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WordPress 5.4 is Here!

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WordPress 5.4, or “Adderley” (named for jazz great Nat Adderly), was released at the end of March, and after extensive testing and evaluation by our engineering teams, it’s now the default version of WordPress for new WP Engine customers and sites created. To find out which version of WordPress you’re currently running, log into your… The post WordPress 5.4 is Here! appeared first on WP Engine.

[Infographic] Have extra time on your hands? Use it to build a superior personal brand

Name.com Blog -

By Alisha Shibli Building a strong professional reputation is crucial if you want to succeed, especially today when there are more candidates than open positions. A strong personal brand not only highlights your professional identity and authority but also opens you up to lucrative opportunities. If you haven’t paid much attention to this yet, now […] The post [Infographic] Have extra time on your hands? Use it to build a superior personal brand appeared first on Name.com Blog.

Top Tips For Managing Your Google Ads During The Coronavirus Outbreak

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An international pandemic, the effects of coronavirus are becoming ever more apparent. Not just affecting our lifestyles and the way we communicate and conduct daily activities. The development of this virus has even altered the way that we as consumers are shopping. With one element remaining static and that is the use of the internet The post Top Tips For Managing Your Google Ads During The Coronavirus Outbreak appeared first on Pickaweb.

Employee Spotlight: Kelsey Webb

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In this ongoing blog series, we speak with WP Engine employees around the globe to learn more about their roles, what they love about the cities they work in, and what they like most about working at WP Engine.  In this interview, we speak with Marketing Events Manager Kelsey Webb, a more-than three-year veteran at… The post Employee Spotlight: Kelsey Webb appeared first on WP Engine.

5 Things to Remove from Your Website Immediately If You Want to Rank on Google

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Is there a single website owner or marketing expert who doesn’t want to know how to rank higher on Google? It’s a universal goal that we’re all after. When people search for information that we can provide, we want them to find our websites. With that intention, we engage in various SEO strategies, which demand The post 5 Things to Remove from Your Website Immediately If You Want to Rank on Google appeared first on Pickaweb.

The Future of eCommerce

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The post The Future of eCommerce appeared first on HostGator Blog. Nobody could predict what the rise of eCommerce would look like and how it would change whole industries. But its effect on our culture and economy is hard to overstate. And while nobody can know the future—there will always be new surprises in store for us—we can make some educated guesses about what’s to come based on the current state of eCommerce.  Here are a few predictions of what may be in store in the future of eCommerce. 1. An explosion of new eCommerce businesses will rise in the wake of COVID-19. The coronavirus has already started to reshape how the economy looks. Brands that previously had a business model entirely dependent on people showing up in store must now either evolve or shutter. And evolving in the age of shelter-in-place orders means eCommerce.  In addition to the existing businesses scrambling to evolve, the U.S. has seen an increase in unemployment numbers unheard of since the great depression. Those workers both have a strong incentive to consider new career paths and a lot of time on their hands. It’s a safe bet that at least some of them will treat this as an opportunity to explore entrepreneurship. And the most obvious type of business to start in the current state of things is an eCommerce one. While there aren’t good numbers yet as to how many new eCommerce businesses this crisis has spawned—and even less known about which of those businesses will survive to the other side of it—it seems highly likely that the coronavirus will produce an influx of new online businesses. Some will be an evolved version of brick-and-mortar businesses from before the pandemic, and others will rise entirely in response to the new world.  2. Many services that go online during the pandemic will stay online. Some types of services require in-person meetings. You can’t organize someone’s closet without going to their house, or draw someone’s blood for tests without having them come into the doctor’s office. But service providers and their customers are now learning just how many services can be effectively provided over digital channels.  Telemedicine and teletherapy are nothing new, but people who may have been hesitant to try them before are now forced to. Some of those that do will find that the digital version works just fine, and removes the headache of sitting in traffic or dealing with parking. The same calculations will happen for other types of service-based businesses, like coaching and IT consulting.  While there will definitely still be people who prefer the in-person experience with service providers they hire, others will come to take for granted at least having the choice for a more convenient option.  3. Website builders will be the design option of choice for small eCommerce businesses. The influx of new eCommerce businesses we predicted above will largely be started by people with little coding or web design experience. In the past, that would have been a significant hurdle to getting an online store off the ground. But in 2020, it’s no problem at all. Now, new website owners have a number of affordable (or even free) eCommerce website builders they can turn to for creating a website, regardless of their skill level. Website builders provide templates designed by professionals that incorporate user experience (UX) best practices. New eCommerce entrepreneurs can change up the templates by switching out colors, uploading custom images, and moving elements using drag-and-drop functionality. And in a matter of hours, or even minutes, they’ll have a functional customized eCommerce website ready. In uncertain economic times like these, the ability to get an online store up fast and affordably will be more attractive to most than taking on a more complicated web design project. Many of the next wave of online stores will therefore be built with the popular website builders now available—or potentially with new ones that come onto the market to address the growing interest.  4. Online marketplaces will take over a significant share of the eCommerce landscape. So far, we’ve mostly addressed the eCommerce businesses that create and sell through their own website. But that ignores what’s already a big sector of the eCommerce industry: online marketplaces. Sites like Amazon, Etsy, and ebay give individuals and businesses a way to tap into the audiences built by a larger band. You can set up an account on the relevant marketplace(s), list your products, and sell through their eCommerce platform. Some eCommerce brands base their entire business model on finding buyers through popular marketplaces. Some start there to test out a product idea, then branch off into building their own website once they’ve confirmed there’s a market for their services. And others use a hybrid model—selling products both through their own website and on the marketplaces.  While there are pluses and minuses to selling your brand’s products on a marketplace, there’s no denying that the influence of these eCommerce sites—especially Amazon—on the way people shop and buy makes them an important part of the eCommerce landscape. Competing against them is difficult, and a certain portion of online businesses will choose instead to work with them.  5. Mobile shopping will be the norm for a large portion of the population. This is an easy prediction because, well, it’s already true. eMarketer research found that over a third of all eCommerce sales happen on smartphones. So while this isn’t a trend that will be new to the future, it still bears mentioning because of how significant a role mobile devices will continue to play in the future of eCommerce. The continued popularity of mobile shopping will mean businesses must continue (or start) to include mobile devices in their overall marketing strategy. That means determining whether or not building a mobile app for the business makes sense. It may include investing in mobile-specific channels like SMS ads (short message service, the more technical term for text messaging) or running ads on mobile apps. And it definitely, at minimum, means making sure your website is mobile friendly.   6. Consumer security concerns will change the way eCommerce businesses use and think about data. Personalization and big data have been big buzzwords in business for the past several years, but in the background of those trends has been a small and growing backlash. Many of today’s consumers are uncomfortable with how much data brands collect about them and how businesses use that data. That concern is reflected in recent laws regulating business data, most notably Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).  Many eCommerce businesses will continue to collect as much customer data as they can, regardless of consumer opinion. But some will see this as an opportunity. While competitors casually and sneakily collect as much information as possible, they’ll gain customer favor with data transparency. That doesn’t have to mean scrapping data collection entirely—70% of U.S. consumers in one survey said they were fine with sharing personal data if they knew the brand would store it safely and securely. But 65% worry now about how their data is being used by companies.  Savvy eCommerce companies will see an opportunity to be the differentiator here and take a much more cautious and open approach to consumer data collection and use.  7. Eco-conscious consumers will inspire a growth in environmentally friendly eCommerce brands. Half of consumers worry about the environmental impact of their shopping choices, according to the Global Web Index.  Those numbers are even higher for young generations. And consumers are willing to put their money toward those values. A CGS Survey found that over a third would willingly spend up to 25% more for a more sustainable product. For entrepreneurs, green eCommerce is an opportunity.  For some eCommerce brands, going green may simply mean giving more thought to the kind of packaging you use for your products. But there are also opportunities to build businesses entirely on sustainability. You could create products with recycled materials, like Indosole’s sandals made from recycled tires. Or produce products that help customers cut down on more wasteful habits, like Stasher’s reusable bags that replace plastic ones.  Eco-friendly eCommerce brands are already out there. But with a growing consumer interest in spending based on values, there’s room for eCommerce growth.  8. Customer service and values will become top differentiators. You’ll always have consumers that decide on price, that’s unlikely to change. But with eCommerce behemoths like Amazon and Walmart able to provide lower prices than everyone else due to their size, smaller eCommerce brands must find other ways to differentiate. And the smart way to do that in the coming years is to focus on two things: standing for something, and creating an amazing shopping experience for customers. As the political world grows more polarized, consumers care more about knowing what brands stand for, and want to make sure they’re choosing companies that match their personal values. Accenture research found that: 63% of consumers prefer to buy from purpose-driven brands65% want to know a brand they buy from treats its employees well62% care that they’re working to reduce their use of plastic and other unsustainable materials74% value transparency in how products are sourced, how safe working conditions are, and any testing done on animals Having a clear cause, and making sure your eCommerce business actions match your rhetoric around it can pay off.  That’s one big way to separate your brand from the Amazons and Walmarts of the world (who don’t fare well in consumer opinion on most of those counts). The other is providing a better customer experience. Smaller eCommerce businesses can stand apart by providing genuine, personal customer service that consumers remember and talk about. Qualtrics found that 95% of customers who consider a company’s customer experience (CX) very good will recommend it, and 94% will purchase from them again.  Customer retention is at least as important for eCommerce brands as customer acquisition. A solid CX is one of the best ways to turn first-time buyers into loyal customers.  9. AI-driven chatbots will take over a share of marketing and customer service. In recent years, the chat boxes that pop up at the bottom of business websites have become a common sight. While sometimes these have a human behind them answering questions in real time, a lot of the time these are chatbots that serve up answers based on artificial intelligence. AI chatbots can provide a lot of tangible benefits for eCommerce businesses: They can provide answers to common questions visitors have 24/7 (while human customer service employees need to sleep).They can offer personalized product and content recommendations to website visitors based on their interests.They can cut down on the time customer service representatives spend answering basic questions.Every interaction they have with visitors teaches them something about your audience, which makes future answers and information they provide even more useful. AI chatbots are a prime example of how eCommerce has transformed marketing. As the technology that powers them becomes more affordable and accessible, more businesses are likely to adopt them. They’ll offload some of the work marketing and customer service departments do now, and provide website visitors with useful information at the moment they’re looking for it.  10. Voice will become a common part of the buyer’s journey. Smart speakers are already a sizable industry. Combine them with the voice assistants included across smartphone models, and voice search has become a regular part of life for many of today’s consumers. While that hasn’t translated to people doing their shopping entirely via voice, it does now mean that people do a number of shopping-related activities that way. Digital Commerce reports that around 20% of consumers that own smart speakers have done some kind of shopping-related activity with the speaker, whether that’s product research, making shopping lists, or making purchases. If the smart speaker industry continues to grow, and brands find ways to make shopping-related activities easier to perform via voice alone, it’s likely to gain a greater prominence in how people shop online.  eCommerce brands that haven’t started factoring voice into their marketing strategies should consider doing so now. The sooner you know how to appeal to the voice-based customer, the better you’ll be able to adapt as this part of the market grows.  Prepare for the Future of eCommerce Nobody knew at this time last year that the world would be so thoroughly changed by a contagious virus. And none of us can know for sure what next year will bring. The best you can do is to stay on top of researching eCommerce trends and predictions, and do what you can to prepare for the changes likely to come. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

5 WordPress Data Back-Up Plugins For 2020

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If you are running a website, there’s a 35% chance you are using WordPress. The most popular content management platform hosts more than a third of all websites on the Internet, which means it is incredibly versatile and powerful. With WordPress, you can do pretty much anything from writing a blog to opening an online The post 5 WordPress Data Back-Up Plugins For 2020 appeared first on Pickaweb.

