Industry Buzz

Why the Web Still Matters for Writing

Matt Mullenweg Blog (Founder of WordPress) -

I wanted to share unique perspective for why the web matters in an app world with a guest post from Stratechery writer Ben Thompson: This week Twitter was abuzz with the most recent report from Flurry that showed people spending most of their time on mobile using apps, not the browser: Many were quick to once again declare “The Web is Dead,” but I’m not sure that conclusion makes sense, at least for writing. First off, Flurry’s numbers don’t account for webviews within mobile apps. On my site, Stratechery, 37% of my iOS traffic comes from webviews (Android doesn’t break out the difference), which on Flurry’s chart would fall mostly in the Twitter slice. More mass market sites likely take up some percentage of Facebook time, as well. That said, it’s striking how little written content appears on Flurry’s chart; the only category that is primarily about written content is news, and even that includes video. And yet, pageviews on WordPress.com and Jetpack are up 27% year-over-year, new sites ranging from small blogs like Stratechery to huge sites like FiveThirtyEight continue to launch and grow, and multiple startups (and competitors!) continue to find writing something worth investing in. So is the web dead or not? I don’t think so, for a few reasons: The total amount of time spent on a computing device (especially mobile), has and continues to grow significantly. This means that many of the activities on our phones, app or not, are additive to what we previously used a computer for. This makes sense: what makes mobile such a big deal is that instead of a computer being a destination device, it’s now a companion that goes with us everywhere. This is how you square the fact that apps seem to dominate usage even as writing on the web continues to grow. When the entire pie is huge and getting bigger, the total size of any particular slice grows as well, even if it becomes relatively thinner. Although apps take up a huge percentage of total time, a significant percentage of app time is dominated by just two categories: games (32%) and social networks and messaging (28%). In fact, the more interesting juxtaposition raised by Flurry’s numbers is not apps versus web, but games and social versus everything else.YouTube and other entertainment apps form a solid percentage of what is left (8%), but the remainder is a mishmash of utilities, productivity, the aforementioned news, and, of course the web, which could be anything and everything. The single most exciting development when it comes to writing on the web is the democratization of publishing. It it now trivial to start a blog, whether on WordPress.com or another provider, and that has led to an explosion of content. As I wrote on Stratechery in FiveThirtyEight and the End of Average: Most of what I read is the best there is to read on any given subject. The trash is few and far between, and the average equally rare. This, of course, is made possible by the Internet. No longer are my reading choices constrained by time and especially place. Why should I pick up the Wisconsin State Journal – or the Taipei Times – when I can read Nate Silver, Ezra Klein, Bill Simmons, and the myriad other links served up by Twitter? I, and everyone else interested in news, politics, or sports, can read the best with less effort – and cost – than it ever took to read the merely average just a few short years ago. While there is still a lot of work to be done on discovery (I mostly use Twitter, but admit the learning curve is steep), I already find the idea of being constrained to any one channel for reading to be laughably old-fashioned. And yet, that’s exactly what an app is: a single channel for one publisher’s content. Contrast this to the web, where any given piece is available instantly by simply clicking a link. There is no question that apps are here to stay, and are a superior interaction model for some uses. But the web is like water: it fills in all the gaps between things like gaming and social with exactly what any one particular user wants. And while we all might have a use for Facebook – simply because everyone is there – we all have different things that interest us when it comes to reading. That’s why very few of us devote all of our reading time to a single general interest newspaper these days, and that’s why we at WordPress.com have no intention of pushing anyone to any one particular platform or app. Instead our focus is on enabling and empowering individuals to create new content that is at home in the mobile browser, the WordPress.com app, Facebook or Twitter webviews, or any other channel that makes sense for the reader. Let the water flow to exactly where it’s needed! That’s the power of the web, and now that a computer is with us in so many more places, we need that flexibility more than ever. You can read more of Ben Thompson’s writing on his excellent WordPress-powered blog Stratechery, one of my favorite sources for the “why” behind the news. See also: John Gruber on Rethinking What We Mean by ‘Mobile Web.’

Patched: OpenSSL Heartbleed Vulnerability CVE-2014-0160

The Homegrown Hosting Blog (A Small Orange) -

This morning we deployed an update to the OpenSSL software packages on our shared and customer servers to address a critical vulnerability. The vulnerability, dubbed “heartbleed”, is the result of improper data validation (bounds check) within a “heartbeat” feature of the OpenSSL TLS implementation. Because of this vulnerability, it is possible that a portion of active memory can be disclosed to connecting clients, which can leak sensitive information. Ultimately, this may lead to the disclosure of transaction or customer-identifiable information, which undermines the very purpose of SSL implementations for our customers and the Internet community at large. Although we make every effort to schedule updates and maintenance, the critical nature of this vulnerability prompted immediate action. We’re working hard to protect our customers and want to thank you for your understanding. What is the status of my SSL certificates? Our position is that regenerating/reissuing SSL certificates is not explicitly required and doing so would be out of an abundance of caution. Although the heartbleed vulnerability had the very real possibility to disclose the server-side private key for an SSL certificate, the ability to capture an entire SSL private key required more than just a passing interest in a specific web site. An attacker would need to conduct a targeted effort to dump thousands of memory captures using the vulnerability and piece together an SSL private certificate, a non-trivial task. Further, we have no indications at this time of any large scale attempts to compromise SSL private keys on our customer web sites, servers or network at large. We will continue to monitor our servers and networks with vigilance and if at any time we have indications that this position needs to change, we will update our customers accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or other issues, please get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Vulnerability Scope: For customers that are currently running cPanel/WHM, the OpenSSL update will apply within the next 24h through daily automatic updates. To verify that the update has applied or to proactively apply it, please find details below. It is important to note, that once the OpenSSL update has been applied, Apache and/or Nginx must be restarted to ensure that the vulnerability is properly closed. Check the current OpenSSL Version: # rpm -q openssl openssl-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7.x86_64 The patched version of OpenSSL for CentOS 6 is openssl-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7.x86_64. The version of OpenSSL provided in CentOS 5.10 (openssl-0.9.8e-27.el5_10.1) is NOT vulnerable. The version of OpenSSL provided in CentOS 6.5 (openssl-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.4) WAS vulnerable. If you find that you are running any version other than ‘openssl-0.9.8e-27.el5_10.1′ or ‘openssl-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7.x86_64′ then you should immediately update the OpenSSL packages: # yum update -y openssl # /etc/init.d/httpd stop # /etc/init.d/httpd start Although we have made every effort to access and update customer systems, this may not always be possible in cases where customers may have restricted access to systems and/or are using operating systems other than RHEL/CentOS. As such, we encourage all Cloud VPS, Hybrid and Dedicated customers to verify that this vulnerability is patched with an updated OpenSSL package. Additional update information: Debian Wheezy, Jessie, Sid https://www.debian.org/security/2014/dsa-2896 # apt-get upgrade openssl Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.10 http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-2165-1/ # apt-get upgrade openssl RHEL/CentOS 6.5 https://rhn.redhat.com/errata/RHSA-2014-0376.html http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2014-April/020249.html # yum update openssl CentOS 5.10, OpenSSL 0.9.8 is NOT vulnerable Vulnerability Details: http://heartbleed.com/ https://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_20140407.txt https://access.redhat.com/security/cve/CVE-2014-0160 Proof of Concept Test: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/

