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7 Brands to Take Business Inspiration From During COVID-19

BigRock Blog -

Businesses are being impacted like never before. COVID-19 has forced businesses to think out-of-the-box and continue functioning in ways, like we’ve never seen before.  As we collectively navigate through this global pandemic, it’s time to reimagine and reinvent business strategies that allow us to come out stronger, and profitable. The commitment to serve our customers and delight them even through these difficult times is enough driving force to keep at it.  While some businesses already had a basic foundation that needed tweaking to continue operation, others have had to make monumental shifts to their business strategies to stride over. It’s inspiring, as well as exciting, to see businesses come up with new and creative ways to maintain business continuity.  So what are some of the businesses doing to continue serving their customers?  As a customer, I have received communication regarding COVID-19 from many brands that I often interact with. While I feel each of these brands has done a commendable job at reassuring me that they will continue to serve me, some left a greater impact. Why? Regular and relevant communication, ease of doing business and multi-channel communication are some of the reasons that stuck with me. I have curated a list of 7 businesses that inspired and reassured me during these first-of-its-kind times that we are living through!  Inspiring and Reimagined COVID-19 Business Strategies 1. Swiggy — No contact delivery  Busy schedules, good food, the convenience of eating delectable food from the comfort of your own home, offers, promotions, exploring new food joints — these are just some of the reasons that almost everyone today uses food applications like Swiggy. Although only a few restaurants per area are functioning, Swiggy was one of the firsts to update their website and mobile application with a ‘No Contact Delivery’ option. It details how delivery partners could leave the food package at a central location outside residential buildings, or outside someone’s door to minimize contact, and thus the risk of spreading COVID-19. Here’s what the update on their application looks like:  2. ICICI — Reinventing promotional messaging Not only did I receive multiple emails and text messages from ICICI informing me that their online banking services can combat the need for me to physically visit one of their branch locations, but they also did a great job at churning out some crafty promotional messages. The organization has been using this current situation to their advantage, without being insensitive or using it as a time to push obnoxious offers. Here’s one of the emails I got; the crisp and to-the-point copy text was a pleasant welcome:  3. GoAir — Updated website Homepage with COVID-19 safety block With the travel industry coming to a complete halt, it was almost immediately necessary for all travel businesses to get into action and reach out to customers with information regarding the same. Since email communication may sometimes get ignored in a busy inbox, the need to update website information became top priority. Here’s how GoAir, updated their website Homepage with clear and concise content blocks dedicated to COVID-19:  4. Pizza Express — Safety and precaution update email A successful business always runs with a customer-first approach. Not every business is capable of running and doing business during these times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t communicate with your customers. A simple email communication informing customers about a business shutdown, and a heartfelt message that shows you care is all you need to reinstate the trust and credibility of your brand. Here’s an email I received from one such brand that I can’t wait to get back to:  5. Scribd — Thought leadership It’s time like these that leaders need to lead from the front and make important decisions. Hearing from leaders — of the country, an industry, or a brand — establishes trust and evokes a feeling of reliability. If you are a business owner, or managing communication for your brand, let your customers hear from those who are the face of the brand. The CEO of Scribd stepped up and directly communicated with customers, through the brand’s website. It’s a message that’s reassuring, acknowledges the current situation and includes a great offer for the customers. Take a look at it:  6. Nykaa — Continued email communication Impactful communication is an ongoing process. Sure, send emails and text messages to inform your customers about the situation, and how your brand is striding over — what next? Keep the communication going, keeping it relevant and useful. This brand has pleasantly surprised me with consistent communication that talks about all the important things, while sticking to an on-brand style of communication. Check it out:  7. Airtel — Text message Like most traditional industries, telecommunication stuck to traditional channels of communication too. While I did receive email communication from my service provider, I also received timely updates through text messages. An active email ID or not, everyone today has a mobile phone and thus text messages have a wider reach. This is a simple, to-the-point text message that I received:  Inspiring, relevant, useful, and a much needed initiative by these brands has definitely left a positive impact on me – their customer. It’s your turn now, to start, or reinvent your brand strategies to let your customers know that you’re there for them and willing to go the extra mile to continue serving them.  PS: It’s not all serious! If you, like me, are surprised to learn the facts about how often we touch our face — and we all know that’s one thing we have to stop doing now — amongst all the funny memes and jokes I stumbled upon, I think I hit jackpot with this website – www.donottouchyourface.com   Check it out; have some fun!   Don’t Be That brand!  While we’ve been talking about what we can do, must do, and should think about doing, there are some things we must steer clear from. This is a time to be sensitive and sensible towards our employees and customers, while also ensuring that we continue doing business in the best way possible. Keeping that in mind, here are certain things you should not be doing:  Do not create or share fake news Do not advocate news from unreliable sources  Do not value business goals over employee or customer needs Do not create panic Do not use this as a marketing opportunity for business growth Next Steps If you haven’t chalked out a plan yet, start by thinking about the new business plans you need to overcome this situation. Keep your customers and employees as your first priority, and then start by mapping out all the things you need to do to continue growing.  Communication, both internal and external, is the most important aspect to consider and work on.  The next steps may include: Get a domain name and a hosting package, and run your business online.  Updating brand website or application Multi-channel communication Steps for business sustainability  Safety and precaution measures Offers and promotions that benefit both brand and customers Take inspiration from competitors and other businesses doing their best, and inspire others with innovative working practices.   

Working From Home? Here Are The Best Zoom Alternatives For Online Video Conferencing

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Working from home is quickly becoming the rule instead of the exception. In order to maintain growth in today’s world, businesses must learn how to continue operations online — which includes implementing and using a reliable video conferencing platform.  Currently, Zoom is the belle of the ball for video conferencing. However, if you want to shop around a bit more before committing to a video conferencing platform, here are a few free and paid options to consider.  This article will outline the best Zoom alternatives for online video conferencing. Continue reading Working From Home? Here Are The Best Zoom Alternatives For Online Video Conferencing at InMotion Hosting Blog.

WP Engine Donates Services to Help GeekPack Teach Kids WordPress at Home for Free

WP Engine -

If you’re a parent currently spending a lot of time at home with your kids, there’s no question you’re enjoying more of their company (than ever). That said, you might also be looking for educational activities that can occupy a bit of their time and help them learn something useful in the process.   GeekPack Create… The post WP Engine Donates Services to Help GeekPack Teach Kids WordPress at Home for Free appeared first on WP Engine.

