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The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

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When it comes to digital marketing, the goal is to generate traffic and leads that can then be converted into sales. While the focus is usually on developing ways to drive more traffic to your site, you may be wondering if there’s more you can do to encourage conversions. Enter Conversion Rate Optimization! Rather than focusing on traffic generation, CRO looks at what can be done on your website after you’ve reeled in those leads. Ultimately, CRO is an ongoing process of observation, analysis, and improvement. In this how-to guide, we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of CRO and answer some important questions you might have: What is CRO? How should I calculate my website’s conversion rate? Is CRO the right strategy for my website? What is a CRO framework? How do I use one? Where should I implement CRO best practices? Which CRO tools and resources can I use? Long story short, we’re going to get you set up with everything you need to know about increasing conversions. Let’s get started! Optimize Your Site with Managed WordPress HostingOur automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on conversions.Check Out Plans What Conversion Rate Optimization Is (And How it Differs from Traditional Marketing) When we talk about conversions, we’re referring to the process of getting a lead to take a desired action. This might be submitting an email address, purchasing a product, or downloading an article. It’s easy to rely heavily on strategies that might be too simple in scope. For example, you might be solely focused on getting visitors to submit their email addresses on your website and miss out on other potential conversion opportunities. However, if CRO is implemented correctly, it can help you manage the entire process from start to finish. This includes all of your channels and every part of your conversion funnel, rather than just that one lead generation tactic. Regardless of where they originate from, conversions of any kind can be calculated with a formula. Since CRO is a continuous process that aims to increase conversions and can employ several different techniques, it’s important to understand how to calculate different kinds of conversion rates. So, put on your glasses, because we’re about to get real nerdy. Related: 5 WordPress Plugins to Improve Your Website Conversion Rate How to Calculate Conversion Rates Calculating your current conversion rates will give you a benchmark prior to implementing CRO and can later help you determine whether or not your efforts are working. There are several different ways to approach this task. Before you get started with the number-crunching, you’ll need to define a few things that are specific to your business, including: Website Visitors. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to track your website’s traffic. This will be the basis for many CRO calculations. Leads. Make sure you know exactly what counts as a lead for your situation. For example, this could be anyone who clicks on a specific button or submits their email address. Conversion. Making a purchase is the most common kind of conversion we’ll discuss. However, there are several kinds of conversions, so you’ll need to establish how you’re defining the term. These three elements are critical components of your marketing funnel. The better you understand your funnel, the easier it will be to implement key CRO tactics. Now, let’s look at the most fundamental way to calculate conversion rates. You’ll take the total number of conversions (such as purchases), and divide it by the number of “interactions” or completed actions (clicks on an ad, for example) during a specific time frame. For example, if you had 10 sales from 1,000 interactions in one month, your conversion rate for that month would be 1%. However, you’ll have to decide what you are considering a valuable interaction, as calculating all potential actions together can result in skewed rates. Fortunately, there are tools available to help you sift through some of the different ways to do this. Specifically, Google offers conversion tracking for use with Google Ads. This enables you to create specific conversion actions that are unique to your business. Now, let’s take a step back and look at conversion rates in the context of implementing CRO. To do this, you’ll want to calculate your conversion rate based on the number of website visitors you have and how many of them become leads. To get your visitor-to-lead conversion rate, divide the number of leads created by the number of website visitors within a set time frame: If you have 1,000 site visitors in one month and 10 leads, your visitor-to-lead conversion rate is 1%. In terms of setting goals, you might be inclined to think you need more website traffic. In reality, this is where CRO can be beneficial. In our example, there are a lot of website visitors who did not become leads. This means there might be areas you can optimize in order to increase your visitor-to-lead conversions. In turn, your lead-to-customer conversions should also increase. In fact, that lead-to-customer conversion rate is the last calculation we’ll touch on. This is determined by dividing your total conversions (where a lead becomes a paying customer) by the number of total leads in a given time frame: If we revisit our previous example, we had a total of 10 leads. Let’s assume that three of those leads convert in the same month. Our lead-to-customer conversion would be 3%. These are all necessary formulas to keep in mind. They can help you set goals and compare monthly totals to see if your CRO strategies are working to boost the specific conversion rates you decide to target. Related: 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Your Small Business Should You Be Using CRO? (4 Key Questions to Ask Yourself) It seems obvious to say, “Yes! I want more leads from my existing traffic.” However, there are some other questions to consider before you dive into a CRO planning session. While CRO concepts and techniques can benefit just about anyone, there are some specific elements of your existing practices to consider beforehand. 1. Do You Understand Your Audience? To implement a solid CRO plan, you’ll need to have a decent amount of target market data. Marketing personas are a great place to start, and you can enhance their usefulness through CRO. If you’re lacking this kind of information but still want to use CRO, there are tools available to get you started. For example, the ThinkWithGoogle suite includes an application called Market Finder. This is an application that can help you determine what the actual market is for your business. Additionally, you can identify new potential markets, or fine-tune your approach according to geographic locations. All of this data is vital to utilizing CRO. If you’re missing this component, you might want to invest some time into filling the gaps first. 2. Are You Tracking Key Metrics? We mentioned previously how important it is to track different business metrics. CRO can only deliver the desired results if you’re already tracking metrics like bounce rate, page loading times, user experience, page views, and traffic. Just as we saw in the conversion rate calculations, data is the key to understanding whether optimizations are working. 3. Do You Already Have Good Traffic Numbers? While mathematical logic tells us that the more traffic you have, the better your conversion numbers should be, that’s not necessarily the approach CRO emphasizes. The optimizations suggested — along with using CRO best practices — are designed to take your existing traffic even further. So if you’re already happy with your current traffic, that’s a good starting point. If not, you might first want to look at what could be preventing you from reaching your audience. 4. Do You Need to Stretch Your Marketing Budget? Just like we discussed regarding traffic numbers, CRO aims to get you more with what you have already. If you have the other elements in place, such as data tracking, decent website traffic, and lead funnels, CRO is a logical next step. However, obtaining those other items can be costly, so it makes sense to look at where you can optimize what you have in place to bring about better results. Fortunately, most CRO practices are not going to break the bank. