Reseller Club Blog

What is Erasure Coding?

Erasure Coding (EC), is a method of data storage which helps improve data redundancy and reliability. In an age where data integrity and reliability of storage structures is so important, techniques such as Erasure coding go a long way to building robustness into Storage Architectures. In Erasure coding, the data stored across the disk is fragmented into bits and each of these fragments is then encoded for a high level of protection and then stored in different disks for high data reliability. If you are someone who is looking to learn what is Erasure coding, then this post will take you through it in great detail. We are going to talk about aspects such as the origins of erasure code, the objective of erasure coding, how erasure coding works and the benefits erasure coding brings to the table. Let’s get started and get Erasure coding explained. Origins of Erasure Code Erasure coding has a rich 40+ years of heritage and was introduced in communications systems to make them a lot more fault tolerant. Since the beginning of time, there have been many storage types in a wide range of shapes and sizes. However, there was one thing that was common across all of these storage types and devices, which was that they all could fail. Failure can happen because of multiple reasons including physical failure, natural calamities, power outages, etc. This can lead to a lot of hassle and waste of time and energy. Given this, engineers started thinking of ways to make the storage devices and data within them redundant. The very first version of erasure coding was introduced in a very popular storage system reliability technique called as RAID-1. What happens here is basically every Byte of data which is stored on a drive is replicated on to another drive. Because of this if the main storage drive fails, the data is safe on the secondary drive and can be plugged in to resume operations. But this comes with a huge drawback which is also fairly obvious. Replicating all this data twice takes up a lot of storage space and a lot of resources are just spent on backup, which is not very efficient. Overtime erasure coding has become a lot more advanced but it is important to understand the origins to have a very clear understanding of it. Let us move on. Objectives of Erasure Coding The basic objective of erasure code is, of course, to increase the data redundancy and secure a failsafe in case your primary data drive or storage system fails. But it does not end here. Owing to the high amount of storage space being utilized just for backup, a higher level need of ensuring data redundancy with better resource utilization was need of the hour. So simply put, erasure coding strives to create a failsafe for the data by data replication across multiple drives without sacrificing on resource efficiency. It has been observed that erasure coding is a perfect fit for advanced storage architectures such as Ceph Storage Architecture which is used in our Cloud Hosting, making it a more reliable and scalable hosting option. How does Erasure Coding work?  This part is a little tricky as the data replication needs to happen without occupying a lot of storage space. Let me try and explain this in the simplest way possible. What erasure coding does is that it generates a mathematical equation known as polynomial interpolation. This equation splits the data into a considerable number of chunks, then extra or redundant symbols are added to provide protection from failures and to help in accurate data retrieval. These chunks are then distributed across multiple disk drives. The ratio of data chunks to checksum chunks determines the fault tolerance the system can achieve. For instance, let ‘k’ be the number of chunks and ‘m’ be the number of redundant symbols. Now, a higher number of ‘k’ than ‘m’ would result in higher speed and capacity of the storage system and on the other hand, the inverse would mean greater redundancy. Depending on the requirement, the ratio of ‘k’ and ‘m’ can be set up to find the balance between capacity and redundancy. Let’s look at this mathematically. Consider we keep ‘k’ as 10 and ‘m’ as 6 i.e. we have 10 data chunks and 6 redundant symbols. These 16 chunks will be placed on 16 different drives/nodes. What this would mean is that from the 16 drives that we have, any 10 of them can be used to recover the original 10 chunks of data and this also means any 6 drives can fail, which is much more than traditional RAID where it can only handle a failure of 2-3 drives. Moreover, based on the above calculation, you only need to add an additional 60% of the capacity to attain this high level of fault tolerance. The result of this can be summarized in the benefits of erasure coding in the upcoming point. Benefits of Erasure Coding First of all, erasure gives you a lot more control over the system to maintain the levels of capacity vs. data redundancy. If the system needs to work on a higher capacity to better performance, that can be done without sacrificing on the data redundancy. And if having a stronger failsafe is more important, the system can be made a lot more fault tolerant. This can vary from time to time as per the need of the hour. This makes it perfect for applications such as Cloud Hosting where you need a perfect balance of scalability to reliability and the option to move in one direction whenever required. Another advantage of erasure coding is that it reduces the costs and resources needed to have a very reliable and data redundant storage system. As seen from the above example, even if 6 out of 16 drives fail, you will still be able to restore all data and all this by only adding 60% more capacity. This definitely saves storage and resource costs. We at ResellerClub have adopted this in some of our advanced hosting options so that you can enjoy the benefits of this cutting-edge technology. Erasure Coding is integrated into our Cloud Hosting services, integrated with Ceph storage architecture. Hope this helps you understand what is Erasure coding. Moreover, get a better grip on how it works and what are its benefits. If you have any further questions, please feel free to talk about them in the comments section below. We would love to see all your thoughts and spur up a discussion to discover more!

How to Set Up AMP On Your WordPress Site

If you aren’t aware of it already – load times are important, especially for mobile. In fact, one research suggests that up to half your visitors will click away if your mobile site takes more than 3 seconds to load. This might be news to you – but it shouldn’t be. Load times have always been important. But they’re even more important on mobile. Many website owners neglect thinking about how fast their site runs while they think about other aspects of their business. The reality is, page-loading speed is as important as creating a compelling offer, writing great content and getting good quality backlinks. It could be one of the main reasons why people stay on your site and do business with you – or simply click away after a few seconds. Before you continue with growing your business, you need to test your site speed and know exactly how many users you’re losing from slow loads. You need to make site-loading time your priority, and give it the importance you give to the other parts of your business. The growth of mobile Mobile searching used to be a small fraction of total internet users – but that’s simply not the case anymore. Now mobile is one of the main ways people connect to the internet and browse – meaning your site needs to be optimised for mobile browsing. Many website owners have been slow to catch up with this trend and spend more of their efforts optimising for traditional web browsers. While you will still need to make sure your site works well on such browsers – you shouldn’t neglect the importance of mobile – and especially your site’s loading speed on mobile. How can you improve site loading speeds on mobile? Recently, Google launched a new software that’s designed to do just that – improve your site’s loading speeds on mobile. Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) aims to speed up mobile traffic and improve revenue streams for those who target mobile extensively. Google AMP has been specifically designed to revolutionise your site’s mobile version and helps speed it up by creating a “lighter” version, actually hosted on Google’s servers. That means anyone who visits your site on a mobile will get ultra-fast load speed, being able to access your content much faster than before. That means you’ll lose far fewer of them. Hopefully, it also means that as people spend more time on your site – it improves revenue as they would be more likely to make a purchase or interact positively. That’s why mobile loading speeds are so important. With more and more people using their phones to not just browse – but also make purchases and do business, faster loads and longer sessions on your site should mean more revenue. How does AMP really work? In order to make your site load faster, the lighter version of it that Google creates purposely ignores some parts of your site. Google will hide certain parts of your site so that what is actually displayed on the mobile version loads much faster. While this might make your site look simpler than its full version – it’ll load much faster. It’s also an open source project, allowing independent programmers to contribute to improving and utilising the service. AMP relies on a minimum level of HTML and Java to load pages – it ignores some of the other more elaborate languages that many modern websites come with. While AMP could be huge for your revenue stream, you need to make sure your site is optimised to make the most of it. While AMP could improve your rankings for some mobile searches – you need to be aware that certain widgets and optimisation techniques will not load. This could affect the way you’ve designed your site for SEO, so it’s something you need to consider carefully. How to set up Google AMP for your WordPress website Setting up AMP for your site should be fairly straightforward, especially if you’ve already got some WordPress experience – which you probably have if you’re reading this article. There’s an official Google AMP plugin that makes things easier. Simply click on “plugins” in your WordPress panel Then click “Add New”  Search for “Accelerated Mobile Pages” and you should see the official Google plugin, click download.  After this, simply click “Activate” and follow the process to install. While the actual installation really is that easy – you might want to take a bit longer to configure some of the options and set up Google AMP properly for your site. Firstly, let’s look at configuring Google Analytics for Google AMP. One small drawback of AMP is that it doesn’t currently support any other third-party analytical packages. This could be a problem if you don’t use Google Analytics. You’ll need to find your Google Analytics tracking ID. For this, log into Google Analytics and click on the”Gear” icon at the bottom left of the page. This takes you to the admin panel. Under the Property section, you will see a tab called “Tracking Info”. Click this to find your tracking ID. After this, login to WordPress and click Navigation on the left sidebar. Then go to AMP and click on Analytics. Paste the tracking ID you just found at the Google Analytics section. Then save the changes and exit. This should have integrated Google Analytics into AMP. Configuring the plugin Once you’ve got the plugin installed – the next step is to get everything working well by configuring a few of the options. If you’ve got Yoast SEO installed – then follow these steps to configure the plugin: Go to the Yoast plugin page and click on AMP Then click Post Types From there – you can select the type of posts you want to be able to be used on AMP. You don’t have to send all of your posts to the AMP infrastructure. You’ll also be able to customise the appearance of your content on AMP by clicking on the Design tab. This is a reasonably important step, as AMP will optimise your content and not show everything – so you need to make sure the design works for you and your business. After this, you might want to start testing your site on AMP. Make sure all your URLs work properly. Load up your mobile browser and try a few of your pages to make sure not only that it loads quickly – but importantly that it looks great and has all the info you want. Also, make sure Google searches for your content are getting to the right place. You can also go to search.google.com/test/amp and enter your site URL (or a few of your other pages). Running this simple test will give you some diagnostics and let you know how well things are running. You can also try validating your site with another test found on validator.ampproject.org. Submit your URL Once you’ve seen that the test results are ok, you can simply click “Submit to Google” so that your AMP mobile sites can start being indexed on the search engine (an important step). You can also do this through your Google Search Console account, by also clicking “Submit to Google”, but this is sometimes slower. You might also want to check in your Google Search Console and click on “Accelerated Mobile Pages”. This will show you how many of your AMP pages are indexed and any errors for ones that haven’t been. You can then troubleshoot some of these errors to help get all your pages indexed. You can also test your page load speeds with a few useful tools such as WebPageTest. Hopefully, you’re now sorted with Google AMP and you should start to see improved results with your mobile users for your WordPress website.

Brutalist Design: Is it for you?

