Industry Buzz

Last week's downtime and what you can expect from us in the future

Everything Typepad -

Between April 17th and April 22nd, many of our customers experienced a service interruption due to a series of large, sophisticated denial of service attacks against our infrastructure. We apologize for the inconvenience and service interruption you experienced. Our team has worked around the clock to try to help keep your blogs up and running, but we couldn’t keep your sites online to the level that you expect from us, or to the level that we expect ourselves. We also want to give you some insight into what happened, what steps we took, and what steps we are taking to try to ensure that we can deliver you the service that you deserve. First, was my data at risk? No. This was purely a denial of service attack, and your data was never at risk. So, what happened? What follows is a reasonably technical description of the attacks we faced. The short version is we were hit by repeated, large denial of service attacks that made Typepad intermittently available over the course of five days. If you’re not interested in the technical details, you can skip to the next section. Starting Thursday, April 17, we were hit by a very large DDOS attack leveraging NTP, DNS, and SNMP amplification attacks. We worked with our upstream providers to block the attack before it hit our network, and we moved all traffic over to the provider that was able to block the attack and bring sites back online. On Friday, April 18, using a new attack vector, a SYN flood was directed at the IPs we use to host Typepad’s services. To stop the attack, we had to move services around inside the Typepad network. We had services fully back online by 1pm EDT Friday, but about 600 customer blogs were down. Once the attack was mitigated, we reached out and worked with a new vendor to help us further protect our infrastructure and implement long-term mitigations. The attack returned on Easter Sunday, April 20, spreading across our IP space. We once again worked to stabilize the infrastructure by moving services around. The attack returned again on Monday, April 21, at which point we moved all of the blogs behind a service that could mitigate the attack. This meant that mapped domains would not load — i.e., customers with domains would not load, but .typepad.com blogs were unaffected. All services were back up by 10am EDT on Monday, with the exception of the mapped domains. We spent the rest of Monday working on getting as many customer blogs up as possible, while putting in place a broader mitigation. We completed the full mitigation implementation on Tuesday, April 22, just as we were hit with another massive flood. We finished bringing all blogs and mapped domains back online (with the exception of customers who were mapped to IP addresses). By early evening, we were just waiting for DNS records to update so that customers could see their sites were loading. Since Tuesday, we have seen new attacks, but our mitigation is holding up (you may have noticed a few minutes of slowness on Friday — when our new defenses were being utilized to stop an attack). As a result of the changes we made to protect our network, you may have experienced some small issues resulting from our changes to protect our network (things like CSS caching longer than expected, certain feed readers being blocked, etc.). We believe most of these issues have now been resolved at this point. However, if you are still experiencing lingering issues, please contact our support team via a ticket. They are ready to jump on any issues they see. Why did it take this long to stop? The simplest answer: Typepad had never been subjected to this type of attack before, which placed stress on parts of our infrastructure. Each day, Typepad serves up a tremendous number of content, images, video files, etc. Our systems have always been able to scale and handle whatever traffic was thrown at them. However, these attacks were much larger and more persistent than anything we previously experienced. We believe that these attacks are similar to the attacks that have recently brought other online services down. So, this is never going to happen again, right? Unfortunately, there’s just no way we can say that. This bad actor has proven to be very determined, looping back against us trying new attack vectors and looking for weaknesses. Every day, we’re putting in place new rules and new ways of stopping attacks. But there is no way for anyone to be 100% protected. We’re working with our partners, providers, and our team to make sure that we are proactive in defending ourselves against future attacks. Can you give us more detailed information? Right now, we’re not able to provide more detailed information. The authorities are involved, and providing more information could make it easier for the attacker to find a way to exploit our system. We are going to err on the side of being conservative here. If you really need more information, please submit a support ticket, and our team will do their best to answer your question. Why didn’t you email us to tell us this was happening? During an issue like this, our team is very active on Twitter and Facebook, and answering support tickets. Our Twitter feed is also reflected on our status site as a one-stop shop to get an update on where things stand. We tend not to use email during an issue like this since email relies on our @typepad.com domain, and that is often the service that is not responding. Using off-site means of updates is a safer, more effective means of making sure we can keep everyone up-to-date. Thank you We wanted to say thank you to the Typepad community, the vast majority of who were overwhelmingly supportive during the last few days. We’ve gotten so many wonderful tweets, Facebook messages, support tickets, and blog posts supporting us and backing us, that we can’t possibly express our gratitude. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out via support ticket, and we will get back to you as fast as possible. Ryan 
 Typepad General Manager

Welcome to the new AWS Blog!

