As we continue to showcase a sample of the amazing StudioPress themes now available to WP Engine customers, we’re extra excited to bring you this StudioPress Theme of the Week: Breakthrough Pro, which is the first new theme to be launched since our acquisition of StudioPress in June. Breakthrough Pro was built with today’s creative,…
The post StudioPress Theme Spotlight: New Breakthrough Pro appeared first on WP Engine.
The post How to Sell Products Online in 6 Easy Steps appeared first on HostGator Blog.
Deciding to start an online business and begin selling products online can be an exciting experience. However, this excitement can soon be replaced with overwhelm if the proper process isn’t followed.
There are a lot of considerations and research to be done if you want to learn to sell products online the right way.
Below you’ll learn the proper steps to take before you launch, during launch, and how to set your online store up for long-term success.
1. Decide What to Sell
Choosing the right products to sell will make or break your success online. As a result, you should spend a lot of time during the research phase.
It can be helpful to choose a product or market that you actually care about. With more and more competition every single day, choosing a market you have passion about will give you a leg up, as you’ll be willing to go the extra mile.
What kind of products would I love to sell?
What would be my dream niche to serve?
What industries do I have experience and knowledge in?
What pain points currently exist in the market?
Do my products provide a practical solution?
This should give you a list of products or markets that you’d love to serve.
With this in mind it’s time to get a better picture of the existing market, so you can decide how to compete and position yourself.
2. Research Your Market
You probably already have an idea of some of the competitors in your space, but now it’s time to take a deeper dive.
You’ll be looking for companies that sell similar products, what makes their approach unique, the methods they use to market themselves, and how they speak to your target market.
Find your top competitors and make a list with the above elements in mind.
This will not only help you better understand how to market and sell your products, but you might be able to uncover an underserved portion of the market hungry for your products.
Beyond having a deep understanding of your market, you’ll also want to thoroughly understand your customers. This will make the sales and marketing process much easier. Ask yourself the following questions:
How old is my customer? Where do they live? What’s their gender?
How much money do they make? What’s their occupation?
What other interests do they have?
How do they spend their time?
What are their beliefs about the world?
Why do they buy products like yours?
3. Decide How to Ship Your Products
With an idea of what you’re going to sell, the existing market, and your buyer preferences, it’s time to think about how you’re going to ship your products to them.
The first is hiring a manufacturer to create your products for you. This can lead to a more custom product, higher quality control, and less cost per unit. But, you’ll have to spend more time creating your product, working out manufacturing issues, and figuring out shipping.
The second approach is relying on dropshipping. With this approach, you’ll be purchasing other people’s products and selling them through your online store. The drop shipper will also fulfill and ship orders on your behalf. This approach will have lower overhead costs, and less work overall. However, you may have to operate on slimmer margins and will have less quality control over the final product.
4. Build Your Online Store
Now it’s time to start building your online store. You’ll have a few different approaches to take. You can build your own online store through WordPress and a tool like WooCommerce. You can sell products through an existing platform like Etsy, or Amazon. Or you can use an eCommerce website builder to easily build your store and manage your products.
For the sake of this tutorial, we’re going to assume you’re using a website builder. This approach will give you the freedom of customizing your own site while helping manage all of the technical details for you.
With an eCommerce website builder all you have to do is select a theme, customize it to your liking with the drag and drop builder, upload your products, and press publish.
You’ll also be able to manage your inventory, handle tax, and shipping rates, and even integrate a payment processor.
5. Craft a Marketing Strategy
Simply publishing your site online isn’t enough; you need to craft a marketing strategy to help get the word out.
It would be impossible to cover every single aspect of marketing your online store in this post, but here are a few questions and considerations to get you moving in the right direction:
What marketing approaches will you take? Social media? Content marketing? Paid advertising? Influencer outreach? Guest blogging?
How will you get customers to buy from you again? A royalty program? Subscriber discounts?
How will you convert traffic to buyers? Regular promotions? Product and upsell suggestions?
What will make your strategy successful? Rising traffic? Conversions? Email list growth?
As you can see you have a lot to think about when it comes to marketing your store and ensuring it’s success over the long run.
6. Launch and Execute
The day has come to finally launch your online store and start sharing your products with the world. Even though it probably feels like your work is finished it’s actually only just begun. All of the preparation work, research, and website building has been leading you up to this point.
Continue to execute and experiment with your marketing strategy and optimize your site based on user feedback, analytics data, and the kinds of products they’re actually buying.
Selling products online is a journey and you’ve just taken your first steps. Hopefully, you’re now better equipped to create and launch a successful online store. Get your store up and running quickly with the GATOR website builder.
Find the post on the HostGator Blog
AWS Heroes are passionate AWS enthusiasts who use their extensive knowledge to teach others about all things AWS across a range of mediums. Many Heroes eagerly share knowledge online via forums, social media, or blogs; while others lead AWS User Groups or organize AWS Community Day events. Their extensive efforts to spread AWS knowledge have a significant impact within their local communities. Today we are excited to introduce the newest AWS Heroes:
Jaroslaw Zielinski – Poznan, Poland
AWS Community Hero Jaroslaw Zielinski is a Solutions Architect at Vernity in Poznan (Poland), where his responsibility is to support customers on their road to the cloud using cloud adoption patterns. Jaroslaw is a leader of AWS User Group Poland operating in 7 different cities around Poland. Additionally, he connects the community with the biggest IT conferences in the region – PLNOG, DevOpsDay, Amazon@Innovation to name just a few.
He supports numerous projects connected with evangelism, like Zombie Apocalypse Workshops or Cloud Builder’s Day. Bringing together various IT communities, he hosts a conference Cloud & Datacenter Day – the biggest community conference in Poland. In addition, his passion for IT is transferred into his own blog called Popołudnie w Sieci. He also publishes in various professional papers.
Jerry Hargrove – Kalama, USA
AWS Community Hero Jerry Hargrove is a cloud architect, developer and evangelist who guides companies on their journey to the cloud, helping them to build smart, secure and scalable applications. Currently with Lucidchart, a leading visual productivity platform, Jerry is a thought leader in the cloud industry and specializes in AWS product and services breakdowns, visualizations and implementation. He brings with him over 20 years of experience as a developer, architect & manager for companies like Rackspace, AWS and Intel.
You can find Jerry on Twitter compiling his famous sketch notes and creating Lucidchart templates that pinpoint practical tips for working in the cloud and helping developers increase efficiency. Jerry is the founder of the AWS Meetup Group in Salt Lake City, often contributes to meetups in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay area, and speaks at developer conferences worldwide. Jerry holds several professional AWS certifications.
Martin Buberl – Copenhagen, Denmark
AWS Community Hero Martin Buberl brings the New York hustle to Scandinavia. As VP Engineering at Trustpilot he is on a mission to build the best engineering teams in the Nordics and Baltics. With a person-centered approach, his focus is on high-leverage activities to maximize impact, customer value and iteration speed — and utilizing cloud technologies checks all those boxes.
His cloud-obsession made him an early adopter and evangelist of all types of AWS services throughout his career. Nowadays, he is especially passionate about Serverless, Big Data and Machine Learning and excited to leverage the cloud to transform those areas.
Martin is an AWS User Group Leader, organizer of the AWS Community Day Nordics and founder of the AWS Community Nordics Slack. He has spoken at multiple international AWS events — AWS User Groups, AWS Community Days and AWS Global Summits — and is looking forward to continue sharing his passion for software engineering and cloud technologies with the Community.
To learn more about the AWS Heroes program or to connect with an AWS Hero in your community, click here.
Once you get WordPress and theme installed, it can seem that once you add your content, your website is ready to go. Believe it or not, there are several WordPress default settings that could put your website at a security risk. In this article, we want to share the default settings that every WordPress website owner needs to change.