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up Understanding the CRO Process and How to Make It Work For You We mentioned earlier that some approaches to calculating conversion rates can be too isolated. However, when implemented correctly, CRO can take those individual elements and create a comprehensive process that offers greater depth and value. In that regard, CRO is also a multifaceted approach that does not focus on just one element of a website or marketing campaign. There are several different CRO frameworks out there that you can adopt for your process. Each framework puts its own spin on five basic categories, including: Research Hypothesis Prioritization Testing Learning On their own, these can be used as a basic CRO framework, but there are more in-depth and specific frameworks out there that you can try as well. We’ll go over three of the most popular, to give you an idea for how they differ. Moz’ 5-Step Framework Moz offers SEO tools for website developers and businesses, and they’re considered one of the top experts on SEO. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they’ve developed a CRO framework as well. Their approach has five steps that fall into three broad phases: Discovery, Experiments, and Review. To get started, let’s look at the Discovery phase. This is where steps one and two of the Moz framework live. There, you’ll look first at gathering data and formulating your hypotheses. The Discovery phase is essential to creating a strong foundation for all the work you’ll do next in the Experiment phase. This is where you’ll encounter steps three and four. They cover wireframing your new design, so you’re addressing the hypotheses formed in the previous step. This should match your brand and be realistic in terms of your technical resources. The fourth step in this framework focuses specifically on implementing Optimizely. This is a platform we’ll discuss in greater detail later. However, broadly speaking, it’s built to help you test and build digital experiences in a variety of different categories, such as marketing, engineering, and product development. In the Review phase, you’ll be looking to see if your hypothesis was correct. If not, you’ll be able to determine what you can learn from that failure. The LIFT Model Developed by Chris Goward, Founder and CEO of WiderFunnel, the LIFT Model is another CRO framework to consider. While this approach retains some of the same fundamentals of scientific testing that the Moz framework introduced, it has a much different structure. The Lift Model enables you to evaluate experiences from the perspective of your page visitors, using these six factors: Value Proposition Clarity Relevance Distraction Urgency Anxiety Goward offers a visualization of this model using an airplane as the value proposition. What makes the airplane lift is when the value proposition is relevant, clear, and presented with urgency. As a website user, distractions and anxiety are what can bring the plane down. With the LIFT Model, your value proposition is what determines your potential conversion rate, making it the most vital part of the framework. All the other factors in the model either drive or inhibit your value proposition and are used to develop your hypothesis and testing strategy. The LIFT Model has quite a few success stories. For example, a case study on Magento demonstrates how they were able to create an 88% “lift” in qualified leads using this framework. The Data36 Model Created by data analyst Tomi Mester, the Data36 model is an excellent option for anyone more comfortable with traditional scientific research terminology. This framework uses six steps to work through both qualitative and quantitative research methods that inform the CRO process. Steps one and two of the Data36 approach are similar to the Moz framework — you’ll be focused on gathering valuable data. However, in this case, it might be anecdotal or historical data. The key is to focus on qualitative information at the start. According to Mester, this concept is the first step, so you can form “hunches” before diving into the numerical data. To gather this information, you can conduct user interviews or Five Second Tests, which we’ll talk more about later. Your qualitative data can help dictate the direction of your search for quantitative data. This is where you’ll start to confirm your hunches. For the most part, this is similar to the steps in other frameworks where you form a hypothesis and then test it. The Data36 framework also has a brainstorming step that is much like wireframing in other CRO frameworks. Once you’ve created optimized content, you’ll engage in another round of qualitative testing. To round out the framework, you’ll work through A/B testing of the versions that performed well in the second round of qualitative research. The winner of this step can be moved to the sixth and final step. If used correctly, this framework can help you avoid unnecessary coding projects and potentially speed up the optimization process by weeding out options that might not work. 6 Areas Where You Can Implement CRO Best Practices Now that we’ve covered some of the frameworks you can use to implement a CRO strategy, let’s take a look at the specific areas of your website where these techniques can have a noticeable impact. 1. Call-To-Actions (CTAs) Your CTAs are of prime importance. If your website visitors don’t know what it is you want them to do, it’s unlikely that they’ll do it. Remember that in the LIFT Model, clarity is one of the elements that can help your value proposition take off. You might be familiar with some of the more traditional best practices, such as CTA button design, placement, and copy. However, when it comes to CRO, the approach is slightly different. In fact, this is where you’re more likely to find recommendations for using text-based CTAs. A text-based or anchor text CTA is designed in a larger format, such as an H3 or H4 heading, and is often styled in a different color. It is meant to stand out, but still be part of your web page’s copy. Hubspot conducted a study that compared end-of-page CTA banners to CTA anchor text and found that 43 to 97% of their leads came from the anchor text. Since only 6% of leads came from the end-of-page banner, anchor text CTAs were the clear winner. One of the main reasons this approach works is that it can help avoid banner-blindness. This happens when website users simply ignore certain design elements. Additionally, since a high percentage of readers won’t ever make it to the end of a post, implementing anchor text CTAs might be a useful technique to explore on your website. 2. Website Copy Many experts view writing strong website copy as a mashup of art and science. However, CRO has a more formulaic approach for improving conversion rates through optimizing specific areas of your website’s copy. For example, applying optimization formulas to your headline is a great place to start. This is likely the first, and potentially only, thing your visitors will see. If the headline is not optimized, they may not even click on it in the first place! If your headline passes the test, you’ll want to make sure your page copy follows a few more rules. This is where the relevance of your copy really matters. It’s crucial to CRO that your copy matches or is relevant to your CTA. For instance, you wouldn’t want to focus all your copy on website hosting and then have your CTA mention signing up for an email marketing service. That might be an extreme example, but it drives home a vital point: copy matters! You’ll also want to assess whether your copy uses too much passive voice, stays on topic, and makes claims you can actually deliver on. 3. Navigation and Site Structure Your website’s structure can be a critical factor in a successful approach to traditional SEO. Plus, there are lots of ways to optimize it. A well-executed site structure also plays a pivotal role in CRO. In fact, SEO expert Neil Patel calls good site architecture the “older brother” of CRO. Basically, navigation and site structure impact conversions because they are how users find and purchase things on your website. If the path to your CTA does not make sense or is hard to follow, your conversion numbers will probably reflect that. This is where some standard practices for building better User Experiences (UX) can be helpful. Peter Morville’s Honeycomb Model is a widely-accepted lens through which to view your website’s structure and begin making improvements. The seven segments of the honeycomb represent all the elements that should be present to provide users with a meaningful and valuable experience. Ultimately, if your website structure and navigation are meeting all the standards in the honeycomb, you’ll have naturally optimized your website for better conversion rates. 