Amazon Web Services Blog -

You are now reading the newest version of the AWS Blog! After hosting the blog externally for nearly ten years, we decided to "drink our own champagne" (as we often say at Amazon) and move to an AWS-powered environment. I am happy to be able to report that this blog is generated on Amazon EC2 and hosted on Amazon S3. As you can see, the blog has a fresh, clean design, and it is responsive to boot! As is the case with every part of AWS, we will continue to enhance it in the days and weeks after today's launch. All 90 of my posts from 2014 are already available on the new blog; the rest will be there shortly. This new location is the first step in a bigger project that will ultimately make all of the AWS blogs available within a common URL structure. We have a lot of news and other information to share and are taking steps now to make sure that you can easily find and enjoy as much of it as possible. Our new blogging platform gives us the control and the flexibility that we need to have in order to make this and the other AWS blogs as innovative as AWS itself. We plan to implement a commenting feature in the future. Until then, you can send feedback to me at awseditor@amazon.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and route comments to me there. -- Jeff;

#Pinspiration chat: learn at home with Happy Housewife

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 1.8 million kids are homeschooled in the U.S. If you’re one of these stay-at-home parents looking to make the most of a home curriculum with your kids, we hope our weekly #Pinspiration will help. This week’s #Pinspiration is all about homeschooling activities. We synced up with Toni of The Happy Housewife who shares her techniques, routines, and tactics on how to focus on varying strengths and learning styles for you and your child. Tweet us your homeschooling #Pinspiration to @Pinterest this Friday, May 2nd, between 9am-10am PST. Need a little help with ideas? Just add the hashtag #Pinspiration to your tweet and ask us any questions. We’ll send you a Pin or a Board to help! Here are a few topics we were thinking about chatting about: frugal tips, making your home into a school space, planning day-today routines, organizing your calendar, types of learning styles, outside learning, or teaching multiple grade levels. We got a chance to speak with Toni to hear how she sets up a game plan for her seven kids using Pinterest: Hi Toni, can you share a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start your website, The Happy Housewife? I’m a military spouse and homeschool mom to seven kids—one who has already graduated and one who hasn’t even started yet. I started The Happy Housewife in 2008 to help families, specifically moms, shop smarter, get organized, and give readers a peek into our daily homeschool life. When I started homeschooling back in 2000, I didn’t know many homeschool families who were trying to live on one income. I thought if I could share what I had learned over the years I might be able to help and encourage other families on their homeschool journey. What are your tips for choosing a curriculum? Got any great ideas for Memorial day? Choosing a curriculum is one of the hardest parts of homeschooling. We are fortunate to have tons of curriculum choices available, but at the same time it can be overwhelming. The best piece of advice I ever received was to determine my child’s learning style and then find curriculum that worked best with their strengths. A hands on learner does not need a workbook type curriculum, and an auditory learner might not want to create lap books each week. Figuring out how each of my children learned helped narrow down my choices. Holidays are great learning opportunities. Families can study our military history or even do something to support our troops or veterans. Kids can write letters to troops overseas, bake cookies for a veteran, or even organize a neighborhood parade. Follow The Happy Housewife’s board Homeschool Memorial Day on Pinterest. There are numerous fun and delicious red, white and blue desserts and snacks you can make as a family too. How do you use use Pinterest to plan your curriculum and discover teaching activities? I love using Pinterest in our homeschool planning. For each unit, we study I create a Pinterest board with relevant resources, crafts, worksheets, websites, and snack ideas. I love that all my ideas are organized in one place and the images make planning so much easier. This year our preschooler is learning a letter a week. I’m creating boards for each letter that are filled with worksheets, books, coloring pages, and snack ideas. It is easy to quickly pin resources when I find them on the web and then reference them when we are ready to use them. Thanks for the feedback, Toni! Don’t forget to join us on Twitter this Friday and share your #Pinspiration with Toni and the Pinterest team. Also, be sure to check out her website and Pinterest boards. See you Friday morning!

The ‘Sequel To SQL’ (The Proof Is In The Pudding!)