As WordPress has become so popular, brute force attacks have happened as the login URL is so commonly used.
Continue reading Default WordPress Settings That You Need to Change at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for ways to improve your website. For example, you’ll want to ensure that your site always runs fast, regardless of the number of visitors it receives. Failing to optimize your site’s speed can have dire consequences, such as higher bounce rates and lost income.
Fortunately, speeding up your site doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if it’s hosted with DreamPress. More often than not, you will only need to perform a few simple tasks to fully optimize your site. Even if you’re no web wizard, you can still guarantee that your site will run fast and smoothly.
In this article, we’ll start by discussing the importance of having a fast site. We’ll also cover 10 methods you can use improve the speed of your DreamPress website right now. Let’s get started!
Why Speeding Up Your Website Is Important
As you might know, we’ve discussed the importance of website speed many times before — with good reason. If your site is suffering from slowdowns, it can both negatively affect your users’ experience and harm your business financially.
The fact is that most internet users have come to expect sites to be fast, and when they’re faced with long loading times, they’re more likely to leave before performing any actions. The number of visitors who leave this quickly is referred to as your site’s bounce rate and is something you’ll want to minimize.
A site suffering from slow speeds is also likely to see fewer conversions and even a loss in profits. As such, the importance of speeding up your website should be evident. However, to do this, you’ll first need to know how well your site is currently performing.
How to Test Your Site’s Performance
It’s a smart idea to regularly test your site to see how quickly it loads and how well it manages increases in traffic. Even if you’ve optimized your site for speed in the past, it may have slowed down over time, so you’ll want to stay up-to-date with its performance.
Fortunately, testing the speed and performance of your site is much easier than you might expect. In fact, there are plenty of solutions you can use to do this right in your browser.
Pingdom is a free tool that lets you enter the URL of the site you want to test and select a server location. You can then run a test, which will usually take less than a minute. Once that’s done, you can see how quickly your site managed to load from the specified server.
Your site will get an overall score, and you’ll see how it compares against other sites. In this case, the tested website was faster than 37 percent of other sites and was given a ‘C’ score. That means this site could definitely use some optimization. It’s a smart idea to run this test a few times and to use a variety of servers.
Best of all, Pingdom’s results will even point out specific areas where you can optimize your website to make it faster.
10 Ways to Speed up Your DreamPress Website
Once you’ve tested your site and found areas where it could improve, you can get to work. In this section, we’ll look at ten of the ways you can diagnose why the site is slowing down and how you can optimize it for speed.
Before we get started, we should mention that one of the factors in your site’s performance is its hosting plan. An optimized, WordPress-specific plan such as DreamPress will do a lot to keep your site fast and stable. However, that doesn’t mean the following methods can’t improve its performance even further. Let’s jump right in!
1. Check Caches
Caching plays a vital part in making sure your site loads quickly, which is something we’ve covered in our complete guide to caching. The good news is that all DreamPress sites include built-in caching already, so you don’t need to worry about installing a solution yourself.
However, even with DreamPress’ caching functionality, you’ll still need to manage your site’s cache from time to time. You can do this with the Varnish HTTP Purge plugin.
This plugin is included on all DreamPress sites, and it automatically clears your cache when you post new content. As such, it prevents your site from displaying outdated files to visitors.
Varnish HTTP Purge also includes a tool to test your caching so you can make sure it’s working correctly on your site. You can access this option from Varnish > Check Caching.
Here, you can enter a URL for a page on your site to test its caching status. The result will show any errors, and highlight if your theme or plugins are causing problems with the cache.
You can now go through these results to find areas that conflict with your cache. For more information, see our guide to managing the DreamPress cache.
2. Combine and Minify Scripts and Stylesheets
In a nutshell, most code is written not just to be functional but also to be easily readable by humans. This results in excess information that isn’t strictly necessary. By minifying the code, you can keep the functionality intact but make it much faster for computers to read and run.
Several plugins can help you do this. For example, Autoptimize will automatically ensure that the scripts on all of your pages are optimized.
What sets this tool apart from many other minification plugins is that it also optimizes wp-admin. All you need to do after installing and activating the plugin is navigate to Settings > Autoptimize.
3. Compress and ‘Lazy Load’ Your Images
Your site likely contains a fair amount of images, which is great for your site’s look but can be a real problem with it comes to loading times. Many image files, particularly if they’re physically large or high-quality, can be very heavy. This is a common cause of slowdowns.
To avoid this issue, take care to optimize and compress images. This will severely cut down on file sizes. There are several browser and downloadable tools you can use for this, such as TinyPNG, which also compresses JPG files.
However, to make things even easier, you can install an image compression plugin. This will automatically decrease the size of any images you upload, including their thumbnails. You can even set the level of compression you want.
One such plugin that we have recommended in the past and still favor is ShortPixel.
ShortPixel is very easy to use and offers bulk optimization of your existing images. You even get a certain number of free optimizations every month. This makes it an excellent choice, particularly if you want a quick plug-and-play solution.
Another way you can improve your images is by implementing a ‘lazy loading’ solution. With this feature in place, only images that are currently visible on the screen will be loaded. That can help to speed up your pages, particularly if they contain a large number of visuals.
As you might expect, there are a number of tools available to help you implement this functionality. For example, the popular Jetpack plugin contains a lazy load feature for images. There are also dedicated plugins, such as the aptly-named a3 Lazy Load.
This plugin is a simple yet powerful option. It will ensure that all images (including avatars, thumbnails, and those inside widgets) are only loaded when a user scrolls down to their locations on a page.
Another handy alternative is Crazy Lazy.
While this plugin features most of the same functionality, it is very lightweight and easy to use. Regardless of which option you choose, you should find that image-heavy pages will be faster and easier to navigate as a result.
4. Review Plugins
While plugins are incredibly useful for customizing and expanding your site’s functionality, some can hurt its performance. If your site is starting to slow down, a good place to start diagnosing the problem is by checking plugins.
Some plugins can hog a lot of server resources or simply take up too much space. If you’ve recently added a plugin to your site, try disabling it to see if that helps bring your speeds up. You should also see if any of your plugins have been recently updated, which could be a cause of the problem.
Plugins can also interfere with your site’s caching, which we discussed earlier. To find out if this is happening, you can try running a caching test with Varnish HTTP Purge to see if it finds that one or more plugins conflict with your cache.
If you find that a plugin is the root of your performance problems, you may want to look for a more lightweight alternative. It might also be worth reaching out to the plugin’s developers, as the performance issues may be due to a bug they’d like to be aware of.
5. Use a Fast Theme
When you choose a theme for your site, you’re most likely focusing on its appearance and features. However, this could result in picking a low-performance theme that drags down your site. As such, you should always check a theme’s user reviews first to see if other people have encountered speed issues.
You can also test to see if your theme is slowing down your site. This can be done by temporarily replacing it with one of your site’s default themes. Just access Appearance > Themes, and click on Activate next to one of the basic WordPress options.
Now, test your site’s speed again to see if you notice a significant difference. If so, you may want to look for a more optimized theme as a replacement.
Finally, you should also try to find a theme that supports Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), as this will help boost your site’s speed on phones and tablets. This is incredibly important since many of your users will be visiting your site using mobile devices.
DYK? DreamPress Plus and Pro users get access to Jetpack Professional (and 200+ premium themes) at no added cost!
6. Optimize Your Database
One element that it’s easy to forget about is your site’s database. While this is a vital component of every site, you rarely have to worry about it. However, if you leave your database alone for too long, it can fill up with old or unnecessary data, causing slowdowns as a result.
The best way to avoid this, especially if you’re unfamiliar with databases, is to use a plugin. In this case, we recommend WP-DBManager.
This is an all-in-one database solution that can repair, back up, and optimize your database. To do the latter, just navigate to Database > Optimize DB.
