Industry Buzz

The Internet After Snowden

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

It’s been almost a full year since Edward Snowden was charged with espionage for leaking NSA documents, an event that has sparked intense consideration of online privacy. A recent article on The WHIR — “Orwellian Big Brother is a Reality: Government in Your Internet” – provides an excellent summary of the situation since then. And, at the upcoming HostingCon event, you’ll have a chance to attend a panel devoted to this topic. Increased awareness about government surveillance practices has changed the way society understands privacy, values and due process of the law, leaving individuals and businesses unsure about who has access to their private information. The trust of customers is the currency upon which the Internet economy is built. Its foundation — the infrastructure industry supported the Internet — must collaborate with others who have a stake in its success to show the world that the United States takes privacy seriously. The international backlash to the activities of the NSA include individual countries and regions seeking to implement policies that will fragment the Internet into localized networks. This would discount all the principles that have led to the industry’s massive success. Now more than ever, involved businesses and individuals must work together to ensure that significant reforms are made to maintain the open and free nature of the Internet as we know it. On Tuesday, June 17th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., a panel will discuss this situation. The panel participants include: Marvin Ammori - A prominent First Amendment lawyer and Internet policy expert, Marvin has represented several companies and coalitions including Google, Dropbox, eBay, Automattic, Tumblr, Twitter, and others. He was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2012 by Fast Company Magazine and among the top 5 lawyers in technology by the World Technology Network. Michael Petricone - Michael is the SVP of government affairs for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). In his position, Petricone is responsible for representing the CE industry’s position before Congress and the FCC on critical issues such as Internet freedom, wireless spectrum, and high-skilled immigration. He has been frequently listed as one of DC’s top technology lobbyists. Ron Yokubaitis - Ron Yokubaitis and his wife Carolyn Yokubaitis are co-founders of multiple Internet related businesses. Beginning with one of the first 50 ISPs in the US and moving on to develop Giganews, the two have branched into Golden Frog, developing applications and services that preserve an open Internet experience while respecting user privacy and security. Christian Dawson - Christian is COO of ServInt, where he introduced the ServInt Green Hosting Initiative. Chairman and co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition), his insights and ideas have been published in leading industry publications, including Virtualization Journal, Bandwidth Properties, and Web Host Industry Review. ================================ Although Early Bird rates have ended, there is still time to register to turn up the heat in Miami Beach with HostingCon 2014! For all the latest HostingCon news and information, visit HostingCon - Premier Industry Conference and Trade Show for Web Hosting and Cloud Service Providers

Why National Small Business Week matters

The Twitter Small Business Blog -

Since 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (@sbagov) has supported small businesses with access to funding, entrepreneurial development, government contracting and advocacy. As the Small Business Administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet spearheads these programs. Ahead of National Small Business Week, we asked her to share what she’s learned from working with small businesses, why Small Business Week matters and how Twitter helps businesses. @TwitterSmallBiz: Why is #SBW2014 important? Maria Contreras-Sweet: National Small Business Week is a time to showcase America’s small businesses and the resources @sbagov offers to help them succeed and grow. Small businesses create nearly two out of every three new jobs in this country. Consumers make choices every day, and this is our week to marshal all of our resources to encourage them to patronize one of the 28 million small businesses that are the backbone of the U.S. economy. I’m lucky because I get to lead an agency that spends all day, every day, thinking about how we can support small businesses in America. @sbagov can help small business owners turn a business plan into an operational success. We can help them get the capital they need to expand, take their products global through exporting, or plug into contracting opportunities with the largest buyer of goods and services in the entire world: the United States government. If you are a small business owner, please watch our live-streaming events and workshops held across the nation next week. We’re here to help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level. I also encourage consumers to either order online from a small Internet-based business or to give a local business a try this week. There are some great products and services out there at your neighborhood stores. If Americans want to improve their local economy and create jobs in their local community, they should #ShopSmall and go local. @TwitterSmallBiz: Why are you and @sbagov excited about partnering with Twitter for the National Small Business Week kickoff event? Maria Contreras-Sweet:  Twitter technology helps small businesses in every corner of every state find customers, drive sales, create jobs and continue America’s economic comeback story. I think that sums up why we’re excited…and in exactly 140 characters! @TwitterSmallBiz: You talk to small businesses all the time — what do you see as their biggest challenges and opportunities? Maria Contreras-Sweet: As SBA Administrator, I want to make sure that we package the “three Cs” for small businesses — capital, contracting and counseling. Access to capital and affordable loans is so fundamental to growth. We need to make sure small businesses have diverse portfolios with both public and private contracts. And we must make sure they have the counseling and training to take their businesses to the next level. The American economy added 288,000 jobs in the month of April. I’m focused on building on this success by making sure entrepreneurs know about SBA products, microloans, innovation grants, export financing, contracting opportunities, even new advances in crowdfunding. It was @sbagov assistance that helped jump start businesses like Apple, FedEx and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. We even supported five small businesses that worked with NASA to launch the Mars Rover Curiosity, which is exploring the surface of the planet as we sit here today. My job in the President’s cabinet is to help identify the next great American success story. @TwitterSmallBiz: What’s exciting about being a small business today? Maria Contreras-Sweet: America was founded by risk-taking, resourceful pioneers who built this country. Entrepreneurialism is in our national DNA. Now more than ever, opportunities are available to people who have not had them in the past. Women have gone from owning just five percent of all small businesses in America to owning more than 30 percent today. In the past year alone, 200,000 women-owned small businesses were started. Hispanics are opening businesses at a rate three times faster than the national average. And, @sbagov is offering Entrepreneurialism 101 to every interested member of the U.S. armed forces right as they leave the military and transition back into civilian life. @sbagov counselors are at more than 200 military installations worldwide to help our heroes apply their training and discipline to the business world. I’m enthusiastic about our ability to create an inclusive climate for risk-takers to follow their dreams and launch new enterprises. https://twitter.com/SBAgov/status/456907677978075136 @TwitterSmallBiz: You were the founder of a community bank in Los Angeles. What advice do you have for people who want to start their own business? Maria Contreras-Sweet: A wise man once said, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” I believe in the power of mentorship. As a former small business owner myself, I know it can often seem like a lonely road. On any given day, a small business owner can serve as the company’s human resources director, CFO, spokeswoman, or chief sales officer, all while competing against larger firms in highly competitive markets. But even on days when our small business owners feel like there’s no one in their corner, it’s important for them to remember there are mentors in every community in this country. Call your @sbagov district office, your local Small Business Development Center or Women’s Business Center. Look up your local SCORE (@SCOREMentors) chapter to get paired with a mentor. There are literally thousands of @sbagov staff and retired executive volunteers whose job is to make your job easier. Please look us up, because when small businesses succeed, America succeeds.

