In a web hosting landscape now dominated by elastic cloud computing resources and managed WordPress services, it’s easy to lose sight of “the SKU that started it all.” That’s right; I’m talkin’ ‘bout shared web hosting.
Shared hosting is still one of the most affordable ways to establish and maintain an online presence, with more than enough power to grow with the needs of your website or web app over time.
This year, we’ve been working to make DreamHost’s shared hosting even better and wanted to catch you up on all of the great enhancements.
We’re currently in the process of upgrading the operating systems that run our shared hosting services. Ubuntu LTS version 18.04.2, also known as “Bionic Beaver,” will soon power all of our shared hosting web servers and MySQL database servers. In the future, Bionic Beaver will be the default OS on all of our managed hosting services, including our Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers.
We’re also in the process of rolling out the latest version of PHP: 7.3. You may recall that PHP 7.0 was approximately twice as fast as PHP 5.6 when it launched in 2016. PHP 7.3 has shown itself to be faster still — 22 percent faster than even 7.0! With PHP-based apps like WordPress becoming more and more popular across the web, that extra speed is crucial to keeping things running smoothly.
We’ve also doubled the amount of RAM that shared hosting users can access. RAM-hungry web apps (and their plugins) are more popular than ever, and the extra memory ensures they’ve got plenty of breathing room.
Combined with some new Linux kernels that we’ve custom-built to address the unique needs of a shared hosting environment, the entry-level hosting experience at DreamHost has never been faster, more powerful, or more secure for as long as we’ve been doing this hosting thing!
As powerful as shared hosting is today, you can always upgrade your DreamHost experience to a Virtual Private Server for access to even more computing resources, should you ever need them. Upgrading to a VPS takes just a few seconds, and the migration of your data is automatic and instant.
No matter what you host with us or how you host it, rest assured that we’re always looking for ways to add new features, power, and value to your DreamHost experience. Thanks for letting us!
The post Shared Hosting Enhancements for 2019 appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.
When it comes to technology, there are a few brands that stand out amongst the others—Microsoft, Apple, and Sony. These brands dominate their respective fields, but they are soon to be joined by another—WordPress.
WordPress hosting has taken off in the past few years and is becoming the hottest trend when it comes to a content management system (CMS). So when we say that it is really taking off, let’s look at what that means and why you should consider creating your website using this system.
Continue reading How WordPress Hosting is Becoming the ‘Trend’ Hosting at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
WP Engine is the most-well funded technology startup in Texas, according to new research released by CB Insights. This is the second consecutive year the company has earned this accolade. In the infographic above, CB Insights identifies the most highly-funded companies across all 50 states and highlights the diffusion of the tech boom from traditional…
The post For the Second Year in a Row, WP Engine is the Top-Funded Startup in Texas appeared first on WP Engine.
The post How to Build a Website From Scratch appeared first on HostGator Blog.
You’re here because you want to build a website. Luckily, building a website is much easier than it used to be.
What used to take months and months of work can now be done in a single afternoon. Even if you’ve never built a website before, you can quickly build a professional website, all with the help of a website builder.
But, building a website requires more than just choosing the right website builder. There are a few foundational steps you’ll want to complete to help ensure the success of your site. Jumping in without a plan is a surefire way to get overwhelmed by the process.
Below you’ll learn about the different types of sites you can build, how to plan your website, and finally, how to build a website from scratch without having to touch a single line of code.
Why Build a Website?
There are plenty of reasons to build a website. Whether you have an idea for a new personal website, want to showcase your passion, start a blog, highlight your portfolio, build an eCommerce website, or create a website for your existing business, it couldn’t be easier to start a new site. And best of all, you don’t have to be an experienced web designer to make one.
Just a few years ago building a site was an intensive process. You either had to spend time learning to code yourself or hire a website developer to turn your vision into reality for you.
But today, with the help of intuitive website builders the process is incredibly simple. Even if you’ve never built a website before, or even registered a domain name, you can have a website online in a single afternoon, if not sooner.
Overall, the length of time it’ll take to build your website will depend upon the type of site you’re building. A simple 3-page website will be much faster to build than an eCommerce site that’s selling dozens of products.
Step 1: Determining Your Niche
The first step in website building is determining what kind of site you’re going to build. The approach you’re going to take to start a blog will be different than building a site for a physical storefront.
Review the questions below to determine what kind of site you’re going to build. This will help you save time over the long run and ensure you’re building the right kind of site the first time around.
Who’s Your Audience?
Every successful website serves a specific audience. By taking the time to understand exactly who your audience is first you’ll improve your chances of creating a successful site.
However, you won’t have to do this if you’re creating a simple website that you have no intention of building a business around. For example, maybe you’re creating a personal blog so you can practice writing in public, or you’re creating a simple one-page site for fun.
But, if you want to grow and monetize your website, then you’ll want to place a focus on your target audience.
Spend time browsing through other sites in your niche and attempt to infer the kind of audience they’re serving. Why do they like certain content types? Why are some forms of content more popular than others?
You can also head over to a tool called Buzzsumo to find the most shared content related to your niche. This can give you an idea of what your audience likes to consume and directions you can take with your site.
How Are You Serving Them?
Once you know who you’re serving, it’s time to figure out the best way to do that. For example, maybe you’ve found that your niche loves video content. In that case, you’ll build a site that’s oriented towards videos. Or maybe you’ve uncovered a ton of related eCommerce products you can sell, in that case, you’ll want to build a site that has eCommerce capabilities.
Spend time browsing through other sites in your niche to get an idea of certain site elements you’ll want to include.
Maybe you’ve found a similar site that you love the layout of, or you like the type of messaging they use on their site. As you browse through competitor sites take note of the things you like and other elements you think you could improve upon.
All of this will come in handy during the design phase.
Step 2: Planning Your New Website
Now that you know the type of site you’re going to build, let’s do some basic planning that’ll help to accelerate the site building process.
Below you’ll get a basic feel for the elements that make up a professional website. Get these elements right and your site will stand head and shoulders above your competition.
Most websites look and function the same. It can be tempting to buck trends and create something wholly unique, but you’ll do yourself a disservice in doing so.
