Reseller Club Blog

What is WordPress Optimization?

WordPress is one of the most popular website development and CMS platforms available out there. More often than not, it is the first choice for website owners and developers owing to the fact that it is easy to use, stable, free of cost and offers a ton of plugins and themes to make your website look and work, exactly the way you imagine it. As a result, WordPress commands approximately 31% of the CMS market share and you can read more about these statistics here. With such a huge market share, it is easy to imagine that there are a ton of WordPress websites out there and a multitude more who are planning to use WordPress for their upcoming websites. That being said, it is extremely essential to have a good understanding of what WordPress Optimization is. WordPress optimization is the process of enhancing, tweaking and customizing the WordPress set up in order to improve performance, make it faster and more easily discoverable. It consists of many things, including, having the right specifications, updating WordPress, optimizing databases, managing plugins etc. All of which are geared to make the WordPress website a lot more efficient. Let’s get into the specifics of WordPress management and see what it entails. Having the right system specifications: WordPress like any other software has its specific requirements in terms of hardware and utilities to run it smoothly. For WordPress, you need the following: PHP version 7.2 or greater MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater HTTPS supportThe first thing you need to do is ensure your server has these specifications squared away. A simpler alternative would be to opt for WordPress Hosting as it already takes care of the system requirements and specifications. Not running WordPress on its ideal specifications has the threat of making your website run slow. There is also the issue of experiencing website crashes. Resolving these issues should be the first thing you need to do in the WordPress optimization process. We at ResellerClub offer a host of options on WordPress Hosting which you can check out here. Keeping WordPress and your Plugins Up to Date: The worst thing you could do to your WordPress website is to run it on an outdated version of WordPress. Not only will it affect the performance of the website negatively, but it will also affect the security of the website. It is observed that it is easier for hackers to break into a WordPress site that runs on older versions of WordPress. The truth of the matter is that with every update WordPress releases, there comes a lot of bug fixes and improvements to the platforms security fixes. It is highly recommended that your website makes the best of these aspects. Another aspect apart from keeping WordPress updated is to keep your plugins and themes updated. This will ensure that everything works to its full potential and there are no backward or forward compatibility issues. Also, it is recommended to only keep the plugins that you use and delete the ones that you don’t use. This will take away the need of keeping the plugins you don’t need updated and also make the overall WordPress ecosystem a lot lighter and faster. If you keep the plugins that you do not use frequently or regularly or plugins that don’t really make your job easier, then there is an unnecessary wastage of space and need for maintenance for these plugins. It is best to just keep what you use and what is helpful to your site. Optimize WP-Database: The WP Database holds everything that is dear to your website. This includes all the pages, posts, forms, form entries, plugin settings, theme settings etc. As your website keeps getting better, more and more data is stored in the WP Database. Over the period, the WP Database becomes heavy and sluggish. Due to this, the overall speed of the website goes down. To avoid this, it is very important that the WP Database is periodically optimized so that it stays lean and fast. There are ways to manually do this, and you can find it in this post. There are also quite a few plugins available that can help you to keep your WP database optimized. Some of these are, WPOptimize, Advanced Database Cleaner and WP DMManager which have proven to work in the past. Optimizing Speed: Speed is important for a good user experience. Moreover, having a fast website helps with organic search visibility. To understand where you stand on the speed front, use tools like Lighthouse and Google PageSpeed Insights. These tools will not only help you understand where you stand in terms of website speed but also provide a clear plan of action to improve it. Some basic things that you need to take care of are: Enabling Gzip on the server Ensuring that you compress and optimize images utilize sprites to deliver images more efficiently and try to make the best of server-side and browser caching. There are also certain really good WordPress plugins that can help you improve the speed of the website. Check them out here. Security: Security should definitely make it to the list of your optimization action items. No website owner wants to go through the painful process of recovering from a website breach or data loss. That being said, there are ways to optimize the security of your WordPress website as well. The first thing you need to ensure is that your WordPress is updated, and we have covered this in the earlier point. Another aspect you need to take care of is to ensure you have SSL setup on your website. Moreover, ensure that the directories such as WP-Content and WP-Upload do not allow any. PHP code to be run on them. Additionally, it would be a good idea to have 3rd party sophisticated tools to ramp up the security. For instance, our WordPress Hosting comes with SiteLock and Codeguard as standard on our WordPress + Security plans which takes care of the security of your website and is a customized solution we have crafted especially for our WordPress audience.   These 5 steps should be the starting point of WordPress optimization and you can evolve over time once you get into the groove of doing these things. If this interests you, it would be worth your time to also check our post on the top three ways to optimize WordPress for search engines, here. Hope this helps to help you understand what WordPress Optimization is and how to go about it. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

What are the Benefits of WordPress Hosting?

WordPress Hosting is, in most cases the ideal hosting for WP websites. Not only does it provide great performance owing to the fact that it is configured to be highly compatible with WordPress, but it also provides a range of WordPress management features. This makes it very easy for website owners to manage and maintain the website without having to allocate additional resources to do the same. Although different hosting providers provide different features, we will talk about the benefits of WordPress Hosting. Highly compatible with WordPress Enhances the performance of WP websites. WordPress is pre-installed to provide a plug and play environment for developers. Automatic WordPress updates to keep you up to date all the time. Cloud-based hosting infrastructure that provides a high level of scalability. Automated backups using CodeGuard. Daily malware scanning and security with SiteLock. Pre-installed plugins that make your job easier Managed services that take-up WordPress maintenance. To get a better understanding of the benefits of WP Hosting, let’s look at them individually in detail. Performance: Every software will have its own system requirements that determine how efficiently the software will function. With that in mind, even WordPress as a software has its ideal system requirements. WordPress Hosting ensures that the hardware, firmware, and software configuration is highly compatible so that it runs efficiently. Having a system that is compatible ensures that you do not run into performance issues and system freezes. If the system does not function properly, the hosted website may crash, or temporarily be out of service which will have serious implications on the website’s authority and visitor’s experience. WordPress is Pre-Installed: Developers who take up WordPress projects regularly would love this feature. With WordPress pre-installed, you have no need to spend time downloading and installing the CMS on the server. You just purchase the plan and begin developing the website. This saves a lot of time and you never have to worry about compatibility issues. Automatic WordPress Updates: Another important benefit for WordPress Hosting is automatic WordPress updates. Every update that is released comes with a bunch of improvements and bug fixes. If your instance of WordPress hosting is not up-to-date, not only will you lose out on these essential improvements and bug fixes, but also become more susceptible to external security threats. The automatic update feature of WP Hosting ensures that you are covered on this front. At times, the website you are hosting is not compatible with newer versions of WordPress. Although this scenario is very rare, it still persists. In such cases, turning off automatic updates is just a switch flip away. Cloud-Based Hosting: One of the biggest benefits of WordPress Hosting plans is that the hosting is Cloud-Based. Which means the advantages of Cloud Hosting are cascaded to the WordPress Hosting. These advantages include scalability at the click of a button and a high level of reliability as there is no single point of failure. Moreover, we integrate Varnish Cache within this Cloud-based environment that has the potential to increase your website’s speed by 1000%. Great Security and Backup: Our WordPress hosting packages provide the option to include premium website security and backup tools. One of them being CodeGuard, which automatically takes website backup periodically so that you have enough restore points in case of a disaster. The other tool that our WP Hosting contains is SiteLock. This software regularly monitors the website for malware and security threats and notifies you to take necessary action. SiteLock can also be configured in order to deal with security threats automatically in case of an encounter. Pre-installed Jetpack Plugin: Plugins form a very strong base for WordPress development. Any task or functionality that you can imagine can be made possible with plugins. Our WP Hosting plans integrate certain essential plugins such as Jetpack plugin. This plugin can be used for a variety of functions including provisioning of WordPress themes, lazy loading, marketing services such as analytics, automated social media and SEO tools, Payment gateway integrations and high-end security for your website. Managed Services: Another very useful advantage is the inclusion of managed services. What this means is that the WP Hosting team takes care of dealing with all your website maintenance tasks. Without managed services, you as the website owner are responsible for taking care of the WordPress maintenance which requires resources. Managed services include a barrage of activities like scalability of hosting resources such as CPU, RAM and storage space. As your website grows, you will need more hosting resources to handle the incoming traffic load. This can be easily done by the managed team without you having to worry about the specifics. Another example of managed services is the optimization of the WP Database. The WP Database holds all the important information of your website such as pages, posts, form entries, cookies, plugin settings, theme settings etc. As your website grows, this database becomes bulky. Bulky WP databases are usually slow and need to be optimized so that they do not affect the overall speed of the website. The managed hosting team takes care of this on their own without you having to intervene. As you can see from the above information, WordPress Hosting brings a lot of advantages to the table and should definitely be considered for WordPress sites of all sizes. If you have any questions or if you require any clarity on the benefits of WordPress Hosting, please feel free to reach out to us or pen down your thoughts in the comments section below. We will be more than happy to read through them and get back to you. If you are interested in looking at various WordPress Hosting plans available at ResellerClub, please have a look here. Hope this helps and stay tuned for more great content!