How Do I Get Started With a Dedicated Server?

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The word ‘Dedicated’ in Dedicated Server brings with it — exclusivity, control, management, versatility, security and safety. If you own a website, all these factors are crucial to its successful running.  Choosing the right plan and service to use a Dedicated Server, that fits your needs, is probably one of the most crucial business decisions one needs to make. When you use a dedicated server, you gain complete control of your data and the server, ensuring that no other user is using the same resources as you.  As your business grows, and the traffic to your website increases, it’s advisable to choose a Dedicated Server to efficiently manage the running of your website, secure data, and effectively manage traffic spikes.  Furthermore, if you have limited resources and time, you can choose between a managed or unmanaged Dedicated Server, to bring in professional and technical support as required.  Still not sure? Let’s dive deeper into what is a Dedicated Server, the different types, benefits and how to use a Dedicated Server.  What is a Dedicated Server? Let’s simplify this with a more relatable example. Using a Dedicated Server is like owning a car, as compared to hiring an Uber or other taxi service. The taxi service here is Shared or VPS Hosting. The difference is in complete exclusivity. Your car will only be used by you or your family (think: employees, partners). Whereas while the taxi is exclusive for your use at a given point of time, the same taxi can also be hired by someone else.  The difference between VPS Hosting and Dedicated Hosting is primarily in terms of exclusivity. VPS Hosting is a combination of Dedicated and Shared Hosting, which means, that you have a private space within a shared server. Whereas, with Dedicated Hosting, you have an exclusive physical hosting server where all resources are entirely dedicated to your website.  Thus, simply put, a Dedicated Server is a physical hosting server that is only available for you and your websites. This gives you the flexibility to modify or configure it to your exact needs, without sharing any of your resources with anyone else. As a result, a Dedicated Server brings in: Higher security Improved Stability Greater Control We’ll understand these aspects in-depth, as we go further in the post.  Different Types of Dedicated Server Depending on your technical abilities, the time and resources you have, and the scale of your website, you can use a Dedicated Server that best fits your needs. Dedicated Servers can be classified into three types: 1. Managed Dedicated Server The provider manages all the technical aspects of your server, such as backups, maintenance and risk monitoring. Best suited for those who would prefer professional technical help to make more time and resources to carry out other business operations.  2. Unmanaged Dedicated Server You need to manage all the technical aspects by yourself. Best suited for those with technical knowledge, have a team dedicated to server management, or those who have the time to carry out all these tasks.  3. Semi-managed This is closer to an unmanaged Dedicated Server, where only the highly technical tasks are taken care off by the server provider. For example, ResellerClub offers semi-managed Dedicated Server support, taking care of technical aspects like hardware, cPanel management and installation, server hardening and network.  Benefits of a Dedicated Server By now you understand what is a Dedicated Server, the different types of Dedicated Servers and how it’s different from a Shared Server. If you are planning to use a Dedicated Server, you will bring in a great number of benefits for your website, and business. The benefits of a Dedicated Server include: Higher speed and enhanced performance Complete configuration control and flexible customization Enhanced security and full root access Additional storage space and powerful configurations Server administration panel and system administration support Add-ons for better functionality When is right for you to use a Dedicated Server?  When considering how to start a Dedicated Server, you must fully understand your website’s needs and requirements. If you’re already using a Shared server and considering a shift, or just starting out, here’s what you need to analyze before you use a Dedicated Server: Security If your website collects sensitive data or is at a high risk of malware, hacking or other security breaches, use a Dedicated Server to minimize risk. You can completely control your data and configure the server entirely to cater to your website’s needs.  Stability A sudden spike in the number of visitors to your website, or to another website that is on the same Shared Server as yours, may impact your website’s performance. For higher stability and to ensure best website performance, use a Dedicated Server over a shared one. It also reduces load time, thus, improving efficiency and the visitor’s site experience.  Control When you use a Dedicated Server you have complete control over how you configure the server, to perfectly meet your exact needs. If you have specific requirements, a Dedicated Server is a much more effective option for you.  How to start a Dedicated Server? Ready to get started with a Dedicated Server? Once you have analyzed your website needs and are certain that this is the best option for you, pick the type of Dedicated Server you want to use. Consider your, and your employees’ technical knowledge to know the best type for your website.  The next step is to choose a plan that meets your needs, and budget. Choose a reliable provider that offers you the best Dedicated Server solutions. We at  ResellerClub offer a host of offers, features and benefits, like instant set-up, complete administrative access, a state-of-the-art infrastructure, and much more.  That’s it! You’re all set to use a Dedicated Server and better manage your website.  If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to drop them in the comments below.  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post How Do I Get Started With a Dedicated Server? appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How Freelancers Can Juggle Multiple Clients and Work Types