Select all the data tables you want to include and then click on Optimize. It’s a good idea to do this regularly (at least once a month) to make sure your database is always in top shape.
7. Check for 404 Errors
Another possible cause of slow loading times is missing files or broken links. For instance, if a server is trying to locate a particular file to no avail, it may be using up precious resources for nothing, hampering your site’s performance in the process.
These missing files are usually known as 404s, since they often result in the “404 Not Found” error. There are several common files that can be affected by this problem, such as your site’s ‘favicon’ (the icon that appears in your browser next to your site’s name), your robots.txt file (a file that enables you to exclude specific areas of your site from search engines), and your sitemap.
These missing files and broken links can affect your site negatively in many ways. For one, it doesn’t look great to a visitor if parts of your site just aren’t there or your links don’t work properly. Plus, as we mentioned, performance can also suffer as a result. As such, you’ll want to make it a habit to check your site for broken links regularly.
One plugin that can help you accomplish this is Broken Link Checker.
This is yet another plugin that does most of the work required automatically, without much input needed from you. In short, it will check for broken links and 404 errors across your site and notify you via email or on the dashboard when any issues are found.
You can even edit links directly from the plugin’s tab, sparing you the potential headache of having to manage multiple broken links individually by editing the pages yourself. This plugin is a useful solution and is particularly helpful when it comes to large sites with hundreds (or even thousands) of pages.
8. Look for Unusual Traffic
Another reason your site can slow down is due to a sudden increase in traffic. Sometimes this is perfectly natural, for example, if one of your posts has gone viral and draws a lot of new visitors to your site. However, it could also be due to more malicious causes, such as a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack.
To prevent these attacks, you’ll want to make sure that your site is secure. You’ll also need a way to see if there are particular areas of your site that are receiving more traffic than you would expect. These could represent a potential security vulnerability that attackers are attempting to exploit. Using a tracking solution like Google Analytics can be very helpful in keeping an eye on your site’s traffic.
9. Use Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
When someone visits your site, its files usually travel to them all the way from your host’s server. This is true regardless of the visitor’s geographic location or the number of other visitors currently using your site. As you can imagine, this can be quite strenuous for one server to handle, which can lead to longer loading times.
The best way to fix this is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a network of servers that are spread across the world and all contain copies of your site’s files. This means that when a user accesses your site, its files will be sent from the CDN server closest to them. A CDN minimizes delays due to geographic distance and also spreads the strain across multiple servers.
There are a huge amount of CDN solutions for WordPress, each with their own advantages. For example, the popular Jetpack plugin includes a CDN for image files, which can help speed up your site. Jetpack Professional, which is included with the purchase of a DreamPress Plus or Pro hosting plan, also includes a CDN for video.
10. Keep Your Site Updated
Last but by no means least, we come to the oldest trick in the book. You’ve doubtless heard this repeated time and time again — including from us — but it’s for a good reason.
If you don’t keep your WordPress installation, plugins, and theme updated, they can quickly become sluggish and may cause a number of other problems. Not only can failing to perform regular updates lead to significantly worse performance, but it can also leave your site vulnerable to security issues.
Fortunately, WordPress makes updates easy. They’re always clearly highlighted in your admin area, and you can find them under Dashboard > Updates.
Here you’ll see if there’s a new version of WordPress or any updates are available for your themes or plugins. You should make sure to check this page regularly to ensure that your site is optimized. Of course, don’t forget to back up your site and consider creating a staging site for testing updates before they go live.
Zero to Sixty
Speed is one of the most critical elements of a successful website. After all, if a site takes forever to load, very few people will bother to stick around and see the actual content. As such, making sure your website is fast is a top priority. As luck would have it, doing this isn’t even all that difficult.
Do you have any questions about speeding up your DreamPress website? Join the conversation in our DreamHost Community!
The post 10 Ways to Speed Up a DreamPress Website appeared first on DreamHost.
cPanel Conference time is closing in steadily, with only 18 days left until the big event. Here on the cPanel University team, we’re continuing our tradition of offering a special certification. This certification is only available to those lucky folks that will be attending the conference in-person, who successfully complete a comprehensive exam. This exam covers the latest and greatest features and changes made over the past year’s worth of cPanel & WHM releases. Last …
Amazon Aurora is a relational database that was designed to take full advantage of the abundance of networking, processing, and storage resources available in the cloud. While maintaining compatibility with MySQL and PostgreSQL on the user-visible side, Aurora makes use of a modern, purpose-built distributed storage system under the covers. Your data is striped across hundreds of storage nodes distributed over three distinct AWS Availability Zones, with two copies per zone, on fast SSD storage. Here’s what this looks like (extracted from Getting Started with Amazon Aurora):
New Parallel Query When we launched Aurora we also hinted at our plans to apply the same scale-out design principle to other layers of the database stack. Today I would like to tell you about our next step along that path.
Each node in the storage layer pictured above also includes plenty of processing power. Aurora is now able to make great use of that processing power by taking your analytical queries (generally those that process all or a large part of a good-sized table) and running them in parallel across hundreds or thousands of storage nodes, with speed benefits approaching two orders of magnitude. Because this new model reduces network, CPU, and buffer pool contention, you can run a mix of analytical and transactional queries simultaneously on the same table while maintaining high throughput for both types of queries.
The instance class determines the number of parallel queries that can be active at a given time:
db.r*.large – 1 concurrent parallel query session
db.r*.xlarge – 2 concurrent parallel query sessions
db.r*.2xlarge – 4 concurrent parallel query sessions
db.r*.4xlarge – 8 concurrent parallel query sessions
db.r*.8xlarge – 16 concurrent parallel query sessions
db.r4.16xlarge – 16 concurrent parallel query sessions
You can use the aurora_pq parameter to enable and disable the use of parallel queries at the global and the session level.
Parallel queries enhance the performance of over 200 types of single-table predicates and hash joins. The Aurora query optimizer will automatically decide whether to use Parallel Query based on the size of the table and the amount of table data that is already in memory; you can also use the aurora_pq_force session variable to override the optimizer for testing purposes.
Parallel Query in Action You will need to create a fresh cluster in order to make use of the Parallel Query feature. You can create one from scratch, or you can restore a snapshot.
