Corporate Blogs

WordPress 5.4 Beta 3

WordPress.org News -

WordPress 5.4 Beta 3 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version. You can test the WordPress 5.4 beta in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose “bleeding edge nightlies” or “Beta/RC – Bleeding edge” option in version 2.2.0 or later of the plugin) * you must already have updated to your site to “bleeding edge nightlies” for the “Beta/RC – Bleeding edge” option to be availableOr download the beta here (zip). WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31st, 2020, and we need your help to get there. Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tested beta 2 (and beta 1) over 24 tickets have been closed in the past week. Some highlights Round-up of Gutenberg fixesDisplay Site Health score on Dashboard Developer notes WordPress 5.4 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developer notes tag for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac where you can also find a list of known bugs.

How to showcase your events on Google Search

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

It’s officially 2020 and people are starting to make plans for the year ahead. If you produce any type of event, you can help people discover your events with the event search experience on Google.  Have a concert or hosting a workshop? Event markup allows people to discover your event when they search for "concerts this weekend" or "workshops near me." People can also discover your event when they search for venues, such as sports stadiums or a local pub. Events may surface in a given venue's Knowledge Panel to better help people find out what’s happening at that respective location. Launching in new regions and languages We recently launched the event search experience in Germany and Spain, which brings the event search experience on Google to nine countries and regions around the world. For a full list of where the event search experience works, check out the list of available languages and regions. How to get your events on Google There are three options to make your events eligible to appear on Google: If you use a third-party website to post events (for example, you post events on ticketing websites or social platforms), check to see if your event publisher is already participating in the event search experience on Google. One way to check is to search for a popular event shown on the platform and see if the event listing is shown. If your event publisher is integrated with Google, continue to post your events on the third-party website. If you use a CMS (for example, WordPress) and you don't have access to your HTML, check with your CMS to see if there's a plugin that can add structured data to your site for you. Alternatively, you can use the Data Highlighter to tell Google about your events without editing the HTML of your site. If you're comfortable editing your HTML, use structured data to directly integrate with Google. You’ll need to edit the HTML of the event pages. Follow best practices If you've already implemented event structured data, we recommend that you review your structured data to make sure it meets our guidelines. In particular, you should: Make sure you're including the required and recommended properties that are outlined in our developer guidelines. Make sure your event details are high quality, as defined by our guidelines. For example, use the description field to describe the event itself in more detail instead of repeating attributes such as title, date, location, or highlighting other website functionality. Use the Rich Result Test to test and preview your structured data. Monitor your performance on Search You can check how people are interacting with your event postings with Search Console: Use the Performance Report in Search Console to show event listing or detail view data for a given event posting in Search results. You can automatically pull these results with the Search Console API. Use the Rich result status report in Search Console to understand what Google could or could not read from your site, and troubleshoot rich result errors. If you have any questions, please visit the Webmaster Central Help Forum. Posted by Emily Fifer, Product Manager

4 Ways eCommerce Sites Can Improve the Customer Experience

HostGator Blog -

The post 4 Ways eCommerce Sites Can Improve the Customer Experience appeared first on HostGator Blog. Customer experience is having a moment, because it’s becoming the deciding factor in eCommerce success. Online shoppers are spoiled for choice, and they expect a lot from the stores they do business with.  In a 2018 Salesforce survey, 80% of consumers said the shopping experience is as important as the products a store sells. And stores that create great experiences can grow their revenues twice as fast as stores that don’t, according to Forrester Research.  What Is ‘Customer Experience’?  Analysts, marketers and digital commerce experts have been trying to nail down a concise definition of customer experience for years. Because customer experience includes every experience a customer has with your business (emails, time spent on your website, social media conversations, interactions with customer service, etc.), the details can get complicated.  To keep things simple, we like the definition of customer experience Forrester offers: “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” 4 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience for Your Online Store How can you make sure your customers feel good about their interactions with your online store? Make things easy for them. Here’s how. 1. Help your customers find what they want fast Why it matters: Shoppers who know what they’re looking for want to complete their purchase and move on to something else. Shoppers who aren’t quite sure what they need want help finding the right items. In both cases, they’ll move on to another store if they can’t place their order or get help quickly.  How to make it happen: Help customers find what they’re looking for, fast.  Review your store’s navigation, product categories and search tools to make sure visitors can get from homepage to product page in as few clicks as possible. Feature your best-selling items and most popular categories above the fold on your homepage to speed things along. Implement personalization (more on that below) so returning customers can quickly reorder items or find things they’re likely to want.  Help customers quickly find information and products when they need help making a decision.  Give your customers immediate access to customer service information via live chat or a chatbot. Choose a chatbot that acts as a personal shopper, asking questions to help your customers find the right item. Make your store’s buying guides and product reviews easy for customers to find on the site. Provide personalized recommendations. 2. Help your customers track their orders When customers do place an order with you, don’t make them have to work to find out when it will arrive and where it is along the way. Provide plenty of options so your customers can use the tool that works best for them. Email and text updates with tracking links are the industry standard, so if your store doesn’t offer both, now’s the time to fix that.  Consider adding push notifications for mobile devices and web browsers.  Order tracking push notification  When your customers opt into your web and/or mobile push notifications program, you can send status updates that appear on their screens regardless of what they’re doing at the time. There are WordPress plugins that will allow you to add push capabilities to your site.  Set up your chatbot to provide order tracking details, too.  3. Make it easy for your customers to buy from you You’ve probably had the experience of shopping with a new store, getting all the way through checkout to the payment page, and then realizing that the only form of payment the store took was credit cards.  If you happened to have your card handy that would be fine. But if you were on a crowded bus, you probably didn’t want to pull out your card. And if you were on the couch in the middle of a Netflix binge with your dog on your lap, you probably didn’t want to move. So never mind.  Adding payment options solves this customer experience problem. It can also help reduce the intractable problem of cart abandonment in eCommerce, which leads about 70% of shoppers to bail before they check out.  At the very least, your store should offer PayPal and another wallet service like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Visa Checkout or Square. Check out our roundup of eCommerce payment options to find the details on 10 of the most popular services.  If a lot of your orders come from other countries—or if you’d like to earn more cross-border sales—you may want to add some regional payment options, too. Some to consider are China-based UnionPay, the biggest card network on the planet.Sweden-based Klarna, a popular EU option that allows customers to pay in installments.Brazil-based Elo, popular with Brazilian consumers who shop at online stores outside the country. 4. Show your customers that you know what they want Personalization is a big factor in how customers perceive their interactions with stores. Microsoft’s 2020 retail trends report shows that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with stores that give them a personalized experience: knowing who they are, what they’ve bought before and what they might like now.  When customers opt into your store’s personalized offers (whether they arrive via email, text or push notification), it’s a win-win. They get a better, more customized experience and a sense that your store recognizes them. Your store gets customer data you can use to refine your offers and make customers’ experiences even better.  Earlier, we looked at other customer experience elements that involve personalization: Showing customers items they may be interested in.Suggesting additional items they may need based on past purchases, like mittens to go with a hat or replacement batteries for a portable device. Chatbot personal shopper support that includes personalized recommendations based on past purchases, like sizes, color preferences and other customer data.  These types of personalization not only make customers feel special, they save them time. That creates a great impression of your store as attentive and convenient—the kind of place they’re likely to shop with again. Want more ideas for creating a great customer experience in your online store? Check out these blog posts:  Want Google’s Feedback on Your Online Store? Here’s How to Get ItSmart Tips for Improving Your Product PagesBoost Sales with Wishlists for Your Online Store Find the post on the HostGator Blog