How Great Design Boosts Your Business Growth

For the last few decades, design in all its types and forms made a fantastic twist. Traditionally, it was about beauty and aesthetics. But somewhere around the 2000s, design started to become a primary motor of innovation. Today, it’s not only about making things look nice, but also about the way of thinking and working. In fact, design principles became so appealing that people started to use them as guiding points for transforming organizations. This led to the emergence of business design – a discipline about applying design thinking to the organizational structure. Though this approach is all the rage now, not all companies embrace it. However, every business can make design work for their brand. Being a marketer, I saw many businesses rise and fall because of design. All those succeeding seemed to follow a few simple guidelines. I’ll list some of these trends here for you to try them out and maybe onboard them in your company. And since we live in the age of e-commerce, when most companies have their online presence, I’ll explore these trends through the lens of web design. The article will rely on the research conducted by Warwick Business School, as well as on some expert tips and case studies. I’ll also share our team’s experience at Chanty, a tech company I’m working at. So, how do we make design work for our brands? What works? Design trends in business Make your design customer-based The story is as old as Methuselah. Business is not just about making money, it’s about serving our clients. You’ve got to keep that in mind, especially when design is on the agenda.According to the Warwick Business School research, the benefit of design is the greatest when it is intimately related to solving customers’ problems. Our ultimate goal, therefore, is not to create great design, but to develop a product (or service) that meets our clients’ needs. In other words, we should create a great Customer Experience (CX).In the context of web design, it means setting up a great customer journey. First, we deliver value to our website visitors, sharing some great and easy to navigate content with them. Second, we make sure they don’t get lost on our website, so if we match their needs, they’ll engage with us by making a call, a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, etc. This is usually called ‘journey mapping’. Nowadays, creating a great UX for a website seems like a must. However, it’s surprising how many businesses neglect this step. There’s no doubt the game is worth the candle. As an example, let me share a case of Chrome industries. Here’s how their homepage looks now. Chrome industries homepage. Not long ago the brand redesigned its webpage. Basically, they worked exactly on enhancing user experience. After mapping the customer journey, the designers built the navigation for company products exploration, as well as the path to purchase. This resulted in a 142% improvement in time on page and 10% increase in conversion rate. Setting up a great customer journey can be even more important when creating an app. Chanty team explores this customer-based approach to design on a daily basis. Building a simple AI-powered team chat, our point is not merely to create a nice-looking app. We strive to design a great experience for our users. Here’s an example. Below are two images – the Chanty UI at its early days and now. To make the tool more convenient for users, we wrapped up the icons we had in the right panel. We also made the left vertical panel smaller so our users can have more space for chatting. The Chanty UI in the early days. By making constant amends to the UI and UX, Chanty became a powerful team chat tool with a simple interface. This is how Chanty UI looks like now. To sum it up, journey mapping as a crucial trend in web and app design. This tendency goes ways beyond your online presence, as it’s always a good idea to take care of your customer. Use design strategically It’s all about the role of design in your company. It can be used as a service, as a key perspective, and as a strategic perspective. According to the Warwick Business School research, a strategic way of using design leads to greater benefits. But what does it actually mean to use design strategically? To put it simply, the strategic use of design means it is integrated into your product (or service) development from beginning to end. In other words, it is embedded into the organizational processes and informs your far-reaching choices. Apple is the classic example of a company where design is used strategically. Obviously, Steve Jobs backed the approach. Years back, his foundational solution – industrial design – allowed Apple to get back to the profitability. Now, it’s the world’s largest technology company. Let’s apply this trend to web design. Using design strategically (at every stage of building your website) should result in creating the authentic and principle-based online presence. Imagine a user who has never heard about your company. For them, your business in the real world will be associated with your website. That’s why your online presence should build trust and credibility – it’s a must for getting leads and conversions you strive for.Let us see the case of Nixon, a lifestyle and accessories brand. The company had redesigned its website (here’s a whole story), which then received Webby Awards: 2016 Site of the Year. Nixon homepage. The crucial point in the report is about “taking into account the company’s values”. The new website was “designed in the style of its roots, philosophy, and future ambitions” of the company. Combined with other factors, this resulted in a 10% increase in average order value and 85% increase in conversion rate. Apparently, for achieving results like this, business people and designers should meet each other halfway. Managers will benefit from learning how to design the customer experience. Designers, in their turn, should do their best to understand business in its multiple contexts. This will allow the design to work strategically – no matter its object. Use design to add value to your brand Design can add value to your business in multiple ways. It serves as a powerful differentiator, sparking innovation and strengthening your brand.In the context of web design, this trend manifests in creating an uncluttered layout and strong visuals. A picture is worth a thousand words! And the marketing world is filled with proofs of that. For example, BB Dacota, women’s clothing brand, after redesigning their website achieved a 700% increase in CRM sign-ups and 60% increase in unique page views. All this because of implementing “bold typography, strong images, and a minimal elegance”. Here’s the whole story in case you are interested. BB Dacota’s web page. In terms of marketing, videos can be even more effective than images, as including them on a landing page we can increase conversions by 80%. Animation also works great for drawing visitors to the home page, as it can communicate complex messages easily and portrays a brand as digital savvy. Luckily, you don’t have to spend all your money on the top pros nowadays. If you don’t have a design unit in your company, these marketing freelancer platforms help you easily find experts to satisfy your design demands. Wrapping up Design can boost your business growth in multiple ways. Being a key agent to transform brands, it can improve sales and production efficiency. Three global trends of design as a coherent discipline manifest in practical guidelines for building a website. By making our online presence customer-based, we create a great customer journey and lead users along the conversion path. However, they are unlikely to take any actions on your website if your brand doesn’t have credibility and trust. This can be fixed by making your online presence authentic and principle-based. Finally, strong visuals and video enriching your design can spark innovation, straighten your brand and differentiate your product (or service). That’s all for now. Feel free to share your take on how design can boost your business growth! Drop in the comments.

Cloudbazaar 2018: India’s premier Conference and Trade Show

It’s that exciting time of the year when our office is buzzing with Cloudbazaar planning and preparations! It’s amongst the most intense weeks of the year for our team here but also I think one of the most enjoyable.  Cloudbazaar is India’s premier conference and trade show for the Cloud and is ResellerClub’s flagship event of the year. Event details When: 1st November, 2018 Where: Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hall 3, Goregaon (Mumbai) Registration: Entry fee: FREE Who is it for? The event is a fantastic platform for web developers, web designers, and web hosting & domain providers to meet, network and learn. Our attendees make up a diverse audience of online businesses from the following industries: What can you expect? We have a stellar lineup of speakers including our very own Business Head, Shridhar Luthria, Deepak Kanakaraju (, Shashi Tripathi (Google Cloud India), Rajesh Dhuddu (Tech Mahindra) and 12 other eminent experts. These insightful sessions by the industry stalwarts will cover topics on Cloud, SaaS, Big Data and IoT among others. The event has historically drawn a footfall of over 2000 attendees every year. If you’ve been an attendee earlier, you know the energy at the event – there are dozens of booths, lots of exciting games, giveaways, freebies, an iPhone X prize and lots more! Here’s a sneak peek at what you can win this year at the ResellerClub booth. If you haven’t registered yet, do so now for FREE: I am going to be at Cloudbazaar and I hope to see you at the event! Before I go, let me leave you with some amazing pictures from the event last year!

How to Develop and Test a Site Using Mobile-First Design

Back in 2015, an Ericsson study forecasted that by 2020 70 per cent of the world’s population will be smartphone users. Three years later, it appears the study’s findings still ring true, as 51 per cent of the total global internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. It may seem like a natural progression for users, but for designers, this further highlights the importance of embracing a mobile-first website design. And although there is an increase in app usage, mobile-first design continues to be advantageous as it makes any site compatible regardless of operating system or device used, allowing businesses to reach a broader market. It also costs less to upgrade a website, instead of maintaining multiple apps across different mobile platforms. Just as how important hosting is when laying the foundation of your website, you should also look at designing with mobile users in mind. Below is a brief discussion on mobile-first designs, why it’s important, and a guide on how to develop and test a site using a mobile-first design. Building websites for mobile devices At the start of the decade, designing mobile first was a strategy that suited certain companies. But as the world continues its steady march into the digital realm, it’s also becoming increasingly mobile. With nearly 5 billion people using mobile phones to navigate the web and apps, building mobile-first is no longer just a strategy. It’s a priority. What this means In the most basic terms, mobile-first is a design strategy that began with conceptualizing for the smallest screen first, before eventually moving up to larger screens. A part of this was also referred to as progressive advancement – that is, designing a version for a relatively lower browser, with only the most basic functions and features. It may seem natural now, but just five years ago, mobile websites were considered almost an afterthought in the design process. Back then, designers focused on giving desktop users the best UX experience. It’s about delivering the right user experience to the right device. And today, the most commonly used devices are mobile. Since the starting point of being mobile-first immediately considers restrictions like bandwidth and screen size (among others), designers need to seize product key points, aiming for a lean and clean product, with certain prioritized features. Advantages of mobile-first design Google factor Google has already said that it is looking to implement its mobile-first index. This means that the mobile version of your website will be the starting point for what Google includes in their index – essentially becoming the baseline for how their rankings are developed. When this becomes the SEO reality, your mobile-optimized website will likely rank well on both desktop and mobile devices. On the flipside, if a search term or phrase isn’t represented or flopped to mobile users, there’s a likelihood that the page will underperform. Strong foundation When you build a mobile-first design, the most important elements of the product are part of the starting point. When done correctly, this translates to having a strong foundation, which can eventually be used to strengthen designs for tablets and desktop. Content is king even in mobile-first design, where navigation takes a backseat because users need to get information quickly. Mobile-first design forces designers to focus and maintain clarity by removing unnecessary UI. With a more focused design sans distractions, improved UX usually follows – which always makes good business sense. Speaking of business sense Mobile conversion rates best the average desktop conversion rates by 64 per cent. As well, mobile advertising is projected to reach $46 billion by 2019. And you definitely want a piece of that giant pie. Since approximately half of all online searches are conducted on mobile devices, designing with that in mind allows you to provide better customer service by being easily accessible based on the device they are using. This would also benefit you marketing-wise, as 57% of users will not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. How to Develop a Website For Mobile It’s important to keep in mind that a mobile user will have different needs than a desktop user. Whereas a desktop user tends to look for more in-depth information and more features, mobile users need their information as quickly as possible – which is, again, why content takes central focus. Content inventory and visual hierarchy This is basically a document listing all the elements you want to be included in your streamlined mobile-first design. Source Taking UXPins’ example, a bike manufacturing company might have the following listed by order of importance: Website name Latest model Best-selling bike “Find your perfect ride” CTA Navigation Search Second best-selling bike Gift certificates Testimonials Latest blog post Compressing that into a mobile screen might look like this. Source In this example, sales is obviously the bottom line, which is why highlighting the top-selling bike and the company’s latest model take centre stage. The CTA is also made as prominent as possible. As you move on to tablet screens, you also move down your list of priorities as you can see here: Source Secondary information and expandable navigation are added, with a testimonial at the bottom of the screen complementing the CTA. An important point to take note of is that the lines between secondary and tertiary information become blurry at this stage. You need to resist the urge to condense too much information on the screen. This is why having a content inventory and hierarchy helps. When you decide what to leave out, it’ll also make it easier to fill out the screen as you transition into a desktop, as you can see here: Source You’ll notice that the link to Gift certificates and the latest blog post have been added. Design device-appropriate layouts Of course, there are many UX design platforms. But sticking with UXPin, you’ll find it’s fairly easy to create different layouts for different screens. Of course, there are plenty of UX design platforms out in the market that will help you build a mobile website, such as Fluid UI, Marvel App, and WebFlow.Of course, there are many UX design platforms. But sticking with UXPin, you’ll find it’s fairly easy to create different layouts for different screens. Of course, there are plenty of UX design platforms out in the market that will help you build a mobile website, such as Fluid UI, Marvel App, and WebFlow. To start, open a UXPIN prototype and tap “add responsive version.” You can either choose a preset size or enter your own dimensions. An added feature is that you don’t need to recreate everything from scratch, as you can choose a size from which to copy your design’s elements. From there, you can easily switch between breakpoints by tapping the different sizes above your canvas, which you can adjust depending on your needs. For a comprehensive HTML guide for mobile-first design, click here. Mobile-first Design Best Practices Save the navbar for later As you might imagine by now, on mobile, maximizing space is of the essence. And a great way to create more space for more important elements is to drop the navbar. Again, navigation takes a backseat to content on mobile, so while it’s incredibly helpful, it doesn’t necessarily fit mobile users’ needs. This is why the hamburger menu has become the go-to option for almost all designers. This drawer allows users to pull out the menu items only when they need it. Source Front and centre You know what you want your audience to do. Now put that where they can easily reach it. Do you remember the first iPhone? It seems like such a ridiculously small screen compared to the giant phones we have now. So as you might imagine, the way our thumbs interact with our phones has changed as well. Because phones have gotten bigger while our hands have stayed the same, the screen hotspots have changed as well. The outer screen’s edges take much effort to get to now as you can see here: Source Designers today need to organize content in a way that puts primary interactions front and centre, with secondary and tertiary functions for the top and bottom screen edges. Source Mind file sizes The bigger the file sizes, the slower the load time. Add to that the fact that mobile connections are less reliable, then you not only lose users’ patience; you also lose rankings. This is why you need to make sure that all file sizes are optimized. Tools like Photoshop’s “Export for Web” make sure you minimize the file size of images before uploading them to your site. Of course, you’ll have to keep in mind what the images are for, where they’ll be placed, and how big they should appear. You want to keep your at a high enough quality while reducing file size as necessary. One example is if the column where the image will be placed is 600px wide, you don’t need an image that’s 1000px wide. Link what matters Mobile users want information and action. And they want it fast. This means you need to make accomplishing what matters as streamlined as possible, taking as few taps as possible. For example, if reaching you via phone or email is a key element of your service, make sure that information is clickable. This way, when they tap on your phone number, it automatically takes them to the actual phone part of their phones. Similarly, your physical address would be best served it if it linked to Google Maps. It’s the little things that matter in mobile-first design, so link to them! Takeaway Delivering the best UX is the name of the game these days – a game which is increasingly played on mobile devices. And this works both ways. As a designer, you build a strong foundation that allows you to increasingly incorporate elements into your design as you move on to larger screens. For users, you’re providing a pleasant experience that will keep them coming back. Is your website optimized for mobile? What improvements are you thinking of implementing? Sound off in the comments section.

