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What Kind of Hosting Do I Need for My Website?

For first-time website owners, figuring out which type of web hosting is right for you can be one of the most challenging parts of getting started. It can be hard to know the differences between each variety and how their features will impact your site. Fortunately, once you break down the different kinds of web hosting, it should become clear pretty quickly which one your site needs. You can then find a top-notch provider and get your site up and running quickly. In this post, we’ll discuss what web hosting is and then break down the main types of web hosting that are available for website owners: Shared Hosting Dedicated Hosting VPS Hosting Managed WordPress Hosting Other Hosting Options for Specific Purposes We’ll also provide some advice on how to choose the best web hosting company for your site. Let’s jump right in! What Is Web Hosting? Every website is stored on a server. Your site’s server is what makes it available to users on the web, and what delivers your content to them. In turn, web hosting is simply the service of storing a website — or ‘hosting’ it — on a server. Your ‘web host’ or ‘hosting provider’ is the company that owns and maintains the server that hosts your site. These companies often provide helpful resources, support, and other services such as domain registration and custom email addresses as well. Typically, a provider will offer a variety of plans (sometimes called hosting packages) you can choose from. These plans may encompass different types of hosting, which will often determine the price and additional features available for each one. Selecting the right web hosting services for your site is an important process. Your server impacts your site’s security, availability, and performance. This means that choosing the wrong plan or web host could affect your site’s ability to expand and build a user base. Similarly, your hosting company plays a crucial role in keeping your site safe and making sure it stays up and running. If your host offers poor customer support or doesn’t maintain its servers well, your website will likely suffer for it. What Types of Web Hosting Can I Choose From? When we speak about different types of web hosting, we’re generally referring to how a hosting provider uses the storage space on a specific server. Below, we’ll explain the most common ways websites are stored, as well as a few specialized types of hosting for sites with particular features. 1. Shared Hosting for New and Small Websites Shared hosting is exactly what it sounds like — your website shares a server with other users. The most significant advantage of this type of hosting is that it’s the least expensive option since it provides the fewest resources and the least amount of storage space. Your web hosting provider will manage the server for you on a shared plan, so you don’t have to worry about any of the technical aspects of hosting your site. If you’re not very experienced with managing a website yet, not having to worry about your server is helpful. Unfortunately, sharing a server also means that the other websites stored on it could affect your site. For instance, your site will be more vulnerable to malware attacks. It could even crash if another site experiences a traffic spike that overloads your shared server. Plus, if other sites on your server are blacklisted for spam or similar activities, your website can also be penalized. However, all of this doesn’t mean that shared hosting is a bad option in all scenarios. It’s a popular solution for new sites that are just starting out, or for very small websites. With that in mind, if you’re brand new to owning your own website, we’d say that a shared hosting account is the right way to go. You can then work on building your site without having to invest a lot of money upfront. Our Starter Shared Hosting plan costs just $2.59 per month. Shared Hosting That Powers Your PurposeWe make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan 2. Dedicated Hosting for High-Traffic Professional Sites Dedicated hosting is the exact opposite of shared hosting. With this type of plan, you’ll have an entire server reserved just for your website. You won’t have to worry about other websites impacting your performance, security, or disk space. Of course, good things come at a price. Dedicated hosting plans tend to be expensive, with some running up to hundreds of dollars per month. If you have a small website that isn’t going to use a dedicated server’s resources to the fullest extent, this could be overkill. Also, dedicated hosting plans often require you to manage your server yourself. Therefore, it’s best to hold off investing in a dedicated hosting plan until your site has grown enough to warrant having its own server, and you’re comfortable maintaining it. High-traffic, professional websites will benefit most from this hosting. At DreamHost, we provide dedicated hosting with enough space to handle any size website. Our plans start at just $169 per month and are managed, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance. Get DreamHost’s Most Powerful HostingOur dedicated hosting plans are the ideal solution for high-traffic sites that require fast speeds and consistent uptime.See Dedicated Plans 3. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting for Websites That Are Growing If you’re concerned about the drawbacks of shared hosting, but you don’t need an entire web server to yourself, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) solution provides a nice middle ground. While you’ll still share your server with other websites, each site has an allotted and virtually-partitioned amount of space. This prevents one or a few sites from eating up the shared server’s resources. It can also keep a single user from overloading your server or hurting your site’s performance. However, because it’s still a shared server, plans run much cheaper than dedicated hosting. If you’ve had your site up and running for a while and have started to build a dedicated audience, upgrading from shared to VPS hosting can help your server keep up with your users’ needs. However, you’ll also be able to keep costs down. Starting at $10 per month, our VPS hosting plans can handle unlimited amounts of traffic. You can easily upgrade whenever you need more storage, and we’ll manage security and performance for you. We Know You've Got Lots of VPS OptionsHere’s are a few ways DreamHost’s VPS offering stands apart: 24/7 customer support, an intuitive panel, scalable RAM, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited hosting domains, and SSD storage.Get Your VPS 4. Managed WordPress Hosting for Simplified Maintenance If you’re a WordPress user, you not only have to worry about whether your server is secure and up-to-date. You also have to manage your site’s security and perform WordPress core updates. A managed WordPress hosting plan can make all of those tasks easier. Due to the platform’s popularity, some hosting providers have created special plans just for WordPress users. In addition to storing your site on a server, they offer other services such as WordPress updates, additional security, and automated backups. Some even install WordPress for you. Related: The 2019 Guide to Managed WordPress Hosting These managed plans can be available for shared, dedicated, or VPS servers. For this reason, managed hosting plans vary widely when it comes to pricing. Here at DreamHost, for example, we offer managed WordPress hosting on a cloud instance, which is much more powerful than shared. With three different managed WordPress plans to choose from, DreamHost offers robust hosting solutions for every WordPress site. Power Your Site with Managed WordPress HostingHassle-free, high-performance WordPress hosting can help you grow your business. Plans start at $16.95/mo.Choose Your Plan 5. Other Hosting Services for Specific Purposes In addition to these more popular types of hosting, there are a few specialized hosting services that could be relevant to your site. Cloud hosting, for example, is becoming more and more popular. It involves storing your website on many servers, which all function together as a single server. This arrangement means that it’s very easy to scale your website as it grows. What’s more, you typically only pay for the amount of server space you use, rather than pre-paying for space you may not fill. The drawbacks are few, although cloud hosting can be expensive and is sometimes less secure than traditional hosting. Still, it may be worth looking into if you have a highly reputable provider and a website that is likely to grow very quickly. You can also find hosting plans specifically your e-commerce site. For example, our WooCommerce plans come with WordPress and WooCommerce pre-installed. We also offer WooCommerce-specific support, so you can get an e-commerce website up and running quickly. E-commerce hosting plans, including ours, are typically configured for optimal security and uptime to make sure your online store is available and safe for your customers. They’re similar to managed WordPress plans but focus on additional features that appeal to online retailers. Your Store Deserves WooCommerce HostingSell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world's biggest eCommerce platform.Ready to Woo? How Do I Choose the Right Type of Hosting for My Site? Even when you know what all the options are, choosing the right hosting plan isn’t always that straightforward. Generally speaking, when selecting a web hosting plan and provider, there are five things you’ll need to consider. The first is the features available on each plan you’re considering. This includes hosting services such as the amount of storage and traffic levels your server can handle, as well as additional features like those available with a managed WordPress or e-commerce plan. Customer support is another critical aspect to think about. Your relationship with your hosting provider will likely be a long one. You’ll want a host who’s available to help you fix server-related errors on your site, as well as provide specific help with your server, website, or WordPress installation. Additionally, you should look into your potential host’s server performance. Being able to serve your site’s content quickly is critical to maintaining a successful website. You can run performance tests or look for others’ test results, and note if the provider offers performance-related features such as caching and Content Delivery Network (CDN) access. Ease of use will also likely factor into your decision. A hosting company with an easy-to-use control panel will help you manage your hosting account and website more easily. Plus, plans that make WordPress installation simple or handle it for you can save some time when it comes to getting your site running. Finally, you’ll need to think about price. The rest of these considerations don’t matter if you can’t afford a particular option. Starting with a shared plan and upgrading down the line can help to keep your budget in check. It’s also wise to shop around and see which hosts offer the best price for a similar feature set. The Right Web Hosting Company for Your Site Hosting is one of the more complex aspects of creating a new website. However, learning about the different types that are available can help you make an informed decision. In this post, we examined five types of hosting that website owners can consider: Shared hosting for new and small websites. Dedicated hosting for high-traffic professional sites. VPS hosting for websites that are growing. Managed WordPress hosting for simplified maintenance. Other hosting options for specific purposes (such as cloud or e-commerce hosting). Are you interested in reliable hosting for your website? DreamHost plans are an affordable solution and include performance and security management features. Check out our hosting packages today. We have a feeling DreamHost could be the right hosting company for you! The post What Kind of Hosting Do I Need for My Website? appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

2 Dads With Baggage: Adventures in Family Travel with a Gay Twist

It was 2 a.m. in Paris, and 7-year-old Ava Bailey-Klugh was wide awake. Jet lag is hard, especially when you’re too young to understand why an entire country is sleeping when your circadian clock says it’s time to play. And it’s also hard when you’re the parent of said bright-eyed 7-year-old. Ava’s exhausted dad Jon Bailey sat up with her in the hotel while the rest of the family slept. Father and daughter marked time together until just before 5 a.m. when Bailey escorted his little early bird to the bakery across the street in search of the day’s first batch of pain au chocolat. It’s these one-on-one moments that kept Bailey and his husband, Triton Klugh, braving the perils of traveling abroad with children since their daughters — Ava and Sophia, now 15 and 17 — were young. “When you travel long distances with your kids, there’s a lot of focus time,” Klugh says. “You’re on a plane with them, waiting in lines with them, and you have nothing to do but talk and interact. It’s really bonding to get to know your kid better and experience new things together. I’ve found that to be really valuable — you don’t get a lot of that during the day-to-day when you’re so distracted by everything else.” This family of four, based in San Diego, has seen the world together from Istanbul to Puerto Vallarta to London. Exposing their kids to history and culture — with plenty of adventure and beachside luxury thrown in — has been a key part of their parenting. “We wanted to be with them and not leave them at home and do all these things without them,” Bailey says. “After all, we had worked really hard to become a family.” For the past three years, Bailey and Klugh have been documenting their adventures on a travel blog, 2 Dads With Baggage. With the help of a Virtual Private Server (VPS) from DreamHost, they’ve found a reliable home for their site, where they share stories along with travel tips and tricks — with a focus on charting the course for other LGBTQ+ families. Starting a Family For Klugh, family life was always the plan. He loved growing up with his brothers and sisters, so a future with children just felt right. “I wanted a family, but being gay, I wasn’t quite sure how I would get there,” Klugh says. “I just figured that when I was financially secure, I would do it by myself if I didn’t have a partner.” On their second date, as he sat with Bailey on a beach in Coronado, Klugh casually broached a topic that most shy away from early in a relationship: children. “It didn’t scare me,” Bailey remembers. “But it was not something I ever thought I would do. He brought it up again, many times, but he didn’t pressure me; he let me warm up to the idea.” Once both were ready to become parents, they started the open adoption process and were told as a same-sex couple to expect 12 to 18 months. But just two months later, they were shocked to get a phone call about an interested birth mother, and two months after that, they brought their new baby girl home from the hospital. Soon after Sophia’s first birthday, they talked about finding her a sibling — and because adding Sophia to the family so quickly was a fluke, they started early. This time it took only five months. Having two so close in age was definitely a surprise, but a good one. “I think any parent would tell you that having two in diapers and two in a stroller is more than double the work,” Bailey says. “It makes you cross-eyed trying to keep an eye on them at the same time, but it was super fun.” Life With Two Dads Today, between 2 million and 3.7 million children are estimated to have an LGBTQ+ parent with 200,000 of them raised by a same-sex couple. But when Sophia and Ava were little, it was a novelty to see two dads parenting babies. “We would often get comments: ‘Oh nice, you guys are giving mom a break,’ like we were babysitting or something,” Bailey says. “Or women would say, with love, ‘Do you need help with that?’ assuming that a man wouldn’t know how to change a diaper or give a baby a bottle.” Instead of taking offense, Bailey and Klugh gave these people the benefit of the doubt. Most people, they reasoned, don’t mean to be insensitive — they just don’t understand. “We choose to take it as a teaching moment,” Bailey says. Bailey and Klugh never shied away from telling the girls how their unique family came to be, but soon Sophia and Ava were old enough to understand the probing questions from strangers — and to be teased by other kids. When the girls were about 8 and 10 years old, “both of them were having struggles at school with kids who didn’t understand that families can be different than the traditional,” Bailey says. “It made them feel different.” Related: How to Design an LGBTQ+-Inclusive Website A Heartfelt Letter One day, Sophia had enough. So she appealed to the highest authority she could think of — the President of the United States. Klugh and Bailey were sitting at their dinner table when Sophia presented them with a letter she had written to President Obama. “She read us this really beautiful, heartfelt letter about how kids had teased her for having two dads, and it hurt her heart, and how she was happy he was in favor of same-sex marriage,” Bailey says. The letter wished Obama luck in his reelection bid, asked him how he would handle the teasing, and ended with an empathic request: “Please respond!” In tears, Bailey snapped a photo of the letter written out in Sophia’s 10-year-old handwriting and posted it to Facebook. It went viral in a matter of hours. “It was like a tidal wave,” Bailey remembers. “We immediately started getting calls from [the] press wanting to do interviews. It was crazy!” Wanting to protect the family’s privacy, they said no to every interview request — although a reporter did pass along an address that would get Sophia’s letter directly to President Obama. They sent it, and soon “a special delivery letter that I had to sign for was delivered to the front door,” Bailey says. “It was a personal response from President Obama; beautiful that he took the time to do that.” That letter too went viral, feeding the spotlight already shining on the family. The attention was overwhelming but also “affirming and amazing,” Bailey says. After things had died down a bit, they agreed to appear on The Katie Couric show to express support for the Supreme Court case that ultimately made it legal for Bailey and Klugh to marry. That TV appearance was followed by an invitation to attend the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll. The Bailey-Klughs visit the White House. “We went to Washington, D.C. for about a week as guests of the White House; it was great because the girls were starting to understand the significance of all of this,” Bailey says. “We went to the Supreme Court building and stood on the steps, and I was able to tell Sophia that her letter was being read on the floor and that it was influencing their decision. It kind of made it all full circle for her to see how this mattered; that this 10-year-old wrote something that became really important.” Digital Mentorship Before unintentionally becoming a poster family for same-sex parenting, the Bailey-Klughs were already bona fide world travelers. Their first big international flight together came on a trip to the European classics — London and Paris — when Ava was 4 and Sophia was 6 years old. “They were very intrepid little travelers,” Bailey says. “We made it all in one piece, and they took everything in stride.” It all came together for Bailey when the family stood atop the Eiffel Tower, catching snowflakes — a rare sight in Paris — on their tongues. “It was beautiful and surreal,” he remembers. “Afterward, we had a snowball fight in front of Notre Dame.” Sophia and Ava on their first transatlantic trip. They kept traveling, hitting family-favorite destinations in Hawaii, Mexico, Italy, and Costa Rica. Bailey and Klugh soon got questions from friends, both gay and straight, about how to travel with kids and ideas for family-friendly activities at various destinations. Bailey, who had already started blogging about their experience with Sophia’s viral letter, gradually started shifting to writing about their family travels. Bailey and Klugh soon used their blog as a platform to encourage other families to travel, especially ones that looked a little different than the traditional. “There’s a very large interest in families like ours finding places to go where we are welcome around the world,” Bailey says. “LGBT family travel experiences really resonated with people. There’s a lot of families who have kids younger than ours and don’t quite know how to navigate everything, so we also share stories about parenting our kids. It’s been kind of like a digital mentorship.” The blog gained traction quickly, both building a wide readership and attracting sponsors. “Brands recognized that we have a voice and a connection to an audience that they want to talk to.” These interested brands opened the door to even more family travel, including a 2017 road trip to the Grand Canyon in a Kia Sorento — because, as Bailey put it, “Gays do not RV.” The blog has also been a great creative outlet outside their day jobs. Bailey works in public relations and Klugh in graphic design — specifically, in the Halloween costume industry (yes, the girls were always kept well-supplied with princess costumes). So Bailey writes the posts and plans the content, while Klugh is in charge of the visuals: design, pictures, and video. “Our blog is very visual,” Bailey says. “We are very visual people, and the stories we have to tell require a lot of photos and video so the website was designed with that in mind.” They’ve used DreamHost for their hosting since the beginning, now using VPS Hosting to keep up with the web traffic. “I think it was the most reliable resource; it came highly recommended by my most trusted advisors,” Bailey says. “It sort of happens behind the scenes, which is nice because I don’t have to worry about it.” Lately, he’s been experimenting with the WordPress plugin Mapify to create a visual archive of their photos and adventures. “We are in the process of outfitting a map of the world with all the places we’ve visited, so if people want to learn about a destination, they can just click on the map to see pictures and blog posts.” We Know You've Got Lots of VPS OptionsAt DreamHost, we’ve never been comfortable fitting in with the crowd. Here’s how our VPS stands apart: 24/7 customer support, an intuitive panel, scalable RAM, unlimited bandwidth, and SSD storage.Choose Your VPS Plan Traveling While Gay Despite their website’s success, traveling as a non-traditional family hasn’t always been easy. When Sophia was about a year old, her dads took her along to Cabo San Lucas, in the days before passports were needed to enter Mexico. After a wonderful trip, the three settled down for the return flight and waited for take-off. And waited. And waited. Suddenly, armed Mexican Federal Police officers burst onto the plane and removed them from the flight. They found their luggage strewn across the tarmac and were shepherded to an interrogation room. Both Sophia and Ava are Latina; “They thought we were trying to smuggle a child out of Mexico,” Bailey says. “It was scary and insulting.” Luckily, they had the paperwork to prove they were Sophia’s parents. The family’s No. 1 tip for LGBTQ+ families traveling abroad? Bring your papers. “I’ve heard of other families having issues where people didn’t understand that two men or two women can be the parents of children,” Bailey says. “But I don’t think an experience like ours would happen in today’s world — that was 16 years ago, and Mexico has come a long way; the world has come a long way.” You never know though, he adds, if you’ll cross a flight attendant, customs agent, or pilot who doesn’t understand. “I wish it wasn’t the case, but it still is; some people are not comfortable with families like ours,” Bailey says. “And we’ve never in all our travels had anyone overtly say something to us or do anything to us that was violent or insulting, but we can tell when people don’t approve by the look on their faces or the way they interact with us.” He also recommends that same-sex parents do their research before picking a destination for family travel — in general, avoid Middle Eastern countries, where homosexuality is often illegal — and look for a more liberal neighborhood to stay in. “Things are improving around the world,” Bailey says. He feels like they have been pioneers, increasing exposure to non-traditional families. “I feel good about being a part of that, just being visible and showing people that we are just like anybody else, just here parenting kids, doing our thing.” Raising Globetrotters Klugh and Bailey are getting ready to send their teenage daughters out into the world as they graduate from high school in the next few years. They believe traveling has brought them closer as a family and exposed their children to different ways of living. “The world is a giant place, and there’s many different kinds of people and all shapes and sizes and cultures and languages,” Bailey says. “What’s happening here in San Diego or California or the United States is just a slice of the bigger picture. We very much wanted to raise our daughters as citizens of the world.” Giving them the chance to help plan trips, get around foreign countries (both girls are bilingual and happily help their dads navigate in Mexico), and experience the logistics of travel has helped Bailey and Klugh raise a pair of confident, well-adjusted kids. “Travel gives them a sense of empowerment,” Klugh says. “I want them to be familiar with travel, to know they can do it, and not be afraid of it. The other day Sophia was talking about wanting to fly somewhere by herself, and she was confident about traveling and not afraid to go to new places. It’s inspired that wanderlust in them.” The post 2 Dads With Baggage: Adventures in Family Travel with a Gay Twist appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Really Sell: 8 Simple Tips