New gTLD Report – March 2020

Reseller Club Blog -

The first quarter of 2020 ended in March amidst the COVID – 19 pandemic and mass lockdowns in various countries across the globe. While many industries are facing difficult times, the online web industry has managed to keep churning its wheels all thanks to the digital era we are living in. The month of March saw .ONLINE reigning at the top followed by .SITE and .XYZ securing the second and third spot respectively. Moreover, .SPACE made it to the list by moving to the fourth spot with a 31% spike in the number of registrations in March. This was followed by .FUN that maintained its fifth position in the top 5 new gTLDs of the month. In addition to this, .EMAIL contributed to the total registrations with a 888% spike in the month of March. Here’s a glance into the new gTLDs that were trending and made it to the top 15 in the month of March! New gTLD Report – March2020Infogram *Registration Numbers Facilitated by ResellerClub .ONLINE: With a total share of 24% .ONLINE has secured the first spot in terms of total registrations. This new gTLD ran at a promo price of $6.99 and the Global markets* can be credited for .ONLINE scoring the top spot. .SITE: Registrations of .SITE increased in March and it was able to move to the second spot. This new gTLD witnessed an increase of 16% in the total registration count. .SITE was running at a promo price of $5.99. The Global markets* can be credited for the maximum registrations. .XYZ: The promo price of $0.99 helped boost registrations of .XYZ in the month of March. .SPACE grabbed a 12% share of the total new gTLDs registered in March. This can be credited to the Global markets*. .SPACE: .SPACE made a 31% jump in its registration numbers in the month of March and was able to secure the fourth spot in the month of March. This new gTLD was running at a promo price of $0.99. The Global markets* can be credited for the increase in the registration numbers of .SPACE. .FUN: .FUN was able to hold on to its spot in the new gTLD list during the month of March. This new gTLD that was running at a promo price of $0.99 was able to grab a 6% share of the total new gTLDs registered. Apart from the top 5, .EMAIL and .TECH saw a spike of 888% and 50% in their registration numbers respectively in the month of March. Along with this, .CLUB, .LIFE, .LIVE and .WEBSITE each moved one position ahead in the month of March. Here’s a sneak peek into the exciting domain promos we’ve got lined up for the month of April: Help your customers maintain their business continuity with a .EMAIL domain extension at just $2.99. Get the .ART domain at just $5.99 and help unleash your customer’s artistic ventures!  Breathe life into your customer’s business with a .LIFE domain extension at just $2.99. That’s all folks! Check out all our leading domain promos and help your customers get the right one for their online business. You can also head to our Facebook or Twitter pages to get all the updates about our trending domain promos. Just lookout for the posts with #domainpromos. See you there! Lastly, Stay Home, Stay Safe!  *Global market – US, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Thailand and others fall under the global markets.  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post New gTLD Report – March 2020 appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