4. Page Speed It’s a well-cited fact that if a user has to wait just a few seconds for your page to load, they are more likely to leave and not come back. This, of course, can have a negative impact on your bottom line. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your website’s speed. One significant factor when it comes to page speed is your web host. A quality web host with the right features can be a big help when it comes to CRO. For example, built-in caching is one feature to look for when evaluating potential web hosts. This enables you to create static versions of individual web pages, so the server has less to load when a user requests the page through their web browser. Related: 12 Reasons Why Your Website Is Slow and How to Fix It 5. Forms Getting your visitors to fill out lead generation forms can be a challenge. Style and length are both factors that can impact the success of your forms. Additionally, where to place them on your site is a hotly-debated topic. Whether you place your opt-in forms above or below “the fold,” there are some practices backed by data that seem to yield higher conversion rates. For example, the BrokerNotes lead generation form has a tool-like experience that took their conversion rate from 11% to 46%. This is a good example of how revamping your lead generation form to look and feel less like a form can assist with CRO. However, there are many other form elements to consider when optimizing for conversions. This includes how much and how personal the information is that you ask for. For example, asking for a phone number has been shown to cause a 5% drop in conversions. 6. Landing Page Design While many of the items on our list often live together on a landing page, there are steps you can take using CRO to improve the overall experience. From the headline to the CTA, every element of your landing page matters and provides opportunities for optimization. An excellent example of an optimized landing page is Airbnb. Not only is the page simple and visually appealing, but it also gets right to the point with a clear headline and useful information. There is no question about what this page is saying, and it speaks right to a potential host’s wallet. In terms of a CTA, it also cleverly offers the user valuable information before asking for anything in return. 6 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools & Resources Once you have a basic grasp on what CRO involves, it’s time to dive in and put it to the test. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you get started. For example, we’ve created a guide to using typography to increase conversions on your website. Let’s take a look at six other resources you can leverage to launch your CRO initiative! 1. Google Marketing Platform When it comes to optimizing for search engines, Google is usually a top priority. Fortunately, the search engine also offers an entire suite of tools that can be used with your CRO framework. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses, as they can access these tools for free. Another benefit of using Google’s resources is that they are designed to work together, making your data accessible across all the available applications. The Google Marketing Platform provides an integrated approach to using the best tools for optimizing your website. For instance, you can gather all the tracking data you need for the beginning steps of most CRO frameworks using Google Analytics. Once you’re ready to run some tests, Google Optimize offers applications that can set up experiments based on your data. 2. Visual Web Optimizer Visual Web Optimizer (VWO) is an application with a diverse feature set, geared towards making website optimization easy. The Research, Hypothesize, Experiment, and Measure approach to many of the CRO frameworks we’ve discussed is operationalized with VWO’s digital toolset. Essentially, you can use VWO’s services to provide extra support and expertise to the CRO framework you decide to employ. This includes tools for every step of the process. VWO also offers many plans to choose from, including pricing options for individual applications starting at $99 per month. 3. Optimizely Optimizely is the platform used explicitly in the Moz 5-Step CRO Framework. It is one of the top CRO platforms out there, with clientele that includes 24 of the top Fortune 100 global businesses. This is one of the premium CRO services on the market. You’ll have to contact the sales team directly to get pricing on Optimizely plans. Whatever you choose, you’ll get some options in terms of how you can approach the platform. For example, you can choose services based on team (marketing, product, engineering, or data) or industry. You can also choose between a Web platform for creating experiments and personalizations with a visual editor and a Full Stack platform geared more towards application and back-end development. This is where you’ll find high-powered A/B testing options and feature flags for product development. 4. Five Second Tests Five Second Tests is an easy-to-use web-based service that enables you to gather data on what a website user’s first impression of your design is. This process gives testers only five seconds to view a page. Then, they are asked a series of questions to determine if the design is achieving what you intended. You can use this application for free in a limited capacity. You’ll be constrained to a total of two minutes of testing per month and you won’t be able to brand your tests with your own logo. For $79 per month, you can increase your testing time, remove the branding, and implement split testing. There are also Pro and Team plans with many more features for $99 and $396 per month, respectively. 5. Case Studies Research and data are both essential components when it comes to CRO. So we wanted to include some excellent resources for your own information gathering. Learning from others can save you time, frustration, and in some cases, money. With that in mind, Neil Patel has 100 conversion rate optimization case studies available for free on his website. You can use this as a directory to find situations that are similar to your own to learn from. You’ll be able to review what was optimized, in addition to what the results and key findings were. If you’re trying to kickstart a CRO effort with your team, sharing case studies can often serve as a tangible motivator. 6. CRO Blogs To learn more about CRO and keep your skills sharp with the latest optimization tools, following the blogs of CRO experts can be a worthwhile (and often entertaining) strategy. However, if you look for CRO blogs in a Google search, you’re likely to get millions of results. So we’ve picked a few of the best to give you a more manageable reading list. To keep up on the latest CRO trends, you might want to follow some of these blogs: The WiderFunnel Blog: CEO Chris Goward created the LIFT Model for CRO. Unbounce: This is a blog brought to you by one of the leaders in A/B testing and landing page optimization tools. Conversion Optimization Blog: A well-researched blog that comes from the Conversion Sciences team. Neil Patel’s Blog: Neil Patel, the creator of KISSMetrics, brings his readers some of the most data-packed posts out there about marketing and optimization. As our technology landscape shifts and changes, following expert blogs can help you stay informed and up-to-speed on the most effective CRO practices. Let’s Increase Your Conversion Rate With some basic elements in place, a well-structured CRO strategy will almost always yield positive results. If you’ve already calculated your conversion rates and are tracking key metrics, then you’re off to a good start. Choosing and implementing a CRO framework is another major component of developing a successful strategy. While no one framework is the “right” one, they all require gathering quality data, developing hypotheses, and testing to determine the best optimization tactics for your website. Of course, you won’t want to get distracted by an unreliable web host when you could be focusing on a higher conversion rate. Here at DreamHost, we can keep your website’s server in prime condition with our managed hosting plans, so you can get back to building a conversion machine! The post The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death