Touted as one of the web design trends of 2018, Brutalism has been growing in popularity. So what is Brutalism and where did it come from? What is Brutalist design? The word “Brutalism” comes from the French word béton brut which translates to “raw”. ‘Brutalism web design has its roots in architectural design. In the 40s and 50s, post World War II, much of Europe was rebuilding after the great destruction that rampaged the cities. These new buildings rather than being lavish and expensive, were simplistic, practical, cost-effective and much quicker to build. Architects designed to meet the purpose. These buildings were characterised by the following: Repeated geometric patterns Grid designs Concrete brick materials Exposed inner support systems Focus on practicality and purpose Somber colours Rigid lines Unité d’Habitation, Marseille Le Corbusier, Completed in 1952 This design thinking was then borrowed from post World War II architecture to web design. Brutalism in Web Design While the world seems to be striving for fancy fonts, pleasing palletes and perfect placement, Brutalist design goes against the grain and sticks out like a sore thumb. This style makes it memorable and more importantly, functional sans the frills. So let’s give Brutalism a chance. Take a look at this example below: This is the Balenciaga website which to me at first glance gives off the impression that images are yet to load but that’s just it – the website is complete. The absence of distractions and absolutely clear navigation works perfectly to serve the purpose of the website. Next, take a look at craigslist.org. The website is far from glamorous. The blue font and grayish white background doesn’t even qualify for a decent looking website but that’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be pretty. Function over form. What characterizes Brutalist websites? Brutalist websites as we’ve already established are raw, odd, awkward and even borderline (or outright) ugly. You can spot a Brutalist site if it has one (or more) of these features: Excess of hover effects A mix of bright-coloured system fonts (think 90’s websites) or monospace typography which is clear and steady Pop-culture icons Awkward transition effects Images appearing and disappearing at random Images in unexpected places Black & white colour scheme or colours similar to “raw material” like concrete Grid-based design borrowed from 50’s architecture  – great for responsive design Oversized font in the middle – similar to oversized buildings designed during the age of Brutalism Visible baseline grids & elements “behind a website” like visible beams & infrastructure of the Post World War II architecture For more examples, check out this awwwards page. Look out for the 90’s cursor throughout the page too. Let’s face it – Brutalist designs are not for everyone. You may even risk being second-guessed by your client for an “ugly” design as they may not understand the appeal. Who is Brutalism for? Let’s start with who Brutalism is not for: The prim & proper: Brutalism is definitely not for organisations wanting to appear modern & professional. If the aim is professionalism, opt for something sleek with pleasing colours & typography. The warm, inviting type: For websites that want to appear warm & inviting like perhaps a website for spa bookings or therapy session bookings, Brutalism can really work against you with its glaring colours & odd transition effects. Small e-commerce websites: For small e-commerce brands, Brutalist designs can actually be mistaken for low-budget or novice, therefore conveying inexperience & unreliability. For small, budding businesses, who are striving to be on par with big players, it is better to opt for a professional-looking website. Websites that have conversion goals: Websites that are conversion driven most likely will have the need for live chats, pop-ups & possibly more complex coding that Brutalism would allow. So, who is Brutalism for? Slow loading websites: For websites that suffer from slow load speeds and are in need of a redesign, Brutalist designs work well to combat this issue with simple elements that do not require complex codes. Newbies: For novice web designers looking to get a hang of html, Brutalism can teach a good couple of things and challenge their strengths and weaknesses. Text-heavy sites: Brutalism works well for text-heavy sites who want to focus attention on the reading experience Those with an audience Brutalism might appeal to: For those sites that have an audience that understand and appreciate this trend, Brutalism works well. You can in fact, make quite a statement & an impression on such an audience. Conclusion Simplified usability, improved efficiency, great transparency, easy loading, easy navigation, fewer choices, less distractions are some of the benefits of Brutalist sites that make it work. Brutalism offers a striped-down version of a website so purpose is clear. In conclusion, here’s underscoring Brutalism’s mantra – Function over form.

Mind Games: Successfully Using Neuromarketing To Drive Sales on Your E-commerce Site

With technology shifting the marketing industry, neuromarketing has become integral in influencing the decision-making processes of consumers, especially when shopping online. When used right, neuromarketing in web design can improve customer engagement and increase visibility and sales—all done via collecting and analyzing unconscious behaviour. This article covers the basics of neuromarketing, discussing what it is and how it works, why it’s important for your e-commerce site, and how you can use it. It also provides examples of neuromarketing from successful brands. What Is Neuromarketing And How Does It Work? Neuromarketing is the science of measuring how marketing and advertising affect consumers. Traditionally, researchers used methods like surveys and interviews to understand how ads impact consumer behaviour. But the rise of technology provided researchers with new ways to do this. By using tools like functional magnetic resonance imaging scans (fMRI) and electroencephalograms (EEG), researchers can now directly see and analyze a consumer’s neural activity while interacting with products or viewing ads. These tools can also capture the first impressions a customer has when loading a website, and how easily they interface with a site’s layout. Neuromarketing At Work With the rise of neuromarketing, e-commerce sites began to take advantage of the information it provides to reach out more to customers. Here are five examples of neuromarketing applied in strengthening businesses: BrandingEffective branding is crucial to the success of a business. It provides an identity and makes the product/service relatable to consumers. Often, consumers gravitate toward specific brands, because they’ve associated them with positive experiences or feelings. In fact, researchers found that strong brands elicit strong activity in our brains. Thus, companies that invested in strong branding usually win among the competition. Branding is just as important for e-commerce sites. Brand identity can let customers know what type of product or service to expect and can encourage engagement through positive associations. Product design and innovationNeuromarketing is also applied to developing and innovating new products or packaging designs. When it comes to design, brands need to strike the balance between novelty and familiarity. On one hand, novelty taps into our curiosity and desire for new experiences; on the other, familiarity provides us with confidence and comfort. Too much novelty can be overwhelming, and too much familiarity can be boring. These two aspects of design are measured by focusing on two things: the type of attention a consumer gives to a product for novelty, and the positive emotional reactions to familiarity. This fits into e-commerce by matching your product with your website’s design. While your products can be novel to attract new customers or keep current customers interested, you should be able to present these in a way that maintains their trust and familiarity and won’t scare them away. AdvertisingEarlier, you could only measure the impact of an ad after launching the campaign and looking at the sales figures. Today, neuromarketing has made it possible to measure how well an ad campaign will perform via testing it among small groups as opposed to a public release. For example, the National Cancer Institute made use of fMRI scans to measure brain activity and compare advertising campaigns for their telephone hotline. Among the three ad campaigns viewed by participants, one campaign had the highest amount of brain activity in a specific part of the brain. This was then correlated to higher calls to their hotline. Customer Decision-makingWhen people go shopping, they think they already know what they want to buy even before logging onto online shopping websites. But neuromarketing revealed that design details have an effect on the readability and comprehension of a website, and can affect what consumers purchase without them knowing. The online shopping experience is full of stimuli— colour, font weight, and typeface—all of which can be adjusted to influence customer decision making. Large online retailers such as eBay and Walmart are great examples of this. Pop-up windows featuring new products or sale announcements displayed in a large font on a website’s landing page are only a couple of ways that demonstrate how online retailers use visual cues to draw customers. Online ExperiencesOur online experiences are greatly formed by appearance and usability. This is partly because our brains are hardwired to easily interpret visual cues; we can immediately tell if a website looks safe or easy to use. In fact, one study found that users could form an impression of a website in as fast as 50 milliseconds. Details such as website layout, colors, and font can all affect how a potential consumer builds associations with a brand. It’s important that your customers have an easy time accessing and browsing your website. If it takes them too much time to find what they’re looking for, or if your color or font choices are too hard on the eyes, don’t be surprised if they take their business elsewhere. Top Neuromarketing Techniques in Web Design There are many ways that neuromarketing shaped today’s online shopping experience and how consumers interact with e-commerce sites. Most of the time, we’re not even aware of it. As mentioned, the goal of using neuromarketing in web design is to improve conversion rates and consumer engagement through the strategic use of cognitive biases. We’ve listed four popular neuromarketing techniques below for you to read and implement to your own business: Eye TrackingOne technique that is actively used in neuromarketing is eye gaze or eye tracking. In eye tracking, you measure either the point of gaze/where your audience is looking or the motion of an eye relative to a person’s head. Basically, it tracks how a person looks at something by how long they spend looking at a specific area, or the direction one looks over an item. This can be achieved through the use of wearable eye trackers that automatically collect and record relevant data. Eye tracking has many applications. For one, you can use it to analyze how users interact with your products or services. This way, you can identify potential problems in terms of UX and remedy the issues—resulting in an increase in engagement and customer satisfaction. Source: Nielsen Norman Group Eye tracking is essential in web design. A groundbreaking study by the Nielsen Norman Group found that many people using websites tend to scan websites in an F-shaped pattern. This has shaped how websites are commonly designed, with the most important information being presented in the upper left corner of the site. However, they also found that this F-shaped pattern of scanning websites is often the result of poor layout, and indicates that users are not that interested in reading all information on a page. Color PsychologyColor psychology is the study of how colors affect and predict human behavior. Because sight is the most used sense in humans, color plays a significant role in influencing purchasing decisions. For example, companies go to great lengths to test how colors can affect ads and call-to-action buttons. One study found that a red call-to-action button will more likely to result in consumer engagement compared with a green call-to-action button. The effects of color extend beyond encouraging engagement. It can also affect perceptions, such as how food tastes or the effectiveness of a placebo pill. Colors can also convey emotions or feelings, such as how yellow or orange can be interpreted as energetic, while blue can be interpreted as calming and relaxing. Because of the effects color can have, color psychology is used extensively in online marketing and branding. This is most often seen in how brands choose specific colors for their logos, as these palettes need to align with the brand’s personality and identity, or how retail websites choose the colors of their website design. For example, websites that focus on selling wellness related products often go for layouts that feature soft colors and are pleasing on the eyes, such as pastel colors, or green or blue hues. On the other hand, e-commerce websites that specialize in sports or active lifestyles often make use of bright or vibrant colors in their layouts such as red or orange. However, how well color works in selling depends on execution and audience reception. Certain colors affect a person differently, depending on factors like gender or age. At the end of the day, color psychology entails understanding your target market so you can convey the correct message. Typography Font weight and typeface all have an effect on the readability and comprehension of a website.The effect of font can be seen in one study, wherein the font chosen for menus affected consumer perception of how good a soup was. Two groups were presented with menus using different fonts—one using the elegantly styled Lucida Calligraphy font, and the other using the simple Courier font. Both menus presented a soup as “rich and creamy.” While both groups were given the same soup to eat, ⅔ more of the group from the Lucida Calligraphy menu found the soup tastier, fresher, and more enjoyable compared with those from the Courier group. Additionally, familiar posts are also found to increase customer trust. One study by Yale professor, Nathan Novemsky showed two leaflets with the same information but different typography (one familiar, one not so) to have drastically different results. Four out of 10 participants that viewed the leaflet with unfamiliar typography told Novemsky that they’d still think more before buying the featured phone; while only 83% of the participants handed with the leaflet with familiar typography said they’d buy the phone right away. Trust Seals In the context of web design, to convince buyers to do business with you is to present yourself as trustworthy and professional.One way to do this is through social media shares. Social sharing counters show that other users are engaging with your brand and therefore, trust you as a business. Another thing you can do is to use trust seals, such as certifications, memberships, and awards. These credentials foster trust and good reputation among consumers, further increasing the chances that they’ll do business with you. Other Neuromarketing Hacks You Should Know About Scarcity CuesScarcity cues such as “Almost Sold Out” or “Limited Edition” advertisements create a sense of urgency. It makes a consumer feel that they must buy the product right away to avail the offer before it runs out. These appeals take advantage of a person’s fear of missing out. Research has shown that these appeals work on two types of personality traits: specifically, a low need for uniqueness (making a person more likely to conform to a group), and a high need for uniqueness (making a person more likely to exhibit self-distinguishing behavior). “Almost sold out” will appeal to those who want to conform, while “Limited Edition” will appeal to those who want to be unique. The trick to taking advantage of this is to find out how your customers classify themselves in terms of these personality traits. Depending on your data, either highlight the low number of stocks or the rarity of an item. Online retailers do this often by displaying “Few Stocks Left!” next to the price tag of their items. If ever these items do run out of stock, they often follow it up with “Limited Restock Planned Soon!” to keep customers interested. AnchoringThe anchoring effect is a cognitive bias that makes you rely too heavily on the first piece of information that you receive. As a result, you make decisions based on comparative values, rather than the objective value of different options. This is because humans tend to make hasty decisions based on their current circumstances and current situation, as opposed to making a rational decision based on the overall situation. Businesses take advantage of this tendency all the time. Imagine shopping online for a new pair of shoes with a budget of around $40. However, while shopping, you come across a pair of shoes that in all aspects is perfect, except it costs $80—twice your budget. Then, as you’re removing it from your cart, you find out that the pair is on discount for only $60. Although $60 is still out of your budget, you compare it to the initial price you were presented with ($80), and come to the decision that $60 is an okay price to spend. You end up buying it. If your business is in retail, you can apply this by making use of discount coupons to create appealing anchor prices. Pricing PsychologyPsychological pricing is a marketing strategy that’s based on the idea that specific prices can have a psychological impact on buyers. An example that buyers are all familiar with is the use of pricing at $19.99 rather than $20.00. This is because buyers associate these prices as lower than they really are, rounding them down rather than rounding them up. However, finding the right balance of pricing your goods or services can be difficult. While prices that are too high can easily drive potential customers away to competitors, prices that are too low can make potential customers question the quality of what you sell. Oberlo lists pricing strategies that you can use to stay competitive, such as making use of pricing tiers, offering bundles, and pricing at market value. Brands That Have Embraced And Mastered Neuromarketing As neuromarketing rises in popularity among businesses, there are many companies that are already ahead of the curve in terms of its strategic application. Two such companies are Amazon and ThinkGeek. Amazon Amazon is one of the most well-known online retail websites, and its brand is synonymous with online shopping. The company uses many of the neuromarketing techniques listed in this article, but because it focuses on retail, two of the techniques that they use the most are anchoring and scarcity cues. First, Amazon uses anchoring in many of their product pages. They lists their products in ways that highlight discounts by listing its regular retail price, visually crossing it out, and listing its new discounted price. They highlight this even more by showing the percentage you’d be saving by making the purchase at its current price. Second, Amazon also shows shoppers when items are low in stock, tapping into a shopper’s fear of missing out. This scarcity cue encourages shoppers to buy before the items are out of stock. Given Amazon’s success, it’s clear that these neuromarketing techniques are working. ThinkGeek ThinkGeek mastered neuromarketing by being one of the top websites that comes to mind for the geek audience. Aside from having a brand identity strong enough to appeal to a niche market, its advertising, product innovation, and online experience all cater to their customers. ThinkGeek makes use of geek lingo, color psychology, and a well-designed website to maintain their brand’s identity (green and gray) while highlighting their products and current deals (large fonts and bright colors like yellow). Their website also uses pricing psychology by listing their prices rounded down to $.99, as well as anchoring and scarcity cues. Takeaway Neuromarketing has provided new avenues for measuring and understanding consumer behavior. As a business owner, using this science to build your brand and connect with your customers will keep you competitive and relevant. Stay on top of the competition using the different techniques listed here, and let us know how it went for you in the comments.  

