If you keep up on any websites or blogs that offer marketing and branding business advice, chances are you’ve probably seen the term “personal branding” mentioned in a handful of articles this year. Thanks to the huge amount of information available on the Internet today, consumers are spending more and more time doing their research on companies, brands, and products before making any purchasing decisions. Many also spend time doing research on the individuals associated with the companies they’re considering buying products and services from. For this reason, many CEOs, managers, salespeople, and other professionals within organizations have started developing their own personal brands online. In the post below, we’ll explain what a personal brand is, why you need to spend time managing your own, and how to get started.
What Is a Personal Brand?
So what is a personal brand anyway?
According to marketing and branding expert Dan Schawbel, personal branding is, “the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.”
Do I Have a Personal Brand?
Although you might not realize it (or want to admit it), you already have a personal brand. Thanks to search engine sites like Google, we’ve all become accustomed to opening up our laptops or taking out our smartphones whenever we want to know more information about the people we meet. Most of us have Googled ourselves at least once before (and some of us do this quite often). We want to know what information is out there about us. If you have ever taken the time to Google yourself or someone else, you support the idea that we all have personal brands. We all use the Internet as a tool to find out more about the people we interact (or plan to interact) with.
Now that you understand the fact that you have a personal brand, the question you need to ask yourself is this: are you managing the information that people are finding about you online? Or are you completely unaware of what kind of first impression you’re making when your prospects go to search for you online? If you haven’t taken the time to develop strategies for monitoring, maintaining, and strengthening your personal brand, now is the time to get started.
What Are The Benefits of Setting Up a Personal Brand Website?
One of the best strategies you can use to build up your personal brand is to purchase a domain name and launch a website for yourself. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you find out if YourName.com is available to purchase. If it is, buy it and use it as the primary domain for your personal brand website. There are many benefits associated with setting up your own personal branding website. Here are just a few:
Your personal brand website will eventually start showing up in search results when people enter your name into sites like Google and Bing. It’s likely the first link people will click on once it starts showing up on the first page of results to searches for your name.
Unlike sites like Facebook and Twitter, your personal brand website gives you complete control over how (and what) information is presented about you.
Your personal brand website allows you to become a better manager of your online reputation. It’s your opportunity to set any stories straight.
Your personal brand website will help make it easier for you to leverage yourself as an expert in your industry (through original blog posts, videos, and other types of content).
Best of all, your personal brand website helps you make a better first impression. It can help illustrate your professionalism, your knowledge, and your ability to help your customers find solutions and answers to their problems.
How Can I Get Started?
As mentioned above, the first step is to find and purchase YourName.com (or some variation of it depending on what is available). Next, you should spend time formulating a plan for what you want to include on your personal brand website. We recommend at least the following:
An About section with a photo and/or video of you
Links to your company website, products, and social links
Information about your hobbies and interests outside of work
Helpful resources related to your industry
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Your personal brand website is not your resume. It’s your opportunity to help people understand who you are, why you do what you do, and how you can help them. Your personal brand website should also never be static (as in, you set it up and never look at it or think about it ever again). Instead, it should constantly be updated with new information that your current and prospective customers (and Google) will find interesting.
What questions do you have about setting up your personal brand website? Leave a comment for us below!
I’m sure many of you have started to notice some buzz around Pinterest lately and wondered what is Pinterest? So we thought of writing a quick note on it for all you knowledge hungry people.
Simply put, Pinterest is a photo-sharing social network that allows users to create image collections called “pinboards”. Users can browse other pinboards and even re-pin images to their own pinboard. Their goal is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” Just like other social networks, you can follow friends, like pins and comment on the same.
So can this social network be a part of your larger social media strategy? Let’s find out.
It’s getting Bigger: According to Compete, Pinterest.com receives about 300 million unique visitors per month. The network already boasts a user base of 3.3 million which growing at a lightning pace.
Connect with more people: Unlike other social networks, people on Pinterest are connected by shared interests, their passions, hobbies, tastes and values.
What inspires you: Don’t just show off your products, show your human side, things that inspire you, your favorite holiday destination and so on.
Track, Track and Track some more: With built in analytics, learn what pinners like, most re-pins and use this information to improve your website design & offering.
Pin from your website: Pinterest offers a nifty social widget that you can place on your site to allow visitors to pin directly from your site. You may already have Facebook & Twitter connects, why not pinterest
Visual Media does work: It’s common knowledge that visual media always works better than long lines of text to drive the point home and pinterest does just that.
Connect with your Blog: Drive more traffic to your blog articles by adding the same as pins on your pinterest page.
Insights into your Buyer Persona: This is really important for all businesses. Pinterest makes it a little easier to learn about your customers. Track their pins/re-pins to get insights in your ideal customer.
Ads: Recently launched, you can now pay to advertise on Pinterest via promoted pins. This is great to find people and get the much needed attention all businesses need.
All in all, Pinterest might not be for everyone but its definitely a great new social media to consider. It may take a little more time to get popular in markets like India but it’ll get there for sure.
We’d love to know if any of you have firsthand experience being on Pinterest, do share your story with us.
Earlier this year, we mentioned a few of the features that would be launching alongside MyIX, and one of the first ones is ready for you to see:
Introducing the IX Web Hosting Website Directory!
With this new catalog, we’ve made it possible to see how similar sites and competitors in your industry are creating their websites. You can also browse each others’ sites to get some ideas for your own, as well as cross-promote your services to help improve your SEO.
Additionally, we will pick new websites from our network every week to be featured on our site directory. Those customers will get a badge to add to their site so they can show off their cool new status!
And guess what? YOU can be part of this new feature!
Check out the sites we currently have featured at http://www.ixwebsites.com/. While you’re there, browse through the different categories and see if anyone has a site that has a similar focus to yours.
And, if you want to add your site to our directory, just login to your control panel at my.ixwebhosting.com and follow these steps:
1. Click “My Profile” on the top tool bar.
2. Click “Website Information” on the left.
3. Click “Add Website Profile” at the top and fill out the information about your site!
The more detail you provide, the more information we can be list for your site in the directory!
So go ahead and check it out now! You can be one of the first to get your site added and viewable by other IX customers.
On April 21st, 2014, I’m going to run the Boston Marathon. If you want to show your support, please donate to a good cause for cancer research. Anyone who wants to give is welcome.
So many people have been affected by cancer, including members of my own family. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute funds basic and innovative cancer research. That’s why I’m trying to raise $9,000 for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.
I’ve been running for a few years now (that’s me at the San Francisco marathon), but this is the first time I’m trying to run to raise money for a cause, and I would really appreciate donations. It won’t give you more PageRank or a higher rank on Google, but Dana-Farber is a great institution and I’d love to raise as much money for them as I can before I run in Boston. If you can, please consider donating to kick cancer’s butt. Thank you!
For Halloween 2013 I decided to be the Dread Pirate Roberts from the movie The Princess Bride:
I even grew a slight moustache to help make the character believable:
But to be clear, I wasn’t just any old Dread Pirate Roberts. I decided to be the Silk Road Dread Pirate Roberts. So if you want to buy some Iocaine powder, it’ll cost you five bitcoins:
By the way, I did have a couple Penguin masks and a tuxedo. I thought about doing a Penguin costume, but decided not to. Maybe next year?
The Cyber Space today is buzzing with information from different Businesses to Hobbies. Everyone wants to have an online identity today. Given the amount of time and effort one needs to put into their blog/website, it is essential to understand which blogging platform will suit your needs. These blogging platforms not only help with the presentation of your work, but also help in designing the look and feel of your blog/website. Today we talk about two popular and widely used platforms, WordPress and Blogger. Both of these blogging platforms are the skeleton of millions of websites and blogs. As per the recent survey by W3Tech, it is believed that almost 1 out of every 5 websites is powered by WordPress (20% of all websites on the Internet). Blogger on the same survey resulted in powering around 1.2% of all the websites on the internet. It will be unjust to just overlook a product merely by its current statistics. By the way 1.2% of the total websites in the world is still some million websites J
The above stats just show the popularity base, but then again it comes down to what really you want. Let’s look at each one of the Platforms, including their Pros and Cons, to understand which one is the better deal for you.
