests I cache files that are loaded from Google’s own servers – so I technically cannot cache them.
Getting The Right Hosting
With those three reports at hand, let’s address the elephant in the room – optimizing my server response time and reducing the time to first byte (TTFB). There are a number of steps I can do to get that time down:
I’ll talk to my hosting provider and ask if they can help me get the site down. Often, hosting providers can tweak their settings a little bit to make your site load faster.
As I also have the CloudFlare CDN enabled, I’ll talk to the CloudFlare support team as well.
Lastly, I’ll run a plugin like WP Sweep to clean up my database from old data.
As I said above, having a good hosting plan is quite important and should most often be the first step in making your site load faster. WordPress websites heavily benefit from optimized hosting like the one LiquidWeb is offering. There are certain technical configurations hosting companies can do that let WordPress load faster if their hosting plan is focused on WordPress only. If you have a generic hosting company that allows you to install all sorts of content management systems, those optimizations likely will not be in place.
If your site is part of your business strategy and meant to generate income, hosting is a good place to invest in.
Is Your Theme Slowing Down Your Site?
Another common bottleneck is the theme that you’re using. Themes control the design of your website and their code quality heavily varies. There are WordPress themes that focus on being super-fast and there are themes that have tons of features but sacrifice loading speed for those.
Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting comes with Astra Pro, a super fast and lightweight theme.
If you find that your theme adds tons of menu items to your WP Admin menu which you don’t use, it’s a good indicator that your theme is more bloated than you need it to be. Even though you like the design, you might want to talk to a developer about rebuilding the site with a theme that’s tailored more towards fast loading times. Often it’s quite straightforward to keep the design while rebuilding a WordPress site with a new theme.
Another good indicator of whether your theme is slowing down your site are the reports we generated earlier.
In GTMetrix, open the Waterfall diagram and check for the resources that are loaded from your theme’s folder. You can hover over the individual requests and check whether they have “wp-content/themes/” in their URI. If they do, your theme is generating that request.
In Pingdom, scroll down to the “File Requests” section and enter the word “themes” in the filter. This section is more comfortable to use than GTMetrix’s Waterfall diagram and gives similarly detailed information.
In this case, both tools show a reasonable amount of files being loaded from my themes (parent and child theme). They don’t take up much data nor cause any reasonable delays to my site’s loading time, so I know that my theme is set up properly. The only thing that’s worrying me a bit is the waiting time (bright yellow in the Pingdom report). Seeing in proportion, it’s way too long – so that’s another reason to talk to my host about it.
If you see that your theme causes too many requests, there are a couple of steps you can take to fix it (run new speed analysis after doing each step and make sure you have a backup in place):
If you haven’t already, install a caching plugin.
Enable file minification and combination for CSS and JS files. Be careful here and ensure to test your site’s frontend after this step! Especially combining CSS or JS files can break your layout.
Use the caching plugin to load JS files asynchronously or extend your theme to load JS async/deferred.
At this point, you might be asking yourself what files to load asynchronously. PageSpeed Insights is showing you exactly which files you should work on! Head over to the report and check the “Eliminate render-blocking resources” suggestion:
If you haven’t done these steps already, this should already fix a common bottleneck. The three steps outlined above will not just fix the files from your theme but will also tackle plugin files. Especially when you’ve enabled file minification, start loading selected files asynchronously and started combining CSS / JS files, your site should load reasonably faster.
Are Plugins Slowing Down Your Site?
Once you’ve followed the steps outlined above to optimize your theme, it’s time to analyze the plugins you’re using. Go ahead to the three platforms GTMetrix, Pingdom and PageSpeed Insights and run the reports again. If the steps were executed correctly and weren’t in place before, your loading time should already have gone down quite a bit.
Let’s see if we can uncover more bottlenecks in your plugins. Firstly, check in with your hosting company if any plugin is taking up more server resources than others. A good web host will be able to check if any plugin on your site is slowing down the server. Some plugins are known to be quite resource-heavy on servers, e.g. plugins for showing related posts, plugin packs like Jetpack, or security plugins that scan your site for malware in the background.
The fastest way to check if a certain plugin is slowing down your site is to copy your site to a staging version (how to set up staging on LiquidWeb) and then deactivate one plugin after another. After each deactivation, run the speed analysis reports again – the numbers will show you which plugin causes slow-downs.
Obviously, you can also again go through the Waterfall section of GTmetrix and the “File requests” section in Pingdom and check for plugin-related files.