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The post How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death appeared first on HostGator Blog. The WordPress white screen of death is something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. One minute your site works, the next you’re greeted by nothing but a white screen. This can be a scary experience, but it’s more common than you might think. Nearly every single WordPress site owner has experienced this sometime during the life of their site.  Although this isn’t the most fun situation in the world, it can be remedied, and usually, it’s a pretty quick fix. There are a few common reasons for this to occur. Below we dive into the most common causes of the WordPress white screen of death and what you can do to fix the problem.  What is the WordPress White Screen of Death? The WordPress white screen of death is an error that occurs with your WordPress site. You can tell this has happened to your website because when you visit it, you’ll see nothing but a white screen! Sometimes, you’ll see an error message, but often it’s just a white screen. Some of the most common reasons this error occurs are due to: Running into a memory limitEditing a core file like functions.phpA plugin conflict which breaks your siteUsing a WordPress theme with faulty code If those scenarios sound confusing, don’t worry. We’ll get into how you can diagnose and fix these issues below.  How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death Below we’ll cover the main reasons the white screen of death occurs and what you can do to troubleshoot and fix the issue. Before we move forward, you’re going to need to access and edit your WordPress files. You can do this via an FTP client like Filezilla, or via the File Manager within your hosting control panel.  If you’re a beginner, then the easiest option is going to be using the File Manager. It operates similar to accessing your site via FTP, but instead you’ll just login to your server via cPanel and open the ‘File Manager’ app. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like: When you’re experiencing the white screen of death you probably won’t be able to access the backend of your site via the WordPress dashboard. So, you’ll need to feel comfortable editing and removing website files. It might look a little complex, but it’s a pretty straightforward process.  That being said, here’s how you can fix the WordPress white screen of death depending on the error that caused it:  1. Resolve a Browser Issue We’ll start with the easiest fix. Sometimes it might not even be an issue with your site at all, but instead an issue you’re experiencing with your browser. This is common when you’re making changes to your WordPress site, and you don’t see the changes reflected live until you empty your cache. To do this open up your browser of choice and locate the browsing and history section. This will allow you to view and clear your history, cookies, and cached images and files. Clear all of the existing data and wait for the process to run its course. Then, close and reopen the browser and see if the issue disappeared.  2. Increase WordPress Memory Limit If your WordPress site is large and growing, then you might have run into a WordPress memory issue. The more traffic your website receives the more memory you’ll need for your site to function correctly (and to avoid the white screen of death). To increase your memory limit, you’ll need to open up your wp-config.php file.  Then add or edit the line of code that looks like: define (‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT,’ ‘64M’); For most sites, 64 MB of memory will be more than enough. However, if the problem still exists after making this change, then it could be an issue with your host as well. So, it can be helpful to reach out to your web host’s support team and see if they can upgrade your memory internally, or upgrade you to a higher hosting plan.  3. Disable All WordPress Plugins A lot of times, the issue can be with one of your plugins. Not every WordPress plugin is going to be high-quality. In some cases, there will be an issue with the plugin’s code that conflicts with your current theme.  Sometimes, when the WordPress core gets updated, plugin developers may not have updated their plugin to remain compatible, resulting in a conflict with the code that brings your site offline.  In this case, you’ll need to manually deactivate all of your installed plugins, then activate them one by one until you’ve found the culprit. If you disable all of your plugins and your site is back online, then you’ve found the issue! Congratulations! Then, you can systematically narrow down the plugin that caused the problem.  Here’s how you deactivate your WordPress plugins automatically: Navigate to your wp-content folder.Find the plugins folder inside and rename it something different like plugins-off. This makes WordPress think that the folder doesn’t exist, so it’ll disable any active plugins. Now, load your website. If the white screen of death goes away, then that means it was due to a faulty plugin. Here’s what to do to figure out which one caused it: Rename the plugins folder back to the original plugins name.Open up the folder and go through each plugin, one by one, by renaming each folder. Each time you rename a plugin folder, try loading your site.If your site loads, then you’ve found the plugin. Now delete that plugin’s folder, and the problem is solved! Going forward, make sure that you avoid that plugin like the plague. See if you can find another similar plugin that provides the same features instead, or ask yourself if you can make do without the plugin’s functionality? 4. Deactivate Your Current WordPress Theme If it wasn’t a memory or plugin issue, then there’s a good chance it’s an issue with your WordPress theme. If you recently installed a new theme, or updated your theme, and this issue started, then there’s a good chance it’s your theme. To deactivate your current theme, we’re going to follow the same approach as the plugins section above. Here’s how you disable your current theme: Navigate to your WordPress theme’s folder by going to wp-content/themes.Locate your currently installed theme and deactivate it by renaming the theme’s folder, so instead of themename, it’ll be themename-bad. This will automatically disable the plugin, and WordPress will revert to the default theme. If this worked, then it was an issue with your theme! Now, it’s time to find a quality WordPress theme that won’t lead to this issue in the future.  5. Fix an Error in a Core WordPress File If you were recently editing any WordPress core files before you experienced this error, then the likely culprit is going to be an error in the file that was being edited. Fixing this is going to depend on the file that was being edited. But, you can generally resolve this issue by uploading a fresh version of the file you were editing. If you were editing a theme file, then you can locate a new version of that file by downloading a new version from the theme repository, or wherever you purchased your theme. If you were editing a WordPress core file, then download a fresh version of WordPress from WordPress.org. Once you’ve downloaded the new WordPress core, or a fresh version of your theme, unzip it and locate the file. Then access your site via File Manager or FTP, delete the file you changed, and upload the brand the new version. Next, load your website to see if this removed the white screen of death. Recovering from the WordPress White Screen of Death? Experiencing the WordPress white screen of death can be a pretty scary experience, but thankfully the situation isn’t as bad as it seems. Usually, deactivating your plugins or activating a different WordPress theme will fix the issue. The above five tips will account for 99% percent of the time you experience the white screen of death.  To avoid this from happening in the future, keep the following best practices in mind: Only install WordPress themes and plugins from reputable sourcesRegularly backup your site, so you can install from a previously working version of your website if need be. (One excellent solution for this is CodeGuard, a service that automatically backs up your website on a daily basis.)Never edit WordPress core or theme files on a live site. Always use a test environment.Make sure any hosting or other web services you use offer high-quality support, in case you need the assistance of technical staff. Hopefully, by now you’ve resolved the WordPress white screen of death issue you were experiencing, and you’re well-equipped to handle this issue if it ever occurs again in the future. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