Most users have certain expectations in mind when visiting a website. They expect certain website elements to be where they should be. The last thing you want is to confuse and overwhelm your visitors the moment they land on your website.
Basic website elements include:
An easy to use navigation bar, typically at the top of the siteHomepage text and a sidebar, or no sidebar at allLogical site organization that lets users intuitively move from page to page
The theme you choose should take care of your initial site organization. It can be tempting but try not to stray too far from the initial build. These templates are created by professional designers and developers and have web design best practices built in.
Essential Website Pages
The number of pages your site has will differ depending on the type of site you’re building. But generally, most sites will have the following website pages, no matter the niche:
Homepage. This is the first page your visitors will see. It should be simple, concise, and immediately tell your visitor’s what your site is about. About page. Your about page is your chance to establish a relationship with your visitors. It’s commonly one of the most popular pages on your site, so you’ll want to spend time creating quality copy that draws your readers in, tells them what you’re about, and speaks directly to their needs and how you’re uniquely qualified to solve them.Services/product page. This will look different depending on what you’re selling and the niche you’re in. However, most sites (unless it’s purely for personal use) will have one of these pages, if not multiple. Contact page. Depending on the type of site you’re creating you’ll probably want to make it easy for your visitors to contact you. This can be through a contact form, an email address, or even your phone number or Skype address. Blog page. Most sites will be able to find some value in maintaining a regular blog. Some sites are purely content-based, while others will be able to use the blog as a means to provide value to your visitors and improve search engine rankings.
Keep in mind that most website building software will take care of the basic website layout for you. Once you select a theme or a template, this will form the foundation for the rest of your site. However, by knowing what other pages you want to add, and what site elements you’ll want to include you’ll be able to speed up the process and avoid wasting time when creating your site.
Step 3: Choosing Your Website Building Platform
By now you’ve determined the type of site you’re going to build, and you have a plan of attack for the website elements and pages you’re going to create.
Now, it’s time to choose the right tool to help you build your website. As a beginner you’ll have a ton of different options at your disposal, from website builders to content management systems, and more.
One of the easiest ways to build your site will be using the GATOR website builder. Website builders in general greatly simplify the website building process. There are many things you can do with the Gator website builder. You’ll select a theme or template that will act as the foundation of your site, you’ll use the tool to make changes and customize your site, you’ll add content, and then publish your site online.
The process is quite intuitive and you’ll be able to build a custom website without having to change, or even look at, any code.
In time you can test out other website builders, tools, and content management systems, but when starting out you’ll want to give yourself the advantage of using one of the easiest tools out there. Once you’ve successfully built your first site you’ll have more confidence when it comes to customizing your site, or using different tools altogether.
Building a Website with the GATOR Website Builder
For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll show you how to build a website from scratch using the HostGator website builder.
This website builder is packed with a vast selection of professional themes that span dozens of niches. Once you fire up the tool you’ll be amazed at just how easy it is to customize your template, add site elements, add pages, modify text, and more.
Follow the steps below to build a website from scratch using Gator:
1. Select Your Template
The first step when launching your website through HostGator’s website builder will be choosing your template. This template will act as the foundation for the rest of your site, so choose wisely. You’ll be able to filter the template selection based upon niche, or you can browse through all of the templates until you find the perfect fit.
Most of the themes can fit into a variety of niches. But, you’ll notice that the preloaded content and general structure is more niche-oriented. If you want to build your site as fast as possible, then choose a template that’s within your niche.
Once you’ve found a template you’d like to customize, just hover over the template and click ‘Select’.
2. Customize Your Template
With your template selected it’s time to start customizing. You’ll probably want to spend a few minutes clicking around and getting used to the layout. It might seem a little confusing at first, but it will get easier. Almost every element of your theme can be customized by clicking.
When you hover over and click any element of your site the tool will bring up a window to give you your customization options.
If you like the existing layout of the site, then all you’ll have to do is edit and switch out the existing text, and upload your own images.
On the left-hand menu you’ll be able to edit any additional pages, add new site elements and sections, along with changing out the overall color scheme.
Once you’re satisfied with your site all you have to do is click ‘Publish’. However, it’s probably a good idea to preview your site to catch any last-minute errors before you publish your site online.
Get Started Building with GATOR
As you can see, building a website is much easier than it used to be. Today there are myriad tools that can help you build a website in a single afternoon, all without having to touch a single line of code.
With the GATOR website builder, you can quickly and easily build a professional website completely from scratch. For beginners, it’s hard to beat the usefulness and simplicity of the GATOR website builder.
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If you’re building your first website, you may be wondering if you should use a WordPress hosting service or a website builder like Wix or Squarespace. It can be a tough decision – WordPress has been the gold standard for years, but other builders are quickly rising in popularity.
WordPress Shines on Hosting Services, But Let’s Compare
We’re here to tell you that WordPress is still the way to go: It might not be the hot new trend, but it’s still the gold standard.
Continue reading Why Choosing a Hosting Service is Better than Using Wix or SquareSpace at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
In WordPress, the first step to publishing starts with creating a new page or post by selecting the blocks you’ll...
The post Creating a New Page or Post in the Editor appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.
The Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice Distinction Is Based on Feedback and Ratings From End-User Professionals Who Have Experience Purchasing, Implementing and/or Using the Product or Service AUSTIN, Texas – April 22, 2019 – WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform, today announced that it was named an April 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice…
The post WP Engine Recognized as April 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Web Content Management appeared first on WP Engine.
The post SSD vs HDD appeared first on HostGator Blog.
Every year, the technological devices we use—and increasingly depend on—seem to get smaller and more powerful. And yet somehow these machines manage to hold large quantities of files, media, and applications. That’s possible because of the data storage technology available to manufacturers and consumers today. And in the world of storage technology, there are two main options: SSD and HDD.
Your average consumer rarely has to worry about the difference between the two, but for the tech savvy, understanding the difference in how they work and the relative benefits of each can be valuable. This article will compare SSD vs HDD to help you decide which option is the right one for you.
What is SSD (Solid-State Drive)?
The solid-state drive is a relatively recent data storage technology that uses memory chips to store information. SSDs use the same technology that flash drives do, but on a larger scale.