How to Diversify Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

The marketing landscape has shifted dramatically over the last thirty years. For three decades since the dawn of the internet, marketers have been adapting to innovations to reach their intended audiences. In 2018, that basically means social media. But not all social networks are created equal. First, dig around and see where your target audience is active. For example, some brands can achieve monumental success on Facebook while having virtually no presence on Twitter. Enter Instagram. It’s pretty hard to imagine that eight years is all it took for Instagram to transform from a minor photo-sharing app into a bona fide marketing strategy. It seems everyone is on the app, from the biggest celebrities to the next startup for every industry imaginable to your grandparents —and their dogs too! To help imagine Instagram’s insane reach, just picture this: at this point in time, there are already 800 million people scrolling through their IG feeds. Of that number, a cool 500 million of them (or should I say us?) are on the platform every single day. And it’s not just the US either. Statista noted that a vast majority to the tune of 80% of these daily users are found outside the United States. But so what if 500 million people are daily users of Instagram? Let’s put this into perspective. A quick Google search reveals that the entire population of the European Union stands at 508 million individuals. That’s a LOT of people who represent a wealth of real-world potential. For marketers, these numbers mean one simple thing: for anyone selling anything, Instagram is the go-to resource to engage, sell, and develop a lasting relationship with the people who buy anything and everything online. But it’s likely that you already know this. Perhaps you already know the inner workings of Instagram for Business and even built a comfortable following of loyal customers. At this point, maybe you’re prepared to take your business to the next level. But what exactly comes next? Summed up in a single word, it’s called diversification. Why diversify? Startups who have limited capital and manpower know the perils of marketing firsthand. It’s much more doable to focus on just one or two marketing channels to get a project off the ground and start making sales. Instagram is great, there’s no doubt about it. But having the sole focus on it as your entire marketing strategy is dangerous. For one, Instagram algorithms change all the time. Who knows if you hit the sweet spot today but, after a minor algorithm change that happened overnight, your targeting gets all out of whack? An extreme example is Frank Body. The body scrub brand amassed 10,000 followers in a single month from its launch. Frank Body quickly made a name for themselves as a cheeky brand that wasn’t afraid to show skin in their posts. Until catastrophe struck. One day, the page simply wasn’t there anymore. All the aggressive marketing, the hour by hour posts, all the half-naked digital assets, all gone in the blink of an eye due to Instagram’s strict censorship on nudity. While the experience was unsavoury, the founders say it turned out for the better and forced them to become very creative with the new account. They have proven to be resilient and currently, @frank_bod has 686k followers on Instagram. Let’s all take a page from Frank Body’s book since getting our accounts deleted is simply less than ideal. Instagram marketing is awesome but we can’t rely on follower counts to power a brand’s success from start to finish. Also, respect Instagram censors or face the consequences. But now comes the nitty-gritty. How can your business diversify Instagram marketing? Meet the people in your niche Setting up posts, crafting witty captions, and analyzing statistics. These are just the very tip of the Instagram marketing iceberg. Have you heard of micro-influencers and brand ambassadors? Influencers have developed a kind of reputation in the past years. But it’s the rise of a specific type, the micro influencer, which has brands talking. These account types typically have less than 10,000 followers which makes tapping into their influence much more affordable. Another curious thing is that micro influencers generally have higher account engagement, delivering a high return on investment (ROI), compared to macro influencers. Another type of people you want to meet are your brand ambassadors. These folks are typically unpaid and real users of your product or service. Unlike influencers who you might tap for a one-off sponsored Instagram post or story, brand ambassadors will continuously post about you simply because they love your brand. Start with these guys. Reach out to these existing customers and have a chat on how you can turn their positive comments into a long-term relationship. Another aspect of diversification involves the actual channels used by micro influencers and brand ambassadors. Some folks command a huge Youtube following while remaining okay on Instagram. Depending on your brand, you may want to try this cross-channel promotion. This decision also largely falls on the influencers you’re dealing with. Where can they enjoy the best results? From the brand side, remain open to suggestions and avoid shutting off channels outside of Instagram. Explore paid advertising So Instagram is your primary source of traffic and sales. Great! Paid social is the natural next step for a diversified marketing strategy. For starters, tap into ad retargeting, a nifty service that goes after users who have already shown interest in your product. An audience of at least 1,000 people is needed to start serving them ads. One real-world way to use this is to check how long it takes a user to convert. Forbes noted an example where 80% of people who visited your site have not made purchases within eight days. Make the most of this opportunity and retarget ads to put yourself in front of these users once more. Retargeting ads are basically reminding an already interested audience why they want to buy from you in the first place. Try out different ad types too. There are lots to choose from like video ads, product carousels, and even customer testimonials. Keep an eye out for which ad types proved to be most compelling to conversion. For sponsored Instagram Stories, use a photo editing app to customize your visuals and attract your target audience. Successful ads give an ROI of at least three times based on experience. Foster organic search traffic No matter your industry, you must invest in your own e-commerce website and blog. If you’re thinking of immediate sales, then sorry, this step doesn’t promise anything like that. As for your blog, what you’re creating is content that answers the questions of your customers. Do this enough times and be genuinely helpful and organic search rankings will increase in time. If you have a new product that requires research before a customer buys, then you need content that assists in product research. If your product is something more mainstream, then focus should be on brand awareness. These blog posts don’t sell your product directly. Instead, they engage your customer base and answer questions they may have—questions that they didn’t know they even wanted answers to. Instagram marketing has proven to be extremely successful for brands of all sizes. But to keep things moving forward, you must make sure you build a brand that can adapt to the future by diversifying your Instagram marketing plan.

Reducing the World Wide Wait: CDNs, Explained

Several reports suggest (one being from Business Wire) that the Content Delivery Network market is expected to grow enormously in the next few years. Several companies make use of CDNs today to ensure that they have an edge in online reach. The misconception that many have about CDNs is that they are only used to reduce latency. As you will find out in this blog, CDNs can do much, much more for a business. If you’re not even sure what a CDN is and how do CDNs work, read on. What is CDN (Content Delivery Network)? A CDN or Content Delivery/Distribution Network is a network of servers located in strategic geographical regions to store cached content. This ensures that web content is delivered faster to users around the world regardless of their location to the originating server. Source: Why do they exist: While the primary objective of a CDN is faster content delivery or faster web page loads, there are several other advantages to using a CDN: Reduced bandwidth consumption & lower costs: As content is shared from caches, the load on the originating server is reduced. This also helps prevent the possibility of bandwidth limits being breached with your web hosting provider. To look at a typical scenario for an e-commerce company, a large percentage of traffic will browse a website, first looking through products/content to see if it’s worth their time and money. Only a small percentage will decide to proceed with a conversion. In this case, the company can use a CDN to cater to their browsing traffic (a larger percentage) and serve customers in the conversion stage with updated content from the main server. Security: CDN technology today is equipped with DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) mitigation, bot mitigation, WAFs (Web Application Firewalls), spam blocking, bot blocking, TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption and hacking prevention. These preventive measures are used to detect and eliminate any threat before it reaches the main server. Considering present cybersecurity issues, these security features are a huge boon. Improved SEO: With a reduction in page load speeds, the potential of a website to rank higher in Google search results is increased. Speed is a key factor in search engine optimization. Increased Performance: Offloading content to their CDNs helps the main server effectively handle traffic spikes that may occur. Reliability: If one server is unavailable, the request is automatically routed to the next available server, ensuring a no-fail setup. Dynamic content: A traditional understanding of a CDN is one that just caches static content (such as HTML, CSS, JS and image files). However, today CDNs cater to serving dynamic content as well. Most brands are trying to reach their audiences with the best content possible. However, video content could affect your web page load time. For example, some CDNs promise to make that easier with features to support broadcast-quality video. Advanced Analytics: CDNs today offer advanced analytical insights into network traffic and how content is experienced. Saves complex infrastructure upgrades for small companies: Most importantly, CDNs allow small and medium-sized companies to accommodate large amounts of traffic without having to upgrade their IT infrastructure. Thus, CDNs let you give your customers an uninterrupted, smooth and secure experience of your online services. What is the exact difference that a CDN makes? Performance with a CDN vs. no CDN: This is an illustration of the difference a CDN makes by Cloudflare. Source: To a web user, these numbers are a huge difference. How does CDN work? The geographical locations across which the CDN’s data centres are spread are known as ‘Points of Presence’ or PoPs. These will be placed according to the location of website traffic. The servers at each PoP are known as ‘Edge Servers’. Edge servers cache the content from the originating server. Source: When a user requests for a web page, the CDN redirects the request to the nearest connected server to the user’s geographical location. This happens if the content of the web page is cached with the CDN server in the first place. Which businesses should use a CDN? Large businesses with usually pull in a large amount of traffic and those that serve locations all around the world will benefit from the use of a CDN. A CDN really isn’t necessary if you are a local business and don’t expect to expand your areas of operation. CDNs and hosting packages: Most web hosting solutions today already include a content delivery network. For example, all shared web hosting packages at ResellerClub come equipped with Cloudflare CDN services which offer all the benefits of a modern CDN that we’ve talked about here including DDoS mitigation and internet security services. I hope we have helped you better understand what CDNs are and how to make a better choice for your website or web hosting business.