Boost Security by Keeping Your Website Up-to-Date

1&1 Online Success Center -

Website security is of the utmost importance for businesses of all sizes. By maintaining their website, business owners ensure the safety of themselves, their customers, and potential customers. There are various ways to protect an online presence. Keeping the website, along with any applications and software, up-to-date is one of the easiest measures that can be taken to reduce a site’s level of risk to malicious activity. Ensuring that all aspects of an online presence are current also helps to maintain the stability and functionality of the website as a whole. By implementing the most recent and stable version of website applications and scripting languages, an online presence is more likely to remain secure. When vulnerabilities are detected in “old” versions, the developers publish an update or suggest a fix. By updating the code as soon as possible, website owners are doing their due diligence to avoid exploitation. A good hosting provider will ensure that its offerings can support the latest and greatest versions. In addition to scripting languages, it’s also important to keep applications and software up-to-date to avoid malicious intrusions. If a content management system (CMS) is powering a website, the platform may send notices to administrators when updates are available. 1&1 provides Web hosting customers with a library of the most popular applications that can be easily installed in their latest stable version. Furthermore, nearly all 1&1 Click & Build applications (WordPress, Joomla, Typo3, Magento, Drupal, etc.) can be installed in either Free Mode or Safe Mode to tailor security updates to the user’s requirements. In Safe Mode, 1&1 takes care of everything so that users do not need to worry about security vulnerabilities or maintenance. However, this option does have some customization limitations. When an app is installed in Free Mode, users have much more flexibility but with that comes the added responsibility of maintaining their own security. These users will have the option to receive email alerts from 1&1 when an update is available. Based on preference, email alerts can notify customers about new versions of applications, plug-ins, and/or security fixes. Users will also receive notifications about specific security issues concerning certain versions of the app and the app itself. As an added precaution for those using WordPress, the “Site Manager” plug-in (developed by 1&1) can be used to facilitate automatic updates of major releases, themes, and other plug-ins. Another way that business owners can ensure that their website and its visitors are out of harm’s way is to use a security solution like SiteLock (included in the 1&1 Unlimited and Performance Packages). These proactive solutions offer users a way to protect their websites against unintentional access from outsiders that might take advantage of outdated code. One of many features provided by this service is a website application scan. The scan will detect vulnerabilities within applications and notify users when updates and security patches are available. This can save website developers significant time, especially when their project is built using software that does not directly provide users with information about update availability. Every Web project is unique and the method by which each project is secured can differ. It is important for website creators to understand the risks involved with outdated installations to ensure safety on the ever-evolving Internet. Regardless of each user’s technical expertise, 1&1’s hosting packages provide a range of solutions to further ensure website security. Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/greyfebruary

Here’s the Only Way to Guarantee Your Fans See ALL Your Facebook Posts

Post Planner -

It was easier to reach your Facebook fans a couple years ago. The site just wasn’t as crowded as it is today. There was less competition in the news feed — so the news feed algorithm (formerly known as EdgeRank) didn’t need to hide as many of your posts. But times have changed. These days your Facebook posts are seen by an even lower percentage of your fans — which should be expected of a growing social network. These stats from EdgeRank Checker illustrate the recent decline in Reach: Basically, as more posts crowd the news feed, fewer fans see updates from your page. But again, this should be expected since the more pages people follow (and friends they have), the more crowded their news feed becomes. Here’s the Only Way to Guarantee Your Fans See ALL Your Facebook Posts This dilemma has created a challenge for most of us running Facebook pages for our businesses. A successful page now has to run Facebook ads to get targeted Likes & expose posts to more users. >> Click to Tweet << Jason Falls claims this is “blackmail”, which I think is ludicrous. Marketing costs money — and the most successful businesses use advertising to grow. Facebook is no different. You have to spend money on Facebook ads to get new fans. And they can help certain posts get more reach & engagement too. What if I Don’t Have Money for Facebook Ads? I get that there are nonprofits & other organizations running Facebook pages to build awareness & grow a community — not just to make a buck. And small, self-funded startups don’t have a whole lot of money for Facebook ads either. Not to mention pages that are being run as a hobby by people passionate about the page’s theme. So how do you get fans to see all your posts without buying ads? Simple — fans will see ALL your posts if they simply turn on the “Get Notifications” feature for your page. >> Click to Tweet << I have notifications turned on for many of my favorite pages, including: Post Planner Social Media Examiner Jon Loomer Social Identities AllFacebook InsideFacebook ShortStack Social Mouths Dallas Cowboys My kids’ school district TabSite Ravi Shukle AgoraPulse EdgeRank Checker KISSmetrics Crazy Egg Quick Sprout I also get notifications from local businesses & news organizations. Most of these pages focus on social media — specifically Facebook. I click “Get Notifications” because I want to stay on top of all their posts to: Learn about new trends Get breaking news related to Facebook Comment on important updates So I definitely recommend turning on notifications for multiple pages in your niche — so you’re alerted each time new updates are posted. >> Click to Tweet << Do it and you’ll never miss another important update. For example, our kids’ school was recently put on lockdown due to a possible threat by a gunman (who ultimately took his own life someplace else, never making it to the school). Do you know how I heard about the incident? That’s right, from a Facebook notification from the school district. I quickly alerted my friends of the situation before they heard about it from anyone else — including the press. How to Get Notifications from Facebook Pages Turning on the Get Notifications feature for a page is easy. Go to the page you want to get notifications from Hover over the Liked bubble (you must Like a page to get notifications) Select Get Notifications That’s it! Now you’ll receive a notification on your personal profile each time the page posts a Facebook update. And if you want your fans to see EVERY SINGLE post your page publishes, just ask them to turn on “Get Notifications” for your page. Then, whenever you update your page, more fans will get the chance to Like, share, or comment on your posts. It might seem a bit hokey to request this of your fans, but it’s a sure-fire way to make sure they see everything you post — regardless of what Facebook’s algorithm says. Conclusion: Some Words of Caution Just so you know, there are some downsides to having notifications turned on for your favorite Facebook page, including if the page: posts too much posts the same updates multiple times with different targeting If there are 20 posts a day, that means 20 notifications on your profile. That could annoy even the most active Facebook users — and cause you to unlike the page. So keep this in mind when recommending the Get Notifications feature to your Facebook fans. In addition, many pages post the same update for different demographics (countries, languages, gender, etc). If your favorite page posts this way, and you turn on Get Notifications, you’ll be alerted for each update — regardless of the target audience. This is a minor problem, but I still think Facebook needs to fix it. Do you have notifications turned on for your favorite pages? Have you ever asked fans to turn on Get Notifications for your Facebook page? What are the results? The post Here’s the Only Way to Guarantee Your Fans See ALL Your Facebook Posts appeared first on Post Planner.