Blogger: Also known as BlogSpot, this product is a brain child of Pyra Labs, which was later bought by Google in the year 2003. A lot of changes and improvisations happened which led to the eventual popularity of Blogger. This Platform has been around for some time and has played a revolutionary role in bringing Blogging to the mainstream.
It’s free. Anyone can sign up for this at zero cost. If you have a Google account, then you already have a Blogger account. No need for paying up for domain name and web hosting.
Easy to Use. The user interface is very easy and self explanatory and you can master it in no time. You save time on starting up and can focus directly on your content.
Stable. It’s been around for some time and most of the issues have been eliminated.
Reliable. The data is stored on Google’s awesome servers which have never experienced downtime or any sort of data theft.
Monetization integrated. The Google AdSense System is built within Blogger, thus making it easy to track the earnings under one roof.
Limited Customization. The themes and styles offered by this platform are limited; hence customization to your imagination might just not be possible.
No Plugins. Like in WordPress, Plugins empower you to make a lot of changes to your website, without the need for professional help. Unfortunately this is a miss here.
Lack of Ownership. Though the content on your blog is written by you, Google has complete right to republish or reproduce the content. They have this right because your blog runs off their servers which they do not charge you for. This fact is a complete turn off for anyone because no one really wants their hard work to be displayed as someone else’s property. For example, they can repost an image of you that you posted on your blog as a Google Advertisement of a happy customer. Google could also shut shop for blogger services and if you don’t have a back up, you stand to lose all your hard work. That’s right!!! Gone in a snap.
WordPress: This is the most popular free Content Management System today. WordPress has two forms, WordPress.com which is similar to Blogger and WordPress.org which is a self hosted platform. The WordPress.org which is in question here, gives tremendous control to its user. Started by a few people in the year 2003, this open source platform has grown leaps and bounds becoming bigger and better over the years.
Free. You can download the latest version of WordPress for free.
Themes & Plugins. Thousands at your disposal, both free and paid. Themes and Plugins give you plenty of options to change the look of the website and to add functionality as well.
Support. The support forums are filled with queries and answers to all issues. Loads of external sites with help and support for WordPress Platform.
Updates. This platform gets regular updates with fixes, security updates and added functionality.
You own it. Unlike Blogger, only you have the sole right to your content.
Complete Control. This platform gives the user complete control over how the website needs to look and where each element has to be displayed. Great for company websites wanting to add their own flavor.
Pay to host. Since this is self hosted, one needs to pay for getting a domain name and hosting the website.
Customization. Sometimes you may come across a situation where you need to customize an element of the page to your needs and there is no Plugin that can help you. At this point the only way to make changes is to hard code it into the page. To do this, prior knowledge of PHP is essential. You can invest some time in learning PHP and make the changes, but remember that any incorrect code can mess up other elements of the page. PHP developers can certainly help you with the changes but their services definitely come with a PRICE.
Vulnerable. Being in the limelight has its troubles. WordPress sites are regular targets of hackers, who try to get access to admin rights on a site and inject it with malicious code. Though this can be avoided with Plugins and services from third party companies, there still isn’t a fool proof method to stop this completely.
Downtime. Web hosts can go down sometimes and this will take your website down too. Don’t worry about this, we at BigRock give you 99.9% Uptime and 24×7 Support J
Conclusion: If you are planning to become a professional blogger or trying to get a feature rich blog/ website, then WordPress is the thing for you. There is definitely a lot of investment in terms of money, time and effort while starting a website using WordPress, but the learning curve, the control and the output are definitely worth it. If you consider yourself as a casual blogger and would like to invest more time in just writing than customizing, then Blogger is apt for you. If you do not wish to invest in a self hosted website, then you can always start free by using Blogger. When you realize that you need more options and control, you can always migrate to WordPress at any given time. So what’s your deal WordPress or Blogger?
Recently, Google announced that they are rolling out comment moderation abilities to a handful of YouTube users, with plans for a widespread release in the future.
This is a welcome addition to the YouTube community, and anyone who has ever been brave enough to view comments on even the most innocent of YouTube videos knows exactly why. For beneath nearly every YouTube video lies some of the most ignorant, racist, and profane collection of nonsense you could ever imagine.
So, I started thinking… if a universally popular site like YouTube is experiencing these problems, what about our customers here at IX? What is an upstart blogger or online business owner supposed to do if they want user feedback, but want to avoid this type of online nastiness?
Comment spam a very odd phenomenon that takes place on the internet. The ability to anonymously say anything you want, coupled with the absence of accountability, turns some people into raving maniacs who choose to take out their frustrations and insecurities anywhere they can.
This problem isn’t only affecting YouTube, either. Take a look at the comment section of any website that handles movie reviews, news, politics, or gaming. You’re sure to find your fair share of senseless aggression and filth.
So, the question is, how do website owners defend themselves from these malicious parties?
Know Your Enemy
First, let’s identify where all of this garbage is coming from. There are 3 major categories of inappropriate comment sources that you’ll want to filter out:
1. Trolls – Trolls are people that get a kick out of ruffling feathers. They will purposely try and start a online ruckus by presenting a ridiculous opinion in a serious manner, or play devil’s advocate just to rile people up. They rarely believe what they write, but they take pleasure in getting under people’s skin.
2. Bots – If you ever see a comment that sounds like an advertisement, it’s most likely a spam bot. Much like spam emails, these automated bots leave comments on popular videos and blogs with promises of great wealth for minimal effort. Here’s an example:
Note: Finding this bot spam took me literally 30 seconds. It was the most recent comment on the popular Gangnam Style music video on YouTube.
3. Genuine Craziness – Even though a lot of comment section trash is generated by people just being jerks to rile people up, there are some folks out there who have an agenda and legitimately believe in what they’re saying. These people can be particularly off-putting to level-headed comment posters because they’re typically angry, offensive, illogical, and relentless.
Filter out the Filth
Now that you know where all the junk is coming from, here are some methods to keep it out of your comment sections and message boards.
Turn off Anonymous Comments – If your blog software or comment section of your site has a setting that allows people to comment anonymously, make sure to switch it off. This will cut down on a very large amount of spam bots and trolls.
Captcha – This free program prompts the user to type in a series of letters or numbers before they make a comment to ensure that they are a live human being and not an automated spam bot. You may have seen these at one time or another on an online store or when signing up for a newsletter.
Captcha plugins are available for popular blogging and CMS software like WordPress, MediaWiki, and ASP.NET. Check out their website for more information.
Text Filters – Check to see if your blog or forum software of choice has a plugin that will filter out profanity, sexual references, and racial slurs. Some of these filters will just replace offending words with asterisks, while others will restrict an offending message from being posted at all. This should drive away or at least censor people who want to simply coat your comment section will four-letter words.
Not all confrontation is necessarily bad when it comes to online comments. While filtering out the bad apples makes a comment area a better, more peaceful place, don’t be tempted to start banning people because of minor disagreements or legitimate gripes.
For instance, if you sell a product, and someone leaves a message on your comment board that says, “Your product broke after 3 days. Not a happy customer,” you might be tempted to remove the content or ban the user so they don’t spread any more ‘bad press’ about your company. However, this is a huge mistake and can backfire for a number of reasons.
For one, your customers are your revenue base, so it’s best to keep them happy. Ignoring or deleting users that have real complaints doesn’t fix the underlying problem, and will only cause more headaches in the future.
Secondly, if you’re caught intentionally ignoring or censoring displeased customers, you’ll soon find yourself in a firestorm of bad press. Nothing shows your customer base that you don’t care about them more than deleting bad reviews to skew public reception into your favor. People will take to Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and anywhere else that people will listen to decry your name and shady business practices. When it’s all said and done, the act of censoring a negative review can hurt far more than the negative review itself.
It’s best to address gripes and complaints head on, and in public. Make your own comment profile and respond to customers’ concerns directly. Let your users and customers see that you’re not afraid to address the issue and help someone who’s unhappy. It demonstrates your willingness to work with people and your openness to criticism.
These tips should help you ward off the majority of cyber-crazies, but there isn’t an everlasting cure-all. You have to be a constant gardener when it comes to your website’s forums. So, periodically check your comment boards and user forums from time to time to make sure they haven’t been consumed by the internet’s darker side.
Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Google just turned 15 and gave us a brand new present, the Hummingbird update. This is Google largest search algorithm update since 2001 and is intended to make search more natural and fast! The biggest change in search Algorithm since 2001, Hummingbird is meant to make Google search better, but what does this mean for businesses advertising on Google? lets find out
What is the Hummingbird Update?
The Hummingbird update is meant to revolutionize the way people search on Google. Calling it “Conversational Search” it focuses on the increasing number of people speaking their searches in smart phones instead of the conventional keyword search. As searches are becoming longer and more specific, this update results that are on point in a fast manner. According to Amit Singhal, Google’s senior VP of search, Hummingbird is the largest Google algorithm update in the last 3 years. The last big update (though not as big as this) was the Caffeine update which was in 2010. Rankings in the past have been around keywords searches, such as a search for ‘Web Design‘, now, with more people searching for, ‘Best Web Designers in Mumbai’ it levels the playing field as the company with the generic results will be pushed out for more localized and specific search returns.
How does this Affect your business?
To make the most of the this update, businesses will now have to put themselves in the customers shoes and think how searches are made in reality. According to Google nothing changes from an SEO point of view, but opens new frontiers as new search terms are also considered in ranking of sites. The usual, high quality and relevant content will still rule the rankings.
As this update encourages more writing, business who carefully track their visitor searches will be able to benefit greatly from this. For example, if your page content can answer the above question ‘Where can I find the best price on an iPhone’ this update should ideally do wonders you.
Search content on Search Pages
One of the other key changes with Hummingbird is search content displayed right on search pages. This is one of those grey areas about this update with Google now displaying some information on the results page itself, it could potentially have a huge impact on a few. For instance: If a visitor searches for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, he would ideally find a bunch of websites with information on the movie. Post the update, you will notice the right hand corner of the results page will have basic details about the movie like actors, ratings, year of release and so on. This creates a great user experience for sure, but creates a ‘no further clicks needed’ scenario where sites serving this information are loosing out on traffic. For sites that generate revenue via ads this could mean a potential drop in their earnings.
With all these changes the only way to survive is to adapt. We can assure this is isn’t the first update from Google and wont be the last. New things will come, some threatening and some rewarding. The key is to keep your eyes peeled.
Everyone knows the internet wouldn’t survive without its two most vital ingredients:
1. Web hosting. No web hosting means no web sites, and no web sites essentially means no internet.
2. Cats. It’s common knowledge that the internet is dependent on people sharing cute cat pictures and videos in order to remain relevant.
So, when our VP of Operations adopted an abandoned kitten that was rescued from an empty storage facility, we took the opportunity to combine both major components of the internet into one adorable commercial.
Click here to watch!
There is a study that states that on an average each individual is exposed to over 5000 ads each day. Surprising? Maybe not. From seeing 50% discount offers on liposuction in the morning daily, to posters in the Churchgate local of men gifted with super human powers that can get you a job or save your marriage, to watching Katrina Kaif getting cozy with a bottle in between your favourite television show; we are BOMBARDED with advertisements. This is what has caused a force field that makes your arm automatically reach out to the TV remote to flip the channel during commercial time.
I was happy that I was surrounded by this force field but then something changed. I got involved in the conceptualization and production of BigRock’s television ads and thereafter the force field eluded me. I was encircled by a different force that stopped me from reaching out to the remote and watch each and every darn commercial to the extent that I actually forget what I was watching. The amount of money, time and energy that goes into the making of the simplest of commercials is fascinating and in a way intimidating.
The objective of a commercial is to ensure that viewers remember your commercial and the product you’re endorsing. There are two ways one can achieve this –
By ensuring that every time a viewer tunes in to his television set, he sees a bunch of professionals supposedly in the middle of a meeting where a guy thinks it’s necessary to explain a 0% interest offer on a white board.
You make something special, something that will get the viewer to chuckle, laugh, feel emotional or just go WTF!
And when your goal is to create something special, the journey too becomes special… and chaotic! We recently shot our latest television commercial promoting the .NET domain extension and believe you me it was a rollercoaster ride like no other.
The production team worked their fingers to the bone to get the set made as per the script and storyboard, and if you were wondering what goes on behind the scenes and the kind of people that are involved in the making, here are some videos that will help shed some light.
Behind the Scenes
Meet the Team
Meet The Crew
It took a good three months to execute a 30 seconds film but the fun part was the actual shoot. The ad showcases multiple businesses rolling out of a factory, each being branded with either a .COM or a .NET stamp. There were more than 15 businesses that we wanted to shoot, each requiring specific costumes, specialists and props. Little did we know that shooting an acupuncture business required hiring a professional acupuncture therapist who would puncture needles in the artist’s face while he patiently waited for his shot.
Or deal with a child artist’s mother who complained that there was no Bournvita on the set. Murphy’s law kicked in wherever possible but the crew was ready. Ready to deal with technical problems, artist tantrums, hard deadlines, sleepless nights and demanding clients. The result? Well I’ll leave that to you to decide.
Meet The Cast
Manish DalalVice President, Verisign
Manish Dalal is a man who doesn’t need introductions in our industry. We had the privilege of chatting up with him recently and here’s a sneak peek at our conversation.
1. What are your thoughts on the Domain Name market in India?
The number of Internet users in India are expected to nearly triple from 125 million in 2011 to 330 million by 2016, according to Boston Consulting Group. This will lead India to have the highest Internet protocol (IP) traffic growth with a 44 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2012 and 2017, based on the Cisco Visual Networking Index.
According to a report from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), fewer than 5 per centof businesses have web presence in India. Choosing the right domain name is an important first step to having web presence. So there is significant potential for growth in India.
2. What does the .net brand stand for?
As one of the first Web domains, .net has the credibility that comes with experience to help businesses start, grow and get their best chance online. When an organization puts .net after their domain name, they are showing the world that they are available, reputable and going places. With .net, companies can tell the world that their business is beyond a regular business, it is an innovative endeavour.
(Source: Verisign website- http://www.verisigninc.com/en_IN/products-and-services/domain-names/index.xhtml)
3. Why should a business pick .net for its website?
Supported by the same infrastructure and expertise that has powered .com for more than 15 years, .net is recognized around the world as an established and credible place to interact online. Some of .net’s value propositions are:
As one of the first Web domains, .net has the credibility that comes with experience.
.net domain names are hosted in more than 200 countries. It is a globally recognized TLD.
Every company has their own way of thinking and their domain should be as unique as their business idea. .net allows them to choose a domain name that helps create their identity online.
While .net continues to be one of the top Web domain choices, there are millions of .net names available. Companies can get the Web address they really want. Today, more than 99.9% of 6+ character .net domain names are available, which enables companies to go for the name they like.
(Source: Verisign update- http://www.verisigninc.com/en_IN/products-and-services/domain-names/net/index.xhtml
4. What trends are you seeing in .net and how do you see the domain evolving in the future?
Recently, .net hit a major milestone when its zone surpassed 15 million domain names registered globally. To help celebrate this milestone, Verisign in partnership with Entrepreneur Magazine recently launched a poll asking readers to pick their favourite .net websites in the world. Verisign and Entrepreneur will compile the votes and publish the .net 100 ranking in January 2014. Going forward, we expect .net to continue being one of the most visible, reliable and trusted parts of the Internet domain space. Some interesting facts on the rise of .net domain name:
The .net zone has doubled in size since 2006.
In 2012, the average character length of .net domain names created was 12 characters.
.net domain names are hosted in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Almost half (48 per cent) of the .net domains registered in India have e-commerce functionality on their sites.
A .net domain name can be registered in as many as 350 different native languages thanks to Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). IDNs make the Internet more globally accessible and functional by enabling domain names in non-ASCII characters.
5. What is the significance of the Indian market for Verisign in the years to come?
Businesses in India are beginning to realize the power of Internet. With only a small percentage of businesses having a Web presence, there is an opportunity to educate the mass market on the value of getting online, of having a branded email address and a professional website. This market education and awareness along with strong growth in Internet penetration will result in a large Web services economy in India in the years to come
6. Can you help us understand the idea behind the recent TV ads for .net?
We know that .com is often a default choice of the consumer, when registering a domain name. But did you know that .net and .com are powered by the same company – Verisign? Both .com and .net are global, recognized and trusted for the last 15 years, with Verisign maintaining 100 per cent operational accuracy and stability for .com and .net. We think the TV ad creative produced by BigRock is smart, funny and unique, and we hope viewers enjoy it, too.