Impact of Artificial Intelligence on your WordPress Powered E-commerce Website

The world changed, slowly and subtly at first and at a rapid speed in the past few years. This change has evolved with the numerous inventions and progress in science and technology. We are now in an age where machines are able to understand and process human tasks, performing them in a far efficient manner than we humans could. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have become an integral part of our life, be it voice search, chatbots, Google search predictions and so on. This impact affects the way we run our businesses both online and offline. However, one of the key leveragers of AI is an e-commerce website. In this article, we will cover how far has AI penetrated into our businesses, as well as, its impact on an e-commerce business website. Integrating AI with E-commerce websites Before delving more into how AI will impact e-commerce website, let us have a look at where AI stands today. Artificial Intelligence is a broad term covering a wide range of technologies. Our focus in this article is how it impacts the business aspect of running a website. How it improves the web design eventually enhancing the user experience? Thereby aiding in converting your website visitors to customers. In a recent marketing research conducted by Business Intelligence Insider, AI is one of the fastest growing technologies today with the highest anticipated growth. Source: Business Intelligence Insider Enhanced Customer Experience Take, for instance, one of the prime concerns of a new e-commerce business owners is, what new can they provide to the customer that would make them stand out from the rest? The answer to this question is simple. Personalization is what makes any brand stand out. For example, when a customer goes into a local shop to purchase something, the shopkeeper suggests items should the customer be stuck, to enhance their shopping experience and also, that they do not leave the shop empty-handed. On the other hand, when a customer is shopping online, they are essentially alone, and chances are if they do not find what they are looking for, they might abandon your site. Artificial Intelligence (AI) aids in solving this issue by providing the customer with a more localized and customized shopping experience. It does this by suggesting items after analyzing the customer’s past and recent search history. For example, you may have noticed pop-ups or ads like ‘Frequently bought together’, ‘You may also like’, ‘Other similar products’ etc.In fact, according to Boston Consulting Group, a personalized shopping experience helps in increasing the company’s revenue by 6 to 10%. Another positive impact of using AI on your e-commerce website is that it reduces the user’s search and response time, therefore, the user doesn’t need to wait for long. This we can conclude based on the prediction and suggestive style of the website to the user. However, search time even depends on your hosting, if you have a WordPress powered e-commerce website then opting for WordPress Hosting will aid in improving your website load speed. This coupled with AI’s fast search can boost your website in the sight of visitors. Thus, integrating AI with e-commerce websites helps in increasing not only the customer satisfaction level but also, increases the company’s revenue. Optimized Content Generation Content if rightly created and displayed can have a major impact on your website. As an e-commerce website owner, you would have hired a content writer to generate SEO focusing content. This content leads to improved SEO, as well as, helps improve the visitor count on your website on a daily basis. This type of content is heavily keyword focused and helps in attracting the search engine bots to effectively drive traffic to your website. However, humans can commit an error while reviewing content to check if there are keywords and if they are placed correctly, and all of this in the right proportion. AI generated content is created using a set of algorithms and takes less time to be created. Thus, it optimises your content generation strategy. An earlier article we wrote, covered one of the tools that web pros can harness to enhance their SEO. Having seen how AI impacts your e-commerce website, let us now look at some AI tools that can help you. Here I am assuming, you have opted for a WordPress website and will cover 3 tools that can be easily integrated with your WordPress powered e-commerce website. Askimet Askimet (Automattic and Kismet) is a pre-installed plugin that comes with every WordPress website. This plugin helps detect spam comments on your website using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The Askimet algorithm works in predictive behaviour manner by learning from its mistakes and learning from millions of websites across the internet. It is able to detect comments made by bots, as well as, humans. Albert According to Albert’s website, ‘Albert is the world’s first and only fully autonomous digital marketer.’ That means, Albert is able to create content, curate it and also, organize cross-channel marketing campaigns to market your product. Thus, Albert can improve your customers’ digital experience and help in increasing your sales. IBM’s Watson Assistant Formerly known as Conversation, IBM’s Watson Assistant helps businesses by automating their customer support to improve customer interaction and experience. The interface is automatic and operated via a bot that helps connect customers to actual customer care executives should their query require deeper assistance. This tool is extremely helpful for businesses that have a dedicated support team and e-commerce is one of them. At the end: Marketing is a niche that requires an in-depth understanding of your business such that you can come up with new ideas and strategies. And although investing in AI may be a smart move with these trending times, you should exercise caution before moving to it completely. However, by this, we do not mean that you shouldn’t leverage AI, in fact, the right amount will help in scaling your business to greater heights. Have any questions or a suggestion to make? Feel free to drop your comments in the comments section below!

How to Build an E-commerce Website – A Step by Step Guide

If you’re one among those who have been thinking of launching an online business, then this post is for you. Starting a new business requires the right strategy with a lot of time and effort. And one of the most important things is building an online store to sell your products. In this article, I’ll walk you through what you need to take care of before launching a website and then how to build an e-commerce website. Setting the Base for Your Business An idea is what gives birth to everything we decide to do and later on accomplish. Thus, setting the base of anything is important before you actually start it. Likewise, when it comes to starting an online store, it is very important that you decide on the following things: The niche of your business The initial amount you should invest The products you’re going to sell Pricing your product for an effective profit Once the blueprint of your basics is ready, you’re set to roll out your idea to the world and to do that you need to set up your e-commerce website. In the below section, we see how to build an e-commerce website step by step. How to build an E-commerce website: Select a domain name and hosting Before deciding the e-commerce platform to build your website on, one of the important things is choosing and registering the domain name for your website. Your domain name is the face of your e-commerce website and should reflect the brand’s name. After you’re done choosing your domain name, the next step is to host your e-commerce website. WordPress Hosting is one of the best hosting platforms for a new e-commerce website. Here is an article on how to choose a domain name and host it. Choose an e-commerce platform The second more important factor when it comes to the success of your e-commerce website is choosing the right platform to create your website. There are several platforms right from open-source Content Management Systems viz WordPress, Joomla, etc. to platforms like, Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Weebly, etc. to create an e-commerce website. If you’re a beginner and not well-versed with technological aspects like coding, then open-source CMS platforms can be tricky to manage. It is at such times that smart e-commerce website solutions provide you with a platform where all you need to do, to set up a website, customize it and you’re good to go . Build your e-commerce website on your preferred platform Now that you’ve chosen an e-commerce platform, the next step is to build your website on it. Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, etc. have a user-friendly user-interface that is easy to understand and navigate. These platforms have drag and drop options, as well as, plenty of customization features available. After adding the products to your site and customizing the look and feel of it, you need to structure it in a manner that would make it complete. Deciding on the right theme and designing it is crucial. Some of the items that your website needs to have are: An ‘About Us’ talking about the vision and mission of your business A ‘Contact Us’ to help customers get in touch with you An interactive homepage that displays featured deals and any ongoing sale It is essential you have a blog to publish press releases, new information on products, how to use them, FAQs etc. Lastly, you need to install plugins like Google Analytics to measure your traffic, security plugins etc. Secure your website using SSL and Install Backup Services You’ve decided on your products, the platform to build your website on, figured out how to create an e-commerce website, this means you’re done with the major portion of setting up your e-commerce website. After figuring out the design and data of your website, it is now time to secure it. A secure website builds credibility in the eyes of the customer, as well as, helps improve your SEO thus, getting more traffic to your website. The best way to making your website secure is by installing an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts and authenticates your sensitive information and keeps the eavesdroppers and hackers at bay. Another thing you need to take care of is backing up your website. Even though you may have a reliable hosting provider for your e-commerce website, chances are if your website doesn’t function properly you shouldn’t lose data. Setting up backup right from the moment your website is launched is important. Set up your payments Setting up payments is the next steps in building your e-commerce website. Here you need to take care of both how is the money coming to you and how would you transfer it to your bank account. This needs to be a secure gateway an setting up a merchant account is thus, a vital process. Some of the options you can choose from are PayPal, Visa, American Express etc. if you’re planning to set up your business with ResellerClub, here are the payment options provided by us. Begin Selling Your website is now officially ready to be launched to the world, and you can start selling the products. However, to make your website known you will need to employ various content marketing and social media strategies for your potential customers to know you’ve arrived in the market. Here are some of the effective marketing tips you can try for your e-commerce website. Conclusion: Setting up your e-commerce business is not a cake-walk, however, with the right guidance, it can be simplified. Hope you now know how to build an e-commerce website and will soon build it and start selling. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

Importance of Contact Us Page and the Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress Websites

Communicating and connecting with your website’s visitors is essential as each of them are your potential customers. However, capturing their interest and getting to know their concerns in order to cater to them is tricky as you run an online business. A ‘Contact Us’ page is the perfect solution to give out important information to your customers so they can get in touch with you. A ‘Contact Us’ provides the most basic information like registered address of the company, phone number, e-mail addresses and social media links. Alternatively, it even includes a customer-centric form asking details like name, the subject of the message, e-mail address and a description box. Further down the post, we will be covering the importance of having a Contact Us page in detail and how to create one. One way to create a Contact Us page is by designing and coding in manually another is using a plugin if you have a WordPress website. In this post, we would be covering the latter and list down the best Contact Form plugin for WordPress. So let’s begin. Importance of Contact Us page A contact us page, in a nutshell, is a simple web page on your website featuring basic information so that your visitors can get in touch with you. An example of a contact us page is below: ResellerClub’s Contact Us Page Even though a contact us page seems like any other page on your website, it is of high importance. Here are some reasons why it is essential to have ‘contact us’ page on your website. A Contact Us page helps you establish a communication channel between you and your visitors should they want to get in touch with you. The reasons are innumerable to give you feedback, contribute as a guest writer (if you have a blog), general inquiry about your business etc. Search engines usually display contact information about your website. The more information they are able to provide the more credibility it builds. Thus, increasing your website’s visitor count. As a Contact Us page helps in boosting your visitors, it furthermore helps in improving your SEO, as well as, website traffic. Ways of creating a contact us page There are two ways of creating a contact form. You can code it the manually way (if you are a hands-on developer or you deal with website design) If you are a beginner, the best way to creating a contact us page is using plugins. In this post, we will be covering the latter. Here are our top 4 Contact Us page plugins. Top 4 contact form plugins for WordPress websites There are several plugins available for creating contact forms. Here are our picks and the best contact form plugins for WordPress. Contact Form 7Contact Form 7 developed by Takayuki Miyoshi is one of the most popular contact form plugins for WordPress websites. It has more than 5+ million active installations and is available in about 50 languages. It is open-source software and supports AJAX powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet Spam filter support etc. Listed below are some of the features of this WordPress contact form plugin: Contact Form 7 requires WordPress version 4.8 or higher to function properly. Its new version 5.0.4 has been officially released and is a security and maintenance release. It is easy to install and integrate with your WordPress dashboard, as well as, customize it as per your requirements. For further features, you can refer to this post. Contact Formby WPForms Contact Form by WPForms is a drag and drop contact form builder that allows users to create different types of forms for their WordPress website, one of them being contact forms. WPForms is supported by WordPress version 4.8 and higher and PHP version 5.2.4 and higher. This makes it important for you to regularly update your WordPress website and keep all the bugs at bay. Listed below are some of the features of this contact form plugin: WPForms are responsive in nature. They adjust according to the medium they are browsed on, be it mobile, desktop, laptop or tablet. WPForms’ contact forms are web and server optimized. Thus, they help in improving your website’s loading speed. They are one of the best contact forms for WordPress website in terms of SEO. Also, if your website is powered by WordPress Hosting, then it helps in boosting your website loading speed. Form Maker by WD Form Maker is a responsive drag-and-drop plugin built by WD. it is user-friendly and helps in creating multiple types of forms, one of them being a contact form. This plugin is freemium and has over 1+ million active installations. Form Maker is supported by WordPress version 4.6 and higher and available in a total of 4 languages. Listed below are some of the features of this WordPress contact form plugin: This plugin is multi-purpose in nature. Users can create multiple forms on different pages of their website. What makes this an advantage is that it doesn’t tell you to upgrade to a premium version to avail this feature, instead, it provides 7 form fields. Should you want more, well then you have the choice to upgrade! This plugin provides 15 customizable themes to their users, to choose from depending on what they like. Also, there is a custom CSS editor, as well as, easy submission tracker and customized email sending option. Caldera Forms Caldera Forms by Caldera Labs is a freemium contact form plugin for WordPress having over 1+ million active installations. It is supported by WordPress version 4.7 and above, and PHP version 5.6 or higher. This plugin can be translated into 12 languages. The plugin is responsive in nature and a drag-and-drop editor. Listed below are some of the features of this contact form plugin: The plugin has a powerful intuitive user-interface and various user-friendly add-ons that are beneficial to both, web developers and beginners. It has an Anti-Spam filter that takes care of bots and spam entries. Moreover, it allows website owners to export the entries received in CSV format. Conclusion: A Contact Us page is an essential part of your WordPress website irrespective of it being an e-commerce website or not. It helps in not only aiding the customers on your website but also, helps in generating leads for your business. And with best contact form plugins for WordPress, your task of creating a Contact Us page is solved significantly. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel to drop in your message in the comment box below!