Fixing the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress

Remember the time you tried logging in to your WordPress and it would take forever to load? And finally, just when you thought it was about to load, there appeared a doodle with a hammer or a screwdriver trying to fix something! You guessed it right! We are talking about the 500 internal server error. In this article, I’ll walk you through what are the causes of this error and how to fix it for your WordPress website! Internal Server Error on YouTube As you can see, the name itself shows that an error has occurred on the server level due to which the requested page isn’t able to load. There are several reasons for this to occur. However, there is, nothing in particular, that could have prompted it. The 3 probable reasons that usually cause this on WordPress are: Corruption or a syntactical error in .htaccess file Exhausting the PHP memory limit Error or break in the code of a plugin installed To fix this error on your WordPress website, you need to fix the above issues. Let us see, how you can go about fixing them. Check .htaccess file To access your .htaccess file, you need to login to your website’s hosting panel i.e cPanel or access it via an FTP.On cPanel .htaccess file can be accessed by following these steps: Login to your Control Panel Go to the WordPress website domain Access the cPanel In cPanel, search for File Manager → public_html → .htaccess file Once you’ve located your .htaccess file, you need to check if it is corrupted. Before you begin checking, rename your file and download it. Also, create a copy of this file as a backup. Now after you’ve downloaded your .htaccess file, open it any HTML editor (Notepad, Notepad ++, Sublime etc.) and replace the code with the code available here on the official WordPress website. Depending on the version of WordPress installed, the code changes thus, make sure you’re copying the right code. Save the .htaccess file and upload it to the server. Reload your WordPress website and check if the error is fixed. If the error is fixed, congratulations if not, move on to see the solution for the next probable cause of the error. But before that, go to your WordPress Admin Panel → click on Settings → Permalinks and click Save, this is to ensure that a new .htaccess file is generated automatically and the 404 error doesn’t occur. Increase the PHP Memory Limit Moving on the next possible cause of the 500 internal server error – exhaustion of PHP memory limit. The PHP memory limit is usually set up by your hosting provider and WordPress. Say the limit is set as ‘X’ and, as soon as, there’s a drop in the memory the server automatically displays a 500 internal server error as a sign for you to fix it. The simplest way to resolve this is by increasing the PHP memory limit of your WordPress website. Let us see 2 ways by which you can increase your PHP memory limit. Edit the .htaccess file: In your .htaccess file, go the tag and insert in the following code: php_value upload_max_filesize 64M php_value post_max_size 64M Create a PHP.ini file: A simpler way of increasing the PHP memory limit is creating a PHP.ini file. In your admin area, locate wp-admin and create a php.ini file and insert the following code: memory_limit = 64M upload_max_filesize = 64M post_max_size = 64M file_uploads = On Reload your website once you’ve increased your PHP memory limit. For most websites, this is the cause of the 500 internal server error. Proceed to the next step, if your issue hasn’t still resolved. Deactivate Plugins If the above two solutions didn’t work for you, the error might be because of a faulty plugin. The first step is to check if your plugins are updated, an outdated plugin could be a reason for this error. If you have an outdated plugin, remove it and reload your website. If this too doesn’t solve the issue the only way to check is, deactivating all the plugins. Go to your WordPress admin panel → Select Plugins → Click on Deactivate Reload your website once again. If the error resolves, then hurray! But which amongst these was the faulty plugin? There is no way to figure that out, and hence the only way is to reactivate a single plugin and check your website. The moment the 500 internal error comes, you have found the faulty plugin. By this point, we hope your issue is resolved, and your website is up. However, if the issue still persists the only solution is contacting your hosting provider. Trying all these solutions to fix the 500 internal server error can be taxing and technical assistance at a time like this is always welcome. One easy hassle free way is to opt for Managed WordPress Hosting for your WordPress website. We at ResellerClub understand the time-sensitive nature of such issues and offer Managed WordPress Hosting with a host of benefits like 24*7 tech support, automatic WordPress updates, automated website backups and security with tools like Codeguard and so much more. Opting for Managed WordPress Hosting not only provides you with these benefits but also, keeps issues like 500 internal server error, 404 error and other WordPress related problems at bay. This way you as a website owner can concentrate on growing your business without worrying about the maintenance of your website. On a concluding note, I hope this article helps you in fixing the 500 internal error of your WordPress website. If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below!

How to redirect www to non www and vice-versa

In one of my earlier articles, I talked about URL redirection, covering why website owners choose to redirect their websites to a different domain, the difference between Permanent Redirect (301) and 302 Redirect, its implications on SEO and, in turn, your website. Once you’ve decided to redirect your website, it is equally important to decide, how you want to execute it. Technically there are two URLs, www and non-www and, although these two URLs are different, if you have both of them redirecting to the same web page it may confuse users and affect your SEO and ranking. However, before delving into which URL to choose and how to redirect www to non-www and vice-versa, let us first see the difference. WWW and Non-WWW: The Difference WWW: ‘www’ stands for ‘world wide web’ and websites beginning their domain name with ‘www’ are the most common choice for any website. The prefix acts as a hostname, easing the process of adding DNS records when adding multiple sub-domains. Example of websites prefixing www: www.google.com, www.resellerclub.com and so on redirect the user to the www version of their website. Non-WWW: These days having www as a prefix to your domain name isn’t compulsory and most websites these days have started using the non-www version. However, non-www domain names are known as naked domains. Though these domain names don’t have a technical edge, they prevent the owner from creating cookieless subdomains. The advantage with a non-www version the prefix is usually the representation of the page the user is currently viewing. Example of non-www websites: india.resellerclub.com lets you know this is an India specific website or developer.mozilla.org lets you know this website is for developers and so on. Irrespective of whether you choose to prefix www to your domain name or not, the HTML pages are still interconnected and accessible over the internet. Although, neither are there direct implications on the website’s SEO nor is one version preferred over the other, however, if the users are redirected to either version, it might affect the overall SEO. A simple way to prevent this is by setting up the preferred preference on google. Follow these steps to update your preference for Google Search Engine: Go to Google Webmasters Tools Select your website Click on the Settings icon on the extreme right side of the page In the drop-down menu, select ‘Site Settings’ Here, set your ‘Preferred Domain’ (www or non-www) Apart from setting your preference for Google, you can even redirect your www site to non-www and vice versa. We’ll be covering how to go about it for two servers, Apache (Linux) and IIS (Windows). How to redirect www to non-www on Apache server: Linux Hosting For making changes on the Apache server, you’ll need to edit the .htaccess file Apache server is available on Linux powered Hosting and can be accessed via cPanel Login to your reseller account → Access cPanel of the domain you want to redirect In your cPanel, find File Manager Inside your File Manager, go to public_html and search for .htaccess file. If there isn’t a .htaccess file create a new one by clicking on ‘+ File’ Insert the following code in the .htaccess file RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.yoursitedomain.com [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yoursitedomain.com/$1 [L,R=301] How to redirect non-www to www on Apache server: Follow the above steps till step 6 Instead of the code mentioned above in step 7, insert the following code in the .htaccess file should you want to redirect non-www to www RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursitedomain.com [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursitedomain.com/$1 [L,R=301] Should you already have a .htaccess file and ‘RewriteEngine On’ line in it, then all you need to do is insert the code below that line. * If you have SSL certificate installed on your domain, in the code instead of ‘http’ write ‘https’. Redirect www to non-www on IIS server: Windows Hosting For making changes on the IIS (Internet Information Services) server, you’ll need to edit the web.config file IIS server is available on Windows-powered Hosting and can be accessed via Plesk Login to your reseller account → Access Plesk panel of the domain you want to redirect In your Plesk panel, find File Manager Inside File Manager go to httpdocs and search for the web.config file. If there isn’t a web.config file create a new one by clicking on ‘+ New’ Insert the following code in the web.config file. If you already have a web.config file then don’t mention the ‘configuration’ tag in your code. <configuration> <system.webServer> <rewrite> <rules> <rule name=”Redirect to non-www” stopProcessing=”true”> <match url=”.*” > <conditions> <add input=”{HTTP_HOST}” pattern=”^yoursitedomain\.com$” /> </conditions> <action type=”Redirect” url=”http://yoursitedomain.com/{R:0}” redirectType=”Permanent” /> </rule> </rules> </rewrite> </system.webServer> </configuration> Redirect non-www to www on IIS server: Follow the above steps till step 6 Instead of the code mentioned above in step 7, insert the following code in the web.config file should you want to redirect non-www to www <configuration> <system.webServer> <rewrite> <rules> <rule name=”Redirect to www” stopProcessing=”true”> <match url=”.*” /> <conditions> <add input=”{HTTP_HOST}” pattern=”^yoursitedomain.com$” /> </conditions> <action type=”Redirect” url=”http://www.yoursitedomain.com/{R:0}” redirectType=”Permanent” /> </rule> </rules> </rewrite> </system.webServer> </configuration> * If you have SSL certificate installed on your domain, in the code instead of ‘http’ write ‘https’. If you have different URLs and still haven’t set the preferred URL, what are you waiting for? I suggest you follow this guide on how to redirect www to non-www and vice-versa today!