HostGator vs Bluehost

HostGator Blog -

The post HostGator vs Bluehost appeared first on HostGator Blog. One of the first and most important decisions you have to make when starting a website is which hosting provider to go with. And we get it, there are a lot! How are you supposed to determine which one is the best?  For individuals and small businesses, there are a few main hosting providers associated with the kind of affordable, simple web hosting services that make the most sense. To help you understand how your options stack up against one another, this is one part of an ongoing series on how the top small business web hosting providers compare.  In this installment, we look at: HostGator vs Bluehost. Here’s how they’re different in a few of the main categories that matter most to new website owners.  HostGator vs Bluehost on Hosting Plan Options Every web hosting provider offers an array of different plan types. Understanding what your plan options are is important to making sure you get as much web hosting space and bandwidth as you need, without overpaying for more than your website requires.  Knowing the different options included under one provider is valuable, because your website needs may well grow in years to come. Upgrading to a new plan with your initial provider will be easier than switching to  a new company at that point. While there’s some overlap in the kinds of plans offered by HostGator and Bluehost, the list of options isn’t the same. HostGator’s Web Hosting Plans HostGator offers six different types of web hosting services, with three plan levels available for each. The categories included are: Shared Web Hosting – For new website owners shared hosting services are usually the best place to start. HostGator offers three different plans at this level:Hatchling – The simplest, most affordable plan on the roster. The Hatchling is a good choice for new website owners with a limited budget and simple needs. Even so, it offers some of the most important basics, such as a free domain, SSL certificate, and unmetered bandwidth.Baby – Another simple, affordable shared web hosting plan. The baby plan is similar to the Hatchling, but allows for unlimited domains, instead of only one.Business – For small professional websites, the business plan provides the affordability of shared hosting, with the addition of key business features like a dedicated IP and a positive SSL.Cloud Web Hosting – Cloud hosting services allow for more flexibility and useful analytics to better manage your site. HostGator offers several cloud hosting options, that line up pretty similarly to their shared hosting options:Hatchling – For smaller, newer websites that want the flexibility of a cloud plan but don’t expect that much traffic, Hatchling plans come with 2GB memory, 2 cores CPU and the ability to support one domain. Baby – Baby is a step up from Hatchling to unlimited domains, 4 GB, and 4 cores CPU.Business – And business goes up to 6 GB and 6 cores CPU, and includes a positive SSL and dedicated IP. WordPress Hosting – Many of the world’s websites run on WordPress, and web hosting plans that specialize in WordPress ensure proper compatibility. HostGator has three levels of WordPress hosting plans:Starter – Supports one site and is good for up to 100k visits a month and 1GB backups.Standard – Supports up to two sites, 200k visits a month, and 2GB backups.Business  – Steps it up to three sites, 500k visits a month, and 3 GB backup.VPS Hosting – Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is a step up from shared hosting. While you still only rent part of the web server your website is hosted on, you lay claim to a larger portion of it, and your section is partitioned off from the rest so your website is unaffected by other sites on the server. HostGator offers three VPS plans:Snappy 2000 – Comes with 2 GB RAM, 2 cores CPU, and 1.5 TB bandwidth. Snappy 4000 – Offers 4 GB RAM, 2 cores CPU, and 2 TB bandwidth.Snappy 8000 – Scales up to 8 GB RAM, 4 cores CPU, and 3 TB bandwidthDedicated Server Hosting – For bigger websites and those that expect high traffic numbers, dedicated hosting plans ensure you get all the space you need for your website. HostGator offers three levels of dedicated hosting plans:Value server – You get a server with 4 core, 8 thread, and 8 GB RAMPower server – This server has 8 core, 16 thread, and 16 GB RAMEnterprise server – The highest-level plan has a server with 8 core, 16 thread, and 30 GB RAMReseller Hosting – For businesses that intend to offer web hosting to their clients, HostGator also has three levels of plans for resellers:Aluminum – Comes with 60 GB of space and 600 GB bandwidthCopper – 90 GB space and 900 GB bandwidthSilver – 140 GB space and 1400 GB bandwidth With so many options, HostGator’s plans will easily match the needs of most website owners. And they provide plenty of room to grow with you if your needs change in years to come.  Bluehost’s Web Hosting Plans Bluehost offers plans in some of the same categories as HostGator, as well as a couple of others focused on different types of WordPress sites. Here’s a rundown of their plans: Shared hosting – Bluehost also offers affordable shared hosting plans for smaller websites. They have four options at the shared plan level:Basic – Supports one website, one domain, and provides 5GB of storage spacePlus –  Has no limit on the number of websites and domains and adds access to their SpamExperts featureChoice Plus – Offers everything the other shared plans have, plus domain privacy and backups Pro – Has everything in the other plans, plus a dedicated IP addressVPS hosting – Bluehost has three VPS plans:Standard – Includes 2 cores, 2 GB RAM, and 1 TB bandwidth  Enhanced – Offers 2 cores, 4 GB RAM, and 2 TB bandwidthUltimate – Comes with 4 cores, 8 GB RAM, and 3 TB bandwidthDedicated hosting – Like HostGator, Bluehost also has three dedicated hosting plans:Standard – Offers 4 cores, 4 GB RAM, and 5 TB bandwidthEnhanced – Has 4 cores, 8 GB RAM, and 10 TB bandwidthPremium – 4 cores, 16 GB RAM, and 15 TB bandwidthShared WordPress hosting – Three of the categories of hosting Bluehost provides are focused on WordPress. Their first level of WordPress hosting is shared WordPress hosting, which they have three plans for:Basic – Supports one website and 50 GB of storagePlus – Supports unlimited websites with unmetered storageChoice Plus – Offers unlimited websites, unmetered storage, and adds in backupsManaged WordPress hosting – Their managed WordPress plans provide more resources for building and managing your WordPress site.Build – Comes with a basic Jetpack plan, marketing center, free WordPress themes, daily backups, virus detection, and domain privacy Grow – Comes with everything in Build, plus Jetpack premium, SEO tools, and 10 GB video compressionScale – Includes everything in the other managed plans, plus Jetpack Pro, unlimited backups, unlimited video compression, and chat supportWooCommerce hosting – For ecommerce websites built on WordPress using WooCommerce, Bluehost has three plan levels:Starter – Allows for one online store, 100 GB storage, and includes domain privacyPlus – Supports unlimited online stores, unmetered storage, and domain privacy and backupsPro – Offers everything Plus does, as well as SEO tools Like HostGator, Bluehost has a lot of different plan options. But the types of plans and the features that are included differ.  HostGator vs Bluehost: How Do They Compare on Web Hosting Costs? HostGator and Bluehost are both web hosting providers with a reputation for being affordable. For anyone starting a website on a budget, they both have a number of low-cost plans available. But for anyone with limited funds, seemingly small differences in price can make a big difference—especially for a recurring cost like web hosting. The price of Bluehost and HostGator web hosting varies based on the type of plan you buy, and any extras you decide to invest in. While most of their pricing is pretty similar, there are enough differences for those who are especially price conscious to take note. While you can find detailed pricing info for every plan type on each of the web hosting company’s websites, we’ve provided a comparison overview for the main plan types below.  