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How to Use Your Company Culture as a Marketing Tool

Pickaweb Blog -

Exchanging stories is something us humans have been doing for centuries. Think carefully about your favorite novels or television shows, perhaps it’s To Kill a Mockingbird, or maybe Game of Thrones? No matter what platform is used to tell these stories, there’s obviously something deeply personal about why a narrative has you hooked and keeps The post How to Use Your Company Culture as a Marketing Tool appeared first on Pickaweb.

New gTLD – October 2019

Reseller Club Blog -

We’re officially in the final quarter with October marking its beginning. Let us have a peek into how our domains have performed. .TOP, .SITE, .XYZ and .ONLINE remained consistent in their performance by securing the top 4 spots respectively while .SPACE made it to the fifth spot with a 42% spike in its registration numbers. Moreover, .ICU contributed 184% of the total registrations making it the most significant contribution to the total new gTLD count. Let’s now glance at the new gTLDs that made it to the top 15 during the month of October. !function(e,i,n,s){var t="InfogramEmbeds",d=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement("script");o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src="https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js",d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async"); New gTLD Report – October2019Infogram *Registration Numbers Facilitated by ResellerClub .TOP: .TOP has maintained its consistency and performance by securing the first spot in terms of registrations since the past four months. The new gTLD ran at a promo price of $0.99 and contributed to 27% of the total registration share. Interestingly the China market can be attributed to making sure .TOP retains its top spot with its registration count. .SITE: .SITE was able to retain its second spot with a total registration count of 24%. This new gTLD was being sold at the promo price of $4.99 and saw a 30% spike in the number of registrations.  .XYZ: With a 7% share in the overall registration count, .XYZ secured the third spot in the top 5 list. The promo price of $ 0.99 has been the reason for the surge of this new gTLD in the Global markets*.  .ONLINE: Next in line, is .ONLINE that contributed a total of 6% to the total registration count. This new gTLD was running at a promo price of $6.99 and the majority of the registrations can be attributed to the Global markets*. .SPACE: With a promo price of $1.99 .SPACE is back in the top 5 list with a 42% total spike in its registration numbers. This new gTLD now assumes the fifth spot with a 4% total registration count. The increase in the number of registration of .SPACE can be credited to the Global markets*. The registrations of .ICU saw a jump of 184% in the total registration count. Along with this, .EMAIL was able to move to the eight spot by contributing a total registration count of 3%. .BEST was also able to make it to ninth spot with a 75% jump in its registrations which can be attributed to the India market. Here’s a quick glance into the exciting domain promos we’ve got lined up for the month of November: Help your customer’s build a website for their business today with a .TODAY domain at just $3.49 Grow your customers business with a .LIFE domain at just $3.49 Help excel your customers’ business with .WIN domain at just $2.99 That’s all folks! Check out all our leading domain promos and help your customer’s 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!  *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 – October 2019 appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Improving Backend Performance by 20%

WP Engine -

Here’s an exciting update—last week, we converted ~300,000 customer installs to PHP 7.3. These conversions were not undertaken due to any sort of PHP end of life we’re following, or any concerns we have with people continuing to use PHP 7.2. Instead, we initiated this conversion to make sure our customers had access to the… The post Improving Backend Performance by 20% appeared first on WP Engine.

A Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research

HostGator Blog -

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research appeared first on HostGator Blog. After all that work you put into creating your website, now that it’s live you’re worried it’s not getting enough traction. The web is full of sites competing for traffic. To get people to visit yours, you need to do online marketing. One of the first concepts you’ll encounter as you get started with online marketing tactics is keyword research.  What is Keyword Research? Keyword research is the process of learning which terms people use when searching for topics in your industry. It’s a way to understand what your audience is looking for when online, as well as the specific language they use to search for it.  Performing keyword research will help you learn a few main things: How popular your keywords are – Keyword research tools provide estimates for the number of searches people perform for keywords, as well as the number of clicks the results get. How competitive they are – Equally important is understanding how hard a keyword is to rank for. SEO tools also provide data on how competitive keywords are. For PPC, that includes estimates for how much the keyword costs per click (CPC).Other, similar keywords people are searching for – Part of keyword research is building out a list of all the relevant keywords you want to target in your campaigns. Keyword research helps you find more terms related to the list you start out with. What sort of search engine results show up for that keyword now – Not all search engine results pages (SERP) are created equal. It’s important to understand when the results for a page are dominated by ads vs organic results, and when rich results like featured snippets and map clusters show up.  Why Keyword Research is Important Keyword research is the cornerstone of two of the most important types of online marketing: pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO).  In SEO, the goal is to get your website to rank for keywords your audience is actually searching for. Most SEO tasks revolve around using keywords to help Google and the other search engines understand what each page on your website is about, so they know which searches to include your website in the results for. Similarly, in search PPC marketing, all the campaigns you set up will target specific keywords. How much you pay is based on the popularity of the keywords you target and the quality of the traffic will depend on how relevant the keywords you choose are to your campaign goals.  In addition to its necessity for both these tactics, keyword research is also a valuable tool for understanding your target audience better. Knowing what they’re searching for tells you something about what they care about, what questions they have, and what they’re thinking. That’s important information for shaping a successful marketing strategy. You can use it when creating customer personas, planning out topics to cover in your content marketing, and even when figuring out which products to sell.   Types of Keywords Keyword research tools provide information about how popular and competitive keywords are, but beyond that information you also want to think about the different types of keywords. Understanding the differences between them and when best to use each type in campaigns is important for marketing success.  Keyword Relevance Types There are two categories of types of keywords. The first is related to relevance. It includes: 1. Head terms  These are the keywords that will look the most valuable to you at first glance, because they have a high popularity and describe what your brand does at a general level. Some examples of head terms are “pizza delivery” (550,000 searches a month), or “accounting software” (60,500 searches a month). For those respective types of businesses, these are obvious keywords to want to rank for.   Here’s an example of head terms related to “floral delivery”: Head terms are often worth including in your strategy, but they’re generally so competitive that they will take a long time and a lot of work to rank for, if you ever do. For that reason, they shouldn’t be the only keywords you include. 2. Long-tail keywords Long-tail keywords are more specific and often include several words. For that reason, they’re less popular, but also far less competitive. These are easier to rank for and are therefore an important part of an SEO strategy. As you start to gain rankings for long-tail keywords, it helps boost your SEO authority, which will help you gain the head terms as well.  Long-tail keywords sometimes only get 10 or 20 average monthly searches, or even less. But even so, they can help you gain valuable, relevant traffic as you’re working to build your website’s authority. Examples of long-tail keywords include “24 hour pizza delivery austin” (30 searches a month) and “best accounting software small business” (76 searches a month). Here are some more specific long-tail keywords a doorbell company might target: Keyword Intent Types The second category of keyword types has to do with intent. This includes: Informational keywords  These are keywords people use when searching for the answer to a question. You won’t necessarily get visitors to your website that are ready to buy from these, but they’re still an important part of an SEO strategy as they give you a way to reach more people in your target audience.  These keywords are most useful for crafting a content marketing strategy where you focus on helping your audience as a way to build trust in your brand. Visitors who like your content are more likely to remember your brand fondly next time they see you or, even better, sign up for your email list to hear more from you. This includes keywords like “how to make pizza crust” or “small business accounting 101.”  Navigational keywords These are the keywords people use when they already have a specific destination in mind. You could also think of them as branded keywords. You definitely want to rank for your brand name when people search it, since at that point they’re specifically looking for you. Examples of navigational keywords are “pizza hut” or “freshbooks.”  Anyone searching for those terms already knows what website they want to find and have simply decided Google is the easiest way to get there. The good news is that it’s usually easy to start ranking for relevant navigational keywords, unless you have a really common brand name.  You can also use navigational keywords in PPC campaigns to try to capture traffic that would otherwise go to your competitor. For example, if Domino’s wanted to try and lure business away from Pizza Hut, they could bid on the keyword “pizza hut” so their website shows up above Pizza Hut’s in the search engine results for the term. If you notice competitors bidding on your navigational keywords, it may be worth investing in a PPC campaign targeting your own brand name in order to beat them.  Transactional keywords These are the most valuable keywords to target, since they’re the terms people use when they already know they want to buy something. This includes terms like “pizza delivery near me.” By the time someone is searching that term, it usually means they’re already hungry and trying to figure out which option will get a pizza to them soon.     These are some of the best terms to target in PPC campaigns, since they’re more likely to result in sales and provide you an ROI. But they also tend to be the most expensive ones to bid on, since your competitors will recognize them as transactional as well.  Commercial investigation This category is related to transactional, but usually just one step removed from when a person is ready to purchase, when they’re still trying to decide between a few different options. This comes into play for any type of product that requires advance research. Examples include “pizza place reviews” or “accounting software comparison.” These are valuable keywords because you know the person doing the search is thinking about buying. Often they’re hard for brands to rank for in organic search, because they’re more likely to go to third-party websites that provide a more neutral view, such as Yelp or industry publications. But they can still be worth targeting in your SEO strategy, and are definitely useful for PPC campaigns.   Local keywords For local businesses, SEO and PPC are a whole other game than for businesses with a broader geographic audience. Google recognizes when searchers are most likely to be looking for location-specific results, and the SERP looks entirely different as a result. In particular, Google’s map results usually take over the top of the page. Local keywords include terms like “salt lake city accounting firm” or “italian food near me.” The good news for local businesses is that local keywords are less competitive for both SEO and PPC. That means targeting them will save you money on your PPC campaigns, and you can potentially make it to page one with SEO faster. That doesn’t mean local keywords are never competitive. A term like “manhattan real estate” may be local, but you can bet a lot of  businesses are vying for it. Even so, for any business that targets local customers, they’re definitely important to include in your strategy.  How to Do Keyword Research Now you know the basics of what keyword research is. Here’s how you actually do it.  1. Brainstorm a list of terms relevant to your business. Start by sitting down and writing out a list of all the terms you can think of related to your business, industry, products, and the problems they solve. Think of both the terms you usually use as an industry insider, as well as those you think people less familiar with the business would use. This is your starter list. 2. Select your keyword research tools. To figure out the value of the keywords on your list and identify others to consider in your strategy, you need keyword research tools. And you have a lot to choose from.  Some of the top tools to consider are: Google’s Keyword Planner – This is the most powerful free tool available for keyword research. Google provides data on average monthly searches for keywords, competition levels, estimated CPC for PPC ads, and related keyword suggestions.Keywords Everywhere – A free browser plug-in available in both Chrome and Firefox, this puts relevant keyword data right on the SERP every time you do a search. You’ll see average searches and competition levels for your search term, as well as for a list of related keywords.Answer the Public – With this free tool, you can plug in any relevant keyword and the tool will produce a list of related keywords based on categories like questions, prepositions, and comparisons. Moz – This is a paid SEO tool that provides a range of features, including a sophisticated keyword research tool. You can get 10 keyword searches a month with a free account, or upgrade to the paid version for more. Ahrefs – This is another popular paid tool that provides rich data on different keywords and suggestions for related terms. SEMrush – This tool provides limited keyword data when you do a free search, and you can unlock more by upgrading to the paid version. (pictured below) You can get a lot of good information from the free keyword research tools on this list, but for businesses really serious about SEO and PPC, investing in one of the paid products is usually worth it for the additional information you gain and the time you save.  3. Build out your list with tools and research. Once you’ve selected your tools, go back to your keyword list. Plug the terms from your starter list into the keyword research tools to gain data on each of them. You’ll find that a lot of the keywords on your initial list aren’t necessarily worth keeping, and your tools will provide additional keywords you hadn’t thought of to add in their place. Keep in mind here that keyword research tools don’t have our human skill at recognizing relevance, so don’t assume every suggestion they deliver is worth adding to your list. Think about if makes sense for your brand and audience.  In addition to keyword research tools, spend some time at this stage supplementing the data with additional research from three sources: Google SERPs – Google will deliver more keyword suggestions to you in a few places: the autofill dropdown list that appears when you start typing, the People Also Ask section that shows up for some searches, and the Searches Related To section at the bottom of the page. In addition, pay attention to what shows up on the SERP in terms of ads and rich features like featured snippets. Some terms that seem valuable for SEO based on search volume could be less so if the SERP is dominated by rich features and ads that push the organic results further down the page.Competitor websites – Your competitors have already done keyword research, You can benefit from their experience by analyzing the keywords they target on their main pages and in their content. Customer research – Keyword research tools may provide you some information on what your customers are thinking, but you can learn even more by going straight to the source. Send out customer surveys, and analyze user reviews to see how your audience talks about your products and those sold by your competitors. You’ll gain knowledge of the kind of questions they’re asking, how they use your products, and the features or benefits they value most—all of which will result in more relevant keyword ideas.  4. Organize your keywords. At this stage, you’ll have a solid list of keywords along with data on each of them. Now you’ll want to work out a system for organizing the information you have so you can use it in building out your marketing strategy.  You can do this with a simple spreadsheet, or with the help of one of the keyword tools you selected. Categorize your keywords based on factors like popularity, competitiveness, SERP details, topic categories, and intent. When you can sort your keywords based on each of these categories, you’ll be better able to analyze which ones to focus on in different campaigns and tactics.  5. Incorporate keywords into your marketing strategies. Here’s where all your work pays off.  For SEO, use your keyword research to select a primary keyword for each page of your website. Perform on-site optimization by looking for natural opportunities to add the keyword to all relevant parts of the page, such as the URL, meta tags, headings, and page copy. Be careful not to overdo it here—only use your keyword where it makes sense naturally.  Once you’ve done that for all the existing pages on your website, use the keywords left on your list to build out a strategy for creating new pages with quality content optimized for each of them. And get to work on a link-building strategy that targets high-authority websites that publish content related to your keywords.  For PPC, build out ad campaigns based on your chosen keywords. Prioritize keywords here that have transactional or commercial investigation intent, and carefully consider the value of each keyword as compared to it’s estimated CPC. Since you pay for every click with PPC, your ROI is closely tied to the cost of the keywords you choose here.  6. Analyze your results. With both PPC and SEO, you’ll gain data as you go based on the results you get. Pay attention to the analytics provided by Google Ads, Google Analytics, and any SEO tool you invest in. Pay attention not only to clicks, but also to which of those visitors turn into customers. You may find that some keywords you thought were valuable don’t drive the right traffic, and aren’t worth your time and money. And you may be surprised that some long-tail keywords that seemed low priority produce more customers than the head terms you thought were worth more. Use that data to continually refine your PPC and SEO strategies so you get better results over time. Keyword Research is Powerful Keyword research is a powerful tool to understand your customers better and craft online marketing strategies that get results. You can save time and money by identifying the best keywords for your brand early on in your efforts, and building your strategy around what you learn.   Ready to put together a solid keyword research strategy for your business? Let the SEO experts at HostGator help! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Using the Bullseye Method to Market Your Business