Domain.com’s TechCrunch Disrupt NYC’s Hackathon Recap!

The Domain.com Blog -

TechCrunch Disrupt NYC is finally over and it was a whirlwind of hardcore hacking, incredible pitches, and insightful fireside chats. Domain.com sponsored the popular midnight pizza and beer at the Hackathon, a precursor to the conference. We met some great developers (shoutout to Pocket!) and successfully setup a ton of creative projects with the latest domain extensions we recently released, including .BUZZ, .CODES, and our favorite, .NINJA. In case you weren’t able to follow along through TechCrunch’s live stream of the event, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite projects from the Hackathon including first place winner, Vrban and runner-up, Indulge. 10. Don’tFailBad – A website focused on featuring startup CEO’s and founders who have failed. Don’t Fail Bad wants founders who have failed to meet each other to discuss and learn from their past experiences. 9. Famusi – Famusi lets you discover emerging artists. According to the developers, this app is the “Tinder for music discovery.” 8. Indulge – An app to share your manicure and/or pedicure by categorizing nail polish colors, style, and location. 7. Buccal – This chat application allows you to save chats as Evernote notes and also allows you to share your saved notes in your chat. 6. Party Beacon – This app enables you to bring your friends (AKA wolf pack) together for a spontaneous night of fun. 5. Dispatch Ninja – A hack to transform mobile phones into modern emergency dispatch equipment 4. Jaunt – This app allows your friends to be your city guide. You simply create an itinerary and share it with your friends and vice versa to show each other your favorite spots. 3. Hacknection – Calling all hackers! This web-based organization system notifies hackers of hacking-related events based on location. 2. Taco Bell Disrupt  – This app basically gets you the most bang for your  buck at TacoBell. Pretty useful for those late night trips to get your fourth meal! 1. Vrban - Hackathon winner Vrban allows users to explore urban environments using the Oculus Rift. We’re so impressed by all the great talent in NYC and encourage developers worldwide to branch out and get creative with their domain names. If you’re having trouble finding the right name for your project or latest idea, check out our post on finding the right domain name. If you’d like to check out all the other great hacks from this year’s TCDisrupt Hackathon, here’s the list of submissions on Sharepost. What did you think of these hacks? If you had a favorite that wasn’t featured on this list, please let us know in the comments below! As always, follow along on Twitter @Domaindotcom or on Facebook.   The post Domain.com’s TechCrunch Disrupt NYC’s Hackathon Recap! appeared first on Domain.com.

5 Quick Ways to Get Readers to Share Your Blog Posts on Facebook

Post Planner -

Do you want more people to share your blog posts on Facebook? Who doesn’t?!  Bloggers ask me about this A LOT. They get awesome traffic from Facebook & want to leverage that action to get more people to share their articles. I have some Facebook marketing tips today that could increase your shares by 3x.  And these tricks aren’t just my opinion. They’re backed by data from Buzzsumo — which analyzed more than 100 million articles over the past 8 months to see what got readers to share. Below are the results. 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Get Readers to Share Your Blog Posts on Facebook Here we go… 1. Have at Least One Amazing Image  Having at least one image in your blog post will dramatically increase how many times your article gets shared on Facebook. >> Click to Tweet <<  What’s the difference between a blog post with no image & a post that has at least one photo?  About TWICE the number of shares!  I like blog posts with lots of images. Those are the articles I prefer to share. They’re more inviting & easier to skim than a blog post with no photos.  Tip: Double your shares by including at least one image with your blog post. >> Click to Tweet << 2. Have an Enticing Thumbnail Photo You’re not going to get as many shares on Facebook if you don’t have an enticing thumbnail image on your blog posts. >> Click to Tweet << The numbers from Buzzsumo were stunning:  Put time & effort into creating unique thumbnails for all your blog posts. Here’s a thumbnail from an article on the Post Planner blog. Who wouldn’t share a post with a great image like this? Tip: Enticing thumbnail images make posts more shareable. >> Click to Tweet << 3. Write Longer Articles  This research was especially interesting. Longer articles got shared more often. Write in-depth articles if you want more people to share your blog posts. It makes sense because longer articles do stand out. Tip:  Write more than 1,000 words to increase the chances of your article getting shared on Facebook. >> Click to Tweet << 4. Create Lists & Infographics Here are the types of blog posts that got shared the most: The top 3 were: Infographics Lists Why Posts At Post Planner, 7 of our 10 most viral blog posts last year were lists. Our most viral article was an infographic. 5. Publish During the Week Try not to publish on weekends — you won’t get nearly as many shares. Some people sign off for weekends & aren’t interested in reading blog posts. I know I spend less time on social media on the weekend. Key Takeaway These Buzzsumo statistics are enlightening, no doubt. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you as a blogger to experiment to see what strategies work best for your website.  Have you tried the tricks explained here? The post 5 Quick Ways to Get Readers to Share Your Blog Posts on Facebook appeared first on Post Planner.