DreamHost Blog -

Content marketing is one of the primary means of getting your brand noticed online. However, without a well-developed marketing strategy, you may struggle when deciding where to begin, see your conversions sink, or launch an unsuccessful campaign. The good news? We’ve got you covered when it comes to creating your content marketing plan. There are 10 easy steps you can follow to not only get yourself started on the right foot but also set yourself and your material up for success. In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at what content marketing is. Then we’ll outline 10 steps you can follow when formulating your own content marketing plan: Define Your Marketing Goals Identify Your Target Audience Run an Audit Choose a CMS Brainstorm Ideas Determine Your Content Niche Map Out Publication Roles Build a Content Calendar Create Value-Add Content Measure Your Results Ready to create the ideal content marketing strategy for your site? Let’s dive right in! An Introduction to Content Marketing The concept of content marketing is pretty simple. You create material — think blog posts, social media posts, videos, infographics, white papers, case studies and beyond — which provides real value to your audience. This work then acts as a means of marketing your business. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the key to doing this effectively is by producing great content. To accomplish that, you must provide people with something that they genuinely need, is unique, and engages with your target audience. Of course, before you can start developing content, you’ll need to begin with a solid strategy. This means following a few steps: Creating business goals for your content marketing Finding your audience Knowing what will make your content unique Picking a formula that works for you to create content Deciding where you’ll publish the results and which channels you’ll use Managing the content creation and publication process Determine how you’ll track key performance metrics to measure success This all requires a good deal of planning, but that’s the origin story of most marketing techniques. In case you’re not convinced yet, however, let’s take a look at why your business needs a content marketing strategy. Support Your Content Strategy with Great HostingWe’ll make sure your website is fast, secure, and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan Why Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategy The benefits of marketing are relatively self-explanatory, but what about content marketing in particular? It’s a relatively new focus, and you may not see why going to all that effort to make high-quality content is worth the time. First of all, whether you’re a small or large business, it makes sense to have a website. It’s a fantastic way to find customers and raise awareness of your brand. What’s more, your website needs plenty of inbound traffic to be as effective as possible. Content marketing can help drive people towards your website and into your sales funnel. Plus, producing informative and quality content to feature on your site and elsewhere can increase awareness of your brand and build trust by cementing you as an expert in your field. Even better, you can use content marketing to establish (and grow!) relationships with your customers. Once you know who your ideal audience is, you can hone in and focus on content that benefits them. For example, if you sell stationery and office supplies, you can curate articles about office life or write tips for professionals who work from home. Plus, you don’t have to be an already-established mega-company to benefit from this type of marketing. Have a vegan bakery? Write about subjects vegans care about and branch out into articles about clean living. Run a dog grooming business? Produce blog posts about pet care, how to train dogs, and so on. When it comes down to it, most businesses can use content marketing to great effect. You just have to find the right angle, and that’s where creating a top-notch content marketing strategy comes into play. How to Create a Strong Content Marketing Strategy (In 10 Steps) First and foremost, don’t get overwhelmed by the number of steps ahead. Each one is crucial to set yourself and your business up for success, but all of them are approachable no matter what your marketing background (or lack thereof) might be. Let’s walk through the process of getting started with content marketing, one step at a time. Step 1: Define Your Marketing Goals You may have done your fair share of work on coming up with a marketing plan in the past. If so, then you might know that your first step should be to sit down and decide on your goals. After all, you have to know the “why” behind what you’re doing to see success. Without purpose, you may find yourself creating content that lacks coherence or doesn’t provide value to your target audience. Alternately, you may not be able to come up with a fixed schedule that ensures new content is being pushed out regularly. To start making goals for your new content marketing campaign, you can ask yourself a few questions. Why are you engaging in content marketing? What are you going to offer to your audience or customers? How will your content improve their experiences? What do you want to gain from the content you’ll create? How will you measure your marketing efforts? You may want to consider writing down your answers and bringing in other perspectives from within your company or even outside of it. These questions can help map out your focus and connect it back to the overall vision for your company. Plus, having clear goals makes it much easier to know when you’re achieving them. Related: 12 of the Best Marketing Campaigns (And What You Can Learn from Them) Step 2: Conduct Market Research to Identify Your Target Audience As you create your marketing plan, figuring out who your audience is can be just as vital as deciding on your overall goals. If you don’t know who is most likely to engage with your products or services, creating content that helps to drive conversions will likely be a challenge. To start your market research, it helps to first determine the demographics of your target audience. Your buyer personas should include characteristics such as your audience’s typical age range, gender, family status, education level, hobbies, interests, etc. Once you know the “who” you’ll be focusing on, you can then hone in on the “why” and create a “target customer profile” or “buyer persona.” In other words, you need to figure out what the needs of your target persona are and what may convince them to try your products or services. One valuable starting place is to reach out to past customers. You can ask them why they were interested in your business, and what “pain points” it helped to address for them. You can even ask about what makes them feel frustrated in your particular industry, and if they have any specific feedback for you. You can take this information and use it to determine what people in your audience are looking for and who might be searching for your business in particular. This can be an excellent blueprint to use later on when you’re coming up with content ideas. Step 3: Run an Audit to Determine Your Most Popular Type of Content Next up, it’s time to run a content audit. This involves taking a close look at the content you’ve created and shared in the past and determining what pieces have been the most popular and successful. This isn’t a quick process, but it’s a necessary one. Once you know what has worked well in the past, you can build on that success. Otherwise, you may end up repeating mistakes that made past content less useful. This way, you can compare those missteps with what worked and figure out how to correct them. There’s no need to be overwhelmed, however. Completing a content audit really only requires four major steps: Create a spreadsheet of all your past content (or at least a large portion of it). Decide what kind of data you’ll focus on when evaluating that content (was it functional, readable, relevant, etc.). Gather and record that data for each piece of content in your spreadsheet. Analyze the information as a whole in order to create an action plan for future content. Often, the part that takes the longest is gathering all of the data in one place. However, once you have everything at hand, you can make direct comparisons, see where you encouraged high conversions and lots of click-throughs, and identify areas where you can grow. This is your best chance for setting future articles, blogs, and other material up for success. Step 4: Choose a Content Management System (CMS) If you already have a website that you’re happy with, you can skip to the next step. If not, however, your business’ site will play a pivotal role in your content marketing strategy. Therefore, it’s critical that you get a high-quality and branded website up and running now. The first thing you’ll need to do is select a Content Management System (CMS). This is the software that will enable you to create and display content on your website. Fortunately, most of the big CMS names are free to use and relatively easy to navigate. They also come with plugins and themes to make content creation easier and assist you in designing your site. Some examples of CMSs you can try include: WordPress. One of the most adaptable platforms, especially if you want to host blog posts or articles and still have a storefront Joomla!. A popular choice that’s fairly approachable for beginners Drupal. A more advanced system for those who have a bit of website-building under their belts Magento. A solid option if you want to have an online store, as it supports e-commerce websites Every CMS has its strengths and weaknesses, but each one makes website creation more attainable to those with limited programming knowledge. In fact, with the right CMS, you no longer need to be a computer expert (or even know how to code) to build yourself a successful website. Plus, this will enable you to fully own all of your content. After choosing your CMS (we recommend WordPress!), you’ll need to choose a domain name and seek out a quality hosting provider. With those elements in place, getting your site up and running is a piece of cake. Related: How to Start a WordPress Site in 5 Minutes Step 5: Brainstorm Ideas to Guide Your Future Path At this stage, you will likely have a rough idea of where you’ve been successful in the past and where your content might have needed more work. Now’s the time to brainstorm! Based on all the information you’ve gathered, especially during your content audit, you’ll want to come up with some general ideas of where you’d like to go in the future. Of course, any practical strategy should point you towards attaining the goals you set in the first step. When brainstorming, you may want to focus on coming up with keywords, particularly long-tail keywords, to give your content a competitive edge. If you understand which keywords are being used by your competition and by potential customers, you can use them to ensure that your content is visible in search engines. It’s also useful to understand the different types of search queries, so you can better optimize your content for them. For example, there are: Informational search queries Navigational search queries Transactional search queries Depending on what your business’ niche is, you may rely more heavily on one or two of these searches than the others. For example, referring back to our earlier example of a fictional vegan bakery, we might focus on both transactional and informational search queries (“Where can I find a vegan cupcake?” and “Best ways to make your own vegan milk substitute”). Understanding these queries and which ones your audience prefers can help you with your next stage of planning. If you know what your audience is looking for, you can create content that meets those needs. Step 6: Determine Which Types of Content You Want to Create When it comes to the material you’re going to produce, you have a lot of options to choose from. To name only a few, you can try blog posts, informative articles, e-books, case studies, templates, infographics, videos, how-tos, podcasts, online courses, and various forms of social media. All those choices can be overwhelming. However, each avenue has its own unique benefits. For example, blog posts offer a way to grow your audience and attract new clients. E-books can be a means of generating profit time and again, case studies can demonstrate the proven successes of your company, customer spotlights can create social proof, and infographics are easy for visitors to consume and share. Yet, of all the mediums you could hone in on, video still reigns supreme online. Videos are the most popular way for most people to pass time on the internet. Fortunately, you can depend on websites such as YouTube to host your content (and you can even turn a profit from it if you like). [Embed Craftograph Video Here] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UURvkk215lg&t=11s Using those pre-existing platforms can keep your website from being bogged down with heavy media files. Best of all, you can still feature those videos on your website, simply by embedding YouTube videos on your pages to save precious space. Once you know what kinds of content you’d like to focus on, you’ll be ready to move to the next step. Remember that variety is key, but you don’t want to overextend yourself. So you may want to choose two or three types to pursue at the beginning. Step 7: Map Out Publication and Management Roles No human is an island, and no content-creation team is complete without publication and management roles. Once you know what you’re going to create, it’s time to determine who will be responsible for which parts of the process. Unless you’re working alone, you’ll likely have to discuss with your team to decide who’s going to do what, including publishing and managing. To be productive, each role will need to be clearly defined. What will each role entail? Who will be accountable for responsibilities such as meeting deadlines, idea generation, editing, and more? When you have those basic roles sorted out, you’ll know who is in charge of the decision-making process and who is in charge of the execution. However, these positions don’t end with the content itself. You’ll also need to look at your website and decide who will do what there too. For instance, if you have a WordPress site, you may also plot out what you’ll allow various users to do. As the website owner, you’ll likely distribute tasks (such as writing and editing posts, controlling plugins, and managing other users) so you can keep your site orderly. To divvy out these duties, you can create different roles. WordPress’ basic user roles include: Super Admin — Manages multiple websites on one network. Administrator — Manages one site, and can do everything from deleting pages to creating posts and adding plugins. Editor — Can create posts, edit pages, and moderate comments, but cannot touch the site’s infrastructure. Author — Can upload files, delete posts, and edit posts, but has less authority than an editor. Contributor — Can only write and manage their own posts (but not delete them). Subscriber — Can simply read content and manage their user profile. If you want to give your team some further guidance, there are additional tools you can use to assist with workflow management, such as: Oasis Workflow, which enables you to create easy-to-use templates for assigning, reviewing, and publishing content. CoSchedule, a global calendar that lets everyone view the status of each project and who’s responsible for what. User Role Editor, which lets you not only assign roles but also add and block specific tasks within those roles. Having clear roles established from the get-go can make the whole process of content marketing smoother. You won’t have to make decisions on the fly, and people will already know what is expected of them. Step 8: Create a Content Calendar to Maintain Your Schedule The day-to-day work of managing and organizing content can become hectic and quickly overwhelming. With a content calendar, you can map out your content production and delivery, and then track each piece’s progress over days, weeks, or even months. This type of editorial calendar can help you streamline and coordinate your content marketing strategy. That level of coordination can be particularly advantageous for ensuring there’s a consistent voice and identity that transcends the different types of content you’re distributing. These might include blog posts, social media updates on Facebook and Twitter, and other off-site content. After all, with the overview your content calendar provides, your team will know exactly what everyone is doing. Related: How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Website With that in mind, your choice of platform is up to you. For instance, you could use Microsoft Excel, Google Calendar, or Google Sheets. You could also opt for a WordPress plugin to manage your content calendar, such as Editorial Calendar or PublishPress Content Calendar and Notifications. Once you’ve made your decision, your next step is populating the calendar with data. That will likely include dates and topic ideas. However, it might also incorporate suggested titles for articles, relevant SEO data (such as target keywords), and any helpful notes that can benefit your team’s content creation. Calendars can also be used to schedule content updates and conduct audits, so you can identify older posts that are no longer encouraging conversions and click-throughs. You can even maintain individual calendars for each user or team. Finally, you should color-code your editorial calendar to avoid any confusion. This can be as simple as blue for blog posts, red for editorials, and green for proposed ideas. This way, no one gets confused, and your calendar is easy to understand at a glance. Related: 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Your Small Business Step 9: Create Content That Provides Visitors With Valuable Information Long gone are the days where you can simply hammer out a blog post chock full of keywords and hope to find quick SEO success. In today’s world, you’re going to have to invest time and effort into each post and other pieces of content. That means juggling all of your new posts, repurposing or reusing old content, curating content from other sources, making use of user-generated content, and even atomization. If you haven’t heard of atomization, it involves taking well-written work and implementing it in multiple ways. Fortunately, there is a recipe of sorts to creating successful blog posts. This includes ingredients such as dedicating a significant amount of time to each post (on average, four hours) and adhering to your mission statement with every piece. You may also find it valuable to create a schedule and stick to it, thoroughly edit your work, and maintain credibility through following certain best practices. Those include proper sourcing for facts and data, following reputable citation standards, and even integrating testimonials. Doing these things, and sticking to who you are as a company, can assist in improving brand awareness. Other considerations to look out for when blogging include focusing on quality rather than quantity, using a web host that can keep up with your needs, and dedicating as much (if not more) time to promotion as you do to creation. Content Creation SimplifiedWhether you need help optimizing for search engines, refreshing old posts, or upping your social media game, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly digest so you never miss an article.Sign Me Up Step 10: Measure Your Results to Improve Your Content Keeping track of your successes and failures can help you quickly course correct when it’s most necessary. This may help prevent you from continuing down a path of content and revenue stagnation. To guide your efforts in this area, you might want to look out for a few signposts when measuring your content’s performance. These include bounce rates, conversions, overall time spent on your site, and subscriber numbers. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can enable you to measure these metrics, such as Google Analytics for tracking your bounce rate. You can also monitor other statistics, such as return rates, where your visitors are coming from, and more. It’s also free to use, which is an added bonus. However, there are many other web analytics tools you can try as well. Some, like Google’s platform, are free. Others, such as Crazy Egg, are more comprehensive and come with a price tag attached. It might also be a good idea to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Doing so will help you answer some very pertinent questions, such as: Do you have more visitors now than you did a year ago? Are they staying longer on your site? Have your search engine rankings improved? Has there been a sales revenue increase, if applicable? Have you experienced social media traffic growth? Has your email (or your newsletter subscriber) list grown? Once you’ve analyzed your successes and shortfalls, you can then reinvest in what worked well and alter what did not. As with many marketing strategies, that’s what really can help growth take off. Related: The Website Owner’s Guide to Email Marketing Digital Content Strategy Made Easy As you can see, it takes work to develop your content marketing plan. However, the time you invest upfront can pay off through increased conversions and lowered bounce rates. Are you ready to get started? By having a professional WordPress website, you can start your content marketing off on the right foot! The post How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