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Ever had a hard time finding new clients? Even if you’ve been running your business for years, it can be hard to find work sometimes. Many people start looking for new markets to target when times are lean, but the truth is that many times most of your existing market doesn’t know your name. Seth Godin says it well in The Dip: Sure, some of the people in a market have considered you (and even rejected you). But most of the people in the market have never even heard of you. The market doesn’t have just one mind. Different people in the market are seeking different things.” Today we’re going to look at some of the methods you can use to reach that overwhelming portion of your market that doesn’t know you yet, including the bullseye marketing method. Subscribe to the Liquid Web weekly newsletter to get more Web Professional content like this sent straight to your inbox. Find Your Personality When many businesses get started, they default to bland marketing speak. Even solo business owners like myself fall into this trap as they try to sound bigger and more serious than they are. Unfortunately this type of marketing language makes you sound like a cardboard cutout, and few people are going to be willing to hire you. In an entertaining retrospective, Jack McDade founder of Statamic talked about the impact that adding personality to the branding for his product had in 2017. From 2013- 2017, Stamatic had a slow climb in popularity. Once he added his 80’s branding aesthetic to the website’s design, it stood out from all the flat designs out there. This re branding translated into more sales and brand recognition. Similarly, I use Lego images and talk about my kids and mountain running on my site because that’s who I am. Remember, your clients are hiring you, not an agency where people may change throughout the project. I even take my personality into my contracts, which talk about maple syrup fights and shiny gold plated billing robots (doesn’t that sound like more fun to read than a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo?). Enjoy New Pitches When I started adding personality to my work I also started getting hilarious pitches from potential customers. One spent three paragraphs talking about their favorite cyclist in the Tour De France that year because they read a post about my cycling habits. This inclusion of personality has also meant that years after I’ve worked with some clients we are still emailing a few times a year to check up on how each other are doing in their running or triathlons. These are the long-term connections that continue to bring in referrals. I know that you’re wondering if too much personality can scare off some clients; yes it will. I’ve had people read my contract and then say they would never work with someone that used a contract like mine. Remember, that you should be working with your ideal clients, so this filters out some of the people that aren’t the best fit with the way I work.” Your goal should never be to win every prospect that comes in the door, but to play the long game of having a business that you still enjoy running in a decade. That means you work with the customers that fit with your long-term vision best. Establish Your Single Metric That Matters Before we can dig into the act of marketing, we need to determine what the single metric that matters for us is. Start With Website Traffic When you’re starting, it’s likely simple traffic to your site because it’s a decent starting measure for how much of the existing market knows you. It’s also true that without some type of traffic you won’t be able to start to test any of the other types of metrics that can be used. To track traffic you can use pretty much any analytics package such as Google Analytics, WordPress Stats, or Fathom. The key is for you to be able to identify when a marketing effort is yielding more traffic to your site, and what types of content are yielding the best retention on your site. One caution here is that you don’t just want any traffic. A number of years ago StumbleUpon was a huge driver of traffic to sites and I got lots of requests from clients to make sure that they could get that traffic. The problem was that StumbleUpon was random traffic to your site. Sure there was some filters for preference, but most of the traffic wasn’t looking for your product. They were simply bored and clicked a button to take them to a random website. This wasn’t quality traffic that would create new business. The likelihood of getting a decent lead out of those thousands of visits in a day was unlikely. All it did was cost you money in hosting as you used up valuable server resources on people that didn’t care about you or what you had to offer. Look At Conversions Once you have some traffic, it’s time to start looking at conversions. You don’t only want traffic. Ultimately, you want people that are interested in your products or services. Prospects signal that they are interested by signing up for your email lists, joining your forums, or leaving comments on your site.” The king of these types of metrics is the email list subscription, because despite so many people talking about the demise of email, it’s by far the best medium for conversion of people into paying customers. When you have a steady stream of minor conversions, it’s time to start looking at a major conversions, which is turning users into paying customers. Here you need to know what your current rate of leads is and then focus in on the methods that help increase this number (which requires analytics). Remember, your goal is to build a system that allows you to hit your goals in a repeatable fashion. If you’re focusing on traffic, knowing how to use ads or content regularly to get people to view your site is key. For conversions, focus on downloadable content or other things that consistently entice people to raise their hand to say they’re interested in what you have to offer. When it’s time to focus on getting paying customers, try refining your email sequences to increase the number of people that purchase. Ultimately, all of these metrics are a cycle. At some point you’ll hit a plateau in your traffic, and you can then move to getting more conversions until you hit a plateau there. Then you can start to look at turning your existing leads into clients. Once that seems to have plateaued and you’ve got process to consistently convert people into paying customers, you’ll head back to traffic and try some of the different methods listed below to optimize from the top down once more. Focus Your Marketing For each type of marketing metric you’re currently focusing on, you can use the same method to figure out which marketing method is going to be the best option for you to use currently. Maybe you’ll start with content marketing for traffic, but then need to move to PR as your business grows because PR does a better job at converting people to your email list. You start by testing all the ways that you can market your business and see which one moves the metric you’re currently targeting. Next, try these two steps to really dial in your efforts: Once you can say that two or three are doing the best job at hitting your goals, you focus on those few until you have a clear marketing tool that is performing best. Once you have that single focus, take your other top items and get them to feed into your main one so that they work together. Let’s look at this in practice for each type of metric focus. Bullseye Marketing for Traffic Photo by icon0.com When we’re trying to generate traffic (awareness of our work) content is often king. That is writing content, or doing videos, that speak well to your target market. That means you’re entering the world of content marketing. Let’s assume that in your initial tests, blog content was indeed the best option for bringing more traffic to your site. While building a full content marketing plan is outside the scope of this post, Liquid Web has lots of great resources to help you build a content marketing plan including a great beginner’s guide to content marketing. Ultimately your goal is to be able to continuously produce content that drives views to your site.” If that means starting with blog content, then maybe you’d use Facebook Ads to drive extra traffic to content that starts to catch on. You may also add YouTube videos about parts of the same content (recycle content in different mediums to add value quickly) to entice people and drive them to your email list and site for more information. Bullseye Marketing for Conversions As you transition to focusing on conversions you may still keep your content as a key component, but focus more on any extras that can be provided with the content in exchange for an email address. You’ll need to ask yourself which traffic channels are converting best for what types of extra content. Maybe Twitter does best if you present infographics, but Google Search yields lots of email subscriptions if you provide an email course to go with some content. Again, your goal is to focus on your single metric and figure out exactly what type of offer or combination of offers takes the traffic you’ve built and turns it into more conversions. Often, that will come in the form of email subscribers. Bullseye Marketing for Customers Once you’ve moved to focusing on customers, you’re likely focusing on your email marketing sequences or the sales funnel on your site. If you’re focused on your email marketing sequences, then you’ll need to look at A/B testing different headings and wording in your emails to see which ones get people to click to start becoming a customer. In my business I did this with my initial client email as I worked to vet people in my client funnel so that I end up only working with people that are the best fit. In fact each and every email I send to prospects or former clients is timed and has been tested so that it has the best chance of finding the clients that are going to be my best fit. If you’re focusing on your site based conversions, then you’re looking at A/B testing your checkout and every interaction that your prospects have on their way to becoming a customer. Even if you’ve spent time on this before, looking back at every interaction every few months or once a year is what it will take to maximize your conversion of prospects into customers. Starting Using Bullseye Marketing Today If you can start now to figure out what your brand voice is, find your single metric that matters, and then focus your marketing on the best channels, you can build a sustainable pipeline of incoming leads. With a bit of effort, you’ll be increasing the awareness that your market has of you and what you offer, bringing you more business. Accelerate Your Digital Agency Growth With a fully managed hosting service handling your web infrastructure, you can focus on getting more clients and improving your onboarding process. The post Using the Bullseye Method to Market Your Business appeared first on Liquid Web.

Agency Spotlight: Communications Strategy Group (CSG®)

WP Engine -

A key part of our business at WP Engine is building lasting partnerships with some of the world’s most impressive digital agencies. With a Digital Experience Platform built on industry-leading architecture and an award-winning support team focused specifically on WordPress, we help agencies get back to creativity and execution instead of worrying about the performance… The post Agency Spotlight: Communications Strategy Group (CSG®) appeared first on WP Engine.