Rackspace Weekly Digest: May 9

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

At Rackspace this week we’re gearing up for OpenStack Summit Atlanta and wrapping up at EMC World. We also heard from Ranker, one of our customers; launched a new relationship between ZeroVM and UTSA; and announced the arrival of Performance Cloud Servers in Australia. Check out all of that and more in this week’s digest. Prepping For OpenStack Summit Dozens of Rackers will be on-hand during OpenStack Summit Atlanta. From helpful talks, to a keynote presentation from Cloud Architect Troy Toman, there will be a number of great Racker-led sessions, plus a whole lot more. You can see what we’re up to next week at OpenStack Summit Atlanta. And while you’re at it, check out why Icehouse is the enterprise-grade OpenStack release and catch up with our Why We Craft OpenStack video blog series. Redefining Hybrid Clouds At EMC World At EMC World this week we highlighted how our partnership with EMC helps us redefine the hybrid cloud. We also talked about the best cloud for SharePoint and shared tips for migrating traditional apps to a hybrid cloud. With DevOps Automation Our Developers Can Focus On Code, Not Servers Development is all about context. To have engineers digging into server issues and bouncing back and forth between developing and server management results in a huge loss of context. Developers require concentration and jumping from coding to fighting fires sets back progress. Here, Rackspace customer Ranker talks about how Rackspace DevOps Automation Service lets developers focus on code. Hortonworks Data Platform In The Cloud: 3 Clicks To Cluster This week we made key updates to our Cloud Big Data Platform powered by Apache Hadoop, including support for the latest Apache Hadoop distribution from Hortonworks (Version 2.1) for deployment on Cloud Big Data Platform. ZeroVM, UTSA Partnership To Investigate Future Cloud Use Cases Rackspace’s sponsorship of ZeroVM runs deep. The company has formed a three-year partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to undertake advanced research projects that investigate how to make cloud computing with ZeroVM more valuable for everyone. Performance Cloud Servers Coming To Australia Six months ago we launched our most powerful model of cloud servers that are designed to provide an unparalleled level of application performance—and starting 13 May, our Australian customers can also leverage the reliability of Rackspace Performance Cloud Servers, from our Sydney data centre along with our US and UK data centres. Email Hosting: The Road To Competitive Advantage [Infographic] The right hosted email partner can be a game changer for business by helping to maintain email accessibility and performance while keeping employees focused on the high-value tasks that drive a competitive advantage. This infographic highlights some mind-boggling numbers related to business email. Five Weaknesses That Kill App Performance Performance issues are at the heart of why many apps don’t meet user expectations and die a slow death. Here are five performance weaknesses that impact the end user experience of any app.

Twitter Cards, What Are They?

HostGator Blog -

The post Twitter Cards, What Are They? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing. Twitter’s advertising platform is still young, but it’s setting itself up to be really strong.  It still has plenty of areas for improvement, but if I had to describe Twitter Cards in one word, it would be FANTASTIC! In my personal experiments, Cost Per Engagement is down from $0.50-$1 to $0.05-$0.20.  For those of you who don’t know what an engagement is, it’s every-single-action on your ad. This means a click on a link, picture, your profile, retweet, favorite, or reply. With all those ways for people to engage, you unfortunately do sometimes pay for things you don’t want; in the advertising world, that’s lost money! With Twitter cards, you can create a clear Call to Action(CTA) with less characters and less channels to engage. I’ll explain each of these cards below:   LeadGen Twitter Card This is geared towards email marketers. If you build your list or are just thinking about building your list, then these are an easy way to do so. You can set it up where you can download email data or have it sent to your CRM such as Mailchimp or Salesforce. There’s a small list of CRMs that Twitter says are compatible with Twitter Cards, but if your CRM can receive POST data, then you “should” be fine. Don’t quote me on that, though. These LeadGen cards can be used in many ways. You can capture their email and send them to a page to download an ebook or a special landing page on your site. If you have an autoresponder setup with your CRM, you can automatically send them a coupon code or digital product via email as soon as they click your call to action and agree to give you their email address. Either way, you now have their email address to be able to market to them later. But DON’T SPAM!   NOTE: You will need to have a privacy policy on your site that you can link to. Almost every email marketer should know this and have one on their site. If not, you can review HostGator’s Privacy Policy as an example.    Website Twitter Cards These are quickly becoming my favorite. You know those links you have in your tweet for either your website / landing page or picture? GONE! You can now insert a picture and that becomes the link. Granted, it’s probably a lot smaller of a picture than you want, and the dimensions are a pain to work with, but if I can decrease character space and increase effectiveness, then I’m all for it. I’ve seen campaign engagement go up from 1%-3% to 10-20% and I couldn’t believe it! I certainly recommend trying these out in your strategy if you haven’t already. Personally, I think they need to add some more CTAs other than “Read More” because people won’t just use this for website views. They’ll want more strong signals to buy or download. Hopefully this feature will come soon enough.     While I’ve been impressed with the results I’ve seen thus far, it’s always worth noting that early adopters usually see better numbers than those that begin to use it after the first wave of users. And as with all marketing efforts, a large part of it is simply finding your niche. Have you started to use the Twitter Cards? If so, tell us about your results in the comments below. web hosting

