Corporate Blogs

What’s happening in social media platform land?

Name.com Blog -

Juggling through your daily routine of social media app checking can become exhausting and that doesn’t even include keeping up with software updates. And since you probably don’t have enough time to know what’s going on in the platform land, I’ll give you a rundown. Let me start with Twitter, mostly because I’m really excited about […] The post What’s happening in social media platform land? appeared first on Name.com Blog.

How to Get Started with Email Marketing (And Why You Should)

Bluehost Blog -

Social media used to be one of the best promotional channels bloggers can use to promote their websites and businesses. But, with more content being shared on Facebook and Twitter, the influence and the reach you have over your followers are slowly declining. According to a recent study by Buzzsumo, Facebook Page organic reach has fallen 20% in 2017. Now, you have to pay to boost each post you publish on Facebook to get a few likes and clicks. Makes you really wonder if it’s really worth the cost. Even in the middle of this social media downfall, there is one marketing channel that maintained its level of quality and effectiveness over the years. It’s email marketing! If you’re starting a new blog or a website, creating a proper email marketing strategy is the one thing that you should invest on even before creating your Facebook page. You can actually get started in a few simple steps. We’ll show you how. What Is Email Marketing? Remember when you used to receive mail, magazines, leaflets, and coupons in your mailbox outside your home? It used to be an effective marketing strategy but only the big brands could afford that kind of mass marketing. Things took a turn after the Internet was born. People switched from snail mail to Email. Now, we get the same mail, magazines, coupons, and promotions from companies. Except it’s all in our inbox. And today, almost anyone can afford to run an email marketing campaign. That’s what email marketing is all about. It’s a simple marketing channel that allows you to promote your blog posts, products, and services to your valued subscribers, via email. Many Benefits Of Building An Email List Is it really worth spending time developing an email list? Well, 59% of B2B marketers claim that email is the most effective marketing channel that generates the most revenue. It’s no surprise since 77% of consumers prefer to receive promotional messages via email than social media. Needless to say, email marketing is much more effective than most other marketing strategies you can try on a budget. Here are some of the ways you can use your email list to your benefit: Promote Your Blog Posts: Whenever you publish a new blog post, tell your subscribers about it. This will help bring more traffic to your website. Sell Products: You can also use your email list to promote your own products or affiliate products. Email is more effective at conversions than social media. Connect With Followers: Your email list will help you connect with your subscribers on a personal level. Ask questions, run polls, surveys, and more. Rewards You In Long Term: Unlike social media, you won’t have to pay to promote your emails every time. The bigger the email list, better reach you’ll have. So, how do you get started with email marketing? You can do that in 4 simple steps. Step 1: Choose The Right Email Marketing Service Building an email list doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself to collect one email at a time and send emails to subscribers one by one. There are email marketing services that does this job for you. You can use your email marketing service to easily manage your email list in one place. It will also allow you to create email campaigns to send emails to your entire list at once. Email automation is another important tool that comes with email marketing software. This lets you send automated emails to your subscribers, such as to automatically send a welcome email to your new subscribers. Constant Contact is an all-in-one email marketing service that supports all these features and more. Find a service that fits your budget and business. Step 2: Install An Email Opt-In Plugin Once you have an email marketing service in your toolkit, you can start collecting emails from your blog. You can do this by embedding email opt-in forms and pop-up messages on your website. Thanks to WordPress, this part takes only a few minutes. All you need to do is install an email opt-in plugin on your blog and then you can setup pop-up messages, embed opt-in forms, and create welcome gates to ask your website visitors to signup for your email list. OptinMonster is one of the best email opt-in plugins you can use for this job. This plugin provides you with all the tools you need to make the most of your website traffic by converting them into subscribers. Step 3: Create A Lead Magnet People value their email. It’s part of their private life and frankly, no one wants to receive useless emails in their inbox. As a result, they always hesitate before subscribing to an email list. Your website visitors will subscribe to your email list only if it offers some value to them. This is why you need to use incentives to bribe your subscribers into giving you their email. It’s actually like doing business. For example, you can offer a free eBook to your subscribers whenever they join your email list. These bribes are called lead magnets. You can create several types of lead magnets, like free eBooks, email courses, coupons, free product trials, and more to get people interested in joining your email list. Step 4: Build A Landing Page This step is optional but recommended. When you’re offering a valuable lead magnet, you can create a landing page to effectively showcase your offer and convert your visitors into leads. The landing page will also make it easier for you to direct traffic to your lead magnet. For example, you can share the link to your landing page on social media and link to it from your guest posts on other blogs to drive traffic to your landing page and get more subscribers. You can use a free page builder plugin like Elementor to create a landing page on your website without having to write any code. Summary Much like building a successful business, growing an email list also takes time. So, don’t expect to have an email list of 1,000 subscribers overnight. Keep publishing more blog posts and try out different email lead magnets to lure in more subscribers. Also, avoid spamming and use your email list as a way to connect with your followers and customers. Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on Twitter @syedbalkhi. The post How to Get Started with Email Marketing (And Why You Should) appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