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The post How Freelancers Can Juggle Multiple Clients and Work Types appeared first on HostGator Blog. Were you laid off or furloughed from your job recently? Are you feeling increased pressure to bring in more to support yourself or your family during this time of crisis? Maybe you’re just looking for more freedom to explore your passions?  Whether you’re looking for a side hustle to pad your income or chart a course for what direction you’d like to venture out of this darkness, I have a background in juggling multiple income streams to survive and support my happiness. Others may benefit from it, so I wanted to share some tools to my success. First, Allow Time for Self-Reflection Before diving into this discourse, I want to acknowledge that major career changes can be traumatic. Especially so, if you felt you’d reached your career end game or were already barely able to scrape by working three different service jobs, all of which are now closed.  Remember: It’s okay if you need time to process. It’s completely fine if you’re not ready to hit the ground running. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious and even hopeless. Be gentle with yourself and allow time for self-reflection. You can lay out a map ahead with your happiness in mind. When you’re ready to take your next steps forward, this information will still be here. What brought me to my freelance career path? Flexibility: Growing Through the Cracks I’m no stranger to traumatic career upheavals. I graduated college during the 2008 recession, so finding stable footing was tough due to regular overhead reductions and multiple lay-offs. I freelanced off and on throughout. Later in life, I found brief stability working for a large retailer. But after surviving three rounds of layoffs, the company filed for bankruptcy and went out of business. That was three years ago, when I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and ventured back into freelance self-employment.  Since then, I’ve been able to support myself and my happiness by doing a broad mix of UX strategy, front-end development, creative design, small business consulting, art markets, illustration commissions, helping to run a local non-profit art space, and honestly, whatever comes my way that resonates with my background, skills, and future goals. Diversification: Living a Renaissance Lifestyle I had a creative writing professor in college who encouraged a Renaissance lifestyle: one dedicated to a creative reawakening. It was the idea that one should work whatever job they needed to make ends meet, but set aside at least an hour of free time to foster and support their creative passions. His words always inspired me because I have long been a woman of too many interests. The idea of entertaining all of my interests, not just the single specialization that paid well, spoke to me deeply. I felt empowered knowing I’m in full control of the time I dedicate to learning, growing, and exploring in the fields of art, illustration, development, design, and the human experience. Inevitably, when it came to self-employment, I chose to offer services that nurtured all of these creative and communication outlets. Practically speaking, how does one juggle multiple different businesses? Solutions-Oriented Adaptability All of the different types of work I do have one thing in common: I am solving puzzles. All day, every day, I am being presented with some kind of problem, gathering data, researching, asking questions, testing out different methods, and attempting to solve  these problems. It doesn’t matter whether it is a website maintenance issue or a portrait commission request or a friend wanting advice on starting their own business, I am guiding people to their desired outcome. When you focus on the similarities between the interests you have rather than the differences, it becomes easier to contemplate juggling a wider variety of tasks. Lean into where you feel you’d serve the most good and what you need will come to you. Explore what solutions bring you gratification and you’ll find areas to grow and adapt your hustle. What kind of puzzles do you get the most satisfaction from solving? What kind of issues do friends, family, colleagues and businesses rely on you most often to solve? Which problems do you feel the most knowledgeable about and confident in solving? In what ways have you adapted your problem-solving to different scenarios?  Efficiently Managing Projects and Time Together Now that you’ve discovered some of the different types of drives you have, you’re likely wondering how someone actually manages a widely differing workload encompassing these multifaceted interests. Here’s my secret. Organizing the Chaos I’m a big fan of to-do lists, but when it came to my businesses a single to-do list was failing at keeping track of all the varying details, requests, and due dates. Wholly out of my element, I reached out to a project manager friend of mine and she told me about Trello.  Trello is a free, board-based list-making application, or what PMs call a Kanban board. Since I am a very visual thinker with a terrible memory, this method has worked very well for me in simply organizing next steps and breaking all my various projects into bite-sized chunks. The graphic below illustrates how I use this application to plan and prioritize my projects and tasks. Combining time tracking and project management has a huge benefit of gaining a better understanding of exactly how long it takes you to do a task or group of tasks. You’ll be able to schedule your time out in a way that works for you. Your future time estimates can be more accurate and you’ll be able to confidently book your clients out further. It’s tough upfront, but as you gather more data, you’ll get better at making these predictions. Mind Mapping Your Mind Shifts We’ve chunked out our work into manageable portions, but how do we keep ourselves from getting whiplash switching between all these different services? How does someone actually jump from coding to illustration to strategy? Well, most of the time, you aren’t going to want to do that.  Not all areas of interest are one thing all the time, especially when you turn them into businesses. There is always cross pollination between tasks and even your top-tier favorite interest can have some boring moments. Take a look at how you broke down your projects in the previous section. Are there any common themes with how you grouped your tasks? Mind mapping can help you visualize how you mentally organize your tasks. Here’s an example of how I think about all the various tasks I can do. I organized mine by the left and right brain hemispheres and then by what I felt was challenging/fun or annoying/boring. You can divide it up in whatever way works best for you and how your brain compartmentalizes tasks. Through this visualization exercise, I can start to make sense of what tasks are connected or lead into each other and which tasks bring me joy. For instance, I try to leave at least an hour at the end of my work day to wind down with some of those fun illustration tasks, like working on my tarot deck while live streaming. This is something I am always in the mood for and purposely fit time in for, because it is the soul of my Renaissance lifestyle and leaves me feeling calm and happy at the end of my day. Schedule Blocking: Designated Days and Weekly To-Dos Since we have a good understanding of how long tasks take and how our brains flow, it’ll be easier to set up some loose schedule blocking for your work week. Here are some tips from my experience with this: Designate specific days for specific tasks. I usually alternate between left brain and right brain activities because that is what works for me. Often, I’ll save the fun tasks for later in the day for a little boost of energy.Give yourself an admin day to plan out a weekly priority to-do list, send invoices, and touch base with clients. This keeps your clients happy, your bills paid, and your mind focused for the week ahead.Leave 15-30 minutes between work blocks for quick responses, tasks, or breaks. If it takes less than five minutes, do it now.Keep in mind that you will likely need to re-evaluate your schedule as you learn more about what works for you. That is normal!Don’t forget to block time for chores, personal care, and hobbies. Self-care is essential. Know Your Worth Now that you have some idea of timing, enjoyment, and scheduling for all the various services you provide, you can start to really understand your worth and get better at defining rate groups. Setting the correct rates can seem difficult or mystifying, especially when juggling multiple services. Luckily, a lot of information about industry rate averages and tips for setting your rates are a search away, and even right here on this blog. But I also want to talk about knowing your worth from a confidence perspective. Parts of your mind are going to tell you that you are being too over-confident and you can’t really do all these things. That is a very normal feeling that we all experience called imposter syndrome, and you shouldn’t listen to it. No two people will come up with the same mix of services and creative interests. Your offerings came directly from your mind’s passion and experiences. They are authentically you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people about ideas you may have and promote yourself right now. If this is something you really want, you have to advocate for yourself.  If you keep it to yourself, no one will know you’re interested in an opportunity or have something to offer.  Most importantly, knowing your worth and standing confidently behind your quotes, regardless of what type of project you are doing, protects your finances and your time. The potential client who tries to get discounted pricing or negotiate an equity deal will present nothing but arguments and excuses when the time to pay the invoice arises. If they don’t have the budget to work with you, they should be able to propose an acceptable budget, for which you can bid a smaller scope of work.  Why would one choose to work like this? Diversified Streams Keeps Bases Covered in Crisis Times Feast or famine is a commonly repeated idiom among self-employment circles. Diversification puts you in control of the balance and safeguards against famine. Having clients and income-generating opportunities at various price points in various industries has saved me many times. Honestly, I did lose some work during this time period. I had a lot of different art markets and opportunities that were cancelled due to the pandemic and one of my clients halted operations altogether. Luckily, some of my other work ramped up, due to the same crisis causing the general public to be more heavily reliant on tech or existing clients to pivot their business offerings.  Diversifying not just the types of work, but the length of projects keeps the balance, as well. Long-term projects are constantly burning in the background delivering steady reliable payments, while short-term projects are there to fill the gaps in between. The Freedom of Flexibility  Full-time roles are often limited to a narrow scope of work based upon position and internal politics. Meanwhile, working on the web my whole life kept me in a constant state of trying to learn and expand my knowledge; to do new things and break boundaries. My passion for illustration left me steadily trying to backdoor artsy elements into every corporate project I touched, much to the chagrin of my managers. The standard job market only allows one so much flexibility, and I wanted more. My most favorite part of where my career has led me can be phrased simply, “I do what I want.” If a project doesn’t sound like it is for me, I will direct it to the next best person to do the job. There is no job description or title or HR department that defines what is or isn’t a part of my role. Just me and whether a project or task vibes with my knowledge, skills, available time, and interest. It’s that same flexibility that allowed me the freedom to say “sure” when HostGator asked me to guest write an article on the blog I usually only code for. Right now is a pivotal point in industries across the world changing and adapting. We get to redefine how we want our future to be. Maybe it’s not what you thought your career would look like. Mine certainly didn’t go the direction I thought it would. Charging off into the unknown and taking a chance on yourself is scary, but it could be really wonderful. Learn more about running your own freelance business: How to Build Your Freelance Website [Step-by-Step Guide]Top Tools I Use to Keep My Freelance Business Up and Running10 Accounting Tips for Freelancers Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Improve Customer Loyalty for Your Web Design Agency

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Loyal customers are the first step to success. As a web design business owner, not only can you rely on these customers to help cash flow, but also to help spread the word about your services to other potential clients. It is important to engage with your customers on a regular basis, both professionally and emotionally.  What does this mean? Well, if you only engage with customers when there is money involved, they will quickly realise this and perhaps choose to move on. However, if you engage with them at all times, even when there is no money-making involved, it will be appreciated by your clients and they will stay loyal to your business.  There is no denying that customer loyalty takes a tremendous amount of hard work and effort, and it most certainly does not happen overnight. Even though gaining this loyalty seems like a mammoth task, it will pay off in the long run of your business success.  In short – Loyal customers  benefit your web design business in the following ways: Word-of-mouth marketing to other potential clients in need of web services Will seldom  consider other companies Will be more eager to purchase a premium package  Will be more likely to update any software right away as it is released Be willing to pay more if, for some reason, you must increase your prices Now, let’s take a look at 6 ways to earn and maintain customer loyalty. Customer Service MUST Be a Priority Providing your clients with unbeatable and on-demand customer service is perhaps the best way to gain customer loyalty. If a customer can have the peace of mind that you will be there to help when things don’t go as planned or there is a technical issue, it is priceless for your business. In this day and age, customers look for the quickest way to contact you; be it by phone, email, webchat or social media.  Having a social media presence, especially for customer service, is critical. It doesn’t have to be followed by a million people or anything crazy like that (although that would be nice), but just enough presence so customers know that you will read their messages and reply accordingly and promptly.  Customers love when businesses go the extra mile, and doing so can almost guarantee loyalty. Further to a reliable and prompt customer service base, providing a service that not only assists customers when something goes wrong via a message, but a follow-up phone call so they can actually speak to a person, or if there is a technical issue or query, organising a video chat to run through why the particular issue is happening. This shows genuine care towards your clients and they will appreciate this as well. See Your Clients Thrive As a web design business owner, knowing that your services have helped another business succeed is one of the main reasons you provide web services, right? For a business to place their trust in you to create a platform to help them thrive and succeed, is a daunting task and prospect at first, but it is also incredibly humbling. Being able to put your expertise into a project that will provide cash flow for you and the other business is your job, and what a job it is!  Seeing businesses succeed because of your services is a great feeling, but it doesn’t stop there. Continuously following-up with the business to see how they are tracking will help you gauge if they require further assistance, promotes customer engagement, and serves as a chance for that particular business to refer another business to you, meaning you’ll have more work.  There is no downside whatsoever to following up with businesses you have helped. You make money from them, they generate a cash flow as a result of your services, and keeping in contact with them will retain their loyalty, keeping your cash flow moving as well.  These success stories seen in the image below are a prime example of the business helping its clients achieve success, and then following up with them to see how they’re going. All it takes is one simple email to check-up on their progress, and you will be the first thing that comes to their mind should they need any further services. Below is an example from Sainstore, a marketing agency focused on Shopify merchants who dedicated an entire page to talk about different case studies from existing customers: Easy To Understand Clients are more likely to become loyal if your policies, pricing and legalities are easy to understand. As soon as a customer has to search your website, any fine-print, or social media for information, alarm bells will ring and they may not bother to move forward with your services. Keeping a transparent approach will help you and the customer maintain a positive and confusion-free relationship where they will know what you say is exactly what you mean and there are no loopholes or hurdles to consider.  Very few businesses, especially nowadays, achieve transparency with policies, so get on the front foot now and move ahead of the pack! Outlining policies and copyrights just as project management tool Range has makes it easy for the client to read and understand what they’re signing up for. Take a look: 2. Collect Information It is no secret that customers are not the most enthusiastic when companies take their data and use it to personalise advertisements for the next time they visit their website, but it doesn’t have to be all negative. Collecting and using clients’ information can be turned into a positive experience. For example, if you have their phone number, giving them a call to see how they’re doing, or if you know their birthday, you can send them a personalised birthday card.  If your data collection is showing any specific services your client is purchasing from you, another idea to promote loyalty is to create a pop-up that suggests that particular service, or streamlining the checkout process so that your client can add the service in just a few clicks. Ease-of-use goes a  long way in enhancing customer loyalty, and if prices do increase for any reason, they are likely to stick around because they can rely on your services to provide great results. It is little things like these that help customers become loyal. Turn a negative situation into a positive one, and serve your clients like a human, rather than just another number or account.  3. Testimonials Keeping in contact with your clients will also give you the opportunity to ask if they would like to provide a testimonial. You can feature these on your website and social media pages so new and potential clients can know exactly what to expect with regards to value for money and services. The presence of testimonials will automatically and instantly show new clients the credibility of your business and might even capture them to become loyal to your business.  You may choose to send an automated email to clients after they have purchased a service, or personally reach out to them and touch base, if you have the time and resources. Not all clients will want to provide a testimonial, but consistently engaging with clients so they know you care about them and their business will increase your chances. See how testimonials add an impact:  4. Running A Loyalty Program or Promotions If your customers are paying a premium for your services and keep coming back, they are likely to stick with you if your prices increase. It is only fair that you reward these clients in some way, as it will help them realise that you are aware of their loyalty. Rewards don’t always have to involve money, for example, offering to promote their business on your online platforms and vice versa is one way to collaborate with clients to ensure both businesses can gain more attention and make money from new clients.  Another great idea is to offer loyal clients a discount on some services, or promotions on certain services. This could be something like an SEO package, like a 12-month subscription for the price of 10. Any promotion that has an incentive for the client to purchase the package is sure to create loyalty. If you are offering these promotions, it is important to keep in mind not to market this publicly; instead, personally reach out to these loyal clients.  Enticing clients to shop and stick with you will help your business see a steady profit, especially as your client base increases. We see with the ‘Marriott Bonvoy Benefits’ loyalty program below, the benefits that guests can experience with an elite status.  Final thoughts Customer loyalty must be part of an overall customer-centric strategy. Your customer support efforts must be at the center of it, making sure that your clients are happy — even if they encounter any problems during the process. Proactively reaching out to customers, gathering feedback and testimonials, as well as rewarding returning clients for their loyalty will help you keep the customer retention machine up and running. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post How to Improve Customer Loyalty for Your Web Design Agency appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

24th Annual Webby Award Nominees Announced

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Nominations were announced this morning for the 24th Annual Webby Awards, the highest recognition of excellence on the Internet, presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Like so many other events that have had to pivot in response to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, this year’s ceremony, appropriately dubbed Webbys From Home,… The post 24th Annual Webby Award Nominees Announced appeared first on WP Engine.