Student Web Hosting – A look at Product Management at SiteGround

SiteGround Blog -

Sharing knowledge is one of the main moving forces at SiteGround and our technical tutorials, webinars, and resources are well-known to people building on Joomla, WordPress, and other platforms. Today, we would like to test sharing knowledge a different area – how we approach marketing and product management at the company. Six months have passed since the improved Student Hosting Program was introduced and this gives me a good opportunity to tell you about the process of launching new products that we apply. There is a structured approach that we usually follow that is as simple as answering a few questions: Is there an opportunity here? Who is our customer? What need/problem do they have? What is our solution to that problem? How do we reach them? How do we measure if our product is solving their problem? How do we improve from here? OK, probably not that simple, but you get the idea – breaking up a big project in smaller chunks makes it easier to get started and avoid forgetting important stuff. Every project and product is different and thus answering the questions may require different approach, but here are some examples from our experience on how we went about it: Identify the opportunity Be sure of one thing: the opportunities are out there. Maybe they are buried deep down in your client base and/or your analytics data, but finding and taking advantage of them is what can make or break your business. At SiteGround, there is a promotion for existing customers, which adds 1 month to the expiration date of the hosting account of the customer, for every successful person referred signs up for a discounted plan. We noticed that some people were making great use of this promotion – at that time some of our customers had already amassed free hosting for the next 10 years. Upon further investigation, it turned out those were professors from various institutions who needed professional web hosting for their students and found a great deal for their students through our referral program. This looked very promising, however, it was a rough diamond at best – a lot of work needed to be done, before we could take advantage of it. Who is your customer? When you have the opportunity at hand you have to start developing your product by thinking who is it that you are creating a product for. Use marketing personas to flesh them out if it will help with your planning. It is imperative that you define the problems you think they have that you will be solving with your product. But don’t stop there! Go out and validate your hypotheses! Find someone who (you think) fits the description of your customer or someone who really knows your customer and talk to them. Trade shows and conferences are a great place for this, but surveys, focus groups, and 1-on-1 phone and in-person interviews are also an excellent way to validate. Finding out that students and professors needed good hosting was not enough to come up with a project. So when we began to think about a special program catering to the university population, we sought to speak to people who were teaching students how to design and code websites and web applications at the various WordPress and Joomla events we attend. Over and over again, we were hearing the same thing – they felt their students were let down by suboptimal institutional solutions. They wanted something simple, reliable, and effective they could use in class. It sounded a lot like they needed SiteGround hosting. We just had to find a way to give it to them that would make both academic and business sense. Define your solution Once you know who your customer is and what their needs are, step forward and define your goals with regards to serving them. With the students’ program, we defined three main targets: To allow students to work with a full-featured hosting account, both in terms of cutting-edge technology used, as well as the level of service we provide to our regular customers To help them internalize the most widely used software in the industry – cPanel, Softaculous, Caching, CDN, etc. To let them focus on building an aptitude to serve them in an Internet that is (and will continue to be) heavily dominated by applications such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento, etc. Of course, there should also be a practical business objective present, even with subsidized programs like Student Web Hosting. In our case, it is expanding the brand recognition of SiteGround and allowing future professionals to make better informed decisions when they get to the point to be the decision maker. Lastly, goals (both technical and business) are important, because they set the metric system by which you’ll be measuring the success (or failure) of the product you have created. Reaching your target market It is common knowledge that no matter how good your product is, the market will not ‘pull’ it from your hands. You have to be proactive and find ways to bring the product you spent so much time building to the attention of its intended users. That’s easier said than done. There is the huge cost, associated with promotion and direct sales, both in terms of time and money. Even if we forget about it for a second, there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) different products fighting for a small place in the user’s mind. Luckily there are ways to ‘hack’ your way into the consumer’s mind. Think of the ‘channels’ and ‘meeting-places’ (yes, digital), your potential customers frequent, that you can leverage to your advantage. With the student program the webpages and SEO on them gave us a good basis to work with. These provide for around 10 hot leads on a weekly basis, coming from educators & organizations interested in joining the program. Word-of-mouth is another important contributor, now that we have a base of happy partners. Cold calling professors who we think would be a good fit is another path we are just starting to explore. Lastly, another great way to ‘growth hack’ the student program was by initiating partnerships with student-run and oriented organizations and publications. Some of the high-profile partnerships we have started in the last 6 months included: CG Student Awards, a leading competition for students of computer animation and graphics, allowed us to reach a global audience with the program and evaluate potential new markets to target ThePolitic, Yale’s 60-year-old political journal run by students, was a test to expand to a somewhat different demographic and see whether the program would gain traction with them Measuring impact Success & failure are defined by the goals you set in the planning phase. If you are not measuring by those goals, then they are not you real objectives. If your goal is straightforward – something like ‘make the most sales’ or ‘generate new leads’, then get counting. Try to segment where each sale is coming from (in terms of the ‘channels’ discussed in the previous section) and measure how well they are ‘converting’ – use a simple metric such as # sales/# visitors from a source (people usually call this ‘conversion rate’) or something more complex in accordance with your specifics. It gets more challenging when you have to put structure to ‘fuzzy’ goals. My advice is – get creative. Not in the ‘make up your own numbers’ kind of way, but really think in broad strokes about how you can put structure to finding out whether you hit your marks. With the Student Program we could have focused on the easily measurable – number of accounts created. And from the numbers we have seen in the last 6 months – close to 1500 signups and partnerships with over 20 different institutions – we could make the case that the program is a success. Champagne popped. However, we felt that looking solely at the numbers is not enough. If you go back and look at the goals mentioned above, you’ll see that they are all qualitative – therefore numbers alone would not have given us an answer whether we had achieved them. So we decided to go back to those who inspired the program – the educators (a group which has grown considerably since) - and ask them about their experience with the program. We were careful to ask questions which would not ‘lead’ the respondents into telling us what we wanted to hear – so most were very broad, the “what did you like/dislike about the program” type. Still, the answers that came back were really close to what we were hoping to hear. From the things professors had to say, it seemed that we managed to achieve all three objectives we set out with: Providing comprehensive hosting solution to students “Student Hosting is very helpful for my Harvard Extension courses because students can standardize on hosting from one source.” — Jen Kramer, Harvard Extension School “The support has been amazing. Truly! The best I’ve ever encountered.” — David Maier, Mt. Hood Community College Internalizing the most popular software One of the main strengths of the Student Hosting Program is how easy it makes things for me. I’ve always been timid to teach cPanel due to […] my inability to have students interact with it on their own machines. With SiteGround’s Student Hosting Program, this problem has been alleviated. Now, each of my students has his or her own private account, with its own cPanel. — Dave Winter, California State University Long Beach […]The student program is great! It allows us to teach our students real-world FTP and cPanel management strategies, and it allows them to work on their work at home, school, or on the road without carrying a flash drive. It’s been a huge help this semester. — Vincent Panico, Raritan Valley Community College Preparing future Joomla & WordPress stars! The program is a GREAT way to introduce the students to web hosting and WordPress. — David Maier, Mt. Hood Community College I have found this program to be invaluable in teaching a college WordPress course. […] Many of my students have two or more instances of WordPress running on their account, which makes it possible for them to really dive into the software. — Dave Winter, California State University Long Beach Moving forward Going through this whole process will leave you with good understanding of what works and what does not – both in terms of product specifics, as well as marketing channels. It will also give you ideas of new ‘vectors’ to explore, i.e. new customer segments, markets, etc. For the student program, we are considering ways to expand the program, loosely grouped in two broad categories. We can either follow a ‘vertical’ vector – looking down or up the educational chain to bring the product to another relevant demographic. An example in our case, would be expanding to include relevant students from alternative educational institutions, secondary schools, etc. who we deem a relevant demographic (i.e. students of web design and similar topics). Another way would be to expand ‘horizontally’, i.e. take the same program and bring it to the same target audience in a new ‘geographical’ location. For example, we are currently considering launching the program for the UK educational market. Final Remarks If I can choose just one thing to stay with you from this post, it would be the one that permeates all topics I have discussed – testing. Whatever ideas you get from your research, always test whether it makes sense for your product or business. This blogpost is a test. For a while, we have been considering diversifying the topics we cover on our company blog and this has been one of the directions we wanted to explore. And just like with the Student Hosting program, quantitative metrics would not be enough to decide whether should publish more posts of this type. So we would like to ask you to share your feedback with us in the comments section and help us figure out whether it adds value.