Congratulations! You’ve done the hard marketing work to lead your target customer right to your product pages. They are currently reading through a product description to decide whether or not they will purchase something from your e-commerce business. The million dollar question: will they buy what you’re selling? The answer, in large part, depends on how much time and effort you put into your product description. It may seem drastic to weigh product descriptions so heavily, but stats show that a well-written product description is a surefire conversion tool. Here’s a closer look: 87% of consumers ranked product content extremely or very important when deciding to buy. Millennials are 40% more likely than other adults to say product content is extremely important to their purchasing decisions. Consumers purchasing clothing and online groceries ranked product descriptions as the second most influential factor in their decision to buy — just after price. 20% of purchase failures are potentially a result of missing or unclear product information. The stats don’t lie. If you want to increase sales, it’s time to polish your e-commerce product descriptions. Shared Hosting to Power Your PurposeWe make sure your website is fast, secure, and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan 8 Ways to Write an Excellent Product Description But what actually makes a good product description? In this guide, we’re giving you eight tips (along with winning examples) that provide a comprehensive look into what makes an effective product description. Let’s go! 1. Identify Your Buyer Personas It can be difficult to write a product description if you don’t know who your target audience is. To successfully write about product features that resonate with your potential buyers, you have to know who they are. This means you need to reference your buyer persona(s)  — a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research. If you don’t already have a buyer persona to guide the copywriting on your website, the time to create one is now. A buyer persona should answer all of the following general questions: What is the demographic information of your buyers? What are their interests? What is their native language? What kind of language appeals to them? (e.g., Does industry jargon appeal to them or turn them off?) How do they spend their free time? How do they find your website? Why are they interested in your store? If you have the luxury of big data at your hands, collect data on your current customers to also understand: Product preferences Behavioral patterns Purchasing patterns Access to this data will help you fine-tune your buyer personas. Once you know who you are selling to, it will be easier to write product descriptions that resonate well with them. Related: How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Website 2. Focus on Product Benefits and Features As crucial as it is to speak the language of your buyers, your buyers don’t come to your page to connect. They come to learn precisely what your product can do and how it will meet their needs and fulfill their pain points. To accomplish this, you need to write an extensive list of your product’s features and benefits. Start with the features. For example, if you sell shoes, include size information, material, color information, the weight of the shoe, etc. Your features section should be comprehensive and tell consumers everything they need to know about what makes your product special.A list of features is a great start, but it’s only half the battle. Potential customers also want to know the benefits of your particular product. And, this is where your product description can shine. With the shoe example, benefits would include things like comfort, flexibility, odor-resistance, wet and dry traction, etc. Allbirds does a fantastic job showing off the benefits of their shoe without being verbose. Their advantages are spelled out in short, sweet blurbs that get right to the point. Allbirds clearly identifies its products’ main benefits for customers. Benefits are your main selling points, your differentiators, and the reasons why customers will end up selecting your product over your competitors. Don’t neglect clearly identifying them. 3. Stay True to Your Brand’s Voice If your brand’s voice is professional, your product descriptions should be professional. If your brand is snarky and sarcastic, then your product descriptions should match. Is your brand funny? Be funny when writing your product descriptions. Everyone is familiar with the hilarious Poo-Pourri advertising videos. You know, the videos that took Poo-Pourri from a $10 million company to a $30 million company almost overnight? Poo-Pourri has a unique brand identity and tone of voice, which they stay true to even when describing their products. Poo-Pourri stays true to their brand’s unique voice in product descriptions. 4. Tell a Full Story Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Unless, of course, you’re one of the writers on Game of Thrones, but I digress. With product descriptions, the formula for good writing is no different. You need to present a complete story that engages your readers. This doesn’t mean you need to write a novel, but at the same time, your product description shouldn’t just be a list of features and benefits either. Instead, show (not tell) your customers how the product will improve their lives. Help them visualize a real-life scenario where your product solves a problem. The goal is to create a narrative arc in which the reader is the hero and your product is the tool that enables them to succeed. For example, check out the impressive product storytelling of Malicious Women Candle Co. Customers aren’t just buying a candle at Malicious Women Candle Company. They are purchasing a product that promotes empowerment with a side of hustle and energy. Now that’s a product story. 5. Use Active Language to Persuade Buyers Your mom was right; the words you use make a difference — especially with product descriptions. The truth is that some words are just more persuasive than others. In fact, experts have roadtested all kinds of language to come up with 189 words and phrases that actually improve conversion rates. Consider these 20 tried-and-tested words recommended by David Ogilvy, the proverbially ‘Father of Advertising’: Suddenly Now Announcing Introducing Improvement Amazing Sensational Remarkable Revolutionary Startling Miracle Magic Offer Quick Easy Wanted Challenge Compare Bargain Hurry The common theme? Persuasive words encourage consumers to take action. Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger.com has his own list of 600 power words that will tap into your customer’s emotions, making them more likely to engage with your message. Sample of Jon Morrow’s 600-word list Since many companies use awe-inspiring (see what we did there?) power words in their product descriptions, it’s easy to find good examples — even for seemingly bland products. Here’s one about shaving cream from Ulta Beauty. Ulta Beauty utilizes power words to make shaving cream seem swanky. When writing product descriptions, take a moment to scan through your copy and make sure each word is pulling its weight. Related: 7 Tips for Writing Winning Calls to Action for Your Website 6. Make Text Scannable with Bullet Points Making your text scannable is one of the most critical elements of writing a good product description. Studies suggest humans have an attention span that’s shorter than that of a goldfish — a bleak eight seconds. This means it’s essential to make your content easily digestible. The solution to packing a narrative punch in a relatively small space? Create a bulleted list. J. Crew does this well. Customers can click on a picture to see the item of interest and quickly read the scannable bullet points for more information. Bullet points make it easy for J. Crew customers to scan the fine print. The more you can do to make a product description scannable, the better. 7. Optimize Copy for Search Engines Copywriters have a unique challenge when it comes to writing product descriptions. They must persuade readers, but there’s another audience to keep in mind too: search engine algorithms. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — including identifying and using the appropriate keywords for your products — should be a critical part of your product description writing process. The SEO world is constantly changing, along with Google’s algorithms, so what works one day might not be ideal the next. However, there are still some keyword strategies that stand the test of time, such as avoiding duplicate content and including keywords in the following places: Page title Product title Meta descriptions Alt tags Product descriptions The keywords you use in your copy help Google and other search engines identify what the page is about. This information then used to determine how to rank your site on the search engine results page (SERP) so that relevant results to served up to people imputing related search queries. For example, when you type “shaving cream” into Google, Google offers a list of products. Google displays popular products when you search for ‘shaving cream.’ There are literally hundreds of shaving cream products on the market today, but these five products have the best SEO keyword strategy. Take Cremo Shave Cream, for example. When visiting their product page, it’s clear they have maximized the use of keywords, such as shave cream and shave. Cremo focused on incorporating keywords into its product descriptions. Additionally, when you check out the page source, you can see the back-end (e.g., alt tags) are optimized with the keyword as well. 8. Add Images and Video It should go without saying that a great product description must include images. If you need extra persuasion, remember that 63% of consumers believe good images are more important than product descriptions. If your e-commerce store can afford to hire a product photographer, awesome! If not, there are lots of DIY product photography tutorials to help get you started. Of course, good photos start with good equipment, including: Camera Tripod Nice background White bounce cards made of foam board Table Tape Once you’ve gathered your gear, you’ll need some tips on how to actually take stellar photos. This guide from Bigcommerce provides beginner-friendly tips at budget-price: how to shoot exceptional product photos for under $50. Suggestions include: Using a light-colored backdrop so it’s easier to touch up images. Creating your own lightbox to distribute light evenly. Using a tripod to steady your camera. Retouching images before posting them. If you don’t think a smartphone will do the trick, think again. All you need for affirmation is to take a gander at some of the DIY photographers on Instagram. Jennifer Steinkop of @aloeandglow, for example, uses an iPhone 8 Plus, the Lightbox app, and some of the tips mentioned above to create gorgeous beauty shots. @aloeandglow Instagram account Looking for a more corporate example? iRobot has excellent product photography on its website. The company includes at least four images and often a video (bonus!) to show consumers exactly how the product works. iRobot’s Roomba i7 product page. With a few clicks of a button in a second or two, consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy a Roomba. Another tip courtesy of iRobot: consider adding customer reviews to your product description. In addition to quality imagery, social proof can be hugely motivating for prospective buyers. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up How to Create a Product Description Template While we’ve just outlined eight tips for writing product descriptions that really sell, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s because all products have different features, benefits, and selling points. However, if you have a list of similar products and you don’t want to start from scratch every time you write a product description, it can be beneficial to create a template. There are lots of handy product description template examples you can download from e-commerce websites. To really maximize their value, though, we’d recommended you focus on the 8 tips we outlined above. Start by asking: What are your buyer personas? What are the pain points of your customers? How does your product solve customer pain points? What power words can you use in your copy? Do you have a unique story or brand voice? Is your language accessible and free of industry jargon? What are the main features and benefits of your products? Do you have an image and video library? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can tweak your template and test it with your audience. If you find a specific template is outperforming others, then you’ve found your winner. Your Products, Our Hosting Ready to revolutionize the way you write product descriptions and how you display them on your website? At DreamHost, we offer low-cost shared WordPress hosting, and a variety of other resources to help you build the perfect custom website for your online store. Check out our shared hosting plans today! The post How to Write Product Descriptions That Really Sell: 8 Simple Tips appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

12 Reasons Why Your Website Is Slow (And How to Fix Them)

Site speed plays a crucial role in the success of your website. It affects a variety of key metrics, for example, including your site’s visibility and conversion rate. Optimizing your website’s speed is clearly a necessity, but figuring out how to do it can be tricky. Fortunately, there are several easily-accessible speed tests you can use to determine how your site’s performance measures up. Although there are several reasons your site may be slow, you can resolve many of them with free WordPress plugins and quality web hosting. In this post, we’ll explain why site speed is so vital to your website. Then we’ll share solutions to 12 common issues that can lead to poor website performance. Let’s dive right in! Shared Hosting That Powers Your PurposeWe make sure your website is fast, secure, and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan Why Your Website’s Loading Speed Matters These days, users expect websites to be fast. When pages take longer than expected to load, it negatively impacts your site’s User Experience (UX). This matters because any time your UX takes a hit, so does your conversion rate. You’ll likely see higher page abandonment and bounce rates as well. To be more specific, studies show that an additional two seconds of loading time can increase your site’s bounce rate by 103 percent. Plus, just 100 milliseconds of extra loading time can cause a 7 percent drop in conversion rates. Even fractions of a second count, so optimizing your site’s performance as fully as you can is crucial. What’s more, website speed not only influences whether users stay on your site and convert; it also affects whether or not they can find it in the first place. Site speed is now a Google ranking factor for both desktop and mobile sites. If you don’t maintain decent website performance, your site’s visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) may decrease, leading to lower traffic levels. With your website’s success on the line, speed can’t be ignored. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a smart place to start is by testing to determine where your site stands now. You can run load time tests to see how long your users are waiting and then get to work on decreasing those numbers. 12 Reasons Your Website Is Slow (And How to Fix Them) Once you know the current state of your site’s performance, you can start optimizing key factors that influence site speed. Let’s look at 12 of the most common problems that contribute to slow websites and discuss how to resolve them. 1. Render-Blocking JavaScript Is Delaying Page Loads JavaScript is the code that makes your website functional and interactive for users. Without it, your site would be pretty dull. However, if left unoptimized, JavaScript can delay your pages when they try to load in users’ browsers. When a browser tries to display a webpage, it has to stop and fully load any JavaScript files it encounters first. This results in what’s called ‘render-blocking JavaScript’ or JavaScript that prevents the page from loading quickly. There are three solutions for dealing with render-blocking JavaScript: Remove external JavaScript files, and use inline JavaScript instead. Use asynchronous loading so JavaScript can load separately from the rest of the page. Defer JavaScript loading until the rest of the page is visible to the user. Each method has its pros and cons. Generally speaking, inline JavaScript will only improve page speed when used sparingly. Asynchronous loading can cause issues as files are not loaded in any particular order. Therefore, deferring JavaScript is usually the recommended method. 2. You’re Not Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) A Content Delivery Network (CDN) consists of several servers that are placed in strategic geographic locations. You can store copies of your website on them so its pages can be quickly loaded by users who are located far away from your main server. There are several CDN options for your WordPress site. Cloudflare is one of the most popular solutions, as is the Jetpack CDN for images and videos. For customers on our DreamPress Plus and Pro plans, you’ll get unlimited CDN usage powered by Jetpack. Additionally, if your website uses jQuery, you can load it from a CDN instead of your web server. Since jQuery uses far fewer lines of code than JavaScript to accomplish the same outcomes, it can be especially useful for boosting your site’s speed. Google and Microsoft are the two most popular jQuery CDN options. 3. There’s Excessive Overhead in Your Database ‘Overhead’ refers to extraneous items in your site’s database — things like logs, transients, and other entries from plugins or themes can build up over time. Too much of this ‘overhead’ can cause database queries to take longer than necessary. In some cases, it can even cause your web server to time out while waiting for a response from your database. Optimizing your database by removing overhead will help prevent this. Most web hosts allow you to access the database management platform phpMyAdmin via your hosting account. If you aren’t able to optimize your tables in phpMyAdmin, you can use the WordPress Command Line interface (WP-CLI). 4. Your Site’s CSS Isn’t Optimized Like JavaScript, your site’s CSS — the code responsible for styling its pages — can delay loading if left unoptimized. There are a few solutions you can implement to get your CSS into shape: If you have several external CSS files, combine them into one or a few files. Remove external CSS and use inline CSS instead. Use ‘media types’ to specify when certain CSS files should be loaded. Like inline JavaScript, inline CSS is only useful for small portions of code. If you have several large CSS files, you shouldn’t try to add all of them to your HTML file. Specifying media types and combining your external CSS files (if you have more than one) should make a more significant impact. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up 5. OPcache Isn’t Enabled OPcache is a built-in caching engine for the coding language PHP. If you use PHP on your site, having OPcache enabled can speed up its loading and the loading of your pages as a result. If you host your website with one of our Shared WordPress or DreamPress plans, OPcache is enabled by default. If your site is hosted using one of our other plans or with another web host, you’ll likely need to enable it manually. 6. Caching Issues Are Preventing Optimized Page Loading Caching is when browsers store static copies of your website’s files. Then when users access your site, their browsers can display the cached data instead of having to reload it. There are several caching solutions available for WordPress users, including using a caching plugin such as WP Super Cache. Our DreamPress customers have the advantage of built-in caching, which is included with your hosting account. This makes third-party caching plugins unnecessary. However, we do recommend using the Proxy Cache Purge plugin to manage your DreamPress cache. The plugin automatically sends requests to delete cached data for a page or post after you’ve modified it. This can help prevent some caching issues that may result in slower site speeds. 7. Large Media Files Are Increasing Loading Times Media files, such as images and videos, tend to be quite large. Optimizing them through compression can help to decrease their size and, therefore, improve your loading times. TinyJPG is a free online tool that compresses images. There are also several plugins you can use to compress media files within WordPress, including Smush Image Compression and Optimization. Compressing videos is a little trickier, so it’s usually better to host them externally on YouTube or another platform instead. You can then easily embed your videos on pages or posts. Related: Guide to Gzip Compression in WordPress 8. Poorly-Written Scripts Are Conflicting With Other Site Elements Poorly-written JavaScript can sometimes cause compatibility issues with other parts of your website, resulting in longer loading times. Running a speed test using tools such as Pingdom, Web Page Test, and GTmetrix can often point out scripts that are taking a long time to load. You can then investigate these files more closely to determine how you can improve them. It may also be useful to turn potentially problematic scripts off temporarily, to see how your performance scores change without them enabled. 9. Your Site’s Code Is Too Bulky The more code your user’s web browser has to load, the longer it will take for your website to become visible. If your code is too ‘bulky’ or contains unnecessary characters and line breaks, your site may be slower. In response, you can ‘minify’ that code by removing the elements that aren’t needed. There are two popular plugins for carrying out this task. Autoptimize minifies code, in addition to inlining CSS and optimizing JavaScript files. It also integrates well with WP Super Cache. Fast Velocity Minify merges CSS and JavaScript files to reduce the number of requests needed for browsers to load your pages. It also minifies your code. Both plugins are solid choices. You might consider trying out each one and seeing which increases your performance test scores more. Related: WordPress Minification: What It Is and How to Do It 10. Missing Files Are Causing Errors In some instances, your WordPress installation may be missing files. If this happens, users will experience longer loading times as additional requests are made in an attempt to find the files. This process will eventually result in a 404 error if the files can’t be found. The causes behind this issue are numerous and varied. Instead of trying to track down the source of the problem, the fastest solution is to restore your site from your most recent backup. This should replace the missing files with the versions saved in your backup. 11. Plugins Are Weighing Your Site Down Having too many plugins — or even a few very bulky ones — can weigh your website down and cause poor performance. It’s wise to always completely remove any plugins you’re not using to minimize the chance that this will happen. Additionally, some plugins can interfere with the caching of your site’s pages. If you’re using the Proxy Cache Purge plugin we mentioned earlier in this article, you can pinpoint which plugins are causing the problem by navigating to Proxy Cache > Check Caching. 12. Internet Issues Are Hurting Specific Users’ Performance Finally, poor website performance can be due to an issue with a user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP), rather than with your site itself. Slow site speeds can result from network congestion, bandwidth throttling and restrictions, data discrimination and filtering, or content filtering. If you notice slow speeds when visiting your site, you can run a traceroute between your computer and your website to test the connection. This should give you an idea of whether or not the problem is related to your ISP or is a more significant site-wide concern. Lighten Your Website Load Your website’s performance and response time are closely tied to its success, so taking every available opportunity to improve it is worth the effort. Figuring out why your website has lagging load times can help boost both its Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and UX, resulting in better visibility and a higher conversion rate. We’ve covered twelve common causes of slow site speeds throughout this post. While ideally, you’ll want to optimize your site in all the ways we’ve mentioned, pinpointing specific areas for improvement — such as enabling caching or compressing your media files — can help you tackle the biggest issues first. Looking for a hosting service that can keep up with your site’s performance needs? Our Shared Hosting plans are a convenient, low-cost solution that’s optimized for WordPress and ideal for new users. Check them out today! The post 12 Reasons Why Your Website Is Slow (And How to Fix Them) appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