The Pingdom report for WP Mastery shows that not many plugin files are loaded. That’s because I already combine CSS/JS files into single files – but it seems that I missed the “Better Click to Tweet” files. They’re only a few bytes and take up a couple of milliseconds to load. At this point, including them is a question of ROI – I don’t think spending the time adding those files is worth the performance boost. It’ll likely have no measurable effect. However, if you find that certain files take a reasonable time to load, they’re definitely worth optimizing!
Is The Google Bot Taking Up Server Resources?
Another bottleneck that’s often neglected is how often bots like the Google Bot (or bots from other search engines) visit your site to index your contents. Bots can cause heavy server load when they visit your site too often, so if that’s the case, you might want to reduce the crawl frequency.
Maintenance Tasks To Keep Your Site Fast
Lastly, let me mention a few maintenance tasks you want to perform regularly to keep your site running smoothly and fast:
Keep your WordPress core, themes and plugins updated
Eliminate unused plugins and themes from your installation
Regularly clean up your database with WP Sweep or similar plugins
Off-load tasks like backups and security to third-party services that run on their own servers and not on yours
Be careful when using plugin suites like Jetpack or big plugins like BBPress, YARPP, and alike.
Try Managed WordPress Hosting from Liquid Web
Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting takes the hassle out of hosting with automatic updates to the core WordPress and plugins, along with image compression which speeds up your site and keeps it secure.
The post Common Bottlenecks That Slow Down WordPress Sites appeared first on Liquid Web.
The world of social media is always laden with cloak and dagger tactics. The experts always make it a point to safeguard their secrets wholeheartedly so that the competitors don’t get aware of it. It is not easy to figure out such social media marketing strategies from the renowned social media gurus out there. They
The post 7 Secret Social Media Tactics that the Experts Don’t Want to Disclose appeared first on Pickaweb.
Maintenance is an important aspect of keeping everything in order, be it organising files or your business website. Anything that is well-maintained and up to date keeps you at the top of your game. In this post, we will be dealing with website maintenance. Imagine you run a WordPress powered online business and need to update your website to include certain new features. These features can range from revamping the design, content, fix a security flaw or a plugin etc. To achieve this, you will most likely have to disable your website or a particular page temporarily, in turn, displaying a different page stating the issue to the visiting user. If you don’t do this, your website might display a 404 Error, a broken page etc.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the maintenance mode in WordPress. I will also cover why and how to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode.
What is WordPress Maintenance Mode?
WordPress Maintenance Mode is the state you put your website into when you wish to make major changes to the site that may take a long time. If your site is broken or inactive for a while, it can affect the user experience, especially if you get heavy traffic. At such a time it is advisable that your website is offline and a splash page saying ‘Coming back shortly’ or a similar message is put up.
Some situations during which you can put your WordPress site in maintenance mode are:
When you are configuring a new theme or plugin for your website
Redesigning your website or making other cosmetic changes
Fixing critical security bugs
Fixing website issues that affect customer data etc.
Having seen what WordPress maintenance mode is and the common reasons to put your website into the maintenance mode. Let us now move on to ‘how’ do you go about it.
We shall cover two ways of doing so:
Manually Using the Built-in Maintenance Mode feature:
The built-in maintenance mode in WordPress in an automatic feature that runs whenever you run a WordPress update for updating either themes, plugins or core files. This happens with the creation of a .maintenance file in your WordPress root. During this time, if any visitor lands on your site, the following automatic message is displayed.
Using WP Maintenance Mode Plugin
The WP Maintenance Mode plugin is an open-source software having over 600,000 active installations. It can be used for creating a splash page that can be used when your WordPress website is down for maintenance or if you are launching a new website.Some of the features of this plugin are:
It has multiple templates for Landing Pages and Coming Soon pages
It supports WordPress multi-site
Allows customizing colours, text and background
It is GDPR compliant and
Excludes URL from maintenance.
Let us now see, the steps required to setup WP Maintenance Mode Plugin:
Setup Maintenance Mode Using WP Maintenance Mode Plugin
Once you install the WP Maintenance Mode plugin, you need to configure the plugin. For that go the Settings and then select WP Maintenance Mode.
Key things to note:
There are 5 tabs General, Design, Modules, Manage Bots and GDPR. Let us first cover, the ‘General Tab’.
The Status is by default selected as ‘Deactivated’ when you need to put the WordPress site in Maintenance Mode, select ‘Activated’
Should you want Search Bots to see your website despite it being in the maintenance mode, select the option as ‘Yes’. The ‘Yes’ is recommended if your site is an already established one
The rest of the options on the General Tab page are fairly self-explanatory. Click Save once you make changes and proceed to the next
Creating Your Own Splash Page for Maintenance Mode
Next is the Design Tab. Using this tab, you can design the splash page and customize it for text, colour, background and even the heading. Once you are done, click Save.