What is a Multi-Cloud Strategy? How to Mitigate Multi-Cloud Security Risks?

69% of enterprises are going to use a multi-cloud strategy by the year 2019, according to 451 Research. Still, few of them are aware of multi-cloud potential risks and ways to prevent them. In this article, you will learn what is multi-cloud and how to secure your business when working with multiple cloud providers. What is Multi-Cloud? Multi-cloud is the usage of many cloud computing services at the same time, often from various providers. While multi-cloud and hybrid cloud seem alike, there is a huge difference between them. Unlike in a hybrid cloud model, where public and private cloud environments are mixed and work together, in multi-cloud each cloud has its own task. Thus, all processes happen inside the environments. Companies choose a multi-cloud strategy for various reasons – to minimize potential risks, achieve higher performance or lower costs, and some of them want to benefit from the unique features of different clouds. Either way, the fact that cloud computing changes business can’t be denied. It is a flexible, cost-effective and convenient tool. According to an Oracle study, companies of all major industries will migrate to the cloud environment massively by 2020. As the multi-cloud strategy becomes widely used, it brings significant security risks to companies. So, anyone who decides to opt for cloud development should implement a security & risk-preventive strategy. By doing so, companies can avoid losing precious revenue & data. While traditional strategies don’t work here, business owners should apply a multi-layered approach to solving this issue. Down below are presented the key measures companies could take: Ensure complete visibility into the network & endpoints when adopting a multi-cloud strategy: A large amount of distributed endpoint devices make visibility a real challenge. It is nearly impossible to monitor the whole multi-cloud at the same time. Meanwhile, cyber threats evolve constantly, and they can happen to several clouds at the same moment. Thus, you should be able to detect these issues and resolve them as fast as possible. Choosing SIEM solutions are a great starting point for your risk mitigation strategy. SIEM is a Security Information and Event Management software, which monitors, collects and reports on log & event data in real time. These effective tools include firewalls, tools for preventing intrusion & threats, allowing you to manage it all in one place. Moreover, employees often use different devices to access business data remotely, which increases their vulnerability level significantly. To avoid “blind spots”, companies might use Endpoint Detection and Response tools (EDR). Using these solutions, you can constantly monitor everything happening on the endpoint devices. This, in turn, helps to resolve the emerging issues in real time. Make sure that these tools support all types of platforms your end users prefer to use. Secure your apps/data hosted in the multi-cloud: Cloud-hosted apps often become the number one target for cybercriminals. That’s why these applications should have a strong control & threat protection system to find all the weak points before hackers use them. To do this, consider using one SSO (single sign-on) in your agency. When each cloud service has its own user account, there are many sets of credentials. All of them can be easily exposed. By adopting the SSO strategy, you reduce the total number of credentials which reduces greatly the risk of exploited data. Another useful type of software is the backup solutions such as CodeGuard, BackupBuddy and VaultPress. These systems offer regular backups and restorations of your website to avoid possible downtimes. To ensure all the valuable info is safe, you can choose a reliable Cloud Hosting platform as a working basis. Apply automation to secure your multi-cloud strategy: To take advantage of the flexibility that multi-cloud computing offers, agencies should set the right automation strategy. In particular, they could automate repetitive security actions and develop a system responding to possible attacks. The newly-emerging automation tools allow admins to move workloads between the clouds while managing the environment more effectively. A great range of processing actions provides for the in-depth analytics at each risk level. Consider automating threat event processing to minimize the risk of human error. Ensure proper management of your multi-cloud: As the multi-cloud network grows, the risk of poor management also increases. Thus, managers should create a centralized control system to ensure data security across various cloud environments. Consider using specific software to create a centralized management system with an option to monitor all subsystems in one place. Workloads should move effectively across the whole cloud infrastructure. Moreover, you should limit the network access, by allowing only authorized users to approach your applications or data. Each user should be able to access the amount of data necessary to accomplish his/her tasks, through a multi-factor authentication system. Avoid opening access to your valuable/sensitive data for all users. Choose cloud vendors carefully and respect the shared responsibility model: Last but not least, you should understand that providers are responsible only for the cloud security itself. Thus, only you can protect the data & apps placed IN the cloud. The way how you use a multi-cloud network and how you secure it depends on you. Furthermore, not all cloud types are alike. For example, public clouds are more subjective to potential threats than the private ones. So, choose the type which fits your workload & needs. Now, here’s how to choose a good cloud service provider. Check their data security policies, as they should be aimed at solving risks and similar to your own safety policies. Make sure your data will be encrypted before even uploading it. Ask him security questions about your specific industry & case. The main goal is to get a clear understanding of security measures & mechanisms that each provider offers to protect your data. In addition, make sure to provide a high level of security on a regular basis. Since your network structure will know various transformations during the work, you should regularly update your security techniques. For this purpose, get tech experts to help you by making the in-depth audit of your current multi-cloud strategy & network. The key to a zero-risk multi-cloud strategy: To make your multi-cloud strategy a completely risk-free process, follow three simple steps: plan, prepare, adopt. By adopting a multi-layered approach to security on each of these stages, you can protect even the most complex software solutions. With the help of several techniques listed above, business owners can use multi-cloud strategy to their benefit only. With its help, they can achieve better customer service, business efficiency and, most importantly, higher profits.

5 Things to Look Out for in SEO Friendly WordPress Themes

Choosing a theme for your WordPress website is a tough task. The theme should be user-friendly and enhance the design of your website. Imagine you are running a clothing line business, and your website theme gives emphasis to text rather than images and where the colours are all dull and black. Won’t it put off your potential customers as opposed to a lively and colourful theme that would instead encourage visitors to explore more and eventually purchase a product? However, amidst choosing the theme and customizing the design, one thing that is usually overlooked is the SEO aspect. As a WordPress website owner, it is crucial that you make sure your theme is SEO optimized. This not only helps your website to rank higher on search engines but also enables you to attract more traffic. In this article, we will be covering WordPress and SEO, as well as, the importance of an SEO friendly WordPress theme for your WordPress website. So first off, let us see how WordPress websites help you with your SEO efforts WordPress is an easy to use platform that has a number of built-in features that help improve the SEO of your website. Some of these features are the various URL structures available that help in improving your search engine ranking along with categories, tags, plugins etc. Also, WordPress releases regular updates for fixing bugs in the code making your websites faster and more efficient. This impacts your website and it’s search engine rankings. Having covered some of the features of WordPress let us now move to the look and feel of a WordPress website. WordPress has default themes, as well as, customized themes. The idea of a theme is to present your website to the visitor in a manner that makes it look appealing, and at the same time, it reflects the heart and soul of your business. In one of our earlier posts, we talked about the 6 things to look for in a WordPress theme, and one of the features covered was SEO. To help with this there are a plethora of SEO friendly WordPress themes. But how do you figure out which is the best amongst them all? Let us take a look at the 5 key things you need to keep in mind when deciding on an SEO optimised WordPress theme. Responsiveness and Mobile-First Design Nowadays most users browse websites not only via desktops and laptops but also, via mobile phones and tablets. This makes it imperative for the website to be responsive. That basically means that the layout adjusts itself depending on the medium it is viewed on. If your website isn’t responsive, chances are many of your customers might abandon it owing to the fact it might be difficult to navigate. A theme plays an important role when it comes to the responsiveness of the website. Choosing a non-responsive theme can hamper not only your customer prospects but even your SEO. When users stay on your site for a good duration, it enhances your website’s SEO. Also, with the rollout of Google’s Mobile-First Indexing algorithm, it is important that your theme is compatible with mobile devices. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly rank lower than the mobile-friendly websites, eventually impacting your SEO on Google search engine. Cross-Browser compatibility Just like your theme must be responsive and mobile-friendly, it is equally important that it be compatible with various browsers. Cross-browser compatibility is important because users not only view your website on different mediums but also on different browsers, and each browser interprets the code in a different way.If a particular browser doesn’t support your website then even if it is responsive it might not display properly. This might lead to visitors abandoning the website within a few seconds leading to an increased bounce rate which eventually would affect your SEO. An SEO friendly WordPress theme is compatible with the top browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari. Compatible with various SEO plugins Compatibility of an SEO friendly theme with the elements on your WordPress website is important. One of these elements is plugins. Most websites make use of various plugins and they are an inseparable part of a WordPress website just like the theme.Now imagine, a scenario where two integral parts are not compatible with each other. It will give rise to a host of issues, and the SEO capabilities won’t be utilised in its entire capacity. To overcome this issue, make sure that the theme you install is not only SEO friendly but also, compatible with the plugins you have or need. If the theme is truly SEO optimised, then it won’t override the SEO actions taken by the WordPress SEO plugin. Load Speed of the theme If your theme is too bulky with lots of elements, it will take time to load. A slower loading theme would, in turn, slow the load speed of the website with some or most of the elements not loading. In fact, according to a study, if you have a mobile website and it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then 53% of the users are likely to abandon your site.Most SEO friendly WordPress themes take care that the theme isn’t too bulky. However, as a good practice, you too should check whether the theme is heavy or light-weight. Another important aspect that affects the load speed of the theme is the type of hosting you choose. Even if you have the most optimised themes and plugins, it will not help if your hosting service is slow and laggy. We recommend WordPress Hosting as the best option for hosting your WordPress powered websites. WordPress Hosting coupled with an SEO optimized WordPress theme is sure to improve the loading speed of your website. Includes Markup Themes that make use of markup tend to enhance the quality of the website from an SEO point of view. With this documentation, the search engine is better able to understand the website content by better classification in their listing.One of the key things it can help with is increasing the number of visitors on your website through search engine results. Here is one example where markup makes it possible for the right rich snippets to pop in. All the user typed was ‘Justin Timberlake tour’ in their Google Search, and the Ticketmaster website displayed a list of events within the search results itself. Here are some examples where is implemented. Conclusion: On a closing note, make sure that you choose the right theme for your WordPress website as it will help you present your website better. Hope this post helped you figure out the things to look for in an SEO friendly theme. As a quick reference, here are some of the best SEO friendly WordPress themes you can check out for your website. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments box below!