RetroSupply Co. Creates Vintage Tools for Modern Designers

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In the days of sleek digital design, there’s nothing quite like the look of art inked fresh onto paper. Dustin Lee has always thought so, from the time he was a boy living with his grandmother in California, exploring her catch-all closet piled high with “junk” from her past: mid-century board games, comic books, matchboxes, and catalogs. “Even though my childhood was in the 1980s, I grew up around a lot of stuff from the ‘50s and ‘60s,” Lee says. “I’m a really big fan of mid-century, postwar American commercial art — I love the illustrations on cheesy mail-order ads in comic books and old toy packaging. I love when stuff looks like beautiful frameable art in retrospect, and it was totally just made originally to be disposable, to try to sell a product — the kitschy, crappy, but-accidentally-beautiful design of things that people probably did on assignment, never knowing that it would be recorded in history.” As a graphic designer, Lee pulls inspiration from his mid-century nostalgia. To create an authentic analog look, he had to build brushes, fonts, textures, and other tools to use on design programs Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, and Affinity. “And I found that it was very hard to do that if you didn’t know how — there’s a lot of intricacies to making that come off as convincing and not cheesy or weird.” Lee uploaded his custom design kits to sell online as RetroSupply Co. The business has since made a name for itself in the design world, becoming successful enough to support Lee’s family, build a dream home in Washington state, and help weather the COVID-19 outbreak. “We are a provider of brushes, textures, fonts, and other effects for creative illustrators who want to add analog touches to digital work, pulling from history to provide resources that can make it so things feel a little more like they used to,” Lee says. He’s been in business for eight years now and has trusted DreamHost to provide a steady foundation for his website from the beginning. “It’s almost a cliché to say at this point. I think most designers — and probably just people in general — feel like doing so much stuff online makes everything so clean and sterile,” Lee says. “I think people miss holding comic books in their hands or reading the newspaper that gets delivered to the door. A lot of the reason I started this business is because I would love to see people recreating that look of something really screen printed or printed on paper.” Want to Meet More Awesome Site Owners?Subscribe to the DreamHost Digest for inside scoops, expert tips, and exclusive deals.Sign Me Up Starting from Rock Bottom Lee’s business took off when he was at one of the lowest points in his life — and he ended up stuck there by trying to do everything right. As a teenager, Lee attended an arts high school, developing talents for visual arts and music. He had even secured a spot at Berklee College of Music to study guitar and songwriting. But afraid of becoming a starving artist, he switched gears. “I thought I needed to know business to make money from creativity. And I thought, ‘I’ll learn business from a bank! That’s where you learn business.’” So he got a job at a bank — and hated every minute of it. Inspired by Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Work Week” (a manifesto for escaping the traditional 9-to-5 grind), Lee quit the bank gig and went into graphic design. He studied it for a few years in college, tried to freelance, and had a “real” job here and there designing blogs and websites. But his dream of working for himself just wasn’t playing out as he’d wanted. “It was a dark time in my life,” Lee recalls. He couldn’t get work as a graphic designer so he started drinking, in his words, “a little too much.” “It was just horrible timing because my wife and I were about $35,000 in debt, living with my grandma — I mean we were helping her, but we were still living with her. It was so embarrassing,” Lee says. “I wasn’t doing well as a designer. A baby was going to be born in nine months, and we barely had any money. I just felt stuck; I was really in a corner.” Dustin Lee and his oldest child, Elah, who helped inspire RetroSupply. Lee’s tight spot forced some quick thinking. He had already developed specialty design tools — brushes, textures, shading — inspired by his love of mid-century art to bring that look into his own projects. He bundled these tools into kits he could sell online. Every morning, Lee woke up at 5 a.m., headed to the coffee shop around the corner, and uploaded kits to Creative Market, a marketplace of resources for graphic designers. It took less than a minute to coin the name of his fledgling shop: RetroSupply Co. Slot Machine Day Lee’s retro-inspired design tools made some money here and there but nothing close to what he needed to tackle that pile of debt. “And then there was a day that I think of as Slot Machine Day,” Lee says. “One day I’m at the coffee shop. I’m working on something for RetroSupply for about two hours, and then I shift to my regular work. And all of a sudden I got those notifications on my phone —  bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing.” Each “bing” represented a sale — $6 or $7 straight into his bank account. Why the sudden popularity? Lee discovered that Creative Market had featured a few of his products in their email newsletter, and it immediately racked up hundreds of sales. He grabbed his laptop, not even bothering to pack it up, and ran home. “I probably looked really, really silly. I ran home with this manbag flopping beside me — I wanted my wife to see the phone going off.” By the end of the day, he had pocketed about $1,500. “It was amazing to me — this was the beginning of a lot.” He realized quickly that he needed to build his own website to start collecting customer email addresses and created a site on Shopify, soon hosted by DreamHost. By the time Lee’s daughter was born, he had made enough to repay his debt and pad the savings account, leaving him and his wife free to enjoy time with their new daughter in peace. Related: WooCommerce vs. Shopify: An In-Depth Guide “We weren’t worried about money, and I was doing something I loved,” Lee says. “It was amazing. I stopped drinking, I quit smoking, I got out of debt — it really was a life-changer. I was really blessed.” RetroSupply has become a full-time business well-known in the industry. Lee collaborates with prominent designers, hires employees and contractors, frequently speaks at conferences, and contributes on a design podcast that’s approaching 2 million downloads. In addition to design tools, RetroSupply offers courses and tutorials. He’s even created a side business, Passive Income for Designers, to teach others how to leverage their creativity. “I’ve helped designers make $500 or $1,000 extra every month without having to do additional work,” Lee says. “And surprisingly, it feels almost better than anything, because I know I know what it feels like; I know how far 500 extra bucks can go.” Despite his success, Lee is quick to point out that his lucky break was just that — lucky. “Luck is involved,” Lee says. “So I hate when people try to start businesses, and they punish themselves when it doesn’t do as well as they wanted. It’s good luck, perseverance, and, you know, adapting and making changes. But I think people are too hard on themselves. Making a business is hard and there’s luck involved. No doubt about it.” Bringing Retro to Life RetroSupply eventually faced a crossroads, one that forced Lee to grapple with how to strike a balance between following his passion and following market trends. When Lee started his website, the vintage style he loved was trending, and then almost overnight, hand-lettering and watercolor became the rage in graphic design. He saw a dip in his sales as greeting cards and home decor featuring hand-lettered fonts popped up at major retailers. Lee faced a conundrum: “Do I keep selling the retro stuff I love, or do I listen to the market and make hand-lettered fonts and watercolors?” He decided to stay the course. “I wanted to be that guy who does the retro stuff, so I doubled down,” he says. The choice has paid off. What’s most compelling about Lee’s products is his devout dedication to accuracy. Every color, brush, and texture is taken directly from a period-authentic piece. Once, an eBay search led Lee to a “beautiful Army surplus catalog from like 1959,” he says. “And it had these beautiful halftones in it and gorgeous illustrations. And I ended up getting in a bidding war over this thing and paid about $200 for it.” Lee and his team use high-resolution scanners and attempt to recreate the original art, creating the tools they need to make an identical digital piece. To make brush kits, he partners with artists who specialize in that style. Each product is tested by partner illustrators before going up for sale. “I’ve literally bought 50-year-old crayons and pencils, scanned them in, and sampled little pieces until I could recreate that look. So it’s kind of fun — it’s like a license to buy as much old junk as I want and justify it because it’s a business expense.” Building a Solid Foundation Lee built his Shopify site fast out of necessity, with a simple logo and bare-bones design. But with RetroSupply’s revenue increasing every year, Lee decided to hire his favorite designer to do the branding: Chris de Lorenzo, the designer behind Boston’s Johnny Cupcakes and a frequent illustrator for the New York Times. “I’m a designer, but I definitely have no problem in having someone better than me to do something for the business.” Related: How to Design a Logo for Your Website That Visitors Will Love In addition to converting sales, Lee hopes that his website makes life a little more interesting for anyone who visits. “I read once that whenever someone is looking at your website, they’re sitting there most likely sitting all by themselves, staring at a screen without any company, desperately looking for someone to break their boredom. And so whenever we put something on  RetroSupply, we think, even if they’re not going to buy something, what can we do to make it interesting whether it is an image or blog post.” Lee has been with DreamHost since the beginning. “I just love DreamHost, which is weird to say, because I always think of a hosting company as something that, if they’re doing the job right, you don’t notice.” But he does notice DreamHost — not because he’s had problems with the service — because “the customer support is so freaking good. Whenever I want to buy a domain or need to resolve something, it’s easy to get someone on. They always answer my question, and things are taken care of immediately. I never feel passed between a bunch of different departments. They are willing to take the initiative to get it figured out. I’ve even asked someone on support once, ‘How did they find you guys?’ Because everyone’s always so nice.” Lee recognizes the role of a great web host in keeping an online business afloat. “Some places may offer hosting for a little less money, but a business is built on the hosting — it’s not the place to be worrying about a few dollars, because a lower price doesn’t mean reliability. You will lose sales if your web host doesn’t have the infrastructure or the staff to keep your site up all the time. Your web host is the plot of land your site is on; you want it to be a solid platform.” We’ll Support Your DreamWhatever your goals, DreamHost will be right there with you. We’ll make sure your site is fast, secure, and always up. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan Facing an Uncertain Future A global pandemic and crumbling economy makes this an uncertain time for everyone — especially for small business owners. Lee and his collaborators had a few new projects up their sleeve for 2020, but any plans for growth have been put on hold for the time being. “What comes next will have to be informed by how everything plays out in the next months or even year,” Lee says. “What’s next right now is really listening to customers. I’m not trying to plan anything; my sales goals are out the window. This is an opportunity, I feel like, to communicate to our customers that we care about them and that we want to support them and that we’re not going to try to maximize revenue during a time when people are anxious and struggling. This whole situation has been very humbling.” Lee is grateful to feel like he and his family are in a good place to make it through. He already works from home, in an office lined with guitars and piled high with philosophy books. Living in a farmhouse atop a mountain makes social distancing simple — though the virus has postponed their backyard homesteading plans — and RetroSupply is strong enough to survive potential downturns in revenue. “With everything that’s happening right now with the coronavirus, we still need to make money to stay in business, and we certainly will try to do that,” Lee says. “But I feel like this is the time to take care of people. I’m not worried about paying my rent; the business has been successful enough that I don’t have to worry about that. I realize I’m super blessed and super lucky.” The post RetroSupply Co. Creates Vintage Tools for Modern Designers appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