Top email copywriter’s guide to effective email marketing strategy

Hemingway said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”. You’d be amazed at how much email marketing is NOT related to writing. So stop procrastinating on email marketing because you think you have to write fancy emails. Top email copywriters like Ben Settle know the real secret to an effective email marketing strategy and have managed to make email their only (6-figure) income source. Below you’re going to read about THE email marketing strategy you should use in order to increase sales to your current list (no matter the size of it, if it contains the right people). Persuasive Copy = Knowing your market: For every email you write, you need to keep in mind that people don’t buy something because its Ad is beautifully written. They buy it because they think that it can really help simplify their lives. Price is not an issue (if I’m sure paying you 5 grand is going to get me 10 grand, I won’t hesitate), how fancy the ad looks is not a determining factor, the claims of the product owner don’t count, even the ravings of other customers about how good the product is, doesn’t have the value it used to have because these days people are into any kind partnerships.The only thing that matters is how a product can help simplify their lives. Or as Consulting.com explains in a post on becoming an independent consultant, it’s all about helping people solve problems and move from their current state to their desired state. And the more valuable that desired state is to someone, the more willing they are to pay for help getting there. So the question “how can you write emails that sell” turns into “how can you write emails that position your product as a saviour rather than a pickpocket?” You only need to do one thing: study the market and the product Study the market and the product: When Mercedes asked the legendary copywriter, David Ogilvy, to write ads for them, he sent a team to the Daimler-Benz headquarters in Stuttgart. They spent three weeks interviewing the engineers. These efforts resulted in a campaign that increased Mercedes sales from 10,000 cars to 40,000 cars a year in the US (As Ogilvy himself explains in his book Ogilvy on Advertising).What he did was simply tap into some of the greatest product features that people found interesting and handy. This is the headline and the first paragraph of the copy he used in one of his ads: You give up things when you buy the Mercedes-Benz 230S. Things like rattles, rust, and shabby workmanship. A pox on the status symbol that’s all glitter and no guts. At $4,754, the Mercedes-Benz 230S is an efficient machine, built to endure [original underline]. Its body is welded 10,000 times — and painted with 7 enamel coats. A 24-pound layer of undercoating stifles rust. Read on why the Mercedes-Benz 230S is a shrewd investment indeed. How’s THAT for a headline? Many of the magic formulas followed in the modern content marketing world are violated here. The name of the product and its features are mentioned up front and the words like “give up” or “buy” that convey a sense of loss are used in the copy. These are the exact copywriting mistakes we try to avoid at any cost. And still, the ad worked well because it was well researched (and the product stood by the ad’s words) and it tapped into what the market considered important and handy. Such is the value of researching the market before writing copy. If you think copy in email marketing is a different material, you couldn’t be more mistaken my friend. Unless you’re too lazy to study your market and product and instead are looking for quick-fix techniques and methods, in which case you’re knowingly wasting your time and money. What to look for when studying the market and the product? Basically, you need to know two things: What makes your target audience sad What makes your target audience happy And you need to write about the same two things constantly. And of course, you need to position your product as what can make your audience happier or less sad. Couldn’t say it simpler. In particular, you need the following information: People’s sentiments about current similar products. You can monitor social media for people’s mentions of a product using social media monitoring tools (e.g. Mention). Also, stay tuned for industry reports and trends (for example, check out these two comprehensive reports on Twitter and Instagram). Your audience’s demographics (age, gender, job, income, etc.) and psychographics (interests, activities, opinions). Surveys and questionnaires can help you a lot here (platforms such as SurveyAnyplace are a blessing here). The way you position your product depends a great deal on your audience. The topics you should write about, your tone, and your references and examples are determined by the psychographic features of your audience (i.e. whether they find it interesting). The key is to use your insights about the market and your audience to write exciting emails. How to write exciting emails: Not just exciting but profitable. Funny videos or stories are exciting to everybody but can you sell using them? (if yes, then go on). `If you want your emails to be exciting and at the same time informative and effective, you need to apply the principles of “infotainment” in your email copies.Ben frequently refers to pop culture (which is exciting) and is a master of connecting his stories with the information about his products. But apart from infotainment, Ben gives away another of his email marketing hacks. He writes “you don’t need to hammer your readers with benefits. Instead, you hammer them with the painful symptoms they’re feeling — or could feel if they don’t find a solution”. He frequently writes about the problems his products solve. He writes interesting stories and memories, connects them with pop culture, research, philosophical advice, etc. His aim is to magnify the extent of the problem people are facing because they’re not using his products. His emails are interesting too. First of all, because people are curious to read and know about their own problems, and second because he has established himself as the one who cares about people’s problems and pains by frequently (i.e. daily) talking about them. It’s not salesy, it’s not boring, and it garners trust with your audience. Segmenting your list = increasing relevance Tagging your subscribers enables you to segment them into groups with different interests, and send them more exciting yet relevant emails.For example, it might happen that some of your subscribers have bought a particular product you’ve been promoting in your emails and you want to stop sending them the same promotional emails, you set a tag and exclude them from your general recipients.Additionally, you might decide that this new segment of your subscribers, who are your customers now, might be interested in another product you have. This is a great opportunity to start promoting other products to them. So segmenting your email list based on their buying journey using the tagging option enables you to send relevant and timely emails and improve your numbers. Here are some suggestions on how to tag your subscribers: Tag the engaged: Some people on your list are extremely responsive to your emails. They typically open your emails and click on your links. These are the most engaged kind on your contacts.Once you identify these contacts, you need to tag them as “engaged” (or whatever name you like) and send them personalized emails. Tag the unengaged: Contrary to the previous group, your unengaged subscribers would only cause trouble (e.g. incurring more costs and pulling down your numbers). The best way to deal with them is to tag them as unengaged and either try to re-engage them or delete them from your list.Look for the contacts who have not opened your emails in the last six months and tag them as “unengaged”. You might decide to re-engage them by sending them coupons, whitepapers, etc. Tag based on the sales funnel: Turn your leads into customers by sending emails according to their position in the buying cycle. Your new subscribers are right at the top of the funnel. As they move in the funnel and enter different stages, you need different kinds of content to engage them. For example, your new subscribers might not yet be aware of your features and what problems you solve, so you might want to keep sending them emails about their pain-points (like the ones recommended above ). But once they start a free trial or download a white paper, you know it’s time to talk more about your features.Try to get your new subscribers to enter a new stage in the sales funnel by signing up on a landing page. Build landing pages with special offers CTA’s (such as free trials, whitepapers, webinars, etc.) and then tag the subscribers who sign up for these landing pages as in the second stage of your sales funnel. Send more technical information to these people and explain your features. Tag based on topics: Not everybody who subscribes to your list has the same goal. Even if all of them are aiming for the same results (say increase their email marketing ROI), they might have different experiences or might want to improve in a specific area. Some of our subscribers are looking for the ways to get higher open rates, others don’t know what to write in their emails, and some others are looking for ways to automate their email marketing. Source To provide personalized help for your subscribers, you need to tag them based on the topics they’re interested in. You can tag them when they’re signing up by providing some extra fields and asking them to choose their interest. Or you can send them a welcome email, embed some tagged links to different topics and ask your subscribers to click on whatever topic they’re interested in. Now based on the clicks, you can tag them as interested in a specific topic. How effective is email again? In fact, if an email is not your main marketing channel, then there is something wrong with your email marketing strategy. If you know what to write in your emails and how to segment your email list to increase relevance, you’ll see that email beats any other marketing channels. In fact, it is reported that for each $1 spent on email marketing, the ROI would be $40, more than any other marketing channel. It’s also important to note that if you’re driving good traffic from your list to your website and yet don’t have many conversions, you might need to see if your overall website design has issues. According to GoodFirms’s web design research, “if your conversion rate is low and bounce rate is high, be sure that you’re in sheer need of redesigning your website”. But generally, supposing that you’re doing everything right and have gained your email list’s trust, you’ll find great success. In this article, you read about the two factors that are the most important for success (i.e. knowing the market and frequently talking about the audience’s pain points, and sending relevant emails to the email list). Use the advice and you’ll live the email marketing dream no matter what niche you are in or what products you sell.

The Power of Internal Linking on your WordPress Website

Driving traffic to your website is crucial when it comes to optimising your website for search engines. However, prior to your website ranking on search engines, it is important that the search engine is able to track the content on your website. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is through internal linking. What is Internal Linking? As per Moz.com, “Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. They are commonly used in main navigation.” For example, if there’s a WordPress article written previously on this blog and as a writer, I think the content might be helpful to someone reading this article, then I can add a link to that article here. Thus, both the articles (the newly published and linked) are under the same domain name ‘https://blog.resellerclub.com/’. Source: Orbit Media Let us now see the importance of internal linking in detail: Improves SEO SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategizing to improve it is a two-part process: Adding to Link Authority: As a website owner, your website rank determines how easily your webpage is found on search engines like Google. However, to establish this level of trust, search engines assign a value or equity to your web page known as link juice. The link juice is passed on with the help of links. The higher the link juice value, the more credible or authoritative your website is to the search engine. This ensures valuable and reliable content is accessible to your users which, in turn, helps in building a firm relationship with both your customer and Google. If you have an e-commerce website, then chances are most customers visiting your website visit the homepage more than other pages. However, to build credibility and authority it is equally important that customers visit your various product pages, categories, contact us page, blogs etc. too. A simple way of building authority is to link a specific product page from an article on your blog. How Does Link Authority Help: As a website owner, when you’re establishing authority to various pages of your WordPress website by linking them internally, you’re not only adding to the link juice but also boosting your website on the search engine. If you take care of the basics like checking your links so that there’s no irrelevant, bad or broken link, it will build your content hierarchy and help the search engines index and rank your website better. With Google’s new Mobile-first indexing algorithm update, your website will get ranked irrespective of the medium used (desktop or mobile) for browsing. Thus, improving your website’s SEO. Source User Experience As a website owner, your first and foremost priority is to provide a good user experience to your website’s visitors. Good user experience is the easiest way to engage a user with your website, so much so, that they decide to convert into a customer. However, this is easier said than done. There are several ways to ensure your customer is engaged on the website. One way is through internal linking. Well thought out internal linking aids the user in navigating your website without losing focus. It helps them understand your website’s niche as well as features in depth. This ease of steering your user in the right direction assists you in gaining more customers, as well as, improving SEO. Now that we’ve seen the benefits of internal linking for your WordPress website let us now see the ways to go about adding the links. Here are 3 ways of adding links in the right manner: Adding relevant links Though adding links to your content helps boost the value and search visibility of your link, you should exercise caution. Adding links to any random content, or to every other content is not recommended. You should take care that the links which are added are relevant and aid in the flow of the content. This is true for both internal linking, as well as, backlinking. For instance, if you’re writing about WordPress security plugins, it doesn’t make sense to link the article to Cloud backup solutions, as this may adversely affect both user experience and SEO rankings. Add links in cornerstone content Cornerstone content is the content that you want to rank the highest on your website. Usually, this type of content talks about your website’s niche and persuades the reader to explore and preferably purchase your product. The cornerstone article can become your base article which then points to other subcategories. Adding internal links to your cornerstone content helps boost your SEO rankings. Add links on anchor text Anchor text is a clickable text in any hyperlink that takes you to a different web page and should be relevant to the destination page. SEO keywords are one of the best examples of an anchor text. Most of the articles that you read have keywords embedded in them as it helps improve the SEO rankings. Adding links to your anchor text helps with internal linking, however, make sure that the keywords are valid to the content and are not force-fitted. Conclusion: In a nutshell, remember that adding internal links to your WordPress website assists in making your website popular. The crucial aspect is SEO strategizing while the other is, it eases website navigation enhancing user experience. Have a suggestion or a comment? Feel free to drop in your ideas in the comments section below!