New gTLD Report – September 2018

With the end of the third quarter and the launch of our all new SSD VPS hosting, the month of September saw a 50% increase in the total counts of new gTLD registered as compared to the month of August. The domain extension .XYZ, continued to retain its top spot, and was not the only new gTLD driving our registration numbers. Registrations of .SITE climbed 335% in September, thus propelling it to the second spot on the list. .ICU, .TOP and .ONLINE also witnessed a considerable spike in  registrations and were able to make it to the top 5 list of trending new gTLDs. Let’s dive into the trending new gTLD list for the month of September : New gTLD Report – September 2018 Infogram     *Registration Numbers Facilitated by ResellerClub .XYZ: Not only did .XYZ retain its top position among the trending new gTLDs in the month of September but also witnessed a 70% spike in its numbers. Registrations for .XYZ saw a sharp rise in the global market that recorded 97% of the registrations of this new gTLD. .XYZ was being sold at a promo price of $0.99 in the month of September. .SITE: It was the massive jump of 335% in the registration numbers of this new gTLD that landed it on the second spot in the list. .SITE that was able to grab an 8% share of the total new gTLDs and secured the second spot on list for the first time. .SITE was running at a promo price of $4.99. .ICU: Despite a shift in its rank, registrations for .ICU were on the rise with a 5% increase compared to August. Being sold at a promo price of $0.99, .ICU has undoubtedly gained popularity in the China market. This new gTLD was able to grab a 6% share of the total new gTLDs registered in September. .TOP: The promo price of $1.59 sent the registrations for .TOP soaring to 112% in September and thus, it secured the fourth spot on the new gTLD trending list. Just like .XYZ, .TOP has been consistently performing well since the start of the year. Again it was the global market that helped boost the registrations of this new gTLD. .ONLINE: This Radix new gTLD was able to grab a 5% share of the total new gTLDs registered. The promo price of $3.99 spurred the registrations of this new gTLD. tIt was the global market  that recorded higher registrations of this new gTLD. Outside the top 5, while .SPACE was able to hold on to its sixth spot, .LIFE moved up a rank to the seventh spot with a 57% jump in its registration numbers. The new gTLD, .LIVE which was able to secure a spot in the top 5 list in August got bumped out in month of September, settling in at the 11th position. The new entrant for the month was .NEWS that secured the ninth spot with a 400% spike in its number. Don’t miss out on our exciting domain promos coming up during the month of October: Take your customer’s business global with a .GLOBAL domain extension at just $12.99 Resell the trending new gTLD .SITE at just $4.99. Get your customer’s business online with a .BIZ domain extension at just $4.99 And that’s it folks! You can check out all our trending domain promos here and get the right one for your customer’s business. Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get updates about our trending domain promos. Just look out for the posts with #domainpromos. See you there!

What is Thin Provisioning in Ceph?

In today’s world, everyone is looking to have faster and more efficient storage systems to power their IT services. It is also observed that over time, we have come a long way from simple file systems to advanced and self-managing storage systems like Ceph storage architecture. In this post, we are going to discuss what Thin Provisioning is and what it does to make Ceph highly effective. If you want to learn more about what Ceph is and what its features are, you can check out this post here. Thin provisioning is one of those great features that makes storage systems efficient and manageable. Let’s try and understand it better. The primary benefits of Thin Provisioning are: The efficient utilization of storage space and Ease of scalability Before we go in-depth, let’s first try and understand what happens in a storage architecture without Thin Provisioning. In the traditional storage system without Thin Provisioning, consider you have 6 storage disks of 1 TB each available at your disposal. Now to allocate usage of these disks, the storage system creates virtual disks called LUNs. LUN stands for Local Unit Number which is essentially a logical representation of a disk array pointing to the actual physical storage space on the disk. These LUNs can then be allocated to the sites being hosted across the network. Let us see an example of what happens without Thin Provisioning. Let’s say a LUN of 4 TB is created, it will actually block 4TB out of the 6 TB regardless if the whole 4 TB is used or not. So, if you come to look at it, the first thing is there is a huge possibility of wasting storage space or underutilizing the storage space. Secondly, you can at any point of time only create LUNs of maximum 6 TB. This can drastically hamper the scalability of the whole storage system and you will need either a very smart storage management system or a really active storage administrator working full-time. Thin Provisioning changes the game a little bit. Similar to the traditional system, Thin Provisioning enabled storage systems also create LUNs which can be then allocated for usage. However, when a LUN is created actual physical storage units are not blocked, rather just pointed to. So technically even if you create a LUN of 4 TB out of the 6 TB disk space, the LUN, if nothing is actually written in it, will virtually occupy Nil amount of space. In simple words, actual storage space is only allocated when a write command is executed on the LUN. With this flexibility, even if you have 6 TB of actual storage space available, you can still create 4 LUNs of 4 TB each virtually which will account to 16 TB of storage space. The storage space will only be used when actual write operations happen and with good management. You can scale up the physical storage space when you understand the LUNs are being utilized at full capacity and make the system infinitely scalable. Couple of things to be careful about: One needs to be vigilant about LUN utilization. Suppose you create LUNs of higher capacity than what is physically available, and if the LUNs are used, you might face a crunch Thin Provisioning gives you the advantage of creating an unlimited number of LUNs to serve more users but can be hellish to efficiently manage them. At ResellerClub, our Cloud Hosting makes use of Ceph Storage architecture, within which, Thin Provisioning is one of the key features. This allows us to not only efficiently utilize storage space and minimize memory wastage but also give you a highly scalable Cloud Hosting environment to handle any kind of load that you can bring to the table. Hope this gives you a better understanding of what Thin Provisioning is, how it works and its uses. Please feel free to share your questions or feedback in the comments section below and we would be more than happy to address them. Stay tuned for more!

Image SEO 101: How To Optimize Your Website’s Visual Content

When it comes to websites, visual content plays a key role in enhancing a user’s experience and their impression of your brand/business. Websites use images for a wide variety of reasons. Studies show us that about 37% of people are visual learners. Images can tell a convincing story, which is the reason brands use imagery to convey their stories and idealism. E-commerce stores have also been growing at an exponential rate, and images obviously play a huge part in their website structure. Besides this, images pretty much form the core of any website or portfolio that is part of a creative field of work. Additionally, given the fact that there is no actual limit to the number of images that you can use in a single web page, web designers tend to be liberal with the number of images they use. In fact, images make up over 65% of the web content. The result of this can be seen across the internet today, with a lot of websites like this one using stunning visual imagery to guide the user’s journey through their site. That being said, how many of us actually pay attention to optimizing the images that we use on our website? And why is it important? Well, first, let me tell you why this is important. I’m sure most of us are aware of the fact that images take up most of a web page’s weight. Consequently, the heavier a web page is, the more time it takes to load. Additionally, statistics show us that the probability of a user leaving a web page increases by 32% if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Images, being one of the heaviest elements on a web page, take up more weight. This causes the webpage to slow down, which might cause an increase in the webpage’s bounce rate. In order to minimize this, we need to take a closer look at optimizing the images that we use. To help you with this, I’m going to be listing down the five best ways to optimize your website’s images to make your website’s performance and SEO better. Cropped Images Cropping the images that you use to optimal dimensions provides value beyond just visual appeal. Since images are made up of pixels, and each individual pixel carries certain image data, they add to the weight of the image. Simply put, the more pixels in your image, the heavier the image will be. By cropping your images, you are eliminating as many pixels as you can, which directly translates to a lighter image weight. Additionally, you also need to keep in mind that resizing your images also helps, apart from cropping them. What I mean by this is that you need to resize the original image, according to the display size on your web page. For instance, let’s say that you are using an image with dimensions of 1000*800 pixels. If your display size for that same image on your website is 600*400 pixels, then you need to resize the image accordingly, before uploading it. There are a ton of tools that you can use to do this, such as these. Image Compression Most of us are aware that compressing your images is a standard practice before uploading them on a website. However, you also need to pay attention to the type of compression that you use, as this could affect user experience when it comes to certain end uses such as photography. There are two main types of compression that are used by every image type out there. They are lossy and lossless compression. Lossy compression works by taking advantage of how the human eye perceives images. It does this by eliminating pixel data wherever surrounding pixels have the same or similar composition. The omittance of this data is often almost unnoticeable unless zoomed in to a certain extent. On the other hand, lossless compression merely compresses all the image data as it is, and as a result, has a slightly lower compression rate than lossy compression. However, since no pixel data is eliminated, the images are more crisp and detailed, even when zoomed in. Images with lossy compression are best suited for websites that primarily use textual content or simple infographics, without much emphasis on visual content. A good example for this would be government websites, blogs (that are not based on creatives), and websites that host research articles. On the other hand, images with lossless compression are usually used in visually heavy websites where you need images to remain clear, even when zoomed in. This includes websites such as e-commerce, travel, and social media sites. You can even combine these two compression techniques and get a sharper image with a higher compression rate. Image editing software like these can be used for such purposes. Appropriate File Type Once you have edited the images that you will be using for your website, you need to choose the most appropriate file type for the same. The file type that you choose will depend on the type of compression that you need, and the end use of that particular image. There are three image file types that are widely used, and they are JPEGs, PNGs, and GIFs. JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is the format that is most commonly used when it comes to images. This is due to the fact that JPEG offers the highest colour depth, and supports both lossy and lossless compression. You can easily adjust the quality and the file size in this format, as you require. JPEGs are normally used for complex images with rich detail. PNG, which stands for Portable Network Graphics, is another image type that produces rich and sharp detail. However, this file type uses only lossless compression, due to which it has a considerably higher file size. Therefore, this format is more appropriate for logos and simple imagery. GIF, short for Graphics Interchange Format, has very low colour depth, being restricted to just 256 colours. It also uses only lossless compression, but this format can support animation. Hence, it is used for animated loop images. This is used mostly in websites where visual cues are essential to communicate with the viewer, such as websites for digital media businesses and ones that host tutorials online. Remove Excess Data In most cases, when a picture is taken, there is a bunch of data that gets saved along with the image. This is called metadata. Metadata is mostly just information such as geolocation, make and model of the camera, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. All this information adds to the weight of the image, and most of the time is completely unnecessary. So it is advisable to remove all this excess metadata, wherever it is redundant. You can use several free online tools to do this. Raster Vs. Vector Just as choosing the right file type for your images is important, so is choosing the right type of graphics. When working with digital images, you will mostly deal with two basic types of image graphics – raster and vector. Your end users will determine which type of graphic you use for your images. Images that use raster graphics are formed by pixels, and hence exhibit a high level of detail regardless of the complexity of the image. However, this tends to leave you with images that have a higher file size, and are susceptible to blurring when zoomed in. On the other hand, vector images use paths such as points, lines, and polygons to portray an image. They are resolution independent, meaning these images don’t blur out when zoomed in on. They also have a smaller file size, since they don’t use pixels. Vector graphics are best suited for simple, geometric images such as logos and icons. These are the five main things that you need to do to ensure that your visual content is optimized for web usage. Apart from this, you should also make sure that you include all the right image tags and alt text, to make it easier for search engines to understand what the image contains. However, optimizing your images is just a small part of improving your website’s SEO. In order to make the most of it, you need to look at optimizing every aspect of your website, right from the layout to its local schema. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but here’s a downloadable checklist that you can use to do this in a systematic manner. Hope it helps!