Surfacing your business's contact and local info in Google

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

Webmaster level: All Every day, searchers use Google to find information about businesses. Common queries include finding the phone number for customer service, the location of a business, and opening hours. This information is typically found in a business's location page or a "contact us" section of a company's website. When Google correctly identifies these pages and is able to extract the relevant information from them, it is more likely to surface that information to searchers looking for the business. Today we would like to share our recommendations for helping Google identify and surface this information. Corporate phone numbersNational phone numbers for many companies are displayed prominently in Google Search results. For example, a searcher looking for Nest Labs' customer service number will see: Today, we are launching support for schema.org markup to help you specify your preferred phone numbers using structured data markup embedded on your website. Four types of phone numbers are currently supported: Customer serviceTechnical supportBilling supportBill payment For each phone number, you can also indicate if it is toll-free, suitable for the hearing-impaired, and whether the number is global or serves specific countries. Learn how to specify your national customer service numbers. Recommendations for local business sitesMany people also turn to Google to find and discover local businesses, and the best information is often on a website's contact us or branch locator page. These location pages typically include the address of the business, the phone number, opening hours, and other information. Today we're also introducing recommendations about the best way to build these location pages to make them easily accessible and understandable to Googlebot, and more importantly, Google's users. Our recommendations cover both crawling, indexing and visual layout suggestions, as well as new structured data markup guidelines to help Google index pages more accurately. In addition to building great location pages, businesses are encouraged to continue using Places for Business, which is a fast and easy way to update your information across Google's service such as Google Maps, the Knowledge Graph and AdWords campaigns. This blog post is only a brief summary of our recommendations for building location pages or branch locators. Please read the guidelines and, as always, please ask on our Webmaster Help forums if you have more questions. Posted by Justin Boyan, Product Manager, Jonathan Sidi, Product Manager, Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst

Joomla 1.5 Security Recommendations

Pickaweb Blog -

Hi, A lot of people are talking about Joomla 1.5 recently and the security problems it has I´ll explain a little bit of the background and what you need to do if you have a Joomla 1.5 website. Firstly what is Joomla? Joomla is a content management system, A relativity new way to build and […]The post Joomla 1.5 Security Recommendations appeared first on Small Business Marketing, Domain Names & Web Hosting Blog | Pickaweb. Related posts: Is Your Website Secure? Security for a Website Explained As a website owner you need to make sure that...