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

By Roland Schmidt, Senior Director of Business Development, Clustrix, Inc. I am back again with a follow-up to my post on the Rackspace Developer blog from earlier this month wherein Clustrix drew the following conclusion: “For highly-concurrent transactional workloads and real-time analytics Rackspace’s new Performance 2 flavor class Cloud Servers provide great performance, superior price/performance and therefore excellent value. Clustrix recommends them without reservation for running the ClustrixDB scale-out SQL database in a cloud.” After extensive testing earlier this year and learning what we did about Rackspace’s new “Perf2” Cloud Servers, we decided it was high time to put our own recommendations to the test. So we approached a long-time common Clustrix-Rackspace customer, Agoge, Inc. about consolidation and migration of their production social network gaming environment. They seemed like a perfect candidate to benefit from now being able to run ClustrixDB in the Rackspace Cloud instead of running it as a DBaaS from a ClustrixDB Appliance, co-located in Rackspace’s ORD datacenter. The Genesis of the Problem (the times they are a changin’) Agoge ran everything but their database in the Rackspace Cloud. This was historical dating back several years. Prior to moving to ClustrixDB, and due to their high DB performance requirements, Agoge had co-located their own custom database server in ORD. But by mid-2012 it was running out of steam and they didn’t really want to buy, build or deal with another custom DB server. They came to Clustrix in order to get a scale-out SQL solution that was fully compatible with their MySQL code base, and could grow easily and seamlessly over time. Which it did just fine. But inefficiencies and cost issues surfaced as their business grew. The Impact of the Problem (waste not, want not) Because their App servers were in their own Rackspace Cloud account and the ClustrixDB Appliance they used as a DBaaS was co-located in our Managed Hosting account, significant growth on their site was creating much more network traffic between our two separate accounts. This, coupled with two firewall transitions for every database query on and off of the common network in ORD, was beginning to create excessive and costly network traffic and unpredictable bandwidth costs for Agoge based on unknown future traffic to their website. The Simpler and More Cost-effective Solution (the Perf2 proof IS in the pudding) By retargeting ClustrixDB from our co-located appliance to a powerful three-node cluster of new 30GB/8vCPU Perf2 Cloud Servers, all elements of Agoge’s system are now combined into a single cloud domain – in Agoge’s own account and behind their own firewall. They now have a simpler, more efficient and cost-effective service. And, they have preserved the ability to easily and seamlessly expand their database on demand, as ClustrixDB provides the same features and scale-out performance for Agoge in the Rackspace Cloud as it did for them using it as an appliance. But now it’s even quicker and easier using Perf2 Cloud Servers, as new nodes can be provisioned and added to their ClustrixDB cluster in just minutes. Summary (creating the “win-win-win”) Combined with eliminating the unnecessary network traffic and associated costs, Agoge’s new solution also lessens congestion on the ORD datacenter networks. This was an attractive win-win-win scenario for all three parties with newfound efficiencies enabled by Rackspace’s Performance 2 Cloud Servers. To learn more about ClustrixDB visit our Rackspace Marketplace page and click on the Resources tab there to hear about the ClustrixDB architecture and How ClustrixDB works. This is a guest post written and contributed by Roland Schmidt, Senior Director of Business Development at Clustrix, Inc., a Rackspace Marketplace partner. Clustrix provides ClustrixDB, the industry’s first scale-out SQL database engineered for the cloud, which is uniquely and ideally suited to handle massive volumes of ACID-compliant transactional workloads while concurrently running real-time analytics on the same operational data.

Why We Craft OpenStack (Featuring Rackspace Principal Engineer Chuck Thier)

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

As OpenStack Summit Atlanta fast approaches, we wanted to dig deeper into the past, present and future of OpenStack. In this video series, we hear straight from some of OpenStack’s top contributors from Rackspace about how the fast-growing open source project has evolved, what it needs to continue thriving, what it means to them personally, and why they are active contributors. In the video below, Chuck Thier, Rackspace Principal Engineer, talks about his journey working on Swift from the birth of OpenStack with the original Rackspace and Anso Labs team to the present day community. “I’ve helped troubleshoot issues in our competitors clouds and helped competitors setup their OpenStack Swift clouds,” Thier said. “And I think that’s what’s so beautiful the community is us all working together so that our customers win. Everybody wins that way, right? And I think that is what makes OpenStack different.” Be sure to check out previous installments in the “Why We Craft OpenStack” video series featuring Rackers Kurt Griffiths, Jarret Raim and Ed Leafe. We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta for OpenStack Summit, May 12 through May 16.

How to write blog post titles that get more page views

Name.com Blog -

If your blog post doesn’t have a good headline, it might be tough to attract readers’ attention. A great headline makes somebody stop in his or her Facebook newsfeed, Twitter timeline, or wherever they are on the Internet, and click a link because you’ve made them genuinely curious. Websites like Buzzfeed seem to have found a formula that generates both views and shares, so we decided to take a moment to try to figure out what they’re doing so well to get such great post engagement. 1. How To: Editors of fashion magazines have to use their cover to sell their magazine, so they’ve undoubtedly spent a ton of time honing in on how to make a cover view convert to a sale. Fashion magazines have found their way to huge success by making “How To” headlines like: How To Get Over Your Ex-Girlfriend With One High Five 2. Lists: If you’ve made a list blog post, you might give it a title like the following: 10 Things You Can Do Tomorrow To High Five Better There are a lot of ways that you can use path, time or entity when writing a your list headline. Here are a few examples: 10 tips that… The 5 Key trends that… The 15 minute workout that… 10 secrets to… 99 ways to… 3. Achievement/Statements/Facts: An interesting statement can get a lot of people to click to your post. Here is an example of a achievement/statements/facts headline: Be the Best at High Fiving All of Your Friends Here are a few example beginning statements you could use: Become a… Start to… Never lose again in… Be the best at… 4. Quizzes/Questions: You’ve probably been seeing quiz results flowing down your Facebook newsfeed non-stop recently. If you want to hop on the quiz trend to drive traffic to your blog, here’s an example quiz headline that would help drive quiz participation: Quiz … what kind of high fiver are you? 5. Curiosity pitch: This type of headline has been hugely successful for websites like Upworthy. A curiosity pitch title looks like the following: My family stopped high fiving for one year and this is what happened. This type of headline gives you just enough information to be interested, but leaves you hanging (and curious!). Once you’re left hanging, the only way to get the rest of the story is to click the link to the blog post. Here’s how you might write a curiosity pitch: Imagine you are going to tell somebody a story. Then, think about how you would start that story, but in a way that makes the person ask… “what happened next!?” Conclusion: A good title can make or break how successful your blog posts are. The best way to get better at writing compelling headlines that strike up a potential reader’s curiosity is to practice, tweak, and get as close as you can to figuring out a formula that works best for you.