7 Lessons on Managing Freelance Clients’ Expectations

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The post 7 Lessons on Managing Freelance Clients’ Expectations appeared first on HostGator Blog. Whether you’re selling writing services or offering coaching consultations, freelancing involves a lot more than just putting a price tag on your specific talent. Trial and error has taught me the business of freelancing: finding clients, sending follow-up emails, and requesting on-time payment.  Through my hands-on experience, I’ve also learned the importance of managing my clients’ expectations. Your clients may want you to tackle multiple tasks at once, meet urgent deadlines, or even perform work outside of your contract. However, it’s up to you to set the tone of the business relationship in a way that benefits everyone involved.  In this article, you’ll learn seven lessons on how to manage your freelance clients’ expectations.  1. Decide the Communication Channel In the past, the easiest way to speak to a client was to pick up the phone and call them. But now with the Internet and smartphones, there are several ways you can communicate with clients. The only issue is that with so many options, the client and you must agree on the right communication channel. When you’re onboarding a new client, you should ask questions about their preferred methods of communication. For instance, clients may want meeting notes emailed, while they prefer Slack for weekly project updates: Establishing the right channel ensures that there’s no confusion on how to communicate information. Plus, you don’t want your client to miss an important update that requires a quick response just because you used the wrong channel. For internal use, you also may consider a formal communication plan. Esther Cohen, marketing manager at Workamajig, says, “Your communication plan will help you anticipate client needs and address them before they arise. Think of it as a way to communicate and mitigate risks.” 2. Nail Down the Project Terms Upfront 99Firms reports that there are “57 million freelancers in the United States, representing 35% of the nation’s workforce.” With so many available freelancers, you might feel overwhelmed about building your own freelance business. The good news is many clients need your unique services to achieve their goals. You can create a positive client relationship by stating your project terms upfront. When you lay out all the details, both parties understand what they must give and what they will receive. So, for starters, you’ll want to draft a statement of work—defining specific tasks, milestones, deliverables, timelines, and payment terms. In my experience, many clients will provide you with their own statement of work. In those cases, you’ll want to review the contract to see if it meets your standards. You should get an attorney to go over it, too. More importantly, don’t shy away from asking questions about your payment terms. You should know exactly how much you’ll get paid, the expected payment date, and any invoicing procedures you must complete. Handling the payment details beforehand circumvents any delays. 3. Prioritize Communication Without the Jargon What you’ll soon learn is that most clients want to feel in control. If they need specific project details, they don’t want to email or call you multiple times just to get a response. So, it’s essential for you to prioritize communication in the business relationship.  You can send detailed project updates on a scheduled basis. Rather than sending messages that “everything is okay,” you want to compose personalized communications with real insight on the project.  For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, you might inform your client that you’ve finished the research phase and have begun sketching concepts. By doing so, your client will feel confident that you’re making progress and will meet the agreed-upon deadline.  You’ll also want to communicate without using any jargon. Your clients won’t always be aware of industry terms. It’s best to explain your ideas in a plain manner. Jennifer Finney, a former client coordinator at Synectics Media, agrees: “In all communications, it’s important to explain what you do or why you made a certain decision. You’ll need to give your client enough information for them to make an informed decision. Oftentimes, we can get caught up in ‘industry speak’ and not fully explain ourselves to clients.” High-quality freelance services demand high-quality communication. With unique, non-jargon conversations, you can share your project progress to your client’s satisfaction. 4. Become an External Partner with the In-House Team Oftentimes, when clients hire freelancers, we stand on the sidelines of a project. We’re only privy to what’s happening on our specific task. While this exclusion may be appropriate for some projects, it’s not necessarily the best option for your client.  To do top-notch work, it may require you to become an external partner to your client’s existing team. This team dynamic is especially true for long-term projects that may last for more than six months.  So, what does an external partner do? The first step is to ask for brand assets and internal data that will help you complete the project. Depending on your freelance services, this request may include logos, Google Analytics reports, or keyword research. Also, be ready to sign a non-disclosure form to get access to this information. Valuable partnerships require a level of expertise from each partner. On your end, it’s important for you to become the go-to expert in the eyes of the clients. (That’s why they hired you in the first place.) Show your expertise by sharing the latest best practices with your client and explicitly explaining how it will benefit the project.  5. Meet Expectations, Then Exceed Them Clients value exceptional service. So much so that HelpScout reports “7 out of 10 United States consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.” For freelancers, this statistic serves as a motivating factor, not only to meet your clients’ expectations but also to exceed them.  In my freelance career, I’ve exceeded a client’s expectations by delivering a content piece ahead of schedule or going beyond the word count to add a relevant customer example. Sometimes, it’s been as simple as explaining my writing process or providing a detailed outline for approval.  Quality service is beneficial when you make a connection with your client. Mark Taylor, a guest blogger for SuperOffice, writes:  “Customer service today is not about telling people how great you are and giving figures to prove it. It’s about creating memorable experiences that do the talking for you. All you need to remember is to: take your time, connect with the customer, and do more than they would expect.”  Clients respect freelancers that do what they say they are going to do. So, by exceeding their expectations, you can make a real impact on the business relationship and build your professional credibility.  6. Always Be Transparent and Honest  Today’s freelance clients are more well-informed than ever before. The Internet makes it easier for clients to find relevant information and quickly access it with just a few clicks of a button. As a result, clients have a high expectation that you will be transparent about your freelance operations.  For instance, you may have a client that constantly asks questions regarding the status of a project. You can save time by providing them access to a shared tool where you update the project status. That way, you eliminate dozens of emails and can focus on the task at hand.  Lots of mistakes will occur while launching your freelance business. How you respond to your mistakes will have a major impact on your business. Be transparent about any errors in your work with clients as soon as possible. Own your mistakes and offer solutions to correct them.  You also may consider creating a feedback loop for your clients. You can build a website form to accept anonymous responses or request critiques after projects. Use this feedback to take an honest assessment of the client experience and to make improvements in the near future. Transparency is not just another trend for you to follow. It’s a tangible core value to strive toward in your freelance business. 7. Offer Extra Support, Whenever Possible Clients face many challenges in their day-to-day work. Whether it’s meeting a strict deadline or needing to completely redo a project, your clients aren’t immune to business struggles. So, as a freelancer, you may find it appropriate to offer your clients some extra support.  Support can come in many different forms with no added expense to your freelance business. For example, you can set up a 15-minute brainstorming session to help solve a quick issue. This type of empathy builds trust with your client.  “When a customer has a serious issue, the empathetic listener goes out of their way to understand, internalize, and then help the customer. Treat customers as you would want to be treated in the same situation,” writes Kirill Tšernov, a content marketer at Qminder. You also can support your clients by sharing their initiatives on social media. Tweet about their new product or create a Facebook post about their upcoming events. Social engagement brings awareness to your client’s brand while building a stronger business relationship. Clients like doing business with people, rather than with businesses. Make your clients feel valued by going the extra mile.  Set & Manage Your Clients’ Expectations Freelancing is all about maintaining quality relationships, and it all starts with managing your clients’ expectations. Through experience, I’ve learned the importance of outlining project terms upfront, prioritizing communication, and becoming a trusted partner to my clients. Now, it’s your turn to use these lessons to help improve your freelance business. Learn more about running your own freelance business: How I Found My Favorite Freelance ClientsTop Tools I Use to Keep My Freelance Business Up and Running10 Accounting Tips for Freelancers Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How Covid-19 is Changing Our Internet Habits

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The following post was written by Louis Poinsignon, a Network Engineer at leading web infrastructure and security company Cloudflare. As the Covid-19 emergency continues, the Internet is clearly playing a vital role. It allows friends and family to keep in touch and stay informed, it lets students attend classes, and it helps people everywhere accomplish… The post How Covid-19 is Changing Our Internet Habits appeared first on WP Engine.

Liquid Web Hires Technology Veteran to Expand Sales Reach

Nexcess Blog -

Lansing, Michigan,  April 27th, 2020 –  Liquid Web  Family of Brands, the market leader in managed hosting and application services to SMBs and web professionals, announced, today, the hiring of Adam Williams as Liquid Web’s Chief Revenue Officer to oversee revenue operations for the Liquid Web and Nexcess brands.  Williams brings nearly 20 years of sales leadership experience to his role, which includes leadership roles with technology providers, Microsoft and Rackspace.  Williams will expand both the direct sales and channel organization to handle the rapidly growing product portfolio for the Managed Cloud and Managed Applications brands.   Building on the company’s reputation for expert and helpful service, Williams’ goal is to provide the right solutions across the product portfolio for Web Professionals and Agency Partners the companies serve. “Finding a company like Liquid Web that takes that personal customer connection a step further is amazing and humbling.  I am excited to apply my experience to see how we can continue to wow and serve customers,” says Williams. “We could not be more excited to add Adam to our team to further champion our efforts to build relationships with our customers, aggressively advocate for the products, programs, and processes to help them grow their businesses,”  said Carrie Wheeler, EVP & GM, Liquid Web.   “His passion for customers, technology experience and ability to execute is a cultural alignment that excites us.  Adding a leader of this caliber furthers our commitment to powering the online content, commerce and potential for the Web professionals we serve”, said Wheeler. About The Liquid Web Family of Brands  Building on 20 plus years of success, our Liquid Web Brand Family consists of four companies (Liquid Web, Nexcess, iThemes, and InterWorx) purpose-built to deliver software, solutions, and managed services for mission-critical sites, stores and applications for SMB’s and the Designers, Developers, and Agencies who create for them.  With more than 1.5 million sites under management, The Liquid Web Family of Brands serves over 45,000 customers spanning 150 countries. The company has assembled a world-class team, 10 global data centers and an expert group of 24/7/365 solution engineers. As an industry leader in customer service*, the rapidly expanding company has been recognized among INC. Magazine’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies for twelve years. For more information, please visit www.liquidweb.com, or read our blog posts at https://www.liquidweb.com/blog. Stay up to date with all Liquid Web events on Twitter and LinkedIn. The post Liquid Web Hires Technology Veteran to Expand Sales Reach appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