For those of you who missed the live stream of my chat with John and Todd from the 2013 GeekWire Summit in Seattle, here’s a transcript of the talk:
Jonathan Sposato: So I have the honor of introducing Blake Irving. He is one of the coolest cats that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working for, years ago back at Microsoft. Most Microsoft presidents are pretty cool guys, but a lot of them are not quadruple threat guys like Blake Irving. Here is a guy that really understood product. Here is a guy that also understood people. He also understood culture and how to develop a really healthy culture and great organizational dynamics. He was also really, really great with business. In fact, after several products reviews with him we would work on stuff, he and my team. I would ask him “How are you so astute about product?” and he actually revealed a secret which was, he used to be a graphic designer. I thought that was so cool, that he was a guy that had all these different skills that he was bringing to the table. It’s no surprise that after Microsoft, he went to become the executive vice president and the director of product for Yahoo. Under his tenure, Yahoo went from about 550 million actives, to a whopping 750 million actives, and our mobile business really grew. So we added tremendous value there.
It’s no surprise at all that as the new CEO of GoDaddy, he’s brought a palpable and noticeable and an amazing amount of excitement, new excitement to the brand. If you check with a friend of yours who might be considering positions at GoDaddy, or people who’ve gone to now work at GoDaddy, whether it’s down in California or up here in Seattle, there’s a loyalty that is really delightful to see. We all love working for Blake, and it looks like the band back together again. He recently authored GoDaddy’s new Manifesto of Kick Ass, but to me Blake Irving has always kicked ass. Let’s welcome to the stage Blake Irving and also John and Todd.
John Cook: How do you follow that up?
Todd Bishop: You got it, Okay great. I just want to start by dispelling a rumor–is there any truth to the fact that you are in fact the original inspiration for the GoDaddy logo long before you even joined the company.
Blake Irving: No. It’s funny though. Bob Parsons is the founder. I spent about nine and a half hours with Bob before deciding that I was going to come into interim the company. Bob says to me, and he’s
kind of a revolved guy and he looks at me and he goes “You know holy crap, I never realized that you look exactly like our logo.”
John: So you were meant to be CEO.
Todd: It was like it was meant to be in a lot of ways.
Blake: It was funny. I goofed around with a badge when I got to the company. This is actually my picture in the company directory, the picture that’s on the badge. It’s a place that has been culturally quite different where the CEO is just the CEO. It’s pretty formal. All the IT guys scrambled to figure out who hacked my picture and they were frightened and they say “Have you seen you’re picture?” and I go “Yeah, why” and they go “Well it looks like the GoDaddy guy!” I go no, I did it.
Todd: You did it?
Blake: I did it. Yeah. It’s like not that big a deal. Okay. Well this is going to be different then.
Todd: Yeah. Exactly. That’s great. Alright so I should mention, we came so close to breaking some national news this morning. I don’t know if you remember John asked Bill Gurley, when twitter was going to file for it’s IPO. Just about an hour ago twitter tweeted that it has filed for its IPO.
John: Why didn’t Bill break the news about this is what I want to know. He should’ve broken the news right here on GeekWire.
Todd: As soon as it happened John ran out in the lobby, somehow Bill had disappeared.
John: I did. I tried to track him down. I didn’t see him out there.
Todd: Taylor has the scoop on GeekWire so you can check that on your computers, if you can get online. Bring that up because I don’t want to miss the opportunity to break another piece of news Blake. The Wall Street Journal recently listed you on it’s short list of external candidates to succeed Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer. Blake Irving do you have an announcement here for us today.
Blake: Yes I do.
Todd: I thought so.
Blake: Twitter just filed for IPO. No.
Todd: Is that something you would ever consider?
Blake: I got a good chuckle out of it. I literally defogged and I’ve showed my family and they were like, that’s pretty funny dad.
Todd: That’s great. What do you think Microsoft needs to do next? I’m going to jump into GoDaddy right away, but where should Microsoft go as long as we’re on that topic?
Blake: I had the microphone away from my mouth when I said it. I said oh my God. Who knows? I think it’s easy to malign Steve, there’s been a fair amount of that. He’s got a tough job, that’s a giant company. He’s had some decisions to make. Whether he splits the company up, whether he keeps it together. Does he let businesses run more autonomously? Does he become the hub in a spoken hub model? Does he become the group program manager of the company? He had a lot of different decisions to make, and he decided to do it one particular way. There’s lots of other ways that he could’ve done it. Who know if any of them could or could not work, or would change some of the trajectory that the company is on. The guy’s done an amazing job turning earnings, having affected stock price, which I think is more a factor of the hope coefficient than anything else. Anybody can second-guess it’s very easy to do it. To actually get a company of that size, and a trajectory that changes dramatically, the positive slope of the company is going to be pretty difficult. I’d hate to say that I had an answer for you that’s going to do it.
John: So if it’s not you then who? Who’s on the short list in your mind?
Blake: Well I heard you were on the short list.
John: Really, that’s a mistake.
Blake: I don’t know. There’s a bunch of guys named. Another thing that struck me was just acquired Nokia, Elap was on the list. They just acquired them. Potentially that is something that could be interesting as well. They’re a lot of really great guys out there. I’m telling you, that’s a tough, tough job. All the guys that I have a tremendous amount of respect for, whether it’s Kevin Johnson or Paul Maritz or Steve, they’re all guys that could do the job. It’s a tough gig.
John: So how about your job? Tell us about GoDaddy. Why did you want to go with the GoDaddy?
Blake: It’s interesting because I’ve been a customer at GoDaddy for a long time. Actually when I started at the company I had 39 domains under management. When I went and introduced myself to the company. I introduced myself about a month before I started. I said you need to know some things about me. I know you guys have all been up on my LinkedIn profile, because I had like 2,000 hits this morning. I don’t need to give you any of that crap. Let me just tell you I’m customer number, and I gave them my customer number, told what my lifetime spend was with GoDaddy. I said I have some observations about your company. Just from a guy on the street. Now I haven’t been in there working so I don’t know. You can agree or disagree with the marketing tactics they’ve used for the last 7 years or so, since the first Super Bowl ad in 2005; very good at marketing and actually wonderful at metrics. Very good at actually dialing in and knowing what their acquisition costs is etc. One of the best customer support organizations on the planet in technology with an MPS score of seventy.
For those of that support organizations and have a technology company if you’re positive you’re pretty happy to have a net promoter score of seventy is nuts. I’d interacted with the product a whole lot, and knew that this wasn’t a company that was a product company. Actually as you go through and you use
the website, you could actually see the company Silos with every transaction you did. From website building, or the front or side, or you go to the control panel or you try to do something else, there was lots there that could be improved. They had done absolutely remarkably at how quickly they move, for a company that’s not even based in the valley or based in Seattle, or a technological hub, had done a ton. So I thought well you know, I’m not a great marketing guy, and I’m certainly not a customer support guy, but I’m a product guy. This might be a really interesting mix for me. The other thing that was very
interesting was, the company’s culture is edgy, it’s fun they love to get shit done. They love to put their shoulders into things, and work hard and work in a mosh pit. That’s the kind of person I am. The cultural attributes that sit above the table that we all like to talk about, when we talk about our companies were a perfect fit for me.
Todd: So you have come in, and you’ve really set about to transform this company. I want to show you something on the screen that might be a little bit painful. Tell me about this homepage.
Blake: It’s beautiful! Well, there’s a lot going on there. Can’t I just comment on people photographs for a while? This is a company, if you think about a transaction-based company. They’re trying to create transactions. There’s a lot going on here. It definitely looks like a retail store. There’s so many things to
click on. How could you go wrong? Strangely enough we actually use this photograph a lot, this old picture of the website when we contrast where we are today. I suspect I’m hoping that might be where your next one is. It’s a lot simpler it’s flat. It’s a flat UI. You’re going to see this change evolve over the course of the next few years frankly. More importantly is what’s going on, on mobile. It’s just simpler more importantly than a homepage. This is a hell of a lot more simple, as just the path of checking out.