To create a cluster that supports Parallel Query, I simply choose Provisioned with Aurora parallel query enabled as the Capacity type:
I used the CLI to restore a 100 GB snapshot for testing, and then explored one of the queries from the TPC-H benchmark. Here’s the basic query:
SUM(l_extendedprice * (1-l_discount)) AS revenue,
FROM customer, orders, lineitem
AND c_custkey = o_custkey
AND l_orderkey = o_orderkey
AND o_orderdate < date '1995-03-13'
AND l_shipdate > date '1995-03-13'
o_orderdate LIMIT 15;
The EXPLAIN command shows the query plan, including the use of Parallel Query:
| id | select_type | table | type | possible_keys | key | key_len | ref | rows | Extra |
| 1 | SIMPLE | customer | ALL | PRIMARY | NULL | NULL | NULL | 14354602 | Using where; Using temporary; Using filesort |
| 1 | SIMPLE | orders | ALL | PRIMARY,o_custkey,o_orderdate | NULL | NULL | NULL | 154545408 | Using where; Using join buffer (Hash Join Outer table orders); Using parallel query (4 columns, 1 filters, 1 exprs; 0 extra) |
| 1 | SIMPLE | lineitem | ALL | PRIMARY,l_shipdate | NULL | NULL | NULL | 606119300 | Using where; Using join buffer (Hash Join Outer table lineitem); Using parallel query (4 columns, 1 filters, 1 exprs; 0 extra) |
3 rows in set (0.01 sec)
Here is the relevant part of the Extras column:
Using parallel query (4 columns, 1 filters, 1 exprs; 0 extra)
The query runs in less than 2 minutes when Parallel Query is used:
| l_orderkey | revenue | o_orderdate | o_shippriority |
| 92511430 | 514726.4896 | 1995-03-06 | 0 |
| 593851010 | 475390.6058 | 1994-12-21 | 0 |
| 188390981 | 458617.4703 | 1995-03-11 | 0 |
| 241099140 | 457910.6038 | 1995-03-12 | 0 |
| 520521156 | 457157.6905 | 1995-03-07 | 0 |
| 160196293 | 456996.1155 | 1995-02-13 | 0 |
| 324814597 | 456802.9011 | 1995-03-12 | 0 |
| 81011334 | 455300.0146 | 1995-03-07 | 0 |
| 88281862 | 454961.1142 | 1995-03-03 | 0 |
| 28840519 | 454748.2485 | 1995-03-08 | 0 |
| 113920609 | 453897.2223 | 1995-02-06 | 0 |
| 377389669 | 453438.2989 | 1995-03-07 | 0 |
| 367200517 | 453067.7130 | 1995-02-26 | 0 |
| 232404000 | 452010.6506 | 1995-03-08 | 0 |
| 16384100 | 450935.1906 | 1995-03-02 | 0 |
15 rows in set (1 min 53.36 sec)
I can disable Parallel Query for the session (I can use an RDS custom cluster parameter group for a longer-lasting effect):
set SESSION aurora_pq=OFF;
The query runs considerably slower without it:
| l_orderkey | o_orderdate | revenue | o_shippriority |
| 92511430 | 1995-03-06 | 514726.4896 | 0 |
| 16384100 | 1995-03-02 | 450935.1906 | 0 |
15 rows in set (1 hour 25 min 51.89 sec)
This was on a db.r4.2xlarge instance; other instance sizes, data sets, access patterns, and queries will perform differently. I can also override the query optimizer and insist on the use of Parallel Query for testing purposes:
set SESSION aurora_pq_force=ON;
Things to Know Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you start to explore Amazon Aurora Parallel Query:
Engine Support – We are launching with support for MySQL 5.6, and are working on support for MySQL 5.7 and PostgreSQL.
Table Formats – The table row format must be COMPACT; partitioned tables are not supported.
Data Types – The TEXT, BLOB, and GEOMETRY data types are not supported.
DDL – The table cannot have any pending fast online DDL operations.
Cost – You can make use of Parallel Query at no extra charge. However, because it makes direct access to storage, there is a possibility that your IO cost will increase.
Give it a Shot This feature is available now and you can start using it today!
In cPanel & WHM version 76, which we expect to be in EDGE this week, we renamed “Proxy Subdomains” to “Service Subdomains” due to improvements we are making under the hood. Let’s talk about where they came from, and why we’re changing their name! What are Proxy Subdomains? Proxy subdomains allow users to connect indirectly to the cPanel & WHM login pages. Rather than opening example.com:2083, they can open cpanel.example.com. Proxy subdomains have two primary uses for hosting providers …
We've seen a shift in what the traditional notion of success looks like. For many, it's not defined by a title, promotion or securing the corner office. The definition of success is expanding to include things like building a great team, establishing a side hustle or finding the perfect work/life balance. As a way to determine what success means to you, we’re asking our members, “What are you in it for?” For me, I’ve been fortunate enough to have mentors play an important role in pushing me...
Pinterest is a great place to get your blog seen! Who doesn’t love spending free time searching Pinterest for their dream DIY? Make it easy for your readers to add your amazing images and posts...
Website migrations can be scary, but they don’t have to be. Here are 5 steps for making your moving experience as seamless as possible; starting from knowing what you need to back-up, and finishing with full DNS propagation and your new hosting solution going live. It’s not every day you decide to change hosting providers… Continue reading →
Standing out from your competitors with your website can help bring authority and credibility to your brand. If your WordPress website has been online for a little while, you may want to consider looking into a custom WordPress theme. With most premium WordPress themes, no matter how many images and colors you change, you can never remove all theme styling and layout.
We’re going to discuss the process of finding the right custom theme developer to help you develop a professional custom WordPress theme.
Continue reading How to Find and Hire the Right WordPress Theme Developer at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Most financial services and retail companies spend a lot of time and money creating rich customer stories and personas to improve marketing and sales. These engineered customer stories help target general markets and improve offerings on a broad scale. You probably also spend much of your strategic IT budget on user experience applications, enhancing mobile […]
The post Harnessing Data and Analytics to Personalize Customer Experiences appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.
When: a cold San Francisco summer afternoonWhere: Room 305, CloudflareWho: 2 from Cloudflare + 9 from the Tor Project What could go wrong?Bit of BackgroundTwo years ago this week Cloudflare introduced Opportunistic Encryption, a feature that provided additional security and performance benefits to websites that had not yet moved to HTTPS. Indeed, back in the old days some websites only used HTTP --- weird, right? “Opportunistic” here meant that the server advertised support for HTTP/2 via an HTTP Alternative Service header in the hopes that any browser that recognized the protocol could take advantage of those benefits in subsequent requests to that domain. Around the same time, CEO Matthew Prince wrote about the importance and challenges of privacy on the Internet and tasked us to find a solution that provides convenience, security, and anonymity. From neutralizing fingerprinting vectors and everyday browser trackers that Privacy Badger feeds on, all the way to mitigating correlation attacks that only big actors are capable of, guaranteeing privacy is a complicated challenge. Fortunately, the Tor Project addresses this extensive adversary model in Tor Browser. However, the Internet is full of bad actors, and distinguishing legitimate traffic from malicious traffic, which is one of Cloudflare’s core features, becomes much more difficult when the traffic is anonymous. In particular, many features that make Tor a great tool for privacy also make it a tool for hiding the source of malicious traffic. That is why many resort to using CAPTCHA challenges to make it more expensive to be a bot on the Tor network. There is, however, a collateral damage associated with using CAPTCHA challenges to stop bots: humans eyes also have to deal with them. One way to minimize this is using privacy-preserving cryptographic signatures, aka blinded tokens, such as those that power Privacy Pass. The other way is to use onions. Here Come the OnionsToday’s edition of the Crypto Week introduces an “opportunistic” solution to this problem, so that under suitable conditions, anyone using Tor Browser 8.0 will benefit from improved security and performance when visiting Cloudflare websites without having to face a CAPTCHA. At the same time, this feature enables more fine-grained rate-limiting to prevent malicious traffic, and since the mechanics of the idea described here are not specific to Cloudflare, anyone can reuse this method on their own website.Before we continue, if you need a refresher on what Tor is or why we are talking about onions, check out the Tor Project website or our own blog post on the DNS resolver onion from June.As Matthew mentioned in his blog post, one way to sift through Tor traffic is to use the onion service protocol. Onion services are Tor nodes that advertise their public key, encoded as an address with .onion TLD, and use “rendezvous points” to establish connections entirely within the Tor network: While onion services are designed to provide anonymity for content providers, media organizations use them to allow whistleblowers to communicate securely with them and Facebook uses one to tell Tor users from bots.The technical reason why this works is that from an onion service’s point of view each individual Tor connection, or circuit, has a unique but ephemeral number associated to it, while from a normal server’s point of view all Tor requests made via one exit node share the same IP address. Using this circuit number, onion services can distinguish individual circuits and terminate those that seem to behave maliciously. To clarify, this does not mean that onion services can identify or track Tor users.While bad actors can still establish a fresh circuit by repeating the rendezvous protocol, doing so involves a cryptographic key exchange that costs time and computation. Think of this like a cryptographic dial-up sequence. Spammers can dial our onion service over and over, but every time they have to repeat the key exchange.Alternatively, finishing the rendezvous protocol can be thought of as a small proof of work required in order to use the Cloudflare Onion Service. This increases the cost of using our onion service for performing denial of service attacks.Problem solved, right?Not quite. As discussed when we introduced the hidden resolver, the problem of ensuring that a seemingly random .onion address is correct is a barrier to usable security. In that case, our solution was to purchase an Extended Validation (EV) certificate, which costs considerably more. Needless to say, this limits who can buy an HTTPS certificate for their onion service to a privileged few. Some people disagree. In particular, the new generation of onion services resolves the weakness that Matthew pointed to as a possible reason why the CA/B Forum only permits EV certificates for onion services. This could mean that getting Domain Validation (DV) certificates for onion services could be possible soon. We