5 Essential Strategies to Get Traffic to Your Site

Homestead Small Business Blog -

If you build it, they will come – right?!  Unfortunately, what works for Field of Dreams doesn’t work nearly as well for our websites, and with good reason.  According to Mashable, nearly 150,000 new URLs are added to the web each day, which means that you’re up against some pretty stiff competition to get your site noticed!What this means is that, instead of sitting back and waiting for people to come to your site, you’ve got to be proactive about bringing visitors to your page.  In this article, we’ll look at a few of the best ways to generate traffic to your website, as well as the action steps you need to add each of these strategies to your web promotion arsenal.Strategy #1 – Blog CommentingBlog commenting is a truly underrated tool when it comes to generating traffic to your website.  Although it’s a little more hands-on work than other traffic generation strategies, it can be incredibly useful in both improving your SEO and sending visitors to your site.Basically, blog commenting consists of visiting other blogs in your niche and leaving comments on other peoples’ posts.  When you leave a comment, you’re able to leave a link back to your site as well.  This means that if you comment on high quality sites, you’ll get a link back from each of these sites (improving your SEO), as well as traffic back from other readers who see your comment and click through to your site.There are two keys to getting the most out of blog commenting – choosing good blogs to comment on and leaving good comments.  When looking for blogs to comment on, choose high PageRank authority sites that have active comment sections.  Remember – if you’re the only one commenting on a site’s posts, you won’t be picking up any traffic from people reading your comments!Once you’ve identified good sites to comment on, be sure to leave good comments.  This means taking the time to read through the post and come up with something insightful to say.  You don’t need to write a novel in response to a post, but asking a related question or sharing your own opinions on the author’s post are good ways to get your comments approved as often as possible.Strategy #2 – Forum MarketingIn general, the best way to generate traffic to your website is by putting yourself in front of your target audience – and forum marketing is one of the easiest ways possible to do that.  Think about it – where else are you able to interact directly with your target market and convey your authority in such a meaningful way?As you might expect, the first step in getting started with forum marketing is to find forums in your niche to participate with.  Look for forums that are as active possible – just like with blog commenting, it doesn’t make sense to go to all the effort of setting up a forum profile and posting topics if there’s no one else around to see your work!Once you’ve identified a good forum (keeping in mind that the forum you choose doesn’t have to be directly related to your niche, as long as your target audience is present), it’s time to set up a profile.  Upload a profile picture and set up a signature with a link back to your site, as long as this is allowed, based on the terms of use in your chosen forum.Also, keep in mind that forums are especially sensitive to being marketed to, and you risk getting kicked out if you’re too self-promotional.  Instead of using each post to blatantly advertise your website, provide helpful, substantive advice.  Eventually, people will begin to perceive you as an expert and will want to know more about your business naturally.Strategy #3 – Guest PostingGuest posting – or, the process of authoring articles for other websites in exchange for a link back to your site – is another great way to drum up traffic for your site.  As long as you choose good sites to submit guest posts too, you’ll benefit from increased exposure and the implicit endorsement of the blogger or site owner who runs your post.To get started with guest posting, you’ll need to identify the best possible sites to share your content with.  Again, the best sites for this promotional strategy are those that are high PageRank, with good traffic, active readers and high rankings in the search engines.  You might need to do a little research to uncover your sites, although if you’ve been active in your niche for sometime, you probably already have a good feel for who the acknowledged experts are.Once you have a few potential guest posting sites, contact the authors to see if they’d be interested in running your guest post (some site owners have pages on their sites to share their guest posting terms, so check there first!).  Spend some time on the target site determining what type of posts perform best so that you can share a proposed topic that you feel will resonate with their readers in this initial email.Then, once you get the go ahead, draft a good piece of content and submit it – with HTML markup intact – to the site owner and get ready for the traffic to start flowing in!Strategy #4 – Press ReleasesDepending on what niche your business operates in, you may find that releasing notifications to the press about new developments or new achievements is a good way to drum up visitors to your site.To write a good press release, it’s important to first have something noteworthy to publish.  You don’t need to have cured cancer or launched a rocket to put out a press release, but to get picked up by the best news agencies, you’ll want to save this technique for actual milestones in your business’s growth.When you do have an event occur that’s worthy of a press release, Google “press release format” to find the accepted structure a press release should follow and then submit it to sites like PRWeb, PRLog and PressExposure.Strategy #5 – Organic SEOTruly, the best source of traffic for your website is to earn a top ranking in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keyword.  According to a study cited by Search Engine Watch, the sites sitting in the top three spots of each Google results page account for 58.4% of clicks from all users that land on that particular SERP.So how do you get your site ranked in the top spot?  Well, answering that question isn’t easy, as Google and the other search engines don’t release the exact factors that go into their ranking algorithms.  However, it’s widely accepted that the number and quality of the backlinks pointing to your site, the quality of the content on your site and your site’s load times all affect where your site winds up in the SERPs.As you might have guessed, incorporating any of the first four strategies discussed in this article is a good way to improve not just the amount of traffic flowing into your site, but the backlink profile as well – both of which can have a dramatic effect on your standing in the SERPs.  

Rosanne Cash: Award-winning American Roots singer

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

With a Grammy in hand and a long list of No. 1 hit singles, records, and top charting music, Rosanne Cash has taken the country, folk and blues scene by storm. Now, armed with her new album, The River & the Thread, read how Rosanne uses Pinterest place boards to dedicate and map out inspiration for her lyrics and songs. It seems music runs in your genes. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Did you always know music was in your future growing up? I started writing poetry at the age of 8 or 9, and I knew I wanted to be a writer of some kind. In my early teens I started thinking about putting poems to music, but I didn’t have a concept of being a ‘songwriter’ yet. I don’t think I really registered that women could be songwriters until Joni Mitchell. At 18, I started writing my first (terrible) songs. However, I didn’t want to be a singer or a performer. Instead, I went to the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in Los Angeles. After a couple years of college and six months of living in London, I loved the work and the intensity of acting school. But I knew after a few months that I could never lead an actor’s life. It was too hard, with too much rejection and emphasis on appearance. But it was a great experience and I use some tools I learned in performance today. I was writing songs all along, and I ended up making a record in Germany. I still didn’t want to become a performer, but after that record, it was just the next natural step on the path. It was very hard at first—in fact, it was very hard for many years. I had stage fright and I didn’t enjoy the attention. I wasn’t very good at it. But if you keep showing up for work, something happens…you get better, you find more subtle experiences, and I have come to love the temporal nature of live performance, and the spontaneity. I have learned to get out of my own way. With all music you have released over the years, how have you grown as an artist and performer? Any significant moments or milestones? I’m curious, and it keeps me growing. I love what I do, and I feel incredibly lucky that I get to live out my dreams of music and writing and performing. I was very sick several years ago and had a good hard look at my own mortality. When I recovered, I felt an urgency about doing the things I most want to do in this life, not wasting any time doing them, and not hedging my bets. As my friend Ethan Russell says about people my age, “You have more to say, and less time to say it.” It’s motivating. You just released your new album, The River & the Thread, and we caught your map of places that chronicles the journey you took in creating the album. Can you tell us more behind the inspiration for your place board? I love maps. I spent many hours in the map room at the New York Public Library looking at maps from the last 300 years—mostly of the Southern states, including Civil War field maps, which were beautiful and chilling. I thought of maps the whole time I was making the record, and imagined all the geo-cultural-spiritual spots I was singing about—Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia—as well as Barcelona and Paris. The whole album is a map. I wanted to put a map on the album cover, but the shot on the bridge was too compelling, so the Pinterest board satisfied a lot of Map-Love I had! Follow Rosanne Cash’s board The River & The Thread album map on Pinterest. You’ve dedicated a board, Modern Blue to a song off your new album. From the description, the song is about “carrying your home inside of you”. How do you combat being on the road, on tour, and away from the ones you love for long periods of time? I am never away from my son for a long period of time. I have never gone out for a month, or weeks at a time, because of my kids. The longest I was ever away from my kids was 16 days and it almost killed me. So I’m a weekend warrior during the school year, and I take him with me on school breaks. He goes to camp in the summer and we work a lot then. I have an internal balancing mechanism—I go out for 2 to 4 days, sometimes 5 days, then I’m home and I’m really HOME. And I do travel with my husband, so I see him more than anyone. What is the biggest challenge today for musicians starting out? Any advice for young talent looking to follow in your footsteps? It’s a tough business. The whole backstory of a musician’s life—the pace you keep, the travel and the exhaustion—is a little shocking to young musicians. My daughter is a musician and she said she knows bands who are outraged and complain after the first 6am lobby call, “I can’t do this!” There’s a huge wake-up call about the exact nature of the job. No, you don’t get airlifted to a perfect theater with a perfect sound system minutes before you walk on stage. Well…maybe some people have that experience but most of us are in the trenches, grabbing a nap between sound check and the show and trying to figure out if there’s a real meal in our future. But if you love it, and more than that, if it’s the reason you’re on the planet—to make music—then you develop your stamina and you show up and don’t complain. This is all assuming that you have a strong work ethic regarding the actual work—that you “show the muse you’re serious”, as my friend Steven Pressfield says. Thanks Rosanne for taking us backstage and letting us peek into the music world. If you want to see what Rosanne is writing or performing next, visit herwebsite and Pinterest boards!