My comment used to be in the old days, back with that first homepage you showed, I felt like I was dodging offers on my way to try to check out. It was like boy if I could get out of the shopping cart with only the thing that I bought that’s a success. We smoothed that, made it really easy. Have been very
comfortable saying look we just want you to get what you want, get out and have an experience that gets you onto using the product that you bought, that you intended to buy. We’ve made some big significant changes in that regard. We’ve seen a customer growth that’s actually rounding 10 percent over what we thought we were going to do, because we did it. People go “God this is easy, I can just buy something.” The domains industry generally has followed a pattern of buy this thing, buy something else. People just want to have an identity.
Todd: You alluded to this earlier but GoDaddy built a huge amount of market share through tactics that were frankly offensive, to a large portion of the population. What do you say to the company’s critics about GoDaddy’s marketing strategy and the way that it built its business?
Blake: I think most people feel the way that you feel. I think as a guy that was using the product, and had watched the advertisement, it’s hard not to make the same observation. Bob Parsons who’s the founder of the company, when he decided, I’m going to go into the Super Bowl. Actually the guy had done very well with Parsons technology if you remember into it buying that it was basically a financial package. The Bob actually when the market was crashing in 2001, 2000 era, started actually buying bigger ads. His company because he started doing bigger ads, started taking off. So it had a pretty large amount of profitability and had the ability to go buy the biggest ad segment he possibly could. Which was of course?
Todd: The Super Bowl.
Blake: The Super Bowl. Exactly. So he say’s I’m going to do a Super Bowl ad. Let me think about this, because no one knows what a domain is. It’s not interesting. You can’t sit and chat somebody up about the domain business. It’s a commodity business no one knows what the hell you’re talking about.
Todd: Unless you’re at the GeekWire Summit.
Blake: Unless you’re at the GeekWire Summit. He says what do I know about the Super Bowl. Well most people that are watching there are guys and most of them are drunk by half time. What am I
going to do, and he came up with that first advertisement. It was so controversial. Strange enough the story is, you’re not going to believe this, this is absolute fact, that he bought two ad box for about a million bucks a piece back then. Now they’re at about six just between those eight years. He bought
one at half time a million bucks, and then he bought another one later in the show, for a little less money but they had an open spot so they sold it to him. He said “I’ll buy the second one.”. He ran the first ad and he actually had to get it approved by the network. The network approved it he ran it. They had so many negative calls on it. They said they wouldn’t run the second one. Right?
They said “Mr. Parsons we’re not running the second one, we know you bought it. We’re going to credit you full price on the first one, so we’ll just give that one away to you. You don’t have to pay for that.” Two Super Bowl ads for free. Within four weeks, he had gained 20 percent share in the domains industry. When you’re trying to get attention, and I’ll say Bob Parsons is a brilliant marketer, knows his audience, knows it well, gained twenty points and he was off to the races. Like lather, rinse and repeat. He kept doing that thing. Now it turns out, once you have 65 percent share in the US, you don’t have to get attention anymore, and 50 percent worldwide share. You don’t have to get anymore domains. In fact, when you’re saying look we’re not about domains anymore, we’re actually about enabling and
empowering small businesses around the world, and helping the little guy become successful. When nobody cares about the little guy, you actually have to change your game completely.
Todd: It’s not just a rebranding, well it is a rebranding, as in it’s not just the look. It is in fact a complete change in the business in a lot of ways. Women are in fact huge owners of small businesses.
Blake: 58 % of small business in the United States are owned by women. Correct.
Todd: Come January, February or wherever they’re pulling the Super Bowl
back to this year, what will the odds be like?
Blake: They’ll be more consistent with the ad campaign that we just ran. We actually have a new vision for the company, which is about empowering small businesses. It’s actually changing the global economy. Radically shifting the global economy, in favor of small business, by enabling people to easily start confidently run and successfully grow their own ventures. Whatever it happens to be. That’s it. So we’re going down the path of talking about them, talking about the little guy, figuring out how to help them. Letting them know that we have people that want to talk to them, that want to help them solve their problems. Our ads are going to be around that. They’re still going to be edgy; they’re still going to be funny. They’re going to be memorable as hell. They are not going to feature the things that we’ve had in the past that have polarized and offended. Anybody remember last Super Bowl ad? Bar Refaeli and Jesse Heiman doing a lip-lock for 30 seconds.
Todd: Yeah. How could you forget that?
Blake: Did anybody remember what GoDaddy did at the end of that ad? 1.7 billion impressions in the first two weeks.
Todd: What does that say about society, I mean come on.
Blake: It says that everybody here is going, “that stuff’s horrible,” and then “I’ve got to see that again.”
Todd: I love this. We’re having a running theme here today which is apparently you shouldn’t be paying for marketing at all. If you go back to Bob Parsons example with the first Super Bowl.
Blake: Well it’s crazy. Think of how powerful the marketing that he did was. I think that we’ll continue to make those investments. We had a pretty good-sized marketing budget, we used some of it on TV. We do a lot of SEO SEM. We’re certainly not as described earlier today, we’re not on the crack of SEO SEM. Our branded has 80% aided brand recognition in the US and 50% unaided. We’ve got the power, now it’s what do we do with it. We want to let people know what we do and who we do it for.
John: You’re in the midst of what we call in the startup world a pivot. You talk about this with startups going down the product path. Having to switch course very quickly. You’re kind of doing this. You’re not getting out of the old business, but you’re really starting to double down and move into a new business. I’m just curious how that transition is going. How you’re leading that. That involves sometimes a culture shift in the company too. How are you executing on that?
Blake: That’s a good question. For me when you enter a company or you enter a division, in a big company or you’re doing a little start up. You have to actually set a vision out there that is
different and is bigger than life. That vision of radically shifting the global economy towards small business, then having a strategy that’s actually a 32 page strategy document that you can share with the board and add a lot of detail behind it, then a very crisp vision that everybody in the company knows what it’s about. You can actually steer everybody in a very open way towards that thing. Then it’s hiring people that know what to do, in places where they didn’t have strength before. I’ve been doing a ton of hiring people up here, down in the Bay Area. Even opening office in places where we didn’t have presence before.
Blake: Kirkland and Sunnyvale, and frankly a lot of folks in the Bay Area. Seattle folks as well that we’ve been hiring. You basically have to shape that vision and put together clear metrics against what success looks like. Our COO who joined us from KKR a few months ago, he was interim CEO for the company, we did a session where we literally
had a spreadsheet up on the wall, and had every one of the strategy component owners. They could play with two things. They could play with average revenue per user ARPU, or they could play with the number of customers they were increasing. They would come up and say, we think we can do 50% more ARPU for user per year, and we can increase the number of customers by 5,000,000. There are ten different strategies. As each one comes up, they start doing
their stuff. By the time we’re done we have a giant revenue company. We’re about 1.4 billion in revenue today.
John: That’s 2013 revenue?
Blake: Roughly around 1.4 billion.
Todd: 11 million paying customers if I remember correctly, or higher now.
Blake: It’s about 12 million now.
John: So with that kind of revenue, and those kind of numbers, we just heard the news of twitter filing to go public, GoDaddy’s a private company. When will we see GoDaddy become a public company?
Blake: You never know. It’s something that certainly is a possibility for us. Our numbers, our outcome would be a very good outcome today, if we decided to go. We’re double-digit revenue growth, double-digit EBITDA growth, and double-digit customer growth. Not like barely double digit, deep into them. So there’s good metrics now.
John: So what’s holding you back?
Blake: What you want to do if you’ve got a new strategy, with the vision that you put in place, is you want to put points on the board for each one of those things, before you may yourself a public company. International’s a giant thing for us. Believe it or not, that 1.4 billion has been done in English pretty much. We have two languages. We have English and we have half Spanish. We’re actually going to take it around the globe. Do thirty languages and do sixty different markets, over the course of the
next eighteen months. We want to put points on the board for that. We want to put points on the board for being a better hosting company, for being a better website building company, for having an easier path to the checkout, for supporting that little tiny person who’s trying to figure out how to make their
way. I want to put points on the board for all that stuff, before we get in that position. Then even when we’re there. You just hope the market’s receptive for it.