What Is a Virtual Machine?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

The easiest way to think of a virtual machine would be as a computer within a computer. Computer operating systems are basically composed of a kernel and a file structure. With current technology, it is now possible for a computer to share its resources in order to run a separate kernel and operating system. What Is a Virtual Machine And How Does It Work? Typically, the computer that creates and manages virtual computers is called a hypervisor. Continue reading What Is a Virtual Machine? at InMotion Hosting Blog.

WP Engine Summit/2020 Goes Digital & Registration is Free

WP Engine -

AUSTIN, Texas — April 9, 2020 –  WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), announced registration is open for its signature event, now in its fifth year, Summit/2020. Due to ongoing concerns around Covid-19, WP Engine has reimagined the conference for developers and marketers as a digital event, which will still take place on… The post WP Engine Summit/2020 Goes Digital & Registration is Free appeared first on WP Engine.

How to Start an Online Store

HostGator Blog -

The post How to Start an Online Store appeared first on HostGator Blog. Analysts predict that global eCommerce sales will reach $4.9 trillion by 2021—showing a growth of 265%. People are only getting more comfortable buying products online, and entrepreneurs are rushing to provide them more options for doing so.  Starting an online store isn’t just attractive because of the potential profits. In comparison to other forms of business ownership, it also has the lowest barriers to entry.  You don’t have to worry about the real estate a storefront requires. And you don’t have to hire staff to man that storefront. Your startup costs are lower and the initial steps involved in getting started are far less complicated. But there’s still a lot you need to know if you want to start a successful eCommerce business. These are twelve of the most important steps not to skip when starting an online store.  How to Start an Online Store in 12 Steps Step 1: Determine your products. Before learning how to start an ecommerce business, you have to know what product or service you’re going to sell. Picking the right products to sell on your eCommerce website is essential to the success of any online store. Sometimes, people go into business because they already have a great product idea in mind. Other times the desire to start a business precedes the step of choosing products. In either case, you’ll benefit in this step from doing two things: Researching the level of need or interest in products you considerFiguring out how to supply or create them Even if you’re confident the product you have in mind is an awesome idea, if there’s not a market need for it, your business won’t get off the ground. A CB Insights analysis found that 42% of startups that fail do so because they’re trying to sell a product that no one needs. So do some consumer research to make sure there’s an audience that will actually want to buy your product to begin with.  For physical products, you also need to decide who your supplier will be before you start selling through online marketplaces. If you’re creating a new product to sell, that will mean identifying vendors for both the supplies needed to make the product and those for putting it together.  If you’ll be selling products that already exist, you need to find a high-quality supplier that provides items in your chosen categories. You have two options in this stage. You can either order the products to come directly to you—then store, package, and ship them yourself. Or you can use drop shipping, and find a reputable company to store inventory and deal with order fulfillment for you.  For digital products, you need to create them. That could mean creating information products like courses or ebooks. Or it could mean software development, which is more involved and may require hiring skilled help.  Across product types, for new online businesses it’s smart to start small. Pick a focused niche to stick with when starting an online shop. That will make figuring out your marketing and positioning much easier than if you’re trying to sell dozens of products in different categories to an array of audiences. Step 2: Do competitor and industry research. Once you have a firm idea of your products, seek to understand the industry and online marketplaces you’ll be entering into. You want to make sure it isn’t oversaturated, as that will make it much harder to get your foot in the door. Identify who your main competitors are, and spend some time reviewing their websites.  Learn how they price their products, how they position them, and the kind of language they’re using with their online shop. They’ve likely already done audience research and analyzed how certain tactics perform, so you can get a headstart on figuring out what works in your space by paying attention to what they’re doing.  Identify some of the top industry publications as well, so you can learn about the top trends people are talking about and any potential issues to be aware of.  You don’t want to enter an industry only to learn that pending legislation will mean heavy regulations that make it harder to get started. Make sure you have a strong understanding of the space before you take the leap.  Step 3: Figure out your brand and positioning. Understanding the state of the industry will help you figure out how best to position yourself within it. At this stage, you’ll want to develop (or at least start thinking about): Your unique value proposition (UVP) – The line that describes what your online store does and what makes you different from comparable choices. The goal is to be able to sum this up in a sentence. Defining your UVP will help you with many of the steps to come.Your buyer persona – A description of the person most likely to buy your products. Knowing who you’re trying to reach will improve your marketing, since you’ll know who you’re talking to, their priorities, and where they hang out online.Your visual branding – Your logo, color scheme, and the images you’ll use across social media sites. If possible, hire a graphic designer to help you with this part. Your brand name – Go for something short and easy to remember. It’s great if you can figure out something that relates to what you’re selling, but it’s more important that it be original. Check to make sure someone else hasn’t already staked a legal claim on it. And bonus points if the .com is available.  If you have the resources, hiring a marketing consultant or agency to help with the branding is worth it. If you’re starting your online store on a tiny budget though, you can learn a lot about branding best practices through online research.  Step 4: Create a business plan. A business plan will help guide you in your early days of building your online store. It’s how you turn big ideas to specific steps. The research you did in the first few steps will be invaluable to working out all the details of making your business a reality. Some good items to cover in your business plan include: Your budget – Work out your anticipated costs for the first yearFunding sources – Identify how you intend to cover the costs of your budget. Do you have enough saved, or will you look into loans or investors?Timeline – Create a timeline for each of the steps you still need to complete to get your business started. Give yourself deadlines to help you stay on track.Return policy – Returns are an inevitable part of running an eCommerce business, so it’s important to make handling them part of your plan from the outset.Shipping policy – Getting your shipping policy right is a huge part of running an eCommerce  store. You need to figure out if you’ll be passing those costs onto customers (which could lose you sales), or building them into your product costs. Customer service – No matter how big your business will be to start, you want a plan for customer service. Figure out what channels you’ll offer for support (phone, email, social media, etc.), and whether you’ll hire someone devoted to providing it, or handle it yourself to start.  Inevitably, your business plan will undergo some changes. There’s a lot about running a business you can’t predict or plan for. But having a plan in place will help you gain clarity and organize the rest of the process of building your online store.  Step 5: Decide on your pricing. Pricing will often be part of your business plan. But it’s an important enough step that we’re giving it its own section here.  Pricing can be one of the hardest parts of running any business. If you price too low, you won’t make enough money to break even. If you go too high, you’ll lose sales to customers and, well, won’t break even. Finding that pricing sweet spot is essential. Start by revisiting your competitor research. Make note of what your competitors are charging and how much range there is between them. This will give you an idea of what your audience expects to spend, and what the market will bear for the types of products you want to start  selling.  Now think carefully about how your products and positioning compare to your competitors. If you price higher, can you make a case for why in your marketing? Can you promise higher quality, better customer support, or something else that sets you apart?  Try to avoid pricing on the lowest end of the range, as that will make it harder for you to make a profit. But unless you have a strong differentiator for your brand, you also shouldn’t aim for the high end of the range or people will go with someone else.  Consider how much you’ll need to make to cover the expenses in the budget you created. And for each price point you consider, calculate how much you would need to sell to make a profit.  Step 6: Register your domain. Just as soon as you’ve decided on your brand name, snap up that domain! Registering a domain name (if it’s available) is quick, easy, and affordable.  Even if you’re not quite ready to design and launch your website, claim the domain now in case someone else has the same idea and gets there first.  Step 7: Cover your legal bases. While opening an eCommerce  store brings a lot less liability than a physical storefront does, you still need to make sure you do everything required of you by law to set your business up legitimately.  Because laws and requirements differ based on where you live, where your customers will be, and what type of industry you’re in, you should really meet with both a lawyer and an accountant for this step. They’ll help you figure out details like: What business licenses you need to apply forWhat type of business entity to create (e.g. LLC, partnership, S-corp, etc.)How to register for your business trademarkWhat permits you need to getHow much sales tax to apply Applying for a tax IDDeveloping your privacy policyEstablishing copyright for products or content you create If you’re trying to keep costs low in the early stages of your business, hiring a lawyer and accountant may seem like a big expense. But they can potentially help you save money and avoid legal trouble, which makes the cost worth it.  Step 8: Invest in web hosting. For an eCommerce business, your website is the main way people will interact with your brand. And every website requires web hosting to be accessible online. Choosing the right web hosting provider and plan is important, because it influences: How frequently your website will be available (uptime)How fast it will loadHow secure it isYour ability to grow in years to come A good eCommerce web hosting plan for a small business can cost as little as $6 a month. And it’s easy to sign up and get started.  Step 9: Choose how to build your website. Now you’re finally ready to build the website that will serve as your online store. Creating a great website is hugely important for any eCommerce business, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It’s now easier than ever to build an online store with the help of a website builder.  If you have a really specific vision and you have the resources to hire a professional designer, you’ll have more power over how your website looks and works. But if your priorities are to get your website up quickly and affordably, you can create a functional, professional eCommerce site with a website builder. Put the work you did in the branding step to use here. Make sure the images and color scheme you use match your overall visual branding. And write copy that reflects your UVP, or consider hiring a copywriter who can.  If you opt to use a website builder, you can get an online store up quickly. But you may want to devote some time to getting the look and messaging just right.  Step 10: Choose your eCommerce software. A store builder will help design your overall site, but an online store needs an extra set of features beyond what a typical website has. In particular, it needs: A shopping cartA check-out processSecure payment processing Those are the basics. In addition, you may want some other helpful features: Easy account creation for customers to make future purchases easierA wish list function, so people can mark items they like and offer gift ideas to friendsA recommendation engine to show people other items they may want, based on what similar customers purchasedAbility to offer and process discount codesFeatures to help simplify and/or automate the shipping and sales tax processes Some eCommerce software options are actually free, such as WooCommerce (for WordPress sites specifically). Consider what eCommerce features you consider important, which you consider nice-to-have, and research your options to find the software that seems to be the best fit for your needs and budget. Step 11: List your products. After you use a store builder to set up your online shop, begin adding your products. Any good ecommerce software will make it easy for you to start loading your inventory. Add each item to your  eCommerce site, and fill in product descriptions, as well as details about pricing and availability.  Add high-quality images of your products. And optimize each product page you create for SEO, by adding target keywords into the page title, headings, and image tags.  Step 12: Develop a marketing plan.  Getting to the point where your online business is established and your eCommerce website is ready for launch takes a lot of work. But unfortunately, you’re far from done. If you’re learning how to boost your ecommerce sales, make sure people can find your website. That means marketing. Research your online marketing options, and put together a plan to start getting your website in front of people. That may include content marketing, paid promotion channels like Google Ads, social media integration, or all of the above. Consider promoting your items on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to drive even more consumers to your online shop. Getting those first visitors can be an uphill battle. But if you create and follow a marketing plan, and update your plan based on the results you see as you go, you’ll start to gain traction. Start Your Online Store  l Starting an online shop takes work. But if you develop a strong strategy, build a great site through ecommerce website builders, and put in the work to promote it, you’re likely to see success. And the benefits of eCommerce businesses are plentiful.  HostGator can help you check several boxes on this list. We offer domain registration, web hosting plans, and an online store builder that includes eCommerce themes and features. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How Online Specialty Stores Can Stay Afloat During a Crisis