AWS Week in Review - March 31, 2014

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Let's take a quick look at what happened in AWS-land last week: Monday, March 31 We announced a new, instructor-led Big Data on AWS Training Course. We announced Twelve New Instance Types for Elastic MapReduce. We announced the AWS April Webinars, With a Focus on Disaster Recovery. The AWS Application Management Blog listed Three Easy Steps to Enable Cross-Zone Load Balancing in Elastic Beanstalk. The AWS PHP Development Blog talked about Receiving Amazon SNS Messages in PHP. The AWS .NET Development Blog showed you how to enable Response Logging in AWS Tools for PowerShell. We announced new Amazon Simple Workflow Samples and Recipes for Ruby. Tuesday, April 1 We announced that the Memory-Optimized (R3) EC2 Instance Type Will Be Available Soon. The AWS Security Blog announced that Amazon Redshift has Successfully Completed the FedRAMP Assessment and Authorization Process. We announced that EBS Provisioned IOPS, EBS-Optimized Instances, and the M3 Medium and Large Instance Sizes are now Available in AWS GovCloud (US). Wednesday, April 2 We announced that AWS CloudTrail now Supports API Logging for AWS Direct Connect and AWS Elastic Beanstalk. We announced that AWS Elastic Beanstalk now Supports Ruby 2. We anounced that Amazon CloudFront Performance now Benefits From the use of EDNS-Client-Subnet. The AWS Security Blog detailed some important IAM User Sign-In Page Changes. Thursday, April 3 We announced that you can now Use Oracle GoldenGate With Amazon RDS for Oracle Database. I learned about the new AWS Architecture Blog, and the first post, AWS and Compartmentalization. We announced that AWS CloudTrail now Supports API Logging for Elastic MapReduce. Friday, April 4 This week AWS Marketplace added new products including Signiant Skydrop, Cornerstone MFT Server, CKAN,  Domino2Go, and Xignite. Stay tuned for next week! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the RSS feed. -- Jeff;

15 Keys to Providing Customer Service Through Social Media

HostGator Blog -

The post 15 Keys to Providing Customer Service Through Social Media appeared first on HostGator Web Hosting Blog | Gator Crossing. Social media is great for connecting your business to your customers, and allowing them to have direct close access to you can be a boon for your brand image. However, unfettered access also means that more customers feel free to complain either directly or indirectly about companies through social media. In this media climate, it’s important to leverage your PR skills to positive effect, and here’s how.   Respond quickly Your customer turned to social media to complain because they are looking for an immediate response, and while you may be busy with product development meetings or vendor calls, these seemingly-small, Facebook-born comments should receive similar attention. Make sure that you get back to them as soon as you see the complaint.   Have a dedicate twitter account for issues Social media is all about context, which is why big corporations create accounts specifically for reporting and responding to issues, decluttering their primary social feed and filtering the important messages from the fluff. Nike and Comcast are two examples of companies that have dedicated accounts on twitter for customers experiencing issues for precisely these reasons. If your company is big enough, create a dedicated account where customers can reach you when something has gone amiss.   Be responsive around the clock Know your business well and when your customers will be using your services. If you are a restaurant, for example, you can expect to hear from customers late in to the evening if they have had a bad dinner experience. Monitor your account around the clock as best you can or, better yet, dedicate staff to the task so that you can respond quickly.   Address the issue and offer a solution In your response, be sure to restate the problem so it is clear you understand it, and give your customer a solution if one is available. Communication requires empathy and efficiency, and this approach will achieve both.   Offer new information they might not have access to Airlines can frequently update the customer as to the status of cancelled or delayed flights quickly before that information is disseminated at the gate. Give the customer all the information you have as they might not have access to it. This will also show that you are paying close attention to their particular circumstances.   If no solution is available offer empathy Sometimes no immediate solution is available, but it is important to respond as fast you can. A simple “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. That sounds like an awful time/situation/experience. We are working on it and will get back to you soon” can calm an angry customer while you work on a solution.   Direct them to resources where answers or solutions may be found When you can’t provide the solution over social media, let them know where they can go to receive resolution, be it an email address they need to contact or a store manager they need to talk to directly. Keep in mind that social media channels aren’t the most appropriate avenue for obtaining things like account numbers or private information, so be sure to direct them to someone offline that can help them.   Be aware of your twitter account and follow your tags and hashtags Someone on your staff needs to have alerts set for any tags or hashtags customers might utilize to try and reach you. Pay attention to them, particularly if you intend to use them for support purposes.   Answer all of the questions asked (not just the easy one) When writing your response go back and look at the original complaint. It may be easy to address just one issue but they may have had several questions or concerns. Address each and every one, clearly and effectively.   Rectify what you can Make the situation right as fast as you can. You can’t fix every aspect of their problem but whatever issue you can fix, do so quickly. Remedying even a portion of the customer’s problem will be seen as progress and improve your image as a result.   Follow through with the issue Chances are you won’t solve the problem on the first go around so go back and check in with your customer. Did they get a new flight? Was the broken item replaced? Etc etc. Follow up with the customer and demonstrate compassion, empathy, and dedication to their needs in the process. Do not wait to be asked for additional assistance!   Show customer appreciation Proactively reach out to customers who are mentioning your company in a positive way. If someone takes a picture at your business and tags you, repost/retweet it! If you get a positive review on Facebook contact the customer and say thank you. These small actions will show that you are listening, potentially turning one time reviewers into brand evangelists.   Provide a real world solution The coffee was cold? Offer to replace their cup free of charge. Car wasn’t repaired properly? Have them bring it back in. If it was a tangible problem offer a tangible solution, and remember that generosity is remembered, blogged about, rewarded, and retweeted.   Don’t remove complaints It can be tempting to remove a complaint after you have addressed the concern, but leaving them alone should be standard practice for your business. Make sure that your responses and solutions are in the comments section or your direct reply to the tweet. New customers will see the complaint but also see that you were responsive and accommodating to customer needs.   Be professional Above all reply and act in a professional manner. Your customer might be rude or upset but it is your job to maintain your calm and mitigate the situation as fast as you can. Remember: a crabby customer is an issue, but a positive response is an asset, and your customers will notice that. In an age of ubiquitous social media, communication comes from many inboxes. Tend to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and exercise professionalism, and your wall will become a testament to your dedication to your customers. web hosting