A Simplified Comparison by Plan Type: For shared website hosting plans: HostGator’s pricing starts at $2.75 for the basic plan, and goes up to $5.95 for the business plan.Bluehost’s rates start at $3.95 and go up to $5.95. For WordPress hosting plans: HostGator’s WordPress plans start at $5.95 a month, and go up to $9.95.Bluehost’s WordPress hosting starts at $3.95 a month for a shared plan, and their fully managed plans go up to $49.95 a month.  For VPS web hosting plans: HostGator’s VPS plans start at $29.95 a month and go up to $49.95 a month.Bluehost’s plans start at $19.99 a month and go up to $59.99 a month. For dedicated hosting plans: HostGator’s dedicated hosting starts at  $119 a month and goes up to $149 a month.Bluehost’s dedicated hosting starts at $79.99 a month and goes up to $119 a month. As you can see, there’s no pat answer to which of the two wins on price. It all depends on what you need and what plan you choose.  Money-back Guarantee Both companies do have a money-back guarantee policy, so you can try them for a certain amount of time before fully committing. For Bluehost, it’s 30 days. With HostGator, you have 45.   HostGator vs Bluehost on Hosting Features and Extras Both web hosts have a unique set of features they’ll include for some or all plans, and extras you can invest in as an add-on to your plan.  Common features for both: Secure socket layer (SSL) certificate – Both companies include an SSL certificate in all of their plans. SSL certificates are how you get an https for your website, which adds an extra layer of encryption to protect your visitors, and signals to them that the site is secure.Domain name – Both companies have plans that include free domain name registration for the first year, as well as the option to register a domain through the company as an add-on to any plan that doesn’t include it, and the ability to manage it within your web hosting account.Control panel – All of the plans from both web hosts include access to a control panel (commonly called cPanel), which makes it easy to manage your web hosting account.Backups – Both companies offer automated backups, sometimes included as part of a plan, and sometimes as an add on for extra money. Domain privacy – Domain privacy hides your personal information from the public directory when you register your domain. Both companies offer it as an extra you can invest in, and some plans come with it included. Dedicated IP – With shared hosting, you’re on the same server as other companies, which means you share their IP address by default. A dedicated IP can ensure you don’t end up on email spam lists because of something another website on the server does. Both companies provide it as an add on, and in some cases as part of a plan. Advertising credits – Creating and publishing your website is just the start. To get people to visit, you’ll need to do marketing. Both companies offer free credits on advertising platforms such as Google Ads and Bing to help you get started. Marketing services – And because marketing is a lot of work, both HostGator and Bluehost provide marketing services to customers for an additional fee.  HostGator’s Features and Extras: Website builder – Many of HostGator’s plans come with the basic version of their website builder included for free. The website builder includes over 100 templates and a drag-and-drop website editor, which makes it easy for anyone to use. Security software – Every day we hear about new data breaches and website hacks. HostGator also offers the security software CodeGuard as an easy add-on to their plans. Application hosting – HostGator’s web hosting is compatible with all the main applications website owners use, including Joomla, Drupal, and phpbb.  Bluehost’s Features and Extras: SpamExperts – Some Bluehost plans include their SpamExperts web filter that catches most of the spam that hits your email inbox before you have to deal with it. For those that don’t include it, you can purchase it as an add on.Jetpack plans – Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting plans come with different levels of Jetpack plans included with them, which provides additional security and management features. Marketing dashboard – Some Bluehost plans comes with a marketing dashboard to help you manage and track your marketing activities. WordPress themes – Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans come with a number of free themes you can use to make creating your WordPress site easier. To find the right web hosting plan and provider for you, consider which features are most important to you. In some cases, you’ll save money by going with a plan that includes the main features you need, rather than having to purchase them separately. HostGator vs Bluehost on Customer Service Both companies offer 24/7 customer service. The moment you need help with your web hosting, you should have little problem getting ahold of someone with either provider. That said, the places you have to turn for help are slightly different with the two providers. Bluehost provides a phone number, live chat, and the option to open a customer support ticket. For those who prefer a self-service option, they also have a knowledge base with many support resources you can turn to. HostGator also offers phone and live chat support to reach someone quickly. In addition, they have customer support portals and video tutorials to provide self-service. And they offer a forum that allows HostGator customers to help each other, so you can lean on the expertise of hundreds of other website owners. HostGator vs Bluehost on Uptime If you look at the tests performed by third-party websites, HostGator and Bluehost both have strong reputations when it comes to uptime. But HostGator tends to have an edge in the results. On Down.com for example, HostGator’s uptime was gauged at 99.97%, with Bluehost at 99.94%. Neither provide much room for complaint, but HostGator’s performance is a bit above Bluehost’s. HostGator is also notably the only one of the two to provide a money-back uptime guarantee. If your website falls below the 99.9% uptime promised, they’ll credit your account. If uptime is a particular priority for you, HostGator’s the better choice.  HostGator vs Bluehost on Reputation As someone new to running a website and navigating the world of web hosting, it’s hard to know where to start learning a company’s reputation in the larger industry. Rest assured that both HostGator and Bluehost are well regarded in the larger world of web hosting. You can find any number of third-party reviews for each that prove most customers are satisfied with their performance. That said, Bluehost has the particular honor of being recommended by WordPress for those who choose to build their website with the popular content management system. And HostGator can boast a number of awards from third-party sites. In terms of reputation, either is a safe choice. But you can always dig into more of the details of what industry experts think by perusing reviews. Find the Best Web Hosting Provider for You At the end of the day, the right web hosting provider will depend on your particular needs and preferences. If you’ve determined HostGator is the best choice for you, getting started with one of our plans is easy. We’re pretty confident you won’t regret the choice.  Check out our other web hosting reviews: HostGator vs GoDaddyHostGator vs DreamHostHostGator vs SiteGroundA2 Hosting vs HostGator Find the post on the HostGator Blog