The Code History of WordPress

1&1 Online Success Center -

WordPress has been transforming the way Web professionals and consumers experience the Internet for over 10 years. Since it was originally created in 2003, thousands of lines of code have been written and each release brings major feature enhancements that contribute to the platform’s evolution into the powerhouse it is today. WordPress is widely considered to be the best content management system in existence and is estimated to power 20% of the world’s websites. Recently at WordCamp Paris, Marko Heijnen, a WordPress core contributor and 1&1 WordPress Specialist, talked about the code history of WordPress. Starting with the original source code, Marko discussed all of the major developments in each release and how WordPress integrates new features. The hour-long presentation (in English) can be seen in two parts. The first half can be viewed at http://1a1s.us/t5. Part 2 begins at version 3.7 and features the live Q&A session that followed the presentation: http://1a1s.us/t6. Below is a quick timeline of important WordPress releases in history: May 27, 2003: The first release as a fork of b2 January 3, 2004: Version 1.0 May 22, 2004: Version 1.2 January 10, 2005: WordPress Plugin Repository announced February 17, 2005: Version 1.5 December 31, 2005: Version 2.0 January 22, 2007: Version 2.1 May 16, 2007: Version 2.2 September 24, 2007: Version 2.3 March 29, 2008: Version 2.5 July 15, 2008: Version 2.6 December 10, 2008: Version 2.7 June 11, 2009: Version 2.8 December 18, 2009: Version 2.9 June 17, 2010: Version 3.0 February 23, 2011: Version 3.1 July 4, 2011: Version 3.2 December 12, 2011: Version 3.3 June 13, 2012: Version 3.4 December 11, 2012: Version 3.5 August 1, 2013: Version 3.6 October 24, 2013: Version 3.7 December 12, 2013: Version 3.8 April 16, 2014: Version 3.9  WordPress is always evolving and relies on a community of contributors to develop the platform and launch each release. For more quick information about the history of WordPress, the slides from Marko’s presentation are available to view and download on SlideShare. These slides address the key advancements that were achieved with each version, how many developers contributed, and more. Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/licreate

Landing on Solid Ground: How I Secured a New Career after 28 Years as a Flight Attendant

LinkedIn Official Blog -

I began my 28-year career with American Airlines as a ramp worker in 1985. I learned the ins and outs of the aviation industry and watched the air crews come and go, wondering what adventures awaited them. Little did I know that a year later, I would be in the air myself starting a long and fruitful career as a flight attendant. With my home base in North Carolina, I traveled the world from North and South America, to the Caribbean, Paris and London. I always enjoyed my travels and the many new faces and friends I met along the way. I took great pride in my role, and was committed to taking the absolute best care of my passengers on each and every flight, which is why I was humbled and honored to receive the “Outstanding Employee of 2012 – Flight Attendant” award. However, during the past decade, my wife and I became primary caregivers for my aging parents and in-laws. While my flight schedule was very flexible, I felt the need to be closer to home should an emergency arise. This point was driven home in 2010 with the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, when my flight and crew were grounded in London a week longer than scheduled (adding to the normal 10-14 nights away from home per month). In the background there was also the tragedy of 9/11 that gave cause for concern, and made me think about a potential career change when the time was right. When American Airlines extended an “early out” retirement offer to flight attendants in 2012, it seemed the best time to close a very rewarding and successful career in exchange for a “new season” on the ground at home. My final departure from American was in September 2013. It was bittersweet leaving good friends and a steady job without a parachute, so to speak, since I didn’t have a new job lined up before I left. I hadn’t looked for a new job in nearly three decades, so I knew I had to brush up on new skills, plus access available tools and resources. One of the most useful courses I took was an interactive LinkedIn class at a local community college, where I learned the importance of building and completing my LinkedIn profile. I updated my profile to include a good headshot and laser-focused my translatable skills and experiences towards sales. Once my profile was up to date, I started networking on LinkedIn. Within weeks, I built a network of over 200 connections, and reconnected with an old friend who is president and co-owner of a marketing strategies and consulting company. Since he was already familiar with my career and work ethic, he readily realized that my experience as a flight attendant would translate well into a career in sales. After several conversations, I was hired as an Account Manager at Proforma Promographix. As a flight attendant, my job was to give my “customers” an excellent experience that they would gladly want to repeat. As I serve my clients in like manner, anticipating their needs and making every effort to stay one step ahead of them, I think I’ll be very successful at Proforma Promographix! Now that I’m home full time in Raleigh, North Carolina, I can be a dependable caregiver for my parents and in-laws, while establishing and enjoying a new career with an income that may exceed what I was earning as a flight attendant. LinkedIn was instrumental in helping me secure this new life and career. Editor’s Note: If LinkedIn has helped you transform your career or business, please share your story with us. For more inspiration, check out our Member Stories blog series.