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The post How Online Specialty Stores Can Stay Afloat During a Crisis appeared first on HostGator Blog. Crises can be weird and stressful times for retailers. Depending on the situation, they may be slammed with demand for their products—or they may go begging for customers whose attention is focused on buying other things.  What if your business is in that second category? Here are a few strategies that can help your business stay afloat. Understand what consumers want now In a crisis, people put immediate needs at the top of their shopping lists. For example, food, personal care and health care verticals are getting the bulk of consumers’ money right now.  However, the details are always changing, as people stock up on one thing and move on to another. First it was toilet paper. Then, baby chickens (presumably for eggs in six months). Then, yeast for baking bread. As people adapt to the “new normal” and do everything at home, their shopping habits will likely keep changing.  So how can you know what consumers are looking for right now? One of the best resources I’ve seen is Attentive’s Covid-19 eCommerce trends page, where you can see what products are trending up and which are trending down—in general and within categories like apparel, home, beauty, electronics, auto, pets and more:   What are *your* customers searching for now? You can check your site analytics to see which search terms are bringing the most visitors to your site. You can also explore Google Trends to see which searches are on the rise.  For example, this is the trend line for “activities for children” over the last 90 days. You can see the search volume increase as states and cities enact stay-at-home orders.  Use these resources to decide which of your products to promote right now. Keep up with the trends so you can adjust your merchandising and marketing as demand changes. Offer something entirely new What if demand for your products has dramatically slowed or completely stopped? Can you use your resources to offer items that are more in-demand?  For example, fashion designers who’ve had to close their boutiques, like Christian Siriano, and hospitality linen makers who’ve lost orders, like Texas businesses Gourmet Table Skirts and Savilino, have switched to making cloth masks for hospitals and the public.  Small distilleries around the country, who rely on tours and tastings for part of their revenue stream, are helping to combat the hand sanitizer shortage by brewing their own with the alcohol they have on hand, using a World Health Organization-approved recipe. (The FDA won’t allow them to sell the sanitizer yet, so for now they’re giving it away.) If your business buys its products wholesale rather than producing them, look at any other lines your wholesalers carry. You may be able to adjust your offerings without having to find new suppliers. Develop new offers for at-home shoppers Whatever you sell, it’s time to get creative about how to offer it to your customers. Here are some ideas that are gaining traction now that we’re all shopping from home. Bundles and kits. Some of us have spent so much time glued to screens to search for supplies and read the news that we’re developing eye twitches and headaches. Anything that saves us time and keeps us and our children entertained is welcome. So, if you have products that make sense to sell as a bundle or kit, like cookie decorating tools and supplies, skin care regimens, scented candles and soaps, art supplies or something else, go for it. Materials for remote events. If you normally offer in-store classes for things like cake decorating, chocolate making or knitting, consider selling class kits online with a link to an instructional video or a live tutoring event. Subscription boxes. Now that groceries are hard to find and can require a long wait for delivery, specialty retailers may want to consider offering subscriptions. What might have been a gourmet treat pre-pandemic can now be a huge convenience, because customers won’t have to worry about running out of coffee, dog food or whatever your store sells.Gift baskets and gift cards. While visiting family and friends in person is off the table, gift baskets and boxes are a great way for people to stay connected with parents, grandkids and other loved ones, especially if they’re self-isolating at home with the coronavirus. Gift cards are not only convenient for your customers, they give you a bit of a cash float, which many businesses could use right now. Discounts. If you sell products that are considered a luxury or treat-yourself item, discounts may bring in buyers who are looking to pamper themselves while they’re stuck inside.  Update your site to reflect new shopping habits Once you’ve identified which of your products are most sought after, made any changes to your product lines and decided how you’re going to offer your merchandise right now, it’s time to update your website. You may need to: Include new keywords for SEO. For example, if you’ve pivoted from selling custom-made handbags to selling cloth face masks, make sure your website’s copy and metadata includes the keywords mask shoppers use when they search. If you’ve added children’s activity kits, include that key phrase so harried parents can find you faster. Feature your offers on your homepage and product pages. Make sure visitors can see your most popular and relevant items right away. Make videos and podcasts. These are a must for online classes, but they can also help customers get the most value from the things you sell. For example, if you sell high-end garden tools and gloves, you might create a podcast on how to care for them, or different garden projects for each season.  Grow the audience for your products Now is an especially good time to review and expand your efforts to reach new customers.  A quick way to do this is by selling through marketplaces in addition to your website. You can also dig into your Google and eCommerce platform analytics to see who buys from you, where they found you and where they’re located. Then you can use that data to find similar consumers via social media and paid search results to drive new traffic to your site.  Want more ideas on running your business during the pandemic? Check out our web pro’s list of site updates you can do in 30 minutes or less.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Resource Guide — How to Build a Professional WordPress Website Fast