How to Create a Company Page on LinkedIn to Promote Your Small Business

With the rise of social media marketing and the prevalence of social networks in our day-to-day lives, having a presence on a variety of platforms is a must for your company. That means creating and managing multiple accounts, which can be time-consuming. Fortunately, building and maintaining a company page on LinkedIn only takes a little extra time and effort. By adding an air of professionalism to your online presence and showing off your products or services, a well-rounded LinkedIn page can help polish and promote your company’s identity. This article will explain the many benefits of creating a company page on LinkedIn. Then we’ll show you how to launch one, pointing out the important requirements you’ll need to meet along the way. Let’s dive on in! Build a Website to Go with Your LinkedIn Company PageWe offer budget-friendly Shared Hosting services with robust features and resources to help you create the perfect business website. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan The Benefits of Having an Outstanding LinkedIn Company Page As a social media platform designed to help people build their professional networks, LinkedIn is a crucial resource for any business that’s hoping to grow and expand. It can help you get plugged into industry-related news and even share valuable content that promotes your company. When compared with individual employee profiles, a LinkedIn company page can be much more effective at showcasing your business as a whole. Of course, your employees’ profiles are still useful as well. They can act as indirect company ambassadors and help build your connections organically. Related: 10 Easy Social Media Tips for Your Hard-Working Small Business On the other hand, a company page is a useful outlet for showing off your business’ latest news, along with your specialized products or services. LinkedIn will help deliver this content to other professionals in your industry to generate buzz and business. Another handy feature of the platform is that you can easily monitor the impact of your page. Notifications and visual analytics reports will keep you apprised of how often your company is mentioned on LinkedIn so that you can see the effects of your presence there. Plus, this will help you create effective promotional content for your page. You can keep track of trending content to see what’s working, and use custom Call to Action (CTA) buttons to send traffic towards your website. In other words, a LinkedIn company page offers a lot of potential advantages. How to Create an Award-Winning Company Page on LinkedIn (In 6 Steps) There are quite a few things to consider if you want to create a company page and successfully promote your business on LinkedIn. However, with a little careful planning, it can be worth the investment of time and energy. The steps below will help you effectively plan and build your page. Step 1: Ensure That You Meet LinkedIn’s Requirements for Creating a Company Page One potential roadblock when it comes to creating your LinkedIn company page is that there are a handful of requirements you must meet to access this feature. For instance, you’ll need to have a personal LinkedIn profile of your own. That account also has to: Be at least seven days old Have a profile strength of Intermediate or All Star Show that you’re currently an employee at the company you wish to create a page for List your company position on your profile Have several first-degree connections (there’s no specific number you must reach, but the more you can include, the better) Be associated with a company email address that has a unique company domain In short, if you’re not an active LinkedIn user already, it can be challenging to get a company page started. Fortunately, anyone who’s an employee at your business can create and manage your company page. As long as you have at least one active LinkedIn user, meeting these requirements shouldn’t be too hard. The one criteria that might get a little tricky is providing a company email address with a unique domain. Gmail, Yahoo, and other accounts won’t work for this purpose. You’ll need an address like johnsmith@mycompany.com. Fortunately, we offer an affordable solution. At DreamHost, we provide professional email plans for creating addresses with unique domains. They start at just $1.67 per month per mailbox. You don’t even have to register your domain or host your website with us — this service is available to anyone! Get Professional Email @yourdomainPromote your website with every message you send when you set up professional email that matches your domain with DreamHost. Plans start at $1.67/mo.Sign Up Now Step 2: Add Your Company’s Details to Launch Your New Page Once your profile (or an employee’s profile) meets all of LinkedIn’s requirements for creating a company page, you can do so by clicking on the Work icon in the toolbar. Then scroll down and select Create a Company Page. On the next screen, choose the tile that best describes your business. After that, you’ll be able to fill in some basic details about your company. Start with your company’s name and then create your custom LinkedIn company page URL. Don’t forget to add your website’s address as well. Next, you can select your company’s industry, size, and type. You have to choose from several drop-down menu options, so you may need to pick the available choice that’s most relevant, especially when it comes to your industry. After that, scroll down to upload your company’s logo and add your tagline. These elements are essential for promoting brand recognition through your profile. Keep an eye on the Page Preview section to get a peek at how your company page will look. When all your information is correct, check the box to agree to LinkedIn’s terms and then hit the Create page button. Step 3: Spruce Up Your Company’s Profile to Attract and Inform Visitors After you’ve officially created your company page, you can start adding additional information and brand elements. First and foremost, you’ll probably want to include a banner image. This is a large image that will be displayed at the top of your page, similar to a cover photo on Facebook. You can use the small blue pencil icons to edit various features on your company page, including your banner image. You might use a team photo, a picture of your brick-and-mortar location, a popular product image, or a relevant decorative visual. Additionally, you’ll want to write a compelling summary of your company for the Overview in your About section. LinkedIn provides limited space here — just 2,000 characters, including spaces — so you’ll want to make every word count. Be sure to highlight what makes your company unique and better than the competition. Then head over to the Jobs section of your page. Here you can provide career-related information and job postings. Since many LinkedIn users take advantage of the platform’s job hunting features, this can help to boost your page’s visibility. Just make sure to keep it updated so you don’t have people applying for positions that are no longer available. Step 4: Post Regular Updates to Generate Industry-Related Content Now that your page is up and includes all your company’s information and some key branding elements, it’s time to start filling it with content. There are a few ways to go about this. One of the easiest is to use LinkedIn to promote blog content you’ve already created for your business website. This doesn’t require you to generate any new long-form content, and it can drive visitors to your website via your blog. Simply include LinkedIn as a part of your blog promotion strategy, and you’ll have a regular source of content for your company page. However, you can also include recent business news, upcoming events, and other company-specific posts to keep your followers in the loop. This can be a smart and simple way to demonstrate your authority in your industry, promote events, and even attract more followers. Just remember that, as with a blog, your LinkedIn company page will thrive when filled with relevant content that your followers want to see and read. Related: How to Start a WordPress Blog: A Comprehensive Guide Step 5: Promote Your LinkedIn Company Page to Gain Followers Your company page isn’t very useful if no one knows it exists. Especially when you’re first getting it off the ground, promotion will be vital to gathering followers. One of the easiest ways to get started is by adding your company’s location to your page’s About section. This makes your company and job postings more discoverable on LinkedIn. Your page will be more likely to show up in searches as a result. Using relevant keywords in your page’s content can also help to increase your reach. Another key promotional tactic is engaging your employees on LinkedIn. Invite them to list your company page on their own profiles and claim it as their place of employment. This will help you tap into their already existing networks to make connections with others in your industry. Finally, it never hurts to promote your LinkedIn page on other social channels. This may mean including links to your company page in your Twitter bio or your Facebook About section. You could also include LinkedIn among your social sharing icons on your website and blog posts. Step 6: Showcase Individual Products or Services on Their Own Pages So far, we’ve covered all the basics for creating and maintaining a LinkedIn company page. However, you can take your profile to the next level and use it as a way to promote specific products or services, by creating showcase pages as well. These are pages dedicated to your company’s products or services. They appear on your company page in the right-hand sidebar, under Affiliated pages. You can write a description, share a link, and even post content on each of your showcase pages. If you offer a wide range of products or services, this is a way to provide targeted content for each of your audiences. In some cases, this technique may be more effective than offering generalized content on your company page itself. If you’d like to create more traditional, campaign-based content for LinkedIn, you might also consider using the platform’s advertising options. LinkedIn ads are highly targeted and can help you reach other professionals in your industry, generate leads, attract job applicants, and more. Linking Up You have a lot of options when it comes to promoting your business on social media. With its professional audience and unique opportunities for showing off your products and services, LinkedIn can prove well worth your time. This guide has demonstrated how to create a high-quality LinkedIn company page in just six steps: Ensure that you meet LinkedIn’s requirements for creating a company page. Add your company’s details to launch your new page. Spruce up your company’s profile to attract and inform visitors. Post regular updates to generate industry-related content. Promote your LinkedIn company page to gain followers. Showcase individual products or services on their own pages. Do you need a business website to go with your LinkedIn company page? At DreamHost, we offer affordable hosting services with robust features and resources to help you create the perfect website for your company. Check out our Shared Hosting plans today! The post How to Create a Company Page on LinkedIn to Promote Your Small Business appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

Meet The British History Podcast: “History, the Way It’s Meant to Be Heard”

Think you hate history? You’re probably wrong, says Jamie Jeffers, founder of The British History Podcast. The problem, he says, isn’t that history is dry or boring — the problem is that it is taught that way, with rote memorization and little relevance to the modern world. “People are people,” Jeffers says. The stories of history, even ancient history, “are relevant and compelling on their own. They are only made irrelevant by poor storytellers who forget that simple truth — that history is the story of humanity. It’s about all of us.” With his podcast, which has been in production for almost a decade and has cultivated a loyal fan base over hundreds of episodes, Jeffers tells the stories of British history by tapping into that humanity. In his chronological retelling, you won’t hear lists of names, treaties, and battles, but rather tales of the cultural underpinnings behind the actions of kings and the day-to-day lives of the people of Britain. In Jeffer’s words, it was a happy convergence of “transatlantic immigration, global financial collapse, and ancient human traditions” that took him from unemployed lawyer to full-time podcaster creating the ultimate passion project, one that draws on his own personal history, builds his future, and connects us all to the past. Related: Step-by-Step Guide: How to Start a Podcast With WordPress History Through Storytelling It’s all his grandfather’s fault, Jeffers says. Jeffers, who moved to the US from the UK when he was a kid, learned the history of his homeland from his grandfather, who wanted to make sure young Jeffers heard stories of his ancestors alongside his American education. “He took it upon himself to teach me what he knew about British History as I was growing up,” Jeffers says. “He was an amazing storyteller, and so my first experience with history was through hearing about amazing events and figures. It was learning history as people traditionally taught it, as an oral history.” His grandfather’s storytelling taught Jeffers to love history — at least until he actually studied the subject in school. “I went to high school, and history was suddenly reduced to memorizing dates and names for a test,” Jeffers says. “No context, no nuance, no wonder at our shared past. It was such a disappointing experience that I lost interest in the study of history.” Eventually, Jeffers went on to study English in college and then become a lawyer. For the most part, Jeffers tabled his interest in history — that is, until the recession forced it back into his life. Global Financial Collapse The 2008 financial crisis wasn’t kind to most people — Jeffers included. As money got tight, he looked around for cheap sources of entertainment, leading him straight into the world of podcasting. “The first show I found was The Memory Palace, which is still going, and it became a regular companion when I was at the gym or taking my dog, Kerouac, for a walk. The host, Nate DiMeo, couldn’t have known it, but the way he talked about little odd stories from history made me feel like I was reconnecting with part of my childhood.” But a search for podcasts about British history was disappointing, to say the least. It brought him to a “show that was done by a guy who seemed to be reading random entries off Wikipedia. Incorrect entries, for that matter.” Back in those pre-Serial days, podcasting was a new thing — it was “pretty punk rock,” he says. “Few people knew about it, and even fewer people did it, which meant that many topics weren’t being covered and those that were weren’t being covered well. Quality was definitely a problem.” Jeffers did find a history show or two but occasionally found himself wishing for a good podcast that took on a chronological history of Britain. Then one day the financial collapse hit closer to home, and Jeffers lost his job as an attorney. “The part that people rarely talk about with unemployment is how boring it is,” he says. “So I decided that any time that I wasn’t job searching would go towards making that show I always wanted.” The podcast launched with its first season in May 2011, beginning with the Ice Age and prehistoric Britannia and moving into the Roman conquest of Britain. At first, Jeffers’ vision was nothing more than a fun hobby that only his parents would listen to. “Eight years later, it’s my life’s work,” Jeffers says. “Oh, and my parents still don’t listen to it. But a lot of other people do.” Today, the podcast boasts more than 3,000 reviews on iTunes and shows up on lists such as recommended podcasts for fans of Serial and Parade’s list of top history podcasts. Beyond the Battle Search your favorite podcasting app these days, and you’ll find history shows aplenty. But the British History Podcast (BHP) isn’t your run-of-the-mill history podcast, Jeffers says. “Many history podcasts are dry accounts that only perk up when they can talk about men swinging swords. They skip over the culture of the time, other than as it pertains to kings and generals, and then give you incredibly granular details of men killing other men in battle.” What interests Jeffers (and his audience) are the stories behind the conflicts. To truly understand and care about an action-packed battle, audiences need to appreciate the stakes. “There’s a reason why The Phantom Menace sucked, and it wasn’t the fight choreography,” he says. “Context is king, and that’s where our focus is.” That’s why the BHP discusses at length through the political, social, and cultural realities that drive the “action scenes” of history. Another way the show’s different: “We talk about women. It’s strange how often they’re written out.” Jeffers cites one of his favorite little-known figures from history: Lady Æthelflaed of Mercia, who reigned in an era when women we so overlooked, even vilified, that there weren’t any queens — just women known as “the king’s wife.” “And then you have the noble daughter of Alfred the Great, a woman named Æthelflaed, who ruled Mercia on her own after her husband died. She led armies. She fought off a massive force of Vikings at Chester by throwing everything, up to and including the town’s beehives, at them. This woman was so influential that after she died, even though the culture was deeply misogynistic, the Mercians chose to follow her daughter.” Jeffers’ favorite era of British history is the Middle Ages — “which I’m sure most of our listeners already know since we’ve spent about seven years in them so far.” The BHP is currently detailing the reign of King Æthelred Unræd (aka King Ethelred the Unready), who is often blamed for the downfall of the Anglo Saxons — “though I think there’s plenty of blame to go around.” Jeffers is most looking forward to covering the 15th-century Wars of the Roses, a series of English civil wars: “the diaries we have out of that era are stunning and show the real human toll that this conflict was taking on the population.” The planned finish line is the dawn of WWII, which could take another decade to reach. Until then, Jeffers is dedicated to dissecting and retelling as many stories and cultural tidbits as he finds relevant — a quest that fits nicely in the podcasting sphere. “Can you imagine The History Channel allowing me to do over 300 episodes of British History and spend literally hours just talking about how food was handled in the middle ages? Part of what makes podcasting so amazing is that it allows for niche shows like the BHP to exist.” Want to meet more awesome site owners?Subscribe to the DreamHost Digest for inside scoops, expert tips, and exclusive deals.Sign Me Up Behind the Scenes Jeffers is quick to remind his audience that he isn’t a professional historian, though his “magpie approach to education” serves him well as a “history communicator.” “My educational background has a common throughline of narrative building and research,” Jeffers says. “I studied storytelling in college, getting a degree in creative writing while also spending a lot of time taking courses in subjects like critical and cultural theory. As for law, my focus was as a litigator. What many people don’t realize about litigators is that a lot of what you do is tell stories to the judge or jury. You do a lot of deep research and then turn it into an easy to digest narrative for why your side should win. Turns out that these skills serve very well for teaching history — especially little-known history.” Each 25- to 40-minute episode takes about 40 to 50 hours to produce. As for structuring the stories, Jeffers rarely finds a clear “pop history narrative” to build around because the history of medieval Britain he aims to create simply doesn’t exist elsewhere. Instead, he digs through secondary sources, fact checks primary sources, scans and fact checks scholarly articles for alternative theories, and then looks into “any rabbit holes that pop up during the research.” The lengthy editing process is a collaboration between Jeffers and his partner and co-producer Meagan Zurn — or Zee, as she prefers. “Then I finally record the episode, do sound editing, and launch. It’s quite a process.” There’s no way Jeffers could juggle a full-time job with all of the research and planning involved. But thanks to a dedicated community of listeners, the podcast moved from passion project to day job. He doesn’t even need to run ads — it’s funded entirely through donations and a membership, which grants paying listeners access to exclusive content. “I’ve really lucked out in the community that has developed around the podcast,” Jeffers says. In fact, he says his favorite part of producing the podcast is connecting and collaborating with the community. “They’re really supportive and enthusiastic people.” The British History Podcast official web page, complete with membership content and a full archive of eight years worth of podcasting, is proudly hosted by DreamHost. Like the podcast itself, the website has been a DIY project: “When you’re a small project like this, anything you can do yourself, you do.” The site uses DreamPress Pro with Cloudflare Plus, “which has allowed us to have a rather stable user experience even during high load times like on launch days,” Jeffers says. “The tech support team has been really helpful in finding solutions to some of the more thorny problems of running a podcast site with a membership component.” Do What You Love with DreamPressDreamPress' automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on creating great content.Check Out Plans A Romance for the Ages Jeffers says he’s met some incredible people through the podcast community, including his producer — and now wife — Zee. In addition to co-producing the BHP, Jamie (left) and Zee (right) are partnering up for a new venture: parenting. Back in the early days of the BHP, Jeffers used an “old clunky Frankenstein computer that kept breaking down. I had a hard drive crash, a power supply short, a motherboard fry. I swear that damn computer had gremlins, and as a result, I repeatedly had to go on our community page and apologize for episodes getting delayed.” The community ganged up and insisted his problems stemmed from using a PC — all except one person, who stood her ground against the Mac fans. “I believe her exact phrase was, ‘You’re all caught up in a marketing gimmick,’” Jeffers says. A few months later, when he had an idea for a side project and wanted honest feedback, he remembered this listener’s well-researched uncompromising arguments. “And half a world away, in Southern England, Zee got a message out of the blue,” Jeffers says. “It ended up being the smartest thing I’ve ever done. The person I reached out to was a Ph.D. candidate in sociology and media with a background in anthropology and archaeology. She understood on an intrinsic level the ethics of the show, the long-term strategy, the purpose of it, and what it could be going forward.” And just like that, Jeffers had a collaborator: “One day, I was doing the show entirely on my own; the next day I was running all my ideas by her, and I structured my life so that I could work with her.” They discussed the show daily; Zee reviewed Jeffers’ scripts and prompted heated debates over the content. “And through that, the show dramatically improved in tone and style. She also became my best friend. Truth be told, I think she was my best friend from the first time we talked.” “Much later, we met in person, and it was clear my ferociously intelligent best friend was also really attractive. Eventually, we started dating. Then she proposed to me one Christmas morning, and now we’re expecting our son this July.” By the way, Jeffers still uses a PC. Looking Forward Overall, creating the podcast has been a rewarding creative outlet for both Jeffers and Zee — but the work can be draining. “It’s very satisfying but very intensive work to hit the quality we demand of ourselves.” For now, outside the show, his and Zee’s primary focus is preparing for parenthood. The podcast is likewise approaching a monumental milestone: the Norman Conquest of 1066. “This invasion changed everything, and it’s going to usher in a whole new era of the podcast as well,” Jeffers says. “We have a whole new culture to talk about, along with larger-than-life characters to introduce. The story is about to get a whole lot bigger.” What’s your next great idea? Tell the world (wide web) about it with DreamHost’s Managed WordPress Hosting, built to bring your dream to life without breaking the bank — or making any compromises in quality. The post Meet The British History Podcast: “History, the Way It’s Meant to Be Heard” appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