The notion that you can actually file confidentially, then everybody says, you filed confidentially. There’s a big difference because you don’t have to make your S1 public. You don’t have to disclose a bunch of things. If you want to pull that back because market takes a tank, it’s a much more favorable thing for countries like ours that say maybe this time’s right, maybe it’s not. You could be a little more sure footed without giving too much away information about your company, to your competitors.
Todd: So if the pattern holds, expect GoDaddy’s IPO filing about 5:30 today.
Blake: No. It’s not going to be today.
Todd: You mentioned the Kirkland office. You are not the typical technology company coming into the Seattle market. We see tons of tech companies coming up here. It started with Google back in 2004. It’s continued with many others: Facebook, Twitter. Yours is a different breed of company. What’s the pitch that you make to engineers to join your beautiful offices at Kirkland’s Carillon Point.
Blake: It’s close to the same pitch I was just telling you. Great marketing company. Enough scale and enough footprint. Even around the world. Twenty percent of business is outside of the country in spite of us not doing it well. It’s a company on the product side that can do so much better than they’ve done. Still they’re doing a billion. It’s a private company for starters. Which is a 1.4 billion dollar revenue company. With over 200 million in EBITDA, that’s kind of a pretty interesting company
to join, in that kind of environment. There’s so little that we have done, that I’d say is technologically, the kind of thing that you do in the Bay Area or Seattle, because it was just done differently. That gives us a ton of lift, if you hire great engineers. So the engineering pitch is “If you want to change
the world for small business, you want to have a company that’s been masterful in both marketing and customer care, and build one of the better product organizations in the world which I think we can have, come to GoDaddy and take a company public, in a way that’s going to be fundamentally different and you can change the world.”
Todd: We focus a lot on the Pacific Northwest technology economy. You’re in a unique positive because you worked at Microsoft, although you did from California at the time. You’re now in Scottsdale. You worked in between in Sunnyvale for Yahoo, which I’m going to get to in a second. You’ve now sort of revisited the Seattle market to open this new office in Kirkland. What’s your opinion of how the Seattle tech market has evolved, for better or worse, in the time that you’ve been away?
Blake: I guess it’s been six years or so, since I was literally here pretty much every day. Over those six years of not being here, and spending most of my time in California, the difference between the Bay and the Valley and the Seattle area generally are pretty marketed to me. I actually almost call it this tends to be a more opaque market. You have Microsoft and you have Amazon both who do a magnificent job of making sure there’s a pretty solid wall around the talent base in both of those companies. Trying to actually poke through and trying to understand who’s there and where the talent exists, is pretty difficult. It’s all a personal connection, and it doesn’t actually migrate out. Amazon and Microsoft being the two largest. There’s quite a few smaller companies in start-ups, but not nearly the volume that you have down the Bay. The way I characterize the Bay is a more translucent market place, where people have their own personal brand.
The personal brand travels with them from small company to small company, to maybe a large company for a little while and then back out to a small company. That network stretches all the way from San
Francisco down to San Jose. Through Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Menlo, with all the different neighborhoods that all house pretty magnificent tech companies .The amount of translucency between these companies is just different than it is up here. I’d say also that the venture community down there, the guys don’t want to fly very far. If they’re going to invest in companies, they tend to want to have them in their own backyard.
John: We heard that from Bill Gurley this morning.
Blake: It’s true. Bill took and stuck more flyers up in this area. It’s impossible I was on a board of a company that was in Madison, Wisconsin. They said well what’s the first piece of advice you’d give us. It’s “get the hell out of Madison, Wisconsin.”
Todd: Well what about you, you’re in Scottsdale, Arizona running GoDaddy.
Blake: Right. What are the first couple of things that I did? We’ve established a place in the valley. We’ve got 40,000 square feet in Mountain View. We got 12,000 right now. We just opened another 40,000. Under the Microsoft building it’s flanked by Google etc. because, that translucency, that transparency is
good for us too. Now we opened a place up here. Frankly when you need to acquire great engineering talent, the talent up here is fantastic. It’s just hard to find it. In penetrable fortresses like Microsoft or Amazon, I didn’t know a lot of those guys. Putting a place here just makes it much easier for us to attract
Todd: What would it take to get you to move the headquarters? Get the hell out of Scottsdale, move it up to Seattle?
Blake: It would take about 160 less days of rain.
Todd: Spoken like a Californian.
Blake: I lived up here ten years. I moved when I was still at Microsoft and did the reverse commuting because I was doing a bunch of stuff in the Bay Area office with Hotmail and Ultimate TV and Web TV and those things. It was just I reversed my commute, and frankly my better melatonin, better attitude…
Todd: Better Vitamin D.
Blake: Better Vitamin D. That fundamental difference between amounts of sun actually made a difference for me, and a lot for the health of my kids. It mattered a ton.
Todd: I don’t know, John, If you’ve got any questions on the Twitter feed.
John: I haven’t been monitoring that closely Todd.
Todd: Yeah. I know. I gave up on my Surface about an hour ago.
Blake: You’re the only guy that’s ever given up on a surface. Ha.
Todd: The other company that we just alluded to, I think that was a hiss out there. That’s how you know you’re in Seattle.
Blake: I do.
Todd: The other company of course you spent quite a bit of time at, as a senior executive, was Yahoo. What do you think about what Marissa Mayer is doing at the company?
Blake: Well I think there’s some greatness there and not so greatness. I do believe that the company desperately needed a product person who understood the Internet very well to succeed. There was a pivot that the company had an opportunity to make. It said I’m going to be a media company, or I’m going to be a technology company. The thing that I think Yahoo ought to be is a platform company. If the wan to be as large as a Facebook, if they want to be as large as a Google, which I don’t know if that’s
possible, but I think, being a platform company for media generally is the potential path. If Marissa goes down that path, and can get the talent back in the company, they need to pull that off. I think there are lots of possibilities.
I think hope went up. I’m not sure if that hope went up because everybody’s got an iPhone now and food is free or there’s renewed focus on product and people are actually producing great things. I know
lots of people in the company feel a heck of a lot better about it, and feel like it’s moving in the right direction. I hope Marissa can turn it around. It’s a great brand. I know a lot of people that know the founders well. I wish that they can pull it off and become a giant company again.
Todd: Looking ahead just to wrap thing up. If you look out say 2015, 2016, if you were starting a startup now, and you wanted to hit the tech trend, that was going to be most important two, three years out, even if it’s applying to your own personal interest. Is there an area of technology that gets you most excited, where you see the most opportunity maybe as some inspiration for some of the entrepreneurs out in the audience?
Blake: Yeah. I guess. I love consumer technology generally. When you look at tiny businesses, our customers are usually 1 to 5 people, they’re really consumers that are trying to figure out how to turn into a real business. In those two market places there’s two very obvious things. Multi device where the cloud’s the king, and they’re syncing across all these different things. So mobile and multi device. I don’t think pure mobile mobility is the answer. Mobile phones, it all here, because everybody’s coming online in the next century is going to be using this primarily more.
Cars are mobile. Tablet’s are mobile. PC and tablets, there’s going to be quite an interesting conundrum over the next five years. About what’s what. There’s going to be a massive merging of those two things. If I think about big data. We look at big data right now as just this big crunching problem. Big data is just about databases and what are you going to do with it. That is really the key, and big data is, it’s videos, it’s graphics, it’s information about customers, it’s pulmonary on how your sight works, how people move, where hey are what they’re doing. All of those kinds of these will start to form the next set of apps. I can’t say what’s a great app in 2015, or five years from now. Anybody seen The Intern?
Todd: Sure. The Google Movie.
Blake: I forget who made the statement about solving problems. With a multi device mobile platform, is what we’re all in this room doing right now. Pretty much everyone in here is looking at a mobile device one kind or another.
Todd: Not while you’re talking. At other times.
Blake: You’ve got giant data up there, anything that solves problems across those things using big data could be almost like a savant about what you’re going to do next. Or what you ought to do next could be something that’s crazy cool. In The Intern, the guy talked about, I just want to know if I’m too drunk to drive a car, which is very much like the Uber problem to solve. Which is like I come out from San Francisco, I’m at a party, I don’t want to drive. How do I get to a car easily where I can find them,
and they can find me. Don’t have to negotiate with my credit card and that stuff because I might lose it.