3 Powerful Chatbot Plugins for WordPress

HostGator Blog -

The post 3 Powerful Chatbot Plugins for WordPress appeared first on HostGator Blog. In a previous post, we looked at some tasks a chatbot can automate for small businesses. Today, we’ll look at three popular chatbot options. Two are WordPress plugins and the other is one of the most widely used chat tools – Facebook Messenger. All three can help your business in different ways. We’ll evaluate each of these options based on the tasks we talked about in our last chatbot post: Instant customer serviceMarketing data collectionPersonalized product recommendationsHelp customers find what they’re looking forRemind customers about items in their cartSend campaigns via chat, email, text Read on to find the right chatbot for your small business.  1. Facebook Messenger bots Facebook Messenger for Business is the chat tool with the biggest reach, and it’s easy to get started. To add a full range of bot capabilities, it’s easiest to use a WordPress- and Messenger-compatible plugin, unless you have a Facebook developer to customize things for you. Instant customer service Some businesses use Messenger for live chat on their Facebook pages. You can also integrate a third-party chatbot template (more on that below) so your customers never have to wait for answers to their questions.  This one-woman custom embroidery business saves time with a Facebook Messenger bot that answers FAQs. Marketing data collection You can view Messenger data in Facebook’s Analytics dashboard. If you integrate your Messenger bot with Facebook ads, you’ll also get access to metrics for those campaigns. Personalized product recommendations You can use your customer chat data to create individual offers based on their interests. Help customers find what they’re looking for With a third-party bot tool (more on that below), your chatbot can act as a personal shopper for customers who’d rather buy something fast than browse your inventory. Astrid is Lego’s 2019 gift bot on Facebook Messenger.  Remind customers about items in their cart Reminders can boost your store’s conversion rate. You may find it easiest to use a paid WooCommerce plugin like CartBack or Abandoned Cart Pro for WooCommerce to send cart reminders through Messenger.  Send campaigns You can combine your Facebook Messenger chatbot with Facebook Ads to target custom audiences. “Click to Messenger” ads can get your audience to engage with your chatbot, find products and make purchases.  For most small businesses, Facebook Messenger is the easiest way to get started with chatbots. Facebook’s free online Messenger for Business courses can help you get over the learning curve fast.  All this is great, but what about reaching visitors to your website? With the right plugin, you can extend your Facebook Messenger chatbot to your site, too.  2. WP-Chatbot MobileMonkey’s WP-Chatbot is one of several that are Facebook-approved for Messenger integration. It can enable or enhance the six tasks we’re interested in.  WP-Chatbot also lets you add Facebook Messenger to your website so anyone with a Messenger account can use your chat without having to go to Facebook. Instant customer service You can build menu-based chatbots to answer common questions. Marketing data collection MobileMonkey’s marketing platform collects all your chat data from all sources for analysis. You can use this for several types of campaigns—more on that below. Personalized product recommendations MobileMonkey’s suite of chatbot tools includes a customized landing page builder, so you can tailor your audience’s experience to their interests.  Because WP-Chatbot integrates with WooCommerce, your chatbot can offer your customers product recommendations with links to those pages.  Help customers find what they’re looking for WP-Chatbot lets you share category menus in your customer chats. This can increase conversions by helping shoppers find what they want fast, without having to navigate your entire site. Remind customers about items in their cart Conversion form tools in WP-Chatbot let you automate follow-ups with customers. For example, if shoppers add items from chat to their carts but then leave, your chatbot can follow up with a reminder or offer to answer any questions they have about those products.  Send campaigns The plugin lets you create and send several types of campaigns, including chat blasts, drip campaigns and Messenger ads. It also integrates with several email marketing platforms so you can use your chat data to support newsletter and drip campaigns via email.  Many WP-Chatbot features are free. Some of the advanced marketing features require a subscription. You can see MobileMonkey pricing here.  What if your business isn’t on Facebook and you don’t want to join? You still have options. We’ll look at one of the best-rated WordPress chatbot plugins that’s also WooCommerce compatible. 3. Acobot AI Chatbot This virtual shop assistant chatbot is designed to help WooCommerce stores increase conversions and build stronger customer relationships.  Instant customer service Aco introduces itself as your personal shopping assistant and tailors its welcome messages to the page visitors land on.  Marketing data collection Aco integrates with WooCommerce sales and marketing tools but doesn’t offer the same kind of one-stop data aggregation and analysis as Facebook Messenger and WP-Chatbot.  Personalized product recommendations Because Acobot is AI-driven, it learns over time what your visitors are looking for. This allows the chatbot to provide a better experience for your customers. When it’s integrated with other WooCommerce tools, it can make upsell and cross-sell recommendations.  Help customers find what they’re looking for Most of us don’t like using the search tools online stores provide. Acobot lets customers skip that process.  The chatbot asks customers what they want, shows them what’s in stock and opens the product pages they’re interested in. Remind customers about items in their cart Acobot emphasizes its abandoned cart recovery feature. The chatbot can send reminders to shoppers when they’ve left something in their cart.  Send campaigns Acobot doesn’t handle marketing campaigns on its own the way WP-Chatbot does. But it can offer coupons to customers as they shop, to encourage them to buy. The basic version of Acobot is free. Other plans range from $9 to $29 per month. Add a Chatbot to Your Online Store Today Adding a chatbot can keep customers around, encourage them to buy and bring them back to your shop. Want to learn more about using technology to drive sales in your online store? Read our step-by-step guide to setting up sales funnels in Google Analytics. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How To Create a Movie Review Site