How to Update Your Old WordPress Posts With the Block Editor

Since the Block Editor is now the default tool for creating new WordPress content, site owners are having to address the question of what will happen to their older posts and pages. This content will inevitably need updating since the Classic Editor plugin won’t be around forever. Fortunately, there are methods in place for handling this exact situation. If you need to make changes to an old post, you can easily do so without any help from the Classic Editor. This makes it much easier to bring your old and new content into alignment. In this post, we’ll discuss the Block Editor (you might know it by its nickname: Gutenberg) and then we’ll show you two methods for updating your old posts using this new tool. Let’s get started! Understanding the Differences Between the Classic and Block Editors For many years, WordPress users created new content for their websites in a visual editor, now known as the Classic Editor. It consisted primarily of one large field where you could add text, images, and other media. The main downside to the Classic Editor was that some elements — such as tables and content columns — required coding or extra plugins to implement. This arguably made the publishing process more complicated and time-consuming than it needed to be. To address that issue, the Block Editor was created. It enables you to use a system of ‘blocks’ to create content in WordPress. Each block holds a specific type of content, such as a paragraph, an image, a table, a list, or just about any other element you might want to add to a post or page. With blocks, WordPress users can create more complex content without the need for coding. Each block has individual settings so you can customize specific elements. Additionally, you can more easily move content around the page to create columns or other unique layouts. Generally speaking, the Classic Editor is considered the ‘simpler’ of the two options because of its interface. There’s just one field where all of your content goes, as opposed to many separate blocks. However, the Block Editor is built for ease-of-use and can be more user-friendly — especially for those new to WordPress. Get More with DreamPressDreamPress Plus and Pro users get access to Jetpack Professional (and 200+ premium themes) at no added cost!Check Out Plans Switching Over from the Classic Editor to the Block Editor The Block Editor has been ‘live’ since December 2018 and now serves as the default editor for anyone running WordPress 5.0 or later. However, some users have chosen to disable it in order to continue using the old – or Classic – editor. If you’ve been using WordPress for some time and are familiar with the Classic Editor, using the Block Editor may not seem very appealing. After all, it still has compatibility issues with some plugins and themes, and learning a new interface isn’t the most fun way to use your time. However, there are a few reasons to embrace the change. To start with, the Block Editor should streamline your content creation. Once you get past the learning curve, adding blocks can be much faster than stopping to code a table or columns by hand. More importantly, you may want to make this transition for the sake of your site in the long term. While right now you can keep the Classic Editor in place using a plugin, WordPress plans to stop support for that system eventually. For now, support is promised until 2022. However, once updates are no longer being released, having this plugin installed on your site could pose a security risk. At a certain point, moving over to the Block Editor will be in the best interests of your website. What the Block Editor Means for Your Existing Content Fortunately, old posts and pages created in the Classic Editor are preserved in their current format with the Block Editor. Each one features a single, large block called a Classic block. All of your text, images, and other content will be found inside this block, unchanged. The Block Editor’s effect on your theme and plugins is a little more complicated. There have been compatibility issues between the new editor and some themes and plugins, so it’s possible that enabling it will cause problems on your site. In particular, page builders and other plugins that affect the way the WordPress editor looks and functions tend to have trouble with the Block Editor. However, updates have been released for many of these plugins to fix these issues. It’s a good idea to check each of your major plugins (especially any that affect the editor) to see if they are compatible. The Block Editor should be useable with just about any theme. That said, it works better with some than with others. Ideally, you’ll want to use a theme that has been updated for use with the Block Editor or a theme that was created after the new editor’s release and built with compatibility in mind. The best way to avoid any potential issues is to create a staging version of your site. Then you can thoroughly test for any problems before updating your live site. How to Update Your Old WordPress Posts With the Block Editor (2 Methods) Of course, you may not want to leave your old WordPress content as-is. Fortunately, you can update your old posts, pages, and other content types in the Block Editor. There are two primary methods you can use, and each has its pros and cons. Before you can use either of them, you’ll need to make sure you have the Block Editor enabled. For most sites, this is already the case.  In other words, if your site is up-to-date and you haven’t done anything to disable the Block Editor, it should be currently active. Therefore, you won’t need to do anything. Otherwise, either deactivate the Classic Editor plugin or upgrade to WordPress 5.0 or above to automatically switch your site over to the new editor. Then, you can use one of the following two techniques to work on your existing content. Method 1: Continue Editing Your Posts in a Classic Block As we described earlier, existing posts and pages will be converted into Classic blocks. If you want, you can edit your content inside these blocks, just as you would in the Classic Editor. All you have to do is open the post you wish to update, and click on the Classic block. When you do, you’ll see the TinyMCE toolbar appear at the top of the block. It should look very familiar. You can edit within this block exactly as you would in the Classic Editor. If you need to access the Text Editor, you can do so by clicking on the three-dot icon to the right of the toolbar, and selecting Edit as HTML. When you select this option, the block’s content will be shown as code, and you can edit it as needed. To return to the Visual Editor, simply click on the three-dot icon again and select Edit Visually. That should be all you need to update your old posts using the Classic block. Method 2: Convert Your Old Content into Blocks The other option you have available is to convert a post or page’s Classic block into new blocks. This will divide up your content up into individual elements, just as if you had created it using the Block Editor. To do this, click on the three-dot icon and select Convert to Blocks. Your post should then split up into separate pieces. Each paragraph will become its own block, as will every heading, image, list, video, button, and element. You can click on an individual block to edit the content within it. While this process usually goes off without a hitch, you’ll want to make sure that each element of your post has converted to the correct type of block. For example, if a pull quote from your old post has converted into a regular paragraph block, you can change it by clicking on the leftmost icon in the block toolbar. You can then select the correct block type from the options listed. Once all of your blocks are set to the correct types, you can use the toolbar at the top of each to make any specific changes related to alignment and placement within the post. You can also make edits related to each block’s type, such as by altering text styling or image size. In other words, you can now use the Block Editor’s full range of capabilities to work on your content. New Kid on the Block (Editor) Updating old posts is a smart way to freshen up your content and give your site a facelift. If you’re worried about how your old posts will fare in the age of the Block Editor, however, never fear. You can easily make changes to your old posts and pages. While you’re updating your WordPress site, why not upgrade your hosting service too? Our DreamPress plans include 24/7 WordPress support to help with all your Block Editor questions. The post How to Update Your Old WordPress Posts With the Block Editor appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

The History of Internet Privacy

It’s been a year since the European Parliament turned the GDPR proposal into active legislation. The General Data Protection Regulation was created to protect the privacy rights of European Union members. Thanks to the GDPR, EU internet users now have the power to control where and how their personal information is used online. Related: DreamHost is GDPR Compliant The battle to respect individual freedoms and privacy isn’t new. Humans have been fighting for our right to privacy since the first loincloth accidentally ripped off in a heated saber-tooth tiger hunt over 300,000 years ago. The Gronk Decision of 320,532 BC was a landmark ruling guaranteeing a right to secondary, backup loincloths to both hunters and gatherers alike. We’ve compiled a brief look back on some milestones in the history of privacy starting in the 1800s and ending at the internet of today. Check it out! The History of Internet Privacy The post The History of Internet Privacy appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

The Top 15 Benefits of a Website for Small Businesses

These days there’s no excuse for not having a website, even if your business is only just getting off the ground. Many potential customers and clients won’t take you seriously without one. Plus, there are so many upsides to setting one up that not doing so is almost irresponsible. One of the most obvious benefits of having a small business website is that it enables people to find you online and get in touch with you easily. Having an effective and compelling site can even lead to sales you wouldn’t have made otherwise. In this post, we’re going to discuss 15 reasons why it makes sense to set up a website for your small business. Then we’ll show you how a website builder, like Remixer, can help business owners create a small-biz site in a matter of minutes. Easily Build Your Dream WebsiteDon't know code? No problem. Our DIY Website Builder makes designing a website as easy as sending an email.Start Building for Free The Top 15 Benefits of a Website for Small Business 1. You Can Develop an Online Presence These days, the first thing a lot of people do when they hear about a business is to look it up online. If you don’t have a website set up — or at least some social media profiles — you might as well not exist for all those potential clients. Moreover, having a website can help shape the way people perceive your business. For example, you can fill your site up with reviews, photos of your locations, helpful information, and anything else that will bolster your image. We’re not overexaggerating when we tell you that online marketing is a critical component of business success in today’s market. 2. It’s Possible to Target Local Customers If you’re anything like us, you look up the closest businesses to you when you’re trying to make a specific purchase. For example, let’s say you need a haircut and you don’t know the neighborhood. You’ll probably jump online, and look up nearby barbers or hair salons. If your website shows up among the first search engine results for these types of local queries, then you might land yourself some extra business (building a strategy to rank well for keywords is known as search engine optimization or SEO). On top of drumming up more customers, your site can also help build brand awareness of your local business in the community. Related: 7 Steps to Identify a Target Market for Your Online Business 3. You Can Share Your Address and Contact Information With Customers Imagine that someone knows your business exists, but they’re not sure how to get there. Ideally, your website should include your full address, instructions on how to find you, and (if you’re looking for extra points) a map of the area. Armed with that information, it’s almost impossible for anyone to get lost along the way. It’s also useful to have a place for your business’ phone number, email address, and other contact details. That way people can call in if they have any quick questions. 4. It Enables You to Receive Online Queries A lot of small business owners these days prefer online queries over phone calls. It’s easy to understand why. After all, you can answer emails on your own time, and it doesn’t matter if 20 people contact you at once online — you can still get to all of them. Ideally, your website will provide visitors with multiple ways to contact you. We already mentioned that it should include your phone number and email address, but a contact form is also an excellent addition that lets customers get in touch without leaving the site. Some businesses even go as far as to set up live chat. 5. You Can Save Money on Paper Advertisements It used to be that if you wanted to advertise your business, your options were limited. You could hand out flyers, take out ads in the local newspaper, or maybe pay for a TV spot. However, the web provides you with entirely new ways to reach your audience. Even if you don’t want to pay for online ads, your website itself can help market your business. You can, for example, reach out to visitors when you’re running offers they might be interested in. At the very least, you can publish the latest news on your site, so people have an incentive to visit your business. Related: The 30 Best Apps for Small Businesses in 2019 6. Online Content Can Help You Build a Reputation There are plenty of successful businesses that give back to their community by helping to keep them informed through content marketing. Take DreamHost’s blog, for example — it’s all about updating you on the latest news and sharing knowledge to power your website. Over the long term, you can also use your website as a platform to publish content and blog posts that help your clients. Content marketing not only makes you look like an authority in your field, but it can also build goodwill. Related: Blog Your Way to an Awesome Reputation: The 10 Best Company Blogs 7. You Can Use It to Learn More About Your Customers Websites aren’t only about sharing your business with the world. If used correctly, they can also help you learn more about your customers. Then you can use that information to drive more sales and conversions. You can, for example, set up polls on your website to find out what your visitors are interested in. There are also plenty of online tools that can help you set up full-fledged surveys. You can even track your site’s analytics, and get lots of data on how your visitors behave. 8. It’s the Perfect Way to Advertise Employment Opportunities Good help is hard to find, regardless of what field you do business in. If you’re looking for a new hire, there are plenty of platforms where you can advertise online. However, it also makes sense to use your own website to get the word out about employment opportunities. After all, it’s likely that plenty of people who visit your site are going to be interested in work opportunities. Plus, this way you cut out any middlemen. When someone applies for a job, you can vet them right away. 9. You Can Provide Personalized Email Addresses for Your Employees When you buy a domain for your website, you can use it to set up personalized email addresses. This is very useful since an email address such as johndoe@yourlocalbusiness.com looks much more professional than johndoe324@gmail.com. This may seem like a small detail. However, having personalized email addresses can give people the impression that you’re running a professional business (which of course you are!). 10. It Can Help Expand Your Business’ Reach If you’re running a small store, most of your business will probably come from locals. They’ll get to know what you provide and what your prices are, and hopefully keep coming back for more. To put it another way, most small businesses have a restricted area of influence. Setting up a website enables you to bypass the limitations of running a small operation. You’ll be able to reach more of your target audience than you might have otherwise, and attract business from outside your local area. 11. You Can Make Sales Online Aside from expanding your business’ reach, having a website also provides you with an entirely new channel you can use to make sales. These days, you’re no longer restricted to only selling products through your physical shop. Setting up an online store is actually relatively simple, and you can even combine it with your regular business site. That way, you’ll be able to make sales even when your operating hours end. 12. Social Media Can Help Promote Your Business A lot of people think that social media can be a replacement for a website. As far as we’re concerned, however, you need both a site and a social presence if you want to maximize your reach online. Plus, you’ll want to advertise all your social pages right from your website. To put it another way, think about your website as a place where you can publish any content you want, in any format you can imagine. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is a useful tool to get the word out, build a following, and drive traffic back to your website. The two work in perfect harmony, so it doesn’t make sense to limit yourself to one or the other. 13. Email Lists Can Help You Stay in Touch With Customers Email marketing is one of the most effective tools when it comes to staying in touch with your customers, driving sales, and getting conversions. In fact, you can get a lot of mileage out of creating an ongoing email campaign. What’s more, your website provides you with the perfect way to get people to sign up for your email list. Once you build an audience, you can send them as many emails as you want, as often as you’d like. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up 14. You Can Educate Users About Your Business Customers don’t always know what they’re looking for. If you’re new to website hosting, for example, it can be hard to figure out which plan would best suit your needs. There is plenty of information available on the subject, but judging who’s right and who doesn’t know what they’re talking about can be a challenge Now, imagine that you’re on the other side of that dilemma. You’re running a hosting service, and you need to figure out how to help people choose the plans they need. A website is the perfect tool for this task. You can use it to educate your audience on what the best products are, depending on their requirements and goals. It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re running, of course. Your website can help you teach your customer base everything they need to know so they’ll make smarter purchases. 15. You Can Build a Community One of the best things about having a website to call your own is that it can provide a place for your visitors to talk to each other. For example, if you’re running a blog for your business, you can enable a comments section for it so visitors can ask you questions and discuss your posts with each other. Depending on which platform you use, you can also set up more complex community features, such as forums and even public chats. How to Create a Small Business Website Quickly (And on a Budget) The upsides of having a website for your business speak for themselves. However, the potential costs and time investment of launching such a project may be holding you back. It’s true that creating a website from scratch can be expensive and can take a lot of time. However, there are alternative ways to launch professional websites quickly even on a small budget. Website builders are tools designed to help you create stylish websites, even if you don’t have any experience in development. They’re especially well suited to creating your small business site since you probably aren’t looking to implement a lot of complex features. For example, our Remixer service can help you set up a basic business website in a matter of hours — even if you’ve never touched a line of code in your life. For example, if you’re working on your homepage, you can use one of Remixer’s professionally designed themes. Then you can customize your site to match your brand. With a few clicks, you can add multiple elements — contact forms, galleries, and more — and rearrange them until the page looks just the way you want it to. You can even customize each web section, so you have full control over what your visitors see. As your small business grows, you can export your Remixer site directly to WordPress to take advantage of the platform’s best features: SSL certificates, blogging tools, e-commerce store add-ons, and WordPress plugins. Open for Business Every small business owner needs a website. If you don’t have one yet, now is the perfect time to get started on it. While it is possible for your business to succeed without a website, a web presence can help you open so many doors. If you don’t know anything about website design, don’t worry. You don’t need to spend months and thousands of dollars to set something up. Our Remixer site builder enables you to create a powerful and professional-looking site — even if you’re a complete beginner. Start building your own Remixer site for free. The post The Top 15 Benefits of a Website for Small Businesses appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss in 2019

While traditional careers have their benefits, there’s something very appealing about being your own boss. You can work whenever, however, and wherever you want to while still pursuing your passion. The tricky part is knowing how to get started. With accessible and easy-to-use tools such as WordPress and WooCommerce, setting up shop online is relatively simple. By launching an e-commerce store, you can take your product ideas to the web and access the vast pool of customers available there. This article will walk you through the steps to build your online store with WordPress and WooCommerce and become your own boss in no time. Let’s go! Your Store Deserves WooCommerce HostingSell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world's biggest eCommerce platform.See Plans 9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss The very first thing you’ll need to start an online store is a product customers will want to buy. We can’t help you with that, unfortunately — your idea has to be all your own! You’ll also need a way to manufacture your product, either by doing it yourself, hiring a company to do it, or some combination of the two. Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to set up your online store and start selling your merchandise, which is where the steps below will come in handy. Step 1: Secure Your Web Hosting and Domain Name The first two things you need to start any kind of website are a hosting provider and a domain name. Your hosting provider will store your website’s files, while your domain name provides an address where customers can find your store. If you’re building a WordPress site (which we recommend), you might also want to consider WordPress hosting. These types of plans are explicitly geared towards the platform, and the servers they run on will be optimized. Our shared WordPress hosting plans, for example, are ideal for new WordPress sites. You’ll have access to our 24/7 tech support team, and plans are cost-effective, starting at just $2.59 per month for a single site. What’s more, we can also help you register your domain name. You can quickly check the availability of your desired web address, then register it once you’ve found the perfect fit. Simply fill in some information to complete the process. Domains usually start at $11.99, but if you’re also hosting your site with a shared WordPress plan, you’ll get yours for free. Related: Why You Should Consider Keeping Domain Registration and Web Hosting Under One Roof Step 2: Set Up WordPress and WooCommerce Regardless of your current host, a WordPress hosting plan likely comes with the platform pre-installed or with a one-click installation option. In some cases, you may need to install WordPress manually. Next, you’ll need to set up WooCommerce — a premiere e-commerce solution for WordPress (we’ve compared it to other competitors and think it’s the best ecommerce platform available). The first step is to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. Once this is complete, you’ll be prompted to configure your store using the onboarding wizard — fill in the fields as best you can now, or come back to this step later. Related: A Comprehensive Introduction to WooCommerce Step 3: Identify Your ‘Value Proposition’ Before you begin creating content for your e-commerce business, consider identifying and writing out your value proposition. This is simply a statement explaining the mission and value of your business and products. Two of the most important questions your value proposition should answer are: What problem does my product solve for customers? What makes my approach to this problem unique compared to other similar businesses? Establishing your value proposition now should help you create content later. Also, any copy, product, or long-form content (such as a blog post) should reflect the values you identified in your proposition. We’d also suggest sharing your value proposition with customers on your website. Most companies do this on an About page or as a ‘Mission Statement.’ Here’s ours as an example: Sharing your values with customers can help demonstrate why your product is relevant to them. Plus, you might win over customers who might have otherwise purchased from your competition. Step 4: Create Your Product Pages Now you’re ready to go back to setting up your online store. Navigate to Products > Add New within WordPress to start adding your first item. There are a lot of settings to consider here, but your priority should be your product photos and description. Taking Quality Product Photos Showcasing your products in their (literal) best light is crucial. Unprofessional, low-quality photos make your site seem untrustworthy, which will discourage customers from opening their wallet. As such, make sure your product photos are well-lit and taken in front of a clean background. If you can, take pictures from a variety of angles, and include some close-ups of unique details to help catch customers’ eyes. Once you have your product photos, make sure to optimize them with a plugin such as ShortPixel or Optimole before uploading them to your site. This will help prevent large media files from slowing your site down. Writing Captivating Product Descriptions You’ll also want to craft your product descriptions carefully, to help convince site visitors to become paying customers. Keep your value proposition in mind when you’re writing, and make sure to point out information about how the product will benefit customers. It’s vital to make your description easy to scan, as ‘skimming’ content has become more popular over the years. Keeping paragraphs short, while using formatting techniques such as bullet points and subheadings, can convey more information than a brutal wall of text. Specifying Product Data Finally, for this section, you’ll want to configure the settings in the Product Data section of the product editor. Here you’ll set your product’s price, add a SKU number and shipping information, specify if it comes in any variations (e.g., other colors or sizes), and more. Take your time with these, as they’re an essential aspect of your store and business. Once you have the basics down, you may want to consider setting up Linked Products to help cross-sell other store items and enable reviews to add some social proof to your site. Related: 5 Amazing WooCommerce Templates to Increase Sales on Your Website Step 5: Configure Your Tax Settings In the U.S., each state has laws regarding sales tax for internet-based retailers. It’s not a bad idea to talk with a tax attorney before your business gets up and running, but at the very least, you should familiarize yourself with the laws in your area. To set up sales tax for your products in WooCommerce, navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > General within WordPress. Make sure the Enable taxes setting is checked, then save your changes. If there wasn’t one before, you should now see a Tax setting tab at the top of your WooCommerce Settings page. Click on it, then configure the settings on the page. You can determine whether your prices will automatically include tax at checkout and what information WooCommerce should use to calculate tax for each product. It’s also possible to add Standard, Reduced, and Zero tax rates if needed. Step 6: Specify Your Shipping Methods Shipping is a make-or-break aspect of running a store. As such, in the Shipping settings tab, you can add practically as many options as you want to implement a delivery strategy. If you’re going to make your products available in a wide range of locations, you might want to create ‘shipping zones.’ They essentially let you offer different rates to customers depending on where they’re located. If you also want to charge extra for international shipping, you can do so here. Step 7: Decide Which Payment Gateway to Offer In the Payments settings tab, you can specify how customers can pay for their products. By default, WooCommerce will set up Stripe and PayPal vendors for you. However, you can add additional gateways — including popular solutions such as Square and Amazon Pay — with WooCommerce extensions. In addition, you can enable your customers to pay with a check, cash, or by bank transfer. The gateways you decide to offer are ultimately up to you, based on familiarity, ease of use, and transaction fees. However, it’s also important to consider your customers, as these criteria are also their primary concerns. As such, gateways such as PayPal are usually a given. Related: The 10 Most Popular Online Payment Gateways for Your Website, Compared Step 8: Run Through Your WooCommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Checklist You’re almost ready to welcome customers to your store, but first, they need to be able to find it. SEO is the answer. By optimizing your content for search engines, you’ll make it more likely customers can find you while searching for products online. As with many site aspects, WordPress plugins can help. Yoast SEO is a highly rated and effective plugin that can help manage on-page SEO factors such as keyword usage, permalinks, and readability. If you want something a little more specialized, you can also look into the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin. It’s better suited to WooCommerce than the free version, and can also help promote your products on social media. At $49 per year, it’s cost-effective and may be a solid investment, especially if it helps to bring in a few more organic customers via search engine. Step 9: Publish and Promote Your E-Commerce Website While you can keep refining your site, you’ll want to publish at this point — think of it as laying down a ‘marker.’ You’ll also want to make sure customers know who you are and what you do. Promoting your site on social media and through email marketing campaigns can help get you started. Fortunately, there are a variety of WooCommerce extensions available to help. You can choose popular services such as Drip, MailChimp, and even Instagram to promote your products to followers and subscribers. Marketing will be an ongoing responsibility, so investing in some tools to help you streamline your efforts will be worth it in the long run. The extensions mentioned above range from free to $79 per year. You can also search the WordPress Plugin Directory for more free solutions, although you may find functionality lacks depending on the plugin. Building an Online Store No one said becoming your own boss was easy, and there’s a lot of work that goes into starting a brand new business. However, WordPress and WooCommerce can simplify many of the tasks required to get your e-commerce site up and running. Ready to set up an online shop? Our WooCommerce hosting packages make it easy to sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform. The post 9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss in 2019 appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