Those real world problems are the things that ought to happen on top of the palette of mobile devices mobility and big data. They’re not and should not be abstract concepts to people, because they’re just tools in a giant palette that you can solve real problems with.
John: Blake one of the challenges that you have coming into the organization here, is your having to do it in a new culture here. A rebuilding of GoDaddy there was some problems with PRSU’s in the past. Where they did the former CEO, where they did some hunting issues as well. Can you say today that you’ve put GoDaddy on a different path that is moving beyond the past of GoDaddy? There are many that have a bad taste in their mouth to the company.
Blake: We’re on a deep transformation of the company. Who we serve, how we serve them, how we position ourselves, how our employees feel about themselves, about serving those little guys is really different. I encourage you if you can go Google “Manifesto of Kick Ass.” There’s a very compelling video up there of our employees. Basically reading the thing that we call the “Manifesto of Kick Ass.” Our mission in the company is we help small business kick ass. That’s what we try to do. That maintains our edginess. That actually allows us to describe what we do. When you see that video I’m guaranteeing you, you’ll have an emotional response about the seriousness and the passion that people feel for helping these little people that nobody takes care of. It’s a quest, it’s not a company, and it’s a quest we’re on. Everybody’s leaning into this thing like man I am so in. That is something I find amazing. I haven’t found in a whole bunch of other companies.
Todd: That’s great. Everybody please thank you to Blake Irving, The CEO of GoDaddy
Without a doubt, the popularity shift from print to online content has certainly changed the way people consume information. Ebook readership has skyrocketed in the past few years, while popular blogs like Mashable and engadget boast several million unique visitors each month. The digital format is certainly here to stay, so what does this mean for your content marketing efforts? Certain trends are influencing the way people read online, and websites that keep with the trends are likely to attract the largest audiences.
Ebooks will grow even more popular.
While printed books sales have fallen, ebook sales have skyrocketed. According to BookStats, and annual report on the state of the publishing industry, sales for ebooks have risen 45% since 2011. The lower cost of ebooks coupled with their accessibility has contributed a lot to their popularity.
What this means for you: Creating an ebook is inexpensive, and this digital medium is easy to distribute. This makes ebooks an ideal product, whether you want to sell them or give them away. Offering ebooks as an incentive for joining a newsletter list has proven immensely effective. In fact Hubspot says that click-through rates for calls to action promoting ebooks are twice as high as those promoting webinars.
Google will get smarter.
Google has long placed importance on original content that readers find compelling and helpful. The search giant employed Authorank in order to recognize individuals who do an exceptionally good job at creating such content. Google later launched its authorship program, which has been a great tool for authors to use for branding. Although computers use the Authorank algorithm to determine a writer’s influence, there are very human aspects to it. The algorithm uses parameters like the number of followers an author has, and the amount of social proof they accumulate including likes, tweets, and shares. Authorank not only recognizes the website where content is published, but also the authors who create that content.
What is means for you: As Google continues to refine Authorank and Google Authorship, it will become all the more important to produce content that you can be proud to have next to a thumbnail of your picture. Find your individual voice and writing style, and continue to refine your content so that it speaks to your audience. Answer questions, solve problems, and deliver information in your own unique way.
People will continue to skim.
While print text has a definite beginning, middle, and end, readers of online text are more apt to jump from place to place. As Nicholas Carr put it in in his 2010 book The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words…now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” Also worth noting, online readers read on average about 20% of the page, according to a 1997 Nielsen study. This is especially true of on-the-go readers on mobile devices.
What it means for you: It’s very important to make your online content scannable. If your visitors can’t get the gist of what you’re saying within a few seconds, you’ll lose them. The internet is an interactive place where if you can’t find information in one place, you can click away and find it in another. Use subheadings and bullet lists whenever possible. Bold important concepts, and use relevant links. If you have a long, complex topic you want to cover, then you might want to cover it in a series of posts instead of just one.
People will want to customize and share.
At SXSW 2011, renowned web designer Khoi Vinh put forth the idea that customization and sharing was the future of online content. He cited the website Flipboard, which organizes online content from various sources into a well-organized format for you to read. It can also pull Twitter and Facebook content from friends. Another example would be RSS readers like Newsblur and Feedly, which allow you to pick and choose what news sources you want to read.
What this means for you: There is so much information on the web now that content curation (also known as content aggregation) has become a necessity. Readers appreciate when someone takes time out to sift through the chaff to find the worthwhile nuggets. Whether aggregating your own content or content from around the web, this can prove something valuable for your readers.
There will be a greater emphasis on quality.
They say that “content is king,” and that simple phrase has lead to the generation of more content than ever before. And of course, when quantity is the goal, quality suffers. Although experts have touted the benefits and necessity of posting quality content online, not everyone listens. We have all had the experience of reading lackluster and even terrible writing on the internet, content that was most likely created to attract search engines. However, with Google’s increasingly intuitive algorithms and people’s desire to just plain read worthwhile content, there will be a greater emphasis on quality in the future.
What it means for you: Think of ways you can add value to your readers’ lives via information, and follow through. The goal of a website is not to get ranked high in the SERPs, but to be a valuable place on the web. Keeping an editorial calendar can help to guide your content production and keep you focused. Take sufficient time to research and draft blog posts and articles, then edit them until you have something you can be proud of. If writing isn’t your forte, get outside help from a professional that values quality. Above all, don’t let the constant pressure to produce drive you to slap just anything up on your blog.
We are proud to announce that our in-house custom product Zacky App Installer has been launched in the VPS hosting Easy Control Panel. In a nutshell all VPS clients that have Debian OS and our custom in-house Control Panel installed now can use Zacky Installer.
Webmaster Level: Intermediate to Advanced We filmed a video providing more details about expanding your site to more languages or country-based language variations. The video covers details about rel=”alternate” hreflang and potential implementation on your multilingual and/or multinational site.Video and slides on expanding your site to more languagesYou can watch the entire video or skip to the relevant sections: Potential search issues with international sitesQuestions to ask within your company before beginning international expansionInternational site use casesrel=”alternate” hreflang and hreflang=”x-default”: details and implementationBest practices Additional resources on hreflang include:Webmaster Help Center article on rel=”alternate” hreflang and hreflang=”x-default”More blog postsWorking with multilingual sitesWorking with multiregional sitesNew markup for multilingual contentIntroducing "x-default hreflang” for international landing pages"Webmaster discussion forum FAQ on internationalizationWebmaster discussion forum for internationalization (review answers or post your own question!) Good luck as you expand your site to more languages!Written by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead
Someone recently asked me how I manage my to-do list, so I thought I’d write up the software that I use. Fundamentally I use Google Tasks as the backend, but with extensions and apps that improve on the basic functionality in Google Tasks.
I use a couple different extensions for Chrome:
- Better Google Tasks is a great Chrome extension. Just click a button in Chrome and you have instant access to all your todo items. I like the extension so much that I donated some money to the author, Chris Wiegman. You can get the Better Google Tasks extension from the Chrome Store.
- I also noticed that on the New Tab page of Chrome, seeing thumbnails of my most visited sites (Techmeme, Hacker News, Nuzzel, Google News, etc.) every time I opened a new tab inevitably led me to click over to those sites. The result? I was wasting more time surfing than I wanted. The solution is a great Chrome extension called New Tab to Tasks. It changes Chrome’s new tab page to be your todo list. That way, I get a nice little signal every time I open a tab: “Hey, remember that you’re supposed to be working on stuff, not goofing off.” Thanks to Scott Graham for writing this Chrome extension.
Oh, and one last Chrome recommendation: if you don’t want *any* distractions on Chrome’s new tab page, consider installing Empty New Tab Page, which makes the Chrome new tab page completely blank.
For Android, I use an app called Tasks. It costs $0.99, but there’s also a free version that starts showing ads after 10 days. I like the Tasks app for Android because it syncs with Google Tasks, has nice widgets, you can easily move tasks up and down, and you can indent tasks underneath each other. I only keep a few todo lists (Home, Work, Grocery, etc.), and to switch between lists you just swipe left or right. Tasks works great for me, but if you have tons of different todo lists then swiping between those lists might get old.