Carrie Wheeler Talks Innovative Solutions with WIWP at WCUS

Nexcess Blog -

Another year of WordCamp US has come and gone, and we hope everyone who attended – and didn’t attend – found the best hosting solution for their business. This year, our partner Liquid Web was in attendance. Not only did they offer some incredible booth experiences (recap article to come!), but team members also hosted sessions and talked community. Carrie Wheeler, executive vice president and COO of Liquid Web, talked with the Women in WordPress, discussing her journey to where she is now and how Liquid Web and Nexcess are offering innovative solutions that help both merchants and content creators to do more. Below are some of our highlights.    On her journey to where she is now “It’s been a “three decade journey. Started in consulting. I started in software development. Spent a couple of decades in telecommunications […] and along that path got super passionate about cloud hosting.”    On why she has such a passion for cloud hosting  “I’ve just seen the entire explosion of technology […] and it is just such a huge enabler for businesses.”   On creating innovative solutions for the community “We could not be happier to be a big part of this community. We love the fact that it is the democratization of publishing. [And] we’re putting together the best platform you could possibly have for both content and commerce.”    To hear the full podcast, watch the video below or visit womeninwp.com. https://blog.nexcess.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/WomaninWP_Carrie.mp4 The post Carrie Wheeler Talks Innovative Solutions with WIWP at WCUS appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Get Un-stuck with HostGator

HostGator Blog -

The post Get Un-stuck with HostGator appeared first on HostGator Blog. With HostGator you can get the website you need for where you’re at or where you’re going. We’ve got a range of hosting plans to fit your needs. No matter if you need an informational site for your business, a blog, or an online store, we’ve got it. Plus the tools you need to protect and market your website. From goal-digger to money-maker, we’ve got your back. And you’ll never outgrow this friendship. Don’t be stuck with some square. Get a HostGator website that scales as your business grows. Unstuckable [uhn-stuhk-uh-buhl]: verb, adjective, awesome. Flexibility. Scalability. Everything you need, even if you don’t know you need it. The power to grow forever. The ability to go live without limits. The absence of blockers. Start with HostGator. Stay with HostGator. Andrew WrightGeneral Manager, HostGatorBuilder of Websites Since Age 12 “At HostGator, we are really pumped about helping our customers succeed so their businesses and dreams can grow. We like to say HostGator is “unstuckable” because, with us, your website can grow and scale with your business. Plus, our support staff works around the clock and is down to chat whenever you need help.” – Andrew Wright, General Manager of HostGator, Builder of Websites since age 12 What is unstuckable? At HostGator, it means… Grow Beyond Your First Website. When you’ve outgrown the limits of your first website, we’ve got web hosting packages that scale with your business. No commitment-phobia here. E-Commerce? WordPress? Yeah, we do that too. Built by Web Pros. For, Well, Everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or how much experience you (don’t) have. We’ve been around forever and we’ve got the skills to help anyone get online. We love this stuff and want you to dig it too! Unlimited Sites & One Login. Need more than one site? There’s a flat rate plan for that. Manage all your sites from one cPanel login. Easy peasy. We Work When You Work. 24/7/365. 366 days on leap years. Whether you’re staying late at the office, or chugging down coffee while you work your side hustle, we’ll take your call. Or chat. Or email. Our customers say… “I tried to change my domain by myself and in 1 second, it was gone! Thankfully, HostGator was able to help me. After a few tears and one phone call, they fixed it.” – Erin Parker, Erin Kaiulani Photo“It blows me away how friendly & non-condescending folks are when I call with (sometimes silly) questions. And I’ve never once hung up from a call without a solution.” – Michelle Visser, Souly Rested“Moving my blog to HostGator has been the best decision I made this year. I no longer have to worry about my site going offline due to constant technical issues from my previous host.” – Emeh Achanga, Miss Petite Nigeria Blog Get Started Now Find the post on the HostGator Blog