Specifically, they’re made up of NAND (negative-and) memory chips that house a number of memory cells. There are three types of memory cells:
Single-level cells (SLC)Multi-level cells (MLC)Triple-level cells (TLC)
SLCs can only hold two bits of data (a 1 or 0), which means a higher level of precision, but higher cost. MLCs hold two bits of data per cell, and TLCs three—each increase in bits leads to a tradeoff in precision and speed, but means greater affordability.
With technological advances over time, SSDs have been able to hold more NAND chips with more memory cells, increasing power and storage capacity, while reducing cost.
Many new computer models now come with SSD hardware and external hard drives that use SSD drive technology have become more common and accessible.
SSD Pros: 6 Reasons to Consider SSD Over HDD
SSDs are growing in popularity for good reason. The technology has a number of important benefits that make them a good choice for most tech manufacturers and users alike. Here are six of the main reasons to consider SSD over HDD.
1. They’re fast.
Because a SSD drive has fewer moving parts in the way they function, it works more efficiently. On the user end, that means your devices work much faster. If you’re tired of watching the spinning ball of death (or throbber, if you prefer the more technical term) while you wait for files to open or pages to load, then you need a data storage option that works faster. This is a significant category where SSDs win, which is one of the biggest reasons many prefer them.
The speed at which your computer or other devices you rely on work makes a discernible difference in your day to day life. SSDs increase convenience and efficiency, and thus make your life easier.
2. They’re quiet.
Another benefit of SSDs using technology that doesn’t involve a lot of moving parts is that it means they can run without making as much noise. SSDs are virtually silent. If you prefer to do your work (and play) without the extra white noise that HDDs make when they get into gear, then SSDs are your best choice.
3. They’re reliable.
Fewer parts also means fewer opportunities for pieces to break or wear out. SSDs can generally be counted on to last years, or even decades, without needing any repairs. And like most technologies, the longer companies work on them, the more reliable they become. Every year only increases the lifespan of new SSDs, which was already long to begin with.
4. They don’t use much energy.
The efficiency in how SSDs work also means that they don’t use as much energy as HDDs. That means your computer’s battery power will last longer, and your electric bills could be lower. For anyone conscious about their energy usage and looking for ways to cut down, this is one small choice that can make a difference.
5. They’re light and portable.
This is especially convenient when it comes to laptops or other devices you need to move from one place to another frequently. The technology SSDs use is relatively small and lightweight, which means products that use an SSD will be more convenient to carry around.
6. They’re versatile.
Because SSDs can be made with different types of memory cells, numbers of chips, and design approaches, you have a lot of options when it comes to their shapes and sizes. While replacing the drive in your computer requires finding something that’s the right fit, for other purposes like choosing an external drive, you have more choices.
While the pros are compelling, there are a few potential downsides to consider when it comes to SSDs.
1. They’re expensive.
The biggest drawback of SSD in relation to HDD is that it’s more expensive. While the technology is getting more affordable every year, SSD is still quite a bit more expensive than HDD drives. And the types of SSDs that deliver better performance or more storage space, such as those with SLC or multiple NAND chips cost more.
2. They often have a smaller capacity.
Related to cost is the issue of storage capacity. The more files and data you have to store, the more you’ll have to spend on an SSD big enough to fit them all. For creators with especially high data storage capacity needs, SSD is often prohibitively expensive, where HDD drives with a comparable storage size cost quite a bit less.
3. In some cases, you’ll face compatibility issues.
If you’re looking to replace the drive you have in your current computer and the device now has an HDD, there’s a chance that an SSD won’t be compatible. Many computers that now come with HDDs are designed to be compatible with both types of storage drives, so you have the choice to trade up down the line.
But older devices, or more affordable ones, may only be HDD-compatible, so you have to make sure switching to SDD is even an option before you consider it.
What is HDD (Hard Disk Drive)?
A hard disk drive, sometimes just called a hard drive, is a data storage device that stores information on rotating magnetic disks. The technology includes an arm with a head that floats above the disks until called on to write data on the disks in tiny tracks, much like a miniature record player, then “read” or retrieve the data as needed.
It’s an older form of computer storage, developed in the early days of computers and refined in the decades since. For a long time it was the dominant computer data storage option, but as SSD technology has gotten more advanced and, crucially, more affordable, it has begun to lose ground in popularity. Nonetheless, it’s still easy to find and a better option in some use cases.
HDD Pros: 3 Reasons People Prefer Them Over SSDs
Hard disk drives have a different set of benefits they offer in comparison to SSDs. Here are the main reasons some people prefer them.
1. They’re more affordable.
HDDs cost quite a bit less than SDDs, and always have. While over time as SDD technology advances, the difference in cost narrows, it’s still considerable enough that you can expect to spend a lot less if you opt for an HDD.
This is true across use cases—computers, external hard drives, and web hosting servers that use HDDs will consistently be cheaper than those of a comparable size that use SDDs. If price is your biggest deciding factor, you can check out our cheap dedicated server hosting plans here.
2. They’re better for high-capacity storage.
For anyone that has a lot of files, media, and applications that require a significant amount of space, HDDs are an affordable option for managing larger amounts of storage. HDDs can go up to two terabytes in laptops and ten terabytes in desktops.
3. They’re a proven technology.
While both technologies have been around for some time now, HDDs are the legacy tech of the two. The longer a technology has existed, the more time companies have had to work out any kinks and improve upon it, and HDDs have existed for decades.
Part of the reason you get to pay less for an HDD is because of that extra time experts have had to advance the tech and make it work better for less.
There’s a tradeoff to any choice you make, and HDDs of course have several areas in which they’re the weaker choice. Here are the main reasons not to go with an HDD.
1. They’re slower than SSDs.
As previously mentioned, the technology behind HDDs is simply less efficient. For users that means everything you do with them will be slower. With your computer, you’d face a longer time waiting for the device to boot up and slower load times when opening files and media. With external drives, it means backups and transfers take longer.
And with web hosting, it can potentially mean slower load times for your website. All those times you spend waiting can really add up and make your days more inefficient.
2. They’re loud.
The technology behind HDDs involves spinning disks and that spinning makes noise. Whenever the drive goes into high gear saving or accessing data, it gets louder. If you have a device that uses HDD, then you’re probably all too familiar with the spinning noise. It can be distracting as you work, and cause problems with family members or roommates you share a space with.