October 2017’s Best Magento, CMS, and Design/Development Content

Nexcess Blog -

Last month, the Nexcess team had a wonderful time participating in ExpressionEngine Conference 2017 and are already looking forward to next year. In other big news, the holiday season is here. We hope you planned ahead this year and your site is already optimized for the coming rush. Not ready yet? You’ll find some advice… Continue reading →

Raising Awareness for Breast Cancer

Acquia -

Every October, people come together to raise awareness for breast cancer and show support for women’s health. This October, Maureen Lawson, our talent acquisition lead and a survivor of breast cancer, shared her story with us to educate our team on preventative measures and motivate our community that it’s possible to beat cancer. When were you diagnosed and at what stage of breast cancer? I was diagnosed young, at just 39, with stage 2A breast cancer, but the really disappointing part of the story is that I could have been diagnosed several years earlier, had my doctor performed the correct tests. Cancer can be an unpredictable animal, especially when you are diagnosed at a younger age. I underwent chemotherapy and active treatment for 15 months. It really affects every part of you, inside and out, every function of your body. You are looking out your eyeballs, but everything inside feels different. Sometimes you can’t focus due to “chemo-brain,” or you get weird cravings – it affects your heart, skin, nails, bones, everything. Some of these issues I still have today – it never leaves you. Thankfully in my case, targeted therapies like chemotherapy and other treatments worked on my cancer. Why are you sharing your story? Before diagnosis, I didn’t receive the right tests I needed. If I had, I could have been diagnosed years earlier. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence - many young women are told “you’re too young for cancer,” “it’s nothing,” “you have no family history,” and if they’re nursing, they’re commonly told “you have a clogged milk duct.” I sit here at work and I see my peers walking around, and I think with all of the people that we work with, the chances of someone being diagnosed with cancer is there. I’m compelled to get the word out there about the misinformation and lack of information. I also want them to know that they can deal with it and get through it and survive, that their family member or friend can deal with it and survive – and still be here 10 years later. I hope that my story will help them or someone in their circles get through it. I was lucky to have an amazing support system around me when I went through cancer. What are some of the preventative measures you can take? When you’re under 40, it’s imperative that you conduct self breast exams monthly to look for any changes. If you can, arm yourself with your own medical history, ask your family: parents, aunts, grandparents, siblings. If you’re younger, and you know you have the BRCA gene, you could be more susceptible and take action against that. No matter your age, If you ever find a lump or change in your breast skin, you need to push for tests from your doctor and get to the bottom of it. It’s important to be proactive about prevention and ask questions and to advocate for yourself. If you need help, ask a friend or relative to go with you to take notes and be a second ear. What are the type of questions you should ask doctors? In my case, when my doctor felt a lump, she said it was nothing, just a fibroadenoma, which is common in younger women, so she suggested we keep an eye on it. I’m a question asker, and I did my research, and still I didn’t receive the right tests I needed. As soon as I learned my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I was sent for a baseline mammogram and ultrasound and then a biopsy. You need to get specific tests and investigate with mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy – it’s the only way to find out if the lump is cancerous or not. Follow-up is important here. Are there certain types of cancerous cells in the biopsy? Are there further tests or biopsies to help determine my course of my treatment? Should I get a second opinion? What’s the best treatment facility for my type of cancer? How did you deal with cancer? People who are diagnosed with cancer handle it in different ways - it’s an individual choice. I dealt with my own cancer out and in the open. I try to be positive and have a sense of humor about everything, and cancer was no different. While I’m an introvert and keep most of my personal life to myself, I am compelled to be open about my breast cancer survival story. It helps to understand how you can help others during treatment and be supportive. In the talks I do, I find that some people get emotional because they hear I went through cancer, or their family member or friend went through this. If I can help one person within the doors of Acquia and they help transfer that information beyond, I feel like I’m making a positive impact. Most people feel helpless when it comes to cancer – you don’t have a choice about the diagnosis nor much of a choice in treatment. – Maureen Lawson, Acquia How does it feel to speak with a family of people you work with? I was glad to be given the opportunity to speak with the group in an open forum and am appreciative that there was support for my wish to do so. The positive feedback was overwhelming; we’re creating a community within a community. If I can help one person within the doors of Acquia and they help transfer that information beyond, I feel like I’m making a positive impact. Most people feel helpless when it comes to cancer – you don’t have a choice about the diagnosis nor much of a choice in treatment. The one thing you have control over is your attitude and what you do with the information provided to you. Being an advocate for awareness is very important to me – I’m glad we are doing something about it. For preventative resources, please visit http://www.dana-farber.org/cancer-genetics-and-prevention/breast-and-ova... or http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam. If you or someone you know is going through cancer, http://www.breastcancer.org/ and http://www.lbbc.org/ offer information and support. The sessions Maureen presented to our team helped surface questions and discussion. You can watch one of them below:  