InMotion Hosting Blog -

When was the last time you saw a movie and instantly desired to share your opinion of it? If you know the difference between a smash cut and a jump cut, and you can spot the difference between a wide angle lens in The Shining and telephoto lens in The Graduate, then you’re a film critic and you need a website to start posting your articles on the web. If you work hard at it, pretty soon you may find yourself contributing to the Rotten Tomatoes score. Continue reading How To Create a Movie Review Site at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Pop-Up Livestream on February 22

WordPress.org News -

As mentioned in this post, Matt will host a livestream on February 22 during Bangkok daylight hours. He opened an invitation to any speaker who was affected by the cancellation, and the livestream will include the following fine people: Imran Sayed, Md Saif Hassan, Muhammad Muhsin, Nirav Mehta, Piccia Neri, Umar Draz, and Francesca Marano as well as a Fireside Chat and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg & Monisha Varadan. Join the stream This should be a great way to get to hear from some speakers who have yet to share their knowledge on a global stage. WordPress is enriched by a multitude of experiences and perspectives, and I hope you are as excited as I am to hear new voices from a part of the world that is frequently underrepresented in the WordPress open source project.  Also exciting, the WordCamp Asia team has announced that they’re aiming for January 2021, so please mark your calendars now! This small but mighty team of trailblazing organizers has shown great resilience over the years they’ve spent, building toward this event. I am personally grateful for the hard work they’ve done and have yet to do, and can’t wait to thank them in Bangkok next year.

Internet Explorer 11 End of Support in cPanel Version 88

cPanel Blog -

cPanel continues to move towards a more modern user interface framework to provide the best product experience possible. That’s why we are going to start shifting away from Internet Explorer 11, starting with Version 88. This change not only offers a better user experience, but it also allows us to be more efficient in our development process. We are encouraging cPanel Partners and users to discontinue the use of IE11 as their primary web browser ...