14 Best Web Management Tools for Small Business

HostGator Blog -

The post 14 Best Web Management Tools for Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog. Running a small business is a ton of work. As important as your website is to the success of your business, you don’t have a lot of time to spend on maintaining it. You have a seemingly endless list of other responsibilities to tend to as well. And if you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have a huge budget to hire someone else to maintain the website for you either.  But that’s okay, because what you do have is a wealth of available tools that make managing a website easier. For small business owners, selecting the right web management tools will make maintaining your website (and the rest of your online presence) much faster and easier.  Here are 14 useful web management tools that are either free, or affordable enough for small businesses to reasonably invest in.  Website Management Tools Creating and maintaining a website used to require learning coding languages like HTML or C++. Who’s got time for that? Definitely not your average small business owner.  Website owners today can skip the programming lessons and use intuitive website management tools that make it easy for even the most inexperienced beginners to build a website, make updates to it, and maintain it over time. These are some of the most popular and easiest-to-use website management tools to consider.   1. WordPress WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. Around a quarter of all websites are built on WordPress. Its popularity is well earned. It combines ease of use with enough flexibility and functionality that organizations of all sizes can bend it to their needs. For small businesses, the main appeal of WordPress is that it’s entirely free, and using it to build and maintain a simple website is easy.  Because of how ubiquitous the CMS is, you can tap into a wealth of resources devoted to learning WordPress from blogs to video tutorials to online courses—many of them free. And while the CMS packs a lot of the most important functionality a small business needs, you can add to it with WordPress plugins. With over 45,000 plugins available that offer features spanning security, SEO, spam blocking, social sharing and more, you can find just about any additional functionality you need for your website.  2. Gator Website Builder When starting a new website, the fastest, easiest, and cheapest option to get a professional-looking site off the ground is using a website builder. With Gator, HostGator’s website builder, you can have a new website up within hours of when you first sign up for the tool. And each time you need to make an update to the website over time, minor tweaks can be completed within seconds.  What makes creating a small business website with a website builder so easy is that you start with a template that gets the basic structure into place. Then you use an intuitive drag-and-drop menu to make changes to it that make the design uniquely yours. You can change out the colors for your main brand colors, upload your own images, and fill in the text on the page with a few simple clicks.  All of the templates Gator provides are responsive, meaning you can be sure your small business website will look as good on mobile as it does on desktop. And the service comes with access to free stock photography, which makes adding images to your website an easier process as well. The website builder also offers compatibility with many of the main programs small businesses use, such as all the main social media channels and G Suite.  3. cPanel Most web hosting plans will come with access to the provider’s control panel, commonly shortened to cPanel. The cPanel is an intuitive website management tool that provides important functionality, such as: Managing your website filesManaging your domain namesCreating and managing email addresses at your domain nameSetting up redirectsManaging website backupsCreating website databasesInstalling basic security features What your cPanel looks like and how it works will vary based on the web hosting provider you choose, but it’s an important tool across the board for managing your website.  4. Google Analytics Google Analytics is a massively useful, entirely free tool for understanding your website’s performance. It’s rare that a recommendation applies to every small business website, no matter the type. But every small business with a website should use Google Analytics. The information provided within the tool is surprisingly comprehensive considering what you’re (not) paying. As a sample of the insights you can find, it includes: Details on how people find your website Which pages of your website get the most trafficWhat devices and browsers your visitors useWho your visitors are based on demographics and online behaviorHow long visitors spend on your websiteWhat their journey on your website looks like when they visit multiple pagesWhat pages they exit onHow many of your visitors convert, based on desired conversions you define  And that’s not even a full list. The information within Google Analytics is invaluable for understanding how your visitors interact with your website, which is how you learn to make it more effective. 5. Joomla While many small business owners that opt for a CMS will be best served with WordPress, another popular option is Joomla. Joomla’s harder to use and requires more of a learning curve, but in some cases it’s the better choice. In particular, Joomla is considered a bit more secure, since it isn’t targeted by hackers as often as its more popular counterpart. And it’s the better choice for websites that will have more social components, where visitors create accounts to interact with each other on the site. Joomla is free to use and open source, which means it’s regularly updated and there’s a library of modules you can use to extend your website’s functionality within it. As with WordPress, you can find a lot of different resources to help you learn how to use Joomla. It does take more technical skill than WordPress does though, so small business owners with limited time and patience for working on their website may want to hire someone to help if they choose to use Joomla.  eCommerce Tools An eCommerce website requires distinct features and tools that other business websites can make do without. For that reason, any online business will need to consider additional web management tools that provide eCommerce functionality. These are some of the top eCommerce tools to consider.  6. WooCommerce WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress, making it one of the most widely used eCommerce software options, with over 74 million downloads. It’s owned by the same company as WordPress, so you can count on consistent compatibility. And it makes setting up an eCommerce store intuitive via a set-up wizard that walks you through each of the steps. Like WordPress, WooCommerce is free and open source. And there are a wide variety of modules that extend the tool’s functionality, some of them free and some of them for a fee. Some highlights of what you can do in WooCommerce are: Creating product pagesSetting up your preferred payment methodAutomatically calculating tax based on your visitor’s locationSelecting your shipping options and ratesOrganizing your products for discoverability with categories and tagsLetting customers set up accountsOffering and redeeming coupons The interface for WooCommerce looks a lot like WordPress, so using it doesn’t require learning anything new. It’s a free, easy option for managing your web store.   7. Magento Magento is another popular open-source eCommerce software. It provides the most important functionality you need for an eCommerce website, including: A shopping cartCheck-out functionalityThe option to let customers create accountsGuest check-out optionsAbility to create product pages and automate inventory tracking for eachIntegration with the most popular payment-processing options  In addition to the core functionality Magento provides, you can take advantage of a large extension marketplace that includes an array of options for adding to your ecommerce website’s functionality.  The open-source version of Magento is technically free, but many users invest in the paid version of the software for additional functionality. And for many small business owners, building an eCommerce website with Magento involves a level of skill that will require hiring help. That can make the price tag of using Magento higher. But for businesses that want the level of functionality that Magento provides, the cost of using it can be worthwhile.  Online Marketing Management Tools Creating and maintaining your website is important, but none of that work will amount to much if people can’t find it. To drive traffic to your small business website, you have to do online marketing. To keep your online marketing organized and efficient, having the right online marketing management tools is important.  8.  HubSpot HubSpot’s marketing software helps you connect all your marketing efforts to each other and better track your success as a result. The company offers a free version of the software that provides lead capture forms, email marketing, and analytics that provide insights into the customer’s journey.  They also offer a more comprehensive paid version of the product that provides advanced features like marketing automation and more personalization options. For small businesses, their paid versions can be costly. But as your business grows, the added functionality may be worth the upgrade.  9. Buffer Social media is a great opportunity to connect directly with your customers and grow awareness of your brand. At the same time, it’s an overwhelming medium with an array of different channels that are each difficult to navigate on their own, much less figuring out how to use them all together.  Social media management tools like Buffer can help. You can manage all your profiles in one place, schedule updates in advance, and gain better data on how your social media posts are performing. Buffer offers a basic free plan that allows you to connect up to three social accounts and schedule a maximum of 10 posts in advance. For the ability to manage more accounts and plan your social scheduling further out, you can upgrade to one of their paid plans. 10. Hootsuite HootSuite is a similar tool that allows you to control all your social media management in one dashboard.  HootSuite’s free plan allows management of three accounts and scheduling of up to thirty posts. Paid plans allow you to add more social profiles, schedule more updates at a time, and also let you manage some of your paid social advertising within the product.  11. Yoast Yoast offers WordPress SEO plugins to help with managing the parts of your website that contribute to on-site optimization. That includes making it easier to fill in all the meta fields of a page that influence SEO, such as the title tag and meta description. It also automatically reviews each page and provides insights for how well optimized it is based on factors like the frequency of your target keyword and the page’s readability level.  You can use the Yoast free version to get basic SEO functionality, or upgrade to the premium for some added features like internal linking suggestions. Online File Management Our last category of web management tools that can make your life easier as a small business owner is online file management programs. The ability to seamlessly share files between different devices and people, while still controlling permissions of who has access, can vastly simplify the process of collaborating on content, planning, and organization within your business. These tools all offer useful features for doing that.  12. Google Drive Google Drive is a free set of tools provided by Google, and also comes included as a part of the G Suite product. Within Google Drive you can create and share a number of types of files, including documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can define who’s allowed access to each file you create, and whether they can simply view or also edit them.  Google Drive’s collaborative features make it easy for different people to see each other’s edits and comments, making it a powerful tool for your team to work together on your website, business plans, and any content you create for marketing purposes. And because it’s accessible on any device type, it also makes it possible for you and your team to access important documents from your phone or home computer, as well as your main work device. 13. Dropbox Dropbox is a cloud storage solution that allows you to keep all your files in a central location that’s accessible from any device. As with Google Drive, you can share those files with others and enable comments to allow for collaboration. There’s a free version of Dropbox for individuals that allows up to a set amount of storage space, and a paid version for businesses that offers more storage and more features for collaborating.  14. Box Box is another product for content storage and collaboration. It boasts strong security features, so you can share content amongst the people who need access without worrying about competitors getting ahold of it. Like the other products, it allows you to control who has permissions for each file and enable content and edits from those directly involved in each piece you share.  Better Tools Lead to More Efficient Web Management Enough aspects of running a small business are hard, there’s no reason to skip the web management tools that make running your website and online marketing easier. With the right apps and products, you can simplify the work involved in maintaining a great website, making sure your customers can find it, and tracking your progress over time.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Learn all about installing and using OpenSSH on servers