11 Ways Your Online Store Can Compete with Mega-Retailers (And Win)

It’s hard to grasp the sheer scale of mega-retailers such as Amazon. In 2018, Amazon alone was projected to take in almost 50 percent of US online sales. Plus, during the most recent holiday season, it accounted for 5 percent of the $1,002 trillion Americans spent. Launching an e-commerce store that can compete with those numbers is difficult, to put it lightly. Fortunately, your online store doesn’t have to beat the likes of Amazon or eBay to be successful. What it needs to do is find a share of the market for itself and learn how to thrive within that retail niche. That way, you’ll be able to scale your store and increase its earnings organically over time. In this article, we’re going to talk about 11 strategies you can implement to compete with e-commerce giants such as Amazon. We’re not saying you’ll end up making more money than Jeff Bezos, but every extra dollar helps, so let’s get to it! 1. Focus on Niche Products and Services Wherever it is that you live, chances are there are a handful of online megastores where you can buy almost anything you want. Those types of stores excel at casting a wide net to catch as many buyers as possible. The problem is that they often can’t compete with specialized sites when it comes to offering more niche items. For example, while one of those mega-retailers might have hundreds of generic mugs for sale, you could offer to create custom designs, thereby filling a more specific niche. The main takeaway here is that if you’re starting out, the smart move is not to try and compete at every level. What you need to do is have a specific buyer persona in mind and focus on those buyers, offering the products and services they want. In many cases, filling a particular retail niche may even enable you to command higher prices, so it’s a win-win scenario. 2. Offer Subscription-Based Services Offering subscriptions is an excellent strategy because it allows you to create consistent, recurring income. Plenty of big-box stores offer subscriptions. Amazon, for example, offers the incredibly popular Prime service. Even more niche stores, such as Humble Bundle, understand the power of subscriptions. On top of offering cheap video games, this store enables users to pay a set price each month for more stuff. Just because you run an online store doesn’t mean that all your income has to come from product sales. You can also offer subscriptions for monthly freebies, discounts in your store, access to exclusive deals, and more. Keep in mind, though — whatever angle you decide to take with subscriptions, it should synergize with your store’s products. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up 3. Provide Better and/or Cheaper Shipping Options Competing with massive online stores when it comes to shipping can be difficult. They move such large volumes of products that they can get access to discounts and perks small online stores can’t hope to match. What you can do to compete is offer better-quality shipping options for your particular region. In most cases, smaller stores will focus on specific cities or just one country. That means you have the edge over more global stores, since you may be able to offer faster shipping times and a more personalized experience throughout the process. In some cases, you might even have access to cheap shipping options you haven’t considered. For example, there are a lot of local startups focused around product deliveries. Partnering with them may enable you to offer ultra-fast low-cost shipping, depending on where your customers are located. Related: How to Build an Awesome WooCommerce Store with OceanWP 4. Excel When It Comes to Customer Service The level of customer service you offer can make or break your store. People might be willing to take a chance and buy from a retailer they don’t know, but if you treat them poorly, you can be sure they won’t come back. Some of the most common service-related mistakes small retailers make include: Taking too long to answer customer questions Offering cookie-cutter answers to customers Giving inaccurate shipping estimates or sending packages late Just to drive home how vital the customer experience is, keep in mind that happy clients are more likely to send new business your way. Likewise, retaining customers is much cheaper than collecting new leads. In other words, a little more time spent on ensuring better service can pay off for years to come. Related: How Your Online Business Can Nail Customer Service During the Holidays 5. Optimize Your Online Store in Every Way You Can The difference between one and three seconds may seem insignificant, but it’s not — particularly if you run an online retail store. Studies show that if your website takes more than a few seconds to load, people start getting impatient. Amazon alone estimates that a one-second delay in its loading times could cost up to $1.6 billion in lost sales over the course of a year. In other words, your website needs to be fast. There are a lot of factors that can hurt its performance, such as: Using a hosting plan that doesn’t offer enough resources. Failing to optimize your images. Adding too many scripts to your pages. Not using browser caching. Reasons two through four fall under the category of poor website optimization. Still, it doesn’t matter how much effort you sink into optimization if your web host isn’t up to par. What we recommend is that you measure your site’s loading times, try to optimize them, and consider moving to a new host if you’re still not seeing the results you want. Shared Hosting That Powers Your PurposeWe make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you.Choose Your Plan 6. Use Social Media to Promote Your Store and Its Products The largest online retailers can spend millions on advertising each day. At the same time, so many people are familiar with them that word of mouth alone is often enough to get them plenty of sales. ‘Mom-and-pop’ online stores, on the other hand, need to be much savvier when it comes to marketing. Since you can’t compete in terms of budget, the easiest way to get attention to your store is via social media. This involves: Being active on several social media platforms. Knowing how to engage with your audience and reach new users. Connecting with influencers who can promote your products. Using non-traditional forms of content, such as infographics, for higher engagement. The main takeaway is that small businesses need to make more of an effort to get online conversions. However, if you know which platforms to focus on and you have a good grasp of social media, these approaches should yield excellent results. Also, keep in mind that it might be worthwhile to hire a social media manager if you’re not as savvy in this area, as it’s essential to your store’s success. 7. Work on Your Email Marketing Strategy There’s a reason almost every single website and online store wants your email address. They understand that it’s a powerful tool to drive sales and increase engagement. About half of all US internet users check their email multiple times per day, and up to 60 percent of users say that the messages they get influence their purchases. More importantly, email marketing is incredibly scalable, even for a small store. The more addresses you collect, the more sales you can drive via campaigns. What’s more, most email marketing platforms enable you to send an almost unlimited number of messages for a low price. That’s not to say that you should spam your subscribers, however. In fact, you should only contact them when you have something of value to offer, such as product discounts, important news, and so on. If you’re already using email marketing but you want to get more out of it, then it may be time to review your strategy. 8. Consider Streamlining Your Product Catalog It stands to reason that the more products you offer, the more sales you’re likely to get. The problem is that managing a huge catalog of items can be much more complicated than you’d imagine. For each product, you have to consider sourcing, storage, shipping costs, marketing materials, and more. For massive online stores, that isn’t a problem. They’re all about volume, and they can throw all the manpower they want at the above tasks. However, the more strapped you are for money and personnel, the more that overextension can hurt you. Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to run a successful online store that offers a limited catalog of products. SlimFold, for example, built an entire e-commerce experience around a handful of unique wallets. Alt text: SlimFold has a streamlined product offering. Offering a limited catalog ties in perfectly with targeting a specific niche of users. As long as you know there’s demand for the products and services you offer, you can limit them to give a feeling of exclusivity, and even test higher price points. Related: How to Create a Loyalty Program for Your Website (And Why You Should) 9. Offer Multiple Payment Options When it comes to online purchases, most people rely on credit cards. However, there are a lot of payment processors you can use, including PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, and many others. You’ve probably noticed that a lot of the major online retailers offer several payment options during their checkout processes. This enables customers to pick whichever choice they feel most comfortable with, so the store doesn’t lose out on any potential purchases. For smaller online stores, dealing with a lot of payment processors can be a hassle. It means that your earnings will come in via multiple channels, you’ll have to set up accounts for each one, and you’ll need to make sure you’re in compliance with various policies. However, despite those downsides, offering multiple payment options is still the way to go for most online stores. At the very least, you should enable users to pay via PayPal and the most popular credit cards — just to cover your bases. 10. Study the Competition Within Your Niche So far, we’ve focused mostly on how to compete with mega-retailers. However, it’s crucial that you don’t lose track of other smaller stores within your niche since they’re also competitors. Studying your direct competitors so you can provide a better experience than they do is incredibly important. After all, smaller stores can be much easier to overtake than e-commerce giants. You can compete with these competitors in a number of ways, such as: Offering better customer support service Including more shipment and payment options Creating a more user-friendly shopping experience Beating them at prices, if possible These are similar to some of the tactics we’ve discussed so far. Only this time, you’re competing against another David instead of Goliath. 11. Offer Only the Best-Quality Products Since you can’t generally compete with mega-retailers in terms of inventory, pricing, or shipment, you need to focus on quality. We’ve already talked about providing top-notch customer service, but making sure the products you offer are as good as they seem is also essential. These days, online megastores such as Amazon are getting overrun with cheap product knockoffs. That’s causing a real headache for the consumer, who doesn’t understand why they’re getting low-quality items from a retailer they know and trust. This opens up the opportunity for smaller online stores to attract those customers. In many cases, people who want high-quality items will turn to more specialized online stores. If you can guarantee that your products are the real deal, and you offer a solid return policy, this can be one of your best ways to get more sales. Supply Chain When it comes to an e-commerce business, you need to be realistic about your expectations. Competing with mega-retailers when it comes to inventory or pricing is just about impossible. However, there are plenty of e-commerce operations that manage to grow and thrive, despite all the competition they face. The key is to understand that although you can’t compete in some categories, there are plenty of areas where smaller stores can get a real edge. For example, smaller operations can provide much more personalized customer service or focus on product quality in a way that mega-retailers can’t. What do you think is the best way for online stores to compete with giants like Amazon or Walmart? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the DreamHost Community and let’s discuss! The post 11 Ways Your Online Store Can Compete with Mega-Retailers (And Win) appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

How to Schedule Posts in WordPress (3 Easy Methods)

Publishing posts to your blog on a regular basis is essential. However, several issues might get in the way of consistent and optimized publishing, such as a full workload, trouble posting during high-traffic periods, or even the decision to take a vacation. Even expert bloggers need a little R ‘n R now and then. Fortunately, if you built your website with WordPress, there are a number of ways you can schedule your posts for publication ahead of time. Scheduling your posts enables you to put fresh content up on your site at regular intervals — without having to actually log in each time. In this article, we’ll explain the advantages of scheduling blog posts on your WordPress site. Then we’ll share a few methods for doing so, and go over some tips for troubleshooting issues that may arise during the process. Let’s dive in! Why It’s Smart to Schedule Your Blog Posts Creating a schedule for your blog posts is the best way to ensure that you always have fresh content. Plus, when you post regularly, readers will always know when to expect new articles. This can help keep them engaged and coming back regularly. On top of that, scheduling posts can help you manage your workload. When you have a busy week coming up, you can write your posts ahead of time and set a future publication date and specific time for each. Scheduled posts can also make it possible for you to take a vacation from your blog. In addition, assigning publication dates and times is useful for posting during peak traffic hours. Your readers may be most active on your site during a time of day you have to be away from your computer, for example. Automated publication lets you make new posts live at the ideal moment. How to Schedule Posts in WordPress (3 Methods) Fortunately, there are several ways to schedule posts on your WordPress website, so you can choose the method that works best for you. Let’s look at three of the most common options. 1. Schedule Posts in the Block Editor WordPress has innate post scheduling capabilities, which you can access right from the editor screen. Let’s look at how to set a post up for automatic publication in the Block Editor (which you have access to if your WordPress version is 5.0 or higher). Open up the post you want to schedule, and in the sidebar to the right, select the Document tab. Under Status & Visibility, you’ll see that your post is set to publish Immediately by default. If you click the link, it will open a calendar where you can select a future date and time. Once you’ve done so, Immediately will change to your specified publication time in the sidebar. Click anywhere outside the calendar to close it. When you’ve given your post one final read-through and are sure it’s ready to go, click on the blue Schedule button at the top of the editor. You’ll have the chance to review and edit your post’s publication date and time and set its visibility status to Private, Public, or Password-Protected. WordPress will also point out any last-minute items you may want to address. When you’re happy with your settings, select the blue Schedule button again. You should receive a final notification that your post has been set to publish at the date and time you chose. That’s all you have to do! 2. Set Up Scheduled Posts in the Classic Editor If you’re still using the Classic WordPress Editor, never fear. You can still easily set up scheduled posts. Simply head over to the post you want to schedule and check out the Publish widget. Just like in the Block Editor, your post will be set to publish immediately by default. Click on Edit next to Publish immediately, which lets you access the date and time settings. There’s no fancy calendar here, but it’s still easy enough to set your desired publication date and time. Just make sure to use the 24-hour clock. Then, click on OK when you’re done. After you’ve finalized your post’s details, select the blue Schedule button in the Publish widget. You should receive a notification that your post has been scheduled and see its changed status in the Publish widget. If you need to make any updates, you can do so by clicking on the blue Edit link next to any of the settings. Be sure to hit the Update button afterward. 3. Use a Plugin to Schedule Posts If you want to access more advanced automatic publishing features, you may want to consider WordPress plugins. Let’s look at two of the best options. WP Scheduled Posts WP Scheduled Posts adds an editorial calendar to your WordPress dashboard. You can drag and drop posts to schedule them so setting publication dates is fast and easy. This tool also helps you keep track of all your authors if you have multiple people creating content. You can even add new posts right in the calendar — save those great ideas you have for a future date. The plugin is free to download, but if you opt for a premium plan, you’ll gain access to additional features including the ‘Auto Scheduler’ and ‘Missed Post Handler.’ CoSchedule If you need a more complete content and marketing scheduling system, check out CoSchedule. While you’ll still have to follow the steps for scheduling posts in the WordPress editor as described above, with CoSchedule, you can manage your scheduled blog posts, social media content, and marketing campaigns from a single calendar right in your WordPress dashboard. You can download the CoSchedule WordPress plugin for free, but you won’t be able to do anything with it unless you also have a paid CoSchedule account. Plans for those accounts start at $80 per month. Troubleshooting Issues With WordPress Scheduled Posts Scheduling posts in WordPress is simple, but there are a few issues you may run into. Fortunately, the most common problems have easy solutions. Setting the Right Timezone First, it’s important to make sure that when you’ve chosen a publication date and time, they’re set to the right time zone. You can check your site’s time zone settings by going to Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard, and scrolling down to Timezone. There, you can see the time zone your site is currently set to, and change it if need be. Handling Missed Posts You’ll also want a failsafe in case something goes wrong, and a post you’ve slated for publication doesn’t go live as expected. For this, we suggest looking into a plugin such as Scheduled Post Trigger, which checks for and publishes missed scheduled posts. This way, if your post doesn’t publish automatically for whatever reason, the plugin can still get your content up on your site (even if it’s a little late). If you’re using the premium version of WP Scheduled Posts, its ‘Missed Posts Handler’ feature works in much the same way. Unscheduling Posts Finally, there may be times when you’ve set up a post for future publication, and then you decide you want to publish it right away instead. To do this in the Classic Editor, head over to the Publish widget and click on Edit next to the date by Scheduled for. Change the settings to the current date and time, and then select OK. Click on the blue button, which will say either Update or Publish. Once you do, you should receive a notification that your post has been published. In the Block Editor, this functionality works much the same. Change the scheduled date and time to the current moment, and click outside the calendar to exit the feature. The blue button at the top of the editor will now say Publish. Select it, and WordPress will put the post up on your site immediately. Keep Us Posted Posting consistently on your WordPress blog is key to your site’s success. Scheduling your blog posts in advance can help you gain more loyal followers, while also making it easier for you to manage your site over time. Do you have any questions about how to schedule posts in WordPress? Follow us on Twitter and let us know! The post How to Schedule Posts in WordPress (3 Easy Methods) appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