New gTLD Report – January 2020

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It is a new year and a new decade! 2020, indeed seems like a year of change, a welcoming one! We had some eye-catching promos lined up for the month of January 2020. .XYZ climbed the charts and made it to the top position of the new gTLD leaderboard. Followed by .SITE, .ONLINE, .ICU and .SPACE that managed to secure a sweet spot in the top 5 of the month. Along with this, we launched two new gTLDs .APP and .BUZZ and they both managed to secure a place in our top 15. .XYZ and .LIFE contributed to the total registrations with 82% and 73% spike respectively in the month of January. Let’s dive in further and learn about the new gTLDs that were trending and made it to the top 15! New gTLD Report – January 2020Infogram *Registration Numbers Facilitated by ResellerClub .XYZ: .XYZ scored the top spot with a 36% share of the total registered new gTLDs in the month of January. The China market contributed to this increase in the number of registrations of this new gTLD. .XYZ was being sold at a promo price of $0.99 and it’s not a surprise that this new gTLD grabbed the top spot.  .SITE: With a 20% share in the total registration count, .SITE managed to retain its spot during the month of January. This new gTLD was running at a promo price of $5.99. The increase in registration count can be attributed to the China market. .ONLINE: Registrations of .ONLINE tripled in January and it was able to move to the third spot. This new gTLD witnessed an increase of 64% in the total registration count. .ONLINE was running at a promo price of $6.99. The Global markets* can be credited for the maximum registrations. .ICU: Similar to .SITE, .ICU was able to hold on to its spot in the new gTLD list during the month of January. This new gTLD that was running at a promo price of $6.99 was able to grab a 4% share of the total new gTLDs registered. .SPACE: The promo price of $0.99 helped boost registrations of .SPACE in the month of January. .SPACE grabbed a 4% share of the total new gTLDs registered in January. This can be credited to the Global markets*. .APP and .BUZZ, the newly launched new gTLDs made it to the top 15 list. This can be attributed to high registrations in the Global* and China markets respectively. Along with this, .WEBSITE and .STORE were able to retain their 12th and 13th spot respectively. Moreover, .CLUB climbed the charts securing the 6th spot with 50% spike in its registrations. Here is a quick glance into the exciting domain promos we’ve lined up for February 2020! Get the newly launched domain .BUZZ creating a buzz for your customers’ business at just $0.99 Reach out to various artists with a .ART domain extension at just $2.99 Go green and grow your customers business with a .GREEN domain at just $11.49 That’s all folks! Check out all our leading domain promos and help your customer’s get the right one for their online business. You can also head to our Facebook or Twitter pages to get all the updates about our trending domain promos. Just look out for the posts with #domainpromos. See you there!  *Global market – US, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Thailand and others fall under the global markets.  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post New gTLD Report – January 2020 appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How to Launch a Website for Your House Cleaning Side Hustle