I can already imagine someone asking “Okay, but what about Google Keep?” I’m not opposed to Google Keep, but at this point I’ve found various third-party solutions that interoperate with Google Tasks and work well for me on Chrome and Android. Plus I already have my data in Google Tasks, so for the time being I like these solutions for Google Tasks.
As part of IX Web Hosting’s ongoing compliance initiatives, we have identified recent changes in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) that may impact some of IX’s customers. Specifically, these changes require Covered Entities and all of their Business Associates who create, receive, maintain transmit or have access to protected health information (or the possibility exists that the protected health information in the business associate’s custody or control could be compromised) to independently comply with HIPAA.
To help identify those customers who may be impacted, IX is asking its customers to notify IX if they are considered a Covered Entity or Business Associate under HIPAA and store or transmit electronic protected health information using IX’s services. IX will assume that the recent changes in HIPAA do not impact IX customers who do not identify themselves as a Covered Entity or Business Associate. IX has also updated its Terms of Service with customers to prohibit the use of protected healthcare information on websites that IX hosts.
If you answer “yes” to both of the following questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 09/23/2013.
Is your business a Covered Entity or a Business Associate as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA (45 CFR 160.103)?
If so, are you maintaining or transmitting Protected Health Information or PHI (defined in 45 CFR 160.103) using any of the IX services?
If you did not answer “yes” to both of the above questions, there is no need for further action
Please see below for some frequently asked questions.
We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to continuing to serve you.
If I answer “yes” to both questions will my service be impacted or change as a result of the new regulations? What if I answer “no”?
If you answer “yes” to both questions your services will change. You must transfer to another hosting provider. Upon request, we can provide you with the name of a provider who is HIPAA compliant and operating in a HIPAA compliant data center. If you answer “no”, there will be no changes to your services at this time.
If I answer “yes” to both questions what will IX do with the information that I provide?
IX will use the information to recommend you transfer your account to a provider who can supply HIPAA compliant services.
Will I be contacted by an IX representative whenever new regulations apply to my business?
Not necessarily. We may contact you if the regulations apply to and affect IX’s provision of services to you.
Over the next few weeks, we will be conducting scheduled maintenance on all of our shared servers. There are a number of updates occurring, including:
cPanel updated from 11.34 to 11.38
New Apache 2.2.25, Percona MySQL 5.5.33, and PHP 5.3.27 as default installations
PHP 5.2.17 and 5.4.19 alternate installs made available to customers.
Improved Mod_Security rule sets
Improved monitoring and load management capabilities
Addition a Nginx Acceleration stack that will be available to customers
Improved default MySQL and PHP configurations
Replacement of Fantastico Deluxe with Softaculous Auto Installer
For PHP, all existing users will default to 5.2.17 and all new users will default to 5.3.27. We encourage customers to use the latest PHP version available to help ensure optimal website performance and security. If you run a current version of WordPress, we recommend using PHP version 5.4. Customers that have enabled PHP version 5.4 have seen up to a 20% increase in performance.
To use the respective PHP versions, please edit your htaccess entries to include one of these lines:
For version 5.4: AddType application/x-httpd-php54 .php
For version 5.2: AddType application/x-httpd-php52 .php
For PHP 5.3, simply comment out any AddType PHP definition (if any).
Our plan is to begin the maintenance on a small group of servers starting this evening and then upgrade approximately 5 servers per day until the upgrades are completed on all servers. Most upgrades will start at approximately 8 pm Eastern time. Expected downtime is approximately 20-30 minutes for web services, followed by an additional 10 minutes of cPanel inaccessibility. We expect fairly minimal disruption to customers and sites after the changes are complete.
We have already rolled out these upgrades to some servers over the past month or two and have seen great results. We believe these changes will lead to much more stable and much better performing servers, and subsequently a better experience for all of our customers.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our support team. They will be happy to take a look at our schedule of upgrades and let you know when your accounts will be affected.
Everyone who owns a domain has most definitely hosted their domain on the internet. But there are some people (not everyone is as intelligent as you) who don’t really understand what ‘Web Hosting’ means. Hence, here we are, with a small but comprehensive blog post on what Web Hosting is and what are the different kinds of web hosting available
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center.
Hosting is a service whereby one computer configured as an Internet server offers a part of, or its whole resources, for use in exchange for a certain rental fee. Thanks to this service, one or more users can use information, services or content located on this server using another computer called client. The client uses the Internet to connect with the server and displays the desired content to the user.
What are the different kinds of Web Hosting services available?
Depending on the type of resources offered by an Internet server, there are various kinds of hosting services. Some of the most popular ones are –
1. Free web hosting
Offered by different companies with limited services, sometimes supported by advertisements, and often limited when compared to paid hosting in terms of features.
2. Shared web hosting
Shared hosting is the most popular form of web hosting. It is called “shared” because many different websites are stored on one single physical server and thus share its resources. A separate account with specific parameters (disk space, traffic, number of databases, etc) and a web-based account administration control panel is assigned to each user. The account is administered entirely by the user via a web-based interface control panel, which gives even the beginners quick access and full control over their accounts.
3. Reseller web hosting
This allows clients to become web hosts themselves. Resellers could function, for individual domains, under any combination of these listed types of hosting, depending on who they are affiliated with as a reseller. Many resellers provide a nearly identical service to their provider’s shared hosting plan and provide the technical support themselves.
4. Dedicated hosting service
In contrast to shared hosting, the user gets his or her own Web server but is either allowed full control of his box or is provided with a managed service model in which they are not allowed full control (user is denied root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The latter option of disallowing control is so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.
5. Virtual Private Server
Also known as a Virtual Dedicated Server (VPS), divides server resources into virtual servers, where resources can be allocated in a way that does not directly reflect the underlying hardware. Essentially, each such virtual server can be looked upon as being “dedicated”, because a separate operation system is being installed on it according to the user’s needs, which takes up the applications of one given client only. The most commonly used pieces of server virtualization software are VMware, FreeVPS, Usermode Linux, Virtuozzo, etc.
6. Cloud hosting service
This is a relatively new hosting platform that allows customers powerful, scalable and reliable hosting based on clustered load-balanced servers and utility billing. A cloud hosted website may be more reliable than alternatives since other computers in the cloud can compensate when a single piece of hardware goes down. Cloud hosting also allows providers to charge users only for resources consumed by the user, rather than a flat fee for the amount the user expects they will use, or a fixed cost upfront hardware investment.
There are also some specific types of hosting services which are provided by certain web host service providers. These are –
1. File hosting service
A file hosting service is an Internet hosting service specifically designed to host user files. It allows users to upload files that could then be accessed over the internet from a different computer, tablet, smartphone or other networked device, by the same user or possibly by other users, after a password or other authentication is provided.
2. Image hosting service
This allows individuals to upload images to an Internet website. The image host will then store the image onto its server, and show the individual different types of code to allow others to view that image. Hosting services have the potential ability to identify when and where their images are being used. When an image file is accessed, the image host is capable of logging the date and the general numeric internet address of the request.
3. Video hosting service
This allows individuals to upload video content to share, distribute or place on a website. Users generally will upload via the hosting service’s website, mobile or desktop applications or APIs. The type of video content uploaded can be anything from short video clips all the way to full length movies. The video host will then store the video on its server, and show the individual different types of embed codes or links to allow others to view this video.
4. Blog hosting service
This software is designed to simplify creating and maintaining weblogs. As specialized content management systems, weblog applications support the authoring, editing, and publishing of blog posts and comments, with special functions for image management, web syndication, and post and comment moderation.
5. Shopping cart software
This software allows online shopping customers to accumulate a list of items for purchase, described metaphorically as “placing items in the shopping cart” or “add to cart”. Upon checkout, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e. postage and packing) charges and the associated taxes, as applicable.
6. Email hosting service
Email hosting services usually offer premium email at a cost as opposed to advertisement-supported free email or free webmail. Email hosting services thus differ from typical end-user email providers such as webmail sites. They cater mostly to demanding email users and Small and Mid Size (SME) businesses. Email offered by most webhosting companies is usually more basic standardized POP3 or IMAP based email.
BigRock offers you a variety of Web hosting, including Windows, Linux, Reseller, VPS, WordPress, Ecommerce and CMS Hosting. You can check out the plans we offer here - http://www.bigrock.in/web-hosting/
So which hosting service do you prefer?