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In this article, we are going to learn about using OpenSSH on servers. But before we begin, let’s understand what OpenSSH is.   What is OpenSSH? Open Secure Shell (OpenSSH), also known as OpenBSD Secure Shell, is a set of secure networking utilities based on the Secure Shell aka SSH protocol. This Secure Shell provides a secure channel over an unsecured network in a client-server architecture. First released in 1999, OpenSSH was originally developed as part of the OpenBSD operating system.   OpenSSH is a suite of programs and not a single computer program. The programs in the suite serve as alternatives to encrypted protocols such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Telnet. OpenSSH can be integrated into several operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Unix. In fact, OpenSSH comes pre-installed with our Linux Hosting servers including Shared Hosting.    Features of OpenSSH OpenSSH is a completely open-source project, not covered by restrictive licencing. This means that their code is available and accessible to everyone via the internet, so as to encourage the developers to reuse the same. Besides, it boasts of the following features:   Strong cryptography: Encryption kicks in even before authentication begins. Also, no part of the information, including passwords, is transmitted.    Strong authentication: This feature provides protection against several security problems such as IP spoofing and DNS spoofing, fake routes, etc. Some of the authentication methods used include one-time passwords, public key authentication, and authentication using Kerberos.   Port forwarding: With the help of this feature, IP/TCP connections can be forwarded over to a remote machine with the help of an encrypted channel. This also helps secure insecure applications such as POP (Post Office Protocol).   Agent forwarding: With the help of this feature, the user’s authentication keys can be held on the user’s local machine as opposed to storing the keys on other machines in the network. This is done with the help of an authentication agent that runs in the user’s local workstation or laptop.   Optional data compression: With the help of this feature, the data is compressed before encryption, thus enhancing the performance for slow network links.   Installing an OpenSSH client Before a secure remote desktop protocol is established with a remote machine, there are a few basic prerequisites that one must take care of: You need to turn on the remote computer and ensure that it has a steady network connection You need to install and enable the client and server applications You need to have the IP address or the name of the remote machine that you wish to connect to You need to have all the necessary permissions that are required to access the remote computer You need to make sure that the firewall settings are allowing the remote connection   For establishing an SSH connection, you will need two components: a client, and a corresponding server-side component. The client will use the provided remote host information for initiating the connection. Once the credentials are verified, the client will establish an encrypted connection.   OpenSSH comes pre-installed on various Linux versions. In order to install OpenSSH on Linux, you will first have to check whether the client is available on your system. For doing that, you will have to: Run the following command:   On Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install openssh-client On CentOS: sudo yum install openssh-client   Enter your superuser password when asked Select ‘Enter’ to complete the installation   This will help you in installing SSH on any machine that has the server-side application on it. You won’t be able to complete this procedure if you do not have the hostname, IP address, or the necessary authority required to get access.   Installing an OpenSSH server In order to be able to accept SSH connections, the server-side part of the SSH software toolkit needs to be present on your machine. The steps for installation are as follows: Run this command to install the SSH server:   On Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install openssh-server ii On CentOS: sudo yum install openssh-server   Enter your superuser password when asked Press ‘Enter’ and ‘Y’ to allow the installation to proceed after the disk space prompt   All the required support files will be installed and you will be able to check the status of the SSH server on your machine by typing the following command:   sudo service ssh status   Now, that we’ve understood how to install OpenSSH. Here are a bunch of tips and tricks which can really help you with using SSH like a pro:     SSH Tunneling   The web traffic from your local system can be directed to a remote SSH server for encrypting it so as to prevent other users on a public wi-fi system from looking into your data and content.     Remembering the Public Key   Remembering the long string public key of the computer that you are using can be difficult, you can enable the ‘visual host key’ feature so that it is easier to remember the key. You can enable this feature by running the following command:    ssh -o VisualHostKey=yes user@host     Keeping a Terminal Session Open   A new terminal session is produced and ended after each log in and log out, respectively. In order to keep the session open, you can use the GNU (GNU’s Not Unix) screen.     Time-saving Combo Commands   In cases where you only need one command from a remote host, going through the log-in and exit process only for that can be quite a hassle. This can be avoided by combining the request with SSH.     Using a Different Port Name for Logging In   If the standard port 22 (standard TCP port) at your environment is blocked for some reason and you are required to use another port at your location, you can use the following command –   $ ssh user@example.com -p 3307 Here, 3307 is the alternative port number instead of Port 22.    That’s all from this article! Hope you understood how to use OpenSSH on Linux and install it too. If you have any doubts or suggestions, then please feel free to share them in the comments section below to help out the community!

Exciting New Features for Smart Plugin Manager

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The plugin ecosystem is one of the most vibrant and exciting parts of WordPress. With nearly 55,000 free plugins available right now on the WordPress.org plugin repository, you can add untold features and functionality to your site(s) that will help your business soar online. In addition to that massive catalog of free plugins, thousands of… The post Exciting New Features for Smart Plugin Manager appeared first on WP Engine.

A Guide to Your Domain.com Control Panel

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Hey there, are you new to Domain.com? We’re happy you’re here. Thanks for choosing us! Perhaps this is your first time purchasing a domain name or maybe you’ve transferred from a different registrar. Either way, we want you to feel comfortable navigating your Domain.com account. We’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.     Let’s explore a Domain.com account together. In this post, we’ll start by showing you what it looks like once you’re logged in. We’ll go through the toggles and options you’ll find in your account’s Control Panel and discuss what they mean. By the time you’re finished with this post you should have a great understanding of your Domain.com account. Understanding your Domain.com account options To start managing your domain name and update your Domain.com account you’ll want to navigate to Domain.com and click Login in the top right corner of the page. Then, type in your username or domain name and password and click the red Log in button. And you’re in! The first screen you’ll see once logged in gives you an overview of your domains. You can switch to see an overview of your hosting plans by clicking on Hosting toward the top left on the page. The domain names you’ll see on this page are all of the ones associated with the particular Domain.com account you’re logged into. You can filter by All Domains, Active Domains, Expired Domains, and even opt to show your subdomains on this page.   Is there a particular domain name you’d like to manage or want to know more about? Go ahead and click on the blue Manage button underneath it to access more information on that domain. Your domain name summary page Here’s what that page looks like. We’ve numbered the different sections so we can go through them and make sure you understand what you can do with your domain name. Section 1 – Domain Settings The domain settings area of your summary page offers a quick, convenient look into your domain name. Here, you can see if your domain Is set to Auto-renew. Your domain name represents you online. Do you really want to risk having someone else swoop in and purchase it if you forget to renew your domain?No surprise charges. We’ll always email you prior to automatically renewing your domain name. Is locked. It’s always in your best interest to keep your domain name locked unless you are actively transferring it.A locked domain name prevents unauthorized domain transfers and prevents any changes from being made to the domain’s settings. Is encrypted with SSL. You want your site visitors to trust you, right? Let them know right off the bat that your site is secure with SSL. Is your primary domain. By default, your primary domain is the first one you registered or transferred. Your primary domain is the one you want representing your site or business. This domain is the default when accessing FTP (file transfer protocol) or configuring mailboxes. Turn any of these settings on or off by clicking on the toggle icon next to it. If the toggle is entirely grey then the item is turned off. If the toggle is green then the selection activated. Section 2 – Domain Information This section provides a brief overview of your domain name. It lists your domain, your registrar, the date your domain was registered, and when it’s set to expire. If you have auto-renew enabled then you’ll also see your renewal date listed in this section. Section 3 – Domain Privacy + Protection Domain Privacy + Protection keeps your personal information out of the WHOIS database and away from prying eyes. Whenever a domain name is purchased, the person or company registering it is required to supply their legal, accurate personal information. ICANN mandates that this information be made publicly available via the WHOIS database, but that means it can be scraped by spammers for unwanted emails and phone calls unless you enable Domain Privacy + Protection. It also helps keep your site and domain secure by running malware scans and working to prevent your domain from getting blacklisted. If you already purchased Domain Privacy + Protection then you’ll see something else for Section 3 on your summary page. This is what it will look like. As with Section 1, when the toggles are green that means that those items are activated. You’ll want to click on the arrow next to SMS Notification Settings to make sure the information there is correct. Here’s what you’ll see. Section 4 – Email Accounts If you haven’t set up a professional email address to match your domain name then you can do so right here! An email address that matches your domain name establishes credibility, supports your digital identity, and looks professional. If you’ve already purchased email, then Section 4 will look a little different for you. This is what you’ll see. Section 5 – Account Settings, Billing, Log Out This is an important part of your account. If you need to update your personal information including phone number or address, or if you need to add your EIN/Tax #, you can do so right here. First click, Account Settings from the drop down menu and on the following page click the three dots next to Contact Information like you see below.   Beneath Account Settings in the drop down menu you’ll see Billing. This section should be pretty self-explanatory, but you can click here to update your payment method and billing address. You’ll also find the option to log out in the drop down menu under the Billing section. Section 6 – Advanced Tools If you’re looking for more information on your server or perhaps FTP, then this is where to go. Section 7 – Help Stuck on something in your account? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’re here for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week by phone or live chat. If you click on the Help tab you’ll see a menu pop out on the right hand of your screen. From here, you’re able to search for what you need help with, view some popular articles, and connect with our team via live chat. Section 8 – Option between Domain and Hosting Summary You can click between the Domain or Hosting options seen here to view either summary page. Section 9 – Summary Menu This summary menu provides a quick, easy way to access everything you need for your digital presence. Here’s a close up of what you’ll find in that menu. From here, you can learn more about our options for easy website creation by clicking either WebsiteBuilder, to learn about our easy to use AI-powered builder, or WordPress. If you’re looking for email and productivity solutions, click either G Suite or Office 365. You can learn more about site security by clicking on SSL Certificate and SiteLock. Next on the menu is Pointers & Subdomains. Your domain pointer determines how you intend to use your site (you can point it to your home directory, a URL, or even park it.) Need to edit your DNS & Nameservers? Click on the appropriately titled link in the menu and have at it! DNS stands for “Domain Name System.” The main concept behind the DNS is that people have an easier time remembering names than numbers (could you imagine typing strings of numbers for IP Addresses instead of a quick domain name?). In essence, the DNS is an extensive directory that’s regulated and contains information on all the unique, one-of-a-kind domain names that exist and the IP addresses tied to them. And in order for people to type in your domain and arrive at your site, there needs to be a nameserver attached to it. Be careful when editing this section and ask for help if you need it. We’re available to assist. And while we’d hate to see you go, if you need to transfer your domain name you can do so through the Transfer link. Looking for the WHOIS contact information for your domain? You can find that by clicking on Contact Information at the bottom of the menu. This information should always be current and your legal information — no aliases or pseudonyms. Navigating Your Domain.com Account We hope this guide to your Domain.com control panel and account is helpful and that it’s pointed you in the right direction. Whether you’re looking to build your domain name portfolio, claim your online identity, start a website or a business, you can do it all with Domain.com. And if there’s something you’re looking for and can’t find, let us know in the comments below! The post A Guide to Your Domain.com Control Panel appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Launch a Website for Your Travel Blog Side Hustle