The Code History of WordPress

1&1 Online Success Center -

WordPress has been transforming the way Web professionals and consumers experience the Internet for over 10 years. Since it was originally created in 2003, thousands of lines of code have been written and each release brings major feature enhancements that contribute to the platform’s evolution into the powerhouse it is today. WordPress is widely considered to be the best content management system in existence and is estimated to power 20% of the world’s websites. Recently at WordCamp Paris, Marko Heijnen, a WordPress core contributor and 1&1 WordPress Specialist, talked about the code history of WordPress. Starting with the original source code, Marko discussed all of the major developments in each release and how WordPress integrates new features. The hour-long presentation (in English) can be seen in two parts. The first half can be viewed at http://1a1s.us/t5. Part 2 begins at version 3.7 and features the live Q&A session that followed the presentation: http://1a1s.us/t6. Below is a quick timeline of important WordPress releases in history: May 27, 2003: The first release as a fork of b2 January 3, 2004: Version 1.0 May 22, 2004: Version 1.2 January 10, 2005: WordPress Plugin Repository announced February 17, 2005: Version 1.5 December 31, 2005: Version 2.0 January 22, 2007: Version 2.1 May 16, 2007: Version 2.2 September 24, 2007: Version 2.3 March 29, 2008: Version 2.5 July 15, 2008: Version 2.6 December 10, 2008: Version 2.7 June 11, 2009: Version 2.8 December 18, 2009: Version 2.9 June 17, 2010: Version 3.0 February 23, 2011: Version 3.1 July 4, 2011: Version 3.2 December 12, 2011: Version 3.3 June 13, 2012: Version 3.4 December 11, 2012: Version 3.5 August 1, 2013: Version 3.6 October 24, 2013: Version 3.7 December 12, 2013: Version 3.8 April 16, 2014: Version 3.9 WordPress is always evolving and relies on a community of contributors to develop the platform and launch each release. For more quick information about the history of WordPress, the slides from Marko’s presentation are available to view and download on SlideShare. These slides address the key advancements that were achieved with each version, how many developers contributed, and more. Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/licreate

Taking The Rackspace Hybrid Approach To The Bank

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

In this day and age, why do so many people continue spending most of their time working on the things that inspire them the least? Fortunately at Kurtosys, we’ve partnered with Rackspace, a specialized cloud company that allows us to focus on our own inspiring mission of deploying sets of world class financial reporting tools so fund managers worldwide can in turn focus on the clients they readily serve. Think about it. Let’s say you’re a fund manager with a group of clients you love working with every day. You relish in developing short and long-term market strategies to fit your client’s individual needs. One of the best things about your job should be sharing the robust results with your clients each month. But it’s actually the worst. Seriously. Why does it take so many hands to make fact sheets for your funds? First you have to gather results into excel, push them into your documentation platform, then take time to check all the information and get approvals. It’s expensive. Time consuming. And too many times the results are not even accurate. At Kurtosys, we’ve found a much better way to make great looking fact sheets. We pull in your data and third party information into our encrypted database to create a single trusted source to store your information. This allows us to pipe your data into flexible and custom-designed templates that are then delivered for your approval. The advantages? The cost falls to you by nearly half. Turn around times improve dramatically and opportunities for human error are virtually removed. But we can’t do this alone. Last year we partnered with the specialists at Rackspace to build a robust online platform utilizing both bare metal and cloud technologies to create a state-of-the-art client reporting tool for financial advisors. The combination of these technologies is called hybrid cloud computing. And it’s the reason financial advisors and fund managers can spend much more time focused on their client’s best interests. By now, we’ve all heard of the cloud. There are many clouds out there for any type of business. After doing our due diligence, we found that none of them could customize to our demanding needs like Rackspace. It starts with their open platform called OpenStack. Why is this important? Well, obviously when dealing with massive amounts of sensitive financial information, scale and security and are mission critical. That’s why we deploy Swift, which was built and optimized by the OpenStack community to deliver scale, durability, availability and concurrency across the entire data set. An added benefit of open technology is when we discover an immediate way to make our security even stronger, such as optimizing encryption, we can write the code and upload it into the program without having to wait for a proprietary cloud stack to produce a mission-critical upgrade. Our clients require us to deliver massive amounts of data at random intervals economically and quickly — and our hybrid infrastructure can instantly burst through the cloud. In the old days of banking and finance, customer service was a mere afterthought. Today, however, the world—including banking and finance—has gone digital. Customers don’t expect quick responses and access; they demand it. That’s why we appreciate the Fanatical Support teams at Rackspace. When we started the journey towards building better client reporting tools on a cloud architecture we were a small shop. Their team of specialists guided us down the right path early on, and as our clients push us into a more international direction, our partnership with Rackspace and their global reach becomes even more important. This is a guest post written and submitted by Harry Thompson, CTO and Co-Founder at Kurtosys, a Rackspace customer. Kurtosys provides digital marketing and reporting tools to help fund managers attract and retain investor assets.