3 Solutions for Converting Your WordPress Site into a Mobile App

Nowadays, a lot of people interact with the web mostly by using mobile devices. That means it’s more important than ever to provide a quality mobile experience. Otherwise, you risk alienating a large part of your potential user base. There are many ways you can improve the overall experience for your mobile users. For example, you can design a responsive website so that it looks (and works) perfectly on smaller devices. You can also go a step further and convert it into a fully-working app. In this article, we’ll talk about why converting your website into a WordPress mobile app can be an excellent idea for some site owners. Then we’ll discuss several tools and techniques that will enable you to do so, and discuss how to pick the right one for your needs. Let’s talk apps! Why Your WordPress Company Site May Need a Mobile App When it comes to user experience, responsive design is king. We’ve previously covered why you should create a mobile-friendly site (and how to do it), but you can also create a mobile app version of your site. Let’s go over some of the reasons you might want to use this approach: Apps provide a more native experience for mobile devices. You can use notifications to stay in touch with your user base. If you use subscriptions, they can be managed via mobile payment systems. That said, an app is not a replacement for a mobile-friendly website, and vice-versa. Ideally, you’ll have both, which will enable you to maximize your potential audience. After all, some people don’t want to install any additional apps on their phones, whereas others vastly prefer the experience an app provides over that of a mobile website. It’s important to understand, however, that creating a mobile app isn’t particularly easy. Depending on what features you want to include, you may need a background in development, or you’ll have to hire someone to help you get the project off the ground. That process, as you might imagine, can get expensive. The good news is that if you’re using WordPress, you get access to multiple tools you can use to create a mobile app version of your website. There is a range of options that vary in price and ease of use, so you can pick the approach that’s best suited to your needs. Related: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website? 3 Solutions for Converting Your Company WordPress Site into a Mobile App While there are many ways to create WordPress mobile apps, the following methods are three of the most common and accessible choices. Let’s look at each, in turn, to help you decide which ones you should consider. We’ll start with the simplest solution. 1. Use a WordPress Plugin to Generate Your App As a WordPress user, you’re probably familiar with using plugins to implement cool features and functionality to your website. However, what you may not know is that you can use plugins to create a fully-working WordPress mobile app. There are a few tools that can accomplish this, but let’s focus on one of the most popular: AppPresser. First, it’s important to note that the AppPresser plugin by itself doesn’t enable you to generate a mobile app. You’ll also need to sign up for a paid AppPresser account, which will be linked to your WordPress website through the plugin. Once you have both pieces in place, you can customize your mobile app from within the AppPresser platform and generate installable files for both Android and iOS when you’re done. The app creation process is simple – you get to use a builder that feels just like the WordPress Customizer. However, as you might imagine, there are limitations to using a tool like this. Since you’re not building an app from scratch, you get a small set of features to play with. If you’re looking to create an app with very specific functionality, using a plugin probably isn’t the right approach for you. Ultimately, using a plugin to generate a mobile app for your WordPress site makes the most sense for projects that don’t require a lot of advanced functionality. For example, AppPresser would be a great choice for blog and news apps. It also handles e-commerce reasonably well, which makes it a useful option for those running a store on a WooCommerce website. The AppPresser plugin itself is free, but as we mentioned, you’ll need to sign up for an account on the platform. A basic AppPresser account, which supports one app (for both iOS and Android) will cost you $228 per year. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up 2. Opt for a Solution Designed for Companies and Professional Projects Of course, if you’re working on a company site, your needs are different than those who are creating mobile apps for blogs or online stores. Choosing a tool explicitly designed with companies in mind can help you create an app with features that are well-suited to your needs. Consider Appful, for example. This solution can convert your website and social media posts into a powerful content app for connecting with customers and employees. Features such as white labeling, full-service maintenance, and scalability make it highly suitable for growing companies. In fact, it powers apps for several well-known organizations, including Greenpeace, PETA, and even the United Nations. Appful works similarly to AppPresser, in that you’ll connect to the platform using a dedicated WordPress plugin. Then, you get access to a set of tools you can use to design a mobile app version of your site and customize its functionality. Only in this case, you’ll receive an assortment of useful templates that enable you to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) faster. On top of that, Appful also includes several other handy features, including support for offline reading, integration with Google Analytics and Apple watches, and more. Plus, the developers can also help you design a more customized app if you need specialized features, which makes this a solid middle ground between using a plugin and working with an agency (which we’ll talk about next). Overall, this approach offers a more user-friendly experience than most other tools. Creating a WordPress mobile app using Appful is a mostly painless process, and the service will even take care of publishing your app to the Android and iOS stores for you. Plus, you don’t need to pay to use the service until that point, which means there’s no pressure. Prices vary depending on the scope of your app and are available by request. 3. Work With an Agency to Develop Your WordPress App Naturally, a third option is to hire someone to get the job done for you. When it comes to WordPress mobile apps, you’ll find no shortage of freelancers and agencies willing to take on the project — no matter the scope. This can save you a lot of time. Of course, hiring professional and talented developers is seldom cheap. Developing even a simple app can easily cost you thousands of dollars. The upside is that you’re not limited by what an app builder can do. If you work with an agency that knows what it’s doing, it should be able to advise you on what’s possible and what isn’t, and help you bring your vision to life. Considering the costs associated with this approach, we can only recommend it if you have a very large budget, and you need an app version of your WordPress website that includes functionality you can’t add using DIY tools. For simpler projects, hiring an entire agency or even a couple of freelancers might not be particularly cost-effective. If you do decide to hire out, there are plenty of places to find WordPress developers and agencies. Professional Website Design Made EasyMake your site stand out with a professional design from our partners at RipeConcepts. Packages start at $299.Get a Free Consultation Mobility Matters A lot of your website’s visitors will be using mobile devices. To provide them with the best possible experience, you can create a streamlined, app-based version of your WordPress website. Depending on what tool you use, you should be able to include all the same functionality your website offers, while creating an experience that feels much more native to mobile browsers. Do you have any questions about how to get your WordPress mobile application off the ground? Join the DreamHost Community and let us know! The post 3 Solutions for Converting Your WordPress Site into a Mobile App appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

Shared Hosting Enhancements for 2019

In a web hosting landscape now dominated by elastic cloud computing resources and managed WordPress services, it’s easy to lose sight of “the SKU that started it all.” That’s right; I’m talkin’ ‘bout shared web hosting. Shared hosting is still one of the most affordable ways to establish and maintain an online presence, with more than enough power to grow with the needs of your website or web app over time. This year, we’ve been working to make DreamHost’s shared hosting even better and wanted to catch you up on all of the great enhancements. We’re currently in the process of upgrading the operating systems that run our shared hosting services. Ubuntu LTS version 18.04.2, also known as “Bionic Beaver,” will soon power all of our shared hosting web servers and MySQL database servers. In the future, Bionic Beaver will be the default OS on all of our managed hosting services, including our Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers. We’re also in the process of rolling out the latest version of PHP: 7.3. You may recall that PHP 7.0 was approximately twice as fast as PHP 5.6 when it launched in 2016. PHP 7.3 has shown itself to be faster still — 22 percent faster than even 7.0! With PHP-based apps like WordPress becoming more and more popular across the web, that extra speed is crucial to keeping things running smoothly. We’ve also doubled the amount of RAM that shared hosting users can access. RAM-hungry web apps (and their plugins) are more popular than ever, and the extra memory ensures they’ve got plenty of breathing room. Combined with some new Linux kernels that we’ve custom-built to address the unique needs of a shared hosting environment, the entry-level hosting experience at DreamHost has never been faster, more powerful, or more secure for as long as we’ve been doing this hosting thing! As powerful as shared hosting is today, you can always upgrade your DreamHost experience to a Virtual Private Server for access to even more computing resources, should you ever need them. Upgrading to a VPS takes just a few seconds, and the migration of your data is automatic and instant. No matter what you host with us or how you host it, rest assured that we’re always looking for ways to add new features, power, and value to your DreamHost experience. Thanks for letting us! The post Shared Hosting Enhancements for 2019 appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

How Conservation Blueprint is Saving the World, One Wildflower Seed at a Time

What do solar panels and honey bees have in common? At first glance, not much — though both are great for the environment. But Peter Berthelsen, a Nebraska wildlife conservationist and small business owner, sees an opportunity for an unexpected relationship. After all, he’s spent a 30-plus year career building all kinds of connections: between people and plants, wildflowers and water conservation, insects and songbirds — and solar energy and bees. As part of his new business, Conservation Blueprint, Berthelsen works with solar development companies to create habitats for honey bees and monarch butterflies at solar panel sites. Instead of planting grass that will need to be mowed or trucking in gravel, Berthelsen designs mixtures of native wildflower seeds to plant on the land, determining which plants can grow best in the shade of the solar panels while creating a pollinator paradise, brimming with nectar and pollen. “That’s the key to successful partnerships — bringing together multiple interests,” Berthelsen says. “At first you might not connect solar panels and pollinators, but it’s easy to combine those, providing solar panels and pollinator health benefits. In my opinion, it’s really a cool combination.” With habitat loss being the biggest threat to ever declining populations of pollinators (who are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you take) Berthelsen has dedicated his career to providing homes and forage for butterflies and bees. To accomplish this, he recently broke from the security of a steady gig to start his own business — and he’s never been happier. Falling Far from the Tree Growing up, Berthelsen was the bug kid. In third grade, his teacher brought an aquarium filled with monarch caterpillars to class; he watched as the insects transformed into chrysalises and erupted into bright orange butterflies before his class released them into the schoolyard. He was hooked. “There’s virtually nothing I can remember from the third grade, but I do remember that,” Berthelsen says.  “I think that experience had a formative impact.” Berthelsen decided in 10th grade he’d go to college to study wildlife management. Today he and his wife own a 65-acre ranch, where they cultivate pollinator habitats, harvest wildflower seeds, and provide educational tours to demonstrate sustainable farming practices — a far cry from his suburban upbringing. “I’m an oddity for sure,” he says. “My passion for conservation goes so far back, and it is such an intrinsic part of my makeup that there was never a conscious decision about what I would do with my life. I just always knew.” Want to Meet More Awesome Site Owners?Subscribe to the DreamHost Digest for inside scoops, expert tips, and exclusive deals.Sign Me Up Going Ice Fishing Berthelsen began his professional career in 1983 by working temp jobs. He bounced around between government organizations like the U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department before landing a job with nonprofit organization Pheasants Forever. He ended up staying for 27 years, working with corporate, government, and private partners across the country to create and preserve habitats for pheasants. “I loved every minute there and thought I would never leave,” Berthelsen says. Years into his work with Pheasants Forever, Berthelsen spotted a business opportunity. “In their mission to develop wildlife habitats and work with private landowners, I saw overlap with pollinators,” he says. “There’s a very clean overlap between what you want for pheasants, quail, honey bees, monarch butterflies, and grassland songbirds. And those overlapping opportunities broaden to include sustainability and water quality, and soil health — pollinators are the glue that connects every single one of those interests.” He realized there might be a market for working with landowners to design custom habitats crafted to keep pollinators happy and healthy — with the mission of supporting the whole ecosystem. But even with an idea he suspected could both earn a living and make a real difference, Berthelsen put it on the backburner for years. “I am a very cautious person,” he says. “It took me a while to flip the switch.” In his resignation letter, Berthelsen equated his foray into entrepreneurship to going ice fishing: “It’s early in the season, and I’m not sure how thick the ice is.” He feared falling through the proverbial ice — but today, his only regret is not taking the plunge sooner. “I can’t wait to get to work every single day,” he says. “I get to interact with all kinds of different people who have an interest in doing things to benefit wildlife habitat and the environment. I feel like I get to make a difference in something that I am passionate about — how can you do better than that?” There’s a Seed for That When it comes to pollinators, not all habitats are created equal. This is a foundational philosophy behind the work of Conservation Blueprint: just because a plant is flowering doesn’t mean it can effectively support honey bees or monarch butterflies. “Different plants have different qualities,” Berthelsen explains, and each pollinator has unique needs. Monarch butterflies, for example, lay their eggs only on milkweed plants. The very hungry caterpillars chow down on the green leaves, but once they reach the adult stage, they need nectar to survive — which milkweed doesn’t supply. So if Berthelsen is working with a client who wants to target butterflies, he’ll craft a mix of seeds including milkweed and nectar plants, taking care to include native species and enough variety to keep flowers blooming throughout the growing season. Honey bees, on the other hand, thrive among plants brimming with pollen. Related: Growing an Herbal Remedy Empire, One Website at a Time “I’m excited about being able to help people with their objectives, whether they are a commercial beekeeper who wants their bees to be healthier or someone who cares about monarch butterflies,” Berthelsen says. “I design a seed mixture for them to meet their goals. It’s not as simple as, ‘Here are some flowers; the bees will love it.’ You have to be thoughtful to make sure you’re including the plant species that really do provide the maximum value.” He’s worked with clients from elementary schools and municipalities looking to plant a butterfly garden alongside a playground to farmers wanting to protect a water source. “A farmer might have a stream running through the area, and they want to plant a buffer between the farmland and the water to filter out the chemicals that are used in agriculture,” he says. “I have seed mixtures that will work here. There’s really a wide range of things where a public, private, or corporate entity could have a need to want to plant something that we can help them with.” Save the Pollinators It’s in everyone’s best interest to look out for pollinator habitats. “A pollinator is anything that gets pollen from the male part of the plant to the female part,” including bats, birds, beetles, along with bees and butterflies, Berthelsen explains. Some plants self-pollinate, but the majority, including 75 percent of the world’s crops, require help from pollinators. It’s no secret that bee populations have been in decline for years. Problems such as disease, pesticide exposure, and poor nutrition caused by a lack of foraging habitat make it a tough time to be a honey bee. A world without bees would strain to sustain the 7.2 billion-strong human population. Monarch butterflies are in trouble too. Without any concerted efforts to protect their populations, they have a 60 percent likelihood of extinction in the next 20 years. These butterflies are currently under evaluation for protection under the Endangered Species Act, with a decision expected in June. “It’s sad — we don’t want any species, especially the most iconic insect in the country, to become endangered,” Berthelsen says. Declining populations are dangerous for crop and plant health, “but we also don’t want the potential ramifications that could come to land management practices that would be an unintended consequence of an Endangered Species Act listing,” Berthelsen says. “It could impact agriculture — when you can spray, what herbicides you can use, roadside mowing. It has the potential to have a significant cascading set of impacts on how agricultural landscapes are managed.” Save the pollinators and benefit the crops, food supply, and farmers — and it all comes back to habitat. Beyond his business endeavors that support this cause, Berthelsen is engaged in nonprofit work dedicated to making it easier for landowners to build pollinator-friendly habitats. He’s the partnership director for the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund, an organization that collects funding to provide free or reduced priced seed mixtures for qualifying 2-acre-plus projects on “private, public, and corporate land in the Midwest — a region of the country key to honey bee and monarch health,” Berthelsen says. Spreading the Word . . . with Awesome Web Hosting The world of social media marketing and website building was a mystery to Berthelsen when he first got started. “I’m just a biologist,” he says. He was able to connect with a web designer to build Conservation Blueprint’s website, and she got everything going for him with DreamHost. “She’s a very smart, capable person, and she was sold on DreamHost,” he says. “I love it; the design looks great.” His website greets potential clients with idyllic photos of fields of wildflowers and butterflies resting on blossoms — every one captured by Berthelsen, who’s been dabbling in photography since he took pictures for the high school newspaper. “I’m an amateur, but I’m an OK amateur. If you take enough photos, you’re going to get a couple here and there that are pretty good.” Related: Want to Build a Website in 2019? Here’s Your Game Plan Along with his beautiful photography, Berthelsen’s website hosts a series of short pollinator habitat tip videos that he produces and publishes once per month, discussing plant species, how to plant and maintain habitats, and more. “I don’t want to sound like a dinosaur, but how we communicate is completely different from when I started my career,” he says. “Having a website and communicating with people through two-minute video clips about something that you’re passionate about — people have instant access to you. A website where people are like, ‘Those are some good photos!’ gets somebody to give you one or two more clicks. That’s all part of how you make a difference today.” Shared Hosting That Powers Your PurposeWhether you’re saving the bees or selling t-shirts, we make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you.Choose Your Plan Passion Project Biologists with a love for all things insects are often stereotyped as introverts who’d rather get lost in the woods than speak to a crowd. And this stereotype isn’t wrong, says Berthelsen — it just doesn’t apply to him. “I’m on multiple national pollinator committees. Through my roles there and with Conservation Blueprint and Bee and Butterfly Fund, I’m speaking somewhere in the country at least once a month.” He hosts national webinars about resource management; speaks to utility companies, state agencies, and departments of transportation; keynotes national beekeeping conferences; and considers himself lucky to have a voice and influence in work he’s passionate about. “It’s just another part of what makes my job so enjoyable, talking about these subjects with such a wide range of people.” He’s less than two years into Conservation Blueprint and is more than happy with its success. “I’m focused on building Conservation Blueprint into something that is impactful, makes a difference, and keeps food on the table — and all three of those things are happening.” Even better, Berthelsen has found a perfect blending of his passions: sustainable ranching, harvesting and growing prairie seeds, and teaching people from all walks about wildlife habitats. “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to thread the needle to where the things that I’m personally passionate about mesh very cleanly with my work, and to me, that’s the holy grail.” What You Can Do to Help? This year, give the environment an Earth Day surprise — take your own steps to support healthier pollinators. Even if you don’t own huge tracts of land, Berthelsen offers these tips: 1. Plant a Pollinator-friendly Garden Berthelsen has 65 acres of pollinator habitat on his property — but you don’t need 65 acres to make a difference. “You don’t even need one acre,” he says “If you build it, they will come. Gardens and parks and backyards can all collectively have a significant impact on pollinator health.” Remember, not all flowers are created equal. Instead of going for pansies or geraniums in your front yard or porch container garden, plant milkweed or bee-friendly sunflowers and lavender. Monarch butterfly habitats span much of North America, so chances are there’s some nearby that would appreciate your efforts. Look for species of milkweed, nectar, and pollen plants that grow natively in your area and plant your own backyard pollinator habitat. 2. Lobby Local Organizations Is your city building a new park? Are you on the PTA at your kid’s school? Is your workplace campus updating the landscaping? Suggest to the right people that room is made for pollinator-friendly flora. If you are the right person in these or similar scenarios, make restoring habitats a priority. 3. Support Nonprofits If you want to help out even more, Berthelsen suggests promoting opportunities and organizations that benefit pollinators. For example, happen to know someone in the Midwest who has two acres of land to manage? Let them know about the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund’s free seed mixtures. Track down nonprofits and other groups, especially ones near you, that are working to restore pollinator habitats and find out how you can volunteer, contribute, or donate. The post How Conservation Blueprint is Saving the World, One Wildflower Seed at a Time appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

Building a More Inclusive Future in Tech

The past year has been filled with ugly headlines. Prominent men and powerful companies have been exposed for horrendous acts of harassment and assault. One of the worst things about all of these revelations is that for years, a culture of willful blindness and enablers allowed these predators to operate without consequences. Women were systematically victimized, marginalized, and maligned. These headlines are not an aberration. Our society has a terminal social disease, and we are at a crossroads. We can either aggressively fight this disease and create a healthier society, or we can die. There is no middle ground. One of the places this issue is most evident is in the tech industry. There are not enough women in tech, and the women who do work in tech have to fight too hard just to be safe, to be heard, and to be treated fairly. Making #MeToo a Launch Pad The #MeToo movement of yesterday’s headlines is a shocking reminder of just how widespread the issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault are in society and the workplace. I believe the best reaction to this movement is to tell women, “I believe you. I am ready to be the change we all want to see in the world.” It is not enough to say we agree there is a problem. I want to use the #MeToo movement as a launch pad for the tech workplace of the future. This involves taking five steps to make sure our workplace is the best place for women in tech. These are the five steps I am taking to build a better workplace as a starting place at DreamHost: Create a healthy workplace culture Shatter traditional workplace barriers for women Understand and reconcile any past failures at my workplace Bring more women into our tech space Create higher accountability Making a workplace that is welcoming to women makes us a stronger company, a more profitable company, and one that serves the needs of our customers better than ever before. Related: 30 Ways to Be an Ally for Women in Tech in 2019 Creating a Healthy Workplace Culture We spend one-third, or more, of our adult lives at work. The workplace must be a space that is not only safe for everyone but is also a place that makes everyone happy. At DreamHost, we have created a work culture that celebrates the joy of work. It is not a perfect workplace. But we support each other and are united in a set of common goals. We have also created a culture in which employees are able to live balanced, healthy lives. This means flexible work arrangements, providing employees with healthy food options, and encouraging everyone to be involved with their families and communities. Our culture promotes the virtues of hard work, empathy, and teamwork. We know that DreamHost only succeeds when our employees feel safe and have the freedom to achieve their dreams. It is not only a labor law, but it is beginning to reach further beyond into social culture at DreamHost; harassment or isolation of any kind is just not tolerated. Shattering Traditional Workplace Barriers The first step in creating a better work environment is to work daily towards shattering the glass ceiling and all the other barriers that have limited women’s advancement and participation in the tech industry. These workplace barriers include things such as lack of mentoring, lack of women in leadership, tolerance for sexual harassment, toxic work cultures, lack of flexible work schedules, and failure to actively recruit women into the industry. The key to having more women working in the tech sector is to do a better job of hiring women at every stage of the pipeline. As the industry gains more women in senior management positions, there will be a marked increase in women at every other level. Shattering these workplace barriers requires a deep commitment to the goal of bringing more women into tech, a firm belief that having more women (and people of difference) in tech is good for the business, and it requires actively creating a culture that is welcoming to women. We have ensured that pay is equal for women as to men with people in the same position leveling up experience, education, and ability. At DreamHost, we have set ourselves apart from the toxic culture so prevalent in tech companies. We have a deep philosophical and business belief: The more women and more diverse people we have working with us, the better our company can serve our customers. It is an ongoing movement, and we are ecstatic to embrace it into our culture. Understanding Past Failures Technology is a forward-looking industry. But when it comes to creating a welcoming environment for women in the workplace, we cannot ignore the failures of the past. Currently, at DreamHost, our workforce is only 23 percent female. Sadly, this percentage is higher than at a great many tech companies. But it is not high enough. We recognize that we have not done enough to actively recruit talented women at every level of our organization. This has been one of our failures. We are working hard to make sure that women at DreamHost don’t have to work twice as hard as men to receive half of the recognition. We are creating a vibrant, inclusive, and healthy workplace culture. Our team is not only proud of the quality of our work, but the way our work is accomplished. Here at DreamHost, we choose to actively break from elements leading to toxic tech culture and have expanded our recruiting outreach efforts to bring more women into the company. Related: Fixing Tech’s Gender Gap: 10 Questions with Author Therese Huston Bring More Women into Tech It is no secret that there are not enough women in tech. The reason for this difference is simple: tech has not been welcoming to women. DreamHost is working to change the entire industry by being a model of how to cultivate a positive workplace culture. However, culture alone is not enough. We are also actively recruiting women for positions at all levels. We are making sure that, instead of finding barriers to career advancement, women discover a network of mentors dedicated to helping them accomplish all of their goals. We know that as women become more visible at our company and throughout the industry, more young girls will have the role models and mentors they need to choose technology as a future career. This will not only help DreamHost or the tech industry as a whole in the future, but it will also help the entire world. Increased Accountability We like to focus on the positive at DreamHost. However, we also know we cannot gloss over the reality that no matter how great of a culture we work daily to build internally, the culture in our society can be toxic. Just like most companies, we have a policy in writing. DreamHost does not tolerate any type of discrimination or harassment. We have strict policies and procedures in place to protect our employees. We refuse to knowingly allow anyone at any level to bully, threaten, harass, or assault anyone else. But more than that, we are working to make it taboo in our culture by addressing unconscious bias. We are working on building a better future with technology. This is why we got into tech. But to make the kind of future we envision, we need many more talented women (or any marginalized groups) not to be afraid to work in tech. The work is too important and too exciting to allow a toxic culture to keep the best and brightest minds from being fully engaged. In my workplace, we may not be perfect, but we recognize and are committed to a better future; one that is inclusive of women and anyone of difference. If you are looking for a stimulating tech career in a positive environment where all differences are celebrated, come and join us. DreamHost is always looking to add new exceptional members to the team. The post Building a More Inclusive Future in Tech appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