The third tab is ‘Modules’. Using this tab, you can add the countdown specifying when your site will be up and running. If you have subscribers then, you can even personalize the module so that they are notified when the site will be back.
Manage BotShould you activate the Bot here, then it will reverse the setting for Bot on the General Tab and vice – versa.
Finally, if you have any sensitive data that you want to collect or anything that requires customer approval or related to privacy then simply activate the GDPR status in the GDPR tab.If you’re still trying to understand what is GDPR and should you Activate or Deactivate it for your website, read about it here for better clarity.Having finished all the steps, your maintenance mode is now ready to be displayed to the world.
Putting your WordPress site in maintenance mode is a better way to complete maintenance activities instead of having a broken link. Just follow these steps and you’ll have your page ready in no time. For timely WordPress updates, it is best to have WordPress Hosting as your hosting for your WordPress website.
If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.
AWS CloudFormation supports you in your efforts to implement Infrastructure as Code (IaC). You can use a template to define the desired AWS resource configuration, and then use it to launch a CloudFormation stack. The stack contains the set of resources defined in the template, configured as specified. When you need to make a change to the configuration, you update the template and use a CloudFormation Change Set to apply the change. Your template completely and precisely specifies your infrastructure and you can rest assured that you can use it to create a fresh set of resources at any time.
That’s the ideal case! In reality, many organizations are still working to fully implement IaC. They are educating their staff and adjusting their processes, both of which take some time. During this transition period, they sometimes end up making direct changes to the AWS resources (and their properties) without updating the template. They might make a quick out-of-band fix to change an EC2 instance type, fix an Auto Scaling parameter, or update an IAM permission. These unmanaged configuration changes become problematic when it comes time to start fresh. The configuration of the running stack has drifted away from the template and is no longer properly described by it. In severe cases, the change can even thwart attempts to update or delete the stack.
New Drift Detection Today we are announcing a powerful new drift detection feature that was designed to address the situation that I described above. After you create a stack from a template, you can detect drift from the Console, CLI, or from your own code. You can detect drift on an entire stack or on a particular resource, and see the results in just a few minutes. You then have the information necessary to update the template or to bring the resource back into compliance, as appropriate.
When you initiate a check for drift detection, CloudFormation compares the current stack configuration to the one specified in the template that was used to create or update the stack and reports on any differences, providing you with detailed information on each one.
We are launching with support for a core set of services, resources, and properties, with plans to add more over time. The initial list of resources spans API Gateway, Auto Scaling, CloudTrail, CloudWatch Events, CloudWatch Logs, DynamoDB, Amazon EC2, Elastic Load Balancing, IAM, AWS IoT, Lambda, Amazon RDS, Route 53, Amazon S3, Amazon SNS, Amazon SQS, and more.
You can perform drift detection on stacks that are in the CREATE_COMPLETE, UPDATE_COMPLETE, UPDATE_ROLLBACK_COMPLETE, and UPDATE_ROLLBACK_FAILED states. The drift detection does not apply to other stacks that are nested within the one you check; you can do these checks yourself instead.
Drift Detection in Action I tested this feature on the simple stack that I used when I wrote about Provisioned Throughput for Amazon EFS. I simply select the stack and choose Detect drift from the Action menu:
I confirm my intent and click Yes, detect:
Drift detection starts right away; I can Close the window while it runs:
After it completes I can see that the Drift status of my stack is IN_SYNC:
I can also see the drift status of each checked resource by taking a look at the Resources tab:
Now, I will create a fake change by editing the IAM role, adding a new policy:
I detect drift a second time, and this time I find (not surprise) that my stack has drifted:
I click View details, and I inspect the Resource drift status to learn more:
I can expand the status line for the modified resource to learn more about the drift:
Available Now This feature is available now and you can start using it today in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (N. California), US West (Oregon), Canada (Central), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), Europe (London), Europe (Paris), and South America (São Paulo) Regions. As I noted above, we are launching with support for a strong, initial set of resources, and plan to add many more in the months to come.
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Today we’re launching the 4th annual Top Voices list, which celebrates the professionals creating the most-engaging content on LinkedIn. More than 2 million posts, videos and articles course through the LinkedIn feed each day, generating tens of millions more shares and likes. We culled through the data to highlight over 340 professionals around the world that are sparking conversations that make everyone better informed. This year, the Top Voices that stood out range from IBM’s most-prolific...