How Page-Level Targeting Helps Improve Customer Conversion Rates

An important element when it comes to the success of a marketing campaign is the way it is targeted. Be it a website, an email newsletter or an Ad campaign, the success lies in the way you’ve targeted and then re-targeted your product. Targeting can be defined as a way to distinguish potential customers from the general visitors and directing your marketing efforts at them. There are several ways in which we can carry out targeting. In this post, we will be covering page-level targeting for business websites, so that they are able to generate more leads and, in turn, improve the customer conversion rates. What is Page-Level Targeting? Page-level targeting is a lead generation technique used to reach your target audience at the very moment when they are interacting with your website or a page on your website. Depending on the type of visitor (either new or returning) you can target them with relevant ads. This is usually done with the help of optins. OptinMonster defines optin as the act of someone granting permission to be added to an email list. Reasons to implement page-level targeting Customer conversion is an important aspect as it means the customer is taking the steps you would want them to. If your content doesn’t appeal to customers or they aren’t able to interact with your content and respond to it the way you would like them to, it would mean a drop in sales. Page-level targeting helps resolve this and helps you, the business owner, create a more personalised approach toward your customers. Let us have a look at the two important reasons to implement page-level targeting: Reduces Shopping Cart Abandonment: If you’re running an e-commerce website then you must be familiar with customers viewing a product, adding it to their cart and then abandoning it at the last moment instead of purchasing it. One way of reducing this is by implementing page-level targeting by strategically triggering a pop-up that has a discount coupon or a deal on an item they were looking to purchase. This encourages users to complete the purchase, maximising customer conversion and thus, reducing cart abandonment. Increased Subscriber Count Subscriber count is proportional to the kind and quality of content your website publishes. If your content is rich, detailed and tailored for your business, then your customers would want to read it as well. For example: If your website deals with electronic products but most of your content focuses on a variety of generic content with little or nothing to do with your business, it would mean that most customers do not stay long enough to read and explore. Instead, if you use page-level targeting showing an optin or ad relating to the latest technology, etc. it would interest the customer. And if in the middle of this a subscriber window pops-up chances of the customer clicking ‘subscribe’ are high. Page-level targeting thus helps in improving subscriber count as well. Page-level targeting eventually leads to an increase in the customer sign-ups, as well as, increases your subscriber count which can then indirectly contribute to your email marketing strategy improving the CTR and the open rate of your emails. How to go about it? We’ve seen the two key reasons to implement page-level targeting. However, like everything else, it looks easier on paper than in reality. Implementing page-level targeting isn’t tough by any means. Nevertheless, it needs meticulous planning and analyzing. Let us have a look at the two important things that you should keep in mind when trying to implement page-level targeting for your website. Understanding your target customer: One of the most important things when running a website is understanding your customer. This is irrespective of whether you consciously follow page-level targeting or not. If you don’t understand your customer and his/her needs, then you would never be able to cater to them, and this would not contribute to your business in the long run. The more customer oriented content you have, the more it would lead to them interacting with your website eventually, leading to conversion. Some of the ways of understanding your customers are by tracking their engagement with your website and products. Tools like Google Analytics can help you measure the time the customers spent on a particular page, the most popular landing pages, the pages that were abandoned sooner than they should have, etc. Another way of understanding your customers is by tracking them socially by means of social analytics, digital interactions, as well as, service and support. Placement of offers/adverts Often times the placement of an offer is far more critical than the offer itself. The page segment where the advert is placed is critical. For example, if you have a blog that publishes content regularly having the ‘Subscribe’ button down below, at the end of the web page might make the button go unseen by several visitors. The best place to put this is on the top corner where it is most likely visible to the reader. Also, if a user is new to your website, then a pop-up window for subscribing helps. This way, even if the customer hadn’t decided to subscribe, he/she might end up subscribing. However, if the quality of your content is not good, they might not subscribe no matter how perfect the placement is. Conclusion: Overall, page-level targeting is an extremely effective way to boost your customer conversions. All you need is patience to chalk out things, keeping the customer as your main focus and you’re sure to succeed. If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments section below!

How to Skyrocket Your E-commerce Business Using these 5 WordPress Plugins

Your e-commerce business is eager to process more orders. However, the competition is tough, and every player is trying to stand out from the crowd and attract the attention of their niche audience. Of course, you’re looking for a way to gain some competitive advantage. The solution? Work smarter by leveraging the best e-commerce plugins for WordPress. Every WordPress user can effectively optimize his/her platform regardless of their designing or web development experience thanks to amazing customized features called WordPress plugins. These tools, that basically serve as critical resources for e-commerce websites, can change the face of your business. If you’re looking for better solutions for your e-store in 2018, you’ve landed on the right page. In today’s post, I’ll cover the best e-commerce plugins for WordPress that can provide solutions for e-commerce professionals who are looking for a quick and steady growth. However, before I dive into that, I want you to clearly acknowledge the benefits of having an e-commerce website that acts as an intermediary between your future clients and your e-commerce business. The Benefits of an E-commerce Website If you’re not exactly sure why an e-commerce website is necessary for the expansion of your business, here are the primary reasons that will probably trigger your interest: You’re making your clients’ ordering process more accessible. A domain, a shared or reseller hosting service, which costs a few dollars per month, or perhaps a WordPress Hosting that’ll make your life easier. Compared to a physical space, that’s a really fair price. When people buy something once, they’ll know where to return as long as the previous buying experience was satisfying. By developing a professional e-commerce website, you’ll improve your brand reputation and look like a real pro. Your prospects will trust you more so their barriers to purchase will disappear. You can scale your activities and turn into a global brand. Gaining additional traffic, unlike attracting physical customers to your store, is a more flexible and reliable process. Digital marketing isn’t as complicated as it looks – you have to establish the right target audience and market your products well by emphasizing the benefits and the solutions they can bring. An e-commerce website that runs on WordPress gives you full control over your business promotion and sales process. You can analyze your customers’ behavior, collect useful feedback, and use it to improve the experience of your future prospects. In time, your optimized brand will be able to scale its operations online and bring additional revenues. Let’s be honest – every big brand is now present on both Google and on the main social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, etc.). You must be present too, and you’ve got to give a great first impression to your unique online visitors. Now let’s figure out which e-commerce plugin suits your business needs the best and see how you can effectively leverage it to improve your long-term revenue performance. MemberPress MemberPress is a successful plugin that allows you to offer subscription-based services or digital products on your WordPress site. Simply put, if you’re selling something and demanding a recurring payment, MemberPress helps you do that by providing a simple-to-use interface that charges your visitors securely.Features: This plugin has been live since 2011 and offers great access rules, which allows you to personalize the permissions of more segments of users and easily create content restrictions based on more criteria The Basic plan includes over 20 features and add-on integrations, 1-year support and included updates, and allows you to sell unlimited subscriptions The customizable registration form is extremely user-friendly, helping you create high-converting squeeze pages Integrated automated emails – keep your list updated with your content & product updates MemberPress offers Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, French translations (included). However, if you want to translate and implement a different language, you can do so   LemonStand LemonStand is an e-commerce platform that allows users to develop their own highly-personalized e-commerce stores. Their mission is to help growing retail brands and subscription-based businesses create exceptional digital stores that truly sell.Haley Merlo, CEO at Assignment Geek Essay Services, describes this tool in an enthusiastic manner: “LemonStand is a plugin that allows you to design your user’s experience the way you want by giving you simple yet effective front-end development features and tools. It also includes built-in features that allow you to sell products and recurring subscriptions without having to use an external app. There’s nothing more that a newbie can hope for!” Features: LemonStand has been offering top-notch quality since 2016 when they effectively entered this niche market. The plugin is accessible even to the most newbie designers. LemonStand’s easy-to-use features allow you to shape your brand’s design, copy, and unique value proposition Customizable checkouts and several free open source themes available to premium members LemonStand offers 95+ payment gateways like Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, Paypal, etc. It comes with an awesome customer support that does everything to help you in a matter of minutes. Also, they have a strong social community that’s eager to help If you’re new to e-commerce, LemonStand should be a great e-commerce plugin for you! Easy Digital Downloads This is a useful plugin that encourages you to “say hello” to the simplest method of selling and distributing digital products with WordPress.If your business deals only with online products, Easy Digital Downloads can offer you all the features you could possibly use to sell easily and effectively. Features: This plugin has been live since early 2014. It comes with a full shopping cart, allowing your prospects to buy multiple products at once. Allows you to easily create discount codes and promotions for your customers Restricted to authorized access to subscribers/customers only, with the option of establishing download limits and link expirations It features a customer account dashboard page – so only your customers are able to access content/products Analysis features – everything you need to know about the selling performance of your products Detailed bookkeeping – you get regular reports of the most important data in the shape of easy-to-read reports WooCommerce WooCommerce is yet another effective all-in-one solution that many e-commerce store owners leverage. Interestingly, WooCommerce has been acquired by the owners behind WordPress, so the two platforms blend extremely well.It’s one of the most recommended e-commerce solutions for WordPress site owners because the features and options in it are exceeding everyone’s expectations. Perceive WooCommerce like the most comprehensive resource that you’ll want to access in order to personalize your web store. Features: WooCommerce has been up and running since early 2012. It provides a huge number of extensions and themes that WooCommerce users can get access to You can sell both digital and physical products with much ease, without handling the technicalities of e-commerce selling You can sell other people’s products through your own e-commerce site It offers a complete inventory management Offers all the popular payment gateways and options It provides a comprehensive documentation and a reliable customer support service These were just some of the main features, but to see their entire value proposition, you have to become a member. The value proposition of this e-commerce plugin is huge, and it’s truly worth giving a shot. MarketpressMarketpress is one of the oldest yet most reliable WordPress plugins that serves the needs of e-commerce businesses. Using this tool, you can sell everything from physical goods to online products of all sizes and shapes. You can personalize your users’ experience by delivering product variations and personalized downloads, all from a simple and efficient digital marketplace.A big benefit of Marketpress is the fact that besides the fact that it offers great applicability, it is also free. Features: Marketpress has been launched in 2014. It features 15 payment gateways and 120 currencies. You can sell digital goods, as well as, customize single-page checkouts. It comes with a built-in wizard. Also, you don’t have to worry about VAT and Tax because they come ready. You can implement social media share buttons, coupons and features pricing. Also. you can test infinite product variations.If you can’t afford a premium e-commerce plugin, Marketpress is surely the best solution you can aim to automate and improve your e-commerce business activities. Takeaways The performance of your e-commerce business is always influenced by your ability to manage your resources. As you know, WordPress plugins serve as great helpers for anyone who’s eager to indulge in their solutions. Check out the before mentioned plugins as they are the best e-commerce plugins for WordPress and select one or two to test. Once you find a tool that completes or automates your daily work schedule, you’ll be thankful and eager to seek new ones. Good luck!  