certainly hope that’s the case. Still, DV certificates lack the organization name (e.g. “Cloudflare, Inc.”) that appears in the address bar, and cryptographically relevant numbers are nearly impossible to remember or distinguish for humans. This brings us back to the problem of usable security, so we came up with a different idea.Looking at onion addresses differentlyForget for a moment that we’re discussing anonymity. When you type “cloudflare.com” in a browser and press enter, your device first resolves that domain name into an IP address, then your browser asks the server for a certificate valid for “cloudflare.com” and attempts to establish an encrypted connection with the host. As long as the certificate is trusted by a certificate authority, there’s no reason to mind the IP address.Roughly speaking, the idea here is to simply switch the IP address in the scenario above with an .onion address. As long as the certificate is valid, the .onion address itself need not be manually entered by a user or even be memorable. Indeed, the fact that the certificate was valid indicates that the .onion address was correct.In particular, in the same way that a single IP address can serve millions of domains, a single .onion address should be able to serve any number of domains.Except, DNS doesn’t work this way.How does it work then?Just as with Opportunistic Encryption, we can point users to the Cloudflare Onion Service using HTTP Alternative Services, a mechanism that allows servers to tell clients that the service they are accessing is available at another network location or over another protocol. For instance, when Tor Browser makes a request to “cloudflare.com,” Cloudflare adds an Alternative Service header to indicate that the site is available to access over HTTP/2 via our onion services.In the same sense that Cloudflare owns the IP addresses that serve our customers’ websites, we run 10 .onion addresses. Think of them as 10 Cloudflare points of presence (or PoPs) within the Tor network. The exact header looks something like this, except with all 10 .onion addresses included, each starting with the prefix “cflare”:alt-svc: h2="cflare2nge4h4yqr3574crrd7k66lil3torzbisz6uciyuzqc2h2ykyd.onion:443"; ma=86400; persist=1
This simply indicates that the “cloudflare.com” can be authoritatively accessed using HTTP/2 (“h2”) via the onion service “cflare2n[...].onion”, over virtual port 443. The field “ma” (max-age) indicates how long in seconds the client should remember the existence of the alternative service and “persist” indicates whether alternative service cache should be cleared when the network is interrupted.Once the browser receives this header, it attempts to make a new Tor circuit to the onion service advertised in the alt-svc header and confirm that the server listening on virtual port 443 can present a valid certificate for “cloudflare.com” — that is, the original hostname, not the .onion address.The onion service then relays the Client Hello packet to a local server which can serve a certificate for “cloudflare.com.” This way the Tor daemon itself can be very minimal. Here is a sample configuration file:SocksPort 0
Log notice stdout
Be careful with using the configuration above, as it enables a non-anonymous setting for onion services that do not require anonymity for themselves. To clarify, this does not sacrifice privacy or anonymity of Tor users, just the server. Plus, it improves latency of the circuits.If the certificate is signed by a trusted certificate authority, for any subsequent requests to “cloudflare.com” the browser will connect using HTTP/2 via the onion service, sidestepping the need for going through an exit node.Here are the steps summarized one more time:A new Tor circuit is established;The browser sends a Client Hello to the onion service with SNI=cloudflare.com;The onion service relays the packet to a local server;The server replies with Server Hello for SNI=cloudflare.com;The onion service relays the packet to the browser;The browser verifies that the certificate is valid.To reiterate, the certificate presented by the onion service only needs to be valid for the original hostname, meaning that the onion address need not be mentioned anywhere on the certificate. This is a huge benefit, because it allows you to, for instance, present a free Let’s Encrypt certificate for your .org domain rather than an expensive EV certificate.Convenience, ✓Distinguishing the CircuitsRemember that while one exit node can serve many many different clients, from Cloudflare’s point of view all of that traffic comes from one IP address. This pooling helps cover the malicious traffic among legitimate traffic, but isn’t essential in the security or privacy of Tor. In fact, it can potentially hurt users by exposing their traffic to bad exit nodes.Remember that Tor circuits to onion services carry a circuit number which we can use to rate-limit the circuit. Now, the question is how to inform a server such as nginx of this number with minimal effort. As it turns out, with only a small tweak in the Tor binary, we can insert a Proxy Protocol header in the beginning of each packet that is forwarded to the server. This protocol is designed to help TCP proxies pass on parameters that can be lost in translation, such as source and destination IP addresses, and is already supported by nginx, Apache, Caddy, etc.Luckily for us, the IPv6 space is so vast that we can encode the Tor circuit number as an IP address in an unused range and use the Proxy Protocol to send it to the server. Here is an example of the header that our Tor daemon would insert in the connection:PROXY TCP6 2405:8100:8000:6366:1234:ABCD ::1 43981 443\r\n
In this case, 0x1234ABCD encodes the circuit number in the last 32 bits of the source IP address. The local Cloudflare server can then transparently use that IP to assign reputation, show CAPTCHAs, or block requests when needed.Note that even though requests relayed by an onion service don’t carry an IP address, you will see an IP address like the one above with country code “T1” in your logs. This IP only specifies the circuit number seen by the onion service, not the actual user IP address. In fact, 2405:8100:8000::/48 is an unused subnet allocated to Cloudflare that we are not routing globally for this purpose.This enables customers to continue detecting bots using IP reputation while sparing humans the trouble of clicking on CAPTCHA street signs over and over again.Security, ✓Why should I trust Cloudflare?You don’t need to. The Cloudflare Onion Service presents the exact same certificate that we would have used for direct requests to our servers, so you could audit this service using Certificate Transparency (which includes Nimbus, our certificate transparency log), to reveal any potential cheating.Additionally, since Tor Browser 8.0 makes a new circuit for each hostname when connecting via an .onion alternative service, the circuit number cannot be used to link connections to two different sites together.Note that all of this works without running any entry, relay, or exit nodes. Therefore the only requests that we see as a result of this feature are the requests that were headed for us anyway. In particular, since no new traffic is introduced, Cloudflare does not gain any more information about what people do on the internet.Anonymity, ✓Is it faster?Tor isn’t known for being fast. One reason for that is the physical cost of having packets bounce around in a decentralized network. Connections made through the Cloudflare Onion Service don’t add to this cost because the number of hops is no more than usual.Another reason is the bandwidth costs of exit node operators. This is an area that we hope this service can offer relief since it shifts traffic from exit nodes to our own servers, reducing exit node operation costs along with it.BONUS: Performance, ✓How do I enable it?Onion Routing is now available to all Cloudflare customers, enabled by default for Free and Pro plans. The option is available in the Crypto tab of the Cloudflare dashboard.Browser supportWe recommend using Tor Browser 8.0, which is the first stable release based on Firefox 60 ESR, and supports .onion Alt-Svc headers as well as HTTP/2. The new Tor Browser for Android (alpha) also supports this feature. You can check whether your connection is routed through an onion service or not in the Developer Tools window under the Network tab. If you're using the Tor Browser and you don't see the Alt-Svc in the response headers, that means you're already using the .onion route. In future versions of Tor Browser you'll be able to see this in the UI.We've got BIG NEWS. We gave Tor Browser a UX overhaul. Tor Browser 8.0 has a new user onboarding experience, an updated landing page, additional language support, and new behaviors for bridge fetching, displaying a circuit, and visiting .onion sites.https://t.co/fpCpSTXT2L pic.twitter.com/xbj9lKTApP— The Tor Project (@torproject) September 5, 2018
There is also interest from other privacy-conscious browser vendors. Tom Lowenthal, Product Manager for Privacy & Security at Brave said:Automatic upgrades to `.onion` sites will provide another layer of safety to Brave’s Private Browsing with Tor. We’re excited to implement this emerging standard.Any last words?Similar to Opportunistic Encryption, Opportunistic Onions do not fully protect against attackers who can simply remove the alternative service header. Therefore it is important to use HTTPS Everywhere to secure the first request. Once a Tor circuit is established, subsequent requests should stay in the Tor network from source to destination.As we maintain and improve this service we will share what we learn. In the meanwhile, feel free to try out this idea on Caddy and reach out to us with any comments or suggestions that you might have.AcknowledgmentsPatrick McManus of Mozilla for enabling support for .onion alternative services in Firefox; Arthur Edelstein of the Tor Project for reviewing and enabling HTTP/2 and HTTP Alternative Services in Tor Browser 8.0; Alexander Færøy and George Kadianakis of the Tor Project for adding support for Proxy Protocol in onion services; the entire Tor Project team for their invaluable assistance and discussions; and last, but not least, many folks at Cloudflare who helped with this project.Addresses used by the Cloudflare Onion Servicecflarexljc3rw355ysrkrzwapozws6nre6xsy3n4yrj7taye3uiby3ad.onion
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We are in the midst of the e-commerce boom, a radical mercantile exodus from brick and mortar stores into online vendors. Thanks much in part to the meteoric rise of Amazon. A once humble online book retailer, now the world’s largest corporation, Amazon’s modern-day Sear’s catalog allows consumers to buy just about anything they can dream of online and receive it in a matter of days. In the twenty-some-odd years since Amazon modernized the e-commerce practice, virtually every retailer has shadowed this move, forced to focus heavily on their online platform and sales, or else suffer a quick death, unable to compete with those who adapt to rapid trends.