5 Reasons to make your Mobile App in React Native

Reseller Club Blog -

With the surge in technology and smartphones in the market, the way modern day businesses are shaping up has seen a good amount of change. And whether you are a budding online business or someone who is looking to start one, having a mobile app is something you must have considered. According to a research, by the year 2020 there are likely to be around 38.5 billion devices all connected to each other over the internet. Given this fact almost all smartphones, tablets, wearables, smart TVs etc all will be able to access mobile apps. Key difference between Mobile compatible website and Mobile App A common misconception is that a mobile compatible/responsive website and mobile app provide the same functionality. Essentially though they do deliver the same results, having a mobile app saves the customer’s time by reducing connecting to the website’s server again and again. Also accessing a mobile website on a weaker mobile network can hamper a potential customer as opposed to a mobile app that would function well even when the connection is low. Reasons to build Mobile App Helps in Brand Building A mobile app can go a long way in building your business’s brand image. Not only does it raise your business presence but also increases awareness and recognition. This is so because, mobile apps allow you to create a direct marketing channel for your online business by providing your customers everything at the click of a button. Good User Experience and Customer Engagement Mobile Apps that are well built and easy to navigate help in enhancing the customer’s experience and in turn increases the customer engagement. Mobile Apps offer constant visibility to the customer by being on their homepage and thus help in them routing to your products more often. Staying with the Competition Nowadays almost every business has their own mobile app but if there isn’t one in your area of business you can build one and capitalize. However, even if your niche of business has apps you can still customize your with a user friendly UI and unique feature to target your customers and retain them. Why React Native? Cross-Platform One of the main features of React Native is its cross-platform nature. Initially, it was primarily built for iOS and later adopted for Android support as well. Owing to this hybrid nature of the application, it is one of the top reasons to choose React Native. Moreover since it is hybrid, the development for both Android and iOS can be done simultaneously through a single codebase thereby incurring lower costs. JavaScript Coding As a developer, you essentially need to learn Swift for iOS or Java for Android but if you know JavaScript you can easily develop with React Native. All you need to know are basic UI elements and design patterns. This is so as React Native’s library consists of inline styling, debugging, Flexbox CSS styling and deployment support to upload the app on App Store and Google Play. Another advantage of React Native is the fact, if you are a web app development company you need not hire an external developer as some of your developers might be well versed in JavaScript. Reusability React Native is known for its reusability feature making it less time consuming. Not only this it even offers an agile and fast app development. Reusability here essentially means that if you wish to incorporate React Native components into your mobile app you can easily reuse it with a plugin. This is far more easier if your earlier app was built using Ionic or Cordova. As a developer this signals efficiency and boosts productivity. Open Source and supported by Facebook React Native is built by Facebook developers and is open source. Being an open source software it helps the developers all over to inspect and suggest changes to make the app more efficient. This not only helps developers to use it freely without additional charges but they can even fix bugs and added features. Easy to understand UI Although iOS and Android both have a different look and feel, as well as design guidelines making an app that suits both can be a hassle, and more if the layout of framework is also difficult to navigate. However, since React Native is keenly focused on developing mobile UI in comparison to other JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS or MeteorJS it is simpler. Also the UI is highly responsive making it easier to understand and navigate. Conclusion: To sum up why React Native, its strengths are its hybrid nature of creating iOS as well as an Android app and an evolving open source community. If you are a pro or even a beginner in JavaScript do give React Native a try and I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed. If you have built an app using React Native, share your opinion in the comments below. Also a sneak peak into what’s awaiting for you in the coming months… We, ResellerClub are coming up a mobile app so that we’re always connected to you. If you attended Cloud Bazaar chances are you might have seen the demo of it too. We’re excited for the mobile app, are you?