Run a Small Business? Here are 8 Ways to Manage Your Stress

There are plenty of perks to owning your business — like being the boss, for one. You get to see your own plans and dreams come to life. And you can set the company track exactly as you see fit. But the downside to running a small business? All of the stress that comes with it. That’s why learning to manage stress is crucial for small biz owners. “Managing stress is important as a business owner because typically, we tend to be sole proprietors or have few employees,” says Amanda Pratt MSW, LCSW, CPLC, The Chronic Illness Therapist, Imagine Life Therapy. “This means that if we burn out, it can ultimately slow business progress or momentum and when we aren’t well, our businesses can’t be well. We also know that if we cope poorly with stress, we tend to have worse physical and mental health outcomes overall, so business owner or not, this is an area that I feel should be a top priority for all of us.” Reducing stress should always be at the top of your to-do list to keep you sane — and your company healthy, too. “That’s why it’s important not to feel guilty for stepping back or prioritizing some ‘me’ time,” says Poppy Greenwood, mental health advocate, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of female entrepreneur support platform Meyvnn. Luckily, there are plenty of small business stress management techniques that will help take away the tension and anxiety of your work. Give these tactics a try to manage your stress levels. 8 Ways to Handle Small Biz Stress 1. Recognize What’s Going Well “This is one of the first things I will point out to clients — it’s just as important to recognize what’s going well (if not more so) as it is to recognize where things aren’t going so well,” Pratt says. “Strategies that work best for us tend to play off our strengths. It’s also good to take inventory of areas of coping where we tend to have more engaged or active responses to stress (versus disengaged responses) and can inform our future attempts at other areas of stress management. We all have habits that come more naturally to us that are healthy, and I believe these are the strategies we should tap into first to address when creating a stress management plan.” Plus, when you consider what’s going right with your business, that instantly puts you in a positive mindset, which makes it much easier to combat stress. “Taking stock of things that have gone well helps you put into perspective the change you are affecting and the growth that you have achieved,” Greenwood says. “Feeling that you’re making progress, no matter how small, is one of the best ways to relax. It helps you to recognize you’re on a journey, and that your work towards whatever goal you have is pushing you forwards. “It also just makes you feel more organized,” Greenwood says. “Being able to identify where things are working or are not makes you feel like you have control over what is happening, in what can feel like the chaos of running a business.” Focusing on the good things about your business also keeps your mind in the present. “When you’re stressed, your brain tells you that you have to stay vigilant,” says Drema Dial, Ph.D., psychologist and life coach. “Your brain goes into hyperdrive with all the things that could be going wrong, will go wrong, might have already gone wrong, and how will you fix it! This is one way our brain uses to keep us locked into familiar routines. This is precisely why it’s imperative to break this cycle, which keeps us chained to unhealthy coping behaviors and keeps your stress level high.” 2. Identify Your Stressors “Identifying your stressors is vital to be able to tackle them,” Greenwood says. “Stress usually comes from a problem you haven’t yet started to solve or are having trouble solving. I think the best way to identify stressors is to take a step back. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re constantly working and adjusting and testing to grow. Being in that kind of intense mindset all day long can really constrict a wider perspective you need to really pinpoint the areas that are causing you stress and how best to tackle them. Once you’ve identified what is causing you stress, you are much more able to work out how to deal with it. And even just identifying what is causing you stress can help alleviate some of it.” Remember that people respond to stress in their own unique way. “Self-awareness is key here because everyone is different,” says Mike McDonnell, international speaker, serial entrepreneur, global brand co-owner and podcaster. Once you know what stresses you out, you can delegate those tasks to others. If that’s not an option, knowing that a particular part of the job triggers anxiety can help you prepare to tackle it and just take a deep breath before going in. Over time, you can work on changing your response to the stressor. “We can do this through practicing mindfulness techniques to open our awareness to our body sensations, thoughts, and behaviors,” Pratt says. “We can also self-monitor through journaling or tracking mood states, symptoms and thought habits. And while it’s good to identify stressors, it’s even more important to identify our perceptions and responses to these stressors. Research shows us that it matters less what the stressor is and more how we respond to the stressor.” 3. Build a Solid Schedule “Structure is important because the more we plan, the less we have to actively anticipate what might happen,” Pratt says. “Planning helps us have a greater sense of self-efficacy or confidence in our ability to handle whatever might come up.” When you have a regular routine, you know what to expect at work, and that gives you a sense of peace and control, making it easier to keep stress at bay. If you know in advance that you have a difficult item to cross off your to-do list, tackle it first thing in the morning to avoid that sense of dread. Plus, you’ll feel accomplished and ready to conquer whatever else comes your way. Related: 17 Ways to Stay Focused When You’re Working from Home “Your body also likes a routine — it’s good for your circadian rhythm, which is effectively your internal body clock that can dictate things like when you feel tired or energized and can really impact your ability to focus,” Greenwood says. “For example, I know my energy and concentration dip around 3 p.m. So, in my routine around that time, I usually have a workout scheduled that gives me some time away to re-energize.” A common complaint from small business owners is that there are never enough hours in the day. “Usually when we delve into this issue, the problem is not a lack of time but a lack of a schedule,” Dial says. “A schedule allows a person to plan, to anticipate, and helps keep life organized. I recommend that all activities go onto a schedule, even play time!” 4. Prioritize Your Time There’s a reason “self-care” has become such a buzzword — we’ve come to realize just how crucial it is to carve out time for ourselves to keep a healthy mental state. Looking after yourself is key to keeping stress under control. “Prioritizing ‘me time’ is really important because it is so easy to get caught up in what you’re doing, you can really forget about yourself and who you are — separate from your business,” Greenwood says. “Taking time for yourself, or using it to go out with friends and family, is often what re-affirms your belief in what you’re doing. It’s really important to not lose yourself within your business, because that, in the worst case scenario, then can lead to your business itself losing its way.” As a small business owner, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of always being on the clock. Just as you schedule time for certain tasks you need to get done, you should schedule free time. “I teach clients to see their downtime as beneficial to creativity and efficiency because they tend to work better after taking a break,” Dial says. “Taking a break allows the brain to take in new information and to generate creativity.” 5. Learn to Say ‘No’ “When you’re starting out, you may not have the luxury of opportunities flying at you, so you say yes to everything,” McDonnell says. “But eventually you focus on your mission and ask yourself, ‘Will this help me get there?’ before deciding yes or no.” Of course, saying no can be really tough. But it’s important to remember your value and that you have limited time. “Instead of thinking you may offend the other person, it’s an opportunity to show them that when you decide to do something, you really value what you’re doing and you’re doing it on your terms,” Greenwood says. Otherwise, taking on more than you can handle is the fastest way to fall into a stress trap. “It’s important to learn that setting boundaries is necessary to safeguard small business owners’ well-being, their time, and to protect their business,” Dial says. “When approached with a request, the small business owner should ask themselves the following: ‘1. Is this something I want to do? 2. Do I have time to do it? 3. What is its importance level, and will it fit it into my schedule?’” Saying no is also key to setting boundaries. “When we don’t set boundaries, we end up feeling taken advantage of, burned out, stressed out, and end up as people pleasers, workaholics, isolated, or feeling misunderstood,” Pratt says. “Simply stated: Boundaries are one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health and wellness.” 6.Delegate or Outsource Tasks When you’re used to being the boss, it can be hard to let go and give up control. But as any small business owner knows, you can’t do it all. And if you’re trying to, then you’re probably not doing a good job at every single thing. That’s why learning how to delegate or outsource certain parts of the biz is a foundation for being successful. For example, do you struggle with Facebook but love working face-to-face with clients? Hiring a social media manager might free you up to do just that. Figure out how you want to spend your time — and what you’d rather avoid. Related: 10 Easy Social Media Tips for Your Hard-Working Small Business In the end, outsourcing allows you to grow your company. “It’s important early on to recognize where your weaknesses are, so that you can hand over those areas to other people who do them much better,” Greenwood says. “Doing this can also relieve so much stress, not having a task hang over you that you know you need to do but that you struggle with and find time-consuming.” 7. Choose Your Tools Wisely Work tools and software are meant to make your job easier — not harder. But if you’re spending more time learning how to use them than actually using them, it’s not doing you any favors. “It’s important to choose tools wisely, because they are meant to be the things that take away stress and help with tasks instead of adding to the problem,” Greenwood says. Opting for reliable small business apps, web management tools, and hosting services will always pay off in the end. Imagine if your business’ website went down? That’s why it’s worth using DreamHost hosting and WordPress to have one less thing to worry about. “Test out different software until you find the one that takes your stress away so you can benefit fully from it,” McDonnell says. Shared Hosting That Powers Your PurposeWe make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you.Choose Your Plan 8. Unplug During Your Off-time “You’re not a robot,” Greenwood says. “You can’t work all the time and expect to maintain the same level of productivity and efficiency. You need to replenish your energy levels, and not just physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When you’re working on your business, you want to be present and in the moment. That would be difficult if you’re unable to unplug in your off time and feel a conflict between your work life and your personal life.” As a small business owner, you probably feel tied to your phone, but you need time away from answering emails and checking in with customers. “Unplugging and doing a digital detox allows parts of your brain to rest,” Dial says. “Reading, watching TV, going for a walk, and talking with others are all great ways to engage a different part of your brain. Make sure you take time for activities you find enjoyable. It’s essential to combat stress by seeking out experiences that will help restore you.” It’s especially important to power down your devices and avoid blue light, which can keep you awake, at least an hour before bedtime. Plus, you won’t have to worry about an email keeping you up that night. You’ll sleep better so you can be rested and alert for the next day of tending to your business. Related: 5 Problems That Keep Small Biz Owners Awake at Night (and What We’re Doing to Fix Them) Breathe In and Out It’s no secret that running a small business is one of the most challenging (and stressful) things you’ll ever take on. But it’s also one of the most rewarding! So tell us: how do you manage your stress as a small-biz owner? What keeps you fired up as you “Rise and Grind?” Connect with us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts! The post Run a Small Business? Here are 8 Ways to Manage Your Stress appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

How to Make a Wedding Website with WordPress

These days, it seems like every wedding has its own site. It makes sense — if you have a website, guests can find all the information they need in one place. However, weddings are stressful enough without having to worry about creating a site. That’s where WordPress comes in. You can easily use the platform to create a gorgeous wedding website. It even enables you to add some key features such as wish registries, guestbooks, and more. The customization options are endless! In this article, we’ll discuss why you should use WordPress for your wedding site, and teach you how to make one in four steps (no wedding planner required). We have a lot of information to cover, so let’s dig in! Why You Should Use WordPress for Your Wedding Website WordPress isn’t the first platform that comes to mind when people think of a wedding website. However, the Content Management System (CMS) is perfect for more than just blogging. To give you an idea, right now WordPress powers over 30 percent of the web, so you know it’s doing something right. For wedding websites, you need a platform that’s easy to customize with the details of your special day. It also doesn’t hurt to have access to features that will take a load off your shoulders when it comes to planning. That includes keeping track of RSVPs, guest accommodations, gift registries, and more. You’ll also want a tool that makes responsive design easy. WordPress can easily handle these necessities. On top of that, the platform itself is free. So your upfront costs for setting up a website can be pretty cheap, particularly if you do it yourself. Related: How Much Does It Actually Cost to Set Up a WordPress Website? How to Make a Wedding Website With WordPress (In 4 Steps) Building a wedding site with WordPress may not require many steps, but some of them may take you a while. If your wedding is on the horizon, now would be a great moment to start working on its website! Step 1: Choose a Web Host and Install WordPress The first step of creating any website is to register a domain name and choose a web host. Registering a domain name is pretty simple, so we won’t take up much of your time with it. Likewise, choosing which name to use shouldn’t take long. If your name is Jack and you’re marrying Susan, give jackandsusanaregettinghitched.com a go. Choosing a web host, on the other hand, can get tricky. Since you’re probably looking to build a website on a budget, you’ll want to stick to shared plans. Whichever provider you choose should offer good performance and an excellent support system. It should also play nicely with WordPress. With that in mind, we’re going to throw our hat into the ring with our own WordPress shared hosting plans. The basic tier starts at just $2.59 per month, and it’s more than powerful enough for a wedding website. Once you sign up for a hosting plan, you’ll want to install WordPress. If you choose one of our plans, WordPress should be up and running already, so you can get started right away. Love at First SiteWedding planning just got simpler — build your website with WordPress and DreamHost.Get Started Step 2: Pick the Perfect WordPress Wedding Event Theme The foundation of any great WordPress site is the perfect theme. WordPress themes are essentially a template for the layout of your website, complete with everything you need to design a beautiful site — think fonts, menu structure, etc. As far as wedding websites go, you need a responsive WordPress theme that enables photographs to shine. After all, most wedding websites are filled to the brim with photos of the bride and groom. On top of that, any theme you choose should meet these three criteria: It gets constant updates. It has good ratings. The developers answer support queries. You’ll also want a theme that’s easy to customize. There are thousands of theme options to choose from, including free and premium themes, but we recommend you go with something that was built with weddings in mind. Take Jack & Rose, for example. This premium WordPress theme ($50) enables you to put photographs and videos front and center, which is perfect. It also makes excellent use of pastel colors and elegant design — which are perfect for a wedding website — and includes a countdown timer (we’ll let you guess to which date). Another great option would be the Moments premium theme ($59). This one isn’t just for weddings — it also works well for other types of events. The wedding templates this theme includes are gorgeous. They all feature a minimalist design that’s perfect if you want to put together a simple, understated wedding website. Keep in mind — these aren’t the only choices out there. A quick Google search for ‘wordpress wedding themes’ will reveal hundreds of options, including free wedding themes on the WordPress directory. Take your time to find the perfect one, and then install it on your site. Related: How This DreamHost Customer Grew a Photography Business with a Vibrant Website Step 3: Add Advanced Features to Your Website Using Plugins If you want to take your wedding website to the next level, you’ll want to use WordPress plugins. In this section, we’ll explore different features you might like to include, and introduce you to plugins you can use to implement them. Guestbook A digital contact form enables visitors to your website to send their best wishes, ask questions without blowing up your phone, and more. We recommend trying out the Gwolle Guestbook plugin. With this plugin, you can add a dedicated guest book section to any of your pages. Visitors won’t need to sign up to use it, and you get the chance to review comments before they go public. Wish Registry The best part of any wedding — aside from marrying the person you love, of course — is that you get lots of presents. These days, online shops have made it easier to set up wedding registries. With a wedding website of your own, you can dedicate a whole page just to the gift registry, so everyone knows what to buy for the happy couple. For this particular purpose, we recommend the WPGiftRegistry plugin. Using WPGiftRegistry, you can set up lists of all the items you want and include images, URLs, descriptions, and prices. Best of all, it works for almost any item you want, as long as you can find a URL to buy it. Google Maps Including a map on your wedding website is a smart move to make sure no bridesmaids and groomsmen get left behind. Just adding the location in plain text also works, but why settle when you can showcase a fancy map as well? There are plenty of online map services you can use to integrate maps on your website. However, we’re big fans of Google Maps, which means we’ll focus on plugins that work with it. First off, we recommend the WP Google Maps plugin, which enables you to ‘create’ multiple maps and add them anywhere on your site by pasting in a shortcode. If you’re more of a widgets person, you might prefer using the Google Maps Widget. This plugin enables you to add a map to your sidebar or footer. Regardless of which plugin you use, you’ll end up with a smart-looking Google map on your website. Countdown Timer One hallmark of wedding websites is a countdown timer that ticks the seconds away until you get to the altar. It’s easy to implement and adds a bit of fun to your website. There are plenty of plugins you can use to add countdown timers to WordPress. One of our favorites is Countdown Timer Ultimate, which enables you to add timers with fun designs. If you want something a little more classy, T(-) Countdown features some more toned-down styles, and it’s just as easy to use. In any case, you want to make sure your countdown timer is placed near the top of your home page. That way it’s easy to see, and everyone can keep track of the date. Photo Gallery Last but not least, we have a photo album. Every wedding website needs a place where you can show off all your pictures in a convenient gallery format. WordPress supports image galleries out of the box. However, if you want to have a little fun with yours, we recommend using a plugin such as Photo Gallery by 10web. You might also want to give Image Gallery by Robo a chance. This plugin also supports multiple gallery formats and enables you to add social media sharing options. As far as WordPress plugins go, photo galleries are one of the most popular subjects. That means you have dozens of options to choose from, so feel free to look around at some more if you want to! Step 4: Customize Your Wedding Website’s Pages Now comes the hard part, which is putting together all the pages you want your wedding website to include. You should now have all the tools you need to make that happen. To get you started, we’ll go over some of the most common pages wedding websites include, talk about their elements, and show you some examples. That way, you can narrow down what you want and get to work on it. Our Story No wedding website is complete without a little backstory on the couple. An Our Story page is the perfect place to share how you met, how long you’ve been together for, and other details about your relationship. Venue Earlier, we talked about how to add a map to your wedding website. A Venue or Location page is the perfect place to include that map, as well as the full address for the location, and what time guests should arrive. Accommodations A lot of people choose to get married in out-of-the-way spots. If you’re one of them, your guests will need someplace to stay. Usually, it’s your job to point them to the most convenient hotels. An Accommodations page is where you put all that information, including any special rates hotels are willing to give members of your wedding party. Guestbook We also showed you how to add a guestbook to your wedding website. Ideally, that guestbook should have its own page, so visitors can browse through the comments at their leisure. Gift Registry Something as fun as your wish list deserves its own little corner on your website. A Gift Registry page should include all the items you want and where to buy them. You can also enable guests to purchase items online from your site, using the plugin we showed you earlier. RSVP Form One of the most important parts of any wedding is the guest list. With an RSVP page, people can fill out a form to let you know if they’re going to attend and if they’re bringing a guest. Photo Gallery Photo galleries are so versatile, yours doesn’t need its own page — it can go anywhere you want! Some great places to include a photo gallery include your site’s home page, and your Our Story page. Blog If you want your site’s visitors to accompany you through your entire journey, you can provide updates on a blog. Luckily for you, WordPress is the best blogging platform around. You’ll have no problem writing and formatting posts using its editor. Tie The Knot If you want to create a wedding website on a budget, WordPress is a great choice. It’s is easy to pick up, and combined with the right theme and plugins, it makes building (and customizing!) a beautiful wedding website much simpler. Do you have any questions about how to make a website using WordPress for your wedding day? Follow us on Twitter and let’s talk! The post How to Make a Wedding Website with WordPress appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Start a Podcast With WordPress (2019)