Hosting hangout recap: How to make your website faster with expires headers

GoDaddy Blog -

This month’s hosting performance hangout on Google+™ focused on using expires headers to speed up your website. Expires headers give context on what Web page info should be served from a cache if it is available. (For example, while a Web page needs to load all its images and related files the very first time a visitor accesses a particular page, subsequent loads usually do not need to reload unchanged images, which takes time.) Hosts David Koopman (Principal Engineer, GoDaddy) Marcel Verkerk (Lead Performance Engineer, GoDaddy) Duration 30 minutes Key topics What are website headers? What are expires headers? Tips for making your website faster (code optimization, SQL optimization, image optimization) Demo 1: Adding expires headers on a GoDaddy cPanel site How to review website performance with http://webpagetest.org for a sample Joomla!® site Editing htaccess on a GoDaddy cPanel site Demo 2: Adding expires headers on a DNN® (formerly DotNetNuke) site on GoDaddy Windows hosting Tips for setting expires headers for different MIME types How to test whether a slow website is caused by a slow connection, a hosting provider, or something else Additional Q&A ] If you are interested in learning more about expires headers, check out this great resource from HostingPerformance.guru. Be sure to join us for our next hosting hangout on June 13 to learn how optimizing images and image compression can improve website performance. The post Hosting hangout recap: How to make your website faster with expires headers appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Hiring a Contractor: Writing a job description