New gTLD Report – July 2018

From .TOP and .ICU surpassing .XYZ to .ONLINE hanging tough onto its position, the trending new gTLDs list saw plenty of variations during the month of July. It was .TOP that took the lead and secured the first spot among the trending new gTLDs with a 39% share. .ICU was able to secure the second spot with a 12% share of the new gTLDs registered. With a 11% share of the new gTLDs sold, .XYZ was able to secure a spot in the top three in the month of July, down a few spots from the previous month. .FUN and .LIVE were the unexpected surprises for the month. Let’s dive in further and have a look at the precise summary of the top 15 domain extensions for the month of July: New gTLD Report – July 2018 Infogram   *Registration Numbers Facilitated by ResellerClub .TOP: The low promo price ($0.99) of .TOP has been one of the reasons why this new gTLD is No. 1 on the list.  The discounted price has assisted in boosting registrations of the .TOP domain extension. This new gTLD saw a spike of 36% in its sales numbers as compared to the month of June. .ICU: Launched on our platform in May, this two month old new gTLD saw a 4% jump in its sales number as compared to June. It was the China market that contributed to the increase in the sales of this new gTLD in July. The promo price of $0.99 also helped boost the sales of .ICU in the global markets. .XYZ:  Similar to .TOP and .ICU, this was another new gTLD that was able to hold on to its spot in the top 3 although, .XYZ did witness a decrease in its registration numbers as compared to June. This new gTLD continued to be sold at a promo price of $0.99. .ONLINE: With a 7% increase in its sales compared to the month of June, this Radix new gTLD has been able to keep up the pace and retain its fourth place among the new gTLDs. .ONLINE was running at a promo price of $6.99. .FUN: The month of July saw a whopping jump of 1053% in the sales of this new gTLD. .FUN was being sold at a promo price of $0.99 which was significantly lower than that of the previous months. This helped this new gTLD to climb up to the fifth spot. With a 27% spike in its sale numbers .SITE was able to move up a rank to the sixth position. .LIVE which was nowhere in the top 15 list in June was able to secure the seventh spot in July with a massive 553% increase in its sale numbers. .STORE was another new gTLD that witnessed an increase of 87% in its sales .WEBSITE which had secured the fifth spot in June, saw a massive dip in its sales that saw it go way below in the list. Check out our exciting domain promos coming up during the month of August: Reach out to the community of bloggers with a .BLOG at just $7.99. Get your customers the trending new gTLD .FUN at just $0.99. Take your customers business online with a .BIZ domain extension at just $4.99. Every website needs a .SITE domain extension. Get one for your customers at just $4.99. Now, that you know what’s trending and what’s not, check out all our domain promos here and get the right one for your customers. 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!  

Difference between Virtualization and Cloud Computing

In today’s day and age, most businesses have moved either all or a part of their operations online. Often times we hear that one technology is better than the other for a business to thrive in the web industry. One such technology that has become quite a buzzword recently is ‘Cloud Computing.’ Cloud Computing as a term is used for everything related to the cloud. Be it cloud services, cloud systems, platforms, web hosting, etc. Add to that the fact that there are some people who say the cloud is virtual (which is true) and hence, cloud computing and virtualization are same (well this isn’t entirely true). In this article, we aim to help solve the confusion what is the difference between Virtualization and Cloud Computing and explain each in detail. Let us first begin by understanding what Virtualization is. Virtualization in simple words is the creation of a resource in the virtual form rather than its physical (actual) form. These resources can include a server, operating system, network, file, storage etc. The idea of virtualization is to simplify and easily manage workload such that it makes computing scalable. There are 7 different types of virtualization viz OS virtualization, Application virtualization, Server virtualization, Administrative virtualization, Network virtualization, Hardware virtualization and Storage virtualization. Take for instance Server virtualization. Here a physical server is partitioned into several virtual servers using a software known as a Hypervisor. This way the utilization of server resources is at its best. The partitioned servers are in an isolated environment such that they do not interfere in the computing of other servers nor are the resources shared. Each virtual compartment is known as a Virtual Machine (VM) or a Virtual Private Server (VPS). Virtualization Having said this about server virtualization there are chances that you might think “Isn’t this true about Cloud Computing too?” Although you are right as Cloud Computing is essentially a product of virtualization, there are differences. Let us now see what Cloud Computing is. As opposed to virtualization that’s a technology, cloud computing essentially is a service that helps in delivering computing services. This includes services like software, networking, servers, database, storage, etc over the cloud i.e over the internet. Simply put virtualization can survive without cloud computing but not vice-versa. Computing resources over the cloud can be availed over the internet on demand and companies providing this service are known as ‘Cloud Providers.’ There are three different types of cloud models viz public, private and hybrid cloud. In Public Cloud, the server is shared amongst several users and is managed by third-party Cloud Hosting providers. Whereas in a Private Cloud the entire server is allocated to a single organization and space is not shared with anyone externally. And finally, as the name suggests Hybrid Cloud is a combination of both public and private cloud and offers the best of the two worlds. Apart from the different cloud models, there are even three services provided over the cloud. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each of these services is built on top of one another and help in attaining different business goals. Depending on your business requirements you can choose which cloud service is the best for you. Virtualization vs Cloud Computing: Now that we’ve seen the basic difference between virtualization and cloud computing let us now see, which of these two has more advantages. Ideally, virtualization has more advantages than Cloud Computing. However, this all depends on the type of business you’re looking at and the requirements. For instance, in a public cloud, the computing resources are shared amongst all the users and there is no security involved. That means if user A is using more resources, then other users have to compromise. This could affect their websites speed and loading time. With a private cloud, all these issues are resolved as the server is utilizing the true benefit of virtualization and offers the user more flexibility and control in managing their resources. On the other hand with virtualization, users are sharing the same space with other users but they do not use the same resources. The advantage of this is that you make the most out of your servers as you can install multiple systems and applications on the same physical hardware. Thus, virtualization becomes more cost friendly as compared to cloud computing. Having said this, does it mean that every business should use Virtualization and not Cloud Computing? No, depending on the type of business you have and its needs, the advantages differ. Deciding which is suitable for your business As a business, if you’re looking for a more in-depth and customizable server environment then virtualization is the solution for you. Talking specifically about hosting, if you wish to have full root access to all the resources then Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting is the best solution for you. Whereas if you’re a growing business and wish to outsource the IT resources then cloud computing is the one you should choose. With respect to hosting if you’re looking for easy scalability of your website as and when required then Cloud Hosting is an effective option. In parting, cloud computing and virtualization are similar in their working, however, not the same. Nevertheless being clear about what they both mean is important as most people get confused and use them interchangeably leading to a lot of confusion. Hope this article helped clear any confusion with respect to what is the difference between virtualization and cloud computing. If you still have any queries or you’ve got any suggestions feel free to drop a line in the comment box below!

The Battle of the Blogging Platforms – Can Wix hold a candle to WordPress?

The terms ‘blog’ and ‘website’ are sometimes used interchangeably on the internet today. Therefore, let’s take a look at what really distinguishes a ‘blog’. What makes a blog? Web pages with a series of posts in chronological order that allow comments from readers. In other words, content that will be regularly churned out takes centre-stage. Setting up a blog is not difficult. While there are several blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, Medium, Wix, Weebly and many more, each has its pros and cons and to stand out in the crowded blogging world, you will need to pick the right platform. We’ve picked two popular and quite dissimilar platforms to analyse and thus, look at the difference between Wix and WordPress. Wix or WordPress? They couldn’t be more different as blogging platforms. While WordPress does dominate the internet, we look at what parameters you need to look at to pick between the two. First, let’s take a look at their numbers in the market: Wix- Founded in 2006, Wix is a website builder that uses drag-and-drop technology to make it easy for anyone to build a website with no knowledge of code required. While there are several other similar technologies available, Wix is known to stand out for its intuitive and polished user-interface. Wix claims to have 110 million users as of 2017. WordPress- Founded in 2003, WordPress is an open-source script that powers over 31% of websites on the internet with a market share of 59.9% WordPress is a clear winner: Source : w3techs.com Now, you might think that Wix cannot possibly beat WordPress as a choice for bloggers. But another report from w3techs has some interesting insights: Wix vs. WordPress – The report shows that: 2.4% of websites using Wix were using WordPress 1.4% of the websites that are using WordPress were previously using Wix What does Wix have that WordPress doesn’t? What would make someone switch to a less-popular platform? The difference between Wix and WordPress for blogging:- 1.Creating a blog and ease of use: Wix: With its drag-and-drop functionality and as a WYSIWYG editor, Wix wins the usability war against WordPress. Another feature missing in WordPress is Wix’s Advanced Design Intelligence builder. The Wix ADI builds a blog or website for you in just a few clicks by asking you to answer a few questions about your website. This makes Wix a real boon for those who aren’t very creative. Here are some steps through blog creation with the Wix ADI:     The finished dance instructor blog with placeholder content from Wix. You can now use the tools around you to customize your ready-made blog. If you’re not keen to use the editor, you can use a Wix template to build your website. Another advantage Wix has over WordPress is how they categorize their themes. They guide you through various options in as many headings as possible to inspire you by a theme that will best suit your domain.   WordPress: WordPress, on the other hand, doesn’t quite do this for you. You will need to scroll through all the templates tagged as ‘blog’ to find one that will best suit your idea. This is not to say that WordPress is difficult to use. The platform is designed to suit a blogging flow- write, upload and post. Plus, it has tons of ready-made themes and plugins (many more than Wix does) to help you easily add any design or functionality to your website. Wix really just makes the experience of setting up your blog quite effortless.   2. Cost: Wix: Wix lets you get online free with 500 MB storage, 1GB bandwidth, free hosting with a free wix domain and wix brand ads. However, if you want to get serious with blogging, you will need to upgrade to their premium plans ranging from $1-$5. Hosting is included in the price on Wix as all blogs are hosted on Wix’s cloud servers. However, you will need to purchase the $3 plan at least to have an ad-free blog. WordPress: For WordPress, of course, the script is downloadable for free. However, WordPress Hosting can cost from $2-$50 a month or more. However, bloggers need not worry about having to pay too much for either. Once you attract enough traffic and income, you can consider moving to a higher plan with more storage and bandwidth.   3.Content ownership and SEO: A common mistake most bloggers who use third-party platforms make is to not read the platform’s Terms of Service. A blog hosted on any third-party platform is subject to their control. The platforms have the right to shut down your blog at any time if it happens to violate any Terms of Service. “Wix reserves the right to change, suspend or terminate any of the Wix Services (or any features thereof, or prices applicable thereto), and/or cancel your access to any of the Wix Services (including removal of any materials created by you in connection with the Wix Services) for any reason and/or change any of the Wix Terms with or without prior notice – at any time and in any manner. You agree that Wix will not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of those Wix Services.” With WordPress being a self-hosted service, you are in complete control of your content. Content ownership is also a factor in SEO. Unfortunately, no blogging platform can be considered without considering how conducive it is to optimization for search engines. While Wix touts the SEO capabilities of its platform, you can do much more with a blog that is under your complete control -such as one built with WordPress. Once you install the WordPress script, the website and its content is yours to control.   So would we choose Wix or WordPress? In conclusion, we’d say the process of setting up your blog shouldn’t matter as much as how well you are allowed to manage the property and make it rise to the top. With that, we’d pick WordPress over Wix with regards to ownership. We hope you found this blog on the difference between Wix and WordPress for blogging insightful enough to make a great choice. If you’d like tips on how to start making money with your blog, check out our two-part series on ‘How to start a blog and make money’.  