Music Behind the Tech: Libni Ortiz-Valles

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Music and tech make a perfect pair — coding, troubleshooting and focusing on projects are often accompanied by a soundtrack for many in the IT industry. Whether it’s getting into that “flow state” or simply dialing in on a complex problem, listening to music seems to be the method of choice for IT employees looking […] The post Music Behind the Tech: Libni Ortiz-Valles appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

5 Ecommerce Holiday Campaigns to Inspire Your Online Shop

HostGator Blog -

The post 5 Ecommerce Holiday Campaigns to Inspire Your Online Shop appeared first on HostGator Blog. 5 Examples of Inspired Ecommerce Holiday Campaigns The holiday shopping season is here! From the latest fashion apparel to the hottest tech gadgets, consumers desire the best gifts to celebrate the upcoming festivities. Now is your time to ramp up your marketing campaigns. But before you do, William Harris, content lead at Sellbrite, offers some […] Find the post on the HostGator Blog

What is Domain Privacy and Why Do You Need It?

HostGator Blog -

The post What is Domain Privacy and Why Do You Need It? appeared first on HostGator Blog. Why Domain Privacy Is Important Maintaining your privacy is harder today than it’s ever been. Keeping your personal information safe from strangers is a constant challenge, one you have to be vigilant about. If you own a website though, there’s a good chance your information is out there where anyone can find it – unless […] Find the post on the HostGator Blog

7 Last Minute Holiday Marketing Tips for Online Shop Owners

HostGator Blog -

The post 7 Last Minute Holiday Marketing Tips for Online Shop Owners appeared first on HostGator Blog. It’s Not Too Late! Prep Your E-Commerce Site for the Holidays With These 7 Marketing Tips For online shop owners, this is the most important time of year. People spend a lot during November and December – over $650 billion last year, and that number’s expected to go up this year. As people look for […] Find the post on the HostGator Blog

20 Holiday Content Ideas for Your Website

HostGator Blog -

The post 20 Holiday Content Ideas for Your Website appeared first on HostGator Blog. 20 Holiday Content Ideas for Web Marketers If you haven’t heard any holiday music yet, expect a Christmas song to come wafting your way any moment now. The holiday season is officially upon us. While the holiday season means presents, meals, and festive decorations for most, for marketers it also means getting into gear for […] Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Amazon EC2 Update – X1e Instances in Five More Sizes and a Stronger SLA