Is Linking Dead for SEO?

BizTechTonics -

In a controversial and much talked about post by Matt Cutts, entitled “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO,” the head of Google’s Webspam team declares that guest posting for SEO purposes is dead. In his post, which has been edited several times for clarity, he attempts to clarify that Google is targeting spammy links only, but leaves the door open for linking for legitimate purposes. Google is in an unenviable position, where it needs, not just wants, but needs to rein in the problem of spammy content, but at the same time needs to avoid penalizing legitimate websites. The biggest problem is how to determine if a link is organic or not, since webmasters are not disclosing whether a link is sponsored or not.  We all have seen spammy websites in Google’s search results, but now we are starting to see legitimate websites penalized for actions of third parties. Toxic Links Google has created such a scare that webmasters are left wondering if they should link to other websites at all, especially their own.  Google says its fine to do so, but some webmasters are not sure they want to take that risk. The danger to Google is that it will frighten webmasters away from creating organic links, which will give Google less content to crawl, which will reduce the size and quality of their index. In the current state of things, Google is declaring spammy links dead, at least for the purpose of gaining attention of search engines.  That is clear.  What is not so clear is whether organic linking is truly safe as well, as Google claims, especially those in the gray area.  For example, linking to other websites you own could be considered spammy by one observer, and useful by another. Unfortunately Black Hat SEO will Adapt The bigger problem is that black hat SEO will just change their tactics.  If linking becomes toxic, then the best way to manipulate Google’s results would be to create spammy content linking to competing websites. So it is actually possible that if Google becomes too heavy handed on link spam, they could unintentionally create additional link spam, meant to discredit legitimate websites. We are already seeing an increase in comment spam linking to Google and no other website.  I am pretty sure Google did not post or authorize those links.  I wonder how many other spammy links are false flags as well. Linking is Dying for SEO Links are no longer a reliable measure of the relevance and importance of a website. While Google is trying to scare spammers, and at the same time trying to calm the fears of webmasters the world over, the reality is that links are going to have to be deemed less important in Google’s search algorithm.  They just are not an accurate indicator anymore. Over time, what we are going to see is a rise of new indicators, such as Google Authorship, and social media mentions to supplement and perhaps even replace linking as the primary indicator of relevance, popularity and importance. Linking is not dead yet, but whether this happens this year or next year, this is the direction things are going. On whether or not you should link to other websites, that is up to you.  But link because it is useful, or you want people to click on the links, not because you want Google to increase a website’s rank.

WHD Global 2014

WHMCS Blog -

This week we attended and exhibited at WHD.global 2014 - the world's largest annual hosting event. This was our first time exhibiting at a conference in Europe, and so it was great to get to meet so many of our European users, many for the first time, and many of whom we've been working with and talking to for years. If you missed it, we've uploaded some pictures from the event to our official Flickr account. Conferences are always a great opportunity to connect with users of our product, and to talk with customers about what we've been working on, and what you can expect to see from us in the coming weeks and months. And right now we really have a lot to talk about - there's our automatic update utility (which by the way is now super close to entering public beta status), as well as deeper cPanel integration, and an...