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The post How to Launch a Website for Your House Cleaning Side Hustle appeared first on HostGator Blog. Do you have more elbow grease than the average person? Are you so organized that you could teach Marie Kondo a thing or two? Do you instinctively know the best and quickest methods for cleaning up a mess? Do you notice dust and grime in places where others wouldn’t? If this describes you, and you’re interested in starting a side hustle to make extra cash, then starting a house cleaning business might be the perfect fit for you. Starting a house cleaning service includes steps like purchasing supplies, deciding on pricing, and registering your business with the local municipal office. This article, however, will cover one of the most critical aspects of starting a business—why you need a website and how to set up your house cleaning website yourself. Why Do You Need a Website for Your House Cleaning Side Hustle? When it comes to landing clients for your cleaning business, you have to market your services in places where people look for house cleaners—local online search results. Did you know 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else? Additionally, 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. These stats mean if you want to find customers, you have to have a website.  You may be wondering if it’s sufficient to list your house cleaning services on websites like Angie’s List and Care.com. While it certainly won’t hurt your marketing efforts, it’s important to remember two things: Autonomous websites optimized for local search appear first on Google, andThere is so much competition on aggregated service lists that it’s challenging to stand out in the crowd. When you create your own website, you have a high chance of ranking in the local search results, and your website visitors will see your contact information only. Not only will a well-designed website help you attract new house cleaning clients, but it will also help you explain your services, establish credibility, and provide a surefire way for potential clients to contact you. When push comes to shove, starting a website for your side hustle is the only way to go. How to Build Your House Cleaning Website with HostGator You’ve already done the hard work to get everything ready to start your house cleaning side hustle. It’s time to give yourself a break and let HostGator do the hard work when it comes to setting up your website. You don’t have to know how to fiddle with code or do web design to get your website up and running with HostGator. All you have to do is follow six easy steps, select the perfect template, and use a drag and drop builder. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started. Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your house cleaning side hustle website. HostGator’s intuitive Gator Website Builder has three hosting plans available. Which one should someone looking to build a website for a house cleaning service pick? Since you won’t be selling anything online, you probably don’t need the eCommerce plan. The starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ customizable templates, a drag-and-drop editor, cloud hosting, and website analytics. If you know you’ll need priority support while creating and maintaining your website, opt for the premium package.  Once you’ve picked either the starter plan or premium plan, click “buy now” and you can set up your account. Step 2: Pick a domain name for your house cleaning website. Now that you’ve picked out your web hosting package, it’s time to select a domain name. This is the URL people will type in to access your house cleaning website. Every Gator Website Builder package includes a free domain, so there is no need to purchase a domain from a separate domain hosting company.  To pick your domain, all you have to do is type something related to house cleaning in the “get domain” box. If your top choice for your website isn’t available, then select another until you find one that is available. If you are set on a specific domain name, but the .com version is already taken, you can select another top-level domain.  Need help picking a domain name? Read our guide to choosing the best domain name for your business. If you already have a domain name, then you can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”  Step 3: Create your HostGator account. Once you have selected a domain name, it’s time to connect your HostGator account. Enter your email address or connect via Facebook, enter your payment information, and you’re officially part of the HostGator family. Step 4: Pick a template for your website. As mentioned above, Gator Website Builder comes with pre-designed and proven templates. That’s right. You don’t have to design anything yourself or know how to code. Scroll through more than 200 professionally-designed templates and select the one that works for you.  Step 5: Add pages and content to your house cleaning website. Once you have selected the perfect template for your side hustle website, you can start editing. Clicking “start editing” will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages. For a cleaning side hustle website, you may want to include the following pages: Home. The home page provides an overview of your side hustle business.About. The about page offers insight into who you are and the experience you have.Services. The services page includes a list of what cleaning services you offer.Contact. A contact page is a perfect way to let potential customers reach out to you via email, phone, or contact form. When it comes to building a website for your house cleaning side hustle, it’s best to keep it simple.  You’ll also be pleased to know that Gator Website Builder includes a drag and drop builder to make it easy to design your pages. All you have to do is point and click. However, if you have any questions, Gator Website Builder also includes a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference that you can access at any time. To access this guide, click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”   Step 6: Review your content and launch your house cleaning website. The last step is to review your website, make any changes, and then publish your house cleaning website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your site in full.  During your preview, review your website and make sure everything looks perfect. If everything looks right, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard.  Gator Website Builder will present a series of quick steps to help you go live. That’s all it takes!  Launching Your House Cleaning Website Starting a house cleaning side hustle is a great way to make additional money. And, owning a website is the perfect way to market your services and get clients. For more information about how to get started with your website, check out the Gator Website Builder today. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Create a Facebook Marketing Plan That Models Your Customer Journey

Social Media Examiner -

Is your Facebook marketing meeting your customers where they are? Wondering how to design a Facebook plan that supports your sales funnel? In this article, you’ll discover how to create a customer-centric Facebook marketing plan that meets your prospects and customers at every stage of their customer journeys. #1: Map Out Multiple Customer Journey Scenarios […] The post How to Create a Facebook Marketing Plan That Models Your Customer Journey appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