GoDaddy Blog -

There are incredibly talented contractors and freelancers out there, ready to help your small business grow quickly without taking on the costs of full-time employees— but to work with those individuals, you need to have a good idea of exactly what you’re looking for. Writing out a job or project description might seem like extra work when you just want someone to step in and handle a short-term project, but detailing your wish list can help you land exactly the right person for the task at hand. Focus on the end results first Writing a job description for a full-time employee is a very different process than writing a project description for a contractor who can get your project done and then move on. When working with a contractor, you need to start by considering your desired end results. Unless you’re an expert in the field you’re looking to hire help for, the odds are that you won’t always be familiar with the process necessary to complete a given project — and that’s not a problem, because you’re hiring an expert to help you. But you shouldn’t dive into planning every single step in your project without that expert advice. As long as you can tell a prospective contractor where you want to wind up, he or she can help you figure out the best route to get there. Pinpoint a price point Also consider what price point makes sense for your business. It’s not necessary to publicize your budget in the project description — but money is going to be one of the first topics an experienced contractor will want to discuss with you. Depending on the type of help you’re looking for, including a general price point might help limit the people who respond to those who you’re likely to work with. Consider your project workflow In addition to telling your contractors what you want from them, you do have some leeway in telling them how you want them to do it. You can negotiate due dates, how a contractor communicates with you, and what project milestones you expect them to report on. You can’t tell a contractor when and where to work (doing that can convince the IRS to reclassify a contractor as an employee and demand back-dated payroll taxes. Yikes.). Since you might not be able to build the same sort of long-term relationship with a contractor that you could establish with an employee, it’s best to write out your workflow expectations in advance. You need to make sure that you’re comfortable working with a given contractor—and these sorts of factors can help improve your comfort. (But don’t be surprised if contractors want to negotiate these points.) There’s no such thing as a unicorn, but you can still be amazed It’s not uncommon to see full-time job listings that outline every skill set under the sun: perhaps for a Web designer who can also develop apps and write copy—all in the body of someone fresh out of college (who, therefore, won’t cost too much.) But you’re almost certainly not going to find that dream employee — and you definitely can’t find someone who can do all those things on a contract basis. When you’re putting together your project description, don’t ask for a unicorn. However, when you’re working with contractors, you still have the opportunity to be truly amazed at the work they do. Most freelancers and contractors specialize in a given field and learn skills that let them handle your project both faster and with a little more flare than a jack-of-all-trades. Publish your description where it will do the most good Especially if you’re working with a contractor for the first time, you want to be sure you can find someone who can really help you. That’s why getting your project description in front of the right people is just as important as writing it in the first place. A good first step is talking to your own network. Ask the freelancers you know if they can send the description to freelancers they know. Do the same thing with entrepreneurs and managers who have hired help with the same type of project you’re looking to complete. Want more info about hiring a professional website designer? Click here. The post Hiring a Contractor: Writing a job description appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Blog Comments: Should Your Blog Shut Down Comments?

Social Media Examiner -

Do you like to get comments on your blog? Have you ever wondered if you should allow comments or shut them down? To learn about why blog comments are valuable to your business, I interview Mark Schaefer and Tim McDonald for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast. More About This Show The Social [...]This post Blog Comments: Should Your Blog Shut Down Comments? first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Always Assume Success, but Learn to Accept Failure

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, we announced an exciting milestone in the UK of 15 million members. Students and recent graduates emerged as our fastest growing group, so we decided to leverage LinkedIn data to uncover 15 ‘Ones to Watch’ – UK students or recent graduates who truly understand the value of LinkedIn and the power of networking. This inspiring group includes five women and ten men from a variety of backgrounds, including a sprinkling of budding entrepreneurs, a few bloggers and good number of volunteers! To celebrate their successes, we invited these members to an inspirational event hosted by Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg. This is what one of the attendees Guzmán Díaz Solana had to say about the experience: During the last two years, I have lived in three countries, garnering experience in various high-growth venture-backed tech companies, working in both marketing and finance roles. A few weeks ago, LinkedIn let me know that I am on their list of top 15 “Ones to Watch” graduates in the UK. As a Spaniard, my prospects when graduating university, even when attending one of the top institutions in the country, were not particularly good, so you could say I am very lucky to have ended up where I am right now. However, while I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given, in my opinion there is no such thing as luck. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. I recently attended one of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for Graduates events, which was incredibly insightful and got me wanting to share some thoughts for those who, like me, faced the challenge of finding a good job upon graduation. This is not a very comprehensive list, and not everything will be true for everyone, as this is based in my own, limited experience: Keep learning. Education doesn’t finish after university. In fact that’s the point at which it starts. As mechanical tasks are increasingly replaced with automated technology, your best chance to stay ahead of the curve is to constantly update your knowledge and be creative on how you apply it. Travel abroad. Don’t be a tourist, go where locals go. Whether that means taking a gap year, going on exchange, volunteering or interning abroad, having an international experience and additional languages will not only boost your employability, but also give you amazing memories that will last for life. Work Out. Have an active lifestyle, go to the gym, play team sports, lift. The Romans had it clear: “Mens sana in corpore sano”. You don’t need to become a bodybuilder, you’d be surprised by how much running a couple of times a week helps. Exploit your strengths. Find what is it you are good at. Use it to your advantage. It may be sports, math, creativity, writing or socialising. Everyone is good at something, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something impressive. Be yourself. Chances are your skills are easily replicable. In this case, whether someone can endure 8+ hours a day next to you or not is a major factor influencing the outcome of your interviews, so they should like you for who you are. Assume success. Always tackle things with a positive mentality. It will force you to try things you would be shy to otherwise. It may go wrong sometimes, but it will go right others. Fail, learn, iterate. Accept failure. When things go wrong, don’t let them overcome you. Sh*t happens. To everyone. Sometimes you will be the best person for that role, but the people interviewing you won’t like you, and that is fine, it’s their loss. Again: fail, learn, iterate. Do what you enjoy. Pursue a career in something you truly enjoy. If you do what you like, you will be good at it, and if you are good, money will follow. It’s true it’s easier to get a well paid job as a software engineer than, say, as a musician, but that just means you’ll have to work harder to achieve your goals. Work hard. As hard as you can, you are expected to. Don’t limit yourself to your job description, try to go beyond and find ways to add value to both what you do and what everyone else does. However, don’t overwork for the sake of overworking. Party harder. Ultimately, life is about people, so go meet people and have fun. You deserve it. The larger your network is, the better opportunities you will have in your future. Sometimes it’s better to hit the pub than to work on your cover letter. I believe we stress too much. And it’s understandable, being a graduate these days is very stressful. The expectations people (and ourselves) have of us are very high, and the competition is very stiff. However this stress often hinders our ability to succeed. Don’t obsess about anything. Remember that the most important thing is… Lean In for Graduates is an enhanced edition of Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling business book. The revised version features a passionate letter from Sandberg encouraging graduates to find and commit to work they love and a combination of inspiration and practical advice. Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg is out now in hardback and ebook. Check out our 15 “Ones to Watch” in the UK Atul Agarwal David Kutas Dhunsyam Daji Felicity McGrath Guzmán Díaz Solana Ifrah Mahmood Izam Ryan Bahrin Jake Tipper Julie Caceres Lina Fassi Fihri Maen Aloquili   Miriam Kerbache Nicholas Fearn Peter Bailey Santiago Manzi