How to Launch a Website for Your Dog Walking or Pet-Sitting Side Hustle

HostGator Blog -

The post How to Launch a Website for Your Dog Walking or Pet-Sitting Side Hustle appeared first on HostGator Blog. The world is your oyster when it comes to the type of side hustle you can start. You can do anything from freelance design to registering with a ride-sharing app, and everything in between. While there are several different ways to make extra cash with a side hustle, it’s critical to remember one thing. Your side hustle could eat up several hours of your week, so it should involve an element of passion. After all, the more you enjoy your side hustle, the less it will feel like work, and the more time you’ll put into growing your business. Now here’s some good news. If you’re a lover of our furry friends, then a viable option for earning extra cash is to start a dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle. There are several pet parents that are looking for someone to treat their dog well while they are on vacation, or to take their adorable dog on a walk when life gets busy. However, business isn’t going to come out of thin air. To find pet parents in your neighborhood, it’s vital to set up a website for your pet-sitting side hustle. This article will review why you need a website as well as how you can start a website in just six easy steps. Let’s get started! Why Do Pet-Sitters and Dog Walkers Need a Website? The number one place people look for local services is online. In fact, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else, and “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. While it’s true you can (and should) register your pet-sitting and dog walking services on apps like Rover, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your own website, too. Why? There are several reasons, including: Rover is loaded with the competition, and there is no guarantee a pet parent will find your information amid all the other dog walkers.You can compete for coveted spots in the local search results (think the top of Google’s search page) when you have your own website.You can design your website however you want, including adding all the content you want.A website gives you credibility and helps establish yourself as a real professional. When it comes right down to it, owning your own website for your dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle is a must.  Now let’s talk about how you can start your own website with HostGator today. How to Build Your Dog Walking or Pet-Sitting Website with HostGator in 6 Simple Steps Building a website might not be your jam, and that’s okay. HostGator knows that everyone needs a website. HostGator also understands that not everyone is a web designer. That’s why HostGator has already done the hard work for you. The developers at HostGator have made it easy for any website novice to get a website up in less than a day.  All you have to do is follow six easy steps. Here’s how to get started. Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle website The Gator Website Builder has three hosting plans available, but which one should you choose? Pet-sitters and dog walkers don’t typically sell services online, which means you don’t need the eCommerce plan. You just have to choose between the starter plan and the premium plan. The starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ customizable templates, a drag-and-drop editor, cloud hosting, and website analytics. The premium plan includes everything the starter plan has, but also includes priority support. If you know you’ll need priority support while creating and maintaining your website, opt for the premium package.  Once you’ve picked either the starter plan or premium plan, click “buy now” and you can set up your account. Step 2: Pick a domain name for your dog walking or pet-sitting website Every website needs a domain name. As a pet-sitter or dog walker, it would be fun to brainstorm a creative domain name related to dogs, dog walking, or pet-sitting. If you already have a business name, then pick the name of your dog walking business. To choose your free domain name, all you have to do is type something in the “get domain” box. If your top choice for your website isn’t available, then select another until you find one that is available. If you already have a domain name, then you can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”  Step 3: Create your HostGator account Once you have selected a domain name, it’s time to connect your HostGator account. Enter your email address or connect via Facebook, enter your payment information, and you’re all set. Step 4: Pick a template for your dog walking or pet-sitting website Another advantage of HostGator is it comes with more than 200 professionally-designed templates. This means you don’t have to design your website.  All you have to do is pick a template that you like and customize it with your unique content. Step 5: Add pages and content to your pet-sitting website. Once you have selected the perfect template for your side hustle website, you can start customizing your pages. Clicking “start editing” will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages. For a dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle website, you may want to include the following pages: Home. The home page provides an overview of who you as a pet-sitter or a dog walker. You may want to include information about your experience, your values, and your approach to caring for dogs. About. The about page offers insight into who you are, the experience you have, and any qualifications you may have. If you’ve been a dog walker or pet-sitter in the past, include that information on this page. Services. The services page includes a list of what dog walking or pet-sitting services you offer. You can include prices on this page, or discuss them later over the phone. Testimonials. When it comes to hiring a pet-sitter, dog parents want to know they are getting someone who will care for their dog. Consider collecting testimonials about how awesome you are from previous families you’ve helped. Contact. A contact page helps potential customers reach out to you via email, phone, or contact form. Gator Website Builder is a drag and drop builder that makes it easy to design your pages and add content. All you have to do is point and click. However, if you have any questions, it also includes a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference that you can access at any time. To access this guide, click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”   Step 6: Review your content and launch your dog walking or pet-sitting website. The last step is to review your website, make any changes, and then publish your dog walking or pet-sitting website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your site in full, and make sure it looks perfect.  During your preview, review your website and make sure everything is correct. If everything looks great, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard.  Build Your Pet Side Hustle Website Today If you sit around dreaming that you were walking a dog or pet-sitting a pup, then it’s time to start your side hustle. You may as well get paid for doing something you want to do anyway, right? Get started building your side hustle website with HostGator today! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Top 5 Must-have Chrome Extensions for Developers and Designers

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Enterprise software seems to get more complicated every day. Larger systems require special training or the dispatch of special consultants. Meanwhile, smaller pieces of software often win the day. Smaller software, like browser extensions, can provide a lot of value even in a smaller package. The extensions represented here emphasize simplicity. They don’t promise a lot, but they deliver big-time on a specific, important action. Wappalyzer JSON Formatter Colorzilla TextExpander Clear Cache These extensions provide a nice array of features that will appeal to developers and designers. Continue reading Top 5 Must-have Chrome Extensions for Developers and Designers at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Don’t Settle for Just Any Port in the Storm

Nexcess Blog -

Nexcess Safe Harbor is the Haven Magento Stores Need The currents and undercurrents of Magento’s strategy are ever changing. One day it’s smooth sailing with technology that simply performs, propelling sales and service; the next day they are raising the anchor, and creating a wake of disruption that the entire ecosystem must brace themselves to withstand.  Every ecommerce based solution relies on understanding what lies beneath the surface, so it’s vital that your platform delivers the speed, security, scalability and service demanded by today’s pace of online business. These tenets are the four points of our operational compass here at Nexcess – relied upon and trusted by our customers as they navigate their best paths forward.  Recognizing that Magento’s (M1) platform end of life (EOL) is now just a few months away, we’re excited to offer Nexcess Safe Harbor designed especially for those who can’t afford to – or need more time to strategize – or don’t wish to migrate to M2. As the leading hosting provider for M1 stores for more than ten years, we come to this changing tide with deep experience to accommodate whichever direction keeps you afloat  and ensures your online stores remain uninterrupted. All buoyed by the expertise that is embodied in every single one of our amazing people who stand by ready to assist you today and support you tomorrow.  Nexcess Safe Harbor is designed to align with your long-term growth plans because it’s optimized by open source efficiencies – to include costs and community-based expertise. This is a stark differentiator for us compared to closed (SaaS) platforms like Shopify which can cost you more time and money, while limiting your options and future innovation  opportunities.   There are three core options to consider over the coming weeks:  Stay the course on M1 with Nexcess Safe Harbor via a simple dev supported free migration that comes with regular updates, patches, scans, modules, and extensions; Migrate from M1 to M2 with support from us at every turn as you implement your migration plan to a new platform that will accommodate your increase in customers and inventories.  Connect with us about alternative platforms that can meet the needs of ecommerce enterprises large and small, from high-paced to mid-level to newly launched. You are never without resources and expertise when working with the Nexcess team. As you explore what steps to take in the coming months, I hope you will call on our team to help answer any questions you have to make the most informed decision for your business. We can show you the pros and cons of a particular path, and help you decide which platform best meets your needs for near and long-term growth. Your business journey is never-ending and ideally always enjoys smooth sailing. But we know that rough waters are unavoidable – so don’t settle for just any port. Your livelihood relies on keeping a vigilant eye on the horizon, and Nexcess Safe Harbor will see you through the storm.  The post Don’t Settle for Just Any Port in the Storm appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Black Hat SEO Tactics Your Small Business Should Avoid