Starting a new podcast presents a whole host of challenges. Not only do you have to battle any potential nerves that come with recording your voice for thousands of people to hear — but you’ll also have to set up a way to publish and share your new content. Fortunately, you can easily launch your new podcast with WordPress, the world’s most popular Content Management System. Several plugins can help you display your new show right on your website. That way, you can start expanding your brand to a new audience and even tap into an additional source of income. In this article, we’ll discuss what podcasts are and how you could benefit from starting one. Then we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast with WordPress. Let’s jump in! An Introduction to Podcasts Podcasts are audio files that you can download or listen to on the internet. In some ways, they’re similar to radio shows, since they rely on the podcaster’s ability to engage the audience with sound, usually through speaking. Podcasts are often presented in a series of episodes, and there are several different styles and types. Some focus on telling true or imagined stories, while others offer commentary on specific subjects. It’s also common to bring guests onto a podcast, for interviews or panels. The Benefits of Starting Your Own Podcast Whether you’re looking to expand your existing brand or launch a podcast as a first-time content creator, there are many benefits to starting one. For some people, a podcast is a chance to dig deeper into subjects that interest them and can become a fulfilling hobby. Others find ways to turn their podcasts into a business through monetization. You can work with brands through advertising deals or even sell memberships and content. If you offer products or services, you could also use your podcast to promote sales. As far as branding goes, a podcast is an effective method for engaging with consumers. With a podcast, it’s easy to sit down and speak casually to your target audience, so you can really show off your brand’s personality and encourage trust and loyalty from your listeners. Of course, you’ll also have the chance to reach new audience members. While content such as blog posts or videos work for some people, others find audio preferable. People with long commutes, for example, may not have time to read a blog. However, they can listen to a podcast while they drive to and from work. How to Start a Podcast With WordPress (In 9 Steps) With WordPress, you can create a website that will both promote your podcast and enable your audience to find new episodes. Plus, WordPress integrates with the media hosting service Blubrry, which makes maintaining your podcast easy. In the following nine steps, we’ll show you how to get started! Step 1: Create a Plan for Your Podcast’s Content Without careful planning, you could end up in a sticky situation with your podcast. You don’t want to publish your first couple of episodes, only to realize that you’re out of ideas for content. Likewise, if you want to successfully monetize your podcast, having a strategy is key. To begin with, it’s necessary to find a specific topic or niche your podcast will fit into. This can make it easier to grow your audience and keep them engaged by providing content they’ll find relevant and interesting. The bigger your audience is, the easier it will be to get advertising deals. For example, the podcast Welcome to Night Vale shares eccentric fictional stories from an imagined town called Night Vale in the form of realistic radio broadcasts. This entertaining show attracts listeners who are interested in comedy and storytelling. It’s also helpful for listeners if you have a regular posting schedule, so they know when to expect new content from you. By posting consistently, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining and growing your pool of listeners. What’s more, it’s essential to take time to gather your resources. While it’s tempting to jump right into your first episode and worry about the rest later, that could cause problems later on. You don’t want to be in the middle of recording and realize you don’t have the sources or material you need for the episode. Finally, it’s especially vital to plan ahead when you’re working with others. For example, before you can do an interview, you’ll need to ask the interviewee’s permission and coordinate schedules. You may want to outline your first five episodes before going any further and make note of what you’ll need to have prepared before each recording. Step 2: Set Up Your Podcast Website While you could technically set up a podcast without a website, it’s not recommended. A site makes it easier to promote your podcast, share information about it, and build a community of listeners. You can also direct your audience to other relevant locations for your brand, such as your blog or specific product pages. To set up a new website, you’ll need a domain name and a hosting provider. You can quickly register your domain name with us at DreamHost. Just check the name you want in our Domains Search Tool to ensure that it’s not taken, then purchase and register it. As for web hosting, a managed option such as our DreamPress plan is ideal for self-hosted WordPress sites. With a managed WordPress plan, your hosting provider will take care of maintenance tasks such as backups and updates for you, so you can focus on creating your podcast and communicating with your audience. A managed WordPress hosting plan should also make it easy to install WordPress. At DreamHost, WordPress comes pre-installed on our DreamPress plans — right out of the box. If you opt for a different plan, you can easily add WordPress through our one-click installer. Just log in to your DreamHost account, navigate to WordPress in the sidebar, and select One-Click Installs. On the resulting page, select the WordPress icon from the list, and the installation options will open in a pop-up window. Click Install it for me now!, and you’ll soon have your WordPress site up and running. Then, all that’s left to do is customize your site with a theme, plugins, and any other features or content you want to add. Once your site is ready to go, you can start getting it prepared for your podcast. Get More with DreamPressDreamPress Plus and Pro users get access to Jetpack Professional (and 200+ premium themes) at no added cost!Check Out Plans Step 3: Host Your Podcast With a Media Hosting Service While your website is critical to the success of your podcast, it won’t do a very good job of hosting your audio files. This means you’ll want to look into a podcast hosting service that can store your files for you. As we mentioned before, Blubrry is an excellent option. Its plans start at $12 per month for 100MB of storage. You’ll receive an additional 100MB every month (for example, you’ll get a total of 200MB during your second month with Blubrry, 300MB during your third month, and so on). This is enough storage for a weekly podcast of about 20 minutes per episode. Additionally, you’ll be able to add a media player to your website so your audience can listen to episodes directly from your site. The player is ‘white-labeled’, so you don’t have to worry about third-party branding on your site, and you can customize the player to blend with your site’s design. Related: How to Start a WordPress Blog: A Comprehensive Guide Step 4: Acquire Your Podcasting Equipment With everything ready to store your podcast’s files, it’s time to actually create your content. First, you’ll need the right tools to do this. Creating a podcast involves both recording and editing audio, so you’ll want equipment that can handle both of these tasks. Using the right equipment ensures high-quality audio for your show, which in turn impacts how listeners perceive your podcast. If there’s too much background noise or it’s hard to understand what you’re saying, you’ll have a difficult time maintaining a following. To get the ball rolling, you’ll want a microphone that can capture your audio. If you’re brand-new to podcasting and want something easy to use, the SamsonQ2U is worth considering. You could also look into the Rode Podcaster, a mic designed specifically for podcasting. You’ll also need editing software. Podcast episodes can be fairly long, and you’re not expected to record each one in a single take. Having the ability to edit your audio will prove helpful since you can cut out any unexpected sounds (such as sneezes or coughs), take breaks, or fix mistakes. Garageband is free for Mac users and gets the job done with basic editing features. It’s a great tool for beginners because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require a financial investment. If you don’t use a Mac, or you want something with more advanced features, you can try Audacity. The downside is that it has a fairly steep learning curve and can be tricky to use when you’re first starting out. If you’re willing to pay for your editing software, Adobe Audition is another option used by many podcasters. It’s capable of producing professional-quality audio. However, at almost $21 per month, you might want to consider using a free platform until your podcast starts making money. Step 5: Prep, Record, and Edit Your First Podcast You’re probably itching to record your first episode by now. Before you do so, however, you’ll want to consider putting in some prep work. Creating an outline or even a full script for your podcast episodes can help you save time, by ensuring that you have enough content for the entire episode. If you’re going to be doing an interview or a panel on your podcast, preparing questions for your guests keeps you focused and is courteous to the people you’re working with. You don’t want to waste others’ time because you don’t know what to talk about at your own interview, after all. Once your preparations are complete, you can finally sit down to record. To ensure good sound quality, record in a small room and maintain a consistent distance from your microphone. It’s also a good idea to wear headphones, such as the ATH-M50x by Audio Technica, to prevent audio feedback. During the editing phase, you can also add interest to your podcast with background or intro music. For example, you can upload music clips to your editing software and combine them with your recording. Just make sure to avoid copyright infringement by using royalty-free clips. Step 6: Publish Your Podcast With WordPress The Blubrry PowerPress plugin makes publishing your podcast on your website simple. By installing and activating PowerPress, you’ll also be able to upload your podcast to Blubrry’s hosting platform via your WordPress site. Once you’ve activated the podcast plugin, simply configure its settings by filling in the required fields. You can also link the plugin to your Blubrry Media Hosting Account, which will streamline the rest of the process. To publish your first podcast episode, navigate to Posts in the WordPress dashboard and select Add New. Enter your episode’s title and any notes on the episode into the editor and then scroll down to the section labeled Podcast Episode. Here, you can drag and drop to upload your podcast to your site. Simply click on the folder icon next to the Media URL field, and select the podcast file from your computer. Once the file has finished uploading, scroll back up and click on Publish to add the episode to your site. You’ll still need to add the file to your Blubrry hosting account, which you can easily do within WordPress by navigating to PowerPress > Migrate Media. Click Select Media to Migrate, and choose the correct audio file from the list. Then click on the Request Migration button. Depending on the size of your file, it could take some time for your episode to migrate. Therefore, you’ll want to check back in on the migration page every so often. Once “Step 2” is shown as complete, click on Update Your Episodes to finish the process. Related: The WordPress Blogger Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Hitting Publish Step 7: Submit Your Episodes to Podcast Directories While featuring your podcast on your WordPress website is important, it’s also beneficial to tap into the pre-existing audiences on a podcast player, such as iTunes or Stitcher. These directories are where many listeners look for new popular podcasts and can help you expand your audience and gain more subscribers. To submit a podcast to iTunes, you’ll need an Apple ID. Log in or create one, then navigate to the Podcasts section and click on the Submit a Podcast link. You’ll be asked to supply an RSS feed, which you can find via PowerPress. In the plugin’s settings, navigate to the Destinations tab, and select the Submit to iTunes link. You’ll be directed to a page on Blubrry’s site, which will display your RSS feed’s URL. Copy and paste that into iTunes. After that, you can review your podcast information and then click on Submit. It can take up to ten days for your podcast to be approved, although most are up in the Apple Podcasts directory within three days. If you want to submit your podcast to Stitcher, you’ll need to sign up to be a partner. Once you’ve submitted your contact information, Stitcher will contact you and help you create a partner account, which you can use to submit episodes. Apart from those platforms, you might also want to submit your podcast to SoundCloud, Spotify, or Google Podcasts. The more platforms you use, the wider reach you’ll have. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this will also require more maintenance since you’ll have to update each platform with new episodes and other updates. Step 8: Promote Your Podcast to Gain Followers Now that your podcast is up and running, you’re ready to start promoting it to gain subscribers and grow your audience. While you’ll hopefully gain some followers organically through podcast directories, it’s difficult for a show to take off without a marketing strategy. Posting about your podcast on social media can make it easier to spark some interest. You might also try running a giveaway or special promotions for listeners, to encourage them to tune in regularly. Having guests on your show is especially helpful, as it lets you tap into pre-existing audiences. Finally, consider providing your podcast content in other formats. Some podcasters film videos while recording their podcasts, and post those videos on their websites, YouTube, or other social media platforms. Transcripts can easily be turned into a blog post, which makes your podcast’s content more accessible. Step 9: Monetize Your Podcast Once your podcast is off the ground and has started to gain traction, you can start thinking about monetizing it. There are several options when it comes to generating revenue from your podcast, and you can implement any or all of them to turn your show into a business. Ads are a very popular way of monetizing podcasts. You can reach out to sponsors and negotiate deals on your own or you can become part of an advertising network such as Blubrry’s. If your audience seems to be invested in your podcast, you can consider creating bonus content and charging for access to it. If people really enjoy your show, they may be willing to pay for more of it. You can also charge membership fees through platforms such as Patreon. Additionally, if your podcast is part of a larger brand, it can give you space to promote other content, products, and services. Just remember that the podcast itself shouldn’t become an ad, and should provide valuable entertainment and/or information (rather than solely promoting your business). Ready to Go On Air? Starting a new podcast can be both exciting and stressful. Fortunately, using WordPress to publish your podcast can help smooth out the process of launching your new show. With the help of a few plugins and the right equipment, you’ll be ready to take your brand to new heights. Do you have any questions about starting a new podcast with WordPress? Connect with us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts! The post Step-by-Step Guide: How to Start a Podcast With WordPress (2019) appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

6 Compelling Templates You Can Use to Create Your Website

Using a template for your website is a smart way to create a framework without having to build everything from scratch. If you’re a WordPress user, you’ll notice that templates serve nearly an identical function to themes. They give you a starting point, which you can then customize. The best templates are usually tailored to a specific purpose and should be easy to edit so they match your preferences perfectly. Fortunately, our Remixer website builder contains a number of compelling and functional templates, also known as Remixer themes. Each can be easily configured using a simple click-to-edit interface. In this guide, we’ll look at the different types of websites you can create in Remixer and show you the templates that will get you there. 1. Small Business As a small business owner, you’ll want a site that clearly highlights your products or services and provides all the information your potential customers are likely to need. Fortunately, the Small Business template is a great place to start. This template is ideal for small businesses that want a simple but attention-grabbing landing page. By default, it contains sections where you can highlight featured products with both an image and supporting details. The Small Business template is also equipped with an animated slider, where you can add customer reviews and testimonials. This is a perfect way to create a vivid and engaging page without making it feel cluttered. Toward the bottom of the page, you’ll find a menu and contact details. Here you can add practical information for your potential and existing clients. Naturally, the menu won’t apply to all businesses, but you’re free to use the Remixer tools to replace it with a section that is more appropriate to your requirements. Related: The 30 Best Apps for Small Businesses in 2019 Also Recommended: Bistro If your business is based around food (or you want a sleek and simple site for a restaurant or food truck), you might also want to consider the Bistro template. This option is focused on presenting information in a straightforward manner, featuring product images and a menu front and center. In a nutshell, Bistro is a no-frills option that still looks very appealing. With this template, you can easily create a functional and professional site in minutes by adding your own menu and images. 2. Professional Creating an effective website about yourself relies on solid storytelling. You have to show off your skills, experience, and accomplishments in a way that’s engaging. This isn’t always easy, but using the Professional template will help you along the way. This template is designed to highlight a professional individual and their accomplishments. Whether you’re a photographer, fashion designer, or another type of creative professional, this template can be used to show off your skills in the best possible light. There are places to add testimonials, along with plenty of images. The included gallery feature enables users to click on photos to see their full-size versions. Naturally, you can customize the gallery to suit your requirements. Plus, by adding your own story to this template, you can quickly display your skill set to potential collaborators and clients. Related: How This DreamHost Customer Grew a Photography Business with a Vibrant Website Also Recommended: Presenter If the focus of your site is not yourself but a single product, the Presenter template has your back. This is a very clean and simple template, which can be used to highlight an individual product or service effectively. The first thing you’ll see in this template is a prominent product image along with supporting information and a clear Call to Action (CTA). Scrolling down, you’ll find sections where you can discuss the benefits and features of the product. All you have to do is to replace the dummy content with your own copy, and you’ll have a robust product landing page in no time. 3. Event If you’re planning a gathering that requires complex logistics and information that needs to be made available to a lot of people, the Event template is a great fit. The default template uses a wedding as the event in question, but you can use it for pretty much any occasion you need an online portal for. This template includes sections covering the event’s location and time, and even offers an image gallery. You could also use this template for a wide range of events — from a birthday or graduation to a corporate event or conference. The great thing about this template is that Remixer enables you to make the finished site all your own, just as much as the event itself. Also Recommended: Capture The Capture template is a very basic but stylish alternative to Event. If your occasion doesn’t require as much complexity, this template might be for you. Perhaps it’s a concert or business event, for example, and you only need to provide simple information. The dark theme and pre-included photo gallery make Capture stand out without being flashy. If you scroll down, you’ll also see the contact form, which you can use to let visitors ask questions or even sign up for the event. 4. Creative Sometimes you want your work to speak for itself. As a creative professional, your primary focus is on the work you create, and you’ll likely want your site to reflect that. If that’s the case, the elegant Creative template is for you. This is a minimalist template with very little text content, which instead focuses on white space that lets the images take the spotlight. You can use this feature to highlight your portfolio, without cluttering the site with unnecessary content. Naturally, you can tailor your portfolio to match the kind of work you want to feature. For example, you can add more text to describe each piece or take the text out entirely to give your work even more space to shine. Using the Creative template is one of the fastest and simplest ways to highlight your artwork or designs on your website. The customizability of Remixer also enables you to easily configure the base template to create something unique with minimal time and effort. Also Recommended: The Traveler If you want to share an experience or story, The Traveler lets you do that with a captivating design. It’s a more content-heavy option and enables you to construct a story using your art. Images, colors, and text are used together to let you create something attention-grabbing and unique. You can choose from a handful of color schemes, and customize everything to construct a design that is best suited to telling the story of your work. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up 5. Storyteller Storyteller is a breezy and versatile template that lets you work with several different types of content. While not strictly a blog, it uses a similar style to help text, video, featured images, and photo galleries all come together. As the name implies, this template is a solid choice for those who want to tell a story with their content. The way different elements are contrasted and complement each other opens up many creative design options. Also Recommended: Documentation If you want the most scaled-down, no-frills approach to website design, Documentation may be what you’re looking for. This is a template created especially for text content with minimal styling. It’s perfect if you want to include large amounts of text without any flashy formatting or content. Plus, it’s highly functional and very easy to maintain. 6. Startup If you’re a startup business looking to promote a unique idea, we recommend the aptly-named Startup template. The goal of this template is to present and explain your business using a clean design. Images and text get plenty of space to stand out, which makes it easy to highlight the benefits of your business. As with all landing pages, this one is built around a singular focus that you want to impart to the visitor. In this case, that focus is your idea. The sections that combine images and text enable you to tell your business’ story, explain what you do, and illustrate the benefits of your work. Also Recommended: Sound Perhaps your startup is a little more personal than a company that designs robots. Maybe it’s just you, your band, and your instruments. In that case, the Sound template is ideal for showcasing your work. This design includes a tour schedule, a place to introduce the band members, and a video section where you can show off your stuff. Need a Beautiful Website?Design it yourself with Remixer, our easy-to-use website builder. No coding required.Set Up Your Site Finding Your Perfect Fit Creating a website used to be a time-consuming, technical process that required experience and patience. But times have changed. Remixer, along with its many included templates, enables you to create just about any type of website you can envision. Plus, the click-to-edit interface makes it easy to customize your template to match your unique needs. In short, this is a perfect solution for when you want a fast, easy tool that requires little-to-no prior experience. The post 6 Compelling Templates You Can Use to Create Your Website appeared first on Welcome to the Official DreamHost Blog.

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