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Earlier this year we launched the x1e.32xlarge instances in four AWS Regions with 4 TB of memory. Today, two months after that launch, customers are using these instances to run high-performance relational and NoSQL databases, in-memory databases, and other enterprise applications that are able to take advantage of large amounts of memory. Five More Sizes of X1e I am happy to announce that we are extending the memory-optimized X1e family with five additional instance sizes. Here’s the lineup: Model vCPUs Memory (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) Networking Performance x1e.xlarge 4 122 120 Up to 10 Gbps x1e.2xlarge 8 244 240 Up to 10 Gbps x1e.4xlarge 16 488 480 Up to 10 Gbps x1e.8xlarge 32 976 960 Up to 10 Gbps x1e.16xlarge 64 1,952 1,920 10 Gbps x1e.32xlarge 128 3,904 3,840 25 Gbps The instances are powered by quad socket Intel® Xeon® E7 8880 processors running at 2.3 GHz, with large L3 caches and plenty of memory bandwidth. ENA networking and EBS optimization are standard, with up to 14 Gbps of dedicated throughput (depending on instance size) to EBS. As part of today’s launch we are also making all sizes of X1e available in the Asia Pacific (Sydney) Region. This means that you can now launch them in On-Demand and Reserved Instance form in the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and Asia Pacific (Sydney) Regions. Stronger EC2 SLA I also have another piece of good news! Effective immediately, we are increasing the EC2 Service Level Agreement (SLA) for both EC2 and EBS to 99.99%, for all regions and for all AWS customers. This change was made possible by our continuous investment in infrastructure and quality of service, along with our focus on operational excellence. — Jeff;

5 Ways to Find Free Photos and Images You Can Use on Your Website

InMotion Hosting Blog -

    Whether sharing stories about your life or selling a product, images have become essential to the modern website. If you think about your own experience on the web you will probably agree that websites with great images and design draw and keep your attention better than those comprised almost entirely of text. And, those images need to be high quality. Indeed, research by Skyword found that content containing “compelling” images averaged 94 percent more views than those with less eye-catching pictures. Continue reading 5 Ways to Find Free Photos and Images You Can Use on Your Website at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

How this New Domain is making waves in the tech industry

Name.com Blog -

If you’ve been noticing a lot more websites using a .TECH domain lately, it’s not just your imagination. According to Radix (which operates the .TECH TLD), over 39,000 of the registered .TECH domains are being actively used by individuals and brands, which shows an incredible (and growing) rate of adoption among users. A variety of end […] The post How this New Domain is making waves in the tech industry appeared first on Name.com Blog.

4 Contact Form Plugins For Convenient Communication

WP Engine -

Although your customers might have a myriad of options for communicating with your company in real time including live chat or phone, often communication, when it’s not in the realm of immediate customer support,  doesn’t need to happen instantaneously. An email is still a relevant, convenient and necessary form of communication between customer and business. Emails are also helpful because you can quickly and easily direct the email to the suitable department. Contact forms are an easy way to create an avenue for customers to shoot you a quick message and come back to it later. There are many options for implementing a contact form on your site including using one that is built into your theme, creating one from scratch, or using a plugin to easily insert one onto your site. When it comes to contact form plugins, there is no shortage of options. We’ve compiled some of the best contact form plugins that include a sleek aesthetic, drag and drop options, conditional logic, and more! Caldera Forms Equipped with an extremely intuitive user interface, creating forms is very easy using Caldera Forms. The drag and drop editor is easy to use and sensible. Additionally, there a zero limitation on the amount of allowed form or field submissions and Caldera Forms makes available any type of field type you might need: calculation, dropdown select, radio, file upload and more! Also, check out Caldera Forms Pro which includes out-of-the-box email tracking, layout design for your notifications, and awesome support! Ninja Forms Ninja Forms allows you to build sleek forms in minutes with a simple drag and drop interface. Form building using Ninja Forms is ideal for non-technical beginners because no code is required to get the job done. However, the form builder also includes features ideal for developers including customizable hooks, filters, and custom field types to create whatever your vision for the form is. Gravity Forms With a plethora of built-in tools, Gravity Forms allows you to select your fields, configure your options and easily embed forms onto your WordPress site. Integrate your forms with popular web services and applications to create the most comprehensive user experience. A few third-party add-ons you might want to take advantage of include PayPal, Stripe, and FreshBooks. Multipage forms are a standard feature in Gravity Forms so customers can fill out extensive forms and be aware of their progress. Pirate Forms The Pirate Forms plugin allows for optimum customization; change all the field labels and create custom error messages. Pirate Forms is straightforward to set up and use; create an engaging contact form by using a shortcode and copying it where you want it to appear. Additionally, Pirate Forms provides reCaptcha and comes with SMTP to make sure you never miss an email. Have a favorite plugin you use to create contact forms? Tell us about it in the comments! The post 4 Contact Form Plugins For Convenient Communication appeared first on WP Engine.

New – AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise

Amazon Web Services Blog -

At last year’s AWS re:Invent we launched AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate which enabled customers to get their own Chef Automate server, managed by AWS. Building on customer feedback we’re excited to bring Puppet Enterprise to OpsWorks today. Puppet Enterprise allows you to automate provisioning, configuring, and managing instances through a puppet-agent deployed on each managed node. You can define a configuration once and apply it to thousands of nodes with automatic rollback and drift detection. AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise eliminates the need to maintain your own Puppet masters while working seamlessly with your existing Puppet manifests. OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise will manage the Puppet master server for you and take care of operational tasks like installation, upgrades, and backups. It also simplifies node registration and offers a useful starter kit for bootstrapping your nodes. More details below. Creating a Managed Puppet Master Creating a Puppet master in OpsWorks is simple. First navigate to the OpsWorks console Puppet section and click “Create Puppet Enterprise Server”. On this first part of the setup you configure the region and EC2 instance type for your Puppet master. A c4.large can support up to 450 nodes while a c4.2xlarge can support 1600+ nodes. Your Puppet Enterprise server will be provisioned with the newest version of Amazon Linux (2017.09) and the most current version of Puppet Enterprise (2017.3.2). On the next screen of the setup you can optionally configure an SSH key to connect your Puppet master. This is useful if you’ll be making any major customizations but it’s a good general practice to interact with Puppet through the client tools rather than directly on the instance itself. Also on this page, you can setup an r10k repo to pull dynamic configurations. In the advanced settings page you can select the usual deployment options around VPCs, security groups, IAM roles, and instance profiles. If you choose to have OpsWorks create the instance security group for you, do note that it will be open by default so it’s important to restrict access to this later. Two components to pay attention to on this page are the maintenance window and backup configurations. When new minor versions of Puppet software become available, system maintenance is designed to update the minor version of Puppet Enterprise on your Puppet master automatically, as soon as it passes AWS testing. AWS performs extensive testing to verify that Puppet upgrades are production-ready and will deploy without disrupting existing customer environments. Automated backups allow you to store durable backups of your Puppet master in S3 and to restore from those backups at anytime. You can adjust the backup frequency and retention based on your business needs. Using AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise While your Puppet master is provisioning there are two helpful information boxes provided in the console. You can download your sign-in credentials as well as sample userdata for installing the puppet-agent onto your Windows and Linux nodes. An important note here is that you’re able to manage your on-premises nodes as well, provided they have connectivity to your Puppet master. Once your Puppet master is fully provisioned you can access the Puppet Enterprise http console and use Puppet as you normally would. Useful Details AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise is priced in Node Hours for your managed nodes. Prices start at $0.017 per-node-hour and decrease with volume of nodes – you can see the full pricing page here. You’ll also pay for the underlying resources required to run your Puppet master. At launch AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise is available in US East (N. Virginia) Region, US West (Oregon) Region, and EU (Ireland) Region. Of course everything you’ve seen in the console can also be accomplished through the AWS SDKs and CLI. You can get more information in the Getting Started Guide. – Randall