7 Surprising Places to Find Awesome Posts for Facebook

Post Planner -

Content, content, content! Surprise, surprise!… it’s KING! And it’s not just about how much you’re sharing — it’s about WHAT you’re sharing. >> Click to Tweet << Your fans expectations are getting higher & higher. And the quality of content your competitors are sharing is getting better & better So how do you stay ahead of the competition & ensure you’re sharing amazing, relevant content? Simple — find awesome content sources! In this post I’ll show you 7 killer places to find awesome content for your page. 7 Surprising Places to Find Awesome Posts for Facebook Some of these may surprise you. 1. Tumblr Amazingly, Tumblr is still underutilized. But there is a TON of content on Tumblr & businesses don’t use the platform enough. >> Click to Tweet << Tumblr’s search tool helps me find content using hashtags. I can arrange results based on: Most Popular Most Recent Web Results Or I can sort by: Text Photos Quotes Links Chat Audio Video Here I searched for fitness tips & found a bunch of content for my page (don’t forget to cite your source in the post): 2. Post Planner Post Planner is so much more than just a social-media scheduling tool. Post Planner also offers: Trending content Pre-written status ideas Viral photos The Viral Photos are my favorite! I can easily find the most shared & most engaged with photos from any Facebook page or profile. Post Planner’s Viral Photos finder is my go-to tool when I’m looking for photos to share on my page. 3. Twitter Lists  My life would be a mess without Twitter lists. They let me organize my stream & stay up to date with news that’s important to me. I have lists with: Thought leaders Celebrities News Brands Businesses When it comes to content curation, never underestimate the power of a properly managed Twitter list. Follow the right people & you’re looking at a library of content like no other! >> Click to Tweet << Here are 101 choices if you’re looking for some Twitter lists to follow: 101 Best Twitter Lists To Follow in the Twitterverse  4. Reddit What can’t you find on Reddit?! Popular topics on the website include: Tech Gaming Humor Fashion Video Technology Music Sports   Basically, Reddit has everything. It’s not the fastest way to find content, but it’s very interesting & lots of fun to explore. TIP: use the “Funny” Subreddit to find humorous photos & memes. 5. Hacker News Hacker News is similar to Reddit, but uses a different algorithm to push results onto the front page. >> Click to Tweet << There is also no voting system on Hacker News to rank content — as there is on Reddit. But you’ll find great content on the site — even some controversial stuff just in case you want to get a bit edgy on your Facebook page. Use the search tool to find content relevant to your industry. Hacker News lets you search for content from: the last 24 hours the past week the past months forever a specific date 6. Flipboard I love Flipboard! There, I said it. It’s a must-have app for your mobile device or tablet. I like Flipboard because its compact, easy to use & packed with content. >> Click to Tweet << Like on Reddit, there are many categories to follow — including: News Business Tech & Science Sports Shopping Photos & Design Arts & Culture Living Food Travel Style One of the best parts of Flipboard is when the app recommends sources for you to subscribe to based on your interests. 7. Inbound.org Inbound.org is a marketer’s best friend. >> Click to Tweet << Content on the website is based on votes from users & Inbound.org’s algorithm. That combination creates magic! Content on Inbound.org covers subjects like: Marketing tools Search Social Media Tips Content Marketing Conversion Analytics Mobile Startup Marketing Where do YOU find content for Facebook? Hopefully you found some surprising new content sources in this post. But what about you?? Where do YOU find content to create awesome posts for Facebook? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below. The post 7 Surprising Places to Find Awesome Posts for Facebook appeared first on Post Planner.

6 Ways to Get Your Facebook Fans Raving About Your Company

Post Planner -

Want to get your Facebook fans raving about your business? Good. You’ve come to the right post. Below I’ll give you 6 tips on how to get fans praising your company, including: Reviews Networking Ways to recognize your followers and more (I left nothing out!) So let’s get started. 6 Ways to Get Your Facebook Fans Raving About Your Company Here we go… 1. Invite Fans to Write Reviews & Testimonials Let’s face it, nothing moves a product faster than honest praise from happy customers. Testimonials from customers are the best sales tools you can get. And you can either wait for customers to provide positive feedback, or you can ask. I’d advise the latter. Just ask fans to leave a comment on your Facebook page if they’re happy with your product or service, for example. Here’s what to do after they leave a review: Highlight the review Did you know you can allow comments from Facebook fans to appear on your page? It’s easy! Simply click the “X” button on the comment & choose “Allowed on Page”. This comment will now appear on your Facebook page for anyone to review. Add reviews to your cover photo Including testimonials from your customers on your Facebook cover photo is a no-brainer. >> Click to Tweet << It builds credibility & trust with those who are new to your page — since your cover photo is the first thing they see. Post photos of those who write reviews I recently saw this on Marie Forleo’s page when she was promoting her B-School. It’s a smart way to convert fans into customers.   2. Recognize Your Fans Showing your appreciation for your fans is another awesome way to get them raving about your company on Facebook. People feel good when they are recognized by brands they love. >> Click to Tweet << Here are 2 ways to approach this: Use an app An app called Booshaka will take care of all of this for you. Ravi Shukle has seen a strong response using Booshaka on his page. Tania Rodgers was Ravi’s most active fan for several weeks in a row. Use your cover photo Use your cover photo to recognize your fans. After all, your cover photo is the largest piece of real estate on your page. >> Click to Tweet << Use programs like Canva to design an amazing cover photo. Here, Walmart did a great job featuring fans. 3. Spotlight Work from Fans One powerful way to recognize your fans is to feature their work on your Facebook page. >> Click to Tweet << Imagine if a fan who looks up to your business were to have his or her work featured on your page. That could turn anyone into a brand ambassador overnight. I like how page managers for Bob Marley feature artwork from his fans on Facebook — definitely a great way to build strong brand loyalty. And businesses can do the same thing. Ask fans to share their favorite: Photos (of them using your product) Recipes Art 4. Hobnob with Influencers in Your Industry Influencers are an important part of any content marketing strategy. These people already have a network that can help you gain the exposure your business so desperately needs. Be sure to use Facebook to network with influential people in your industry. Introduce yourself & send them your products. Who knows, they may talk about you on their Facebook page. >> Click to Tweet << Here’s an example from Calvin Lee, who is a huge supporter of Sony cameras. Sony sent him a lens as a gift. Lee quickly praised the company on Facebook. 5. Host Contests Facebook contests can get fans raving about your company, but you have to do them right. Use a 3rd-party contest app to provide incentives for fans to tell their friends they entered your contest. I recently entered this contest & shared about it on Facebook in exchange for another chance to win: 6. Build Great Products Nothing takes you further with fans than providing a great product or service. Check out CamMi Pham sharing her love for Post Planner (we love you too, Cammi!): Conclusion An army of brand ambassadors is the holy grail of content marketing! It’s what we all hope to achieve, right? What’s your best piece of advice for getting fans to rave about your brand? The post 6 Ways to Get Your Facebook Fans Raving About Your Company appeared first on Post Planner.