3 Ways to Leverage Existing Content on your website for SEO

Anyone who engages in any work in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or is looking to learn more about it, knows or will find out that SEO is comprised of three different elements. On-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO. While each element of SEO contains many different layers and strategies for optimizing, one of the most under-utilized aspects of on-page SEO is leveraging existing content on your website. This article will be looking at three different strategies you could implement today for your own website to leverage your existing content. The techniques that will be covered in this article have been tested and proven to work when implemented correctly. Re-optimize existing blog posts & landing pagesRe-optimizing website copy should be one of the first exercises you should run when trying to improve your website rankings. When optimizing content on your website it should be foremost, optimized with your users in mind, while also making sure you use the keywords your clients are searching for and answering the questions they might have. Choosing which pages to optimize and how to optimize them can sometimes be tricky, but there is a very simple and proven process to do so. Step 1: Log-in to your Google Search Console and navigate to the “Search Analytics” section, found under Search Traffic > Search Analytics. Step 2: Select to display Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position for your report Step 3: In the “Queries” report, sort the columns by Impressions from largest to smallest. Step 4: Look for keywords which have an average position of around 8-15. Re-optimizing content that is already ranking in the top 5 positions can be risky, as you run the risk of over-optimizing and dropping in rankings, so it is best to test our skills with pages in lower positions. Step 5: After identifying keywords you want to start with, see which article they belong to. Step 6: Filter the “Pages” report with your page URI, to unveil all of the keywords the page ranks for. Step 7: Order the keywords by Impressions to see which are the most valuable keywords your page should be optimized for. Step 8: After selecting the keywords you think the page should be optimized for, it is time to optimize the page. There are several elements you should consider optimizing on the page once you’ve discovered which keywords you want to improve the rankings for. The three most important elements are your: Page title (title tag) Meta description Article title (h1 tag) While meta descriptions have no direct influence on your rankings in Google, they impact your click-through-rates. It is important to optimize them in such a way that it sounds enticing to your target audience to click through to your page. An actionable tip when optimizing your page title and article title (h1) is to use your most searched keyword by impressions, and include it as close to the beginning of the title as possible. The second part of this exercise is to optimize your existing subheadings or creating subheadings if none currently exist. In Google’s understanding of content, after it analyzes the top level elements of the page such as the title and URL, it places the next most importance on subheadings. After the subheadings, search engines look at the rest of the content on the page. This is where you should ensure that the keywords you are ranking for in those lower positions are actually mentioned in the copy. Google will rank your content for semantic keywords without you even mentioning them, but by simply mentioning them in the copy you would vastly improve your rankings for those specific keywords, bringing more traffic to the article than before. For example, let’s say your focus keyword was “build photography website.” The article linked is a good example where this exact same exercise was run. The title tag and article title was optimized to include the focus keyword of “build photography website” and semantically related keywords were added in the article such as “online photography portfolio” and “photography website layout.” After a short five days, the article instantly shot up in rankings from position 8 to position 5 for the “build photography website” keyword. Expand old and thin content One of the many Google updates over the years has been penalizing sites and pages on websites which have thin content. There is a strong correlation between pages with more content, ranking better in search results, over ones with less content. Based on a study run on 1 million search results, the sweet spot for content length landed around an average of 1890 words per article in the first page of search results.While it doesn’t make sense to write close to 2,000 words on every page of your website just to rank better, it’s great to identify crucial articles or landing pages to beef up your content. A simple and cost-effective way to do this is by using a tool. One that is highly recommended is ScreamingFrog. Let’s say you wanted to run this exercise for your service or product landing pages and uncover pages that had thin content, with less than 300-500 words. Step 1: If you know which URLs you would like to crawl, you can use the “List” feature to only crawl your designated URLs. You can find this by going to “Mode > List” and then using the Upload feature. If you would like to crawl the entire website you can use the “Spider” mode, found in “Mode > Spider” and type in your website root URL. Step 2: Once the crawl is complete you can either export the report to a .csv or inspect your crawl results directly inside the platform. Scrolling your report to the left will uncover a field titled “Word Count” which will list the word counts for each page which was crawled. Step 3: Work with your design and copywriting team to spruce up your landing pages, and the content which is on there. Make sure that any content that you are developing is useful for the users, and you are not just stuffing information that the users do not find useful. Step 4: Like with any other experiment, make sure you track your results and see how the added content affects your rankings and traffic. After running an experiment like this on our own site, we saw an improvement of 2 positions in the search results, from #3 to #1. Leverage Contextual Internal-Linking Contextual internal-linking can come from many areas of your website. It can come from other landing pages or blog posts. Through the testing we did, we found the most value came from leveraging internal-linking from other landing pages, and not articles. The closer the pages were to the root domain, the better they performed in driving ranking improvements. Pages which are close to the root domain tend to have more authority and therefore are more likely to influence rankings.For the experiment, we identified 5 landing pages which we would add internal links using “money keyword,” linking to 3 other key landing pages on our site. An easy way to identify opportunities for internal linking on your website can be through the use of search operators. Step 1: Identify which landing page and the keyword you want to improve. Let’s say the landing page you choose is about “Red Shoes” located at https://www.example.com/red-shoes. Step 2: Using the search operator in Google, type the following: site:https://www.example.com/ intext: red shoes Step 3: This result will show you all the pages where red shoes are mentioned. Comb through the pages and see which are appropriate fits for contextual internal links to be added back to https://www.example.com/red-shoes. Step 4: Publish the changes and track your results! Bonus Tip: Like with external link-building don’t abuse internal-linking by spamming too many links at once. Also, vary the anchor texts to not always be an exact match to your money keyword. The following screenshot is one of the money keyword rankings after the internal linking experiment. From an average position of #9, it jumped up to position #7. Conclusion Leveraging your own existing content on the website is one of the lowest hanging fruits in the world of SEO. When implementing these three different strategies for you content, you will be certain see measurable results for your efforts. But don’t stop there. Once your tests prove to be successful make sure to continue expanding your efforts, and also start exploring other SEO strategies such as technical SEO or link-building.

10 Tips to Grow Your Digital Marketing Agency (and Earn More Profit!)

It’s one thing to start your own digital marketing agency, but growing the business is an entirely different story. In my years of working with digital marketers, I’ve seen agencies reach their all-time high by following their own mantra for success. It’s an inspiring endeavour and one born from hard work and smart decision-making. This is what I’ll be discussing – how to grow your agency and increase your profit. Build Your Network If you can count the number of connections you have using only your hands, you better double your efforts in networking. To grow your agency, you need to put yourself out there and connect with people. Connections can provide you with a stream of referrals and serve as a handshake to your next clients.A couple of pointers when building your network: Start local: Being in the same area serves as your common ground with local businesses. This makes it easier to introduce your digital marketing agency to them. Focus on a specific niche: As tempting as it may be to win everyone, you need to focus on one niche first. The best approach to this is by targeting a niche that you’re an expert in. Develop Inbound and Outbound Marketing Strategies One of the biggest mistakes digital marketing agencies make is forgetting to look after their own brand and market themselves. You can’t grow your business if potential clients don’t even know who you are. This is why you need to set aside budget and time for inbound and outbound marketing to generate leads for your digital marketing agency. Inbound marketing – This involves activities that allow you to get leads passively, where potential clients reach out to you. SEO: Add unique, valuable content that will help your site become more visible. Use Google’s Search Console to determine queries you’re getting and build content that addresses these queries. Pay-Per-Click: Target a specific area for your ads. Use remarketing to get more opportunities for conversions. Social media: Join social media channels where most of your targeted leads are active. Look for groups and share content that will attract leads. Content marketing: Create specialized content and lead magnets that serve the needs of your target clients. Outbound marketing – This involves activities that allow you to get leads actively, where you make the first move to reach out to potential clients. Cold emails: Automate email sequences with content that matches your lead’s stage in the buyer’s journey. Send cold emails at reasonable intervals to avoid spamming them. Cold calls: Initiate the first phone call after sending an email—this is the point where you’re creating a warmer relationship and securing an appointment with a potential client. Set the Right Pricing When starting a digital marketing agency, a big factor in your growth is offering the right value for your services. Some agencies fail in their ventures because they are not charging enough, while some go over the top with their charges.The charge for digital marketing services may vary for every agency. One way to set the right pricing for your services is by looking at what main competitors are offering. Check their average price and determine if this can cover your expenses and provide you with a reasonable profit.Pro-tip: Don’t set your pricing too low just to please a few clients. Your pricing should justify the value that you’re giving. Develop a Repeatable, Scalable Process There should be a process behind everything. One of the foundations of a successful agency is having specific policies and procedures. These serve as a framework on how to efficiently execute work and follow up on deliverables. Automate the reporting process. Instead of writing proposals and contracts from scratch, use templates that you can simply fill and send to clients. Streamline appointment bookings with Calendly and similar scheduling tools. Provide specific guidelines for your in-house team so they can accomplish their work efficiently. Hire the Right People – Outsource vs In-house One of the common pitfalls of digital marketing agencies – especially startups – is taking care of all the work. Sure it’s your job to deliver results that will make clients happy, but this doesn’t mean you have to carry the burden alone. How else are you going to grow your business if you’re too busy with fulfillment? This is where outsourcing comes in.What services can you outsource? Almost everything – from SEO to Social Media Management.Let others take over work that’s not in your area of expertise until you can do it yourself or you have enough scale to hire in-house talent for the job. Leverage partnerships with influencers Remember what I discussed about building your network? It’s not only for finding potential clients, but also for reaching out to influencers who can partner with your agencies.How do you leverage partnerships with influencers? Host webinars or Facebook live sessions about topics of their expertise. Ask them if they’re open to being an affiliate partner for your agency. Write a guest post on their website—or ask if they can write one for your agency’s site. Food for thought: Don’t hog all the benefits. When partnering with an influencer, it should be mutually beneficial. Streamline your onboarding process Successful agencies often have a seamless onboarding strategy to ensure clients use their products and stay with them.Think of the onboarding process as your first step in client retention. Mess it up from the start, and you’ll soon find clients moving away from your agency.One of the easiest ways to streamline client onboarding is through email sequences. Each email should talk about the client and their needs, not about your agency.This should make it easy for clients to understand your service and how it can help them. Map the results for every client interaction to determine how the conversation might go. This will help you prepare the appropriate responses. Learn how to upsell to clients that have one-off projectsYes, it’s important to find and close new clients. But, it’s also equally important to upsell to clients who already purchased one-off projects from you. Upselling allows you to open new revenue streams while providing additional value to clients.Here are some tips on upselling: Complement one service with another service: If a client bought web design, why not offer them SEO? Give them an introductory rate for your SEO services. Show them how you can rank their new website; if they’re happy with the results, offer to put them on a new SEO campaign for the following month. Explain the value of using other solutions: Your clients need to understand what their dollar’s worth. Don’t just pitch a new solution—show them the value of using your service through milestones and potential returns to their business. Only upsell if the client needs it: Provide reasonable ground when upselling, which means you need to justify why clients need your services. Don’t push clients into a purchase they don’t need today. Don’t report – Analyze and Explain Your clients care about one thing: Results. They don’t have the time to know about what Click Through Rate is, or how to disavow links. They want to know about how they benefit from what you’re doing. This is why you don’t just report vanity metrics; you also analyze and explain data. Analyze: Identify what solutions delivered results and what didn’t to justify the effectiveness of your service. Use this opportunity to determine ways to improve a campaign and maximize ROI for your client. Explain: Instead of showing clients a long report, turn data into a language that they will understand. Don’t say, “Here are the changes we made to your Metadata.” Instead say, “We wrote new copies to entice more visitors to click on your site and understand what you’re business is.” Always think about the post-sales process Good agencies know how to find clients who will close; the great (and successful) ones know how to find, close, and keep clients. You don’t stop simulating the care after a client has purchased a solution from your agency—you work to retain the relationship even after the sale.How do you keep the relationship hot post-sale?Here are some pointers: Provide consistent value through educational content, such as how-to articles, white papers and case studies. If there are problems, act fast and communicate the issue—don’t wait for clients to find out about the bad news themselves. Show gratitude; never underestimate the power of saying “Thank you”. Final Thoughts There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to growing your digital marketing agency. The tips I shared above serve as a guide for your agency—how you reach that seven-digit revenue mark is entirely up to you.