The 5 Stages of Design Thinking

Reseller Club Blog -

We always try to find a solution to any problem we ever face. However, the idea is not always to find a solution but to find an optimal solution. ‘Design Thinking’ is a problem-solving approach. It can be applied by businesses to figure out strategies and solutions to enable seamless and perfect end results with a user-first and user-satisfaction approach. What does this mean? Let us understand this with the help of a problem-solution example: The Problem: The Good Kitchen In 2007, 1,25,000 of Denmark’s senior citizens relied on Government-sponsored meals. Yet, out of the total count, 60% were surveyed to have had poor nutrition whereas 20% were malnourished. To overcome this issue, the Ministry of Holstebro hired Hatch & Bloom, a design agency to fix the menu.  The first thing Hatch & Bloom did was to figure out the problem. To do this, they shadowed the food delivery boys into the homes of senior citizens along with interviewing the employees in the kitchen.  This study yielded three key discoveries for senior citizens:  They were embarrassed to accept Government assistance  Their loss of control over food choice was painful and, They ate alone and missed the taste of seasonal foods  This ‘not liking their situation’ resulted in the senior citizens losing their appetite.  Similarly, for the workers, they considered making meals in a Government kitchen a low-status and a mundane job as they cooked the same meals day-after-day.  Now that Hatch & Bloom had studied the problem in great detail they arrived at a win-win solution. So, what did they do? The solution:  They changed the perspective, the mental model. What if the Food Delivery Service was a restaurant? Thus, was born ‘The Good Kitchen’ where, Kitchen → Restaurant  Cooks → Chefs  Delivery agents → Waiters Food description → Menu  The roles were the same, however, they were modelled and presented differently. This triggered a sense of purpose and pride in the workers, as well as, reduced dependency in the minds of senior citizens. This resulted in both the senior citizens and employees being happier. In fact, in the first week alone there was a 500% increase in the number of meal orders.  Thus, the solution was not ‘fixing the menu’ as thought earlier but ‘changing the perspective and roles’ with innovation at its core. The method employed by Hatch & Bloom was nothing but Design Thinking. So, Designing Thinking can be defined as ‘A human-centred approach to solving problems oftentimes with innovation.’  So, how does this help designers, developers or businesses? Well, as a technologist, we are not building technology. We are building solutions for the ease of human beings. If we keep this in mind, a lot of our products will have a sense of purpose and meaning. So, let us see how can we go about implementing Design Thinking. The 5 Step Process: There are 5 steps or phases that are used in the Design Thinking process. These steps were first described in 1969 by a Nobel Prize laureate, Herbert Simon in the ‘The Sciences of the Artificial’. The five phases are as follows: Empathise Define   Ideate   Prototype Test  Let us understand them in depth.  1.Empathise: Empathy is a fundamental human emotion we all identify with. It offers warmth, compassion and most importantly understanding. As a business, you need to empathise with your users. What this means is, that you need to understand the current experience of the user (the way they do things, as well as, why and how), their emotional and functional needs and lastly what is meaningful to them. So, how do you go about it? The best way is to first observe, then interview (the user) and experience. Once you’ve gone through these stages you can move ahead to the next step. 2. Define: Constructing a problem statement is crucial when it comes to creating the right solution. In the example we saw above, the original problem statement was ‘fix the menu’, however, was it truly the right problem? At the end of our example, we realised ‘no, it wasn’t’.  When defining a problem statement, you need to keep your user’s needs and problem as the centre. Only then can you give your insights and create a user-centred solution. 3. Ideate: To ideate is to generate ideas. As a business, it is important to challenge assumptions and develop ideas for innovative solutions that can help your users the best.  If you think about it, there is always more than one way to achieve or do something. It is not coming up with an easy or a right idea, it is about coming up with the most ideas. Once the ideas are in place, then it’s time to find a solution that is unique and helps simplify the way users experience your brand. 4. Prototype: Now, that your ideas are in place, it is time to build the solution. Building here is implementing the ideas i.e turning them into products and services that your users will eventually use.  A prototype helps you visualise your ideas, experience and interact with them, and in the process learn more empathy. It helps you gather feedback – the strength and weakness of your proposed solution and if any new ideas are needed. Remember to think, articulate and learn while building. 5. Test: Testing is an opportunity to learn about your solution and the user. Moreover, it is the final stage of the Design Thinking process where your prototype is evaluated, iterated and defined before it is released to the user. As a business, any product that you made should undergo the testing process to refine the prototype based on the feedback received.  Note:  It is important to note that these 5 steps/stages/processes are not sequential in nature and can occur in parallel or repeat iteratively. The idea is that all these processes are important for finding the right solution to the problem.  Conclusion: On an endnote, Design Thinking is an innovative way of looking at problems and arriving at optimal solutions with a user-first approach. It also encourages designers, developers and businesses to think out of the box to improve the user’s experience of their product and services, as this goes a long way in building sustainable and improved relationships.  If you have any queries, feel free to comment below.  (Originally published as part of our Ctrl+F5 Mumbai, 2016 by Simran Talreja) .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post The 5 Stages of Design Thinking appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Google SERP Trends to Know in 2020