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The post How to Launch a Website for Your Travel Blog Side Hustle appeared first on HostGator Blog. You’ve probably used Google at least a hundred times while planning a vacation to find popular things to do, what to eat, what bars to go to, family friendly activities, and more before your upcoming vacation. Google Search will return a list of various blogs you can click on to get insight. If you’re a big traveler, you may also wonder whether or not travel blogging is a viable side hustle, and how to get started with this awesome side gig. While it may seem the industry is oversaturated, it’s interesting to note that only 21.8% of bloggers have been blogging for five years or more. This statistic counts for all bloggers, not just travel bloggers. Additionally, the travel industry is booming. In fact, the total domestic international inbound traveler spending in the U.S. totalled $1.1 trillion in 2018, and the US travel and tourism as increased 170% over the past 20 years. In short, the travel market is hot, blogging is still a popular type of side hustle, and if you’re interested in making some extra cash of your favorite past time, the time is now to start a travel blog. This article will explore how to start a travel blog side hustle in more detail. What Is a Travel Side Hustle, Exactly? Before getting into too many details about how to start a travel blog, let’s define what a travel side hustle is in the first place. The world of travel blogging is vast and there are several ways you can create valuable content and make money online. Let’s take a look into how some current travel bloggers have successfully entered the world of travel blogging. 1. Create a niche travel site One popular approach is to create a niche site where you offer detailed information about a specific location or type of travel.  Alyse Grimm, the operator of “Things to do in Salem,” is a great example of a successful travel blogger with a highly niche website.  Grimm created a niche travel blog all centered around things to do in the popular area of Salem, MA. Grimm has this to say about her website: “Things to do in Salem is a project ten years in the making. After wandering the gorgeous, uneven brick streets for as many years as I have, the recommendations, travel tips, event info and more began to accumulate. After surpassing the point of looking like a tourist, even with a camera in my hand, I decided it was time to try to help others see Salem the way I do, to help others plan a successful trip into a wonderful city. This website came from that desire. I started my blog to share my story and it has since taken on a life of its own, helping tourists and locals alike enjoy the witch city.” Key Takeaway: If you have robust experience in one area of travel, you can create a seriously interesting, and helpful, website for tourists. 2. Document your travels & make extra money with affiliate links and ads Another popular travel blogger, Kris Kuhn, runs the blog Coffee Cups & Wanderlust. Kuhn combines his love of living a free-spirited nomad life with offering tips on how to make money online. Kuhn says, “We want to live a location-less lifestyle and to do that, we need to make our money online. We created our travel blog, Coffee Cups & Wanderlust, to give us a place to share and monetize our unique travels, our tips and tricks for making online.”  Key Takeaway: Create a travel blog about whatever you are most passionate about like the Kuhn Family. If you need to further monetize your website, consider affiliate marketing and advertising. 3. Offer travel recommendations and advice If there is one thing traveling the globe will offer you, it’s first-hand insight into what to do, what not to do, and how to have the best experience at a specific destination. GiNiele Reitzell runs the travel blog LoyallySpoiled, where she provides travel and food recommendations and advice.  Where does the name “LoyallySpoiled” come from? Reitzell explains: “I created LoyallySpoiled because I believe everyone should spoil themselves by experiencing the best things in life. Living a spoiled life has nothing to do with material items and everting to do with the experiences you make, memories you share, and doing things that make you happy. That’s how the title of my blog came to be. I wanted to change the negative connotation of being “spoiled” and let people know that living a spoiled life is a great thing and it is possible for anyone, as long as you simply do the things that make you happy, like traveling to places near and far and eating delicious food at new restaurants!” Key Takeaway: You can run a travel side hustle based on your own experiences. People are searching for advice online. If you have insight, make a living providing recommendations to other travelers. There are several other approaches to starting a travel log. The important thing is that you do what you love and create a plan for success. What to Expect When Creating Your Travel Website It goes without saying that if you’re going to be a travel blogger, you need your own website. But, what if you’ve never created a website before? Will you really be able to start your own website, even if you don’t have tech experience? Do you really have enough time to start a side hustle? Do you really have enough insight to keep a blog up and running for years and generate income? All of these are valid questions and worries that other travel bloggers have faced in the past. Let’s look at some obstacles other travel bloggers have run into, how they overcome these obstacles, and how you can use their experiences to avoid potential problems while you build your new website. Obstacle 1: Learning WordPress Did you know that 75,000,000 websites currently use WordPress? According to Kris Kuhn of Coffee Cups and Wanderlust, “learning WordPress” was his main obstacle.  It’s true there is a learning curve to WordPress, but here is the good news. WordPress has improved leaps and bounds in terms of how intuitive it is to navigate. Not to mention, there are other travel blogging tools to help you quickly learn how to get your website up and running. Kuhl says “HostGator and Elementor Pro made learning WordPress easy.” It’s true. When you sign up for your hosting account through HostGator, you can install WordPress in one click and access our entire resource library. Key Takeaway: If you’ve never built a website before, don’t worry. HostGator will hold your hand through the process every step of the way. Obstacle 2: Time Management The nature of a side hustle is that you do it in your spare time. What spare time, right? With work, familial responsibilities, any hope at a social life, and hobbies, it’s difficult to imagine running a successful side hustle. This is a problem Alyse Grimm had. She says: “One of the biggest obstacles I face as a side hustler is time management. This is such a common roadblock for those of us who also work ‘regular’ jobs. I overcame this by using a paper planner to map out what I need to do and taking advantage of all of my resources. I use free time any chance I get it through the day to get a little work done. This way when I get home from work in the evening, I know I have accomplished some of my own side hustle goals, too. I write content, plan newsletters, reply to emails and keep things running through the day. I also use tools like Tailwind to keep things going for me while I am not at my laptop. Putting all of the tools available to me to use during the day helps keep it all going smoothly. This combo of resourcefulness and planning is what helps me get everything done.” Key Takeaway: Being busy is a curse everyone experiences, but with proper planning and the right tools, it’s possible to carve out time to do what you love. Obstacle 3: Self Doubt GiNiele Reitzell perfectly explains a common obstacle any person undertaking a new project might experience—self doubt. She says: “I faced many obstacles, starting from not knowing anything about creating a blog to having extreme self doubt. Once I started my blog, I did it just for fun and wrote about anything I wanted with no particular niche. Then, as I progressed I realized that I needed to have a specific niche to focus on and go from there. My website went through many changes and I’m finally at a place TWO YEARS LATER where I have a clear direction, my site’s theme is perfect, and I have the necessary tools to increase my viewership and maximize subscribers. I had to research, read articles, join groups, and view other blogs to see what changes needed to be made. As for overcoming my self doubt, that will always be a work in progress but I always tell myself that I’m 100% capable of being successful and that the only thing that can stop me is myself.” Starting a new project can be scary, but remember the famous Wayne Gretzky quote, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Couple that quote with some wise words by Dr. Seuss, and you have a formula to crush that self doubt. “Today you are YOU, that is truer than TRUE. There is no one alive who is YOUER than YOU.” Key Takeaway: No one has the experience or expertise you have. It may be scary to put yourself out there, but imagine how many people you can help have great experiences because of the insight you have to offer via your blog. How to Create Your Travel Blog Now that no obstacles stand in your way, let’s talk about how to get started with your travel blog. Here is a quick overview of how to use HostGator to get your website up and running. Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your travel website. HostGator’s drag-and-drop website builder has three plans. The starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ templates, cloud hosting, and website analytics. It’s the perfect pick for someone looking to start a travel blog. If you are nervous about building your own travel website and want priority support, you’ll need the premium plan. Once you’ve picked a plan, click “buy now” and you can set up your account. Step 2: Pick a domain name. Every GatorBuilder package includes a free domain. To pick your domain, all you have to do is type something in the “get domain” box. If your top choice isn’t available, select another. Check out this article on how to choose the perfect domain name for your business if you need help picking out the perfect name for your travel blog. If you already have a domain name, that’s great! You can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”  Step 3: Create your account. Once you have a domain name, you can connect your account. All you need is an email address or Facebook account to connect. Then, enter your payment information, and you’re all set. Step 4: Pick a template for your travel blog. The best news about creating your website is you don’t have to do any coding. The Gator Website Builder comes with templates, and all you have to do is pick one. Once you create your account, you’ll be directed to the “choose a template” page. You can scroll through over 200 professionally-designed templates, and select the template that best fits the goals for your travel website. Step 5: Add content to your travel blog. Once you have selected the perfect template, click “start editing.” This will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages.  The Gator Website Builder includes a drag and drop builder to make it easy to design your website. However, if you have any questions, Gator Website Builder also includes a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference. To access this guide, Click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”   Step 6: Review your content and launch your travel website. The last step is to review and launch your travel website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your travel website in full. This is when you can look at your website and make sure everything looks how you want it to look. If everything looks great, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard. The Gator Website Builder will present a series of quick steps to help you go live. Starting Your Travel Blog Not only is travel writing a dream job, but it’s a great side hustle. Several people are already doing it successful, and we are all jealous of them. If building a travel blog is your dream, then get started today. HostGator offers affordable hosting, an intuitive website builder tool, and the key to starting on your travel website journey. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How Important is Website Speed and Performance?