#SmallBizSuccess spotlight: @pathable

The Twitter Small Business Blog -

Last month, we asked you to help us celebrate #SmallBizSuccess by sharing examples of your most creative and effective Twitter Ads campaigns. We received many impressive submissions, and we’re pleased to highlight one here, from Pathable (@pathable). Pathable is a provider of web and mobile apps for conferences, events, associations and trade shows. The company offers a complete event experience suite including an online agenda, scheduling for private meetings, exhibitor listings and floor maps, social networking and online communities. The company uses Twitter to connect with event marketers who are likely to be interested in its apps and can help generate word-of-mouth referrals. They also leverage Twitter to drive traffic to case studies, webinars and white papers, which are available to download for lead generation. Since using Twitter Ads to amplify its efforts, @pathable has 390% growth in Twitter referral traffic and 5x increase in new site visits  Here are three keys to @pathable’s #SmallBizSuccess on Twitter. Develop relevant context.People turn to Twitter to connect to and talk about their interests. When @pathable started its campaign, the team identified frequently-used event marketing hashtags such as #eventtech, #assnchat and #eventprofs, and built Twitter lists around industry thought leaders such as @EventMB and @lizkingevents. This helped them learn how to reach an audience receptive to its content and identify which types of Tweets were likely to resonate with potential customers. What are you doing to incorporate & engage your first-time attendees? via @OCCC @ExpoMagazine http://t.co/v25OE8JrBH #meetingprofs — Pathable (@pathable) February 19, 2014 Offer value.Instead of focusing solely on selling, @pathable tweeted educational content in the form of tips, insights and industry trends. This enabled the company to demonstrate its expertise, establish trust and build long-term relationships with potential customers.  Our “Event Technology Trends for 2014” webinar is now available for free, on-demand viewing. http://t.co/AKoCsEZYtL pic.twitter.com/i4sF1Bbo18 — Pathable (@pathable) February 22, 2014 Take a ‘test and learn’ approach.To understand which content resonated most, @pathable tested multiple campaigns. In each one, @pathable incorporated several Tweets featuring a variety of messages and rich media images. Once the Pathable team could identify which Tweets performed best, they created more Tweets like their top campaign performers and fewer like those that had underperformed.  As we’ve run more campaigns and tested different tactics, we’ve been able to incorporate our learnings into our overall strategy. Our campaigns have become more and more successful as a result. –Jennifer Pitts(@jlpitts)Director of Marketing Moving forward, @pathable plans to continue its Twitter Ads campaigns and to further refine its strategy based on new learnings. Stay tuned for updates on @pathable via our @TwitterSmallBiz channel, and please continue to share your own #SmallBizSuccess examples by tweeting to us @TwitterSmallBiz.    

#SmallBizSuccess spotlight: @pathable

The Twitter Small Business Blog -

Last month, we asked you to help us celebrate #SmallBizSuccess by sharing examples of your most creative and effective Twitter Ads campaigns. We received many impressive submissions, and we’re pleased to highlight one here, from Pathable (@pathable). Pathable is a provider of web and mobile apps for conferences, events, associations and trade shows. The company offers a complete event experience suite including an online agenda, scheduling for private meetings, exhibitor listings and floor maps, social networking and online communities. The company uses Twitter to connect with event marketers who are likely to be interested in its apps and can help generate word-of-mouth referrals. They also leverage Twitter to drive traffic to case studies, webinars and white papers, which are available to download for lead generation. Since using Twitter Ads to amplify its efforts, @pathable has 390% growth in Twitter referral traffic and 5x increase in new site visits  Here are three keys to @pathable’s #SmallBizSuccess on Twitter. Develop relevant context.People turn to Twitter to connect to and talk about their interests. When @pathable started its campaign, the team identified frequently-used event marketing hashtags such as #eventtech, #assnchat and #eventprofs, and built Twitter lists around industry thought leaders such as @EventMB and @lizkingevents. This helped them learn how to reach an audience receptive to its content and identify which types of Tweets were likely to resonate with potential customers. What are you doing to incorporate & engage your first-time attendees? via @OCCC @ExpoMagazine http://t.co/v25OE8JrBH #meetingprofs — Pathable (@pathable) February 19, 2014 Offer value.Instead of focusing solely on selling, @pathable tweeted educational content in the form of tips, insights and industry trends. This enabled the company to demonstrate its expertise, establish trust and build long-term relationships with potential customers.  Our “Event Technology Trends for 2014” webinar is now available for free, on-demand viewing. http://t.co/AKoCsEZYtL pic.twitter.com/i4sF1Bbo18 — Pathable (@pathable) February 22, 2014 Take a ‘test and learn’ approach.To understand which content resonated most, @pathable tested multiple campaigns. In each one, @pathable incorporated several Tweets featuring a variety of messages and rich media images. Once the Pathable team could identify which Tweets performed best, they created more Tweets like their top campaign performers and fewer like those that had underperformed.  As we’ve run more campaigns and tested different tactics, we’ve been able to incorporate our learnings into our overall strategy. Our campaigns have become more and more successful as a result. –Jennifer Pitts(@jlpitts)Director of Marketing Moving forward, @pathable plans to continue its Twitter Ads campaigns and to further refine its strategy based on new learnings. Stay tuned for updates on @pathable via our @TwitterSmallBiz channel, and please continue to share your own #SmallBizSuccess examples by tweeting to us @TwitterSmallBiz.    

Typepad On Pinterest: Attic24

Everything Typepad -

Did you know Typepad is on Pinterest? It's true! We love pinning and repinning great content from Typepad blogs in every genre, and we're always looking for great, inspirational content. Are you on Pinterest? Drop your link in the comments, and don't forget to follow Typepad right here! If you're not on Pinterest yet, check it out - it's a great way to promote your blog and connect with others!  Want some inspiration? Check out our featured pinner, Attic24! Last month Attic24 celebrated their six year anniversary on Typepad. A source for the crochet enthusiast filled with colorful pin worthy images. FOLLOW: Pinterest | Blog Want to promote your pinterest account on your Typepad blog? Just go to Blogs > Content and add the Pinterest Widget to your Sidebar via the center menu. While you're there, make your blog posts "pinable" by adding the Pin It button to your post footers. Want even more? Learn how to promote your blog on Pinterest and follow Typepad at www.pinterest.com/typepad.

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