Acquia.com Gets a Boost from Lift 3

Acquia -

Previously in this series, Gigi Anderson, Senior Marketing Communications Specialist at Acquia, talked about the content migration for website redesign. Catch up and read Gigi's blog, here. At the outset of our site redesign project, there were a few core principles we vowed to stick to. One of the biggest undertakings, but arguably most important, was to utilize as many of our own products as possible. Not all of our tools would have a practical application on the site, but some of them, such as Acquia Lift, would help us to deliver a superior digital experience on par with what we already deliver for our customers. Lift is our personalization tool, which aims to deliver contextual content throughout a user’s journey. It captures data from users who are visiting your site, and sends that data into Profile Manager - the data warehouse that stores all user information and analytics data. Although Lift 3 is more robust and user-friendly than ever, it hasn’t always been the belle of the ball. Historical challenges with Lift 2 With Acquia.com running on Drupal 7, we experienced some challenges with Lift 2. The campaign building process was a manual one, and while the workflow was logical, it felt clunky and stale. The interface was functional and helped us to achieve personalization goals, but it was a lengthy process to build new campaigns. Logged-in users also experienced poor performance, which meant that we often had functionality turned off on Acquia.com. Lift 2 was built with many different Drupal modules and sub-modules, so it was entirely Drupal-dependent. In order to deploy a new campaign, you’d have to build out the segments and parameters ahead of time, before previewing your work on the live site. Any changes made would require the campaign to be paused, before going into the backend, updating parameters, and then previewing again. It was a workable process, but far from ideal. Improvements we’re looking forward to in Lift 3 With our shiny new site running on Drupal 8 and with Lift functionality completely overhauled, the game changes dramatically. It’s amazing the difference a new interface makes, and that’s precisely what is at the core of the new and improved Lift. Where the build and deploy process for new campaigns lived separately from the live website in Lift 2, you can now edit live on page in Lift 3. Where campaigns used to take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to build, they can now be done in a matter of seconds. Another highlight is the Experience Builder – an Ember application that sits as a sidebar console on top of your site, allowing real-time changes to be made to personalization segments and rules. This also means that it can be used on any site, Drupal or non-Drupal. Any content in your CMS can be built and stored in Experience Builder, where it can be reused indefinitely anywhere on your site. Experience Builder has drag-and-drop functionality, and can easily toggle between rules to show you exactly what a given user will see. Rules – formerly known as campaigns – are new for Lift 3, and are composed of three distinct components: User segment (a specified user group) Piece of content you’d like the given segment to see Slot on the page where you’d like the content to go (like the header, for example) Rules are easy to define, and you can create as many rules as you need for your site. Some site visitors will fall into more than one segment (which is the first defining parameter of a rule), so you can set priority rules to ensure visitors always see the most accurate content. For Acquia.com this is especially important, because we often have fresh new content that we want users to consume as soon as it’s available. Lift 3 is also lightning fast, loading personalized content within milliseconds, so the user can barely perceive any change in content delivery. Acquia’s personalization goals for the future Lift 3 will be an integral tool as we rollout the new site. With so many big changes all happening at once, we’ll ramp up slowly, and get comfortable with all the new and different functionality that this tool has to offer. There are several different ways we plan to use Lift on Acquia.com, including A/B testing for page elements like banners, personalization by geographic area, and content recommendations based on user attributes, just to name a few. We’re excited to see where Lift 3 can take us, and we’ll be sure to report back on our findings as we dig in.

Engaging users through high quality AMP pages

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

To improve our users' experience with AMP results, we are making changes to how we enforce our policy on content parity with AMP. Starting Feb 1, 2018, the policy requires that the AMP page content be comparable to the (original) canonical page content. AMP is not a ranking signal and there is no change in terms of the ranking policy with respect to AMP. The open source accelerated mobile pages project (AMP) launched in 2015 and has seen tremendous growth with over 25M domains having implemented the AMP format. This rapid progress comes with a sense of responsibility of ensuring that our users continue to have a great content consumption experience that ultimately leads to more engagement with publisher content. In some cases, webmasters publish two versions of their content: a canonical page that is not based on AMP and an AMP page. In the ideal scenario, both these pages have equivalent content leading the user to get the same content but with a faster and smoother experience via AMP.  However, in some cases the content on the AMP page does not match the content on its original (canonical) page. In a small number of cases, AMP pages are used as teaser pages which create a particularly bad user experience since they only contain minimal content. In these instances, users have to click twice to get to the real content. Below is an example of how this may look like: a brief text of the main article and then asking the user to click to visit another page to complete reading the article. AMP was introduced to dramatically improve the performance of the web and deliver a fast, consistent content consumption experience. In keeping with this goal, we'll be enforcing the requirement of close parity between AMP and canonical page, for pages that wish to be shown in Google Search as AMPs. Where we find that an AMP page doesn't contain the same critical content as its non-AMP equivalent, we will direct our users to the non-AMP page. This does not affect Search ranking. However, these pages will not be considered for Search features that require AMP, such as the Top Stories carousel with AMP. Additionally, we will notify the webmaster via Search console as a manual action message and give the publisher the opportunity to fix the issue before its AMP page can be served again. The AMP open source website has several helpful guides to help produce fast, beautiful and high-performing AMP pages. We hope this change encourages webmasters to maintain content parity between the canonical and AMP equivalent. This will lead to better experience on your site and ultimately happier users.Posted by Ashish Mehta, Product Manager