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When thinking about website performance, the most immediately visible factor for your site is speed. That is to say that a website that loads slowly is not as well regarded as a website that loads more quickly. However, all too often publishers of websites fail to recognize exactly how page speed impacts the user experience and, ultimately, how successful the website is in driving its mission forward. Understanding how site speed and performance impact your website goes deeper than simply establishing that a faster website is better than a slower website. How does the user feel? What is happening at the server level? How is the owner of the site or the publisher affected? In this article we will dig into the consequences and ramifications of a slow website and how you can turn site speed into a competitive advantage. Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter for more tips on how to optimize your website. Site Performance and the User Experience The first way that site performance impacts the user experience comes when site visitors are simply trying to access your content in the first place. With more and more competition for ever-shrinking attention spans, there is simply no margin for error when it comes to site performance. Research shows that internet users expect websites to load in less than three seconds. Slower than that and traffic declines at an alarming rate. Imagine for a moment what that means: a human came to your website looking for information or a product to purchase and left before they got what they were looking for. For all the effort you put in to attracting visitors in the first place this possibility should be downright terrifying. A slow-loading, poor-performing website means that visitors are abandoning the site itself not because your design or content are unappealing but rather because your website is too slow. Furthermore, more than half of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices on connections that are slower than those available to desktop and laptop computers. With the stakes so high, site speed and performance has never been more important. Site Performance and the Customer Experience The second way site performance impacts visitors comes when those visitors are actually potential customers. When the experience of shopping online is slow and clunky, it is incumbent on store owners to recognize that customers have a wide range of choices online. If your eCommerce site it slow, if pages don’t load quickly, or if shopping carts and checkout processes do not move quickly, then customers will simply leave your website and go somewhere else.” If you own and operate an online store it is imperative that you optimize site performance not just while visitors are browsing product pages but also when they choose something to purchase and try to complete that transaction. If the purchasing experience is slow and clunky then potential customers will leave and likely never return. Site Performance and Technology One of the oft-overlooked aspects of site performance is the effect of performance on Search Engine rankings. Believe it or not, search engines like Google factor site speed into their ranking algorithms. Slower sites are penalized in search results while faster sites are rewarded. When you step back and think about it, this practice makes sense. Search engines exist to provide the best possible answer to the user’s search query. Part of the “best” answer is the one that presents itself quickly and completely. In other words, if every time you clicked a search result from Google or Bing the resulting page took 5 or 10 seconds to load, you would be disappointed and maybe even aggravated. Over time, you might even choose to use a different search engine to locate information entirely. Speed is a critical part of succeeding with search engines and neglecting performance while trying to achieve higher search engine rankings is a fool’s errand. Site Performance and Your Brand The impact of site speed and performance listed above are reason enough to pay attention to how quickly your web pages are loading and how quickly your shopping cart is operating. But even if that were not the case, you should understand and appreciate the impact of site performance on the perception of your brand. Whether operating a business website or a site for your personal hobby or interests, you want to put your best foot forward. It isn’t putting your best foot forward to offer visitors a website that is slow and faces challenges in loading all elements, images, and content. Think about your brand in another way. Imagine you choose to visit a car dealership with interest in buying a car. And suppose the salesperson you are speaking to says, “Thank you for stopping by…take a look, here is our best car!” And when you look at where they are pointing, you see a car that barely rolls straight, sounds awful, and is in dire need of a new paint job. That’s the impression visitors are left with when your website is slow and performs poorly. Website performance is a reflection of your brand, and a slow website that frustrates users will give them a negative perception of you. An Entire World Dependent on Performance When you take all of the factors listed above into account, it should be clear that site speed and performance are not only important; they are crucial to your website’s success. Whether you are simply sharing your personal thoughts on a blog or promoting your business and selling goods online, site performance has never been more important. Savvy site owners and publishers are vigilant in looking for ways to improve site performance. Be one of them. Take Our Free Seven Point Inspection To better understand the performance of your website and the impact that performance is having on your mission, we invite you to take advantage of Liquid Web’s Seven Point Inspection. Our free inspection provides details around where your site is working optimally and where you can stand some assistance. From there, our experienced hosting consultants can make suggestions and recommendations for getting the most out of your digital presence. The post How Important is Website Speed and Performance? appeared first on Liquid Web.

WP Engine Agency Partner Program Drives EMEA Growth

WP Engine -

LONDON — Nov. 5, 2019 –  WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), today announced the number of EMEA-based agencies in the company’s Agency Partner Program (APP), the largest in WordPress, has nearly doubled, with growth of 87% year-over-year. European customers leveraging WP Engine’s Digital Experience Platform include leading brands and agencies such as… The post WP Engine Agency Partner Program Drives EMEA Growth appeared first on WP Engine.

WordCamp US Wrap-Up: Announcements and Take-Aways From St. Louis

WP Engine -

WordCamp US 2019 is officially in the books. The largest WordCamp event in North America, which was held this year in St. Louis, MO, has wrapped up after a jam-packed weekend.  WordCamp US is a great opportunity for WordPress pros and beginners alike to come together and share ideas, learn from one another, and hear… The post WordCamp US Wrap-Up: Announcements and Take-Aways From St. Louis appeared first on WP Engine.

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