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You need to get online quickly.  You’ve already purchased your hosting and set up your email, but now you need to create your website. The great news is that you can easily create a beautiful website with WordPress.  The open-source platform supports many modern, mobile-responsive themes and with its intuitive dashboard, customizing your website is a breeze. This guide will help you build your professional WordPress website fast.  Plan Your Website Choose a Theme Customize Your Website Launch Your Website Enjoy secure, fast hosting for your WordPress website with optimized WordPress Hosting.  Plan Your Website To make the best use of your time, the first thing you should do before jumping into the build of your website is planning it out. Continue reading Resource Guide — How to Build a Professional WordPress Website Fast at InMotion Hosting Blog.

How to Add eCommerce Functionality to Your Website

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The post How to Add eCommerce Functionality to Your Website appeared first on HostGator Blog. Small businesses are scrambling to figure out how to adapt in the new world. Businesses that depended on customers visiting a storefront now face the need to shift to an entirely new business model to survive. But it’s not hopeless. If you run a business that sells physical products, it is possible to transition to an eCommerce business to keep things afloat in the coming months. And for most businesses, adding an eCommerce store to your existing website is surprisingly easy. The exact details of how to do so will depend on how you built your website to begin with. But if, like most small businesses, you either have a WordPress website or used a website builder to create your site, adding eCommerce functionality isn’t complicated.  This post will cover how to add an online store to an existing website in WordPress and with the Gator Website Builder. If you don’t already have a website, here’s how to build an eCommerce site from scratch. And if you used a different website builder, check the site of the vendor you chose for instructions on adding eCommerce functionality.  How to Add eCommerce Functionality to Your WordPress Site WordPress is by far the most common content management system businesses choose for building websites. If you have a WordPress website for your business now, you’ve got a number of free and easy options for adding an online store. 1. Choose and install your eCommerce plugin. WordPress functionality is all about plugins. To add eCommerce features to your website, you simply need to pick your plugin. There are a few popular options to consider: WooCommerce – WooCommerce is owned by the same company that owns WordPress itself, which makes this plugin an obvious choice for many. It’s free to use and easy to get started with. WP eCommerce – WP eCommerce is a free, open source plugin. As such, developers regularly work to update it with new functionality and improvements. It’s intuitive for beginners to use. But if you expect to need some help, you also have the option to invest in their dedicated support plan for a fee. You’ve got a wealth of good eCommerce options with WordPress. Peruse the features available with each and determine which you feel is the best fit for your business and needs.  2. Follow the plugin’s directions to set up your store. Whichever eCommerce plugin you choose will provide instructions for getting it set up. Since WooCommerce is the most popular, we’ll walk you through how to get started with it. But if you opt for another, simply look for an informational resource that provides details on each step to get started. With WooCommerce, once you’ve downloaded it, click the button to Activate.  You’ll be taken to the WooCommerce wizard that walks you through each step of getting your store set up. Fill in all the information requested. The app has a couple of default payment processing options they suggest. Choose which to add now, and you can add more later if you’d like. Both Stripe and Paypal are secure processing options, which is crucial when you’re accepting payment information through a website.  Shipping is one of the biggest and potentially most complicated parts of running an eCommerce business. By default, WooCommerce lets you choose between offering free shipping or a flat fee. If you want to choose another route for how you charge shipping, there are WooCommerce extensions that provide additional options. Before you finish the setup process, WooCommerce will make a few recommendations for additional plugins to help power your eCommerce store, such as JetPack. Then it will provide you the option to start making product pages.  3. Create pages for each product you sell. Click on the button to Create a Product.  As with the setup wizard, WooCommerce walks you through how to fill in your Product page as well. If you’re at all familiar with creating pages or posts in WordPress, then the process of adding a product page will look familiar.  For each product, fill in: The product nameThe product descriptionPricingInventory statusShipping informationProduct tags and categories You can load product photography on the right side of the screen where there’s a box labeled Product Image. And WooCommerce makes it easy to encourage upsells by using the Linked Products option to note products that are similar or complement each other. And that’s it! Well, that’s it for creating an online store. Promoting it and running it well is a whole other story (but more on that later).  How to Add eCommerce Functionality to Your Business Site in Gator If you used the Gator website builder (available with all HostGator web hosting plans!) to build your site, you can add an eCommerce store in four simple steps.  1. Upgrade to the eCommerce plan. The Gator eCommerce plan is $9.22 a month. To upgrade, when you’re logged into your Gator account, click on Edit Site, then look for the Store option in the left-side menu. Clicking it will give you the option to Upgrade Now. Select the eCommerce plan and fill out the form to check out.  2. Add your products. Now go back and click on that Store option again, and this time select Manage Products and Orders.  The welcome page will include the option to start adding products.   Click to add your first product, and start filling in the details requested, including: Product namePricing informationProduct descriptionProduct photo For each product you create, you can later add it to all the relevant pages you want to feature it on across your website by going into Elements in the left-side menu, choosing Products, then dragging the selected product box to where you want it on each page.  3.  Set up your payment processor. Gator automatically provides Stripe and Paypal as options for payment processing. Choose which you want to use to process orders, select Activate, and follow the instructions provided to get set up.  4. Decide on and fill in shipping details. In the Settings section, you can set up your preferred shipping details. Decide if you’ll offer free shipping, a flat rate, or another option. In this same section, you can supply additional order information such as your company’s tax ID, and the email address that will receive order details.  And that’s it! You now have an online store as part of your Gator website.  eCommerce Tips and Steps to Follow Setting up an online store is a big first step, but it’s just the beginning. You have to make sure you have everything in place to supply the orders you receive—and ensure you get orders to begin with.  1. Have a plan for order fulfillment. How will you handle packaging and shipping? Do you already have packaging materials? Do you have an account with a carrier you can use to create and print out labels yourself, or will you need to set one up? Are you prepared to get your packages to the post office every couple of days, or will you schedule pick-ups with carriers? Before your website receives its first order, you want to know the answer to all those questions.  Customers will expect prompt service for their deliveries. Currently, they’ll be willing to give some leeway on slow delivery times, as the delivery system is more backed up than usual. But they’ll still want to see evidence that shipments are going out promptly, and information on when to expect their order.  Pro Tip: Add a FAQ page to your website warning customers of potential shipping delays and low inventory. 2. Talk to your lawyer and accountant. Running an eCommerce business brings you into different legal territory than a physical storefront did. Some things will be the same, but you need to consider factors like how sales tax works in all the different areas you’re selling to (different states have different laws), and how to develop a privacy policy and terms of use for your website. Contact your lawyer and accountant to discuss any new documentation you need, and any steps you need to take to make sure your online store is on the up and up.  3. Promote your new online store! Now for the hard part. You need to get your website in front of people in a competitive space. The internet is vast—driving visits to your small section of it is a tall order. Consider investing in online advertising options like Google Ads and social advertising. Look into online marketing tactics and put together a strategy to build up your website’s authority and visibility online.  Online marketing is a long game, so a lot of the best tactics won’t drive people to your website tomorrow (online ads are better for that). But lay the groundwork now, and you can expect to get your eCommerce store to a place where it brings in regular business down the line. And when things do start to go back to normal and you can reopen your storefront, your eCommerce store will remain as an additional source of income, and may even help drive more visitors to your physical location. Expanding to eCommerce Is Just Smart Times are hard, but people still have a need for a number of different products. If you can pivot your business model so that the customers who want what you sell can still access the items they desire, you can keep your business running—albeit in a different form than you’re used to. It may not be what you had in mind, but it could be just the lifeline you need.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Tips for Virtual Interviewing