According to Business Insider, “Approximately 70% of Americans (230 million) will make an online purchase in 2018, contributing $474 billion to total retail sales, according to Statistica’s Digital Market Outlook.” What this study illustrates is that e-commerce now accounts for roughly ten percent of all retail within the United States, a staggering percentage that is only expected to grow at a rapid pace. This economic outlook is a warning to all businesses both old and new about how vital a business’ online presence is for its future success.
If you are launching a company or thinking about diving into those waters, odds are you have tossed around names for the business or already have one in mind. Picking the right name, one that is original, easy to say, and easy to remember, is a tricky task. A task that is made more difficult because it is critical that the chosen name not only represents your product or brand but also distinguishes itself from various competitors within the marketplace.
Landing on the ideal name consumes time and energy, and what many forget to account for when deliberating on their future business name is whether or not it is available as a website domain. If that desired domain name is unavailable, all your brainstorming may be for nothing, or you may have to pay a hefty price to the owner. To prevent this from happening, it is vital that you be well versed on domains, domain names, and domain name availability. Below, we will dive into the ins-and-outs of these crucial topics so interlinked with a company’s ability to succeed online.
Domain.com has over 300 domain extensions to choose from to help set your website apart from the rest. It all starts with a great domain.
What is a domain?
If you have not previously owned a website, or do not consider yourself to be computer savvy, you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to discussing these things with your web designers or web developers. It may seem overwhelming, but do not worry or feel discouraged. Domains are not as confusing as they appear. In order to dive in, it is crucial that you first know the difference between a website and a domain.
A website is the virtual storefront prospective shoppers browse upon searching your name within their web browser. The digital layout of this online shop is composed of data, images, files, and pages that culminate in the product that appears on one’s monitor. A computer locating a website is not all that different from how we go somewhere new by following a map that leads us to the physical address. But for the computer to reach its intended destination, it must first know the route it must take as well as the terminal point.
Just like how businesses and residential homes have addresses so that others may know where they are, internet websites also need some sort of codex or filing system to distinguish one website from another. That system is known as the Internet Protocol Address. An IP address has two main tasks:
To identify and distinguish web addresses.
To locate web addresses.
IP addresses are either 32-bit or 128-bit strings of numbers separated by periods, like 142.421.3.5. Since human memories are limited, remembering these IP addresses would be basically impossible. To account for our limitations and to make it easier for internet users, computer scientists created the domain name system by creating a registry that ascribed a particular name to every possible numeric IP address. This creation of the domain system allowed the internet user to choose between two viable paths towards their intended destination. The first path available is the longer, more arduous route, which requires an input of the specific numerical sequence. The other path is made significantly more user-friendly by creating a virtual shortcut made by simply entering the intended domain name in a web browser.
Top level domains
In 1985, when the internet domain system was created, seven domains were designated as the top level domains. They include:
.com – Com is short for commerce and is the domain regularly associated with a commercial website. The most valuable website for both small and big businesses alike are those registered in the .com domain.
.edu – Edu is the domain used by an educational institute or university. For example, a student or teacher’s email address or the school’s web address might look something like Harvard.edu, Stanford.edu, or Yale.edu.
.gov – This domain name is intended for any governmental agency, agent, office, or official. The White House’s official website is whitehouse.gov.
.Int – Int is intended for an international organization.
.Net – Generally used by network providers whose primary occupation is networking. For example, Cox.net is the home of Cox Cable’s website.
.Org – The domain for any organization.
.Mil – The domain for the United States Military.
“.Com” is the most popular and highly sought after domain extension, and rounding out second and third are “.net” and “.org.” While these were the original seven, recently, there have been a wide array of new domain extensions made available. Therefore, increasing the availability of domain names to choose from.
Any company’s goal for their online presence is to maximize user interactions and garner as much internet traffic as possible in the smartest and most economical way. A memorable name can help a business do just that. Names tend to form lasting linguistic neural connotations that influence our feelings or perceptions of a person, place, or object. Because of this, nailing the businesses’ name is vital, and that name can act as a cornerstone of the brand’s identity, reminding the public of exactly what it is they are selling.
A domain name is the name of the website and follows the @ symbol in an email address, or follows the www. in a website address. When asking someone how to find you online, you always tell them your domain name. Examples of domain names include Apple.com, Google.com, Facebook.com, Reddit.com, Twitter.com, Wikipedia.com, Youtube.com, etc.
Domain names that go before top-level domain extensions must fall within the rules, procedures, and guidelines laid down by the DNS (Domain Name System). Such second-level and third-level domain names must be reserved by end-users, which is typically handled by domain name registrars. Any name registered with the DNS is considered an official name and cannot be used by an alternative party. Such names are case-insensitive, meaning that capitalization does not matter, although it is standard procedure for domain names to be written in lowercase.
While one is not required to buy the same domain name as that of the name registered to the business, when it comes to search engine optimization, it is wise to choose an available name that is closely linked to the brand. Even if the names are not identical, it helps to have a guidepost for prospective customers who are searching your businesses’ name online. Domain names can be used for either or both an email account or a website address.
The cost of a domain name will vary greatly depending on many different factors. However, once a domain name is purchased, you can choose whether or not to use it for an email account or for a website. You may hold onto it like you would a tract of land that was purchased as an investment. However, it is impossible to have a website or an email account for your business without first locking down that specific domain. This domain name registration does not instantly create a website, it only means that you have reserved that domain upon which you may now construct a website.