Storyboarding: Business Benefits and Softwares

In today’s tech-savvy world, most people have a computer or at least a smartphone with an internet connection. They browse content in the form of text, images, audio and video. According to a survey by HubSpot, respondents spent around 1.5 hours per day watching videos. As a designer or developer, marketing your brand is important and one way is with the help of videos. If you are able to tap the potential of video marketing then it will directly impact the growth of your website and clientele by means of increasing traffic. Videos, after all, have the power to persuade people to purchase a product, if presented in a pleasing manner. However, before the product is designed or it is live, it needs to be imagined and storyboarding is one of the ways that helps you achieve this. In this article, I’ll walk you through what Storyboarding is, its benefits and tools to bring your ideas to life. Let’s start with what Storyboarding is Storyboarding in simple words is a graphic representation of how your story unfolds to an observer. It is made up of a set of squares with pictures or sketches on a blank sheet of paper with empty rectangles representing a situation about what’s happening during a product planning stage, video shot, animation, website development etc. The situation mainly depends on what you’re using storyboarding to represent or plan. Why is Storyboarding important? Visual Imagery and Vision: Irrespective of the business you have, storyboarding helps you put your idea on paper and gives you something more tangible in terms of its look, feel and behavior. It helps in gathering feedback from peers. What this means is, you can get feedback by showing a visual representation of your idea in the form of a sketch, wireframe etc. This also helps you in shaping the flow of the execution of your ideas so that you stay on track. As a web designer or a developer, storyboarding helps you get a sense of how the website you design will look and interact with users before the idea is formally designed and developed. Or if you deal with animation or tech videos to educate your users, storyboarding helps you plan how the video flows before producing it. Time-Saving: Though storyboards take a lot of time to design, they help add clarity and simplicity to the process of executing an idea. Thus, when the time comes to execute the idea you know exactly how to move ahead and what to avoid. As a web designer or a developer, your product is mainly the website you’re designing before making it live. Storyboarding helps you keep a track of your design and lets you know about the progress you’ve made. This enables you to decrease errors, boost quality and eventually saves time which would otherwise have gone into reworking and replanning. Makes Planning Easier: Another place where storyboarding can help you is to plan and manage the budget of your product before the final release. As a web designer or a developer, if you’re developing a site or an app for a client then it means a lot of back and forth interaction between you and the client. If the idea is discussed without a proper diagram or layout it could adversely affect both the quality and the cost of execution. Storyboarding, in this case, would help you and your client in envisioning the final output such that it doesn’t affect the next phase of design and development. Thus, making planning easier. Now that we’ve seen the importance of storyboarding let us looks at some of the ways you can create a Storyboard. The simplest way to create a storyboard is to make it in a template. Before making the final storyboard in the form of a wireframe diagram/presentation/video/layout etc it is important to sketch out the template on paper. The first task is to create blank rectangles on a sheet of paper and make sure to leave empty space below to add text. Post creation of this, add your text and then eventually sketch the storyboard. As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons to make a storyboard. As a web designer, if along with designing your website you deal with creating animation and videos then apart from sketching the storyboard there are also various softwares to help you create it. In this section, we will cover 3 softwares to help you create a video storyboard: Storyboarder Storyboarder is a free and open source software. This software is simple, versatile and can be used by artists, advertisers, writers, directors etc. It has a clean interface and is easy to understand. It is ideal for users who are new to storyboarding and it’s easy to draw characters and shapes as well as write the script, enter timing and specify how to frame a subject. Another aspect of Storyboarder is that it works in collaboration with Photoshop. It allows you to export your board to Avid editor, pdf, animated gif, Adobe Premiere and Final Cut. Plot Plot is a freemium software that helps you to create a storyboard in a quick and efficient manner. One feature of Plot is that it helps you create and delete scenes easily and allows you to include pictures to help visualization easier. Plot makes team collaboration easier especially in times of strict deadlines. Studiobinder Studiobinder is another freemium software that helps you in easy visualization of your project. It incorporates Project Management features making team collaboration easier. One feature is that it allows you to preview your project before finalizing it. Studiobinder is a good professional software used widely by professional TV and film management. Conclusion: Storyboarding may look like a tedious and time-consuming aspect of presenting information. However, it is important as it helps you not only visualize your goals but also envisage the ideas for your stakeholders. So what are you waiting for! Go make your own storyboard now for planning your projects and goals. If you have any queries or suggestions feel free to drop them in the comment box below.

6 Benefits of Moving to Cloud Hosting

When you’re new in the web industry and plan to host your first website or a blog, there are a lot of questions on your mind. Should I go with a free service or a premium one? Is this the right time to invest in a paid service and if yes, which hosting service do I choose? Eventually, most website owners end up choosing Shared Hosting as it offers good features for beginners and is also quite affordable. With the passing of time, your business grows and so does the traffic. It is at that time you think – since my website traffic has grown the time taken to load is too much, which hosting do I switch to now? Choosing the right hosting is not always easy. However, with the right resources and guidance, it becomes easier. In this post, we’ll cover Cloud Hosting and the benefits of moving to the Cloud. Let us begin with understanding Cloud Hosting Cloud Hosting is a Cloud architecture inspired offering, where we have combined the benefits of cloud as well as Shared Hosting. The benefits of the cloud being (Virtualization, Redundant Storage, Resource Scaling) and the simplicity of Shared Hosting. The plans are designed in a manner that users do not but they can increase resources (CPU and RAM) based on their requirements to handle an increase in traffic. In case of a hardware failure, the server can be spun back up again with minimal downtime and no data loss due to the redundant storage architecture Apart from these basics let us see what sets Cloud Hosting apart from other hosting services: Benefits of Cloud Hosting: Better Performance It maximizes the performance of websites and web applications as the load is evenly distributed between the servers connected to the network. The availability of resources is also high as it is not dependent on a single physical server like in Shared Hosting. Increased Scalability Cloud Hosting allows easy and almost instantaneous upgradation of CPU and RAM, thus improving scalability as and when the traffic of your website increases. Secure Data Cloud Hosting provides data mirroring helping you keep your data secure. The data is mirrored on 3 different devices on various drives such that in case of any hardware failure you do not lose your data. This ensures hassle-free data backup and recovery. Cost Saving Although it may initially seem like Cloud Hosting is expensive, when you take into consideration the features it provides, the pricing is considerably more economical. Also in some cases, you only have to pay for the resources you use. Some of the features Cloud Hosting provides are, free data migration, fully managed hosting, resource monitoring etc. Good Stability Cloud Hosting is reliable as data has triple redundancy as a result of mirroring. This ensures that your data on the cloud is secure as well as if the server ever fails, recovering data is easier. Incredible Speed Cloud Hosting servers have low density that helps your website boost its speed along with varnish. Varnish is a web simulator that allows websites to sustain high traffic while loading pages in a super fast speed by caching the static and dynamic content on the web page. It can speed up websites by almost 1000%. Conclusion I hope you found this post helpful in understanding the benefits of moving to the Cloud. Once you choose Cloud Hosting the next logical move is to select the best Cloud Hosting plan suited to you. If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to drop a message in the comment box below!  

.BLOG: The Writer’s Address

I’ve been a writer for over 15 years and a blogger for about 6 of those years. Yet, while it’s great to write online and share my writing with my friends and family (basically, anyone with the link), I’m aware that my content reaches only a limited audience. Mainly because: 1) My blog was not easily discoverable online 2) Without a shared link, the web address of my blog was not easily remembered Cut to 2014 when I joined ResellerClub and became aware of TLDs other than .COM and .ORG. I now know that as I writer, I have a domain extension exclusively for my passion. Enter .BLOG. The .BLOG domain extension is a fantastic new gTLD that effortlessly combats both the obstacles I faced with the reach of my blog. Why .BLOG? It spells out the precise purpose of the website. The address itself lets visitors know what to expect. Instead of thecookingblog.com, switching to thecooking.blog makes the web address far more memorable & unique. It improves website rankings Who can use a .BLOG? According to Liveinternetstats, at the time of writing this line, there were 3,081,208 blog posts written today. This gives you as a reseller, the chance to reach out to this large market! A .BLOG extension is perfect for: Companies NGOs Individuals Religious organizations Media outlets Writers Some stats to WOW you! Still undecided if .BLOG is worth it? These stats from Transformationmarketing will show you just how large the blogging community is! The ResellerClub Advantage We’re giving you a chance to register .BLOG domain names for just $7.99 till 31st July, 2018. It’s your opportunity to make your profits!

Importance of Backup and the Best WordPress Backup Plugins

Imagine you have a blog or an e-commerce website and suddenly one day you lose all your data. You try to figure out ways to recover it but all in vain. It is then you realize you never took a backup. Backups are essential to ensuring the retrieval of your website data. Backing up your data manually is alright when you have just begun but, as your website grows and the data increases, you would need external help. There are various solutions available online for safeguarding your WordPress website. One solution is to choose a Managed WordPress Hosting provider who would take timely backups of your website. Now irrespective of whether or not you choose WordPress Hosting, installing WordPress backup plugins and tools for your website is important. Before we delve deeper into how to take backups, let us first see some of the common reasons why WordPress backups are necessary: Hardware or software failure is one of the most common cause for data loss Your website is hacked, or attacked by a malware. You either lose your data or your hosting service provider shuts down your website Your site goes down because of some coding error. You can neither debug the error nor retrieve the data The data center your website is hosted is breached resulting in loss of data One way to retrieve the data is to install backup tools like Codeguard that not only takes backup of your website but also help in restoring your website easily. However, if you own a WordPress website taking backups is simplified further. All you as a website admin need to do is, download a WordPress backup plugin and you’re sorted. WordPress plugins are easy to install and are readily available on WordPress.org as well as various Marketplaces. Let us check out the 3 best WordPress backup plugins for your website. BackupBuddy Launched in the year 2010, BackupBuddy is a premium backup plugin from iThemes that allows you to backup, restore and move your WordPress website. It is one of the best WordPress backups plugins available. It is easy to configure and integrate on the WordPress dashboard and allows users to store their backups remotely on BackupBuddy Stash.Some of the other services on which it helps you store your backup are Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud etc. Features: Has a flexible backup schedule and enables you to set up backups on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Since this is a premium plugin, you get 1GB free storage space in BackupBuddy Stash. Allows you to manage upto 10 WordPress website from the iThemes Sync dashboard. BackWPup BackWPup is free backup plugins for WordPress, with over 600,000 active installations and more than 6 million downloads. It allows users to backup their complete WordPress website and store it on Google Drive, Amazon S3, etc on the cloud or even their computers. Since the backup download is in the form of a single .zip file it is easier to restore. Features: It takes complete website database backup, as well as, file backup and of all the plugins installed. With the Pro version, you can even check and repair your WordPress database. BackWPup allows you to take a daily or weekly backup so that your website backup is always up-to-date. Apart from .zip it even allows you to store your backup in the following formats: .tar, tar.gz, or tar.bz2. VaultPress VaultPress is a backup and security scanning service and has recently become a part of the JetPack community. If you have a JetPack subscription plan then you can easily use VaultPress. It is another WordPress backup plugin that allows you to backup your entire website including dashboard setting on a daily basis. VaultPress also has an active customer service that helps users to repair and restore their WordPress site. Features: VaultPress provides one-click restoration and repairs from both the VaultPress as well as WordPress dashboard. It is one of the best WordPress backup plugins as it allows you to not only backup your data but also scans it for malicious entities like malware, vulnerable codes etc. It provides real-time cloud backup solution that stores your data for one month. Conclusion: Choosing the best WordPress backup plugin is crucial. However, having a plugin is more important as lack of backup can prove to be fatal for your website. While backups protect you in case of a contingency, it is also wise to secure your website from external threats at the same time. Check out this post on how to secure your WordPress website. Also, ResellerClub’s WordPress Hosting offers both security and backup solutions integrated with the product and we encourage you to check it out and get in touch with us in case you have any questions. Do drop in your comments below and keep your website safe and up to date! Until we meet again.