Four ways moms connect on Twitter

The Twitter Advertising Blog -

Moms are master multi-taskers. They juggle kids, partners, jobs, chores, meals, shopping — the list goes on and on. According to our research, they do the same on Twitter. We conducted the User Profile Study via a short, 10-minute online survey of Twitter users who signed into the platform weekly. The sample was conducted in the U.S. with 1,000 respondents. Just in time for Mother’s Day, here are our first four findings on how moms use Twitter, and tips for keeping the chief household officer engaged year-round. Moms turn to Twitter for a quick, fun escape. Moms are constantly on the go, running errands and shuttling kids from school to activities and back again. Not surprisingly, most moms access Twitter on the go via their mobile devices (65%). And despite jam-packed schedules, they say they check Twitter at least once a day (69%). Why do moms turn to Twitter during rare (and precious) moments of “me time”? The top reason they gave: to lift their spirits (72%). Specifically, moms look at Twitter when they need a quick laugh (60%). They also like to spread the joy: 76% said they share funny Tweets. Advertiser takeaway: In today’s always-connected world, most people turn to their phones for a break from their regular routine. Use Twitter to show off your brand’s humorous side and entertain your followers. Remember to keep the mobile experience in mind: Drive engagement and earned media with lightweight rich media and simple calls to action like LG Electronics with its Mother’s Day #MomConfessions. Tweet us your own #MomConfessions using the hashtag for a chance to see them in #TimesSquare on #MothersDay (5/11). pic.twitter.com/NrjJLhlhhV — LG Electronics (@LGUS) May 2, 2014   Twitter brings moms closer to their social circle. Moms are connectors. They are often at the social center of a family’s universe, arranging play dates and keeping up with what’s new in the lives of loved ones. This extends to how they use Twitter: 38% of moms follow their children and their friends. Most say they actually feel closer to friends and family whom they follow on Twitter (52%). Beyond their existing social circle, Twitter offers moms a way to feel closer to like-minded individuals. In fact, most moms say they enjoy connecting with other moms on Twitter (55%) and meeting people with similar interests (69%). Advertiser takeaway: Bring moms together around shared interests. Find ways to connect them with their own kids during popular cultural moments or breaking news. Create one-to-one interactions through partnerships with brand advocates and Twitter parties like retailer Best Buy with its current #GreatestMoms campaign. Looking for #MothersDay gift ideas? Join our #GreatestMom Twitter Party on Friday! RSVP: http://t.co/8OwXUYbsGg pic.twitter.com/Hm0RO7Nhlc — Best Buy (@BestBuy) April 30, 2014   Moms use Twitter to keep up with celebrity news. Twitter gives moms a way not only to keep up with people they know; it also offers access to people they’d like to know. Most moms say that Twitter lets them feel closer to celebrities (61%). After all, Tweets give personal, real-time glimpses into the lives of stars. That’s likely why moms say that Twitter is better than magazines for celebrity gossip (59%). Another unique advantage Twitter gives users: the ever-present potential for a two-way conversation with a famous person. In fact, 67% of moms say that having a celebrity retweet them would “make their day.” In fact, many have called the Retweet the new autograph. Advertiser takeaway: Engage moms around popular celebrity content like red carpet events, TV shows and breaking news. Offer access to celebs through Twitter chats. Partner with popular influencers like PBS did to drive tune in for its “Half the Sky” documentary. “Sometimes the prblm feels so big changing 1 life doesn’t feel like enough. But it is.” -@AmericaFerrera #halfthesky pic.twitter.com/S3hQAb41 — Half the Sky Mvmt (@Half) October 3, 2012   Moms on Twitter expect to interact with brands. Moms play an active role in most household purchasing decisions. This makes them savvy shoppers buying go-to products that they trust to fulfill their family’s needs. Moms reflect these brand affinities on Twitter. Specifically, moms say they follow brands on Twitter that they like or love (73%). And moms don’t just expect to hear from the brands they follow. Most moms expect to be able to interact with brands on Twitter (72%). Advertiser takeaway: Be responsive: Moms expect brands to respond to them on Twitter. Offer moms useful content in your Tweets. Share previews of upcoming products on Twitter and reward loyalty by tweeting out special discount codes. Give moms a way to participate with your brand like Kenneth Cole Productions did during New York Fashion Week. Want a front row seat to our #KCRUNWAY show? Watch at http://t.co/PG7XAI1B tomorrow (2/7) at 7pm EST. #MBFW pic.twitter.com/tyaWFmiu — Kenneth Cole (@KennethColePrd) February 6, 2013 Bottom line We found that moms use Twitter to be entertained, connect with the people they care about and interact with their favorite brands. Remember, moms are highly mobile, so focus on quick, entertaining content that offers them a break from the daily grind or provides useful information that makes their lives a little easier. And most importantly, offer moms a way to actively interact with your brand. It’s not just a best practice — it’s what today’s mom expects.