If you care about keeping some peace and quiet in your home or workspace, an HDD can work against you.
3. They’re vulnerable to damage.
Because the technology involves a number of different moving parts, there are more opportunities for parts to wear out or break. HDDs therefore tend to have a shorter lifespan than SDDs, and are more prone to needing repairs.
While they cost less upfront, HDDs can cost you extra down the line when you have to replace them sooner, hire a professional to fix them, or deal with lost productivity because they’re not working properly.
3 Main Uses for Different Storage Solutions
As we’ve touched on a bit in the comparison, there are three main use cases where you’ll have a choice to make between SSD vs HDD.
All computers need a hard drive to store the operating system, applications, and various files users need to store on the device. When you’re looking for a new computer, you can find both models that use SSD and HDD.
Typically, SSD computers are higher end and will cost you more upfront, and most Apple computers now come only in SSD versions. But for those needing to pinch pennies, or who want more storage for the money they spend, you can find HDD models as well.
2. External Hard Drives
External hard drives come in handy both for making backups, and storing any files you don’t want taking up space on your computer. If you own a lot of games, movies, or other files that take up a significant amount of space, storing them externally can open up space on the computer itself so you don’t run out as fast.
You can find plenty of choices for external hard drives, both SSD and HDD. HDD options are typically cheaper and sometimes much larger. SSD ones are smaller, lighter, and more costly for the amount of storage you get.
3. Web Hosting Servers
A sometimes overlooked area where you have a choice between HDD and SSD is when it comes to choosing your web hosting, particularly if you invest in dedicated server hosting. Some web hosting providers will allow you to choose between an SSD or HDD plan.
As you’d expect by this point in the piece, and SSD plan will typically cost more but deliver more speed (twice as much, in the case of HostGator’s plan). But for websites with less storage or bandwidth needs, an HDD plan can offer savings.
Other Storage Options
While SSD and HDD are your main options in many contexts, we now also have a couple of alternatives in some use cases.
While not as common as SSDs or HDDs, in the past few years an alternative that combines the best of both worlds has come onto the scene. You can find computers and external drives that use both types of technology in order to provide the faster speed of an SSD, with the affordable higher capacity of an HDD.
A hybrid drive will store the files you access most on the SSD part of the device, so you can load them quickly; while the files that mostly stay in storage without frequent access can be stored on the HDD part of the device.
While computers require a physical drive to function, for many other data storage needs you can now turn to cloud options. Cloud storage is a popular choice for backups and any files or programs you have that won’t fit on your computer. And web hosting companies now frequently offer cloud hosting plans as well that offer significant storage options and faster speeds.
Make the Right Data Storage Choice For You
All of your data storage options have unique benefits and drawbacks. Deciding between SSD vs HDD will require figuring out your particular situation and priorities. Do you have a tight budget and need a large amount of storage space? Or is convenience and speed more important than cost? Now you’ll know how to make an informed choice that best suits your needs.
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As a popular CMS, Drupal is a great platform for making the most of a site’s SEO value. However, it’s also a complex beast, with its ability to create customized experiences both elevating its popularity and complicating its implementation. For this reason, creating the best possible SEO experience with Drupal means paying attention to details you… Continue reading →
What do solar panels and honey bees have in common?
At first glance, not much — though both are great for the environment. But Peter Berthelsen, a Nebraska wildlife conservationist and small business owner, sees an opportunity for an unexpected relationship. After all, he’s spent a 30-plus year career building all kinds of connections: between people and plants, wildflowers and water conservation, insects and songbirds — and solar energy and bees.
As part of his new business, Conservation Blueprint, Berthelsen works with solar development companies to create habitats for honey bees and monarch butterflies at solar panel sites. Instead of planting grass that will need to be mowed or trucking in gravel, Berthelsen designs mixtures of native wildflower seeds to plant on the land, determining which plants can grow best in the shade of the solar panels while creating a pollinator paradise, brimming with nectar and pollen.
“That’s the key to successful partnerships — bringing together multiple interests,” Berthelsen says. “At first you might not connect solar panels and pollinators, but it’s easy to combine those, providing solar panels and pollinator health benefits. In my opinion, it’s really a cool combination.”
With habitat loss being the biggest threat to ever declining populations of pollinators (who are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you take) Berthelsen has dedicated his career to providing homes and forage for butterflies and bees. To accomplish this, he recently broke from the security of a steady gig to start his own business — and he’s never been happier.
Falling Far from the Tree
Growing up, Berthelsen was the bug kid. In third grade, his teacher brought an aquarium filled with monarch caterpillars to class; he watched as the insects transformed into chrysalises and erupted into bright orange butterflies before his class released them into the schoolyard. He was hooked.
“There’s virtually nothing I can remember from the third grade, but I do remember that,” Berthelsen says. “I think that experience had a formative impact.”
Berthelsen decided in 10th grade he’d go to college to study wildlife management. Today he and his wife own a 65-acre ranch, where they cultivate pollinator habitats, harvest wildflower seeds, and provide educational tours to demonstrate sustainable farming practices — a far cry from his suburban upbringing.
“I’m an oddity for sure,” he says. “My passion for conservation goes so far back, and it is such an intrinsic part of my makeup that there was never a conscious decision about what I would do with my life. I just always knew.”
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Going Ice Fishing
Berthelsen began his professional career in 1983 by working temp jobs. He bounced around between government organizations like the U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department before landing a job with nonprofit organization Pheasants Forever.
He ended up staying for 27 years, working with corporate, government, and private partners across the country to create and preserve habitats for pheasants. “I loved every minute there and thought I would never leave,” Berthelsen says.
Years into his work with Pheasants Forever, Berthelsen spotted a business opportunity.
“In their mission to develop wildlife habitats and work with private landowners, I saw overlap with pollinators,” he says. “There’s a very clean overlap between what you want for pheasants, quail, honey bees, monarch butterflies, and grassland songbirds. And those overlapping opportunities broaden to include sustainability and water quality, and soil health — pollinators are the glue that connects every single one of those interests.”