How to Build Your Freelance Website [Step by Step Guide]

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The post How to Build Your Freelance Website [Step by Step Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog. A website is an essential tool in every freelancer’s toolbox. Your website is your virtual home. It’s where you’ll showcase the kind of work you can do, the services you offer, and past client testimonials and case studies. Plus, it will help you build a long-term brand as a freelancer. Trust us: it will be difficult for you to succeed long-term as a freelancer without a website behind you.  Below you’ll learn the benefits of having a freelance website, how to choose the best website building platform for your needs, and finally how to get started building your website (along with the five must-have pages every freelancer website needs). 5 Benefits of Having Your Own Freelance Website No matter what industry you’re freelancing in, you need a website. Before any prospective clients decide to work with you, there’s a good chance they’ll check out your website, past testimonials, and current portfolio. Here are five reasons why every freelancer needs a website:  1. Generate Consistent Leads If you’re using freelance bidding sites to continuously generate new clients, then you’re doing your freelance business a disservice. By having your own website you can get clients coming to you. With a professional design, your website can help you make a memorable first impression. Plus, once you get leads coming to you, you can use your website to help you onboard new clients. For example, on your contact page, you can have a form that has clients answer questions before they get in touch with you. This will allow you to filter out low-quality leads. If you’re using a platform like WordPress to build your site (we’ll discuss this in detail below) there are all kinds of options to embed a booking calendar, questionnaires, and more into your website.  Plus, when you have your own website you can create a content marketing strategy to generate traffic and leads to you passively. It will take some time, but imagine having new clients come to you consistently, without any prospecting work. Sounds great, right? 2. Create a Professional Image By having a professional website, you’re in complete control over how you present yourself as a freelancer. With a high-quality website, your business will be taken more seriously and it will be easier for you to generate clients and charge higher prices.  Think about it this way: when you come across a low-quality website, what type of feelings does it invoke? It definitely doesn’t inspire confidence.  Luckily, there are a variety of tools at your disposal, including the WordPress CMS and website builders, which can make it easy to build a stunning website.  3. Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace Like any other business, there’s a lot of competition, no matter what niche you’re in. Your website gives you a great way to stand out from every other freelancer out there.  For example, you can choose to highlight your personality, your past successes, namedrop any big clients you’ve worked for, and more.  With your own website, you can more easily communicate your USP. This helps you stand out in a crowded field and more easily attract clients that are right for you.  4. Show Off Your Freelance Portfolio Your portfolio can speak for you as a freelancer. Without a solid portfolio, potential clients only have your word to rely on. Even though you may be great at what you do there’s no way to prove it. Instead, you can use your website to create a compelling portfolio that has clients begging to work with you. Once you have a handful of projects under your belt, it’s time to build a quality portfolio that highlights these successes.  A freelancer website can do just that.  5. Build a Tangible Freelance Business If you’re relying on third-party bidding sites to generate clients or relying on word-of-mouth, it will be challenging to build a consistent business. But with your own freelance website, you can use content marketing and other marketing approaches to consistently generate leads to your site.  When potential clients are coming to you this not only gives you more power with negotiation, it also allows you to create consistency and predictability with your business.  Should You Use WordPress or a Website Builder to Build Your Freelance Website? When it comes to building your site there are all kinds of routes you can take. Two of the most popular, which are well suited for beginners, include using the WordPress CMS or a website builder.  Website builders were created with beginners in mind. The goal is to help you build a professional-looking website without having to touch a line of code.  The process is simple, just select a template that’s in alignment with your niche, customize the template via the drag and drop builder, add your content and images, and you’re all set. WordPress operates in a slightly different fashion. It’s a more robust system from the get-go. It’s highly flexible and can be used to create nearly any kind of website you can imagine. Plus, since it’s a Content Management System (CMS), you can use it to build out content-heavy websites with ease.  Once you install WordPress on your server, you can choose the perfect theme, then start customizing. The theme you choose will form the foundation for your website’s appearance and its general functionality.  Put simply, website builders have a much lower learning curve, but the site you build won’t be as easy to customize and scale. WordPress will require a bigger time investment upfront but gives you greater flexibility moving forward.  5 Pages Every Freelance Site Needs to Have You’re welcome to get as creative as you want with your freelancer website. However, there are a handful of pages that will be hard to succeed without.  Here are five pages every freelance website needs to have: 1. About Page A lot of creatives will just use their about page to list their accomplishments. Although this might help to convince some people, it’s not the best use of this page. Instead, your about page should focus on the relationship between you and a potential client working together. Spell out exactly what you do and why you’re best for the job. Make your about page stand out by speaking to your client’s deep needs and aligning this with your skillset and past achievements.  2. Services Page Your services page dives even deeper into your skills and what you’re selling.  What do you do? What’s your process like? And who do you typically work for? Your service page should also be written similarly to your about page. Even though the focus is on exactly what “you” provide, you’ll still want to show your clients what’s in it for them. Another thing worth mentioning: usually the fewer services you offer, the better. Think about what you enjoy doing and what you’ve received the most praise for.  You can even consider offering different service-level tiers or packaging up your services into different packages.  Finally, you’ll need a solid CTA, this can direct people to book a discovery call with you, sending an email, or even purchasing your services directly.  3. Portfolio Page With your portfolio page, your work should speak for you. Your about and services pages will spell out exactly the kind of work you do, while this page will show them the end result. The layout of this page will differ, depending on the kind of work you do. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, then this page can include screenshots of websites you’ve designed, or just showcase clips of your work. If you’re a freelance writer, then this page might be as simple as the headlines of your articles with links, so people can read your work live on the web.  4. Testimonials Page If you have a roster of past clients, then you should try to source testimonials you can display on your website. A handful of really solid testimonials can do a lot of the selling for you.  You can also just display logos of past companies you’ve worked with. This is a subtle design element that can go a long way towards convincing a prospect to take a chance of working with you. 5. Contact Page Finally, you’ll need a way for new clients to get in touch with you. You’ll want to make it as easy as possible for new people to reach out. So, make sure that you offer multiple forms of contact. Typically, you’ll have a contact form that has the required fields. But, you’ll also want to list your physical email address and even phone number. You don’t want to lose out on a prospective client, because they were on the go and wanted to call, instead of email. Another cool thing you can do with a freelance website is add an in-depth form to your contact page. So, instead of the standard name, email, and message, you could include fields that are specific to the kind of work you’re going to be doing for them.  This can help to speed up the onboarding process and ensure you’re weeding out low-quality prospects from the get-go.  How to Build Your Freelance Website With a Website Builder By now you should have a better understanding of why you need a website as a freelancer, the kinds of pages you’ll want to create and which tool you want to use to build out your website. Here’s how you can get started building out your freelance website with a website builder. For the tutorial below we’re using the Gator Website Builder. 1. Fire up the HostGator Builder The first thing we’ll need to do is fire up the Gator Website Builder. To do this navigate to your HostGator control panel and locate the ‘Website Builder’ icon. 2. Select Your Freelance Website Theme As soon as you open up the Gator Website Builder you’ll be presented with a variety of different templates to choose from.  You can sort by category, or search for your respective niche. Here are some of the potential templates you’ll find in the portfolio category.  Once you find a theme you like hover over it and click ‘Select’.  3. Customize Your Website Template Once you select your template you’ll be able to start customizing via the drag and drop builder. Once you hover over any existing website element you’ll be able to customize it.  Any element that you click on will give you additional customization options.  The left-hand menu allows you to add new site elements, create pages, and more.  4. Add Additional Pages You’ll probably be spending the majority of your time customizing the appearance of your website. But, you’ll also want to create the necessary pages for your freelance site.  To add more pages click on the ‘Pages’ option, and here you’ll be able to manage existing pages that were created by the theme and even add new ones, like a services page, testimonial page, and more.  How to Build Your Freelance Website With WordPress Or, maybe you want more flexibility and customization options and prefer to use WordPress to build out your freelance website.  If that’s the case, this section is for you.  1. Install WordPress on Your Site  To get started with WordPress you’ll need to install it on your site. If you don’t already have WordPress installed, then open up your control panel and install WordPress by clicking on ‘WordPress Installer’. On the next screen, you’ll need to select the domain you want to install WordPress on, enter your relevant site details, and the installer will do the rest of the work.  2. Choose Your Freelance WordPress Theme One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is choosing the theme for your freelance website. With WordPress, there are thousands of different themes to choose from, both free and premium.  You can choose from some of the most popular WordPress themes on the market, some of the top themes for freelancers, or even something more specific like WordPress themes for graphic designers. You’ll want to spend some time researching the best theme for your needs before you choose one to install.  Luckily, once you’ve found the perfect theme it’s easy to install and start customizing. To install a new WordPress theme you’ll need to navigate to your WordPress dashboard. This will be through a link that will look something like “yoursite.com/wp-admin”. Once you’ve logged into the backend of your site you can install a new theme by navigating to Appearance>Themes, then select ‘Add New’. On the next screen, you can either upload a theme (if you’ve already downloaded or purchased a theme), or you can search for a theme directly within your dashboard. Once you find a theme you like just hover over it and click ‘Install’, then ‘Activate’. 3. Customize Your Site and Add Pages Once your WordPress theme is activated, you’ll get access to a theme customization panel, along with a theme options panel. Both of these allow you to make customizations to your theme. The theme options you have access too will depend upon the theme you choose. But you can always make visual customizations by navigating to Appearance>Customize.  On this screen, you’ll be able to change your logo, color scheme, typography, widget areas, and more. To add new pages to your site, just navigate to Pages>Add New. You can quickly add new pages to your site here.  4. Install WordPress Plugins for Additional Features One of the most powerful aspects of WordPress is the plugin library. Virtually any kind of feature you want to add to your site, you can do so with a plugin. WordPress plugins are a lot like themes in that there are thousands of different options to choose from. But, no matter what features you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find the perfect plugin for your needs. You can always choose from some of the most popular WordPress plugins out there, or you can search for a more unique plugin–depending on the features you require.  Closing Thoughts Hopefully, by now you’re well equipped to build an awesome new website for your freelance business.  You understand the benefits of why you need your own freelance website, as well as some of the most important pages you’ll want to create. Whether you decided to go with WordPress or use a website builder is a matter of personal preference, existing skill set, and the ultimate goal you have with your site.  Get started building your freelance website today with HostGator! Learn more about running your own freelance business: How I Found My Favorite Freelance Clients7 Lessons on Managing Freelance Clients’ ExpectationsTop Tools I Use to Keep My Freelance Business Up and Running Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Increase Website Engagement — Best Survey and Quiz Plugins for WordPress