HostGator Blog -

The post Black Hat SEO Tactics Your Small Business Should Avoid appeared first on HostGator Blog. You know you should be thinking about search engine optimization (SEO)—you see recommendations for it everywhere you look. But wow, does it look difficult and expensive. For a small business, investing that much in something that takes so long to show results can be a hard sell. You may be tempted to figure out shortcuts. The problem is, with SEO, shortcuts can really hurt you. Some of the more affordable so-called SEO experts you come across may steer you toward outdated and scammy tactics. These have earned a bad name for themselves among SEO experts. They’re known as “black hat SEO. We definitely don’t recommend following these tactics for your website—unless you want to earn a penalty from Google. However, it’s important to understand what these tactics are for two reasons. First, you’ll be able to recognize them if a shady SEO company ever pitches them to you. Second, you’ll be able to create a more informed SEO strategy for your website that steers clear of them. What Is Black Hat SEO? Black hat SEO describes any tactic used to increase a website’s search engine rankings by trying to game the system. Black hat SEO exists for a reason: SEO is hard. And it’s slow. And doing it well is either expensive, time consuming, or both.  Black hat SEO practitioners try to speed up results by finding shortcuts that trick the search engines by appealing to the way the algorithms work, rather than what makes sense for humans. And at certain points in internet history, some black hat tactics have worked—for a time.  How Black Hat SEO Hurts Business Every day, the search engine algorithms get more sophisticated. The goal is always the same: to get better at providing results to people that are genuinely useful. That means many of the big Google updates in recent years have specifically targeted the kind of black hat tactics we’ve described here. Attempts to game the system and get websites ranking higher based on tricks rather than providing genuine utility can provide temporary gains. But once an algorithm update goes into effect, those websites risk seeing penalties that hurt far more than the momentary gains ever helped. Google doesn’t look kindly on websites that try to trick the algorithms. Why would they? They’ve long told SEO professionals and website owners the right way to increase rankings: create great content that’s relevant to what your audience cares about. And make sure all the technical stuff— like website speed and the mobile experience—works right to create a solid user experience. If you focus on tactics related to providing a consistently valuable experience to your visitors, you’ll stay on the right side of Google. It’s harder. But it’s the only way to build the kind of website authority that delivers long-term SEO results.  10 Black Hat SEO Tactics to Avoid If you encounter someone suggesting any of these black hat SEO tactics, steer clear. 1. Keyword stuffing To determine what a web page is about, search engine algorithms pay attention to what words are used on the page. The reason so much of SEO is based on keyword research is because the words you use are directly related to what terms a page on your website will rank for (although it’s just one of many ranking signals). In the early days of search engines, when the algorithms were much less sophisticated, keyword frequency played a big role in SEO. Using your keyword as many times as possible on the page made it extremely clear to the search engine—without any room for doubt—that your page was about that keyword. And that made it more likely to rank.  But pretty quickly, the search engines learned that spammy websites were awkwardly stuffing keywords onto their pages in ways that made no sense in order to game the system. To ensure they provided actually useful results to their users, they updated the algorithms to not only give keyword frequency less priority in the rankings, but to penalize the websites guilty of keyword stuffing.  Nonetheless, keyword stuffing is still one of the most common black hat SEO tactics employed by disreputable SEO practitioners. While it’s still true that strategically using keywords in your copy can be good for SEO, overdoing it definitely isn’t. You want every web page to make sense to human visitors, not just search engines. If anyone recommends cramming more keywords onto a page on your website than makes sense, don’t listen.  2. Paying for backlinks Building backlinks is arguably the hardest part of SEO. You have to convince other people that your website is worth linking to, even when there’s usually not much in it for them. That’s why it’s a part of SEO that’s frequently abused.  Black hat SEO firms will offer to sell you links for affordable prices. But with SEO (as in much of life), if sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This type of “link building” usually involves link farms or spam websites created for nothing other than to link back to their client’s sites. And Google doesn’t just care how many backlinks you have, the search engine pays careful attention to the authority of the sites they’re hosted on. As with keyword stuffing, paying for links still happens because at one time it did work. But as the search engines have wised up and refined their algorithms over the years, low-quality links will now hurt your website authority. Quantity of backlinks is less important than quality. So focus your strategy on building links legitimately and avoid anyone that offers to sell you backlinks.   3. Hiring content mills Content marketing is an important part of SEO. But it requires a ton of time and resources to do well. Many small businesses therefore start their search for content creators with companies that promise cheap content, in the range of $10 to $50 a blog post. The companies that charge those kinds of rates are known in the business as content mills. Hiring one early on is a common and understandable mistake to make, but you’ll usually realize quickly that the work you get is barely readable, or filled with awkward keyword stuffing. A lot of small businesses that use content mills end up rewriting or heavily editing the pieces they get, so that the money saved still costs big in time.  The fact is, writing content that your audience will actually want to read takes time and skill. For content marketing to actually be worth your while, you need to be willing to make a real investment in it, not go for the cheapest option.  4. Using hidden text Sometimes called “cloaking,” this tactic has mostly gone out of style, but is still worth knowing to avoid. Some sneaky SEOs in the past would squeeze more keywords onto a page for search engines without stuffing them into the copy for humans by making the text the same color as the page’s background, or by hiding them in the page’s code.  Either way, if it means the page shows up in rankings for keywords that aren’t what the page is actually about, your human visitors won’t be satisfied. And Google and the other search engines want to provide their users with content that matches what they’re looking for. Websites that do this are unlikely to make it into the rankings for competitive terms to begin with, but if they do and the algorithm quickly registers that visitors aren’t sticking around on the site after the click, they’ll fall back down in the rankings because of it.  5. Duplicate content We’ve established that creating high-quality content is hard, so one tactic many a small business has been tempted to try is essentially self-plagiarizing—take the copy you wrote for one page of the site, change it slightly to focus on a new keyword, and voila, you have a new page. But duplicate content is one of the things Google penalizes. Even if you’re only copying yourself—not plagiarizing someone else (which would be worse!)—it still looks bad in the eyes of the search engines. They prefer original content and are unlikely to rank multiple pages that provide essentially the same information. So make sure each page on your website is entirely original. 6. Gateway pages Now and then when you’re browsing the web, you may come across a page that’s little more than a list of links that may or may not be related to your original search. These are called gateway pages. Their entire purpose is to try to gain rankings for a popular keyword, in order to drive more traffic to their other sites or pages. As an internet user, you probably find these obnoxious. You were looking for actual content or answers, not a collection of links. Knowing that pages like this don’t create a good experience for their users, the search engines don’t like them either. This is another spammy tactic that may have once worked, but is unlikely to get you very far with the way the algorithms work today.  7. Bait and switch You wrote a piece of content that’s getting a lot of traction. Finally! Other sites are linking to it and it’s starting to rank for one of your target keywords. A very black hat thing to do at this point would be to change up what’s on the page to something more directly about your products or services.  Don’t do it! That tactic is called the bait and switch. You write about something that’s clickbait or more general interest to get that initial boost, then change what’s on the page to try to drive more conversions. Obviously, visitors won’t like it and neither will Google. At best, you might keep your ranking for a few days, but over time, the search engines will pick up on the trick and your rankings will drop.  8. Comment spam If you have a blog open to comments, then you’re probably all too familiar with this one. People (or bots) that leave a comment on your site can include a link. At one time, those links could deliver authority back to the site, thus making it an easy way to build new links. Now, the vast majority of websites have any links in the comments set up to be nofollow, meaning they don’t deliver any SEO authority. And many sites have disabled comment sections entirely because of how tedious dealing with comment spam became. In short, this is a tactic that is both a total waste of time, and one that will make you enemies of anyone annoyed to see your comment spam pop up on their website.   9. Sneaky redirects There are plenty of valid reasons to set up redirects on your website. If you’ve combined old pages into one or if you’ve changed domains completely and want to direct traffic from your old website to your new, for instance. Redirects exist for good reason. But as with so many things, they can be abused by bad SEO actors. Some black hat consultants will set up redirects that send search engines to a different page than humans, or redirect a high-performing page to an unrelated page to get more traffic to the new one. Either way, it’s the kind of thing the search engines will pick up on, so any benefit you may get from it in the moment won’t last.   10. Private blog networks Private blog networks are a more sophisticated technique than many on this list, which can make them seem like a more legitimate option to try if someone pitches you on it. The idea is to buy up sites that already have some authority, continue publishing new content on them, and use that content to include links back to your own site.  You get backlinks from websites that look authoritative, because you now run the websites they’re on. And if you buy up a few of these, it starts to look like a number of authoritative sites are suddenly impressed with your content enough to link to it. It may take Google longer to catch on to this tactic than some of the other more obvious ones, but it’s unlikely to pay off in the long term. Anything that’s not about providing content your audience will truly benefit from and building real authority in your larger industry isn’t going to yield the kind of long-term results you want from SEO. Instead of gaming the system, set your website up for long-term success with a solid SEO strategy created by experts and driven by best practices. Get your free SEO review from the SEO pros at HostGator. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