Google Chrome’s Ad Blocker Could Be Good News For WordPress Bloggers And eCommerce Merchants

Nexcess Blog -

After a couple of weeks of rumors, Google announced that it will add an ad-blocker to the Chrome web browser next year. Chrome is the most popular browser on the web with a market share of over 60%, and the introduction of always-on, activated-by-default ad-blocking will have a substantial impact on the advertising and publishing… Continue reading →

How to Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Bluehost Blog -

Thanksgiving is drawing closer with each passing day, which means Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. If you sell goods online, there is one day that you absolutely must prepare for: Black Friday. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. People go crazy looking for the best deals. Even the world of online retail gets into the game, offering their sales or special promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Every year the online numbers for Black Friday get bigger. In 2015, over 121 MILLION people shopped online on what used to be just the day after Thanksgiving. Because so many people are shopping, your online store needs a plan. We’re here to help. These are the top 3 things you should do to prepare. Promote Early If you’re not actively promoting your business, you’re leaving money on the table. Consider doing these three things: Get a promo plan and calendar. Mark down all of your important dates, notate tasks and make sure every campaign-related item such as blogs, emails, social media are all ready, or at least in development. Give your website a thorough health check. Test it out. Make sure that your site can handle an influx of traffic without crashing. Check your shopping cart to ensure your store is working properly Do you have a return policy? People will buy the wrong color and size. It’s a fact of life. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Make sure you have a responsive site We do a ton of shopping via our phones. Frankly, we do everything from our phones. If you want the maximum return, your site and store need to be optimized for smartphones. We have so much downtime in between life, there are always moments to spare, and within those moments, we’re browsing for stuff. Last year, retailers saw a 65% increase in purchases made from phones. You need your site to be easy to read and scroll through. Is it connected to PayPal? Can they buy with a simple thumbprint via Apple Pay? Can a customer purchase in under a minute? You need to make sure these things are paramount before the Christmas rush sets in. Stand out from the crowd An easy killer of momentum is bad marketing. If your site is ugly, it turns people off. What about how the copy reads? If it’s a bunch of nonsense or has bad spelling and grammar, potential customers will look elsewhere. Think about it: if you visit a site and they can’t spell, or the layout looks janky, what gives you confidence this store will be able to accurately place an order? All marketing materials need to be thought of in the same breath. To ensure a solid campaign, do the things mentioned above, but also go above and beyond. It’s up to you how much money you’re willing to spend in hopes to make it back by at least double. If you want to drive some serious numbers toward your store, consider these easy steps: Beef up your landing pages – The more landing pages you have for specific items, more people will find you. If you have five top-selling items, make a page for each. But don’t go cheap. Google can sniff out something slapped together. Put time and effort into the copy and design of these pages. Stick with the tried and true – No matter what social media network comes along, people love emails. Email marketing still has the highest conversion rate out of every channel. Again, you will need good writing and make sure your links work. Hire a copywriter – Notice a trend here? Copywriting is an art. Not everyone can do it. Just because your cousin who got an A in high school English said she’d do it, it’s not the same thing. Hire a copywriter to make sure the copy shines and is SEO-friendly. Your Google rankings will thank you. Write blogs people want to read – Again with the content. If you’re selling a lifestyle product or just want to tell a buyer’s journey, your blogs need to sing. By working with a writer who can produce a substantial blog, that’s a potential buy on it’s own and with a low fiscal center of gravity. Someone is always looking for a blog relevant to their interests. Don’t fall victim to a bad blog. It’s an easy win. Don’t skimp on your site – This should go without saying, but your website needs to look amazing. Again, don’t slap something together. Take the time and open up the pocketbook. If you’re trying to save $50 that will come back to get you because there is always someone out there willing to spend more to convert sales. Get festive, add some happy elves or penguins singing. It is Christmas, after all. The post How to Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

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