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Simply creating and launching a website will not lead to online growth. To successfully build and maintain your web presence, you must continually engage your audience and give them reasons to return to your website regularly.  Sure you can achieve this through maintaining a blog or adding new products, but you can also engage your audience with surveys and quizzes. In addition, you can use the feedback you gather from the polls to improve your website and digital marketing, which will help you increase your business online. Continue reading Increase Website Engagement — Best Survey and Quiz Plugins for WordPress at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Best 50+ WordPress eCommerce Plugins [The Ultimate List]

HostGator Blog -

The post Best 50+ WordPress eCommerce Plugins [The Ultimate List] appeared first on HostGator Blog. WordPress is a flexible content management system helping novices and professionals create a variety of different websites. It began as a simple blogging platform but has grown into a full-fledged website building machine.  Whether you’re planning to sell just a few products on your WordPress site or want to build an expansive eCommerce store, WordPress offers a solid foundation to get started today. Plus, with WordPress plugins, you can enhance your website to include even more features for your customers. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled seven of the best WordPress eCommerce plugins along with a host of 50+ other plugins that can add value to your site. 7 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Any eCommerce Store The best eCommerce stores make it easy for potential customers to shop online. No matter what you’re selling, you can provide a positive website experience using these must-have WordPress plugins below.  1. WooCommerce WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce solution. This WordPress plugin is suited for sites of any size and can easily grow with your website as your product line expands. This tool comes with several paid and free themes and extensions, allowing you to customize your store to fit your brand’s personality. Some of the most commonly used features include: Store analyticsPayment integrationsInventory managementAutomated tax calculationsDynamic pricing rulesMultiple shipping optionsCoupon implementation WooCommerce is built for store managers to operate eCommerce stores themselves, without hiring a web developer. Also, there’s a fast-growing, online community of store owners willing to offer you guidance. You can attend any of the free, 80+ WooCommerce Meetups happening in cities across the world. 2. MonsterInsights Data helps you measure the growth of your eCommerce business. That way, you can make critical decisions on how to allocate your time and resources. Bernhard Schroeder, a senior contributor at Forbes, agrees:  “Today, the gold is in the data your company generates or the data you can acquire to better understand your customer…Track and actually analyze your data in order to make better decisions on current and future products and services.” MonsterInsights displays the website data that matters to you. Without leaving your WordPress dashboard, you can see all your Google Analytics reports. You’ll have access to customized reports about how people find your website and which content gets the most visits. The setup process requires no coding, and you can see insights in under 15 minutes.  3. Constant Contact Forms Forms help your eCommerce business capture information from your visitors. Research found that “74% of companies use web forms for lead generation, with 49.7% stating their online forms are their highest converting lead generation tool.”  Constant Contact Forms simplifies the form building process for you. This plugin automatically changes your forms to fit the theme and style of your website. You can customize data fields to ask visitors for their names, email addresses, and any other relevant information. These forms are mobile responsive for visitors to view on any device. Moreover, with a Constant Contact account, this tool will add visitor data to your email lists. Then, you can nurture your new leads by sending engaging emails to encourage future purchases.  4. Easy Digital Downloads If you’re just looking to sell digital products, then you’ll want to check out Easy Digital Downloads. This simple plugin has an array of features, including multiple payment methods, customer purchase history, downloadable PDF invoices, and affiliate program integration. You can sell anything from software to photos to ebooks. eCommerce business owners like selling digital products because it’s less than demanding than physical inventory. Hanna Brooks Olsen, writer and editor for CreativeLive, explains: “Digital products can be sold and delivered even without you actually putting in any time to make sure they get out the door. That doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t require some labor — they take time, and they should be worth the money purchasers spend.” The Easy Digital Download plugin adapts to your eCommerce store. Several paid extensions are available to sell recurring subscriptions and to restrict access to page content. 5. LiveChat According to a Zendesk report, customer satisfaction ratings for live chat (85%) are second only to phone support (91%), beating out help center articles (83%) and email support (82%). Live chat is an opportunity to deliver high-quality customer service to your visitors.  LiveChat allows you to easily add live chat support to your eCommerce website. It comes with a proactive chat invitation feature where chat agents can automatically send personalized messages to visitors based on specific conditions, such as time spent on your site. On top of that, LiveChat provides a built-in ticketing system for 24/7 customer service. So, when no chat agent is available, the chatbox is replaced with a ticket form for customers to contact your business with their questions or concerns. It’s an easy solution to support all your customers. 6. TrustPulse Social proof is a driving force for consumer purchasing decisions. TrustPulse helps your eCommerce business display social proof with its easy-to-use notification builder. You can create FOMO popups that customize to your brand colors.  These messages will entice visitors to buy your products. Seasoned entrepreneur Matthew Hodges writes: “People are natural procrastinators, and when it comes to purchasing a product or service, they need to be fully confident in their decision…Social proof helps give you an edge over the competition by playing on the herd mentality of people (wanting to go with what’s popular or trending).” TrustPulse uses real-time event tracking to show what live visitors are doing on your website. Its on-fire feature also shows the number of people taking action in a given period. All these social proof functions help you get more sales. 7. WP EasyCart WP EasyCart gives you everything you need to sell physical and digital products as well as memberships and subscriptions. This plugin offers SCA-compliant payment solutions, such as Stripe, Square, and PayPal Express, to reduce fraud and make transactions more secure. The free version allows you to sell unlimited products while managing orders and using the basic shipping and taxing features. When you upgrade, you get access to order editing, subscriptions, 30 payment processors, and other marketing options. More importantly, the setup process is easy because the tool automatically creates three new pages in WordPress for you. You want potential customers to find your store on search engines. So, WP EasyCart comes with SEO editing for every product, menu, and category. There’s also a social sharing feature allowing visitors to share product links with their friends and family members. 50 More Plugins to Explore for Your eCommerce Store You’ll need more than just the foundational tools to upgrade your eCommerce store. In this next section, we’ll cover additional plugins that will attract new visitors and maintain customers’ attention on your website. WordPress Video Plugins for eCommerce Sites Video is an opportunity to quickly deliver your message to your audience. It’s a convenient way to explain a product or service while keeping visitors engaged. Check out these recommended video plugins for WordPress eCommerce sites.  1. Envira Gallery In just a few clicks, you can create an engaging video gallery with this plugin’s drag-and-drop builder. You can add videos from multiple platforms, including YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, and self-hosted videos. 2. Video Gallery WordPress Plugin for YouTube This tool allows you to display YouTube videos in a gallery or grid view on your eCommerce website. Each video also gets its own page with WordPress comments enabled. 3. YourChannel Show your product videos on your own website. This tool’s visual builder generates a shortcode to add videos to pages. You also can control the display options, like banner images or total views. 4. uTubeVideo Gallery Get unlimited video galleries for your YouTube and Vimeo videos. You can set the size of the video player, select the starting video resolution, and arrange video albums by newest or oldest. 5. Video Gallery This responsive WordPress plugin comes with seven different video gallery views, including thumbnail, blog style, and popup. Also, you can add a title and description to each video to give your visitors more context.  Learn more about the best WordPress video plugins. WordPress SEO Plugins for eCommerce Sites Search engine optimization makes it possible for your site to get ranked on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. More organic traffic means more visitors landing on your website.  1. Yoast SEO This well-known WordPress SEO plugin helps you rank higher in search engines with title and meta description templating and schema implementation. You’ll also have full control over your site’s breadcrumbs. 2. All in One SEO Pack For beginners and developers, this tool automatically generates meta tags and notifies search engines about changes to your website. You can redirect attachment pages to parent posts, too. 3. Google XML Sitemaps With this plugin, you can improve SEO by creating special XML sitemaps to help search engines index your site. It’s easier for the crawlers to analyze the complete structure of your site and retrieve the data more efficiently. 4. Broken Link Checker Get a status check of all the broken links on your eCommerce website. This tool detects links that don’t work, missing images, and redirects. Edit your broken links directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post. 5. WP Super Cache Site speed is one factor determining your SEO ranking. You can speed up your site’s loading time using this tool. It generates static HTML files from your WordPress site to make pages load faster. Get more details about WordPress SEO plugins. WordPress Affiliate Marketing Plugins for eCommerce Sites Affiliate marketing helps you monetize your WordPress eCommerce website. You’ll generate additional income by promoting other brand’s products when your visitors make a purchase using your referral link. 1. ThirstyAffiliates No more complex setups for your affiliate marketing. Now, you can manage your affiliate links with just a post and button in your WordPress dashboard. You can even group your links into categories. 2. Amazon Link Engine Trusted by Amazon associates, this tool converts all your Amazon links into localized links. Shoppers who click your link will go directly to the Amazon store in their region. 3. Pretty Links This plugin allows you to create clean, simple affiliate links on your WordPress website that redirect to any other URL. You can track each click and get a detailed report. 4. EasyAzon Tired of manually creating affiliate links on Amazon’s website? With this tool, you can create text affiliate links for any product in WordPress. It also offers training to maximize your commissions. 5. AmaLinks Pro With a couple of clicks, you can create, preview, edit, and insert Amazon affiliate links within your content. This premium plugin offers three types of affiliate links: text, image, and call-to-action buttons. Learn more about the best WordPress affiliate marketing and Amazon affiliate plugins. WordPress Email Plugins for eCommerce Sites Email marketing is an effective way to nurture the relationship between visitors and your brand. With email plugins, you can capture visitors’ email addresses and communicate with them later.  1. MailPoet This newsletter builder helps you create beautiful emails from scratch or with ready-made responsive templates that display on all devices. You don’t have to leave your WordPress dashboard to schedule your newsletters anymore. 2. SendPress Newsletters You’ll get a code-free experience with this email plugin. Create unlimited responsive newsletters with an easy-to-use theme styler. Also, you can maintain the quality of your email list with a single or double opt-in. 3. Newsletter Built with a drag-and-drop composer, you can develop unique emails to send to your subscribers. Its advanced targeting feature offers newsletter statistics, like open rates and total emails sent. 4. Constant Contact Forms Capture more emails for your list with the Constant Contact Forms plugin. This WordPress plugin makes it easy to design your email signup form with your brand colors and style guide. 5. Sumo This popular plugin grows your email list by collecting email addresses using high-converting forms. It also integrates with WooCommerce to send customized emails to reduce cart abandonment and win back customers. Learn more about the best WordPress email plugins. WordPress Social Media Plugins for eCommerce Sites Social media raises your brand voice and sparks people’s interest in your website. Popular social media channels, like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, can entice customers to learn about your products. 1. MashShare Give your visitors an option to share your valuable content. This plugin displays a large share counter on your website along with two share buttons for Twitter and Facebook. 2. Social Login Visitors don’t like creating new website accounts. So, get rid of long forms and allow your visitors to comment, log in, and register with more than 40 social networks. 3. Floating Social Media Icons  Encourage visitors to share your content with these dynamic social icons. The icons will fly from the top to the bottom of your website and will move as the visitor scrolls the page. 4. TweetDis Increase traffic from Twitter by adding quotable tweets to your site. By prompting visitors to share specific content, they are more likely to communicate your message with their followers. 5. Flow-Flow This plugin aggregates your multiple social feeds into a responsive social media wall on your eCommerce website. Quickly engage your visitors and wow them with your social capital. Check out more WordPress social media plugins. WordPress Form Plugins for eCommerce Sites Forms serve as a lead generation tool to get your visitors into your nurturing stream. Using these form plugins, you can persuade people to sign up for a free gift or coupon.  1. WPForms With this drag-and-drop form builder, you can create any type of form, ranging from contact forms to feedback forms to payment forms. Setup only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require technical expertise. 2. Everest Forms This lightweight plugin offers an intuitive admin to build responsive forms along with spam protection. It supports several form fields, including radio buttons, drop-downs, checkboxes, and dates. 3. Ninja Forms Quickly build forms with pre-built templates for contact forms, registration forms, and application forms. It also integrates with email marketing tools, like Constant Contact, to grow your mailing lists. 4. weForms This contact form builder is loaded with useful features, like customizable templates, real-time live preview, and form expiration dates. You can even redirect any submitted forms to your WordPress eCommerce website to boost traffic. 5. HappyForms Say goodbye to clunky forms. With this tool, you can easily add forms to any page or post on your site. Design your forms with multi-column layouts and send confirmation emails directly to visitors. Get more details about WordPress form plugins. WordPress A/B Testing Plugins for eCommerce Sites Growing your eCommerce store includes running website experiments. That way, you can understand how to position your site to boost engagement and increase product sales. 1. Thrive Headline Optimizer This A/B testing tool tracks click-through rate, scroll rate, and time on content to find the right headline for your website. It also offers bulk testing to optimize all of your existing content at once. 2. Nelio A/B Testing Use this plugin to define, manage, and keep track of all your A/B tests. It’s designed to test featured images, product descriptions, site menus, and page headlines.  3. Split Hero You can create up to four different page variations to see which one leads to more conversions. This easy-to-use tool records metrics, like unique visitors for each variation, the number of conversions, and the overall percentage. 4. WordPress Calls to Action Convert more visitors into customers by testing your call-to-action buttons. This plugin lets you clone existing buttons and run multiple testing variations. 5. Google Optimize This platform helps you easily identify problem areas on your website and create actionable insights to deliver a better online experience. You can run A/B, multivariate, and redirect tests to find what content resonates with your visitors. Here’s a full list of WordPress A/B testing plugins. WordPress Discount Wheel Popup Plugins for eCommerce Sites Discount wheel popups are fun, interactive forms to get visitors to play a game and win a prize in exchange for their email address. This marketing tactic will encourage more people to join your mailing list. 1. OptinMonster Create eye-appealing popups using this simple drag-and-drop builder. Smart triggers help you display the right campaign to the right visitor at the right time. 2. WP Optin Wheel Design your popup by editing the slice colors, background image, or the brand logo. You can even include tick sounds when the wheel turns or display fireworks when visitors win. 3. OptinSpin Link coupons with specific segments of your discount wheel popup. Then, this tool will email the coupon to your visitors, helping increase product sales. 4. Popup Maker Get more leads in your email list with 70+ pre-made popup templates. Exit-intent triggers also persuade visitors to finalize their purchases and reduce shopping cart abandonment. 5. Wheel of PopUps Install this tool in less than five minutes to boost your sales. You have control over how often a visitor wins a small or big discount. Get more details about WordPress discount wheel popup plugins here. WordPress Dropshipping Plugins for eCommerce Sites Dropshipping plugins simplify your store workflow by automating specific tasks. You’ll find it easier to manage several products, communicate with suppliers, and quickly fulfill orders for your customers. 1. AliDropship This all-in-one solution offers a single control panel for managing your products, pricing, and sales. With its advanced pricing markup formula, you can apply rules for particular items in your store. 2. DropshipMe Easily search and import the best products from AliExpress suppliers to your eCommerce store. Plus, get professionally edited product descriptions to earn more sales.  3. WooDropship This premium tool allows you to add and sell AliExpress products directly from your WordPress store. You can even fulfill orders with just one click of a button.  4. Spocket Source high-quality products from around the world to add to your store. Never sell an out-of-stock product again with real-time updates on your stock level. 5. Dropified Scale your eCommerce business with an automated process to check product availability and vendor price changes. In the order dashboard, you’ll have access to all your customer data. Here’s a full list of WordPress dropshipping plugins. WordPress Inventory Management Plugins for eCommerce Sites Inventory management includes the overseeing of your store purchases, from both suppliers and customers. You’ll want to keep track of stocked products to reduce costs and optimize order fulfillment.  1. WP Inventory Manager Designed for car dealers and art collectors, this plugin helps you manage and keep track of all your inventory in one place. It supports multiple categories and customizable labels.  2. Smart Manager Save time managing and bulk editing your WooCommerce products, orders, and coupons. You control your business operations from changing order statuses to inventory levels. 3. Z Inventory Manager This inventory management plugin allows you to organize your sales, purchase orders, and shipments. Also, keep track of products as they arrive with purchase receipts. 4. RentMy In real-time, you can manage and increase your rentals for your eCommerce business. Get a suite of features including, rental booking, inventory asset tracking, and a point-of-sale system. 5. WP ERP This premium plugin offers an interactive system to sync your inventory with invoicing. Get a complete overview of all stocked products and get a detailed report to share with your team. Get more details about WordPress inventory management plugins. WordPress Chatbot Plugins for eCommerce Sites Chatbots give you a second set of hands to operate your eCommerce store. These useful tools can answer customer questions, collect market data, and send automated campaigns. 1. Acobot This plugin serves as a virtual assistant, helping your customers shop by answering questions and encouraging purchases. Use the chatbot to upsell products and give coupons. 2. WP-Chatbot Add a Facebook Messenger chat widget to your eCommerce website. Visitors will receive 24/7 customer service, and you get a chat history to segment customers for future engagement. 3. Chatbot with IBM Watson Support your customers with a chatbot that offers your visitors useful information. Set up the tool with real-life interactions, including images, pauses, and clickable responses. 4. WPBot No technical experience required for this plugin. Your chatbot will talk with your website visitors using text responses you’ve created. In addition, visitors can ask the chatbot to email you for additional customer support. 5. ChatBot for WooCommerce This standalone tool integrates with WooCommerce to help shoppers search and find the right product quickly. You can choose the location of the chatbot on your site and upload a custom chat icon to match your brand.  Check out more WordPress chatbot plugins. Enhance Your eCommerce Website with WordPress Plugins WordPress is one of the best tools to build your eCommerce store. Any of the plugins we highlighted above will help get your online storefront up and running. Start building your WordPress site today with HostGator’s WordPress hosting! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Free Digital Marketing Courses to Enroll While in Lockdown