The Rise of Multi-CMS in the Enterprise

WP Engine -

As consumers evolve in the ways they interact with new technology, building engaging, dynamic digital experiences has never been more important for businesses of all sizes.  Today’s digital consumers expect the digital experiences they interact with to be fast and engaging, and in this new digital paradigm, speed and agility are necessary to meet market… The post The Rise of Multi-CMS in the Enterprise appeared first on WP Engine.

The Rise of Multiple CMSs: International Study Shows WordPress Dominates the Enterprise

WP Engine -

AUSTIN, Texas — Feb. 19, 2020 –  New international research conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), shows WordPress is a top content management system (CMS) among enterprise businesses using two or more CMSs, and it is the dominant CMS for headless technology applications. The report, titled… The post The Rise of Multiple CMSs: International Study Shows WordPress Dominates the Enterprise appeared first on WP Engine.

Announcing the new Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing's Webmaster Blog -

Over the last few months, we have heard from the webmaster ecosystem that Bing Webmaster Tools user interface is slow and outdated. With our user first focus, we have taken your feedback and have been working on modernizing the tools.  We are delighted to announce the first iteration of refreshed Bing Webmaster Tools portal. The refreshed portal is being built with key principles of - keeping the design simple with the tools being Faster, Cleaner, more Responsive and Actionable. We have updated the backend datastore to improve the data extraction and redesigned the user experience to make it more user friendly and intuitive. Keeping the need of users in mind, the portal is also device responsive so that it provides the flexibility to the users to access it across devices. In the first iteration, the new portal will have 3 key features, Backlinks - The Inbound Links report in the current portal is integrated with the Disavow links tool to become the new Backlinks report in the refreshed portal. Search Performance - Page Traffic and Search Keywords reports are also integrated as one and are a part of the new Search Performance report. Sitemaps - The Sitemaps page is the refreshed Sitemaps page of the current portal We are releasing the new portal to a select set of users this week and will be rolling out to all users by 1st week of march. To access the new portal, sign-in to Bing Webmaster Tools and navigate to Sitemaps, Inbound Links, Page Traffic or Search Keywords reports and click on the links to open the new portal. Over the next few months, we will focus on moving all the functionalities to the new portal. During the transition, the users will be able to use the current and new pages simultaneously for a short period. We will be deprecating the functionality from the old portal in a few weeks immediately after its inclusion in the new portal. We will strive to make this transition seamless and exciting for our users. The Bing Webmaster APIs will stay the same so users using our webmaster API to get their data programmatically do not have to make any changes. Reach out to us and share feedback on Twitter and Facebook and let us know how you feel about the new Bing Webmaster Tools. If you encounter any issues, please raise a service ticket with our support team. Regards, The Bing Webmaster Tools team  

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