9 Reasons Your Facebook Posts Get ZERO Engagement

Post Planner -

Tired of getting no engagement on your Facebook posts? Does it feel like you’ve tried hard to build relationships with fans – but the interaction just isn’t there? With Facebook giving ever more reach to posts with high engagement, it’s ever more important that your content grabs your fans’ attention & moves them to take action. So how do you get your fans to engage more on your page? Don’t worry — you don’t have to resort to cat memes quite yet. In this blog post I’ll explain some of the major reasons you don’t get engagement on your Facebook posts. Then I’ll show you how you can fix these problems to give your posts the boost they so desperately need. 9 Reasons Your Facebook Posts Get ZERO Engagement 1. You post at the wrong times Now I know what you’re thinking — isn’t this post all about engagement? Well, yes. But before engagement can occur on your page, you must put your business in a position to be seen by fans. This doesn’t have to involve complicated algorithms & hours spent scrolling through Excel documents. Facebook makes it very simple — in fact, it takes just a few clicks. Check your Facebook Insights to see when your fans are most active online. From your fan page, scroll to the top & select Insights. Then click “Posts”. You’ll see the times your fans were most active in the past week. Remember, that’s local time. Test time slots around the most popular times to see when works best for your page. 2. You don’t have a strong mix of content Getting engagement on Facebook is a lot like going to the gym — you have to mix up your routine if you want to get results. >> Click to Tweet << If you always do the same workout, your body will get used to the movements & you’ll stop seeing progress. Getting the most from any workout means keeping your body guessing & changing up your routine. The same concept applies to your Facebook page. If you post the same content week in & week out, your fans will get bored & engagement will drop. But it’s never too late to change your routine. Facebook’s Insights panel offers a great snapshot of what type of content performs best on your page. To access this, visit your page Insights & click “Posts”. Click the drop-down next to “Likes, Comments & Shares”. Then click “Engagement Rate”. You’ll see the percentage of people who Liked, commented, shared or clicked posts after viewing them. From this you can identify the most successful posts. Test different content on your page to see what resonates with fans. 3. You don’t frame your Facebook posts Imagine your Facebook fans scrolling through their news feed looking for content that stands out from the crowd. You’re competing not only against other businesses, but against posts from friends & family. You have just an instant to grab someone’s attention. Framing your Facebook posts can help. Use a quote, a tip or even your opinion to introduce the post. The right intro can boost clicks, comments & shares. Here’s a great example from Post Planner’s page: // Post by Post Planner. 4. You don’t include calls-to-action Along with framing posts to grab your fans’ attention, using a call-to-action is another way to drive comments, Likes & shares. Here are some tactful ways to ask fans to interact with your content: Ask questions Present the benefits of clicking the link Use statistics to make your point Help fans discover something new Here’s an example from ShortStack: // 5. You don’t post enough  Here’s a question that has business owners wary: How often should I post on my Facebook page? >> Click to Tweet << Fears include: Irritating fans with too many posts Overwhelming fans with content Getting no engagement on posts These are all valid concerns when sharing anything on Facebook. But don’t be afraid of posting too much. You’ll get engagement as long as your content provides value. If your fans enjoy the posts you currently share, then there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t want more. This also gives your fans more opportunities to engage. But there is no perfect number. Experiment to see what works best with your audience. Test content when your fans are most active online. 6. You don’t engage with your fans Now that you have developed a content strategy, you can just sit back & relax, right? Wrong! Posting & scheduling is just a small part of social media marketing. Conversation is king! >> Click to Tweet << Thanks to social media, customers now expect responses to their questions very quickly. Research from Convince and Convert suggests that 42% of users expect a response within one hour. How do you keep up? Sometimes you’re answering questions or responding to comments on your Facebook Timeline. If you don’t have the answer right away, tell the fan you’re looking into the situation. Ignoring fans until you find the answer could make them impatient & crabby. Stay active on your Facebook page to build strong relationships with fans — and to learn about your community & how you can better serve them. >> Click to Tweet << 7. You don’t optimize attention-grabbing images Since your posts compete with other businesses & posts from family & friends, Facebook can sometimes be a tough place to stand out. One of the easiest ways to get noticed in the news feed is to optimize your images. >> Click to Tweet << Here are a few ways images can grab the attention of your fans: Include calls-to-action // Post by Canva.   Be creative // Post by Post Planner. 8. You don’t recognize your fans You can’t build a community without unity. >> Click to Tweet << One of the main reasons you’re on Facebook is to engage with people who love your products or services. A great way to show your fans & potential customers you appreciate their comments is to give them the spotlight. Here are a few ways to recognize your fans: Fan of the Week Highlight content posted by fans Use fan feedback to create your next product or service Here’s how Skittles recognizes their fans: // Post by Skittles. 9. You don’t plan We all know that publishing content on Facebook is as easy as clicking “Post”. But you must have a plan to ensure your posts get maximum engagement from fans. It’s not enough to just publish. Success depends on you having a strong content strategy. >> Click to Tweet << Summary So what does this mean for your business page? You must research content before you post on Facebook. Post Planner’s viral photo finder is a great way to find images that will resonate with fans. Also, keep track of how well your posts perform by monitoring your Facebook Insights. Analyze your Insights weekly to ensure your Facebook marketing strategies are getting results. And keep moving forward! Don’t give up. If a piece of content doesn’t work — make adjustments. What types of posts are getting the most engagement on your page right now? The post 9 Reasons Your Facebook Posts Get ZERO Engagement appeared first on Post Planner.