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The coronavirus aka COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything that we’ve seen in our lives. It is being compared to a war that can only be fought by staying indoors and observing personal hygiene. In short, our routine is in disarray and working from home is the new normal.  And although this means, a shift in the work-life balance, juggling with household chores and catching up with co-workers, family and friends over audio and video calls, it is also a time to upskill and learn more. Depending on your profession and interest, this might mean learning a new language, taking online courses, experimenting with different recipes, learning image or video editing tools and so much more. Well, you can even enhance your resume and, if you’re a marketeer you can take advantage of online digital marketing courses to help you with the same.  In fact, a lot of platforms are offering online courses to learners for free (for a limited time period) which otherwise are paid. For your ease, we’ve researched and listed down some platforms that offer the best digital marketing courses. Let’s take a look.  1. edX  edX is a leading online training platform founded by Harvard and MIT. edX offers over 2500+ courses to millions of learners and has partnered with almost 140 prestigious institutions.  It offers professional digital marketing online training programs from top schools like Wharton, Curtin and others Most of their courses are free and you can earn a certificate by paying a certain fee depending on the course  Courses offer video transcripts, on-demand video lectures, projects, quizzes and more All courses are self-paced programs  Their app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad 2. Coursera  Coursera is another popular online training platform. It offers programs from over 190+ leading institutions and companies. They offer some of the best online digital marketing courses. Offers over 200+ digital marketing training courses Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have made some of their courses free for a limited period of time You get certificates or diplomas after the course completion There is a flexible schedule to complete the course Their app is available for Android, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV 3. Alison Free Digital Marketing Courses Alison is a leading online learning community of 14 million registered users providing certified courses absolutely free of charge.  Alison offers three types of courses – certificate courses, diploma and learning paths The courses are available online once you register on the website Most certificate courses are 2-3 hours long and user ratings can help you filter the best choice They provide certificates based on assessment Their website and courses are mobile responsive  4. Udemy  Udemy is a well-known online training platform. It offers courses in various domains right from development, coding, digital marketing, finance & accounting, and more.  Offers flexible study time to complete the courses Their courses come with a 30-day money-back guarantee trial period They have over 1900+ free and paid digital marketing training courses  The courses include features like captions, quizzes and practice tests Their app is available for Android, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV We’re living in an ever-changing world and now more than ever it is important to upgrade your skills to be in sync with the market. If you’re running a business, digital marketing is one way to learn how best you can leverage the online market for your business. We hope these free digital marketing training courses help you stay updated.  Moreover, it is equally important that you are equipped with the right online collaboration tools to keep your teams and clients on the same page. Do check our blog on the same to help you connect and work smoothly even when working remotely.  Do share with us, what you are learning during this lockdown season in the comments section below, Until then, stay home, stay safe!  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Free Digital Marketing Courses to Enroll While in Lockdown appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.


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