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The post Google SERP Trends to Know in 2020 appeared first on HostGator Blog. When you do a Google search, sometimes the answer you need pops up right there on the search engine results page (SERP) without you having to click a link to get to it.  As the person doing the search, that’s great! It’s convenient and saves you time. As someone who runs a website, it’s less great. Google is the main way new visitors will find your website, but only if your pages show up in the results for relevant search terms.  And if one of your web pages does show up, but Google pulls out the most important information the searcher is looking for and puts it right on the SERP, what reason do they have to click through? Website owners have long known the importance of paying close attention to Google updates. You probably see the flurries of articles on it everytime Google announces a big update to the algorithm. But changes in SERP layout are arguably just as important.  The days of a typical SERP being a couple of ads followed by a list of 10 links are behind us. Now, organic search results frequently show up alongside (or below) a variety of types of rich results.  10 Takeaways from New SERP Research In late 2019, Perficient released new research analyzing how those rich SERP features affect the behavior of people doing the searches. Here are the main takeaways to consider when shaping your SEO strategy.  1. Over a third of searches on desktop result in no click. Snagging that top spot is a challenging goal, but 33.45% of the time, even that’s not good enough to earn you a click. With Google increasingly putting information directly on the SERP, a decent portion of the people searching find what they need without clicking on any of the links in either the paid or organic results.   2. That number increases to over half on mobile devices. 33% is a significant enough number, but when the researchers looked at the same data on mobile searches, the numbers were even more notable. 54.58% of all searches on mobile devices end on the SERP without a click.  Mobile searches made up 37% of all the searches analyzed in the study, so these numbers amount to a significant portion of all searches total.   3. Paid search only claims about 5% of all clicks. For both desktop and mobile devices, paid search ads garner less than 5% of all clicks. On desktop, ads get 4.61% of clicks. On mobile, that drops to 4.52% of clicks.  That doesn’t mean doing paid advertising on Google isn’t worth it—you only pay for the clicks you do get, and they tend to be relevant ones—but it’s worth knowing the limitations of relying too much on paid advertising alone. Even with the number of no-click searches, organic results are still clearly important.  4. Branded queries see a very high click-through rate (CTR). Someone searching directly for your brand is very likely to click through, whereas people searching non-branded keywords are much more likely to be in the no-click category.  So over 70% of people searching for “hostgator” will click on the organic results. But for those searching something like “web hosting,” only 38% do so.    5. Featured snippets cause a slight increase in CTR. You might think that the appearance of any rich results on the SERP would reduce the chances of someone clicking an organic result.  But SERPs that include featured snippets, even though they give a brief answer to the query on the SERP itself, actually see a slight increase in clicks over those that don’t. The difference is minimal, but since it goes contrary to what you might expect, it’s notable.  6. People Also Ask boxes cause a slight decrease in clicks. Many searches include a section of related questions searchers can click on under the title People Also Ask. The researchers found that SERPs that include a People Also Ask section see about a 10% decrease in CTR for organic results. SERPs without this feature see around a 45% CTR, while those with it drop to around 35%.  Presumably some of the clicks that would go to organic results are going to the questions in the box instead—where a click produces an answer right there on the page.   7. Knowledge graph results have a bigger impact on CTR (though not huge). The knowledge graph information is usually displayed in a box on the right side of the screen and collects a variety of useful facts about the term the person searched. For non-branded searches, SERPs that include knowledge graph information see about a 10% reduction in clicks.  8. An image carousel increases organic CTR. In contrast, when there’s an image carousel—a collection of images across the screen, usually displayed above the results—the click-through rate increases by over 12%. 9. Related searches cause a noticeable decrease in clicks.  SERPs that include a Related Searches section of links see a fairly dramatic decrease in clicks—an over 20% difference.  The researchers guess this might have less to do with the links in the section driving away clicks, and more to do with Google deciding to display this section for searches that already have a low CTR. 10.  Video carousels also lower clicks. Unlike image carousels, video carousels cause a decrease in clicks of a little under 10%.  The types of keywords Google displays video carousels for are very likely those the search engine knows people prefer video results for, so it makes a certain amount of sense for the videos featured to drive clicks away from the organic results.  How to Use These Findings to Inform Your SEO Strategy in 2020 Now that you know the research, what does it mean for you? To get more out of your SEO strategy in 2020, the data suggests doing a few key things.  1. Make sure you win for branded keywords. Since branded keywords get the biggest share of clicks when people search them, you want to make absolutely sure that anytime a potential visitor comes looking for you, your website is the first one they see.  The good news is, this is generally easy. As long as your website doesn’t share a name with a common keyword, Google usually puts the brand that’s being searched for at the top of the SERP.  Check now to make sure that you claim the top spot for branded search terms. If not, make that a top priority in your SEO strategy, and consider bidding for your brand name in paid search so you show up at the top of the page during the time it takes to win that top organic spot.  2. Always do SERP research to learn what features are on the page. It pays to know what the SERP for your term looks like. Your approach to ranking for a SERP that has a featured snippet will be different than one that has a video carousel, which will be different than one that has a knowledge graph, etc. You’ll do a better job of getting the results you want if you know what you’re aiming for. Any time you work on creating content or building a webpage with the intent to target a specific keyword for it, one of the first steps to always take is doing a Google search for the term to see what comes up.  3. Prioritize your keyword strategy based on the SERP features. Now that you know which types of SERPs are most likely to earn you clicks from searchers, you can prioritize your SEO strategy accordingly. So targeting SERPs that include image carousels and featured snippets are probably more worth your time than those that include People Also Ask boxes and knowledge graphs. That doesn’t mean ruling the keywords that produce those features out entirely. In many cases, they’ll still be well worth including in your strategy.  But knowing how likely the search is to produce clicks if you win the top spot is valuable information to have when deciding which keywords are most important to put more resources toward targeting.  4. Incorporate snippet optimization into your strategy. While there’s a lot of overlap in the best strategies for claiming the top spot in search results and for winning the featured snippet, there are some specific best practices that are worth employing for the latter.  Anytime your SERP research reveals that a keyword produces a featured snippet in the search results, make sure the content you create is optimized to win that snippet.  A big part of that is formatting your content based on the type of snippet it is. So for an answer box, you’ll want to ask the question in your content and provide a brief version of the answer immediately following it. For a list snippet, make sure your content is in a list format.  And as you would with any keyword you research, check the current winning content to see how it looks—that will tell you something about what Google likes as a response to that term. 5. Always include images in your content. Image carousels increase clicks, and Google has to pull those images from somewhere. If you want to increase the odds of your website being included in an image carousel, you need to have images on your website.   Readers also like images, so this is a good tip on multiple counts. Find relevant images to add to your webpages, and be sure to optimize them for search by customizing the image name and alt tag to match your target keywords. SEO Still Matters in 2020 Even if a number of keywords now see fewer clicks because of SERP features, that in no way decreases the importance of SEO for website owners. Many of your visitors are still going to turn to Google when they’re looking for what you offer. If you want them to find your website, you still have to play the SEO game. But understanding the relative value of different keywords based on what the SERPs look like will help you spend your time more effectively.  This research helps with that. Pay attention to the features on the SERP for every keyword you target, and take the typical CTR for each one into account when crafting your SEO strategy. You’ll get better results for the time and resources you put into it.  Need help crafting a winning SEO strategy for 2020? Contact the SEO experts at HostGator. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Measure the Success of Your LinkedIn Company Page: 5 Performance Metrics

Social Media Examiner -

Wondering if your LinkedIn company page is delivering the results you hoped for? Do you know where to find the best data to evaluate your efforts? In this article, you’ll learn how to measure five key performance metrics for your LinkedIn company page. How to Analyze Your LinkedIn Company Page Performance LinkedIn is an essential […] The post How to Measure the Success of Your LinkedIn Company Page: 5 Performance Metrics appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Marketing with Linkedin: 17 Easy Steps to Promote Your Content

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Want to take your marketing with Linkedin to the next level? Want to reach Linkedin's 650 million users worldwide? If the answer is yes, then you need to do more than just share a status with the link to your latest blog post. In this post, I'll show you 17 easy steps to promote your latest blog post, video, podcast, and other content on LinkedIn. Once you learn these steps, make sure to leverage the best social media tools for Linkedin marketing to put them into practice!

Top Plugins for Monetizing Your WordPress Site

WP Engine -

Plugins are arguably one of the biggest benefits of using WordPress. These bits of modular code let WordPress users easily add new functionality to their sites, and with more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins to choose from the ecosystem of available plugins is massive.  There’s also a wide variety of use cases for plugins, including… The post Top Plugins for Monetizing Your WordPress Site appeared first on WP Engine.

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