Strategic Marketing Tactics For Saas Companies

Introduction SaaS (Software as a Service) is a method of distributing software where the software applications are being centrally hosted by a service provider. It is an incredibly difficult and tricky service to market as it deals with something which is ever-changing but at the same time intangible. SaaS marketing needs to be engaging, as well as, data-driven, and customer-focused. According to statistics, in 2008, the overall SaaS market was worth $5.5 billion. Now, it is worth $116.4 billion and is expected to reach $164.29 billion by 2022. And with 4 billion people using the Internet as of 2018, the potential customer base is huge and there’s only more success to look ahead to. (Reference) Three key metrics required to create a successful demand generation model Marketing metrics are the backbone of every successful SaaS marketing strategy as they not only tell you how effective your marketing strategies are but they also show potential areas of opportunity. The three most important metrics for SaaS companies are: Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Customer Acquisition Cost shows how much it would cost you to convince people to purchase your product. This metric gives a clear idea of the investment outcomes and can be easily calculated by dividing the total number spent on all the marketing expenses in order to gain more customers by the actual number of customers acquired in that time period. Lifetime Value of a Customer (LTV): If you have managed to retain your customers then it means, they are loyal to you. The lifetime value of a customer is a metric that can help firms to focus on the long-term value they derive from their customers. This metric can serve as a good estimate on how much you can actually spend to acquire new customers. Lifetime Value of a Customer is high if you focus on engaging your customers. Return On Investment (ROI): ROI is elemental and is best used in combination with metrics like LTV and CAC. It is the benefit of your investments (the amount of return on your investments), relative to the cost of the investment. With the help of this performance measure, you can analyze the efficiency and the profitability of your investment. This helps you decide whether you are on the path of achieving your goals or not. SaaS marketing strategies The market is vast but there is still the pressure for growing the customer base before all the funding runs dry. You need proper, efficient, and proven marketing strategies if you want your software to push through and succeed in the huge market with ever-increasing competition and pressure. Exceptional customer service, proper targeting, giving out freebies, developing and reinforcing user trust, leveraging paid advertisement, recognizing your ideal customer base, building your authority and building your team on an international level are examples of the SaaS marketing strategies which are most effective once you personalize them according to your own needs. Content marketing Those SaaS company websites who are leveraging the power of content marketing to increase brand awareness and online presence see a significant increase in their conversion rates as content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing while costing about sixty per cent less at the same time. Content marketing drives SaaS sales Content marketing drives traffic and converts leads into customers by combining various tactics such as blogging, landing pages, promotional marketing activities like social media and email marketing, lead nurturing, and conversion offers like freebies, webinars, e-books, etc. Content marketing reduces your SaaS churn rate Churn rate is the annual percentage rate at which customers who have made an initial purchase stop subscribing to a service. It is the opposite of retention and you need to decrease it as much as you can by investing in the content generation to show your customers value. Having the right distribution channels in place and not losing sight of email marketing is extremely important. Being mobile-optimized is also very important as not having mobile-optimized content may be the biggest mistake you make. Product Trials It basically means “test-driving” your product and making a sample available via your website. Product trials are an increasingly important source of lead generation for the SaaS industry. It is a cost-effective way of demonstrating product value and increasing leads.As more and more people get to enjoy the smartly tailored product, they understand it better and visualize the profitability of the product. This makes it easier for them to purchase it and utilize the more customized features of the product for their project. Referral marketing One of the most effective types of leads, referral marketing is typically low-cost and closes relatively quickly. It is the method of promoting services through referrals which are usually the words of mouth. The New York Times states that 65% of all the new businesses come via referrals (Reference). This suggests that on an average around 2/3rd of consumers buy a product after getting a recommendation for it. Where do they get the recommendation from? Here comes the role of the employees and marketing personnel. They help the business sell product to the customers who then further recommend it to their friends and relatives. As the word of honour for the product spreads around, the sale of the product increases. This is known as referral marketing. Reward incentives for referrals You can increase your customer base and conversions simply by asking existing customers to refer you in their social circles to other potential customers. In turn, reward these customers with freebies. Google AdWords Millions of people click on search engine ads per day. Ads are becoming more prominent in Google search results so you should keep investing in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) so as to not miss out on a portion of potential leads. Pay-per-click not only delivers targeted traffic, it is also highly scalable and predictable in terms of cost and results. Through the pay-per-click internet marketing, you can increase the traffic to your official product website. In this, as an advertiser, you get the opportunity to advertise your product on different eCommerce websites. And then, with every single click on the ad, you get to enjoy the increasing number of traffic at a very reasonable and economical price. Target Review websites Business software consumers turn to review websites to read and compare reviews before making a purchase. Online reviews by customers are only growing in influence. Send all relevant information to the editorial team and then encourage people to write reviews and give ratings. For example, if you have a Magento based eCommerce website you may use customer reviews extension to collect reviews and ratings. Popular SaaS review platforms Capterra G2Crowd GetApp Trust Radius Upsell and cross-sell: Image source: Upselling means encouraging your customers to invest in a comparable higher-end product than the one they’re considering while cross-selling means inviting your customers to buy complementary or related items. The overall point of this tactic is to gradually but surely attract each prospective customer towards the highest package price appropriate to what they’re looking for. Your SaaS product marketing plan should outline how to increase MRR the smart way MRR is the Monthly Recurring Revenue. Increasing MRR should be your ultimate goal so you’re most likely looking for effective marketing tactics to increase your MRR. Some things you can do for your clients are: Acquire new users: New users can be acquired by leveraging channels like social media blogs, industry associations, Google AdWords, forums, etc. Be present at the right events, as well as, get customers through online reviews and referrals. Add new services: Think of products which can create additional revenue like up-sells or add-ons to your core product. Refine and improve your differentiation: Be unique in your selling proposition and be crystal clear about what sets you apart from your key competitors. Don’t forget customer retention in your SaaS marketing plan Even small differences in customer retention rate can create an impact on the money in your bank. It tells you what percentage of customers and revenue you keep getting each month and is also a good benchmark to keep track of how many customers you lose. Don’t forget customer retention, if you want to use your current rate as a benchmark and add your goal about where you want to be a year into the future. Facebook Retargeting Facebook retargeting helps you re-engage those people who have shown interest in your products and compel them to convert. You can retarget them by offering free trials and other freebies, specific product ads, limited time discount offers, and endless other offers to give them a push to sign up and become a customer. There are events where just seven days of Facebook retargeting process has helped some companies achieve an ROI of 1,284%. Taking your SaaS marketing to the next level SaaS marketing is tricky for sure but you can optimize your long-term success rate by laying some foundations in place such as: Enhancing your website and using it as a lead generation tool Focusing on business benefits instead of technology Nurturing your prospects by adding value to their every stage when they’re making decisions Marketing regularly to existing customers and increasing customer retention rates Opting for marketing automation once you have an active strategy Conclusion Listed here are the strategic marketing tactics which will help you generate leads as well as retain your customers. Increasing the number of leads and the rate of customer retention will doubtlessly make your SaaS business stronger.  

Black Hat SEO: And Reasons To Avoid It

Search Engine Optimization commonly referred to as SEO is one of the driving forces of traffic on your website that, in turn, helps your website grow. However, just like everything else in life, there is a code of ethics to be followed. Deviating from them and resorting to unethical means can turn a potentially good thing bad and the same holds true with SEO. In this post, we will be covering what is unethical SEO, otherwise known as ‘Black Hat SEO’ the common practices and, ways to avoid it. According to Wikipedia, “Black Hat SEO follows those techniques of which search engines do not approve.” One of the major reasons website owners resort to black hat SEO is so that their website ranks higher in the search engine results. And instead of the website improving its rankings, it ends up receiving a penalty from the search engines affecting rankings for a much longer-term. Let us now look at 5 techniques that fall under Black Hat SEO and could adversely affect your website should you resort to them: Keyword Stuffing: Keyword Stuffing in simple words means adding too many keywords to your article, website post or text. Some of these keywords might be relevant, however, a majority of them are plain clutter. Also, the repetitive use of keywords makes the article monotonous and irrelevant. An example of keyword stuffing. Suppose the keyword is ‘WordPress web hosting’ and, this is the paragraph it is used in; “WordPress web hosting is the best web hosting for your WordPress website. With WordPress web hosting your WordPress website performs well. Also, 99.9% uptime is guaranteed with WordPress web hosting. WordPress web hosting is the best hosting.”This repetitive usage of the keywords can frustrate the reader as it doesn’t add any value to the text written and can simply be cut down. Although it is true adding keywords to your post or metadata increases the chances of improving your search engine rankings if you practice keyword stuffing your rankings will be affected adversely, as stated above. Paid Links Just like internal linking on your website helps search engines rank you better, backlinks also help in the same way. They are one of the easiest ways to know whether your content is doing well on the search engine or not. However, unethical means such as buying or purchasing links can lead to a hefty penalty from search engines. Google, for instance, has strict rules on this and has banned this practice. As per their link scheme guidelines, “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”Without resorting to Black Hat SEO practices, you can boost your SEO rankings. Here are some tips you can incorporate. Spam Comments on Blog Spam comments on blogs are those comments that contain a backlink to the commenters website or a product page. At times, if you’re new to blogging you may think what is the harm if the comment talks about the article or is an appreciation post. In that case, the comments can still be considered and might be approved instead of marking them as spam. However, most spam comments have nothing to do with the article and are just trying to get a backlink. Though this practice has reduced to a considerable extent with Google’s algorithm update aimed to reduce Black Hat SEO practices, as a blog commenter, it is best if you don’t include links in the comments but follow ethical practices of backlinking. Misusing Structured Data Structured data is a type of data that makes your content easily searchable on search engines. It is also known as rich snippets. Structured data helps you gain an edge over your competitors by providing credibility. However, there are times when websites resort to unfair means of gaining popularity by modifying the content of the structured data in such a manner that it passes of as authentic. This is an example of abused structured data by CognitiveSEO. If you don’t know how to add structured data, it is best to follow the guidelines provided by Google as it enables your content to be eligible for incorporation in Google search results. Not resorting to Black Hat SEO may seem like tedious and a painstaking process when it comes to being discovered by search engines. However, it is beneficial in the long run. Misleading Redirects We covered Redirection in detail in one of our earlier posts. In simple words, it means when an individual clicks on a link, they are taken to a different URL instead of the one they intended to visit. Usually, redirects are employed when users have changed their URL or have purchased a new domain name. When it comes to Black Hat SEO, the intent of redirection is malicious and, they purposely redirect users to one page and the search engine crawlers to another page. Misleading redirects have only one intention which is to increase their search engine rank which otherwise wouldn’t have grown. The website may or may not have relevant content. However, this is a moot point as unethical means can jeopardize the ranking and indexing of the web pages in the future as it violates search engine guidelines. Why and How to avoid Black Hat SEO Like all things, the easiest route seems far more tempting. However, the recupressions are not always favourable. Black Hat SEO is one of those tempting routes to increase rankings of your website. As you have read above, one of the most important reasons Black Hat SEO should be avoided is because it is unethical and can lead to complications for your website as it resorts to violating several search engine guidelines leading to a penalty. If your webpage earns a penalty then recovering the lost rankings is a farfetched dream as you will not only lose your ranking but even your traffic is bound to reduce drastically. If you run an e-commerce website, resorting to Black Hat SEO tactics can create trust issues with your customer base once the search engine penalizes you, which it would sooner or later. Hence, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Following White Hat SEO practices, on the other hand, results in you respecting the search engine guidelines and also, improving your rankings. Although this might seem like a slow process and definitely requires effort and patience, it is totally worth it. We always recommend that you follow the best practice for SEO and to help you out, here are some ways you can optimize your content for Google.

.ME: Flaunt your identity online!

From just a ccTLD to being accepted as a generic domain extension representing family and individuality, .ME has become widely used. Today, the domain name has a large number of registrations. The domain extension is a perfect match for bloggers, freelancers, personal websites and more. Why .ME domains? Adds a personal touch: A feels personal and at the same time, gives you full ownership. It carves out your space on the internet! Exclusively yours: A .ME domain name creates an exclusive space for you and your family. You can book your family name on a .me domain & flaunt your roots! Memorable & short: A domain name on the .ME domain extension is guaranteed to be easily recalled & remembered. The ResellerClub Advantage With ResellerClub, you can get the .ME domain at a special price of $1.99 till 30th September, 2018. Login now to resell this domain extension to your customers! Make your profits today!


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