He realized there might be a market for working with landowners to design custom habitats crafted to keep pollinators happy and healthy — with the mission of supporting the whole ecosystem. But even with an idea he suspected could both earn a living and make a real difference, Berthelsen put it on the backburner for years.
“I am a very cautious person,” he says. “It took me a while to flip the switch.” In his resignation letter, Berthelsen equated his foray into entrepreneurship to going ice fishing: “It’s early in the season, and I’m not sure how thick the ice is.”
He feared falling through the proverbial ice — but today, his only regret is not taking the plunge sooner.
“I can’t wait to get to work every single day,” he says. “I get to interact with all kinds of different people who have an interest in doing things to benefit wildlife habitat and the environment. I feel like I get to make a difference in something that I am passionate about — how can you do better than that?”
There’s a Seed for That
When it comes to pollinators, not all habitats are created equal. This is a foundational philosophy behind the work of Conservation Blueprint: just because a plant is flowering doesn’t mean it can effectively support honey bees or monarch butterflies.
“Different plants have different qualities,” Berthelsen explains, and each pollinator has unique needs. Monarch butterflies, for example, lay their eggs only on milkweed plants. The very hungry caterpillars chow down on the green leaves, but once they reach the adult stage, they need nectar to survive — which milkweed doesn’t supply.
So if Berthelsen is working with a client who wants to target butterflies, he’ll craft a mix of seeds including milkweed and nectar plants, taking care to include native species and enough variety to keep flowers blooming throughout the growing season. Honey bees, on the other hand, thrive among plants brimming with pollen.
Related: Growing an Herbal Remedy Empire, One Website at a Time
“I’m excited about being able to help people with their objectives, whether they are a commercial beekeeper who wants their bees to be healthier or someone who cares about monarch butterflies,” Berthelsen says. “I design a seed mixture for them to meet their goals. It’s not as simple as, ‘Here are some flowers; the bees will love it.’ You have to be thoughtful to make sure you’re including the plant species that really do provide the maximum value.”
He’s worked with clients from elementary schools and municipalities looking to plant a butterfly garden alongside a playground to farmers wanting to protect a water source.
“A farmer might have a stream running through the area, and they want to plant a buffer between the farmland and the water to filter out the chemicals that are used in agriculture,” he says. “I have seed mixtures that will work here. There’s really a wide range of things where a public, private, or corporate entity could have a need to want to plant something that we can help them with.”
Save the Pollinators
It’s in everyone’s best interest to look out for pollinator habitats.
“A pollinator is anything that gets pollen from the male part of the plant to the female part,” including bats, birds, beetles, along with bees and butterflies, Berthelsen explains. Some plants self-pollinate, but the majority, including 75 percent of the world’s crops, require help from pollinators.
It’s no secret that bee populations have been in decline for years. Problems such as disease, pesticide exposure, and poor nutrition caused by a lack of foraging habitat make it a tough time to be a honey bee. A world without bees would strain to sustain the 7.2 billion-strong human population.
Monarch butterflies are in trouble too. Without any concerted efforts to protect their populations, they have a 60 percent likelihood of extinction in the next 20 years. These butterflies are currently under evaluation for protection under the Endangered Species Act, with a decision expected in June. “It’s sad — we don’t want any species, especially the most iconic insect in the country, to become endangered,” Berthelsen says.
Declining populations are dangerous for crop and plant health, “but we also don’t want the potential ramifications that could come to land management practices that would be an unintended consequence of an Endangered Species Act listing,” Berthelsen says. “It could impact agriculture — when you can spray, what herbicides you can use, roadside mowing. It has the potential to have a significant cascading set of impacts on how agricultural landscapes are managed.”
Save the pollinators and benefit the crops, food supply, and farmers — and it all comes back to habitat. Beyond his business endeavors that support this cause, Berthelsen is engaged in nonprofit work dedicated to making it easier for landowners to build pollinator-friendly habitats. He’s the partnership director for the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund, an organization that collects funding to provide free or reduced priced seed mixtures for qualifying 2-acre-plus projects on “private, public, and corporate land in the Midwest — a region of the country key to honey bee and monarch health,” Berthelsen says.
Spreading the Word . . . with Awesome Web Hosting
The world of social media marketing and website building was a mystery to Berthelsen when he first got started. “I’m just a biologist,” he says. He was able to connect with a web designer to build Conservation Blueprint’s website, and she got everything going for him with DreamHost.
“She’s a very smart, capable person, and she was sold on DreamHost,” he says. “I love it; the design looks great.”
His website greets potential clients with idyllic photos of fields of wildflowers and butterflies resting on blossoms — every one captured by Berthelsen, who’s been dabbling in photography since he took pictures for the high school newspaper. “I’m an amateur, but I’m an OK amateur. If you take enough photos, you’re going to get a couple here and there that are pretty good.”
Related: Want to Build a Website in 2019? Here’s Your Game Plan
Along with his beautiful photography, Berthelsen’s website hosts a series of short pollinator habitat tip videos that he produces and publishes once per month, discussing plant species, how to plant and maintain habitats, and more.
“I don’t want to sound like a dinosaur, but how we communicate is completely different from when I started my career,” he says. “Having a website and communicating with people through two-minute video clips about something that you’re passionate about — people have instant access to you. A website where people are like, ‘Those are some good photos!’ gets somebody to give you one or two more clicks. That’s all part of how you make a difference today.”
Shared Hosting That Powers Your PurposeWhether you’re saving the bees or selling t-shirts, we make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you.Choose Your Plan
Biologists with a love for all things insects are often stereotyped as introverts who’d rather get lost in the woods than speak to a crowd. And this stereotype isn’t wrong, says Berthelsen — it just doesn’t apply to him.
“I’m on multiple national pollinator committees. Through my roles there and with Conservation Blueprint and Bee and Butterfly Fund, I’m speaking somewhere in the country at least once a month.” He hosts national webinars about resource management; speaks to utility companies, state agencies, and departments of transportation; keynotes national beekeeping conferences; and considers himself lucky to have a voice and influence in work he’s passionate about. “It’s just another part of what makes my job so enjoyable, talking about these subjects with such a wide range of people.”