Pro Tip: Use eCommerce marketplaces to drive traffic to your online store

GoDaddy Blog -

For certain types of products and services, buyers are turning more and more to online marketplaces. A buyer might head to Etsy® for a new scarf, or to Elance® for a new web developer, or to Amazon® for a whole shopping list of items. But while it’s often very easy to add your product or service to an existing marketplace — perhaps just a matter of minutes in some cases — such marketplaces do have their downsides when they’re the sole location you use to sell your products or services. In order to ensure that your business will grow in the long term, you have to have an online store of your own. On your own website, you make the final call about pricing, as well as how to frame those numbers for prospective buyers. You’re also the person who decides how many or how few products or services you can sell, whether or not you’ll offer an affiliate program, and even when you can access the money you’ve earned from sales. But while you need an outpost of your own online to really leverage the full products and services you’re selling, marketplaces can come in handy — they’re surprisingly effective marketing tools. Why Marketplaces are Useful for Marketing When your product or service is listed within a marketplace, you aren’t the only person promoting it. Because any company running a marketplace has a financial interest in selling more of the items listed in it (usually because they get some sort of payout), that company is going to invest time and money into promoting the marketplace as a whole. Depending on the company’s marketing strategy, it may also highlight particular sellers or items. Taking advantage of someone else’s willingness to promote your products or services is good business; it means that your own marketing budget will go much further. True, that level of marketing won’t likely be targeted directly at promoting your individual product or service — but that’s okay. You will, of course, go out of your way to offer items on the marketplace that are top notch, so that you’ll have more than the average number of positive reviews and so that you can catch the eyes of users who are browsing the site for options. You might also consider what secondary benefits you can get from listing items for sale in certain marketplaces. Depending on how well known the marketplace in question is, a listing can make you more trustworthy to prospective buyers, effectively letting you piggyback off of an established brand. Some marketplaces even require sellers to meet certain criteria before allowing them to add listings; such sites can help you showcase the quality of what you’re offering to buyers before they even have a chance to read a product description. Tapping into the marketplace’s promotion efforts may also be an option. Many marketplaces have their own blogs, for instance, and give particularly valuable sellers the opportunity to guest post on those blogs. There are even some external blogs that cover some marketplaces, such as Etsy®, that are happy to profile and promote sellers. You can go beyond the obvious promotions, as well: don’t be afraid to contact a marketplace’s organizers about any partnership or promotion ideas you may have. When they have a vested interest in seeing you sell more, they usually are open to any marketing opportunities. Getting Buyers from a Marketplace to Your Own Site For many companies, just having an additional outlet for what you’re selling is beneficial. But the real benefit comes when you can bring buyers from the marketplace back to your own site. Exactly how you do this can vary, depending on your business model, but the key is to use marketplaces to make introductory-level offerings available — not the higher-level products or services you offer. For the really valuable (and higher-priced) options you offer, you want buyers to purchase through your own site. Part of the purpose of moving buyers to a place you control is to ensure you get a bigger portion of the price you’re charging, but you’ll also have more control over the entire buying experience associated with your business. One of the simplest options for making sure that buyers know your site exists is to add a component to the product or service you’re selling that can only be accessed on your site. Whether it’s a tutorial for a specific product, a support page for handling questions, or even a run down of how you handle specific projects, just a link back to your site can be valuable. Test out different options to see what makes sense for your specific offers: Can you add multiple links while maintaining a cohesive experience in what you’re offering through the marketplace? Can you offer media that the marketplace doesn’t support (i.e. a Kindle ebook can’t include video, but can link to a video on your site)? Can you connect a buyer’s first stop on your website to other pages? Can you get a buyer to subscribe to more information? While not all marketplaces will provide you with the contact information of those individuals who have purchased your product or service through the site, many will offer you an email address. Take advantage of that information — that email address is incredibly valuable because it lets you reach out directly to someone who already has a proven interest in your work. Depending on your margins, contacting each buyer individually may be a valuable move. Otherwise, you can set up some automated responses that will still be useful to new buyers. Be wary of just automatically adding a buyer to an email list, however. That’s bad business newsletter etiquette and will like get many of your emails marked as spam. Make it easy for a buyer to follow up his marketplace purchase with a purchase through your site. Offer a clear next step (or, rather, a clear next purchase), whether that’s an upsell, a matching item, or an add-on. You can also encourage buyers to transition in other ways: if you have an email address for each person who has bought from you through a marketplace, you can send out a coupon only usable through your site. The possibilities are endless, once you’ve proven the value of your product or service with that initial marketplace sale. The post Pro Tip: Use eCommerce marketplaces to drive traffic to your online store appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Marketers Not Prepared for Negative Feedback: New Research