So, if you start a business and come up with a great original name that has yet to be taken, you can register that domain name and copyright the name in order to protect it even though the actual business itself may still only be a fledgling idea. For example, Mark Davis, owner of the of the Oakland Raiders registered the domain name LasVegasRaiders.com and Vegasraiders.com over a decade prior in case the team was to move from Oakland to Vegas. Had he waited, someone else may have registered the domain name and then Mark would have been forced to buy it at a premium rate. Such an investment, what is known as a high-value domain, is quite common and worthy of consideration.
Because so many domain names are already registered, with more being added every day, the vast majority of the more marketable or generic names have already been taken. Names such as carinsurance.com or clothes.com are valued in the millions. Such optimized names, which are closely linked to the actual service, are known as high-value domains. And while it may cost a premium, there is something to be said about analyzing the cost-benefit of purchasing a high-quality domain name. High-value domain names accomplish the following:
Brand Protection – By establishing yourself as the premium name, you can ward off competitors who might try and establish a domain name akin to yours. Such a name could drain away customers.
Establishing Authority both offline and online – Utilizing a high-value domain for your website and company email address helps build credibility both in person or on the web. By establishing your company as the first, the original, such a name can grant you credibility and give the appearance that you have been successfully operating for quite some time. By owning such a name, a customer is more likely to innately trust your product or service, regardless of whether or not that credibility has been earned.
Garnering more traffic – Premium domains naturally receive heavier traffic as a result of direct type-in or google referral traffic. Type-in traffic refers to a customer who is searching for a product directly into the search bar of a web browser without utilizing Google’s search engine. So, for example, a customer searching for a new bike might simply type in bikes.com into their browser. There, they will likely find a wide array of bikes which are available for purchase. Direct type-in traffic is the optimal type of traffic a site can receive, since it costs nothing in advertising, is highly targeted, and the inquirer is further along in the purchasing process than a casual window shopper. Thanks to their age and the number of backlinks accrued, premium domains also amass plenty of referral traffic thanks to links from other websites.
Improve Visibility – High-value domain names are typically brief, to the point, and catchy. They are intuitive and easy to recall. By having such a name, you position yourself on the internet’s main street, rather than establishing a location off the beaten path. Such real estate often sells itself with little to no advertising due to natural traffic.
Increase SEO – Premium domains are generally keyword-rich and filled with high-quality keywords which tend to increase your website’s search engine rankings.
A website domain name is your piece of the internet
Domains and domain names play a critical role in signaling to potential customers within the online marketplace as to what good or service you are selling. Selecting the perfect, creative domain name that is not only relevant but available will require a good bit of brainstorming and strategizing. This investment, however, is not only worth it but necessary for future success for your business in the digital world.
Domain.com has over 300 domain extensions to choose from to help set your website apart from the rest. It all starts with a great domain.
The post What Is a Website Domain Name? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.
The post Best WordPress Themes for Blogging appeared first on HostGator Blog.
If you want your WordPress blog to succeed you’re going to need a great theme. Of course, choosing a solid theme is important, but you also need a place to host it, too. For the ultimate WordPress hosting experience, we recommend WordPress managed hosting.
Even if you write incredibly captivating content, and spend hours perfectly crafting and formatting each post, your readers won’t stick around if your site is designed poorly.
The look and feel of your site have a greater influence than you think. If your site is distracting, crowded, or uses a low-quality font your users won’t stick around to actually read what you’ve written.
This is where your WordPress theme comes in.
10 Best WordPress Themes for Blogging
Your WordPress theme should flawlessly highlight your words in a way that makes readers want to spend hours on your site. Luckily, you don’t have to spend time looking for the best WordPress theme for your new blog.
Below you’ll find 12 of the best WordPress themes for blogging.
1. Smart Passive Income Pro Theme
If you’ve been blogging for any time at all, then you’re probably familiar with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. Well, this blog theme is modeled after his website.
It’s designed to provide an easy reading experience while offering you plenty of ways to monetize your website. The homepage is equipped with three different preset layouts and templates, along with eight different areas for widgets.
If you’re a blogger who’s looking to monetize your content or sell products and services then this theme is a great choice. Plus, it’s built on top of the trusted Genesis framework and is fully responsive for all desktops and mobile devices.
Typology is an incredible minimalist design theme for bloggers. It features rich and eye-catching colors, contrasted with white space and clear typography. The obvious focus of this theme is stunning typography.
It also offers some cool features like showing the time it’ll take to read each post, along with stunning quotes, and various typeset theme options.
You’ll also find five different homepage customization options, which include the ability to add background images, highlight your most recent blog posts in slider format, or include the popular parallax scrolling effect.
Divi from Elegant Themes is one of those rare themes that can basically do anything. It’s equipped with nearly endless possibilities. The built-in drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to create your own layouts, pages, and templates.
It’s equipped with over 46 different content models that you can plugin into different pages or even blog posts. For example, you’ll be able to add things like a portfolio element, pricing table, email forms, audio players, and a lot more.
Plus, it has a cool duplicator feature that enables you to set up an element and push that out across every page on your site. Talk about a time-saving feature!
If you want ultimate freedom when building out your site, then Divi might be the blog theme for you.
4. Magnus Photoblog Theme
If you’re a blogger who relies on photography to help get your message across then Magnus is the perfect theme for you.
The theme is heavily image-focused, which means you better have some high-quality photography to back up your words. The home page acts as a portfolio page for your images and headlines. Plus, it’s equipped with a cool hover effect to make your site seem cutting-edge.
Once you click through to one of your blog posts the image will be highlighted at the top of the page, full-screen, with your text appearing underneath in a stunning and readable font.
If you’re looking for a blog theme that places a focus on your images, as well as text, then Magnus is worth a test drive.
If you don’t want to spend any money on your theme just yet, then Hemingway can be a great choice. This free theme for WordPress is simple and offers plenty of whitespace.
Since it’s a free theme you won’t find a ton of customization options or features, but it will be incredibly easy to get your blog online.
It’s equipped with a 2-column layout, a large custom header image, and even the fancy parallax scrolling feature. When creating blog posts using this theme you’ll also be able to choose between 4 different blog post formats.
For bloggers on a budget, this simple design is one of the best free responsive WordPress themes to check out.
Authority is a theme that’s modeled after Matthew Woodward’s six-figure blog. It’s a clean theme that highlights your blogroll on the homepage, along with a sidebar where you can showcase an opt-in box, welcome message, most popular posts, and more.
If you’re a blogger who’s looking to monetize their site, then this theme will make it easy. It’s built to help make creating affiliate content and review content easier. Plus, it’s Google AdSense ready, so you don’t have to deal with adding any custom code to your site.
This theme for WordPress is feature packed and perfect for site owners who want to turn their blogs into an online brand.
7. Hero Theme
Hero is a minimalist and responsive theme that’s focused on design. One thing is for sure, this theme looks good.
The home page has a parallax banner that you use to tell visitors what your blog is about. Beyond that, you’ll be able to highlight your recent projects or blog posts. The blog page is quite simple but provides a clean and easy reading experience.
This theme is simple, but if you want a theme without all the frills, that lets you get down to writing, then check out this theme.
8. Modern Studio Pro Theme
Modern Studio Pro is an elegantly designed theme built on top of the Genesis framework. You can opt for a classic blog layout with the sidebar on the right, or have your posts take up the entire screen.
The focus of this theme is soft and readable typography, along with plenty of whitespace. If you’re tired of cluttered websites, then this theme might be perfect for you.
You can easily customize this theme through the built-in theme customizer, and get your blog up and running very quickly. There aren’t a ton of additional features for this theme, but it truly does shine in its simplicity.
9. Eleven40 Pro Theme
This theme is a StudioPress classic. It’s been around for quite some time, but its fully responsive design has withstood the test of time. The core focus of this theme is on highlighting your words.
You can choose between multiple different sidebar arrangements, along with a customizable field that’s directly below the header.