He’s less than two years into Conservation Blueprint and is more than happy with its success. “I’m focused on building Conservation Blueprint into something that is impactful, makes a difference, and keeps food on the table — and all three of those things are happening.”
Even better, Berthelsen has found a perfect blending of his passions: sustainable ranching, harvesting and growing prairie seeds, and teaching people from all walks about wildlife habitats. “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to thread the needle to where the things that I’m personally passionate about mesh very cleanly with my work, and to me, that’s the holy grail.”
What You Can Do to Help?
This year, give the environment an Earth Day surprise — take your own steps to support healthier pollinators. Even if you don’t own huge tracts of land, Berthelsen offers these tips:
1. Plant a Pollinator-friendly Garden
Berthelsen has 65 acres of pollinator habitat on his property — but you don’t need 65 acres to make a difference. “You don’t even need one acre,” he says “If you build it, they will come. Gardens and parks and backyards can all collectively have a significant impact on pollinator health.”
Remember, not all flowers are created equal. Instead of going for pansies or geraniums in your front yard or porch container garden, plant milkweed or bee-friendly sunflowers and lavender. Monarch butterfly habitats span much of North America, so chances are there’s some nearby that would appreciate your efforts. Look for species of milkweed, nectar, and pollen plants that grow natively in your area and plant your own backyard pollinator habitat.
2. Lobby Local Organizations
Is your city building a new park? Are you on the PTA at your kid’s school? Is your workplace campus updating the landscaping? Suggest to the right people that room is made for pollinator-friendly flora. If you are the right person in these or similar scenarios, make restoring habitats a priority.
3. Support Nonprofits
If you want to help out even more, Berthelsen suggests promoting opportunities and organizations that benefit pollinators. For example, happen to know someone in the Midwest who has two acres of land to manage? Let them know about the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund’s free seed mixtures. Track down nonprofits and other groups, especially ones near you, that are working to restore pollinator habitats and find out how you can volunteer, contribute, or donate.
The post How Conservation Blueprint is Saving the World, One Wildflower Seed at a Time appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.
Though a WordPress hosting plan can be affordable, there are several other aspects to consider when choosing one. Not all plans are created equal, and the same goes for the companies offering them.
In order to determine if a plan is not only affordable but worth the cost, we need to examine a few of the add-ons that can come with this type of plan.
WordPress is the world’s biggest content management system and has more websites built on its platform than any other drag-and-drop or simple web builder site.
Continue reading Is WordPress Hosting Affordable? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
When should you move up to VPS hosting? Creating a website is so fast and easy now that you really don’t need to put a lot of planning into it.
(It’s better if you do, but certainly not required.)
You could theoretically grab a domain and shared hosting for a few bucks and instantly have a WordPress blog. It only takes a few minutes.
VPS Hosting Down the Road
Any website that has gained significant traffic is going to require an upgrade to VPS hosting.
Continue reading When Should You Upgrade to VPS Hosting? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Consumers want to feel connected to the brands they buy. Lifestyle brands take advantage of this fact and make it easy for consumers to envision their product as part of a larger identity.
If you’re an eCommerce company, one of the simplest ways you can tap into the power of the lifestyle brand is to opt for lifestyle product photography: product images with a warm, breezy, and familiar aesthetic, usually in a styled setting.
This look is best achieved with natural light rather than studio lighting because natural light can help make your products look the way they do in real life. As an added benefit, natural lighting photography doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment, extensive photography training, or hiring a photographer.
In this post, we’ll go over how to capture incredible images without the use of studio lighting equipment, as well as our best natural light photography tips.
Get industry-leading tips on photography for your store. Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter and get content like this sent straight to your inbox.
The Basics of Natural Light Photography
You don’t need to take a lengthy course on photography to capture quality images in natural light, but there are a few camera settings you should be familiar with before beginning:
Aperture is the size of the opening in your camera lens that lets in different amounts of light. The aperture is measured in f-stops. The higher the f-stop, the narrower the size of the opening and the less light is let into the camera. A higher f-stop will result in photos where more is in focus (think Ansel Adams). A lower f-stop means less will be in focus which can put more emphasis on your product.
Shutter speed refers to the length of time the shutter on your camera stays open when taking a photo. Fast shutter speeds can “freeze” motion at a single moment with no blur. Slow shutter speeds do the opposite — often leading to intentionally (and artfully) blurred photos. You can have shutter speeds as quick as 1/100th of a second, or as slow as a couple of seconds depending on what look you want.
Adjusting each of these settings will help you get the right exposure, or the right amount of light and darkness, in your images. If you’re not comfortable adjusting these settings on your own, you can always turn to the automatic or program settings built into your camera.
Equipment You Need for Natural Lighting Photography
While you won’t need to purchase thousands of dollars of studio lighting, you do need the following essentials when shooting natural light photos:
A DSLR camera. This is a type of camera that is an important step above a regular point-and-shoot digital camera. A DSLR camera has adjustable settings and changeable lenses to modify both the aperture and shutter speed to optimize for natural light.
A tripod. Using a tripod ensures that your photos aren’t blurry and the framing for each product is identical because it will keep the camera completely still throughout your photoshoot.
A reflector. This is something you can use to reflect the light in a different direction if needed. If you’re on a budget, you can use white foam boards from your local craft store. Professional reflectors are available for a purchase price ranging from $15 to $300.
Natural Light Photography Tips
How to best photograph in natural light depends on many variables: whether you are indoors or outdoors, how cloudy it is, and the time of day.
Photographing With Indoor Window Light
When indoors, the natural light source will likely be from a window. This means the light will be soft and coming from one side.
Here are our tips for working with window light:
Have your subject or product face toward the window, not away. This reduces the chance for shadows.
Try to find a long window so that the light isn’t only coming from above.
Use a reflector to even out the light. Place the reflector at an angle opposite to the source of natural light.
Photographing on Cloudy Days vs. Bright and Sunny Days
Your photos will look drastically different on an overcast day than they do on a day with full sun.
Many photographers love the soft, even light of cloudy days. These images have a bluish tone and there is little contrast. This type of natural light is ideal for any photos involving models or products with muted colors.
Sunny days have strong, direct light which can cause harsh shadows. However, when done right, this type of natural light can be powerful. It’s best for wide, distant photos or for up-close images of products with contrasting patterns or textures.