Amazon CloudFront Joins the AWS Free Usage Tier

Amazon Web Services Blog -

I'm pleased to be able to announce that Amazon CloudFront is now part of the AWS Free Usage Tier. If you are eligible for the Free Usage Tier, you can now transfer up to 50 Gigabytes of data and up to 2,000,000 requests per month at no charge. The usage is aggregated across all of the AWS Edge Locations. With this addition to the Free Usage Tier, you can now host a dynamic, database-driven website on Amazon EC2, with low-latency content delivery through CloudFront without paying a penny, as long as you stay within the fairly generous resource allocation provided to you. You can also host a static website on Amazon S3 and serve it up with the same low latency, regardless of where your readers happen to be. If you are ready to get started, dive into the CloudFront Developer Guide now. Learn More If you are interested in learning more about CloudFront or if you have specific questions, please come to our interactive CloudFront Office Hours session on May 27th, 2014 at 10:00 AM PST and spend an hour in the company of our technical experts. You may also want to watch this video to learn more about Dynamic Content Acceleration with CloudFront and Route 53: Here is the presentation from the video: AWS Summit London 2014 | Dynamic Content Acceleration (300) from Amazon Web Services -- Jeff;

Hortonworks Data Platform In The Cloud: 3 Clicks To Cluster

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

The world of data platforms is forging forward with increasing velocity. To stay relevant in today’s Big Data conversation, technologies must implement features and enhancements at a swifter cadence than legacy technology. The only way this is possible is by orchestrating the worldwide execution of an open ecosystem of participants. Consider Apache Hadoop; this level of advancement would not be possible without a broad network of developers and engineers working together to rapidly innovate to solve new problems. In addition to just fixing the issues users have with Hadoop, the community is changing the perception of how users can leverage it. Once a go-to tool for large batch processing jobs, Hadoop is changing to address the needs of multiple workloads simultaneously such as streaming and interactive workloads all done at the same level of scale of the original batch jobs. One of the more notable updates to this ecosystem was the recent release of the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) version 2.1 last month. This version of HDP represents advancements that span every aspect of enterprise Hadoop from data management, data access, integration and governance, security and operations all while staying true to the core Apache Hadoop Foundation distribution. Some enhancements are transparent, like improvements of Apache Hive, Apache Tez and YARN through now complete the Stinger initiative, while to take advantage of others like KNOX and Falcon requires additional thought and architecture. These all culminate to provide a healthy enterprise update to the Modern Data Architecture of Hadoop. Today we’ve made two key updates to our Cloud Big Data Platform powered by Apache HadoopTM. Still in limited availability, Cloud Big Data Platform is a Hadoop-based service aimed at providing all of the power of Apache Hadoop without the need to own, operate, troubleshoot and administer clusters. Cloud Big Data Platform allows you to execute Pig, Hive, MapReduce or YARN scripts directly to Data Nodes provisioned in the Rackspace Public Cloud all while interfacing with a 100 percent open Hadoop distribution with a sea of ecosystem partners already validated with Hortonworks. Two notable changes have been rolled out today: Self-Provisioning of up to three Data Nodes Rackspace Public Cloud customers now have the ability to deploy up to three data nodes. Even though we are still in limited availability, all customers can spin up a small Hadoop cluster for testing, POC or smaller workloads. You can do this by visiting your Rackspace Cloud Control Panel and selecting the “Big Data” tab on the top of the navigation menu. Once you are in this tab, simply hit the “Create Cluster” button and you will be given your deployment options. You can select the distribution of Hadoop you wish to deploy (1.3 or 2.1), the data node instance size (1.25TB or 10TB with approval), the geographical datacenter location and if you wish to connect to a Cloud Files container. Once this is done, you can begin to interact with your Hadoop cluster in a matter of minutes. All of the components of the distribution are installed and ready to use and Hadoop experts are standing by for help. For guidance on pricing and best practices for deploying Rackspace Cloud Big Data Platform, you can visit our knowledge center article. Need more than three data nodes? No Problem, simply send an email to our Hadoop specialists. Hortonworks Data Platform Version 2.1 We now offer the latest Apache Hadoop distribution from Hortonworks (Version 2.1) for deployment on Cloud Big Data Platform. We have outlined some enhancements in 2.1 above, but specifically for Cloud Big Data Platform you can now access features like Faster Query Times via the Stinger initiative. Stinger leverages the YARN architecture to process multiple jobs in parallel to improve the query experience in Hadoop. Apache Tez enables Hadoop users to address interactive workloads and query capabilities. Tez and Hive work together to deliver on enhanced performance of queries across the cluster. Secondary Name Node – Since the release of HDP version 2.0, you have been able to provision a secondary name node for fail over/redundancy. We have now added a secondary name node to the deployment of Cloud Big Data Platform for all cluster profiles. You do not need to change anything about how you deploy the solution, but you will notice a public IP and server instance during creation for secondary name node. This functionality removes name node from being a single source of failure and allows more production/live workloads to be operated in Cloud Big Data Platform. These updates and additions to our Hadoop-powered Cloud Big Data Platform will make it easier for you and your business to leverage Big Data in meaningful ways. For more information or to join the limited availability program from Cloud Big Data Platform, click here or call your Rackspace support specialist.

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