The Best Web Hosting for WordPress

A common question for anyone who has just built their website is to figure out which web hosting service to use. The options in the market are endless. The conundrum is not only to pick the right web hosting company but also which web hosting package to purchase from the many types available within that company. This blog will focus on the best web hosting for WordPress in particular and will share all the information you need to make the right decision on your own by just asking a few questions. Why? As obvious as it may seem, making the right choice of web hosting product is critical for the success of your WordPress website or blog. Customers today judge a website in the first few seconds of a page loading. A slow page, or one with obvious security issues will lose any traffic that it attracts, for good. Your choice will determine how efficient your WordPress website or blog will be with regards to: Speed Scalability Security Pick the right web host: Ask the following questions of each WordPress web hosting company you come across: How long have they been in the industry? How many customers do they have? What reviews do you see from those customers online? (while online reviews cannot always be trusted, it should give you a general idea) What kind of support system do they offer? Are there different ways to reach out to their teams? Are they available 24X7? Do they offer other related web service products such as security, email and backup solutions? Purchasing everything you need for your website in one place will reduce the time you spend coordinating with different providers What steps/technology do they implement to guard against security threats? What is their backup policy? Do they offer servers in locations closer to you? (web page speed is everything) Do they allow you the ability to manage your hosting package on the go i.e from a mobile device? And most importantly, do they specifically have WordPress Hosting?   Pick the best web hosting for WordPress: Once you zero in on the right web hosting company for you, you need to figure out which of their web hosting packages will suit your website. Like I already mentioned, if you have a WordPress website, you must purchase a WordPress Hosting package. Why? While a regular web hosting package such as Shared or Cloud Hosting could suffice for your WordPress website, it will not give you the edge that a WordPress Hosting package can. A WordPress Hosting environment is optimized to deliver the best speed, performance and security to a WordPress website. Here are a list of items you should look at when considering a WordPress hosting package: Pre-installed WordPress: Good web hosting companies will offer the WordPress script pre-installed on your server to let you get started within minutes. Automatic WordPress updates: WordPress is an open-source script supported by web developers around the world. They ensure that the platform is continuously updated with the latest features and also plug any security loopholes that are detected. Therefore, a good web hosting company will offer automatic WordPress updates to ensure you face no issues with a old script. Speed enhancement: The best hosting for WordPress will offer solutions such as advanced caching and a CDN to help you deliver the fastest page speeds to your client. Scalability: How easy is it to upgrade to a higher plan once your website starts growing? For example, ResellerClub’s WordPress Hosting product lets you increase your RAM and CPU on-demand to cater to the growth of your website. Security: As the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world, WordPress is subject to a lot of security threats. The WordPress team regularly fixes security issues on the platform and releases them as updates. To ensure that your website has the best protection, look at what security solutions your web hosts provides along your WordPress hosting package. For example, Companies like SiteGround monitor and fix vulnerabilities on WordPress and its plugins at the server level before official WordPress releases and at ResellerClub, our WordPress Hosting product offers SiteLock, an anti-malware solution to ensure robust security. For some additional security, we recommend adding these plugins to your WordPress website. Managed WordPress Hosting – How much hand-holding do you need? A few companies will offer a version called Managed WordPress Hosting that will involve the web host managing hosting and administrative (especially technical) tasks for you. This is to let you focus on running your business and not having to worry about the technicalities of web hosting. Managed Hosting providers do this in various ways. Liquid Web, for example, manages plugin updates. ResellerClub helps takes away the worry of backing up your website with our CodeGuard integration in our packages. CodeGuard is a cloud-based backup service that backs up your data and stores it in a high-secure environment.   This should give you a good idea of how to pick the best web hosting for WordPress. Do you have a few more questions or points to add to this list? We’d like to hear from you!

It’s alive! Image SEO is back from the dead

Image optimization used to be a vital part of both content and on-site optimization efforts, allowing brands and marketers to use image search as a means of driving traffic to their websites. However, the successful practice of using image optimization for traffic generation was coming to an end. In 2013, Google updated its image search UI and added the now infamous “view image” button, a move that resulted in substantial declines in image search traffic across a number of different verticals. Large brands and enterprise-level companies suffered the most damage, as they had already spent considerable amounts of effort and resources to optimize their Content Management Systems, image catalogs, captions and XML sitemaps for search engines. Image optimization was ultimately rendered useless by nothing more than a simple button and as such, fell out of use with marketers and SEO specialists. But what no one saw coming was the complaint filed with the European Commission claiming the tech giant was knowingly using their image search UI update to divert image searchers from websites that were hosting those images in the first place. Fortunately, this story got its happy ending in February of 2018, when Google finally agreed to remove the button and bring image SEO back from the dead. How does a simple button fit into all of this? The issue image hosting companies had with Google’s “view image” solution is that it opens the image directly, allowing for it to be easily downloaded, instead of redirecting users to the page that hosts and licenses the actual image. Getty Images, one of the largest stock-image repositories in the world is the one who filed the complaint with the EU, claiming that Google was scraping images for the sake of, well, Google, while at the same time failing to provide credit for the original owners of said images. Given that Google had already been fined more than €2.42bn by the EU authorities, removing the “view image” button and avoiding a costly and oftentimes lengthy trial becomes less a matter of choice and more a matter of practicality. In the end, the two digital giants managed to reach an understanding and make a mutually beneficial partnership deal, prompting Getty Images to withdraw their charges soon thereafter. With the “view image” button finally gone, image hosting and licensing websites are starting to experience an increase in image search-related traffic. Data collected from 58 different websites shows a solid 37% increase in image search-related clicks, which is great news, once you consider that those same websites lost around 70% or all their image search traffic just a couple of years ago when the button was first implemented. Why is image SEO so important? Image SEO serves two main purposes: Optimizing the data normally embedded inside the image and Search engine crawlers rely on this embedded data to not only index different web pages, but also different on-page elements. Embedded image data includes the file name, title tag, alternative tag, meta tag and in some situations the caption and anchor text. Reducing the file size while preserving image quality. Image size and page load times are closely connected. The bigger the file size, the more time it will take for all of them to load. The more time it takes to load, the more likely is the visitor to abandon your website. Attributes including file size, page-load times, bounce back rates, etc are just some of the many factors considered by search engines when determining your page rank. How do I optimize my images? Never use images that you personally do not own or without the necessary permissions. Stock photos are the easiest solution, as long as they are used with taste, they convey your message and don’t feel out of place or out of touch. Besides stock images, you can also use graphics, illustrations or even animated gifs. Always use high-quality, reduced-file size images for your pages. If your images are still too large, you can always reduce their size by wiping the EXIF data. WordPress users are encouraged to use responsive images that have a special srcset attribute that allows them to serve different images for different screen widths and provide a custom mobile experience. What shall we call you? The best file name is an informative file name. It should offer clues and provide a useful description regarding the subject matter portrayed in the image. If you have an image of a black cat with a red bow, black-cat-red-bow would probably be your best option. Title tags provide the image title, while alt-tags act as an alternative text used to convey the same information and functionality as if the image were there. Make sure your alt text contains the SEO keyword corresponding to that page, when appropriate and necessary. If you lack the necessary experience and knowledge about SEO it should be easy enough to find the top digital advertising agencies currently operating in the industry and follow their example. What lies ahead As bright as the future seems for image optimization practices, Google is, at the moment, the only search engine to completely remove the “view image” button from its UI. On the other hand, Bing and DuckDuckGo have kept this functionality, signalling that image SEO is nowhere near the level it once was, or potentially could be. In fact, the majority of SEO clients were quite reluctant to spend their valuable resources post-2013. The overall lack of attention and available resources might further slow down the rebound of image SEO, however, it’s safe to say that the practice isn’t going away anytime soon.

4 Easy Fixes to Restore Traffic Post Redesign

Redesigning is a big effort. The intent of redesign could be to improve content, design, product offerings, etc. to make your website more user-friendly, all in the effort to encourage more hits. However, while the purpose of redesign is to improve traffic or user experience or both, your website could actually see a decline in traffic right after the redesign. Although traffic drops after redesign is a general trend, a drop greater than 10% is worrisome. Why does redesign cause a traffic drop? In order to serve the new version of your webpages, Google needs to crawl and index them so a temporary drop in traffic is expected. However, if the drop in traffic is significant, it could need some fixing. Redirects: Unless your URLs are exactly the same as before, failure to redirect old URLs to new ones can be the biggest cause of a traffic drop. This is because redirects inform search engines and browsers where the new page is and failure to do so will indicate to the search engine that the page has been removed or doesn’t exist. The fix: Ensure your changed URL structure or your old pages are all moved to the new locations with proper redirects in place. You can log into Google’s Search Console, select Crawl > Crawl Errors and click the “Not Found” tab. Pages without redirects will show up here. Then, implement 301 redirects for your old web pages. 301 redirects tell search engine bots that your old URLs have been moved to new ones. With this, your traffic should be back to normal in a couple of weeks. Site Structure/ Sitemap: Another aspect Google considers during indexing is your sitemap. If your redesign is extensive, such that your sitemap also changes, you’ll probably need a new / updated site structure to prevent traffic drops. A sitemap is a basic listing of all your web pages. Again, the Search Console can help speed up the crawling and indexing to restore traffic. The fix: Create a new site structure with all the important pages in place. Try and keep the limit of pages to a maximum of 100. If you overshoot that limit, crawlers will consider a general overview rather than a complete listing. Content: Redesign could mean improvements to content as well. However, the problem could arise when you forget to include content and keywords that either were on the old website or which bring traffic to your site. This again leads to a drop in traffic. The fix: Give SEO priority. At ResellerClub, even though our website has undergone a couple of redesigns, we always ensure our SEO specialists are always  included in the redesign process right from the start. An SEO specialist will help you identify keywords and advise on how to increase traffic. Robots.txt file blocking: The robots.txt file lets search engines know which pages to index and which ones not to. It’s a good practice to disable the indexing when your site is under development / being redesigned. However, it’s important to update the Robots.txt file once your new site is live. Failure to do so will continue to restrict search engines from indexing. The fix: Ensure your Robots.txt files are always updated before you launch your redesigned site. Keep a tab on which pages are allowed to be indexed and which ones are disabled by checking your files in a browser. In the address bar, enter your website domain name followed by /robots.txt. Once here, you will be able to view your files. Here’s what it looks like: Keep these best practices in mind and you will see the traffic to your website restored. If you’re still seeing a drop in traffic, keep a check on Google Analytics which can give you some insight about where you’re seeing drop-offs. Check out these articles for more: Getting the most out of Google Analytics – Part I Getting the most out of Google Analytics – Part II Getting the most out of Google Analytics – Part III Comment & let us know if this helped!

Pages

Recommended Content