Here are a few tips for working with each type of light.
Be extra vigilant for changes in light as the clouds may be shifting constantly.
As a rule of thumb, widen your aperture setting by decreasing your f-stops by two or three. This can help increase the contrast between your subject or product and the background.
One photographer suggests setting your ISO between 50 and 100, the f-stop at f/16, and choosing a fast shutter speed of 1/100th of a second to optimize exposure on bright days.
Use a neutral density filter to reduce the light coming into your camera. The filter works like sunglasses for your camera lens.
Photographing During Different Times of Day
Because you’re relying on the sun for light, the time of day heavily impacts how your images look as the sun moves through the sky. There are three main changes in light every day: golden hour, midday sun. and twilight.
Golden hour occurs twice a day, one hour after the sun rises and one hour before it sets. The distinctive “golden” tone of the light at this time is what gave it its name. Here are our tips for photographing during golden hour:
Come highly prepared with how and where you want to photograph because you only have an hour to get all your shots.
Don’t use the automatic setting on your camera, because it “corrects” for the special light you are there to capture. Instead, set your aperture and shutter speed manually. If you aren’t confident with manual settings, choose the “cloudy” or “shade” automatic setting.
During most of the day, the sun is almost directly overhead, creating shadows and harsh light. This means you may have to work harder to find a position that doesn’t have shadows. On the other hand, the bright light is ideal for photographing texture or action shots. Here are our tips for photographing during midday sun:
Avoid shadows by shooting in the shade, underneath a porch or tree.
Use a neutral density filter to avoid washed-out images (as discussed for photographing on sunny days).
Similar to the golden hour, twilight occurs twice a day. The first time is about 20 minutes before the sun rises, and the second is about 20 minutes after it sets. The light during twilight is dark and blue, but it’s not yet as dark as night. Here are our tips for photographing during twilight:
When you need to get an up-close photo, don’t use the zoom on your lens. Instead, walk up to the subject or product. This way, you eliminate the shaking that’s amplified through zoom, especially in low light. You may need the help of a tripod to eliminate blur from movement.
Use a lens with a much faster shutter speed than usual to capture crisp photos in low light.
Find the Natural Light That Best Aligns With Your Brand
Some people will tell you to always photograph during golden hour, while others will extol the benefits of photographing indoors with natural light streaming through a window. What really matters, however, is that your lifestyle product photography ultimately aligns with your brand.
Experiment with different types of photos taken in different types of natural light to find the image look that communicates the feeling you’re brand needs to convey.
Need an eCommerce Hosting Solution?
Managed WooCommerce Hosting from Liquid Web comes standard with image compression which will keep your images looking excellent while retaining site speed, along with premium plugins from IconicWP which will enable more functionality for your product pages to shine.
The post Beginner’s Guide to Natural Light Photography for Lifestyle Brands appeared first on Liquid Web.
Website trends come and go but one that seems to be here to stay is the one page website. For companies that offer just a single product or service, or those looking for a simple way to generate brand awareness, one pagers are a fast and easy solution.
Still, many business owners worry that a one page website may not function as well as a “regular” website, or that it will be lacking in key features.
Continue reading Will a QuickStarter Website Function as Well as a Normal Website? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Considering about one-third of all websites are built using WordPress, it should come as no surprise that a lot of people are looking for the best WordPress hosting platform. And because of this heavy demand, there are plenty of options when it comes to these hosting plans.
One of the best WordPress hosting providers on the market is InMotion Hosting. Let’s take a look at exactly what InMotion offers and how you can optimize your website by trusting your website with them.
Continue reading The Main Reason InMotion Hosting is Considered the BEST WordPress Hosting Provider at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
If you’ve started putting together a website for your small business, chances are you’re using WordPress as your content management system (CMS) and you’ve also probably heard about WordPress hosting.
WordPress has almost cornered the market on website creation. In fact, over 33% of all sites on the Internet are powered by WordPress. That’s why it’s such a good idea to consider a hosting platform that is completely devoted to WordPress.
Let’s look at what is available in terms of hosting, so you can see why devoted WordPress hosting makes the most sense.
Continue reading The Benefits of WordPress Hosting at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Wondering how to start a blog? If you’re looking for ways to reach your audience and build relationships with influencers, a blog is a great way to do it. Even better? It can help you earn some passive income on the side.
But how do you start a blog? And once you start it, how do you actually build up an audience?
It might seem like a daunting process, but it’s easier than you might think.
Continue reading How to Start a Blog and Impact Others | Influencer Blogging at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
In the ever-changing landscape of online marketing, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed.
Email marketing works, and it works well.
It drives the highest ROI of all B2B strategies. In fact, studies show that email marketing campaigns earn $44 for every $1 spent. Nice.
With email analytics, the more you know, the better, so you need to have a handle on your email marketing analytics.
When it comes to email marketing, it’s crucial to understand exactly how your audience is interacting with the content showing up in their inbox. In this post, we will explore how to track and interpret results for key email marketing metrics.
Google Analytics Email Tracking 101
Using Google Analytics for email tracking is an essential tool.
Once you set up tracking, you’ll be able to see how well links in your emails are performing, what percentage of your traffic is opting into your list, where visitors are converting on your site, and more.
Get industry-leading tips on email strategies and tactics for your store. Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter and get content like this sent straight to your inbox.
Here’s how to set up your email marketing analytics:
First, set up eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics.
Next, work within your email software provider to connect it with your Google Analytics. For example, with MailChimp it’s as easy as going to their Integrations page and authorizing Google Analytics, and then checking a box that enables link tracking when you set up your campaigns.
Once you set up the connection, you’ll be able to see sales that were driven by your email campaigns directly from your email software provider’s dashboard.
It’s not just your analytics tracking and email marketing conversion rate you should be monitoring. There are lots of other goals to consider.
Three Ways to Get Google Analytics Connected to Your WordPress Site
Integrate with Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytics Integration with Managed WooCommerce Hosting
6 Email Marketing Metrics (and How to Work Them Out)
Before jumping right into a campaign, it is important to define the goals and KPI metrics you want to accomplish and which metrics you need to track to work toward those goals.
Let’s explore your options (plus the formulas to work them out).