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We all know the usual interview process, maybe a round of phone interviews, an aptitude test or technical assessment, then the onsite invitation. You get dressed up in your “power outfit”, you know, the one that makes you feel like you own the place, and head into the office for an interview. You meet the team, make small talk, tour the building, and if all ends well, you land the job! Well, throw all that out the window…with social distancing now in place, virtual interviewing is becoming the new normal. Continue reading Tips for Virtual Interviewing at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Local Business Temporarily Closed? Try Remote Shopping & eCommerce

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The post Local Business Temporarily Closed? Try Remote Shopping & eCommerce appeared first on HostGator Blog. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are a must to prevent the spread of covid-19, but they’re creating huge challenges for small local businesses. How can you protect your community and your business? Explore your options for doing business without in-person contact with your customers. That may mean local pickup, local delivery or quickly adding eCommerce capabilities. Let’s walk through your options.  First, understand what you can do from your brick-and-mortar location  Social distancing is a smart move everywhere right now, even if there are no official orders to close or stay home. That means moving to curbside pickup and delivery instead of in-store shopping. In some places, temporary stay-at-home orders may require your brick-and-mortar operations to close if your business isn’t classified as ‘essential.’ Each locale will have its own specific wording, but in general, essential businesses that can stay open may include: retailers that sell medical, veterinary and health care suppliesshops that sell food, personal care and cleaning suppliesstores that sell supplies for food gardening, fishing and livestock caregas stations and convenience storeshardware and supply shopslaundromats office supply storesmoving suppliesauto supplies and dealerships Other types of businesses may be temporarily closed, even to local pickup and delivery. Once you’ve reviewed any stay at home rules that apply to your location, you’ll know whether you can offer local pickup and delivery from your brick-and-mortar store. If you can, here’s how. Local pickup, local delivery and shipping If you’re closing to maintain social distancing but can still work in your store, you could offer curbside pickup or delivery (local or shipped).  This is a good temporary step, especially if you don’t yet have eCommerce set up on your website, to keep going without exposing your employees or customers to close contact.  For example, in mid-March, By George boutiques in Austin announced that customers could browse the stores’ website and Instagram and then DM or email to make a purchase for pickup, delivery or shipment:  Home retailer Williams-Sonoma took a similar approach, with in-store pickups where that’s allowed:  Let your customers know what’s up and how to reach you As these stores have done, you need to let customers know about the changes you’re making. If you don’t know how long your physical locations will be closed, that’s OK. An end date is a best guess right now, anyway.  The key here is to let customers know their options for getting their purchases and who to contact to make a purchase and arrange pickup or delivery. You can use our crisis business-update checklist to make sure you get your message out on all your channels. Get your order process in order Next, make sure you have a single point of contact for taking orders over the phone and via email. Put one person in charge of all incoming orders so you’re not fulfilling them (or billing customers for them) twice.  However, it’s wise to designate a backup person or two, with access to all the order information, in case your order taker gets sick or has to stop working to care for loved ones.  Follow safe practices for curbside pickup  Make pickup contactless. Arrange for payments online before pickup, so you and your employees don’t need to handle cards or cash. You can ask your customers to call when they arrive so you can bring their package out and set it down for them to pick it up while you watch from a safe (6 feet or more) distance. Follow safe practices for local delivery Again, contactless is the way to go. Prepaid deliveries can include a tip so you or your employees aren’t handling money or getting within arm’s reach of customers at their door. Call or text when you get there so the customer knows their order has arrived. Depending on the value of the order, you may want to wait at a distance to make sure they claim it. If you don’t have the staff to make deliveries, look at local options like Favor and rideshare drivers, who may be willing to make deliveries from your shop.  Set up a shipping process Setting up a full-blown shipping program for your store takes time and planning. If you’re starting from scratch right now, it’s best to start with a single option, like USPS, UPS or FedEx. Buy and print your labels online and arrange for pickup so you don’t have to go into a post office or shipping location.  Both FedEx and UPS have said that deliveries may be slower than usual in areas that are severely affected by the covid-19 pandemic. Manage your customers’ expectations by letting them know before they order.  Local pickup and delivery are good stopgap measures if you can offer them. But if your location has to close completely, online sales are your only option. Even if you’re still open now, it’s wise to set up or expand your online store now. Adding eCommerce for your local business You can set up a simple eCommerce site for your business in 8 steps with a website builder. This is an ideal option if you aren’t experienced in setting up websites on a platform like WordPress, because you can pick a theme, drag and drop the elements you need to customize it, and use built-in eCommerce tools like inventory management.  You can also build an eCommerce site in WordPress or add eCommerce to your existing WordPress site. With WordPress, you have more themes to choose from and more freedom to set up the site exactly as you want. This can be a good option if you’re already comfortable with site design and have specific eCommerce needs that require an integrated platform like WooCommerce. After you have your website up and running, let your customers know via email and social media. With a website, you can also promote your store on eCommerce marketplaces. This can help you reach new customers and drive more traffic to your store’s website.  Need more information about running your business right now? We’re building a library of covid-19 business tips to help you through. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How To Change Your WordPress Theme Without Breaking The Website

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While using WordPress is super-easy, changing your WordPress theme isn’t as straight forward. If you’re planning to get a new theme for your WordPress website, this article will help you migrate smoothly. Changing the theme of your WordPress website comes with big risks. Particularly if you have a lot of content and traffic. You want The post How To Change Your WordPress Theme Without Breaking The Website appeared first on Pickaweb.