Social Media Examiner -

Do you have a plan to handle negative feedback? Do you know how to measure your engagement? These issues and more are faced by many social media marketers. In this article, I’ll share research and tips to help you overcome common challenges social media marketers face. #1: Marketers Lack Plan for Negative Comments When it [...]This post Marketers Not Prepared for Negative Feedback: New Research first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

5 Ways to Give Your Blog Content More Visibility

Social Media Examiner -

How do people find your blog content? Do you want to reach a larger audience? Delivering your content to customers and prospects in different ways brings more readers to your blog. In this article, I’ll share five ways to get your content in front of more people. #1: Encourage Automatic Sharing with GaggleAMP Every time [...]This post 5 Ways to Give Your Blog Content More Visibility first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Build your business with a .CONSTRUCTION domain name

GoDaddy Blog -

Planning and building is in your blood—it’s what speaks to you! What if I told you there’s a domain name extension that speaks to your customers, telling them exactly what you do in a quick glance? Let me introduce you to .CONSTRUCTION—a domain extension that does all the talking, letting you focus on building an awesome business offline. Gone are the days when small businesses like yours have to use mile-long domains ending with .COM, .NET, .INFO or .ORG to communicate their business name and industry. Those traditional domain extensions have been around for a while, you know, and many of the short, memorable domain names are no longer available. Now, instead of registering a clunky domain like AwesomeNameConstruction.com, you can register AwesomeName.CONSTRUCTION—shorter, sweeter, scannable and downright awesome. Whether you’re a building inspector, carpenter, architect, general contractor or anyone else in the building trade, a .CONSTRUCTION domain name will make your business stand out like a beautiful skyscraper amongst one-story flats. So, are you ready to erect a successful business and take your online identity to the next level with a custom domain? Hard hats aren’t required—it’s simple and will only take a few minutes. To learn more about .CONSTRUCTION and the hundreds of other new domain extensions coming your way, check out this video: The post Build your business with a .CONSTRUCTION domain name appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Bluehost Launches New TLDs

Bluehost Blog -

To make room for more and more websites as the internet continues to grow, ICANN is releasing hundreds of new top level domain names in the next year that can make your website more customizable than ever. Bluehost has officially launched five of these new top level domains, or nTLDs, with plans to release many more in the near future. You can now register .GURU, .PHOTOGRAPHY, .EMAIL, .COMPANY, and .TODAY from the domain manager in your control panel. And, we have plans to release a lot more nTLDs in the next month. These nTLDs work just like .COM, .ORG, or the many others you already know, only they’re much more unique! Use the nTLDs to get the best domain name you’ve always wanted and take advantage of the fun, new, industry-specific domains. Or if you already have a domain you love, be sure to register it with the  nTLDs to protect your brand and maximize traffic to your site. The nTLDs are a great way to let people know exactly what your website is all about. To register a new TLD, simply visit the domain manager in your control panel and search for the one you want. And, if there’s an nTLD you’ve seen ICANN release that Bluehost doesn’t yet offer, we’ll point you to our trusted partner, domain.com to help. Grab your new domain now and keep an eye out for more nTLDs that we’ll be adding very soon!   The post Bluehost Launches New TLDs appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

Project Solum Goes Full Steam Ahead To Milestone 1

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

After less than six months in development, Project Solum has accomplished the first development milestone (Milestone 1). This important event allows deployment of code from Github via Heat to generate a running app deployed to Docker containers using a generalized (Heroku) build pack for the app stack. You can see a short demo of Solum M1 code in action: While it is still early days for Solum, an open source application lifecycle management platform, we have several more milestones planned on our roadmap. Development is progressing at full steam to ensure we reach these subsequent milestones. Solum Summit And Design Workshop Last month, the Solum community conducted our second face-to-face Solum Summit and Design Workshop. Red Hat hosted the event in Raleigh, NC. It was well-attended and featured participation from Rackspace, Red Hat, Mirantis, Numergy and Oracle. The two-day semi-annual workshops provide a forum for the Solum community to come together and have a focused set of discussions on project vision, design and roadmap. Reaching Milestone 1 and the success of the recent summit show Solum’s momentum and illustrate that our community’s vision is taking shape. Project Solum was initiated in November 2013 to make OpenStack clouds easy to consume for app developers. A few months ago, Rackspace expressed interest in joining the proposed Cloud Foundry Foundation along with IBM, Pivotal, VMware, EMC, HP and SAP, which raised speculation that Rackspace might be abandoning project Solum. In reality, Solum development has continued at a good pace. Rackspace views Solum and Cloud Foundry as complementary – each platform serves different customer needs.  Adrian Otto, Principal Architect at Rackspace, spelled out these differences in a blog post. Meanwhile, Rackspace continues to invest in Solum as a platform that is natively designed for OpenStack. I look forward to OpenStack Summit Atlanta next month, where Solum will likely be a major discussion topic.

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