Since this theme is so simple it looks good on any screen size and always manages to place the readers focus on your content. If you want a simple, yet flexible theme, the give eleven40 Pro a try.
10. Candor Theme
Candor is designed for bloggers who intend to build a business around their writing. The homepage is clean and elegant, and you have the option of integrating an email sign up box above the fold.
It doesn’t have a ton of different customization options, but it does offer you four different layouts to choose from that will give your site a unique feel.
Overall, this responsive design theme is easy to use on both computers and mobile devices and offers your visitors a solid reading experience, while still giving off some creative flair.
Which WordPress Blogging Theme Will You Choose?
Having the right WordPress theme for your blog is extremely important and will set the standard for what users can expect to see on your site. The best theme for your blog is completely personal but remember, this is how users will recognize your brand and interact with your site. Hopefully, the themes above will point you in the right direction and you’re getting help you get closer to finding the perfect WordPress theme for your blog.
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The post How to Set Up an Email Drip Campaign for Your New Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog.
The early days of running a small business are typically the hardest. Getting your name out there so you can start earning your first customers is a big hurdle when starting from scratch. And all the work you do to raise awareness of your business goes to waste if the people who hear about you once promptly forget.
One of the most important things you can do for your new business right now is to start building an email list.
An email list is one of the most powerful marketing tools a small business can have. Email marketing is nearly 40 times more effective than social media channels at turning leads into customers and delivers a much higher ROI than many other marketing tactics.
Someone that takes the step of subscribing to your email list is showing an active interest in your business — that’s meaningful.
But for email marketing to really pay off, once you’ve gotten someone to sign up, you have to work to keep them. Setting up an email drip campaign is a good strategy to do that.
What Is an Email Drip Campaign?
An email drip campaign is a series of automated emails sent at set intervals after they’re triggered by a specific action. Most frequently, that action is someone signing up for an email list.
But you can also set up drip campaigns triggered by someone downloading a piece of content, signing up for a free trial, or making a purchase — to name a few examples.
Why Your Small Business Should Use Email Drip Campaigns
You’re busy running a new small business. To add a new marketing tactic to your to-do list, you need to be sure it’s worth your time. There are three main reasons for a small business to consider using email drip campaigns.
1. They’re easy.
Any good email marketing software makes it easy to set up a drip campaign. Because the emails are automated, once you write and design the emails in your drip campaign once, your software takes care of sending them out to your subscribers at the right time moving forward.
2. They build a relationship with your customers.
When you’re browsing your inbox and trying to decide which emails are worth opening, what’s the main deciding factor? For a lot of people — 64%, to be precise — it’s recognizing who the sender is.
For many consumers, all the work marketers put into crafting the perfect email subject line ultimately matters less than whether or not they remember who you are when your email lands in their inbox.
Setting up a drip campaign for your new subscribers ensures that they hear from you a number of times within the first few weeks after they sign up. Instead of being a business whose website they landed on once and then forgot about, you become a business they’ve interacted with enough to now see as familiar. That makes a big difference in how they’ll view all the future emails you send.
3. They’re effective.
Drip campaigns get results. Various studies have found that open rates for drip campaigns are 80% higher than single send emails and they generate 50% more sales-ready leads.
Drip campaigns nurture your leads. They’re your opportunity take someone from a mild interest in your business to a strong understanding of what you do and why it matters.
How to Create Successful Drip Campaigns
Before you start setting up email drip campaigns for your business, take a little time to learn some basic best practices.
1. Clarify your goals.
Every email drip campaign should have both an overarching goal, as well as specific goals for every email included. Before you start on your emails, sit down and figure out what you want your drip campaign to achieve. Then figure out what you want each email to achieve on the path to that overall goal.
Your overall goal in a drip campaign will often be to get your subscribers to make a purchase, but you don’t want every email to make a hard sell. You wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who asked for a favor every single time you saw them, so don’t be that guy in your emails.
Some good (non-purchase) goals to have for specific emails in your drip campaign include:
Education (less about driving action than building a relationship)
A click through to a piece of content
A download of a piece of content
Getting a response with feedback
Choose a mix of goals to focus on for your individual emails that all support your overall goal of gaining new customers.
2. Make sure your emails provide unique value.
Your email subscribers are extremely valuable. Your emails should reflect that.
Don’t just send them the same content and offers that every visitor to your website gets, find ways to provide them with unique value. That could mean creating exclusive content for your drip campaigns that only subscribers get or providing a special discount code or a free gift with purchase for subscribers only.
Think of ways you can use your drip campaign to give your subscribers the VIP treatment.
3. Segment your lists.
Getting a new email subscriber is a big deal. The last thing you want is to lose them soon after they’ve signed up. If a visitor to your website signs up for your emails because of an interest in content about dogs and your first few emails are all about cats, then they’re not getting what they expected and are more likely to unsubscribe.
Receiving irrelevant content is the third biggest reason for unsubscribes. But if you own a pet supplies store that sells items for both cats and dogs, what can you do?
Email marketing software like Constant Contact makes it possible to create a number of different email lists so you can better target your emails to the people interested in them. You can either let people select which topics they’re interested in when they sign up, or make sure they’re put on the right list based on how they signed up. For example, the person who signed up by downloading a guide on dog training would go on your Dog People email list, rather than the Cat People one.
Make sure the drip campaign you create is relevant for the specific list people join. And just as importantly, make sure that the way you describe and promote your email list to future subscribers accurately communicates what they’ll get. When your subscribers know what they’re signing up for, they’ll be happier with what they get out of it.
4. Use a consistent design.
The emails in your drip campaign are all part of a series. You can signal their connection to each other visually by making sure they all have a consistent design. Make sure the style of your emails fits in with the style of your website. Include your logo and go with a similar color scheme.
Many people are visual learners and will more easily be able to associate your different emails with each other and your overall brand if they’re all linked with a familiar style. In most email marketing software programs, you can create templates you can use when creating each email to keep them within the same general style and structure.
5. Include CTAs.
We already covered the importance of making sure every email you write has a clear goal. Anytime the goal of your email is for the recipient to take an action, explicitly ask them to take that action.
In each email, include a CTA to help your subscribers know the next step you’d like them to take. Even if the goal of a particular email is to raise brand awareness, you can add in a CTA like “Contact us if you have any questions” to provide an option that encourages further engagement. But make sure each email is focused on only one CTA — you don’t want to confuse your list or muddy your focus.
6. Make sure your emails look good on mobile.
People frequently use smartphones to check their email. About half of all email opens now occur on mobile devices. For the emails in your drip campaign to achieve their goal, they need to work at least as well on mobile devices as they do on desktop.
Design your drip campaign with mobile in mind. Test out the emails on your own mobile devices to make sure they look good and the links are easy to click on. If you have employees or friends that own different types of mobile devices than you, ask them to check how it looks on theirs as well.
Your emails need to provide a good experience on mobile or you’re alienating a lot of your audience and could lose subscribers over it.
7. Pay attention to your analytics.
Because it’s automated, a drip campaign is in theory something you can create once and then leave on autopilot. But if you care about the results you get, you need to commit to tracking the analytics that show how people interact with your drip campaign so you can make it better over time.
Your email marketing software will provide analytics on the number of opens, clicks, and unsubscribes you get with each email.
Analyze what’s working and where there’s room for improvement. Test out different approaches in your drip emails. Try out different CTAs, wording, and images. Or see if shaking up the order you send them out in makes a difference. The more data you gain, the stronger you’ll be able to make your drip campaign.
Engage Your Small Business Customers with Email Drip Campaigns
When your small business is new, getting those first followers and customers is hard. An email drip campaign will help you develop a relationship with the leads you gain in your early marketing efforts, so you can begin converting them into your first customers.
For more tips on email marketing for your small business, check out these email marketing best practices.
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