1) Open Rate
Open rate is the number of emails opened compared to the total amount delivered.
The sender name and subject line affect the open rate most, so make sure to test these variables. Then write copy that makes people actually want to open the message:
Adding “You’re nearly out of time …” creates a sense of urgency and makes people want to open that email to avoid missing out on the offer.
2) Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the number of clicks on the links in an email message, divided by the number of emails delivered.
For a good click-through rate, you want to pay close attention to the email content, particularly the images, copy, and calls-to-action:
Not only does this content stand out, it’s personal too. Using “your deals” makes people feel they will lose something if they don’t click through.
When it comes to CTR, you want to test the wording and styling of your call-to-action (CTA), content layout, and images often.
3) Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of email addresses that returned an error after they were sent.
These errors fall into two camps:
Hard bounce (permanent) – invalid (or non-existent) email addresses that will never get the message.
Soft bounce (temporary) – full inboxes, out of office notifications, or temporary server issues. If resolved, the email will be delivered.
Monitoring bounce rates is a good habit to build for a few reasons. For starters, higher than average bounce rates may point to a larger problem such as:
An issue with a specific email client
Incorrect input or upload of the email addresses
Fake/dummy email addresses resulting from ineffective collection methods
Don’t forget: Hard bounce rates are a key indicator used by internet service providers (ISPs) to determine sender reputation. Always clean up your email lists promptly when these issues crop up. If you don’t, your email account could be frozen.
4) Conversion Rate
Every email you send should have a clear action you would like users to perform:
Make a purchase
Read an article on your blog
Fill out a subscription form
Request a quote
Sign up for an event or webinar
Email conversion rate measures how effective your email is, in relation to your objective. Always be aware of this and how it averages at different times and levels.
The conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers who complete a desired action (or become customers). It really depends on your conversion goal.
Here’s how to calculate your email conversion rate:
(Number of users who have completed the action / Emails delivered) x 100
Calculating your conversion rate is a two-step equation.
Divide the number of signups (or purchases) by the total number of successful emails deliveries.
Multiply that number by 100.
Once you’ve got your head around your email conversion rate, you can compare it to industry benchmarks to see how it stacks up.
Experiment with different CTAs and monitor the effects on your conversion rate.
5) Opt-Out / Unsubscribe Rate
Having people unsubscribe from your email list is inevitable.
Keeping track of these trends is important for you to understand why your audience may not be engaging. Ideally, you want the number of unsubscribes to be lower than the number of new users.
If this rate rises, it’s time to do some digging. Examine your list-building tactics, email content, and sending schedule. Are you making any obvious mistakes that could be causing your audience to scroll past your emails? If nothing jumps out at you as an immediate problem to fix, consider running A/B tests to work out why.
Some aspects of email testing can include:
Email content formatting
CTAs within emails
One way to determine what to test is to simply ask people why they opted-out. Email service providers usually allow you to survey users who unsubscribe. Your survey doesn’t have to be super complex, just offer subscribers a few possible reasons to choose and reply:
6) Overall ROI
We’ve saved the best for last.
Return on investment (ROI) puts the key in key metrics. Accurately monitoring ROI directly measures the cost-effectiveness of an email campaign.
Why? Because if you know how much you earn from your emails, and how much it costs to send them, you know how much you can invest in future campaigns and predict future earnings.
If your emails generate $20,000 in sales every month, and the cost of producing and sending emails is $1,000/month, your ROI is 1900 percent.
(If this sounds high, it’s actually lower than the average of 4400 percent. There’s a reason email is still so popular.)
In fact, your functional ROI may even be higher. Not all of your sales are going to convert directly from the emails you send. Sometimes people see an email, click the link, and come back to it later, but it’s still possible to get an approximate ROI through Google Analytics via assisted conversions.
So What Can I Learn From My Email Analytics?
There are lots of other email marketing metrics to consider, but you want to focus on metrics that are important to your business.
What do these important metrics actually tell you? And what can you learn from your email analytics? (I’m glad you asked.)
Who is reading your email? – Check your email reports to see the number of people who opened your email. Note your most engaged audience members and perhaps reward them with a loyalty discount.
What did your subscribers like in your email? – Have a look at your click-through rate and unique clicks to see what content your list is liking the most. This will help guide you when it comes to creating content. If a topic is getting a lot of attention, it makes sense to produce more and feed your audience’s interest.
When’s the best time to email? – Find the sending schedule that gets the most engagement. Once you know, stick to it and be consistent so your audience starts to expect your emails.
On what device are people reading your email? – Find out whether people are reading your emails on mobile or desktop, then make sure you are using a responsive email template.
Get Even Better Email Tracking With Managed Hosting
Monitoring and analysis are essential to get the most out of every email marketing campaign.
Always be tracking. When it comes to your email analytics, there are three things you want to keep in mind.
Make sure you can measure email performance
Make sure your email list is healthy
Make sure you are progressing toward your goals
If you can keep on top of all three, you are on track for an awesome email marketing campaign.
Managed WooCommerce Hosting from Liquid Web comes standard with Glew, an eCommerce reporting platform that automatically tracks your sales channel ROI, product sales data, and customer lifetime value.
Glew helps you grow revenue is by creating segments based on different factors like purchase histories or physical location. Segmentation is a highly effective way to get your customers to open your emails and click through to your store.
Get Started With Email Analytics Today
With a store powered by Managed WooCommerce Hosting and analytics through Glew.io, your store will be able to create customer segments, customize marketing emails easily, and generate more customers.
The post Email Analytics: How to Track What’s Working and What Isn’t appeared first on Liquid Web.
Last week, we sat down (or rather stood up) with Elisia of Teddy V Patiserrie based in Austin, Texas. She...
The post Teddy V Cookies: A Budding Business with a Pinch of Sugar appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.
Speed is king on the internet, and it is no different when it comes to WordPress Hosting. In order to keep your website relevant and visitors coming back, you need a smooth user experience. To ensure this positive experience you need speed and a host that can provide that speed.
There are many aspects of speed to consider when choosing the correct plan for your website. Read through our handy guide to see what we mean and to help you choose the best plan for you.
Continue reading The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Quickest WordPress Hosting at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.