9 Stages of Creating More Effective Landing Copy

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Let’s imagine users searching for your product or service online: They enter a search query and come to your website. What do you have there to grab their attention and turn your website visitors into leads, compelling them to take action? Yes, you know that your offer is awesome, and your service is excellent. But website visitors are unacquainted with this fact. You need a website page that would explain and prove your awesomeness to them. This page is known as landing: It embodies all the information a visitor needs to set his heart upon your offer and “land” at your website to buy from you. In other words, this page optimizes your site for lead generation. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to create a landing page that converts. What is a Landing Page?  It’s the page on your website that a user sees after clicking your pay-per-click advertising. A landing page is tailored to represent your offer and convert visitors into leads and eventually paying customers. A landing page could be the homepage of your site, a separate page within your website, or a standalone page you create for a specific marketing campaign. There are many benefits of a persuasive landing page: It increases conversion rates, revealing all the benefits of your offer and therefore inviting visitors to choose you It helps with e-commerce SEO (because you craft this page to target specific search terms and promote it via Google Ads) It allows you to focus on a particular marketing goal and track the success of selling a specific product or service A stellar landing page makes onboarding more manageable, and your sales funnel — more efficient Before Creating a Landing Page For your landing page to bring results, you need to research and determine a few critical details. First, decide your marketing goal: What do you want to accomplish with this page? Is it for your new business or new product promotion? Or do you want to grow an email list? Second, make sure you know and understand your audience inside out. Who is your ideal customer? What are their needs, expectations, and pain points? The more you know, the easier it will be to come up with a core message and write a critical copy that will compel them to take the desired action. And third, do keyword research. Focus on keywords that are relevant to your offer and SEO goals, while also matching the searcher intent of your target customers. What do they type when they search for solutions to their problem that your product can solve? Let’s say you are a tool that helps marketers see the PPC campaigns of their competitors. So you assume they will use the “advertising research” keyword when looking for your instrument in Google. But the truth is that people are looking for general info about advertising research, not the info about PPC ads when typing this keyword in search.   So it will be a great mistake to target your landing page for “advertising research,” as it doesn’t meet the searcher intent of the audience. Once they come to your page and see that it’s not about what they need, they’ll bounce it, therefore killing your SEO endeavors. How to Create a Landing Page: 9 stages Now it’s time to create your landing page for better sales. What information to mention there? How to represent your business offer? What writing tricks to use so users would get interested in learning more about your product? Here we’ll describe the nine core elements to add to your landing page so it would bring results. Craft a headline A headline is the first thing a visitor sees on your landing page. Headlines should perform two tasks: Grab attention and tell the viewer what they will find on the page.  At the same time, a headline needs to be short but compelling, so a visitor wants to stay on the page and learn more about the offer. Let’s take a look at the example below: “Business Email” is a short but clear phrase telling both visitors and search engine that we’ll talk about business emails here. Limit your landing page headline to 10 words, make sure it gets to the point.  Use active verbs, as well as, power words, so visitors understand what’s in it for them. 2. Choose a hero image Most people are visual learners. They perceive information through images better than through words, so the image on your landing page is a core element that will help them decide if they want to scroll through the page and learn more. A hero image is a banner image on your landing page. It looks like this: There are several things you should remember when choosing a hero image: It should be of high-quality and relevant to your offer It should grab attention and help a visitor understand what the page is about It should fit the overall design of your landing page and shouldn’t distract users from your call to action button It should trigger positive emotions, demonstrating to visitors that they’ll benefit from choosing your service 3. Add subheads A subhead appears just below the headline on your landing page. The subheading provides more details about your offer and persuades a reader to learn more. A subhead appears just below the headline on your landing page. The subheading provides more details about your offer and persuades a reader to learn more. An effective subhead is concise yet informative, descriptive, and punchy. Together with a headline, it’s a landing page element where effective marketers use neuro-copywriting techniques to influence readers: beneficial adjectives, questions, quotes, odd numbers — all trigger a more positive response. Here go some examples: Not a fan of real-time tracking? (Source) — a question Take free online English language courses to improve your English grammar, composition, conversation, and writing skills. Learn effective English communication skills with online classes and courses. (Source) — beneficial adjectives: “free” and “effective” With more than 5,000 essays completed already, only 13 were rejected by students and asked to revise. (Source) — odd numbers. I Tried The Top 9 Proposal Management Software Platforms So You Didn’t Have To (Source) — a quote in the headline 4. Make an offer If you want to initiate the process of lead generation, make sure your target offer is clear. Come up with a straightforward explanation, and integrate it into your headline and subheading. Make it benefit-oriented and use words with positive meaning when answering the “What’s in there for me?” question. 5. Address your audience’s pain points You know your target audience, their needs, and expectations. And you know which pain points will motivate them to do business with you. The biggest motivator is the fear of missing out. Many sales copywriters address this in landing page content, mentioning what we’ll lose if we ignore the offer. Another tactic is to create a sense of urgency: Offer a giveaway, a time-sensitive discount on a subscription, etc. Organize your landing page so visitors will see your product or service as a solution to their problem. 6. Provide an added value Human nature is so that most people crave pleasure and benefits from brands. So why not incorporate both into your landing page for better customer retention? Show that your offer isn’t only about cool functions but also emotions Reward them with some tiny yet cute byproduct of working with you: a gift card, a discount, a free copy of your e-book or subscription to your extra features, etc Think of a lead magnet, such as a free e-book, ultimate guide, or checklist for their subscription 7. Add trust signals Trust signals are elements marketers add to landing pages to help customers feel more secure about buying. They may come in different forms — guarantees, social proofs such as testimonials from loyal customers, the list of prominent clients that work with a business, etc. The goal of trust signals is to make prospective customers feel better about doing business with you. It’s a core element to add to a landing page for conversion rate optimization. So, provide visitors with signals that your brand is trustworthy. Trust signals come in different forms: testimonials, customer reviews, badges, numbers, etc. But regardless of how you present them, they’ll help people feel encouraged to take action while on your landing page. Place trust signals on pages where you ask users for sensitive information (a credit card details, for example). Also, you can strategically place it on a product page below the offer to demonstrate to a visitor that you are worth trust and that they can rely on you. 8. Tell people how to contact you With Google now focusing its Quality Evaluator Guidelines on trustworthiness, you need to provide some proof that you’re real. For that, make sure to include several contact methods to your landing page: a physical address, phone numbers, social media buttons, your email address, and a contact form. As for contact forms, keep them short and clear: The more fields you ask someone to fill out, the lower the chance that someone will complete the form. Only request the basic info you need: While most users are OK sharing their name and email address, they might give you the side-eye if you ask for their physical address, phone number, company, or profession. So, make it short and easy to find, avoid unnecessary fields, and link to your social media accounts to provide visitors with alternative ways to engage with your business. For creating a contact page, use corresponding plugins from your CMS (WordPress, Drupal, or whatever you use) or build one with contact form templates available online. 9. Include a call to action While all the above elements of your landing page grab visitors’ attention and reassure them that your offer is what they need, a Call To Action (CTA) is what converts them into customers. So make sure to design it right. Make it big and the text on it, compelling. “Click here” and “Submit” aren’t the best options. Use words or expressions that are inviting and persuasive. Also, make sure your CTA button stands out from the rest of your landing page elements. Visitors should notice it immediately and understand they need to click on it. Final Thoughts Test it. Test again. And test some more! Testing is what makes landing pages effective.  Try different headlines, hero images, calls to action, and registration forms. Remember to track the page’s performance with heat maps, the number of visitors, the length of visits, and any other marketing metrics. Analyze the results to see what you’re doing right and what you need to optimize for better lead generation. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post 9 Stages of Creating More Effective Landing Copy appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How to Create a Membership Website with WordPress

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Website owners monetize their web content to earn more revenue. One of the best ways to do just that is to create a membership site, where people have to pay to access premium content. But, aside from making money online, you’re also setting up a strong and committed online community that your product has helped The post How to Create a Membership Website with WordPress appeared first on Pickaweb.

5 Tips For Abiding By Google’s Guidelines And Staying Up To Date With Algorithm Changes

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There’s no denying that there are lots of differences of opinions among the SEO community. We all have our own thoughts about which techniques work best, how you should come up with an organic search strategy, and where budgets should be spent. However, there are a couple of things we can all agree on: you The post 5 Tips For Abiding By Google’s Guidelines And Staying Up To Date With Algorithm Changes appeared first on Pickaweb.

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